Wednesday, December 31, 2008

The best New Year's ever

...or at least in the last few months. Recall last NYE was the "sorry for partying" year that saw me donate to the Good Times Gods. Ah, good times. Good times.
Anyway, this holiday season I've felt fairly poopy-pants-ish and not really festive. I turned down a few Thanksgiving dinner invites, then drove up on Christmas day for the family bidniss. In keeping with my poopy-pants-ed-ness, I was explaining to my dad a few days ago that I didn't have any plans this year for New Year's and was quite fine with that. After running some errands today I spent much of the evening in the garage getting things cleaned up and organized. I've got 4 bikes and only one is built - This grates on me. In the continued eBay efforts I got a few cassettes cleaned that will get photo'd tomorrow and thrown out on the 'bay.
All in all, I timed it perfectly and turned on the tube with 30 seconds to go, watched the ball drop, turned off the tube and now sign off so that I can go to bed.

Gotta ride my bike tomorrow, you know.

later

-the ATM

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Really, it's just a small pain in the neck.

Seriously. Day two of the pain in my neck was a little worse than day one. Occasionally I get these near-debilitating pains in my neck from what I think is somehow ending up sleeping with my neck all twisted up. Two days ago I awoke with said pain. I generally deal with it for a day, trying not to look over my shoulder, etc then lay on some ice that night.
Did that, no help. This became a much bigger deal because I was headed out for a bike ride, and 40+ degree weather without rain in December was not going to see me skip it. The big problem this presented was that unless I nearly turned my entire body around on my bike, there was no way in hell I would be able to look behind me. I think I stopped maybe 4 times to stretch my neck in every direction possible. The last time finally made some progress so I could at least lift my head up high enough not to continually have to 'look up' just to see what was in front of me. Nothing a quick trip to the chiro won't fix. Too bad that's Monday.
Apart from my pain in the neck, every time I headed West during the ride I was maybe doing 11 mph in order to keep my HR where it should be for a recovery ride. The beauty was that heading east to come home meant I was pushing 25mph at that same HR. Score!

I'm heading up to Fort Fun tomorrow (yes on Christmas day) since Christmas is not what it once was in the Mexler household. I think we'll get together in the afternoon, then sleep, then wake up and eat more then go to bed. Friday is brunch at my Dad's then hopefully a ride with coach extraordinaire Don. Saturday will find me in our team meeting then Sunday is the return trip to continue with getting lots of stuff done around the house that is possible with a week off of work and no travel.

Anyhoo, no pics of anything exciting lately. I pretty much lead a boring life without bikes. I hope you stick around until racing starts up in the spring.

later.

-the ATM

Friday, December 19, 2008

Masters Nats and Convenience

I've been struggling to find the motivation to post about my last race of the year since I've pretty much decoupled over the last week. I've gotten a few things done around the house but I guess I've taken this week of from everything except the bare essentials.
I wasn't getting great feelings about my legs for the start, but I was going to give it a shot anyway. At the gun, I passed several rows on the inside again but a pile up blocked me in to a solid 4th from the back at the first corner. According to the official at the start, that would put me at 98th.
As expected, it was more difficult to move up but I was still giving it my all. I wasn't feeling the flow and was extremely slow at the run-up as a result. I was ready to pull the plug a few times but cheers from Mike, Isaac, Ryan and Zach kept me rolling. I settled in to a group of a few that, on the whole, were matched up but had strengths in different sections - climbs, corners, etc.
I ended up 29th, which I feel good about. I had already kinda checked out and I knew it would be one of the harder races of the year so to pull out 67 places from the ashes is pretty ok.

SO, moving on... I tend to be a little slow on the blog updates which has been a bit troubling. I guess it gets built up in my head and devoting the necessary time to write a good post ends up dragging on, which I think ends up hurting my readership - which I don't like. I suppose I look at it as the more hits on my blog, the more people enjoy my ramblings and schtick - which is nice. As a whole, cyclists have fragile egos so any encouragement is good.
All this boils down to the great American progression of things. As in, we quickly accept the new as standard and look for the next new thing to provide some form of new/better/easier convenience. Take cars, for example. Keyless entry was barely used on ultra premium cars in the early 90s. A few years later even the $10k cars have it. Now we see convenience packages that don't require you to remove the key from your pocket. Are you really that lazy? No, but it's way more convenient to just reach up and press a button to start the engine. Silly if you ask me, but too many people HAVE to have it. egad.
So what does this have to do with blogs? Well, it's proven to be difficult for me to regularly post to a blog, even though I have lots of ideas pop into my head throughout the day. This is where I build it up too much and don't end up posting. After 'the moment' has passed, interest wanes and the chances of a post, much less a good one diminish quickly.
Enter the next new thing... Twitter. I've known about it for awhile but wanted to avoid it because it seemed silly. Of course, after I put some (okay, lots of) thought into it, it actually makes sense. The logic of it is such that you have to keep it short, so more frequent posts are essentially encouraged. It also helps for when random subjects that are pseudo-blog worthy, since one can send a random tweet and let 'er eat. You can see them at right or get really nutty and have them sent to your mobile. Because, you know, I feel like so many of your lives revolve around my randomness.
or something like that.

So that's a long-winded explanation of why I'm not jumping on the band wagon so much as improving my readership. Buy it?

later.

-the ATM

Friday, December 12, 2008

Pics from round one

Zach was kind enough to snap a few pics from the race so I figured I'd post a few, since several of my last posts have been pic-less:

The first several painful run-ups:Sherer's probably online now looking for the neon pit coveralls

The frozen ground offered way more grip than mud:
Amazing how much a 32 spoke 3 cross rim rides like butter:

So we're sitting here in the hotel room, watching the first season of Californication, getting ready to head out directly after the races tomorrow. I'm in weird state of mind now, in that I want to do well and will give it my all, but I have no expectations for results since I'll be literally 12 numbers from the back of the grid of 152 dudes. Maybe I'll pretend I'm at the back of a MTB World Cup race where there are 250 guys toeing the proverbial line.

Anyway, all for now. Later.

-the ATM

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Two for two

For those keeping score, that's two 2nd places in two National Championships - sort of. I guess the 2/3 CX Nats isn't really a jersey paying race so it's not really a National Championship, but it was marketed under the guise of National Championship so it's close enough.
I waited too long to register so I ended up getting the #88 grid spot. With no-shows taken out I counted an 8th row start. Luckily enough people were asleep at the wheel at the whistle and I quickly shot up to maybe 30th by the first corner. At the highest elevation on the course roughly a third of the way through the lap I muscled into 4th then moved into 2nd by the 3rd lap. I apparently dug too deep to get there because I just couldn't close it. Well, that and I'm fighting off a cold.
So there it is. Two Nats races and two 2nd places. Perhaps I'll make it 3 for 3 on Sat in the old man's race, starting from 140th place. That should be fun.

Later

-the ATM

Saturday, December 6, 2008

the magic of silence

It's been a really long year, and I'm starting to have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to pull strong rides together. Mentally, I'm good but it's still hard when my legs aren't putting up numbers I could do in the summer. I'm in somewhat uncharted territory since I've never done as many races in previous years as I did this year.
All of this adds up to what I would have thought would make me not want to ride my bike. Alas, even when it's 20 degrees out I can still take motivation from certain things surrounding me: the rhythmic whoosh of tires on the pavement, the silence of a country road interrupted only by the faint mechanical whir of a properly tuned drivetrain and, when I look behind me - my tire tracks in fresh snow:

Yep, I love to ride my bike.

-the ATM

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Those crazy Germans

I bought a belt tensioner for my car since the pulley bearings are shot, and there is no option to buy just a replacement pulley. When I opened the box, I saw one of the universal diagrams and laughed out loud after I decoded it:Apparently you have to have a set of overalls to work on cars. Mere mortals need not apply.
This presents a distinct problem because overalls go against every fashion-forward concept in the world today. Secondarily, I'd have to buy said overalls, and even if purchased at WalMart they'll be at least $20, which brings the overall price of the job up that much more. This is unacceptable.
I think I'll just close my garage door when I'm installing it so that nobody can see that I'm not wearing overalls. I will be wearing khakis since there are no rivets to scratch paint, but no overalls. Just don't tell anybody. Thanks.

-the ATM

Monday, December 1, 2008

Storm the Green

A somewhat fitting title since it did rain, but only in the hours before our race. This actually sucked because all the mud turned to peanut butter and made for a dirty, dirty bike. I'm fairly certain that chain is done. At least I didn't shred any other drivetrain parts from crashes and such.
During the pre-ride laps I took a few spills so I experimented with dropping the tire pressures until I was regularly bottoming out on the ground. I was feeling good before the start and got a good jump from the gun, but about mid-cassette the chain dropped down to the little ring and I got passed by about 5 people. Big dog restored, I settled in a good pace in about 6th. At the insane low pressures I was running, my Grifos were hooking up like college kids on Saturday night. Not that I ever did, Mom. I studied and got good grades. Really, I did. Anyway, I can only imagine what a set of Fangos would do in the mud.
I rode the race technically clean, and only screwed up a nasty corner-into-run-up section once which only cost me a few seconds. The head wind sections were pretty brutal, but not to the point that I was questioning my sanity.
King Ryan crushed it again and all but clinched the OVCX title, and I was able to jump another step up the ladder to hit 4th which puts me in 5th on season points. I just have to not have a bad race to get 4th since Mike Purvis got collected by a car while training on his road bike last week and now has a limp. Man, that sucks. He's definitely a guy that doesn't deserve anything close to that. I hope he recovers well for sure. I really need to have a stellar result this weekend to crack the season podium, but with the way the other Barbasol guys are riding that is a tall, tall order. No matter - I'll give it a good ol' college try, similar to my efforts on Saturday nights in college. Studying. Because that's what I did, Mom. I promise.

-the ATM

Oh yeah, Is it just me, or does the description "FSA compact 50/34 rings" not tell you the BCD is 5x110mm? After 3 questions from bidders I figured I should edit the post. If nothing else, go to their website and look it up, or better look at the picture I posted where it says '110mm BCD' Sheesh.
/end rant

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Cap City cross

I'd been feeling a little off the last few weeks and not riding tip-top as a result, so I ended up taking a weekend off from racing to let my noggin reconnect with itself. The cure was the maiden voyage on my new Epic, and it was exactly what I needed.
I got a fairly good start considering I was gridded in the 3rd row. I was maybe 4th or 5th wheel after the first few corners, then played pseudo-teammate for Ryan and went to the front for a piece.After he attacked I settled into a group of three for 3rd-5th. Of course, before he launched I did have to show Ryan how to hop the barrier/run up:I hopped it for the first several laps but I noticed my rear wheel clipping the leading edge so rather than bomb out on it I started running it, which really wasn't that much slower anyway. I was working the technical sections well, but I still didn't feel like I had my top end back so I ended up getting gapped over the last two sections and ended up 5th. It's still my best result in the Elite field of the OVCX series this year so I'll take it. Perhaps this is me racing myself into form. I guess we'll see how this weekend's Kentucky state championship goes.

later

-the ATM

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Fitting

For those of you that add up the posts on the right side navigation page this is nothing new, but I'm guessing I'm probably the only one that knows this is my 100th post, so it seems fitting that it's a post about a new bike.

As part of my Grand Plan hatched in early 08, I'd get a hard tail and race that for a season then keep it and buy a full suspension rig to have two race day rigs in my quiver. Well, that kinda happened a little sooner than planned but as they say, I got a great deal!
I was really happy with the build of my HT and want to wait for 09 gruppo bits, so I figured I'd start The Great Component Swap from the HT to the dually after the Iceman. As you read below, it's after the Iceman so here I go:What better place for MTB pics than on a trail? Granted, it's not the full race build, but imagine about 5 less pounds in the wheels and you get the picture. It was a good build if a bit slow, but being a used rig I had to go through the bushings/bearings in the back and I only remembered that I have two bike stands after I swapped the frames out for the last time I needed to pull parts. Plus, for reasons unclear to me other than perhaps marketing, the headset for the HT uses 45x45 bearings ala Campy's Hiddenset while the Epic uses a 45x36 bearing more typical of MTBs HOWEVER they extended the head tube while keeping bearing position the same, so the bearing is recessed in the head tube which prevents proper stackup of the parts. To get around this I used a 5mm stem spacer under the cap until such time as I can procure the Specialized Mindset headset they list in the manual. It rode great today, so it must not be THAT bad.
Speaking of rides, the bike is pretty damned sweet. I'm still dialing in the suspension, but it seems reasonably close to where it should be, and I like it. Alot. I can only imagine how the 09 Epic rides. I wish I was good friends with Todd Wells so he could loan me one of his 09 race rigs. I guess he could do that any way, but I expect being friends with him would grease the skids a bit.

I hope PRO mechanic Zach is reading, since I have to pay tribute to his top tube routing of the rear derailleur. He implemented on Don's Epic and I was smitten with the full cable housing routing passing through the seat stay. I also hope he appreciates my front derailleur:OK, it's not baller Record but I had the Centaur with the right clamp diameter in stock. It shifts pretty good, and I expect it will get even better once I put my 108mm BB in (again, had a 113mm in stock) to tighten the chainline and allow a bit more fine tuning of the cage placement. All in all, 23.5 lbs with maybe another half pound to come off closer to race season next year. I'll take it.
Anyhoo, I'll leave you with a few parting shots since it's pretty rad.
the sun shone down on me, and it was good

it even knows which way to the trail

Later.

-the ATM

Monday, November 10, 2008

The Iceman Cometh...

...the Iceman goeth.
The last few years I've managed to score an invite to the Iceman as a result of winning my age group for Indiana, but I've always been low on motivation to drive almost 9 hours for a sandy double track race. Having reasonable form and more of a desire to finally do the race, I committed to it. A mini bonus was that I got bumped up to the PRO race. Sweet.
I really started to get nervous about it the day before, once I arrived in Kalkaska. Since I had nothing but time on my hands I stewed about it, going over timelines for pre-race and general race day plans. Once it was close to go time, I headed over to the start line and wound up 3rd row. I figured the start would be critical and that turned out to be true. Only I wasn't nearly as aggressive as I should have been. I ended up in a decent group of 5 guys, and we generally worked well together until the end. At the line I took 34th, which was disappointing but a mere 30 seconds up was 25th place, so I did my normal brooding for a day then got over it on the VERY long drive home. I have to say I felt very Euro when there was a crowd of people a few peeps deep on each side of one climb screaming their brains out - good for a few extra dubbyas of motivation.
In the mean time to help that pain, I figured I head to the Bell's after-awards party and drown my sorrow in booze. I've long been a fan of Bell's brewing efforts, and especially like their Porter so at $3 a pint I was in. A few beers in, I noticed the Best Brown I was quaffing wasn't exactly transparent, which isn't un-normal for Bell's since one motto they have is 'Live life unfiltered' but I've never had it that thick before. Mmm, mmm, good!

Indeed.

Anyway, I've finally given myself some time to post an update as I sit here in a hotel room in wonderful Peoria, Il. Life is pretty crazy for me these days, and I have what seems like zero time to do it all so I flounder a bit on everything. This, too, shall pass but in the mean time I'm pretty wrecked. Good thing is I am still motivated to ride and race my bike, which helps for this last stretch of racing before settling in to a long few months of endurance rides. This is bolstered by a new addition to the family, but details and pics are forthcoming.

On another positive note, I got a belated birthday gift tonight from one of my counterparts at my customer.
Quite possibly one of the best lines of all time. Period.
"which one is your wallet?"
"It's the one that says..."


Until then, later.

-the ATM

Monday, October 27, 2008

One of these days

...I'll be a bit more diligent about posting only one day post-race. Until then, you just can't rush greatness, I say.

ahem.

Anyway, The Louisville GP weekend was damned near perfect for both me and my team. I love unexpected surprises, such as the #1 bib for the 2/3 races of the weekend.
This gave me pick of the litter on grid position both days. It helped that PRO mechanic and teammate Zach got #2 and second teammate Ryan M got #11 to grid right behind me. Coach extraordinaire Don got shafted by his own silliness (ie, not registering before the week of) so he was #55, in about 8th row.
At the team meeting, we kinda joked that Ryan, Zach and I would slow things down so Don could use his mad pack skills to slice through the field, never thinking it could actually happen. But happen it did. I was in the lead, soft pedaling and coasting through the first two laps yet nobody wanted to come around. Far be it for me to complain. The best part was that a gap was forming to the rest of the field.
True to form, Don bridged so we just started working the lead group over. It was fantastic to hear the announcer over the loudspeaker (Richard Fries, BTW) talk about the tactics we were displaying. In the end I broke away with about two laps to go and held it to the line. I must say it was an awesome feeling to look back and not see anyone in sight so I could get my salute on.
It was even better to see when Don came across the line in second, and Ryan M take 4th with Zach a close 6th. Teamwork fo' sho'.

Day two had the same grid with a slightly altered course including a smallish ditch. I saw potential for somebody to stack it up so I wanted to make sure I was first through it. Having an open road ahead at the start makes getting the hole shot fairly easy. I wanted to push the pace a bit more so we didn't have 11 guys in the lead group as was the case Saturday. I think that was the cause of at least two crashes that slowed my teammates down a few times. Anyway, Don again bridged after a few laps and the smaller lead group again contained four DRT teammates. I had to laugh because Richard Fries was hamming it up on the PA, calling my boys "my henchmen" and me Mr. Mexler. Funny stuff.
Four out of five? you do the math!
With maybe three to go, it was down to three; me, Don and some other guy. I was a bit peeved when said guy did zero work throughout the entire day, but that just gave extra fuel to the fire for when Don and I attacked and countered several times.
Naturally he was forced to chase down and got tired in the process. We never dropped him but it sure seemed like he didn't have much left for the sprint. Don was leading us out and I was third wheel coming onto the pavement the final time. A self-proclaimed slow twitch man without a sprinting muscle in his body, Don was pulling away from the front of the 3-up sprint. Once I dispatched of what's-his-name, I wasn't really sure if I could close the gap to Don and figured it asshole-ish to punk a teammate on the line so Don took the win and I took second, a flip flop from Day 1. Ryan again took 4th - just shy of the podium. Zach had back problems but came in a respectable 14th.

After the post-race interviews, it was great to have Richard Fries off-mike say how that was probably the best display of teamwork he'd seen in a cross race. I'm guessing probably not ever but I'll take it.

So it was a good weekend all around. Another teammate of mine, Nicole B had strong showings both days for her first adventure into Elite level CX racing, netting two top 25s. Especially considering her back-of-grid starting position, she moved up well and represented!
Mike had shit luck on Saturday, which needed no less than 3 bike changes, and not-good luck on Sunday needing just one bike change. Ryan got a top 30 on Saturday then showed determination on Sunday by keeping at it to recover after hitting the wall good for a top 25. Isaac raced clean all day Sunday to get just outside the top 20. Awesome work boys!

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

the 'nati

It was the best of times, it was the worst of times...

Friday started off pretty well. The course was super bumpy and I actively chose NOT to run my 32 spoke box section Reflex hoops laced to Record hubs. Why? I'm lazy. I simply did not want to swap brake pads. Plus deep section hoops look sweet.

Problem is they are crazy stiff. Alas, I'm lazy and therefore took a pounding.
The race itself was pretty cool, I yet again managed to avoid about 3 crashes, one of which was when Rad Skills Ryan took a digger in a corner. I dropped a few dudes towards the end mainly from me unexpectedly riding away from them. Once I had a gap I was just trying to hold it. With about 3 turns to go, a guy bridged to me then passed me going into the final corner. A little odd since he effectively put himself in position to give me a leadout. Regardless, my misinterpretation of the start line as the finish line (super PRO, BTW) and resulting bike throw had him shut down in time for me to realize the real line was about 30 meters later. I won that bike throw, good for 21st in a C2 UCI race. Not awesome, but not DFL either.
Friday night was not so good for recovery... delays and a fancy restaurant that took 45 minutes to serve a plate of freaking bread (honestly?) had me eating at 9p, well beyond the replenish window.
I started Saturday's race a little behind on food but my position in the OVCX series netted me a 3rd row start, behind Troy Wells and Marko Lalonde. Troy missed his pedal at the start and steered into the starting bunch, and I yet again missed the 30-man pile up. I hope my crash avoidance luck never ends.
Anyway, the two way sand pit was interesting... A nice downhill led to one side of the pit with a 180 turn back into it. I typically ride on the flats for sandpits so I don't drive the bike too much, but the immediate 180 required brakes, and didn't give much time to shift down for the return.

I rode it both directions all but once and no matter how hard it felt to ride, running was worse. I finished in 26th, probably from poor recovery on Friday night. Otherwise, top 15 totally.

Sunday's C1 race at Harbin Park had a killer course with a little of everything. And by everything, I mean a rising sand pit, hairpin corner on a descent, a crash, a rolled tubular, and my fast-becoming favorite - course tape in cassette.
To hit the highlights - my front wheel washed out when I thought I was anchored --> dropped chain and scraped right knee. Broke too late into said hairpin --> rolled tire, nice gouge on inside of left knee from canti brake, time lost remounting tire on wheel plus swapping front wheel in pit. All of the above led to me set to be lapped by the big boys, which leads me to my favorite - course tape in cassette.
I wanted to not be a dick so as the leaders were passing me, I pulled over to the right (wind coming from right and blowing the tape into the course) so the PROs could have the clean, un-taped line. Nice... after stopping to remove the tape, I rolled back to the finish line to get pulled and take my sweet 39th place.
So that race sucked, which sucks because I at least felt like I was able to hold a good pace when a lot of guys were cracking and hemorrhaging time. Eh well, there's always next time.

Later

-the ATM

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

"Oh, excuse me Russell,

...but I believe I requested the hand job."
-Wayne Cambell, Wayne's World

I can't say that I ever thought that quote would ever fit in another conversation. I remember in my cycling youth hearing tales from my brother of cool names from Ibis. Names like SilkTi, BowTi, Moron and Hakkalugi. Quite clever when you consider the both the SilkTi and BowTi used used the material properties of Ti to flex without a pivot for rear wheel travel (ala C'dale's Scalpel), Moron - which is their version of double butted tubing because there's, uh, More On the ends, plus the Hakkalugi cross bike. My personal favorite, however, is the Hand Job:

Quite possibly THE best detail any bike could ever have.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Sweet pain

Man, that was crazy. 100 guys lined up for a cross race and off goes the gun. I got shafted on the call up since I thought they would line up by reg number but when the mass of people surged forward I knew I was screwed. It actually helped tho since there was a pile up of about 20 guys and I was able to avoid it. The next 10 minutes were a blur of sprinting, pain and more pain.
The course was wide open but alot of sections were in deep grass that absolutely sucked any momentum I had. I was working the corners pretty well, even if the owner of Challenge tires told me after the race I had way too much pressure in my tires. No matter, I still got paid from dollar-hand ups. I grabbed $6 but lost one as I was just in front of two barriers on a run up.

Since I knew I was going to get lapped, I decided to gain whatever time I was losing by adding style points whenever possible. There was one section that was a perfect spot to air out a bit, so for the last 4 or so laps I was crossing up to the delight of the crowd. I sure hope I can find a few of those pics because that would be a hella-sweet blog pic.
So the final result is that I ended up getting pulled just over 50 minutes into the race, which is about 10-15 minutes longer than I expected to be in there. This was evident when at the start I saw no less that Thomas Frischknecht, Christoph Sauser - you know - current World MTB champ, Mud and Cowbells, plus the usual murderers such as Barry Wicks, Todd Wells, Ryan Trebon, J-Pow, current CX US National champ Tim Johnson. Oh, and Lance Armstrong showed up to boo's at the call up. Funny stuff.

With out a doubt, that was THE hardest race I've ever done. Period.

So Interbike is awesome so far, and I can only imagine it's going to get better!

-the ATM

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

And so it begins

I've been destroying my legs since Sunday with walking around here in Vegas plus standing around during booth duty for work. As with any convention when you work a booth, you get to stand around alot then answer questions when people ask. Mainly they end up being semi-fluff questions that are easy to concoct answers, but there is the occasional know-it-all so it ends up being a time sink. This is both good and bad since that person is generally annoying but talking for longer periods of time tends to make the time go by faster. This is key.
I was set to work Tuesday morning then have the afternoon off. My intention was to grab some lunch then go talk to a few customers for max 1 hour, then come back to the hotel for a quick nap but things didn't go to plan so I didn't nap. This is unfortunate since I seem to be going to sleep on Pacific Time then waking on Eastern Time, which means I'm up at 6a. Sweet. It is what it is, and I'll deal with it.
Anyway, after the show I hooked up with some co-workers to head out to dinner in any number of highly over-priced restaurants here in dirty Vegas. After blowing about $100 each on dinner, we headed to some fancy 'bistro' for some cocktails. About 3 minutes before we were set to leave, I thought I recognized a guy coming down the stairs. As it turns out, I was right:

Perhaps he was a bit cheesed at having to be bothered for a photo and thus posed as such, but I like to think he thinks of me as a good buddy just hamming it up for a photo. Yeah, that's it.
Whatever, he was super cordial and talked to me a few minutes without seeming like he needed to be somewhere else. So JV is A-OK in my book.
Sidebar, that dude is always wearing a sport coat of some kind. Tres' stylish.

And so beings my 3 days of starry-eyed geekiness that is Interbike.

all for now-

the ATM

Friday, September 19, 2008

For to make Russian headache

My previous job was to support our mining engines for all world wide customers, which includes alot of mines in Russia. As part of that, the local engineers would ask questions and I would answer. Over the course of a few years I worked up a rapport with one engineer who, on occasion, makes it to the states for training.
Well, this week happened to be training and he was in town. He shot me an instant message earlier in the week asking if I was going to be in any of the classes. Since my group was presenting several modules on Friday, I was planning to attend and told him so. He responded that I needed to touch base with him as he had a Russian souvenir for me. I like presents, and since it was my birthday earlier in the week it was sure to be a wonderful addition to the birthday wishes I've already received. Sure enough, it was:
Now I can't read Russian, but I can guess as to the contents based on size.


I was right. Please note the lack of english letters on the label. I was most impressed by the felt-like texture on the bottle. This goes well with my souvenir from last year:
Now the reason I haven't tapped into the first was because I promised to drink the vodka in traditional Russian fashion: Do not replace the cap once opened. It is apparently bad luck to open a bottle then not finish it and I'm not a huge vodka drinker. Besides, let's be honest; if I could polish off a fifth of vodka I would have to admit I have a drinking problem. However, in the perfect timing department, I'll bring them out to Vegas so I can honor the other typical Russian method for consuming a fifth of vodka of one bottle for every three guys. That's more of a guideline but it'll be way easier to finish them off in Vegas.

Anyhoo, I'll be leaving in a few minutes to start my week+ adventure starting with a UCI race on Saturday in Davisburg, MI then beating feet back to Indy on Sunday to catch my flight to Vegas. From there I'll spend a few days taking care of bidniss, which is to say, the industry, then start my vacation with a few laps around the Desert Breeze Complex. I can't say I'm as excited as my boy Knapp, but I'm not far off.

So with that, I'm off for now

-the ATM

Monday, September 15, 2008

I am Specialized...

but come 2009, so is Todd Wells, which is awesome.
Two things:
Specialized better reuse the 'I am Specialized' campaign with Todd Wells:



I can only hope like hell he is able to use his powers of persuasion to have them make a white bike for him:


Anyway, back to me... I am diggin' my Tricross a bunch. Even though I got some course tape wrapped around my cassette (from 40+ mph wind gusts) that shot me to the back of the pack, I was able to claw back to a reasonable finish for my first cross race of the year. More importantly, I felt super awesome with 100% confidence in my rig so assuming I can put together a race without issue I should see some good results in the first part of CX season.
This is good because CrossVegas is a mere 10 days away. I know I'm going to get shelled but I don't care. This race is pure fun for me so even if I have a shit race it will still be awesome. Seriously, how many of you can say you lined up next to Thomas Frischknecht? Given his looooong career, probably alot. But I don't know any of you. Not that I'll really line up against him, but we'll at least be in the same 300 meters for at least 10 seconds. Whatever. It's still cool. Mr Colorado Cyclocross himself, Mud and Cowbells will be there, too. I hope he will appreciate my collection of white sex. No Sidi's for me, tho. I have wide feet and I think they only make Mega in black. Ack! No matter, Specialized is getting righteous for 09.

Enough giddy babbling for now.

-the ATM

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Cankle: A photo essay

As an addendum to my post yesterday about getting stung on my ankle, I now have a cankle.






It feels (and looks) like I have about a gallon of water in my ankle, so bending it is not what I would call comfortable. Sitting all day with my foot as the lowest part of my body does not help things, either.

This is awesome.

-the ATM

Monday, September 1, 2008

Much to Blog about nothing

Yikes, it's been a while since I posted. Like I always say, though, you can't force a blog post.
Anyhoo, I wrapped up my summer campaign on the road with a 2nd at the Warsaw crit. Always a bridesmaid, never a bride. Er, well, groomsman anyway. I'd like to think I played it smart since a teammate of mine was off the front, then when the group brought him back I countered. From that, a two man break formed and we worked well together. Of course, hindsight is 20/20 but I figured if I kept attacking from maybe three laps out, he was strong enough to hold on such that he'd either just sit on or we'd slow our pace and the peleton would catch us. I continued my error in judgment by letting him come around before turn three, thinking I could come around after turn four. Wrong answer... there was just not enough road. That and he was pretty strong. So I punked myself into second. Idiot. Good thing is the cash was still green so I'll take it.
Did the 1/2/3s race after that and managed to be at the front a few times, then mid-pack the rest of the time. I was really only interested in finishing in the group anyway, so job done there. On the way out of town I think I kinda hit the wall of both sleep and energy depletion. Conveniently, there was a Mexican restaurant on the way home which was crucial in providing much needed instant gratification.
The reason for my lack of sleep was that I got my new cross frame the week before and finally got to build it up on Thursday. I finally stopped at what turned out to be 3am, which is funny since it felt like about 1. ugh. No matter - the bike is sweet!
At the time of the pic, I still had my road tires on so you'll just have to imagine knobbies on the wheels. Also, I have since cut off the steer tube, just needed to get a shakedown run to make sure the cockpit would be positioned correctly. Once I finish with the gluing of tires, expect a new pic.
I was smart enough to snap a pic of my road bike with the sick wheels since I had yet to do that.Looks pretty PRO to me.
Let's see... just finished about 10 hours on the bike in the last 3 days, so that's pretty sweet. Probably went too hard a few times, but it's all good.
Sunday found me on an exploratory CX ride over hill and dale. I had taken a few different turns on my road bike about a month back and stumbled onto a gravel climb, so I decided to revisit it.Turns out it was a good thing. It maybe went up for about a half mile but at the next intersection (still gravel) it kicked up again. I went right and climbed again then started to descend. It was naturally sketchy since 25-30 mph on loose gravel with turns at the bottom were the order of the day, but I managed not to take a digger. I think all told, there was about 5 miles of gravel. Pretty damned cool.
Towards the end of the ride, I stopped at a friend's house since he was outside. Naturally the talk turned to beer and how he didn't like a porter in the summer. When I said I liked them anytime of the year he handed me a few. Being a little slim on capacity, I did what anyone would do in my position - enter Super domestique mode.
What the pic doesn't show is that I still had a few Clif bars left plus a water bottle (and no cages on the bike) so I shoved everything non-beer related down my back under the bib strap. I made the last 20 minutes home without so much as a hoot from any rednecks, which almost makes me think they weren't paying attention. Surely a redneck would appreciate a long neck or two sticking out of a jersey pocket, no?
To wrap things up, I finished my long weekend with an MTB ride. Just as I was ready to roll out, a few cats from Louisville pulled up and we started chatting. It became quickly apparent they were not slow, so we set out together. Not 10 minutes into the ride, I got stung by a bee. This mostly sucks since I'm allergic to them, but also because it was on my ankle where there is no meat so it really flipping hurt. There was not a whole lot I could do, so we rolled on. Ended up with just over 2.5 hours of ultra dusty trails that capped off a fantastic weekend. We even tried to eat Mexican but the place I was headed was closed. WTF?!? Terribly pissed, I pulled into a Wendy's since the guys had to head south sooner than later and driving across town to find another Mexican place was just not in the cards.

So there it is, I'm all up to date. Later.

-the ATM

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Bookends

I decided about a month ago to make the Logansport Dino race my last MTB race for the year so I can squeeze out some good results from the insane form I seem to be brandishing these days. I love the course and aside from last year, I generally have good results there.
A few Dent Wizard guys from St Louis (Ryan Pirtle and Craig Wohlschlaeger) showed up and, given Craig had a carbon C'dale hardtail with the 110SL fork AND Reynolds tubular wheels with Tufo MTB tires, I figured they were not slow. Turns out a good assessment - They took 1-2 into the woods and rolled a pretty good pace. It oddly didn't take too long to whittle it down to us three. Only problem was that they didn't seem too keen on pulling through and I was not going to be the designated tow boat for the day. After some prodding, we were all taking pulls and continued to stretch the lead.
Heading into the last lap, it was down to Ryan P and and me. Earlier he said he wasn't sure about his legs, having done an adventure race the day before, so I started surging to see if he had anything left. He brought me back each time, and we were nearing the final K so I sat up, waiting for the final sprint. He started to come around in what I thought was a final pull, so I stabbed it one more time. Sounded like he cramped up, but I didn't wait for the confirmation so I stomped it in for the win.
I like the fattening of my wallet from the winning purse. I need to do that more often.
As I was driving back, I realized I started my MTB season off with a W at the Chickasaw Trace Classic back in late March, giving me victory bookends. This is in stark contrast to what most would call a Victory sandwich, which is wrong. It would be a pretty good season on Victory bread. Rather than try to explain this to people and come off sounding like an arrogant jerk, I just say I had bookended my season with victories. Explaining this on my blog is much less abrasive.
Anyway, I'm hoping for some sweet victory pics but I think my dad brought his non-digital camera so I have to wait a bit. So do you.

One more weekend of road crits then it's game off for a few weeks then the start of cross. Sweetness!

Later

-the ATM

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Coming soon to an interweb near you

I really dig these productive weekends where I can do some work on Saturday, then do work, er race, on Sunday.
After a quick trip to the recycling center, I came back to Mexlerwerks corporate HQ to do some business. Since it's only been about 8 months since I started, I figured it was time to finish the hitch on my car so I can utilize previous iterations of bike racks I've made for the upcoming CX season. Granted, I've not finished since I've been racing weekends, but management has been pushing for the completion of the project.
I actually got the bulk of the work done last week but a few details needed addressed. So now it's 100% done, and after the shakedown run to my MTB race, I can now be confident it's ready for powder coat. Like Colonel Hannibal Smith from the A Team used to say, "I love it when a plan comes together." Sweet.
I'll post a few pics once I get it back from p-coat. That and I forgot to take pics before I mounted the bumper.
Another piece of work that I finished was the Hydrolator, which is basically a water bottle tree.This prevents knocked over or stolen bottles on picnic tables, with the added convenience of being able to grab bottles at speed without worry. Plus, it breaks in two for trunk transportability. That's cuz I'm smart.

So, I need to make myself do what I've talked about for a while and hang my shingle out for custom fabrication. You want it? We can make it.

Anyway, that's all for now-

the ATM

Sunday, August 10, 2008

I'll admit it

I'm a wheel whore. I can't have enough wheels. Six wheelsets, plus a trainer-specific wheel is not too many wheels for two bikes... It's all about having the right tool for the job.
Through some wheeling and dealing, I just picked up a set of Campy Record/Mavic Reflex tubulars 32h laced 3x. The main reason I got them is for ultra nasty CX race conditions (more to not destroy my carbon hoops than to have a more conditions-appropriate wheelset). Side benefit to the wheels was that they came into my possession with road tubies already glued to them. Sweet. Rather than just rip off the tires, I decided to get at least one ride on them.
Holy smokes...those babies roll ultra smooth. I was amazed at how instantly I noticed the difference between theses and my regular training wheels (32h Veloce hubs/Mavic Open Sport hoops). I'm sure the biggest reason for that is the tubulars, followed closely by the box section rim without stiffening benefits of the clincher hooks. Having Campy's tried-and-true cup & cone bearings does not hurt, either. It also doesn't hurt that I rebuilt these wheels back in December 07, while playing mechanic to the stars when they were still in the possession of Superstar RDK.
Add in the 2.5 wheelsets for my MTB and you can understand why I'm a wheel whore.

Hell, I even have 2 sets of wheels for my car; one for summer, one for winter.

Monday, August 4, 2008

A productive weekend

This past weekend, I was originally going to just race the DRT Series finale MTB race in Fort Wayne on Sunday but once I realized there was a circuit race in Cincy on Saturday, I threw caution to the wind and decided to do both.
Since I've done well in the Huntington 140the past two years (it's a two day stage race with about 40 miles of cyclocross and single track) I wasn't too worried about overextending but I was still curious how my legs would respond on day 2.
The circuit race started much like every other Cat 3 race where everybody wanted everybody else to put their nose in the wind. Ugh, here we go again... The finishing straight was about 2% with a headwind so we'd end up barely going 15 mph many of the laps. I was surprised to see that the small break was not coming back - you know - because the 2% climb was too much work for the peleton, but towards the top it would usually end up at about 15 seconds. With about 5 to go, I decided to punch it about 100m from the apex. Since there was about the same grade downhill, I only really had a few hard seconds then another 15 at just slightly above threshold before I bridged.
With about 1km to go, one guy launched at a short, not steep climb but since nobody wanted to chase he took the W. I suppose I could/should have tried to bridge to him but I think everyone else was ready for any accels so it would have come down to a bunch kick and me half-gassed from bringing it back. As it ended up, I took second from the breakaway group sprint, third on the day. Not too shabby. I just need to get a bit more positioning experience to capitalize on my power.

Anyway, on to the MTB race. I really just wanted to have a good race without any stupid crashes resulting in me chasing for 2 hours, as has been the case lately.
Job Done. I didn't even sweat that I didn't get the hole shot (I was 2nd into the woods). The guy who took the lead laid it out in a corner about 3 minutes into the race so I took the lead from there. SuperMechanic Zach and I stretched it out to about 45 seconds after the first lap, then he dropped his pace to make sure he finished strong. I was feeling super good so I was gassing it as much as possible. I didn't realize how much time I pulled out until after I burped air, stopped, reinflated and got back on the bike without anyone in sight. In a wide open field, I still had about 30 seconds, which was nice.
After all was said and done, I clicked off 4 laps within 30 seconds of each other at just over 25 minutes, plus a silly-fast first lap at 24:38. I even got to bust out the Robbie McEwen running man victory salute.
I wasn't surprised afterwards, tho, that for about 45 minutes I was cashed out. After sitting around for a little while and getting topped back up on fluids I started to come back around. Capped the weekend off by having dinner with the family at a typically nice Italian joint. This time the food was molto salty. Should have had Mexican.

All in all, a good weekend!

Sorry for the lack of pics... Blogger is having upload issues tonight.

-the ATM

Saturday, August 2, 2008

And so it begins

I tried to delay it as much as possible, but I guess this is as far as it goes. When asked to play mechanic to the stars on his 'cross bikes I naturally agreed. This was a basic start with only a roughing in of parts - chain, cables, derailleurs, brakes, etc. Most notably, tho, was fixing the star nut clamp in the steer tube in one of the bikes.
Specifically, a star nut in a carbon steer tube is a bad idea, and a star nut that is cocked in the bore is worse. On top of this, the nut appeared to have been driven in by an aluminum sleeve that was essentially pressed-in in the process. After trying first to file a groove in the aluminum by hand (to collapse it for easy removal), and stabbing my thumb in the process, I decided to go for the Dremel. Job done, I moved on.
Of course, after roughing them in I had to do some visual payback, so I threw on my ultra sick tubies. In a mental lapse for proper blogging, I just snapped a pic with my camera so forgive the graininess:

So now it begins. I've assembled all the parts for my 'cross bike except one. Um, the frame... but that's in the works.

I even watched Transitions 2: Cross the Pond last night to get more in the 'cross mood. It worked.

All for now

-the ATM

Monday, July 28, 2008

Instant Gratification

I know how to ride a bike - I swear. Yet another crash in yet another race led to yet another chase. I really need to learn how to make these hole shots I keep getting Todd Wells stylie count.
This crash ranks pretty high on the dipshit scale. I somehow managed to clip my 23" wide handlebars on a tree that was 36" away from the tree on the other side of the trail. It sure was a doosey... I flew over the bars and assumed the fetal position lest I get clipped by the chasing pack of 6 fast guys. After I felt safe, I jumped back to my bike to survey the damage and remove my bars from Don's wheel. You see, Don was right behind me and assumed I would be able to ride my bike. Silly boy.
Reinstall chain and commence chase. I must have been pretty close to making the bride but dug pretty deep to get there and had to recover a bit. Never quite made it and started to slow a bit on lap 3 to make sure I could have a strong finish. I ended just over 3 minutes off wining pace, set by none other than Semi-Pro Don. If I hadn't dropped my chain, I totally would have been there. I think.
I was pleased with my effort and wished I had the data. You see, the bar mount for the head unit worked it's way loose in the crash and did a number on the connector, rendering the unit worthless for race data. At least it still works.


So after a faster than usual ceremony, I talked the crew into a post race dinner. What else? Mexican. Two important things were discussed:
(1)You can't really consider yourself a mountain biker if you don't at least want Mexican after a race or even ride.
(2)Tortilla chips and salsa. You're generally hungry after a race, and chips are a great form of Instant Gratification.

-the ATM

Sunday, July 20, 2008

So close…. Ever so close

may be 'just another race' but it was still big enough to bust out white, white, white
After my call up for being #2 Expert in the country, Dave B (whom I had met a few weeks earlier at the AMBC on the July 4th weekend) took his #3 call up and we exchanged good lucks before the gun. Based on how he rode at the AMBC race and his better-at-updating-people-than-me blogging he’d done, I wanted to make sure I kept my eye on him. He reeked of top notch form for sure. That didn’t change the fact that I wanted the hole shot.

Dave B #3 and me #2, 35 sec before Work
So I took it. I simply wanted to put some sting in everybody’s legs. After a quick descent the first big climb came up and I settled into my own pace. Not wanting to blow after a lap or two, I watched the two leaders of my group climb away.
There was almost 10 solid minutes of descending, east coast style - all kinds of roots and rocks that snake down the mountain. For some reason, I seem to have a retard switch on this trail that allows me to descend like a stone. My older brother’s sage advice kept playing in my head throughout the day – brakes only slow you down. I was picking off lots of back markers so I kept pushing the downhill pace. This turned out to not be a good idea for the entire descent because I took a pretty sharp digger into some roots that gave my knee/shin/hip some witness marks.
the straight lines mask the actual squiggly trail

I’ll spare you the picture of my outer hip
After remounting, I rode fairly stupid for a little bit while I regained my composure and got my leg back working at full strength.
Starting into the meat of L3 climbing I saw P2 ahead of me and he was suffering. What was a 30 second gap at the start line had come down to 10 seconds pretty quickly. Once I passed him I never looked back. I was motoring whenever possible in the hopes that P1 would come into my sight – Nope. I crossed the line 2nd, nearly 4 minutes back. Dammit.

While it burns my ass that I didn’t quite reach my goal, I still had a fantastic race. And I still got some hardware even if it is the wrong color.

Big up to Dave B for showing that the Midwest knows how to ride a bike.

So now it’s one or two more MTB races, then heavy on the crits as training for ‘cross. Because, um, my new wheels are sweet, and Cross Vegas will be here in no time.

-the ATM

Goals

I've determined that I can't come up with a short post, so I'll have to break it up. Race report to follow.

I started training this January with a little something to prove since I didn’t have a good showing at 2007 Nats. Much as last year, the jersey was my season goal. Sure, I wanted to have some good results along the way but nothing really mattered except Nats. After two crashes sent my race Tango Uniform last year, I was quite wrecked mentally for the next 6 weeks...So much work for 23rd place -->one spot away from DFL.
As the time drew nearer to ‘the day,’ I was trying to understand how I felt. On Thursday I was able to pull it all together: There was really nothing more that I could do. I’d give everything I could give and take whatever I’d get. A few months back I committed to myself that I’d take my Semi-Pro upgrade after Nats and this, without even realizing it, took a huge burden off my mind. This was further reinforced when I went to sleep the night before the race and didn’t have my typical hour of nervous tossing and turning before a big race.
Anyway, back on task. As I pulled into staging, my dad and asked if I was nervous or worried. Nope. It was just another race - A very big ‘just another race’ but just another, nonetheless. Time to, as Big Black says, do work.

-the ATM

Friday, July 18, 2008

Welcome to Vermont

Damn, New York is a long state. Really long. It took about 8 hours to drive through, and it dragged on and on.
Anyway, once we settled into our lodging it was a bit of interweb surfing then lights out. Woke up this am to get a little preride in on the 90% different course than what I've ridden the last two years. I like the new course - could do without the fresh cut opening section, tho. I like last year's separator/opening climb better. More of a powerman's climb then small single track section. No matter, good stuff all around. The descents are S-A-H-W-E-E-T. Ultra gnar-gnar with lots of rocks and roots. There are even a few rocky punch climbs that have 'big ring' stamped all over them.
So now I'm in the room, just chillaxin'. The legs are trained, the bike is dialed, and on Wednesday just before I left even got a sweet Oakley hook-up in the form of red ear socks to compliment my white chrome Radar frames. Getting ready to head out for lunch, then come back for a nap and a movie.

I kinda like being lazy.

-the ATM

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Not too shabby

Even though I probably didn't really get hoops custom made for me, I'm going to pretend like I did. I mean, how many of you have your names on your wheels?

I'm still waiting for the correct length spokes to show this weekend for the rear wheels, but that didn't stop me from building up the fronts.
That, among other things were done this weekend, making me hella productive for the extendo weekend. First off was a wash/clay bar/polish/wax job on my car that was woefully overdue. I'd been putting it off since it generally takes 2 days to finish since you have to tape the trim so as not to require a day to removed extra polish, etc.
For whatever reason, I was on it and only took a day. The paint is now smooth like buttah!
That gave me plenty of time on Saturday to wake up sans alarm, make some pancakes, get in the rough lacing of one wheel, open up the legs with a ride for an hour, then come back and finish building both wheels. They were surprisingly easy to true and didn't require much in the way of adjustment after relieving spoke tension. Can't wait to ride 'em!
I even got to watch The Prestige, which, if you've not seen, you should. Not so much a magic show as a psychological thriller with some crazy twists.
Sunday was my last MTB race before Nats in two weeks, so I wanted to have a strong ride. Good thing I have a power meter to record data because I wasn't feeling so awesome about my result (7th). Went out a little too hard and thought I paid for it, but looking at the data I probably had my best race of the season. Fancy that.
Finished my weekend with a cookout at a friend's place.

all for now.

-the ATM

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Sweet, sassy!

Whew! I needed that. My last several races have not exactly shown the form I felt I have, and as it turns out put me into a bit of a funk. It was a little deceiving because it wasn't any one thing - just little bits and pieces that kept innocently piling up.
Anyhoo, with the planned MTB stage race postponed due to rain, I decided to do an OMBC race outside of Cincy. This was good because I was not spending the entire weekend away. This allowed me to spend an afternoon with my newest time distraction. More on that in a minute.
I was able to bridge to the two who launched uphill from the gun, and pip them for the hole shot into the single track after a lengthy road section. This was key since I had maybe 15 minutes of trail time, and the trail was definitely challenging - lots of sections that started to flow but then turned right. It took me two laps to get the flow, so my first two laps were not smooth at all. So unsmooth that I washed out of corners 2 times and clipped my pedal twice. End result was 3 spills and one dropped chain.
The road section was a blessing in disguise, even with a stiff headwind because I could flat drill it and make up some time. Heading into the third lap, I caught the 2nd place guy and let him make pace until I sensed we were getting reeled in by 4-7th. Naturally after I took over it was game over, and we cruised away. A long grinder proved to be my unintended launch pad, as I gapped the guy. Darn the luck, anyway. I ended up 90 sec down from 1st and 30 sec up on 3rd, so job done. I definitely had to earn it and felt good about my performance. A nice motivational shot in the arm heading into a few mui importante' races. OH, and all 3 laps were within 20 seconds of each other. That's 1% for those keeping track.

So back to my Saturday distraction...



I even got them laced up, only to find I got some bad info and the spokes I had were about 2mm too long. So I got to break them back down. Sweet. Anyway, I'm working on the correct length so I should be able to have them built up by next week. Seeing as they are tre' pimp, I will be ever-so-unPRO and rock a set of tubulars on the very first ride they are glued up. Poseur status be damned. They're too sweet to leave bottled up... 1400g for an aero wheelset? Yep, thank you very much.
Two sets, you may ask? Why cyclocross, silly. But having that sweetness hang in my garage for two months without using a set for road borders on sacrilege. Besides, I did have to sell my wonderfully awesome Shamals to cover these wheels, so it's only right that I get to use them.

That's all for now.

-the ATM

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

maybe it's just me...

...but does Christophe Sauser not look like he's working on a 70s vintage mustache,
possibly somewhat porn-ish?
Then again when you have World Champion stripes, you don't necessarily need to justify your mustache tendencies.

While on the subject of making fun of World Champions, did Sven not get the memo that the 80s called and want their helmet back? At least put it on as a helmet should be, not how rookies do trying to protect their cerebellum...
Even if he didn't have WC stripes, having a sweet rig such as he does with tubular MTB tires and all would aptly compensate for the silly helmet.

-the ATM