Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Trevor Calton Makes The News!

This article was sent from Kim McNeil, Randy's wife, about Backbone's own DH racer Trevor Calton......

RHS team scores in New York City

Ramona High School seniors and automotive students Troy Thompson, left, and Trevor Calton competed with the best of the best in the nation in National Automotive Technology Competition held during the International Show in New York City.
Suzanne Corey 23.APR.08
In the world of high school auto competitions, The National Automotive Technology Competition in New York City is the place to be. The competition brings together the nation’s best automotive education students to showcase their skills in hopes of winning a piece of the more than $3 million in scholarships and prizes.

Ramona High School’s auto program has qualified for the past 13 years and has placed in the top 10 consecutively since 1997. This year, Team Lexus with RHS seniors Troy Thompson and Trevor Calton continued the trend and placed fourth overall.

According to the NATC Web site, the nationally recognized competition, developed by the Greater New York Automobile Dealers Association, is the top competition of its kind. It was created to help curb the shortage of qualified automotive technicians and to raise the level of vocational education standards in the public school system.

“It’s the coolest contest,” said RHS auto instructor Robert Grace. “The prizes are huge and the quality of kids is amazing.

“It’s the only competition where we are sponsored. Our hotel, airfare, and spending money are all paid for by the New Car Dealers Association. You feel like you are being treated like royalty.”

Grace, who accompanied Thompson and Calton, put them to the test long before the event by administering written assessments as well as similar auto scenarios. They were also trained with the help of their supporting auto dealer, Bob Baker Lexus of El Cajon.

Their first step was winning the coveted spot amongst their fellow classmates. Next, the power duo went on to win a regional and state contest. This enabled them to travel to New York for the event, which took place on March 25 and 26 at the New York International Automobile Show.

Thompson and Calton competed against 35 other teams, three of which were from California. The first day, the team had to complete 10 work stations in just six hours. Their stations included brakes, electrical, tire service, precision measurement, safety procedures, and service information look up.

At each station, the boys had to diagnose and repair the problems. Points were then assigned for each problem they correctly repaired, depending on its level of difficulty.

The next day they had to diagnose and repair a 2008 Lexus ES 350. In addition, students were tested on their overall knowledge through a series of written tests.

“As a teacher, you always hope you prepared them well,” said Grace. “We put in a lot of effort and it’s great to step back and watch them in action, on their own. They were confident, had good technique, and finished on time. They walked away and felt they achieved their personal best and that made me very proud.”

By winning fourth place, Thompson and Calton earned tools, tool bags, shirts, hats, and nearly $30,000 in scholarships to automotive training schools.

Thompson plans to use his scholarship when he attends Cuyamaca College’s Ford Factory Training School. Calton plans to join the Navy after graduation and will use his skills in that arena.

After the competition, they toured New York City.

“It’s always a bit intimidating at first,” Grace said. “But, we had a good time. We walked about 20 miles a day, touched the Atlantic Ocean, and were able to relax and just be tourists.”

More competitions are to follow as the school year wraps up and Grace and his crew likely will bring home additional awards. - Copyright Ramona Sentinel

Where's The Fuzz?

Where in the hell is the Fuzziest? We had a recent Fuzz sighting in Burbank, when we were all packed in Roger's truck to head to Sea Otter. We got on the freeway and rolled right up next to Ara's Toyota on his way to class. I miss the Fuzz, so if anyone sees him or hears him howling in the woods, please let me know that he is OK, and has NOT been captured and sent to a captive breeding facility at the LA Zoo. I hope that Dick Cheney hasn't sent him to Guantanamo Bay. The WMD he has is in his pantalones...or so I hear from the waitresses at the Burbank Hooters. Come home Fuzz, the John Muir Trail has been fully documented and no longer needs you to personally attend to it!


The Generalisimo Fuzz

The Fuzz on Thunder Mountain Trail in 2005

The "Armenian Rage" coming out at the Mammoth Nationals in 2005. Ara and Jimbo raced single speed there like dumb-asses.

Idyllwild Spring Challenge O' Death

This coming weekend the famed Idyllwild Spring Challenge is going down! This was the last race I did in before leaving the Golden State...and it damn near killed me. That race had more hike-a-bike than anything I have ever seen (they removed that section for this year's race..figgers) and was grueling as hell..especially after not riding for weeks prior to the event. Heidi Bowen's team, Idyllwild Racing put it on, and we actually sponsored it with tons of killer prizes the first two years!

If you are a real-deal dirt-bag mountain biker, you'll love this course. I never saw so many broken bodies and bikes in my life, and was amazed by how many guys on "trail bikes" were unable to handle that trail. My hardtail was sweet that day, and with all the climbing involved, was a perfect choice for that race. No blown rear suspension, no extra weight. This year, the sufferfest will be attended by Roger, Super-Vanessa, and Randy Rush. Hopefuly more 'Boners will show up! Don't forget to order your Backbone team apparel from the website/blogsite and support

Idyllwild Team rider and "Race-Wife" to Fuzzy, Heidi Bowen.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Good Form

I look at a shit-ton of pictures every day. I organize by race, rider, and even categorize them for each sponsor according to whether I think they would be useable or not. Periodically, I am amazed by some of them....and they are usually Michael Darter's. I have been going back to these handfull of shots from Fontana NMBS and Sea Otter, because Vanessa's form and mechanics are just flawless. In the picture above, she is rocketing down some sandy singletrack, looking THROUGH the turn..just like you are supposed to.

The next three shots are from Sea Otter, and they show a steep and loose climb to the pavement, just above the finish line. I saw a TON of riders NOT make this. When Vanessa went by, it was scary how effortless she made it look. I went home and saw the photos that Lyd took, and I know why now. She was all but perfect. I know, it's a little dopey that I would even notice..but I do.

The next two show V climbing at Fontana, another steep and crappy climb. Again, the form follows the function. I find that fitness can only get you so much, but good mechanics can really set you apart when you need that extra little something. Just wanted to show you what it should look like, just in case that long winter made you forget. Nice work Vanessa.

Jimmy Wynn's Vintage '98 DBR WCF

This bike is bad ass. It's about as O.G. (Original Gangsta') as it gets for a bike that still gets ridden almost every day. This is a 1998 Diamond Back W.C.F. The W.C.F. stands for Welded Carbon Fiber. It is a really cool frame that has some innovative features you probably have never heard of...kinda like a virgin in Catholic High School. The tube set is carbon bonded to True Temper TT Light steel. The top, down and seat tubes are carbon that was woven on a LOOM, not rolled and formed in a mold! It has a Titec Ti Hell Bent riser bar, Titec carbon post, SRAM 9.0 PLASTIC brake levers, XTR rim brakes, Speedplay Frog pedals, Race Face Next LP cranks (1st generation), Manitou MRD Mars Elite fork, XTR/Mavic 517 SUP wheels, XTR cassette and derailleurs, S-Works Ti xc saddle, Specialized Pro Enduro 2.1 tires, Chris King red aheadset, YETI grips, Salsa Ti skewers, and Grip Shift 900 ESP shifters. This bike is in great shape, and I LOVE to see it getting rocked on a daily basis.

Jim Wynn used to live in Telluride, CO. He managed the Telluride Velo Club and created Team Telluride, a mountain bike team in the area! Jim is legit, and a funny-mo-fo who has been around ALMOST as long as Bert....ok, that was a cheap shot, sorry.

This old Klein Rascal was seen at Sea Otter, and was in GREAT shape!

This was a Mag 21 fork that Specialized licensed out and put a carbon sticker on, calling it their S-Works XC fork for a short time. This one was on a Stumpjumper FSR (about a second generation, I haven' seen this one in some time) at Sea Otter!

Monday, April 28, 2008

Woodward West Race Report a la Taylor

I hate to post two in a row on the Great White Hope, Taylor Libolt..but he's an allright guy, so what the hell! Here's his race report from the Cal State DH race at Woodward West, put on by Don Jackson of Southridge Racing....

Hey yo Chris!
So here is my mini race rap up for this weekends Woodward CalState DH race. I would normally type you up something grand, but I'm way too excited to finish building up my new Tomac tonight! I included a shot of it partially assembled, race photos will be up soon!
I placed 4th at this weekends CalState downhill race held at Woodward West, in Tehachapie (I think thats how you spell it...) The course felt like a big 4X course with just enough jumps, I don't think I heard a single complaint about it the entire weekend. Many of us agreed we could spend just about all day on it and not get bored. But only being about 1:15-1:20 in length, there wasn't much room to make a mistake, or conserve anything at all during the race run. However, for some reason I took my first run a little conservative at the top, until I realised that I only had about 30 seconds left in my run and gave it my all at the bottom. Second run, I just went 100% out of the gate, and made it down safely, still shaving off about 1.5 seconds from my first run. Can't complain too much about a podium finish and a small check from Southridge! I guess next time I'll just have to remind myself that it isn't a 6 minute National course and just go all out from the start. Now... its back to building my new ride!


I can't wait to see Taylor squeeze his now GIANT swollen head into a helmet. Hope 661 makes a quadruple extra large full face, w/built in expansion chamber!


Taylor's Primer Frame In!

Taylor was happy as a bearded clam last week when he drove to Roger's place. Joel had asked the guys at TOMAC to strip down the ONE black Primer out there so I could take him his DH frame. The team's 2008 DH jerseys were also in (Jim, yours are shipping tomorrow w/your SIGMA computer, as are Ryan's) so Taylor loaded his WRX STI to the glass. It came with little time to spare before the Northstar DH race tha should be next weekend. Randy's son TREVOR is going up with Kim for that one, so we'll have two fast guys up there.

Randy was busy this past weekend in laughlin trying to get arrested on his Harley....or shot in a Mongols/Hell's Angels shoot-out.
Anyway, Taylor can now retire his beat-down GIANT DH Team and get on his bad-ass black-as-hell SKUNKWORKS Primer, complete with the upgraded Fox 5.0 DH rear shock!

Backboners In New Ads Coming Soon!

Dawn Lyons, after the Firestone NMBS Race In 2006.

Bert prior to his Sea Otter Super-D last week.

Bob. And his Mohawk. Chicken-Suit NOT included.

Lyd informed me last week that we will be in THREE new ads coming up in the cycling publications! Featured this time will be Dawn, Bob, and Bert. They each will have their own separate ads, and I think one of them will be a TWO-PAGE spread!
Now, I don't have any say at all in what/who she uses, and am happy as hell just to get the don't think that I am going to complain about who she uses. She uses pics based off of a particular look she needs, and NOT because of the rider. SO ANYWAY...I'll send em/post em as soon as they hit the magazines!!

Saturday, April 26, 2008

This One Is For James Keller

The things I do for our sponsors, Jesus!

So, James "Stellar" Keller (SIGMA USA) calls me about once a month, and he tells me that if I will put more pix of my fiancee on the blog, he will read it more. This one is for James. Dirt bag.

I can't help but look at these pictures and realize what you all are thinking. I am must be either rich or well hung to have a woman like that, right? If you played baseball (not a sport) you would be now on strike number three.....:)

Sea Otter Sunday; XC and OUT!

World Famous Vegas Bob, rocking his Carbide.

Bert Blanchette about to drop his entire field on Super-D. It happens fast, pay attention!

Vanessa and Dawn after the race

The new 661 helmet.

A sweet Mag-21 with a carbon sticker on it. This was billed by Specialized as their high end, S Works carbon fork for high end mtn bikes MANY years ago. This one was on a second generation Stumpjumper that someone was still riding!

Chris Sheppard, former mechanic for the Titus/X-Fusion team. I hated this guy when he worked there, but after seeing a whole new Chris at Sea Otter (he works for a different team now) he was a totally different guy. Happy and having fun, his new team clearly is doing something his old one was not.

Sunday would be our final day at the race. No Monday layover for tearing the KENDA tent down (Jim brought several of the KENDA employees this year to help out, so we only spent the daylight hours assisting in the booth), so we were prepared to head out after Vegas Bob and Super-Vanessa's XC races. Lyd and I once again hiked up into the course, squatting near some singletrack for photos of them...and for Lyd to use as advertising shots. She has such a difficult time getting sponsored athletes to send her ANYTHING, she has decided to be she bought an $1,100 dollar camera and spent her vacation (on her own dime) attending Sea Otter so she could take her OWN photos. All three of the next ads in bike mags will be using those shots! Roger hung out and helped at KENDA, and we all hung out at Tomac until everyone finished up their race.

Vanessa rode what many men couldn't. This right turn to hill transition took out many seasoned vets. When I look at the series of pix we took at this moment, her form is startlingly good.

POB and his wife came by to visit and talk shop, but VB was TAPPED OUT from his 40 mile Battaan Death March of a XC race. Timari Pruis stopped by too, on her way to the 24 hrs. Of Idyllwild.

Timari "Booty" Pruis. Racing for Pivot Cycles this year, she is a killer on the endurance mtb circuit, with more 1sts know.

We gathered up our stuff and headed for the exit around noon. I made one last stop to say goodbye to my home-slice Ed Fonda at Voler, saw Heidi Bowen (down boys) and made one last stop to see EJ, then TOMAC! We were originally slated to get Taylor's Primer DH frame at the race..then we found out otherwise. Turns out, the guys actually gave us one of their Euro-Pro squad guy's Large black frames, so I waited while they strippd it down for me to take home. Again, anyone who wants to buy a mountain bike and actually USE it really needs to get a TOMAC. The service we received from Joel and the guys was second to none, and a welcome surprise.

Notice the custom sleeves on VB's XC jersey. He pulled the stitching on the sleeves to make them feel more t-shirt-like!

We made our way to parking lot EORE 5 or something like that, then showered down and rolled south to Burbank...a six hour drive that Roger made in record time. I think he taked driving lessons from James and Bob! Lyd and I hung out for the evening and drank some great CLAVO vineyards cabernet in Julie's backyard and collapsed. Monday we walked to the Kenneth Village, the Brand Ave Library, then met Don "The Magic Wand" Burke for a pile of fried fish at the Burbank Bar and Grill. the rest of Monday would see us walking the streets of Burbank getting drunk on margaritas...mostly at The Blue Room. The next morning we flew home, and reality quickly set in. I was back Ohio. It's like having a sweet new key to an empty room.