Tuesday, December 8, 2009

NCCX Series Finals Photos...

Burly Matt.

Matt found this photo and sent it my way. i have to give much credit to the photog, Dennis Smith, for capturing Matt at his best. Cyclocross, you gotta love it...

Monday, December 7, 2009

All Good Things...

I must first wish a huge congratulations to Bryan, of the Mid-Atlantic Crew, and Patricia on welcoming "Buns" now known as Dominic to the world, last week. I've seen videos and photos and the little dude looks just like his daddy. If he grows up to ride half as hard as his father, Dom will be one helluva racer!

With the news of Dominic being born being passed around our team member's inboxes, Matt (also of the Mid-Atlantic Crew) informed me that he and his wife Nichole are pregnant! He didn't want to steal any thunder from "Buns" because he's that kind of a guy, but I'm not that kind of guy. In my mind, it's not stealing thunder, it's re-categorizing the storm! CONGRATULATIONS! I have to say, it's pretty amazing how many newborns there are within the team as well as "on the ways" on the way! What an exciting time for all of the new mommy's and daddy's and mommy's and daddy's to be! Our family just keeps on growing. As team manager, I've already sent out training schedules and logs for our junior recruits...I'm expecting some great results in about sixteen years. ;-P All kidding aside, many well wishes and congratulations are due in part on behalf of the rest of the team, our sponsors and supporters alike.

Cross season, for some is just warming up (kind of an oxymoron, with the weather only becoming colder) for some and dwindling down for others. All in all, Team TOMS has had some great showings thanks to our riders all across the country. This weekend, Matt and a few of the guys participated in the Cap City Classic where the grounds were covered in a blanket of snow! Here's his recap on the day:

"Four inches of snow on Saturday, and a sunny 40+ degree day on Sunday made for a fun slog through a lot of REALLY cold mud. Ryan and I decided that the weather was warm enough that we didn't need anything covering our arms or legs, so we went with short sleeves and bibs. I think we were the only ones without warmers or long sleeves! It was our feet and upper legs took the brunt of the cold, because they were in direct contact with the most mud and splashing.

Ryan and I both registered really late, so we got lined up in the back of the grid. Ryan decided to gun it at the start, and worked his way through a LOT of the field really quickly. I, on the other hand, was chatting with the dude next to me and took whatever you would call the opposite of the hole shot. Most people were trying to stick to the tracked down muddy line on the first lap, so there were lots of opportunities to pass if you wanted to ride through the snow. I didn't realize it, but I guess I passed a lot of people during the 1st lap. By the time I caught up to Ryan (2nd lap), we were sitting somewhere around top 20 (this was cat 2/3/4 race). Because of the mud, there weren't a lot of power sections, and I guess we were both handling the mud pits a bit better than most. We kept creeping through the field.

The muck led to some mechanical difficulties, and Ryan ended up being stuck in his granny gear for the 2nd half of the race. Alas, he still kept in contact with the group. I had a good deal of chain-jumping going on with my cassette and icy-cleat issues, but I can't say my issues were anything worse than anyone else was dealing with. I took some bad lines on the last 2 laps, and had to run some muddy sections that I really should have been riding. For some reason, I was able to run kinda fast for once, and ended up gaining a place on the 4th lap and holding my spot on the 5th lap. I held off a guy who consistently beats me and tends to be really strong at the end of the race, and finished 14th of 40+ starters. On the final lap, Ryan made a good passing move to bridge up to our friend Chris, but he found a root or something under one of the snowy lines and went down. The fall ended up messing with his rear brake cable, making it really hard to get the bike moving (even with his granny gear). The whole incident ended up costing him 10+ spots on the last lap. Kinda sucks, because he was having a great race and the results don't really reflect it accurately.

Even if we didn't podium, TOMS was noticed for being the idiots in the shorts and short sleeves..."Here's Ryan's take:

"The fall actually pulled my rear brake closed, and ten people passed me while I figure out what the issue was. I then pushed a guy up the hill I was at the bottom of, remounted, and finished my race with a crooked stem and still in the granny gear.

On the last lap, I found an ice patch and went down trying to bridge another gap and soft pedaled the rest of the lap so i could finish along with my friend Danny."

I raced my second official race of the season, thanks in part to my bike taking so long to arrive. (Big kudos goes out to Chris Lowe, again for letting me borrow his rig for Urban CX at IX a few weeks back). I(Cat4) along with my Clemmons Bicycle pal Josh Tucker (Cat1) lined up for the SingleSpeed category of the North Carolina Cyclocross - Tanglewood event. It was a solid course layout that was allegedly setup by North American cyclocross living legend, Jon Hamblen. The course was super fun with some very fast and some semi-technical areas that were only made more technical by the amount of mud buildup between races. My big mistake was trying to follow Josh's wheel from the start. I successfully managed to do that, until lap two where I found myself vomiting asiago cheese bagel into my mouth. I recovered a bit and am pretty happy with how I finished up the race. More than anything, this was a really fun course with some really fun people. That, my friends, is what cyclocross is all about.

I also pseudo-previewed the new kits. I am not the brave soldier-type like Ryan and Matt who will rock the short sleeves/no warmers combo. Call me a wuss, but it was friggin' cold!

Thanks for reading!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

MABRA Championships.

Many thanks to Jen for taking and posting these great photos of our boys in action!

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Old Smelly Jerseys.

It's a funny thing being a cyclist. When it's time to consolidate your wardrobe there are lots of jerseys. They aren't just things you wear when you ride your bike, they are a memento of a time and a place. Your first this, or the last time you did that. I was wearing this one when I had my first crash. I was working for this company when I wore that. Old teams. New teams. That bike shop and this one. After going through and separating which ones to keep and which ones to toss, I struggle. These are reminders of who I was, then. It's tough saying goodbye, but in the end, I guess it's just a smelly old jersey anyways.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

DC Crewnesssss...

Today, at a cross race somewhere in Virginia, or Maryland or Delaware or Pennsylvania...wherever the DC Crew was at, we reeled in some great results! You can tell there's a lot of inter-team rivlary because the fellas always seem to place within a couple places of each other...new addition to the team Rez finished 18th, with Greg following at 19th, Matt at 20th and Ryan rolling in around 34th. Pretty solid. I'm pretty sure if Nate had raced he would've been somwhere between Rez and Matt, that's just his style. Ryan is still suffering from a bout with bad karma after chasing InTheCrosshair's Bill around Urban CX at IX with a broken grip shifter. This upset the cycling gods which lead to Ryan breaking his own shifter in the middle of the following race. Ryan, my advice to you, just race singlespeed...I mean you ARE a copy cat and got a bike JUST LIKE MINE...you might as well ride it. haha. Ryan knows I love him and I'm kidding, he'll probably beat my ass come NCCX Winter Series. Jen finished in a solid 16th place, but she's a sand bagger and if she would have actually went for it, she probably would have won. She's basically a PRO. Great job fellas and Jen!

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving!

Hey y'all,

I just wanted to wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving. Whether you're spending it at home or travelling to see family and friends, be sure to enjoy this day. I like to put aside all of the "bads" for one day and concentrate on all of the "goods" in my world. For example, BAD: bonking at mile 79 on a 98 mile ride. GOOD: not being pulled from the Urban Cross at IX race. In all seriousness, I'm really thankful to have you all on board with the team. 2009 was in fact a great year for the team in terms of growth, in terms of finding itself and also in terms of garnering lots of great coverage for our mission and the whole One for One movement. I've had countless emails from people who have seen our riders at races and were immediate fans when they heard about/saw what we were all about. DailyPeloton and PezCyclingNews took notice as well! On this Thanksgiving I want to give thanks to you all (the team) because you're the people that make these things happen. After we get all of the triptophan out of our systems and we ride a little closer to Christmas time and the New Year, I hope that you all are as excited as I am for all of the good things to come.

Thanks for everything guys and gals. To you and your family, Happy Thanksgiving!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Can't You Feel The Spanish Flava?

How fitting is it that on the same weekend that Robert is racing a giant road race in Spain that Sean would be racing the inaugural edition of the Vuelta a Miami! I know both of these guys were pretty amped for these events and rightfully so.

Here are their write ups with some photos, unfortunately, I haven't found any pics from the Vuelta of Sean but we were able to dig up some photos of Robert in the breakaway as well as his very loud orange skinsuit (he hasn't received our team gear, yet). Enjoy...

"It was bloody windy, decent temperature +19C and the course is the same one as every year. The funny thing is that I'm no where as fit as last year, but this year the race plan worked better than last year, I got the script in 1999, when I won here. Last year it worked, but being with 3 pros wasn't a good plan, and I got a very good working over! This year I only had Guillermo (Olympic Silver Medal at the track pursuit in Beijing.. he has also ridden a number of world cup track events, came back from one this week.. so no slouch on the bike) and, having him tell me before the start that he'd attack me if we were in the same group, just because he cant kick my ass in the sprint was a fair warning!! (he was my lead out man for 2 years.. so we do get on well, and know each others weaknesses.. but hes screaming fit at the moment, and I'm dragging my ass).

So anywhy, I followed the script, saw 3 guys come along with me, and waited to see what would happen, next lap Guillermo and Lorenzana (ex-Masters World Champ, current European Masters Champion) bridged up..the race unfolded more or less to plan until the final prime, where I lead out one of my friends and going up the hill Lorenzana attacked... I didn't have the gas to go, and got dropped, but.. as luck would have it, and my knowledge of the circuit, i eased up, on the hill, just enough to make the best of the descent, and really rode for my life... took me 1.5km to catch up. One lap to go, Lorenzana attacked again, I was out of position to chase and ended up with 4th place... If I'd have been offered 4th for one of my feet before the race I'd have happily signed!!!"

The most anticipated road race of the year! The Vuelta a Miami. With the winner getting $1000 and 14th place getting $100 this thing attracted the big guns. Frank Trevisio (winner of NRC Pro12 races and Las Vegas USA Crits) and Yosvany Falcon (NRC podium finisher) were present. Other Pros came out of the wood work to stake claim to the cash prizes.

No race like this has ever taken place in Florida. A road race starting and finishing within the city limits with a serious rolling enclosure on heavily used roads made this a MUST event for all serious Florida racers.

All week the weather has been partly sunny with periods of mostly cloudy and seriously windy conditions. Intent on making the Vuelta a Miami akin to a Ardennes spring classic, mother nature saved the best for the race. The race conditions were as follows: Temp: about 80 degrees, mostly sunny, Wind: from the E at 22mph with gusts up to 35 mph! Yep, if felt like springtime in Belgium (save the temp).

The Course is a 72 miles out and back loop which starts out heading west and slightly south and west again for the first 5 miles. Then it runs North and slightly East and North again before turning back. So, the last 5-7 miles are directly into the headwind. Lots of fun! The first five miles were run with speeds reach over 38+ due to the tailwind. Then we turned into the wind.

Prior to turning into the wind I moved up into the front third of the field knowing that once we the wind hit us the field would split quickly. And boy did it split. Barely 20 minutes into the race a breakaway with about 8 pros got off and the peloton as shattered into chase groups. We were strung out across both lanes (this rolling enclosure thing is nice!) and I as in the gutter of the first chase group of about 30 riders with the next chase group about 40 seconds behind and various groups formed after that. We were going 29 mph into a 22 mph crosswind and I was getting no protection from the wind in the gutter. At almost 6' tall and 148 lbs, I'm not built for these conditions! My HR was at 190 (my max for my age) and I was praying for a couple echelons to form... Wait, this is Miami, these guys aren't thinking about setting up echelons! Actually, to give them some credit, not many people can think while enduring the death march that the Vuelta quickly became. I could not continue at that clip so a sat up and jumped on the next group... and then the next. I quickly discovered that most of the people who I regularly race with (Cat 3s) got caught out behind my and I was rolling with the Pros before my heart almost exploded in my chest! from here (mile 20 or so I was just trying to pull my weight and get this thing over with! The Wind (yes I capitalized it) never let up. I was one of 3-4 people actually taking pulls and we would shed riders and pick up the leftovers from the chase groups ahead...and then shed those riders.

Eventually we saw the leaders come by us on the other side of the 4 lane highway separated by a large grass ditch. I thought to myself, at least I'm almost half way done. The Wind continued to batter people all the way back and then we hit that 5 miles directly into the wind. All I can say is... not fun. I started to pick up the pace about a kilometer out from the finish and sprinted got passed and tucked in behind the guy who passed me and sprinted again across the line (this as a seating sprint since I had almost nothing left in the tank. I have no idea where I finished, but I know it couldn't be worse than 40th."

All I have to say is helluva a job fellas. I know Robert seems to be at peak fitness nearly year-round...so we can expect to hear more fun stories (with a British accent) from Spain.

Sean only keeps progressing and I think he is building some great confidence as well as race fitness for 2010. he is going to kill it in the Cat 3s next year!

Great job fellas!

Mitch Gets His First Win!

It's been a long time coming now and much deserved. We've seen Mitch's progress each and every time he throws a leg over his bike. You gotta owe it to the kid, he's got some talent and for what talent he is still developing, he makes up for with a sheer will to win. He's a great kid that comes from a great family and an very supportive crew by way of the Team TOMS Shoes DC Crew. Here's what Mitch had to say about the race... "On Saturday, I raced the Wayne Scott Memorial Cyclocross race in Fair Hill, Maryland. It was a great race, and the course really leant itself to my riding style. The juniors start at the back of the B Women's race, which is cool, but also creates a bit of a bottleneck. I had a pretty good start and found myself riding with the two leaders of the MAC juniors series. The sand pit was awful and I had a hard time with it, I hadn't really ridden sand pits before, but over the barriers I felt great. Must have been the PRO-tips from Ben Popper at the SpectaCross clinic over the summer.

I rode my race and made some moves, Julian Meier from Bean's Bikes would make his moves, and we attacked back and forth for forty minutes. Justin Mauch from NCVC ended up cramping up and dropping back, so it was basically a race for first and second. Julian was having a few issues throughout the race - a dropped chain, somebody going through the tape in front of us and the tape getting caught up in his wheel. On the last lap, I put in an effort that created a good gap into the downhill and first set of barriers only to have him bridge right back by the cement barrier. I had an issue getting back into the pedals, but Julian was running around one of the women, so when I kicked my front wheel from the mis-clip it wasn't that bad. In the barriers in the barn, I put in another move and he was behind me going around the last turn into the uphill finish sprint on the road. I put in every ounce I had left and got my first win. It was awesome, people were cheering for me and the team had a huge showing of people cheering me on throughout the course. It's pretty awesome to have people yelling for you and letting you know what was happening in the race, and the encouragement was awesome as well.

Sunday, I raced at the Spring Mount PACX Series race. It was a really hard course and there was some real power sucking mud and long grass sections with a few technical sections between them. My legs were a bit tired from such an effort the day before, but I rode a pretty good race. I ended up getting third place in the Juniors race. Julian Meier from Bean's Bikes was racing in the C's, so it was my goal to catch him even though he had a two minute head start. Well, I reached my goal, and we talked a bit after the race. We both said how much harder the effort seemed because of Saturday. He finished up 24th overall in the Men's C, great job Julian! I can't wait to race again."

Mitch is such a humble character and a real clas act for his age. Can't wait to see him develop out of the amateur ranks...at this rate, he'll be giving Popper tips in the PROS in a short amount of time. :)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

You Should All Be Here...

...the team is having a stellar weekend here in Charlottesville, VA, in preperation for Urban Cross. After a fantastic spin amongst the University of Virginia football fans sprawling around the college campus, we stopped for an amazing lunch at The Main Street Cafe. Mmm....tuna melt with roasted tomato spread and sharp Spanish chedder cheese next to a white bean salad. Perfect. We got lost a little bit trying to find our way home from the course recon mission, then had more food.
Unfortunately, Bryan is feeling a bit under the weather. We're hoping he shapes up for tomorrow.
About the course, let's put it this way: there are no straightaways, about 10% of the course is flat, there is a foot deep sand pit, curbs, stairs, barriers, grass, mud and an abandoned warehouse.
I'm scared, not gonna lie...but it's going to be a hell of a time! Stay tuned....

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Choonimals partners with Team TOMS Shoes!

I'm proud to announce that Team TOMS Shoes p/b KindHuman Sports is partnering up with Choonimals Clothing Co. for some fun, casual wear for 2010 and beyond! Choonimals is a cool, fun company founded by some cool, fun people. They are huge fans of TOMS Shoes and recently participated in a "Style Your Shoe" event at Ohio State University, along with many other TOMS related events.

You can check out some photos from the event here: http://www.choonimalsclothing.blogspot.com/

They also support a really great charity called Develop Africa, Inc. Choonimals will donate 20% of all proceeds of thier trademark Grauf t-shirts to help support this non-profit fund. Very, very cool.

So head on over to www.choonimals.com to see more about what they are all about!

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Look What I Got...

Jealous? Best part about it...because I bought these, another child who doesn't have shoes gets a pair just like 'em! Cool, huh? You should go buy a pair, like, yesterday. Based on my shoe collection, twelve kids have shoes who didn't have them before. Just sayin' ...get to work! :)

One for One!

Monday, November 2, 2009


Click here to view these pictures larger

All Hollow's Cross!

Team TOMS Shoes had a great showing at All Hollow's Cross and I'm regretting very much that I didn't take my Potsy Weber from Happy Days costume a few hours north to join in on the fun in the mud with the game. Two weeks, figners crossed...two week for Urban Cross! Below a race report from noneotherthan Matt Bartlett, himself with photos of the crew. Lots of photos. :) ""All Hallows was pretty fun this weekend. It wasn't very heavily attended, being a non-series race on Halloween, but it was a good showing for Kindhuman. Tim represented in the Cat4 race, and me, Ryan, Nate, and Bryan were all in the cat 3/4 race. The course was almost pancake flat, but the rain made it kinda boggy in places. There was one section of single-track-ish stuff that was pretty fun. Other than that, the course was a hammer fest.

I had a pretty good race. I felt much better than I did last week. I had an issue with my glasses fogging up, then falling out of my shirt collar in the 2nd or 3rd lap, so I ended up doing most of the race with fuzzy vision. It really wasn't a big deal, except for all of the roots in the single-track. I was really worried about pinch-flatting because I was taking horrible lines. By the end of the 4th lap, I had worked my way solidly into no-man's-land between 5th and 7th. At that point, I changed my strategy from trying to catch 5th place to finishing clean and holding 6th. I was pretty sure I'd end up washing out on a corner or pinch-flatting in the woods if I pushed it much harder, since I couldn't really see the good lines very well, so I decided a 6th place was better than a DNF.

Bryan finished right behind me, and Nate was just behind him. 6th, 7th, and 9th and Ryan finished in 12th.""

Great job to all involved! I have to say though Nate's "Triathlete" costume was pretty superb, but Ryan definitely takes the cake for the inter-team costume competition as your favorite cop from Reno reality television and mine: Lieutenant Jim Dangle of Reno 911 fame! His brand new, all purple custom Rock Lobster bike definitely fits the character's bill to boot. :)

Lieutenant Dangle also took a shot at the Best Barrier Competition...here's how that went down...
The Lieutenant after making solid front wheel contact with the earth...

Right about now is when the human body is left to gravity's fate...
Houstan, we have landed.......HARD!

Thanks to his Rudy Project Kontact helmet, the Lieutenant survived. Gleeeeeeeeee!

Many thanks go out to the DC Crew for these fun photos and memories! Can't wait for Urban Cross!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

The Googe's recap of "12 Hours of the Hill of Truth"

"This weekend I joined my old team from last year to compete in the 12 Hours of the Hill of Truth. Last year we competed on singlespeeds in the open class and finished second by only a few minutes. This year team Asswipé (az-weep-ay) was looking to win. In addition to the team that beat us last year, there was a collegiate team from Union College and another local singlespeed team looking to spice things up in the open class.

Morning of the race saw over 2 inches of rain on a place that usually takes a week or two to dry out. I lined up as the first rider to go off. Determined to win, we hoped that by adopting the strategy of having everyone do two laps at a time would gives us an advantage (and provide more time to sit around and drink beer between laps and less time in a muddy chammy). I took off on the first lap and kept pace with the leaders until 3/4 the way through the first lap when we hit the Hill of Truth. The Hill of Truth consists of a mile long drag up a powerline cut about about 10-16% grade. Trying to conserve for the second lap, I walked up the hill and lost contact with the front group. After my two laps were done we were in 3rd place in the open division, where we would remain for the rest of the day. Due to the slow pace of laps, I didn't have to get back out and do any more laps. Instead, we ate a deep fried turkey, drank beer, and spectated for the Huffy jump/toss (jump a Huffy off of a ramp as far as you can, then see who can throw it the furthest when said Huffy is no longer rideable).

Overall, team Asswipé finished in 3rd place. Rest assured we will be back next year."

Great job Matt and Team Asswipé! Next time, instead of rocking the oldschool Specialized kit in place of the Team TOMS kit...I think Matt and his old pals should get on with a an all brown skinsuit, or maybe a slightly less tasteful white skinsuit with brown skidmarks. haha

Great job fellas!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Nate's DCCX Recap.

Straight from the horses mouth, Nate himself, who along with about a bazillion other Team TOMS riders participated in this weekend's District of Columbia Cyclocross edition. Enjoy!

"There were 100 or so starters in the B field at DCCX - tough field because no travel was required. We started Matt, Ryan, Bryan, Greg, and myself. Unfortunately only Matt, Greg and I finished. Ryan rolled a tubular on the first turn, and Bryan had some rear wheel/brake trouble that I barely spotted when I rode past him. After the start, there was a huge stoppage on the left side of the course that caused everyone to go right, and then of course there was a huge stoppage on the right, which I was sort of caught in. I got out quick, but not as quick as Greg, who suddenly was in about 20th position, coming up from starting 70th. Some jokester rode Greg off the course a few turns later and I passed their mess and never spotted him again, but Greg ended up beating half the field on a singlespeed mountain bike! Huge showing from him, plus he's a great guy and I can't wait to ride with him more. Billionaire (Matt Bartlett) was ahead of me the whole race; I typically assume I can't catch him because he's superhuman, but I got him today! It was right after some jerk was shoulder-checking me for three straight corners (I beat him). Matt and I grouped up and rode the last lap pretty much together. I finished 27th, and I'm super pumped because I've never come close to that high in the B race before. So huge success for me, at least. I know everyone had fun hanging around after the race. TOMS was well-represented, I'm not sure there was a team who had more starters than we did."
Here is Matt's follow-up race recap:
"My races over the last couple of weekends were OK. Flatted at Granogue, but it was so muddy that I have no idea how long I was riding on the rim. 34th out of 94 in the 2/3/4 at Wissahickon. I felt pretty good about that race.

DCCX this weekend was good, but I didn't feel as strong as last week. 30th out of 100+ in 3/4. One dude took me out once, then nearly took me out a 2nd time. First time, he washed out on a corner and took me and the dude in front of me with him. 2nd time, he couldn't remount after the run-up and decided to run down the hill dragging his bike sideways by the handlebars behind him. He got a stern WTF look from me as I was riding over his wheels and frame through the 180-degree corner at the bottom. Nate blew by me on the last lap, and as hard as I tried to hold his wheel, it wasn't happening for me. Nate finished 27th I think. He looked really strong."

On another note, our resident Brit in Espana rode a stellar race today at a race whose name I can't for the life of me remember. But I think there might have been snow involved? Robert said he rode a stellar race until the final climb where he so poignantly explained that he "blew like a stuck pig." Better luck next time, oinker. ;-) Just kidding of course, love having some Euro-Flava' reppin' the One for One movement across the Atlantic! Looking forward to hearing more race reports from Mr. Vokes.

A-for effort guys! I gotta say the DC crew (or District Delinquents, as I like to call them) are a great group and I'm always super stoked to hear about their race successes and failures alike. Lots of talk has been passed around about some Charlottesville Urban Cross race. I'm thinking I may have to meet up with the Delinquents for this one! Please keep your fingers crossed my cross bike arrives in time so I can get my ass handed to me by Billionaire, Bryan, Capelle, Tim, Nate and Ryan.......well, maybe not Ryan. :-P

Gotta love the inter-team rivalries! 'Til next time...

Monday, October 5, 2009

Way Overdue, Way.

Fans, Friends and Persons Who Race Bicycles,

Team TOMS Shoes has been busy...it's cross season! And with the majority of our road and mountain bike racers competing in our sports' red-headed-stepchild-little-half-brothers of their own respective disciplines, (no offense to any little-stepchild-half-brothers that happen to be of the red-haired descent) cyclocross season is a busy one for our team.

Adding to the excitement, DeathRow Velo is busy manufacturing our brand spankin' new team kits...including our WAY badass new cross-specific thermal skinsuits. These new kits will be the perfect kick in the ass after a hard summer of riding on the road to get ya' back in the action on the bikes of the knobbier tire kind. A huge thanks go out to John Landino of DeathRow Velo and Jen Franko our designer (jenfranko.com) for all of their hard work and patience throughout this process! Badass status has been achieved by the both of them.

A shoutout goes out to Scott Gelbke, a new rider from NorCal who complete Levi's Gran Fondo, this past weekend. He was one of 3,500 riders including present and former PROS from all over the world. Not to mention it covered about 1-bagillion feet of climbing on some of Santa Rosa's toughest "hills" ...Scott Nydam went on to "win" the event, although technically it was not a race.

Before we get to the knitty-gritty details of early cross racing results and photos, I must take a moment to thank PezCyclingNews.com for their mention of Team TOMS Shoes. I should also take this moment to introduce and welcome our newest additions to the squad:

Aaron Malys is a badass blogger who lives and breathes all things bicycle, from New York state. He is also a talented designer, husband and father. His major goal for 2010 is to compete (and hopefully do really well) at the Tour of Battenkill. Erick Hirschorn is another new addition from the Big Apple. Craig McKnight is a fresh new addition to our Ohio crew along with Tyler Wolfcale who won't be too far while representing Team TOMS Shoes in Indiana. Tim Chiang is a new recruit who will be joining our "DC Delinquents." You will be seeing some photos of him from recent competitions, below. Rounding out our new additions while taking home the Most Distant Rider Award is Robert Vokes. Robert is a British-Native living, working and Riding in Alicante, Spain. He will be spreading the good word to riders across the pond, next year. On behalf of Kind Human Sports, TOMS Shoes, our team and our sponsors...WELCOME ABOARD!

I figure the best way to encapture all of the recent racing is to compile some photos and results for y'all to see in a cute and compact manner. Enjoy! :)

18 Hours of Scouts Honor (August 15, 2009)
Team: Mitch Franko, Ryan Dudek, Matt Bartlet, Guy Franko

7th place out of 10 finishing teams in the 4-Person Men's Team Catagory

Bear Creek Resort MASS Finals Weekend (September 13, 2009
Mitch Franko: In is first individual mountain bike race, he finished 7th place in the Beginner Junior 3 XC (16-18).

Charm City Cross (September 20, 2009)
Mitch Franko: 4th place out of 14 riders in the U19 Mens Category.

Bryan Billington: 56th out of 125 riders in the 2/3/4 Mens Category.

Nate Chenenko: 69th out of 125 riders in the 2/3/4 Mens Category.

Here are some photos from our guys and gals at Whirley Bird Cross and Ed Sanders Cross...all in all being the competitive, but really fun crew that they are!

As always, a huge bit of thanks go out to our supporters and sponsors alike. Formally I would like to thank my father Mark, Bill Messenger, Jeremy Johnson, Joe Cahoon, Chris Lowe, Greg and Robin Huff, Kyle Wardle and Tommy Wallace who have each purchased a Team TOMS Shoes p/b KindHuman Sports kit, helping our team spread the message across the globe!

Also, another huge set of thanks go out to Rob Richardson at Rudy Project, USA for his continued support with glasses and helmets for our team. Rob recently hooked me up with a new set of Photochromatic lenses for my ExoWind optics in a dire time of need! Thanks Rob!

Thanks for reading! Keep it rubber side, down and faster than the guy behind you! :)

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Burly Matt.

Gotta give credit where credit is due, this time credit is due late apparently (Team Manager has been way too busy for his own good). A couple weeks ago, a member from our DC Crew, Matt Bartlett competed at the Devil's Backbone Cross event somewhere between Charlottesville and Lynchburg, Virginia. Out of the 135 entrants, Matt finished in tenth place overall!

Now, I don't know what's a more ginormous achievement, though. Matt finishing 10th overall or Matt finishing 20 minutes behind the event winner, Jeremiah Bishop of the MonaVie/Cannondale Cycling Team? For those of you who don't know who Jeremiah Bishop is...he is a pretty burly pro in the mountain and cyclocross scene. And when I say burly, I mean USA National Champion in the Short Track and Marathon Mountain Bike Events, burly. Burly. Burly.

Matt and the team are super proud of his result and his finishing time of 3 hours and 58 minutes. That's just a tad under 4 hours on a BURLY
62 mile course with about 6,000 feet of climbing. According to the organizers the course was 50% paved, 50% dirt, but I don't believe them. Accodring to Matt the course came in around 60-70% dirt.

Considering how well Matt did this year (as a non-pro) I'm thinking that next season, Team TOMS will have to field an all on off-road assault and see if we can't creep onto the podium!

As of 5:52am, September 15, 2009...I officially have retired the word burly from my vocabulary.

Congratulations go out to Matt on his...................err................KICKASS ride! :)

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Crossroads Classic 2009.

Figured it was about time the Team Manager gave some personal race updates. I competed at a few races during the Crossroads Classic week long event. It was a great series put on by Gene and his crew at Swagger.us, that concluded the morning of the Presbetyrian Crit in Charlotte with the Hanes Park Classic looming the Sunday after. I'm not too proud of my personal results, but I can say that I had one helluva time! I missed racing and I'm so happy to be back at it. That being said, I have my work cut out for me before next season and I'm looking forward to REALLY getting back into the swing of things!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Points and Points and Points and Points.

As some of you may or may not know, in the sport of cycling there are points awarded at different series of races in different locales in different disciplines. Some count towards a series leader, a state leader or a national points leader. Now, many states determine their state champions in a lot of different ways. Some, like in North Carolina and California have one-day competitions in pursuit of finding their "state's best" for the given year. In Ohio, it works much differently. The Birthplace of Flight makes an effort to track points of the most consistent and consistently successful rider throughout the given race season.

We here at KindHuman Sports aren't too wrapped up in winning, winning, winning! Albeit, podiums and first place medals are nice...who doesn't like that? We here are more concerned with the fun aspects of the sport and the natural development of our riders. We don't mind being the underdogs and the 'where did that guy come froms'...because in any given city across this great nation, there might only be one of us at any given race on any given day going head-to-head with local juggernauts on the road and in the mountains.

Team TOMS Shoes p/b KindHuman Sports rider, John Proppe, is the perfect example of the aforementioned type of rider. All season, since the inception of this team leading all of the way up to the Ohio State Championships... John has performed and garnered consistent and progressively successful results weekend in-weekend out.

In John's first 100-mile mountain bike race, the Wilderness 101, he finished with a time of 9:26...that's right y'all, nine hours and twenty-six grueling minutes of mud, roots and according to John some very technical terrain.

John deserves a huge congratulations for even finishing the 101 mile effort, let alone his stand-out time and the extra points he's stacking up towards that Ohio State Championship Title.

Currently, John is sitting in first place in his class for the overall. I along with the rest of the team and sponsors would like to wish him the best of luck in his journey towards that title. In the end, we're just proud of him for his progress thus far! Congratulations JP, keep up the good work!

Monday, August 10, 2009

John's First Podium!

Here's a little race recap from one of our NorCal Team Members, John Nguyen...

"I finally got a chance to do another race since that poo-mud endurance race...(see poo-mud race photo, below)...

...it was the Howell Mountain Challenge near Napa Valley in a little town called Angwin. It was a bit over 100 degrees today so we were burning up out there. The course was super fun and it definitely had some technical descents as well as climbs especially the Hike-A-bike, my cyclocross experience definitely helped out in that area :) Other than that, I had one minor fall and was cramping up bad towards the last few climbs of the race. At about that time, I totally thought I was at the very end of the pack. I couldn't see anyone behind me and I knew the person in front of me was at least a minute up. At one point, I even thought I was going the wrong way and was saying to myself, "where the hell is everybody?"

The race finally ended and I cleaned up, had a bite to eat, I figured I did okay because I finished and it was a tough course...and on the plus side, MTB races are always fun. The race was pretty crowded, so I felt super slow when one of the expert guys lapped me on a SingleSpeed. I really didn't bother checking the results, but my girlfriend did. When she said I got 3rd place I totally thought she was lying. Checked it myself, and what do you know...there's my name. So happy...FIRST PODIUM!!!! I'm super stoked about that and have some motivation to do more mountain bike races. -John"

I think a huge CONGRATULATIONS is due for our little=buddy in the Top-Half of the Golden State. John is a guy who never gives up and always has a smile on his face no matter how bad he is hurting out there (unless he is monging on granola bars post-race). Great work, John and good luck with your upcoming Cyclocross season!

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mud, mud and mud.

Ryan or D.C Regional Manager, his girlfriend Jen our badass designer and her little brother, Mitch, our newest addition to the KindHuman Family all made a trip the New Jersey State Fair for what has to be, the FIRST cyclocross race of the year. Ryan wrote such a detailed report, I’m just going to post his here…

“Friday: Rain Rain Rain. What a way to start off your cyclocross season. (Not to mention 9 weeks before cross really even starts).

We showed up to the fair at around 1pm, by 2pm the skies opened up. The fair had lost power on the mid way and the arena due to a few traffic accidents, so I helped the organizers set up the course while Mitch took a clinic from Ben Popper. Afterward we rode a few laps, we went in to get some fair food and avoid the rain the best we could. As the sun was setting, I was trying to keep my legs warm while I cheered for Mitch, Jen, Julie Popper and a slew of Proteus riders that made their way to the fair. One more pre lap before staging and I'm in line for the "B Main Event". That means Elite Juniors, Men's B, and Elite Women all on the line together. Ay-yie-yie, last time Deedee Winfield raced with the boys in the mud, she lapped the WHOLE FIELD. Not this time Deedee, sorry. Somewhere in the middle of the race, I could feel all of the bumps coming through my rear wheel. Uhoh, this feels kinda flat, and it was, with one to go, damnit! Chicagoan and friend Chris Jensen slipped away from me when I washed out around a slick corner and took 6th in our category. I ended up 8th in our category, and something like 16th overall - totally mid pack. Mid pack in the Bs around here seemed relatively familiar to me, so I wasn't UPSET, but I wanted to do better. http://www.flickr.com/photos/ryandudek/3783487730/

7:30am on Saturday, Jen is kicking me. BUT I DON'T WANT TO GO TO SCHOOL MOM. Oh, it’s time to race? Cool. A stop at the Home Depot to fix Mitch's bartape and Dunkin Donuts to fuel me during the race, and we were at the fair by 8. Register, pre-ride with Mitch, talk about the changes in the course, and 10am is there before we know it. I'm running around giving Mitch his first ever water hand ups and cheering for a bunch of Proteus riders and photographer Kevin Dillard (and feeding them water as well) as the C men kicked off the day on a still slippery course. Mitch finished strong in 12th, beating out 13th in a sprint finish through the demolition derby mud. He is learning to pace himself a lot better (single tear). So proud.

We went and washed Mitch's bike and went in to the fair for some lunch. Mmmmm cabbage. I love holushki, and I was super excited to find it at a state fair. So excited, I got 3 servings in the 2 days we were there. We made a camp between our 3 cars (Popper's, ours, and Jim V's) by tying tarps and blankets between them. A lot of Tom Foolery and 2:00 is approaching. I'm feeling sick. Let me eat a bit of blooming onion. Get me a Mountain Dew. Oh God its hot out. I'm not ready for this.Oh crap, I'm on the line. When did I get here? Ohmygodohmygodohmygod. I hate staging. Call ups suck. Starting in the back sucks. I have a whole arsenal of excuses. Today's races are presented by Beth Mason. She's fast, so I'm shooting the shit with her on the line. All staged. Everybody is so serious, guys, this is cyclocross. 30 seconds. 15. Whistle.Slick yet tacky. I can't even describe what is happening underneath me. Everybody is cheering, I can see the leaders, and we are back out into grass. I'm passing people through every turn. People are saying my name. I am doing my best to keep the leaders in my sight, but 1 2 and 3 gapped really far in the second or third lap. I would see them when we were riding through the muddy spiral of demolition death, but once we got out into the grass, they were gone. Mitch is handing me bottles as I pass the pit, and a lot of people are yelling for me, so I must be doing pretty good. On the fourth lap, Jen tells me I'm in sixth. Chris (Jensen) and two others are working together to try and catch me, I'm doing the cyclocross time trial trying to catch fifth. I bridge. I gap. Oh my, this is what top five in a B race looks like? whole race is struggling to keep my 5th place seat. With 2 to go, a HUP United rider launches an attack and bridges. He gets a small gap on me, but I bridge back. We are 5 and 6 coming in to the bell lap. Through the grass, I make a pass. I know I have to gap before the straight going back into the derby area, because the singlespeed isn't going to outsprint him. I get into the dirt first, but I can feel him on my wheel as we are coming back down the second straight. He takes the inside through the ruts, and we are wheel to wheel. I have to let him ahead before the next turn so I can try to make my move, he is clearly faster on the straights. Coming though the big puddle and into the last turn, he is one length ahead and I can see him slipping. I stand up and sprint into the last straight. I'm at his saddle. The back of his wheel. I push my bike forward over the line and he gets it by half of a wheel. Such a good race, such a great finish, and he takes the sprint for fifth. I ride out to the water cooler and drink practically a whole bottle right away. The HUP rider was Matt Allyn, and we congratulate each other on a great race.

I clean up a little at the car, take my shoes off and throw on a t-shirt. My bibs are wet, but I am feeding Ben water during his race, so I don't have time to deal with that. We watch the pros and have a good time. Before heading out, we go make one more trip through the fair with the Popper's, Chris Jensen, and a couple of new-found friends. I love this sport. Deedee is finishing her warm up so we wish her luck and I thank her for not lapping the WHOLE field again. Her husband asks me if I am "the guy" from TOMS. (meaning Blake) We talk about the team and the company and give our goodbyes for the next 7 weeks.Its 6:30 and I curse my phone for buzzing to wake me up. It’s raining, again. We were hoping to do an epic mountain, oh well, we cook up a nice breakfast and chat about Scout's Honor coming up in two weeks. Their dad is going to fill in for Bryan, who is still sore from a recent crash. I'm bummed Bryan won't be with us, but its going to be pretty awesome to have their dad burning up the trails with us. Overall, this was an amazing race weekend and my legs felt great. Seven weeks until MAC starts, 8 until MABRA. I'm really excited about the season, and I am helping Mitch pick out races up in PA. I love bikes, and I am so happy to have such an amazing group of people supporting me right now.”

We can’t forget Jen’s little win this weekend! At the ‘Cross race, the organizers offered a Best Wreck Prize. Of course, Jen won! I’ll be posting s photo soon…it’s like a Bike-Slip-And-Slide…glorious!

Ryan is such an asset to this team. I’m very proud and thankful to have him and Jen and, now, Mitch on board! Great people.

Our Tennessee Regional Manager, Matt Googe, competed at the Haw Ridge Mountain Bike Race this past weekend. Matt says that when he pre-rode the course it was in perfect shape and was planning on racing on a geared bike. Following with our theme for the weekend, overnight, the skies opened up and down came the rain…

…much to his delight, Matt had brought his SingleSpeed and apparently so did a lot of other riders because Matt had quite the time handling a stacked field of A,B,C riders in the SingleSpeed category. Judging by the photo above, Matt either likes racing in the mud, or he’s just really stoked that he ended up winning the race! Matt is such a strong rider who has been preoccupied with Law School…it’s a testament to his talent when he can show up after time off the bike and win races like he’s won this year. Congrats Matt!

Down in Miami, Sean O’Neill raced the Miami Masters Rosewood Series Crit in the 1,2,3 category. It was a super fast 1.2 mile loop. There were several attacks before the winning break went up the road, Sean unfortunately wasn’t there when it went. With the breakaway’s teams blocking on the front, Sean matched up with an old teammate and chased down the break, which proved to be too difficult with the other chasers sitting, and staring at each other’s freshly glued carbon tubular wheels!

Sean, being the super nice guy that he is, is always looking out for his buddies in the peleton. With one lap to go, Sean made his best Mark Renshaw impression for his old teammate, pulling him around the course. One by one, Sean nabbed the chasers on his way to delivering his buddy to the line for first place!

Considering, this was one of Sean’s first races since his upgrade…I am very proud of Sean’s slow, but steady performance. Maybe steady isn’t the right word, considering he’s flying around with Cat 1’s and 2’s at 40mph! Great work Sean!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Race Update 7.14.2009

Team TOMS riders have been busy so here's a recap of what’s been going down, these past two weeks:

Matt Bartlett is a guy who I’ve had the pleasure to get to know pretty well over the past couple months, through email, duh! In all honesty, Matt is as nice of a guy as they come.

Now, I haven’t heard many race reports from the big man from our DC Squad, and it must be because he’s been saving it all for today! Matt participated in the Rocky Gap State Park Xterra Off-Road Triathlon last weekend.

In a field of over 200 painted up, goggle wearing, former-college-lacrosse-players-turned-tri-geeks, Matt took home a 1st place in his age group (by nine minutes over the 2nd place finisher) and a 10th place in the overall competition! Not to mention, he did the whole race practically blind because he didn’t bring his contact lenses and he raced the bike leg on a single-speed mountain bike! Holy Maryland Crabs, Batman! A very big congratulations goes out to Matt on his huge accomplishment!

A long overdue congratulations is owed to Sean O’Neill. He Cat’ed up to the 3s and is still racing his tail off down there in that hottttt Miami heat. As any rider versed with road racing can understand, moving from the 4s to the 3s is a whole different ball game. It’s like graduating from tee-ball to the big leagues! It’s only a matter of time for Sean to find his legs in the 3s before he’s topping podiums flying the KindHuman banner! Congrats again Sean!

John Proppe, one of our resident single-speeders continues to drill it in the Midwest! In his most recent venture into the woods, John had an unfortunate wreck that kept his podium hopes at bay. Fortunately for John, though, other than his handlebar being all jacked up, he was safe and managed to finish the race. John has had an incredible season with a lot of podiums in his palmares and even a few atop the top step! Keep up the great work!

Much credit goes out to Greg Borchert and Tony Joo. Both of these guys have never raced road races before, Tony due to the fact that he is a hippy NorCal mountain/cross freak…so he’s been preoccupied in the dirt and trees as opposed to 45 minutes of four cornered hell!

Tony still has some learning to do on the road, but he knows pain well thanks to his cyclocross experience and before you know it he’ll be Cat’ing up with the 4s!

Greg, on the other hand does mostly charity type endurance based rides (can anyone say a perfect RAAM candidate for the future? Wink. Wink.) He participated in the Dallas Area Senior Games taking 3rd in the 10K Time Trial, third in the 40K road race and managed pack fodder placing in the final two races. It’s all about experience for these guys and come October at the Texas State Senior Games in Houston (which Greg qualified for) I have no doubt that Greg will have a superb showing!

So, all of that being said, a huge congratulations to all of our riders out there who are killin' it every weekend! Daddy's proud! :)