|Professional Tweaks, Tips & Reviews By "AJ" Picarello
|I hope you find my Tweaks and Tips section helpful. If there is something you want to know about, send me an email and I will try to add that to one of my upcoming articles.
This Tec tip is dedicated to the people who have helped and continue to help make my business grow. The people who support DOWN CYCLES deserve some recognition. These riders have been loyal customers and more importantly best of friends. Some are racers, some just free ride and others may never ride again. They support the shop in many ways. They have helped my business grow by referring customers to me and purchasing products for their own bikes. They speak highly of my shop to others. Word of mouth seems to be the best advertising.
You have probably seen my "team page". Maybe you've noticed the team is shrinking. There're many reasons for this. Some racers quit the sport for various reasons. Some ride for other teams with bigger budgets and some were forced out of racing from sustaining major injuries from crashes. The dangers of downhill racing are obvious. Racing through trees, rocks, and other obstacles is risky business. You will suffer an injury if you fall and everyone falls. Some rider's bodies just wear out. When the doctor says "You may never walk again if you continue to race downhill bicycles" what do you do?
I opened for business January 1, 1999. The shop needed a lot of work A friend of mine Anthony Venezia helped me for weeks, driving from home or work over an hour to tear down shelf's, build display cases, clean everything, all this after building bridges all day! He even donated the first dollar to the shop. For years, Anthony has been a dedicated downhill racer. His nick name is "Animal" for a reason. He will destroy any product. If any companies need prototype testing, have Animal try it out. He has recently recovered from a serious crash that happened last summer. I'm sure I speak for the team; we're all exited to have him back. He adds character to the sport and I hope to see him again on the podium.
Leif Lorenzen is not only a shop employee, but a die hard DH racer. He's only 17 years old and is destroying the competition. He's a gifted rider. Not only does Leif kick butt at DH, but he rides and competes in Trials. He trains hard and will have a huge future in the sport. He is #1 in points for Jr. X locally and nationally. He has supported the shop in many ways. Having Leif race with the team jersey has attracted business. Lately, everyone wants the same products he uses. He loves the sport so much, he works for free.
Scott Flynn is a recently retired racer, doctor's orders. He was an amazing racer. Scott only rode his bike at the races. He would ride once a month, blow the dust off his Super 8 and podium finish. He finished 3rd overall in the 2001 Plattekill race series. This guy has guts. His style was impressive to say the least. He always pinned it. His crashes were even more spectacular. We nick named him "Scott Who?" With any luck, we will see Scott racing XC.
Kevin Senior was an up and coming Expert racer. He traveled out west to the Nationals one year and placed top 20. He was a talented, fearless rider who loved to go fast. I expect we will see Kevin at the track again. He was forced to quit riding for work related reasons. Hopefully his girlfriend and past team member, Lori Zuckerman will also race again. If anyone raced at Plattekill during the 2000 and 2001 series, you would remember Lori. She was always 1st place on the podium. Her race times embarrassed the competition.
Bobby Feliciano is another retired racer. Rumor has it he may come back to the sport. He was a fast Expert racer. During the 2000 and 2001 season I noticed huge improvement in his skills. Practicing at Mountain Creek and Plattekill almost every weekend made him a serious threat at the races. Bobby helped set up my shop along side Anthony and actually ordered the first product from DOWN CYCLES. A 1999 Intense M1 frame. For years he delivered bikes in need of service to my shop from NYC. His team support could not be matched.
Mike Gage is a newer member of the team. He began racing DH last year aboard my old Brooklyn Machine works TMX. He has more bicycle racing experience than anyone I know. Mike was a Pro BMX racer back in the 80's, then raced Road Motorcycles professionally for years. He's again racing BMX. Mike is was #1 in Connecticut last year and #1 in the Nation this year. He constantly refers customers to the shop. Mike is an Expert DH racer. You will never gate him or out sprint him. Mike has an endless reserve of power. This guys a machine.
Eric Hudson has become world famous. I heard he recently filmed with the traveling Superheroes. His trails are life threatening. Eric will push you to ride harder go faster and jump further. He rides at one speed only, warp. I've seen Eric dislocate bones, put them back in place and keep riding. He has passion for the sport. Keep a look out for the man in Red. This year he rides for team Finish Line.
Ray Delgado is not only a smooth consistent rider, but he has the cleanest bike on the mountain. His bikes always look ready for Interbike. He even chrome polished his coil spring. Ray hovers above obstacles. His style is magical. He seems to never touch the ground. I wonder if he ever crashed. He never has dirt on his jersey.
If you race downhill, then you know Eric Abrew. He has worked his way up the ladder from Beginner to Expert. His bikes are immaculate and so is his style. Eric is always on top of new products and always rides the components that work. Over the years he has helped set up the shop and referred many customers to DOWN CYCLES.
Ralph Quinones, the newest member of the team. I've never seen a person try so hard. Ralph is determined to ride pro speed, even if it kills him. Lucky thing he's studying to become a nurse. Ralph has endless energy. He will push his bike and yours back to the top of the mountain. He builds and maintains trails. He's not afraid of speed and will build a trail down just about anything. I predict great racing success for Ralph. After his injuries heal, he should win his first ever trophy. You will never beat him down steep terrain.
Thank you to everyone who supports the shop. I hope to serve all the dedicated racers equally. You will see DOWN CYCLES at many events on the east coast this year. I will help you with mechanical problems if I can. Will mail order companies bleed your brakes at the track? Do they have a spare derailleur hanger in there tool box for you or a Monster T seal? I don't think so. Support your local shops. We are there for you when you need us.
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