Thoughts and Adventures From Greenlite Heavy Industries

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

It Ain't Easy

My first try at sewing the classic short-billed cycling cap.  Let me tell ya it ain't easy.  Sewing is a skill that must be practiced to be mastered.  My plan was to give away a few hats here and there, but I'm going to have to improve the product before anything goes out the door.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Getting Somewhere

Seattle Peace Park

Had a great day on Friday: four pairs of pants out the door.  In addition to selling four pairs I saw a guy wearing the G1 pant down at Agua Verde in the University District.  It’s ridiculously thrilling to see someone in my pants (pardon the horrible pun).  Probably what a new band feels when they hear their song on the radio: a feeling of “I’m getting somewhere.”

 My goal for 2013 is to make $20K in sales, I’m on pace to beat that, so as long as I keep the wheels rolling all should be copa in the cabana.  Looking back on the past year and a half I honestly can’t believe how far I’ve come: from a guy who knew nothing, with nothing, to a guy who knows a little something with five products on the market.  I still do wish that each day was forty hours so that I could approach getting done all that needs to get done, but surely slowly I’m doing it.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Everyone Wins

Not for me thanks
Now that I am a business owner I have to think a lot about business.  Seems like businesses can be grouped according to how they manage winning and losing.  Some companies are run according to the mantra: take as much as I can get for the worst possibly acceptable product.  This is a game of a very few winners and whole lot of losers.  Walmart is a good example.  The Walton trio are the big winners while just about everybody else involved with the Walmart supply chain end up losing.

Common business thought is that in every transaction there is a winner and a loser; at Greenlite I’m bucking that thinking by attempting to make every transaction a win/win.  The customer wins by getting a great product at a fair price.  My Seattle manufacturer wins by receiving a fair wage for job well done.  My Swiss fabric supplier (Schoeller) wins by selling me a product that is produced by fair means.  And finally I win by receiving money which is used to grow a business that supports an active healthy lifestyle.

I was asked recently if I’d ever consider moving my manufacturing overseas, I said hell no, I said that I’d close my doors first.  I’m not interested in off shoring my production.  Too many losers in that scenario.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Parasites in Paradise

Yesterday was Earth Day and it got me thinking about this whole save the Earth, Mother Earth thing.  I’m pretty pessimistic about “saving” the Earth; this isn’t to say that I eschew environmentalism, but I think that the best that we can hope for at this point is just to slow down the eminent demise of our home planet.

I shouldn’t even say the “demise” of our home planet.  Fact of the matter is that good old Earth will be around long after we humans have made her completely uninhabitable.  Earth will survive, it will eventually make a comeback, we humans, on the other hand, are a different story.  Once we’re gone we’re gone.

By referring to Earth as “her” in the above paragraph I suppose I too am falling into the Mother Earth trap.  Hell Earth is no more our mother than my GI tract is mother to a hook worm.  We humans are parasites, and we are destroying the ability of our host to withstand our predation at an ever increasing rate.

I think that we need to make some important changes to our environmental lexicon.  It isn’t “save the Earth,” it is instead “save the humans.”  The Earth is not our mother, what hubris it is to think that we are “children” of the Earth.  No we are not children, we are parasites eating away at our host, and the best that we can hope for is to slow our appetite.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Looking for Dr. Doom

Darren modeling his vest
Okay I know that I preach about curing TMCS (too much crap syndrome) but sometimes I come across a gotta have item.  While at the Pedalers Fair on Saturday I talked to a guy sporting his kick ass Hodala vest.  Then I spotted a dude sporting a sweet Rainier beer vest.  Finally Darren, from The Bicycle Paper pulled out his blue and maroon vest.  Dang I said I need to have me one of those.

The subject vest are handcrafted in Colorado by Dr. Doom of The Republic of Doom.  The one he created for the Seattle cyclocross team Hodala is especially nice.  Dr. Doom is Steve Fassbinder, I sent him an email over the weekend to see how I can get into one of his vests; I’ll keep you posted on how it plays out.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Pedalers Fair

Sam wondering how he's going to spend the next 7 hours
Sam and I took the Greenlite wares down to the Pedalers Fair in the Belltown district of Seattle yesterday.  Jason at Swift Industries puts on the show, he designs it to be a showcase for locally made cycling products.  It’s nice to see how many folks are out there making stuff and making things happen.

The Heroin Bathroom
I’m a fairly quiet guy and I generally keep to myself and so it really means something when I can list off the following folks I knew at the show: Darren, Tarik, Ann, John, Jason, Juliette, Catherine, Aldan, and Thomas.  Pretty dang cool.

As you can see by the photo I once again went overboard on my display.  We had a six by six space to work with and I think we did a pretty good job.  Thankfully Jason gave us some prime real estate – front row center.

Sam came down for the day, he helped be set up, tear down, brought me coffee and manned the booth during my many bathroom breaks – too much coffee drunk at these events.  The Fair was held in the Underground Events Center, a bit wild for my Mercer Island boy.  “This place is pretty sketch dad,” he said, to which I replied “sketch is good boy.”  Sam referred to the restroom as the Heroin Bathroom.

The show was a success, I made some sales, but more importantly I got out there, listened to what people want in cycling gear and came away with a lot of positive feedback.

Thursday, April 18, 2013



When compared to the typical American diet I’d say that I eat fairly good, but I tell ya it’s tough to get all of the vegetable nutrition that I need.  About a year ago I bought a Breville juicer and took up juicing.  It took me a while to figure out that it’s best to do a big juicing job every few days and store the juice in the fridge as opposed to juicing by the glass.  Doing batch jobs saves on clean up and it encourages me to drink more as often all I have to do is pour out of a container.

I haven’t messed around a lot with fruit juices as I eat quite a bit of fruit already, but I have come up with a few good vegetable recipes.  My current favorite is cucumber, celery, kale, apple.  I juice two cucumbers, two bunches ocelery, a bunch of kale and an apple; I then normally cut the resulting juice in half with sparkling water.  The water really lightens it up and makes it more refreshing.

I don’t do any juice fasts or cleansings, for me juicing is just a nutritional safety net.  Now that race season is here I can definitely feel a difference in my performance when I’ve been eating well and am hydrated, as opposed to times when I’ve been slacking off and eating any old type of crap that comes my way.

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Da Hurt

Lord knows I’ve suffered.  I ran an Ironman marathon on a broken femur – very nearly ended up with a hip replacement over that – I carried on a conversation with my dead father at 26,700 feet on Manaslu, but I do believe that bicycle racing has taken me to a new level of sufferage (I don’t think that’s a word, but I like it so I’ll keep it).

High school wrestling might have demanded an equal amount of suffering had I been driven or disciplined enough to find that dark space, but alas I wasn’t, and consequently here I am paying the price of a misspent youth – but that’s another story.

Confused at 26,000 feet
Most forms of adult racing – road running (10K, marathon, etc.), trail running, triathlon, and the like are what I would classify as “run your own race,” style events.  Now obviously if you are running the Olympic trials in marathon or pushing past someone in your age group in order to qualify for Kona all bets are off, but for the most part this style of racing is go as fast as you can and leave it at that.  Bicycle racing has very little to do with how fast you can go and very much to do with how fast everyone else is going.

Gimping across the line at IM Canada
I can’t think of another racing event that requires every competitor to stick together.  If you get dropped off the back of a bicycle road race, with the exception of a minor miracle, you’re done, you have no chance of winning, or even placing.  Imagine running a 10K road race where everyone has to stick together: go off the back and you’re pulled from the race.  Think of all the tactics that would now come into play.  For example a fast sprinter but a weak distance runner might sprint for a mile attempting to shell as many strong distance runners off the back as possible: anyone who can’t hold a sub five minute mile pace, if only for a mile, is out.  This is exactly the case in bike racing.

This is where the suffer part comes in.  During a bicycle road race riders launch attacks.  Most of these attacks are strategic, in other words a good strong rider will attack when many, if not all, of his fellow racers are totally gassed, at the top of a hill for instance.  My past two road races have incorporated big hills and at the crest of the hill, just when I’m about to catch my breath the fast riders take off.  At the point of maximum suffering I have to find that little bit more strength to enable me to go with the group.  The kicker on all this is if you fall off the back of the group you are now chasing the pack, sometimes all by yourself.  So now you’re working even harder than the guys sitting in the group who can simply roll along with the strength of the pack: suffer now in order to avoid suffering later.

During the course of a typical road race you are going to experience two maybe three occasions where you have to push yourself beyond what you ordinarily thought was possible, you have to suffer more than you previously thought you could.  In my lifetime I’ve experienced nothing like it.

Friday, April 5, 2013

The Edge of Possibility

This is what it's all about
So I won the lottery and got into the Leadville 100 mile mountain bike race.  The race works like this: finish in nine hours and get a big belt buckle, finish in twelve and get a small belt buckle, go over twelve hours and you get a fat DNF.  Twelve hours for a 100 mile effort on a mountain bike at altitude (+10,000 ft) is a big ask, sub nine hours – that’s the edge of possibility.

I would equate a sub nine hour performance at Leadville to a sub three hour marathon or a sub ten hour Ironman – just on the right side of possible for the mortal athlete.  So my question is: is it reasonable for a forty eight year old man with low to moderate technical mountain biking skills to set an 8:59:59 goal for Leadville.  No it’s probably not reasonable, but I’ll do it anyway.

It will take some serious effort for me to simply finish the race in the allotted twelve hours much less nine, so I’m going to have to develop an equally serious preparation program.  I see preparation as a five pronged effort: fitness, body weight, technical skills development, acclimatization and maintenance of good health.

Watch the blog as I brainstorm over each of these “five fingers” of my training program.  Feel free to comment as I’ll need all the help I can get.

Thursday, April 4, 2013


After a beautiful run of spring weather the rain has returned to Seattle

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Hard Advice

"You can't find enlightenment on a full stomach"
-Doug Scott (mountaineering hard man)

Doug Scott descending the Ogre with two broken legs

Monday, April 1, 2013

Heaven on Earth

As I was driving along listening to a radio story about gay marriage I had a sort of epiphany: there are two kinds of people in this world: those who believe heaven comes later and those who believe that heaven is right here and now.  Personally I view life here on mother earth as heaven and that every day is a precious gift not to be wasted.

If someone feels like their life is best spent with a partner of the same sex, who am I to say otherwise.   Life is short and we all deserve some sort of happiness.  This is where the life is a prerequisite for heaven versus life is heaven points of view diverge.  A proponent of the former would argue “hey my book says that homosexual behavior is wrong so keep that stuff to yourself, suffer through this earthly life and your reward will be in heaven,” whereas a subscriber to the later would say “all that we know for certain is the here and now so make the most of every day – live the life that makes you happy.”

Some would argue that the second approach is a recipe for hedonism, but I would argue the opposite: once you begin to view life as a precious gift you begin to realize that everybody has received the same gift and that everyone’s gift needs respect.  Recognizing life as a gift breeds compassion.  Viewing heaven as a reward, on the other hand, provides the powerful with a mechanism to exploit the weak – march a bunch of kids off to war, strap a bomb vest onto some teenager, exploit some child – what the hell they get to go to heaven when it’s all over.  No thanks.  Not for me.

Everyone deserves some kind of happiness and if happiness involves a same sex partner, who cares – certainly not me.