About Me

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Back in my hometown of Jonesboro., Arkansas, United States
My name is Dimitri Harris and I have been building frames for over 9 years now. I learned the basics after spending two weeks with Koichi Yamaguchi. He is one of the most interesting people I have ever met and I am thankful to have worked with him. Since then I have just been building one frame after another and learning as much as possible along the way. I build steel fillet-brazed frames that go by the name of MEECH, which is an old nickname that I have had since I was a kid. I build mostly cyclocross frames because I love their versatility however I also do road,single-speed, and mountain bikes as well. Custom frames start around $1400. All the frames are handmade by me here in Jonesboro, Arkansas. I am insured and guarantee all of my work so if you are in the market for a custom steel frame I would be glad to build it for you. I am also building frames from carbon fiber so if you would like to ride a prototype frame give me a shout. Thanks for stopping by. You can email me at meech151@hotmail.com or call (870)897-6703 or visit www.meechcustombicycles.com Thanks.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

MEECHcross Addiction

I have mentioned on several occasions that I am a miserable 'cross racer. I don't like getting off my bike every 2 minutes in the midst of a time trial and jumping over homemade barriers, running up log-stairs, or riding my bike in sandpits. Its slow, meaningless, and uneventful for me personally. With that said, 'cross is some of the hardest racing I have ever done and I have nothing but the utmost respect for the people who race it and more for those who do it well. One of the main problems for me is that local race promoters took the "getting off your bike part" too seriously and they have you slamming on your brakes and jumping over every little bump in the course while they pray for rain the whole week before the race so that you have to paddle through it, and then they clutter the course with any log they can find within eyesight. Its seems like more of a scavenger hunt than a bike race. I am not an expert on the rules of cyclocross but I have been told that true cyclocross races have only one barrier to jump over and possibly a technical uphill that you may or may not be able to ride up. That sounds much better because I don't have to get off my bike so much, therefore more riding for me and everyone else which is why I love bicycles in the first place. Riding them, not carrying them, is what I enjoy. I love cyclocross bicycles more than any other type because they are just so versatile. Its the majority of what I build and I want to learn how to make them better and hope to one day make a living building just cross frames.
I got started with cross bikes about 12 yrs. ago by using one for winter training. I am mainly a roadie now but my riding background started with motocross, then I got a mountain bike, loved it for a while, went back to motocross and only after trashing my knee and needing a way to rehab it did I get on a road bike. I usually build up my cross bike around the first part of fall and normally ride it through February. This year, since it is the only bike I have at the time, I have ridden it more than 6 months and until I get myself a new frame built will continue to ride it. During that time I am usually riding on the pavement with 32c knobby tires, its a killer workout and should I encounter a gravel road that I want to check out the bike is ready. So why am I telling you this? Because I want to share my idea with you and any potential race promoter to make cyclocross races faster, more technical, give it more fan appeal, and make it more of a spectacle than ever. Oh yeah, and less running. Enter MEECHcross or MEECH-X probably looks better but any word with "cross" in it sounds cool.
What is MEECH-X you might ask? Its a combination of cyclocross, crit racing, and BMX all on a spectator friendly course. If it worked out the way I am picturing it it would be much faster and tighter racing, not to mention more exciting and maybe a tad more dangerous. How would a MEECH-X event start out? With the lauching of the ceremonial flaming Butterball turkey from a giant slingshot. Whoever wants to enter the Flying Turkey Shoot can pay a dollar and write down their guestimation of how far the turkey will fly after being filled with gasoline, lit on fire, and launched from a slingshot made out of multiple bungey cords, kinda like a water-balloon slingshot only bigger. I think the turkey should go a minimum of 75 meters and you might want to warn the spectators, or not. At MEECH-X events it will be mandatory to have an ambulance and a fire extinguisher on hand at all times, theres gonna be blood. The person who has the closest guess wins a cyclocross frame, hows that for starters? No, that seems a little boring. How about the entrants in the contest gather where they think the firey bird will land and whoever catches the 20 lb. turkey bomb wins the frame. I mean building frames is a lot of work, you just can't give them away. How many events can you go to that there is a chance of a fatality before the race starts? Now to the racing. You line the racers up 20 riders across the front and as many deep as you have to at the top of a hill roughly 100 meters long. This way it is a much more fair start and the guys starting at the back don't have to wait for 20 seconds before they get to leave. Nothing like sitting on your bike and counting "10 mississippi" after the gun goes off before you get to actually clip in only to look on the other side of the course and see the leader. That sucks and it won't happen in MEECH-X. Better yet, line them up like the start of a motocross race where there is no second row. Can you imagine 50-60 crossheads lined up side by side, then you fire the gun and send them down a 100 meter hardpack dirt hill where speeds are easily hitting 30mph and then at the bottom there would be a banked 180 degree turn just like on a velodrome and send them all (myself included because this is my kind of racing) right back up the 100 meter climb single-file, wheel to wheel, gasping for air, praying for death. I forgot to mention that before the starting gun goes off, the announcer, over a loud-speaker screaming like Axl Rose, announces a $100 dollar prime for the first person around on the first lap, then of course I would announce another one for the second lap just to make sure everyone is having a good ole time, a non-stop "Pain Party." "You know where you are, you in the jungle baby, you're gonna die-yyyyyyyy!" There could also be a pacecar, not an actual car but maybe a hopped-up golf cart that would max out 1 mph faster than what the racers could do and should a racer catch the pacing golfcart they could hang on for up to 10 seconds, sort of a bonus for being the leader. If they refused to let go after the 10 seconds was up the passengers would start biting their fingers. The cart could be filled with bikini-clad women for the men's race and for the women's MEECH-X event we would pack it with some Chippendale's dancers, like Chris Farley on Saturday Night Live. Also, should the pacecart catch up to the last placed rider, he/she could grab on and maybe get back in the race, if nothing else they would get to spend some QT with some scantily clad bodies. This would be more or less the Roller-Derby effect, it was very popular in the 70's. Something for everyone, this is made for TV. What would the rest of the course consist of? A lot of short, rolling hills that would keep you jumping outta the saddle to get over it only to reload your speed on the flipside. I might throw in a 50 meter section of rolling whoop-dee-doos, not steep enough to catch air off of but just enough to keep the bike hopping, similar to BMX, and so what if I did throw in a 20 foot double-jump at the bottom of a sharp downhill, you wouldn't have to jump it, the pussies could just roll it. You like mudpits? I would stick it right between the double-jump, you either make it or you paddle it. I would definitely offer up another $100 bill to anyone who chose to jump it and stuck the landing. Can you picture someone in their drops hammering down the backside of a hill going for a double on a CX bike? Who wouldn't want to see that? It might start to separate the good frame builders from the rest. It would become a standard. Before you ordered your new custom frame you could ask the builder, "Will it handle MEECH-X?" And as tough as I know you cyclocross racers are, are any of you MEECH-X racers? Interested? Lance, come get you some. Ride Fast, Ride Loud, and make your Daddy Proud :)

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