Thursday, August 07, 2008

- Good grief where have I been? -

Here's the thing. There is a glitch with my blogger account as I have it and my google checkout account on the same computer and they are run off of two different email addresses, so I haven't been able to post easily until now because I still had to keep tabs on google. Fortunately we have hired my brother Jared (currently building last replication boxes in our carbon workshop) who now handles that, so I am free for the critical work of blogging again.

An incredible amount has happened since I was last up here.

Sram and Ultegra Hudz have finally hit the market - though the gold for those two are lagging a bit. We hope to have the coloring re-sorted in the next coupe weeks. With the Sram and Ultegra molds going into service we have also moved all of our Hudz fabrication to Colorado. They are made just south of us in a little town called Denver (try the Sushi Den if you're ever there).

In other Hudz news our DA7800 compatible Hudz showed up on the ride to Paris in this year's Tour de France. Both Yellow Jersey winner Carlos Sastre and White Jersey winner Andy Schleck sported the enhanced hoods and matching bar tape on they Champs Elysees. Next stop, the Olympics...

Yes, Hudz will be on the bikes of some Olympic athletes this year also. We have sent them for the three Canadian women (all Webcor racers) and Christine Thorburn from the US (also from Webcor) in custom colors - the Canadians will have red and white swirled Hudz, and the US have one red and white and one blue and white hood. Another 10 or so deligations were sent Hudz for their riders, so we'll see where all they show up.

In tech news DA 7900 and now the new DAi2 or whatever the electric group is called have been unveiled. I was so excited about the 7900 group that we have bought sets for all of our Interbike show bikes. DA all the way this year. Last year we went with predominantly Campy bikes with one DA and one Sram bike, so this is a big switch for us. The reports that I have gotten from the guys in Europe using it have been that it is excellent, it keeps all the good things about the last group and improves on things that you didn't even know needed it. As for the new levers, well, the feedback is positive but it looks like there will still be room for Hudz to do their thing and improve the grab-a-bility there as well.

BB30 looks like it is gaining all the time, but the inability for custom builders to easily ream a bb shell after fabrication is making it a lot harder for us to get on this train. Seems like there are rumors about something later this year, but if that doesn't materialize, you'll probably have to keep shopping from China to get BB30 compatible frames.

Shoes are moving forward again. Check back for some prototypes before show season. We've worked out the design on all the things that Maggy B. wanted in them and I think the final product should be stellar - albeit a touch outside the realm of some people's comfort level.

The last big project of the year will be to get DA7900 and Campy 11 Hudz ready (well there's one more, but that's still secret, the new shapes were logical enough that most of you already figured that out). We are scrounging around for Campy and DA parts before they hit the market, but so far it's been impossible to come by. We'll keep at it and hope to be able to deliver Hudz for the new levers around the time that they are commercially available. With the additional time beyond our schedule that it took to get Ultegra and Sram Hudz on the market though, the end of the year will do for me.

More stuff coming soon...

Thursday, May 08, 2008

- The TB ward -

No, I don't have TB, but I feel like I might as well.

As cyclists, we are quite familiar with loving something that causes us pain. In this case, it's my 29" Petri dish - my son Riis. He is the greatest little thing around, I really love the little dude. But, when he goes to the nursery at our health club he invariably comes home with some sort of gack within a week. Being a loving and generous little dude, he then shares it with the rest of the family. What that means for me is that I have been "not sick" for about 4 weeks since November. That sucks.

As is my luck, I have it in the lungs once again. The joy of a scraping cough that makes it feel like someone is removing layers of your lungs with the broad edge of a razor blade is something that I will not miss as we head into summer and hopefully a bug-free season.

We'll see how quickly I can recover from this and get back to training. As far as I know Crumpy has lost most if not all the weight that he is going to (I expect him to weigh in at about 160-165) and I have dropped possibly a couple pounds. Looks like I'm setting up for a busy summer...

Thursday, May 01, 2008

- A little help from my friends -

The background: I weighed 140 pounds when I started this company. I was a fairly competitive cyclist (and though I don't like to admit it, triathlete also). I lived briefly (15 mos.) in the South where the average diet is comprised equally of fried things and beer. After 6 years of averaging 90 hour work weeks, I no longer weigh 140 pounds.

The more recent background: Maggy Backstedt is an instigator. Nick Crumpton is very grumpy and likes to take out his aggression on others, preferably his friends. At Interbike last year Nick was ragging on me non-stop about getting so far out of shape (growing business, 2 cross country moves, and a baby - let's see you do it Crumpy-pants). I pointed out that Nick was the same height as me, and weighed the same as I did, so he should shut his BBQ hole. Maggy took it and ran and somehow got a great dinner at interbike this year out of it - whoever is lighter at IB08 gets to choose the restaurant and the loser buys dinner with a bottle of wine, and that includes feeding a 6'3" 200 pound Swede. It's going to be expensive. I'm figuring something like $1,000.

Anyway - to the present - my friend Shane is helping me get back on form both for Cross season this year (more on the bikes in a couple weeks) and to smoke Crumpy. My goal is to be at about 140 to 150 for race weight, and that should put me well under what Nick can hit. In order to get where I want to be Shane is putting me on a bit of a specific diet to say the least. 1600-1800 calories a day and 130g of protien. It's crazy. I'm eating more nuts, beans and soy than you can imagine. Oh, I don't eat meat, so that makes the whole thing even more crazy. Fortunately I do eat fish - preferably raw, mmmmmm sushi - so that keeps me a bit sane. But having an afternoon snack of a protein bar with peanut butter on top is just plain weird.

Anyway, here's to my friends - Crumpy who is motivating me to kick his butt, and Shane for helping me get there...

- Littered with bikes -

There are three framesets and three full bikes sitting in my office. As one person said, it is "littered with bicycles." Off all the things that I could be surrounded with I think bicycles end up being about the best (and I'm talking about 'stuff' not friends and family, etc.).

At this time I have my fixie and my road bike, a Slipstream TT bike, a steel frame for a client that gets painted next week, a carbon track frame, and an old TSX steel Giordana that I refinished for a friend (damn, I forgot to get more chocolate out of him before he quit over at Chocolove - a neighboring company in the same complex).

There are, of course a number of other bikes in our office, I think 4 or 5 without checking. Then there are tubesets that have been pulled to be welded into framesets. I want to have a Ti number done - I have a carbon-Ti road bike, but no full-Ti road bike. I need to rectify that. It's going to have big, oversized tubes and a new AlphaQ GS40 fork. It will also have a raw Ti rear end so that I can attach a Burley without fouling the paint.

Actually, as soon as I get done with this post, I'm going to order a Chariot. They are a Canadian company that makes child carriers that are convertible so that you can ride, run, xc ski, etc with your tot. And for those that are wondering, I have a son that is about 17 months old. His name is Riis and I think he'll be ready to take over the company when he's about 8. The lad is frighteningly smart.

And finally, let's all welcome my brother Jared. He's not here yet, but should be here in a couple weeks. He is going to take over as our Operations Manager. I must say that I am stoked out of my mind to have him coming. He'll be leaving Champaign, IL on June 20th and heading out to Boulder. I'll say it now, the bicycle industry better watch out, because Jared is far and away the smartest person in my family, and that includes a top lawyer with BB&L in Chicago, and another brother that just finished two concurrent masters programs and is now completing his first year of a PhD at Emory (showoff).

More wild and cool things to come, so stay tuned.

p.s. send good juju to Mark, make him say 'yes' (more on this next week)...

Thursday, April 24, 2008

- Long time... -

It's been quite a while since I've been able to get up here and post. Doesn't seem to have bothered anyone though...

There's been a lot happening. We're rolling closer and closer to having the Sram and Ultegra Hudz ready. At this point we are expecting delivery of about 300 of all the colors in the new styles on roughly May 20th. To hold everyone over until then we have Celeste and Orange available now in DA and Campy. And we should have the much requested 'Gum Rubber' hoods, we call them Bordeaux Gold. As with all of the other colors, these three new additions will benefit specific charities. For more information on Hudz click here.

In other - fairly big - news, the date of the Rocky Mountain Bicycle Show has been changed. Instead of shoehorning it in to May, it has been pushed back until November. The new dates are Nov. 1 & 2 for the public show, and Oct. 31 for the Media/VIP reception and setup. We are working on getting together with the Portland and East Coast shows with the hope that we can coordinate our efforts and make these all successful events for both builders and buyers. I see long weekends in DC and Portland in my future...

Finally, after careful deliberation we have decided to close Groupe de Tete. The project bicycle 'shop' was interesting but ultimately did not prove its importance to us after three years. We will continue with the full range of bespoke services for Temple Cycles, but will no longer offer them for outside bicycles. All of the other projects that have previously fallen under the Groupe de Tete label will be transfered to Applied Cycling Labs (the parent corporation) and offered as they previously have been with GdT (Hudz, shoes, etc.).

OK, this is really the last bit of news. We seem to be getting closer all the time to bb30 compatibility. We have shells, we have cutters on loan, we have the installation and alignment tools coming, and we have high quality cranks that will be available soon (sorry, but FSA doesn't quite cut it for us...). It looks like this is going to be the new standard with everyone from Zipp to Shimano coming on board with it (Shimano is still just a rumor, but I think - and hope - that they'll come on board with it). You don't even want to know what kind of gnarly steel road bike I'm working on for the first bb30 that we do... Bwah, Ha, Haaaa (sinister laugh)...

Thursday, April 10, 2008

- Crazy mountain springs -

Yesterday it was about 60 and sunny (15 for people who are smart enough to use metric... damn Imperial weights and measures). Then in the afternoon it turned a bit grey, and I kept expecting rain that never came.

This morning I woke up and it was 32 (0) and snowing.

This is about the seventh time that we have gone through this pattern since the start of March. Not much you can do about these crazy mountain springs. Almost makes those sissies in Belgium who were going on and on about the weather at RVV look soft... Of course I'm not out riding today so I should probably take back the sissy thing... Especially to you Meatball and Maggy...

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

- Trek and Lemond sue each other -

It appears that Trek and Lemond will part ways in typical American style: by suing each other. Lemond is not pleased with Trek's performance supporting his brand, and Trek is not happy with Lemond bashing LA for years, and other saying other things that they say are damaging to the Trek brand.

Maybe this is good?

Word is that the Klein brand is supposed to come back to prominence in the Trek Bicycle Company lineup now. Of course it probably won't be anything like the great Kleins from way back when, and they'll probably be carbon, but it's nice to think that they may be coming back around. It's probably also good for the engineers at Trek/Lemond because they will have to work with the marketing department to come up with something even catchier than the "Min/Max" theory... Crimeny...

Some people have been saying that this is good for Lemond. I'm not sure how. It seems that they have been languishing for years and other than the new introduction of the carbon bikes have not really done anything exciting in a while. For more than a decade Lemond bicycles have been built on the strength of Trek engineering (no judgments there). With out Trek, what is Lemond anymore?

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

- Process of refinement -

It seems that with most things that we do there is a process of refinement where we take something and massage it, mutate it, sometimes even mutilate it, to get it where we are happy enough to call it 'done.'

What brings this rumination you ask? We just changed the website again. This time instead of a dramatic overhaul, it was a little nip and trim. Out with the red, in with the blue. Overall the whole thing looks less intimidating, and more pleasing.

Plus, we just got a fork back for our EE Cummings steel bike. The current GS30 fork flares a good deal in the hips of the fork (top of the legs, right near the crotch as Bert Hull from AlphaQ says...). With the moderate size of tubes on most steel bikes (and even a lot of Titanium bikes) the look was just a bit off. So I went back to my reserve of older AlphaQ forks and found a Sub3 with the right rake. Two weeks later that puppy is mounted and looking good. The slimmer profile simply matches the proportions of the frame.

Of course everything is not a matter of subtle refinement. We nuked the 07 jersey design and came up with something completely different for 08. I love it. We'll see what other people think. Matching bibs in the darker blue with light bands at the bottom of the legs will be coming also. Just in time, my old stuff is getting pretty worn...