Wednesday, January 27, 2010

White Out In Big Bear, CA

My mom e-mailed these pix from Big Bear Lake, California tonight. They have been DUMPED on by recent storms..and we have only until May before races start up there again! If Big Bear looks like this, the SAGEBRUSH SAFARI will be CRAZY down in San Diego next month! Bring your Backbone Team Issue Fuzzy Thongs (made from 100% Glendale Armenian back hair!) for that race, because I'm sure it isn't any better in the Big Laguna Mountains.

**Val and Karl are always down for a good snow ride...they are even featured doing so in the 2006 KENDA catalog!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Fontana Pro DH #2; The Athertons and Rotor Bolts.

Yo Chris,
Just got back from a day out at Fontana. It was stop 2 of the annual winter series. The course was a lot of fun, not very challenging, but fun to ride. The recent rain storms made the dirt extremely tacky, conditions could not have been better! The pro downhill class had some pretty stacked competition today- former world champ Gee Atherton showed up to race the downhill, and took the win over Eric Carter by about a second. Also present was his brother Dan, and sister Rachel, who did not race. The course, for as easy as it was, really took its toll this weekend. Several pro riders suffered crashes, mechanicals and flats during their race runs.
My run was far from perfect, and I'm going to blame the 5yr old Hayes brakes I am still running (does that sound like a decent excuse?) I was third in line in the start gate when I noticed I was missing a rotor bolt, and two more were half way backed out! I couldn't find a torx wrench within the 2 minutes I had to spare, so I raced on it as it was. My front brake was almost useless during my run, every corner the bolts backed out further and further. My rotor now has some white Marzocchi paint on it from rubbing my fork legs for most of my run. By the time I finished, I only had 2 bolts left! Needless to say, I took my run very cautiously. I was in no hurry to find out what its like to sheer off a rotor at full speed... with the mechanical issue, I wound up 26th out of about 40 riders. I guess not too bad considering the circumstances, but hey, something to improve on next time out.
And a big congrats to Darter, who won his class today and posted a top 10 pro time!


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Ara Kickin' It Backbone Style

Ara was out on a training ride in Colorado with Jim Roff recently, and he was rocking his TOMAC SNYPER. This pic should about sum up why anyone ever ides a mountain bike. I can't wait to see the results from the Fuzziests' 2010 racing season! great pic from the Fuzz...

Thursday, January 21, 2010

California Desert?

Roger and Vanessa are heading up to Mammoth tonight with some friends and fellow team members for some much needed "post-twister" R&R. Along the way through the high desert, Vanessa snapped this photo of what appears to be Ohio in February. Oh's actually Lancaster, California.

Vegas Bob's Elfin Forest Report

Since nobody reads my blog I figured I'd just send this to you for the team one!

Yo Cap’n!

I figured I’d follow Randy’s race report with one of my own. I decided to blow off my scheduled cyclocross race when I found out it was in San Fernando , 2hrs away. I elected instead to head 1hr south to the Elfin Forest race after hearing about it from fellow racer and Cal State Series Pro champ John Nobil and from Randy’s always positive remarks about the Racers and Chasers events.

On Sunday morning I got up, rode a little warm-up, ate breakfast, threw the Tomac in the truck and hit the afterburners. A few blurry minutes later I was in Escondido , winding down the twisty 2 lane road past chicken farms and horse stables minutes from the venue. My directions said to go 1 mile past the first Elfin Forest parking lot for the race. After going 2 miles and not seeing either a sign or a crowd of Subarus with roof racks I got worried. I was already late and wrong directions would only compound the problem. After finding that the only dirt road that looked beefy enough to handle a horde of racers had a gate and a large sign that said “ Private Road - Video Surveillance In Use”, I promptly found myself back at the first parking lot.

Though extremely tiny, the parking lot had one feature that immediately interested me, an open for business nature ‘Interpretive Center’, with maps and exhibits and more importantly, docents. I double-parked and quickly went inside. After perusing a map and not getting any more informed I approached the 70-something guys working and asked if they knew where the mountain bike race is.

“Well, it’s up at the top...” one replied, pointing up the hills toward the ridge,

“…but I don’t know how they got up there because they didn’t use the ‘Way Up’ trail.”

That didn’t tell me how to get there, but at least I knew I was close. I told him what my directions said about passing the first parking lot, but that I didn’t see anything a mile down the road. “Oh,” he said “they probably took the signs down after it was over yesterday.”

It was then that I realized that in my enthusiasm to race I neglected to figure out that unlike the cyclocross race on Sunday, the mtb one was on SATURDAY. Yes, I was 24 hrs late for the race.

Oh, well. It was a beautiful say in San Diego so I decided to take advantage of a new place to ride. The Elfin Forest Reserve isn’t overly huge, there’s only 12mi of trials, but it’s definitely a fun time. Starting from the valley floor where beautiful Escondido Creek runs past the parking lot, the Way Up trail ascends about 650ft in 1.5 miles, with lots of switchbacks and technical rocky sections to keep it interesting and your heart rate high. From there the Equine trail is a 2.6 mile superfun loop. It snakes up and down, winds back and forth and has plenty of embedded and loose rocks to keep your mind on overdrive the entire time. 3/4 through the loop you can hook up to the Manzanita trail that takes you over the ridge beautiful views of the Olivenhain Reservoir and Dam.. The Cielo trail is an out-and-back that drops down to the bottom of the dam in less than a mile that is all switchbacks, rock bars, and gravel that keep you on your toes going down as well as back up, especially when racing a group of 40 equestrians that gave me a modest head start before chasing me up. I took Manzanita back to Equine and both were just as fun clockwise as they were counter. Back on the ridge fireroad I followed that past Way Up in the other direction to Lake Hodges Overlook Trail. It oddly enough takes you to over a few small peaks to the view at the Lake Hodges Overlook and to the short but rollie and fun Lake Hodges Overlook Loop trail on which you can hear waves lapping the shore as it skirts the reservoir. I encountered the horse group once again as I made my way back as they charged out to Lake Hodges . A quick but careful descent down Way Up and I was back at my truck.

There are a lot of hikers on the Way Up trail and a few venture out to Lake Hodges Overlook, and of course the horses, so you definitely have to pay attention, but for a quick and challenging ride it’s a great place to go. I will definitely make the drive again. Maybe on the actual day of the race, too!


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

The Glass Axis Ride

**Luka has the attention span of a fern, so the rides are short.**

I had the privilege of meeting the folks over at Glass Axis yesterday while out on a short bike ride with the boy-child, Luka. At six years old, he's only good for a couple of miles before the attention span goes south (thanks video games!). With limited mileage the order of the day we opted for a fun-ride with a slight detour.
We headed out and up through Grandview to a great place called Glass Axis. This old brick industrial building is home to several artisans who hand craft all types of glass products inside a non-profit studio. They offer classes during the week, too, so you can actually learn how to make things!

We stopped in unannounced, and were well aware of the fact that they may just ask us to leave. We were met by the studio gift shop clerk who was very pleasant, and promptly took us back to where the action was. Three gentlemen introduced themselves, then pulled up a couple of chairs for us to sit RIGHT UP FRONT and watch the action. They were smack-dab (do people really say that anymore?) in the middle of creating a glowing red vase with speckles of color, heating then manipulating it until it was absolutely perfect. Luka's face was alight with interest, and after begging him to leave for lunch, he wasn't going anywhere. The guys allowed us to poach their glass blowing session for about an hour, never being anything but helpful. They explained how the color is added via powders and compounds pre-mixed in Germany for perfect color balance, and that you could do it "in-house" but the colors rarely are as consistent.

Founded in 1987 by twelve graduates of The Ohio State University Glass program, Glass Axis was created as a non-profit organization to provide a facility where glass students and community members interested in glass could come together and share expenses, knowledge, resources and artistic expression through the medium of glass.

Glass Axis offers courses in all phases of glass art, including hot, warm and cold glass traditions & techniques. In addition to our resident artists, Axis has hosted to several Maestro-level visiting artists throughout the year, including Davide Salvadore and William Gudenrath.

The studio includes both warm and hot glass facilities along with a cold shop for grinding and polishing. A wide range of equipment is available and ready to use. Users must be members of Glass Axis to rent studio equipment, and prior experience is necessary (at the discretion of the Studio Director).

**Luka's fave bike, the Tomac Carbide**

I think that for me, one of the best things about this trip has nothing to do with glass at all. On 5th Avenue, just about a block from Glass Axis, there sits a McDonalds. From the bike, the scent of the ever-elusive McRib wafts through the air, filling my nostrils with pork-like b.b.q.-ey goodness. After such a laborious ride of much strain and effort (you know, about a mile or so), and after feeling the heat radiating from two-thousand-plus degree ovens at Glass Axis, you will be ready for the one-two punch of a McRib and $1 hot fudge sundae.


Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Randy's Elfin Forest Race Report


Well race # 2 of the 2010 season was this past weekend at Elfin Forrest with Robert Herbers racers and chasers. It was very nice because it’s only a 35 to 40 minute drive from home. So Kim and I headed down got set up and they had a very good turnout Robert said over 225 entries which is more than at the velodrome race last month so that’s great for Robert.

On to the race they ran all sports and beginners first at 9:00am and pro’s and experts at 11:30 now Robert runs a mass start I guess like the old days so I took off with about 80 guy’s and gal’s which was cool up until a certain point, we climbed up a paved road for a bit then onto a dirt road then back onto pavement which was very steep like granny chain ring and still eating the handlebars so the front wheel wouldn’t come off the ground. After the climb we got into some single-track downhill that was the most dangerous downhill I’ve ever raced on. I was in a pack of about 25 guys going into the section and it was scary just big jagged boulders every ware with a smaller than sing track threw it. The rest of the course was fun and very technical climbs and downhill’s just a lot of loose jagged rocks so finding traction was difficult if your body positioning was off. All in all it was fun hey being at the races is being at the races.

I finished up in 16th place out of 30 I believe not so great but live on to race another weekend and that’s going to be this weekend at Fontucky if we don’t wash away between now and then.

Talk at ya soon.

Randy Rush

Monday, January 11, 2010

Fontana Podium Pix!


Hey drizzle what’s up,

As you know the winter series at Fontucky kicked of this past weekend and it was sweet to be at the race’s after a three week off season. So Kim and I rolled in on Friday night got a spot only to find out while leveling my trailer that I had a tire separate on the way and bend the skirting and take out wiring under my trailer, but hey I’m at the races so what the heck.

On to the race’s the weather was great Saturday morning for the 9:30 X-C start and as usual we had the biggest class of the day (dam old guys) 18 guys took off and I was in the top ten and thinking with three laps to run that I probably should have gotten a little more training in for the new year and didn’t know what to expect. I was accually feeling pretty good and passed a few guys only to drop a chain on one of the rougher down hills before a short steep climb, so stop fix it and I only lost two place’s so that was ok. So on lap number two and still feeling quite good a guy in front of me on a climb sucks a chain and I hit him only to fall down myself, but no place’s lost so on we go. Lap number three still good and push to catch a few and finish up in eight place. I really wanted a podium but was very happy with my fitness.

So with a thirty minute rest it’s on to pre-run the super-D course on the Snyper and the course was all downhill and was using some of the rock gardens from the D-H course so I defiantly had the right bike for this one. Super-D is getting quite popular at Fontucky a lot of guys are running it now anyway it was fun but I dabbed a foot in the rock garden and lost some time but still made the podium with a third.

Ah Sunday morning and downhill on tap. I only did one practice run on Saturday because I was beet and getting very thirsty by the afternoon so I thought I’d do two or three Sunday morning oh that didn’t work out to well as there was about 9000 down hillers there and it was a solid line all the way down, so one run and bring on the race. Now I moved up to sport this year so I was not really expecting anything and we had a big class of fourteen guys so I did my run and felt really good only had two small bobbles and wound up with a fifth place. So two out of three podiums I was very happy.

Of course you already know the machine Darter just destroyed the semi pro class in only his second race in that class so at the awards the other guys in his class are calling him a sandbagger and saying he needs to ride pro it was hilarious. Well I think that’s it, sorry it’s so late and I will try and do better next week as I’m racing a X-C race in Elfin forest on Saturday.

Talk to ya next week.

Randy Rush

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Randy & Darter Rock Southridge!

Randy and Michael "The Doctor" Darter had a very prolific weekend in Fontucky! The Southridge Winter Series opener saw two guys doing four races, with three podiums (4 top tens!). Darter, who is now racing Vet Pro..again killed the clock in DH and won by about 14 seconds on his trail bike. If darter were a dinosaur, he'd be a Pimpolicious Rex. Randy hung out for the entire weekend and raced XC, Super-Dizzle and DH. Placing 8th in XC, 3rd in Super-D and 5th in DH, Randy was on more box than Tiger Woods. Way to go guy, and thanks for the hard work!

Saturday, January 09, 2010


*Broken bike, broken Fuzz at the '05 NMBS race in Solvang. That was Jimena Florit's old RLX Team bike he just snapped!

It was inevitable. He is the Armenian Juggernaut, and will not be stopped. Ara spends his weekends sleeping on a rock along the John Muir Trail, high in the Sierra Nevada's where he will NEVER find a date. That's good for us, because that leaves him plenty of time to ride and hone is racing skills. Here's the BIG NEWS! THE FUZZIEST JUST ANNOUNCED HIS MOVE TO CAT 1 XC!!! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY FUZZY! For those of you too new to know the Fuzz, he actually would have WON the Marathon XC Nationals had he been well enough to race at Brian Head a few years back,
but missing that one race placed him in Silver (still not bad), and he has been on the box more times at big races than you could imagine. He's also the Armenian Comedian, and is always happy to relate every major historic or social figure back to Armenia. Did you know that every Pope, every Roman Emperor, and every major military General were all of Armenian descent? Neither did we, but THEY WERE! Anyway, Ara, Stakk,

**The infamous "Kakk-N-Stakk" diligently working the pits for Ara.
and the Glendale Heavies

***The "Glendale Heavies," the best damn pit crew in America.

will be back in action for 2010, and that just makes me all squishy in the pants....

Friday, January 08, 2010

Southridge Winter Series Starts!!

It's on again! With a brief four day hiatus from racing in the West, the season is once again upon us. Southridge Winter Series races are back, and a great way to get on the ball for the Sea Otter madness looming in the near future. With the Kenda Cup also strating up in just over a month, this is the time to test that off-season (what's that?)training plan. Grab your Amino Vital and get out to Fontucky, where the racing's fast and the inbred-children can almost count to seven!

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

HYDRAPAK Featured In NY Times!

Saturday, January 02, 2010

Vanessa's Nice Burn & Other Pix

Vanessa posted a pic on her facebook page entitled "Places Chris misses." Yeah, I'll say so!

Also, I saw some shots of Abel, who STILL has no cel phone so I can call him and find out if he's married to some girl from a third world country or not. These are good shots, and if anyone out there runs in to Abel on the trail, just walk up to him and mumble this phrase...

"I think I'm in a dream."

He'll know, I promise.....

THIS pic I'm just giving you because I happen to like it. It has no meaning at all, just love the hell out of it. Enjoy, and don't ever say I never gave you anything!

The Outpost

Barely visible in this rare photo, the Outpost sign lives again.

I am sure everyone is familiar with the Hollywood sign. Whether you have been there and seen it in person, or just viewed it on television or in know what it looks like. There is another one. It was once visible across the hills, just behind the Mann's Chinese Theatre. Some old photos show the sign perched atop the hills just above it, while others do not. Giant red neon letters long since forgotten, the Outpost sign has a very odd history.

"Hillside Homes of Happiness." That was the name of the development that spurred the largest neon sign of it's time. Constructed above Hollywood Boulevard's Grauman's Chinese Theatre in the late 1920's, it had been designed to be more visible than the "Hollywoodland" development's giant advertisement atop Griffith Park, just across L.A. Once World War II began, and the city was forced by military rule to go "black" at night to avoid Japanese air strikes, it had been virtually erased from memory until a chance encounter in Runyon Canyon Park in 2002.

**Remnants of the old sign rust atop Runyon Canyon, facing the more famous nemesis of a sign across the hilltop.**

Residents who lived in the old home development, unaware of the signs ever having been built, would trample the old metal remnants that lay just off the narrow trails atop the mountain. One day, one of them saw an electrical box with some twisted metal and remembered an urban legend about the old "Outpost" sign. Some residents tried to find out whether the sign could qualify as a city historical-cultural monument but learned it wasn't eligible because it was no longer standing. The wreckage still lies where it was dismantled during the war. The only proof of it's ever actually being real is a single photo taken of the facade of the Theatre, the Outpost sign clearly visible in the background.

Mr. Toberman bought the property, and kept the Outpost name. Neon was new when he put up the "Outpost" sign around 1927, in an attempt to attract buyers to the property. They were two-acre homesites and sold from $3,500 to $50,000; Toberman allowed only Spanish-style homes built in order to decrease the risk of brush fires. Despite the 1929 stock market crash, buyers continued to build. By 1931, actress Dolores Del Rio had built her home on the northwest corner of Hillside Avenue and Outpost Drive. In 1935, Toberman built an all-steel "termite free" house on Outpost Drive. Actor Bela Lugosi ("Dracula")
bought the home in 1936. Bob Barker also lives here, at 1851 Outpost Drive.

The old sign bits can still be visited, and easily thanks to a really popular road ride (best done early) along Mulholland Drive, from the 101 freeway near Universal Studios. A short but steep climb in gets you to the top gate of Runyon Canyon park, and you can take a short stroll along the hilltop to visit what was once the largest neon sign ever created. Go early, as traffic can be a bear on weekends. The views of L.A. and the Valley alternate as you straddle the top of the Santa Monica Mountains.

**Cresting the famous Rock Store climb on Mulholland Dr.**
You can start the ride from Griffith Parks' train musuem, and even throw in a trip to the Griffith Observatory and the original Hollywood sign, all on paved roads, mostly closed to cars! This route is used by most of the big road teams on their Saturday and Sunday warm-ups before heading out to the beach along Sunset Blvd.