Friday, May 3, 2013
Circa '92 footage of H-Ball and Tomac rocking old school style, complete with bar ends and disk rear wheels. This doesn't look so abnormal to me - or even seem that long ago - but then again, I'm old and was already riding for awhile before '92.
I got a kick out of it, so posted for my massive following (ha!) to enjoy and/or mock. Greg Herbold and John Tomac, now icons of the sport, could still kick your ass - even on these ancient steeds. Bet on it.
Sunday, April 21, 2013
The Washington Student League in full swing, first race of the series now in the books - actually a few weeks ago - call me Mr. Slow Blogger. My team, Northshore Middle School Composite, joined the fray with with most of 'em experiencing their first ever race. And not exactly under perfect conditions with rain and temps in the 40s. Wet 'N' Mud-O-Rama.
Middle School (Junior High) boys staged and ready to roll (top pic), my team included. Some of 'em literally shivering after being pre-soaked from the pre-ride one hour earlier. Then away they go, racing away from the start line.
The girls hit the second turn after their start. Great to see these young women get involved with the sport. Girl rocking the skirt and single speed - family has 7 kids and they all race - and they're all really fast. Amazing.
Jack on the left, Dylan in the middle, Andy on the right - three boys from my team in their first ever race. Awesome. Well, first XC race for Dylan - he does have downhill race experience and is quite the bike handler.
Race venue was Fort Steilcoom Park in Lakewood (Washington). Ian and I have been to this site a few times previously, for various mountain bike and cyclocross races. I also assisted at the first Washington high school mountain bike race held here, a few years ago. Now back with a team of my own. Pretty cool, eh?
Another young girl racer out on the course. Fantastic.
My son Ian, rolling along in the rain, also on my team. He found the competition a bit stiffer then expected, not all that different from the usual junior level race.
Teammate Scotty matched his helmet to course tape, how did he know? Scotty very new to mountain biking, now with a race under his belt. Nice job.
Teammate Andy with post race muddy smile, scoring 12th place out of 15 middle school kids. First race and he appeared to have a fun day, despite the weather. He also gets the hard core award - pulling off the pre-ride, race, and afternoon recreational ride on the muddy course. 15 total miles of wet off-road action, in jeans and a sweatshirt to boot.
Teammate Scotty scored 11th place, riding injured added to the fun. Previous day bike mishap scored him a bruised tail bone, but still wanted to race - and that he did - great job.
Teammate Jack in his first ever race experience, rolled in for 7th place. Excellent.
Dylan, downhill racer and expert bike handler, pulls off a 4th place finish in his first XC race. Missed the podium by only one spot. Fantastic ride.
Ian, looking a bit pensive, after his 8th place finish. Solid ride in messy conditions - way to roll - nice job.
Teammate Cormac cruising into the finishing chute. 15th place for the day. Great effort.
Assistant coach Marne gives Ian the post race muddy high five. Great group of kids and adults associated with our team.
Teammate Cormac wearing some of the course - as everyone did.
The fast high school boys give it a whirl, high school kids being broken up into various groups, based on skill and experience. The two boys in blue, Evan and Theo, former teammates of Ian's previous JL Velo junior race team. Very fast high school kids with previous race experience.
Zac, a member of the Northshore high school team, spins the 29ers.
The course, about a 5 mile loop, a mixture of gravel roads and single track.
Mixture of experience and racers found in this program, from total beginners to junior level racers with years of races on their resume. There's a place for everyone.
Sean and Zane, two more boys on my team, elected to ride the recreational event instead of racing. No wrong answers to any of this. All about getting kids on bikes, matching their level of interest. Great stuff.
Our first race day went well, 8 of the 14 students on our team elected to participate - races being optional in the program. Good turn out. All of 'em appeared to have a positive experience, even with the not-so-pleasant weather. It's a blast seeing these kids getting into mountain biking - from basic trail riding to racing - it's all good.
Saturday, April 13, 2013
Came across this super nice restored '93 Yo Eddy while cruising eBay, complete with NOS SunTour XC Pro build. Sweet. Bike shown at the recent NAHBS event to give folks a chance (Ha! Get it?) to gawk at some trick old school iron.
Apparently, this dude - Martin Kozaczek - is restoring mountain bikes from the golden era for resale. And if this Fat Chance is any example of his work, impressive stuff. Additional pics of this Fat on his blog.
Current bidding action on this restore is over $4000, higher then I would have predicted. Yowza. Call now, operators are standing by.
A week or two ago - been a little slow on the blog action - official team night for our school mountain bike teams. Just so happens one of the boys on my junior high team, his dad owns Recycled Cycles, here in Seattle. He offered to host a team night for the junior high and high school teams, complete with pizza and families invited. Awesome. Plus 10% off shop goodies and free reign to use the bike stands and tools. Sign us up.
We had about 25 folks show, students and parents alike. General chatting, milling about, and eating of pizza. I didn't grab many pics, too busy yapping with folks and working on bikes. A fun night and good excuse for the teammates to goof around a bit.
Steve, owner of Recycled Cycles, stares down a spinning wheel. I was actually wrenching on teammate Scotty's bike, while my son Ian grabs the secret photo. My own bike shop days ended in the mid '80s, yet it feels so right standing at the bike stand, searching for tools on the workbench and soaking up the shop vibe.
Recycled Cycles specializes in used bikes, but also carry brand spanking new models from Raleigh, Kona, Marin and Diamondback. Plenty of bins with used parts to fish through, along with some cool vintage stuff to gawk at. Mix of Old 'N' New to entertain all.
Old school steel Merckx with vintage Mavic goodies as added bonus. Yes please.
Interesting stuff hangs from above.
Need a frame? Take a gander, including the sweet Gunnar.
Just a sample of student riders and racers that attended.
This bike stuff is serious business.
So there you have it, a glimpse of the night's activities. Fun and frolicking included at no extra charge. Big kudos to Recycled Cycles for hosting and feeding us all. When in Seattle, stop by and check 'em out. To old school me, a "real" bike shop worth a visit.
Coaching and being part of the Washington Student League has been a blast so far. Stay tuned for more details. We now return to our regular programing, already in progress...
Tuesday, April 2, 2013
Nicely done short film about Tom Ritchey. Racer, rider, builder, innovator - dude is an icon in the bicycle world - no debate required. What he's accomplished is pretty amazing, no matter what the industry. Sit back, watch, and agree...
Friday, March 29, 2013
Things a bit slow on the ol' blog front, been swamped at work and home. So, life itself not exactly slow. Actually a bit of overload, this earning a paycheck shtick a bit overrated. I'll be your tour guide - please keep running on the treadmill - you'll eventually catch the carrot.
On a more enjoyable front...
My student league mountain bike team has ramped into full on operational mode. Practice rides twice a week, with a few now in the books, all with good attendance. Quite the gaggle of junior high boys, as only teenage old boys can be. Fun stuff. Team continues to grow, now up to 14 kids - amazing. Most of this via emails I've sent and word of mouth. If we actually approached local schools and advertised a bit, think we'd be swamped and short on adults in no time. There's definitely a demand for this type of program and/or people have no idea, then think it's a cool idea when discovered.
No way I could do this myself. Local woman racer Marne acting as assistant coach, along with her husband Shawn. I've also recruited some old school riding pals to the mix, including Tom - with his grandson now joining the team - fantastic. We also partner with the high school team, and share adult resources. One day a week, we have combo practice with the high school gang. Big group ride for the first half, then let the fast high school kids loose for the second half. Great seeing all these kids ride together.
Dragged out the little point 'n' shoot camera for one practice, complete with blurry photos as proof. I'll eventually figure out how to carry the Nikon D7000, take pictures, coach, and ride all at once. Or maybe not...
I've discovered most 13-14 year boys attention span for pre-ride yapping by adults, to be about 30 seconds. I've since included riding instruction mid-ride, which seems to work better. Here we session some log roll overs, Tom providing guidance, while Zane gives it a go.
My son Ian, who's ridden these trails a zillion times over the years, naps while hitting familiar logs. With all his previous riding and racing experience, I let him lead some of the rides - a good experience for him. And to not play favorites, also have other students lead. Some of the kids seem timid to do so, others jump right in front. Different personalities and riding experience at play.
All the kids ride really well and we put in a solid two hour ride, with stops for instruction and to regroup. Now that I'm familiar with their individual riding skill and abilities, we let the faster kids jump ahead a bit and wait at the next trail intersection. We'll also instruct and spot some of the less experience riders on technical sections.
One student walked the log section pictured above for a few practices, not quite ready for it. No problem. On the last practice ride, he didn't stop and rolled right over it. I was leading and could hear him yell, "That's the first time I did that!" Awesome. Mixed in with this, some of the kids can preload and jump the logs already. Need to keep both sides balanced and entertained. A learning experience for me as well.
Tom giving some body positioning on the bike advice; Jack giving it a go, while teammates look on. Tom also leads beginner mountain bike rides for the Evergreen Alliance. Pretty cool to have him involved with the team, and a good lesson on how to spend your "retirement" years.
So far, a few weeks into the program - seems to be going okay. The kids appear to enjoy it, I'm learning plenty, and super appreciate the other adults involved - I'm super lucky to have 'em assist. On the agenda, team pizza night at local bike shop, and first league race of the season. Yowza.
Much more hastily written posts and blurry photos to follow. Stay tuned...
Tuesday, March 12, 2013
Local cycling family hits some serious trouble, so cycling community pulling together to assist. The Bender family - Mark and Sarah and their four boys - well known here in the Seattle area. I'm not personal friends with the folks, but have chatted with them over the years at various races. My son Ian has raced with their two older boys many times. Sarah also coaches one of the student league mountain bike teams. Very nice people indeed, a cool cycling family.
Apparently, while vacationing in Hawaii to celebrate their 15th anniversary, Mark suffered a serious spinal cord injury while body surfing. They hope to have him stabilized enough to fly home in two weeks or so. Serious stuff. People now assisting with financial issues via fund raisers...
Doma Coffee Company donating profits on sales through April 30th. Order online here.
Donations via their church here.
Facebook info here.
Life can change instantly, a reminder to never take anything for granted. Super nice folks, buy some coffee - do some good - or donate direct. On my agenda for sure.
To put some faces to the names, dug through some of my pics. That's Sarah above from a 'cross race this season.
Ian sandwiched between the Bender boys, Titus and Gidean. Mountain bike race a few years ago.
Gidean putting the hammer down a few 'cross seasons ago.
I'm sure the Benders will pull through this. There's a few thousand cycling family members pitching in to help. Heal quick.