We just returned from a killer tournament in Minneapolis. The MPLS crew did a great job of putting on a massive tournament, one of the biggest in the world. Huge thanks to them for all their hard work getting that done! We flew in on Wednesday night and laid low for a few days to rest up for the tournament. Carrying a huge bag full of all your gear and getting used to a different time zone can wear me out so it was nice to have some chill time.
Dustin did a great job of lining up a place for all the Seattle teams to stay. We ended up in this huge house not too far from where the tournament was being held. There was plenty of space for everyone to get comfy and relax in the evenings. We chilled out, drank beers, and watched some movies.
Seeding rounds were scheduled for Friday and Saturday. Morning bracket at 9 Am and afternoon bracket at 2:30. Our team was scheduled for the afternoon bracket both days. I prefer to play in the PM brackets. As the day progresses the temperature cools, and you don’t have to be at the courts super early. After two days of seeding we seeded third overall, which we were happy with, and turned out to be pretty accurate.
Before the tournament we had a lot of opportunities to practice as a team and dial our game in. That was helpful when Saturday rolled around. We were all feeling great, well rested, and ready to play. We knew what to expect from most teams at the tournament and those we didn’t we watched closely so we could adapt our game play and strategy.
Our boys, and Fixcraft team mates, The Guardians put us into the losers bracket in the winner’s bracket semi-final. It’s always hard to go into the losers bracket, but we’ve been there before and were ready to take it on again. After that loss we regrouped, talked about the positives and negatives, and changed up a few thing up before our next games.
We played through the losers bracket against some familiar teams, Big Country and Portland United, only to see the Guardians again at the loser’s bracket final. The Guardians took us down 5-1, in a quick, precise, and super clean game. If I’m going to lose I’d rather lose to my friends and a team that I respect and admire.
After we we’re eliminated we sat back and reveled that we had made the podium at our first major tournament together.
We learned a lot about our game and the way that we work together on the court. Every time we’re out there together we get a little stronger as a team. We’ll be grinding and playing as much as possible until it’s time for World’s in Florida. See you all on the beach!
I’d like to give a quick shout out Nick Dellwo and Meg Lee for letting nine dudes crash on their floor and for being amazing hosts. You guys rule! Also, Emmet, we miss you, see you soon! And, Chris Simpson, as Dustin said, you’re the number one homie. Thanks for being our personal party/airport shuttle, and you killed it reffing! One more shout out to the Fixcraft fam. Thanks for the support, you guys rule!
The crew at FBM put the hammer down to get us some new polo bike prototypes a few days before the Cascadia Qualifier. We wanted to get as much time in on them before the tournament so we got the frames built up as soon as they arrived. This is the best polo frame and fork that I’ve ridden. As soon as I jumped on the Ballista I was instantly comfortable and my game changed for the better. Mike at the FBM frame shop got in touch with us to ask what we would be interested in having on a polo specific frame set. We gave him some input and they really delivered. Mike and the rest of the guys at FBM have lot of years of experience in frame design and production, it shows in the quality and craftsmanship. FBM is an invested bike company with over a decade of success in BMX. All of their frames are hand made in Johnson City, NY by real people that ride bikes. They are awesome dudes and we are very excited to be representing them in bike polo. It was a great experience to work with Mike and everyone at FBM to develop one of the best frames in bike polo.
The frame and fork are 700c specific with mounting options for front and/or rear linear pull brakes, and a front disc tab.
There are full housing guides on the under side of the top tube for smooth routing from either side of the head tube and to keep the housing tucked out of the way.
The small gusset behind the bottom bracket helps to keep the rear end stiff.
A few shots of the fork…
The Ballista is tig welded with 4130 chromoly steel tubes. There will be a few sizes depending on general interest, available through a pre order. The production frames will have custom head badges, new decal designs, and will be available in 2-3 colors.
The Ballista feels really stable at speed, there is no shimmying or speed wobbles. Cornering is smooth and predictable, I’ve had no trouble with diving or jack knifing. The slightly longer wheelbase provides no toe overlap and a firm footing for going shoulder to shoulder. We’ve been giving feedback to FBM to make improvements that may be needed. But what you see here is pretty close to what the finished product will be, possibly a few modifications. The Ballista will go into production sometime this coming winter.
Hey everyone. There’s a ton of awesome stuff going down up here in Seattle. We’ve been riding tons of rad gear, playing a load of polo, and gearing up for tournament season.
Bench Minor went down in LA a couple weeks ago. Big thanks to the LA crew for putting on such an awesome event with such style and poise. Joe brought home the win from BM4. Global United played a great game, quick, precise, physical. GU was clearly headed for the podium. It was awesome to see so many players from all over the world play so well together, and of course to have Joe be on the winning squad is rad! Another 206 local, Scooter, was also on the winning squad. It’s so good to see our friends on the podium. Koyo destroyed LA as well, nabbing himself another MVP title. It was great to see everyone and get some sun and beach time.
With our qualifier just days away we’ve been getting in some team practice and dialing in our game. We’re super stoked to get back into tournament mode. Cascadia is one of the toughest regions to compete and qualify in. There are so many serious contenders, there are going to be a lot of teams vying for those top eight spots.
We’ve been getting in tons of time on new gear too. We’ve been breaking in our Giro shoes over the last couple months. So far they are going strong and holding up great. Look for a long term review of the Chamber coming soon. The Fixcraft cleat system has made it’s way into our hands and onto our mallets. What can I say about it that hasn’t been said already? This is by far the best non-propietary modular system. It is so simple and easy to use. Making a mallet takes minutes, cut the shaft, drill the head, thread it together. Done.
We’ve got something real nice coming up in the very near future from FBM Bike Co. We’ve collaborated on a really cool project that I think a lot of people are going to be stoked on. More on that next week…
Thanks for tuning into the blog, if you’ve got questions, answers, complaints, if you want to request more photos of Koyo’s flowing locks, or just want to whisper sweet things into Panizzo’s one good ear holler at us, doggie!
There are several brands now offering a more casual style of clip less shoe for various disciplines of riding. Giro just dropped the Chamber this week. The Chamber is a mountain clip less shoe with a skate styling. Giro has been kind enough to outfit The Assassins with a couple pairs of the new Chamber shoes for this season. We are super excited to be riding this new shoe; they are certainly some of the best available. After our first ride last night at pick up we have a few remarks.
The soles feature a Vibram rubber outer that is tacky and provides ample grip on all surfaces. This proved handy in tight situations when pedaling unclipped, or unexpectedly dabbing. I didn’t have to walk lightly across wet floors or other slick surfaces either, the soles really gripped the ground. There is also a “Poron” heel pad/cushion in the sole to help absorb impacts to the heel/ankle.
There is plenty of space to adjust the cleats on the bottom of the shoe. I prefer to have my cleats as far back as I can put them on most shoes. On the Chamber I found that there was more room yet to adjust the cleats back if I wanted. My partially worn Time ATAC cleats did not seem to protrude from the cleat recess. We’ll see how a fresh set sits in there next week.
Clipping in and out of the pedals was a breeze. The cleat recess is wide enough to allow float with out the shoe dragging on the pedal or catching when clipping out. I was able to find the pedal and clip in effortlessly every time.
The Velcro strap on the top of the shoe is in the sweet spot. Not too low, not too high. It adjusts perfectly over the arch of the foot for support as well as protecting the laces. The laces that come in the shoes are pretty long, even when laced all the way up. I had to trim them so there was no excess lace flapping around.
The front of the shoe has a very boxy shape, which allows the front of the foot to be comfortable without slipping side-to-side. The tongue has neoprene centering straps that keep the tongue from slipping to one side. The straps also pull the tongue down onto the top of the foot to give the shoe a snug, sock like fit.
The Chamber is a medium width, which is perfect for me. The shoe fits close to the sides of my feet. Close enough to offer support, but without being too tight or constricting. The heel cup is contoured to hold the heel firmly in place. I did not experience any heel lift while walking or riding.
The Chamber is one of the stiffest shoes that I have played in. After several hours of games I found the shoes to be quite comfortable. After three or more games in a row I usually start to feel a bit sore or some numbness/hot spots from flex. The Chamber stayed comfy all night long.
I walked home from the court to help break the shoes in and get a feel for how they would be walking around. Because the shoes are so stiff they’re not the best for walking in. However, the front of the shoe is molded with a slight upward angle to help make up for the lack of flex when walking.
The Chamber, although not designed for bike polo, is a great choice. It has all the basics covered with plenty of additions that make it stand out. The tongue centering straps and Vibram outsole are two crucial features that really make this shoe a good option. The styling is clean and the color choices are great. So far I’m in love with these things. Thanks again to Giro Sport Design and Mike Walker for hooking us with the super rad footwear.
I’ll be posting a long term review when there is more to report. For more info and to get your pair check out www.giro.com.
I like watching pro cycling from time to time. Road racing is great for the shear strength and power of the riders, as well as the team strategy and timing, but nothing beats a good cross race. Cross racers go so hard. Shredding a road bike on terrain that is meant for a mountain bike, jumping on and off the bike, runnnig through mud, sand pits, it’s never boring. The bikes are amazing too, beefed up road bikes to manage the abuse and debris dolled out by the riders and the courses. The atmosphere at a cross race is similar to polo tournaments. Everyone has a beer in hand, cheering on the racers, screaming and ringing cowbells.
The heckling at cross races abounds, similar to polo. Never let anyone get in your head. Especially someone outside the boards, or in this case the tape.
Also like polo, the racers are focused and determined, in some cases doing whatever it takes to win.
This was at a local race last year. Just barley hits the barrier and its all over.
Our dear friend Paul Danos has been on his grind this week. He hammered out this website for us like it was NBD. So, shout out to Paul for all the hard work. Now that the site is up we’ll be posting content from tournaments, pick up, the new bench league we have started here in Seattle, and general info about the team. Tons of stuff. It’s going to be awesome.
If you want to connect with us there are several easy ways to do it. Click that connect tab and hit us up on Facebook, Twitter, or email. Thanks for checking out the site, and stay tuned for more updates.