Friday, March 31, 2006
I was supposed to have a nice ride along the coast this morning, since it is Saturday here (evening as I type this), but the weather has fallen apart. It is cold, rainy and very, very windy. So we skipped the ride this morning and will likely ride tomorrow morning instead. After that, we're off to the Melbourne Formula 1 auto race! THAT should be fun. The city is going nuts over the race and there are thousands of fans here for the race. My hotel is very close to the event, so I see lots of the folks walking around with team hats and shirts and all that stuff. The bars are covered in promotional gear. I have to say, it's pretty cool. A lot of Ferrari red stuff around town today...
I've done very little site seeing and touristy stuff, since this has been a business trip and I've actually been quite busy. I have ridden once around the city and really enjoyed myself, even though I got lost as usual. I've been doing a lot of walking around the city though and really enjoy that. I like to wander around in new cities and get a nice close-up view.
I have to say that the architecture here is simply amazing. Everything from stuff that is several hundred years old to very ultra-modern designs. This is an amazing city to walk around in. Just around the corner is the China Town of Melbourne. It's really cool. I would never have guessed that Melbourne has such a large and diverse Asian community. It's really cool.
Today, instead of riding, we had lunch and coffee and then walked around and saw the Imax movie Wired to Win. It was really damned cool and the camera work was insanely good. The racing footage was awesome and I was itchy and twitchy watching the sprints. I was really aching to ride afterwards, but we had coffee and desert instead. Our distributor here is a sponsor of the movie showing in Melbourne and set up this cool display right by the ticket counter;
They did another display by the concession area, but that one was covered with people because they were raffling off a Masi bike and a one week trip to the Tour de France! I tried to enter, but I'm not eligible... dang it!
This trip seems to be going well for our distributor and should mean a lot more Masi bikes being sold in the country. The shops who attended the mini show we did on Thursday bought a lot of bikes that day and a few more are about to. I visited a few more key dealers in the city yesterday, traveling with the local rep, and I think the visits were fruitful. I'm very happy...
We did a mini tradeshow/ presentation to a handful of key Melbourne area shops. This was done in a really nice Italian restaurant and the food and atmosphere both were incredible. The launch went really well, I thought, and PacBrands did a great job as well. They are having custom Masi stands made and I may have to copy the design for the US market;
The dealers loved the stands and get one free with the right size order. Very, very cool.
Monday morning I fly to Sydney and then visit with a few shops there. Tuesday is the Sydney area launch. I'm hoping to meet up with Sydney bike biz blogger Phil while there. His blog site really kicks ass, so I hope you'll check it out from time to time. Wednesday morning I get to go to the Dunc Grey velodrome, site of the track events at the 2000 Olympics. This will be my first ride on an indoor wooden track and I am beside myself with excitement. Unfortunately, I couldn't bring my Masi track bike, so I am stuck riding on a BT carbon track bike- winner of more world and Olympic medals than any other brand. It isn't as cool as my Masi, but it'll have to do I guess... yippee! Thursday I fly into Brisbane and meet even more shops and Friday is the launch there. Then Saturday I drag my tired carcass onto another plane and fly back to San Diego. Get this; I left for Australia on a Monday night and arrived in Melbourne on Wednesday afternoon. I leave Brisbane (via Sydney) on Saturday afternoon and arrive in San Diego (via Los Angeles) 20 minutes before I left Australia... it makes my head hurt thinking about it.
I think it is probably time to head out and have a pint of local brew, maybe another Toohey's, and get some food in my belly. I've actually eaten well, but fairly light while here. The food has been superb so far; prawns that take two hands to eat.
I'll get pics at the race tomorrow for all you car fans.
Thursday, March 30, 2006
I only had a couple glasses of wine with dinner last night, specifically so I'd be fresh for the product launch with the local retailers today. I wish I could say that was the face of a great night before... but it's just plain old tiredness. I've just ruined my whole glamorous image, I know...
I finally got out for a ride tonight too. Just like my trip to Montreal, I got lost in a foreign city. At least this time, the locals spoke English and not French (which I only understand about 10% of). I ended up on an almost two hour ride, instead of a one hour ride... but I ain't complaining. I had a great ride through the city and got great help from the very friendly locals. I'm diggin' downunder so far.
(Masiguy, Melbourne style...)
First ride in four or five days... and my legs were knackered! The first couple miles (kilometers), I felt like all hell, but I eventually warmed up a bit and felt reasonably good. Not great, but the lack of legs was compensated for by the ride itself. The Melbourne coast is pretty nice. My only complaint; they drive on the wrong side of the road down here! What's with driving on the left? It just isn't natural. In Melbourne, they have these things called "hook turns"; this is where you make a right turn from the far left lane! You pull off to the side of the lane, to the far left and then wait for the light to change to green for the other cross street and then you get to make your turn. Far as I can tell, this only happens on the streets where a streetcar/ trolley is running down the middle lane. However, it is freakish and scares the buh-jeezus out of me. I had to make one on my ride tonight and felt like I was going to be killed.
Ok, how many of the rest of you saw a clipper ship on your ride today? I'm not talking about the one on a bottle of Cutty Sark either...
Mates, it's off to bed now. I reckon I'll speak to you tomorrow.
Wednesday, March 29, 2006
So I'm in Australia now and since my eyes are crossing, I am keeping this short. A longer post will follow soon.
At first glance, I really like Australia. It's very much like Southern California, only more European (in the good way).
(This is what the sunrise lloks like as you are crossing the International Date LIne at 39,000 feet altitude.)
Ok, I'm about to start drooling on my keyboard, so I'm going to sleep. By, for now, from Australia!
Sunday, March 26, 2006
David Parmet took the whole blogging whore thing a little too far. Scott got the ball rolling and Josh threw kerosene on the fire. Well, because I find all of this endlessly funny and because as a bike racer I'm too darned competitive for my own good, I am now raising the bar and turning this into a real battle...
I can't stand to be left out of a good race... maybe it's a race to the bottom, but it's a race none the less!
(I can play the shameless self-promotion game with anybody... fools!)
Now, let's see what the linking/ cute stuff battle produces!
(PS- I posted this on Sunday and it didn't show up until today- Monday. Darned Blogger!)
Friday, March 24, 2006
Thursday, March 23, 2006
Next up on the hit parade are the sponsors who were able to attend the training camp. Note; a couple folks from Abercrombie & Fitch (Al Bellon especially) had intended to come to camp, but thigs didn't work out. We sorely missed their presence and look forward to meeting them some other time.
The sponsors who were able to attend were a good crew. I have to say that I was so happy to see that these guys are all as passionate about what they do as I am about what I do. All this passion running around made for some great conversations and some really cool presentations.
In alphabetical order;
(This pic is just too funny not to use it again... that's Tom giving Jered a bike fit.)
Tom Coleman is the founder/ owner of Wobble Naught. Wobble Naught is a bike fit specialist. Well, not just bike fit, but a lot more. The premise is one of attaining the proper fit to allow the rider to not only increase comfort, but also pedaling efficiency and increased wattage output. The laser fitting was insanely precise. I doubt that many riders/ teams in the Pro Tour have ever been fit this thoroughly, but it it won't belong before they are... especially if Tom gets five minutes of their time. Honestly, I don't know if I've ever run into another person in cycling with so much passion for what they do. Tom is so sure of his theories and is supremely confident. Admittedly, some people might not like that, but I thought his fittings were incredible and his passion is impossible to dispute. The most impressive part of the fit was an electronic analysis of the leg muscles using EMG sensors to actually capture the way the muscle fibers/ groups fire during the pedal stroke. This was then analyzed on the computer to isolate the inefficiencies in the rider's pedal stroke. THIS was absolutely amazing to watch. Each rider was given this thorough fitting- how many pro teams can make that kind of claim?
(That's Dave at the back there. Sorry Dave, I'm looking for another shot I know I have. For the record, we were both at the back at that time.)
David Parrett is officially the marketing manager for Thomson, the stem and seatpost manufacturer. Dave was a big part of the fitting deal with Tom. They've done this kind of thing together a few times before... Dave came to the camp with a gigantic box full of every conceivable length and rise of stem and multiple seatposts with or without setback. All of this to insure that each rider was set up with the proper bike fit. How cool is that? Dave also rode with us each day that he was there and spent time with the team hanging out. It was pretty cool to watch him and Tom going over each rider and swapping stems, changing stem height, adjusting saddle position... like a pair of NASCAR mechanics in pit row.
(Dr. Stoddard is the tall guy at the front of the room- I have a better picture somewhere... And that is Darren at the back with me... I have another better picture of him that I have to find too.)
Dr. Douglas Stoddard and Darren Zielinski were there to represent eLoad. eLoad is the hydration system used by the team. Dr. Stoddard is the mega-genius who created the product and began Medion, the company that makes eLoad, eMend and Zone Caps. Darren is currently one of the sales reps responsible for getting the team working with eLoad. Dr. Douglas gave an impressive presentation about the products and how they work and why. He's a sports medicine physician, so he knows his stuff. What is it about Canadians? They just might be the nicest people on the planet... he really is an awfully nice guy, one top of being a true genius. Darren is a super nice fella too. Darren also rode with us each day and can attest that the pain and suffering I felt during the ride was not unfounded. Even using the eLoad product, the riding was very "hurty" as my daughter would say. The eLoad, by the way, was great. The flavor is very light, not too sweet, and the product seemed to do what it is supposed to do. I was very impressed. Darren and Dr. Stoddard both hung around for the "after camp" party on Saturday night after their presentation at the conference room (more details on that in a later post).
All in all, these fine folks helped to make the training camp a big success for the team. All of the riders benefitted from them being there and I was truly pleased to meet them all. I'm pretty proud to be associated with them and look forward to watching the team get great results and sharing in that pride with them.
From me- thanks to each of you for being involved with the team and I look forward to seeing you all again.
(Next up is the day by day breakdown of camp activities, an introduction to the camp support staff and the "after hours" low-down!)
Tuesday, March 21, 2006
I was approached a few days ago by Dave Thompson (via a friend), who is the Sponsorship and Event Manager for Rocky Mountain Events. Dave wanted to know if I'd help distribute a press release about the Colorado Cyclist Copper Triangle Alpine Classic. This wonderful and challenging ride will be benefitting the Davis Phinney Foundation, so I of course said "yes". I sincerely hope that if you have the chance to participate in the event that you will. If not, I hope you'll consider a donation to the foundation instead. It's a good cause that deserves your consideration.
I can remember watching Davis sprint to victory in the Bordeaux stage of the 1987 Tour de France. Though I was a skinny little climber at that time in my life, I wanted to be a sprinter like Davis. His exuberant victory salute as he came across the finish line is still pretty crisp in my head. Thanks for the great memories Davis!
The return of the Classic!
The famous Copper Triangle has long been considered one of the classic Colorado alpine road rides. Graced with breathtaking scenery, gorgeous roads and three challenging climbs, the Copper Triangle exemplifies cycling in the Colorado Rockies. The Colorado Cyclist Copper Triangle Alpine Classic will be reborn on August 5, 2006 as an impeccably supported ride. It will offer both recreational and competitive cyclists the opportunity to participate in a challenging and meticulously supported organized ride.
The Copper Triangle course is a spectacular 78-mile loop cresting three Colorado mountain passes
• Freemont Pass (elevation 11,318’)
• Tennessee Pass (elevation 10,424’)
• Vail Pass (elevation 10,666’)
The course passes three ski areas and is littered with historic mining outposts and Camp Hale, the training ground for the famous 10th Mountain Division.
Where: Copper Mountain Ski Resort at Burning Stones
When: August 5, 2006
Cost: Mail in registration $90 (by June 27)
Online Registration $90 (by June 27), $105 (from June 28 to August 3)
Ride-Weekend Registration $120 (August 4 & 5)
• Custom designed ShaverSport cycling jersey
• Refreshments and support throughout the ride
• An invitation to the “Alpine Celebration” post-ride picnic
at Copper Mountain Resort
The Davis Phinney Foundation
Every Victory Counts!
Whether it’s crossing the finish line of the Tour de France in first place, or simply standing up to the challenge of buttoning a shirt, Every Victory Counts!
Davis Phinney should know. He’s been counting his victories for more than 30 years; first as the record holder for the most cycling wins in U.S. history, and most recently as a formidable contender in his daily battle against Parkinson’s disease.
Even after his life-altering diagnosis with young-onset Parkinson’s disease at age 41, Davis has continued to focus on the many positive aspects of his life, and is encouraging thousands worldwide to do the same.
The Davis Phinney Foundation was created in 2004 to support Parkinson’s disease research and improve the lives of those challenged by the disease. The Foundation raises vital dollars to help fund the research of curative therapies for Parkinson’s patients and investigations into the causes of the disease. For more information, go to the web site www.davisphinneyfoundation.com
$10.00 of your registration fee will go directly to the
Davis Phinney Foundation with no administration fees.
E Mail: email@example.com
Monday, March 20, 2006
The passport is ready, the travel visa has been issued and the tickets arrived today. You can't stop me now! Hopefully the whole issue of pesky weather gets resolved before I get there though. All joking aside, I hope that the recovery is swift and that people are not too effected by the storm. We know a little about big storms over here too...
But I digress. I am bringing a bike with me and am told to expect to be doing some riding while there. Hopefully, if things run perfectly, I might even be able to sneak into a local race somewhere or at least a nice fast training ride. That'd be a blast. I'm looking forward to being there and I am very excited to get to come help launch Masi in the Australian market.
For those of you who do not know already, Pacific Brands is our distributor for Australia. I can not express how impressed I am with these guys and the way they are putting together the launch of the brand there. Like our Canadian distributor Norco, Pacific Brands is a fantastic company and is putting a lot of resources into doing things right ath will hopefully yield great interest in the brand there in Australia.
Here is a fantastic example of what they are doing to right now;
In the true tradition of the Commonwealth Games and in the Australian spirit of generosity, Pacific Brands is leading the way as the official sponsors of sporting clothing, footwear and equipment for the Sierra Leone athletes.
Sierra Leone, located on the west coast of Africa has experienced major political and economic unrest for a number of years, and up until 2002 the small country was involved in a civil war.
With the civil unrest thankfully now behind them, Pacific Brands is delighted to assist in building this small nation’s pride by providing them with the necessary gear to help them to compete in the Commonwealth Games.
"The plight of the Sierra Leone team was brought to the attention of the Pacific Brands Dunlop footwear team during the Dunlop Leader Sports Start dinner. During which Dorothy Maxwell, recipient of the Leader Community newspaper’s LifeTime achievement award, spoke of how the Sierra Leone team would be arriving in Melbourne with nothing more than the desire to compete. The team of 19 athletes desperately needed uniforms and equipment to compete in athletics, boxing, cycling and weightlifting events. There were also 12 officials travelling with the Sierra Leone team who needed team uniforms. This is where Dunlop Footwear became involved; by pledging support to provide footwear for the entire team." Andrew Savage, General Manager Dunlop Sporting Footwear.
Following the commitment from Dunlop Footwear, calls for support went out across the Pacific Brands Group. As a result, Pacific Brands has generously sponsored the 19 athletes and 7 team officials with Dunlop footwear, Slazenger tracksuits embroidered with the Sierra Leone Flag and
Commonwealth Games emblem and Slazenger t-shirts, singlets polo-shirts and caps. The two Sierra Leone cyclists competing have been provided with Masi road bicycles. The apparel and equipment is valued at a total retail cost of $22,500.
"In the true spirit of sport, every athlete, regardless of wealth and resources should be given the opportunity to compete on a fair and level playing field. Dunlop Footwear is proud to have been able assist the athletes from Sierra Leone achieve their dreams of competing at the Commonwealth Games." Andrew Savage, General Manager Dunlop Sporting Footwear.
"Slazenger is proud to continue the tradition of sponsoring athletes all over the world. Slazenger represents all athletes on a local and international level and we felt that this was a wonderful opportunity to contribute to the Commonwealth Games by helping a country less fortunate than ours." Michael Massey, General Manager Boydex.
"I understand that it has been a monumental task for the Sierra Leone team to get to Australia for the games. That sort of passion, dedication and commitment inspires us all, and it is appropriate that the Masi bike brand is part of this team as they share similar values. Faliero Masi was driven by a desire to always be the best, he would be proud, as we are, to be
associated with the Sierra Leone team, good luck!"
I am thrilled to be vicariously a part of such a wonderful display of generosity and good sportsmanship.
So Australia, I'll be seeing you soon.
Saturday, March 18, 2006
Bob Roll, "Bobke", has launched his own website! Pictures, stories and a brand new blog as well. It should prove to be very entertaining. Years ago, when Bob wrote regularly for VeloNews, I used to laugh my ass off on a routine basis with his stories of riding with John Tomac, Rishi Grewal, all the Euro guys and Lance Armstrong. Bob is also a regular commentator on OLN for their cycling coverage and is frequently picked on for his famous mispronounciation of "tour dee/ day france" all the time. His intentional slaughtering of French always cracks me up, since he speaks beautiful, fluent French. Ever notice how good his interviews are when he talks to the French riders? Hmm...
Anyway, thanks to Donna Tocci for the heads-up about the new site. I hope you'll all go visit Bob's site. I know that I will be looking forward to seeing what happens over there...
Friday, March 17, 2006
I love St. Patrick's Day, I really do. It is one of the funnest days of the year in this country; everybody wants to be Irish for the day and wants to have a good time. It's kind of like New Year's Day, without the fireworks and ball drop. For those who imbibe, it's a great time to toss back a few pints and eat anything died green. Wearing green is cool (or even cooler) and too many people try talking with bad Irish accents... ok, so that's one of the bad parts.
I'm a tiny bit Irish, probably a lot more Scottish, but predominantly Finnish (1/4). Still, that tiny bit of Irish blood is probably the loudest. I can drink Guinness like it's water and I have been known to get a little of the Irish temper. My wife on the other hand... 100% Irish. Boston Irish even. Unless you're from Dublin, you can't get more Irish than Boston Irish. And she is Irish... very Irish. Hot blooded, long curly hair and hazel green eyes. Yes, that also means that I worry sometimes that she could kill me in my sleep if I really tick her off. BUT that also means that she has a zest for life and an enjoyment of fun that can not be killed.
Happy Saint patrick's Day! Whether you're even a little Irish or not, I hope you have a great day. I know I will. Be careful though, since this is a "drinking holiday" and on a Friday, I'm staying off the streets tonight.
Here's to the road rising to greet you, the wind always at your back and may your pint glass always be full!
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
Here is an unsolicited testimonial from Damien Waugh, of the Masi-Adobe racing team in Canada;
Just a note to say how much myself and my teammates are enjoying the 3VC Volumetrica. This past weekend Masi-Adobe took 2nd, 3rd, and 4th on these beauties. This is at one of the toughest courses of the spring series races; 15 laps of a course with a long stepped climb in it.
At first I was apprehensive about riding a sloping geometry bike. Being 6'5" I've got a fair amount of post sticking out. Also, I've never ridden a full-carbon bike before. But honestly this is the sweetest bike I have ever had the pleasure to ride.
The complete bike, with the largest frame weighs in at a mere 16.5 pounds!
It climbs incredibly, accelerates nice, solid on the descents. Just a really smooth ride, the carbon absorbs a lot of vibration, but it feels strong when you need to get her going.
The workmanship is slick too. The internal carbon lugs look wicked and the paint job is top notch. Especially considering we have a matching kit to go with it.
See, I told you so! It's not like I'm the one paying the guy to ride his bike, so he doesn't "owe me" anything. Pretty danged cool if you ask me (go ahead, ask me).
Thank you Damien and congratulations Masi-Adobe on a great race weekend.
Tuesday, March 14, 2006
I know I keep saying that I'm going to do a better job and haven't quite fulfilled that declaration. I'm trying though, I promise. There are lots of things to discuss; race updates, team news, travel stuff, product stuff, people stuff... more tales from training camp with A&F/ Inferno (Mark's dancing skills). There's lots to go over and I promise I will and I thank you all for your patience.
Since it is late and I am tired, I will leave you with a couple teasers until I can do some real posting;
Our newest ad in ROAD Magazine (on sale now)
A picture of the new team bike being ridden by the Masi-Adobe team in Canada
(Oh man that's a pretty bike...)
I have confirmed that my plane touches down in Melbourne on March 29th in the afternoon. They aren't kicking me out of the country until April 8th, from Brisbane. Note to Australia; you may start tapping and priming the kegs now. I don't like a lot of foam on my beer, so just keep that in mind.
Ok, I'm going to bed now...
Thursday, March 09, 2006
1) Donna trusts me not to make her look like a fool by saying/ doing something stupid
B) Donna thinks I can help her spread the good word for Kryptonite
I think both are cool- as are the events Kryptonite is supporting.
So without further ado;
KRYPTONITE BECOMES EXCLUSIVE LOCK SPONSOR AT BICYCLE EVENTS NATIONWIDE
Bike To Work Days (DC & San Francisco Bay Area), Moonlight Classic and
North American Cycle Courier Championships Welcome Lock Manufacturer
Canton, MA March 9, 2006 - Kryptonite, a brand in Ingersoll Rand's Security Technologies Sector, has announced its involvement as the exclusive lock sponsor of four premier cycling events throughout the 2006 season. Kryptonite increases its previous support of both Bike to Work Day in Washington, DC and the North American Cycle Courier Championships and adds the 14th Annual Kaiser Permanente Moonlight Classic and Bike to Work Day, San Francisco Bay to the more than 50 cycling events nationwide it sponsors each year.
"Kryptonite has always supported as many grassroots cycling events a year as possible. Most years this is between 50 and 100 bicycle and motorcycle related events around the country as it will be again this season," said Tim Clifford, Director of Sales. "By picking these four stellar events as focal points this year we are supporting not only the messengers, who are long-time Kryptonite users, but also commuters on both coasts and thousands of recreational riders in Colorado. This cross-section is a good representation of Kryptonite's diverse customer base."
The 12th Annual Bike to Work Day, San Francisco Bay will take place on Thursday, May 18, 2006. Kryptonite will team up with the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition of the San Francisco Bay Area to provide numerous raffle prizes for participants in the nine surrounding counties who join tens of thousands of other cyclists across the country in commuting by bicycle. The Coalition will partner with local bicycle coalitions and sponsors to provide "Energizer Stations" during the morning commute to support the Bay Area riders.
"Bike to Work Day is meant to inspire more first-time and casual riders to experience the benefits of using their bicycles to get to work or school," said Cole Portocarrero, Executive Director of the Bay Area Bicycle Coalition. "With the help of sponsors like Kryptonite we will be able to better spread our message that bicycling is a fun, socially rewarding and convenient means of transportation."
Kryptonite has been a long-time supporter of Bike to Work in Washington, DC. This year the company has partnered with organizers, the Washington Area Bicyclist Association and Commuter Connections, a program of the Metropolitan Washington Council of Governments, to increase its sponsorship, acquiring exclusivity in the security category. The region-wide event will be held on Friday, May 19, 2006 at 21 "pit stop" celebrations throughout the Washington area and attract approximately 5,000 cyclists.
"Kryptonite identifies all urban locations, including Washington, DC and San Francisco, as areas where recreational and serious riders alike need to be educated about securing their bicycle," continued Clifford. "Kryptonite is happy to support the nine Bay Area counties and the regions in Washington, DC, Maryland and Virginia on Bike to Work Day and all throughout the year."
Bike to Work Day in Washington, DC and the surrounding areas is open to all commuters. Each cyclist joining the festivities receives a free t-shirt, refreshments and chances to win raffle prizes.
"Bike to Work Day encourages commuters to try bicycling to work as a clean and healthy alternative to driving each day to the office," said Eric Gilliland, Director, Washington Area Bicyclist Association. "Kryptonite has been an avid supporter of this event for many years through their product donations. We happily welcome their increased sponsorship as the official lock sponsor this year through their donations and on-site participation."
Bicycling Magazine recently named the Kaiser Permanente Moonlight Classic the 'Cool Event' in Denver. Over 6,000 recreational cyclists will participate in this 14th annual event held this summer on August 19, 2006. Riders pedal through the deserted streets of Denver in the middle of a warm summer night while raising money for Seniors! Inc. This non-profit is dedicated to promoting independence and enhancing the quality of life as we age. The 15-mile, unique ride ends at the Lunar Fiesta for breakfast, music, awards and raffle prizes.
"The Kaiser Permanente Moonlight Classic gives every recreational cyclist the opportunity to tour landmarks old and new in Denver, have fun with new friends and raise funds for Seniors! Inc.," said Dave Thompson, Event Manager. "We are pleased to welcome first-time sponsor Kryptonite to this year's event. They will be joining all of the cyclists and their families at the downtown festivities; we think they will agree that this is one of the coolest events in all of Colorado, maybe even the whole country."
The Philadelphia Bicycle Messenger Association hosts the 9th Annual North American Cycle Courier Championships at the end of the summer. On Labor Day Weekend over 500 messengers will compete in races, bicycle polo and bike skid events among other events. Beginning on September 1, racing will be happening on closed courses throughout the city of brotherly love and surrounding areas.
"Kryptonite has been a loyal partner for messengers and messenger events worldwide for many years," said Roland Burns, NACCC Sponsorship Coordinator. "Most messengers use Kryptonite so it should be no surprise that they were our first choice for the exclusive bike lock sponsor of NAC3s. It will be great to have them on-site for the event, too."
Kryptonite, innovator of the bicycle U-lock, has offices in Canton, Massachusetts, USA. The company is a premier producer of high-quality cables, chains, U-locks and flexible security systems for the bicycle, powersport, snowsport, locksmith and hardware markets. Kryptonite locks are sold in more than 50 countries. Kryptonite is a business unit of diversified industrial-firm Ingersoll-Rand Company, a leading innovation and solutions provider for the major global markets of security and safety, climate control, industrial solutions and infrastructure. Further information on IR can be found on the company's website at www.irco.com.
It's kind of amazing to me that this little project has been so very successful and that I have been lucky enough to become a part of the blogging community. This site has received a lot of attention in and out of the cycling industry and by a lot of people who I find to be amazingly smart, funny and entertaining.
March 4th was the official 1 year mark. In the space of a year I've posted more than 400 times. Yeah, I know, some were real stinkers. Some were pretty good and I am proud of them. Most of all, I am proud of the community of people who come here and that I have met through blogging. The comments here have been great. A lot of really cool conversations have taken place here and I have also gotten great product feedback here. If there is any such thing as "celebrity status" in the bicycling industry, what little I have has been created through this site. I have learned that family members read this blog (hi George in Iowa, Steve & Maria in San Diego, Masiwife and Mom & Rick, Mandy & Jeff and others I haven't already heard from) to find out what is happening in my life and work. Many of my friends use this space as a way to check in and see if I am alive when they haven't heard from me in a while.
Best of all, retailers and consumers have come to see this space as a resource. Bike stuff and non bike stuff. I can't tell you all how proud I am that retailers have told me of leaving their shop computer on the Masiguy site so that consumers can read it while in the shop. Or how they use the blog to keep up to date with what is happening with the brand. Recently, while in Texas to support one of our retailers, I had a consumer tell me that he came to the event because of reading about it on the blog and wanting to get the chance to say hello. Now, I have developed a good relationship with a great blogger in Australia who I hope to meet when I am there at the end of the month launching Masi there. People in Australia know who I am now and that I will be coming to their great country to try and overtake them with my bikes, like a two-wheeled Cane Toad. Philip- I'm really looking forward to that beer!
During last year's Tour de France, I posted daily stage updates. During that time, readership started to jump significantly. This site was getting linked to something like 14 different Tour sites and blogs. I was getting daily emails from people asking me what it was like to travel in the Tour and what the riders were like... but all I was doing was using other sites like VeloNews and CyclingNews reports and rehashing them in my own way. I was really flattered that people enjoyed my coverage so much and thought I was a real journalist. Several people even suggested I get a press credential and attend the event and others this year- you people are way too kind.
Thanks to the blog, I can wax on and on about the wonderful A&F/ Inferno and Masi-Adobe teams and spread the word about all things Masi related. This is an incredible portal to reach a crazy number of people each and every day. I'd be a liar if I said it hasn't created some friction internally here from time to time. I've said things that have made some folks here really uncomfortable. I've even gotten a little flack for spending a bit too much time blogging. I can't say any of those concerns were unfounded. You may have noticed that blogging here has been a little less frequent. With the amount of work I have here, it is harder to blog during the day and then when I get home I have to maintain a relationship with my family. I've been put on computer restriction more than once for excessive blogging while at home too. Sorry Honey, I'm trying to create a better balance in life.
I consider myself to be a lucky guy in many ways. This blog has been a great tool for sharing that gratitude. I love my family. I love my job. I love the industry I get to work in. I love you folks too. Like I said above, I've made some great friends all over the world through this blog. That makes me a pretty lucky person. I've been given the title of being a "pioneer" as a blogging bike industry insider/ manufacturer. I take that compliment with a lot of pride, but I know others were blogging before me. Personally, I think the folks at Surly get far less credit than they deserve for their blogging efforts. They are one of my biggest inspirations in blogging. If you've never spent any time on the Surly blog, you should check it out some time. They do a fabulous job of feeding their cult following with Surly culture, activism, product information and simple goofy fun. Surly- You guys ROCK!
So now that this little corner of total bike gooberdom is one year old, what's next? I don't really know. I think podcasting is likely to happen. I would really like to conduct some more interviews, especially from the floor of the Interbike tradeshow. We'll see if I can figure that out- remember, I'm a tech idiot. It's a miracle I've gotten this far. I want to return to more frequent polls, especially for product development feedback. I want to get back into a more regular schedule of posting and posting from the road when I'm traveling. We'll see what develops...
Most of all, after one year, I have to thank each and every reader who has visited the site. I honestly can't believe it's been a year and that this space has gotten as much attention as it has. I obviously hoped for the attention, since it was my attempt to market my brand, but I never dreamed it would be like this. Thank you all for taking the time to visit and comment and become a part of this space. I owe all of you a great debt of gratitude. This space would be nothing without you and I am keenly aware of that.
Wednesday, March 08, 2006
...But since words are what I have an abundance of...
I love her laugh; the very best laugh in the world. When she really gets going, she'll laugh herself to tears and then she'll snicker and titter for several minutes after the fact. She just kills me with that laugh.
I love her smile; when she is really smiling about something, her eyes light up and she can melt steel... and me. Her smile is etched in my memory and will be until I don't have one anymore.
I love the way she has endless compassion; she should be nominated for sainthood. She was raised Catholic, so I think she'd qualify.
I love how wonderful of a mother she is; I can not imagine having anybody else be responsible for helping me raise our children. I learn new things, as a parent, from her all the time. We spend lots of time talking about what to do with the kids, how to work with them, how to improve their lives, how to better help them find out who and what they can be. I never knew that was a part of being a parent until I met her.
I love hanging out with her on the couch with a bag of chips, some beer and a movie; we spent a lot of time doing that in the past, killing an entire day doing absolutely nothing, just sharing the couch and the silence. Now and again we'll ship the kids off to the grandparents and just do nothing together. It's the best use of time I can imagine.
I love a lot of things about her and really can't list them all here... some of them are only for discussing with her...
Honey- since I know you'll read this, I just want to say happy birthday. I can't imagine spending the rest of my life with anybody else and I'm glad I fooled you into sticking around.
Tuesday, March 07, 2006
Masi-Adobe Road Cycling Team 2006
Steamer Racing is excited to announce a new partnership for the 2006 racing season to form the Masi-Adobe Road Cycling Team. After three years of much appreciated support from Rocky Mountain Bicycles, Steamer Racing is looking forward to evolving its program with Masi Bicycles. This is a dynamic addition to the highly competitive West Coast racing scene. With new personnel, new bikes, new partners and a new name, the Masi-Adobe Road Cycling Team have planned an ambitious road racing program for the upcoming race year with a potent mix of seasoned athletes and emerging talented riders.
The team will be riding the new top of the line Masi 3VC Volumetrica full carbon frames. Anyone who has seen the movie "Breaking Away," the movie that launched thousands of cyclists, knows and loves Masi bikes. With the 2006 relaunch of Masi in Canada, Masi-Adobe is proud to showcase the latest offering from the Italian born brand. Adobe digital solutions continues their long association with Steamer Racing as a banner sponsor for the team.
The Masi Adobe 2006 Team Bike
"We are very excited to showcase the Masi brand in Canada" said Paul Blanchette, founder, owner and manager of Steamer Racing. "Their support and the continued support of Adobe will ensure that we can race at the highest level in what is now some of North America's best racing," Paul continued. "We are also very proud to link our team with a fundraising component, the Multiple Sclerosis Bike Tour." Masi-Adobe and the MS Society are teaming together to help promote the MS Bike Tours which raise funds for MS research.
"For 2006 we have pumped up our team line up", said Blanchette. Multiple Canadian National and Provincial champion and Commonwealth Games medalist Scott Goguen brings his on and off bike talents to the team. "Other exciting additions are the consistently strong Sean Dawson and newcomer Kevin Noiles, a former Nova Scotia road race champion." Backed by the Slater twins Scott and Brad, the experience of Carl Jacobson, and emerging talents in Damian Waugh, Jordan Guenette and David Goosen, the Masi-Adobe Road Cycling Team certainly has the talent and commitment to make a strong showing throughout the upcoming race year.
"We simply could not put this together without the support of our partners: the sponsors," continued Blanchette. Alongside title sponsors Masi and Adobe, the team will be equipping their bikes with Ritchey handlebar, stem and carbon seatposts, FSA carbon cranksets and time trial bars, Panaracer tires, Fi'zi:k saddles, Mavic wheels, and Axiom accessories. The riders will be outfitted with Rudy Project helmets and sunglasses, adidas Cycling shoes, gloves and socks, and full custom race clothing by local company Sugoi. Minoura are providing their trainers for those critical warm ups and Vetta bike computers will tell the riders how fast they and their hearts are going. KINeSYS will provide performance sunscreen and skin care products. Additional financial support is provided by Canadian Diamond and Synergy Business Lawyers.
For more information visit the team website http://www.steamerracing.ca/ or contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Masi-Adobe Road Cycling Team
Masi Bicycles http://www.masibikes.com/ http://masiguy.blogspot.com/
Adobe Systems Inc http://www.adobe.com/
Full Speed Ahead http://www.fullspeedahead.com/
adidas Cycling http://www.adidas.com/verticals/cycling/com/home.asp?strCountry_adidascom=com
Ritchey Bicycle Components http://ritcheylogic.com/
Rudy Project http://www.rudyprojectusa.com/
Flash 5 http://www.flash-5.com/
Axiom Performance Gear http://www.axiomgear.com/
Canadian Diamond http://www.regalimportsltd.com/
Synergy Business Lawyers http://www.synergylaw.ca/
MS Bike Tour http://www.mssociety.ca/en/events/biketour/default.htm
For more complete information, check out the team's official website. This is very exciting news and I will be updating more as more information becomes available for me to distribute.
For the first time in a very, very long time, Masi Bicycles is sponsoring two pro/elite teams in North America. This is merely the beginning of our continued global domination. Today, North America. Tomorrow, the Universe!
Monday, March 06, 2006
Chad Thompson (OH); Team Director and rider. Chad is also the owner of Inferno. He's also a former body builder, California State Champ on the track and is currently a firefighter (hence the "inferno"). On top of running the team, being a rider and being a firefighter, he also happens to be a pretty decent guy. The team could do a lot worse than having him at the helm. You can really tell that he cares about the team.
(Chad's the handsome one one the right... I mean left.)
Ryan Rish (OH); Ryan, or Professor Rish, is the VP of the team. Ryan is a high school English teacher with his first child on the way soon. "Mr Rish" is also one of those guys who has two speeds- fast and "holy crap that hurts". By the way- don't feed him cheese... trust me on this one.
Todd Shaker (OH); Todd is the owner/ operator of a successful fruit and vegetable packaging company in Ohio. He's also a big, powerful guy. Another former body builder, Todd produces something like 2000 Kilowatts just smiling. His power meter had to have a few extra inches of LCD screen added to calculate and graph his power output. He also had his birthday on Saturday during camp.
(This is Todd's dog Dakota. This one of the most lovable labs I've ever met.)
Reid Peacock (GA); Reid is part of the student corps. Sorry ladies, he's getting married in August. I have to say, for as fit as the whole team was, Reid probably had the leanest looking legs of anybody at camp. I think he rides his bike in his sleep or something.
Ryan Gamm (OH); The Gammbino, Gamminator, Gammy Bear, Gammbo or Little Fireplug is another student. My favorite story about Ryan; he worked the night before camp delivering pizza until 2:00 in the morning, then got in his car and drove to North Carolina from Ohio. He got to NC around 9:00 as we were getting ready to head out for the day's first loop. He suited up and hopped on the bike and rode. No sleep. No food. No nothing. The college "all nighter" has trained him well. Ryan's the least tall of the riders on the team, which gives him a decided advantage when it comes to finding holes to squeeze through in a race. He's kind of like a Jack Russell terrier- tenacious little ball of muscle and energy. (I'm working on those pink camo booties for you too... I promise.)
(Here Gammy is showcasing his "mean face" with Reid Peacock checking for style points.)
Jeremy Grimm (OH); Jeremy, you may remember from his bio, is a fortunate and lucky survivor of severe Lyme Disease. You'd never know this big fella was knocking on death's door at one point. Going from Ryan Gamm to Jeremy is definitely running the opposite ends of the A&F/ Inferno size spectrum. Jeremy's a big boy, but a huge power machine. I've never seen anybody his size climb the way he does. Nor have I ever met anybody so genuinely happy. I can honestly say that I don't think I ever saw him not smiling. I don't know if he has it in himself not to smile.
Shawn Adams (OH); Here's another firefighter and all around tough guy. Shawn is cut from the same cloth as the stereotypical Belgian "hard man". The guy loves to ride. He goes about the job of riding his bike with the same steely determination of any Belgian cobble rider. He's just tough as nails. A couple of times I heard him say something about being willing to go out and ride some more or get some miles in before the official ride the next day.
Tim Swain (OH); Tim is also a college student, but you'd swear looking at him that he's still in high school. Tim has to be the one guy on the team who makes me feel old(er). He's also one of the nicest guys you'll ever meet. He drove solo from Ohio to the camp because he had classes he couldn't miss and also never stopped smiling. Swainy will be a therat this year... trust me.
Andy Applegate (NC); Andy is the "elder statesman" of the team, but don't even think about calling him old. He's a former National Champion, an elite level certified coach and has already won one time trial in 2006. Sadly, by Saturday night he was also fully engulfed in the flu. The poor guy had to cut camp short to head home and get some much deserved rest. Since he's already started his season with a win, I think it is safe to say that we'll be seeing more of his name in the results column.
Abe McNutt (OH); Also known as the Ghetto-hickabilly (why, I don't know). Abe is a machine. I mean, a real machine. This guy is not exactly built like a climber and he tore the legs off of nearly everybody on nearly every climb during camp. He's built more like a sprinter than a climber, but he's got some kind of phenomenal power to weight ratio going on. Abe also owns his own business as a painting contractor (I think) and is one of those riders who just keeps grinding away on you until you just can't continue to follow his wheel anymore. Trust me, I know from experience.
Jered Gruber (GA); Jered is the little engine that will. This yong gun is headed for some race wins this year and in the future. This is a name you should get to know. He is going to be a contender in stage races and is going to be laying down some hurt. He's raced in Europe, while living in Germany. Poor kid came to camp a little sick though, so he couldn't really showcase his talents, but he's clearly got a ton of potential. Jered also writes and edits for PezCyclingnews.com and Bikegame.com. Another college student, he's bubbling with talent and a sense of humor. I'm really looking forward to working with the lad this year.
(Here Jered is getting a truly scientific fit by Tom Coleman of Wobble Naught.)
Jim Baldeseare (OH); Jim is the 2002 Elite National Criterium Champion. That isn't his only race win, but it sure is a good one. Jim's a real threat in a sprint out of a break away and an excellent opportunist in the bunch gallops. Jim works closely with Tom Coleman of Wobble Naught (much more about that later). JB is one of the quieter guys on the team, but don't let that fool you into thinking he's aloof or not a witty son-of-a-gun. On top of it all, he beat me in a sprint, so how can you not respect a guy like that?
(Abe McNutt on the left, Jim on the right and Masiguy smack-dab in the middle.)
Rich Harper (NC); This guy had me nearly in stitches the whole time he was at camp. Rich is one of the funniest SOB's I've met in a long, long time. The guy can ride a bike too. Really well at that; winner of the Georgia Cup last year. He can time trial like a bat on a rocket out of hell and can sprint well too. He's an excellent sprint leadout and can finish the job himself if needed. Oh yeah, he's some kind of gene research scientist at a major pharmaceutical company too. If you met him, you'd understand the irony...
(Here's Rich carbo-loading after a long day...)
Mark Hekman (NC); Heksquatch, Hekle, Bassoon Boy. Mark was our gracious host during camp, providing us not only with a place to stay but also the fantastic ride routes each day. Mark finished last year 5th in the nation in the National Crit Series standings. So yes, he's plenty fast. He's smart too... scary smart. Two different music degrees from two different universities. He's a top-notch bassoonist. No, not balloonist, bassoonist. That might be where he gets the lung capacity for long breakaways (more on that topic later). Hekman is another name you're going to want to remember because this guy is going to make a name for himself. There are likely to be a few more race wins with his name on them in the very near future. When Mark was driving me to the farm when I arrived, I was doing the diligent "reporter" thing and asking questions. When I asked him what he wanted to accomplish with racing, where he wanted to go with it all, he simply replied, "I just wanna race my bike." That pretty much sums it up righ there.
(Here's Mark getting his groove on.)
There is still a whole lot more to come, but now you know the cast of riders a little better. Sponsors are next...
Here's a shot of the complete team as a closer.
(Starting in the back, from left to right; Rich Harper, Andy Apllegate, Todd Shaker, Jim Baldeseare, Jered gruber, Mark Hekman, Ryan Rish, Reid Peacock, Tim Swain, Shawn Adams and Chad Thompson. On the floor; Abe McNutt, Jeremy Grimm and Ryan Gamm.)
Friday, March 03, 2006
Before I forget, I want to extend a big thanks to Dave Tingler and Todd Lee. Dave and Todd ride for the Savage Hill Cycyling team. Savage Hill produced several of the riders who are now on the A&F/ Inferno team. Dave and Todd came out to North Carolina from Ohio to work as support staff for the team. Dave drove the follow car during camp and Todd worked with Dave to keep the guys stocked and rolling along. Dave has also produced a great video from the camp, as was mentioned in the comments the other day. Check it out, if you haven't already.
More photos and tales from the camp will be coming soon...
Here's the 210 year old log cabin I stayed in with some of the team...
Me with Abe McNutt and Jim Baldesare (2002 Elite National Crit Champ) on the last day of camp. I almost look like I fit in... almost.
More to follow, this is just a teaser.
Thursday, March 02, 2006
Have you ever seen anything more beautiful?
The kind of scene that makes a Brand Manager's heart skip a beat...
Stories and many more pictures will follow as soon as my computer is brought back from the dead and I am no longer mooching time from coworkers.
Wednesday, March 01, 2006
I'm in a deep old pile of crap as I try to get back on track after being gone, being sick and my computer being currently dead. I am hoping to have a working computer again soon, but I am
borrowing some time from a coworker right now.
Let me just start by saying that the team is even better than I dreamed and I am even happier than I can possibly express. This year is going to be a whole lot of fun.
More will follow soon- I just wanted to let you all know I am still alive and trying my best to get back to this slice of home.