Wednesday, December 30, 2009

A Message for Doug Dale, and 2009 Reflection

It looks like the Old Man Coffee Chronicles powered by Doug Dale is back up an running. In his most recent post he calls out folks from New Jersey stating, "I just hope the folks from Jersey stay out east, they tend to be quite rude. No offense if you're from Jersey, I'd be mad if I lived there too." Lets get one misconception out of the way, people in New Jersey are not mad about the fact that they live in New Jersey, they are pissed that soo many other people live there, which leads to crowding, and bad vibes. Think of it like using an elevator. Using one by yourself or with a friend is just fine, you can either enjoy the peace and quiet alone, or bullshit with a friend. When you are forced to share that same elevator with six other people so you cant move, whatever mood you are in goes to hell. One the passengers hasnt taken a shower since the Clinton presidency, another guy wants to hum along with the shitty music, a third person cant seem to stop farting, the fourth guy is busy talking on a cell phone while wiping the snot from their nose one their sleeve, and they are all in the way of you getting off of the elevator at the floor of your choice, you wouldn't be the happiest person around. That is what New Jersey is like, a whole lot of different people crammed into a small space just breeds rudeness.

While I will not deny that the stereotype of people from New Jersey being assholes or just plain rude exsists for a reason (I just took a long look in the mirror before typing that), but try not to forget about the rest of the Northeast as well. In my humble opinion folks from New York City and the Philly area are just as rude if not ruder than folks from New Jersey. Additionally the terms "Masshole" and "Vermonstor" exists for a reason. It's tough for people from states like New Jersey, New York, Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Massachussetts, or the DC area to go from being rude to polite at the drop of the hat. So Doug, if you do have a crew from New Jersey who stops in your shop, just take a deep breath, politely remind them that they are on vacation, and that they should relax. And if at the end of the winter all the folks from New Jersey were dicks to you for no good reason, I'll buy you a beer. That way, one Garden State representative will have sent some courtesy your way.

Finally, in what is going to be the last post of 2009, allow me to do some reflection of 2009 on a race by race basis.

SSAZ: good trail, great friends, 70 degrees in January, nuff said
Barking Spider: decent course, big field
Wimmers ICUP: Had Holmes, Doug, The Rev, and Blake not been there, I wouldnt have loved it.
Coyote Classic: HOLY SHIT! I must be kinda fast
24 Hours of Rapelje: Mother Nature put everyone in their place, but great time none the less.
Firecracker 50: Cramps from dehydration suck.
XC Nationals: Rode like shit.
Galena Grinder: Back to feeling fast.
Laramie Enduro: Getting cheered on by the family was great.
Pierre's Hole 100: CRV is now on life support.
SSMT: I'm still surprised that people did what I told them to do, and that I still havent been sued.
Moose Cross: Fun times in Idaho
Rolling Thunder: I bet if I didnt have that car bomb on the second to last lap I would have been on the podium.
MuleCross: The Mules know how to have a good time, and put on a great race.
Big thanks to Hellgate Cyclery and Missoula Bicyle Works for keeping my gear working, Drunkcyclist, and Surly for supporting SSMT, Dejay Fuzzy and Scooby for the race friendship and advice, and probably the biggest thanks to the family for their support.

One last rambling to promote one of the first events of 2010. SSUSA is just around the corner, and this one will be one for the books. 45 miles of desert mountain biking is just what the doctor order to keep your sanity during the winter.

Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Not Over Yet

Did one of my favorite things last night, watch the Giants beat up on an NFC East team last night, while drinking Troegs, and bullshitting with an old friend. Big Blue flat out spanked the Skins last night, and kept their playoff hopes alive. The Skins looked like a high school JV team out there, but everyone in the world will be hoping for them to rally next week against the Cowboys. Sure it might seems pathetic to devote a whole bunch of energy to various football teams, but bikes are not the priority this time of year, the NFC East playoff race is. Im just happy I'm not stuck rooting for the Seahawks, like other bike racers from the Big Sky.

Speaking of bikes, looks like 'ol Cross Reverand Proctor has US cross racing on lockdown. I was hoping that back in November I was gonna get a ring from him saying something along the lines of, "Sure they dont have a SS cross class across the pond, you barely raced cross this year, the last time you had anything that resembled fitness in 09 was back in the beginning of August, but I remember how you helped me after I went down at Mulecross, so pack your bags, cause youre coming to Euro Cross Camp." No such luck, I'm in New Jersey, while the real players are over there in Belgium, where they should be.

That's all I got for now, so Happy Holidays, eat, drink, be merry, drink some more, take a nap, then get up and drink again. My gift to everyone are the links below, enjoy.

Eddy Merckx- Stars and Watercarriers Part 1
Paris Roubaix - Old School Style
Run Run Rudolph
Fatty lived the dream

Friday, December 18, 2009

Trainer Rides - NJ style

Back in the Derty Jerz for the Holidays, meaning exercise either comes in the form of trail running over in the Reservation, or riding my dads bike on the trainer in the basement. I have little desire to run in the reservation, despite the fact that it would provide a nice dose of Vitamin D. Alas, that means I get to rock out on the trainer in the basement. Lucky for me Dad and I are similar enough in feet size and height that I can get away with using his bike, and shoes, so all I had to bring was a pair of shorts and some shirts. The good news is that I can bring down a laptop, set it up on the ping pong table and keep my brain occupied. Big thanks to Big Jonny for posting up "The Impossible Hour" about Ole Ritter chasing the hour record, that was some good stuff. Here is what riding a trainer in my parents basement, using borrowed gear is like.

Old Cannondale tucked into a corner next to the ping pong table and surrounded by deck furniture.

My old MTB shoes I bought back in high school, they still fit

The view from the bike, a post, fake flowers, treadmill, board games, and other random crap shoved into a closet.

When was the last time you saw grip shifters on drop bars?

Keeping the bike secure, McGeyver style

My motivation, 21 year old Scotch

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Dope Show, It Never Ends

Cracked open the Times yesterday, and while reading the sports section came across this article. Looks like with the right people coming forward to name names, this could turn into the Canadian version of Operation Puerto. The good news is that it there was no mention of any cyclists working with this "Icehole" (an asshole from somewhere cold). The bad news is that athletes are still cheating, and some doctors will do anything to help them. Any time I read about a doctor who is perscribing HGH to people over 40, only so they can slow the effects of aging, it seem fishy to me. Odds are if this doctor is willing to give a rich guy/gal steroids for the right amount of money, they would probably be willing to give athletes steroids as well.

It was nice to see that this doctor carrying Actovegin in a medical bag while crossing international lines. For those of you who have never heard of Actovegin, go find a copy of "From Lance to Landis" by David Walsh, and read the epilouge/afterword. It is a quick story of a mountain biker from the states dumping out a quantity of Actovegin, rather than trying to smuggling it across the pond for a pro roadie friend. The pro roadie friend who wasn't named turned out to be Michael Rasmussen, and we all know that he is both 1.) honest, and 2.) completely opposed to doping.

The bigger news from the article was the athletes who have worked with this doctor who could potentially be brought down from this doping scandal. Sure Operation Puerto took out four potential contenders from the 2006 tour, but this could take top athletes from various sports. Tiger Woods was named in the article, and if it turned out he had doped in his career, this would complete the fastest free fall from grace in the history of sport. Last summer the Dara Torres story seemed too good to be true, turns out it may have been. Donavon Bailey was once the "worlds fastest man", and for good measure there were two NFL players thown in the mix as well. I know, people are innocent until proven guilty, but it just seems like it has been so long since an athlete who was named in a potential doping story, and the story turned out to be false. More than anything I just hope that authorities figure out what is going on here sooner rather than later, and get this whole mess cleaned up.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

I Called It

Cyclocross Nationals is going on in full force out in Bend. For all the good news and updates head over to CXMagazine, or The Home of the Ram. In the last post I predicted Skyler Trujillo would wind up on the podium in his Junior race. Sure enough he did just that, good work Skyler! It seems like the MT folks have been doing a great job as well. So tip your cap, then a beer to folks like Radley, Gallego, Doll, Frykman, Dowd, Gonzalez, Longmire, etc etc. Someone who I had never heard of won the singlespeed division ahead of former doper Chris Sheppard. Good to see a Canadian racing in the US National Championship race, because that makes a lot of sense.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Weekly Cycling News and Ramblings

It might only be Tuesday, but it seems like it's already been a busy week as far as cycling related news in the states. The first, is the Scott Tredo, who basically kept a national race series going in the US last year, has cut his ties to USA Cycling and all of the red-tape bullshit the UCI requires. This both sucks, and is great. It sucks because, at the end of 2008, it didnt look like there was going to be a national series. Then Tredo stepped up, put a series together, (which was focused on every rider, not just the pros), and saved the day. Without him, there may have not been a national series last year. It is great, because it shows USA Cycling, that the vast majority of the riders and racers they claim the represent dont give a flying fuck about UCI points, and just want the races to be affordable, have quality courses, and most importantly FUN.

USA Cycling wanted the PRO XT series last year to be UCI sanctioned, so that pro riders could get UCI points, which determines things like starting positions at World Cups, Olympics, and World Championships. In order to meet the requirements of the UCI, too much was being asked of the promoters (financially included), and this was getting passed onto racers. Essentially, with so few racers actually caring about or trying to earn UCI points, it seemed unfair to pass the cost onto them, so that an event would have UCI points available. Excuse me while I allow the blood to flow back to my head, a promotor of a major mountain bike series, seems to care more about the average joe racers, then the pros. Sure it sucks that our US pros might not be able to race here in the states and get those UCI points, but plenty of those are available in Europe. And with all due respect to the US pro racers, I dont think that going to Europe for an extended period of time to race mountain bikes is a bad way to spend a few months.

The other USA Cycling news is that one again, Sol Vista Resort in Granby will host Mountain Bike National Championships. Not to keep complaining, but it would be nice USA Cycling didn't host Nationals at the same venue for two years in a row. While Sol Vista did a good job of hosting the event, I don't think that the venue could be described as "stellar". I understand that there are a number of factors that need to be considered when selecting a venue for Nationals, but can't we spice it up a little. What about somewhere in the Southern Appalachains, the Pacific Northwest, or Pennsylvania? How about they choose a Nationals venue in the manner that the Tour chooses locations for a stage to start and finish. Get all ski resorts to apply saying why their venue would be the best choice, then visit the locations, cut the list down to five, then maybe let the racers who pay their annual fees vote for the venue of their choice. Bring the power back to the people!

For those of you who like raffles, bikes, and supporting charities, head on over to Fatty's page. The back story, last week Fatty wrote a snarky letter to Johan over at Radio Shack stating why he should be on the new team. Johan laid out a challenge to raise money, and it has kept getting more out of control. If you donate to the charities, you get entered to win a raffle with prizes that include, a Gary Fisher Superfly, signed Trek Madone, or a Trip to the final stage of the Tour de France. I'm not Lance's or Johan's biggest fan, but everything about this is "win-win". Money is getting raised for quality charities, Fatty (who is one of the kinder folks I've had the pleasure of riding with) gets to go to Tucson, and people can win some sweet prizes. Donate for your chance.

Finally, Oregon has become the US capitol of cross for the past ten days. Last weekend was the finally USGP races in Portland, and plenty of the MT crowd went and threw down. This weekend will be National Championships in Bend, and once again plenty of MT folks we be flying the Big Sky cap over there. Best of luck to the racers like Curry, Radley, Campbell, Doll, Fiore, Frykman, and others. I will make one prediction, and that is in the the mens junior race, Skylar Trujillo of Fort Collins, Co will end up on the podium. Kid's been invited to both the US Euro camps for CX and MTB, and even though he is 16 already has a win in Europe under his belt. Dude is crazy fast, so remember that name, cause you might be hearing it for some years to come. Follow it all at the home of the ram.

Link Dump:

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Happy Birthday Dad

While home for the holidays, my dad commented that I should write about him more on this site. Granted he didn’t provide any specific reason as to why I should do this other than, “because I said so.” Quick side note, I cannot wait until the day when someone has to do whatever I say because I tell them, “because I said so.” While I have spent plenty of time not listening to my parents back in the day, I will listen to this request. Today is Dad’s birthday, no need to mention his age (if you couldn’t figure it out he’s older than me), so he gets a post dedicated to him. Dad got me in to bikes; he rode when I was growing up, and not knowing any better, I thought riding bikes was a cool thing to do. That’s how it got started, so if anyone hates me for the fact that I love to ride bikes, send your blame and vitriol to my Dad, it’s his fault.

I used to borrow his old gear, even though it didn’t fit perfectly it still was cheaper than buying my own stuff. Now he uses my old gear that I never cleaned out of my basement. Back when I was knee high to a duck, if we rode together he had to go slow and wait for me. Now the tides have turned, I am the stronger rider, but I’m not as nice of guy as he was. Meaning if we were to ride together I’m not sure I would slow down or wait for him. However, Dad is one of the top-notch pit/support folks I have had help me out at races, and is happy to attend bike events with me. He’s helped out at Dawn till Dusk in Gallup a couple of years ago, and got me food and drink at the Laramie Enduro this summer. We’ve enjoyed “Tandemonium” Nights at the T-Town Velodrome, and tipped back beers at the Tour De Fat in years past. Enough of the Hallmark stuff, Dad is a top notch dude, and today is his day, so with that, Dad do whatever you want to today, and eat all the scotty dog licorice your stomach can handle.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Yes We Did!

USA Cycling actually listened to what their members said, and made a worthwhile change! They will now be awarding a stars and bars jersey to the male and singlespeed winner of the Marathon National Championships. This year at the Firecracker the combo of Dejay, Jake, and self used a old tee-shirt and large sharpie marker, to create a "winners jersey" (and somehow no one passed out from the fumes). It also looks like no more championships jerseys will be awarded to Cat 2 or 3 level mountain bikers, and there was some changes made to age groups. I'm just spit ballin' here, but I did make these suggestions back in July so that USA Cycling would have more money to support their racers competing in the marathon world championships. Excuse my while I pat myself on the back. I guess I can't be too pissed at Kelly Lusk anymore.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Join the Posse

This is taking off faster than the Gewiss team at the 94 Fleche Wallonne.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009


Started Monday morning with a flight out of Missoula at an ungodly hour of the morning. Touched down in SLC with minimal turbulence, then booked it to Newark, where I had a lovely view of multiple smokestacks and congested highways while landing. Despite my sarcasm towardss the state of New Jersey, there are plenty of things that I love about this neck of the woods. Spent the night catching up with Mom and Dad, enjoying a old fashioned cooked meal I havent enjoyed in a while. Tuesday included a fine trip to Easton with Mom to visit friends and wax poetic at Lafayette. Went inside the Old Delta Upsilon house (which I called home for two years), and cursed at what the school had done to it. After being angry, I went to the one place in Easton that will always make me feel great: Porter's Pub. You would think a bar in Easton that is only a couple blocks away from the County Jail to not be worth a stop, but Porters is amazing, no bones about it.

Turns out old college friend Courtney was the barkeep/waitress, so it was nice to play some catch up with her. Nothing had changed, still 60 great beers to pick from, and all sorts of food to make the belly happy. Had some Troegs, which is probably my favorite brewery in the state of PA. Sure Yeungling is better known, but the stuff that Troegs makes just tastes better to me.

Porters has a great message for life on their wall, and it brings a tear to my eyes. Picture of the Troegs Dead Reconing I drank. After Porters Mom and I enjoyed a nice drive down to New Hope, followed by spending time walking around enjoying the day. Today was more of the same with sister arriving in town from Chicago, spending time catching up, all capped off with family dinner with delicious drinks. Now I'm capping it off with some Troegs Mad Elf, 11% of goodness helping to put me to sleep.

Tomorrow is the trip to Boston for the Thanksgiving and the twins' 85th birthday. Plenty of family funtime that I'm looking forward to. Hoping to get a quick visit to catch up with Jerry Guy while up in the land of bitter Red Sox folks. Once home remaining time will be spent trying to see other Lafayette folks like Niedermeyer and Little John. Thats about it, Happy Thanksgiving to all, eat a bunch of food, and enjoy the good times with those around you. Link dump if you need to waste time.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Onto The Next

Got my arse over the academic hurdle referred to as the GRE earlier today, so now its onto better and brighter things.  The plan now includes a few more days of riding before heading back to the Northeast for family and festivities.  Can't wait to get my full of traffic, dirty looks, and breathing in dirty air.  Self and Dollar Bill will be heading out to ride out own version of the Iron Cross on Sunday, 11 am at original K-Hole if you feel like joining, be ready for long ride with no refueling stops, the weak will be left on the side of the road.  

In Montana related news Saturday is the conclusion of the state cyclocross series, which for many might conflict with that Cats Griz game.  Too bad cyclocross and Cats Griz pales in comparrison to the ultimate life experience: Lafayette vs Lehigh.  Nothing better than watching one of the greatest degree granting institutions of the world (Lafayette) go and try to beat the crap out of that fourth rate group of life rejects who are too stupid to realize how much they suck (Lehigh).  It's quite the buzzkill I can't be out there with fellow alums sucking down a Mad Dog at 6 in the morning on an empty stomach, oh well I might just have to do that anyway.

Sunday is one last attempt to get a big ride in before all motivation is lost, once again if you wish to join, be at the old Kettlehouse at 11 am.  Bikes will be followed by football, and hopefully I wont have to throw something against the wall because the Giants royally suck.  Also got to deal with that packing before my way too early flight.  I am certain that being forced to spend multiple hours in a giant enclosed tube (airplane), will result me in getting some version of whatever flu is the new hot comodity.  All I got for now, enjoy the link dump. 

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Iron Cross - Yes Please

Came across this article today over at DirtRag, and it looks like it might just be one of the greatest cyclocross races ever.  The idea of the race goes against the conventional thought of what a cyclocross race should be, but who the hell cares.  Cyclocross lasting for more than three hours and including thousands of feet of climbing, why the hell not, dumber things have happened.  And for you folks who came on over for Rolling Thunder and enjoyed the spiral of death, it looks like the Iron Cross race has that, but on steroids.  Maybe we can get this going on here in Missoula, make it include Deer Creek Rd, a trip up Mt. Deanstone, throw in some of the Old Marshall Grade?  Like I said before, dumber things have happened.  

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Winter Escapes

I’m taking a page out of Josh Tack’s book today.  Since I have not been doing any racing to write about, and minimal motivation has kept me from doing any “writeworthy” rides, I need to find other cycling related topics to ramble on about.  As Old Man Winter’s presence becomes more and more apparent (even though it's sunny today), I’m listing off the top 9 of best cyling escapes (with a slant towards MTB) in the US.  Take a look, find some plane tickets, and plan a winter escape.

 9.) Phoenix, AZ:  Great riding, great weather, and halfway decent culture.  South Mountain has tons of technical trails, and is literally right out the backdoors of the folks who live south of the city.  Other great riding within a drive includes McDowell Mountain, White Tanks, and Black Canyon City.  Phoenix has a quality group of mountain bikers, with racing all through the winter, and ASU being nearby also means plenty of cheap booze.  Phoenix is one giant parking lot though, so it's high on the list. 

 8.) Colorado Springs, CO:  Can be a crapshoot as far as the weather is concerned.  If the weather is good (meaning no snow, and 40s to 50s), and trails are open, you will be smiling.  Pros such as Katie Compton, Kelli Emmit, and Alison Dunlap choose this for their winter training grounds, so it obviously doesn’t suck.  Famous cycling rant-man Patrick O’Grady lives here as well.  Bonus points for Garden of the Gods and The Air Force Academy are nearby as worthwhile things to check out.  Just be sure to BYOB.

 7.) Albuquerque, NM:  Like Colorado Springs, the weather can be a crapshoot, but odds are it will still be better than wherever you are escaping.  Great riding in the mountains north of the city, and phenomenal southwestern culture within the city.  There’s a university there, so cheap anything is available.

 6.) St. George, UT:  Gooseberry Mesa is a well known spot to go ride, and proximity to Vegas make this a great place to head once it gets cold.  You can spend hours upon hours riding trails, while being treated to spectacular views.  The main buzzkill is you are in the heart of Mormon Country, so places will be closed on Sunday, and 3.2 beer will only make you have to pee.  

 5.) El Paso, TX:  I’ve never ridden down in El Paso, but one thing is for sure, they certainly have great winter weather for riding.  Current US Singlespeed Champ Jen Wilson, and husband Dave (Brec Epic SS winner) live in El Paso.  This summer they told me the riding is great, nice and technical with steep climbs and descents.  Juarez is just across the border, so cheap anything is available, just get back to the US before the sun goes down.

 4.) Boulder City, NV:  If it’s good enough for the Outdoor Interbike Demo, then its good enough for me.  Technical desert riding is like a gift from the cycling gods, and this spot has it in spades.  Las Vegas is a pretty easy place to get to, so that makes travel easy, plus if you’re lucky you can make some money while down there. 

 3.) Sedona, AZ:  Sedona might get some snow, and can be cold, but it’s referred to as a mountain bike mecca for a reason.  The riding is absolutely phenomenal, and there is tons of it.  One of the best weekends I spent riding was in Sedona, where a group of 20 or some mountain bikers, rode close to every trail as possible down there.  The landscape of Red Rocks makes almost any place you stop of picture worthy vista. 

 2.) Hawaii:  This is pretty simple, Hawaii is just wonderful, and they have mountain biking, so it’s a no brainer.  Sure getting a bike between islands is a bitch and will cost you your first born, but if you are spending time in Hawaii from November to March you have no reason to complain.  Besides where else can you see an erupting volcano in the morning, and then ride singletrack in the afternoon. 

 1.) Tucson, AZ: Pros train here in the winter for a reason, it is warm and the riding is great.  Starr Pass, The AZ trail, the entire front side of Mt Lemmon, and that is just a start of where to ride.  Added bonus of SSUSA being held there this February, and a great cycling community.  Cheap burritos and plenty of tequila are a great way to cap off any day of riding, and ladies who populate the U are gorgeous.  Any time you can start in town, ride to a trail, then follow that same tail all the way to another county, you are in a special place.  If you haven’t ridden in Tucson during the winter you are missing out.  

Monday, November 9, 2009

A Tale of Two Headlines

Media bias is everywhere, sometimes its funny, and sometimes it used to brainwash, this is a story of the funny.  For my cycling news, I mainly default to three websites.  Drunkcyclist takes care of the cycling/life/rants/fill in the blank, VeloSnooze for domestic stuff, and CyclingSnooze for anything else I might miss.  For race news, I prefer CyclingSnooze, for a couple of reasons 1.) They cover more races 2.)seem to provide a better report, with more photos and 3.)don't seem to have some sort of quota for weekly articles where they stroke Lance Armstrong's ego.  But today, I was thrown off by what I would have to call a "pro-Euro" slant of one of their headlines.

Yesterday over in Nommay (somewhere in Europe), there was a Cyclocross World Cup, where Niels Albert, and Katie Compton won the men's and women's race respectively.  The headline provided by CyclingSnooze for the women's race read, "Vos second to USA 'cross specialist"  Now before I do anything more to make myself look like the ugly-America, the race report did go on to describe how Compton basically stomped out the field, and that she is the top female cross racer out there.  Vos is the current women's world champ for cross, so I get that she will get a fair amount of coverage no matter what result she gets, but to exclude Compton's name for the report headline, just seems silly to me.  Also referring to Compton as a "cross specialist" is an understatement, she does have a short track national championship, oodles and oodles of results on the track, and to boot she can rock a singlespeed with the best of them.  Refer to Compton as what she truly is, a "talented all around cyclist."

Conversely, if you head on over to the coverage of the race by VeloSnooze, the headline includes Compton's name.  That was the only thing they got right, there were no pictures to speak of, and I think that the report was slapped together based on a bunch of notes written on the back of a greasy napkin.  There wasn't much of report to describe what went on during the race, so VeloSnooze is once again second fiddle as far as providing an actual report.  I doubt that the folks who write reports over at CyclingSnooze have a honest bias against the US, that they want to portray through report headlines, but this was just something that caught my eye.  Come on, the US got ride of Bush, Armstrong didnt win the tour, and I dont think there is a menu that has "freedom fries" on it anymore, which should be enough to make Europe stop thinking of the US like the kid who got left behind in kindergarten because they couldnt figure out how to use scissors and ate paste.  Maybe Compton will use this most likely unintentional slap in the face to get super pissed off, and just destroy the rest of the field for the rest of the year.   

Friday, November 6, 2009

Red Skies at Night, The SingleSpeed will take flight

It's been a while since my last night ride, so last night I loaded up on spare warm clothes, made sure the batteries were all charged, and headed up into the Rattlesnake.  I was hoping to make it to the top of the Ravine trail before I had to switch on all the lights, and despite my poor excuse for "legs" i managed to pull it off.  The picture below sucks, but you get the idea, nice colors from the remnants of the sunset were my reward.  Before heading down Ravine, I took a quick little drink to warm up the bones for the descent.  

Riding the Ravine trail in the daylight can be tricky enough if you don't know all the turns, and whatnot, but make everything pitch black, and you better have either your A game, or zero desire to go fast.  I'd like to think I hung out right between those two options, never getting too gnarly, but not riding the brakes.  Good times, and as with any trip down the Ravine trail, you better be ready to ride back up unless you want to just ride pavement back to town.  The climb worked me over like a load of laundry, and I was wishing I had me a 22 in the rear.  Oh well, I finally dragged my ass to the top, and with the extra chill in the air tossed on a jacket, warmer gloves, and pulled the leg warmers down so they covered all skin.  I kept rocking the flimsy PBR cycling cap, because I felt like.  After polishing off the contents of the flask, I headed back to town via Dropout, stopping every now and again to check out the glow of lights from the city.  

In other news, SSCXWC09 is taking place over in Portland this weekend.  I was hoping to find me a Sugar Momma in time for the race, so I could afford to go over there and live it up for a weekend with fellow singlespeeders and Hockett, but alas, I am poor and will be spending the weekend in the Zoo Town.  It looks like they are keeping the course top secret, and scrapped the Saturday qualifier idea for a big old party.  Those Portland folk know how to do things up right.  I'm hoping that someone who isnt paid to ride bikes, and looks like they were rolled off a curb, wins this one.  

Montana's got its State Championships this weekend, and even though I would love to pretend like I know what I'm talking about, I dont have a clue who is gonna win.  It's too obvious to guess that Man and Woman Curry are gonna take it, but you never know, plenty of folks looks spooky strong.  If i had my way, there would also be a coed tag team class, where you pick a partner of the opposite sex, and are forced to alternate laps.  One bike, two people, ride a lap, pass off the bike, try to keep the legs moving, wait nervously, get bike back from partner, ride next lap.  That could be more entertaining than a room full of monkeys on crack.  Maybe I'll make my way onto the Montana Racing board of whatever, and get this as an option, stranger things have happened.  

Enough of this rambling.  Happy Friday, enjoy the weekend, try the veal, and don't forget to tip your servers.  

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Something awesome, and Something really dumb

The great American poet Lloyd Christmas once stated "its true what they say, the elderly though slow and dangerous behind the wheel of car, can still serve a purpose to society."  84 year old Lan Yin Tsai proved that, and did it with style to spare.  Anyone who has pedaled a bike for 150 miles or more, knows that it takes some strong legs, big lungs, and some mental toughness for good measure.   But doing it on a singlespeed in a dress and wearing high heels, well that is just awesome.  I love the fact that she said:
"I went to church, so I always dressed up and would ride my bicycle.  so that's why I do it that way - I do it that way naturally.  That's the way I ride my bike."
Singlespeeds, and church, helping to raise money to fight MS, things dont get better than that.  Acting as icing on the cake, the gal did it all in New Jersey.  Which hopefully will help to stop the myths that all ladies in New Jersey, have hairstyles which are held up by a can of hairspray, and six inch long painted fingernails.  I doubt it, but I'm sure afterwords she made her way to a proper dinner, and plowed through some greasy burger.  

According to the folks over at VeloNews, the organizers of the Giro might be considering starting a future edition of the race in either New York City, Philly, or DC.  When I read this, I was reminded of a what my buddy Della used to say in college when someone voiced a stupid idea, "On a scale from 1 to bad, that is the worst idea ever."  First things first the race is called the Giro D'Italia, so in my opinion the bulk of the race should take place either on Italian soil, or just over the border for a short period of time.  Second, this will probably do very little to improve cycling's popularity in the states.  The NFL is trying this in London, sure the locals will show up to watch and experience the event, but American Football is still small potatoes across the pond.  

Third, they picked three horrible cities.  People in DC only care about something if it has to do with politics, or lets them talk about the current campaign they are working on.  Sure people might turn out to watch the stage, but they will constantly be checking msnbc on their iPhones.  Philly is just full of surly folks who might boo everyone, even the winner.  Besides the best part of bike racing in Philly is "The Wall", and I dont see any promoter agreeing to put that in the first stage of a grand tour.  Although it would be funny to see all of the Europeans racers getting sick when they are told they have to try a cheesesteak with cheese whiz to get the really Philly experience.  New York will be full of the same self centered folks that DC would have, but with a hint of the surlyness of Philly.  

If these organizers were serious about starting the race on American soil, they would go with a place that has some better cycling culture, and potential for better fans.  The Twin Citys would be good option, plus the drunken heckling of those Minnesota Mafia boys and girls would be memorable for the visiting racers.  What about Golden, Colorado?  It would be great to see a grand tour stage mimicking a scene out of American Flyers.  I can only hope one of the racers would grow a mustache as a tip of the cap to Costner.  Keep the Giro over in Italy, maybe sending it into France or Switzerland for a bit.  

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Granny Gear unveils 2010 24 Hour Series Dates, Laird Knight lights a cigar with a 100 dollar bill

Even though Granny Gear hosted the 24 Hours of Moab as the 2009 24 Hour National Championships less than a month ago, Laird Knight is keeping his foot on the gas.  Earlier today, the schedule for the 2010 Granny Gear 24 Hour series was released to the public.  The 24 Hours of Moab, Big Bear, and 9 Mile will be the three races to comprise the series, with the 24 Hours of Big Bear acting as the 2010 National Championships.  The series is doing a phenomenal job of making getting an even distribution of races in the eastern, central, and western part of the US.  However, the big question that popped into my mind, was is three races really enough to comprise a complete series?

If you head on over to the Granny Gear page, you can see that from 2006 to 2008, six separate races were used to comprise the entire series.  In my opinion, six races makes a proper series, because racers have more chances to race, on varying terrain, and with six racers the best racers will emerge with the overall title.  So why would Granny Gear shift to three events in 2009 and 2010?  My theory is pretty simply, because the entry fees are so high for Granny Gear events, only three races are needed for them to turn a healthy profit.  Why go through all of the headaches, red tape, and general BS that goes along with putting on a 6 separate 24 hour races, when you can make enough money off of 3 races?

The race prices are really high, and that is compared to both the biggest 24 Hour race out there (Old Pueblo), and probably the smallest 24 Hour race (Rapelje).  Now I dont know what sort of costs go into the 24 Hours of Moab, Big Bear, or 9 Mile, but it just seems like the Granny Gear name puts a huge tax onto the entry fees.  Granny Gear, also seems to to a great job of milking every cent out of anyone who shows up to their events, racers or not.  At Moab this year, you had to pay 10 bucks a person a night, just to stay at the venue.  Technically a solo racer, who spent the whole night awake, either riding laps or refueling in the pit was being charged to camp out that night.  There were about 900 racers at Moab this year, and I'll guess an extra 200 non-racers, making 1100 total people, staying an average of 2 nights, comes to an extra 22 grand for Granny Gear charging people to sleep on PUBLIC LAND!  Maybe next year people will be charged for using toilet paper in the port-a-jons, or for taking showers.  I can see the signs now, $3 toilet paper, $5 cold shower, $10 hot shower, you may think I'm joking, but stranger things have happened.  

Rapelje cost me 55 bucks, and that included a whole bunch of food, hot showers, free camping, and a great weekend race vibe.  Even though the race was rained out after 8 hours, I didnt feel like I had been screwed out of any money.  Why does Granny Gear have to charge so much money, I guess because they give away such great swag, and I didnt see anyone get any swag at Moab.  I dont know what goes on at the inner circle of Granny Gear, but I would sure love to hear why they only feel the need to put on 3 races next year.  

Monday, November 2, 2009

I'm out 20 bucks

While mountain biking and other forms of bike riding is how I get my competitive juices out, I invest far too much energy towards other sports, mainly football and baseball.  Sunday was a big day for me, the Giants played the Eagles in the am, followed by the Yankees versus the Phillies at night.  The sports nuts can call this all a big NY vs PA battle, but for a kid from the Dirty Jerz like myself it is really North Jersey vs South Jersey battle, in my mind.  If you were raised in North Jersey, you would be rooting for the Giants and Yankees on Sunday, South Jerseyans would be pulling for the Ealges and Phillies.  I have seen people get slapped in the face because they told someone they were from North Jersey, and that person felt they were from South Jersey.

Anyway, this is my fourth year of gambling on the Giants Eagles game against none other than Big Jonny over at the DC.  One case of Olde English is put on the line, we talk smack to each other during the season, complain about how horrible the Giants or Eagles are looking, and when all is said and done one of us winds up with a fridge full of malt liquor at the others expense.  Well this year I talked too much crap leading up to the game, and the gambling gods have put my in my place.  I knew the Giants were in trouble when my mom called me ten minutes into the game and told me the Giants were already down by two touchdowns, I knew it was just the tip of the iceberg.  The Giants completely crapped the bed, and I have no faith that they will finish with a record better than 9-7.  A team that everyone says has a great defense gave up 40 points, to a Westbrook-less Eagles, and Brandon Jacobs who is supposed to be a "wrecking ball" cant even break 90 rush yards.  With that Jonny will be getting a check in the mail, and I'm sure once he finishes this semester at law school he will be drinking booze that my money bought.  I wouldnt have it any other way.  

At least the Yankees won, keeping the surly folks of Philly angry and scared about tonight's game 5 of the series.  I was out on the Yankees for about 5 years or so, but when you combine the Cubs sucking since July, and three straight weeks of NY sports radio at the beginning of September I am back on the bandwagon.  What can I say it gives me more to talk about with my grandmother than the weather.  I just hope that Cliff Lee shows some signs of mortality tonight, and the Yanks can put this away, so the Philly folks wont gloat about the Eagles win too much.  That would just add on to the joy that I am feeling because it looks like we get a week rain free in the 50's up here in Missoula.  At least I'll get one more week of mountain biking up in the Rattlesnake before Old Man Winter settles down.  The race season for myself is done, and hibernation is just on the horizon.  Maybe some time on the trainer will be in order, but I think I'll just try to recreate the training montage from Rocky IV and Rocky VI.   

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Moab Payout and Races

The UPS man brought me a present yesterday in the form of a new EBB.  My payout for pitting at Moab, even if it was only for 8 hours.  The really spiffy part was that it appears that without knowing I have started a company called "Sucka Big Time", which appeared on the "Company" line of the address (its tough to read in the picture below, but trust me its there).  If I'm ever gonna make any money off this company it looks like I'm gonna need to incorporate that and get me some grillz.  I've wanted this new EBB for about a year or so, and finally getting it makes me happy.  I think it will save me around 40 grams or so of weight, which when translated into about 4 kg of "weight I can still carry on my frame because i dropped my bikes weight" leftover college Natty Light I wont have to burn off.  

Big week for the NY vs Philly rivalry with the World Series kicking off tonight.  Good thing I have no motivation to race cross because the final race at Fort Missoula starts at 5:30, and first pitch of the game is at 6:00, giving me the perfect excuse to not even head across town.  However if you are looking for a great cross race this weekend, jam on over to Bozeman for MuleCross.  Those guys know how to put on a good time, and they were smart enough to get an alcohol permit for the day.  Cory is also on the microphone which is a great combination of high end stand up comedy and a ticking time bomb.  

Finally got an email today from Dejay about his most recent evil creation race down in the Old Pueblo.  The race sounds both horribly frightening, extremeley interesting, and full of great singletrack.  I've said it once and I'll say it again, there is no better plan for a mountain biker than Tucson, from November to March.  

Hey Yall,
 So here is an idea that I came up with for an event:

 Phase #1
Jan 8th 2010 at Midnight:
 The departure will take place from Prison Camp (Gordan Hirabayashi) on Mt Lemmon, AZ. We will hike with out our bikes through East Fork Trail to Box Camp Trail. Up Box Camp Trail to Box Camp trail head on Catalina Hwy. Here our bikes will be staged,(with some volunteers that I hope to find, if you know anyone have them get in touch with me).

 Phase #2
Get on your bike and head up Catalina Hwy, maybe go to Summerhaven for supplies(dependant upon if the restaurant is open). If you can by pass Summerhaven then it is straight to Red Ridge Tr. Down Red Ridge, up the backside of Charlou Gap, then down to Cherry Tank, through 50 Year Tr, all the way to Catalina State Park. Where I hope to have a camp spot reserved, so the night before cars can be parked there and refreshments will be waiting, along with the sign out board, so you and your time can be recorded (if you care).

Only your bike, water bottles on your bike, saddle bag and one gallon of water, can be staged for each person at Box Camp.
Sunrise on the 9th= 7:26am
Sunset on the 9th= 5:37pm
Entry Fee= 0 dollars
Prizes= your survival
Donations excepted for refreshment for the finish.(hard goods must be donated by wednesday the 6th).

I have arranged a shuttle to drop us and our bikes off($15 dollars per person) It will depart from my house at 10pm Friday night. There is enough room for 14 people and 20 bikes. Let me know if you are on board. I'll need your $$ and give you my address.
 Pass this on to those you think would be interested. And let me know if you are in. ASAP.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Thursdays Life Ramblings

It is no secret that I am a big supporter of Niner Bikes.  I ride their frame, am friends with their racing team, and they have taken care of me quite well in the past two years.  In their most recent newsletter, they tell you how at Interbike they gave away a frame to one lucky IMBA supporter.  After viewing the picture from the newsletter, I wished I could have been at Interbike to see this picture being staged.  

Ladies and gentlemen, I present to you Wicki Wicki, the 2009 24 Hour Duo Mixed National Champion.  Niner should have made that an option, you could either have the frame, or a day on the trail with Rebecca.  I'm doing what I can to get Rebecca to send me an autographed copy of the picture.  

In non bike related news, Big Jonny over at Drunkcyclist once again has reason to celebrate.  His Phillies are back in the World Series for the second straight year.  Jonny was able to convince himself the Phillies won last year because he stable a picture of Billy Penn to a tree in his backyard.  For anyone who has ever been to the City of Brotherly Love, you probably observed that the Philly folks are just plain angry/surly.  And for the most party people from New Jersey are no different, and that might be why Jonny and I get along as well as we do.  As a New York Giants fan, one of my passions in life is giving Eagles fans (or just people from Philly) as much grief as possible.  Below is the email exchange we had today:

Big Man, 

A big congrats to the Phillies, the city of Philly, and you.  I just want you to remember that even if the Phillies do win their second world series in two years, the Eagles are probably still fucked.  When you can only put up three field goals on Pun's Raiders, got rid of Jeff Garcia but kept Kevin KolbMichael Vick is 1 for 5, you have to resign guys you already released once, and Brian Dawkins who you didnt want to resign this off season has turned the Broncos into a defensive power house, bad things are always around the bend.  Remember last year a week after the Phillies won the series, you wouldnt have had any clue that had happened, because the following Monday morning every Eagles fan was ready to jump off of the Billy Penn statue because they lost game.  So go on home suck down all the vitamin Y you can find, make a cheesesteak that is just loaded to the gills with cheeze whiz, and enjoy it. 

Jonny's response:

Don't ever change, man!

That just goes to show that any friendship that is based on a case of malt liquor wagered every year on a football game, is one that has the strength to keep going and going.  I'm sure that later in the year if the Giants get lit up by the Eagles, I will have a taunting email from Jonny waiting in my inbox. 

If you weren't already convinced that LA is full of a bunch of d-bags, check out this story over at 
VeloSnooze   Lets forgot the fact that guy on trial is a doctor, as a plain old human being, what sort of circuits do you have to be missing upstairs to think that the best way to teach someone a lesson about cycling on the road is to slam on your brakes with the intention of injuring them?  Maybe his sentance should be doubled, just to "teach him a lesson"  

Don't you forget about Rolling Thunder/Greased Lightning this weekend.  Missoula is the place to be, and I think that this year we are going to show Portland that they can have their brakeless fixies, skinny jeans, and emo haircuts, because Missoula will be challenging for supremacy for Northwest Cross Racing dominance.  If youre not excited, check out the links below, they will get the blood flowing back to your noggin.   

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Rolling Thunder

ROLLING THUNDER IS THIS WEEKEND!!!!!!!!  Missoula, Montana is where the greatest cyclocross race the Big Sky has ever seen will be going down.  Mr. MTCX has put together a full weekend of racing and fun, and the Montana cycling community is rallying around him to make this a memorable weekend.  Between racing, heckling, and a Michael Jackson tribute, the fun should never stop.  Head on over to the site, and make you sure you will have everything you need for the weekend.  

Thursday, October 15, 2009


Most of you know that Cross season has descended upon cyclists like a roaring avalanche coming down the mountain.  For you folks up in the Mountain Northwest the next two weekends play host to two top notch cyclocross races, which will in the future blow up.  Attend now, and in the years to come you will be able to start sentences with "I remeber back in first couple years of the race..."  The two races I speak of are Moose Cross down in Victor, ID and Rolling Thunder/Greased Lightning in Missoula, MT.

Moose Cross is taking place this weekend, and despite only being in its second year, the race is taking off.  The fine folks have already moved from the one day format to a two day set up, and from everything you see on the site it looks like they have stepped up their game to an ungodly high level.  Last year I headed down and raced the day away with various members of the Mule Crew, the course was great, and all I'm going to add is that across the street from the course was a brewery.  This year it looks like folks from Bozeman and Helena will be making the trip for the race.  I personally think I will retire from racing at Moose Cross, so I can have the stellar statistic of one race, one victory.  Instead it looks like I'll be on the microphone, helping out with the MC duties.  

Rolling Thunder/Greased Lightning is next weekend, and if you haven't heard of this race yet, I would advice taking a deep breath and taking your head out of your ass.  Mr. MTCX loves cross more than anyone I've ever met, and just knows how to do things right, no ifs ands or buts about it.  If you make the trip to Missoula, you will not be disappointed, its that simple.  

One the mountain bike side of things, it looks like "The Race Across the Sky" documentary will be showing at hundreds of theaters across the country on October 22 (Thursday).  At this years Leadville 1oo a bunch of video was taken of Lance (with the aid of a couple extra late addition worker bees) spanking the rest of the field.  I caught a glimpse of the trailer, and it looks like it is pretty high quality documentary.  Here is a link to the pdf file which shows what theaters will be showing the film.  As far as MT goes it looks like only Helena and Bozeman will be showing it, which pisses me off.  How does Missoula not get this movie playing at the Wilma?

Finally, this week, the news came down about the death of Frank Vandenbrouke being found dead.  It seems like the most recent chapter in the book of tortured European cyclists who seemingly being a product of the doping era of cycling having their lives fall into a tailspin and not being able to get the proper aid needed to get back on the right track.  I'd love to provide some insight, but I don't really know what more to add that has already been said by others.  Snake Hawk over at Drunkcyclist wrote a great post, well worth the couple minutes of reading time (FYI: adult language).  So if you haven't already done so, raise a glass to VDB, and let the ones who really matter to you, know that they do.  

Monday, October 12, 2009

Moab Reports

The 2009 24 Hours of Moab is officially in the books, and this is the recap.  We headed out to the venue on Friday for some final camp setup and bike work.  While heading out to the expo area, Dejay and self bump into none other than Pipo Grove who was down for the weekend to race for the Hammer Nutrition Team.  Once all is taken care of on site, we headed back to town so Dejay could rest and I could view rocks on the road bike.  I convinced the lady at the entrance of Arches National Park to let me into the park to ride the first climb and get a picture of the Moab Fault.  Since I was back in less than 30 minutes, I got my five bucks back from her.  Once the ride was done, I headed back to the hotel to get some rest.  

Saturday morning meant race time, so after dotting all the i's and crossing all the t's, I stood near Dejay's bike, so he would know where to go at the end of the run.  The race gets underway, and I settle in the boring role of pit crew, which is tougher than racing.  Making sure food is ready, bottles are filed, spare bikes are prepped, keeping track of lap times, watching racers go by, and every now and again shooting the breeze with other racers or pit folks.  Dejay's race went from good to bad when his back decided not to cooperate, and after six laps he choose to not risk his back and call it a race.  I was bummed, but until I got off and win myself multiple national championships and a world championships, I can't really force him to do anything race related.  So with no more pit responsibilities, I was able to hang out at other friends tent's, drink beer, enjoy the race stress free, and get some sleep.  

In the end, the Rebecca and Dax took the co-ed duo class (third overall for the duo class), Jake and the New Belgium folk took second in the five person co-ed class, and the Hammer crew helf off the Honey Stinger gang for second in the four man pro team.  After waiting way to long for the award ceremony to start, jerseys and medals were given out, and camp was packed up.  Jake joined me for the trip to the Front Range, and I got hooked up with a place to stay in Golden with Fast Eddy.  Looks like things are nice and cold up in MT for those cross racers, and I bet in a week or so, I will be getting back home, thankfull I have spent the past three weeks growing out my beard to keep me warm.  Enjoy the pictures.  

Moab Fault display in Arches National Park

Top of the first climb on the course

Sticking your tongue out at me guarantees a national championship jersey.

Rebecca and Dejay on course

Rebecca Rusch comes through solo row, that is one fast woman.

Night laps start, and this is all I would see for a while

Rebecca and Dejay post race

Hammer Nutrition Team (Pipo Grove, Dustin ???, Ben Parsons, and Matt Butterfield) getting their medals

Rebecca and Dax on the podium with their new jerseys

Your 2009 24 Hour Mix Duo National Champions

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Arizona and Utah

Here is the quick and dirty on the travels for the past five days or so:

- Grants, NM to Phoenix, AZ for a visit with Scooby and quick ride 
- Octoberfest and football with Deegs in Tempe
- Beer and life talk with Flemming in Tucson
- Nicos burritos and 24 of Moab prep with Dejay and Rebecca
- More football and catch up with Michael
- Easy ride around Tucson with Dejay
- Running errands in Tucson
- Happy hour and catch up with Baldyga
- Tucson to Flag with stop on Scooby's couch, and drive through Sedona
- Geophysics talk at NAU
- GREAT MTB ride in Flagstaff on borrowed handmade steel bike (everything anyone says about the great riding in Flagstaff is TRUE)
- Pay and Take
- Meet up with Dejay and Rebecca, travel to Moab through Monument Valley
- Set up camp at course
- Pre-ride Moab coarse

Pictures in no particular order:

Moab course, I could see nice cross beds in the outcrop, but there wasnt enough time to invegstigate.

Plenty of sand in the desert

Monument Valley

No caption needed

Gnarly descent on the course, we walked this part

Our shadows and the La Sal peaks

Beginnings of 24 hour town 

Riding in Flagstaff

Borrows bike (thanks to Brycycle of AZ Bikes in  Flag)

Red rocks of Sedona

Friday, October 2, 2009

From East to West

Since the last post I made my way from Asheville, NC to Grants, NM.  Highlights along the way included bluegrass, beer, and bbq in Nashville, being pleasantly surprised by Knoxville, tasty biscuits and gravy, lots of clouds in Arkansas, stopping in Okemah, OK to walk around Woody Guthrie's hometown, and spending an afternoon in Santa Fe, NM.  Santa Fe and Nashville were great towns to spend time in for different reasons.  Hope you like the pictures, tomorrow I'm headed to Phoenix to meet up with Deegsy for an Octoberfest, I hope he still can't outdrink a water buffalo.

Riding back into Santa Fe, the city that just blends in to the landscape

The road up toward the ski area

Native American jewlery on sale in downtown

A cathedral that I went inside, and wasnt struck by lightning

Quite the balancing act

A van full of Canadian cyclists I passed

Mural in Okemah

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Blue Ridge

Once talking rocks for two hours with a Va Tech prof, and wondering the halls of the geology building reading posters and papers for an hour, I struck out for North Carolina.  The main goal was to drive a good portion of the Blue Ridge Parkway down to Boone, NC and get a bike ride in.  The parkway was splendid, full of turns, expansive Appalachain vistas, and little traffic.  Reminding myself to slow down, to let everything soak in did the trick, and despite heavy cloud cover for the majority of the drive, I had a big smile on my face at the end.  After about three hours of Blue Ridge driving, I was in Boone, and fine folks at a local bike shop, pointed me in the direction of a good bike ride.  I headed down the road to the town of Blowing Rock, which was a fitting name, because for the second day in a row, the wind was blowing.  

The guys in Boone told me to ride on Highway 321, however they neglected to tell me that my ride would start with an 8 mile winding descent through a couple of construction zones (which means an 8 mile climb through construction zones on the way back).  As usual for this part of the country, the expansive views of rolling hills were great, making me realize that Michael Mann did a great job picking his filming locations for Last of the Mohicans.  The other great aspect to riding in this part of the country are the countless roadside stands that sell boiled peanuts (which I would pick up on the drive out of town).  The wind was howling, and made me regret not putting on some arm warmers, but after delaying my eight mile climb back to town for long enough, I started the climb.  In the tradition of my stupidity, I got into my "pick a gear and don't shift" mentality, and spent probably somewhere between 35 and 40 minutes slaving up the climb.  

After getting back to town and exploring some local country roads, I got back to the car and changed back to street clothes.  My original plans had been to visit and old college friend in Charlotte, but after making and appointment to meet with a prof in Knoxville early Wednesday afternoon, I realized that the 2.5 hour trip in the wrong direction was a bad idea.  Instead, I headed towards Asheville, and through the help of Slohio Rob, got hooked up with Shana of Endless Cycles, who was kind enough to let me sleep on her futon.  After introductions we headed to a garage where a crew of cyclists had converged to drink (Olde English for me) and shoot the breeze.  I have heard nothing but great things about both Asheville the city, and the riding surrounding it, and was rather bummed out I wouldn't be able to get a ride in.  After a good night's rest, I packed up the car and headed out for Knoxville, but not before Shana made me a quality cup of coffee.    So with that I offer a huge thanks the Shana for her kindness, knowing that the next time I have to buy a cog for one of my bikes it will be from her.  

Your humble author along the Blue Ridge Parkway

Rock descriptions on the highway make me happy