Saturday, February 16, 2008

I'm going back to Cali...

We usually made a migratory trip to Cali each spring for the Sea Otter, which was always a good time. We would make a 'compact' vacation out of it, usually spending time around the Bay area, doing some riding there, then on to Santa Cruz, once again some riding and watching surfers. There is a great State Park on the beach there, with some good riding just around the corner in Aptos. Then it was on to Monterey and Laguna Seca for some racing and riding.

Last couple of years Cali has an even earlier kick-off to the cycling season, TdC. It is great to see such an event on TV w/ the beautiful back drop that is California, however there is an inevitable dark cloud creeping in... No, not the smog from the big cities, but the proverbial cloud of doping & scandal. La-la-land has kept this cloud at bay for the first few years with only a hint of scandal during last year's edition w/ Basso, but this year, MBall & Co. (aka Rock Racing) are going to make sure they are not out done by anyone. Already 3 of his 8 (8 Ball, get it?) are out w/ their OP ties. And while I was a Cippo fan back in the day, what the hell??? It's a circus meets car crash. Cycling media and websites look more like tabloids in the check out isle these days...

First Edition Cycling News - Rock Racing - and Cipo - ready to roll in Cali after all...

Cycling News Extra - Tour of California holds firm against Puerto-implicated riders as Rock Racing considers options...

Cycling News Flash - Rock Racing announces Tour of California roster, including riders rejected by race organiser...

The VeloNews website was balled up when I went to post this, but it has been just as bad as any other with RR leading many headlines.

Damn, it feels good to be a gangster.

The kickoff for cycling in the US deserves so much more, the sport deserves so much more. TdC bound by its sponsoring agreement w/ RR has to let them start, but I say dump them. It is a distraction to what should be a jubilous occasion. I believe in second chances and all, but what RR is doing to the sport is a cross between the East vs. West Coast Rap Wars and the ongoing Baseball Congressional Hearings.

Enjoy the pictures of California as the beauty of the peloton roll over the green, waving hills and coastal highways, savor the spectacle that is cycling, and block out the bullshit that is Rock Racing.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Behind the Bars

Like many, I do a lot of mind dumps while riding, especially when riding on my own. I can clear my head, solve problems, come up with ideas, maybe even paint a masterpiece if I had a canvas and paint palette mounted to my bars... hey wait, that's a great idea for riding the rollers or trainer! But mostly I make observations, not funny ones like Seinfeld, well OK sometimes funny, but mostly just observations.

I don't always voice them for the sake of not sounding stupid or crazy, but I have always dumped some of them here. Hell the most of what I write hear are brain farts and dumps - what is up with associating our thinking process with a natural bodily function? At least we could associate our thoughts with something more pleasant than poo, like sex. "Oh, that was a real brain orgasm!" or "You really hit the G-Spot with that thought!" Much more pleasant don't you think...

Anyway, with the NAHMBS directly in our rear-view mirrors, and forging ahead in the German market with IF, I have been evaluating the state of cycling over here, and it is interesting to say the least. Custom bikes all but do not exist. Their a couple of really small builders, but not even close to the scale as in the US. I think looking at the vitality of these builders is a great barometer for the health of a market. Germans make good money, have a high-standard of living, but the industry in the late 90's early 00's experienced a race to the bottom in the cycling market, everything for nothing. Wholesale companies cut the legs out from under the industry, leaving a vacuum void of boutique, high-end builders. Even large companies struggle on price over here. The up side is that Germans have an affection for quailty, high end goods. They want the best products out there, and I have seen some crazy bikes.

Will we make it? Time will tell, but I believe so. Threading the needle of quality, precision, lightweight race-inspired designs, with cult-like, sub-culture coolness will be the winning recipe.

Monday, February 11, 2008

IF Image dump from NAHMBS

All photos ©James Huang/

Saturday, February 09, 2008


The warmth of the sun penetrates my clothing, warming me from the inside. While the air is still cool, there is an intangible taste in the air, spring time - yet it is only February.

My heart quickens as I roll my bike from the keller, around the corner and up the stairs into the light of day. A couple high-fives, and greetings, we are ready to go. A quick throw of the leg over the saddle, mounted on my steed, we roll out.

A few quick shifts later and the tempo quickens and there is a feedback from the tires humming on the pavement that is silenced once we hit the dirt. You could be blind folded and know that you are in woods here, a moist coolness gently engulfs you and the musty, earthy scents fill your senses.

A few minutes into our ride, we pick up the first single trail, I drop in first. Pumping the roots and rollers, my bike and I are one and glide along the damp forest floor. Excited to be outside, I yearn for more, pounding out harder and quicker on the pedals.

Within no time, we hit the next town and pick up our fourth riding partner. Lacing our way through the narrow street and house, we climb out over the sleepy, picturesque dorf, back into the shelter of the forest. The conversation and pace are lively, we laugh and zip back and fourth across the forest path dodging puddles and fallen branches.

We hit the second section of single track, once again I take the reins, letting my bike go, blurring my peripheral vision filled with emerald greens and dark browns. Intuitively my bike follows the ribbon of earth that snaps back and forth under speed. Contact between rubber and terrafirma is intermittent as rocks, roots and variations in the trail make for occasional weightless moments.

Through the power of hydraulics, my brakes bring me back down from orbit as we are spit out at the bottom of the trail. Another forest road opens up the conversation again as we are once again able to ride along side one another. We are all feeling the positive energy from the bright sun light, and being in the moment.

A few lefts and rights later, up over a small climb, we descend back down into the next valley, and scurry along its floor. I shoot rocks with my front wheel at the others as they talk about past loves, new homes and other things that consume our ordinary lives.

An inevitable right turn, and we face a nice long climb that is gradual at first, but packs a punch near the top. As the grade steepens, the conversation subsides, and heartrates go up with the trail. Out of the saddle I pound out a cadence in solitude, feeling the climb going into my legs. Gravity is fighting, but my will is stronger as I sit down and roll over the top, dropping gears and riding away from the hill.

The group regathers, and as the oxygen is replenished and we begin to have more reserves, the conversation fires back up. We roll through another village in tight pack formation, and out across some fields back towards home.

With our souls & physical beings having been replenished, we say our farewells until the next time we go for a ride. I stop before the door, and look my bike over, a smile of appreciation comes across my face, and I roll her inside - until next time.

Friday, February 08, 2008

Ganz Schnell...

Team Car showed up yesterday, we bought a Toyota Verso, kinda like a Matrix, only a bit bigger. Think cross between a Highlander and a Matrix. Black on black, nice! Need to get some stickers done up from IF and EDGE.

The weekend outlook is nice, sunny and 50F all weekend. We rode again yesterday, a nice spin to open our legs up. Sandi wants to do a berg rennen (up hill running race), 450hm uber 7.2km, that's 1350 verticle feet over over nearly five miles for you none mertic folks. I figured why not, good training for the single speed. A little over a month until the first race, looking forward to sizing the Euro's up and seeing how fast they are on 1x1's. I hope to get a group ride and run w/ Colin in over the weekend.

Post office has relocated my box of EDGE wheels, and they are on they way back to me. The new site is almost done, tying up some loose ends and we will go online soon. Also drawing up some plans for more riding clinics for the summer.

Sunday, February 03, 2008


NAHBS starts this week, should be a great time, too bad I cannot make that one. Great coffee, cool bikes and some crazy late nights I am sure...

Coffee, or atleast some great espresso is something I am dearly missing over here. I have yet to find a 'great' espresso. Maybe I could have Molly shoot me some of those great Stumptown beans. The search continues.

Solid ride today, hit some trails I used to ride all of the time, funny how you can loose your way after not having ridden them for some time. The weather continues to be overall great here for riding, but leaves me to believe winter is no more...

953 is reported to be on the way...

Saturday, February 02, 2008


Stolen from another blog who stole it from a website
I loved to watch McGrath race, just as this pic inspires. I would throw big cross ups on the double back at our track in Gunnison on my 'cross bike. Its scary when that front wheel gets hung up on your foot from the overlap.

It's cold again, but that did not stop me from hitting the trails, I am working out an XC circuit for training and for a Jugend Training Camp I am going to organize. Keep feeding the pipeline, get the young ones hooked.

BKW had a a great post the other day, it made me remember the passion inside for cycling. That burining to ride that is primal, goes back aways in our past, from the times when we cruised the neighborhood sidewalks, local bmx tracks and around town. The suffering is sweet, and the rewards great. I love it.

It was a wet one today, yesterdays snow was all but gone, but it left the trails soft and soaked with moisture. My clothes looked like they belonged in an abstract artist exhibit in Berlin, splattered with various shades of mud, muoss and other debris kicked up by my wheels. Someone started to build some north-shore style features in a random place out in the woods, I will tie that into my race loop...