Thursday, December 30, 2010

The top 10 Not-so-serious moments of 2010.

I have a confession. I'm a closet nerd. Well, maybe it isn't a confession, as anyone that knows me (my wife, my friends, etc.) knows that I am a nerd. And, while I'm not a nerd in the classic respect like hanging out at the comic book store, in a computer place, or at a role-playing game shop, I have nerd-tendencies. I love Star Wars (yep, all of it, not just the original trilogy). I know all about all sorts of bike parts, how they work and their compatibility with each other. I love technology like Kip.

So, it should come as no surprise that I keep a spreadsheet/log of all the rides I go on. I like the fact I can go back through the year and use it to remember rides I've done. It isn't a huge deal, I just keep track of where I rode, on what bike, for how long and how far, average speed, max speed, and any comments about the ride like who I rode with or something cool that happened on the ride. Nerdy, huh?

BUT nerdy, bike geek feelings set aside, using said log, I can go back and pick out the top 10 moments of my year of riding. So, without much further ado, here is the 2010 NSS TOP 10 List (with my apologies to David Letterman).

10. 3/13/10. Rode with the Rambler gang on the Whitewood loop. Was able to slightly "show off" my roller training. Any advantage I had on this ride was vanquished by May.

9. 4/3/10. Vanocker Canyon. Group road ride that climbed like a mo-fo then descended like an uncontrolled space shuttle re-entry. (WHAT THE HELL? Two of my top ten rides are road rides? I MUST be getting old!)

8. 6/22/10. Spearfish Canyon. Tuesday night Rambler ride. About 10 minutes in, it starts to rain enough to make Noah nervous. We forge on, thinking that just maybe it will break. It sure does, breaks wide open! It was fuckin' POURING! After about 25 minutes, we turn around and it was like a bunch of little kids playing in the rain and mud. An absolute riot!

7. 8/22/10. Another Spearfish Canyon ride, but this time I was on the tandem with the Boy. It was about 3000 degrees out, but we rocked the Rim trail! He did great on such technical riding!

6. 9/12/10. Victoria Lake. The Boy and I compete in our first race ever on the tandem. It was REALLY cool! Fun times. We didn't even get lapped by anyone until the very end of the loop, which on Barney (our big, purple tandem) was great!

5. 10/1/10. Mickelson Trail. The annual Rambler Mickelson in one day ride. It had everything, from frigid temperatures in the morning, to alcohol fueled shenanigans along the trail, it was a great time!

4. 8/14/10. Crow Peak. Anytime I get to ride Crow Peak it's a good time. Rode with Aaron and Scott. Aaron ate shit, then I did and Scott did somewhere along the line. All in all, an AWESOME ride!

3. 4/29/10. Moab, UT. Rode the Gemini Bridges/Gold Bar Rim/Portal trail on our annual Rambler trip. It doesn't get any better than this ride. Un-fucking-real. We start out in crazy sleetand wind, ate lunch in a cave, had guys lock up on the descent on the Portal and then forgot the keys to the shuttle vehicle so some of us had to ride the 10+ miles back to the other car. Epic and AWESOME!

2. 10/9-10/10/10. 24 Hours of Moab. Teamfubar got back together and rocked the 24 Hours! For a not-so-serious report, check HERE.

1. 7/24-7/25/10. Annual Short Way Down trip. The second time the Boy and I rode the Mickelson. It was a great time again. We're already talking about this coming year's trip and how to change it up, maybe making it a 4 or 5 day adventure.

Well, that's it. Let me tell you it was hard to pick out the top 10 bike moments. There were at least another dozen or more that could have easily made the list.

I'm already hitting the rollers, prepping for this year's rides. Here's to hoping 2011 is every bit as good if not better than 2010 for everyone!

Thursday, December 23, 2010

It's Crunch Time...the Christmas Edition

5:20 am. Two days before Christmas. One real shopping day left. I suppose I'd better get some presents for those I love. Remember, I put the PRO in PROcrastination.

Nah, not really, but if you're thinking you need to get something for that cyclist in your life, here's a list of a few cycling related items that your cyclist might need or want.

Cyclists love gadgets. (Except those granola-chewing, cigarette-smoking, technology-eschewing singlespeeders, although they still love gadgety accessories, like a Surly Flask and Cage for their bikes.) The shinier and fancier the gadget, the better. But know your gift recipient. If they're ham-fisted or like to crash a lot, don't by them something fragile. Get them something like the Garmin 500. No mapping function, so if your cyclist is prone to getting lost, find a different model (or don't, maybe that's your diabolical plan) but does everything a cyclingcomputer does, at a lot higher cost and instead of a magnet and wires to tell you your speed, it uses a shit ton of rare-earth element using satellites orbiting the Earth. How's that for gadgety?

Guaranteed the cyclist on your list needs more cycling clothing. Just because they have more jerseys than dress shirts means NOTHING. A couple tips on buying clothing.

1. Don't buy "full-kit" stuff for your cyclist. Nothing screams douche-nozzle louder than a guy or gal rolling up in a full Astana kit, especially 'cause they're gonna get stomped by the guy on the road bike wearing baggies. I guess if your cyclist can back it up then maybe, just maybe, it's ok. But that is highly doubtful. Unless your name is Lance, Floyd, Alberto or Tyler and you can afford Spanish Beef, leave the kits to the pros.

It is kinda retro-cool to have someone roll up in a full Team "Z" kit, but still has a fairly high douche factor.

The only possible exception is getting your hands on a All Hail the Black Market kit, although they are not in production right now, so good luck and besides, where are you gonna get one in the next 24 hours?

2. Don't buy stuff that will fit your cyclist on January 1st. They're fat and out of shape on January 1st. Nothing will piss them off more or motivate them more to ride then to get some cycling clothing that should fit them but won't until May.

Any cyclist worth their weight in Tufo tubulars (and crowding the age of 40) knows the joy and comfort of bib shorts. No pinching or binding. Regular shorts roll off your gut like trying to keep a rubber band on a bowling ball. Get a good pair of bibs. Anyone that says they don't like bibs is either lying or hasn't tried 'em. Just like anything in life, don't shop only by price, but by quality. I bought a cheap pair of bibs once and the pad shredded my t'aint like a kid on wrapping paper on Christmas morning. Oh yeah, no white bibs either.

In addition to the bibs, gloves are on this list. Go find your cyclist's gloves. Smell them. When you come to, you'll realize at some point, no matter how many time you wash 'em, they stink. I think gloves start to rot the second they cross the threshold of a bike shop when you purchase them. Look at their gloves, go get something similar. You'll be good to go.

Other than that, cycling related t-shirts and socks are a good bet too. Just a small tip on this. If your significant other has a bike brand they REALLY love don't buy them a tee of a competing bike company. If they like Trek, no Specialized tees. If they love Moots, no Litespeed tees. If they love Giant, well, they don't deserve a tee. Nah...but you get the idea.

You'll need to know your cyclist and whether they use or like a hydration pack (aka; a Camelbak). If they do, go find theirs. Do the same thing as you did with the gloves and take a whiff. After you clean up the blood from hitting your head as you went down, wipe the vomit off your shirt and high-tail it down to the shop to get the SAME EXACT MODEL. The odds are, your cyclist has a particular affinity for that model, so don't deviate from this.

If they are a no-go for a hydration pack, then bottles are always good. Camelbak makes the best bottles on Earth, so go find those. Get multiple sizes and colors. No cyclist can resist them. I guarantee it!

Stocking stuffers
Multi-tools, tubes, handlebar bells, tire levers, patch kits, Clif bars, etc. all make great stockingstuffers for your cyclist and is all stuff they can't get too much of.

I forgot to mention, all this shit is expensive. But that's what you get for not planning ahead. Maybe you'll be like your aunt Maybelle and get your Christmas shopping done in August next year for 2012, but until then, you've got a list of stuff. Now you can relax for another 24 hours before you have to go panic buy. Kick back and relax. You might want to double check the hours of your LBS (local bike shop) though, you know, just in case they're closed on the 24th.


Saturday, December 11, 2010

I turned old yesterday.

Age. It is only a number of times we've orbited around the Sun on this big blue orb we call Earth. Just a measurement of time.

We talk about how old we are, but it is really just a number. As I approach, quite rapidly I might add, the age of 40, I have to wonder how old we are when you're "old". You know, when you start dropping those lines when you say "Back when I was a boy". I never thought 40 was old (well, 39, but who's counting) until something puked out of my mouth yesterday and I had an out-of-body experience, wondering who the hell was saying this, and realized I was all-of-the-sudden, old.

This whole story should be prefaced by acknowledging that all this stems from my hatred for those fucking hipsters. You know them. Guys wearing girls jeans that are WAY too tight, wearing Oakley Frogskin glasses that we discarded 20 years ago, trying to be all hip and ironic, but ultimately come off like they're trying super hard and look like a bunch of douche bags. And to boot, they WRECKED the ability to ride anything fix-geared as if you do, you'll be seen as either trying to be a hipster or just jumping on the bandwagon, and even though cyclists have used fixed gears for "off-season" training purposes for decades we can't anymore thanks to those super-urban fucks (which also ties this whole thing into cycling).

So, yesterday, while I was at work, I popped into the bagel shop next door to get a cup of coffee. And not a half-caff, double-froth, doucheiccino, but just a coffee. And as with all places that serve cool coffee (not Millstone or Corner Pantry) there are people trying to be all hip and cool roaming around like cockroaches on last night's pizza. As I approach the counter to pay my $1.34, I see this guy in a skin tight sweater that hangs down over his ass, which was a good thing, 'cause his jeans we so small and tight that I am quite certain the label said Mattel and had a picture of Barbie on it and the belt (which was hip and cool too) was lashed somewhere around mid-thigh. WHAT THE HELL? I got my coffee and split before I punched him in the nuts.

When I got back to work I asked, rhetorically, why? We went from pants that were so big and baggy that it looked like your nutsack was dragging on the ground to pants so fucking tight and small that you couldn't possibly have a set of nuts in there without wringing them along with your voice into a dog-whistle octave. AND, when I said "I would love to see either one of those guys (baggy pants guy or girl jeans guy) try and run in those. They don't make any sense" I realized I'm old. That is it. When you and your wardrobe need to be sensible then you're old. Functionality over fashion. If the two co-exist, then fine, but otherwise function comes first when you're old.

I understand all the other whims of people younger than I. I get their love of technology. I get the music of today's youth. I just don't get their pants. I don't think I'm old just yet, but I'm getting close.

It's 1:30 in the afternoon. I gotta get my nap in so I can eat dinner at 4:30, catch a little Matlock and hit the hay at 7:30 or so...

Sunday, December 5, 2010

The end of the season...

Yesterday was the Miss Chippie 'Cross race at the "World Famous Buffalo Chip" (where that infamous singer from the previous post may have fallen off of a stage) which was the last race of the season, marking the end of the biking season. I'm kinda bummin' that it is the end of the season, but I'm looking forward to taking a little break from riding. OK, well maybe I'm not taking a break from riding at all, but I won't be riding as much, although I haven't been riding even once a week, so it won't change much, but there yesterday was definitely a line of demarkation. (WOW, what a run on sentence!)

While it isn't time to reflect on the previous year yet, that takes place during "The Year in Review Week", that crappy week between Christmas and New Year's where no one in the media knows what to do with themselves 'cause they can't talk about how this years Christmas retail season sucked (ever notice that they say EVERY YEAR was a disappointing year? I call bullshit), so everyone tries to encapsulate how many times we saw that stupid assed Lady GaGa or if Branjolina is still together or that the First Lady farted at a special dinner. Fuckin' dumb. BUT, I will say briefly that it was a great year of biking. Lots and lots of fun! From trips to Utah with friends (twice), to Fat Tire Festivals, to getting in more miles in a year than I maybe EVER have, to riding with friends for the first time in years, to cyclocross racing, it was a great, GREAT cycling year for me.

Back to the Miss Chippie 'Cross. It was a cold day and it took place at a great venue, even if there was syphilis snow on the ground, and a fun course. I had a great race (for me) with me being ahead of the Prince for just 1/3 of a lap (which is the ONLY time I've EVER been ahead of him) and JT for a big chunk of the race. JT passed me at the start of the 4th lap and then he flatted, so I'm a bit bummed that we didn't get to dice it out on the last lap, although I am sure JT would have kept motoring away as usual. The Princess took home the "gold" in the women's class, which was AWESOME and the Prince was on the podium, another Teamfubar victory!

Well, in keeping with my usual PROcrastination, I have to get ready for my next sport, snowboarding. Heading to Terry Peak for the first time this year. Maybe I'll report back on how it went...or not. I probably shouldn't make any promises of reports. It took me 2 months to report on Moab, so I don't want to take another 2 months to report on sliding on the snow. And besides, I have so many run on sentences in this post that I'll probably get a call from the Blog Police, so I probably should get while the gettings good.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Moab Report 2.0

To paraphrase a singer that may or may not have fallen off a stage here in South Dakota; "I'm BAAACCCKK in the saddle again."

Excuses are like assholes. Everybody has one. I have about a million of them as to why I haven't posted anything about Teamfubar's assault on the 24 Hours of Moab, or why I haven't posted anything in almost 2 months for that matter. But the truth of the matter is I have been typing this whole thing up for the trip and, well, it sucks (what I wrote, not the trip). It is too full of minutia of the whole trip, "First we rode here, then we ate, then we did this, then we touched our weiners, blah, blah, blah."

No one wants to hear that shit. Especially the people that weren't there. Nothing worse than going over to a friends house to see 200 pictures of their trip somewhere you didn't get to go and have them describe experiences that you didn't have. *YAWN* BORING! So, in keeping with true Fubar fashion, I'll put together a synopsis of what happened, giving out virtual awards, describing what happened in short, rapid fire bursts as opposed to the War and Peace version. I still have all I wrote, so maybe I'll put it together for those that were there if they want it.

Teamfubar X 2010 edition.
Getting the "band" back together for the first time in 10 years has to be the coolest part of the whole trip. And while it isn't the exact line-up we had 10 years ago, it has 3 of the original members (4 if you count my lovely that busts ass all night long keeping the team fed and hydrated). I think the consensus was that if Granny Gear does the race again next year, we'll be back. I know I want to, I think the Prince wants to (actually, I know he wants to based on the quasi-irate texts I got from him after we got home and he found out how close we were to a top 10 finish) and if he wants to, the Princess will, so we'll probably end up fielding a team again. And I'll be stoked if we do. I had a blast and I hope everyone else did as well.

Worst performance of the race.
Before I get to the best performance of the race, I have to get to the worst performance. "What? That isn't cool to call someone out about how they raced!" Well, if it is about you and you're typing, you can say what you want. My performance on one particular lap sucked. And it wasn't even about me riding. When we've done the race in the past, we've always seen those poor souls there screaming for their relief rider that was not there. I've always pitied them. I thought "Shit, that team can't get their poop in a group enough to be there when a rider comes in."

Well guess what? I WAS THAT GUY! JT came in from his night lap and I was 6 FUCKING minutes late! Those 6 minutes cost us a top 10 finish. What a douche.

Best racing performance of the race.
This was a tough one. I could have easily chosen the Prince for turning the fastest lap or the Princess for having a blistering morning lap. Or Cleatus for being old reliable and cranking out 4 laps at a high level as he's always done at the race. But, I had to go with JT.

JT cranked out his 3 laps within 3 minutes of each other. EVEN HIS NIGHT LAPS! Nice riding JT, very, very impressive. JT turned his night laps WAY faster than any of us expected (which was a big part of why I was late) and his laps were the most consistent of the team.

Best non-racing performance of the race.
My wife. Yes we had lots of other help there (the Princess' dad, my mom, the Boy, etc.) and they all contributed, but we could NOT do it without my wife. She stayed up for most of the night, making sure the fire kept burning, kept us fed and hydrated. I see other teams without a quality pit crew and I don't like what I see. It looks hard, it looks unorganized, it looks un-fun. I love having her on our team. It was worth 2 spots at least.

Weirdest moment of the trip.
I surely could cite the moment that the Princess' dad ran out of water in the shower and I had to hang the new "sun shower" bag in the tent for him and saw his old-man hose. I am scarred for life (and feel really, really inadequate now), but that was only a rugged moment for me.

Naw, the real bizarre moment of the trip had to be when some dumbass (me) came boiling out of the tent in bib shorts, orange and black striped tights, a orange feather boa and arm warmers. A laugh riot ensued in the camp and throughout the venue, but most of the team didn't admit to knowing me at the pre-race meeting.

Best purchase for the trip.
Hands down was the shower shelter/tent. Knowing that the showers brought in by Granny Gear were about 1/2 mile away from our camp and that after about 12:01 pm on Saturday all the water would be cold, I bought a shower shelter. What a life-altering purchase. It was awesome to be able to come back to camp and shower, even if I saw another man's pork pistol. Now if I can convert that shower-cam footage to a Mac version...

Best OCD.
Thought about the Princess and the her whole Port-a-potty phobia, but that isn't really unfounded, as the last thing I want to do sit on a bowl above a pile of man-made DQ chocolate soft serve...yuck. So, I gotta go to the Prince with this one. He had the best running bike of the entire team. I don't know if he sat down for more than 10 minutes the whole time. He made bikes run smoothly. Nice job! Bring your bro next year so you can relax between laps.

Best Alcoholic Moment.
Cleatus and JT rolled in to Moab a day after us. Brining quantities of alcohol into Utah isn't legal. Bringing it in to Utah via your circulatory system isn't illegal, although maybe not recommended. These two found New Belgium Ranger in a can in Colorado and Cleatus lost his mind. Seeing him roll into the finish line of the race as our last rider with a Ranger in his hand was a thing of beauty!

Best fuck without the pleasure of intercourse.
By far has to be how much we have to pay to race AND THEN pay to camp. If that weren't bad enough, I had to clear the field we camped in so there weren't a thousand thistles in our feet and tires. I realize that they have to make money on this event, but c'mon. Figure, there were almost a 1/4 of a million dollars in entry fees alone (even with the diminished racer count)! Tack onto that another $40,000 or so for camping PLUS the fees that the bike companies paid to be there and, well, it's a LOT of money. At least let the racers camp free.

Total Laps: 16
Average Lap Time: 1 hour 33 min 13 sec.
Fastest Lap: 1 hour 17 min 19 sec (by the Prince)
Total Distance Raced: 256 miles!
Greatest Fact: We did the same number of laps as we did 10 years ago!
Team Ahead of Us: Ben's Iron Clad Disater (2 min 55 sec ahead)
Team Behind Us: Garrhs (15 min 01 sec behind)
Top Ten Time: Git Some (4 min 52 sec ahead)
Projected Days Until the Next 24 HoM: 312 and counting...

I've already started training...

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The report is coming...

I am working on the 24 Hours of Moab report, but it is taking longer than I thought. I'll have it here in the next day or two (or three or four) I promise...

Monday, October 4, 2010

I think I'm mentally constipated.

OK, so I've been neglecting this blog as of late. But it isn't as I've got nothing to say. Au contraire mon frere, the real problem is that I've got so much going on that I don't really know how to dig through the pile of shiza-minelli that is swimming around in my head. Which is also the reason I haven't been writing on this blog either. Too busy. And it isn't that I haven't been on my computer at all, or even been on this blog. I have, but as soon as I sit down to start writing some crap up, my mind starts wandering, thinking about what I need to get done, and I can't get a coherent sentence out on the keyboard.

All this said, I'll give you the Cliff Notes of what I've done since the last time I checked in. Went to Sheridan, WY w/Cleatus to see our good friend Al, that has (had) a bike shop, to pick up my new Specialized Rumphumper Comp 29'er. Great visit, seeing him and his family. I say "had" a bike shop, as he built a bike shop that was in a room in the back of an outdoor outfitter in Sheridan into a supremely successful business that soon would encompass the whole building that he bought. He is selling the shop off to a couple of employees.

I got my new bike and on the way home we smoked a deer in my XTerra. Jacked up the XTerra pretty bad. Not drivable at ALL right now. It is getting fixed though. This is a downer though, so I won't speak of it anymore.

Last week, I got some good AM rides in on the 29'er, getting used to it for the upcoming 24 Hours of Moab. I've had some weird wildlife encounters, the deer/car (OK, so I mentioned it, punch me in the nuts the next time you see me) and on my bike. I was rounding a bend with my headlights burning, just before sun up and a little owl that was on the trail flew up, slapping me with its wings on its way by. Freaked me the fuck out.

On Friday, 10 others and I rolled out from Deadwood (well, actually 4 of those guys decided to ride from Spearfish, 'cause this ride wasn't going to be quite long enough for them) on the annual Rambler Mickelson Trail ride. Shortly after 6 am we were pedaling.

Rolling into Rochford, we find the temperature was in the low 30's and we were all freezing our asses off, but not much further away, we finally got into the sun and soon we were shedding clothing like it was Friday night at Shotgun Willy's. Obviously, not much further we were in Hill City and our first beer stop. Then we rolled into Custer for lunch and another beer stop. Then into Pringle and another beer stop. Then to the end of the ride, 110 miles later, at Edgemont and yet the final beer stop. Do you see a theme here? We rode 110 miles (and some 125 miles) in 7 1/2 hours (ride time) and I'm guessing we all lost a little fitness 'cause of all the beer consumed. None the less, it was a really fun day.

That basically sums up the last few weeks. Now, the bikes are cleaned up and ready to roll as we leave in 57 hours for the 24 Hours of Moab. You can follow us (Teamfubar X) LIVE DURING THE RACE HERE. And, if I have Wi-Fi and I am so inclined, I just may do some live blogging to keep everyone updated on how shitty I feel during the race.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

It's been a long time...

A view of me riding away from someone. Not a view many get to see as this is usually the view I have of others.

I've been a lazy ass lately with the blog. Not that I don't have anything to say, but don't really have the time or desire to write it down. Yet, here we are, aren't we? Plus, I've got a lot of stuff going on. So, I'll detail some of it here.

First and foremost, there is going to be yet another addition to the family. First, I got a new CX bike. I don't remember if I posted anything about this or not. I did a half-assed search of my posts and didn't see anything about it, so I'll talk about that here. I know I did mention that I killed my Kona Major Jake. Making a long story short, I sent my frame in and found out it wasn't covered by warranty anymore (stupid 5 year warranty). They did offer to replace it with a "crash replacement", with a new Major Jake frame costing $550. YIKES! I told Tim at Acme Bicycles that I didn't really need a Major Jake, as a NEW one is way nicer than the 9 year old one I was riding. I told him that if he could get me just a Jake the Snake version, I'd take it and it would be every bit as good as my frame.

Well, I got a call from Tim saying they sent a whole bike instead of a frame and I could have it for $600. DONE! So, here is new bike addition #1:

Nice ride for $600, plus I was needing new shifters and derailleur, so I took care of a few birds with that stone.

So, now on to the next addition. I had a 2008 Kawasaki KLR 650 that I didn't ride. I bought it when I lived in Colorado. I loved that motorcycle, but in the last year, it was gathering a LOT of dust. Since a lot of my free time was filled with riding my bike trying to whip my sorry, fat ass back into some semblance of shape, the last thing I was about to do was take off on my motorcycle and be away from the family even more. So after discussion with my wife and son, we decided to sell it. After one jack-wagon fucked me on eBay with it, I sold it locally. And part of my sale was going to go to a NEW 29'er mountain bike! So, after a quick call to Alvin at Back Country Bikes in Sheridan, WY (he's my supplier) and I ordered a Kona King Kahuna.

Well, that didn't pan out like I wanted. The Konas weren't gonna be available for a while and part of why I was getting a new steed was for the 24 Hours of Moab (which we're down to 21 days 5 hours away). I then switched it to a Specialized Rumphumper Comp 29'er. Man, I didn't want to ride a Specialized (almost everyone I ride with rides a Specialized). I didn't want to join "Team Specialized", but it was available, it was similarly spec'd as the Kona and it was about $700 less than the Kona. So, I pulled the trigger on it. And now it is here. Well, it's actually in Sheridan and I'm going to get it next week.

Finally, I raced the tandem (Barney as my son likes to call it, 'cause it's big and purple. Which is weird, since he never did like Barney, thank GOD!) with my son last week. It was a low-key affair at Victoria Lake. I haven't been to Victoria Lake since the infamous bike tossing incident wrecked bike racing in the Black Hills for the last 13 years. It was fun to do a grassroots event like that. We initially signed up for the "expert" class, going 2 loops, but after the first one, the boy said he was done, so we rode on in. He had fun, as did I. Now that the first one is under the belt, he might be ready for another one.

Well, that should be enough barf for one week, well actually 11 days. There's been some other shit that's transpired, like a couple of REALLY fun rides, but nothing worth blabbing about. Getting ready for our impending trip to Utah, looking forward to camping and hanging out with friends, and flogging my ass for one last time on the bike this year. Hopefully, the fall riding season will be long this year and there will be a lot of rides, but no more flogging after Moab. And, I'll be doing the flogging on a new bike!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Dakota Five-O Report.

Another Dakota Five-O is in the books. I'll start this whole thing out by saying I am NOT making any excuses, but just stating facts. Facts that just happened to work against me for about 38 of the 50'ish miles that the race covers.

I felt prepared and ready to go when the start of the race went down. T'aint sufficiently lubed? Check. Nipples covered with New-Skin to prevent chaffing? Check. Bike working well? FUCK NO, but we'll talk about that later. The group went out faster than hell as usual, but it was no matter. The first 4 or so miles take off on a paved road/gravel road climb, so it gives the peloton (of approximately 550 people this year) a chance to thin out a bit before hitting the first stretch of singletrack. I was feeling pretty good when we hit Tinton Trail, even though it was grid lock once we got onto the trail itself. Funneling that many people onto a 12" wide dirt ribbon didn't work too well at first.

Anyhow, once on that singletrack, the group spread out enough that the bottlenecks quit after a mile or so. We rolled along nicely to the first aid station at Big Hill (not the first-aid station, but the first of many aid stations). At Big Hill, I took a Clif Shot Block from my AWESOME support crew of my wife and son, and rolled off. A quick, short down hill section, then a fairly tough, but short climb up through a beautiful aspen grove were next on the menu which is where things went all wonky for me. The climb was really tough. My heartrate went through the roof, my legs felt heavy, the pedals were hard to push and I couldn't figure out why. I felt good up 'til that point. I kept pushing on. Down the next descent things were good, but then there was a big ol' climb, called Cardiac Climb I and II. Same shit for me on those climbs. I thought there was something drastically wrong with me. It was really an emotional time. It's kinda funny how your mind works when shit has gone all completely wrong in a brutal race (or any tough situation like this). I personally alternate between thinking I can make it to wondering where my life went wrong. Maybe it was when I was a little kid...maybe I did something wrong and this is retribution. Shit, I just need to make it to the next aid station and I can assess what the hell is wrong.
The 13 or so miles from station 1 to station 2 felt REALLY long to me, but I finally made it. When I got there I told my wife that there was something very, VERY wrong with me, which at this point I just thought I was being a fucking wimp, not realizing that there were strange things afoot at the Circle K. Again, I took on some food and took off. I forced myself up the trail about 200 yards or so and decided that I couldn't continue on like this so I turned around to go back to my wife and quit.

In hindsight, thankfully, my wife was being the ultra-efficient-being that she is, when I got there, she had already left, going to the last aid station. "Son-of-a-bitch" I said out loud. "What's wrong?" says a lady, sitting in her convertible with the top down that I didn't see. "Nothing..." I say as I get back on my bike. I realize that I'll need to ride to the area called Ballpark if I'm going to get back to town. So once again I leave this second aid station.

Part way around Old Baldy I discover that there is something wrong with my freehub. I cannot pedal backwards, or at least when I do, the chain goes all kiddy-whomp-assed. Well, THAT must be my problem. I was in WAY better shape than last year, way more prepared for the day and I at least felt better that it wasn't necessarily me. Keep forging on and I can make a decision of where I'm at once I get to the last aid station.

I get there and show my wife what is going on. She asks if I want to quit. Yes. No. I don't fucking know. Yes, I want to quit because this has been unbelievably hard. No, because (wait a minute, let me wrap myself in the American flag and stand on the podium) I am not a quitter. I don't quit stuff. It isn't in my character. I am already sore and tired. I don't want to add being a quitter to this list. Sore, tired, quitter. Pick two...and I already had sore and tired under my belt. One last (maybe the worst) shitty climb left, a sweet stretch of singletrack, a gradual fire road climb and the screaming downhill left to go to town (all about 15 miles). Fuck it. I'm gonna finish this damn race if it kills me, and it surely could today.

I make it up through the climb, past Hobo Camp (where they were serving bacon sandwiches and PBR on tap) which isn't really an aid station as much as it is a party station. Down the DakoTA Ridge trail, up Johnson Fire Road, and finally to Tinton Road. I passed a couple of people that passed me on the last little climb, and let 'er rip. I get on Tinton Trail and am absolutely flying! I pass two guys like they had broken freehubs (I couldn't resist) and am completely railing the trail. This is the best I've felt the whole race. On one of the little climbs on this descent, I hear a voice behind me say, "Holy SHIT. You're killing this trail. Are you from here?" "No" I respond. "I used to live here when this trail was kind of a secret trail, but I haven't ridden it since last year." He then follows up with "When you passed us, I saw the roost you were throwing up and I thought I needed to grab your wheel. This is unreal."

Well, needless to say, I made it through the finish line. Way slower than I wanted, but finished none the less. I got my bike put away, I got cleaned up, ate some food, drank some beer and then had fun socializing with my friends and family (and about 1000 others crammed into the park). There was a kid's race that went down and we watched kids from our families tear it up. When I was watching the kids go round and round, I was looking around and knowing no matter how slow or fast a person that raced completed their ride today, we all suffered out there. Some maybe a bit more than others, but it was tough for everyone. Perry and crew put on a stellar event and I'm looking forward to next year's race.

No work on Monday because of the holiday meant clean-up day from the race. Got the truck all cleaned out and the gear all washed and put away. I was avoiding my bike 'cause I didn't really want to know what was wrong. I pulled the rear wheel off to discover that the lock ring that holds the cassette on had backed itself out a little bit. Enough to drag on the two bolts that hold the replaceable derailleur hanger on. Enough drag to wear a goddamn groove into the lock ring! (You can see the groove arcing around the top of the lock ring in the picture.) I wore a groove into a piece of hardened steel. It was like riding with a brake on for about 38 or so miles. Wow. Now I vacillate between being happy with how I finished with that dragging and being pissed at myself for not having my bike dialed in.

Right now as I type, I am thinking I am happy that I finished and it was good training for our next event. 31 days to go until Teamfubar takes on THE 24 HOURS OF MOAB! I can't wait. I don't know how I'll do but I will guarantee my lock ring will be tight.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Why do I do the things I do?

Short post. 4:35 am. Need to leave in just about an hour. And yet, here I sit, PROcrastinating, typing this bullshit onto virtual paper for no one except a small handful of people to read. I don't understand how my brain is wired and works.

Anyhoo, went to Speardog last night for the registration. Took 1 1/2 hours to get my registration packet. I lined up at 5:00 and got it at 6:30. Registration started at 3:00. 550 racers. I was number 281. You do the math. That was going to be one long assed night for Perry's wife and friends manning that table, yet they were in good spirits and taking care of business. I hope no one was hating on 'em too much. I realize that 90 minutes in line was a long time, but you know they'll do something to change it for next year. Regardless, it was unreal to see an actual population percentage increase (2-3%) in the town and having the majority of them on bikes. Fuck Sturgis, the real V-Twin power is coming from the legs of the 550 in the Five-O!

Good grub and friends at JT's last night after the registration. JT put on a nice gig for everyone. It was cool to get together with friends, old and new, break bread and know we're all gonna be in a world of pain in 12 hours (at least from last night). From the fastest guys to the slowest ones, we're all gonna hurt just the same.

All right, I gotta finish getting ready for the day. I got most of my stuff ready last night, slept like shit, tossing and turning all night, now I can casually get ready to leave. Good stuff! Look for a full on, more fluid and less disjointed (than this) report in the next day or two.

Friday, September 3, 2010

Why am I nervous???

Well, school has started and it feels a little bit like summer never happened. We're right back into our normal school morning routines, after school routines, and trying to cram some riding into the day/week. And, as I've alluded to previously, the Dakota Five-O is coming up this weekend, having us try to squeeze a bit more summer into our lives.
Which leads me to the point of this whole post. I am FUCKING nervous about a stupid assed race! What the hell? I don't get nervous about stuff, especially races, yet here I am, feeling all tense and stressed out about it this year.

I don't know why. Maybe I'm putting pressure on myself about it (I do have a personal goal for the race), maybe because I've been more "serious" about riding this year than ever before. I have no idea, but even as I type this, I feel the butterflies cruising around in my ample gut.

Well, I'll keep it short and sweet today, but come back with a full-on Five-O report on Monday. Just know that I have about 48 hours of stress ahead of me. then I can start worrying about the 24 Hours of Moab.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

PROcrastination, Poison Ivy, and the END.

Once again, I had a post that I've been working on about how mountain biking will take the worries of the day away, but for what ever reason, I couldn't finish it. I wasn't feeling it, so I shelved it. Maybe if I think about it for a while it will come to me and I'll finish it, but for now, there's a few other things to talk about.

First, I might have mentioned that I put the PRO into PROcrastination and my recent exploits are no different. This year's DAKOTA FIVE-O has a 500 rider limit. A couple weeks ago there were 200 entries left. Do you think I signed up? Hell no. Last week there were 80 entries left? Did I sign up? Really? Would that be a good procrastinator? Not just no, but HELL NO. But, I did print the entry form, which would prove fortuitous. Then on Monday, my wife mailed the entry form for me. Well that's that I thought.

I just happened to be talking to the Princess and mentioned that I just sent in my entry. She then says "The Five-O Facebook page said there are only 5 spots left!" HOLY FUCKIN' SHIT! Oh man am I screwed. Maybe it's God's way of telling me to NOT enter this race, but I want to for the training purposes for the 24 Hours of Moab. So, I get home, e-mail promoter/mountain biker extraordinaire Perry Jewitt about my snail-mail (do people still use the USPS?) entry. He said it was basically the last one in! How's that for PROcrastination?

Now, for some sad news. I've got a case of the ivy and it fucking sucks! I must have picked it up on last week's Rambler ride. It started out as a little blip here and a little blip there on my left leg and has blown up to an itchy, crusty mess. Not cool. I don't have big issues with poison ivy, meaning my blisters don't get all huge and super nasty looking like a cluster of grapes on my skin. Mine are small and not too oozy, but this is probably one of the worst cases I've had. I've heard/read that your body is like a bucket (mine might be a shit bucket, but in this case I'm talking about poison ivy) and you can only come in contact with ivy so many times before your bucket is full. Once it is full, watch the hell out, 'cause your blisters are gonna be full on clusters of grapes hanging from your body. Some people have a big bucket, some have a small bucket. I think my bucket is fairly big, but I still try to avoid it, as I don't want it to be filled up.
BTW, that picture is NOT my skin. I just put it here as a visual aid.

Finally, I took my last morning (before work) road ride of the season yesterday. A tear is coming to my eye as I type this. The sun isn't coming up quite as early (obviously) so I can't head out on a road ride until 5:45 or so and my wife starts back to school today with my son starting on Monday. My wife will need to leave for work at about 6:45 or so which puts the kibosh on my road rides. There will still be the occasional morning headlight off-road rides, but the road rides are done for the season. I hope we have a LONG fall this year. We haven't really had one the last 2 years, with winter coming early and with a vengeance. I love biking in the fall and I don't want this season to end.