Monday, June 30, 2008

Bears and Mountain Bikes Don't Mix

Yikes. Check this story from Alaska out. Evidently bears don't like mountain bikers and 24 hour races.

Why can't they just be like Smokey the Bear......

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Doughman 2009 Secret Training

Linus is already training for Doughman 2009. Watch out kidos.

more product placement (not on the chamois)

So in my previous post about awesome liquid/semi-viscous products, I mentioned Nutalla. Cyclists seem to love to talk about Nutella. I sure do.

But I got to thinking, is Nutella's appeal, particularly among cyclists, overrated? I mean, cyclists often swear by things that don't seem like such a good idea at first, like wearing things like bib-shorts or styrofoam on our heads. On the other hand, cyclists often swear by things that don't make any sense, like tall socks Belgium knee warmers (the embrocation, not the website). So why do cyclists love Nutella?

1) It seems healthy.
It's like, made of nuts, right. Well, sort of. But look at the ingredients. It's not good for you. Which can also be said for competitive cycling. Sure, cycling in moderation is great low-impact exercise. Cycling competitively has to be bad for you. Your heart rate shouldn't be at maximum for that long unless you are actually escaping from a life threatening situation. Your lungs should not cough up that much crap for that many days after a race. You should not regularly get goosebumps in the middle of the summertime. You should not have patches of roadrash on your skin. You should not have patches of roadrash on your skin that are interrupted by newer roadrash. Also, it sucks away all of our money and alienates us from non-cycling friends. Nevertheless, it is still fun, even if it's not good for us. Similarly, Nutella makes us feel like we're doing something that's good for us, even if we know better.

2) Nuts. Chocolate. Two great tastes that taste great together.
At least it beats waking the streets eating a jar of peanut butter.

3) It's so Euro.
Nutella is from Europe. France, I think. Nutella is from Europe, therefore it is great. Okay, no. But somehow, the "Euro" tag on something gives it an air of cosmopolitan classiness, especially if that something is essentially childish. Nutella is, after all, is just chocolate paste, with a tiny bit of nuts, that you put on whatever to make it a delightful treat. Smear Nutella on a baguette, or a pretzel, pour a glass of wine, and civilized adults will say "cheers". But I dare anyone to take some Hershey's syrup and dump it on some bread and try to serve it to guests. Guests over the age of 8. It's not a fancy dessert, it's just something a kid would do. Same goes for cycling. Cycling is essentially a youthful endeavor that we want to continue to think is legitimate. And just like Tintin comics and techno music, we think that since Europeans do it into adulthood, well then it's okay. This isn't to say that either cycling or Nutella are dumb--they're both great. The point is, it's okay to do things that kids like to do, like riding bikes with tiny wheels or eating chocolate for dinner, even if the Europeans don't. (As a side note, living in North Carolina has made me realize that for many people, the opposite is true: anything resembling something European is automatically inferior.)

And so just because something is European, does that make it better? Some friends recently returned from Germany and bought me these:

Now you're probably thinking exactly what I thought: Super Dickmann's gimmie. (Unless you're an English major, then your first thought might have been: what does the possessive apostrophe indicate?) This isn't just chocolate, it's German chocolate. With marshmallow filling. And some sort of cookie crust. According to television commercials (except for channels advertising programs on the History Channel), German engineering is top notch.

So, based on that logic, choose the correct S.A.T. analogy:

Little Debbie's Oatmeal Pies are to Super Dickmann's like:
a) Food Lion parking lot is to the Autobahn
b) Winger are to the Scorpions
c) Milhouse is to Uter
d) Ford Focuses (Foci?) are to BMWs

And so what are Super Dickmann's like? (Apparently, they also make Mini Dickmann's.) In reality, they are almost exactly like Nabisco Pinwheels (apparently now called Mallowmars), but with a slightly better cookie and a slightly creamier marshmallow filling (think Kraft Marshmallow Creme). Thus, the answer to the analogy question was:
e) Lance Armstrong is to Jan Ullrich
Both are formidable competitors, very similar in performance despite slightly different marketing, and both chock full of artificial ingredients. Zing.

So for your homework assignment, go talk to your friends and neighbors and if you can find anyone at the Little Debbie Corporation that would like to sponsor our team (or just sponsor me as a product ambassador), please contact us.

World Premier Video

If you haven't figured out how excited all of us here at Bull City Cycling are to have our brand new kits, check out the following videos and photos from yesterday's mountain bike ride in Raleigh.

What you are about to watch are the first world premier videos of Bull City Cycling in action.

The first video was shot while we were rolling through Umstead State Park.

Pirate, Ali and Dave rollin' through Umstead.

The second video is of the Crabtree County Park pump track.

Ben on Chris' bike spinning around the pump track at Crabtree.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Here comes trouble

That's right: the new kits are finally here!!!

With anticipation of taking our new suits to the catwalk that is Umstead Park, Ali, Chris, Brian, Ben and I loaded up this morning and headed down to the Morrisville trail complex, where we met up with JD and Dave in his newest, Raleigh-housed incarnation. Mr. JD "I've got the" Powers hadn't had a chance to check out the new threads, and with a little cajoling we were about to get him to strip down in the parking lot. As you can see, it was pretty much like Christmas morning for him. Because we're all pretty sensitive to others' feelings, we stood in a circle and were sure not to make fun of him at all while he transformed himself in Bull City style.

Feeling rather fly, and with the smell of new lycra wafting behind us, the quorum headed out on the trail for what was a little more than a three hour tour. We hit one bandit trail, then cruised happily through Umstead Park, where we thought we could get the most attention. I think in NASCAR this is called "recognition for your sponsors," but as the Professor displays, it's basically just showing off:

Brian's black Stumpy might be the best complement to the yellow kit, Chris certainly gets some extra props for (unknowingly) matching his bike to the jersey. Now if we could just get him an orange helmet...

While we were stopped for water we caught B-Swad doing his best Andre the Giant impersonation, and it seemed like as good a time as any for a team photo. Eat your heart out Slipstream!

Oh yeah, look at all that Lycra! OK, so maybe our coolness doesn't totally translate to the (digital) image, but trust me, these things are hot, and Linus should be proud of all his designing work. (This coolness is so cool, in fact, that it makes Chris yawn.) I -- and anyone I ride with -- am a little concerned about the near-transparency of the white panels on the shorts, but as they're in a relatively non-lewd position, I don't have to be worried about breaking any state or federal laws when I wear them. (No one else seems to have this issue with the bibs, by the way.)

After spinning through Umstead, we worked our way back toward our cars on some singletrack. Dave and JD took off before we hit the Crabtree pump track for some good rippin' fun, during which I fell on my face (as usual), Chris was wicked-smooth, and Ali was in fine photog form. Brian has some more, um, 'innovative' pictures of our time at the pump track that he'll post later, so I'll just include one snap of Hollywood for now.

All-n-all not a bad day. It was my first time on the bike in a couple of weeks and I felt like I was being punished for my slackerdom. Back in Durham and fully refueled in the way that a good dosing of Cosmic only can, my legs are mud, and I'm pining for the days when a good Saturday leg-breaking wasn't so utterly destructive to my body. Ah, youth...

Friday, June 27, 2008

Cycling is more, not less.

Today is the day I picked up my kits and I am very proud of being part of this team. I am training hard to meet the standards of the rest of my teammates. I look forward for the day that we become a household name in the cycling world, and when I say world, I mean Durham. Every time I hit the pavement, I worry. I think of the loss of a friend, and how it impacted my feelings about bad drivers. I strive hard not to be the cyclist which gives attitude to all the folks who come just a bit too close for comfort, to me when riding, but instead pitty them.
Ride hard, ride safe and lets go out there and kick some major butt.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

My Bike is Sexy

As I was unlocking my commuter bike from the rack yesterday, I noticed that there was something stuck in my front wheel. Here it is:

Those might be hard to read. Sorry, all I've got right now is my cell phone camera. It's worth it to click and see the bigger version -- someone spent some time on it.

Now, I've never gone in for the spoke card phenomenon. The only adornment on my bike is a string of "I voted" stickers on my rear fender. But this, I must admit, was kind of flattering. Someone had deemed to tell me that my bike -- a lated 80s low level Bianchi (celeste, natch) converted to fixed gear -- was sexy, and stuck a spoke card in my front wheel to let me know. Alright. I was feeling "the love," to use the language on the card.

But it kind of got me thinking. I am, shall we say, not the kind of guy who gets a lot of unsolicited compliments about his sexiness. I'm not fishing here -- we all have our talents, or lacks thereof, and I made my peace with this particular lack long ago. And as Pirate has reminded me (more than once), I'm happy to have married above my level in this particular regard.

But as I reflected, I realized that the few generous comments I had received over the last few years had all come while I was on my bike. Some have been welcomed, some ... less so. I'd like to take this moment to thank publicly the two young women in the convertible at the stoplight who removed my last lingering phobias about wearing spandex in public. On the other hand, I kind of wish I hadn't encountered the guy who flagged me down after passing me and told me that he "knew it took a lot of hard work to get legs like that" and would I like some "arty photos" to remember them by.

But this card made it clear: those comments I'd received, it wasn't me that they were complimenting, IT WAS THE BIKE.

Well crap.

Like a member of a pop star's entourage, the best I'd done was to acquire a little residual glow from the sexiness of my bike. Even worse, I didn't even realize my bike WAS sexy. Hell, when I converted it to fixed gear, fixed gear was about (the now sadly late) Sheldon Brown, not indie bands.

The card tells me I'm supposed to "pass the love along by putting this card in the spokes" of "another bike that catches your eye." Oh-kay. I've been married for almost double digit years. I have a distinct suspicion that telling strangers their bikes are sexy puts me more in the "arty guy" category than the "stoplight women" one. And if there's one thing I hope in this life, it's never, ever ever, to call anything "arty."

So here's what I'm planning: the first time my wife rides her bike to campus, I'm going to find it and stick the card in her spokes. Hey now, that bike IS sexy: Miyata's top touring frame from the early 90s, the best that was ever made, the same frame that gives Rivendell readers wet dreams, in their own weird mix of Anglophilia and Japanadoration. Double panniers, uh huh uh huh. (If you're dense, I'll spell it out for you: I bought it and put it together for her.) And the best part is, she has NO CLUE what a spoke card even IS. SHHH! Don't tell her.


Yes, I know, my sense of humor is only matched by my sexiness.

Team Kits

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

BCC Product Reviews

If you read CyclingNews or PezCycling, you already know how awesome some $1200 cranks are and why you need them. But if you are reading our blog, rather than buying or, heaven forbid, riding on some $1200 cranks, it may be because you're curious to find out how BCC rolls. Well, here is the first of the BCC Unendorsed Product Reviews. We at BCC buy our own stuff. Sometimes we get it at a discount. Sometimes we get it as a gift or find it on the street outside of a bar. But the products reviewed here are things that we are not paid to endorse.

To kick things off, here are my Essential Three Fluid/Semi-viscous Products.

Most people already know about the awesomeness of chamois creme. There's not much to say about how great it is, but there is plenty to say about if you don't wear any and go on a long bike ride in July in crummy Nashbar shorts and a poor-fitting saddle. Being without can make running a marathon in jeans shorts sound like heaven. In any event, I like this kind:

It may be the only Assos product you will ever be able to afford (unless you worked there, like Brian), but it is worth it.

But cyclists are often overly concerned about things below the waistline and forget about the rest of the body. And because skin cancer sucks and because cycling tan lines are kind of cool to certain other cyclists but are very uncool in any other social setting, there is suntan lotion. I am a big fan of the Nutrogena Ultra Sheer suntan lotion. Maybe because it sounds like Nutella, but more because it doesn't get totally pore-cloggy and seems to work well.

Finally, there is this:

If you suffer from seasonal allergies and have not experienced the raw power of Fluticasone Propionate (Flonase), you better get with the program. Okay, so that sounded boastful and aggressive. Let me rephrase: Fluticasone Propionate is useful for snotty-nosed, itchy-eyed guys like me. Breathing is awesome and VO2max is irrelevant if you can't get any O2. The people who make this should totally sponsor us. We accept products and large bags of cash.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Signage and Paint

Just some random bicycle signs and pavement markings I've photographed over the last week or so for work. First in a series....

Sunday, June 22, 2008

News & Observer Story

Story featuring Bull City Cycling at the Orange County Speedway Races in the News & Observer. Thanks to reporter Elizabeth Shestak for covering the event and giving some coverage to the local cycling community.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

2008 NC State Games- Mountain Bike Championship

Greensboro- Bull City Cycling had a strong showing at today's NC State Games Mountain Bike Championship. Chris, Dave, JD, and I made the trip out to the host venue, Greensboro's Country Park. We found a fast, well-marked, non-technical course to our liking. Chris, Dave, and JD lined up for the ultra-competitive single speed class which had one of the day's larger fields. After three fast laps Chris came in for 1st place, JD a close 4th, and Dave a strong 5th place. Chris has a bling gold medal and statewide bragging rights. BCC will also be designing a jersey indicating his new status. Start sending in ideas. Below, Chris on the podium's top step.
I fared well with a 3rd place in the very lightly contested Sport Men's race. Apparently, the cool kids aren't riding gears anymore which makes for easier placings. Or the gear-loving crowd forewent the state race for the 12 Hour Cowbell Challenge which was in held in Charlotte today. Here's my podium shot.

Thanks to our sponsors, loved ones, and our supporters for making these results possible.

Up and Around Butner

Yesterday, Erin and I headed out early to enjoy the coolness of the morning to pound some miles. Here is the route we rode. Very beautiful countryside. The day before Geoff and I did almost the same mileage but did the opposite direction heading south around Carboro into Chatam Co.

Ride hard, Ride Safe.
P.S. Track bike is almost finished. Sweet!!

Friday, June 20, 2008

we are slackers

No new content since Tuesday?

Adam, Linus, and I raced at the Orange County Speedway on Tuesday. Adam was 2nd in the Bs, I was 4th. Linus was 2nd in the Cs. We went around and around in an oval many times. The News & Observer was there, maybe you can read about it there soon. In the meantime, here's why you should be careful following guys on Cervelos

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Pro Style

If it can happen in Philly, it can happen at Huck-A-Buck.
See it here.
Courtesy of Peter (a fellow Durhamite) over at Bobke Strut.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Old School and TORC Tarwheel MTB Race is a combo post by Pirate and Brian. Brian's text will be dark red, John's will be black.

First let me start off by saying one simple thing. Champion......PLEASE SEND OUR KITS SOON!!! We are in desperate need of our new digs. Custom clothing Durham style just isn't gonna cut it in the long run. This is quite evident by the following photos.

Pirate rockin' his red bibs and custom BCC Non-American Apparel Custom Parking Lot T-Shirt. Now for sale on craiglist for $3.00. It's also available in a non-pit-stained version, but only if you supply the non-pit-stained shirt. And don't let me wear it.

The Professor hard at work designing a signature piece for his upcoming fall collection at Urban Oufitters. And if that whole PhD at the Nicholas School thing doesn't work out, Chris has clearly shown that he has a future in the world of fashion design. Look how the 1987 Oakleys pull his whole outfit together:

Ummmm. Not sure what to say about this. To be honest, it might be best not to say anything, as the sheer intimidation that we're displaying here speaks for itself. Except to point out Brian's massive guns. Ok. I obviously did not get the memo about bringing a white t-shirt. Instead I rocked my Old Lucky Carolina jersey to honor the first mountain bike race at Carolina North Forest.

And of course the rear view. Click to enlarge and view the amazing sharpie skillz. Or don't. Really, don't. Trust me.

When I say that we were rawking it out old school, I mean old schizool: since our kits aren't in yet, Chris "the Professor" Oishi and I took matters into our own hands. More specifically, we took sharpies in hand and apply our artistic skillz to some v-necked tees to make some impromptu jerseys. Needless to say, they were rad. Here's my attempt to take a picture of the back of my shirt myself; while ineffective, I think you can get an idea as to why I have avoided the visual arts:

It's never a good sign when you have to label your drawings so that people know what they are. In the future I think I'll stick to making goofy balloon letters. We did get many compliments and/or snickers about our 'jerseys.' At least BCC is making an impression. Our sponsors may be happy to know that they were not represented anywhere on the tees, and thus their reputations are intact.

Dave was also rocking it out in style, though perhaps a little more classically than the rest of us: Dickies and a tee do this man no harm:

And yeah, he's that good: rode in a t-shirt that didn't even have any sweat on it. This guy is the quintessence of hardcore. He also seems to be winking at the camera, but I don't know what that's all about.

And you might now ask was this a fashion show or bike race? Well the TarWheel race and the Carolina North Trails (aka CHHS trails, aka those trails) was a Bull City Cycling success. Dave, Chris, and Pirate lined up in the largest field of the day -- singlespeed. And once again...for some reason I signed up for expert. Consistency is about all I can say for myself. Each of my three lap times were pretty close and I tried to pace myself through the 31 mile course. Kudos to Alex Hawkins for a stellar loop. I haven't had that much fun mt bike racing in a long time.

Dave hit every jump, root ball, rock pile, skinny and put on a skillz clinic for all non-Chapel Hillians. Pirate once again proved that we should never listen to his constant babble about not riding enough and being blah blah other words he was rolling and if it weren't for a late late crash at the end of his final lap he would have slotted in at 4th in singlespeed. Instead he had to settle for 5th I believe. The "Fashion" Professor once again managed to annihilate every single rock, root, and bunny (do not hurt the bunniez!) in route to another 2nd place finish in singlespeed. Second only to Alex Hawkins, who marked today's trail and most likely installed excessive high gravity zones in places along the trail to which he was of course immune. I mean am I the only one that is in on the excessive "on demand" gravity thing? Ferreal. I'm going to talk to my sister at NASA and see if I can get some help on exposing this.

Brian was pretty happy to be done with the thirty-mile expert race, so much so that his smile of joy almost broke his face. (Thanks Pirate this is not a pretty picture of me.)

All-n-all: good times. Thanks to all who helped make this race a success. Oh and Happy Father's Day to the BCC Dads and their Dads out there.

BCC Hair Contest

So after last week's critical mass, a few of us gathered at a local watering hole for some Durham Kool-Aid and food. The result of the evening was the first ever tasteless Bull City Cycling "Euro-Mullet" competition. The results are shown below in pictorial fashion. I think you all will be able to judge who won the highly coveted Trans Am Trophy. Rawk On!!!

World Champion Style

See it for yourself.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Test Results: Dropping Science part 3

Upon completing my two electrolyte supplementation trials at the K-Lab, the staff was kind enough to give me my results. First of all, this was a double-blind test, so neither I nor the test administrator knows which treatment was which. Also, since this is an experiment, I don't want to give away their results (to the extent that anyone could draw conclusions from only my data) and so I will avoid revealing any information about electrolyte levels. But let's take a look and see what happened.

1) Sweat.
Normally I sweat a lot. But when I train indoors, it is always more apparent since the sweat pools on the floor. My apologies to Cameron and the K-Lab staff for having to clean this up. Since I drank about two bottles of water and still lost about a half-pound of body weight by the end of the experiment, I suppose that I may have lost a lot of electrolytes. My weight was, I might add, taken while in my shorts. Shorts that were dry prior to the trial, but totally soaked (with sweat) by the end. Meaning that I actually lost more water than I thought.

2) The ride.
I completed 22.3 and 22.6 miles on the rolling (virtual) course. I was actually surprised that both days were so similar, especially considering I felt worse on the second trial. Average wattage was about 275 both days which, based on my 68 kg weight, equals about 4 watts/kg. According to Allen and Coggan, this should place me up at the high-end of the Cat 3 ranks on the road. Sadly, I have squandered this potential. Possibly because my max power is lousy. Probably because my race strategy is lousier.

3) Hematocrit.
One of the most exciting results from this experiment is that I learned that I'm fit to start the Tour de France. Which is to say, that I would not be declared unfit to start the Tour, based on my hematrocrit levels. I started out at 42% percent on both days, lower than the 50% threshold level for pro competition and Riis' reported Tour-winning 56%. That's right, folks, I'm clean. The other interesting thing is that these numbers increased, peaking 47 and 48% at the 15-minute mark on each trial. This increase during exercise sounds consistent with something I read. But by the hour's end, things were back down to around normal.

4) Spin analysis.
The Computrainer can analyze the smoothness of your pedal stroke; however, I only got data for the general power-per-leg. As I might have guessed as a right-footed person, my right leg did about 53% of the work, while my left did the other 47%. I actually have no idea if this is good or bad. I imagined myself as the punter with grotesquely misproportioned legs from "Infinite Jest", but I figure this margin was rather slim, like a Democratic primary, and stopped worrying about it. They did tell me that this difference was smaller when I was climbing, suggesting that when I'm pedaling harder, I'm paying more attention to my pedal stroke, or that I need to pay more attention to my pedal stroke the rest of the time.

5) Calories.
I burned about 950 calories each day, which equates to about 50% of the daily requirements for a normal person (although possibly much less than a normal American person). In case this post has you thinking that I am some performance-obsessed data junkie, I must apologize. Bull City Cycling is definitely about riding hard. But Bull City Cycling is also about gratification. So when I say 950 calories, this actually equates to:
3.8 Clif Bars
9.0 bananas
6.2 Pabst Blue Ribbons
7.4 Henry Weinhard's Private Reserve
4.3 Deschutes Brewery's Obsidian Stouts (*)
14.6 ounces of Early Times Kentucky Whisky (*)
25.9 Lance Toast-Chee crackers
4.75 Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts (*)
3.5 Dunkin' Donuts' Boston Kreme donuts (*)
1.2 sticks of butter (*)
or, infinity Diet Cokes.
But Diet Coke is nasty, so I ate a stick of butter.

6) Focus.
It is difficult to ride while getting your finger pricked and having blood extracted. It is a slight motivation not to slack on the trainer when people are watching you (as opposed to when you are watching VHS tapes of mid-90s ESPN TDF coverage), but on the other hand, I felt compelled not to exert myself to the point that I would barf partially dissolved electrolyte strips. Making them clean up the sweat was bad enough.

7) Science.
Science was done. Do these electrolyte strips work? Who knows. Did I provide them with any useful data? Hopefully. Did I get a free t-shirt and water bottle? You bet your ass I did. Did I get a good workout? Yes (despite forgoing outdoor rides on two of the nicer days of the year). And did I learn something out of all of this? Possibly. I'm still contemplating the results and trying see if there's anything interesting. But if there is, you can read all about it here!

8) The blog.
Doing something stupid like this is a good way to get material to write about in a blog. Possibly too much material. (Possibly not enough material for this amount of words.) This epic trilogy has, in itself, become a test of endurance as a writer, and no doubt for anyone still reading. Therefore, I promise, more concise content. More, funnier jokes.

Friday, June 13, 2008

It is just getting crazy in the world.

14-year-old Boulder boy takes parents' car, hits bicyclist
The Associated Press
Article Last Updated: 06/13/2008 04:35:06 PM MDT

BOULDER, Colo.—A 14-year-old boy who took a drive in his parents' car has been cited for running a stop sign and hitting a bicyclist.
According to police, the teen took the keys to his parents' Toyota sedan around 10 p.m. Wednesday and pulled out of the family's driveway before running a stop sign and colliding with bicyclist Kevin Powers, a 20-year-old junior at the University of Colorado.

"I flipped over the car, went up onto the hood and bounced off," said Powers, who suffered a dislocated shoulder from the accident and was treated at Boulder Community Hospital.

After he was hit, Powers said the boy jumped out of the car without putting it in park and the car started to roll over him. He said his roommate, who was driving in a car behind him, pushed back on the car to stop it from rolling on him.

When police arrived, they asked the teen for his license, registration and proof of insurance.

According to a police report, the teen replied: "I don't have any of that stuff, I am only 14 years old."

The boy was ticketed for driving a vehicle without a valid driver's license and careless driving that caused bodily injury.

His court date is Aug. 5. His mother said his punishment at home is a family matter.


Information from: Daily Camera,

Matt Lee is a badass

Apparently, the Great Divide race isn't long enough for some. Good coverage of a local racer done good.
Now if he could just orchestrate the return of the Soup Bowl offroad duathlon...

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Bo knows dirt

Ignoring the smoke in the air and simply happy that it wasn't 100 degrees, Adam, Chris and I loaded up the Subaru and headed down to Morrisville to hit some trails. If you know Adam, you know that he's hell on two wheels (and that he suffers no fools), but you might not know that he actually mountain bikes, too.

Well, occasionally: he showed up at my house with a broken front skewer, a noticeably dust-covered bike, while mumbling something about how the last time that he rode his mountain bike it was in a 'cross race. Whatthehaile? How can you do that to an IndyFab? We decided to correct that shortcoming, posthaste.

Unfortunately for me, whatever Adam lacked in trail-handling skills he more than made up for with his bulbous thighs of steel. You think I'm kidding? Try this on for size:

All told, I think that he dabbed once on a local bandit trail, and that was it. OK, so he did wreck as we left Crabtree, but we'll cut him some slack on that since it was almost fully dark at that point. Nevertheless, it did result in some carnage:

As no trip to the Crab would be complete without some pumpin', we spent some quality time going around in little banked circles. Chris has this thing figured out, and while I thought I was really getting it down, I blew a curve and landed with my face planted squarely in the dirt. Along with the rest of me. Thanks to the humidity, I turned instantly into Pig-pen. I have no idea what it is that Adam's doing in this first picture. Nor do I know why I'm showing jazz-hands.

Chris was smooth, as always. Would you expect anything less from the Professor? Ya gotta like the way he works it. (No diggity.)

It's all in the preparation

I met Dave and Brian out at Carolina North on Wednesday evening for a fun after work mountain bike ride and to get more familiar with the trails before the upcoming race. Not only do these two one up me on knowing the trails so well but they are also way ahead on the euromullet fashion trend. I'll get there one of these days. Dave led us around most of the time and showed us how to max out our speed on every downhill as well as clear the numerous logs with ease. Brian started off a little sketchy since he didn't want to use his squeaky brakes. Near the end of the ride he got the hang of staying on trail and dropped us pretty easily. Note to self: brakes just slow you down. It was a good ride with the temperature being somewhat bearable, especially as it got close to 8pm. We refueled at Carburrito and then called it a night. I was kind of bummed that I couldn't wake up early enough to bike commute to work this morning but Trisha did made me pancakes. I guess sleeping in isn't all bad.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

What is cool?

In the heat of the summer, I get to wondering "what would make me cooler"? After a late-afternoon ride, I tried to make an ice bath, but quickly ran out of ice and felt like I was wasting water, so I took a shallow, cool bath. Not cool. But you know what would be cool? An awesome paint scheme on a new bike. The bike will be a lugged steel cyclocross bike from the fine folks at Circle A Cycles in Providence, RI. So, to you, our loyal readers, please voice your thoughts, what is the coolest-ever bicycle paint scheme? If you read this blog and never post replies, here is your chance. Since there is no right answer, you cannot be wrong.
Here are a couple of ideas to get you started:
Classic Eddy Merckx orange with blue panels
Richard Sachs white with red
DeRosa red with white
or any of these

10 Tips For Cycling Accident Victims

10 Tips For Accident Victims:

1. Ride with a cell phone, personal identification, emergency contact, and something to write with.

2. Dial 911: call the police or an ambulance immediately. If you are unable to do so, ask someone to help.

3. Always wait for the police to arrive and file an official accident report. A police report provides documentation detailing the incident, including the identity of witnesses.

4. Get the business card of the officer.

5. Leave your bike in the same state it was after the accident, if possible. It is best if the police see the accident scene undisturbed.

6. Obtain the contact information of any witnesses.

7. Immediately seek medical attention, either at the scene, the emergency room, hospital or doctor's office. When in doubt go to the ER! Give all complaints to the doctor. Medical records are proof that you were injured and document the extent of your injuries.

8. Take photos of injuries and keep a diary of how you feel after the accident.

9. Never negotiate with the driver of the vehicle, regardless of who may be at fault. Get the driver's name and his or her insurance information, along with the names of any passengers.

Give no written or recorded statements to anyone.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

One week ago...

It's been just one short week since Clive Sweeney was struck and killed by a vehicle while riding on Pleasant Green Road. Here's thinking of you Clive: 53x11 from now on.

I stole this photo of Clive from the website that his family set up to remember his life. If you haven't checked this out it's worth a minute: for those (like me) who only knew Clive in passing, it's a great way to learn what an interesting, multi-faceted life he led.

Monday, June 9, 2008

hot. Hot! HOT!!!

Sunday was the hottest day of the year so far, with temperatures topping 100 degrees, so we thought we could sneak in an early morning ride before it got too hot. Early was only moderately early. John has been known to push for 6:00 or 7:00 start times, but Linus' appearance seemed to suggest that the 8:00 meeting time was way to early. I too was actually about 10 minutes late. We had the bikes loaded up by about 8:20. The temperature was about 80 degrees and climbing. We were squandering our window of (moderately) cool temperatures.

As both native and naturalized North Carolinians we roll southern-style. Not with stars-and-bars or NASCAR hats, but fueled on Biscuitville. Linus and Ali were already kitted-up in lycra and I didn't make them go into the store. The tally:
Dave: 2 egg and cheese biscuits
Chris: 1 egg and cheese biscuit
Linus: 1 biscuit (w/ butter)
Ali: 1 biscuit (w/ butter)
John: 0 biscuits

We finally reached the trailhead about 9:00. Temperature climbing through the 80s. After an easy non-Pirate-led warmup, and a wrong turn or two (since only Pirate knows the way around these trails), we were rolling along nicely. I was in the lead and saw a nice little mound in the trail which I thought would be nice to take a little jump over. Now know this: when I speak of a little jump, I do mean little. I'm not really any good at jumping. So it's not surprise that somehow, within the 2-inch maximum cruising altitude of my flight, I managed to steer my front wheel off the trail, into a rut of leaves, and totally bite the dust. There are no pictures, but John said it looked "totally rad". Linus, who was cruising along closely behind me, did not expect such a rookie mistake and skillfully avoided running me over, but ended up crashing as well. Unlike normal crashes (yes, I crash fairly frequently), I got the wind knocked out of me, which hadn't happened in years and was still kind of a scary experience. I think I also bumped my head, so it took me a few minutes to get myself back together and riding again. The other thing about this crash is that it's reminded me that I'm getting old. I woke up this morning sore in numerous different places.

And so we were riding again. Drinking liters and liters of liquid. Eating magic electrolyte strips. Sweating profusely. The temperature was now in the mid 90s and we were each entering our own personal hells. The tally of symptoms:
Dave: beginning to stop sweating, thirsty
Chris: bruises, minor brain damage, very sweaty
Linus: goosebumps, thirsty
Ali: still feeling injuries from previous week's crashes
John: irritable rider syndrome, still bmx-less

In summary: When it's 100 degrees, don't ride hot trails. Stay indoors. Drink cold beer. Read bicycle blogs on the internets. Shop for new headsets and 24" bmx cruisers. Please, do not go outside.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

"The unblogged life is an unfulfilled life"-Pirate

Pirate's admonishment, offered at the start of yesterday's heat fest, motivates today's entry. Although, Chris O. has already recounted the highlights of our trip I thought I'd proffer my own view and by doing so find some elusive fulfillment. And I have photos, too.

It was hot. No one with good sense should ride his or her bike in this weather. We lack good sense even the Professor, whose crash was as quick as it was unexpected. But that's mountain biking for you: a reminder of human limits and humility. Here's us reflecting upon the frailty of our shared human condition after the Professor's crash. Oh folly.

This was early in the ride, which picked up speed to match the escalating temperatures. Linus and Dave looked good when I saw them, which was mainly at the rest intervals and as they accelerated away from me. Linus, in particular, was on a banner day. He looked smooth and confident on his bike despite not being able to recall his last mountain bike ride. Pirate was his normal self. As I gasped to Chris before he rode away from me once again, "The game is strong in him." And it is.

As noted earlier, I have been suffering the after effects of injuries sustained during my last two mountain bike rides. The first and perhaps more serious is a very bruised tailbone that I acquired at the end of an otherwise spectacular ride in the Duke Forest during the prior week's thunderstorm. Coming back home through Duke's campus, my back tire slipped on the wet slate walkway as I tried to avoid an errant pedestrian and I fell to the ground. Painfully. I tried to tough in out last Wednesday during my ride with Dave, but only made things worse when I fell over my bars while descending. While Dave judged my fall "graceful" its damage- two slightly sprained wrists- was not. After several days of rest, ibuprofen, and ice, I joined the boys on Sunday hoping to keep up but that was not to be. It's hard to feel comfortable on your bike and turn pedals when your contacts points are ill at ease. My body was capable of producing only a few phrases of the body english required to ride effectively.

But in the end, the heat was an equalizer with all of us rolling the last miles to the car listlessly. Linus' situation was most acute and he availed himself of Pirate's ice packs and cold water in an effort to find relief. What did I say about mountain biking as the teacher of human limits, frailty, and humility?

Chris and Linus post-crash:

Notice that even in 100 degree heat, and after knocking himself a little silly on the ground, the Professor remains cool, calm, collected, and fully zipped-up: the guy's a phenomenon.

The scene of the crime:

Linus icing his jibblies:

If you click the photo above to make it bigger, you'll notice that you can see Ali over Linus's shoulder, and that he clearly does not approve, though it's unclear if it's of the icing or the photographing thereof.

BCC, fully Focused:

The Pathfinder will be greatly missed, but the new floor mats make the Focus totally pimp.

Edit: Text by Ali, pictures and captions by John. We tag-teamed on this entry.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Critical Mass ride begins with moment of silence

As we gathered around Major for the monthly Critical Mass ride through downtown Phillip Baron took a moment to describe the accident on Pleasant Green and to say something brief about bicycling safety and Clive Sweeney's death. We then took time to observe a moment of silence for Clive, his family, and his friends.

With that rather somber beginning, the ride was a little lower-key than usual, though the rather ridiculous temperature might have put a damper on some of our enthusiasm as well. Chris, Dave, and I cruised around Durham with the diverse crew for a leisurely hour or so before adjourning to Bull McCabe's for some post-ride carbing. It was great to see all the people that came by after the ride -- there were probably 15 or so CMers there -- to enjoy a hot, humid night on the patio.

Brian also joined us, though he spent less time talking and more time grooming his euro-mullet. Some kids are just too cool for school.

I would have some pictures, but either Ali, JD, Brian, Erin, or the shop has my camera.

Until next month, keep rubbin' Major's nose!

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Driver charged in cyclist's death

ABC11 has the story about the driver who struck Clive here, along with a picture of the driver. Here is the text of the story:

Orange County authorities charged the driver of a SUV in the death of a cyclist.

North Carolina Highway Patrol Trooper Matt Smith told Eyewitness News charges were filed Wednesday.

Ryan Idyle, 26, is charged with misdemeanor death by vehicle, careless and reckless driving and driving left of center.

The accident happened around 8 a.m. Tuesday on Pleasant Green Road in Orange County.

The bicyclist was 59-year-old Clive Sweeney.

Sweeney was hit head-on by a SUV that lost control and crossed the center line. He died at the scene and Idyler suffered minor injuries.

I hope that the coverage that this incident has gotten will raise people's awareness about the busy -- and shared -- nature of our roads. Just a little less speed and a little more awareness could make things safer for all involved: cyclists, motorists, motorcyclists, and pedestrians. Here's hoping.

Wednesday, June 4, 2008

New Video posted by ABC 11

ABC 11 - Durham aired another bicycle story this evening on their evening news. Click here to see a video and/or read the report.

My co-worker Matt (from Greenways Inc.) and myself were interviewed on the topic of existing area bicycle conditions and the need for adequate bicycle facilities on local roads.

Once again thank you to ABC 11 for devoting air time to bicycling.

Thank you ABC 11 - Durham

Many thanks go out to Durham based ABC 11 and reporters Sabrina Zimring and Gerrick Brenner for running stories on both of their newscasts last night about the tragic death of Durham cyclist, Clive Sweeney.

Click here to see the two news stories that were aired on ABC 11 yesterday.

Please be safe out there everyone.

Also don't forget Durham's Monthly Critical Mass Ride is happening this Thursday. The cycling awareness ride begins at 5:35 pm in Downtown Durham at "Major" in the CCB Plaza. See Map Below:

View Larger Map

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Memorial Bicycle Ride Today in Durham - 5:30pm

Cycling Community-

We lost another cyclist today. If you have not heard the news, a local Durham cyclist was killed this morning when an SUV hit them on Pleasant Green Road in Orange County....just west of Durham.

Bull City Cycling is organizing a short road ride today in honor of our fallen friend.

Please join us at 5:30pm today as we roll out from Durham
(Note: This ride is replacing our normal Tuesday Evening training ride.)

Our route is as follows:
-Meet at 639 Broad Street in Durham (The Bicycle Chain and Whole Foods Shopping Center)

View Larger Map

-Head out of town on Erwin Road to Morreene Road to American Village
-American Village to Neal Road
-Neal Road to Bennett Memorial Road
-Bennett Memorial Road to Hwy 70
-Hwy 70 to Old NC 10
-Old NC10 to Mt Herman Church Road
-Mt. Herman Church Road to Pleasant Green Road

On Pleasant Green we will ride to Ebenezer Church Road and pause.

After we will return to Durham.

I know this is short notice. Please spread the word to all.

Our hope is to honor our friend and raise awareness for bicycles.

Thank you and please pass the word on......

Bull City Cycling Team

Monday, June 2, 2008

Things I hope never to see in person

This was the result of a car crashing into the pack while an organized bike race was in progress in Mexico:

I'm not sure how the picture was taken, but the result is pretty terrifying. I stole the article from CNN and I'm sure that there must be more information elsewhere, but the outlines are that a drunk twenty-something American fell asleep while driving and allowed his car to careen into the pack just south of Brownsville, Texas. At least one cyclist has died.

Be careful out there.

Edit, Wednesday, 9am : I eventually turned up a little more information from the local NBC affiliate, KVEO. Here's a snippet of the article:

The third annual bike tour "Matamoros-Playa Bagdad" started at 8 o' clock Sunday morning. Hundreds of people, from little ones to adults, joined the 21-mile race. They thought it was a family outing, but little did they know, 30 minutes later, a man under the influence of alcohol ended the life of Brownsville resident, 30-year-old Alejandro Alvarez.

TORC Skills Day at REI Durham

Last Thursday evening JD and I headed over to REI to conduct an hour and a half "Mountain Biking 101" workshop. We had an enthusiastic audience who peppered us with questions during our discussion of bike setup (26ers? 29ers? advantages of each?), riding equipment (funny padding in shorts, is it a good idea?), and riding skills. The last one was the hardest to commmunicate in a class-room setting and is better taught on the trail. Below JD shares the wisdom of his riding years with the audience.

We tried to emphasize the fun and enjoyment we've both found in mountain biking. In addition to the social aspects that keep each of us coming back, there's an attentiveness and appreciation that one gains to the change of the seasons in the forest through mountain biking. Our ride earlier this spring at New Light was a vivid illustration of this kind of change.

There are several notable social events for mountain bikers on the horizon. National Trails day on Saturday, June 7th. TORC will be working at Crabtree on that day, Our friends at Trips for Kids hosts rides for area school kids regularly and can always use volunters. Finally, the Triangle Mountain Bike Festival and Curse of the Crab 6 hour races are scheduled for October 4th. Mark your calendars.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

The Test: Dropping Science Part 2

I arrived at the K-Lab not really knowing what to expect. Well, I expected to answer a questionnaire, sign some legal waivers, get weighed, then ride my bike on a trainer for an hour while being periodically pricked on a finger so blood could be drawn, meanwhile eating some sort of semi-experimental electrolyte product. And, yes, that's pretty much what happened. But blogging is all about telling a story that turns into some other story, a much longer, more hilarious, other story. So here's that story.

I actually expected something unexpected to happen, like them telling me I couldn't drink any water, or that I would need to wear some scientific burlap cycling shorts, or that Coach K would dash out from one of the offices and start prodding me with a trident. None of these things happened.

Once, this other time, I participated in a study that measured several products' ability to speed glycogen replenishment in leg muscles after intense exercise. Sounds cool, right? The catch is that to replenish glycogen, you need to deplete all of your glycogen, also known as bonking. So, the experiment involved riding the bike on a trainer for about 2 hours, really hard, then sprinting. The body is smart, though. Too smart for a silly study like this so when I started sprinting at the end, my body decided that this was important for survival (like escaping from a cheetah or something) and instead of just giving up and letting me bonk in peace, it somehow pulled more glycogen outta nowhere. This continued for another hour or so, interspersed with blood samples--not just little finger pricks, but little vials full, straight outta the vein--and tube-in-the-mouth oxygen measurements. It was total torture.

In this case, the K-Lab person, Cameron, was very nice. There were a few other staff members around during my first trial and a few other people doing some walking experiment during my second trial. The walking experiment involved some undergrad walking back and forth in front of an array of cameras while wearing spandex shorts and little fuzzy white balls taped to him. They were supposedly using some motion-capture equipment to do some sort of modern Al "Mr. 59" Geiberger SyberVision analysis (I'm still looking for a better link of this video, but it's a pretty hilarious golf technique video which was also the premise for a friend's theme party). The balls kept falling off, making their experiment seem even more ridiculous. They would occasionally look over at me, cranking away, while they sat around, re-adhering balls to his shorts.

So, in my most recent experiment, an hour on the bike wasn't so bad. Plus, there was Computrainer. If you have not experienced Computrainer, you've been missing out. Computrainer is computer software that you hook up to a stationary trainer and it allows you to race against a virtual competitor while it gauges your power, cadence, heart rate, speed, and dorkiness level. However, this was not a study of dorkiness, given the fact that most people who would decide to participate in this type of experiment are already off-the-chart dorks (see Dropping Science: Part 1). In any event, Computrainer is essentially a video game, a lot like Guitar Hero or Rockband but instead of five buttons and a whammy-bar, there are only two commands: pedal with your left leg and pedal with your right leg. There are also no guitar solos on Computrainer. It does, however change resistance as you go uphill or downhill.

Ah, Computrainer. Much like that strange compulsion that some people have that will cause them to drive to a smelly gym on a gorgeous North Carolina afternoon, jump on a treadmill, and stare at ESPN or CSPAN or ANTM, the Computrainer will make you never want to ride a bike outside again. Who needs the outdoors when you can watch a computer screen where you are playing this video game where your character is outdoors? The "level" I was on was a rolling landscape of green foliage and rocky knobs. It looked a lot like middle earth from the Lord of the Rings movies, sans hobbits, plus a silky-smooth car-free roadway. My character was on the left-hand side of the road, so it may have been in England.

But in an anachronistic twist, on this pastoral landscape, I was racing against the cyclist of the future. Yes, while riding on these magical roadways, your companion, or should I say nemesis, is not a mythical beast from the days of yore, but instead a futuristic uber cyclist who appeared to be made out of liquid mercury. Yes, if you dream that you are racing against Terminator 2 to save that really hot elf, then the people at Computrainer are stealing your thoughts. Also, you will like Computrainer. My cyber opponent, let's call him RoboFloyd, had a ridiculously high cadence (>120 rpm) and a bad habit of not slowing down when they were drawing blood, making me eat stuff, or when I just felt like slowing down. Even my normal technique to slow the pace down (sidling up to a compatriot and trying to get them involved in a conversation about equipment, nutrition, or their mother while I gradually slow down) didn't work. He was least until I got too far behind. Once he got a few bike-lengths ahead, I think he was programmed to ease up until I caught him. After I figured this out, things were cooler. I realized that I would not be abandoned in this computer world and forced to battle my way out, like in Tron.

The cool thing about Computrainer (okay, all that other stuff was really cool, too), is that it produces tons of data. Here's a screenshot from one of my sessions:

I'll discuss the data in the next installment of this series, but here are the cool things about using a Computrainer:
* You can do a solid one-hour time trial test, which can be difficult on the open road since you need to contend with traffic, stop signs, and liquid-mercury humanoid rednecks throwing stuff from futuristic pickup trucks.
* You get to see all of the sweat you produce during a workout.
* You can avoid the outdoors, which is great if you are in Barrow, Alaska in January or if you are a reclusive novelist or if you haven't done laundry and don't want to wear your Rock Racing jersey with your white Quick Step bibs.
* You don't need to wear a helmet, so you can proudly display your EuroMullet (see Brochard or Bergler).
* You can listen to your headphones without fear of getting hit by a car. My recommendation for Computrainer 2.0 would be to team up with the Rockband people and make some course where you could race against a cycling robot on a floating pathway to the tune of Rush's "Tom Sawyer".

Next time: electrolytes=yum & data analysis.