Category: Local Flavor

Master And Commander

Matt Tag (cuss-service) and Tony Stone (Service Center beirdo) went to the US National Whitewater Center for some “Mountain Bicycling Intrigue” (name of Bloggy’s shortlived fanzine from the early 90’s) this weekend. Ah Catawba, your rooty goodness and muggy nastiness, how I remember you. So many Cowbell 12 Hour races, so many cramps, ruined knees and Eric Smith pit-zingers. The man had a yokel-ized comeback for everything. Hot corn, that was one weird 12 hour race. They don’t make ‘em like they used to! Still remember Deejay Birtch passing me in like, hour 11, fresh as a daisy and annoyingly positive (“Hang in there buddy! We’ve all had trailside diarrhea! No worries dude!”). Halcyon days aside, the trails are still fun to ride as evidenced by Matthew’s photos…

The most unusual yet highly effective bumper/trunk car rack around, the Saris Gran Fondo (CARR1460)!

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Tony pre-ride, preparing to insert his glass eye

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Matt’s trusty 26 incher. Nothing fancy. Wait no! Rocket Rons are swanky!

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Tony’s new 650b, carbonique Rocky Mountain. REAL swanky!

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Tony takes time for quiet reflection… or is looking for a place to urinate.

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KLINGON!!!

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Product Placement Redux

Charles (Michelin product manager) was kind enough to give Bloggy a pair of sample Pro 4 Service Course tires a couple weeks ago. I mentioned them in an earlier post but at that time, I had yet to truly discover the wonders of this tire. With several more rides on the fixed gear Pake, I can safely say that the Pro 4 tire is truly confounding, yet immensely satisfying. It rides smoother than silk, but is ridiculously durable! I have a lot of sand and dirt roads in my area and the Pro 4s have been consuming them like (insert antiquated Dom Delouise joke here). Because of the rubber’s suppleness, I assumed the sharp pointy stuff and the softer silicates would be their death knell. Oh, how wrong I was gentle reader! I searched out non-paved surfaces for the simple pleasure of pummeling the Pro 4s and listening to them beg for more. To review, in addition to added durability, the Pro 4s corner in wet conditions 16 percent better (25.6kph at a lean angle of 27.5 degrees for PRO4 compared with 22kph and an angle of 21 degrees in the case of PRO3 Race) while increasing rolling efficiency by 7 percent (At a speed of 15kph, the MICHELIN PRO4 Comp Service Course uses seven percent less energy (22.4 watts compared with 24.7 watts). That’s not marketing mumbo-jumbo. That’s science based on measurements, computations and conclusions. That’s the result of 545 million Euros invested in 2010 to the Michelin Group’s Technology Center. Thanks Bibicus!

Ride Of Silence

Awesome turnout last night for The Ride Of Silence! 100+ riders, including several wee ones which was quite awesome to see, and zero problems of either a mechanical or traffic variety. Big gentlemanly ups to Tim at Summit Cycles and all the other local independent bicycle dealers (Cycle Center, Outspokin’, Harrell’s) clubs and organizations for getting the word out on one of the most important days in the “world cycling calendar”. Afterwards, Palmetto Cycling Coalition debuted its Safe Streets Save Lives PSAs in conjunction with Bikelaw at El Burrito. The free burritos and positive vibes flowed like fresh FRS from a reservoir of togetherness…

Eric, crusher of souls and dreams, and his daughter, future crusher of souls and dreams…

Pint-sized roleur sporting his hard earned climber’s colors…

A brief pause at the corner of Gervais and Main in front of the State House to remember the fallen…

 




First It Carveth, Then It Taketh Away

Pumpkin carving contest. Nay. THROW-DOWN. Double Nay. THUNDERDOME. The best and brightest of the greatest generation… of bicycle parts distributors came to together (after much cajoling, thank you Bonnie, aaaaand threats of violence, thank you Dr. Ragefist Bloodtooth) this afternoon for a “winner takes all” competition that combined knife wielding skill, mental agility and wildly unstable artistic temperaments that “sculpted” the careers of other greats like Bernini and Rodin. Judging is underway as these words are typed. The grand prize? $52,000.00, cash, no questions asked. Second place? 30 dollar gift certificate to Kohl’s. (thank you Adam). Third place? Sandy Emmanuel’s ghost costume/burka. Have an austere and somewhat moist weekend.

2011 Catalog Meeting: Pobody’s Nerfect!

The combined forces of the graphics department and product managing department assembled this morning in a Voltron fashion as we prepped for the start of the 2011 catalog. Most other distributors are or have already done this so this isn’t new to you, but for those wondering what it takes to put out an 800 page catalog with 20,000+ parts, here is a photographic flow chart detailing the oft shrouded-in-secrecy process…

First, the parts are organized and photographed and in a huge group so we don’t have to show them individually. Here is last year’s shot. Headset spacers are clearly visible on row 78b:

Then, we enter all the parts into the world’s fastest computer, which is powered by the unconditional love of a child for his pony, a pony named Burt Reynolds:

After the computer stuff, the entire process is given the seal of approval by resident sorcerer, Dennis Galbraith, head copy editor:

Then the universe is created:

Then a small snack with office coworkers as we discuss our never ending fear of Dennis the copy editor:

Then you get a catalog of a bike brand from 1985. It’s just that easy people:

By the way, Midlands SORBA formation/organization meeting is happening! Hawley was an underwriter of the last IMBA Summit (we coughed up the big bucks!) so anytime IMBA/SORBA want a get together, we must acquiesce. Please mark the date of October 19th on your calendar and bring as many people as you can. This could be big people! BIG I TELLS YA, although not sure how I feel about the “You belong with us!” tagline which is a little too Borg-ish for me. That is all. Have a frank and productive weekend.

Like Bea Arthur, I Will Return.

Or was that General Douglas MacArthur? Or was that Vicki from “Small Wonder”? But I digress. Ahhhhhh, so glad to be back to the blogging grindstone after a much-needed vacation to recharge the batteries and exact carefully calculated revenge against those who have wronged or slighted me, real and imagined. Now that “venge-cation” is but a mere redshift in this gas giant’s rearview mirror, let’s get to things of a bicycle related nature. First, banana pudding (or Nanner Puddin’). Its deliciousness is inversely proportionate to its foul appearance. Something akin to a car wreck constructed from runny French cheeses yet its taste is a mouthwatering melange of sugar and nannery-goodness. I try and eat nanner puddin’ at least once a year, usually in September (to correspond with the puddin’ harvest). As luck would have it, today’s warehouse luncheon spread (graciously and lovingly set up by the good folks in HR) featured NANNER PUDDIN’ as the dessert! It was served at the proper temperature with a mighty spoon for dolloping onto an already overladen plate of veggie burger, sun chips, apple cole slaw and unconditional love. Many thanks to El Hefe for the surprise grubathon. The nanner puddin’ was exquisite. It went well with the chicken. “Delicious again Peter” (for you Beastie fans out there).

Second, while my beloved Jacques Lobster has been out of commission, The Blog has taken to riding its Pake (FRAM512015) track bike. Actually, it’s set up as a single speed but who’s counting. While the Pake of old had welds a vision-impaired nihilist would be proud of with tubing salvaged from the tank barrels of Korean War era Sherman tanks, the newest incarnation of Pake is light years from its predecessor. The welds are clean, the tubing is more robust and the matching bladed fork makes the front end handle like a Toyota Camry. What does this mean? Not sure, but if it means this frame won’t crack under the 1800 watts of power I’m generating on my post-work loop, then its good enough for me. I think we’ve been over this before with the Pake, but the decals are easier to remove than a (**edited**) after (**edited**). Kinda sucks not having a place for a water bottle cage but that’s why rear pockets were created, or this little fellow named the Two Fish Quick Cage (WBTC1730).

Third, a quick re-cap of shipping department Brad’s attempt at 100 mile glory. Brad was busy all morning receiving new bits of Craft clothing so I couldn’t get a detailed, blow by blow account, but here’s his truncated version of what went down Saturday morning… Before the account, a quick note. Brad switched to clipless pedals 24 hours before the ride. According to Brad, what better way to learn how to ride in clipless pedals than on a brisk 100 mile ride. That..kid…has…MOXY!!! After a few bits of pedal flailing and near wrecks, Brad quickly adjusted to the pedals and started his ride with Teenwolf. Around the 20 mile mark, Teenwolf had what could be described as a come to Jesus moment with Brad. Basically, Tony needed to be back in town for a wedding so the pace would be ratcheted up significantly. Even with a cue sheet, the number of turns can be daunting. Teenwolf warned Brad that he was entering a strange, dark place. Teenwolf couldn’t afford to wait on Brad so he was basically telling Brad you’re on your own if you choose to continue. Realizing he was on the cusp of greatness, Brad decided he would continue with the ride, and the remaining 80 miles. Teenwolf offered Brad an exit strategy and Brad double downed. He pushed his chips all in and accepted what hand the cycling gods would deal him. The good news, he survived. The bad news, he missed 100 by 12 miles. OK, that was Bloggy’s recap. Now, “The Ride according to Garp (Brad)”: Well, we started at 5:30 AM. I woke up at 4:30 though. It was too early. I messed with the shoes in the parking lot. I didn’t fall and after a while I got used to them. We rode and around the 20 mile mark, Tony said he was going to speed up. I told him I didn’t wake up at 4:30 to give up(!). We rode another 10 miles and we came upon a big sweeping turn. Tony was ahead of me and when I rounded the turn, he was gone. I could either go left or go straight. I went straight and that’s where I messed up. I finished my first water bottle at mile 50. Then at mile 70, I finished my second water (just plain water folks) bottle. I stopped at a rundown gas station to use the bathroom. They handed me a key to a shack behind the station. I had to hide my bike behind a septic tank from the sketchy characters loitering in the front. I had to refill my bottle in this really gross faucet. I kept riding and somehow ended up at the intersection of Farrow Road and West Beltline Blvd! I was so lost. I could tell by the increasing amount of traffic that I was going the wrong direction but I pressed on. I stopped at a gas station and called Tony. He informed me I was about 30 miles off course. I told him I was at mile 88 and that I would be more than happy to ride around for 12 miles in the parking lot, but the neighborhood was rough and I feared for my personal safety. By this time it was a little before noon and these three hobos walk over to me, eating ice cream and asking about my bike. I decided to move on a little bit. As I called coworker Kevin to come pick me up, I almost wrecked trying to clip back into my pedals as I espied a yound lady entering the gas station (Brad! Where is your focus!??). So yeah, I didn’t make it to 100, but I felt fine and afterwards, so I went and worked out. Oh yeah, I had two of those blue wrapper Clif Bars (Zbar for KIDS!!?!) for my nutrition. No cramping or anything.

Commuting In Numbers

First group commute in a while went off without a hitch. Adam, Josh and Ole Bloggy met at the intersection of Platt Springs and Emmanuel Church right down the road from the airport. Bloggy wanted a McDonald’s breakfast burrito but the prospect of bib chili this early in the day kiboshed the idea. Adam and I agreed to make sure Josh pulled us up the Shirway climb. He was none the wiser…

Big thanks to Chad Hoerner at FSA for the new commuting jersey. FSA makes a quality cantilever brake! Jacques Lobster-approved. Sadly, the jersey sleeves were shorn of their elastic cuffs a la Caskey and Porter (Brandon and Tobe respectively). Not ready for the Dicky full sleeveless look but there is something to be said for the fluttery goodness in the summertime…

PCC Kit Announcement

Tired of riding your titanium Moots road bike in Wrangler jeans and Myrtle Beach tanktops? Well, the Palmetto Cycling Coation has the cure for your denim-chapped posterior and shame-chapped everywhere else. It’s called the 2010 PPC Kit and the deadline for ordering one is next Monday, aka June 21st. If you’re a member, you get a gigantic discount! Even if you’re not a member, buy one anyway and show your support for the group that’s looking after cyclists’ interests in a state that often forgets we exist. These kits come in both CLUB (Brantley) or RACE (Teenwolf) cut.