Thursday, November 30, 2006

Cole Update

Cole is the son of Valerie and Karl, veteran Backbone and CFR team supporters and racers. Valerie took third in her first XC race a couple of years ago, and met Desi a LOOOOONG time ago at Women's Only Weekend. Karl is my wing-man for all O.C. rides, and they both accompanied Desi and I on our first week-long Utah backcountry trip. Well, these two genetically perfect freaks decided to breed, and they created the only attractive newborn I have ever see. Besides me, of course.... and maybe Beauford.
Cole is pictured here preparing to win the World Cup XC race at Fort William, Scotland aboard his Titus baby stroller..full Exogrid, of course. He is cute, which makes us all wonder who the REAL father is, since Karl is such an ugly bastard. We know it's not his, because the baby has hair. :)
Cole will be coming up through the ranks soon, so I will just warn Conor and Jay right now that they best retire before he gets any bigger. Look for Cole to be taller than all of us by his 5th birthday, because his "foster" dad is a very large white dude. You can see Val and Karl in the current KENDA product catalog in the studded tire section, or at Tsunami Sushi in Huntington Beach. Thanks for the pic guys!


Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Kenda Dred Tred Tire Review Update

Although I haven't had a mountain bike since the Camp-N-Rizzle a couple of weeks ago, I still would like to give a quick long-term review of the Prototype Dred Tred Tire I have been on HEAVILY since the show. I have had the 1.8 casing size, and I typically run between 45 and 50 psi. That being said, I am also a 200 plus-pounder on a hardtail. So far, despite it's burlier than usual appearance, it has proven to be my new favorite tire..FOR EVERYTHING!
John Tomac always prefers traction over straight speed from a tire, and he would be stoked I think on this new offering from KENDA. Light, fast rolling, and remarkably grippy, this little 1.8 grabs like a 2.25 and rolls like a semi-slick.
After many weeks of tortuous and rocky abuse, the tire appears only slightly worn, and could still be used for a good half season of racing. Most race tires are too slicky to really allow a man of my ...ahem...."stature" get out of the saddle on steep climbs and pound. I almost always spin out and lose momentum. The Dred Tred, even at 50psi in a 1.8, never lets me down. I can't wait to buy one in the larger size for winter riding on my new 2007 Titus Moto-Lite. If you have to keep one tire for every race, my new choice is the Dred Tred! I finally have a replacement for the long-dead Kharisma 1.9.

Happy Trails


Monday, November 27, 2006

The Area Effect

F-86 Sabre Jet
The AREA RULE was a groundbreaking concept. In the early days of jet powered flight (before the U-2 spy plane, but after the Nazi "Schmetterling" fighter), attempts to go supersonic were met with many failures. The wing design was wrong...or was it the tail stabilizers? Swept wings helped, but aircraft were still doomed at that critical point of supersonic boom. Violent shaking would occur, followed by loss of control of the aircraft. It was finally realized that the airflow at just-subsonic-speeds created such violent shockwaves over the control surfaces, that the airflow literally disappeared from them. This rendered the controls of the airfame useless. It was later discovered that the problem was NOT in JUST the wing design, but in how the fuselage was designed as a whole. The shockwave was a result of the air moving over the plane as an entire body, not just how the airflow moved over the design of the wing.
The subsequent theory, pioneered by Dr. Whitcombe (father of Lockheed's Skunk-Works Division) is known as the Area Affect. This theory was later put in practice to break the sound barrier on aircraft like the U-2 spy plane, SR-71 Blackbird, and the B-2 Stealth Bomber. The Area Affect rule dictates that in order for an aircraft to avoid the paralyzing shockwaves created by supersonic flight, the fuselage had to be altered. By creating a BULGE before and after the wing root, the wings could be more integrated into the airfame, lessening it's ability to create drag and shockwaves. So let's see where I am going with this, o.k.?
By creating a BULGE in the middle, we can be much faster....period. To that end, I have now been able (FINALLY) to justify my year round consumption of beer. Thanks to millions of taxpayer dollars, Dr. Whitcombe, wind-tunnel tests, 1950's cold-war bomber threats, Lockheed Martin Company, and dead test-pilots, I can finally say that I am faster (potentially) because I have an enormous BULGE amidships. I may actually be able to break the sound barrier on my new Titus Moto-Lite this year! Randy Rush, I am sure, is behind me on this.

Me, reincarnated as a cat

My only concern is that the Area Affect does not tell me at what point the size of the bulge becomes too great, and the belly of the aircraft literraly tears off and falls to earth. I guess I'll find out soon enough......Guiness anyone?

Cap'n Chris

Glendale 'Cross Race Pix!

SORRY VANESSA! Your pic didn't transfer to the blog, so I had to use last week's pic!

Roger dutifully called me after the race, and told me that Vanessa was doing well on a loaner Cross bike from some "other" bike maker. She was in the top ten, then flipped over and crashed. She recovered, passed, then got passed again, finishing in 8th. Keep in mind that she was racing on a totally foreign machine, and could still whip our asses if she wanted to.

Bert in Glendale last year

Bert was also racing, but without the face-plant story, it just isn't as good. One day, we will see him day....

Rippin' Ryan on the attack at the Turkey Trizzle

Ryan Blanchette was racing as well, and kicked some arse out there! The pic shows him gunning for the Pro men (not really) who he quickly passed, then taunted with jeers of "Don't you know who I am?" No one did, but it sounded really awesome!

Thanks to Roger and the Fuzziest for helping out!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone out there in Cyclelland! Desi is in Kansas City working on today's NFL Football game, and I am here drinking beer and doing bike stuff. Hope you all have a great week(end) and be safe. Avoid molesting the turkey if at all possible, and keep Randy away from the beer. Oh, and's been a week, build Vanessa another bike before she cuts you. (New people are fun to hassle, please join me in my heckling)


Chris "Turkey Killer" Sharp

Monday, November 20, 2006

Winter In So Cal

The Fuzziest, hammering through the creek at Firestone Vineyard during the MarathonXC

Winter in So Cal is just summer-light. Unless you live at or above four thousand feet, we really don't get seasons at all. Yesterday, the 19th of November, it was NINETY DEGREES. In Ohio, it was "Ass Chappin' Cold"..that from Lydia Brownfield of Kenda. Now, I have had some seriously chapped ass before from long days in the saddle on a 100 degree day...but ass-chappin' COLD? That's gotta suck.

Last night I broke out for an hour slug fest before the sun slipped away, and I must say that is one of my favorite times to ride. The sun is ablaze with the caramelized brown of smog and the powder blue of sunset. It's usually down to a chilly eighty five degrees by then, and some need to bring a light jacket for fear of the temps dropping into the high seventies. brrrrr.

Overlook to the West from Indian Creek Trail, San Diego

I was in my local overpriced coffee establishment, glancing at an old fashioned doughnut that costs as much by itsself as a dozen would at a doughnut shop. Behind me I hear two "metro-sexuals" (read into that what you will) crying that it was "sooo cold today." It's 6:45am, and it is 76 degrees. These boys have obviously never been to a Camp-N-Ride or to a location beyond delivery service of their local Saks Fifth Avenue.
That's winter in Los Angeles. The ladies (see:metro-sexuals) use the guise of winter to purchase another closet full of hundred dollar jeans (with holes) and get soup at the cafe. Cyclists in So Cal use it as an excuse to ride during daylight hours thanks to an average and bearable temp of eighty degrees. Normal summer and spring days necessitate night lights here, as the Chernobyl-like rays of the sun are far to heated to ride during the day.
Winter? Hardly. I promise you I will have my truck's a/c on "meat locker" for Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's. My only respite will be when and if it rains, so I may ride through the rain swollen creeks of the Santa Monica's....emerging in Brentwood like some coal miner caked in ash-black and muck. Drivers-by will be awash with fear as they see this leaf-caked freak smiling at them in their Jaguar (see:FORD TAURUS). God I love winter in So Cal.


Sunday, November 19, 2006

Races, races, everywhere

I ran down to Palos Verdes today to watch the wonder twins rock the 'cross race, and no dissapointment came at all. I also was able to hand Roger his spankin' new TITUS RACER-X frame! The weather was warm, but not sizzling. Course conditions were loose over hardpack, and a bit more mountain bikey than the last race.

Bert was off first, leading out the first couple of laps before Helmut Schnitzelfritz finally went around him. The rest of the pack steadily fell off from Bert and the other racer. With the precision of a surgeon, Bert sliced through the course and over the barricades. It was great to watch him fly through those mounts and dismounts! Bert finished in second, and remains just four points back from 1st.

Vanessa was up next, and has recently moved up a class. She was slugging it out with last year's State Champ and a smaller girl who just DESTROYED half the MEN'S field. Vanessa looked like a 'cross vet, losing no time over the transitions and powering past the field to a third place finish.

Taylor also raced today, but he raced DH in Fontucky. After crashing horribly and being down for several seconds, he found out that he was in 5th! That's podium, and only FIVE seconds off the first place guy! Doing the math, one can see that he would have clearly won without the crash. OH< and the flat tire count from last weekend goes up one more for Taylor, as his rear was flat again upon returning home.

Thanks to all who raced today, and thanks to ROGER, DAWN, and RYAN for supporting today!


Saturday, November 18, 2006

Mess With Me, Ya Mess With the Whole Trailer Park!

This aircraft "tug" has a 350 small block Chevy engine w/Edelbrock heads!

Justin is an old friend from waaaaaaay back. He actually raced DH at Fontucky years ago, on a hardtail. He was so fast back then, he actually had crashed one race, FOUR TIMES, and still took second. He and I go back to the days of Grand Terrace, Wendy Chaves crying about refrigerator doors being made of glass, and v-brakes on downhill bikes.

Justin and Jamie

His brother, Nate-Dogg, also raced. We managed to get his family business in Riverside, Taylor's Appliance, to sponsor us. They even gave us a van to drive to the races! We also had the now-dead Jurupa Valley Brewing Company helping by feeding us and giving us free beers. That's right, free beers. And you wonder where I get it from. That place had a double-chocolate-oatmeal-stout I'd sell Charleze Theron's ass for. Anyhoooo Nate, Justin and I had a great time tonight at Justin's party talking about those early days of racing.

Stunt Plane just returning from an air race

We all miss it. Nate raced the '95 NORBA in Big Bear with me in about six feet of fresh snow! Justin used to live right behind the Sycamore Canyon Park in Riverside (Taylor's training camp) and we used to build a ton of the trail network that exists there today. All this took place well before ANY of you knew me. Any of you except Taylor, who was so young his breath still smelled like SIMILAC! Despite his youth, taylor was actually racing for MOUNTAIN CYCLE at the time, and could still kick my ass from the confines of his full-suspension stroller.

Nate Dogg, ex-DH racer and pal of Taylor's

Anyhow, it was a great party in a sweet old hangar at the Flabob Airport in Rubidoux. Hanger parties rock. Jamie, Justin's girlfriend and personal body-guard set the whole night up, hiring a band and even a taco-cart! NONE OF YOU TIRD-BURGLERS HAVE EVER GOTTEN ME A TACO CART! jim Roff once gave me a Taco Fart on the way to Sea Otter, but that's just not the same...sorry Jim.

Justin and I on the tug, completely blind from alcohol poisoning

Cross racing in PV, DH and XC in Fontucky!

This weekend, OK TOMORROW, Bert and Vanessa will be in Palos Verdes racing 'cross.

Randy and Taylor will be in Fontucky racing XC and DH.

Come out and play, won't you?


Wednesday, November 15, 2006


Manzanar's entrance

Manzanar War Relocation Center. Sounds like home, right? Certainly worth leaving the comforts of your own domicile for, for sure...right? Not so much.

After the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, war was officailly declared on the Empire Of The Rising Sun. In 1942, the U.S. Government collected as many as one hundred ten thousand Japanese Americans. Manzanar was one of ten camps where these people were interred. They were allowed one suitcase, to last indefinately. Stripped of their jobs, their homes, property, businesses, etc, they were forced to live as group prisoners.
Many of you who take the drive up to Mammoth Mountain Ski Resort for either winter fun, or the NORBA Nationals race have all passed this encampment. It is located in the Owens Valley, on the eastern side of the Sierra Nevada mountains off Highway 395. Temperatures here range from over 100 degrees in summer, to well below freezing in winter. Handle that with one suitcase, and that has to inclue any family heirlooms, photos, documents, etc!
Eight tall guard towers ringed the camp, each manned by M.P.'s with submachine guns. Twelve thousand were housed here until the war's end. Japanese were brought here against their will, but this area hs another little known secret. The Paiute Indians were actually removed from the area in the early 1860's. Once white miners and settlers began moving n and claiming land for crops and towns, the military came in and resettled them all to Fort Tejon in 1863. Fort Tejon is found atop the "grapevine," on interstate 5. Fort Tejon is also known to be the first, last, and only place that camels were ever used by the United States Cavalry. That didn't work out, so the camels were sold, sent to the circus, or even set free in the California desert. Tales still are heard to this day about descendants of those cavalry camels roaming the American Southwest!

(The camp's first grave marker) In 1942, the army leased the six thousand acres that Manzanar sits on from L.A. County to create the camp. an amazing 28,790,221 meals were served during Manzanar's existance, at a cost of 3,384,749 dollars! "Your Tax Dollars At Work!" One hundred fifty people died here, and of that number, only six remained buried within the camp's confines. Today, it is a National Historic Site, and continue to be reborn and reinstated to it's former state.

(Girls making paper flowers) Next time you are driving up the old highway, take a moment to enter the park and try to understand what this must have been like. There is a great japanese-American museum right here in downtown Los Angeles! Located on the Olvera Street plaza, it is right behind the old Pico House Hotel. This is one of the best designed museums I have ever seen, with amazing letters, pictures, and accounts of the 1940'2 war time happenings.
Sleep tight kidos, and I personally hope the Swedish don't attack the U.S., becuase I don't wanna try and fit my road bike in a suitcase and live in a commune like a Sierra Club hippie.

Capn Chris

Construction of camp housing barracks

Arriving at Manzanar

Monday, November 13, 2006

Jim Roff Gets Snow!

Jim Roff sends his love to you punks from Colorado, where the State Motto is "I see white people!" Here is a shot of him showing you how he has stayed married so long, and his Tomac from last season in the snow. Thanks Jimbo!



Indian Creek trail
Hey everyone out there in Backboneland! I am finally decompressing from the disgusting amount of elevation/riding we did this weekend. While forty miles and 6,200 feet of climbing may not seem like a lot to Ara, it put a hurtin' on me for sure. It would have been hard on me at sea level, but we started both rides at over 5,000 feet. I'm not a skinny man, so hauling this tub of chicken fried steak and gravy up that much hill ain't no feat for the timid, right? Expecting to come back and drink some beer, my buddy Randy was busy raiding the cooler. Watching him drink it is as good as me drinking it, I guess. or NOT!
Friday I took off of work to load up and leave the house by 9am. After an amazingly scenic drive up highway 79, I ended up rolling through the historic touristy town of Julian. I blinked and was through it, making the final push to Cuyamaca. The lake glistened in the late morning sun as I drove on to the campground. I saw no turkeys this trip (insert joke here), but lots of deer and hillbillies. After setting up camp, I began the laborious process of stuffing schwag bags for the raffle. Too many prizes, wow. Thanks to KENDA, SIGMA, VOLER, HYDRAPAK, TITUS, 661-SUNLINE, etc. for all the great raffle stuff. PERFORMANCE bikes of Santa Monica donated the actual bags.
Roger and Vanessa showed up first, then the Betsy clan. Bill Doyle's crew were there ready to rock and roll, too. Those guys will break you down on a bike and make you feel like a sissy, seriously. I was expecting to be alone that night, but had TONS of peeps already! It got down to 38 degrees Friday night...little did we know that would be the warm night! CAN YOU SAY "SHRINKAGE?"
The campfire kept us warm as we talked crap about each other until bed time.
Saturday we awoke we to flurry of action. People began to cook breakfast and prepare for the days ride. The Doyle clan rolled in three deep for the ride, and made our medium sized group a large one. Vegas Bob ws late for the ride start, so we had to go w/out him. After about eighteen miles and 2500 feet of climbing at a blistering pace (trying to keep Vanessa and Dawn from tearing me a new poop-chute), we arrived at West Side Trail. "Trail" is a term I use very loosely for the carpet bombed then overgrown section of trail we were on. Oh, and did I tell ya about the roses? Eye-ball high and thick as my mid-section, the native rose bushes were like riding into a giant free-range cat-fight. We limped back to camp after bleeding out enough to make the Red Cross jealous. Roger thought it would be fun to do a back-country mountain ride in his road shoes...sweeet. He twisted his back while doing a bike-over-head style portage over a rock bed. He was done for the weekend after that. Making it back before dark, we found that Bob had come in and gone out after us. At least he got to ride! Val, Karl and Cole had to bail out, due to a sweepng cold. Robert and his wife also had to bug out due to familial obligations. Oh well, we'll just have to go back.
I prepared the raffle as Bert, Ryan, Randy, the SD crew, etc rolled in. James would not arrive in time for the raffle thanks to an ugly accdent and run-in with the landlord. Not good. The raffle went well, with me having plenty of help from the lolly-pop-lickers amongst us. We all ate dinner, and went to bed. Noble Canyon lie in wit for us Sunday, and we had to get some sleep. The coyotes made a kill around 2am, chortling and howling the way the do when there is fresh meat.
That's right guys. My baby has finally had it's last ride. Noble Canyon finally did her in, and almost me too! I ordered a new Titus hardtail frame today to replace it, but it better be one hell of a bike to live up to the standard of old blue. Greg Pleiss is gonna kill me when he finds out.
Sunday Randy arrived early, and James, Taylor(no, stupid, not James Taylor), Bert, Ryan, Randy, Vegas and I all loaded up for the big ride. Indian Creek Trail to Noble. I was the only one who knew the way, but was so spanked from saturday I could barely move. Ryan Blanchette was the first victim, succumbing to the pavement "warmup" climb. It is about two miles long, with a 35% grade. Fun. he made it about a fifth of the way up Indian Creek before having to head back. Bert rode back with him, taking one for the team so I could lead the rest of the boys through it.
Randy and I watched as VB and Taylor ascended like winged dirt-bags up the trail. James, Randy and I were hanging out in the back. That's nice-talk for sucking a fat one. James finally had enough of baby sitting and went on up the hill. Randy called in air support, and Guiness air-dropped us some mother's milk to help with our climb. The trail was great. Totally rocky and jacked up, just the way I like it. I liked it so much, I decided to flip over the bike and down the canyon, hanging onto a sagebrush with one hand, and the Klein with the other. Bitchin.
We made it to Noble finally, and I sent the guys ahead to bomb it. It was a great run until I ate it again, broke my wheel, my derailleur hanger, and my derailleur. Pisser. I had to finish the ride in my granny ring, it's all I had. I should know something's up when I am the guy on a hardtail, with rim brakes and a three inch travel fork...and everyone else is on a 5" trail bike w/ 8" rotors. I USED to be able to ride that tail on my hardtail, but lack of practice there made it damn sad. I still loved it, though, and will be back with my 2007 Moto-Lite which arrives Saturday...along with my new HT frame! Thanks Titus.
Taylor blew out his back wheel twice, and had NADA to fix it with. You knwo, sometimes the smartest people do the dumbest...never mind. I was on Noble with my Klein, I have no room to talk. As we arrived back at the cars, we found that Ryan Blanchette had crashed descending that steep paved hill back to the car. His but has a sweet scab collection now. Bert ended up riding Noble in reverse for an hour and a half, but it sucked not having him with the group. We all wanted to see what the Trail Surgeon would do.
Anyhow, I'm still tired. I finally got home at 8pm last night. Desi came home from work at midnight. I had been up since 5:30am, and done that ride, too. Then, at 1:30am, our neighbors decided it would be fun to vacuum their car witha F******G ZAMBONI or something. It sounded like a C-130 military transport over there, and went on for thirty minutes! I got up (Naked...ooh, gross) and walked over there with my junk hanging out (to be extra dirt-baggy). I called them names you wouldn't call your mother in law if she sold your porn collection. That's how I roll. it was cold at 1:30, and I probably had some major shrinkage going on. Probably should have fluffed up for a minute or something. Oh well, maybe next time....

Cap'n Chris

More from Camp-N-Rizzle

The Backbone Express rolling up Middle Peak's Black Oak Trail

Bert, contemplating how much faster he should be than everyone else on tomorrow's ride up Indian Creek Trail and down Noble Canyon.

Roger hiding in the tree, in an attempt to escape Vanessa's wrath over her santa Cruz not working. I'd hide, too, that chick is angry! Please feed her, Roger. Please.

Randy....drinking MY beer. A*****E!!!!! Just kidding. Not really. It was good beer, and he drank my last 14. bastard.

Taylor going nuts over the prospect of blowing TWO tubes on his ride tomorrow, and carrying NOTHING with him to fix anything. NICE JOB, hey, while your at it, race a NORBA DH w/ a superlight tube, too! haha

Roger and his new riding partner on West Side Trail.

Bob drinkin' his gin and juice.

Camp-N-Ride '06 in Cuyamaca

Vanessa and Dawn after the Saturday death ride

Tim "Camel Toe" representin'

Betsy's sister, you know, the hot sister!

Noble Canyon stream crossing.

Bill "My truck's bigger than your's, and you own a tank" Doyle on Black Oak Trail

King James dropping the logs on Noble Canyon Trail, thanks to his Behemoth 29er from Lenz Sport.

Cap'n Chris doing everything possible to break the Klein hardtail on Noble Canyon trail.

Sunrise at Paso Picacho campground, site #75

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

K-Fed Single, And More Useless Than Ever

Kevin Federsleezy and Britney "Fetus Factory" Spears broke up today! Although it has no bearing on cycling (bearing, get it?) I thought it would be worth mentioning. Now that they are split up, should we start a timer to see how quickly K-Fed drops from the planet? Will Brit-Brit crap out one of Tom Cruise's Scientology freak children? Why can't Al-Quieda put out a hit on K-Fed, instead of a nine year old girl's birthday party? I'm sure the Secret Service could, uhh, take a bathroom break and let them slip onto the compound. Come on, just this once?


Monday, November 06, 2006

U.S.A. Cycling To Murder American MTB Racing

While few of you may think I don't know enough about cycling (like the upside of RotorRings and Vectran brake cables), I do know enough to hand you all a few tasty morsels now and again. As we all know, the NCS series here in the States, which is supposed to be THE series to do, has a total of GOOSEEGG spectators,etc. Hell, even INDUSTRY people don't come and attend anymore. Rather than make an attempt to better organize the American racing calender, U.S.A. cycling has handed down a sweet new way to F**K everything up for our potential Olympic hopefulls, and their team managers.
They have decided that UCI points for Americans will no longer just be decided by the Nationals in the 2007 NMBS series. That would be easy (unless you were Mary Mac from a couple years ago), so they decided to make it impossible. They have handed down a mandate whereby ANY EVENT ORGANIZER with a cash purse and proof of logistical capability can put on a race with FULL UCI points status, regardless of the region or athlete turnout. This means that if a guy has a rider, and about 15,000 bucks, he can put on a UCI qualifier for points in say....LUBBOCK, TEXAS, and gurantee his boy some killer points. That being the case, how do the major players like Adam Craig, JHK, Mike Broderick, Mary Mac, Jimena, etc plan their race schedule? instead of a few tightly spaced World Cups and NCS races to worry about, now they have to ponder some guy/girl from nowheresville North Dakota taking their Olympic spot in a race they never heard of.
That's not all. What about the team managers? Speaking from this perspective, I have a large team and a tiny budget. Until two days ago, I had the money allocated to all my Semi-Pro/Expert people for the NCS races. Now, how am I supposed to be able to know where and when to send my guys and girls? Do they do the Snowmass national, or the Billy-Bob's Bacon-Barn Classic? It's the same points, so now what?
How about the industry vendors? Sport Legs, Hydrapak, Kenda, etc? They spend LARGE rolls of dough to bankroll NORBA NATIONALS. If the Bacon-Barn Classic carries the same weight, why should they invest in the NCS series? Madness...and BUNGLING madness at that. USA Cycling certainly is trying their damndest to put that final nail in the coffin of NORBA.


Cap'n Chris