Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Stress? Nah... not me.

As mentioned in my short post this morning, right now is one of those stressful times with very many things going on in all facets of my life- work, personal, etc. If you add them all together, it can make you nuts. So I'm trying to just tackle them all one at a time. For instance- tonight I cleaned my apartment. No big deal, just something I hate doing and have put off for way too long. Technically, I've been chipping away at it for weeks and have finally reached a point where I no longer feel freaked out about it. Progress...

Today (and this week) has been all about this kind of thinking- one task at a time. Our Spring Sales Meeting kicks off in a few days and there is a lot to get done between now and then. If allowed, I can get pretty stressed out thinking about all of the numerous details that need to come together. On top of the sales meeting, our final spec for Fall '08 bikes needs to be finalized... today... and the new graphics for those bikes needs to be completed... yesterday.

As I began to find myself with the sudden desire to sit on the floor with my head between my knees and breathing into a paper bag, I decided instead to go for my mid day lunchtime ride. So I grabbed my SRAM Red-equipped Scandium/carbon wonderbike and headed out in to the SoCal warmth and sun for a short 1 hour loop that heads to the coast and back to the office. It didn't take long for my legs to warm up in the 70+ degree weather- warm enough that I didn't even need arm warmers today and had to break out the sunscreen (I know I'm spoiled). The ride itself wasn't anything "spectacular", but my legs felt good, the sun felt good on my skin and I felt like I was truly a cyclist- one with my bike and "in the zone"with my pedal stroke. In other words, it felt good to be on my bike and not in the office hyperventilating.

After my ride, I returned to my desk to get back to the damned PowerPoint presentation I abandoned mid panic attack. Thing is, the ride helped me clear my mind just enough that when I sat down and began to drop various photos of the new bikes into the presentation slides, I began to remember how gorgeous our bikes are. I stopped working on the presentation long enough to go through the photos of the bikes and remind myself how beautiful the bikes are and how lucky I am to have the job that I have. I mean, I'm getting stressed out about a presentation on bicycles. BICYCLES. How bad can it actually be? When you really boil it down, the vast majority of the bikes I sell are expensive toys. Don't get me wrong, I'm not trying to diminish the very real potential of the bicycle (because I am a BIG proponent of the the bicycle as transportation, etc). However, the bulk of the bikes we sell are used as recreational play things- they make people HAPPY. Happiness is something we all need a lot of. The housing market is bad, the economy is bad, the world is a scary place and the election is around the corner... our worlds are full of scary, uncertain things. But a bicycle isn't one of those things.

After spending a few minutes slobbering over some really cool new bikes coming out in late Spring/ early Summer, I got back to "work" and continued noodling the presentation. I still have a lot of work to do, but it isn't all that bad. I'm still going to get stressed out but I know I'm going to get over it. Tomorrow, when I start breathing weird again, I'll jump on my bike and get some sun.

I've got that going for me.


Groundhog Day

It feels like Groundhog Day, not because the same things keep happening again and again- like in the Bill Murray movie- but because I feel like a groundhog sticking its head out of the ground.

The end of this week is the Spring Launch Sales Meeting for us, which means a lot of work getting ready... again. The catalog is off to the printer and is being printed this week so that I have enough to hand to our sales force while they are here. I am working on my meeting presentation, in that damned PowerPoint again...

The bikes need to be cleaned and readied for their debuts to the sales folks and I have to contain myself to a 2 hour block of time. For those who know me (I'm looking at you Donna), that's like asking a fish not to swim. Ugh. But I'll manage.

Anyway, I just wanted to pop my head out of the ground and say hello... because it could be a few more days before I'm able to come back for a real post here. But I WILL be back... sorry.


Saturday, February 23, 2008

AMA and the joy of 1000!

Yesterday was my short presentation/ speaking "engagement" for the AMA seminar on Web 2.0/ Social Media.

I came in just in time to catch the end of an excellent presentation by Bill Flitter of Pheedo. Made me wish I'd gotten there earlier to hear the entire thing.

My new friend (and fellow cyclist) Dana VanDen Heuvel and my dear friend Toby Bloomberg warmly and generously introduced me to the seminar attendees and turned me loose for my very informal discussion on blogging and other social media, as it pertains to businesses and marketing.

Not something I get to see every day; the Masiguy blog on a big projector screen. Suddenly felt a little self-conscious...

For those who have seen me speak before in any kind of setting- Interbike, Sales Meetings, etc- I get pretty "animated" with hands/ arms flailing. I tried to keep it in check during the presentation... tried.

I managed to do "ok" with the restrained flailing. Donna would have been impressed- she's seen me in the midst of a full-on, coffee-fueled, bike rant before, so she's seen me at my worst.

Overall though, it went really well and I was very happy to have been given such a chance to speak. I am still very flattered by the offer from Dana and Toby be a part of the seminar discussion.

While sitting in the conference room after the close of the seminar, I had a conversation with Barbara Janszen from the local AMA chapter and discussed possibly speaking at one of their meetings as well. So maybe I'll get another chance to provide the same sort of rambling goofballery and blogging/ social media cheerleading.

After things were officially done with the seminar Toby, Dana, Bill, Bill's business partner Lohn Liberatore and myself went and had a couple beers and some great food at the Yard House. It was a great evening full of great conversations... including the numerous bike geek rants between Dana and myself. Not only is Dana a cyclist himself, but he's also a former shop owner.

As the night drew to a close, Toby was kind enough to do one of her short Flip videos with me outside on the sidewalk- which was pretty funny on a busy sidewalk on a Friday night in downtown San Diego.

All in all, it was a great time and a real honor for me to get to speak to the group of attendees at the seminar. I hope they all received something of value from the discussion. I know I had a great time having the opportunity to speak and hopefully I'll get to do it again.

This post is also post number 1000 for me since I began this blog on March 4th 2005. This March marks 3 years of Masiguy. There wouldn't be 1000 posts here and I never would have spoken yesterday at the AMA group if it weren't for those of you who stop here to read this stuff. I am constantly amazed by the community of readers that has grown here. If I miss a few days of posting, I get comments and emails asking if things are ok. When I share news about my life, I get an amazing outpouring of support. When I post pictures of beautiful bikes, I get wonderful comments of support, critique and sometimes great discoveries happen. This blog has served as a forum for those of you who read this thing and/ or have an interest in the Masi brand. It has also served as a way to shape the future of the brand and the products we produce. In short- it's become something much larger than I ever dreamed in March of 2004. So even though my 3 year anniversary is still a few days away, post number 1000 has me feeling pretty nostalgic and introspective... and sincerely thankful to you all.

I hope I manage another 1000 posts (and some more podcasts and video... I know) and that you all continue to read this thing because even though I would keep doing this without any readers at all, it sure is a helluva lot better with you guys participating.

A million thanks.


I'm gonna keep her.

Pete Demos, our Creative Director/ Photo God/ Sticker Boy, sent me this photo from last Saturday's catalog photo shoot;

I think I'll keep her.

Thanks for the pic Pete.


Friday, February 22, 2008

Hello AMA!

Hello to the AMA! See you in a few hours.

Very much looking forward to sharing ideas, thoughts and experiences with you all.


Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Because I love you; More Sneak Peeks!

Because I love you all so much, I have more sneak peek pics for you to slobber over. You can thank me by running out to your local retailer and ordering a few of these... today works for me, does it work for you?
Meet the new SoulVille Mixte (7spd)! All of the feedback received here previously helped to craft the beautiful bike you see here. The step-through version/s of the SoulVille are a direct response to feedback and comments received here through the blog- I hope YOU are happy with what YOU helped to create. (Also available in the Antique Beige.)

And, as promised, here's the new 3spd version as well! It's a beauty! I promise you the photo does it NO justice. The white is our pearlescent Ano White. Note the saddle; it is a padded vinyl saddle made to look like the leather saddle used above. This saddle has a very nice classic look for much less than the leather version and does not require "breaking in". This saddle will be made available for aftermarket purchase for all those folks who like the look of the classic leather saddle, but not the hardness.

Both bikes will come in 16" and 18" sizes- we have killed off the 14" size since these run a bit small (by design) and the 14" just didn't have the sales to support keeping it. These are part of our Spring product release so you can expect to see these two fine specimens showing up around May. The SoulVille (7spd) will still sell for a little less than $850 and the 3spd (with a matching men's version) will sell for less than $700.

As was the case with the original SoulVille, I am predicting sales will be strong (we were WAY oversold for months), so if you want one of these beauties I'd really recommend getting your favorite Masi retailer to place an order for you now (or soon) so that you can get the bike when they first show up, instead of having to wait several months for inventory to be strong enough for "at once" shipping. Not trying to "sell" to you... I'm just tellin' ya what we have seen so far with the SoulVille bikes. No order = no bike...

So let the heavy breathing and sweaty palms begin... I'll leave you guys alone now...


Rollers- Part D'uh (Deux)

I love riding my rollers... I mean, as far as riding a trainer is concerned anyway. Tonight was my third ride on the rollers in such a long time and it is coming back to me pretty quickly.

Can ride no hands again...

... and can get out of the saddle and stretch.

After riding the rollers a few times now on both my fixed gear and geared bikes, I can remember the pluses and minuses of each type of bike on rollers; fixed gear helps maintain momentum in your pedal stroke so you don't have those "dead spots" that can cause the dreaded lunging that can send you flying across the street into parked cars, and geared bikes allow you to coast and relax a little, as well as change gears to increase/ decrease intensity. The fixed gear just feels easier to me. The single gear can be a little tiring when your legs are starting to get worn out, but that's kind of the whole point of training.

I did, however find out that I can do ILT (Isolated Leg Training) exercises- pedalling with one leg- with the fixed gear, I just can't get clipped back in. I'll try the geared bike tomorrow night and see how that works. My Colombian friend Al, in Switzerland, sent me this video... and I doubt I'll ever be able to do that... but I have to find out.
(Editor's Note- I have come to find out that Al is not Al, but is another AL instead- "upstate New York, not Switzerland. Although I do enjoy Toblerone". Both Als have already contacted me to clear this up, so now I have two friends named Al. )

Since Beth is into numbers, I thought I would provide some...

Not that you can read it, because my flash is so white hot, but the tape reads 65cm... or 25.5". It's not quite the same as the "freak legs" of years past, but it's still growth.

Little by little, the legs are coming back. The crazy travel schedule keeps it hard to maintain any kind of consistency in my training, but I'm hoping to at least get fit enough to not get so destroyed at our local Tuesday night race series at the track this year. I got pretty much slaughtered last year and I want to show up competitive this time. Plus, they've been holding my medals at the State Masters Track Championships for a few years now and I'd like to bring'em home this year.

Ok, it's late... I gotta get some sleep now that the post-workout adrenaline is wearing off.

(All photos courtesy of Masi-Son, Andrew.)

Monday, February 18, 2008

Her maiden voyage...

Today, the Masidaughter was feeling much better. Her fever has been gone since about Saturday afternoon and all that time confined to being indoors with Daddy was too much for her (and Daddy), so we headed out the door and got her a new helmet and gloves from my good friends at Adams Avenue. Once home, I finally got Kate's new Adams Trail-A-Bike built and ready to ride! My good friends (and distributor of Masi in Canada) at Norco helped me acquire the new bike for my li'l punkin'.

She was happy!

And so was Daddy.

She liked going fast once she got used to the feeling of riding without training wheels... though some might state that I should still have training wheels... but those people should hush...

We rode around the neighborhood for just about an hour to help her get used to the feeling of riding with me. It is my hope that this will serve as an introduction to the sense of balance of riding on two (three, actually) wheels. Then she'll have an easier time riding her own bike without training wheels and she'll have the added benefit of having the understanding of riding among cars and won't have that as a fear... I hope.

Regardless, it was fun and it made my heart beat a little faster... and not just from the added workout of lugging her weight and the trail-a-bike weight around. My son had one when he was much younger too, so it was trip down happy memory lane.

Ride on!


Sunday, February 17, 2008


The thing with riding rollers is that there is absolutely nowhere to hide any imperfections in the way you ride. It's kinda like standing naked in front of a full length mirror with really harsh lighting.

It's been about a year and a half since I've ridden on rollers. Mostly because I've been too lazy to go get a replacement belt for my old rollers and I've been doing lots of ILT (Isolated Leg Training) exercises on my stationary trainer. ILT's are really great for improving your hip flexor muscle strength- which really increases your power at the top of your pedal stroke, which is great for improving your climbing power. So I've been doing lots of riding on my stationary trainer with fluid resistance unit. The only real negative to stationary trainer workouts is that you don't improve your pedal stroke or overall fluidity and you can even dig yourself a hole with your technique.

Yesterday I finally cracked and got roller'ed-up again. So last night I got out and rode the rollers for nearly an hour, for the first time in about 18 months +/-. For those who don't know from experience, riding rollers is close to a 1.5:1 ratio- an hour on the rollers is like an hour and a half on the road (or so). I was happy that I hadn't forgotten how to ride rollers and that the form wasn't all that bad. I did manage to get out of the saddle and ride without riding off the drums, as well as being able to drink from my bottle, wipe my sweat off with my towel and change position on the bike. I didn't go full bore in my seated sprints, but I did get the legs going at a good turn of speed.

The bad news is that I found that it has been too long since I spent time on my rollers. I was riding my fixed gear, which also highlights your pedal stroke deficiencies, and at speed I was bouncing enough to make me worry about riding off the drums. I didn't, but I had to pay attention. The one time I did ride off the drums, I was wiping my face with my towel and had my eyes closed and couldn't see that I was drifting across the drums. Fortunately, I just rolled off on to the frame and then caught myself on the fence next to me. But, it does mean that I have to work on my form again... so it's good that I am on the rollers now.

And, that 50+ minutes on the rollers had me "sweating like a redneck at a spelling bee". Afterwards, my bathroom scale claimed that I weighed a mere 198! That's even lower than the 199 I saw a few weeks ago for the first time in about 10 years. The weight is coming off, the legs are feeling good and the power is coming back. April 1st is the beginning of Tuesday Night Racing here at the San Diego Velodrome... and I'm trying to bring the heat this year. I was pretty far off the pace last year, so I'm hoping this year is better because I'm hunting for medals at the State Masters track championships in the Kilo, Sprint and Team Sprint (maybe).

Ok, time to get a few things done here and then it's off to the gym. Then I need to write some new copy for the catalog- I had to change a few things from what I wrote earlier.

Enjoy your day!


Saturday, February 16, 2008

Catalog photo shoot day

Since I was out of the office almost the entire week with a sick Princess (she's feeling much better today, thank you), we had to do one of our catalog shoots today.

We walked to a local cafe near my home, St. Tropez Bakery & Bistro, and shot some nice, simple "lifestyle" pics. Our Creative Director, Pete Demos, did the photo work and his lovely better-half, Amber, accompanied me in the photos. The Princess came along for the shoot and managed to ham her way into the day (of course)... but I'm not complaining.

More sneak peek images for you later... promise.


Friday, February 15, 2008

Friday (sneak peek) Bike Porn

Because I'm a giver and I love you all so much, here is a little slice of heaven I like to call the Speciale;

(Spring 2008 Speciale)

This is the return of our classic steel bike that was dropped from the line in 2007 and returns after a one year hiatus. It broke my heart when we dropped it after the 2006 model year, due to sluggish sales.

(2006 model)

The good news is that we've made some nice upgrades to the bike while keeping the price very competitive (current target retail is around $1400*/US). The '06 bike was nice, as you can see from the photo and as many folks can attest, but the Spring '08 model is a little bit nicer in my humble opinion (ok, maybe not all that humble).

  • full chromoly frame with lugged, flat crown steel fork
  • Shimano 105 10spd shifters, front derailleur, and Ultegra rear derailleur.
  • Ritchey Pro DS wheelset
  • Ritchey Pro Logic stem
  • TruVativ Elita compact crankset with integrated, oversize BB
  • Sexy new Masi saddle
  • White cable housings
  • Vittoria Rubino Pro tires with white tread
This baby is so freakin' hot! The metallic Ruby Red paint and the black panel graphic with white highlights is just gorgeous in person- you just have to trust me when I say that the photos do it no justice at all. Truly.

Before you even ask, because I know I'm going to get a ton of emails, it is currently only available as a complete bike and not as a frameset. Notice I said "currently" though... I'm just sayin'. Availability is looking like May/ June this year- just in time for the great summer riding to begin.

We opted for the steel fork on what is arguably a very nice entry level race bike (which it is) because carbon forks are terribly easy to find these days and a decent steel fork is very hard to find. You can shave a lot of weight off the front of the bike with a carbon fork, if you so wish, but if the bike came with a carbon fork you'd struggle to find a good steel fork. The fork we use is the same fork found on the Speciale Fixed and other steel bikes in our line now. It has a lugged flat crown and lugged dropouts as well. Seriously, it's a great fork and rides really well. It isn't light, by any stretch of the imagination, but it looks and rides great. Yes, I've already got plans to get one for myself... like I need another bike right now.

My Product Manager, Wayne Doran, and I really labored over this bike because it was a sentimental favorite of ours from years past. Don't get me wrong, I love lightweight carbon wonder bikes... but my heart and soul are made from steel and Wayne and I poured ourselves into this bike... and in my very biased opinion, I think we got this rascal right.

Let the slobbering commence!

* Pricing may or may not change depending on soaring cost increases- expect this from all bike brands this year and next.

Riders (and fans) UNITE!

If you are a fan of bicycle racing, you simply have to read this; the best editorial I have seen yet on the situation in cycling.

The author, Charles Manantan, does an incredible job with this editorial and I give him a huge "bravo".

The current drama surrounding Astana, and other teams, because of Giro organizers RCS and Tour organizers ASO is nothing short of theater of the absurd. Our beloved sport of cycling is under attack... by the very folks who organize and run the sport! These idiots-in-charge are destroying the sport's credibility at a time when it needs to be propped up and resurrected... not beaten while it's down. It is due to these jackasses that I have personally been far less interested in things related to professional racing. Sure, on the domestic level I am totally pumped up because "my boys" are going to simply crush some people this year (you can quote on that one). But the whole European/ Pro Tour scene is sadly less important to me than ever. Why? Because the drama disheartens me far too much and I can't bare to watch the sport be humiliated any further. Other professional sports have much more to be concerned about, but they also have professional organizations propping them up and handling the "spin management", etc. Cycling, on the other hand, continues to look pathetic and weak- largely because of a lack of leadership... real leadership. Maybe I'm screwing myself out of ever getting to have a team participate in the "big" races because of my comments (though I doubt anybody related to this issue would ever read this- if they can read), but simply sitting here and nodding my head in agreement to what I read is tantamount to enabling things to continue they way they are now.

It should be no secret to anybody that I love the sport of cycling and have for the past 26 years of my life, but the 3-ring circus of fools running the sport and the major events is making fools of us all for our love and devotion. Frankly, that sh@# pisses me off! I hope it pisses you of too.

So, Charles, thank you for helping to fire me up further and thanks for writing down the comments and thoughts that have been in my own head. You beat me to writing a great piece and I don't know if I could have done it as well as you (I doubt I could). Thanks to Pez for publishing the editorial as well. Good job by both of you!

Now- what do we do? Sincerely, I'm not sure, but something needs to be done. Boycotting events is one way to be heard, but that hurts the teams and riders more than those who need to be hurt. Letter writing campaigns only ever go so far. Maybe a petition, showing support of the teams and riders is appropriate? I honestly don't know, but the comment section here is open to ideas. I'm fed up and I hope that you are too and are willing to be heard- somehow.

Join me, please.


Thursday, February 14, 2008


Big News: In an amazing blend of luck and the generosity of a friend, I am going to be a speaker next Friday, 2/22, at an AMA seminar- Beyond Marketing 2.0: Harnessing the Power of Social Media for Marketing Campaign Results. My very good friend, who is also one of the people I look up to and respect most in the marketing world, Toby Bloomberg, was instrumental in getting me involved with the seminar series. The other two stops are Miami and Chicago, but I am just speaking at the San Diego stop. I am not a member of the AMA, just because I have never studied marketing or been trained in marketing and have felt a little "out of place" because of that, but I have an immense amount of respect for the AMA and many of the people involved with the organization. So this opportunity to speak at an AMA seminar is more than a little bit of an honor to me... needless to say I am very excited and mildly terrified.

My topic of discussion? If you even need to ask, it's about blogging (and other social media) for business. So if you are considering attending the seminar, I look forward to speaking to you in just over a week... and I apologize in advance.

In other news...
The Princess remains under the weather still. Saw the pediatrician again today and got the same story; her lungs are clear, her breathing is great and there are no other signs of either the flu or pneumonia. It's just a strong virus causing her to feel crappy and have a fever.

In other, other news...
It's been a topic of discussion all over the place- ASO excluding Astana from all of their events. I had a couple conversations about it today, but I'm going to share my response to a good friend of mine over in Europe-
Astana doesn't surprise me at all. ASO and UCI are both so stupid, it drives me nuts. ASO is being their usual selves- stupid. They have a chip on their shoulders because of last year, so no matter how different the team and program is, they are going to crucify the team to make themselves feel better and try to wage a publicity/ PR war. It's so lame and shortsighted, but is classic ASO. UCI is lame for not stepping in and defending the new program, but they also have a pissing match going with ASO and the other Grand Tours, so it really doesn't surprise me at all. Cycling is a laughable sport sometimes. At least some good racing is already underway and the ToC starts in a couple days.
I mean... seriously... UCI and ASO are the two brattiest, most petulant children in the sandbox, threatening to take their toys and go home. It'll be a great day when both of them grow up and start acting like adults.

It's a very cold night here tonight, combined with rain, so I am trapped inside and not riding my trainer tonight. With all that's been going on lately and the Princess being sick, I haven't exactly been sleeping all that well- which explains why I am going cross-eyed at 9:00PM... so I'm packing it in and heading to bed.


Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Still sick...

The Princess is still sick. Fortunately, the pediatrician is convinced that it isn't either pneumonia or the flu. Just a bad cold with a fever... but the fever is sticking around. Looks like another day working from home tomorrow and another trip to the doctor's office.

The good news is that her appetite is coming back... which is also part of the bad news, since it means that the ever-evolving-menu will be back in full force. Chef Daddy, reporting for duty!

I know I owe you some podcasts and some video stuff as well and it will be coming in the near future... promise.

Ok, back to being Doctor Dad- the patient is beckoning for my assistance.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008


Just got this from Remi McManus of Inferno Pro Cycling;

His 6 hour training ride today was full of Gerolsteiner and Astana riders- for some reason he says "today was a hard day".

Go figure.


Monday, February 11, 2008

Poor little thing...

The Princess was home sick today, with her mother, and is now with me. She began to feel a little less than perfect over the weekend and is now fighting off a fever. As is the custom this time of year, it seems as though all the kids in her school are sick as well. T'is the season...

So I'll be working from home tomorrow... the poor little thing.


Sunday, February 10, 2008

Weekend wrap-up...

No racing, but I did get to ride this weekend. And on Sunday (today), I even got to ride with one of the newest members of the Inferno Pro Cycling team; Remi McManus. Remi is the 2001 Elite National champion, so Inferno is adding another set of red/white/blue bands to the team's arsenal.

(I know- you aren't supposed to shoot a picture into the sun... but he wanted to be in front of the ocean to make all his cold weather friends back home in Boise jealous.)

We went for a "leisurely" spin up the coast for a little less than 2 hours. Neither of us ever got into the big ring, but we still covered the 40-ish miles pretty quickly.

I can honestly say that the other teams competing in NRC events this year, especially the crit series, better keep a closer eye on the team than they did last year. The team has some serious horsepower and is going to rip some legs off and beat some people silly. Needless to say, I'm really bummed that I will be missing this year's training camp again (like last year). Our Spring sales meeting is during the camp, so I can't be there. There is a bunch of open debate between team director/ rider Chad Thompson and myself over who is the better sprinter. I was looking forward to settling the argument once and for all... but I guess we'll have to wait a bit longer to answer that one.

I had a great time with Remi, having only spent a little time speaking to him during the show at Interbike previously. He's a good guy and I'm happy as heck that Chad was able to snag him up for the season. Along with all the other talent on the team (more to come on that later), it's going to be a great year. Keep an eye out for the boys in pinstripes to go flying by and look for their sexy bikes too... they'll both be a blur!


Friday, February 08, 2008

Back. Tired. Buried.

Back from Boulder City, Nevada now. Our trip went very well- our customer was very happy with each of our product presentations, as well as the nice fleet of demo bikes we brought (between all the Haro MTB and Masi road bikes). All in all, reports are that things went well.

The first day there, as mentioned before, was freezing! For a SoCal boy (even though originally from Alabama), 26 degrees is danged cold... especially when you only packed for 50 degree weather! The second and third days were warmer, though still quite cool. But, the good news is that the wind died down a bit as well and made the riding much more enjoyable.

Wednesday provided two different rides- one with our fantastic customer/ host and the other with my fantastic coworkers! And then Thursday served up one more group ride with the fine folks from Sun & Ski.

James Ayres (our Eastern Regional Sales Manager), me (duh) and our good friend and customer TJ (after all these years, I still can't remember if TJ even has a last name or what his official title is- he's just always been TJ to me) standing on the Hoover Dam.

My fat head/ helmet, Jill Hamilton (Haro MTB/ Lifestyle Brand Manager) and the peeking-around-my-shoulder head of Bryan Hayman (our Western Regional Sales Manager) down near Lake Mead.

I didn't really get any good group pictures on Thursday, but I did get this great shot of a chipmunk hanging around at our scenic stop. He looked hungry and not at all bashful.

Here's Bryan getting bikes out and ready to be ridden by some happy guys. Between the Masi bikes and all the Haro MTB bikes, we had around 30 bikes being ridden... and we saw lots and lots of smiles!

Though it was "work", it was also a lot of fun. Getting to ride and talk bikes for a few days is not a bad job... I admit I dig this gig (as if I really need to repeat that). The riding in Boulder City really is quite good. There's hardly a flat spot anywhere- it seems like you are either climbing or descending nearly the entire time- and even though the shoulder is very narrow and roads are heavily trafficked in places (mostly in the construction areas), the riding is still great. The views are incredible as well- the Lake Mead and Hoover Dam areas are really quite beautiful. BUT... Boulder City, and to some degree Henderson, have also really embraced cycling. In fact, there is now a fully separated bike/ pedestrian path that goes 31 miles along the lake and then into and around Boulder City/ Henderson. It is smooth, fast and fun to ride. It's a beautiful place to ride a bike. So much so, I can easily see myself going back for a cycling vacation... and you should too. If I were to organize a team training camp of my own, it would likely be in Boulder City... if you're reading this, Squirrel...

Now the work restarts though... now I have to get our catalog finished for Spring. The copy is all done, but now I have to work with my Product Manager (Wayne Doran) to make sure all the bikes have been photographed by our Photo-God (Pete Demos). Then I have to work with our Catalog-Dog (Rick- the Hispanic Panic- Ortiz) to finish layout and work with Pete some more for some nice action/ lifestyle/ image pics for the catalog as well. All of this has to be done so that we can turn in our catalog layout to the printer by February 19th. Yeah, the February 19th that is only 11 days away... that one. AND our Spring sales Meeting is the first week of March. AND then I head to Taiwan on March 10th. At least all the stress has helped me lose weight and keep it off. That's cool... right?

Yeah, the happy me... the one riding his bike... he'll be back in a while...
(Sorry for the spotty posting as of late... again. I'll be back with more posts, more podcasts and hopefully more video as well.)


Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Hello from Boulder City Nevada

So the drive out yesterday was pretty easy and we are now in Boulder City, home of the Bootleg Canyon site of Interbike's Outdoor Demo. We're staying in the same hotel we usually book for Outdoor Demo, so it's like a pseudo homecoming of sorts.

This morning, the day started cold. With the 25-30mph winds, the windchill brought the temps down to around 26 degrees. The wind was sustained in the high 20's with gusts into the 40's.

The day began for us with our brand presentations; Jill Hamilton with the Haro MTB/Adult (lifestyle) bikes and myself with Masi.

After a few hours of talking... it was time for some riding! However, due to the high winds and the very narrow roads, the large road ride was canceled and the group rode MTB in Bootleg Canyon. Since I didn't come prepared for a dirt ride and didn't want to risk wiping out in my carbon soled road shoes, connected to my road pedals, I ended up riding solo today.

I left from the hotel and rode the few miles to the Bootleg Canyon area to see everybody off on their rides... but they drove the rig up the hill pretty far for me to be riding skinny road tires on rough gravel... seemed like a good way to ruin a good bike. So I rolled off on my own from Bootleg Canyon and down the hill past Lake Mead and down to the Hoover Dam again. I've done this ride many times over the few years I've been coming here and the dam still remains a source of incredible fascination for me- the sheer size and scope of the dam is truly amazing.

From the dam, I rode further up a long a steady 7 mile long climb that took me out of Nevada and in to Arizona for several miles into the desert. It was a great ride, though with a lot of wind... enough so that I got clipped by the mirror of a passing RV- but I believe it was because the wind blew them hard enough to move them to my lane... but still scary.

All told, I rode for about 3 hours and between 50 and 60 miles... with LOTS of climbing along the way. Speaking of riding and climbing... the new bike rides SO well.

Man, I love the ride of this new frame. One ride doesn't surmise the entire experience of a bike, so I'm trying to remain objective... but it sure impressed on a first ride. I still need to get the shifting totally adjusted, but it is a great ride... great ride. I opted to not ride the carbon deep section wheels because it was just too darned windy to risk riding on them today, but maybe tomorrow instead.

Tomorrow is another day of riding, but the winds are supposed to be mostly gone. Maybe I'll whip out the carbon wheel sew-ups for the rides tomorrow. Hopefully, because I really want to see how they ride.

Ok kids, tomorrow will be here faster than I want, so I'm going to bed. I'll see you tomorrow... with more pics and stories to tell...


Sunday, February 03, 2008

Dad-gum rain equals No-Race-For-Masiguy

SoCal needs all the rain it can get, but it means that I will not be racing today and I was really looking forward to putting the new bike through it's paces in the heat of competition. However, since I leave tomorrow AM for a 4-day dealer training event, it would be very unwise of me to risk crashing (and destroying a super gorgeous bike). I will be taking people on demo rides the next four days, so being covered with scabs from ankle to shoulder would be a bad thing. I love the course of this race, but in the rain, it is near suicide- especially as the first crit of the year in this area. That usually spells disaster, as most people have forgotten how to ride in a pack at speed and don't really start to get the flow of things until around mid March or early April. I'm less scared of my own riding in the rain, having grown up riding in LOTS of rain in Alabama, but the rest of the riders scare the poop outta me. Let me just put it this way; there are tons of really strong, really fit, really fast riders in SoCal, but many of them can't ride a straight line, don't know how to corner at speed and typically freak out when it rains. Needless to say, I'm just not willing to risk the injury and damage to a new and really beautiful bike (or even an old and ugly one).

So, instead, it looks like I will put my Marketer's hat on and watch the Super Bowl (Stupid Bore) and evaluate and critique this year's crop of incredibly over priced TV ads. As a "new media" marketer, I am always repulsed by the cost and ineffectiveness of the ads that are purchased during the game. One 30 second ad could easily fund an entire year's worth of social media marketing efforts. It boggles the mind. I fight for each and every penny I get for my marketing efforts and I still dig into my own "funds" (my time and effort) to move the brand forward. The sheer size of the waste of money on these ad campaigns makes my head spin. Sure, the commercials get talked about, but do they "sell" or improve brand image among consumers? I would argue that they don't... but I'm just a small time marketing wonk who likes to ride bikes... so what could I possibly know?

Well, maybe The Princess and I will go to the YMCA and I can get a good workout in before letting my brain get bombarded by over priced and ineffectual advertising.

Hope your weekend is full of fun and fantasticness!


Saturday, February 02, 2008

Saturday Edition of Friday Bike Porn!

I was going to do this last night, but didn't have any good lighting... since it was night time... so I shot a few pic's of my most recent Dream Bike project.

1st- I have to say thank you to the very generous folks who contributed to this project bike- knowingly or unknowingly to them; Ritchey (stem), SRAM (Red group), Velo (saddle and bar tape), Caribou (frame), Matrix (wheels) and Challenge (sew-up tires). Without the knowing and unknowing help of these folks, this bike would not have happened.

2nd- Background; this frame is painted and decaled like our new Gran Criterium. But... the frame is built using a new and under-development Scandium tubeset that I am testing for the manufacturer. It is a new and proprietary alloy that I am very excited to be testing. Sadly, the tubing developer only had enough of the alloy remaining to produce the front triangle out of the tubes, so I won't have a 100% accurate test platform, but once more tubing is produced, a full alloy frame will be built for me to test the characteristics of the tubeset. I'm a big guy and tend to break stuff, so I'm ideally suited for tubing testing. That said, I am really delighted to have this bike built because I really wanted one of the new Gran Criterium frames anyway- this frame uses the standard Gran Crit geometry, which is my favorite.

3rd- The SRAM Red group has been on my slobber-worthy list since it was leaked to me last year at the Taipei Cycle show last March. I love my Shimano bikes and my Campagnolo bike, but I've been freaking out to try the new Red group in real world, Average Joe conditions. As a product tester at heart, I love to put products through their paces and see what happens. So I'm delighted to be riding this new and ultra performance product and will be reporting back on my experiences.

4th- The saddle is a custom version of our new saddles being used on our lower priced bikes. The shape is so comfortable it has quickly become one of my all-time favorite saddles. Our saddle maker is Velo and they produce more high-end and OEM saddles than probably anybody in the industry. This saddle uses a lighter weight racing foam and titanium rails to be lighter than the standard version. Stella, the owner and genius behind Velo saddles was kind enough to produce this race version of the saddle for me and I am very thankful- it's an amazing saddle.

5th- The wheels are by a small Taiwan vendor who makes a little bit of everything and was kind enough to provide me with the wheels to give them some feedback. So far, having not actually ridden them other than to get the shifting adjusted and saddle height correct, I have nothing but praise for them. There's nothing like the sound of tall carbon wheels with sew-ups inflated to 180psi! (NOTE; fellow team sponsor Spinergy is currently in the process of providing me with a custom set of wheels that should be simply stunning... so stay tuned for more)

6th- Speaking of sew-ups... I haven't ridden sew-ups on the road in more than a decade... yes, I've been riding and racing on the road since about 1990 on clinchers only. I race sew-ups on the track, but these wheels are the first road wheels with sew-ups in many years for me. Needless to say, I'm really excited to have this set of Challenge Criterium tires mounted to the wheels. I took the easy way out and used the Tufo glue tape to mount the tires too. Sadly, it's been so long since I've glued a set of tires that I did a fairly crappy job- even with the tape. I have a ton of tread squirm going on, so I may rip them off the rims and re-glue them with a little glue to bolster the grip of the tape. Plus, I need to put a layer of glue on my spare tire that I'll need to start carrying under my seat... just like I did so many years ago.

7th- Totally out of order here, based on my excitement, is the white Ritchey 4 -Axis WCS stem. This thing is so amazingly sexy and beautiful! I simply fell in love with it the second I saw it. I am super excited to possess this stem, thanks to the awesome generosity of Steve Parke at Ritchey. I urge you to send Ritchey an email or contact them through the website and beg them to produce this stem as a regular option and ask them for other colors as well. It is my sincere hope that more people will feel like me and want to see more of these stems around. If enough people ask for such a product, the more likely it will exist... please don't hate me Steve...

8th- The remaining parts are all parts that I've had on other bikes over the past few years. The Easton bars I've had at least 4 years. I should probably replace them, just because of their age and because they are carbon, but they were the nicest bars I had at the time of this build. The Reynolds fork is an "antique" by today's standards, but is rock solid and reliable after all these years. It, too, has been on multiple bikes of mine and should maybe be replaced, but it sure is a great fork- especially for its age. The bottle cages have been on multiple bikes of mine and are the VERY BEST carbon cages I've ever used- Arundel makes awesome cages. These things grip no matter what- wet conditions, bumpy roads, full bottles... it just doesn't matter. You put the bottle in the cage, it stays in the cage... period. Plus, they are light and beautiful. On top of it all, the owners of Arundel are people I know well and are some of my favorite folks in the bid-nits! The seatpost is just one of our OE posts that we use on many of our bikes. It isn't the lightest carbon post out there, but it is the one I had that wasn't already in another bike (I hate taking one bike apart to build another).

All together, the bike weighs in at an even 16 lbs (without pedals)- and that's for a 60cm bike with a heavy-ish build with the fork, saddle and post. That's darned good!

So that's it for the spec... let's look at the bike already!

The graphics were painstakingly reproduced from the 70-80's era Gran Criteriums. The color is copied from the Team 3V bikes of the late 80's- early 90's- it was called "the Purple People Eater" by many folks.

A little fun with color- white brake housing, red shift housing and yellow bar tape. I might put on a set of red hoods and white tape when we get more of the tape.

Look at the shapes of those beautiful stays... yummy!

Nice, clean lines.

The business end- with the shape of these stays, I'm pretty optimistic I can get good power to the rear wheel and hopefully make this view the most common one folks will see at the races!

This stem is beyond sexy! The folks at Ritchey have a homerun on their hands.

Challenge makes some of the nicest sew-up tires around and these are among my favorites. The tread pattern is awesome- lots-o-grip in the corners. The Matrix wheels are pretty nice and I'm looking forward to giving them a good punishment. They sure sound pretty when they roll!

Ok, go get your napkins and wipe the drool off.