What is it, winter?

After a solid week or more of 60 degree days, yesterday's return to typical Albuquerque January weather was terrible.
Monday a couple of guys from QBP, the gigantisaurus parts distribution company out of Minnesota that we do quite a bit of business with, were in town visiting shops. We saw them in the morning, and then they came back by to enjoy an adult beverage with us in the afternoon, and we all went out to dinner together.
We eventually started chatting about riding in the winter in the severe weather that they have. One guy, Martin, said that the coldest he'd ever ridden his bike was 30 degrees below zero. The other guy, James, was clearly kind of a wimp because he'd only ridden at 17 degrees below.
This kind of talk left me dumbfounded. I've done some riding down around freezing, maybe into the twenties a couple of times, but I was miserable, and everybody within ear shot knew about it.
We had a real nice time though, and look forward to seeing those guys, and everybody else at QBP, in February when we go out for their Frost Bike trade show event. I think I'll just bring every piece of clothing I own, and hope I don't loose any limbs frost bite.
Our dinner was fun, as Danny, Tony and I all went, along with our respective special lady friends, and Julian too. We'd never all gone out together as a trio of couples, and it was cool.

Speaking of being a wimp about the cold...... you guessed it! I'm going to wimp out about riding tonight. Not specifically because of the cold, although that's not helping. I'm in the middle of a ferocious battle with some sort of a head cold that is wreaking havoc on my nose. I feel like victory is in my reach, but going out and pedaling in 30 something degree weather isn't going to help at all. I'm hoping to be better by this weekend, so I can get one more stupid hard training ride in before Old Pueblo (I've been told to take it easy the last couple weeks before the race).
Hopefully though, others will persevere and ride in my absence. So if your interested in going, post up a comment here to let others know you'll be there, or give a call to the shop and see whats happening.

Okay, time to go. Baby and baby mama are up, and it's once again time to play "what can we convince Julian to eat for breakfast."

P.S. After a couple weeks of completely cramped style and no keg, we have re-filled. So if you have been avoiding the shop lately because the only reason you came by in the first place is free beer, you can once again stop on by and pretend like you like us while we buy your friendship with adult beverages.

Single Speed World Championships and other assorted awesomeness.

Don't know if you're familiar with the Single Speed World Championships, but if not, here's a quick synopsis: Each year the winner gets to choose the location of the next years event, and is basically in charge of all the details. The most consistent thing from year to year seems to be that the winners get commemorative tatoos. If I remember correctly, a few years ago there was the bike race, but the winner was actually decided with a go-kart race. That's my kind of racing. It's hard to take too seriously, and at the same time, it's an incredibly difficult race.
Last year was in Napa Valley, and registration was online and filled up in a matter of hours. This year it's in Durango, registration was via a mail in coloring contest, and I got in!
Check out the start list:
sswc09 Start List
Right there on page twelve, listed just below Senor y Senora Turgeon, you will find Dan Lucero. Booya! I'm rather excited.
I have to say thanks to the Turgeons, without whom I might very well have not made it in. See, I learned about the coloring contest a day or two after they announced it, and proceeded to procrastinate until very near the deadline, which was the 23rd of January. With only 500 spots available to men (all women who entered made it in), I learned a few days ago that the start list was already dangerously long, and that it was basically being filled on a first come first serve basis, not necessarily on the quality of the coloring jobs.
Luckily for me, Mr. Turgeon offered to hand deliver my app, as he is friends with the person you send them in to. This way I was guaranteed on time delivery, and as an added bonus, I was able to affix a 6 pack of hoppy delicious bribery to my application.
The plan seemed to pay off, and I am excited.
You will see some interesting names on the list, including Ned Overend, Joe Murray, Adam Craig, Travis Brown, and our own Richaround Rodriguez. Some legs will certainly be ripped off with the firepower found on that list, and Richaround and I will be there, huffing and puffing along miles behind as the dust settles.

In other news, we had us a good time on Wednesday, with a much larger showing of participants than we've ever rounded up for one of our monday adventures. We will play again this Wednesday, assuming it's not raining, as it might be, if you believe the weather people.
I was riding for the first time on my new race wheels on my Spot, a set of Stans 355 rims, laced up to an American Classic single speed QR hub in back, and a WTB Laserdisc Lite in front, with Revolution spokes. The wheels set came in at 1520 grams, which is lighter than most every road wheelset I've ever owned. To go with it, I put some Stans tires on there, running tubeless, and all said and done I shaved 3 lbs off my bike.
The wheels had a drastic effect on the bike. The lack of rotating inertia completely changed the way it handled. The tires weren't the grippiest things in the world, but not unmanageable. Not sure if I'll use them for Old Pueblo though, as I expect to be extremely tired at some point, and a more predictable tire might be a wise choice.
I'm going to write up a review on these wheels for posting over at BikeFix, probably after Old Pueblo and some significant abuse.
If you haven't checked out Bikefix lately, you should do so. Most recently Charlie has written a manifesto about tubeless tires. It's an impressive rant, and may seem excessive unless you've spent a significant amount of time in a bike shop in this part of the country in the past few years, dealing with non-believers and their flat tires. Or unless you happen to ride with people who won't use tubeless tires, and then you've spent hours watching flats be fixed while standing on the side of the trial, rather than riding, on a beautiful sunny day. I've fixed one flat while running tubeless in the past four years or so, that's all I have to say.

Lets see, what else is new around the shop? Danny and I are gearing up for 24 Hours in Old Pueblo. We're racing duo, on singlespeeds. The race is coming up quick. It looks like we've managed to latch ourselves onto some friends who camp in style, which we're very excited about, because if it was just Danny and I we'd probably be sleeping in the back of a car and living completely on Clif Bars.
Danny got himself a new fixie, and we have a couple of new toys in the shop lately, like a Van Dessel Ramble Tamble frame. I'll get some pics up soon of the new goodies hanging around the place.

I guess that's it for now.

Riding wednesday

We're going to go out on Wednesday night this week, rather than tonight (Monday). This way Danny will be able to join us. And I don't feel like riding because I'm all irritated and grumpy because we spent all day yesterday doing inventory, and there's still a ton to do, and that's just not fun, so pffffft.

New- Old Yeti Hotness

This was forwarded to me by our buddy Chris, and it is bad to the bone:

Mike Wilk's Yeti C-26

Monday Miracle and Brain DJ

Last night was a miracle. It was officially the first Monday EVER that it has not snowed, in the history of mondays that goes back about 6 weeks, and doesn't include that one monday a couple weeks ago where I'm not sure but I don't think it snowed.

A small group of Monday night riders, including Ryan, another bike wrench in Abq, Chris the dentist, who will some day fix our chompers, and myself. Tony didn't even pretend to act like he might be going last night, and monday isn't good for Danny.

Which brings up a question: from the 5 people that read this blog, would more of you be interested in joining in if we started riding wednesday? (assuming your interested at all, that is). The big conflict with wednesday is that it is gate practice night at the BMX track, but so far Tony is the only person we know who would do both, and I don't think he'd be too broken hearted about missing our XC rides.

Our friend Richaround once told us about a game he enjoys playing, which he has dubbed "Brain DJ". It's really quite simple. You exploit your friends tendency to get songs stuck in their heads by subtly singing pieces of songs around them. If you do it right, the victim doesn't even notice you singing, or humming or whatever. But a few minutes later they find themselves inexplicably singing the same song, and can't get it out of their head. Obviously, it is best to play with horrible songs, the likes of which nobody would want in their head. And there seems to be a direct correlation between the horribleness of a song and it's staying power in your brain.

I was driving to work yesterday morning, absent mindedly flipping through radio stations. I let the radio settle on Charma Chameleon for a few moments, not too long, but long enough. That song has been in my head since. Last night while riding, that was the wicked soundtrack I had to motivate me. This morning when I woke up, even before I had gotten out of bed, karma karma karma karma karma chameleon, you come and go, you come and gooooooo. Loving is something when something something something, doo dooo doooo, something doooooooo
Boy George should be drawn and quartered.

The only reason I out myself of listening to Karma Chameleon in the car is for your benefit. This is clearly a very powerful song with wich you can Brain DJ your friends and coworkers. Give it a try and ruin somebodys brain for a few days.

Monday Night Extravaganza

Okay, Monday night we're riding. Well at least I'm riding, we'll see if the others join me. About 6:45 top of Montgomery. It will be cold. I'm hoping the Rumpleminze will keep me warm. Hope you can make it.

Best Week Ever

Well, not really the best week ever. It was a fine week, but not the best ever. Actually it was a pretty lousy week for Danny boy, who managed to eat some bad Sushi, which never ends well, and then get a tooth pulled a couple days later. Good thing Danny loves pain, or I'd feel sorry for him.

Anyways, following up on last post, Charlie's ridden his Black Sheep a couple of times. We were in the South Foothills a few days ago, and I rode his bike a little. It is a nice bike. Unlike most soft tails that I've ridden, which feel like you have a 2.5 tire on the back without enough air in it, this thing is sweet. You can actually tell there's some suspension back there working for you, but it has the snappyness of a hardtail that a full susser can never quite achieve. And it's soo light, it will be a fantastic endurance race bike.

The foothills were as good as the foothills get. With lots of moisture in the dirt, but no mud, everything was super fast, super smooth, and super grippy. It may just be the foothills, but we sure are lucky to be riding mtb trails in January.

We didn't make it out on Monday night for our ride. I know at this point we've not made it as often as we have made it, but don't worry, we're gonna get it together. I had family obligations that kept me from riding, and it seems I'm the motivator for Tony to get out. Danny's never made it, so he doesn't count anymore.
For the record, I'm pretty sure it snowed again last Monday.
Forecast is good for this weekend through Monday I believe, and we are totally going riding. I strongly recommend joining us, and I also strongly recommend bringing a flask of something strong, as we've discovered that is a nice component of the Monday night ride ( I assume during summer cold beers will replace flasks).

In shop news, we're sad to announce that our keg-o-rator is getting repo'd. Although we though we had been given it permanently, we have recently been informed that it was merely on loan, and needs to be returned. The plus side is we can get ourselves a slick pre-fab setup that will look nicer and take up less space. The down side is we will most likely not have a keg in the shop for a little while.

In other shop news, Danny's dream is finally coming true, and we have an ultrasonic parts cleaner on order. We've been talking about this since we opened, and finally this week inspiration hit and we got one on the way. If your not familiar with ultrasonic parts cleaners, it's basically like a larger, heavy duty jewelery cleaner that uses a mild solution and ultrasonic wave to make greasy dirty old stuff look brand spanking new again.
Once it is up and running, this will become an integral part of our tune up service, and everybody will have the option of getting their bike's drivetrain cleaned so that it looks like new.
Also, because it doesn't require nasty chemicals to do the cleaning, these things are significantly more environmentally friendly than traditional parts cleaners, which is a good thing.

We've been selling Transitions like hot cakes. If you're not familiar with the brand, check them out:
They pretty much only make bikes that you can get rad on, mostly getting rad in the form of downhilling, or dirt jumping, or park, or urban riding. The bikes are bombproof, awesomely priced, and come in a selection of colors.
There was a write up recently in one of the bike mags (can't remember which) about the company. Turns out they are cool guys. Started by a couple of dudes working in the corporate world who couldn't take it anymore, and decided to do something they actually enjoy at the price of significant pay cuts, was something I could relate to. They have dirt jumps outside the warehouse, regular company trail work days, and the only company Christmas card we received that actually made us laugh.
Yesterday we had three Doubles in the shop, Tony's, Ian's and Larry's. Here's a pic of Tony's and Larry's:

With 3.5" of travel in back, this is a versatile bike that is great for dirt jumping, 4X, urban riding, or anything else. Everybody loves this bike, it's unreal. And it comes in so many pretty colors.

They are a new company that's blowing up in a market overflowing with competition because they're doing it for the love of bikes, not money. Just thought I'd throw a little plug in for them, since they are treating us so well.

Thursday night trainer classes have started back up around the corner from us at Concrete Systems. If you are interested, I suggest showing up next week, as the class gets progressively harder every week, and coming into in the middle would be incredibly painful.
There were 62 people participating this week, which was a record. The class is a little over an hour right now, and will get longer as the weeks go on. It will happen 12 more times. There are intervals with gradual cadence increases until your spinning your ass off. There are isolated leg sessions, where you pedal with one leg for a few minutes at a time, which is incredibly hard. And then there is the standing and hammering interval, which was 10 minutes this week and will get up to something unreasonable like 45 minutes long by the end. If you make it every week, you will have some serious fitness under your belt by spring.

If your interested, the class is free, starts at 6:30pm on Thursdays, and is at Concrete Systems, which is right next to the shop. You just need a trainer and your bicycle. If you only have a road bike, you can just throw a slick on the back and your set. If you don't have a trainer, I know some guys with a cool little bike shop that can get you set up.

And last but not least, here is a pic of my boy doing his best "grumpy old fat guy" impression:

"Hey, what're you kid doing on my lawn! Get outta here before I woop your asses!" is what I imagine him saying.


Charlie's new Black Sheep

Charlie got himself a new toy.
This is one good looking bike. Black Sheep is a custom builder out of Fort Collins Colorado. This bad boy gets about 3.5" of rear wheel travel via an RP23 rear shock and a flat ti flexure plate located behing the BB.
Charlie of course built it up with parts that look as good as the frame, like the Fulcrum Red Metal Zero wheelset, Magura MD120 fork, and FSA K Force Light Double Ring crankset.
The bike came in at 24 lbs even.
Cant wait to hear Charlies feedback after he gets it in the dirt, but parking lot tests are promising.
Check out the other beautiful creations from Black Sheep:

Did you miss us?

I know you missed us, don't lie.
We had a great time off from the shop, and thanks everybody for your patience with our long closure.
Didn't get to ride much during my time off, but I made up for my lack of riding by drinking nearly constantly.
It's nice to be back. Hopefully it doesn't rain tomorrow like it's supposed to, and the foothills will be good for our Monday night ride. We missed last Monday, but the week before was fantastic. We had 5 riders, 2 functional lights, 2 flasks of whiskey, about a 1/4" of snow, and the most memorable 2 hours in the north foothills ever.