Monday, April 26, 2010

Workin on a Junior's bike...World Champion ambitions

We all wish we could be like the pros, maybe race like the pros, be as fast as the pros, eat like the pros...still be as lean as the pros??? haha But most of us never will be. But our parents didn't get us started in racing at a young age like a pro so we can all blame them. So what happens when your parents do start you out young...some times in the junior ranks you strike gold and a talent is recognized. Such a thing has happened in the Houston Texas area with one young racer...Lawson Craddock. Around here we have known or known of Lawson for a while as he would kick our butts at the age of 14 in the crits. Get in a break with him and his lack of draft would only add insult to injury as you struggle to keep his pace. I know from first hand experience...yet he has moved on in the ranks and I have not. Again...I blame my parents. ;-) We have watched Lawson grow and get faster and get picked up by developmental teams so he can race in Europe and see where he can take this bike racing thing. Well...the home town boy has made good so far. Last year at the age of 17 he was 2nd in the Junior World Time Trial Championships and just this month he got third in the Junior Paris Roubaix road race. Yes, 116k of the same cobbles on the same day that Fabian Cancellara displayed his dominance. A-FREAKIN-MAZING! So when his dad asked for some help with the cabling issues on his new Cervelo P4 I jumped at the chance. Not only did I know that I could help them fix the problem and make it even better, but the chance to work on a bike that is going to be raced in this years Junior World TT Championships is pretty cool for someone in my line of work. Of course I asked Lawson all kinds of questions about Paris Roubaix and how tough it really is and how awesome it was to ride into that velodrome and stand on that podium. What a memory! Ok, yeah, I worked on the bike and bars, complaining about the stupid internal routing of the frame and installing my Nokons that fix so many things. Fun stuff and will make following him and his Rainbow jersey quest that much more exciting to follow. GO LAWSON! Houston is pulling for ya!

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Dr. Photon

Photons 011
Originally uploaded by shamacycles
I have known Mark for some time now and watched and helped him race a little here and then. Then finally this year he joined on to the Shama Cycles Race Team and his life has been better ever since in every aspect of his life...I believe even his wife loves him MORE because of it. haha ok, maybe not really. Ok seriously, I was able to work on his beloved Colnago in February getting him ready for a training ride in Colorado by fitting up the bars, stem, lighter brakes, better cranks with a compact option and new cables...oh yeah and upgraded from 10spd Campy to 11! I pulled a trick on him on his crank size and after a solid crit race later on, he was SOLD on my work and choices on his equipment as he was loving it. Now came the work to get him off the sloppy Colnago and onto something a little better. Finally after some gentle persuasion (a chair, spotlight, duct tape and a baseball bat) he ordered a Guru Photon. The geometry wasn't that far off from what he was on, but it was slightly longer and taller in the front...but the angles and BB drop were made to be all race. even down to the rider specific carbon layup which was beefed up to give him a frame that just won't move under him. No touring geometry here...this is a pure race machine. So we pulled all the new stuff off the Colnago and installed it right on the Photon with ease. Yesterday we did a quick fit on the trainer for some quick rides before we Retul it and even then when he stood up on the trainer and cranked on it....the bottom bracket didn't move. CRAZY! Not a big deal? Have you ever looked at your BB while on a trainer cranking out serious power...they all move when the rear is fixed.
The wheels here in the photos are Hed Jet 4 FRs which are his "training" wheels since his "race" wheels are Hed Stinger 6s. As Shown here...its 15lbs. With race wheels...14lbs. What an amazing frame!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Gateway To The Bay Olympic 2010

If you read my take on the Sprint below, you will see how great I though the race was put on. The Olympic was just as good! Straight to the race. The big part was the relay. The relay usually never really gets any attention in a race but not at this was the focal point. WHY? Andy Potts was part of a charity relay team as the swimmer and then had a biker and a runner who gave to the benefiting charity to win their chance to be on Team Potts. Then Team Reed had a swimmer and biker as Matt ran the run leg (31 minutes). Our friend Chris Sustala is a good triathlete and even better swimmer even though he is on the Tri On The Run Team, he mentioned to me how he wanted to race Andy Potts in the water but needs a biker and runner. Sounds good to me! I got Steve Quick who can do a 56min 40K and Mitch Sanders who can run a 33 minute 10K for the rest of the race wondering how bad ass these pros would swim and run as well as how good were their other relay partners? Plus would there be any other super relay squads giving it a go. Who won? Well team Shama Lama Dot Dong won! Which was quite an honor to have our guys on top of the podium with Matt and Andy on either side. Sure, not fair in a way but its the best chance any mortal has to finish ahead of such super star athletes. ;-)
We thought we would have the fastest time but the overall winner of the day actually was a minute faster than us. WHAT A FREAK that guy is. haha Then came the Age Groupers. Watching all the guys and girls just grind through the bike and run was awesome! I road the bike course and run course snapping shots and yelling encouragement too all! I saw many clients and team members in Shama gear and it just brought me great pride to see so many out there. It was a great race! Oh...something note worthy was Waly Yarrow as he's running strong at about mile 5 I see him and he points back behind him and yells out "bike for show or run for dough" LMAO! Referring to Greg Colvin and Nigel Willerton who flew by him on the bike only to be passed back up on the run. hahaha Gotta love it when friends are your biggest competitors!
The podiums?
Shama Lama Dot Dong Fastest Relay (Crono)
Carlye Graydon Masters Female (Magis)
Lisa Y 1st in AG (Crono)
Melanie S 3rd in AG (Magis)
Robin C 2nd in AG (Crono)
Jitka N 2nd in AG
Jon E 2nd in AG
Brett C 1st in AG (Crono)

I am proud of all who raced and flew the Shama Cycles colors! Great race weekend with great people!

Gateway To The Bay Sprint 2010

Gateway Sprint 2010 092
Originally uploaded by shamacycles
This is a first year race, from a new group putting on races in the Houston area. Sure I own my own business but I can kinda control who I deal with and work with each person one on one to make sure that I served them well. In race promotion you open yourself up to 200 -2000 people who you might never see and who might have a bad day and blame the race directors or anyone. We all have either been at a race or ride and either had a friend who complained or we ourselves complained about something. Being the race director can be pretty tough and thankless. Well The On UR Mark Crew and On UR Left Coaching did an AMAZING JOB! WELL DONE! THANK YOU from Shama Cycles and all my athletes. Of all the people I talked to, heard from, saw or overheard I didn't hear anything bad at all. Amazinig. Sure, athletes complained about the water being rough, (um its an open water swim in the bay...hello) and the bridge on the course (again, its a race and this is what makes it great) but really that is just all part of racing a good course.

Kemah Boardwalk was a perfect place for a weekend of racing for the athletes and families. There are two races in two days and most any triathlete could very well race both days no problem. I had several Shama athletes race both days, some even placed better on the second day! For those traveling from out of town with a family I can not think of a better place for a race since the races are done fairly early you still have the day to hit the boardwalk and enjoy tons of rides and carnival type activities and some great food as its the restaurants that seem to anchor that place. Oh yes...and there is a Starbucks that opens at 7am there so if you are can be sipping your caffeine crack fix while you watch your delirious racer pass by a couple times over the race.
I was down there to support my clients/athletes/friends. I got there before race start to set up the tent and then get some start pics. The race starts with the invitational wave and I have three in there. Trent Stephens and Andrew Strong both rode their Guru Merus tri bikes from Memorial Park (40ish miles) to the race as a warm up since they are a month out from Ironman St. George and then there is Diann Sweeney-Hjiusman who is racing on her new Guru Crono for the first time. Since they were the first out they were also the first to finish so their story is easy. Diann swam well, rode well and ran well, she came through so fast it would be something else to see if any other women out there can beat her....of one did. Diann is just a great athlete and she killed it! Fastest chick of the day! Now back to Trent and Andrew....Andrew is not that great of a swimmer so he was way back in the swim and Trent is a great swimmer. They are both good on the bike so there was little ground made up there, but then came the run. I was out there riding around to get some shots of these two training buddies racing each other and Andrew caught up to Trent and they were running together. They told me they were going to Thelma and Louise it across the line which I thought was lame but I rode ahead to get the finishing shot and as I stopped at the line to grab my camera and get the shot these two guys were sprinting like mad on each other. I rushed to get a couple shots and saw Trent just barely get Andrew at the line by sticking his tongue out or something like that. They both got the same time but Trent came in 2nd and Andrew came in 3rd. For the rest of the day there was an amazing amount of trash talk as each gave a different version as to how the race played out. hahahaha LOVE IT! Their ride back was probably tougher than the race since they rode back with a very strong Cat 2 road racer and they both were still settling the score with each other. Trent said it was "aggressive". I guess when you are super strong athletes who are peaking for an Ironman I guess you can do such a thing. INSANE.
At the finish of those two crazies and Diann was Matt Reed and Andy Potts. WOW!!!!! They were in to race a charity relay the next day as well as be there to give medals to all the first timers of the weekend. Since there was no one else around we all got to meet them and talk a little. What two great guys. They were happy to be there, they were standing up in the sun hanging out, taking pics and signing what ever with genuine smiles the whole time. Even in talking to Matt Reed about parts and bikes and such he mentioned how he loves sprint tris and loves the speed of the race, but its not in his program so can't really do them. Funny...these guys love to race and happen to make some money at it...great to see such a love for the sport and support for it. Their presence added quite a bit to the event and that was great!
Everyone else seemed to have a good race and lots of fun. I had quite a few people I worked with as well as the usual suspects of FOPs. I helped many have better races and have PRs and podium, but quickly here are the podiums.
Diann Overall female (Crono)
Trent S 2nd Invitational (Merus)
Andrew S 3rd Invitational (Merus)
Kathleen W 3rd in AG (Magis)
Susan Wallace 2nd in AG (Merus)
Nigel W 1st in AG (Crono)
Frank Lee 3rd in AG

Friday, April 9, 2010

Evolo for Dave Howell

Evolos 035
Originally uploaded by shamacycles
Dave came to buy a bike from me after constantly working on his old bikes and always having issues it seemed. Then one day he was riding with a group and went down. Didn't even know what happened. But his wife was pretty pissed and he couldn't hold his son for a while due to his injuries. This was not cool. His wife didn't even want him to race again. But for those of us who have been in this situation understand that just isn't possible. So what do you do when you fall off the horse? You get back on. But what do you do when you fall of the bike? Buy a new one! With the old one broken we had to replace it along with a couple of new parts...shifters and such. This is pretty much a Sram Force build with a Rotor Agilis crank and Quarq power meter with Deda Zero 100 stem and bars. As the picture weighs 16lbs and 4 oz. Pretty awesome if you as me...especially since his old bike was like 19lbs! Oh yeah....this one is not only stiffer and lighter...its custom so the fit is WAY better! Now for the hard part...his first ride is tomorrow and he has some jitters. I have been gets better...

Saturday, April 3, 2010

RonVanManda, My take on it.

Eric Attayi winning the 3/4 race

Meril Moen rolling in the front pack of the cat5 race, 5th that day.
Jose, Pete, Eric, and Jason before the start of the 3/4 race.
Of course the two Shama Mamas are Laura and Aimee who raced earlier.

I have had a tough time getting in training time of any sort with the shop being so busy and just getting married. But the days come and so do the races ready or not. Why race if you aren't ready? Why not? I had a mess of Shamas racing that weekend and it was Aimee's first race back since having her beautiful baby girl. Plus, last year I did this race and had a blast and did what I wanted to when I wanted to on this fairly flat course, until I let the wrong guy infront of me 2 miles from the finish and got blocked in. So even though I am not in as good of shape as last year I had to do it. I roll up same as last year, with just enough time to get my numbers and get pinned up. No real warm up to speak of but I did have 6 team mates in the race so at least it won't all be on me. haha
We start rolling and right away I realize this race is going to break apart cause it was super windy and this is a wide open course. Oh man, we go right into the wind which is fine when you are drafting in the back but that means as soon as we make a turn there is a cross wind and the gutter fest will begin. The course wasn't closed so we had to follow the yellow line rule which meant we had to all stay in one lane. Perfect for splitting the pack of almost 70 racers. I was in a bad spot. Half way through the first lap I see it breaking apart with some of my stronger team mates sitting in the back where I am. After a tough cross wind section I knew we were hitting a fast slightly downhill tail wind section. I moved up to the front of our group with Steve and Doug in it and I just gave it all I had to help get them up to the front pack. It was a big dig that I was not really warmed up for still and just as we made contact in the crosswind section again I started to get a side stitch. OH MAN! NO WAY! But I knew that in just a little bit we would hit the head wind section again and I could get some rest. Before that I got separated again and had to jump in another chase pack to gain on the front group before we crossed the start/finish section. We joined the group and I felt fine and with my new wife watching I made an effort to get up front but as I got about 1o from the front I realized the pain that would come soon after what it took to get there and after blowing a kiss and looking cool to my bride I quickly backed off and went to the back for the next little headwind section for some shelter. Now it really started breaking up and my poor choice of position started to cost me as I had to start jumpin around the gaps that started to open. Finally after several miles of cross and tail wind I found myself with 3 other guys working well together to keep it going. Over the next couple of miles we caught and dropped and regrouped...and I was feeling good. Not like it was easy, it hurt, my legs hurt, my heart was racing and my lungs were burning but I was in the zone. Finally we caught up to one of my team mates, Clark. Of course he was upset cause he was thinking of pulling out next time we pass the start finish being off the front group and all that was up there who wants to suffer in this wind for 40th place. Now that I was there and while I was ready to crumble myself and throw in the towel I looked over at Clark and told him to HTFU. Just so I could hear those darn little letters out loud and hopefully inspire myself as well. Clark and I fought it out with the wind and several other guys for one more lap. Finally on that long hard tailwind section I put my head down, grabbed my drops and slowly spun up each gear all the way to the turn. I was grinding it out cause I saw Ned ahead rolling solo. I made the turn and saw I had an unexpected gap on my group and we were 2-3 miles from the finish. Oh man! So I kept it going fighting the wind hitting my right side till I got to my team mate Ned. Perfect...the two of us to the line. We took one turn and Ned said he was toasted. CRAP! I saw another guy up the road and drilled it to him. We started a couple turns and I looked back and here they come in their echelon. CRAP! So we sit up and make the right turn straight into the wind. Not sure of our speed but we had an easy mile straight into it while rolling in my 23 cog. I was getting kinda hopeful but laughing at myself for thinking of sprinting it out for back of the pack glory but hey, I am here and obviously I need the training! I was kinda feeling good and thought I should have a go at it from far out cause there is now way I am going to accelerate up that little finish incline into the wind. Clark looks back and I give him "the nod" that I am about to go. He in turn gives me "the look" that its too early. But I am hell bent on going at this time on this little down hill to let my Extra Sexyness that I carry with me give me an advantage for a little bit. So I take off sprinting out of my 25cog in the rear. Now let me just mention, I have a 54tooth big ring. We live in Texas and its flat....and I am a cat 4 which means that I need every bit of gear that guys like Tom Boonen ride on cause how can I ever be like them if I only ride a 53 tooth chain ring. (Ok, wait, let me stop laughing at myself right now) Really, I just like the way it looks on my bike. I am my own worst customer! ;-) So I was able to shift down a couple only to then slowly start shifting back up as I hit the head wind and rise before me as I see the 500 meters to go sign. Now usually it would only be a matter of seconds to the finish....though today is not that day. I am in my 25 tooth again spinning, trying to keep my cadence up as to not require my 42 inner ring...cause seriously...who sprints the finish in their small ring in Texas??? NOT I! I look behind me and I notice a 20 yard gap maybe. Oh no, I went to early. I keep spinning though cause Joy is up at the finish and I can't let her down after she woke up at 5am on a Sunday morning and stood outside in the wind in the middle of no where to watch me race. Slowly I creep up on the 200 meter to go sign. I was going so slow I would have laughed at myself could I regain any normal breathing to do so. I was maxed out, my form was horrible and I was waiting for someone to pass me at any second. I looked back again and still I saw this gap. Its like slow motion. I click down to my 23 and stand up to give that last little bit a go.....aaaaaand then I go back to my 25 as I almost locked up my quads in that stupid display of lack of strength. I grind away as if I was coming in first and cross the line with a clean set of wheels. UN-FREAKING-BELIEVABLE! I can not believe for as slow as I was finishing no one came around me. The wind REALLY sucked there. So Clark catches up to me and gives me a pat on the back, so do some of the other guys from our little pack of eight riders who were not smart enough to pack it in on this tough day. I see Joy who is as proud of me as if I won and we make our way back to the van. Stretching out the pain and disbelief of the day Clark rolls over and yells out 15th. I was like 15th what? He said he got 16th and I got 15th. NO WAY! ARE YOU KIDDING ME??? WOW! Suddenly it seemed all of that was worth it. I was so glad we didn't give up and that I fought for that finish. Now sure, I didn't win. I am not going to upgrade off of this. I did how ever just have one of my best road race finishes and I am not even rolling like I should be. I looked at my Guru Photon with such pride and felt really really good about my race that day...or maybe stunned is more like it. I guess it just never give up cause you never really know where you are at till you are done.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

PHOTON!!!!! Most amazing frame EVER!

Bikes 018
Originally uploaded by shamacycles
Ok, its late and I am really tired but I can't say enough about this frame. This one belongs to one of the guys on the team, I have been riding mine since Feb and I just built the 3rd on today. More to come, but if you are looking for something that actually rides as amazing as all the marketing crap they talk...well Guru had taken the cake with this one...A-FREAKIN-MAZING!!!!!!!!!!!!

2010 Guru Evolo for Jon

Bikes 011
Originally uploaded by shamacycles
We all love to ride, triathletes and roadies alike. But at Shama Cycles it seems that the triathletes are getting faster on the bike from hitting up group rides with Shama roadies and other lycra clad friends. A triathlete showing up for a group ride usually involves them showing up on their tri bike. Well this is not ideal for them let alone for some of those in the group. We welcome all but if you want to draft and pull and have everyone around feel secure you might want to show up on a road bike. Don't have one? We can fix that just like we did for Jon. With a custom road bike of course. Now Jon can ride in the pack and work with the back and in complete control the whole time ready for what ever might come your way while following that wheel in front of you. You can ride more miles and at higher speeds and stay motivated to work harder and longer which translates to a faster bike split in the tri. Sure its a road bike but the geometry being custom we design the frame and fit to translate perfectly to the tri bike. Oh yeah, this rig looks pretty awesome too! Pearl White with Flame Red and Orion accents. This is Guru's entry level carbon frame and its so much more than entry level. Truly amazing ride for the money and probably one of the best values of a carbon frame period. You will be seeing a lot of these on the road coming this year.