Wednesday, August 30, 2006

IF weekend (Tom's Take)

Blue XS

The IF Weekend was a blast as Danielle mentioned. Matt gave a wonderful presentation, Mamma Lucia’s kept the great food stocked, and the micro brews were cold! Turnout was fantastic which provided a unique social opportunity for area cyclists. I was thrilled to be one of the first people to see and ride the new 953 frameset. The ride quality was what one would expect from a premium steel frame: smooth, snappy and lively. It has the added benefit of additional corrosion and ding resistance as well as more finishing options. The bike in the shop was polished for IF by the good folks at Phil Wood. It had a beautiful chrome like appearance. I also rode Matt’s personal XS complete with gold head badge. The frame immediately draws you in begging you to pedal harder and smile bigger and goofier! It is simply amazing. There is no wonder this frame has been honored twice at the Worlds Best Dream Bike. Thanks to all attendees. If you missed the event we hope you can make it next year! I would like to thank all of the sponsors that participated in the event including: Independent Fabrication, Mamma Lucia’s, Serfas Optics, Hammer Nutrition, Carb-Boom, Park Tools, and CytoSport.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

What a GRRREAT Weekend!

You are viewing the first batch of photos from last weekend's Independent Fabrication event where IF President, Matt Bracken, spoke on the past, present and future of the company and it's magnificent bikes. Great fun was had by all - during the test rides, evening reception and Sunday morning ride. Tom and I, along with the rest of the TBE staff would like to thank everyone who helped to make this event possible...THANKS :)

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Frederick County Watershed 8/19/2006

Jason, Rick, Mehdi and myself hitting some of the Shed's technical XC offerings. Not really anything special, just a couple of choice clips.

18 Hours on the Farm 2006

18_hours_on_the _farm_2006

Recently one of our guys named Kevin competed in an endurance event called 18 hours on the farm. This is his tale:

Where to start?

I guess at the beginning. This is a smaller endurance race held just west of Richmond on a Boy Scout camp. The facilities are pretty nice with some good bathrooms and showers.

The start is pretty mellow due to the small field and we get spread out pretty quick. We hit the first hill and I noticed a few guys struggling already, they're in for a long day. It's really humid and hot and I'm going through water pretty fast. The course was good for an endurance event. No big climbs, kind of twisty and rooty. There are a couple of good fire-roads and dirt roads mixed in for recovery and good place for pounding gels and energy drinks.

First few laps are pretty uneventful, I settle into a nice pace and my pit times are pretty quick. The sun finally sets around 8 o'clock but it isn't getting any cooler. This is where the test starts for me. There is going to be a lot of night riding at this event, almost 10 hours. My plan is keep riding all night, this is the magic hour, seems to be the time when you can put laps on a lot of solo riders.

I'm doing pretty good up to about midnight and my brain starts messing with me. My whole universe is contained within a spot of light about 10 feet in diameter and nothing else exists. I start seeing and hearing things. I start singing to myself, whistling the theme to the Andy Griffith show, talking to myself, pretty much anything to snap me out of the funk. It works and I start riding strong again. I get to the start/finish line and see that I've moved up into the top ten.
I averaged 7.7 miles an hour. I *think* I got top 10 but my addled brain couldn't figure out the scoring table at the end of the race. I was pretty pleased with my effort. I still need to cut down on my pit times at night and it would be nice to be able to 2 laps in a row. I rode the hardtail for the whole race and it worked great. I was really glad to have it on some of those climbs, especially the last laps when I was trying to open gaps on the solo riders I was passing. I need to use chamois butter next time, My butt is pretty raw right now.

Next up - SM100

Kevin ultimately placed 9th in the men's solo division.

Congratulations Kevin!!!

Wednesday, August 23, 2006


pictured: seth, tom, danielle, roger

Five years ago I never would have thought that in the summer of 2006 I would only get to enjoy a one day vacation... well these types of surprises keep life interesting. The store was closed on Monday Aug. 21st so Danielle and I could visit some family in a little town tucked in the Shenandoah Valley. This section of country was made for cycling. Any direction you point the bike you can enjoy scenic country roads with almost no traffic. While the duration of our stay was very brief it was great to pedal down the near perfect roads that I have enjoyed riding for the last seventeen years or so. Now if we can only increase it to two days next year.

Sunday, August 20, 2006

Change is in the air...

If you pay attention, you can see the subtle signs that fall is on the way. Last Friday, I woke up and looked out the window as I normally do. Only on Friday, I noticed something different, yellow leaves on the Black Walnut Trees in my back yard. I looked around a bit more and all I saw was green but I knew that those leaves were the first sign, cold weather, winter riding tights and frozen feet were on the way. My house is located at about 600 feet above sea level and on a norther facing slope. Based on past experience, the trees on my street and in my yard are about 2-3 weeks ahead of the surrounding areas. So, if you aren't seeing yellow, orange and red leaves in your area yet, they are on the way!

On Saturday, it was more of the same. Mehdi, Jason, Rick and myself did a 20 mile ride at the the Watershed. On one of my favorite sections of trail, the leaves had not only changed but were already falling off the trees. I felt the need to take a moment, say goodbye to the leaves and snap the above picture. Besides the fleeting moment of sadness I always feel when I realize the leaves are abandoning me for the winter, the ride was great.

We all rode pretty good on the first half of the ride. I got us turned around a couple of times but in the end I figured out where we needed to be. For the most part we all stayed upright the entire day, except for Jason who managed to hit the ground a couple of times.(Look for the video later in the week). For the first time ever, I managed to clear the technical rock climb by Mo's cut. My clearing of this section was fueled by Jason's proposal of buying my lunch if I managed to clear it. ;) Rick also made a few valiant runs at the climb, a couple more trips to the Shed and he's going to own that climb.

The last half of the ride was a bit rough, we were all out or low on water and it's literally an uphill battle back to the car. At one point Rick became so desperate for water that he filled his hydration pack up at one of the ponds.(Hope you're OK Rick!) Mehdi and Jason led the pack for most of the way back. My hands were sore and blistered due to the poor grip choice I made on my rigid hardtail so I ended up walking many of the rocky sections. I hope to resolve this problem by my next ride with a nice new set of super-soft Oury's. Upon arriving at the cars we made a b-line to California Tortilla to replace some of the liquid and calories we burned off. Can't wait to do it again. Hopefully this coming weekend.......

Thursday, August 17, 2006

More Indy Fab Weekend Prep

We decided to buck up and replace our ancient digital camera last month so we can get some awesome pictures for this here blog thing. I have been practicing my photography skills and I am almost ready to document our 1st annual IF Weekend. It is going to be Indy Fabulous! :)

Indy Fab Preparation

With the Independent Fabrication weekend quickly approaching the staff is going crazy preparing. Things are coming together nicely. We have some of the giveaways from Hammer Nutrition, Park Tools, Serfas Optics, Cytomax, and Carboom and today Mike and I did a little beer and wine run. The liquid menu will include a sampling of brews not excluding our favorite Mass brewed products from Mr. Adams! We will also be serving some bicycle themed wines including Red Bicyclette and Cycles Gladiator. Mamma Lucia's will be helping us out with the light fair which means it will be delicous. Hope to see you all there!

Wednesday, August 16, 2006

TBE Wednesday Ride 8/16

Good ride tonight. We met at the shop and started the ride from the Glade School just up the road in Walkersville. The normal crew showed up....Jason, Mehdi, Alex, Victor and myself. The weather was about as perfect as it could get, OK, another 10 degrees cooler would have been nice. Victor and I are practically neighbors so we decided to carpool to the ride. In a rush to pick me up from my house he forgot to grab his riding clothes. Figures! It didn't stop him from riding though, he toughed it out in cargo shorts and a cotton T-Shirt. We ended up covering about 20 miles, average speed for the ride came in around 19.5 mph which surprised me since we did a considerable amount of chatting along the way.

Once again...good ride. See you guys next week.

These rides take place every Wednesday so anyone interested in attending please call or stop by the shop to let us know you plan on attending.

Monday, August 14, 2006

Frederick County Watershed Video

Lately, with the help of many patient riding partners, I've started recording videos at local mountain biking venues. I do this not only to capture the rides for recall at a later date but also as a way to give newer riders an idea of what to expect when they decide to visit a trail system. We had a good turnout for the days ride and the weather was great.

When it comes to riding the Watershed it's best to have someone who is familiar the the area introduce you. Maps of the trails in the Watershed are nearly non-existent and the area is huge so without knowledge of the area and terrain you run a real risk of getting lost. If you're interested in riding the Watershed please check in at the shop to see what rides we have planned. This trail system is not for beginners that are still getting familiar with their bike and the way it handles. Look for more videos of local Frederick area rides in the weeks and months to come. For now, crank up those PC speakers and enjoy!

Friday, August 11, 2006

Blood, Sweat and Spray Paint

A few months back a customer abandoned an unwanted bike at the shop, a late 1980's Specialized Hard Rock. I presume the customer believed this bike would be discarded with the days trash but something about the over-the-top, 1980's, purple and pink paint scheme begged us to keep it around. Casually, Tom raised the idea that we could make this a fixed gear "shop bike" and do something funky with it. One of the ideas tossed around was to wrap the entire thing in Duck-Tape.

One Saturday Morning right before the days rush was about to begin, Tom grabs the bike off the wall and throws it the workstand. We quickly tore the bike down to the frame and finished up just as customers began trickling into the shop. A couple days later I found the frame in the back of my car and for 3-4 consecutive days after that I found myself stripping the frame down to bare metal using tools that were not designed for such a job. Why did I decide to strip the paint?....I have no idea, it just happened. Through a process to painful to describe I was able to strip 99.5% of the paint from the frame. A couple coats of primer, a lot of thinking, quite a bit of masking tape and a few rattle-cans of brown/orange paint later yielded this result........

What's next for this updated classic? I'm not exactly sure. Check back in the coming days/weeks to find out.


Welcome to The Bicycle Escape Blog. Through this Blog, we hope to keep you, our customers and friends updated on what's going on in the shop, around town, and in the world of cycling. On behalf of Tom, Danielle and the rest of The Bicycle Escape staff I welcome you.