Pulled my Achilles tendon at the Sellwood cyclocross practice this morning. Jamming up the runup. Getting a massage tonight from Molly Carlson in anticipation of the final road stage race of the year, the Eugene Celebration. The cross season is coming up so quickly, got to get all these race wheels built before our race in Hood River on the 24th!
Got a couple of cross sets in this morning before an aggro dog walking lady decided to declare our activities illegal and send her dog into the way of our little route. It is kinda tiring to go through this every year, “We HAVE talked to the city about this, we are allowed to use the park.” We cut practice short and I went home before running down to work.
Sold that Ipod! I was honest about it too, let them know the run time was pretty crappy, 2 hours at best. What do I get a new one engraved with?
Spent the night at my ladyfriend’s house. We had a talk. It went great. Now we are closer. Funny how that works. Often relationships get to this point where you can take stuff personally and think for a second that the other person is TRYING to hurt your feelings. When really, we just need to work on communicating.
I do not have ANY free time. The time I do have I fill up with training or recovering from training. (read: watching the shittiest movies you can imagine, Planet of the Apes series, Mean Girls, Best in show.) I am so particular about when I have to get to bed and eat etc. My life is pretty structured and dating someone takes a real effort to make it work. I let her know I was conscious about making time to spend with her. (Hangouts are typically on my terms. I have the big obligations.)
That meant shooting pool at Dot’s cafe last night and eating dinner together at like 11pm while watching a movie. It was sweet, though, I had the worst stomach ache while training this morning. Glad we only did 2 sets, I may have barfed on the third time around.
I finally bought an Ipod, used, for about $100 from some jerk. It is a piece of crap, has like a 1 hour battery life. Oh well, I’m going to sell it today and just buy a new one. There you go. I guess it is about $60 to get a new battery installed. Maybe I will, maybe I won’t.
I raced the local PIR training crit last night and snagged 3rd, again. Woke up this morning for a couple of hours on the Vanilla cross bike and had some shoe trouble. Sat around the Stumptown coffee shop on Belmont waiting for Brian to bring me some tools. 7am phone call: “Hey Brian, wake up, remember that ride we are supposed to be on? I’m on it, and I need you to bring me some tools! Get out of bed and come up here!” Now I forfeit the ride and head dowtown to the other Stumptown coffee for MORE coffee and a vegan muffin+cookie courtesy of Veganopolis and, I’m at the shop oogling some Exustar carbon fiber mountain bike shoes on the interweb.
Went home last night and showered, waited for a lady friend to stop by and accompany me to Jennifer and Tony Kic’s BBQ. We headed over there, stopping at VegeThai to get me some dinner and things were just kinda tense the whole time. I felt like I did something to piss her off in the ten minutes we had been hanging out. She said nothing was wrong but, when we hugged goodbye, we had this REALLY long hug, and I kissed her on the cheek, “You SURE there is nothing going on? You, ok?”, “Yeah, I’m fine.” But then she abrubtly left and we did not make out. We ALWAYS make out. Wierd. Well, she was late for a prior engagement.
My first Elite XC win of the season! And my last, seeing as the season is over. My expert class teammates Patrick and Steven took silver and bronze respectively while I snagged the gold medal and the cash! I did not have a great feeling about the race beforehand. Had a stomach ache but, decided to start really fast, cross style (I took the hole shot) and just suffer for the whole race, wanted to work on trying to recover after forcing a hard start. It went ok, I had a mediocre race to be honest, my shifting was all over the place and I got misdirected off course once. I caught up to Doug Ollerenshaw (after he flatted) and we drilled it on the climb, it was grueling to hold on to his wheel and then he let me past on the boulder strewn-descent. Passed a bunch of riders with mechanicals, busted pedals, chains, flats. It was a tough course. I have ridden better for sure but, sometimes you just have to actually finish the race to win.
Brian Ellin won a thousand dollars in the raffle! That was crazy, we are all walking off to the car and, they announce his name. Crazy. He did not even race the XC! He was across the street at the Oregon hillclimb and came over to watch our race finish up.
Yesterday was the “I have an intense personality and I am going to try and ruin your day” day. I was in high spirits all day and had to deal with too many customers! Too many! The guy who got up in Keely’s face while she was building a wheel, the guy who insisted on getting upset that I did not have the pursuit bars he wanted, the indecisive messenger bag girl with the “I feel guilty about not buying it from you, I gotta go.” complex. The customers who acts like I am screwing them over when I sell them a tube for $4. The customers who buy expensive shit, return it, want it back and return it again. Please, just make up your mind. I don’t care if you do or don’t want to buy it, just figure your shit out and come talk to me.
Actually, the catch is I DO care. As frustrating as many people can be, I take all the bike shop interactions very personally. I’m still thinking about the interactions that went to shit yesterday and what I can do next time around to not let people walk out the door unsatisfied. I have been a customer in shops for years before owning one and, I swore to never be “that” bike shop. The snobby, eliteist, hard to talk to, cooler than you shop. I’ve been getting better at being diplomatic and, forgiving in my business interactions. Not everyone knows a ton about bikes and it can be intimidating to try and figure the stuff out. I like to think I am the exception to most shops.
But not yesterday. Some days you just do not have the energy to wade through peoples bullshit. “You know what is one of the most annoying things for a mechanic? When the customer hovers over them working.” I calmly told an uber-annoying older guy yesterday. “I know, I’ve been a wrench for 30 years! Mt. Tam, racing, shops, old school, blah, blah, blah…” “Ok, then why are you still standing there?” I replied as I had to shoo him off, away from Keely. Shit! I don’t care! Show us some respect, and maybe we will humor your senile rambling.
…are amazing. Truly. I still don’t have any components to get them built up so I dug around upstairs, pulled some trashy wheels out of the recycling and banged them back into shape and got the A bike running. Just in time to ride out to the cross practice at Alpenrose Velodrome (good job Craig Sinanian winning the madison last night! I would have been there but, I was busy moving!) hung out at the practice and then rode home in the dark through the Oregon Zoo. Kinda scary, I did not have any lights and was not sure if any of the gates across the road were open or closed.
Thursday morning was the Sellwood cross clinic. 3-4 sets of a fast cross course set up in the Sellwood park. Rode the Vanilla down there and practiced riding from the back and moving up during the race. I get antsy when I am not in the front, get real nervous when I cannot see the lead rider and what is going on in the front of the race. Good practice. My legs are sore. “Explosive!” (that is what I say in my head on run ups.) Be explosive. I must look hilarious, just killing myself on the run up, trying to get those legs to move faster than they ever have.
I had a pair of 10v Record levers and a 9v Dura ace drivetrain, slapped that on the bike. I know, blasphemy, mixing the two together. It is all I got! Works great, just wants to drop from the 3rd to the 1st cog instead of to the 2nd position. If I feather the lever is sticks right back into the 2nd. Maybe a wafer thin spacer will fix that.
Still waiting and still debating what grouppo I should run on my cross bikes. I am committed to Campy Record. Yet, two $300 derailleurs is excessive, for me (underfunded racer). I should spend that on flight and paying Kylee to cover the shop while I go get stomped on the East coast. Shimano 9v stuff is getting cheap right now too. I could snag a pair of STI’s and just go with the less expensive 9v stuff. That is what I am feeling. Though it is not going to stop me from shooting one more email to CampyUSA asking for help.
I am going to rant again. What is up with CampyUSA? I think I understand the business plan. Keep the product elite. Don’t hook ANYONE up, domestic talent, teams etc, no pro deals, employee purchases, no risky/potentially pointless sponsorships. That keeps the Campagnolo name and identity “boutique”. If you want it, you have to pay for it. And we ALL want it. There is this huge culture of Campy obsessed people, it has always been this far off dream of mine to actually own a full Campy Record group. A frustrating thing for me, being a tiny, tiny dealer is stocking and moving Campy product. I fill my cases with Campy and people scoff at the price. (“I can get it cheaper online.”) Then, if I want to stick it on my bikes, which will only help me sell more of it, I have to put down a grip of cash and don’t get any kind of discount or pat on the back. To be honest, if Campy just made a tiny effort, shit, a free tshirt or something, I would be more than willing to drop a ton of cash on Record parts, destroy them racing cross and praise Campy up and down as being the coolest company ever. I suspect they are victim to the dilemma most companies are: fed up with demanding and ungrateful racers, riders and dealers. Point being, I consider myself a great marketing opportunity, it is a shame they don’t jump at it. I already push Campy a ton for very little reward, most people do NOT buy thier Campy gear in my shop and I get no product support. It is somewhat of a deadend for me business wise. What sense does it make for me to stock a product that does not sell? Hmmm…
Now, I sit, nursing my legs. A soy mocha and snickerdoodle finished. Dreading the wheels I have to build today. Not really, I love the wheelbuilding. Love it. What was yesterday? A 10v ultegra front wheel for Mark W. A 9v ultegra rebuild for Steven H on a fucked rim, gotta rebuild it today…
Ouch, got to run too. Been working on the computer for far too long!
After getting trounced by Santiam cycles (Evan Plews, teammate) and, the Bike Gallery team (Matt Slaven, Brian Wilson.) in the 2 person elite category, I am back in Portland enjoying a soy mocha. All quiet in the shop, it is Labor day. Hopefully it will stay quiet in here and, I’ll be able to get my Vanilla cross bike rolling today with some parts I have laying around so I can get down to training.
I feel really good. Nice and tired. My butt hurts, my wrist is sore. We had a great weekend. Veloshop (again) had the MOST number of teams and racers out there. Our 4 person ss team won, our 2 and 4 person ladies both took silver!
A funny thing about the race, I opted to start for my team (Cary Miller), woke up at 6am and got ready, went to the riders meeting and asked the promoter “how long to the start?”, “A few minutes.” Ha! Not one minute after I start peeling my jacket and shoes off he shouts GO! And off the race goes Le Mans style, up the hill, away from me. I just laughed and started running as fast as I could. The tactic was for me to lay it down on the first lap and get a clear gap and then keep ahead of everyone. I’m like 500m behind the entire race. Grab my bike, run past the tail end of the race and run, run, run up to some riders I recognise, find a gap in the clogged singletrack and hop on my bike just to have the rear wheel shift out of the dropout. I pedal for a second till it locks up and then I get off and block the trail for all the riders I just passed so I can futz with my rear wheel and get back to running past them all again. I made up the lost time and just tore the descent apart! I kept passing people and asking how many more in front. I got all the way up to 3rd when I came through the start area. Ha! The promoter apologised after I rolled in. The kicker is that the fastest lap of the race won a sweet Yakima rack. Sans mechanicals and errors, I think I would have qualified.
I do have a bone to pick about the race. Planning on emailing the promoter about it but, I am pretty sure he does not read my site so… The race cost about $50-60 a person + the $15 late fee I had to throw down cause I am too busy to get my shit preregistered! I walked away with a medal and our ss winners walked away with clocks. I got to thinking about payout and race quality. There were only a handfull of elite level racers at this really great event. I am pretty sure no one walked away with cash. My thoughts are not totally together on this but, with such high entry fees, a REALLY long drive and expenses. At least the elite men and women should get some sort of cash prize. Shit, $40 would at least buy a couple of the winners dinner or fill the gas tank for the drive home. My teammates were all pumped about the raffle, a case of Red Bull, free Clif Bars etc. I appreciate the raffle aspect of mountain racing but, if elite riders knew they would have a chance to win a few bucks I think more of them would grace these small local races with thier presence and that would raise the bar of the competition and the quality of the races.
Yeah. That is why Veloshop is paying $500 to the elite men and women (equal payout) in the first race have I ever promoted! The racers that take thier racing really seriously should get a little help for thier effort. Keep them motivated and keep them involved in cycling.
I did have a lot of fun. It was a good kick in the pants for cross. I’ve got to get fast. Cary is an awesome teammate and having a grip of friends there to heckle and support each other was invaluable. Oh, HUGE shout out to Brett Jarolomiek who was not even going to race and then decides at 6am to just do it solo. He did 10 laps (my 2 person team did 12) got 4th I think.
This is my roadie teammate that has not raced in months! Amazing.
I cannot get my rent money out of the bank due to the holiday but, I CAN put an Ipod on my bank card today and get it this week! Wait, I need cranks, bars, stems, and seatposts first. And, Brian (housemate, teammate, I’ll mention him alot) Ellin mentioned that MAC is releasing some Ipod-cellphone thing this Wednesday, I should wait and see if the others get cheaper, that $400 would cover my plane ticket to nationals. We did have the brilliant idea to get Apple to sponsor the team and set us up with matching pink Ipods.
Know anyone at Apple?
Stronglight also has a new carbon crankset, the Pulsion Activ Link. With an integrated titanium axle, the system weighs 610 grams. The 7075 T6 aluminum chainrings are treated with ceramic and Teflon for durability and quick shifts. The crank uses internal bearings and thus boasts a standard Q factor.”
I have been using the standard Pulsion CT road crankset (thank you Junk and Bargains) all season long and, am getting the mountain version today. They are f’ing sweet. Really. So stiff. There you go, my personal endorsement. They are pricey and do NOT run an external bb system which, I am not totally sold on. Not that I don’t like external BBs but my XT mountain crankset had an obnoxious Q factor, I ended up loathing to ride my bike cause my knees felt bad. I would ride the Dura crankset but, the Stronglights are just so much more mysterious. No offense Shimano…
Anyways, tech-nerdiness aside, I am chilling at Stumptown-Belmont. Enjoying a soy mocha, the Internet and sleepy eyes. Rode a little too hard yesterday, worked late in the shop, stayed up far too late fooling around with a rather drunk lady friend. This ought to be fun, typing out the details without giving away TOO much info. There was a going away party and I really just wanted to go home and sleep. She kicked everyone out of the house and pointed them off to a bar down the street. I lay on the floor stretching and laughing at the super wasted skater girls making fart jokes and fondling each other. She conned me into hopping into her bed while she went out and partied. I obliged and woke up an hour late, forgot all my spandex was in the wash and decided to skip riding and hit the espresso.
Lets talk about the bike shop.
I may have found a good mechanic. I HAVE found a good mechanic, I just need to figure out how to pay her. Buying you lunch and paying your race fees only works for so long. The shop is this insane thing to me. I really never imagined it would turn into what it has. I always knew deep down inside me that my shop would be a great shop but, I never dreamed that it would be as steady as it is. I am so close to making it flow. It still has it’s flaws, and I wish I had a lot of stuff I do NOT have but, it is steadily trucking along. It feels solid. Like it is here to stay. I’m not getting rich by ANY means but, it feels like I’ll be solid through the winter, with any luck.
Cherly Wilson just sat down with her new baby to enjoy a decaf and a chat. FYI, she is the woman in charge of the OBRA (Oregon bicycle racing association) website. The Cross Crusade site as well. Excellent photographer too!
Ok, I am losing steam. My Vanilla team framesets are finished! Crank Bros, DT Swiss, Chris King, Schwalbe, Fizik, and others have helped me out with product for the fall assault. I’ll put together a full spec page on my bikes. Photos too! (note to self: find time to put together a technical page.)
12 hour mountain bike race this Sunday. I am doing a 2 person team with Cary Miller. Perfect training for cross, hour long laps. One hour on, one hour off. I wonder if my spandex is dry yet.
Do I pay rent or buy an Ipod?
So, I sat up in the bunch sprint for 3rd in the road race. I won’t go into details about it but I did get to punch my handlebars like I was in the tour de France and throw my hand in the air in disgust. That meant we ended up with a 3 way tie for 1st overall. The race official actually came up and shook my hand later, “That was very classy, I saw you getting bumped out in there.” That acknowledgement meant more to me than my position in the overall.
I got to watch my dominant cat 4 teammate Mike Hildebrant win the RR and Crit back to back! Jess rolled in for 4th in the RR leaving Mike and Jess 1st and 5th overall! (cat 4 racing may not mean alot to some of you but, it is super impressive to see your novice teammates stepping up and racing like badasses. Plus I think the cat 4 average MPH was faster than the pathetic 23 MPH we did for 60 miles.)
I need some teammates to work with. I drove a break for the last 10 miles and just did not have the gas to follow Rand Shoaf and Aaron Coker off the front for the win. I was actually bossing around other teams riders trying to get them to do some work for me! (it worked!)
Big thanks to Schwalbe tyres, I got my new “light” race tyres the day before the race and I loved them. I brought a few spares and we actually ended up needing them when Michelle got a flat before the TT.
It was my birthday yesterday, 29 years. Which reminds me, I think Mark King is like 16 years my senior. If he beats me at any cross races, I’ll buy him candy.
Did I mention I attacked at mile 2 in the RR? Andrew Reed bridged up to me and was aggressive the whole race. So good to see him on the bike.
Anyone catch those new SRAM “ergo” style shifters?
Off to the shop.
Writing from Damian Schmidt’s house here in Bend, Oregon. Michelle, Jess and I drove out Friday night after work to race the High Desert Omnium (TT, crit, road race). We did’nt hit much traffic though we did catch the start of “Hood to coast” while driving over Mt. Hood, lots of runners, running in the dark. Damian is a sweetheart, letting us crash on his couches, his housemate is one of the race promoters, and back to the point, we woke up and raced a time trial and criterium, got a road race tomorrow.
Jess got 3rd in the cat 4 TT, damn impressive. While I was warming up, Nathan heckles me about NOT having aerobars or a disc wheel. He started a minute in front of me and I told him if I caught him he would have to pull his aerobars off and throw them away. Well, (not to add insult to injury, Nate.) when I passed him, he said, “fuck.” and I rode on to win the TT (first time trial in years!). Michelle rode one her first TTs and finished exahusted. That’s good. You should be wasted after a time trial.
We wandered into Bend and had sandwiches, stopped by Hutchs bike shop and I totally scored one of those World champion striped Arione saddles. You can’t find those anymore! (on a side note, Fizik is sending me a couple of saddle for my cross season! Thanks, thanks, thanks. It all f’ing helps alot.) So I slapped it on my bike before the crit and…
…a few hours later I got to watch Mike Hildebrandt win the cat 4 criterium, powering away on the last lap and just sticking it to the line. Michelle rode tough like usual she keeps getting lumped in with the 1/2 women and having to duke it out with far superior riders. I rode smart and got 2nd place by half a wheel. Shout out to the local Bend junior Rand. Strong mountain biker, strong road racer. 17 years old? Don’t burn out!
Enough about racing, we killed some vegan pizza and are now watching “Old School” at Damian’s. I keep cracking up between typing. Holy shit, the blow job scene. Wow.
No drama, no making out, I’m going to bed. Gotta protect my overall tommorow.
Raced the Oregon state points race championship at the velodrome last Sunday. Mikkel Bossen, Walker Starr and I lapped the field right off the bat. Walker is a damn good sprinter. I got beat fair and square. 150 laps, pretty long, pretty hot. Got a rubdown from Molly Carlson afterwards.
After the points race we went up to Patrick’s fancy ass condo in the Pearl district. Had a little team planning meeting about our first cross race. It went really, really well. There is lots of new talent coming into the team this year and the first Veloshop race EVER is going to go flawlessly. Patrick has been amazing, he is super enthusiastic, and responsible. Doing a killer job of handling the race prep.
I tricked a lady friend into meeting me later, we wandered around and had a serious conversation in the grocery store. I’m pretty pissed off about some stuff. She was a really good listener and had some eloquent insight. Mmmmm. No more drama, lots more racing.
What am I listening to? Gary Numan. ’79-81. Did I mention I spent 12 hours in the shop on Saturday? Yep, rebuilding Ethan’s Francisco Moser. It is so, so sweet. A pleasure to work on.
Well, I am going to get our Veloshop uniform order together and, meet with a sponsor tomorrow morning after a few hours on the bike. Wish me luck.