Saturday, April 30, 2011

This is Strange!

When there's a brewery one block off my route, I stop!

Monday, April 25, 2011

tiV7 report

Last weekend was my sixth go at finishing the mighty TransIowa gravel road race. I have previously finished twice so I knew what to expect. Or so I thought.

The all important weather leading up to the event was nerve racking but actually ended up perfect for the gravel roads and for the day(s) of the event in general. But the dirt roads were slop and slow, with lots of pushing, dragging and carrying. The day-of weather made the dirt roads better as the race drew onward and they became ride-able. I rode in a big group of mostly Lincolnites for most of the first and second (of three) legs of the event. My riding partner and I eventually drifted off the back which was fine, but a few off course mistakes killed my chances of finishing on time.

I taught myself I can always relearn something I thought I knew. Never too late to burn yourself for not paying attention.

Legs and bike worked and felt great for 260 continuous miles tho. No flats, no mechanicals no cramps, one shared 24oz bud, lots of granola bars and raisins.

Pic is of me at Check Point 1 going thru my stuff. Camelback Octane pack was comfy and kept my essentials safe for the long haul. Thanks jb for the pic and the support.

"No.. Seriously.. There used to be a trail around here somewhere."

Pentabike Dave and I took Mitch the web wiz on an ill fated search for the old Cherry Creek trail just outside of Denver Colorado and were dismayed at how far it's fallen into disrepair. What used to be a rippingly fun out and back is now a bush whacking immersion in tedium. Denver mountain bikers.. Did you know you have gobs of fun just out your front door and mere minutes from downtown? Organize and get your acts together. It will be well worth the effort.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

China Camp never gets old.

I think I've been riding out here since 1984 and I can say honestly it has never sucked.  And why would it?

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

I live in Belize.

And I had to go all the way to Sedona, Arizona to break-in my new kit….en route to my new home in Belize.

Yep. That’s right. I did break-in my brand-spanking, new Soulcraft kit mountain biking in Sedona, Arizona. Sweet kit if I must say so myself, and, yes, the other part is also true. I live in Belize as of March. Also worthy of the sweet stamp.

Going back to the MTB, I was indeed on a road trip that I had been waiting on for quite sometime. It just so happened to work out that I was able to tag team my road trip with my move to Belize. As a side note, no, I didn’t drive all the way to Belize. I drove from California to Texas. Okay, now that we have that out of the way, back to the blog.

Only two of my three Soulcrafts made the trip. The other one was nicely packed up and went with the rest of my stuff to Texas. As an addition to the story, I actually got misty-eyed when I had my last bike packed up after arriving in Texas. Sniff, sniff.

Well, one of the places I have always wanted to visit is Sedona, AZ, and this time I made it. The one word I can use to describe it is phenomenal. Not just the MTB, which seemed to be available, but the natural landscape, yoga, most of the people, and last, but not least, the desert sky. The desert sky at night stole the show. I haven’t seen the stars lit up like that in quite sometime, and the span of the sky seemed endless. It was beautiful, and what I needed. As for the cycling, like I said I was able to do a bit of MTB thanks to dude at a local shop that gave me the low-down. He even threw out some local rides in the upcoming days, but unfortunately I was not able to. Next time.

My next stop after Sedona, AZ was Durango, CO, and not only did I get to visit my of my dearest friends, I also got to sink my teeth into some road cycling. I would also like to add we got a dash of snow on our ride. Cheers! I did have to keep telling myself that I was coming from sea level to altitude, and while I do like to put the pedal to the metal at times, Ice Cube graced me with his lyrics during the ride, “You better check yourself before you wreck yourself.” Anyways, it was all worth it because we ate brownies right out of the pan for the entire duration of my stay. And of course, what did I find on the mirror in Colorado spreading the Soulcraft love.....?

As for Belize, I do indeed live here now, and have managed to plant the Soulcraft seed where I can until bikes arrive. Soulcraft patch on the backpack – check. Soulcraft sticker on the waterbottle that I received the first day at work here – check. Soulcraft hat – check. Soulcraft tee-shirt(s) & sweatshirt(s) – check. Soulcraft kit – check. You get the point – I am tried, true teammate. By the way Sean, I think it’s time to start talking cruiser.... Bikes are the primary mode of transportation here, and people pile on them. If you have ever been to Amsterdam, you know what I am talking about. It’s great to see all the kids at the school next door to my house ride their bikes to school, and to see that sea of bikes parked in the bike rack.

Aside from that, yes they do have a cycling culture outside of that meaning the, are you ready for this, the serious side. Insert Vincent Price’s voice from Michael’s Jackson’s Thriller there. This weekend I will witness my first cycling race here. In Belize Cross Country is road. Still wrapping my head around the local lingo here. Anyways, they also start the races here at 5am due to the heat. Serious heat. This morning I was having a conversation with one of the guys I work with, and he was telling me this year he is moto-pacing the event from the start. I am wondering if there is some way I can hop on since I have always wanted to roll on one of those. Most likely not, perhaps next time. I am looking forward to getting up, and checking it out with some friends since Easter is a huge deal here. We have Friday, the weekend, and Monday off. Most everything closes down starting tomorrow. Hell yeah.

To wrap this baby up, one of the gals I have met is into it from a laid-back, drink your beer standpoint, and has informed me the majority of the gals in the cycling culture here are into it from an in-it-to-win-it attitude. Both honorable in their own rights. We all know how we roll on the Soulcraft team. In the last conversation I had with Director Sporty before I left the USA, he said, “I had better see you on the podium down there!” Yes, of course, anything to ensure my place on the Soulcraft team. Even if it is on a cruiser! You had better BELIZE it!!! Stay tuned America!

p.s. On my road trip, I visited my little brother, who now I might add is 21, and I have to give the man some props for rolling with the homies. His first bike got stolen, as yes, for real, he does live in the hood (way to go USC!), and this is his replacement. He can leave it on his porch unlocked, no problem. It has a kickstand, and the seat slides down when he rides it. Hydraulics in action for sure. Sweet Stamp!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Force Field of Fun

     Hand made bike shows are a new and somewhat odd phenomenon.  Created to spread the word about the niche industry that is hand made bicycles, they often end up being more art show than "trade" show; more ogling than selling going on.  They're like drunk headstands; they seem like a good idea until you're about half way through which is about the time you realize what you kind of suspected all along; that maybe you shouldn't have tried this but your only hope now is to try to make the crash landing as painless as possible.  To insulate myself from the negative aspects of this trend (wasting time and money), I have taken to only attending shows within a day's drive and stopping along the way to ride.  As we did last year on the way to the San Diego Custom Bicycle Show, Mo Rebolledo, Stevil, and myself made a vacation out of it.
     First stop was San Luis Obispo.  It's far enough south to get into more rocky and barren type of riding than we have up here.  Long climbs, lots of singletrack, and no one around.  Tim played host again and has the cleanest house I've ever seen a 43yr old single man have.  At least when we got there....

On the way south we had decided to pass up killer riding just to say we rode in L.A.  But then Jeff from L.A. said we were being stupid and recommended turning left wherever we happened to be at that point.  We did, and ran smack into a little bike shop called Rincon Cycles in Carpenteria.

Dennis and Paul were kind enough to point us to a trail in Ojai.  Thanks guys.  Always cool to make connections like that and get some local knowledge.

Killer out and back 14 miles.  Busy singletrack with a lot of rocks.  For not knowing where the hell we were, we lucked out.  Spent the night in Hollywood at my cousin Kathleen's place.  She made the mistake of telling us her company pays for it.

Before the show started on Friday we made a pilgrimage to the U.S. Olympic training center for some early morning squats and pole vaulting.  Actually it was to see the B.M.X. museum.  A little old lady named Dorris let us in.  When she opened the door it was like seeing the Lost Ark.  Holy Sweet Jesus it was hard to take it all in.  Even though it was a pretty small place, they packed in quite a collection of bikes, old gear, and photos.

That sticker there is from the race where I got my C.W. "Pistol Pete" bike stolen.  I got a mountain bike with the insurance money and away I went.  If you own a Soulcraft, you have bike thieves in Stockton to thank.

The best thing about these shows is meeting customers.  Not potential customers, but people who already own a Soulcraft.  That's Gretchen from Pacific Coast Cycles where Spencer (left) and Robert purchased their bikes.  That's actually Robert's bike in the pic.  Not to sound too self important, but I know they really appreciated meeting me and I  have the same sentiment towards them.  There's nothing like being thanked personally for your hard work and hearing about the experiences they've had on a bike you built.  These guys ride.  A lot.  That's who I want to build bikes for.  But bike shows are not all about touchy feely encounters with customers.  Sometimes it's about babysitting, Wizard Staffs, and shoes that look like feet.  After taking a courtesy look around our booth, some guy left his kid behind while he walked around the show for about an hour (that's about 4 rungs worth on the Wizard Staff).  In the mean time Stevil took the opportunity to impart his 40 years worth of wisdom to the approximately 8 year old Nick.  If you're Nick's dad and you're reading this, two things.  First, you're welcome, and second, that Black Widow Nick claims is living under his bed isn't really there.  That's just to keep you from looking under there.

All though it would appear that Stevil has reaped what he hath sown via his own Wizard Staff, I believe it was the hour of child care that did him in.  Not even the little bottle of 5 hr. energy could save him, nor jog his memory of the walk back from the show to the hotel.  Oh, and here are those shoes I mentioned....

Like I said, by adding a sufficient amount of peripheral tomfoolery and riding, the effects of attending a hand made bicycle show can be mitigated.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

On the way to the San Diego Custom Bicycle Show

Just rode in San Luis Obispo with Stevil, Hams, and Mo Rebolledo. Not a bad start to the trip.

Hi good people.

On this very morn, Captian Grandé, Mo Rebolledo and myself are pointing our bodies and our wares southward for the second annual San Diego Custom Bicycle Show. If you happen to be in the land of Simon and Simon, (especially if you happen to know either Rick or A.J.), poke your head in for a high five.

If last year was any indication, this year is gonna be a good one.