Sunday, December 22, 2013

Bang your head!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Roubaix, Roubaix, Roubaix!

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

One More Time?

See, this is how I operate. I don't even log into my page for like two months and now I'm pounding out three posts in one week. This will probably require a year off.

Anyhow, today is December 2nd so we only have 18'ish days officially left of autumn, but in reality it is winter. Or at least it should be, and tomorrow it will be with a forecast of 3 degrees for a low (no, I didn't forget a digit, it's gonna be 3) a high of 34 and a strong chance for snow. But for today, with temps in the 50's, there was on last ride to be had.  I cut out of work early just for the occasion!

I made a bee-line for HLMP in a light rain. I almost turned back as the sky was pretty dark and the
rain was a bit chilly but I knew it was now or possibly never again for 2013, at least on dirt. I kept pedaling.

When I got to HLMP I had the trails basically to myself and the little but of rain mixed nicely with the dirt at the park creating that familiar smell that any mountain biker, save for some of those in the desert southwest, can relate to.  That smell of dirt, detritus and other decomposing organic material that transports you mentally from our modern day lives of cities, cars, computers and smart phones and puts you in touch with our primitive roots.

Hearing the tires crunch on the trails, the click of the shifters, the whir of the chain, the creak of my bottom bracket (damn it, I need to do some maintenance on this bike) were a symphony that drowned out the cares of life.  I'm not trying to run from it, but a break from it once in a while makes you a more balanced person putting those things that stress you out into perspective.

Daylight and the looming weather front dictated that my ride would not be a long one, so I looped around the trails on the top of the mountain, taking in the views from the East and North out on the Great Plains, to the West and the foothills and to the South and the stunning sights of the Black Hills and Harney Peak.  I sped down the West side of the mountain, dropped into some newly cut trails on the South end of the park and pedaled home.

As I sit here and type this I'm still awash in a post ride bliss.  Riding a bike does your body good but riding trails does your mind even better.  If that was my last ride of the year, it ended on a high note, but I'm holding out hope that there is just one more.