Entries in White Sex (31)
For the last few years I have assembled a ‘best of list’ for the preceding year. Various things, events, products used and notable/random happenings all get included when I sit and think on what the last 365 days brought to my life experience. This year, I will call the ‘year of the product’. So many things came across my path that were extremely inspiring and very often game changing for me. So now I will pass on to you my thoughts of the ‘best of’ (products, happenings and general randomness) from this past year: two thousand eleven.
Best Products of 2011 -
- The Mavic Fury – Performance, weight and pedal entry excellence.
One of the most randomly known aspects of the blog known to my readers has been my lust for the ‘white sex’ a.k.a. The Sidi Dragon. I’d used every iteration of this shoe
Simon, you are a man after my own wardrobe tastes. I love this:
Snowman-white CrossVegas slogan T; match your white TRP canti’s, white Sidi’s, white Fi’zi:k and white bar wrap with a classic white T. Yep, we know that you really are that shallow.
So breakaway specialist Philippe Gilbert got himself a Giro stage yesterday. And while I'm stoked for the Belgian, nothing slipped past me as the sex that donned his little piggies caught my eye more than his stylish win putting out the watts to stay ahead of Voeckler.
The grainy images on Universal Sports were not good enough for me to see until I saw Graham's photo on Velonews. Validated. Oh God. These are 'the ones'. Boing!
I guess I will need to win a couple of cycling monuments before I get my fully custom Sidis. Hmm. Sidi, you'd KILL IT like Oakley or Nike of you had a 'Customize my Italian Kicks' feature on your site. Charge an extra hundy and rich dudes would for SURE lay out $600 bucks for custom Ergos.
So, you all know I lust Sidi's and for nearly a decade, I've had virtually zero issues with them....save a buckle I broke after a yard sale crash some years ago which I replaced super easily with a buckle from an older pair (although parts are REALLY easy to get at most shops).
What makes Sidis...and the Dragon SRS in particular...so compelling is how they have been built entirely on a modular 'platform'. Last night at the New Belgium Brewery Short Track event as an example, I noticed my cleat felt a bit loose. Not enough to panic, but noticeable. This morning I investigated and low and behold, my second issue in a decade with Sidis (not a bad track record): A cracked 'base' plate...which is the internally housed mounting plate where the screws of the cleat thread into the shoe. I panicked and thought initially: holy crap: how am I going to get this thing fixed? Then I remembered: Sidi's come apart!...
I first took all the components of the sole of the shoe off. And by the way, all these are replaceable so when you wear out the sole components as an example, you can replace 'em easily. eBay has a zillion vendors selling them. Everything from ratchet straps, soles, mid sole grip pads...EVERYTHING is replaceable.
But as I dug in to try and get that base plate out I discovered...d'oh!: The carbon fiber stiffening plate when peeled away actually doesn't release or give access to the plate! Panic again. (In the picture below, I've already extracted the base plate...and it is located where you see the two parallel access holes in the ball of my foot...directly where you mount the cleat)
But the panic was short lived. I recalled in my foggy memory that if you peeled away the inner sole, you could get access to the base plate. So I took out the padded instep to get access the base sole layer. I tried to peel that mo-fo back, but it was tightly glued. So then I took a small allen key and from the outside of the show and pushed slightly on the inner base plate itself in towards the shoe and VOILA! A little trap door opened. It had been pre cut ingeniously by Sidi into the inner base sole layer just for this purpose of replacement. The plate popped right out into my hands. Check it....
I merely then flipped the plate upside down (there are 4 screw holes in the base plate...only 2 of which are ever used) allowing me to use the undamaged threaded side of the plate...the cause of the cleat slippage was that part of the base plat cracked leaving the screw loose and not able to be re-tightened. Presto! Fixed shoes!
So my main man Jeff Kerkove, endurance racer for Topeak/Ergon, sent me an email a few months back more or less saying: "Keller, white sex is being created and coming your way. You gotta try them!" And low and behold, voila, on my doorstep a few days ago I received a box containing the white, and very sexy, goodness. The Ergon GAS-1 ergonomic 'all mountain' grips.
Ergon is a company that takes two things extremely seriously: Design and Ergonomics. They are tightly coupled however to ensure that style does not compromise use and vice versa. It's fairly unique in fact and it's obvious that their industrial design is rooted in one part beauty, one part science with a huge dose of usability and comfort.
The GA1's came in some very attractive packaging. It made me wonder how profitable for Ergon (or reasonably priced for the customer) the product could be with such magnificent packaging! But alas, the packaging has its own design purposes. Ergon thought through how a consumer could 'feel' the grip before purchase on a make shift 'handlebar' (see exposed white grip in the picture to the left which is mounted to a solid piece of plastic tubing).
All the instructions were extremely clear and neatly wrapped inside the clear plastic tube of the packaging....in German (of course) as well as English.
Some data points...
- Color choice: The GAS-1's come in three colors, white (like mine), green/black team and black and gray.
- Sizes: They come in small and large (mine were small) and even with large hands, they felt perfect. Spongy and filled up my hand well, as opposed to having 'nothing' there. (I wonder what the larges feel like as these 'smalls', bottom line, feel perfect).
- MSRP is $30
- Ride: I have a couple of hours on them and thus far the feel is fantastic. It has an ergonomic shape (yet not with the 'palym' support such as their GX series grips have. These are more or less 'straight' but with some contour that you normally do not see on 'traditional' grips. The grip material's feel is somewhere between sponge and hard grip. in other words you get all of the benefits if having your hands sticky to the grip (with or without gloves) yet it provides a comfort beneficial to long haul days where your hands will inevitably suffer exhaustion.
- Where to buy: Your local bike shop by this time probably has a connection to Ergon or their main suppliers can easily get them. They are widely distributed now here in the States. Certain online sites like Competative Cyclist now carry them too if you are having trouble sourcing them locally. Or visit their list on line.
So, all in all, I'm loving them. Once I have a few hundred miles on 'em, I'll give a status update as to their longevity, compound breakdown, etc etc.
OK, so my lust for white Sidi's runs deep. That's obvious. But I think the whiteness is going to play itself out eventually. So what's next? We've had discussions on this here blog about florescents coming back, red making it's way to the fore, even Mavic with their new shoe line and it's patented yellow making it REALLY easy to spot. Hell, I even though Orange was coming into range when Specialized launched their shoe line some time ago.
But I think I got it: The Sidi Vernice in patent leather BLACK. Retain the white appointments to that thing and ka-BLING: *the* next generation Sidi Dragon and trend setting shoe styling. C'mon Sidi! Deliver me that sexy goodness!
OK, I'm going to ride my bike and rehabilitate from this shoe fetish.
Ho-lee-crap. I didn' think Sidi woudld respond to me this quickly....kiding. BUT my Sidi aradar picked up THESE today at the Monte Pasche:
Note what our man Francesco Ginanni is sporting. The EXACT shoes I'm talking' about!
Nice Sidi. I take a 46.5.
Photo ©: Sirotti/www.sirotti.it
It's absolutely simple, really. That is what can appease my aching head. For me, as a kid, it was a Tamiya model or a new plastic M-16 and I'd go play. Now, I have this little black rain cloud over my head. It's all semi hilarious and trust me, I pop open the mental umbrella most days to fend it off and keep the powder dry. Now that I'm all grows dup, it's new rubber that can take the surliness right out of me. Challenge Grifo XS. 32's. File tread. White. Of course.
Kids to bed, wife with tea and book and smiling, me and my rain cloud head out to the garage dialing in the bikes. Door open. Fall coldness enveloping the room. A bit of tune-age going on...I'm vibing with Fleet Foxes these days...and it's Zen. Paradise. Bike in the stand. Gears humming up and down the cassette. Sweet smell of Tri-Flow. Everything gets polished. Dialed. Ready. Rain cloud disappears.
Being fast these days is tres difficile. The league is deeper. Way deeper. Still balanced but nothing's easy. Ever. Couple steps forward, massive steps back. A few more leaps forward, a tumultuous tumble backward. But I just clench my teeth and bring it.
Bike practice tomorrow. Shake the toxins still in me, won't you? It's hard to say no to a Delicious Beer these days. Or 3. Discipline or be disciplined. Left hand holds training and focus, right hand holds a cold beer and sensibilities.
Those even more geek-dified than I am on the equipment tip may have already known this, but spying the photos from Erpe-Mere I believe Fidea is the first Continental pro 'cross team to make the leap to SRAM. Note Bart's SRAM Red. Oh, and his personal leap from Shimano shoes to Sidi White Sex. I knew he'd come around.