Friday, December 30, 2005
Now we are on to the Resolutions and Predictions segment of the show. Thrills, chills and spills...
1) I'm going to lose 10 pounds. I've recently ballooned up to 215 thanks to all the holiday free food that keeps pouring in the front door of this building. I go down hill faster than ever, but now I climb about as well as Michael Rasmussen time trials. I plan to get to a good 205-210, solid racing weight. Muscle being heavier than fat, I should look a lot thinner than I do now.
2) To make #1 happen, I am resolving to not keep the old fridge stocked with beer anymore. If I want a beer, I'm gonna have to walk up to the local 7/11 and buy one or go to a bar and deal with other people. The good news is that I plan to drink more Scotch instead. Fewer calories and less fattening. I'm thinking of my health after all.
3) I'm going to talk to more of my customers on the phone and cement relationships. Retailers are going to be hearing more from me, as well as my sales force, so that I can get their feedback to shape Masi into a more important part of their business.
4) Consumers are going to be seeing my getting-thinner face at events, rides, festivals and the like. As one of my sales reps stated, I'm going to "make it personal". This will hopefully be considered bad news by some of my "competitors" because, yes, I am going to be stealing some business away from other brands.
5) I am going to keep this blog as a big part of what I do and how I communicate. In doing that, I am also going to strive to learn how to make this space more functional and interactive. More polls, more links, more information, more of more. I think I may even try my hand/voice at podcasting. I want to get more involved in learning about the technology of blogging and possibly even attend a few conferences/ seminars.
6) I am going to try to get more involved within the industry itself. I joke around a lot about taking over the industry (which I still intend to do), but ultimately I have a lot of respect for my competitors and a lot of love for the industry as a whole. Whether I continue to work with people simply trying to learn about blogging or by lending my time and my hands to working with other companies to improve the health of the industry, I want to be a part of making things better.
7) I resolve to not do another list of resolutions (until this time next year).
1) Lance will not win the Tour in 2006... unless he comes out of retirement to make it an even 8 in a row.
2) Michael Rasmussen will either learn to ride a better time trial or his TT bike will have training wheels on it.
3) The UCI and Grand Tour organizers will continue to squabble and bicker with each other, making my four year old look more grown-up than them.
4) The new SRAM road group will continue to get people all hot and sweaty. I also predict that I will be doing all that I can to get my hands on a group. Shameless attempts to get Michael Zellman's attention are likely to happen. (Hi Michael- I'm here just thinking about how cool you are and how much I like those road parts.)
5) A&F/ Inferno will win bike races and I will be very happy. I predict some really cool things happening with these guys. Stay tuned for news and reports in 2006.
6) More jackass riders will get caught doping. Folks, it ain't going away ever. There is too much pressure to succeed and get results and riders are human so they are going to make stupid decisions. One of my biggest hopes is that none of them get caught during the Amgen Tour of California. There's bad news and then there's really bad news...
If the governing bodies in cycling, in all countries, want to really start to make a difference in the fight against doping, then lifetime bans for doping need to happen. You can't just say "I'm sorry" and come back to the sport and make money again. Harsh, I know, but sponsors will eventually walk away from the sport, rather than have their images tarnished by doping scandals.
6-a) The governing bodies aren't going to get serious about doping enforcement. Cynical view, I know, but I haven't seen anything yet that proves me wrong. Each positive test stirs up denials and finger pointing. Tests are called into question and opposing governing bodies bicker and fight about what should happen and if the rider in question is guilty or not. People- this is not the way to get healthy.
7) We're all going to keep riding our bikes. We're all going to keep complaining about things we don't like. We're all going to keep praising the things we like.
Here's my wish for all of you; a very happy, healthy, successful, prosperous and ride-filled New Year.
Yeah, I love my job and I would do it because I love to do it, but I work as hard as I do because of the woman who has been such a huge part of my life. I love her a lot more than I love my job and all the bikes I get to play with every day. Right now, as the year is coming to a close, I find myself stricken by the fact that my wife has been such an instrumental part in the fact that I have this kind of job. She is the one who told me years ago that I need to follow my passions and that I should believe in myself and the whacky set of goofball skills I have. She's called me the King of the Dipshits for years and I guess she's probably right- as she frequently is (but not all the time- don't believe her if she tells you she's always right).
As I try to come up with witty things to say about this past year, the real Best Of award winner is my wife.
I'm a lucky damned guy; thanks Honey.
Thursday, December 29, 2005
Best International Team News; Discovery Channel Announces Lance Armstrong Retirement
Lance who? You know, that guy who won 7 consecutive Tours de France. Maybe you haven't heard of him yet, but he made a little noise during his career before retiring this year. What's cool is that he might just hold a place in cycling history for a few years... and... get this- he's an American!
So now that "the Boss" is leaving the sport to focus on lawsuits and carrying Sheryl Crow's guitars around, what is Discovery Channel going to do? Without Lance, the Tour and the cycling world should theoretically grind to a halt. All wheels will stop spinning and riders will just give up because, really, what's the point now?
I kid because I love...
Well, the angry French are still likely to be angry because there isn't a French rider on the horizon likely to win the Tour any time soon. It's likely that either Jan Ullrich or Ivan Basso will step out of Lance's enormous shadow and make a play for the top step of the podium. Maybe one of the other Disco riders can make a run at the now-vacant thrown too. Yeah, I know, other riders have a shot now too, but those two are going to be on top of every pundit's list until the end of the 2006 Tour de France.
Best Domestic Team News; Masi signs sponsorship agreement with Abercrombie & Fitch/ Inferno Racing (Don't even try and tell me you didn't see that coming. Please... )
Yes, as you may have figured out, this is decidedly one of the very best things to happen for Masi this year. Masi, as a company, and I are thrilled to be working with A&F/Inferno for 2006. I am very much looking forward to working with the team to do great things in racing as well as product development. Those of you who sell or ride Masi will ultimately benefit from this relationship. How can that not be a significant development?
Biggest Dipshit/ Raimondas Rumsas "It Ain't For Me" Award; Dario Frigo
"Really officer, I had no idea my wife was carrying enough EPO to dope-up half the Tour riders." Really? Dumbass! Like his apparent hero and idol Raimondas Rumsas, Frigo used his wife to transport drugs for him (this from a guy caught with a suitcase full of drugs during the Giro d'Italia a few years ago) and then pulls the old "they aren't for me" story out of his... brain. Now, I'm no expert here, but I think it is reasonably safe to say that Frigo is a complete idiot. Really? You've been caught with drugs before and served a suspension, the French authorities are notorious for checking wives of riders cars now and you send your wife off with a car full of drugs and a date with the French prison system. You, my perforated friend, are an idiot! Sorry man, just calls'em like I sees'em.
I'm not done yet either. I still have a few more of these little gems and I still owe you the torture of knowing my Resolutions for 2006.
Name: Jered Gruber
DOB: 16 March 1983
Result: 15th U23 Road Race 2005
I was originally born in Oregon, but moved all over during my first 12 years or so: California, Washington, New Jersey, and finally Georgia. I really don't have a hometown, but I consider Athens, Georgia to be my place of residence.
I played golf from about 12 years old to 18 years old - a lot. I really didn't do all that much except for golf, until I went to visit family in Austria the summer of 2001. It was there that I got a chance to go for a little bike ride.
This was my first REAL ride on a bike, we climbed some obscenely large mountain (Mirnock) and I barely made it up. BARELY. I was so horrible. I could barely move the next day, my bell had been rung and I was rocked. So, of course, sucking that bad made me want more.
I started school at the University of Georgia Fall of 2001 and forgot about my desire to ride a bike for awhile, until I stumbled on the deal of deals: a complete GT Rage bike with CXP-12 wheels, pedals, 105 components, and shoes for 400 dollars. I got it, and early 2002 I began my cycling 'career.'
I sucked pretty hardcore for a very long time, not that I'm fast now, but I was embarrassinglybad for a long while, including my year-long expedition to Germany in 2003/2004. I got my head knocked in more times than I care to remember. It took me a good month or two just to FINISH a race. I can count the number of races I finished that year on two hands. I had fun though, lots of it. Germany not only did not discourage me, it oddly encouraged me. It seems I always get more obsessive about bike racing the worse I do.
I returned to America, Fall of 2004, and realized that I still wasn't really any good. Last winter, I finally realized that I trained like an idiot and began training with power, and voila, just like that, I started getting better. I trained reasonably well this season and finally improved to a point where I can say I'm not terrible anymore. I got 15th at the U23 Nationals Road Race, and I finished that race knowing that that was the WORST result I could have done on the day. It was a sort of revelation for me, and after that, I started to do better - mentally.
A few months ago, I was lucky enough to move in with Jacob Fetty (Jacob Fetty is one of Jered's former teammates and a really fast guy- Ed), and that has made the biggest difference in my bike gaming saga. I've never been worked so hard for so long. I couldn't even imagine this kind of work a few months ago. I get my ass kicked day in and day out and somehow get up the next morning and ask for more. It's the good stuff, and I can't say enough how happy I am to have the chance to race my bike full-time for at least this season.
I almost peed I was laughing so hard. Agree or not, THAT is some serious comedy there!
Wednesday, December 28, 2005
Best Pro Race; Giro d'Italia
Danilo DiLuca nearly steals the win and certainly steals the show in this first major test of the new Pro Tour. Paolo Savoldelli takes his second win in the event and gives Discovery somebody else to talk about for a change. Even Gilberto Simoni looks good in this year's event and rides bravely. The first critics of the new Pro Tour format are pretty much given a resounding "we told you" by the UCI as the race turns out to be one of the most exciting races in recent memory.
2005 You're Kidding Me Award; Amgen Tour of California
Amgen, the developer of EPO and many other fantastic drugs for patients suffering from many diseases like cancer, signs on as the title sponsor of the new Tour of California. Many people, including myself, have already mentioned the awkwardness of this partnership. I applaud Amgen for getting involved with the event, honestly I do, but this is going to become the biggest nightmare imaginable if a rider tests positive for EPO during the event. Heck, even if a rider tests positive at another event somewhere else in the world during the Tour of California, people are really going to be questioning this relationship. Amgen is already a sponsor of a wonderfully successful club and team here in Southern California. They put their money where their syringe is... I mean mouth. Amgen claims this is to put a spotlight on all the other different therapeutic drugs they develop and produce and I hope that turns out to be true. I'm hopeful, really, but my cycnical side is really having a hard time digesting this.
Coolest New Crap Award; SRAM road group
Yeah, yeah, yeah... shut up! It's my blog so I can keep talking about SRAM. Seriously, this new product isn't even available in 05 and won't be in 06 either. It won't be until 07 before we start seeing these sparkly new goodies in people's hands as honest-to-Budha working products. (Yeah, I already know that Kodak Gallery/Sierra Nevada will be racing on the parts in '06.) Still, the industry is buzzing about this stuff. For good reason too. Like I have said before, it works great and looks great, so it should hopefully be a real contender in the marketplace. Shimano and Campagnolo need to stop chasing each other and start chasing somebody else- themselves. Hopefully this will result in a bit of a shake-up that yields more innovation and better products for all consumers. Cosmetically, no parts are as pretty as Campy. Functionally- Shimano has always been reliable and the products relatively hassle-free. Now SRAM comes to the party with both of those characteristics- pretty and reliable. Shimano has continued to innovate for years since "inventing" indexed shifting- STI shifters, splined and now external BB's, cassette freewheels, SPD/SPD-R/SPD-SL (very similar to LOOK- I know) pedals, etc. Campy has done things with carbon in components that are just breathtaking and has been playing with electronic shifting for a few years now. However... a new kid on the block rattling cages can only be a good thing in my opinion.
I Didn't Do It Award; Roberto Heras (and by extension all dopers who got caught)
I want the guy to be innocent, I swear I do, but it doesn't look good. After winning his fourth Vuelta a Espana, Roberto's blood was a tad too rich in oxygen- in two tests. It's hard to say if he is or isn't innocent without knowing every single piece of the evidence, but it does not look good. Roberto is still a good person in my opinion and I'd like to believe he is innocent. But good people make bad choices just like the rest of us. He's human, just like the rest of us. Why we should hold athletes to a higher standard of conduct is beyond me. Yes, dopers suck. They shouldn't get to compete again either. David Millar- I'm talking about you. I really like Millar, but after admitting to doping, after first denying it, he is now poised to return to racing at the Tour de France in 06. I'm sorry, live and let live is a great belief, but it sends the wrong message to athletes and those considering the sport. Doping is wrong... period.
More Best Of crap as the year winds down.
Tuesday, December 27, 2005
So, in the spirit of being annoying, I am going to try to come up with some resolutions and some Masiguy's Best of 2005 awards. I don't know how successful I will be, but I'll try to come up with some funny stuff and maybe even a few "serious" things too. I'll have to give it some thought over these last few days of the year. I am resolving to keep less beer in the house this coming year, so my creativity may suffer... bear with me.
It's a little before the new year, but change is good. Please excuse any hiccups that might occur while the work continues, but I hope you like the new look. Notice how the image in the header changes each time you visit? Three different headers will rotate through... I love that.
Saturday, December 24, 2005
Our first victim... erm... I mean, team rider is Chad Thompson who wears a lot of different hats for the team. Chad is the team director/ owner and one of the riders as well. Oh yeah, when he isn't training, racing and running the team he's also a fire fighter. Can you see where the Inferno connection comes from?
Without further hesitation, meet Chad Thompson-
Chadwick (Chad) Thompson
33 years old. (09-17-1972)
Born: Erie, PA
Raised : San Jose, CA
Years Riding: 19+
Highlights = Former NorCal Dist Champ x
2, Rode in Europe for 1 season.
Pan-Am games in track (Points Race)
- Took 10 complete seasons off bike and
returned to Cat 1 level last year (No sh-t). Became body-builder and firefighter
in that time. It was hard (especially going from 198-200lbs to 165!!!, but I
finished 95% of my races in the top 20. In fact, only 1 DNF.
- Was the
elite team Manager for Honey Stinger/Spinergy in 2005 (that I put together with
another guy who bailed and left me with all the work and a bike club - sweet.)
Inferno spawned from that. Inferno Racing LLC is owned by Myself
(President/CEO/Founder?Majority Owner), my wife (accountant co-owner), Father
(legal dept., co-owner, avid cyclist), best friend - Matt (co-owner and graphic
designer). Inferno's goal was to own and operate a Pro Cycling Team and manage
endurance athletes. We currently own A&F/Inferno Cycling team and manage
Mazza Winery/Inferno Cycling Club. It is up and coming (the company that is).
- I am married (very, very happily) for
2 years now to a woman who looks exactly like Heather Locklear (thank you, thank
you). She was responsible for my return to racing. She found my CA state champ
jerseys in some boxes, quizzed me and insisted I do it again if I loved it. So
here we are.
So now you know Chad. You might have noticed his comments here on the blog from time to time- he usually signs on as "iruntheteam". He's a regular reader, so that proves his menatal instability- as if the racing didn't already.
Chad and I met at Interbike this year and actually did hit it off pretty good from the very beginning. We spent a lot of time just laughing about racing and people we know through racing. It was a great way to get started and I am thrilled to be working with Chad and the team.
Keep following along as I introduce the riders. I intend to get to all of the riders before the racing season gets fully under way.
(Forgive the weird formatting issues. I'm not really sure how it got this way.)
Friday, December 23, 2005
I know I got kind of sappy and sentimental at Thanksgiving, so I'll try not to go overboard now. However, I will say this- enjoy these next few days and the remainder of this year. If I don't have the chance or the time to come back before 2006 bites me in the tookus (I have no idea if that is the proper spelling), I hope that the new year brings happiness, health and prosperity to you all.
Thursday, December 22, 2005
I had to get something from the supply cabinet and saw these things (rubber fingertip for sorting paper... allegedly). It may be the snickering teenage boy still trapped inside me, but these things always make me laugh so I grabbed one to have at my desk.
A yummy sampler tray of baklava just showed up a little while ago...
... and these were here when I came in this morning. Krispy freakin' Kreme doughnuts. These things are my version of Kryptonite. I am telling you, there is no way for me to resist them. I could have one of those electric shock collars on, like the ones used to train dogs, and I would get my ass shocked repeatedly while I munched on those doughnuts.
It should be no surprise to anybody that I look a lot more like Santa than one of the elves in a skinsuit now. It ain't pretty...
I have to admit a bit of feeling like "we've made it" by seeing this. It's a little thing and many people already know this news, so it isn't exactly "new"... but still.
I guess I'm just easy to please.
Wednesday, December 21, 2005
Chris is a fantastic rider and a great guy. Chris and I both worked in the same bike shop years ago and used to train on a lot of the same rides, along with Trent Klasna. I would often find myself begging for mercy in one of the weekly training crits, in a break with those two. Worse yet was when they were both on the local Wednesday training rides in the winter. Damn, those rides were far worse than any racing I've ever done.
Anyway, Chris is an incredible character and I enjoy rooting for him. He's in Oregon now, instead of San Diego, but he's still a local hero here. I smile a little every time I see an interview or article about him. He's just a good hearted guy.
So go check it out... NOW!
1) fi'zi:k Arione saddles. My arse is pretty much permanently shaped to the Arione. I have a couple of other saddles that I ride, one of which is the fi'zi:k Aliante (on my track bike and a darned nice saddle too). However, this is by far the best saddle I've ever put butt cheeks to. I know it isn't for everybody, no saddle is, but this thing is the best for me. The Arione Tri is the best tri/TT saddle I've been on too, so put it on your wish list... quickly.
2) Catlike Kompact 2 helmet. I love this thing! Hands down, this is the most comfortable and best fitting helmet to ever go on my noggin. The rear retention system and the overall fit make this thing sit perfectly all the time. Catlike is working on a new helmet called the Whisper that looks way to sexy for me to ever get my hands on. I mean, I don'tknow if I can handle it's awesome powers.
3) Arundel carbon bottle cages. My Arundel road cages are the prettiest ones I've seen yet and the aero bottle/cage combo kicks some serious booty as well.
The aero cage/ bottle combo is on my TT bike, of course, which brings me too...
4) The Luis Garneau TT helmet. This is definitely the most comfortable TT/ aero helmet I've ever strapped on. I mean, sometimes I sit at my desk for hours with it on. Normally these things are kind of uncomfortable thanks to the lack of vents, but this rascal is one comfortable lid.
5) SockGuy makes the most comfortable socks you could possibly ever put on your feet. Yes, they are local boys and friends of mine, but the socks are so very worthy of the praise, as are the aero shoe covers. Lately, the early mornings have been kind of chilly around here, but the heavy weight lycra booties have been enough to keep the tootsies toasty (and stylish). Their wool socks and Royale socks are awesome too. I know it is laundry day when I run out of SockGuy socks. The other socks just won't do.
6) Now, I know that this isn't exactly the kind of thing you can go to your local shop and buy, but this is decidely one of my very most prized (and most often used) bike dork possessions. If you ever see one for sale- BUY IT!
With the collector's value of these things going up, this could help send my kids to college. (Notice how I sneak in Masi in a picture of something by Ibis so I don't piss off the people who sign my checks for showing another brand's name.)
7) FSA Vigorelli carbon track cranks. These things are not only pretty to look at, but they are stiff mamma-jammas! The carbon "spider" has a lip that goes up and around the back of the chainring by about 5 millimeters to help stiffen the whole thing.
I know this is kind of a crappy picture of the crank and it doesn't show off the original 49t ring that came with it, but it does show off my track bike. Notice the cool rubber Keirin grips. The chainring is a 50t with a 15t cog for a 90" gear- my favorite sprint gear. "88 is great", but I don't have the same leg speed anymore and have to rely on power more these days. Still, the cranks are freakin' gorgeous.
8) Canari Cyclewear clothing. Yes, my former employers and friends. I am biased, I know, but the stuff is just outrageously good without costing too much money. Bike clothes are going to wear out eventually, if you really ride in them, so get something good. If good can also be cheaper than buying a new car, then great! I don't want to name anybody, but some clothing is just too darned expensive. Why? I won't speculate here. But I will say again that I have never personally had a line of clothing fit and function as well as the Canari clothing that I have ridden the past few years. Teams; Shaun Albin at Canari is one of the very best designers of custom clothing that you will ever work with. Seriously, he's incredible. He has been instrumental in the creation of the custom clothing line too and the products are freakishly good. Tell him I sent you and he might only charge you an additional couple bucks per item.
Ok, this is enough to get your holiday shopping list started. Yeah, I know there are only a few days left, so you better get the whip a-snappin!
Tuesday, December 20, 2005
Obviously, we talked about the new road group. I still say that this is going to be a great thing for the over all health of the industry and will spawn more creativity and hopefully great improvements for all of us. I also still say that the product looks really, really good and I am itching like an old hound dog with fleas to get a chance to actually get on the road with the product and see how it performs.
They are continuing to refine the product and have a bunch of new over all enhancements that will improve the product and that is a good, good thing. I can't tell you anything about it yet, of course, but I was very impressed and believe they are making a lot of really great strides with the product.
Once again, for the record, I am still a big fan of both Shimano and Campagnolo. I love both products and have friends with both companies. However, more competition and a viable third parts supplier is only going to make the industry healthier.
As a true bike nerd, new parts get my motor running, so I am very excited to see these further developments and am looking forward to prying a group out of Michael Zellman's big meaty hands. I keep begging and pleading, but so far I am still behind the velvet rope hoping I can find somebody popular enough to get me into the dance.
I am excited. Imagine that...
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
Tim Jackson, Masi Brand Manager
1230 Avenida Chelsea
Vista, CA 92081
Team Inferno Signs New Title Sponsor and Becomes Abercrombie & Fitch presented by Inferno Racing Cycling Team (A&F/ Inferno).
December 16, 2005- Vista, CA- Abercrombie & Fitch, the famous fashion clothing company with retail stores in several countries and sales across the world through its website, has partnered with Team Inferno to take over as title sponsor of the team. The Professional/ Elite men’s team will now be known as Abercrombie & Fitch presented by Inferno Racing Cycling Team (aka A&F/ Inferno).
Abercrombie & Fitch is recognized around the world as a clothing manufacturer, relying on a youthful and healthy image. Joining forces with the Inferno Racing Cycling Team is seen as a way to further that image and promote the healthy lifestyle of cycling. Abercrombie & Fitch was also attracted to the team for their charitable work with organizations like the Lance Armstrong Foundation and others.
Chad Thompson, President and CEO of Inferno Racing LLC stated, "Who could ask for a cooler sponsor? I mean really; cool clothes, youthful image and healthy people. It all goes hand in hand with what cycling is all about. We are so proud to bring such a great company into the mainstream of the cycling world and cycling into the mainstream of the public audience even further! The new A&F/Inferno team has 2 persons to thank wholeheartedly for the A&F deal. First and foremost is Mrs. Leslee Herro, (Executive Vice President of Planning and Allocation for A&F), a true cycling enthusiast herself, for making the hardest push within the great A&F corporation and Mr. Tom Lennox (Director of Investor Relations and Corporate Communications) whom sat and listened to us and had a genuine interest in the pitch of our program. He was very excited with the idea and we knew in 2 days. This could not have come at a better time. While we were already well-funded, this eliminates any monetary stress that most teams have throughout a year."
With this improved budget situation, the team will be able to more successfully support racing at multiple and concurrent events during the season, as well as having the ability to better fund the necessary support staff for a full season of racing the premier events in the US.
The team roster currently consists of;
David "Shawn" Adams - OH
Andrew "Andy" Applegate – NC (Multiple National Championship Titles)
Jim Baldesare (2002 US men's National Elite Criterium Champion) - OH
Ryan Gamm - OH
Jeremy Grimm (2005 Ohio state Criterium Champion) - OH
Jered Gruber - GA
Rich Harper (2005 Georgia Cup Champion) - NC
Mark Hekman (Ranked 5th in 2005 USCF/NRC Criterium standings overall) - NC
Abe McNutt - OH
Malachi "Reid" Peacock - GA
Ryan Rish - OH
Todd Shaker - OH
Tim Swain - OH
Chad Thompson (Team Director/ rider) - OH
The team’s current primary sponsors are (complete list of sponsors on team website);
Abercrombie & Fitch (www.abercrombie.com) – primary financial support, title sponsor
Inferno Racing LLC (www.infernoracing.org) – ownership/ management, financial support
MATTEO Studios (www.matteostudios.com) - Creative design, Web design, cash-money (Inferno Racing LLC co-owner)
Masi Bicycles (www.masibikes.com) - bicycle frame sponsor
Kenda Tire (www.kendausa.com) – tires, tubes and financial support
Spinergy (www.spinergy.com) – wheels and financial support
Thomson (www.lhthomson.com) – stems and seatposts
Kestrel (www.kestrel-usa.com) – carbon fiber forks and handlebars
Crank Brothers (www.crankbrothers.com) - pedals
Verge Sport (www.vergesport.com) - team clothing
Paceline Products (www.pacelineproducts.com) – chamois crème
Vittoria shoes (www.torelli.com) - cycling shoes and financial support
Rudy Project USA (www.rudyprojectusa.com) – helmets, glasses and bags/packs
Saris/Cycle-Ops (www.saris.com & www.cycle-ops.com) - bike racks, trainers and performance training products
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.
I will obviously have a lot more to say about this development (d'uh), but I am very happy for the team because this is a huge boost for them. It makes this season essentially worry-free and gives them a very good prospect for a second year deal next year. Bringing a company like A&F into cycling is absolutely huge news. Expect to be reading more about these guys this year.
Monday, December 19, 2005
So let's see...
1) My middle name is Vance. Named after my mother's brother, my Uncle Vance. My first name comes from my father's brother. I am named after two great men who I have admired all of my life and am lucky to be named after them.
2) My daughter's middle name is Dorothy, after my grandmother. She was one of the most important people in my life, still is, and we had a great relationship. My daughter's middle name was originally going to be Mary, after my wife's sister, but when my grandmother passed away a few weeks before my daughter was born, my wife recommended Dorothy. (I know that technically isn't about me, but it ties into the whole name thing above.)
3) I sometimes border on obsessive compulsive. I can really get derailed by an obsession- for example loading music onto my new iPod or blogging. I get a nervous tick if I go more than 24 hours without blogging... just ask my coworkers or wife. That's just scratching the surface too. I have been known to lie awake in bed all night long because I am stuck on a line from a song and don't know any of the other words.
4) I'm something of a pack rat. (Stop it right there honey- skip the comments on this one. Save your comments for another one.) I hate to throw anything away because I just know I'll need it later. I have tubes and tires that have holes in them, in boxes, just in case I need them in an emergency. When I moved out of my old storage space, I finally threw away a bunch of old bottom bracket spindles and bearings that I had been saving- just in case- and I felt physically ill doing it.
5) When I was working for NiteRider, I received a package without a return address or name on it and no information inside of it. The only thing I found written on the box were the two words mark package. As it turns out, those were instructions for somebody to mark the package a certain way for shipping to NiteRider. The label on the box covered and then tore off the instructions and other info, so I made the assumption that the owner's name was Mark Package and set up the return for that guy. "What a name", I thought to myself and the package sat on our shelves in repair for almost a year before the guy who really did own it called and claimed his light. He placed a few stickers on the battery and lamp head so we could identify it as his. I laughed and said, "oh, so you're Mark Package..." He didn't think it was as funny as I did.
Ok, so now it is your turn. Consider yourself tagged. If you've been fool enough to read this, you are now tagged and are to tell us 5 interesting facts about your self. So either post'em in the comments here or just put a link to your blog in the comment area.
Friday, December 16, 2005
1) I have some great BIG news coming about our pro team- Inferno. Maybe even this evening... we'll see.
B) Team SOFA (Slow Old Fat Athletes) is still in the works. I know I haven't mentioned it in awhile, but it is still something I am going to try to make happen. With all of the other things going on lately, I admit it has been pushed to one of the crowded and crumb covered corners of my desk. However, it is not dead. Remain faithful.
7) Have a great weekend- hopefully full of great riding.
Thursday, December 15, 2005
We had an excellent session discussing the in-development tri/TT bike. Let's just say it'll be pretty awesome; full carbon, totally aero, disk wheel in the back, carbon rimmed front wheel, 10 different sizes, full Dura Ace 10 spd group, a weight of about 15 pounds and a retail price point of $1,000.00! Nobody else will be able to touch it. I suspect we'll probably sell around 3,500-5,000 of the bikes in the first year. Maybe 10,000 the next year. It should be a great brand builder.
The guys gave me some great feedback and I wrote notes feverishly. I'm sure I might have missed a few things because things went pretty quickly during the discussion, but I walked away with a lot of really good notes. I feel pretty good about our meeting and what could end up coming from it.
Then there was the ride. 4 shop employees, the shop owner and then me. We had a great ride, rolling out along the coast and then heading inland into the undulating hills of the area and some of my favorite roads. As is tradition, the ride turned into a semi-race and an attempt to "Kill The Industry Guy". It's a long-lived and well worn tradition in the industry. I knew it was coming and I suffered through it, taking my lumps as we flew up each and every hill and dove recklessly down the other sides. Keep in mind, I probably haven't ridden more than hour on a ride in a few months and this was more than an hour and pretty darned quick at times. Ultimately, it was a great ride and a whole lot of fun. I don't think I called Dan/Fluffy "skinny bastard" more than 3 or 4 times. Not bad, I'd say.
Thanks again to the B&L guys. You can all thank them too when that new bike rolls out on a sale's floor near you!
(Editor's note; since I am getting so many emails... no, the tri/TT bike will not be $1,000 as listed above. I'm just being my usual smarty-pants.)
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
Tomorrow morning I am meeting some guys at a local shop and going for a nice ride before the shop opens and then heading back into the shop to sit down and talk about bikes. This particular shop is one of the best triathlon shops around and we have a very strong tri community here. I am working on developing a good tri/TT bike, as I've stated before, so I am going in to the shop to speak with them about what they have found works and doesn't work. Not even trying to sell them bikes, just picking their brains to further the development process. It helps that these guys started selling Masi recently and are also friends of ours, but even if they weren't this would still be something I would really be looking forward to. I get pretty passionate about these bikes and I am certainly passionate about cycling in general, so this is definitely the kind of thing that gets my motor really revved up.
If you've been here before, you know I'm pretty excited about the brand. You'll also know I really like cycling, as a sport, culture and lifestyle. As much as I am able to try and convey my passion here, I really prefer the old face to face method and feel very comfortable "selling" the brand. Honestly, I really enjoy being "in the field". So be prepared to see me in your own neck of the woods because I am very likely going to be doing a good bit more traveling soon. I hope to be able to get to some of the better rides, races, charity events and fun happenings. If you have a personal favorite, let me know (I'm trying to build a calendar of events I want to try and hit). You never know where the Masiguy might show up, spreading love, happiness and world peace. Well, skip the world peace part because that would be silly to imply that I could actually and truly have that kind of impact on the world. Really, I'm lucky if I can keep from getting fired, so world peace might be a bit more than I can chew off. However, I can spread free socks and water bottles. That much I can handle.
Monday, December 12, 2005
During the evening's festivites, we had a little "quiz" for prizes. I tied for the win with one of my table mates, Lawrence (our International Sales Manager). After the "bonus round", I came out victorious and walked away with;
I have been wanting one of these new beauties since I read about them. Now I don't have to buy one because I won one! All it cost me was my soul. Small price to pay for 30GB of music storage. Needless to say, I was very happy with the party.Here's our Fearless Leader with the t-shirt I brought for the White Elephant gift exchange. He stole the shirt from one of our sales geeks, Dave law, and then had it stolen from him by the wife of our BMX Brand Manager, Tony D'. Here's a really bad picture of one of the tables next to mine. The flash just wasn't doing the job in the darkness and overall size of the room we were in.
Here's my lousy attempt to catch the last waning seconds of the incredible sunset we had. If you squint your eyes really hard and maybe flair your nostrils, you can barely make out a little orange and red on the horizon. Ansel Adams, I am not.
Friday, December 09, 2005
OK, here it is. I'm toying with your delicate little hearts and minds. Soon I'll be receiving angry emails from wives and girlfriends (or husbands and boyfriends) about cars being sold, college funds being raided and wedding rings being pawned. Don't say I didn't warn you. I won't be responsible for broken homes or hearts.
This is it, the vintage reproduction of the original Volumetrica 3V. Oversized steel tubing and internal lugs. These are unbelievably beautiful frames and ride supremely well. The frame will come with the 1" fork unthreaded so that you can choose to use a new threadless headset or have threads cut in the steerer tube and use a traditional headset. The choice will be yours. Rear spacing is 130 so you can use a modern drivetrain if you choose as well. The frames are handmade here in Southern California and the paint is dee-luscious. Trust me, this frame will be worth the begging and pleading or apologizing.
Production is not complete yet and only a handful are being made in this run. Very few... so they will likely vanish very quickly. Price is still TBD, just because production is not done yet.
Would I lie to you? (The answer is no.) These are great and you will love them- I promise.
Thursday, December 08, 2005
Came out pretty good for an ad that was put together kind of quick. Admittedly, I used the word "passion" a couple times too many, but hey... gimme a break. I save all my good words for here.
So if you happen upon the Jan/Feb issue of ROAD magazine, you'll see the full page ad. Try not to slobber all over the pages.
Yes, you read me right- there is free beer out there, just waiting for somebody to go get it and have it and love it. You know you want free beer... good free beer too; Stone Brewing Arrogant Bastard Ale. Umm... good free beer...
Don't say I didn't try to get you some free beer because I am trying right now!
My good friends at Canari have a new blog and they are giving away free beer for funny cycling stories.
Tuesday, December 06, 2005
On top of the really awesome winner's jersey I received at the race on Saturday night/ Sunday morning, I also received the trophy below.
I haven't quite decided which bike to mount this lovely item on to. Maybe I'll just leave it on the hang card and mount it to the wall.
I'm a lucky guy...
Here you see Dan basking in the glow and admiration of the many folks present at the Adams Avenue Bicycles party.
And here's the pretty boy himself taking the win in the bright light of day; by the way, he prefers to be called "Fluffy". I guess now that is State Champ Fluffy...
Monday, December 05, 2005
Here are more pictures from the night of fun and frivolity.
Here's the man of the evening getting his groove on. The live dj had the booties bumpin' all night long.
Me and my very good friend Spot. Spot is also my flyfishing mentor and one of the very best wheelbuilders on the planet.
Spot and Chad Thomson. Chad is another good friend I worked with in a bike shop and then later at NiteRider. Chad now has his own graphic design company, so he's a nutty creative type too. He and his wife, Jeniffer, do a lot of different things with their company so check them out.
Adams Avenue Bicycles is owned by my friend Andrew Lee.
Andrew and his guys run a beautiful little shop, which they are now expanding, and they have developed something of a cult following. This year they were celebrating their second anniversary and the expansion of the shop. Just like last year, there was the midnight Adams Avenue Bicycles Gran Prix.
Now, for a touch of background here; I hate losing races. Even races at midnight, at a party, in the middle of the street against folks who may or may not be less than totally sober. I am a gracious loser, but I have to admit that I prefer not to. With that in mind, I have to confess that I did a few sprint work outs during the week leading up to the party/ race. Well, you know, to stay mentally sharp.
Ok, the good news is that we had two of our officials from the velodrome present at the party, so we had real officials. The start was wobbly for a lot of folks, but I was able to get out in the front just before the first turn without knocking anybody over... though a few racers were a little unstable. Coming out of turn two and heading for three, there was only one rider in front of me, but I got around him as we exited the turn. From there, I assumed it was clear sailing and began to sit up, preparing to coast around turn four and gloat across the line. However, my good friend Ernesto ("Beanerello"), came screaming up along my side and forced me to sprint my ass off coming into turn four and all the way to the line. It was so close, I wasn't sure I had won. Ernesto was on a geared bike, where as I was on a single speed beach cruiser, so the sprint was far from being a sealed deal. However, good prevailed over evil and I was able to retain my title for another year.
(The winner in the winner's jersey.)
The party was a blast and fun was had by all. Happy Birthday Adams Avenue!
So, in hopes of regaining a spot in my own bed this evening, let me set the record straight; I love my wife. I love her even more than a great Italian saddle with titanium rails and a super comfy t-shirt. I really dig the saddle and the shirt, but I can't think of anything or anyone I love more than my wife.
Now, honey, can I sleep in the bedroom tonight and not on the couch or in my car?
Friday, December 02, 2005
Here's my nice new t-shirt, which is super comfy, just as I was told it would be. Then there is a new "skunkworks" top-secret super special saddle to test. I could tell you what it is, but then I'd get my ass kicked by Suzette. Don't let her fool you- she's tough as nails.
I'll let you all know how the saddle rides.
And yes, I know it's a stupid picture.
You may remember a few weeks ago when I was told "you look like Beeker" and I polled you, the reading public about this dilemna. Well, they are at it again. This time I am told that I look like Gary Fisher. Gary, though a handsome and intelligent man, is no Masiguy. Now, some would reverse that and say that I am no Fish Man (though I can catch fish really well).
Please settle this little argument for me; do I look like Gary Fisher? Yes or no?
Don't lose interest, please, I swear I'll be back with new and exciting things to talk about.
Until then, here's a picture from a last minute trip last night;
This time I rembered the camera and got a few good shots of the fishing action. That's a nice looking Bay Bass and it hit the fly like a freight train. Now and again, you just have to take a moment to relax. The Bay was beautiful last night, with glassy water and clear skies... until the wind picked up, the fog rolled in and it got damned cold.
Ok, more later, but back to work now...