Sunday, April 29, 2007

29 and single...

I've taken the first step towards joining the big wheel world. I'm scoping out pricing on building up a singlespeed 29er. It may very well be that said bike is a Spot Brand. This may or may not have anything to do with the fact that Fatmarc let me ride his Meanie Greanie for the weekend's ride.

I've never ridden a 29 inch wheeled mountain bike more than around a bike shop parking lot. With about 5 hours logged on Meanie Greenie this weekend, I am not looking forward to going back to my shit-pig Redline Monocog 26er for 12 hours of Lodi Farm this weekend. Oh well, it will make the future that much sweeter. Plus the Redline has been super good to me. For an initial investment of something like 400 bucks, that bike has been the best buy ever for abuse taken per dollar spent.

This weekend was the first weekend of really great riding weather this spring. Saturday found me rolling with Fatmarc and Zayne Braun for 1.5 hours on the road. After that little cruise we met up with Buddy, Chunky Monkey, FFAmy, and Katie C. for 2.5 hours of cruising around Fair Hill. FH has never been so fun as it was on FM's Spot. Today Matt, FM, Fitzy, and I drove down to Susquehana State Park for 2 hours of pain. I've never Ridden SSP, but it is a nice change of pace from around here - you are either climbing or descending - all the while clearing countless water bars, roots, and rocks. It was fun, but painful seeing as I'm not used to that quantity of sustained and steep and unrelenting climbing combined with technical descents that don't allow recovery.

Also had a chance this weekend to finish pimping out the bike I found for Rosie, so she can have something on which to cruise around Beantown. It's an old Schwinn 10 speed women's frame. I put on some sweeping handlebars, swapped out some cables, and did my first ever woven handlebar wrap job. I think it came out pretty sweet.

Food highlights from this weekend: Picnic Burritos for dinner Friday and lunch on Saturday. Homegrown's Chili Hash for lunch today. My stomach is fat and happy.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

eleven

My suck knob was dialed all the way up last night. Right to eleven. Ten was off the map. Hills from Heck with Fatmarc presented by Onkel Mike from Amerika took my already TNT-ed legs and put them in a sausage grinder.

Thank god there was beer, nachos, and fish tacos afterward. And remember, whenever you have a chance to be the creepy guy in the background of someone's photograph - take it. You will be immortalized.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

ice cream for dinner

I had to make up for the ass kicking I received at TNT tonight, and after last Wednesday's discussion about ice cream flavors, I had to get a pint.

I guess it wasn't ice cream... frozen yogurt rather. I have to say, Ben and Jerry's really is the best ice cream out there. Chubby Hubby is my favorite; what's not to like about peanut butter filled pretzels and malted ice cream. Sadly they don't make that one in fro-yo. So I had to settle for the almost-as-delicious Cherry Garcia Frozen Yogurt. Sometimes you just need to house a pint of the cold stuff to cure what ails ya.

Serving Size: the whole thing.

I'd go for the real deal, but with the fro-yo, it's 12 grams of fat for the whole thing. One serving alone, of which there are 4 in a pint, of Chubby Hubby has 20 grams. I'm still a fat kid at heart.

While I'm on the subject of fattening myself up... I saw some larger people riding their bikes tonight at White Clay. It makes me incredibly happy to see overweight people exercising. The obesity epidemic is so costly in human terms, and I really admire people that are taking steps in the right direction. I admire the aim for personal improvement. And I am thankful to the people who build and maintain the trails that get people out and about.

More than anything I like to see people progress. I know the satisfaction that comes from a 1% improvement in the perception of personal performance. It thrills me to see that light bulb switch on for other people. I saw it yesterday at the rock gym. Some people new to climbing really made some great strides. And it wasn't that they were sending problems that were at the edge of their ability. They were sending problems they thought were out of reach. They set their minds to top out, and they did it. They will come back for more. They will have hard days, but the knowledge that there is a way to the top of that wall will help them push through. The same will hold true for the people at White Clay biking to get back to a healthy weight.

There are hard days, and there are good days. Sometimes they go hand in hand. Sometimes your suck knob goes way up. But what keeps you moving is the knowledge that if you put your head down, grit your teeth, and hold on just a little longer, you will make it.

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Embracing the phlegm...

The lull in blogging is often associated with a busy life. This past weekend, went down to D.C. area to meet up with the college friends of Haus. Tim has posted pictures on his site: emptyspaces.us/DC07/. It was a good time - saw the Jefferson and FDR memorials - if only GWB would take a hint from some of this countries best former presidents I think we'd be in a lot better shape. Or if GWB wasn't in office. Whatever. Also saw some kickass modern art at the national gallery. Also watched a few episodes of the Boondocks - which I recommend - and played some board games. Too many stories for this page.

This week has been dedicated to getting back into the swing of things. With the opening of the DE Rock Gym, climbing is more accessible, and the shitty weather has brought me there 3 or 4 times now. Well worth the 40 bucks per month. Now that the weather is easing a little, the bike has been beckoning. Yesterday did a campus crawl on the mountain bike, and today was Uncle Mike from America's Hills from Heck. A good group of 10 - 15 showed up and threw down. Everyone is riding super well. I've said it over and over, but I'll say it again - I love this community. I feel a little tickle in the lungs, and I'm praying to whoever listens that it is allergies and not a cold. 12 hours of Lodi Farm is looming.

Check out this book if you ever stop by my house.

After picking up this awesome book of work by Banksy, and then visiting the Nat'l Gallery, I had an idea that I wanted to blog about creativity and creating, but the incident at Virginia Tech has really taken the front of my mind. At first I was as sad as anyone - just another fucked up incident indicative of the fucked up people in this world. But today I found out that one of the girls that was killed, senior Maxine Turner, had recently accepted a job in the same division of the same company at which I work.

Man... did that hit home. Even though I never met this girl I realized how small a world this is, and how easy it is to write off something that doesn't immediately affect one's life. At a school the size of VT, 30 people were killed. That means 1 in 1000. Seemingly small odds of taking a fatal bullet. Easy to write off as a statistic - a "wow, those were some shitty odds to lose on" moment. But here is Max, someone who could have been a coworker or friend, someone who could have worked with me to invent the next billion dollar idea, someone who was already the world to her family and friends - lost and gone forever.

And over what?

It just really hit me. Every one of those people, and every person ever caught in a school shooting, or someone needlessly killed in Iraq, or a cyclist rolled over by a careless driver. They are not just a nameless statistic. The odds of their death may have been low, but those odds were probably close to the same odds that you might someday know that same person.

Just be good to those around you, and stay at peace with the world. Nothing is worth that much stress, anger, sadness.

and remember, guns allow people to kill people.

Wednesday, April 11, 2007

number twenty...

It was like something out of a bad movie about blackmail: send some strangers in a different country an email at midnight, their time. They send you a cryptic message in return. You give them access to money in your bank account via paypal. They send you an email with a number, in this case 20, and a promise that you will hurt.

Come September 1 and 2, I will hurt. And my liver will hurt. And I will don the number 20. Single Speed World Championships 2007 is on. Aviemore Scotland. Now I just have to get there. And ride alot.

stock photo of Aviemore

Did a little of that riding thing on Saturday in the MASS team relay. It was a fantastic event and a great time with the Henry's/Spot/FSVS/DCCofD crowd. I won't try to do a race report, because we were never really in it to win it. See Buddy's or Marc's blogs for more there. The only bad part of the day was that Dan the Man crashed and busted up his innards, and half of Marysville PA saw my junk at its smallest.

The trailer keeps it all together.

Also did the Tuesday Night Titans last night. God I need to do some work there. It was one part too low gear, one part legs, one part lungs, and 2 parts learn-to-ride-a-bike-motherfucker. All is good though, pain is good for you, suffering works, and fatmarc gave me a ride home after I locked my keys in my car.

Shameless self promotion or just shameless?

I'm more or less resigned to doing 12 Hours of Lodi Farm solo next month. More on that later.

Friday, April 06, 2007

In the pink...

First race tomorrow, the MASS Team Relay. I'm really looking forward to this. 3 teams representing our area's best will roll together and have some fun.

I will strike fear into the hearts of my opponents.

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

rock on...

Sunday I get a phone call from some of my friends in Troy NY. "Rob, you live close to Philly right?" "Yeah...?" "You should come meet us for dinner and then go see Erik Petersen and Robert Blake." So Sunday night I rolled up to Kingdom of Vegetarians for some awesome vegan dim sum, some ridiculous behavior, and truly tasteless conversation. I miss these kids a whole lot sometimes.

"you may not want to sit near us if you have any Christian values..."

Afterward, we rolled into west Philly's LavaZone to see the above artists. Mischief Brew is Erik's band - they are some brand of folk-punk and generally kick ass. Robert Blake is a folk singer from Washington State - also kicks ass. Got there in time to see Blake finish his set, and stayed on to see Mischief Brew.



Mischief Brew rocks.

It was funny seeing all the hipsters at the show. "Punk" shows sure have changed alot along the way. One rolled up pant leg, bike gloves, and a messenger bag were regular fashion accessories, as were the PBRs in hand. Somehow, punk and hipster are now synonymous. It's cool I guess, I really don't give a shit if people are getting together and enjoying each other and good music. And to some degree, it's always been about the fashion too.

PBR: delicious, and it goes great with taper leg jeans.

I was never around for the first wave of hardcore, and would never claim to know that first hand. Though I was around during the third wave, when FSU would show up at New England shows and make good on their name. The shows were so much fun, rebellion at any level felt good, and there was just more energy than 4 walls, a stage, and a ceiling could contain.

I wonder if the former owner of this button knows who the Specials are?

In a lot of ways that hasn't changed. There was still great energy. Dancing, a pathetic pit (not that I was ever one for throwing punches), singing along, fingers pointing at the ceiling. Erik's mic cut out for the last 3 songs so it was up to the crowd to do the work. Olde Tyme Mem'ry and Roll Me Through the Gates of Hell closed the set - two awesome songs meant for crowd chorus. Yeah, the kids will be alright.

For the uninformed, the finger tells fellow crowd members: "I know this part of the song."

Saw this on the way home:

The lamest billboard I have EVER seen.
No self respecting cyclist who drinks beer would go within a leg's reach of this shit.