Friday, September 29, 2006
Yes, I've been in heaven here. Hanging out with Bob Roll, trying to drink a beer in the squashed coziness of the Sinclair Imports party, meeting lots of fello bloggers, etc. I'm having a great time here... but I'm also getting beat up by the standing and walking and the talking... my voice is nearly gone as is the usual case here.
The show has been onderful for me and Masi both. I am not exagerrating (and I never do Honey) hen I say that this is the best Interbike I have had with the brand. Masi is poised to blow some folks out of the water. Things look really good; dealers are really getting excited by the bikes and I am really excited about the possibilities.
I've gotta run for no and get the booth ready for the throngs again. I'll have pictures as soon as I can get a good enough connection for the computer.
Thank you to you all for the great support and all the well wishes and comliments- you are really a great audience and I am glad that some of you even find some sort of value in hat I do.
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
The Masiguy is featured in the September 27th edition of the New York Times! I thought you would all want to know.
They missed the inside joke though: It's "dyed in the wool jersey". Duh! (I miss my husband and I guess it's making me a little snarky). He's in Vegas right now, hanging out with his dudes and he couldn't post the info himself. Never one to blow his own horn, draw attention to himself or be conspicuous in any way, the shy and retiring Masiguy didn't mention this massive piece of fame before he left for the Trade Show. But I KNEW YOU'D WANT TO KNOW, you loyal fans and supportive cyber-friends. That's why I hacked into his computer and posted this message. Do you think he will be mad? I mean, like really mad?
Saturday, September 23, 2006
I love Vegas, for the tradeshow at least, but by the time the show is over I am excited to get home to what makes me happiest.
When was the last time you had 5 cyclocross bikes and wheels in the back of your car?
Thanks to my friends at Black Mountain Bicycles (Matt Falon and Rick "Didn't get your last name"), the demo cross bikes were completed late in the evening Thursday night. It's amazing what can get done with a little beer and pizza! Guys- as I said repeatedly at the shop; thanks for bailing my butt out with such very short notice.
The other demo bikes were completed at the Masi Global World Domination Headquarters with the help of a few co-workers who were kind enough to lend their "free"* time to helping Masi not look totally inept. *There is no such thing as "free" time for anybody in the bike industry this time of year.
The fleet of demo bikes includes the all-new CXR cross bike and the new and cool Gran Criterium. Both bikes will be available in each size we make, so make sure that if you are attending Interbike that you bring your pedals and come take a bike for a ride- I KNOW you'll like the ride. See me at demo booth R11! Just keep in mind that since these are demo bikes, the spec isn't 100% the same as the final production. A few have an incorrect stem or wheels or something. Some of the product wasn't available yet and some wasn't available at the last possible second when I realized I needed it.
We picked up the Big Trucks and loaded them with all of our stuff for Vegas, other than the booth stuff that was shipped away on the big semi.
Fortunately I get to drive a smaller box van this year, rather than one of the gigantic trucks.
This is John Webber, one of our sales dogs- he's recently been promoted up to International Sales Manager and is seen here climbing on top of the Masi demo bikes to secure them in the truck. Note how gingerly he is balancing, so as to protect the sweet Masi-goodness. What a gentle guy.
Tomorrow morning, before the crack of dawn, we'll be heading off to Vegas in the three big trucks, the demo trailer and a few smaller vehicles. Once in Vegas, the blogging might drop off again, though I will be trying to blog at night and possibly even a few posts straight from the booth. I promise that I will be taking lots of pictures and will keep my camera handy for celebrity sightings and cool bike stuff.
Time to get my act together and get some laundry done, pack some clothes, get cleaned up and presentable (as if) and spend some time with my family before I'm gone for a week.
See you in Vegas!
Wednesday, September 20, 2006
As I was reading the speech over tonight, for the millionth time I bet, it suddenly dawned on me that parallels could be drawn to the sport of cycling; that life goes on, in light of the struggles and scandals facing the sport (and industry for that matter). Read the speech and you'll see what I mean...
"I feel that this award was not made to me as a man, but to my work--a life's work in the agony and sweat of the human spirit, not for glory and least of all for profit, but to create out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before. So this award is only mine in trust. It will not be difficult to find a dedication for the money part of it commensurate with the purpose and significance of its origin. But I would like to do the same with the acclaim too, by using this moment as a pinnacle from which I might be listened to by the young men and women already dedicated to the same anguish and travail, among whom is already that one who will some day stand where I am standing.
Our tragedy today is a general and universal physical fear so long sustained by now that we can even bear it. There are no longer problems of the spirit. There is only one question: When will I be blown up? Because of this, the young man or woman writing today has forgotten the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about, worth the agony and the sweat. He must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid: and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed--love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, and victories without hope and worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.
Until he learns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal because he will endure: that when the last ding-dong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance. The poet's, the writer's, duty is to write about these things. It is his privilege to help man endure by lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past. The poet's voice need not merely be the record of man, it can be one of the props, the pillars to help him endure and prevail."
Pretty amazing stuff there.
(Just get me to Vegas, put me in my booth and get this thing rolling.)
I am paying the price for poor planning (my fault) and running out of time before the demo/ show.
In the end, things will work out one way or another and "the show will go on"...
Monday, September 18, 2006
Hey there. I have a whopper of a story for you. I will keep it brief and save the details for Interbike and beer. I included some pix. The darker ones were taken with my cell phone.
Guy calls the shop wanting to go on a group ride this past Sunday.
We coordinate the ride, we meet. All 4 us from the shop on our Masi’. He is playing at the York Fair this weekend and travels with the bike…
MASI BICYCLES… IT’S EVERYWHERE YOU WANT TO BE!
Cycling Division Mgr.-Buyer
Ed's Ski & Cycle
1701 S. Queen St.
York, Pa 17403
Hey Tim, just an update from this year's 2006 LOTOJA.
Again, my MASI rode great!
I owe a lot of credit to Ron Bulduc and Troy Scott at Alpine Schwinn in Idaho Falls for all their help and support with my bike. Without Ron's support and Troy's mechanic work, I wouldn't have been able to do as well as I did.
Unlike last year, the weather this year was perfect - 50 degrees F, clear skies, and no wind at the start. Highs gradually reached the mid-70s, with sunshine and a few clouds. Only once did we get sprinkled on for about 1 mile.
Since I am 44 years old, I decided to ride Citizen's 35-44. That way I would only be racing against riders who are at most 9 years younger than me.
Broke away at Preston, hooked up with another strong rider all the way to Alpine (then he was involved a 9 rider crash), and coasted into the finish taking 1st place. Things just went right.
Long version: My group (1100's - Citizen's 35-44) rode really fast from Logan to Preston. We made it to Preston in 1:17 (mile 34). Me and another rider broke away at Preston (made a pee stop just out of Preston) and decided to team up. He (his name was Paul Stempniak) was 2" shorter and probably 25 lbs. lighter than me (I'm 5'8", 179 lbs. racing weight). So I told him he'd leave me on the climbs, but I'd hope to catch him on the descents. We decided that if we were together after Salt River, we'd work as a team to the finish. We had a good feed zone in Preston and didn't know who or how many was in front of us. But I told Paul, that my wife (Carol) would tell me in Montpelier how many 1100's (my group) were ahead of us.
I faded to the back of a group of 8 riders on the hill outside of Preston, but blew past them doing 47 mph on the Riverdale hill (mile 39). Paul and I pushed the pace all the way up Strawberry (elevation 7424), catching lots of Cat. 5 riders along the way. At the Forest Boundary sign (mile 47), I got dropped. Also, I started cramping at the start of Strawberry. I went through an entire bottle of Enervit tabs during the race - I fought off cramping the entire race. At the neutral feed (mile 59) I took a hand up Cliff shot and a water bottle (which I opened and poured over my head ala Floyd). Ramped it up to 45 mph going down Strawberry (mile 62).
I then saw Ron Buldoc and Mike Benson from Alpine Cycle of Idaho Falls (I wouldn't have known it was them, but Ron said "hi" to me and then I noticed Mike's Michelin jersey) on the rollers after Strawberry (mile 65). They had started 48 minutes before me. I was trying to bridge up to the group that was about 1/2 mile in front of me, where I thought Paul was. After I passed Mike and Ron, 2 riders came by me at 29-30 mph and I did all I could to hop on their wheel. They pulled me up to that group. Paul and I then exchanged greetings/information and again decided to work together. He needed to take off his leg and arm warmers in Montpelier and I was just going to grab and go.
When we got into Montpelier (mile 80) , Paul stopped and I got my musette, soft peddled, and waited for Paul. I made sure to get an Enervitene (looking forward to Salt River). I found out from Carol that there was one 1100 rider in front of us.
So Paul and I kept riding our pace (my overall pace was 20.7 mph) bridging up to groups and catching lots of Cat. 5 riders. We kept pushing the pace (because we were looking for that 1100 rider), and those that wanted/could stay on did. We then got to the steep part of Geneva (mile 88, elevation 6923) and I got dropped again, but only by about 50 meters. Then on the downhill, everyone was doing around 38 and I passed them doing 45. They all hopped on and I pulled everyone all the way out to the flats at Geneva. We then had a group of 12 riders going up Salt River which slowly dropped in numbers, until it was down to Paul, I, and 2 other riders. About 1 mile from the neutral feed (mile 106), I started to bonk a little and fell off. Paul kept on going with the other 2 riders. I did not stop at the neutral feed. Took the last part of my Enervitene and started the climb.
Salt River (mile 110, elevation 7630) was its brutal self. (I need to make up an 11-25 cassette. I'm going buy a 12-25 and an 11-23 and make a 12-25.)
I then fought off cramping, spinning my legs out and trying to go as fast as I could doing 47 mph on the downhill. I then I knew I needed to catch Paul, so I started bridging up to every group I could see, running anywhere from 24-27 mph by myself. I then caught Paul just after Smoot (mile 115). We then talked again about where we were and working together. He said that he had passed an 1100 rider on the climb and thought that we were in the lead. We then talked about the Afton feed and when we would need a pee stop. I told Paul that I would be slow at Afton (mile 125) so I made sure to get one water bottle of Coke and he said he would wait for me on the other side and then we'd do a pee stop.
I took a long time in Afton going through my musette, making sure I had a water bottle with Coke and one with water. Also, I forgot to get info on whether or not we were in the lead. I then took off to go catch up to Paul. We stopped about 2 miles north of Afton to pee. We then caught 3 other riders and a tandem and worked with them through most of Star Valley. Paul and I figured we were then in the lead and again agreed to work together. We maybe saw 10 other riders in 30 miles. Paul and I had to teach/educate the other riders on pacelining, but after everyone figured out to only stay out in front (and only let the other riders stay out in front) for 1 minute pulls, things went really well. We ended up dropping the tandem and picking up one other rider.
We were then doing around 31 mph on the downhill before the elk feeding zone south of Alpine (mile 156) when we were passed by a different tandem with about 15 riders who were doing 38 mph. So we jumped on their wheel and ran at 38 mph.
At the elk feeding zone, the group was going up the small hill at 23 mph, with everyone in their saddles, when a Team DNA rider that was 2 riders in front of me was doing something with his water bottle, made 2 swerves and went down. I swerved to the right and missed his foot (which was up in the air) and his rear wheel by 2-3 inches and just heard bodies and bikes hitting the pavement. Paul had been riding just behind me and was unable to miss the downed rider. I kept on riding with the 5 other riders in front. In all, I think 8 or 9 riders went down. I made two quick glances back and saw that Paul had gone down. (I found out later that everyone got up, the DNA rider broke his collar bone, and Paul ended up breaking a spoke and waiting for a wheel from a support vehicle).
So I then pulled into the Alpine feed zone (mile 159), knowing that if Paul had gotten up and was riding, he'd be very sore and wouldn't be able to do much pulling, sprinting, hard riding etc., so I hopped on the wheel of one of the really strong riders that came with the tandem and started up Snake River Canyon. They were in Citizen's 45-54 and Cat. 5 groups and were intent on gaining time on some of the riders that had fell. So, I stayed with them. But I had made the conclusion that I was now in the lead, my main rival had just gone down in a crash, and I had no reason to pull, so I didn't. Our group gathered from 3 riders to 10 to 15 to almost 20 by the time we hit Hoback Junction (mile 181). Then the two Citizen 45-54 riders and about five Cat. 5 riders started to pull away on the rollers north of Hoback Junction and I went with them. At this point and time, I started to regret taking 2 Cokes at Alpine and thinking I should have picked up a Coke and a water. My stomach was starting to kill me.
Then after crossing the Snake River bridge south of Jackson (mile 187), our group exploded the last big hill. The strong riders just rode off and I got dropped. Rode 9 mph up the hill and looked ahead to see my group out in front of me about 100 meters. I bridged up to them by riding 21-22 mph and by them riding only 17-18. The Cat. 5 riders and the Citizens 45-54 riders were starting to play cat and mouse, which had allowed me to catch back up. We then caught another group of 5 riders and rode into Jackson (mile 194).
We caught 2 red lights in Jackson, but no one was behind us for a long ways, so it didn't matter. After the left turn and the last two hills, we caught another group of about 15 riders. By this time I was looking at my computer and looking at my elapsed time, thinking of when I could get a drink of water (not thinking of finishing, just getting a drink of water).
We made the turn to Teton Village (mile 200) and had a group of about 25 riders. There were Cat. 1's, 2's, 3's, Masters, Women's Cat. 4's, Cat. 5's, the Citizens 45-54 riders and I all in this large peleton, with everyone jockeying for space. I stayed toward the front, to the right, on the white line, but away from 5-6 riders who where gearing up for a sprint. We were only riding around 20 mph for the last 6 miles.
Then, out of nowhere, the "5 K to the Finish" sign shows up. Then "4 K to the Finish". I started timing the markers - about 1:40 per K. I could see that all the support vehicles were backed up for at least a mile from Teton Village and was glad that there was a bike chute to ride in for the last 1 K. "Five minutes and I can get a drink of water", I thought. Three minutes. The "1 K to the Finish" sign rolled by. One and a half minutes.
We finally got passed all the cars and at that point the group broke apart and the sprints started. I ended sprinting in, in the front third of the peleton, coming in behind one Cat. 5 rider and nipping another Cat. 5 rider at the finish. Hit my computer to stop the time at 9:56:51. My official time was 9:56:46.
After going through the exit chute, where the race officials take your timing chip and write down your number, I walked over to bike path to where Carol and my kids (Sal & Gabi) met me. It took me a while to come down. I asked Carol for some water and tried to drink it, but I couldn't. My stomach hurt too bad.
It took me about 1/2 hour for me to be able to drink some water. We (my family and I) waited around the finish line for our other friends to come in, which they did, taking 4th, 5th and 11th in Citizen's 45-54. I checked the preliminary results table and verified that I had indeed taken 1st place in Citizen's 35-44 (did I mention that I'm 44 years old?). Walking back to where my friends had gathered, I found Paul. He told me that he had broke a spoke in the crash and asked how I did. I said I came in 1st, the other 1100 rider had came in 15 minutes behind me, and that I believe he had taken 3rd, but he should go to the results table to check. Paul did end up taking 3rd. If he wouldn't have been involved in the crash, my pace would have been faster and we would have sprinted for first.
It took me about 1 hour before I could drink any water or eat any "Cheezit" crackers (the only thing I had that wasn't sweet and sugary). I made Sal and Gabi laugh by asking the same questions about the race 2 and 3 times (being in a stupor for a little while after the race). Although we ate dinner at 8 pm, I woke up at 12:45 am starving, wanting a hamburger and fries.
Without my family as my support crew, things would not have gone as well as they did.
My race was won at the Preston feed zone, 34 miles and 1:17 into the race.
Thanks again for a great ride.
That's some great stuff there!
Sunday, September 17, 2006
After having the chance to get out for a ride yesterday (a rare event on the weekend for me), it was great to get out with my daughter and the dog while my wife slept in. Next Sunday morning, before the sun comes up, I'll be driving a gigantic rental truck to Las Veags for our big tradeshow. I'll be gone for a week, working hard, long days and staying out too late. Yes, I love the show and always have a great time, but I also miss my family very much because they are what I do all of this crazy stuff for in the first place. I love my job, I love this industry and I love the sport of cycling itself, but work is work and a job is still something that takes a lot out of you and eats up the bulk of your life. Family is where it is at for me and I am blessed.It's good to be lucky some days.
(PS- Thanks to Changuito for the camera that made the pics you see possible- you rock dude!)
Tom Ritchey is a long-time "hero" of mine in the bike industry. Gary Boulanger is the man behind the Ritchey PR/Marketing and a big part of the advocacy measuers at the company. The two of them make a hell of a team. Gary is somebody that I know through the industry and we share a lot of the same passions. He's a great guy and a great fit with Ritchey. Masi spec's Ritchey components because they make great stuff, but I have to admit that there is a part of me that enjoys using their parts because of who they are not because of what they sell. Personality goes a long way.
Anyway, if you have that urge to drink really damned good coffee and combine that with a level of compassionate humanitarianism, then you should really buy the Wooden Bike Coffee- I promise you won't regret it.
Saturday, September 16, 2006
Today was one of those days...
I got to hook up with my best friend for a ride- an occurrence that doesn't happen very often because he lives in Los Angeles and I rarely ride on weekends because I try to give as much of that time to my family as I can.
He just returned from a trip to the Netherlands and I had just returned from Montreal, so it was perfect timing for us to get to go for a ride. I dropped my daughter off with my mother and headed over to where my friend was staying. The "plan" was for a nice, leisurely 2-2.5hr ride... great plan.
I got to the house and pulled the bike out of the car... DANG... flat front tire. No sweat, I'll just replace the tube. Tube was replaced, changed into my kit and away we rolled.
We rolled along at a moderate pace since neither of us has had too much saddle time lately. Once we get out into the East County area of San Diego (lots of hills), we ride up a few good climbs and find ourselves on one of the better local climbs (Dehesa, for the locals reading this). Once we get to the top of the climb, I realize I have a slow leak in the rear. Bummer. I find the tiny piece of glass and then pull the tube out and use his spare (since I'd already used mine for the front). I check the tire thoroughly and remount everything. Good to go... and away we went.
We roll down the hill and back the way we came to head home. Once at the bottom, we decide to stop and refill bottles because it is really darned hot. At this time, I realize that the rear tire is feeling mushy. I pull the tire off and check the tube and it is leaking through a hole at the valve stem. Dang! Can't patch that one, so I pull the original flatted tube from the rear and patch it. Patch is good, air up the tire and put the bike back together. Before I can strap the pump back to the frame... another leak appears and the tube goes flat again...
Now I'm pissed and pull the thing out AGAIN and find another hole in the tube, just millimeters from the first patch and on top of it, the tire has a blister where the tread is trying to blow off the casing. Argh... I put patch number two on the tube and place a boot in the tire (a piece of another old tire cut to be a patch for the inside of the tire- for those who don't know what a tire boot is). Everything looks good and now we look ok. Off we go back to home...
By now, we've wasted at least an hour at the convenience store messing around with the flats and getting fluids. Both of us are now getting sore/ cramping from all the stop-start going on. A few miles later... the tire is losing air AGAIN! At this point I am nearly ready to throw the bike into the bushes because I am so frustrated and out of carbohydrates. On top of it all- we have no more spare tubes and I've used up all of the patches. Now I am left with the prospect of stopping and periodically putting aire in the tire and riding until it is time to do the same thing again... not fun.
We stop and put more air in the leaky tube. We get back on the bikes- both of us going cross-eyed now- and head for home... until we have to stop and add more air to the leaky tube.
This happens about three times total until we get home... and the cheeky bastard tries to outsprint me to the top of the hill before the house! Fortunately I knew it was coming because he ALWAYS sprints on the hill there. I'll spare him the embarrassment of saying who won the sprint (it was me).
All in all, a short ride turned into a 5 hour marathon of flats and frustration. But, you know what? It was a beautiful day and I was on my bike riding and talking with my best friend. In the end, just how bad could it be?
Thanks buddy for the patience, the tube and all of your patches.
(Looking back over this all, I know I missed one more flat somewhere because when we added them all up, we came to a total of 6 flats on the day- all of them mine.)
Here's to hell rides and all the good ones inbetween!
Friday, September 15, 2006
Say hello to the newest addition in the land of truly bad ass bikes;
This is the Coltello Aero and it is going to make you faster than you ever thought possible. Perfect for triathlon or time trials and ready to go straight out of the box!
Highlights; Dura Ace 10 speed bar-end shifters, Ultegra rear derailleur, Vision aero bars, FSA carbon cranks, Ritchey Pro DS wheels, straight blade aero carbon fork, bladed/ aero aluminum frame tubing with rear wheel cut out and great geometries. Oh yeah, and a totally kick ass pewter paint that looks like the aluminum frame was anodized and polished. Oh yeah #2, it's got great freakin' graphics too.
You know you want one. Go ahead and admit it...
Thursday, September 14, 2006
I'm tired. Really tired. I should be in bed, but my head is killing me with the same headache I've had all dang day. Coffee didn't chase it away, nor did handfuls of aspirin and Tylenol. I am beginning to think it is just from the change in weather between Montreal and San Diego. Anyway, my head still hurts and I am going to bed after this, but I had a lot of random bits floating around...
1) Smithers had a great post recently about the men and women of this country who are in the military and serving in harm's way in Iraq, Afganistan and other places around the world. I won't pretend that I always agree with Smithers and I try like all heck to avoid politicising this blog, but during my travels back and forth between home and Canada, I had the chance to witness many of these fine men and women. I'm not crazy about this war we are in and wasn't crazy about the first Gulf War either, but I have never strayed from my support of the folks who serve in our military. They are all braver than I could ever hope to be and deserve to be praised for the work they have to do. I don't want to get any further into the topic than that, but I want to make sure that any service person who happens to find this site has my unending support and thanks- we are all better because of you.
2) Reed Pike is the Marketing Manager of one of my competitors, Raleigh/DBR. Reed wrote an incredible editorial in the most recent issue of ROAD magazine (October 2006). It was written in response to the doping scandals of the Tour- apparently before the news about Floyd- and it is a fantastic piece about the enduring love for the sport of cycling that he has and maintains in the face of the recent bad news in cycling. Reed does a great job and I hope that you'll take a few minutes to sit and read it if you can get you hands on a copy of the magazine.
3) The Canadian tradeshow was awesome! It was even better than the show last year and I thought that was pretty spectacular. If the feedback from the Canadian retailers is an accurate barometer of the coming year, Masi will be doing very well. I am so very pumped up after such a great show and the response to all of the bikes was incredible. Overall I'd say things went well and that the retailers liked what they saw. Should make for a good year... especially for the Speciale Fixed. FYI- Go to your retailer and beg them to order yours now before they are all sold out for the year... seriously.
4) Speaking of Montreal... the shooting that took place yesterday in Montreal happened just about two or three blocks from my hotel and is on the route that I took on my ride up Mont Royal the day before and just a couple hours before the shooting. The college is just around the corner from the hotel and is on the way to the mountain. I was walking on the street telling my wife about my morning when the police went driving by in squad cars filled with heavily armed officers. These were the first responders. A short while later I was having lunch and all of the TV's were on the news (though in French) and people were stopping on the street to peer into the windows. I was piecing it together with my crappy high school French when they showed the college and a map and I was a little shocked to say the least. These things are such an abnormality in Canada, which is why the people of the city were so stunned. Montreal is rapidly becoming one of my favorite cities and it really saddened me to see this news. My thoughts and prayers are with all of those who were touched by this tragedy.
4) I'm beginning to feel a little tattoo jinxed; when in Ireland, I scheduled an appointment to get a new tattoo and then the guy didn't show up the next day after I stood in the rain waiting for nearly an hour. While in Montreal, I saw a cool looking tattoo parlor while I was on my ride after the last day of the tradeshow. I went back that evening, but they were closing for the night- I ask you, what kind of tattoo parlor closes at 8:00PM? The guy then told me that they only work by appointment, normally, and that I had to have artwork ready to go. He said that they might be able to squeeze me in the next morning, if I had my artwork ready to go- they didn't do "stock" tattoos and didn't have any artwork for me to look at and choose from. Now, I have a few people working on artwork for me, but I really just wanted to get something that would be my special Montreal tattoo. Needless to say, I was a bit bummed out and decided to just go for a ride in the morning and skipped going back.
5) I need a new digital camera. The trip to Ireland killed my camera. Somehow, packed away in my luggage (thanks to the security in London that prevented me from being able to carry my camera on the plane), my camera was killed by the airlines. Thanks to this, the pictures I tried to take in Montreal really didn't come out;
I don't normally look like I'm melting- even if it is raining. This is supposed to be a pretty picture of me on a bridge overlooking the river... but...
So you won't be getting any great photos from the show this year. Sorry.
6) Lawrence Barber, the International Sales Manager for Haro Bicycles (and Masi) left the company last Friday to pursue a different carreer in the electronics industry. Lawrence had been with the company for about 12 years and his departure will be felt for a long time, not the least by me. Over the nearly two years that we worked together, Lawrence became a good friend and I really wish him well. Lawrence and I worked closely together to try to grow the international sales of Masi. He'll be missed- especially when I need change to buy a soda.
Tuesday, September 12, 2006
I'm so tired I can barely hold my eyes open... so I'm going to stop trying.
(PS- I tried getting a new tattoo while here, but you need an appointment and completed artwork first... so I guess I'll have to wait for Vegas.)
All of the new bikes have been getting great feedback from the retailers and other manufacturers, so things are looking very good for the products. Now it is time to start selling them and getting consumer feedback as well- it's pretty exciting.
The conversations have been great, talking about bikes with other folks like me who love cycling and the sport of cycling. With all that has happened in the press about cycling, it is great to see so much undiminished passion. I spoke to an older gentleman, a British transplant in Canada, who raced with the British legend Tom Simpson (the one who died on the Ventoux during the Tour de France). Needless to say, I got goosebumps.
Ok, time for the final day of the show.
Talk to you again later.
Friday, September 08, 2006
The earliest date associated with its invention is 1957, which is when restaurantuer Fernand LaChance of Warwick claims that a take-out customer at his restaurant Lutin Qui Rit, requested french fries, cheese in a bag, to which the restaurantuer responded: "ça va faire une maudite poutine" (That's going to make a damn mess"). In his 2005 obituary, CTV.ca quoted Eddy Lanaisse as that original customer: "I wanted fries, but I saw cheese curds on the counter. I asked Fernand to mix them together.". LaChance's restaurant eventually closed, and so there exists no present day monument to this earliest claim.
Adding sauce to the cheese to curds/fries mixture was a later innovation. The owner of restaurant Roy le Jucep (1050 boul. St. Joseph, Drummondville Quebec; website ), Jean-Paul Roy, also claims the title of "The Inventor of Poutine", dating his claim in 1964. Jucep's claim stems from having made a potato sauce, which he was slathering on fries sold in his restaurant. He also sold bags of cheddar cheese curds - which are sold widely in the region, bought as a handy, portable snack - which he noticed customers were adding to his fries and sauce. Soon after, he made the combination a regular menu item. (See Reviews for a review of Roy le Jucep poutine).
By the late 1970s, poutine had made its way to New York and New Jersey, where it is often sold as an "off menu" item in a modified form -- 'disco fries'. This concoction is french fries, a beef gravy, and shredded, usually cheddar, cheese. The cheese melts completely, mixes in with the gravy, and the dish is a mess, and a delicious one enjoyed by late-night partiers of the disco crowds in the days before low-fat, Atkins and smart drinks.
The cheese used in a classic poutine is not simply a cheddar cheddar, but cheddar cheese curds, which come in finger-tipped sized hunks, with a briny taste, not unlike that you'll find in cottage cheese.
Like burritos, poutines are found with a wide range of styles, both in high-end and low-end restaurants, as well as at home. Quebec natives can be heard to exclaim "That's not poutine!" in response to the many variants which have popped up. But, as with any cuisine too good (and too easy) to keep a lid on, poutine has found many different expressions.
Within Montreal, one can find "Poutine Italianne", using a marianara sauce. Occasionally, one comes across a poutine in which an actual gravy (using a roux from flour and drippings, combined with milk or cream) is unapologetically used instead of the classic sauce. At-home chefs regularly whip up a poutine with bottled BBQ sauce for a quick bite for the kids (or themselves).
It's historically unclear what kind of sauce is the basis for classic poutine. The poutine served at "Le Roy Jucep", which claims to have invented the poutine sauce, is a sweet-sour tomato-based mixture, which will not be unfamiliar to those who have had Chef Boy-ar-dee Spagghetti-Os. The origins are obscured somewhat by the fact that Quebec natives strongly prefer an "instant" kind made by the chain restaurant St. Hubert, available in packages at grocery stores. Simple comparisons around the city of Montreal town make it appear that the classic sauce is a chicken-based velouté which should not be confused with a "gravy", the important difference being that stock is used as the base in a velouté, while milk or cream is used in gravy. And, nonetheless, gravy is used in the aforementioned 'disco fries', a poutine derivative. However, simply counting up the sauces as they are made today, the vast majority of Montreal restaurants employ the chicken-based velouté, with variations around town. Today, delicious poutines are made with a wide range of sauces, including marianara, black mole, and Parisienne (or, Allemande) sauce.
The Embarrassment of Poutine
Poutine used to be considered embarrassing to the local French-Canadian population, known for excellent high-cuisine. Considered a low, rural food, it was thought to lack that cosmopolitan verve. But, with the rise of low-food popularity internationally, and the great interest of travelling gourmands in local recipes and low-foods, poutine has risen in local, as well as international interest. Nonetheless, the history of the embarrassment helps explain the difficulty in finding a good poutine, and why many people outside of Quebec have never heard of it.
In a November 1991 CBC report on poutine, Canada's largest broadcaster asked, on-camera, the Quebec premier Robert Bourassa if he liked poutine. He immediately walked away from the podium, "I'm sorry, I have to go, I have a really important meeting." His office refused to answer the question in follow-up calls. The same question to the opposition Parti-Quebecois leader Jacques Pariseau got the exact same response: he refused to answer, either directly on-camera, or in calls to his office.
Usually, to get a politician to refuse to answer a question requires finding a mistress somewhere. There can be no doubt that poutine was considered such a low food, it was embarrassing to be known to like it. But, it was also so common in Quebec, that to deny having even had it would have been laughably unbelievable.
Why would anyone consider eating poutine to be embarrassing? We don't know for sure, but it may stem from its association with the cheddar curds. In the eastern townships where poutine was invented (Warwick, Drummondville), it seems to have happened there due to the ready availability of these daily-fresh, briny curds, which people buy in small bags and snack on, like Doritos. It seems that some consider this to be a bit of a back-water habit - perhaps not unlike snacking on fried pork rinds in the American South. Take a back-water eating habit, and meld it together with a starchy plate of fried potatoes and a sauce, and, somehow the association rubs off.
Which is too bad for some. The history of low-food developing into fantastic cuisine is rich: lobsters, cassoulet, burritos, okra -- all of these were once down-market items, but whose flavor potential overcame their birth-station, and are now internationally favored.
Oh man, my mouth is watering already...
More details in the near future.
Chris King Announces 2006 Pretty & Strong Special Edition Series
Special Edition Program Supporting Susan G Komen Foundation Enters Third Year
Portland, OR, September 1, 2006- Chris King Precision Components will expand its Pretty & Strong program from a limited edition series to a special edition series with year-round availability of components beginning September 1, 2006. The program will continue its support of breast cancer research awareness with a portion of the proceeds from each sale of related products donated to the Susan G Komen Breast Cancer Foundation.First offered in 2004, the program featured the company’s acclaimed sealed bearing bicycle headsets and hubs in a unique pink anodized finish. In 2005, the program expanded to include headset spacers, stemcaps, and t-shirts. Response to the 2005 program resulted in a donation of over $10,000 to the Oregon and Southwest Washington Affiliate of the Komen Foundation. Consumer interest well after the 2005 dates of availability and retailer feedback have led the company to extend availability year-round beginning in September.
“Demand for these components is not limited to just a few months per year,” said Jeff Menand, Sales Supervisor for Chris King Precision Components. “Even more so, there are people wanting to make a connection to this cause throughout the year. We recognize that commitment and have given pink an enduring position in our product assortment.”
“Chris King Precision Components is a great supporter of the Komen Foundation, and a tremendous advocate for early detection of breast cancer,” said Christine McDonald, Executive Director of the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation’s Oregon and Southwest Washington Affiliate. "It is organizations like this that make a remarkable difference in our community and the fight against breast cancer."
About Chris King Precision Components
Chris King Precision Components is widely recognized as a leading manufacturer of precision bicycle components and is located in Portland, Oregon, often noted as North America’s best city for bicycling. The company provides sales and service support to over 3000 authorized dealers throughout the United States and to distributors in 24 countries worldwide. Chris King is an official supplier to the Discovery Channel Pro Cycling Team and supports numerous regional and national bicycle programs. The company will be celebrating its 30th anniversary in 2006.
For more information about Chris King Precision Components, visit: www.chrisking.com
Wednesday, September 06, 2006
So I'll pick up from there...
The Masiwife overlooking the river Nore that runs through the middle of the city (which, by the way, is packed full of trout- you see them all over the place in the river... [Anne- talking to you]).
Yep, me at the same spot on the river... it was really pretty, jeesh...
Kilkenny castle- just a block away from where we stayed in the town.
It's a pretty impressive site, with a massive (as in "as far as the eye can see" lawn). It was built in the 1100's (that's 300+ years before the Americas were "discovered").
The Masiwife says it is "her" castle and licked the doorknob to claim it... so don't even try and take it.
This is the back of the Butler House, where we stayed. That's the Masiwife soaking in more Irish "sunshine" (that's light rain to you and me).
Ireland was beautiful. Kilkenny was amazing, the people very friendly and the scenery amazing. If you are on the fence about visiting Ireland, get off the fence and go!
Tuesday, September 05, 2006
Here's the Masidaughter in the airport in New York as we waited for our connecting flight to London... oh yeah, wedged under her arm is her best friend Rainbow Bear (she's had Rainbow Bear since she was born and he/ she/ it has now seen Europe).
Me in the train station in Dublin, waiting for our train to Kilkenny. It's a pretty cool "old world" style train station...
Check out the "old world" train cars...
Dragging the luggage from the train station to the hotel on the other end of Kilkenny...
Kilkenny castle was just a couple hundred meters from our hotel/ B & B...
In case you were wondering, yes I did obey the sign. I try not to argue with direct orders from large pint glasses.
Ok, more to follow. Bed for now...
Monday, September 04, 2006
The Vuelta a Espana (Tour of Spain people...) is on it's first rest day today. I wish I could say I've been following it more closely this year, as I think it is a great event, but I've just been so busy trying to get caught back up after my vacation. However, it has been a great racce so far- from what I've seen. Best of all? Alexandre Vinokourov getting two stage wins and proving that his legs are back and they are strong. His wins give Astana new life and help them with trying to retain riders and sign new ones. Alejandro Valverde is currently in the lead and barring incident could pull of the win- even this early in the game. He's just such a classy rider, with tons of talent, so it is merely a matter of "when" versus "if" he will win a Grand Tour. In my mind, he's in the driver's seat now and has all the potential to put his name in the record book.
DT Swiss has released some new wheels at Eurobike (the big European bike industry trade show, for those who don't know) that are simply gorgeous. I love my Shimano wheels, largely because I have been unsuccessful in trying to kill them (which means a lot to me), but the new DT wheels are smokin' hot!
Eurobike also reminds me of the fact that in less than a week I'll be in Montreal for the BTAC/ Expocycle tradeshow and then in Vegas for Interbike at the end of the month. Show season, as I keep saying, is super stressful because of all the details that need to be coordinated (and I know I am going to screw some of them up). However, it is also my favorite time of year to be a part of this wonderful/ goofy business. I get to see all my industry friends, see some of my heroes (yes, I'm talking about Eddy) and generally talk to lots of people who are just as passionate about cycling as I am. I love this crazy time of year and can't wait to get things rolling in Canada (though sadly this year it happens on the weekend that my father is coming in to town for my nephew's baptism and I will be gone).
Hope you are having a great Labor Day holiday (if you're in the US). I think I might just slip into some lycra and go ride a bike...
Saturday, September 02, 2006
I haven't been in the water in a very long time... way too long again. The last time I went it had been a long time since I'd gone out. I have to break that little habit. Each time I go out and fish I tell myself I won't wait so long before I do it again. Well...
There really is something about standing in the water, in the dark, waving a big stick in the air and casting a line out into the water. The waiting for that bump...bump, bump...bump, bump, pull... is just something special. With each goofy scream of, "FISH ON", the fun just keeps growing. Three of us guys giggling like school girls in our waders- it's pretty darned funny... and fun.
Thanks to Chad and Spot for a great evening of goofery and great fish fun.
Oh yeah, the fish count;
Me- 4 landed, one spit the fly and one monster strike that I fouled up.
Chad- 3 landed, one spit fly and a couple good wind knots.
Spot- 2 landed, a couple good strikes, one spit fly (I think) and the best casting technique of us all (but then again, it's what he does for a living...)
Friday, September 01, 2006
My blogging buddy and Bob Roll's business partner, Bitch Kittie, has started her own blog. You will likely remember her from her running commentary on this site during the Tour DAY France. It was great having her come play with us here and many of you seemed to like her (for some weird reason), so now you have another avenue to read her rantings. Go pay her a visit and tell her the Masiguy sent you... just to piss her off... (oh yeah, if you go to the Bob Roll site, check out the bio on Bob...)
My friend Dave Parrett, over at Thomson, has a gifted son who is racing on a Masi. I mentioned him before, but Christian is still a Junior rider and managed to pull off a great race win recently, beating the Senior 3 field... by lapping the field in the closing laps of the circuit race. Amazing from a kid as young as he is. I'd say it was the bike, but I know better. Anyway, if you've got time to kill, you can check out a cool video of the race (men's cat 3), complete with nice victory salute as he crosses the line. It's 50 minutes long, so if you are in a crunch for time, just go straight to the 35 minute area. Congratulations Christian!
Ok, I gotta go get in the car and head home. Have a great weekend everybody!