Yamaguchi Framebuilding School

I’m a little out of the loop here. Thanks to a tantalizing photoset from a Flickr friend, it only took ten minutes, to go from not even knowing about the Yamaguchi framebuilding class, to checking the available dates for 2011. After this, I got around to the realization that Yamaguchi is not, in fact, located in Japan. He’s been in the USA since 1989.¹ That would explain why he’s built frames for the US Olympic team, among other things. Like I said, I’m slow!

But now that I’m all caught up… I think my next vacation just planned itself²: Rifle Colorado, 2011! Who’s with me? We’ll build frames, then ride them! In Colorado! We’ll eat roadkill burgers. It’ll be sweet!

Okay, time to level with you. Everything written above, while true, is just here to so I would have an excuse to post the first three photos I found of Yamaguchi’s happy graduates. You know what they say about dogs resembling their owners? Well, have a look at these three students and the frames they made…




Do I even need captions? Do I even know what a rhetorical question is?


This belongs in the post, not the comments. By utilizing the Rand Miller method of wish-fulfillment fantasy, I have concocted a startlingly-realistic glimpse into the future:

Frame DONE!*

¹ This fact alone just saved potentially thousands of dollars off the expected cost of such an escapade.
² Actually, this is not completely true – My next vacation is, obviously, the CFC Team Training Camp in Bend, OR. Look for the press release soon!

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Things I wish I knew when I started Riding

Look, I’m not exactly an old hand at this business, and there’s a lot of information out there available to new cyclists, but I’m gonna lay it down straight and give you the things that nobody told me. In no particular order…

  1. Shorts, you’ll want more of these before you start buying more jerseys. You can always re-use a jersey. Also, buy bibs while you’re at it, you’re going to eventually anyway.
  2. Cycling socks – Seemed like the least-necessary item of “cycling-specific” clothing to buy. I held out for the longest time, but after seeing the light, I rarely wear anything else – Even off the bike! They can even double as dress socks.
  3. Fitness goes away. Fast. Nobody told me this one! I guess that’s what happens when cycling is the first sport you’ve done since little league.
  4. Sure, buy a cool-ass waterbottle if you like it, but you’re soon going to end up with more bottles than you can ever use, especially if you start racing. You’ll be losing and gaining bottles as all the time. Then you start designing your own… (this last part might only apply to me)
  5. You may think you’re racing that stranger on the road, but he’s probably not racing you. In fact, the more serious the roadie, the more likely it is that they’re joylessly following a plan, and less likely it is that to deviate from it to respond to your “attack”. Or, he’s on his way back from 80 miles to the coast. You never know.
  6. Tegaderm.

Have any of your own? Leave ’em as a comment.

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It’s starting to feel a lot like January

View from the Saratoga Alps (on NYE)

Well it’s been cold, intermittently rainy, and I’ve got what I now recognize as the taste of copper in my mouth that accompanies the first ride of the year. Seriously, I remember talking about it last year as I took the ride depicted in my About Me photo. At least that time, it was after three weeks off the bike and across the world. This time? I’ve got less of an excuse.

I’m throwin’ in the cut, because this post isn’t looking to be all that exciting…

Continue reading

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Cyclocross: Note To Self

Manzanita Park CCCX

It turns out that race reports aren’t just for the entertainment of others – You can read your own writing later and be reminded of things that aren’t immediately obvious. I’ve been absolutely terrible in terms of writing this (cyclocross) season, and indeed if I am to write a recap it’s going to have to go all the way back to the University (Road) Race. Yeah, in August. Short version there is: I died a thousand deaths and cramped up enough to force a dismount. Popped off the back in the 4/5 race, which was won by a guy who climbs OLH in the 16’s. But we’ll get to that in another post. For now, I’m going to write a few notes to my future self, so that I can read this later, and benefit from the knowledge.

  1. The Sierra Point Course: It looks easy with that pancake-flat profile, but it’s possibly the most fitness-demanding course of the (RIP) Bay Area Superprestige season. Why? No real climbs means no real descents for recovery. It’s like a hotdog crit that also destroys your lower back if you sit down. Ow.
  2. Do a test-stop with those Mini-V brakes every time you ride, lest you forget that stoppies are not only possible, but probable when you grab a handful of brake.
  3. You already know that choosing the best lines involves looking ahead. What you tend to forget is that when you’re suffering, you’re looking straight down. Thus, picking shitty lines. Don’t do that. Head up!
  4. Riding the tape may be an effective strategy sometimes, but stop getting caught in the gutter at the start. You get swarmed, and have nowhere to go. It sucks!
  5. Drills. How’d you even do a season without them in 2009? And have any measure of success? (Answer: You were racing C’s, but that’s not true anymore…)
  6. Watch for those lap cards, and if you don’t, that guy is sprinting around you at Harbor High School because he knows something you don’t.

Maybe I’ll come up with more of these later! I’ll probably come back and edit the post. Anybody else have any tips that they tend to forget in the off-season?


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I wish I could go that hard

Me: “Dude, I just saw one of the juniors after the finish, he was throwing up all over the place. I only wish I could go that hard…”

Chris: “Seriously, it’s pretty hard to do!”

Me: “I mean I felt like I got close today”

Chris: “Jon did it once.”

Me: “Yeah but Jon probably drank three beers before his race. That’s like doping!”

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Slone’s Razor (Term I just coined #3)

Slone’s razor

When naming a law after yourself, it sounds
way cooler if you call it a razor, instead.

I learned this from Occam’s razor. See how much cooler that sounds than Occam’s law? Because it’s a razor. That’s badass. That’s Slone’s razor.

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Go See Redline

Look, I can save a whole lot of time here by linking to Sean’s magnificent review of this film over at Colony Drop. I can’t say much that he doesn’t say better, especially as we’re on the same damn page for the most part… Here, read two sentences, then get over to the whole review. I’ll wait.

Redline is a bizarre amalgamation of Hanna-Barbera’s Wacky Racers crossed with a European comics sense of style and an attention to detail that we all assumed the Japanese animation industry forgot sometime in the early 2000s. The animation, the characters and the design work are all worthy of unrestrained praise, but perhaps the most important aspect of the film is the way it makes you feel.

Although I’ve been aware of the project for quite some time, the actual release of Redline snuck up on me. I didn’t know that it was getting any kind of theatrical release here until Colony Drop tipped me off, for which I’m forever thankful. Redline has been showing since Friday at Viz Cinema in San Francisco, and will only be shown for two more days (that’s four more showings – It’s gone after Thursday). After that? Who knows! Wikipedia suggests that Manga Entertainment is going to do a real theatrical release in 2011. If you’re around here, don’t wait, get your ass to the theater.

I don’t want to retread what you can read elsewhere, and I’m loathe to spoil things, so I’ll get to my personal reaction: This movie put one of the biggest, stupidest, most awe-struck grins of amazement on my face that I’ve ever had in a theater. The opening sequence in particular, was amazing. Flawless. I don’t want to resort to too many clichés, so I’ll just refer you back to that grin. Although it slowed down in the middle and got bogged down with a couple of anime tropes as well, and although it crashes rather abruptly to the ending, none of that mattered to me in the end. The high points are so high that this movie gets my unqualified recommendation.

Thanks to a personal project of mine, a new racing film hits pretty near and dear to my heart. I actually knew walking into the theater that whether Redline pulled it off or not, I’d be inspired by the result – After seeing Speed Racer (2008), I knew that it wasn’t even aiming in the same direction as GT Story. Redline is its own beast as well, but it was amazing and I loved it (as opposed to Speed Racer, which was amazing in its own “did I just see that?” way, but I do not love). This one was inspirational to see pulled off so well. IThe only problem I have with it is that some of the shows that previously held that title for me are going to seem so mild and muted compared to the dialed-to-eleven intensity going on in Redline. But of course, GT Story is a topic for another time…

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AE86 Relapse!

It’s funny… I dropped the motorsport hobby almost entirely after becoming unemployed and discovering the world of cycling. Even though I still drove in a few events and organized a few more, it just turned out that riding bikes was just as fun, cheaper, and as a side benefit, a lot healthier than driving cars. My lifestyle has been permanently improved! However…

 (also check out the Blipsnip of it!)

I’ve never seen a video more calculated to make me want to get an AE86 and head for the track. What’s amazing is that by bringing in Per Eklund and Klaus Fritzinger to thrash the hell out of a couple of AE86s on Europe’s best circuits, it shows that “hooliganism” was part of the plan all along for this car. My mind was blown the first time I saw this video surface, having no prior idea how far they had gone with the marketing campaign overseas!

But of course, then I remember that I have one. And I did that…

But from this video, my bicycle-riding friends can see that I think my propensity towards off-track excursions on the bike is nothing new… At least it’s no big deal most of the time when I’m on two wheels! Of course, this isn’t the most famous video of me and this car…

(now if only I could operate my bike with such style and grace!)

Air Slone

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CYCLOCROSS! The 24 Hour Comic Book (aka The Little Golden Book of Cross)

Update – 10.15.2010

Thanks everyone! I’m really thrilled at the feedback I’ve gotten on the comic, and I never expected that this many people would ever see it. All the kind words I’ve gotten really mean a lot.

What I’ve got here is really a rough draft, and there’s more to come! But how can you find out when I have new stuff? I’m glad you asked.

I set up a new Twitter account and Facebook page that you can follow if you’d like to get updates on the comic. You can also subscribe to my blog’s RSS feed or get an email subscription (the subscription button is in the sidebar).

– Slonie

Last weekend, I “participated” (on my own) in an event called 24 Hour Comic Book Day. What that means is, from noon on Saturday to noon on Sunday, I drew a 24-page comic book. Well, actually, I started at like 2pm and finished at 2am, and mine is only 22 pages, and I didn’t do it all at once or stay up all night. In fact, I slept, watched a movie (The Social Network is pretty good!), ate some good food, drank some good drinks, and rode my bike from place to place. Fun! (The pages were drawn and photographed in different locations, hence the color difference on the “scans”)

But here it is! It’s about my favorite time of year… I’m a bit embarrassed about most of the drawings in here! I hope you like it anyway. Perhaps soon I will clean it up a bit (okay, a lot) and print it!

Please leave a comment if you enjoyed it or want to tell me what’s wrong! Or email me! slonie AT gmail.com.

Since you made it down to the bottom, and are reading this online instead of on paper, here’s a few links mentioned in the comic:
Blackbird SF’s Raw Pre-War Cyclocross – Historical Burliness!

Cyclocross Magazine – A Good Starting Point!

Cyclo-Cross Training & Technique – Martin Eadon’s video. With Awesome Music.

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Vegas Bound

On Monday, I’ll be here:

Vegas Collage

And here:

Usually once a year does the trick for me and keeps me out of Vegas till the next year. Now that Interbike is moving to Anaheim for next year, this will be the last traditional Cross Vegas too. It’ll probably take a bachelor party to lure me back out there. Bottoms up!

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