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.