Thursday, March 31, 2005
It was great to get out of the office with coworkers in a different environment and just have some mindless fun (and have some great pub food as well). Sometimes it's nice when work isn't work at all.
Wednesday, March 30, 2005
Creeley had the most significant impact of any writer on me as a writer and possibly even as a person. His works were introduced to me by another great writer that I worked with in a coffee shop, Peter Crawford. Peter was the most talented writer I have ever met. I had the great fortune of working with him in the coffee shop and working with him as a writer. I learned an awful lot from him and collaborated with him on a few poetry readings as well. Peter was deeply influenced by Creeley and felt that I should spend some time reading some of his work. It was the most significant moment in my life as a writer. Along with cycling, writing is what I love. Robert Creeley helped to shape that.
I'd love to think I could write something, in the manner Creeley would, to memorialize him. However I know I couldn't even begin to capture the man and his work. Instead, I'll share one of my all time favorite Creeley poems. I love it for its simplicity and elegant completeness.
Ok, maybe it doesn't work for you the way it works for me. Still, it is so complete and whole, with so few words. It is what I have strived to replicate for many years.
I know this has nothing to do with bikes. It is just something that I feel is significant enough that I couldn't let the day go without mentioning it.
Thank you Robert Creeley for all of the work you produced and put forth.
They say you can tell a lot about a person from what CD's they have in their car. I think you can tell even more by the amount and type of crap they can cram underneath their desks. As you can see from this picture, I am a Pisces. Complete with a couple weeks of clothing under my desk. Don't be scared- this is the clean clothes pile.
I "hosted" an office group ride today, getting several of our folks out for a road ride today. I ride every day during the week- it's part of the job after all- but these folks don't all ride as much as I do. It has been my goal for a while to create a weekly ride that is essentially a social ride for anybody in the company who wants to go. So far so good. The President, VP, International Sales Manager, Marketing Manager, our Graphic Director, Graphic Designer and myself got out for a good 21 mile lunch ride. It's always good to get people out of the building and breathing some fresh air.
We have been spending a lot of time trying to get the next line of bikes done and ready to put out into the world. Too many details to begin to list right here, today. Let me just say that I really think that the bikes will be very attractive and attractively spec'd. I am very excited to have been a part of the process and like every expecting parent, I'm anxious to see how the bikes will be received when they come into existence.
Ok, I know that I have been short of pictures lately. More will come soon. I promise. I've gotten a few "where are the pictures" comments recently. They're coming back as soon as I get some new ones.
Thanks for playing along at home.
Tuesday, March 29, 2005
Much has been said in the past few years about Women's Specific Design bikes; smaller sizes, smaller sized components, fits that are specifically designed to fit women better due to the traditionally different body types between men and women. Typically speaking, women have longer legs, shorter torsos, narrower shoulders and smaller hands. However, there is no real consensus as to whether it is true or false. Is it just marketing or good science/ design? A good bike shop can fit a rider, any rider, to a bike.
So, to all the women who care to voice an opinion; what DO you want and need? Let me know. Either reply to the blog or directly to me; firstname.lastname@example.org.
I sincerely hope to hear from you. I know you are out there and I know you know what you want. And I'm listening.
Admittedly, not every shop in the US carries Masi bikes. Believe me, I am working on changing that. However, if you have a shop that you have a good relationship with, just have them call me to order a bike for you and become a retailer. We are definitely looking to add more retailers, since we are committed to increasing our distribution to better serve the consumer. As we do not sell directly to the public at large, retail partners are a very important part of our business. We believe in good retailers and do all we can to support them.
So, if you are having trouble finding a local retailer, we are certainly willing to talk to your favorite local retailer.
Monday, March 28, 2005
Bobby Julich picks up another win this year with an impressive ride at Criterium International. I remember meeting Bobby after he rode to third in the 1998 Tour de France. He seemed like a genuinely humble and "nice" guy. After years of not meeting up to the potential so many of us thought he had, it is great to see him reaping the benefits of patience and trust. Bjarne Riis really must be the miracle worker people say he is.
Chris Horner rode a very impressive 16th overall at Setmana Catalana, showing that he is still one of the best early season stage race riders- even in Europe. Chris and I worked in the same bike shop here in San Diego. We worked in different store locations, but we talked and knew each other. We frequently ended up training together, often with Trent Klasna, on local group rides. I always thought Chris was one of the really cool guys because no matter how many races he won, or how big of a race he won, he still just rode his bike and was a good guy. I can remember doing an evening training crit after Chris won his famous stage of the Tour DuPont (where he did his bike spike). He was as humble as ever and just showed up to train. I got into the break with him later in the race and we were just shooting the breeze. I congratulated him and told him how I saw him on TV and he said thanks and just asked me how my racing was going and congratulated me on my results. Chris gets some negative press now and again for speaking his mind. He's not cocky, he's confident and he uses his legs to back up his mouth. I've never known him to let his mouth write a check his ass can't cash. He's just a good guy.
Oh yeah, buy a Masi. You know you want to.
I have gotten many questions about the '05 website again. It is under construction and will be up within a few weeks, if not sooner. I've also gotten questions about jerseys and shorts. New designs are being developed and considered. As soon as we get something finalized, I will post the news here.
Sunday, March 27, 2005
Saturday, March 26, 2005
The picture above really says a lot. It was 1986 and my first "big" race- the Alabama State Olympics. The picture really says so much, as you can see, I left the pump on the bike and raced the entire race with it on. I was so excited at the start that I forgot to remove it. Yep, full-blown geek move.
On the first lap, one rider rolled off the front alone. I jumped after him, but a voice from the back of the field yelled "let him go, he'll die on the hill". I let him go. But he was gone for good and we never saw him until the end of the race. Now the race was for 2nd and I was determined to get it. On the last lap, one other rider and myself attacked the rest of the group at the bottom of the climb and rolled away together. Out of the last turn, it was a downhill sprint to the finish line. My companion attacked me immediately out of the turn and looked like he would get the silver, but I wouldn't give up. I caught and passed him with about 20-30 meters to go and took the silver right in front of my father (the one and only race he has ever been able to go to).
It's been 19 years since that race and I still get so excited that I forget to remove my pump or tool bag. I've done many races over the years with all my crap still strapped to the bike. That could explain why I never made it to the Tour (as opposed to my less than stellar lung capacity and lack of super-human strength).
As much as I love those all day rides that go through endless valleys and over breathtaking climbs, I still get goosebumps on race day. Nothing quite compares to the sheer thrill of speed and competition... it's way more than addictive. Road races, crits, time trials or track races. It doesn't matter to me. I love them all. Admittedly, my passion is for track racing. The no brakes, one gear, can't stop pedaling, oh-my-God-I'm-gonna-crash thrill of track racing. Much has been said about the "oneness" of riding a fixed gear bike. It's all true. The lack of brakes and multiple gears to think about leaves you able to concentrate on the joy of being on the bike and planning your next move. The purr of a perfect chain line is unmistakable. The hum and whoomp-whoomp-whoomp of a disk wheel picking up speed. Man, oh man how I love those sounds.
It's true that bikes still make my heart skip a beat after all these years.
Friday, March 25, 2005
As you can tell from the picture above, it was a crappy day in the office today. Got a couple of the team mates over to the office to do a little impromptu photo shoot in the new team kit. Masi is the bike sponsor for the team and we hope to get some podiums this year. Good looking kit isn't it? Nice socks too- strictly team issue (retail socks shown a few postings ago). Canari (www.canari.com) is the clothing sponsor, helmets are from Catlike (www.catlike-usa.com), Ritchey (www.ritcheylogic.com) is a product sponsor (many thanks), Easton (http://www.eastonbike.com/) is a product sponsor, SockGuy (www.sockguy.com) is the sock sponsor ("Have fun. Play often. Wear comfy socks.") , Corsa Design (www.corsadesign.us) keeps us looking professional, The Bike Empire in Poway, CA is the shop sponsor, The Brigantine Restaurant is the official delicious food sponsor (excellent food in Del Mar, CA) and ARCE Bros Properties is the title sponsor supplying the cash for the clothing (thanks!). I hope I didn't forget anybody- but if I did I'll get you mentioned... I promise.
Thursday, March 24, 2005
In regards to an inquiry placed here on the blog; the 2005 website is under construction and will hopefully be done very soon. Images and product information will be up soon... I promise. In the meantime, if you need information on the '05 line, I can certainly supply it to you.
Wednesday, March 23, 2005
Developing a line of bikes in today's marketplace also requires finding a way to differentiate your bike from the next brand and do things that will also allow you to get the bikes delivered when you want and need them. It's easy to lose sight of how intricate the process is and how much has to happen at the same time.
All in all, the process is actually fun when you keep an eye on the final outcome; bikes. Fortunately, none of the decisions we make are life-or-death (though losing your job because you were horribly wrong and now you have a warehouse full of bikes nobody will buy is certainly a major bummer) and we are talking about an industry built around fun and exercise. So really, how bad can it be right? Ask me again tomorrow after the next meeting is done...
Tuesday, March 22, 2005
Spent some time talking to my buddy at Ritchey. Kendall Young is quite likely my doppelganger or the minutely older brother that my mother has never mentioned. He's another one of us who spent a long time in the industry and then got out and had a "real" job, only to find it didn't fulfill his passion.
Then it was geek-out time today. Remember Chris Huber? He was one of the fastest sprinters in the country for years. Rode for several teams, but had a lot of success with the Coors Light team. He was also the world record holder for the fastest rider in an HPV bike for many years. Chris later went on to start building custom frames under his own name. I first started talking to Chris when I was working at NiteRider as the Customer Service Manager. He would frequently get lights for his customers as part of his build service on bikes. I got to meet him at Interbike one year and was trying to contain my hero-worship, since he was a racing hero of mine. As it turns out, one of my best friends is a good friend of Chris' and goes to Hawaii now and again to help Chris with his bike shop there during the Ironman race. Now Chris is buying bikes from us and I get to talk to him semi-regularly. One cool dude.
SO many rumors circulating now about Trek- LeMond- Merckx. If you haven't heard the rumor, it goes like this; Trek is dropping LeMond and trying to purchase the Eddy Merckx brand instead. Makes some sense I suppose. Merckx is THE legend of legends, no matter how many Tours Lance wins. Not knocking on either Trek or LeMond, since I have friends in both companies and a huge amount of respect for Greg (I rode with him and thought I would die out of joy), but it does appear that the LeMond bikes have not been doing as well and Trek needs to have a new battle plan for when that guy from Texas finally does retire. Frankly, I just can't see Eddy doing it. I always envisioned Axel taking over the company when Eddy retires, carrying on the brand for another generation. Makes for some juicy gossip anyway.
Tomatoes; fruit or vegetable?
Monday, March 21, 2005
After a long week, it was exceptionally nice to get out in good weather and have a nice ride with my best friend in the rolling hills of San Diego. We rode East and then South to get to the Otay Lakes area (home of the Arco Olympic Training Center). The sun was out and the riding was awesome. My legs were starved for some sunshine and miles and they got a little of both. Besides, I have to get my product testing in. A job is a job after all and I don't want to disappoint the bosses. Duty calls, right?
Wednesday, March 16, 2005
Tomorrow is my grandfather's funeral service, so I won't likely be "here". You'll just have to wait for Friday and a late posting with some Shimano pictures (hopefully).
Tuesday, March 15, 2005
Ok, today's little photo is of our new Masi socks. Way comfy and made by our friends down the road at SockGuy. Two sizes and colors- small/ medium and large/ x-large, white/ grey and grey/ black. Retailers; stock them! Consumers; buy them! The least expensive way to own a Masi (two really).
Spending the day working on the next line of bikes. Women's bikes, component spec, graphics and colors. All the tedious details that make up part of the process and (please don't tell anybody) part of the fun. I admit it, I really like looking at bike parts and drawings of bikes trying to figure out how to put together stuff that will appeal to the broadest range of people. The nuts and bolts of the job are actually quite titillating (just been looking for a way to use that word). It's always cool when one of our parts vendors shows up with a bunch of things to look at. Not all salesmen (or women) are created equal, but it is so cool to fondle new parts and try to find a way to use them. There is so much cool crap out there and we only use a small portion of it.
FYI- Going to see the folks at Shimano soon for a little peak at what is coming out soon. I'll be bringing the camera and will snap some shots of stuff that they will let me show you. Of course many things are off limits, but not everything. So keep coming back to look for a sneak peek of '06 products... you'll see it here first!
Monday, March 14, 2005
Off on a different tangent now. Last night, shortly before midnight, my "Grampa" passed away after a brief and arduous battle with cancer. At 86 years old, he fought as hard as he could before slipping away and getting the rest he deserves so well. I just wanted to mention him, since he is one of my heroes. Walter Komula leaves behind a large extended family that will remember him very fondly. Grampa, thanks for being such a great example of a man.
Friday, March 11, 2005
Ok, time for a little group slobber session!
Thursday, March 10, 2005
Race season is completely underway and I am happy as can be about it. Like I said, I love racing. Just got one of my new jerseys and am waiting for the shorts for the team I race with. I absolutely love getting new team gear and going for that first ride looking slick. This year will be a little more difficult for racing, with the travel schedule I will have. Hopefully I'll get to take the bike with me most of the time and do some racing on the road. I really dig going somewhere new and racing with people I don't know. You don't know who to watch or who is the local hammer-dog. It makes the racing so much more mental and I really enjoy that. So look for me at your local event because you never know if "masiguy" is going to show up. (Ok, I'll clue you in when I'm traveling so you'll know where I am.)
Wednesday, March 09, 2005
Our folks have been arriving back in the office the past few days, each with their own story of weird foods and crazy drivers. The best stories though have been about the big earthquakes that hit. You'd think that Californians would be fairly used to having earthquakes, but I'm told that the one that hit (and the two aftershocks) was very different from what we get here... plus you're on the other side of the globe, in an unfamiliar country, several floors up in a hotel with water sloshing out of the toilet as the building sways and jumps. I'm fairly sure I'm glad I wasn't there.
Today's pic is of my personal "every day" bike. It is our Gran Criterium frame with parts I have cobbled together thanks to some friends in the industry and a bunch of my old parts from bikes I have been riding for years. I think the front derailleur is the same one I have been using since 1991. We have two bikes using this frame platform, but the frame pictured is the one we sell as a frameset. The color is Blazing Copper and is really beautiful in the sunlight. I'm not exactly Ansel Adams or Helmut Newton, so I couldn't get a good picture of the paint. Don't take this as a sale's pitch, but the frame produces an excellent ride for a frame that isn't all carbon. The stays are stiff, but forgiving as carbon should be and the aluminum front end is stiff and light. All in all a great ride and certainly worthy of riders much better than me.
Today an industry online publication in the UK ran a little story about this blog and now the word is out and the cat is out of the bag! So now we'll just have to see what happens. Check out www.bikebiz.com and take a look (password is required to enter the Trade News section- sorry).
Tuesday, March 08, 2005
The ride is superb! I was truly impressed by the soak-it-up-so-you-feel-nothing quality of the carbon. My boss and I both were surprised by the sensation that you weren't riding very hard, as if you were just cruising along. The buzz and vibration is cut down to nearly nothing. Really, very impressive. As with all prototypes, it isn't perfect and it won't be the final product, but it sure is a fun ride to have in the stable when you want to go for a spin.
Now, don't email me and ask me when you can have one because I don't know yet. We will definitely have an all-carbon frame/ bike soon, but not today. You'll just have to spend your days and nights pining away for one... just like me.
Monday, March 07, 2005
What it lacks in space and organization/ neatness, it makes up for with nifty doodads crossing my desk from time to time. Oh yeah, and the lunch-time bike rides every day. That really is the beauty part of the job. Since we are located in Southern California, we get great riding weather more often than not (though this has been the wettest winter I can personally remember). When something new comes in, we ride it. When considering a new saddle, tire, bar, stem, fork, wheelset or whatever, I throw it onto my bike and ride it. I've ridden a few saddles I'd be happy to never see again, by the way. New frame designs get the same unfair punishment as well. With 3 of us here riding the same size frame and having very different riding styles, we can really evaluate something before it ends up on one of our bikes or becomes a frame that will be underneath somebody. That will hopefully lend to better and better bikes coming to market.
Speaking of "market", the Taipei bike show just wrapped up and I am eagerly waiting for follow-up. Between the meetings with vendors and customers, there is always a lot of stuff to talk about afterwards. The best piece of news so far is that our International Distributors were very interested in bringing Masi into their countries. This means the Masi World Domination is completely underway and we will be out stealing floor space from "other brands". (Insert sinister, maniacal laugh and creepy wringing of hands.)
Sunday, March 06, 2005
On September 11th of this year (what is with that date now?), while riding home from a friend's party on my bike in the wee hours of the morning, I was struck by a car in a hit and run accident (yes, I was using a headlight and tail light at the time). The driver of the car ran a red light while I was in the middle of the intersection, snapping the frame in half. As you can see from the picture, it was not a pretty sight. For those of you with an eye for gore, yes, that is my blood all over the frame. I was so very lucky that I was wearing a good helmet and that I was simply coasting through the intersection. Had I been going any faster I would have been directly in front of the car, rather than getting "clipped" and would have likely been killed. Since I am married and have two children, this little "blessing" is something I am thankful for each day.
Yes, I had been drinking. I had stopped drinking around midnight before climbing back onto my bike at 3:00 in the morning, thinking that I was more than sober enough to ride home. To this day, I believe I was sober enough, but my judgment to leave was still not the best decision and I really should have just stayed at my friend's house. My rationale for riding home: I didn't want my wife to worry when she woke up and I wasn't home. Instead, she woke up to find me bleeding like crazy from the huge cut in my chin and the multiple scrapes all over. I was fortunate enough to not break any bones and to not have any truly serious injuries. 7 stitches in the chin and several scars, but I am otherwise ok. My back still has lingering effects from the crash, but I am able to ride without pain- well, from the crash anyway.
The accident took place on a Sunday morning. I had my interview with Haro Bicycles, parent company of Masi, the following Friday afternoon and had a job offer later that day. I went to the interview completely covered in scabs, bandages and hardly able to talk from the injuries to my jaw and neck. Still, I suppose they figured that if I was willing to get back onto a bike after such an accident, I must be really dedicated and passionate (and just a little crazy). Both are important ingredients to having a job in the bike industry.
None of this is brought up to make light of the circumstances surrounding the incident. I really could have made some better choices, like drinking less and leaving earlier or just crashing on the couch instead of on my bike. I bring this up to point out how lucky I feel to be alive and have the job that I have. Haro looked past the scabs and bandages and saw somebody very passionate about bicycles and the sport. It is that passion that I hope will allow me to turn Masi Bicycles into a powerhouse premium road bike brand again. This is the challenge of a lifetime for me and I am very thankful to have been given this opportunity and will not squander it.
Don't drink and ride!
I have never exactly enjoyed time trialing, it's just something that I tend to do fairly well when fit. It's just the fact that I'm tall and can usually push a large gear for a long time- though you couldn't tell that today.
The next race on tap is either yet another TT or a circuit race in the Los Angeles area. Sort of depends on how the training goes this week. Admittedly, I never felt good this past week and missed three days of riding. I don't know if that accounts for all 36 of those slower seconds today.
Oh well, "live to fight another day" somebody once said. I have no clue who or exactly what it means, but hey, it sounds good.
Saturday, March 05, 2005
Last month on the same course I got 9th in the 20K event with a 29:42 in horrible weather conditions; tons of rain the night before, and all week prior, turned the course into a soggy, muddy, sandy pit. It looked like a cyclo-cross race afterwards because everybody was covered in grime. This time I am forgoing the carbon 3-spoke wheels and using regular aero wheels to be safer. I think this will allow me to be a little faster as well. Last month, since it was my first TT in several months, I went pretty conservatively. This time, I'm cuttin' loose!
Stay tuned for a post race commentary tomorrow!