Thursday, November 13, 2008

talk of the weather will do...

Yesterday evening, as I was heading to bed, I thought to myself: "I think I'll ride my bike to work tomorrow." It was a whim that vanished as quickly as it had appeared, but I laid my head on my pillow content with my decision.

Fast forward, dear Reader to 6:30 this morning. I wake up, pour a bowl of cereal, and have a look at the weather forecast:

That giant green and yellow blog was headed straight for my commuting route. So I quickly reneged on my plan and went about brewing my coffee, rather than waiting to do so at work - my normal routine on a day I bike commute.

I finished packing a lunch, read some news on the interwebs, put on a rain-proof jacket, and headed out to the car, coffee in hand. I sit in the driver's seat and realize I've left my keys in the ignition all night, with the radio on. Sure enough, the battery is dead. Just like that, I was riding my bike to work again.

It's a good thing that Ghetto Prom recently underwent yet another transmogrification. About a year ago, iPaul(c) gave me a beautiful old Atala frameset, and that became Ghetto Prom v3.0. You can read about that transformation here. While the Atala was nice, it never quite fit me right, and I tired of commuting to work with a backpack. It wasn't very comfortable, and it left me with a sweaty back.

Allow me to digress a moment: a month ago, I stumbled across a great deal on a Salsa Casseroll, and the dynamic project known as Ghetto Prom took yet another step into the future. While I love the new build, and used parts that have been on and off various versions of Ghetto Prom through her history, I'm left wondering if she's really the same bike with which I began. She's really become my Ship of Theseus. The original Ghetto Prom had cottered cranks, a 1" threaded headset, and shitty 30 year old aluminum bars. Now she's not only blessed with a new frame, but carbon cranks and bars, and panniers. Is she truly still Ghetto Prom?

So with pannier bags loaded, I donned my name-brand waterproof, breathable (my ass) garments, and headed to work in true commuter-dork fashion. Yes, those are baggy waterproof, breathable (again, arguably breathable judging by the amount of sweat inside) pants and matching shoe covers.

I think the only thing that kept me slightly near the center square of a game of hipster bingo was the fact that my fixed gear drive train is powered by a pink chain and a killer (and still growing) beard.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

dog fever...

Not a lot to report on, Dear Reader. I think one of the reasons I have been blogging less lately is my lack of ownership of a good digital camera. Something that is small enough to fit in the back pocket of a jersey or a good pair of Daisy Dukes. I plan on remedying that this week.

I have been taking some pictures with my Grandfather's old Nikon FG. I have no idea what I'm doing with the thing, but the first 5 rolls of film (dating back to Christmas 2007) are being developed as you read this. That being said, I do plan on learning to use the thing. You know, taking it out with a notebook, recording settings, taking pictures, refering back to notebook as I throw out 90% of the shitty photos after they are developed. All of this assumes that the damn thing even works. So that's one project I've started that I'll probably abandon in the next few months.

Another such project is my desire to brew my own beer. Yet another bandwagon to jump on. Like the Nikon, I found an old home-brew kit in my basement at home. It has never been used, so I took it into the local home brew store and asked, what else do I need to get started? $100 later, I had everything I needed, aside from my original found brew kit. Funny how that works. Anyway, it seems the list of New Year's Resolution projects is already growing.

Other than that, I've all but abandoned cyclocross for this year. I "raced" the courses I wanted to race - Charm City, Wissahickon, Fair Hill. Mountain biking is just a lot more fun. While I miss the cameraderie that comes with cross, and the cheering and heckling, I really like riding my mountain bike in the cooler weather. Plus, these fall rides are always so laid back. Beers in the jersey pockets, no agenda, no need to ride hard to get in shape, just fun, flowy, challenging singletrack.

Such riding brought me up to Downingtown this past weekend. I've never ridden up there, but it was a blast. I think it's the best "local" area to ride if you want to learn how to ride off-camber slippery roots. Afterwards, beer and food and dirt jumps at Wheelie Ted's house. Some good pictures available courtesy of this guy.

Photo from Dan's iPhone. I left right before this happened!!!

Monday, November 03, 2008


Fair Hill Cross... I've never felt so bad or looked so good. But we'll back it up a little.

The night before was Halloween, so Gav and I decided to head to the Nexus of the Universe - Main St. Newark, DE - for some beers on gears. In costume and on bike, we rolled to Homegrown. We saw some of the DCCofD, and I'm pretty sure Fatmarc made a pass at me before I turned around and he saw my beard.

After a PBR at Homegrown, we tried a number of other establishments, sampling the canned PBR at each place. Turns out it pretty much tastes the same everywhere, so we ended up back at Homegrown. There was a killer band playing - American Buffalo; a great crowd as well. Honestly it was better than some shows I've paid to see. However, they played right up until last call. Granted, dear Reader, that is really early in Delaware, but still a late night before a cross race.

The next morning, it came time to pay the Piper. I rolled up to the second DCCofD event of the year, ready to be Ass to the Race Director. Put in some hard labor rerouting and taping the course, and then donned my costume to race.

Despite my front row start (my Halloween costume was "Jeff Bahnson dressing as Slutty Rob") I have never performed so poorly in a race. The hangover left me wondering if this race would be my first DNF: I have never considered not finishing a race because I felt bad. I think the only reason I stayed in the race was to not let down my fan club and also because I was enjoying the cat calls from fellow racers.

One highlight from the race is almost captured in the picture below. Coming into the barriers in the "Heckle Hut", I got pinned up against the tape on the left side of the course. This forced me to dismount on the right side of my bike, clear the barriers while carrying the bike reverse, and then remounting from the opposite side. I nailed the remount - no hesitation, no stutter step, no testicle squashing, just clean saddle contact and pedaling away. I've never even hit a clean opposite side remount when practicing it for the hell of it.

Thanks to dennisbike for the flattery.

Anyway, I don't think I'll be drinking heavily before a race ever again. Sunday, I ran a 5k with Tough Cookie and met some of her cool PSU friends. I still don't get the big D1 football thing, but it seems some OK people made it out of that school. All in all, a memorable weekend, and another successful race run by the DCCofD.