Sunday, September 30, 2007

Taylor's Northstar Update

Fear and Loathing in Northstar

The last race of the year at Northstar is now over,
thank god. I started up my weekend by driving up to
Mammoth Thursday night to meet up with my evil partner
in crime, James Schwanke, and use his condo as a pit
stop between Riverside and Lake Tahoe. After rallying
my car through the fresh snow in Mammoth, and later
discussing world politics and global warming solutions
over a six pack of Sam Adams, he decided to join me on
my trek to Northstar. Unfortunately, due to a string
of injuries he was unable to actually race, but he did
offer his services as a semi-pro photographer and fuel
pumper for the duration of the trip.
We arrived in Tahoe about mid-day on Friday, just in
time for the clouds to descend upon us, and deliver a
thrashing of rain and sleet amidst temperatures in the
forties. Given the poor weather for the day, we did
the logical downhiller thing and headed straight for
the bar at the village and drowned our sorrows in a
medium meat lover’s pizza and a few pints of stout.
The day was a wash; no practice, no riding, foul
weather, and expensive beer.
We woke up bright and early Saturday morning to the
sound of construction workers screaming in Spanish and
operating nail guns in the room directly above us. A
quick peek out the window of our corner room quickly
took away any hopes of Saturday being better than
Friday. The sky was socked in with dark clouds, with
some sort of funny white powdery stuff floating down
from them. James later informed me that this magical
cold white substance was in fact, snow. Something
that flat-landers like me rarely get to experience.
With temperatures even colder than the day before, and
forecasted to stat below thirty-five degrees for the
remainder of the day, we both decided again that
practice will be put off another day. As you can see
from exhibit “a” (the photo) I was not exactly
thrilled that the snow turned to sleet during mid day,
and washed out any hopes of getting in some practice
runs without ruining my equipment or freezing to
Sunday. Race day. The last day for redemption. My
last chance to ride and race at Northstar until next
summer. The skies cleared Sunday morning, and it
actually warmed up just enough to dry up some of the
muddy corners on the race course. I hardened up a
bit, threw on several layers of riding apparel and
headed for the lift line. The course used was one of
the local favorites, “Live Wire”. I took a few
practice runs, dialed in my bike as best as I could,
and even opted to run a semi-slick in the back for the
abnormally grippy conditions on Live Wire. The lower
half of the course dried up into an awesomely tacky
and fast downhill course with tons of small to medium
sized jumps and burms. However, the top of the course
stayed true to the last few days of the weekend, and
it actually snowed on and off through the start of the
race. But despite these almost awesome conditions, my
cold weather induced asthma (I’m not kidding, I
actually carry and inhaler for this…) got the best of
me, and I could barely breath by the time I hit the
mid point of the course during my race run. My lungs
screamed, my chest tightened, and my legs basically
gave up from a lack of fuel. I had nothing left, and
practically coasted my way through the finish. My
time was no where near as competitive as my last two
races at Northstar this year. Disappointment.
The race was over, I had lost miserably, and the pain
in my chest lasted through Monday morning. Racing is
all about having good days, and bad days. Sunday, was
one of my bad days. But I would be there again as
fast as I can drive if they offered another race
before the snow completely covers the trails!
And… Just for the record; The Park Rangers in Tahoe
don’t seem to think it is nearly as cool as I thought
it was to take a posted 15mph corner on a dirt road at
50mph in a sideways drift.

Schwanke took some great finish line photos of me
hunched over in pain, and gasping for air. As soon as
he sends them to me, I'll forward them to you.


Saturday, September 29, 2007

Interbike Report and Pix

My favorite new product line, the re-birth of Tomac bikes. The Snyper shown here is the new mid-travel trailbike.

The baddest DH bike ever, from the baddest DH racer ever (and Joel Smith), the new Tomac Primer.

Johnny T's personal bike, the new Tomac Carbide carbon full suspension xc bike. John was kind enough to offer his personal bike to Vegas Bob for a test ride...

I often hear people say tht they really only like to go to Vegas every other year for the show. As crazy as it is, I don't understand how anyone who is in to cycling could want to skip a year. Even if the product is unchanged (there is always something new), the shenannigans and "Burning-Man" type madness is worth the trip. What about the Mountain Bike Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony? You get to see MB history being made in that little ante-room every year at the end of the show. Someone alays brings some crazy contraptions to ODD, like the ice cream bike that Kabush was riding around ODD, handing out ice cream! I love it, live for it, and always try to push myself to make as much headway for the team as possible. This year was no exception, with som very exciting news coming in the next few weeks...

Our jersey at the Kenda booth

Ed Fonda from Voler, holding up the best jersey EVER!

Our jersey at SIGMA, thanks to Jenni and James, and some double sided tape.

Thanks in advance to Jay, Randy, Trevor, Kim, Roger, Vanessa, Fuzzy, Bert, Vegas Bob, Dawn Lyons etc. for selflessly making the trip, promoting their team and shuttling me from the Burbank airport to Vegas and back. Many current and potential sponsors continue to be amazed at the solidarity and work ethic that you all provide, and it is paying off. I have so much great news, I could split..but I need to keep it on the down-low for now. Here are some pix from the past week...but I will NOT post any of Tuesday nights booze fest at the Hard Rock with the "Soprano's" character "Big Pussy.." or Bert passing out with his cothes on and Willow Koerber's picture on his fly.

More pix tomorrow, and throughout the week! Look for Taylor's DH race report from Tahoe soon, and Ryan Nolan's DH report from TODAY's RACE on the east coast!

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Bert Sends Landis Trial Update

Arbitrators find Landis guilty of doping
Floyd Landis lost his expensive and explosive doping case Thursday when the arbitrators upheld the results of a test that showed the 2006 Tour de France champion used synthetic testosterone to fuel his spectacular comeback victory, The Associated Press has learned.

The decision means Landis, who repeatedly has denied using performance-enhancing drugs, must forfeit his Tour de France title and is subject to a two-year ban, retroactive to Jan. 30, 2007.

The ruling, handed down nearly four months after a bizarre and bitterly fought hearing, leaves the American with one final way to possibly salvage his title — an appeal to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

If Landis doesn't successfully appeal the case, he'll be the first person in the 105-year history of the race to lose the title because of a doping offense.

According to documents obtained by AP, and to be made public later Thursday, the vote was 2-1 to uphold the results, with lead arbitrator Patrice Brunet and Richard McLaren in the majority and Christopher Campbell dissenting.

"Today's ruling is a victory for all clean athletes and everyone who values fair and honest competition," U.S. Anti-Doping Agency general counsel Travis Tygart said.

It's a devastating loss for Landis, who has steadfastly insisted that cheating went against everything he was all about and said he was merely a pawn in the anti-doping system's all-consuming effort to find cheaters and keep money flowing to its labs and agencies.

Landis didn't hide from the scrutiny — invited it, in fact — and now has been found guilty by the closest thing to a fair trial any accused athlete will get.

Despite the result, it's hard to see this as a total victory for the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which prosecuted the case. This was a costly affair for the agency, and it exposed flaws in the system.

In its 84-page decision, the majority found the initial screening test to measure Landis' testosterone levels — the testosterone-to-epitestosterone test — was not done according to World Anti-Doping Agency rules.

But the more precise and expensive carbon-isotope ration analysis (IRMS), performed after a positive T-E test is recorded, was accurate, the arbitrators said, meaning "an anti-doping rule violation is established."

"As has been held in several cases, even where the T-E ratio has been held to be unreliable ... the IRMS analysis may still be applied," the majority wrote. "It has also been held that the IRMS analysis may stand alone as the basis" of a positive test for steroids.

The decision comes more than a year after Landis' stunning comeback in Stage 17 of the 2006 Tour, one that many people said couldn't be done without some kind of outside help. Flying to the lead near the start of a grueling Alpine stage, Landis regained nearly eight minutes against the leader, and went on to win the three-week race.

"Well, all I can say is that justice has been done, and that this is what the UCI felt was correct all along," Pat McQuaid, leader of cycling's world governing body, told The Associated Press by telephone. "We now await and see if he does appeal to CAS.

"It's not a great surprise considering how events have evolved. He got a highly qualified legal team who tried to baffle everybody with science and public relations. And in the end the facts stood up."

Landis insisted on a public hearing not only to prove his innocence, but to shine a spotlight on USADA and the rules it enforces and also establish a pattern of incompetence at the French lab where his urine was tested.

Although the panel rejected Landis' argument of a "conspiracy" at the Chatenay-Malabry lab, it did find areas of concern. They dealt with chain of command in controlling the urine sample, the way the tests were run on the machine, the way the machine was prepared and the "forensic corrections" done on the lab paperwork.

"... the Panel finds that the practises of the Lab in training its employees appears to lack the vigor the Panel would expect in the circumstances given the enormous consequences to athletes" of an adverse analytical finding, the decision said.

The majority repeatedly wrote that any mistakes made at the lab were not enough to dismiss the positive test, but also sent a warning.

"If such practises continue, it may well be that in the future, an error like this could result in the dismissal" of a positive finding by the lab.

In Campbell 's opinion, Landis' case should have been one of those cases.

"In many instances, Mr. Landis sustained his burden of proof beyond a reasonable doubt," Campbell wrote. "The documents supplied by LNDD are so filled with errors that they do not support an Adverse Analytical Finding. Mr. Landis should be found innocent."

And in at least one respect, Landis, who spent an estimated $2 million on his defense, was exonerated because the panel dismissed the T-E test. But in the arbitration process, a procedural flaw in the first test doesn't negate a positive result in follow-up tests.

"An arbitration panel is entitled to rely entirely on the IRMS analysis as an independent and sufficient basis for finding that an anti-doping rule violation has occurred," the decision said.

In his dissent, Campbell latched onto the T-E ratio test, among other things, as proof that the French lab couldn't be trusted.

"Also, the T-E ratio test is acknowledged as a simple test to run. The IRMS test is universally acknowledged as a very complicated test to run, requiring much skill. If the LNDD couldn't get the T-E ratio test right, how can a person have any confidence that LNDD got the much more complicated IRMS test correct?"

It was confusion like this that led to the system receiving the harsh review Landis was hoping for during a nine-day hearing in Malibu , Calif. , in May.

But Landis also took his share of abuse, and ultimately, USADA still improved to 35-0 in cases it has brought before arbitration panels since it was founded in 2000.

This was a nasty contest waged on both sides, with USADA attorneys going after Landis' character and taking liberties in evidence discovery that wouldn't be permitted in a regular court of law. And Landis accused USADA of using a win-at-all-costs strategy and prosecuting him only to get him to turn on seven-time winner Lance Armstrong, who has long fought doping allegations that have never been proven.

Addressing "problematic behavior on the part of both parties," the panel wrote it would not revisit the conduct of either side.

"They are just part of the litigation war games the parties counsel engaged in between themselves," the decision said.

More than the complex, turgid scientific evidence, the hearing will be remembered for the Greg LeMond brouhaha.

The hearing turned into a soap opera when the former Tour de France winner showed up and told of being sexually abused as a child, confiding that to Landis, then receiving a call from Landis' manager the night before his testimony threatening to disclose LeMond's secret to the world if LeMond showed up.

LeMond not only showed up, he also claimed Landis had admitted to him that he doped. That was the only aspect of the LeMond testimony the panel cared about.

"The panel concludes that the respondent's comment to Mr. LeMond did not amount to an admission of guilt or doping," the majority wrote.

This year's Tour began without the official defending champion, and the traditional "No. 1" jersey wasn't handed out when the race began in London . It only got worse as doping allegations and suspicions devastated the 2007 Tour. Three riders, including former overall leader Michael Rasmussen, and two teams were expelled during the three-week race.

At 31, Landis has vowed he hadn't given up on cycling — he raced in small, nonsanctioned events in Colorado this summer — even hoping to some day wear the yellow jersey again.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007


OK, so it's not finished, but it's close and it's better than the last one! Visit for the new look! Love ya BITCHES!!!


Tookie Takes First!

Jeff "Tookie" Williams headed to Vanessa's favorite place, the DEEEP SOUTH, to do a SOLO twelve hour race on Sunday! Wouldn't ya know it, that sum'bitch actually WON his class! He beat the second place guy by only TEN SECONDS thanks to a busted middle chainring, but managed to limp it in in FIRST place! Congrats to Jeff, our beast in the East, on his most recent victory!


Ray "Papo" Caballero recovering well

************Papo and Fuzzy in Big Bear last year***************************

Former Backboner Ray "Papo" Caballero (Helen's/ Gary-Fisher/Subaru) is on the fast track to recovery after a wicked-gnarly crash in the Santa Monica Mountains a few weeks ago. Papo likes to do 100 mile mountain bike rides on the weekends, and that makes a brother a little exhausted sometimes. He was flying down the trail at an alarming rate when a seemingly innocent ENORMOUS boulder-drop appeared from the fog. Clipping his pedal and eating large quantities of crap, Papo fractured his pelvis and was in generally bad shape. When I called him at the hospital, he had just been given anesthesia for surgery, and was quoted as saying "cbjash a,fj afjalf kqjkd;lj xcmajd" or something like that. Anyway, I spoke with him last week and he is doing well, and has been riding again. Good luck to Papo, even though he's racing for Helen's..who never wanted him until after he raced for us. Figures.


Bert featured in new KENDA ad!

Backbone's very own Bert The Hurt is going to be featured in an upcoming KENDA ad in MBA magazine! Look for the ad soon, as it was submitted this week for next months issue. It will be followed by a slightly modified ad in all five remaining mags the following month! I can't show ya the ad yet, because it hasn't hit store shelves...but it has the pic of Bert laughing between to Short-Hair team members, and he's in first place. God, have I told ya how much I love that shot?


Avid Rollamajig, Death Of A Classic.

Confusion is the look I get most often when I ask for it. No, not back-door action, something else entirely...although it does attach at the I guess it IS back-door action after all. I have been greatly saddened at my local bike shops here in Columbus. Maybe it's a nation wide issue, but I am just noticeing it here. I have been to Roll, Bike Source, and Performance (who used to sell these by the metic ton) and still get the same reaction from all of these fine retail establishments when I ask for it. "Is that the brake noodle-thingy" was as close as anyone has gotten...except Ben, the Mechanic at the TREK store on Sawmill Rd. He knows of this mythical beast. They even have one on a bike for sale on the floor, but nobody saw it until recently due to it's location below some pannier bags.
The Avid Rollamajig has been producing a ratio-reducing, shift enhancing accessory to the rear derailleur for so many years, I still am baffled by the non-existant number of shop-rats who know what it is. This little ten dollar gizmo has been making crappy derailleurs feel like Dura Ace, and Dura-Ace feel like heaven for years. Attaching to the rear derailleur barrel adjuster knob, it reduces the leverage ratio between the shifter and derailleur making each shift easy and precise. It has such a cult following, SRAM basically JACKED it's design and integrated into it's XO rear derailleur design. Luckily, SRAM bought Avid and can incorporate this spectacular little product into all rear shifters from now on. SHIMANO even tried to mimick it with the new XT stuff!
With the new derailleur designs all but copying the idea exactly, AVID has decided to stop production of this little wonder-part. Three months ago, they bagged and tagged the last one. I have tried in vain to find one (or anyone here who knows what one is), and have only been able to get them on They bought the last crates, and are selling them for a low-low $6.50 each. These are not just for mtn bikes (although that was their primary target), and I have used them on my road bike for 12 years! If you are unfamiliar with this product and run any road derailleurs, or Shimano stuff...BUY one and be very willing to read the instructions and set it up correctly. You will be SHOCKED at what you find...


***The black hammer-looking thing on the back of the XO is the Rollamajig rip-off***

Cal State Final Pix From Roger!

The State Final went down, and so did MANY of the riders! The Fall Classic always runs some great singletrack, ending on upper and lower Fall Line trails. This is a great place to test your "relaxation-descending" a-la Ned Overend. If you are tensed up and ridgid, there is a real good chance you WON't survive the drops, chutes, and rocks. Randy bought it here last weekend, and saw at least 15 other riders who also had taken dirt-naps on the way down.

Vegas Bob flatted, but managed to stay upright. I'm sure he hung out in the trees prior to the downhill, so he could fake a crash and land on one of Backbone's uber-hottie XC racers and claim it was an "accident." OK, so that's what I would what?

Lots of the BAC riders found their way to the podium that day, and had ll season during the Cal State Series. That's good, because they had over-all results that afternoon! That's always fun, especially for Randy who has a 5 hour drive back home. Overall medal days at Team Big Bear..ooops..Blue Wolf are always fun. Instead of doing the days awards and the overall's at the same time and saving several hours of waiting, they do them separately. This means that you don't leave Big Bear until well after midnight. Or eight o'clock..whatever. Ever smelled your chamois after 12 hours of racing, sitting, and Clif Bar farts? It's not bad, really, if you eat the Carrot Cake ones and chase it with a strawberry-banana Hammer Gel packet. mmmm...fruity..kinda like that guy on Will and Grace!

Thanks to everyone for a great season of racing! Of course, it's California, and the "season' never dies. Racing here year round is kinda like kissing your sister. Sure she has a blouse full of goodies, but after a while it gets tiring.

Monday, September 17, 2007

The Galena History Tour

Sunday's road ride was great, as was the weather. I was pleasantly surprised by the history lesson we would find in the TINY little town of Galena. Turns out, they have a great wetland viewing platform as well. The bike path along Highway 3 was great, with new asphalt and lots of trees.

Towns here all have little historical reference plaques that help describe where you are and how it all began. As we rolled out of town, we came across the viewing platform and the old cemetary. There was a great old Post Office that was built in 1826, as well.

The deck was great, and we saw tons of geese and vultures. When this lake is full, it will be great!

The Galena cemetary was an amazing look back in U.S. history. Grave markers were decorated with small metal ornaments that told of any military conflict that person was involved in. GAR, Revolutionary War, WWI, War of 1812, WWII, etc. were all found in this small but crowded cemetary.

The GAR marker was a surprise, since I hadn't heard mention of GAR since about the 5th grade. The Grand Army of the Republic (GAR) was founded by Union Army veterans in 1866. It became a very powerful group that would shape policy for over sixty years. In 1881 GAR formed the Sons Of The United States Of America to carry on the traditions established by GAR.

My grandfather was a top bubble gunner on a B-17 in the Pacific Theatre during WWII, and lost almost all his crew in a couple of attacks wherein they had been shot down. This marker hit home for me.

The War of 1812 was like our second Revolutionary War. On June 18th of 1812, the U.S. declared war on Britain and her colonies. Britain was at war with the French at the time, and we were aiding their effort. this angered Britain, and they began seizing our vessels and forcing our navy men to work on Brit ships. They also had blockaded harbors and assisted the Indians in fighting back American settlers. The war was fought in Canada, Nova Scotia, the U.S., and elsewhere. Washington D.C., and the White House were burned by the English, and we actually defeated their Navy in several large sea battles. During the course of the war, no territory changed hands, and none of the original disputes were settled. The U.S. lost 2,260 men, and the Brits lost 1,600. The Treaty Of Ghent was signed in 1815, but word hadn't gotten out for some time. battles still raged in Louisiana and elswehere for weeks after the signing.

After the ride, we headed for "First Watch" in Polaris for a well-deserved breakfast. Wish you all could have come along, the route was about as scenic as you could have asked for...unless you asked for mountains. :)

Friday, September 14, 2007

Dawn And Vanessa To Race 24hr. Of Idyllwild!

Dawn and/or Vanessa have signed on to race the 24hrs of Idyllwild the weekend prior to Interbike! Jim W. from KENDA will be there until Saturday, then he heads off to the show as well. I may be flying in to Burbank and getting to drive out to Vegas with Roger and Vanessa, then home with my old house-mate (on Cedros) Vegas Bob!
I can't wait to see you guys, it will be a hoot, and I hope that Vanessa and dawn stay awake long enough to have a beer with me!

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Bert Blanchette Roast at Camp-N-Ride

O.K, so here's the deal. Bert has been around longer than anyone else on this little squad of devil worshippers. The time is NIGH for Bert to get his team roast. It is an open classification roast, and anything (and I mean ANYTHING) is open.

We will plan it for Saturday evening, after the music and raffle. Bert has come a LOOONG way in the past few years hanging out with you degenerates, and before he does something to get imprisoned, we need to roast his nutz. I will begin my writing session this week, and if anyone needs any ideas/history/info, please e-mail me and we can get it together. Best of luck to everyone with their roast routine!


Race Season Officially Over In CA (kinda')!

Hi Cap'n,

The last race of the year for the Cal State Series had perfect weather with a real fast course....

Thank you to Kenda for great tires, Hydrapak for keeping us cool, Xpedo for light and secure pedals, Hammer gel for fueling us....
Your team did awesome as always...

Bert pulled off a 4th place finish in Pro male, this was his 1st time back since his NASCAR twister style crash in Vermont. He stopped and had a nice chat with me in at the feedzone and we talked about Middle East politics and popped some Aleves, then he went back and kicked some ass on the track....

Brant threw down another 1st place victory in Expert 30-34. He suffered in the 1st climb up, but never let on that he was holding back. About 50 yards from the top he pulled out of the pack, threw it in the big ring and blasted his new hardtail over the top and WRECKED the downhill with parts a-flyin' off that old Schwinn Homegrown 8spd

Vegas Bob had a 10th place finish in expert 30-34, if he hadn't taken that Roofie in his beer from the bar the night before he would have started his race on time and would surely have gotten top 5... I think he just wanted to show James up on start times, plus Vegas also flatted on fall line and took a short dirt/rock nap.

Vanessa pulled off 3rd place in expert women 19-29, good job, but we are going to do some heavy Secret Black Ops training on this girl in the off-season!!! Lookout next year ladies.. can you say "creatine hydroxycut Starbucks protein shakes??" :)

James got 9th place sport 40-44, was in top 5 and decided to flat and go over the bars on Fall Line... karma james karma. James said girls shouldn't be allowed on Fall Line and look what happened... James is going to take some anger mgmt / diversity classes and we will see him in Expert class next year.

Randy took down 15th place in sport 40-44 class, he couldn't let James and Vegas have all the fun and launched it over the bars on Fall Line as well... no worries Randy you are still my hero.

Backbone support racers Rod got 13th place beg men, great job Rod (1st time down fall line without walking or wetting his pants) Mark and Matthew Tome awesome job, Mark 7th place beg men and matthew 3rd place beg men 14 and under

Thanks again for great year of racing and good times to all teammates and Backbone groupies

cya at the camp and ride nov 9th,10th 11th


Wednesday, September 12, 2007

I Know, I Know.....

I know you have all seen this shot a hundred times before, but I just love it, so I am posting it again. I will also take a moment and post some other quality Bert The Hurt shots while I am at it, ok? OK!

Bert's CX race in Glendale, and the shot KENDA used of him the '07 product catalog!

Bert the anchor

Bert's first autograph session as an Expert w/ us as a CFR racer, in Big Bear.

Bert and his post Super-D race, doing the whole-body "CHAMP CRAMP."

National Champion Bert The Hurt in the worst picture ever taken...