Those of you who follow Skratch closely may have noticed that I’ve started writing a weekly blog for our site. I’m doing it to keep you up to date with all the goings on here as we continue to grow and expand thanks to all of your support. Hopefully it will serve as way for us to keep you informed and, if I do my job well, at least slightly entertained from time to time. We’ve experienced plenty of growing pains this year but we’d like to think that we’re taking a lot more steps forward than back these days. I hope you’ll follow along and take this journey with us.
OK, all that being said, it’s going to be tough for me to write about what happened at Skratch Labs this week because I honestly have no idea. Seriously. As I mentioned previously, I split town last weekend, hooked up with a few old friends from college and rode my bike from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. Good times were had by all. Except perhaps me on Day Two when I started cracking with nearly 100kms still to go in our planned 200km day from Santa Cruz to Big Sur. No idea what happened- it may have been the heat (my first ride in 90+ temps in months), the early pace on the climbs trying to keep up with two guys a lot faster than me, or more likely just an overall lack of fitness in general. Regardless of the reason, it was a hard ride but I lived to fight another day and the rest of the trip was a blast. I’ve started playing with a couple of GoPros we have lying around the office and put together a little vid of the trip.
I was back in the office by Thursday so even though I was kind of in a daze after putting in some 400 miles in four days and then flying straight out of SB Wednesday night and not getting home til after 2am, I’m not completely in the dark about what happened here this week. I was very happy to see that little Lexi was in the office on Thursday as she is always a source of great entertainment for everyone. Here she is as the Queen of Skratch Mountain.
Lexi comes in about once a week and helps us pick and pack orders in between naps and playing with the now as many as five dogs we have in the office at any one time. Lucy, Mahari, Penny, Ozzie, and Shona.
Several of the gang made another trip to consult with Joe Gibbs Racing. Allen, Ian, and our newest Skratcher, Lauren, all went out to Charlotte to get their NASCAR on this week. I’m counting on them for a full report from the field this time so stay tuned for that. Here they are, excited about escaping all the snow we had this weekend here in the Colorado Front Range. Nice shirts, kids.
As out of touch with the office as I was this week, there is one thing I know for sure: The Skratch Team is made up of some very kind and generous people. After all, while we have grown a lot this year, the reality is that we are still pretty darn small so when any one person is out for a few days, it puts a heavier burden on those still at the office and I'm grateful they were willing to pick up the slack created when I took a few days off. I know I am very lucky to have such a great team to work with. Hopefully, they’ll all get their own version of the Coast Ride soon and I can repay the favor by being here while they get to play for a few days. It’s the least I can do. So huge thanks to those who were in the office this week so that I didn’t have to be- I owe you one.
Thanks for reading.
Last week it was Winter here in Boulder and I made the mistake of trying to ride through it. I got in some great miles but perhaps a little too many in retrospect, because this week it’s suddenly Fall again and my legs are so cooked I haven’t been able to enjoy it much. It’s a bummer, man. It’s been a great week for the Skratch gang though, as the outdoor basketball games resumed in full force and we’re back to being able to eat lunch outside for at least a little bit longer. So we’ve got that going for us.
On a similar note, something very cool happened here today. What might that be, you ask? Is it a new flavor of drink mix? Nope. A chicken fried rice flavored recovery drink? Don’t be silly. We added a real Dealer Locator to our site. Ok, so maybe it’s not as cool as the other side of the pillow, but we’re excited about it. Now, instead of the poorly updated, and even more poorly formatted, all-text version we’ve had since we launched, our site now has a fully interactive dealer locator that will show you all the Skratch Retailers around the country.
Ok, so it's probably not the most exciting video in the world, but watching that map populate with all of our shops made us smile here at the office. Check it out on our site and find the two dealers closest to you- keep in mind, they may be behind you
No surprise for Allen this week, another trip. This time I was lucky enough to go along for the ride. We took a quick day trip to Wisconsin to check in with our friends at the Saris Cycling Group. Allen has been working with them for years on their Power Taps and we’re looking to partner on some new ideas in 2013. They were hosting their annual gala event to raise money for bicycle access and Jeff and Jesse made us feel right at home. Thanks guys and we look forward to teaming up on some projects next year. And those cheese things we had at lunch were crazy good.
As I said at the top, the weather in Boulder has been great this week. It won’t last, of course. Winter, beaten for the moment, will no doubt be back with a vengeance soon enough. With that in mind, I’m off for one Last Hurrah. The fitness is fading fast and the days are getting short, but this will be the third year I do this trip and I’m expecting it to be just as epic as it has been in the past. Saturday, I fly to California for a ride from San Francisco to Santa Barbara. Four days and about four hundred miles down one of the most beautiful stretches of road in the world, HWY 1, with nothing but a small bag on my back and a couple of old friends from college. Should be fun. Check in with Skratch on Facebook and Twitter starting Sunday morning for updates from the road. And if you're in San Luis Obispo and can put up a couple of tired cyclists next Tuesday night who would be happy to cook you something delicious out of the FEED Zone Cookbook, let me know. Seriously, I make some pretty mean Buffalo tacos, among other things.
Thanks for reading.
Well, it finally happened. We got our first snow of the year here in Boulder and, try as I might, there’s apparently no amount of denial that can convince me that summer is not truly over. I suppose it had to happen eventually. And while I know the colder days and longer nights will make it a bit tougher to keep putting in the miles, I’m determined to not let it stop me entirely. Who knows, with winter coming, maybe we’ll even slow down a bit here at the offices and get a chance to catch our breath. But if the past nine months are any indication, I probably shouldn’t count on that.
A couple folks I know for sure won’t be getting a break any time soon are our founder, Allen, and Ian, our CEO. Allen’s been jetting around the country doing super cool stuff as per usual as you'll see below, so no rest for him, and Ian happens to be in his final semester of engineering school while also running our company, so I’m guessing there won’t be much respite in the near future for him either. Talk about having a full plate...
Allen took a quick trip to Chicago to meet Michaela Kiersch, one of our new ambassadors earlier in the week. He spent the day getting to know her, watching in awe as she displayed her unique version of urban “rock” climbing by conquering all sorts of structures on the south side of Chicago, and, if this was the same Allen I’ve known for twenty years, waxing philosophic about life, love and everything in between. We’ll share more about Michaela and let her tell you her story in the months to come. We’re all very proud to have her as one of our first ambassadors and we’re excited for you to meet her.
After that stopover in Chicago, Allen met Biju in Atlanta to help hydrate and feed the Dempsey Racing Team and their crew at the Le Petit Le Mans auto race. They clearly passed over into the Bizarro world because Patrick was asking to take pictures with them. Is it me or does that seem a little backwards?
After that, Allen was off to North Carolina to consult with the gang at Joe Gibbs Racing. And if you think auto racing is just about driving really fast in a circle, well, Al can tell you there is heck of a lot more to it than that. The British Cycling Team has McClaren for research and development? Fine. We’ve got NASCAR. Sounds nuts, right? We’ll see.
Back at home it was business as usual for the most part. Orders came in, orders went out. We do our very best to get everything out the same day it comes in so you don’t have to wait any longer than necessary for your Skratch. (Quick tip- if you can have your order shipped to a commercial address, you’ll save as much as 25% on shipping via FEDEX Ground.) Our events manager Jon brought his new puppy, Penny, in. She is, what’s the word I’m looking for… adorable. We had our daily Knockout games on the basketball court out back which are typically won by order packing expert Julian and, sadly and as usual, Jason kept clobbering me at Ping Pong. Just another day at the Skratch Labs office.
Remember up top how I said I’m determined to not let the cold and the dark stop me from getting my miles in? So far, so good. I’ve been taking the long way to and from work a few days a week on my cyclocross bike. Here’s the thing about the CX bike: Funnest. Thing. Ever. A straight shot on the bike path would be about three miles each way, but I usually rack up between fifteen and twenty as I explore as many different routes as I can find. Dirt trails, levees, alleys- all are fair game on the CX bike. My rule is that I never take the same way twice. And now that I'm riding home in the dark, even the same old routes seem completely different.
And look, if Tim Johnson is going to leave his Sweet Ride (Cannondale SuperX Hi-Mod Disc!!!) at the Skratch Shop for two weeks while he’s in Europe, then I'll just have to assume it’s because he knows it’s my size. But that’s a story for another day. Ok, I gotta get ready to ride to work in the snow tomorrow. Please don’t tell Tim.
How sweet is this ride?