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.