Thursday, September 29, 2005

More Vegas ramblings

Today was another wonderful day in Vegas. I just love doing these shows! I got to see some good friends and some heroes again. Retailers are giving me very, very good feedback on the new bikes and I am really excited about the coming year. I feel very confident that the bikes are going to appeal quite well to the retail customers out there (you know who you are) and you will all be impressed by the ride of the bikes- this is going to be a great year!

My hero-worship gawk fest for today was a wonderful conversation with Paolo Guerciotti... THE Guerciotti! He built frames for Masi from time to time, so he came by the booth to talk about the bikes and look at the new line of bikes. WOW! Here's a world famous builder, talking to me about bikes. I could have kissed his pinky ring if he had been wearing one! I loved his bikes over the years, especially as a kid who used to cut out pictures from magazines and tape them to my bedroom walls. I had many Guerciotti pictures as a kid.

Yesterday I spoke with Joe Bell, the very famous and respected frame painter. Joe paints for many builders, including Bill Holland and Richard Sachs. Joe is one of the very best in the business and I have known him for many years, through riding bikes in San Diego, but it is always a really cool thing to speak to him because he's been in this business for many years and really knows what he talks about.

Tom Ritchey made an appearance in the booth yesterday and today both and I have been so busy that I really haven't had the chance to spend any time talking to him, so I am hoping to get some time to do so. What a cool guy! Tom is somebody I have respected for many years, so meeting him is a real treat for me. Rumor has it that he was very excited when he found out that Masi had chosen Ritchey components for the bikes. Tom is a big Masi fan from the past and is supposedly really pleased to be working with us... he's excited to work with us... whoa!

Today I also got to hang out and talk to Gary Boulanger of Gaansari Bicycles and Skidstrong- what a cool and mellow guy! Wow, I think I may have met another kindred spirit. Get this; he's talking about adding Masi to his retail store. I have a lot of respect for this guy and he really likes my bikes... how freakin' cool is that? Gary- thanks for all of the very kind compliments on the bikes and the other things we discussed- it's much appreciated.

A lot of retailers really do read this blog apparently because I have spoken to lots and lots of them who read it regularly. I am extremely flattered and hunbled by the very kind words of encouragement and support I have received over the past few days here in Vegas/Boulder City. Thank you to all of you who have been supportive of the brand and it's very humble Brand Manager (me of course). I can't tell you how good it makes me feel to speak to you all and get such wonderful, glowing compliments. I don't know what else to say other than thank you.

Ok, here's another couple of pics from the Masi booth. I will try to get more shots of people and things tomorrow, the last day of the show;

Here's another blurry look at the booth from the main aisle...

and here's a shot of the display we created to showcase our fames and the new 47cm size we will be offering. We will now have sizes in most models that go from 47 to 60- 7 sizes.

Ok, off to bed because my eyes are crossing and I'm falling asleep at the keyboard.

(PS- Hi SRAM guys! See you in the booth again tomorrow... and I love the shifters...)

I need to get some sleep...

Vegas is so hard for trying to get to sleep. I got in to my room at 3:00AM this morning and was up at 6:00 to go to the show and sell some bikes. Here it is almost 1:00AM and I'm creating this post, for you my loyal readers.

I wish this was a better picture and that I was in it, but here is the incredible Eddy Merckx! Yes, I stood in line and got an autograph from the legend of cycling... and for the third time in a row, all I could manage to say to my all-time cycling hero was "thanks Eddy"... what an idiot I am.

Tomorrow night is an "Evening with Edddy Merckx", hosted by Bicycling Magazine, and I was given a VIP pass to attend... so guess where I'll be tomorrow night? Hopefully this time, I can find the strength to make less of an ass of myself.

Here's another fuzzy image of yours truly at the Masi booth, waiting to sell some bikes and get Masi rolling.

Did I mention that I had three different folks from SRAM come by the booth today and poke around? How fun/funny is that? Hey guys; next time wait another minute for me to finish dealing with my customer and I will be happy to talk to you for a minute.

Speaking of customers, just like last year I have been slammed nearly non-stop helping customers who have either walked in by themselves or who were handed to me by the sales rep. So far, the overwhelming response has been very strong. Needless to say, I'm happier than a pig in poop.

Ok, off to sleep now before the next big day of making people happy about buying Masi. (SRAM, SRAM, SRAM... let's do lunch.)


Monday, September 26, 2005


I have a bunch of new really great bestest buddies at SRAM now, they just don't know it yet. SRAM guys; Have I mentioned how nice you looked today? Those white shirts really make you look thin (and sexy- to the opposite sex of course...).

In keeping with the restriction on what I can tell you about the new SRAM road group, let me just say that I was thoroughly impressed by the demo products they presented to us. I sat on a demo bike on a trainer and "rode" the new group prototypes (on a bike about 8 sizes too small) and was really pleased with what I saw and touched. Not to give away my hand, but I am excited by these new developments. As I mentioned before, I love Shimano and have some great friends there and I have always thought of Campy as the sexiest parts you can find, but these new SRAM parts are going to get a lot of attention- and rightfully so. I was wowed.

I can't tell you how any of the parts work, though the secret is only in the shifters really. Let me just say this; WOW! I swear I'm not kissing SRAM's ass when I say that I really, really, really liked the way the shifting works. Smooth, crisp, precise. WOW! Now, no new product is without flaws and these are no different that way, but I believe that SRAM is going to do well with these parts when they are finally available to the masses.

SRAM guys, here's my shameless plea (since I know you read this blog and are likely looking to see what I say about the parts); please let me know when I can get my hands on a set of the parts to test on my own bike/s. SRAM engineers; I hope you get a nice fat bonus because you did a great damned job.

Shimano and Campagnolo; you guys should know by now that I love you both, but I hope that this development leads to some healthy competition and further innovation in componentry. SRAM has a great new product that you absolutely have to take seriously because it will work well and will gain some traction quickly. It's good... really good.

Here's to some great new products coming from SRAM really soon and then some great new products to follow from Shimano and Campagnolo. This new third option/ player in the component world is going to "shift" things around. I, for one, am very happy about this because I honestly believe this will ultimately be good for the industry. Too few people holding too much of the market is bad, in my opinion.

SRAM- good job! Sign me up...


Vegas (almost) baby!

Yesterday we made the long drive across the desert to Vegas and set up our demo booth. After a long day in the truck and the sun, it was nice to get out for a ride.

I took a ride down to Lake Mead from our hotel. It felt like about 10 miles of descending before I got to the lake... but it felt like about 100 miles climbing back to the hotel. The view of the lake was incredible. After all these years of coming to Vegas for business and for fun, this was the first time I actually went to the lake. What a beautiful place. Lake Mead is a wonderful place and I was thoroughly awed by the view of the lake from the marina. Wow!

Today was the first day of the demo and I got a good group of people out on the carbon bike and all of them came back thoroughly impressed. Obviously, I am happy about that. The bike is a sweet machine and I believe people will be impressed when they get a chance to throw a leg over one.

Tomorrow morning I hope to get out for another ride like I had this morning, when I saw the sunrise over the lake (wow). Scott USA and Mavic are hosting a road ride tomorrow, so I hope to get out with that group and "do Masi proud".

Ok, here's the first pic of the new carbon bike for you... I think you'll like this...

This is the Dura Ace equipped bike... and it is really pretty.

Ok, time for dinner. Maybe after dinner I'll come back and tell you all about the new SRAM road group that I got to play with today. There is a "pres embargo" of course, but I'll share what superficial details I can. Let's just say I liked it A LOT...


Saturday, September 24, 2005

Early morning musings.

You'd think that being sick and just a few days away from Vegas and Interbike that I'd sleep in and get the much needed rest. Well, that's what a smart person would do... but I'm more like a kid on Christmas Eve.

My daughter is sick, but is feeling a bit better today, and she was up early so I joined her and got up too. She's watching her favorite morning show on PBS and I'm trolling the web getting primed and ready for the show. Reading and researching. Comparing and contrasting. Reading about the Women's World Road Championships where Germany has secured yet another title. I'll be driving to Vegas before the sun comes up and will have to wait until I get to the hotel to find out who has won the men's race tomorrow. All fingers seem to point to either Petacchi or McEwen. Looking at the last gasp break that nearly got away in the women's race today, I'm not so sure that a field sprint will materialize.

I have a cousin who is almost as much of a bike nerd as I am, but there is still hope for him unlike me. He sent me a link to a darned funny site. Give it a read and giggle a little like I did. Thanks Steve!

I rode for the first time since returning from Montreal yesterday- had to get a fresh haircut before the show- and it felt great to be on my bike again, even though it felt like my lungs were still packed away in my luggage. Man, I hate getting colds. For whatever reason, I always get wiped out by colds- they appear to be my kryptonite. I'm taking my bike with me to Vegas, of course, so I can try to ride a few times while I am there. In a perfect world, I'll have a chance to ride tomorrow evening after we get settled at the hotel. Tuesday morning, Scott USA and Mavic are sponsoring a ride in the desert before the start of the outdoor demo. I am hoping to make that ride and hangout with all the other industry wankers. So many bike dorks in one place... I admit it is kind of scary.

Well, off to have another cup of coffee and pop a few more cold meds.


Friday, September 23, 2005

Here's to a great show!

To all my fellow bike industry brothers and sisters (including retailers, sales reps and manufacturers), here's to a great Interbike. I wish everybody smooth travels, may your samples show up unscratched and may your backs, knees and livers all hold up to the test of Vegas.

I look forward to seeing as many of you as possible.

Last year was a great show with lots of positive attitude, so let's all hope this year's show builds on that and reaches new highs.

See you in Vegas!


I'll be seeing you...

Been in the office since just after 7:00 this morning so we can get a caravan going to pick up the rental trucks for Vegas. I'm winning huge points with my wife right now, who suggested I get a hotel room for the next few days since I will only be around for a "few more hours"... on top of the fact that my daughter is sick, like Daddy, and I have been nearly invisible for the better part of 2+ weeks... I'm really popular around the house. I can't say I blame her at all- this is the toll of show season and it is a very real thing. Every year, this is a difficult period for my family. My wife knows it is coming, but it doesn't make it any easier or fun. It is a strange situation; the shows are a lot of hard work, a lot of fun (for me anyway) and a lot of time away from the family. It means juggling the stress of the shows, the fun of the shows and then the guilt of being away from the people you love and miss being near.

This is the price of having a job that I really love having. I am sure that there are other industry people out there who know exactly what I am talking about.

Like I mentioned the other day, posts from here on out will be few and far between, most likely. If I am unable to post for a while, it is because I was unable to get my wireless to work or to get a good land connection going- similar to what happened the first few days of Montreal. Keep checking in though because I do intend to try and get things to work.

Good bye for now- it's off to load trucks and make the final push for Vegas.


Thursday, September 22, 2005

It's officially time for Interbike...

... because I have my annual Interbike Cold! Every year, for as long as I can remember, I have gotten a cold for Interbike. I think it is a combination of the weather change (summer into fall) and the stress that surrounds the show season. Regardless, I always get a cold. I kind of thought I had dodged a bullet with Montreal, since I was healthy, and dreamed of going to the show this year without a runny nose and watery eyes. Alas, nearly everybody in this building has either currently got a cold or has recently gotten over one.

Last year I had the double whammy of having been run over by a car just three weeks before the show and having a cold- the sample platter of pain and discomfort... and yet it was the most fun I had ever had at Interbike. This year, coming off of the delightful success of ExpoCycle, I expect to top the charts again this year. I am very excited and motivated this year, as always, but also very confident and rehearsed after being in Montreal.

So get ready Vegas, me and my "boogie nose"are coming to get you! I might be slightly incoherent from the cold medication, so forgive me.


Creative "juices" flowing... "I'm leaving (for) Las Vegas"

Here at Haro, global headquarters for Masi, we strive to provide the greatest products in the world. Creativity comes in many forms and is fueled in many ways.

Here you see the fridge contents of our Creative Director, Pete Demos. This is how graphics and catalogs and other such goodies get created in the late hours of the night or wee hours of the morning.

Last night we had a crew of wrenches working until 5:00 AM this morning building bikes for the demo rides in Vegas. The crates with booth contents were loaded onto the truck and are on the way to Vegas now. Sunday morning, around 6:00 AM, we will be driving a caravan of large rental trucks to Vegas. The show is almost a go...

Since the show is busy beyond all comprehension, I may not be able to post until afterwards, but I am going to try. Since the Sands convention center will have wi-fi, I will try to do some booth updates whenever I get a free moment. With all of the retailers, media and other appointments it will be hard to post... but I will try.


Lesson for the day; how NOT to get sponsored.

Here is a shining example of how NOT to ever get sponsored by a company;

Subject: Haro Site Message - Received Response

Topic: stickers
hey bitchessssssss... sponsor me... because i ride rocky mountain and haro blows... but sponsor me anyway... and my friend m***... he rides for kona... but sponsor us...
Name : n****
Country : canada

Let this be a lesson for you kids/ athletes- this is the best way known to man to make sure you DO NOT get what you are looking for. Sure, he's trying the funny and sarcastic "I rock, you blow" technique... but it just doesn't work like this.

Hey N****... nice try, but no sponsorship.


Wednesday, September 21, 2005

Masi race report- courtesy of reader (and racer) Sal Mascarenas.

Here is a race report from reader and racer Sal Mascarenas, chronicling his ride in the LOTOJA bike race. It's a good read- thanks Sal!

Tim, Just a note to let you know how well my MASI 3VS Volumetrica performed on the LOTOJA (LOgan TO JAckson) bicycle race this last Saturday and some pics of the event.

LOTOJA is the longest, single-day, USCF-sanctioned bike race in the US. This is the second time I've raced the LOTOJA on my MASI (last year I took 4th in Citizen's 35-44) and it rode great - it handled beautifully in the rain and snow covered roads and well as along the rumble-strip infested roads of Wyoming's Star Valley. It's set up with full Dura-Ace, Mavic Ksyrium SSC SL wheels, Easton EC 90 seat post, Easton EC90 stem, Easton EC90 bars, Speedplay Zero pedals, Sella Italia Flite Gel Flow saddle, and Michelin Pro Race 2 700x23 tires. It weighs in at 16.08 lbs.

Here's my diary of LOTOJA
Here you go..........7812 feet of climbing, Max temp 54, Min temp 34, max speed 52.6 mph, ave. speed 18.9 mph, 209.93 miles, time 11:06:05.06. I lost 3rd and 4th place in Cat. 5 by 1 minute. I took 5th in Cat. 5 and 93rd overall.At the start it was still dark and starry skies and 47 degrees F, so no one knew what lie ahead. We were all in shorts, jerseys and arm warmers. We didn't get rained on until 1/3 the way up Strawberry Pass (mile 62, elev. 7420', 5% grade for 1.5 miles at the summit) and then it turned to snow a little after Forest Boundary sign (elev. 6300'). After Strawberry, I had no power whatsoever - no hamstrings and I couldn't ever get them stretched out. I had gotten dropped about 1.5 miles from the false summit in Strawberry, but passed every one of them on the downhill. On the top of Strawberry there was about 1/2" of snow on the side of the road, snowing heavily, and 34 degrees F. On the downhill, I was doing 40 mph in the snow and rain. Everyone of my fingertips were white and blistering in pain - I couldn't believe they were my hands - white/grey in color, burning/tingling, and about as useful as a log. Once I got to the rollers I was still doing 32-33 mph, while most were doing 20 mph. I must have passed at least 30 riders, with 10 of those riders walking their bikes.

All of us were concerned on how our bike would handle in these conditions. It's just that some of us took more risks than others.In Montpelier, my wife had to physically take my wet gloves off me because I was shaking so bad. I had to have help sitting down on the pavement to put on my leg warmers and have help getting them on because I couldn't get them on by myself. From there, I was in the lead group with the 1st and 2nd place riders up Geneva Pass (mile 87, elev. 6923', 6% grade for 3 miles at the summit), but got dropped half way up. Rode the rest of Geneva and all the way up Salt River (mile 111, elev. 7630', 7.5% grade for 2.5 miles at the summit) and down to Smoot by myself. At that point it started to rain again and I caught 3 guys at Smoot from the Citizen 35-44 groups who had passed me on the Salt River climb and rode with them to Afton. It rained on me the entire way through Star Valley. Temperatures hovered around 48 to 50 degrees F all through Star Valley.At Afton, I stopped and put on Gore-Tex Windstopper tights (over my leg warmers), put on neoprene booties, and traded gloves for my North Face Windstopper gloves.

I then rode to Thayne and caught a group of 4 riders which I rode into Alpine with. This is the group that had the eventual 3rd and 4th place finishers. In Alpine, I got a couple of Guu's and a banana and was off. I broke away at Alpine and rode the next 45+ miles by myself. Then a group ended up catching me at the Snake River bridge right before we turn to go to Teton Village and the two Cat. 5 riders were in that group. I stayed with them until 2.5 miles from the finish and then I just couldn't hang on. They finished almost exactly 1 minute ahead of me. In all, I rode around 110 miles by myself. It was 46 degrees at the finish.So, it was an adventure.On Sunday at the awards program, no mention was made of Epic (the race sponsor) calling the race (I heard Monday that they were stopping riders in Montpelier and not letting them continue unless they had "winter" gear). They did recognize a 15 year old rider that came in at 11:33 pm as the last timed rider (a rider who was either in the licensed or citizen categories). Epic also said that 378 riders (including teams) finished out of 1000. It turns out a little over 400 riders/teams finished the race.I found out Monday that the race was declared "an emergency" by the local EMS. They ended up using school buses, highway patrol cars, and ambulances in Montpelier to gather riders to get them warm. I was told that 137 were treated for hypothermia, with over 30 of them taken to local hospitals.I was really lucky that my wife (part of my support crew, along with my son and daughter) had my rain slicker in Preston, that I grabbed it, and that she was prepared with all my extra layers. Without her pro-active decision making, I would have had a very difficult time.Overall, I think I only drank 4 bottles of Cytomax, ate 10-12 Guu's, 6-8 Cliff Bars, 1 package of cheese crackers, 4 Fig Newtons, and 12 Advil.

Anyway, that's the 5 minute version of my Saturday. Again, my MASI rode beautifully and I had no issues whatsoever with the bike.

Alpine Schwinn of Idaho Falls, Idaho (the local MASI dealer) has been a great supporter of the MASI brand and really has chosen a winner to sell. Troy Scott, the Head Bike mechanic there, has done a great job. Thanks for the great product. I really do enjoy your blog site. I still have four of my toes that are tingling from being frost nipped.

Sal Mascarenas
P.S. In one of the groups I was riding in, a rider was on a Giant TCR and it cracked and broke at mile 125 after he hit some of the brutal rumble strips.

That's a pretty cool report!

Thanks for sharing Sal and keep enjoying that Masi!


Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Masiguy in Montreal

The view from the top of Mount Royal, overlooking the beautiful city of Montreal. I rode to the top again, after spending a while just cruising around the city, including a stint on a few hundred years old cobblestones in the old city center. Big granite cobblestones that like to eat tires... but I had to do it and got some very curious looks from the residents there.

I climbed up from the North side of the hill, which is much steeper, though shorter. It was a great, but challenging ride. It was cool and I even got a few honks of encouragement from drivers heading to work through the park.

Montreal is now on my list of favorite places in the world. If you ever get the chance to go, I highly recommend it.

Je t'aime Montreal!


Sunday, September 18, 2005

Going home soon.

The show is over and is in my opinion an unqualified success. I even sat with a retailer in Quebec City and wrote out a 25 bike order. How cool is that? Masi is officially on the way to Canada!

I have to thank my friends at Norco once again for their incredible hospitality and for putting in such an impressive effort to make the launch of Masi into Canada such a success. If I have the chance, I will be back to help support their efforts again. Norco guys and gals; please forgive me for forgetting your names so quickly. Your generosity and willingness to help is deeply appreciated.

The weather almost cooperated this morning for my ride, but I got out in the rain anyway. I just couldn't take another day of not riding. I climbed to the top of Mount Royal again then rode very cautiously down the very wet and rainy descent. Then I cruised the sleepy city for a while before heading to the show.

Montreal is a beautiful city and I look forward to returning. Tomorrow I return home and then will be in a truck driving bikes and other goodies to Las Vegas on Sunday. After that... who knows. Maybe a nap or a cold beer...


Saturday, September 17, 2005

It's a good thing...

It's a good thing I don't have to talk to post to this blog. My voice is almost 100% shot now. I expected today to be busier than yesterday, but I didn't expect what I got. I sat down a grand total of about 4 times for about 5 minutes each time and got two potty breaks, but did fortunately get to have lunch. It rocked from opening until closing of the show today... and they are telling me tomorrow will probably be busier. Wow.

The bikes have been received overwhelmingly positively. I think that Norco is going to have their hands full dealing with retailers wanting bikes... yippee! The retailers have been very friendly and happy with the line. I am very excited about how things have gone...

With the exception of the rain. It's still raining. And it's getting cold. And I didn't bring any kind of jacket (dummy that I am). Now it's off for a few more beers, now that we are done for the day, and dinner. I'm sure I will have to go on a diet when I return from Montreal...

I still can't get images to upload so I have to wait until I get back home to be able to share pictures with you.

Ok, there's a pitcher of Molson Export and Rickard's calling my name so I better go...


I should be riding...

I should be riding this morning, but it is raining pretty hard still. This means no ride and no walk to the convention center (centre). I hope to be able to get a little exercise somehow because the food and beer is making me mighty pudgy...

I still can't get the wireless internet service to work well and am unable to get any pictures to upload, so I will have to wait until I return to San Diego. If I can get a reliable hook up, I will try again before I leave.

Today will be the busiest day of the show, I am told. Saturday and the shops come out in droves apparently. As I mentioned previously, the response to the bikes has been excellent so far and I am confident that Norco will do an incredible job selling and repesenting the bikes. It has been very refreshing for me to speak with the Canadian retailers. Nearly all have said "oh, I remember Masi". Not having been available in Canada for a long time and having been very dormant for a number of years, I am relieved to know that the brand was not forgotten. For those who have not been familiar with Masi, they have been very interested in the rich history and the look of the bikes. The Norco guys will appreciate this; I predict that the brand will do very well in Canada. (I'm famous with Norco for my predictions.)

Anyway, it's time to get showered and ready to leave for the show after another bacon-filled breakfast. Maybe I should have some whole grain cereal instead...

Bacon tastes better though,


Friday, September 16, 2005

Hello from Montreal!

Wow, this place is gorgeous. I like to compare Montreal to Europe without the jet-lag. It is really wonderful here. It has been raining a bit, but I've still managed two in rides in three days and plan to ride in the morning if the weather cooperates.

Yesterday, after setting up the Masi booth and educating the Norco sales reps on Masi and how to sell them, I went for a ride to the top of Mont Royal which overlooks the city. I will post images once I can get over some problems with the internet service here in the hotel.

So far the show, just one day so far, has been really exciting. The Canadian shops are very excited to have another option to offer customers and Norco is very excited to have a brand they can use to battle against the other established brands. I think this will be a really great partnership. I really can't thank the folks here at Norco enough for their hospitality. Canada has been a wonderful experience so far and the riding has been great.

I will have more to post very soon. I just got the internet to work this evening, but the reception is very poor and keeps cutting out. This is my 4th attempt to post this report, since the signal keeps dropping... so we'll see if I have to make a 5th try.

More to follow,


Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Hello Canada!

Ok, so my high school French is really, really bad. So, in advance of my arrival there, where I am sure I will speak really horrible French, I have gotten the following;

Un des mes collegues Responsable Produits chez Haro est francais et est l' auteur des quelques mots qui suivent. Puisque je ne parle pas tres bien francais, je ne sais pas s' il me fait passer pour un idiot total. Tel que je connais le sens de l' humour au sein de cette societe, c' est certainement une possibilite. Je suis impatient de tous vous rencontrer a Montreal et voulais juste m' excuser a l' avance pour mes dons exceptionellement pauvres en francais (Canadien). J' espere que nous pourrons surmonter cet obstacle et suis impatient de partager avec vous ma passion pour Masi.

Now I can breath a little easier. I'll see you in roughly 24 hours.


Monday, September 12, 2005

Oh Canada...

I can't wait to get to Canada and get my show season really underway. The folks at Norco, our distributor in Canada, are getting ready to launch Masi there and I am pumped to be going up to the ExpoCycle show to give them my personal help (hopefully it doesn't damage their reputation). This will be my chance to enter a new market where we have no presence yet and try to make a good impression on new retailers. Give them a reason to consider Masi for their stores and customers. It is also a chance to work on my presentation for Interbike in Vegas in another two weeks. Seeing as to how this is in Montreal, it'll be a chance to thoroughly embarrass myself by trying to use the four years of French I took in high school and slept through half the time. Should be tres funny...

It's a lot of work to pull these shows off and they are very exhausting, no matter how much fun they are. However, I love doing shows. You can quote me on that too when I come back from the shows whining about how my feet/ back/ liver hurt. For a person like me, who is a "people person" and very passionate about their job, shows are a lot of fun. I'm pretty sure I can get other folks excited about the brand too and I eagerly await the chance.

See you in Montreal in a few days!

(Posts may be few and far between for the next week or so... but keep checking, in case I figure out how to stay connected while I'm gone.)

Sunday, September 11, 2005

Time trial follow-up...

Smoke is now shooting out of my ears as I look at the time trial results today and read that there were 18 no-shows today. That means I had 18 chances to race today, but I was told "sorry" instead this morning.

Now, I know that this is an event run by volunteers who may have received conflicting instructions, so I'm not going to get too bent out of shape. On top of it, I had a great day with my family, so I didn't exactly "lose" anything...

But I have to admit that it kind of ticks me off when I have spent the past few weeks training for the race (and I should have preregistered, I know). I just hope that the remaining races in the year go much smoother.

Mad Tim

Sunday morning time trial fun... or something...

5:15 wake-up. What my wife and I call CFD- Crack of Freakin' (or something) Dawn. Roll out of bed sound asleep with sleepy, tired feeling legs. Make a cup of coffee and eat a banana. Slip into long sleeve skinsuit and grab goober helmet, shoes and shoe covers and head for the door. Too dark to ride down to the course and need to get there early to get name on list for standby registration. Crank up the tunes in the car to get the fast twitch muscles eager to go. Find bitchin' parking space where nobody can park behind me and I can get in and out of the back of the car easily. Walk to registration- nobody in waiting line. Yes!

Excuse me, where is the list for standby registration?

Sorry, there isn't one. Since this is a championship event for so many categories, it's completely sold out. No same day registration for this one.

But the website said that anybody who didn't sign-in before 6:45 would have their race number sold. I saw that the website also said no race day entries, but I figured that since the site also said numbers would be resold, then you were resellnig numbers?

Oh. Well, we actually oversold the race so if there are any no-shows, we're just going to run fewer racers. Sorry.

Slink back to car. Back out of bitchin' parking space and turn music down. Drive back home and make another cup of coffee, since I'm already awake. No point intrying to go back to sleep now. Get out of skinsuit and put aero helmet, shoes and shoe covers back in bedroom. Close door to bedroom and let wife keep sleeping. The kids will be up soon, so maybe I'll take them to breakfast instead and have a 40 pound omellette, stuffed with bacon, sausage, cheese and smothered in hollandaise sauce. I can hear my arteries hardening already.


I knew there was a chance this would happen, but I went along thinking I stood a chance of getting into the race anyway. I mean, they always end up reselling race numbers due to no-shows. It seemed totally likely and the website had ambiguous language that lead me to believe they were still going to sell numbers. Argh!

It isn't like the legs felt super or anything, but yesterday they did have that pumped up, skin real tight, ready-to-go feeling. I worked on the bike last night to get the shifting and braking better. I was up way too late working on it though, so I didn't get out of the shower (had to put a fresh shave on the legs after all) until around 11:30. So I really only had about 5 hours of sleep and I was really sleepy when I woke up, but as I was walking to registration my legs were feeling really good and strong. I'm not saying I would have kicked ass or anything, but my legs felt like I could have been much more competitive than I was in the last TT (where I was 9th).

Now I get to do chores instead. Granted I do get to spend a few more hours with my family before I leave for Canada this Wednesday. That's a good thing, but I was actually hoping to be able to go to Canada and be able to talk about recent race results to maintain credibility. Oh well, I just hope my bike doesn't get lost on the way to Montreal, since I am planning to ride while I am there.



PS; As I was about to publish this post, two things suddenly struck me.
1) Today is September 11th. It's now 4 years since the Tower bombings and we are still fighting a war and young men and women in our military are still dying (or are afraid of dying) in Iraq. Our receptionist at Haro is married to a Marine who is in Iraq. In fact, he's been in Iraq for longer than they were married before he left. I don't politicize this blog- not the intention of it-but I keep seeing gas prices going up and up and the war is looking a lot like a quagmire. I fully support all of our troops and wish them safety and a speedy return. They are heroes. They do deserve our support and gratitude. To all the brave souls in Iraq- thank you.
2) Today is also one year to the day since I was struck by a car in a hit and run and left for dead. I am obviously doing a lot better now and am very grateful to be alive and able to whine about not getting into a race. Left for dead, but I still got to come home to my family. I get to hug my wife and kids. I have a job I love. I get to be alive. Every time I read of another cyclist being struck by a car and killed, a chill runs down my screwed up spine. I have scars on my neck, face, hands and legs and my back and neck are still a mess. But I'm alive. Lucky to be alive. My daughter just came out of her room a minute ago, with sleepy four year old eyes and messed up curly hair, and put her head in my lap and said "I love you Daddy". I have to admit, I got teary-eyed.

Life is a precious thing; enjoy yours.

Friday, September 09, 2005

The Vuelta, bikes and more stuff.

Now that I'm not at my desk where I have to answer emails, the phone, run around getting ready for ExpoCycle and Interbike, I can finally take a little time to just ramble a bit.

So here goes;

This has been a very funky Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain in regular speak). Roberto Heras has been an unlucky son of a gun this year and this Vuelta is not going easy on him. The crash yesterday looked like it could end his shot and win number four. I really think that Denis Menchov would be a very worthy champion, but I have always like Heras. He just seems like a genuinely decent person. Not a lot of brash talking or chest pounding. He just lets his little legs do the talking. It's been so busy that I haven't been able to offer commentary on a regular basis, but this has been an interesting and odd Vuelta. The crashes just keep coming, like the Tour de France. In recent years, the Vuelta has been the more "rational" of the Grand Tours. Offering exciting, shorter stages and not too many weird finishes that cause crashes. This year seems to be more nervous. It is probably due to the new Pro Tour and it's pressure on teams. Look at how exciting the Giro was this year. Now the Vuelta is offering up it's own spicy paella of excitement for us to sample. Ay carumba!

I can't believe that I will be in Canada on Wednesday. It seems like it was just a few weeks ago that I was hanging out with the guys from Norco (our distributor in Canada) at our National Sales Meeting discussing the possibility of going to ExpoCycle... but that was in July. Interbike is right on the heels of that- I leave for Vegas less than a week after returning from Canada. While I'm in Canada, the Milan trade show will be happening. Some might think I'm crazy, but I opted not to go to Milan so I could go to Canada instead. Norco is doing a great job with the bikes in the Haro family of brands (Haro, Masi, Del Sol, Premium Products) and I figured supporting their efforts to bring Masi into Canada was more important to me than going to Milan to find inspiration for my own brand (since I have inspiration coming out of my ears... it's gross, actually). So, if you are planning to attend the ExpoCycle show in Montreal, please come by the Norco booth and step into the Masi booth they will have set up and I will be helping them man. I'd love to have a chance to show you my bikes.

Sunday is a time trial. The same time trial series I have been doing part of all year. I am hoping, especially now that I have all that new TT dork gear, that I can get a new PR and maybe even get on the podium. However, I think that is going to be very hard. Looking at the preregistration, we've got a former world champion, state and national champions and some generally damned fast guys in this race... and then me. Plus, the race is sold out and I have to go stand around and see if there are any no-shows so I can get a race number. Maybe I'm racing, maybe I'm not. Won't know until they sell me a number or tell me to go away. I went for a short pseudo TT ride today to keep the legs loose and ready for that position. My left hamstring has been bugging me a bit, so I've been trying to stretch it out and keep riding the TT bike to be ready for the effort Sunday. The legs felt pretty good today and have been feeling much better, overall, than they were feeling the past 2-3 weeks. If I can get a good solid rhythm going Sunday and not go out too hard, I should do well- for me anyway.

All of the talk about the stress of getting through show season is very real. It really is very difficult and there are still many small loose ends to be tied together before Vegas. However, I would be wrong to not point out just how much I love doing what I do and going to the shows. I hate getting to the shows and then all the getting back from the shows, but I love being at the shows. It's where I get the chance to shine and show off the bikes and my passion for them. I love my bikes. I really do. I thoroughly enjoy telling people why, too. Plus, I get to see other cool bikes and people who I have tons of respect for. Scot Nicol, the founder and re-founder (finder?) of Ibis Bicycles will be back at Interbike this year. Scot's got cool shtuff brewing again and I am curious to know what it is. Scot is among the coolest, smartest and funniest people to ever be a part of the bike industry so I am happy to have him back in the fold. Then there is all that new SRAM stuff (SRAM, SRAM, SRAM)... but I won't bore you with that again. I want to go say thanks to my friends at Shimano and also see what is happening with Campagnolo (the wheels look really great). FSA, Dedacciai, Easton, Ritchey... all great stuff I want to go look at and thank for their support of my bikes. Speaking of Ritchey- I have been told to expect a surprise visit from Tom himself. Tom Ritchey. Tom Freakin' Ritchey! I don't know if I will be able to contain my hero worship or not. Probably not though. I know myself.

Ok, I think I am going to have myself a beer (there's carbs in beer so it's ok) and get ready for a good night's rest.


Friday funny.

This comes courtesy of my wife, sharing a conversation with my son. This has nothing at all to do with bikes, but is so darned funny, who the hell cares....

Classic Drew comment;
He wanted to know how much $100 would be worth in 100 years. He concluded by saying,” it doesn’t matter because I’ll be dead by then…or really old…so I don’t think I’ll be needing much money”. I said “you never know, you could live another 100 years!” and he said that if he lives to be 112, he hopes to be the first person who is just a head in a jar – you know, like Futurama. He hopes he’s a head in a jar, with a super-enhanced brain that allows him to psychically control his environment and move around by projecting his thoughts…although not too powerful because if he could explode a building with his mind, he probably would, and that wouldn’t be good.
It would also be neat if they could genetically engineer people to be half fish – or at least have gills. He wishes he only had one eye because when you wear goggles when you’re swimming, it makes you see two of everything. But if you only had one eye…(I think that is self-explanatory). Actually, it would be better to have eyes like an otter or a camel. They can see with their eyes closed.

He hopes to be the first person who is just a HEAD IN A JAR.
When I was pregnant and waddling around dreaming of his future…it never occurred to me…

You just can't make up that kind of stuff...


Thursday, September 08, 2005

Proving my total dorkness...

I forgot to show off my new goober toys...

This is my new Arundel Chrono TT bottle and cage. It just got here today and I nearly fell out of my chair when I saw how beautiful it is.

Look at how sleek it is... carbon cage too.

This is all the wind sees of it... nothing!

I also got the visor for the helmet today. It was speed geek day here at Masi Bicycles.

Now I'm so fast they don't have to time me with a sundial anymore! I did my usual TT training loop today and tacked on a couple extra miles and was 1/2 mph average faster... even on the longer loop. Clearly the extra aero equipment did the job. I wore my skinsuit too, but left off the shoe covers- saving them for the race on Sunday. So hopefully I can finally make it onto the TT podium this weekend. I now have no equipment excuses...



Just had to put that in the title to see how many visits I get from SRAM... each time I put that in the title I get a bunch of visits... it's almost as if somebody is trolling the web looking for references to SRAM or something...


What are they going to do for wheels though? Who will they buy next to get wheel technology in the quiver of component arrows?

Here's an inside scoop on some details on the shifters;
The lever you've seen does the up shift and the down shift. It also is removable and can be used as a tire lever for flat changes. The shifter brackets have magnets in them which provide therapeutic recovery on long rides. The bracket covers are made from real gorilla leather. I've heard that the covers on the show bike are from a gorilla killed by Stan Day. How awesome is that?

Just remember that you read it here first.


Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Better late than never again. (Or SRAM, please call me!)

Busy. That's my answer- I've been busy. That's why I haven't posted in 5 days or so. I spent part of the day building demo bikes to be ridden in Las Vegas. I spent much of the rest of the day answering emails since we were closed on Monday for the holiday and then I had to leave the office early yesterday, so I had quite a lot of email to handle. It left me with hardly any time to drool over photos from Eurobike...

Speaking of Eurobike... Mike, our Senior Product Manager, is trying to give me an aneurysm. He saw the SRAM product in Germany and won't tell me anything about it... just to watch my geek brain explode! SRAM folks- since I know you've been reading this blog- I am here to talk to you any time! Call me. Send me an email. Fax me something. Send smoke signals... anything. I'm dying to see the stuff and the pictures from Germany look awfully enticing. Ok, I'm hitting geek overload now and need to break for a minute to catch my breath...

Ok, I've recovered from that. For a little possibly interesting reading, check out things at Just Riding Along again. Some interesting dialogs going on again... and yes, I have an editorial contribution there. Shameless self promotion- it's my specialty.

My empty booth crates were finally picked up and taken away for repair so we can repackage them and head off to Vegas for the dog and pony show. I can't tell you how happy I was to hear they were gone. If you've had to have crates made or repaired and have had to deal with craters (not that I want to offend any of my legions of crate specialist fans), then you know what I mean.

I'm looking forward to Vegas and Montreal- if for no other reason than once they are done... they are done! Then I get to start stripping bikes to send to international distributors who need frames or packing up bikes for magazine reviews. Busy begat busy, who begat more busy, who begat...


Friday, September 02, 2005

More stuff I love.

Yesterday I was mentioning my TT helmet, but I also meant to mention my favorite saddle; the fi'zi:k Arione saddle/s. I know these have been on the market for a couple of years and it's not like I'm educating anybody, seeing as to how it is one of the most popular saddles on the market and in the peloton.

When the saddle first came out, I was fairly skeptical actually. I wasn't too sure about the shape and the length of the saddle. We spec the Arione on our high-end bikes, so I got a chance to get acquainted with the saddle when I came to the company. I have been a Selle Italia Flite and San Marco Concor rider for years and never thought I'd get off of either. Now I'm a huge fan of the Arione. It is hands down my favorite saddle on the market. No- they aren't paying me to say this, nor will I get a discount on the saddles we buy. I now have them on a couple of bikes, including the TT bike I've been riding all week. The tri' version of the saddle abso-tively kicks ass! Like a lot of people who are dumb enough to do a time trial, I spend a whole bunch of time way out on the nose of the saddle and this saddle has just enough padding to be comfortable and not squirmy or squishy. Some saddles have so much padding in them that you are wobbling around on this jelly-like sponge, which is not exactly a good feeling. Even my track bike has a fi'zi:k Aliante saddle. I'm pretty much a fi'zi:k rider... and not just because our US contact is so cool (I'm talkin' 'bout you Suzette).

Ok, that's all the praise I can muster for something I sit on.


More Eurobike and SRAM

I'm still geeking out on the photos I saw of the SRAM road stuff on VeloNews today. Wow! That is some pretty componentry- although still in vaporware (not real) form, I think. Stuck behind a closed case where you can't touch it or play with it and see how it works. Our Senior Product Manager is there and I hope he is getting pictures and info for me. I am itching like a junkie to try them out.

There are pictures of lots of other cool goodies there too; that new Catlike helmet is unreal. For the record- this will not be the first time the helmets have been offered in the US, contrary to the comments on VeloNews. This is just a new distributor. There are some pretty bikes pictured too and they aren't even Masi. It is possible to be a pretty bike and not be a Masi... it just isn't advised (wink, wink).

I just love this time of year. So many cool products to look at and people to see. Contrary to my previous whining, I do love this stuff.


Katrina relief;

As a Southerner, being originally from South Alabama and having lived near the Gulf Coast, my heart is really breaking for all of those effected by hurricane Katrina. New Orleans is one of my favorite places and it is gut wrenching to see the images of the devastation.

Please, if you can, do all you can to help. The American Red Cross is one of the best resources I can think of. If you can make a donation or volunteer to help, please do.


Thursday, September 01, 2005

Last bit of geekdom for today;

Here is my favorite new toy! I just love it... Now, my heart still belongs to Canari when it comes to clothing and I still love my Catlike road helmet, but this thing is really awesome. I've been riding in it the past two days, doing TT workouts and trying to get used to being in the aero position again. This helmet just flat out rocks! Having 7 tiny vents, I thought my head would roast, but it is actually very comfortable and second only to the Catlike for fit. So far, I am very happy with this purchase and look forward to using it in the next TT on 9/11. We'll see if my legs come back around and I can pull off a new PR with this helmet on. I've got a good feeling about it. Thanks to the very nice folks at Garneau for getting my purchase out to me quickly- thanks Julie!


This electronic world.

Eurobike began today and already pictures of goodies are showing up all over the place. Remember the long lost days of yore when you had to wait for a print magazine to show up in your mailbox or on the newsstand so you could see what was on show at the tradeshows? Sure seems like that was a hundred years ago now.

From time to time I am reminded just how amazed I am by technology. I take this blog for granted even sometimes. To me, it's pretty crazy that the show is going on in Germany and we are seeing pictures of products and people, in many cases "live".

It is my plan, whether it happens or not, to report on Interbike and ExpoCycle daily. I plan to take the camera and snap pictures to download and stay plugged in. Granted, some of those posts may happen at 2:00-3:00 in the morning after a few drinks and might not make any sense and the pictures might be considered "evidence" by some people, but that's still the plan. Wanna know one of the things I'm most anxious to do in Montreal; I can't wait to get my hands on a nice Cuban cigar. Maybe a Partagas, or a Cohiba. I haven't decided. But I will have one, you can bank on that. I'm gonna light one up with the good guys from Norco and celebrate a good show. That's my treat to me.

Anyway, Eurobike is going on now, Milan and ExpoCycle happen at the same time and then we head into Las Vegas. The internet is soon to be absolutely buzzing with pictures and commentary on all the new bikes and gear. It's a good time to be a geek right now.

A good read from my buddy at Shimano... it's good for a giggle.