Wednesday, August 31, 2005
Secondly, due to constant spamming in the comments of posts, I have added a word verification for comment posting. Sorry for this little extra layer, but I want to keep this place spam-free. Now, real Spam, I am all for. Scalloped potatoes with Spam. Fried Spam sandwiches. Spam omelettes... all very good stuff.
Tuesday, August 30, 2005
Speaking of getting crushed by a tradeshow booth, my hand is still too sore to be able to grip a handlebar, so racing is out this evening. I was looking forward to it, but I can't really hold onto the bars. And my back hurts. And my feet hurt. And I want a beer... AND... this is the worst part... my bosses are in Germany for Eurobike, sitting by the lake eating fresh strudel and drinking delicious German beer... in GERMANY! Where's the justice? I better get something better than a t-shirt and some lederhosen.
I am actually jealous of the fact that our Senior Product Manager is getting to see those prototype SRAM road components before me. The suspense is killing me! I can not wait to see those things and find out how it all works and just get the story about them. I know; I'm a bike geek.
Well, back to my non-strudel, non-lake view, non-German beer in Germany life...
Monday, August 29, 2005
Jonathan Maus over at Just Riding Along is trying to put together something of an informal discussion group during Interbike to discuss all things blogging related. If you are a retailer or manufacturer and will be attending the show, this discussion group could be a great way to share ideas about blogging or learn about blogging if you are curious about how to get started. Jonathan will have more information and details later, but if you are interested, it should prove to be a valuable discussion and resource for information. I will be trying to attend if other obligations do not conflict with the date and time. I know there is a lot more I can learn and hope to do exactly that. So keep your eyes open for more details about this unofficial "conference".
Sunday, August 28, 2005
I know that a lot of you read this blog and I get numerous emails each week from many of you, so let me know what you feel about the issue of early model introductions. Is it good for your business or bad? Is it good for the industry as a whole or bad? Do you even care so long as you get product on your floor to sell?
You can post a comment here or you can email me directly at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Consumers; what do think about the issue? Is the push for "latest and greatest" good or bad for you? I've heard complaints from some consumers that they can't find product in stock because the local retailer isn't stocking any of the "current" product because the "new" product will be available in few a months and they don't want to be "stuck" with unwanted "old" products. Is this something you have noticed? Please share your thoughts as well.
Friday, August 26, 2005
What is funny about this to me is that Pabst Blue Ribbon is about as "American" a beer as you can possibly find. To see it in Chinese is one of the funniest images I can think of. Our global travel gnome, Wayne Doran, just brought it back from a recent trip to China.
There's funny and then there's hi-larious!
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Now, this is big news to me. Why, well, as a Product Manager for a bike brand, it gives me another option for road parts, which is always good. Also, it creates more "pressure" for Shimano to keep up the efforts in development that they have made over the years. More competition is good for all of us and could even result in better pricing as well as better products. Don't get me wrong, I love Shimano. I love Campagnolo too (and keep waiting for that box of Record parts to just show up on my desk after a lunch ride). However, I really like a lot of the SRAM family of parts and think they could do some cool things in the road market. I haven't personally seen any of these new prototype parts (though if they want to send me some I will gladly test them... if you're reading this SRAM guys), but I have a feeling they are doing some pretty cool stuff. The shifter issue was the biggest hurdle, I am sure, and then brakes. Now they will allegedly have both.
To me, this is really exciting news. I am really looking forward to seeing and touching these new parts. From what I saw, the shifters look very similar to the Shimano shifters and not as pretty as the Campy shifters (but really, what is that pretty). The proof is going to be in how well they work. So far, I have not heard anything about how they work, though they were ridden at the USPro criterium championships. I haven't heard of anything not working. I've never had a SRAM component that I didn't like over the years, so this could be a really good thing.
Shimano is likely very, very aware of these developments (well, I know they are) and probably has some concerns about what this will all mean- ie; patent infringement issues. Campagnolo probably isn't too worried, just because their products (here in the US at least) tend to appeal to a different consumer than Shimano products. I think these SRAM components would pose the biggest threat to Shimano.
Maybe it is just me, but this could prove to be some of the biggest news in road componentry of the past few years. I eagerly await the chance to see, touch, use these new parts and find out if the long wait has been worthwhile (hey SRAM, I'm talking to you). People have been saying for years and years that somebody was going to come along and develop a complete road group. Is this going to be it or are we looking at another Mavic Zap/ Tektronic component group that fades into obscurity?
I am very curious.
Wednesday, August 24, 2005
The image below is courtesy of my boss' brother,
© Scott R. Varley
Why am I thirsty now?
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
Oh well, I guess I'll just go home and watch The Incredibles (again) with my daughter and have a beer.
This the old GDR (German Democratic Republic) National Team tape. The black stripe is hidden under the rest of the tape, except for in a few places. I also got solid grey, solid yellow, solid white, the Polish National Team (rd/yl/rd) and another GDR roll. Ain't it pretty stuff? So shiny, so glossy, so slippery when wet if you don't have gloves on. It sure looks gorgeous though.
Now I just have to decide which bike gets the tape next... decisions, decisions...
Monday, August 22, 2005
Things have been busy trying to wrap up so many details regarding the tradeshows that are coming up so very, very soon. There has been a really cool thread of dialog about Interbike today on Just Riding Along. You should give it a read.
My legs were just crap all week last week and I had an important visitor here so I skipped racing at the track, but I think I'll go back tomorrow night and get beat up. It's Endurance night, so it'll be all those long events that I really stink at. However, it's racing and it is fun. The cool thing is that the San Diego Velodrome Association is finally having some repairs done to the track surface. It'll cut down on track time availability, but it will sure be worth it in the end. I can't wait to get rid of the potholes; you can lose sight of the horizon when you roll into one.
I've been remiss in failing to mention some praise for Levi Leipheimer and his lead in the Tour of Germany. How cool if he wins. That will mean a lot of stage races won by Americans this year; 3 by Julich, 1 by what's-his-name and now Levi. I've never met the guy, but from what I hear, he's a genuinely good guy. I think he probably has the race wrapped up now, not to jinx the guy, and it will surely be the biggest win of his career. He sure looked like a winner on the climbing stage he won last week. Too bad he didn't have the same legs in July. Next year maybe.
More cool news and stuff to follow soon...
Thursday, August 18, 2005
Stop on by his space and say Congratulations- I know he and his wife would appreciate it.
So Congratulations Jonathan. Here's to wishing you and your family the very best (and some chances to sneak in a few naps).
Wednesday, August 17, 2005
Wow, this is turning into a job or something. Who knew?
Monday, August 15, 2005
I really can't think of two better sources and there is always the chance that one of the two owners may have painted or brazed your vintage frame since both worked for Masi California.
CyclArt is owned and operated by Jim Cunningham. Jim is considered one of the very best bike restorers in the business and does some exceptional painting. He's very near us and we frequently have him paint sample frames for us. Check out his site for vintage parts as well, as he has an extensive catalog of rare and hard to find parts.
Vintage Cycle Studios is owned and operated by Brian Baylis. Brian is one of the greatest artists to ever lift a torch or airbrush. Many examples of his work are suitable for display at the Smithsonian or Louvre. Brian's lugwork is in my humble opinion some of the very finest examples of the craft to ever be seen.
One of the best things about these two companies is that both of these guys have vast amounts of knowledge and experience and can likely give you a much better idea of your bike's history.
There you have it. Now you can bring new life into your old bike and make everybody you know very, very jealous.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
I had been toying with the idea of going to the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix and racing tomorrow, but since I didn't pre-register for the event it is unlikely I would be able to get in anyway. The MBGP is one of the premier races in SoCal and has had some great names win the event over the years. It should be another great race this year with some really motivated guys there looking to win what is considered by many to be the SoCal crit championship. Winning the state championship is cool, but winning MBGP is even cooler. I'll be waiting anxiously to find out who pulls off the win this year.
Now it's time to pull Breaking Away out of the case and remind myself why I got into this silliness in the firt place (Dave Stoller rides a Masi in the movie... how cool is that).
Friday, August 12, 2005
A few bikes pop up here and there on eBay and the source is not exactly known. There is a bike currently on eBay and I do not know who the seller is or how they got the bike, so just be warned.
This obviously only applies to bikes that are listed as new, current model year bikes. Used bikes would no longer have a warranty either, as it is non-transferable, but at least the source is not as questionable.
Sorry to flog a dead horse, but I just wanted to remain clear on the topic.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Something tells me that the insane inhaling sounds that came from our table during lunch just might have made an impression we hadn't planned on.
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
I know that there is a press embargo on this new Shimano item, but darnit, I'm a rule breaker and want to give all of you the inside line on this hot new item.
Injection molded polycarbonate body with indexed clicking action. Co-molded with an ergonomic rubber grip with a low durometer rating for great cornering. Light at only 13 grams! Black ink, that is supposedly made from crushed carbon fiber strands. 12 of the 20 UCI Pro Tour teams will be using this product and early prototypes were spotted in the Discovery Channel bus during the Tour.
Just remember, you saw it here first!
Shimano, for today at least, is my very best friend in the world! Thanks guys.
Started off with the motorpaced event again and I felt fine and was in the thick of things, though I was running a much bigger gear than usual (more on that in a moment) and closing gaps was more difficult and then I would run through the guy in front of me with the momentum I would gain. I don't particularly enjoy that yo-yo effect when others do it and there I was doing it... so I felt a little guilty. After 30 laps I decided I was done, not tired, and rolled down to stretch before doing my 200m time trial.
The big gear idea came to me in a dream, literally, since I recognize the fact I have so little leg speed these days (thanks to pushing a big gear on the road too often and doing time trials this year... 55x11 and 180 cranks does not improve leg speed at all). I figured a bigger gear would use my power and not expose my lack of leg speed. Normally I do my 200 here in San Diego on our slow track in a 50x15 (90"), but last night I went with a 49x14 (94.5") to get that extra oomph. The only problem was getting that beast rolled out and wound up in just 2 laps. I got it almost right and probably should have been going just a little faster before I stood up and started my final run to the timing line. As it was, I ended up 2nd fastest qualifier with a 12.35 on a slow night. I was pretty cross eyed by the time I hit the finish line, so I know I couldn't have made anymore of the effort once I was committed to it.
The officials were having a rough night with getting things started, so we ended up waiting nearly an hour before our first sprint rounds as the other races were going on. Staying warmed up was a challenge, but that's racing. Once we finally got our pairings set it was "go time". The first round ride was a 3-up and one of the guys I know well and consider a racing buddy in the sprints (Matt Donovan) and then the 3rd guy I didn't know at all and considered a threat because of that. A 3-up sprint in two laps is complicated, as too much is going on in a narrow window of opportunity. I started in the front but forced the other two to retake the lead as we got through turn two on the first lap and then I was at the back watching and waiting... swerving around to make them guess what I was going to do. Unfortunately for me, Matt rolled off a couple meters off the front and the guy in the middle (the one I didn't know and whose name I can not remember now) let him keep that little space and I misread the guy's speed. Matt jumped going into turn 3 on the last lap and middle guy didn't jump after him right away, so we were at a major disadvantage and Matt got a big, big gap that I just couldn't close on my smaller 88" gear and coming over the top. Consolation round for me!
My consolation bracket ride wasn't much better, as one of the guys (Chris Bennett- another racing buddy) is on his way to Nationals this week. This time I was sandwiched in the middle spot when we started our 4th-6th sprint and got Chris to overtake the lead going into the last lap. He's got great finishing speed and long sprint... so I don't know what the hell I was thinking by jumping coming out of the middle of turn 3-4 and going all out from that distance. Again, I was riding the 88" ("88 is great"), but Chris was on a 92" and used his finish speed to get me by a tire on the line after I opened what looked like the winning gap. I really thought I had it until about 5 meters from the line and I knew I was in serious trouble with him closing in on me. So 5th for the night was my resting spot.
Next was a 24-ish lap 5 mile Scratch race, which is essentially a criterium on the track. I was so blown after the last Sprint round that I was going to go sit in the stands and have a beer with some friends, but I actually really like the Scratch so I figured I'd put the monster gear back on the bike and just try to hang on for as long as possible... which worked for about 12 laps before I thought I was going to lose consciousness. There's cooked and then there's overcooked.
Overall, it was great fun to be racing again and now I actually feel a little better about my general racing form. I've been racing better, all things considered, and look forward to a few more before starting all my show season travel. The crowd was great as usual and a couple of guys from work made the hour long drive south to come watch too- thanks Mike and Kevin.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
Monday, August 08, 2005
There's been a lot of talk recently about the new VooDoo Cycles blog site, especially on the Just Riding Along site. I don't want to get into details here, just because of space and because this isn't the correct forum, but I am always amazed by the way dialog can go from a polite "this is what I think" to somebody else saying "you're an a**hole!" I have to applaud Jonathan Maus at JRA for his decorum and professionalism in dealing with all of the replies and comments his commentary received. All I will say is, it makes for an interesting read, so check out the thread of dialog. While on the topic- I'm glad to see that VooDoo is getting into the blogging world in the first place. As they say, the more the merrier.
I rode my fixed gear road bike today, the one bike I ride that isn't a Masi (I know I'm going to have to say like 1000 Hail Marys or something). I just love riding a fix. Track racing tomorrow night, so I figured I'd spin my legs loose today. I still think I need to put a smaller gear on because the 90" gear (50x15), is just a bit too steep on the hills. It's great for going down hill, since I don't get too spun out, but climbing is a royal pain in the arse when the hill is steep or long. Still, I sure love the sound of a good clean, smooth chainline. Mmmm... like butter. I am going to try to make it out to the local evening fixie ride this week or next. One of the local shops does an evening fixed-only ride and usually gets a pretty solid group out. I'm trying to sell the wife on the notion that I'm doing market research and analysis for the introduction of a Masi fixed gear bike. Sounds plausible enough...
I was thinking about the Tour again recently and how the French riders were again unable to reach the podium in Paris. I mean, it doesn't seem like that big a deal to me because it always seems to come and go in cycles like this. The French have so many talented riders, but they seem to whither under the intense scrutiny of the French press. It's really just a matter of time before another French rider wins the Tour, even if it looks unlikely now. I just feel for the poor riders who are trying to make it to the podium. Look at how long it took Chrsitophe Moreau to shine at the Tour? He didn't make the podium, but he rode very well and looked like the potential contender that he has been touted to be. Chavanel is a rider to keep watching as well. He shows a lot of class and poise. Once he matures a bit more as a rider, he'll be a threat. I don't know about you, but I was really hoping that Voeckler would have another Tour like he did last year. He's just a gutsy kid and does appear to be a reasonably normal guy as well. Mon dieu, c'est la vie.
The pain delivery unit of "the CD". From what I have heard, women and children cower at the mere sight of this bike because they know that death and destruction are coming. Grown men are reduced to tears and whimpers because the pain is about to start. They are known to mumble below their breath, for fear of being heard and singled out for torture, "here comes the white handlebar tape of death!" So the next time you are in Portland, OR... beware the white Masi of "the CD"!
Friday, August 05, 2005
Some are serious (you have no idea just how serious) and then one is not so serious... you figure it out, I'm not telling you!
So start voting already... jeesh!
Thursday, August 04, 2005
Now that the National Sales Meeting of a couple weeks ago is behind me, I can start to focus on the next big appointments; ExpoCycle in Montreal Canada in mid September and then it is off to Las Vegas for Interbike just a week after I return from Canada. The "silly season" is drawing near very, very quickly. I've said many times before though, that I actually enjoy this time of year immensely. For one, I get to see people that I only see during show season, I get to look at other really cool products, I get to geek-out completely and gawk at my own cycling heroes walking around like normal people and I get to talk about my bikes. Sure, I have to contend with casinos full of cigarette smoke, walking for endless miles, standing for endless hours, back pain from toting way too much crap around all the time (I am not a light packer) and I have to go through the Liver Olympics with all the free drinks that flow around (remember my previous warnings about drinking with Canadians). It's all worth it though.
I'll be stressed out beyond all comprehension this year, since this particular line of bikes is my first one with the company. It was far from a solo effort to get these bikes done and the catalogs ready; my direct boss (the Senior Product Manager) Mike Varley, the graphic artist Sean Hargraves, our QC Manager- who helps to make sure we can bolt this to that- Wayne Doran, our Supply Chain Manager Jim Maher (who orders all the stuff to make stuff into stuff), our Marketing Manager Jill Hamilton- who helps us remember what we're doing and is just plain smart and then even the higher up mucky-mucks like our President Jim Ford and Vice President Joe Hawk all played important roles. There were others too, but these poor souls are the ones who have had to deal with me the most. They are the ones who had to listen to me say "you know what would be really cool"... about a billion times. But when we get to Vegas, I'm the puppet on the end of the strings dancing around in the booth talking about how great the bikes are and why. I get to be the goober who is "responsible" for the bikes and gets to answer questions about why a tire was chosen or saddle wasn't chosen... I get to be "Complaint Boy"! I also get to be considered the genius when people like the bikes and think they are really gorgeous (and I really hope that you will), so it ain't all bad- not by a long shot.
To borrow from my wife for a moment; "so here's the thing"... it really is a cool job. I really am enjoying myself. I really do love the bikes I get to call my own and try to sell to all of you. I know I'm lucky to have this job, no matter how much I will want to shoot myself in the coming weeks.
He's also a pretty hip Dad and is raising the bar on the fun meter for us parents... Darn You!
Anyway, give it a poke around...
So you will maybe notice that all of the polls have been removed. I am working on some new and exciting polls for you to sink your teeth into so stay tuned to this channel for more updates.
Possible topics for discussion;
Track/ fixed gear-SS bikes
Cross bikes/ frames
TT/Tri bikes/ frames
Tantalizing isn't it?
All of my links and other stuff are still on this page, but they are now down at the very bottom of the page. I am working on trying to bring them back up to the top... but as I have confessed before, I'm kind of a tech idiot. So don't be surprised if the blog suddenly goes purple with spots or is in Sanskrit.
Wednesday, August 03, 2005
It was great to get back out on the oval and "get my suffer on". With all that has been going on here for the past several weeks, it has been very hard for me to justify leaving the office to go race when things have been so hectic. Since things are now less frantic, I felt a bit better getting back out and racing. Besides, it's all part of my Global Domination strategy anyway.
The racing actually went far better than I expected since my legs felt like crap. I rode at lunch to stay loose and I wasn't exactly impressed with how I felt. Traffic getting to the track was horrendous so I just barely made it to the track with enough time to get registered and suited up and get a few minutes of warm-up. Driving in Southern California really stinks... but I got there in time to get into the skinsuit and get a few laps of track time before they lined us up for the first race.
40-lap Motorpaced event. Normally I stay in for about 20 laps before I pull out. This event just gets too nervous for me with all of the various levels of riders in the field. We've had a few crashes in the event this year, so I feel pretty justified in my fears. However, I got a good slot near the very end of the line and was able to ride a steady tempo finally, without the constant yo-yo-ing we normally have in the field. Instead of pulling out, I stayed in until the final and the guy in front of me had the last pull on the motor before it pulled off the track, so I had great positioning and ended up slightly boxed in at the finish and might have been able to improve on my fourth in the final sprint if I could have gotten out and up track. For the record, Andy Sparks of the US National team is really damned fast...
So... after that quad burner I was totally blown for our 10-lap Tempo race. I got to the front in the first lap and just missed the points... same for the second lap... and third lap. Then I got a killer of a stomach cramp in my right side and it was making me cross-eyed. It hurt so bad I pulled out before the end of the 4th lap. I rolled down to the warm-up track on the infield and just tried to massage it out and ride. It hurt like... like... like a really bad stomach cramp I guess.
After all the other categories did their racing, complete with a spectacular two-person crash in one race, we rolled to the line for another 45-lap Points race. If you've read my blog before, you already know how much I hate this race. Normally, in a 45 lap event, I'll hang out for about 15-20 before I get so bored I head for the stands and a beer with my people. For some reason, I had good enough legs to last about 27-28 laps before finally giving up. On top of that, I managed to score points on two of the point sprint laps. Better still, I managed to stay with the lead group, although I had to chase back on solo 3 times. I was most proud that I managed to not get lapped like I normally do.
Where the heck did the legs come from? I thought I was going to get clobbered and I rode better than I have all season... with little training and no racing in the past 4-5 weeks. I was a bit astounded frankly. Obviously, I hope this continues for the remainder of this new session of races (final series of the year ends in September).
We'll see where the legs go next week. They were completely shot today though... there were a couple of moments I thought I might have to get off my bike and walk.
Monday, August 01, 2005
This is totally unrelated to Masi Bicycles, other than the product pictured was developed and made by one of my "sister brands", Premium Products, under the Haro umbrella of bikes.
People who ride freestyle BMX bikes are frequently tossed out of skateparks or not even allowed in because of the potential damage a peg on the bike can do to the park and the stuff in the park.
To address this issue, Premium Products developed this peg. It is a nylon sleeve injected over an aluminum core. The aluminum gives it the structural strength needed, but the nylon prevents the peg from damaging the copings/ rails in the park itself.
Now, I know this has nothing to do with road bikes, but I couldn't help but geek-out when these products were being developed and are now here. The point is, I just love taking a problem and finding a reasonable and intelligent solution. I just can't help but think that this product is one of the coolest bike products I've seen in a very long time. Simple, but effective. How cool is that?
You really have to see her work to appreciate it. Her paintings are fantastic, I think anyway, and I highly recommend checking out her work.
As I may have mentioned previously, I first became acquainted with her work while editing the magazine iheartbikes. Her work really captures a love of the machine and has a soft and familiar look to it, in my opinion. Anyway, I really dig her work and I hope you get a chance to check it out if you are near one of her showings.
David Losa is a cyclist riding from Santa Barbara, CA to Washington, DC to raise awareness about the plight of millions in prisons across the country. Regardless of where you stand on the incarceration issue (and I'm not voicing my opinion), the ride this guy is taking is pretty impressive. He isn't a long-time race geek or multi-time century rider, so his efforts are pretty incredible. Obviously, his ride caught my attention because he is making the trip across the country on a Masi. That's the self-serving part of things. I was impressed by his motivation and his heart and the passion of those working with him on his crusade. I received several emails from people working with him, informing me of his ride and the fact that he is doing it perched atop a Masi. I get lots of inquiries for sponsorship and other forms of "recognition" by people who either have a Masi or want to get a free one, but this particular story caught my attention.
I hope you will take a moment to check out his story and what he is doing and why. It's a compelling story that I felt I should share.
To David and his crew of supporters on the road and across the country; Good luck, good wind and no flats.
(More posts about David and his ride to follow.)
We do not allow eBay sales of Masi bicycles, so any shop that is selling them on eBay is in violation of their dealer agreement or is getting the bikes through a "grey market" channel.
Please keep in mind that any purchase of a new Masi bicycle, as it is an unauthorized sale, would not qualify for warranty should there be a problem- so buyer beware.