Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Swinging off the Back

Hello all, I'm not dead as many have wondered. Just been taking some time off to recollect and refocus. Alex will be back soon and rewriting the pages of history.

Fun, I know all of you are very excited about it.

Alex exits.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Who is Tristan Cowie?

Who is Tristan Cowie?
Some dude who likes riding bikes and hanging out. And has an affection for coffee and candy.

Where do you live?
I live in Brevard, North Kack.
What do you do?
I go to school, I go to the caf and then I go ride. Pretty much all day any day. Oh and hang out at the shop.
What’s the best job you’ve ever had?
Um…good one, that summer I just rode my bike. Oh wait…that’s every summer.
What’s the worst job you’ve ever had?
I had to redo this deck for some friends. Stripped off all the stain with some toxic stripper. Got some of it on my arms and legs. Probably will have cancer by the time I’m 25.
Where’s your favorite place?
Probably the candy isle at Ingles.
Where’s your favorite place to ride?
Sycamore Cove or my house or Dupont or Daniel’s Ridge, or Black Mountain or Thrift Cove or North Slope or Bennett or Coon Tree or Farlow…NOT!
When are you happiest?
When I have candy, riding bike things, or enjoying an amazing macchiato in Boone.
What makes you angry?
When Danny steals my candy and makes me dance around the room for it.
What makes you happy?
Um…look up four lines.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever been given?
Don’t be a bunny rabbit and pump up your tires.
What’s the best piece of advice you’ve ever given?
Don’t be a bunny rabbit and pump up your tires.
What are your extravagances?
Well I would never buy the store brand Pop Tarts so…
Who do you admire?
Probably Chris Pennett, his riding style just makes me happy.
What’s the most important thing in your life?
My keys, without those I would be SOL.
What would you never throw away?
Cookies, I never, ever throw away cookies. Or my keys that wouldn’t work out too well.
What’s your greatest fear?
Contracting diabetes so I can’t eat candy and needles.
What was your luckiest escape?
The time I was riding and fell off a board walk into (luckily) knee deep water.
What’s the first thing you do in the morning?
Open my eyes.
What’s the last thing you do at night?
Close ‘em.
What would be your dream meal?
Pescado’s burrito with a J-Street wrap, some Daggie’s fries, West First Pizza, and some BMB bakery product to finish it off.
What things do you always carry with you?
Wallet, belt, flat bill, keys and my phone.
Do you have any regrets?
Yes, many. But I pretend like I don’t.
What’s the most important lesson that you’ve learnt?
See above, pumping up tires and not being a bunny rabbit.
If you could have dinner with three famous people (dead or alive) who would they be?
Hard one, um…
Who is your favorite rider?
Either Wes D, Dan P. Ennis or Blenkinsop
What’s your favorite bike product of all time?
Seat Clamp, you don’t think about it until you find one that sucks
What’s your least favorite bike product of all time?
What’s your favorite motto or saying?
What saying do you use too much?
“You’ll have that…”
What bike are you riding at the moment?
Special Ed Epic
What was the last magazine you read?
Oh um..I think the Mountain Bike action at Ingles
What are you listening to at the moment?
The Daily Show is on TV so I guess I’m listening to that.
What one thing would you change about yourself?
Smaller calves
What are your weaknesses?
Not being fast enough.
What does the future hold for you?
Hopefully some good times with racing and hanging out as well as getting a degree and a job so I can pay for more bike stuff.
What does the future hold for mountain biking?
More better gear and products. Better working suspension, tires, and shifting.
How would you like to be remembered?
I would like to be remembered as the guy who can beat the KOP at the Swank.

Monday, September 28, 2009

Alex Enters

My apologies for the drought. Not that we needed it right?

Tristan called me the other night and he reminded me that I was slipping up in the ol' blog department. I've being trying to work and save money up just like everybody else. Well, not Tristan obviously. He thinks that he's too good to get his hands dirty.

Haha, just kidding old pal.

I don't have enough time to do a full post, but I will give you guys a taste of what's coming next.

I've got a few interviews in the bag, that I still need to post. And I've got an update on some big "project" that Tristan and Danny are working on. He won't tell me much about it so we'll have to see. I think Tristan wants to do some photo shoots so we might see some good stuff out of that. And I have a bunch of product reviews that need to be published too. I'll get around to it very soon. I promise.

Brevard posted a story about the home race this past weekend. You can find it here.

I'll get around to it as soon as I can.
Alex exits.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

SERC and the Sea Otter

It's been a while since the last update. Sorry I've been living the dream in Brevard.

I'm missing quite a few weekends amount of work. So let me catch you up.

I'll start with the SERC race in Bryson City, home of the Knobscorcher mountain bike race. I was unable to attend but heard all about it from Tristan. The trails were in good shape with the white wave packing in the little amount of rain making the course very fast and a mix of tacky dry. Almost all members of the Sycamore Team were running the Specialized Fast Track LKs for their low rolling and predictable cornering.

There was a huge field of Pro Men lined up. Over 35 riders took the start. After a hectic start Tristan held the lead group for the first lap. After getting gapped on the start of the second he tried to bridge back up to the leaders. He didn't make it but he got within 15seconds of pulling back Thomas Turner before the finish.

Wes held it down for the most of the race after having a challenging training block the week before the race. He finished a lackluster 23rd but got in some good training.

Chris Bennett had a very good result in his first Category one race after the new category changes. He trailed Travis Mullen for most of the race before cracking in the last few miles. Steve Griffin also had a good result at Tsali. After being sick and almost not racing he pulled out a 15th in the Cat 1/Senior Expert class.

Donnie followed his solid result at Hobby Park with a podium (5th) at Tsali talking after the race he said that he was excited to get back out to the Tuesday Night Worlds ride to work on some intensity and show "the young guys" how to ride.

Continuing doing the things he wants, Chad Banner finished 7th in the Cat 2/ Senior Sport race. He was followed by Phil Bennett in 12th and William Murr in 18th. Michael Ansari held it down in a very competitive 30-34 class in 18th and Kell Bond finished strong in the Cat 2/Senior Sport race.

MTB Race News did an excellent write up about the race and you can find it here.
The Brevard College road team competed at Lee's McRae the same day. Things look good for the Tornadoes heading into the conference championships. Marshal pulled in a top 10 in the road race and Matt St. Marie finished 12th in the uphill time trial. The girls fared well too with all of them making the podium at one time or another.

That was three weekends ago.

Now Wes returned from the West Coast and Sea Otter where he finished 9th in the Pro Super D. A very good result from the King of Pisgah.He followed it with a 79th out of almost 130 riders total in the cross country two days later. Chris Herndon also made the trip out and returned with a 20th in the dual slalom after crashing on the dry, dusty course.

At the same time the Brevard team was hosting the collegiate conference championships. The team time trial's 6th place put the Fighting White Squirrels in 3rd overall at the start of the day. The road race cost them a few positions after they missed the move of the race and valiantly chased for the remainder. Park Baker sneaked in a surprising 2nd place in the Men's C race and the dominate duo of Joh Tuttle and Jami Perry put them at the top of the leader board. Julia Tellman held it down against a very strong field of up and coming U23 riders.

The crit was a show case for the team. In downtown Brevard, they raced around the twisty circuit for several laps attacking and putting on a good show for the hometown fans. Baker and James Chaput had to pull out of their races due to mechanical problems. Tyler Crotts and Ryan Forcyth picked up the reigns and held them to two solid finishes in their first critrium experience.

The girls once again dominated with Joh taking the win after breaking away with Jami halfway through the race. Julia finished a strong 3rd to the delight of her fans.

Tim Reinhart struggled after a hard race the day before and slipped in for a top 20 finish.

The Men's A race was one of the most anticipated races of the weekend. Tristan took a solo filer three laps into the race and held the field at bay. Once caught, the break of the day was formed with no representation from Brevard. After losing time to the break and eventually getting lapped Tristan attacked with one lap to go with St Marie following and finished 8th and 9th respectively.

Lots of racing for the people in North Carolina and several weekends on the road. It's not going to slow down any time soon. Sorry I was not a prompt as I usually am with writing but I will have to improve. Just like these young (and old) athletes need to improve themselves.

Back for more soon.
Alex exists.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Confrence Championships

I found some good info on the Brevard College Web site today.

Please check it out.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

The Bike


I was finally able to meet my friend yesterday and downloaded the pictures from my camera. So now I can do a write up on one of the best climbers in the area, Matt St Marie. Matt is a Brevard local and has been riding the trails since his teens. After slowly moving his way up through the ranks and jumping up to a full season of Expert racing last year he started the season with a “W”. After winning the Greenbrier race in Maryland his luck seemed to go south. At the national championships in Vermont he DNFed both the short track and cross country due to mechanical issues. After recuperating at the bakery after a long, hard season he came back strong to help Tristan Cowie win his two national championships in the collegiate racing scene. Matt is usually in Sycamore Cycles every chance he can work, many believe that Sycamore is almost his home away from home in a sense. If not working, he is riding in Pisgah or drilling it at the front of the weekly Tuesday Night Worlds.

Here is the overall picture of the bike, a 2009 Specialized S-Works Epic. He is also running the Specialized S-Works OS carbon crank and the Specialized Future Fork. The frame and fork both have 100mm of travel. St. Marie usually runs a softer suspension and tire pressure than his teammates.

Matt rides a size large frame with extra seat post showing. He recently switched over from an Easton bar to SRAM’s Noir bar which is a whopping 27 inches wide. Wes Dickson, Tristan, Matt, and a few other regulars have made the switch over to the Noir bar due to its improved steering and control, both of which come in handy with the technical trail these riders train on year round. Matt, not known as the speediest descenders around has made great improvements with the addition of the new bar. St Marie enjoys having a firm grip and runs road bar tape in lieu of standard grips for comfort and light weight.

St Marie uses the team’s Industry Nine wheels and spokes. After much debate, Matt went with the Mavic 717 rim for the improved stiffness over the Stan’s 355rim and the lighter weight over the DT Swiss 420rim.

The wheels are clad with Specialized rubber, naturally. St Marie is running the Fast Track LKs in this picture but he is known to be a fan of the Captain and has put in several miles over the winter on a set. Matt is a very powerful rider and it shows with his tire selection. The Fast Tracks track very well and have very predictable cornering. Specialized lowered the knobs on the LK tires to improve their rolling resistance. These tires work best on the dry and fast courses. Any type of wetness will causes these tires to pack up with mud. A better choice for the nasty conditions would be the Sauserwind or the Purgatory tire. The Fast Tracks are best for DuPont style riding and several of the Sycamore team will switch tires before riding in dark and damp Pisgah.

As St Marie is not as harsh on his equipment as other riders on the Sycamore team, he can afford to run the lighter S-Works version of the Fast Track LKs. The casing of the S-Works tires are not as durable as the Control casing which is Specialized’s stronger, heavier casing.

In the quest to make his bike the light and high performance Matt pulled out all stops. The Hope Mini X2 Pro brake is not known for its superior power but more for its superior bling factor. The same goes for the carbon Titec stem, and the top shelf componentry.

Two questions that will hopefully lead to answers are the fact that St Marie uses the more expensive and heavier XT M770 labeled pedals instead of his old choice the M545 pedals. When I asked Tristan about it he just shrugged his shoulders.

The second question is about the water bottle cage, people are usually pretty particular about their water bottle cages and Matt is one such person. He runs the standard aluminum Specialized cage. No frills, no spills I guess.

Tristan called me back today and filled me in on the SERC round in Tennessee. So I’ll bring everyone up to date. Matt Wells and Donnie Kirkwood made the long drive over to Columbia. Wells almost missed his start when the Cat 1 and Pro were sent off together. He chased back up to the top half of the field before “just surviving” on the last lap. The trail conditions sounded almost perfect. Super tacky with no slippage. Donnie held it down with a 10th place finish in the Cat 1 Master's race.

Good results all around, as the team preps for the third SERC in Bryson City, NC.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Old News

Greetings again,

Sorry it has been so long since the last post. I had to go out of town for the weekend and have not been able to get on the net. I also took some pictures but I left my camera at my friend’s house. I finally got a chance to get some pictures of Matt’s bike and then I managed to leave them behind.

I have been talking to several members of both the Sycamore Cycles racing team as well as the Brevard College Cycling team. It looks like I will post information about both teams on my site. The collegiate team has been having trouble with getting through the school’s rules and regulations. I’ve been talking to several members on the Brevard College team and they agree that it would be great to have a website that is completely different from the schools. That way the team riders can say what they want without going through the guidelines set by the school.

So before I go any further I’m going to go through the normal liability speech. This blog has nothing to do with Brevard College and does not represent the views of the college or the Athletic Department in any way.

This does not mean that I’m going to say bad things about the college, more so there have been a few instances where the college has taken reports written by the riders and twisted them to make it sound more interesting. Instead it made the team look terrible. This is where you can find unbiased reports of the races and happenings with the team.

On a lighter note, the Sycamore team traveled to Hobby Park last weekend. This was one of the first mountain bike races of the season and all the riders sounded happy to be away from rainy road racing and pinning it on fat tires. I was unable to make the race this year due to my visit to my friends, but I heard all about it from T. Cowie. The Pro field was stacked with 10 pros and almost 25 riders. Most of the team was in the Pro/Cat 1 class. Tristan got a good start and followed wheels before making mistakes and slipping back to third. Wes Dickson was in the chase group for most of the race and couldn’t quite catch the group in front of him before he ran out of ground. He ended 7th on the day. Chris Bennett and Matt St. Marie fought off the traffic on the tight course and slipped in just after the KOP in 13th and 15th. Matt Wells, Andrew Griffen, Tim Reinhart rounded out the team’s results today with good starts to the season. Kell Bond and Jenna Walker raced in the morning and pulled off a 4th and a W respectively. In the women’s race Julia Tellman followed the men’s solid results with a 3rd. Guest rider Emily Benson sat in 5th for most of the race before mistaking the number of laps for the women and eventually pulling the plug. Donnie Kirkwood had a great ride in the Masters class with a 2nd. He was very satisfied with his result and his payout.

This current weekend was the Assault on the Carolinas. Most of the Sycamore team skipped the ride because of the chance of inclement weather. Jeff Parker stayed in and rode with the front group for the entire ride. He finished with a time almost 10 minutes faster than his old time. Chris Bennett and Tristan Cowie both rode in the Assault to get good sponsorship coverage for local support; however they both pulled out at the top of Walnut Hollow to save the legs for the next weekend’s race. Julia Tellman along with most of the Brevard College Team completed the 60K option and are riding the entire Assault course on Sunday for some extra training.

Matt Wells is currently in Tennessee for the second round of the SERC series. I unfortunately do not have his phone number so I’ll probably call Tristan and get his results later on. I heard the course was in good shape for the amount of rain but it was supposed to rain more the night before so it will probably be a slip and slide on race day.

I’ll try to write another post as soon as I hear back from Tristan and yes, I will post pictures of Matt’s bike as soon as I get my camera back.

Alex exits.