Monday, April 30, 2007

Bike Porn Monday- Masi Coltello Track Bike

It isn't Friday, but it's never a bad time for bike porn...

Man, I love this bike. I mean... dang! Coltello is Italian for knife... as in cutting up the competition, or slicing through the pack. Dig the Superbe Pro track cranks (with recently installed NOS Superbe Pro BB) and matching rear hub... NJS baby!
And you can not argue with the sheer awesomeness of the Deda all steel sprint bars and G-Strong rubber keirin grips.

These bars weigh a ton, but they are so amazingly stiff that they are worth it.

In a sprint or keirin, it isn't about lightweight, it's about stiff.

The stem is really cool too- it's a beefed up version of the stem we use on several bikes in our line. It's by NVO and we license it for a bunch of models in the line. What's cool, is that the stem slides along an aluminum shim that fits over the steerer tube, eliminating the washers you would normally use. The plus to this is that you set the headset preload just once and then you can change the height of the stem with a single 5mm Allen bolt without messing with the headset preload. What's even cooler still, is that you can slide the stem past the headset cap and remove the bars without messing with the headset- perfect for traveling. In this particular configuration with the steel sprint bars, the front end of the bike is mega stiff! I can't wait to put it to the test tomorrow night.

Yep, that's right... I'm gonna try to get to the track for racing tomorrow night. It's Sprint/ Keirin night, so I'm gonna try and hold my own and see where my legs are. I know they are below my ass, but I don't really know what kind of condition they are in... so we'll see. Hopefully I'll have a good race report and a few pictures to post afterwards...

Ok, back to attempting to take over the world (bike world, that is).


Sunday, April 29, 2007

Good Sunday.

It's always a good Sunday when the pro team you sponsor wins a big race the day before. I still can't believe that Mark Hekman pulled off the win. I'm so very proud of him and the team... I feel all warm and fuzzy just thinking about it. Seriously... I do.

So, in honor of Mark and the boys, I actually got out and rode my bike today. I did a nice little 45 mile loop that I like- not too many hills, though there are a few really good ones, and plenty of open roads to simply put your head down and plow away! The winds were a little much, since I didn't get out until nearly 3:00, so the coastal winds were coming in pretty good. The sun was mostly behind the marine layer (fog), but it burned through and I got a good day on the bike in the sun (yes, I wore my sunscreen). Since I was still all pumped up on the news of the big win, I put my head down and pretty much spent the whole time hammering like I was in a breakaway of my own. I flogged myself pretty good and powered away, not allowing myself to ease off the power on the pedals. With as little training as I've been able to do, it was kind of cool to just open the throttle and pour on the gas! I was able to blow the crap out of the cylinders and got things firing the way they should. The engine still needs a tune-up, but it still runs.

How cool. My boys pull of the upset win of the young race season... and I get to ride hard on a Sunday. FYI- I ride bikes still because I love them, I love the sport and I love to ride. I felt a lot like I used to when I was 16 years old and would pretend that I was in a break at Flanders, or Roubaix, or on L'Alpe D'Huez. I envisioned a pack of chasers breathing down my neck. They were clawing away at my narrow lead, but they didn't want it as much as me. In between daydreams of race glory, I felt alive and one with my bike. Just like I did as a kid dreaming of Tour glory. The legs felt good. The bike rode well. I climbed as hard as I could, even groaning a little when needed. I sprinted for stop lights. I flew through turns. I fought off cramps. I gritted my teeth and thought, "yeah, I can still do this!" The race isn't over yet, not by a long shot. Maybe, just maybe, my best racing days are still ahead of me. If not, maybe my best riding days are.

My eyes burned with sweat and sunscreen. My right calf cramped so hard I could see the muscle spasming... and I rode it out and powered on into the headwind. I was flying to the finish line and nothing was going to get in the way.

Good Sunday, indeed.


Saturday, April 28, 2007

"That's right! Who's your daddy?"

So just a few minutes ago, I received a phone call from my buddy, Chad Thompson- team director of the A&F Pro Development Team (the Masi-sponsored team... yeah, MY boys).

Turns out that our very own Mark Hekman just a short while ago pulled off one the biggest upsets of recent years by winning the Athens Twilight Criterium! Yes, you read that right- A&F just won Athens! On a Masi 3VC frame and fork! Mark-freakin-Hekman is now officially The Man! Of all the criteriums in the US to win, Athens is arguably THE crit of choice. Ask nearly any crit racer in the country what crit they'd like to win and nearly all of them will say Athens. Athens is one of the crown jewels in US racing. And Mark and the A&F guys pulled off the win with just 6 riders in a star-filled field. ALL of the top US pro teams want to win Athens, especially since it is now part of the US crit championship series and part of the US Pro Tour.

Needless to say, this is the biggest win on a Masi in a very long time. More importantly, it is an amazing win for Mark Hekman. Having ridden with Mark during the team training camp last year, I got to know the guy and can honestly say that he's one of the nicest guys I've ever met. He's a class act guy, riding for a class act team. Tonight's race is all about the great group of guys in the race: Mark Hekman, Neal Coleman, Marco Aledia, Jim Baldeseare, Frankie Dierking and Rich Harper. These six managed to pull off the win of a lifetime against some of the biggest and baddest in the US. Needless to say, this proves that they are one helluva team! These guys have such amazing heart, the win makes me happiest on a personal level. Professionally, I can't wait for the news to get out and to get photos to use in ads and in the catalog... but this is really all about the guys and Mark.

After Chad called me with the news, I called Mark on his cell phone, where the celebration was definitely happening! He answered the phone with, "That's right! Who's your daddy?" His joy, and the joy of the rest of the team screaming in the background, was very evident. I don't envy the hangover he'll have tomorrow... but I sure wish I could be there to have a few drinks with them.

As soon as photos are available, I'll post them.

Congratulations Mark and all of the A&F team!


Friday, April 27, 2007

Friday Ramble- Mishmash of randomness...

So I think I've decided to retire the Daily Drive as a stand-alone feature here. I'm thinking I'll add a Daily Drive photo and sock update when the mood strikes, but as a full time gig, I think I am going to let the DD go quietly into the night. I am really making an effort to do more frequent posting of "real posts", or just short posts that are fun. Hopefully things will get into a better stride, so stay tuned.

More Sea Otter pics are going to be posted soon too. I still need to post more pictures of the fun stuff from the Taipei trip too. Yes, I know that I need to simply set up a flickr account... and I'm gonna- eventually.

Yesterday, leaving for my lunch ride, I got stung by a bee. I'm mildly allergic, so it's always a fun thing. I was just leaving the office and coasting down a hill when the bee flew into my helmet and stung me on my forehead. Since I had just started my ride, I kept going. I felt ok, not too wobbly or anything. When I got back, in my goober confusion, I took two Sudafed... not realizing that Sudafed is NOT an antihistamine (like I needed) and so I ended up getting loopy as can be. I was dopey as could be (bee). I now have a lump on the left side of my head and the toxin from the sting has that side of my head, around my ear, pretty sore today. At least this time I don't feel like I'm gonna puke. I did find a Benadryl, an antihistamine, so I will hopefully stop swelling and the discomfort will stop. Hopefully...

More stuff later...


Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Spokesmen Podcast #16

The Spokesmen podcast, episode #16, is available for your listening pleasure. It was recorded just this morning, so it is piping hot and fresh!


Tim- aka "The Guy Who Never Shuts Up"

You KNOW you want one...

Ok, this is simply too cool to not mention... trust me.

Thanks Squirrel!


PS- You know you want one. Really...

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Sea Otter '07- a pictorial essay (Part 2)

Now we move on to more pictures from Sea Otter. The last installment covered the drive up to Monterey, so I'll pick up from there.

You heard'em... no parkin here. Keep movin.

I was going to get a picture of the full plate, but it was slowing me down from eating. Let's just say that I scared my breakfast companions.

I had a meeting after breakfast with Dirty Beary... get it... Dirty Beary! (He's a fan.)

As hard as it is to imagine, it was raining when we went to the race venue to set up the trailer. Go figure!
We went on a ride of the cross country course after getting things started with set-up. The hills around the course were full of wild flowers and gorgeous green hills.

It was a really gorgeous day and I felt pretty lucky to be getting paid to be riding my bike.

At this point in the ride, I was actually warm and feeling a little too hot... that would change later.

Those rolling hills were so gorgeous. Even the doom-filled clouds in the background seemed "pretty"...

This is where wool jerseys come from. Aren't they cute. They didn't lok hot or itchy either... cool modern wool.

Ok, that's part 2. You'll have to wait for part 3 now.


Thank you Anonymous!

Yesterday I received a package from Cafe Press, from an anonymous sender, that contained what is clearly the coolest t-shirt ever made. I mean... seriously... have YOU seen a better t-shirt in recent years?

At first I thought it was from this guy, since he created the template for this blog. He has denied any involvement though.

Then I thought maybe it was this guy, since he is the Masibestfriend. But he's been totally hopped up on goofballs since his surgery. So he's not too likely.

So now I have no idea who took the time to design, purchase and send me this really cool shirt. Needless to say, I am extremely thankful for this incredibly kind gift. Thank you, thank you, thank you!


Sunday, April 22, 2007

Masiguy- circa 1996

Meet Action Jackon. Yep, that's what they called me at the races in 1996. For a sprint-focused rider, I was almost always attacking the field in the longer races like Scratch, Point-a-Lap, Tempo, Snowball... I was always itching to go. Almost always, if I wasn't already off the front, I'd attack the field with about 1.5 laps to go. It was almost my "signature move" and yet people always seemed surprised by it. I won a lot of races that way. Sure wish I could say that now.

'96 was the pinnacle of my racing. I won a lot of races, between Sprint meets, Keirins and Omniums, I've never been faster. Hell, I even won a 2-day criterium omnium. I initiated a break on the first day and then two other riders joined me. I took all of the points on the race and so I let the other two go for the "win" while I sat up and took third, but by virtue of all my points, I lead the omnium. The next day, I lapped the field, solo, and kept right on going and won solo. It was pretty darned cool and one of the highlights of 25 years of racing.

'96 was the fastest and fittest I've ever been. I'd love to be that fit again one day- or close to it. I rode a 1:08 Kilo and an 11.1 200m (in San Diego)... that was the best I've ever done. The legs; 30" thighs. Those are the legs that friends of mine called "freakish". The muscle of the quad grew slightly over the kneecap, which was weird looking... and likely helped with the season-ending injury that year.

I'm a different guy and a different rider now. Life is totally different now too. Wife and family (even have fish, a turtle and a dog). Training is something I do on a rare occasion and work takes the bulk of my time. Travel makes training seem impossible. Weekends belong to family, not endless hours on the road, on the track or in the gym. Oddly, life is better now than it was then. Sure, I'd love to win races again. Hell, even DO races again (I only raced three times all year in '06).

Life is a challenge and a never changing one at that. For as much as I wish I was still as fit as the me in the picture above, I wouldn't trade it for the me I am now.

Sundays make me think sometimes... strange, isn't it.


Saturday, April 21, 2007

Goofy is good... sometimes...

My good friend CK has successfully convinced me to further showcase what a dork I am... as if I needed prodding.

Sometimes, it is good to just remember who we are and not take ourselves or our situations too seriously. Sometimes, silly is good.

So, in the spirit of the moment, I give you Masi Geek!

Me with my first bike (and probably my first helicopter). Notice the bars- stem turned backwards so I can reach the bars! It was painted like denim with a blue to orange fade with orange sparkle vinyl seat. Maybe I should do that with one of the new Masis... hmmm...

Here I am in 1986 at the Alabama State Olympics, taking second in the road race. Notice the lean, trim look. 16 years old, 6' 2.5" tall and a whopping 125 pounds! Oh yeah... the ladies were swarming... like flies... over somebody else.

And even at the ripe old age of just 4, I knew cycling was my thing (dig that shirt!). And yes, I've always had a thing for red.

Taichung in January- Notice the concentration and excellent balloon shooting skills.

They're all gone and when you are that good a shot...

... they give you a prize!

Yes, the world is safe from attacking balloons, as long as the Masiguy has a bb gun! You can all sleep soundly now. I know you feel safer- I do too.

Get silly and remember to smile now and again... it's good for you.


Friday, April 20, 2007

Sea Otter '07- a pictorial essay (Part 1)

Since I didn't actually know where we were going, this was my view for about 8+ hours...

I'm really not very good at looking serious while singing with the radio.

Ain't that Masi just too purdy for words? I mean, DANG, that thing is sweet!

Since we all ride bikes, we had a light lunch. It was yummy... if you have to ask.

Now we all know where he lives! I didn't think it would be this easy to find him...

The hills were covered with wildflowers. It was very pretty.

Driving down the Tejon Pass into the Grapevine... it was so lush and green- for a change.

They grow something like 2/3's of the nation's produce in the Grapevine area... and still find time/ space to drill for oil.

Don't take this exit off the 5 North... I just have a bad feeling about it...

For those who can't grow almonds... there's always oil.

We grow big cabbage out here... (it looked heavy)

Time for sleep... more pics and stupid comments later...


Friday Bike Porn

I'm working on the Sea Otter photo essay and story, but since it is Friday and raining like all heck here, I felt like just showing off a sexy bike. I mean, Bike Porn Fridays might become a new feature around here... you never know...

Meet one of my current rides. Yes, I know I'm a spoiled brat, but when you are running a bike company, you can be one too...

Built up with SRAM Rival parts, it's a fun rig.

Full monocoque with a good length top tube; this 61cm size has a 59.8-ish top tube. I like to be stretched out.
The bike really has become more of a platform for the SRAM parts on it. The frame is a prototype and the program got shelved.

With the relative success of the 3VC carbon bikes, we opted not to run a monocoque frame- the 3VC is lugged and rides like a dream.

With this bike, I am lucky enough to have one of everything; Shimano Dura Ace, Campagnolo Record and SRAM Rival (I've been begging for a Force group... but so far I'm still at the back of the bus).

(Editor's Note; I forgot to mention that the darn thing weighs just a hair less than 17 pounds- like 16.8 lbs.)

I'm a lucky idiot... I know.

Happy Friday,


This is totally rad! Yes... I said rad.

You rock DMT!


Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Argh! I hate Blogger right now!

Ok, so I finally get the chance to post pictures from Sea Otter... and Blogger isn't working! My pictures aren't showing up, something is happening, but no images... I am so ticked off!

Sorry for this technical snafu folks. Hopefully Blogger gets it all together again so I can get my pictures and witty commentary going for your amusement.

Stay tuned...



Ok, so I didn't do the picture post thing last night and I am too swamped to do it here today at the office. However, I promise... promise... that I am going to do one soon and do some of my classic Masiguy rambling and pontificating. You have my word.

Do these guys look nervous to you?

I didn't think so either.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Back from The Otter...

I'm back from The Otter.

Unearthing myself from hundreds of emails, etc.

Will post lots of pictures and stories very soon- promise.


Saturday, April 14, 2007

Sea Otter '07

Here at Sea Otter this week... almost done now. Sorry for the lack of posting- the internet here at the "cabins" has been terrible and the internet provided at the venue is almost as bad (though that can be forgiven since it is outdoors in really crazy conditions).



Welcome to The Otter!

More when I have a better connection- I promise.


Sunday, April 08, 2007

I'm a jerk... Spokesmen Podcast...

I totally flaked out this week and forgot to post the link to the Spokesmen Podcast. David got the recording posted and up just a few hours after our show was recorded... and then I flaked and forgot to post it up here.

Sorry David et al.

It was a great show and I managed to not hijack the entire conversation for a change (I really don't know why they keep inviting me to participate).


Happy Easter y'all. (Or Passover...)

Happy Easter folks!

I know the posting has been light the past few days. Lots going on, as usual- isn't that my generic excuse for every time I don't post for awhile? It's true though... I swear.

Anyway, today is another holiday and holidays tend to have that introspective effect on me. Maybe it's the time I spend with my family or something... probably.

So, in keeping with that process, let me simply wish you all a very happy Easter or Passover... or whatever you celebrate (if you celebrate). These breaks from work always get me thinking about the people I love and care about (including you folks- hence this post). Always take the time to remember the people who are a part of your life- life is far shorter than we all know and precious moments come in all kinds of shapes and sizes and many times we simply don't see them coming. Life can change in the blink of an eye, so cherish life. I'm not promoting the idea of being paranoid and scared... just remember that if you are breathing and have people in your life that make you smile, that you are very lucky indeed. Blessings come in many shapes, colors and sizes... enjoy them.

Thank you all for being a part of this silly thing I call my blog. I value you as part of the tapestry of blessings I have in my life... seriously, I do. Stop laughing at me, already! (Ok, I'm done being mushy.)

(PS- On a bike related note; congratulations to Alessandro Ballan for winning the 91st Tour of Flanders. Ballan outsprinted Leif Hoste- second for the second year in a row- for the win. Tom Boonen was prevented from gaining his third Flanders win... for now. He'll get the thrid win one day though, you can pretty much bet. Sounds like it was a pretty aggressive race and Ballan was simply the strongest on the day. He has confirmed his place among the greats of the sport- nobody wins Flanders on luck alone.)

Thursday, April 05, 2007

Daily Drive and ride...

The drive-

And the socks...

I love the guys and gals at SockGuy.

Bonus section!

Photos of my current rides-

My Speciale Fixed built up like a TT rig so I can do Kilo/ TT workouts. I've decided to really give the Kilo a try this year. I hate Kilo... really hate it. Since I don't get much (any) track time to train, I figured I'd use my lunch rides a few times a week to work on Kilo efforts. That 50x15 gear is a real pain in the ass on the hills around here though.

And now for something totally different...

29" single speed; the Haro Mary SS in the all new color. Notice the old school dirt drop bars! Oh yeah, you can't deny it. I'm going to be at Sea Otter next week and I'm going to do my very first MTB race- the SS race. Should be a lot of fun... if I don't kill myself in the process.

And it rides SWEET! Seriously, I haven't had this much fun in a long time. It is amazingly fun- I'm so glad Haro is my parent company.

Admit it... you're jealous.