Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Gratitude...It's like that ya'll

Today is Gratitude Wednesday and I would like to start by thanking Jason at Edge Composites for all the killer stuff this year. First off, the 38mm carbon clinchers are just awesome, plain and simple. I have been riding these wheels for a few months now and I am still impressed each time I ride them. From daily riding, to serious training to actual commuting, I have not taken them off my Helix since they arrived. Totally sick...and well worth the money. Skip the silliness of having a "training" wheelset and a "race-day" set, the Edge stuff is solid and built to be ridden all the time. So thanks again. It is amazing the fun you can have with your fellow Industry peers especially at an authentic Bavarian restaurant after a few liters of beer and some ass paddling by a random chick followed up by a ride in the back of a pick-up truck down the Las Vegas Strip. Enough about that, but you should have been there.

On the second part of my gratitude list is my friend Paolo from Prologo saddles. Once again, another great person and someone who is way more passionate about something I have given little thought to over the years. While I always understood the benefits of a quality saddle, I usually went with something tried and true and just repeated. For years I ran the Flight and now I wish I had met Paolo years ago. They really think through all the details and design features when coming up with a new saddle. I have a Scratch on my road bike and a Vertigo Ti on the mountain bike...I am all about them too. Each has it's own unique feel, but at their suggestion I went with this setup. I have switched and will never look back. And don't just take my word for it, check out their elite pro list on their site and tell me you have not heard of any of those guys.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Drama Free Friday

All is well on the bicycle fabrication front. In all honesty, considering the current economy, we have been jamming. The shop is booked up for months, we have new component prototypes coming out every couple of days as well as a few new frame models in the works. It has been a steady stream of yanking the first prototype whatever out of the shop, shooting product photos, writing product info and sending that shit to anyone and everyone that may be interested. My current mentality has been send something to anyone and repeat until they respond or ask me to stop sending them stuff. Either way my mission is complete. One of the coolest products we are rolling out is this bad boy here. Geared or Single, 29 or 26 and either one will be under $1400 for the frame. We are also working on some new titanium handlebars that some of you have seen...still not too sure where we stand with those so I will save that for another day.

The weather has been really cold in the mornings and a little warmer in the afternoons, but it is still winter in the South. Not as bad as many other places, but to me weather is all relative to where you are. 10 degrees may be horribly cold to some and not that bad to others so I try not to complain and just put on more clothes. The commutes have been very refreshing to say the least. I hope that the daily grinds/intervals to and from the office have some reward come early March. I have been trying to do my homework for Snake Creek but with it being a one shot deal for me this time, I am trying not to feel too much self created pressure. If I can have a good day on the bike in March and beat my fastest time, from last year then I will be cool with that. You always want to podium, but it is going to be a long year for me so there is no reason to beat myself up this early in the season. Looks like the new Krystal kits are in, need to go and pick mine up next week. Speaking of kits, I have been on the kit designing warpath lately. I just rocked out two designs a couple of weeks ago and just got the word that another one will be coming my way. The one for the Pisgah Brew Crew is bad ass...they were kind enough to provide some design direction and I just made sure that everything worked and fit correctly. I think Jut sent everything off for production so in a few weeks, the green and white brew crew will be in full effect. Give them a shout if you want to order one...I am sure they will have extra's for sale. Well that is all for me today...I need to get back to my Drama Free Friday.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

WTF? Snake Creek Nearly Killed Me

The past two weeks have been something of a blur but I will run a quick highlight reel in verbal form. After some debate and borderline harassment, I decided not to go to the Icycle at Fontana Dam. As usual, everyone said it was a blast and that I missed a killer time and so on. However, I did wind up spending the weekend in Chatty and to sweeten the pot for missing the race, Ivory and Cynthia came down for an over-nighter. They rolled in around 2 and Ivory and I went out for a little ride around the neighborhood via Stringers then over to Lookout. We returned to the house to find what appeared to be lost sisters...the ladies hit it off like champs. We grabbed a quick shower and went out for some food then it was off to see the Pine Box Boys. This is where everything gets shaky. First off, we drove over to the venue that none of us had ever been to...which also happened to be attached to the liquor store. Now I have driven and ridden by this place countess times, just never thought to actually stop in. We walked in to the bar and were immediately engulfed with smoke...I think we may have been the only 3 people in there that were not chain smoking. After we glanced around trying to figure out where the band would play, someone from near the bar yelled, "if you are here to see the band, come over and see me first". So we did...payed the man the 6 dollar cover and received a nice wristband as proof of purchase, then shown to the door behind the back of the bar...yep that's right folks, Chatty has it's own little speakeasy with live entertainment. After only a few short minutes in the back room some visual observation pointed out that you can go next door to the liquor store, pick up your favorite spirits and return with it in its nice packaged brown sack and proceed to stroll around the bar and take rips as needed. It really made it all the more disappointing that I forgot my camera. The band was awesome and to be honest, it was one on the latest nights that I have had in a really long time. Thanks Pine Box Boys for showing me that you can mix all of your favorite death metal influences and roll them into one wild ass bluegrass band with some serious attitude.

The following morning, the Boro crew packed up and headed North so I proceeded to suit up for another ride to Raccoon Mountain from North Chatt. This time Micah and I made the initial jaunt and by the time we made it to the top of Raccoon Mtn. Jason had driven up and met us at the East Overlook. So the 3 of us began our lap and eventually ran into all kinds of people we knew which caused everyone to pick up the pace significantly. We tore through all of the single track on Raccoon, said farewell to those who drove and made our way back down the mountain towards home. It is always nice to start from the house and pick out where you are going visually and then look back towards home as you return.

This was pretty much the end of any real time on the bike for the next week...which turned out to be a major mistake...the weather got really cold and bitter with mix precip here and there. It totally sucked all the life out of me and no matter how much I wanted to ride, I just could not make it happen. We had the 2nd Snake Creek coming up at the end of the week and it just did not seem to phase me. The Pisgah Brew Crew cruised in late Friday night and we just chilled out and caught up for a spell before we hit the sack for some much needed rest. Saturday came early and with a quick breakfast and coffee we hit the road for the drive to Dalton. After registration, I quickly suited up and barely made it on the last van to the start of the 34. To my great surprise, Diamond Dave Kennedy pokes his head in and asks if this van was going to the start...I yelled, Diamond Dave and we had a Nashville reunion all the way to the race start. I found the trailed that transported my ride, rolled up to the start and jumped in on one of the early waves. This is where things start to go wrong. I promised myself not to get too into the race until the half way point. Well for some reason, I just could not get the bike moving as fast as I wanted to and it seemed much more difficult to do so than usual. So my first thought was I need to put more into my pedal stroke to try and wake my legs up so I could warm up faster. I wound up having to stop to strip off some extra layers and then back on the bike I it hell the entire time still waiting for my legs to come around. Towards the end of the first technical climb, I pulled over and began puking my guts out...what the hell was going on? I regrouped and got back on the bike, feeling much better than before....but I still could not get the bike to faster. At the end of the last climb before the half way point, I was totally cooked...I was sweating like crazy and I knew that it would be a death march to the finish. The 2nd half of this race is basically all climbing and it is some tough, technical climbing at that. So I chose to call it a day. I never like to pull myself out of a race, but this was only going to get worse for me. I sat around and waited for the rest of the Yazoo and Pisgah Crews to come through the half way point and then bummed a ride back to the start. It was a sad day for me, but the beauty of bike racing is there is always another race. And there is one more shot at Snake Creek in early March. After the rest of the gang came though the finish, we went out for some dinner and then had the first low key night I have ever had with the Brew Crew. It was uncanny. So all that means is March is going to be full on for sure. Sunday started off with some breakfast at the local neighborhood spot, Aretha's. As usual, it took forever, but the food was great. A quick stop by my house and then on to Raccoon Mtn. I was the acting tour guide since everyone except Jut had never been there before. I made sure that we hit all the stuff that is off the perimeter trail to give them the full effect. I cannot say how much I love this trail ad I think that everyone else would agree. It was an awesome weekend and in a few short weeks, we will be doing it all over again. I cannot wait.

While digging around on the internet, I came across this little gem. While I have no love for Hutchinson tires, I did really like the way they shot this...enjoy.

It's Your Ride from Cinecycle on Vimeo.