Friday, September 25, 2009


So - as of this writing (err....typing, I guess) it's mid-afternoon here in the good ol' EST so it's been nearly 1/2 of a day since I was last in Vegas. We got up-n-at'em yesterday bright and early again, packed up, checked outta our room, grabbed breakfast and headed over to the Expo Center for the final round. Lotsa appointments + a Tech Service seminar for the Berg meant a full day of looking at my watch and making sure that we were where we needed to be. I met w/ the Electra guys - lotsa WAY COOL retro-styled city bikes there! They've gone bull-goose crazy w/ all the retro-esque parts too...if you need a pair of classic looking large flange hubs or a faithful copy of a TA crank - they got'cha cvered!

After that I roamed a bit - checking out 2XU's compression wear, lotsa fast-looking carbon wheels and all the related coolness. Then I hooked back up w/ JB and we headed over to the DeVinci Tandem booth. Not sure what'll happen here frankly but it'd safe to say that we were intrigued w/ their unique independent pedaling set-up! I need to ride one! from there 'twas Terry, Salsa and a few others and before we knew it the show was closing for the day. From there we wandered the corridors of the Venetian looking for the uber-hip club called "Lavo" where the Cervelo party was being held. After we found it (and convinced the platoon of bouncers that we were on the level we went in and spent 45 minutes tryin' to get through the crush of people so we could actually SEE the bikes. (The S1 looks awesome, by the way!) As you oughta know by now - hangin' w/ the Beautiful People in trendy clubs is not exactly my thing so hopefully they'll excuse us for sneaking out in the middle of the "presentation ". (Couldn't hear or understand it anyways).

So - that was that. Another Interbike Show. I have no idea how many that makes for me.....15? HellifIknow. 'Twas a good one - not a lot of $ wasted on nonsense stuff that no one will ever ride. Given the current trend towards practical real world bikes there's renewed hop that we won't go back to the days of concept bikes and silliness of that sort we grabbed dinner, then a cab, then a plane, then breakfast, then another plane, then a shuttle and then I dropped Jeremy off @ his place and headed down here to the shop.

And here I be.

Here's what's most likely to happen as a result of what we heard and saw this year:

Salsa bikes and frames in stock - especially the 29er ATB's

Castelli clothing back in the house!

2XU compression gear.

At least one new shoe company.

VCC socks, caps and m-a-y-b-e a new jersey design!

There's more, but I've been up now since 6:00am yesterday so I beg your forgiveness if I left something out. Feel free to swing by the shop to hear tall tales and outright bald faced lies!

MC Weary

Thursday, September 24, 2009


So - our 3rd morning waking up to the rising outside our 23rd floor window. We face due east and the sight of the dawn over the low hills east of town is a mighty purty sight! #rd day here but the first day of the actual we ate an enormous breakfast (in an effort to stay clear of the 7 dollar greaseburgers or 10 dollar tiny salads @ the Sands Expo Center) and headed across the street to the Big Show.

Big it was - it sure doesn't seem any different than the past 15 years or so - a virtual city of bike stuff, bike folks, bike's hard to find a way to express what a e-nor-mous gathering of people and stuff this whole deal is!

So - what cool stuff did I see, you ask? Well....there was some to be sure. Rolf has new wheels, Twin 6 has a buncha new jersey designs, most of which I like so much that it's gonna be hard to pick what to stock, Co-Mo's tandems are lookin' good, I still really like the Salsa 29ers, Giro has a new helmet that weighs 200 grams (about 7 oz!) and the flat-out, #1 lust-inducing-make-ya-wanna-howl-at-the-moon gorgeous bike was a simple RetroTec roadie featuring a 3 speed Sturmey Archer fixed gear set up! Dang was it sweet!

After the show closed fo rthe day we rushed back here, unloaded and headed back to the Expo Center to catch the Lazer bus to the 'Cross race. I guess they don't have a lotta big helmet dealers if our lil' shop qualifies for the type of royal treatment we got tonight! We sat on the open upper deck of a funky old double decker bus, eating pizza and enjoying frosty adult beverages. (Most of us, anyway). In my most notable brush w/ fame (or infamy, perhaps) I helped Tyler Hamilton find his missing I-Phone and received an as-far-as-I-could-tell-non-chemically-inhanced fist bump in return. (Oh boy!)
The race was a massive hoot - Euro-dogs and US Pros tangled head-to-head amidst the clamor of cowbells, 2 announcers that sounded like frustrated "radio personalities" and even a white jump-suited "Elvis" performing the National Anthem! ( He even said "Uhh thank yew verra much" afterwards!) Katie Compton slayed all in the Women's Elite Race and Cannondale guy Jamie Driscoll made an early 2-up break stick to surprise the monster field of studs from both sides of the Atlantic. Then back on the bus..........which wouldn't start. We sat there for 3040 minutes, having fun @ our own (okay - and the driver's) expense. It was a beautiful night and no one seemed to be in to big of a hurry to get back to the Strip but eventually the driver gave up on his bus and we abandoned ship for other buses, taxis, etc. (Tyler did not offer us seats in his cab it must be said. Short memory!

Tomorrow I have a buncha appointments - Terry, Endura, Electra, QBP (home of Salsa, Surly and a bazillion other brands we carry) & at least one more that escapes my weary brain @ the moment. Then it's the Cervelo party, the airport, a red-eye flight and then.........back at the shop!

See you there!


By the way - lime green is the new white! You read it here first!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009


So - 6:00am comes early, I don't care who you are or what time zone you're in! But - duty called (our hotel uses an Elvis impersonator for the wake up call, 'twas awesome!) and off we went in search of breakfast and the shuttle bus.

At the Demo we stopped by the C-Dale booth and picked up our matching Super Six bikes for the Tour de Lake Mead ride that is the fixture of Tuesday morning. Formally known as the "hangover ride", this is a 13 mile downhill blast into the Lake Mead Natural Area and the l-o-n-g climb back. Given that our bikes were equipped w/ new Dura Ace bits and fancy Mavic wheels...I reckoned we could get there and back. Man - that frame is something else! Following the current bike biz M.O. of making everything lighter, stiffer and faster (as well as overseas, alas) the new Super Six is a sprinter's dream! Wicked quick when you jump outta the saddle, but pretty comfy. (At least as far as I could tell on a 2 hour ride anyway). Very fast bike!

After that I took advantage of the fact that I was @ the C-Dale booth and grabbed a chance to try out their new Flash Carbon hardtail. They didn't have any of the 29er version (their bad) so I "settled" for an old school 26er. (Assuming that you can call a 19.5 lb carbon fiber ATB "old school"!) I set the fork for my considerable weight (sigh) and headed off for a lap on the longest and most technical (and therefore my fav) loop. Given the aforementioned sub 20lb weight, the SRAM XO 2x9 set up and the schweeet carbon Lefty fork it was all you'd expect for a bike that'll run ya a cool NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS!!!!!!!! (Granted - that will be w/ the ultra-new and fierce-hot SRAM XX group). Musta been the most expensive dirt bike I've ridden, I bet'cha. What's that? Is it worth it? Ummmmmmmmmmm...........well...........of course not! Good Lord - 9K???!?!?!?!?!!?!?!? You could get a damn good fleet of bikes for that! (And you should - you know that, right?)

Still - someone's gotta come out here and ride this stuff - it's the least we can do!

After that lap - which came to about $1500 / a mile - Berger and I hooked up w/ Danielle and Scott and off we went to ride Salsas. I grabbed a Dos Niner, their 29er "soft tail" design that offers about 1.5" of rear travel in an effort to take the edge off the bumps w/ only an 8 oz weight penalty over their way-light Mamasita frame. I've ridden it before...we had a demo in the shop for a season that started the whole 29er thing for us....but wanted to try one again. Berger did a reprise on the Big Mama & Scott-n-D each got a Mamasita , one of which had the aforementioned wicked hot XX stuff. They liked their bikes better than I liked mine - but I suspect my issues were a combo of a poor position on the bike and the fact that I was pretty wiped out by then! I've ridden (and liked) that frame before.

That was it for riding - we attended a SRAM tech seminar on the XX stuff, strolled around a bit soaking up the vibe and the sun (and the dust and the heat) and then headed back to the noise and clamor and stink of the Strip. Tomorrow is the actual show, followed by your trusty reporters jumpin' on the Lazer bus and heading to the Cross Vegas race and then a party w/ the Ridley folks. Liable to be a long day, but I'll try to post up before callin' it a day.

Later, MC

Monday, September 21, 2009


Misc stuff I learned from the Outdoor Demo today:

SRAM over Shimano ( No surprise there)

29" wheels over 26" (That's new!)

Castelli's new bibs w/ virtually no seams (okay - maybe 2) look awesome and I'm gonna hafta try a pair.

Every bike I rode today had hydraulic disc brakes but I still prefer mechanicals. (Sorry!)

Other than that - not much new to see there today, or at least not that I saw. Tomorrow we do the Tour of Lake Meade first thing in the am (you literally coast about 13 miles down into the Lake Mead National Park and then climb back to Boulder City.) and then I'm gonna try to get some time on a few more bikes. I wanna ride that super-crazy-light (16 lbs!!!!) Cannondale hardtail, do another lap on the Big Mama (to make sure) and a lap on the Dos Niner from Salsa too. If I'm still riding @ 3:00pm I'll be amazed, 'cuz I'm plenty tired right now and last year that ride up from Lake Meade pretty much handed me my ass. But - I'll try. For you. It's the least I can do. I wanna ride some road bikes too - and that's not quite as draining as the singletrack.

Stay tuned - there are still 3 days to go!



Okay, so Berger and I got up early so we could stand in line for breakfast, stand in line for our show badges, stand in line for the bus to the Outdoor Demo, stand in line to drop our extra junk @ the bag check and then........f.-i-n-a-l-l-y ride some bikes! And ride we did! I love the tight, dusty, rocky and steep trails of Bootleg Canyon - they're a hoot and between their challenges, the heat, the sun and (today) the wind it's a pretty tiring day.( I know, I know...your heart is bleeding for us...we know. And - we appreciate it! I looked into bringing all ya'll out here but the logistical challenges proved unsurmountable so you are there and we are here and that's gonna hafta do it.

Anyway - as I was sayin'............we rode full-sus mountainbikes exclusively today. I like every hardtail I ride so what's the point of that? I rode 2 Salsas, 2 Ellesworths, a Cannondale & a Rocky Mountain. Here's the scoop, in order of preference:

Salsa Big Mama - This 4" travel 29er was the best bike I rode all day. None of the stuff I dislike about full-sus bikes was present (mushy rear sus, dragging pedals on the dirt, that feeling of being way up in the air, general ponderousness) and despite the fact that it's a damn big bike when you stand next to it - once aboard it felt quicker, lower and zippier than I expected. I liked it a ton, and I could totally see having one of these babies for desert trips.

Ellesworth Evolve - 'nother 29er, this time w/ 5 inches of travel. Felt good - I've always loved Elleswrth's desigh - but not quite as quick as the Salsa. Not good when you factor in the fact that you can have the entire Salsa bike for the cost of the Ellesworth frame! Still - US made, Tony Ellesworth is a genius and the bike rocked.

Cannondale RZ 120- This was the best riding 26" bike I rode. Feels a lot like the Rush (a fav) and the Lefty fork is as good as it gets. Given that you can get RZ-120's for as little as $1800.......this bike is pretty dang impressive. (Like the name implies - this bike had about 5" of travel)

Ellesworth Truth- I rode this 'cuz the Evolve wasn't available. I've long felt that this is the best full-sus frame I've ever ridden but given what a better value the C-Dales are........I'm not so sure. It rides great, the US made frame and all the machined sus bits are schweet...but I'd hafta go w the Evolve, thank you. (The Truth is a 4" travel 26er)

Rocky Mountain Altitude 29- Nice bike. Not sure what the point of riding it was - 'cept I had a coupla good laps @ 12 Hours of Pando on a RM hardtail 29er - so what the heck, right? It was nice enough, for a 5" travel 29er, but the Big Mama pretty much ate it's lunch.

Salsa el Kaboing - Man, I did not like this bike at all! If I had ridden this one first and then you told me that the Big Mama was the same design in a 29er I wouldn't have even ridden it! This bike was like every other full sus bike I've never liked - slow, mushy, tall.....blah! And - my calves hit the frame and I hate that too!

More later - dinner time!

Monday, September 07, 2009

How'd We Get From July to September!?!?!?!

I promised myself that I wasn't gonna start everyone of these w/ an apology so let's just agree that I'm late, I suck and move on, 'kay?

I'm in Whitefish MT @ the moment - Aaron & I flew out here 5 days ago to provide tech support for the 4th stop on the JDRF Ride to Cure 2009 World Tour. It went well and this is a remarkable place! We spent yesterday up in Glacier Nat'l Park (finally! It's my 5th time here in 3 years and my 1st visit) and I have a semi epic ride planned in my head for next September. We head home later today - and it'll be good to get there!

Last week Berger, my son Sam and I accompanied 45-some members of the West Michigan team to the 1st ever Ride to Cure in Killington VT. Awesomeness was observed breaking out there as well as we managed t o pull of the biggest Ride to Cure ever in wet, cold and challenging conditions. We drove over for that one, hauling a trailer fulla bikes and gear for the Bike Room. Another very cool place to be.......but not as cool as here!

So - things settle down on the JDRF front for a bit - until the ride in Death Valley in mid-October. 'Tween now and then we have the Interbike show in 2 weeks, the start of 'cross season, the arrival of all the indoor stuff (trainers, rollers, etc) and all the outdoor stuff (tights, warmers, booties, etc) so there'll be plenty to do back @ Ye Olde Cool Bike Shop. The Fun-Raiser Ride Series starts back up, the weekly rides continue 'til the end of this montth and then we'll fire up the Crazy Bastard Ride machine! Hoo-BOY, I better get my weary ass HOME!

....and that's just what I'm gonna do. Talk to you later, MC

Monday, July 20, 2009


WOW! I gotta tell ya - big weekends aren't egg-zac-lee all that unusual 'round here but this past one..........whew! Lemme tug on yer coat* about it a sec.........

Saturday was the 35th Annual Holland Hundred Tour. The shop and I were both up to our arses in this - I was on the committee since Day One and we were committed to provide a SAG Wagon all day too. Friday nioght we had early registration here @ the shop and that was a zoo w/ a capital "Z"......roughly 28 bazillion gazillion folks crammed in here all evening, signing up, buying t-shirts, buying other! We had a pre-ride bash 'cross the street @ the brewery too so that was cool. It was cool and wet all night and that didn't bode well.

Saturday dawned (I know - I was up @ 4:30) kinda cloudy and I was sort of worried about the weather. We had nearly 780 riders pre-registered so we were kinda expecting 1200 or so but I was afraid the weather might keep some local riders in the sack. It stayed dry all day and was actually pretty damn perfect for a long ride.......temps in the high 60's/low 70's range, no humidity, some sun,. some clouds. There was a nasty headwind for part of the day but whatterya gonna do? I was on site before 6:00 and there til 6:30pm. By then over 1250 riders had enjoyed a helluva day. I was WAY glad to have that day behind me!

Sunday was "recover from the HH day" for me and i had the perfect plan - spend all day sitting in the sun and listening to bluegrass and folk music @ the first ever Green Food - Blue Grass fest out @ Felt Mansion. My fav band from my "youth" (okay - mid to late 20's) was playing their 1st gig in the area since the early 80's! Cabbage Crik has a lot to answer for 'cuz w/out them there'd be no Last Call Band! It was great and I.Did. Nothing. all dang day.

'twas grand it was!

Okay - now iot's time ot get all the Bike Room stuff worked out for the JDRF Rides! No more "I can't deal w/ that 'til after the HH!" Jeremy's off to KC on his own 'cuz I gotta gig then a big crew to VT and then just me to Montana. That covers the next 7 weeks - then we have time to catch our collective breath 'afore Death Valley.

Guess I oughta get after it, huh?

later, MC

Monday, July 13, 2009


Man - things are just full-tilt-boogie madness here @ the shop lately! Lotsa new bikes goin out, lotsa old bikes comin' in for service, ton's o' folks @ the rides, the phone ringin' offa the wall w/ peoplekl askin ''bout the Holland Hundred..........what a hoot! Still - I'll be pretty damn glad when the HH is over and those of us on the committee can look around @ 1300-1500 happy riders and slap some high fives on each other!

This past weekend we had a great Team Ride - the "Tour de Taco" rolled from Casa da Clark on Sunday for miles of smiles and LOTS of chicken, steak, veggies, beans, rice, cheese, tortillas, guac, salsa, cheese, cabbage, cilantro, salad, cookies, cupcakes, brownies, strawberry shortcake............whew! Lotsa folks and big fun was observed being had. THis am I got to ride w/ buddy Zac from Seattle and his lovely lady Beverly. Berger joined us as well rolled out to the lake and back. Then they split and JB and I sat outside @ the bagle shop and tried to get a handle on the rest of the season.

I gotta say right-dang-now ...our staff rocks! Everyone is workin' it hard, keepin' it in the big ring and ridin' on the rivet as we try to keep up w/ everyone's needs and wants. Fun! (Mostly)

Tomorrow is get-the-scoop-on-2010-Cannondale day, then it's pretty much Holland Hundred 24/7. (Lather, rinse, repeat).

Gotta go - more later, I promise. ( I know - you've heard that before. What can I say?)