Tuesday, April 12, 2016

Eroica California 2016

I'm not really sure how I fell into this.  I suppose it's all because of a broken spoke in 2009.  Since I replaced that broken spoke on Tom Hardy's Sachs seven years ago, I've gotten invites to the Dino rides - some I've been able to attend, some not.  When I have been able to make it, the quality of the ride and the riders is top shelf.  Tom encouraged me to attend last year, but timing wasn't quite right.  

This year, however, it was a different story.  I had a window of opportunity to close the shop for the weekend and head down to Paso Robles for Eroica California.  What may have played a bigger role in my decision to ride was the recent acquisition and build of an '85 Eddy Merckx Corsa Extra.  A few rides on this prior to the event had me fall in love with the ride of this bike and really want to take this on the 87 mile Eroica route - 87 miles, 25 of them dirt, and 7300' of climbing.  And with the exception of the puncture at about mile 80 (which I still have no idea what caused it), the bike performed incredible.  Well, the puncture and, according to the photo of my bike at the mile 40 rest stop, my saddle went from level to nose up, but I never noticed it until I looked at my bike leaning against a wall after the ride was over.

The weekend also had some great surprises.  Masi Bikes, my old employer, was a sponsor of the event and I got a chance to catch up with old friends and co-workers.  The Dinos were to meet up at the start area for a 7:00 a.m. start.  As I rolled up, I saw another friend I hadn't seen in 10 years.  Chris Watson, one of the owners of Arundel was there!  I've known Chris for almost 20 years.  He was a rep for Haro/Masi before starting Arundel while I was at Haro/Masi in product development.  Over the years, we connect via a phone call or email about once a year or so.  I was really glad to get a chance to ride with Chris.  There were also a few other guys on the line to ride with the Dinos who, well, how exactly does one describe their influence on the American racing scene of the '70s/'80s?  How 'bout this:  past winners of the Nevada City Classic, US National Championship, Red Zinger Classic, Pan American Games, Olympians, races too numerous to fully list, and the only American to win the Giro d'Italia.  Yeah, I was going on an 87 mile ride with Andy Hampsten, George Mount, Mark Pringle, Tom Ritchey...and about a dozen more high-quality, riders who laid the foundations for modern bike racing in the US.  And they're all super nice guys and still are great riders.  One of those rides that leave you buzzed for days afterwards.  The roads, scenery, and general cohesiveness of the group on the road were also top-notch and contributed greatly to a fantastic weekend.  

There was one point on the ride as I was rolling along next to and talking with Rick Pepper from Eleven Gear that the surreal aspect of the ride really became evident.  We had been out front rolling through a beautiful country road for a while.  Wondering who was behind us, I put my right hand on top of the bars, straightened up and turned to look back.  On our wheels were Andy Hampsten and George Mount.  Yeah, it was an okay day on the bike.  Thanks, for the ride, Dinos. 

The "Breaking Away" Masi
The actual Masi Dennis Christopher rode in "Breaking Away"

The early part of the climb up Kiler Canyon Rd. (photo by Tom Ritchey)

Yours truly at the top of Kiler Canyon Rd. (photo by Tom Ritchey)

L'Eroica 2016
Rolling along a dirt road with (L-R) Larry Shields, Mark Pringle, Chris Watson with red stripe cap, Tom Hardy in the Brooklyn jersey, Rick Pepper in red, Andy Hampsten in pink (naturally).

L'Eroica 2016
One of the many dirt roads.

L'Eroica 2016
My Merckx after 40 miles.  Seat went a bit nose up, but I never noticed.

L'Eroica 2016
Lunch stop - burritos and margaritas

L'Eroica 2016
Double paceline rolling down CA 1 to Cayucos.  In Cayucos, we pulled up to the food stop at the pier and friends Jim and Cathy Haagen-Smit were standing there with other friends of theirs - small world.

L'Eroica 2016
Just some of the super cool bikes on the ride:  Guerciotti, Masi, Colnago...

L'Eroica 2016
Tom Hardy's Gios

L'Eroica 2016
Andy Hampsten's team 7-11 bike

L'Eroica 2016
Yet another dirt road

L'Eroica 2016
Mark Pringle on his Colnago

L'Eroica 2016
Chris Watson - thanks for the day of riding, Watson!

L'Eroica 2016
Yes, another dirt road!

L'Eroica 2016
Tom Ritchey taking a photo - of Chris Watson

L'Eroica 2016
The dirt road climbs were severe enough plenty of folks were walking, hampered by the gearing of their vintage race bikes.  The 28 I fit in combination to my 42t ring gave me enough of a low gear to stay on the bike up the climbs.

(What's playing:  Gurf Morlix Feel Free)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Closed April 9-10

This is a public service announcement, with guitar.  No, not with guitar.  That just came out.  But, this will serve as official notice that the shop will be closed Saturday April 9 and Sunday April 10 as I'll be down in Paso Robles for the Eroica California.  Look for me on my big red Merckx and say "howdy."  

Tomales Bay

(What's playing:  The Clash Know Your Rights)

Monday, April 4, 2016

What Does It All Mean

I'm not really a philosophical guy always looking for meaning in life.  If I'm feeding myself every day, feeling comfortable in my ability to live sparsely (albeit with a pretty big collection of bikes), then I feel I'm doing ok.  I have a love/hate relationship with the social media I maintain, most of which centers around my business, which is bikes, with the occasional music related post about the two radio shows I do.  Lots of pictures of objects, few of people.  In some ways, I feel that privacy is important and people pictures take some of that privacy away.  My brother is a photo-journalist and probably feels the exact opposite - if it's in a public setting, it's fair game.  

So, what's my point?  I read today's All Hail The Black Market post, as I do each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and knew exactly what Stevil was writing about.  I like taking photos.  Have since I was a kid and in my middle school, there was a darkroom.  I doubt it's still there, shame.  I used to have binders full of photos and slides.  Now I have a flickr page, Instagram, Facebook, Tumblr...  I think that's it.  In some ways, it's all too much and is a bit overwhelming to manage and maintain along with running my business - which is two pronged with a retail shop and a brand of frames to manage.  Yeah, that keeps me busy.  

I like bikes.  Mostly, I like bikes for their simplicity.  But even that's changed.  Bikes are no longer simple.  They are now made with such a level of complexity that they are obsolete in the amount of time it took to properly age a tubular tire.  As the level of technology in bikes and their accessories (does everyone GPS their rides?) increases, the more I am drawn backwards to less and less complicated bikes.  

Case in point, I recently built up a 1985 Eddy Merckx with Campagnolo Super Record (not that Super Record) and shod it in tubular tires.  No part on the bike is new, except for tires, cables/housing, spokes & nipples.  Every part is from the 80s.  And guess what?  The bike is quickly becoming a huge favorite of mine.  It's huge fun to ride.  Compared to a modern bike, the shifting is slow, the brakes require thought and distance to stop, and forget about trying to shift when out of the saddle.  But damn, I love riding this thing.  I like riding for the sake of riding.  

This started off more as a post about being hamstrung by all the pulls from the social media I maintain, which in a very large part are maintained solely to manage my business.  Larger thoughts go on the blog.  Links to the blog and some bike photos go on the Facebook page.  Photos of bikes and bike rides go on Instagram with a few words.  What's In The Stand photos go on the Tumblr page.  Rules.  I need some rules to maintain my life.  To make sense of it all.  Rules in my life to maintain my focus.  And then when it all gets too much, I go on a bike ride.  No cell phone (don't own one).  No connectivity.  But I will take a camera because if there's something interesting, I'll shoot it and share it and, in some way, work it to help promote my shop and brand so that I can keep on going on bike rides and feeding myself.  

I'll be gone this weekend at the Eroica California.  No computer, no phone, just a 1985 Eddy Merckx road bike and a camera.  Three day recharge.  And don't try to reach me now for the next several hours because I'll be out riding the Merckx.  





(What's playing:  Led Zeppelin That's The Way)