Snake Eggs

•April 3, 2012 • 2 Comments

IF I was a barefoot runner, this would have been a bad day for me.  Feisty snakes and bare skin are not a good match.  A few weeks ago, Ginger and myself went to a local park to do a bit of trail running…only to be greeted by a nasty east texas copperhead snake.  Not exactly a friend I want to hang out with.  This little guy wasn’t too big, but if you are from Texas you understand that the BIG snake is just right around the corner watching you poke at its baby.

Easter is this weekend, and I got back into doing a little airbrushing on some easter eggs for my wife Ginger.  Airbrushing has always been a past-time of mine, and I’ll have some fun once in a while with it now.  These are hollow eggs shells I was painting up a bit, and you’ll see my finished masterpiece laying in a basket.

pro triathlete champion ironmanI wanted to send out a congratulations to a terrific pro triathlete that I spons0r, Caroline Steffen “XENA!”  She had a great victory at Ironman Melbourne a few weekends ago posting a very fast time.  Way to go XENA!  She may just take Kona this year folks.  Check out her team website, of which I am a proud sponsor, www.teamtbb.com for some cool photos and athlete profiles.

Carbon Fiber: The Quick How to Guide

•March 21, 2012 • 1 Comment

I’ve been working on a carbon fiber project recently, and I wanted to share with all of you a few of the details about the whole processs of making a custom carbon fiber pieces.  It’s not too difficult, but does require some patience and work.

  This first photo shows the male and female molds I made in order to form my carbon pieces when pressed together.  The male mold (green) I made by milling out a pocket in a 2×4 board, filling with bondo, and laying my desired shape (in this case my hand) into the bondo till it was reasonably firm.  I then cut the hand imprint out of the 2.4 and covered it in green tape.

The female mold that’s under the green male mold was made by milling out another pocket in a block of wood, filling the pocket with bondo, and then pressing the male mold (green) into the female mold until the bondo was mostly firm.  Now that I have both the male and female molds finished, I can cut my carbon fiber fabric pieces to close to my desired shape, and then start the next process.

Here you can see one of the carbon fiber pieces I cut out that is laying on top of the male mold.  Carbon fiber fabric is just like any other fabric when you first hold it in your hand, but it’s potential once resin and hardener is applied is unique.  In this piece I used six layers of carbon fiber, so I needed six individual pieces cut out to lay on top of each other (4 are pictured).  The key when you cut these pieces is, with each layer you plan on laying down, make sure the carbon weave is running in a different direction than the previous piece.  As I cut these pieces, i basically had a center point that i rotated around as I cut each piece.  That ends up with six pieces, each with a different weave direction when laid on top of each other.

I now need to coat the female and male mold in turtle wax, so that after I press the carbon fiber into the male and female mold, the carbon fiber will not stick to the mold.

You can simply use your finger to coat each mold.  Just make sure you use a flat-blade screwdriver or something with a fine edge so that you can get wax down into any tight corners or edges that are inaccessible to you fingertips.

  Next, the resin needs to measured out and the hardener added to the resin.  This is simply a photo of my digital scale while I’m weighing out the resin correctly.

  Now comes the part that can get a little messy.  The resin needs to be brushed onto each carbon fiber piece very well.  The resin also needs to be pressed into the fabric extremely well, which can be accomplished by using a rubber brayer or household rolling pin.  The carbon fabric will want to stretch, so you constantly have to reshape each piece as you roll the resin into the fabric.  This resin was pretty fast drying, so I had to move quickly.  Each side needs to be coated well…wear gloves and get to it!

This next photo shows some of the resin filled carbon fiber pieces laying in the female mold.  There were 6 layers of fabric in all that I used in order to create a piece with the right stiffness I was going for.  Use your flat blade screwdriver again here to press the edges of the fabric down into the bottom edges of the female mold.  Basically, you  want to try to compress the fabric slightly into the mold before pressing the male mold into the female mold.  Don’t worry if it doesn’t look pretty right now, it will once it’s finished.

After you have laid all your desired pieces into your female mold, you can press your male mold into the female mold and then stick the whole contraption into a vice in order to generate some good pressure for about an hour of so in this case.  I also cut a few small channels into the female mold in order for the excess resin to drain out when I pressed the molds together.  These channels do not need to be big at all.  A channel the diameter of a small sewing needle is plenty.  Just make sure to evenly distribute your channels around the perimeter when you cut them.  You can see the resin dripping out of the mold channels I cut, and onto the blue paper towel.

Once you take the mold out of the vice, remove the male mold and let the carbon fiber air dry in the female mold for another hour or so.  It all depends on the drying time of your resin.  Some resin is fast drying, other types are very slow drying.  Each has it’s own unique use.  Once it’s all dry, pop your carbon fiber piece out, trim off any excess unwanted carbon shreds, and your finished.

Here is my finished carbon fiber piece that I will use for my experimental project.  I had originally completed this whole process using only 4 layers of carbon fiber, and after I took the piece out of the mold, it was not stiff enough, so I re-did the whole process this time using 6 pieces.

There’s Nothing Cars, Bikes, & BBQ Won’t Fix

•March 9, 2012 • 2 Comments

Our local fairgrounds puts on a good car show every year that I always make a trip out to.  Just so happens this 68 Corvette caught my eye.  I think maybe I’m just a sucker for red, seeing as how my Chevy Volt is red too.  Corvette’s are always fun to drive, but I think I’ll stick to my Porsche to fill my need for speed though 🙂  Speaking of Corvette’s, I need to finish my Corvette project I have going on in my garage right now.  I always make trips out to the garage to finish it, but end up getting distracted and building something else.

I make many trips a year out to the Slowtwitch camps in California.  It’s always an interesting trip, with interesting people.  Mose are very eager to hear what I have to say as I always have been one to preach against conventional wisdom in my fitting technique.  This trip out to slowtwitch was one of the most memorable in that the weather went crazy on us.  At 12:30pm it was bright, sunny, and beautiful outside.  Then 2 hours later you find yourself freezing cold and iced in with 3″ of snow on the ground.  I’ve never seen weather change so fast.

I made a trip over Louisiana with my marketing manager Jeff Waskowiak, and Robbie Peltier recently.  They have come up with a whole new vision for Cobb Cycling which I am excited about. Be looking forward to some big changes at Cobb Cycling around June this year, as well as some new product designs.  Every trip to Louisiana for me always starts with a Lunch at Cobb’s BBQ. This restaurant was owned by my uncle Joe Cobb, who passed away around 2 years ago.  Sue Cobb now runs the place, and does a great job of putting smiles on customers faces.  If you ever find yourself in Shreveport, LA and in the mood for BBQ, give this place a visit.  You’ll see many photos of celebrities that enjoy eating there such as the Beach Boys, and Nicolas Cage.

Oh hey, checkout my new bike I have spent some time building up.  It doesn’t get any better than a good softride.  I bought this frame and pieced it together little by little.  I took it for it’s debut spin last night at the local trainer class.  She worked great!  

Ouch Ouch and More Ouch

•February 8, 2012 • 2 Comments

“Pain is temporary, pride is forever.”  Ok, got it.  How about in relation to kidney stones???  I think I’ll gladly pass on the pride for pain bargain on this one.  Nonetheless, I thought I’d show you my trophy.  Yes, there it is in all it’s glory.  I’ve had kidney stones in the past, but never one this size that didn’t have to be broken up prior to passing it.  Hopefully, none of you out there will ever have to deal with these nasty things, they are terrible.

In keeping on with the topic of pain, I’ll tell you about my recent trip to Red’s in Louisiana to teach a cycle trainer class.  I teach a spin trainer class every Tuesday & Thursday here in my hometown, but Red asked me to make a trip to his mega gym complex to torture the locals.  My trainer classes are known to be pretty brutal, but hey, “Pain is temporary, pride is forever” right?  I enjoyed teaching the class, and seeing my good friend Mark Miller while there for a few days.

We had a local mountain bike race here at Faulkner Park which had a good turnout.  Faulkner is a great, simple to follow, and hard to get lost mountain bike trail set here in Tyler, TX.  Congrats to one of my Cobb Riders, Nevada Thomason for taking the cake.  Nevada is a great mountain bike racer, and someone you should keep an eye out for if you see him on the trails sometime.  Weather was perfect, people were friendly, and the race went well.  Congrats to all the riders who put out a good effort!

 

A Gran New Year

•January 10, 2012 • 4 Comments

No that is not mispelled, I meant Gran…Gran Turismo that is.  I got this pc game for christmas and haven’t put it down since.  This is no ordinary car racing game where you can “plug and play.”  It takes much more involvement than I expected.  You have to tune your car, change the tires, balance things, and upgrade this & that if you want to win.  Winning may be a long way down the road for me, because I’ve first got to learn how to stay on the road!  Finishing each race is challenging enough.  I’m pretty car savvy, so I should be seeing that checkered flag in no time.

I had to take a small road trip recently to Kentwood, LA, and ran across quite an interesting establishment named “Nyla’s burger basket.”  I was told by the locals that Britney Spears frequents this fine dining when she is in town.  It was all news to me, but I’m sure if Britney eats it, then it must be healthy.  GrEaT bUrGeRs AnD fRiEs!!  If you ever find yourself in Kentwood, you can stop and eat at Nyla’s burger basket and say you are on Britney’s diet.  I sure am.

My good buddy Mark Miller, who owns Precisions Bikes, www.precisionbikes.com,  and Geaux Run, www.geauxrun.com,  in Louisiana, are always sending product back and forth to each other.  I decided to send him a sample of a shirt my designer, Jeff Waskowiak, is working on that we had mocked up locally.  The design is a skeleton composed of all sorts of bike parts such as chainrings, water bottles, pedals, seats, etc.  The mock up is not too pretty, as the design needs to be enlarged, but we just wanted to see what it looked like on a shirt.

I’ve started fitting riders again on a limited basis this year.  Here are a few before and after photos of a few riders we had in recently.  Terra Castro, terracastro.blogsport.com , member of Team Luna, was  a pleasure to work with, as well as Michelle Truesdale Leblanc, owner and coach at www.outrivalracing.com .   Best of luck to both of you in 2012!

At Year’s End

•December 27, 2011 • 2 Comments

In my last post, I promised some interesting pics from my recent trip to Taiwan.  It’s not my first trip here, but each trip is always different from the previous one.  Having two buddies along with me this year made the trip much more enjoyable, thanks Robert & Robbie for tagging along.

I have some good news, I found my new tri bike for 2012.  As you can see from the photo, I will be turning heads with my unique style.   I should easily break all of my bike PR’s on this after a few custom modifications 🙂  Now I just have to figure out my positioning on this chopper, and work up a custom paint job.

In Taiwan, you will come across a lot of people on two wheels.  It seems to be the best way for the quick get around on their busy streets.  It can be comical to see such large mobs of people on scooters, especially when they double up riders on a small one.  Maybe I’ll carry a green flag with me on my next trip to give them a proper start to their race at each intersection.

My main mission on this trip was to make sure everything was in order for another successful year of business.  We made several stops at various factories on our trip. These factories are most of the time in the middle of “the woods” and a rough road to get there, but each one is very interesting to visit.  I snapped a photo in one of the factories that was building bike frames.

There’s no better way to stretch out after a long plane ride from Taiwan than to go for a nice morning trail run.  Faulkner park here in Tyler, Tx has a great 1 mile gravel loop, and plenty of mountain bike trails to keep you treading along for hours.  Great sunshine + cool crisp weather = a great run.

Well, 2011 is almost at its close.  Christmas came and went, and it was a great time.  I hope everyone had a good holiday with their friends and family.  I guess we all have new years to look forward to now.  I’m sure i’ll spend most of my down time working towards accomplishing a few projects I have going in my shop.    Looking back, 2011 had many exciting endeavors, and I have many things to look forward to in 2012.  Happy new years to everyone!

Turkey Trot & Eat a Lot

•November 29, 2011 • Leave a Comment

     There’s only one way to describe how I feel right now…flexible!  And you thought I was going to say stuffed.  Keep reading, that comes later.  Thanks to my “hottie pilate” instructor, Robert and I endured yet another session of old-man pilates.  Of course, we all know this weeks session was of utmost importance due to the Thanksgiving holiday being on Thursday.  I have to keep an eye on my figure you know; I’m still a young guy, or so I think in my head.

Continuing on with the exercise rant, I’ve started up my infamous Tuesday/Thursday indoor trainer classes.  The first night turned out a big crowd, but I quickly turned their smiles into grins as we jumped into the tough workout.  It’s great to have a big age range of riders show up.  It just goes to show that the sport of Cycling/Triathlon can be enjoyed for an entire lifetime.

Ok one more little section and then I’ll move on to how much I ate on Thanksgiving.  Ginger and I took a quick trip to Hodges Gardens in Louisiana to meet up with some friends.  This wasn’t our first time here, but the simple beauty strikes me as new every time I see it.  The trip was a success, and I’m sure we’ll head back there sometime soon.

     Now…the moment you have all been wading through my words for…how much I ate.  If this was a crime scene, does this photo count as evidence?  Simply put, I don’t think I was that bad, but tell that to my stomach.   If you only knew the whole story; I’m heading to Taiwan for business the day after Thanksgiving.  One last stuffing of home cooked meals will hopefully carry me through a week’s worth of stringy noodles and sushi.  I’m bringing my amigo Robbie along, who is interested in clothing fabrication.  Having him see first hand the various textile factories in Taiwan will be a great learning experience for him.  I’ll have some interesting photos from Taiwan I’ll put up on my next post.  Each trip I take there is always full of unexpected excitement.