Sunday, May 31, 2009

Vegas Bob Wins SIGMA Karma Light!

Vegas Bob just wona sweet new Sigma Karma headlight by commenting on the SIGMA discussion board on their Facebook page! That's a crazy-sweet light, and one that Backboners all over the nation LOVE to use on night races and fun rides. Thanks SIGMA, and good-on-ya Bob!

Friday, May 29, 2009

Great Shot Of Matt Thome

I totally just jacked this from the PMBC Facebook site, but that's a great pic of BACKBONER Matt Thome on a perfect So Cal day busting some singletrack. I miss home...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

U.S.Open Pix!

Backboner Cody Benge as he lands in 4th as a junior at the U.S. Open.

Austin Benge qualified in the top 10, but crashed on his race run..

Here's some shots of the Benge boys! Their team kits hadn't arrived by the time they left, so they had to roll thir back-up jerseys...

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Mt. Baldy Bob.

Plaques usually indicate you have made the summit.

World Famous Vegas Bob went for a hike. With his bike. He schlepped up to the top of So Cal's Mount Baldy, just north of the Cajon Pass. There are some really crazy trails that run up the BACK side of the mountain..but Bob and his crew didn't ride those. They HIKED up the front side and then rode down. Carzy kids.

Shale sucks to hike on, but it REALLY gets your blood pumping to ride on. Hope you have great panic management skills!

Thanks for the pix, VB!

The Box

When life gives you lemons, RUN. Vanessa is going to kill me...

Only because I am a sick, sadistic bastard is this funny. It's entirely my fault that I will have to make this phone call today, and I should have learned my lesson. I have a really bad habit of letting loose good information before it's actually IN HAND. So, although it's not really funny, and it may result in the death of an entire city block in Long Beach at the hands of a 90lb woman...

Joel was preparing Vanessa's small Type X carbon hardtail frame for shipping. The box he was about to reach into was supposed to be a small. The box said small. The ORDER that was placed was for a small. It is an XL. It was with great sadness and a whole lot of fear that Joel just called me to say "SHIT!." Bert's frame is on it's way, as it was correctly boxed from the factory, but Vanessa looks to be ass-out. I take full responsability for this fiasco as I was the one who told her yesterday it was here before the box actually arrived on her doorstep in one piece.
Sorry Vanessa, I just don't have any room to move. I'll have to make it up to you by sending you to The Thunder Down Under Male Review with Dawn on the company dime.
Sorry, V.

UPDATE! Joel has a secret shipment of the team's remaining frame balance arriving in two weeks! VANESSA'S FRAME IS BEING ADDED TO THAT ORDER AS WE SPEAK! whew..I was a dead-bastard for sure.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009


Bert and Vanessa, your wait is over. Joel has just informed me that the Type X's have just been unpacked from the boat, and will be shipped out tomorrow. Thanks for your professionalism and patience, and thanks to Joel and Tomac Bikes for backing "The Bad News Bears" of Mountain Bike Racing!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Cody Benge Qualifies For Canadian World's You Hosers!

Not Cody Benge, but it could be!
Austin ate complete shit on his race run at the U.S. Open of Downhill Sunday, but his brother and fellow Backboner Cody banged out a 4TH PLACE! That means he goes to Canadian World's! Great job guys, that's really sweet. Lemme know if you need anything!

24 Hrs Of Burn; Return Of Tookie

I knew it was going to be a long and sleepless weekend well before I closed the roll: Easton store last Friday night. Having gotten up to get the child to school at 7a.m. Friday, loading the truck with an entire city's worth of racing essentials, then getting to work for the nine hour day ahead of me was the LEAST of my worries. I had to close the store that night (9:45 p.m.) the drive to Argilite Kentucky to pick up Pro 24 Hr racer Jeff "Tookie Williams. Normal people would have slept there, then continued on the next morning. We aren't normal (yeah, like you needed me to point that out), so we drove straight on through for another six hours...arriving at the race venue by 8a.m.

**Jeff's daughter was on lizard patrol all day**

Jeff normally races on a hardtail 29er, since his Carbide is still in no-man's land. His hardtail was in barely raceable shape, so I brought down one of roll: Polaris' new demo bikes. Jeff was happy to know I may have saved his ability to have more children. Here he eyes the BMC Trail Fox for the first time. With Shimano SLX parts and 5" of all-mountain travel, Tookie and the seven mile lap here in the hills of North Carolina were about to give this bike the biggest test of it's life. Having not yet been to sleep after twenty seven hours of work, driving, and set was about time to bring the pain.

In the pits right before the noon start time, I ran into friends and fellow KENDA racers (Pro XC, STXC and Endurance) Robert and Philicia Marion. They brought out the team support trailer full of hardware. Because the races old primary budget sponsor pulled out for this year (Source Burn Energy Drink), all the prize money was gone. That means all the big guns in the Pro Solo field didn't show up. That's awesome for up and coming riders, because they have a chance to win a race and not slug it out with the "big guns." A win usually means better sponsors for the next year, so it's a good thing to show up and try.

The race lap is an amazing bit of trailwork. Banked berms, log rolls, jumps, hip-kickers..everything fun all wrapped up into a thirty minute lap. O.K., maybe forty minute lap, it just depends on what time it is! Rainy drizzle made for treacherous racing at times, but the Trail Fox seemed up to the challenge.

At noon, the gun crackles through the humid North Carolina air and the riders are off and RUNNING! A Le Mans start always adds the pain, but thins the riders out in a mass start. Jeff was smart and placed the bike on the ground way behind every one else's, so he wouldn't have to run as far. He was in the top thirty of over 200 riders at the start, making traffic a non-issue.

Setting up the suspension stiffer than normal for the race, and dropping the bars and stem lower for better climbing, Tookie was hammering through everything. It was weird to see man actually smiling through such a suffer-fest. The daytime laps yielded not a single mechanical failure, despite the SEVENTY MILES pounded into the frame before nightfall. The Shimano SLX drivetrain was superb, and expertly set up by Caleb. The bike ran so well in fact, that despite the almost two hundred miles of tortuous racing exacted on the bike, not a single derailleur adjustment was made! The bike's cables were housed all the way to the derailleurs, all but eliminating the need for re-greasing.

**The last mile. Uphill. On wet grass.**

With names like the "Chamois Butter Billionaires" and "Whitney's Crack Habit," the team riders pounded fast laps due to the rest breaks. The Solo riders would get no such respite. With chamois butter spread like Nutella into their nooks and crannies, these endurance headcases fought back the desire to sleep, puke, die, or all of the above just for the chance to tell their friends what they did over the weekend. Mowing grass and BBQ'ing? Weak-sauce.

Philicia traded in the bone-jarring efficiency of the hardtail late in the evening for the full suspension BMC. You would have, too. She would go on to win the female solo Pro class, but not without a fight. Philicia was so exhausted on her last lap, as she swung past our pit area I wondered if she would be Puma bait before noon.

If you think you want to race when you get older, don't. This little girl was so tough, she pounded in eight inch railroad spikes with her face. She will mop the course with you, so quit before she turns eighteen...or she'll make you pay! Right after I took this photo, she bit me in the leg.

With a fresh jersey and shorts, and an extra-double-crazy-thick dollop of chamois butter, Tookie headed off into the night. Now racing on over forty sleepless hours, this guy is a tank. He has a full time job, full time college, a daughter and a wife. When I asked him to take an hour's nap at 3a.m., I thought he was going to strangle me. Dedication is an understatement, and excuses are a non-option.

**The lights and sounds of a 24Hr race buzz by you, even as sleep creeps into your eyelids.**

**The trail was fast and flowey, and more fun than celophane over the toilet bowl.**

Jeff's final lap came at 11a.m. on Sunday. Even after 19 laps, he was still standing up and hammering over the rocks. The suspension allowed Jeff's legs to rest enough that they never got sore or crampy. On the hardtail he would have to use his body and legs to get off the seat and absorb the hits..but the Trail Fox did that for him, and as a result he turned a few more laps then last year.

As the finish line loomed near, Jeff was stunned by the efficiency of the bike. To withstand a beat-down like that with no mechanicals at all made him a believer.

Oh, and great job to Jeff "Tookie" Williams, who after three days without sleep managed to pull a 16th place out of forty riders that day, on a bike he'd never seen before. Buy that man some burgers.

** Laney is the queen of Knock-Knock jokes. Go ahead, ask her to tell you some. Then prpeare to hear them non-stop for 24 hours.**

**The Amino Vital was doled in very large scoops, and for the first time in a long time, Jeff never felt like he was going to cramp during a race. Thanks to Amino Vital and POB for the killer product**

**Jeff heading out on yet another lap. To witness suffering at this level is almost hard to watch. Almost.**

**Laney was catching lizards faster than I could let them go when she wasn't looking. Poor guys would have never survived their styrofoam cup-home she expected them to live out their days in.**

**Beer by 10a.m was not really weird after you have been up for three days. We had no idea how we'd be able to drive home after all the sleep deprivation.**

**Jeff had to change clothes at 2a.m. Hammered, soaking wet and punchy, solid food and clean shorts are a welcome but minimal comfort.**

**Thanks to SIGMA, Jeff never had to go blind all night. Bringing all our collective SIGMA light power, Jeff never had to worry about re-charging a battery. The KARMA blazed for three laps on a single charge, and the Evo/Evo X handlebar set up rocked the night like it was noon in Tucson.**

**Thanks to Hydrapak, Jeff managed to stay hydrated on the often rough and sloppy North Carolina race course. This an '08 Bantam hip pack, and it was just enough to get everything he needed to complete his laps quickly.**

While Jeff headed out on his last lap, Jeff's wife Donella and I began to pack it in. rain was in the forecast, and a lot of it. By noon it began pouring, and the first three hours of the drive home were miserable. Any racers left out on that course paid a heavy toll for the final lap.

Benge Brothers Qualify For U.S Open!

Austin just sent me an e-mail at the U.S. Open of Downhill, and he has qualified in 7th place against all the JUNIOR WORLD'S RIDERS at the event!! His brother also made the cut, landing in 22nd place as a qualifier. GREAT JOB BOYS! Lemme know how it works out for the race!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Fuzz In Mountain Bike Action Magazine!

That's one damn fine lookin' piece of Armenian meat.

I don't have the photo yet, but I saw the Fuzzy One in the middle of Mountain Bike Action's write up on the Bonelli Kenda Cup for the June issue! He's right in the middle of a two-page photo at the starting line, wearing the coolest jersey in the pack. Holla' at the Fuzz, and bring him a Sierra Nevada for being a bad-ass!

Wedding's Over, Back To Racing!

What just happened?

Although it appears that I am just now realizing the gravity of my situation (you know, life of sexless monogamy metered out with a slow work-induced death to provide income, while the better half watches Oprah?), I am actually hard at work preparing myself mentally for Jeff's first race of the season. The 24hrs. of Burn in North Carolina is up this weekend, and I am packing it all in the truck as we speak. E-z ups, tools, spare parts, sleeping bag, Appalachian stripper-spray, the whole lot has to come with me. Even while consummating the marriage later that night, mountain biking was on my mind. Sad? Well...OF COURSE, she's frikkin' hot...but the trails of the planet still beckon. Have a beer for Jeff and I this weekend as we will be abandoning our lives and wives, hopefully to return without any Hog Virus or the Clap. I make no promises.....

Monday, May 18, 2009

Website Gets New Look Tomorrow!

Backbone's art director Lydia Brownfield on stage last week.

The is slated for a much needed update tomorrow, thanks to the wifey. Lydia will be working hard to get all the new riders up, and change the look to make it a bit more fresh.
New photos and sponsor updates should get loaded as well, and that's always fun! Check it out tomorrow night, and if it's not done, just call the ol' ball and chain (tee-hee) and hassle her..I know I will. Then I'll get a hotel room for the night and sleep alone.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Jeff "Tookie" Williams At 24 Hrs. Of Burn!

Friday night I am leaving work at 9:30p.m. to drive the 2.5 hours south into Jeff's hometown of Argyllite, Kentucky. After a quick change of vehicle around midnight, we (Jeff, his mom and I) are rapidly departing on a 5.5 hour drive into Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Arriving just before sun-up, we will have to make camp before sleeping for a short time. Jeff will have to get ready around 10a.m. for the noon start. That means I will also have to be ready to go. With a living room full of parts for a TOMAC CARBIDE that we have been awaiting since December (still not here), I will deliver the build kit sans bike anyway just to see my carpet again. Jeff will have to race on his 15 year old back-up bike, since he sold his 29er waaaay back months ago in anticipation of the "ghost frame."

This was the most fun race I had attended in years last year when Jeff and Big Ed went. I can only hope we have as much fun this year. Jeff has been itching to go out and earn the killer perk-kit he gets as a Backboner, thus ensuring his future on the team in 2010. Jeff is a great guy who knows how things work, and is always in contact with our sponsors regarding the product he gets..or just to say hi to the people who give him the things he needs to keep racing (often overlooked by riders).

With Austin and Jeff both out in BIG slug-fest races this weekend, I'll almost feel bad for all the hog-knuckles and fried okra I'll be eating while they race!