Gifts in the mail are “Awesome”!

By Karen Brooks

So one fine day after I came back from some time off over the holidays, I found a package in my office mailbox:

What better way to commemorate such a gift than with a Team Dicky-style blog post? Here goes.

I eagerly opened the envelope to find a new and improved Awesome Strap Race, which I had heard about from Rich himself (he didn’t pass that task onto Sponsor Liaison and Equipment Acquisitions Director Admiral Ackbar). But also included was the Dicky-designed Tülbag, produced by Backcountry Research as well. Cool! Now I have a better way to carry pointy tools and other sharp objects in a wool jersey pocket.

(I don’t know what that “NYCO” tag is for. An ultra-advanced tire boot?)

I emailed my thanks to Mr. Dillen and said, “How did you know I wanted one of those things?” To which he replied: “Everybody wants some…” That is obviously my cue to include a metal video in this Dicky’esque post. This live version is nice. Warning: the mid-song monologue by Diamond Dave is NSFW.

As you might have read in his review in issue #158, Josh and I had a bit of trouble getting the Awesome Strap Hitch to fit, particularly on my bike. Of course I chose to not mess with it until we were getting ready to do a pre-ride shortly after arriving at the camp for the Trans-Sylvania Epic… no better time to futz with new equipment than when daylight is fading and you’ve got one chance to scope out a bit of trail before a weeklong stage race, eh? It was just a simple strap – how hard could it be? – but somehow my flat-fix things would not fit nicely under the saddle.

Josh tried in vain to get enough cell phone reception to watch Backcountry Research’s installation video. Then, who should come along to save the day but none other than celebrity spokesperson Rich Dillen. The pro strapper himself then proceeded to show us how it’s done, re-folding my innertube into a flatter shape and chastising me for using a too-large 40g CO2 cartridge.

Seen here is the Hitch installed using the somewhat-more-correct installation method. Note, however, that there isn’t much strap overlapping on the side for the sticky parts to stick the whole package together. It hasn’t budged, but still, more strap is always more better.

Of course, watching the helpful installation video now, I see what I was doing wrong… and am still doing wrong. But no matter. Richard Clark from Backcountry Research heard from Rich that I was having trouble, and he immediately set to work designing a new Strap that would avoid such trouble by making the sticking parts longer. How’s that for customer service?

Below is a photo showing the contents of the Hitch unwrapped. Apparently it’s protocol to include this photo. I think the point is to show how your Awesomely Strapped tube isn’t totally covered in muck – just a few small areas easily wiped off.

So now my bike is Awesomely Strapped, and with flames, no less. I will be so much faster with flames.

Can you tell what I was still doing wrong as of that photo? Hint: the installation video shows the CO2 cartridge on top of the tube, not to one side. This allows the tube to fit between the saddle rails and thus tuck in more neatly. Also, I left the flappy end of the tube hanging down – it should be facing the other way so as not to flap.

There is less mud in the later photo because it was taken after a bike washing and one ride, so what you’re seeing is the difference between two rides’ worth of mud and just one. It’s been Mudville around here, and not just because the Steelers lost.

And what kind of Dicky’esque post would this be without some mention of Team Dicky nemesis (and Dirt Rag contributor) Missouri… er, Montucky… er, Montana Miller? Not any kind I’d want to deal with. So: at the recent Dirty Dozen, I spotted Montana also using an Awesome Strap to hold his flat-fixing stuff under his seat. We were the only two with this sleek solution, in a sea of kitted-up, hardcore roadies.

Now, what else do I need for a Team Dicky’esque post? Probably some mention of the coming race season. Well, I liked the fact that in 2011, my races consisted of one that lasted five minutes (Massanutten Yee-Ha), one that lasted a week (TSE), my 20th 24-hour race (Seven Springs 24 Hour Champion Challenge), and my first Dirty Dozen. A good mix of short, long, old, and new, kinda like a wedding or something. I like that mix – think I’ll aim to repeat it in 2012. There, that’s done, “season” planned.