One of the biggest challenges we have faced as a new site has been creating our look.  We have gone through numerous designs and none felt quite right.  What you see before you is the "DirtyVersion" of our logo as we moved forward.  Interbike was the debut for our new look (Site Redesign coming soon) and we were overwhelmed by the response on the convention floor, and while wearing it around Las Vegas.  Your thoughts and comments are appreciated , and if we hear enough feedback we will show you some of our alternate version for upcoming stickers, shirts, etc.
 
 
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  It is rare for my blog to deviate from cycling content but certain things in life warrant and command full attention. So today we will celebrate the speed we all thirst for, by honoring a man known for his accomplishments in propelling forward.  The faction of cyclists that are focused on the "One less car on the road" movement may have let yesterday pass without absorbing the full impact of Carroll Shelby's passing.  Automotive enthusiasts understand his contributions but Shelby was a man with a midas touch and a reach that extended far beyond the boundaries of the automotive industry.  Admittedly a few of TheDirtyWheel staff are die-hard motorsports fans, though we happen to pledge allegiance to the bowtie.  Yet when news broke yesterday, I was stung with the reality that not only would the automotive world miss this ICON, but America and the world would be a different place.  If you could remove Carroll Shelby from history's timeline and imagine the world today, it leaves me looking at an odd landscape.  One where America's competitive fire wasn't stoked to the same intensity, where the automotive industries Big 3 did not battle as hard, improving technology in the process, and more importantly one where children grew up lacking the natural competitive desire to win.  In many of today's societal circles, winning has now become a bad thing, it is taboo and bad for our childrens development.  We now stifle the same fires that we once stoked, leaving me wondering what happened to the adage "The Hotter the Spark ....".  Technology is competition and cooperation dependent, it builds upon refining and breaking boundaries, and that was Caroll Shelby.  He was a man that was always trying to improve the process and reach newer heights.

  I cannot help but notice the motorsports technology that is blatantly apparent in the bicycles we love so much.  Yet for some cyclists it maybe like looking through your car for your helmet after you have already placed it on your head.  Look at the areas where technology and automotive influence may seep into your riding: Helmets, shocks, tires, even hydration packs have taken lessons learned from the automotive industry amongst others. We have a symbiotic relationship that is not apparent if we do not pause to realize and appreciate the contributions of others.  It is with a heavy heart and awareness of his importance to us all, that I bid adieu to Carroll Shelby, an innovator, a pioneer, and a man with the determination to succeed.  If you really want to know more about Caroll Shelby we urge you to dig deeper and challenge your comprehension of who he was and what he accomplished. Here are a few interesting facts to prompt you to learn more about Mr. Shelby.

During World War II he was an Army Corps Flight instructor.

He was one of the nation's longest-living heart transplant recipients, having received a heart back in June 1990.

Carroll Shelby was a Safari Tour Operator and was also famous for his Carroll Shelby Original Texas Chili Kit.

Carroll Shelby R.I.P (Jan 11th, 1923 - May 10th, 2012)



 
 
 
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  Let us start by setting some expectations for what this is all about.  You are not about to be subjected to a rant about how I despise electronic devices, riders wearing headphones, or most of the things you may expect.  For a good portion of riders/readers you are more than aware of the points that I am about to blabber on about.  That is because for a good contingent of riders, we view the trail as a sanctuary, or distraction from the stresses and routines embedded into our daily lives.  Quite honestly, I view myself as a rider that uses the trails as therapy - an escape from real world thoughts.  Being out in nature gives me a chance to focus only on the banter and conversation with a fellow rider, the sounds of rubber attacking the trail and a chance to clear my head.

  Today however was an eye opening experience - even though I thought my eyes were already wide open.  It started with what is probably the perfect poetic metaphor for my morning trail ride. (The 4th this week!)  You see this morning I awoke with the intent to ride and like many mornings, the fog of sleep would cast a veil on my morning and try to coerce me back under the warmth of my blankets.  I fought the good fight by bolting upright and starting the process of preparing for a ride. First stop, the restroom ....... ( Flipping through my Decline) ,,,,,,,,, (Pondering the layout of my eventual backyard pumptrack) ...... (..............................................) ................... (..............................................) ........... (zzzzzzzzz......zzzzzzzz)  HOLY SH*T!!!!! I fell asleep on the john! Dammit I scream silently within my skull, the reverb pounding in the realization that my time available to ride before the wife heads to work is now shrinking.  Ok, now I am charged with the pseudo energy that comes when you dart awake after falling asleep despite your best efforts not to.  So I grab my gear and head down stairs to get dressed.  Riding shorts on ... CHECK, Shirt On ..... CHECK, sitting down to put socks and shoes on .................. (zzzzzzzzzzzzz)  DAMMIT!  I am asleep again dreaming that I am awake, testing product, enjoying trails, and flowing carelessly through nature.  Unfortunately I am now giving myself a pep talk, about how we are responsible for the choices we make and don't make, as the stark realization that my casual ride is no longer an option.


 
 
Well at this point its not surprising that another month has past and content generation for my blog is still one of the most challenging aspects for me.  The original intent was to share passion, witty anecdotes, and stories I just had to share.  Truth be told, the website consumes a lot of my time, leaving me always focused on the next project.  So this blog post will serve merely as an outline of things to that are happening and things to come.  First and foremost, my goal to get back in shape earlier in the year was a rousing ..... FAILURE.  Like most of you guys, I am only human.  For the last two weeks I have been focusing my attention on purely riding more and paying some attention to what I eat.  Surprisingly, I have lost 5 pounds and feel much better when I am out pedaling around.  I have been using Strava a little bit to keep track of things and see what all the fuss is about.  Another huge change is that I have been riding the Airborne Wingman DJ bike that we are testing and this has been very good exercise as its gearing and style of riding are out of my comfort zone.  Look for an introductory review and video next week on the Wingman. 

So whats dangling at the end of the rope you might be asking?  Well we are preparing for our April Feature, planning our Sea Otter Trip and focusing tons of mental juice on the mid year re-design and reprogram of www.TheDirtyWheel.com .  What started as a simple way to connect and share with riders has become a total blessing.  As TDW has grown so has the work required to bring information and insight to our readers.  The reprogram will allow us to be more efficient and to bring a lot of the features you have requested.

So stay tuned for big things from us in the coming months and if you have seen our newest post about the MTB RIDER THAT WAS CRUSHED BY A BOULDER please click the link and watch the video... I have seen some weird things in my years but this was definitely a freak accident! EKZFNU28M79T
 
 
  Well it has been almost a year and the time is upon us again...  What time?  Time for Airborne Bicycles to start accepting applications for their Flight Crew.  Airborne Bicycles is entering the third year of their program and they need new members.  The program has been so successful that others in the Industry; Specialized, Giant, and Foundry offer similar programs. What you may not know is that TheDirtyWheel was actually born out of the Airborne opportunity.  Who doesn't want a free bike and to be sponsored?  That was what we said. So we put together a website as our online application, and we joined the melee trying to earn one of the coveted spots.  Ultimately, we didn't make the final cut but we did realize just how much passion we have for the industry.  That brings us to today, almost one year later ... the opportunity is yours!

  Right now you may be thinking that you are not sure you have the goods to earn a sponsorship ... But if you ride and love to ride, then you are halfway there.  The beauty of the Flight Crew is that it presents an opportunity for the every man.  Airborne is looking for individuals with a passion and people that are social media savvy.  Do you have a blog, website, hyper-active Facebook page, or some special skills they may want?  Are you a Photographer, Daredevil, Trail advocate, or something else that may interest them?

  Don't wait, get your application together and send it in as the deadline is Feb. 19th.  You can find out a lot more about the requirements, Schwag offered, and you can view their full line of bikes which encompass everything from XC/Trail to DH to Cyclocross offerings at their website : www.airbornebicycles.com/flightcrewapplication.aspx

Or if your already completely sold and just want to jump straight to the application, Have at it here : www.airbornebicycles.com/media/6180/2012_airborne_flight_crew_membership_app.pdf

 
 
  As we enter into the heart of the month of January, we have finally excepted that 2012 is in full swing.  It isn't that we are not looking forward to a new and awesome year, but it has been a different transition.  The time honored tradition of making New Year's Resolutions has come and gone for most, and while we have had our lists in the back of our heads, it was not until right now that we will begin to acknowledge them.  So we are going to start real slow and easy and take a look at our TOP 10 LIST of bikes that we would love to flog in 2012.  Before we jump in I will preface this with a simple warning .... The bikes below may not be the sexiest, most expensive, most exotic (although in most cases they are), they are simply the bikes that have been pedaling circles in our head.  So let us begin in reverse order and work our way to the dream steed.  When you are done, please chime in on your Top 10 and we may scrounge up a prize pack for one lucky winner.

TheDirtyWheel Top 10 Bikes for 2012

9. PIVOT POINT - DJ BIKE

  So first things first, we started at number 9 and for a good reason, soon to be revealed.  The PIVOT POINT was a bike we fell in love with at INTERBIKE and we still feel the same way about it.  The only reason it checks in at spot 9, is because it is a single use weapon based on discplines where we still have lots of growing to do.  Part of our New Years resolutions include learning to really jump, and getting in shape (we are serious).  This bike provides an opportunity to do both via DJ parks and pumptracks, although we imagine we might just stand in the garage and stare at it if we actually had one.  SPECS/GEOMETRY
 
 
  TheDirtyWheel has been an amazing experience this year.  In only 7 months we have had ups and downs, success and failure, and lots of Growth. Planning for next year has already begun and includes ton of exciting items: Sea Otter, a 1st Qtr wheelset review, features on 2 major Industry players, more Professional Rider Profiles, and an early 1st quarter user review section.  Our hands will be full and for that we are thankful.  So in an effort to give back a little something in this season of giving, we have a Holiday Contest for you to enter ...... HERE .  Spread the word of TheDirtyWheel and let us know what you want to see, what you want improved, etc.

   And if your able, go get a nice cold weather ride in, get home make some hot cocoa (spiked of course), and reflect on how lucky we all are!  Here's to a good 2011 and a promising 2012.

 
 
  I keep promising myself that I will blog with more frequency, yet it hasn't happened.  The process of generating content that is worth your time, and not just for my own benefit of seeing my thoughts on a page : can be a creative jigsaw puzzle.  This blog starts with a warning and you will soon understand what I mean.  This blog is the equivalent of the abstract bucket of paint thrown on the wall to later be called art.  Some of you may not enjoy this as much as some of the past blogs, while others may think its visionary in its own way.  This blog is all the things you have come to expect : material about cycling, comments on my life and kids, and insight into TheDirtyWheel and what we have in store.  The difference is that this time its like a OTB (Over The Bars)  somersault on a steep descent.  The thoughts are all connected with a single theme : "GROWTH" , the problem is they have taken a spin cycle and left you to collect them and take inventory of the situation.

Growth - \Noun\ ˈgrōth  
progressive development : evolution
  This is the definition we will focus on as it is so important in every portion of our lifes.  In everything we do, including cycling , this natural progression is necessary for us as humans to survive.  Lately, there has been an abundance of growth in my life that I need to share.  The two biggest things to happen in the month since I last rambled in your brain : would be my son's personal growth and TheDirtyWheel taking significant strides in its success.  My son is 5 years old which is over 1800 days on this planet and while some days its seems like they crawl, momentous occasions have a way of putting life into warp speed.  My son has started regularly riding with me on the dirt.  During these excursions he has said things that I will never forget and the bonding is priceless.  Sure these aren't full blown trail rides and I mostly get to play around on my bike whille his legs spin furiously to keep up.  But I am in no hurry for that day when he hucks his first ramp, clears his first gap, etc.  "  Dad I love you ... this is sooo awesome, just the boys get to ride ..." he said as we rode the levee with the sun setting.  It sounds made up , yet I couldn't have written it if I tried " Your right, this is the best little man"! 
 
 
  Right about now you may be looking at the title and wondering what could possibly be the connection between Asparagus and Riding Solo.  If we jump back 4 or 5 months I would probably wonder the same thing.  You see, that green veggie and riding alone were both things that I hated.  Most of this hate was misplaced because of my lack of experience with said subjects.  Hell, when it came to Asper-grass (As I like to call it), all I knew was it was a Veggie( not my favorite food group) and it makes your urine smell.  Couple that with the fact that I ran into a mountain lion twice last year while riding solo, and you can understand why being kitty kibble and having stinky pee are not my favorite things.

  The one thing that I have learned about both these items by venturing outside of my comfort zone, is that both of these things can be good for you and enjoyable on some level.  For me, I was kind of forced into both of these items via friends.  Asparagus was an item that we BBQ'd when a good friend came into town, and then prompted to ask me if I would at least try it.  Said friend is high enough on the friend spectrum that I tried it without protest, and was shocked to discover , I didn't hate it.  Riding solo was also forced upon me in a much more unwelcome way.  We all have gone into a day waiting only for time to pass untl you are scheduled to meet up with your riding buddies and burn up some trail.  Then hours before your days entire fixation becomes reality, you get the call, " Hey man, sorry I cant ride today ...(insert random excuse here) ".  Many times when I recieve this call, it is simply game over and I try to plan the next ride instead of focusing on my dissapointment.  Well during one particular week, said rides got cancelled 2 times, and when the 3rd ride was preceded by a call,  I refused to not get some dirt under my wheels.  So out I headed by myself, with no real agenda, schedule, or expectation as to what the ride would be.

  Much to my suprise this ride put me into a state I couldnt remember being in for over a year.  I was simply out having fun with almost no thoughts as to what I was doing.  Now I am not trying to imply that I dont enjoy my normal rides, quite the contrary, as a bad day riding is better than a good day with no bike activities.  But this ride was simply different.  I was not riding at someone else's pace nor was I concerned if I was slowing someone else down.  Strolling along I played, on the trail, simply soaking in the solo saddle time.  It gave me plenty of time to reflect on my natural pace and work on skills without goofing off on someone else's time.  The asper-grass and the solo ride had proven they could be positive parts of my life.  I do warn you not to misinterpret what you have just read.  I dont love smelly urine or being on the bike alone most of the time.  I cant prove that too much asparagus is bad for you, but with biking there is definitely more danger involved in riding alone.  Riding alone can leave you in a bad spot if you FR or DH and have a major crash, you also could have a mother nature run in like mine (thankfully all the big cat showed me was ass and paws).

  If you take anything from this, just remember that occassionally stepping outside your comfort zone, can be very rewarding.  Unexpected solo rides are now a chance for me to work on skills and gauge my riding progression and weakpoints.  You may enjoy asparagus and enjoy riding solo, so maybe, you take up eating sauerkraut and riding in large groups..... I dont know what you consider your bain, but I am sure we can agree that your pee doesnt smell quite the same after a heaping helping of good old Asper-Grass....
 
 
  So first off, I do realize, it has been quite awhile since I last shared my crazy world or ramblings, with you.  Fear not, my world has definitely been crazy and I have gained clarity through it all.  Lets start at the heart and work our way outwards.  I mentioned chaos so lets look at what has been going on in just the last couple weeks.  First I mentioned heart, and my step-father has been in the hospital as he has just undergone a double bypass.  During the week and a half that he sat awaiting his operation, I have had plenty of time to reflect.  This single event has been the most thought encompassing portion of the recent year.  Everything else branches out from there with very little relevance but the juggling of other thoughts and happenings included, my Birthday, my first ever case of Poison Oak, and trying to keep TheDirtyWheel rolling when everything else felt like it had grinded to a stop.

  My fathers medical procedure and state of health left me with alot of introspection about my family, my health, and what things are important to me.  Through this process I realized that biking is even more important to my overall being than I would have guessed.  During the stressful first days of my father being admitted to the hospital, it was the handful of trail rides that I snuck in, that let me temporarily check out mentally and recollect myself.  One of these rides also happened to be my first dance with Poison Oak , and apparently its a slow dance because I am still wrestling with this inflamed weepy beast. 

  For most cyclists, your birthday is a time to decide what bike parts/gear/goodies you may acquire through gifts or by splurging on yourself without having to justify your purchases with friends,family, or the spousal unit.  Lets face it, most non cyclists dont understand our obsession with all things bike, even though they may have more shoes than your local thrift store.  My mind was treading this annual path, leaving me with dreams of all kinds of goodies : a remote seatpost? , a fork service for the DH bike, or maybe a set of the NEW HAYES PRIME DISK BRAKES .  While all these purchases would be fun, the back of my mind was yelling that I needed to upgrade myself.  So I began looking at my health, my riding skills, my website-TheDirtyWheel,  and the art that comes out of the passion I have for riding.  So what did I decide to purchase that could upgrade  all these areas without changing a part on my bike?

  Lets take a look at these items because alot of upcoming TDW happenings will come from these purchases:

1.  Heatlth and fitness being of paramount weight on my mind, led me to purchase an upgrade to my fitness, which will affect my riding capabilities.  One of my personal favorite providers of solid fitness information that comes from our on industry is MTB Strength Training Systems. MTB STS is featured in so many of the best industry websites and magazines such as Decline Magazine and PinkBike.com that I figured I would devote an upcoming website feature to the 12 week DB program with full before and after results.


2.  Next was deciding to actively focus on my riding skills, and there is no better manual of riding skill than the MASTERING MOUNTAIN BIKE SKILLS By Brian Lopes and Lee McCormack.  There is plenty of solid advice and skills products available from all manner of pros but this book consistently earns rave reviews.

3.  Sticking with Lee McCormack and fitness,  I purchased a copy of WELCOME TO PUMPTRACK NATION.  Yes, I somehow have been blessed with a spouse that has given me a greenlight to turn my backyard into a dirt playground.  This is both a chance to improve my skills and fitness all wrapped in one, while also building my childrens enthuisiasm for riding.


4.  From there my purchases turned to improving TheDirtyWheel and my newfound obsession with my Gopro and video/photo editing.  What have I purchased to improve these areas you may ask?  Multiple Tripods, GoPro accessories, Video editing software, and a couple of books on Web design and programming.  Time to put in some study so that I can provide a better quality product for all to enjoy.

  As I reflect on the direction my bike purchases have taken, I am confident that these items will increase my overall Health, MTB Skills,  and obsession for the sport, more than any single bike component could have.

Prepare to follow along as we break ground (literally) in all

 

TheDirtyWheel