Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Mipples.

Nipples. The part of the human body that people don't like to talk about all that much. The part of the anatomy that takes a movie from PG to R just by showing it (you can show the whole boob and it's OK as long as you don't show a nipple, but show that and suddenly it's "dirty").  Nipples do serve an important purpose. They can be erotic zones. They can indicate when someone is cold.  And without them the human race, and mammals for that matter, wouldn't have got very far since they are the way we feed our young (and cavemen didn't have access to a Walgreen's and 76 versions of Similac). And all theses things are great…ON WOMEN.

Seroiusly, why the hell do men have nipples?  I am sure they are left over from our formation in the womb before our gender was "assigned" but why was our gender not assigned first then placement of our nipples? They serve no purpose on men. And, before any Whole Foods hippies lay down the whole "dude, a man can lactate and feed babies too" (click the linky to find out), stop. No we can't. First, I'm all for equality in parenting, but I draw the line here. There are some things men should just not do. Second, I do not want to have to wax, shave or any sort of depilation of my chest hair, and for godsakes, a baby should NOT get hair in its mouth when breast feeding. 

Getting ready for
a ride
So, you may be asking yourself what the hell this commentary has to do with cycling. A lot, let me tell you. When most people go out for a long ride, a concern is the comfort of their grundle/taint/crotchial area. In addition to the padded cycling shorts, there all sorts of salves, creams, and butters to keep things moving smoothly without rubbing or chaffing. And these are important things to use! But there is nothing to prevent chaffing of that tiny little spot on the end of your nipple that is rubbing against your jersey for hours on end. Trust me I've tried it all, bandages, New-Skin (which stings like hell when you apply it) chaffing creams, the works. Nope, still have the problem. And I know I'm not the only one with this problem, since when I was in Moab one of our crew, who in the sake of anonimity will remain nameless, was walking around with big "x" bandages over his nipples looking like Wendy O
from the early punk scene. 

I'm thinking this model would be great!
Unlike other body parts I can't "train" my nipples to get stronger, although I suppose if I scab the tips over enough times a callous will form. But here we are getting close to the first 100 mile mountain bike race of the year, the Tatanka 100, and in addition to the normal preparation of my bike, I'm trying to figure out a nipple buffer. Maybe a trip to the local stripper supply warehouse for some pasties is in order. 

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

Gravel Grinder or Mud Masher, you pick...

The Gold Rush Gravel Grinder went down this last weekend. And as usual, with it comes tales of glee and tragedy, highs and lows, good and bad. So sit back while I spin a yarn for you.

Let me start out by saying I was pretty stoked for this year's Gold Rush. I had been getting good training rides in (training *gasp* I know, right?) and was feeling like it was going to be a good day for me. The weather forecast looked a bit sketchy with chances of "scattered" rain, but it looked like we'd be OK.  Also, let me tell you that I'm fairly anal about my bike maintenance.  Not quite to the level of Flyin' Brian but better than most.  This will play a part in my tale later.

The plan was the NSS clan going to Spearfish on Friday afternoon, set up the mobile NSS HQ, or a campsite for the rest of the world, and enjoy a weekend of camping with friends while throwing a long ride in the middle. Sounded like a good plan. Mother Nature had a different plan. (I swear I'm getting that bitch some anti-depressants.)

Friday before we headed out, the Black Hills was socked in with a steady, heavy at times, drizzle. I was not thrilled with the lack of accurate forecasting from the weather crew. I wish I could have a job where I was as wrong as much as meteorologists and still keep it. Anyhow, we made the best of it, going to Spearfish, getting registered for the race and set up our mobile HQ. We had a nice evening and meal with friends and got to bed in a slightly lighter drizzle.

I woke up at 3 am because my bladder woke up at 2:45 am. I tried really hard to get it to shut up, but my bladder won out.  Why is it that when you're camping getting up to piss in the middle of the night is a requirement? I rarely get up in the middle of the night when I'm at home.  Anyhow, I stumbled out of the tent to a clouded, but rain free sky. Things were looking good! I scrambled back into my sleeping bag due to my cold wet feet and tried to get back to sleep. After an hour and a half of going in and out of sleep, I got up for good to get my poop in a group and get ready for the 7:00 am start.

I rolled over to te race start for the pre-race meeting at 6:45. After 15 minutes of fist bumping, high and low fives, catching back up with people not seen in a while, and a few bro-hugs thrown in for good measure, Perry "Pedal-Power" Jewett counted down and it was time to roll.

A police escort led us out for the first 3-4 miles and the group rolled at a nice pace up the pavement to where the gravel would mark the beginning of the "race".  We hit the gravel and we were off! Of course the fast guys took off like they were shot from a cannon, but I was rolling in the second group, feeling comfortable.
Tatanka! On the neutral roll out.  (Photo from the
Gold Rush Gravel Grinder FB page.)

Remember the drizzly day I mentioned? Well, the further we rolled on this initial stretch of gravel, the muddier it became. Not sink-in, swampy, big mud, but just enough that it flung all over stuff and coated drivetrain parts like it was some kind of miracle lubricant, but that did the opposite, accelerating wear. Soon my rear derailleur started skipping around and things were NOT sounding happy. I pressed on although it was causing an itch in my brain that I couldn't scratch.  I really hate when my drivetrain isn't doing what it's supposed to do. As we were just descending a small hill, I was shifting a couple gears up to take advantage of the momentum, when things really sounded clattery in the back. I just started touching the brakes so I could slow down and see what was going on when *WHAM*, my rear wheel skidded to an abrupt halt.  I didn't hit the brakes hard so I know it is not good.  I look down to find my rear derailleur in my spokes, on the opposite side of my rear axle from where it should normally sit.  SHEEE-IT! In that split second my day on the bike ended. 

That morning I told my Lovely to make sure her phone was turned on (so she could hear it ring), you know just in case.  After 7 frantic phone calls, she finally answered (in fairness to her, she did not expect to hear from me, especially this early).  I then freed the bottom half of my derailleur from its spokey jail so my wheel could turn and began my walk-of-shame past all the people still riding their bikes. Many well meaning folks asked if I was OK, needed help, or if I wanted their help turning my bike into a singlespeed, further rubbing salt, or in this case, mud into my wound. I can fix just about any trailside mechanical issue.  Hell, I've given random strangers a freaking cleat bolt on the side of the trail for godsakes!  Having a spare derailleur in my "magic tin" is not something I or any sane person does unless you're riding the Tour Divide.  A few minutes after the last rider went by, my Lovely and the Boy showed up to extract me from this situation. 
Umm, I don't really think it's supposed
to look like that...


Making the best of the situation, I had a good afternoon spending time with friends and family waiting for the racers to come in. Jim Meyer was the first 110 miler to finish in just under 7 hours(!) and Chanceller Burleson was the first 70 miler in.  We  hung around, shot the shit with friends, ate great food, had great beer, and won cool prizes. With that said, Perry, Kristi and the whole crew once again did an outstanding job putting on this race, so the day/weekend was not completely lost on a blown derailleur. But, and this a big but, it still doesn't sit well with me. I'm already looking forward to the 3rd running of the Gold Rush Gravel Grinder. There's a chance I'll have a spare derailleur in my pack. 

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Like a new born baby

Before I get into the meat of today's post, it appears that I possibly could be responsible for shaming Mother Nature into getting on the wagon, sobering up long enough to wrest control of the weather away from Old Man Winter. I am positive she read that last post, realized she had a problem and decided to get on the wagon. Unfortunately, it also appears she's planning a party this weekend. So, once again Mother Nature, I implore you, don't get to tore up this weekend. Don't relinquish complete control. Thank you.

OK, all that being said, we finally did have Spring around the NSS HQ this last week and HLMP opened it's trails up on Wednesday. Finally, some singletrack/dirt riding to be had!
The Boy taking a fiver at the top of the climb.

For my first mountain bike ride I took the Boy out for some trail adventures. Riding at his pace I figured I was able to chalk up my ineptitude to our slow pace. The Boy on the other hand railed the Lower Rim Trail!

I went out solo on Friday for a quick jaunt after work. A zip back over to HLMP and I realized that my problems from the previous evening had nothing to do with the Boy and everything to do with the fact that I haven't ridden singletrack since December 3rd.

I suppose every cyclist (and especially mountain bikers) experience this. Last Autumn, before Winter took over, you were smooth and graceful (at least by your standards), riding down rocky sections like flowing water, not having to think about that quick flick of the shifter, that dab of the brake lever or that little back pedal to clear the rock. Now that you haven't been on a daily singletrack quest, those movements don't come quite as naturally. Sure you may have it happen in a section or two of the trail, but not for the whole ride. You're like a newborn horse, sure you can run, but it is definitely without the speed, style or grace of the fully mature horse.
Looks exactly like my riding style.

So, yesterday I got the Moots out for one good, longish ride before Mother Nature gets all weird on us. It started out kind of rough, as I climbed singletrack to Dinosaur Hill, there were a couple spots I stumbled on, but after I got back over to HLMP, things started to smooth out. Sure there were a couple of miscues, but they were fewer and further between. By the time my ride was wrapping up on the Lower Rim Trail, in my mind I was Mark Weir bombing Downieville although reality says I might have been a touch less skilled. 
Look! I can time travel on my bike!

Well, we've got about 2 1/2 weeks to go until we go to Moab. I hope I can get a few more rides like that in, you know so the horse matures. 

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Ode to the Idea of Spring

"In the Spring a young man's fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love." - Lord Alfred Tennyson. 
"In the Spring a middle-aged man's fancy turns to the thoughts of mountain bik...what? It's SNOWING again? Dammit Mother Nature, you're drunk, go home." - Not-So-Serious Cyclist. 

This is the view we're getting SICK of seeing...
Ahh yes, Spring is in the air around the NSS HQ. Terry Peak closed for the season last weekend (and the last day was a blast), my pass to the Swim Center expired this week, and there have been enough nice days that I've been able to get out for a couple road rides. And yet that drunken tart Mother Nature is passed out on her day-bed with a box of wine on the floor next to her while Old Man Winter is still at the controls, having his way with us. 

Just when we thought it was turning into Spring, we start the week out with a mini-blizzard on Monday (it was forecast to be a big one, school was called off, but it didn't really materialize), snow on Tuesday morning and then 6+" of snow on Wednesday.  C'MON! This is getting ridiculous! The last time I rode my bike on a trail was December 3rd. 4 freakin' months ago! This is NOT good for my overall mental health and well being. 

Last spring we had 3 blizzards in the month of April. Working in a public place, when people come in they like to talk/bitch about the weather which makes sense because it is something we all have in common.  I jokingly said in a post I was gonna punch the next person out that said "well, we need the moisture". Well, THAT post about got me punched out by someone that felt like we did need the moisture (and they unfriended me on the Book of Faces, sheesh). But guess what people are saying this year? NOTHING. No one is saying the classic old-man'ism "Well, we need the moisture." That's because everyone is SICK OF THE SNOW! 

And, even if we don't get anymore snow this season, it's still gonna be two weeks or so before any trail is dried out enough to ride without causing damage (which is a whole other blogpost). Holy shit, we're going to Moab at the end of the month. There is some technical riding there. I'd really love to be able to ride my mountain bike a few times on some trails before we go, you know just to shake the cobwebs out. 

See this Mother Nature?  This is what we're looking for...

So Mother Nature, if you're reading this, please put the box of wine back in the fridge.  It's time to sober up, give Old Man Winter a kick square in the balls, and take control of the Spring. There are flowers and robins and baby wildlife counting on the weather to be nice. Even more importantly, there is a certain middle-aged man that is tired of riding rollers, swimming monotonous laps in an indoor pool, that would really LOVE to be able to ride his bike on a trail. So, can you sober up long enough to make that happen? Thanks. I knew we could count on you. 

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Winning the Lottery?!

Is that Ron Jeremy winning the Lottery?
The lottery. The thought of a lottery tends to get people all lathered up. The idea of a life changing win is exciting to contemplate. While a lottery win always changes a person's life, it isn't always for the better. Tales of the lottery winner's rags-to-riches-to-rags run rampant and are so common that it's surprising that any one ever plays the lottery. But, there are always the people that think the lottery won't change them, that if they win they'll be the same person yet were before. HA!

"Not-So-Serious, did you win the lottery?" I hear you asking. I'll tell you up front that while I won a lottery, I didn't win the lottery (meaning the multi-million dollar one).

You may remember a few years ago when long time friends Cleaver and Al "won" the lottery and got
Al and Cleaver the last
time they got into Leadville.
into the Leadville 100 and my Lovely and the Boy went to run support for them. When they lined up that morning, I remember pangs of jealousy, thinking I should be lining up with them, although at the time I thought the chance of me riding 100 miles off road were just a pipe dream. It would take a lot of work on my part just to be able to ride 100 miles, much less do it in a race.

So many people want to race Leadville that they have made it a lottery system. $15 gets you a chance in the game. If you're lucky enough to win, you're instantly charged the entry fee for your non-refundable, non-transferable place in the race. Basically, if you win, you better get it in gear cause you're going to Leadville.

Well, that didn't prevent me from entering the Leadville lottery the next year, thinking that if I did get in, that would be great motivation for me to get ready for that race. I signed up and shortly after the 1st of March I got my "Dear John" e-mail saying thanks for the 15 bucks, but unfortunately (or possibly fortunately) you didn't get in, thanks for playing, try again next year.

Then, the Tatanka 100 came about and it was my opportunity to see if I could do 100 miles off road much closer to home. Of course, you all know I was able to complete that first edition of the race, and although it was a bit ugly on my part, I gained valuable knowledge of how to do a 100 miler.

The next year came and so did another entry into Leadville, with the exact same results. Einstein once said (supposedly, although it's also been attributed to Franklin and Twain) the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. Thinking I wanted to get into Leadville was definitely insane. And once again, I raced the Tatanka 100 with much improved results.

So, yet again this year, feeling much like Bill Murray's iconic character Phil Conner and after a
You see that first line?  
slightly drunken pact with Cleaver in a booth at the Dark Horse Saloon at Terry Peak, I signed up for Leadville expecting the same results.  On Tuesday, March 4th, I got my e-mail, only this time it was different.

You know when you get an e-mail and you can see the first line of text on the page showing all your e-mails?  Well, this time it didn't say, "Thanks for the $15 chump and SUCK IT" like it usually does, it said, "Congratulations".  I almost puked when I saw it.  What?  Really?  No.  Yes! NO! YES!  I couldn't wrap my brain around it.  I sent a quick text to Cleaver and my Lovely to make it all seem real, to make sure I wasn't dreaming.  As of this point Cleaver hadn't heard anything, so he was assuming he wasn't in.  I had to let it all sink in.  I swam a quite a bit harder and further than normal the next morning and rode harder the next morning on the rollers.  This was going to mean a LOT of riding this summer.  C'mon snow, melt!

Early the next morning, my shrieking text alert (a sound that my Lovely absolutely HATES) went off.  Naturally, since we've all become slaves to our smarter-than-us phones, I checked to see who/what it was.  It was Cleaver, saying he got his e-mail, which had gone into his junk folder, and HE GOT IN TOO!  I was freakin' stoked!  Sure, there was a bit that was excited as I could glean knowledge from him about the race since he was a veteran now, but more importantly, I was going to get to ride it with one of my best, long time friends!
One of the views at Leadville I probably won't get to enjoy.

I'm not going to sit here and tell you that winning this lottery won't change me, because it will.  And as long as the elevation doesn't kill me, it will for the better.


Sunday, December 22, 2013

Bang your head!


Winter is in full stride here at NSS HQ.  Well, it's kinda been in full stride around here since the October 4th blizzard Atlas made me an Urban Lumberjack™, but since the around the first weekend  of December, we've had real winter.  And for me, with real winter comes a chance to do some other things that interest me, like the chance to strap the board onto my feet and slide down a hill, otherwise known as snowboarding.

Terry Peak opened on the 7th of December this year on a weekend that had crazy below zero temperatures (I think the overnight low was somewhere around -15F) and that prevented me from partaking in the opening weekend.  I love snowboarding but not that much.  Those cold temps pushed me to the next weekend to get my first day of riding in.

I had big plans for last weekend.  Saturday was going to be my first day on the slopes, Sunday would bring the last cyclocross race of the year and a journey into the woods to get a Christmas tree.  Yeah, yeah I know, it's a bit late, but like I said, those cold temperatures weren't worth it.

Saturday morning came and I geared up and headed for Terry.  Getting there right around first chair, I was up the hill and sliding down in the first half of the 9:00 hour.  Somewhere in there I ran into Cleaver and we rode together the rest of the morning.  The snow was fabulous, riding with a friend was fun and the day was just about perfect.  As the noon hour approached, I knew I needed to call it a day soon so I could high-tail it back to RC to pick up the Boy from a birthday party.  Well, I needed to be there no later than 3:00, but that coupled with the fact my leg, you know the one injured from the famous Christmas tree incident of '11, was getting pretty fatigued.  Cleaver and I slid down the hill one last time to the bottom of Kussy and our waiting vehicles.

On the run, I maneuvered to avoid another skier and crashed, falling backwards and hitting the back of my helmeted head on the ground fairly substantially.  It rang my bell a bit, Cleaver came over to ask if I was OK.  Everything seemed in-check, so off we went.  I loaded up and headed home, or so I thought.

I got back to RC and headed over to the apartment complex where the birthday party was and to my luck, the mother of the birthday boy was taking out some garbage, so I followed her into the building, chatted with her at the door for a few minutes and the Boy and I headed for home.

Once at home, the Boy and I went down to the "family room" where I dozed off on the couch while he watched a little TV.  Hey Not-So-Seriuos Cyclist, this is a real damn boring account of your day you might be saying to yourself.  Well, that was all backstory to get you to this interesting part.

When I woke up about 20 minutes later, I was a bit disoriented.  Suddenly I remembered I had to get to the store to send an order but I was confused about what time or day it was.  As I started to really wake up, I realized I didn't remember much of my drive home.  Then I thought about picking the Boy up and found that I remembered seeing the mom outside, following her into the apartment and I remember standing there talking to her but I couldn't remember anything about what we discussed!  WTF?  From the point where I crashed and hit my head to the point where I woke up, there were big gaps in my memory.  And the biggest gap of all was yet to be discovered.

Sunday I got up and felt a tiny bit blurry but not horribly so, so we got our stuff together and headed to Spearfish for the last CX race, help JT get his blog going for the Black Hills Expedition,  and to get a tree on the way home.  My Lovely asked if it was a good idea to do a CX race after hitting my head on Saturday to which I replied, "As long as I don't crash and hit my head again everything should be OK."  In retrospect, that was fairly stupid and I can't really afford to lose anymore grey matter.
At least it wasn't the most expensive tree
we've ever had.

The CX race went off without a hitch, JT's blog was up and running and the tree was harvested and is up and decorated behind me now as I speak (type).  It wasn't until Monday morning when my Lovely said something to me that I realized I really hit my head hard.  She mentioned I had a beer with Cleaver afterwards, which I didn't remember.  A quick text to Cleaver about what the hell happened on Saturday was in order.

At this point Cleaver could have told me just about anything and I would have had to believe it.  But what he did tell me FREAKED me out.  He said after the wreck he asked if I was OK (which I vaguely remember) and I said yes.  We left the mountain and I went with him to Lewie's to have a beer, where I had two IPA's and while I was a bit quiet, I chimed in appropriately on the conversation he was having with another person, NONE OF WHICH I FUCKING REMEMBER!  Seriously, I have ZERO recollection of even pulling into Lewie's, much less having a beer, a conversation or leaving there.  I vaguely remember getting my gear off in the parking lot at Terry Peak and bits and pieces of the drive home, but none of Lewie's at all, which really pisses me off 'cause I love going to
Next time I SWEAR I'll remember.
Lewie's!

Thankfully, I'm OK today (although I have a cold which is obviously unrelated but could have contributed to my fuzzy feeling on Sunday morning).  I'm realizing the common denominator here.  A CX race, snowboarding and a Christmas tree in the same weekend is a recipe for disaster for me.  Two years ago I did a CX race on Saturday and went snowboarding and tree hunting on Sunday and that netted me a torn quad.  This time it was snowboarding on Saturday and CX racing and tree hunting on Sunday that netted me a concussion.  You can bet that I've learned a lesson here.  Doing all 3 of those things in a weekend going to end in tragedy.  Now that I know that, I can prepare for it. Will it stop me from doing all 3 in one weekend in the future?  Probably not.  The next time you see me, if I'm standing there with a vapid look, drooling, just politely wipe that drool away for me.  At least I'm not limping.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Roubaix, Roubaix, Roubaix!

In this case, the Dude does NOT abide.
This weekend, to quote the Dude, "Certain things have come to light." It seems that in Canada there is a bike shop called Cafe Roubaix. It appears that the Cafe Roubaix is a small shop located above an ice cream shop in a little town called Cochrane, Alberta, population 17,580.  This little shop has garnered the attention of one of the biggest bike brands in the world, Specialized Bicycles.

Now, little Cafe Roubaix has not caught the attention of this bike industry behemoth by selling more Specialized bikes than anyone. No, as a matter of fact Cafe Roubaix doesn't even sell Specialized bikes. So, why the hell did this little shop get the attention of the big red "S"? Well, it seems that Cafe Roubaix had the audacity to use the name "Roubaix" in their name.  Roubaix.  A name associated with one of the most grueling road bike races in the world, the Paris-Roubaix, held around Easter weekend since 1896 (117 years for those not mathematically inclined).  A name revered by cyclists the world over because of said race.  A name apparently trademarked by Specialized when they introduced their road bikes of the same name, which I guess is where the problem lies.
I'm guessing this shot was taken sometime before the
1974 creation of Specialized.

But is that where the problem lies?  I guess Specialized trademarked the name but does the town of Roubaix, France, established somewhere in the 9th century, which seems to be before the jackasses at the big red "S" laid claim to the name, sue Specialized for sullying the good name of their fair city by attaching it to their line of mediocre plastic bikes?  Nope.  Or, let's even move locally and look at the little Roubaix Lake here in the Black Hills of South Dakota, which has been around since before me, which is before the 1974 creation of Specialized, which I'm assuming was before their trademark of the name Roubaix.

This kinda reminds me of when Cannondale trademarked the term "freeride" when that was a thing.  They sent cease and desist letters to Rocky Mountain (bikes) which forced them to make the satircal "Froriders".  How did that work out for C'Dale?  Does anyone even ride their bikes anymore, or does anyone use the term "freeride" anymore?
The Froriders laughing at the trademarked term Freerider.
Or, lets just get all the bike companies to sue anyone that uses one of their trademarked names.  Like Kona.  They should sue Hawaii, or any of those companies that sell Kona coffee, or even better since it is quasi-bike related they should sue the Kona Ironman.  How about Salsa?  They could sue Spearfish, SD for the use of that name. Even better, they could just sue anyone that uses the word Salsa!  Force everyone to start calling it Mexican Ketchup.  Hey Specialized, here are a few more for you.  How about every time Phil Liggit says "Ooh, he just hit the tarmac" you get him to pay you a royalty?  He says that about 100 times in the first week of the Tour de France alone.  How about anyone that puts on an Enduro race?  Sue the hell out of them too!  Maybe move to the prison system and give those guys cease and desist letters every time the carve a shiv out of a chicken bone to shank someone in the shower.  They'll have to come up with a different name than Shiv since you own that too.  Kinda ridiculous, no?

So Specialized, I understand protecting your brand but c'mon,  pressuring the people at Cafe Roubaix to change their name is a dick move. We get it, you're a big bully and nothing is going to stop you from world domination.  But just remember, while you may win this battle, you won't win the war.  Just ask Cannondale how that whole trademark thing worked out for them.