Aug 20  |  A Murder Of Crows Cross Clinic

Posted by , August 20th, 2014 at 11:23AM    

Join the Speedvagen Family Racing team for the best cross clinic on the planet! or at least in Central Oregon. All levels and abilities welcome means that if you’re new to cross this is a solid investment. And, if you’ve got a few years under your belt this is the place to figure out where you can make up a little time with energy saving strategy and techniques to make sure you keep something in the tank for the last lap!

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Aug 7  |  Going Fast In Amsterdam

Posted by , August 7th, 2014 at 9:00AM    
Jon Woodroof (@twotoneams) is at it again, this time on the other side of the Atlantic. You might remember Jon from his Speed Week report last year. Now he and the family are living full time in Amsterdam and he’s been feeling out the race scene. Looks like he’s making an impression. The Google translation from Dutch is pretty fun to read so I left it as is. Original report is in the link to FC Trappist below. Keep up the great work Jon!!
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To the winner, go the flowers. Photo via BuzzWorks.nl

“Eight A’s at the start. No Teun but his fellow terminator Peter. But who has just returned from vacation and hopefully commands his training with bible-like allure that he is in a building phase and today should keep. Lay low Further an American guy that I did see, I think once before but then no pots could break. We ride along with the B’s, but that does not affect the course of the race. After the B’s have been sprint, we continue with eight over. Things happen, but this does nothing to a decision. Until I halfway through the last lap matchless way starter and a sizable gap lettuce. Adieu, fellow Trappists Martje is gone. Look at him; Teun there is a time and not directly the bingo. On the long straight before the last corner I look round again: no cloud in the sky. It is very pleasant because my legs start to run pretty full. Look shortly before entering the curve gleeful once more and see that someone is coming to express it. Holy shit! I wear my legs a bit on, but who refuse rebellious service. I’m not out of the bend or plunges American fury over me where I parting almost pathetic. Afterwards I congratulate him on his victory. I hate like a plug, but keep every inch a gentleman. As I reach out my hand, I look at him again well and see it suddenly clear: a new Teun! A similar physique, the same comet-like development and especially identical insufferable superior smile of young invincibility. I am unable to sleep.”
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Packing it home. Photo via BuzzWorks.nl

FC Trappist – wielervereniging: eerste nazomerwedstrijd A http://www.fctrappist.nl/cms/index.php?id=2066

Jul 24  |  Cross Down Under [Updated]

Posted by , July 24th, 2014 at 8:00AM    

Down under the cross season is well under way, in fact the New South Wales state championships is coming up next Sunday! Speedvagen Family Racing team member and photographer, Jeff Curtes, splits his time between Sydney and Portland giving him the best of both worlds and an extra long cross season, May - January!!

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Right now he’s putting his head down and gritting his teeth preparing for a kick ass season in the states. And its working, he took home a top ten in the Elite A’s at the Manly Warringah Cycling Club event last weekend. This is what he had to say;

“Fast and dry and super fun course.  Had a great start and rolled top 5 for first half lap and then dropped my chain in traffic at a slow spot…lost 5 guys and the chase was on!  Love that. “

Next week he’ll make the 3-hour trip to Newcastle for the state championships. With a podium step in his sites for the masters A race we know Jeff, and the rest of the team, is going to be in top form this season.

It’s tough to get shots of Jeff racing because he’s usually the one taking the photos. Many thanks for Joshua Nicholson at Riding Focus for these shots of our man in Australia taking it to 11!

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State Champs Race:

Just back from newcastle…2nd in masters… It was a battle though…super good racing. I got caught in huge crash on start chute on pavement and went down hard…bloodied but machine was still fine and i mounted and chased through the field…caught the leader and took turns for 4 laps on front…was playing it smart and had my move planned in end but blew a tubular  and rode the flat in….darn! 

Full report from Australian CX Magazine here!

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Jul 18  |  Thee Annual Vanilla Workshop Garage Sale!

Posted by , July 18th, 2014 at 10:39AM    

Portland: It’s back!

Grab all of your riding buddies and come join us for lots of great deals on new and used frames, accessories, components and apparel.

We have lots of stuff to blow out and plenty of one-of-a-kind pieces too.

Tina Brubaker will be styling shirts for the ladies on site Friday afternoon for just $11!

Don’t miss it!!!

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Great stuff from Shimano, Continental, Selle Italia, Campagnolo, Paul, Berthoud, Fizik, Honjo, SRAM, Alpha Q, Schwalbe, PRO, Giro, Castelli, Chris King, Sock Guy, LOOK, Henry James, frame building tools and more!

Jul 17  |  2006 Vanilla Cyclocross Offered

Posted by , July 17th, 2014 at 11:13AM    

Vanilla Cyclocross Frame Set

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Just in time for ‘cross season!

Sacha built this Vanilla cyclocross bike in 2006, pre-Speedvagen, but you can see here that the SV concept was already taking shape in his mind.

It’s every bit a racer but with the added benefit of fender mounts. This beautifully fillet brazed frame uses the wishbone seat stays that would soon become synonymous with Speedvagen. Rear derailleur cable housing is routed through the canti boss on the drive side. The custom carbon seat post uses Thomson mounting hardware and features a stainless steel dart with the Vanilla “V” inset, you won’t find another one of these. A custom rear brake cable guide and our signature stainless steel “V” dropouts round out this frame set. A Chris King headset is included as well.

An alloy wheel set with matching Chris King hubs is also available separately.

This is a used frame and there are some scratches. There is significant paint chipping on the DS chain stay behind the crank.

Custom build packages and paint options are all available with special pricing.*

Please Send Inquiries to: customerservice@vanillabicycles.com

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Geometry

Top Tube Length: 55cm

Seat Tube Length: 54cm

Head Tube Length: 95cm

Chain Stay Length: 43cm

Head Tube Angle: 72.5*

Seat Tube Angle: 72.5*

Bottom Bracket Drop: 71cm

Reach: 381mm

Stack: 548mm

Fork: Alpha Q 1 1/8″

Seat post: 27.2/ zero offset, 295mm (bottom to clamp center)

Steerer: 46mm showing above HS bearing cap

Price: $3995

*If purchased at list price you will receive a $250 credit toward a build package or repaint.

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Jul 10  |  Mountains

Posted by , July 10th, 2014 at 10:00AM    

Cyclists love mountains. They’re beautiful, they’re painful. We seek them out and accept the challenges they throw down in front of us. We conquer them, over and again, each time they rise up and lash out again. Still there is no more peaceful feeling than cruising the tree lines.

We’ve had a number of great shots pop up on Instagram recently from around the globe and I wanted to share a few of them here. Share yours with us #speedvagenSV MT Norway

Svolvaer, Norway via @rolfenlorentzen

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Stord, Norway via @speedvagenist

SV MT Utah

The Wasatch in Utah via @utehopkins

SV MT Diablo

Mt. Diablo in California via @msb2tg

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McKenzie Pass, Oregon

SV MT Japan

Nobeyama, Japan via @ybs_nobeyama

SV MT Italy2

Near Sauris, Italy via @jobunt

SV MT Koppenberg

The Koppenberg via @passioniciclismo

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@markbayer somewhere beautiful.

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@jobunt in the Dolomites, Italy.

TinaB Mt Bachelor

@earthquaker4 taking in Mt. Bachelor, Oregon.

Jul 3  |  Concerning Tiny Bikes: Part 1

Posted by , July 3rd, 2014 at 9:30AM    

[Note: I'm reposting this from a couple years ago because it's just a great read for anyone that thinks they'll never have a bike that fits. Sam now has two Speedvagen, road and cross, and crushes on both!]

People think I’m pretty hard.  Super tough and gritty and all that.  It’s easy to see why, especially if I have some stubble, which I totally do a lot of the time.  In fact, if a stranger had to describe my whole vibe – my thing, if you will – I’m almost positive that the word they’d use would be “street.”  Hell, if I had a half-link for every time somebody mistook me for Omar Little from The Wire, I’d probably be able to make one of those weird half-link chains by now.

the resemblance is uncanny indeed

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Jun 26  |  What’s up with the 2014 Surprise Me?!

Posted by , June 26th, 2014 at 6:00AM    

Everything in this shop is an evolution. New ideas that build on little, or big things which have been successful in the past. Here, Sacha gives some insight into the design and process involved in creating the 2014 Speedvagen Surprise Me! scheme.

About a year and a half ago (late summer 2012) I took a photo of a team bike in the process of being painted. The top tube was masked with the name Curtes (for team member Jeff Curtes) with masking for the US flag next to it. The frame and the masking had been sprayed with metallic gold paint. The next step was to remove the mask and reveal the color below it. What I got a glimpse of in that photo though, was this 3D effect that showed the outline of the graphics as a result of shadows cast. This was new, subtle, textural, and I knew I wanted to do something with it.

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Since then, we’ve done a bunch of samples trying to replicate that look, but in different colors and also with a clear coat over the top for protection. While the 3D effect added some dimension it was very subtle and I thought we might be able to layer some color(s) and then sand off the top layers to various depths and reveal hits of the different colors underneath. The test samples ended up being a lot more abstract and organic looking than I had imagined, but I liked it. It was fresh. Admittedly, I can probably credit some of the inspiration for this look to my ’71 Volvo 142 that needs a new paint job, but looks like a hotrod where the top coat has been worn to primer. Anyhow, I knew that this was not just the look for the next round of SM’s, but that this raw graphic style would make it’s way into much of what I do from here on out.

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Taking an existing paint scheme or technique and freaking it out a bit has often yielded good work. The newest of our standard paint schemes is Horizon. It isn’t graphics heavy, but it is bold and and stripe-y and colorful, like a race bike ought to be and the way the three colors stack up offers a ton of cool combinations.

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Five blues to choose from.

This year’s Surprise Me! paint job is a culmination of all of the above. We’ve used different tones of our signature sky blue on top and bottom, as a classic and beautiful base. From there we used a paint worn pattern of Speedvagen shields on the center stripe and distressed other graphics as well. It is this graphics treatment that makes the impact.

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Sanding through the layers of color.

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Each SM! in this run is different; something that we’ve never done before. On each bike the underlying colors of the center stripe are going to be unique to that bike. And the graphics pattern, being that they’re all hand laid by humans, are one-of-a-kind, too.

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Jun 18  |  Pinstripes, Cartoons, and Wild Beasts

Posted by , June 18th, 2014 at 10:12AM    

Introducing the new SPEEDVAGEN National Kit, our first product designed in Japan.

[Pre-Order Here, Ends Wednesday June 25th!]

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“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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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Jun 17  |  The Everesting Report via Andy Rogers & Caz Whitehead

Posted by , June 17th, 2014 at 9:48AM    

9022m. 283kms. 15h 27m. 52 repeats.

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We awoke at 1:00am to a cold and foggy morning. After a good night’s sleep I was nervous but ready to tackle what lay ahead of me. A short drive out to Yarra Glen and I was ready to start my Everesting attempt with nothing else standing between me and the biggest ride I’ve ever ventured on. 3:00am, I started my first ascent. Freezing cold with only the beam of my light and the strong glow of an almost full moon to guide my way. Pedal stroke after pedal stroke I became more familiar with the road, trying to keep my mind focused on the now-and-then and away from the daunting task of what was still to come. After 3-hours and 15 repeats riding alone in the dark, the sun finally started to peak its rays across the surrounding mountains. The warmth raising my body temperature and my spirits. I’d already experienced my first low point with my body convinced it should be asleep and one block of 5 reps being significantly harder than the others so the sun was a welcome guest.

At 3000m I was joined by my first familiar face. Plenty more would come and go over the next 11-hours but all would spur me on and keep me from talking myself out of finishing. 4400m. Never would I have thought a cup of tea would be what would pull me off the brink of failure. My body aching and my mind tired, I sat in the back of our beat-up 90s hire car, feeling the warmth of a hot cup of tea flow through my body, all the way to my already beaten toes bringing with it a wave of invigoration.

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I found out the hard way that the ‘Death Zone’ isn’t called that just to be intimidating. It definitely lives up to its name. From here (7000m) to 8500m the going was tough and slow. 13-hours of riding and my body had had enough. No more did it want to climb. The up and down, up and down and the steady stream of traffic flying past me had taken its toll on my mind and all I wanted to do was stop. But how could I. The sun was long behind the enveloping silhouettes of the mountains. The familiar faces that had been keeping me company had thinned to three. But I had to keep going. 5 repeats – just keep going. 4 repeats – just keep going. 3 repeats – just keep going. 2 repeats – just keep going. Just once more. I had to talk myself through the last 500m. But it worked. After 18 long hours I reached the peak. I took a ‘what-if’, grabbed it by the horns and conquered it and it was probably the most satisfying thing I have ever accomplished.

I don’t know if I were to do this again if I’d do it differently. To be honest, I don’t think I could do it again. The climb I chose worked for me. 2.7kms. 6.3% avg. 173.5m per rep. Some of you asked me what gearing I used. What training I did. What food did I eat. These things definitely played an important roll but I think it’s important you’re doing whatever you can to be as comfortable as possible – physically and mentally. The gearing I used was the same gearing I use pretty much every ride. Standard 53/39 crankset and an 11-28t 11spd cassette. This is what I’m used to and having a familiar ratio definitely made me feel comfortable. If the gradient were any steeper I definitely would have considered a compact but everybody’s preferences will change.

Clothing was just layers. The Vanilla Workshop was kind enough to kit me out in one of their fantastic Castelli team kits. I also went into it with a base layer, arm warmers, long-sleeved jerseys and a jacket. With a starting temp of 0 degrees celcius, I was wearing a lot but just gradually removed layers as needed. As long as the kit is comfortable and you have a few layers you’ll be fine. I had a spare set of shoes and knicks just in case I needed the mental kick of fresh clothing but didn’t need to utelise it in the end – fresh chamois cream was a Godsend though. In terms of food/hydration, I made sure I was eating constantly. I made an effort of eating proper food all day. I had bars and energy balls in my pockets for during the reps but had jam sandwiches and bananas in the car for breaks, and salad sandwiches twice for a larger meal. I had one gel with 7 repeats to go. Eating was important. When you’re riding for 15 hours you can’t afford to get a hunger flat so you just need to eat constantly. The same goes for drinking. One bidon of water, one bidon of electrolytes. Drink often. Eat often.

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If I could give one piece of advice it would be don’t overthink it. You’ll psych yourself out. Sure, it’s an immensely daunting task, but it’s just riding your bike. I broke it up into blocks of 5 repeats. After each block, I would have a break at the car, have a stretch, something to eat and start the next block. Not only did it mean I was getting off the bike frequently and giving my body a break, it meant I had smaller targets in my mind rather than thinking about how many more of the 52 repeats I had left to do. I wouldn’t have been able to do it if I was thinking of that all day. In terms of training, I didn’t really do anything specific. I was riding a lot and spending quite a few hours a week on the bike but that’s all I did. I know a few people who did 4400m rep rides in preparation which I’m sure helped but I personally believe it comes down to time on the bike in general. Make sure you’re riding your bike frequently and you’ll be okay.

The other big piece of advise I can offer is support. I was lucky enough that my climb was relatively close the the city so I had people coming out and doing repeats with me most of the day. It helped keep me distracted. It helped keep me smiling. It’s amazing what having someone tapping away at a climb next to you can do. But finally, pick a climb that works for you. If you’re good at short and sharp, pick something short and sharp, but if you prefer long and gradual, pick long and gradual. I know this sounds obvious but people get caught up in finding a ‘perfect ratio’ of distance x elevation gain. There’s no point if an 8% gradient doesn’t work for you.

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I want to say a massive thank you to The Vanilla Workshop and Castelli for supplying me with a kit and being a great support during the whole endeavor. Another huge thank you needs to go to all of those people who supported me on social media letting me know they were watching and cheering me on and especially those who came out and rode with me. I honestly couldn’t have done it without them. But the biggest thank you needs to go to Caz, who was there with me the entire day, making sure I was fed and hydrated, snapping some amazing photos and generally keeping my spirits up. She is amazing.

To those of you whom I’ve inspired, just go and give it a shot. There’s no point sitting at home tossing and turning around in your mind whether you can do it or not, you just need to go try and maybe you’ll be surprised by what you’re capable of; I know I was.

Cheers!

Andy

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