Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Happy (?) New Year

I had this whole post almost ready to roll to start the New Year. It was about how we shouldn't make any resolutions other than to resolve to not make resolutions. It was HILARIOUS. Trust me, it might have been my finest work.

Then something happened on New Years Day that made me not post it, but reflect on incident and change my post all together. Our beloved Airedale Abbie died. Suddenly and without warning she died. Honestly, I still am a little confused about the whole thing. I keep thinking that I am going to wake up and she'll be lying there on the couch, just like she always was in the morning.

Let me give a little back story about Abbie. Abbie was a rescue Airedale. She was given to the pound by some fools that got an Airedale and didn't like that she was digging in the yard and they couldn't have a fence either. Um, duh. Airedales dig. That's what they do. And I would think you would find out if you can have a fence in your neighborhood before you get a dog, but whatever. We ended up with her. She was sick with kennel cough and malnourished. A pathetic sight to say the least.

But, we nursed her back to health in a big, BIG way. She ended up being an 80 lb. + Airedale, and not overweight, just a HUGE dog. And turning out to be an awesome dog too. She was great with kids, acting much like the Darling's dog Nana. She would talk to me when she wanted something, with a big, deep "woof". She was a little dog aggressive, getting in fights occasionally with our other Airedale, Pip, and always winning since she was so big and strong.

A few weeks ago, she injured her right rear paw. I noticed a few days ago that her inside toe on that paw was swollen, so we made an appointment at the vet. In we go for a quick procedure to get her all fixed up. Turns out it was an abscessed toe, so she must have got a thorn or sliver or glass or some other foreign object in it. She was checked out, the toe was cleaned out and we were sent on our way with some medication, an antibiotic and a pain killer.

The next day, New Year's Eve, we gave her the medication as prescribed. Then early the next morning, my wife wakes up to her whining/yelping. She thinks Abbie needs to go out. Soon I hear a scream to come to the living room, something is wrong with her. I go out to find her dead. That quick. We immediately call the vet as I try for a minute to give her CPR. It made no difference, she was gone.

After taking her to the vet for cremation, she was also given an "autopsy" or whatever they call it for dogs. Basically they're saying it was an adverse reaction to the pain killing medication. Not acceptable and not cool. We were given no warning at all about this medication. After an online search, we find out that there are a lot of people that have had similar issues with this medication.

I'll come back later this week with a better (not depressing) post. For my mental health, I need to.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

It's gone VIRAL...

As you may remember, back on Halloween, I participated (I would have said raced but we all know I didn't really race...too slow) in the SD State Championship CX race. And after the race, as you also may remember, my picture showed up on the front of the Black Hills Pioneer paper from the Northern Black Hills. WELL, a funny thing happened...

Betsy C., the person that put on the race, sent me a copy of the picture from the paper and on the bottom of said picture, there was a little note saying something to the effect of "I loved the costume, your man-pelt is awesome and if you want a better copy of it, I know the guy that took it and can get you one." OK, maybe some of that was made up, but the promise of a hi-res picture of my gut, man-pelt and rock hard nipples (it was chilly out that day) was real and I took her up on it.

I read All Hail The Black Market on a regular basis and there is some crazy-fun stuff on there and a lot of cross (cyclocross, not cross dressing, though it could be both) references, so I figured that my picture should go to Stevil. So, I sent it with a brief description of what he was seeing, not that the picture wasn't worth a thousand words, and low and behold, he posted it on his blog for all the world to see. Yes, I posted it on my blog a while back too, but I have somewhere around 4 readers and Stevil has at least 1000 readers, so in my world it went viral.

Now, this morning, I get up, do my stupid morning stuff, and plop my ass (which is about as hairy as my chest) down on the couch and check the normal sites I check in the morning. When I am on Dirt Rag's website, where I usually check out the forums, I scroll down to see Team Fubar-Gots some 'splaining to do!. Obviously, I click on the link to re-read my post to Stevil. Now it is on yet ANOTHER website that has a lot more readers than this sad little blog (8600+ members). Holy crap...yep, viral.

That picture is really phenomenal. If you look at it on a hi-def monitor or TV (as I am doing right now) you can actually see my nipples are distended from the cold. Maybe I should grow a man-pelt/comb-over combo to cover those sensitive little suns-a-bitches with some warmth-giving fur. In addition, the pelt is also quite a thing to behold. I often get asked if I shave my legs (a cyclist thing to do) and I always say no. Where the hell would I stop? The top of my thighs? Then I'd look like I was wearing a fur unitard. And if I shaved the whole shootin' match, well, there isn't enough time in the day. I've got too much other shit to do.

Little did I know that acting like a jackass at a cross race, donning only my bib knickers, some arm warmers, a cape, a luchadore mask, growing a beautiful, scintillating man-pelt and exposing my nipples for the world to see would create such a fervor (with a little shameless self-promotion on my part). Good to see the world isn't so serious.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Stinky Bathrooms

I have a question. Why, oh why, do public restrooms, especially those in grocery stores, perpetually smell like diarrhea?

I went to the store tonight and suddenly had to take a leak. I opened the door and the smell of hot shit hit me in the face like someone throwing a wet wash cloth over my nose and mouth. A tiny bit of throw-up went into the back of my mouth, but I still had to snap the bean, so one deep breath and in I went.

I suppose, the only people that would actually shit in a public restroom are those that have some sort of mental instability or someone that may have gone on a Coors Light and Taco Tuesday bender the night before, with the latter being the more likely.

I think that a person could clean the bathroom and while the janitor was in there, it would smell like bleach and sunshine and the second, absolute SECOND they walk out, it would instantly smell like hot shit.

I hope someone out there can give me a response to why this phenomena happens. Or maybe not. Maybe I have over thought this one.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

The Bike-a-holics Anonymous

I want to start by saying thanks to all the well wishers and visitors that we had regarding Li'l Tex. But she's back up and running in full force! A few pheasants and a turkey (not to mention other dead animals) later proves that she's running like a champ!

But the real reason I am here is to talk about...BIKES. Yeah, surprising isn't it? Well maybe not really surprising, but this isn't what you'd think. I want to talk about new bikes and how a person feels about a new bike.

My buddy (the Prince from earlier posts) Brian got a new ride. And boy, did he ever get a new ride. He got the mack-daddy of new rides, a Trek Top Fuel 9.9 SSL with Sram XX grouppo, carbon wheels, the works. It is $7400 of rolling sex. It is fast, strong, light and absolutely gorgeous. I seriously don't know how he got a new bike this time of the year and not be able to ride it. I know it sounds like I am jealous of him, but I am not. Not even in the least. I am completely stoked for him. And it makes me want to get a new ride.

New bikes are weird. If you're really into bikes and riding, when your riding buddies get a new bike, it's cool. You're happy for them. You want to check out their new rides, go ride with them, watch them cry when they get the first scratch on it, and experience the whole thing with them. It is almost like living vicariously through them. And while I would never want the bike Brian got, I now want a new bike.

I want a Moots Mooto-X YBB with Sram XX and a Reba fork (OK, so it has some of the same stuff as Brian's bike). I just don't know what lengths I am prepared to go to for one. I am thinking that there is a possibility of selling my motorcycle for one. I can't believe I am saying that. I waited a long time to get that motorcycle, but that is the draw of a new bike. Once you've tasted a new ride, you can't go back. Wanting a new ride is like an eating disorder, a meth and a sex addiction all rolled into one. You can't get enough to satisfy the hunger. As a friend once said "How many bikes does a person need? Just one more."

So, "Hi, I am NSS and I am a Bike-A-Holic." Now, which step is the first of the 12 I need to take?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Let's take a moment of silence!

There has been a tragic and SERIOUS situation here at Not-so-serious headquarters. A family member has been diagnosed with a serious illness. I have been in communications with people that can help and we are hoping that we can rectify the situation today.

I know you're asking; Who is sick? What is going on? Well let me tell you. It's our Traeger Li'l Tex BBQ070 grill. It is a VERY serious situation and it has been a very tough week since Li'l Tex went down. I discovered last Wednesday that the heating element went out of our grill and Li'l Tex was put on the transplant list, stat. We fired the ol' girl up last night using the manual starting method, and it worked fine, but it isn't the same.

I hear the follow up questions; What is a Traeger Li'l Tex BBQ070 grill? Why is it a serious situation? Who CARES?

Well, if you've ever had the JOY of having or using a Traeger, you'd understand my pain. It is a pellet grill. A pellet grill uses pellets that are not unlike the pellets people use in the stoves to heat your house, but they (the pellets) are not just for heating. They have flavored woods (garlic, onion, etc.) and they have different woods (oak, hickory, mesquite, etc.) for adding the perfect flavor to you favorite foods. The pellets dump from a hopper, via an auger system, into a combustion chamber, which is ignited by said heating element. A person could smoke meats, grill foods, and even use the grill as a CONVECTION oven. We've smoked chickens, turkeys, grilled any kind of foods on it you could imagine (including bacon!), and made bread and pizza on it. The Traeger grill makes me look like a grilling genius! And, while there is a certain touch that a person still has to have with grilling, it takes a good "griller" and makes them AWESOME. People that typically make their food look like the charcoal they are cooking with NEED a Traeger. You have to work hard to burn stuff on a Traeger. Even the most absent minded griller can use a Traeger with success. I know I sound like a paid reviewer of Traeger products, but trust me, I paid hard earned money for my Traeger. Thats how much I love this grill.

We cook/grill on it 4-5 times per week and since it has been broken, I've been lost. When it comes time to make dinner, I feel like I have some sort of amnesia or dementia. I don't know what to do. I keep going to the door, thinking that everything will be OK, but it isn't. Li'l Tex isn't going to heal itself, as much as I want it to. I have done all that I can. I've put Li'l Tex on the transplant list and I have an excellent set of tools. Now, it is time to wait. The life-flight team (FedEx) is scheduled to bring in the transplant organs today and for my sanity and their health, I hope they come through.

Now, I just need to decide on the first thing to grill on Li'l Tex once the transplant is successful. Buffalo burgers or some steaks? Hmmm...maybe both.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Why do we slide into a persistant state of douchebaggery?

We've all done it. Every single one of us that ride bikes, from time to time, fall into a persistant state of douchebaggery. We have good intentions, but it often spirals out of control, to the point where people not in our sport (or into our sport) start to glass over completely. Let me explain...

I went on a ride the other day with some guys I met for the first time. At some point of the ride, we were stopped, waiting for another rider and someone started talking about durometers of the rubber of their tires. WTF? Seriously? We're gonna talk about the tackiness and the firmness of tires when we've just ripped down some sweet-assed singletrack at night? God, no wonder friends and family that don't bike don't want to. They probably think they have to take some sort of college class so they know how to talk the talk. Most newbies just want to know they did OK on that section of trail or that the iron taste that is in their mouths, caused by the blood in their lungs, will eventually go away and they won't get it on every ride.

Conversely, I went for a beautiful Thanksgiving morning ride with some other friends and beyond the fact that one rider had a blown derailleur cable/housing, another one was riding a WAY old school bike and yet another was riding a cross bike (damn, he's one hard dude. A cross bike on the trail we rode makes for one tough dude) there was minimal talk of bikes. We talked about the trails, the potential of new trails and some of the history of the area. Way more chill and laid back. And even though there were no newbies on this ride, it would have been a ride that anyone would have felt good on.

I think when riders get together, there is some testosterone fueled posturing going on. "I know more about bikes than you do" or "I am more into bikes than you" and we've all fallen into this trap. Bikes are techy and expensive and fun. I mean who doesn't like to get a shiny new trinket whether it is a new bell for your handlebar to a new bike. And when we do, we like to brag about this stuff and show it off. We want to let other riders know that our purchase of this tire is well thought out and it works really well in this terrain. We want to justify that part that we spent more money on than most people think is sane to spend on a whole bike. We want our fellow riders to respect us as not just a bike rider, but a cyclist. The whole lifestyle, not just that ride.

But temper that when you feel it boil up into the back of your throat. To paraphrase what a certain Tour de France champion said, it's not about the bike. It's about the ride. It's about hanging with good friends and making new ones. Sure, the bike can make it more enjoyable and possibly less difficult, but think about your first ride. I doubt you remember how the bike performed, but I bet you do remember where you were, the trail you rode and the people you rode with. That's what riding is all about. Gowan now, go ride.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Are you ready for some football?

As promised, I will detail, in excruciating minutia, my Monday Night Football experience. OK, maybe not that detailed, but I will give you an overview of the craziness that was the Pittsburgh Steerlers (remember an earlier post and my LOVE of the Steelers) v. the Denver Broncos.

Let me give you some back story here. I have known for 6 years that the Steelers would be playing in Denver this year. I saw them play there in 2003 and knowing how the NFL schedule works, every team not within the same division will play each other a minimum of every 3 years, alternating the city. So, 2006 Denver went to Pittsburgh and in 2009, Pittsburgh came back to Denver (and they'll be back in 2015, just an FYI).

Knowing this, I watched all off-season for the second that tickets went on sale. Long story short, Ticketmaster and the whole ticket purchasing process is a SCREW JOB. I had 3 people online, logged into Ticketmaster and the second they went on sale we all tried to get tickets for this game with absolutely ZERO success. I call bullshit. Bullshit on how they sell tickets, make 'em available, the works. And the NFL wonders why they have stadiums that aren't sold out. It's because true fans that want tickets can't get them unless they go through a scalper and pay about 3-5 times their face value.

Alright, I'll get off my soap box now. So another long story short, I got tickets through my brother, who got 'em through a client, for basically face value. Three rows off the field in the North end zone. SWEET! And while not being able to see the other end of the field as well as I'd like, I found the experience of our seats really cool. At one point, when the Steelers were starting their drive back by the end zone, they took a time out and were standing around about 10-15 yards ahead of us. I always knew that football players were big, but some of them are freakishly large humans.

I went to the game with my mom, who is a big time Steelers fan as well. As a matter of fact, when the Steelers rolled into Denver and laid the smack down on the Broncos in 2006 for the AFC Championship, my mom and I went to that game together too. We got to the stadium this time about 30 minutes before kick-off on an absolutely gorgeous November evening. I was able to wear a long sleeve shirt under my old school Greg Lloyd jersey to the game. A perfect night for watching some football!

Just before the game starts, I hear someone yell "Chris", then "Seeley", and as I turn around I see a face I recognize, but it doesn't register. After about 10 seconds, I realize that it is the brother of the Princess (see earlier posts)! I didn't recognize him immediately since it was out of context. I never expected to see someone I know in a crowd of 76,000, and here is a person I know sitting 3 seats behind me. Kinda crazy.

So the game starts and as usual, there is a lot of good natured jawing back and forth with Broncos fans. It is pretty fun and people are usually pretty cool about it. As the first half progresses, which is fairly close, a guy sitting behind my mom is pissing her off pretty badly with his verbal diarrhea, so I am now having to reel in a 57 year old woman. Nice. It should be the other way around, shouldn't it?

The second half starts and the Steelers start putting the hammer down and begin pulling away. I hear two crazy women yapping at each other starting to get more intense. This is important as at the end of the third quarter or the beginning of the fourth quarter, shit hits the fan.

The action was down at the other end of the field, so a bunch of Steelers fans were standing up, looking down field at the action, myself included. The next thing I know, I am being hit in the back by something. I turn around to find a woman with a Steelers jersey on had been pulled or jumped over 2 or 3 rows of people onto a woman with a Broncos jersey. Hair was being pulled, slapping, scratching, this was a full blown, booze-soaked cat-fight! We were hollering for security, without getting immediate assistance. I was hoping that one of them would get their top ripped off, but that only happens in bad cable TV shows and in dreams.

The fight probably only lasted about 1-2 minutes, but it felt like it lasted a lot longer. Security finally showed up and took the two women away (and I use the term women very loosely in this case, as the obviously both barely qualify) and a few that got sucked into the melee. As the cops were "cleaning up" the boyfriend of the Steelers jersey wearing woman, though he was more akin to Jabba the Hutt wearing full Seattle Seahawks gear (did he know what game he was at?), pushed a cop. Holy SHIT, I thought, it is ON LIKE DONKEY KONG! The cop turned around and said "Did you just push me?" To which Captain Dumbass replies, "You pushed me first" and with that, he pushes the cop again! In no time at all, the cop has got this guy's left arm up behind his back and has his head slammed down on a seat back, with his forearm pushing down on the Captain's neck. Meanwhile, we miss TWO series of the football game.

A few of the hooligans finally were allowed to come back to their seats and everything was chill in our section for the rest of the game. Oh, yeah, the Steelers WHOOPED the Broncos ass too! All in all a great night. The Steelers won, I went to the game with my mom and a rad cat-fight broke out!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Ridin' in my old stomping grounds.

Episode III, Revenge of the Park.

Last Sunday morning (well, I guess 2 Sundays ago, since I am a PROcrastinator. No, actually, like a fine wine, I wanted you to savor the last two posts, note their subtle nuances, their nose...yeah, that's it!) I headed for Colorado to see a Monday Night Football game, which I'll describe in my next post. I went down a day early to hang out with Bobki and get some riding in at Palmer Park in Colorado Springs.

Palmer Park is a saving grace of an otherwise psychotic city and is just one of the very, very few things I actually miss about living there. It is 20+ acre wild "park" smack dab in the middle of the city. It has over 20 miles of trails, with everything ranging from beginner singletrack to the toughest, technical singletrack. It is an oasis in a sea of shit.

Anyhow, I make it to the 'Springs to ride with Bobki around noon. We make our way over to PP and start riding some loops that I have ridden at least 100 times. At least.

We make our way around on a fairly fun ride, making a lot of technical stuff. Riding here felt familiar and comfortable, like an old pair of jeans. Felt great! As we're wrapping up our ride, we drop down Cheyenne trail, which is the trail we started our ride on. I am flying and feelin' great! Floating over stuff, jumping off of rock drops, railing corners, I was on my A game.

We make it to the bottom of the trail and I even make the hard 200+ degree off-camber switchback at the bottom. We stop and chat for about 10 seconds, then were off. I am following Bobki down a set of stairs/waterbars at a fairly good clip. Which is when everything went as sour as grandma's potato salad left out on a July day.

sssshhhh CLICK: Um, Houston? This is Apollo 13, we have a problem here. Trajectory is all wrong. Requesting ground assistance with our flight path. Nevermind...it's too late. Apollo out. sssshhhh CLICK.

At the bottom, my front wheel dropped into a hole of some sort and much like a medieval catapult, I went flying. My bike made a complete flip and continued on down the trail, much like a horse with its rider shot off. Bobki heard the commotion and was able to stop soon enough to see my bike, riderless, continuing on by itself.

I landed on my right side, smacking my head HARD. I sit up and inspect myself and helmet. Everything still moved and nothing hurt too bad. Upon inspection, I have a hand sized bruise and scrapes on each knee and I broke my helmet. SONOFABITCH. I loved that helmet. That is the 4th helmet I've broken (while on my head) and the second one Palmer Park has claimed. Coincidentally, I was with Bobki when I broke both of them. Hmmmm, I better take a closer look at that.

All in all, everything is fine. My knees are all healed up, I have a back up helmet and my bike came through unscathed. I guess it is good to get a crash or two out of the way once and a while. Shows you're riding hard and paying a flesh penalty to the Earth. I just don't want to break helmets anymore. I am tired of wiping that involuntary drool off of my keyboard every once and a while.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Night riding with my son

OK, onto part two (of 4 or 5) of my recent history.

So the next night after our group night ride on the "M", I took my 7 year old son on his first night ride aboard the tandem. I phoned up Aaron, (well, actually sent him a text, but that sounds like shit. Saying phoned sounds more friendly, like you talked with Marge the switchboard operator before she connected me with Klondike5-4345...good GOD I sound old!) and he met us for the ride.

I got our tandem set up with the lights and put a Petzel headlamp on my son's helmet. I wanted him to have some light so he could see stuff along the trail so it wouldn't be scary, but not have the light be so bright that it was distracting to me trying to see the trail. The light worked perfect for him! The only thing I need to work with him on is not looking directly into someone's face/eyes with the light on. We stopped at the top and he kept looking at me with his light burning. I think I still have little blue dots floating around in my vision.

We rode a basic 5 mile loop on M-Hill, basically riding the same loop I rode the previous night with the group. It was great! My son absolutely LOVED it. I don't think there was ever a time that we rode singletrack that he was so excited about doing it. Heck, at one point he was even singing "I got a feelin', that tonight's gonna be a good night, that tonight's gonna be a good good night...I got my money, let's spend it up!" I love the fact he is still young enough to burst into song when the moment calls for it and not be embarrassed. I think Aaron liked the ride too, and I think it was his second or third night ride, so I think it was a successful ride.

We're ready to do another one soon, so as I fall behind on my posts, it will just add one more in the queue.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

WOW, so much to talk about...

Man-o-man, a WHOLE BUNCH of stuff has happened since my last post, which is why my last post was so long ago, so with a big gulp of cold brewed coffee, here we go. Most likely, this will be a two parter, as this is a tale of two states.

The weather has really changed around here...changed for the better! This last week was primo and perfect for riding. After the last cross race, I sent an e-mail out for our "group" or "club" or whatever the hell you wanna call the Ramblers, about our monthly "meeting" and the reinstitution of our weekly rides. I say "meeting" in quotes as they aren't really a meeting at all, but just a bunch of guys using the excuse of a meeting to get out of the house for an evening of being free of any responsibility at all and to drink beer, tell stories and act like we're all 22 and single again (and by single again, I don't mean trolling for chicks. I mean just no responsibility and talking like our wives aren't around.)

So, Thursday night was our first night ride. We; myself, JT, Jay, Chad, John, and Greg, met at about 5:30 at the parking lot of M-Hill and after JT chugged his last beer we were off. There is something cool about looking at a string of lights working their way down a series of switchbacks at night. A nice loop around the top, down a sweet new trail on the backside, back up a series of switchbacks and down a "technical" trail and back to the cars. It is beer:30, off to the Firehouse!

We all descend upon the Firehouse Brewery and Grill like starving rats upon a dropped bit of hot dog, with much fervor and excitement.

Once inside we have a round or two of beer and dinner is delivered. It is funny how when you've ridden with a group of guys, when you're drinking there is a lot of talking and laughter going on, but once there is food, it is basically quiet. And in this quiet we really noticed a table of women to our side that was out of control. You'd hear mumble...mumble...mumble...MANIACAL LAUGHTER...mumble...mumble...mumble...MANIACAL LAUGHTER...etc. So finally after we all had to look at the table a few times and make some sort of snide comment I finally had enough. I rolled up my beanie and marched over to their table with a bit of a crazed look on my face, slammed my hands down on their table and asked "What is so goddamned funny over here?" A look of surprise and a bit of nervous laughter came from the women and they explained they go there every Thursday night and have their own "club" meeting. Their laughter was much quieter after that and soon they disbanded and left. Yup, I still have it! I have about as much moxie and mojo with the ladies as someone farting in church. It's cute when you're 3 or 4, but completely revolting and inappropriate at any age afterwards.

Soon afterwards we disband as well. It feels like it is about 11 pm, but in reality it is 8:45. Good grief we're getting old.

Well, that was long enough for today. I still have another night ride with my son (his first), a ride with JT, a ride in Colorado and a Monday Night Football to talk about...I better get crackin' huh?

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Quite possibly the GREATEST weekend ever...

Since we've moved back to the Great White North (otherwise known as South Dakota) I've had a job unlike any I've had before. I am off most weekends, so my they start around 5:30 on Friday nights.

This last weekend also contained the ultimate Halloween day, Saturday. Kids have all day to get ready for it, don't have to sit in class and think about it all day, and still have Sunday to work off that sugar-induced hangover. We had the makings for a perfect storm this weekend.

So, our weekend started off Friday night with a Halloween party for my son. He wanted to have friends over for a small party, which was a great idea on paper. In reality, having 6 screaming 7-8 year olds running around your house make you realize that we're definitely a one child family. In all seriousness, it was fun and at one point during the evening, all the kids broke out in impromptu song, which was really cute and cool.

Saturday came with a clear sky and warm temps, which was perfect for my 3rd cross race! Since the race was on Halloween and it was a cross race, costumes were encouraged. I had mine all planned out and we jumped in the truck and sped off toward the Wyoming border where the race took place.

Once there, much to my joy, I found out they were gonna do 2 races, a short course and a long course! YEA! 30 minutes this time as opposed to an hour. After it was all said and done, I probably should have raced the long course, but hey, what the hell. So, I got the costume on (for which I have no pictures yet, so you'll have to take my word) which consisted of; bib knickers, arm warmers, a red cape and a Nacho Libre mask! And no, much to the dismay of many onlookers, I had NO JERSEY on. To say I am hirsute is an understatement. I have never shaved my legs for cycling because I wouldn't know where to stop. I have hair from the top of my head all the way to some weird tufts on the tops of my toes. So I was in my furry glory...it was SWEET! I had hairy-luchadore power!
My class had 4 or 5 guys and about 6 or 7 girls line up for the race. I knew if I was going for only 30 minutes, I had to put the hammer down. They told us, since each lap was about 8 minutes long, we'd go 3 laps and call it. And we were off. I was right on the heels of the leader through the first lap, but after the last run up and through some seriously grassy, wet section, he pulled away a bit, leaving me and the eventual 2nd place rider about 50 yards behind.

I duked it with the 2nd place dude for a little while on the 2nd lap and he got a bit ahead of me. As we rounded the corner for the start of the 3rd lap, I gave 'er all I could and couldn't quite catch him. I finished in 3rd place, which was kinda last place cause the girls were there for mostly fun (though I guess I was too). It was still a lot of fun to race in costume, though a cape wasn't the best racing accessory.

That night, trick-or-treating went off without a hitch for my son. He went around a few blocks of the neighborhood and decided he was done and wanted to come home and hand out candy. He'd rather watch the kids (or customers as he calls 'em) come to the door and see their costumes.

After an extra hour of sleep (since DST ended), Sunday came and I got a 2 hour ride in on M-Hill with a couple of cousins. We hit a newly cut trail, which was super sweet and flowy and had an awesome ride. They did an outstanding job of building those trails. Even after some snow this last week, the trails were still a bit damp, but the water runs right off without any damage. Great job to the planning crew and IMBA for those sweet trails.

Finally, I finished up by doing 5 hours of yard work. In our house we have a saying with our son "first we work, then we play". We definitely played first this weekend, but I made up for it. I have to say though, the yard looks great now and it is basically ready for the next round of snow or storm, but I am not, I'd love a few more rides.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

I HATE to run...

The title says it all. We, in the upper portion of the US, have entered the silly season where the weather has NO idea what it wants to do. Sun one day, cloudy the next, sun again, snow the next, rain the next day, etc, etc, etc. Riding a bike out-of-doors is difficult at best, impossible at worst during this time of year. So, what to do? Put the bike on the trainer inside? No, not yet. Riding indoors is bad enough, much less starting in October. So, a few weeks ago I started to run. Running feels way too much like training. It hurts. It jars your knees, your ankles and your feet. It stinks.

But, in just a few short weeks it has gotten to the point where I HAVE to get up and run in the morning. In the rare day when I missed running in the morning, I felt all irritable and weird. I am not going that far, just a few miles, but I feel like I have to do it.

I was doing a shorter loop by the house, but now I am running down through a little park where I can run on the grass so I don't kill my feet/joints so much. There is a point about 3/4 of a mile in where I feel like I hit my stride. All of the sudden it feels pretty good to run. The fresh air in my lungs, seeing the world starting to wake up, seeing wildlife (I saw a couple of foxes run across the trail the other morning), getting the heart rate going to wake up for the day.

*GASP* I love to run...I can't believe I talked myself into this. And you know, running is almost like training.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Cyclocross race 2.0

Well, I did it. I finally competed in my second cyclocross race. I say competed loosely as you know, I am not in any sort of contention, except for maybe the Lanterne Rouge. And, I said finally, not for the fact that I was anticipating the race, but more because of a snafu of when the race actually took place.

As I said in that ancient post below, this race was, as was my understanding, to take place on Ocotber 17th. I got up that morning, got all ready, and rolled the six blocks to the park with my son to the race venue to find...nothing. Nothing except my friend Jim, who was also looking for the race. After some junior sleuthing, we found that we were either wrong, misinformed or the date was changed. Hard to discern as the date on the website said the race was Saturday the 27th. Um, there is not a Saturday the 27th in October this year. All I can figure it originally said the "17th" and they went in to change the date and only changed the "1" to a "2" but didn't change the "7" to a "4". So, that's the story I'm sticking with. I couldn't have been wrong.

Long story short, Jim and I ended up going for a ride. We couldn't waste a nice day moping about because we didn't have a race (I actually was happy it wasn't that day). So, we ended up riding up M-Hill (my usual mountain bike after-work ride) on our cross bikes, giving me a little different perspective.

ANYHOW (geez, what a wind bag), I did race my second cross race this weekend. As I had mentioned, it took place only six blocks from my house. That coupled with the fact that the guy that puts the race on happens to be my son's dentist. And my son had a dentist appointment on Friday, after which I spoke with him and he asked "Are you racing tomorrow?" Before I even had a chance to make up a lie, hem and haw, or even engage my brain for a logical answer, my mouth had blown it for me "Yup, it is only six blocks from my house, so I'll be there" came out. Shit. I guess I am committed now. No backing out of this one.

On Saturday morning, my son and I cruised down to the venue on our bikes. He was going to do the "hand-ups" to me and cheer me on. The race took off without a hitch and quickly I was squirted out the back like the last drop of toothpaste from a tube. It wasn't immediately, but it happened without a ton of effort.

The course had a cool layout. Right in the middle was a picnic shelter that was the finish area, so my son hung out there and rang a traditional cowbell for me as I came around. In the middle was a small obstacle to jump then a short, steep hill to run up and/or struggle up on a bike. Then back down the otherside, another few obstacles, then back through a creek/wooded area. A 1.2 mile loop which we attacked for 60 minutes. SIXTY MINUTES. Did you see that? When they said we were going for that long, I started to cry once again (much like the first race). We were also told that at 5 laps to go we'd be told as such. At about 35 minutes in at about 6 laps, I was wondering where the call was. At about 45-50 minutes in, I started to cry again as there was still no call for 5 laps to go. I thought maybe I didn't hear it since I was so far off the back, but the man was kind enough to call 2 laps to go. Thank GOD.

I finished up the two laps and as I came into the finish area, the "fast guys" were hanging out by the end and they all cheered me coming across. Damn. The cycling community can be so cool. Giving props to a guy for finishing, even if it was 5 or 6 minutes behind them (and maybe a lap or two). A cool group of guys and gals out hurting themselves together and having fun, no attitudes, especially like the one I encountered last time. I am really glad I did this one. A really fun course with a fun group of people.

I would be remiss if I didn't mention that my son was an AWESOME "pit crew". Every lap through, he'd ring his cow bell (which a cool guy there gave to him) and ask me if I needed water. He held the bottle up every time around even if I didn't need water. What a cool kid.

Well, next Saturday is the Halloween final race. Maybe Nacho Libre needs to make an appearance! If he does, I'll definitely post some pics. NAAAACCCCCHOOOO....

Friday, October 16, 2009

I've lost my inspiration.

I've lost my inspiration to write semi-truthful, quasi-humorous stuff. My inspiration is riding my bike, especially by myself. Getting a chance to go out on a ride, whether it is on the road or on the trail, is the opportunity to clear the cobwebs from the deepest corner of the cerebral attic and find those little nuggets that bug you. Those things that just as you're falling to sleep, your mind latches onto and you start thinking about them and then prevents you from falling asleep. Usually, I can work those things out when I am on a ride and then I can come here and spew them out in a partially intelligible fashion. And now the weather has taken an ugly turn and riding is out, so I am not getting a chance to think about stupid, nonsensical stuff and in turn, bestow it upon this blog.

The day after my CX race, something weather-wise rolled in and has kinda hung out here ever since. Wet, windy and cold. Some rain, some snow and all crap. Ok, I know what you're thinking, hard riders would go out in this and ride anyhow, buck up you weenie and go out and ride. And I will in the snow and the cold, but this is kinda that in-between weather that slops out the trail and going on an hour ride will cause two hours worth of cleaning on the bike and about 3 weeks worth of trail work.

It's gotten to the point that I have started...*gasp*...running! Yikes, I MUST be desperate for some sort of outdoor activity. I took one of our dogs on the trail on Sunday and took a run around my side of town on another day. One would think I am sick, having some remnants of the H1N1 that was floating around the house that swined up my brain. And, unfortunately, I haven't worked my way up to long enough distance running to get a chance to think about a lot of stuff, but if this weather keeps up, I will.

The upside of all this is the weather is lifting and it looks like a nice weekend is in store. Saturday and Sunday in this 60's and possibly 70's, with another CX race on Saturday. I have a feeling that there should be at least one post in all of that. And I KNOW you're looking forward to those musings.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Now I can eat only waffles and be a cycling snob

For a few days I have been contemplating my post about my first cyclocross race. I've been holding off putting anything down in "print" mostly due to my desire to attach pictures to this post and not wanting to go all the way out to the car, get my camera, charge the batteries and upload the pictures. I guess I'll put pictures in later, so I hope my words weave a picture in your mind, but don't expect a thousand words.

So, as I alluded to, I raced in my first 'cross race this weekend. I say raced because, well I am quite sure I didn't race as much as just ride, but it was called a race and since I was a participant I guess I raced and I was a racer.

Initially, I was just going to go watch, but the "Prince" (go back and see some of the previous posts to see the explanation of the Prince) prodded me into doing it because he called me a pussy in a text message. And, as everyone knows, being called a pussy by a cell phone text message is akin to putting a horse head in my bed or saying bad things about my mom...the gauntlet was thrown down and so I had to do it.

So, I dragged the family to Spearfish at 9 in the morning on Saturday for the 10 am start of my first cross race. Once there, we hooked up with the Prince, Princess and their royal court (their awesome little girls). The Prince and I did a practice lap and immediately I wondered why the hell I signed up for this. Each lap was somewhere around 1/2 to 2/3 of a mile on the rolling hills of the Black Hills State University campus. Did I mention the ENTIRE race was on grass? You know what it is like to ride on grass? Like running in mud. A lot of effort put in for not a lot of gain.

At 10 am, the race organizer (and coincidentally my son's dentist) called for a quick pre-race meeting. I had hoped for a 30 minute race and immediately those hopes were thrown to the ground and stomped into the grassy terrain of the course. He says we'll go for 50 minutes....50 MINUTES! Aye caramba. I immediately felt a bit of vomit in the back of my mouth. Before I get much of a chance to wrap my brain around any of this, we're off and "racing". Seeing the lead guys with their strength and seriousness I said to myself that if I didn't get lapped in the first lap, I'd be happy. Well, it took almost 4 revolutions of grassy goodness to get lapped, so I felt OK about things.
After my 5th lap, the woman (and I use the word "woman" in the nicest sense of the word, during the race I was positive that she was some sort of succubus or chupacabra, making a pact with the devil) said we had 5 more laps to go. 5 LAPS TO GO? Holy CRAP. Tears ran down my face and they were decidedly NOT from going fast. My legs already felt like two old Twizzlers left on the dashboard of your car for a week after a road trip through the desert, how was I gonna do one more lap, much less five?

I have to say, most of the people there were totally cool. The fastest guys, when they lapped me, said things like "good job" and "keep it up" and I reciprocated. All except one douche bag. I don't know if the thought it was going to inspire me, but when he barked "You're gonna have to get it in gear", had no inspirational effect on me at all. At all. Immediately I wanted to stop in the trees and bash him right off his bike with a branch. Why does a guy, not even CLOSE to the top 2 racers and no chance of catching them have to act like we're in Belgium at the World Championships? Sheesh. I suppose it was because he realized he and I were in the same boat, getting schooled by the race leader and he was upset that he and I were somewhat equals. Yeah, he beat me, but he also lost with me too.

So, I did finish the race, in spite of what my brain said to do. And I am glad that I saw it through. I love that taste of iron in your mouth when you do something so aerobically hard you know your lungs are bleeding. And with another race in a week and a half, I will have to go do it again.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Curt Gowdy State Park

Well, we (the Queen City Ramblers) just got back from our quasi-semi-annual Fall bike trip. We normally have a Spring bike trip to the desert of Utah and Western Colorado, but the Fall trip is not necessarily a guarantee. So, let me give you a bit of back story.

One of the founding members of the Ramblers, Bobki, moved again and left for the madness of the Front Range of Colorado. When I looked for a location of a fall trip, I wanted to find someplace that Bobki could hook up with us. When I was a Front Ranger, I had heard about Curt Gowdy, but had never been there. Located half-way between Cheyenne, WY and Laramie, WY, it was a no-brainer to go there. After a couple of weeks of negotiating and planning, we (9 of us from the Northern climes) set out for Southern WY last Friday.

We got to CG after dark, so no idea where camp spots are or what the park looks like, but we set up camp and proceed to get a bit inebriated, which is customary for a Rambler trip. So, sitting around the campfire until midnight, telling bullshit stories and razzing the hell out of each other, we had a good first night.

The next morning,we wake up with a the sun and what appears to be a beautiful day. We can see the entrance of the park and notice cars rolling in with bikes in tow. Sweet. We came to the right place. A little bit later, after we see a LOT more cars coming into the park, we wonder what the heck is going on. A bit of recon later, we find out there is an 8 hour race in the park. Shit. Hopefully this doesn't put a damper on our ability to ride. We proceed to cook breakfast and prep for the day. While doing this, the wind comes up. This is significant as it will be a bigger part of the story later.

We search around and find out that the race is confined to the Northwest side of the park, so we can ride all the stuff down around the reservoirs, which is what we did. As we ride the back from the out-and-back nature of the ride, we are riding into a fairly severe head wind. As we get back to camp, we find our tents folding in on themselves with the wind. Crap. Could be a rough night ahead. JT asks if we should move camp, to which I reply, "Nah, the wind should die down after dark." No more prophetic and less WRONG words could have ever been spoken.

Lunch and another ride later, we're back at camp getting ready to head to Laramie for drinks and dinner. We get to Laramie and head to Mulligan's bar, which is owned by an aunt and uncle of mine. After getting fairly tuned up (again) we go to dinner, where everyone is feeling fine and a few of the more "free-spirits" of our group are getting a bit wild, with some indecent proposals to my aunt, the waitress and each other, but it was all in good fun and no one was offended.

Back to camp at about 10:30 or so, we find our stuff strewn about like a hurricane came through. Holy SHIT, the wind is blowing. Gusts up to 60+ m.p.h. fling things like campstoves and full totes off of picnic tables. We tighten down guylines on the tent and head to bed. As the night progresses, we continually have to straighten the tent out as the wind blows it in on us. Sleep isn't going so well. Finally around 2 am, the tent craps out on us and the poles, which had been flexed in a fashion they weren't intended for about 2000 times, break. FUCK. An almost brand new tent, fairly demolished. So, down comes the tent and we "sleep" in the truck. Around 3 or so, the wind dies and it is dead calm. Finally! But, maybe I spoke too soon, as around 4:30, the wind starts back up like nothing changed. WHAT THE HELL? Was it the eye of the hurricane? Sure as hell feels like it.

As the sun comes up, we all get out of the tents and/or cars and assess the day. We pack up camp and decide to give riding another whirl which was a great decision. We had a great time and the riding in CG is phenomenal. This could well be our permanent Fall trip, but I don't know if I could bring enough guylines for my tent.

Monday, September 21, 2009


I had half a post written about how I went on a ride on Sunday just ahead of an impending storm (which amounted to not much) and had my local trail system all to myself. And, how I still don't get how people that "ride" don't take advantage of those kind of days, which was a bit redundant from my last post. Then something wonderful happened and I scrapped the entire thing. INTERBIKE!

Yes, it is like Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, Festivus and, well, just about every other "gift giving" holiday all wrapped up into one. I have had the sensory overloaded joy of attending one Interbike. Ahhh, Interbike, that magical time of year when all the bicycle industry gather into the hotbed of sin (Vegas) and try to outdo each other to gain the dealer's sales and to have the one must have item for the upcoming year. Over the top booths, interactive displays and scantily clad women are the norm at Interbike (though, with the number of women representing companies, I don't really understand the scantily clad thing, but I guess if it works).

For those that haven't been there or don't know what I am talking about, here is Interbike in a nutshell. Most of the bike companies in the WORLD get together at the Sands in Vegas, set up a booth showing the latest and greatest stuff they have to offer and try to lure bike shop owners/managers/buyers into pre-buying their products. And when I say world, I mean it. One that rides a lot may not consider this, but even companies like Toys-R-Us have reps there buying bikes from the periphery Chinese vendors, which I NEVER thought of until I saw it first hand.

Someday I'll go back to Interbike, but with all the bicycling news outlets, you can see just about any and everything worth seeing online without having to endure the madness of Vegas and being on your feet for about 11 or 12 hours at the Sands.

Man, do I LOVE looking at the new, shiny new components that I know I don't want to, but will have to, live without. It pisses me off when some new standard is introduced and tons of new bikes have it, signaling the death of the old standard, which means I'll have to upgrade, but yet I still love it. I dig the march of progress. I think it is hilarious how some people, retro-grouches if you will, say how things were so much better when we were all riding 5 speed, friction-shifting, bull-moose handlebar using, rigid mountain bikes. And in a way I suppose some things were better, like the simplicity of the whole experience, but bikes perform SO much better than even 5 years ago. Heck, a $700 mountain bike of today shifts better, has better components and is lighter than a $2000 mountain bike of 8 years ago.

And, the fact that I am infatuated with all things Moots makes this teaser of a new road frame all the more delectable to me. GOOD GOD it is beautiful! I just hope there is some sort of mountain bike to go with it...(I "borrowed" the picture from Cyclingnews. The picture was taken by James Huang)

Saturday, September 19, 2009

You're not supposed to Fall...

I've had a few things banging around in my head for the last 7 or 8 days that I haven't had the chance to spew out onto this virtual paper. Exercise induced "sexiness", fun rides with friends, recent rides, why bike parts have doubled in price in the last few years, and the like, which at some point I'll bore you with. Really, I haven't had the chance because I am still trying to strike a balance between getting my son to school in the morning, work, working out, getting rides in, and well, life in general. Not complaining, just trying to figure it out.

Anyhow, we're here to discuss the Fall. Autumn. That wonderful, beautiful season that fits like a sweet little puzzle piece between the heat and vibrant life of the Summer and the cold and death of Winter. The squirrels scrambling to get their stashes filled, the deciduous trees starting to shut their business down for the year, the confusion of the temperature in the air, with an 80 degree day in the Fall feeling a lot "cooler" than an 80 degree day during the Summer. You know, the Fall, the absolute greatest time to ride!

I am simply amazed at the dwindling numbers of riders in the 3rd season of the year. It was just a few short weeks ago that when I'd hit my local, after work ride (M-Hill) there would be 8-10 cars in the parking lot and I'd see 10-15 riders on the trails. Now, it is 3-4 cars in the lot and I might see 4 or 5 riders on the trail. Another great example is our weekly group ride. Just a month ago we had over 20 riders on our Tuesday (now Thursday) ride. 20 guys on mountain bikes together! This Thursday was, get ready for it, 3. FRICKIN' THREE!?! I wasn't as upset by this as I was just blown away.

I get it. People are much like their little furry friends the squirrels. Scrambling to get stuff done before the Winter comes. Stuff they might have put off during those Summer weekends to go ride. Raking the yard, cleaning up the garage, cleaning up their gardens are all great things to get accomplished in the Fall, but Autumn is the greatest time to ride!

You're the most fit you'll be all year. All those "base" miles from the Spring. All those hard rides from the Summer (and some of them might just be *gasp* training rides). Your legs, lungs and heart are much like the fruits or vegetables in the garden. Planted in the Spring, tended and nurtured in the Summer months and available for harvest in the Fall. Now is the time to harvest! The weather is absolutely perfect, not too cold, not too hot. The trails are not as busy (I guess until everyone reads this). The colors are starting to change. Wildlife is more visible. The only drawback to the Fall is the days are getting shorter and shorter, so riding before or after work is getting harder to do. But, man, the weekends (or your days off) are primo for riding.

If you've hung that bike up for the Fall, or are making all those "excuses" to not ride, make some time and get out and ride. You'll fall for the Fall.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

My one hidden love...

I don't know what it is, but there is this vibe in the cycling community (as well as other sports that have a strong European following) that if you truly love cycling then you cannot even pretend to like American sports, least of which American Football. Well, I do dammit, and I LOVE the Pittsburgh Steelers. There, I said it. I am not afraid of it. I proclaim my love from the mountain tops! From early September through late January (and hopefully early February) I love the NFL and the Steelers.

Now, I am NOT one of those guys that gets sooooo into it that he says "we won" or "we lost" when the Steelers win or lose, don't get so worked up when they draft a college bust that I can't eat (Judas Priest, look at me, I don't think I've ever missed a meal) or anything like that. But if they are on TV, I can't not watch them (yeah, I know, double negative...so shoot me). I love the smash mouth football they play and I just dig the whole vibe of the NFL.

So, I am sure this is getting some serious cyclist's Assos chamois in some sort of bunch. By God, if you can't drink some sort of expensive red wine and eat some Camembert cheese that smells close to the collective feet of all the participants of the Dakota Five-O post race, then it isn't a sport! I can hear it now, the Cro-Magnon jokes about the players, the "high" humor of the offended, shit I can see 'em in their tweed blazers with the suede elbow patches.

Well, screw 'em. I can love to ride a bike AND love to watch guys crush each other on the football field. No one is going to make me feel bad about loving the NFL. I will never apologize for watching it...sorry I was yelling at the TV tonight, honey.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A recap of the havoc that was the Five-O.

Well, I did it. I finished the Dakota Five-O having mostly fun and I am not nearly as beat up as last year. As a matter of fact, I am going for a ride this afternoon, so that should say something. Perry Jewett and crew put on quite the event in Spearfish every year. Very impressive and it shows in the numbers, as there were over 400 entrants this year, up over 100 from last year!

As I mentioned, I had "mostly fun". In a 50 mile race, it is inevitable that a person will question why the hell they got themselves into this mess. And for sure, there were some moments when I was questioning my sanity. I mean, really, who in their right mind gets on a bike with 400 of their closest friends and try to beat each other to the finish line on some seriously rocky, gnarly terrain, with almost 7000' of climbing thrown in? Well, I guess 400 of us crazy bastards do it.

And I would be remiss if I didn't mention that I did crash twice on the Citadel Slide, which had NOTHING to do with the PBR I chugged about 1/2 mile prior. A few scrapes on my leg were all the damage to report. In addition, good friends the Princess and her husband, B, (the Prince?) did the race too, and finished strong. As an added bonus, B sent me a beautiful picture of his scraped up ass from his crash, making him look like some sort of a baboon in heat. Nice.

Last thing on the race was probably my most proud moment of the whole day. As is tradition, sometime after the race is mostly over (except for the people out touring and not participating in the whole race thing) there is a kids race. My son waffled about whether he was going to race or not, finally deciding just before it started that he was going to. As an addendum to the plot of this, he just learned to ride his bike about a month ago. He entered into the 7-12 year old group. He was probably the only one in the pack on a 16" wheeled bike. Most of the rest of the field were riding 20" and 24" wheels. Two laps around the park and they were off! After the dust settled, the kids all did 3 laps and my son ripped around each lap in 4th place (of about 20 or so kids)! He did great, especially considering the disadvantage he had with the smaller wheels. There were no "awards" for the kids, but I was (as was every other parent) keeping track of where he was in the pack and how he finished.

So, while that took you about 4 minutes to read, it took all of 10 hours or so to do. You're welcome...

Friday, September 4, 2009

The Most Important Race EVER.

How am I sitting here wailing away on this keyboard like Ted Kazcynski on his typewriter (any coincidence that Ted rode bikes too?) when I am barely 48 hours away from the most important race of my life? Or anyone else's life? Or quite possibly the universe? More important than any Tour de France or World Championships? I should be doing some last minute training of some sort. One last 60 mile mountain bike ride on a 6 mile circuit with 1000 feet of climbing per lap. Yeah...that should do it, 10 laps. I could start out slow, then hammer laps 3-7, take a "recovery" lap on the 8th one then let it all hang out for 9-10. That should put me where I want to be.

Holy crap. I almost forgot. I need to weigh a whole bunch of my stuff and get rid of anything extraneous and heck even anything nefarious for that matter (the thought of a nefarious bike part is great, isn't it? The part lying in wait, ready to strike out at your nuts at just the least opportune moment.) If I could ride without sitting down, I'd lose my seat and post. I probably could take off my rear brake, since most of the braking comes from the front, and shoot, I'll be focused on going fast, not slowing down. Trim my grips, file down the ends of my cables, and...OOOHHH I KNOW! I'll put some helium in my tubes. That should lighten up everything!

Then, what to eat for the race? Something with good carbs, but not too much, good protein, but not too much, some good fats, but not too much. I am thinking a sandpiper egg omelet with yak's milk cheese, some Gobi desert onions, Himalayan peppers, a touch of salt from the Dead Sea for electrolytes and an Egyptian wheat tortilla. That should be a good start for the day. Now to figure out what I'm gonna eat on the ride. Well, whatever Lance eats should be good for me on race day.

Why do we get so damn worked up over a local race like the Dakota Five-O? Seriously, even if you win it, will you be a different person on Monday or Tuesday when you go back to work? No. Maybe some bragging rights for a few weeks, but that's it. The rest of us will languish in the mediocrity of the middle of the pack (some of us closer to the back). And, guess what? Some people will show up, not having trained, some without making their bikes lighter, and some will have GASP donuts for breakfast that morning. I am betting that most of them will have a good time too. I am all for training for an event, but c'mon folks, don't get so serious about it...I gotta go. I need to weigh my bike.

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Feelin' like a slacker...

I am up early this morning. I've been getting up early all summer long for either a ride or a workout with weights. Not this morning. I am up early because school starts for us today. My son starts 2nd grade and my wife starts her second year of teaching. So, I am up early to make sure everything goes smoothly and I am not doing anything that I normally do and I am feeling like a bit of a slacker.

Does this sound like a "serious" cyclist? Well, I suppose, but I got into the routine earlier this summer and made it a habit and I feel a hell of a lot better about the day if I can do something physical before I head off to work. I'll ride tonight for one last time before the soul-crushing, leg-burning Dakota Five-O this weekend then take the rest of the week off from any hard riding. Maybe some light spinning, but nothing hard.

Actually, the start of school and the Five-O culminate at the perfect apex of summer, as I doubt I'd be able to ride for much longer before work. Daylight isn't cooperating with my schedule anymore. I called Mother Nature up to complain, but all I got was her machine, and we all know what happens when we leave a complaint on someone's machine.

I suppose I'd better get my son up and quit typing. See the previous post titled PROcrastination...

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Mickelson Trail

As I alluded to in yesterday's post, I went on a big ride. A cousin and my uncle (his dad) picked me and my bike up at just before 6 in the morning to make the journey to the trailhead in Deadwood, SD. Yes, that Deadwood, current home of small stakes gambling, former home to wild west personalities like Wild Bill Hickock and Calamity Jane and subject of the HBO series titled, um, well, Deadwood.
Once in Deadwood, we met up with a long time friend, the "Princess", to start pedaling on to Edgemont, SD, 109 miles away on the former railroad bed that is now the Mickelson Trail. We were off and pedaling at 7 am, right on schedule.

The morning went along smoothly, with the majority of the big "climbs" in the first half of the ride. I say climbs in quotes, as it is a rail-trail, so none of the climbs are much over 4% grade. Not steep, but some of 'em get kind of long, 7+ miles isn't uncommon.

We stopped just outside Rochford, SD for quick break, with my cousin and I about 100 yards ahead of my uncle and the Princess. After everyone gets what appears to be ready to roll, we roll out. Unbeknownst to me and my cousin, the Princess has a flat tire and he and I have the only pumps. We are cruising along at over 20 mph. After about 3 miles, I hear my uncle yell my name. I stop and he says she flatted back where we were stopped. CRAP! I turn around and hammer back to her only to find that some other guys had stopped and helped her out. I am glad she got rolling, but I didn't need to add another 6 miles to my ride.

Long story short, we roll into Hill City (around 50 miles in) about an hour after we had planned because of the flat and a couple other minor mechanicals. After eating, my cousin declares he is done and needs to go home. I wasn't surprised or shocked by this. He did GREAT, as this was his first year riding. My wife and son had met up with us and had lunch, so they took him home.

The remaining three pedaled on, past the monumental (pun intended) Crazy Horse, through Custer, and on to Pringle, where my uncle had pre-planned to be picked up. The Princess and I pedaled on, into Edgemont, just on time for our shuttle home from my wife and son. 116 miles for me in one day!

What a great ride. We went through a very beautiful piece of the Black Hills, one that not everyone gets to see, or at least see very often. And even though it was a long day in the saddle fun was had by all. I would be rude not to mention my wife and son, who are definitely enablers, helping me with meeting us for lunch and picking us up. If it wasn't for them, our ride wouldn't have happened.

I can't wait to do it again!

Friday, August 28, 2009


You know, I've done a lot of stuff so far in my relatively short life. And I'd like to think I am kind of a Jack-of-all-trades kinda guy. Good at a lot of stuff, not great at anything. Kind of like a modern day Renaissance man. I am not trying to brag, but I can do art and math, write stuff for publication and work on a car, do physical labor and lead a group of 150 people at work, basically do left and right brain activities. But, as I said, I am not GREAT at anything except one.

Procrastination. I put the PRO into procrastination, I am awesome at it. I don't know why. For example, I could go get ready for our big bike ride that we're going on this morning (in less than an hour) but I'd rather sit here and type this blog up. And it isn't like I have just forgotten about what I have to go do, but something else seems so appealing. It isn't attention deficit because when I get started on the wrong thing, I'll stick with it until the ticking of the clock, sounding like an incoming strafing run from a WWII .50 cal machine gun on a P-51 Mustang, is so overwhelming that I snap out of the "trance" of whatever I've switched to and then rush around getting the thing I was supposed to do done.

So, I suppose I should go get ready for my ride. Sure, I should, but there is an extra 5 minutes that I can check a couple of more websites and, heck, I can't hear the clock ticking. Not yet.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Am I too serious?

Here I sit at 2 minutes to 5 am, checking my e-mail and other bike stuff online before I go for a ride. WHAT? That sure sounds like a training ride doesn't it?

Before you get all weird on me, asking "Well, I thought you weren't so serious! You're getting all serious on us after just 2 posts!" just listen. Yeah, I suppose it is a bit of a training ride and I never said you can't go on training rides, you just can't blow off a ride with friends to do a training ride.

In addition, I enjoy riding at the break of dawn. The world is waking up but it is still peaceful outside. Quiet, cool, beautiful; that is how things look at 6 am. I dig it. Also, while I don't like riding the road as much as riding off-road, my ride takes me on a SWEET downhill where hitting 40+ mph is de rigeur. Flyin' down a hill as others are loading up in their cars and heading to work is GREAT! I love it.

So, while it is a bit of a training ride, there still is that wonder and excitement of being a kid on a ride. As you can see, still not-so-serious...

Monday, August 24, 2009

Why can't some people say hi?

I have a problem. I wonder why some trail users refuse to acknowledge I am on the trail?

Why is it when you're cruising along the trail and encounter another trail user, you say "Hi" and get NOTHING in return? There is no one else around, so I couldn't possibly be saying hi to anyone else. It is nature, so there are birds chirping, wind whistling through the trees, but it isn't loud enough to drown out my loud voice, so what is it? Do I stink? Do I scare you? I swear, all I want to do is say hi. I didn't fart and if I did, I wouldn't try to slow you down enough to partake in it (maybe I should start...). I am not going to tackle you, hurt you or heck, even have a complete conversation with you, I am just acknowledging you're there and I hope you're seeing I'm here.

To be fair, it isn't everyone and some areas of the country are better than others (the Front Range of Colorado is bad, just an FYI). I promise, I won't say anything to you when you are in the middle of a gnarly, oxygen debt climb, or at least won't expect anything out of you. But, if you can say hi, you should. We're both out on the trail together...we have that in common.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

I'm not serious...

Here we go...my blog 2.0.

I had a blog in the past, but honestly, not much to talk about. Well, maybe too much to talk about, but no focus for my rantings. I talked about a lot of bike related stuff, but I was all over the board, giving my opinions about everything from parts to politics and everything in between.

Recently, I've had an epiphany if you will. We, as cyclists, can get far too serious about our sport. Let me explain...

Unless you're making a living on a bike, such as a messenger or are a cyclist with the name of Armstrong, Leipheimer or if your name ends in a vowel (Cipolini, Vande Velde or Sastre) then you can be serious about cycling. If not, then, well, you're taking it way too seriously.

I have recently seen people, heck, friends, get so serious about doing well in a local race that they couldn't even go on a group ride with some friends and have a beer or two afterwards. They had to go on a "training" ride.

In addition, if you're new to the sport, unless you've got the "look" (the right clothing, under 5% body fat, and a well-placed soul patch) forget being noticed in a bike shop. You could have a lot of money burning a hole in your pocket, but if you don't have the look, forget having the aloof shop employee offer help, much less a grunt when you walk into his (or her) personal space. That employee could take themselves a bit less seriously and maybe, just maybe, if they said "Hi" to that potential customer, they could get another person into cycling.

Remember that feeling when you first got on a bike? That feeling of freedom and fun? That feeling of being "wow'ed" by the fact you were balancing on those two relatively skinny tires? That is what we need to get back to. Sure, we have a lot to be serious about in cycling. Trail access, safety on the roads, commuting, are all reasons to be serious, but can't we have a bit of fun in-between?

That's what we're going to try here. Try to have a little fun (or poke a little fun). And FOR SURE, we're not going to be serious about cycling.