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


apologies...

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.

Monday, July 16, 2007

flight of the conchords...

this show is amazing. two clips to help convince you:

If You're Into It


Hip-Hopopotamus vs. The Rhymenocerous

Sunday, July 15, 2007

sushi > pink "sushi"

How to make a shitty game rock: a Sharpie and some dirty words.

The premise of this game is this: one person is "it" and everyone else is challenged to choose "it's" favorite item from their hand of four cards with random items on them. "It" then ranks each card and points are assigned appropriately. The hands are then passed to the left and the person with no cards becomes "it".

Playing said game with FFAmy, Zayne Bronze, Chunky Monkey, Fatmarc, and Jan, we came to a group conclusion: this game sucks.

Of course, the brainpower in FZK is more than capable of making any situation fun and filthy, if given the chance. We decided that each turn, you could modify one of your cards as long as you left the original word intact. The end result: a bad ass game that went from "For Ages 8 to Adult" to "For Ages Adult to Pedophile". For those that want to play along at home, some of the tamer examples:

  • Super Bowl Sunday > Super Bowl Sunday Commercials
  • Thunderstorms > Thunderstorms and Long Walks on the Beach
  • Swimming Pools > Swimming Pools with Naked Chicks
and some of the awesome examples:

  • Ping Pong > Ping Pong with Your Balls
  • The World Series > The Bukkake World Series
  • Motels > Motels with Hookers
Needless to say, laughs are always good recovery from and preparation for bike racing.

Saturday, was the 2nd Annual Deep Blue Time Trial. A 12 mile out-and-back mostly flat road time trial that doubles as the Delaware State Time Trial Championships. I heard that Fatmarc and Zayne Bronze were going to be racing in the 2 Man Team Time Trial, Eddy Merckx style - no TT bikes, no disc wheels, no aero bars, all badass.

Five bucks to the first one who can match the nickname to the man: Zayne Bronze and Fatmarc.

Then I come to find out Jan and JZ are going to enter as well, with full TT regalia. Dan the Man and Blair Blair were also going to compete. Yeah, good luck to the rest of the 2 man teams. Ha. Anyway, I figured I should enter, and keep with my tradition of doing state TT championships on Ghetto Prom, the worlds shittiest fixed gear bike. Last time, I raced, and won the 2005 NY State TT Championship in the Retrogrouch category - read: sandbagged. This time I would race legit as a Cat. 4.

Jan and JZ - at least they looked fast.

Well, it was fun. I ended up with a decent time - averaged 23 mph spinning out - and was 6th out of 7 Cat 4s. But wait, how many DE state residents in the Cat 4 field? TWO. So eat that, I'm the DE State runner up for the Cat. 4 Time Trial.

According to Velonews: TT Helmets can shave 30 seconds off of a 40k TT.

It was awesome to see the two man teams rock out. Fatmarc (with a little help from Lefty - Kevin's a pussy) and Zayne (with a little help from his Bronze) kicked ass and averaged something like 28 mph. It wasn't quite enough to take the silver from JZ and Jan, but no one held a candle to Dan T. Man and Blair Blair - who had both raced the Cat 1/2 solo earlier and won with a commanding 31 mph average speed.

Blair Blair and Dan T. Man reek of speed.

All in all, a lot of fun and a good warmup for Fair Hill XC, which went down today.

Not shown: Fitzy - who had a good race Merckx style, and Chunky Monkey - photographer and support extraordinare.

I raced Sport Singlespeed open. Got into the singletrack in 5th wheel, out of a pretty large field. Two guys went hard hard hard off the front, and I just sucked wheel on the two guys in front of me. We were working through the Sport Senior carnage traffic when they got around a slower guy and I got jammed up behind him.

"Ah biker. I'm such an idiot."

At this point I decide to settle in, get the old heart rate down, and ride my own race. No other SSer ever got close to me and made me work any harder than I wanted to, and I ended up catching and dropping the two guys who exploded off the line on Crackhead Bob - which was about 2/3rds of the way through the course. They really killed themselves in the start I guess. I never did see the other two guys again, so I finished 3rd.

Not bad for my second ever XC race - though I gotta say, I really do like the endurance events a lot more. I'll refer you to the MASS website for full results, I can't remember the specifics, but the FZK did well as usual. Now I am looking forward to next weekend - some track racing at T-Town with iPaul(c).

Monday, July 09, 2007

the short way home...

Saturday was a productive day. Rolled through White Clay and Middle Run with Chunky Monkey, Fatmarc, Buddy the Keg Breaker, and JF. Washed the car. Waxed the car. Got some coffee, made some phone calls.

JF and friends that shall remain anonymous.

Drank some beer at JF's house. Drank some more beer at JF's house. Tried to drink some water because I feared dehydration. Ended up drinking more beer when I realized how bad I am at beer pong.

The L-crew prepares to shut me down.

This was John's self-thrown going away party. A little shindig to say thanks for being my friends in Delaware. A little celebration of good stuff to come for him in Denver. I'm stoked for the kid, and thrilled to visit. Plus every party is good when I see a pair of boobies, but then it's canceled out when I see more than one pair of testicles. Yeah, that's not bubblegum, ladies.

Stage right: gigantic fireball.

Sunday found me out of bed nice and early to meet Buddy the Keg Breaker and Surly Bob for a group ride up in Jim Thorpe, PA. I've never ridden up that-a-ways, and I have returned a humble man.

New meaning to "group" ride.

When I say group ride, I am being understated. Something like 37 people showed up for what I thought would be, at most, a 10-person ride. Everything else aside, it sucked having to stop and wait for more than a half an hour on 4 or 5 occasions for the clusterfuck to sort itself out.

Bob enjoys the view and gives JT a golden shower.

The ride opened up with a nice 5 mile climb on dirt and paved roads to the top of one of the mountains. Another 250 meter kick up a rocky steep ascent brought us to the start of a ridge. Nothing but rocks the size of small children. This is somewhat foreign to me, the last time I rode rock gardens had to be 3 years ago at Grafton State Park in NY. I found my rhythm and was really enjoying barreling over the stones, especially with the loving touch of my Spot brand 29er.

I am never riding carbon bars again.

A super sketchy, loamy, rocky descent tested my fortitude and shattered the group for the first time in the ride. The rest of the day is kind of a blur. Another long rail grade climb was in there. Some super tight loamy singletrack fresh cut of which I walked at least 50 percent. Some sketchy descents I made, some sketchy descents I didn't make.

During the beer break, Buddy once again kindly gave me a beer.

About 30 miles into the ride, another clusterfuck chronicle, some flat change that was taking over a half an hour. Werner, a local, offers to take a short group of us on the shorter, but more technical way home. I'm feeling pretty whooped, so I tell Buddy I'm going to cruise on the short ride. He gives me the car keys, expecting to be back an hour past me.

Jamie led a fine ride, and his bike had titty-tassles.

5 miles into the 10 mile finish, I start cramping really bad. I'm out of water, and my focus is shattered. JT is not a place you want to ride without focus. I think I crashed more times in that last 5 miles than in my entire mountain biking existence - two of which twisted my now-swollen ankle the wrong way.

Bob tried to make me feel better about myself by showing that even riders with talent sometimes like to taste the dirt.

I got back to the car to find a fresh Buddy and semi-fresh Bob halfway through their beers. Goddamn, so much for the short way home. After talking to ride-maestro Jamie, it turned out that our little group of 7 did the rest of the planned ride, and the other group cut out short. Close to 40 miles total, countless bruises, and a trashed pair of carbon handlebars later, I'm home. Happy to have survived and looking forward to faring a little better next time. Much thanks to Jamie and the Easy Riders for a great ride.

A quick dip in the river and a beer later; I was fresh as a daisy.

Friday, July 06, 2007

jankenpon...

as it is known in Japan, or Ching-Chong-Cha in South Africa, or Rochambeau in France, or - as you may know it - Rock Paper Scissors - is the ultimate test and decider of all things hotly contested but completely pointless. The subtleties and strategies are wide ranging, and entirely personal. It is a beautiful mix of strategy, theory, chance, luck, deception, and reading your opponent.

E-town and I finished up a little recovery ride yesterday, and though the thought of sharing the shower was tempting, we decided to split it up. He asked how we should decide who gets to go first - and though I kindly offered to let him take the first shower - we decided to settle it once-and-for-all with a little RPS.

We started off with a standard paced round of Best of Three. E-town led out strong with a Scissor over Paper win, followed by two stalemates - and then a 2-0 victory with a Paper over Rock.

I proposed a rematch. You see, I prefer the rapid-fire style of Rock Paper Scissors. In this version, three fist pumps are accompanied with a verbal "1-2-3" and the throw of your weapon comes with the following "shoot". The twist is that immediately upon the throw, the victor is mentally indexed and the next "1-2-3-shoot" is initiated - no delay is allowed. Additionally, trash talk is par for the course. It is a pure test of reflexes, rapid-fire thinking, and a pinch of striking fear into the heart of your opponent. It is the bare-knuckle boxing equivalent of RPS. In this manner I defeated E-town, and in doing so tied the overall score - 1 set each - for the shower.

For the final set in the match, we chose to play a game of the more slow-paced Gentlemen's Rochambeau. Here, opponents spend at least 10 seconds between throws sizing each other up and contemplating the next move. Talk in general should be minimized, so the intellectual energy required to compete is conserved and used for battle. It is the Chess equivalent of RPS. After an opening draw on Scissors-Scissors, E-town took the first point in the set. I countered with a Paper-Rock victory and the whole match came down to one point.

After a longer-than-usual stare-down, we primed the fists. Each number in the 1-2-3 count seemed to echo endlessly off the kitchen walls.

1... a bead of sweat forms on my brow. The fist slowly reaches the bottom of the pump-stroke.

2... I see E-town's nostrils flare. Will he go Paper, or will he go Scissors? Surely he won't go Rock. Far too pedestrian for a final throw.

3... The bead of sweat drops off the point of my nose and as it heads for the floor in slow-motion, I know, he will go paper or scissors, Rock is not his style for a final blow, not enough finesse for him. If I throw Scissors, it will either be a draw or a win. Scissors it is...

SHOOT... As my fingers unfurl on the final fist pump to form the V that signified both the blades of the scissors and the impending victory, I see his fist remain closed. His Rock has just unhinged my cutting utensil. In the true colors of a champion, he seals his shot at first shower with the intricacy of the classic "reverse-reverse-reverse-psychology-double-back" move.

Shattered, I bowed in defeat.