This year I rode the Furnace Creek 508 with another new team as the Wild Burros. I was the only veteran on the team as far as riding and Sasha had been out to film our first fixed gear team and crew once. I didn’t particularly want to ride the same stages I already had, so I put myself in as the 4th rider. As it turns out, riding across Death Valley starting at 2am is a lot harder than even I expected. I was a bit more tired than I thought I would be and it was kinda hot. The headwind was almost appreciated for bringing the temps below 90 degrees. I’ve only ridden on fixed gear teams before this, so I’ve always ridden steel (2 years ago I threw a drilled fork on my track bike for the weekend) and ended up going out with my Look 586 this year. I haven’t built myself a road bike yet, and my Landshark is closer to cracking every day (it’s had a tough life). I’ll never make the carbon race frame mistake again. I forget how rough the roads are every time. My back hurt worse than my legs and was completely seized up by the finish. I saved my hallucinations for the final stretch in to 29 palms. Nothing too exciting, but at about 9pm day 2, the sealed cracks in the road started to move around. Nothing like having complete understanding of your brain fucking with you. This is the finish photo, and no I don’t have any clue what I’m looking at.
We (Swarm!) had 9 racers at the 508 this year. Our 4x mixed, Emperor Tamarin, a 2x men’s team with former Bonobo’s Max and Brian, Godwit, a 2x mixed team of JLaw and Cara Gillis, and Matt! riding solo for the 3rd year in a row. Matt bet us that we wouldn’t close the 2 hour gap on him, and if he had been as fit as last year, I don’t think we would have caught him. I couldn’t resist the $80 bet even though I knew we would be potentially cutting it close. We passed Matt coming out of Shoshone. I guess he slept while I was still pedaling along, so the hour gap he had going in to it was totally blown.
And because I’m a frame builder, you need new photos of new bikes. This is my first bike out of state (Philly)! Matt has already taken it to Atlanta to race and hangout at the North American Cycle Courier Championships and is sending me updates almost weekly. I love it. He had a friend paint it locally, so more detailed photos to come when he can get them to me. My own camera charger cord is missing somewhere, so I can’t upload any photos from it currently.
Since I do live and work in Los Angeles, it’s only natural I would eventually become a movie star (again). A Los Angeles cyclist and film maker, Eric Matthies recently put together a 10 minute film, Countywide about LA for the Bicycle Film Festival, and I was happy to be a part of it. He didn’t even make me talk in front of the video camera.
Urban Velo printed a story, written by Eric, based on the film. The direct link to the page featuring Moth Attack here. You can click through the whole issue online. I’ve always kinda liked Urban Velo, so it’s cool to unexpectedly be in a feature!
Just in case you’ve never seen it (his year I’ll be at the 508 on a road bike)…
Last month was exciting. We raffled the Encino frame on the 10th (it also ended with my Paypal account being closed due to gambling issues, hah!), the Idea Cafe grant money finally came in giving me about 4 weeks to order parts for and build the two bikes I planned for the Rough Riders Rally July 23rd-25th, so I ignored a lot of things that weren’t too pressing and got the frames built with hardly any time to put parts on them. One actually made it to the Rally, and completely unintentionally, it was my own bike. It’s the bike I’m pictured with after a lot of saddle time for a seemingly ‘short’ ride. The second bike I built to use a belt drive system, but didn’t know just how far the belt drive ‘chainring’ sits in compared to a normal chainring. We had also planned to use a 39t front ring, but due to the restrictions of belt lengths had to go with a 46t. It would have cleared a 39t just fine, but for a new project and parts I’ve never worked with I was probably lucky that was my biggest issue. I didn’t have the spare parts, or time to replace the chainstays before we had to leave, so we had to make Matt’s cross bike functional for the ride. We didn’t even have time to send out to paint/powder since that requires an extra couple weeks most times.
The ride itself made the weeks of working 14 hr days totally worth it. We arrived after the kick-off Friday morning ride just in time for pizza and hanging out with the events participants. I was quickly introduced to Jacquie Phelan who proceeded to write my name in sharpie on my neck so she could remember it. There were some people I knew already from previous Adventure Corps events, and a lot of folks I didn’t know and Jacquie was just one of many mountain biking legends in attendance that weekend. The rides all left from Tam Bikes in Mill Valley. A really cute shop in what appears to be the main drag of cool, small businesses. We stayed in San Francisco with friends because we’re too cheap to pay for hotels more often than at 508. The choice to stay 20 miles away was a bit of a problem the next morning when we turned up late to the pre-ride coffee and bagels portion of the day. We ended up not being the only ones to have issues getting moving quickly, and eventually set off with Adventure Corps regulars Mike and Donna and our personal Marin County resident tour guide, Jacquie Phelan. We thought we’d catch up to the riders, and we probably would have if we hadn’t taken a fairly long break to enjoy the West Point Inn on Mt Tam. Jacquie is a member, so we got a full tour. We decided we should probably ride up there and stay overnight sometime to fully enjoy the view.
The entire route on Saturday was an epic 36 miles that somehow took us 6 hours. It may have been the 6000ft of climbing. Or the overall group tendency to stop and take pictures. Maybe we rode slower than we thought we did? I’m leaning toward blaming the climbing though. There were some definite sections where my 8spd Internally Geared hub just wasn’t geared low enough and I ran faster up the hills. I crashed myself once just going too fast downhill through a turn. It was a great first ride for a brand new bike. The top tube was later branded by Jacquie and her Sharpie. Super funny, and I kinda don’t want to paint over it.
We had dinner, and some awesome guest speakers after Saturday’s ride. There was also a ‘Best Bike’ award from the ride. Not surprisingly, Sean Rawland’s bike took top honors with my own coming in second. I couldn’t really complain seeing as it was unfinished and kind of a weird bike. I made the internally geared hub’s cables run inside the whole frame, so it’s been mistaken as a single speed many times.
Next time, I’d probably opt for staying in Mill Valley. Driving and riding back and forth to the city proved to be time consuming and meant we missed out on some of the fun. I’d also hope to start the bikes sooner, but some things are out of my control in that department.
Now for picture time!
Jerseys (okay, skinsuit, but it makes it easier to show all of it):
The jerseys arrived just after we returned from Rough Riders. I have been super happy with the quality and the turnout for them. Distribution has been totally exciting and totally worth it. I’m looking forward to doing a second order now that everyone realizes they totally missed out the first time. email me if you don’t want to be left out this time! firstname.lastname@example.org
Don’t forget to donate to the Velodrome for your raffle ticket!
You could be like this guy! Anthony won the masters omnium at Encino during ‘A Fist Full of Handlebars.’ Congratulations and thanks for making my frame look cool!
I can’t believe I considered staying home from the San Diego show this year! It was even more fun this year than last because the extreme anxiety from not knowing what to expect wasn’t there this time around. There was a great mix of bikes and people again. Pretty sure traveling with friends was a great part of it as well. Swrve helped keep me company and confuse plenty of people about who was building frames and who was making clothes. Who asked for traditional gender roles, anyway?
Anthony from Velo Cult (quite possibly my favorite bike shop. ever) took photos of everyone’s bikes and made them all look amazing with his studio set up. All of the photos can be found on their site, and of course here are my bikes…
I’m still selling $25 raffle tickets for the Encino Velodrome Custom Frame Raffle! I mean, I’m facilitating $25 donations to the Encino Velodrome and notifying every donor by snail mail with half of a little colored ticket. So, donate to the velodrome and you just might get a new frame!
My internet connection is inconsistent at best at home right now, so I’m slow updating (and the post was written on May 1st and posted 3 days later when we replaced the modem). I have some photos to update of a new frame getting ready to ship out to a bike messenger in Philly. Yay, East coast!
Donations are not gambling!
That frame with the train-track bridge is still at powder. I rejected round 1, so hopefully it comes back looking great and in time for SD! I’ve had a hell of a time with powder and paint. This is the 2nd frame I’ve had re-coated this year. Ugh.
After a lot of back and forth in my head over going to the show, I finally landed on ‘yes.’ It didn’t hurt that I’ll be sharing a booth with my friends over at Swrve Urban Cycling Apparel. That said, March is extra busy and it was already a busy month. I’ve already been sick, so I’ve at least got that out of the way as well.
Come by and chat at the booth and buy a ticket for the Encino Velodrome Raffle! My Paypal account was put on hold for ‘promoting gambling.’ Still trying to argue the merit of the fundraiser!
From now until July 10th you can buy raffle tickets to win a custom frame! I tend to get involved with fundraisers as it is, so doing something for my home track that always needs some help seemed natural. Shirts are also available through the shopping cart feature. I’ll be sending the second side of the tickets out to everyone that purchases them online!
Speaking of track.. This bike is headed out to powder. It’ll be back in a nice Hello Kitty pink with an Edge fork.
I’ve been relieved for 2009 to end and a new year to begin. It’s not that I think anything really changes between December 31st and January 1st, but 2009 was pretty mean to a lot of us.
The year ended on a great note at least. I won the $1000 grant from the nice folks at Idea Cafe and thanks to my friends and family voting for me. Their blog post is here:
One of the projects I’m working on because of the grant is a bike for a good friend, ‘teammate’, former housemate and all around awesome vegan cyclist Matt! The bike is going to be designed for an event in July put on by our friends over at Adventure Corps. Some is on pavement, some on dirt, all for the sake of fun and adventure. New to their event schedule this year is the Rough Riders Rally in Marin County, CA. The event information is at the Adventure Corps page. Registration is open, and limited so I would sign up now if you’re interested!
I’ve also got a friend working on a jersey design to be released soon. The order will go through Voler to keep things as local as possible.