Monday, November 30, 2009

who needs the Schleck brothers?

...or the Jalabert brothers, or the Hadeo brothers, or the Super Mario Brothers, for that matter? While there was no racing to be had in NC this weekend, Eric, my li'l brother (aka, Associate Professor--not to be mistaken for Full Professor) worked a 17th out of 52 in the Sussex County CX race in New Jersey. Cracking the top 20 is solid for a guy whose primary sport is fishing and who hates running. To be fair, he does do fly fishing (the cyclocross of fishing), and telemark skiing (the cyclocross of skiing), and lives in New Jersey (the cyclocross of mobster states), so cyclocross (the cyclocross of cycling) seems to be make sense. The extra cool thing was that he was less than a minute out of the top 10. He's been heavily recruited to ride for BCC in 2010 and he's promised to try to visit for a NC Winter Cup race, so watch out. In the meantime, we'll try to find him a better nickname.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Kooky Luxembourgers.....

The Schleck brothers of Saxo Bank.....enjoying some off season R&R or training Flipper to flip Lance next season?

Another photo here shows that Contador is in on the scheme too.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Radio Shack Beppdate

News update on the Radio Shack team roster: it appears that they have signed fan favorite Fumiyuki Beppu. While this is probably good news for Beppu's bank account, but I wonder how it will affect his overall visibility, both professionally and from a fan's standpoint. Sure, he's on Lance's team. But this team is loaded with some fairly-obscure international domestiques. Will Beppu be allowed to launch crazy-ass attacks and contest sprints in the Tour, or will he need to shepherd protected Shack riders in third-teir races? More importantly, can Bontrager wheels withstand extreme bunnyhopping?

Monday, November 23, 2009

weekend off?

None of us could make it up to Hendersonville for the NC Grand Prix, which is kinda a bummer. I didn't do too well on that course last time I was up there (fairly flat with one steep hill, as I remember, good for crit racers). However, rain made Sunday look interesting. Read Peter Hymas' report on Cyclingnews.

So some of the Durham cyclocrossers (Ben, Linus, and I) met up with the Raleigh mountainbikers (Daniel and JD) for a nice off-road ride at Umstead. One of Daniel's friends, a Misfit Team guy, led us around some secret trails, further obscured by a heavy blanket of leaves. It was kinda like riding in snow, but not as cold, and with hidden roots and rocks.

Sunday, almost all of the stars of Durham showed up for a gravel trails cyclocross ride. Veteran racers, Ben, Geoff, Linus, Corey, and I were joined by future racers Ali, Brian, and Dewey. (Jay's out with an injured leg, but will hopefully be recovered in time for the last weekend of fall racing.) It's fun rolling with a cyclocross crew, even though it appears to be the new hipster thing to do.

For a supposedly fairly chill ride, we had a lot of mechanicals, starting with Linus' crash before we left the shop. Dewey's phantom-gear singlespeed conversion started self-destructing. Geoff flatted on the old road cobblestones. Linus then developed a slow-leak.

Lots of quality riding, in less time than a one-way drive to Hendersonville. Next stop: Greensboro & Winston-Salem!

Friday, November 20, 2009

Bringing a little happiness to your weekend; or, Charles Diez is a douche

Does anyone happen to remember back in July when an Asheville man shot at a biker, hitting his helmet and narrowly missing his head? It made the BCC press here and here, as well as attracting state and local attention. In case you missed it -- or if you blocked the case out of your mind in an attempt to ride happy -- here are the basic, undisputed outlines of the case:

The cyclist Alan Simons was riding on a busy road in Asheville with his wife (on her own bike) and his young child (in the bike seat behind him). The driver Charles Alexander Diez (el douché grandé), became incensed at the bikers, and pulled his truck over to convince them of the error of their ways. He was particularly troubled that the Simonses were putting their child's life in danger by riding their bikes on the road. The two men argued, and Simons turned to walk away, presumably to get back on his bike. At this point Diez (wanker-in-chief), fired a pistol at Simons' head. The bullet traveled through Simons' helmet, but thankfully missed his head. No one was injured. Diez (he-of-the-minescule-penis) then got back into his truck and fled the scene. He was captured later at his home after witnesses recorded his license plate number.

To summarize, Diez (biggest-pigfucker-of-them-all) fired his pistol at the back of Simons' head, missing his head but striking the helmet. No one disputes this fact.

Diez (he-who-fucks-goats) was charged with simple assault with a deadly weapon, and not attempted murder. As you can well imagine, the penalty for the former is significantly less, but the bar for conviction is much lower. And convicted he was: Diez was quickly found guilty, the trial lengthened only by the parade of character witnesses for the defense, all of which said the Diez was in fact a good guy, none mentioning any proclivities on his part to actively and aggressively pursue copulation with various farm animals.

So the judge must have thrown the book at him, you say? Gave him the maximum sentence for such an act? Threatened to have him indicted on harsher charges?

Surely, you jest.

Diez (he-of-the-Miss-Piggy-costume-for-"special"-nights-in) was sentenced to four months in jail. Four months.

Let that one sink in a little bit, why don't you?

Let me put it this way: Diez (oh-he-of-the-blow-up-sheep-collection) will get less than half the time for shooting at and hitting a person, than if he had simply been carrying an unlicensed firearm (one year minimum). So as long as you've got a permit for that there pea-shooter, feel free to fire away! Especially if your target is a cyclist. With his wife and child. And you're mad. Because he's endangering his wife. And child.

I'm not sure what my message is here, other than this is a gross miscarriage of justice. The judge cited "mitigating factors present for sentencing purposes in this case include that Diez has good character, served in the military, supports his family financially, has a positive employment history and has a good support system in the community. The judge found no aggravating factors, and Diez had no criminal record." (Read the full story here.) And really, I'm happy that the guy doesn't kick kittens or spit in his co-workers' food, and always washes his hands after he pees.

But really, he tried to kill another human being. And if you don't think that's what he tried to do, that he was instead trying to "fire a warning shot" (his defense), don't you think that anyone who consider shooting within an inch of another's head a "warning shot" and therefore reasonable needs to be locked up for longer anyway? In no story is Simons ever shown as assaulting Diez (man-of-greatly-diminished-mental-capacities-and-non-existant-love-life), nor does he himself have a gun, or a weapon of any kind. With that in mind, what could he have been doing that he needed to be warned? Talked loudly? Yelled? Called Diez a carbuncle-encrusted oozing vagina? (Well, that one would be true.)

No, in fact, there's only one reason that Diez shot Simons: Simons was riding a bike, and Diez therefore saw him as less-than-human, so much so that Diez didn't think twice about discharging his deadly weapon at the man.

Sorry to bring you down folks, but it gets worse: by failing to punish him to the full extent of the law, the judge affirmed this belief, essentially saying: "yes, it was bad what Diez did, but can't we all understand? Doesn't it make sense that he'd want to shoot a cyclist? Sure he went too far, but only a little bit so."

That's all I've got. No happy ending for this one. Only a pic of Diez (pus-ridden-canker-sucker) so that you know to get out of his way when he's on the road, 'cause now he knows he can shoot at you and only receive the lightest of slaps on the wrist.

Charles Alexander Diez, 42.
The biggest ass in all the land.

Whew! Rant over. You kids be careful out there.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

So Epic

Stumptown. Rapha. Black and White. PRO. Suffering. So Epic.

The Professor's New Car??

As reported by the Professor last week, Bull City Cycling lost one of its long running team cars. Sadness. The photos below just appeared and it looks like the Professor is pulling out all of the stops for his new personal team rig.

Will the Professor have two new vehicles or is one simply a decoy? And do we now call him Professor Fate? What is up with that? Also it looks like the vehicle below might be a joint project between Professor Fate and Dr. Pirate?

So many questions. Perhaps the most important where are you gonna put the roof rack?

Product Review: Speed

No not some sort of pharmaceutical grade Mountain Dew inspired trip......but wind cheating, internally cable routed, OCLV, integrated brake, Kamm Tail aerodynamically equipped, wicked ass bicycle speed.

This not in production 2011 Trek Speed Concept paid me a visit at work this week at Wheat Ridge Cyclery. This bike is just like the bike that Lance and Contador rode at Le Tour 2009 and that Chris Lieto set the Kona Ironman record bike spilt on. Basically, it sounds like this bike alone will take like an hour off my Ironman bike split time....haha.

More details on why this bike is so important coming shortly.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

NCCX #6: Southern Pines

Once upon a time in North Carolina state history, enterprising folks realized that Southern Pines was actually a place where you could grow fairly crummy pines. Low fertility sandy soil isn't great for trees, but it drains well and if you fertilize the hell out of it, you could grow a nice little golf course. Other than golf courses, and old people driving around in large Cadillacs, I don't really know what goes on in So.Pines...that is, except for one day a year when cyclocross comes to town. I've raced down here a number of times over the past several years (okay, I realize that 1 is a number, but I'm thinking of a number greater than 1), so someone else can probably give a fresher impression of the course. I'll just give a short synopsis, sadly without pictures. Geoff posted some on Facebook, but I refuse to join Facebook, so I may never see them. Sorry.

Jay continued his string of consistently impressive performances, finishing 13th in the CX3s. Most of us arrived while he was racing, so I'm not exactly sure how his race went, but he looked good. Chasing down fools in his trademark large gear/low cadence.

Geoff was competing in his first-ever cyclocross race (on the fantabulous fourth-hand Kelly Knobby-X) and after getting stuck behind a major pile-up in the initial 200m, showed grit and determination (and a bit of semi-toothy grimace of ecstatic pain) and nearly caught Ben. Ben keeps getting faster and I think he's starting to feel the need to start crushing people. Corey took a very chilled-out approach to his first-ever bicycle race. He said he was nervous before the start, but quickly was flying through the sand and having a blast. Every time he rode past, he kept saying how much fun he was having. The rookies were led-out by Linus, who was up in the lead group the entire race. He led the race for a while, dropped off the pace with about one lap to go, but kept hammering and passed two dudes who may or may not have crashed each other out. His tenacity paid further dividends when one of top two guys was DQed for forgetting to register for the race. This being the state championships, Linus walked away with the silver medal.

As for me, a thinner field allowed me to crack the top ten. I was able to hold off a chase group with two fast masters guys (who must have been playing a little cat-and-mouse, because if they were working together, they probably could have destroyed me). I also benefited from someone else's late-race mechanical.

Hopefully other folks can post more detailed personal accounts of their races for us to enjoy.

Last Weekend

Monday, November 16, 2009

For Racing Only

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

NCCX 4and5 Warm Fast weekend

The racing was dry and fast for two consecutive days and proved to be a real contrast to the last weekend of racing in the mud and grass. I regained my consistency but place consistenly lower than my opening weekend slotting into 17th both days for midpack results. Charlotte was a tougher course than I anticipated with an uphill road sprint to a nasty little rise to enter the course. Once on course riders immediately rode into a 2 section sand pit. I was able to ride the first section but making the second section was tough and I only made it through both on one lap. Barriers right after this section made for no rest and the course kept it coming with off-camber hilly turns into a hilly run up and short climb. All this was dished out in the first 1/3 of the course. The remaining was fast road and grass terrain with little time for recovery.

Linus had a break out weekend placing in the top 1o in Charlotte and landing on the podium in 3rd in Salisbury. I am looking forward to having him join me in the 3's. By the way OG you need to contact NCCX and replace the ? mark under the Charlotte results with your name.

Linus burning through the second sand pit in Charlotte and running the barriers like a pro.

No photos from Salisbury but the sun was shining and the temps were in the upper 70's. The course was in excellent condition and everyone was smiling. The Sandhills are ahead of us next week.

Monday, November 9, 2009

"i bent my wookie" part 2

after last week's cyclocross mud fest in Boone, where i bent my frame, i thought i'd take a week off of racing to go to some friends' wedding in Baltimore. unfortunately, when traffic slowed to a stop, the guy behind me didn't, leading to my second bent frame in a week.

no one was injured. fortunately, the other guy, who was at fault, was insured. unfortunately Park does not make a somewhat offensively-named tool to fix this sort of thing. in any event, Boone was the last race for the old Subaru.

on a more encouraging note, my brother bought a used cyclocross bike off eBay last week and promptly did his first cyclocross race in New Jersey this weekend. i think it was actually his first real bike race ever (duathlons don't count as real bike races) and he's ready for more. rather than chastise certain people i know who have cyclocross bikes but haven't been racing them, i'll just make a plug for possibly recruiting a new BCC member to represent in the Mullet State.

Walls come tumbling down.....

History lesson: Twenty years ago today the Berlin Wall fell...reuniting families, friends and foes. This was perhaps the most momentous event in Europe to that date since the close of World War 2.

Well this last weekend the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships (SSCXWC) were once again held in Portland for one last time. Followers of the event will remember that last year, the start involved blasting through a large bubbly foam wall. Perhaps as the SSCXWC looks for a new venue in upcoming years......they might consider Berlin. If only their wall had been made of foam, perhaps the Germans would have all been much happier years ago.....

No reports yet from the Professor or Linus O-G about their results from SSCXWC this year....most likely they are still passed out in a Portland gutter in foam wearing a modified Bull City Cycling bikini or something similar...

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Academic Interest

Check out the trailer for Brian Vernor's new documentary, "The Cyclocross Meeting" which follows Barry Wicks and Adam McGrath as the compete in Japan. With cyclocross + Japan, this film's target demographic is clearly The Professor.

NB: Watching Barry Wick's extra-tall profile among the Japanese racers, I'd guess that I'm something like average height for a bike racer in Japan which is kinda cool.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Transfer News?

Rahsaan Bahati Corners - (c) Ken Conley
Photo by Ken Conley

In his announcement today confirming rumors that he plans form his own pro-team for the 2010 season, Rashaan Bahati's hinted that he would be signing other "big name" riders. Perhaps fellow Rock Racing alumnus Hollywood?

Splendor in the Grass Part 2

NCCX-3 Boone, NC = MUD

As we rolled West through downpours in the piedmont toward the High Country we began to see some breaks in the clouds. And while the temperatures were hovering in the mid-40's we held some hope that we might see semi-clear skies, although with heavy rain there was bound to be mud. I mentioned the strangeness of micro-climates up in these hills that I remembered from living here some time ago. Sure enough once we headed out of Boone on the way up to Hawksnest all blue skies were shrouded in low hanging fog. But sometimes it is most interesting to start at the end so....

Did I hear someone say mud and thick grass = matted clump

and something about drivetrains doubling as sod homes

I think those photos say alot already and since I am less eloquent than the professor I will let the race photos speak most about the rest of the day.

I had a reasonably good start to the CX3 race and made it over the barrier behind the rider who would eventually end up 6th.

Still moving kinda smoothly through the off camber section.

And then I hit the mud sections before the run up and by the second time through my trusty Bontrager, superb in the dryer conditions but severly lacking in mud clearance, had built rammed earth condos around the both brakes, sandwiched the rear tire between the chainstays and caked both derailleur's. On the third lap I was forced to dismount and decided to try and clear some of the muck. I found I could not turn the cranks over with my hand and started pulling clumps out as fast as I could. The course was hilly enough without that kind of resistance and so after stopping for the fourth time I sat up and just rolled along for a finish. It was my worst result yet but I have to admit I loved playing in the mud, did not break myself or my equipment and I learned alot from it. All the muddy Euro cross videos I have watched, thanks to Nathan Spears, played back in my mind as I tooled along and it gave me great insight into the pits I see Nys, Boom and others taking every other lap on nasty days.

I think Chris, on the other hand, knows all about these kinds of days and was handling all the sections with relative ease, showing poise in the remount along the off camber section.

The PROfessor looked determined on the run up.

Did I mention there were rowdy crowds, loud music and beer? Oh and a muddy run-up?

and muddy downhill?

Chris gets the biggest props of the day for running his entire last lap after snapping a chain in the muddy flats. He even looked like he enjoyed it after finishing....

but definitely was more happy that plenty of beer was on hand.

Linus might have had the worst of it as conditions were nastier later in the day. Halloween party + beer = rough morning. Mud + Grass + Cross racing = rough afternoon. Overcoming this he finished with a great effort and I have to give him my apologies as my camera seems to have succmb to the day with technical difficulties and we are left with only one last shot of pain in the mud.

Next week Charlotte and Salisbury.

Monday, November 2, 2009

splendor in the grass

when you combine heavy mud and thick grass, you get a solid, matted clump. in many places, people build houses out of this stuff. so, in a way, we built little houses in our cyclocross bikes' brakes and drivetrains yesterday in Boone. however, bikes are not Monopoly boards and should not have houses built on them. more on this later. in the meantime, if you get the chance, stop by the shop and you can see how our bikes ended up. Linus' post-race bicycle weight increased by 5 pounds (which was actually a partially dried weight--wet weight would have added at least another pound). look for his ads around town: I gained 5 pounds in 30 minutes--ask me how!