Entries in Ahrens Bikes (21)
It is extremely safe to say that Amy and I are 'anti-holiday' types. Love is a 24/365 day holiday...love, in fact, takes no holidays as far as we are concerned. We inject it into our lives everyday, well, because we l-o-v-e each other and don't need some contrived Hallmark card to express what we can say to each other every day. I mean, wouldn't you rather say the words you mean, rather than having them created for you by some college intern at some mega-card company who's going to smoke a bowl and party with his college buds that night....just as soon as he finishes his latest creation...
Love. It continues to blossom between you and I like the flower I gave you the night we first met.
GAG. I thought so. So, Amy and I went for a ride....
We hooked up a snowy Hall Ranch and finished up with a Valentine's lunch at Oskar Blues. Some Leroy Browns and some soup....yum. The ride was such a purge for us. The tension has built again on Side 3 of the Three Part Teeter Totter and it's scraping the ground....family and riding not being able to re-balance things for me....for us. I will say though that it isn't for a lack of trying and pushing....if not simply flicking...the dominoes we need in our family to instigate the change we so desire.
Believe in it.
Watching my lady ride is something else. She drilled it in pretty adverse conditions at Hall with snow covering most of the ride. She's not used to it but was PRO as she navigated all of the madness back there. We just took it all in and again embraced life...our kids....the family and life we've made...and the promise of things yet to come here in Boulder. It's good. Scratch that: it's great.
Amy at Hall 1 from Gregory Keller on Vimeo.
So I got my latest copy of Mountain Flyer mag and low and behold, my boy Mike gets a multi-page article on the virtues of aluminum and his views on working with it! Very cool! Read the article here as well as a review of Mike's 1 x 1, the Alchohauler.
If you do not have it, you NEED to get a subscription to Mountain Flyer. It's solid!
Also, SFGate did a nice article on small/custom framebuilders. Check out the artcle here and a video as well. Watch Mike get jiggity with his CAD program.
Oh Lordy, Spring has exploded and is showing us the first signs of summer. You know when there are like your 'top 5' days of the year, weather wise? Well, this was probably No. 2....only it is a staged No. 2 as it could be a No. 1 if all other days of the year fail to live up to the expectation. Sick. No wind. Fluffy clouds and cobalt blue sky.
The day had to be celebrated. Picking up Amy last night from her trip she demanded it of me to get out today. She just wanted full uninterrupted time with the boys and just be silent in and around the house with thoughts of her week. All is moving on, slowly.
The WB, Batey, Wals, FRZ, J-Fry and I got it on. Super Walker ++. We pushed out 4.5 hours and 5K of climbing...the WB and Batey: 6 hours and 7,100 feet. Monsters. Or Bastages. I wish I could have continued on with them! We were boys and railed it all. FRZ, stitches and all, put on a down hill clinic on his sponsored Giant Trance...along with no handed wheelies. Sick.
Unbelievably deep breaths today in these living lungs. It was so easy spinning today as it was inspired. Flag was less problematic for me and rolling the singletrack was so fun. It was...inspired.
Look at the pics below. Look at the smiles, my friends. Life. These boys inspire me every day.
Ride. Breathe. Laugh. Progress. Talk. Laugh. Oh, and laugh.
She looks gorgeous and its eventual owner, our beloved "The Don", better be seen on that thing this cross season. Get is arse down from Sacto to race at Watsonville and get some mud on it.
Holy Joy. The joy that only a wife can give to you. That was today. She and I, fat tires and in-the-woods communion. Sitter with the boys to give us that oh-so-needed grin session. Just like when we first met and we rolled in epic rain showers together railing trails we shouldn't have been on trying to mak e a B-line back to our car.
It's coming folks. I sense the change because the initial domino has been flipped. I flipped it. How can I do this? Because the one I love tells me the cage door is open. So many men have to suffer for the need to keep on keeping on for their situation. Blindly. Soullessly. My lady used her own Kung Fu power to kick the cage door open and set me...us free.
So Bliss. I apologize. I want you back as a reader. I'm so close to ending my crappy rants of boo-hoo-woe-is-me-isms. You are my benchmark and litmus test and I heard you as you sat in the back of BCS. It spoke to me. And I know how you, my peeps want me. How I want me.
So close. On top of it. Back doesn't hurt. Mind is freeing. Energy lifting. Spring coming. Kids laughing.
Big daddy's back. Big daddy is coming back, laughing.
Fat tires have drugs in them. Do you know this?
So, when speaking Mike about the Revolver 29'er he made for me, I asked him who the person was behind the torch. Mike for many years had Paul's gifted hands assemble his designs on the jig, but Paul's demand has been increased given the growing popularity of 'cross in particular so trying to find windows where he could focus on Mike's bikes was growing harder. Mike was able to source a new welder and as Mike explained to me one of the best in California was responsible for sticking the tubes together.
My Revolver was welded by Jason Groves of El Camino Fabrications. His site has a great collection of photos of the types of frames and welding techniques but is building a fantastic rep for his own frame designs. He cut his teeth at Boeing before his bike lust pulled him from teh multi billion dollar aerospace industry into the less lucrative bike industry all due to the passion. I love that. He worked at Control Tech, Titus and Strong frames and other places before launching El Camino Fab. And while he now calls Oaktown home, homie, Jason lived in Fruita so he's practically a local. No wonder why my Revolver rips it out here in the CO terrain.
The latest Mountain Flyer issue has a great write up of various frame builders highlighted at the NAHMBS including a spot on Jason and El Camino fab. Keep an eye out for this guy!
Dialed. I have finally got the Ahrens Revolver 29'er dialed. And I will say this: TIGHT! Mike, my friend, you did it boy. You built me the perfect bike.
I ended up going for Ritchey WCS bits featuring a 120mm 4-Axis stem which I have on all my bikes. With it flipped an the steerer now cut, I feel more comfortable on this bike positionally than any mountain bike I've had before....and that is nearly an IMPOSSIBLE statement for me considering I have been saying for a decade + that my 1996 Dean Colonel frame was (and still is) perfect.
So why do I say this and not just giving props to my hombre who built me this frame (and trust me, Mike as an engineer by trade want me to nuke it if it wasn't performing)? I would say that it boils down to this:
- Geometry: Mike knows my style of riding is extremely aggressive. If there is even the slightest lip or bump, I'm launching it and he knows after years of riding with me that I'm pretending I'm Lopes most days in the woods carving and wheelie-ing and leaning. You get the picture. But specifically, the head and seat angles are spot on and tight for the type of immediate steering precision and wheel-under-ass acceleration I love. I do NOT want a hook and ladder fire engine feel for my mountain bikes and I feared that going to a 9'er would immediately give me this degradation to my riding experience and slow the whole feeling of the bike down. NOT the case! The bike feels equally stable bombing fire roads as it is nimble when I rail the big wheels and my 6' 2" carcass around trees in tight single track. Recommendation if you talk to Mike about your Ahrens: Add an infinitesimal degree change to the front steering (to slacken) and a 1/4" to 1/2" to the rear wheel base to lengthen and it will fit that nearly all-around riding style. My proto frame is perfect for me, but may not be ideal for all riders and these tiny production run changes will be the nut.
- Design: Yummy. What makes Mike's bikes nice to look at relates to the whole picture. The Gothic graphics are rad but it's the frame aggressive style and overbuilt appearance that make me stare at my own bike like Augustus staring at a Wonka bar. Mike is an engineer's engineer and it shines through with the over-built qualities of the bits holding the Easton 7005 (or Scandium) tubes together. Mike will CAD himself through complicated problems of his frames for his customers to eek at the best performance to weight to strength ratio. And he has nailed it. My 4.4 pound XL frame built up to approximately 24 lbs and change but the solidity of the yokes...the BB yoke in particular shown here is spectacular. It is pure beef having been CNC'd out of a solid block of 7K series aluminum and the acceleration I mention above is in part due to this and the beefy chain stays. Yet the lightness factor is still maintained. Incredible. Many frame manufacturers are now coming to Mike for his engineering work on complicated problems like sliding drop outs and other bits he now OEM's to them.
- Stuff Mike is not responsible for: Mavic CrossMax 29'er wheels and Shimano XTR Groupo. Both are capital N nuts. The Mavic's are bomber. I bought them as I have the 26" version on my 1 x 1 and they are so solid under that kind of stress it is crazy. I am running them tubeless thanks to Tim Faia's donation of the Bontrager tires to try out (which are AWESOME and hook up beautifully in our terrain here in CO). The wheels are not stupid light but I will take a bit of heft for reliability and solidity any day. There is no flex. Say again: NO flex. The way I like it. The Shimano bits are as you would expect: Flawless. I am running the paddle shifters this time (I ran the integrated set on my old Moots) and I like the feel. Shifting is super crisp...about as crisp as my Dura Ace on my cross bikes and road bike. As mentioned before, I made the mistake of getting the Mavic's in the 6 bolt pattern and not the Shimano lock ring style. So, I am running Hayes rotors with the XTR brakes and they are super solid.
Friday was one of those days you don't want to have. It was a day where I needed to play manager and to a larger extent, overseer of our business. Issues arose and they needed to be solved to ensure continuity and at the core, a copacetic group of team members who can communicate and proceed to do the right thing for the business.
Drama must end. I needed to let someone go.
Terminating someone's employment is never easy. But each time I am forced to do this, or an old friend leaves this business, it is interesting in "modern times" how the right of passage (at least for me) in acknowledging the departure of a coworker is when I move them from the ''Work Folks" bucket to the "Friends" bucket in my IM's. Sad but true. The simple click/drag/drop from one simple IM bucket to another helps me with closure. At least I think it does. It sucks regardless.
What also helps me with tough weeks is turning the brain to channel zero as I write about constantly. I do this with rides....especially rides with those I consider close friends and team mates which always helps focus on them, and not 'real life' for a while. Today, il squadra's ride was super fun and fast and woodsy and windy....and epic. Today, we railed Hall Ranch with the Rocky Mounts boys (and girl!). More on this below by way of pictures.
Some other things that helped me fight through the toughness of the week: White Sex Arriveth. I laughed to myself when the box arrived from our team deal with Boulder Cycle Sport when I normally would have been a surly beeatch due to the work drama. I literally said to myself, "Ah, the white." And I laughed a laugh to myself.
My wife saw me holding the new white goodness while maniacally smiling, and made HUGE fun of me. "Ah, nice, Greg. More white shoes. You are a little bitch." And then I walked out to my workshop and laid the new set of Sidis by his brothers. And I realized, I am Imelda Frigging Marcos.....
And then the WB pulls up in his grocery getter. This is how the boy rolls. He, like it, is like buttah.