Friday, November 30, 2007
For the record, since his version of the story differs slightly from reality, here's what happened;
We left from my place and got about 5 miles out and were riding on a fairly crappy section of road with a bad lighted intersection. The asphalt is really bumpy from all the buses and large delivery trucks that pass through. Squirrel was riding behind me and keeping an eye on the ground, avoiding the nasty potholes/ asphalt mounds, when the light at the intersection turned red. Since that particular intersection is one you do NOT want to run at the light, I applied the stoppers... while Squirrel was still avoiding potholes. He looked up just in time to see my largeness becoming rapidly larger in front of him. But it was a bit too late and he ran right in to me- essentially taking the bike out from under me. We both hit the deck pretty good- I skid across the ground on the heel of my carbon soled shoes (burned a hole through the heel) before landing right on my tail bone. He ate up his ankle and knuckles pretty good too. But both of us got up and we rode an additional 48+ miles, for about 53 miles on the day. Since he was coming off of recovering from shoulder surgery, the crash was a little bit spooky for us both, but he was just a little bruised and we were both laughing as we rode away. The fallout for me is that my tail bone is still super sore. Almost as sore as when I cracked it in a crash on the track during a race 4 years ago. I feel better on my bike saddle than I do in a chair, but I can't get too much power generated. Standing to climb or sprint is a little painful and applying 100% power while seated is nearly impossible. BUT... nothing seems to be really messed up and I think I can continue riding as things heal.
It's been dumping rain here all day, but it will hopefully stop and dry out so that I can ride tomorrow morning. If the rear end can handle the ride without too much problem and the weather cooperates, then I'll try racing at the track on Sunday morning. During the winter this year, there will be races on the first Sunday of each month. I'm hoping to get out and put some punishment on my legs and see just where they really are. Maybe, if I'm still too sore, I'll just sandbag and ride the B or C group races, instead of the A races. I'd rather get some laps than not get any laps. Plus, it's always good to hang at the track with all my fellow racers. So we'll see what happens Sunday- I'll try to remember the camera too.
Enjoy your weekend, whether you walk, ride, run, swim or simply read a good book. Enjoy it.
Thursday, November 29, 2007
Wednesday, November 28, 2007
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.
These words have remained with me since I was a Junior in high school, when I read them the first time in a creative writing class. Now, they hold new meaning and even greater significance.
(PS- Thank you for your emails today.)
Tuesday, November 27, 2007
All of that said, it will come as a surprise to nearly everyone who has been a regular reader of this blog that I am in the midst of a divorce. Out of respect for the privacy of my ex-to-be and our children, I am not going to go into any details about the divorce. Like many marriages, we had problems for years and they eventually took their toll on our marriage. We've been separated for several months now and that is the major reason why my postings here and elsewhere have been less frequent. I've had a lot on my mind outside of blogging, to say the very least.
The most important issue for me is my kids and they both seem to be handling all of this very well. My wife/ ex-to-be and I have been working very hard to protect their lives and keep things as normal as possible. This means that we share custody on a week on/ week off schedule so that we both have real, quality time with both children. I won't lie and say things are perfect, because they certainly aren't, but things are going as well as one might hope they would.
Why am I choosing to blog about this all now? Well, for a number of reasons- it's easier than sending a ton of emails to all the people I know, it keeps me from explaining what is happening in my life one uncomfortable conversation at a time (which really is more painful than tedious) and because I have been such a proponent of transparency in blogging- it seems I should put my money where my mouth is. During a "conversation" with my ex over the weekend, she pointed out the fact that my blog has been all about the good things happening in my life. She also pointed out that I have been living in a bit of a vacuum- not talking to anybody about the divorce or any of the things happening in my non-blog life. I realized she was right, so here I am.
I'm not fishing for sympathy or support or anything. I'm simply getting this "confession" off my chest so I can get back to my job and focus on what I need to focus on. Family first, so the posting will continue to be sporadic and will continue to jump around. I have turned off comments for this post because I am not asking for a big discussion, I just want to move on- both privately and professionally.
This time in my life feels like such a Greek tragedy; this is the best time of my professional life and yet the worst time of my private life. Still, I know some folks who are in far worse shape than myself and I try to recognize that blessing every day, no matter how hard it might be some days.
I thank all of you who have become regular readers and friends. As corny as it might sound, I really do feel lucky to have the community that has grown around this blog- I am humbled more than you know by each comment and each new friend.
Regular bike-related posting to follow soon... I promise.
PS- I also ask that you keep my ex-to-be in your thoughts and prayers too. Divorce is never easy for either party involved.
Monday, November 26, 2007
Sunday, November 25, 2007
Azuma, my distributor in Japan, set up this booth with the other brands they distribute; Easton Components, Kore Components and Cervelo bicycles being the biggest... aside from Masi, of course.
The Masi sign stood out really well in the sea of brand banners.
Looked good from a distance too.
Me, hanging out with the bikes- I really liked the way the Coltello race frame was built up as an urban fixie with riser bar and suede Keirin saddle. Hiro, my Keirin racing brother at Azuma built the bike up and was very eager to know what I thought of it. He was very happy that I liked it. It was really great to watch the Japanese consumers flock to it and take pictures with their cameras and camera phones.
One of the coolest things was the Japanese version of the Masi catalog. It's really cool, for me, to see all the Masi stuff written up in Kanji. I'll have to scan a few pages of the catalog this week and post them here- I got a big kick out of it.
Nothing makes a product guy happier than watching people stare at your products. Since I don't speak Japanese, I couldn't really talk to many of the consumers and mostly hovered around, waiting for the chance to answer questions when possible. It was awesome to see the reception the bikes were getting. I spent the two days of the show smiling from ear to ear. (Terai-san is the man in the grey suit waving and Masa Nagoya is standing next to him in the pink shirt.)
There were also test bikes there and they were on the road nearly constantly! Many of the test riders came back with very large smiles after riding the bikes... which in turn had me smiling very broadly too.
Needless to say, I was very happy with the experience of the show and I hope to be able to return next year. Today (Sunday) is the last day of the Osaka part of Cycle Mode and I am anxiously waiting to hear from my friends in Japan how the show went there. I am hoping that next year I can attend both shows; travel to Tokyo for the first show there, then travel to Taiwan to get my work there done and then return to Japan for the Osaka show. I think that would be a perfect trip... so if my bosses happen to read this... thanks in advance!
Next up; other cool products from Japan... and there were plenty.
Thursday, November 22, 2007
The Princess, Daddy and Gramma.
The Special Guest... and he was a good one.
Jackson Carter (getting his groove on)- my sister Mandy's son.
Jackson and The Princess.
My nephew Gianluca, with his mommy (my sister) Sara.
Mandy with Gianluca, Harry (Sara's husband, Gianluca's daddy and my brother-in-law), Mom and my step-dad Rick.
Unky Jeff (father of Jackson, husband of Mandy and my brother-in-law) with Gianluca.
Wednesday, November 21, 2007
I am thankful for;
My children- happy and healthy, thank God.
The friends I have- both in the flesh and those of you I've never actually met.
The job I have that allows me to travel the country and the world- all because of bicycles.
Bicycles- without them I wouldn't have my great job.
The ability to still ride a bike- even if less often than I would like and below the level I would like. Every ride is better than no ride at all.
The ability to be thankful for something, no matter how small or insignificant it might seem to somebody else.
I hope that you have at least a little something you can feel thankful for too. Enjoy Thanksgiving- even if it just means you don't have to work. Be thankful for that and go for a ride. Always remember, things can always get worse. This year, I have been reminding myself of that... more than in previous years. I'm thankful I can still believe it.
Have a great Thanksgiving and spend it doing whatever makes you happy, whether that is being with family and eating turkey (or turkey tofu) or just riding your favorite road or trail. Regardless, enjoy the day and be thankful.
PS- More Taiwan and Japan pictures and stories coming.
Tuesday, November 20, 2007
Monday, November 19, 2007
I will have a much larger post, or posts, with many photos from Japan and stories, but I simply must reiterate my many thanks to all of the wonderful people I have met this week in Japan. I can not say enough about how honored I have been to meet so many generous people. Japan has made a very lasting impression on me and I look forward to returning many times in the future- both for business and pleasure.
I know I will miss a few people, but I have to thank the amazing people from Azuma (my Japanese distributor); Takaichi Terai (President of the company and the most incredible host- I can not thank you enough), Tetsu Furuta (the man who really helped to get Masi into Japan, as well as me), Masa Nagoya (a very good man who was a big help getting Masi into Japan as well) Ishibashi- "Ishi" (guided me from the airport to the hotel and frequently served as interpreter), Masaomi Aoki, Ryozo Fujioka, Hori (a fellow keirin racer) and others who I have forgotten. There was also the very beautiful Kumiko, who assisted in the booth and was also very kind.
I hate to finish this post without more stories or pictures, but I have too little time left to wander and explore this beautiful city. I will have more later.
Once again, thank you to all of the many wonderful people who made me feel so welcome here in Japan. I am without words to thank you adequately.
Sunday, November 18, 2007
I certainly hope that I am lucky enough to return next year and as many years as possible afterwards. Fortunately, the Japanese market represents some great potential for the brand, so I have a legitimate reason to return. I will be working on some special bikes, just for Japan, in the coming months and years. The Japanese market is similar, yet very different from the US market. Bikes that I can not sell in the US are very popular here. I am very fortunate to have the distributor (Azuma) here that I do.
I will have more pictures from the show- the booth, the bikes, the people and products- later tonight or tomorrow morning.
To Japan and the people of Tokyo, I wish to say thank you- supashi-bo. I will forever be an admirer of Japan and the people.
Friday, November 16, 2007
I LOVE JAPAN! There... I said it... and I feel better now for having done it. Tokyo is beyond comprehension until you see it for yourself. I am beyond words for this experience. I actually really enjoy Taiwan too- especially the people- but there is something otherworldly about Japan. The beauty just seems to never stop. I am in constant awe of the city.
This is the night view from my room in the hotel... amazing. I am in the area of Tokyo known as Asakusa. It has one of the most famous temples in Japan. It was once the seat of the nation's power, during the Shogun era.
I still feel pretty unworthy of being here... not that I'm going to tell my boss or coworkers that...
Visiting the bike shops was really great and I'll have more pictures from that later, but now I have to run down to the lobby for another mindblowing meal.
I'll have more later- promise- but I have to get ready to leave and visit bike shops in the city today; I am VERY excited about that.
Thursday, November 15, 2007
Had mild panic attack this morning, with less than an hour before my driver for the airport showed up, because I thought I'd lost my passport! I ripped through all my bags and everything I was carrying. I sent a panicked email home to the office, asking "WHAT DO I DO?" Then I took a deep breath and started digging through the pockets of all the clothes I've worn this week... and found the passport where I left it. The thought of missing my flight or entire trip to Japan because of a missing passport had me in a cold sweat. Needless to say... I'm happy it is in my pocket right now- safe and sound.
Gonna board the plane in a moment, so sayonara!
Wednesday, November 14, 2007
Tomorrow I hope to be able to report on happenings in Japan and add more pictures from there and additional ones from here in Taiwan. I've taken tons of pictures as usual- I really do need to create a flickr gallery... but I'm lazy.
Little side story to Taiwan; right now, Taiwan is hosting the Baseball World Cup. The US team is staying here in the same hotel as me- along with the Japanese team (ironic, I know). For days I have been watching these young men and the team staff come and go from the hotel and have been eating breakfast with them at the buffet each day. In fact, the day I got in, they had just arrived back from a game and I ended up riding the elevator with a few of them. They looked like kids to me, though they are probably only about 10-15 years younger than me (shut up). That first night, after I got into my room and changed, I headed out the front door to go get a bite to eat. As I walked out, I was mobbed by a group of either Taiwanese or Japanese baseball fans (I wasn't sure from the accents), asking if I was "famous coach of American-style baseball team". Markers and magazines/ game programs/ autograph books were jammed under my nose to be signed... but I just couldn't take the credit for the team and politely explained that I was not associated with the team. I don't think they believed me, since I was wearing a ball cap (though it said "Dura Ace" on it). Tonight, I sat in the hotel lounge/ bar to have my dinner and a beer. On the wall sized projector TV screen, team USA and team Taiwan were locked in a great battle- both are favored to finish the series very well. It was pretty funny to see the young faces of the players in uniform and on TV, rather than on the elevator or eating. I have to admit that I was rooting for them a little harder than I might've under normal circumstances.
It's only a little after 9:00PM here now, but I'm falling asleep as I type and I have a long day of travel ahead. I talk to you from Tokyo...
Tuesday, November 13, 2007
It was a great time, even with the dramatic slow down the next day.
The past two days have been full of time in the factory, as well as more visits to vendors. Some new and some that I met back in January.
I have spent time in three different decal factories the past tow days. Two of the vendors I already work with and one is a potential new vendor. The companies range from giant sized companies with operating room, ultra-modern facilities to a more "humble" one. But, the amazing work coming from each of the three is breathtaking... literally at times- the smell of the chemicals will make you a little lightheaded... which was painful yesterday. In one maker, I saw the decals being made for Trek, Specialized and Pinarello- among many, many others. In another I saw a lot of Giant decals being made along with another super high-end Italian brand (no need to mention the name and cause more "real" versus "fake" debates here). And a few hours ago I saw more Trek and Specialized decals, along with some really cool Euro brands I saw in Germany a few months ago. Let's just say, I'm in good company with the brands I share decal vendors with.
I've also met with a really great frame vendor with tons of potential for the brand and a few parts vendors. Great visits all around. It's fun to see the people who you work with and give them a catalog so they can see what you do with their parts. And, I can tell you, the SoulVille and the other steel bikes in the line are as popular in Taiwan as they are in the US.
For all you old school retro grouches, like me, you might be interested to know that I have a meeting with SunTour tomorrow... which is cool. Great brand with great history- kinda feels familiar.
Ok, time to run for now so I can go get some dinner before the jetlag kicks in again and I fall over.
Alare forks getting ready to get painted and then heading to decal.
A sea of Speciale Fixed frames... in both colors! (YEAH!) How about some steel forks to go with those frames?
Beautiful Vincere frames waiting for building- that Ruby Red paint is something you have to see in person. And a stack of the forks as well.
Makes a Brand Manager's heart get all fluttery...
Ok, time to run off to the factory and off to see some more vendors.
My last full day here, today. Tomorrow is a travel day to Tokyo. More from there... I promise.
Sunday, November 11, 2007
At Interbike this year, my booth was across the aisle from fellow Vista residents and bike industry brothers/ sisters Zoot Sports. Brandt Furgerson, Director of Product, and I paid each other some mutual compliments during the show- they have an awesome line of tri products and they really liked my bikes. Zoot just recently unveiled a new line of high performance lightweight running shoes designed specifically for the tri market... and Brandt was kind enough to give me a pair before I left for Taiwan.
Keep in mind, I do not run and will never do a triathlon because of that. However, I have weird feet- long and super narrow and I over pronate big time. But, because of the weird feet, I have all kinds of problems with my feet and knees. Running shoes tend to be a bit more comfortable for me, due to the extra support and stability. I will never put the shoes through their proper paces, but I will wear them with a smile!
Yes, that's Taichung out the window.
The speedlace system is really convenient- especially when having to pull your shoes off to get through security at the airports.
The holes in the sole, near the toes, are drain holes for competing in triathlons- perfect for when you are drenched in sweat or dumping water over your head to cool off.
The interior is totally seamless too, so they are mega comfy without socks... even though I opted to wear socks. And, seeing as how I'm a bike nerd, the soles even have a little carbon fiber insert in them... so that's cool.
If you are in the market for a new pair of running/ triathlon shoes, I highly, highly recommend that you consider the Zoot Ultra Comfort+ shoes. If my unhappy, bony feet like them, then I am sure your more normal feet will too.
(PS- Thanks again Brandt!)
The weather today is really very nice- warm and humid, but not hot and sticky. Rain is in the forecast though, so it could get a lot wetter around here.
Yesterday was also Pete's birthday, so we're doing a little celebrating tonight. Happy b-day "sticker boy"!
The jet lag is kicking my butt now, especially after not sleeping well again, so I am going to lie down and take a little nap.
It was a little grey when I first got up this morning, but it got pretty nice after breakfast.
Taiwan is still such an amazing place to me. Since this is only my third trip over here, the novelty hasn't worn off yet- though the flying part certainly has. The city of Taichung, as well as what I saw of Taipei, is such a series of contradictions. The cities are a little smelly and dirty and crammed with teeming life, but then you turn a corner and walk into a beautiful garden or a small rice field. It's such a weird "balance" of new, old, modern, ancient, ugly, pretty... it takes getting used to. That said, as I have said before, the Taiwanese people are simply amazing. The warmth and kindness of so many of the people is just awesome. One day, I'm bringing my bike with me and heading off to the mountains and down to the coast. I have been told it is some of the most beautiful scenery in the world- and I look forward to exploring it one day.
Time to get out and go for a walk and take some pictures. See what has changed around here since January. Already had breakfast at 6:30, since I couldn't sleep. It's Sunday morning here now (9:00AM), so I think I might go get some tea and take in the sights, sounds and smells of the city.
I'll be back with more soon.
Thursday, November 08, 2007
So to all my friends and readers, I'll pop back up a little later!
(And don't forget the contest...)
Wednesday, November 07, 2007
San Diego, CA- November 7th, 2007- Tim Jackson of Masiguy pseudo-fame, announced a new promotional contest for the month of November. Now until the end of November, readers of the Masiguy blog can attempt to guess the number of SockGuy manufactured socks in Mr. Jackson's sock drawer. When asked, Mr. Jackson stated, "it's a lot of socks, but SockGuy makes so many wonderful designs and they are such good guys, I just can't stop myself from acquiring more and more of them." Readers must correctly guess the number of pairs of socks in Masiguy's drawer before the end of November. If nobody guesses correctly, the reader who guesss the closest to the actual number wins. The winner, or winners in case of a tie, will receive a gift pack of socks from SockGuy and a Kryptonite lock (if Mr. Jackson can find the box of locks that used to sit under his old desk, courtesy of his good friend, the Kryptonite Marketing Goddess- Donna Tocci). All entries must be posted in the comment section of the Masiguy blog (this post) before December 1st. One entry per contestant. No refunds. No exchanges. Some readers may experience dizziness or mild upset stomach. Side effects may include slight gassiness, shortness of breath, mild warm fuzzies and in rare cases the belief that something intelligent was written.
So, yeah, there is new contest. Winner gets "some socks and a lock". Pretty freakin' cool if you ask me. Winner gets a nice little assortment of cool socks from SockGuy, including a pair of Masi socks- of course- and a nice new lock from Kryptonite.
To assist you in your guessing, I have a couple pictures for you;
These are just the SockGuy socks I have. Hint- at the time of this photo, I'd just finished my laundry and was wearing a pair of SockGuy socks, so add one pair to your guess.
Here are the non-SockGuy socks- roughly 1/3 the number of SockGuy socks.
Seriously, I love all my socks. Many of the socks I have were given to me as gifts. Though the SockGuy socks are my favorite socks for fit and comfort, I love the other socks too and I am grateful for each pair... but this is a contest to guess the SockGuy socks! The folks at SockGuy have been very kind to me over the years and they are buddies of mine, so I wanted to throw them some more love... as if all those Daily Drive posts weren't enough. My good friend Donna Tocci, from Kryptonite, has also been very good to me over the years and was kind enough to send me some locks a while back (and now I have to find them, after the office move of the past couple weeks). Since I have good friends, YOU get the chance to benefit from those friendships.
Went up to Shimano's HQ today for the yearly new product meeting. As always, I can't say anything about what I saw and I always respect that request and won't broke those rules now. BUT... cool stuff is coming.
Other than that, my good friend at Shimano- Daniel Limburg- took us out on a really fun MTB ride at Aliso Woods. Yes... I rode an MTB... one with 26" wheels too. Won't say what brand, though it wasn't a Haro, but I sure did have fun. It's been at least two years since I've ridden a geared mountain bike and an even longer time since I've ridden trails that were as demanding as these were (for me). The XT group was awesome... not that I have any idea of how anything else works. My only complaint was that the demo bike I was on was possibly a little small, though an XL sized bike, so I could not keep the front end on the ground. Even on the slightest rise, the front end wanted to lift off the ground. That said, I didn't crash once and I cleared everything without getting off and walking- which is pretty amazing for me. The trails and the scenery were both awesome. For as poor a mountain bike rider as I am, I really do enjoy riding in the dirt and I really had a good time stepping outside of my usual comfort zone. Daniel, myself, Jill Hamilton and Wayne Doran rode the trails and tested some new stuff... and I really had a blast.
Thanks to Shimano for the usual great hospitality... even if there wasn't any sushi involved.