Weekend wedding gig

This wedding gig came up 2 hours before start time! I wasn’t too happy about it at first. I was going to refuse.  But when it’s someone’s special day to get married I’m not going to be the one to try and make their day not go perfectly.

"It's a little bit funny"...

“It’s a little bit funny”…

So I sang a couple songs and sweated up a storm in the spotlight.  Then after I did my short set a woman approached and asked if we could do a song together that I had never hear before.  We had 15 minutes so we rehearsed a couple times and nailed it.  It was a great little show for a happy wedding couple.

"Eh, there's a bar of 6 before the G".

“Eh, there’s a bar of 6 before the G”.

CHEEEEESE.

A special thanks to HappyShoot.jp (Boss and Jacky) for these pics.

2013 in a Nutshell!

Well 2013 was another great year.

Feel the pain in the thighs.

I trained hard with “Da Boyz” and raced a lot. I rode over 10,000 km’s and I also won 2 races. One of those races was by a lot!

That's Me at the Top.  Woot Woot

That’s Me at the Top. Woot Woot

I really love cycling in Japan especially where I live in Numata. The mountain roads around here are clean and hardly used. Some early morning rides it feels like the road was made just for me. I’m looking forward to next year already. I will upgrade my bicycle group set Dura-Ace to the 9000 mechanical and probably buy a new training wheel-set.

Financially things were great, too. My best friend Ward did wonders with his day trading bringing me in over 17% profit over the year. I could “almost” quit my day job but not just yet. Also, Capital Clean Seed stock which I have some big money tied up in has finally started to climb and I’m excited to where it’ll go this year. If things go as predicted my move back to Canada won’t be as scary as I think. I will pray to the money gods on that one! It would really give me a lot of options on how to take care of my family which is the main reason I’ve been working so hard in the first place.

My little girl Victoria is now almost 2 years 6 months and she just gets cuter to me every day. She’s talking and developing her own personality and fortunately she loves playing together with daddy. She starts my days off by saying “Good morning daddy” and she never shy’s away from saying “I love you daddy”. What more could a father ask for? People tell me it will one day change and if they’re right, I best absorb every moment I can right now. Nothing makes me feel like I have a purpose more than my daughter.

Let's rock 2014!In August, I took 2 weeks and headed to Nashville Tennessee to record my latest album. I called up Aussie Greg Arnold again to produce it and we met up in a hotel near downtown Nashville to bash out the songs in pre-production before heading over to Alex the Great studio to have Brad Jones engineer and co-produce. The recording went well and it was an incredible experience. Brad would drive us to a different restaurant ever day around 3 to experience Southern food. The cool thing about the studio was that it was attached to a guest house which was included in the studio fee. I slept in the big studio room every night trying to finish off lyrics.  It was so cool looking around the room at the double bass, the grand piano, the drums all mic-ed up, and the foam carefully placed for sound just before closing my eyes and dreaming.  A kid in a candy store! The album is finally out and in boxes but I don’t plan on releasing it until January 2014. It’s titled, “Every Sunrise”.

Newest album, "Every Sunrise"

Newest album, “Every Sunrise”

Recording

I also hooked up with my brother in Nashville. He flew in for 2 nights to see me. It was really great to spend quality time with him. We had no family distractions and it was the icing on the cake to make it a memory I will not forget.

My Bro and I in Nashville 2013

I had a good year of gigging too. I am very fortunate to have my job at Lockheart castle. Without that second income things would be a lot different for us. But I also landed a few new gigs that could promise to become a regular event.

The worst thing of 2013 was word that my father has cancer in his liver and lungs. He’s on chemo now as I write this but I should point out that he got a phone call 3 days ago saying his last CT scan showed “a significant decrease of cancer in his liver” which has a lot of us family members excited. I will pray that the drugs continue to work and that my father kicks cancer in 2014.

Love my dad

Love my dad

So 2014 is just around the corner and if there are no hick-ups along the way I expect I will continue to do all the things I love, like look after my family, train hard on the road bike, race hard, gig every weekend, save money, write songs, sell the new album, and do my best to stay healthy and happy. Thank you 2013 and hello 2014!

I Lost the Fight with TREK – Part 3

The 3rd and final episode of the ongoing saga regarding my TREK replacement frame ended with the protagonist getting a pump shoved in his front wheel by TREK and sliding on pavement with road cherries.

The new Frame colors.  Not ugly at all.  But not what I wanted.

The new Frame colors. Not ugly at all. But not what I wanted.

Goes so well with my gear.

This is the paint job I was hoping for but lost.

The non Hollywood story is much more anticlimactic with a simple email from TREK Japan that reads:

Hello Kelly,

We are sorry to keep you waiting.

This past week the US customer service manager, APAC customer service manager, sales rep and I discussed and concluded that we cannot replace this frame.

The reason is that the store sold the custom painted frame, and then it was taken home.

However, we are working with the shop on options to help you on their behalf.

The store mentioned that they would like to contact you but have had difficulty contacted your cell phone.

Could we tell them your email address?

We appreciate your patience in working through this!

Regards,

XXXX

Forced to use my winter bike for races since my Madone surrendered to the cycling Gods.

Forced to use my winter bike for races since my Madone surrendered to the cycling Gods.

So I talked to the store out of curiosity what those “options” could be and unfortunately they didn’t lead to a discount.  The store owner just said he looked into finding someone who privately re-paints frames but came up with no one who will do carbon frames. 

So the story ends there.  No riding off into the sunset with a gold medal around my neck on my dream bike.  But, at the end of the day this story is still pretty good.  I love the frame, like the colors and am fortunate to be able to enjoy riding a very, very nice bike.

Read Part Two

Read Part One

TREK Madone 6.5 Replacement Frame Part 2

My baby.  We've been through a lot of miles together.Since my 2012 TREK Madone 6.9 Frame had a crack in the seat stay I had no choice but to give it to my retailer to return it to TREK.  From there, TREK examined the bike and said I was entitled to a replacement frame (which means buying a new frame with a 30% discount off retail price).

"It's nothing Ma, it's just a scratch".Since they don’t make the 2012 frame any more I have to buy a 2013 frame.  So what do I buy?  They don’t make the 6.9 anymore.  The top of the line 6 series is the 6.5.  Do I upgrade to the 7 series?  I do race a lot but I am not a pro cyclist.  After a lot of consideration I decided to get the 6.5.  It’s slightly stronger, hardly any heavier and hopefully will last through all my training and racing for a few years to come.

The new Frame colors.  Not ugly at all.  But not what I wanted.

The new Frame colors. Not ugly at all. But not what I wanted.

But the story doesn’t end there.  Eagar to get the new frame in time for spring training I ordered it from a TREK retailer using the managers iPad to search through Project One frames.  My bad.  When the frame arrived both the store manager and I realized the color scheme was not what we thought it was.  We were both surprised to see purple in the frame color.  Also, during the wait for the frame I did a lot of research on the H1 and H2 frames and wish I had ordered the H1.  So here I have a TREK 6.5 Madone frame that cost a handsome amount of money and I don’t like the color and I don’t like that it’s H2.  To kick myself even more, when it arrived I talked myself into thinking, it’s not really that bad.  But a few sleepless nights wishing I could exchange it got me back to the retailer asking to change it in.  After all, when I spend this kind of money, I want to be 100% satisfied.

When I told the store manager what I wanted to do he hummed and hawed about it.  The Frame has never been out of its box except the one time to look at it.  When he finally said it can’t be done, I emailed TREK directly.  I live in Japan but I emailed TREK USA because I wanted to speak English and make sure there were no misunderstandings. They told me it is possible but needed some more information first.   When I explained that I live in Japan they turned me over to the TREK JAPAN.  The last email I got from TREK JAPAN says:

Hi Kelly,

Thank you for contacting us.

Our sale representative for “Retail Store” already knew your situation and provided the shop with our answer.

Please let us consider what we can do for you.

We will talk with you when the solution is decided. 

Regards, 

Name

I haven’t heard back from them yet (3 weeks later).  But they did call the retail store and try to get them to tell me “No”.  But the retailer couldn’t give a reason why.

I went to another bike store where I’m good friends with the mechanics and they told me all the frames they deal with (ie BMC, Specialized etc) have a return policy if the customer isn’t happy.

Some pondering questions:

1)   Why can’t the frame be exchanged?  It’s brand new and never been used.   It’s not a custom paint job.  It’s a factory chosen color.

2)  TREK USA said it is possible to do.  Why is TREK Japan different?

3)  Is this a TREK policy or is the retailer the one that is refusing to let me exchange the frame?  No one is giving me direct answers (Which is very typical in Japan).

4)  TREK claims to have the best warranty in the business.  My Frame has never been used, and it is a 2013 model.  I simply want to upgrade and spend even more money with TREK.  Why is this not possible?   TREK is the 2nd largest bike company in the world.  Isn’t customer satisfaction important?

I sent the guy at TREK who’s in charge of my case the same questions (but more polite) and have not heard back from them.

This sounded like a good idea when I registered.

Riding my winter bike in a race because my Madone 6.9 had a crack in the seat stay.

NOTE:  Now, I should clarify, I actually do like the frame I have.  More so, if I can exchange it I will.  The goal is to search out all possible angles so that I leave nothing on the table.  When I find the answer either way, I will be satisfied.  🙂

Story to be continued….

Read Part Three Here

Read Part One.

Have Bike Will Trouble – I mean Travel – PART 1

Madone 6.7 SSL WSD™

OCLV2 SSL Carbon, E2, BB90, internal cable routing, DuoTrap compatible

The Worst Luck.

When it rains it pours they tell me.   Seems to be the case for me when it comes to cycling lately.  First let me remind myself I have my health and a beautiful family.  Now, let me share my story to get some much needed sorrow off my chest..

My beautiful TREK Madone 6.7 SSL WSD with all the trimmings got a crack in the seat stay a week ago.   It wasn’t from a crash or from banging it into a wall.  It was from attaching a light to it.  It pains me to share this because I NEVER attach a light to the seat stay.  I got home from work late and there was little light left in the day.  Somehow I couldn’t find my regular lights I use and I was running out of daylight so I called the search off and grabbed an old cat eye light I used to use on my mountain bike.  Now, I always attach my back lights to my seat post but this time I decided to throw it on the seat stay because that way my left leg wouldn’t rub against it when pedaling.

So I head out to climb route 145 to Lockheart castle which is a ride I do sometimes for intensity training.  It’s perfect for a short ride as I ride it at usually over 80% of my max heart rate and get the heart and legs both rocking.  On my way home heading down hill at about 65 km/hr the back light moved into the spokes of the rear wheel and got eaten up in a hurry.  I stopped, swore, looked at the remains of the light and checked my back wheel and spokes.  When I saw there was no damage on the spokes and the wheel seemed true I was relieved and went home.

The next morning when on a group ride my friend behind me asked what happened when he saw the crack.  I stopped and initially we both thought it was just the paint.  But a few more tests concluded indeed the frame was cracked.  How easy it was to ruin the frame.  A plastic light attachment that couldn’t break the spokes or untrue the wheel ruined my frame.

"It's nothing Ma, it's just a scratch".

So next I decide on what to do, either buy a new replacement frame or try to get this one fixed. I took it into Takezawa cycles where some friends work and asked them to switch the parts over to my winter bike which is an older TREK 5.2 carbon frame.

Today, they call me and said, “Did you know your top tube on your 5.2 has a 4 cm crack in it”?

All I could do is laugh because well…. Crying aint gonna do no good.

I feel like we’re going in reverse here.

So that’s where I stand.  I have a bike race on Sunday and I will ride it with my winter bike. I have double checked the winter bike frame top tube and I personally believe it’s not cracked but just scratched.   I will continue to use it as a winter bike and as my only bike until I get a new frame or get the 6.7 fixed.

Stay tuned and please, whatever you do… be careful with your frames friends.

Read Part Two Here.

Bicycle racing in Japan.

It’s sunny but cold outside today.  I’m getting antsy to get back out there and ride a heap of kilometers this year.  The last couple months have mostly been in the gym riding the trainers and doing upper body workouts.

My favourite past time nex to writing songs.

I’ve spent the last few weeks surfing the internet for cycling gear and the Garmin 500 GPS computer As I had expected, what I wanted was going to cost some money.  Fortunately the Japanese yen is strong and because I took my time browsing cycling sites on line I have got some great deals.  When buying these items at a store in Japan it can almost double in price.  That is probably because most Japanese customers can’t understand English and are unable to find what they are looking for outside of Japan. At any rate, it’s great to get paid in yen at the moment.

My first race this year is on April 22nd.  It’s a 13 KM hill climb up Mt. Shirane in Kustasu village.   Kusatsu is a famous hot spring area and has been for over a 1000 years.  Shirane is a volcano.  At the top is the worlds largest sulfuric lake.  It’s a beautiful turquoise blue but it smells like rotten eggs. 

This is my first time to enter this race.  Apparently there are over 3000 cyclists.  The fastest time is usually around 30 minutes and the slowest around 1 hour.  Anyone who doesn’t do it in 2 hours is disqualified.

Ride like the wind.

I hope to do it in about 45 minutes which would put me somewhere in the middle of the pack.  I have ridden this hill many times (when it’s warm).

zig zag is a good thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Several years ago when my brother came to Japan, we shared a few beers one evening.  He said, “that sounds interesting.  I could climb that no problem because I used to ride all the time when I was going to university“.  My friend and I said “Let’s do it tomorrow morning and then go for a hot spring“.   We all agreed and that’s what happened.  Long story short, my brother Kevin made it to the top but not without going into oxygen debt and taking a few breaks.  Not knocking my bro.  He’s the best.  I’m merely saying that it’s not as easy as it might seem.  So, I’ll just keep training and hope I have a time I’m proud of.

Can’t wait for spring!!

2011. The Good, the Bad, and the Ugly.

2011 ended up being a busy but fun year for the most part.  Any year you can look back on and recall that you and everyone you care for were all relatively healthy is a good one.

My father had a fight with cancer at the end of 2010 and was very, very ill but he bounced back to enjoy 2011 for the most part. Jersey signed by all the Canucks.

Though a lot happens in a year, our biggest news was the birth of our beautiful baby girl on July 13th at 7:06 am.  Her name is Victoria Linda Pettit and she’s now the centre of our small bubble.

Victoria Linda Pettit July 13, 2011

It was fun watching Harumi’s journey through pregnancy and thrilling to watch her give birth to our first child together.  I’ll never forget that exact moment of watching Victoria enter our world. I felt useless as Harumi battled the delivery bravely.

We traveled a lot in 2011.  I went to Canada on my own for Xmas as I was concerned for my dads health.  He was weak when I was there but he was slowly recovering.  I managed to spend a night at Ward’s and a couple days with Chris but for the most part I just relaxed with my dad.  My mom was in Phoenix and I was disappointed I didn’t get to see her but if I had known what lay ahead, I would have been fine.

The horrific incident caused by the March 11th earthquake found my family and I packing and heading to Scottsdale Arizona for a month. Nothing left. We stayed in my moms condo down there trying to pretend we were on holidays but really, stressed about our future with one eye on CNN news and the other looking to the future unknown.  We came back to Japan as I had to return to work and decided to stay here as things were looking better.  Later in early December 2011, I went up to Iwate prefecture to Ootsuchi city to do a volunteer concert for the people.  The Canadian Embassy had contacted me to help and it wasn’t hard to make up my mind.  Photos really don’t express the heavy emotions one gets while being there.  I was moved beyond words.

In mid November, my mom who I hadn’t see for a good year and a half decided she needed to see her new grandchild and booked a flight to hang with us for 2 weeks.  We had an incredible time drinking wine every night, indulging in too many truffles, eating out for lunch, and always laughing.  She was a great sport for putting up with our small, embarrassing apartment.  Despite the lack of fluency in English, Harumi managed to share her feelings and get her point across quite well.  The two of them together were devilish and great company and I was so happy to see them get along so well.   Victoria loves her grandma and we all hope it isn’t too long before they reconnect. Family is everything.

I had knee surgery in mid January 2011 to try and repair my left meniscus.  It was a 3.5 hour job and a month in a cast followed by rehabilitation.  I bought a new bicycle in April though and by May I was on it riding almost every day.  The knee still isn’t perfect and now the other knee is giving my troubles, but it wasn’t bad enough to stop me from riding over 7000 km and entering a couple races.  I lost a few pounds and I feel rejuvenated. Group rides are always enjoyable.

2012 promises to be full of a lot of the same if all goes according to plan (which it usually doesn’t).

We will raise Victoria here for the year.  I will attempt to ride twice as far as last year and enter twice as many races.  We will travel.  Maybe all of us will go to Brazil, or I’ll just send my family there and I’ll go to Canada.  Maybe I’ll record my new CD in Nashville USA.  I’m praying some of my songs that are in negotiation for movies will finally get accepted.  I’m hoping financially we can save a little more m/oney (although after buying a new car and TV I’m not sure about that).


But again, if in 2012 everyone remains healthy and happy, then life is perfect.Image