Saturday, October 29, 2011

Rubbin's Racin' The Night We Almost Killed Jordan

I have a video to share but before you watch I have to introduce it with this background story.

A little while back Lane had a cracked wheel on his bigwheel so he pulled out a roll of duct tape and made a few wraps around the wheel to reinforce it so he could ride.  That night Lane went from a mid pack rider to a podium finisher.  The duct tape added just enough extra grip in the corners which allowed him to carry more speed.  My bigwheel was faster in the straights and I remember getting out front then every corner Lane would come blowing by me on the inside as I struggled to keep from being flung to the outside and off the road.  I would pass on every straight and then get passed at every corner, it was frustrating.  I thought I was just having an off night and that Lane was just picking better lines and doing a better job at setting up the corner. 

Lane's conscience got the best of him and the next week he spilled the beans on his new found speed secret.  It takes a lot of skill and finesse to navigate the switchbacks of Squaw Peak at high speed on plastic wheels.  When my brother told me they were all going to tape their wheels the purist in me was a little offended.  I told them that they should just go straight to rubber wheels if they were going to do anything at all.  The next week everyone but me in the core group had taped their wheels.  I was still holding out.  As an added bonus Randy and his race car buddies showed up that night.  Nobody said a word about the tape to the race car guys.  It had been a while since these guys showed up and our group was looking forward to being able to dominate. 

I got spit out the back almost immediately, there is just no way I was able to keep up, Jordan who has always been the fastest in the race car group was the only one not cheating that was able to keep up but barely.  While everyone else was relying on  the grip of the tape to keep them on the road Jordan was dropping his rear wheel off of the inside edge of the road and hooking the edge like a rail to keep from sliding to the outside.  This method works great on right hand corners but it's not such a good idea for obvious reasons on lefts.  Jordan's frustration level was growing.  How was it that everyone else was suddenly so much faster? 

After getting beat the first two runs Jordan pulled out all the stops for run number three.  This is a long video so if you want to see the good part skip to 6:50.
I had no idea what happened until I got to the bottom when they told me that Jordan tagged a car.  I asked if anyone stopped and the response was. "No... We were racin'".

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

1938 Schwinn Autocycle Blues

I have an obsession for checking multiple times a day to see the new listings for “Schwinn”. Today just prior to leaving work I pulled up the search again and this is what I found.

I found this 1938 Schwinn Autocycle in my Great Grandfathers Garage while cleaning it out. I Did some research and found it to be a lost treasure. First introduced in 1936 the Autocycle seriously revolutionized the balloon tire field in styling and sophistication. So much going on here that Schwinn incorporated the word AUTO into the title of these bikes. No other bike of the period had as many deluxe features and accessories as the Autocycle. This jewel tanked bicycle is 100% original parts, no aftermarket stuff at all. From the full floating "pogo" saddle right down to the deluxe speedometer crossbar. It has dual Seiss headlights, locking truss fork with original Yale Junior Arnold Schwinn & Co. key, WW Goodyear G-3 Tires and a Schwinn Speedo head. It also features the early Fore Brake and super rare early brake handle with the original cable. NOS Liberty headbadge and a Liberty decal on the downtube. First year for the feather chrome chainguard.

I don't know what to ask for it in it's current condition before being restored but I want it to be a fair price for both of us so if you are interested and have an idea of how much it's worth please call me and lets talk.

Thank You,

I picked up the phone and called immediately because I knew there would be a fight for this bike. The seller said that he had another guy coming to look at it and offered $750. I told him I would do at least $800 and with that I raced off to try to be the first there with cash. Sadly about 2 miles from the sellers house my phone rang, “Sorry I sold it, but thanks for offering 8 I got another 50 bucks out of the guy who bought it.” He then asked me if I knew who Mike Wolfe was, and that he had just gotten a call from him wanting the bike just after he sold it. He was disappointed because he thought that he might have had a chance to be on TV if he had held out.

I felt like I had been kicked in the gut. I turned around and went home. And to add insult to injury I told my wife about it. Now I am in the dog house with her for not discussing the attempted purchase with her first. Seriously this one is going to haunt me for a long time. I doubt I will ever see another in this good of condition for that kind of money.

I am still in the market if anyone happens to know someone with an extra Autocycle lying around, be sure to send them my way.

Damn that thing would have made one hell of a commuter.

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Frozen Hog 2011 Last Place Podium Finish

After another December of overindulgence, I started training for the Frozen Hog. I look forward to this every year. It gives me a reason to get out of bed during the grey winter. Usually at 4:40 so that I can make it to the 5:15 spin class followed by a 2-4 mile run before work. Given the choice I would always rather ride outside instead of on a spin bike at the gym but the reality of it is that it's just a more efficient use of time. The running part of the training is entirely new to me, last year I neglected to train for the run and found myself hobbling for a week after the race after my atrophied running muscles got completely shredded. You never know what you are going to get, this race is entirely in the hands of Mother Nature and last year she decided that she wanted us to run. I suppose this may have scared a lot of people off because the numbers were a little sparse this year.

The trail conditions were absolutely fantastic. This was the drag race of winter mountain bike racing. I went into the Le Mans start feeling confident with all the running time I had put in during training, but I just sucked at it. I got passed a lot and got a poor start position going into the first single track section. The first real opportunity you have to make a clean pass is about half way through the lap at the start of the down hill. I did my best to make up time and started passing riders but just didn’t have the power I had hoped I would so the progress was slow. The laps flew by and before I knew it I was riding up the final road to the finish. My sputtering engine finally started firing on all cylinders and I gave it all I had. I wish I would have been able to do that earlier in the race. I ended up finishing 3rd out of 3, yep dead last in my class yet still a podium finish. I doubt that will ever happen again.

One thing I have noticed that can either make or break a race is the promoter. I think there are lots of race promoters that do a great job at all the behind the scenes stuff but when it comes down to the most visible stuff like having DJ skills to call the race and announce awards and raffles they fall on their face. And then there are the prizes, a race promoter needs to be aggressive and convincing to the sponsors that their donated merchandise and serviced will make good financial business sense. Every time I have been to the Frozen Hog they have given away at least one bike and usually two. This year Raleigh gave away a belt drive single speed and a 24” kid’s bike which were awesome. Josh did an excellent job at all aspects of promoting and I look forward to future races.

The beauty of this event is that it exists, I don’t know what the conditions will be like next year but I can tell you this much, I will train for the worst and hope for the best. To all those who didn’t show up because they didn’t like the conditions last year, it is time to put away the purse. Oh and Josh next year you might want to coordinate with Lynda Wallenfels.