Friday, December 12, 2008

October Part Two!

-How did you get into frame building and how did you hook up with Dean?
I always dreamed of starting my own frame company, even before I had any clue whatsoever how it was done. After following my one of my other dreams of living in Colorado, I was laid off from an engineering job along w/ half the dept. Ironically, I was out on a lunch time ride when The Man's hand came down, so I was pretty much the last to know. Through a friend (the one who does all the graphics for October), I met Sean from Rol wheels who had a relationship with the Dean folks. As it turned out, they were in need of a builder because one of their guys was leaving. I made contact and shortly after was offered the job. Best thing I've ever done, next to starting my own thing...

-Favorite tool(s) in your shop?
Has to be my frame fixture. Don Ferris from Anvil really knows how to make tools. My frames come out of the fixture tighter and straighter than I could hope with other tooling. Of course, like all builders that use them, my Bridgeport is kind of like a family just get to know the ins and outs of your machine and how to adjust for them.

-Why do you think titanium gets a bad rap? (you know the whole bike rich dentists ride thing....)
It gets a bad rap? Perhaps I'm the modern version of old fashioned or something, but to me, titanium is an incredible material for bikes. It's expensive as hell, so I see the angle you are referring to. It has soul though. Carbon fiber is amazing, can be laid up to do just what you want, but if done wrong, there is no life in it. Titanium/carbon bikes ride amazing, are adequately light, and have excellent durability. For my money, its the magic combination..

-Internal cable routing-friend or foe?

Haven't really played with it on my bikes. I think it's cool and has a place in a lot of the bikes the artisan builders make. I don't read/hear a lot about how much more aero it makes a TT bike, although it gets used a lot in that application. I guess I just haven't decided to have a look at it yet.

-What is more fun to build? Road or MTB?-Take a stand
Cross bikes! I love making cross bikes. I totally would take a stand, but I really don't like to build one over the other. I certianly don't pick up a build sheet and think 'oh crap, not another road bike"... I'm still too stoked on the whole thing to be complacent

**notice the classic hardcore song title aspect of the above questions? Good for you, I ran out of steam after two.

-Extened seat tube/masts?
I think they are pretty rad. I use them on my cross bikes and have had excellent feedback both from the racers and the public.

-What makes a beautiful bike?

Giving it soul. Totally. There are so many amazing bikes out there and if I had the means, even though I am a builder, I would have a fleet of bikes from lots of companies. I've ridden tons of bikes, owned tons of bikes, and I certainly have had good ones and bad ones. When you get to the level I am striving to be at with my bikes, I truly think in so many ways it's the company vibe/image/soul that ultimately a customer wants to associate with. It may sound a bit lame, but I care about each one of the bikes I build as if I was building it for myself. I truly feel like I am living my dream, so each bike has a piece of me in it. I want someone who decided to drop the money on an October to feel the soul of the bike in each pedal stoke.

-Who are some of your other favorite frame builders?
Man, so many... I love the Indy Fab guys and where they came from. Richard Sachs, of course. I think Sacha White is a trend setter and deserves major props.

-Best music to build bikes to?
I've totally been on this The Devil Wears Prada kick lately. I have such a crazy musical range.... some days it's Sigur Ros, other days it Youth of Today. I'm also totally digging Agraceful as well. I loved the Emarosa EP, but felt like something was lost in the new album they put out with the new singer. When I have the welding mask on, I tend to like mellower stuff, just because I get in the zone and don't feel so aggro. When I'm doing the machining, I definitely am diggind the heavier side. Any suggestions? I need some new stuff...

(WWDIS:Suggestions? I tend to break more stuff to music than fix it, but AC/DC is pretty much mandatory bike cleaning/working/etc music to me.)
So there you go 2 rounds with Andrew from October. Check him out. In these tough times it is important to support small business. And where else can you talk about extended seat masts and 24-7 Spyz with the same dude?
A few more shots from his shop. I am not trying to be Ansel Adams(and I did not do these bikes justice! Check out his site for better bike shots), but it is alway cool to be able to wander around a workshop and be surrounded by this many nice bikes and more in progress.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Best Records of 08

I struggle with these list every year. This year, I am basing it on stuff I listened to most. I spent a ton of time in the car this year and most of this is good driving music. There are a few records that blew my mind (Krallice for instance), that aren't on the list. If I was listening to Krallice while driving, I would proably start playing demolition derby. This is pretty much all get up and go music

#1Torche. Hands down best record of the year. The power, the hooks.

Nachmystium. There were several reasons this record should have sucked and the arty excesses are as bad as anything on Funhouse, but this record slays.

NightMarchers. Not unlike Nachmystium there are some swings and misses on this, but when it connects it is fantastic.

Annhilation Time. RKL vs Thin Lizzy? These guys have moved well beyond their ealry Blast/Black Flag worship into a pretty enjoyable band borrowing heavily from 70/80s hard rock(and obscuro English hard rock at that)

Terror-Forever Crossing the Line.

TI Paper Trail

Paul Weller 22 Dreams. The modfather covers a lot of ground on this sprawling double lp. Pulled most of it off live as well.

Sixto Rodriquez. Sugarman is overhyped compared to the Dylan vs Donovan battle the rest of the album undertakes.
Brotherman SDTRK. Hard to believe this lost gem isn't a hoax

Close but no cigar

With 20ish days left to go in the year, I am sure I will remember a few more records in the coming days....................

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

James Brown saves Boston

At first glance, I wasn't sure how Jim Sullivan was going to stretch one James Brown concert into an entire book. Mix in MLK's assassination, Boston Politics, and the hardest working man in show business and it wasn't that hard.
This is a great book that uses one moment in time to illustrate a bunch of aspects of history, music, politics, and economics. It is hard to understand how much was changing in America in 68. America was a powder keg ready to blow and it took the hard work of a lot of people to hold it together. This is a nice study of one such moment and one group of people centered around the King, James Brown.
And for Mass/Boston locals with an eye on politics, witness names like Chuck Turner and Barney Frank turning up in this story in the early days of their careers. Small world.
Even JB's music was in a time of transition. Going for the horn section propelled, "I got you" to the more bass and drum driven stuff of "say it loud" or "licking stick". He was making it crazier every time out with every instrument contributing to the precussive affect.
The book wraps up focusing on James's struggles in the 70s/80s. The stuggles of JB to succeed as a man while all his actions are weighed, measured , and critiqued by a peanut gallery both black and white was a burden worhty of Atlas , but unlike Atlas James never shrugged.
This is a good read that straddles the successfully combines some biogrpahy and some history.
"Don't Burn, Learn!"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

48 hours of fun

Pretty amazing longish weekend. Warwick was rad. Picked my cross-master up on Thursday and got to watch him unpack some nice bikes and gear. Friday night visit to the October workshop ran a little longer than I planned due to my not so excellent sense of direction(which was a theme of the weekend).
5AM wake up call and a 6AM roll out for the C race starting at 8:30. Arrive to a pretty cold Goddard Park with plenty of time to warm up. Beach section was shorter than the video I watched, but still no joke. Fast asphalt start. UCI/Verge finale race so there was a call up! So pro. Since I registered pretty early, I was definitely a few rows ahead of where my legs should have been. Bang and it's on. Furious charge through some asphalt corners to the 1st run up. Jump back on after the run up and I have a flat??!!!???? Cursed! How can I have fucking flatted in the first 30 seconds of the race? I am pissed. I ride about half a lap to the pits totally bumming, but get wheel fast and am back chasing. The Saturday course seemed more suited to road bike guys. More longer straight sections. The terror and fear of chasing and not wanting to get lapped got me moving. You have to just set small goals. Mine was to catch five people. I got six by the end so that was a success, 66 out of 75 and I didn't get lapped. Stoked.
The rest of the day was a blur. Watched all the races. Driscoll was a beast. Jumped in the car, got lost, got home. Quick bike cleaning and that was that-off to bed.
Repeat the morning routine. Up at 5 out at 6.

Where's the snow? I thought. Don't worry it started a few minutes into the drive. Arrive to a totally new course-much more technical and cross like-especially covered with snow. Another front wheel issue. I didn't have much of an opinion on the Hutchinson bulldogs that came on the Redline, and was withholding judgement, but just like their road tire cousins, Hutchinsons suck! Too prone to cuts and the attract debris and problems like a magnet. 1st upgrade to the cross bike will be new tires.
So after one slow practice lap, it was time to line up and race. This day had a much longer second beach section and I was anxious to test out my cross-guru's advice to run it clean the whole way rather than try and ride it and fail. Cross-guru's advice was good, cause I was catching and passing people on the run. The snow added an element of fun as my front wheel seemed to wash out at every opportunity. Either way it was fun and over before I knew it.
I got to sit in the pits for cross-guru's race with his spare bike and did one bike exchange which I didn't fuck up (thanks Matt Roy for the cross clinic!) Waiting in the pit, while Dan was racing was probably as stressful as my race. Especially after getting lectured by the mechanic....
Pam spray works! But I spent lot of time banging my shoes trying to clear the cleats to clip in. But for $2.99 you better have a can of it in your possession.
Thanks to Dan for the wheel, the advice, the support, and putting up with my driving. Thanks to Andrew for the support and the cheering. Also thanks to the neutral support mechanic(Mark)for the fast wheel change!
I am bummed that my cross season is over, but totally stoked for it to start next year when, hopefully, I will have some leges!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Warwick Sunday

Now this is cross weather! Despite the snow it was warmer than Sat. The wind got worse later in the day.

The barriers got moved to this hill. Way more fun both to ride and to watch. Dollar bills up for grabs! The one dollar Narragansetts and bunny hop primes kept it lively all day. PS Narragansett makes a Porter that is pretty good!

They called this the "intestinal track" and the pros road it pretty fast without crashing(unlike the 4s)

I am suprised I took so few photos and even less good ones.

Warwick Saturday

It was too cold to take a lot of pictures and I was geeking out watching the races but here are a few that made the cut. Sunday to follow.
Lightweights in the Masters 1/2/3 race??

Barriers one Sat

McCormack through the barriers on Sat

Nicer bikes than usual on the Subaru.

First Run Up was tough. This Army dude got heckled a lot. Go Navy and worse.

I got no good photos of the Elite race, but Driscoll was a beast and just road away from everyone.