Monday, June 28, 2010

Report and Final Thoughts

Got the Rapelje race report over at DC posted up yesterday, follow the link, and read. With that said, its time to get the whole packing and cleaning tasks done. To all those who followed my ramblings, thanks for reading, and bigger thanks for any feedback you gave me. Thanks to all those I have raced with/against or ridden with over the past three years, it has been memorable. Still not sure what my future in Colorado will hold for me other than plenty of time studying, but I can only hope it is as good as my time here in Montana. Special thanks go to the following people for the following reasons:

Mr. MTCX - for including me on his links list, which I'm convinced was the only reason I got traffic other than my parents.
The Mules - Fine folks who know how to have a good time, and gave me the chance to put on SSMT.
Hellgate Cyclery and MBW - for helping to keep my bikes working, and understanding that beer is a form of currency.
JedZilla - For putting in a lot of time into the Montana Cycling scene, and never asking for an ounce of credit.

Thats all I got, all the best to you MT folk.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Rapelje Time

Just about to get out of town, and head towards the plains. I got my first post over at DC, so the migration is beginning. Best of luck to all headed to Rapelje this weekend, and those headed to get their Ironman on. Went for what was probably my last MTB ride in Missoula, and snapped this gem. I'm gonna miss it.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Thoughts on the Weekend

Think what you will about the 24 Hours of Rapelje being a small race out in the sticks of Eastern Montana that has little meaning in the MTB community. Scratch that, if you think that let me be the first to tell you to piss off, give you the finger, then let my grandmother crack you on the skull with a wooden spoon, this race is TITS! The good news is that the fine folks over at Stockman Cafe are getting the love that they deserve. Head on over to a Barnes and Noble, Borders, or wherever the hell else Mountain Flyer Magazine is available, and the read the feature about Rapelje. Those who know me are well aware of my ability to bitch, complain, rant, go off the deep end on just about anything, but try as I might, I still can't find a way to complain about Rapelje. To top it all off, the fine folks over at the New York Times even published an article about 24 Hours of Rapelje.

24 Hour town
What makes this race so great in my mind, the people of Rapelje. One weekend a year, the people of Rapelje open their homes, hearts, minds, town to a group of rag tag mountain bikers, who set up a series of hobo camps, and drinking stations. These people don't know much about mountain biking, but they do know how to treat visitors well. In return they just ask that you pump as much money as possible into the Stockman Cafe over the course of the weekend. This is not tough because, its the only place to get anything within 25 miles. Last years when the rains came, and the race was put on hold until 5 am, the towns folk kept their end of the bargain, and treated all of us like kings. Win and your reward is a lifetime of immortality on the wall of the cafe. Big hitters like Killer Kerkove, Hellgate Hartman, Dolla B$ll, and Magical Meg have there photos on the wall.

Cory has more uniquness in this left pinky than most people have in their whole body.

I got my race food shopping out of the way yesterday, and my inner fat kid ran wild. Loaded up that shopping cart with Snickers (King Size cause I aint fucking around), potato chips, pop tarts, gatorade mix, peanut butter, summer sausage, bagels, fig newtons, chocolate chip cookies, marshmellow pies, and some other stuff I have forgetten. I got that on top of all the bars, gels, chews, powdered drink mix, and whatever else I have hidden away in a cardboard box marked "race food". Other necessities include, chamois cream, neosporian, and extra chamois, because lets face it, longs hours on a bike require a happy taint. The lights are getting charged, playlists are being made, and I have even tried to harness my chi in preperation.

Weather forecast

The weather looks like it should be good, but that was the case last year, then the biblical rainstorm swept across the plains. The course turned to peanut butter, there were a lot of close lightning strikes, and I finished up a lap pretty dam hypothermic. I have been looking up how to do some kind of anti-rain dance, and will be looking for people to join me for a pre-race dance on Saturday morning. You might ask what my race plan is, simple, go ride as many laps as possible in the 24 hours of time allotted. I stayed up till about four am last night figuring that one out. I was debating whether or not I should try to keep my heart rate at a steady 157 beats per minute for the entire 24 hours, then I remembered I'm too stupid to figure out how to use a heart rate monitor. Instead it will be eat, drink, ride, smile, enjoy myself, enjoy a beer, and smile some more.

I was no longer in showroom condition after the storm rolled through

Other plans include: hanging out with the Mules on Friday night, these cats are some of my favorite MTBers in Montana. They know how to have a good time, and Cory Hardy is never short on entertainment. I will also head on over to the Lone Peak Brewery and Gordon Lightfoot Groupies team area. This is a five man singlespeed team who will be competing, and Dave was kind enough to shoot me the invite, and told me there will be free beer. You know me, I'd sell my sister's kidney without her knowledge for free beer. Finally the last plan is to simply enjoy my final race weekend as a Montana resident. Its been three great years of living, riding, and racing in this state, with a lot of great people, and I'm treating Rapelje like a going away party, remembering the good times that have taken place over the years.

Monday, June 21, 2010


Thats what the pros, coaches, and doctors call it, to me it's nothing more than sitting around like a waste of life. Not surprisingly this comes pretty easy to me, and it might be the closest thing to proper training that I do. I figure I'll spend enough time pedaling the legs and hurting the lungs this coming weekend to make up for whatever time I don't ride this week. The other factor that helps is that the weather royally sucks nuts today. Although I guess it was worse out in Billings yesterday when the only thing missing was Helen Hunt, a flying cow, and a final scene which included a rainbow and Van Hagar playing in the background. So yeah, the delightful combo of shitty weather, a long race coming up, packing and moving prep means I wont be riding to much from Monday to Friday. Instead I'll offer up a link dump.

A new drinking game (yes I have taken part in this)

All I got time for some eats and drinks

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Boise Recap and The Future

This report is few days late, but since I dont collect a check from this endeavor, I dont care. The fine folks over at Knobby Tires put on the 9-5 Endurance Race this past weekend in Boise. I had good luck at Knobby Tire events last year (two attempts, two wins), and enjoyed the Avimor venue last year. So here is the cliff notes version.

- Gun goes off, get my ass into fourth place for the first lap.
- Post fastest SS time on the day, dont get excited I still got about 7.25 hours of race time
- Finish lap 2, third overall, 1st SS
- Finish lap 3, now a few seconds down on SS dude from Jackson (dude took second at Laramie last year, and he is strong)
- Nearing the end of lap 4, left crank arm falls off.
- Look at it for a bit, and realize this is no quick fix. start running towards start/finish
- Bottom bracket is fucked three ways to Sunday
- Decide to see if I can keep going on my SSCX bike
- Pull off lap 5 on the CX bike. Some descents are too steep for skinny tires and cross brakes, going ass over tip is a ironclad lock.
- Call it a day and drink beer.

So yeah, didnt quite go as well as I wanted, but when I was racing I felt good and strong, and when I wasn't racing I had a beer in hand. Here are some photos.

Stream crossing

MTB still working

Lap on SSCX

As for the future, for those who don't know, at the end of the month I am moving from Missoula to attend grad school at Colorado State University. Seeing as though I will no longer be living in Montana, the whole "SSMT" thing will no longer apply to me, and therefore this site of my rants, rambles, and reports will cease to exist. I'm not sure if I will start something else up to chronicle the life of a SS junkie who is also working on a masters, only time will tell. What I do know is that I will be chronicling my summer of racing over at Drunkcyclist in the months to come. So if you still wish to follow my racing, head on over there to keep informed.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Some Love for Missoula from PA

Came across this just a while ago, courtesy of Mr. Dick. From my best guess this is the podium from the 5th stage of the TransSylvania Epic race that went down last week. None other than SingleSpeed warlock (actually World Champ, but why split hairs), Greg Martin, is showing some love from Missoula. I'm guessing he picked it up when he was pulling boyfriend duty for Rebecca at the Race Across the Sky showing back in March. Really who cares about the specifics, BIG UPS to Greg.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

On The Road Again

I started the trip from the land of sea level and humidity towards the great big sky today. Tonight it is Chicago, tomorrow will be somewhere else. Saw this on Monday in PA after a ride, I like it.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

A Weekend of Bikes

The last ride I went on was night ride on Friday, I haven't actuually been out for a pedal since then. Instead I have been enjoying bikes from the spectator's point of view. Saturday included a trip into The City to the Museum of Arts and Design to check out the Bespoke exhibit. My personal favorites included a Richard Sachs cyclocross race bike, the Jeff Jones 29er (with a 2x6 drivetrain), and the Sacha White Speedvagon. The Richard Sachs cross bike hadn't been touched since it's last race, leaving all the race dirt and grime, and the scraped up bar tap.
All of the builders also provided a bunch of odds and ends from their shops. Richard Sachs provided all of his old USA Cycling racing license cards, Jeff Jones provided an EBB, and Dario Pegoretti provided and ashtray with old cigarette butts in it. Since museum people are a bunch of stuffy old farts, pictures were not allowed, which was the biggest bummer. Regardless, it was nice to be inches away from some fine handbuilt bicycles that I will probably never be able to afford.

Today's fun included heading down to the City of Brotherly Love to meet some college friends, and watch the Philly International. Based upon the fact that a lot of the people I have met from Philly are quite surly, I wasn't sure what the spectating experience would be. It was basically a keg party on the streets, where open container laws didn't exist, and everyone got along. We headed over to the Manayunk Wall, which was block party waiting for cyclists to pass. The cyclists powered up the climb, we cheered, we drank, a good time was had by all. I took some shitty pictures, but hey they'll give you a better idea of what the race was like than my words.
Breakaway nearing the top of the Wall, spectators were kind enough to run a hose over to the edge of the course.
I attempt to offer a beverage to the racers
This summed the day up for the spectators
Peleton starting the descent after climbing the Wall
Local bars sponsored house parties along the course

Friday, June 4, 2010

Tom Robertson

Happy Friday, and for your weekend pleasure I've brought back the interview. On the docket is none other than Tom Robertson, everyone's favorite photographer from Missoula. Tom takes great pictures of people on bikes, and can be seen at plenty of races throughout the year hiding behind the lense of his camera. Back at the end of April/beginning of May Tom and I went out on a bike ride where he snapped some pictures and I asked some questions. The end result, is the interview below, feel free to enjoy. Happy Weekend, time for a drink.

You have 50 words to describe yourself, please do so.

I can’t sit still. I seem to be in constant motion. Ever since I was a kid I’ve been riding a bike with a camera in my hands. The only thing that seems to have changed is that I drink a lot more espresso these days.

What happened first for you, the camera or the bike?

The bike. I was riding at 4 years old. I had my first drop-handlebar single speed when I was 7. I grew up in a small town in the south, so from the age of 7 onward, I had free reign to ride all over the town and county on my bike. I was “that kid”...the one that was always on the bike. I got my first camera when I was 8, so from that point on, I had it with me most everywhere I went.

How and when did you find yourself developing a passion for photography?

My father was into photography for a while and I used to devour all of the photography magazines that were lying around the house. I started bugging him for a camera, and eventually he broke down and got me one. I soon was riding all over the county shooting anything that looked shootable. I was selective though. As an 8-year old I didn’t have much money, and purchasing film and paying for processing seemed expensive.

Where have been some of your favorite locations to shoot photos?

Any winding road or trail, with no buildings, cars or telephone wires. That said, man that can be hard to find. I do have a few places around Missoula that I prefer. If I’m taking out folks just to shoot, I generally try to keep it close to town to cut down on car travel. There are some roads around that have nice curves, but lots of power lines (Duncan Dr.), and other roads that might have no power lines or buildings, but are straight and in somewhat narrow canyons (Marshall Canyon Rd.). The road that I’ve been hitting the most for road cycling shots is Butler Creek. Nice curves, low traffic, and close to town. Shooting from the right angle, it can seem like that road is miles from anywhere. Also I’ve learned on that road, if you put a step ladder in the middle of a road, cars driving by think you are official and will give you a wide berth. I have no idea if this is legal or not, but I suspect not.

For mountain bike shooting, I tend to like “cozy” places. Tight single track and lots of foliage. There are places around Missoula with small sections of trail that you can blast through in seconds and not really think about, but shooting there can yield great results. Anything from the trails beside the Kim Williams Trail along the river, to the connector trails going up to the Rattlesnake. Though I have a couple of shoots lined up in the coming weeks with mountain bikers where we are going to try for the “big vista” shot. Still scouting locations for those...

What sort of goals do you have for the next couple of years regarding your career as a photographer?

To keep shooting endurance sports, with a focus on cycling. To start working my way into more editorial work for national publications, as well as commercial work for the outdoor industry. I’m also in the midst of planning a long bike tour overseas, with plans of developing work from it.

If you had to pick a piece of photography that you are the most proud of from the past couple years, what would it be?

That’s a tough one, as these days it seems like my last big shoot is always the one that I’m most jazzed about. But I will say that shooting the Rapha ride ( in Montana last summer was the first big shoot that I was really excited about. And to shoot alongside cycling photographer Chris Milliman ( was a great experience for me.

Do you feel that your experiences of cycling through road racing, and touring has helped you to become a better cycling photographer?

Absolutely. Not only have I ridden, raced, toured, commuted my whole life. But I’ve been devouring cycling photography that whole time as well. I like to think I’ve seen most every angle that there is to shoot. I’ve tried to somewhat emulate shots that I think are interesting, and really tried to avoid the cliched shots for the most part. For each of the disciplines of cycling, I try to shoot shots that are pleasing, but also convey what it feels like from the saddle. Maybe it comes from racing cyclocross over the years, but I like to see shots that make me feel like I have dirt in my teeth.

You took a bunch of pictures at this years Speedwagon Classic, Rolling Thunder and last years ZooTown Throwdown, of the three which was your favorite to photograph, and why?

Most times I think I would answer Rolling Thunder, or most any cyclocross race for that matter. But this was the first time I had photographed the Speedwagon Classic, and I’d have to say that was my favorite cycling event to shoot. To start with, the scenery there is unparalleled. Green fields, car-free roads and snow-capped mountains really provide a nice backdrop. But also the fact that it is somewhat of a non-sanctioned race, and that I had the freedom to drive up and down the course, and find the backgrounds that were the most dramatic and wait for the racers to zip by.

How much of your finished photos are a result of careful planning to get all the settings just as you like, or a result of improvisation where things just seem to come together?

It’s a little bit of both. At a race like the Speedwagon, Matt Seeley actually had a map for me with places he thought would be good spots. And when I take models out on the bike in and around Missoula, I know the spots that I’d like to hit. A lot of the times, we head to those spots, and depending on light and trail/road conditions, I start trying to come up with unique looks. It’s at that point that things start coming together. So I do like to have the initial structure thought out, but really feel that once that is in place, that improvising is where the magic happens.

Describe both your ideal day of taking pictures, and your ideal day on a bike?

Both of them start with 4 shots of espresso. An early start to the day for the ideal day on the bike. Loaded up with pastries from Le Petit, my riding partners ride over to my house and we take off from here. Either for a 5-hour road ride, partly on dirt roads, or an all-day adventure on the single speed mountain bikes riding straight up some lightly used trail in Western Montana.

The ideal photography day involves taking out willing models on the bike, who have the time and patience to ride back and forth in front of the camera for a while. I do like the evening shooting as the sun is going down, and prefer some cloud cover. Then 10 minutes before the sun goes behind the mountains, it breaks through the clouds and produces some kind of glory light. That’s happened twice to me....and it seems to make me whoop and holler a lot.

What are you looking for when shooting someone riding a bike? Do you have a preference for someone gritting their teeth on a climb, landscapes with a ribbon of singletrack, etc…

Most times I’m trying to show the cyclist in their environment. So given those two options you listed, the “ribbon of singletrack” would be my first choice. I love the grandiose landscapes of Montana, and to be able to show that along with a cyclist flying along that landscape is what gets me excited. Whether that is a mountain biker on that “ribbon of singletrack”, or a road cyclists on a curvy climb or descent.

You’ve been around long enough to see how technological advancements/changes have changed both cycling and photography, which advancements/changes do you like the most, and which the least?

To look at cycling, and this is going a ways back, but the clipless pedal has been the greatest advancement to me in my lifetime. For photography, the digital camera has been huge. But to break it down a bit more into the cycling photography world, I love that you can have a point and shoot camera that captures images in the RAW format. These large files can be enhanced easily in photo programs, with an end result that looks like it was taken with a much larger camera.

Now a days everyone has a camera, and with web services like SmugMug, Flicker, and Blogspot, its easy for anyone to make their photos available to the world. Do you think this has a negative impact on a professional photographer like yourself?

Perhaps not negative, but it is definitely different than it used to be. I’ve only been shooting professionally for a couple of years now, so I feel like it really hasn’t impacted me like it has folks shooting for years. But just like everything in life, change is gonna happen. And in my opinion, if you can change and figure out a new way of doing business, then there are great opportunities to be had.

Anything else you would like people to know about you?

I’m fascinated by spaces. Spaces where we live, work and recreate. I’ve done a fair amount of architectural photography and secretly really like it. Lately I’ve been combining the love of spaces with cycling, and am actively looking for unique rooms where people store their bikes and gear. So if you know of anyone with such a space, I’d love to check it out.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


I suck, I know. I had planned to keeping writing on a regular basis, but that plan went out the window when I stepped foot in New Jersey. Oh well, not the case, and instead you get the cliff notes version of what I have been up to.

- MTB riding in New Jersey, getting back out on the trails I rode in high school.
- Decent road riding on the SSCX bike
- Great food provided by Mom and Dad
- Memorial Day fun on Keuke Lake with College Buddies
- Getting to watch a lot baseball
- Good booze to drink for free
- Remembering that it sucks to ride in humid weather

Yeah that is basically the jist of it all, heres a picture

Believe it or not, on the right side of the road is a National Wildlife Refuge, in New Jersey of all places. There aint a smoke stack in sight on any of these roads.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Iowa lightning and rain

The plan to ride in Iowa had to get scrapped due to weather. It all started with lightning on the horizon, which turned to rain. The skies had cleared and the temperature had dropped by the time I headed over to the Sugar Bottom area for riding. Unfortunatly the trails were too wet for riding, so the ride had to get scrapped. Not the worst thing in the world, I think I will just try to get the Iowa ride in on the return trip. For now it is Chicago, and tomorrow it is New Jersey.

Monday, May 24, 2010

6 Day CSU and Nebraska

Got some nice riding in the past two days. Sunday included a quick trip up to the Foothills Trail to the west of Fort Collins, in hopes of starting to get used to what will become my local trails. Despite Saturdays race still being felt in my lungs, the legs felt decent, and I pedaled around any trail I came across, enjoying the good life. Followed it all up by heading down to the CSU Oval for the 6 Day Style Racing at the Oval put on by the CSU cycling team. Fort Collins is trying to get a velodrome in town, and until that happens, the fine kiddies at CSU use the main oval at campus to put on a 6 race series on Sunday evenings in May and June.

There was a scratch race (first across the line wins after the designated number of laps), miss and out (with each lap completed the last rider across the line gets pulled, until you have a winner), and a snowball (set number of laps, where the first and second riders across the line get points, with each subsequent lap the number of points up for grabs keeps going up). I raced in the messenger class on the CX bike, and had a blast. The best was the snowball race, where on the fourth of eight laps me and a guy from CSU got a gap. We agreed to work together, one of us could sit on for a lap, but couldnt contest the sprint, then we would switch positions. By the last lapped he told me he was cooked, and couldnt contest the final sprint. I took the big W and combined with two seconds in the previous two races walked away with some big bills ($9.60) in the pocket. More importantly than the green, the race was fun, and a good gathering event for the local cycling community.

Today included a MTB ride in Nebraska, which was fucking awesome. So what if Nebraska has no mountains, they got some serious trails over in the eastern part of the state. At first I didnt think i was in for a good ride due to the high temps (90 degrees) high humidity (must have been above 75), and high winds (holding steady around 45 mph or so). But once I got in the trees of the state park, all seemed well, and I just ripped around on the trails for a while. These are the kinds of trails that when you ride them, you realize that someone decided, "we dont have a lot of space for mtb trails, so lets make the most about possible in this area". The entire trail network probably took up less than a few square miles, but I was able to ride for close to an hour and half. I know I'm a shitty photographer, so if the pictures don't make sense, just take my word for it, Nebraska has some good MTB. Tomorrow, got plans for Iowa MTB, then an evening of annoying my sister.

Hidden in those trees, are miles of trail

Lots of quick downs then quick ups, many with banked turns

Perched above on one trail, I see another trails that I would ride in 15 minutes.

Take your pick of difficulty level

Can you really go wrong with a trail named "the tooth gap"?

Sunday, May 23, 2010

First MTB race

Got the housing situation all figured out on Friday, which mean that on Saturday I was able to head on up to Wyoming for a local MTB race. Six of us met at New Belgium, loaded the trailer, and made our way to the land of the wind for the Gowdy Grinder XC race. This would be my baptism by fire into the Fort Collins/Boulder/Denver/Laramie racing scene, I know the pond is much bigger than up in Montana, and I was interested to see what size fish I was. 61 of us lined up for the start of the pro/expert race, with a fair amount of us on singlespeeds. Normally I don't mind racing against geared folks, as long as the singlespeeders are kept track of seperately, but that would not be the case here. The flyer had reminded us that "singlespeeds are a type of bike, not a class", but when the entry fee is 10 bucks, there is no point in getting mad.

Someone said go, and we were off, a nice long climb into a head wind was the first challenge of the day. I settled into whatever you could call a grove or rhythm, and just started to ride. The unfamiliar burn in my windpipes and lungs that can only come from racing, reminded me that riding hard by yourself is no substitute for true racing. Anyway, the course was top shelf lot of rocks to get in the way, and keep you on your toes, and mud to play in. Heading into the final lap I was probably in about 15th place, then some shitty descending combined with a dropped chain dropped me to 20th before all was said and done. If I had to guess I was probably fourth for the SS gang, but they werent keeping track, so I guess I'll never know.

Post race, the combination of high altitude, heaving winds with plenty of dust blowing, and a dusty course gave the a wonderful smokers cough. Luckily the legs feel pretty descent, and I plan to head on over to the 6 day style race today at the CSU oval, to stretch the legs and lungs out again. After that it is on to the humid pastures of the northeast, although I do have plans for some riding in Nebraska and Iowa along the way. I will bring the camera for these rides, sorry for having no pictures of the Gowdy race. Other highlights include annoying my sister for an evening by sucking down Olde Styles and Chicago dogs on her couch, before she even gets home from work.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Grab a Beer and Watch It All Burn

That's basically what I have been doing for the past day with the whole Floyd/Lance/Johna/George/Levi/Zabriske/Lim fiasco that has been going down for the past 36 hours. The odd part is, was that while at Mule Headquarters Tuesday night, self, EMule, and Mulie, were chatting about Floyd and doping. Turned out that was foreshadowing for Wednesday night when Floyd first hinted that he was going to set the world on fire. Yesterday's bombshell that rocked the cycling world was the equivalent of the Kennedy assassination for cyclist, meaning we will always remember where we were when we heard the news. I was driving to a coffee bar in Fort Collins, listening to Mike and Mike on ESPNRadio (this might be what I am most excited about regarding my move to Fort Collins, there is sports radio, with blowhards repeating the same point four hours at a time, I love it), and they were comparing him to Jose Canseco, and wondering if Floyd should be considered a whistleblower or not.

My take, both Floyd and Jose were motivated by money, attention, and settling a score. They can say what they will about wanting to clean up the sport, and expose frauds, thats bullshit, like a eighteen year old girl at her first college party, they want as much attention as possible, and it has work. I loathe Floyd because he ruined competitive road cycling for me, after his positive, I lost all faith that anyone was clean, threw up my hands, and said, "Fuck it". I still think he is a snake in the grass bastard, and that his motivation is all wrong, but I must thank him for doing what he did. If Lance, Levi, George, Zabriske cheated for sustained periods of time in the past, and still continue to do so today, they should be punished, hopefully by allowing all the ameteur racers stone them as they are forced to race a crit.

It is times like this that I wish I had the combination of BikeSnob's ability to write, Big Jonny's two years worth of law school knowledge, and Snake's race history (which involves a lot of top level domestic racing, and getting fucked over by the Floyd at the 2007 Leadville) so that I could write something that is not only better, but has a much more solid foundation. Alas that is not the case, and like the idiots who were calling into the sports radio shows I listened to yesterday, I just come off as another idiot with an opinion. All I know is that I love bikes, and if those guys actually have to dope just to keep their jobs, just be honest with us. Don't pull the whole, "I've always been clean, and am proof that you can win without drugs", then get popped for doping. Just look at Rafael Palmerio to see what will happen in that situation. With all the articles that have been written about this clusterfuck, I suggest taking a look at this article by Adam Myerson, it is the best thing I have read so far. No doubt this is going to drag on for a while, so grab yourself a drink, and just watch everything burn to the ground.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Fort Collins

I have made it here, and its time to find me a spot to live, and the check out the local trails. Despite what you may think about me and my priorities, I am putting riding the bike second, trails remain longer than rooms for rent on craigslist. Last night I was informed of the website, yourgroupride which is the all things bikes site here in Fort Collins. From the looks of it this place just has races, rides, and events going on all the time, and it all goes on big time. I'm talking 240 people showing up to race at a Wednesday night short track event, six day style events at the CSU oval, bike shops that also serve up coffee and sandwichs. Oh yeah, and everything seems to be fueled by the fine folks over at New Belgium, which I can really dig. So we'll see what I can find, and see if I can get some riding in while I'm in town too.

Aside from that you've probably heard about Floyd letting the other shoe drop. It's a big enough news story that ESPN Radios Mike and Mike were asking callers to chime in with their thoughts about Floyd. If what he is saying is true (and I bet it is), then punish all those involved. Floyd better start paying back all the humble cycling folks who contributed to his legal fund back in 2006 and 2007, and I want a fucking refund for buying his stupid book which might have been written by a sixth grader. Greg LeMond gets a public apology from everyone, David Walsh gets to give the finger to all his doubters, and hopefully Armstrong will go back to Texas and stay there. George W. Bush has done few things right in the past ten years, but once we booted his ass out of DC he went back to Texas and has kept his mouth shut. Armstrong should do the same, the two can just go ride mountain bikes on their ranches together, talking about how Shiner Bock is the greatest beer on the planet. I just hope this entire explosion gets taken care of quickly, and doesnt get dragged along.

Monday, May 17, 2010

I Miss Me Some Giro

I havent been able to really follow what has been going on with the Giro this year due to a combination of reasons. I don't have VS on the BoobTube at home, don't know what the online viewing situation is, and following my bitterness leftover from the 2006 and 2007 Grand Tours I have told myself to never put too much stock in Pro Tour stage races. My apologies to all of you who would rather follow the Tour of California than the Giro, but you are a fucking idiot. Following Cali is like watching the first round of the NCAA Final Four to see the number one seed beat up on the number sixteen seed, sorry that just aint for me.

Anyway I had been out on following grand tours closely, then Stage 7 of this years Giro takes place, and I am kicking myself in the ass for not following the Giro closer. That one looked like one for the ages (I would use the "e" word, but I'm afraid Specialized might sue me demanding my first born as part of the settlement), with all the necessary drama and suffering to keep the spectators happy. Pissing rain, steep climbs, and unpaved roads are a trifecta of greatness when you are following a bike race, and I wish I had been plopped down somewhere with a Stella watching that one.

While I do hate the fact that Vino is back racing for a ProTour team, that dude can always make a race more exciting. Hey at least when he wears the pink jersey he has to piss in a cup at the end of the day. Evans looks to be doing the rainbow jersey proud, which I dig, that is a jersey that should always be on the soulders of someone who actually gives a shit and wants to win. I stumbled across an article over at the Times about how the Italians are started to get mad about the fact that no Italian has won a stage yet. Translate that from English to Italian and put it in the hands of Pozzato, then show him the scenes from the Godfather where Michael just lays waste and kills all his competition, explaining to him he needs to represent the tri colore on his back, hopefully that will get him motivated to win a stage.

Enough of that, on the life front, I got me a trip coming up. Heading out tomorrow to try to find me a place to live in Fort Collins. Got a stop in Bozeman to see, ride, and party with some Mules on the way. From there, headed to see the family and friends, with plans for lots of MTB east coast style, and some midwest riding along the way to keep me occupied. Then head on back to get everything all packed and cleaned before making the move. Stories from the road will be shared.

Friday, May 14, 2010


The cobwebs are still cluttering the brain, the reaction time is longer, the equilibrium is a little off, ah the remnants of a Thursday night at a bar. Tragically it is that time of year when the sun is showing up earlier in the day, filling the bedroom with light, and waking me up earlier than I would prefer. The end result, the cobwebs are still on the brain while I am awake, not the worst thing in the world, and hey at least the sun is shinning. Bike wise, the Montana MTB race season will be kicked off on Saturday in Helena. I will not be there, as people still need to be counted, and I do not want to let Uncle Sam down. Once again, not the worst thing in the world, I can still ride in Missoula, and not have to deal with things like USA Cycling waivers, number plates, and writing checks. Say what you will and think what you'll think, I think this is the best time to be in Missoula riding bikes. Still some snow in your sights up on the mountains, lots of daylight, warm temperatures, buff trails, and no smoke in the air. So yeah, that's what I will be doing for the next few days before my next trip on the cosmic wave of life, riding mountain bikes and enjoying Missoula.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

First Bear, First Night Ride, First Tears of Joy

Got my first bear sighting of 2010 yesterday, nothing special, just enough to remind me that there are creatures living in the woods that I go and play in. I had just entered the corridor trail (or whatever the fuck other people call it), then saw this black four legged animal shoot from the creek across the trail and into the trees. At first I thought it was just a large black dog, then the bear climbed a tree. Now I'm no veternarian or other form of animal expert, but dogs don't climb trees (unless the zombies have taken over, in which case all bets are off). Rather than exploring to see if more bears were lurking near the trail, I turned my sorry ass around, and used that oddly smooth piece of trail called "a road" to get up to the Lincoln Hills area. After that the senses were a little hightened, keeping an eye out for any other critters which might try and see what my leg tastes like. All that for nothing, because after that all I saw were school kids and other mountain bikers.

With Ride #1 in the books and 5 hours of counting people over and done with, I got home to get ready for a night ride with MBW's strongman Gallego. He was trying to get ready for a 24 Hour Race in Spokane in a few weeks, I need to get some night riding in before Rapelje, so we got ourselves a match made in heaven. Quick trip up Sidewinder, where I played the "I'm going to try and finish this climb before I need to turn my lights on" game, and won with about 12 seconds to spare. Down Woods Gulch, which was already my most hated descent in Missoula, made worse, by losing the shim for my handlebar mounted light. Oh well, one light is better than none. Quick trip up Curry Gulch, where I now realize it is really dark, and I remember the ultimate double edge sword for a night riding on a singlespeed. In the daylight you can see ahead on the trail, and figure out when you need to get your momentum up for a steeper pitch, or when you can relax a little. At night, that is lost because you get to see a 10 foot tunnel view of what is in front of you, giving you no opportunity to think of how to ride a climb. It sucks, but for me the end result is, "fuck it, I'll just stay seated, and ride everything really hard". Personally this makes the climb go by faster, so I guess that helps. Finish it all up with a drop down Sawmill and call it a night.

When I got home I knew I would not be feeling tired for a while, so I grabbed a Tecate, and checked to see how the Celtics - Cavs game ended. Let me first preface this next paragraph by saying that I for the most part enjoy seeing people who act like they are the greatest get worked over like a load of laundry. Well that happened to LeBron last night, and it brought a smile to my face, and sure enough some tears of joy. It's always nice to see someone who talks about how all they want to do is win a championships, and things like All Star Games and scoring titles don't count, just roll over. Even better, the city of Cleveland is now thinking that the end of the LeBron era is near, and it scares them more then when Lake Erie caught on first for a 70th time. So there ya have it, all and all a good day, two good rides, and only one bear.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Bringing Out The Worst In People

Just like how every year right around Christmas time, parents start to go nuts and will do just about anything to pick up the hottest toy that year, Leadville 100 is starting to bring the worst out of people. Came across this article today, and had some mixed thoughts about it. While I applaud the ingenuity of Wendy Lyall for figuring out a way to poach Leadville using a former racers number plate, and doing God knows what else to get her way past all the sign in steps where she could have been figured out, I must say she is an idiot for doing so well. If you are going to poach a race, part of the whole poaching process is not getting caught. Guess how she got caught, by getting second in her age group, receiving an award, and taking part in the podium ceremony. In short she screwed the poach pooch.

If you want to read how to poach a bike race, go find a back issue of Bike Magazine, and read the article about how Chopper poached this past year's CrossVegas on the ShitBike. He waited for the race to start, made his way on the course, got in a couple laps, then slipped away without the officials being aware. Yes publishing this story in Bike Magazine, does alert the powers that be about the poach, but I'm sure Bike does enough advertising for CrossVegas, so all was forgiven. Enough of that tangent, but I do feel Lyall (who I'm sure was aware she was riding really well), could have stopped a mile or so from the finish, and allowed a few ladies to pass her, then gone on and finished to avoid this whole mess. Now she and the gal who's number plate she used are never allowed to race at Leadville again.

I wish I could say that I was shocked to hear this kind of story related to Leadville 100. The race has just blown up, and in some way had gotten a bit out of control. Now you have people potentially facing criminal charges for their actions at the race. How long until someone who hasn't gotten picked from the lottery for a few years in a row doesn't show up with an ether rag to take out some racers and try to get their spot? Will we ever see Leadville entrances go up on eBay (you can already bid on the buckles on eBay)? In a way I am saddened that a mountain bike race is bringing the worst characteristics out of people, but at the same time I enjoy the fact it is happening to Leadville 100, and the race director has to take some time away from counting his money and kissing Lance's ass to deal with some problems.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Th "Hers" Day: For The Ladies

Starting this one off by sending some good vibes in the direction of Madison specifically for the one and only L Campbell. Not to worry the rest of dem UM Grizzlies are getting some positive juju also, but lets face it, L Campbell has got the legs, will, mind, soul, and ginger power to wreck the field at Collegiate Nationals this weekend. Can't remember how she fared last year, but when you talk about L Campbell and racing its a fair bet she got a result. I don't know if any spot on the interwebs will be providing some sort of live updates, if anyone would know its Mr. MTCX, hopefully he can post that info for the folks who care. So yeah, best of luck to all those from UM this weekend.

Other racing to kick off this weekend, include a race you may have heard of: The Giro. It's my favorite of the grand tours, and there are plenty of back stories heading into this one. People can't start the race cause of a hemeroids, Evan's wants another Aussie first, and VdV doesnt want to break a whole bunch of bones. All I know is I'm excited for the start, hope the race is clean, and the podium girls continue to be clean (link is not safe for work, or either of my parents). And on that fine note, we got some cleat skies up here in Missoula, I will be riding soon.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A BoyCott of VeloSnooze

I have extended both of my middle fingers to the assholes over at VeloSnooze. I'm not even posting a link to the article that pushed me over the edge, that is how much I hate VeloSnooze. In an interview with some German sprinter on the Columbia Team, some jackoff from VeloSnooze had the stupidity to say that American Flyers was not a good movie. That is absolute bullshit, and the rest of the world knows it. VeloSnooze owes all of its readers and apology, and until that happens I am boycotting them. If you have yet to see American Flyers go rent it and just sit back and enjoy one of the greatest movies ever made. Here are some of the highlights:

Costner with a mustache.

Training for sprints by getting chase by a rapid dog.

Muzzin saying, "You wouldnt know a fact if it banged you all night long"

David running across the finish line in stage one.

A perfect explanation of what a wheel sucker is

Costner having a "heart attack in your brain" and nearly riding off a cliff

Training ride recovery food provided by McDonalds

Basically its not just a great cycling movie but a great sports movie. So suck on that VeloSnooze, time for you to admit your mistake.

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

I got me a follower

Despite the fact I know how to type a fair amount of the nonsense that passes between my ears, I still don't know much about managing a blog, and all the aspect I have available to me. Typing, links, and photos are all I really know. So to my surprise I signed in today trying to think of what to write about, maybe even figured I'd go off the deep end about all the new doping news across the pond, and I saw that I had 1 follower. To paraphrase Taggart from Blazing Saddles, this stroked my ego better than a 20 dollar whore. I turns out someone who goes by the name "Atomicmiles" follows me. I have been thinking really hard for the past three minutes about who this could be, and I am at a loss. I don't know what it means to follow a blog, do they get an update when I post something? Is this just one of my parents using some sort of clever name to keep tabs on me? Regardless big thanks to Atomicmiles for following me, regardless of if you like or hate me. If you dont hate me, an MTB ride and beer might be in order. Oh yeah and about all that doping shit in EuroLand, it royally sucks. I've said it once and I will say it again, just give someone a lifetime ban and make an example of them.

Friday, April 30, 2010

George Wisell

Before I get to the interview with the great George Wisell, please go check out the contest over at AHTBM. If I didn't have such a hangover, and owned a set of rollers I'd be at my house attempting this challenge right now. I would most likely fail miserably, but hey what better way to try to get rid of a hangover than by drinking 3 beers and failing from a set of rollers and giving yourself a concussion. Speaking of hangovers, the most recent installment in my "interviews of people I think you should know more about, and therefore gives me something that kinda resembles content to post" involves Mr. George Wisell of Bike29. Since I got to know George in February down at SSUSA, there have been two certainties when doing something with George, 1.) if it is before noon I am really hungover and 2.)if it is after noon I am either riding bikes or drinking. Needless to say it has been a glorious friendship.

George owns a bike shop and online bike store up in Vermont, and despite the fact that I typically cannot stand people from New England, George gets my seal of approval. Dedicated to the greatness that is big wheel love, George has kicked 26 inch wheels out of his life like a prom date who won't put out. George knows bikes, because he rides them, and more importantly is an overall cool guy. With that enjoy what he has to say, and once again, George chose to answer the questions in purple because according to him purple is the new pink.

George down in AZ

You have 50 words to describe yourself to the world, go.

Seriously passionate bike nerd, with a penchant for the tech. Unfortunately, I spend way too much time working on bikes than I do actually riding them. When I do get to ride, I most enjoy riding with friends, and the beer and food that follow.

How did you get into the wonderful world of bikes?

I had to ride my ass to school from the age of 10 . I started out on a BMX bike, but graduated to some old crappy Raleigh 10 spd. I kept the BMX for little stealth missions in the woods near my house. Having few friends that lived nearby, bikes were a great way to get to hang with my buddies, and we often raged on our bikes long after dark.

In high school it was more about transportation than fun, and then I got into snowboarding and hardly rode the bike at all. After a few years chasing winter around with my snowboard, I grew weary of that lifestyle and found that biking was something I missed. I worked at a shop for a while as a basic assembler, then worked my way up to the title of sales manager for a small southern CA frame builder over the course of 6 years.

What made you decide to open up a bike shop in a small town in VT?

This is somewhat of a saga, but the short story is that it kinda came about because I was out of work, and I needed to find something to do. I had exhausted all the local possibilities of doing something I had the qualifications for and that paid actual money, and we weren't about to move anywhere.

When did you make the switch to the big wheels, and what caused it?

After my time in SoCal, I was pretty burned out on the whole bike business. I hated biking, which sucked because it had been such a motivating and fulfilling force in my life. I picked up a Surly Karate Monkey in 02 when I had moved back to VT and was working at Burton Snowboards, and presto, riding a rigid hard tail that was heavier than my pimped out 6" travel full squish bike was way more fun. I sorta didnt look back.

There is a pretty clean line drawn in the sand regarding the debate of local bike shop versus buying online. You do both, where do you see faults in both side’s arguments?

Too many bike shops try to be every thing to every body. They are cluttered with irrelevant items. I specialize in a certain type of bike, therefore everything in my shop is relevant (almost). Not every bike shop has the knowledge or experience with these big wheels, and thanks to the internets, people will find them here. It is time consuming to run and operate an online store AND a fully functioning retail and service shop, as I am a one man show for most of the year. But, I compete with all the big shops locally, and I compete with other big shops that are not local because of the .com side of things.

The single biggest negative about the .com thing is having to be competitive with dirty mail order stores, who shall go nameless. They are all about making the deal, but they don't back it up with service, and unfortunately, their cut throat prices aren't sustainable for the long term. This erodes my margins, but hey, it isnt like I take a paycheck or anything. I've outlasted at least one of these places, and I imagine I will outlast a few more.

You recently stepped it up and became a big time sponsor for a couple riders, what prompted this?

We had a couple of friends who were not getting the help they needed from their support organizations, so B29 stepped it up and did what we could to make life easier for these folks. It kinda sucks not physically being there for our riders or customers all the time, but we'd do just about anything for them to help them along the way to attain their goals. We don't make any product, so the only thing we can do is try and make people happy.

When do you feel like it is proper to use the word epic when describing rides, or things in life?

Epic is over used and has lost it's true meaning. Our Sabino Canyon hike could be described as epic, but we really weren't in danger of serious harm (except Robb and his guts, and maybe eating lunch in that river bed while it was raining). I'd describe that as awesome. I once was on a big stupid bike ride in Moab. I ran out of water, cramping and bonking hard on Gold Bar Rim, the sun was going down, and it was either going down the Portal Trail, or going down Poison Spider and eventually staying in the desert overnight. We chose the Portal. That was pretty epic. Other than that, unless someone dies, epic should not describe burritos, long rides where no one has a mechanical or gets a flat, or bowel movements

What is your ideal bike setup, give us all the details?

Mr Furley is doing it for me right now. It's the bike I brought to SSUSA/AZ, he's a Niner One9, 100mm Reba and I9 wheels, weighing in at 22.81 right now. He is wicked playful. I'm currently using a Rotor chainring, and turning a much higher gear than I am used to, but I find that I am starting to develop some actual power and speed. It's like the BMX bike I always wanted as a kid.

What do you find yourself doing to survive as a bike shop owner during a Vermont winter?

Besides getting all Jack Nicholson in the Shinning, over the last five years of doing this I have: taken other seasonal jobs and working the B29 remotely, stayed put and gone snowboarding in the morning and worked in the afternoon, stayed put and built tons of wheels and shipped them all over the world. Occasionally, I get to go to nice warm places like Tucson and get to meet new people who like doing the same things I do. It all boils down to the fact that I have to do what it takes to make ends meet. Sometimes it's a lean winter, other times it's a party.

What are your top three riding destinations (based solely on the riding) in the states?

I have to pick 3? I've been all sorts of places and want to go back to all of them, but here's my top 3 places I've been to and top 3 places I've not been.

I'd like to do more riding in mid and north coast CA,

I'd like to do more in Pisgah,

more Durango

I want to visit Idaho and Montana.

I hear Tsali is amazing

Have you ever had customers try to trade you Ben and Jerrys ice cream, or Cabbott cheese for bike parts or work?

Mostly I get folks trying to buy my services and stuff with snowboards, outerwear and stuff like that. Snowboards do not pay the bills, and I'm already hooked up with more equipment than I'd use, ever. I really like to trade goods and services for cash.

Mount Snow has played a large role in the domestic racing season over the past decade, do you think the riding there is a proper representaion of east coast riding?

No. While it certainly has heritage, it is not representative of what is going on in VT. Mt Snow is lift access resort riding that caters to western Mass, NY and NJ (no offense). I very am active with the Stowe Mountain Bike Club, and we were the first club in our state to build trail using the IMBA guidelines. In the past we've had to fight tooth and nail for access, but we are making great strides every year in both the amount of legal trails, and the QUALITY of these trails. Most of what is really happening in New England is happening at this grassroots level. It pales in comparison to the massive trail networks of Colorado, Pisgah etc, but it's all we have, and we've worked very hard to get it.

Do you have a favorite MTB ride in Vermont, and how would you describe riding those trails?

I love our annual weekend trip up to the Kingdom Trails in north eastern VT. We've been doing it for over 10 years now, it started with a couple of friends going up there to camp and ride. Now our group has grown and nowt we rent 2 houses to accommodate the 20 or so humans that go there. While we all have kids now, we still throw down like its a kegger at Dejay's house. We generally ride our asses off for 2-3 days as our schedule allows, eat til we can't move, and destroy at least a full keg of local craft brew and several bottles of tequila.

Describe to me your ideal bike trip (time, money, wife, kids, and jobs aren’t issues you have to worry about in this dream scenario).

I turn 40 next year. I want to do the Colorado Trail high roller style. I want to eat awesome food and stay in a bed as many nights as possible while taking 10 days or less to complete the trip. I want to have as many friends with me as possible, be it for one, some, or all of the stages. I had originally set my sites on some "epic" riding in the Swiss Alps, but that is going to be way too expensive, especially if I want friends to come.

Your wife is the current SSUSA champ, how much does she rub it in your face, or use her awesome status to get out of things like dishes, laundry, and bike clean up?

I used to be a chef when I chased winter around, so I always make sure the kitchen is clean. I am the default household bike mechanic, so I work on the bikes no matter what. I do make sure she has a pimped out ride though. We both work full time, so home life is sort of a shared effort. The laundry never ends, the dirty dishes never end, but I do mow the lawn and deal with the trash as my assigned tasks.

Feel free to add anything else you wish to let the masses know, except support for the Red Sox

Yankees SUCK!

The lady killer up close. Hope you enjoyed, happy weekend.