Saturday, September 30, 2006

Tuesday and Wednesday at Interbike

Jimbo Probably Talking S**T To Someone

Conor Telling Someone What To Buy And Why

Tuesday we awoke again to the alarm at 5a.m., and James and I ran out to O.D.D. for the day. James had some things to do for the team agenda early on, then went to help his boys at NINER BIKES to build bikes and tear down their booth, and Kenda's booth. Undoubtedly, King James handled the bulk of the work at Kenda until Jim W. arrived with the truck.
I did my politician thang for a couple of hours, having a pleasant conversation both at Hydrapak and with E.J. at Titus. Both guys were a rare exception to the rule of annoying people at trade shows, and I was pleasantly surprised by their demeanors. After a quick stop to say Hi to old CFR team rep Bob Meeker from Specialized, I made like a banana and got out of there.
Things of interet were the impressive wares at suspension house XFusion. The owner was previously employed by other major suspension brands as project developer, etc. His DH fork was innovative (travel adjust and wicked axle set-up) and very plush, and the trail fork was light and stiff. Certainly worth looking in to. Also, the Maverick Speedball adjustable-height seat post, newly revised with a thumb-lever! Super trick, and well made...I like that! Jude with Magura brakes is not only one helluva great guy, but also has come up with some incredible brake/suspension designs. I have rarely seen such devotion to customer service as I have seen from Jude.
I split around noon to take the shuttle back to the show, enjoying the ride with Michael from KHS who I used to work with at Supergo! Once there, I spent some time with James "Stellar" Keller at Sigma. He showed me the toy I have been waiting for...the new ALTITUDE enhanced HRM/Computer! None of you are cool enough to have one, so don't bother! :) The rest of my Tuesday was spent with Kenda's Matt burying ourselves in the task of polishing the rest of the trailer in the booth to a lustrous glow. We busted our asses until around 8pm, then had dinner and talked strategy for wednesday until 1:30am or so.

Wednesday was openeing day for the hall, and Jim W. was nervous as a choir boy in a preacher's convention. The crew from Asia was on the way, and Jim's heart was pounding with the unbearable pressure of a pop-corn fart. Up at dawn, we all made for the show to prepare for a HUGE day. At 10am we had the unveiling of the "legends Of The Sport" tires, with Lopes, Tomac, Carter, Hans and Tinker all under one roof for the first time ever. Press was huge, then the Santa Cruz Syndicate Team arrived! They were followed by two time NORBA National Champ and Olympic MTB Racer mary McConnelough and her Stud Mike Broderick (also a phenomenal racer, look for him to be in contention for a U.S. Olympic spot in 2008.), so you know it was busy! I took some time to walk around and work my baby-kissing, hand shaking, smile through the pain politikking for the future of the team, and was pleasantly surprised by the support from all the sponsors but one. Amazing how it's always this one all the time, but more on that later. Anyhow, Wednesday saw the arrival of Jim Roff, Bert Blanchette, and Timari Pruis. Now it's fun time!
Bert was able to meet his benefactor, Jennifer Miller at SEVEN CYCLES, and was very gracious. Bert has never been to the show, and was abe to see the equally important side of "face time" in the pro racing scene. Many a pro career has been cut short due to a lack of personality or willingness to make people see you on their radar.
Leaving late from the show again, Jim, James, Bert, Timari and I all went to T.G.I.Fridays for dinner. After more beer than body weight, BERT SAID "DOUCHE BAG!"
His complete moral destruction has begun, you can all thank me for that. Pretty soon it will be titty bars and Goldschlager, just you wait. :) As we left the hotel bar, we passed another one of the KENDA family of elite athletes, Hillary Harrison. Hillary you may recall spent last year as a "ghost" for us, racing some events under the Backbone name. She then lost her jersey in some third world country, and will never be viewed the same again. Hillary promptly lost her wallett, and received a call fom Seattle that someone found her personal belonings in a public park. Hilly's bike was in the car that these items came from, so along with losing her wallett and cash in Vegas, she apparently lost her car and bike in Washington as well. Sweet.

More tomorrow night, don't touch that dial!



Jim At Scottsdale 2005

Friday was Jim-balaya's birthday, and the KENDA god's smiled down upon him. Jim took home a BRAND NEW DH BIKE courtesy of Kenstone (a Kenda sister company that makes frames for KHS, and MAYBE Giant soon) for an undisclosed but certainly cheap amount. Jim spent his birthday, and in fact his week, selflessly directing the tear down efforts at the Kenda Kompound in the Convention Center. Everyone should wish Jimbo a happy birthday!


More From Interbike

Our jersey at the VOLER booth..thanks ED!


Tinker and I discussing his new tire, the Dred Tred

NEW CARBON RACER X, 300 gram savings over aluminum model

New Sunline Headset as demostrated by Jay Schippers.

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Interbike Show Update #1

Hans Rey's "Telonix" prototype tire from KENDA

Taylor taking a much deserved break

Empty hall floor on Saturday

It's Sunday morning, at exactly 12:32 a.m. I was up at 6a.m. yesterday (Saturday) to load up and meet Jim Wannamaker in Ontario. With a number of things to get done to the new KENDA truck prior to departure, we did not leave until after noon. A short four hours later, and the Strip loomed before us like a shimmering ocean of light and action. Upon arrival at the hotel, we quickly attacked the trailer and truck with soap and water, preparing it for it's final resting spot at the show. After a trip to the Orleans Casino to see Kenny Loggins (soooo NOT my idea), we ate at the TGIF's there. Timari and her family arrived late, we all had a beer, and here I am getting ready to crash for a few mintes.

4a.m., that's three and a half hours from now, we awaken to a room service phone call and drive over to the yard to receive our pallets of stuff and get to the show. I will be entering the show with John Tomac's badge, since mine will be at registration and I will have no time to retrieve it. My tasks include laying the carpet, parking the trailer, polishing it, and building the KENLIGHT booth. Then, out to ODD (Out-Door-Demo) to set up THAT expo area. Well, everyone enjoy your day. James will be sleeping in his car tonight on the way back from the Cal State race in Nor Cal. He should arrive at the hall sometime in the afternoon. He placed third up there, but more on that later. Time for zzzzzzzz's....

Cap'n Chris

Interbike Monday
Up at 5a.m., Taylor, James, Jim and I ran out to ODD for set up. We had to quickly (and I mean QUICKLY) pounce on the SRAM trailer to change out 40 tires on their fleet of dh bikes to demo. After that was done, Taylor and James hung out to demo stuff and do some PR work for Backbone, so Jim and I could finish off the Kenda and Kenlight booths. On the way back, we stopped to check on racing Legend John Tomac who had been rear-ended by a guy in his son's Toyota pickup. Pickup ok, guy's new 2006 blinged out Chrysler 300...trashed. Bummer.
It's 7p.m. now, and Jim and I have returned to the hotel so he can pick up one of Kenda Taiwain's peeps at McCarren Int'l.
I am going to shower, meet up with King James for dinner, and go nighty night. Tomorrow I hope to spend the morning at ODD to speak with team sponsors Hydrapak, Crank Bros, and Titus. SRAM is also on the list. Bert is to arrive Wednesday with Jim Roff, and hopefully Vegas Bob! Very tired, but loving every minute of it...


Friday, September 22, 2006

Bert Within One Second Of Semi-Pro Podium!

Bert "The Hurt" Blanchette was also at the Big Bear race last weekend (I was not aware of his until Wednesday) and managed to FRIKKIN' HAMMER his way to seventh place. just one second away from his first ever Semi-Pro podium, in his first year as a Semi-Pro, Bert is poised to stand on that box VERY SOON. My apologies to The Hurt for the late posting. Bert had made mention of a "pub" group, and I don't know what that means, so if anyone can help me out, I'd appreciate it! 'Guess that's what I get for being a giant dork.


Thursday, September 21, 2006

Titus "Buck Sixty" Prototype

The Santa Cruz Killer, Titus' Buck Sixty for 2007

The lads over at Titus are releasing the 2007 Buck Sixty 6" travel trailbike next week at Interbike, and I can't wait to ride it. With a Moto-Lite on order, the Buck Sixty has an extra inch of travel, and a kick-ass Fox 36 fork up front. I already have two people on the waiting list! Touted as the Santa Cruz "NOMAD KILLER", it sounds like it may take the life of the popular Giant trail bike as well. I'll send ya a complete synopsis from Interbike, and LOTS of PIX! Rock on you crazy rocker people...


Ilya Killed In Beverly Hills On Commute Home

Ilya "Mother Russia" from Supergo/Performance of Santa Monica was hit and subsequently killed by a man this week near the corner of Wilshire and Santa Monica Blvd. Ilya was a sales/runner for the store in Santa Monica, and commuted every day to work on one of his bikes. Over 6' tall, Ilya resembled a leaner "Ivan Drago' and would probably stomp most of us on the road bike. Always the nice guy, it's hard to believe that he is gone. After nearly losing Desi a few years ago to a drunk driver, and myself being hit by a motorcycle and four cars, it is frightening how powerless it can make you feel. It happens in an instant, and for no better reason than someone just dropped a toothpick and bent down to pick it up.
Ilya's memorial ride will be held at 8pm tomorrow night, meeting at Performance on 5th and Broadway in Santa Monica. Police assistance will take the riders from the store to the large Fountain on the north side of Wilshire/Santa Monica/Sunset, across from Starbucks. Candlelight Vigil at 9pm at the fountain, then the ride will continue to Ilya's home, completing the commute he never was allowed to finish Monday night. The riders then return to the fountain for another midnight meeting, then ride back to the shop. If you can, please attend. Media will be there, and it will hopefully help raise awareness for ALL of us. Thanks, and Ilya, if I make it up there, I'll see ya where it's cloudy!


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Thai Coup

Military Men Loyal To Coup Leader, Army General Sondhi Boonyaratkalin

This week while Thai Prime Minister Shinawatra was in Washington for a U.N. conference, his seat was overran by Army General Boonyaratkalin in a bloodless coup. The ceremonial king of Thailand stands behind the new government, and General Boonyaratkalin has promised to step down within a year for a proper election. Public discontent over ousted Prime Minister Shinawatra's inability to stem violence from Muslim separatists, and charges of widespread corruption triggered the takeover.
What does a military coup in Thailand have to do with you? Most of the bike products we consume get their raw materials there. Rubber is one of the key exports, and we can't really enjoy our favorite passtime without it! I will keep you posted as Reuters reports on it...

Cap'n Chris


No, No....Jim eating a banana isn't what I am referring to. While alarming, Jim's diet is not the focus! KENDA will be represented by "The Legends Of The Sport" at this year's Interbike. These "Legends" aren't Desi, Bert, or Heidi (sorry, couldn't resist)they are John Tomac, Tinker Juarez, Hans Rey, Brian Lopes, and Eric Carter. Never before have all of these riders been under the same roof, and it gets better! EACH of these guys will be releasing new SIGNATURE TIRES! All in all, KENDA will be releasing over THIRTY new tires this year. You guys best start looking now, so when it comes time to order, you'll be ready!


Ming's new 2006 Moto Lite!

Ming's new Titus is done, and according to him, it's better than any other trail bike he has ever owned. That ain't bad, since he has owned Mtn Cycles, Cannondales, etc. etc... Ming's bike has 5" front and rear, and the rear is adjustable down to 4". After it's inaugural flight up, and then DOWN El Prieto's famous singletrack, Ming is a believer in whatever E.J. and Matthias are doing over there at Titus. I can't wit for more week....


Abel In Macau, STILL

Mr. Vaca, the terror of two wheels and peeler of many scabs, has sent us all some pix of his new home away from home. He will hopefully be back in time for Camp-N-Rizzle, but who knows! His B-Day was Monday, so make sure you give him his "hits" when he gets home...


Tuesday, September 19, 2006

Ryan Nolan's Race Report

This past weekend it was another muddy race, it never seems to fail as the day comes for racing the sky turns grey and rain begins to fall. This past weekends race was the Finals of the Mid Atlantic Cup Series. The course could best be described as mostly flat and muddy. The guys with the 5inch travel xc bikes seemed to be having a slightly easier time but it was still very muddy none the less. It rained Saturday morning for a while but then cleared later in the afternoon. Sunday was a very nice day with no rain however the course did not ever seem to dry out much. My run went well with a few little mistakes but nothing major and I ended up 4th place. I was happy with this because the course was one that I typically would not do well on. I am usually better with fast technical rather then slow and easy. Next race is at mountaincreek hopefully it is fast, rocky and dry.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Betsy's First Tri!

Despite a "wardrobe malfunction" Betsy did great in her first Tri last weekend! Here are some pix, and for the record.....she probably DID pee in her wetsuit, ok? Get over it! :)


Big Bear Race Sunday!

Today, while I was in Idyllwild pimping my tires to the endurance racing masses, the actual ATHLETIC portion of the program was in Big Bear racing yet another installment of the ever-expanding monster that is the Cal State series. In attendance were Vegas Bob (pictured), King James, Darter, and Heidi "Der Teuffel" Volpe....soon to be Mrs. Darter the Love Slave. Not on the team, but certainly a very big part of it, Vanessa, Roger, and Ariel also came to get down.
Heidi won again, despite stopping to help James repair a huge flat tire suffered early in the race. I smell sand bags, don't you? Even George and Wheezy moved on up, so we best get Heidi outta Sport, eh? :) Darter "D-Money" also came to stomp, and placed atop the podium in 5th. Out of 3. Just kidding!
James flatted, and unfortunately his class is so competitive, that was all she wrote for a top five finish. Placing 10th, James is now on prison-style suicide watch. Vegas Bob would have won his race had he been duking it out with the recently deceased Crocodile Hunter, but in Expert Class, we are just gratefull to have him out there. Crikey!
Vanessa also won, which means she will also be moving up SOON.....right? Ariel placed 10th, but this time was able to stay upright at the finish line.

Great job to everyone, and thanks to King James again for stepping up and filling the slot for XC manager again. Also thanks to Roger for taking care of the room, and ESPECIALLY TO GERI @ BOULDER CREEK RESORTS. She upgraded the cost at all.



Thanks to the extraordinary efforts made by all of you this year, we have once again secured a financial future for Backbone Adventure Cycling. As the "sponsorship season" heats up, and corporate budgets cool down, the face time and work ethic you have all shown has allowed me to bring great news for 2007.
After spending my last forty-eight hours preparing for and working the 24 Hrs. of Adrenaline Race in Idyllwild, good and bad news both eminate from our title sponsor, KENDA TIRE. Kenda has handed down a corporate mandate dictating that Jim must restrict the flow of cash to many of the grassroots teams/riders he has so graciously supported in the past. That being said, we had a very successful weekend at the race. With a projected sales goal of 2,500 dollars, Jim and I managed to bring in over six thousand! As you all have done your jobs (i.e. training and racing well, maintaining the Kenda booth, supplying me with updates and pictures, etc.) so too have I. I am pleased to announce that we will continue to recieve our operational monetary allotment from Kenda Tire.
Details and nmeetings to come on how I would like to see the money spent, and your input is welcomed and encouraged.
Thanks everyone, and don't forget that the Camp-N-Rizzle is coming soon!!!


Wednesday, September 13, 2006

The Talented Michael Darter

"The Zoo Called, They want Their Pythons Back."

Many of you have met Mr. Heidi Volpe(Darter), but what most of you don't know is that you all have seen his work at one time or another! You see, Michael Darter is a professional photographer. You have seen his work in many a bike publication, and in any one of a number of outdoor lifestyle magazines. He has shot everyone from Adam Craig (Giant Pro XC racer and NORBA Super-D National Champ) to Kelly Clarkson...and is so good, he made her look SKINNY! That's talent people, so you better recollyze!
You can catch a sample of the D-Man's work at maybe we can persuade him into photogging the team's group shot for next year, eh?


Tuesday, September 12, 2006

BURLEY Bikes Changes Hands, Lays Off Workforce

One hundred four employees at Burley Design learned on Friday that the company had been sold to local businessman Michael Coughlin. Under the new ownership, they were being laid off until further notice pending revision of the companies new plan for restructuring.

Sixty-five will return to their jobs today, while 39 positions will be eliminated.

Coughlin did discuss his plan to refocus Burley on bicycle trailers and move away from tandems, recumbents and road bikes. He said that the financially troubled company can be profitable again by March with modifications to the old format.

Burley converted in June to a privately held corporation after twenty eight years as a worker-owned co-op. Former members of the co-op were issued stock certificates, though it's not yet clear how much the shares are worth.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Is Vegas Bob Actually Rick Astley?

"Never Gonna Give You Up
Never Gonna Let You Down
Never Gonna Run Around And
Desert You...

Never Gonna Make You Cry
Never Gonna Say Goodbye
Never Gonna Tell A Lie
And Hurt You.."

Remember that iconic 80's singer, Rick Astley? Heard from him lately? Me neither.
After contacting the FBI, CIA, NSA, NBC, NAACP and the WNBA, it has come to my attention that we may actually have an imposter in our midst! By doing expensive photo-analysis studies (don't worry, I used all the 2007 Team budget for it so it didn't come out of my pocket), I have determined that our very own World Famous Vegas Bob IS ACTUALLY RICK ASTLEY! By digitally removing the Alice In Chains goatee, and adding a large boufant hairdo, one can clearly see the eerie similairities. Please do not call the papparazzi, as a Rick Astley photo has LESS worth than a World Famous Vegas Bob photo at this time.
Please be sensitive to Mr. Astley...I mean Vegas Bob...and on't mimic his eighties dance style, and CERTAINLY DO NOT GO ONLINE and memorize the words to his songs and repeat them to him at races! What other secrets do our teammates hold? Only time will tell....


Santa Barbara Cal State Race Report

Cap'n Chris and his Race Wife, Vinylla Patrick

What a difference a few months makes. Last time in Santa Barbara, we suffered through one hundred degree plus temps with no breeze at all. Yesterday, we had balmy seventy degree temps and a cool ocean breeze. With Darter, Heidi, King James and World Famous Vegas Bob on site I knew it would be a fun day. We had some support from friend o' the team Ariel also.
11 a.m. saw James and Darter to the start line (o.k., Darter was ready...james was still fussing with something inconsequential up until the exact point of gunfire). King James quickly pounced on the field, asserting his vascular dominance on the rest of the slack-jawed hippies in his class. Fourth at the top of the initial climb, James would pound out three laps and only lose two spots due to a flesh peeling crash on the second laps descent. Finish in sixth, james now moves into second overall in California.
Darter blew out right behind James, and began his systematic destruction of the other Sport racers. Darter is so damn fast on the downhills, his fellow racers thought he had blown a turn on the DH course and was just finishing his race run on the XC course! Darter placed sixth as well, moving him up into that highly coveted thirty-third overall position! :)
Heidi was up next, (o.K., I was up next....up next to the Fat Tire Ale hut getting my drink on) and actually looked to have some competition this day! OR NOT....Heidi took off on the gun, and was gone faster than O.J. in Al Cowlings' Bronco. As the laps peeled off, Heidi's gap grew between the next girl. Finishing ahead o 90% of the Pro men, Heidi won her race and put herself ahead in the State Overall standings. Who said "sandbagger?" Wasn't me! :) I smell expert cooking, better get some!
World Famous Vegas Bob had to wait until 2pm to go. Pisser, because it was eighty degrees by then and entirely not fun. Giving it hell, VB rocked the XC course like the White Shadow and finished with only ONE of his major muscle groups locked up tighter than a boy dog.
Ariel was doing podium work, looking to gun for first at the line with another guy who wasn't even in his class. The guy being a douche nozzle shoved Ariel into the gate with twenty feet to go, and Ariel and his bike came to a dusty and bitter end. After getting up and running to the finish, he realised his back wheel had come out, and hos front end was completely turned 180 degrees! we had a seance, wishedsmall pox on the guy's children, and swung a dead chicken around a few times. I hope this works, cuz I'm gonna buy a few more chickens...

Thanks to everyone who raced, and to all the Backbone Team peeps that hung out under the mighty KENDA umbrella.


Peace out freaks!


Saturday, September 09, 2006

Santa Barbara Cal State Race!

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Sponsor Spotlight On...SixSixOne

Raji XC Gloves

Pro Bravo Carbon DH Helmet

Jay and Conor both work at our beloved sponsor, Six Six One in Valencia. Makers of fine clothing and body armor (gloves, helmets, pads, pressure suits, shoes, etc.), they have something for all of your riding and racing needs. The new carbon DH helmet is sweet, and I know they work because both of the guys are not in a coma!
I recently had to replace my old Raji XC gloves due to extensive wear and tear, and was worried that the new design would not be as favorable. One good ride, and my concerns were unfounded. I typically don't like gloves w/out a strap closure, but the Raji's continue to be secure and easy to remove. They are also very light weight. With temps in the triple digits more weeks than not lately, a lightweight xc glove is perfect. The fingertips are thermowelded with rubbery, tacky sections that help grip the brakes and shifters, and the seams do not chafe at all. Great glove, great price!
If you are a DH racer, definately check out the new full face carbon helmet, you won't be disappointed. Thanks to Jay, Conor, and Six Six One for all the help! By the way...the name? It comes from the telephone area code in Valencia, 661.


Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Hillary Harrison Podiums Shenandoah Ultra 100!

Giant Bikes – Kenda Rider, Hillary Harrison, wins Ultra Endurance 100 mile National Race Series

Harrison seals the deal with 2nd place finish at Shenandoah 100

Stokesville, VA. (Sept. 3rd, 2006) –Giant Bikes/Kenda tire sponsored rider Hillary Harrison snagged the overall Series Champion title in the 100 mile Ultra Endurance Mountain Bike Series this past weekend with her strong performance in the final race of the series- The Shenandoah 100.

Harrison placed second to Trek Volkswagen rider Sue Haywood in the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountain course that included over 12,000 feet of climbing. The Giant Bikes- Kenda Tires rider said she felt great after completing the Transrockies Challenge, a 7- day 800 km mountain bike race, just 3 weeks before. Harrison had also just completed the Park City E 100, another 100 mile race in the series that provided close to 19,000 feet of climbing the previous weekend. The Ultra Endurance series included 5 races which were held in Utah, Ohio, Michigan, Colorado, Pennsylvania and Virginia.

Proving that steady endurance throughout the season was the ticket to success, Harrison continued to improve as the season progressed while the other series contenders fell victim to injury and illness. Her coach Hunter Allen of The Peaks Coaching Group, commented, “Hillary has done an incredible job this year of putting in the hard work and ‘staying the course’. She’s getting stronger and stronger every month and exciting to be a part of her continued success as one of the top Ultra Endurance racers in the world.”

“Ultra Endurance racing is ‘ultra’ in every sense of the word. My Giant Anthem bike has been incredible, taking some of the most unbelievable punishment I could imagine for a bike. Having Kenda tires has been such a benefit as well and they are the lightest and toughest tires for any Mt. Bike racer.” said Harrison.

Harrison continued, “My season is really coming together, besides winning the Ultra Endurance 100 series, one of my big goals for the season is in November when I try to take back my title as the Costa Rica- La Ruta Mt. Bike Champion.

For downloadable photos of Hillary please visit

F.Y.I....for those of you who don't remember, Hillary was a "shadow racer" for us last year, doing select races in her Backbone jersey to help elevate the team in it's first year. After a disappointing season last year (due to illness), it looks like Backbone Alum Hilly is on form again!


Sunday, September 03, 2006

Labor Day Weekend Rides

Friday, September 01, 2006

Jim Roff Coming To Interbike!!

That's right, Freaks and Geeks! Jim will be winging out from the Rockies to help hold it down with his homies from Backbone! Be sure to stop by either KENDA or SIGMA (or the Spearmint Rhino) and say Hello to one of the team's biggest characters.
Can't wait...much to prepare for...