Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Who is Ank Scurlock?

This question has been beleaguering me since I stepped out of the pub on Grampian Road. After enjoying a few drams of whisky - because drinking beer in Scotland is like whacking off in a whorehouse - I went to pull my bike out of the bike pile on the sidewalk. Lo and Behold! A new sticker on my bike:

The text on the top tube reads: "ANKSCURLOCKISACOCK".

At the time I thought: "Hmmm, Ank must be a local name/nickname. Maybe Ank Scurlock is some local Rotten Robert equivalent and, appropriately so, people go calling him out on strangers' bikes. Or maybe Ank himself pulled a self-deprecating fast one and is just marketing himself."

I left the sticker on because, hey, it reminds me of a fun time in a foreign land... that... and I was too hung over to bother peeling it off.

So the other day, my good friend Robotsworth was in town for a visit. We decided to ride campus, and upon viewing my steed he asked: "what's with the sticker on the top tube?"

I relayed the story and asked his opinion: "Do I leave it or remove it?"

We decided that if 1 hour on the interweb could not uncover the true meaning of the sticker, it might be worth removing. Should the meaning prove funny or true, maybe it is worth keeping. So I emailed Marty, one of the promoters of the SSWC 2007.

Hi Marty,

3 months have passed and I'm still smiling from the race you and the TSPC put on. One lingering question is haunting me: Do you know the meaning behind "ANKSCURLOCKISACOCK"?

I'm trying to decide if I should leave it on my bike or not. But first, I want to know who is this Ank Scurlock and is he indeed a cock? Can you help me here?

robert thomas
henry's bikes
newark delaware

A prompt response from Marty:

Good to hear from you & glad to hear you had a braw time when you were over.

Given that it's been stuck to your Spot, I'm guessing that ank is most likely Frank Scurlock - one of the team that took Spot over from Jessica and Michael. Don't know him myself, but DrJon reckons he's a good lad - he met him when Frank came over to race one of the UK's 24 hour races a few years back when he was working for Maverick.

Best wishes for Hogmanay and hopefully see you over in Napa.

Of course!! How did I miss this?! FRANK SCURLOCK is the new owner of Spot Brand Bikes. He and his crony Chris are the guys that put me through the ringer when I bought my Spot. With that in mind, I think the sticker stays. I might even add the "FR" so there's no question.

Not to go into a long diatribe about my disappointment with Spot, but Frank and Chris seem to want to drive that company into the ground. I bought my frame from them, at a pretty penny, with the confidence that I was buying from a company that built a quality product and stood behind it. The former owners put their sweat and blood into the brand to bring it to that level.

The new guys sold me a frame that was obviously some kind of scratch 'n dent, and when it cost me even more money to build up the components because standard stuff didn't work, the new guys did not stand behind their product - in fact, they offered to help, then reneged on the offer. I've heard similar stories from other people.

So with that in mind, ANKSCURLOCK will forever be ACOCK.

Sunday, December 09, 2007


has taken over the bulk of my exercise lately. I miss the bike, but the lack of light after work during the week, combined with the seemingly endless rhythm of bad weather weekends has left me with fewer options for jacking up my heart rate.

I'm ashamed to say it, but I'm actually kind of enjoying the change of pace. Running carries a different kind of satisfaction, I'm guessing it's the same kind of satisfaction a masochist has after a hot sexual encounter.

Regardless, Friday night found me in my running shoes, joined by Tough Cookie, Chunky Monkey, BreyLaLa, and the Potty Mouth Princess running my first 5K race - the Reindeer Romp for Special Olympics of DE. Yeah I ran with a bunch of girls - but they are tough broads, so don't discount my accomplishment. They pushed me the whole way.

The best part of the evening had to be going out to dinner with the DCCofD, many of which had been volunteering for the event. I hadn't seen many of these fine people since I finished 'cross early a few weeks ago. It was awesome, but sad that it took a running event to bring us together. Fatmarc said something I can't remember that made me spew beer from my nose.

I joined Tough Cookie and her family in NYC on Saturday for lunch and some Christmas time city viewing. A nice way to spend a weekend day, and I got a sweet new hat.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007


Already thinking about 2008.

Some tentative goals:
Of course my job will probably interfere and blow this to shreds, but it's something to keep me motivated through the winter.

Who wants in?

Sunday, November 25, 2007

singlespeed worlds revisited...

Buddy told me about this while we were out at Middle Run today.

Worth a watch. If you wanna see how the camera adds 10 pounds to a fatass like me, scroll to 8:10.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

one for the ladies...

Found this on the family computer at home in Maine.

And to think I was thinking about growing out my hair again.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007


The annual Fakesgiving Feast has passed. It is a time to eat, drink, drink, eat, and laugh laugh laugh.

Darren stuffs some chips down with the wood-spoon-seasoned queso sauce; Game Guru Tim destroys me at Settlers of Catan, and that wine joined at least a gallon more in my gut.

While I have made some great friends in the Mid-Atlantic, people I hate to go even a week without seeing; the friends I got to see this past weekend are life-long, and I'm reminded that friendship knows not of time nor distance. This is not to say the Mid-Atlantic folk are not life long; it's just easier to know what you're missing when it's gone.

I got to give Rosie her new bike!

I don't think I've laughed that hard since last Fakesgiving. And I certainly have not made myself nauseous with food since then. My ribs ache and my stomach is churning, and I'm already looking forward to our next reunion

Will and I on the merry-go-round of death. Steve Timmenson found the secret to propulsion that seriously made it impossible to hang on to that thing.

It's hard to believe that we are all "adults". We still act like kids. Laugh like idiots. Tempt fate like the invincible 18 year-olds we used to be. We're not old... far from it, but we're definitely not growing up yet... not succumbing to the inevitable.

Clean plates.

I stole this from Tough Cookie's blog, but I'm sure she stole it too, so it's ok: "hand me the world on a silver platter and what good would it be with no one to share with... no one who truly cares for me?"

Scotty Don't has a killer beard. I am humbled and a little jealous.

All pictures taken from Rosie.

Sunday, November 11, 2007

We just had a near-life experience...

How much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight?
Me, I'm not a fighter. Truth be told, I've never been in a fight. I guess once my brother and I had it out: a puberty-fueled, fist-flying, knock down, blood-for-blood, eye-for-eye battle over who had rights to use the TV. It ended when my mom grabbed me off of him by the scruff of the neck. I felt that maternal hand on the neck and my body went limp - knowing full well that an accidental errant fist making contact with her would have surely ended my life. I don't think it truly counts as a fight, but I digress...
A guy who came to Fight Club for the first time, his ass was a wad of cookie dough. After a few weeks, he was carved out of wood.
For me, and I think for a lot of the amateur bike racing scene cross is our Fight Club. We gather several times a week. We push each other harder and harder each minute. We battle for the perfect line; we bury ourselves to get the first shot at the barriers or the sand; we'll lick our opponent's plate clean before we start in on our own dinner. Together, we dive deep into the pain cave and come out the other side purified. Hell, we even have a set of rules negating their own existence.
When the fight was over, nothing was solved, but nothing mattered. We all felt saved.
My good friend JF always said to me, "Racing is good for the soul." There are very few things that teach you to train, focus, persevere, suffer, fight, and test your physical/mental/emotional constitution like racing. Fighting for the top of the podium, or even just fighting to finish a race is a reminder that you can suffer for an end purpose. The lessons learned on the bike transfer to the rest of life.
Start a fight. Prove you're alive. If you don't claim your humanity you will become a statistic.
I ended my mountain bike season this year in great shape, ready to attack the cross season with good fitness and a new challenge - the B Men field. I knew it would be hard, after the previous season's series of top 5 finishes in the C Men, to willingly become a mid-pack rider fighting for a top 20 or top 15 finish. But the prospect was exciting - no guts, no glory - a top 10 or 5 finish in the B field would be amazingly satisfying.

This fall, cyclocross has felt, at times, like a bit of a burden. Things have not played out ideally. My work schedule has required a painful amount of travel. Travel like this disrupts training and racing like you wouldn't believe. You get no consistency in your diet, your bedtime, your training, your routine. It's near impossible to focus. Your fitness fades. My results this year reflect this.
After fighting, everything else in your life got the volume turned down.
At the same time I have finished every race I started, regardless of the amount of pain experienced. I have fought for 25th, 30th, DFL. Why? Why do we sacrifice our week's alloted free time? our money on race entry fees? countless hours on the road commuting to races?
Without pain, without sacrifice, we would have nothing. Like the first monkey shot into space.
After a trip to Houston this past week, I raced Beacon yesterday. Fun, fast course. I hung with the 2nd chase group of 8 for the first 4 laps, then stacked it up in the barriers the second to last lap. Caught my foot on the 2nd barrier and did a nice laid-out Superman in front of the crowd. No physical injury, but my ego was bruised and my focus was shattered. I sat up and rode the last lap tempo tempo. 30th out of 60 or so riders. But it's no longer about the result.

Tough Cookie
and I hit up Homegrown last night before a viewing of American Gangster. I went to bed early, feeling kind of crappy and woke up with a sore throat, congestion, and a little cough. I'm coming down with a cold. So I slept in, and my $25 entry fee for HPCX is now a donation to the Rutgers Cycling Team. But on the bright side, thanks to Zayne B., I now have telemark boots and was able to mount my bindings - mama, I'll be a free-heeler soon.

Monday, November 05, 2007

heckletron 5000...

This year a couple of the guys from the FiordiFruitta Cycling Team stayed at my house during the Granogue/Wissahickon double header. Toby Marzot joined Matt White and Jamey Driscoll, who have stayed with me in the past. Great guys, glad to have them.

Jamey... sans mullet. (photo courtesy of Mike Kirk)

Jamey had this to say in his race report on the FiordiFruitta website:
A group of 2 were just up the road and another 2 weren’t too far behind us, so the pressure was on. Not to mention, our host was cheering on the sidelines that if I didn’t beat my teammate Matt White, I’d have to sleep on the floor. None the less it made me slip up the greasy run-up even faster every lap. I managed to hold on to 8th overall and 1st for U23, while Matt rolled in a 13th, and Toby was 23rd.
Yeah. Guess who got the futon. I'm a man of my word.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

bros before hos...

The brother's visit was a success. He showed up late Thursday after 8+ hours on the road, and we downed a few cold ones before getting some shuteye.

After introducing him to some of my coworkers on Friday, we hit the climbing gym. Eric is probably the most natural athlete among the Thomas brothers, and since I've started climbing and riding, I've started to challenge his standing. Mind you, if he were to apply himself to climbing or cycling at the same level as I, there'd be no contest. But in the short term, I enjoy being able to lay the smackdown on the bike or on the rocks.

Then he broke out his longboard. Turns out the little bastard has been carving the streets of Dayton Ohio ever since he moved out there. He is smooth like butter on that thing, carving all the hills around my neighborhood with grace and consistency. I tried one big hill and had to bail on the board and run it out after I got way too much speed.

During the first Beers on Gears since JF left, Eric and I hit up Main St. NewArk for some drinking. We were keeping it even-steven until we ran into some friends of mine at Grotto's (the worst place on the planet but they have cheap beer). The table was really friendly and we ended up drinking 6 or 7 rounds, after only paying for 2. I'm surprised we made it home in one piece on the bikes.

My intention was to race Fair Hill Cross on Saturday, but waking up in a cloud of hangover, I was unsure I'd make the race. Turns out we made the race, and Gloucester aside, it was my finest race of the season. All of my bitching and moaning is for naught - I felt like I was actually racing my bike. I made the the primary chase group during the first lap after 2 guys got off the front.

The Fair Hill course was the 2nd most fun of the season.

I was still feeling pretty nauseous, wondering if I would even finish, when fatmarc flatted halfway to the pit. I made it my goal to slow the pace until he could get back on. I drilled it to the front of the chase group and just sat up, marking every move that came from the back. Marc got a bike change, and with the rage that accompanies his material issues, he was able to get back on, and steamroll through for a podium finish. It made me feel useful, and I finished 13th despite burning a lot of matches early on.

The rest of Saturday was spent relaxing, watching movies, eating. All in all, a fine weekend. Good to see family, good to race, good to drink and remember why it's not always fun to get really fucked up.

And Liz. She is my hero. Seriously. She completed one lap of Fair Hill in 45 degree weather with ridiculous winds and nasty sandpits only 1 year after being diagnosed with LUNG CANCER. With half a lung less than the average human, she has twice the heart. She is filled with hope, determination, grit, humor, and she really just kicks ass.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

dork trio...

Presenting the Thomas Brothas:

Left to Right: Eric, yours truly, and Nick.

Eric will be here this weekend. Rock.

not dead yet...

despite my bitching and moaning, and the lack of any material added to this site, I am still alive.

Last week was a series of parties, new friends, old friends, bike rides, sleeping in late, and no cyclocross.

Sunday I left for Camp Verde Arizona for a two day immersion in a machine shop, working on prototypes. I even got in a nice 3 hour ride up a canyon. 7 miles of climbing at 5-7% gradient, fucking fun descent let me tell you...

Tonight Halloween X-practice. Then El Jefe.
Then I go to Chicago tomorrow.

Then one of the bros shows up for the weekend. Fair Hill will be raced. Beer will be consumed. Love, fun, peace, happiness, life, and maybe some halloween zombies.

That is all. I am boring. Live with it.

Monday, October 22, 2007


My body is feeling worked today. Really thrashed. So much lactic acid that my legs and shoulders hurt to the touch. Wissahickon was a mess. OK start, then I dropped my chain and lost my cool. Two crashes later and I just stood there for 45 seconds saying "Fuck this." and let half the field ride by.

Flower power. (photo courtesy of Fxdwhl).

I refused to not finish the race, and I guess I got 2 pretty good days of workout, but god, it was not fun. Not fun at all - the racing that is. I love the shit talk, I love the community, and it still beats playing Nintendo all day and rotting before I'm in the ground. I just need to get out of my head - like a wise friend has told me. Plus it could always be worse.

Sorry Ethan. Rebroken collarbone in his second cross race ever. Welcome to Granogue. (photo courtesy of DennisBike)

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Material Issues...

No excuses, but the blog has been a little sidelined due to my insane work / cross schedule. Also, my desktop shit the bed, so I essentially have no personal PC right now. The photos are collecting with no place to go right now. I hope for a photo journey at some point.

Rolled up to Gloucester last weekend for some classic New England cross racing. Tom and I split the drive in his new toy work utility vehicle - zee Sprinter. That thing is pimp. On the way home we filled it with 3 racers, 7 bikes, a cooler and a Ozone depleting cloud of Danny Summerhill's farts. But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Awesome to be in New England. I forgot how much I love and miss my original home. The Gloucester race course was among the most fun I have ever raced, and it felt fucking good to sandbag the Cat 4 field for some stellar results. But the talent is deep up there, and I did have to race for 4th on Saturday.

Even better was seeing my mom, brother Nick, surrogate mom Sherryl, and Rosie. The fam drove from Maine, and Rosie from Boston to see me race so I wanted to go hard. Hole shot on day one, held it for a lap. Finished 4th. It was fun. Rosie took lots of pictures. It was awesome to see my family and Rosie. Simply awesome.

Today I rode in circles around the Granogue estates. All the dirty rotten crossers will have stories I'm sure. My race was crap. My legs felt awesome, but somehow it took me 3 laps to realize my rear brakes were dragging against my completely warped rim. Bike change helped, but the damage was done. The highlight of the day was taking a beer feed from Buddy and promptly stacking it up on the roots by the barriers as I was finishing the beer. I looked at this little girl as I collected myself: "Don't drink and drive kids."

I'm feeling spanked right now. Work + cross + work + travel = tired. At least Taiwan is off.

Other awesome people I met this weekend: Suki (for the 2nd time), MegA, Kerry C (ok, also the 2nd time), and Mark from Rutgers.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

thank you Jan!

for pointing out that I may have missed my true calling.
and thanks Kevin Dillard for this photo!

Sunday, October 07, 2007


I have accepted that this year's cross season will not be about results. I won't even be able to make good on my goal of top 20 finishes in every B race (I think I finished 22nd yesterday in the Breast Cancer Awareness Cyclocross Challenge).

But more importantly than meeting arbitrary goals, yesterday I was having fun riding my bike.

After last Sunday's shitty performance at Lilypons, I kind of beat myself up this week on the bike. I knew it yesterday when the gun went off - tired, flat legs. Usually my start is my only redeeming move in the B race, but even that was lackluster.

Then the fun began.

A lap into the race my rear tire flats. I don't know what I hit, but it not only put a small tear in my tread, but it dimpled my rim pretty damn good. I shoulder the bike and start the run to the pit, which is at least half a lap away. Almost the entire field has passed me when I hear Fatmarc and Tom yelling from a second pit unknown to me: "What's wrong?!" I yell out about the rear flat and they are ready and waiting with Tom's bike in the pit: "Take my bike, we'll do a wheel change and meet you at the other pit!!" Sweet.

I am focused, making the final turn towards the pit. Eyes unblinking, head trained on my target. With 25 meters to go, I see a look somewhere between confusion and amusement on the faces of my teammates in the pit.

Nanoseconds later, I'm a tangled mess on the ground, my right leg is through the spokes of someone else's front wheel, and Tom and Faticus are laughing their asses off.

I gather my wits and realize I'm tangled up with none other than Soupie, the clown college graduate that tried to get his jollies last week by looking like Marc. After the race I get the slow-motion replay of events from Marc and Tom: As I'm running for the pit, Soupie reaches out with his left hand to cop a feel on my perfectly sculpted ass as he rides by - shenanigans of which I'd generally approve. He tries to scrub some speed with the right brake lever, and because he's not used to a cross bike's reversed brake setup, he locks up the front wheel and sends himself careening into the back of me.

It takes a solid 15-20 seconds to unwrap Soupie's bike from my legs, and after a bike change I'm off again, passing Soupie almost instantly... "DUDE, I'm SO SO sorry!! I'm so sorry!!" It's ok Soupie. I get my wheel change in pit #2, and realized that my rear brake is too tight on the new wheel. Fuck. I stop again on course to open the cantis - guess I'll finish this race with just the front brake. Soupie passes me again: "Really dude, SO SO sorry!!!"

"It's OK man, relax, no worries."

I'm rolling again, but at this point I've given up on any real result, the field is loooong gone with E-town and Jebbagger driving the pace to a 1 - 3 finish. So I spend the last 5 laps goofing around on the bike, getting in some good hard efforts, pimping 3 or 4 other riders in the corners for good measure. Soupie once again: "So SO SO sorry man!!" No worries.

With the pressure off my back that has been smothering me like a wet blanket since returning to Vegas, I had fun again. This is why I ride bikes. This is why I get up at 5 AM on a Saturday to drive five hours round-trip. This is why I have no social life from September to December (aside from a pleasant come-on from a hairy kid from Pittsburgh). It's fun.

This is my new goal. Maybe I underestimated the B field; maybe I overestimated. I have no idea. I guess getting smacked around in the Bs is better than winning the Cs. That's like getting straight As in the special ed classroom. But if I can keep it fun, the results will come. I'll get faster, more confident in the argy bargy, more experience in metering my efforts in a stacked field. Maybe next year I'll be a contender.

Now I'm off to ride my Spot Brand 29er with Monkey. I've been salivating over the thought of mountain biking ever since the first leave turned brown.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 again!

Red square added for dramatic effect, but that's me - drunk - living vicariously through Treefarm's win at Cross Vegas [ link ].

Monday, October 01, 2007

a day late...

The legs come around.

I went for a "recovery ride" today after yesterday's abysmal effort at Lilypons (Ed Sanders Memorial Cross). Of course yesterday's "mystery legs" which left me clawing for a top 20 finish came around in time for me to ride my road bike after work. Sad when your previous week's race acts as your openers for the next week's training.

Thanks to for the photo.

[ PS - Does anyone else take it for granted that we have 2 pro-level photographers shooting every race? I'm just glad I don't race with them anymore so I can get some ego boosters like this. ]

I will say this. Faticus, Jan, E-town, Zaynus Insanus: All on fire. Riding so well. If they are pissing excellence, well boy, I think I need a golden shower. Blair Blair too. Monkey and Fitzy making strides. God. Everyone is riding so well. I need some of that mojo.

Probably shouldn't have gone so hard today, but I was kind of pissed off at myself and I wanted the legs to hurt. Payback for their insolence. And the new carbon dubs are hard to ride slow. They just leave you wanting to hear that carbon roar on the pavement. And they are so stiff when you want to lay down a hard acceleration.

Another day, another dollar...

Saturday, September 29, 2007

move interbike to colorado!

We're rolling down the Philly runway last Sunday night. An hour late, but that's Philly right? I'm listening to some tunes on the iPod. Yeah turn the electronics off... righhht.

The pilot throttles up and I start to press back into my seat. My post race body is happy, my eyelids are heavy, the music is just right. This is so routine now. Get on plane, fall asleep, wake up somewhere new.

Halfway down the runway, my eyes are wide open, my knuckles are white, and Broken Social Scene is drowned out by the sound of screeching tires. The whole plane is shuddering to a halt from 100 miles per hour.

Five minutes pass. No one on the plane is even breathing. The pilot comes on in his practiced voice: "Well folks, we lost engine 2 there, and I thought it would be better to stop the plane on the ground than mid-air." I swear the metal of the plane itself sighed a breath of relief.

24 hours later, and countless minutes of bad customer service, and a stay at the hotel airport, and 8 hours of sitting in an airport chair, I hit the skies, albeit a little less relaxed, for Vegas. Yeah, I missed the Outdoor Demo. Yeah, I gave up 1.5 weekend days. Yeah, I hate Vegas. Yeah, I missed home, and I missed cross practice. But the good trips I get more than make up for the shitty trips.

The good:

I got a sweet backpack from Crumpler! Those guys are super cool, their product rocks, their booth was awesome.
I ate a lot of food!
Our product launch was pretty successful!
My picture was on!
I got upgraded to first class flying back from Vegas.
I got a round trip ticket out of US Airways for my troubles.

Tomorrow I will race Lilypons cross with mystery legs. We'll see.

Sunday, September 23, 2007


Charm City Cross is behind us. put on a fine event (and thanks for the beer!) as well as cleaned up in the races. Fatmarc took a commanding win in the Master 3/4s, taking 3 teammates to the podium as well. E-town owned the killer-Bs. Well done to both.

Yours truly was satisfied with 14th in the killer-Bs, this being my first outing with the big(ger) boys. Top 20 was the goal, top 15 was nice, 10 would have been icing.

Good start, right into the top ten out of the gate, and this coming from row 4 of the start line. I lost a couple spots through the first 3 laps, then had to settle in. Lap 4 gave me some needed recovery. Laps 5 and 6, I put the rest on the table and let it all hang out there. Attacking the uphill to the natural barrier seemed to be my secret to catching and dropping a few guys in the final laps. I'll take it. The wheel situation wasn't a situation at all. The bike was turning like a record, baby.

The DCCofD had an amazing showing, if not only in numbers. I'm amazed at how well our little family handles their bikes in the fray; how well we handle the turns, the technical; and how well we can take someone to the tape in the turns. I owe many thanks to the daring, dashing, darting, dipping, diving, dodging DCCofD for tearing me down and building me back up.

Also, watch out for Jebbagger. 14 years old, 5th place in the Bs. And he's gonna kill the ladies if he isn't already. I'm off.

Check out the Faster, Skinnier, Better Looking ladies and gents on the right side for a little more 'cross action reporting.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

one more cup of coffee for the road...

before I head into the valley below.

Uber-pimp-daddy of "team deals" KMan found a deal I couldn't resist a few months back. Despite knowing I was taking an irresponsible dent in my wallet, and the complete and utter foolishness of buying a component that will not survive the slightest crash, I decided to buy a set of deep dish carbon-bling wheels for my cross bike.

Taiwan's finest engineering.

My justification here was: "Hey, that shit's expensive, but still cheaper than a pit-bike, and I'll have a spare wheelset in the pit in the case of a flat." Hell I even earned $5.60 in cash back on my credit card. Win-win.

So the wheels show up. Wednesday before cross practice I decide to mount them on my steed and give 'em a go at Location X, site of mysterious DCCofD activity. Low and behold, the geniuses behind high-quality Taiwanese engineering have decided to put the braking surface about 10 mm lower than on a standard rim. The wheels even come with a special brake holder that drops the pad to align with the braking surface.

So what does this mean for me? Sure, I can run these on my Redline and look like a pimp as I'm blown out the back of the group, but I won't be able to use any spare wheels in the pit. The brake pads would conveniently align with my spoke nipples.

Anyway, my solution went like this. Fuck the carbon wheels for cross. I took my American Classic Sprint 350s off of my road bike and fitted them up with a new set of Michelin Muds. They are light, they are stiff (vertically at least), and they are notorious for their lack of durability and lack of lateral stiffness. HA, at least they are light. The carbons are going on the road bike for all of those road races in which I compete. And the pig wheelset that came on the Redline will be the pit spares. I think I'd rather DNF the race than put those back on the bike.

This morning I went to the Fatcave with Monkey and Faticus to do some openers. Sure enough, the AmClassics spin up to speed super fast, and climb like Chris Sharma, but the first time I threw them into an off camber corner at speed, they were flexing right into the brake pads. Awesome. When I got home I even saw some metal shavings on the pads. Yeah, this should be fun.

Legs are feeling mysterious, but I'm excited none-the-less for a good old fashioned ass kicking at Charm City Cross tomorrow. Then, it's off to Vegas Baby!

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Floyd Z K...

Buddy met Floyd at the SM100. Apparently Floyd was diggin' the officially licensed FZK shirt. I don't blame him. Perfect fraternity colors, ambitious styling, comfortable, yet flattering fit. It's probably my second favorite shirt in my arsenal (after Che Merckx).

Frank Zappa Kappa: Official Sponsor of 2007 Granogue Cross

I think I'm going to get a second round of shirts made up, and I'll send one to Floyd. You should let me know if you really want one too. If you are FZK material, and you can learn the secret handshake, we'll welcome you to our Co-ed Service Organization.

Floyd Landis taking a picture of Buddy's FZK shirt (courtesy of bikesandbeer).

Perks of my job: going to bike trade shows. Last year I met Phil Liggett and Big George Hincapie. Both nice. Phil was hitting on every chick that had a pulse and was within arm's reach. I admire that.

That's as big a smile as you will get out of a German.

Eurobike gave me the chance to meet Eddy and Jan. Both fat boys. As you can see, I'm no skinny fucker either. Sadly, they both won the Tour before fattening up... What does that mean for me?

Dude, at least I'm still (slightly) skinnier than Eddy Merckx.

Off to Interbike in four days...

Saturday, September 15, 2007

a life less ordinary...

I think I'm over myself. Sitting on the crapper at work yesterday I looked down at my wrist and read the text on my black silicone bracelet:

not dead yet.

I've been in this funk lately, been feeling stressed out. Some of it was justified; admittedly though, most of it was shameless self pity. Relaxing there on my throne in stall #2, reading the words of inspiration, or really words of fact, everything slowly started to shift back into focus. My perspective has been off.

On top of that, my boss came in later in the day yesterday to inform me that a colleague had kicked the bucket the previous evening. Relatively healthy young guy. 39. Two daughters, 5 and 8 years old. He was out for a run and his heart just stopped ticking. Bam. Dead. Just like that. As sad as that is for his family and friends, the fog cleared instantly - everything snapped instantly into focus.

Then I got out on the bike last night to do some sprints with Monkey and Faticus. Still not feeling fast, not feeling the snap. But it was good to be out with friends, riding, talking shit. And afterwards we hit up my favorite dining establishment in New Ark. The long wait for a table meant that we were all drinking a beer on an empty, just-finished-riding stomach, and the I-love-you-man feeling started to roll into the back of my head.

Gaining some perspective on life from Faticus and Wheelie Ted made me feel better too, and enough can't be said about not only the value of good friends, but good friends with experience on which you can draw.

I've always wanted to live the life less ordinary. At times, my life seems so textbook that I start to panic and a dreadful fear of a wasted life washes over me. Then again, how many 24 year old douchebags like me get to trot around the globe, genuinely enjoying the job they've fallen into? How many choose to ride and race their bikes instead of sleeping in to 10 after a night of drinking? In a lot of ways I'm doing what I have to do to get the college debt monkey off my back, but I'd have that monkey even if I wasn't having fun.

I had my staple meal at HG: the mezze platter and the falafel, and two beers - one Belgian and one American. I was not too full, not too drunk, just right. Content.

Tonight I'm going to see Interpol with Tough Cookie and Mr. Bronze. Some good eating ahead of time. And I'm going to pick up my new carbon bling. Life is good.

Plus we met McLovin last night.

Thursday, September 13, 2007



Worst of Craigslist Delaware. See the post here. On top of the pretty standard shit that bikesnobNYC would probably point out, I'm pretty sure that's a mountain bar with the sweep pointed down with mid 90s bar ends.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

down and out...

Feeling less than stellar lately. Not terribly motivated, both on and off of the bike. A month plus of travel and no regular exercise really has me feeling fat and slow. Coupled with some stressful shit at home and work, I'm just having trouble getting motivated.

Usually the bike is my tool to vent frustration, but getting schooled hardcore at cross practice, at the fat-cave, and at grass track is really just driving me further into the ground. Now I may have to go to fucking Taiwan again in the middle of cross season. Racing Bs? What was I thinking.

All I can say is I hope I pull out of this downward spiral and get my shit together. This is not me, and I'm sick of feeling shitty.

On to not whining: I wanted to mention something I heard on NPR. I have been a regular listener in the past, but lately it's been more like NP-WAR - all Iraq all the time. BORRRING. Anyone with half a brain knows everything about that war has been fucked from the start. Rambling on and on about it on NPR is like Jerry Falwell preaching to a busload of choir girls. So now I just check in periodically to see what they are talking about.

This was a nice segment: Robert Reich speaks to the conflict that Americans at large cope with: we want cheap shit, but we're unwilling to pay the social costs. His take on things is pretty pragmatic, logical, and I think he's got a message from which the general public could benefit. Sadly it's NPR and that'll never happen. I ripped this off of about his latest book:
In this compelling and important analysis of the triumph of capitalism and the decline of democracy, former labor secretary Reich urges us to rebalance the roles of business and government. Power, he writes, has shifted away from us in our capacities as citizens and toward us as consumers and investors. While praising the spread of global capitalism, he laments that supercapitalism has brought with it alienation from politics and community. The solution: to separate capitalism from democracy, and guard the border between them. Plainspoken and forceful, if somewhat repetitious, the book urges new and strengthened laws and regulations to restore authority to the citizens in us. Reich's proposals are anything but knee-jerk liberal: he calls for abolishing the corporate income tax and labels the corporate social responsibility movement distracting and even counterproductive. As in 2004's Reason, Reich exhibits perhaps too much confidence in Americans' ability to think and act in their own best interests. But he refuses to shift blame for corporations' dominance to the usual suspects, instead pointing a finger at consumers like you and me who want better deals, and from investors like us who want better returns, he writes. Provocatively argued, this book could help begin a necessary national conversation.
Sorry to bore you.

Go see Superbad. Listen to Harvey Danger. Peace, grease, and sleaze.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

So the race report...

Basically it goes like this. Singlespeed Worlds were held over the first weekend in September in beautiful Aviemore Scotland. The schedule looked something like: Saturday evening was the decider for hosting rights for SSWC2008. Sunday was the race itself.

The decider.

My only goal was to get there in time for the decider. Maybe bring worlds back to the East Coast. Sadly, a delayed flight and missing rental car (thanks Budget!) got me into Aviemore too late to make the start of the decider. I caught the ass end of the event, and it looked awesome. Judges watched on as two contenders spun matching fixies on rollers a predetermined distance that was measured by a giant clock. As soon as the contender completed the distance, they had to jump off, take a shot of weasel piss whisky, and do a traditional Highlands dance. Curtis from Napa won the event, and SSWC will return to the states next year.

Could have been Saturday or Sunday night - it's one big blur.

Saturday night, I drank a *cough* few *cough* beers. I met a dude from Titus who was also there on his own. Nice enough guy, so we were hanging out, chatting with various racers at the local bars. This one guy named Kevin was really looking for friends, so he kept buying round after round. I liked Kevin. It was a late night, and the dancing at the club kept me up until 2 or 3 AM.

This little bastard kicked ass.

Sunday morning, roll out of bed hungover. My head is swimming and my stomach feels like it is filled with mayonnaise. I stumble to the dining room of the guesthouse for a Scottish breakfast. The eggs, bacon, sausage, toast, and half a tomato help settle the stomach. I hop on the bike, buy 4 pints of some German pils, and roll to the race meeting place.

Obligatory self portrait.

The hour long ride out to the race start was miserable. I kept burping up breakfast and fighting the urge to barf everywhere. Looking back I should have barfed. The race began after a regroup. LeMans start, long run. On the descent Adam Craig passes me for the first of three times that day and says "Someone hung my bike in a tree!" Wah Wah Adam. The big pro mountain biker has to work for his win.

Adam crushed the field in a hot-pants Canadian Tuxedo.

The course was amazing. Rocks, roots, singletrack, loam, foam, drops, berms, a long ass climb on a dirt road, a steep ass climb on loose singletrack, and one of the finest descents I have ever done on a mountain bike. I did 3 of the 5 required laps. The first lap was all traffic jam. Mostly walking. The second lap I rode some fun sections that I wanted to clean after the first lap, but took in the scenery and took some pictures as well. The third lap, I only did it because I wanted to do that descent one more time.

Riding in the heather.

I was a little drunk by the end. A beer between every lap catches up with a guy. But it made the hangover go away. After the race, I took a quick nap, and then went off to the BBQ. Great food, great people. I tried to drink a beer with dinner but my gut protested, so I stuck to whisky for the rest of the night. I went to bed a happy and shattered boy.

Mom on a singlespeed pulling a kid.

The only thing I would do differently are the two following things:
I would stay in Scotland a lot longer and get in more riding. The mountain biking was fucking amazing. I would make sure to bring along some good friends. Inside jokes aren't funny when there's no inside. I missed my mates, and I was envious of every other group who had a tight crowd representing.

Go ride in Scotland.

See you in Napa.

Full photo set available here:

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

too much for one breath...

I really feel fortunate lately.

I can't really put into words the feelings I've had over the last month.
I don't think I'm going to try.
I have a lot of stories to tell.
Maybe I'll type them out, maybe I won't.

Please check out the captions on all of my photos for a little insight.

Trip to Colorado to visit John (I know the photos are late - but they are John's):

Visiting Germany and Austria - I hiked in the Alps, drank German beer, was the creepy guy in the background of some wedding pictures, and I met some cycling greats:

Single Speed World Championships. Amazing experience. I want to ride more of Scotland. My only regret was that I was not able to share it with some close friends. Some other groups showed me how wonderful that could have been:

I love you all.

peace and grease,

Thursday, August 23, 2007

almost ready to go...

Had some fun on the cross bike tonight. Not wet at all, surprising given the amount of rain. Did some drills, a few hard efforts. Learned to turn a bike again.

And now, after the awkwardness that is fitting a 29er into a hard bike case, I'm almost ready to roll to Europa.

Tomorrow's agenda:
Get up.
Pack clothes.
Go to work for superlame meeting.
Drive to PHL to get reamed for checking an unbelievably heavy bike box.
Fly to Munich.

After a week in Germany, it's off to Scotland for SSWC 2007.
Wish me luck.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

too many posts...

but I couldn't resist putting these on here. Bored, I was reading the Best Of Craigslist. The following made me laugh pretty hard:

the air is rare...

woke up this morning.
stepped outside with my coffee.
the air was brisk, the skies clear.
hopped on the cross bike and cruised to the park to meet some DCCofD brethren.
warmed up on the grass for a few minutes.
did some sprint intervals.

nothing like cool air flowing through your lungs.
nothing like the grass clippings flying off the tyres.
nothing like the *chunk*chunk* of a gear change resonating through carbon rims.
nothing like testing the relationship between rubber and grass while cornering.
nothing like the curious gaze from walkers in the park.
nothing like the sweet taste of breakfast knocking at the back of your throat.
nothing like the speed, response, acceleration, and challenge of a finely tuned cross bike.

cross is here ladies and gentlemen.
cross is here.

special thanks to Slick Rick for fitting me properly on my bikes.
they are now worthy of riding.

Friday, August 17, 2007

italian class...

I look at this bike and all I see is Cipollini in his naked-man skinsuit.
Just dripping with class, style, speed.

that's right. 2000 bucks. from Wal-Mart.
all Shimano (Japan) and cheap carbon (Taiwan). from the site (click here):
Carbon fiber absorbs road vibrations providing a smooth floating ride. At the same time, carbon fiber is a rigid material that maximizes the transfer of power from your pedaling to the wheels. This bike was assembled by the hands of skilled Italian mechanics to be tuned up and ready to ride right out of the box. We worked directly with the factory in Italy to offer you a premium ride at everyday low prices.
Walmart makes me proud to be an American.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

i don't care what george michael...

does in a men's room. The man was right when he said you gotta have faith.

I've always had a blind faith that things were going to work out the way they should. Call me stupid, or just a middle-class advantaged youth, but I'll call myself faithful. I'm not a particularly religious man - in fact I'd call myself an agnostic bordering on athiest, but I have faith that if something feels right it usually is.

My decision to go to the college I chose was a gut-decided choice, and with little research or thought I dove right in head first. It was a great decision: made great friends, great grades, great education, found climbing and bike racing, found a great job. I loved it. And it was all based on a couple visits to the campus which just felt like home.

My decision to move to Delaware for a job was also a gut choice. The company seemed solid. I didn't know anyone in the area. But hell, how bad could the mid-Atlantic be? Turns out I have a great job, I've fallen by shit luck into an amazing community of bike riders. I've made some friends I hope to know until the day I'm wearing dirt for a shirt.

I don't know where I'm going with all of this except that my thinking is you don't need to be religious to have faith. I attended a really good friend's wedding this past weekend. She is religious, and her faith in God and Christian rhetoric got me thinking.

It got me thinking that using religion as a crutch can be so damaging and limiting. This is not to say that I think it's bad to have belief in something greater than yourself. That is a personal choice and decision and I've seen it enrich other's lives. But counting on something intangible to keep life going for you is a sad mistake. In the end, it's in your hands to be happy, to find your way. To struggle and to search and learn and find what you love is what the whole cradle to grave road trip is about.

Belief in one's ability to intrinsically understand when something feels right is powerful enough. The truth is, there is beauty everywhere. People are good deep down, and there are good people everywhere.

I don't know what to expect in the next few years of my life aside from change. I don't know where I'm headed or who I'll meet. But I know things will change. Scenery will change. New friends will enter my life. Old friends will be pinpoints to put in a map. And I can't wait.

Soon I will have pictures from my trip to Colorado. Rad fucking times there in the West. More to come.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

the belle of the ball...

At some point during college, I came across a Raleigh Grand Prix bike frame. It had horizontal dropouts. I wanted to learn to build bike wheels. I wanted a fixie. All these things came together with the least amount of investment possible to create my first fixed gear hoss: Ghetto Prom.

I built the wheel with a 17 dollar Suzue shit-hub and a rim I found in a dingy basement. I stripped the frame with a chemical illegal in California. I used a dremel to remove all of the braze-ons. I sanded, painted, sanded, painted, masked, painted the frame until I had a sweet custom paint job, and 143 dollars later, I had her built up.

Cheapest bike build ever.

We had some adventures, me and Ghetto Prom. One time, I was riding home from class on Ghetto Prom. I had BMX flat pedals on the bike and no brake, because hey, I was a cocky asshole. I was also riding in flip-flops.

Well, I come to a traffic light, and I am doing a trackstand next to a campus shuttle bus. The driver gets pissed because she thinks I'm leaning on the bus. She opens the door and yells at me, and we both take off when the light turns green. Well, at the next intersection, she arrives first and pulls off to the side to tell a cop that I was hassling her. As I'm riding by, the cop steps out of his car and yells "Hey you, Stop!!". I respond with a polite yet abrupt "No!" and continue my ride home as he stands on the corner confused.

I'm laughing to myself and in my distraction, I take a turn too tight and bottom out the ridiculous oversized pedal on the inside of the turn. I flip over the handlebars, taco the front wheel, and manage to put a couple holes in my exposed feet. Still laughing, I shoulder the bike and trot home to nurse my wounds.

Well, it turned out that in that crash I also bent the chainstays of the bike to one side. This meant a rebuild was in store, and the shop I worked in at the time had an old Trek 620 that fit the bill: free. I decided to throw on some flat bars and voila, the rebirth of Ghetto Prom was complete. This is the bike I raced in the DE State Time Trial Championship.

Never again without a brake. You can't plan the other guy's next move.

A few months ago, iPaul(c) gave me an old red Atala frameset. My plan has been to give Ghetto Prom yet another makeover, and get rid of the 620 frame. I never really liked it. The only problem was that the fixed bearing cup was seized in the bottom bracket. We tried everything to get that thing out. No dice. So I took the bike to work and let the guys in the machine shop noodle it over. This was the solution:

Old school ISIS bottom bracket.

That's right, weld a bold to the bottom bracket bearing cup, then wrench the mo-fo out of there. Ingenius. I owe Mikey a sixer of Yeungling.

Tonight I built her up, and like a phoenix rising from Arizona, she shines. Turns out I had to rebuild the rear hub as well, because it wouldn't even complete a 1/4 turn when I tried to spin it. That may have been why the DE TT hurt so bad. Yeah, I need to replace that rear wheel. It's just so tough, because Ghetto Prom likes it dirty.

The latest and greatest build. Fenders too!

Thanks iPaul(c)!

drunkcyclist on front page of

A Drunk Cyclist jersey made the front page of the NY Times website. Just thought this was funny:

The Grandaddy of all us bike blogs is big league.

click here for a better screenshot:

Monday, August 06, 2007

the joy of public transportation...

So I arrive in San Francisco Int'l Airport after a nice flight from Seattle tingling with excitement. I've always been one to extol the beauty and simplicity of public transit without ever using it. I'm a guilty bastard... I drive everywhere. This from the guy who wrote a senior thesis on multimodal transit.

That's why I'm always excited to go into a big city and take advantage of the infrastructure. Well, apparently, you need some smarts, an ATM card, and the ability to use at least three types of automated machine to make the journey from SFO to the Haight in the heart of San Francisco.

I jump off the plane and pick up my bags. I walk to the monorail shuttle to go from my terminal to the BART (Bay Area Train) station. I use my credit card to purchase a $5.15 one-way ticket to the Civic Center station in Downtown SF. I ride the train, which is entirely relaxing, iPod in hand, staring creepily at a really cute French girl who appears to be backpacking her way around, wondering if my Francais is still any good.

In Civic Center, things get interesting. You see, you need $1.50 IN COINS to ride the MUNI (surface street cars that will take you around the city). I'm not carrying ANY cash, so I stumble around trying to find what seems pretty obvious to me - a credit card powered coin machine. They won't sell a ticket with plastic apparently, so I end up walking up to street level, going to an ATM and taking out 3 $20s. Then I have to go back underground, to the change machine which will change a $20 into 4 $5s (why not give more options when your effing train will only accept quarters!@#!@#!@).

There is no way to turn the fivers into $1s, so I go to a BART ticket station and beg the lady to give me $3 and 8 quarters so I can get on the goddamn MUNI. Nope. She is kind enough to give me 5 $1s and direct me to the automated BART ticket sales machine which will change dollar bills to quarters. Finally, I am able to board, but after 20 minutes of my ineptitude, the cute French Girl is long gone. No English and she's still fairing better than I.

The rest of the weekend was a blast. I rode over the Golden Gate Bridge into Tiburon, and ran into a fine Kiwi by the name of Craig Upton. He rides for Navigator's Insurance, and was kind enough to ride with me along Paradise Dr. On the treacherous return over the bridge, I was able to fair the cross winds and only collide with one gigantically-overweight hard-0f-hearing tourist.

A nice Polish guy named Tomasz agreed to take my picture in full Henry's regalia in front of the GG Bridge, and he should be emailing me the photo any day now.

Despite my idiocy, I love cities, I love the West Coast, and I love public transit. Down with cars, and up with bikes. Except when they are this bike:

Have the proprietors of this bike shop ever seen the terrain in San Francisco?

Monday, July 30, 2007

before I leave...

Going to be gone a few days traveling for work and for pleasure.
Seattle for work.
San Francisco to visit great friends.
Do a little biking in the Bay Area.
Do a little climbing in a gym.

All that, and after a season of searching, I think I've found my cross name:

Biyatcheslav Rottinov


for the complete lack of effort here. I've not felt the least bit inspired, insightful, observent, funny, or introspective.

Life feels like an unbelievable routine right now. I haven't been climbing really at all, Delaware Rock Gym has the most stagnant routes ever. I love having that place close, but I'm not inspired to climb at all when it just feels like I'm going through the motions.

I didn't ride at all this weekend, and now my crazy travel schedule begins. I'm worried about my fitness for cross.

I did have a blast in NYC on Friday night. Saw some good friends, met some new people at a party. That was a nice break in routine, but reminded me that there are a lot of people I don't see often enough.

I just finished putting together my Google Calendar and it's amazing how my year is pretty much planned out. Cross is quite a commitment, but I must say... I'm really looking forward to it. So long as I maintain some level of fitness for the next month and a half.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

fried chicken and toasted rotten...

I don't want to be a Tour commentator but this is too funny: Rasmussen yanked from the tour. I think the poor bastard was just afraid of crashing during Saturday's time trial.

If I had to pick one for my team, I'd still take Vino over the Chicken. I hated that fucker from the start, never showing any emotion after a stage win this year... you could tell he was a frigging robot. Plus he never gave the podium girls enough lovin'.

Hills from Whore Island tonight. That ride is like a turd sandwich entree after the pain appetizer of Tuesday Night Titans. I was off the back on EVERY climb. My legs hurt a lot.

An open letter to the Landenberg wall:
I hate you. Fuck off.

Love, Robert
Hauling my fat ass over steep hills is obviously not going to feel good. Sometimes I wonder why I intentionally sign up to hurt so much. I know it's not that hard for everyone, and I know I'm a sissy for complaining about 1.5 hours of hills... But sometimes I'm on the Neighborhood Climb and I'm asking myself: "Why not just skip this and have a cold beer instead?"

Then I remember that the cold beer will still be waiting for me when I finish. Plus I ate three cookies at that work meeting today. Gotta love fat guilt.

Sunday, July 22, 2007

steamed cabbage?

Ever have bad gas at work, and you walk down the halls, relaxing the cheeks so as to not stink up your office? Well then you've been "cropdusting".

Ever let one go in bed and then pull the sheets over your partner's head? Of course that's the "dutch oven".

How about getting a little more than you bargained for, like I did during the 4 park ride that one time? The dreaded "shart".

But what about a really stinky one that is magnified by the heat of the water in the shower? I'm proposing a name for that - here and now: "steamed cabbage". What are your thoughts? Any better ideas?

This weekend was yet another defined by the three things I seem to do in my free time - riding, climbing, and eating out. After a delicious Friday night meal at Klondike Kate's of the turkey ham and cheese on a pretzel roll with Fattius Marcus and Chunky Monkey, I woke up nice and early Saturday morning to roll up to Trexlertown for some track racing with iPaul©.

This was only my second time on a velodrome. I have a lot of experience on a fixed gear, and really enjoyed my first trip to a track last summer in San Jose. So I was really looking forward to this adventure. And iPaul© is the man on the track.

iPaul© looking as good as he ever does.

In addition to being a sweet venue with really nice facilities, the Lehigh Valley Velodrome reintroduced me with 'cross friend and nemesis Peter D. and his teammate Tim. Always good to see some friendly faces and get an opportunity to see how everyone is riding before 'cross starts.

Tim B. and Peter D. of cross infamy.

My three events were a 12 lap points race, a 10 lap scratch race, and a 10 lap tempo points race. I had a good attack that should have earned me a podium spot in the Points race, but the officials screwed up the lap count. Oh well. The scratch race found me stupidly closing gaps that should have been left to someone else so I could contest the sprint. Oh well. The tempo race found Peter and I screwing up our plan for a 2 man breakaway. Oh well.

One of the Cat 4 sprint tournament races.
I did a few match sprints at the end of the day: I think I like them better than the points races.

At the end of the day, my legs were shot, and I learned a little bit more about track tactics, so it was a successful day. I also did some 200 meter sprints with iPaul©, and some pacelining with Peter. There really is nothing comparable to railing the inside of the turn at 30 mph on a track bike. Feeling your body compress under the g-force is really awesome. And I haven't had 'cross cough like I got yesterday in 9 months. Felt good to suffer. I really recommend anyone join Paul sometime at the track - super fun, and he'll give you some valuable advice.

Racers hit turns 3 and 4.

Today was a nice leisurely 3 hours at Middle Run/White Clay but that's par for the course. I won't bore you with the details.