Monday, December 22, 2008

SRAM Time Trial Ring

This wonderful SRAM TT chainring (mentioned in an earlier post), which proclaims 'SRAM!!!' from hundreds of yards away, originated from this sketch:

I came across this sketch earlier today when scanning some other stuff from my sketch book. I've always enjoyed looking through design books and seeing important logos and things that originated from simple sketches, like Citi:

I've also been thinking about what people might find interesting from a graphic designer working in the bike industry. A graphic designer working in the bike industry, you think. Pretty specific.

I'm thinking about that specifically because soon I'll be 'tweeting' on Twitter about Hayes as "HayesGraphics". I'm not sure exactly what I can and will talk about, but there'll probably be some sneak-peeks and hints about decals, packaging and print materials that I work on. I'm pretty excited to do so, because it's something I'd be interested in hearing about as a bike-crazy individual.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Snow Biking and a Holiday Party

Friday brought tons of snow and tons of fun. (Above photo is of Cale wading through a drift). It was pretty windy out but not too cold, so Cale and I snuck outside to go for a bike ride. We decided to go downtown and check out the scene, and see if we get interviewed for being so brave. Alas, no news crews were out, but we had a good time riding along the streets and seeing the sights. Below photo is of me (could you recognize my sweet face through the cold weather gear?) with Andy's Pugsley, which is a specialty bike- the monster truck of the cycling world. Most people get it for snow biking, I think.

A bus was stuck on 3rd and Wisconsin- it looked like it had been abandoned hours before.

Here's Cale on his snow bike, heading back home down 3rd Street. Pretty wintry conditions.

...and me in our parking lot before we went in.

Last night Cale and I went to Gunnar and Kelly's Christmas part, which is always a classy affair. I got to wear my fancy dress that I got in Vegas- did you know that Vegas and I are on a first-name basis? No 'Las' needed. We're tight. Anyhow, we got all dolled up and hung out in luxury. It was an 'intimate' party because of the weather, as a few of the husbands and boyfriends are snow plow drivers that were needed. Nonetheless, it was a good little gathering.

Cale and I got a classic 'In-front-of-the-tree' photo as well, fuzzy though it may be.

The night drew to a close with Nick the dog puttin' the moves on my man.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Santa Rampage Photos

Black Ops Santa's outfit was made out of black clothes and towels safety pinned to resemble trim. I was disappointed to see John didn't take my advice to buy a regular Santa suit and a 10-pack of black Sharpie markers, but I think it turned out anyway. Cale's outfit was pretty imaginative, too. The pickins were slim, so he wound up buying a few pieces from a costume shop and the green shirt from Target. The belt was one I had laying around.

Here's Russell, trying to convince me that all I'm getting is a lump of coal. Before arriving at the Santa Rampage, I had entertained the idea of getting a picture on every Santa's lap. But geez, do you even know how many Santas there were?! I adjusted my goal and brought it down to one Santa.

Here's a group photo at Lakefront Brewery. I'm the one... oh, nevermind.

At the end of the day, the helmets went back on the wall as usual. Yet something was different...

The rest of my photos here.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


Can I just say, I'm looking forward to Christmas? Every year the whole paternal side of my family gets together 'up north' in Tomahawk, WI. This year will be different, though- a few of my aunts, uncles and cousins, maybe even my parents, won't be coming. At first I was bummed that it wouldn't be like Christmas holidays past, but I'm looking at it a different way now. It will still be some great time in the outdoors, and Cale and I can rent some skis and ski in some really beautiful woods. I'll probably still have fun doing some artwork with my Aunt, too. So, less holiday party, more holiday retreat. Not a bad trade-off.

Now then, don't mind if I do a little reminiscing. I can't seem to bear to close a blog post without sprinkling it liberally with photos. This is the view from my Aunt and Uncle's sun room. You can see deer off in the field, and last year we spotted a porcupine in a tree.

My uncle Paul. He's got the northwoods accent, too :)

Caramel at the creek:

Who wouldn't look forward to this?

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Bike Swap - Milwaukee

Today's bike swap yielded unexpected booty. We went in planning to look around and support the bike fed, and of course we walked out with our 'pocket books' a little lighter. Cale found me a road bike frame, which was the last thing on the bike list that was needed. I wanted a fairly cheap road frame so that I didn't ruin my ever-so-nice Salsa CX bike in the salt this winter or in a crit.

We found a Blue Cycles RC6 team bike from last year. Apparently the MSRP on it is about $1,900, which is ridiculous. I mean, I'm sure it's worth it, but goddamn. I paid $200 for the frame, fork and headset. Our theory is that it was so cheap because the team got it for free from their bike sponsor (Blue) for last year's races and needed to just get rid of it to bring in the new bikes.

Whatever the case, phwew! I'm just glad I've got a road frame now, so my precious CX frame stays safe. Well, so we brought the frame home around 2:00 or so, and I didn't really see Cale in the apartment for the next three or four hours. He was out in the garage, working on taking the parts off of the Salsa and switching them over to the new frame.

Everything from the Salsa transferred to the Blue with no trouble. We picked up a pair of 105 brakes while at the swap, and those were the only thing we needed to complete the build. And by 'we' of course I mean Cale. Speaking of, Cale picked up a ridonculous Zipp wheel.

Don't ask either of us- we don't know what it's going on... or why it exists in the first place. Apparently it can be a front or a rear wheel, which is kinda cool. It could ruin the aesthetic of any bike as a front or rear wheel!

But back to the beauty: Hello Michelin Man!

I took it for a test spin down the hallway, and it feels great. Cale measured everything out from the Cross bike, so the seat height and everything was ready to go when I first set cheek on it. The stem was about all that was changed, and the new position feels pretty racy and fast.

The only other thing I bought was an old Tour de France shirt. The guy offered it to me at a lower price if I would wear it and love it a lot. Well, I've already got a start on it:

And there you have my account on the Milwaukee Bike Swap. Another long post on a short amount of information :)

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Snow and Santa

Last night a group of us went snow biking after attending a fish fry at Lakefront. At Lakefront, we were seated with a guy from Germany (I think) who sold cheese making machines to companies. He was in town for business (surprise) and was sitting alone, and our table of 7 was seated at his table (the smallest tables there are for 8 people). Well, that's about all the story there is with that, but cheese making machines? I think that's a pretty good story as-is.

After we were stuffed and toasty warm, we headed out into the bitter cold. I think it was about 13 or so- not terrible but pretty dang cold. I wore my fleece lined CX skinsuit, with lycra leggings (no fleece lining) and an elbow-length shirt that was vaguely spandex-y underneath it. One pair of light-weight knee-length wool socks and Lake boots for the ol' feetsies and leather driving gloves with lobster claw gloves over top for my hands. It was cold to begin with, but once we got moving I warmed up.

It's nice to know that I haven't lost my dressing skillz, even though I've been a sissy lately. This year since I haven't been commuting, I've started viewing the weather like normal people. Biking in the cold? When it's wet out, too? No way! However, rides like this remind me that it's not uncomfortable once you dress right.

In any case, conditions were a little chilly but very, very nice. The snow on the river trials is packed down and made for nice riding. Slippery, but nice enough. We're anticipating that they'll soon be no fun- the warmth today should have done a number on them, and there's some more weather coming up that'll change them, too, like fresh packy snow.

But enough word wandering about my outfits, dinners and bike rides. Well, more on bike rides. Today was the Santa Rampage, which is a big pub crawl on bikes. Oh yeah, and everyone dresses up as Santa. Heck yeah! This was the first Santa Rampage I've went on, and let me tell you, it's great. I've been on Critical Mass rides with a lot of bikers, but nothing compares to riding in a big group of Santas. Riding down the streets, reactions were pretty awesome. People honked, waved, yelled "Merry Christmas!" People rolled down their windows and shot photos as they passed, and pedestrians ran out into the median to take pictures with their phones. It was great fun until we got pulled over by a cop.

Yep, the fuzz. Since we were a large group, the tail end wound up running stop lights. The front would always stop for them and we waited up for those who got slowed down, so we were being quite good. We took up one of two lanes of traffic (legally that checks out), and were being as courteous as possible when the rear finished crossing on a red light. Drivers waited and didn't really get too upset. Could you get upset if you were forced to wait through one light for this?

(Image by Gary Lake)
Most people just waved, honked, and took the light to gawk at the 100+ Santas on bikes. but it's true, running lights is wrong and unsafe. So we stood around for a few minutes while the organizer talked to the cop. A supervisor or two got called to the scene of the crime and a few more minutes of talk ensued. After a while, the organizer stood and made an announcement: we were to ride two abreast and stop for all lights. While we were filing back onto the street, I passed by the supervisor, who offered to the Santas to throw the 'grinch' (the cop who pulled us over) in jail for pulling us over.

I pieced together later that the supervisor basically told the cop to chill out, and that the ride has been going on for years and it never hurt anyone. I think the cop is in for a pretty good teasing. I think he pulled us over to cover himself- if something were to happen and he had seen us and not done anything, he could get in trouble. All in all, nobody got beaten with a billy stick, so it wasn't too bad.

Luckily, the whole incident was easily forgotten. We pedaled on to the next bar, and the rest of the riding with incident-free (thought the cop did follow us to the next bar). After that we split up and rode in smaller groups and kept under the radar. Lakefront set us up with free beers (and let me trade it in for a free delicious Maple Root Beer!) and Concertina Bar in Southern Milwaukee had a live polka band and free chili and 'The Christmas Story' playing on the TV.

It was a great day, but we were all pretty bushed by the end (around 3PM). A small group of us went to Botanas for some tasty Mexican food after the last bar, which got a reaction from the wait staff. We had gotten to feeling normal amongst all of the other Santas, but striking out on our own reminded us that Santa suits aren't the normal 'out-n-about' attire.

Anyhow, with that, I'll sign off. What with riding around for 5 hours and getting pulled over by the cops while dressed in a Santa suit, it's been a full day. Tomorrow is the bike swap, and maybe I'll get a few Rampage photos of my own up on here.

Friday, December 12, 2008


First off, I'm working on the new Manitou decals, and if you'd like to have a look and go vote on which ones you like, go on ahead here:

Second, I missed writing a Thanksgiving post, and I am thankful for a lot of things. Well, I think you could say I'm thankful for just about my whole life. I realize I've got it pretty good. But lists are easier, so (in no particular order):

• My cat, Snips. I know it's pretty foolish to be thankful for a creature that poops in a box in your house, but he makes me laugh regularly and it's nice to have a buddy to hang out with during the day. He made the new apartment feel more like a home.

• My Weapon of Mass Affection, Cale. He puts up with me really well, and it's nice to have a partner in crime to race and hang out with.

• My health. This summer while over at a relative's house, I was complaining about getting lost on the way there and having to bike two or three extra miles. The thing is, this relative needs a walker to get around, and he said something to the effect of 'I wish I had that problem' without bitterness. It reminded me to not be such a twit, and to be very thankful that I can get around so damn well. So I'm thankful for my health, fitness, mobility, etc.

• My job as freelance graphic designer to Hayes. It may come to pass that the job becomes full-time, but either way, I'm glad to have work that interests me and that I enjoy. It's been great to have a job in the bike industry, and it's hard to envision working for an ad agency or, well, I don't even know what those other poor suckers have to do. But they don't work in the bike industry, and that's too bad for them.

• My parents. What can I say, they did their best and raised me right and supported my decision to go to art school, even though I think they had their doubts.

• My friends. I've got a few choice friends, and they're pretty good people. They really are. 'Nuf said.

I could go on, but those are the bones of my awesome life. I'm very thankful for what I have :)

Saturday, December 6, 2008

End of the Season

First of all, to assure everyone that I am a competent pet owner, here's a picture of Snips happily sleeping (his No. 1 activity) and free of eye boogers. I guess it could also look like he died of negligence and I posed him for a picture, a lá Wisconsin Death Trip, but that's just not true.

I haven't been blogging a lot about racing lately because it hasn't been going great and I've been less enthused each time... my season ended last weekend at Jinglecross on day 1 (of 2 that I pre-registered for). Had I known that there would be such awesome conditions on Day 2 I would have kept myself registered, but oh well. I had a great time spectating.

What happened on Saturday was that I had a feeling of dread the entire morning. Maybe that's not quite the right word for it, but it wasn't a jittery feeling, it was a feeling like I was being forced to march the trail of tears (not to demean that). I really didn't want to do it, and it wasn't because of nerves. I got sulky and quiet and generally turd-like. After 'racing' and getting 6th when I could have gotten 3rd (women I have beaten before came in 3rd and 4th) I decided that I would beg for my money back for Day 2 and just spectate instead of throwing myself another pity parade.

When I'm not into it, I race terribly. Should I just cut those races or fight my way through it? Next year will probably force a closer look at that.

On a less angst-y topic, Cale and I are approaching a big milestone in our Relationship. That's right. First race together. We just realized that the Stupor Bowl is coming up, and that last year's race was the first we did as a team. I don't remember when our first date was, but since we're so about the bike, it makes sense to hang the first date and celebrate the first race.