Friday, October 30, 2009


Sprints tonight!
This will be me in the first race:

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Race Face's explains itself, Halldor excuses himself

Looks like I jumped the gun a bit in my last post. I somehow got the idea that Race face was being sold to MEC as a company, not just RF selling it's products to MEC. That was an impression I got from somebody and could not shake it until I got the e-mail from Race Face, explaining their actions.
I apologize for the poor reporting and have corrected the aforementioned post.
Fair is fair, so I'll post RF's letter here for comparison to the Lambert one:

As many of you are now aware, Race Face has recently made the decision to sell to MEC in Canada. We want to take this opportunity to explain our reasoning for doing this and to separate fact from fiction concerning this decision.

Firstly, by selling to MEC this does not mean we are decreasing our commitment to you, the Canadian IBD. In fact, the truth is quite the opposite. We are a Canadian based company that has been in partnership with Canadian IBDs for seventeen years. This will not change. In very frank terms, we decided to add MEC as a customer because the distribution landscape in Canada is changing concerning the selling of bicycles and bicycling related products. MEC has recently made an increased commitment to their cycling business and we believe that they represent one additional sales channel for us to ultimately sell our products to the Canadian cycling consumer. It is really that simple. For us to continue to evolve, and even exist, as a business, like you, we have to change with the times. That is all we are trying to do by selling to MEC - nothing more, nothing less.

It should be noted that many top brands already support and sell their products through MEC and as MEC’s bike program grows this will continue to evolve as they build new partnerships with manufacturers and suppliers.

Additionally, we are aware that some of you believe that MEC has an advantage versus other Canadian businesses because of their Co-Operative status. To further show our commitment to you, the IBD's, we will offer a specific discount to address this issue. Place a reasonably sized order with us and we will provide a further discount over and above any booking discounts. Call it the “level tax” discount. Details will be released shortly.

Also, we want you to know that MEC is only buying select skus from our line. We have many skus that MEC will not carry. Please contact us if you would like to know the exact skus MEC will stock; we are happy to share that information with you.

Lastly, when considering your future business with Race Face, please remember that we are proud to be a B.C. based company for the last seventeen years. Our foot print in Canada is still very large as we directly employ 50+ people in our New Westminster office. We still manufacture market leading products in B.C. such as Atlas and Next cranks. In fact, despite the recent tough economic times, the demand for our product is strong and we have just added an additional five people in our manufacturing department. We are a Canadian based company that is committed to our operations in Canada and to supporting the Canadian IBD.

We understand for some Canadian IBDs that our selling to MEC is an emotionally charged issue. Our hope, and goal, is that by providing a commitment to the IBD in the Canadian market place, we have addressed the majority of your concerns.

As noted previously, we will release details shortly on our “level tax” discount and our 2010 booking program. Please contact us directly to place an order

Monday, October 26, 2009

Random Thought

I'm sitting in class dreaming of cyclocross and a thought came to my mind:

Has anyone ran a cyclocross race at the Juan De Fuca BMX track?

I think it would be amazing, especially if it still looks like below.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Race face down the drain?

The legendary component/apparel company Race Face just announced that they will be selling their products to Mountain Equipment Co-op (the Canadian equivalent to REI in USA). This has pissed off their current dealer Cycles Lambert and rightly so, so they will stop distributing Race Face products immediately. Recently MEC announced that they will be adding bicycles to their product lineup along with the current outdoor gear and bicycle parts. This has served as a bit of a blow to independent bicycle retailers in Canada as they believe that MEC possesses an unfair advantage as a Co-operative, since that format is considerably less taxed than other businesses. So MEC is not exactly a favorite among the bike shop owners or anyone in the bicycle business in Canada in general. See open letter from Canadian Cyclist here. In any case this move by Race Face has a lot of their fans loosing faith in the integrity of Race Face and their commitment to their product and their core consumers. In all likelihood they will make more money by making this move but will that be at the cost of quality? Many people believe so and point to MEC's shaky quality on certain things in the past. In any case people are a bit perplexed by all of this if not downright pissed off!

See letter from Lambert below:


Levis, Quebec, October 23, 2009 - Lambert announced today that it has terminated its Canadian distribution agreement with Race Face, effective immediately.

Race Face recently informed Lambert of its plans to sell its apparel, armour and components to Mountain Equipment CO-OP (MEC). Lambert is very disappointed with the decision Race Face has made in this matter. Due to Race Face’s realignment with MEC, Lambert ceased its business relationship with the company.

The importance of specialty retailers for Canadian cyclists is undeniable. Lambert remains firm in its commitment to channels avoiding an every day low pricestrategy which brings down reasonable market pricing. Lambert will continue to privilege brands that support this same business direction.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Cross you bastard! Cross!

Cross season is undoubtedly upon us, and all over the net you see reports of races in cities in North America and Europe. Generally it seems that Cyclocross is making a big comeback in North America and this is certainly very exciting. We here in the southwestern corner of Canada have our share of cross nuts and currently there are two series on the go on Vancouver Island. One is the official and sanctioned Cross on the rock series and the other is dubbed as the Victoria Cross Club and is an impromptu cross "practice"(read race) in a somewhat surprise location every week in Victoria.

wed nighters pics:
justin killing it on the XO-1
Shayne cornering and ducking under some branches
Frankencross and owner playing in the sand
Mitch airing out the XO
Geoff Kabush showed up for one of the rases
Mitch, Andrew and Halldor pose for the camera

The cross on the rock series is very official, at least on the surface, but the attitude and overall feel of the races is definitely very characteristic of Vancouver Island. You can race what you want, be it mountain bike or whatever and everybody is friendly and laid back. This makes for a great race experience for everybody, especially new racers. I have yet to hear a negative word from anyone at these races, even though and justly so, sandbagging is frowned upon. The race courses are always tough but fun at the same time. I think we have it good here in the west as we get to race a lot on singletrack in the woods. This gives guys like me, with a mountain bike background and poor conditioning a chance to give the fitter roadies a run for the money. It also makes for beautiful scenery, that can be enjoyed both as a racer and spectator.

The Vic X club races are a bit of a different beast.
They're held in a different location every week and the location is only issued to the racers on race day. This makes for interesting races, but since it's only half sanctioned (racers have to sign a waiver if they don't have a race licence from Cycling BC) sometimes "races" get shut down before they're over, or in last weeks case, before they start. This can be frustrating and you have to wonder how hard it would be to just get a permit to hold those races. However, knowing that in Canada, bureaucracy is a national sport in the same way that rioting is in France, perhaps it would not be that simple. Nevertheless, the races that I've attended have all been great for racers and spectators alike, and the fact that the organizers can show up a half an hour before the race starts and set up the course has to say something about how awesome cross racing is. It's so deliciously simple! Cross is the cycling world's soccer. Like soccer, it can be played/raced anywhere and with minimal equipment, although the great majority of racers are ridiculously decked out in full kits and very expensive bikes. But what you really need is some course marking tape, racers on bikes and a place to race. The last item is probably the most difficult to come by in this day and age.
I've raced two races in the Cross on the rock series, and three in the Vic X club series. It's been great so far and there is almost a month and a half to go. Frankencross has held up so far which is somewhat surpricing but very exciting at the same time.
Fall is great, and Cross is tasty like blood!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Commuting to work is wonderful

Fall has finally hit us here in the Northwest. After last weeks cold snap and the rains for the past few days it's no escaping it: it is here. The leafs are starting to fall and the roads are getting wet and slick. To my surprise, this has not thinned out the throngs of commuters that I pass every day on my own commute. I commute mostly on marked bike routes so I always have a healthy amount of commuters joining me every morning and despite the weather they were out in force today. Perhaps they're just being stubborn or they're simply getting ready to fight old man winter, but there was a lot of them this morning. Certainly there is no reason for Victorians not to commute year round, and a I was happy to see the masses out, even though it was drizzling rain. The prevailing type you see on those wet days is the "Super commuter."
this character can be recognized by the trademark brightly coloured rain jacked, the abundance of reflective material on clothing and bike, pant clips or reflective Velcro straps, and a bike with fenders, a rack and panniers (mirror optional). This is the stereotype, but individualism does exist among those types. One of those individualistic types crossed my path this morning. He had all the hallmarks of the Super commuter proudly displayed. However there was one anomaly to his getup. This particular commuter did not have any use for pants, or even shorts for that matter. No, when he woke up this morning and looked out the window he somehow figured that this weather would call for his shortest of short shorts. Akin to these:
This choice in clothing struck me as a bit strange, and I contemplated what the reason for this could be, as wished I had an Iphone to capture this fantastic moment.
These are the possible options I came up with:
1 The cyclist is always super warm and if he wears pants he will overheat, pass out, crash and drown in a pool of sweat.
2 The cyclist is proud of his sculpted cycling legs (they were pretty muscular, and shaved) and wants the world to know.
3 The cyclist lost a bet.
4 The cyclist has a good sense of humor.

In any case, this odd commuter, a drooling Boxer in a car at a red light, and the homeless man that was screaming obscenities at cars but said "good morning sir" to me as a I rolled by made for a fun commute this morning.
And top of the morning to you sir!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Victoria 'Cross Fun.

Cyclo-Cross has to be fun... It couldn't possibly not be fun.
Lets review why:

1. You get to ride your bike. (this is always fun)
2. You ride a bike that is rigid, has drop bars and has skinny tires over rocks and roots,
through sand, grass and mud. This is sometimes sketchy. Sketchy is usually fun.
3. Those hilarious outfits.
4. On occasion you will be called upon to jump off your bike and jump over some
silly obstacles, or run up a set of stairs in your cleated shoes, carrying your bike.
This is quite ridiculous, and thus quite enjoyable.
5. Your legs and lungs will hurt. And that makes beer taste even better.

Shayne through the woods.

Justin Through the Field.

Justin lays the power down up a hill and puts
some distance between himself and his pursuers.

S.A. into the light...

Post race chill.

VXC rides/races every Wedensday night for the next while. Drop by the shop to get some info and come out and ride.