Archive for June, 2014

The Happenings of the week.

Monday, June 30th, 2014

After delighting all 10 of you readers with the adventures of the Ride The Rockies/Pro Leisure Tour….its time to get back to the normalcy of a week at the shop.

Laugh with me on this one. We actually love the people we choose to do business with and wouldn’t be around without your love and support.
I say it all the time – we don’t pander to the general consumer….we look for those who want the wisdom, experience, expertise and style of the custom shop.

Because lets face it, fixing/building bicycles is as easy as baking a cake…..right?

Here is a cool story… we do a lot of XTR/ENVE/boutique builds around these parts….

But I was commissioned to do a restoration project…’86 TREK 1400…..this gentlemans first racing bike. Bad Ass.

What a pleasure….I used to work on those in the 90′s…..really a fun experience.
In other fun news, the lifts are open!

Get out there are set yourself free! Its a short week after all.

Ride the Rockies 2014 (aka DWC Pro Leisure Tour)

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

Each summer there are choices to be made….concerts to attend, places to go, people to see. For many years I’ve been interested in Ride the Rockies.
As a matter of fact, Troy Rarick turned me on to the event and it has been on my list for many years. I would describe the event as a RAGBRAI’esque type event that features high altitude passes, lots of carbon fiber road bikes and most importantly – a good time. Ride the Rockies is open to participants via a lottery and for a couple of years, I have not got in. So it goes. Then my friend John, a Neurosurgeon in Denver, and the ride’s medical director – asked if I’d ride along as a medic. I accepted and began to plan for the trip. Plan A was to have my darling life partner drive our coach from town to town and provide support. Her gainful employment prevented that last minute so the decision was made by me to embark “dirty bagger” style on said trip.

Day 1 of the Pro Leisure Tour – off course, Golden to Boulder.
The ride technically started in Boulder, and I thought it manly to sac up and park in Golden (the finish town) and ride with all my gear to the start city. 23 miles and under 2000 feel to elevation gain, 65lb setup, misty mountain type day. It was nice. People looked at me like I had three heads when I rolled along – possibly assuming that I would be taking all 4 panniers the entire distance.

It was fun to be out there. The bicycle was rock solid and the journey peaceful. Boulder is a great town. I haven’t been through Colorado really in 15 years since I moved to Utah. The houses in Boulder remind me of Ann Arbor.

Get to the site, set up camp, ate at a microbrewery, attended medics meeting – sleepy time.
Day 2 of the Pro Leisure Tour – on course, Boulder to Winter Park
Yes, Boulder to Winter Park…..on a touring bike….with panniers….because the spirits told me that it was going to be a shitty day and I packed all the warm and dry gear that I brought….while others laughed and stuffed a clear plastic poncho in their rear pocket.
Grabbed some chow and coffee at the trucks…

And it was off, up Boulder Canyon

Boulder Canyon is beautiful….and brutal…especaily on a 35 lb bike….with fenders.
Enjoyed the scenery, didn’t blow up, ignored the 10% grades….got to Nederland, where I met Banana Don.

Yeah, I’m sappy, but I”ve been hanging out with WWII vets since I was in college and his jokes and stories were outstanding. He told me his and I told him mine. We have the same tooth crowned gold – straight up DOD/HHS reg style.

It was also at this time that I saw the coolest bike of the ride, a late 80′s Bruce Gordon….with racks.

Just after Nederland, the weather turned shitty. A large fast moving front came through with hail and lightening. I took cover for 30 min as the storm raged overhead.

As the front passed us, steady rain settled in. It was at this time that I smugly donned my full gore tex rain gear and cap, put my rain capes on my panniers and bombed down the 7 mile descent while those around me were shivering.

The climb through Central City was brutal, 12% grades, and it was fun to bike through Black Hawk, the only town in CO that actually make cycling illegal for a spell a few years ago. Some people bitched about the dirt section in Idaho Springs, but I had 42C tires….do you think I cared?

One thing about Colorado, compared to Utah, is that there are so many more people and towns….and towns need dispensaries.

At the Empire rest stop, people were being pulled from being overworked, overcold, etc….I was tired, but felt like going up Berthoud Pass. I imagined that there was snow up there, but I figured I’d go up as far as I could and could always turn around near/at the top if need be.
There was snow.

And 4 miles from the top, the CHP’s turned me around to bomb down to Empire. I put on my winter jacket and descended into Empire where I had a lovely dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. Berthoud pass was closed on and off to remove snow and we had to wait for a shuttle over into Winter Park.

Well, I rolled in at 9pm, and didn’t feel like pitching my tent in the rain/sleet, so I slept indoors at the rec center with 400 of my closest friends. It was fine.
Day 3 Winter Park to Steamboat Springs. On Course
There was ice on everybody’s tents in the morning and many Freds were saying “ha ha, my wheels won’t turn.”
My touring bike spent most of the night in a Ryder truck and I thanked the heavens for my chris king hubs and high end parts that hold up under crappy weather.
After an excellent pancake breakfast, suit up for a 25 degree morning start and roll downhill towards Fraser.
It was somewhere around Hot Sulphur Springs where I stopped at a bar for lunch…

And met the owner/crew of the pink BG….and their team Bus.

The thing about bicycle events is that you’ll never know who you’ll meet. There were a lot of Freds at this ride, and many people who were so stubborn on that first day that their trip ended Sunday with hypothermia and/or frostbite…..but with the Ft. Collins bus crew – they were great. Nice people – here to enjoy the event and ride bikes. So Zach, the owner of the pink bike and I had lunch and beers at the bar and the crew very graciously offered to sag me in over Rabbit ears pass.

Well, I rode to the last rest stop, actually detoured to spend a little time by a lake just off the hwy and smiled when I saw this on the highway sign.

I’m big in Japan….and with Colorado Cyclists.
In steamboat, I loaded up all my gear onto my touring bike and spent the night in a hotel.
Day 4 Steamboat Loop. Off Course
Day 4 found me spending the morning enjoying the town. I grabbed bagels and coffee at the local bagel shop, read the paper and talked to a young medical school student about family medicine. It was a blast. I also took the opportunity to meet with the fabulous people at Moots and to tour the factory. Our rep, Jason, laughed that I didn’t take any pictures while we had lunch. Well, what can I say? He gave me directions to a close by, green circle mountain bike trail that I put my 42C’s on and with a mountain thunderstorm just peeking over the mountains, I made it back for dinner and another good nights sleep in a real bed. I would also like to tell all you dirty baggers out there that I did laundry….and it was wonderful.
Day 5 Steamboat to Avon (Vail). On Course.
Colorado is very green compared to Utah. And man, Steamboat is super green. So it litout after hauling my wares to the transfer truck and off I was.
A beautiful day with rolling hills and great scenery. I pulled a few people off the course who were hurting – many people by this day – if they had ridden the entire course had sore backs, numb arms, pulled tendons in their legs…etc. When that happens, its more of a sales pitch/psychiatry experience than a medical one. Anyway, all of the people I hung with for a bit eventually sagged it in and lived to fight another day.
Me, I sagged in at a rest stop with the van people and stayed again at a hotel in Vail.

Vail is a cool town. Haven’t been there in years. The Ride the Rockies people had a band, venders and booths. I was tickled pink when Zach and Linsey asked me to be on their Radio show, Bikes and Beer.
They broadcast live from the Crazy Mountain brewery….very cool scene.
Alas, they headed back to the great northeast that night, so I said my goodbye’s to a cool crew and headed to my swanky room.
Day 5 Avon to Breckenridge. Off Course.
I’ve always wanted to bike the path that goes over Vail summit. So, feeling good, but not fresh as a spring daisy, I opted to go off course rather than plow through Leadville and Freemont pass.

It was fun getting there. I got to eat at the little diner in Vail, leave late (F troupe syle) and stop for coffee at Keystone.

The route took us through Frisco, where I stopped at a Kona shop to ask where I should eat.
“Where is a sleazy bar that has good food that a person like Willy Warren would go to?” I asked. Without missing a beat – they sent me to the brewhouse down the road…which was excellent. Looks like the town was gearing up for a fun weekend.

Made it to Breckenridge and set up camp. Good thing I had a solar charger for my devices/etc.

Day 6 Breck to Golden – Queen Stage – On Course.
Yup, big day….Loveland pass.

For this day, I ditched all bags except my handlebar bag for extra weight savings….and up we went. Passed Keystone resort,
Passed A basin.

Yes, it was still ski season.

Felt good going up hill. Definitely passed a lot of people – not having 12 lbs in bags and gear helped for sure. Quite a bit of snow near the top.

And then, I was at the CD.

Then a long downhill with some aid stations. Look a fat bike!

Stopped in Georgetown to see the train.

Floyd hill was a bitch, but soon we were at the overlook to Golden, and Buffalo Bills gravesite.

Then it was a winding descent to the town of Golden, where the people of the Aces Hi bar welcomed me with open arm and dental questions.

At the city park, they had bands, booths, people on stage talking about stuff…and it was nice. I hung around and then headed off to Wrigley’s mid west style bar for a Chicago dog….feeling like I’d earned it.
Day 7 Golden. Bonus miles
Day 7 saw me riding around Golden to get a bite to eat and then visit their community rose garden.

And with that, I hit the road back to Utah.
The Pro Leisure Tour was nice. I did miss touring with team Evil/Marley/AssClown, who are visiting the great northeast part of our country this week or so.

Lessons learned are to watch the weather and dress appropriately. Don’t destroy yourself early and then mess up your whole trip. Don’t be a dick and tease the person who is on the wrong bike for a multi day ride. Don’t be afraid to be on or off course. Make new friends. Stay safe….and of course. Have fun.

Monday, June 2nd, 2014

For todays entry lets start off with the difficult news. The bicycling industry has lost Ezra Caldwell recently. Ezra’s death has been lingering on my mind and just like the bravest and most courageous, thats exactly what he wouldn’t have wanted. We all knew that time was short and precious as of last year, and I’m glad that the final months were spent happy, working, and at peace. Ezra was great for many reasons. He loved the fine arts. He loved fabricating. He had a Bicycle Shop. That is where we had common ground together. People didn’t just buy frames from him or call to price check a Red Front Derailleur…..they bought complete bicycles. Yes, the handmade wood fenders or handmade handlebars were parts…..but I follow Ezra’s passion of having a Bicycle Shop and working one on one with a customer to create an exceptional result. Creating a place of knowledge, design and execution……a place of creativity. You just want a set of XT pedals – shop online. You want those pedals put on your bike because you’ll learn something about cycling from a shop….buy them from A Bicycle Shop….want the highest caliber of that – pick a boutique shop or fabricator. Anyway, I’d like to share a beautiful movie that tells a story in 3 bicycles. With all the bullshit that can be found in the bike industry….do you know why I still love it…..its people like Ezra.

Lets transition to more upbeat things. Like this from the Mayor of Flagstaff, Mark Gullo.

And hey, look at what can be seen in southern Utah.

And as far as ‘being seen’ look at Robert here at the Meet Your Maker (as in bicycle maker) ride.

In pro news, Nairo has taken the Giro. I think I can still hear the cheering in Columbia.

Glad to see some elegance brought back to the pro peloton.