Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Chuck-T Makes Good In The Winter Series.

Just thought I'd let you know that the overalls for the Southridge Winter Series are in, and I DID meet my personal goal of a top 20 finish. I came in 15th overall for the 2009 Winter Series in the Pro class. I guess not too bad considering the caliber of riders that showed up this year.


***Sweet. All of your sponsors and teammates owe you a beer!~

Taylor's Fontana Kenda Kup Report!

Hey Chris,
Just thought I would throw you a quick race report from Fontucky. The weekend went well, I mostly want to extend a huge thanks to Randy and Roger this weekend for helping everybody out so much. Roger manned the Kenda booth almost non-stop during the weekend, and it seems like he only took breaks to go work the feed zone for our XC folks. Randy of course brought the un-official Backbone race-mobile out again, and offered up his pit space to everyone. My race run could have gone better, I made a big mistake in the first corner and went through the course tape and actually had to dismount and run my bike back onto the course! The rest of my run was perfect though, my time put me just a few seconds outside of my goal of a top 20 finish. Jared Rando had a similar thing happen to him (in the same corner), and while he normally would have placed top 5, he ended up close to 20th. I wound up placing 31st out of 50 at my first Pro National race. I think I lost about 8-10 seconds during my dismount, and thats exactly what would have placed me in the top 20! Oh well, I'm crossing my fingers for Sea Otter.


**Thanks T, I am by far your number 1 fan. Great work, and I could only dream of being as good as you are on a bike!

Trevor's Fontucky Report

Hey Chris! It's Trevor just letting you know how things went this weekend. I ended up deciding to move up to Expert to see how things would go, and also so I could ride a more gnarly track! The track was soo much fun and was a blast to ride. The course was full of rocks, ruts, and silt....all fun to ride in....besides the silt. In my race run I hit the top section pretty smooth and fast. In the middle of the section I had a little bobble but nothing too major. Then at the last long technical section I played it safe and just rode kind of slow through there because I ate shit in the morning practice there and didn't feel like doing it again. In the end I put together a decent run and got 12th out of 40 in the Expert 19-26 class.

**GREAT JOB TREVOR! You are really progressing well, and I am very proud of you, and of the veteran guys on the team like Taylor, Jay and Michael for being such great mentors for you. You are a great example of why I love this team so much. Beginners and Pro's working together to make everyone better AND have a great time in the process.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Kenda Kup West Stop #2; Fontucky

Hot and dusty was quite a change from last weekend at Fontucky, where the DH boys ran the course in greasy mud, and Chuck T managed to bust up his wheels and himself. It was a multi-day affair for this one, and we had several folks racing in many disciplines. CONGRATULATIONS to Mr. Michael "Pinner" Darter for once more coughing up a victory in his baby-pro category! A gold medal also went to Brant "The Hitman" Hatton, who won his Super-D race on his Tomac Carbide. Vanessa worked out to top 5 spots in both XC and Super-D (NICE JOB LADY!) and Mark Thome blasted to the podium in third for his XC as well. JAY SCHIPPERS came out of retirement to pound his large field down the hill for a sweet 5th place podium spot! Randy had a 13th in Xc, then went with mangled legs to take 7th in Super-D. Trevor moved up to Expert and STILL placed 12th, and that's a HUGE and fast field of riders..so great job to Trevor! Matt Thome is suffering from a knee injury which cost him his race in XC, and the Benge boys had some trouble with an injury (Austin) and a lack of practice in So Cal by the younger of the two boys. Chuck-T was still very hurt from last weekend's horrible crash in turn 2, and although a huge feat of manliness just to show and race that day..managed to finish outside the top 20.

A HUGE AND ENORMOUS THANKS to Jim Wannamaker and KENDA tire, and Pete O'Brien and Amino Vital for the race day support! An even larger thanks from me personally and from all the Backboners goes to Roger Hernandez, who never ceases to amaze with his energy and enthusiasm. Thanks everyone, and the new jerseys for those of you who have them coming should ship this week!

Photos from the race coming soon from Roger!


Friday, March 27, 2009

Colorado Money Shot.

Photo by Paul Phillips, courtesy of Brian Olney at Amino Vital.

Here's the money shot from last week! Holy crap! I had no idea I was about to land that on Hunter's 2.5lb SID XC fork! NICE!


Cars have come a looooong way. So far in fact, they have managed to all but remove the person that was originally designed to drive them. New offerings from BMW, Volvo, Mercedes, Ford and GM have all gone into the realm of the unknown with their current crop of vehicle driver-assist technologies. Do we really want a car that has a lap-top in the dash? Who's driving the damn car while you are downloading 47,000 vaginas a second? Who's watching for people riding their bikes with their families while you enable your blue-tooth-parallel-park-assist-device? If you can't parallel park your own damn vehicle, you shouldn't own one in the first place. Volvo has a new crash avoidance system that allows you to text your teenage girlfriends all the juicy gossip from TMZ.com while not even pretending to pay even the slightest bit of attention to what you are doing behind the wheel of the car. Is this good? BMW has a new onboard system that can detect lane changes due to driver fatigue. Once it determines you are sleepy, a coffee-cup icon glows on the dash and the car corrects it's lane assignment for you. What if I don't like coffee?

***This pic was from a road race in Mexico last year, when a drunk driver plowed into about 50 riders...
What if I'm swerving because there are bits from broken cyclists in the road that the girl in the Volvo in front of me just plowed into? Mercedes is introducing "myCOMAND," which is what they are calling an onboard "infotainment system." What in the name of god have we become if we need to be infotained every second of the waking hours? Can't we just focus on the task at hand long enough to get to work every day?
Every recent study on multi-tasking shows that it doesn't work, and people suck at driving anyway...so how is the mental cop-out of a smart-car going to help? We don't take responsibility for things now, how will it be once we can say "It wasn't MY fault, my car did it!" Does anyone stand to benefit from all this other than lawyers? Once the first wreck or accident happens with these vehicles....and it will...the feeding frenzy will explode and with any luck, all this crap will have to be removed from vehicles. Have you ever seen 2001, A Space Odyssey? Remember HAL? "I wouldn't do that If I were you, Dave," said the emotionless automaton, glowing and indifferent red eye watching your every move. Do you really want your car calling your cel phone with live video of your teenage daughter doing the horizontal mambo with her 35 year old skeezy boyfriend in the backseat of your BMW at 2a.m.?

***Do you want this guy having access to googlemaps in your neighborhood from his van?
I'm guessing not, and the only thing that would make me happy at that point is if my "smartcar" would have been smart enough to hit him in the bean bag with a cattle prod that arose ever-so slightly from betwixt the seat cushions. That's right. I said "betwixt."
That's why I love my mountain bike. For all the high-tech involved in making the frames, parts and accessories, it still just comes down to whether I am going to sack up and try that log bridge, gap-jump, switchback, g-out or ledge. If I come up short and break my collarbone...well.. at least I made the decision, not my heart rate monitor or my GPS (already too much technology on a bike in my opinion). The only thing I'd like to see in a car that can assist a driver is maybe a laser-guided drive-thru ATM alignment tool, so that the next time I come up behind that same old lady at the bank who takes three hours to get next to the ATM with her car, she won't have to open her door and get out just to pull a twenty like usual...

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Chuck-T Takes Dirt Nap.

Last Sunday's Fontucky race was none too kind to our beloved Charles. It was raining in California last weekend (The HELL you say!) and Chuck was the first guy out of the gate that day for race runs. Within about the first sixty feet, he blasted into turn number two....and ate complete an utter s**t. That's right, turn two. Bruised hip, two bent wheels....all in turn #2. Ohhhhh I won't forget about this one for some time. did I mention turn 2? Y'know, the one you could do on your hardtail safely? With no brakes? Yeah, THAT turn 2. I may have to get Vegas Bob out to the 959 and help Tabasco with his descending skills....:)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

The Olympic Training Center Trip!

It's 6:30a.m., and it feels as though I just laid down long enough to close my eyes. The alarm began wailing like a Harpie less than thirty minutes ago, and I'm already here at the airport awaiting my flight to Denver.

Last night's two hour soundcheck for Lydia's show at the Dolphin Lounge was draining and it's going to show today in the bags I'll be dragging to the film shoot under my eyes.

***The Garden Of The Gods...
All things considered, I'm in a great mood and happy to go help P.O.Beezey out with this whole thing. It's a great opportunity for exposure for the Backboners, and one I would not have missed for the world. I'm coffee'd up and ready to rock the camera!

***Three Time Olympian Hunter Kemper prepares for his video shoot...

It seems that snow is in the forecast, so they have decided to move the shoot up a day, which means that the bike I had waiting for me to ride on Monday (the original slot for the shoot) isn't going to happen now. Jason at Big Ring Cycles in Golden, CO had a sweet Large Tomac Snyper prepared for me to ride and shoot film with, but with the schedule being bumped a day, it's out before
it starts. I guess someone should have told them mountain bikers can still ride in the snow! My plane is here, and so United flight 7705 to Denver and I have a little joint date with destiny.

Arriving in Denver at 2p.m., Natsai fom Matrix Advertising (the company hadnling the whole thing for Amino Vital) arrived shortly after. We jumped in the convertable and drove up the mountain to the picturesque town of Colorado Springs. We needed a "drop top" car because the film crew had planned on following us as we ride from a moving vehicle. That works for Hunter Kemper's road stuff, but a Toyota Solara doesn't fare too well on singletrack. Natsai dropped me off at the Antlers hotel to meet the film crew and photographer for the weekend. The crew hired were world-renowned film and photo folks who specialize in action films and sports photography, and no expense was spared to get them there. So we met, and drove quickly to The Garden Of The Gods, where a quick location scout revealed the potential places for the interviews and photo sessions. The weather was changing quickly, so rather than wait for Natsai we got to work.
Hunter Kemper arrived with his personal bike for me to ride for the afternoon, and as they took some short video clips of him running and me riding, the daylight quickly darkened from the towering rock pile of Pike's Peak. We ended the day with the film crew driving around filming Hunter on his Tri bike from the convertable. Exhausted, everyone packed it in as the weather changed and the light dimmed, so we made for the hotel. We showered, then reconvened at the old Victorian Era train depot-converted-to-a-restaurant "Guiseppe's."

After beer and pizza, sleep couldn't come fast enough.

***Davis Kemper, Hunter's son, calls this "Daddy's work."

The storm arrived as planned early Monday, and we were smart to push the shoot ahead a day. By 8a.m., it was only about 30 degrees and the wind was blowing at a brisk forty miles per hour. Thankfully, MY riding stuff was all done Sunday...but poor skinny Hunter had to show up for an hour of road loops in the park with the film crew again. Freezing his fuzzy yarbles completely off, and actually probably being mildly hypothermic, the bitter cold was enough to make us cut the day short and head directly to the Olympic Training Center and shoot the interviews and Hunter's swim video there in the comfort of 70 degree rooms.

Once inside, it was an odd mixture of '80's pastel colors and what looked to be Cold War era military buildings, angular and seemingly devoid of life. As it would turn out, the facility started it's life as a military installation, so it all made sense. I was able to see the inside of the Hall Of Fame, the President's Office, and several other facilities. We shot the interviews in a large video/conference center, then walked to the Aquatics Center

for still photos and Hunter's swim portion. I was allowed to get up above the pool on a catwalk for pictures, and I am assuming that VERY FEW people have ever been given that courtesy. There were four locked gates that led to the catwalk over that pool, and none looked to have been opened in some time.

***Hi-Tech camera-sled!

***Natsai trying to keep her hands to herself...

The shoot was only over budget by an hour or so, and that was great considering all the last minute panic venue changes and weather issues. We ended the night all having dinner in Colorado Springs with Hunter and his wife (a former Olympic volleyball player!), and their son Davis.

Hunter was a great guy, and any sponsor should consider themselves lucky to have such a team player on their payroll. I was very pleased to be considered good enough at something (pimping product, NOT being athletic) to be in the company that I was in, knowing full well that everyone at that facility was the best in the nation, if not the world at what they did. Thanks to P.O.B. for getting me involved with this thing, it was huge fun and something I won't forget for some time.

**Pike's Peak looms in the distance, and was never actually summitted by Mr. Pike!

I took Gold at the Munich games in pairs metal midget wrestling...

Saturday, March 21, 2009

TOMAC DEMO DAYS At Big Ring Cycles!

Golden, Colorado's BIG RING CYCLES is having TOMAC DEMO DAYS! Stop in from
May 9th to the 10th and take out a Carbide, Snyper, or anything else that hasn't been already purchased. Jason is expecting a big turnout so get out to Golden, CO for the weekend and ride! Check www.bigringcycles.blogspot.com for updates and info..