Thursday, May 30, 2013
Sunday, May 26, 2013
Its been a few days since I've posted anything as I've been trying to get a little work knocked out. Also took a little 2-day break and hung out with Yancey at the Ride the Bricks Criterium in McKinney, Texas. It was a great little downtown course, about a mile long with a couple of rolling hills. I was only a spectator and didn't race my bicycle but Yancey raced in the Masters race which turned out to be one the biggest Masters fields that I've ever seen. There was like 75-80 riders in his race and it was a strung out, single-file pace the entire time. It looked to be a really well organized race in a great area for spectators and everything went off like clockwork until about 3 laps to go in the Pro, 1-2 race when a huge thunderstorm broke loose. Not wanting to get wet more than wanting to watch the finish, we raced for the car. It was a good race and I enjoyed watching. Did I mention that there is a 60 mph go-kart track just a few miles outside of McKinney? Is it possible that someone would plan a bicycle racing trip around a go-kart track? Naw, what kind of people would do something like that? Hey, I only said I didn't race my bicycle. :)
Anyway, the Giro is on its final day and the weather has been atrocious for the majority of this 3-week race. By failing to make the cut, Ryder Hesjedal and Bradley Wiggins were almost lucky to have to abandon so early on. Now they still got time to train and show up at the Tour in good form if it goes well for them. Meanwhile, Vincenzo Nibali, Cadel Evans, and Rigoberto Uran Uran have managed to keep a snow-covered Giro heated right up until the final day. Here are a couple of pics from Stages 19-20. Actually Stage 19 never left the hotel as it was just too bad to race. I think thats the first time I remember a stage being completed canceled. These pictures give you an idea of what it was like.
This is how they found Sammy Sanchez on the road. He was completely frozen, apparently in mid-pedal stroke. He was frozen to the bike so they just sort of skated him over to the team bus and leaned him up against it. The guy that leaned him up against the bus didn't do a very good job and Sammy fell over and just shattered into pieces like an icicle. "Whoops." Team Euskatel was not happy.
There was nothing that could stop Vincenzo Nibali. Simply put, he was Superman at this years Giro de Italia. It was his year as he left nothing to chance and dominated from beginning to end. I seem to recall me saying something stupid like he was gonna miss his bike from last year but I don't think he did. Could I please have some green salsa with that crow? I think Nibali could have won on a Schwinn 10-speed this year. Anyway, he's winning an epic bike race in grand fashion and after today should have that beautiful Giro trophy in his hands. Hats off. Not sure if he'll have the strength but he could be a protagonist in the Tour de France. He could definitely make it a little more interesting as he's turning into a well-rounded rider. We'll see. Thanks for stopping by.
Long live DKC.
Friday, May 17, 2013
Alright, I've had this frame hanging around in the shop for quite a while now and just never had time to get it painted. Well, finally got it done. This is the frame that I was building for myself when I was planning to ride my bicycle around the world. "What? Ride around the world. HA! You can't even make it around the block." Ok, I'm kidding. I never planned on riding around the world, never really wanted to, and don't have the time to, but, if I did decide to ride around the world this would probably be a good frame to do it on. Steel main frame with a Dedacciai tapered head tube, Paragon disc-brake dropouts, and an Enve carbon disc fork with tapered steerer of course. This frame is like a big truck. Its a little heavier than my average racing cross frame but the added weight is pretty balanced out. Whenever you have a steel frame with a carbon fork the rear of the frame is gonna always be heavier, however in this case, there is added weight in both the steel, tapered-head tube and the carbon fork with disc tabs. "How heavy is it?" Well, this is a size 58cm frame (just happens to fit me) and it weighs 5.75 lbs as is, frame, uncut fork, and headset. It already has all the water-bottle bolts and seat pin in it also if you really want to get serious with your gram counting. To put all weight worries aside, with the right components I believe you can still build this thing up into a sub-20 lb. cross bike.
I painted this thing Hot-Lime Green, similar to the Kawasaki KX motocross bikes just for the heck of it. I have also seen some photos of a Cannondale cross bike that was painted in similar colors. I wasn't really trying to copy anything in particular, I just had this color laying around and I decided to use it on something. For some reason in these photos it doesn't look as 'hot-lime' as it really does. I don't know what gives but I imagine it has to do with my photography skills. After about 2 full days of rain, my yard and all the trees are so freakin green it looks like a rain forest, but even the grass is the photo doesn't look that green. Anyway, trust me, its green. Actually the paint job went really well for me. No problems peeling the stencils off, the lines are all pretty well in tact, and overall I was really pleased as this was one of the harder paint schemes that I've done on my own. Lets move on.
Here is a little front view for you. The frame isn't sitting perfectly level here as you can see but we're gonna have to live with it. I really do like the look of this tapered head tube. They are a bit heavier but very nice. I heard that someone else is coming out with one that supposedly is a little better but I haven't seen it yet.
For some reason I'm always tilting the camera to one side. If I don't pay close attention all my photos will end up leaning like this. Even when I see a photo of myself I'm usually leaning my head to one side. Oh well, I put this photo up because I was really happy with the way this two-color star turned out. It will look even better with a custom head badge sitting right in the middle.
This was the only place that I was dissappointed with the paint job. I tried to tape off the aluminum bearing cup and after the paint and clear had dried it became very hard to get off. Anyway, some of the paint peeled off down to the primer and so I had to do a little touch up work. Its not really noticed unless you look for it. I tried everything to make it look better but the more I did the worse it looked so I finally just had to let it be. A couple of years ago there was a video made about Richard Sachs. I believe the title was "Imperfection is Perfection." I'm not sure if that makes any sense but I like the sound of it now that I screwed up the paint on the bottom of this head tube. There is another saying about "imperfection" that I found online apparently by Marilyn Monroe and it says:
Imperfection is beauty, madness is genius, and it's better to be absolutely ridiculous than absolutely boring.
I'm liking her more and more.
Little handmade carbon fiber chain stay protector compliments the frame nicely.
This is my favorite picture out of all of them.
Look at Louis Maxximus "Soul-Katt" Jackson making a rare appearance. The other night both Anne and I, as well as the neighbors, woke up to some awful racket outside like I've never heard. It didn't sound like your typical catfight. So I went outside about 4 a.m. and all I could see was a couple of raccoons walking across my neighbors backyard. I couldn't find Louis and I thought that maybe he ended up on the wrong end of a bad fight. Luckily he showed up a little later unscathed. Only thing I can think of was maybe the raccoons were fighting, unless, is it possible that Louis whipped two raccoons hineys? Louis is smarter than I give him credit for. There has been many times when i didn't think I would see him again only to have him just appear out of nowhere like a ghost. Louis reminds me of the Clint Eastwood movie Pale Rider, I think thats the name of it. I worry about my animals too much.
Thanks for checking things out.
MEECH Custom Bicycles
Mountain Home, Arkansas
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
Sunday, May 12, 2013
Just caught a quick product review on velonews.com of the new Bell Super helmet. Helmets rarely get my attention and I'm bad about not wearing one on the road. Basically the only time I wear one is when I race (not often) and when I ride with a group that doesn't permit/like when people don't have one on. I've ridden without one for a long time and I'm just really comfortable without it and thats when i enjoy riding the most. When I go ride, I'm only thinking about the ride and I don't think about crashing, of course thats no excuse, as crashes happen when you least expect it. If someone would've told me that I would run into the back of a parked car that was sitting on an uphill overpass and put my head through the rear window while riding by myself I would've laughed in their face and said, "Pffff." It happened so quick I couldn't believe it. I must've been riding with my eyes closed. I sometimes like to pretend I'm blind and/or deaf. I'm not trying to offend anyone here but sometimes I'm sure that I do. The other day I was walking my dog Dizzy and we were on a long straight stretch that is pretty quite and i wondered how far I could go with my eyes closed just letting him pull me along. We went about 20 yards before I ended up in someone's front yard. I did it a couple more times because its kind of refreshing. As far as pretending to be deaf, I'm pretty good at that because I can't hear good anyway. I ignore most everything my boss says to me, I do what he says but I just don't acknowledge it, and I've got a really bad habit of saying "what" even though I probably heard what you said to me. When I was a kid, my mother took me to get a hearing test because I said "what" so much to her. My tests came back fine, so now she tells people that I only hear things that I want to hear. I think it may be true. Anyway back to this Super helmet.
Even though i feel much more comfortable not wearing a helmet, don't think that I don't know that I could bump my head in a split second. I've hit my head a handful of times in races and i was glad that I had a helmet on. The other day while watching Paris-Roubaix I saw one of the riders crash and he bumped his head real hard, and yes, i cringed at the sight of it and thought, "Maybe I should start wearing a helmet." I'm gonna be open and honest about why I don't where a helmet:
Reason #1 I'm much more comfortable without one and I think (in my head) that I can ride better when I'm the most comfortable. Simple as that. You can say that its BS all you want but thats my reason.
Reason #2 I hate the way they look! I hate the way they look! I hate the way they look! I hate the way they look! I hate the way they look! I hate the way they look, and feel!
Thats it in a nutshell.
This helmet actually looks cool. The first thing I thought about this helmet when I saw it was, "I might wear that on the road if you can remove the visor." Well...
....KAPOWWW!. I love it, and I'm thinking about getting one. Its not as cool as a cycling cap or a hair-net but its pretty darn cool....
....and looks like it would be a comfortable and well fitting lid. They said in the review that is felt like it would stay on your head even if it wasn't locked. It also comes with a Go-Pro camera attachment so the next time you see Bigfoot or a UFO you'll have some proof, you might even get on TV. Whats not to like about that?
Of course this is my all-time favorite. Now this helmet I would wear, and I'm thinking about getting a Bell Super and then custom painting it myself since I've recently been into painting stuff. Custom bicycles with custom helmets, yeah, now we're rollin.
Just wanted to add that I always hope that we don't crash, but should we, I think we're safer with a helmet on. I don't think they work in every situation but the handful of times that I hit my head on the pavement I was glad I had one on. In regards to the incident where my head went through the rear glass of that Ford Taurus, I think my hard head punched right through it with a quick impact, kinda like a karate-man punching through a bunch of boards. I honestly don't think the helmet would have gone through, leaving me more vulnerable to a neck injury so I'm actually glad that I only had a cycling cap on for that one.
I've always wondered why so many people, especially motorcyclists, want to go helmetless. Most people just say, "...because they're stupid and have a deathwish.", but I'm certain thats not the reason. I know that some of them may actually be stupid but I'm pretty certain theres more to it than just stupidity. So many types of people ride motorcycles all over the world and you can't tell me that every one of them that does not wear a helmet cannot be intelligent. It also amazes me that Arkansas used to have a helmet law for motorcyclists not too many years ago and that they did away with it. How did that happen? It was give or take around the same time that wearing seat belts became a law. Both seat belts and helmets can save lifes so what gives. I've actually thought (more like fretted) about what if they make wearing a helmet a law for cyclists. Are they gonna make motorcyclists start wearing them again? Who knows? I don't know if it has to do with comfort, freedom, personal tastes, wanting to have the wind in your hair, or whatever, but lots of people don't like helmets. Occassionally I'm reminded of my childhood. Back then we just went outside and got on our bikes and did as many dangerous things as we could think of. We rode trails, wheelies, jumped ramps, jumped ramps over each other, and any other crazy thing that we could think of. We would put a ramp of plywood and a cinder block at the bottom of a hill, walk our bikes up the hill, rest for a couple of seconds, and then pedal back down as fast as we could go and hit the ramp. We used to mark lines on the street with chalk so that we knew who jumped the furthest. Good times, no helmet. Back then those things didn't seem dangerous, they just seemed fun, and I think thats probably the way I still view this whole topic today.
Check back for some new bike frame pics real soon. Chao.
Saturday, May 11, 2013
Vincenzo Nibali did much better in the time trial than I anticipated and ended up with the pink jersey. Bradley Wiggins did a pretty good ride however ended up second to Alex Dowsett of Moviestar and only managed to put 11 seconds into Nibali. Cadel Evans is still in good position but Ryder Hesjedal had a bad ride and ended up like 17th overall. Not quite sure what the GC looks like at this moment but it should be pretty tight. I think its Nibali, Evans, Gesink, and then Wiggins all within about a minute and a handful of seconds of each other.
This is Alex Dowsett and I had never even heard the name before but that shows what I know. Anyway, I wanted to put a photo of the stage winner up out of respect for the excellent ride he did. If I had just beat all the best in the world in a time trial i would definitely like having my picture up.
Thanks for stopping by.
Perhaps Wiggins put it best when he said, succinctly, “It’s going to be a hell of a race for the next two weeks.”
Today marks the end of the first week of the Giro de Italia and its already been pretty exciting. Most all of the GC contenders are together and this individual tt could separate things a bit and make for a little more aggressive race in the coming days. Hesjedal, Nibali, and Cadel Evans are all sitting pretty well right now I believe and Brad Wiggins slid out yesterday and lost about a minute in a pretty hot finish. Today's time trial is a 54.8 kilometer from Gabicce-Mare Saltara. I'm sure everyone is like me and knows right where that is. Its approximately somewhere in Italy.
I imagine all the smart money would be on Bradley Wiggins to win today's race since he is such a good time trialist and also that he has to make up some time, however don't forget about Cadel. He can lay down some fast times and I've never seen him show up to a race for anything other than winning. He's smart, seasoned, and probably one of the best bicycle racers of our time even though there isn't much talk about him. Simply put, he's badass and you can never count him out. I'm still thinking Nibali for the overall but for today I think he's just gonna have to limit the losses until the mountains come. I'm sure it will be a good race. You can check it out now over on steephill.com. I have the link posted on the last post and I'll try to get it up here shortly. Have a good weekend.
Friday, May 3, 2013
Its May already and that means its Giro time. I can't believe its already here. A cold front just moved into northwest Arkansas last night and its been cold, raining, and even a little freezing rain. Will somebody turn the Global Warming switch back on again, I'm freezing my arse. The only time I've ever seen snow in May was actually coming back from the Yamaguchi frame building class. I caught a ride with Judd, one of the other students, and his dog Rosco, who were both from Winter Park. So anyway, that night we're driving into Winter Park and the snow is just coming down. Judd, being much more accustomed to driving in those conditions, was cruising down those winding mountain passes much faster than this Arkansan was comfortable with. It wasn't just the fact that he was doing 55-60 mph down a snow-covered mountain, it was also his passing other cars on the way down, in the dark mind you. He never missed a beat though so my hat is off to him. When we finally pulled into Winter Park the whole place was lit up with Christmas lights and covered in snow. I felt like I had drifted back in time or something. When the van finally stopped and I put my foot on solid ground (it was snowy and icey but felt solid enough) I breathed a sigh of relief. I would much rather bust my arse on a slick parking lot versus driving off the edge of a mountain pass. Ever seen the Tour stage where one of the racers goes over the side of the road and lands in a tree? Actually it happened a couple of times within a year or two. Nothing quite like riding your bike over the edge of a mountain, landing in the tree tops 30 down, climbing 30 feet back up onto the road, only to find your team car waiting there with another bicycle. Judging by the look on the rider's face I imagine the conversation went something like:
Team Manager: "You ok?"
Team Manager: "What were you thinking?"
Team Manager: "Here drink some water."
Racer: "Uhhh. " (While choking and coughing)
Manager: "Now hurry up, they're getting away."
Still want to be a pro bicycle racer? I think one year it may have been Johan Bruyneel. Wonder what he's up to these days? Pfff, who cares. Anyway back to the bike race thing in Italy. Apparently its some sort of big deal or something. They usually have some real good coverage here. I enjoy listening to them babble on in Italian even though I can't understand it. http://www.steephill.tv/giro-d-italia/
This is last year's champion, uhhhh whoops, let's see here, wait just a second while I double check my notes....
...ok now, this is last year's champion, Ryder Hesjedal. He was pretty solid last year but I'm gonna have to go with Vincenzo Nibali from the Cannondale squad. I read that he's been working pretty hard for this year. Whoa, I just had a mind lapse. Nibali races for Astana now. Bet he's missing that Cannondale EVO. He'd never admit it but I know he does. Is Nibali even racing this year's Giro? Yeah, he is but i had to go check to make sure. Thought for a moment he may just be waiting on the Tour. I don't know if Roman Kreuziger is racing in it this year or not? If so, I'd like to see him do well. He always rides good when nobody has any expectations for him. Some guys are like that. Jan Ullrich was kind of like that. That is one kooooooooool trophy that Hesjedal is holding. Wish I had one of those sitting next to my Punt, Pass, and Kick trophy. Yep, first place in the 12-13 yr. old class. I was in the 6th grade and even beat out all the 7th graders as well. I remember one of them called me a "weenie arm" during the sign up. After it was over and they handed him his 2nd place trophy, I told him he could suck my "weenie arm." I'm just kidding, I didn't say that. I was too shy to say anything like that, so I just took my gold and held it up with one hand and flipped everyone off with the other. Talk about sweet revenge. ;)
Uuummm, what? Huh? There is a bike race or something going on? Huh? What are you babbling about? A giro? I don't care. Man, why didn't we have trophy girls like this in the Punt, Pass, and Kick. I just got some spode from the Ford dealership that gave me my trophy along with some McDonald's coupons. He wasn't even wearing pink. I think I got ripped off.
Here are a couple of pics of some of Friday's work. I put a little custom chainring clearance in this chain stay. I decided to go with the rectangle cutout instead of the oval on this one. It takes a little less meat out.
I got a nice little internal fillet on the inside of this piece. Extra strength!
Perfect fit. Campy Ultra-Torque cranks provide the least amount of clearance with these chain stays so if I can make them fit then I know most other brands will also. This is actually a 53/39 tooth chainring setup, so thats why it is as tight as it is. This is actually built for a cyclocross crankset and that will provide even more room.
Thanks for checking things out. I just finished painting a frame the other day and am gonna throw some pictures up just as soon as I can. There were a couple of spots on the clear that needed to be cleaned up and I haven't gotten it done yet. It shouldn't be long. Check back.
Note: LC Creative Productions got a second gallery page up on my website. Its got some frames that I didn't get on the first page and its got some of my latest frames as well, along with a couple of MEECH riders/racers. If you get a chance go check it out.
Thanks to Linda and Hal of LC Creative Productions for taking care of me. There is a link to my website on the blog's main page and here is another:
Here is a quick clip of a young, skinny, Johan Bruyneel in the Tour.