Wednesday, August 30, 2006
Yeah, I know, stupid joke. You'll have to live with it though because my brain is still totally fried from the long travel, the delays caused by new security measures, the jetlag and the hiking my ass around Italy and Ireland every day!
Three weeks off the bike is too damned long, but if it weren't for the insane amount of walking I did, I'd be even further out of shape. Mostly I'm just damned tired. I rode yesterday and today at lunch for the first time in nearly three weeks and the legs didn't feel as bad as I feared, but the lungs sure did. I have been gasping for air on both of my rides and the legs have been talking to me as if the lungs were asleep, "hey, we feel fine, where the hell is the oxygen?" It has been pretty ugly. On top of the lack of lung fitness, all that traveling exposed me to the usual crawly crud and now I have a mild cold and feel "icky". I think it is already backing down though, so hopefully I'll be getting back to the fitness I had before I left within another week. I hope anyway, since I leave for Canada again on the 9th of September. Really looking forward to seeing all of my friends in Canada again.
I returned to the office to a crazy amount of email since I didn't travel with my computer and didn't check my email while away. Fortunately, over half was spam/ junk, so I have been getting slowly caught up with a bit of it. Please note: if you sent an inquiry to Masi through our company website, I will reply to you as soon as I possibly can. I still have about 100 website emails to answer, but I'm working on them. Sorry for the delay in getting your inquiry handled.
Speaking of the company website, the new product will be updated to the site soon. The "skin" of the site will remain the same, with a few cosmetic and feature changes, but it will remain mostly the same since it still looks really good. The new bikes will be up soon so that you can change the lusty images in your bike porn filled day dreams...
Speaking of bike porn, here's a little something to get your motor running;
Meet the long awaited and much ballyhooed (by me of course) new Masi cyclocross bike... the CXR.
It's the sexiest cross bike for the year. It's so purdy, looking at it is a near religious experience. I've seen it reduce grown men to tears. While in Rome, the Pope told me he thought it was the best cross bike he'd ever seen (the Pope is a huge 'cross fan). In other words... you're going to want one.
Ritchey cross crank and tires, 105 10 speed shifting and Ultegra rear derailleur, aluminum frame with carbon cross fork, Avid cantilever brakes (to stay UCI legal) and fo-sho, real-deal cyclocross race frame; top routed cables, cable pulley/ cam for front derailleur, barrel adjusters on the frame to adjust brakes and front derailleur cables. Essentially, a bad ass cross bike.
Let the worshipping begin...
Tuesday, August 29, 2006
Friday, August 11, 2006
Off to bed- it's late and I have a very early morning.
Thursday, August 10, 2006
1) Saturday morning, very early, my wife and kids and I will be joining my mother, step-dad, uncle and aunt for a two week vacation in Italy! My younger sister, not the youngest sister, is getting married in Naples Italy. We're flying in to London (yeah, I know) on Sunday morning. My wife and I are then leaving the kids with the family and jumping onto a second plane and flying into Dublin Ireland... yep, Ireland... Dublin- the home of Guinness. I can reasonably safely assure you that I will not be going to bed sober that night. My wife and I will have two nights in Kilkenny before rejoining the rest of the family in London and flying to Italy. We'll be taking the train from Rome to Naples and then staying in Naples for the wedding and then heading off to see other parts of Southern Italy before returning home. WOW!
That means a couple things; A) I won't be blogging very likely for two weeks. Please don't go away and find some other bike blogger to love. I'll be back and I'll have lots of good pictures, B) I won't likely be riding my bike for two weeks. Well, I definitely won't be riding MY bike for two weeks. I might try to rent a bike over there and see the city (whatever city), but I won't be taking my bike. I owe my wife a bike-free vacation... even if it is Italy.
2) The guys on the A&F/ Inferno team keep racking up the wins, those sweet little fellas...
Ryan Gamm (to the left of the picture), my little pocket-rocket buddy, pulled off another win for the year. On top of it, for somebody who keeps saying "I'm not a sprinter", he won the race in a sprint from a breakaway... but he can't sprint... on top of that, the break had lapped the field!
Jimmy MacDonald, the new elite junior recruit, won a road race the very next day with much the same sort of tactic. (No photo available yet.)
Have I got a great team here or what? I just love them...
( I have to throw out a little love to Dave Tingler, who picked up his own first race win a little while back. Dave is a team supporter and staff member who rides for Savage Hill. Dave got his very own race win and got to do the podium gig- Kudos brother!)
3) Fritz at Cycle-Licious had a cool video post the other day of a six-minute trackstand during a sprint race at a 6-Day event in Europe. I commented on the post because I loved the video and remembered reading about that particular racce when it happened (maybe two years ago?)...
Anyway, Fritz suggested I cover the topic of doing a trackstand during a Sprint race and what it is for, for those who might not be educated on the topic... so here goes...
Riders in a Sprint race are only obligated to maintain a "walking pace" for the first few laps (depends on the size of the track and number of laps in the race). In a three lap race, the walking pace rule would apply to the first lap. After that the riders can go whatever pace they want and that's when you see the familiar cat-n-mouse tactics that you've probably seen in a Match Sprint race- where riders do trackstands or otherwise try to move the other rider around.
You might decide, if you are the rider in front, that you want your opponent to be the rider in front, forcing them to try to control you. Or maybe you just want to play with their head and get them guessing. Normally, due to the fact that the track is flatter in the straights, the riders will roll to a stop and begin their stand on the home or back straight. However, I have seen a few in the turns where the banking is steepest- this is usually done to really mess with the other rider's head because it shows you are not afraid to slip and fall down the track to control the race... or that you are mentally unstable, whatever. The idea is usually to either force the other rider to retake the lead or to force the sprint to start from a standstill.
Personally, dark confession time, I can't do a trackstand to save my ass. Yes, I said it- I really stink at trackstands. I normally just try and hold it for as long as I can and hope the other sprinter is worse at it than me or that I can catch them snoozing and go ahead and jump the sprint. I have used the tactic many times myself, but it is normally to push the other sprinter up to the boards and wedge them in so that I can dictate when the sprint will start- as opposed to forcing them to take the lead with a long trackstand. Last year, during National Championship Qualifier races, I beat the then-reigning State Sprint Champ by doing exactly that; I rolled the pace up just a little and then pulled up to his bars and came to a near stop as we were about to exit turn two. He had to react by stopping hard and when he did, I jumped for the line and won the sprint by about a wheel. It was the only chance I had because he was far faster than me. As it was, I put a really big gap into him when I jumped away, but he closed it and nearly overtook me at the line. I got lucky (and then went on to lose the rest of my sprints that night because my legs were cooked).
So now you know more about trackstands than you might have known... maybe.
4) Spy photo just for you- my people;
Here it is... the Speciale Fixed. As the name implies, it is a fixed gear bike. Flip-flop hub has a 15t fixed cog (with lock ring of course) and a 16t freewheel. It comes with both brake levers and a front brake. It also has two sets of water bottle bosses and rear brake cable guides along the top tube. The rear drop outs are modeled directly after the vintage Campagnolo track dropouts- complete with "brev. Masi" stamped in the dropout along the curve of the dropoout socket. Sealed bearing track hubs (complete with good track nuts) with 100mm front spacing (d'uh) and 120mm rear spacing. The geometry is in between a road bike and a track bike so it makes a great intro-to-track bike or a superb winter fixed gear training bike... or the coolest messenger bike you've ever seen. Talk about "street cred"... full chromoly frame and straight blade fork.
Ok, I'll give you a few minutes to wipe the slobber off of your keyboard... stay tuned, there will be more to come...
Wednesday, August 09, 2006
Hi,I bought a Masi Vincere '05. This is what the store owner told me. He said it is black. Could you please tell me if there was vincere that was black and what model? have I been cheated?
Hey buddy, the '05 Vincere was indeed black. The Vincere Premio model in '05 was white. Can't say that you've been cheated, but that depends on what it is that you thought or hoped you were getting.
I hope this helps,
Monday, August 07, 2006
SteelRider2 has another good one today...
These are great comments/ questions from a guy who loves to ride and races a bit as well, but ultimately falls into the category of "Average Joe"- a guy not living the daily in and out of the cycling world. A devoted fan on the "outside" of the sport looking in. Good stuff...
Then, on a lighter side of serious fun comes this (courtesy of NorCal Masi rep MillerTime);
Tomorrow, what we once believed was the greatest act of "hell yeah" in sports history may be taken away from us. But today...we can still revel in all that is Floyd. Cuz ya know, many doped up cyclists bonked on their way to certain victory. And many have gone all Hulkamania -- to no avail. But none of 'em ever took off on the bottom of the first climb the next day -- and stayed away. And won it all. Floyd, no matter what the truth is, you have balls. Ok, you might've had a patch on those balls. But I bet you stitched that patch on yourself. Everybody, take the day to celebrate Floyd Landis. Don't shave. Wear your hat backwards. Slap on your big shades. Crank Kid Rock. Go adopt a dog and name him Floyd (if you feel guilty about that tomorrow, you can rename him Oscar). Most importantly, remember that when the chips are down, and your dreams seem well out of reach, and everybody says you've failed, that's the time to pound a couple beers, take some swigs of bourbon, and throw down, motherf%#*er. Rock on.
I agree... Rock on!
Saturday, August 05, 2006
Friday, August 04, 2006
Tim, I have begun reading MasiGuy and picking up the spirit of being a Masi owner. I too believe having a bike with the name and tradition sets it apart which suits this 60 something "beatnik" wannabe well. Beatniks and the "individualism" they searched for is my reference here.
I bought my new Masi 3V Team green bike (1999 frame I think) online with warm recollection of a friend in the 70's who owned a Masi beauty then. He bought it as a replacement to his Colnago!
But, my question comes from a repeating problem I have. Sometimes, usually on a steep hill (steep for me anyway), my rear wheel moves to the left rubbing against the chainstay. This is the same as putting the breaks on as the rubber sidewall of the tire just won't turn when tightly forced against the chainstay. Riders in my TeamAlameda group have seen it and tried to help. Repositioning the wheel and super-tightening the quick release can help, but due to road rising somewhere along the route it can happen again anytime. I bought a new skewer (Campi) from a bike store owner who said he had experience the same thing on a Colnago years ago. He said slipping in the middle of he skewer against a smoothened inner-ring might cause this problem. But, it is recurring.
Another past Colnago owner told me the same 'tire against the chainstay' thing had happened to him years ago. Is this an Italian thing? Seriously though, is super-tightening the only thing that I should do? Should I seat the wheel even deeper into that U shaped slot where the little bolts are adjustable? Could it be the chain? Should I file or somehow rough-up the U shaped place to better hold the wheel in the position it should stay? (Some ideas-suggestions I have been given.) I would appreciate help you may be able to give me.
So, what are the suggestions here? I recommended moving the rear wheel further back in the dropouts and making sure that all of the clamping surfaces are clean and greaseless. That has worked for me in the past, so I thought it might work here.
Anybody else got some good ideas?
Thursday, August 03, 2006
... I'll wait...
Ok, good, now you've heard/ read it. What'd you think? Yeah, me too.
I have been trying to stay out of this particular conversation for a number of reasons, but the biggest reason being that I find it very hard to be objective on this particular case with regards to Floyd. I have met the man and have ridden with him. I think he's a super cool guy. Can cool guys make bad choices? You bet they can. Do I think he's guilty or innocent? I can't say until I know unequivocally one way or the other because I can't make that decision without a preponderence of evidence and I know that many people will disagree with me either way if I state an opinion right now.
Here's my thoughts though on the NPR broadcast; the closing comments by Diana Nyad are very telling to me- her feeling is that sport is corrupt with doping, so badly that it can not be turned around and therefore we should simply open all sports to whatever doping products the athletes/ teams/ doctors want to use. Her thoughts were that, like the argument for legalizing marijuana- where it could be regulated and taxed by governments- legalizing performance enhancing drugs would allow for regulation and safe administering of drugs. WHAT? Having hand guns be legal and controlled by the government doesn't keep people from shooting and killing each other. I know, not the same thing. Still, it shows the state of perception of sport in the world. It's pretty damning if you ask me. My jaw nearly hit the steering wheel as I heard the commentary on my drive home tonight. What about kids? Do we tell the kids getting into sports that doping is ok? "Go for it! Yeah, sure, some of these drugs can kill you if you do them wrong, but as long as the team doc' is working with you, you'll be fine... and you'll win!" What the hell?
I'm not dumb enough to believe that doping isn't going on and that cycling isn't one of the worst sports for doping offenses, but I still believe in the beauty and humanity of the sport. If I didn't, I'd get out of it- personally and professionally.
Here's where I climb onto a soap box for a moment, so I hope that you will just bear with me for a few moments; cycling, though it may have some of the more public problems, is one of the best sports in the world for actually doing something about the problems it faces, in terms of punishment and enforcement. Look at other professional sports around the world. Cycling tosses you out of the sport on the first offense for two years. Next is a lifetime ban. You can have a syringe in your arm walking onto the baseball diamond and the governing body will simply ask you to put the dirty needle in a safe place when you are done. Look at football (Euro style and American), basketball, track and field, skiing... you name it. ALL SPORTS HAVE A DRUG PROBLEM. Professional sports are not the only ones either. Amateur sports and even school sports are rife with drug problems. It's astounding to me when anybody is shocked to hear about somebody getting caught doping. Please!
As long as there is fame, fortune or something else to gain from winning, people are going to find a way to cheat. Believing otherwise is straight up stupidity. Does that mean we simply turn a blind eye to it or allow "whatever" in sport? Hell no! I think the argument for allowing doping or other cheating in sport because it is too difficult to police is one of the most insane arguments around. Do we allow murder just because the police are too overworked to follow up on every case? Hell no! I know that comparing the crime of cheating in sport to the crime of killing another person is a bit of a reach, but let's be honest here- wrong is wrong.
I believe doping is wrong. I believe cheating in sport in any form is wrong. Do I believe it is hapening? Yes I do. Do I think it always will? Yes I do. Do I think we should be chasing cheats out of sport? Yes I do.
For the record, Masi (as well as Haro) has a zero tolerance policy on doping; one positive test and the entire team loses sponsorship- not just the rider involved... and it doesn't matter how much I like you.
As always, if you think I am wrong- leave a comment.
One of the funniest moments of my day was during the discussion when I turned to Daniel and asked (very much jokingly), "is it ok if I blog this?" You could hear the crickets chirping, the wind blowing and the tumbleweeds rolling along... it was dead quiet and the expressions were priceless. Daniel knew I was joking, but it was a funny moment. I get a lot of teasing for the blogging, but there are a few folks who "get it" and think it's pretty entertaining- like Daniel. He understood the humor and also understands why I blog in the first place. Anyway, it was funny. Trust me.
So it has been raining here pretty much all day, so even without spending a few hours with Shimano today, riding was out of the question- hey, I'm in California after all and we don't ride the 4-5 days a year that it rains here. Instead, I have taken pictures for your enterainment and slobberfest. As I mentioned in a previous post, I am finally riding one of our carbon 3VC bikes... and I like it... a lot.
I built up the frame with all the parts off of the bike I had been riding for the past several months- an '05 Gran Criterium frame- which I loved. It was hard to get me off of it. I built up the carbon frame and the complete bike (without accessories- but with pedals) comes to just a little over 17 lbs for a 61cm bike, making it the lightest bike I've ever had.
As you can see from the parts mix, it is mostly Dura Ace (lucky me), but not anything terribly lightweight. At 215+ lbs, light parts = I'm replacing it soon. In short, I break crap. This bike is, for me, scary light and it rides great. The back end is stiff enough that it doesn't noodle all over the road when I stand up to sprint or climb.
The front end is very stable and predictable through turns. The Ritchey fork has now been on three different frames because I like it a lot. I don't spec the fork on any of our bikes, but not because I don't like the fork. The bars I've had for a few years too- Easton EC90 Equippe. The stem is a Thomson- the same one ridden by our A&F/ Inferno team... and it is pretty danged cool! These three work together to give me a good sprinting perch with very little flex/ twist. I feel pretty solid pulling on them.
I park my keester on the best saddle I've ever ridden. The Arione is the saddle of saddles for me. Probably the next best thing would be the Aliante, also by fizik. Then maybe an old Concor. I have to admit though that the Masi branded saddles we have are surprisingly comfortable- I've been very happy with them. The post is a Thomson Elite, again the same thing our pro guys ride (a little sponsor love going on here...). With the frame having a shorter seat tube, I just felt like having a little more strength in the post, again because I am a big fat tub of goo. Please also note the saddle bag; Banjo Brothers. This is one kickass seat bag. I am long overdue in posting about these guys and I will do a separate post on them, but they sent me some products to use and test and I am here to tell you that you need to go buy some of their products... right now! I'll post again about the other Banjo Bros goods that I am using... I promise (thanks again Eric).
The best carbon bottle cages ever made belong to Arundel. These are the very best cages I've ever used... hands down. These things are light, stiff, reliable and hold your danged bottles in place. All I ask from a cage is that it not drop my bottles and these things are vise-like and still light. If you are going to buy a carbon cage, buy these... NOW!
It's a pretty bike, isn't it? You know you want one, so go to your local retailer and hand them your money and say, "please get me a Masi 3VC carbon bike. I know they are the best ever made and are certainly the most pretty." That'd be great. I'd like that!
Wednesday, August 02, 2006
Darren fired me over a copy of a press release and I thought I'd help out and spread the love... just because I can.
By the way; I used the products while at the camp and I can honestly say that they kick ass!
e load™ Heat Endurance and EMEND™ Heat Recovery brands to be distributed by BikeMine.
For the first time ever, Medion Corporation will have their heat formulated brands widely available to the U.S. market. With a mid August launch planned, Bike Mine will be the American distributor for e load™ Heat Endurance Formula, e mend™ Heat Recovery Formula and Zone Caps™ Electrolyte Sustainer.
“These are the first products to hit the U.S. market which are medically designed to treat and prevent heat related illnesses including cramping, bonking and upset stomach. I am looking forward to working with Bike Mine’s Rick Dyer and his team of professionals as we increase both our brand awareness and distribution,” says Jim McLarnon, Medion Corp’s C.E.O. Darren Zielinski, the company’s recently appointed National Sales Manager for the U.S. Division opines, “The U.S. has never seen the likes of this incredible group of products. They have been long overdue in the market and I am excited to bring this kind of nutritional relief to my fellow athletes.”
E load’s™ Heat Endurance Formula replaces only those nutrients lost through sweating. Using natural ingredients and flavors e load’s™ low acid formula optimizes metabolic response through physiological electrolyte replacement. Fructose free, e load’s™ stomach friendly formula provides optimal carbohydrate levels for maximum performance and helps prevent bonking. Its lactic acid buffering effect reduces muscle burn and aids in recovery. Finally e load’s™ physiological levels of sodium, potassium, calcium, magnesium and zinc offer a superior anti-cramp formula. E mend™ also takes the “nothing artificial” route. It adds ultra filtered whey protein isolate for maximum absorption, as well as buffered Ester© vitamin C to maintain a neutral acid level while giving antioxidant support required for optimum recovery from exercise in the heat. Zone Caps™ Electrolyte Sustainer capsules are used to top off or customize an individual’s need for additional electrolytes. E load™, e mend™ and Zone Caps™ are the nutritional choice for the men’s elite road race team Abercrombie & Fitch.
You can try out these products first hand “in the heat” at this year’s Interbike Outdoor Demo. Staff will be on hand to explain usage and design as well as treat your heat or hangover related illnesses. If you can’t make the Outdoor Demo, the products will be at Bike Mine’s booth #2757 as well as Medion Corporation’s booth #1414 from Wednesday through Friday.
For more information contact Bike Mine at 800-223-3207. www.BikeMine.com
Tuesday, August 01, 2006
Dave's also a father. A father to a 16 year old son who made it on to the Southeastern Regional junior team. Not only that, but he got to go ride the Tour l'Abitibi in Canada... and he isn't even 17 until December. Dang! On top of that, in his first race ever against a field like this, he finished 64th overall on GC against older riders (up to 18). Impressive... maybe the next great US hope? Only time will tell.
I'd like to take credit for this success since he is riding a Masi that his very, very smart father bought for him (Way to go Dad!). However, I know it is the rider, not the machine... not that a nice bike doesn't help. I am told that pictures will be materializing soon and I promise to post them as soon as I get them.
Anyway, I wanted to finally thank Dave for getting Christian a Masi (since he has access to lots of brands in his position) and wanted to extend a big CONGRATULATIONS to Christian Parrett- a new and upcoming rider on the scene to be looking out for.
So, Christian; congratulations from Masi Bicycles- you done good!