Friday, December 29, 2006

V for Vendetta


Just watched it, I really liked it. Also saw Apacalypto with Pop and Nick. It was ok, 3.5 stars. Worth seeing on the bigscreen for some cool cinematography, but Mel Gibson seriously has a boner for gore. He can suck it.

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I don't care...

if it is a 'hipster beer' or 'weasel piss'. I like it, and I will continue to drink PBR as long as it is a decent tasting cheap beer.


Anyway, I'll post this while I'm still buzzing from three tall boys of this nectar of the proletariat. It is really good to be home in Maine. Sure I got into a little fight with my brother Eric yesterday, but that is par for the course. There will always be the territorial butting of the heads between us when we are in the house in which we grew up. I still love the mofo and miss him when we are 800 miles apart. And we are more alike and get along better now then we ever did in the old days. He is a good guy, a smart guy, a caring guy, and I am really glad he is my brother.

I just got back from the bar where I caught up with 2 people who were part of my formative years. Lyndsey, who has been my 'sister' in so many ways since we were 4; and Evan, probably my best friend through Jr. High and High School. I've known both for over 16 years. We caught up in the best ways - talked about our lives, our plans; talked shit about the people in our small town who haven't moved on, talked about politics, religion, all that BS. We don't all see eye to eye on all of these topics, but I love Evan and Lyndsey and their families as much as my own blood. There are few people I can go months without talking to, and still feel at home with when we meet up.

On top of that, I have had breakfast with dad, drinks with the Grandparents, going to see local semi-famous comedian Bob Marley with mom and Nick tomorrow. Yeah, he's the dumb cop from Boondock Saints.

Nick (younger brother) and I also went climbing this afternoon. It was awesome to hang out with him, just the two of us. It's scary how similar we are in a lot of ways, and amazing how different we are in others. He has a lot of good instinct on the climbing wall, and really could be a strong climber if he decided to pursue it. I hope he does. I love getting my ass kicked.

As for skiing, well that's out thanks to Global Warming... Going to have to look forward to westward trips in the spring for that.

Monday, December 25, 2006

one last thing...

i want to create. i want to own a design and mold it with my own hands from the ground up. i want to feel the metal splinters in my fingers and see the grease under my nails.

i miss this. creativity unnourished will wither and fade.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

yankee swap

This Yankee is heading back to the heart of the Union - New England. Maine to be more accurate. Westbrook to be precise. I can't wait to see my family and my brothers and some high school friends. Always good to nourish the roots.

Between growing up within a mile of this place and living in Dupont's hometown now, I'm tumor bound!

Hopefully I'll get in some skiing, though Sugarloaf is looking pretty spartan.

I can't wait to see my family and spend some quality time. But truth be told, I am looking forward to the new year. Always a chance to start fresh. Build upon the good things from the year past, and leave the less savory things in the past.

I'm looking forward to possibly getting a 29-er, looking forward to the DCCofD reunion at Chez Vettori, looking forward to improving the healthiness of my lifestyle after the hurt the holidays puts on one's body. I'm looking forward to getting more base mileage this year, after the difficulty of uprooting last year. I'm looking forward to night rides and cameraderie, and the thought that maybe I can hang with the Tuesday night Titans.

I'm looking forward to growing and improving the relationships with those around me, meeting new people, staying in touch with old friends. Looking forward to possible ski trips out west, the possibility of going to SSWC 2007 in Scotland. I want to train hard, eat better, get my ass kicked, race in the Killer Bs. I want my 24th birthday to mean as little to me as any other birthday because age means nothing. I want to plan my future and live in the moment. I want to learn from those smarter than I. I want to lead 5.10.


By the way, buy Belgian beer for those Yankee Swaps at work... You will be the most popular guy. I ended up with this shitty Hershey Kiss Fondue set:

and traded it to a girl who doesn't own a drill for this:

Saturday, December 16, 2006

My life be like...

Good times. Thursday we had another "team-building" event at work. For those who haven't figured this out yet, team-building at my company is synonymous with alcohol. This time, our tech team piled into our lab tech's RV, consumed alcohol, and drove 2.5 hours up to Pottsville PA to the Yuengling Factory. We got the private, after hours tour. It was pretty cool, but I was disappointed by two things:
  • Yuengling is made with corn as its primary malt!! CORN!! Like enough shit in the US isn't corn based.
  • Yuengling beers, even the porter, are all less than 4% ABV. Weak.
They did have a pretty bad-ass cave under the factory and we went out for Italian food afterwards. Better than half a day in the office I suppose.


Friday morning I got up super f'ing early to go to a Gore Bike Wear factory sale. I scored big:
  • 7 Gore-tex (Pac-lite and XCR) jackets (some of these were favors)
  • 2 Windstopper vests
  • 3 pairs bib shorts
  • 2 pairs Windstopper arm warmers
  • 2 pairs Windstopper leg warmers
  • 1 Gore-tex helmet cover
  • 1 pair Gore-tex winter bike gloves
  • 1 pair Gore-tex sock covers
  • 1 pair half-finger gloves.
Total cost: $270. That's like one Gore-tex jacket at normal cost!

Yesterday, went to see Rainer Maria after work. They were really pretty good, but they didn't mix up the set list too much - it was mostly a mellow show. The band that opened was really tight musically, but they sang like shit, and their lyrics were 6th grade teenage angst. For Christ's sake, the lead singer had a wedding ring but was singing about break ups.

I'm missing nationals right now, and the weather is making me regret that even more. I talked briefly with fatmarc, who said everyone is having fun and the mid-Atlantic is throwing down. Ryan Leech won his race. I miss cross already, but I did get in 50 miles on the road today, so here's to getting the base miles back.

much love.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Cars R Coffins: Part II

I'm completely disgusted with some of the human beings with which I share this planet. I brought my car into Winner Newark on Sunday night to have it repaired from my recent fender bender. They said they'd have it done today (Wednesday). The list of repairs included the following:
  • replace bumper cover
  • replace grille
  • replace left headlight
  • realign headlight mounts (they were offset about a 1/4 of an inch).
$1400 estimate. Pretty simple.

I go today to pick up the car, and they hand me the paperwork. I know I have a $1000 deductable, so USAA (my insurer) should only be paying out $400. The paper work says I owe nothing and USAA is covering it all. This doesn't make sense so I speak up. Long story short, I do owe $1000, and I saved Winner Newark a bunch of paperwork having to track this down later. Honesty is always the best policy in my book, but as I'm paying, the cashier says: "I wouldn't have said anything!!" Yeah, real nice Winner Newark - you hire the real cream of the crop.

So anyway, I go out to the car to look it over after waiting 20 minutes for them to bring it around. Bumper, check. Grille, check. Headlight, check. Uh oh, what's this? No realignment. Now I would have passed this off as a mistake, but the estimator took pictures of this and put it on the estimate and work order. It's obvious that Winner Newark thought I wouldn't notice and tried to get away without doing the work. I feel slighted so I head back inside.

I explain to the manager, he says "Oh I don't know how we missed that." yeah right. Bull shit. Either way, he sets me up with a free rental for the rest of the day and says come back after work, the car will be ready. Cool, I think, they are going to make good on this.

I get back to Winner Newark after work and the car looks fine. So I head inside to turn in the keys to the rental. I get in my car and first thing I notice is the smell. It was like someone melted tuna using farts for fuel. Whatever, I think, probably just a sweaty mechanic driving it in and out of the garage. Next, I reach for my trusty iPod that I keep hidden neatly under my seat. It's my sole source of music and thus life in my car. No iPod. I think, maybe it just slid farther under the seat, no big deal.

I get home and search high and low, but all that remains of the iPod is the FM transmitter. Proof that the iPod was in the car - I didn't leave it inside at the computer or something. I call Ed, the manager at Winner Newark, and explain the situation. I'm 117 % sure it was stolen by one of his guys/girls. He says, "Let me talk to the tech in the morning." I just hang up. I will call back until it is replaced.

It sucks when your honesty and good faith and patience is rewarded with laziness, greed, theft, and complete lack of consideration for others. Winner Newark has lost almost all points with me, and I am going to call USAA tomorrow and tell them about this incident. My insurance company has done nothing but treat me well for 5 years (and take my money). They should not deal with low-lives who don't deliver on their commitments and steal from their customers.

Time to burn some anger on the trainer...

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Back in the saddle...

Well after a week off the bike I did some riding this weekend. Saturday I ended up skipping the final cross practice of the season for fear of setting my cold back in motion. I spun for about an hour on the trainer and watched a fucked up French film called Fat Girl.

Today was incredible... the weather was unbelievable - sunny, 50 degrees - just about the best riding weather possible. I met up with fellow employees Timm, Dave, and JF at Middle Run at 10 am for a romp through Judge Morris, Middle Run, and White Clay. There were a lot of people out there today.

We started out screaming up through Middle Run to the Judge. Judge Morris just begs to be ridden hard and fast... the lines were so open because all the brush is dead for the winter, and the ground was more or less hard and fast all the way around. Long live the Judge. Back in Middle Run we lost Timm and Dave, but JF and I pressed on to do the White Clay loop.

At this point my legs are still feeling awesome. I have an hour's effort dialed into these limbs like no one's business from 3 months of 'cross. So we set into White Clay and I open up the throttle on the first longer climb. JF is keeping up, all is good. We come to the second climb, and JF starts to fade. I wait at the top and he needs a little breather. Turns out he hit the sauce pretty hard last night in Philly, and his body decided to punish him for his insolence. He pays back some of the oxygen debt and we are off again.

John (JF), left, in undated file photo.

We get to the top of the next longer climb, where it opens up into fields again, and JF is off the back. I wait at the top and he says "I think I'm gonna boot." Sure as shit, he bends over, drops the bike, and splatters some dry grass with a watery post-party shower. He takes a seat, turns to his right and lets another stream flow forward. He lays down at this point, semi-laughing, semi-wretching and turns to let one more river of vomit flow forth. Laughing, he says, "I'm such a tool..." I just congratulated him and said this was exactly why he should consider going to SSWC07 in Scotland in August. John, I'm proud of you buddy, way to pull through and suffer.

It felt so good to be on the singlespeed again, I just need to keep these longer rides going to get the base miles back up.

much much love.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Cold and Climbing Prom

I've been fighting a cold all week. It started at the Reston race and has been getting better today. Hopefully I'll be able to ride this weekend. I want to mountain bike on Sunday when the hunters aren't all out killing things. I just don't want to resume riding too soon and end up getting sicker. Always a drag.



Meanwhile, cycling off-season means I can focus on climbing again!! Tuesday night the climbing contingency headed up to Go Vertical! in Philly as usual. After talking with employees Tim and Dan last week, I organized our 1st annual Climbing Prom. Yeah we all went in dress clothes and Tim and Dan wore their tuxedos. It was pretty pimp. A lot of people were annoyed, thinking they either missed the memo, or they missed the joke.



"Why are you guys dressed up?"
"Uhh, because it's Tuesday, of course."
*blank stare*

Sunday, December 03, 2006

'cross is boss.

Today's sub-par performance wraps up, for me, what has been an awesome introduction to a sport I now call home - cyclocross.

The DCCofD met up at the fatmarc/chunky monkey lair at 6 this morning in the frigid dark, and hit the road for Reston (strange planned community outside of DC) for the final race in the MAC series. After warming up, and feeling pretty good, and liking the course after three pre-ride laps I headed to the start line. After a botched start-gun thanks to official/race promoter confusion, the C men were off. I had an awesome start on the asphalt, false-flat uphill, working through about 8 guys in the first 1/2 mile into second wheel.

The first lap felt decent, until Donahue attacked. I followed the attack to keep 2nd wheel, and he proceeded to ride away from me as my legs started to feel like lead. From there on out, every move just seemed impossible to cover, and I started to go backwards. A couple botched remounts and one slide-out later, the race was over, and I was left feeling like an awesome season should not end like this. 10th place, beat by some guys that will push me down a few slots in the MAC overall.

As crappy as I felt riding today, I wouldn't trade it. It was great to be out there with the Coalition. It was great to see them race hard, race well, and finish their MAC season. Paul I. took the B Masters overall, Lisa "big deal" Vible took the 35+ Elite Women overall, Jessica S. took the B women overall. I hear Wes kept the Elite Men overall. And everyone else just raced so well today, all season - so good to see smiles and pain and love and suffering all at the same time.

So much thanks to everyone in the Coalition for the support, training, comeraderie, love, and introduction to the sport this season. I can't wait until next September...

Saturday, December 02, 2006

Reston Up

Thanksgiving + work + Houston + early nightfall = 2 days of riding and 2 days of running in the last 2 weeks. I feel like a Christmas ham and there are still 4 weeks to the holiday. We shall see how this equation for pain and plumpness equates to Cyclocross performance. Last race of the season is tomorrow in Reston VA. This will put me at 10 races for the season - my goal going into it. I will miss the pain, but I can't wait to mountain bike on my new Michelin XCR A/Ts.

Meanwhile, here is my inspiration for tomorrow:

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

new CX team

Sven Nys goes without a chamois in wet races because he fears the soggy pad will weigh too much.

Weight weenie, eff him.

Bart Wellens kicked a spectator during a race.

Bad ass pirate move, but eff him as well.

Sven Vanthourenhout is the man. Sure he is relatively unknown, but he is racing for the all-new Sunweb-Projob 'cross team. See below, 'nuff said:

"I'm not Sven, I just play a topless one in body paint at team presentations."

Plus their team name is fun to rhyme.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

fat and sassy

Of course a reference to Don Hertzfeldt, who sadly won't let you watch movies on his site anymore. Go here instead: http://video.google.com/googleplayer.swf?docId=4576021287651691024&hl=en.

Anyway, just finished unpacking, doing laundry, and all the shit that follows a good trip somewhere. In this case I visited the Laudon clan in Rhode Island. They are in many ways a "family jr." to me and it was really good to see them all, especially two of my best friends.

We, of course, ate a lot of food and drank a lot of booze. But other highlights included some gym climbing, touring the Newport Storm brewery (and drinking a lot of their delicious beer for free), seeing the new Bond movie, visiting the Griffin Mfg factory - the Laudon family business, and playing a lot of cards. Of course with booze comes a little card game known as Asshole. For those not familiar, it is a game in which alcohol is combined with luck and hierarchical rules created on the fly to make others drink more or look like a dope. There were small children present, so we called it Butthead, but of course my antics led to a new name for the game: 'Robert'.

The highlight here was when Jenny said to Silas about his particularly shitty hand: "Man you really took it in the Robert." Nothing but love.

Anyway, I miss my friends, but no Thanksgiving with the Thomas clan has me excited to see them over Christmas. As for the bike, I have one more race this season in Reston on Sunday. It'll be interesting to see how this plays out, as I have been off the bike for a week or so now, and I will miss practice Wednesday due to an overnight trip to Houston (shittiest city in North America). Oh well...

I can't wait to start getting back to long rides and base miles. Change of pace, burning of more holiday calories.

much love

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Fakesgiving and NY State CX Champs

Drove up to Troy NY last Thursday night to visit lots of friends and do a little cross racing. I called in sick Friday morning, unconvincingly at best, and still managed to get some work done from my favorite coffee shop in the world on Friday.

But back to Thursday.... I knew I was in for a world of PBR hurt because I was chillin' with MJ, Sam, Nate, and Justin. MJ and I once invented our own game of "PBR Darts", so first on the agenda was a 30-rack of the golden beer of the gods, a dart board, and some darts. We played with some new rules, some old, but the end result was the same: drunken fun. Then those fuckers stole my phone and made some people in my phone book very uncomfortable. Good times.

MJ and the rules.

One rule of PBR Darts pertains to the storage of empty cans.

Friday I did some work, some slacklining, visited the old work study area and then headed down to Will and Steph's house to see the old Haus crew. The normal course of events led to the creation of this:
myspace.com/seriouslytherealrobthomas
in response to this:
myspace.com/robthomas
and much laughter ensued.

Saturday was the annual Fakesgiving - a potluck event involving way too much food, never enough booze, board games, walks around Troy, Mortal Challenge, and great people. I miss those mofos every day we're apart.

Sunday I raced in the Men's B category of the NY State Cross Championships. My first B race, and I finished 8th out 27 - only 1.5 minutes behind the winner! It was awesome - a real mud fest on what would have otherwise been a flat out roadie course. Rosie, Ola, Will, Steph, Rachel, and Danny were all there yelling for me which fucking ruled. I saw some old friendly faces from the NY bike scene. And Will took some awesome pictures.

A great weekend with great people, and thanks to E-town for not outing me on the sick day.

No bike until after Thanksgiving, which will be in Newport RI with the Laudon family. More great people I look forward to seeing!

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Best. Practice. Ever.

Reposted from the DCCofD email list... this is why I love the Coalition. From Jan:

Fellow DCCoDers:

let me be the first to thank everyone for last night's practice. Although it wasn't even clear whether I could make it out there (it's obviously not Rabbit season), I'm glad I could get a lift from RobThomas (no, not that talentless ....) one of the safest drivers around - he's currently ranked number two behind Amy.

We unloaded the bikes and glided over the fresh clean pastures of the park. It was beautiful. The stars sparkled, the moon illuminated even the most obscure spots of the loop, the air was warm and fresh, not even a whiff of dog poop, especially not in the corner at the lamp post. It just seemed to me that the riding was completely effortless last night.

But the love went beyond the riding. The members of the DCCoD all pooled their various talents to share with the others. Lisa (of Mabra championship fame) gave some helpful tips on how todeal with the paparazzi that keep following her around after the interview. Afterwards she signed autographs for everyone that had something to write on (it looks great next to that Calvin Klein stitching on the briefs ;) ).

Matt Neugewhat? held a brief clinic on courteous, friendly conversation in the parking lot, and how to defuse tense situations with eastern spiritualism, before heading off in his environmentally clean zero emission vehicle (I swear, the air smelled better coming out of that tail pipe).

Marc, yet again, surprised us by having dropped at least another five pounds since last week, (you didn't think it was possible) and explained to everyone the secret to lasting weight loss while still eating belgian chocolate.

Gunky Monkey aka the Chuck Norris of the small chainring, let it all out last night. She got a front row call-up, gunned it from the start, and got the holeshot, leaving everyone else in her dust and the realization that the true killer-Bs are estrogen powered.

Tom McDaniel offered free water heater inspections to everyone who would help paint flowers and/or pink flamingos on theBigGreenTruck(TM). Finger paint was spread around and to the sound ofScott McKenzie we spread the love. The night was over all too soon, and as the sun rose in the east, we shared a bottle of tanning lotion in a vain effort to become as goodlooking and fast as the incredible Wes.

Thank you all, Jan



Jan in his element

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Resting up...

Got the estimate on the damage to my car today... $1300 dollars. My deductable is $1000, so I'm on the fence as to whether or not to claim it. Either way, looks like the planned bike pimping I was going to do is now back burner material. Still I'm lucky I can afford these things... life could be a lot worse.

I took yesterday and today off the bike and off of climbing. I felt like just bumming around and eating some Ben and Jerry's Frozen Yogurt. I did both of those things. Tomorrow is cross practice and I will be motivated for that.

I moved up to 4th in the MAC standings after this weekend... Sadly I will only race one of the remaining 3 races... so here's to hoping the other top dudes will be chillin' out as well. I'll be racing in Reston in 2 weeks, but I fear it'll be too little, too late to move up any further.

Thanks to all of my friends for listening to my sob story with the car. It is seriously my dream to live carless one day. One day...

I have a new crush: Daphny Van Den Brand. I need a euro-cross name to impress her.
Also see: Graham's View.

Sunday, November 12, 2006

Predator-Lotto!

This just in (OK it was a week ago):
www.cyclingnews.com/news.php?id=news/2006/nov06/nov08news

Predator-Lotto would have been way cooler than Predictor-Lotto.

Robbie McEwen uses his new-found powers to
trim teammate Cadel Evans' ridiculous eyebrows.

Highland Park Cross Report

Drove up north of Trenton today for the Highland Park CX race. I was motivated to do well to improve my weekend which has been up and down, and to earn some more MAC points, even though I'll only be doing 1 of the 3 remaining MAC races. The weather report was grim, supposed to rain all day, so I prepared for the muddiest of conditions.

The DCCofD caravan roller up there in nothing but fog and arrived without rain. I chamois-up and hit the course for 3 preride laps. The course was really fun, with a nasty uphill after the start that was in nothing but soft semimud grass. This led to a short descent, into a super muddy uphill chicane section that almost everyone ended up running, then continued in an asphalt climb to the descent section. The course twisted around down hill into another flat mud pit and then some straight-away sections into some mulch. Then the barriers - pretty fast ones - and back to the start.

I prerode the course with singlespeeder and worthy opponent Peter Dalkner of Trophy Bikes. He won yesterday's race so we were both hoping to work together with our used legs to podium again.

The race begins with a mass start of the Master Bs and the Men's C racers together. One C guy must have slipped away among the Bs because we never knew this guy was gone. Peter and I get the front pretty quick and are in the top 10 overall. We work together for the first two laps and pass a fair amount of the Bs in front of us - except Paul I who kicked ass, was never caught, and won. We are leading together when another guy sneaks around us and just keeps on going - we can't close the gap for the life of us.

I lose Peter's wheel in the 3rd lap on the climb, and I never manage to bridge back up. I'm thinking "OK, ride smart, ride your own race, you have 3rd at least clinched if you don't blow up." Our nice start had given us a comfortable lead so I motored home about 30 seconds behind Peter. Of course I never realized that one dude was never behind us, so 4th place it was (after a slight scoring snafu). Peter rode really well, and we should both move up in the overall MAC standings.

I do not know how much of the DCCofD did today: I left early to get home and start dealing with insurance crap... But I know Paul I won the Master Bs, and E-town and fatmarc both had top 15 (I think) performances in the Killer Bs.

Saturday, November 11, 2006

Cars R Coffins

You'd think my 3rd place finish at the Lower Allen Classic cross race today would be the highlight of my weekend so far... Sadly the car accident on the way home is the most memorable and frustrating part of my day.

After we got back to Newark from the race in Harrisburg area, E-town, Fatmarc, Diane, Fitzy, Jan and I went to Klondike Kate's for some eats. Good times were had by all, and then I headed back to Fitzy's place to pick up my car from the day's carpool. Heading home from Fitzy's to my place, I got into a fender bender. Here's how it went down:

I'm sitting at a red light in the farthest left straight lane, and there's a car next to me in the left turn lane. Suddenly the car's passenger door flys open and I see a pair of legs trying to exit the vehicle. The driver, an angry looking guy, grabs the passenger in a headlock/chokehold while her legs are still hanging out of the car. Their left turn signal turns green and he tears off with the lady's legs still hanging out of the car. I was so shocked and flustered and confused and cyclocross-brained that I just pressed the gas while the cars to my left cruised forward. Of course, my light is still red, and the oncoming guy has a left turn signal in front of me. So I slam on my brakes, but it is too late and the middle of my bumper gets an intimate look at this dude's right front bumper.

Thankfully it was low speed. Everyone was safe, the airbags didn't go off, and it just looks like some body damage to both cars. The state popo was a real dick about the whole thing - took like 45 minutes to show up, is filled with some kind of attitude (like either me or the other driver wanted to be there) and then he gives me a summons for disregarding a red light. $104.50 on top of my $1000 deductable. Salt n' lemon in the wound. I don't even want to know how much my insurance will go up. So much for a completely squeaky clean driving record and nice, new maintenance free car.

I don't know what to do about the summons. Should I contest it??? The accident is going to rack up my insurance enough as it is.

Race report:

Felt awesome when I got out of bed this morning. I was ready to race and I was excited the whole way up to Harrisburg. Line up at the start, decent position, and the gun goes off. We tear off on the prologue loop and I move up through the front of the field into the top 8. The course is super technical, damp, and off camber for the first half, and I manage to pick off all of the contenders except Peter who was racing super-strong on his singlespeed. He's a fast man. I'm sitting in second until someone bridges up to me with 3 laps to go. He attacks me, and I cover the jump and just sit on his wheel. He is stronger in the climbs but I am attacking in every turn because I can see he is weak there. He gets around me again and I decide to sit on his wheel.

With a lap and a half to go, I push a little too hard through an off camber turn and lay the bike down. I'm up and riding in no time, but it was all the other dude needed to attack. He put in 100 meters right there and that was the race. 1st to a super-strong Peter who did nothing but increase his lead the whole race, 2nd to the guy on the Specialized, and 3rd to me. I'll take it. Until tomorrow, much love.

P.S. the DCCofD rocked out hard today as well... I don't know exact results, but they will appear.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

My apartment smells like rich mahogany

A little worried about my mom - waiting on some med. test results - and on a friend I heard was just diagnosed with cancer... They are on my mind and I am confident and hoping for the best possible outcomes in both situations. But it is still unsettling.

That aside... good day. week. life. The election yesterday worked out perfectly in every way. I guess Virginia's senate seat is still unofficial, but Jim Webb seems to have 7,000 votes on incumbant George Allen... 1/3 of a percent of the vote is going to decide this race. But it is going to swing control of the Senate - and of Congress as a whole - to the Dems. I love it. And then, icing on the cake - Rumsfeld is resigning! I love seeing the GOPers already chopping each other's fingers off. PASS THE BUCK! SHIFT THE BLAME!! Let's just hope the new guy, former CIA head who probably condones torture, is not any worse.

Cross practice was a lot of fun tonight. I was considering not going, because of some pressing work due tomorrow, but I went. 36 hours of steady rain could only mean a mudfest. My first 2 efforts felt really bad, the remnants of yesterday's run were clogging up my legs. But I started to warm up for the final 3 efforts, and aside from the golf ball chunks of mud in my eyes, I really enjoyed sliding around in the muck.


I also concentrated hard on improving my remount tonight. Wes and I had joked at Race Pace on Sunday about how god-damn clunky I am getting back on the bike. It's really true. Rather than gracefully swinging my leg around and over the bike and merely setting my butt on the saddle, I feel the need to launch myself into orbit before crashing onto the saddle. Really pretty amusing to watch:

And better yet, Jan told me at practice that I'm officially 2nd overall in points in the final standings of the MABRAcross series! I haven't seen it yet, but that's a pretty satisfying finish to my debut cross season. I owe it to the DCCofD.

Now it's back to work... I promised I'd never bring work home with me... and here I am.

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

votes and bros

Voted today. Walked into the ballot box with the thought that 1 or 2 repubs would get my vote - I like to think that as a Liberal, Democratic-party-registered dude, I am thoughtful enough to pick a good candidate regardless of party - and Mike Castle was not by any means a bad choice. But I walked into that box, saw that goddamn stupid fat elephant, and put all my Xs in the column with the donkey. Just the sight of that Pachyderm brought back so many negative thoughts and turned my stomach. I couldn't do it. Swing the ax and kill the GOP baby.

Anyway, this is why I love my brother. I sold him my old roof rack system for cheap to offset the cost of my new bike rack. He sent me the check today with this letter:

Hey Bobbie:
Here is the money for the rack! Please do not use it in the following ways:
  1. for hoes
  2. for E.D. meds
  3. for your heroin addiction
  4. on my girlfriend
  5. for gay sex
  6. for sex with horses
  7. on masturbation tools
Anyway, I hope you enjoy this money! I love you bro!

Bear
Eric: I make no promises.

Sunday, November 05, 2006

weekend

Pretty good weekend all things considered. Went up to Go Vertical on Friday night for some indoor climbing with Julie, Timmy, and Rachel. 3 days in 1 week has got to be good for the forearms. Then I made the mistake of going out in Wilmington with Dave from work. I got way too loaded and blew half my stomach into the toilet at the end of the night. Needless to say, half of Saturday was shot, and I think the boozin' had some negative effects on the old legs at the race today.

Fun race, down in Sykesville MD, the DCCofD caravan left the Iron Skillet at 6.30 am. We got to the venue really early and scoped out the course - a fast grass/asphalt blend with 3 short, steep ass-kickers followed by a grindy false flat, a steep run-up with a barrier, and a lot of straightaways. I had an awesome start, spending the first two laps solo off the front before the legs started cramping (residuals from Friday night I'm guessing). I ended up holding on for 4th, and the guy who took 3rd can kiss my ass. He sat on my wheel for 3 laps and attacked with 200 meters to go. Commendable, smart racing - but he didn't have to come rub it in my face after the race and then mention he normally races B-Men but "was feeling a little sick today." Sandbagging son-of-a-bitch. Thanks for the cheers DCCofD.

DCCofD representin':
Matt N. rode really well to take 2nd in our race (C-Men).
Blair and Rick took 2 and 3 in the Master's race - with Rick taking the win in the MABRA series jersey.
Lisa Vible took 2nd in the A-Women to win the MABRA series jersey.
Mike Connair raced in 2 races because he likes to suffer more than me.

Now for some videos:



2 more:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=H63FivObTLM
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EXbVfYHizQ

much love.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Time may change me...

but hopefully it'll change this blog.

Taiwan was cool - a real whirlwind tour.
San Francisco was cooler, great friends and good beer.
Lots of travel, but back on the cross bike and glad for that fact.

Hopefully a real update Saturday, and maybe a revamping of the webpage... I don't like the current deal.

much love,
robert aka rhomas aka rob thomas aka rt

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Granogue/Wiss double header

An awesome weekend of racing is now behind me, and my love for cyclocross continues to grow.

Saturday - Granogue.

It was a long day. We showed up at 7 a.m. to find the course tape ripped to shreds by the previous day's windy storm. By 8, we had everything back in order and the 10 a.m. racers got suited up and started warming the legs on the course. All of the lines felt pretty good, though the muddy section leading into the run up was a little messier than during practice.

Anyway, I get to staging a little late and end up in the 4th row of 75-ish racers. The gun fires, and I would say we were off, but the guy next to me misses his clip-in to the pedal and swerves into me. My wheel is lodged between his chainstay and crankarm and we are wrestling to get free. He kicks me to the curb, and I gather myself in time to see the last of the C-men riding away. I drop the hammer and pass probably half the field on the asphalt leading to the grass.

My legs feel great, I know the course from practice, so I am attacking every chance I get. I spend all 5 laps picking off riders one by one and end up finishing around 15th. It wasn't what I hoped for - especially with my legs feeling so good - but after being sent to the ground, I'm happy I made it so far up from the back of the field.

The DCCofD showed some serious grits yet again, and I was proud to call myself part of such a cross dominating crowd. Paul I. pulled off second in the master B race, Rick 2nd in the Master Elite race; Marc and Ethan 8th and 9th in the Killer B field, and of course Nat'l Champ Katie Compton owned the Elite women's race. Everyone else pedaled so hard and it was a great pleasure seeing so much self-indulgent suffering.

Sunday - Wissahickon.

Never having raced 2 days in a row, I was unsure how I would do at Wissahickon. It was a really fast course, much more suited to my talents than the more fun Granogue (read: not as much climbing as Granogue). The field start was a bit of a clusterfuck - they started the Master B men and the C men at the same time, with the C men in the back. The whole race was very confusing, and it was very difficult to see who you were chasing.

None-the-less, I felt very good and managed to chew my way through the Master B field pretty well. The race was a too-short 24 minutes (3 laps), but I finished 8th out of 50. I felt so good and wish I could have done one more lap just for the experience. I can't speak to the results of the rest of the DCCofD because I had to leave early, but I know James was tearing up the Master B field - so props to him.

Tomorrow I leave for Taiwan, then San Francisco. A lot of travel and too much time off the bike, but I am looking forward to seeing some new places and eating some crazy food. And really looking forward to seeing my SF friends. I've got my compression stockings ready...

Friday, October 20, 2006

Granogue is going to hurt...

I decided to do both races this weekend. Saturday is Granogue, Sunday is Wissahickon. Registered for the latter after the following conversation on the DCCofD email listserv:

ME: Does anyone have experience with long travel directly after racing? I have 22 hours of sitting on a plane on Monday, and was considering not racing Sunday. The thinking being my legs would be so shot after 2 days of racing that sitting on a plane for that long would not be good...

Paul I: Suck it up...race as hard as you can...and suffer much.
You'll be fine.

Tom McD: Yeah race you big pansy. It's cross - it's supposed to hurt.

Feel the love?

And of course there was some advice on using "support hose." Use your imagination to think where that one went...

much love

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

truly lucky...

JF and I carpooled up to the Philly rock gym today as we do most Tuesday nights. During the ride home we started discussing our respective futures. Both of us have similar philosophies: do what you love to do, commit as much to it as you possibly can, and when a hard decision comes your way - just pull the trigger - nothing is permanent if you pick the wrong road in the fork.

This got me thinking about my future - and about how truly priveleged I really am. But back to the first point. There are two things I really love to do with my free time. #1 is easy - it's pretty much all I blog about, and lately, all I've been doing with my weekends - riding my fuckin' bike. #2 is a close second: climbing. This past year or so I've really split my time between the two, and as a result, have not really grown by leaps and bounds in either. As long as I have this sordid love affair, I'll never find true nirvana.

The options are obvious if not easy to consider.
  1. Give up climbing, at least for the most part, and just ride ride ride. This season has been a stake in the ground. After leaving the road racing scene, I've embarked in both endurance mountain bike racing and cyclocross - and I'm deeply enamoured with both. I know that if I replaced climbing time with riding time, and really took advantage of the depth of talent in this area, I could really start to show some solid results. Plus I love the scene. So much support, love, ball-busting, and beer... how can I even consider #2:
  2. Dedicate to climbing. I know if I put the amount of commitment into climbing that I have been giving to cycling these last couple years, I could be sending 12s in no time. This would kick ass except for the fact that I'm on the flattest part of the East Coast known to man - a flat part with a kick ass bike scene (see #1). This option only seems truly plausible if I were to pull the trigger and find a way to move west - something most of you know has been on my mind on and off for the last 2 years.
Right now I'm inclined to stick with #1. Bikes have always been there for me and will always continue to turn a shitty day golden. Plus there's so much love and respect for the midatlantic bike scene. But this brings me back to my original point #2 - being priveleged.

As I said to JF (who is having similar east coast/west coast dilemmas) in the car... how fucking lucky are we to have our hardest decision be: bike or climb?? There are people in this world, in this country, in the neighborhood next to mine and yours, that would give anything just to work their fingers to the bone to feed the family. There are people with failing health and failing bodies and failing minds and failing lives.

and then here I am. Sitting here blogging on a $1300 piece of shit computer with fingers sore from fake rock and legs stinging from pedaling. and it all feels so good.

Monday, October 16, 2006

dirty politics

Typically, I avoid political issues on here, but this morning I had a discussion with a Republican coworker that has me fired up. I'm registered as a Democrat in the state of DE. Is it the perfect party? No, but my values, morals, beliefs, etc. are about as far from conservative as Ann Coulter is from rational.

Anyway, the discussion started around the little rubber charity bracelets (think liveSTRONG). Republican Coworker (call her RC) was bitching about how much money the US spend on AIDS in Africa when we have so many domestic issues. This led to bitching about how much money we've spent on Katrina victims. In her view, RC thinks that all "those people" had the chance to get out of there and it's "their fault" that they were in New Orleans when the shit hit the fan.

Direct quote: "You give those people welfare money, insurance money, any charity; they'll just go spend it on porn, drugs... crime is all they're good for. Look at me: I don't spend any of the government's money, I'm self sufficient, why should my money go to the criminals?!.... My parents [who by the way put her through college and own a beach house] lost everything in a fire once, and they didn't go begging!! Everyone has the chance to pull themselves up by the bootstraps - there are no excuses." Her arguments continued along these lines. Typical bullshit you hear from advantaged, priveleged (typically white) people.

What I tried (and failed to get across) to explain to her was the systematic injustice imposed on the less fortunate portion of the US (and world) population. That sure, she's worked hard for everything she has, but she also was given every opportunity. Sure her parents had a housefire, but they could also afford homeowner's insurance that would cover it in the long run. They had savings that covered them in the short term. This was met by her argument that "plenty of people come from nothing and become wealthy and successful!" That is just plain bullshit. Those VERY, VERY few that come from nothing are used as anti-scapegoats by the truly advantaged to hide the real issues plaguing the lower classes. She complains that they aren't disadvantaged because they can get limitless housing and welfare and increase their state-funded income by "having another child.... Why not say 'You get no more welfare if you aren't actively pursuing employment, and if you are on welfare you can't have any more kids?'"

This bullshit makes me sick because it's so difficult to quantify the hurdles the lower classes have to clear to make it in this world. It's hard because it's less about blatent disadvantages and more about unfair advantages given to the upper classes. The tax breaks and social networks that let the rich get richer make the chasm even wider. And it's hard to explain this to priveleged people because if you were to tax them at the same rate as the rest of the population, they feel like you are stealing from them. As RC said, "well, there's nothing I can do about [the tax breaks to the rich]." Yet here she is saying we should kill welfare and anything that helps improve the situation of the poor in this country.

This article about the Duke lacrosse players who are accused of raping a stripper really pushed me over the top: www.nytimes.com/2006/10/16/sports/sportsspecial1/16duke.html. These pricks think the world owes them everything because that's all they've ever gotten from mom and dad. I don't know if they are guilty or not; it's just as possible that the stripper made the whole thing up thinking it was her lottery ticket.

The real issue to me is more that these douchebags are bitching about their future being ruined. Fuck that. First off, they will be fine because their families and their whole social network will still be there to tell them they can do no wrong. But more importantly, when will they realize they should be held accountable simply for putting themselves in a questionable situation in the first place?? THEY WERE BINGE DRINKING AND HIRING STRIPPERS. Now typically I support both of those activities, combined or separate. But they are going to a prestigious university on scholarship (that could have gone to a smart, non-athletic, poor kid displaced from New Orleans during Katrina). If they want the high level of advantage, should they not be held to an equivalently high standard?

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Double-bag it...

Yesterday's race was at Michaux State Forest in PA. About a 2.5 hour drive, so the DCCofD met up at 6 am to head out there convoy style. Staring at the outdoor temperature display on the dashboard, all I could think was, "Please god, let it be more than 34 degrees out when I'm changing into my skinsuit." No such luck.

I double-bagged all my limbs for safety, and just like they tell you in health class, that's actually not a great idea. I really should have stripped down to one layer at the start line after warming up, because of course the sun came out during the race and I got hotter than balls.

Anyway, it was a fun course: long grindy dirt climb that got real steep at the end, a "death spiral" that was confusing but some good recovery because you just couldn't go that fast, and a fast, technical descent through some rooty singletrack.

I had a great start, sitting in 5th wheel or so up the first climb and was able to cover all of the attacks that lap and close down the remaining gaps on the technical descent. 2nd lap I got gapped in the steep part of the climb, but managed to close it on the downhill. 3rd lap, my gut decides to lock up tighter than a chastity belt, and every hard effort makes me feel like something's going to come out of one or both ends of my digestive track. So now, I can't cover the attacks on the climbs and 5 riders start putting good time into me.

Ended up in 6th place, not what I had hoped for, but not terrible. Right now I'm sitting 4th overall for points in the Men's Category C for the MABRAcross series. This finish should move me up into 3rd at least, but we'll see... The DCCofD still represented big: Slick Rick still undefeated in Masters, E-town coming up with a solid 8th in Men's B, Lisa with 4th in Women's A, and Wes with 3rd in Men's A. Fatmarc didn't fare so well, but it was good seeing him laughing after taking one on the noggin - I'm sure we'll all see him back in fine form at Granogue.

This week at practice, I'm going to show off my new training tool. Purpose: learn how to let the guy in front of you do all the work.

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

Good vs. Evil

Good:
  • Upcoming trip to Taiwan.
  • Layover/weekend in San Francisco with some of my favorite people on this planet.
  • Burritos after cross practice.
Evil:
  • My body at cross practice not cooperating with me.
  • Wooden legs.
  • Lots of time on planes.
Good:
  • the DCCofD.
  • Working hard between 8 and 5 but not a lick more.
  • Freshly shaved legs and clean sheets.
Evil:
  • Installing old-school Ride On bike cables.
  • Getting up early to clean muddy cross bike.
  • This guy (see www.bikerfox.com):

Sunday, October 08, 2006

good friends, good teammates

I have so much respect and love for my friends and teammates. Rosie came to visit this weekend, and she cheered for me at my race. It was really good to see her, and it meant a lot to me to have such a good friend motivating me.

Anyway, the DCCofD rocked out in Hagerstown MD. Needless to say, the boys and girls of Northern Delaware seem to know how to get it done. Pictures here: www.forty15.com/photo/hagerstown_cross/index.html.

Slick Rick (left) gets it done.

Slick Rick remains undefeated in the MABRA series, and the DCCofD had 2 spots on the podium in the C race (my category for the uninformed). It went down a little like this for me.

I managed to squeeze into the front line at the start and was able to go into the first turn in 2nd wheel. The leader pushed hard into turn 2 - a nasty off-camber beast, and I pursued hard. I pushed hard to close the gap to the leader halfway through the first lap. Two chasers were coming hard after our 2-man break.

Hot barrier action.

I stupidly lift the pace a little more and drop the former leader - I am completely alone by 3/4 through the lap. I stomp on the pedals through the steep run up and come across the S/F line with a sizeable gap - trying to tell my self to relax and settle into a rhythm. Coming by the pit, I hear the DCCofD gents telling me to ease up... "find your rhythm!!" They are right, if I keep this up, I'll implode and blow the race.

I settle down and get my heart rate down from 99% to maybe 87% and try to recover. I went too hard there, and Jan and some other guy catch me. I hang with Jan for a while and he jumps to cover the gap when the other guy goes. I can't hold on - too much spent on that stupid first lap (at least it was cool to hear my name on the loudspeakers). Jan works over the next laps and catches the leader. They slowly open more of a gap on me, and Jan ends up taking the guy in the last lap when he drops a chain or something. Jan wins (score for the DCCofD!) and I come across alone in third.

DCCofD warmup/shit-talking/staging area. Keep a wide berth when passing.

Podiums feel good. I just want to keep working hard, racing smart, and having fun. I can't stress enough how much respect I have for Slick Rick, fatmarc, e-town, Jan, Fort James, Diane, Dan - all the DCCofD. Some of them kill me in practice and own their races - they inherently force me to train hard. And some of them just work hard and refuse to quit and continute to improve - let me tell you: it's motivating.

Saw the day's real winner on the way home. Welcome to Cecil County baby.

Friday, October 06, 2006

On one gear:

Carl Decker is a pro mountain biker... and a good one at that. He likes to ride singlespeed, especially in Short Track XC races, which is badass given the speed at which they occur. He pushes "-1" (i.e. 2 to 3 teeth bigger gearing than fatass me). All this is cool but somewhat unexciting.

Here is why I really like Carl Decker - in order to ride singlespeed on his Giant team bike with vertical dropouts, he MacGyverizes the shit out of it:
"I cut the derailleur hangers off. My magic system for getting the right chain tension involves starting with a handful of [used] chains with different stretches and a bunch of chainrings. To get that perfect tension without any of those little do-hickeys and with these non-horizontal dropouts, you just have to take the hour or two hours to find the perfect combination. I've done it a bunch of times."
Read the article here, and see his sweet, retarded-light bike below:

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

The liver...

is the only organ that can regenerate itself. This is of great importance to me as I spent the last week beating on my liver like it owed me money.

As it turns out, Interbike is awesome and makes me wish I was independently wealthy. Vegas is Disneyworld for adults, with strippers in place of Mickey. I am generally an idiot for not remembering my camera. Lucky for you Nathan Friedman did, and soon he should have pictures like this one posted:

Let me enlighten you on some highlights:
  • Arrived in Vegas Tuesday night at nine and had dinner with a business associate. Decided to go to bed at 11.30 to prepare for a long work day Wednesday. Phone call from FFA tells me otherwise, and head to the Doubledown Saloon for a Pedro's party. Leave for a strip bar around 1. Lap dances and drinking continues until 3.30 am when I decide to head home.
  • Wednesday work all day, then had dinner with them at Tao where we saw Dennis Rodman in a dress.

  • Thursday morning headed to the show for more meetings until 2. Then the fun begins. Meet up with Nathan and FFA to walk the show and get lots of free schwag.
  • Meet George Hincapie, who signs a photo - I then take the photo to Phil Liggett to get him to make a crack about GH's Paris-Roubaix crash and sign it.
  • We start the festivities at the SRAM booth where a Chippendale's dude is serving up cold Sierra Nevada on draght.
  • Nathan and I head to the Kona/IMBA fundraising bowling tourney with the crew from AZ Bikes and throw down for 24 MGDs to start off the night right. We break the bowling lane so many times that the dudes at the alley have to show us how to fix it (see photo above).
  • A bunch of us head to Nine Fine Irishmen at NY NY casino and drink a lot of Guinness.
  • A race vs. Nathan up a down-escalator leaves my knee bleeding and swollen.
  • I stay up until my 6 am flight and head to Philly to head to Troy for RPI recruiting.
  • Total sleep for 3 nights in Vegas: 10 hours.
My visit to RPI was also fun. I went to the Ruck and the Irish Mist with some of my greatest friends: Rosie, Will and Steph, Darren, and JOla. The career fair was awesome... a lot of work but fun to be on the other side of the fence. All these kids are so nervous and I just want them to do well. We did meet a lot of solid students with whom I wouldn't mind working.

Saturday night partied with my favorite homewreckers at 1105-2. It was so good to see everyone, I wish I could shrink the distance between us all.

Now it's back into the swing... Cross practice felt great tonight, really cheered me up. Hopefully the race this weekend will go well.

Sunday, September 24, 2006

Putting the charm in Charm City Cross

First cyclocross race ever today. It was awesome. Raced in the C class in Baltimore. Finished 8th out of 64 starters. That's top 12.5%, I'll take it. The motivation derived from the yelling of Fort James, fatmarc, and Paul Incognito made a huge difference, and Dan kept me motivated on the course, finishing a solid 10th.

In the B class - Slick Rick took the honors, fatmarc in a respectable 5th or 6th. E-town took the 1st lap preem - a tube of chamois butt'r. Wes rocked hard in A class, even after a nasty cartwheel.

I'm so grateful to be part of the DCCofD, and maybe a provisional member of the Secret Henry's Team. Until then I'll be reppin' RPI in the mid-Atlantic.

Saturday, September 23, 2006

Upcoming week in pictures

Instead of writing a bunch of boring shit, here's the agenda for the next week or so... click to enlarge of course:

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

You're just jealous 'cause we're young and in love...

My life is a joke. 3 months ago, if you had asked me about my thoughts on Delaware, my biggest thought would have been: "I can't wait to get out of here." That was then.

Now, work is going very well. I mean, come on, I'm going to Interbike FOR WORK. I like the direction my career is headed (scary I know - I hoped career would never mean anything to me). And I work for a company that few get the privilege of knowing. Today my work team left at 1 PM to go sailing on the boat from Wedding Crashers - we all drank from 1 until we got back at 10. That aside, I'm deriving satisfaction from the work I perform.

On top of it all, I've made some great friends here. My work and climbing friends are great people, and know how to have fun. And being part, even a small part, of the bike community here is really something special. I've never met a more committed (to the sport AND each other) and fun bunch of cyclists in my life. Who else would but the Trojan Rabbit from Monty Python and the Holy Grail on their 'Cross race flyer?

Delaware ain't so bad.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

It's here...

She's arrived! Weighing a healthy 22.3 lbs and measuring 40.6 inches in length. She's beautiful, and tomorrow I will ride her until my legs stop spinning or until half price nachos at Deer Park win over my belly.

Also, I thought this article was really interesting:
http://www.drianwalker.com/overtaking/overtakingprobrief.pdf

Dr. Walker states, "When overtaking the test bicycle, drivers passed closer when the experimenter:
  • rode towards the centre of the lane rather than the edge
  • wore a helmet
  • appeared male rather than female
Drivers of buses and heavy goods vehicles got significantly closer than other vehicles."

Saturday, September 09, 2006

Friday night lights

Set up a slackline last night in John's front yard. That was fun, I have lost what little skill I used to have in that arena. But now I'm gonna ressurect the slackline because I know Julie is interested too. Did I mention John built a bouldering cave in his dining room. It's awesome; I will try to post some pictures of it.

After the slackline met up with a bunch of bikers for FFA's (if I have the right to call her that) birthday party. Long story short, I drank too much and had a great time.

Today I did my first brick ever. 35 mile ride and a short run right after. I want to perform on the cross bike this fall.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Vacation, family, friends, 'cross

Going in order, I just returned from vacation. Flew from Philly to Columbus, OH where I met my brothers, mother, aunt, uncle, and cousin (the latter 3 I haven't seen in 4 years). We hung out for a day in OH then drove to my aunt and uncle's summer place in Tennessee.

The biggest thing near their house is a super Walmart shitbox. We went there for some groceries and a couple laughs. Aside from the 6 OSHA recordables I saw (including a guy blasting a blow torch at the floor) I thought the book section was the funniest part of the store. It could be divided up into 3 sections:
  • Harlequin Romance
  • Shitty spy novels (like sub Robert Ludlum material)
  • the "Inspiration Center" (aka Fundamentalist Christian Brainwashing Zone)
The best book there was titled "23 Minutes in Hell." Read the Amazon.com description and you'll see why I laughed really hard. The south is just a different world.

It was really nice to see my family. I miss them a lot sometimes - I feel like I'm too far from home every now and then. We just had a laid back, water skiing, reading, eating, drinking good time.

Equally as good was driving out to Blue Ridge Summit, PA to hang out with the "Haus" crowd from RPI. I miss them as well; it's just so easy to laugh non-stop in their company. I'd try to explain the jokes, but I don't think I possibly could. It's amazing what good friends and family will do for your morale.

After ordering my Redline Conquest today from Henry's, I decided to go to my first ever Cyclocross practice on Fitzy's borrowed bike. All I can say is this: I am ashamed, depressed, and dumbfounded that I have never ridden 'cross before. It rivals riding a velodrome for the coolest thing I've ever done on a bike.

I am motivated to continue training, including my newly started running regimen (we all know how much I HATE running), so I can actually compete in the upcoming months. My nuts are still a little sore from my first botched attempt at a flying remount onto the bike. 7-8 laps on just the barriers was enough to get the hang of it, but if I want to clear those bastards like Slick Rick and company, I'm gonna need some practice.

I think my next project is building some barriers on which to practice.

Friday, August 25, 2006

T-town Drama

I have been wanting to get into track racing (maybe next summer) up at the Lehigh Valley Velodrome. This, however, makes me reconsider:

Thursday, August 24, 2006

Pro ho

It used to be my blog didn't pass a day without some mention of procycling, but I just haven't felt up to making fun of the guys who actually train lately. That is until eternal 2nd place George Hincapie ate shit yet again moments from victory.

In the leader's jersey, moments from winning the Eneco Tour of Benelux, he decides to take an asphalt nap. Gorgeous George, for it finally to be a Cinderella story you really have to finish first.

A complacent George Hincapie doesn't really care about another loss.
"Hey," he thinks, "at least my wife is hotter than Sheryl Crow."


That being said, I will be on vacation in Tennessee and Blue Ridge Summit PA for the next week and a half. Here's to getting fat and complacent!

Thursday, August 17, 2006

Fat

I feel like crap. I think I'm fighting a cold, or allergies, or both. My legs felt like wood on the road today. I bet Big Jonny feels worse though:

Saturday, August 12, 2006

Saturday morning fever

Just returned from the Saturday morning Barksdale ride. I love group rides on the road. I love the cameraderie, the bullshitting, the pulling through, the way it seems to make typically monotonous road miles fly by. Today though, I was feeling some negative vibes.

I usually love the Barksdale ride. It's not too hard, it's got some nice people, and it's a decent length ride that doesn't trash your whole Saturday. It's advertised as 17-19 mph lot-to-lot, which I can usually pull on my own. That being said, I don't mind sitting on the front and pulling. I try and keep it steady, and close the gaps to anyone who decides to jump. I like to attack hard on the peppy section, which is allowed as far as I can tell.

Today, however, people seemed to be annoyed with me. Maybe I'm being over-sensitive, but I felt like some of the riders were upset when I was setting the pace. I always eased up when the group split up, I always waited at hill tops to regroup. And the average pace today was 18.5 - right in the pocket. I guess I just felt like it was ok to go harder when the ride leaders were feeling good, but any other time it wasn't ok.

I hope I'm reading too much into this. On the bright side, I got to catch up a little with Fat Marc. I haven't seen anyone from that crowd in a while and it was nice to see a friendly face.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006

It could happen to you...

Goddamn...

Above, ladies and gentlemen, is the man who started it all: Big Jonny of www.drunkcyclist.com.

He was riding his bike and was rear ended by a car doing 55 mph. They caught the fucker, but not until Jonny suffered multiple lumbar fractures. Just goes to show, the road ain't safe, so take it easy out there. And take a couple shots of something strong for the Big Man.

Here's to a speedy and complete recovery.

Friday, August 04, 2006

Oh! I'm so rigid right now!

Fuck it. I'm impatient.

Rather than figure out whether or not I wanted to go rigid 29 with something beautifully crafted like a Sibex, I decided to throw Redline's shitty OEM rigid fork back on the Shit Pig.


The only issue was brake caliper alignment, as cheap Thai manufacturing pretty much defines this bike. This was remedied the ghetto fabulous way, with a washer on the hollow QR axle between the hub and dropout. Yeah I know the fork is only riding on half as much axle as it should be on the left side, but like I said, "Fuck it."

This weekend: Barksdale road ride and another day climbing at Birdsboro.

Thursday, August 03, 2006

I feel like...

I just got out of a studio session with Peter North and Cyntheria. Rolled out of the Middle Run Bird Sanctuary parking lot for a 2 hour singletrack romp with JF. Got back to the car soaked with sweat; If I had wrung out my jersey, shorts, helmet, gloves, socks, whatever, I probably could have ended east African drought for the next 3 years at least. This is 2 days in a row I've ridden the Middle Run-White Clay-Judge Morris loop, and I picked the 2 hottest days yet of the summer.

Biking amazes me sometimes in that one day I feel like a soiled chamois, and the next I feel like I've been dropping ecstasy with Big Jan (or whatever he does to stay good but just sub-par). Sunday I couldn't move my legs despite investing 25 bucks in the last nail to seal my racing coffin. Yesterday I felt solid, but wasn't pushing the pace too hard because I was riding with some of my slower work compatriots. Today, with JF taking to the singlespeed like Floyd to whiskey with beer chasers, I felt amazing.

I've been considering making the Shit Pig rigid again, either with her stock 26" fork, or with a 29er rigid fork and matching 29" front wheel for shits and grins. So today, I rode with my fork locked out. No suspension just to try it out. I don't know if it was that, or the fact that we rode the MR-JM-WC loop (see below) backwards from normal, but I felt amazing. I felt on top of my [humble] +2 gearing, I was connecting lines I never saw before, I wasn't touching my brakes. I wish I rode like this all the time.


Any thoughts on the rigid 29er front end? I've grown used to having the front end lifted off the ground from running a too-big travel fork, so I don't think the head angle will be an issue. I'd welcome any input.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Climbin' and Ridin'

This was a good weekend. I went with a large group of good people to do some climbing in Birdsboro PA yesterday. It was awesome. The weather was perfect, the group was fun, the rock was challenging and fun. I started off the day leading a nice 5.8, then spent a while working on a tough 5.10 on toprope. I didn't get it the first time, but I got it the second time. When I'm good and ready to scare myself I'll try leading that s.o.b.

Rachel was smart enough to take some pictures.
click here for more.

Today was also fun, but somewhat frustrating. I met up with John (JF) in Sewell NJ for the Sewell Summer Sizzler mountian bike race. The course was a mostly flat 6 mile twist and turn fest with a handful of short steep climbs, a bunch of rooty sections, some flat-out sections, and a lot of switchbacks. It was hot.

I raced in the 33 man single speed class - 3 laps.

First lap: some dude crashes right as the mass start goes into the singletrack and holds up ten or so riders - including me. It's frigging hot and I feel like I'm going to barf everywhere. I can't settle into a rhythm as it's a clusterfuck of singlespeeders who want to slam up the short steeps and geared guys racing Sport class who just spin up the hills. Passing is hard because the singletrack is so tight, and 2/3rds of my field has a big gap in front of me from the guy crashing at the start line. I finish the first lap choking down water and seriously considering pulling the plug.

Second lap: I calm myself down, settle into a rhythm. Hold down as much water as possible. I decide to cyclocross-run-up the longer steeps. I'm trying to recover so I don't have to abandon. I end up getting stuck behind this asswipe on a geared squishy bike who won't let me pass. I am faster on the hills and flats, he just beats me when I spin out on the downhills. It's back and forth and he costs me a good amount of time - douchebag wasn't even competing with me.

Third lap: I feel recovered and the strategy changes to DO NOT GET OFF THE BIKE FOR ANYTHING. I slam up all the hills and I am riding strong and feeling good. About halfway through the lap I catch a guy on a SS 29er. I am feeling good so I plan on passing him after some log bridges. At the first log bridge he slows to a CRAWL. He makes it over but I have to cram my brakes so I don't rear end him. Without enough speed to clear the bridge I fall off the top and bite it hard. I never caught the fucker again and I think I f-ed up my King headset. I run out of water and start cramping, but with 2.5 miles to go I grit my teeth and finish.

31 / 34 is my finishing position in singlespeed. Not what I had hoped but after my above racer excuses I'll shut up now. I'll try to find some pictures later. Results posted here.

Here's a video of my finish.

Friday, July 28, 2006

very busy

I'm going non stop these days, updating is a lot harder to accomplish these days.

Real quick:
Holy Shit Landis. I know everyone's on drugs, but you've broken my heart by being dumb enough to get caught after a day like stage 17. CAS is your only hope, as Silas said:
"The limit is 6-1, Botero got off a couple years ago with numbers from 25-30 to 1. Basically, his nuts are the size of watermelons...if you believe it."
Anyway, enough is being said about Floyd everywhere else so fuck it.

This weekend's plan:
peace and grease.

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Meanwhile...

While my posting has come to a crawl, my life continues to speed by me at a fascinating speed. Work is just chugging along, but it's already almost August and I feel like I haven't accomplished much with my summer... at least, I have not been riding as much as I'd hoped. A lot of that is because I've been climbing so much more than I have before, but I'm missing the freedom that comes with two wheels. Also, I've FINALLY finished moving to Newark, so that should free up some more time. Unpacking sucks.

Speaking of climbing, I posted pictures from my botched trip to Summersville WV. The goal was to climb all day that Saturday in New River Gorge or Summerville and drive home Sunday. The real series of events was as follows:
  • Leave work at 3.30 on Friday and drive 8 hours to the campground
  • Unpredicted rain starts 7 hours into the trip and continues through the night
  • We are the first ones to the rock Sat morning to find it soaking wet
  • We start driving home frustrated
  • We stop and climb this small wet face at Cooper's Rock State Park
  • We get home and drink our sorrows away
At least the hike in was fun... and wet.

More pictures here.

Otherwise, I'm sort of glad that our company soccer season has ended. It's one more day a week I can try and ride. I REALLY want to race cross this fall, and I need to get more miles under my belt than 2 rides a week can provide.

Monday, July 17, 2006

Long Time No Blog

I know it's been a while since I've updated, and this one will probably be brief. Here is a quick synopsis of my lack of blog-sense.
  • Trip to San Francisco (awesome).
  • Fixing mountain bike (finally done).
  • Moving from Wilmington to Newark.
  • Foiled climbing trip to New River Gorge (900 miles in 28 hours to climb something we didn't want to climb for only an hour).
  • More moving.
  • Unrelenting heat.
I will post some pictures of our botched trip to the New, along with a full story of what happened. Meanwhile, I liked this a lot:

http://davezabriskie.missingsaddle.com/

And I thought this article was interesting on cyclingnews.com:

optimal race weight 1
optimal race weight 2

In reality the graph looks a little more like this:

Saturday, July 08, 2006

Good news / Bad news

If you've been following le Tour, you'll know today was a day of highs and lows.

T-Mobile rider showing off his breakdancing skills before the stage start.

The lows:
  • the Americans collectively sucked a fat one in the ITT today, including (in order of sucking):
    • Leipheimer (96th) - quite possibly the most boring rider in the peloton.
    • Horner (48th) - "my hand is broken!" No, Chris, it's not.
    • Vandevelde (30th)
    • Hincapie (24th) - I envy the man, really I do... he's got the look, the hot wife, the solid career, the successful clothing line... but he just can't win races.
    • Zabriskie (13th) - He was my hope for a win.
    • Floyd (2nd) - The only remaining hopes for an American on the podium in 2 weeks is now Floyd. Too bad the fucker isn't on my fantasy team.
  • Julich is out, crashing pretty dramatically ala Tour 1999.
The highs make me a bad person, but only because I'm in a Tour de France fantasy game at work. I'm leading right now, but once the mountains start, I'm fucked.

  • I picked up Sergei Gonchar who won me some solid points today by winning the stage and taking the yellow jersey.
  • Denis Menchov, another late pick earned me some points and moved up the GC.
  • I don't have any Americans on my team so the above 'lows' are highs for me.
  • My competition just keeps crashing out (haha suckas).
    • Valverde
    • Julich
    • Dekker
On a personal note: WAH! I've got a small tear in a muscle in my back that is wreaking havoc on my life. It's caused a muscle spasm that is so painful that it was hard to breathe yesterday. I'm trying to get better by laying off the climbing, which probably hurt me in the first place; taking advil; icing and heating my back; and Icy Hot-ing the shit out of the area. So I smell like a nursing home.

The good news is that I ignored medical advice and went for a ride! I did some sprint-ervals. 15 seconds of super high cadence sprinting every 7.5 minutes for the middle hour of the ride, and then my normal super hard effort for the last 3 miles into Wilmington on 52.

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Le tour and le track

Le Tour de France is underway, and those fuckers are gonna put on a good show this year. Primary reason I say this? Some of the the better cheats have been removed.

Ullrich, as much as I wanted to see your fat ass win, you should have stuck to TrimSpa.
Basso, f-you for being my first fantasy TdF pick at work. Now I gotta fill in for your ass with some of the low-lifes in the peloton.

Meanwhile this tour is open to the cheats that didn't get caught... I think it'll make for a more even-keeled, well-balanced race. I just wish doping was out in the open. It doesn't bother me that they all cheat, I like the action, the drama, the upsets, all of it. Plus I like thinking the reason my fat ass can't win races is because I'm clean. It's all about rationalization.

I'm posting this from San Francisco, which is enjoying some incredible weather. Today Silas and I went down to the Hellyer Park Velodrome in San Jose. On top of a killer sunburn, I got in a couple wins on a rental bike. I really enjoyed the team pursuit, the match sprints, the scratch racing... Track racing is the most enjoyable thing I have ever done on a bike and I now know I need to make it up to Trexlertown.

Vive la bicyclette.