Wednesday, October 31, 2007

08 Litespeed Archon

So. I was asked to check out this bike. It showed up at the house on Thursday, courtesy of Marty. I threw it together and showed it off at the DCCX race. It got some looks and some questions. That's always interesting. I guess the bike looks good. You tell me.

I spent a few hours on the bike and it reminds me why I love titanium.

I spent a lot of the year on a Cannondale Six13. This bike is obviously different but I mention that so you know from what perspective I am speaking.

Ti rocks. It absorbs a lot of vibrations which makes it comfortable. I think that the boys and girls at Litespeed but all aluminum parts on this bike to make a point but that's just a guess. Over the grated-up road near my house, it sucked up the severe vibrations very well. I felt almost none of it.

Standing up on this sucker with my ample 185lbs of self didn't feel bad. I mean, it feels bad hauling all that around (sorry Joel) but the bike didn't seem to mind. It transmitted my pedaling force to the rear wheel and kept me moving.

The bike is a size too small so it's no wonder that the bike felt very responsive. With the larger size and requisite longer wheelbase, it should become a bit more mannerly. No worries on the 57cm, but I did notice the short top tube as well. I had to put a 11omm stem on there but would have to ride it at 130mm if it was mine. It's not. I don't know how long I'll have it.

Ti is still viable. It's comfy, has plenty of performance, it's light, it's purty. It will most likely last longer than carbon stuff so it's probably more of a lifetime bike. Now that Litespeed has gotten off of the whole 'BUY ALUMINUM' kick it was on a few years ago, they seem to have gotten smarter as well as improved their product. This frame is over $4k at retail meaning this is something like a $7k bike so it will be important to see what is going on with the less-expensive stuff they are doing. There's rumor of a trip to the factory in TN so I'll let you know how that goes.

Bottom line: it's pretty enough to own and ride every day. The Archon also happens to back that up with real performance and a thoughtful product.

Nothing Says 'Fun' Like Port-o-johns

Hot shot of Big Daddy rocking the course at DCCX courtesy of Blacknell via Gwadz. I'm still lookin' for some shots of me coming off of that lip.

Can you see the reflectors on the bike? Why-o why-o why-o did I think racing in 'B' was a good idea?

Monday, October 29, 2007

Trophy Time

Emma got her trophy today for soccer.

And I got mine for the 24hr National Points series.

But I didn't get a cupcake with mine...

She wins again...

DDCX Success!

The race was an unqualified success! Marc Gwadz designed an amazing course! MattyD did a great job organizing the race! Lorena did a great job with the volunteers! Bega did a great job (with a stubby thumb) announcing the race! SUSAN did a great job keeping beers on ice!

WOOHOO! Here's a shot of Mr Sexy, Mike Pearce, hammering on his fixiecross and the Big Fella rocking the barriers.

Thanks to everyone for showing up. Who's in for next year?

What a great day, what a great event, what a great course!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

DCCX Update!

DCCX Cyclocross Race!

Cliffs notes version:
1- No day-of registration
2- Sat race packet pickup at Temperance Hall, late registration
3- Bring an ID
4- Route yourself thru/around Marine Corps Marathon
5- Safe, easy Parking On-site
6- Registration and Directions on
7- Please be thoughtful guests!
8- Call-ups
9- Thanks to our sponsors!
10- See the course, be the course...
11- On-site points of interest

There is NO DAY-OF Registration for DCCX- Pre-Reg closes Friday, 5pm ht tp://
Race Date: Sunday, Oct 28th.

Early race packet pick-up and late registration available at Temperance Hall 6-9PM on Saturday night (Oct. 27th)
3634 Georgia Ave., NW Washington, DC

Pre-registration is highly encouraged. Late registrants are subject to a $5 late fee per entry and won't get a call-up.

You may be asked to present an ID upon entering the base, please be prepared.

Oct 28th is the same day as the Marine Corps Marathon. Please note:
I-395 is open to traffic from the south (except the HOV lane).
-Road closures can be found at:
-Travelers arriving via Maryland can take the beltway to Georgia or NH Aves.
-Directions on

AFRH address:
Rock Creek Church Rd, NW & Upshur St, NW
Washington, DC 20011, US

Parking is adjacent to the course, and within the confines of the AFRH grounds, follow signs from guard house to parking area.

Please be respectful of the AFRH property. It is the home of retired veterans of our armed forces and we have been invited as guests to use a portion of the property for a 'cross race. Please no public urination, no warm-ups on the golf course, or in resident dormitory areas. We would like to be invited back next year, please be respectful to residents you encounter and to the venue in general. Thanks!

Call-ups will be based on current MABRA CX standings, order of registration, and promoter discretion for all pre-registered racers.

Course layout can be seen at: use the satellite view, add elevation if desired

Distance 2 miles. In dry conditions, a 5 lap test ride took 40 minutes (top 25% Master A/Open B, top 50% Open A based on MABRA-level racing).

Race details and results will be posted at

Sticky Fingers bakery is providing vegan Chocolate Chip Cookies to racers!

DrinkMoreWater is keeping the Racers Hydrated

Thanks to sponsors for helping make this race possible:

City Bikes, Temperance Hall, Whole Foods, Metro Gutter.
Prizes donated by Serfas, Blackburn, Salsa, WTB and Surly

$560 purse to men and women's A fields! (combined)

Abraham Lincoln's cottage is on site, and was recently featured in a NY Times article (login required?):

There is also an Army tank and Air Force jet on display in the NE corner of the compound, as well as various statues and old artillery pieces.

We hope to see you there!

More WV Pics

Here are some pics from two weekends ago. Big Daddy with the no-hander track stand on Kent's 29r Moots, Emma on top of the tower at Magic Mountain Ranch with a little grey spec of me just to the left of her eary and Big Daddy on the zip line.

Don't forget, this coming weekend is the DCCX race in downtown DC. This is the ONLY cyclocross race in DC and only one of two every year (the other being the CityBikes/RFK Crit).

Do what you can to come out to the race to support the event (drink), register to race or volunteer to help out (and drink). It should be a lot of fun.

Friday, October 19, 2007

NC Focus Group Trip Pics

Here are some pics of the pump track and Pisgah trip for the high-end focus group with Specialized product design staff. Sloan, Jan, Buck and Rob do a great job making the best mtn bikes that I've ever ridden. This was the un-official after-ride testing session on Chris Herndon's pump track. It's small, tight and hard to ride really fast. Of course, Chris made it look easy, doubling up some of the gaps.

We've got Sloan, Buck, Tamara, group shot and Itchy from Pisgah and pump track.

Next time, we'll have to bring a bunch of P bikes. The Enduro and stump are just too much bike for this application. Buck had the best luck with his Pitch wound down in the front. He chased Sloan around for a few laps. Yeah, you've got a pic of Sloan on the ground. You don't see that too often so drink it in.

I'm into that brown/orange Stump FSR Pro frame. It's Sloan's personal bike but it's a stock color. Pretty damn cool.

I'll get some pics from the next day up. I've got some good shots of Buck as well so let me wade through the pics I have and get some edits done.

Monday, October 15, 2007

WV, Moab and NC All In One Week?

How is that possible? Is he a pilot? Can he fly?

Well, anyone can fly. Just buy a plane ticket.

I went to Brevard, NC, with the boys and girls of Specialized for a few days last week. They wanted some feedback on the 08 high-end mountain line. Ok, twist my arm!

So Spec'd sponsors the current US National DH champ and he HAPPENS to live in Brevard, NC, outside of Asheville. That's him on the right. Mr Chris Herndon. That's his back yard pump track. He's just about the nicest guy on the planet. I got to follow some of his lines while we were riding in Pisgah and it was RAD! Obviously, this kid can ride.

Our hosts from Specialized hired the good folks at Western Spirit to take care of us out in the woods. We got first-class transportation and guides. They were not only super-nice people but great riders. Tim, Heather and Mark deserve a huge thanks from all of us. If you get the chance, hook up with these guys for a NC or Moab trip for sure. Great people, fast riders.

I got back on Friday and prepared to leave for Kent's 'Magic Mountain Cabin' up in the mountains of WV. Billed as a mountain biking and yoga retreat, we rolled down there after Emma's soccer game on Saturday morning. We got choice accommodations with a queen and bunk beds in the central bedroom. As soon as we rolled in to WV, we hit the trail for a hike of a few miles up onto the ridge behind Kent's house. A few people rode while the rest of us hiked.

Susan joined a group for an afternoon yoga session that lasted TWO AND ONE HALF HOURS. (Inside joke emphasis). I hung out with the kids and ran around outside. I laid in the field for a while, drinking in the sun. We all had a great, huge dinner together (after the kids were asleep) and then we watched a few people hang from their toes in Kent's kitchen. Yeah.

Sunday morning we hung out some more and went for a hike down the driveway. The kids got excited about the zip line so we headed up into the town to see if they would ACTUALLY do it. Lo and behold, THEY DID! Kent got Emma into the harness while I shot a few pics. She went right to it and only hesitated once before kicking off from the tower and flying down the zip line. She loved it. Three more rides and it was Jeremy's turn. He's 2. I was thinking 'no way' but he stepped right up. I laced him up into the harness, clipped him in and off he went. He was yelling and shaking his head, mouth agape. He was staring into the sky and just loving it. I couldn't believe it.

There are some days when being a parent is really amazing. Some days the smallest consideration from your kids floors you. Sometimes they leap beyond all expectations and ROCK! Sunday, I was the happiest guy on the planet.

And then I found out that we won the Granny Gear 24 Hour Expert National title and I smiled a little...

More about that later. Let's just say that Laird is a stand up guy and I have even more respect for him now. I was a bit disappointed that the Athens boys weren't able to contest the series at the Moab race due to the fact that they brought a recently-semi-pro-licensed guy and got bumped into 'Just for Fun.' No sandbagging. They, along with seven other teams, were not allowed to race Expert class due to a huge number of sandbaggers. Even if they raced everybody, they would've gotten fifth, handing us the title, but it kinda sucks that it went down that way. I trust Dr Bill and he is a great competitor.

Last year, none of us thought of racing Expert. We registered as Expert for 24 Hours of Big Bear because there were only 5 teams. We got third. We raced Expert all year even though none of us have ever podiumed in an Expert cross-country race.

A bunch of local sport mountain bikers won a national Expert title.

Pretty cool.

Thank you JoFo, MattyD, BK, Kent 'Chewbaake,' Wheaton, Cargo Mike, Steve and Darren. We did it guys!

It's a good thing we all had the support of our families and our team or this would have NEVER happened.

Thanks Susan, Emma and Jeremy. I love you guys.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Granny Gear 24 Hour Expert Champs

Of course there is some drama that I'll try to explain later in the week, but we WON! Check here if you don't believe me (I wouldn't). Bikes is the 2007 Expert National Point Series Champs! WOOHOO!

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

24 Hours of Landahl Report FINALLY!

I don't why I haven't been able to write this up but it's been two weeks and it's time. 24hrs of Moab is this weekend which will decide the winner of the national points series. If the Athens Wrecking Crew win the Expert class out there, they take the title. If they get second, we'll tie with them for the title. Anything less than second gives us the win.

24hrs of Landahl. Where to start. I met MattyD, JoFo and Darren at the shop the week before the race to pack and ship the bikes. Darren's bike was in bad shape. He needed a bunch of work and I had to pitch in to get him taken care of. I think I left the shop around 12:30am. Only 4.5hrs of work to pack two bikes. That's no good. MattyD and JoFo got the bikes in the boxes and split. lucky SOBs. I put a few things on order for Darren and moved through the week NOT riding before the weekend.

Darren and I left BWI around noon on Friday the day before the race. The flight was un-eventful and we landed in Kansas City a few minutes early. When we got to the Fox rental car place, things got interesting. F'in Darren...

I made the mistake of checking my voicemail when we were in line at the rental car place. As soon as I started listening to a message from Susan about something with Emma, this guy told us to come around the people standing in front of us to get us taken care of. I apologized for being on the phone, letting him know that I was listening to a voicemail from my wife about my daughter and he smiled and waved it off with his hand, mouthing 'driver's license' to me, which I handed him. I handed him my credit card as well and he was typing away. I got off the phone, again, apologizing for being on the phone and told him that I had to call my wife about my daughter and he said 'no problem, I understand.' He rolled outside leaving me on the phone with Darren standing about 10 feet away from me.

Rental Car Dude popped his head back in the door, said something to Darren and then rolled back outside. I got off the phone about 20 seconds later and asked Darren what was going on.

Darren says 'he asked if we wanted the short wheelbase van or long wheelbase van so I just told him that the long wheelbase one was fine 'cuz we need the room, right?'

I said, 'No. It's only us and the bikes. We're fine. How much more is it?'

Darren says 'Only 10 bucks.'

I said 'A day...'

He says 'I don't know, whatever. Don't we want that?'

And I says 'No. We don't. You just got upsold.'

Rental Car Dude rolls back in and I tell him that we want the van that I reserved online and that I don't want the 'long wheelbase van' (whatever the hell that is).

So, RCD flips out on me telling me that I was rude for being on the phone, that 'my buddy' said that it was OK, that I would either take the more $$ van or take my business elsewhere.

I was lost. I tried to explain that I just wanted the van that I reserved online. I told him that 'my buddy' wasn't the one driving the vehicle, paying for the vehicle or making any decisions about the vehicle. I again apologized for being on the phone.

He kinda went nuts on me so I asked for the manager. He says 'I'm the OWNER of this place and there's nobody to talk to. Get your stuff and get out of here, you are done!'

This was in public, at the rental car desk. Other people are looking around and the employees are visibly uncomfortable. Poor Darren is sitting bolt upright, just apologizing.

This goes on for a few minutes and finally one of the women behind the counters pulls this guy into the office. He comes back out and says 'You better apologize to me RIGHT NOW!'

I was SO lost. I looked at him and said 'I'm not sure what I'm apologizing for. I'm not sure what is going on. I just want to get in a van that I want to pay for and get on my way. I'm very confused.'

So RCD walks away and the woman says, out of RCD's earshot 'I'm SO sorry about this.'

She gets us on our way with a key and a contract. Darren and I walk up to the front of the place to get our bags and RCD is like 'Thanks guys! It was GREAT sparring with you! Thanks SO much for your business! Have a GREAT weekend!'

I shook his hand and said 'Thanks a lot!'

We walked outside towards the car and the woman (the manager of the place) IMMEDIATELY starts apologizing to me. 'That guy is NEVER here and he's SUCH an A$$HOLE!'

Darren and I start laughing. She hands us off to a guy to show us the car and he says 'You shoulda punched that MF in the face! He's SUCH a D!CK!'

We thanked them all and reassured them that they had no reason to apologize. The manager said that she would comp us the bigger van upgrade and give us a free day but that she put that on the bill at the end of the contract so RCD didn't see it.

Darren felt pretty bad. No worries. It was an adventure. We laughed.

Is this long enough? We haven't even gotten to the friggen race yet!

Darren and I picked up the bikes from Epic Bike and Sport, just south of the airport. We rocked some Wendy's at the drive-through window and headed to the venue. Of course I didn't have actual directions but we got there with only a small delay.

Darren was sick and on meds. He didn't let me forget it.

We hooked up with some local boys at the race venue and got what little stuff we had all set up. These boys took care of us with tools, spare parts and beer. It was rad. The Athens boys rolled up around dinner time. They got set up, Darren and I went shopping. We got some beers and headed back to the campsite and partied until JoFo and MattyD showed up around 10:30pm. I was largely useless when they showed up but I sure was happy!

We awoke early on Saturday and started planning. We were pretty sure that the Athens boys would beat us, it was just a question of when. Dr Bill, Jeremy, Big Country and Young Buck did a pre-ride and they were jazzed and nervous about the course. Lotsa rocks and much mechanical potential. No climbing but no resting either.

We knew that the end of the first rotation would mean a lot. For us, MattyD ran and put us in last in Expert. Whoa. That was scary. MattyD is fast and that scared me, at least. He handed off to me, said 'It's tough!' and I ROCKED out of the start/finish. Susan told me to come home tired and I ATTACKED that course. I was riding as fast as I could, riding this lap like it was my only lap. The course battled back and kept me in check. I LOVED it and pulled off a 1:01. Our fastest lap. I passed a few dudes and came in 3rd Expert. Still not good.

JoFo went out after I yelled at him (encouragingly) to 'GET IT!' He got passed and put us back in fourth. Mr Sleepy, the 'Anti-Biotic Man' Darren went out and put in another 1:01 for our team, scraping us into second Expert.

One rotation down. Now for the scoop.

Athens sent out their Young Buck on his hardtail with veebrakes and 1.8" tires. Darren passed him walking his bike about 3m in. Turns out that YB crashed twice HARD within 10 feet on the rocky-ass course and messed his shoulder up pretty bad. I was sitting in the transition area with Jeremy and the medics called in to let him know what was up. It was an hour into the lap and Darren was about to come in. Jeremy went out to finish YB's lap an hour later. This pushed the Athens boys back an hour and into fourth Expert. That sucked. One rotation and they were down to three riders.

They started pulling time back (of course, they are FAST!) and we thought they would pull us back in around 2 am. JoFo had a stomach issue or something causing him to miss a lap around midnight. I was feeling good and we all just shrugged it off and JoFo got some rest. I enjoyed the extra night lap. The course got easier the less you could see. No kidding.

I broke a chain around 2am and only lost a few minutes. I hadn't ridden with a chain tool ALL YEAR! I just grabbed it for this race and put it in my jersey pocket every lap. I didn't know why. I got the chain back on and pulled a 1:09. Great time, I thought.

Around dawn, I saw Big Country from Athens not looking so good. Apparently, he got back from a lap, walked into their campsite and fell over, puking. Oops. An hour later, he was hooked up to an IV drip in the medical tent, still looking pretty bad.

Athens was down to Jeremy and Dr Bill. They battled, rode HARD (look at the lap times) but they just got tired. Those two guys looked way worse than they were riding. Two guys for the rest of the race.

We managed to get JoFo back into the rotation (and riding FAST). We stayed out in front of the the Athens boys for the finish. I was tired. We came in second Expert. We beat the Athens boys, which we never thought we would do. It was hard-fought on both sides. That's the thing about 24hr racing. Those guys are faster than us, but we won. That's how it goes. We have a lot of respect for those guys and we checked up on them every chance we got.

We packed up after the race, got our prizes (thanks SRAM!) and headed towards the bike shop to drop off the bikes for UPS. Dude at the bike shop said that I could crash at his house (which was empty) that night as I was on a budget. We hit the Outback for some dinner and said 'goodbye.' MattyD, JoFo and Darren were on a flight out Sunday night. I left Monday morning and returned to a happy, loving family.

I was tired. There you go Susan. This weekend will determine if we hold on to the lead or not. If we lose to the Athens boys, I'll be happy about it. The racing, the fun, the difficulty, the traveling, the friends... I already won!

Good luck to the Athens Wrecking Crew! Kick some a$$ in Moab!

Free Web Counter