Thursday, June 30, 2005

The Tour draws ever nearer...

I can hardly believe that Le Tour is just two days away (less if you want to get really technical about it). I hate to admit that I've even gotten in on a Bike Geek office pool. I won't bore you with my picks, but it is probably a lot like most other people's...

Will he or won't he? I can't wait for that question to finally get answered so we can move on with our cycling lives. No offense to Tex, it's just that the rest of the actual race seems totally secondary now. How amazing an impact he has had on the event. When he won the first one in 1999, I never ever would have assumed that he would have such an eclipsing effect on the sport and the Tour. Lance- Congratulations on one hell of a legacy. I wish you'd been riding my bikes instead, but you done good anyway.

The podium could be a real surprise this year if Lance actually does stumble this time around. Ullrich, of course, but also Basso, Landis, Leipheimer, Mayo, Vinokourov, Michael Rogers, Bradley McGee. Notice a lot of names of English speakers in that list? Amazing, isn't it. And that's for GC contenders. There are more for stage wins too- Julich, Horner (my personal favorite- GO CHRIS), Rodriguez, Hincapie, Matt White, Robbie McEwen, Stuart O'Grady, Allan Davis. These are all guys who can take stages.

Then there are all those Euro guys who are more than a little motivated to win, as always. If the Pro Tour can make the Giro so explosive this year, what will happen at the Tour? Granted, the Tour is a different animal and is always mega-intense and competitive. I have a feeling it will be a very animated race. Look for Valverde to try to make an impression this year. I don't think he's quite ready to contend, but I have no doubt he is capable of taking a couple of stages. What is going to happen with Beloki in his return to the Tour? He's been in the #2 spot on the final podium a couple of times. Will he be there just to support Heras? Will Heras be able to take the pressure of leading his team this time?

The questions are making me a little dizzy frankly. So, though Lance's farewell gallop around France will be a spectacle due to his mere appearance in the event (is Sheryl going to be on the bus with him?), I think there are a lot more reasons than we have had in many years to watch the race.

So let the racing begin. May the crashes be few and the Champagne flow freely!


Could be a catalog cover... or a collectible trading card. Maybe give'em out during Interbike and sign autographs. Posted by Hello

A little tempo riding before things got really nuts. Posted by Hello

Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Action from the first round Keirin qualifier for Nationals. If you can't tell, I'm occupying third in the picture. 4 of these 6 went on to make it to Nationals. Good luck at Nationals! (Photo; Sean Hargraves) Posted by Hello

Not the post I wanted to make...

Well, there was no Disney-esque come-from-behind Cinderella story this night. I didn't have the legs to compete. I chose to ride a bit more conservatively and picked a smaller gear (50x15= 90"). With a field packed full of very fast guys riding larger gears (93-96" mostly), I was just outgunned. When it came down to it, my lack of speed training meant I didn't have the leg speed to keep up on the smaller gear. Maybe a bigger gear would've gotten me to the final, or maybe I would've been bogged down and unable to turn it over.

The first round bracket of 6 I was in consisted of 4 guys who would end up qualifying for Nationals. So, on paper anyway, we had the fastest/ strongest group of the night. We had to draw numbers for our position behind the motor and I got #1, which really isn't the number you want in a 6 lap event where the motor pulls off at 4 and leaves you with 2 laps in the wind. I don't know why I thought I could lead things out from the front with 2 laps remaining, but I tried anyway. I thought I was in with a chance until I got passed and had nowhere to go to move up. I was stuck down low, boxed in and too slow to push my way forward. Since only the top 2 moved on to the finals... I wasn't moving on. Off to the repechage with the other "losers"!

Repechage round with 8 guys trying to get 2 remaining spaces for the final. Think it was going to be a fast ride? Uh huh... And with my "luck", I drew the #1 spot behind the motor again. Yippee for me! So, ok, I learned something in that first round; get out of the darned wind when the motor pulls off. Well, that only works when the pace doesn't instantly explode as you are drifting back for a better position. I fought my way back in to the line and was sitting in third as we headed into turn three and I was feeling suddenly like I had a realistic chance of making it to the line in second. Then "The Doc" came over my hip on the right side to make his move. As he accelerated over me, his rear disk wheel made a grinding/ skipping noise like it was coming out of the drop out or the cog was spinning off. The noise startled me and I thought we were all going down at nearly 40mph. I tensed up and braced myself for impact... and slowed down. The only "problem" is that nothing was wrong with his disk and nothing happened, except that my chance to make it to the finals rode off ahead of me, since 4th just got to go home.

Stupid mistake on my part. "What happens behind you doesn't matter", is what my first track cycling coach taught me years ago. After that disappointing repechage ride, those words were ringing in my ears the whole drive home.

Oh well, if I can avoid divorce, I might make that horrible drive in traffic to Encino this Saturday and Sunday to try to qualify one last time. Maybe...


Tuesday, June 28, 2005

Tour de France 2005

So I would try to say that this was all my own idea, but it wasn't. It actually came to me via Bicycle South Windsor shop owner and blog-follower Pete DiPietro (thanks Pete).

I was planning to offer a little commentary now and again during the Tour de France, but I will instead be giving a stage by stage recap of the day's events. Since I do have a "real job", these installments may come several hours after you have the chance to read about the stage on other websites, but those sites won't have my personal interpretation of events. I promise to limit the number of times I state "he would've won that stage if he was riding a Masi".

Now you have yet another reason to tune in here for all the news that is fit to read!


Monday, June 27, 2005

A moment of reflection and panic.

So we are wrapping up the catalog for the next product range. I hesitate to use the moniker "model year" since we are striving diligently to get away from such labels. It is our goal to simply introduce bikes when they are ready, versus relying on a model year paradigm. Since the current model bike is still good, why should it be devalued by a "newer" bike if there is little to no change? But I digress...

It is warp-factor 9 right now. Between getting pictures done, text written, spec's confirmed and production issues hashed out... it's enough to make you want to go for an all day ride and not come back to the office. To say things are busy would be a gross understatement... that's why I'm writing this after 10:00PM... because I've been staring at spreadsheets for the past few hours.

I have to say, as this is the first line of bikes I have been intimately involved with producing, I am very excited to see the fruits of the collective labor of all involved. I will go into further detail as the next few weeks roll along, but I can't tell you how much work and coordination went into the process.

What a ride...
My ride Sunday was punctuated, or should I say punctured, by a series of flats and minor mishaps. Still, it was a gorgeous day and I had a great ride along the coast for about 60+/- miles. I had three flats in the same tire, which is not the fault of the tire, since I had ridden it so long that it was no longer round and was now square with little threads from the casing showing through. I had been riding on Ritchey WCS Race Slicks and I have to admit that they are probably among the very best tires I've ever ridden. So good, I just bought some more (and I can get tires for free if I try...). I just really like the way they ride and the road feel is very much like a sew-up. Well, I finally put an inch long sheet metal screw through the tire and had to use a boot to limp my way to a friend's house to get a spare tube. Fortunately for me, this friend is a former pro rider and sales rep (Shimano, Bianchi, GU and more)- thanks for the tube and GU! I limped to the shop and bought a new Vittoria Diamante Pro tire. This is another very fine tire and I highly recommend them. I have always had a soft spot for file tread patterns. This tire has a slick center and file pattern sides for grip. I like it so far.

Happily, I can say that my legs held up a bit better than I expected for the distance and all the climbing. I'm not much of a climber anymore and my training mileage is almost all done at work at lunch. Needless to say, I'm not likely to win too many long road races...

And the nerves are cracking...
Tomorrow night is the Keirin qualifier for Nationals and I am just a little anxious and excited. Just a little... as in I get sweaty palms every time I even think about it. I love Keirin and I would love to qualify for Nat's in the Keirin. Sprint would have been cool, but Keirin would be special. We'll see what happens. There will be some very motivated folks at the track tomorrow night, just like when we did Sprint. Maybe I'll get lucky and inch my way across the line in a qualifying spot. I promise, if I make it, I'll be posting the news immediately afterwards!

Now I'm going to try and grab a little shut-eye so I can get back to the craziness in the morning.


Do you know what today is?

June 26, 1819 - The bicycle was patented by W.K. Clarkson, Jr. of New York City.

Mr. Clarkson, we can not begin to thank you enough for your patent of an amazing machine!

Almost 200 years of bicycles. Kind of makes your head spin, doesn't it?


Sunday, June 26, 2005

Casting call!

Having my first cup of coffee and getting ready for a nice mellow Sunday morning ride, thoughts bouncing around in my head.

I was wondering to myself about whether or not I would see any other Masi riders on the road while I'm out. Then in it hit me- I want to create a gallery of Masi owners for this blog. So here is the casting call to all you Masi riders.

Send me an image of you and your bike, or just the bike if you are the shy type, and I will post it here on the blog. Riding, racing, just hanging out at the cafe, anything. Send me the pictures. For you bike shops who swing by the blog, send me photos of your customers and their Masi bikes. The guy who's got an old bike, or the person who just bought a new bike and is beaming from ear to ear with that new-bike perma-grin. Send them in to me and I will give your shop a little plug, as well as showing off the customer's new bike. As a matter of fact, I'll be happy to post a shot of just the shop as well. Gotta' Masi sign in the window? Send me the photo and I'll mention the shop.

Now it's time to buckle up the shoes and get clipped in for a ride along the coast, since it is so nice out today. Maybe hit a few hills and scream down the other side, blast a few turns. Tuesday evening is the Keirin qualifier for Nationals... I can not wait!


Friday, June 24, 2005

Throwing a friend a bone.

Ok, you may have read here before that I was a contributor to a magazine called iheartbikes (site will be updated soon, so come back again). You may have also read me whining about its demise and the hope that it would come back... well, it's going to come back with some help. Please visit this site and buy a few of these cool toys.

This was a wonderful magazine and not just because I know the guy who owns it and got to be a contributor. If you just like bikes because they are cool and fun to ride and maybe bring a little joy to your life, then please support its return to the market place. The creator of the magazine is a good friend of mine and is raising the funds to bring his passion for bikes back to the public. He assures me that he is even going to begin a blog to share the process of revitalizing the mag. It should be a good read as he relaunches.

Please support this magazine coming back because we need more magazines like it; let's remember why we ride these silly things in the first place- because we love bikes.


Thursday, June 23, 2005

Can you feel the love here?

Just a quick little mention of a blogger in love with his Masi bikes. Check out Chip's blog and his passion for all things bike. Of course, it is great to see that his passion is strong for Masi. Now if I can just build up a bunch more evangelists like this, I'll be looking mighty good in no time at all.


Wednesday, June 22, 2005


Ok folks. It's time to "rock the vote" and put the Democratic model to work again.

There is a total of 4 polls going right now. YOU have the potential to inact change, totally unlike our national elections. Here is your chance to basically "design a bike".

The current polls are related to Women's Specific Design bikes and 3 different questions related to Compact and Triple cranksets.

Be heard!


Tuesday, June 21, 2005

A minor setback...

Ok, so I was planning to race tonight and left on time to get to the track, but was hit with a sudden bout of "bad stomach". A little rumble and grumble gave way to total terror as I was sitting in traffic and waiting to get home. That spicy curry at the Indian restaurant on Father's Day was unhappy with me. Maybe I didn't burn the right incense or meditate correctly.

So instead of racing, I've spent the evening at home. Nervously at that. At least this little glitch in the system happened this week and not next week (I hope) when we are doing Keirin races. If I don't qualify for Nat's next week, my last chance will be the following weekend back in Encino.

Umm... gotta go...


Monday, June 20, 2005

Weekend update...

So this weekend, as part of my Father's Day "present", I got the day Saturday to go race. So I packed up the stuff and made the drive North to the Encino Velodrome. What is normally less than a 3 hour drive ended up being nearly 4 hours due to Los Angeles traffic. My best friend lives in LA and I love visiting him, but I know I'd lose my mind dealing with that traffic all the time. Jeesh! Fortunately I also got another one of my Father's Day gifts early and had 3 new CDs to listen to: White Stripes (Get Behind Me Satan), Spoon (Gimme Fiction) and Gorillaz (Demon Days). All very good and I highly recommend them.

The Encino Velodrome is one of the many under-funded facilities in this country that is doing all it can with grass roots racing to grow the sport of track cycling. The last time I raced there was probably back in 1996 and the surface has been repaired and that 250M track is a lot of fun again. With really short straightaways and tight turns, it's a real g-force thrill ride at full speed. Unfortunately, it took me until my last race to remember that you make your final move a lot earlier on that track because you can't make up enough ground coming out of the last turn- the distance to the finish line is just too short.

We did a Keirin first and I got schooled by one of the best riders in Southern California- Butch Stinton. Butch has several National titles and a few World titles to his name. He may be in his fifties now, but I promise he isn't slowing down any. In Encino, the Keirin is 8 laps and the motor pulls off with 2 1/2 laps to go. With about 4 laps to go, Butch (who'd been on the motor) pulled off and let a gap open to the motor. After hesitating for second, as I was sitting on Butch and thought I was "golden", I decided to not let the motor get away... and that's when I got schooled. I used up a ton of energy closing the gap to the motor and burned up most of my power. Almost as soon as I got to the motor, the eventual winner attacked and took Butch with him to the line. They both advanced to the final round... and I licked my wounds with a 3rd place.

The next race was a Scratch race and I was in the thick of the action and was instrumental in closing a few gaps and keeping things going. I got my butt whooped, but I was part of it all. That track feels so weird to me at speed.

So up next was the "Minor Final" of the Keirin. I rode a good race, I think anyway, but just didn't have the legs to finish the job and got my second 3rd of the day. It was fun though- hip checks, some good elbowing and leaning on one of the other riders... good Keirin fun. A little practice for the 28th when we do the Keirin qualifier for Nat's on the San Diego track.

To add insult to injury, I even lined up for the 60-lap Points race. Talk about pain... I stayed in for about 30-40 laps. I'm not really sure because I admit I was getting a little dizzy from the speed and the crazy centrifugal forces the track exerts on you. Truthfully, I was getting a little loopy by the time I finally deployed the chute and went to the infield. Maybe it was just the lack of oxygen getting to my brain... I don't know.

All in all, I had a great time over the weekend. I even got a real Father's Day present- a new electric razor for my face (instead of my legs for a change). I feel so grown up now.


Thursday, June 16, 2005

Spreading the word...

Just wanted to spread a little love around. One of the frequent readers of this blog has gotten the bug and started his own blog now. Since I greatly encourage both writing in general and blogging in particular, I thought I'd send him a little greeting from here.

Besides, by doing this, I can feel less guilty for ripping off his stories! Both of his opening stories got my mind racing about similar things that happened to me... and now I have a couple of story ideas. Thanks for the help! Besides, rip-off is the sincerest form of flattery. An expression I learned in the bike industry goes; R&D = Rip-off & Duplicate. So Chip, thanks!

The first ten-speed ride;
When I was about 6 years old, I had a neighbor who was about 10. He and I were pretty good friends, in spite of the age difference. It was kind of comical because I was almost as tall as him, but not quite, and super skinny. He was taller and much "thicker" than me. We made a curious pair. We spent a lot of our time riding up and down the dead end street we lived on, on our Big Wheels. We actually rode mine for so long, doing power slides at the bottom of the hill at the end of the street, that we wore holes through the wheels and it rode like a clown bike with 3 different sized wheels. It was pretty funny, but we kept riding it until I finally did a slide that turned into an end-over-end tumble that snapped the thing in two. Bye, bye Big Wheel!

Sometime that Spring or Summer, my neighbor got a 10-speed bike. I think it was red and, though I really can't clearly remember, I think it was a Schwinn Varsity or Collegiate. Either way, it had gears and hand brakes and we both thought it was pretty bad ass. He rode that around and I rode my banana seat bike with big bars (same bike pictured in my profile). After a while, I started to get mighty damned jealous of his bike and the speed he was able to attain on it. My single speed bike was about as appealing as oatmeal compared to pancakes and bacon (bacon... yum). Anyway, one day I just started in on him with the "can I ride your bike, can I ride your bike, can I ride your bike, can I ride your bike" routine. He insisted, rightfully, that it was too big for me and that I would hurt myself on it and he didn't want to get in trouble. Knowing me now as you do- you can imagine that I did not give up my nagging.

After about 4-5 hours of this unrelenting begging, he finally cracked and allowed me to try to climb aboard the bike. He was right... so very right. It was too big after all. Even sitting on the top tube I couldn't quite reach the pedals and the reach from the seat to the bars was way, way too far for me. However, sitting on the top tube and trying to ride was too darned uncomfortable on the boyhood. I wasn't looking to join any Mormon choirs any time soon. Undeterred, after falling of the bike in the street a half dozen times, I convinced him to let me ride the bike in the grassy field that was next to his house. I told him I would just coast down the hill and if I fell, it would be on the grass and neither his bike nor I would get hurt. Fool-proof plan conjured up by youthful genius!

He propped me up on the bike, showed me where the brakes were and how they worked and then I gave the "ready" sign and he gave me a little push down the hill so I wouldn't fall over as soon as he let go of the bike. At first, the sensation of coasting on the bike was awesome and I felt so cool sitting on the saddle and stretching as far as I could to reach the bars. I looked a bit like Superman, in my nearly horizontal position. My feet were behind me, not under me, and I was holding the bars steady. I was a winged falcon on a wind of exhilaration... until...

The speed finally began to scare me a little and I awkwardly tried to get my small hands onto the brake levers to slow the bike down, but my fingers were still a bit too small to get a good grip. Now I was less exhilarated and a bit more scared. I shrieked a little yelp for advice, to which all I got was a "STOP DAMMIT!" If only I could. At the bottom of the hill, which began to get closer by the nano second, was my friend's house. I figured that once I got to his yard, I'd be able to regain control when I got onto his nice smooth lawn instead of the bumpy, rutted field. I was bouncing around like crazy, crushing my groin and chest on the saddle as I flew down hill.

Unfortunately, during my calculations, I failed to remember that my friend's yard was fenced with a chain-link fence. The kind with the sharp, twisted ends at the top. Now I could see the error in my thinking and was really beginning to give the 10-speed some second thoughts. I didn't feel cool anymore and was completely frightened now.

As the fence drew closer I began thinking of my landing and how I would try to somersault when I flew off the bike and over the fence on impact. Like a cartoon or something, just flying off the bike and landing softly on the grass. It seemed feasible and was now my only hope of getting out of the situation with my skin.

Impact was sudden and jarring. Chain link looks like it would "give" a little when you plow into it. It didn't "give", but I still "received". That flight I thought I would take was brought to an abrupt halt when the cutoff denim shorts I was wearing snagged the tips of the fence and stopped me mid flight. My graceful landing became a painful dangling upside down by my shorts. Once I realized what the hell was happening and that I was relatively alive, I began to squeal like a stuck pig! My "friend" bailed for the woods so he wouldn't be anywhere near the incident when somebody finally stuck a head out the door to see what was happening.

There I was, upside down and now sliding out of my shorts with a slight trickle of blood running down my chest from the scrapes on my stomach. As it turns out, the shirt I was wearing looked like it had gone though a paper shredder and was in tatters around my head. My friend's mother came running out of the house just as I fell out of my shorts, which were still attached to the fence, and landed on my head. I was only six, so I gave it a brave face but I was still crying.

After enduring several doses of rubbing alcohol and iodine, I was bandaged up and sent off to my Mom. I swear she looked at me like she knew this was not going to be the last time I hurt myself on a bike. Smart woman.

It's no wonder I love cycling so much today.


Strange days.

Chris Horner wins a stage of the Tour de Suisse and we have another earthquake today in Southern California. Coincidence? I think not!

Way to go Chris! Now he should be on the short list of Tour riders on Saunier-Duval, I hope. He's a cool guy and I wish him the very best.

Crazy day, crazy day...


Wednesday, June 15, 2005

Tuesday night race report... yep, it hurt.

There is a stupid quote, I never liked Nietzsche, that goes "that which does not kill me, makes me strong." I never liked that one at all. Nietzsche always seemed a little too dark to me. I always preferred the "no matter where you go, there you are" philosophers.

Anyway, last night at the track was Match Sprint qualifying for US Elite Nationals. Top 5 would qualify for Nat's, so the heat was on... big time. Second race on the new track frame, why not do a National qualifier? Makes sense to me.

I was 9th fastest (12.78) out of the 12 qualifiers, on a very slow night. That was honestly one of the slowest 200M time trials I've ever ridden. My PR on our track was back in 1996, with an 11.4, so my time last night was far from memorable. On top of it, I rode a technically crappy ride; I wasn't going fast enough before I hit the timing line and then I was riding all over the sprint lane like I was in the middle of some sort of ugly full-body spasm.

9th got me paired up with 3rd for my first round sprint. 3rd just happens to be the current Elite State Sprint champ, a guy who is already qualified for Nat's and one of the fastest guys around at the moment. That was my first ride. Another quote, one I like a lot better, is "even a blind squirrel finds a nut now and again". I actually managed to hold on and win this first sprint. To this big fella's credit though, I caught him by surprise because he knows absolutely nothing about me and how I ride. I was able to get just enough of a gap to hold him off by a tire at the line- it was incredible! What a sprint! He and I were both pretty happy with how it went, since it made for a great drag race. However...

I fired all my shells on that one sprint. My second round ride was against a guy who is a friend of mine and he pulled the friend card on me! "I've been working really hard this year to go to Nationals..." Ah man! I mean, I'm just a slacker doing this for fun and the chance to say I qualified, it isn't a "season goal" for me. He won, but I made him work for it. He got me sleeping and jumped me when I dropped the pace heading into turn 2 on the last lap. He used all the banking to get up to speed and it was over before we got into turn 4. Good job Darrell!

Ok, now it's off to the Consolation (also known as Loser's) Bracket for 5th to 8th. Since our boy the State Champ (who won the whole thing by the way... I was the only one lucky enough to beat him) was already qualified for Nat's, his space would be given to the next rider down, meaning 5th and 6th would get their tickets punched. So all I had to do was get second in a 4-up sprint. Possible. However...

In our group were two teammates who are 2 of the 3 guys who are the State Champ Masters Team Sprint team... just my damn luck. Plus, not only are they fast, but they are also good guys who I like and have also been working very hard to get to Nat's. Well, they rode exactly as I anticipated they would, although I actually thought they would jump sooner than they did. They rode 1-2 and the faster of the two took possession of the sprint lane and the second stayed pretty much a length behind and off his hip to made a wide obstacle- meaning getting around him would leave it impossible to get to his teammate with enough speed left to contest the final sprint for the line. So, as I expected, they took the last two spots for Nat's. Good work TC and Ryan.

Overall, I was way happy with the events of the night. I mean, I got to feel like I was fast for a few fleeting moments and I rode a lot smarter than I had my previous sprint outing this year. Plus, in two weeks I get another shot at qualifying when we do Keirin.

Oh yeah, the part related to my job... The Bike!
It was incredible again. I really love this thing already. It is stiff... really stiff... and rides really great. It's stiff enough, in fact, that on two or three occasions I got the rear wheel to skip when I jumped really hard. I have a fairly jerky pedal stroke right now and I pulled a little too hard and got some skip. That still shows how tight and stiff those stays are. I definitely didn't get held back by the bike. Hopefully it will get a shot at the Keirin and we can go to Nat's together- wouldn't that be fun?


Tuesday, June 14, 2005

Speciale Carbon a la Chris Watson- our sales rep in the Central Texas, Oklahoma and Arkansa areas. 16.4lbs without any stupid-light parts on it. It goes pretty fast too... Posted by Hello

Monday, June 13, 2005

Michael Klasmeier, the GM of City Bikes in DC/ Chevy Chase sent this pic' of his daughter with her new favorite socks! Another Masi aficionado in the making. How great is that? Thanks Mike!
 Posted by Hello

New Poll now created.

A new poll is now up on the blog. This one is for the ladies and is all about the growth of Women's Specific Design bicycles. I have posed the question before, but now with the poll I can collect quantifiable feedback. So, if you are a woman, I really want to get your feedback. Guys- have your wives, girlfriends, mothers, sisters, whoever, come to the blog and place a vote.

If you wish to expand on your vote, please feel free to leave a comment here or send me an email.

Ladies- Here's you chance to truly shape what we will be offering. Don't miss out on your chance to actively influence the outcome.


Sunday, June 12, 2005

Kilo and 500M revisited.

I am still in total amazement by the potential actions of the UCI to allow the removal of the Kilo and 500M from Olympic competition. Personally, I hate the Kilo because it is just too damned hard an event for me. I have immense respect for those who can do the Kilo well and respect anybody willing to dedicate themselves to the event, whether they are any good at it or not.

The Kilo and women's 500M (women do not compete in the Kilo) are two of the greatest events in all of cycling. Absolutely nothing can go wrong in either event. At the Olympics or Worlds, if you make any little mistake, you have probably lost your one shot. Where else in cycling do you find such an amazing display of 100% effort in such an intense and short event? I do Kilo now and again, to test myself, but I have never been able to convince myself to really work on it because I know how hard it is.

How the UCI and IOC can agree to remove these two events is so amazingly baffling to me. As mentioned in the post below, there is an online petition to have the events reinstated- please take the time to cast your "vote" of support and bring these events back from a sure death. Yesterday, I was the 9th person to sign the petition and as I type this post, the current number of signatures is 2365! Join in and save our sport!

Here's the link to the petition again; Don't let track cycling die!

Saturday, June 11, 2005

Save the Kilo and 500M!

This is important!

Please sign this petition to keep the UCI and IOC from eliminating the men's Kilometer and women's 500M track events to make room for BMX at the Olympics.

I am all in favor of adding BMX and think it is far overdue, but eliminating these two events is ill-informed and couterintuitive. These two events were among the best attended and created some of the best spectacle of the last Olympics in Athens.

Don't let them take these two events away from us- make your voice heard!


Friday, June 10, 2005

My best friend on his new Time Trial rig. Sweet! "It's a Sledgehammer." Posted by Hello

Quote for the day/ week.

I'm contemplating a daily or weekly Quote of the whatever. I already have our first installment for you and it comes courtesy of my friend and OEM Sales contact at Shimano;

One thing I’ve learned in my life is no matter how cool you are if what you want isn’t in stock; you still aren’t getting what you want.

So there you have it. Words to live by, if at not least ponder for a while.


You can thank me later.

I have just got to share this with you all. My boss sent this to me and it made my day!

Click on the link and enjoy (you need Quicktime and sound). Start with Tinkerer: 60QT and then work your way around. I promise you'll dig this.

It's Friday, so this is totally appropriate and necessary.


Thursday, June 09, 2005

Shared thoughts;

Comments from a friend-

I ride my bike to the train stop every morning. It's only about a mile and a half and I've got a great bike locker waiting for me there. It's a very easy start to the morning. Today was magical. I rolled out of the driveway and didn't stop pedaling until I got to my locker. Every intersection was open, every light turned green as I approached, and every left turn across traffic was clear. It didn't dawn on me until after I arrived and checked the time. It's a course record I doubt I will ever break. (Chris DiStefano- former Shimano PR guru)

How's that for a good start to the day?


Wednesday, June 08, 2005

Reprinted with permission of iheartbikes.

Below is an article I wrote for the first issue of a currently defunct magazine called iheartbikes. This appeared in the first issue and gives you a little bit of my bike history and why I love cycling as much as I do.

If you are reading this first issue of this new magazine, then it is likely that you have memories of other cycling firsts. Maybe you picked this publication, instead of another, because you remember your first bike and that love of first freedom and the feel of wind in your face or your first fall. It could be because of the first time you saw a bicycle as something more than mere machine and saw it as art, or a tool, or even as a holy shrine for all of your prayers and worship.

I really don’t know which first is more important or sticks out most vividly for me. I certainly remember that first crash. 5½ or 6 years old, I was “riding” my older neighbor’s 10 speed. He sat me on the bike and my shoes were at least a foot away from the pedals. Holding the bike and I up, he gave us a little push down the hill, reminding me how the brakes worked. I don’t know if the training wheels were even off of my own bike yet, so I was decidedly wobbly. The bike and I shot down the street, then through an empty lot that was full of trees and sticker bushes. Right at the moment we were approaching terminal velocity, we entered the next yard via air as the bike and I plowed into the chain link fence. I vaguely remember the landing, but I clearly remember the bike dangling upside down from the fence and strips of denim on the top of the fence. If my memory serves me correctly, I think that is when I swore off ever crashing again.

The first bike of my own thst I have any memory of had a blue denim to rusty orange fade paint job. The big banana seat was covered in denim colored vinyl, complete with faux stitching and seams. I’m pretty sure it came from Sears, so it would have been a Free Spirit. I always loved that name, even as kid, just because I’ve always loved the word free. (Free is a word most cyclists I have known have loved; “free is for me” is what we used to say so frequently in the shops I worked in. Most Bike Geeks love free stuff.) That denim bike and I weren’t allowed to leave the neighborhood, but we traveled thousands of real and imaginary miles. Up to then, the only possession I had ever loved so much was my Big Wheel trike. I wore holes through those wheels doing power slides!

The first bike I ever had with brakes and gears was a beautiful blue Free Spirit three speed. That bike was my first vehicle of purpose. We went to friend’s houses, around town, on errands and on countless fishing trips. There’s no way I could possibly calculate the number of times I rode away from home with a tackle box in one hand and a rod and reel in the other. At that point, I still loved fishing more than anything else, but the bike was number two because I went nowhere without the bike. Bike equaled fishing, so I loved the bike. I loved the bike until I noticed loose spokes in the rear wheel and tightened the nipples with my Dad’s crescent wrench until a loud snap rendered the wheel into my first spoked taco. To this day, I don’t true wheels.

After the unfortunate demise of the three speed’s rear wheel, my next bike was purchased from a friend of mine for just $10.00. It would be the first of many bike purchases to follow over the years. This was another banana seat bike with a too cool spray paint finish. It was matte black with gloss white details and shiny chrome bars and trim. This bike was responsible for many crashes and my first taste of speed. We were a rocket, a blur of skinny arms and legs. I raced that bike around my neighborhood, like I had my own giant velodrome. I remember sprinting down the street in a late Alabama summer in the pouring rain, wearing just cutoff denim shorts and no shoes. I was the wind! I was faster than lightning, but was soon sliding down the street beside the bike and in front of an awe struck neighbor. I walked away mostly untouched from that one, apparently protected by the thick sheet of water on the street. The crash that put a wedge between my Mom and my burgeoning cycling career took place on this bike. We crashed hard, really hard, on Family Portrait Day after my mother warned me to stay clean. She didn’t say anything about jumping ramps with my friends; she always lacked that definite clarity when I was growing up. It’s amazing what a 20 foot slide across the asphalt on your face, after a brief flight over the bars, can do to your appearance. My mother still points the picture out and describes the cake of make-up she had to apply to my face to try to hide the abrasions on my cheeks. What you can’t see in the picture is the dinner-plate sized scab that was forming on my bony chest.

1982 was a pivotal year in my life, for a number of reasons. The two biggest being that my parents divorced and I saw Breaking Away for the first of many, many times. I saw it on television and it changed my life. Just as Dave, the main character, used cycling to escape into his Italo-crazy world, I wanted to escape what was happening in my life. From the moment I saw that movie, I wanted to be identified as a Cyclist and I started buying and reading the few magazines available to me and started hanging out at the local bike shop. Still, I only had my little ramp-jumping, coaster brake equipped, Rustoleum colored bike. I dreamed of the Colnagos, Cioccs and Guerciottis advertised in the glossy pages of the magazines. I called every mail order company and manufacturer listed in the back pages of my well-worn magazines and requested catalogs and brochures that would become dog-eared or had the pictures cut out and taped to my bedroom walls. I test rode every Peugeot at the local shop and eventually began working there, since I was there every day anyway.

It was about 1984 when I actually got my first 10 speed. I had effectively drilled into my parent’s heads that the thing I wanted most in the world, was a new bike and I dreamed that it would be foreign and exotic. It was foreign, though far from exotic. That Christmas I was given a heavy, welded steel Ross with foam bar covering, bolt-on wheels, safety brake levers and a kickstand. However, it was deliciously red with metallic paint and it was new and it was mine. I thanked my Dad over and over that day and should thank him again now. The kickstand came off at some point during the day and I slept with the bike in my room, just barely out of reach of my finger tips.

Over the next two years I logged thousands of miles on that bike and put every dollar I earned into quick release brakes with gum rubber hoods, custom wheels with quick release hubs, a new seat post and saddle, new bars and stem and new tires several times over. My best friend had a Schwinn Collegiate and we set out on epic rides of 100 miles and more, frequently riding all the way to the edge of Florida from our tiny southern Alabama hometown. We didn’t know anything about races, racing, or training, but we rode every weekend we could as far as we could.

By 1986 I had finally earned enough money working at the bike shop, mowing lawns, washing cars and raking leaves to buy a nice, but inexpensive Peugeot. We had to order it from the distributor because we didn’t have my size in stock, so I had to wait an eternal two weeks for its arrival. On the day it arrived, I went straight home from school and shaved my legs for the first time (without soap or water). I ran the three miles to the shop with the cycling clothing and shoes I had and built the bike after opening the box like a long-buried treasure. The paint was flawless and clean, wrapped in foam and cardboard. In my rush to finish the bike and get out on my first ride, I failed to tighten the left side crankarm bolt, so the crankarm came off during the ride with my foot securely strapped to the pedal. The bolt was long gone and my mother, who already wasn’t crazy about my cycling addiction, had to pick us up, 20 miles from home. I went to the shop, with the stink of stupidity and haste sticking to me, and found a replacement bolt and very securely attached the crankarm.

I trained for races that didn’t exist with the few other cyclists in town, most of whom were much older than me and traveled to real races. Even with no real races in my immediate future, I bought my first racing license and trained every day. That summer, in 1986, while staying with my father before moving to California with my mother, I entered my first race. It was the Alabama State Olympics and we had about 13 boys in the field of 15-17 year olds. The race was held in the huge, hilly parking lot of a shopping center and we did about 15 laps. The boy won broke away on the very first lap and I can still remember the boy behind me telling all of us to “let him go, he’ll die on the hill!” I never saw him again until he was standing on the podium collecting his gold medal, while I waited for my silver.

Since those formative years, I have had many other firsts, including my own race wins. I’ve had a first mountain bike, first track bike, first ride with my son, first ride with my daughter in her trailer, first ride of the winter, first race among the pros and one of my favorite firsts; first ride of the year in new team clothing.

So as you thumb through the pages of this first issue, try to remember the firsts that made you love the bicycle and think of all the seconds and thirds and 1,263rds that await you and your bike.

It is my hope that iheartbikes will come back in one form or another. A lot of people got behind it and what it was all about. I won't let the owner of the title get any sleep until he yields to the masses and brings this baby back into the world. No pressure though... you know who you are.


It's a Cinderella story...

Remember how Cinderella runs from the ball, leaves her slipper and then the Prince finds her, she puts on the slipper and the "happily ever after" music swells in the background? Well, let's just say my feet were swollen and the slipper didn't fit anymore and it crumbled in the Prince's hands. He's not sure if he likes me anymore, either.

Simple math equation for you; no license = no race. Since I haven't renewed my racing license yet this year, I didn't get to race in the National Qualifier last night. I did the regular schedule of events, since they are not an USCF sanctioned event. Since I have only been racing on our track and doing TT's so far this year, I haven't needed the license. I guess I have to suck it up and get one right away now, since next week's qualifier is in the Match Sprint and I'd like to at least have some fun in that.

The racing itself was great. No wins for me, no beer prime glory, but great racing. Since the main event was the Qualifier, we had a very strong field of riders who were very motivated. The "A" field was probably close to 40 riders strong. The two events I got to race in were the 9-lap Tempo and the 12-lap Snowball. Gladly, I can report I wasn't last in either race! Actually, I rode cautiously from the back for much of the races and rode more with my head, chasing the race winners when the timing was right. It didn't work, but I was there and was part of the mix, so I was content with that. I hadn't raced at the track for a month, so I wasn't "sharp". The legs felt reasonably good, so I am encouraged.

On a down note, there was a crash early in the motor-paced warm-up event. All of those who crashed were ok, but one of the fallen is a friend of mine (we go back to high school) and it looked like he snapped his collarbone. Sorry John- I hope you recover quickly and come back to the track this year.

Now, the bike review! (For the record, this is an honest review of the bike and not a sales pitch, I promise- no crossed fingers either.)

The frame rode as if it were custom made for me. Really, it was awesome! I don't know how else to put it (some of you other trackies will know what I mean here) but the bike felt as if I was steering it with my ass. No kidding (keep the comments to a minimum). With a wiggle of the hips and slight, very slight, input to the bars, the bike moved up or down track as if I were just walking down a sidewalk. Impulse became action. Since the parts on this bike were the same parts that were on my old bike, the only difference is in the frame and the ride between the two bikes is night and day. The other frame is a good riding frame, I can't complain and won't, but the overall handling of the new Masi was just unreal. It was telepathic in fact. My hat comes off to Mike Varley, our senior Product Manager, who was instrumental in the design of the frame. We talked at length about what I hoped to have and he made it into a reality. Thanks Mike!

The tube selections made for a ride that was perfect for me. The back end was way stiff- no hesitation from the bike when it was time to accelerate. The geometries are perfect and the handling was razor-sharp.

Again, these are my God-honest thoughts. I know that this frame will not be for everybody. If anything, it is more of a Sprint bike than a Pursuit bike. If you specialize in Points Races, it might not feel the way you want. However, I feel pretty confident that it will appeal to a broad enough swath of the track racing public, especially once people get a chance to ride one.

Ok, I have to go do some actual work now.


Better shot of the bike. I wish I'd had better legs to support such a nice looking, good riding bike.  Posted by Hello

We had a great field of riders in the races last night. The guy at the top of the track is one of the best riders in the US and has been to World Cups and on the National team. We also had Josiah NG racing with us. He's one of the top Keirin riders in the world, racing for Malaysia. He's a resident of the UCI track racing "school" in Europe... and a really nice guy. Posted by Hello

The bike looks fast, even when it's going fast. Posted by Hello

Hanging out after a race with one of the State Champs. Beat the heck out of eachother while in the race, but still buddies when it's all said and done. Posted by Hello

Hanging on the rack after a night of fun. A wonderful maiden voyage, I must admit. Posted by Hello

Monday, June 06, 2005

As promised, the complete bike;

Ok, before anybody starts a bloodletting...

Here are some things I already know, so you don't have to point them out to me;
1) I know the chain is too long and the wheel is just barely in the dropouts. It is the same chain that was on the "other" bike and I have not cut a link out yet.
2) Yes, I ride/ race clipless pedals on the track. Clips and straps are great, just not my gig. I don't like the ones that have the locking lever so you can't pull out of the pedal- I like to be able to get away from the bike in a fall. Regular clips and straps also hurt my ultra-narrow foot because I have to cinch them down super tight to stay in the pedal. So there.
3) Yes, these wheels are also clinchers. The price was right for them, so I bought them 10 years ago for a song and a dance. If you could see me dance, you'd understand just how cheap they were. I have sew-ups as well, but they are standard wheels. Our track is flat enough that clinchers work just fine. Since the bulk of my racing is on our track, I can live with the clincher ride.
4) I know the red of the saddle does not match the red of the frame. Hey, it's a great saddle for the track so I don't have any desire to get rid of it.

Now on to the bike itself. So far all I can say is that the frame rides great in the parking lot and up and down our street. The fit feels superb for me. I acknowledge that it won't be for everybody, but it is great for me. The back end of the bike is as stiff as I thought it would be. Those square chainstays and beefy seat stays keep the back end going forward and not flexing. Still, this is just riding around the office so far. Tomorrow night will be the trial by fire that I have been waiting for.

See, I kept my promise and put pictures up before the end of Monday. I can't wait to light this baby up tomorrow night!


Thar she blows! The complete beauty in all its beautifulness. Posted by Hello

An artistic angle so you can see the rear wheel cutout and shape of the stays. Posted by Hello

Full frontal. Check out the Keirin approved bar grips. Posted by Hello

The top tube again... Posted by Hello

Another shot of the top tube shape.That groove is really cool. Posted by Hello

Oh boy!

Wow, I just found out that our track in San Diego, though a crappy track (I love it, but the surface is really in need of help), will be incorporating US Elite National Championship qualifier events during the Tuesday night racing series. That means that tomorrow night, when I christen the new track frame, I'll get to try to qualify for Elite Nat's in the Scratch race. Next week I'll get to try for Match Sprint and then two weeks after that will be Keirin (my favorite race ever). It is reasonably unlikely that I will qualify, but I sure will have fun trying against some motivated guys who really do have a shot at qualifying. It's just that much more fun when you are racing with the really fast folks.

If things go well, I might even have a race report and photos to post immediately after the event Tuesday night.



I was wrong... and I believe in printing corrections;
The Guest Editorial I wrote for BRAIN actually landed in the June 1st issue that is landing in mailboxes today. The article about blogging shows up in the next issue of BRAIN, the June 15th issue.

I'm sorry.


By the way, Business Week Online had a follow-up in Blogspotting over the weekend as well.

Another page from the book of Goober;

Well, I promised I would post pictures today of the completed track bike... which is really beautiful. However, upon charging the camera battery and taking the pictures, I returned to my desk to download the images only to discover that I forgot the USB cable to be able to extract said pictures. If you could look at them on the LCD window on my camera, you'd agree that it built up into a great looking bike. I really look forward to showing it to you, but you'll have to wait until I get home tonight and get my fingers on the cable.

At least I got to go for a ride on Saturday after helping my folks move some furniture around for a few hours. While my daughter was napping, my son was playing basketball and my wife was deeply engrossed in her book I snuck out for a nice 40 mile spin on the Gran Criterium. I love that bike. True race thoroughbred- stiff, light and fast. I weighed it about a week ago and without any really lightweight parts, it comes in at almost exactly 19 lbs. That's a 60cm bike with pedals and relatively stock stuff. I'd be willing to bet I could get it to a good 17.5 and I could still actually ride it. I thought that was pretty impressive. It's not as comfortable a ride as the Speciale Carbon, but it is one fast darned bike. I am no climber anymore- due to my 215lbs of track sprinter build- but I was jamming up the hills on Saturday.

Bikes are cool... forget what your friends told you in school.


Sunday, June 05, 2005


Congratulations to Chris Wherry on his thrilling ride to take the USPro National Championship race in Philadelphia today. Chris earned himself a great new jersey for the next year with a gutsy move in the closing moments of an exciting race. Chris Horner was good enough for 3rd today, with only two other races in his legs since fracturing his hip this spring. Horner was, as always, one of the animative protagonists in the race. I sure hope his team directors were impressed enough to put him on the list of potential riders for the Tour de France, since he is obviously regaining his form. It's scary to think that today's race was only his third since stopping racing to recover from his hip fracture. Danny Pate rode well for 2nd and deserves a big pat on the back as well. Jell Belly was one of the out-gunned teams today, on paper anyway, and Pate rode a great race for his team. The former U23 Time Trial World Champion showed great class today.

An all-American podium in Philly- who would of thought it possible?


Friday, June 03, 2005


Ok, so I'm finally getting my breath back after building up that gorgeous new frame with the parts off my "other" track bike. I can't wait to put that baby on the track Tuesday night and push it through some turns and swing up track and back down for the final sprint for the line... I'm sweating again. Have I mentioned that I really like track racing? Anyway, I will have pictures of the completed bike for you to see on Monday. I had to leave early today for my daughter's preschool graduation (too cute and funny to even begin to illustrate for you) and finished the build just before leaving. That means you have to wait a couple more days to see the entire bike.

As for comments posted to the photos;
1) Yes, it is glare in the picture of the frame... Mr/Mrs Dirty Mind!
2) I hope you do get to see the frame at the track soon. How's Tuesday work for you?
3) Price for this beauty is still TBD, as this is the first sample and I have to test it first, a final decision has not been made and pricing is therefore not finalized. However, less than a grand for the frame and carbon fork is the plan.
4) I have more bikes than I can ride in a week, but not nearly enough. Currently my bikes all live at work and in the back of my car... but I should probably just build a Tuff Shed. Maybe a bike rack on the wall in front of my desk would be better. At least that way I can stare at them all day while I work.

More cool stuff to follow soon...

"News" of sorts;
Bicycle Retailer and Industry News is running an editorial I wrote in the June 15th issue, along with an article they recently wrote about bloggers in the bike industry. I have also been corresponding with the folks in Australia, with Bicycling Australia (the largest cycling mag in the country), about a possible article in their magazine about Masi past and present. Many thanks to our friends and distributors in Australia- Pacific Brands. Business Week Online is interested in some follow-up to our discussion of a few weeks ago as well. All in all, things are picking up and Masi is getting some good new exposure. Here's to even more good press in the coming weeks, months and years!


First prototype of the new Masi track racing frame. Rear wheel cutout to keep the wheel as close to the seat tube as possible. Replaceable dropout inserts. Stout aluminum tubes with aero shaping. Just so happens it is a 60cm... I guess I should finish building it so I can race it Tuesday evening and give a ride report. Posted by Hello

Check out the top tube profile; the top and bottom of the tube is grooved. This shape helps to resist twisting without having to use a huge tube. The front end stiffness matches the rear triangle stiffness. Posted by Hello

The picture doesn't show it perfectly, but the chainstay profile is square at the BB shell and then becomes rounder at the dropout. This offers exceptional stiffness. Also note the replaceable drop out inserts... extending the life of the frame from repeated wheel changes. Posted by Hello

Check out those beefy stays! Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 02, 2005

Message for Mauricio;

Mauricio, I feel your pain my friend. Bikes have been slow getting to us, admittedly, but good news is here- the Gran Corsa Premio is on the water and should be here as early as this coming Monday. Your days of riding the old Raleigh mountain bike with slicks are drawing to an end. Hope is still alive!