Wednesday, November 30, 2005
If you take the time to read the obituary, you'll see a trust has been established for the family of Dr. Michael Hart, but I am adding it below this post as well. If you can, please make a donation.
As a cyclist and a parent/ husband, this tragic news really struck me. I have to admit that while I was riding yesterday, flying down a hill, I had a moment of terror as I thought of my wife and kids. I've talked to two of Dr. Hart's friends who have both stated that he wouldn't want either of them to give up cycling out of fear of what happened to him, knowing how much they all loved riding. It is true that you have to keep going and not allow fear to take away the things in your life that bring you joy. I'd be a miserable S-O-B if I didn't ride and my wife would likely want to kill me. I've certainly come close to being killed many times while riding. It's always on my mind, but the health benefits and the joy cycling brings me will hopefully extend my life rather than shorten it. I know it is a hollow consolation to say to Dr. Hart's wife and kids that he died doing the thing he loved to do, but it is the truth.
I know that I can never say or do anything that will change this reality for his family, so there is no point in trying. My thoughts and prayers are with them and all of his friends and family. I'll probably think of him a lot for a while, maybe forever, and try to be as safe as I can be.
Donations are suggested to the Michael Hart Memorial Fund, c/o Grossmont Family Medical Group, 5525 Grossmont Center Drive, No. 200, La Mesa, CA 91942.
Monday, November 28, 2005
This is an excerpt from an email she sent me from her work- it's titled "The Katie Update";
Katie didn’t want to wear the clothes I picked out for her and she was laying on the floor whining. I said “What is wrong with you?” and she responded,
“Well you know, Mommy, Daddy didn’t make my lunch for me and he didn’t get down my clothes for me and now he’s left for work – and he didn’t give me a kiss and a hug and say goodbye.”
If that doesn’t slay you, I just don’t know what will!
She's out to kill me. You read it here first, just in case they find my body floating in the bay...
Saturday, November 26, 2005
Here is the latest schedule Taliah has sent to me;
There’s a couple events coming up,
I’ll have some work in the Small Works Show at The Harmon Gallery in Wellfleet, MA
There’s an opening reception on Saturday, November 26, 5-7,
the show is up through the end of December,
the gallery will open weekends Saturdays 10am - 5pm, Sundays 12 - 5pm
I have a piece in a raffle to benefit the New Orleans Bike Build project, http://www.moscarda.com/nobb/katrina_content.html
which is sending 10 NYC bike mechanics, including my good buddies Arone and Jared, to New Orleans to build bikes for the people.
The benefit is on Tuesday November 29th, 6-11pm, it’s $10 to get in, it will be a good time for a good cause!
Raffle tickets are 1 for $5 and 5 for $20
Friday, November 25, 2005
Honestly, I hope he is innocent because I like the guy. He's a quiet guy who just seems to ride his bike and not get too caught up in his celebrity or in trash-talking. Basically, he appears to be a decent person.
But... it does all seem suspect. I mean, both samples were positive (or "non-negative" as they say in Europe most the time). If you look at how he rode at the Tour in July and the the way he rode at the Vuelta, he does appear to have risen from the dead to kick some serious ass with his stage wins and better-than-ever time trialing. Was he just that off in the Tour and that on at the Vuelta? I hope...
BUT... there is a pattern in our beloved sport. Cry foul, claim that the test is flawed or that the supplements were tainted without your knowledge, you didn't know what the team doctors were giving you, etc, etc... and then come clean in a sobbing breakdown/ confession and suddenly become a media/ fan favorite. Admittedly, it doesn't always work, nor are all of the accused actually guilty. Still, cycling and every other sport in the world has a problem with drugs. The UCI is pretending to make an effort to get rid of dopers, as is USA Cycling. WADA thinks both organizations aren't doing enough and the IOC seems to be somewhere in the middle.
Here are my two gripes on this (for today);
1) Why in the hell is Amgen, maker/developer of EPO, the title sponsor of the new Tour of California? Really. How on earth does this make sense? Cycling needs big corporate sponsors to make races happen, but this one just feels all wrong.
2) Cycling is going to get hammered in the media for this, but cycling actually has one of the very best records in sport for detecting and penalizing dopers. In our sport, people get suspended/ banned and fined... on the first offense. Baseball? Get caught a dozen times and we're gonna fine you a couple bucks and then ask you not to do it again- unless you still want to and are going to hit a lot of home runs. Football and basketball? Here's your drugs, now go play! Cynical? Yes I am. A little bitter too. I admit it.
To borrow a quote from my wife; "Here's the thing..." Doping in sport exists and always will as long as there is fame or fortune to be had by either the athlete or team/ sponsor, somebody. Cheating, in the way of doping, has been around since the dawn of competition. Anybody who believes it doesn't happen is seriously delusional. Anybody who believes that there aren't teams or organizations or national federations that do not actively encourage doping are just as delusional. It's there and it always will be. Are there clean athletes? Yes, most athletes are clean.
Sport has been plagued with the problem for a very long time and it isn't going away any time soon. Let's just stop acting surprised when somebody gets caught. Let's also stop ignoring our roll in this all; as fans we want to see faster/ stronger/ better athletes. Well, we are getting that. The media, the sponsors and the fans place an amazing amount of pressure on athletes to perform. We spend a lot of money on our heroes and that money becomes important.
I hope Roberto is innocent, just like I hope Tyler is innocent, but I'm not going to be heartbroken if either is really guilty. I'll be sorry they got caught- caught trying to give me a thrilling and compelling reason to love my sport.
Drugs in cycling? Yeah sure, you bet there is.
Wednesday, November 23, 2005
Tomorrow, I will be stuffing my carcass full of turkey, some ham, maybe a little prime rib, tons of mashed 'taters and heaping mounds of stuffing. All of which will be swimming in a veritable Lake Superior of gravy. I might just have to slip into my fly fishing waders.
This year, I'm thankful for my family as always. I have a wonderful wife and two great kids. I know I'm lucky to have the people in my life who are close to me. I try to remember that everyday, but sometimes life gets in the way of being grateful. Tomorrow, when I stare at the spread of food at my mother's house and then my mother-in-law's house (yeah, both families are here), I will be thankful for my family the most.
I'm also very thankful for my job. I love this job. Anybody who knows me or who has met me knows that is true. I get pretty excited and passionate about what I do and the brand I get to be the steward of. It's a great gig and even with the frustrations that come with the job, like any, I am very lucky to have this slice of employment heaven to call my own.
Cheesy as it may sound, I am also very thankful to have hooked up with Chad and Team Inferno for the coming race season. Believe it or not, I really am excited about this. I love racing, so being a part of a program I believe can do really well makes me really very happy and excited. Chad and the guys have already proven to be good guys and I am looking forward to hopefully meeting the whole team at their training camp.
A little over a year ago, I was hit by a car in a hit-n-run and left for dead. I obviously came out of that incident ok, but now that the major effects of the incident are fading away and I am left with just a few more inches of scars, I am very thankful to be healthy again. I get to go home to my wife and kids every day (unless I'm out of town) and I still get to ride a bike and have fun doing it. Why wouldn't I be thankful for that.
My thoughts and prayers this year will be with lots of folks, but I am really sending my most positive energies to the folks hit by Hurricane Katrina. Again, as a transplanted Alabamian, I know what those storms are like and still have family in the region. I sincerely wish the foks of Louisiana and Mississippi the very best and hope that their lives return to normal quickly. Every time I see images of the destruction, my heart just breaks a little more.
This year, I hope we all take a moment to take stock of the things we have that others might not and remember that we all have at least something to be thankful for.
Tuesday, November 22, 2005
Second thought on my mind these days is the apparent lack of vision in US cycling poilitics. I don't want to get in trouble for offering a dissenting voice, but I have no clue what USACycling is thinking these days. Don't get me wrong, I have an immense amount of respect for Gerard Bisceglia and have had a few great conversations with him, but the organization is completely missing the boat in developing US professional cycling, in my opinion. Changing the USPro event to a US-only race makes no sense, when the race is drawing top foreign riders and teams which draw more media attention that flows over onto the US teams. Then, rumors abound lately that the new Tour of California and the existing Tour of Georgia may get changed to a Pro Tour team race, excluding all but the one US team with that status- Discovery. How on earth this can help to further the cause of US racing is beyond me. If the rumors are true, this seems like a great way to further marginalize US cycling. Sure, the foreign media wil have more interest in the events, but we're trying to grow US racing aren't we? The US public will have much less interest in the race if Discovery is the sole US team in the events. I sincerely hope the rumors prove to be wrong.
Ok, back to the grind...
Monday, November 21, 2005
Clearly, I'm very excited about the team stuff and also about the development of the track stuff. The product line just keeps getting better and better and I'm very hopeful and optimistic you will like what comes of all of this development. It's an exciting time to be the Masi Brand Manager.
Anyway, gotta get back to the other work stuff. Thanks for all of the recent support and feedback.
Friday, November 18, 2005
It looks pretty bad for the San Francisco Gran Prix. If the situation with the race organizer and city council doesn't get fixed soon, they will apparently prevent the race from happening next year. That would really stink, since it is a great race.
Don't get me wrong, I think Greenville South Carolina is a wonderful city, but I just can't believe that the USPro road championship is being moved from Philadelphia. The race isn't going away, but it won't be where we get our National Champion anymore. The championship event has been changed to an all American event for 2006 and a new race has been created around that change. I'm very happy that a new race is being created, since it is good for the sport and the industry, but I admit a pang of sadness. I remember when Eric Heiden won the first edition of the race. I remember many epic images of battles taking place up the infamous Manayunk Wall. It's just hard to accept the change, but I am sure the new race will be a beauty anyway- even without the presence of foreign riders.
Thanks again for all of the feedback about the track bike question posed last week. I can't use and incorporate all of the feedback and suggestions, at least not all at once, but the feedback has been critical in the planning process. Thanks.
What a week... really, it's been a crazy few months. Last year wasn't quite like this and I hope that is because things are picking up and progress is being made. I hope. Next week looks a little bit easier, so I will hopefully have the chance to really make some progress and get back to "normal". There's always hope anyway.
The coming year looks to be filled with more travel for me. I hope to be on the road visiting retailers and attending consumer events a bit more. I will obviously announce my travel plans here and try to get out for a ride or two in your neck of the woods.
Off to bed now...
The Summit was a very successful exercise though, just as it was last year. Many great ideas were discussed and I didn't win all of my battles, but I came away knowing why. It always amuses me to hear the differences between what the sales reps say and what the retailers say- and even what we think and what we get told. The good news is that we will be developing a fixed gear recumbent trike for next season. I'm glad that battle was won.
Obviously the big news of the week was the signing of the pro team. I will have more team news later as well, as the ink dries on a couple of other deals. Team Inferno is an incredible group of riders and I am way, way, way beyond happy about this deal. I stammered and stumbled during our Summit as I made the announcement about the team because I was just too excited. Honestly... I am that much of a bike-nerd. Masi has such a wonderfully rich history in racing, after all- Masi built frames for Eddy Merckx and somebody else's decals were on the tubes. Now, I won't pretend that I am welding custom frames for Inferno, but the racing connection will yield some great feedback for future development. That's good news for everybody. I'll be able to get feedback from them on the development of a TT frame and the racing track frame as well. The team director, Chad Thompson, is a great guy and I have thoroughly enjoyed working with him to make this sponsorship happen. Chad stopped in the booth during the show in Vegas with another rider from the team (whose name I forgot- sorry) and both guys were very easy to talk with. Chad talked about the sponsorship proposal for a minute or two and then the three of us just talked about bikes and racing. It was really cool. Just think- these guys, if the UCI CT license works out, will be at races like Tour of Georgia, the new Tour of California, USPro and San Francisco. Damn! That gets me pretty excited.
I will have more cool news very soon. I promise. And since the bulk of my meetings are done for a while, I might be able to get back into a regular rhythm here again.
Thursday, November 17, 2005
Tim Jackson, Masi Brand Manager
Masi Bicycles signs sponsorship deal with Inferno Racing for 2006.
November 11, 2005- Vista, CA- Masi Bicycles and Inferno Racing ink sponsorship deal for the 2006 road racing season.
Masi Brand Manager Tim Jackson and Inferno Racing team manager Chad Thompson began a dialog that ultimately lead to team sponsorship during the bicycle industry tradeshow, Interbike, in Las Vegas in late September. “I was impressed by the professionalism of Chad and the team rider he had with him during the show when they stopped in the booth between visits with potential sponsors”, said Jackson. “We hit it off pretty quickly and the conversation turned from a sponsorship pitch from Chad to just talking about bikes and racing. That doesn’t happen often when you are talking with a Pro or Elite level team.”
Thompson had a similar version of the events as well, recollecting “we stopped in the booth while we were waiting to meet with another potential sponsor and ended up having a pretty fun conversation with Tim. In fact, while the bikes and their quality speak for themselves, representatives such as Mr. Jackson are very rare in this growing industry.”
Inferno, currently a Pro/Elite team, will be seeking one of the few UCI Continental Tour licenses issued to US domestic professional teams in 2006. All things look good for the team to be racing at all of the National Racing Calendar (NRC) events and potentially events like the Tour of Georgia, the new Tour of California and the USPRO Championships in Philadelphia, as well as all USCF Elite National Championship Events.
Masi will be providing the team with framesets for the season and hopes to be able to partner with the team to use their valuable feedback to further develop new and better bicycles for all Masi consumers.
“I really can’t quantify how excited I am about this deal”, offered Jackson. “This marks a big moment for the brand as we try to re-establish ourselves as one of the premiere road brands in the US. I am very optimistic about what the team can do and I look forward to reporting on some great racing.”
The Inferno Racing team website (www.infernoracing.org) is currently being updated with the final calendar, roster and sponsor information.
Masi bicycles have been ridden to victory by many champions for several decades and the brand looks to make a triumphant return to sponsoring professional/ elite level cycling teams.
Saturday, November 12, 2005
Thank you, thank you, thank you. Please keep'em coming though. Don't stop now.
Since I brought the whole thing up, I thought I would post a few pictures of the prototype frame I have been racing this year. I have posted these before, but I can not pinpoint when and where. SO rather than send you all on a goose-chase, I thought I'd put them all here for you. (Note; these are pictures of the proposed racing frame and not the frame that would potentially be used for the steel bike.)This is the frame fresh out of the box. I requested that the frame be red, so it has the paint and decals from our entry-level road bike. It looks freakin' fast in this set up.Check out the profile of the top tube. It has the same groove along the top and bottom of the top tube. This groove, I call it the "blood groove" like on a big hunting knife ("For slicing open the competition"- can you see the ads), helps to reduce the twisting of the head tube when you are sprinting... and it works, believe me.Here's the complete bike on the night of it's maiden voyage. Ain't it purdy?Another angle... you can't see how cool the stays are from this angle...... but you get a better idea from this angle. See how the chainstays are square shaped? That is one very stiff back end.
So, once again, I humbly thank you for the overwhelming amount of responses I have gotten so far. I sincerely appreciate it and hope that they keep coming.
Friday, November 11, 2005
We finished up the preliminary discussions on the next line of bikes today. Now I revise the initial preliminary line outline and then next week we throw it to the wolves during our Marketing Summit. Once the wolves get done picking the meat from the skeleton, I get to piece the scraps together and map out what will end up becoming a line of bikes. Now, it could happen that the line I came out of the meeting with today will be loved by the Summit attendees and will not require any further reworking... but I'm not foolish or arrogant enough to really believe that. However, I do feel pretty good about the direction we are heading in.
Next week will be a big one for me as I try to get the kind of feedback that will help to yield a stronger and better brand. The event last year was very successful and ultimately helped to create the current bikes that I am very proud of. I am hoping for more of the same this year.
I need your help. If you like track bikes or fixed gear bikes, then drop me line and say so. I need your help to support adding a fixed gear bike and/ or a racing frame set. This is your chance...
If you would consider buying a Masi fixed gear or Masi track racing frame set, then post a comment here or simply send an email directly to me at email@example.com. There is no obligation to buy one, though I would certainly appreciate it if you did. I just need you to say you'd consider it if we offered the product. (Please no anonymous posts- I want to be able to reply to you and to prove that the posts are not all coming from me. Remember, this is going to my bosses so I can get my way- which is really your way.)
BUT I got to extend an offer to a Pro team today! A Pro road team that will be at the major NRC events and is gunning to be at Tour of Georgia, Tour of California, San Francisco GP and USPro in Philly. Now, this isn't big news for some companies, but I'm not "some companies". For me, this is flat-out huge news! I can not tell you how excited I am about this and what I hope it means for the brand. It's a great group of guys and I am really looking forward to the coming year. Once the i's are all dotted and the "official" press release is written, I will be able to spill the full details. Wow!
On top of this great news, I also am in the process of trying to seal a deal with another team. The offer is there and I am just waiting for the reply. This particular team is a great group of riders as well and I think some great things could come from them too.
Please don't go thinking that I've suddenly come up with a huge budget to pull this all together. I have just gotten very lucky and have been able to get in touch with the right people at the right time. The stars aligned themselves in just such a way to facilitate this happening and I'm absolutely giddy. Like I said a few lines ago, this wouldn't be news to some other companies with deep pockets. Since I just barely even have pockets, this is huge.
More news to follow soon!
Thursday, November 10, 2005
I had a great visit with my buddy Kendall from Ritchey yesterday. He had bags and bags of samples and we talked bikes and bike parts. Then we just talked. That's the best part of this goofy business; the people you get to know and befriend.
Roberto Heras? Tour of California? What do they have in common? The grim specter of doping. Heras is waiting for his B sample to be tested and hopefully clear him of the possibility of a doping suspension that would effectively end his career. The new Tour of California is sponsored by Amgen, who makes EPO. EPO, the very drug that has been at the center of so many drug controversies in sport, especially cycling. On the one hand, I think it was savvy of Amgen to try and give a positive spin on their image, related to cycling. On the other hand, what on earth were they and the organizers thinking? I am really torn over this because a race is going to happen, that might not otherwise. Still, it's kind of like letting Smith & Wesson sponsor the high school football team at Columbine. "We're sorry. Here's some money."
Ok, I have to go again. There are other things I was going to talk about, but I can't remember and I have way to much staring at me that is time sensitive. Gotta run...
Tuesday, November 08, 2005
It was a little foggy and cold when we got there to get in line with the truck at 6:00AM on Sunday morning. That's 6:00AM people... that's what a bike geek I am.
The sun did come out during unloading. All those folks rummaging through our stuff; other vendors looking to score stuff before the real buyers were allowed in.
The buyers did show up though... in droves. At one point, we just kind of looked at each other and realized we had no way of knowing who was or wasn't paying for stuff. It was complete chaos!
The Haro Hotties did make an appearance later in the day and the crowds went wild. They've been crowd favorites for many a swapmeet.
Can you believe this guy owns a bike shop? Andrew Lee of Adams Avenue Bike Shop. Andrew has one of the coolest little shops in town. He doesn't even sell Masi and I love him anyway...
Meet Ernesto, also known as Beanerello (long story, ask me over a beer). He's a great guy, a great wrench and as you can see, quite the lady. That tank top was a small, but since he's about 6' 4"... it isn't anymore.
I didn't get any pictures of these folks, but they were a cool group. Bicycle Kitchen, in Los Angeles, is a really cool shop and concept. If in the area, you better go check'em out. Your cool factor will increase exponentially. What a cool concept they have. I'd love to see their project grow and spread all over.
Anyway, that's the wrap-up I promised. Gotta get back to creating something you are going to sell your car to buy. Working on the next big thing/s right now... busy, busy...
Monday, November 07, 2005
Saturday, November 05, 2005
You know you need a Maillard Helicomatic freewheel removal tool.
Friday, November 04, 2005
This guy does however sign my checks now. Notice how big he's smiling with that glass of Hefeweizen in front of him. It does appear that he and I are getting the one-finger salute here, so you can see that it's a pretty stuffy group of folks here.
This is where things start to get stinky and the stogies started getting smoked. The guy in the back right is our former Inside Sales Manager, Mike Russell... notice the wild and crazy eyes going on there. Makes me nervous... (Hi Mike!)This is our pro downhill rider and current National Champion, Cody Warren and his mother Kim. You really couldn't ask for a nicer kid to have on your team. He's a very nice guy and a very talented rider... and he's only 19! This fella has a heck of a future ahead of him.
This is Jill Hamilton. Jill has just been snookered into taking a job like mine (poor girl) and is now the newly created Haro Mountain Bike Brand Manager. Jill knows a little about riding a mountain bike too... she used to race Pro downhill. I'm scared to ride a mountain bike down a paved road and she hucks'em off drops that make me faint. Honestly, between the two of us, I'm the one who "rides like a girl" (to all the women who read this blog, I am not insulting you... I swear- no hate mail please).
I'm not sure how I got a picture of my own nose and mouth, but I have a feeling it might be cigar related. That's what happens when you ask a non-cigar smoker to hold your camera...
Thursday, November 03, 2005
(Copyright Muppets- please don't sue me for pulling this picture off the internet.)
So, A) I don't have red hair that stands on end and 2) I have never worn a lab coat and tie in my entire life, let alone to work.
(No copyright- I took the picture myself.)
Now, I admit that I have spent time around beakers, but I refuse to admit to looking like Beeker.
Meaningless poll time now; by way of comment, you can vote to settle this little dispute. Voting ends tomorrow. I hate to think that my name may have to be changed to Beeker, so throw me a bone here...
My daughter is a budding Van Gogh or maybe a Dali, I'm not sure. However, today I got a new portrait from her; Daddy on his bike
Notice the wild, wide-open bug-eyes. That's probably my "oh crap" face. I have no pupils in my eyes and my hair is bright red (which it isn't really), but at least I have that nice manic smile going on.
This one is a family portrait. My wife is pictured to the left, kinda, but I swear she isn't actually taller than me. I'm the ant-like character in the middle. I've been told that I am holding my daughter because she is crying about losing her balloon (I'm not sure about the balloon thing). The green puff on the brown circle is a tree on a hill. I don't know where she got the whole Japanese anime-style eyes for us. Notice how we have big bug-eyes, but we all have one really big bug-eye.
This one is my favorite though. Guess what it is... nope. It's a dragon with a baby dragon. Why the dragon doesn't get bug-eyes, I'm not sure. The "baby" looks a lot like a hairball to me. The pink things on top are the wings. The red/orange ring around the dragon is fire from the dragon's "breath". I think the fire is what happened to the face too... sort of looks like a scab to me. I thought it was a bunny with chicken legs and an egg... but I was wrong.
Wednesday, November 02, 2005
Today on my ride, on my way back to the office, I was flying up a shallow climb. Seated, big ring, hammering away and feeling pretty good actually. I was on a section of the climb that is essentially a false flat, so I was moving pretty quick. Just as the climb started to get steep again, I stood up to maintain my speed. At that precise moment, a car load of teenage/ twenty-something guys drives by and throws a full Super-Big-Gulp-Soda-Supertanker at me and the bike. Fortunately it happened as I was standing so I acclerated and the soda bomb nailed the rear wheel and sent ice and soda all over the back of the bike and not into the front wheel and spokes. I skid a little on the ice and soda, but was otherwise unhurt and didn't crash. Had I been seated, with my weight on the rear wheel and going slightly slower, the tanker would have hit my front wheel and would have likely caused me to crash. The jackasses sped off, directly behind another car and then passed them in a turn, going uphill. The car that was behind them and closest to me honked and waved to them, so I'm not sure if they were expressing a show of support or what. All in all, the experience was a bit unreal.
Now, this occurrence is nowhere near uncommon to me, as I seem to have a bullseye painted on my back. I have had so many close calls, and direct hits, over the years that I ride very defensively and pretty much assume that most people are out to kill me. Paranoid, I know, but with two children and a wife, I believe in watching my back closely. Very closely.
This is the kind of thing that makes my wife scared to let me out of the house to ride at all. I can't even ride my rollers in the driveway without her getting a little jumpy. She did, after all, see me after I was hit and nearly killed last year. She has good reason to be nervous, as do all of our friends, loved ones and spouses/ significant others.
I drive a car too, but I have never had the thought to toss crap out of my car with the intent to scare or injure somebody else. What sort of tweaked pathology are we looking at here? What crazy group mentality overtook the passengers in the car? Where did the thrill of trying to kill me come from?
If you follow the conversations going on these days and see the cycling news, lots of people are getting killed on their bikes. It just crushes me each time I read or hear of another cyclist getting killed by a motorist.
If I would have caught the car, and I sprinted my ass off to try, I would have enjoyed busting a window or two. Idiots...
Ultimately, I'm glad I wasn't hurt and I was having a great ride on a gorgeous day. I was doing something I enjoy, planning new ways to take over the bike world. I was distracted by the attack, but I still finished my ride and got to come back to a job I enjoy and will see my family tonight.
I am lucky. You stay lucky too.
Tuesday, November 01, 2005
Joe Hawk is now the head of Haro Bicycles and the family of brands. Joe has been in the business for a long damn time. He's been with Haro for the past 12 years as the VP of Sales and was with Raleigh for a bunch of years before that. It is easy to say that he has plenty of experience and knowledge of the industry. Plus, he's a darned nice guy (can I have an office with a window now?).
Sadly, about two weeks ago, Joe had an unfortunate surfing accident. As in he surfed the pavement on his arse while on a road ride. He tore up his shorts on both cheeks, so I'm not exactly sure how he did that. He also ripped up the Masi-embossed bar tape that I painstakingly wrapped his bars with. However, his Speciale Carbon frame is unscathed and will live to ride again. Once Joe is back to "normal", we'll get back to our usual routine of sprint workouts and hill repeat intervals. He's a workhorse and a lot faster than he looks, sitting there at his desk. His legs are like coiled springs, ready to pounce into action. He runs a tight ship and the sales people will be glad that he will now have more things to concentrate on, sharing the attention with the rest of us now.
All kidding aside, Joe really is a great guy and I have really enjoyed working with him so far. He and Jim Ford were/are very close and I know that Joe will work hard to maintain all the positives Jim worked so long to create. There is something very good about continuity sometimes. Joe is already busy rolling up his sleeves and investigating the new task at hand. Well, one of the first tasks is learning how to wrap handle bar tape.
Joe will hopefully have the kind of history to look back on that Jim Ford did. Though that is a tough task, Joe's got a good chance to do some significant good with this company.
So Boss, congratulations on the move up the ladder. Let me know if I can get you a coffee or wax your car. (I can use a little extra vacation time.)
We can and should all be advocates for bicycle safety and a peaceful coexistence with car drivers. No matter how radical your beliefs, we have to acknowledge that we are not ever getting rid of cars or getting our own roads totally free of cars. Something has to change to make things better. Every little bit helps and I think James makes a very good point.