Wednesday, March 25, 2009

A visit to Masi in Taiwan

Over the past few weeks things have been very quiet on this blog, but it's for good reason, as we paid a visit to Taiwan for the Taipei Cycle Show and to see our valued partners who help to make Masi possible.

At Masi, we really love steel bikes. Steel is where the heart of the brand was born and it is where that heart remains. I won't bother to string together all of the usual buzzwords that are normally used to describe the ride of steel because it just gets tedious after awhile. The fact of the matter is that steel provides an unmatched ride quality for the money. Sure, carbon and aluminum are almost always lighter, but the ride of steel is something that the esoteric Zen masters and the modern performance freaks can both agree upon- it simply outrides any other material pound for pound and dollar for dollar.

All that said, it should come as no surprise that the highlight of our Taiwan expedition was seeing the production of our steel frames.

Gorgeous cast bottom bracket shells; it's something very simple, but it adds an element of dignity and character to the frames.

The "BREV MASI" custom track dropouts modeled after the iconic Campagnolo track dropouts of the 70's/ 80's era. Long enough for multiple gear choices, but stiff enough that you do not lose any of your power output.

The lusciously curved stays of the Speciale road frame- the stays provide stiffness and comfort for a wonderful all day ride.

Super clean welds meet harmoniously with the custom bottom bracket shell; a work of art.

The unmistakably elegant curved frame of the SoulVille. A true thing of beauty and an astonishingly good riding frame as well.

Here we have a rack full of steel forks for multiple models of bikes- some in colors you aren't even supposed to know anything about yet... but I digress.

A row of the very popular Nekkid finished frames used on the Speciale Fixed LTD. Here they are waiting to be assembled and turned into the bike of your dreams. If you've had trouble getting one in the past, help is on the way.

And, here... here we have the Speciale Sprint frames. Made of Reynolds 631 tubing and using the exact same geometry of our Coltello racing frameset, the Sprint is the steel lover's dream track race platform. If racing isn't your gig, it makes for an equally awesome track-inspired fixie. If you've got a box of NJS goodies looking for a home, the Sprint is ready!

The Taipei show wasn't just all warm and fuzzy factory/ vendor time, we did actually have jobs to do in Taiwan during the show. The show serves largely as a way for us to work closely with our various International Distributors- old, new and potential ones. It's the first time we present what we have in store for the coming season's bikes as well. As you can see in the above picture, the Mini-Velo bikes we began developing for the Asian markets- primarily Japan- are really growing into quite a collection. Again, the original development was driven by the Asian markets where these bikes have been popular for several years, but we're getting more and more domestic and non-Asian interest in the bikes... so you just never know where you might find one.

The show and our time in Taiwan visiting with our fantastic vendor partners was a success. We're confident that many more good things lie on the horizon for Masi and it makes the future pretty exciting.


Sunday, March 15, 2009

Behind the scenes of Training Camp

Team camp is the first time and one of the only times every one on the team gets together in one location. Bikes are built, riders fitted, equipment handed out, photos taken, and most importantly, riders and staff bonding.

Tennyson, the Head Mechanic, and I, primarily did the first thing on that list, building bikes. While some bikes were already built before camp, there were plenty others waiting to get built. We both worked hard, doing 16+ hour days, building up bikes, doing fine adjustments, solving problems, all while trying to meet everyone (actually they all came to us, how nice) and remembering to get something to eat and drink. We did not have the luxury of sleep, as riders were waiting on us to get their bikes built so they could get fitted. We would get a few hours of sleep here and there and relied on the mechanic's best friend, caffeine to keep us going.

Camp is also the time to get familiar with all the new equipment. For Tennyson, it meant most of the equipment. This is my second year with this team so I am familiar with most of the equipment, minus the new sponsors for 2009. Building a fleet of bikes also lets you know what new tools you need to buy or fabricate back home. Guys like us keep the Snap-on guy happy (or the tool truck guy of your choice)

Here's a shot of my personal toolbox. What's all in there? Well it varies by mechanic to mechanic, and if they are working neutral or on a team. For camp, you never know what you will encounter so I brought pretty much everything. Now tools will be subtracted and others added, but one thing's for sure, these tools will be working on the rockin' MASI's of Kenda Pro Cycling p/b Spinergy!

Many thanks to all the sponsors and supporters out there. Without out all of you, this program would not exist. Most importantly, thank you to Masi Bikes and Tim Jackson for the awesome bikes!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

3VC Team Issue Red

Some bikes just "ooze" a sexiness, a sleek look of speed or plain old "WOW". It is pretty much impossible to say that the 3VC Team Issue Red does not fit that description.

From the graphics, to the colors, to how the tires, wheels, tape and hoods all work so well together- the 3VC Team Issue Red is just stunning.

Thing is, it isn't just a pretty face. The parts spec is worthy of any pro rider anywhere... and certainly worthy of the rest of us. The SRAM Red group is sensational- light, precise and built for speed. The Zipp wheels set the standard for performance aero wheels with their toroidal rim profile and the dimpled surface. Then the Arione saddle and Ritchey WCS bar, stem and seatpost wrap up the package... and it's an amazing package at that. Weighing 14.74lbs for a complete 56cm bike, it's suitable for any climb you might want to point it up and with handling that is amazingly nimble, it'll get you down the other side with a smile across your face. (You can trust me on that.)

The good news is, we finally have these unreal machines in stock and with limited available quantities. Demand is strong, so don't wait until they're gone and you have to simply rely on watching these roll by you in the peloton. Team Kenda Pro Cycling p/b Spinergy races on the exact frame and very similar spec and they're very happy with their bikes... and they keep winning on them too.


Monday, March 9, 2009

1st Race of the year...

Over the weekend I got to have my first crack at a race. I have been pretty tired after our camp so I have just been cruising trying to get back on top of things. Started feeling a little better towards the end of the week so I thought I would give the race a go.

A super hard 6 mile circuit with crazy strong winds. And of course it had to finish up a climb that hit 18%... fun fun. The rest of the course was real rolling and it ended up being right under 3000 ft of climbing for the day. Ouch. Anyway there were only around 20 guys starting so there would be no where to hide. The race was super aggressive as Jeremy Grimm from RGF was there and attacking as usual. We had 8 cracks at the hill and with 4 to go 4 of us split away over the top. We rolled pretty good and stayed away. I had been feeling pretty average all day but was hoping the fitness and all the training would help at some point. The last lap was super aggressive but no one could get away. The 4 of us came to the hill together and I sat 2nd wheel.. About halfway up one of the riders cracked and then I noticed Jeremy wasn't looking so good on my wheel so I hit out and rode away from them all to net my 1st win of the year.

Pretty happy I made it through it as I did not feel real good. Haven't really gone that hard yet this year and it was a bit of shock to the body.. guess I had to do it at some point! Was a great day as my wonderful wife made the trip with me and got to see me win my 1st race of the year!

Win number 1.

Team Kenda Pro Cycling p/b Spinergy rider- Marco Aledia

Friday, March 6, 2009

Team Kenda Pro Cycling p/b Spinergy rider bio; Chad Thompson

Now that team camp is over, it's time to start with the team rider bios so you can get to know the riders about the fastest bikes in the US peloton in 2009.

We'll kick things off with Chad Thompson. Chad is the team director/ owner of the team and one of the riders as well. I first met Chad 4 years ago at Interbike, as he was waiting to speak with another bike manufacturer about possible sponsorship of the team. Chad and his crew stopped in the Masi booth to basically kill time and a conversation started that eventually lead to Masi and his company, Inferno LLC, linking up and partnering together for the team.

Over the years, I can sincerely say that Chad has become more than a team director and sponsored athlete- I consider him a friend as well.

Here's your chance to get to know him better too;

Name: - Chadwick (Chad) Thompson Nicknames = Wick, CAT, The Chad, Hanging Chad, and recently "Bossman".

Date of Birth/Age - September 17, 1972 / 36 years old.

Birthplace - Born in Erie, PA and raised in San Jose, CA (moved to Ohio in late 1997).

Hometown/Area of Residence - Currently Northeast Ohio (Macedonia, between

Cleveland and Akron). The team is actually based here, and not Columbus. Semantics.

Years Racing - 23 years with 8 year break from actual competition.

Years Professional - 3

Rider Style/Specialty - Sprinter.

Bike Size - 54 cm (very short legs for a 6 footer!).

Cycling Role Model/Inspiration - Currently Tom Boonen (for obvious sprinter and partier qualities) and El Gato (Johnny Sundt) of Kelly Benefits - good friend, hardcore worker and I love his nickname!

Favorite Kenda Pro Cycling Product - That's easy, the C2C tire for the road and the Small Block 8s for crossin'.

Favorite Race - Nevada City Classic. Never won it. And, National Points Race Championships. I have won it.

Favorite Quote - Not everyone can be heroes. There need to be people to wave at us as we go by." - FDNY quote from 9/11.

Favorite Song - "Fade to black" by Mettalica. Morbid, I know, but hey, I like it.

Favorite Book - DaVinci Code. Trendy, I know, but it started my fascination with masons and such.

Favorite Movie - Fast Times at Ridgemont High.

Favorite Food/Beverage - It’s a tie between Sushi and Mexican! / Great Lakes Brewery Dortmunder Gold (beer).

Accolades - Former National and CA state Points Race Champion (long, long ago). That's about it.

Own Website - Starting a blog called "All Fired Up!" to tie our team, web-site, ad campaign and myself altogether. Should be interesting.

Anything else you'd like others to know about you . - I am a proud father to my daughter, Mackenzie, loyal husband and I am also the boss dammit! (Inside joke with the team/fellas).

Favorite place on the planet - Ibiza, Spain. I cannot elaborate.

Favorite web-site - MasiGuy ( and (, duh.

Occupation other than cycling, if any - Full-time Firefighter and SWAT Medic, Full-time daddy and the head honcho (or so I am told) of this little team.

(More bios to follow very soon.)


Monday, March 2, 2009

Kenda Pro Cycling p/b Spinergy- training camp in pictures

Here are a few select images from the team's training camp in Greenville, South Carolina which just ended;

The view of the group from inside the team car- as photographed by team mechanic Katsu Tanda (thanks Katsu).

New team member Tyler Stansfield is from Birmingham, Alabama (my home state) and is going to surprise a lot of folks this year on the US race scene. (Photographed by Katsu Tanda)

A little team building exercise; flag football. You'd never know it was "flag" football judging by the number of tackles in the puddles!

Another late night team meeting- team doctor Jason Brayley goes over all of the team's medical protocols and covers how to follow doping controls and to be aware of post-race tests.

The track bike of team track star Mario Mazza. Mario knows a thing or two about how to go really fast on a fixed gear and how to play the bumping game. On the rainy ride on Saturday, we had a little fun being track guys and threw a few head butts and elbows at each other... good times.

Looking like the professional squad they are- the pinstripes and flames are destined for lots of podium spots this year!

And the folks who really make things happen on a bike team- the doc (Jason Brayley), team mechanics (Tennyson Hulcy and Katsu Tanda) and the team's soigneur extraordinaire (Janis Burns).

The group getting ready to roll out from the hotel and head out for a nice ride before the rains returned.

A slew of very fancy and very sexy customized Spinergy FCC wheels- custom decals by Wheel Tags. Title sponsor Kenda Tires provided the numerous types of tires chosen by the riders.

The bike of team super sprinter and winner of the sprint jersey at the Tour of Ohio the past four years in a row- Marco Aledia. Notice the special "bling enhancements" on the down tube, stem cap and seat collar. This was in the middle of his bike fitting with sponsor Wobblenaught.

The camp, though soggy and with little actual riding, was a success. The team had the chance to spend quality time together getting to know each other better, since there are several new riders to the team this year. All of the meetings were a success and the riders and staff ventured off in separate directions across the country to continue with training and readying themselves for the race season.

Keep your eyes open for the team's riders as they demolish the domestic peloton this year. 2009 is going to be an exciting year!