05 December 2007

Muddy and 4th on the 2nd

I did a race yesterday in the small town of Külsheim, Baden-Wurtenburg, Germany. Having just looked at the results, I only missed 3rd by 30 seconds. Wish that I'd realized that I was that close. I had thought it was far more than that and was more worried about losing my present position to the guy that I'd battled with for most of the race.

So, on the last lap, I turned on what gas I had and left him behind. I was at the line when he came through and he gave me trouble for turning on the gas and leaving him (i.e "Du hast gas geben!").

It was probably the muddiest race that I've ever done. Other than that, conditions were good. Warmish, but not too much and it sprinkled every once in awhile.

One thing was kind of funny though. Many of the people that started with gears, ended with one gear due to the crazy amount of mud. At the award ceremony we had to laugh abot it.

The course was partially pavement, dirt (farm) roads and then about 25% singletrack. On the first lap about half way through the singletrack I heard something running and turned to the left in time to see a deer (think giant poodle sized animal) coming straight for my front wheel. It missed me by inches.

The rest of the race was uneventful other than battling with a guy named Markus for most of the race and the deep and very slimy mud.

We picked up a fantastic new sponsor for BWR. It's Ergon products. I've mentioned before how great their stuff is. Kera's been using some of their grips for a long time now and they've done a lot to ease her hand problems on the bike. I think that we've got some other new sponsors as well and I'll tell you about them as I find out.

I put in my application for a job at one of the schools that I teach for. I have an all-day interview on Friday. With the number of hours that I'm working this week, I'm going to love the weekend.

Somehow, I need to find/make time to measure the old Black Sheep before I pull it apart and put the new one together. After that, I need to send the old one back.

30 November 2007

The Mothership has Landed!

I got a message late a couple of nights ago that the new Black Sheep frame has arrived in Germany! Woohoo!

I'm going to pick it up from my buddy this weekend at a race that we're both attending.

Crazy busy with classes right now. Not to mention, I often have 3 separate classes a day in 3 different parts of the city. That means 3 different levels and in total about 2 hours of travel time. It means basically that I have have about 2 or so hours off between 8 a.m. and 9 p.m. Phew! Granted, it's a good problem (being busy, just exhausting).

Still no word on my Deutsch test. I need to give them a call or go by today and check in.

It's really crappy out today. I'd planned to go for a ride, but I'm not sure that I'll manage it given that it's raining off/on and it's close to freezing. Yuck! Instead, I'm hanging light fixtures and pictures as well as doing laundry and cleaning house. Fun eh?

Christmas markets open this weekend so we might go see them. That's about all the news.

25 November 2007

Weekend Update!

Kera's latest bag here. It's one that she made for our buddy Jelle that runs singlespeed.nl. One of the few places in Europe that we can get 29'er parts easily. Thanks Jelle for being our supplier.

Check out some of Kera's other recent bags here. She's been doing some really cool and interesting designs for people.

Get used to the above logo. For '08 I'm switching teams over to Big Wheel Racing. As many of you know, I've been with Boulevard/KCOI/BikeSource for many years now. They've treated me very well and many people on the team are good friends. The primary reason for leaving is to start working on setting up a Euro version of Big Wheel Racing for '09. So, if you are looking for a chance to sponsor a Euro 29'er/road/CX and/or multi-sport team, give me a shout.

Ah... K.C. does another brilliant deed. Just think... K.C. has one of the highest murder rates in the U.S. and is so worried about a nearly naked cyclist that they basically tackle him to get him off his bike. Come on folks. Does anyone else think that their ideals might be a bit misplaced? Hmmmm?

We have two new alien roommates. They do good work though so we don't mind.

Sweet thank you gift. Keras boss gave us this 2 liter bottle of his local beer. It was a thank you gift for letting he and his brothers stay at our place during Oktoberfest and before we'd moved in. It worked out well for all of us. The 'normal' 1/2 liter bottle is on the left. It was a very yummy Oktoberfest version from Hacker-Pschorr (a München brand).

22 November 2007

Quick Ride


It's funny, now that we've been here this long (this is our third Thanksgiving), I don't even think about it. The only reminders were Kera making a pumpkin pie for her co-workers (not me...hmm) and when she was talking to her parents last weekend and they reminded her that is was today. Out of sight, out of mind I guess. It does mean that it's almost

Glühwein time (hot mulled wine). Woohoo!

In between starting a new class in a Structural engineering company and my regular evening class, I did some laundry (had to do it at a laundrimat as we're waiting for the new ones to arrive on Friday), waited for the electrician to fix some left over electrical problems from the original installation and then shot out for a short ride... about 1.5 hours. Today it's a little below freezing and it shows as most of the recent snow is melting here in town even though it is below freezing. You know, it just happens when the sun shines.

The ride felt good. It didn't hurt that we started back to spin class yesterday. While I've been in my integrations course me riding has gone to hell. Hopefully, this will jump-start it again. In theory, there's a race in a couple of weeks that we did last year, I'd like to do it again. It also didn't matter that it was a bit sloppy out on the dirt roads as the snow's melting. When I could, I just ducked in to the singletrack in the woods. That's what I'd rather ride on anyway.

These shoes = toasty and dry feet. Nice! Thanks LAKE!

Check here for other pics.

19 November 2007

That, that and the other thing.

You're looking at an experiment. My usual blog is what you normally see here. I'm also posting the same thing here. As you can see, it's on Wordpress.com. Lately, Blogger has kind of pissed me off and I'm thinking about switching over from here. The other thing is that if I ever get my website off the ground, it seems much easier to integrate Wordpress than Blogger in to a site.

So, what the means is that I'm going to throw a few blogs up at Wordpress and here for awhile and see how it works out. No worries, if I decide to switch, I'll let everyone know before I do it so that you can update links, etc. In any case, it's probably not a bad idea to keep an eye out (provided you care) for updates both places.

Let me know what you think.

This sounds like fun. Check out the SingleSpeed CycloCross World Championships. I think it sounded a bit more entertaining than even Scotland. Definitely less chance of injury outside of drinking too much or getting hit with a dodgeball or paintball.

Tests... I've always hated 'em. I've not got one more out of the way and I think that I have a quite good idea that I passed it. The folks at ASL did a really good job preparing us for what we were going to undertake. The practice tests were seemingly harder than the actual test. Thanks gang! Kudos to Frau Isa, Hans and lastly Elisabeth. All worked hard with our crazy bunch of deviants to prepare us. Now, I just have to wait the 8 weeks (yes, I said 8) for the results. What happened to German efficiency? Hmmm?

The Singular that we bought for Kera to ride to work was stolen a couple of weeks ago. Unfortunately, before she ever got a chance to ride to the new office. That was the whole purpose for buying it. Death (at least maiming) to bike thieves!

Cool bike tire rings. Nice! Well, that is if you're like me and wear rings.

My newest favorite blog(s) -
Bike Porn - well, not for everyone.
Go Clipless - randomness and commentary on new mtb stuff

Not really a blog but great for bike industry info. Bicycle Newwire.

Go here and make your own really cool (well, if you have an imagination) Puma shoes in custom materials and colors.

The new kitchen is done and here's one of a few pics that I've taken of it. We think that it turned out quite well. More pics here.

08 November 2007

Hmmm, restarted


I seem to remember having started a blog a few days ago. For some reason, it's vanished. Unfortunately, Blogger's SPAM blocker keeps not saving my blog and when I come back to work on it, a good portion or all of it is missing. Folks, if you are worried about something have a human look at it not a program. MORONS! Get it right or don't do it at all. Don't emulate Microsoft.

I've been thinking of riding a lot more that I have actually ridden for many, many weeks. While doing so, I've come across various web sites and info. that varies in quality, quantity and context. Here we go.

You think you're tough... check this one out Tilford article. This guy, Steve Tilford has been a pro since he was something like 16. He's now 48 or something. He's truly an animal when it comes to the mountain bike or cyclorcross. He lives in Topeka, not your average mountain biking capitol.

For those of you that are interested and don't already know, SS World's '08 is in Napa, California next year. The dates have been announced - Aug. 23-24, 2008. I expect a LARGE Kansas City crew there. Do you hear (read: read) that?

Speaking of Kansas City... what the hell is up with this crap? Uneasy Riders - KC Pitch Come on people, it's not the freakin' dark ages. It's time to learn that SUV's, monster trucks and hoopties don't necessarily own the road. They just somehow have managed to have loopholes in the law that allow them to run over and abuse cyclists and get in less trouble than hitting a wild animal. F-in Bizarre!

In case it's not obvious, I have no tolerance for this type of stuff. As a cyclist, walker and a person that used to spend a lot of time standing in roads (former surveyor), I think that if you can't control your vehicle enough to not hit anyone in the road, you deserve to rot in jail at and at the very least, loose your license. The Germans have this type of rule down pat. The hierarchy goes something like this:

1. Street cars/trams
2. Cyclists
3. Peds
4. Autos
5. Trucks

In basically all bike related accidents, the bike wins. It's incumbent on everyone else to beware. About time!

My guess is that K.C. is not exactly moving in either of these two directions. Paris Rental Bike Scheme Goes Global

Another example of a good cycling city Portland article This is a good goal, not playing hockey with your monster truck as the cyclist acting as the puck. I know, bad analogy. Sorry.

One last example of a progressive city Seattle 10 year plan.

Zabel and the chunky guy won!

We hit the 6 Day track races yesterday with friends. Lot's of fun. Kind of a big cycling related party.

The last bit of news. Kera's back to cranking out bags, I'm attempting to go through lots of stuff and check a lot of it. Also, I'm now teaching a few mornings a week and studying for Fridays German test. Wish me luck.

20 October 2007

Well now...


So much to tell, but I'll do my best to compress all of it in to a smaller post.

First we're almost all moved now. We've still got a few things in the old place but it's only a small bit. The painters are doing their stuff over at the old place as well. We'll be completely outta there by the end of the month.

Also, the new kitchen is being installed here. At this point, it's about 1/2 done and should probably be finished Monday or Tuesday at the latest from my understanding. So far, it's looking quite nice. We're really looking forward to this as we don't have a stove which makes cooking really difficult. Believe it or not, eating out is getting really old.

Still lots of clutter, but I figure that's expected. We are definitely lacking in proper storage in general. Looks like we'll have to get a few custom things made. Until then, we've got stuff kind of scattered here and there.

We've both got colds. Mine seems to be a lot worse than Kera's. I feel a bit as though I've been hit by a truck. Kera, on the other hand, seems to be about over her cold. I have a feeling that I'll sleep sitting up tonight as when I lay down, my head fills up like a basketball. Hopefully, we can both get well soon.

It's now cold here. Most of the week was quite nice and then Friday it bounced back and forth between rain and sun. In the end, the sun went down and took the warmth with it. By the evening, it was snowing. Today, it's been about freezing all day with spots of snow on and off.


Way back when, we went to Oktoberfest with friends. Here's the link to all of those. Oktoberfest pics


School is, finally, almost done. I've got two more weeks of Politics & Culture and then I'm done on the 30th. After that, I've got two weeks to study my butt (ass) off and pass the test. From the grades that I've received on the practice tests, it looks like if I can improve my Deutsch Grammar in writing and when choosing the correct answer, I should pass with flying colors as my Listening and Reading seem to be about top of the class. Keep your fingers crossed.

Since we returned from our Scotland trip (which I still need to post a blog about) pretty much all we've done is plan for and/or execute the move. Hence, we've barely ridden in weeks. I feel so out of shape and I know that Kera does as well. We both hope that should begin to change. For Kera, it helps that her office moved over the weekend. She now has to ride about 1/2 again further to work. For me, I just need to figure out a way to make the time.

We have a new address, if you want/need it, let us know and we'll get it to you.

Have a good weekend.

25 September 2007

Well, it's begun!

By that, I mean that we've started the move. Finally! Of course, when we move, we both hope for the end. I don't care whether anything is put away or not. To me, it's the act of moving that's the pain. Putting things away when we're in, that's the interesting part.

We're renting a van to get most of the things moved ourselves. A couple of days later, the 'real' movers are coming in to finish the job.

Oktoberfest has begun! That means that town is full of people from throughout the world drinking amazing amounts of beer! How is that a bad thing?

18 September 2007

Bye Bye Black Sheep

Black Sheep - In The Rear

I've listed the Black Sheep for Sale in various places today.

As I know many people are going to want to know why after so much waiting, money and lost sleep, I'm selling it after only 4 months of using it. By the way, I purposely say using it, not riding it.

Well, as many of you may remember (I say that knowing that only about a handful of people actually read my blog) I put a lot of time and thought in to ordering a Black Sheep bike. In the back of my mind I've wanted a McLung since the first time that I laid eyes on one. In retrospect, maybe I should have just made the effort and gone that route or bought a Badger like I should have.

I guess, that's what hindsight gives you. A way to realize errors that you've made.

First, going way back to the very first 'real' marathon that I did in Europe; the Garda marathon. I rode it with a rigid fork on my singlespeed Curtlo. Never in my life have I spent 3+ hours climbing one mountain. What should have been a good 4 or so hour race turned in to a 6+ hour grind... provided my memory is correct. In any case at the end of the race Kera told me that I needed to get a bike with gears.

Not only that, I'd also broken my cranks and unknowingly led myself to being addicted to riding the mountains.

So, I put a lot of thought in to what I wanted and decided Ti was IT! So, after attempting to contact a couple of builders with no success. So, given that I know his employee Ryan from Kansas City and that he's got a great web reputation, I headed down the road to James a Black Sheep.

After a few back and forth emails and me sending my measurements and some money to him. I got a couple of emails in regards to expected build time (6 weeks) and this and that. Not long after that, I couldn't get a hold of anyone via email or phone. I waited for months, I sent more emails and waited some more. To make a long story a bit shorter; when I did hear something I was told it was in the mail.

When it hadn't arrived in another month I used a friend as intermediary and he was also told that it was on the way. Well, it wasn't. So, I called a couple of more times. It, finally, arrived in Germany almost 4 months after the first time it was "on the way".

The minute I pulled it out of the box I knew it was bad. I pulled out a different model frame than I'd ordered. So, I called only to be told that I was "upgraded" for various reasons (granted, it was being nice). However, had any communication taken place I'd have opted for the frame I'd ordered.

Now, to be clear and fair. James did offer to let me return the frame if I wanted to wait for him to build another. After having waited for 9 months, how many people would have returned it? Not many, I think. Especially given the track record that I was dealing with.

O.K., there's the dirt. Now, why am I selling it? See below.

In the end it comes down to the following things.

First I wish James hadn't lied to me 4-5 times telling me that the frame was shipped, then not telling me that he was "upgrading" me to a different frame that I didn't want (for a reason), also telling me 6 weeks for build time when in fact it was closer to 9 months, and then never sending me the other small parts that he'd forgotten to put in the box and then promised to send me at least twice and lastly, the fact that I can't get the bike dialed in properly.

I suppose that you could also add that the handlebar looks like it was bent with a block of wood instead of the nice smooth curves of the Seven bar that Kera bought me for my birthday last year.

For any or all of those reasons, I find that I'm aggravated every single time that I'm on this bike. For someone, it will be the best bike that they ever lay eyes on. For me, it was the "dream bike" that turned out to be far closer to a nightmare. My riding and my attitude has sucked ever since I got this bike. Not to mention that basically everything having to do with build has been jinxed (i.e. the problems that a friend had trying to order parts for me and that I'm still waiting for the rims I ordered from a shop in England back in March). So, it was time I raised my arms, Called A) Bullshit B) I give! and let her go.

I still hold out on a dream of owning a McLung. Which is my ideal of the most beautiful bike ever made. However, I know that Rob (Badger Bicycles) won't screw me and I'll love the bike that he builds for me. So, when this sells and maybe before, I'm ordering a bike from Rob.

My, now broken, Curlo 29'er

One more comment. I have a Curtlo 29"er custom frame. From the first moment that I sat on this bike, it fit like a glove. That's never changed. So, that's what I expect in a custom bike. No matter the cost, I believe that's the point of a custom bike. No? That's exactly what I will get from Rob. I have no doubt.

Oh lastly.. Doug from Curtlo has been fantastic to deal with. I've broken the frame twice. Once soon after getting it and again last summer after many years of quality use. He's never balked at fixing it or speaking with me via email or on the phone. I suppose I owe him thanks for that. Thanks Doug!

Hope that helps clear up some things for those that want to know. I also hope it gets it off my chest.

27 August 2007

Switzerland is for Cows, Dairy Products and Singlespeeders

This past weekend, we headed to Zurich for the Swiss SingleSpeed Meisterschaft (Championships) 2007.

Fri - ImportantThings01

Edit: I've been asked to say that Kera was the only participant in the womens category. Therefore, to her, she wasn't the champion.

I'll get this out of the way now. Kera won the womens category. That's all you need to know. :-) Basically, she won every race that she entered. I didn't do as well as I'd hoped, but that's the way the 29'er singlespeed wheels roll. Right? I think I came in (after 4 races) about 7th. Midpack or so. Not bad for the oldest guy there by about 10 years. I did pull off 4th in the uphill time-trail and the night race.

We arrived with Isaac in tow (the new Swiss SingleSpeed Champion). Everyone hung out at Christophs new shop. La Flamme Rouge and had a nice night reconnecting with people.

Kera, Isaac and I were lucky enough to have a place to sleep in Guy & Barbras place. Wow! What fantastic people they were to stay with. We can't thank them enough. A nice breakfast in the morning, lots of coffee, some wine, warm showers. Who can ask for more? Not me! Thanks again you guys. By the way, I'm not a fan of kids, but I liked yours. They were o.k. by me.

Sat - DHIsaac03

Saturday saw us doing a Down Hill singlespeed race in the early afternoon, then we were off to a nice lunch cooked by Cecile. From there we did a really cool orienteering race to the top of a mountain. I helped Kera as she's not the best navigator in the world. 'Sides, life's often more fun in pairs. Along the way we picked up Mickey as well.

Sat - LatePause03

After we reached the top of the mountain and the tower (last mind you), we had cake & coffee provided by Christophs parents. Max (from last years race) arrived on the scene here as well. We then headed down the mountain on some of the toughest trails that I've ever ridden. Think roots, rocks, drop-offs often at 45 degrees or more with a little bit of dirt accidentally strewn in between. I was last down that little game too.

We then went back to the shop for awhile for a few beers and then off to Lake Zurich for a BBQ dinner and the night race. Dinner was great as were the beers consumed as well. Around 11:30 we were given race numbers and herded through the gauntlet that is the Theater Spectacular (lots of drunk people that we had to thread ourselves though) and over to a private piece of land for the night race.

We walked the course where flashlights with cone-things were placed in short cones on corners. The only hill was three or four steps up to a bridge and one off the other side. As it turned out, this little obstacle was 1/2 the fields undoing. We did a Le Mans start and off we went. The last person on each lap was pulled. I actually expected it would be me. Somehow though, I kept going and going and going. Next thing I know, I'm one of the last people out there. I think I got 3rd on that thing. Odd.

Sunday we did breakfast with Guy and headed off to the mountain on the West side of town for the uphill Time-Trail. Just for the record. F-in Ugh! I think that everyone had the same opinion. Fun, but damn it hurt. I really wish that I'd have brought the camera for the look on people's faces. Also the view from up here is fantastic!

So, we had some snacky lunch things, the award presentation. Again, Kera is the Champion. She won a Titanium SingleStar and I won a cool Chris King T-Shirt for my efforts.


Kera made this great bag that went to crazy Serge.

As usual, many more pics here - Flickr

So, this Friday we're off to Scotland for Single Speed Worlds and then a few days of vacation and travel around the islands of Skye and Islay. Lot's of photos will be forthcoming. No worries on that one.

20 August 2007

2 Years and counting! 20 August 2005

Mike & Kera's wedding 05 106

Today is our two year anniversary. Hard to believe how fast it's gone by. I suppose, living the lifestyle we live that it's not surprising to have it zoom by so quickly.

In any case, I just wanted to note today as Kera's easily the best thing that's ever happened to me. Happy Anniversary honey!

I posted all our pics from the Wedding on Flickr. so that everyone that wants to can check 'em out. There's plenty there to entertain you for a few minutes.

13 August 2007

More stuff for big SiSies! Aug. 1-3 2008 - Don't forget it!

Just in case the last post wasn't enough for you. Here are a few other tidbits that are floating about on the web in regards to the '07 SiS. Also, PHATY has released the '08 date already. Now that's planning!

Videos #1 & #2 are from the SingleSpeed race.

The concert that we missed...

This is the start of the Dusk till Dawn part of the race.

More SingleSpeed racing.

Just in case anyone is interested in coming over and doing this next year... Here's the info.


1.-3. August 2008

Nacht-Mountainbikerennen für Solofahrer sowie 2er- und 4er-Teams

2. August 20:52 Uhr bis 3. August 5:59 Uhr

In Weidenthal im Pfälzerwald
Ist das was für mich?

Das erzählt hier Kathrin oder auf English Ed

Camping ab Freitag dem 1. August an der Strecke
Hotels und Pensionen siehe Kontakte
Schaltung am Rad?

Ja! Und ohne ist auch erlaubt!

Jedes Team kann die Fahrer so oft oder so wenig einsetzen wie es möchte!
Es gibt keine vorgegebenen Reihenfolgen, alles ist möglich.
Ein Viererteam ist auch dann ein Viererteam, wenn nur ein Mitglied die ganze Nacht durchfahren würde - haben wir alles schon erlebt!
Solofahrer dürfen Pausen machen so lange sie möchten, die Wertung geht trotzdem weiter, also vier Runden fahren, fünf Stunden schlafen, eine Runde fahren oder auch nicht. Es wird das gezählt was in der Nacht geleistet wurde - egal wie und zu welcher Zeit!

05 August 2007

SiS Report or how we spent a Sat. night in Pfalzerwald.

My ever glamorous bride being chased by a pack of men!

Aren't we the hot pair?

SiS is the acronym for Schlafflos im Sattel (Sleepless in the Saddle). In short, it's a dusk till dawn race that's located in a small town (Weidental) somewhere between Heidelburg & Frankfurt.

As a former race promoter (yes, I helped found this merry group), I have a pretty high standard for what I think a race should be & do. More often than not, races in Europe tend to exceed my expectations. Case in point as with the French Singlespeed Race in Piolenc, France that I wrote about a while back. This weekend's race was equally well done.

Another thing that I've come to love about singlespeeders the world over is the community that develops. It doesn't matter whether you're a fattie, a "Fit-Fucker" or someone that just loves bikes and the people, you're welcome to come and be there. It really impresses me. People get to know each other and will drive hours just to hang out with people that they may only see a 1/2 dozen times a year but still really consider friends. It's very cool. The rest of the world could learn a lesson from that.

There's this thing about singlespeeders and dressing in drag. Hmmmm.

Mind you, dealing with singlespeeders s very often akin to herding cats. Between the excessive amounts of beer & alcohol generally consumed and the sport cigarettes that many participants partake in, it's often tough to get people to be in the prescribed locale at the appointed time.

PHATY, Erik, Kylie, Stephan & everyone else did an excellent job with the weekend! We had fantastic weather (warm & sunny in the daytime and clear at night but chilly). The people were very cool, the food was great and so much more. Coming from an Ami. perspective, the course was on the edge of too short but I'm not complaining. It was great! Rolling single/doubletrack with a nice long uphill in the middle. The course ended with a rough, arm & hand killing downhill too.

Kera in front of me...preriding.

Anyway, we prerode the course with a number of other people on Sat. morning and then did the German SingleSpeed Championship race in the early afternoon. After that, we all hung out for awhile, ate some dinner and then people prepared themselves for the dusk till dawn part of the weekend.

Me at the start.

The race started well, I felt good and was in good position. I had to keep in mind that I would be riding for a long time and that I was on a singlespeed. In any case, I turned a couple of quick first laps even with crashing (not badly) on both of them. After that, I settled in and adjusted to night riding with a head light (which I hate as I can't see shadows for depth). Using the Digital Headtrip first turned out to be a good idea as I switched to the Digital 12 bar light later and actually speeded up a bit.

Me in the middle of the night.

In the middle of the night I started to get way tired and decided to stop for a bit and rest as I knew that I wasn't in contention as the SRAM guys were passing me like I was sitting still. I also knew that I was running low on a light that I liked and wasn't ready to switch to a borrowed light.
So, I slept for a bit and finally woke up and headed out again about 3 a.m. My thought was that I had enough light to make it till daylight. Luckily, I timed it perfectly. My light lasted until 1/2 way through my last lap. By that time, the sun was up enough to see all of the course clearly.

Me finishing.

For some reason on my last lap, I started to bonk but I knew eating with 2 km to go was pointless so I just rolled on. The finish line looked fantastic! It felt good to roll over say hi to Kera and thank her for all her help throughout the night. She fed & watered me like a kid and without that, I'd had have had a rough night.

Thanks hon! I'm looking forward to next year already. I think I place 24th in solo (regardless of geared or no). I'm not thrilled with it, but there were some really fast guys there and had I continued, it would have put me a lot further up in the standings. Oh well... more for fun and to fly the Boulevard/KCOI/BikeSource flag for awhile.

Kera with her feet up. Thankfully, she didn't do this the whole race. She was the only reason I managed to go as long as I did.

My buddy Marty took a photo of nearly every 29'er in Germany. You can check out our photos & the "official" SiS Flickr group.

28 July 2007

Movin' on...


I've mentioned it briefly and I didn't want to say too much until it was a bit more finalized. Well, now it is, we're moving! On Thursday morning, we did pretty much what amounts to the closing.

Believe it or not, here in Germany, they actually read the entire contract to you and the seller. That way, there is nothing hidden or misunderstood. The lawyer makes changes as he/she goes. A very interesting process as they read technical law in Deutsch at an amazing speed.

Our new place is on the opposite side of downtown. It plops us within a couple of minutes of the Isar river, it's close to the mountain bike trails, we get super easy access to road riding, trail running and so much more. That's just the sporting opportunities. It'll also put us in an interesting Italian/Turkish neighborhood. That, for us, means that we have lots of great produce and ethnic food in the area. It also puts us very close to the Autobahn as well. That means about 20 minutes cut off of every trip out of town heading anywhere but north (which we do very rarely anyway).

Pics of the new place are here. I'm sure that I'll be adding many more to the pool. Keep checking it out.

We still need to turn in our notice on the apartment that we're currently in and we've got to finalize the installation of the new kitchen as well. Beyond that, it's just planning the move itself and all the utilities moving too. A rough guess puts us moving somewhere in at the end of September to the middle of October.

Where said kitchen will live.

We had a good meeting with our kitchen designer today and got all that pretty much finalized. We're meeting him this week at the apartment to do measurements and see the completed projects.

This weekend we're heading northwest for a couple of races on the same weekend. It's a combo of the German singlespeed championships and the SiS race. Entry fee for the singlespeed race is a 6 pack. Appropriate for singlespeeders? No? No worries... we've got Bavarian beer to bring with.

Side Non-Drive02

Side Non-Drive02

Keras finished a couple beautiful bags lately. Check 'em out. We're working on getting her an official website up soon too.

Side Non-Drive02

I finished Keras commuter/singlespeed bike over the weekend. It turned out quite cool. It's not a Badger (if you need a new bike go with Rob), but it's much more suited to sitting out in the elements day in and day out than something that nice. It's most comprised of spare parts that I had around the basement along with a new part here and there. Check it out here if you want.

18 July 2007

3rd is a winner for us!


Last weekend Kera and I along with our friends Matthias & Christian 'raced' in a 12 hour race in Külsheim. A tiny town not too far from Würzberg. It's beautiful country with rolling hills, fields and small towns. Plopped right in the middle is former tank training base. Believe it or not, it makes for a damn good area to ride mountain bikes!


We headed up on Friday along with Matthias. I'll have you know, the man knows how to fit a lot of stuff in a car. We managed to fit all of our stuff (3 bikes, camping equipment, etc.) in to his Passat. It kind of seemed a bit like loading up a clown car. Looking at all the bikes and stuff on the ground, I would have said it would never fit. In fact, I think I did say it.

We arrived around 9:30/10:00 p.m. to a mostly full parking lot and camping area. After looking a around for a bit, we said hi to a number of people that we know, accepted delivery of some stateside things from a buddy and then found a place to plop our stuff for the weekend. Thanks to the promoters, they'd put up military style tents that sleep 10 or about 6-8 comfortably (with equipment). We then had a couple of beers and headed to bed. Well... three of us did. I think Matthias & Christian stayed up till 2:00 a.m. or something.

The next morning, we awoke, wandered down to breakfast and COFFEE! Then I knew that I needed to get back and get ready for an 8:30 meeting and a 9:00 start.


One thing I need to mention. Something that I hope will always amaze me is the amount of love, blood, sweat & tears that local communities here put in to events like this. I'm sure most people in town ride a bike at least to/from work or to the store. However, I'm guessing 75% or more of Külsheim came out to help, donate food or time and then just hang out and support us.

This has happened in every race that I've taken part in here. It didn't matter whether it was in Italy, France, Austria or Germany. It also didn't matter whether it was summer or winter, people love to be a part of it. I think that I understand why I'm so fascinated by it all. It's because in my 10+ years of race promotion I had a handful of people that were always there. It didn't matter what you wanted or asked them to do, they came to help.

Then, there were the others. The were the people that would say "I'll volunteer if..." or you'd have to say "I'll give you or pay you...." Last time I checked volunteer had a little different meaning.

Main Entry: 1vol·un·teer
Pronunciation: "vä-l&n-'tir
Function: noun
Etymology: obsolete French voluntaire (now volontaire), from voluntaire, adjective, voluntary, from Old French, from Latin voluntarius
1 : a person who voluntarily undertakes or expresses a willingness to undertake a service: as a : one who enters into military service voluntarily b (1) : one who renders a service or takes part in a transaction while having no legal concern or interest (2) : one who receives a conveyance or transfer of property without giving valuable consideration


Back to my story.

I got ready, went to the meeting and then lined up for the start. We did a loop around the small base 'town' and then back through the start/finish area. Oh.. we were following the mayor/burgermeister wearing a Top Hat on the back of a tandem mountain bike whilst doing this. After the start/finish, they peeled off and we were off.

I say that we were off... In reality, I should probably use a slightly different term as the ground wasn't really wet, just really soft. It felt a bit like riding continually through water. Having the constant resistance will wear your ass out. Trust me on this one!

Me Start

My, should I say, everyone else's plan for me was to do 3 laps or 3 hours right off the bat. I did two (I could have done more) and had Kera go. She did her couple and the course started to dry out as the wind kicked up a bit and the heat soared. By the middle of the after noon, we were racking up laps and we sat +/- the middle of the overall placings. We never paid much attention to our actual places though.


Me middle

Later in the afternoon, I went out again, did 3 laps (2 of my fastest) and then Kera (who the heat really bothered), Matthias & then Christian. About 7:45 p.m. they announced that anyone coming in after 8:00 p.m./20:00 would not have that lap counted. So, we were anxiously awaiting Christians arrival to see if I could do another lap. Stupid me, I'd never checked what my lap times really were. It was all just ideas of time in my head.


Christian arrived about 8:10 and I deemed it a bit to late for me to attempt another lap. I knew if I did one and it didn't count, I'd be pissed! As it turned out, I could probably pretty easily have completed a lap as my slowest lap was about 43:06 and my fastest was 37:02.

Hard Life

Anyway, we were just having fun and had no clue that we were even in the running for a place on the podium. We ate some awesome dinner provided by Anna & Christian, had a couple of beers and a lot of water and then wandered down to the award ceremony. The started working their way through the awards and then started reading off the names of teams in our class. They named a few, then 1/2 dozen or so with the same laps as us and then said (in Deutsche) that we'd gotten 3rd. What the....?!! Woohoo!

Podium shot 03

Trophy & Stuff 01

Up we all went. The mayor gave us our cool trophy, a cool book from Specialized celebrating the 25th anniversary of the Stumpjumper and we each got a bottle of local wine. Not bad for a 35 Euro entry fee. Guess we'll have to go back next year to defend the crown.

A bunch of pics posted here and here

I just wanted to say two more things. Thanks to Kera, Anna, Christian & Matthias as well as everyone that helped or was with the Külsheim race. A definite good time. I forgot to mention that 3 of the 4 of us were on singlespeeds for the race too. :-)

Next up... SiS. PHATY...we're coming to see you bubba!