Doping scandals mar cycling year—again

Monday, December 27, 2010 0 comments
PARIS (AP)—In many ways, cycling’s year was summed up by two key days. The first was when Alberto Contador took the Tour de France lead with a clever attack on a steep uphill climb in the Pyrenees. The other came just 48 hours later, when drug testers took a urine sample from the future Tour winner that contained traces of a banned substance.
In what was regarded as the defining moment of the Tour, Contador’s attack helped him drop runner-up Andy Schleck in the very tough climb of the Port de Bales during stage 15.
Schleck actually attacked first, but his chain came off and the three-time Tour winner sped ahead—taking the yellow jersey from his Luxembourg rival and gaining a 39-second advantage that would become his exact margin of overall victory a few days later on the Champs Elysees.
Many observers criticized the move, saying Contador had broken the sport’s unwritten rule about not taking advantage of unlucky breaks a rider can’t control—especially when he was wearing yellow.
The epic battle between Contador and Schleck during arguably the most thrilling Tour since Lance Armstrong won the fifth of his record-seven titles in 2003 at the expense of Jan Ullrich, was widely seen as the birth of a new great rivalry.
Fans and pundits cheered for the two champs and were bracing for a mouthwatering new era for a sport still reeling from years and years of doping scandals. But the celebrations didn’t last for Contador.
Only two months after triumphing in the heat of the French summer, the news broke that Contador, who also won the Tours of Spain and Italy in 2008, had been provisionally suspended by cycling’s governing body after small amounts of the banned muscle-building and fat-burning drug clenbuterol where found in one of his Tour samples.
It later emerged that a urine sample taken from Contador also showed abnormally high levels of plastic residues that could indicate he received a transfusion of his own blood during the race.
A tearful Contador denied everything, claiming his positive test resulted from eating contaminated meat. Whether or not he is eventually convicted of doping, great harm was done.
If Tour officials do strip his title, Contador would be just the second cyclist to be forced to relinquish it. The first was American Floyd Landis, who was stripped of his 2006 Tour title after a positive test.
UCI president Pat McQuaid continued to claim that cycling is the “cleanest of all sports,” while Italy’s anti-doping prosecutor Ettore Torri said in October he is convinced that all cyclists are doping.
A decision on whether Contador doped is expected early next year. But WADA and the UCI could appeal if they feel that justice was not done. That means Contador’s case could end up with the Court of Arbitration for Sport.
Should Contador be banned, next year’s Tour could be deprived of its two most influential figures after Armstrong said last summer’s Tour was his last.
The American got off to a strong start but blew a tire on cobblestones in stage 3 then failed to recover in time from three crashes during the eighth stage, just before the tough Alpine climbs.
“With the first crash, my body never felt the same after that, and the second was the nail in the coffin,” Armstrong said. “So you could look at it like that, and yeah, it was one (Tour) too many.”
Armstrong finished in 23rd place, nearly 40 minutes behind Contador. He has not officially retired and will compete in smaller races next season as an ambassador for the fight against cancer.
Armstrong’s last ride in the race which made his name and wealth started amid controversy following accusations by Landis, his former teammate, that he had used performance-enhancing drugs to win.
The allegations against Armstrong and others ignited a federal investigation in the United States that reached new heights last month when American agents traveled to France for two days of talks with police officers and other officials from various European countries.
Armstrong has denied using drugs and his lawyers said the investigation is a huge waste of taxpayers’ dollars.
Despite the years of drug scandals, the Tour de France still attracted massive crowds, worldwide television audiences and reported increased income. In Luxembourg, a new team found big sponsors and a budget big enough to lure away some of the sport’s biggest stars from rival squads.
The new outfit reunites the Schleck brothers and Fabian Cancellara, and their main objective will be victory in the Tour de France.
Cancellara was accused in 2010 of using an electric bike after his wins in the Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix, but nothing was proven. The accusations prompted the UCI to implement bike checks during the Tour, and Cancellara, who was cleared and escaped sanctions, eventually won a fourth time trial world title in September in Australia, where Thor Hushovd powered to victory in the road race.
Also worth noting in 2010 was Ivan Basso’s victory in the Giro d’Italia for his first major title since returning from a two-year doping ban. Several other riders who served doping-related suspensions, including Denmark’s Michael Rasmussen and Italy’s Riccardo Ricco, are set to return next year.
Ricco, who tested positive for blood-booster CERA at the 2008 Tour de France after winning two stages, signed with the Vacansoleil team.
“I’ll just say that the leaders of this team were naive,” McQuaid said. “If I am the sports director, Ricco never joins my team.”

Team Radio Shack Munches on Quiznos

Wednesday, December 8, 2010 0 comments

DENVER (AP)—Lance Armstrong’s team has signed up to race in Colorado’s inaugural Quiznos Pro Challenge.
Race organizers announced Wednesday the first five teams to sign up for the event, which will be held in August. Lance Armstrong’s TeamRadio Shack is led by manager Johan Bruyneel, who has nine Tour de France victories as race director.
The other teams who have committed are HTC-Highroad, BMC Racing Team, Slipstream Sports/Team Garmin-Cervelo, all of the United States, and Liquigas-Cannondale of Italy.
Armstrong was instrumental in establishing the new race. It features seven stages through 11 cities, including Vail, Aspen and Denver.

Vanspeybrouck best of 'Boonen & friends' charity race

Sunday, December 5, 2010 0 comments
Pieter Vanspeybrouck (Topsport Vlaanderen) won the second edition of the charity cyclo-cross event 'Boonen&Friends' around the Silver Lake in Mol, Belgium.

The 'Boonen&Friends' cyclo-cross race collects money for the project 'Move to Improve' which supports people with physical disabilities caused by brain damage. Last year they raised 40,000 Euros at the event.

The extreme cold of the last week turned the course into a toboggan-run but that didn't keep the riders from racing. Last year's winner Maarten Wynants (Quick Step) finished second ahead of Wouter Weylandt (Quick Step). The all-star race was won by triple cyclo-cross world champion Erwin Vervecken.

The Belgian won ahead of Dutch former professional and Sky directeur sportif Steven de Jongh and former CSC-Tiscali rider Koen Beeckman.

Tom Boonen, who has been training for the start of the 2011 season after a year wrecked by injury, started with a bang. He led the field from the start but quickly noticed the course was rather slippery and dropped back. After a flat tyre for last year's winner Wynants, the road to victory was paved for Vanspeybrouck. The latter is a former junior Belgian cyclo-cross champion.

Vervecken had to work hard for his victory in the all-stars race which was held just before the pro's race. De Jongh fired away after the start and for a long time it seemed he would win the race of retired cyclists. “Everybody expected me to win because I retired only recently.

When De Jongh created a gap right after the start I didn't think I would be able to close it down. I died twice during the race but in the end I managed to catch him,” Vervecken told cyclo-cross.info.

Big names like Michael Boogerd, Johan Museeuw, Eric Vanderaerden, Tom Steels and motorcross star Stefan Everts felt far less comfortable on the frozen course and finished at long distance from winner Vervecken.

Museeuw had a severe crash. He went over the handle bars and crashed in the snow. The former Spring Classics specialist abandoned the race little later.

Grease Monkey Wipes featured on local Fox affiliate

Tuesday, November 9, 2010 0 comments


Here is a nice video of Grease Monkey Wipes co-founder, Tim, training with the Austin Cycle Camp.

Contador signs with Saxo Bank team

Tuesday, August 3, 2010 0 comments
COPENHAGEN, Denmark (AP)—Three-time Tour de France champion Alberto Contador will race for the Saxo Bank-SunGard team next season.

Team manager Bjarne Riis said Tuesday that the Spanish rider signed for two years. Contador, who said last week he would leave the Astana team at the end of the season and study his options, confirmed the announcement on his website.

“I think I’ve chosen the best option and I have confidence in Riis to build a great team in 2011,” Contador said. “I’m eager to start this new adventure together with a team and sponsors who have placed their trust in me and I want to show that they have not made a mistake.”

Contador gives the team a new leader after Tour de France runner-up Andy Schleck and his brother Frank announced last week they would leave the team.

Riis, who declined to disclose the financial details of the deal, said he believed Contador could improve as a rider.

“Alberto is a world class rider and it’s with great pride I can present him as a member of the team for the next two years,” the Dane said. “I believe we have not seen his full potential yet.”

“Contador is always in the game to win and I respect that and like his ambition to win the three great tours in one year,” Riis said.

He also announced that Saxo Bank would remain a co-sponsor of the team next year. The online investment bank had previously said it would end its support at the end of 2010.

“Bjarne Riis has delivered excellent results over the past couple of years and has an impressive plan for 2011,” Saxo Bank co-founders Kim Fournais and Lars Seier Christensen said. “We believe it’s important to recognize an unprecedented opportunity when you see one and therefore, we have decided to continue our sponsorship for one more year.”

SunGard, an IT services company based in Wayne, Pa., had previously agreed to co-sponsor the team next year.

Contador said support of the team sponsors “has also been decisive in choosing this proposal.”

Great Story from One of our Customers

Thursday, July 29, 2010 1 comments
Just thought I'd share a funny story with you. I saw y'all on TV, and as soon as I had a chance to purchase your product, I did. Well, the other day was Cow Appreciation Day at Chik-fil-A. Don't know if you know about that, but if you dress HEAD TO TOE cow, you can get a free meal there.

I didn't have a lot of money to make a costume, but I sure wanted that free food.

So in order to me Head to Toe, I used a permanent marker on my arms and legs to make cow spots. The reason I knew I could do this and not look goofy for days later was that I was positive that Grease Monkey Wipes could take off the marker. And I was right.

We love the Wipes on our home, and use them often. Thanks, Grease Monkey Wipes, for giving me a good day. (We won't even talk about how I had to go through the mall in cow gear!)

Love, Gari S.

(What a fantastic story from one of our customers.  Do you have a story like this? If so send it to us and maybe you will be featured on our blog in the near future.)





2010 Tour de France at a Glance

Monday, June 28, 2010 9 comments

PARIS, June 28 (Reuters) - The route for the 2010 Tour de France starting on Saturday: July 3: Prologue - Rotterdam, 8.9 km
It will be the first time the Tour de France starts with a prologue since the London grand depart in 2007. The route will be flat and is likely to favour a specialist like Swiss Fabian Cancellara. July 4: Stage 1 - Rotterdam - Brussels, 223.5 km
A flat stage that is likely to be decided in a mass sprint. July 5: Stage 2 - Brussels - Spa, 201 k
The peloton will go through the Ardennes region with sections from the Fleche Wallonne and Liege-Bastogne-Liege classics. Pure sprinters may find it hard to keep it up with the favourites. July 6: Stage 3 - Wanze - Arenberg Porte du Hainaut, 213 k
Four cobblestone sections feature in the final 30 km. July 7: Stage 4 - Cambrai - Reims, 153.5 km
A flat, short stage that will be welcome by the peloton after the previous day. A mass sprint is likely. July 8: Stage 5 - Epernay - Montargis, 187.5 km
A stage for the sprinters, but the favourites could let a breakaway go all the way. July 9: Stage 6 - Montargis - Gueugnon, 227.5 km
Team HTC Columbia are expected to control the stage to favour sprinter Mark Cavendish. July 10: Stage 7 - Tournus - Station des Rousses, 165.5 km
The stage goes up and down, with six climbs on the menu. Not one for the pure climbers though. July 11: Stage 8 - Station des Rousses - Morzine Avoriaz, 189 km
The first high mountains stage. Champion Alberto Contador should make a move to prove a point, although he might want to wait a bit before taking the leader’s yellow jersey. July 12: Rest day - Morzine Avoriaz July 13: Stage 9 - Morzine Avoriaz - St Jean de Maurienne, 204.5 km
Two category one climbs and one out of category on this Alpine stage. But the top of the Col de la Madeleine is 32 km from the finish, so the favourites are unlikely to attack as they will want to avoid being isolated in the descent to St Jean de Maurienne. July 14: Stage 10 - Chambery - Gap, 179 km
The descent from the Col du Noyer is a very tricky one. In 2003, Joseba Beloki crashed and Lance Armstrong had to cut through a field to avoid a mishap. July 15: Stage 11 - Sisteron - Bourg les Valence, 184.5 km
A favourable terrain for the sprinters. July 16: Stage 12 - Bourg de Peage - Mende, 210.5 km
The stage ends with the climb of the Cote de Mende and a likely battle between the favourites. With sections of the climb having a gradient of over 10 per cent, some could suffer. July 17: Stage 13 - Rodez - Revel, 196 km
One of the last chances to shine for those who do not like the mountains. July 18: Stage 14 - Revel - Ax 3 Domaines, 184,5 km
The final climb comes shortly after the demanding ascent to the Col de Pailheres. One for the big guns. July 19: Stage 15 - Pamiers - Bagneres de Luchon, 187.5 km
The final descent is extremely tricky. One could lose the Tour there. July 20: Stage 16 - Bagneres de Luchon - Pau, 199.5 km
Although the last ascent is far from the finish, there are four tough climbs: Aubisque, Tourmalet, Aspin, Peyresourde. In 1969, Eddy Merckx tackled these four climbs to win after a 180-km solo breakaway. July 21: Rest day - Pau July 22: Stage 17 - Pau - Col du Tourmalet, 174 km
The Col du Tourmalet will be ascended for the second time in three days as the Tour celebrates the centenary of the Pyrenees in the race. Obviously a stage for a good climber. July 23: Stage 18 - Salies de Bearn - Bordeaux, 198 km
One for the sprinters. Teams will battle it out for the teams classification as well. July 24: Stage 19 - Bordeaux-Pauillac, individual time trial 52 km
A completely flat time trial, the only one in this year’s Tour. July 25: Stage 20 - Longjumeau - Paris Champs Elysees, 102.5 km The usual final parade featuring eight loops on the Champs Elysees.
Total distance: 3,642 km

This is about as newsworthy as a study that shows beer gets you drunk

Tuesday, June 22, 2010 0 comments
GENEVA (AP)—Team RadioShack has confirmed that Lance Armstrong will ride in next month’s Tour de France.

Team director Johan Bruyneel says Tuesday that seven-time Tour winner Armstrong will be joined by Andreas Kloeden of Germany, Americans Levi Leipheimer and Chris Horner, and Janez Brajkovic of Slovenia.

Also racing for RadioShack will be Portugal’s Sergio Paulinho, Yaroslav Popovych of Ukraine, Swiss rider Gregory Rast and Dmitriy Muravyev of Kazakhstan.

The 38-year-old Armstrong finished second in the Tour of Switzerland on Sunday, performing well in the mountain stages and the time trials.

Armstrong crashed at the Tour of California in May but escaped serious injury.

The Tour’s 97th edition begins July 3 in the Dutch port of Rotterdam.

Summer Tee Shirt Sale

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Announcing the Grease Monkey Wipes summer tee shirt sale. 

All in stock tees 30% off, no discount code needed.

Hurry supplies are limited and this offer will only run for a limited time.  So get on over to http://bit.ly/9ntymO
and get yours today.



Thanks and enjoy the ride.


Tim

The Missle from Mann crashes at the Tour de Suisse

Wednesday, June 16, 2010 0 comments


The Missle from Mann crashes at the Tour de Suisse

0 comments

Priceless

Tuesday, May 18, 2010 5 comments
White Ceepo Venom Time Trial Frameset: $3,000
White Sidi Ergo 2 Shoes: $500
White Assos FI 13 S5 Bib Shorts: $340
White Assos EVO Jersey: $270

White Bar Tape: $20

Having the foresight to stash a $0.99 Grease Monkey Wipes in your saddle bag or jersey pocket in case you get a flat so you can keep all your whites pristine: PRICELESS

Giro leader Vinokourov gives up Tour goals

Wednesday, May 12, 2010 1 comments
LONDON, May 12 (Reuters) - Alexandre Vinokourov has given up any hopes of winning the Tour de France later this year and will concentrate on helping team mate Alberto Contador to a third title, the Astana rider told Reuters.

The 36-year-old, who served a two year suspension for blood doping, is a surprise leader of the Giro d’Italia heading into Wednesday’s fourth stage, a 33-kilometre team time trial, and his goal was to win the Italian crown before aiding Contador in July.

“In the past everything was for victory as team leader at the Tour,” he told Reuters in a telephone interview from his hotel near Savigliano, Italy. “This year I have a different goal.

“I came to the Giro in my peak form, so the Giro is number one for me, and at the Tour de France my goal will be to help Contador win, so I will ride the Giro, take a break, then ride the Tour.”

Vinokourov, who denied any wrongdoing when he tested positive for blood doping in the 2007 Tour de France and was suspended for two years, added while being back in the sport had reinvigorated him he was aware his career was winding down.

“I hope to stay in professional cycling, because I’ve spent most of my life in bike racing, and I’d like to stay doing my favourite thing,” he said when asked of any future plans.

“That will all be seen either in this year or in the next one, how I do in the races. I’ll make a decision after the Tour de France.”

Vinokourov made a low-key return last year when his suspension ended and has won two major races already this year, at Italy’s Giro del Trentino and then the Liege-Bastogne-Liege race in Belgium, where he was booed by spectators and grilled heavily by the media.

Despite his earlier success, the ethnic Russian from the tiny farm village of Beshikul in northern Kazakhstan, was still surprised that he was in such strong form in Italy.

“I didn’t expect the pink jersey,” he said in reference to taking a surprise lead on Monday after a windswept third stage in the Netherlands knocked dozens of riders to the ground.

“To wear the pink jersey at my first Giro, it’s more than I could have dreamed.

“If we hold on it remains to be seen, because it’s still a long way to (the end of the race in) Verona and I don’t want to kill the team.

“The last week will be really hard, and so it’s better for the team to preserve it’s strength.”

Armstrong Returns to Tour of the Gila

Wednesday, April 21, 2010 3 comments
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP)—Lance Armstrong is returning to the Tour of the Gila.

The seven-time Tour de France champion competed in the New Mexico event last year and has decided to return for next week’s five-day race, held in the Silver City area.

“Not only do the state and the local fans embrace this race, but the terrain, competition, and timing is perfect,” Armstrong said in a statement released by bicycle components manufacturer Sram Corp., the event’s title sponsor.

“We are looking forward to taking the start in Silver City. It’s a great event,” he said.

Armstrong will be joined by his friend and teammate, Levi Leipheimer, who claimed two stage victories in winning last year’s Tour of the Gila overall title. Armstrong finished second.

“The second time around is even better,” race director Jack Brennan said Wednesday. “They saw the race. They experienced it and they wanted to come back. They had a good experience last year. They found the race to be of value in their preparation for the Tour of California and the Tour de France.”

Jason McCartney, another member of Armstrong’s Team RadioShack, will join them.

However, the three Team RadioShack cyclists will compete independently of their squad because of a rule barring ProTour teams from national level events. Like last year, Armstrong will wear the kit of the Mellow Johnny’s bike shop in Austin, Texas.

Chris Horner raced with Armstrong and Leipheimer in 2009, when all three were members of the Astana team.

Armstrong wasn’t expected to come back to New Mexico, but he’ll be on the start line Wednesday. The race, which covers 339 miles and features 25,231 feet of climbing, runs through May 2.

Last year, the Tour of the Gila fit into Armstrong’s comeback schedule as he recovered from a broken collarbone. While it helped him prepare for the Giro d’Italia, team general manager Johan Bruyneel indicated then that Armstrong and Leipheimer normally wouldn’t have attended the Gila.

Armstrong changed his mind, encouraged not only by Silver City’s support of the race but because the Gila competition will again feature his developmental squad. The Trek-Livestrong team is led by young talent Taylor Phinney.

Armstrong Sick as a Dog?

Wednesday, April 7, 2010 2 comments
ANGERS, France (AP)—Lance Armstrong has pulled out of the Circuit de la Sarthe race in western France before the second day because of an illness.

The seven-time Tour de France champion, who was looking forward to Wednesday’s time trial, was suffering from diarrhea, vomiting and a fever, Team RadioShack spokesman Philippe Maertens said.

“It’s really bad, believe me,” Maertens said by phone.

The team released a statement Wednesday saying Armstrong had come down with a “viral intestinal infection” after the first stage Tuesday.

“He will return to the US as soon as his condition allows,” the statement said.

Overnight, Armstrong wrote on his Twitter page: “Sicker than a dog now. This sucks.”

The American, who was riding in the four-day race as part of his preparation for the Tour de France in July, had previously tweeted that several of his eight teammates who rode in Sunday’s Tour of Flanders had caught “a stomach bug.”

The race was Armstrong’s first competition in mainland France this year and he was 29th overall after the first stage on Tuesday, won by Spain’s Luis Leon Sanchez.

“Lance was really keen on performing well, especially in the time trial of Wednesday afternoon,” said Team RadioShack sporting director Alain Gallopin in the statement. He said Armstrong showed improvement at the Tour of Flanders.

Team RadioShack announced Tuesday that Armstrong would not compete as previously planned in the Amstel Gold race on April 18, and he will return to the United States after the Sarthe race.

Maertens said Armstrong wanted to spend time with his family and felt fit enough to prepare at home. He plans to ride in the Tour of California in May before returning to Europe for the Dauphine Libere or the Tour of Switzerland in June.

ONE DAY SALE

Wednesday, March 17, 2010 2 comments
Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone!!

At Grease Monkey Wipes we are proud to offer a "green" degreasing wipe. Our all-natural cleaning formula powers through the toughest grease and grime.

Since it is St. Patrick's Day we decided to run a one day sale of 25% off all items at our online store.

You can visit the store here.

All you have to do is put "green" in the discount area. But hurry up, the sale ends at midnight tonight.

Luck of the Irish to ya.

Expo West 2010 Recap

3 comments
Over the past weekend, I headed out to Anaheim California for Natural Products Expo West, known as "the world's largest natural and organic products tradeshow." To sum it up, I nicknamed this show "The Academy Awards of Whole Foods." Every product you could expect to find at Whole Foods, or any other natural specialty store, or really even your everyday grocery store, was there.


Grease Monkey Wipes has been blessed in so many ways, especially after the Shark Tank aired. In this instance, we received an email from a most generous man in California who essentially offered to be our mentor in the grocery store and natural products industry. After numerous phone calls and emails, I finally found myself face to face with him after picking up my Expo West badge.


From there, he walked the entire trade show with me, introducing me to presidents, CEOS, sales managers, distributors, key players, etc... and taught me how the industry works. One word: Priceless!!!


One of the contacts I made was Ricky from Earthworm. First, I must recommend his products, which are earth-friendly natural cleaners. Next, I must say that this guy has serious energy and passion. He took just one product from an idea to national distribution. You can find these products all over the country (and you should!) - and it's all because of Ricky. He spent nearly an hour talking to me, teaching me the ropes, and answering my questions all while selling like a madman- awesome!

Here we are each showing off our earth-friendly products.
Here is an example of a company that I loved. I spoke with the president and national sales manager for a while, all while snacking happily on their freeze-dried fruits. (YUM!)


During the show, I was surprised that people actually recognized me. I will say it was probably our monkey logo that caught people's attention, however it was still cool that people knew about Grease Monkey Wipes.

One of those people who recognized me was Paul from Kor. Here we are standing in front of his very sleek water bottles. I spoke at length with Paul about how he formed his company and what his sales strategies look like. It was so cool to talk to another business owner about his experiences... and this was just one of many conversations I had like this.
As a cyclist, of course I know Camelbak from my cycling/running background - and it was so cool that people in that company also recognized Grease Monkey Wipes! Thanks for the new insulated bottle, guys - I appreciate it!

I spoke with so many companies, it's hard to keep track. But I'll try to remember some of my other favorites, including: Marzetti, dermaE, Miltons, Erin Baker's, Food Should Taste Good, Eternal Water, Frontera Foods, Red Leaf Water, fellow Austinites Beanitos and ThinkBaby, Kaia, Eat Cleaner, and fellow Shark Tankers Element Bars.
Overall, it was an amazing eye-opening trip. Many contacts were made. Much was learned. I am now even more confident in the success of Grease Monkey Wipes.
And... I am thankful to the kindness of a total stranger who is taking us under his wing. We will owe much of our future success to him.
Now it's time to hit the bike to work off all of the samples I got from these amazing companies! :)

Jack's First Tri

Saturday, March 6, 2010 4 comments
This was taken from the Jack & Adams blog and describes Jack's first triathlon experience...

With Triathlon season quickly approaching, many triathletes reminiscence about their first tri, while newcomers eagerly anticipate the endeavor. Here, Jack Murray, owner of Jack & Adam's Bicycles, writes about his first triathlon. (from the J&A newsletter archives, March 2008)


Almost every day customers visit our shop seeking advice on participating in their first triathlon. When I have the opportunity to help someone in this situation, I share with them the story of my first tri in hopes of helping them feel more comfortable about their endeavor.

It was the summer of 1994. The event was the Victoria Splash & Dash in Victoria, Texas. I had trained for a few weeks and was sure I was in peak condition for an easy victory. I was, after all, fresh off a 1600 meter run victory and bronze in the 3200 at the Texas High School Championship Relays. How hard could a little tri be? I thought I knew all there was to know about swimming, biking, and running. Turns out - I knew nothing!

The morning started with me loading my bike into the trunk of my mom's car and driving with her and my sister to the event one hour away. I arrived around 6 AM for an 8 AM start. This was before on-line registration, so I registered for the event that morning and picked up my packet. As people started to arrive, I noticed the differences between my rusty old mountain bike and some of their $2000 race machines. My confidence, however, was not crushed; I was still sure I could win. After racking my bike, I headed over to the pool area where everyone was warming up. As I got closer, I noticed everyone was wearing tight swimsuits and goggles. I was sure, however, that my baggy Umbro "soccer shorts" and lack of goggles was the best way to go. My plan was simple - go as fast as I could for as long as I could.

They were letting swimmers go every 5 seconds and we had to snake up and down the pool for a total of 300 meters. I patiently waited in line until 5,4,3,2,1 go, I was off. I swam as fast as I could to the other side and then back again. 50 meters down 250 to go. By 150 my arms started to hurt and my eyes were stinging from the chlorine. By 200 I was kicking off the bottom every few strokes and swimming with my eyes closed, by 250 I was just trying to get out of the water alive, and without my shorts falling off. After the swim, I was sure I was still in good position to hold my own on the bike.

I grab my bike out of transition and head out on to the 12 mile course. As I start to ride I realize I am not catching anyone. The rusty, old mountain bike that I borrowed from my high school track coach was not the stallion I thought it was. Riding around the block a few times for training was probably not the riding that all these people were doing. The fact that my bike could not shift was more trouble than I thought it would be. And looking back, my saddle was also about 5 to 7 inches to low. Towards the end of the ride I was being passed by a 10 year old girl and her mom; it was then that I started to feel my big victory slipping away. Still I was determined to blaze through transition and light up the run.

Transition to the run was probably my most memorable moment. As I speed to the transition area, volunteers are yelling at me to dismount my bike. As I go to lift my feet off the pedals, I forget that they are hooked in by cages. The combination of speed and my feet getting caught was enough to send me crashing like a bowling ball into a bike rack with about 6 bikes on it. The volunteers quickly help me up and as I throw my bike in the grass next to a picnic table (the rack was down), I remember thinking how much fun I was having. The whole day was something I had never experienced before.

It took about a mile into the run before I got my legs out of bike riding mode. I had no idea how riding a bike would effect legs on the run. As I rounded the final stretch I saw all these happy people cheering for me, eating, drinking, and just having a good time. I talked to people for about an hour. I met a guy my age that had been doing triathlons for years. I met some members of the Corpus Christi tri club and was invited to their next meeting. I signed up for their monthly newsletter. In short - I was hooked. It was nothing I thought it would be. It was fun and I discovered a whole different type of people that did not exist in my 5000 person hometown.

Through the years of collegiate running, duathlons, sprint tri's, half Ironman events, Ironman events, and working in the shop, my first tri memory will forever help me keep our sport in perspective. It is not about where you finish, what type of bike you have, what you do for a living, where you are from or where you are going. It is about having fun and that is it. You can have many goals in our sport without forgetting this key element. I am constantly reminded of this by some of the greatest in the sport like Michael Lovato and James Bonney. If you ask either of them why they have dedicated and built their lives around this sport, they will tell you the same.

Gary Fisher, Mellow Johnny’s sponsor Hotel San Jose team

Friday, February 26, 2010 3 comments
Team Hotel San Jose, an Austin, Texas-based road team, has two new sponsors for this season, Gary Fisher Bicycles and the Mellow Johnny’s bike shop.

The team’s full name is now Team Hotel San José/Mellow Johnny’s Presented by Subaru-Gary Fisher.

“Having the support of companies that are so easily integrated into the cycling scene is both exciting and satisfying,” said Todd Reed, the team’s executive director.

Gary Fisher Bicycles is supplying the team with Gary Fisher Cronus custom carbon road bikes (custom painted in the squad’s green, orange and black color scheme) with SRAM Red components and HED carbon wheels. Gary Fisher himself will be on hand Friday night at Mellow Johnny’s to showcase his support of the team in an event that is open to the public.

Poor Contador

Thursday, February 25, 2010 4 comments
Alberto Contador isn’t happy about the UCI’s decision to ban his Specialized Shiv time trial bike on the eve of Sunday’s decisive final TT in the Volta ao Algarve.

The UCI notified Astana and Saxo Bank team management via e-mail Friday that the Shiv time trial bike – which was unveiled as a prototype in last year’s Tour de France – did not conform to UCI’s rules.

“I am not happy about it, but we are working together to get something ready. It was a surprise for everyone,” said Contador. “I’ve been training on the Shiv for months and now I have to race on something I’ve never ever ridden before. The other bike is no better or worse, it’s just that it’s a different bike. Tomorrow we’ll just to do the best we can.”

The point of contention is a reinforced section of frame between the head tube and down tube that helps flow air around the down tube and provides extra stability. This section of frame extends beyond an 8cm “box” measured across the cross-section of the tube as outlined in UCI rules.

When measured off the head tube, the bike fits within the rules, but because this part of the frame wraps around to the down tube, the UCI also insisted that a measurement also be taken off the down tube. It was here that the bike ran into trouble and extended beyond the 8cm limit.

The ruling immediately affects riders at both Specialized-sponsored ProTour teams, Astana and Saxo Bank. Saxo Bank riders competing in this week’s Ruta del Sol also will not be allowed to use the bikes. The bike is still “street legal” for use in triathlon.

Company officials in Portugal said they have been working closely with the UCI since last year to assure that the Shiv would be compliant to UCI rules. Dating back to last summer, Specialized twice changed design aspects after the UCI raised concerns and met face-to-face with UCI officials to discuss the frame.

Despite a month’s long dialogue with UCI officials, they insist they didn’t hear about the UCI’s concerns until late January, and by then, the bikes were already in the hands of riders preparing for the first major races of the 2010 season.

“We are extremely frustrated, because we were in contact with the UCI since last year and we never got a clear indication there was a problem with the bike until January 29,” said Simone Toccafondi, sports marketing manager for the road Specialized. “We want to fully cooperate with the UCI and comply with their rules. We believed we were doing the right thing.”

UCI officials could not be contacted for comment on this story, but the UCI has been making noises about stricter enforcement of design guidelines dating back to last year’s Tour of California.

There’s been some confusion and different interpretations of UCI rules language and how they are applied to time trial bike design.

Stunned by the UCI decision, officials from Astana and Specialized on the ground in Portugal put aside their frustration and mobilized Saturday to prepare a new bike for Contador’s defense of his yellow jersey.

Instead of racing The Shiv for the first time, Contador instead will compete on a 2009 Transition TT frame that was modified to meet UCI requirements. Mechanics literally sawed off 2cm of two reinforcements off the bike to fall within the 8cm rule.

The pieces could be trimmed off the Transition frame because they were not an integral part of the frame material. It would be impossible to cut them off the Shiv, however, without damaging the integrity of the carbon-fiber frame.

Contador briefly rode the modified bike following Saturday’s stage to get a feel for the bike and to get the best fit possible. Although other Transition frames arrived, the other Astana riders will likely ride on their road bikes with aero wheels and handlebar extenders because the focus was on pulling together Contador’s bike.

The ruling underscores the sometimes thin line that bike manufacturers must straddle in trying to comply with the UCI’s rules, yet try to push the envelope when it comes to bike design and development.

Bruyneel set to lead RadioShack in Tour de France

Tuesday, February 23, 2010 2 comments
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP)—Johan Bruyneel has a new team but an old feeling as he gets ready to go for a 10th Tour de France title this year.

Bruyneel helped lead Lance Armstrong to seven straight Tour de France titles from 1999-2005. He also won eight team Tour titles with USPS and Discovery before winning with Astana last year.

Now, he is the director of Armstrong’s newly formed RadioShack Cycling Team and said he’s happy to have total control after a tough year with Astana.

“It’s my team, it’s the team I built, and it’s going to be a good atmosphere,” Bruyneel said Friday. “That’s the main reason I’m back into my team. Astana has never felt as my team.”

Bruyneel was in Colorado as the featured speaker at the USA Triathlon International Coaching Symposium. During his nearly two-hour speech, he talked about his relationship with Armstrong and his struggles with Astana in 2009.

Despite winning the team title, and coaching overall winner Alberto Contador, it wasn’t a fulfilling experience for Bruyneel. He clashed with Contador and the sponsors, and his loss of control led to his decision to leave the team.

“It was not a very hard decision because of the sometimes stress-filled relationship with Alberto, and the difficulties within the team and with the sponsors of the team. It was a very difficult relationship I had,” he said.

There was tension between Contador and Armstrong, who finished third. Contador said publicly he “never had admiration for Armstrong,” and Armstrong countered that Contador had “lots to learn.”

Bruyneel and Armstrong left Astana to form RadioShack.

“It’s basically the same relationship with the same people. It’s a co-partnership with Lance and his management,” Bruyneel said. “It’s like Discovery and Postal again.”

Bruyneel said Armstrong, even at 38, is motivated to win his eighth Tour. The cancer survivor came out of retirement last year.

“He’s super motivated to beat Alberto, but at the same time he knows it’s going to be difficult,” Bruyneel said. “I think that brings his motivation to a higher level.”

Floyd Landis: Evil Computer Hacker?

Tuesday, February 16, 2010 4 comments
A French judge has issued an arrest warrant for Floyd Landis for allegedly hacking into a French anti-doping lab’s computer system, the president of the French anti-doping agency told AFP Friday.

The investigation into the alleged hacking began in 2006.

Pierre Bordry, head of the French agency, told AFP Landis used documents that were “illegally hacked from the authority’s laboratory computer system” in his defense after he was stripped of his 2006 Tour de France win following a positive test for drugs. A French judge issued the warrant on January 28 in response to the American’s failure to answer a summons issued in November, Bordry said.

According to Bordry, the warrant applies to those countries, including the U.S., with which France has an extradition agreement. However, French authorities have since said that the warrant applies only to French national territory.

The judge intends to ask him “to explain how he came to obtain certain information that was used in his defense,” added Bordry.

Landis did not immediately return a message VeloNews left on his cell phone voice mail. But in an e-mail to The Los Angeles Times, he denied the hacking allegation and said no warrant had been served against him.

“I can’t speak for Arnie (Baker), but no attempt has been made to formally contact me,” Landis said in the e-mail. “It appears to be another case of fabricated evidence by a French lab who is still upset a United States citizen believed he should have the right to face his accusers and defend himself.” Baker, a former American rider and cycling coach for whom an arrest warrant was issued in November, is also being sought by the French authorities in connection with the affair.

Landis tested positive for a skewed testosterone-epitestosterone ratio following the 17th stage of the 2006 edition of the Tour de France. He had won that stage in spectacular fashion with a solo attack that virtually secured him the yellow jersey only 24 hours after a dramatic collapse on stage 16.

But he was stripped of his Tour win in September 2007, more than a year after he crossed the finishing line on the Champs-Élysées in Paris. He was banned from racing for two years, making his return in January 2009.

During that time he carried on the legal fight to the international Court of Arbitration for Sport (CAS), sport’s highest appeal authority, which threw out his case in June 2008 and ordered him to pay $100,000 in judicial costs to the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency (USADA).

The accusation of hacking first arose when the AFLD lodged legal proceedings on November 7, 2006, after becoming aware that documents belonging to them had been used in Landis’ defense.

According to sources close to the inquiry the electronic paper trail led them to Baker’s computer address.

Contacted by VeloNews in April of last year, Baker denied involvement in the alleged attempts to break into the lab’s computer system.

“I did not hack into, nor did I help or hire anyone to hack into the LNDD computer system,” he wrote.

Meanwhile, Landis continues to race. He competed in the Tour of the Bahamas in January and this past weekend raced in Arizona’s Valley of the Sun.

9 Tips to a Safer Ride with Trey Steele

Wednesday, February 10, 2010 2 comments
Stolen from our friends at Jack & Adams and written by Trey Steele. Trey is the co-founder of the Grease Monkey Wipes sponsored Austin Cycle Camp. Some great information...

The roads of Central Texas are bustling with the sounds of cars, trucks, SUV’s, and the lovely hum of hubs, cogs, chains, and cranks that signal cycling hibernation is over and it’s time to start thinking about the 2010 season. Whether you’re a total road rookie or seasoned veteran, the simple fact is that as the number of vehicles and bicycles on the roads increase, so do your chances of being involved in an accident. Here are nine tips to help make this season a safe one.

Tip 1 – If you wouldn’t do it in you car, don’t do it on your bike

We can talk forever about rules of the road, riding defensively, and the like. But the bottom line is that if you’re about to do something on your bike you would never think of doing in your car, don’t. I see cyclists blow through red lights and tempt their fate at four way stops. If you’re trying to see how fast you can go, sign up for a race. Otherwise, set an example for everyone and follow the traffic laws. That’s cooler than ending up in ICU.

Tip 2 – Carry Identification


In the event something happens, it’s important for emergency personnel to know who you are and any existing medical conditions they may need to be aware of. That can be as easy as carrying a cell phone and programming an I.C.E. number (in case of emergency). There are also other options available including Road I.D., an identification band that provides first responders a number to call for your pertinent medical history. In fact, J&A will soon be carrying Road I.D., so drop by and pick one up!

Tip 3 – Ride away from the sun

As winter slowly fades, it leaves the sun at some seriously blinding angles this time of the year. There’s no reason to be riding East early in the morning right now. It’s very easy for a driver not to see you (or even another car for that matter). Get in the habit of riding away from the sun. Not only will your eyes thank you for not having to squint through your glasses, you’ll give motorists a better chance of seeing you.

Tip 4 – Find roads where the traffic speed is slower

A good rule of thumb is if the posted speed limit is 35 mph or slower, you have a lower risk of being in an accident with a car. Simply put, slower moving vehicles give drivers more time to react. If you need to do some training on a road with a faster speed limit, look for shoulders that are at least a car width wide. The usual suspects of 360 and Bee Cave road are good options. INSIDE TIP – watch for right turns. Once the speed of the road gets up, your biggest risk is cars turning right. Find roads with a limited number of right turns.

Tip 5 – Lights are cool

If you’re riding in the morning or evening (like most of us), get some lights. And no, high visibility clothing does not replace a light. Go ahead and get one for the front of your bike as well. I would recommend a rear light that uses LED bulbs and flashes at varying intervals and intensity. INSIDE TIP - try before you buy. If you have a saddlebag that sits at an angle, take your bike in and work with someone in the shop to find a light that works. Bottom line – if it’s flashing at the moon, the big black SUV behind you may not see it.

Tip 6 – The Rear Wheel Rules

When riding in a pace line, if you’re not looking at the rear wheel right in front of you, you’re looking at a crash. In fact, over 85% of all bicycle crashes occur with another bicycle, not a motorist. And if you want to end up eating a pavement sandwich, the fastest way to do that is overlap your front wheel with the rear wheel of the rider in front of you. The rear wheel is only part of the “cockpit” you should be checking including left and right of the cyclist in front of you and an occasional glance to the front of the train. If you want to enjoy a respite from the wind by drafting, that begins as far as two feet behind the rider in front of you. The closer you get should be dependent on your handling skills but most importantly, how well you know that rider and what their tendencies are.

Tip 7 – Communicate

If I’m riding behind you, I’m not easily able to see road debris, obstructions, or any obstacle that could cause me to touch pavement. It’s your responsibility in a group ride to communicate these to the riders behind you. If you’re new to cycling, you’ve probably seen riders using hand signals to communicate these obstacles to one another. Just like the opening scene from A Few Good Men, theses gestures should be passed along quickly. And if someone points out something on the road, that’s a good time to move slightly in the opposite direction of the point. Don’t be a rubbernecker! Just pass the gesture along and move aside. Likewise for any verbal command passed forward. “Car back” means just that. Slide over, position yourself single file, and allow the vehicle to pass safely. If in doubt, Point or Yell it out.

Tip 8 – Get off the road

At some point in your cycling career, you will encounter a mechanical issue with your bike. It could be something as simple as a flat or more complex like a broken chain. In any case, it’s important to assess the situation and perform your repair OFF THE ROAD. And this goes for anyone else on the group ride who has stopped to wait for the repair. I’ve seen more than one rider stick their “tail” out in traffic during a mechanical stop completely oblivious to the fact. If you’re on a group ride and everyone stops for a mechanical issue, get yourself completely off the road.

Tip 9 – Be Vigilant, Not a Vigilante

If you do end up in a collision with a vehicle, try to remain as calm as possible. It’s easy to find yourself in a state of shock and the next thing you know, you’re trying to take matters into your own hands. This is usually more the case if you’re part of a group ride and someone else in your group is struck. If the vehicle involved in the accident stops, call 911 and provide detailed information about your location. If they don’t stop, do your best to get a vehicle description, license plate number, and provide that to authorities when you make your call to 911. Then turn your attention to keeping everyone calm until help arrives.

Being safe is a responsibility we all share. If you work on it the same way you do any other part of your training, 2010 should be one of your safest ever.

Great stuff Trey...

Trey Steele is a USA Cycling Certified Coach and Co Founder of Austin Cycle Camp, providing fitness camps and skills clinics to cyclists of all ability levels.

Racing this week: Mallorca, Qatar and Tour Med

Monday, February 8, 2010 1 comments
February is a time to clear out the cobwebs, stretch the legs and get back to the business of racing.

It’s common to see Australians and Spanish riders take early-season victories, thanks in part of the mild winter (or summer, for the Aussies), which allows them to train almost uninterrupted throughout the off-season.

Some riders come in guns a-blazin’, looking to notch some confidence-building wins and hone form for the spring classics. Others are just looking to put some race miles in the legs for goals further on down the road.

In either case, everyone seems glad to be back at race speed. This week, the Mallorca Challenge in Spain’s Balearic islands and the Tour Mediterranéen along France’s Med coast fit the bill. And then there’s the Tour of Qatar, entering its ninth edition of one of cycling’s most exotic locales for a race.

Post Shark Tank Update

Monday, February 1, 2010 12 comments
For those who are curious, the response from Shark Tank was greater than we ever imagined. We thought we would share a few stats:

1) Grease Monkey Wipes was the #1 most searched term on Google the night of the show, and #3 the following day.
2) Web traffic to www.greasemonkeywipes.com increased by over 6,000%.
3) We nearly tripled our sales from 2009 in 1 week.
4) We have received thousands of emails since the show. Tim & I are trying our best to personally respond to each one. (We're finally just about finished)
5) We now have people knocking on OUR door, versus us begging them to answer theirs.
6) Our little company has legs, and we are so much closer to creating a global wipe empire!

For anyone curious, we talk with Barbara, Chelsea (who works with Barbara) and/or Robert at least a few times a week. The deal was real - and they are amazing mentors.

Tim & I are counting our blessings every day... and again extending thanks to all of our supporters. THANK YOU!

Basic Bicycle Maintenance at Home

Thursday, January 28, 2010 4 comments
Borrowed from our friend James at Jack & Adams...

Even though the mechanics at Jack and Adams are more than happy to work on your bikes, there are a few things that you can do at home to keep your bike in good working order. One of the most important things is to keep the proper air pressure in your tires. If your tires have the right amount of air in them, not only will it be easier to ride, but you will get less flats and your tires will last a lot longer.

Another important thing to do is to keep your chain properly lubricated. If you keep your chain properly lubed it will not only work better but your bike will run smoother and the life of your chain will be prolonged quite a bit.

The easiest way to make your bike last longer and look better is to keep your bike clean. Not everyone can use a hose and bucket at home, but anyone can at least wipe down the bike with a Grease Monkey Wipes if it is just a little dirty. When you keep your bike clean, everything not only works better, but it will help lengthen the life of your drivetrain and help you to find any issues with your bike whether it is finding a crack in your frame or simply keeping your hands clean when you have to change a flat. I try to wash my bike at least once every couple of weeks under normal riding conditions and after every ride that is wet or muddy.

Shark Tank: Erin's Experience

Sunday, January 17, 2010 15 comments
Do you have any idea how hard it is to keep something as fantastic as Shark Tank a secret for 5+ months? Especially when it includes an outcome such as ours? Well, I can tell you.

Near Impossible.

But we did it. Which means that we have 5 months of catching up to do! To start, I thought I'd give my version of preparing and being in the Shark Tank.

In June 2009, Tim saw a post on Twitter about a tv show looking for new companies. He sent in an application, and then got a request for an audition video. That video will probably pop up at some point, but basically - Tim & I filmed while on our bikes, conversing about our company. The timing was great because I would have to ship my bike off to Idaho for my first Ironman Triathlon a few days later. The producers liked our video and sent us a more detailed application. To be honest, I never entertained the fact that we might be chosen until we received an email saying we were a semi-finalist. At this point, we got excited.

A few weeks later, Tim got the call saying we were chosen to go to LA and film for the show. When Tim let me know, I was so excited that I jumped around the parking lot outside my gym for about 5 minutes. I'm sure I looked pretty crazy to anyone driving by, but little did they know I had just gotten one of the most important phone calls of my life!

Soon after, we had our first conference call with our amazing producers, Bill & Matt. This is when the work began. Tim & I have been running Grease Monkey Wipes for over a year and felt like we had a good idea of our market and a good grasp on our company. However, we wanted to be sure we had answers to everything the sharks might ask us. You might remember that Robert said we had all the answers to his questions. That was not a mistake. We researched and practiced and researched more. In fact, I felt like I was back in business school doing case study after case study. Of course, this case study would be the most important one of my life.

Then there was "the pitch." We knew we had to have a solid, compelling pitch to interest the sharks. Producers Bill & Matt gave us so much important feedback. They listened to us for weeks until they felt we had the best pitch possible. I can still remember Tim & I practicing it over and over. We paid attention to the smallest details, even taking note of where each of us felt most comfortable standing relative to one another!

Before we knew it, our big weekend arrived. Everything sunk in once we arrived at our hotel and were given instructions on how to proceed for our stay. Meetings + practice + post-practice meetings. Tim & I continued to rehearse our pitch and go over all the possible shark questions we could think of. I will say - we were ready!

Fast forward to us waiting behind the big wooden doors... opening them... and walking down the hallway towards the sharks. I never really had time to get nervous until we stood before them and waited for our cue. My heart slowly made its way up towards my throat and I was sure the microphones could hear it thumping! We heard the cue, and Tim started our introductions. Believe it or not, all the sharks were smiling at us! At that point, I realized, "this is fun!" and the nerves started to fade. As we continued our pitch, I became completely focused on showing the sharks just how great Grease Monkey Wipes are. Tim was phenomenal at answering the shark's detailed questions, and together we did our best to prove ourselves and our business.
Yes, it was disappointing when Kevin O said he was out. Then Kevin H also said he was out, followed by Daymond. At least Daymond said that he like us and he liked the company. Then Barbara said no. Still disappointing, but at least so far, no one thought Grease Monkey Wipes was bad business - instead, we just weren't the business for them.

At that point, all our hope was on Robert. I felt deep in my gut that he wanted to be part of our team, but I knew we had to prove to him that WE were worth the investment. We had proven our business acumen, but now it was time to prove our HEART.
Robert asked, "Erin, in one sentence, why should I give you the money?"

I will take that question with me to the grave! This is when I gave it my all, and Tim backed me up. Then we waited as Robert thought and thought... and then we heard "I'm on board."

YES!!!!! We did it!!! But it got better.... before we could even realize what was happening, Barbara was on board too! We had hoped for one investor, but to get two? It was all I could do not to jump around again! We shook their hands and then made the return trip down the hallway. It's possible that Tim and I were so excited that we actually floated back down that hallway.

Fast forward again to this past Friday night. Tim and I held a watch party in Austin. It was surreal to see ourselves on TV, and yet we still couldn't share what happened. Our friends cheered and cheered (and boo'ed whenever a shark said no.) Then it was over, and we could FINALLY talk about our experience and celebrate!
Here we are thanking the 130+ people that came to the watch party. Meanwhile, our website was crashing because we had so much traffic. (A 4700% increase to be exact!) Emails & orders were piling in!

It's been 2 days since the show, and I am still floating on air. The response and feedback has been amazing. When Tim told me about Shark Tank, I never thought in a million years what it would mean for us. Now, we have two amazing partners that will help us create the "Global Wipes Empire" we have always wanted. (So much thanks goes to Barbara & Robert for believing in us!)

So... thanks for sharing this experience with us! Please continue to follow along and see what happens in Grease Monkey World! Expect Grease Monkey domination soon!
Cheers & Thanks
-Erin

Lastly, if you haven't checked it out yet, please visit us at http://www.greasemonkeywipes.com/!

Sneak Peek: Behind the Scenes at Shark Tank

Friday, January 15, 2010 85 comments
Today is our big day! We are so excited to that our friends, families, supporters, customers, fans, etc. get to experience what we experienced back in August 2009.

Here's a sneak peak!

Tim is far and away the "numbers guy." Ask this guy how many bike shops there are in the US, or what annual sales were in 2005, or exactly how many Grease Monkey Wipes we sold in July 2008... he knows it. Here he is studying during our flight to LA.
We got to spend Saturday wandering around Los Angeles. We found this shirt for Tim, which had the perfect message, but just didn't seem his style.
Now for a little secret about Team Grease Monkey Wipes. In order to mentally prepare ourselves for big meetings, we find a nearby deli. In LA, we studied our Yiddish at Factor's Deli.Onto Sunday, which was filming day. Here is Erin hanging out in the trailer. What you can't see is her token trick of staying calm by doing crossword puzzles.

This is Matt, one of our producers, taking the cruiser bike for a spin around the studio. We had 2 of the most amazing producers you could ask for. Every week we had phone conferences with them as they helped us, guided us and fought for us. We were lucky to have Matt & Bill on our side throughout this experience.


Here we are hanging outside the trailer with Producer Bill. We seem to be in an unintentional "Power-Stance" gearing up for our pitch.



And that's about all we can share for now. Please tune in tonight to see how it all turns out. Again, we want to give a HUGE thank you to everyone has has supported us along our journey. We couldn't do it without you!

Grease Monkey in the Austin Business Journal

12 comments

Grease Monkey to appear on ABC’s ‘Shark Tank’
By Laura Mohammad

You have a great start for an entrepreneurial business. But you need venture capital. So you prepare and make the pitch. That’s nerve-racking enough, but imagine making that pitch in front of millions.

That’s what cyclists Erin Whalen and Tim Stansbury did before the five millionaire panelists on ABC’s reality show “Shark Tank.”
“Shark Tank” features entrepreneurs pitching their businesses to five megasuccessful businesspeople in hopes of landing venture capital for taking their companies to the next level.

The drama and humor flow from the panelists grilling the pitchmen and, in some cases, engaging in hardball negotiations. The show featuring Grease Monkey was scheduled to air at 8 p.m. Jan. 15.

Whalen and Stansbury are the founders and owners of Austin-based Kong Concepts LLC. The company makes Grease Monkey Wipes, which are individually packaged, moistened citrus wipes that they say attack grease, oil, tar, ink and adhesives. With a nontoxic, all-natural product, the owners hope to expand beyond the cycling community to moms, the messes their charges provide and beyond.

Whalen and Stansbury saw a Twitter post about “Shark Tank” and decided in June to try out. They went through the application process, which included a five-minute audition tape, were selected as semifinalists, did more paperwork, and by Aug. 16, they were taping at Sony Studios in Los Angeles.

Whalen and Stansbury practiced their pitch together. It took them two weeks to get their material ready, including information on the company’s history, sales projections, how much money they needed, how much ownership they would be willing to trade, and every facet of the product.

“It was like a crash course in business pitches,” Whalen said. “We gave a pitch for three minutes. Then they barraged us with questions.”

Potential investors want to see two things: compelling marketability and assurance that the management team is the right one, said Rob Adams, director of the Moot Corp program at the University of Texas McCombs School of Business.

The inexperienced pitch focuses on the product and its features — “the comfort food of entrepreneurs,” Adams said.

For Whalen and Stansbury, the sharks asked about historical financials, how Whalen and Stansbury came up with the idea, the process of going from idea to having the product in hand, and their intentions for the investment funds.

Whalen said the two would like money to land a national distributor. Right now, the business partners are doing all the sales themselves. They also would like money to travel to trade shows.
“And having their insight would be valuable,” Whalen said of the sharks.

What has Whalen learned? “I can give an elevator pitch off the tip of my tongue really well,” Whalen said. Having done her homework, she can present quickly and effectively now.
While Whalen is obligated to remain mum about the outcome of their “Shark Tank” episode, things are going well for the company.

Whalen and Stansbury have sold 15,000 units, which retail for $1, since June 2008, with a focus on the cycling market. They recently announced that national cycle accessories retailer Paceline Products will begin selling their product this year, increasing distribution from 45 stores to more than 4,800.

Meanwhile, they want more. They see their future in mechanics, moms and motorcyclists.
Whalen and Stansbury met a little over three years ago through Austin du Athletes, a group that focuses on biking and running.

Whalen, an Ironman triathlon alumnus, said the two friends came up with the idea during the summer of 2007. They were fixing a flat tire on a charity bicyle ride in Katy, and they were covered in grease by the time they finished. “And we still had 60 miles to ride,” Whalen said.
The two, both with business backgrounds, started talking about developing a durable wipe that would clean grease and grime — “pretty much anything gross you would get on your hands,” Whalen said.

Whalen said she would do “Shark Tank” again. Riding 150 to 200 miles a week while in training, she hopes to gain nationwide exposure and spread the word of the wipes beyond the cycling community.

“The show might expand our market for us,” she said. “And we hope they decide that we are a viable company and they want to invest in us.”

The triathlete shied away from choosing a favorite shark: “They were definitely intimidating, but I respected the questions that they asked. They were very nice,” she said.

Copyright © 2010 American City Business Journals. All rights reserved.

Shark Tank Tomorrow

Thursday, January 14, 2010 11 comments
Just want to remind all our readers to tune into ABC's Shark Tank tomorrow, Friday, January 15 at 9 PM EST/8 PM CST.  See if Erin and I can swim with the sharks or become chum. Below is an image of Erin's first dive into the tank...



Jerseys That Make a Statement

4 comments
The other day I was reading some tweets and the twitterverse seemed to be all aflutter about the site Share the Damn Road.  So being the curious sort I had to take a look.  They have some really cool jerseys that really get point across.  Here is what they say about themselves...

Share The Damn Road was created by professional cyclist Phil Gaimon. Phil was tired of being honked at, buzzed, and cussed out while he trained, and frustrated that the speed of motor vehicles made witty and insulting replies impossible. To solve that problem, he set out to create a line of jerseys that express what he's always wanted to say to passing cars. Get one yourself, and finally experience the joy of having the last word.

The goal is to convey messages of safety and cyclist's rights, but there is an element of humor and frustration, which we feel cannot be denied in the cyclist/motorist relationship, so these jerseys are not for wimps.

So if you are not a wimp and want to wear a jersey that makes a statement check out Share the Damn Road.


Awesome Photos from DCM Photography

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The Grease Monkey Wipes team is so lucky to have amazing friends that help us along the way. Most recently, our friend and fellow cyclist Dave McLaughlin, owner of DCM Photography, did some photo shoots for us, our products and for some fabulous models (fellow triathlete friends Lindsey & George.)

He deserves a big shout out, and a huge recommendation from us in case you are looking for a photographer. Thanks Dave + Lindsey + George!

(Of course, if you like what you see here, make sure to visit our online store because it's all for sale!)