Saturday, May 10, 2008

None More Metal

I discovered the Insulter of Jesus Christ on the classic Damnation "Destructo Evangelia" Cd, but had lost track of him until he turned up as the drummer on the new Nifelheim CD Envoy of Lucifer. In a world in which being subtle and understated are not on the menu, Nifelheim push "over the top" into the
red zone. More spikes, more leather, more satan, and most
importantly-Insulter of Jesus Christ on drums. Imagine if Edger and Johnny
Winter played fully satanic blackened thrash-but together and were called
Tyrant and Hellbutcher!. That is 2/5 of the Nifelheim puzzle. Add in
IOJC, Vengeance from Beyond, and Apocalyptic Desolator and you have the
full line up of this black metal thrash battalion. Regain Records gets the honor of dropping Envoy of Lucifer. A certified Swedish classic.
The best music is often made by outsiders with a lot of vision and little
contact with the outside world ( or loners who live in their parent's
basement...), Tyrant and Hellbutcher have the metal vision and have walked the
talk for almost 2 decades. This is thoroughly compentent metal though not Daniel Johnston trying to play Burzum. It might not be as immediately catchy as Slayer or Sodom, but to those who have followed the black musical arts will put it on repeat for sure.
If that isn't enough Tyrant and Hellbutcher are Europe's number one Iron Maiden fans. In fact Tyrant says " We will kill you if you don't like Iron Maiden because then you are a fucking wimp." Although Hellbutcher states his case for being a superfan boy here. Nuff said. Metal for Metallions by Metallions.

Friday, May 9, 2008

giro prep

Teams generally play less of a role in the Giro then the Tour (except for controlling sprint finishes in the first week). The last few years, it has been attrition by the eventual winner, whittling down the competition. With Asatana included this year, it will be interesting to see if that dynamic changes. They will bring the "all in for the team leader" mentality 100% and have 2 potential winners (and Levi...)
Of all the aging Italian favorites Simoni,DiLuca,Salvodelli, etc, it is more exciting to focus on a dark horse or youngster like Karpets,Menchov, Ricco, Siutsou, Pellizoti, etc.
Mountain goats can look forward to some hopefully epic stages and battles between Piepoli, Soler, and Simoni. Can Perez Cuopa or Rujano return tot he spotlight this year in the mountains? Good year for the climbers.
High Road and Slipstream are both in a little over their head and Slipstrem could stand some results.
How many stages will McEwen last? He'll have some tough days to make it to the pan flat stages of 12 and 13 and I would be suprised to see him after that. Maybe he will bail earlier if he gets some wins?
Stages 15 and 16 should be a back to back decider of some sort. Stages 20 and 21 could still have riders in the hunt for the overall. 20 looks good for a breakaway or someone attacking from way out to gain tim. Final 28K TT could also matter if the time gaps are small.
I have my fingers crossed for an aggressive race and am hoping on the old guard and some dark horses to animate things-Menchov,Karpets, or Hesjedal for example.
Opening with a TTT should be intresting CSC vs Slipstream but you can't count out High Road.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Making Rapha seem reasonable....

Assos prices are insane. Assos product may be good, but the style has never grabbed me. Assos foray into "casual" wear is more Kazak Mob than rouleur, but now they are into beach towels and throw pillows??? How can you even process this? Do the sell bikes at Ron Jon's Surf Shop or Crate and Barrel??? Who is the target for these products? Whose market share are they trying to steal?
About $200 bucks for the pair with shipping. Think of all the things you could upgrade on your bike for two bills. Never mind the sweet bib shorts you could get.

East Coast Young One in Flanders Europ Classic

Just wanted to give a thumbs up to Mass native Gavin Mannion who finished 9th in the Flanders-Europ Classic on May 1st! Another Hot Tubes future champ in the making.
Nice to see an East Coast kid battling the Belgians when only few days earlier he was racing in Palmer.
Stumbling across race results like that make reading the small print on all the reaces worth while!

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Chris from Slapshot and Ted Wojcik Bikes

For our second installment in the bikes and music series, we've got Chris from Slapshot who also works for Ted Wojcik bikes. Ted is an OG New England bike builder and Slapshot are of course "old-tyme hardcore" so it must be a good partnership. For local heads Ted Wojciks will be on NH Chronicle this Friday. Thanks to Chris for his time and longtime WWDIS supporter Ur Trommler for hooking it up!

WWDIS:What are you riding now?
CL:I don't have a road bike at the moment so most of my
riding is MTB. I get to use the TW demo bikes: The
Monkey Butt 29er and Solution FS and I have my 95 Ted
26in. We are building a demo Rensport CFR soon and
that will be fit for me!

WWDIS:-How did you get into MTBing? Did you start out on
the road or dirt? Any BMX roots?
CL:I started out in BMX, like most kids do and I got into
Motocross racing for while.

WWDIS: Campy or Shimano ?
CL:SRAM! (and some shimano). I really like SRAM and
Shimano's business practices leave a lot to be
desired. Campy stuff is like Rolex, Ted has it on his

WWDIS:Hardtail or suspension?
CL:I'm a total weight weenie so I like hardtails but I am
enjoying our Solution FS.

WWDIS: All time favorte piece of gear or bike?
CLL:My 95 Ted is my favorite ride mostly for sentimental

WWDIS:With all the choices for builders in New England
(IF,Seven, Fat City,Merlin(depending on how old you are ,etc) what
made you go with Ted Wojcik?
Cl:When I was buying my first Ted, IF had only made a few
frames, so I went with someone that had the experience.
I had Wicked back in the 80's, I bought it used from a

WWDIS: Do you race?
CL: I raced a few MTB races back in the 90's, no racing
for me anymore. But if I were to get back into it I
would hit the road.

WWDIS: Favorite rides?
CL:I spent most of my heavy riding years at the Fells and
Lynn Woods. The trail I built behind my house is my
current favorite, because I made it and any complaints
go right to me!

WWDIS: What makes an ideal MTB for New England conditions?
CL: That seems to have changed quite a bit over the past
decade. My choice would be a 26in hardtail.

WWDIS: How did you get involved with Ted Wojcik?
CL:I knew him from buying my bike and heard that he was
having some business issues so I stepped in and got
things under control.

WWDIS:What is your role at TW?
CL:I help out Ted with marketing and scheduling. Ted is
the only one building frames from scratch.

WWDIS:Any chance of you building frames?
CL:Someday. I am a welder and machinist but making frames
takes a much more than that.

WWDIS:How many frames per year do you produce?
CL:Not enough! LOL, We have the capacity to do around
10-12 a month. This is exactly where we want to be.
The math does not add up to produce more frames, you
end up losing money on each one and that's whats
going on with a lot of these companies, they think
they are going to make it up in volume, but it just
can't work out

WWDIS: What's on the IPOD -do you have a workout mixes?
CL:Lots of HC, I still listen to HC and metal all the
time. I do have a specific workout mix that is mostly
techno, LOL!

WWDIS: Have you had a chance to check out any races while on
tour in Europe?
CL: I went to a Worlds after party back in 94, we didn't
get to the town until too late in the day to see the
race. That was a pretty wild party, I had no idea!
It would be awesome to follow the TDF around someday.

WWDIS:What is up with Slapshot? Any tours?
CL:Yeah, we are doing 10 shows in Europe in July. Maybe a
couple of shows in the states later in the summer.

WWDIS:Is it hard to balance the band and the job?
CL:We do the band so infrequently these days that it's
not really a problem. Back in the 90's when we were
touring a lot it would get real challenging.

Thanks Chris!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Shawn Brown Interview

I got the idea not too long ago to start to bug dudes who were into bikes and music and see what was up. Are there any super bike nerd musicians out there? who wants to talk about tire pressure and the best record in the Dischord catalog? Who knows the line up of the 97 of the Gan TDF squad and the catalog numbers of the 1st 40 Stax releases? Heavy duty geek shit.
Shawn Brown was one of my first targets and was also cool enough to talk to me and not be scared off by the double stalker music/bike nerd factor-Thanks!
If you don't remember or are too young to have checked his bands out he was in Dag Nasty, Swiz, Sweatbelly Freakdown, and Jesuseater.
Some how, I made some connection between Shawn being a bike guy in addtion to musican
Besides all that he is tattooing full time now . Pretty full plate. Anyway that's the intro here are the questions in what will be an ongoing harassment of the music/bike nexus.

WWDIS:What are you riding now?
SB:I am riding a bike from REI called the Element. It's a touring/cyclocross style bike, i use it pretty much to commute. Next up would be a Jamis Spudnik . It's fixed. I use it for drunk rambling or other gnarly activity, Yes it has a front brake! remember I am old and drunk ETC! then there is a c-dale beast from the east! old skool baby, thumb shifters and all! No bio pace! frames being built up? surly pacer and an old specialized S-WORKS steel

WWDIS:Campy or Shimano?
SB:I have always been a Shimano man! though the new Sram stuff looks awesome and seems to be getting good reviews. Maybe on the Surly? Maybe that's what I should do.

WWDIS:All time favorite bike/piece of gear?
SB:I had a trek 1400 that I upgraded to ultegra back in the 90's I rode it to death, after that then the S-WORKS. It had some Deore and XT stuff on it.

WWDIS:Do you race?
SB:Done some back in the 90's, I have a cyclocross fantasy , who knows when I will make that come tru.

WWDIS:What's on the IPOD?
SB:Zombies, Minute Men,Sonic Youth,DeadPrez, Judas Priest,Joy Divison And Roky Ericson this week.

WWDIS:Favorite Rides?
SB:All riding! Great falls, Soil conservation thru Bowie, DC streets..... Oh!!!! Seattle to Portland !! Cascade bike club represent!!!!

WWDIS:Are you currently playing with anybody?
SB:No bands right now, tattooing takes up so much of My time. It's hard to do both. BIG UP TO PROTUES bikes IN college park!!! They are the coolest !! Luv them people! Roger thanks for the chance to do an interview! Peace man!! Shawn. .

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Holy Bottom Bracket

Totally forgettable race day today in the Blue Hills. Rain and climbing-should have been a dream day, but I of course continued my string of bad luck, hit a pot hole, and my bars dropped down about 2 inches which was not very confidence inspiring. So race over, DNF once again. Billy managed a good result so it wasn't a total waste getting out of bed.
The one memorable thing occurred while lining up at the start. I was behind a kid on a Kuoto KOM. Glance down at his frame and my jaw dropped at the huge bottom bracket-with reinforced gusset. It looks like some BMX head tube. That thing must be stiff.

Williams Wheels

Trying to put together a light set of "race wheels" and doing so without breaking the bank is nerve racking. Dollar for dollar and gram for gram each decision is a pain. I could have gone the easy way and got some Zipps and a crash replacement plan (do they even offer that if you are a Cat 5?), but I wanted to see what I could do for cheap, and I really didn't need jaw dropping light. I just needed lighter. Something lighter than what I train on and sturdy enough to race without constant maintenance. I am not delusional about my potential and am probably too pessimistic about the survival of gear in road racing. After several iterations of excel charts comparing price,weight, rim height, etc., I decided to go with Williams Wheels Wheel System 19s. A fairly traditional set up, but they past the test in the dollars per gram analysis. Placed my order and everything went smoothly. Wheels arrived on time. No headaches-which was something I was nervous about, but they have the logistics end down.
Straight out of the box, I was happy but not blown away. They felt light
and were packed well. They were true out of the box.I went with the silver wheels cause they were more traditional looking to match the more traditional box /low profile rim set up, and they are pretty traditional rims/wheels/skewers/spoke pattern etc, so maybe that was why I felt slightly underwhelmed. Logos were minimal and tasteful-a nice change of pace compared to some of the competition. The front hub looked like an American Classic micro and the rear hub looked like a cut
rate track hub. I don't believe in frills for frills sake(wrapping
aluminum in carbon for example), but I was hoping the rear hub performed
better than it looked. It had a not quite high flange look with very
little machining or work done to it. That said, they a had a nice polished shine(more than Campy can say now a days!) and if they work well I will be looking forward not down. They aren't totally traditional though-hybrid ceramic bearings are hidden inside and the rims are niobium super alloy. So there is some stealth tech in the traditional looks!
I mounted Veloflex Corsas with Michelin air lite tubes (ooohhh I might have saved 20 grams over a regular tube-watch out skinny kids!). The Veloflex/Williams combo proved to be a tight fit and it was work to mount these tires. Veloflexs go on very easy on other rims I've used (mavic open
pro, ksyrium, campy), but it wasn't the end of the world. I love Veloflex
Paves and can only hope the lighter Corsas live up to their heavier cousins
track record. Corsas run 170 grams per tire.
Got lucky with timing as the wheels arrived around my birthday and thanks
to several people's generosity, I put of a Chorus cassette 12-25. There
goes another 13 grams that I would have had to carry if I went with
Centaur. 13 grams? Who can win races dragging that around?

So front wheel in total weighs 955 grams (with tire,skewer,etc). Rear wheel is at grams1430 grams (tire,skewer,cassette). So total 2385 for the pair
This is lighter than my other main wheels (old Kysrium Elites with Veloflex
Paves and Centaur cassette) by 13 ounces! Which is nice if all you are is a
weight weenie, the bottom line is how do they feel on the road????
Why didn't I just measure the wheel weights? Cause I wanted to compare the total package since in reality that would be what I was pushing around-not just the wheels minus everything you need to ride.

Threw them on and took them for a spin on the loop I use for hill repeats. I am not very good at first impressions(I would fail a blindfold test for sure). I could tell they were lighter, but there was no huge difference. I was excited to race on them that Sunday. Took them out for a 40 mile ride on Saturday and they felt killer. Definitely started to notice the missing weight. Rear wheel especially. First race! First lap-loud bang-tube blew out and blew the tire off the rim! WTF?? As stated many times this year, I am cursed! So much for light weight inner tubes. Race over with no real performance to report on. Got home and threw in a new tube- a regular old "heavy" tube. Switched between the ksyrium and williams rear wheels for a few weeks. Next two races I used the ksyrium rear cause the races were hilly and I had a 27 on the mavic cassette. Switched back to Williams after that and at that point could really feel the difference. Super smooth , they spin up fast and corner well. My side by side comparison was further skewed by having to buy a new frame after a crash demo'd my other frame, but having used them for 2 more hill repeat workouts, they clearly are lighter and stiffer than my old set. Thumbs up on performance.
Bottom line was these are the lightest wheels for the price that I could
find and they are (after only a couple hundred miles) performing better than I would have expected. As far as the tires and tubes. The Corsas are reinforcing my love for Veloflex tires. Very nice road feel, supple, etc. Ultra light tubes get the gas face!
I have to pay my respects to the Kysrium elites that have been my main wheelset for almost 5 years -and in that time they have been problem free! No broken spokes, never out of true. They are/were total worry free workhorses that I still haven't put out to pasture. Hopefully the Willims 19s will live up to this standard-they are off to a good start. This company has excellent service and hard to beat prices-check out their deals on carbon fiber 38 and 58mm profile wheels! Williams supports racing-check their blog.
Lastly stumbled across a review at this site Cool site. Looks like we are in agreement.