Friday, August 29, 2008
Denial. I have been in denial about this. It is something I am good at. And this time it has costed me good riding time. I now am left wondering what I will be doing with my time when I had blocked off time to train to get ready for the Chain Stretcher: I am not racing Ringwood now. I am just going to use the next week or so to get back to normal and then start the process of getting fit again.
What am I going to do with my time now that it wont be filled with riding? Probably ebay a bunch of junk and paint a little more.
Thursday, August 28, 2008
Jaquie P rocking the pink bike...She is so cool.
Thom P of New England doing it right. Was he the numero uno East Coast finisher? i think he was but wont know for sure till I see the results...either way mondo respect for the man who rides a pink IF fix in winter.
Jacqui in the rock garden...
Not big enough but Thom P again...
Marla Streb: One fast serious mother...she just had a kid a year ago or. I went to her place in Marin when I lived there after she had sold it and it still had a ton of tires in the basement (like any self respecting DH person should have) and her test track in the back. Totally cool place but hardly big enough to keep two DH bikes in.
Lastly: I have a soft spot for IF bikes...especially single speed cross IF's.
Wednesday, August 27, 2008
After spending time there and seeing it first hand, I returned to the East ranting to friends and strangers to what I had seen. As it poured out of my mouth people looked at me in disbelief. It sounded crazy: 50 foot rope swings in the middle of the woods that hung over a huge fire pit, a Volkswagen beatle in the middle of the woods miles from a road as if aliens had dropped in the coniferous forest of the BC Delta, the secret societies of trail builders that required locals only knowledge to gain access to their creations, High School teacher and super stunt master Dangerous Dan riding gnarly stuff, the rendez vous at Tig Cross island for the new order of free riders to meet and the trails around Grouse and Burnaby that made the roots and rocks of New England (all that I really knew at the time) seem like a paved path.
I found this video on the Origin of the Species: All the bikes are rigid in a lot of shots the lines still super sick.
North Shore History X - video powered by Metacafe
Colnago gone and Giant in at Rabobank: I am sure that was a money thing as Freire loved his collection of custom Colnagos: one can not really customize a Giant bike in the same way one can customize a Colnago...The trade off in losing the customization, but the Giant bike is stiffer and the most current evolution of the road bike. Taiwan bikes are the new world kings in bike building: they do it better than anyone else and cheaper than anyone else. The designs are cutting edge with the fabrication process coming from tomorrow.
This means that Columbia is probably going another direction from Giant next year and I would not be surprised to see them on Specialized or Scott. Maybe Giant will sponsor two teams...
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
LD recently was out with a group of friends and a mutual friends (more acquaintance for me) boy friend drew this comparison not too long after they first met:"Hi, nice to meet you. You look like shit." Ouch. Not quite as dramatic but certainly in that vein and tantamount to a declaration of war.
Personally I am huge fan of Andy Dick: a clever kook, who may be one of the most irritating people in show biz with his act. I also like his antics in his personal life which seem to revolve around suspect activities caused by copious amounts of drugs consumed in text book case binges. Frail, with ugly girl characteristics, Andy causes the brain to stretch to the outer reaches of possibilities when it comes to imagining anyone out of their own free will wanting to sleep with him. Sure I can understand if a gun was pointed at your head, or you had just digested the contents of Hunter S. Thompson's trunk, would one be able to begin to process the very idea of copulation with Monsieur Dick. But under your own volition? Does not seem possible. Ugly would be a kind description if you resembled Monsieur Dick. And the label of untouchable would seem totally appropriate.
Not a celebrity you would want to be compared to. Unless you are of course Larry David and then you would take that as a compliment.
Frankly had it been me that had been called Andy Dick, I might have laughed and run with it as some shtick. But what kind of mis-guided social midget would ever say that to an acquaintance in their initial meeting? Hmm. Obviously it points to a man who is uncouth at his very best and at his worst conjures the classic image of the idiot savant with turrets. Obviously time was well spent for this social misanthrope at the Staten Island school of manners.
I did a road ride Saturday and felt like garbage. My legs are on perma fry these days: Too much training and I need to start tapering back and recovering properly. Had a weird run in with a skinny tire, fatboy riding a Seven but otherwise it was a relaxing day on a total solo ride. I don't think I uttered a word all ride.
Sunday went biking with LD and my legs were in pain as I gently pedaled my single speed down town to meet up. I need to start resting more after rides and doing some easy recovery rides. At the trail I opted for LD's beast, the SR-6: Mammoth tires and wheels, suspension set for 140mm in the front and 6 in the back I thought would help me stave off dying a little sooner because of the gears. If it was lighter it would be a true contender for all day, all mountain riding, as it comes into its own when you are carrying speed. It is a fun play bike.
I felt like junk but rode anyway till I had enough and could not ride anymore: when I am done, I am done. Rode Debacle: a hard ride that favors not only skills but alot of power. LD layed it down in a tight rock garden section, but other than that it was a good day at the trails. Hit a few other trails and generally railed some trails in a semi lackadaisical pace.
The course is going to be posted soon for the ChainStretcher and soon my focus will be to work on ridingit as much as possible and learning how to do all the technical section s in my sleep.
Friday, August 22, 2008
Curb your Enthusiasm: A program based on the Seinfield producer Larry David. I downloaded season 6 off of iTunes the other day and I am much regaled by the humor. Painful to watch in some respects, as Larry David is so awkward with his stupidity and lack of common manners, but it is so funny to watch...It is like watching a car wreck of social interaction
IF 650b Stainless: Rare proto of an IF rig. The bike world seems to be moving towards bigger wheels for XC riding and racing to the point where I am starting to think the rest of us 26 inch tire folks are the Luddites of the bike world. Emperor's new clothes or the true 2nd coming?
Floyd: Poached this picture off kwallblog.blogspot.com site. The guy looks a little thinner than last year, but not as thin as the year he got popped for cheating at the Tour de France. I am sure he is feeling way bitter after he got busted and a slew of cheaters (Lance being the biggest) never did. Curious to see him on a BMC: I know three people who have had breaks in the carbon at the binder bolt. He was riding a Pegoretti for awhile.
There is stupid and then there is stupid: Somehow I don't think I would have even been this stupid. What are you thinking when you decide to go kite boarding amidst a hurricane?
Single Speed Worlds is here in the US of A:
Bike Snob Interview: Bike Snob is off for a couple of days, so I thought it would be nice to post a good interview with him and BKW.
That is me at the DH 40.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
Wednesday, August 20, 2008
I am disappointed not to have gotten my fat ass in gear so to speak, but there is next year. And a whole winter to get stronger and faster.
Tuesday, August 19, 2008
My love and interest in bikes goes back years to 1987 when I got a job at Larry and Jeff's Bike shop. It was there that I saw and fell in love with bicycle construction at the "haute niveau" so to speak. I have etched in my minds sketch book the image of the Eddy Merckx Columbus SLX 7-11 model that sat inthe window of the 79th street shop: it was lust. The colors were gaudy on their own, but together it is well matched and the lugs were made for my index finger to trace the lines as if I was following the smooth skin of the hips of a woman.
At this point in time, late 80's through the early 90's, Columbus tubing was the pinnacle of the sport, with a nod to Reynolds 531 and the exotic silver brazed 753. In my mind though, it is the sign of the dove that resonated the most, as the fine builders at the time would only reach for the Italian tubing. Handcrafted, elegant and simple.
It is in contrast to what is built and made for the masses today. The new products are supple in ride, stiff and efficient. Something that is hard to replicate in traditional building, but they lack the essence of the human spirit that is found in only hand crafted bike. The carbon road frames, and the dual suspension bikes do indeed work better but they lack the elegance and simplicity of a quality hand made bike. I may be able to ride faster and farther, but it is the aesthetic that appeals to me. The new bikes being built tend to lose their appeal, as their appeal is only being the newest fashion. And today's fashion, is tomorrow's old news.
The beautiful baby blue Zanconato above is an example of the a bespoke bike at the highest level in my humble opinion. Well made, a classic beauty (an Audrey Hepburn of bikes maybe), and tough enough to last the rigors of many cross seasons. Gorgeous to say the least.
The Vanilla Bike above is not only in the same color palette, but also same vein of design. Sascha White's bikes are beautiful to say the least and the 5 year wait to get one seems justified. This is an example of his Speedvagen program: made for racing. A pretty pony meant to slug it out on the roads.
These are the examples of the simple and the pure that seem to last the test of time. And while I can remember working as a grommet at age 14 in the bike shop and drooling over the Eddy Merckx (which admittedly I still do lust for that bike) , these modern day hand made bikes I am sure I will admire in the same way 20 years from now.
See more here at:
Sunday, August 17, 2008
I am pretty sure everyone, at one time or another has wondered about a choice they have made and contemplated whether or not it was the right choice. I think about this on a regular basis and replay choices that were made. Sometimes one is not aware of the consequences, the severity and the length of the period of adjustment when that choice is made.
Amongst other things, I have been questioning is my choice in steed for riding off road. Single speed bikes are hard. 4-5 hours of riding confirmed this for me.
LD and I had met the night before. A choice with adverse consequences as it related to riding the next day. LD's new girl "Macari" (Named for some sort of Caribbean alcoholic beverage: intoxicating, tall cool glass of something obviously sweet. It remains to be seen if she is hangover with long legs, but for the time being it seems LD picked a winner.) was by his side, and for whatever it is worth, my opinion of the gal is favorable. For once. While all those who have been by LD's side have been pretty ponies to say the least, and certainly far better than I could ever get, they also have shared the equines aptitude and demeanor. Have you been bitten by a horse?
Friday, August 15, 2008
Check out the windshield and the sunroof as it caves in under fire.
Beauty: Sweet IF Track frame. Love the gold. One of those of bikes that is not that practical but still makes me want one.
Triki Beltran trying to pull a fast one: Pretty fun to watch the guy try to get away from the doping control at the Tour de France. Telling to say the least and makes you wonder what he was up to with Lance.
About last night- Went to LES last night to see the kid sister. She has been in a crisis as of recent as her boy and her have come to an abrupt end: J-Pi and her are splittsville. I have not report much on this affair due to the fact I was skeptical he would last in the first place, so I have been reluctant to make friends with this young man. Being that I know a few things about heart break, I headed down town and had a drink or two at some 20 something bar. Highlights included the word "whore", gin and tonics and a great falfel. Sister is learning the lessons the hard way and while not apparent now, things will be better with a little time.
Spanish Federation protests Leipheimers bronze medal- It is ironic that the Spanish cycling federation is protesting the performance of Leipheimer when they have had a slew of doping incidents and have been so weak when it comes to going after the riders who have blatantly been cheating for years. Leipheimer I am sure is no angel, but this makes me laugh.
Thursday, August 14, 2008
Yes, 2009 seems to have arrived early: These are pictures of a new crank that is due to be released in 2009 that would allow bikes that don't allow for a front mech (Brooklyn owners listen closely) to have two front chain rings.... There will be two versions: all mountain and a free ride version.
Pretty amazing stuff actually when you think about it: an internal hub design/platform put into a crank set application. Are we getting closer to the internal drive train? Seems like it.
Wednesday, August 13, 2008
Fabian slayed all at the Olympics. Certainly a man for all seasons. Somewhat suspect that he was able to hold on with so many pure climbers at the road race, but then again maybe he put the time and energy into climbing and now it is paying dividends as the TT was quite hilly. I am now suspicious of every performance and immediately starting through the Rolodex of teams to place what other team the athlete in question was on in order to come up with some hypothesis of doping.
"If only there were evil people somewhere insidiously committing evil deeds, and it were necessary only to separate them from the rest of us and destroy them. But the line dividing good and evil cuts through the heart of every human being. And who is willing to destroy a piece of his own heart?"--from Gulag Archipelago by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn, 1918-2008
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Lighter: This picture I found of me from HighBridge. I am all blurry from going sooo fast (not). I am not sure if I will keep it in the banner because it is uneven, but I like it none the less because of the licence plate in the foreground.
While politics normally are never uttered (other than my rant in the first part of thispost), GB is a mountain biker and was checking out the Olympic course in China. Which prompted a recollection of my Cousin Dan's wife, Noelle, comments about the Commander and Chief: "You may or may not like him, but I am sure he would be cool to have a beer with at a barbecue." GB said the course was nothing like Crawford and that it was a super challenging course. I have to give the man some credit for at least feigning cool.
Monday, August 11, 2008
I am sure that in my life time Park Ave will not re-avert to a car free area for people to walk, bike or lounge on. But I applaud the attempt to make our world a little warmer by eliminating the cars from the streets even if it is just one day a week for a limited period. If it did become car free, what an urban trail it would become.
The other trail:
Sunday I rode Blue Mountain with a few people from the WMBA and learned a few new spots and lines. Some great riders and super nice folks. Although the ride was cut short due to one of the guys dumping it hard, it was a fun morning.
While back at the parking lot I had the chance to talk and listen to the gentleman who is responsible for the trails that I love at Blue Mountain. He is an avid mountainbiker and is out most weekends at some of westchesters trails: he is a real mountain biker. It was interesting to learn a little more insight into what it takes to maintain the trails and the responsibility we all have to the area and its many different users.
One subject that was discussed was the issue of people making illegal trails and the effect it could have on our ability to continue to use the trail for mountain biking. Breaking new trail or making your own trail in the woods may seem like a good idea but it risks all of our abilities to use the trail. people who do this practice, risk our right/privilege to use the trail according to several sources. Simple as that.
What I learned is more often than not, people who choose to make their own trails do not have the knowledge how to make them and thus build trails that will cause erosion. Erosion is critical in that it potentially looses soil, collects un-needed and damaging water and kills the flora in the park. Because of this, the parks department is less likely to allow legal trails to be built by people who know how to build a trail and could end mountain bikers ability to use Blue Mountain. In fact for the upcoming Chain Stretcher race the DePew portion of the race will not be included due to concern over land use and damage. The parks position is that there is plenty of trails and the only way we can build new trails is close some older trails: Maintain quality and manageable trails. They do not want the park to become overrun with poorly built trails and also keep the nature intact.
Some trails I have ridden in the past have been illegal and usually they suck so I never spent more than one time (or two times at most) riding them. But was it was shocking to learn that these trails potentially jeopardized access to the mountain. Some of these trails that were mentioned were downhill trails that followed down the fall line: those silly trails you see on the side of Ned's lung for example, are pretty useless. In all my years at Blue these fall line trails have come and gone but have caused some scarring to the terrain that also carries not only land damage issues but access damage as well.
The thing I walked away with is that the people who oversee Blue Mountain are as passionate as anyone, and that ultimately they are fighting the good fight for us. And they are needed to make sure we keep our trails. And the flip side, which would be our responsibility, is to follow what few rules are in place and have some courtesy towards the other park users.
I know this sounds like some after school special about the dangers of making your own trails, but it would suck so hard if my favorite spot was closed because people continue to make their own trails or make lines through areas in which are expressly not intended for bike travel.
Friday, August 8, 2008
Dumped it last night while finishing up my ride. I ended up getting caught in the rain and hit a hole that sent me flying and then skidding along. This only adds to the list of bumps and bruise these days. It is a nice contrast compared to my green thigh (big ass bruise from last weekend). Lost some skin on my legs and arms but really not that bad: the rain helped cut down on the friction when I went sliding down the street, and the horse manure I hit cushioned the fall ever so slightly.
Thursday, August 7, 2008
I poached this picture off of Mountain Bike Tom's site (gracias brother) and it sums up the idealized moment of riding in the dirt perfectly. The loamy carpet of soil and pine needles, shrouded beneath a canopy of trees, with a roller coaster of a track to rail around on. It would seem that life's problems would and could be remedied through a cathartic trip on trails. I know that is how I feel these days.
Just when I feel like I am getting ahead or breaking even, shit happens. Life is a struggle sometimes. Simple as that: Life is a struggle sometimes.
From any level in life, there may arise a situation, a quandry, a problem or dilemma. There are times when you are forced to face something that is far harder to handle than the every day push forward that we all try to do. Just the act of breathing, while innate, is still an effort. So as we try and push forward in the best of circumstances, and we often have these little gems of trouble dropped into our laps. It could be a break up of a relationship, financial woes, an injury or any number of issues. We try and keep our heads down and move forward even when it seems to suck the energy out of all the previous efforts to the point where we are going nowhere. Or to the point we are going backwards. FUCK.
It feels like I am going backwards right now for a variety of different reasons.
Working for a mega conglomerate financial institution which is under immense pressure due to the credit crunch, which I am assuming will turn into a true credit crisis by the end of the year, I have prepared myself for the idea of getting fired. At first I was a little frightened, but now I view it as an inevitable and thus the opportunity to re-create and carve a new career out. That is the Hollywood spin on it. But the truth is that it is stressful. I wish it was not. And while this is one of hurdles I am facing these days, amongst others, but I choose not to air all my dirty laundry here as I am not sure people would come back to read it if they found it too depressing...I try and remain positive and calm. Things can get better.
In the mean time I take solace in the moments I can steal away, either in my head as I look at the picture above, or in reality. Last Night I hit the park stressed and a little down. I bumped in AM on my 2 lap, who I had not seen in a bit, and rode a steady 4 more laps. Life seemed a little better. Hopefully this weekend a few trips to the trails will remedy the rest.
For now it seems there is a headwind.
Hopefully tailwinds soon.
Wednesday, August 6, 2008
where did it go?
Recently I have been eating like a pack of horses...I have a new found addiction to peanut butter (actually I have always had it, but recently it has become more of a problem). Unlike the starlet my waist has grown to new proportions. And although I have been riding it seems to be growing. I have forced myself off the bike for a few days in order to really recover from a bunch of hard riding and racing (one race actually) which probably has added to the plumpification.
It seems late at night I have been waking up to eat peanut butter sandwiches...crunchy peanut butter actually. I don't actually remember doing it, and had it not been for the peanut butter covered knife in the sink I am pretty sure that I would have never been the wiser. Other strange nocturnal food happenings as well: cereal bowls filled to the brim and left for dead. Hmm. What goes on in the mind of a crazy man?
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
Now that I have done the DH 40, which is much more endurance than race for me, the next endurance goal is the Iron Cross. More of a crazy dirt road ride than cross race. Not really a mountain bike race and not really a cross race either, but containing elements of both. It is based on the English Three Peaks race and is a tough mans game...not sure why I want to do it other than to say I did it.
I will getting ready for a few moreshorter mountain bike races coming up soon as well because who does not like to ride as long as you can til you feel like your heart is about to explode...
Monday, August 4, 2008
40 Miles, including 3300 feet of climbing, of 80-90 percent tight twisty loamy fast single track. Undulating, technical in parts, fast and swoopy in others, with a few super power climbs and some jeep trails and maybe a 1.5 miles of dirt road riding in total. It was a trail that needed all of your attention at about all times. Mentally and physically a challenge, and yet the trails were so much fun you wanted to hammer as fast as you could.
The Bike: I had finished building up my new SS the day before. Pictures and post to follow soon. I knew it was a bad idea to take a mountain bike out on a race when you had not done a real shake out ride to identify any problems but I throw caution to the wind. The would come back to hunt me later in the form of loosing a crank ring bolt, slipping post and a chain line that was not exactly perfect. Chain also needed to be set a little tighter. If I take out of the equitation the time I spent fixing my bike or losing time because I had to run all the climbs because I could not pedal hard without the chain coming off because of the lost chain ring bolt, my time would have been significantly better. And while I am on the subject of losing time: I was also extra cautious about eating and drinking the whole time: I stopped at about every single aid station to refill my camel back with sports drink and water.
In terms of the equipment, I am not sure what would have been more advantageous hard tail or suspension. I think hardtail because of all the fast singletrack. I know my back would have appreciated the cushy ride but since the trail, beckoned you to sprint all the fast sections, I think the hardtail was the right choice. Next year I will ride it tubeless, as I had my tires pumped to 45 and that cost me time in the root sections. I normally like my tires at a smooshy 35. But I had been warned of flats and I will say I can not remember see so many people on the side of the trail with flats....One guy I talked to got 5 flats. I did not want to flat, but I would have been faster with less air.
I had not done an off road ride as epic as this. I have ridden in the woods for 4-5 hours recently, but that was with lots of extended stopping, which benefits me because riding ss for me is about doing a bunch of sprints anytime the trail goes up followed by recovery. I was not prepared physically for the beating of the trail and the length. I had gone into the event with the intention of riding slow for the first lap and well within myself. But when I found myself in the mix at the front of the race at the start it was game on: Dumb. There was a climb to help stretch people out before the single track and I was up there. As soon as it turned into single track it was a pace line of mountain bikers. I rode a few of the short climbs, but then decided to pass people by getting off and running the power climbs cross style...which worked but killed me. By the 8th mile I was redlining and started to reaccess form: I stopped hanging on to the group I was with and started to ride my own pace, but the damage was done and I had burned a bunch of matches.
I stopped shortly there after, took a leisurely urination, adjusted my slipping seat post and watched former world cup super honch Jurgen Beneke man handle the course in a ballet of the bike in which great moves were done in apparent ease. I stopped for 10 minutes in total and I wondered why I was here? This would become the theme of the ride.
I then Set off and rode smoothly and slowly. At one point I had caught back on to another group who had passed me while I was peeing and slowly I worked with them and realized when it came to the fast stuff I was head and shoulders faster. The were dragging the brakes in fear and I was letting my girl run. The LD school of DH and riding had paid off. Sometimes when I ride with LD I feel like an idiot because he is so much smoother and better than I am. But when riding with mere mortals I was good. I started passing and leaving a bunch of the beginners and sport stragglers anytime that got fast. I just let the bike go, tried to not touch the brakes and tried to carry as much speed as possible everywhere. The trail had bumps to pump off and so it was fun to catch and pass people why they were pedaling and I was not. Sweet. Even with a bunch of crashes, I was happy with the way I rode.
After 19 miles of sweet single track my mind was tired from having to follow all the lines and my legs were hurting from the start. I switched into survival mode and kept the pace constant. The fast sections I let the bike run and while it was sketchy I was fast. I rode all the tech sections except a climb that I just did not have the engine to do. All the technical stuff I ripped. I was pumped about and I had a few racers tell me they were impressed with how fast I was when they caught me on a climb or a fire road: "you are doing it the hard way."
At mid way around the course I was not sure I wanted to do anymore, but I pushed on, forced my self to drink all the time, ate gels and sucked down 2 Enerviten packets (the liquid crack which seriously works...I was wasted and 10 minutes after consumption I was flying again. There is a reason why pros buy this stuff even when they are sponsored by another brand.). My lower back started to hurt and the early stages of cramping started to set in. I think part of it was the fact I was running the climbs at this point and my legs would feel like shit afterwards till I spun for minutes.
The last quarter of the race I fought with the cramps, the heat and the strength having been depleted from my legs. It sucked and it was here that I started to go backwards...
I was not happy with my time. And even though I crashed three times including one crash in the last 10 minutes of the race on a perfectly smooth section of singletrack that prompted a mega body slam, followed by that acute feeling of sickness, I was happy with the way I rode. The time I was not happy with but the way I rode was very credible. Next year I am coming back with a bike that is 100% dialed, a breakfast in the stomach and a different set of grips.
Saturday, August 2, 2008
As I go through my stuff I find items I had long forgotten about and now have no use. What was I thinking when I paid good dollars for red Paul's hubs. I think my days of collecting parts are behind me...I do not really miss it actually. From now on, buy junk only when needed with the exception of chains, tubes and IF frames when they are cheap enough...or anything King. Or anything by Hope. I guess I have to add Pace to the mix. I am sure I have a few other exceptions...but for the most part, NO MORE collecting bike junk with out a true purpose. Hopefully the disease that has infected me since 1987 will end soon.
Although there is no alternative, ebay is really starting to wear thin on me with all their BS.
Check it, then check it out, and finally just wreck it:
Friday, August 1, 2008
Dario (written as if I know the guy...I do not. But I admire his work) is fighting cancer.
The sweet and the sour: Ricco after his Coni hearing in which he learned he was suspended for doping. I hope they go back and test his results from the Giro and he gets smacked again.
The sweetest of them all: Mo Bruno-Roys IF cross bike. Does it make you a little jealous to know she has two of them identically set up.
And finally: sweet when you were not expecting it. A custom painted Trek by one of Treks designers based in Holland. Cool stuff like this would be hard to imagine would emerge from Waterloo WI. Oddly enough, yes, a sweet Trek Madone. I never would have expected that.