Thursday, December 18, 2008

the chain is broken

the chain is broken, i have neglected my blog for some time, but things are changing. back to blogging, riding and living. soon i will be leaving this 6 to 6 world in my rear view mirros and get back to what i love, and best of all be sharing it with you. thanks to all of the blogs i love out there for quenchening my thirst during this drought!

stay tuned...

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Oh Nein...

Your Name here.
They call cyclocross the NASCAR of cycling with its fast pace, some rubing and the fact that we go around in tight circles. While I don't entirely agree with annology, Tim Johnson is not helping the cause. Recently he has been showing up to cross events with a Red Bull helmet, the ultimate sellout. I wonder if he actually drinks that crap?

I realize he is not the only one plastered with logos, and actually his 'Nine-Ball' kits are pretty sweet. Not too mention Tim is an awesome guy, and I am all for a starving cyclist to make a decent income, but Red Bull? Besides, I thought they only sponsored anti-skinsuit wearing, gated-racing, non-pedaling huckers?

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Halloween Revisted

It's almost Thanksgiving, but when I saw this, I laughed out loud. Good stuff.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Over the weekend, Colin, Sandi & I went to Mannheim (which via the Autobahn is less than half an hour away) for the Iron Cross Days cyclocross race. Unlike the Iron Cross know in the states, this was just a 1.5km course, that could have been much batter than it was. With the start and finish on the local velodrom, we would cross over the tunnel at the north end riding towards the first dismount.Sandi floating over the transitions

The slight uphill had three barriers on it, with just enough grade, combined with the water soaked groud, there was no means of bunny hopping these. Which was fine, it made for a nice long run up. After remounted on top, it was almost a full lap arond the outside of the velodrome before pealing off towards an appartment/ park area. Here is where the course wa a bit scetchy. A barrier on otp of three flights of stairs that we ran down! If it had been at all any more wet, it would have been way more dangerous than it was, and probably would have seen some torn ACL's if not worse injuries. As it was, my ankles and kness still hurt from hitting the concrete at speed and running down cobbled steps.

Sandi was her competition

Through a sidewalk passage, it was around a sweeping grassy bend with an uphill at the end heading back towards the velo-club grounds. Around the club house, across the north end perimeter of the velodrome, and a tight switchback before dropping down through the tunnel and into the track.
Sandi railing the hairpin
I went off first, racing the open men’s race against 17 others. Normally you can count on some crazy fast Euro’s at small events like this. My first years of racing were spent over here in the ‘hobby’ class getting my ass kicked. That was not the case on Saturday. Grabbing the hole-shot, I wanted to hit the first run-up near the front after having watched several of these guys stumble through the transitions. Clear of the others, I remounted at the top to find myself with a gap, but was still expecting a counter attack from behind. Semi-soft pedaling I glanced back to find no one was chasing, so I punched it.

On the run up

After my acceleration, I would only see the others as I started to lap the field. I was still on the gas for most of the race, not 100% but still getting my monies worth. After a dizzying 10 laps and 40mins of racing, I had lapped up to 3rd place and probably could have ran the last lap and still have won. My lap times were around 3:40 to give you an idea of how short the course was.

The best part came taking Colin up on the podium with me, which he loved the people clapping and joined in. He liked the shiny prizes and awards too I think.

The track in Mannheim

Sandi’s race lacked competition, well almost. One poor junior girl got lapped two times and Sandi was always on the heels of the lead junior men, much to their disliking… She too made her own workout of it, pushing hard through the entire race. She was really surprised how quickly the dismounts and remounts came back to her (as was I for myself).

Taking over the wheel

The great thing about small events like this one are the people you meet, other who share your own passion for the sport. We met a few different people, talked about bikes, kids and organizing events. No matter where you go in the world the cycling community is an extended family

Saturday, October 25, 2008

World Cup DH MTB Fashion Police

You must be kidding me??? An immature and obviously grossly confused Rachel Atherton would rather succumb to fashion than win races. Not only that, but her dissing the skinsuit flies in the face of much bigger champions than she, Tomac, Nico, Chausson, Stiefle, HBall and of course Borat.

Her sponsors should really re-think their connection with this superficial, spoiled wanna-be.

Photo ©: Mark Gunter
UCI ban skin suits and open face helmets for some mountain bike competitions

By Matthew Cole,
Tracy Moseley rode this skin suit to a slim win in Australia

The UCI, the governing body for competitive cycling, has made some interesting changes to the rules for the 2009 season and beyond including banning the wearing of "tight-fitting clothing" and insisting that full-face helmets must be worn when racing and practising for downhill and 4X.

The wearing of skin suits has been a point of contention over the last year, notably in the Australian round of the mountain bike world cup. A skinsuit-clad Tracy Moseley (Kona) won the women's race by four seconds ahead of Rachel Atherton (Animal-Commencal), who claimed that the skin suit gave Moseley an unfair advantage.

"Fair enough to Tracey if she wants to do that to win, but for the sport and the longevity of the sport, to wear cool race kit and to make an image for yourself is more important than the odd win here and there," said Atherton.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Schnapps & Cyclocross

Having an affection for things crafted by the hand of a master, I have always enjoyed handmade bikes and components along with wines, food and schnapps. The latter mind you, is not your typical American flavoured-syrup with a good dose of alcohol, rather it is made from pure fruit, no additives or anything else. Being on the receiving end of some of the best homemade schnapps out of the fatherland the past ten years in the US, when the opportunity arose to produce my own batch, I jumped at the opportunity.

Bobbing for apples?

My friend Sascha Wenzel invited me to help harvest some apples and take part in the process of making schnapps. A couple of weekends ago we began the journey from fruit to brandy. With three sorts of apples on his piece of land, we picked some of the biggest, juiciest apples I have ever seen, and all organic. We gathered enough to fill three big barrels (and then some!), which we spent the better part of an afternoon dicing up into smaller cubes, then we mashed them and filled our barrels.

Apple mash

From there, it is a game of patience, stirring daily, they have slowly begun to ferment. At first we were met with lots of resistance when stirring each barrel, we are about half the way along, stirring the half liquefied mash is done with ease. One can already smell the alcohol as they are very ripe.

A few more weeks and they will stop fermenting on their own, then they are ready for distilling. We will make an appointment at a local distillery around mid-January, where we will spend the day, and probably need a ride home from…as we have our mash turned into a clear liquid that would remove paint from a car. Depending on the duration of distillation will determine the alcohol content, which will be around 40%. Our three barrels will probably yield around 40 liters.

What the hell do you do with 40 liters of schnapps??? My half will go in a large glass jug with a tap on it to fill bottles. The longer schnapps ages, the smoother it gets. No doubt it will have to be tried immediately, but I plan on letting it age a little, and then next fall, start to gift others with hopefully will be a good bottle of apple brandy.

Sunday morning spin

On the bike front, Sandi & I are going to Madburg in a couple of weekends for our first cyclocross of the season, and have been enjoying some spectacular fall riding. It has been crisp and cool with lots of sun drenched days. Riding through thick beds of leaves, it makes it hard sometimes to define where the trails go. My new training loop in Hochspeyer is a blast on the cross bike, maybe a training series this winter???

from a different angle

I have our crosscountry course already planned, sehr anspruchtsvol! Very techy, and if it is wet, muddy and even more techy!!!


My new Dugast’s Rhinos (both cross and mountain) are oh so sweet, nothing rides better than tubulars. You can feel the attention to detail and quality in each rotation of the wheel across the trail. Once again, it is my affection for the handmade things in life.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Mike's new bike

somewhere above Rico, Colorado is a cross bike eating up some of the best trails in the world...

Mike Guskea is a character, a personable guy but a bit of a sour puss. Oh he owns two ti Indy's so don't dis on him just yet. Not too mention he is one of the best chefs in the world. His shops in TRide CO produce some the finest eats you ever have the pleasure of putting your mouth. Soph and he lead a simple life of working too much, enjoying their new home in Rico and lots of riding (only when they are not working).

Mike has a new bike (pictured) and blog...surely to be entertaining. stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Behind the 'Nine-Ball'

Put this one on your wish list. Timmy-J getting some, check Wells out in the trailer showing Page where the line is...rubbing is racing!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

EuroBike part 2

I’ve got to wrap this up, I mean EuroBike is so like tow weeks ago, maybe more???

The final two days were much like the first two, watching the chaos of the main halls from a far while core-fans and enthusiasts sought us out. This was especially true on the public day, Sunday. Fans from all over Europe passed through our booth for a gander at the quiver on hand. The EDGE wheels also had a draw over the course of the week, and I see big things on the horizon for them as well.

Afterhours. Joe & I took full advantage of our fellow industry insiders hospitality, munching and chugging down whatever tasty delights they had on hand, actually it was more of the chugging variety. Jason Schiers from EDGE joined in the final two evenings that included a proper introduction to Phaty, a guy you have to cross paths with sometime in your life. Put it this way, if Dejay Birtch says keep your eye out for him, that is saying something. Phaty is the mastermind behind SiS and a rude obnoxious SOB, but still likable and warm as your old childhood teddybear. Having Phaty tell it how it is to Joe and Jason was not only enjoyable, but down right entertaining.

We knocked back some beers at the Conti booth before rolling out trying to find the Metro, no not the train, but the club as in rider party. Typical Americans, we were way too early, so we rolled in to a café/ bistro, unfortunately for us, they had stopped selling food, we were in semi-drunk limbo. After sweet talking the waitress a little, some badly burnt pizzas that were still not cooked on top were served to us, hey all of the food at tradeshows sucks. After a couple of brews, and some really bad pizza, it was back to the Metro. What was once empty was now pulsating with techno beats and a line way out the door. Little patience and pretty tired, we packed it up for the evening.

The last evening kicked off with the SRAM party, or should I say SCAM party… The one thing about being associated with IF is everyone has a story to tell you, and you are instantly their friend. I tried pimping a couple of passes for the festivities from a reluctant Dirk Belling and his kronnies, even in rejection we had an Ace up our sleeve. Two party goers spotted Joe’s IF tee and chatted us up talking about Fat and all. Moments later the lovely madel in the group was wrapping a get in free pass around my wrist, and the thug at the door let all three of us in as soon as I mentioned IF.

Joe greased the wheels at the massive beer line and we were off. Since it was raining, festivities were contained in a small side room and under the umbrellas from the beer and food stands. After a couple mugs of suds, we were looking for some different action. On our way out the door, Joe won an improve game of ‘cups’. Dropping your plastic beer cup from chest-high into a cup sitting on the ground.

This time we made it to the Metro, and the rest of the night became a blur. RedBull Vodka and a mosh pit can erase your memory pretty quickly. Joe got his picture taken on the way home courtesy of one of Germany’s many roadside radar-photobooths, can’t wait to see how that one turns out, or how fast he was going.

Joe & Jason flew back on Sunday leaving me to fend off the masses of public day on my own. The day went smoothly as it could and by the end I had no business card, postcards, catalogues, sticker, you name, it was gone. Not too mention the box of tools, a reto-Fat tee a friend gave me during the show, some tires and saddles someone walked off with. Karma will get them.

EuroBike was an excellent experience for us, and IF. We grew a lot during the show, and have some great opportunities that lay before, albeit some challenges too. But most of all I appreciated the love we received from so many. It was always surprising to me how many people knew IF, the story and appreciated the work. Passion sums it up pretty well. Something not many other people at EuroBike could boast.

Friday, September 12, 2008

EuroBike Part 1

With little time for a proper follow-up on my Blog, forget even trying to write something during the show!, I have been surfing the coverage from the show on various sites around the net. If you were to follow what the main websites (VeloNews, Cyclingnews…) and many of of the smaller guys are reporting, you would think the show was about more carbon light bikes, new grouppos from S,S&C and bikes from pros, particularly the Olympians (as it seemed everyone was showing an Olympic bike, even if they were off the podium. For the most part, you would be correct, however there was also a riptide in the halls that the media and internet did not register.

Steel – Ti bikes, especially of the handmade sort are back. Maybe as a exhibitor for IF I am looking through a bubble, but if you looked closer at the show, there were sweet bikes all over the place. Our ‘official’ friends at Fixie Inc. were sort of leading the charge, taking 3 Eurobike awards for their creations. Seven, Lynsky, Serotta, Baum and a plethora of other small European builders all had representation at the show. Then there was IF.

Relegated to the Zeppelin Hall (you have to do the ZH proving your worth before getting into the big time show in one of the main halls – look out in 2009!), we had 5 beautiful creation packed into a 10x10’ space. I had planned on a bit more for the show space, but after several plans and using my uncle’s terrace over here as a reference (being it was the same size), I went simple, black carpet and two corrugated metal walls to frame the stand. Joe Ingram from IF flew over to help out, and we ended up testing our wall papering skills last minute as the section of wall behind us was not finished – way ghetto.

Demo Day kicked things off, Joe and I delivered some rides to Hutchinson, and they sent out my ti 26’er and Achim’s 29’er – to the delight of many riders. One guy had the 29er for a long time riding around with perma-grin (he would stop by the booth during the show and is wanting a 29er now). I ran into Elyana from FOX, it is always great to see her and she has one of the best jobs around hitting some fun events. After cutting the steerer on my new 29er, we walked the demo day with our two new IF’s which drew a lot of attention from the show goers. We threw the bikes back in the van, and went out on some bikes for our own demo day. We tried Focus (Mike Kluge’s band) and Look, neither were impressive. I just can’t wrap my arms around carbon bikes, particularly the off-road set.

After baking in the sun all day, we made our way back to the show, and tidied up our booth for the first day. Staying 45min away from the show kind of sucked, especially for the post-show daily social hours…

Day one: Suprisingly, it was very busy out of the box, well for ZH parameters. Little did we know of the craziness in the main halls. The good news was is that media previewed us for the show and people sought us out in the Eurobike Guide. We also had bikes in a couple of other booths. The first three days were for the dealers, the last for the public. As I have tried to focus on direct sales, I was surprised that so many dealers were looking and finding us. I spent a lot of time talking about the bikes and EDGE who we are also distributing over here.

Our booth had my new lime green 29er, Phaty’s YoEddy inspired single speed, my SSX, Sandi’s Ti Deluxe and a Sweet XS from IF. AS people rolled through, they would study the workmanship and details, combing over the bikes in awe. Catalogues, business cards and price lists were flying out the door. I also took two orders the first day from big IF fans. Following day one, we rolled over to the Mavic stand for a happy hour, too bad my friend Dan Crean did not make it over, but we stilled enjoyed some good wine and appetizers.

Day two was more of the same, busy. Actually besides the public day, it was our busiest. Jason from EDGE stopped by and was checking out our stand. It was great to meet with him and talk about new products, and projects for the future… Besdie our stand was a café with standing tables, it became our parcours for demoing my two-niner. IF cranked out an amazing ride that turns on a dime – but more on that in another post… Once again we had dealers requesting catalogues and pricelists, lots of IF love was being spread around. Funny thing was, people would stop by and would be back later. Time and time again I heard how great it was that IF is in Germany and Europe. Someone even gave me an old Fat City Cycles YoEddy T, only to be stolen out of our booth (along with tires, a saddle, and other items…)

More to come.

Monday, August 25, 2008

EuroBike Preview

Sneak peak of one of the show see the whole picture, stop by booth ZH-400

We are in the final stretch before Eurobike kicks off and we are still not ready, but then who ever is??? I have two complete bike builds (one frame and most of its parts aren't even here yet), two bikes to do some re-building on, and have to wash and polish up some others. My stand looks good though, simple, clean, easy to manage. For us things are going well, we have a couple articles hitting the newstands as i write this, one on the SSR, and one on a custom Deluxe we did for an editor at BIKE over here. Plus Bike Sport News did a nice little preview on us being at Eurobike. Even over here people like to spread the IF love...

TOUR article on the SSR

Our first customer over here, Stefan Algaier, competed in the Trans Alp on his new Deluxe, commenting on how it is the greatest bike he has ever had. He was poroud to say that it garnered many comments and admirers along the route, congrats to Stefan for completing his race!

Props have to go out to all whom have made the show for us possible, first and foremost our partner in this, Independent Fabrication who have built us sweet rides over the years, for this show and helped organize for the articles - THANK YOU!!!

EDGE for giving us leeway and product to build up the market in Germany, we are on our way! KING for so much support, Chris D & Chris A have worked and supported us all along; PAUL Components, one of our new brands and some of the best CX brakes out there; Arnaud for bringing us in to support Hutchinson at outdoor Demo and for placing rubber on our rides; Thomson - thanks David for all that you do!; Chad Roberts at Shimano rocks - 'nuph said; Fitzy & Elana at FOX; Christina & Jason at Crank Brothers, Max at FSA, Fizik, Connex, Nokon, and so many others.

I will try to keep the Blog updated daily, not just about us, but on the whole show, things I see and people we meet, stay tuned...

Thursday, August 14, 2008

IF 29er Hurt in Crash

Blue pictured at the 2008 SiS was severely injured while on vacation in Germany, but will make a full recovery back in the States.
Dave Blum, owner of the sweet babyblue 29er from SiS, dropped me a line. Seems he and his 29er took a tumble while riding here in Germany, and the 29er took the worse of it.

"On a sad note, during my last day in Germany (well, before the Lufthansa
strike trapped me here for an extra week), I had a rather nasty accident in
the Teutoberg Wald which resulted in a crushed/bent the TT of my IF.", sadi Dave in his email.

On the up side, Independent is working on the injured ride, and after replacing the toptube, "blue" is expected to make a full recovery and be ripping up single track in the near future.

Get well, our thoughts are with you!

PS. if that were a carbon or beer-can bike, it would be a total loss and in some landfill by now...

Sunday, August 10, 2008

Worth Their Weight in Gold.

So I have decided to boycott the Olympics, not that the IOC nor BOCC will notice, but it is a personal choice. And a political one. I know the athletes when confronted with the question, “Will you boycott the Olympics?” The answer is inevitably “No” followed by “The Olympics are about sports, not politics.” Copout answer.

The Olympics are politics, and hosting them even more so. Don’t you think that China wanted to the Olympics to not only brush up its image but also to flex its muscle with a good gold medal showing? Maybe my decision not to participate seems small and insignificant, but if we all would be more active and stand up for what is the ethical thing to do, don’t you think the world would be a much better place?

Thankfully, cycling does not need the Olympics. I mean really think about it, does the fact riders like Merck, Armstrong or other champions having not won an Olympic medal tarnish or take away from their other accomplishments or careers? No. Has a rider ever built their career off of a gold medal? Again no. So then why play the game? I am sure there is a huge money factor for many of the involved parties, but from a riders perspective it is really just another feather in their cap.

Example, Guna Rita Dahle will go down in history as one of the most dominate riders, racking up a long string of World Cups and World Championships, and oh, she won a gold medal. Same for Bettini, a great classics rider, solid stage racer, multiple World Champion, also has a gold to his name. These two riders have had careers mere mortals can only dream of, even with out a little 24k piece of memorabilia from some sporting event that takes place every four years in a far away place where politicians and business interest groups greased the wheels of the Olympic machine.

Earlier in the year I had a pole asking you what is more important. The choices were top cycling events such as Classics, World Cups, Worlds and the Grand Tours along with the Olympics. In both cases (road and mountain biking) less than 10% chose the Olympics. So in the public platform, and in the eyes of most riders, an Olympic gold pales in comparison with a rainbow or yellow jersey.

We all need to engage more with the world we live in, be it in politics, voting, activism, volunteering, and so on… That includes making a political statement when you have the attention of the world. Riders must follow their convictions and not always the ambitions nor the all mighty dollar (even though it is not so mighty right now…).

Will you boycott the Olympics?

Sunday, August 03, 2008


Why we came...
Inspired. That’s how I feel right now. With SiS fresh in the rear-view mirrors I feel energized moving forward. In the sleepy little town of Weidenthal, over 400 hundred riders and many more spectators/ bike enthusiasts took up camp in one of the narrow valley-ends on a sportsplatz converted into some thing resembling the Burning-Man tent town.

This was the core of the single speed scene in Germany and included some from other countries in Europe. Spawned out of the Eingang Forum, Phaty and a well-organized crew provide not only a superb venue, but incredible support to the riders. This should have been the German Single Speed Championships.

People started rolling in on Friday to set up camp, meet with friends and hit some local rides. I was fortunate to be on one of them, although listed as the guide, I would have called it more guided discovery as we explored some great single track I have not even ridden. Our group swelled over 15 strong and was mainly made up of single speeders (myself NOT included)… I met some great people on the ride although the tempo was high at times, and the climbs long and steep, we did stop for some conversation along the way.

The best riding 29er I have ridden

I met a guy out of Baltimore who has the best 29er I have ever ridden, which also happened to be a Indy Fab. It was kitted out with KING all around, some powerful Avid Ultimate Juicy’s, a sweet sweeping back Seven Ti bar and an interesting Black Sheep Ti fork. Also on the ride was Mike aka. Wunnspeed whom I have been swapping comments on each others blogs with and it was finally great to meet him as well. He of course was on his Ti Black Sheep also dressed up in KING among other priceless jewels.

KING & IF of course

After the group ride, it was time for some good German Weizenbeir, and more conversation. A really bad coverband was warming up as the cool night air filled the valley. I wanted to stay, but had to get home.

I was back early and set up my IF booth and tent for the day. Immediately people came by to check out the bikes and goods I had on hand, often introducing themselves by their nickname from the EinGang Forum. Sandi’s bike was the hit. Two women would have walked off with it if I had turned my back long enough… actually there was a guy in a pink polo shirt who I think would have as well, but that is a whole another story. Friends were made, and I also got to see some sweet rides. Fixie was on hand, and had a sweet rusted, belt-drive fixed geared bike that was equally beautiful and amazing. Wood handlebar, polished bits rounded out a very nice ride. I wold later find out that they outsource their production to Twaiwan which I must admit wiped off some of the luster I had for them, but still two very awesome guys!

Show stopper.

A stunning ride.

Sandi & I had to pull the cord on racing with full Ernst due to Colin needing her around at night. So we decided to approach the night race at a fun level. Sandi did kick everyone’s ass in the pre-race single speed race, including mine. Reeling in the leaders my asthma kicked in and shut me down. After only a few guys had picked me off, then Sandi went blasting by with none of the girls in sight.

The day continued on filled with great conversation and bike watching and then you could start to feel the buzz in the air with the imminent beginning of the night race rituals. Waridi provided illumination for Sandi & I, we both rode her single speed that evening. Sandi was enroute to bring Colin to bed and come back for her lap, as I lined up for the start. We blasted into the night at 20:52pm, I was amongst the single speeders and almost couldn’t stop myself from laughing at times. There were a couple of really fun sections in the course, but I tended to get hung up behind others not being able to let er really rip. After one lap, I had to get a light adjustment, and handed controls over to Sandi. By now it was dark, and the field was spread out. When Sandi made back from the darkness and I pulled another lap before retiring from riding for the evening.

Sandi went home to take care of Colin, I hung out talking more with others and soaking in the spectacle. Eventually I retired for the evening, setting the alarm for an early wake-up call. Before the alarm could ring, I was awaken by the second ambulance in the night, there was some carnage. So I slid back into what were now some cold, clammy and damp chamois', but luckily I had scored an UnSchaltbar (not shiftable) jersey, saving me from a totally cold wet experience.

I pulled two morning laps rolling in after the 5:59 finish time on the second. A crowd gathered at the finish area, sharing stories from the night, laughing at each other misfortunes or laziness. It was awesome. More stories were told over breakfast and some really bad coffee. After which we all slowly packed up our things, joined the ceremonies and bided each other fare well.

It was a super event in all ways, and was absolutely one of the best I have ever been too. What is reassuring for meis that I know we have found some great people over here, and our paths will certainly cross many more times in the future. This scene is great, there is a lot of positive energy coming out of these people and I am eager for more!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Hour of Power

Being Hyper-Allergic and an Asthmatic, July is a bad month for me. My ailments have long dictated my summer activities, especially racing. Even in the best of times, I usually take July off from racing, sometimes into August. In someways it has a positive, I would try to crush it mtb racing spring thru July, then cut back, building base for the cross season.

Last season and most of this one thus far have been anything but the norm. Colin and moving to Germany has turned riding and racing on its head. But Sandi & I still find time to ride, and even get out for some hard efforts now and then. Sandi has been more and more getting back into racing, while I had a couple early season events with little success.

This weekend we decided to really try to give some gas, and jumped into the SAAR-PfalzCup series finals in Freisen. Having done a little homework on the event, the Flickr photos I came across revealed what looked to be a pretty fun course. And after pre-riding it, it did not disappoint.

Sandi was up first, lining up with some overly-testosterone charged U18 riders who were buzzing photographers and unsuspecting spectators prior to the start. Smartly, Sandi hung back from the NASCAR-esque start that nearly ended ina NASCAR-esque pile up in turn 1. After the dust had settled, Sandi was off the front, and quickly rode away from the competition. Her gap was so big by the end, she lapped most of the field and even did a lap more the second place.

After she received her cobblestone implanted with a chainring on it (she has already won one of these - must be a Euro thing...), it was my turn to go. After warming up I was already experiencing breathing issues, and had to take some Albudteral. I know people think this helps in racing, but it can easily backfire as well, pushing heartrates way up even at rest. I try at all costs not to use my inhaler, but I wasn't going anywhere without it this time.

Dropping in

Second row starting position in a field of over 50, I had the right spot to start out smart, and see where things were. I let the front row go off the gun, and tucked in somewhere around 10th, but after the parade lap, knew I could and needed to move up. Thus far, i have been less than impressed with the handling skills of the riders I have raced against, as was the case on Saturday. The field stacked up on the first ribbon of single track riddle with roots and rocks. I was chomping at the bit to move forward, but waited for the nest section of road. Springing forward through the field, I found my competition for the rest of the race around 4th, 5th and 6th place. The 4th place guy eventually slipped aways forward and the 7th place guy we dropped. So it was the two of us for the rest of the race.

One of the many sections of singletrack around Freisen

Just shy of 3km, this was a cyclocross course for mountain bikes. I was big ringing it for 90% of the course. Shallow double track climbs, with tight techy singletrack, steep drops and climbs, and a sweet strat/finish area jump I was pulling cross-ups off of to the delights of some young spectators. My main competition for the race would pull on the power sections where I held the edge on the techy sections and steeper descents and climbs.

I threw my chances for 5th place with three to go when I rode away from him on one of the power climbs, I figured his tank was empty. Problem was I made an overdraft in the bank of pain and craped something fierce with two-to-go, ouch! He came back around me, and that was it. i consolidated my losses, recovered a little and brought in home in 6th. It was a good race for me knowing where I am riding wise right now, not a result I would expect. Plus I also received a cobblestone trophy - SWEET! Most of all, I had a blast racing and the course was definitely worth it it, tons of fun.

Next up, single speeding at the 12hrs of Sis...

Monday, July 21, 2008


Here is some stoke for those of you need a push (or just some good bike porn even if you do not). Katie is killing it again. A short track title to add to her closet full of stars&stripes from cross. Her mtb is nothing short of a crossbike with a sloping toptube and flat bars. pretty cool.

Aka. "Rad Ross" stuck it to the Left-Coasters at the Downieville Classic. Long time friend. I can tell you Ross can win on anything. He has more talent than i have seen in a rider, poor luck and a sometimes wandering focus has kept him from dominating the sport.

Sandi did her first mtb marathon, the Erbeskopf Marathon. She was 3rd in the girls and 100th overall, not bad for someone who had a kid a little less than a year ago and doesn't train nearly what she used to.

Mikey sent me some love in the form of handroasted beans from Telluride. I don't care what the Germans say, their coffee sucks. I just have to figure out how to get a steady flow coming in from the states.

With all of this stoke going on, I want to ride, ride fast. Do you feel it?

Friday, July 11, 2008

Short Track

2008 Short Track Series - RACE 2 from Scott Barker on Vimeo.

Chris D passed along this link to Portland Short Track Series, good times. Everyone loves good elbow-to-elbow racing. Sweet series in the NW, and I know the guys in Boulder have a couple to choose from. Hmmm, ironicall two of the biggest hotbeds for cyclocross in the US...

Sunday, July 06, 2008

'Za Plan

In preparing for the upcoming EuroBike, we are working on some very schweet rides. Don't want to reveal too much here, but here is a glimps:

Deluxe 29er

Can't give you details on the 29er yet, but it will surely garner much attention as will another 'project' bike that will eventually be in the loving hands of one said Phaty.

The rest of our quiver will be pimped out for the show, along with a couple owner bikes. I have been working on our booth, simple but stylish - think IKEA... D2 shoes, Paul Components and JumpStop are joining the companies we represent. We have a strong core of companies and lok forward to a busy show!


Normally I don't play the 'chain game', you know when you get a chain email, or if you are old enough to remember, a chain letter... Most of those letters talked about 'not breaking the chain' and its consequences. Holly 'tagged' me, and since I enjoyed reading her's, love the game of tag, and this is not so much a chain letter, I decided to play along.

First up are 6 things about me:

1- I already mentioned I love the game of tag, actually I like a lot of kid games, and love playing with kids. Playing with my son Colin is so much fun, it is very rewarding to share things with him and it brings back fond memories of my childhood.

2- I don't like sharing food, this pertains to handfood and plates when I go out to eat, and this drives Sandi nuts. I refuse to let her take a bite of my food, I want to try it, you should have ordered/ made it for yourself (besides, I always order the better meal when we go out).

3- I wish I were a vegetarian. To me it seems like the right thing to do, and I even have some great dishes (I love a big bowl of salad), but I can't help myself when it comes to grilling a good steak, organic grass fed of course...

4- I like Starbucks. It pisses me off because their coffee sucks and they rarely use a nice machine, but they have some of the nicest coffee shops and I like hanging out in them. It sucks.

5- No body is a better driver than I. Race cars, minvans, rentals, you name and I can drive the wheels off it. My Dad raced cars and he shared a lot with me on driving, as did his racing buddy. Many Sunday drives in Triumphs, MG's and my favorite, Porsche 356 roadster, I now how to push a car to it's outlimits and have a great 'feel' for this. I hold the unofficial rally record Carbondale to Crested Butte, Colorado over Kebler Pass in my '85 GTI. I feel this translates well to my mountain bike riding, and I even sometimes see myself in a WRC car when riping down singletrack.

6- I don't like to spend money on myself, but love to buy gifts for others. I can wear the same clothes for years, and don't like to buy anything new until my old clothes have worn out.

TAG! Your it: colin, Keller, Jenny, WunnSpeed, Dylan, Phaty

Here are the rules:

link to the person who tagged you.
post the rules on your blog.
write six random things about yourself.
tag six people at the end of your post.
let each person know they've been tagged by leaving a comment on their blog
let the tagger know when your entry is up.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Frame Builders

There is a connection between us and them, more than us merely taking their craft and utilizing it as a precision tool to conduct our business of riding. It is more like a relationship, one of cultivating understanding, learning the little details of each other in order to create something greater then sum of the consumer and the artisan.

Builders aren’t a white-collar marketing guy coming up with target audiences and market segments, nor are they some 30-something hipster-duface with a goatie and a mouth full of insider slang, trying to make you feel less of a rider than he. They are the working class, honest day’s work for sometimes less that an honest day’s wage. They have tiny slivers of jagged-edged metal burs buried in their fingers, a yet are always smiling, and have great stories to tell.

Frame builders are great about reading between the lines, and peeling the onion to get down to what really matters to you in a frame. It is part science, part art and a dash of experience that turns out great rides. The beauty is in the details, and the great ones have the patience to massage the best out the materials they use.

Sometimes burning the midnight oil, they go the extra mile for their customers, and the biggest reward for them is seeing the end product under the joyous control of their new owner. Most good frame builders have a following, sometimes even clubs. They are celebrated in inner-circles like a messiah or rock star. But most shun the attention, and remain humble, eager to pass on lessons learned and to share their passion for the bicycle.

Do you know who built your frame?

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Riding the Alps

The Zugspitze as a backdrop
Sandi on her way to the Steig
Somewhere up there is the summit
Fresh cut single trail
Old farm building in town
Morning traffic in Ehrwald
It would seem to me that some of the world's best engineers would have figured out the need for switchbacks, or atleast how they make the vertically challenging life of riding/ climbing up mountains an easier proposition. I pondered this thought over many hard fought vertical meters during my extended weekend of riding in the Zugspitz Area surrounding Ehrwald, Leermoos and Bibierwier, Austria. Granted, the Germans are most know for their engineering feats, but hey, Porsche was started in Austria.

The Ehrwalderhof served as our launching point for our four days there. Designated as a 'Mountain Biker' hotel, they had a work stand station, bike wash, sauna & spa, but most importantly a good espresso machine. Day one was spent poking around and getting acclimated, which included riding up a road that I am guessing was somewhere around a 20% grade straight up the mountain to descend in the rain one of the more technical singletracks I have ridden. Berni's, our host,eyes noticibly widened when we told him of our climb, and were followed by headshaking in disbelief of our descent, saying only crazy locals ride those trails.

We must have earned his respect, because the next day he sent us to check out some sweet recently built singletrack off the mid-station on Leermoos. He didn't tell us that between us and riding paradise was a 450 m climb in 30min, you do the math... For giggles, we rode to the top of the mountain first to check things out, that was an additional 375 m, all together taking us 55 min. The new trail was designed for both trail riders, and downhillers, featuring some big obstacles and super steep lines. It had stopped raining but things were very slick and tricky. I had perma-grin, but my brother in law was not so amused...

The next day after climbing 1200m with Colin on my back during a hike in the morning, I took Sandi up to the top of Leermoos in the afternoon, she wanted to make sure we made it up under Jochen's time, so there was no rest for the weary. The singletrack had substancially dried out and this time my riding partner was having as much fun as I.

On the last day, Jochen picked out our tour around the Wanning. The tour book said 4 1/2 hours, we figured on 3 hrs, and we would have made it in that time if it were not for Jochen's poor sense of direction... Still, we managed to make it around, and find the final climb after having missed the first 3/4 of the ride searching for the trails. Once again, I pondered the use of switchbacks as we rode up sections that exceed 30%! That climb alone we did over 900 vertical meters, out of our grand total for the tour of 1600 hm. Ouch. The backside dropped us back into the valley, and once again I discovered another sick singletrack, rock strewn, twisty and tunry, it ripped down the side of the mountain in a free-flowing ribbon. Sometimes it went right down the fall line, and even crossed a avalanche chute or two. I called it sweet, they call it a 'steig'.

Our four days in paradise quickly came to a close. I look forward to our next trip to the mountains and some more Alp style riding, now if I just can find that granny gear...