Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Don't call it a comeback.

Back in 1988 when I started working for Bruce Gordon Cycles he had just started building his Rock 'N Road bikes which were cross type bikes built around his own Rock 'N Road 40C tire.  He also made cable connectors so you could swap bar/stem set ups between road and mountain without having to adjust your gears.  Pretty slick.  I road one of these bikes with flat bars for a couple years while I worked there.  Rode it everywhere I rode my mountain bike.  But at the trade shows shops couldn't wrap their heads around the bike.  "What am I going to do with that? It's not a mountain bike and not a road bike", they would say.  I'm pretty sure that was the point.  And who would come into Bruce's shop checking out the Rock 'N Roads?  Wes Williams, father of the 29r, who will tell you that Bruce's bikes were an inebriation for him.  So here we are almost 25 years later talking about "Monster Cross" bikes like they're something new.  The good thing about this resurgence has been that Bruce decided to make his tires again.  This time Panaracer is making them in Japan for him and they're lighter and a little fatter than before.  The first ride I did on the new ones was aboard my Dirtbomb on a 70+ mi ride with lots of road and lots of fire road climbs and save for the severe suffering, the ride was amazing.  The Rock 'N Road tires are really the best dual purpose fat cross tires out there.  Not too buzzy on the street and super-traction on the dirt, both climbing and descending.  Kudos to Bruce for going out on a limb all those years ago and also for bringing these tires back!  

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Greetings from Sarteneja, Belize

As the title suggests, greetings. It's been awhile since my last posting, and I know this. Life is keeping me busy in Belize, and while I have been thinking about posting here, the time is now. I can't promise this is going to be anything outstanding, other than a simple hello. Right now, I am on Day 14 of not having running water, and have at least 10 more to go. That's a total of 24 days. Yep, the village I live in has received a grant for a new water system, and it's in process. Supposed to be finished by end of 2012, but it's anyone's guess for project completion. The situation currently is two-fold since the Water Board couldn't pay the electricity bill to pump the water, and now that the bill is paid the construction has to continue, and since the tank is dry from not having water for the past couple of weeks, why not now? I can think of many reasons why, one being the fact that I have been without running water a most basic human need. I have been hauling water back and forth from my landlord's house tapping into his well, and his rain water. Awesome sauce, I know, pure adaptation. A part from that, I am ok in terms of happiness. I will be much happier when the water returns. That said, have been working on my bike here, and I think I have it to a place where it can bomb most anything. I hope to post some pictures of it, and slap a Soulcraft sticker on it at some point. They actually had a bike race in the village the other day. And we are talking coaster bikes all the way around. No hipsters allowed -- these people would school you on a bike. Anyways, that's enough for now. Cheers.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

keeping the dream alive

Shooting for one century a month this year ala Hurl. It's a nice goal. It's been going well and I've been clicking them off on gravel with Carl on either my drop bar 29er or my extra clearance road bike. October was a tuffy. We're having to do it separate for the first time since last December. Two more to go for me at this point
. So, anyways, October hundy was up to Prague and back. Prague was in full on party mode. It was great. The dirt roads were barely dry enough get across, but they worked.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

recently had a quick weekend trip to the mountain bike nirvana that is western CO and eastern UT, with a few buddies incluing kliner. did the big loop from rabbit valley to western rim. great way to clear the mind out from work work work...

Monday, October 1, 2012

more of the same

Sounds like a bad thing, but not all the time, and not in my case, at least for this post. The century a month challenge has been keeping me motivated. In July, Carl and I did an overnight century from 10pm till 7am on a Saturday evening. It was a trip, to say the least. August was Gravel Worlds and that was 170 door to door. We
were forced into the final weekend of September for September's 100 miler. It was a gorgeous day. We took a familiar route down to Wilber and up to Malcolm and home.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Gran La Fonda Bike Show

Friday night is the Gran La Fonda Bike Show in Santa Rosa.  5pm at the corner corner of 5th and Davis near the Sycip shop and across from Toad in the Hole Pub.  Bikes+beer+food truck=boner.  Check it out.

Thursday, August 30, 2012

Where oh where has the time gone?

I promised Captain Shants that I would come through here on the regular to pen some of this, or some of that, and I'll be damned if keeping my own ship off the rocks has prevented any such activity. It is with my heart in my hand (or is the adage 'my hat in my hand'?) that I come here right now to get some work done. Whatever the case, at least my record is still cleaner than Hurl's. Anyhoo, the primary reason for darkening this blurg's door today is to mention for the forth year running, Interbike will be seeing the underside of the bike industry converge at the nearly world Famous 'Underbike Industry Mixer®. The players in this bash will of course be the Soulcraft Bicycle Corporation, Ritte Van Vlaanderen, Swobo, and my personal All Hail The Black Market imprint. I've lost track of what we're actually celebrating, but when friends who don't see one another but on an annual basis do, celebrating in the most debauched way is advisable. Do your worst, cats and kittens. It's going to be the handsomest of all trainwrecks.

Friday, August 17, 2012

Ben is a married man!

This is somewhat old news, but I recently came across this picture from the 2012 24 hours of the Old Pueblo (held in February), and Ben recently was married in June. I also really like this picture as Ben has been an important part of my life since I met him. So, I wanted to say congrats Ben and his new bride Sarah! Ben has had a relationship with SOULCRAFT bikes almost from their inception, and I met Ben at SOULCRAFT dealer Absolute Bikes in Flagstaff in 2001. We hit it off immediately and we subsequently attended the 2001 race together, which was their second go in Tucson. We still tell stories from that early race and we added a few more to the cache this year.  Thanks for all your help this year Ben.

Friday, August 3, 2012

A RUOTA LIBERA: A celebration of artisan pizza, handmade bicycles and music - August 12, 2012

Second annual "free-wheel" event to be held at Una Pizza Napoletana, Sunday August 12th 2012 1pm-7pm

Una Pizza Napoletana and Soulcraft Bicycles invite you to spend an afternoon with a collection of passionate craftsmen as they showcase the fruits of their labor in the second annual "A Ruota Libera" -- Italian for "free-wheel" – a celebration of handmade bicycles, handmade Neapolitan pizza and live music. Doors to the event open at 1pm.

The annual event developed by Anthony Mangieri, founder of Una Pizza Napoletana, and Sean Walling, founder of Soulcraft Bicycles brings together a cross-section of the preeminent names in the cycling industry with a focus on bicycles, parts and components created in Northern California.

Anthony Mangieri will be working his pizza oven surrounded by exhibitors, including: Steve Potts, Bruce Gordon, Soulcraft, Black Mountain, Rock Lobster, Steelman, Hunter, Inglis/Retrotec, Falconer, Caletti, Frances Cycles, Black Cat, Paul Components, Ahrens, Pass and Stow, Rebolledo, Blue Collar, and White Industries. Handmade bicycles, parts and components will be on display around the restaurant for people to enjoy up-close and personally.

The event features an exhibit by photographer Brian Vernor and will be soundtracked by a live performance from San Francisco native and legendary Bones Brigade skater Tommy Guerrero. The Reveille Coffee truck will be on the scene to give a little extra boost.

"A Ruota Libera" is sponsored in part by Beer Moretti and Lambrusco Pronto wine. Doors open at 1pm and the show will close promptly at 7pm. Admission of $10 includes pizza, music performance and secure bicycle parking

"A Ruota Libera"
August 12, 2012 1pm
Una Pizza Napoletana
210 11th St (at Howard St)
San Francisco, CA
For more information: 415-861-3444

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

H2H, finally

Sorry for the delay. I run perpetually behind schedule, especially during this time of year as I become anxious about the new Fall Semester. I teach a couple class and my old brain has lost some it's wattage to remember all the facts. Anyway, I wanted to report on another successful Hump-to-Hole (#4) before it also faded from my memory, if that is possible. This year was my 3rd attempt at the H2H and 2nd finish (I cracked on the rim two years ago after my brakes were rubbing  (sure, JQP!!) for 30 miles). Although our stellar group (there was 4 starters) of adventurers made one wrong turn that cost us at least an hour of precious time, the total time from the top of Arizona to the bottom of Arizona (about 11,000 feet of descending) was about 14 hours and 35 minutes. We started the day around (that's A.M.):

 Bagged the 12,600 ft. peak at (dawn):

And finished around dark (that's about half way down):

It was another great day on the bike. The best part, as always, was my cohort: Art, BGR, and Mel are the best of the best. My favorite part of the day was this:

In this image, Art is fetching water using a MSR filter. Another foot down and he would have needed to jump into the tank. Although it seemed like a lot of work, we were stoked to have taken the time to pump water here. There was little water to be had over the "course", which as about 100 miles in total. My other favorite part was this single track during a lusher time:

Thanks for reading!

Tuesday, July 10, 2012


did a little 90 mile out and back to Brainard Nebraska where there lives a former motorcycle dealership that closed in the fall of 1990. they were a car dealer before that and a tractor dealer before that. there's alot of stuff there. lots of gems and treasures.

Sunday, July 1, 2012

odin's revenge version 1

some west/central nebraska local bike ride enjoyers put on a great event this weekend. odin's revenge. 180 miles on gravel. self suppoted with a few checkpoints and water stops. i'm hoping this one continues for years and years. i've always wondered what the roads around gothenburg, nebraska are like. you get no idea of nebraska's terrain from the drive by on the interstate.
registered riders were dropping out on the days leading up to the event due to the forecasted hell-ish heat. the rider meeting the night before was chill and with a small group. there was an awesome low key feel. and there was music played on a variety of instruments.
start time was 6am. cloud cover lasted a few hours and gave way to clear skies with temps rising thru the 80s and lower 90s. we were quickly soaked with sweat. the first two check points were relatively easy to get to but our little group struggled into the third check point. i made it worse by trying to nurse a flat into the check point. i should have just changed it but i didn't want to stop until i was in the shade at the CP. i left the check point solo. at 96 miles my riding partners had enough. certainly couldn't blame them for that decision. 7 miles out i started to realize being solo in 97 deg heat with 6-7 hour of riding left was perhaps not a great idea. i called in. i was picked up. i hated doing that. i figured it was better than the potential alternative.
upon returning to the start/finish area i was pleasantly surprised to receive the award for first place single speed. i did go the furthest of the single speeders, but yeah, would have rather finished the full distance. i'll have defend my title next year.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Ponca Ride V8

This was the eigth annual running of the Ponca Ride. Lincoln to Ponca on gravel roads. About 155 miles. We have a tradition of planning the year's calendar pretty early in the year. Some dates work out great, some others don't. You know how it goes. Shit gets busy. This year the ride was scheduled for the weekend of the local mtb race series event at Ponca State Park, so we knew there would be plenty of quality homies up there. Well the sketchy weather and the racing drew away a few other quality homies so the attendance at this years ride was low...2 (corey and i). Ok, 3 at the start (jeff) , but only 2 to make the 155 up to Ponca. Constant headwinds, an hour of rain, an exploding pedal, awesome diner breakfast, drying roads, a kickass bike, puffy clouds, nice cowboys and a campground full of friends made for a great weekend. I stole some pics from Cornbread.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Dirty Kanza 200 was last weekend. Super fun event. Saw a few team mates there. Rolled with my buddy Carl . He snapped a few shots along the way. Finishing time was back in range with most of my other finishes, which felt super good. A few minutes beyond 17hrs in the saddle. The event has gotten larger and more competitive. My effort this year would have been worth top 10 SS class easy, but now, not so much. But that's ok with me. The event has been annual since 2006 and I have started all but one. Of those, I've completed all but one. So, this was my fifth finish. My satisfaction comes from completing this beast and managing to enjoy the day and the beautiful surroundings.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

It's been a spell since I've lazed through these parts and that is just plain wrong. I will tell you a short spell about a thing which happens to be a brilliant counterpart to another thing, both of which are very Soulcraft related. If you have spent any amount of time lurking on this here blurg you have no doubt heard my occasional praise of my Dirtbomb. The sad thing was however, that after Ritchey Logic stopped making their 42 Crossmax, I was stuck either cutting Panaracers to fit, or settling for 38s. That was until Captain Extremeo Fartypants dropped by my abode with a set of Papa Bruce's new Rock 'n Road all terrain bikecycle tire. My plaything has found a new mate, and in the outings we've had together, I am mightily impressed in how the new skins handle.
There's some technical mumbo jumbo that was conveyed to me about an updated compound, or lighter weight to its predecessor, but most everything goes in one ear and out the other. If you are one who doesn't mind mixing you're pave with your dirt with your gravel with your dirt, give Bruce a call. Just don't ask him any questions.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Announcing the Meet Your Maker Tour!

The Meet Your Maker Tour is your invitation to ride and hang out with some of Northern California's best bicycle frame builders and component makers. No stuffy convention halls, no dim fluorescent lighting, just a good time hanging out and talking shop while we partake in the incredible road and mountain biking we are so fortunate to have around the Bay Area. If you're in the market for custom bike, come on out and talk to the local builders in person while we spend time doing what we really love, riding bikes!

Point your internet web site browser over to www.meetyourmakertour.com, follow us on the Twitter, the Facebook, and add us to your Rolodex(tm)! Whatever. We'll be riding bikes and you should join us!

Thursday, May 3, 2012

TransIowa v8 My goal was to learn the lesson I should have learned from TransIowa v7. Don’t get lost. I devised a plan to stay on course. I would put a Sharpie mark by each cue as we completed it. Sharpie around the neck and cues close at hand. TransIowa, this year, was a 328 mile loop on Iowa’s rolling gravel and dirt roads, starting and ending in Grinnell, and to be completed in 34 hours. The course is shown to the event participator by a series of ‘cue sheets’, a written set of directions. There are minimal physical course markings. My fear was that, in the night, I would lose track of what cue we were on, which was my final hypothesis on why we failed in 2010. Hence, the Sharpie. I say we because I knew my wingman, Matt Jennings of Montana, formerly of Lincoln would be with me the whole time, unless something went incredibly wrong. We were a matched pair. I hadn’t seen Matt in a few years until when he chose to participate in v7. We talked over the course of the following year about what to do in order to finish and what we thought went wrong. This year’s version had 3 checkpoints. You only start with the cues for the first section. Cue sheets for the next section are handed out at each checkpoint if you make the time cutoffs. Time cutoffs are based on 10mph. It rained right up to start time. But, we also had the driest and warmest winter and spring in the last 15 years. The result was wet soft roads but not splattery like last year. And the roads were drying quickly with a consistent east wind. There was one ‘b’ road (minimum maintenance dirt road) before the first checkpoint and it was a walker. Actually we rode the ditch at 150% of walking speed for about 1/3 of the mile length of the road. We arrived at CP1 at 52 miles in with about 30 minutes to spare. We refueled at the convenient store 2 blocks from the checkpoint and headed back onto the course to get the next 120miles thru the countryside to CP2. With 12 hours to go 120 miles you don’t exactly keep rigid track of the time. Soon it was 1pm, then 4pm, then 6pm and we had not yet reached CP2. 9:30pm was the cutoff. We had felt great about the cues and our following of them properly, all morning, day and early evening. Then, a few road signs and landmarks stopped marking sense when compared to the cues, and we were both feeling nervous about our directions. We cruised down the face of a huge roller to find two other racers. They quickly notified us that we were 3.5 miles off course and produced a laminated paper map. I devised a quick and easy way back on course and we trudged on to CP2 arriving 30 minutes late. I was bummed, but it was painless when compared to last year. As painless as 178 miles of gravel on a single speed can be. In v7 Matt and I spend at least 3 hours getting back on course from about 12:30am on. It hurt. We had been up since 2am the following morning and our decision making was poor. Hence the Sharpie, which I had stopped using since CP1 and our feeling so good about the cues. Notice I don’t have any photos. It’s way too hard to take the time for it. I could direct you to Corey’s site where he has a nice description of a much more glorious TI. I was glad to see him and a few other Nebraskans finish. Sometimes it gets very difficult to do the simplest things in long distance bike riding events like this one. You might be riding at 80 degrees in tights just because of the added effort in removing them. You might stop using the Sharpie too. I was saving it for nightfall but we got burned before daylight was over. In the end, another lesson learned. Keep up with the Sharpie. A quicker average speed would have allowed for a greater time cushion, a cushion that would have allowed for recovery from our somewhat minor navigational error. This was my seventh attempt. I have finished twice in 2007 and 2009. I still crave that third finish for some reason. Actually the reason is easy. It’s tremendously satisfying the complete. And, it defines what I consider worthwhile and cool. I’ve been a bit bummed about failing this time, although, like I said, it was much less painful then last year. I knew hamming the keyboard would help some. I feel better already. 'Event bike' pictured after the event and after a nice warm bath.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Bike riding

You call it--"aesthetics and paint or engineering and craftsmanship?"

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Ouch - interj: An exclamation of sharp, sudden pain.

100+ days later, I am crutch- free, boot-free (but, keep it handy according to the doctor), and air cast splint free. I can walk on my own two feet, in my own two shoes.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

Camino Cielo es muy bueno

Over spring break my husband and I went on our yearly beach pilgrimage to Santa Barbara. We always bring the DH bikes and ride endless rocky descents, but I've had a hankering for years to ride the shuttle road, Camino Cielo. It runs along the mountain ridge 3000 feet above town, with views of the ocean, Channel Islands, and the Santa Ynez mountains. So, I took the Groundskeeper on its first interstate voyage, and gave it a go.
I left our campsite, aptly named Paradise, around 8am, and headed uphill.Riding up the old Stagecoach road, I could hear the freeway above me but blessedly only saw about 3 cars the whole day. I rode under this cool old arch bridge.
And then found myself looking down on it a mile later.This road knows how to go uphill! So steep in places that I actually had to tack back and forth across the road to keep the pedals turning. I was kicking myself for choosing cross tires instead of road tires when I saw this nice surface.
But then I came across a few miles of "pavement" and was glad I had my Panaracer Cross Blasters on.
Gorgeous views in all directions helped me forget that I had been going uphill for close to 2 hours
I rolled across the ridge for about 10 miles before beginning my descent down Gibraltar Road, a twisty lane-and-a-half hugging the cliffside. I stopped long enough to watch the hang gliders take off, and to ponder the lack of guardrails.

The ride ended as most good rides should, with cold beers and tasty food at a crab shack on the beach.

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