On the plus side, the weather out here looks like it will be nice for the next week or so. I'm looking forward to the possibility of plenty of long rides getting plenty of Vitamin D in the system. Maybe even try to get up into Pattee and see how long I can get a ride in there for. On the opposite end of the weather spectrum. Classics have kicked off over in the land of frites. Cold, windy, and wet, basically the three elements needed to make a shitty day on the bike. This is where the hard men of cycling show their stuff, screw having your worker bees guard you during a climb waiting for the final 12 km climb of the day to make a movie. Get that grit in your teeth, and have your backside get worked over from riding on the cobbles. I wish I could be there, enjoying a Chimay, eating some frites, and ringing a cowbell.
Sunday, February 28, 2010
Planned the day around that little hockey game which was supposed to start off at 1. All worked out well, except for the outcome thanks to that jackoff people call Sid The Kid. Hope all those hard nosed folk in PennsylTucky boo his ass out of the country, he doesnt belong in the land of Yeungling if you ask me. I thought that this game had more potential too improve US Foreign Relations than the outcome of the Rocky vs. Drago fight in Rocky 4. Alas, it didnt end the way I wanted, and as a result there will still be plenty of confusion about how to pronounce the letter "O" (see Canadian Bacon quotes).
Friday, February 26, 2010
Happy Friday, it's windy like a bitch outside, but the sun is kinda out, so I guess I'll get my ass out there for a ride today. I'm waiting on some stuff to fall in place in order to get some "real" content up on this half-baked pescimism spewing thing that gets referred to as a blog. Until that happens, I'm doing my best to figure out ways to fill the pages here. On the racing front related to yesterday's post I am still searching for a "Miss Havisham" type to provide me with all the coin I need to get to races this year (if you dont know who Miss Havisham is one of your high school english teachers needs to get smacked upside the head). Enough of that, this is what has been going on in cycling/other shit I pay attention to. Check 'em out, then go ahead and agree/disagree/really disagree with me, it's all up to you.
Tom Zirbel writes and email to Big Jonny : After swinging his dick like a big shot at TT Nationals and TT Worlds, Zirbel got busted. He did interviews with all the major cycling outlets, then he went ahead and wrote this email to Big Jonny. Full post includes plenty of comments, one from Zirbel himself. I'd like to believe he is innocent, and that the system is fucked up, and he really got "tainted" supplements, but I find it tougher and tougher. Sorry guys you can thank Floyd for ruining the "I just have no idea why I tested positive defense, maybe it was something I drank" defense.
Tom's follow up email : Not doing anything to help me believe he is innocent, but at least he can write well (better than me for sure)
Cancellara's bike gets banned : File this one under "No Shit" Contador's bike got banned last week, and Cancellara rides the same one. They are pissed, and I'm sure Specialized will turn this into some sort of marketing campaign along the lines of Cannondales "Legalize My Bike" back in 2003. I got an idea for them, ride last years bikes, you know the one that Cancellara absolutely destroyed everyone else on.
Giro to start in DC : I have always thought this was a dumb idea, and when reading more and more about it, I am convinced that it is. They talk about how starting an Italian race in the US will help to promote green ideas and living in DC. While my carbon footprint isnt as small as it could be I do think that all extra gases released into the atmosphere due to the extra Trans-Atlantic flights isnt all that great for the environment. An Italian bike race starting in Washington DC 5 months before a presidential election just doesnt make sense to me. Keep the Giro in Italy or in neighboring countires.
Who would have thought hockey would grab the attention of Americans : The last time I gave a shit about hockey was in 1994 when the Rangers won the cup. Now I actually care about the US Hockey team. As of this writing they are up 6-0 on Finland, and I got to say that if they make it to the gold medal game it will be appointment TV for me. I would like to see a US-Canada rematch mainly because it will allow me to have a long back and forth phone call full of nationalistic banter with my Canadian buddy "Le Phil"
Timmy got his ass a blog : I was wrong, he can read and write.
More snow in the NE : I think this storm left more snow at the folk's house in NJ than Missoula has gotten all winter. The weather is fucked up
US Healthcare : I'll probably be collecting Social Security (if it doesn't go bankrupt) before this Health Care debacle gets fixed.
Happy Friday, enjoy the weekend, drink a beer, eat some sweets, you get the picture.
Thursday, February 25, 2010
Last year on a wing and a prayer, and with the help of a bunch of people I was able to piece together a pretty substantial race season. I did MTB races in MT, ID, UT, WY, and CO which ran the gauntlet of XC to Marathon to 24 Hour formats. While the long hours alone in the car traveling to the races were not the most fun, getting to test myself in races like The Firecracker 50, Galena Grinder, Laramie Enduro, and 24 Hours of Rapelje were well worth it. Right now due to a fair amount of uncertainty regarding my future and where I will be at the end of the summer, had held me back from thinking and pre registering for races as of now. Regardless, I will post a "tenative" schedule of what races I would like to do this year (not necissarily taking money and travel into account)
3/27 Speedwagon Classic (Polson, MT) - Seely just knows what he is doing in regards to this race
4/10 Barking Spider (Boise, ID) - Raced last year, and would like to go back and move up a step on the podium, plus it is the first race in some National series, meaning I could hold the lead in a national series
4/15 - 4/18 Sea Otter Classic (Monterey, CA) - Never done this, but it seems like I should
5/8 Coyote Classic (Boise, ID) - Got to defend a win
5/15 Dirt Sweat and Gears (Tennessee) - heard nothing but good things about this, I just hope there isnt mud like last year
Late May - Something big maybe
6/12 9 to 5 Marathon Race (Boise, ID) - I like the format and time length
6/26 24 Hours of Rapelje (Rapelje, MT) - Want to do the full 24 hours
7/4 Firecracker 50 (Breckenridge, CO) - Great race and vibe
7/17 Breckenridge 100 (Breckenridge, CO) - Screw nationals, this looks better
7/24 Galena Grinder (Galena, ID) - Another win to defend
7/31 Butte 100 (Butte, MT) - Only if we can start in a bar in downtown
8/7 High Cascades 100 (Bend, OR) - Heard good things bout this
There ya have it, that is what I would like to race, got a mix to XC, Marathon, and a 24 Hour for good measure. Now I just got to hit the lottery to be able to afford it all. Anyone got any suggestions for what numbers I should play?
Tuesday, February 23, 2010
Once again more news coming out of the world of Singletrack, which has become my default checking out regularly updated domestic MTB news. Despite the fact I started to loathe Velonews for turning into Lance/Astana News, Singletrack seems to be lacking that. I orginally was planning to attempt to craft together some elegant posting about what Contador and Specialiazed should do regarding their new TT bike being banned. However, I can't stand Specialized so I didnt feel like wasting more than 10 minutes at a time towards them, instead I offer a quick suggestion to the guys. Fast forward to 0:45 of this YouTube clip for the Flying Scotsman, and start planning to have Contador modify the TT bike with a hacksaw before leaving the start house.
Now onto the news surrounding Downieville. For those who don't know The Downieville Classic is a combination of XC and DH race in California. It has become the default "All Mountain" World Championships involving a 20 something mile XC race followed by a 15 or so mile DH race, where all participants must use the same bike for both races, and can only change tire pressure. On top of the world class courses, from everything I've heard the vibe is top notch. It appears that when registration opened, a bunch of people weren't able to register because they didn't know some required password. The organizers got a bunch of emails from complaining D-bags (who would probably walk the vast majority of both the courses) about how their plans were ruined. As a result the organizers have put the event on hold because of these bad apples.
This reminds me a little of the SSXC08 registration. Everyone was told how to register and what time registration opened up. We knew the field was capped at 350, so sure enough when the clock struck 12 on Jan 1, 2008 a bunch of people sent emails to register. Well with the internet, emails got lost, and people like myself who should have gotten registered didnt. Guess what myself and about 40 other folks did as a result, we didnt complain, we showed up at the event not taking no for an answer. Curtis did what he could and all of us who showed up were allowed to compete. So if you dont get into Downieville, try just showing up, and see what happens, if they wont let you in, try poaching the course. USA Cycling has no involvement so odds are the people in charge dont have giant stick up their ass. That's just my two cents, hell probably closer to just one cent, on that issue.
Monday, February 22, 2010
When hanging out with Jake during SSUSA and Old Pueblo, he kept going on and on about the new singlespeed from Black Sheep he was getting. It was interesting to try to follow his explanations of what the bike would look like, only based on the description he could provide. He seemed most excited about the fact that the bike would be getting debuted at the North American Handmade Bicycle Show in Richmond, VA, and that there was some good chances for the bike to get some awards. When checking out Singletrack early this AM, low and behold there was an article dedicated to Jake's new bike.
Read the article and look at the pictures and you will understand why this bike is a "blinglespeed". More titanium than you can shake a stick at, top shelf components, unique frame/fork design, and he got his bottle cages welded to the frame for God's sake! Big credit has to go to Jake for taking a leading role in the concept and design of this bike. It seems like it happens frequently that someone with a whole bunch of money will throw it at a frame builder and tell them to build them a frame, and then spec it out with the most expensive parts available. Not Jake, the curved tubes, double tubes, handlebar were all based on his ideas. Oh yeah, he is also crazy fast on a mountain bike, the dude's got it made.
Now that you are already jealous of Jake's new bike, be ready to get even more pissed, I doubt the payed half of what a regular joe would have thrown down to get that bike. Jake's got as many hookups as God, whether it be titanium bike builders, New Belgium Brewing, Gates Carbon Belt Drive, Pearl Izumi, or insert name of any other bicycle component company you wish gave you free shit. Don't worry, hang out with him long enough, the hookups trickle down. I've had the pleasure of receiving free beer from New Belgium because I was picking it up for Jake, and he helped me get some goodies from Smith. His bike room will make you cry, and he is the only person I know whose "travel bike" is another custom Black Sheep. One of these days I might just "borrow" one of his bikes and never give it back.
Sunday, February 21, 2010
Looks like the various Missoula folks have been getting out and riding. Weekend group rides are starting up, Johnny College is always trying to find someone to join him on a ride to Frenchtown, and temps look like they will be in the 40s next week. While I still wish that I had stayed down in Tucson longer, Missoula is working out just fine. Trying to get out for some good rides. I'm a huge fan of hitting up Trails End. Get out there, then damn near black out going up the steep climb in the 46x19 gear. That gear is more appropriate for the other side, so I try to get a climbing fix in there. Nothing special or long, but consistent, car free, and a personal favorite. The only thing missing is someone waiting at the top with some hot food and a cold beer. Since I am quite mediocre at coming up with actual content to post right now, I will leave you with a snap shot from St. George.
Thursday, February 18, 2010
I'm not the greatest writer in the world, this I know. I do a better job of expressing myself when something pops into my head, and I can ramble/speak/spit fire until I've expelled everything about that topic. Believe me whatever I wind up typing here is only about 20% to 60% of what I really think about that topic. I wind up forgetting things, or not being able to remember the structure that I had originally used to describe whatever was flowing through my noggin. Just checked out the Bike29 blog, and George hit the nail on the head as far as summing up my trip to AZ.
The four of us had a great 3 days together, be it geeking out on laptops on Dejay’s dining room table, going for rides, or the massive hike that almost got EPIC. We shared laughs, ate Mexican food and drank a few beers during this time. While it wasn’t necessarily the glossy drool inducing photos found in your favorite mountain bike magazine, to me, it was the very essence of what mountain biking means, sharing great experiences with friends.
He's right, Bike, or Mountain Bike Action might never publish photos from our rides, and the gang who direct the freeride videos would never want to film our riding. Never the less, my trip, and the time I got to spend with people is the whole principal behind mountain biking (with gears or without). So with that, one more picture of the greatness that was AZ.
Wednesday, February 17, 2010
Got the Ergon hook up from Big Daddy Kerkove down at the Old Pueblo. I've been using the Ergon grips for a couple years now (I even had them on my fixie before some jackoff stole it). My old MTB setup was a pair of Ergon comfort grips paired with some Bontrager carbon bar ends. The Combo worked well, although it just looked a little sloppy. Now I got me the new GX2 grips with carbon bar ends. This shit is bling, and after using them for my ride in St. George on Monday, I can say that I think I will adjust to the small bar end just fine. I'm back in MT for a while or so now, so here's to colder temperatures and not being able to ride MTB trails. I know I said I'd get an Old Pueblo post up, but I doubt that will happen, but I got some ideas to fill the pages in the future.
Product testing in St. George
Sunday, February 14, 2010
The 2010 24 Hours of the Old Pueblo is in the book, and I cant get a full report up just now. The crew of Dejay Birtch, Fuzzy John, Jake, Krista Park, and Harlan Price took the win in the Open Co-Ed 150-199 age group with 22 laps. It's always fun helping out and working for the folks who win. Big congrats to them, now time to get back to Missoula.
Friday, February 12, 2010
I've never formally met Randy Mason (known to many through the eyes of DC as "BGR"), we traded a couple emails back when I thought I could ride my fat ass across the country. He seemed like a good dude, and based on some actions back in May he certainly knew how to ruffle some feathers. Anyway, back in January while riding his bike in Flagstaff, a bus failed to observe the three foot law (in AZ, a car must provide a three foot buffer when passing a cyclist), while passing him. Randy confronted the driver, who told him he should have been riding in the bike lane. The kicker was that due to all of the snow that had fallen in Flagstaff, the bike lanes had been filled with all the snow from the roads.
Anyway Randy took the matter into his own hands, had to deal with the police and city councit, and used the wonderful world of DrunkCyclist to go bring this issue to the public. Sure he has pissed some people off, and I would be willing to bet that there were times during this whole ordeal where he would not have been considered "calm and collective." But on the upside it looks like the City of Flagstaff will now be requiring all of the their police officers to have a full understanding of the cycling laws, and other changes might be made that can result in fewer accidents. The links below should provide close to full coverage of the incident, if you have the time I would suggest checking it out, it's worth it. Good work Randy, for not just letting what happened to you fall on the wayside, but fighting for what is right, and your safety more importantly.
Ride a bike on the road long enough in an area where there are automobiles, and you are bound to have a couple close calls with passing automobiles. If you are one of the unlucky ones, eventually you might even wind up being involved in a full-on collision with a car. This is not true just for the bike-car scenario, but also the car-car scenario, drive a car long enough, and you'll probably wind up in an accident. The difference being is that it's not difficult to pick the loser of a 170 pound person versus a 2000 pound car battle. I've ridden in a variety of different cities/towns/small towns that range from Tucson, AZ to Glenn, MT, to Basking Ridge, NJ. You name the driver stereotype, they have passed me; soccer mom, cranky rancher, in a hurry business exec, Good Food Store employee, and stupid college kids. In each locations there have been times I've been passed where my heart skipped a beat, and after regaining my composure I was trying to chase down the driver to give them an earfull about their shitty driving skills. There have also been times in those same locations where drivers seem to have gone out of their way to give me ample room while passing, and it makes me think that sharing the road is possible.
Don't get me wrong here, I am no saint while riding my bike on the road. I can drift out of the bike lane more often than I should, and I might neglect a stop sign here or there (especially when it is cold and I need to get to a bathroom), but I don't think my riding has ever endangered the safety of people in a passing automobile. It's odd thinking that according to the law bicycles have the same rights as cars on the road, and are subject to the same laws (hence why you can receive a DUI while on a bicycle, and can get a ticket for not having the proper lights on your bike after dark). Despite all this in my eyes (which are slightly biased) it seems like more often than not the cyclist gets the short end of the stick. I'm still pissed off that in Missoula you cannot use a cell phone while on a bike, but you can while driving a car. Remember equal rights equal responsibilities, make it all illegal, or all legal.
I was happy to read this article fresh out the Missoulain the other day, maybe cyclists as a whole just need to get a 7 year old girl to do all of their lobbying. Bike lanes are great, especially when they are wide and kept clean, but I think the underlying problem is both motorists and cyclists knowledge of the laws. Motorists need to know if there is something like a three foot law on the books, cyclists need to know when it is okay to use a car lane, and everyone needs to know that some courtesy goes a long way. How about motorists and cyclists spend some time together to re-educate themselves about the rules of the road, and trying to understand the complaints about the other group directed towards them. It's been about 2.5 years since I was hit by a car, my neck makes all sorts of odd noises, and it was because a motorist had no idea that they were required to yield to me when making a left turn. Yeah it could have been much worse, but spending the morning in a hospital sucks no matter the circumstances. Enough of this rambling, got one more photo from the actual SSUSA race. It ain't often I have visual evidence of myself passing a current national champion on a climb, but here it is, for a few moments I will cherish for the rest of my life, I put Fuzzy in the pain cave.
Thursday, February 11, 2010
Yesterday, with people still feeling the ill effects of crashes, and Tucson food, a hike was planned rather than bike riding. The crew of five (Dejay, Kate, Rob, George, and Self) agreed we would all gather at Dejay's at 8, head to Ragin' Sage for espresso and scones at 9, then go for the hike. Instead, Dejay showed up at his own house at 9:30 with Dunkin Donuts, and we started to pack up. It all seemed so simple, we would drop a car at Sabino Canyon, then drive to Prison camp. We would then go for a walk in the woods back to Sabino Canyon. Tuesday night we checked the weather report which called for rain, and those of us who hail from places that actually experience winter (Rob, George, and Self) were happy it was rain and not snow.
The hike went just as planned, and sure enough after spending enough time walking towards the dark clouds, we encountered the rain. The good news was is that we were right along a wash (which already had a river flowing through it), because a wash is the exact spot you want to be when it rains in the desert. Lucky for us it was just a steady rain, and not a monsoon rain, meaning there would be no flash flooding. The walking continued, complaints about cold feet were never uttered, due to the fact we were all using Swiftwick's wool socks. The rain ended, and in the end after twelve miles and a shade over five hours of walking we made it back to the car. When driving back up Catalina Highway, the learned the road had been closed to non 4wd drive traffic above mile marker then, and that there was snow where we had left the other car (about 4500 feet). This might freak some people out, I just kept reminding myself that the coldest temperatures I experienced during the hike, were still warmer than the warmest temps in Missoula. Pictures below.
Kate, Rob, Dejay, and George
We hiked parts of the Arizona Trail
Lunch spot, right when the rain began to come down
Looking back into Sabino Canyon
Snow at Prison Camp when we returned to the car
Wednesday, February 10, 2010
Right now it is the in between time down here in Tucson. Folks have gone home to loved ones after the affair that is SSUSA, and people haven't quite started to trickle in for the Old Pueblo. Only four of us remain, Dejay, George, Rob, and Self, and with a variety of germs, injuries, and residual food and drink hangovers. With minimal responsibilities, and even smaller amount of female contacts the worst of our qualities are starting to show. Dirty clothes are worn without hesitation, showers aren't completely necessary, and general laziness is accepted.
Only Rob and I rode yesterday, just a quick trip down to TMP. I took him on what used to be my "after-work/before sunset" ride. Back in late 06/early 07, I could hammer through this ride solo in about an hour 45. Yesterday, minimal effort was used, stops were taken for pictures, and time seemed to be the least of my concern. With all that, we still motored through in an hour 30, so I guess I've gotten better at this bike riding thing. Food has been nothing but leftovers, such as chocolate covered bacon, bags of chips, redvines, pretzels, and leftover keg. It kind feels like living in a fraternity house again, except with more bikes, and no classes. Pictures below.
Rob keeping it real
It was all downhill from here, note how tan lines have developed
More monday picture
Rob and I with matching cactus
Tuesday, February 9, 2010
Yesterday the group of Dejay, Rob, George, and Self headed out to ride at Tucson Mountain Park for a nice ride. Other SSUSA racers were staying at the fancy resort out there, and we figured we might bump into them. We did, right as they had finished their ride, and were heading to the porch to enjoy a beverage. Regardless the four of us headed out to ride some trails, and four became three when George realized his injured body wasn't up to dealing with the pain dished out by the trails. The three remaining spun around for an hour, with the main highlight being Rob and Self both getting stuck in the arm by the same cactus, 3 seconds apart. Post ride activities included eating chips and salsa on the porch, and sitting in the hot tub. All in all a good day on the bike.
Scenery from the ruins
Despite popular belief, I can assure that cactus does in fact hurt
Monday, February 8, 2010
SSUSA 2010 is in the books, and it was a great time, no other way to put it. It seems a little pointless to just go ahead and try to describe the event in paragraph form, so instead you will get the bullet highlight version.
-Friday night pre race gathering at Surly Wench
-Dax, Timmy, Kramer, Jake, and Self winning the award for largest tab
-3:30 am bedtime for a 9 am race
-Feeling surprisingly for the 7.5 mile neutral roll out
-Le Mans start with front wheels off bikes
-Being first one on the bike
-Riding in top 6 for the Reddington Climb
-Great time on AZ Trail
-Being amazed while watching members of the Durango Crew descend down Chiva
-Sunshine on my shoulders
-La Milagrosa descent
-Finish, the real fun can begin
-A cooler full of Oscar Blues which never seems to empty
-Derby to decide overall champs
-Tug of War to decide next years location
-100 dollar snack run to Safeway
-"Chuey's like my dad" - Jake
-Sleep in car
-Wake up and see Dax (who won the bike race) asleep under an RV
Rob new undies
Friday, February 5, 2010
Woke up Thursday morning in Flagstaff, and after getting coffee, wasting time on some internets, and downloading new podcasts to listen to I headed down to Sedona. Once again it was great to see the thermometer go from the high 30's to the high 50's in a matter of minutes. I stopped in at the Absolute Bike shop, picked up a free map of the trails, and headed out for some fun. While it was cloudier than St. George, the fact that I was riding in Sedona in February made up for this slight hiccup. While checking out the new Lama trail, I noticed that my right foot was coming unclipped during my upstroke. Bad luck once again, I had broken the spring in the pedal, so I rode myself back the the car to make a quick switch.
Once back on the trails I bumped into some of the fine folks who work for VooDoo Bicycles who were showing a client from the UK around. I asked if I could tag along, they said yes, and the group of four became a group of five. Eventually we bumped into two more Flagstaffians (and a dog) who joined the gang, and now we were officially a posse. All was well until I started to hear that hiss sound that can only come from a puncture. Lucky enough Stans went to work, the puncture was sealed, and we continued on our merry way. All total after three hours or so we were finished. We said our goodbyes, everyone but me headed north, and I headed towards the parking lot that is Phoenix right on schedule for rush hour.
I had made it to Tucson by 7, and after dropping off Ivy's bike I met Dejay, Fuzzy, and rest of folks who were already in town. Just like the old days, hanging out on fourth ave, choosing our watering hole based on whether or not we knew a bartender who would give us cheap drinks, and talking about any and everything. After a failed attempt to find Sonoran Dogs Dejay and self were dropped off at house, where we decided it would be a great idea to make the bacon covered in chocolate which would be available to racers. Despite some small setbacks we could not burn down the house, and eventually called it a night. All in all it was a great day, photos below.
Joe and John of VooDoo Bicycles
Cathedral in the Rocks
Late night sandwhichs being prepared while chocolate is melting (special note: my mom knitted the WONDERFUL hate Dejay is wearing)
Juda hoping food will fall to the floor
The chocolate has melted, and the bacon will be covered
Transportation time, surprisingly only two strips wound up on the floor
Not enough fridge space, so the last (and largest) sheet was dumped in the drawer
Thursday, February 4, 2010
Cruised on into St. George, UT yesterday, and went out for a ride with Lynda. Driving down the hill into town I got excited when I saw the thermometer in my car slowly go from 38 degrees to 59 degrees in a couple of minutes. Lynda showed up in wearing arm and knee warmers, I felt like i was in an oven, so opted for just shorts and a jersey. We cruised out of town talking about 24 Hours of Moab, Butte 100, SSUSA, and Old Pueblo, it was that standard singlespeed vibe of "I've never really met you before but we know enough of the same people that you must be a good egg." In a few minutes we were riding singletrack, and I was happy.
We rode this trail called barrel roll which was a combination of technical and smooth singletrack. Lynda knew what she was doing on these trails, and I was happy to just hang back and follow her line. After finishing the loop, I realized I lost my seat bag which contained a multi tool, big air canister, CO2 pump thing, patch kit, and spare master link. I was bummed, and realized it would be a good chunk of change to replace the contents. Lynda simply said, lets ride the loop backwards, and keep and eye out. Sure enough after we had nearly finished the loop there was my seat bag. I was happy, and stuffed the bag into my jersey pocket for safe keeping. After a little over two hours of trails, we headed back to town, and my grin was too large to measure, goodbyes were said, then I drove onto Flagstaff, where Nathan was kind enough to offer me up a futon to sleep on, a shower to use, and a pint of ginger flavored scotch ale to sip. Today it is onto Tucson, with a stop in Sedona on the way, enjoy pictures below.
Lynda on the trail
Off in the distance