04 December 2009

Cyclo Claus 2009!!!

Hello All,
Bob's Red Mill/Rocky Mountain and Mountain Bike Depot & Cross Supply have once again teamed up to bring a new event to Louisville. Bend is a long way from Louisville, and not everyone can make it out there (Good Luck Redzoners!), but, if you still have that cross bug, you have one last chance before packing it up.

We bring you Cyclo-Claus 2009. It will be held Sunday, December 20th at Briar Hill Park. It is a new venue to the cyclocross scene, but has all the ingredients to make for great racing and spectating. This is a fun, family oriented event and all are invited to come enjoy the day.

This is also a time of year to think of others, and we will be offering reduced entrance fees to those that bring either a toy for Toys for Tots, or a backpack for Blessings in a Backpack. These are both great organisations, and we hope that we can provide some help.

We also ask if anyone has any holiday lawn ornaments, inflatable (insert holiday item), Christmas trees, Menorahs, reindeer, anything, bring it on out Saturday.

We will have Pre-registration available at Mountain Bike Depot in the Westport Village, and there will be a $5 day-of fee.

Course set-up will take place Saturday night, and all help is welcome. We will post more details here and on our website,


Thanks everyone, and we look forward to it!

09 November 2009

Switching Focus

It seems like every other post this year has been about getting hurt, or coming back from it. I could do that once again, but frankly, I'm sick of it. So, enough for that, as anyone that has followed us knows that we have had a rough year.

Instead of getting frustrated after USGP Day 2 crash, I took a few days off, relaxed a bit, and got back on the bike again. It started with just commuting to work, and with the current weather and scenery, it was easy to enjoy every minute. My commute isn't spectacular but it does take me through some nice small streets with gorgeous old trees that wrap themselves around the street itself. They form this comforting tunnel around you and the road as you pass through, and make me forget about being in a huge city. So, the commuting was helping loosen up my hip again, and I began to stretch the commutes out longer and to ramble a bit more. These were some of the first rides in months that I didn't have a set goal for, or think about my Garmin/PT, and they just became therapy rides.

Once I was feeling a little better, the mountain bike came out too. I got my start in cycling on mountain bike and it still serves its original purpose well. Rolling through singletrack or exploring new territory clears my head like no other stimulus that I can think of. Its also great to get back on the trails with Mary; some of my first memories of her are on the trail, and all of them come rushing back when we've been away for a while.

Overall, the past couple of weeks have been filled with some soul riding. The Garmin has only been on the bike once, and it was mainly for guidance purposes. My mtb has had more miles on it in the past week than it did the whole summer. My commuter bike has been broken in well the past two weeks as well. Sometimes the joy of riding is obscured by goals, aspirations, and gadgetry; but I can say for the recent weeks, I have seen it clearly.

07 November 2009

Back in the Saddle, v2.0

I fibbed a bit last time I posted that I was "back in the saddle," but hopefully this time it's for realsies. I've had a medication switch to make it so that I can at least ride, and then I was referred to a specialist up in my home town of Fort Wayne who feels confidant that he can deduce the source. The cool thing about this is that Indiana has a wealth of phenomenal trails, so as we traverse the state, Aaron and I will get to ride some really great new places. The Hoosier Mountain Bike Association is definitely on top of their game, and I'm excited to utilize the fruits of their labor:
According to Brier, in 2005, the Indiana DNR had one mountain bike trail that was an experiment that had been on the ground for 10 years without moving forward. HMBA, after working with DNR to change property rules, has assisted in building trails in five state parks, as well as in numerous other Indiana locations.

"Where once public land managers viewed mountain bikes as more trouble than they are worth, now they welcome HMBA's assistance to build trails," Brier said. "While HMBA has great trail builders, they also have a great group of volunteers who make HMBA a well-rounded organization."

HMBA-run events include the Brown County Breakdown, the Midwest women's clinic, and kids and racer clinics. The HMBA includes advocates who attend public meetings across the state, and members who do the behind-the-scenes tasks to keep the 501 (c) (3) organization running and managing $400,000 worth of federal and state grants.
They've also got a really great forum that's to the point and contains a tremendous wealth of information.

For all intents and purposes, I've basically been off the bike now for about four months, which is the longest I've ever gone since I started riding a few years ago. However, I've ridden three times this week, and it feels awesome - mentally, anyhow. While in the saddle this week, I found myself elated when handling a techy section with much more ease than anticipated, as well as taking deep, calming breaths when tanking sections that I know I can ride. The positions on my bikes that we worked so hard to hone feel pretty awkward now, but I'm waiting until I settle in a bit more before I do any major adjusting because I know that my comfort on the bike is going to continue to change even in the next month. I'll also be selling my current mountain bike, and replacing it with something a little different... I'll be selling it with new XT shifters, brakes, and rear derailleur; drop me a line if you're interested!

I do think the time off allowed me to gain a better perspective on where I want to be and how I can get there, but it also gave me more time to do things like this:

16 September 2009

What happens in Vegas......

Mary and I have started gearing up for our first trip to Interbike next week. It is both exciting and a little nerve-racking to leave the shop for that long. We have been elbow deep in getting folks ready for 'cross season, and its been tough getting rides in. Yesterday, 5 wheelsets for the RedZone juniours team showed up that I have to glue, aquaseal, seal for the weekend. That on top of other customer's wheels, my own, and Mary's sometime soon. Whenever you are getting ready to leave for a trip, it seems that everything piles up, and it certainly has this week.

We are very excited about checking out all the latest wares, and meeting a ton of folks that we've had relationships with over the phone, or by email for years. We're also going to be Waterford Fit Kit certified after the first couple days. I'm really excited for Mary to learn a bit more about bike fitting, because she is just on the cusp of being a very good fitter. She has learned a lot in her first couple years of doing this, but this will certainly make her the most qualified woman in any shop around. I've had a great relationship with Waterford for the past few years, selling a couple frames for them, and owning Kermit(my beautiful Gunnar Crosshairs). So, it will be nice to see those folks.

The other downside to the trip, is that it forces us to miss the first 'cross race of the season. Last year, I would have been thoroughly disappointed, but this year is very different. I wanted to race as much as possible and really didn't have any "A" races. So the plan is to start a little later than everyone else, and really build all the through the season. I've been working more and more intensity into my rides, and have done some 'cross specific workouts for a few weeks, so my legs are feeling pretty "good" now. By "good" I mean that they are sore, and a little beat up. I always know when I'm starting to really pack in the intensity when the legs need a little cajoling to get moving in the morning. I am going to pack in a couple more days of hard riding, and then we'll see what Vegas does to me.

I am very excited about traveling somewhere though. Mary and I both get itchy when we stay in one spot too long, and we could really use a trip to get away from Lou-vul. So, we'll try to post up our favourite Interbike goodies, and hopefully share some good stories.

25 August 2009

Coming Home

As I hurriedly threw all(we'll be back on this point..) my things in my bag for this past weekend, I really became giddy with excitement. I was going home. With bikes. To ride my favourite roads, and my favourite trails. All is well with the world. Well, mostly. The point that I said we'd get back to, has to do with my packing abilities. For anyone that has ever taken a trip with me, watched me pack, or seen my Jeep when I pull up to races, they know how much crap I always have. I pack clothes for every possible weather condition, wheels and tyres for every possible combination, and enough spare (insert bike part here) to outfit a PROTour team. But, it wouldn't work out as usual this time. I left home without shorts. Yes, I realise how absurd that is. I, the eternal overpacker, forgot shorts. I had visions of pounding the gravel roads near my home, and laps at my trail in town; all go running out the door as I realised that my shorts forgot to come along.

Frustrated text messages ensued, and those were followed up with a frantic phone call to Mary to see if she could find a Dick's for me to stop at. Knowing that I live at least 40 minutes from one at home, and that its already 9 at night, and they close in thirty minutes. The nearest one turns out to be on the south side of Indy, and I make it there with two minutes to spare. I run in, find something half-ways suitable, and sprint to the register. Here I was, the first time ever paying full pop for a pair of PI baggy shorts. Now, I'm used to paying near the same money for shorts; granted at EP, frankly I was a little scared of these. I've never had bad shorts, but I don't know that I could ever sell these shorts to a customer, unless they signed a waiver that they would use once and toss them.

So, shorts in hand, I continued my travels further north to where my trails await. I got home a little after midnight, and immediately crashed. Waking up the next morning to a nice cool breeze, and the silence of being in the middle of the woods was about as refreshing as ice cold water on a 110 degree day. It had been so long since I'd actually slept, and not had a train, or a car alarm, or a dog, or just plain traffic wake me up. I've never adapted well to living in town, but this time its been rough.

So, I make a quick egg burrito, and its time to hit the trails. I live just five miles out of town, but the in between space is some of my most memorable. I know every tiny backroad, every possible detour, every combination to get anywhere between home and the town. I kitted up, loaded up all the water and goodies I needed, and I was off.

Arriving at the trail, I was greeted by a small grizzled man, riding an ancient yellow Stumpy. He was kitted out in a button down flannel shirt, and some equally ancient PI shorts. Breathing hard, he asked to tag along for a lap, and I kindly obliged. He would be the first person that I’d ever ridden the trail with besides my brother and Mary. We started down the trail with the random chit-chat that accompanies a proper trail ride, but soon evolved into me rolling down the trail at a clip that made him work. We did a lap together, and it felt great to share the trail with someone who was just learning it. He’s been a MTB’er for a long time, and hasn’t kept up with the times and technology, but he loved riding more than anyone that I’ve come across lately.

That joy brought back memories of my first mtb rides, and the thrill each time my tires hit the dirt. Cycling is such a beautiful sport, passion, habit, addiction, and cure, but sometimes the beauty gets lost amongst the stress of training, or the monotony of day to day life.

All it takes is Coming Home to find it again.

18 August 2009

Back in the Saddle... Almost

New music. Speakers on.

I apologize for my temporary leave of absence from the blog. I had a little surgery almost a month ago now, and will hopefully be back on the bike in about two weeks - just in time for 'cross! In the meantime, I've cranked up my literary intake, expanding onto a whole new shelf, and I even picked up a first edition of Faulkner's Pylon! Pretty exciting stuff! I've also been experimenting with some whole grain baking, thanks to Matt at Bob's Red Mill. Going whole grain definitely takes a bit more practice, but that's why I have the Bob's Red Mill Baking Bible. It's absolutely worth it; the food tastes sooo much better, and it's obviously a whole lot better for you, too. Check out their blog for some recipes!

My other projects have included the creation of a new CX squad via the shop, through our partnerships with Bob's Red Mill and Rocky Mountain Bicycles. We've got six riders, and it's going to be totally awesome! And the development of the new shop website: http://www.mountainbikedepot.net. The new site definitely wouldn't have been possible without some help from Joe; he knows all the cool codes. We've got it set up with a blog as the front, so content will stay fresh, and then we have links at the top with info about the shop, services we offer, trail maps galore, local rides, our events, and shop specials. Right now we've got six '08 bikes that are priced to make room for the new.

I also got the okay to pick up running about a week ago. I'm slow. Very slow. Much slower than I remembered. But, it feels good to be doing something active, and the timing is right heading into CX.

Since I might be starting the season a bit slower, I bought some bling new wheels and tyres, so at least I'll look super PRO, since folks will likely have a longer chance to scope my setup!

29 July 2009


There are few things that put me at ease like building wheels does. If you look at it from an outside perspective, you'll just see a pile of spokes sticking out from a hub like a monstrous squid. Its easy for a newbie to be a little scared of this creature, but once you know how to tame it, he is your friend. I started off pretty rough, but I was taught to build by a fantastic wheelbuilder.

I knew today was going to be a long day; lots of projects, lots of customers, and lots of wheels to build. Its 'cross season so the flavour of the month is 32 hole hubs on either a Velocity Escape or Mavic Reflex. They are actually some of my favourite wheels to build, mainly because of the sensitivity of the rims and light spokes. They react with each twist of your fingers, and you can feel the wheel gain its energy.

A wheel starts out its life as a pile of parts, but the result isn't equal to the sum of its parts. It becomes an object with characteristics and personality. It also needs to be built by a competent and sensitive hand, so that it can reach its potential. The best hubs, the lightest spokes, and the fanciest rims can be spoiled by the details. Proper prep is often overlooked locally; lots of dry spokes tossed in a hub, dry rim, labels not facing the proper direction, all of these contribute to a non-PRO wheel. Spoke length is also an unknown science to folks as well, I recently rebuilt a set of wheels that had 7 different length spokes. Spoke tension also seems to be baffling.....

So, to my pleasure, I had a stack of rims arrive today, a few boxes of spokes, and some hubs to lace up. My reputation has been spreading in town as the "Wheel-Guy", so it seems like I'm having more conversations about wheels everyday. I'd really just like to build wheels all day if I could get by on that.

So, stressful day mostly avoided, just hand me a wheel to build, and I'll be fine.

28 June 2009

Cycling Business Trip

Mary and I have been neck deep in Short Track, repairs, selling bikes, doing fits, and every now and again we get to ride our bikes. I think thats something that people miss when they come in and talk with us. We love bikes, we love riding, we put a lot of passion into running the shop, yet more and more, people just see us as "Sales people." Unfortunately in this market, quality gets overlooked, as well as the knowledge that is available in shops. Its not just some dullard sitting behind the counter to ring you up when you're done. We're also fighting with the customers that come in to gather the knowledge and take it elsewhere. I've lost many a sale to folks that take their fit measurements or my recommendations and shop on price. It is a frustrating endeavour at times, but there are always highs and lows with all businesses. We've had some nice highs recently; starting to move some high-end bikes, more and more bike fits, finally getting to build some more nice wheels.

So, a few weeks ago, for my birthday we set out on a ride to Madison, IN. Mary surprised me with the trip the night before we left, and the next morning we were off to a little bed and breakfast in Historic Downtown Madison. We rode through on the Indiana side to take it easy on the legs. We got rained on a little at the start (What's with this rainy June?) but the weather was good for the remainder, and we had some nice scenery along the way. Many of the sections reminded me of home, with the slightly-rolling winter wheat filled fields, small patches of woods, and narrow roads. It was a nice reminder of where I started riding, and the kind of roads that make me feel at home.

We strolled into Madison, making pretty good time, and were greeted by warmth of an old town. I don't enjoy the hustle and bustle of big cities, and it was definitely slow there. Louisville's charm wore off a long time ago, and it drives me nuts that it takes 15-20 minutes to get away from town at a minimum. Anyways, we stayed across from the Lanier Mansion which belonged to the family that bailed out the Union during the Civil War. It was quite the place, gardens, cobbled paths, the whole nine yards.

We spent our weekend off, just meandering about town, checking out the different little shops, winerys, and of course the food. We found a few of the most important things right away: coffee, gelato/ice cream and pastries for Mary. We sampled a few of the local restaurants, many of them in huge old houses, that showed the years of wear and tear that they've been through.

Back to our home for the weekend, it was a huge old house that had awesome inlaid floors, a huge living room with pool table, but was so warm and inviting that it really felt like home as soon we stepped in the door. Our bedroom was Mary's favourite colour, a nice burnt red, with a nice comfy bed, and cable(....I long for Food Network....). There was a little room off to the side with a computer to use, and nice couches and chairs to relax. Overall it was probably the best hotel/motel/B&B/buddies house I've ever stayed at. Our hosts even made fresh coffeecake and muffins every night for our contintental breakfast. Ask Mary about them, and she'll probably smile to capacity and beg for them.

So, the weekend over, we headed back to Louisville Tuesday morning. We stayed on the Indiana side again but chose a slightly different route. We slept in a little late and ended up getting crisped by the scorching sun. We made it back just in time for me to run into work to get buried in bikes to work on, and people coming in. I was fully immersed in exactly what we had left. Well, that was a vacation for a bit, and now we're back in the swing of things again.

23 June 2009

Short Track Series Finale!


Fun.  Music.  Food.  Prizes.  Raffles. Oh yeah, and Bike Racing.

Kids’ race goes off around 5:30pm.  See you all there!

10 May 2009

Pua Comes to Town

After about a year's worth of sweet talking, Pua Sawicki - that's right, the Pua Sawicki - and her husband/mechanic/manager Ron will be gracing our presence at the Mountain Bike Depot this coming Wednesday, May 13th, at 6:00pm.

They will be talking, answering questions, and telling some of their mythical pro secrets! We're super excited, and you should be, too! We'll be talking bikes, nutrition, riding, racing, training, and everything in between.Pua just won the Women's Pro Class of Dirt, Sweat, & Gears this past Saturday, which is yet another tremendous accomplishment to add to her already long list. She has won several national titles in endurance racing, a top 10 finish at worlds in 2008, and is now bursting to the front of the XC packs - including a 6th place finish at Sea Otter and a win at Sagebrush Safari! For a more complete palmares, check out her website here: Team Mata. The duo is an excellent resource to both seasoned and up-and-coming riders; Pua even runs her own juniors program. This is really an invaluable opportunity for all cyclists - not just those who play in the dirt!

The clinic is free and open to the public, and we'll have some cool schwag! If you've not been out to the shop yet, we're located in the Westport Village shopping center at:

1321 Herr Lane, Suite 180

Louisville, KY 40222


We look forward to seeing you!

08 May 2009

Blue Lion Mental Clarity Ride

Following the last post, one would think that my last weekend was just complete bust. With pulling out of one of my favourite races of the year, and skipping the crit on Sunday, you would think I would be in a cloud of frustration. Not so says the Aaron, not so.

I love dirt roads. That is no secret to anyone about me. Here in Louisville, I don't get to indulge in the un-pave nearly at all, so when I got the chance, I took it. From my driveway to the nearest dirt road is only 3 miles, so when I decided not to race Sunday, that was exactly where I headed. I have a loop that criss-crosses the area, with my own Sectors of dirt. They all have their own personalities and attributes, just like the cobbled Spring Classics. One section is billard table flat, yet rough as can be, while another has a super short 14% rise. Some are curvy, some have deep ruts, some have so much loose gravel and dirt that you just float through it. Its a beautiful feeling to churn along in a big gear across these neglected roads, dust flying, in a constant mix of sliding, forward motion, rearward motion, or just falling over. I've crashed more on these roads than anywhere else. I have scars to prove it.

Halfway into the ride, I make my way to my favourite little cafe to have a Jones Root Beer and a cookie. Its a little cafe called The Blue Lion. Now, I love the lions. Not the football team, but more the lions that rear up on old family crests, the Lion of Flanders, and the Kayrouz lion here in Louisville. Not sure why, but to me it is a very welcoming sign.

I knew when I discovered the Blue Lion, I had found something special. I was on a 7 hr training ride last spring before I moved to Louisville, and it had done everything from rain and snow on me, to nearly blowing me off the road with wind. I was pretty familiar with the town, and had always seen the Lion advertised, but never knew where it was. Its off of main street, and in the bottom of an antique store. You are greeted with the above sign, but more importantly greeted at the door with this friendly fellow:
It was pretty cold, and I really needed some food and coffee. You never know what to expect with a cafe; sometimes it is literally coffee and a few cookies. Other times, such as the Blue Lion, you get a full menu of deliciousness. Sandwiches, cookies, scones, soups, salads, pie, cakes, pastries, oh, and great coffee. I was definitely in the right place. So, I shed all my layers, and clacked my way up to the counter. A few minutes later, I sat down with a bowl of Curry soup, some excellent sourdough toast, and a triple Americano to help warm me up. That memory stays with me, as it was a happy blurb in a not so happy time.

This stop was on much better terms, and I knew exactly what to expect. It was a nice day, and just stopping in brought back memories from all the nasty days that the Lion had saved me from. So, cookie and Jones Root Beer down, and I'm off again. Well, almost. The deal sealer for me from my first trip was on my exit, I noticed the burnt red bricks under my feet as I stepped towards my bike. It was a nice reminder of my love of the bricks, cobbles, dirt, and just the grit that accompanies those surfaces.
So, last weekend was not a bust, but rather a ride that brought back some joy to my riding. Its the riding I grew up with, and the riding that I'm constantly drawn back to. Fresh pavement is nice, but cannot match the grit, grime, and toughness of the dirt, gravel, and bricks. So, I rode, smiled, and felt at peace and at home. Maybe not racing was a hidden blessing. Either way, I wouldn't trade my Blue Lion ride for any silly crit. I'd much rather see the dirt under my Pave's than pavement.

02 May 2009

Bumps in the Road, err trail...

At this point in the year, I've usually got a few thousand miles in the legs, some pretty established fitness, and the desire to race every weekend. It hasn't quite worked out the same way this year. Taking over a shop in the middle of 'cross season started this little detour; its' not easy to work 60 hours a week AND train. The focus that's required to throw a leg over the bike on a trainer after working all day just wasn't something I had. So, I finished out 'cross season a race early, and pretty unhappy with how it went. After some time to think about it, I finally made sense of the fact that I went from Cat 4 to 2 in one season and had a lot to learn. I made my peace with it.

With that, I tried to take some time away from the bike, some trail running inspired by Tim at the store kept me entertained for a little while. On some of the cold days it was nice to feel the burn of the cold air running through the trails. Its not nearly as fun as time on the mtb, but it still was a good way to get out. I managed to hit up some frozen singletrack every now and again too, which kept that appetite fed.

So, the time off ended, and it was time to saddle up again. I managed to start getting out on the road for some great road rides, both solo and with a few friends. Went for my first ride in Jeff Memorial Forest, explored more new territory, but basically fired up my riding. The weather kept me inside some of the time, and that is when it all went downhill.

Mary and I had just received our new road shoes for the year, and like any gear junkie, mounted them up as soon as I could. Pearl white Gaerne's; gorgeous shoes, that actually fit my skinny little witch feet. They were the answer to the years of me wearing shoes that didn't fit. I didn't take one thing into consideration with them. The soles were thinner than my previous shoes. This is a good thing; but I didn't adjust my saddle for it. One trainer ride, and I'm in pain.

Fast forward to Long Run Park Circuit Race. First race of the season, raining and temps in the 40's. Perfect weather for 'cross, but we weren't there for that, unfortunately. About halfway in, my achilles decides to completely lock up. Yeah, my ankle won't bend. So, I limp my way back to the Jeep, and begin to wonder about what this means. From that point on, I've been nursing it and on and off the bike. A few weeks ago, I managed to get out to yet another rainy circuit race, but this time I could throw down, chase attacks, make attacks. My achilles held! Little by little, I started getting some more miles in. So, a few months prior, I registered for an event known as the Cohutta 100.

100 mile Mountain bike race, 12k feet of climbing, 35 miles of singletrack, 65 miles of fireroads. Sounds fun, right? It was a super tough day that I'll post about later. That was last weekend.

This weekend was supposed to be a fun trip to the Fat & Skinny Tire Festival near my hometown. It starts with a mtb race on one of my favourite trails, and then a crit the next day. Well, the mtb race lasted one of three laps for me. Guess why? My stinking achilles. I need to name it so that it just sounds like I'm complaining about some person, rather than my aching body. So, no finish on the mtb today, and no crit for tomorrow.

So, some peaks and valleys in the year, but I'm choosing to just keep a level head. Train when I can train, but ride for the love of it. Ride to heal me, ride to see new things, ride to discover myself and what I can do, but ride to enjoy the contours of the land and all that it brings.

My racing may be limited for now, but like any venture, ups and downs abound. Just check out the profile of Cohutta 100 as you wait for my race report.

18 April 2009

In the presence of greatness

Yesterday I had a very bad day.

I vowed to myself, and to Aaron, that today would be a better day.

I didn't sleep especially well; someone took it upon himself to bang on something in the cafe parking lot behind our house for what seemed like an hour. I was convinced that someone was breaking into our basement to steal the bikes. So, naturally, I couldn't sleep even after the ruckus ended. Good thing #1: Someone was NOT breaking into my basement to steal my bikes.

I then had the luxury of letting Aaron open the shop while I slept a little longer. Around 9:45AM, I woke up, played a little guitar, and then went out for a ride on my Element. Good things #2-5.

While on my ride, I learned a few things: 1. I really like my tire setup. 2. I need to run under 25psi in the rear, else I bounce on technical climbs. 3. Aaron is a fork setup God. Whatever voodoo he prescribes to, I want to learn. 4. Mandrola's dog might be a little faster on the climbs, but I'll destroy him on a descent.

After my ride, I wanted to ensure that I was putting everything in focus. I really am surrounded by greatness. See for yourself:

Though, I've got to admit, none of these photos were the first place I went for inspiration. In truth, when I woke up this morning, all I had to do was look next to me to make my heart pitter patter. Many of you have been waiting to see these bad boys for weeks:

If you're not sure what you're looking at, those are my pride and joy that I tuck in next to my bed each and every evening. Yes, I'm serious. Read Aaron's comment on Molly Cameron's blog. Those beautifully glazed confections are limited edition A. Dugast tyres made specifically for the 2003 World Championships in Monopoli. These are the infamous, mythical "unflattable" tyres coated in pink lingerie latex that Bart Wellens rode across the finish line to take the WC title. If you're still not sure what makes these tyres so special, check this out:

CS: Why don’t top-brands like Michelin and Vittoria manufacture these kinds of tires?

Because the development costs way too much money in view of the amount of tires you sell. There were only 30 tires like the ones in Monopoli for example, while the development process cost some 1250€.

You read that right. 30. I own two.

Furthermore, those tyres are perfectly nestled on highly sought 15mm Campagnolo Barcelona 92 rims, not the 12mm. They are boxy, deep, and beautiful. But wait, there's more. In the center, those are 9spd Record hubs. Yes, 9spd. The Record of Record hubs, as Aaron likes to say. There is an injection port in the center of the hub that allows them to be regreased without removing anything but the cap. Insane. I put the rear in the truing stand and spun it, sat down to grade a stack of CCA's, and my head finished spinning before the wheel.

So, basically, I don't know how I could ever have even let myself have a bad day. I live my life in the company of greatness.

P.S. If you had any doubts, the tyres indeed came from none other than:
I doubt I could've gotten them on my own. I couldn't even manage to buy a car from a car lot.

05 April 2009

Grab your caps and wool jerseys… It’s gonna be a party!

Tonight.  MTB Depot & ‘Cross Supply.  7:00PM.  Small batch brews and vino to rep our favorite riders.  Official Louisville premier of Road to Roubaix by Masterlink Films.  Free and family friendly. Get pumped for the greatest cycling race in history (atmo).  It’s only one week away.

See you there.

31 March 2009

Music to your speakers

Thought we'd try out a fun, new project. Currently set up to autoplay; we can turn this off.
Tracks 1-5: mcc
Tracks 6-7: bacon
Tracks 8-12: hawkeye


I am now the proud owner of…

Last Wednesday, I went to a car lot in town to buy a Saab 9-5 Wagon.  Those of you who know me know how I feel about Saabs.  Those of you who ride are familiar with the pitter-pattering that a nice wagon inspires in the hearts of cyclists.  I had been looking at this particular wagon for a few months; I knew what it was worth and how much I was willing to fork over in order to bring it home.  So, I stopped at the bank on the way home from school to withdraw money orders for the amount I wanted to offer.  Everyone knows cash speaks to car dealers – especially at the end of the month.  What no one knows is that printers don’t speak, they shout.

Long story short – I test drove the car, made my offer, handed over my money orders, filled out necessary paperwork, and then waited for a receipt.  And waited.  And waited.  After spending a total of three hours at the car lot, the manager/owner/resident jerk decided that the failure of the printer to spit out the receipt was an indication that he should not sell this wagon to me.  “Actually, I am going to have to pass on your offer.  I think the printer is trying to tell me something.  Sorry.  Have a good night,” were his next words.  Seriously?  I grabbed my money orders right out of his hand and marched out.  So, needless to say, I am NOT the proud new owner of a Saab 9-5 Wagon.  Whatever.  We just got a new printer at the Depot; maybe we should start letting it make our business decisions, too.

Aaron and I then went out of town for the weekend, which warrants a few posts of its own, and when we got back yesterday afternoon, this is what I found:

Address Photo

Yeah.  Molly Cameron sends me mail. – Okay, sent me mail, but that’s not to say there won’t be more in the future.

If you’ll notice, the label is handwritten.  No need for pesky printers to get in the way here. 

What’s inside, you ask?  Ooooh… a specimen far rarer and more beautiful than any Saab Wagon. 

September can’t come soon enough.

20 March 2009

With Spring Brings Green

Springtime yields changes and developments in many aspects of nature and life. The budding trees finally starting to show their blossoms, and the flowers poking their heads out of the earth again can just make you smile. Green is the traditional colour of spring, with nearly all plant life turning their own shade of the hue. It may be a coincidence, but spring brings green to cycling as well. With spring conditions in Northern Europe being known for the possibility of rain and mud, but also for hot temperatures with dry and dusty conditions. The cobbled classics which remain my favourite races of the season will take in these epic conditions, and many riders will do so on a special set of tyres. Those tyres are very well known amongst the PRO ranks, and have been used for nearly 30 years. Francesco Moser won on them at Paris-Roubaix in 1978 to begin his death-grip on the race for three consecutive years. With the list of Roubaix winners on these tyres, you begin to wonder if they have something up their sleeves. Moser, Duclos-Lasalle, Tchmil, Museeuww, Big Maggy, and Stuey O'Grady make up a small list of those who embrace the Green.

The Pave's are legendary in ride and grip. They have a deep file tread, supple ride, and fabulous grip in dirt and gravel. They are one of my favourite tyres and I would kill for tan sidewalls again, but for now the trademark green will have to do. I treasure the time of year when they get to come out again. They stay inside and away from the light from summer until spring finally pokes it's head around the corner. Yesterday was their first showing of the season. I threw them on Kermit, my trusty Gunnar Crosshairs, that I love dearly. We embarked on my cobbled, and mud-covered loop that I enjoy in the spring. It showcases the tyres abilities to soak up the cobbles, grip on the dirt, and keep you upright in the mud. I dream of riding real cobbled roads, and suffering in Northern Europe on the same roads and conditions that PRO's subject themselves to each and every year. Many cyclists dream of billard table smooth roads, but I seek out the dirt, the gravel, the cobbled, the neglected roads that make every meter a challenge.

I invite everyone to find a set of the Pave's, mount them for the spring, and revel in the extraordinary grip and the ability to ride every rough road they skip with their skinny tyres, and to throw themselves down that cobbled alley that they have always eyed but never attempted.

So spring brings Green, embrace it.

15 March 2009

Lions, Tigers, and Blogs

Stay tuned, folks.  We are doing some spring cleaning!

11 March 2009

First Test

This weekend marks the first test of my season. Its' a rolling circuit race that takes place at Long Run Park, here in Louisville. I've scouted the course, and it looks to suit me quite well. As mentioned it is rolling, and only has one climb.

I could have had my first test last night, since it was the first of a season's worth of Tuesday Night Worlds. I decided to bow out of that first night. Instead of a quality hard session full of tempo riding, its a high-paced showing of everyone's legs from the training that has filled their off-season. Its not exactly the effort I needed, and is populated by riders that I can do without. Cycling is not just a sport, but rather a complex community that thrives on competition and camaraderie. That camaraderie is unknown here in Louisville. Rides don't start with the chatter of how one's family is doing, or what their winter free time held; but simply with talk of Vo2 max tests, average power, training intervals, and just random information that is hollow and impersonal. I train nearly all year long, and do so with a power meter, but that isn't how I compare and judge others. I have struggled at times to fit into groups throughout my life because I don't fall into the general chest-thumping behaviour that exists in sport. It has frustrated me for a long time, because the beauty of sport and competition has been lost by many. I tend to distance myself from this and the people; to some it seems cold and unfriendly. I just choose to stick to my path, and if others parallel my path, they are let in to what I have to share.

Passion drives sport, and sport demands passion to become successful. I have a few friends that I ride with that ride with that passion. I choose to only ride with those who get it, otherwise they are distracting me from my trip. Those that I ride with range from new competitors that still find the joy, to riders that have hundreds of thousands of miles in their legs from a lifetime of "getting it."

Mary is one that truly enjoy riding with because she has a fierce competitive spirit to the degree that even when suffering with horrible allergies, does whatever she can to do her best. Ask her about day three in Cincinatti. Her first race was one that I won't forget. It was a pseudo-'cross race at a KOA campground in Indiana. She had no idea what to do, but she toed the line anyways. The race started with a Le-Mans style start, and Mary took it upon herself to somersalt down the hill instead of running it. She picked herself up and made it to her bike. The race continued, and unbeknownst to Mary, she had won. She thought that she had one more lap, and was drilling it. She did an entire extra lap faster than those before it, just to push herself more. She crossed the line in disbelief that she had won, and a little frustrated that she did an extra lap. Her only competitor in her class, finished a long ways back, and launched a rivalry that still exists today. It can barely be called a rivalry, mainly because Mary and I are the only ones that know of it. So, Mary became the "Indiana State Cyclocross Champion of the World" as she named it. She understood what cycling is that day.

Cycling is a personal development and journey to find one's self, and to discover the depths of beauty that lie within a ride. The riders that find themselves, whether through competition or alone out on the road, have truly won. I continue to ride for escape, adventure, and discovery, and I encourage all of you to do so.

05 March 2009

He has his lusty Spring, when fancy clear Takes in all beauty with an easy span...

With more spring-like conditions as of late, I've finally been able to get out on rides longer than a couple hours, also without being layered to the point of suffocation. I would trade the most beautiful days in the summer for 45-65 degrees all year long. That is my comfort zone, and I revel in those days where your ride may start a little chilly, warming only slightly, and maybe cooling off again by the time your done. This is really the only time of the year when I get to do my long rides. The rides that clear my head, but at the same time make my imagination soar. My latest fun purchase was a digital voice recorder. I feel like tacky journalist in a bad movie with it, but its the only way for me to capture my thoughts out on a ride. Until now, I just had to cross my fingers and try to remember all of it. I've had some marvelous ideas, and crucial discoveries about myself on my bike, and now I can hang on to those.

Its this time of year that I also find the most beauty in my surroundings. Some people need the trees to be full of colour and life, but I find that the landscape is at it's most distilled and honest at this point. There isn't any hiding the true appearance and character that sometimes gets lost with the coverage of leaves. Granted, I do love the fall, but more and more, I feel drawn to the weather that makes you suffer, and that leaves a mark on you. Everyone knows those rides, the ones that make you feel like you left part of yourself out on the road. The ride took something from you, and you're better because of it.

When I get asked about who the greatest cyclists were, I never think of the glamourous, showy cyclists of the Giro and Tour. I look to the workhorses that race in every Spring Classic that they could get into. The hollow faces, and the look of complete destruction that shows in each of these hardmen. These riders left everything out there, and the road has attacked them with anything it could. I look to these rides because I like to hurt; I like to feel a pain that I'm inflicting.

I've been drawing up a road schedule as of late, with the notion of racing quite a bit. I've got a local Spring Classic series that should be some good competition, but it also is a venue for me to make others hurt. Thats one reason why I bother to toe the line. I have that urge to hurt people on a bike; to inflict pain by burying them so deep that they can't see straight. I can do it to myself, and have now for a few years. Back in my messenger days, when I would sprint through traffic, I would go hard enough that my legs would swell so bad after work that I could sometimes hardly walk. That hurt was what i needed to feel, and what I wanted. It was something other than the pain and hurt that other aspects of my life brought me.

I've scouted out some of the courses, mapped them with my Garmin, and toyed with some setup changes. My power is good, my legs feel good, that burning is there, and that is ultimately what counts for me. For now, I'm stuck in the 4/5 races, but I hope to move out soon. I know that I can inflict pain in those races, but I do like the pain from getting beat up from faster folks. So, my big goal is to get to 2 status, but I would settle on being a race winner in the 3 field. Its a high bar to set, but thats what I need. I need to feel like I'm buried and in over my head. Thats how I felt at nearly every UCI event this year. It was so intimidating, that I drew some energy from just being scared. I liken it to being cornered; the only way out is to swing.

For the first part of this season, I look to be the one in the corner, and later to do my fair share of swinging.

22 February 2009

I'm gonna need a bigger box...

I apologize for my recent leave of absence from the blog. I've been wearing many hats lately; this is the most recent addition -->
I spent my Valentine's Day with Mike Hanley, and a faction of the Purdue men's cycling squad, making myself official - or an official, rather. Stay tuned for an appearance in powder blue near you.

<-- I've also been wearing this one. Yes, the hat really looks like that. It's my manager hat. Aaron and I have really been pouring ourselves into the shop as of late. We've been working on spring orders and that sort of stuff, but we've been devoting more of our time to community building and advocacy projects like this one: http://cxmagazine.com/kentucky-ice-storm-cyclocross-party, as well as our Ladies' Night Series. We came up with a list of issues that affect us as cyclists, and then we narrowed it down to those that could be heavily offset with a bit of bike education. We then found some experts in each field to come and chat about their topics. The program takes place on Monday evenings at 5:30, and it will continue to run until the end of May. You can find the schedule here: Ladies' Night Series at Mountain Bike Depot & 'Cross Supply. We've got some really great speakers slated to come in, including some local legends as well as PRO imports. The really cool part is that we are partnering with Westport Whiskey and Wine for beverages and snacks, and we've gotten a lot of great support from our vendors for a free raffle at each event. We've also got a few other things in the works, so keep your ears to the ground, but be sure to get out of the way of oncoming traffic. OH! AND! I made a suuuper sweet new bulletin board for the shop - sort of like Home of the Innocents for tubes... you'll have to check it out for yourself.

I've been trying to wear this cap for at least an hour every day-->
Alec has been awesome; I'm pretty sure that he cares much, much more than I am paying him for, which - I'm still new to this game - but, I am pretty sure that is a rarity in the coaching world. I am excited to see what this 'cross season will hold.
And for my final trick...
In my defense, I don't really look like this until Friday, and - even then - my hair is blonder. My largest, approximately derby-sized, hat is my teacher hat, and that needs to continue to be my primary focus right now. The second semester is running much, much more smoothly than the last; I feel that I've won the trust of many of my students, which is honestly an incredibly rewarding feeling that I can't quite explain. So many of my kids come from such broken homes that it is truly awesome to know that they feel like they can come to me, and I will consistently be there to cradle them and their best interests. If nothing else, this year has cemented my love for kids; it's been an amazing opportunity to meet hundreds of new, really cool people, and then have the chance to get to know almost all of them and find out just how strong, intelligent, and witty each one truly is.
Over and out.

15 January 2009

Back in the Groove

The past few weeks have been yielded some peace and quiet for Mary and myself. The New Year came, and to say goodbye to 2008 we went out to Lynn's Paradise Cafe. They were having a pajama party, and I surprised MCC with it. She always complains about not being able to wear pj's in public, and I thought it would be fun. So here she is decked out in her Christmas pj's playing with dinosaurs(If you haven't been to Lynn's you wouldn't get it).

We've settled into our training for the next year of racing, and trying to get our schedules figured out. I've been doing a little trail running on days where I just can't make myself get on the bike before dawn, so it has kept me pretty fresh. Like I mentioned in the last post, I use cycling for more than just fitness, so I managed to finally get out on a long road ride this past Sunday. It was cold, but I really needed to get out on the bike for a few hours. All day long at the shop this time of year can just wear you out.

So, I got out with a couple of good blokes, Jeff and Billy, to freeze in a small group. We headed out southeast of town, out to some territory that I haven't ventured into. It was refreshing to get out on country roads with some nice little twists and turns. The route has some little climbs, but that just got you warm for an instant or two. Stopped for a mid-ride double americano to warm up, and we hit it again back into town. All in all, it was a great ride, and fired me up again.

Well, if one ride is good, back to back days is better right? Every time for me. That being said, while observing my "appointment only" Monday schedule, I hit the road again for a few hours. This was a peaceful solo ride that took me out to Iroquois Park. It may be the hilliest park in the Metro, with a steady climb to the top, which rewards climbers with a view of the city from all directions. Its one of my favourite rides within the Metro, and well worth the ride up hill.
My "loaded down" road bike. Courtesy of Rob Tsunehiro. Man I love the Garmin and Powertap!

Yesterday's ride takes the cake though. Now, most sane people would see temps in the teens and twenties as a sign to stay inside and put on 5 layers. I am not sane, I put on those same 5 layers and got out to enjoy a true winter delight; frozen trail. Its not something that seems to happen much down here, but its something I grew to love living up North (somehow Northern Indiana is still "The North" down here). You could count on it nearly all month long in January, and it was a great time to get off the trainer. Anyways, I got out a little before sunrise and enjoyed the snap, crackle and pop of frozen soil underneath my tires. Since there wasn't any snow on the ground, traction is abundant and endless. You can rail corners faster than any other time of the year, and you just roll. It was also the third or fourth ride on my new Rocky Mountain ETSX. Its the first full-susser I've had in a while, so it feels like a full-on downhill bike! I still find myself picking smooth lines, but it gobbles up stuff with ease when I'm changing music on my iPod (scold me later). It climbs really well too, even for the 5 inches of suspension. It went on a diet last night when Mary and I received our latest supply of Alpha Q gear. Stay tuned for a review of the great stuff they've sent us.

Well, its time to hit the road. Stay warm, especially for all the folks up North!