Monday, July 31, 2006

Heat Affected Zone

As I've said before, I don't usually get into the personal side of my life on this blog, because that's not what this is about. However; something is happening here that not only affects us all personally, but also affects this blog and bicycle riding.

Heat. Yep! And lot's of it. It's been all over the Northern Hemisphere this year and now it's our turn here in Iowa. Since I live in an old house, ( old in terms of this area, certainly not old in European terms) and our house has no air ducting, we can only air condition certain areas of the house effectively. That doesn't include certain bedrooms, so we have to "buddy up" when it comes to sleeping at night. One of those air conditioned areas is where the Guitar Ted Labratories master computer resides, so.......... Instead of waking up the people sleeping there, I am going to be a bit limited in my posting in the AM. I will post more in the afternoons for the next few days, or until this heat breaks. Just so you all will know and not wonder why the usual post in the morning isn't there.

Okay, so if you are riding your bike in this heat, please be careful! Hydrate and try to ride in cooler times of the day. Hey! It's a great time to check out those lights you were going to use this fall!

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Endurance Based "Mega Site": Coming Soon? Pt.II

This weekends recently completed 24hrs at 9 Miles Solo National Championships event is the perfect example of why there needs to be a better resource, ( or at least some resource) for getting news out about events like this. Other than some audio-blog posts from Nick Martin's blog, thier was zilch, nada.......nothing out their that allowed a person to follow along with the events as they unfolded. This is a crime, as far as I'm concerned.

Their is nothing to hold back at least an updated blog type news source from the event. An event, by the way, that was to produce a 24hr solo National Champion. ( Congrats go out to Chris Eatough, by the way!) The coverage of a criterium, or even a XC race in this manner may not make alot of sense, but if the event lasts for a whole day!......why not?

Their must be plots and sub-plots aplenty to cover. Gear coverage, strategy coverage, athlete coverage. And you have a whole day plus to do it in. Tell me you wouldn't check that out if it existed. Not to mention real "real time" results. Wouldn't that have been cool?

So, I suppose you might be thinking, "Why don't you do this?" Well, the answer that I have is probably why this hasn't happened yet with anybody else. Money and Time. Yep the big "T" and the big "$" are what keeps me from doing this stunt, but believe me, it's going happen.

Yessirree! Someday, it'll be here!

Friday, July 28, 2006

Endurance Based "Mega Site": Coming Soon?

With the endurance racing showdown about to happen at Nine Mile this weekend, I got to thinking. What sort of resource could be developed to better serve and inform the endurance crowd? Here's some thoughts that I have had recently.

1. Merge Ride424 with another resource. Sometimes you shouldn't try to re-invent the wheel, just improve upon it! Karl Etzel, the founder and operator of the best endurance race calendar anywhere, has a good thing going. Why not add to it? An expanded resource where results could be posted, interviews posted, and other endurance related subject matter be posted would make Ride424 the pre-eminent resource for endurance racers in North America. I think Karl's site is awesome, but I also think that there is huge potential for it to be so much more than it is. Hopefully, there are some talks going on behind the scenes that will bring just such a site to the light of day. Stay tuned!

2. Real "real time" results and reporting from endurance events is long overdue! I truly believe that a network of web based reporters and promoters could be linked to one site, ( perhaps the "mega" endurance site/ Ride424 thing mentioned above?) that would get news and results out to the world in a much more timely and entertaining fashion. Podcasting or audio-blogging into a central resource could be accessed worldwide by any endurance athlete, sponsors, or friends and relatives. The digital media could draw in thousands of "virtual spectators" to any endurance event, no matter how remote the location. Don't believe it? Check out the Great Divide Race, or think of the Tour de France web coverage as examples of what I mean. This sort of coverage and exposure would require a huge commitment from a few dedicated people, and logistically it might be a nightmare, but I'm sure it will happen.

So, I may be a dreamer, but I'm not the only one! (appologies to J.Lennon!) I really think that these ideas are going to happen, it's just a matter of how and when. What do you all think?

Remember to keep well hydrated and stay smart out there if you are riding in this extreme heat! Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Gratification Delayed!

Well, as many of you loyal readers probably figured out by now, the usual morning post was missing. Blogger had some technical difficulty and I couldn't access my site. So, here is a late Thursday post. Enjoy!

Doping........again!: Yep! I guess we'll have to wait on the confirmation, but it's not looking good. If ya don't know what I mean, yer better off than me! I'd rather that the whole thing go away. (I can dream, okay!)

Crooked Cog Podcast: Podcasting. You know........the often boring, sophmoric media abuse that's all the rage? Well, check this out! Tim Grahl, Supreme Emperor of the Digital Blogosphere at the Crooked Cog Network has unleashed a "podcast" featuring Tim Jackson of Masi Bikes. It's actually not really a "podcast", because it's sooo much better than that. It's really digital radio. I mean, he's got the deep throated "announcer" dude, commercials, and even a "bed", which is radio jargon for "backround music". No way is this "podcasting"! To be that, it just has to have a lo-fi vibe, no direction, and it has to suck-suck-suck. At least that describes most of the unimaginative drivel that I've heard. Your mileage may vary. This is actually informative- somewhat commercial, but definetily informative.

"Nationals": The talk of the last two weeks at the shop has been about the big event at Nine Mile this weekend. Good luck to all you enduro-freaks! I wish I could be there to document it all on an audio-blog or something, but it'd be all lo-fi, have no direction, and it would suck-suck-suck, so it's just as well! ( wink-wink!)

New Bike "Buzz": Cannondale just sent a box full of '07 catalogs to the shop today. You'd have thought it was the "Christmas Catalog" by the looks of things. We all gathered 'round and started our "wish lists". Lot's of cool product for '07 from C'Dale. Check out yer local dealer for more! Me? I'm still hoping that I can swing a Caffeine 29"er. We'll see!

That's about it for your Thursday Guitar Ted fix. An abbreviated post, but hopefully worth the wait. I'll have a rant or two to post coming up in the next few days, so stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

It's All In The Preparations

The National 24 Hour Championship Race at Nine Mile is happening this weekend, and with two of the races competitors being co-workers of mine, you can bet that the conversations are mostly about this event. It's interesting to listen to, because the level of attention to details is an eye opener.

Cannondale is going to have a presence there with a pit area/ tent set up for three solo racers including Sloane, Mr. 24, and Carlos. The whole she-bang has to be co-ordinated, planned for, and used by all three of these guys, so communications are being fired off at a machine gun rate. Hotel accomodations, travel plans, and race pit are set-up are all just parts of the multitude of things that these guys are dealing with. Add to that clothing dilemmas, and a few other snafus, and you have the makings for a mental breakdown. Seriously, I don't know how they hold it all together. Carlos is already talking about getting drunk. And you thought it was all just about riding your bike!

Well, hopefully all their details come together and they can just focus on riding a bike soon! Just a few more days now..............

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Basic Tips For Sizing Up A 29"er

Recently I read a question on a forum thread on that asked if you needed to be concerned about a different sizing protocol for 29"ers than you would for a 26"er. Interesting question. The short answer is: No, not really.

You still want to concern yourself with the obviously important measurements: top tube length and stand over height, but that's not the end of the story. It seems that there has been a trend towards designing hardtails with shorter seat tubes and severely sloping top tubes. This is for both 26" and 29" hard tails, but is most commonly found with 29"ers, it seems. Some would argue that it's because of the tire size itself, but the seat tubes on some 29"ers are just plain short. Shorter than they reall need to be. Take my 18" Inbred 29"er, for instance. I have plenty of standover and I have to run a 410mm Salsa post to accomodate my leg length. If you are a long legged/ short torso kind of guy, you know this is a problem.

The mass manufactured 29"ers tend to have this shorter seat tube to accomodate more different sized riders on the same frame size. The Raleigh XXIX is a perfect example of this. After the seat height/ top tube issues have been cleared, there is one last 29"er specific fit issue to deal with. Handle bar height.

Most complete 29" bicycles come out of the box with riser bars. It's the fashion du jour, but it's not a good thing on a 29"er. Get that thing offa there and put on one of the new crop of flat, highly swept bars like the Niner Flat Top or the Salsa 11 degree bar. They will mimic the hand posistion of a riser without the rise. You already are dealing with a certain amount of extra height in the front end of a 29"er and a riser bar will only make it higher, and probably way too high! (unless you like being the Wheelie King!) Pay close attention to the bar height from a past 26" ride and try to get in that ball park with a new 29"er. You'll get along with the handling much better that way!

Hopefully these basic tips will help you if you are considering getting a 29"er anytime soon!

Monday, July 24, 2006

Rate leTour!: What Do Think?

How about that Tour de France? Many predicted a wide open race for the GC, but did anyone think it would turn into one of the most unpredictable Tours in modern history? Right from before the start to the penultimate stage where Landis re-took the yellow for good. I was on an up and down roller coaster ride watching this thing. Here's my thoughts on what we all just saw.......

Pre-Tour Drama: Did any tour of the past even come close to the soap opera that preceded this Tour? Astana- Wurth: Are they in or out? Then they had to drop out because of depleted ranks after the dismissals of their suspected dopers. Bye-bye Vinokourov. Then the sucker punch that had Tour fans reeling in the dismissals of Basso and Ulrich. I think the clouds were rather dark and stormy looking just before the start flag waved. The fallout from all the suspected doping allegations has yet to be decided, and likely will carry on into the winter. I'm not very convinced that it will produce much of anything other than tainted careers and retirements. Maybe that's what leTour was after, I don't know. Maybe there weren't enough hotel rooms for all the riders that were originally invited and they had to thin out the ranks. Heck, anything is possible with this crazy Tour!

Opening Days: More rider attrition! Bobby Julich's horrible crash in the time trial was sad to see. Thor Hushovd's ripped and bloodied arm was shocking. Could he carry on? (Thankfully, yes and he wins the final stage!) And what is up with Leipheimer? His time trial looks as though he is towing an invisible stone around the course. Strange! However starnge things were, at least the Tour was off and running, and everyone was eager to distance themselves from the shock of the pre-Tour scandals and get on with the racing. Even if it was predictably sprinteriffic!

The Mountains: This is ususally where Lance sews everyting up, and we order more beers and go back to our normal conversations or go out for rides. Ho-hum! Not this year! The Pyrenees were good, and the Alps...........well, they were fantastic! Of course, the crash to the depths of dispair and the next days phoenix-like ride of Floyd Landis will be a Tour legend. You don't get "history in the making" viewing chances like that very often! The "off mike" chatter of Al Trautwig and Bob Roll was priceless! I wonder if that will make the Tour DVD?

It's Over!: Of course, Floyd made good in the time trial and it's all over now. What a great ending to a potentially disastrous Tour. Many riders put in super rides: Periero, Sastre, and Honchar( in the time trials) come to mind. Many riders bid farewell to the Tour: Zabel and Ekimov. Many new Tour stars were revealed: Fotham, Cunego, and Dessel amongst others. Of course; as we have seen from this Tour, nothing is predictable! Maybe somebody we've never heard of is ready to break in on the scene and dominate leTour like Hinault, Indurain, and Armstrong before him. That's what makes it interesting. You just never know.

My rating? I'd give this Tour a 8.5 on a scale of 1 to 10. The beginning sucked, the sprinting stages were somewhat predictable, and the loss of so many top riders was regretable. I scored it a little higher because of the history-making Landis fall and rise, which left us with a good final memory. After the blackened start, it's just what we needed! What say you?

Saturday, July 22, 2006

Saturday/ Sunday Mutant Post

Your Flying Crane style is strong. But it's no match for my Zip Thai!!

Floyd Landis: One bad mo-fo. Winner of the Tour deFrance, unless something totally wonky happens. Will inspire thousands of cyclists to imbibe in a beer without guilt. "Hey, if Floyd can do it......."

Too many Bikes: Not Enough Money!: Let's see now.....The Raleigh XXIX is due to arrive the first week or so of August, there is a Haro Mary frameset coming, and Cannondale has a 29"er with a Lefty that I'd love to have. Anybody interested in an Inbred?

One Week To Go Till Nationals: Kerkove is already pacing like a nervous rooster. Not enough activity for him, what with this tapering. Will I have to make an attitude adjustment with my Park Pedal Wrench? Will Jeff and Carlos, ( Who is also going to Nine Mile) get into a hissy fit over who gets to place their cooler closest to the course in their shared pit area? Only a week to go before we get those answers and more!

Birthday Boy: I usually do not mention much about my personal life here, because.........well, it's personal! I'll make an exception this time to say "Happy Birthday" to my son who turns three years old on Monday. Big celebration an all of that tomorrow at Grandmas place! woot! woot!

Go Ride Yer Bike!: It's fun, it's fitness, and you might save yourself some cizzash! Do it!

Friday, July 21, 2006


Maybe you caught some of the news yesterday on the historic happenings at the Tour deFrance? I know that most of the cycling world is buzzing about it, and why shouldn't they? It's not everyday that you see what we have witnessed in the last 48 hours.

I'm not going to bore you with attempts at eloquent discriptions of cycling glory to try to move you. You either get it, or you don't. Heck, I'm just a mid-western, hayseed. Whatta I know 'bout cyclin' anyway? Well, I'll tell you one thing I know about it and what happened yesterday.........

.........................I'm inspired!

Thank you, Mr. Landis!

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Get "Caffeine-ated"! : Reaction

First of all, I want to clarify something that was brought to my attention yesterday in the comments. The "Caffeine" designation will be for most all of the hard tail Cannondale line up for '07. The specific designation for the bike I mentioned yesterday will be "Caffeine 29"er". Okay, now that's out of the way..............

The reaction to the introduction of this bike has been all over the place. Things from "Great!", " a new choice" to "dumb name" and "it's overpriced" have been noted by me. It's bewildering to see from an outside perspective, I'm sure. It's actually pretty typical coming from the 29"er crowd. I think I know one of the reasons why this is, too.

Alot of 29"er riders, if not all of them, are coming off 26 inch wheeled bikes. The "regular" mountain bike world of multiple choices, multiple specialities, and multiple outlets is a given with most of us. We do not give it a second thought. I think that we judge our 29"er market in light of this subconciousness. We really need to take a step back and see it for what it is.

The 29"er is in a fast changing place in the market right now, but in reality it's still in it's infancy. Maybe in it's "toddler stages", okay? We do not have many choices. Because of the specific geometry needs, hardware needs, and smaller market, the 29"er has to be looked at as being rather unique in the marketplace. When a bike like the Caffeine 29"er comes out, the reality is that you have one more place to check out for a geared only, front suspended hard tail 29"er besides Fisher. An easier to find choice out there would be tough to name. Let's see, there's who now....................(crickets)............ Bike shops have Fisher and soon Cannondale. Not too long after that we'll start seeing Kona and Haro with hardtail, geared, front suspended choices. (Although the Kona has sliding drop outs, thus sending it into the "do it all" category) If I tried listing all the major and second tier manufacturers of 26 inch hard tail, front suspended, geared only bikes we'd be here all day!

The point is that we can't be comparing what we have in 26 inch bikes to 29"ers. They are two entirely different markets. One has a multiplicity of choices and the other is super limited. For what it is, the Caffeine 29"er is a major step forward in the growth of choice in the 29"er marketplace, and I think it deserves to be seen as such. Yes, the spec is rather odd in places. Yes, it may have it's quirks. (Read: Lefty fork and Cannondales typical overall look) but it's a step in the right direction. What other readily available, bike shop bikes can you point to that are 29"ers? Not many, that's for sure. I say, "Thank you, Cannondale for making another choice available in 29"ers to more people".

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Get "Caffeine-ated"! Cannondale 29"er Update

The much rumored, oft predicted, and highly anticipated Cannondale 29"er is very close to being released for sale and has a name. That name would be "Caffeine". Originally, the project worked under the moniker, "F-29", but since that is too close to being confused with the 26"er line up, and the notion that Cannondale wanted to take the naming of their bikes in a different direction, the name became Caffeine.

The first ever 29"er for Cannondale should be available in mid September. As I mentioned yesterday, the spec will include a Lefty fork. Specifically, it will be the Lefty Speed Bonded DLR2 with 80mm of travel In a post on the Cannondale forum on, Cannondale Bear Naked Team rider, Matthew Lee explained that the 80mm of travel on his proto type 29"er fork was "smooth" and that he was getting all of 80mm out of the Lefty. He went on to say that the 80mm of travel felt like more than that and that he didn't really think the bike needed more than that much travel. This report would be consistent with with what alot of people say about front suspension on a 29"er. Also noted is that ultra-endurance freak and 29"er nut-case, Mike Curiak recently did a 29"er fork comparo and gave the Lefty very high marks.

A further look at the spec reveals a SRAM X-7 trigger shifter set and rear derailluer, a LX front derailluer, FSA crankset and 31.8 handle bar, Avid BB-5 mechanical disc brakes, and Exi Wolf tires. All of this for $1599.99. The word put out by none other than Matthew Lee is that Cannondales first production run will be a small number of bikes. They want to test the waters in the market and if there is good seel through and support for the product, then we may see more products in the future. I've a feeling that the Caffeine will be snapped up rather quickly when word gets out about it, so if you are thinking about one, I'd turn that into action. The market place has very few production, geraed only, front suspended choices out there and this is a high quality one with an unusual front fork. I'd say that they will be hard to come by because of demand, just my opinion though.

At any rate, the hard tail will be available in Team Bear Naked white/ blue/ orange and in Raw aluminum. Interested in getting one? You'll have to contact your local Cannondale dealer. I happen to know where one of them is!

Finally, thank you to Cannondale for taking this step! It should prove to be a sucessful launch and a great bike!

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

29"er Tires: Blowin' Up, Ya'all!

I don't mean exploding either! I mean more choices are coming our way very soon! First off, we have the Panaracer Rampage 2.35" . Samples of the tire are now being recieved and the full production run is under way. The delivery to these shores is slated to be in August. It's rumored to be quite a bit lighter than an Exi Wolf, have tough side walls, and side knobs. If this tire is all of these things in production form, we will have a new king of all mountain 29"er treads. Well..........maybe! Read on!

It seems that our brethren across the pond have taken matters into their own hands. Details are sketchy right now, but this offering looks promising as well. I do not know anything about the company or the tire as yet. I only just found out about it this morning! I'll post more when the information comes my way!

Other news: I recieved confirmation that a Raleigh XXIX is on order for me and will be recieved in the warehouse on 8-4-06. Looks like another single speed 29"er will be headed to Guitar Ted Labratories soon! Also expected in August is a Haro Mary frame set. Stay tuned!

Update on Cannondale 29"er: I was just informed that the new Cannondale 29"er will be released in September and the model name will be "Caffiene". It will be $1599.99 and availble in Team Bear Naked colors and Raw with a mostly X-7 spec and a lefty fork. More later!

Monday, July 17, 2006

Paying Your Dues: Part II

I got several great comments from last weeks posts concerning rider skills, bicycle types for off roading, and whether either one actually matters or not.

My feeling is that yes: an individual can buy a mountain bike these days that will make it rather difficult to ride another type of mountain bike effectively. The bikes have become so specialized these days that to switch from one 6 X 6 inch travel free ride machine to a fully rigid mountain bike would require quite some time to become fully acclimated to the nuances of riding a rigid machine effectively. The opposite is probably true, as well. I mean, are you going to huck a three foot drop right away after spending all your time on a rigid mountain bike? Most likely, the answer is "no", but there are always exceptions.

So, is it the rider then? Or, is it the bike? How does riding a different bike make you better? Can it even do such a thing? Maybe a good, skilled, fit rider can ride any bike, anywhere and make it work as well as it could. Hmm...........

I think in the end what we have is a combination of things. A bike on it's own merits does not impart a higher degree of skill, fitness, or technique to it's rider, no matter how high tech it is. Conversely, if a fit, skilled rider gets on a DH sled, yet hasn't a clue how to use that tool for the job, then the rider isn't going to automatically go fastest down the hill. You need to have both things. The right tool for the job and the skills, fitness, and knowledge to extract the best performance out of the bike and the rider. Having daring, tolerance for pain, and determination doesn't hurt either. ( Well, maybe not so much on the tolerance for pain thing!)

How you get to the perfect mix of equipment, skill, fitness, and package it all together in a great performance is going to look different for each rider. Some will have come from a simple, rigid, single speed backround, and some from road riding, and some from free riding and.....where ever! Sometimes the package that you employ for a particular ride might look crazy to others. ( Like riding a road bike off road or doing a road training ride on a dual sus mtb) Either way, if your performance is top notch, then who is to say that it's wrong? Yes, maybe it could be better with a more traditional set up, but then again..........maybe not! The mind is a weird place and factors highly into all of this.

So, how did you pay your dues? Does it really matter? I'll tell you what really matters! ...........

It's that you did it all on a bicycle and you had fun doing it! ( at least I hope you had some fun!)

Saturday, July 15, 2006

Bike Shop Horrors: Photo Blog

Double railed seat clamped in a standard post head with some finishing nails!

Anybody out there remember Seat Sandwiches?

I've never seen these levers before. Brake adjuster looks like something Bruce Lee would use in a fight. Suntour Death Star?

Notice STI lever posistion. We get bikes in all the time with levers posistioned so low they make my wrists and hands start to tingle! Thankfully, this fellow had had enough and requested that we move the levers into a much more comfy posistion.

Seat carnage. You'd be surprised at how many broken saddles are being ridden on out there. It can't be very comfy, but most of these folks say they don't want to replace these butt torturers! Amazing! Say, if you like pain, I know about this little gravel grinder coming up............

Here Carlos is showing us that his legs are on correctly. Somebody elses legs aren't quite on so good! We get one or two of these 'Mart bikes in every year with the "radical offset" forks.

Hope you had some fun with these and believe me, there are many more, I just don't always have the camera handy! Very hot in North America right now, so stay hydrated and get out and ride!

Friday, July 14, 2006

A Special Thank You

A little while ago, I was contacted for some 29"er info by an individual. Not a big deal, I get that from time to time, and it's always welcomed. I gave my information and went about my way. Sometime later, ( yesterday!) I recieved an e-mail and a package from the same individual saying "thank you" and I opened the package and found this!

Pretty cool stuff from Twin Six! I've been aware of their stuff through Mr.24 and other athletes. I didn't know that anyone that worked for them was a 29"er fan, but I know that now! ( Thanks Brent!)

I always appreciate a good t-shirt and Twin Six has several besides these that are really cool. These two are made with a really nice combed cotton, which is a bit lighter weight. That's especially good now, since we are suffering from "swamp ass" conditions now. ( High temps and high humidity, for you who care to know!) The thinner fabric keeps you cooler and the combed cotton is silky smooth. Nice!

A word about the "Alpe d'Huez shirt: This is a regular shirt in the line, but with a special "limited edition" twist. If you can read it, the black print says something about the recent doping scandal in le Tour. I'll let you decipher it, but Brent tells me that there were like 50 of these printed, so do not expect the exact same shirt to be available to you. The "regular" Alpe d'Huez shirt is available and is veddy kool!

The square tags on the shirts are coasters for your favorite beverages. Nice touch! Brent sent me several of these. I guess I'd better get to work on using them! With the upcoming 90 degree weather we will be suffering through, that shouldn't be a problem! I usually don't post stuff like this, but Brent sent me this stuff out of the blue because I answered a few questions for him, so I thought it was the least I could do to thank him and let you all know about a really cool cycling apparel company. Please check them out!

Have a great weekend and enjoy riding your bike! Check back for a special "Bike Shop Horrors" blog post tomorrow!

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Paying Your Dues

The article I linked to the other day concerning this looney toon and his take on mountain bikes being overkill has generated a few interesting comments. It seems that some of us feel that the acquisition of skills is sharpened, or at least only attainable through riding skinny tires, rigid bikes, fixed gear, single speed, or some combination of all of these. Suspension seems to be generally seen as a "cover up" for bad skills, or lack of technique. I find this outlook very interesting, and quite honestly, it has never been my view on the subject.

You see, I am old enough to have started out off roading on skinny tired rigid bikes. Long before I had ever heard of a "mountain bike" I was riding a rigid, single speed, coaster brake Huffy with 26 X 1" and 3/8ths tires on it all over the dirt paths in my home town. I had issues with the dirt anytime it was wet, ( no traction, mud clearance) I had issues with flat tires,( lack of air volume in tires), and it didn't really handle all that well like it did on pavement. That was a combination of the tires and geometry being less than desirable. Keep in mind that these things didn't stop me, and it was the only choice I had!

Fast forward to the late 80's. I had heard of these "mountain bikes" and I wanted one. Fat tires meant less pinch flats. Fat tires meant more traction. Frames built for fat tires and off roading meant more mud clearance and better handling. These are good things, no? I could have purchased a road bike and went off road with it, like the looney dude suggests, but why? Going backwards wasn't what I was interested in. I had been there. I wanted the next step in off roadable cycling. The rigid mountain bike was it.

See where this is going? Back in the day, ( read: when G-Ted was a pup) there was no other way than to ride a road bike off road. It wasn't all it's cracked up to be, believe me. It's fun, but look: a mountain bike is better at it! Now we have suspension, gee-gaws, this and thats........all flavors and push ups too! I think it's great, but I never thought about starting my off roading on a 5 X 5 inch travel all mountain rig, like younginz can today. That's a different perspective than mine. Maybe there should be a paying of dues. Maybe you should ride a rigid road machine off road? I know it made me a better rider for doing it.

But there is no way you can say a mountain bike is overkill for off roading! That's just plain stupid talk!

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

More Drifting........

Not much is happening at the moment that is hitting a nerve here at Guitar Ted Labratories. That's either good, in that things are at peace, somewhat, in the off road world, or it's bad, in that I'm becoming numb. (Not comfortably, though!) Here are some mildly interesting topics for your summer reading pleasure..........

WTB Exi Wolf Tire Review: It's up now on the Biking Hub , so you can check that out now. The header says "Cory" as the author, but it's really me! No.....I didn't assume another identity, or anything goofy like that! Just trust me on this one................( and Cory: If you see this, NO WORRIES! It's not a big deal!)

JHK Rides a 29"er Hardtail to 2nd at Short Track: Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski raced his 29"er hardtail to a second place spot at the recent Deer Valley NORBA National event. There is a pretty cool picture posted on showing JHK at full power on a bike that actually makes him look normal! Said he even liked it on that course, he did. Maybe now we will see that rig get pulled out for duty every once and awhile now. The picture and thread on comes courtesy of JHK's mechanic, who goes by the handle mattmoto on the forum. Thanks!

Diamond Back Intros a New FS Rig: Caution! 26"er news! Yes....I know, but I have a soft spot for Diamond Back, as I owned one back in the day. They have a new rig coming that is supposed to have six inches of travel front and rear. I think it's called the "Mission", and it's pretty cool looking. Hydroformed aluminum chassis, cool subtle paint and graphics, and will come in three models. Six inches of travel is about three too many for around here, so don't look for me to be on one of these soon. For you guys that need that sort of travel, check this bike out! It's pretty cool looking, and coming from Diamond Back, it should be pretty good performing, as well. By the way, it's not on their site yet, since it's an '07 model, but you will be very impressed. It is head and shoulders above anything they have put out in recent years. Trust me, it's very cool!

Raleigh XXIX Update: And now, for some proper 29"er news! The XXIX is in the dealer pipeline now and should be showing up on trails soon. Again, the first shipment is all comitted to filling pre-orders from customers, so don't go getting angry 'cause you can't see one at the bike shop just yet. The second wave of XXIX's is due on these shores next month. Possibly by then there may be some "extras" to stock, but my source says don't count on it. It's a very popular rig in Raleigh's line up. Look for a geared 29"er from Raleigh to be introduced at the On Dirt Demo at Interbike this fall.

And Now...For Some Shop Scuttlebutt: Shop repairs have been flying in and out the door since the weather has gotten really warm, and since RAGBRAI is coming up. Jeff, Carlos, and I have been coming up with some really warped conversations/ ideas whilst working away the hours. It's all under the heading, "You had to be there", because if I tried to relate it to you here, it would be hollow, misunderstood, and stupid. Well.......come to think of it, it might still be all of those things, but I laugh so hard, it makes me hurt sometimes. They, ( whomever "they" are) need to do a reality show based out of a bike shop. It'd be a killer laugh fest! Really! That reminds me, I still am collecting photos for that "shop based photo blog". It's still coming together!

Enjoy your day! Ride a bike! Save gas........don't drive, or ride a bike instead. No.......really!

Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Horse Lattitudes

Things seem to be drifting along with the mid summer heat. Folks are busy racing, going on vacation, or getting ready to. With all of that in mind, here are some random, floaty bits that are drifting along out there...............

Fomenters of Dissent: Check out this looney toon article linked through Blue Collar Mountain Biking. You can see my commentary in the comments section on the Blue Collar blog, so I won't say much here except that this guy is pretty narrowly focused. I do happen to agree with alot of what he says about skill, gearing, and techniques, but he's mostly out to lunch on this one!

Bike Magazine on the New XTR: Bike magazine is doing a web-series on the new XTR which you can check out now for the first installment. It looks like it might be informative for those of you that are sponsored and should be a good indicator of what your teams might be sending you. The rest of us.......yeah! We'll be slumming on M-960 closeouts or on SRAM X-9 stuff. Or if you are like me, on 8 speed leftovers from the parts bin!

Tour "Hard Man": This has no doubt been on your radar screen, but bears mentioning anyway. Floyd Landis- bad hip socket- pain! Nuff said!

Exi Wolf 29"er Tire Review: Check back with The Biking Hub later for my Exi Wolf 29"er tire review which should be posted today, or tomorrow......or........ Hey! It's summer, it's hot, lazy, sweaty! Don't expect things to happen all at once! No, really!'ll be up this week sometime, just thought I'd promo it now!

Question for Enduro-Freaks Only! Is there a place for an endurance based subject matter blog/website, on the order of Blue Collar Mountainbiking on the web? Would this idea make any sense, and what should it look like? A clearing house for enduro info like training methods, equipment, and the like? Or a reporting site, with info on events, results, and enduro culture? pretty much has the calendar thing locked up, but what about everything else? What say you, enduro freak? I want to know, because there is talk about setting something like this up and I might be able to get involved in it, so you are helping me satisfy a selfish desire for knowledge. There! That's my disclaimer, just so you all know!

Monday, July 10, 2006

Woke Up With A Monster

Woke up this morning and I can say without hesitation that yes, I have some sort of sickness! So, I guess there was something to yesterday's weird ride. Oh well! I'll rest as much as I can, but with the shop swamped with pre-RAGBRAI repairs, I'll be wrenching like crazy just to get us somewhere near caught up. I haven't been posting much shop related stories or pictures of late. Perhaps a single day photo-blog blitz is in order? Some really crazy stuff comes through that boggles the mind from time to time.

Public Service Announcement: Guitar Ted Wants You! To vote, that is! Bad Idea Racing (aka Rich Dillen and "The WonderBoy) have a chance to get into The Trans Rockies Challenge by way of a contest sponsored by Race Face components. They need our help because you have to vote them into the event. The contest is into the second round and Bad Idea Racing's video will be posted onto the official contest site on Monday. (Today!) You watch all four videos and vote for the best one in that round. ( Obviously........Bad Idea Racings video, duh!) Here's what you do, sign up, watch the vids, and submit your obviously tainted vote for Bad Idea Racing on Monday (Today!) or afterwards for a week. Then Bad Idea Racing wins and goes on. Hopefully, they will become the first single speed team to compete in Trans Rockies. Rich has already done the Challenge in one gear, but there never has been a team of two to do this. Help make history! Vote Today!

Sunday, July 09, 2006

Not a Good Day!

Got up early today to do a recon ride for the G.T.D.R.I. today. I set out about 5:15 am. Right away, I felt strange. Sleepy, lethargic, and I had trouble concentrating. No worries, I thought. It'll pass. didn't!

I got about 20 miles into it and I just was getting worse and worse until I broke out in a cold sweat. Then I felt better, for awhile. Then it started coming back. Well, needless to say, I turned around and cut it short. Something wasn't right. I was yawning all the way home, which I know from past experience means that my body is not going to take a high level of stress for much longer. I got home, showered, and fell asleep for five hours. I felt not much better the rest of the day.

I'm not sure if I picked up a flu from a co-worker at work who was sick last week or what, but that's the way it goes sometimes. I learned along time ago that it's best to take your lumps and heal up to come back another day. Trouble is, I don't have much time or chances to recon the course left to me. It may affect some other decisions I have made. We'll see about that later.

On a better note: Congrats to Jeff Kerkove on another win. He is really on top of his form and looks the best that I have seen him look. That means one thing. Look out for him at Nationals! I wish I could be there to witness it, but I have previously scheduled commitments. That is going to be an awesome event!

Hope ya'all had a better weekend than me!

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Saturday Bits

Looking to do a Guitar Ted Death Ride Invitational recon ride this weekend. Today has a front coming through with a chance of thunderstorms. They are already showing up on radar in western Iowa, so I'm deferring to Sunday, as the weather calls for sunny skies and very low chances for rain. I'll be out all day, so I'd rather avoid the rain, if possible. Look for an update on the G.T.D.R.I. site tomorrow night.

There is an interesting thread on concerning the fork trail for the new "Genesis 2" geometry introduced by Trek/Fisher for the '07 model year. Check it out. It seems that there still is some exploring to do in the geometry department for not only 29"ers, but for 26"ers too. Does it really matter? That's a question that is up for debate yet.

Well, we survived the pre-race doping scandal and the first week of LeTour. It's as wide open and exciting as ever, especially since it's not a tour where it's Lance vs. everyone else. I like it!

Speaking of races, the Great Divide Race is down to two competitors. Matthew Lee, who is in the final stages of the event in New Mexico, and Kenny Maldonado, who might be into Idaho soon. Kenny is admittedly taking his sweet time, and that's okay. It's a tough race, and I hope Kenny can pull off the whole thing and finish it up. Guaranteed no worse than second place,if he can finish, so no worries! (Well, the actual act of finishing the event not with standing!)

Question for ya: If the recent appearance of "96ers"/ 50-50 bikes is such a great idea, then why didn't these ever catch on?

Finally: Guitar Ted Wants You! To vote, that is! Bad Idea Racing (aka Rich Dillen and "The WonderBoy) have a chance to get into The Trans Rockies Challenge by way of a contest sponsored by Race Face components. They need our help because you have to vote them into the event. The contest is into the second round and Bad Idea Racing's video will be posted onto the official contest site on Monday. You watch all four videos and vote for the best one in that round. ( Obviously........Bad Idea Racings video, duh!) Here's what you do, sign up, watch the vids, and submit your obviously tainted vote for Bad Idea Racing on Monday or afterwards for a week. Then Bad Idea Racing wins and goes on. Hopefully, they will become the first single speed team to compete in Trans Rockies. Rich has already done the Challenge in one gear, but there never has been a team of two to do this. Help make history! Vote on Monday!

Friday, July 07, 2006

Tubeless Tires a Reality For 29"ers?

It's getting close to the time when news of '07 product is going to be coming out, ( as I posted recently) and Trek is the first to rock the boat and rock it in a big way!

Rumblings of a tubeless system for 29" tires has been heard from the bowels of the Trek Empire for a couple of years now with promises that they would finally come out with it.....someday. Well, that someday is closer now that Trek has announced the existence of the product in an official press release on Here is the "meat" of the news excerpted from that link:

"Naturally, Bontrager will offer several new tubeless-ready 29er tires to mount on the new hoops, including its extant Jones ACX and Jones XR tread patterns as well as a new Dry X. When combined with Bontrager's Super Juice sealant, the new wheel and tire combo is said to drop a whopping 315g from last year's Race Lite 29 wheelset and standard tubed tires."

The news also tells of a new rim that is tubeless compatible to go along with the system. If the system works as advertised, this will be a huge advancement in the 29"er format and should bring performance levels up a few notches. There will be alot of people watching this developement very closely!

Finally, in a bit of an ironic twist, Trek engineers working with Answer Manitou suspension people have developed a new suspension fork offset for 26 inch wheeled bikes! Ahhhh! Say it ain't so, Gary! We needed that on our 29"ers way worse than you needed that on your Genesis 2 geometry for your 26 inch wheeled rigs. 43mm. of offset in a suspension fork would be pure gold in a 29 inch format. I can only hope that there is some secret 29"er fork in developement from Manitou waiting in the wings to really take advantage of this new crown offset. In fact, I'm willing to bet that there is such a fork coming. It just makes way too much sense for there not to be such a fork.

Good news! Now we'll have to wait to be able to actually get our mits on the stuff. Any bets out there? Fall '06? Next year? Ya gotta be careful when it comes to Trek. Usually later than sooner with them!

Thursday, July 06, 2006

Thursday News and Views

I am hearing that Norco, ( a Canadian based bicycle manufacturer) may be coming out with a 29"er based on the Nitro hardtail. Purely a rumor at this point, but not surprising to hear as alot of second tier manufacturers are coming aboard the 29"er mothership lately. At least the mountain bikers north of the border will have a home grown choice in big wheels.

Van Dessel Cycles is going to introduce new, upgraded 29"er models to their line up at Pedro Fest later this month. The framesets will be all new and based upon the old Buzz Bomb frames. The new names are Ramble Tamble, for the ss/ Rohloff/ gearie compatible frame- Jersey Devil, for the geared only hardtail with carbon fiber seat stays and- Jersey Devil FS, for the 4" travel, geared only full suspension model. The frames will all have upgraded, lightweight tube sets to appeal more to the racing/ weight weenie crowds.

Panaracer is about to come forth with it's first samples of the 29 inch version of the all new Rampage tire. The 26 inch version is currently in the hands of some feild testers. The tire has a voluminous casing with widely spaced and ramped tread blocks that extend down the sides of the casing somewhat. The knobs are big and squarish in shape, with some grouped together. The tread looks agressive, grippy, and the casing looks wide and cushy. These are supposed to be 2.35 inches wide in the 29"er format. If they are, they will become the instant All Mountain tire of choice for 29"er riders world wide. Look out Exi Wolf! The Rampage models are due out next month.

Although July has just started, I'd be surprised if news of new products for the 29"er market doesn't start leaking out at higher and higher rates as we approach September and Interbike time. Things like more tire choices, 29"er specific rims, and suspension forks are just a few of the rumblings that I have heard about. Time will tell, but the time to be ready for Interbike introductions is right about now. That's why I think we'll be seeing more and more news very soon!

Great Divide Race Update: As of yesterday, there are now only two official contenders for the Great Divide Race. Matthew Lee is still on course in southern Colorado/ northern New Mexico somewhere after leaving Salida, Colorado yesterday with his fork fixed and the roads cleared of debris from land slides. John Nobile dropped out at Steam Boat Springs suffering from a cold that was not getting better. Somewhere out there and last heard from in Montana is Kenny Maldonando, who as yet has not officially pulled out of the event.

I was being cajoled by Mr. 24 to take part in the 12 hour race this weekend at Blue Mound in Wisconsin. I had to resist the temptation though, as I must finish pre riding the G.T.D.R.I. route on Saturday if I am to be able to confirm the route and give some mileages. My last opportunity to ride the course is two weeks before the event on August 5/6th, because on the 22nd of July I am already committed to the Lincoln Boys 162. ( That ride doesn't really have an "official" name, so I came up with that one!) With my calendar already so full, I had to turn Mr. 24 down! Rats! It soundes like a fun event!

Wednesday, July 05, 2006

Cycling is........

Okay..........I admit it! I am a Tour deFrance geek! I got sucked in again, despite the pre-race doping massacre of all the top rated riders. I am sitting in front of the digital idiot box devouring all the live updates and gear stories that I can find. Same Tour- different year! So, is any of the remaining top riders going to finish? The fantasy Tour players must be in total disarray now! Valverde, Rodriquez, Dekker, and probably O'Grady go down just in yesterdays stage. Bloody pics of Hushovd and Dekker in the past few days have made me shudder.

Cycling is beautiful.

Cycling is brutal!

The Great Divide Race, down to three riders, (talk about brutal!) has Matthew Lee leaving Salida, Colorado today to continue onwards towards the final stages of the event. His fork malfunctioned again, but it has been serviced and made functional again by the guys a Absolute Bikes, who regularly service GDR competitors bikes every year.

Cycling is epic!

I went on a Fourth of July ride yesterday to celebrate the freedom we have in this country which allows me to do things like ride my bike. I put in 40 miles, out to the Scout Camp and back. Twenty of which were into a headwind. Lots of rollers and some steep hills. I wasn't feeling all that great in the morning and I didn't feel any better when I got back. The wind and hills stressed my lower back some, so I'm a bit sore and stiff today. It was a beautiful ride, though. The tiger lillies are in full force right now and lined many of the ditches with their brilliant orange colors. Purple clovers and wild roses rounded out the wild flower sightings yesterday. They all helped take my mind off the pain.

Cycling is tough.

Cycling is free!

I hope you all get to enjoy all these attributes of cycling and more soon!

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

You Guys Are Weird!: Part II

In yesterdays post I posed the question, "What is it that makes us cyclists so different?" Today, I want to look at this a bit more closely. As I also mentioned yesterday, there are specific reasons that cyclists are so different; as many reasons as there are cyclists, probably. I want to look at it in a bit broader terms today.

Some things cyclists do can be chalked up to just being competitive. You know, striving to be the best at whatever discipline you choose. Working to beat even your self. That's not necessarily a cycling thing, but is certainly a part of all of us.

What I'm thinking of is the things that don't seem to make any sense on the face of things. Take single speeding for instance. Or endurance racing, or self supported, ultra endurance events, and other such "crazy" pursuits. Even things like helping out a fellow cyclist that you don't even know, when his rig gets pipped with all it's gear. Or how about all of these things wrapped up into one: him to do the same thing you are. Single speeding on an ultra endurance course , self supported, to help out a cyclist in need and encourage him to enter next years GDR.

The common thread I see here is the willingness to overcome hardship, whether it be self imposed, ( fixed gear, single speed, self supported racing) or imposed upon us from without, ( terrain, weather, mechanicals, physical issues, social misfits, etc...) There is a certain quality that some of us cyclists seem to have that sets us aside from the rest. We seem to gravitate towards this challenge of overcoming hardships and relate to the others that choose this same path. It's not really competition, because that can entail so much that is ugly about human nature. It's more about a personal, inner satisfaction that can only come from getting to the other side. The other side of the course, the mountain, the pain, or whatever the journey might entail.

It's certainly something that makes us all weird to the rest of our families, friends, and aquaintences. They just do not get it. They ask us "Why?", and we just shrug our shoulders and give them the blank stare, because we know they just won't get it. I can't even put my finger on it.

I guess you just have to be there! (shrugging shoulders and staring blankly)

Monday, July 03, 2006

You Guys Are Weird!

I hope everyone is having a great 4th of July holiday here in the States. It's kind of strange when the 4th falls in the middle of the week because some of us get just that day off, some part of the week off, and the lucky few get the whole week off! Of course, you can just take it off work, and use up vacation time, so that happens alot too.

Okay, so have you been keeping up on the GDR? It seems as though we are whittled down to three riders. Matthew Lee, who is ahead by a long ways up on John Noble, and Kenny Maldonado. Rudi Nadler, who attempted to ride the route on a fixed gear, pulled out yesterday in Wyoming. John Montgomery also pulled the plug yesterday with severe knee problems and dietary issues. It's a tough thing to ride this route at such a high pace, with the altitude, solitude, lack of "normal" foods and what not. Then to multiply the challenge with single speed, fixed gear, or dietary stipulations, well that's even harder yet.

What is it about cyclists that makes us want to be so different? Maybe that term, "different" isn't even the correct term, but it's a jumping off point. I find this desire to be set apart from the masses of people and even other "normal cyclists" most often expressed in the ultra endurance cyclist. It's an interesting phenomena. This is an idea that has me intrigued and it really caught my attention when I read something a friend e-mailed to me the other day. He was referencing the recent Tour doping scandal, but it applies to a greater theater here, I think.

"Apparently our perceptions can be skewed by cheaters and thieves. We, as a cycling community, seems to always rise above it. Bootleg events like TI, Dopers Suck, Single Speed, 29ers, anything to distance ourselves."

Is what we are doing; being different, a way to separate ourselves from the masses of "crap culture", "normal", mainstream cycling, and even our own everyday lives? I think the answers are as varied as there are people. I think that there are; however, some broader answers that might just make sense to alot of us, and that's what I want to explore in the next post.

(Thanks to "Wuzbeen" for the quote and his frequent comments to this blog)

Sunday, July 02, 2006

Sunday Morning Edition

I got an e-mail the other day from a friend that has me thinking. You know what hapens when I start thinking? Trouble- that's what! Ha ha! No, maybe not this time, but I have an idea for a couple of posts that should be interesting based upon the e-mail I got. No time to develope it here today, but look for an outline of what I have in mind in tomorrows post.....or heck! I just might start the whole thing tomorrow! We'll see......

Rob Pennell of Badger Cycles has been getting some great exposure over on the 29"er forum lately and I predict that his business will soon start to take off. These bikes of his are stunningly beautiful, creative, and priced right. That's a good recipe for a builder to get swamped with orders! I only mention this as a half a service to you, my loyal readers and to myself, to get offa my duff and order one of these things! Arrgh! I must quit looking at them..........too tempting!

The 29"er march to the mainstraem continues! Now I hear that Jamis is going to be introducing a 29"er at this falls Interbike trade show. Possibly two, a geared and a single speed bike. looks as though almost all of the "second tier" companies are coming out with 29"ers. Some of the major companies are still waiting it out, though. Companies like Giant, (who surely are already manufacturing 29"ers for the smaller companies, I would think) Specialized, ( who are rumored to be coming out with a 29"er in '08, but as yet, it is unconfirmed) and Trek, who can arguably be said to already have 29"ers since Fisher is owned by them. It won't be long, though and all of these companies will be on board. I think this years Interbike is going to be a high water mark for 29"ers, not just in bike intros, but in 29"er specific parts intros! Tires, forks, and wheels in particular. We'll wait and see.

That's it today! Get out and ride!

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Post Trauma Syndrome

Well, they are off in France and hopefully the race will go off without any further off course drama. I have a two sided view of the happenings of the last day or so.

1. After the initial shock and the total change in perspective on the field of riders remaining, I have to say that this Tour now is even more unpredictable than ever. The racing should prove to be spectacular, with no one really knowing whom to mark on any given stage concerning the overall classification. I like that part. Having this action taken by the Teams and Tour officials sends a serious message about doping and even suspected doping, going as far as having relationships with suspected dopers! This message should be quite clear now, and quite frankly, should scare the chamois off the Tour riders. Which leads me to the flip side of my view on this..........

2. The actions and motivations of the past few days, while seemingly "pure" in terms of wiping out doping in the Pro peleton, are very alarming to me. What if someone doesn't like you as a racer? Link that person to a "known" doping doctor, team, or teamate and poof! You are gone! It's kind of like what the French Press corps have been trying to do for years to Lance and are still doing to teams like CSC. (New Doping Charges For CSC?) It's like the old saying about absolute power that you've probably heard before. The authorities, promoters, and governing bodies want to have this absolute power to eliminate doping, and I'm afraid that they are very close to demonstrating that they have it indeed. Let's hope that they restrain themselves from ruining a riders career(s) with impure motives.

That said, I'm glad to see that the prologue went off and the race is on. Let's hope Floyd can get to the start line on time tomorrow!