Thursday, June 28, 2007


I didn't ride today. I had to deal with my mother f-ing cell phone. The screen broke when I dropped it on the floor. The other option was giving it to a girl - in whom I was less than interested - at a party so she could enter her phone number. Dramatic effect: 1, Razr screen: 0.

God do I hate running errands in Delaware. Nothing is logical, nothing is close together. So much for the efficiency of neo-urbanism. Don't people realize the more roads you build, the worse traffic will get? While I'm driving to the phone store, I'm listening to NPR. They're doing a piece on a recent study released on the worst roadways in the nation. Surprise surprise... Delaware is 40th. That's an F on the Bell curve. I did find this cool map of the study though.

Anyway, the only reason I'm so pissy is because I think I have a sinus infection. We'll see, hopefully I'll make it to the doc tomorrow and get it diagnosed and taken care of. Last thing I want is that shit in my lungs. Still, I feel better than this guy:

See the whole series of photos here.

I did randomly find this picture of me from the ghetto door / oil tank ride at Lodi. It made me feel a little better.

One or two laps from complete and utter collapse.

Rotten out.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007


These are great fuel for endurance races.

Mmmm... Sparkleberry filling... tastes like I'm going down on Cinderella.

Princess Sparkleberry Filling...

It's funny how these things come together. I think it's a testament to the strength of our community, the tenacity of our riders, the solidarity of our "team". Everyone wants to be a part of a successful story. And in the case of the Frank Zappa Kappa service organization, everyone contributes and celebrates in unparalleled success.

Sorry, not for sale.

Back in March or April, Fatmarc mentioned crypticly in a car ride that he had a little something planned for June. He didn't want to share details, but asked if I had a specific weekend open. I cautiously ventured a 'yes', but had that "I'm about to agree to a blind date with an ugly chick" feeling in my gut. I pressed him for more details and finally got a picture of the lass: the 12 Hours of Cranky Monkey. I was in.

Zayne explains: "So much of my power is derived from this luxurious tan."

Scientifically speaking, the species on our team would include Fatius Marcus, Chunkius Monkius, and Rottenus Robium.

My Zappa-stache is pretty pathetic.

By the time 12 Hours of Lodi had come and gone, the word had hit the street. The soon-to-be-named Old School-esque fraternity - FZK - would be throwing down at Quantico. It didn't take long to stack every field with our riders, and the prospects for victory started to stack up with a little more integrity than a game of Jenga.

It's 106 miles to Chicago, we got a full tank of gas, half a pack of cigarettes, it's dark, and we're wearing sunglasses.

Saturday, we packed up and hit the road early with a hearty meal in the tank from the Post House - a solid decision owed to the reknown cognitive capacities of Zayne Braun. Arrived at the venue, set up base camp, and chamoised up for a preride lap. I was excited to see Papa Smurf racing, let alone combined with the strength and power of our two frustratingly small and slender riders: E-town and Mayhey. Unfortunately, the ground really wanted a close up of Papa Smurf's noggin, and after a stint in the ER, a concussion meant the rest of us were getting a top-notch soigneur for the day. I have to say that if Papa Smurf had raced, the day would have been a lot tougher, so many thanks to him for taking care of us after a disappoint DNS and a jarring concussion.

Papa Smurf takes a well deserved break.

Anyway, after dinner and the presentation of the official FZK uniforms, we hit the hay to rest up for the race.

We drink Perrier, and we piss excellence.

Race day arrives, and my gut is bound up tighter than the Gimp in Pulp Fiction. I had been less-than-regular the day before and the fear of race gut and boo-boo belly sets in. Regardless, I am doing the run so I kit up and head over to the start line. After throwing Blair Blair under the bus at the start line by asking the field "Are there any former Canadian National Road Champions in the crowd?" the gun goes off. The run sucks, as expected, but I hit the singletrack in the top 1/3 of the riders. My strategy was to hold back a little on the run. I wanted to conserve a little for the first two climbs, and I wanted to have some slower riders in front of me to pick off. I knew I would ride better if I could have carrots to chase.

The pink and green invasion of FZK.

I really don't want to go through a play-by-play of the race, but here are some highlights:

  • Riding with Blair Blair for my 2nd and 3rd laps was really motivating. He was pushing me on the flat sections, and I was pushing him on the climbs, resulting in a solid and consistent pace.
  • Starting my second lap hearing fatmarc saying "Keep it up, we have 7 minutes on second place."
  • Battling all day, back and forth, with the eventual winners for the lead.
  • Seeing my final lap time, and realizing that all of my laps were within one minute of each other - my goal was consistency throughout the day.
  • Pooping three times in the world's only Port-O-Potty with a Glory Hole.
  • The second dumb-ass crash in a week on loose gravel that reopened the hole in my left arm.
  • A group hug with Fatmarc and Chunky Monkey after our team missed first by only 9 minutes, but almost lapped the rest of the field.
  • Seeing the rest of the brethren of FZK walking up to the podium, class after class, in pink and green, taking silver and gold.

FZK threw down hard. As usual, base camp was mistaken as a neutral support station. Our t-shirts were more sought-after than the event t-shirts. E-town and Mayhey, and Buddy and Bob took the 1-2 in the SS duo class. BreyLALA and Jamie took 1st in the Duo Coed. Jan and Blair took 2nd in the Open Duo. Levi, finishing like a zombie on a brain-bender won the Solo Open - Andrew the Automaton took a solid 5th in solo open, after 3 flats and 54 years of life on this planet (I hope to kick that much ass at 34). Zayne and Peaches won the Duo Open with a commanding lead. Fitzy rode another amazingly headstrong solo SS ride - no podium this time, but I am still amazed at how he functions not only for 12 hours of racing, but manages to keep his head on after the race.

Levi begs for some human flesh.

Monkey and Fatmarc were amazing team mates. They rode their hardest. They fought tooth and nail for the duration of the race. They made me look good. They made me proud. They laughed at my jokes about my Princess Cinderella Poptarts. Thank you.

Don't let her scare you, Old Glory had a luxurious interior.

And Papa Smurf and Meghan (Smurfette) took first place in my book. Papa Smurf shook off a concussion and obvious disappointment at the lack of opportunity to perform on course to take care of everyone. Smurfette kept us all on time to the transitions, kept us fed, watered, and enlightened on the feminist movement. The last thing I want is to have them fulfilling a thankless role - so thank you, thank you, thank you. You two were the lube on our chains, the air in our tires, the food in our bellies. Thanks again.

Tom gave me the so-pro fishnet to protect my gravel wound. Zayne gave me the finger.

Finally, I've said it before and I'll say it again. I've never felt so proud, never been so willing to work for others, never been so challenged, never felt so part of a team. Everyone pulls more than their weight, we have a surplus of love and support and that is where our success lies. I have nothing but respect for my fraternal order of mid-Atlantic riders. Thank you and goodnight.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

No Thanks!

Non-stop for a week now I've been listening to this box set of "early punk" - No Thanks! It rocks. I got a copy of it from a friend of mine and was skeptical at first. But it is solid. If you'd like a listen, just ask.

Preparing for the 12 hours of Cranky Monkey, last night was the perfect preparation. Dinner with the brethren of F. Zed Kappa, followed by a few beers with Peaches and El Presidente, and the fine eye-candy attending the East End Cafe last night.

I have to apologize to the parents at the table next to ours at dinner. Your kids now know that the stork didn't bring 'em along. Big deal though, better off not lying to your kids anyway. Now it's time for some breakfast at the good old Post House.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

95 percent...

The Spot is done... minus my rear wheel. Which is no longer a White Ind. hub. Had to go to a WTB LaserDisc Single Duty to get the right chainline with the ridiculous 127 mm bottom bracket required for the White Ind. cranks to clear the chainstays (sorry GearJunkie - the King was outta the price range).

Rear wheel should be done next week, but in the meantime, Fitzy was kind enough to lend me his AmClassic 9er rear wheel. So I should be able to dial this honey in tomorrow and race it on Sunday.

Got some shit up my sleeves for this weekend, none of it is related to actual racing of course. Maybe a little facial hair modification, maybe some super secret team uniforms for the brethren of Frank Zappa Kappa. The key is that I was feeling like superman last weekend, and I want that to happen this weekend too. So the plan for the week is this: do what I did last week:

Ride a little, eat a lot, drink some alcohol (this is also in line with my training goals for SSWC 2007). Got things started nicely yesterday with some climbing followed by margaritas at Picnic (not Sante Fe grill - I refuse). I don't care what Slick Rick says, those bad boys are strong. Peaches agrees - you finish the first, order the second, and by the time it arrives, you realize your folly. Then tonight some eats, laughs, drinks, and the normal shit with Chunky Monkey, fatmarc, FFAmy, Jamie, E-town, and MegHan at the one and only Homegrown.

Fuck funks. Life is good.

Monday, June 18, 2007


is a cool town. Reminds me a lot of the town of my alma mater: Troy, NY. A college town, former heavy industry. A little revival around the college community and the hipster/art/yuppie crowds. Some really good mountain biking is nestled right there as well.

Been a while since I tried out a little road rash.

Drove out to P-burgh Friday night to surprise my friend Robotsworth for his birthday. His girlfriend set it all up. He came walking down the street, past a bum drinking a bottle of SoCo on a shadowy stoop. The bum asks for directions, he does a triple take, realizes it's his friend he hasn't seen in 1.5 years. "Holy Shit!!", a hug, we both take a big swig from the bottle. That's only the beginning of course. Catching up and hanging out put a big dent in that bottle and my liver.

Saturday, Robotsworth and I met up with Mayhey for a little ride around Boyce Park. Reminded me a lot of Fair Hill, a little less twisty maybe, but fun none-the-less. My legs are really coming around, I felt much better on the bike than a week ago. Of course, Mayhey is strong as a mule in heat.

A little party Saturday night, and then Sunday it was more of the same. Good greasy breakfast with Robotsworth and Robotworth's girl, then hit the trails at Frick Park. That place is like doing shuttle runs - climb up the fire roads, bomb the moto-cross single track. Of course I was feeling a little too good and washed out while I was trying to drift the bike through some gravel at the bottom. Seems like I can't go anywhere these days without leaving some flesh on the ground. Thankfully my body protected FM's Meanie Greenie. He was kind enough to loan me his bike since my Spot Build has been temporarily derailed.

Hurts like 9 bitches in a bitch boat.

Anyway, a good weekend. Just the break in routine I needed. Now I am really looking forward to riding my own bike (maybe this week) and 12 Hours of Cranky Monkey this weekend. Fatmarc and Chunky Monkey are going to carry the team I'm lucky enough to be riding on.

Monday, June 11, 2007

so close...

I am not motivated to ride anything while I stare at this incomplete piece of art. The theme is this: cream colored frame with black components.
  • pink king headset
  • black thomson elite seatpost
  • black thomson x4 stem
  • easton monkey lite xc lo-rise bars
  • ergon grips
  • rockshox reba 80mm fork
  • black white ind. 32t chainring on black white ind. cranks
  • 19t white ind. freewheel
  • avid bb7 mech. disc brakes with pink cable housing
  • black white ind hubs with black spokes, black nipples, and black stan's arch 29er rims
  • panaracer rampage on the front, maxxis ignitor on the back
talk about the funk starting to lift... also, congrats to Blair Blair, who won the Red Ass 300 this weekend, and Zayne, for winning the Stoopid 50 SS as well. Much respect to everyone else who raced, finished, and is automatically harder than this barrel-assed-donut-munching-sissy.

Sunday, June 10, 2007


I've been feeling a little burnt out lately. I can't put my finger on exactly what is causing it. But just a general feeling of going through the motions.

Life is good, and life is short, and it seems stupid to get into these funks. But it happens. I get hit by these funks probably twice, maybe three times a year. I can tell it's coming when I start to feel weak. And not weak like getting sick. Weak minded. Unwilling to push my limits. When riding, an unwillingness to push through and finish the interval. When climbing, a rest on the clip before the crux. At work, I feel like a push-over because standing up for my opinion takes too much effort.

For all my awareness of the world around me, and my eagerness to become a better person and gain the experience and credibility to someday make the world a better place: these funks just make me feel like another fat, apathetic, whining member of Generation Y.

These things always pass, though, and without them, the good times would never be good. There are too many people in my age bracket that don't understand the need for highs and lows. The age of instant gratification has made a bored and unexcited group of young adults. Modest Mouse says it best:
As life gets longer, awful feels softer,
and it feels pretty soft to me.
And if it takes shit to make bliss,
well I feel pretty blissfully.
And actually I think Tough Cookie quoted that recently. I really have no right to complain after everything she's faced head on (and tackled without hesitation). Anyway, enough bitching and moaning. The article below made me feel a whole lot better. Especially in the wake of a new cross in memorial for a good guy I never got a chance to know. I thought about just putting the link, but I know it's a lot of effort to click, so here it is in it's entirety. From Alpinist 20:

Occupational Therapy

I have been crushed in the last year by the deaths of two best friends. They were both doing what they loved. They both fell off cliffs. This tragic loss has made me think hard, really hard: What if doing what you love is the very thing that kills the people you love?

This has also been a time for others to reflect on my lifestyle, namely my family, my in-laws, and some lady I vaguely recognized in the grocery store, whose face resembled a ferret. My mother started quoting episodes from Accidents in North American Mountaineering. My sister basically said, "I told you so." My father-in-law demanded that his son stop this nonsense immediately. And ferret-face in the grocery store barked, "I hope this means you're going to tell your husband he can't climb anymore. He is a father, you know"--as if I hadn't just seen him wiping our son's young ass that morning.

But, in fact, they all had a point. Maybe the time had come to start telling my husband what he could and could not do; maybe I should just start puttering around the garden in my spare time. For the sake of our children. For our families. For my own fading sanity. So I did what all messed-up housewives do: I went to see a therapist.

I told her my story:+#8200;happily married. Kids. All our friends were either climbers or skiers. All we did was climb or ski. Every vacation we'd ever taken together was a climbing or skiing vacation. I had recently lost two close friends to climbing and skiing, and I was struggling.

She was very wise and immediately saw that my problem was our lifestyle. I needed new friends--nonclimbing, nonskiing friends. She recommended that I join a book club.

My new friends, the book-club wives, were very nice. They welcomed me into their group even though I was perpetually late and still in my ski clothes. To my credit, I always remembered to bring a six-pack, although I'd usually drunk half of it on the drive over. We talked about some amazing books, including every one on Oprah's list. I tried to join in the discussions, but it was difficult since I never actually read any of the books. I attempted to mask my ignorance by drinking a lot of wine, a tactic that made the meetings a lot more fun, until I started to fart and use foul language. My new friends got quite offended. I vowed to behave better the next week.

Next meeting, it was my turn to choose a book. I chose one I had read many times, the much-loved classic, Annapurna, by Maurice Herzog, an inspiring struggle of men, mountains, teamwork, hope and despair. But the ladies were stuck on the toes, or rather the snipping off of the frostbitten toes, the ultimate lack of toes. "What type of irresponsible moron would want to lose his toes just to climb a mountain?" they asked. "Yeah, what a bunch of morons," I said, chugging their wine. A couple of dirty jokes and one small booger flicked in the plant later, and I was once again getting the stink eye. Even my best behavior wasn't cutting it.

I told my therapist that the book-club thing wasn't really working out. She urged me not to give up, that making nonclimbing friends took time. What about a playgroup, she suggested, where moms and kids all get together? I agreed to try it.

The playgroups were a blast. The kids played and all of us moms talked about parenting. All the mothers agreed that it was important to give children choices. They said that they let their kids decide if they want to go to bed at 8 or 8:30, or if they want to stay inside or go outside to play. I felt relieved to know I might actually be doing something right; we also give our kids choices. When we serve them dinner each night, we tell them they can take it or they can leave it. When it is twenty below and the family is headed out skiing, we let them decide whether they want to wear two pairs of long johns or three.

The talk soon turned to vacations. The other moms had been with their husbands and kids to Cabo, Cancun, Grand Cayman, Little Cayman, Bit-O-Cayman. White sand beaches; warm, blue water; multiple umbrella drinks: it all sounded like great fun. I said that we went to Indian Creek, usually. But what is there to do there? they asked. Crack climbing, I said. Isn't it dangerous? they asked. I guess so. But what do the children do? Well, they play in the dirt while we climb, or, when we do a tower, we duct tape them to the steering wheel. Then I noticed that my son was peeing on the other children, and we had to leave.

My therapist looked worried as I related the events with the playgroup. In a hopeful tone, she suggested a pottery class. Meanwhile, I had come to my own conclusions.

After $1,500 worth of therapy and after rejection from everyone else, I know that I want to continue climbing and skiing as long as my bones will allow it. I have never considered myself a hard-core climber, but when faced with turning my back on the climbing life, I discovered that it had infiltrated my very being, like a tumor. I want to keep the friends I have, even if they are unemployed. I think my kids are cute when they are filthy. I don't mind eating burritos for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Sometimes, I put an umbrella in my beer and do a little hula dance. I think I'd get bored if I didn't have any scabs to pick at. I love my husband's strong, rough hands. I'm glad my friends just roll down the windows and laugh when I fart.

I want to make more friends, young and old, who love all that too. I want to drink beers around the campfire, having so much fun that I don't even notice when my daughter's coat catches fire. I hope I never feel the need to tell my husband he can't climb. I want to trust in his judgment and hope for the best. I want to be the greatest parent I can, using my own seemingly unorthodox methods--and perhaps even do some good along the way.

I still cry for my two friends. I had planned on growing old with them, taking our kids into the mountains to climb and ski and laugh. They would never want me to stop. I can hear them now: "Get out there, you middle-aged sack--what are you waiting for?"

And that's just what I am going to do.

--Mrs. Betty Sender, Jackson, Wyoming

Wednesday, June 06, 2007


work. bike. sleep.
work. climb. sleep.
bike. work. bike. climb. sleep.
work. bike. beer. pass out.
bike. work. bike. party.

life is good, but life is predictable. right now I just need to get my Spot Brand 29er built up. sorry for the complete lack of anything exciting.

oh, i have some red itchy bug bite under my eye. i think the antihistamine lotion is helping.