Tuesday, April 7, 2015


The Gorge Gravel Grinder was just a fantastic ride!  Great scenery, awesome views and a little climbing.  6900' in 80 miles!  Warren Hurley, Gordon King puled me along while Ivan and I survived the epic ride!!!

Sunday, March 22, 2015

Ephrata Gran Fondo

The Ephrata Gran Fondo lived up to the hype of a typical early spring ride regardless of the great weather we have HAD this year!  All I can say is that it started out with a light drizzle that continued to a driving rain for the first 50 miles. Just to stop in time for the Three Devils climb.  This would also be where I started warming up again!  I don't think many people were prepared to ride in this kind of rain, we just don't get it over here!  By the aid station we were soaked to the bone and freezing but great food and volunteers got us back on the bikes.  That and the fact none of us were smart enough to say the heck with it!  We hung on and survived, Warren leading the way, congrats to all for finishing a crazy good ride.  Here's the official recap from Jake below.


Saturday, March 14, 2015

Echo Red to Red 2015

The Echo Red to Red is officially in the books.  We had a great turn out this year with thirteen racers showing up for the team!  Weather was great, we had a little of that Eastern Oregon wind to contend with but not bad!  The course was about as good as it gets for conditions as well!! There were close to 400 racers this year, great work team and thanks for showing up!!!!

Here are the team results -
Cat 1 40-49
John Limbaugh 14th
John Burke   18th

Cat 19-39
Jerry Schliesman -8th
Kevin Hall - 10th
Jared Schliesman 11th
Will Holinberry   14th

Cat 2 40-49
Sean Jennart   17th

Cat 2 50-59
Mark Holtzinger  4th
Warren Hurley 17th

Charlie Wilcox - 4th

Cat 3 14-18
Josiah Schliesman  2nd
Nathan Limbaugh  4th

Beginner open
Jennifer Schliesman  4th

Saturday, March 7, 2015

Echo Red 2 Red

I wasn't there, but I guess it was epic and we had some solid first races of the year!  Jen even completed her first race, great work 4th place!  Josiah was our best placed rider overall with a 2nd place in Cat 3, 14-18.


That is it.  I don't have any pictures, everyone snap chats sh*t anymore and it makes for lame blog posts.

Monday, February 23, 2015

Birthday Post

So, to make a long, garbled.... blah, blah..... story real short, read on.

It's my Birthday, we are moving, I am super stressed, not riding at all and feeling the pressure.

However, 4 neat things happened today:

1- I drove the Wenatchee omnium road race course for the first time since I raced it, 8 years ago.  It was my very first race, I took 10th.  It was a real cool drive and a memorable race.

2- My wife bought me a new issue of Road magazine and I was really happy to see all the Cyclocross stories.  It made me miss Cyclocross and made me remember how much I loved it.   Check that off the list- missing something and then finding it again.

3- My brother sent me this video in an email and it made me really laugh!  I needed that.

 4- I got to spend my day driving around looking at houses and properties.  It was cool and the kids were really good.  I am new to house hunting and it's a pain but my wife and kids made it fun.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

ESI Grip Review

The first aftermarket grips I ever bought were for a custom build I was doing while employed at the long closed Ichabod’s Bike Shop.  It was a cool shop for the mid 1990’s when it was in Puyallup,WA.  When it moved a couple of towns over, the game was already up and I was just another kid stuck in an awkward job, trying to make it all work out.  My bike was a GT Backwoods I bought from Bonney Lake Bicycle and I wanted to make that thing awesome.  So, I bought a Judy, ordered a build kit from QBP and had my sweet, yellow and red Yeti gummy grips shipped.  They matched the bike perfectly, lasted about 8 years and HURT like hell. I was young and could take the abuse then.  

Go forward a lot of years and I was sitting in an Orthopedic Hand Specialists office trying to figure out why my finger would start moving and then spring shut like a trap.  It would have been cool to try to lure flies into my hand and snap down on them, but I didn’t think of that until now.  The good ideas are always slow to percolate.  Anyway, I was diagnosed with trigger finger, and afterwards walked down the hall to the OT.  She made a ridiculously expensive custom molded thermo-plastic shield to protect my tendon. (See illustration below detailing trigger finger, not my lame shield.)  It didn’t work and I was out of 400 hard earned dollars.   Real nice.  The thing is, I could have done some self remedy but I was slow to find the ESI Grips site and read the testimonials of guys like me who were fighting thru hand problems so they could still ride.  For less then 20.00 US dollars, I could have been on the road to a happy tendon.    That was 4.5 years ago.  

All grips are not the same.  While my Yeti’s lasted years, they sucked.  They moved all over, slid, had no grip and hurt.  Later I bought locking grips, they were really hard and hurt even more, but they stayed put.  After that, I got some bike company grips that looked similar to snake skin.  They stayed, they had traction but  they hurt real bad and wore down in weeks.  They all sucked in rain.

 When my buddy Ivan was showing off his bike/grips(ESI) at the 24 Hours ‘Round the Clock race in Spokane, WA I was intrigued, but that was pre-trigger era stuff.  After I did my research and refound ESI I ordered several pairs to try.  I like the idea of a solid Silicone grip.  Within weeks, my tendon inflammation was residing, my finger felt better and so did my hands.  My palms didn’t hurt anymore on jarring descents or on rides out at Black Diamond or Little Bald Mountain (Rocky trails) .  One huge advantage that became the biggest selling point for me was how well I could grip in rain, and W.Washington has a LOT of rain.  No pain, lots of grip.  But how could a soft, spongy grip last the harsh conditions that mountain bike racing  and training create?  I guessed I would get maybe a season.   I am on my second pair of grips in 4 years.  The first ones I took off to put on another bike and the green ones I currently have have 3 years into them and a lot of hard training and racing.  These grips last.   Now, with all things comes enrtropy and I will admit that the grip is starting to move now that there has been 3 years worth of riding to contaminate.  Dirt, sand and grime have a way of working into any surface and into any crack.  The cool news is rubbing alchohol will clean them right up and bring back some of the color, texture and feel.  Not to mention the bar/grip contact need, no required, by aggressive riding.   

Now, I do like the grip and they saved me a lot of pain.  My opinion is based not only on personal opinion from that circumstance, but also 3 years as a bike mechanic when I was doing that. I saw a lot of grips, I used a lot of grips. 

ESI makes three thicknesses of grips- From Thin to fat: Racers’s Edge= 30mm- Not that thin at all and perfect for weight weenies or folks who have small/med hands.  I have what I think are “large” hands according to the fit charts and I really like the Racer’s edge for comfort and feel.  Chunky is getting big and for those who might be set on Oury type grips. 

 Chunky Grips-  are 2mm larger at 32mm.  I used these once and liked them. 

Extra Chunky- I do not have experince with this grip, but at 34mm, they seem fat and that might be good on a bike I was planning on using at a touring or casual bike.  It would be really nice on a fully rigid single speed.  

ESI has a large color selection.  I see 9 colors for Racer’s and 9 colors for Chunky.  Extra Chunky has 5.  They are Grey, Black, Yellow, Orange, Green (Seahawks Green!), Blue, White, Red and Aqua.  I even see that they can do some custom color grips if you so desire.  


Racer’s are 50 grams light!  Chunky is 60 grams and Extra Chunky is 80. 

Cut that old crap off with a razor blade, but watch the carbon for the weight sissy.  Unless you like the ER.  Douse the grip with rubbing alcohol and then the bar, slide on, wait a couple of seconds and you have solid, no fuss grips. 

I would give the grips 4.75/5 stars for a lot of reasons and if your the type that doesn’t like to read:

Pro’s- Top quality, long lasting, light, and forgiving.  Top rated for hand troubles.  Grip superbly in wet conditions. Super easy to install. Cool bar plugs and sticker in every pack*

Con's- Get dirty fast in light colors, but do clean up some.  If you are crash prone, they can get ragged.  Eventually they will get to the point of contamination- ugly entropy again- but it takes a lot and you might get extra life by washing them.

*Well, at least that was the case 4 years ago! 

Lastly, I really want to try the road bar tape that ESI has just come out with.  I like the bar gel that is out there these days, but I also would like to try a pure silicone wrap and see how it holds up.  That, and I bet it would be superior for muddy CX races.  I will have to order some and do a review on that later.  They also make a ESI silicone tape that sounds interesting.  Too many choices. 

So, there you have it, the impressions of an amateur racer who has found a great grip.  It can keep pain and suffering out of my hands and in my legs.  Now, I just need to work on getting more time, I wonder who makes that?

Joe Schliesman

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Roll Your Own Meets Print Your Own

Click to see video

Click the picture to see an awe inspiring look at a guy doing what everyone wishes they could... or, at least those of us DIY types wish we could.

Quite frankly, I would be more happy with a good shop and all the tools to make nice steel bikes like this guy:


Of course, no one paid me to post that, I just like Curtlo bikes and having a sweet True Temper Ox Platinum Hardtail would be more then I could handle!

Until that magic day happens and I will be content riding whatever's between my legs!

Enjoy this spring like weather in "Junuary"!  ha.