Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Monday, April 23, 2012

More Slaughter updates

After Kyle broke his hand, I kind of forgot that Kyle rode bikes, and I just sort of thought he liked driving to races to be team cheerleader. It was good to have Kyle back on the bike, but it's a bummer when Kyle reminds me how fast I'm not. Kyle can definitely ride a bike.

The other thing Kyle can definitely do is dream up opportunities for us to hike photoshoot runs when I don't want to. After a long day of DH and slalom practice, walking around and talking to people, working on bikes and trying to survive the heat, there's nothing better than putting your hot, sweaty riding gear back on and having Kyle and photographers yelling at you to hike "one more run" eight hundred times. Okay, okay, I'm just kidding. Kevin Philbin and Justin Olson were the photographers, and they were really nice. They never yelled at me to do one more run. Kyle was the only one being a dick.

Photo credit goes to Kevin Philbin, who was shooting for photos for the Diamondback facebook page. Justin Olsen was also on hand, pictured crouching in the green T-shirt. We tried our best to crash into him and his really expensive looking photo gear, and we came pretty close. Next time...

Huckin it.

It sort of looks like I'm holding in a fart in this photo.

I'm trying out the new "photo caption" feature on blogger., and as you may have noticed, these captions are really small and hard to read. I'm sort of hoping that you will give up on reading this caption by now, because it's so long and in such a small font size. Then I'll be able to write whatever I want... I didn't think Step Brothers was funny.

This looks pretty cool, until you find out that I hiked this about a hundred times and this bush league kickout was the best whip I could do. Definitely room left to improve in the whip department. And the properly-fitted-sleeve-length department. And the race results department. And so many more departments.

Kyle won the photo shoot for sure. I won practice.

Most importantly, The Dude stopped by the Diamondback booth and mixed up a couple white russians for us. That was probably the highlight of the weekend, and my life. I will die a happy man.
The Dude abides.

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Sea Otter 2012

Most of the other sites have told you what was awesome about Sea Otter. You can count on Team Robot to tell you what sucked:

California sucked.

In and of itself, the fact that California sucked wasn't a surprise. What's always a surprise to me is just how much California sucks. It can catch a guy off guard. If anyone tries to defend California, just remember that you are defending this:

And this:

And this too:

Speaking of indefensible things...

A big thank you goes out to the makers of wooden helmets, because cyclists didn't look weird enough already. This helmet goes in the category of "More cycling accessories that will guarantee you never, ever get laid."

Things that suck about this thing:

1. It's designed to make noise and bother people when you ride. Drivers seem to do a pretty good job of killing bike riders as it is, so it's not really necessary to give them reasons to want to kill us.

2. It's also designed to look like a unicorn turd from a Tim Burton movie. I didn't talk to the designer, so I'm not positive about that, but I'm willing to go out on a limb and assume that was the design goal for this project.

3. There are people that will buy this thing.

Building your own bike is so not factory.

My bike made it into Pinkbike's Sea Otter coverage. Needless to say, Pinkbike has really lowered their editorial standards.

I don't know what sucks the most:

1. Someone, perhaps many someones, thought the name "Gnarlube" was a great name for a company

2. Those same people thought this pink Barbie Girl motif was a really good idea,

3. A company named "Gnarlube" made enough money to pay for this pink Barbie Girl pit setup, or

4. Ironhorse made the Sunday and still went out of business, while apparently business is apparently thriving over at Gnarlube Pink Barbie Girl Global HQ.

The guy in the back of the booth in the above picture, the one with the black hat on, had a sunburn. When I talked to him about it, he said that it sucked. Other things in this photo may or may not also suck.

I definitely sucked at Sea Otter 2012. Here's a brief, pictorial explanation of how I rode in the slalom and downhill events:

Of the Disney princesses, one of them had a flying carpet, one of them had a pet tiger, and another one killed an army of angry, pillaging Mongolians. I did not exhibit any of these redeeming qualities. My riding in the downhill race was probably most analogous to the princess on the bottom left; the tired, whiny priss who was asleep for half of her movie.

Anything to do with Surly Pugsleys sucks, and I saw a lot of things this weekend that had to do with Surly Pugsleys.

You are looking at an on-the-go adjustable tire pressure system. Apparently they didn't do their market research very carefully, because Team Robots market research indicated that there is already an adjustable tire pressure system available for on-the-go appliques. It's called a pump.

Adjustable tire pressure system, photo two. It looks so simple. Bring it up to full size to drink in the simplicity. This photo went into a folder on my computer titled "more stuff the world probably didn't need." It has good company in that folder, like pictures of the Toyota Prius, the Shake Weight, and my downloaded copy of The Godfather III.

SDG doesn't suck. Neither does Trek World Racing. However, paying SDG $110 so that you can have the privilege of giving free advertising space to Trek World Racing definitely sucks, no matter how cool it the saddle looks. I guess when you just finished taking out a second mortgage to pay the $4300 MSRP for your Session 9.9 frame, an extra $110 for the matching seat doesn't seem like so much. And the saddle does look kinda cool, I guess.

Things that didn't suck at Sea Otter:

America didn't suck at Sea Otter. Kyle Strait and Jill Kintner won slalom, and Jill won DH. We congratulate Kyle, Jill, Melissa, Aaron, Neko, Mitch, and, of course, myself for keeping freedom and liberty alive on the slalom course and working together to defeat those funny-talking foreigners.

On the other hand, during slalom practice when Kyle Thomas and I were talking about how much California sucks, Kyle Strait tried to convince us that California was the best place in the world. His argument was that "California is the most diverse place in the world, and [somehow] that makes it the best." Guess again. Empirically speaking, New York City is the most diverse place in the world, in the number of languages spoken and the variety of different ethnic and racial backgrounds of New York City-ans. But that's not even the point. Onto the real hole in his argument: diversity.

Diversity: when you're painting and you mix all the colors together, you get brown. From then on out everything you try to paint ends up looking like crap.

The suspension in this trophy truck at the Fox booth did not suck.

The Freehub RV does not suck.

There were some preliminary Team Robot DH-bike-name brainstorm sessions, but Diamondback was smart enough to steer clear of our advice on this one. Our best ideas were "Diamondback Shit Crusher," "Diamondback Bareback," and our favorite/most offensive idea: "Diamondback Virginal Earth Raper" (VER for short). In hindsight those names would have been a hard sell, so good move Diamondback for naming it without our input. Nonetheless, check out the cool Sea Otter specific mods and other cool bits on my Diamondback Syncline:

1. 20mm and 142mm wheels off of my trail bike. With some spacers and some (significant) help from Verg over at Shimano, we got this thing running good. Does shaving several hundred grams off your wheels make a difference at Sea Otter? We have some bar graphs, pie charts, and other marketing statistics that lead us to conclude that it does.

2. Kenda Happy Mediums front and rear. Race sticky front, Stick-E rear, both in the 2.35 size. Ultimate sea otter tire setup.

3. Super custom "lost a bolt in my slalom bike's chainguide over the weekend so I had to rob it off my downhill bike to ride my slalom bike, but I didn't know Tyler Maine from Pinkbike was going to be taking a picture of my bike so I look like a complete amateur" setup.

4. (Not Sea Otter specific) Holy bar height, Batman.

5. Dust. Probably should have cleaned my bike. I'll add that to the long list of things I probably should have done, like "not suck at racing this weekend." As with all races where I suck, expect a race report in the next 5-10 years.

Luke Strobel does not suck. It's good to see Luke on a a good team, hitting all the World Cups this year. Not so long ago Luke still had not sorted out a ride for 2012, and was maybe not going to be racing. That would have represented a total failure on the part of humans everywhere, and TEAM ROBOT would have begun the robot apocalypse immediately.

Kyle and I got to demo Enve Composite wheels with Chris King hubs on our race bikes. That didn't suck at all.

Things at Sea Otter that could not easily be categorized into the suck/did not suck genres:

If you buy a bike from a company, and that company spends your dollars to send riders around the globe to race, jump, or shoot photos and video, that's pretty cool. If they spend money buying enormous support trucks so they can travel around the country and make contact with everyday riders, that's pretty cool, too. Heck, if they tak that money, go to Vegas and blow all of it on booze, girls, and gambling, but they still make sweet bikes, more power to them.


But, if they take that money and make an enormous, quasi-artistic, non-functional and non-aesthetically-pleasing replica of one of their bikes, what do you do with that? I don't even know.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

A subtle reminder

A little reminder of what you should or shouldn't do the next time you race at Port Angeles.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

The Maybe Kill List?

If there was a MAYBE DO NOT KILL LIST, Cory Tepper would be on it. Behold mechanized death:

Unfortunately for Cory there isn't a maybe do not kill list.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Sea Otter

I'm going to Sea Otter for the first time since 2007. Thinking strategically, I was planning to just race DH this year. But then I saw the Mad Catz 2003 photo and I realized that I was stupid.

Fun and good memories with friends > taking stuff SO SERIOUS

Just kidding, I don't have friends. So I built up my bike tonight in about 3 hours. My singlespeed dirt jump bike is now a dialed slalom bike with gears, a front brake, and real tires. And a lot of extra housing. Holy Brake Lines Batman.

The slalom bike, all built up. 2012 Diamondback Assualt, size large, looking pretty sweet. A few more modifications left to go. For one thing, yellow grips are sweet on dirt jump bikes, but race bikes have a mandatory black grip rule. That's a law. Also, I want to add something to the bike called "cleaning it." It still has Duthie Hill dirt on it from a couple weeks ago, so... that's not very Pro at all.

Close up on the hodge podge derailleur hanger. No, it works, I swear. Also, close up on the Duthie Hill dirt leftover on the rim and mostly everywhere. Also, with the wheel spaced out a bit in the dropouts, we're looking at a 15 7/8" chainstay, which should be just about perfect. 23" toptube and a 13" bb = pinned. Trust me, I never ride slalom, so I'm an expert.

This slalom video has the correct music choice AND the correct amount of slow mo. Come to think of it, those two qualities appear together in videos more often they they appear apart from one another. Very rarely do you get Slayer or The Misfits set to Clay Porter slow mo wire cam close ups.

2010 Sea Otter Dual Slalom from Taylor Sage on Vimeo.

I built my bike, watched that 2010 slalom video, and got super pumped. I wanted to have every possible edge for the race, so I watched this bike check to study up on Mick's winning tire and suspension setup:

Mick Hannah Bike Check at Sea Otter Classic on

And I fell asleep. Well, that sort of turned down the excitement level a bit, but I'm still pretty excited.

Sure, the last time I rode slalom sucked, so it won't take much for Sea Otter to do better.


Eric Loney crashed in his race run at the NW Cup last weekend, but that didn't stop him from throwing down the biggest whip of the weekend. Nice work Eric!

Also, don't let that smile fool you. Robot eyes.


Your team

Nice jump.


I normally never go to the Dirt website. Today I was trying to find new ways to waste time in between classes, and the funny-talking, crooked-toothed Brits over at Dirt didn't disappoint.

The placement of these stories and their cover photos was probably fully unconscious, but given the current "Atherton Racing plus one" team dynamic, it's also fully hilarious:

Mark, you're the man now dog.

Also, the byline for this article is "We caught up with Matti Leihekoinen at his first race back after his horrific smash last year."

Man, if I had a nickel for every time...

Less is more

More of this please:

And less of this:

But seriously, those old Sea Otter photo galleries on Vital are probably the best thing the internet has to offer right now. The good old days:

Here's to not taking mountain biking too seriously. After all, your team sucks anyway.