Monday, April 27, 2009

My kind of trail

Race results and other fun

Couple of results thus far... When I haven't had the creeping crud in my lungs, I managed a 12th at The Santa Cruz Criterium Cat 3's. For those of you unfamiliar with this course, basically it is a bumpy 180 degree turn, a screaming downhill, and sort of a drag-race style uphill back to the finish. Despite one rider being pulled down by a ground magnet, it was a lot of fun. Didn't bring my Cipollini legs, so I duked it out for a pretty good finish. As usual my Goodyear Tire, Roush Racing, Pennzoil sponsored Soulcraft eased me around the course.

April 17th, I "guested" in the Cat 1 40-44 Mens X-Country at Sea Otter, flying the Soulcraft colors. I was cruising in 5th-6th or so when I decided to core-sample an off-camber righter with my head and shoulder. I easily lost a good chunk of time straightening out my bars and senses, but I feel pretty good to get 9th. When I checked back, I was only 9 seconds off 8th and 24 seconds off 7th. Oh well, maybe next time. Mr. Thurman showed up and conquered, crushing all, and the Sea Otters had a different course, at least different from the last time I blew up at this race a few years back. Thanks to all the people along the course shouting "hey Soulcraft dude" and "go Soulcraft dude" and "you suck Soulcraft dude."

Next up is Cat's Hill criterium in Los Gatos, CA. It's a love/hate race; I love to do well and hate when I can't avoid the ubiquitous pileup, the guy trying to move up from 40th to the front in one corner, or various last lap sketches. A fun race nonetheless, and here's to staying out of trouble-

Sunday, April 26, 2009


Sea Otter 2009 was different, and by different I mean hot. Yes, I got sixth and it was great and my titanium Soulcraft mountain bike rocked the house...but it was this guy that really made my weekend. Check him out.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Training is as training does.

Back last December when Soulcraft hole-shotter Hurl came out for our annual training camp, we wisely replaced our secret stash with brand new supplies. Well, on Friday afternoon as I was slaying a fierce set of hill repeats I thought to myself "I'm a might bit parched. I probably should have stopped by the lick to pick up some training libations." Just then the light bulb above my head popped to life.
"Ahh.. The log..."
Like the Hydra protecting the treasure, I was pleased to find my own personal force of Army Ants taking care not to let any interlopers wrongfully procure the booty;

I began singing the secret song and doing the secret dance, parting the beasts like a tiny, pissed off Red Sea and uncovered the stash, just as I'd left it;

Well, just as I'd left it aside from being covered by what I could only assume to be ant crap. I then adjourned to a sunny spot where I jumped around by myself;

It's activities such as this that ensure my vice-like grip on solid mid pack finishes all season long.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Commuter Soulcraft Style

One of my three Soulcrafts is primarily used as my commuter bike. I live in the San Jose, CA area, and work in Mountain View, CA. I commute everyday, and it's my constitutional drive to do so even though I am the lone bike commuter in my office. I couldn't ask for anything more.

It's about a good 2 1/2 - 3 hour round trip ride depending on the weather, my energy level, and daily workload. I have made the round trip in 2 hours on Grace Race Royale Soulcraft. This one is Grace Pace Royale Soulcraft, and my very first Soulcraft! I generally just ride it out and take my time unless I have to be somewhere or running late.

And here is a self-portrait of me on my commute.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The fun never stops

After work on Tuesday I got a call from Lo, my former co-conspirator at Salsa, informing me that she was in town with our man from the UK, Chipps Chippendale III, of Singletrack Magazine and The Outcast. So back to the shop I went to watch Ross Shafer, Dave Garoutte of DKG, and Chipps jam. The standout number of the night was a reaggae version of Black Magic Woman that Chipps snuck by the censors. By the time the others realized it was "reggiefied", it was too late. Imagine the look on someone's face after handing them a cookie, then after they take a few nibbles, telling them it's actually a dog snack. That's was about it.

Dave on his home made bass. And by "home made" I mean really friggin nice.

Here's Chipps channeling SRV on Ross' 50's Tele.

The instigator, Lo.

The next morning it was breakfast with the men from The Chub/The Hive/Perigeum Development/Formula Brakes USA/Vandelay Industries. That's a lot of names for just a few people. These guys are the best kept secret in the bike industry.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Meeting of the minds

Got a call yesterday from Carl Schlemowitz of Vicious Cycles asking if I was up for a ride. Sort of an unspoken rule amongst the brotherhood that you do not refuse an offer to ride, especially after he came all the way from New York and had the bad fortune to have just spent the weekend at the Sea Otter. So me, Carl, Curtis Inglis, Jeremy Sycip, Chris Wells, and Rob Holt met at Annadel for some action. After what was a rather quick start to the ride, I commented to Rob that maybe our pace was being pushed by the fact that we were entertaining a guest. Nothing worse for a visiting comrade than having to put up with a bunch of duffers, right? So Chris and Curtis pushed at the front until it looked like Carl was having so much fun his face was going to explode. I'm sure the 93' heat didn't help. Mind you, my conversation on the way up was limited to one word answers and head nods, so it wasn't just Carl getting the treatment. After Chris took a nice digger and broke his seat, we settled into a more leisurely pace. Until the next singletrack.

I'm ashamed to admit that the last time I rode Annadel, which is a 30 minute drive, was at the SSWC fun ride last August. Knowing that some people would give up perfectly functioning body parts to live that close to something so good makes me feel unworthy. Anyhow, I got my money's worth today. If you get up this way, make sure you ride Annadel. And do it quick, because it's not even May and it's already dusty.

After the ride we went over to Jeremy's mid-century marvel and looked at his cute kids and his liquor cabinet. Mostly his liquor cabinet.

None of us stepped up for a high-ball at 2pm. Something about, "I'm an adult", and, "I have things to do later". If not for the peer pressure I'm sure I would be sprawled out up there at this moment with Jeremy's kids in the kiddie pool.

We topped off the day with giant burritos and as we parted, each of us claimed to be heading into work . I actually did for a bit. Curtis mumbled something about working twice as hard the next day, which sounds like a good plan except that I'm naturally lazy. All said, I'm glad I made the time for the ride. It's not often that I get to ride with these guys and having an owner of a big-time bike company (he actually has employees) along made it even sweeter. Thanks Carl, and have a great trip home. And remember to make sure you tell your friends how bad we made you suffer. We have reps to uphold.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Ragnarök 105 - [18-April, 2009]

Originally uploaded by
Saturday dawned early as the 4 Horsemen of the Apocalypse headed south & east to Red Wing for the 2nd running of the Ragnarök 105. The weather was perfect, and after a pre-race breakfast at Dirty Ron's, and reminding Hansen to "toss your piss," we adjourned to the starting area at Colville Park.

Over 60 riders showed up, including one guy who was getting married later that afternoon. (I imagine he only did half the course or he is already divorced...) Due to the large number of riders, we had a leadout vehicle, but once out of harm's way the pace quickened as a group of about 15 made the "selection" in an attempt to take valuable K.O.M. points on the first 8 climbs of the day. Beast-Rad started throwing 42x16 hammers almost immediately, and I took a few accelerations at the front to shake up the pelican. After bombing the first Minimum Maintenance Road descent, and cruising some fast gravel, there was some confusion at Grosse Point Road. The tulip notes, we were assured, were spot on, but there was a Dead End sign at the turn. Nearly everyone stopped, but B-Rad took the initiative and powered up Grosse Point on his own and had the second Min. Maintenance Road descent to himself, taking the K.O.M. points in the process. This descent would prove to be my undoing.

Not long after this teeth-rattler, The Hitman bridged up to me and we rode together briefly before I felt my front tire getting soft. We stopped, and as I replaced the tube, Nick rode past. I told Kevin to keep going with him. I pumped the tube and in an effort to get just a little more p.s.i. in, the valve stem tore. Dammit, guess I've got to use my second (and last) tube. Tore that valve stem, too. Shit, ok, I'll use the original tube as it wasn't completely flat when I removed it, just low. Fuck me, this one tore as well. The valve hole on the Salsa Delgado cross rim was mocking my every move. No patch kit could help me, now. About this time race promoter Jake Huot drives up and on the roof rack goes the Pacer, my day is done, and I'll take a ride to the first check point where I will spray beer on all of my comrades. But first, Chris Skogen rides up and offers me a tube. I graciously accept. And proceed to TEAR ANOTHER FUCKING VALVE STEM! I let out a stream of stevedoresque profanities and send the wheel airborne, when MacGuyver Skogen comes up with the brilliant idea to place a small patch from a patch kit over the valve hole. Knowing I'll be damned to pinch-flat purgatory by taking Chris' last tube, if he, in fact, flats out later in the race, I accept his gracious offer and inflate the sucker. It holds air, and we're off immediately up the switchback Wiesbusch climb, longest of the day. This whole ordeal has cost me at least 30 minutes, my legs are cramping from the sudden halt, and I spend the next 4 hours in no-man's land trying to pick off riders. By Zumbro Falls it's apparent that I'm not gaining on the leaders, nor will I see any of my teammates again until the finish line. So I down chocolate milk, coke, beef jerky and more Clif Shot Bloks than should be legal, fight my way past Millville, Lake City, and onto the penultimate climb back out of the Goodhue Valley up Lehrbach Road, a vertical swath of pea gravel that makes you beg for it, then deposits you onto Bush Road, becoming more residential as you grind back into Red Wing and charge to the finish at Colville Park. Even with the, uh, "technical difficulties," I managed to finish at 15:06 o'clock, just missing the 7.5 hour mark. Nick managed 9th overall & 2nd single speed. B-Rad was 11th/3rd single, and The Hitman right behind in 12th. A huge thanks to Chris Skogen for saving me from a DNF, and another excellent event by Jake, Issac, & Larry. The only thing missing was Rosenberg....

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Gallup Dawn til Dusk

I was all fired up last weekend to race Gallup, NM Dawn to Dusk 12-hour. I'm the defending solo champion, the course is ripping, they have great prizes, Dale's Pale Ale always show up for beer feeds, and the mayor of Gallup even comes out to do a lap. It's a real community event...

So we drove the 4 hours over there, parked, set up camp, and went for a pre-ride. The course was hard-packed and twisty, with perfect switchbacks and every hill singlespeedable. Yay! The only downer was that if your tires went, like, a millimeter off the line then you sank into soft sand and pretty much augered right in. My friend Chris managed to break 3 ribs and his hand! On the pre-ride! Bummer. That night we got all our stuff ready and went to bed early.
Then we woke up to this:
Thats about 2 inches of snow on the ground...on a hard-clay mesa. Yuck. It only got worse from there, the day devolved into this:

But, as mountain bikers do, we made the best of it. There was muddy bicycle-barrel racing, there was lots of beer, and when the race was officially canceled, there was the added bonus of watching all the vehicles try to navigate the snot-mud dirt road on the way out! All in all, not a bad day, especially cause the organizers still gave us all the free spaghetti dinner (at noon), and raffled off a ton of good stuff. They did a great job with what could have been a terrible day. I'll be back next year! (unless there is rain in the forecast...)

Friday, April 17, 2009

See you at The Sea Otter.

It's a 'celebration of the bicycle' you know. Now I just gotta find a place to park.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Potter's Pasture - Brady, NE

This place brings a smile to my face every time! I was able to escape for a few hours last Saturday for a ride at Potter's Pasture, south of Brady, NE. Believe it, GREAT riding in Nebraska!

GrassHopper-Uh oh I blew it, it's a Moth

Lake Sonoma
We had our third GrassHopper last Saturday with beautiful weather welcoming us at Lake Sonoma with 100 riders-strong showing up to Gianni Cycling's growing race series. Max Plaxton may have taken time out of his racing schedule and showed up again amongst the ranks of the local heroes. Out of what I could see, Soulcraft also had good presence with the return of Jeff Cleary and the regulars, Keith Marchando, George Hope, Eric Schleth, Sebastien Chevrolet, Jason Matthies in Gianni camouflage and your's truly.The race went in the usual Grasshopper manner, steep climbing right out of the gate and regrets about not pre-riding the course constantly reminding you about the pain and suffering you are about to endure. Time to change the game plan, this is no longer a race but survival. First signs to attest this change in strategy is the number of flats riders were experiencing once we past the point of no return, deeper and deeper towards the end of the Lake. I contributed to the new spirit of comraderie by handing over my only spare tube to Derek Jansen that promptly flatted on the single track. I only came to learn, after the race, that my spare tube had a good hole in it rendering it useless. It's the thought that counts. But the real heroes were....

The Real Heroes
At one of the many creek crossings, we encountered the "pink" Sebastien tending to a fallen rider that had a good gash in his calf from a chain ring bite. I passed the scene and did not give it any further thought as I was convinced that the rider would eventually be ok. I waited for Eric at the top of the switch backs and saw that he was getting involved with asking too many questions about the fallen ride. I decided that the day was going to be long enough and that I needed to follow the riders ahead of me. I figured I would slow up and Eric would eventually catch me.

What I had not realized is how screwed the fallen rider was. He could certainly not pedal, had an open wound that would inevitably get infected and he was very far from being able to get out of the trails with all the help in the world from any fellow cyclist. The only option that the cycling rescue team came up with was to flag a boat and get this guy back to civilization. Eric and Sebastien gave up all thoughts of the race and sacrificed their Saturday to help this guy out. And so they did...

Meet Eric Schleth and Sebastien Chevrolet whenever you have a chance...real Soulcraft riders.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter

For breakfast today you should eat some oat-Tchmil.
Ira Ryan came up with that one. A sharp boy that Ira is.

tour of dirt roads '09

the posse put together a tour of dirt roads. there were some good ones. i had to bail out early to get some soccer gear for the boy.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Oh boy.

I came home yesterday and on my porch was a fairly big box waiting for me. Thought it was probably something tiny packed in millions of Styrofoam peanuts but what did I find inside? A case of Panty Peeler Belgian tripel from Midnight Sun Brewing Co. in Anchorage Alaska. A recent customer named Leonard, who hails from Anchorage, was sufficiently impressed with his new drop bar Holy Roller that he sent this treat our way. Thank you Leonard for the acknowledgment, and thanks for being such a great (re: patient) customer! Enjoy your new bike.

8th Edition of the ABC Rides-Spring 2009

We have reached the final dates for our 8th edition of the Tour de Trash. The A-Ride will head out from the downtown Petaluma Helen Putnam Plaza on June 13. The B-Ride will be headed out by Jonathan Lee on May 16 from the Norcal shop.

We are reverting back to a format that includes longer rides for the Spring edition in order to get back to the Tour de Trash roots and focus only on large litter items. In addition, given the efforts by Sonoma county to keep I-Street litter-free, there is now a lack of "safe" littered roads for our kids to ride on.

The good news is the Petaluma A-Ride route will include plenty of turn-offs back into Ptown for those riders with little time on their Sunday hands.

The even-better news is that I-street has been free of large waste ever since the Sonoma County Grant Efforts has added signage and cameras to our would-be criminals warning them of law enforcement. The Spring rides will uncover whether these are efforts are effective or whether our "trasholes" are just getting relocated to another area.

A-Ride Petaluma June 13 (9:30AM)

The A-Ride promises to bring back some excitement to the route itself other than finding the large items amassed by the road side. We will have 5 KOM's and 2 Sprint's in which the winners will collect swag. The route itself will also include plenty of turn-offs for any of our fellow cyclists that need to head back into town earlier.
  • Out I-Street from Helen Putnam Plaza
  • San Antonio Road towards D-Street
  • Up Red Hill onto Hicks Valley Road
  • Up Wilson Hill and onto Chileno Valley Road
  • Take Petaluma-Tomales Road up to Alexander Road
  • Climb up Carmody and onto Valley Ford Road
  • Climb up Gericke Road and onto Fallon Two Rock Road
  • Continue on Whitaker Bluff Road and turn onto Middle Road
  • Take Marsh Road and onto Valley Ford Estero Road
  • Climb up Valley Ford Franklin School Road
  • Dillon Beach Road into Tomales
  • Take Tomales-Petaluma Road and onto Twin Bridge Road
  • Back onto Fallon Two Rock Road
  • Valley Ford Road onto Walker Road
  • Pepper Road towards Bodega Avenue
  1. One group takes Spring Hill Road back to Petaluma
  2. Other group takes Middle Two Rock Road back to Petaluma

King of Mountain:
  1. KOM#1 Crest of Red Hill
  2. KOM#2 Lookout on Wilson Hill
  3. KOM#3 Top of Carmody Road
  4. KOM#4 Top of Gericke Road
  5. KOM#5 Top of climb to Dillon Beach
  1. Sprint #1 Chileno Valley Road (section after pond)
  2. Sprint #2 Valley Ford Two Rock (between Carmody/Alexander Road)

B-Ride Santa Rosa May 16 (9:00AM)

Jonathan Lee will continue to lead this ride out of the Norcal Shop.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Prescott Punisher AZ series race

Last weekend I raced the MBAA series in Prescott, AZ. It was a super fun track to ride, really a moto trail that was all bermed out and full of whoops...but it wasn't quite as fun to race. Pushing 1 gear up some of those hills on lap 4 was a bit more than my early season legs were ready for! I cramped up pretty good, but seeing some of my Absolute Bikes teammates coming up behind me somehow gave me the motivation to finish hard. I wound up 2nd place in singlespeed, my best result of the year so I was happy.

Plus, I fared better than this guy...check out the blood spots around the cactus spines in his leg!

Monday, April 6, 2009

I used to work for this guy.....

Back in 1988 Bruce Gordon gave me my first "frame shop" job. I curse him everyday for it. Check out Bruce's interview down at the San Diego Handmade Bicycle Show.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

When I'm not riding,it goes something like this(overlay/skimcoat on existing garden table).So,to date,Santa Cruz(Rick's ride)county line,long course(100 mi).My first 1 speed century!Ahem!Some had 2speeds,but I didn't know this untill the sun came up! Next came G.H.#1,'09.Perhaps ya'll have seen the footage.(roger bartels1@comcast)13th in spite of the pro field.A really good day,it gave me unrealistic expectations for GH2.The biggest profield &the biggest Grasshopper ever!Oh ,the chaos!The first 20 mi went well,then came Marshall Wall.Long story short,I haven't come unglued like that since '98.Never been droped by so many groups,ever!Comic/cosmic collapse!After that,Boggs4 was pure redemption!Stay tuned for GH3.

It Is Not All About The Race

Throwing up the first danish . Napa classic today turned out to be more about helping others than just race placement. Granted mid pack was fine , but more meaningful was the way the day unfolded. Yesterday went out with friends for a planned 2 hour , birthday social type ride . Found out in the morning that the birthday boy was only able to ride one and not both days of the weekend , so we doubled it. That evening made a call to a friend / future son in law about Sundays Napa Classic , he said he needed to get out no matter how he placed. I thought , that's cool. Got to the race and while suiting up a De Salvo riding pro guy forgot his kit ; loaned my extra. After first 15 min. as I watched my group pull away , still tired from yesterday, the geared exp. caught me . I ralleyed with them for awhile and it the midst of a techie section a Freewheeler from the city on a Sycip had ejected both his bottles . He asked , what else I gave him one of mine. The meaning for today "KARMA". It's not always about you .

Friday, April 3, 2009

We're getting old.....

This here is Mark and his 5 mo old daughter, Madeline. Mark and I used to work at Salsa together and I can remember when he was 'the kid" at the shop. We spent countless days brazing dropouts and stem binders back when "production" and "handmade" weren't mututally exclusive terms. Now look at the guy. Can you still call someone a kid when they've got their own kid now?
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Thursday, April 2, 2009

Train of thought

Speaking of Beautiful Soulcrafts, how about The Bad Brains playing theirs;

And speaking of playing, how about the Soulcraft 'Dirtbomb'?

And speaking of The Dirtbombs, here they are doing a Sly Stone cover;

And speaking of Sly Stone, I'm late for my appointment to wear platform shoes and snort coke off of somebody's back..

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

The most beautiful bike in the world

I've had my new Option 3 for close to a month now, and it's weird: it's the same, only better. Just as comfy as the original, same snappy handling, descends the same...but I don't whack my pedals on the rocks, and I can push it harder into corners and it keeps it's line. Yay! Thanks Sean!

I knew Keith reminded me of someone....

He looks like that kid from Christmas Story........

I'm Teaching Keith How To Blog...

This is Keith back in 1976. He still has some pants like that. For all you other team members looking for old photos, consider this the standard to shoot for.

Hell of a way to start the new season.

A classic case of 'I was just riding along'. El Pirata Campionissimo is totally gonna kick me off the team and ask for his bike back.

8 Hours of Boggs

The 8 Hours of Boggs race last weekend was as fun as any race gets...go Carlos! The weather was perfect, the trails buffed, the people stoked and the beer and food flowing. Our unofficial Soulcraft Ladies team (sometimes known as Team Badger Milk) took first place this year and had a blast doing it. One of our teammates-the lovely Katie D-even dropped the fastest women's lap! The redneck, Georgie and the crazy Frenchman were also there reppin the Soulcraft colors. You should do it next year.

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