Todd's Blog


How to value your kit branding

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Super useful… the whole article

 


Report from Stage ll of Amgen Tour of California

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Descending to Palm Springs from the high mountains was pretty cool, and then it was hellishly hot.

How hot?

While gasping for air, I noticed an unusual sensation in my mouth.  My teeth were warm, not hot, but definitely much warmer than 98.6.

The records show it was 115 and climbing, and we still had the climb to the Tram ahead of us.

“You may say to yourself, how did I get here?” or maybe, why are you doing that?

Before you judge too quickly, understand that anytime you get a chance to ride a pro course ahead of the pro’s it’s a totally awesome experience.

The locals cheer you on, because they think you are pro.

You’ll see your times compared to the pros when you upload to Strava.

There is no other way to adequately appreciate what a pro does day in and day out.

This day would be awesome even with the heat.

The course was beautiful, well marked, and easy to navigate and support.  We had assembled a great group of riders of relatively equal capabilities.  Matt Wenger was an awesome driver and supporter in our rental van.

We met at 4:15am, and were riding by 6ish.  Mostly we rode together, and had a sweet pace line working efficiently.  The unifying force of riding soon bound us into one.  We were rocking it – pro speed on some of the early sections.

The long climb out of Murrieta caused some separation, but it was gorgeous.  Along the route we picked up other riders and continued ripping through the rolling terrain.

Back to that finish.

Our group sort of shattered in the broiling condition.  Fatigue and dehydration had set in and our thinking was less than clear.  I needed to cool off my core and ducked into 7-11 for a Slurpee and Popsicles.  At the van, we reloaded our water, which quickly turned warm then hot then awful.

The tram road greeted us with a radiant heat of 150 degrees: egg-frying.  The road is straight and lonely.  Nobody rides together; it’s a personal struggle.  Promises are quickly broken, and bonds shattered.  I zigged and zagged the final miles.  The boys from East West Bikes had a kiddie pool with water and ice and I plunged – shameless, but it saved my life.

Finally finished, we scrambled for shade and a view of the big screen.  The pros were on the final climb.  Famous dudes from around the world were attacking what nearly killed us… then they too started to wilt and fade and even walk.  It was a crushing finish.  One by one they collapsed at the finish, or even before.  The ambulances raced to the top, much more help was needed than any had anticipated.

Our finish was a celebration.

Gourmet burgers, shakes, fries, rings, drinks all lifted our spirits back off the ground and we re-hashed our own trials and those of the pro’s.

Back in the van, most drifted off and slept.

Pics of the day:

 


Matt’s Bad Habat

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Trevor and I loaded up for a mancation, to ride and race the Whiskey 50 in Prescott, Arizona.

My buddy, Matt Wenger, is ballsy enough to take action on something I had only threatened to do.  He bought a Sprinter, big deal you might say.  It’s a really big deal, because he put his creative talents into building a bike-riding surfer’s dream.  It’s called The HABAT.

For years I drooled over the “big Merc”… not some road racing, screaming V8 from Mercedes but the really big Merc, the Sprinter van.

Beds, check.

Room for all the gear inside, check.

Fridge, running (heated) water, a sink, and plenty of lighting all solar powered, check.

Storage, lots of it, check.

Great German looks and engineering with manly all terrain tires, check.

Solid and commanding on the highway with 20+mpg, and easy to drive in town, check.

Got it?  Everything a dad and son needed to mancation after being apart for two years.  Plus, lots of road ahead to catch up on life.

Perfection is always attained with persistence and patience, and I’d be tested a bit on this trip.  We finally needed fuel as we crossed into Arizona.  We were down to a 1/3 tank and I thought fueling up prudent.  I pull in for diesel, put my card in, insert pump, set it to fill and head in to pee.  I return and exactly 2 cents had clicked over.  After pulling the trigger a bunch, running my other two cards, trying different pumps, getting an eye roll from unhelpful cashier I call Matt.  “Bro, how do you get fuel in? is there a trick?” “Nope.”  Frustrated, not full, I pull out praying we can get ‘er done at next town.  Yep, no problem.  What gives?  I figure the other station was empty and the cashier was a little too overwhelmed texting her boyfriend to care.

We roll on.  Comfortable.  Snacking and drinking and chatting about life.  So engrossed, we zipped right past the turn off.  30, 40, 50 minutes later we decide to take the back roads to the proper highway.  The sun resting behind us, we lit up the road with powerful beams enjoying the lonely desert highway.  It got twisty, and we longed a different German tool for a section, though the Habat was steady and never topsy turvy.

Behind schedule and uncaring we slipped into our self-serve camp spot for the night.  It was quite late.  Even Neil Adams was down for the night.  In a few minutes we had the beds up and our heads down.

Well after sunrise, we rose.

Those now showing up to find a spot mid-morning were turned away, the campsites were full.

Friday we set up camp, mainly just covering the cement table with our ez-up.  Everything was already set in the van.  We tweaked on the bikes then broke camp to pre-ride the some of the sweet single track.

Prescott has great riding.  Decomposed granite is always a fun surface, and that’s most of what we rode.  Single-tracks are flowy, fast and fun.  The race was shaping up to be wonderful.

We ran into our friends Ben and Season pre-riding.  Ben had told me how awesome the course was and I was glad to see him, and see he was right.

Pre-race dinner in Prescott.  What could the little town offer?  Well, how ‘bout an awesome steakhouse partner?  We stuffed ourselves on salad and bread and pasta and fish and potatoes.

There’s a certain comfort to knowing all your gear is locked up, and a massive ease when it’s all in the van.  “Pulling up the stakes” is a cinch.

We got back to camp.  Got into bed and watched Breaking Away – the cycling classic, which Trevor had never seen.  His passion for cycling is nascent, burgeoning.  It’s all new, and some of it I get to see through new eyes.  We howled over classic lines: “Refund? Refund?!  REFUND!!”, “give me something American damnit, give me some French fries”.  And we slept.

Early, real early we snuck out of camp in the van.  Others slept, we crept all the way to the Start/Finish.  Easy.  Grabbing our Walmart camping chairs (Prescott has everything), we set up on the first line of the start and waited in parkas, comfortable while others stood freezing.

Neil Adams and co were there, Ted Willard and the G2 squad too.

90 minutes later, the gun went off and it was on.  5 miles later Trevor flatted.  We fixed it.  3 miles later Trevor flatted.  We fixed it.  This would not be a race of dad vs son, it would be an adventure.  We settled in and began picking off people ahead of us.

Getting that good start still kept us ahead of the conga line behind us.  Neil and others were far enough back the had to walk a lot of the start.  We rode… at a good clip too.

Flats behind us, the technical downhill single track was nothing to overlook.  Now we were really up to pace and in our element.  Miles and miles of descending later we poured out onto the jeep road that leads to the aid station.  We felt good.  Matt Ford and Linda McGee were friendly faces who helped us load up for the plummet to Skull Valley.

We flew.  Flew past slower descenders then past the fast guys who were already climbing back up.  There’s Ty, there’s Rob McGee, there’s Dustin and Ben and Charlie and… so many friendly SoCal faces.

At the bottom, we caught Kevin “Backpack” McKenna.  Back on the climb, Jeff Renteria was bombing down the other way; aminute later a certain Meredith “Rosie Cheeks” Ford  followed.  Kevin dropped us – whatever.

How good of shape could my kid be in?  He’s been sans physical training for two years, and the mountain bike he got at Christmas was mainly inside as he was in Utah snow all winter.  The sun beat hard, the dust blew hard, and the climb got hard – much harder than it seemed when we were ripping down it.  Finally, we made the aid station.  This was earned and needed.  We were parched and worn down.

Every race has it’s friendly town folk who line the course and cheer you on, Prescott more than most.  They were awesome, having as much or more fun than us.  Especially, when they lined the course a few miles of hard climbing later and said “you’re almost there”.  Wiley vet that I am, I warned Trevor “don’t believe it, press on.”  And so we did, right up to Cramp Hill.

Smoking single track was our reward.  Fast.  Technical.  Tree-lined.  Water crossing with fans handing up drinks of questionable athletic benefit.

The final miles of the 50 are paved, and all down hill.  Way out, you hear the town.  A mile out you feel the energy.  A half mile the crowd sucks you forward.  Our group of two swelled to six, there would be a sprint finish : 0

We crossed the line together, my friend Nate with us.

Lots of congratulations and skin slapping passed around the finish.  A great vibe. Loot in hand we soft pedaled the short distance to our Habat.  Changing in privacy, locking bikes inside, and walking to an awesome hamburger and fries.

I’m hooked, and so is Trevor.  This is one bad Habat, one I don’t want to kick, one I want more of.

I can just see my office on wheels parked at San O all week, and on an adventure every weekend.  Now I need to man up like Matt!


Musk also quipped, “Apparel sales are going really well.”

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It’s official. Tesla has returned its first profitable quarter after 10 years in the business, following promises that it would be in the black in 2013… details here

What’s really official is that Tesla is cool, and because it’s cool the closing remark of the article makes sense: Musk also quipped, “Apparel sales are going really well.”

Cool brands make a boat load on people willing to pay them to wear their brand.

Why?  Because the apparel shows they are part of a tribe, it shows what matters to them individually and that apparel is a reminder that they’re part of something special.

Now that’s chill.


Unique = Memorable = Desirable

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Events with memorable memorabilia make more magical memories.

VisionQuest and CountingCoup are two epic mountain bike events.  Massive climbing and rugged terrain challenge the riders, and those who finish are rewarded with coup feathers.

The event also goes old school with a chalk board to track the top 10.

The Belgian Waffle Ride goes pro with the graphics, and upscale with the sports “drink”

… and pro with the full spectrum of leader jerseys

Want people to spread the word about your event, and bring their friends back next year?  Give them something to fight for, something beyond average, make it memorable!


Is your crew part of the crew?

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Sure the team looks awesome, but we’ve got a long way to go in cycling in terms of branding the support crew.

Look at F1.  Wow!

Let’s get the sponsors a lot more play by kitting up the rest of the crew – parents, lovers, friends, sponsors etc.

Imagine the splash to be made at the next race when the team is joined in their colors by 2 to 3  to 4 times as many people.


Custom: from Concept to Completion

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Going custom is a process.  We do our best to make it fun, easy and satisfying… kinda like a good date.

In this example, we went first with standard bottle opener shape and the customer’s bolt pushing out the side.  The customer wanted to see a hex design next – representing a six-sided bolt.

The hex design was all set until I noticed we spelled the customer’s name incorrectly and that the opening for the bottle cap was just a hair too small.

On the right, you see the final product.  A custom bottle opener in stainless steel, cut by laser and then tumbled to take off the sharp edges.


Print still counts

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Social media is awesome, but…

it’s hard to get in front of the shoppers actually in the bike shop

it’s hard to pick up and take home

it’s hard to put on the fridge door and remind yourself to eat well

it’s hard to tape above your bike and train with a reason

Print still has it’s place, and we do lots of it.

 


What’s on your shoulder?

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The shoulder area of a jersey is one of the very best places to have your logo, and often easily overlooked in design.

Here, Seth did an excellent job of maximizing the opportunity from both the front and side view.

 


Is DHD Wear for you?

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If you have a brand people are burning to share or a cycling message beyond clever then, and only then, DHDWear might be for you.

We’ll design it, produce it, inventory it, promote it… AND our reps who are out seeing shops every single day will get it out there for you.

Shoot me an email, or give me a call.  I’ll fill you in on the details of what’s in it for you.


Great Design… nothing better

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(Full disclosure, this kit is for my local training ride).

Great designers can take your concept, your sketch, your wet noodle of lameness… and make it:

Vibrant.  Exciting. Must have.

Great design sells because the value is so obvious.


Custom Board Shorts

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Yep, we can do fully sublimated custom boardshorts… what could be cooler than kickin’ it after Ironman boardshorts that match your race gear?


The Handshake Deal

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The handshake deal is only as good as your next trip to the can – that hand going to get washed or soiled real soon.

Get it in writing. Detail it out. Sign it. Now go exceed your partner’s expectations.


Work vs vacation?

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“Work is better than vacation—and it is important to have a purpose to wake up each day.”

– Shimon Peres, 87 years old at the time

Let me just add “My” to the front of that quote.


Go ahead…

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When the vendor/customer relationship is solid and the trust is earned business becomes much faster, and much more fun.

 


Joe Yule

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My friend Joe Yule is doing some really cool stuff for cycling.

Along with designing for the Garmin Pro Tour team, he’s making really sweet kits for famous rides around LA – The Belgian Waffle Ride, The Donut Ride, The New Pier Ride.

I couldn’t help but enlist him to do something for our local ride, the Tuesday Morning World Championships.

Can’t wait to see the group a decked out in TMWC blue kits.

Kits can be ordered from now through 3/21/13 at http://www.dnacycling.biz/tmwc/

Ride On! (in style)


INCREDIBLY Fast at 50

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Johnny O owns the Harding TT overall course record per Strava.

Tim Z, bested everybody, ALL Cat 1s, at the first US Cup.

Doug Andrews doesn’t even race age group, he races Pro.

Mark H, is clicking off road KOMs and crushing all ages.

Aging up in racing rarely means, never?, better personal race results.

The fastest guys in my world are old, leathery, experienced, and determined to be the best… not just their best, THE best.

Its a shocking list of triumphs by old guys. (Please add away its far from complete.)  Many of them are still fully sponsored, lavished as young pros.

This only serves to inspire the rest of us as to what’s possible, and even enrage a few of us to further dedication.

The why’s, how’s, and what’s… Is it a generational thing?


Levers and Tools

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“Got everything?”

Shouting this at a broken down rider when traveling at 25+ mph cusps on useless.

Out of ear shot, no wordy response will be heard. Trust me on this.

Having a bag under the saddle which is short of proper equipment leaves rider stranded, or nearly so.

There I was, friends rushing past, trying desperately to pry off my tire sans levers. Eventually, the task was completed.

Without the proper tools, a task can take forever. Simple and quick turns to painful, complicated, frustrating and slow.

Pride sucks.

When help is needed, be clear and concise.

Yell, “Help!”


Smell The Roses

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Smell the roses,

Feel the sun,

Hear the wind,

See the fun,

Drink the moment,

Savor the spin,

Nibble on life,

Let loose within.

 


Spring Classics

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The Spring Classics are here.

Men becoming monsters on bikes, racing the Hell of the North, and more.

Frankenstein will be my reading preparation, finally letting this classic loose on my mind.

A few pages in I find this: “for nothing contributes so much to tranquillize the mind as a steady purpose—a point on which the soul may fix its intellectual eye”.

Let the monsters free, the winter fades and with it the lonely miles of preparation, prodding, and poking.

The Classics overwhelm mere mortals.