“I love the Japanese aesthetic. Perfection melded with playfulness and a compulsion toward the iconic. I’ve been looking for a way to bring these aspects of Japan into what we do. My respect for the Japanese goes beyond the aesthetic though, into their ethic and culture of perfection. Honor through bringing something (everything?) to it’s pinnacle. ” -Sacha White
There’s something about Japan that’s always captivated us, and with half of the Speedvagen cross team based there, we have a strong connection to the country. The opportunities we’ve had to travel, race, and learn with the SV Japan crew and their extended community stand as some of our favorite memories on (and off) the bike. Our friendships and experiences there, combined with our love of the Japanese commitment to design, have had us looking for the chance to design a component of the Speedvagen universe in Japan in for some time. We wanted an opportunity to bring our team ethos to life, infused with a combination of the unique Japanese aesthetic and our own focused commitment to detail and craft. This limited edition Speedvagen kit is that project.
Representing a fresh, fun and distinctly Eastern take on the Speedvagen approach to bikes and style, the design comes from SV Team Member Masashi Ichifuru, a good friend and member of the extended Speedvagen family. Ichico, as he’s known, has worked for some of Japan’s most well known animation houses, and is a talented graphic designer and photographer, as well as a lover of espresso with an enviable collection of hand made bikes. We asked Ichico to create a kit that felt connected to the way we ride and race—to how we approach bringing together the ideas of speed, friendship, and riding tough, without losing sight of taking care of fellow racers—and laughing at ourselves when appropriate. (Which is fairly often, frankly.) We think he nailed it.
For the kit’s design, the SV shield gets re-imagined with a bold kanji character taking the place of the numeral 11. According to Ichico, “Unicorn, written in Japanese kanji character, is Ikkakujyu or ‘single horned beast.’” Ichico took the ‘beast’ part of the kanji character for the image, telling us it has the same meaning as the word “animal,” but with a wilder nuance. In his words, “In the same way the number “11” in the shield represents taking it further, in order to “take it to 11” the wild in you must come out and take over.” We couldn’t agree more. The kit’s stripes come from Ichico’s desire to create a clean, simple look that strongly represents the vibes of the team. To symbolize the relationship between the two halves of the SPEEDVAGEN family, Japanese and American, he created a bold and playful graphic component across the pockets, mixing the SPEEDVAGEN letters with the Katakana Japanese alphabet. The result is simultaneously vivid and simple, deftly balancing elegant execution with a sense of pure fun.
Taken together, the kit is a physical manifestation of the things we love about being on our bikes together. As Ichico said in a conversation about this project, “I love it when people and things come together perfectly at the last minute, as if a great script writer plotted it.” Or, as they say on the A-Team: I love it when a plan comes together.
ABOUT THE KIT For the jersey and bibs themselves, we turned to our friends at Castelli. Long time supporters of our SV race team—not to mention cross-town neighbors—Castelli is committed to making superior race kit. Their blend of decades-old history and modern material development echoes our own desire to bring craft principles together with the best possible ingredients.
The jersey is Castelli’s Team jersey, which has a race cut and features a full-zip closure. This limited edition run will feature an SV badge zipper-pull, to complete the design.
The bibs are Castelli’s Team bibs. They feature a race cut, with a KISS 3 pad for a comfortable ride on the road or on the cross course.
As far as versatile, easy-to-love pieces go, a solid wind vest is pretty much at the top of the list. Castelli’s Wind Vest is made with Windshear™ fabric for an extremely lightweight piece, that’s breathable enough to keep you comfortable while offering excellent protection from wind and light rain. It features two zippered side openings for easy access to jersey pockets, and packs down small so you can take it anywhere.
For something so simple, the arm warmer can certainly be a ride saver. Paired with a vest, they help extend your comfort zone by at least 10 degrees (not scientifically proven). Casetelli’s Lycra® Arm Warmers feature an anatomic cut for a close fit that won’t constrict muscles or motion. Made with a classic gel gripper that has some stretch, they stay put without grabbing.
Jeff Curtes killed it again with this collection of shots from two weekends of early season pro UCI racing in Boulder, CO and Waterloo, WI. Get stoked! Gloucester is here!!
[Speedvagen Family Racing teammate Laura Winberry is taking a short hiatus from her MFA in writing and will be guest posting all season. Look for haikus, shorts and the occasional race report from her to be accompanied by photos from teammate Jeff Curtes, or in this case, her own video work.]
From Portland to SLC to Ogden to Boulder and then back we, collectively: raced bikes, dragged luggage, led women’s clinics, heckled, ate food, laughed, slept, conversed, caffeinated, and did more than a few loads of laundry.
Here’s some of that in fast forward (photo below is linked to the film!). Hope you enjoy it as much as we did, and thanks!
Seeing as how I’m midway through a graduate degree in poetry (really? what are you going to do with that?!), Rousculp & White at Speedvagen here decided it would only be to all of our best interests to combine the awesome worlds of cyclocross and poetry. I couldn’t agree more. As a result, throughout the season I’ll be posting cyclocross related/inspired poems, mostly in the form and/or experimental phase and/or permutations of the haiku.
Generally speaking, haiku usually arrives in its most well-known form of 5-7-5, with the numbers referring to the amount of syllables in each line of the poem. The so-called essence of haiku is “cutting,” which is often represented by the juxtaposition of two images or ideas and a kireji (“cutting word”) between them. An indication of season is also another essential of haiku. There’s more, of course, and haiku can spin off in any number of directions; for all intents and purposes here, however, we’re going wild with this. And by wild I mean experimental and against the grain, I mean counterculture and grit; I mean ‘cross.
Haiku is often typecast and pocketed as the peaceful, calm form of the poetry world. How nice. My aim is to show you its more feral moments, how it can be the perfect partner to ‘cross, and how it can, literally, play in the mud with the best of them.
Cyclocross meet haiku. Haiku meet cyclocross. It’s the bell lap—shall we?
To begin: a translation of the badass Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827)
Writing shit about new snow
for the rich
is not art.
Tell us how you really feel, Issa.
See? Haiku, and the individuals who write it, can subvert and be more subtly subversive than you might assume.
The following consists of four haikus (& their titles, as indicated with italics) strung together to create one experimental haiku strand. To note: line spacing can be awkward on WordPress; the following, more or less, reflects the form of the haiku as it was intended, minus proper line spacing.
To the man clad in spandex, you know who you are—
meet me: on the edge
of 5th / I’m a mess
dressed in fresh lime peels, precious
metal & $$$$$
dollar bill to my teeth & a flush
tongue to your calves / quads
pedaled into pear bulge steep’d
in sunrust & damp
with your cloudboom laughter,
slingshot through beard thick
& head back eyes flinging: rock
-ets, copper & dusk
hotfoot to bolt, chest heave & your
haunch like what beneath
spandex lucence, hips that flick
me on—demount this
*September 6th – GPRT Het Meer – Portland, OR
*September 7th – Fazio Farms – Portland, OR
*September 13th – US Open of Cyclocross – Boulder, CO
*September 14th – Boulder Cup – Boulder, CO
September 20th, 21st – CXC Trek Cup – Waterloo, WI
*October 11th & 12th – Alpenrose Dairy – Portland, OR
*October 19th – PIR at Heron Lakes – Portland, OR
*October 26th – Washington Co. Fairgrounds – Hillsboro, OR
*November 1st & 2nd – Deschutes Brewery (Halloween!) – Bend, OR
*November 9th – PIR Infield – Portland, OR
*November 16th – Barton Park – Barton, OR
November 1st – Rapha Super Cross Sydney – Sydney, Australia
*November 8th – Oregon State CX Championships – Troutdale, OR
November 23rd – Kansai Cross – Japan
*November 29th & 30th – Rapha Super Cross Nobeyama – Nobeyama, Japan
*November 30th – Nobeyama Kid’s ‘Cross (KX) – Japan
*January 8th – 12th – Cross Nationals – Austin, TX
*Three or more team members will be racing here.
[Speedvagen Family Racing teammate Laura Winberry is taking a short hiatus from her MFA in writing and will be guest posting all season. Look for haikus, shorts and the occasional race report from her to be accompanied by photos from teammate Jeff Curtes.]
It’s (all) About Time
The season has begun, is beginning.
Folks emerge from the woodworks near and far, relatives gathering for a holiday, only it isn’t about blood because family’s where you find it. In the still hot days just before leaves turn to gold, in the final pieces of all that is summer, a tribe painted in lycra and odd tan lines comes together.
These are our people.
And Speedvagen is our family.
How long is one minute?
Jeff sat at a ninety degree angle for sixteen-hours, from Australia to Vancouver to Portland. Daisuke and Hama—ten hours from Tokyo, after three out of Nobeyama. Brennan and I drove up from Bend, which took a little over three. For Tina, about the same. The point is this: many hours of travel have transpired in order for us to be here, at Vanilla, at this very minute. There are also the (countless) hours of preparation that have gone into it all, and by all I mean the kits, the shoes, the helmets, the logistics, the sponsors and, of course, the bikes.
What would it all be without the magic of the bike, of these bikes? A gathering of really sweet folks, indeed; but what we’d be doing with our time, I’m not quite sure. Running in circles in padded shorts perhaps.
But add a little gold here, a stripe of revolver blue there, and we have a convergence of beautiful bikes, with beautiful people to match. (And I’m not talking supermodel beautiful. I’m talking thick laughter kind of beautiful. I’m talking people with the same kind of heartbeat beautiful; vivid, authentic, offbeat; gritty, wild, solid beautiful.). Which is exactly what happened this past Saturday morning, after so many long minutes of travel and preparation and caring about something, when the entire Speedvagen team gathered at the Vanilla Workshop in order to experience the start of ‘cross season together.
Christmas! (or Chanukkah and/or) in September!
It’s not about the gifts. It’s about who you are with. At least that’s what someone older than you probably told you when it came to receiving presents. At age 9, it sounded like bullshit; really, that person was right. But I’ve covered the “who you are with” base, so now it’s time to talk gifts. Sort of. What I mean to say is: now it’s time to give you an idea for how we exchange gifts in our Speedvagen family, as it’s the reason for all of the hours and minutes and all of the everything you read through earlier in this post. It’s simple—we come together. We do not receive our kits in the mail. Our bikes do not arrive disassembled in boxes. We do not do this alone. And I can tell you, after having seen the faces and felt the presence of each one of my teammates family members yesterday morning, early sun streaming in through an open garage, coffee and embraces and howyoubeens abounding, the way that we exchange gifts, the way we open our season, the way we do things—is what it’s all about. An entire workshop of creatives has labored, crafted, honed, perfected, and paid attention in order to make such a morning come to fruition.
And the morning was: in the flesh, which we borrow for only so long, about being eye to eye and hearing voices and stories from, literally, around the world. The morning was a familial introduction to our racing machines, and the point in time when we got the privilege of seeing Sacha’s face soften from we’re overworked to this makes sense and this feels so damn good. Just like Christmas (and/or) we got to see one another’s expressions, revel in detail together, even cry a little. Then we all took our very first pedal strokes, down the block and through the roundabout, on the magic gold bikes that will continue to take us through it all. And by through it I mean through it, not around.
Thank you to everyone. Greasy knuckles, calloused hands, paint splattered faces, legs tired from standing—we know you’re out there and you’ve made the world of bikes a better place. Thank you.
Rebound/Tireless Velo is proud to bring an updated version of their Zaandercross race for 2014. Gone are the long sandy stretches that made that race so popular/unpopular. We have been able to acquire a stunning new venue, Alderbrook Park, with all the challenges, terrain, and amenities for a great cyclocross race. Once again part of the GP series of races we invite you to come out see what we’ve put together. Expect lots of twisty grass and treed sections, several punchy climbs, stairs, power gravel grinding, and a little tiny bit of sand. Also, expect a great atmosphere and a great place to spend the day with the family.
Once again there is a raffle and once again all proceeds go to benefit the amazing work of P:ear. P:ear builds positive relationships with homeless & transitional youth through education, art & recreation to affirm personal worth and create more meaningful & healthier lives.
Last year we were able to raise $5000 to aid P:ear in their efforts. Help us to double that this year by buying a $5 raffle ticket! You could win one of our Speedvagen Integrated CX stems!! You don’t even need to be present to win, but you should be.
Now you can purchase tickets via PayPal: firstname.lastname@example.org
Please include number of tickets you would like, your Name and Email. You know, in case you win.
A FREE women‘s skills clinic for ALL ages and abilities. Technique, tricks, strategy, form, fit and your questions answered.Plus, complimentary Vanilla t-shirts for the first 11 ladies that arrive!
The Speedvagen Family Racing team is coming to Boulder next week for a team training camp and some early season racing. But, we’re bringing more than just our legs to Colorado.
Cyclocross is at the heart of Speedvagen and The Vanilla Workshop. The first bikes Sacha built for himself and his teammates 15-years ago were all for cross racing and the first Speedvagen he built as a prototype was, you guessed it, a single-speed cross bike. As with others who love the sport, it’s who we are and it’s what comes naturally to us. We love to race cross, and we want to share it with everyone we meet.
Kid’s ‘Cross, skills clinics and course building are just a few of the ways that the Speedvagen Family Racing team gets their hands dirty before the racing ever begins. That’s why in Boulder, Portland, Nobeyama and Austin this year we’ll be creating unique opportunities for the team to introduce people to the sport of cyclocross and feed the fire in those that have already discovered it. Look for the women’s skills clinic at North Boulder Park in Boulder, the Kid’s ‘Cross series at the Cross Crusade and Blind Date at the Dairy in Portland, youth and adult skills clinics around Japan and in Austin.
Below is a schedule of what we’ll be doing and where you can find us! If it’s got an asterisk (*) then it’s a team-only deal but we hope to meet tons of new folks at all of the other events in Portland and Boulder next week!!
*Sept 6th – Speedvagen-ology at The Vanilla Workshop – Portland, OR
Sept 6th – Het Meer Race – Portland, OR
Sept 7th – Fazio Farms Race – Portland, OR
*Sept 8th – Sponsor Visit: Castelli Cycling – Portland, OR
*Sept 9th – Sponsor Visit: ENVE Composites – Ogden, UT
Sept 10th – 8:00am Wednesday Worlds – Boulder, CO (Ouch! So early!)
Sept 11th – 5:30pm Rodeo Adventure Labs Group Ride – Boulder Cycle Sport South (Parking lot)
Sept 12th – 6:00pm Women’s CX Skills Clinic, North Boulder Park, Boulder, CO
Sept 13th – US Open of Cyclocross - Boulder, CO
Sept 13th – 6:00-9:00pm PARTY! at Vecchios Bicicletteria + Special Event!
Sept 14th – Boulder Cup Race at Valmont Cross Park
Full Season Schedule Is Available HERE!