Monday, November 28, 2011

Some kids went to Jamborees, others found cycling

  • When Mike Erbe went to clipless pedals on his Ciocc
  • When Ed Fuji used a 55 ring
  • When you first used index shifting
  • When you finally hung on the Tuesday / Thursday ride
  • When Mike Batin pulled that guy from the drivers side window
  • When James Stanton crashed on San Juan grade and sparks flew from his cleats
  • When Mt. Larry dropped us all on the Dell on his mt. bike
  • When Shaney Shane took a pull from Pescadero to Davenport
  • When Brian Picket was unstoppable
  • When we used to do Rampart on the Tuesday / Thursday rides
  • When Kim Davis would win the Beach Street sprint
  • When Freddy would ride his Bianchi
  • When Daryl would solo Larkin
  • When Brent Marks would bring Steve Larson on the ride
  • When Dougie's pedal broke Erbe's helmet
  • When Lance knocked on Aaron Peter's door during a ride
  • When Shapleigh was even skinnier than he is now
  • When AC would ride with a backpack to hold his Bell V-I pro helmet
  • When no one rode with phones
  • When no one rode with computers
  • When the flight saddle came out
  • When we had Vetta Corsa helmets
  • When Pat Gilbert's snot would hang on his stem
  • When no one knew how heavy their bike was
  • When Mike Engleman lived in town
  • When Ed Price was wicked fast
  • When Drew Holderman worked at the Spokesman
  • When the Spokesman was on Cedar st
  • When Hugh had his dog 'Campy'
  • When Rob Parsons shaved his legs
  • When the National Cycling League formed teams

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Pocket Rocket, OTC, Loneliness, and Hand Models

A coworker asked me recently if I have ever ridden with Levi and I had to pull a Bill Clinton on them and reply with a question. What is your definition of "with"? Because the few rides that we did pedal together, I spent more time following and chasing him as he slowly disappeared up the road on these long straight aways outside Colorado Springs. I am a stickler on facts so I had to col through a few years of training journals from the Steel Wül attic to confirm the dates.

On November 7th, 1993 I worked my way down the lonely hallway of the Olympic Training Center dorm rooms in Colorado Springs for my third training camp. There must have been a dozen of us that were invited to the USCF camp that winter but only a few names were scribbled into my training journal- Levi Leipheimer, Dale Sedgwick, Scott Macdonald, and Chris Yankee (Chris bagged one of the most amazing group finishes while racing for the National Team in Poland).

Going to the OTC was always a bitter sweat for me. On one hand you were so jazzed that you were going to the "show" but you knew that you were going to have to perform in a stressful environment. They could not have made that place any more depressing as far as the buildings, grounds, paint color and staff members. I did not need a welcoming committee but it would have been cool for someone to take 2 minutes and show this lost teenager around. Part of the stress came from the fact that anyone there would have sold their soul to the Devil to be a permanent resident National Team member. The residents (Julich, Hincapie, Dede, Armstrong, and Evenshine) were in a league of their own with there own wing and all the amenities from home (TV, house plants, refrigerators). I will never forget Chad Gerlach taking on the most prominent resident (Lance) in a battle of verbal judo ("you're looking pretty puggy there Lance") which eventually turned into a headlock fest. I believe Bobby J broke up the playground scrapping.

The loneliest day of my life happened to be at the OTC in 1991 when I first step foot on the OTC grounds for the Junior Worlds Trails. It was one of those situations where you are looking for anyone to throw you a bone. It had all the necessary ingredients to make you second guess yourself - unfamiliar environment, insanely competitive atmosphere, pressure to perform, and a 1000 miles from home.

I found my room at the end of that lonely hallway that day and my roommate was already unpacked and chamoised up. He introduced himself to me as the Pocket Rocket. He was all of five feet nothing and one hundred and nothing pounds. In the corner of the room leaning against the heater was the smallest LeMond carbon bike I have ever seen. It was obviously a womens frame. He said that he was from Salt Lake City Utah and he could not have been a nicer guy. He was not carrying the same stress that I was. I got the impression that he was not afraid of anything or anybody. He did not seem to be focused on the National Team politics like the rest of us and his potential was visible even to the untrained eye.

Chris Carmichael organized our first few rides and the Pocket Rocket (Levi) would slowly ride away from the group and disappear up the road. After 30 mins or so he would surprise us all by riding up from behind us. He would do this all day long and I imagine it was out of pure boredom. He rode effortlessly day in and day out.

I got sick after a couple of weeks and found myself curled up in my eastern block hand-me-down government issued metal bed completely dehydrated with a 103 temp. I was kind of lonely when I arrived, so at this point I think I would have traded places with anyone anywhere doing anything. The Pocket Rocket brought me back from the dead with a couple of asprin and Gatorade (thank you for that).

The Rocket rallied a few of us one night and organized a night on the town. We ended up at Meadow Muffins Bar and Grille (the best wings west of I-25 according to the locals). For a little guy he can pack in a number of beers. The Rocket shared some great stories of racing in Belgium. Later that night Scott Macdonald told me that no one in the US knows that little guy Levi but he is a known entity in Belgium because he was crushing the kermesses without any teammates in the early 90's.

It has been fun to watch the Pocket Rocket launch his career and capture some huge wins along the way. Knowing what it takes to perform at that level, I hope he is a multi millionaire by now.

For the record:
10+ years ago Dougie Fresh and I went on a ride with Levi's now wife Odessa Liepheimer and she introduced herself to us as a former model turned bike racer and Dougie said, "so were you like a hand model or something?" And that is why we love our Dougie so much.

Levi and Odessa

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Steel Wül Vasodialation in 2 mins

Cycle hypnosis therapy by Kev McGill

Good morning class, everyone find your bikes and get settled in focusing on your breath allowing for complete expansive inhales and exhales. If done correctly you will receive "total consciousness" so you got that going for you this morning.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Hasselhoff makes appearance at Single Speed Worlds in SF

Steel Wüleur Sean Co and brother took on rain, mud, tutus and butterfly wings at the Single Speed Worlds.

Helmet cam sponsored by Hasselhoff

Single Speed Cross World Championships SF

Monday, November 21, 2011

LeMond - the consumate innovator

Steel Wüleur Brent Marks and I were enjoying a south county boogie the other day and he shared a couple of great LeMond stories with me that go back to his Rancho Marietta days. I will attempt to incorporate them in the Brent Marks SW profile. The stories have it all- LeMond, missing chamois, grandparents, and Warren Gibson.

Until then enjoy this classic Taco Bell commercial -check out the incognito Giro AirAttack and the long sleeve wool world champion jersey. I think he is on a TVT carbon.

Click to view commercial
Lemond & Taco Bell

Linkedin - no thanks, I prefer to knock.

Here at Steel Wül we have been making a conscience effort to get back to the root of it all while on and off the bike. We woke up this morning and rolled into our normal routine of coffee, tea, legos, newspaper and feed the chickens. With the global market collapse and energy at a premium, we have had a surge of crime in the neighborhood and a group of us in Live Oak have decided to put the neighborhood back into the neighborhood. We have gone way old school and enjoy activities such as walking, talking, playing, waving, gathering, observing, and did I mention talking.

My inspiration (disgust) for this post came to me while reading page A9 of today's Santa Cruz Sentinel titled 'Big payouts excite Silicon Valley' by Brook Donald.
The article explains how Linkedin has gone public and that a dozen or so people will be splitting 7.5 million shares at $71 apiece. CEO Jeff Weiner will take home $25 million.

I feel as though Linkedin should be called Linkedindoors. This service has systematically taken energy away from neighborhoods and placed it into the virtual world not unlike every other social media. I understand that social media has played a role in uprisings and to daylight issues, but you will never convince me that it is a candidate to replace a knock on a door or a face to face conversation. How many times a day do you watch folks walk past each other in their own neighborhood and both parties are face down in a "smart" phone.

The article went on to explain that the soon to be multi millionaires from Linkedin will be looking to purchase homes in the 5 to 10 million dollar range (PG&E is salivating) and Richard Levinsohn of Porsche Stevens Creek in Santa Clara said, "We anticipate more activity over the next few months allot of these people will have new found wealth and they're looking for a place to spend it. We're only too happy to help". Steve Cooper of Intero Real Estate Services said, "We're definitely more confident taking on the really expensive homes now, the 3 to 10 million range, and knowing we can move them".

Is more money what we actually need? The article makes it sound like we should all be rejoicing for these 12 employees who will be taking in millions of dollars during the worse recession in our countries history. Just last night Mama Wüleur threw a clothing swap party where 40 women got together spent zero dollars, hung out, enjoyed some conversation and recycled their clothes. That is just one example of the many activities that we all need to bring back to our neiborhoods. It can all happen with a simple phone call or email.

I find it nauseating that people feel as though any of this money is going to trickle down to the unemployed school teacher with a double masters. Before you get Linkedin today check to make sure you have called your family, friends, and kicked some rocks in the front yard. Remember, companies like Linkedin exist for only one reason- to make large amounts of money.

We look forward to spending time (real time) with you folks! See you on the road or at the fire pit.

For the record:
I joined Linkedin a few months ago after receiving numerous emails from random folks and I am having the hardest time linking out of their system.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Steel Wül You Find it #7

Dougie and I enjoyed some great views of the south end of the Monterey bay from here and we did not meet up with chuck that day.

Jedi spied yet another SW find it! We are going to have to make these harder for him.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Steel Wül Scarborough Trivia

Who is this and what race is he about to win?

Tim Neenan winning the Santa Cruz Crit.

Daniel Green posted the correct answer and probably raced that same day.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Steel Wül Trivia - Scarborough vs Pedali Alpini

Question: What Mountain Biking legend is Daniel Green (Scarborough jersey) chatting with?

Answer: Joe Breeze

Tim Neenan of Lighthouse cycles posted the correct answer. I am honored to think that Tim Neenan checks our blog every once in a while. Tim has been there and done that - got the T-shirt and his bike in the Smithsonian.
I have always wanted a Lighthouse frame because that is what Rob Parsons was riding when he took me on as his student of bicycle racing. He had a red and white one with simplex retro-friction shifters. Here is a pic of Tim and Hampsten. I assume Tim was using his culinary skills while visiting Hampsten.

click to view Lighthouse Cycles

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Steel Wül You Find It #6

Steel Wüleur Brent Marks spied these characters while out pedaling in Santa Cruz county. Of course being a San Francisco City Firefighter Paramedic and PA, nothing would ever surprise him.

Jed Wilson found the dinosours on Skyland near Miller Hill Rd.

Barney Miller

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Steel Wül six day trivia

Who are the two riders in the world championship kits?

Tony Doyle & Greg LeMond

R. Overson is 3 for 3! I am going to have to pull out some level II material.

Monday, November 7, 2011

Santa Cruz to Pescadero sans traffic

Photos by John Caletti

Right into the Verve, right at the uni, right at the lookout, left at the hot chocolate machine, right at Sandy Point Station , right at the VMP burn, right at the river, left at the redtail hawk, left at the french fries, left at the tents, right towards the "white house", left towards Cascade, and straight shot home.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Career makeover in 17mins & 50 secs

I have three people to thank for "guiding" me into a career change at an early age. These three folks have absolutely no idea that they helped me with my "career makeover". I am sure that everyone has had some version of the sudden career change at some point or another. Mine just happened to hit me half way up Felton Empire Grade in a 39 x 17 in 1994.

Bob (Cadex) Simpson and I would often train together during the 93' and 94' racing season. We would basically go out and punish each other all day long (Bob doing most of the punishing). We could not have been anymore different on the bikes. He had so much power it was scary. I had to use my spin and smaller gears to stay with him. He would stand all day long on the bike and I would rarely get out of the saddle.

One day Bob and I wondered up Felton Empire Grade. As you know, you can't "ride" this grade you typicly end up pushing the limits and usually that comes early for me on this climb. We either just finished the Redlands Classic or we were headed south for it- I don't remember. All I know is that I had some serious fitness and was not afraid of anyone or any road in the county.

Reality Check 1 - Check 2 is this thing on?

I started up Felton Empire as a full time bicycle racer and I finished the climb as a future firefighter cadet. It was amazingly liberating. It was one of those rare moments when you know exactly what your doing and it actually makes sense. I kept rehearsing how I was going to break the news to my cycling coach and living legend Rob Parsons. It was a long ride home that day.

Here are the numbers that pushed me to become a "Jake" (generic fireman nickname):

I had to go deep into the archives (1994 training diary) for these stats. For you folks out there that ride with all the fancy electronic gadgets and doohickeys here are some numbers to wrap your mind or Garmin around. After you double check your math on the average speed calculation, feel rest assured that these numbers are totally 100% correct because I know what a 3 min gap looks like on Felton Empire Grade especially when you are the one that got gaped. Please note that Bob did not use wattage calculations, nor did he have a fancy carbon wheel set or even any carbon on his bike with the exception of his kestrel fork.

Bob Simpson (without pro-contract) pedaled his tigwelded Rocklobster that day up Felton Empire Grade in 17 mins and 50 secs. When I rolled up three mins later I was a changed man. His acceleration on this climb was absolutely world class! Up until that point I had only witnest accelerations like like from Bobby J (Redlands Circuit) and Paul Wilerton (Freemont Peak). All three of those guys happen to be 5' 10" 150 lbs - the textbook build for a road racer. I owe him one for that reality check at the age of 20. Bob - thank you for that, I still love to ride my bike and go to work.

Cezary Zamana and Miguel Aroyo where the other two folks that "encouraged" me to seek other employment. While Team Wheelsmith was scouting out the climb on Oak Glen Road Race, Subaru Montgomery's Miguel Aroyo went by us and simply said,"53 x 19" in his broken English. I was thinking more along the lines of a 39 x what else did the mechanic have to offer in Shimano 8sp.

Felton-Empire Road -additional names:
(also known as: Felton Empire Road, Felton-Empire Grade, Felton-Bonny Doon Road, Bonny Doon-Felton Road, Bonny Doon to Felton Road, Felton and Ben Lomond Road, Bennett Street, Felton Grade, and Bonny Doon Road.)

Miguel went on to do the TdF, San Sabastian, and some top 5 finishes at the Daphine.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Steel Wüleur Profile #5 Doug E. Fresh

Doug E. Fresh (never rock Fila always rock Addidas)

Nickname: Doug E. Fresh
Full name: Douglas Newell Duren
Height: 6'4"
Weight: 180 (he offered to get on the scale)
Occupation: Painter
Years riding: 33
Favorite Rider: VDB
Marital Status: Happily married with first child en route (14 days give of take)
Bikes: Seven, Hunter cross, Blur LTC, Bontrager race (for sale-$500 bucks takes it), 1956 Schwinn - gift from Jeff Hoover.

SWCC - You have been on the group ride for as long as I can remember, what or who got you into road riding?

DF- Terry Snyder in late 1989 or 1990. I think I went on some very long rides with her when she was training for her Ironman. I used to ride with Eric Martenen and Mike Bennett as well. Then I started doing the Saturday ride in 1991 after living next to Eddy Price.

SWCC- Talk to me about your nickname, was it issued to you after a group ride by the one and only Rondo Amon?

DF- laughs,......I think Terry Snyder gave me that because of Big Doug (Seletsky) and I was new or little Doug hence Fresh. Its origin is of course from the rap artist. The #1 rule with nicknames is you can under no circumstance issue one to yourself. Some people on the ride have over 16 nicknames and there is a rumor that the Club Shed Guys have a list of over 1,000 nicknames for Santa Cruz Cyclists. I feel young still with my nickname so that a good thing. Once you have a nickname, it is for life such as underwear-man (who actually chamoised up with underwear on the group ride). I think Monty issued that one to him. Then Monty made the mistake of dropping Brian Picket while pedaling in Teva sandals and will forever be known as Monteva.

SWCC- You seem to always have your finger on the pulse of whats going on with Santa Cruz cyclists. What is your technique?

DF- My technique,......well........unlimited cell plan, no acualy I have to give props to the Club Shed guys - Ron Amon, Whilhelm, Ed Price, and the boys. These guys spend way too much time analyzing the competition. And I have to give a shout out to the shop owners - Wade, Berry, JB and its mainly small town stuff.

SWCC- I know you have pedaled up and down the state. Is there one ride that stands out as your all time best boogie?

DF- Without a doubt the 911 ride (Santa Cruz to Long Beach in 3 days). We had no map and in the end it was just me and Ted 500 miles later. We watched the towers fall in the morning and then road all day long.

SWCC- Your bike handling skills are legendary. What is the largest thing that you have flicked with your front wheel?

DF- To the chagrins on Wilhelm, that would be a 10lbs boulder into your front wheel. I ended up taking it in to the almighty Gurnmaster for some love.

SWCC - Describe the best post ride meal.

DF- Oh, there are to many to choose from. I would go with hamburgers with a couple of brewskies and cookies and milk for dessert. Anything from Mrs. Fields cookbook would work.

SWCC - Your known for your affinity towards pastries, what have you been hitting lately?

DF- laughing,....the wife is going to bust me but here you go. Anything from Emily's, Aldos, and the Buttery. Anything and everything actually. I like croissants, cookies, bear claws, chocolate croissants, anything with raisins, cinnamon rolls, cinnamon buns, morning buns, anything with apricots, donuts, macaroons, apple fritters, chocolate old fashioned, maple bars, chocolate sprinkles, glazed old fashion, cinnamon twists, and chocolate bars. I know every doughnut shop from here to Watsonville.

SWCC- The best bikes are....

DF- The ones that fit you!

SWCC- Carbon should be used for......

DF - stems, posts, handlebars, forks, and road wheels once road disks are mastered.

SWCC - I understand that on days with questionable weather you are the guy to call to find out what cycling ensemble to use. What is your secret?

DF- I hate being cold and I was a boyscout. I am a firm believer in the Damon Kluck school of riding knee warmers - NEVER! And leg warmers can be flared unless riding with Lance.

SWCC - Tell us something we don't know about you.

DF- I made my living as a baker for 4 years at the old Farm bakery in Soquel. I would still bake daily, but my wife won't let me (I could hear her laughing from the other room). She and I will eat it all so we have to be careful.

As I left his house he mentioned something about riding bikes is a way of life for him and that sometimes his wife points out that he is off the bike for weeks and he said that he is never off the bike because he has the ability to "ride in his mind". I am thinking that an additional nickname is in order here 'Dougie Blaine'.

Brian Regan-Donut Lady

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Steel Wül Prologue Trivia

Who is this jovial man?

Jelle Nijdam- He did the TdF 10 times and comes from a long line of professional Dutch racers.

Rob Overson is 2 for 2!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

1990's Steel Wül Trivia

Who is this scrapper and what happened to him while training one day that was very unusual?

Clark Sheehan and he was struck by a wind blown cattle trough while training in Colorado which broke his back. He made a full recovery and here is a shot of him bagging stage 7 of the 1995 Tour DuPont.

Rob Overson posted the correct answer.