Monday, December 1, 2008

October Bikes Part One

It is really a small world. Andrew and my wife met walking dogs in the morning and somehow bikes came up. Not too long after that, we stumbled on the youth crew/anthrax connection. Not too long after that he dropped that he had played drums for Wishful Thinking(arguably the best of the Western Mass Community Chest releases....but good luck finding someone to argue with about this. Any G-Man fans out there?). Not only that, he was the kid on the cover! He makes some nice ti and carbon ti frames. Road, Cross, MTB, whatever you want. He started building for Dean in CO and then moved back East.
Anyway he was dowh to answer some questions, so read on and check him out here. More Bike Questions and photos for part two!

1.How did you get into music? How did you get into hardcore?
I started playing drums probably when I was around 8 or 9. I used to make the biggest set I could from boxes and whatever else I could find around. I made full-on erector set hi-hats and bass drum pedals...I guess that was one of the early starts to engineering as well. Anyway, for some reason, music was a big part of my life from early on. My folks really enjoyed music and had it playing all the time at home. I think the aggressiveness, and passion of hardcore music is what got me hooked. The raw emotion and energy, as well as the speed of it just resonated with me. Which in some ways is very strange since I'm pretty much an introvert. Then I really got into the straight edge stuff and that was just amazing. Here were these kids, agree or not, living in a positive way staying away from drugs, etc. Was cool to feel a sense of community and that the music (and the scene) had your back if you needed an army against the peer pressure.
2.Favorite show? Best show at the Anthrax?
Man, it's a tough one to pick a favorite. As for hardcore, probable a Youth of Today, Judge, and Bold also happened to be at the Anthrax. Another memorable one was Absolution at the Anthrax...they opened, then another band played (Hogan's Hero's I think) then Absolution came on again! Was pretty sick. Other notables in varied genres were an early Rage Against the Machine show, Sunny Day Real Estate at the UMASS Student Union, any of the 8 times I've seen Tool, Earth Crisis at Pearl, I could go on and on..
3.How did you end up in Wishful Thinking?
I met the Wishful Thinking guys through mutual skateboarding friends. Their current drummer was getting into county music or something, so they needed someone new. Unfortunately for me, they already recorded the 7", but fortunately, I got to play the shows!
4.What was the best show you played with them?
Probably at UCONN, we opened for 24-7 Spyz.
5.Fondest youth crew memories?
Just skating, listening to music, heading up to Main Street Records. Western Mass had a pretty good hardcore scene. I mean, we had a ton of fun, plenty of shows came through, or weren't too hard to get to. I am grateful that my parents tolerated all this stuff and trusted that I was hanging out with a good group of friends.

6.Top Ten hardcore classics?

Only ten? I guess these were probably my fav's back in the day:
Break Down the Walls - Youth of Today
I Against I - Bad Brains
Destroy the Machines - Earth Crisis (is that considered a classic?)
Beyond - Demo
Speak Out - Bold
Insted's album
Chain of Strength - True til Death
7 Seconds - Walk Together, Rock Together
Minor Threat - Out of Step
Brotherhood - Demo

7.Where you into bikes or skateboarding or anything back then?
Totally into Skateboarding. I had a BMX bike as a kid, but skateboarding, then snowboarding was where it was at. I just realized - this will be my 22nd year snowboarding! I've missed a couple seasons in there, but yeah, been riding regularly for a long time. I also still break out the skateboard now and again...

8..Did you get into road or MTB first?
I got heavy into mountain biking about '92 or so. I just was so stoked on it! Then I got into some beginner racing, and found I was only riding my mountain bike in the races - the rest of the time, I was out on the road. So I became a shaved-leg roadie! Now, I pretty much do it all, except I don't do any of it all that much! Seems like once you start building bikes, you stop riding them....

Part Two of this interview will be along shortly. That will cover more of the bike-life rather than the core.

As a side note the Rise to Surprise 7" is a 9 song rager. More trad HC with a Cali (UC) or DC(Faith maybe) feel than the CT posi-core that the cover hints at. It reminds me of the bands that were on the Open Your Eyes tape series(if anyone remembers that) Get it if you can-especially on orange wax?
"Time Out" and "Inside Out"are my favorite tracks. Inside Out has a real NYHC feel (Side by Side?) Youth Crew forever!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

If this cross thing doesn't start getting easier, I am switching to this.

Start Stick and Mad Alchemy Embrocation

I am pretty much helpless in the face of novelty products and impulse buys. So when a review of Mad Alchemy embrocation popped up from Cyclocross mag, I knew I would be getting something from this company. Small local company making niche product? Sign me up. There are already some established sites that focus on embrocation(BKW has water bottles!), so I will focus on the thing that really got my heart racing. The Start Stick Nasal Inhaler! How had I made it this far without this? No wonder my racing has been so sub par! I haven't been able to open my nasal passages.
There are a variety of cycling urban myths that I subscribe to-compression socks for example and these seemed to be another one I would succumb to.
I also have an OCD compulsion to brush my teeth before rides because I read the mint smell can improve performance.(no evidence found in my personal performance).
Double espresso before a ride is another sacred cow for me. The start stick was a perfect addition to my pre ride/race OCD rituals.
Since it is natural it seems better than abusing athsma inhalers or cold medicine, but I can always fall back on those if the Start Stick fails me.
So what are the initial reports? I messed around with it on a cold commute, but that doesn't really match the "rigors of competition"
Finally had a chance to test out the start stick in colder race conditons. A 5K not a cross race, but hey what can you do. A couple snorts on this thing and my nose was clear. I don't know how much of an impact it had, but I sounded much better than the 50 year old hyperventilating next to me with Re-Load cranked on his IPOD.
The small stick is easy to misplace and thus failed to make it to the start of my next two cross races with me. I kept sticking it in a jersey pocket and forgetting to transfer it. I need to stick it in my race bag and leave it.
Sat night, I managed to remember to stuff it in my bag, so I was ready on a cold Sunday morning in Palmer. I had a runny nose and this definitely cleared me out. Hard to say if it helped during the race since my mouth was hanging open most of the time-not much relaxed breathing through the nose as your are chasing back after multiple crashes.
This item will take its place in my pantheon of performance enhancers that don't seem to enhance my performance, but I can't really blame any of the products when the engine isn't there...........
One caveat, this stuff seems to encourage some seriously adhesive boogers a few hours after the race, so if you are afraid to dig for gold-think twice!

As far as the embrocation, it is good. It is the color of squash and that makes me want to eat it. Warm, but not insane and it washes off no problem. Smells good. MA also has done a couple cool limited runs or coffee embrocation, so keep an eye on the site and support small, local business! It's a winner.