Keeping it rolling: “The wheels I ride and why”

 

I’ve been riding Industry Nine wheels for the past few seasons for several reasons that I would like to share. First of all, the company is based in Asheville, NC and they are a group of like minded, intelligent, envelope pushing individuals. Everyone at I9 that I’ve ever met is genuine and passionate about what they do. Take Drew for example; he shows up at a random CX race in Colorado one day with the Shimano Tech rep, proceeds to jump in the open race with the sickest wheelset I’ve ever seen and that’s how we met. After the race, come to find out, he is responsible for anodizing each and every hub that they make. Not only is he willing to explain the process, but he will leave you wishing to own a set of I9’s. He’s no slouch when it comes to throwing down on the bike either!

Industry Nine manufactures all of their hubs in house and prides themselves on domestic production, which is hard to come by at this day in age, especially in the bike industry. The first set of I9 hubs that I ever owned were red anodized Torch mtb, QR 6 bolt – works of art, seriously. The craftsmanship that goes into each hub is top notch. (With the help of a friend at Golden Bike Shop) I laced them up to some carbon tubular rims and created a badass cyclocross wheelset that I still own/ride today! Thus, the beginning of what has turned into a great partnership. Now I own 7 wheelsets including two mtb, two road, and 3 cross and I thought it would be cool to share some of the different applications that I chose and why.

These are my 2014 geared race bikes. Both are skating on Industry Nine C41 Disc Tubulars. These wheels are unmatched in weight, stiffness and performance. They are I9 system wheels utilizing straight pull spokes for increased stiffness. Of course, the Clement tubular tires are the perfect mate for these race whips!

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I raced all over the place on these Foundrys, including Tokyo! The amount of mud, sand, rain, dust, and power washing that these hubs encountered in one season is mind boggling. Yet, I have never needed to rebuild a single hub or free hub body. They are all performing flawlessly! For that reason alone, I would not recommend a different hub for cyclocross.

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This Niner Air 9 Carbon, single speed has been in my quiver for several years. In fact it’s one of the first carbon Niners ever made. I recently upgraded to the Ultralite 29 Torch wheelset and it’s amazing the difference. Especially on a SS, you will really notice when your hub is engaging fast or slow. In this case, when trying to clean technical climbs, I need every bit of help I can get. These wheels make this relic a pure joy to take out on the occasional lunch ride!

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The 2014 Cyclocross National Championships were held in Boulder, about 30 minutes from home. Pictured above is the original wheelset that I mentioned previously. I was stoked to win the ss race and even more stoked to do it on I9 hubs!

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Here’s another shot of the course conditions at SSCX nationals. Needless to say, the mud and snow was not a factor for my Torches.

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We had a blast cruising around Austin, Texas last January for CX Nationals.
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Colorado State Championships
2014 Feedback Cup (556)-X3
Feedback Cup – Golden, Colorado
2015 CX Nationals Austin (101)-X2
SSCX Nationals 2015 – Austin, Texas
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This setup took me to the top step of the Winter Park Pro XC series in 2014. Green 29″ Ultralite I9 system wheels – Setup tubeless with Clement LXV 29er tires! Super light, stiff and beautiful all around…
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This is Hunter, he is my shop supervisor. Making sure that all of the Clement tubulars are properly glued up for the season! He also hunts mice like a boss!
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Racing in Tokyo on my boss’ bike. Doug not only founded Feedback Sports, but also races cx on I9 torch hubs!

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In short, all my race bikes are equipped with I9s and they are better off because of it. I couldn’t be more happy to work with a company that “gets it” and makes the wheels that I want to ride! I will leave you with this quick story about a bike shop that I used to work at. One day I asked GBS about their thoughts on Industry Nine. It was a resounding answer; “We build lots of custom wheelsets and sell lots of aftermarket wheelset upgrades. I9 is the only company that has proven their quality and adaptability to new and ever-changing standards. We pretty much steer all of our customers towards I9 because that’s what we all ride and they are just the best. You’re lucky to be racing their wheels, Tim!” I could not agree more… Now do yourself a favor and check them out: Industry Nine

Tokyo

If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I recently went to Japan for what I would describe as a trip of a lifetime. I was in Tokyo for 8 days and it was nothing short of an incredible adventure. Since it was technically a business trip with Feedback Sports, it wasn’t all sight seeing and sushi sampling. The reason I was able to join Doug on this trip is because we were invited to compete in Cyclo Cross Tokyo. Our distributor, Mizutani, is based in Tokyo and is a title sponsor of the event. It’s one of the largest cross races that I’ve ever been to and it draws some serious international talent considering the grand prize is 200,000 Yen. Now that my cyclocross season is officially done, it seems like the perfect time to reflect on my trip to Tokyo. Not to mention, we have well over a foot of snow on the ground here in Golden!

My flight landed in Haneda at 5am on Monday. With a 16 hour time change and very little sleep on the plane, I was in a state of delirium and excitement. I was traveling alone, but not in terms of luggage – with two bikes, two bags, and my backpack. Later that morning I met up with an old friend, Yuki. He’s from Tokyo, but lived in Colorado while attending Denver University where he found his passion for mountain biking. We raced mountain bikes together for several years. When I told Yuki that I was going to be in Tokyo for business and had a few days during the week to explore and visit some bike shops, he invited me to join him for a tour. I had no idea what I was in for!

When Yuki and his wife, Saya picked me up we headed straight to Tsukiji (ski-gee), the world famous fish market. It turns out, Yuki has some friends who work there and the owners of MilePost Bike Shop are also good friends with the Tsukiji crew. We went on a tour inside one of the most elaborate fish distribution centers in the world. Everyone was super friendly and Yuki was a great Japanese translator! Some of the tuna is flash frozen on the boat and brought in to be sliced on a band saw and packaged for sushi restaurants around the world… Denver and Vegas are very good customers they explained! It’s dangerous inside Tsukiji for numerous reasons and most tourist access is prohibited. Forklifts are buzzing around delivering fish to customers, humongous knives are used to filet equally ginormous fish, and the power saws are notorious for taking fingers off. I was very fortunate to experience Tsukiji with the locals! Click on the gallery below for a closer look at my first day in Tokyo.

Tuesday, we rode into the mountains and stayed overnight at his friend’s Ryokan which is a traditional Japanese style inn. The gallery below does a better job describing everything, but if you are bored and want to skip ahead to the racing action, scroll down to the next gallery.

Now it’s time to race! The host hotel was super plush and breakfast was a few levels above our typical American continental breakfasts. Huge thanks to Champion Systems Tokyo for providing the accommodations and getting us into the race! The location of the race was on a beach in Odaiba, which is a man made island built in Tokyo Bay. Needless to say, the beach provided the most grueling sections of the course. It was soft sand with lots of turns which meant most of us were running a good portion of the sand. The rest of the course was awesome; A legit Kona flyover, concrete stairs that were barely ride-able, tight single track in the trees with multiple lines around the trees, and tons of spectators. (There were no concerns of root damage here in Tokyo)

It started pouring rain about an hour before the pro race! Unfortunately, the sand did not get packed down enough to be completely ride-able. I started in 20th and finished 8th. The running crushed me, I was not prepared for that much running! The fans were awesome and the event was super fun. I plan on going back next year and I am going to implement one run per week into my training in preparation.

Here’s another gallery for your viewing pleasure.

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Twin Cities Experience

Expectations have been exceeded… I arrived in Minneapolis on Friday afternoon and headed straight to QBP. The lack of snow on the ground and the vibrant deciduous foliage was contrary to my last visit here for Frostbike. I was greeted with friendly faces and a warm welcome. Moki and I were ready to get out of the van and stretch our legs. Joel from Foundry was kind enough to take me on a ride through the infamous river bottoms. Abundant single track littered with colorful leaves and some sandy sections made for the perfect cyclocross ride. I’ve tried my best to document the Heartland Revival Tour – here are some photos I’ve accumulated.

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My race bikes are RAD this season. Matching builds makes a huge difference!
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The new Feedback/Foundry team rig… I wish!
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I pulled off the highway somewhere in Nebraska and rode 10 miles of pristine gravel roads.
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QBP, the home of Foundry Cycles
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9 mile creek in the river bottoms – awesome log ride!
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The river bottoms
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This market made me miss my son, Everett.
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Minnehaha Falls in Minneapolis
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Moki and I skated around Lake Calhoun

I got settled into the Comfort zone. Rob and Leah were generous and accommodating hosts for the weekend. Not to mention, good friends. Rob is actually the man responsible for my entire partnership with Foundry Cycles. We shared stories and beers over dinner and I got a good night’s rest. The Green Acres Cyclocross  weekend was looming and I felt a slight bit of pressure. More than anything, I was excited to race in Foundry’s backyard with 2 of my fellow Foundry tradesmen and to represent Feedback Sports in the twin cities racing scene.

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This flyover was ideal for clearing the table top. I had fun catching a little air!
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Quick sponsor shout out: Shimano Ultegra 11speed hydraulic disc is the best thing to happen to cyclocross. Kask helmets are so comfortable. Fizik shoes and saddles are made in Italy so of course they are awesome. Industry Nine Torch Carbon Tubulars with Clement LAS tires = light, stiff, and the best combo for racing. Kogel bottom brackets will make your cranks spin WAY better. Crankbrothers candy 11 pedals are SO good. Feedback Sports premium work stands and storage products are a necessity for ALL cyclists. Foundry Cycles makes the best cross bike period. SUPPORT my sponsors!

Setting up the expo was smooth. Bob, from Now Bikes, knew I was coming out from Colorado and hooked me up with a great site for the tent, adjacent to the flyover!i phone 6 103 green acres 2

Race Recap: Two days of racing makes for two opportunities to win. Unfortunately, I did not win either day. Eric Thompson, the local yokel, put on a clinic, showed everyone how it’s done, kicked some serious ass, destroyed the field, and crushed my dreams… the list goes on. He won both days.

Lets start with Saturday: I felt good, my bikes were dialed, the course was fantastic and I got a front row call up. I took the holeshot and held the lead for the entire first lap. It was probably not the smartest move, but it sure was fun. The crowds were awesome! Everyone seemed excited to be there and highly encouraging for an out-of-towner. The venue was perfect; BBQ and BEER were readily available and the heckling was hilarious. My favorite two heckles were; “You only caught 3 feet of air, go back to Home Improvement” & “There are hills steeper than this in Colorado, why are you going so slow?”

Racing through a corn field was a new experience that I thoroughly enjoyed. Bunny hopping barriers and stairs definitely gave me an advantage over the competition but it wasn’t nearly enough. On the straights, Eric was out of the saddle pinning it! I was happy to hang on for second and when I left the venue Saturday night I told myself that Sunday was a new day.

Foundry Tradesmen swept the podium on Sunday. Feedback did too!
Foundry Tradesmen swept the podium on Sunday. Feedback did too!

The promoters did a fantastic job altering the course the second day. Instead of a pure power road climb, we went up a much steeper, loose climb. This was good for me because it was more technical. They also added in some really ripping single track through the woods. It was in those woods where I had a really close call. I must have hit a root or something, but my handlebars slipped down and almost sent me over the bars. Eric and I were on the front at this point and he heard the loud noise that carbon makes when it moves unwillingly. It was my own fault for not making sure the stem bolts were properly torqued. Instead of attacking, Eric actually sat up and proceeded to stay with me almost an entire lap so I could get my pit bike. A true class act. Luckily, Todd from Foundry handed me my pit bike and I was back in the game… only to be ridden off his wheel for another 2nd place finish. I hung with Eric for as long as I could… Word on the street is that he is undefeated in MPLS CX. It would be great to have him come out to the front range. We became friends over the weekend and I’m sure we will race together again.

When the racing was all said and done, Foundry cycles took us all out to dinner and we reflected on what turned out to be an awesome weekend of bicycle racing. The weather was amazing and the atmosphere was super fun. Good times were had by all and I hope to come back next year. This event should be on the national calendar.

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Now I’m pointing the van south towards Louisville, Kentucky. Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships are this Saturday at 7pm in downtown Louisville at Eva Badman Cyclocross Park.

Drop me a line if you are going to be in Kentucky!

Heartland Revival Tour

Tomorrow I will embark on a 12 day road trip in the Feedback Sports van. It’s packed with Feedback product and Foundry cyclocross bikes. Moki, my dog, will join me for the adventure. We will be visiting bike shops throughout the heartland and hitting some CX races on the weekends.

3 years ago, the Heartland Tour was born. I was a new hire at Feedback Sports when Sammy and I drove to Madison, WI for cyclocross nationals in January. It was a successful and memorable trip in many aspects. We made a lot of friends, sold a lot of product, and overall we had a really good time. The revival tour will not be the same, however, I hope it can live up to all expectations. I’m bummed that my partner in crime, Sammy, will not be joining me.

Basically, my dog and I are traveling across the Midwest to sell Feedback and race ‘cross. My wife and son are conveniently headed to California to spend time with the grandparents and relax at the beach. This makes my job away from home much less stressful and allows both of us to enjoy our travel a little more!

I have several goals that I would like to achieve on this road trip. First and foremost, since the trip is funded 100% by Feedback Sports, I need to justify the expenses with lots of orders. Hopefully open up some new accounts and sell, sell, sell! Second, I want to represent all of my sponsors at the Green Acres CX races this weekend in Minnesota. It’s exciting for me to get the chance to race in Foundry Cycles’ backyard and immerse myself in their CX scene. After spending 2 days racing and 2 days working in MN I will head towards Louisville KY for the  Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships. I will be sharing some stories here along the way. Thanks for following along now, go ride your bike.

Cyclocross Nationals

Let me begin by saying that I’m honored to be the 2014 Singlespeed Cyclocross National Champion. The support from all the spectators was awesome! Friends, family, sponsors, and hecklers all made for an incredible racing experience in Boulder, Colorado.
ss1Typical Colorado weather blessed us with several inches of snow the weekend prior to the race. The temps warmed up just enough to make for some proper cyclocross conditions. Mud, mud and more mud!corner

Equipment was essential so I will describe my set up real quick like: Foundry Harrow Disc Cross Bike with Whiskey carbon handlebars. Industry Nine Torch Hubs laced up to carbon tubulars with a 17t cog on the free hub body. Thomson stem and seatpost. Fizik Aliante VS Carbon Saddle. Shimano CX70 Cranks with a 36t chainring and a Problem Solver PF30 eccentric bottom bracket to tension the chain. TRP HY/RD brakes. Clement PDX tubular tires at a fairly low pressure. I built this rig on my Feedback Sports Pro Elite work stand two weeks prior to the event. However, I have no plans to put gears back on this bike!ss

Luckily, I got a front row call up. I knew Brady was going to get the holeshot since he’s wicked fast and he was running a taller gear. I was spun out almost immediately, however I was able to make it to the singletrack 3rd wheel. Brady started to pull away halfway through the first lap and I knew I needed to make a move early if I wanted to get away. After we rolled through the pits, the gravel path opened up and this was a great place to pass. Brady sat up to recover and I jumped at the opportunity to take the lead, especially since the table top feature was just around the corner and I wanted to catch some air. I started to open up a little gap on Brady through the tight and twisty corners. I couldn’t believe how good I was feeling and the course was perfect for my riding style. It definitely catered more towards the mountain bikers because of how technical it was.jump

I managed to extend my lead through the remainder of the race. I was in my element, having fun, and trying to push the limits. I never let up because I knew there were 100+ gnarly singlespeeders chasing me down for the coveted stars and bars jersey. The crowds were awesome and gave me the energy boost I needed to finish strong – luckily the race was only 44 minutes long, compared to the usual 60+ minute elite races. win tim-allen-crowd-pleaser (1)

It felt surreal to become a National Champion. I’m still in disbelief and completely overwhelmed with all of the support from friends and family! I’m really excited to have won this race, but I’m way more excited for the upcoming birth of our baby boy! My cyclocross season is complete… not really sure if I want to toe the line with the big boys on Sunday in the Elite race. I think it might be time to hang up the cross bikes and end on a high note! Besides, I’m gonna be a Dad!men-ss-podiumlauren

My beautiful wife is due on February, 3rd and I am really looking forward to being a Dad!

See you on the mountain bike this spring!

Pro Velo Passion: http://provelopassion.wordpress.com/2014/01/09/tim-allen-the-likely-unlikely-2014-single-speed-cyclocross-national-champion/

Post race interview: http://dirtwire.tv/2014/01/tim-allen-singlepspeed-national-champ/

CX Magazine article: http://www.cxmagazine.com/2014-cyclocross-nationals-singlespeed-men-tim-allen-brady-kappius

303 Cycling: http://303cycling.com/2014-US-Cyclocross-National-Championships-Day-1-SingleSpeed

A Weekend to Remember in Providence, RI

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Doug and I having fun checking out the course

Providence, Rhode Island hosts one of the largest and most renowned cyclocross festivals in the country. Located in the heart of Roger Williams Park, the venue consists of rolling green grass and vibrant deciduous trees. The 420 acre park features several lakes, historic monuments, a zoo, botanical gardens and of course a pristine cyclocross track. We’re not talking your average course with a couple janky barriers and a pit. This manicured course was built by some of the best in the biz. They incorporated manmade staircases, a flyover, tabletop jump (my favorite), and barriers; all of which intertwined the massive old growth sycamores and maples. The crowds were in abundance, somewhere in the neighborhood of eight thousand people was the number I heard from Saturday’s event. The expo was awesome, our booth (Feedback Sports) was in a prime location, right next to the course with close proximity to all the food vendors. After all, this was a “work” trip and I was fortunate enough to join in on the fun. Sammy, our Eastern Sales Representative flew out the week prior to the event to travel with our outside rep, Derek. On Thursday, Doug (the owner) and Greg (teammate) flew into Providence. It was sure to be a weekend to remember.

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Katie Compton making moves on a beautiful day in Providence! Not a bad view either.

On Friday we hung out at the venue setting up our expo, catching up with industry friends, and checking out the course. Huge thanks to WD-40 Bike for transporting our Feedback tent and my bike all the way from Colorado. There was a race Friday evening that a few of our teammates competed in while Doug and I tried to stay warm and dry. A good Italian dinner and some rest was in order because Saturday and Sunday were the big UCI races.

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Here’s a shot I stole from Velonews that highlights the terrain and venue exceptionally well
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Descending the flyover

Since I was not racing until late in the afternoon both days, I was lucky enough to skip out on the 5:45 wake up call to set up the expo… Sammy and Griggs stepped up and worked some long days so that I could try to conserve some energy for the elite race smackdown. I ran into Mark and Katie Compton at breakfast and they were nice enough to offer me a ride to the venue at 10am. I have to say, it felt good to roll into the Providence Cyclocross Festival with one of the best cyclocross athletes in the world. They were super nice and we joked about the weather and shared typical disc brake banter. It was no surprise to me that Katie still prefers her cantilever bike… Doug does too! Not me, that’s for sure! I love my disc brakes. They modulate so well that you can charge into corners full speed and scrub your speed without skidding. They also let my hands relax more and relieve the white knuckle effect that cantilevers often cause. I would recommend racing/riding a disc bike before you write it off!

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Yes, there was a fog machine at the start, during call ups!
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riding the stairs

I manned the Feedback booth and spent both days chatting with end users and dealers alike. There was an overwhelming gratitude for our presence on the East coast since we usually stick around the Rocky Mountains. Sammy worked the pits while Doug, Greg, Lee and Derek raced in a field of 200+ dudes. It was a spectacle to watch and thankfully they all had successful races! A few hours later it was time to kit up and take some practice laps to dial in my tire pressure and get comfortable on the course. It felt good, the bike (Foundry Harrow), the tires (Clement PDX at 26psi -ish), even the legs felt good! The only thing bugging me was my lack of UCI points meant that I was going to start in the back of a stacked field of 82 pros. I was motivated to ride hard the whole race and try to continuously move up. That said, I was happy with 29th.

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catching a little air on the table top

 On Sunday there was some precipitation that changed up the course conditions quite a bit. The corners were greasy and the grass was slick… even the astro turf covering the flyover was slippery. Again, showing up to the venue with Katie Compton and talking with her about the conditions – we were both happy to see some mud and thought it would cater to our advantage! Even though I moved up 50 spots yesterday, my call up was still back row (74th). The UCI point system is severely flawed in my opinion. Since it was a C2 UCI race it meant they only paid top 25 instead of top 30 in Saturday’s C1… so there was a little extra motivation… $$. I felt smooth and confident on the course and was picking off 5 or 10 guys per lap which also felt really good. With 2 laps to go I had the top 20 insight, sitting in 21st (at my limit). Sammy, who was in the pits supporting me, was shouting out my place each lap which was helpful to know where I was at – otherwise I would have no idea. I really started to feel it on the last lap – giving up on the top twenty – I was more concerned with maintaining my position. I blew up hard and had nothing left in the tank on the last lap. 3 guys passed me and I hung on for 24th. Not super happy with a weak final lap, but no complaints because I rode a strong race and burned all of my matches.

The Providence Cyclocross Festival is a world class event that I would highly recommend to everyone. It was a great weekend packed with many great memories with great friends and coworkers.

Huge thanks to my amazing sponsors; Feedback Sports: for making the best damn work stands in the industry, Foundry Cycles: for making the best bikes in the biz, Shimano: for the smoothest shifting drivetrain, and Fizik: for the comfy saddles and shoes… and thank YOU for reading this.

If you have any questions please post them in the comments or email me directly at tim.allen@feedbacksports.com

Work Hard. Love Life. Ride a Foundry.

It’s Cyclocross season – Here’s what I’ve been up to

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This is my Harrow built with Shimano Ultegra at the Colorado National Monument in Fruita Colorado
Cross Vegas 2013. © Nathan Hofferber / Cyclocross Magazine
CX Magazine took a pic of my bike after Cross Vegas
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typical lunch ride in Golden
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we experienced incredible amounts of rain
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…and some minor flooding in our new house! Nothing to complain about compared to Boulder
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We ordered chicks (30 to be exact). They arrived via USPS Priority and we now have 27 survivors. They are mixed breeds and provide excellent entertainment.
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working on the Sprint Stand from Feedback Sports – my shop is starting to come together…
http://feedbacksports.com/shop/Sprint-Work-Stand-P74.aspx
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Some friends of ours opened up a new brewery in Golden! Barrels and Bottles – downtown Golden, definitely stop in and taste some beers!
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the in laws came to town and went to work! our window wells have not looked this good since the house was built in ’71! Thanks Joe and Judy
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…and some laying boxes for the hens (recycled kitchen cabinet)
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my “A” bike just got pimped out with Di2 and is literally plugged into the computer getting programmed for infinite shift capabilities (way beyond me…)
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making progress on the chicken coop