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 cyclingnews.com!
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

charmed...

Charm City Cross is behind us. C3-Sollay.com 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

bikesnobDE...

HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA

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: www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=14321590. 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 amazon.com 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: picasaweb.google.com/forty15/2007090104Scotland.

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):
http://picasaweb.google.com/forty15/2007081214Colorado

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:
http://picasaweb.google.com/forty15/2007082431GermanyAndAustria

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:
http://picasaweb.google.com/forty15/2007090104Scotland

I love you all.

peace and grease,
Rotten