Rider Profile: Torey Thornton

If there is one of our riders that constantly makes my jaw drop it would be Torey Thornton, often seen going big off of things that simply should not be. We're privileged to have Torey as part of the Velocity family and today he answers a few questions for us. Enjoy:

Name: Torey Thornton
Age: 21
Location: Brooklyn, NY
Website: WRAHW.com
Sponsors: Breakbrake 17, Hold Fast, Tree Bike Co, Loosenuts Cycles, VAGX, Velocity
Cycling Specification: FGFS

V: How did you get into cycling?
TT: I watched the MASH trailer when I was in high school, and then visited NYC and saw all the messengers, and fixed gears ripping. I was hooked.

V: How long have you been riding?
TT: A lil over three years.

V: How did you get into FGFS [Fixed Gear Freestyle] riding?
TT: Anything that I do, I always think about the fun trick aspect of it, so as soon as I got my fixed gear I tried to wheelie it, and so on and so on.

V: Favorite place to ride?
TT: Baltimore, MD

V:Tell a story of a ride or cycling experience you will never forget:
TT: The first Midwest Mayhem was insane.

V: What are your plans for the future? (Upcoming season/year goals and aspirations)
TT: Shred more with the brothas, finish school smooth, boost WRAHW to its full potential.

V: What Velocity wheels are you using?
TT: P35s

V: Thoughts on the wheels/rims?
TT: Light, wide as #@%*, sickly colors

V: What kind of bike did you build around your Velocity wheels? (Bike Check)
TT: I ride a BB17 Charmer frame with some sick deformities that allow me to run 29s, the prototype for the new 29er prototype, fat dad 2.1 tires, oidas ass cushion, animal post, oidas forks, tree sprocket, profile cranks, steven hamilton pedals, hold fast prototype WRAHW straps, real tree stem, Immortis bars, grips from the odi mold.

V: What do you do when your not on your bike (guilty pleasures, etc)?
TT: Lady lovin, fooding, creating, web surfing wishing i was riding


Here is Torey's latest edit for his introduction as part of the Breakbrake17 crew:


Team Profile: Team Seagal

A little while back we started a series of posts of rider profiles. With more to come on specific riders we sponsor, we thought it's also important to start highlighting teams that we are privileged to work with. Like a parent, it's hard to pick a favorite but one of our most entertaining teams we sponsor would be Team Seagal.

I recently corresponded with Matt Grothoff from the team and must say it's worth the read. Enjoy:

Team Name: Team Seagal
Location: Missouri (mostly)
Website: www.teamseagal.blogspot.com

Sponsors: Pabst Blue Ribbon, The Hub Bicycle Company, Kona Bicycles, Flaco's Cocina, ByeKyle, Klunk Cycles, and of course VELOCITY!

Cycling Specification(s): Mountain, Cyclocross, maybe a road race from time to time

Team Roster: (Team roster link here, with photos) "Gino Felino," "Mason Storm," "Casey F. Ryback," "Torrez, Nico Toscani," "Dr. Wesley McLaren," "Orin Boyd," "Lawman," "Sasha Petrosevitch," "Samuel Axel," "Shop Ministor," "Marshall Lawson," "Forrest Taft," "Capt. Jack Taggert," "Cockpuncher," "John Hatcher," "Professor Robert Burns," "Lt. Col. Austin Travis," "Jonathon Cold," "Harlan Banks"

ALO: Team Mission/Motto/Saying?

MG: "Superior Attitude, Superior State of Mind"

ALO: How long has the team been together?

MG: 2006 A.D.

ALO: Why/How did it form?

MG: A group of 4 friends decided to come together to form a team for the 2006 24 Hours of Landahl mountain bike race with the intention of drinking beer in between laps. We came in 2nd place. (Out of two teams in our class.) Since then, our general no-pressure/maximum-fun approach to racing has brought us some notoriety within the local (and not-so-local) community. And it doesn't hurt that we stand on a lot of podiums, either.

ALO: Favorite places to ride? Why?

MG: Despite some of our members having moved to other states, the Ozark Trail (and adjoining loops) in southeastern Missouri could probably be considered our favorite stomping grounds. Most specifically the Middlefork Section, Trace Creek Section, Berryman Trail and Council Bluff. These trails offer nearly endless miles of beautiful Ozark terrain - which means long gradual climbs, and long, rippin' descents, the ability to ride no matter what the weather, and the promise of epic days in the saddle with friends.

ALO: Tell a story of a ride or cycling experience your team will never forget:

MG: There have been SO MANY amazing experiences, nearly all chronicled on our website, but I know that anyone who was there will not forget our past three CXMAS events. First year (2008) was single digit temperatures yet we still had a few dozen people ride and have a good time despite the frozen beer cans. The second year (2009) was frigid, covered in ice, and saw the riders fueled by bacon, whiskey, and lots of egg nog. In addition to that, we raised over $700 for GORC, our local trail-building organization. Third year (2010) continued the fun, but added more egg-nog induced vomiting, which is always good.

V: What team plans for the future? (Upcoming season/year goals and aspirations)

MG: Our goals are actually pretty simple - to ride/race more, and have fun doing it while challenging ourselves and others.

ALO: What Velocity wheels is the team using? Thoughts on the wheels/rims?

MG: You can find many different Velocity rims supporting our bikes, but some of the most common are Blunts, Dyads, Deep V's, Major Toms, P35's, A23's, and most recently, Blunt SL's. They perform damn well, look very classy, and are priced very well.

ALO: Bike Check. Highlight your team bikes (please provide photos):

MG: Oooweee, between 20+ people, it's an ever-changing stable of trusty steeds - most prominently featuring 29" singlespeeds. Our most common weapon of choice would probably be Kona's Big Unit, while a few others are on Ti rigs.

ALO: What does the team do when it’s not on your bike (guilty pleasures, etc)?

MG: 80s/90s action movies, drinking beer, and making jokes at Criss Angel's expense.


G-Ted/Blunt SL: Mid-Term Report

Guitar Ted over at Twenty Nine Inches just finished his mid-term review of the Blunt SL. Enjoy:

Velocity Blunt SL Comp Wheels: Mid-Term

July 17th, 2011 by Guitar Ted

With more ride time on the new Velocity Blunt SL’s I am ready to write my Mid-Term Report on these rims/wheel set. Meant as a “race day” type of rim, the Blunt SL is the P-35’s little brother, even though it carries the “Blunt” moniker. The bigger P-35 was where the Blunt SL got its “design DNA from”. In fact, the same width tubeless tape is used for both the P-35 and Blunt SL. Because of this, the Blunt SL is easy to set up tubeless with Velocity’s Velotape, and the set here for testing has been problem free throughout in that regard.

bluntsljune 004

Wheel Performance: Since I received a version of the “Comp” wheel build with the Blunt SL’s I must also include the entire wheel set in this review. To date, the wheels have been trouble free. They remain straight and true as the day I received them, and no issues with the free hub, or with regards to any other mechanical aspect of these wheels has arisen.

I will add that I have not treated them in any regard as other than “daily drivers” and have not taken any measures to be overly kind to them. That said, I wouldn’t expect these to be great wheels for root and rock infested trails where dings and flat spots are common with other wheels. Velocity rims have a history of not being the greatest “rock resistant” rims out there, and the Blunt SL’s should be considered in the same manner. However; for those that can manage to keep the air pressures up within reason, and don’t normally ding up wheels, these should hold up just fine for you. And once again, these are pretty dang light rims. ;) (For all the technical data, see my Out Of The Box post here.)

VelocitytestJuly 004
As far as riding the Blunt SL’s as set up in this wheel set, I have definitely found that there are two distinct personalities to them. One shows up when you are hitting technical, rutted out or rooty single track. Picking your way through a section, you might feel flex in the Blunt SL, and I could definitely feel it when hitting ruts that ran along the trail where the wheel would “load up” a bit with flex and then release as you tried to maneuver out of a rut, let’s say, or if you were battling a root that ran diagonally across the trail in line with the single track. This was most pronounced if you were going slowly.

However, running at “race pace” the wheels would simply come alive. On open single track, the wheels then would only exhibit slight flex in corners, and then it was a totally manageable feel that did not upset me at all. A lighter, more finesse rider may not even feel a thing in this regard on a typical XC/Trail ride. As I mentioned in the First Impressions post, really tight corners would flex the rear wheel noticeably, but again, I must consider that many riders are lighter than I, so this is a minor concern.

Climbing was met with no issues at all. The rear hub, as mentioned, has been flawless so far, and the wheels seem reasonably stiff enough for spirited, out of the saddle stomping.

Now I will continue to ride these for a few more weeks and then it will be time for the Final Review. I might try mounting a different set of tires on these to check how other brands might fit, but I am liking these Specialized Ground Controls too much right now! ;) Stay tuned…………

Note: Velocity sent these wheels for test/review at no charge. We are not being paid, nor bribed, for this review. We will strive to give our honest opinions throughout.


Story Time with Quinn

We introduced you to Quinn last week and in stellar form we already received a write up from the tournament she recently played in. This might just be the beginnings of a new segment we'll call 'Story Time with Quinn'.

Get out and ride this weekend, stay cool, have fun. Enjoy:

Last weekend Alex and I head down to Columbus, Ohio to participate in the Columbus Bike Polo Invitational Tournament. All of the states bordering Ohio were invited, which made the tournament smaller than usual especially with only fourteen teams competing. I really enjoyed having a smaller group of people though because I got to talk with everyone and it was just way more fun instead of being serious and competitive like the bigger qualifier tournaments.

Our team the "Disease Ridden Pigeons" was made up of myself, Alex(Grand Rapids), and our friend Gregg from Pittsburgh. We had never played together besides pick up at previous tournaments but it only took us a couple games to figure each other out and we ended up working really well together. We arrived in Columbus and just a couple blocks before the polo courts were pulled over because my wheel covers had been blocking the rear lights. Luckily we only got a warning and continued on to find everyone playing pick up still. Alex wanted to rest up for the next day but I jumped in a played a few games for a couple hours, and thanks to the never ending lights we were out there until three in the morning.

The Columbus Bike Polo Club has a few spots they play pick up at. Two of those spots were public parks separated by at least half a mile and each had one average sized hockey court. They were in real good condition, nice surfaces, nets, and full hockey boards. The tournament started Saturday with the fourteen teams split in half, randomly. Each half playing on whichever court they were told to. The two groups of seven teams were separated to there courts and the games began. Since there were so little people they had two mini double elimination tournaments, one in the morning and one in the afternoon with an amazing lunch break in between thanks to our friends in Columbus. My team did pretty well taking 2nd in the morning bracket, and fourth in the afternoon giving us an overall spot for the Sunday rounds in 3rd.

Columbus was also having an alley cat race Saturday afternoon that some of the polo players participated in, my team on the other hand went back to the house for a well needed nap before the after party that the alley cat crew was throwing. The party was pretty fun, there was a lot of tall biking and even tall bike jousting, but most amazing of all were the prizes given out to the racers. Almost everyone got a customized messenger bag, and huge boxes full of various bike accessories, and parts. The first place winner got a full custom single speed bike, didn't catch the name on the bikes logo though.

After only a couple hours of sleep I got up bright and early to practice and play some pick up before the final elimination day. Jon from Columbus was the only one there at first, but once a couple more people showed up we started with some 2v2 pick up. Once everyone trickled in from eating breakfast the tournament eventually started. It was a long hot and humid day of polo, but we played tough out there and got ourselves to the semi finals. Our last game was a really close one against Dickfist at Tiffany's(Greg Russo, Nico, and Lomax) although we did get knocked out in the last thirty seconds of the game after it was tied 2-2 for most of it. We took fourth place and we were pretty happy about it.

After that we watched the three remaining teams battle it out for places. Eagle Spurs from Bloomington took third, Dickfist at Tiffany's from Pittsburgh took second, and Perenium Falcon from Lexington took first place. Prizes were given away to the top four teams and the Most Valuable Player which was given to Greg Russo from Pittsburgh who really knows how to play some polo. He is an amazing team player and I really enjoyed playing against him and his team. Everyone said there goodbyes and most of us went out to eat for dinner at a place around the corner. After eating a real good sandwich and being squished into the corner of the restaurant with everyone Alex and I departed and headed back home to Michigan. We had a lot of fun and I can't wait to see everyone again tomorrow in Lexington, Kentucky for Summer Break!


For more photos from the weekend go here.


Look Closely

Now the following Armani ad has made it's rounds for a few months but was recently posted again over at Urban Velo. Unfortunately, I couldn't pick out any of our wheels 100% certainty but I was able to find two companies product that we're big fans of in it. Can you?

I believe I was able to make out a saddle or two by our European distributor Brick Lane Bikes and a bike from SE or maybe I wasn't... either way it's got a catchy beat for your Monday morning.


Meet an Up-and-Coming...

One of the most beautiful things about bike polo is not only is DIY nature and organic growth but also that it is not a sport dominated by one specific demographic. The sports growing popularity around the world with each country, region, state/providence, and club contributing to help develop it into some thing pretty amazing. One of those contributions happened this past May down in Austin at an event, the Ladies Army III.

Ladies Army pulled players from around the US for a weekend tournament of ladies bike polo. We were thrilled to be a part of the event as a sponsor. After the event we were reading reports of how spectacular the weekend was for everyone who participated and watched. A reoccurring name we kept hearing came from our great state was Quinn from Ann Arbor.

Back in January, you might remember a group of us headed to Ann Arbor for some pick up bike polo. That weekend we had a great time playing polo with and against players from Fort Wayne,Grand Rapids and A2. One of those players being Quinn.

Quinn threw down in Texas in May. So much so she took home the 'Up-and-Coming Bad Ass' Award, which meant she also received a Fleet Velo Joust frameset. We couldn't help but be excited for her and obviously - what is frameset without some new wheels?

On that note, we are proud to now have Quinn as part of the Velocity family as one of our sponsored riders. Quinn will be rocking our 48 hole Bright Silver Chukkers on that new polo rig of hers. If you're in Columbus this weekend, Quinn and Alex are going to be heading down to play in the Columbus Bike Polo Invitational. Say hello, watch some polo, and heckle a bit.


A Lumberjack Story.

There is a little event here in Michigan that in it's few short years as garnered quite the reputation for itself. Little might be drastic understatement, epic properly explains the Lumberjack 100. Every event we're proud to be part of, often working with Race/Event directors to determine the proper prize for the event. Since releasing the limited edition Lumberjack Plaid image rims, there was really only one proper event for them to land. We left it up to Rick Plite to determine the worthy rider to win these gems back on June 18th.

We couldn't agree more with Rick's choice, Nicholas Mehl. Who put everything he could into the finishing and in the end was able to and took home the DFL award. Rick was able to get Nicholas to do a little write up of his experience from the race and we are privileged to give you his perspective on the race. Enjoy.

Flight of the Lantern Rouge
[photo by Tony Newton]

“Are you the last one,” was one of the first things I heard as I rolled across the finish line.
I finished. An accomplishment all in its own after abandoning last year and having that loom ever since.

I sure didn’t feel like I was last. “No,” I reply. “There was one guy at the aid station after me but he took off his helmet and sat down.” I did the very same thing last year at the same aid station on lap two so I knew what he was going through.

“Too bad, because if you were last, you’d get these wheels.” This I time I registered the voice as Rick Plite, the organizer, as he shook my hand and handed me my finisher patch. He also had a set of really cool set Velocity P35’s in Lumberjack Plaid.

I may have mumbled something like “I’m not going back out there.”
I finished. I won. It didn’t matter that the guys who really “won” had been done for six and a half hours, were most likely well fed, clean, rested and thinking about their ride tomorrow. 13 hours is a long time and all I wanted was out of my bike shorts. A beer and some solid food would not be turned down, either.

Walking back towards the car I first realized the parking lot was almost empty and then the weight of everything I carried in my pockets. Even empty, the 1L bladder, tools, food and phone seemed heavy. The extra bottle I acquired on the trail wasn’t intended, but needed. The aid station placing seemed perfect this time around. No bonks so everything with the food and water went right, almost. The first half of lap two had me running out of water just before the aid station and knowing that it was getting hotter, I was wondering what I’d do to get back to the start/finish area. Then on a bumpy downhill, there was an insulated Polar bottle laying in the trail. Bonus. It got rinsed out quick and didn’t need to worry about hydration the rest of the day. I wasn’t keen on carrying the bladder and a bottle in my pockets but it sure was better than a pack.

The jug of water and my garden sprayer that was intended to clean my bike between laps given the nasty weather forecast the days leading into the race were good for cleaning me up. That’s where I found the raw sections on my calf and shoulder. Lap one, a little ways after the aid station, we cross a road that looks a lot like the road we cross before the aid station. “Wow, I wonder how much that would cut off a lap,” was the last thing I thought before I missed the gravel bridge over the ditch. What should have been an easy ramp back into the woods had me laid out in true yard sale fashion in the middle of the trail. “I deserved that,” was all I thought after picking everything up. But, hitting the ground only once over a hundred mile race isn’t bad.
Once the dirt and some of the stink were rinsed off, dry clothes were great. Now to find food. Walking back over to the lodge, my legs were reminding me of the day. Only cramped a little at miles 87 and 92 but they were still not happy. Like always, the post-race spread is great. Burritos! My buddy Paul came this time for support and he had one the night before as I was trying to eat something that would be more beneficial than me fogging the trail. But given the mosquito level this year that may not have been that bad… It also felt good to just sit and enjoy not moving. Paul had to play Jiminy Cricket in my ear and tell me to keep moving every time I stopped. So I enjoyed my burrito and a beer not moving. I think I milked it for a good 15 – 20 minutes which was as long if not longer than any of my lap breaks.

A couple of the guys that were manning the aid station when I last went through came over and sat around with us. In the few minutes I was there (my first stop on lap one was four minutes, the others were about that, too), I must have made an impression in my delirium because they still thought I was entertaining. It must be a tough stint working the station, swatting mosquitos, and having a bunch of guys hollering “I need Coke.” Or this. Or that. I guess if between you and another guy were only a couple minutes over the length of the race, it might make a difference, but I saw it even in the back third where I thought I was rolling. These guys were here on their own, treat them well. Say thanks. Do the mosquito dance. Laugh.

The aid workers said there were at least two or three riders behind me so the wheels were not an option. But hey, I finished and that was my goal. I never felt like I was sweeping the course so it didn’t bug me not to “win” them.

I never did feel like I was moving that slow. Consistent, yes. But slow, no. I was still in the denial stages of being DFL.

My first lap was almost spot on the same time as last year (which I thought would be better because this time my mechanicals registered nil). The leading trio caught me at mile 43, almost the same exact spot as last year, too. This time it didn’t crush my motivation, though because seeing more than one rider in the lead so it let me imagine the race unfolding. They were dodging trees and racing to win. I was going to finish so I needed to rely on a bit more imagination to entertain myself.

Since I was moving a lot faster on my 2nd lap as I hadn’t given up like last year, I didn’t see as many as the elites go by. Amanda Carey was a polite blur of red that came by way before Cheryl Sorensen did last year. “Rider up.” “Thanks.” All the good stuff that makes you want to help get out of their way. Except for the one bad apple who came up on a downhill section. “Get out of my way,” a couple times as I hollered back “it’s not clean.” Finally did find a spot for him and I muttered “bite me” as he went by. About 15 seconds later the woman running in 2nd place came up on the same section and as polite as everyone else and I looked a lot harder for a good passing zone. I really hope she passed him on the line.

My consistency started to show towards the end of the 2nd lap as I was passing quite a few riders not continuing on. Not just stopped by the side of the trail (there were a couple of them as I took my lessons from Paul and told them to at least keep moving) but just riders that were “broken.” Even last year, giving up wasn’t an option until the mechanical, more or less, forced me to.

The third lap was quiet. I saw as many deer as moving riders (three) and the first 10 miles really hurt. “Too much stopped time in the pits,” is what Paul’s voice kept saying in my head but the GPS told me it was also uphill and the trail felt like riding on wood chips. Going into the last aid station I was feeling better and sucked it up to start standing on the pedals which I hate doing on the full suspension. My 2nd half of the last lap was almost spot on the same time as the other laps (2 hours +/- a few minutes so all of my added time per lap happened on the first half) and I still felt good. Towards the end, even with the cramps, I was going to finish and that was more than enough to fuel my forward motion. Once I saw the road and new the finish line was close, I gave it my all so that’s why I gave Paul the scowl when he asked why I didn’t dig deeper to crack sub 13 hours. There was no deeper.

By now, we’d been sitting around the finish telling stories, eating dinner and waiting for the last riders to come in. The longer we waited the more I really started to worry as I know that I wouldn’t want to be stranded out in the woods knowing there was no one sweeping up behind me.

About that time is when Rick wandered over and told me they had pulled the last two riders from the course. Whether they came peacefully or were trying to flag down anyone to take them home, I don’t know. But, having already admitted and accepted “defeat” with the wheels, the shock and excitement was all the better. The pictures really don’t do my expression justice as I was so toast from the ride but I was ecstatic, really. I came into the race with the pure goal of finishing. Any type of award was out of the question as I know I’m not the caliber of rider to place at the top. But to come home with a cool set of wheels AND finishing was all the better.
Once again, thanks to Paul for the support. The post-race drive back to camp, everything during the race, and just being around was huge in making sure my mental game didn’t falter. I might have to let him borrow the wheels if he ever gets a 29er.


Red, Gray and Blue

We know you've been waiting for a new run of shirts from us and the wait is finally over! We are proud to release our latest t-shirt, the Monster T.

Available in Small, Medium, Large, Extra Large, and XXL; in your choice of Red, Grey and Carolina Blue. These fine shirts are printed on Gildan Ultra Cotton - 90% preshrunk cotton/10% polyester - with graphics by local Grand Rapids artist Dan Clark. Dan is an avid cyclist and his art as even shown up on the cover of Dirt Rag a few years back.

Get yours from your local shop or through our online store. At $14.99 it's the right thing to do.


REAR (centered, upper back - 4" across)

And now for the colors...

It was just fitting that these colors are available over the holiday, get yours today and enjoy the freedom of riding a bike this 3 day weekend!