Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Interbike 2009: It's The People That Make It Cool

<==="Trouble Makers" #1 and #2: Photo by Sonya Looney


Interbike is in Las Vegas, which makes a lot of us Interbike-a-lopers a bit tense. Vegas isn't really a very savory town, it is an icon of excessiveness and waste, and to get anything done there is expensive and maddening. Yet Interbike can't really be consistently held in a place without lots of available hotel rooms, and a viable, good weather location for the Outdoor Demo. So it goes.......
Here's my take: It really doesn't matter all that much. Why? Well, besides getting ripped off by The Sands, which I don't really see any good way around, you just focus on Interbike, and more specifically the people, and Las Vegas fades into the back round.
If you do that, and spend as little time as possible in the area of The Strip, the whole Las Vegas deal is pretty much marginalized. It's still there, hanging above your head, invisible to the eyes, but if ignored, it can be a pretty neutralized deal. It is kinda like offensive media. Just tune it out. Admittedly not easy to do in the area of The Strip, but a mere two blocks away, and your in any ol' Southwestern town for the most part.
And the people I get to see that come there, I sometimes don't get to see for an entire year until the next Interbike. In that sense Interbike is like going to a funeral. Not a fun place to go, but you get to see family you don't normally see. Sure, it shouldn't be that way, but that's how it seems to always work out.
At any rate, it's all about the people for me, and Vegas itself is just a nuisance that I have to put up with to see these folks. Still very worthwhile.
Warning! If you are easily offended, do not scroll down to see the next image! You've been warned!
I told ya to be careful..........
<===If you "get" this, your friends probably think you are one sick puppy!
xXc Mag, a webzine I highly recommend, is produced by Jason Mahokey. He of the cryptic Facebook postings. Well, he got ahold of me and wanted to know if I would sport the t-shirt you see here on the floor of Interbike. I said yes, and the wheels were put in motion to get that to happen. Unfortunately for both of us, the wheels we were relying on were those of the U.S.P.S.
Fail!
Oh well! I told Jason I would try to work this shirt into as many blog posts as I can. So get used to seeing it. I figure since this blog gets about as much traffic as the main drag in Wood, South Dakota, I will have to post it about 1467 times in the next month.
Just kidding!
But do look for this to pop up in some unusual places.

Interbike 2009: It's The People That Make It Cool

<==="Trouble Makers" #1 and #2: Photo by Sonya Looney


Interbike is in Las Vegas, which makes a lot of us Interbike-a-lopers a bit tense. Vegas isn't really a very savory town, it is an icon of excessiveness and waste, and to get anything done there is expensive and maddening. Yet Interbike can't really be consistently held in a place without lots of available hotel rooms, and a viable, good weather location for the Outdoor Demo. So it goes.......
Here's my take: It really doesn't matter all that much. Why? Well, besides getting ripped off by The Sands, which I don't really see any good way around, you just focus on Interbike, and more specifically the people, and Las Vegas fades into the back round.
If you do that, and spend as little time as possible in the area of The Strip, the whole Las Vegas deal is pretty much marginalized. It's still there, hanging above your head, invisible to the eyes, but if ignored, it can be a pretty neutralized deal. It is kinda like offensive media. Just tune it out. Admittedly not easy to do in the area of The Strip, but a mere two blocks away, and your in any ol' Southwestern town for the most part.
And the people I get to see that come there, I sometimes don't get to see for an entire year until the next Interbike. In that sense Interbike is like going to a funeral. Not a fun place to go, but you get to see family you don't normally see. Sure, it shouldn't be that way, but that's how it seems to always work out.
At any rate, it's all about the people for me, and Vegas itself is just a nuisance that I have to put up with to see these folks. Still very worthwhile.
Warning! If you are easily offended, do not scroll down to see the next image! You've been warned!
I told ya to be careful..........
<===If you "get" this, your friends probably think you are one sick puppy!
xXc Mag, a webzine I highly recommend, is produced by Jason Mahokey. He of the cryptic Facebook postings. Well, he got ahold of me and wanted to know if I would sport the t-shirt you see here on the floor of Interbike. I said yes, and the wheels were put in motion to get that to happen. Unfortunately for both of us, the wheels we were relying on were those of the U.S.P.S.
Fail!
Oh well! I told Jason I would try to work this shirt into as many blog posts as I can. So get used to seeing it. I figure since this blog gets about as much traffic as the main drag in Wood, South Dakota, I will have to post it about 1467 times in the next month.
Just kidding!
But do look for this to pop up in some unusual places.

Touring Tuesdays: The Race Against Death Tour- Day 8 This Is The End

After one of the weirdest, most incredibly tough days of cycling on the tour, "The Race Against Death Tour" hits the Black Hills.

August 14th, 1995: We awake early and pack up our stuff for our first foray into the Black Hills of South Dakota. Things were kind of glum as we made ready since Troy made an announcement right outta the sack that his knee was pretty iffy. Apparently, the previous days efforts were too much, and one of his knees was giving him fits. Even during the previous day, he knew of it, but didn't want to admit it. Troy was the guy who the year before most rued the day we had to call it quits in Manistique, Michigan. Troy was the one that wasn't going to be the reason we didn't make it this time when we set out. In fact, he wasn't going to let any of us "not make it". And here he was, admitting that he had an injury that would "possibly slow us down".

Well, I think Ryan and I both saw through his pride. We said "the right things", encouraging Troy. Saying it wouldn't be a big deal if we had to stop. So we kind of danced around the problem that we both knew was going to close out this trip. It was now just a matter of when Troy would say he was done.

So it was that we set out with a quiet, brooding mood about us. It should have been an exciting day, the sun was out, it was cool, it wasn't windy at all. By all appearances it was a great day to be on the bike. The nicest one we had experienced on tour so far. However; we set off as if we were headed into a drizzling rain on a gray morning.

The way the road was laid out didn't help. The climb started right at the door of the motel. Straight up into the Black Hills on busy Highway 16 West. At least there was a paved shoulder wide enough to insulate us from the heavy morning traffic. Troy was up the road, Ryan in second, and I followed. We were all separated by about a hundred yards. Granny gear climb all the way into the Black Hills. Probably about a five mile slog without any relief.

Oddly enough, I felt great. I found a rhythm and was able to stick to it all the way up. At the top the road entered the pines and the scenery was fantastic. We stopped near a laminated, arched wooden bridge to check the maps. We decided on a course and set off. Troy was soldiering on, and it seemed now after the huge climb was behind us that he may recover enough to keep going. However; his pace wasn't the fiery, aggressive one we were used to. His speed was about what it was going up, whether the road was flat or tilted up. Soon I found myself off the front, with Ryan hanging back with Troy. I don't really know what Ryan was doing, maybe trying to talk Troy into stopping. Maybe encouraging him to go on. Whichever it was, I never did find out. I had to wait for them several times. Finally it was obvious that Troy couldn't go on. We had to put a stop to the madness before he really destroyed his knee.

Basically Troy knew it, but he let us talk him out of it, I suppose to assuage himself somewhat of his guilty feelings for being the reason we had to quit. At any rate, the next campground we saw, we were going to stop at for the day. I rode on ahead a bit, checking all the signs. Looking at all the "post card" scenery. I was a bit excited because I knew we were in the same area I had been in when I was much younger on a family vacation. We stayed at a really cool campground/dude ranch called Rafter J-Bar Ranch. I was curious if I would see any signs of it again on this road, if this was the right road.

Once again I had to stop. Ryan came up not soon after. He was worried about Troy. He was really hurting, basically riding one legged now. He said we needed to find a place pronto. Well, Troy rolled up about then, and Ryan said, "What's up this driveway?" I said I didn't know, but not a second after the words came out of my mouth, Ryan found a sign that said "Rafter J-Bar Ranch" and an arrow pointing up the road. It was still here! The very same joint I had stayed at years ago when I was a child.

It was a nice place too. We found a camping spot right near the showers that had a laundry attached. It was time to set up camp, relax, and just goof off. We were all resigned to being done with the tour now, but what we would do with the remaining days, we had no idea just yet.

Next Week: A Different Routine.

Touring Tuesdays: The Race Against Death Tour- Day 8 This Is The End

After one of the weirdest, most incredibly tough days of cycling on the tour, "The Race Against Death Tour" hits the Black Hills.

August 14th, 1995: We awake early and pack up our stuff for our first foray into the Black Hills of South Dakota. Things were kind of glum as we made ready since Troy made an announcement right outta the sack that his knee was pretty iffy. Apparently, the previous days efforts were too much, and one of his knees was giving him fits. Even during the previous day, he knew of it, but didn't want to admit it. Troy was the guy who the year before most rued the day we had to call it quits in Manistique, Michigan. Troy was the one that wasn't going to be the reason we didn't make it this time when we set out. In fact, he wasn't going to let any of us "not make it". And here he was, admitting that he had an injury that would "possibly slow us down".

Well, I think Ryan and I both saw through his pride. We said "the right things", encouraging Troy. Saying it wouldn't be a big deal if we had to stop. So we kind of danced around the problem that we both knew was going to close out this trip. It was now just a matter of when Troy would say he was done.

So it was that we set out with a quiet, brooding mood about us. It should have been an exciting day, the sun was out, it was cool, it wasn't windy at all. By all appearances it was a great day to be on the bike. The nicest one we had experienced on tour so far. However; we set off as if we were headed into a drizzling rain on a gray morning.

The way the road was laid out didn't help. The climb started right at the door of the motel. Straight up into the Black Hills on busy Highway 16 West. At least there was a paved shoulder wide enough to insulate us from the heavy morning traffic. Troy was up the road, Ryan in second, and I followed. We were all separated by about a hundred yards. Granny gear climb all the way into the Black Hills. Probably about a five mile slog without any relief.

Oddly enough, I felt great. I found a rhythm and was able to stick to it all the way up. At the top the road entered the pines and the scenery was fantastic. We stopped near a laminated, arched wooden bridge to check the maps. We decided on a course and set off. Troy was soldiering on, and it seemed now after the huge climb was behind us that he may recover enough to keep going. However; his pace wasn't the fiery, aggressive one we were used to. His speed was about what it was going up, whether the road was flat or tilted up. Soon I found myself off the front, with Ryan hanging back with Troy. I don't really know what Ryan was doing, maybe trying to talk Troy into stopping. Maybe encouraging him to go on. Whichever it was, I never did find out. I had to wait for them several times. Finally it was obvious that Troy couldn't go on. We had to put a stop to the madness before he really destroyed his knee.

Basically Troy knew it, but he let us talk him out of it, I suppose to assuage himself somewhat of his guilty feelings for being the reason we had to quit. At any rate, the next campground we saw, we were going to stop at for the day. I rode on ahead a bit, checking all the signs. Looking at all the "post card" scenery. I was a bit excited because I knew we were in the same area I had been in when I was much younger on a family vacation. We stayed at a really cool campground/dude ranch called Rafter J-Bar Ranch. I was curious if I would see any signs of it again on this road, if this was the right road.

Once again I had to stop. Ryan came up not soon after. He was worried about Troy. He was really hurting, basically riding one legged now. He said we needed to find a place pronto. Well, Troy rolled up about then, and Ryan said, "What's up this driveway?" I said I didn't know, but not a second after the words came out of my mouth, Ryan found a sign that said "Rafter J-Bar Ranch" and an arrow pointing up the road. It was still here! The very same joint I had stayed at years ago when I was a child.

It was a nice place too. We found a camping spot right near the showers that had a laundry attached. It was time to set up camp, relax, and just goof off. We were all resigned to being done with the tour now, but what we would do with the remaining days, we had no idea just yet.

Next Week: A Different Routine.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Interbike 2009: The Hangover



<====The view out the Circus Circus hotel.

Coming back from Interbike always finds me a bit discombobulated for awhile. The city, the venue for the show, on top of air travel, and the work load all conspire to leave me a bit out of sorts for a few days.

I sure am glad I cut the trip short and got back on Thursday! Of course, because of the situation, I ended up being awake for too long a stretch, which only added to the pile.




<===Chris King, (on the left with the tongs) braved near 100 degree heat to barbeque for a bunch of dusty bike freaks. Thanks man!

That said, I ain't complainin'! I got to ride a bunch of really cool bikes at Bootleg Canyon, adding state number seven to my total for the year of states ridden off road in, and I got to meet a lot of great folks again.

Added to that were the old friends and faces which I don't get to see at all unless I go to Interbike. Too bad it takes that to get to see these folks, but then again, at least we get together. I suppose it ends up being better that we meet at all.



< ===Beef! It's whats for dinner, eh?

The plan this year was to get my rear end in gear and do what I could in the two Outdoor Demo days and one day of indoor work at Interbike. Looking back on it right now, I'd say it was successful as far as being on par with last year. I got more pictures, actually, and I got plenty of content. Trouble with the "plan" was that I had zero time to spend digging into things. It's funny though, because the readers seem to appreciate the pictures, but when you start writing more in depth stuff, they complain about not seeing the show virtually. So I took more pictures and talked and dug up stuff less.


<====Mutant muni monsters. These guys are off roading freaks of nature!

So the "plan" seemed to be fairly balanced and seemed to work. My partner, Grannygear, was a huge help. Between he and I we did more with the Outdoor Demo than ever before, and if we hadn't run into so many road blocks, we would have gotten even more done.

Example: (This one chapped my hide more than any of the situations) Cannondale had a big circus tent like deal where you walked into the front of the tent, did the required sign offs, and told them what bike you wanted to ride. Okay. No big deal, right? Well, the line was long when I stepped up. It wasn't moving very fast either. Meanwhile, Grannygear is standing there waiting, since the "normal" time to get a bike anywhere else had long elapsed and he was ready to ride. Finally! I get to a clipboard and then I see why the line was crawling. Dorel, Cannondale's parent company, had you sign your life away, asked for your mother's maiden name, and made you promise to say please and thank you in triplicate. Well, not really, but I signed more signatures and initials on their release than I did for anybody else at outdoor Demo combined. Stinkin' lawyers! Anyway.......

I walk up to the guy asking which bike I wanted. I said, "Anything with 29 inch wheels." The guy says that they didn't bring any, because they were still in production. I said, "Well, give me back my I.D. then." He looks at me with wide eyes, "You mean you won't ride anything but 29"ers?" To which I said, "Nope!" I grabbed my I.D., and I took my steaming countenance outta there before something other than "Nope" came outta my mouth.



<===Bootleg Canyon leaves an impression in more than one way.

At least they could have put up a sign that said "We didn't bring any 29"ers. Sorry!", and I wouldn't have wasted a half an hour waiting for nothing in the heat. Sheesh! Thanks Cannondale!

Anyway, that was the worst thing, and that was not that big a deal, so I wouldn't say it was a bad trip. But it does suck the life out of you somehow, some way, and that takes a bit to get over.

Well, it's over now and my next, and last, big deal for 2009 looms on the horizon.

The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo.

More on that to come, stay tuned.............

Interbike 2009: The Hangover



<====The view out the Circus Circus hotel.

Coming back from Interbike always finds me a bit discombobulated for awhile. The city, the venue for the show, on top of air travel, and the work load all conspire to leave me a bit out of sorts for a few days.

I sure am glad I cut the trip short and got back on Thursday! Of course, because of the situation, I ended up being awake for too long a stretch, which only added to the pile.




<===Chris King, (on the left with the tongs) braved near 100 degree heat to barbeque for a bunch of dusty bike freaks. Thanks man!

That said, I ain't complainin'! I got to ride a bunch of really cool bikes at Bootleg Canyon, adding state number seven to my total for the year of states ridden off road in, and I got to meet a lot of great folks again.

Added to that were the old friends and faces which I don't get to see at all unless I go to Interbike. Too bad it takes that to get to see these folks, but then again, at least we get together. I suppose it ends up being better that we meet at all.



< ===Beef! It's whats for dinner, eh?

The plan this year was to get my rear end in gear and do what I could in the two Outdoor Demo days and one day of indoor work at Interbike. Looking back on it right now, I'd say it was successful as far as being on par with last year. I got more pictures, actually, and I got plenty of content. Trouble with the "plan" was that I had zero time to spend digging into things. It's funny though, because the readers seem to appreciate the pictures, but when you start writing more in depth stuff, they complain about not seeing the show virtually. So I took more pictures and talked and dug up stuff less.


<====Mutant muni monsters. These guys are off roading freaks of nature!

So the "plan" seemed to be fairly balanced and seemed to work. My partner, Grannygear, was a huge help. Between he and I we did more with the Outdoor Demo than ever before, and if we hadn't run into so many road blocks, we would have gotten even more done.

Example: (This one chapped my hide more than any of the situations) Cannondale had a big circus tent like deal where you walked into the front of the tent, did the required sign offs, and told them what bike you wanted to ride. Okay. No big deal, right? Well, the line was long when I stepped up. It wasn't moving very fast either. Meanwhile, Grannygear is standing there waiting, since the "normal" time to get a bike anywhere else had long elapsed and he was ready to ride. Finally! I get to a clipboard and then I see why the line was crawling. Dorel, Cannondale's parent company, had you sign your life away, asked for your mother's maiden name, and made you promise to say please and thank you in triplicate. Well, not really, but I signed more signatures and initials on their release than I did for anybody else at outdoor Demo combined. Stinkin' lawyers! Anyway.......

I walk up to the guy asking which bike I wanted. I said, "Anything with 29 inch wheels." The guy says that they didn't bring any, because they were still in production. I said, "Well, give me back my I.D. then." He looks at me with wide eyes, "You mean you won't ride anything but 29"ers?" To which I said, "Nope!" I grabbed my I.D., and I took my steaming countenance outta there before something other than "Nope" came outta my mouth.



<===Bootleg Canyon leaves an impression in more than one way.

At least they could have put up a sign that said "We didn't bring any 29"ers. Sorry!", and I wouldn't have wasted a half an hour waiting for nothing in the heat. Sheesh! Thanks Cannondale!

Anyway, that was the worst thing, and that was not that big a deal, so I wouldn't say it was a bad trip. But it does suck the life out of you somehow, some way, and that takes a bit to get over.

Well, it's over now and my next, and last, big deal for 2009 looms on the horizon.

The Big Wheeled Ballyhoo.

More on that to come, stay tuned.............

Friday, September 25, 2009

Home Again

Well, I bugged outta the Lost Wages morass Thursday in the AM. I had my associate, Grannygear, dump me off at McCarran, as I posted yesterday, and since then, I was up for 38.5 hours. Yep! Pretty much awake the whole time with a couple of plane ride cat naps.

Call it T.I.V6 training. I usually am up about that long on those events too. Speaking of T.I.V6, I got some awesome news at Interbike. I am not at liberty to discuss details right now, but somebody has stepped forward in a huge way to offer sponsorship and logistical help that, if it all works out, will be a huge step up for T.I. in terms of just about everything.

Yeah, it is that good! I am really stoked, and d.p. and I are going to have a meeting with this mysterious person and get some details nailed down. Once we have something solid, look for an announcement. This won't be for about a month, so don't get too excited just yet, but feel free to speculate!

In the interim my attention is going to be full on the Bigwheeled Ballyhoo. That's coming up October 10th-11th, so it isn't far away! (Wasn't it like just August yesterday? Weird!)

Also, I got a kick arse t-shirt in the mail that was supposed to show up before Interbike so I could sport it around the show floor. Dang it! Now that I have seen it, I am super bummed I didn't get it before hand. Awwww.........I'll just have to get it in as many blog posts as I can in the next few months. In fact, I have an idea about this shirt, so Jason, if you are reading this, expect an e-mail when my brain starts functioning correctly again.

In the meantime, go read all my Interbike scribin' at Twenty Nine Inches. Then go ride yer bicycles!

Home Again

Well, I bugged outta the Lost Wages morass Thursday in the AM. I had my associate, Grannygear, dump me off at McCarran, as I posted yesterday, and since then, I was up for 38.5 hours. Yep! Pretty much awake the whole time with a couple of plane ride cat naps.

Call it T.I.V6 training. I usually am up about that long on those events too. Speaking of T.I.V6, I got some awesome news at Interbike. I am not at liberty to discuss details right now, but somebody has stepped forward in a huge way to offer sponsorship and logistical help that, if it all works out, will be a huge step up for T.I. in terms of just about everything.

Yeah, it is that good! I am really stoked, and d.p. and I are going to have a meeting with this mysterious person and get some details nailed down. Once we have something solid, look for an announcement. This won't be for about a month, so don't get too excited just yet, but feel free to speculate!

In the interim my attention is going to be full on the Bigwheeled Ballyhoo. That's coming up October 10th-11th, so it isn't far away! (Wasn't it like just August yesterday? Weird!)

Also, I got a kick arse t-shirt in the mail that was supposed to show up before Interbike so I could sport it around the show floor. Dang it! Now that I have seen it, I am super bummed I didn't get it before hand. Awwww.........I'll just have to get it in as many blog posts as I can in the next few months. In fact, I have an idea about this shirt, so Jason, if you are reading this, expect an e-mail when my brain starts functioning correctly again.

In the meantime, go read all my Interbike scribin' at Twenty Nine Inches. Then go ride yer bicycles!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Leaving Lost Wages


<====Oakley Carbon fiber shades worn by Lance Armstrong in the Tour. All $4500.00 worth!

So, here's the deal. Instead of paying some hotel for a room that I'd have for only maybe six hours, I chose to hang out at McCarran International.......all night long!

N
ow before ya'all say I'm crazy, you need to know that McCarran has free internet. Free! Plus, there is hardly a soul around, and I'm getting massive amounts of work done for Twenty Nine Inches here.

So
really, it is a good deal. No distractions, nothing. Just me tapping out a slow, monotonous thread here in a city that seems a million miles away from me, even though the Strip is like......right there!

<====They didn't clean them. Lances sweat is still on there, I guess!

S
o, a word on these shades. Carved from a billet of carbon fiber, these take 96 hours to make. They are reinforced with titanium, and they are only making 200 pair. And yes, they are nearly sold out.

Oh yeah, they'll have an all aluminium version with optional anodized colors for a measly $1500.00, which they expect to disappear in a heartbeat too.

Bad economy? What?!!

I
expect to be hangin' here until around 5am. Then things will get all crazy, or so I am told.It is okay, 'cause I have a boarding pass. I just need to check my bag, get security to fly me through, and then board a plane about 20 minutes after six for Chi Town.

Buh Bye Las Vegas!!

I'll be home soon, if it all goes smoothly.

Leaving Lost Wages


<====Oakley Carbon fiber shades worn by Lance Armstrong in the Tour. All $4500.00 worth!

So, here's the deal. Instead of paying some hotel for a room that I'd have for only maybe six hours, I chose to hang out at McCarran International.......all night long!

N
ow before ya'all say I'm crazy, you need to know that McCarran has free internet. Free! Plus, there is hardly a soul around, and I'm getting massive amounts of work done for Twenty Nine Inches here.

So
really, it is a good deal. No distractions, nothing. Just me tapping out a slow, monotonous thread here in a city that seems a million miles away from me, even though the Strip is like......right there!

<====They didn't clean them. Lances sweat is still on there, I guess!

S
o, a word on these shades. Carved from a billet of carbon fiber, these take 96 hours to make. They are reinforced with titanium, and they are only making 200 pair. And yes, they are nearly sold out.

Oh yeah, they'll have an all aluminium version with optional anodized colors for a measly $1500.00, which they expect to disappear in a heartbeat too.

Bad economy? What?!!

I
expect to be hangin' here until around 5am. Then things will get all crazy, or so I am told.It is okay, 'cause I have a boarding pass. I just need to check my bag, get security to fly me through, and then board a plane about 20 minutes after six for Chi Town.

Buh Bye Las Vegas!!

I'll be home soon, if it all goes smoothly.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Sights And Sounds Of Bootleg Canyon


<===Bike mechanics make the world, (and wheels) go 'round.

One thing I have noticed around here is that the bike mechanics are working their tails off. And.....they aren't getting any "love" for it. So, for all you guys and gals slugging it out at Interbike, thank you! You rock! You make the wheels go 'round.

Overheard at The Outdoor Demo:

"Well, I'm working pretty hard....some of the time." Jeff Kerkove when asked by a show attendee how it was going.

"I do all four disciplines, cross, road, and mountain bike". A show attendee trying to impress a product manager at Easton Wheels. I wonder which discipline counts for two? Hmmm........

"That's the worst tasting beer I've ever had! This beer is skunked or something!" A show attendee upon tasting a small brewery batch of IPA. Probably drinks Bud Light on weekends only or something. Bah! Kids these days!

"Well, I wasn't going to come up to the Demo, but the guy I'm with says to me, (speaks in whiny voice) "But I've never been to the Outdoor Demo before!" So I said, meh! Okay". Peter Kieller of Misfit Psycles on not wanting to come to Interbike.

In Other Goings On: I got my feet on the pedals of some sweet rigs here and had a blast riding the trails here. I will have to say that I need work on my air time. I just never seem to get the front end up. Oh well. I'm going to be working on that for awhile before I get the hang of it. When I accidentally do air it out right, it is pretty fun, I'll say that much!

Hit up a restaurant last night that was okay. Grannygear slept out on the balcony again last night. Freaked out some of the other folks crashing here. Funny, but communal living by Interbike attendees is rampant. Cheap rooms in Vegas? Ha! Make it cheaper by sleeping on the floor with a bunch of other bike freaks you've never met before. Snoring is not popular, by the way. So, I am not a popular guy here. Yeah.....I can saw some wood, okay? Oh well! Maybe I should be sleeping out on the balcony!

Coming home Thursday morning after getting dumped at McCarran International later tonight. The airport is pretty morgue-like during the wee hours, but it is free to hang out there, so I don't have to spend money on another nights stay when I'd barely get the bed warm. Oh well. I'll be good and ready for bed Thursday night!

Later folks! Hope to be writing next time from the home base.

Sights And Sounds Of Bootleg Canyon


<===Bike mechanics make the world, (and wheels) go 'round.

One thing I have noticed around here is that the bike mechanics are working their tails off. And.....they aren't getting any "love" for it. So, for all you guys and gals slugging it out at Interbike, thank you! You rock! You make the wheels go 'round.

Overheard at The Outdoor Demo:

"Well, I'm working pretty hard....some of the time." Jeff Kerkove when asked by a show attendee how it was going.

"I do all four disciplines, cross, road, and mountain bike". A show attendee trying to impress a product manager at Easton Wheels. I wonder which discipline counts for two? Hmmm........

"That's the worst tasting beer I've ever had! This beer is skunked or something!" A show attendee upon tasting a small brewery batch of IPA. Probably drinks Bud Light on weekends only or something. Bah! Kids these days!

"Well, I wasn't going to come up to the Demo, but the guy I'm with says to me, (speaks in whiny voice) "But I've never been to the Outdoor Demo before!" So I said, meh! Okay". Peter Kieller of Misfit Psycles on not wanting to come to Interbike.

In Other Goings On: I got my feet on the pedals of some sweet rigs here and had a blast riding the trails here. I will have to say that I need work on my air time. I just never seem to get the front end up. Oh well. I'm going to be working on that for awhile before I get the hang of it. When I accidentally do air it out right, it is pretty fun, I'll say that much!

Hit up a restaurant last night that was okay. Grannygear slept out on the balcony again last night. Freaked out some of the other folks crashing here. Funny, but communal living by Interbike attendees is rampant. Cheap rooms in Vegas? Ha! Make it cheaper by sleeping on the floor with a bunch of other bike freaks you've never met before. Snoring is not popular, by the way. So, I am not a popular guy here. Yeah.....I can saw some wood, okay? Oh well! Maybe I should be sleeping out on the balcony!

Coming home Thursday morning after getting dumped at McCarran International later tonight. The airport is pretty morgue-like during the wee hours, but it is free to hang out there, so I don't have to spend money on another nights stay when I'd barely get the bed warm. Oh well. I'll be good and ready for bed Thursday night!

Later folks! Hope to be writing next time from the home base.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Touring Tuesdays: The Race Against Death Tour- The Rapid City Scene!

After a really weird, tough, and draining day, "The Race Against Death Tour" takes its leisure in Rapid City, South Dakota...........

The end of the weirdest, toughest, most emotionally draining day I have ever had on a bike was a welcomed thing. I wasn't the only one feeling this way. All three of us were ready to forget all about the day and find a great meal, a hot shower, and a restful nights sleep- not necessarily in that order!

Obviously, showers were the first order of business. As we got settled into our motel rooms, we perused any neighborhood restaurant opportunities and found a Mexican joint up the road called the Casa Del Rey. We hit the streets and walked over to this place that was oddly dark inside. It was still quite bright out and we had quit the day with plenty of daylight left to us, so the interior darkness seemed odd to me. Cool air conditioning, soft seating, and waiters were also odd things. I think we all felt like kings after foraging for peanut butter sandwiches and begging for water for several days!

Well, although we ate huge platters of wonderful Mexican grub, we were still not quite satisfied. Yes- we only rode 76 miles this day, but we worked harder for that 76- the last 40 plus in the crazy wind- than we had for anything else during the whole tour so far. Our bodies were blowing through calories at an alarming rate. So, it really isn't any wonder then that as we left Casa Del Rey we were looking for something else, and that something else was Dairy Queen!

Now the DQ in Rapid City is on a main stretch of highway going through town. There was lots of afternoon traffic here, most of which was peppered with Sturgis motorcycle goers. The DQ was hopping, and we were obliged to fall in a waiting line that was outside the front doors. As we stood there, Troy lit up all of a sudden, "Oh my God! Did you see THAT! Did you f#@king see THAT!" Well, we had to calm him down a bit, but he saw a Harley go by with two riders, a man and a woman. The woman was wearing a halter top and chaps. Period. Yes.......that was bare for the world to see. I told Troy that Sturgis was sort of a wild affair, but he still couldn't get over the woman's choice of dress.

Then Ryan pipes up with one of his Ren and Stimpy bits. Troy asked me what I was getting, and when I turned behind me to ask Ryan, he says in Ren's voice: "Ice cream.........SANDWICH! I love your oh so creamy center!" As he finishes the statement, a girl right behind him jumps back and looks at me saying, "Is he all right?"

Laughter all around while the confused girl just gets disgusted with us clowns and turns around. At any rate, I got the best tasting Blizzard I ever had that evening. I was satisfied.

Back at the room, we watched kick boxing for an hour or so before turning out the lights. What an incredible day! One I won't forget for a lifetime, that's for sure!

Next Week: "The Race Against Death Tour" Hits the Black Hills, Troy makes an announcement, and an old memory is rekindled.

Touring Tuesdays: The Race Against Death Tour- The Rapid City Scene!

After a really weird, tough, and draining day, "The Race Against Death Tour" takes its leisure in Rapid City, South Dakota...........

The end of the weirdest, toughest, most emotionally draining day I have ever had on a bike was a welcomed thing. I wasn't the only one feeling this way. All three of us were ready to forget all about the day and find a great meal, a hot shower, and a restful nights sleep- not necessarily in that order!

Obviously, showers were the first order of business. As we got settled into our motel rooms, we perused any neighborhood restaurant opportunities and found a Mexican joint up the road called the Casa Del Rey. We hit the streets and walked over to this place that was oddly dark inside. It was still quite bright out and we had quit the day with plenty of daylight left to us, so the interior darkness seemed odd to me. Cool air conditioning, soft seating, and waiters were also odd things. I think we all felt like kings after foraging for peanut butter sandwiches and begging for water for several days!

Well, although we ate huge platters of wonderful Mexican grub, we were still not quite satisfied. Yes- we only rode 76 miles this day, but we worked harder for that 76- the last 40 plus in the crazy wind- than we had for anything else during the whole tour so far. Our bodies were blowing through calories at an alarming rate. So, it really isn't any wonder then that as we left Casa Del Rey we were looking for something else, and that something else was Dairy Queen!

Now the DQ in Rapid City is on a main stretch of highway going through town. There was lots of afternoon traffic here, most of which was peppered with Sturgis motorcycle goers. The DQ was hopping, and we were obliged to fall in a waiting line that was outside the front doors. As we stood there, Troy lit up all of a sudden, "Oh my God! Did you see THAT! Did you f#@king see THAT!" Well, we had to calm him down a bit, but he saw a Harley go by with two riders, a man and a woman. The woman was wearing a halter top and chaps. Period. Yes.......that was bare for the world to see. I told Troy that Sturgis was sort of a wild affair, but he still couldn't get over the woman's choice of dress.

Then Ryan pipes up with one of his Ren and Stimpy bits. Troy asked me what I was getting, and when I turned behind me to ask Ryan, he says in Ren's voice: "Ice cream.........SANDWICH! I love your oh so creamy center!" As he finishes the statement, a girl right behind him jumps back and looks at me saying, "Is he all right?"

Laughter all around while the confused girl just gets disgusted with us clowns and turns around. At any rate, I got the best tasting Blizzard I ever had that evening. I was satisfied.

Back at the room, we watched kick boxing for an hour or so before turning out the lights. What an incredible day! One I won't forget for a lifetime, that's for sure!

Next Week: "The Race Against Death Tour" Hits the Black Hills, Troy makes an announcement, and an old memory is rekindled.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Vegas, Dust, Wind, And Bikes


<====Wuh-ohhh!

Okay, what is it about people on flights to Vegas? It's like they check out a license to dress and act foolishly. Criminy! What makes people think they look good in those goofy get ups anyway? Vegas disease, I guess.

So, I get here at 2am Mid-West time, then Grannygear and I have to find our room at Circus Circus. Funny. They should name the whole of the strip Circus Circus. It's definitely 3 ring madness!

Woke up to an air temperature about the feeling of the output of a hair dryer. Windy too. Good for dehydration for sure. So we stocked up on water and hit the demo.

Dusty, rocky terrain with your tires making the constant sound as if you were on gravel. Yeah, gravel. I can ride that in Iowa! We just don't have dusty, gravely mountains. Oh well!

So, we found free beer, free shots of whiskey, and the Chris King after show bar-be-que. All good stuff, but not all that many people this year and less vendors. Not much for schwag either. We got a schwag bag that was as big as a grocery bag with three flyers and one energy bar in it. Wow! Things have been cut back big time!

Okay, that's it for now. Stay tuned for more later, when I can get to it.

Vegas, Dust, Wind, And Bikes


<====Wuh-ohhh!

Okay, what is it about people on flights to Vegas? It's like they check out a license to dress and act foolishly. Criminy! What makes people think they look good in those goofy get ups anyway? Vegas disease, I guess.

So, I get here at 2am Mid-West time, then Grannygear and I have to find our room at Circus Circus. Funny. They should name the whole of the strip Circus Circus. It's definitely 3 ring madness!

Woke up to an air temperature about the feeling of the output of a hair dryer. Windy too. Good for dehydration for sure. So we stocked up on water and hit the demo.

Dusty, rocky terrain with your tires making the constant sound as if you were on gravel. Yeah, gravel. I can ride that in Iowa! We just don't have dusty, gravely mountains. Oh well!

So, we found free beer, free shots of whiskey, and the Chris King after show bar-be-que. All good stuff, but not all that many people this year and less vendors. Not much for schwag either. We got a schwag bag that was as big as a grocery bag with three flyers and one energy bar in it. Wow! Things have been cut back big time!

Okay, that's it for now. Stay tuned for more later, when I can get to it.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Big Wheeled Ballyhoo: Update!


Raffle News!! I just learned today that the online store Price Point is going to kick down an 18" Sette Razzo 29"er frame for our raffle to be held at High Noon on Sunday October 11th. (Must be present to win- no purchase necessary)

Pretty cool! The Razzo is a geared, aluminum hard tail that is ball burnished and is getting nice reviews from owners on mtbr.com.

In other news, we have a new schedule update that includes our list of food vendors. Remember! We have food vendors, but Saturday night yer on your own, so bring plenty to eat. Also, bring drinks as we will have water and some soda for sale, but beer, wine, coffee, and the like is on you.

See the Local Info Page for new updates on what to expect for camping at the Ballyhoo and where to stay if you are not into the camping gig so much.

I'm off to Interbike, so look for sparse updatage until I get back.


Big Wheeled Ballyhoo: Update!


Raffle News!! I just learned today that the online store Price Point is going to kick down an 18" Sette Razzo 29"er frame for our raffle to be held at High Noon on Sunday October 11th. (Must be present to win- no purchase necessary)

Pretty cool! The Razzo is a geared, aluminum hard tail that is ball burnished and is getting nice reviews from owners on mtbr.com.

In other news, we have a new schedule update that includes our list of food vendors. Remember! We have food vendors, but Saturday night yer on your own, so bring plenty to eat. Also, bring drinks as we will have water and some soda for sale, but beer, wine, coffee, and the like is on you.

See the Local Info Page for new updates on what to expect for camping at the Ballyhoo and where to stay if you are not into the camping gig so much.

I'm off to Interbike, so look for sparse updatage until I get back.


Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday News And Views



<===Velocity U.S.A. just picked themselves up a quality worker.

Just got word that my former co-worker A-Lo was hired on as a wheel builder at Velocity U.S.A. Nice! They got themselves a quality dude right there.

Congrats A-Lo! Build 'em true!






<===Proof that drops were meant to be ridden......in the drops!!

Take a look at this replica TDF racer made to look like a 20's era road machine. Notice anything weird? Hmm.......let's take a look. Flared drops- check! Brake levers set low so you can reach 'em from the drops- check! Bar wrap only on the drops- Check! And no way would you ride on the hoods because, well..........there aren't any!

See, back then roads were rougher, gravel, and dirt. You were better off holding on the drops, since that is what they were made for. Positioning was such that you could sit there in the drops all day........comfortably!

Some modern companies say, "Our entry level road bikes have the same geometry as our top of the line rigs!" Like that is something good. Uhh......last time I checked the average cyclist had a body geometry totally unlike the Pro cyclists. So what makes ya'all think that entry level road riders should have Pro geometry? Stupid, I tell ya. Just plain dumb.

Might as well saw off the drops on 99.5% of all recreational road bikes as the position is ridiculous for most riders. Even if they could ride there, it wouldn't be for long, and it would hurt. Badly. C'mon bike companies. Get the designs right, like they did back in the 20's, when you could use the drops easily, and it made rougher road riding fun, instead of painful. And heck, folks could use all of their handle bar, instead of about ten percent of it.




<===New, ginormous, and rumored to be coming here!

Out in Colorado lives this dude that spends a lot of time inventing stuff. He would call it "thinkering". Okay- whatever. I just say the guy is a genius of mountain biking innovation, although he would quickly dismiss this statement. At any rate, he has the good fortune of being able to pull the right strings, push the right buttons, and grease the right wheels to have things done. Needless to say, some pretty cool stuff is showing up out in his neck of the woods.

One of those things is this new meaty tire called the WTB Dissent. It is a 2 ply, 2.5 inch wide, burly knobbed tire meant for abuse and down hill chunk riding. Check out the knobs on that casing! Huge? Yes!

So, it would seem that the kindly "thinkerer" out in Colorado has seen fit to get me one of these to check out. I am to pick it up at I-Bike soon. Hopefully it all pans out since this will be the biggest 29"er tire to date, not to mention the toughest and knobbliest. We'll see if it clears my fork brace, 'cause if it doesn't, I'll be shopping for some new parts!

Speaking of Interbike, I am busy getting ready to go on Sunday. It's a short hit it fast and back sort of affair this year. I'll be back in town late Thursday and disseminating all the info I can get my grubby hands on. Till then, posts will be sparse. Hold on. It;ll be worth the interruption.


Ride those bikes and turn off the 'puters! See ya soon!

Friday News And Views



<===Velocity U.S.A. just picked themselves up a quality worker.

Just got word that my former co-worker A-Lo was hired on as a wheel builder at Velocity U.S.A. Nice! They got themselves a quality dude right there.

Congrats A-Lo! Build 'em true!






<===Proof that drops were meant to be ridden......in the drops!!

Take a look at this replica TDF racer made to look like a 20's era road machine. Notice anything weird? Hmm.......let's take a look. Flared drops- check! Brake levers set low so you can reach 'em from the drops- check! Bar wrap only on the drops- Check! And no way would you ride on the hoods because, well..........there aren't any!

See, back then roads were rougher, gravel, and dirt. You were better off holding on the drops, since that is what they were made for. Positioning was such that you could sit there in the drops all day........comfortably!

Some modern companies say, "Our entry level road bikes have the same geometry as our top of the line rigs!" Like that is something good. Uhh......last time I checked the average cyclist had a body geometry totally unlike the Pro cyclists. So what makes ya'all think that entry level road riders should have Pro geometry? Stupid, I tell ya. Just plain dumb.

Might as well saw off the drops on 99.5% of all recreational road bikes as the position is ridiculous for most riders. Even if they could ride there, it wouldn't be for long, and it would hurt. Badly. C'mon bike companies. Get the designs right, like they did back in the 20's, when you could use the drops easily, and it made rougher road riding fun, instead of painful. And heck, folks could use all of their handle bar, instead of about ten percent of it.




<===New, ginormous, and rumored to be coming here!

Out in Colorado lives this dude that spends a lot of time inventing stuff. He would call it "thinkering". Okay- whatever. I just say the guy is a genius of mountain biking innovation, although he would quickly dismiss this statement. At any rate, he has the good fortune of being able to pull the right strings, push the right buttons, and grease the right wheels to have things done. Needless to say, some pretty cool stuff is showing up out in his neck of the woods.

One of those things is this new meaty tire called the WTB Dissent. It is a 2 ply, 2.5 inch wide, burly knobbed tire meant for abuse and down hill chunk riding. Check out the knobs on that casing! Huge? Yes!

So, it would seem that the kindly "thinkerer" out in Colorado has seen fit to get me one of these to check out. I am to pick it up at I-Bike soon. Hopefully it all pans out since this will be the biggest 29"er tire to date, not to mention the toughest and knobbliest. We'll see if it clears my fork brace, 'cause if it doesn't, I'll be shopping for some new parts!

Speaking of Interbike, I am busy getting ready to go on Sunday. It's a short hit it fast and back sort of affair this year. I'll be back in town late Thursday and disseminating all the info I can get my grubby hands on. Till then, posts will be sparse. Hold on. It;ll be worth the interruption.


Ride those bikes and turn off the 'puters! See ya soon!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

A Near Perfect Day


<===Carnegie's Bar: It just fits!!
Got out and rode the North Side of The Camp yesterday on my Big Mama fitted with the new Carnegie's Bar. I really try not to get too emotional, or wrapped up in the "new bike part" psychology, but I can't help but admit that my Big Mama is much better now with this bar. It just flat out rocked in that I had more control, even when I got loose, than I had with the standard riser that was on it before.
Okay, I admit it. I am an "alt bar" freakazoid. Okay. I said it. I really like odd ball bars. Sometimes they are just okay, and I put up with that because, well, I am like that sometimes. (The hideous Titec H-Bar comes to mind) But it wasn't 30 yards into the first down hill section at The Camp and I could feel it. This bar was giving me feedback that said, go faster! So, I did, until I smacked my left hand on a tree going Mach 4 and was so loose in some of the sandy corners I was looking like a flat tracker going 120 into a turn. Sawing away at the bar to keep my balance and never touching the brakes. Hoo ha! That was a fun time!
So fun that I did as many techy downhills as I could, but that wasn't all. I was actually digging the climbs as well. I was really afraid that the Carnegie's Bar was going to upset my climbing, being that it effectively shortened my stem by about 20mms. That never happened though, and if anything, the climbing was unaffected by the change. Cool!
I'm going to have some fun with this handle bar. Funny how one small change can transform a rig. Not that it was bad before. It is just much better now! Potter's Pasture should be a hoot with this thing on. I can't wait! But I am going to wait on my first impressions for this bar. I might just be too giddy right now!
<===The errand machine for the day. The Raleigh Rainier.
So I didn't over do the off road thing because, well......I have a mild cold, I haven't gotten to bed at a decent hour since Park City, and I just needed to be careful. So I headed home, got cleaned up, and went to the big grocery store where my bank has an outlet to do sum bidness!
After I walked out to unlock my bike, I was standing there and looking at an old Motobecane that was hooked to a child trailer. Upturned drops, seat slammed. Guaranteed short person on a big bike here. Hmm......pretty clean looking for a 70's rig. Just then the owner came out, and I was just floored.
Here was a guy, older than I by probably 15 to 20 years, impossibly skinny, but decked out in a really cool set of duds. The clothing is what really made me smile. Okay, so here's a bit of back round.......
The cycling industry is desperately trying to "un-nerdify" cycling to the common man. John Q Public thinks "real" cyclists are dorks. (C'mon! Admit it's true! You know it is.) So John Q Public wouldn't be caught dead in Lycra, helmets, cycling shoes, etc. Okay, are ya with me?
So, the industry is developing this new cycling fashion that looks pedestrian, but is actually high tech. Trouble is, it has a high tech price to go along with it. Ever see those manpris that look like Dickie's, but are really some other stuff made by an "in" cycling company? Yeah, we're talking as much money to buy that as you can five pairs of Dickie's. Get the picture?
Well, this guy probably could have gotten everything he had on at Goodwill for less than $20.00. Everything he had on. And he looked the epitome of what the cycling industry is straining to achieve. He had on khaki shorts, a blue pin striped cotton collared shirt, (Neatly tucked in, I might add, with rolled up long sleeves.), a corduroy vest, and a bow tie! But the topper was his clog-like shoes which he was riding toe clips with. Oh! He did have a helmet on. This guy looked cool, but he didn't have to spend a bunch of cash with some "uber-cool" urban cycling clothier that was using the latest tech fabrics. So what if he sweats. I mean, people sweat. Get over it America!
I thought it was cool. And the trailer? Yeah, he had his whole shopping cart dealio folded up and set into the cheapo kids trailer, lashed down, and he was outta there in minutes. Nice! Take that you urban fashionistas!
Anyway, I just don't get the cycling industry. They have the right idea, and then price it out to where the average guy just laughs when he hears the prices. It is stupid, really. If you want the "average" Joe to get into utility cycling, it has to be gotten down to a "utility" price level. Ya know? Like Dickie's. That company "gets it". Work pants for $15.00? I'm in. Cycling pants that look like Dickie's for $80.00 to $100.00? What? Yer outta yer mind!
Anyway........I ran my errands on a beautiful day. What a great day to be alive! That's what it is all about. Ride yer bike. Have fun. Smile.

A Near Perfect Day


<===Carnegie's Bar: It just fits!!
Got out and rode the North Side of The Camp yesterday on my Big Mama fitted with the new Carnegie's Bar. I really try not to get too emotional, or wrapped up in the "new bike part" psychology, but I can't help but admit that my Big Mama is much better now with this bar. It just flat out rocked in that I had more control, even when I got loose, than I had with the standard riser that was on it before.
Okay, I admit it. I am an "alt bar" freakazoid. Okay. I said it. I really like odd ball bars. Sometimes they are just okay, and I put up with that because, well, I am like that sometimes. (The hideous Titec H-Bar comes to mind) But it wasn't 30 yards into the first down hill section at The Camp and I could feel it. This bar was giving me feedback that said, go faster! So, I did, until I smacked my left hand on a tree going Mach 4 and was so loose in some of the sandy corners I was looking like a flat tracker going 120 into a turn. Sawing away at the bar to keep my balance and never touching the brakes. Hoo ha! That was a fun time!
So fun that I did as many techy downhills as I could, but that wasn't all. I was actually digging the climbs as well. I was really afraid that the Carnegie's Bar was going to upset my climbing, being that it effectively shortened my stem by about 20mms. That never happened though, and if anything, the climbing was unaffected by the change. Cool!
I'm going to have some fun with this handle bar. Funny how one small change can transform a rig. Not that it was bad before. It is just much better now! Potter's Pasture should be a hoot with this thing on. I can't wait! But I am going to wait on my first impressions for this bar. I might just be too giddy right now!
<===The errand machine for the day. The Raleigh Rainier.
So I didn't over do the off road thing because, well......I have a mild cold, I haven't gotten to bed at a decent hour since Park City, and I just needed to be careful. So I headed home, got cleaned up, and went to the big grocery store where my bank has an outlet to do sum bidness!
After I walked out to unlock my bike, I was standing there and looking at an old Motobecane that was hooked to a child trailer. Upturned drops, seat slammed. Guaranteed short person on a big bike here. Hmm......pretty clean looking for a 70's rig. Just then the owner came out, and I was just floored.
Here was a guy, older than I by probably 15 to 20 years, impossibly skinny, but decked out in a really cool set of duds. The clothing is what really made me smile. Okay, so here's a bit of back round.......
The cycling industry is desperately trying to "un-nerdify" cycling to the common man. John Q Public thinks "real" cyclists are dorks. (C'mon! Admit it's true! You know it is.) So John Q Public wouldn't be caught dead in Lycra, helmets, cycling shoes, etc. Okay, are ya with me?
So, the industry is developing this new cycling fashion that looks pedestrian, but is actually high tech. Trouble is, it has a high tech price to go along with it. Ever see those manpris that look like Dickie's, but are really some other stuff made by an "in" cycling company? Yeah, we're talking as much money to buy that as you can five pairs of Dickie's. Get the picture?
Well, this guy probably could have gotten everything he had on at Goodwill for less than $20.00. Everything he had on. And he looked the epitome of what the cycling industry is straining to achieve. He had on khaki shorts, a blue pin striped cotton collared shirt, (Neatly tucked in, I might add, with rolled up long sleeves.), a corduroy vest, and a bow tie! But the topper was his clog-like shoes which he was riding toe clips with. Oh! He did have a helmet on. This guy looked cool, but he didn't have to spend a bunch of cash with some "uber-cool" urban cycling clothier that was using the latest tech fabrics. So what if he sweats. I mean, people sweat. Get over it America!
I thought it was cool. And the trailer? Yeah, he had his whole shopping cart dealio folded up and set into the cheapo kids trailer, lashed down, and he was outta there in minutes. Nice! Take that you urban fashionistas!
Anyway, I just don't get the cycling industry. They have the right idea, and then price it out to where the average guy just laughs when he hears the prices. It is stupid, really. If you want the "average" Joe to get into utility cycling, it has to be gotten down to a "utility" price level. Ya know? Like Dickie's. That company "gets it". Work pants for $15.00? I'm in. Cycling pants that look like Dickie's for $80.00 to $100.00? What? Yer outta yer mind!
Anyway........I ran my errands on a beautiful day. What a great day to be alive! That's what it is all about. Ride yer bike. Have fun. Smile.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Bar Time



<====Named after a real bar in Taiwan

While I was gone I got a special delivery. A brand new bar from Ragley called the Carnegie's Bar. It'll all make sense here in a minute, just hold on....

You've heard of On One, that U.K. brand that did the Inbred steel 29"er, Carbon Superlight fork, and all those nutty handle bars with weird names like Midge, Mary, and so forth. Well, the mad scientist behind all of that is a guy by the name of Brant Richards. Brant likes sheds, or so it would seem, and I guess he got tired of doing On One stuff and started out on his own with a design company called Shed Fire.



<===Nearly 28 inches wide, and a healthy sweep to boot.

Pertinent info follows: (From Brant hisself)
Width is 685mm tip to tip, but puts your hands effectively in the same
position as my old 700mm wide bar. Geometry is 25deg sweep with a 33mm forward
wiggle to keep the controls in the right sort of place. It nominally has a 38mm
rise, though this is lessened a bit when you angle the bar back and down for
comfort.


<====On the Big Mama

First impressions: 310 grams is a decent weight for a bar you can hammer on. Very comfy bend. A bit less than a FuBar, but otherwise these two bars are very similar in layout. I like the 31.8mm clamp for something like this because with as much back sweep as these types of bars have, you need a great grip on that bar with the stem. Bigger clamp diameter equals more clamping surface area which gives me peace of mind. Plus Brant tests the livin' daylights out of his stuff, so I don't have to worry. Good deal.

More later on this, but for now, that'll have to do. I have Interbike looming in the headlights right now, and plans are flyin' in between work, playing in the band, and writing. Lots going on here!

Bar Time



<====Named after a real bar in Taiwan

While I was gone I got a special delivery. A brand new bar from Ragley called the Carnegie's Bar. It'll all make sense here in a minute, just hold on....

You've heard of On One, that U.K. brand that did the Inbred steel 29"er, Carbon Superlight fork, and all those nutty handle bars with weird names like Midge, Mary, and so forth. Well, the mad scientist behind all of that is a guy by the name of Brant Richards. Brant likes sheds, or so it would seem, and I guess he got tired of doing On One stuff and started out on his own with a design company called Shed Fire.



<===Nearly 28 inches wide, and a healthy sweep to boot.

Pertinent info follows: (From Brant hisself)
Width is 685mm tip to tip, but puts your hands effectively in the same
position as my old 700mm wide bar. Geometry is 25deg sweep with a 33mm forward
wiggle to keep the controls in the right sort of place. It nominally has a 38mm
rise, though this is lessened a bit when you angle the bar back and down for
comfort.


<====On the Big Mama

First impressions: 310 grams is a decent weight for a bar you can hammer on. Very comfy bend. A bit less than a FuBar, but otherwise these two bars are very similar in layout. I like the 31.8mm clamp for something like this because with as much back sweep as these types of bars have, you need a great grip on that bar with the stem. Bigger clamp diameter equals more clamping surface area which gives me peace of mind. Plus Brant tests the livin' daylights out of his stuff, so I don't have to worry. Good deal.

More later on this, but for now, that'll have to do. I have Interbike looming in the headlights right now, and plans are flyin' in between work, playing in the band, and writing. Lots going on here!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Touring Tuesdays: The Race Against Death Tour: Beginning Of The End- Part IV

The "Race Against Death Tour" is looking for water...again!

Now with about 20 miles to go to Rapid City, we had to find some water. Troy had motioned that we should stop at the next likely farm house. It wasn't very much further up the road when we came across a farm hard against the side of a steep hill at a point where the road turned straight west to Rapid City. The wind had let up somewhat, but was still a formidable force and after our hard efforts, we were not at our strongest at this point. The wind also had contributed to a much higher than expected water uptake by all of us, so we were again in a desperate state of mind as we knocked on the screen door.

A shadowy figure of a woman answered, but did not come out. She spoke to us from the relative safety she had behind the door. After explaining our situation, she was willing to help, but we couldn't come in, and we had to hand up our bottles through the door. It didn't really matter to us, because we were focused on the water only. However; we did manage to ask about the wind. The woman said it came at odd times, sometimes lasting only a few hours, sometimes for a whole day. Well, we got a closer to a full days helping, and we were not thinking it was good luck either!

As we bade the woman farewell, we took the last run into Rapid City, which seemed as though it was going to take forever. Well, I suppose we were going pretty slowly, even though the wind became less and less until just before town, it was fairly calm. No matter, the damage had been done already, and we limped into a road side convenience/tourist trap late in the afternoon about ten miles from Rapid City. Here we saw a couple of motorcyclists playing pool on the pool table as we rummaged about for good stuff to eat and for anything suitable to rehydrate with. Not really wanting to move on, we mounted up and made the last stretch into Rapid City, where it was agreed upon that we would get a hotel room for the night. We were beat, and setting up camp was quite out of the question.

Rapid City brought a slight uptick in our spirits and our tempo. A "real" city, and something we hadn't seen since Sioux City, was a welcomed thing. I saw the race track on the edge of town and thought back to the "V.I.P" I spoke with back at Witten. "200 miles to the race track at Rapid City", I could clearly hear the words being spoken in my head by the man. I smiled as I remembered and the race track disappeared behind me. We forged into the heart of downtown and found a Holiday Inn. Looked good to us, so we checked in and got cleaned up.

Next week: The Rapid City Scene!

Touring Tuesdays: The Race Against Death Tour: Beginning Of The End- Part IV

The "Race Against Death Tour" is looking for water...again!

Now with about 20 miles to go to Rapid City, we had to find some water. Troy had motioned that we should stop at the next likely farm house. It wasn't very much further up the road when we came across a farm hard against the side of a steep hill at a point where the road turned straight west to Rapid City. The wind had let up somewhat, but was still a formidable force and after our hard efforts, we were not at our strongest at this point. The wind also had contributed to a much higher than expected water uptake by all of us, so we were again in a desperate state of mind as we knocked on the screen door.

A shadowy figure of a woman answered, but did not come out. She spoke to us from the relative safety she had behind the door. After explaining our situation, she was willing to help, but we couldn't come in, and we had to hand up our bottles through the door. It didn't really matter to us, because we were focused on the water only. However; we did manage to ask about the wind. The woman said it came at odd times, sometimes lasting only a few hours, sometimes for a whole day. Well, we got a closer to a full days helping, and we were not thinking it was good luck either!

As we bade the woman farewell, we took the last run into Rapid City, which seemed as though it was going to take forever. Well, I suppose we were going pretty slowly, even though the wind became less and less until just before town, it was fairly calm. No matter, the damage had been done already, and we limped into a road side convenience/tourist trap late in the afternoon about ten miles from Rapid City. Here we saw a couple of motorcyclists playing pool on the pool table as we rummaged about for good stuff to eat and for anything suitable to rehydrate with. Not really wanting to move on, we mounted up and made the last stretch into Rapid City, where it was agreed upon that we would get a hotel room for the night. We were beat, and setting up camp was quite out of the question.

Rapid City brought a slight uptick in our spirits and our tempo. A "real" city, and something we hadn't seen since Sioux City, was a welcomed thing. I saw the race track on the edge of town and thought back to the "V.I.P" I spoke with back at Witten. "200 miles to the race track at Rapid City", I could clearly hear the words being spoken in my head by the man. I smiled as I remembered and the race track disappeared behind me. We forged into the heart of downtown and found a Holiday Inn. Looked good to us, so we checked in and got cleaned up.

Next week: The Rapid City Scene!

Monday, September 14, 2009

Gary Fisher Bikes Press Camp Report




<===The Goldener Hirsh Inn: Spendy digs where Fisher shacked me up.

Well, I was certainly blessed over the past few days to be able to participate in the Fisher Bikes Press Camp. Held in the very beautiful Park City area of Utah, this camp was set up to let us media wonks know what was up on all the new FS 29"er stuff coming out for 2010.

I flew out of Cedar Rapids early Thursday and got out to Park City without much drama. After getting the "tour" of my room (s) from the staff at the Goldener, (yes.....an actual tour of my room , bathroom, and its features!) , I headed out to the reception at the outdoor deck of the Silver Lake Inn. First, I met the demo truck driver, Josh, who is Trek/Fisher Western states driver. Very cool dude and of course, very helpful. (Not as cool as "Paw Paw", but who could be that cool!)


<===Rich and famous people live up here. Yes, television and movie star types!

So, with the night's festivities wrapped up, I hit the hay and awoke the next morning for the provided for breakfast. After eating and meeting my fellow media cohorts, we were escorted to an upper room of the Silver Lake Inn for the morning's presentation. In attendance were some Fisher/Trek product engineers, marketing Brand manager, Travis Ott, Fisher Subaru Team members Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, his wife, Heather Irminger, R&D honch/MTB Hall of Famer Travis Brown, and the man hisself- Gary Fisher. All were part of an excellent and informative morning of information gathering and story telling.



<====A totally drool worthy Superfly Single Speed.

Some pretty cool bikes were on display up here as well. I got to see the National Championship rigs of Heather Irminger and JHK, the new Hi Fi line up, and a super cool single speed Superfly.

Oh yeah, and Jesse LaLonde was also in attendance rockin' a rigid Superfly SS out with us during the afternoon trail riding session. That guy is amazing. But even he, and all the athletes there, were totally cool and approachable. It was a pleasure to talk to each and every one of them.


<===From left to right: Fisher Brand Manager, Travis Ott, JHK, Travis Brown, (seated) and Heather Irminger.

The first bike we rode was the Superfly 100. Awesome rig, and JHK says it will likely be replacing his hard tail for most events. That coming from an elite racer that loves hard tails....whoa! Anyway, I wasn't even in the same league as most of these folks or even the editors there, as I was sucking air for all it was worth, and dragging up the rear of the field. Oh well, its all good! Hey, a flat lander goes to 8100ft, and then up from there. Yeah.........not a surprising result! Anyway, I suffered like a dog, but had a blast doing it.



<==Room key or medieval weapon?

The end of the first day included an excellent trip to Park City proper for a dinner at the Wasatch Pub and Brewery Company. (Sorry folks! Only 3.2% beer here in Yoo-taw!) I had a great meal, and then we went back to sleep off the days effort.

Next morning brought another sweet breakfast spread. Then it was Rumblefish time, and I got to suffer the climbs in the thin mountain air once more. The Rumblefish was fun, and the Park City trails were awesome. Views? Are you kidding me? I got into a high alpine meadow that just blew me away with its beauty. Aspens groves, high mountain views, and old mining operations. Cool stuff for sure!

Then the afternoon approached and it was time to bug out of the SLC. I got into Chicago to make my connection back to Cedar Rapids when the weirdness set in. First, the airplane we were to take off in was nixed at the last minute due to a minor mechanical. We had to go to another jetway and wait for the ground crew to transfer the baggage and log books. An hour later we were ready to take off. After leaving O'Hare I thought we weren't gaining much altitude, and then the captain comes on the intercom with the following:

"This is your Captain speaking. Bad news folks. Our landing gear won't retract and we'll be returning to Chicago to land...."

Ummm.........okay....I guess. Well, I didn't freak too badly, but some folks were getting a bit unsettled. Anyway, the anxiety ratcheted up a few notches when we came back in sight of O'Hare and saw the runway lined with the flashing lights of emergency vehicles for the entire length of the air strip. Well, the landing went off without a hitch, thankfully.

But then we couldn't de-plane. The ground crews had all gone home, and no one was immediately available to drive the jetway. We had to wait for a guy from the maintenance garage to come out and get us set to get outta that tin tube!

Well, we were told after getting off that plane that we were going back to the original plane! It had been repaired, and in 45 more minutes we were to take off. That would be about 12:45 am. The plane was originally to have taken off at 9:40pm. Yeah......it was getting to be a long night! Anyway, the Captain was humorous, gracious, and very kind when he personally addressed the cabin after we got in the plane by explaining the entire situation to us. After that, everything was routine. I ended up getting home right at 3:00am Sunday morning.

So that was the big trip. All in all a very fun, informative, and exciting time. (I could have done with a little different excitement there at the end though!)

Next Sunday, I get to fly out to Vegas and do it all over again at Bootleg Canyon. Crazy!