Sunday, February 19, 2006

Why does it have to be cold?

Why does it have to be cold and/or wet and/or snowing when I go to the team camp? Why? Can't it be sunny, warm, dry and flat? I've heard some insane rumours that their are hills in North Carolina. Man, that just reeks of bad news for me...

This story was on the Savage Hill website and it is a great read. Savage Hill is the former team for a number of the riders on A&F/ Inferno, so there are still some good freindships there.

All false whining aside, I'm getting pretty excited about the trip and can't wait to bundle up and get out for a ride with the guys. I'm really looking forward to riding with the team, getting to know the guys and meeting some of my fellow sponsors. All in all, it should be a great time and you know I'll have plenty to say about it afterwards too...


A&F/ Inferno rider profile; Abe McNutt

As Team Camp 2 draws near next week, we're almost done with all the rider profiles.

Our next debutante for the ball is none other than Abe McNutt. What's with all these guys being "so pretty", as my wife puts it? Abercrombie has got some serious catalog material here with this group.


Here is my bio.

Name: Abe McNutt
DOB: 4/15/76
Height: 5'7"
Weight: 145lbs
Occupation: Painting Contractor, Bike Racer
Category: 1
Hometown: West Liberty, Ohio

It all started back in Jr. high and high school. I ran both cross country and track. I was good at the long distance running. I had the endurance for it. My dad was always pushing me do the best I could at it as well. Out of school I took to music pretty hard. I was in bands ranging from rock to jazz! People thought that was weird to hear me playing rock one day and Miles Davis the next night. I just wanted to learn as much as I could about music and that is what it takes.

So, I buy my first road bike in 1999 and just start riding all the time. It soon takes over my music obsession and it seems all I want to do is ride! I didn’t start racing until the end of 2002. Did that first RR and was hooked. Ended up getting 4th. Not bad for the first time?

From there on out here are some results:
2003 Just about all cat 5 races entered: 1st Ind/Ken State RR: 2nd Ohio State RR Championships:2nd Savage Hill Stage Race as cat 3: 1st team TT, 1st RR and 1st overallTeam Dayton Criterium: 1st 2004 Tree City Stage Race TT: 5th RR: 1st Overall GC: 3rd Tour of Ohio: 25th Altoona Cat 2 points race: 2nd stage 1 and 2nd overall GC Indiana Stage Race: 1st ITT 2005 2nd overall in the OhioValley Series 1st Guerneyville RR 2nd Overall @ Solstice 4th Tour De Loveland1st Mason Pur Tour 4th Ohio state Crit Championships, 1st Fallen Leaf RR.

As Chad and the rest of the team have said before, these Masi bikes rock on!! This has to be the best riding bike I’ve ever rode. It just feels really good to ride period. Thanks so much for your support, it is much appreciated. It will be a good year because I think we have a great bunch of guys. Everyone gets along and has a great attitude towards racing and life in general. It will be exciting when we put the HAMMER down!!

Thanks again,

Abe McNutt

So now, later this week, I get to meet all these guys and conduct some one on one interviews and get photos and generally get to know the team. Oh yeah, and ride with them (until my lack of fitness catches up with me and I get to ride in the team car).

Abe et al, looking forward to seein you all Wednesday night!


Thursday, February 16, 2006

Woohoo! BIG news!

I know I've been a bad Masiguy blogger the past several weeks, even the past couple months. My apologies. I'm trying to stay caught up enough that I can post more regularly. I thank all of you for continuing to come by and check to see what is happening around here...

On to the news...

I booked my tickets today for my trip to Rural Hall, North Carolina for the A&F/ Inferno team training camp number two (or D'uh). I'm giddy as a school girl (or really dorky bike geek) and am really looking forward to the camp. It'll be kind of like a cycling fantasy camp for me, but I also get to do some actual work. Some of the other sponsors will be there, possibly even a representative or two from A&F... whoa! I'll be interviewing the riders and keeping track of things so I can write a cool article on the camp, the sponsors and the team. Needless to say, I am pretty excited and am looking forward to meeting the team and my fellow sponsors. It should be a great week with the team, riding in the hills of NC. My fat behind is going to be suffering, but since I am a "sponsor" and not a "team rider", I can hop into a team car when I get too tired to ride anymore. Sometimes, not being a pro has it's advantages.

I've said it many times before and I'm saying it again here; I really like these guys and am looking forward to riding with them and talking to them. It's clear how much these guys are looking forward to this new season and how happy they are to be getting the chance to ride and train all year. Being a fan of the underdog myself, working with these guys is a real thrill for me. Seeing them get some wins and shock a few folks is going to be lots and lots of fun.

I gotta get back to orchestrating my global domination now. I've been working really hard on my sinister laugh and sneer.


PS- Thanks for all the positive feedback on the new website. We've been continuing to work out the little bugs and things should be pretty much perfect now.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Yippee! It's here...

Ok, after a long wait, the new and much improved Masi website is up and running.

I won't pretend to tell you it is the best website ever created, but it is the best website we've ever had and I am thrilled with it.

I hope you'll like it too...

So go poke around and let me know what you think.


Friday, February 10, 2006


I was three hours late to work today due to a car problem- as in the passenger-side rear wheel nearly falling off after a wheel stud and lug nut failed! ARGH! If I didn't live 40 miles from the office, I'd go back to riding my bike every day.

I know I keep moaning about the workload keeping me from being able to post here more regularly, but it's true- it's busy.

Product development, sales, marketing, administrative stuff... etc. You know, this is beginning to feel like a job.

After last weekend's race, my riding confidence has been improving. I feel better about where I am for this time of year and my legs suddenly don't feel like worthless hunks of poo... funny how a good result can change your perspective on things. I've had a few glimmers of promise this winter, but putting the old "money where the mouth is" always lets you know where you really are. Apparently, I'm not that far from where I want to be. At this rate, track season is going to come too slow...

The A&F/Inferno team is having their second training camp/ unofficial team presentation later this month. I am doing all I can to pull off the victory of victories and get myself to the camp to ride with the team and meet some of the other sponors (and write a good story for a couple magazines/ websites). It's in Rural Hall, North Carolina and I am told by Mark Hekman that the riding is insanely good. You can see why I'm motivated to go...

I do want to thank all of you readers (jeez, there are a lot of you people) for continuing to come here and check in each day. Traffic here has continued to grow, for some odd reason, and I thank you all for putting up with the start and stop nature of things here recently. Once the craziness settles down a little, I hope to be able to be a better blogger. Until then, thank you for your support and all of your comments.


Wednesday, February 08, 2006

Product Development question; chance to enact change!

Ok, so suppose you were a brand manager of a bike company and were developing a cyclocross bike. You'd have lots of things to consider in the process; frame material, component spec, fork choice, types of braze-ons, etc... it gets a little dizzying.

So dizzying, in fact, that you turn to your loyal blog readers and ask them for help in the process so you can go to sleep and get rid of the thumping headache you haven't been able to shake for 3 days. That's what you would do...

Here is your chance to be an active participant and make your vote count (again);

Price not being the issue (to some extent anyway for this process), would you rather have A) a 'cross bike with an all-aluminum frame and disc brake mounts (with fork with disc mounts too) or B) an aluminum frame with carbon seat stay and no disc mount compatibility?

Disc brake adaptability or not?

The clock is ticking in this development cycle, so vote now!


Too much beautiful.

It is
It is

(Just to satisfy my Masiwife's curiosity; it is the first sample of our new track dropout to be used on the racing frameset. It has stainless steel inserts on both sides of the dropout to prevent wear and chewing up the dropout with the frequent wheel/ gear changes in track racing. Is that better Honey?)

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

8th is Greath!

So Sunday afternoon was the Masiguy's first crit in two years. I managed to get through all of last year just racing the track and doing time trials. I'd never "concentrated" on TT's before, so I thought I'd give it a shot. Needless to say, I ride TT's a lot more like Cipollini than I do Michael Rich (just so you know- I use them as big guy comparisons- I know I'm prettier than both).

Anyway, I registered online for the race on Friday night and was very close to just skipping the race altogether come Sunday. My wife and I had some great alone time over the weekend, since our son was at one Grandmother's house and our daughter was at the other's... so we were alone for the first time in a while. Needless to say, bike racing wasn't exactly my main thought. I thoroughly enjoy being with my wife and we don't get to be alone, having two children, very often.

So back to the race that almost wasn't. It was a 30+ race, since there wasn't a 35+ race. I would've preferred a 35+, but I didn't get the choice. The race wasn't until after 4:00, so I had a convenient excuse to miss the Stupid Bore... I mean Super Bowl. I got there around 2:30 so I could take care of registration and get a good warm-up before the race. The course is a favorite of mine since I have only once finished outside the top ten in about 10 races. I won on the course in '96, lapping the field solo. So I obviously have a soft spot for this race. Getting there early also gave me time to be the social butterfly that I am and also kill off the stomach butterflies a bit. I showered and shaved my legs before leaving for the race and by the time I got out of the shower I was nearly having a panic attack because I was so worked up and excited about the race. My hands were shaky and my heart rate was through the roof. I must admit that I am a racing dork. I love racing, but before each race I get so wound up that I nearly barf. I am a dork...

I got the number pinned on to the long sleeve skinsuit and got warmed up. My best friend, and title sponsor for the team I race for, showed up for moral support and to take pictures. I was just glad that I was finally beginning to relax when he got there, otherwise he would have seen me while I was in a clammy cold sweat.

Once the Pro/1/2 race fininshed, we got our one lap of the course and rolled to the line.

(I'm the dork in the red helmet.)

When we got to the line and they gave us our usual instructions, they told us we had 60 old guys in the race. Word to the wise; when 1984 Olympic Pursuit Gold Medal winner Steve Hegg is in your race, the race is going to be fast. Oh yeah, and when a third of the guys who just finished the Pro race slide into your Masters 30+ race, it is going to be fast... really fast.

(Oh yeah, the guy in the blue Canari kit in front of me- Pete Coulson. Former Master's World Pursuit Champion- another indicator of a fast race.)

So this was just a 45 minute race and I had zero expectations for form, but after my trip to Texas a few weeks back, I figured I might have just enough fitness to stay in the pack and not make a total ass of myself.

(And we're off!)

The first few laps were so painful, I had a very, very bad feeling about how things were going to go. The course is effectively on a hillside; the start/ finish is at the top of the rise, then you go around turn one and two on flat ground. Between turn two and three you start going down hill to a sweeping turn to turn four and then you sprint uphill to the false flat back to the start/ finish. All of this in 7/10 of a mile. Doesn't sound too bad does it? Yeah right...

(The view of the uphill sprint.)

After the first few laps, I began to feel less like I was going to barf... but only slightly. I was riding without teammates and in my paranoia over the heavy hitters in the race, I was covering nearly every move that went off the front, thinking each one was "the one" that would get me away from the field and into a break. However, with so many really strong guys in the field, no break stood a chance- not that it stopped me from going after each one. I'm not sure where the strength was coming from, but I found that I was riding very combatively and really being a part of the action. I got into a few breaks that looked good for a lap before getting caught. I took my pulls and I fought to the front each time up the climb. Don't get me wrong, I was still certain I was going to pop a gasket and blow little pieces of old, fat guy all over the road.

(A little blurred, I know, but still a good cornering shot.)

At about the 23 minute mark, with 22 more remaining, I began to get a stomach/ side cramp on my right side and immediately had that, "oh no, not now" feeling. For about two laps I really feared I would have to pull out of the race. After getting past the middle point of the race, I found myself contemplating pulling out. Fortunately, the cramp subsided enough that I gave up on giving up and went back to chasing down Steve Hegg! I've raced with Steve many times and he gets a bit of flack for "being a talker", but I've never had a bad time riding or racing with Steve. In fact, we've always gotten along well, so it was fun to be covering him any time he made a move.

(Turn one and the field has gotten a lot smaller as the race has gone along at White Knuckle speed.)

We finally got to the "5 laps to go" point of the party and I found myself still sitting pretty good and things were still happening with my involvement. At this point, the sprinter in me began to start thinking fondly of a field sprint. My mouth began to water, my focus narrowed and my personality began to shift into "get the hell outta my way" mode. I began to protect my spot in the field a lot more and used my size to make my point- I think I made some poor skinny guy poop his pants coming through turn four with about three laps to go when I shot in under him at a very high rate of speed. Sorry dude...

(Sprinting up the hill and getting ready for the final huckle-buck to the line.)

Just as my salivary glands were getting good and ready, while sitting back in the front group, in the middle of the field and about five bodies from the front, Steve Hegg launched a solo attack with about 2 1/2 laps remaining. I thought to myself, "that's the move right there" and was unable to get out to chase- on top of having no oomph left to chase anyway. A couple of us mustered a half-ass chase, but we couldn't close the gap. Instead, the last 2 1/2 laps were at a speed that is commonly referred to us "holy sh*@" speed. I mean, there's fast and then there's what we were doing. I held my places through the turns and moved closer to what was left of the front. Ring, ding, ding... "ONE LAP TO GO!" I don't know if there are any words that make me break out in a sweat like those little words. Everything was looking good, aside from the fact that Hegg was still ahead of us, and then I made a stupid mistake on the last lap in the last turn and got myself boxed in the middle of the field with no way to the outside! I had played the last few laps perfectly otherwise. Down in my drops. Firm, but relaxed grip on the bars. Shoulders loose. Seated in the saddle and spinning a good gear, never feeling like I couldn't respond a little stronger. My eyes were on the prize and I could smell blood in the water. Basically, I knew I was racing for second, but I felt like second was a formality... until that corner! Oh the agony!

I suddenly went from being in about 5th position to being in about 25th position. I had to come to a near stop, actually hitting my brakes and swerving around the guy in front of me who was fading fast, to get to the outside left of the field and restart my sprint... uphill. The only good news is that once I got the gear rolling again I began to pick off a lot of folks and finally ended up getting 8th place. Not too darned bad for a guy who wasn't sure about racing and who spent far too much time and energy chasing down breaks during the race. Had the finsh line been another 100 meters away, I might have gotten top three instead of top ten. Note to self; don't make stupid mistakes in the last turn on the last lap (and don't let Hegg get away either).

(Immediately after the finish... for 8th place.)

Overall, I was pretty darned happy with my ride for the day. I had such low expectations. Two years is a long time to go without doing a crit and then jump in to a quality field like that. I have to walk away proud.

(With the Team Boss and best friend- Jim Becher.)

I have to give some "shout outs" to other friends in the race; Matt Hoffmann (sales rep extraordinaire and former pro racer who rode in Belgium), Donny Carroll (I went to high school with Donny. He won almost every race there was to win in California as a Junior against the Senior riders. He turned pro with the old Plymouth/ Reebok team and then did time racing pro in Europe- including a few wins. This was first race with Donny since we were both in high school.), John Holderness (I worked with John when I was with NiteRider. John went back to run a few retail operations and now we bump into each other mostly at Interbike. This was the first race I've ever done with him and the skinny boy did a great job!) and of course Shaun Albin (Shaun is a former coworker of mine from when I was with Canari, as well as a former teammate. Shaun is the custom guru at Canari and is one of the best at what he does- hands down.)

Thanks for a great race guys. Let's do that again real soon!


Thursday, February 02, 2006

I really should go to bed...

Really, I should be in bed curled up with a magazine or book and trying to fall asleep... but I just felt overwhelmingly compelled to stop by here and say hello to everybody.

I have a bunch of post ideas, but have been busy being a busy guy. The blog has suffered a minor lack of attention for a while now and I apologize to the many, many of you who come by here every day looking for fresh content. Good stuff will be coming soon though, I promise.

The Passport showed up in the mail today, which means my trip to Australia to launch Masi in Oz is all that much more real. I boxed up and shipped some bikes in advance of my arrival just today. I'm also working on a possible trip to the upcoming A&F/ Inferno "Training Camp Number Duh". This second camp has turned into an unofficial team presentation with a few other sponsors going to show up. (I don't know if any of the unbelievably stylish A&F folks will be there.) I'm hoping to pull off this little trip and finally get the chance to meet the whole team and come up with some great material for site content, press releases and a couple of potential magazine articles (ooh... exciting). Stay tuned...

Ok, my eyes are crossing. I spent the day staring at numerous spreadsheets and proofing info, so I am going to bed. I'll see you tomorrow.

(PS- Oh yeah, I forgot to mention that the new corporate website is getting really, really close to completion.)

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

Thank you honey!

Today is my 7th wedding anniversary. Lucky 7! Since I know that the Masiwife is a somewhat regular reader here, I just want to say thanks to my wonderful wife.

Honey, thank you for the best seven years of my life. I hope we get many multiples of seven more. I can't imagine being married to somebody else. Well, I guess I could imagine because I have a good imagination, but let's just say I don't like what my imagination comes up with. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

February first is a significant day in old Celtic tradition. It is the Feast of Saint Brigid. In old Celtic tradition, the Celts would renew their wedding vows or decide "ah, the heck with you, I'm outta here" on every February 1st. So each year they would either choose to renew their commitment or decide to seperate and move on, but they could only do this on February 1st. My wife and I both really love the symbolism in that and each year we have renewed our vows- so far. The day isn't over yet, so I suppose she still has time to change her mind. (I'm obviously hoping the drugs don't wear off before midnight tonight.) After dinner tonight, we'll pull off our wedding rings on the steps of the church where we were married and renew our vows- I hope.

My wife is my best friend and I can not believe my good fortune to be married to her. Her wit, her smile, her intelligence and her unbelievable sense of humor have made my lilfe better than I ever thought possible. I know she could have done better, so I'm glad all the smoke and mirrors fooled her.

Thank you honey!