Cross Vegas In Pictures

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by David Schloss on Sep 16, 2014 at 4:43 PM

While the industry has been a bit abuzz about the beer throwing at this year’s Cross Vegas race during the Interbike trade show, we’ve been reflecting on the awesome aspects of that race, and on cross racing in general. As a chill slips into the air across much of the United States, the cross lover starts to think of the joy of continual anaerobic punishment.

Racers in the glow

Byron raced in the media class at Cross Vegas and then stuck around to capture some images. We’ve been shooting recently with the Sony Alpha series of full frame cameras, astounded by their capabilities and their small size. While our normal rigs at Cross Vegas would have included ten pounds or more of pro bodies and lenses, now we’re using teeny mirrorless cameras to capture photos.

Some funny things happen when you switch from big SLR cameras to smaller systems—people stop noticing you. In the press pits this has the annoying effect of being looked down up—there is so much “my lens is bigger than your lens” in the press corps it’s ridiculous. I have seen photographers with only one $6000 pro body being treated poorly by photographers with two $6000 bodies. Having a mirrorless camera makes you look like a noob, even when it’s a camera with a 36mp sensor and a $1500 55mm f/1.8 zeiss lens on the front.

The trench

My father, who was a professional photographer, taught me a very important lesson early on—look for where all the photographers are and then go somewhere else. I can’t tell you how many shots I’ve seen from races that look the same because all of the pros are huddled together at the end of the course, waiting to get the almightily “hands raised” shot. Meanwhile there’s great stuff to be had down the course.

The other nice thing about shooting with a small camera is that people tend not to notice you’re there. As a result you can stand right next to someone and take a portrait without sticking a long camera lens in their face.

bummed

Cross Vegas is a pretty spectacular race and a great time for fans. Despite the shenanigans that happened this year, the event has grown into a major sporting event, as cross itself has blossomed. It’s one of the shining spots in American racing, even if it has a few blemishes.

View the rest of the photos from our Cross Vegas shoot on G+.

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Also On Square’s Marketplace

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by Byron on Sep 16, 2014 at 11:52 AM

Square’s been good to us and been with them since the beta, selling Clip-n-Seals, Kickstands, and now just made available our Waxed Canvas Tool Roll available on their marketplace. The roll has been a hit for us and was recently reviewed in Wired

on Square Market

Until I had these made for us as a pet project, didn’t know how many other cyclists would agree that carrying tools and spare tube in your pocket is better than your saddle. Well, lots of you do and thanks! Now there’s another purchase option.

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Mobile Social Photos

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by Byron on Sep 15, 2014 at 11:05 AM

Tension mounts

Discussing the route, we think

Our 9th annual and 4 Mobile Social of the year brought the expected bike awesomeness, as seen in these photos.

diversity

A diverse ride

Arriving in Fremont

Arriving in Fremont

Male Model

We like to keep the Mobile Socials a bit mysterious, like where the exact meet spot is OR how we hire male models to sex it up.

The full gallery is on G+ and Facebook and when we roll through your town, suggest you ride with us.

Fabulous Pure Fix

As Jackson Lynch from PureFix said, “this year’s MoSo was again a lively, festive, embracing and incredibly diverse collection of pedaling souls intent on spreading cycling love in another city that doesn’t sleep.

More MoSo Please!

Yup. Next year is already being planned. Photos by Josh Hon, Brian K. Mark, and Byron.

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Handbuilt in Seattle like Issue 16

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by Byron on Sep 14, 2014 at 8:36 AM

Davidson


Back in Seattle, to the comforts of home after a trade show, and pulled a fav Davidson out of the shed for a ride. In Issue 16 of our magazine, Patrick Brady from Red Kite Prayer writes for us about the loss of another great American shop, like Elliott Bay Bicycles where this bike was made.

It’s the featured cover story and free to read.

There came a point when a handful of shop owners got smart and found frame builders who would work in-house. It was like a car dealer with its own in-house body shop, only better.

The bike is the Hotspur and the 3rd one designed for us by Bill and Mark V. It was handbuilt in Seattle, just like our mag is…

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Another Mobile Social

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by Byron on Sep 13, 2014 at 3:35 PM


After CrossVegas it was the 9th annual Mobile Social and our 4th one of the year. It brought the expected bike awesomeness. And until the galleries are ready and stories written, here’s an edit on YouTube. Special thanks to New Belgium, Terns, Knog, Pure Fix Cycles, Revolights, Green Guru, and you! Also Rapha.

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Last Night CrossVegas and Tonight the MoSo

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by Byron on Sep 11, 2014 at 6:32 AM

Yo

You thought your race was hard…

Thijs Van Amerongen, bib #16, after setting up Nys on the final lap. Another hard flow course. In our race, Matt Hill was 3rd and I placed 12. I’ll have the rest of the CrossVegas story later. Tonight we’re riding the Mobile Social and watching the Crit.

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Bikes and Kegs are Ready for the Mobile Social

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by Byron on Sep 10, 2014 at 6:36 AM

Tern BBQ

Bikes staged and ready to ride on the Strip

Our 3rd Mobile Social in Vegas this year and the 9th annual Interbike edition is happening tomorrow. We’re riding the Strip on Terns to downtown to the Park for beer specials with New Belgium and then to Atomic liquors to watch the Crit. Joining us are Knog, Pure Fix Cycles, Revolights, Green Guru, and you! Also Rapha is back after we rode together in Austin, during SXSW.

NBB

New Belgium on Tap

Here’s a map and the ride starts at the South Convention Center Parking Lot, near the Daylight pool club entrance.

RSVP on Facebook and get yourself a free beer.

Tonight we’re at CrossVegas.

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Apple Watch Fulfills Prophecy, Ushers In New Era of Fitness UI

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by David Schloss on Sep 09, 2014 at 12:12 PM

Just after I rode my bike into a parked car while trying to figure out the UI on a Garmin 810, I began to speculate publicly about what then were early rumors of an Apple watch and how they would do to fitness what the iPod had done to music. Today they have done just that.

Watch

At the dawn of the iPod era there were a number of competing, ugly, cumbersome and limited devices. Each of them could hold a bit of music, most of them had their own music management software. None of them were good.

The iPod took the conventional designs of the day and threw them out, changing everything with a new interface and a device large enough to store complete music collections. They then added to that with a player that was simple to use and seamlessly integrated with the device.

The new Apple Watch (or technically the Watch) will revolutionize much of the portable computing world, but it will have a tremendous impact on the fitness world, even for those that don’t but it. That’s because the User Interface (UI) and the User Experience (UE) are so groundrbeakingly advanced that they instantly make every other tool on the market look dreadful.

When the first GPS-based cycle computers came out, the hard-wired LCD computers of the day suddenly looked antique. Big numbers, sensor-free recording and (on some units) turn-by-turn directions brought a whole new level of functionality to cycling. As their capabilities grew through ANT+ sensors and Bluetooth technology, they began to offer functionality that the previous round of technology couldn’t even contemplate.

But since then the UI and UE of these devices have pretty much stalled. Garmin has added features to their devices, but hasn’t really refreshed the look or feel of their hardware. There’s little to differentiate the Garmin Edge 1000 from the Garmin Edge 100 from which it came, and I’d even argue that the UI of Garmin’s devices is worse now than it was when the Edge 100 came to market so many years ago.

I don’t think that a sports watch is necessarily the best solution for the cyclist, but I’ll wager that Apple Watch-specific bike mounts are coming to Kickstarter any day now. But what’s really important is that Apple has entered the wearable space, has focused on fitness, and has opened development up to programmers. I’m looking forward, for example, to Strava segments that use the haptic feedback technology of the watch to announce the start and end of a segment, or coaching apps that tap out a cadence through the watch to tell a cyclist when to start an interval and give heart rate feedback.

By tying the watch into the phone, Apple extends a good technology and makes it better and that’s something that hasn’t really happened in fitness. Companies have made stabs at this, but their devices usually need to come back and talk to an app to be useful, while the Apple Watch will use wireless communication with the phone to provide even more information than if it were used alone. And unlike the Garmin Edge, it won’t just be good for the bike, everyone from runners to cross fit junkies will be able to use the device to participate in custom-created fitness programs.

The first generation of the iWatch might not change fitness overnight, but it’s an incredible looking first-generation tool. More importantly it’s a shot across the bow of every fitness device manufacturer in the world—make products that are as easy to use as Apple’s new watch, or see your customer base fade.

A decade from now we’ll probably laugh at the simplicity of the Apple Watch compared to the wearable devices Apple and others are making, but today Apple’s announcement has provided a much needed boost to the fitness sector and will hopefully usher new people into cycling and into other sports. Today marks the end-of-days for ugly and complicated fitness devices and the start of a new era of beautiful technology.

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Issue 16: Back to School

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by Byron on Sep 09, 2014 at 11:23 AM

Elliott Bay Bicycles is Closing

D-Plus

D-Plus at EBB

Here’s the thing, Elliott Bay Bicycles, an historic gem of bike culture, is closing and we’re flattened by the news, like losing all momentum. It was a shop with a resident builder — and the source of inspiration for much of our writing, including our travels with S&S bikes stuffed in suitcases. We’ll miss it but will have more stories to tell after Bob Freeman retires and Bill Davidson finds a new location. This issue started out with a Back to School theme. We have articles from Zanne, Shawn, and David about that, but also paused our regular programming to share what we remember the most about the shop, once we learned it was closing.

As Patrick wrote for this issue, it’s sad to lose another great American bike shop. This one was located in downtown Seattle between the Space Needle and Pike Place Market where they throw fish and buskers play street music. It’s where they made bikes with soul for 31 years, like the D-Plus, a bike built to fight. In the background of the photo is the machine shop. The bike represents the work of a master builder, bike stylist, machinist, welder, and creatives

As Patrick wrote for this issue, it’s sad to lose another great American bike shop. This one was located in downtown Seattle between the Space Needle and Pike Place Market where they throw fish and buskers play street music. It’s where they made bikes with soul for 31 years, like the D-Plus, a bike built to fight. In the background of the photo is the machine shop. The bike represents the work of a master builder, bike stylist, machinist, welder, and creatives.

Also a time to remember how things change.

This is my editor’s letter from Issue 16 that drops today on iTunes and the Web. Bike Hugger Magazine is ad-free and costs $16.00 for a subscription or $4.00 an issue.

Cover

Issue 16 Cover

Patrick Brady’s article about shops like Elliott Bay Bicycles is the cover story and you can read it for free with a sign in.

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MFG Cross at Sammamish with CX-1 and Hydro

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by Byron on Sep 08, 2014 at 12:59 PM

MFG CX

MFG’s Season Opener

That was intense, sweaty, painful, humbling, AND I got concierge-level heckling from the promoter Terry and course schlepper Robert Trombley. Thanks guys! They said I was racing 14 minutes laps, sounds about right….

Next up, CrossVegas and then Starcrossed, if my legs don’t petrify by then. My equipment worked great where the body lacked.

I’m running CX-1 with the new HydroR on a Crux this season. After last year, when the Crux got hung up in the garage during the recall, giving it another go. Not that I needed much braking power at Sammamish, considering my rate of speed, but the Hydro is def more refined. It has better modulation too and less hand effort in a more comfortable, lighter and refined system.

SRAM released PR today about their impressive Cyclocross roster with a quote from Powers on CX-1

This year will be the first time I will ride a production groupset that is purpose built for cyclocross. SRAM continues to innovate in new ways, even subtle ways, and develop product that is exactly what I need. Even better, it’s super quiet.

As much as I was flailing around out there, banging the gears about, it didn’t let me down with solid shifting and it shifts way better than the DIY, privateer version of a one-by (Red with XO type 2) we and many others had been running on our bikes. Rode through the first of three sand pits on the course (4 out of I think 5 times) with the gearing and Hutchinson Black Mambas on a Vision wheelset.

CX-1

A Crux with CX-1, Hydro, Vision and Hutchinson tires

Congrats to Richter for the win, and the guys racing fast. Also hat tip to Richard McClung for a course that was at times, very hard, and flowed. It was a hard flow.

And hey, who moved September up on the calendar…it was like Monday last week when Matt Hill asked if I was racing MFG Cross. “Wut? I said, oh, the season is starting? Really!”

There’s this thing about life, sometimes it gets in the way of training, and racing, and practicing your skills. But you gotta start.

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