Sunday, April 30, 2006

USA Cycling New Cyclo-cross Categories

According to a new press release from USA Cycling, they now have 'new' cyclo-cross categories on their licenses. Now is they could just have some races outside of the USGP's, which by the way there are two of them this year in Colorado in November. Realizing we are just getting into the mountain bike season, I check out the DVD 'Transistion', a movie that follows the 2004 domestic cyclo-cross season and racers. It is very well done, show some insight into top racers, as well as some not so top racers. It is a great motivation for any kind of riding or racing, check it out. You can order it through

I have also heard a rumor that USA Cycling will rank single speeders this season? While single speeders have long been anti-establishment, and sort of punk rockers of the mtb scene, it would be great to see ranking structure, as there are more and more SS racers, state & regional point series, and interest in the facet of the sport.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Fruita Fat Tire Festival

Getting the machine ready for service.

After getting everything setup this morning, they slowly started rolling in, and soon the The Backdoor Coffeebar in the rear of Over the Edge Sports became the place to meet for the first offical day of riding at the 2006 Fruita fat Tire Festival. The first party the night before, put on by DT Swiss had many heads hanging, but I was ready to put some pep into their step with a our great new Rwandan espresso blend. It was easy to dial in the Astoria, and soon I was pulling great shots. Using Horizon milk and half& half, that they provided for our demo, I put out varous drinks to the weary as they gathered to go out on rides. Many faces I did not know, but also many I did. A couple came in that now live in Nederland, but once resided in Gunnison and were Mochas regulars, recognized the Cravens cups, and eventually me as well from my days as a barista there.

I set up the who's who of the cycling industry, to include Scott Nicol of Ibis, Jason Grove of El Camino, Chopper from Smith and one very thankful Andy Hampsted, former Giro d Italia winner. Andy said it was the best americano he has had in some time, high praise from a man whom spent most of his professional career in Europe. Everyone was stoked on the coffee, and I really enjoyed serving everyone and starting their day off right. Many came back for another free cup of those sweet, rusty-golden brown shots. Man, it was magical.

After my time behind the bar, and a few coffees myself, my friend Kevin and I hit the trails as well. We opted for the Zion Curtain loop off of the Rabbit Valley exit, and that was some sweet single track that just did not end! No wonder this is the mountain bike mecca! It was a pretty sick loop featuring quick snappy, bermed turns, whoops, jumps, white knucle descents, and ear-to-ear smiles all around.

After tanking up with some of the best authentic Mexican cusine, it was back to Gunnison, where a freak spring storm greeted us with a dashing of snow.

Ah, but it was all worth it.

Looking out over Rabbit Valley

Thursday, April 27, 2006

David Blaine is an awesome chef, having personally had the pleasure of meeting him and dining at the Latah Bistro late last fall, the food is great. David is a fellow cyclists, chocolate & coffee lover and obviously a conscientious individual. Check out is his Blog, he offers up some great receipes and thoughts. He has a Coffee Conscious Quiz up right now about coffees, and how make purchasing decisions, below I have cut and pasted his quiz for you to take as I would love to hear your thoughts...

Which local coffee roasters source their beans directly from the plantations?

Does it matter if the beans are sourced directly or purchased through distributors on the open market?

Are you willing to pay more for Organic or Shade Grown when buying a coffee drink in a restaurant or drive-through?

Do you choose where to get coffee by the brand of beans they use?

Is the Barista more important than the beans?

Do you purchase more coffee at inside counters or at drive-thrus?

Simon Craven cupping at the source

Monday, April 24, 2006

Motorsports Revolution

Growing up around auto racing (that little guy looking through the fence is me watching my Dad's car get weighed in after winning the Indianapolis National), I still posess a great interest n it. This past weekend had some great racing, F1 @ Imola, AMA Supercross @ Dallas and some sport car racing. The reason I mention the F1 & Supercoss series, is that these are tow of the best years of racing in long time in both. F1 is tight w/ the long-time champion Schumi having to fight and scrap for every point against the new guard lead by current World Champ Alanso. And Supercross is down to the final two events with a tight points bought between Carmichael, Reed and Bubba Stewart, awesome!

More than these story lines is a bigger one that has not gotten much press, Diesel. My conscious has had me torn in the recent past about supporting racing, because it had seemed that racing was not leading the technology and direction to sustainable fuel resources. Except for a few cockroach looking vehicles scurrying accross the Australian desert, racing has been about faster cars, technology in the sense of computers and maximizing current resources, and saftey (which is a bad thing). But until a couple of weekends ago, it had nothing to do with environmental concerns, but that all changed in Sebring during the American LeMans Series 12 hour race, when Audi absolutely dominated a field of some of the most technically advanced autos with a pair of TDIs (Turbo Diesel Injection).

The Europeans are so far out front on diesel technology, it is not funny. There is an all-wheel drive TDI Golf, that will blow the doors off the new GTI Mark IV just now making its US debut (these have been out for 3 years in Germany). And it is coming in the near future that more race series will adopt these engines, right now they are in LeMans, and the German Touring Cras, be looking for them in more sports car series, WRC World Rally, and yes, F1. What about NASCAR? Not that I care, but they have their own issues w/ the big 3 bleedy massive amounts of $$$ every day, Toyota will step in the next year or two and take over that series. And when Chevy, Ford and Dodge are gone, I wonder what will that sticker of the kid peeing on their least favotrite brand will be peeing on?

Racing is as good as it has been, and things are looking like it can only get better with these big changes coming. It is great to see a sport I like so much, take charge and lead the change towards something positive, while still provide great competition and sport.

Saturday, April 22, 2006


Recently, I put XM into my car, mainly because I loggged 40k miles last year for work, and my CD's tend to take a beating getting sheffled around. And I want to say I love it! More channels than you can imagine, and better than that, really good wones.

Meet Fred. If you are an eighties child like me, and grew up on early eighties groups like the Clash, X, Berlin, along with the mid-eighties Depeche Mode, Simple Minds, New Order and late eighties U2, REM, B-52's and Sugar Cubes (now I realize a lot of the groups mentioned here spanned the entire eighties, and some of the best stuff was earlier on - no debate here, but you get the point), then meet Fred. The play great tracks I have not heard in a long time, taking me back to homeroom, and skipping class. Jumping off the cliffs down at the quary and later partying at my friends house which was always blasting these great tunes. Actually I went to school with Jason McCartney (Discovery Channel rider) during this time, we both got into snowboarding about the same time, and I saved his ass from a real ass kicking during Steamboat Days in downtown Burlington. Ahh, those were the days...

Jason getting it done on Brastown Bald Photo: Casey Gibson, Courtesy of

But like anything, only in moderation, so when I have had enough of Fred, I check in with Lucy or Ethel, two similar alternative rock stations throwing down the classics and some more modern tunes. Everything from Nitzer Ebb, Ministry, Nirvana to 311, Blink 182 and so on.

While living in Europe I grew to love electronica, House, Progressive, Trance, Acid Jazz, you name it. One of my close friends spun, and produced music, DJ Nikman, and that taught me to really appreciate livesets. XM Chill, the Move, BPM, and Progressive not only throw on some of the best beats going, but have great livesets from likes of Frankie Knuckles, louie Vega and my favorite DJ right now, Armin van Buuren ( pretty sick stuff.

there are plenty of other station to check out that I have failed to mention, but w/ my job, I will definitly find the time. As for my CD's? Well the may be getting a break for now, and I do occassionaly thow them in the mix. Besides, I am finding new music that will have to be added to my library.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Espresso machines

Here is Jason Grove's machine, it is a sweet single group Faema, very nice. I find espresso machine to be like bikes, they are beautiful works of art that serve a great functionality in our lives. The ones made by hand and with care, tend to be the ones I desire most, not the mass produced, plastic riddled pieces of %$@# that Starbucks and other chains try to pedal onto you, you might as well go out and buy a Trek, or Specialized...

I noticed that Jason is using Starbucks shot glasses in this photo, great looking shots! I did a barista training this past week in one of my dealers and noticed they too had a scoop from Starbucks, I guess we are all guilty. I have an old tamper from Starbucks, it is a paper weight on my desk now that I have a sweet Espresso parts machined tamper ( I guess we all start with satrbucks, or someone gives us stuff from there because they think it is cool. It is like bikes, we all had a main stream bike somewhere down the line (Specialized, Santa Cruz, Trek...), those are the bikes you buy before you buy a real bike - I'm talking custom made steel, or ti.

My espresso machine is a Micro LaCimballi (pronounced: la ch-imballi), while living in Germany, I had an espresso out of one of these older piston, lever style machines - it changed my life. Since then, my pursuit has been to replicate that sweet nectar, and the golden rust brown crema, very few coffees and machines can produce. Even my wife Sandi is a a coffee snob because of this machine (not too mention the coffee).


The 2006 Fruita Fat Tire Festival is quickly approaching, April 27-30. I will be there handing out free coffee Friday morning, April 28th, along w/ my protege barista, Jason Grove of El Camino Fab (, he was the featured builder in the October 2005 issue of Bike, and makes some of the most beautiful frames out there. Should be a lot of fun, cool rides and the world reknown Clunker Crit. Did I mention the parties???

C'ya in Fruita.

Morning Cup

Besides riding bikes, coffee plays a major role in my life. Learning the art of espresso back when I lived in Germany from an Italian that I worked for, after coming back to the states I worked as a Barista during my college, then I ran a very busy coffeehouse (doing something like 300+ coffee drinks a day!) my education in this field continues today as brand manager for Cravens Coffee. We offer a wide range of coffees, but my focus is primarly on the Certified Organic/ Fair Trade coffees. This is very important as coffee is largely a third-world industry, and coffee is the second most traded commodity in the world. From both the retailers and consumers point of view, it is our responsibility to ensure that farmers in these impoverished parts of the world can afford to buy their evening meals, and not exploited. Transfair, is a non-profit, non-governmental organization out of Holland that oversees the trade of coffee, and through certification sets a fair price for beans. Right now that is around $1.24 per green pound of coffee, we pay on the average $1.65 +.

Cravens buys our coffee based on quality, and is a big patron to the Fair Trade movement, but what about the coffee from really small farms and coops that can't afford certification? Well, I drinking one now. Rwanda has some great coffees, one of which we are putting inot a conventional blend (that is it has not certification). But this coffee is organic, and we paid above fair trade prices for it, not toomention this has become one of my favorites. So what to do, do we say that it is organic and fairly traded? But it has no certification, and that would mislead the consumer. I have seen other companies spin this to the point where you really did not know what the coffee was. Some are mearly exploiting the system, trying to bypass costly certifications, and taping into a marketing tool. While others are geniune in their efforts to treat farmers w/ respect, but they do not participate in the Transfair programs.

Lets face it, it would be great to research all of the companies that we buy products from, but we can't. So look for the certifications, or labels on the coffees that clearly state a companies position. That morning cup of joe you have may make all of the difference in the world to someone half-way accross from you.

Friday, April 14, 2006

Baby Steps

On wednesday, I had it all planned out, I was going to ride the Soveriegn Trail in Moab as it would be perfect for my planned workout, that all changed. Grabbing some air for my tires that had softened dramatically since my last ride, Sean at the Chile Pepper gave me the 4-1-1 on a new single track called 'Baby Steps'. It is a new loop off the Klondike Bluffs loop that actually has single track!

Sean gave me a verbal lay of the trail, then had one of his employees go over w/ me one more time before sending me out on this beautiful spring day. Arriving at the trail head, i ran into Alison Dunlap who was taking out a group, we caught up a little, wished each other a great ride, and started the wheels turning.

It was a short while of sand, double track and some slick rock before I hit the first section of single track. This trail is still fresh, narrow single track, I talking ten inches wide, max. Wrapping the contours of the landscape, this red ribbon, was snappy, tight and fun. Eventually the first section spilled me out onto a slab of slick rock, along wich, as instructed, I followed the perimeter unitl I picked up the next section. Once again, primo riding and it even wrapped under a psychodelic mushroom rock formation. I kept seeing little geckos shooting across the trail like little green bullets as I interupted their sun bathing in the warm spring daylight.

Again, the red strpie came to a close on another slab, or was it the same? I did not really care because of the fun, but I was pretty sure I was heading the right direction as I was told earlier. Sure enough, I came upon the Klondike Bluffs trail, and then hit my first steep climb of the ride. At the top, I opted for an out and back view point that was also prime-time single track, worth the effort, from there, it was a sweet techie downhill, that was fairly long, alowwing one to get into the groove, fing flow down the hillside.

Riiding along the valley floor, the exploding green for the ripening vegitation engulfed my sight, and it made me feel very vital, alive. It was great just zipping along the valley floor like a tiny blip on a vast radar of green grass, towering red rock walls and a ever expanding bue sky.

A quick left and it was back up and over the ridge line for the second time. Mainly double track, I rolled on, short ascents and descents accented this section as I rode along the ridgeline. Then in a saddle, it was a hard right, turning me to look straight up the last major climb, before grabbing some sweet lines back down. My legs pounded out a strong tempo, propelling to the top.

Then after catching my breath, there it was, the last section back to where I started. It was a long, twisting, turning and at time, white knuckle fast descent, but worth every effort to get there. The red ribbon ofter intersected w/ slabs of slickrock, and had some great features along the way. Fully in the flow, I pumped the trasitions, manualed the woops, and floated over obstacles, it was zen like.

Before I knew it, I was on the road back to my car. I was in postride extascy. Glad about the choices made to take a chance on a new ride, it is definitely worthy. It is not on a map yet, so you will have to bring and open ear, and open mind. It is easy to floow, and a sweet ride. And the name? Baby Steps because it is the first mountain biker built trail in Moab...

Monday, April 03, 2006

The Gerbil EffectThe Gerbil EffectThe Gerbil Effect

Nestled amidst the jagged peaks that tower over the thousands of square miles of National Forest, we do not give much thought to immediate trail riding access in Gunnison. Don’t get me wrong, we fully support IMBA, and every year volunteer for the cause, but recently I got a taste of what one in Denver must do to go for a ride.

Over the weekend, I rode Green Mountain for the first time, which for those of you not familiar w/ Denver is a large tree-less barren green hill (actually it is brown most of the time) that dominates the landscape on the northwestern part of town. An inter-lacing web of single and double track drapes over the many ridges and folds of the metropolitan riding area. Just to the west in the foothills is Red Rocks (famous for its concert venues), Dinosaur Ridge, and many hundred of miles of riding in Jefferson County. But for a quickie or nooner, this seems like the place; otherwise you are into urban riding, bike paths, or some seriously flat riding.

Looking to get in a good hill interval day, I set out looking for a trail to do my first ascent. Occasionally stopping to let riders pass coming the other way (you know the rule, the rider going uphill has the right of way), I asked for a verbal lay of the land from locals. Once I figured out my options, my first climb was from the main parking lot on the east side, that had some sweet steep single track and switchbacks. So I set out from the west parking area, and headed around the baseline trail. Rolling into the east parking lot, I located the climb I was looking for at the far end, and started my charge up. I forgot my heartrate monitor, so I just use the pounding of my heart in my head as a guage. After grinding that climb out on my single speed, another local pointed me to one of the better descents, and it dropped me back down the west side.

Near the bottom, I saw a steep road that went back up, and jumped on it. Nearly coming to a halt a few times on the way up, I kept the pedals slowly turning over; I was definitely paying my dues! No wonder the Denver guys can climb the fire roads at ski areas like no tomorrow! Back on top, I found a single track that I saw the first time I summited. It scurried the outline of the hilltop around from the westside about 100 meters below the ridgeline, back around to the eastside. It turned out to be pretty swoppy and fun, and at a T, I dropped down another trail that looked like it wnet on for a while only to find it was a dead-end into a neighborhood. After pulling a quick U-turn, It was back up to near the top, where I picked up the previous single track, and followed it around to the east. After catching a double track back to the top, I dropped into a sweet switchback trail that ran parallel to the first single track I climbed earlier. 2 hours later, and three times to the top, my ride finished on the lowest ribbon of trail that circumvented back around to the west side where I had parked with several other riders.

All in all it was a fun ride, but then again I only rode it once. Having this as an option, sometimes as an only option, I can only think of a gerbil running in its stationary wheel. But if you are ever in Denver and don’t know where to go, don’t have much time, and don’t want to get lost, this is a no-brainer.

Sandi Looks Strong at Koppenberg

Sunday's Koppenberg Climb in Louisville Colorado turned out to be a race of survival as 50-60mph winds scoured the parched landscape of the foothills. In her first appearance of 2006, Sandra Bloomer, showed her strong form from the 2005 season had carried over. A strong women's field lined up for their mid-day attack on the course, and the action came early and hard on the first of six assents on the Koppenberg. Sitting mid-pack, Sandi was forced off the bike on the first round, when the line she was in came to a screeching halt. Untangling herself from the carnage that found many women scrambling via foot to the top, a strong but small group of five made the first break of the day, leaving the rest of the field, exposed and strung out over the long dirt road, that was being raped by an unrelenting side wind. Outside the top ten, Sandi went to work, clawing her way back in to eighth, when on lap 3, she was literally blown off the road just after the climb by what must have been a 60+mph gust. Climbing out of the ditch, she lost contact with the small group she was in, but a lap later she had blown by them, and was chasing down 6th place. With a teammate up the road, a the 8th place rider was not working, Sandi pressed on. On the final climb, a strong gust made Sandi veer off course during the climb, relinquishing the spot, leaving Sandi to settle for 8th. It was a valiant effort, and Sandi showed not only great form, but great composure in the face of adversity. If this weeks road race result is any indication, Sandi looks to be on track to make her way to some top mountain bike finishes this season.