Sunday, February 22, 2015

A Decade Of Nonsense: Part 3

The stable of bikes expanded in a big way in '06!
2006 represents the year when things blew up with regard to this blog and with my "other" related activities. I cannot really say why that happened, even looking back on things now, it doesn't make any sense to me. All I know is that I worked hard to "get my voice" and write better. Then......holy cow! 2006 was a whirlwind of activity.

I started out with getting an On One Inbred frame and fork which I built up and was going to use as my Dirty Kanza 200 rig. I then did several comparisons to that and my '03 Karate Monkey, which turned out to be a very popular post series for several years, according to the stat meister machine I have on this site.  Then I "Ted-terviewed" a few Trans Iowa and local endurance nuts. That was quite well received. So much so that I actually got a Ted-terview with Steve and Chris of Niner Bikes. Apparently, they were stoked to the point that they gave me some exclusive news on their then brand new RIP-9 frame which debuted at Sea Otter that year. I also was getting some inside scoop from Ryan Atkinson of Fisher mtb fame on some new developments at Fisher with 29"ers. This sparked a redoubled interest on the part of Tim Grahl to get me on board with Twenty Nine, which I was very reluctant to do for "free" or at all. I that time, I didn't need TNI. I was busy enough doing what it was I had going on, and I was still affiliated with "The Biking Hub". Actually, the further 2006 went on the odder that affiliation got until I found out later that the site was going to be scuttled.

I got "published" in a Haro catalog in '06
 Earlier on in the blog, I was contacted by Mike Varley, who was then in charge of all things MTB at Haro Bicycles. He asked me to write a couple paragraphs on 29"ers. One specifically about the new Haro Mary bikes which were coming out, and another on 29"ers in general. He didn't know if either would make the cut. Maybe they'd just use one.

Well, I came to find out they used both of them! I was floored. This was my first "paying gig" in a sense that Haro decided to give me a frame and fork in turn for the write up. At any rate, here I was published on paper in a catalog. This was probably my most momentous accomplishment related to the blog in those early days. So......Thanks again, Mike! 

Well, that wasn't all. For whatever reason, it would seem that despite there being a site called Twenty Nine, I was getting lots of news and product review chances as '06 cranked along. I got the first On One Carbon Superlight fork to test. I got a Raleigh XXIX as a warranty replacement for an old Diamomd Back V Link I had that broke. The write ups on this rig precipitated my getting the chance to demo and write up some stuff on Cannondale's first 29"er, the Caffeine.  Then a chance came up which has been probably one of the most rewarding things that has come out of this blog- the Badger Dorothy review.

The bike and subsequent model run planned was an utter disaster in the end, but the friendship I struck up with the then owner of Milltown Cycles, Ben Witt, was most rewarding and I still call him a friend to this very day. Like I always say- "It's all about the people you meet and the relationships you build." Nothing else matters. Not the bicycles, the travel, or anything else here. I am super grateful for having met Ben through these digital pages. 

Riding in the very first Dirty Kanza was another good deal in '06.
Another relationship was struck up when I met Salsa Cycles then GM, Jason Boucher. I was able to review a Dos Niner and actually got a sneak peek at the then new Mamasita carbon/aluminum hard tail 29"er when Jason and Kid Reimer came down on a snowy Fall day to ride at Camp Ingawanis on that new steed.

With the promise of a financial reward from Twenty Nine Inches and a free ticket to Interbike, I finally agreed to write for in the fall of '06 on a regular basis instead of only occasionally. It was there that I met many folks in the industry, not the least of which was Gary Fisher himself. During Interbike I was shocked to have people I didn't even know coming up to me and telling me they were reading the site. It was all a bit much, going from zero to 100mph in a little more than a year of blogging, but it was real. Again- I have no idea why, but there ya go. By October I was full on writing for, and review items were coming my way. I was going to be a very busy man for several years. In fact, I figured that if what I was told  while at the meeting in Vegas concerning TNI would happen, I might have to shut down the blog here, or curtail my postings severely. I didn't know if I could sustain this, Trans Iowa, and all at the same time while holding down a job at a bike shop and being a father and a husband.

By the end of '06, the gig with the "Biking Hub" was done, but I had been integrated into Tim Grahl's "Crooked Cog Network", which included, a site called "Blue Collar MTB", and another site dubbed "Commute By Bike". 2006 was a watershed year, but things maybe got even crazier in 2007......


Irishtsunami said...

I always thought TNI was your website. Thank you for your hard work!

blackmountaincycles said...

Thanks, GT and thank you for working the 29"er front. The Mary was one of the products I was most proud of at Haro and I was proud to have you write about it for the catalog.
Mike Varley