No-Race Weekend

If you’ve been around for a while, you may (or may not) notice that I skipped the 4th Annual Southern Cross Race. I’ve had a lot of fun doing it the last 3 years, but with CX Worlds extending my CX training so far into the winter, I wasn’t feeling the race weekend. Looks like it was cold and damp as usual, and the women’s podium ended up with the same ladies on it as last year.

Could I have podium-ed? With my current level of fitness, probably so, but speculation is pretty useless in bike racing.

Am I sad I missed it? Nope. I spent the weekend training. Saturday, the guys from 901 Racing invited me out for their (chilly) team ride. It was a mostly steady ride, which was good since my legs were pretty trashed feeling from the previous days of training. On the hard efforts, I could tell that the power was in there, I just had to work past the “quads fresh out of the meat grinder” feeling to get to it. Saturday afternoon, Matt and I visited No Regrets. This time, however, I wasn’t the one getting the ink:

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Sunday, Ryan completed his shortest homebrew session ever when he started a 3-gallon batch of cider. Hopefully, it turns out to be a viable option for gluten-free homebrewing (his last attempts resulted in a mead that tastes like olive brine and a sorghum beer that’s super bitter with an aftertaste of more bitter). Luckily, this seems like the simplest of the three, and, if the finished recipe is any indication, it’s going to be incredibly tasty.

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After that, Ryan, Matt, and I rode most of the Wolf River Trails. We attempted to go to Grey’s Creek (a less-used, slightly more adventurous trail), but one of the creek crossings a couple of miles in was way washed out, and continuing on would have meant either searching upstream for a better crossing or getting our legs wet/cleats clogged w/mud in the washed out one (neither of which was a desirable option for the guys). So, we turned around and dodged runners on the more traveled trails.

Because of the incoming rain, I’m skipping yoga this morning and going out for my ride instead. Ryan and Matt are both traveling for their jobs this week. I’m excited to have the house to myself so I can go to late yoga class then lay around in my underwear with a bottle of wine and a cheesy movie that includes explosions and sweaty men with no shirts. Bachelorette mode: engage.

Niner Carbon Handlebar vs. Niner RDO Carbon Handlebar

As promised yesterday, I thought it might be helpful to make a quick post comparing these two bars.

First, the obvious differences- weight and cost. There’s a 20 gram and $40 difference between the two. The way I see it, this isn’t really something you should be worrying about at this stage in your decision-making process. If you’re at the point of shopping for a carbon bar, you’ve already spent a bunch of money on a very nice bike. What difference is $40 going to make? If you want the RDO bar, just spring for it, and go out to eat ONE LESS TIME this month. I mean, come on- that’s not even the cost of sushi dinner for 2 people.

Now for the more important part- what about performance/flex/etc?
Of course, all of that is pretty subjective. The bars I’ve ridden in the past before the Niner Flat Top Carbon bars were released were mainly aluminum and carbon Easton Monkey light bars. I’ve also test ridden a customer’s bike with a Crank Brothers carbon bar. I eventually stopped riding the Easton carbon bar soon after I started riding singlespeed. I could feel the Easton bar flex a lot on hard, almost-stallout efforts, and I was a little weirded out by that, so I made the switch to the first alloy version of the Niner Flat Top 9 bar.
Fast forward a bit. I was racing the Shenandoah 100 in 2011 and wrecked going pretty fast on one of the descents. One end of my bar dug into the ground (yeah- bar end and all), and the bar ended up bent (somehow, I escaped with only minor cuts and bruises). When I replaced it, I ended up (under the “you’re not putting another alloy bar back on that nice carbon bike” advice of Mike, the Niner Rep) getting the fancy new carbon bar (the RDO version of anything was not yet released).

I was very pleased with it. It didn’t have scary flex like the Easton bar, but it was much more shock-absorbing & comfy than any alloy bar I’d used. I put it on all of my bikes.
Fast forward again- I ordered my new moondust frame a few weeks ago. Along with it, I decided I’d give the RDO Carbon bar a try. Now that I’ve had a chance to ride the hell out of it in the two most bar-stressful situations (singlespeed on steep/techy stuff and a SS Strength Workout on Wednesday), I have to say, it’s does have more flex, but it’s still not discomforting like the other lightweight carbon I’ve ridden. Do I want to put it on everything? Time will tell. I really love the “non-harsh alloy” feel of the original bar, so I’m highly likely to move the RDO bar to my Air9 RDO and put the stiffer bar back on the singlespeed. The RDO bar is a very nice ride, though. They’ve found a very good balance of stiffness and shock absorption that, unlike my previous experiences, isn’t scary as shit.

So, which one should you buy? Personal preference. The weight and cost are close enough to each other that you should just go with the ride quality you like. The original bar is incredibly stiff-  I’ve never noticed it flex on hard pulls, but it’s still a much nicer ride over rough terrain than an alloy bar. The RDO bar is even moreso a nice ride over rough terrain, and, at the same time, the amount of flex I can feel under load doesn’t make me think that I’m about to rip the end of the bar off and punch myself in the face.

I don’t think you can really go wrong with either one, but hopefully, this info on my experience is helpful for those of you who are still trying to decide.

A little bit about bike fit & setup

What started as a review of two handlebars had me thinking that, in the process of talking about the two bars, I should answer a couple of questions about bike fit. So, I’ll split the post, and you’ll get the bar talk tomorrow…

1. Picking the right size bike and making little tweaks:
What you see here are two Niner carbon hardtails- a Small Air9 Carbon and a Medium Air9 RDO:

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Why did I choose a medium bike when I bought an Air9 RDO? A) I was being a little impatient, and the small was not immediately available when they were released, and B) Two water bottle cages on the medium. How did I know that the medium frame would fit? I used the commonly-overlooked geometry measurements of Stack and Reach. These two measurements have the largest impact on how high/far away your handlebars will be in relation to your butt.
When I see someone ask, “what size bike should I get?” they can simply compare these two measurements with their current ride and get a very good idea. They can also help you figure out what length/rise/orientation stem they’ll need to make the new bike feel just like the old bike. In my case, I used these two measurements to figure out that with a shorter, negative rise stem (80mm, -17deg), I can get my handlebars in the same place in relation to my saddle when compared to the small frame (which, btw, is very cozy using a 100mm, -6deg stem). Here are the actual S/R measurements for the two frames:

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I’ve got to throw in a pet peeve of mine here: Standover height is a bunk measurement. Depending on your proportions and a bike’s geometry, you may/may not be able to “stand over” a bike that fits you (or doesn’t fit you). Totally the absolute LAST thing you should even think about considering when it comes to bike fit. Still, people are so blasted stubborn about standover that bike manufacturers are forced to do things like make their size-small seat tubes so short that you only get a water bottle cage on the downtube. STOP IT, PEOPLE.
I know what some of you are thinking… “You’d think differently if you were male blah blah testicles blah blah” Guess what, guys- A) Stop acting like it tickles if I hit my crotch on my top tube, and B) if you wreck in a way that is going to put your tender boy parts in contact with your top tube, chances are, that’d happen whether or not the standover height was “OK” when you’re standing around in you tennis shoes in the bike shop. So, stop reading the outside of the bike box and listen to your mechanic.

I digress.

2. Flat bar vs. Riser bar:
The other tweak I’ve made between my small and medium frame was to flip the medium handlebar over. Both Niner flat bars are actually built so that you can run them “up” or “down” (the down position drops the bar 5mm). This brings me to another question I see all the time- “why would I want a flat/riser bar?” It depends on where you want your hands in relation to your saddle. Once your proper seat height/setback is determined (which, btw, should be done totally independently of your handlebar height/reach), you can use a flat or riser bar (in conjunction with spacers under the stem, stem dimensions/orientation, etc.) to put your hands at a height that’s comfortable for you. I like my bars essentially even with my saddle. That’s not comfortable for everyone- some people like them higher/lower. There’s nothing wrong with either way unless it’s not comfortable for you.

3. Other random tweaks?
Once you’ve got everything dialed in, you can work on the details. Bar width? That’s up to you, but always experiment with wider before you get to chopping things down. When you do start cutting, just go a little at a time- like 5mm each side at a time. Turns out, you can always take more off, but it’s pretty dang hard to put it back on if you go too far. I’ve found that 666mm is my “sweet spot.”
Also included are other things like setting the inboard/outboard placement and angle of your brakes/shifters/lockout, grip angle (if you’re using non-round grips), and bar-end angle (if you’re using bar-ends). I use Ergon grips on everything. I use bar-ends on the hardtails because I love climbing out of the saddle, and they give me both comfort and leverage to do so. When I got my geared bike set up, I realized that I like to have my lockout inboard of everything. However, this put my left shifter/brake lever out of comfortable reach. So, I made a modification to my left grip, which I eventually carried over to my SS because I liked the lockout position so much:

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That prettymuch covers the front end of your mountain bike. In the next couple of days, I’ll do a writeup on the differences between the standard carbon bar and the RDO bar.

 

 

Weekend at Syllamo & Industry 9 Trail 24 initial review

First- the riding.

It was awesome, as always. I’ve visited a lot of trails in my short-ish time as a mountain biker, but the Syllamo trails are still some of the most beautiful and challenging I’ve encountered. I did my usual Friday afternoon warmup on the green & orange trails- it’s a good start to a weekend there because you can knock out the loops in ~1.5 hours, and they leave from the closest trailhead, which means the drive there is easy. Those particular trails also give you a nice sampling of what Syllamo has to offer- climbs, descents, flowy stuff, overlooks, and, of course, what’re probably the two “best” rock gardens of the entire system.

Somewhere, in the midst of cyclocross training, I improved my ability to negotiate rock gardens. I’m not 100% sure how (improvement in my equipment is a contributing factor for sure, but more on that in a minute), because I was generally glued to a ‘cross bike since Christmas. Friday afternoon, I managed to clean the rock gardens on both the green and orange trails, first time through- something that, until Friday afternoon, I’ve never managed to pull off, even individually. There’s always been at least one dab or do-over every time I’ve ridden them. I went back to the cabin basking in the awesomeness of rock garden domination and enjoyed the sunset with a glass of wine on the back porch.

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Saturday morning, I met up with some people for a quick trailwork party. We cut a corridor through a logged-off section (essentially, that means that if you can stand in the trail with your arms out, you cut anything between your fingertips that’s not a grown-up tree). In the logged areas like this one, it’s lots of lopper and line trimmer work. It’ll pay off big time once spring hits by keeping the angry plants off the trail for an extra month or two before mother nature takes over completely for the summer.

 

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After that, we got on our bikes and went tree hunting. First, to a downed one on the yellow trail. Then, we split up, and Wes and I went to the blue and orange trails. Before splitting, we stopped back at the cars, which were parked at a campsite down a logging road. While we were there, the campers occupying the site drove up. They were two college students who were researching stress hormones in wood frogs. Apparently, that was the Southern end of the frogs’ territory, and they were hoping that the incoming rain (which ended my trip a day early) would bring about successful trapping. We also encountered a group of guys in ATVs who were looking for an ATV-legal path to the yellow trail overlook. They were camping elsewhere for one guy’s bachelor party (too bad all guys can’t be classy enough to go enjoy beer and nature for their bachelor parties).

 

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We removed 3 more trees from the blue and orange trails before finishing up the orange loop and riding back up the forest road to our cars. The trail is nice and clear for now, but the hog damage is getting out of control in some areas. They root along the side of the trail and turn over dirt, rocks, and leaves. The fluffy leaves hide the rocks, making for a dangerous riding condition in some sections where you can’t see what’s hiding under the leaves. Other than a bounty or hunting season, I’m not sure what we can do before they tear everything up.

Enough about the battle with hogs. On to the good stuff…

It’s not often that I’m wrong, but, I have to admit, here and now, that, for the last 3 years, I’ve led many people down the wrong path when it comes to hubs. Before this weekend, if you asked me, “should I get a hub with uber-fast engagement?” I would have answered you with something along the lines of, “you won’t notice a fast-engaging hub as much as you’ll notice if your hub engages slowly.”

Well, I was mistaken.

I didn’t think that a fraction of a second of faster engagement could make a difference in clearing a spot or not clearing it. Actually, it makes a huge difference. Granted, my fitness is great right now, and that helps with the tech-riding success I had this weekend. However, I can’t discount the impact that my new wheels had on my ability to put the fitness to good use. I was amazed over and over again at how much of a blast I had riding them.

Also, I’ve had a lot of people ask me about the I9 stiffness vs. the carbon ENVE wheels I rode last season. No, they’re not as stiff. But, if I put everything I’ve owned on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being American Classic Race wheels and 10 being ENVE carbon, I’d give the Trail 24s about an 8.5 (for further reference, a Stan’s Crest/DT Swiss aerolite/hope would be a “5” in my head).

My totally subjective judgement on stiffness is based on a couple of things- one being how much the wheels make you notice “other” stuff about your bike setup- i.e. you have to pay much more attention to things like suspension and tire pressure adjustments when your wheels are super-stiff. The ENVE wheels beat the hell out of me the first time I rode them in Arkansas because I needed to make major changes in my front fork setup (lighter weight oil in the damper/less air pressure). The I9s made me realize that I needed less air pressure in my tires as well (previously not a problem with the ENVEs since the rim was sooooo narrow; previously not a problem on the AMClassics because they were superflexy). My other (totally subjective, possibly untrue) measure is more of a feeling of flex under load. I’ve noticed that some wheels (both mountain and road) seem to have a weird vibration (almost like a groan) that resonates through the drivetrain when I’m putting down a good bit of power. On a mountain bike, it’s just annoying. On a road bike, it will make me think I have a flat tire.

So, initial reports for the I9 trail 24 wheels- Wow. Just, wow. Sure, it’s just been one weekend, but Syllamo is not a place that suffers lesser equipment lightly. I’m absolutely itching to get some more time on these as the season continues.

Rest Week

Saturday morning, Ryan was tired from his Friday race, and I was tired of being cold and muddy (the Power Washers were frozen/broken on Friday, so I spent the duration of his race scraping and chipping mud-ice off/out of his bikes 2x every lap). So, in lieu of sticking around to watch Saturday’s Elite races, Ryan and I packed up and headed back to Memphis.

Another driving factor was Sunday’s festivities- our roommate Matt’s birthday ride,  AKA “Poolboy Matt’s Birthday Death March.” We rode a couple of hours with a big group, drank some beer and whiskey, and a good time was had by all. Unlike 100 mile MTB races, a 40 minute CX race will leave you tired, kinda sore, but not fully destroyed. So, a rest week after a hard race is more of a mental break than a physical one.

Actually, I’m still feeling pretty tapered and awesome right now, so my plan for today is to go out to Herb Parson’s Lake and ride a couple of laps on my new Industry 9 Trail 24 wheels. I’d tell you all about them myself, but it just so happens that someone else just posted a really good rundown on them this morning. So, chances are, you’ve read it already. Unlike his, which are straight up pink, I tortured a wheelbuilder with my color scheme. I decided on a combination of purple, gold, and black spokes with a purple hub. The purple & gold are just bright enough to be flashy, and the black ties everything together to keep it classy. Win-win:

(excuse the sloppy chain tension)
Close-up of front hub

 

I’m very stoked to get wheels this nice. I’m even MORE stoked that, in the 18 hours that they’ve been in my possession, I’ve seen a tremendous response from local people who want to get a set. It makes me feel warm/fuzzy/happy inside when my sponsors get a return on their investment. If you enjoy reading my adventures in bike racing, click those links on the right and tell them you saw it here. I swear it makes a difference… the more you buy their stuff, the more I get to show their stuff off to the “world” via bike racing/blogging. It’s a beautiful feedback cycle.

This weekend, I’ll really get to put the wheels through their paces at Syllamo. The guys are going to their team camp somewhere in Middle Tennessee, so I’m going on a solo mountain bike retreat to the cabin for a few days. While I’m there, I’m going to get a little more focused on what exactly I’d like to do this summer for a race season. Amanda Carey summed up my feelings very well in her recent interview with MTBRacenews. I’ve got a basic framework started with Whiskey Off-road, TSE, some SS National Championship racing, and Breck Epic, but now it’s time to fill in the gaps.

 

Master’s Worlds Race Report

It’s been a hot minute since the race, and anyone who follows me on Twitter or Facebook already knows at least the important part of the story- I finished 3rd place. The combination of rain from a Wednesday morning thunderstorm/deluge, a little extra rain/snow Wednesday night, and the hundreds of people who raced on the course immediately following that, turned it into a total mud bog.

Ryan and I pre-rode on Wednesday at lunch before his heat race. At that point, it was sloppy, but less damaged, so it was nicely difficult- some deep, power-sucking mud, and a lot of slick, tricky mud. I felt great about it. However, between that time and my race, the course conditions deteriorated dramatically. The grass, mud, and water was so churned together that the course turned incredibly slow, and pedaling felt like trying to run and fight off an axe murderer in the throes of a nightmare- the type where you can neither run nor fight because your body feels like it’s moving in slow motion, no matter how much effort you extend.

This year’s field was a little more serious than last year- not that last year’s competition wasn’t tough, but this year, the field size doubled, and included the current National Champion. The stripes made it easy to pick out who to follow when we were given the signal to GO, important since I hadn’t done any e-stalking ahead of time, so I had no idea who was “fast” (other than myself, of course… hehehe)

The start was fast as usual for any very competitive cross race. That was about the only thing that was fast, though. As soon as we were off of the solid start/finish area, everyone dumped to the small ring, and we were racing our asses off… at an average speed of 6.5 miles per hour. Going that slow means that bike handling won’t be a determining factor in the outcome of the race. So, it boiled down to a 3 lap, 40 minute power test with 2x per lap bike exchanges thrown in for good measure. Ryan, who was working the pit for me, had his work cut out for him, repeatedly running the mud/grass-caked bikes to the powerwasher for the big stuff, then finishing the drivetrain cleaning off with most of a can of ProGold Blast Off that Bruce Dickman gave me just before the race. If it weren’t the good pit work, I would have been dead in the mud.

Off the line, I was on the wheel of Kari Studley, the National Champion. I didn’t look back, so I had no idea how the race was unfolding behind me. Kari would periodically pull away then come back, and I decided that, along with her, I’d pass the pits the first time. I stayed behind her like a slinky until finally imploding somewhere after the 2nd time past the pit- during which we both took a clean bike (I exchanged bikes 2x per lap following that). She began to pull away, and I worked on recovering enough to minimize the damage.


(photo courtesy of Debbie Baker)

In the meantime, Brianne Marshall of NoTubes was creeping up behind me. She passed me somewhere during the 2nd lap and seemed to dangle just out of my reach by about 10-15 seconds before pulling away in the 3rd and final lap. She tended to run more of the worst mud sections. I decided not to run- I made the switch from Crank Brothers to SPD pedals a while back, and they were NOT the best pedal in the deep mud because they clogged up every time I got off of the bike. I don’t really consider it to be a deciding factor in my situation, but Crank Brothers pedals would have been one less thing to worry about being affected by mud.
Kari, Brianne and myself finished spaced out about a minute or so of each other, but well ahead of the spots off the podium.

So, this third place was a lot better than last year’s third place, where a stupid mechanical for which I take full responsibility (rear skewer rattled loose) took me out of the 1/2 contention. I think that Thursday’s race through the mud bog could have been contested as a 40 minute power test on trainers with the same outcome. Not as fun as a high-speed, running/jumping/sliding race, but it’s the hand that all of us were dealt, and we made the best of it.

 

Settled In

We arrived in Louisville yesterday afternoon, dumped everything into the hotel room, and went out for a quick spin to look at the course (it was closed, so we really did just go and look at it) then stop by registration and get back to the hotel before dark.

(insert obligatory “blurry phone photo from the riverfront”)
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Once we’d cleaned up and had dinner at a nearby brewery (OMG @ the local/grassfed burger, gluten free when served minus bun), we went to Whole Foods to stock up on groceries so we wouldn’t constantly be in search of a healthy place to eat meals (actually not too hard in LV, but the kitchenette is a sure thing).
When we arrived back, I took half an hour or so to unpack my clothes into drawers and re-arrange the kitchen cabinets to hold the groceries and other food I’d brought. It can get a little tedious, but settling in and nesting in such a way makes the remainder of the stay a lot more “normal,” something that can be hard to maintain when you’re living in a 250 square foot space for 4 nights. Getting a room organized and making yourself at home is some of the best advice I can give to anyone aspiring to make more than 1-night road trips to bike races. It also keeps you from searching through luggage/grocery bags looking for an apple or arm warmers.

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This morning, a giant storm front passed through (it went through Memphis last night, and I nearly worried Poolboy Matt to death doting over the fate of him and the dogs if there were a tornado). We slept through most of it, but it ended up flooding and blowing down parts of the race course, so the start of everything was delayed. Luckily, the schedule is staying the same from afternoon pre-ride on to Ryan’s heat race.

I was super happy with our choice in groceries yesterday, because when we went down to the complimentary hot breakfast, my food snobishness came out in full force when I got grossed out by the slimy-looking “scrambled” (powdered) eggs. I got a spoonful of the baked potato wedges and went up to the room to make my own bacon/potato/cheddar/egg hash. It was one of the most delicious things, ever.

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Now, we’re just hanging around until the noon open course time, when we’ll go get covered in mud then scramble around to get Ryan’s bike back to “perfect” for his 3:30(ish) heat race.

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You’ll notice the hipster/instagram flair on that one. Yesterday, on the 6ish hour drive here, I got bored and started a social media side project. Based off of richkidsofinstagram.tumblr.com, I started uppermiddleclasskidsofinstagram.tumblr.com. Hopefully, it’ll catch a little traction with the target audience and get some good submissions of the fun, occasionally expensive hobbies of people with a little disposable income. You can tag photos on Instagram or Twitter with #umckoi.

 

One more week

Suddenly, it’s just a few days until we leave for Louisville. Not only am I tired of preparing physically for the race, I’m also a little tired of typing about it. I’m stronger than last year, the competition will be deeper than last year. All I have to do now is race outside myself in 6 days. Let’s just leave it at that.

In more exciting news, I sold the Air9 Carbon!!! I’m extra happy because a woman bought it. Not to sound “reverse sexist,” or anything, but it always makes me super excited to see other women on really nice bikes. The replacement for that frame is another Air9 Carbon CYA frame, but in moondust. I am going to make it a little more sexy than before with the Niner RDO bar, stem, and Ti Cog (I got a 20t in case I’m riding someplace where the Endless 21t kickass cog isn’t appropriate) as well as an MRP Bling Ring. Now all I need is for my Industry 9 Trail 24 wheels to show up, and I’ll be worthy of a spot on the Sick Whips page of Dirtwire.tv.

Hopefully it’ll all arrive while I’m in Kentucky next week, and I can do some building on Monday and/or Tuesday. That won’t be the only thing I’ll have to build- my warranty replacement Cannondale Super6 EVO frame should be here next week as well. I realized soon after I built it that the drag I was feeling on the crank wasn’t “new bearing” drag. Turns out, the bottom bracket shell was out of spec, and when Cannondale tried to fix the problem by sending me a new bottom bracket, the replacement got stuck inside my frame. Not just like “hard to get out” stuck, more like, “large men laid it on the ground and hammered on a stuck driveside bearing and it’s still in there” stuck. So, the replacement frame ships out on the 28th. I’m excited to have my road bike back.

Here are some random pictures from the last week:

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SOLD! Air9 Carbon for sale, Round 2

Too slow! It’s outta here!

There was a little interest in the A9C frame/fork, but no solid bites, so here’s another offer:

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Parts include:
Hayes Stroker Trail brakes
Truvativ Stylo Crank (32×17 gearing)
Hope Hubs (SS Rear)
Stan’s Crest/355 rims
Thomson Seatpost
Easton EA50 stem (100mm/6deg)
Truvativ Stylo Alloy bar
WTB Grips
The front tire will NOT be the Michelin in the picture. It will be a matching (to the rear) Hutchinson Python

$2,200

The original deal still stands if you’re looking to purchase a frame & fork only.

Nostalgia and Pride

Those of you that have been reading for a hot minute may remember my brief but life-altering stint with the Metro Volkswagen Elite team out of Dallas. We had a 10 day training camp during which I redefined “physical limits,” and I met some very talented riders who shared my drive to rule the bike world. I only made it to a couple of races for the team, where I worked outside myself as a domestique before having the cycling equivalent to a nervous breakdown.
The team manager, Nathan, wasn’t the easiest person to deal with. When I’d first met him at the Tour of Arkansas, he had his hand in a cast… because he’d gotten mad and punched the metal team trailer, denting it and breaking his hand (you may also remember his punching through the back window of a Suburban during team camp). Anger management issues aside, he knew his shit when it came to race tactics, and, he’s one of the only people who has ever genuinely believed in my ability to ride a bike at a lever higher than what I’d even expect of myself. Not that any of my other friends/family doesn’t think I’m good, it’s just that their expectations don’t exceed my own, but his were, “you have the potential to be better than you think you can be.”

I still channel that expectation on a regular basis when I’m out training alone.

The riders I met while on the Metro team have generally scattered across the U.S. since the team exodus during the remainder of the 2009-2010 seasons. Though not all of them still bike race, through various social media outlets, I’ve watched them all be successful in whatever it is they’re doing. I’m not going to go through all of them and their achievements (that sort of post would take all day), but here’s the latest:

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Christian Helmig wins Luxembourg National Cyclocross Championship

 

It’s not an uncommon occurrence for any of my former teammates to win a national title or make it onto a pro team roster. Some have abandoned the pro ranks and gone on to do other things with a similar drive for success- everything from art to rock climbing to baby making. I’ve felt proud of them all at one point or another.