New Budnitz Bicycles Flatbar Test & Review

A few weeks back, John Young, Sales Manager for Budnitz Bicycles offered to have me test ride the new titanium Budnitz Flatbar Disarmed with a huge smile, I was powerless to refuse.

The Flatbar

Rise: 0mm
Sweep: 12º
Width: 630mm
Weight: 230 grams
Clamp Diameter: 31.8mm
The test bar has precise marks for length trimming. It also has a finely textured surface area for stem clamps. The bar weighed in at 260 grams on my digital scale. I later discovered fine finishing debris inside the bar’s ends after mounting. All was easily wiped and blown out, but I didn’t weigh the precious dust. As I said, this bar is new.

The Bike
Time came to choose a test mule. Hmm. I couldn’t bear to tear down my No. 1’s cockpit, it’s set so perfectly. For an alternate test mule, I did, however, have to amputate the No.1’s Budnitz stem, as it’s the one stem I have with a clamp 31.8mm in diameter. I gazed over the quill-less of my quiver, the bikes sans quill stems.
A '97 Moots YBB, made the year my bro Tony and I rode the Emerald Bay trails in Orange County with Sara Ballantine atop her Moots sponsored YBB. We ran into an angry 6 foot long rattlesnake after introductions.

A ’97 Moots YBB, made the year my bro Tony and I rode the Emerald Bay trails in Orange County with Sara Ballantine atop her Moots sponsored YBB. We ran into an angry 6 foot long rattlesnake after introductions.

A custom Moots Psychlo-X YBB with disc brakes and an original Jones H-Bar.

A custom Moots Psychlo-X YBB with an original Jones H-Bar.

My 1st titanium frame, a '95 Bontrager Ti Lite with Sweet Wings cranks, a Modzilla converted Rock Shoks Judy disc fork, and a 28 spoke radially laced rear wheel I built with a Bontrager asymmetric ceramic rim and a Chris King rear hub designed by Keith Bontrager to be the 1st King hub approved strong enough for radial lacing. I've ridden thousands of interstate trail miles on this frame, a gift Danusia gave me in 1995 after my '92 Gary Fisher Procaliber with a Rock Shox 1 (with pink stickers!) was expertly stolen from our garage.

My 1st titanium frame, a ’95 Bontrager Ti Lite with Sweet Wings cranks, a Modzilla converted Rock Shoks Judy disc fork, and a 28 spoke radially laced rear wheel I built with a Bontrager asymmetric ceramic rim and a Chris King rear hub designed by Keith Bontrager to be the 1st King hub approved strong enough for radial lacing. I’ve ridden thousands of interstate trail miles on this frame, a gift Danusia gave me in 1995 after my ’92 Gary Fisher Procaliber with a Rock Shox 1 (pink stickers!) was expertly stolen from our garage.

A '96 Bontrager Road Lite single gear with a White Industries ENO eccentric hub.

A ’96 Bontrager Road Lite single gear with a White Industries ENO eccentric rear hub.

A 2004 custom Sycip Crossdresser, the 2nd Crossdresser made, except with different paint and chainstays. The bike is made of stainless steel, tubes mated by Richard Sachs lugs. Because of a shortage of stainless road chainstays, My Crossdresser was made with stainless mountain bike chainstays, which are too great in diameter to fit the Sachs bottom bracket lug, so my bottom bracket is welded, yet sports a painted lug to match the real ones.

A 2004 custom Sycip Crossdresser, the 2nd Crossdresser made, except with different paint, BB, and chainstays. The bike is made of stainless steel tubes mated with Richard Sachs lugs. Because of a shortage of stainless road chainstays, my Crossdresser was made with stainless mountain bike chainstays, which are too great in diameter to fit the Sachs bottom bracket lug, so my  bottom bracket is welded, yet sports a painted lug to match a real one. The Sycip brothers have a good sense of humor.

My delayed, but essential point is that the Budnitz Bicycles Flatbar will do justice on everyone of these unique steeds. Yes, I called them mules, but that was legerdemain. And this gorgeous bar will turn any mule, … well, most, into a stallion.
Right. So. Which steed got its horns … rather, which bird got its wings?
A 1995 WTB Phoenix, a frame handbuilt and signed by Steve Potts, which I built up as a ’69’er after I bought it in 2005. It has a Salsa unicrown steel fork, which attaches an Avid disc brake and places me deep in the bike’s sweetspot. The inertia and angle of approach of the 9’er wheel guides me balanced in all terrain conditions. It’s a bike that ‘disappears’ under its rider, perfect for focusing on the Flatbar.

The Test
Del Monte Forest Trails: Poppy, Spider, 666, Ti, and Congress.
07:30 53* foggy and misting.
26 psi front, 30 psi rear.
Wet spider webs awaiting.
Heading out, I noticed my torso position to be a touch flatter and forward, perfect for speed, climbing, and blitzing down. With the Flatbar, the Phoenix cockpit felt very solid, balanced, and precise. That established, my intention on the trail was to discover how much the Flatbar would flex. With a rigid fork on a trail of drops, I quickly observed less flex in the Budnitz bar than in the aluminum Mary bar that otherwise guides the Phoenix. The Budnitz titanium stem was instrumental in the WTB’s solidity in the narrows and, naturally, in its aesthetics.

The mountain biking and trail riding applications of this titanium flat bar are wide reaching. Its dimensions are spot on and it will last a lifetime … beyond that, actually. I project that its urban application reaches even farther. The Budnitz Flatbar is suited to any bike one would choose to negotiate the impermanent moving portals among people, their automobiles, and the narrows.
PS John mentioned that another newly designed Budnitz Bicycles product might find me for review in September. Disarmed again with a huge smile, I am again  powerless to refuse.
Flatbar on Budnitz No. 1

Flatbar on my Budnitz No. 1

© Cary Gossett and Rollin With Outta Colon, 2012. All Rights Reserved.
Oh, sorry about the paragraph spacing. Looks perfect before posting. WordPress spaces posts however it likes, regardless what I do. WordPress? You there?

Stress Fractures

stress fractures

In bone.


In metal.
In trees.
In the psyche …
By Alex Grey

By Alex Grey

Stress is insidious and tenacious, and can fracture many things very effectively, material and immaterial alike.

Mood. Confidence. Mind.

Chemistry. Memory. Time.

Will. Power. Karma.

We all have the capacity for both acute and chronic stress. Acute stress is transient and useful: it triggers excitement, energy, the “fight or flight” response for self-preservation, and quickly sharpens mental focus. Chronic stress is self-destructive and serves no physiologic advantage or practical purpose. Unlike acute stress, chronic stress isn’t transient; rather, it is repetitive and lasting, sometimes starting in childhood. Both stresses release the stress hormones adrenaline, cortisol, and glucocorticoids, all beneficial in the immediate term, but toxic chemistry longterm.

Physical damage, namely, atherosclerosis, coronary artery disease, a weakened immune system, and brain cell destruction in the hippocampus that impairs memory and learning, are all effects of longterm swimming in chronic stress hormones. Further damage from chronic stress includes dulling of the senses, chronic fatigue, apathy, pain, suffering, and severe reactive depression, a longterm result of chronic stress depleting dopamine, a neurotransmitter that many anti-depressants and some pain medicines work to increase.


By Alex Grey

By Alex Grey

“At the slightest stress, people seem to divide themselves into antagonistic groups.” Isaac Asimov

Stress over what has happened, what is happening, and what might happen is neither useful nor healthy … and when I vent my stress, it sounds something like:

I felt sick and exhausted again when I awoke this morning.

I feel ill, weak, and nauseated sitting on my bike.

Maybe I should just go back to bed.

Should I even try to ride right now?

What if I puke, if I’m too weak to ride back home, if I burn too many calories that can’t be replaced by merely attempting to eat while nauseated?

Will I ever feel good again?

Let It Go

When I realize I’m again looped in worry thoughts, I usually remember to “let it go” and focus on what I actually know: I’m a bad lad sitting on a sick bike, the secret trail is ahead, and my pain isn’t that much worse than usual. Stating this, the worry loop often weakens and I slowly become aware of the present, of resplendent trail and forest,

the singing of birds and distant crashing of coastal waves,
the fragrance of vibrant flowers,

the brisk touch of wind on my skin, and the lively feel of my bike transporting me. Again, I recall that I can live only in the present, which I regard as the always current sum of my past, my personal history, one I hold close as calibrated compass and personal guide.

Q: So, what besides anxiolytic medicine can be used to reduce or minimize chronic stress?

A: Practicing Stress Fracturing ~

~ Meditation

Meditation practice works to instill calm hopefulness and well-being: it is a path to inner peace, fostering healthy self-dialogue and decreasing feelings of ill will toward self and others, but most importantly, it can decrease one’s suffering from stress and pain. Meditation also paves the way to a safe ‘place’ one can build and revisit.

By Alex Grey

By Alex Grey

In Out Breathing
Mentally follow your slow, deep breaths in and out. When mind wonders from breath, gently bring your attention back to the next breath. The purpose here is to focus on the present, leaving no room for thinking of past or future. Being mindful of the present moment, ‘being here now,’ can reduce stress, and, in turn, suffering.

Let Go The Past

Recall something from the past that you regret or makes you sad. For me, losing my health and career makes me very sad. While minding such a memory, let go the memory as you think only of following your breath. With practice, commanding “let it go” will replace unpleasant, painful memories with what is actually in the present, like the gentle flow of your breath, sea mist on your skin, the call of a sea lion. Try to focus on the sad memory with your eyes closed, then “let it go” as you look out and focus on what comes immediately into your awareness: colors, sounds, smells, temperature, sensations, anything you sense in the present.

Let Go The Future

Think of an event or possible occurrence in the future that is stressful. My future stressor is worsening pain and health. Again, hold the stressful thought in mind and “let it go” as you shift your awareness to your breathing. Then, being aware of the breath, begin gentle In Out Breathing and settle into a peaceful, comfortable rhythm. When your mind starts to wonder or thoughts float back in, notice the wondering, the floating thoughts and let them go, returning your awareness to the rhythm of your breathing. By letting go of your thoughts of future stressors and replacing them with peaceful In Out Breathing in the present, you can realize a decrease in mental suffering, and possibly a decrease in physical suffering as well.

Since 2001, I’ve borrowed and adapted these practices from many teachers of mindfulness meditation and Buddhism. I intensified my study of meditation when I became ill in 2005, and continue to practice fracturing stress as it continues to fracture me, but with less tenacity and power as time goes by.

Recently, I’ve been studying Peace Is Every Step by Thich Nhat Hanh, a mindfulness master who was described as “a cross between a cloud, a snail, and a piece of heavy machinery.” He teaches staying mindful of the present as we partake in daily activities like showering, getting dressed, eating, washing the dishes, etc. He asks us to try a half-smile and see how the mind and body relax, how a touch of serenity arises.
His mantra for becoming aware of the present is:
Breathing in I calm my body
Breathing out I smile

I adapted a version that works better for me:
Breathing in I calm my body
Breathing out I calm my mind

Or just:

In . . . Out . . .

Here are three of Thich Nhat Hanh’s straightforward exercises for fracturing stress:

1. Half-smile while listening to music, focusing on the rhythm, mood, and tones of the song. Follow your In Out breath and allow mind and body to relax in the melodious present.

2. Mindfulness over tea (coffee for me). While making tea, move deliberately to be mindful of each movement. Feel the weight of kettle and warmth of cup in your hands. Smell the fragrance with mindful In Out breathing, breathing more calmly and deeply when your mind wonders from the present.

3. Ask, “am I sure?” Hanh uses this question to inquire if each thought or action is a source of stress and suffering. “I’ll never get better. Am I sure?” “I can’t be productive anymore. Am I sure?” Asking am I sure promotes the letting go of presumptions and allows one to focus on the world as it is.

By using “let it go” practice and Thich Nhat Hanh’s mindfulness practices, I’ve reduced my stress markedly, which has improved, at least, my mental health. What happens mentally is that these practices allow me to hold stress thoughts more lightly and to shorten the wait for them to pass on through. Over time, mindfulness skills can become second-nature and easier to summon when needed. There was a period of a few years when my physical pain was too big an obstacle for unaided meditation. The remedy was listening to guided mindfulness meditations and body scans, which gave my mind something passive to do: just allowing the guide’s voice to fill my mind instead of mentally working against pain to focus on thoughts or body sensations. Through the many recorded guided meditations, I’ve refined my practice of mindfulness meditation and the body scan, an excellent mindfulness stress reducer (and a subject requiring its own post).

Recently, I had a chance to thoroughly test this updated practice of Let It Go. I went to get lenses for my reading glasses after an eye exam a few weeks before. I was feeling ill, and the 25 minute car ride didn’t help my nausea. After 15 minutes in the waiting room, I was eventually told that I needed a prescription from the eye doctor for the lenses. A flood of bitterness about the doctor omitting the required prescription weeks earlier from my previous exam and irritation over having to return for another exam on another day had my head and body swimming in stress. I sat down, closed my eyes, took a few In Out breaths and deliberately thought, “let it go” several times. The words triggered my awareness to focus on the present and calmly sift out the grievances and aggravation enough to think of asking if I could be examined for the prescription now to save further delay and another difficult trip. While the nurse worked on getting a walk-in appointment with any of the 8 staff physicians, I maintained my let it go focus while looking at interesting glasses,

and before I realized it, 20 minutes had passed and they found a doc willing to examine me for my prescription. To keep my mind from wondering during the exam and the rest of the visit, I practiced In Out breathing, following the present sensation of breath with my awareness to whisk away any lingering stress over the whole event.
I encounter many opportunities each day to practice let it go and return my attention to the present. A rewarding time is when I’m sleep bound, but ruminating over stressful thoughts on how I could have better lived the day and imagining tomorrow’s struggles. But all that actually matters is what I know at that time: Cary lying in bed, mind ruminating, not sleeping. These stated facts, presupposed by let it go practice, takes me out of the future-past and back into the present, where I have the best chance of fracturing stress and falling to sleep.

I know that stressful thoughts can’t be eliminated and will return, but I also know that suffering them can be relieved somewhat by returning my awareness to the present if I let it go. I also know that stress is information, a lightening quick barometer of my thoughts as emotions and sensations, and a glacial undercurrent of my worn worry loops.

Weather varies, climate holds steady. I’m off to study climate and ignore the weatherman.

© Cary Gossett and Rollin With Outta Colon, 2012. All Rights Reserved.


 To ride where I do, you have to be a willing target. One for aimless autos transporting their mindless automatons with cell phones grafted to their hands and faces.

One for rigs spewing acrid after-burn that immediately sets up shop in the peeps, schnoz, and windbags, our most naturally efficient system for toxin transport to blood and brain.

One for frigid, mist-laden gales that bite and _always_ blow against. One for spider webs that cordon off the trail every few feet and stick to lips, tongue, and lenses, and slow you down just from their weight and friction.

One for bees, who find the most beautiful of settings and fair of skin.

One for leash-less k9s that want nothing more than to savor your spinning meat.

One for mud that is primed to vector fauna scat and giardia down your throat. One for poison oak, whose urushiol resin stealthily hitchhikes on your bike and gear to squat later in red anger on your most secluded skin and membranes.

One for green vines, growing to lasso blood from skin and douse lenses with dew, blurring out all vision just atop the next technical drop.

One for woody vines that, like tangled moss underfoot, will uproot your balance in a heartbeat, that, like prisoners behind bars, will thrust out limbs and claw their way through your skin. One for wood that, occasionally confused with a meteorite careening from above, will squash your mellon in a flash.

And one for solipsism, whose foot soldier and equestrian adherents spew streams of fanatical invective, claiming the public trail to be their own exclusive country club.

Is it worth being a target for so many?
Damn straight it is!
And if you are local flora or being, you may be the indifferent target of this rollin photog.

P.S. Almost forgot:

~Local rides don’t merely expose a biker to reveal a passive target, they also demand an active biker at the same time, one up to the Target Test.

Simultaneously keep in view: 

1. Trail floor for greased roots, squirrel-sized pine cones & stones, giant slugs, & horse stacks
2. Ankle & shoulder high flora for bone bruising branches, skin ripping thorns, & toxic poison oak
3. Endless eye high gooey & full spider webs & vines
4. Skull scalping branches & cones 

© Cary Gossett and Rollin With Outta Colon, 2012. All Rights Reserved.

Post Toasty From My High School Friend

    • Hope you are going well. I have over the past weeks been reading bits of your “Rollin with outta colon” blog. But not until today have I had a full opportunity to read it in its entirety as a large thunderstorm is rolling through that prevented us from hiking.

      I am so impressed. To have gotten so sick, but have the ability to be so positive is wonderful. You can take others to a higher level with your positive words of encouragement.

      It must have been so hard for you to have to retire early. Please educate me if you will.(or you can tell me it is none of my damn business) What caused you to get sick and loose your colon. Did you have Crohn’s disease? Was it the drugs you were exposed to as an Anesthesiologist? The body, nutrition and the lymphatic system interest me so much in my life as I keep fit for my body’s well being.

      I could really relate to you getting sick. After looking through your pictures you were very active. I can only imagine as active as I am if I got sick. I am proud of you for turning to photography and for especially not being one of those who just gives up. I have two friends with MS. One who is now well today who fought the disease and so far is winning. And then another who is just given in and does not try to get better and because of it she is now on a walker. Our bodies are amazingly strong machines.

      We spend about three weeks a year in Sedona at least. We have thought of buying a piece of land there to build on one day to have a second home. We just love it there. It is so beautiful. We had a second home in Scottsdale, but luckily during the high times sold it due to increasing crime there.

      Have you ever read any of the books written by Jordan Run? He is a naturopathic dr who almost died. He turned his life around through nutrition. I do not regularly mention this to all, but knew you were into your body.

      I just wanted you to know you encouraged me to want to stay stronger and to keep cheering you on to get stronger.

      Take care of yourself.

  • Cary Gossett

    21 hours ago

    Cary Gossett

    • Libby, thank you so very much. For all of it. Your words are so caring and encouraging, I want to post this on my blog! My 1st trip in years will be to Sedona this Oct. That’s the plan anyway. Have been going there 4-8 wks/year since 1996, with a hiatus beginning 2008. I know about 80 miles of bike trail there as I know the way around my house. So good to reconnect. May you long be plagued with good health. Namaste, C

  • Libby Tjernagel-King

    • That is so kind of you. People are really my heart beat.It meant a lot to me this last month when Rebecca graduated from hs. She gave a speech about loving others with no judging. She said in it she learned by example from her mom and that she has always watched me love others. She went on to say that she has never seen someone relate so well with others. It was very heart filling to me. I just hate how others can treat one another. I think I saw others differently after growing up in a very judgmental society in Amarillo. I am sure you know what I mean.

      Awesome to put it on your blog. It is so true what I said to you. You have a talent of encouragement.

      I am thrilled for you with your first trip to Sedona. I will be cheering for you as you work forward to that date. I love to bike and hike there. We have literally done all the trails in the area. And I know you will have awesome pictures to go along.

      Off to hike before our storms roll in. Take care and great to connect with you again.

Toolshed III: Modzilla Lives

Today’s project is the resurrection of my Bontrager Ti Lite’s Modzilla fork that Speedgoat Bicycles built in 1995. Chris took a Rock Shox Judy SL, replaced the crown with a Paul Components CNC machined aluminum crown that can fit 1″ and 1-1/8″ fork steer tubes, then replaced the original Judy internals with air cartridges by Englund, now Total Air, if they still exist. The 2 massive crown bolts are torqued to 35 ft/lbs.

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Toolshed II: Snapped

Today’s project was entirely unplanned. I snapped the head off a seatpost collar bolt while readying the Bontrager Ti Lite, the bike Danusia bought me ’93 as a replacement for my stolen Gary Fisher Procaliber, to receive the wheel with the special hub I built and posted about Thursday. The collar had* a machined slot with too narrow a division, preventing enough tightening to hold the seatpost in place before the clamp’s metal edges touched. That fact unknown to me at the time, I over-torqued the bolt, snapping its head off with a loud POP

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Toolshed I: King To Bontrager

Today’s project is transplanting the guts of a Chris King 32 spoke rear road hub into a 28 spoke rear MTB hub made for Bontrager by Chris King in 1999. The Bontrager hub shell is the only King made shell that’s approved to withstand the load of non-drive side radial lacing, meaning the lace of spokes on the chain-free rear wheel side don’t cross over or touch one another hub to rim. I bought the Bontrager hub shell on ebay for $20 in ’05. It was unusual to find just a shell for sale, especially this one, as hubs are usually sold as complete units, with all the guts in place.

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Creating Space For A Stoma

My phone’s calendar alarm sounded again this morning, this time to remind me that today is the 2 year anniversary of the creation of my ileostomy. Again, I set event alarms like this to remind me of what I’ve gone through, how far I’ve come, and that, like storm clouds, my body and mind are ever-changing.

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Today, I resurrected and doctored my Turner mountain bike, which has been hibernating since its last trek in the biking mecca of Sedona, AZ, November 10, 2008. How do I recall the exact day? Can’t forget — the following morning I was stabbed in the left flank while sleeping. I startled awake in excruciating pain, forcing my contracting eyelids open to see the perpetrator. I urgently scanned the room while reaching for my flank to feel the bloody knife (or red-hot poker). I felt nothing, saw nothing, then realized I was having my first kidney stone attack! My eyes rolled back in my head in utter disbelief as another sharply expanding wave of pain and nausea took over. The clock displayed 4 a.m., so Danusia was beyond my door, down the hall, asleep. So, for the next 45 minutes, in a cold sweat, I closed my eyes and focused on breathing deeply through the repeating waves of attacks. After an eon and hundreds of shallow gasps, I heard Danusia moving around. I speed dialed her, and next thing, found myself in the Sedona Urgent Care ER.

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My Illness Continues

I posted the following to my Facebook 3/14/12:

My illness continues:

One’s state of physical health can have a drastic, devastating effect on one’s sense of life, hope, and happiness.

The world shrinks when I am sick–my entire universe is the room I’m in, the things right in front of me, and what I’m feeling. All I care about is getting through the immediate pain cycle (which can last hours or weeks), how to do it, and how long it’s going to take.

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The Curve

Shotgun Phil & his 356 S

Today, I visited my very close friends Linda and Phil. Linda is a painter, a true artist, and a gifted caretaker and advocate of man and animal. Phil is a retired ENT surgeon I worked with in Santa Barbara. We met in 1997 for a case in the operating room and connected on the spot. We had, among many things, mountain biking in common. He detailed the trails to ride in Santa Cruz, which became my favorite biking mecca beginning 2003. Phil retired prematurely because of the unending maze of unnecessary hassles and dire liabilities of medical practice. His early retirement, a choice that too many of the best doctors are making, was a great loss for the medical community, as Phil was a deeply caring and outstanding surgeon. In 2005, Linda and Phil moved to Carmel Valley, a blessing of reunion for us all. I think it’s been 3-4 years since I last visited them at their beautiful property (yet they have since graciously made many trips to see me at my home). Linda showed me walls of her own exquisite paintings, and Phil let me drive his black 1963 Porsche 356 S, a breathtaking car in concours condition. This particular car was made like a Rolex by artisans of the past. If I had a grand pile of Benjamins just waiting to collapse under its own weight, I’d get one.

Lately, my world is expanding, opening once more to friends and indelible experiences. I am again beginning to consider the universe benevolent, as opposed to an inscrutable universe that is derisively indifferent to the human condition. Given my past, I don’t expect this steady handful of days to mirror my future, but I do expect to stockpile the spiritual fuel they are generating to quickly propel me through the next off-camber hairpin death curve.

Porsche 356 S

Photog ~ Linda.

© Cary Gossett and Rollin With Outta Colon, 2012. All Rights Reserved.

Rebellion of the Rebel Body

Rebellion is often good. There is the Oregon Rebellion, an excellent book of heroic fiction by E. G. Ross. ( There is the rebellion that led to the greatest nation in history, America, the rebellions that formed the Renaissance and the Age of Reason, or the Enlightenment, the rebellion that gave rise to Individual Rights through the Declaration of Independence …

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