Friday, May 29, 2009

We Need Your Help!

We need your help. Our e-mail list is 10 years old and has tons of old/bad addresses which make us appear to many mail servers as desperate Nigerians every time we send out a newsletter. To remedy this, we need all of you to sign up again for the newsletter. If you don't, you will be removed from the list and will not receive the next (or any) newsletter from us. This will help us set up a new database that will automatically manage itself. We appreciate you taking the time to help us out on this!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The only thing better than going to Heaven.

To simply quote Hoss;

"The "reviews" and "also boughts" are moving... Particularly the How to Live with a Huge Penis book found wedged between a pair of Zubaz Pants and a "Big Cat Collage" tee"

Are you curious about the fast track to the good life?
Of course you are.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


Greetings SOULCRAFT kin. This blog entry is long overdue, and the recent emails sent to the SOULCRAFT team have given me a guilt-trip to say the least…and for good reason i might add: I’ve been slacking. My guilt has also produced some pretty disturbing dreams. In the last one, Sean comes to my door in Tucson, AZ and flogs me with a SOULCRAFT beanie all the while repeating that I’m a no-good, free loading schmuck, and that my team privileges are being revoked. So, here is my first blog attempt. It’s going to be rather long, but I’ll try to keep the babbling short and instead show images of some recent adventures both in Arizona and in southern California. Names and places have mostly been excluded to protect the innocent. However, my name is Jason Pilarski and I currently reside in Tucson, AZ. having recently (grudgingly) relocated from Flagstaff. I just prefer melting snow to melting pavement. I have known Sean for almost ten years, and recently Sean asked if I would like to join the SOULCRAFT team. He didn’t have to ask twice. I met Sean (and Matt) when I first moved to Arizona and landed a job at Absolute Bikes.

I was the “Sunday Guy” for about 6 years, while studying at Northern Arizona University. Sometime in 2001, I bought a SOULCRAFT 29’er on the advice of our service manager (Anthony Quintile), and the rest is history. Matt and Sean impressed me immediately, and I am still riding and racing on that beauty. The following blog is designed to be a basic “hello, team SOULCRAFT”, and it is also my attempt at getting more involved. I aim to share a few notable bike rides and one unusual SoCal desert adventure. In case I forget at the end, please contact me if you are ever in the Tucson/Flagstaff area and would like to ride, hike or explore in some way. I hope to meet some/all of you sometime soon.

Saturday morning I went for a stellar morning ride. In fact, this is my usual ride here in the Old Pueblo, Tucson Mountain Park, which is a large protected area southwest of town and close to Saguaro National Park. Not bad.

….as you can see I also spied the only venomous reptile in the US. The past few days produced some rain, pretty unusual for this time of year, and the trails were wet and the critters were out for some much needed hydration. If any of you racers think you have hydration figured out, imagine not drinking for 5 months…Nothing. Zip.

Serious bike riding began this year at the 24 Hours of the Old Pueblo, which doesn’t mean that I’d been sitting on my ass for all of Jan. Check out the Arizona fun below.

S. AZ.

N. AZ.

This year at The Old Pueblo we were striving for the duo win having finished 2nd and 3rd in previous years, but, alas, we came up a bit short despite 18 laps and 254 miles, which was good enough for a solid 4th place finish. All in all it was a great time. We had an absolute blast, sans the dry heaving and diarrhea, and Art, as usual, was the anchor. Every year he is so steady, usually rippin’-off nearly identical lap times for 150 miles miles. He is the most complete bicyclist I’ve even known. I also want to thank BGR, who took care of us to the point that I felt guilty lounging around camp drinking tea.

The next big ride-day was Hump2Hole 2009, which consisted of riding from Flagstaff to the local ski area (the first two pictures are the snowy 7:00 am start)

and then hiking up to the top of Arizona (Humphrey’s Peak ~12400 ft)

...hiking down mounting the bikes again and riding to the Grand Canyon…

…not done yet…and then hike down to the Colorado River and out for the finish at the south rim.

Unfortunately (for me), I was done before the river finish, i.e., I stopped on the south rim at 7:30 pm. There was only one finisher (out of three) this year, Randini. I cracked mentally. I admit it. However, Randy finished strong reaching the bottom at 11:30 pm, stopping to clock near 16.5 hours (moving time). It can be done faster, especially without me imitating an anchor. Good job my friend.

The next adventure for me did not involve riding bikes (unfortunatly), but I would like to share it anyway. I had a unique opportunity to work in the Mojave Desert studying Desert Tortoises for the months of April/May. I lived out of my pickup truck

and had a grand adventure. Although often treated like a wasteland, the Mojave Desert includes some incredibly unique flora and fauna:

Why you ask? Well, I was working with a crew of biologist

to study these cuties:

The Desert Tortoises are amazing (notice eggs in the image above), especially from a physiological standpoint. (Turtle trivia: these turtles are capable of reabsorbing stored water from their bladder). In addition to their resistant to hot, dry environments, they also resist a lot of abuse from humans and other animals that follow humans around, i.e., ravens and coyotes. They are very long lived (reported to be up to 80 years) and do not reproduce until more that a decade of maturation. They are listed as a "threatened" species in CA, although not AZ.

It’s a long story, but their hanging on

Please stay on trails!!!

Well, that’s it for now. Cycling adventures over the next few months are going to be local and I’ll post some more about these and others in the near future…then SSWC09 in Durango in September. Maybe I will see some of you there. JQP

Saturday, May 23, 2009

He's got a pool AND a pond

Saturday was the inaugural Hauswald Bass Tournament and BBQ. Held at beautiful Gypsy acres, the bucolic surroundings belied the fierce competition that was sure to take place. The guy on the right thought he had stopped off at the Russian River and was heard to ask as he emerged from his Mazda Miata, "Where all the white men at?" Then he grabbed a bunch of wieners and went to work.

MC Reefy made the scene.

This dude dropped his line in a bucket of KFC and came up with a lunker.

Team Soulcraft got there early and commandeered the boat. When they saw someone get close to the good fishing spots, my nephew threw rocks at them.

Of course Nyiri found a secret spot (next to the beer cooler) and had them just about jumping in his lap. On course to be "Sonoma County Angler of the Year", Matt has won more money so far this year fishing than he did in 10 years of racing bicycles. We may have lost him for good.....

In the end, it was Patrick's kid, Nico, who took home the first place prize: A Camelbak pack and bottles. And there's that dude again, asking Patrick, "Do you like gladiator movies?"

Thursday, May 21, 2009

How does that old adage go?

If a ride home doesn't involve some walking, it's not a ride home?

Yeah, something like that.

And not an ounce of Poison Oak to show for my efforts.

White Knight in Shining Armor

For the last 4 or 5 years I've been making the trophies for the Nor Cal High School Mountain Bike League Championships. This year I said I would only make 3 of the 6 they wanted. No problem, they said. They had found someone to make the other 3. So on the day I was to make my 3, I get an e-mail from the NCHSMBL, informing me that the other party had bailed, and if I could make all 6. A quick call to Lynette at White Industries secured the parts needed to make 6. Thank you Lynette for making it easy on me, and to the person or persons who bailed on making trophies for kids, you're a worthless douchebag(s).

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

SLO ride, take it easy

A couple weeks ago I went down to San Luis Obispo to visit The Hams and the world's most enthusiastic framebuilder, Jim Kish. On friday we rode up Shooters and down Morning Glory. I forgot my camera on that part, but trust me, beautiful stuff. On the way back through the Cal Poly campus, we stopped by to see Professor Kish teaching his framebuilding class.

He has an army of machinery at his disposal, not to mention a bunch of hyper-smart kids that he has hoodwinked into making his stuff while the school pays him. Nice work if you can get it. That lathe above is one of about 12 Leblond Regal "shorty" lathes that have been in the shop since 1948. They all look almost new.

Let's see, which CNC mill shall I use today?

Finally Jim threatened to use the "Brown Master" on us if we didn't leave. So I stayed.

Then we partied like 15 year olds.

On Saturday we took the cross bikes (Dirt Bomb for me) for a jaunt out to Montana De Oro. I think that means "A Whale's pecker" in Spanish. So we rode the pecker and it was great.

San Luis has killer trails. Every one we rode was built and/or maintained by the folks at CCCMB. Thanks to Greg Bettencourt and everyone else there for all the hard work.

We had to stop so I could refuel. Hams said he would tow me home, but he didn't know that the "drafting" effect doesn't work when you're 20 yards ahead of someone. So it was me and the buzz of my 45c Fire Pros, fending off the wind on Los Osos Valley rd.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

If you know, then you know.

Ring of Fire mountain bike race, circa 1995. Highlights include Joe Blanco cramping at the finish and crying in a ditch, Berg changing diapers in the parking lot at the start and still finishing top ten, Skinny Matt's nickname generator, passing out in Robert's truck and losing all of my prizes.

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