Tuesday, August 31, 2010

adieu professor

French cycling legend, Laurent Fignon, the true professor of the peloton, has passed away.

My memories of Fignon are vague, network coverage of le tour in the early 80s. I remember cheering against him, in favor of Greg LeMond. It was nothing personal--I didn't dislike Fignon, but as an American, you had to love LeMond. And it was this great rivalry with Fignon that made LeMond an even more legendary figure.

But I needn't lecture you about cycling history. The thing I wanted to say about Fignon is that he always stood out in my mind as one of the great nerds in the sporting world. I actually don't know if he's a nerd, but he was a sports figure who wore glasses. And not James Worthy-style sports glasses, but straight-up metal frame librarian glasses. You obviously can't get away with wearing these spectacles in contact sports, but they are actually kinda impractical for cycling, since they don't block the wind or sun very well. (You might see these in cross-country running, but we already knew those guys are nerds.) As a somewhat nerdy and also somewhat athletic kid, I think Fignon made a pretty big impression on me, though I don't think I realized it until now. Here was someone at the top of their sport, possibly the most difficult athletic contest in the world, and they seem kinda dorky (the glasses are significant, but the ponytail seals the deal). Nerds can get rad, especially as cyclists.

Incidentally, I think he may have been the archetype for the cricket bat-toting nihilist in "The Big Lebowski" (not the ferret handler or Flea):

Farewell professor.

Monday, August 30, 2010


with the road racing season winding down, it's time to start thinking about other types of cycling. mountain bike racing? cyclocross? how about fancifully-morbid bmx-based video games?

Victorian BMX. play it online for free...free, except for the time you waste.

the generic death metal soundtrack gets a little tedious after playing for several hours, so i'd suggest The Fall:

Saturday, August 28, 2010

i am a nuisance

state championships road racing! i don't think there is really a cat-4 state champion (i do think they should make them wear a special jersey for the next year), but the promoters took my $30 nonetheless.

let it first be said, much props to the promoters: elliot and the fsc-racing crew. races started on-time. course was clean and well-marshalled. bathrooms had toilet paper. hell yeah.

my only problem was the racing. the course/racing wasn't tough enough to split things up (presumably, i would have been "tough enough" to be in the front group). i threw down a number of futile attacks, hoping to catch people napping. a few other people were interested in animating the field, but the rest of the folks really wanted to keep our little group a tight-knit community. like cult-members, anyone was free to leave whenever they wished, but you really could never escape the sinewy bonds of the peloton. other guys probably think i'm a total jackass for my repeated, go-nowhere attacks. but nuts to them. who really wants to contest a 30 person sprint? not me. i sat up and rolled across the finish in not-quite-last place.

post-race activities were more fun. chatted with jay and korps before their race. lots of duke folks around as well. chatted with scott from bitter dose about hosting a wintertime DURHAM CYCLOCROSS RACE.

also, dave from the dose cheered me up with the awesome power of the double rainbow on evie's iphone:

what does it mean?!?

Monday, August 23, 2010

race day


6:00 am
alarm goes off
time to wake up for a 9:00 race
nice and early

6:30 am
okay, now it's time to get up for the race
plenty of time to eat, drink espresso, drive to race, register, get dressed, get motivated to race

8:30 am
now i'm ready to get up

some people razz me because i don't like to get up early to ride
this is true, but it doesn't mean i won't
i just prefer no to
and with this past weekend's "race at the reactor" i was somewhat sleepy, but mostly unmotivated to scramble down to harris lake for a 9am start time (c'mon--who starts singlespeeders at 9am?!?) and try to ride the bike fast
it might have helped if i had some company, but everyone seems to have moved out of town or don't do mtb races less than 5 hours long (chumps)
i guess i'm trying to save my motivation--that is, the motivation to do all the crap necessary to actually get to a race and still want to be there--for cyclocross season
so so lazy

Thursday, August 19, 2010

summer doldrums

all of the folks from BCC seem to be traveling to Denver, so i decided to check it out. and while other folks feel the need to ride bikes there to fully experience the mile-high city, i figured i could adequately assess it from the airport. flying in from the Salt Lake City, i somehow only saw vast, brown flatness through my tiny window. but after a quick turn, i did see the majesty of the Rockies off in the distance. and yes, while Denver is right at the foot of some big mountains, it still looks like a long way up to the peaks. 

i was out west for a little backpacking trip in Wyoming, which was a lot of fun. it still boggles the mind that you can take horses through national wilderness areas, which rip up the trail and drop shit everywhere, but the idea of riding a bike is totally off limits. these notions didn't bug me too long--it was plenty hard walking up the trails, pushing a bike would have been pointless. i was curious to see if stomping around at 9,000 feet with heavy boots, a tent, and a portable espresso maker would give me mad power. sadly i don't think it did. 

tried my hand at the Apex (that's a suburb of Cary (which is itself a suburb of Raleigh), for our non-NC readers) road race. with over 50 starters packed to the right-hand side of the yellow line, i figured the pack was no place for a sane individual. attacked early, attacked often, but not often enough or strong enough to get away. no one else was interested in going on a little adventure with me and around 23 cooler heads trounced me in a bunch sprint. Corey was also out, enjoying the action in what i believe was his first official non-criterium road race, and he fought admirably. 

but the other thing happening with my cycling has been a renewed excitement about mountain biking. and what can be more exciting than the lure of new trails. Linus heard from Brian II that there were some fancy new TORC-constructed trails in the Briar Chapel community (a pseudo-suburb of Chapel Hill). we first got semi-lost on a dirt road which was apparently only intended for construction crew access. we then passed Endor Drive, which of course is named after the home planet of the Ewoks, so i was getting ready for a fast and nerdy land speeder-esque ride (possibly sabotaged by rebel forces

long story short: we found some heavy mulch walking trail, eventually found some decent mountain bike trails which turned into fun mountain bike trails which turned into boring fire-roads and lots of dead ends. there's about one or two miles of well-built trails out there, another couple of miles of decent trails, but weak connectivity, no signage, and no legible maps. plus, riding on that super rough mulch was slow. until it gets a lot more broken-down, i may need to find some terrain-specific tires. perhaps the Michelin Mulch II. if anyone has any tips on riding these trails, please let us know.

furthermore, it was hot. we both ended up sweating a lot and Linus, who had apologized earlier about the smelliness of his shoes now found said shoes were drenched with sweat. when i returned home, i inexplicably (or, easily explicably) i found that my shoes now had a terrible shoey smell to them. i'm not sure how i caught Linus foot-funk, but needless to say, i'm a little sad. sad shoes. 

okay, that's all i got for now. cyclocross "practices" have started (Wednesdays at 6:30pm and Saturdays at 9:30am at Forest Hills Park) and i think i'll drag the mountain bike to the Race at the Reactor this weekend, just in case there's a meltdown and radioactive pollution gives me mad power. fingers crossed...

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Summer Slump?

Where have all the bloggers gone?

Are we on reruns? When does the new season start?

I know it is summer and all.....so where are the ORRAM reports? Who is going to steal the Fool's Gold? Why has there not been a BCC BBQ ride this summer yet? Where is the Bicycle Chain moving too? How is the Professor preping for cross season?

What is new fellas?