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.