Okay, I'll admit it: I've always wanted to be superfast. And I'll also admit it: in the past, I've trained. Cardio. Weight training. Intervals. Distance. I've even attempted to hone my handling skills to non-sucking status. Admittedly, I've also made numerous unnecessary equipment upgrades, hoping that this would help to make me superfast. But none of these things provided the answer to making me superfast.
Which is to say, none of my previous searching provided me with a suitable excuse for not going faster. Until now.
A slow skeleton. The way I see it, I've been competing with Cat-5 bones all this time. The proof is in the x-rays. Four months post-surgery and my collarbone still shows significant "non-union" (to the non-southerners in our readership, "non-union" is not a euphemism for Confederate army supporter, but in fact means that the darn thing is still broken). Slow healing is obviously also a sign that my own internal frameset just isn't as lively and responsive as it could be (I mean they tried to upgrade it with titanium--hello, it's 2011, where the hell is my carbon fiber bone replacement?!?).
Unfortunately, I probably need to stick with the current model. However, bone can be replaced with cadaver bone, so if you know where Fignon's tomb is and you have a shovel I can borrow, holler back.
The good news is that the bone feels fine. The doctor seemed to suggest that it looks stable and that the odds of re-injuring the right collarbone by falling off a bike is about the same as breaking the left one. So, I guess that's kind of also good news. I'm still hesitant to get back on the mountain bike just yet, but maybe I'll start doing some push ups.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Okay, I'll admit it: I've always wanted to be superfast. And I'll also admit it: in the past, I've trained. Cardio. Weight training. Intervals. Distance. I've even attempted to hone my handling skills to non-sucking status. Admittedly, I've also made numerous unnecessary equipment upgrades, hoping that this would help to make me superfast. But none of these things provided the answer to making me superfast.
Friday, December 2, 2011
Greetings from the BCC carnage hospital. I couldn't let all the East Coast cool kidz BCC'ers have all the fun. 7 weeks ago right now at this very moment in time, I thought it would be a great idea to head out for a quick after work ride (remember sunshine after 5pm?!?!)on the way home to Denver from Super Bike Land (Boulder, CO). I figured a quick 1.5 hour mountain bike singletrack tempo riding around Flat Iron Vista would provide some nice preparation for upcoming cyclocross endeavors.
Well, it was going great until about 45 minutes in....when I escaped a slow, twisty rocky section of trail for a wide open descending, flow inducing meadow section. Powering, accelerating my 29er Specialized Epic up to full speed.....I look long down the trail, ensuring a clear path.....then POW!!!! and Oh dear.......under full power a perfect storm of devastation erupted. As I was looking down the trail, my right toe clipped a rock........the following chain of events was odd. The power, mixed with the violence of the impact jammed my heel into the crank.....binding my foot and forcing my forefoot to rotate 90+ degrees laterally (in case you are wondering....this isn't normal) and my tibia (big bone in lower leg) and fibula (small bone in lower leg) both snapped. Amazingly, due to the high speed I was going (Garmin indicated a bit over 20mph on the singletrack) and the physics of everything.....I didn't crash. My momentum kept me going and I eventually coasted to a stop......and wilted off my bike. Laying flat on my back on the singletrack looking at the sky......I pushed my trusty steed to the side and knew what I was about to see. I tilted my head up......and yep.....my right foot was facing the wrong way. AHHHHHH!! A moment of panic.....a yell for help......a grab for the cell phone.
911......"hello.......I've just broken my leg badly mountain biking and I'm alone on the trail"
Interlude of facts:
Its October 14th, 2011
This is a my celebratory 35th birthday ride (birthday was a few days earlier)
Its 5pm and warm
I'm near town on a moderately tame trail system
I've ridden this system a lot
My cell call to 911 is dropped (thanks AT&T)
It's going to be getting dark soon
The sun is dropping below the Flat Irons
The temperature is dropping
I can't move.
This is where things get fuzzy. I panicked a bit, because I was alone......but my second call to 911 went through and the respond with "we are on the way". I respond....."hey.....i'm out in the woods.....3+ miles from the trailhead." They claim to know how to get to me. I unloaded in furious fashion as many details of my location on the first call.....in case I passed out or went into shock.
About this time, two high school mountain bike racer kids came on site. They were great. These kids stayed cool and just talked with me. I asked them if they would stay until someone else showed up.....and show up they did. Over the next 45 minutes or so, about 15+ mountain bikers stopped to help and check on things. I was in no shape to move and going into shock....shaking and chilled. It had been a hot day, but in Colorado in October....once the sun goes down......the temps can drop quickly!! We have zero humidity usually. A wonder lady named Cathy stopped and helped hold my foot in place. I was shaking and causing my leg to flop a bit....which was driving pain. She held it in place and just talked to me. I passed my iPhone to the high school kids and said...."hey....snap some photos!"
In the distance I could hear sirens. It felt like an eternity, but help was on the way. I had called my wife April and left her a message......the Boulder Sheriff's office called her too. Freaked out....once again my new friend Cathy talked to April on the phone from the trail. Basically what I am saying is that while we are all quick to say how horrible things are in the world today with society and all.......there is still greatness and kindness in so many. The help and attention I received on the trail that day was amazing.
After about 45 minutes of laying in the trail......the search-rescue team arrived with paramedics, a ranger, a sheriff and assorted other folks. All in all I'd say my phone call, deployed at least 15 experts to come to my aid. I felt guilty and constantly was apologizing and thanking all of them over and over again. They splinted my leg, IV'd me, wrapped me in blankets and loaded me in a gurney with mountain bike wheels and hand brakes. They used 4 people at a time to roll my 4x4 stretcher up the trail to a nearby access point. While I was far from any and all trailheads, I was close to a fire access road that flanked the rear of the open space park. Loaded in the ambulance, I watched through the rear window as the park ranger handed my Epic 29er off to my friend Jay, who Angel Cathy had also called for me from the trail.
I arrived at the hospital around 6:30 pm (only 1.5 hours after my incident). Normal hospital ER stuff followed......with the exception of the horrendous swelling in my leg. I was a ripe candidate for compartment syndrome, which is scary!! If the swelling did not stop....they were going to have to filet my leg open to release the pressure. Ugh. Oh and I need surgery. But not until the swelling stopped and went down..........so upstairs to sleep in the hospital for the night (somewhere in there around midnight......my poor wife went to find us food......Taco Bell). The Next day (Saturday) I was sent home to rest for a WEEK with a broken leg to allow the swelling to go down. My surgery would follow the next Friday October 21st.
Surgery was successful, but actually a bit painful. I was knocked out of course, but the surgery ended up being nearly 3 hours, instead of the 1.5 hours they told me. Off to recovery and another night in the hospital. Yay. That was a long night. My body rejected almost all of the narcotics they gave me.....well I should say it didn't respond to any of them......morphine, percocet, dilaudid, or vicodin.....but oxycontin worked!
I've never broken any bones before (just 2 fractured fingers)
I've never had surgery before
I've never spent the night in the hospital (now I've spent 2!!)
I left the hospital with some new hardware....a titanium tibial rod INSIDE my tibia and 6 titanium screws.
And if anyone is wonder.....that is $9500 worth of titanium in my leg.....so your custom built titanium Dura Ace road bike with carbon wheels is a GREAT DEAL!!!! Enjoy it.
Now in closing the next chapter. Six weeks post surgery....and still on crutches. Doctor told me today I have 6 more weeks of crutches at least. I can start standing lightly on my right leg as of today. I've been back on the bike for a few weeks now (stationary trainer, flat pedals and no resistance). The doctor has also given me the green light to add resistance now. Total recovery for my bones is 3-4 months.
It was a freak incident....not even an accident. Everything is different now.....everything.....well except for I registered for a 100 mile mountain bike race today! 2012 Bailey Hundo in Bailey Colorado....June 16th, 2012. I'll be there riding hard one way or another. Doctor said it was a great idea.....and I think he wants to race it too!! Now I just have to beat him.....gotta love Colorado.
Wednesday, November 16, 2011
writing about cycling is tough. first, you need to write about training, finding the perfect balance between bragging about how hard your workouts are (providing a metric of your awesomeness) and also how you haven't had time to really train enough (providing a pre-excuse for sucking). then, you need to write about rides that turned "epic", by playing up the incredible sequence of events and intense conditions that you were able to overcome while downplaying the lack of foresight and planning that probably got you in such a stupid situation in the first place. next, write some shit about your equipment and how it's awesomer in awesomer ways that other bikes and that you don't care if people thing your bar tape is starting to unravel. then, you can write about that race where things were going sweet until those other dudes did some "negative racing" and that one guy did something squirrely and you missed the break and there went your chances for certain victory.
okay, so writing about cycling is very easy. however, following my patented formula becomes substantially more difficult when you don't actually ride a bike anymore.
it's been sad, watching the dust collect on my (obviously awesome) bikes and the air slowly leak out of the tires. it's been sad reading through the results from local races and see the guys i should totally be able to beat if the course just suited me better and not being able to write about how i should totally been able to beat them if the course just suited me better. i drank a glass of cytomax the other day, just to see if i remembered how.
but i still feel hope. my injury is temporary and i will ride again. friends are out getting rad, consistently and thoroughly. new bike shops are opening up all over town. cycles marguerite is totally happening, and happening right.
although it's been frustrating, i think this time off the bike will prove to be a valuable experience. once i can figure out precisely how it's a valuable experience, i'll write all about it.
Wednesday, November 2, 2011
Tuesday, November 1, 2011
i've got some sweet new gear to test out:
okay so the backstory:
collarbone is still not healed. the x-ray looks like it did one month ago, which looked like it did two months ago. the doc squinted his eyes and said that he could see some healing, which may be true since i'm not an expert. on the other hand, if you look at a piece of toast long enough, you may be able to convince yourself that you can see the image of jesus
so 10 weeks in, and i'm still not fixed. and although this is slow, it's supposedly not alarmingly slow. however, it did mean that they decided to give (sell) me an ultrasound bone stimulator. this, of course, is a cue to all our friends in new jersey to exclaim heartily "hey! i got yer bone stimulator RIGHT HERE!!!" thanks guys.
either way, still not real cycling for me. in the meantime, i'll be cranking out mad ultrasonic power and give you a full product review soon(er or later). if it works, i may try it on my brain to get smarter and my muscles to get faster and...well, let's see if it works, first. until then:
(does anyone else think that Andrea from Trips For Kids kinda looks like Kim Deal?)
Friday, October 21, 2011
Monday, October 10, 2011
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
i hope you are enjoying my clavicleblog.
last week i had my one-month-after-my-two-week-after-surgery check-up/irradiation session. x-rays are fun. they're the only way to really see what bones are doing (except for the way that involves removing pesky skin and muscle tissue). plus, if decades of comic books and possible misinterpretations of nietzche have taught us nothing it is that which does not kill us will surely give us super powers, unless of course it just makes us weaker, which it probably will. i find it funny that they point this giant tube at my shoulder--6" from my head--and give me a little lead blanket to cover my junk. shouldn't i be more worried about cooking my brain? sure, i care about my junk, but as a cyclocrosser, obviously not much. but that's just my pesky brain talking. i'm sure a few more trips to the hospital will take care of that silly thing.
1) in emergency room: is this thing broken? yep, you broke it.
2) after surgery: did we put everything back together right? yep, looks good. wait, are those my car keys in there?
3) two weeks after surgery: hey, buddy, have you done anything to fuck up our handywork in the past two weeks? did anything fall out? we used 6 $200 screws* so i don't think so. are your sure my keys aren't in there? i still can't find them. [*approximate cost of titanium hardward--i did see the itemized bill in my online medical records, but it has mysteriously disappeared.]
4) one month after the two week x-ray: is everything healed up yet? no? we didn't think so. see you in another month.
so this most-recent xray looked nearly identical to the one taken a month ago. i can post them both and you can do one of those "find the differences" games, but you would lose. apparently, when they do clavicle surgery, they clean up some of the area around the bone, which makes it heal a little more slowly than it would without surgery. can anyone confirm if this is true? or are my bones just lazy? actually, based i've read on stuff online, not seeing signs of healing 6 weeks after surgery isn't surprising. and given the fact i learned this from the internet, it gives me much confidence in its accuracy.
so with this week's musical interlude, let's turn these Layzie Bones into some Bizzy Bones so i can get back to tha crossroads (which is to say bike rides out near Dodson's Crossroads, not the mythical space where the living pass on to the afterlife (although i would like to see a giant ghost Easy-E hanging out in the clouds over Orange County)).
Wednesday, September 28, 2011
everywhere around me, people are enjoying the simple thrills of cyclocross. and although i am jealous, i am not bitter. i'll be back soon enough.
but while things are just ramping up down south, our friends up north are already in full swing. here's an article about our friends from Fort Garry Bike Club up in Winnipeg and their awesome event. while portland and new england battle over which region is the belgium of north american cyclocross, winnipeg may just be the czech republic of north american cx. you can quote me on that...whatever that means.
okay, but now that your race is over, where the heck is the vicarious cyclocross competition? c'mon you hosers, since i can't race, i need to get my fix somehow.
Thursday, September 22, 2011
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
cyclocross can fuck you up. you know what i'm talking about.
that was not me, but i feel his pain. which is to say, he does not feel my pain. he walked away, but i staggered gimpily away with a broken collarbone. which is to say, i staggered gimpily away with my own private embarrassment of crashing (Linus was the only witness, but i've paid him off to never testify against me), but that other guy walked away an instant internet sensation, head hung low. which is to say, in summary, i do not feel his pain.
so here's my one month post-surgery update:
first of all, i'm still not back on the bike yet, so if you're keen on reading about my awesome cycling exploits, i'm sorry to disappoint you (however, you should have been disappointed about that a long time ago). in fact, i'm not shaving my legs until i get back on the bike. until then, i am not a cyclist. i'll spare you a photo, but take my word for it.
i have gotten back on the trainer. three whole times.
the first time was about 2-weeks post-op and i felt pretty hardcore because i was going to stay fit through my recovery. it sucked. i couldn't put any weight on the handlebars with my right arm so i alternated between sitting upright and grabbing the stem with my left hand. i guess it might have looked kinda gangsta-style. well, upon further consideration, it did not look kinda gansta-style. the scar tissue on my shoulder prevented me from wearing bib straps on both shoulders so i kicked Andre The Giant-style.
it was never quite clear to me why Mr. The Giant sported this style, but this was one of at least three things about 1980s professional wrestling that i never quite figured out. i should also note that if you are in a similar predicament, the second suspender of bibshorts actually makes a decent sling if you kinda wrap it around your elbow.
since then, i've been able to support myself with both arms and have done some intervals. but riding the trainer still sucks. i'd almost rather be slow than ride a trainer. it's also difficult because i don't have a cycling computer or a heartrate monitor so i can't really tell if i'm actually working very hard. it kinda feels like i'm working. i seem to sweat a lot. but i also sweat while playing Ms. Pac-Man and during conversations. i'm sweating now writing this.
i've been data-free for the past summer, and i've liked it. there are enough local group rides that when i need to work hard, there are fast people who will kick my ass and when i need to chill, there are enough chill people who will refrain from kicking my ass. but it's too easy to slack without some sort of feedback. so i ordered a cycling computer.
in the meantime, i've been back to running. running is good fun, but it's a poor-man's cycling (literally). not to mention, the apparel is not as cool as cycling--or professional wrestling, for that matter.
yesterday, i ran into my clavicular-doppelganger, the Tomax to my Xamot, Geoff, at wholefoods. he broke his left collarbone a couple of weeks before i broke my right one. however, he had some concerns about how his was healing. apparently, our amateur drunken diagnosis session at Linus and Margaret's party on saturday night was confirmed by a visit to a professional doctor: his collarbone was healing kinda fucked up and they would need to operate. this is shitty news for Geoff, since he was about 6 weeks into his recovery and would have been mostly healed if they had operated in the first place. but, now, they need to go back and plate him up, sending him back to week zero.
best wishes for a speedy re-recovery, Geoffy. and to everyone else, keep riding and enjoying the hell out of it!
Saturday, September 10, 2011
Long before some Hollywood jackass (not our own jackass, Hollywood) started using the term "winning", it was the title of one of the primary cycling magazines I remember seeing growing up. It shaped my concept of cycling: steel bikes, lycra, toe clips, no helmets, downtube shifters.
Oh, and winning. It wasn't until I actually started racing a decade or so later that I realized that winning is something that is very rare for most cyclists, and that winning isn't even something I find necessary for satisfaction. I know I have a very small chance of winning any road race and no chance of winning any cyclocross race (I usually hope not to get lapped).
But that's just me. We are surrounded by winners. Let's take a look.
First, is Cam, a fixture of the Durham cycling community, and his team at Road Scholars Porsche restoration. They recently took 1st place at the Pebble Beach Show for their restoration of one of the first Porsches ever produced!!! This ain't no local-cat-five-crit of a car show. This is the real deal.
Here's Cam showing Jay Leno the details of their work:
The car is beautiful, but most impressive is Cam's cool demeanor dealing with a (possibly drunk) Leno. I was always more of a Letterman fan myself.
Then, of course, this video has been circulating of the World Championship-winning downhill run of Danny Hart:
The riding is beautiful, but most impressive is the announcing. There are at least a dozen highly quotable moments in the exuberant commentary--see if you can find them all.
There's actually another video up of a guy pre-riding the course in much dryer conditions and actually looks much more difficult and scary than in the previous video.
Closer to home, JD had a nice showing at the Shenandoah 100. Hopefully he'll give a good writeup of the event.
Other than that, I have no idea what's happening in the local world of cycling. Some people are still riding on the road. Some people are still riding the singletrack. Some people have started cyclocross. I dunno. Someone clue me in.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011
As I mentioned, I had a little bicycle related mishap. And with any such mishap, the first question is "is my bike okay?" If the answer is no, then the logical response is "Sweet! Time to upgrade!!!" So after my crash, I upgraded to titanium.
In this case, I'm more of a traditionalist and opted not for fancy new materials, but the tried-and-true (although slightly heavier) metal, gold. I feel so fortunate to have found such a wonderful wife who supports me even through idiotic bicycle accidents. We were so thrilled to be surrounded by so many fantastic people, including BCC members: Jay and his family, Ali and his new wife, and Linus and his future wife. Jay and Linus were able to sneak a ride in before the ceremony, avoiding both rain and wrecks.
Unfortunately, my brother, sometimes BCC member sometimes known as "oishikatta", was unable to attend; however, he wrote a memorable speech (read by a friend) that featured an in depth comparison between cycling and marriage. It involved some quotations, commentary on strategy, and more physics than I anticipated in a toast. A fitting tribute from one bicycle geek to another.
I should mention that my brother, sometimes known as "miniweesh", was absent for good reason. His wife was delivering an even mini-er "weesh", their first child (and my first nephew), Cole Russell. Yet another welcome addition to the extended BCC family.
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Last Wednesday marked the first meeting of the season for the Forest Hills Park Cyclocross Association (FHPCXA). Most of the Trustees were in attendance and it looked to be more of a fun social ride, rather than on of the typical bile-inducing workout sessions. An excellent way to kick off the 2011-12 season.
With grand ambitions, Linus and I were discussing the logistics of an October 22nd Durham CX race (stay tuned). Rolling easily at the back of the pack for the first portion of the first lap, shortly after we turned from pavement onto grass, well, that was the end of it.
We were turning toward the left, just slightly and my front wheel seemed to hit something. I felt like it slid out, but that would have dropped me down on my left size. Instead, I must have hit a rut or a root and toppled over the far side of the bike or handlebars, landing squarely on my shoulder. It didn't seem too bad at first and I checked my right shoulder to make sure I hadn't dislocated it (again). It felt fine but something else wasn't quite right. Surveying the rest of my body, I quickly noticed that my collarbone was much lumpier than it typically is. Okay. This is happening.
The FHPCXA quickly sprang into action. Although my memory of the specifics are a bit hazy, I am thankful I was riding with such a helpful and experienced group. I was swiftly helped back to the parking lot, strung-up with an innertube sling, reassured with several other personal accounts of broken collarbones and other tales of assorted injuries and subsequent recoveries.
Soon enough I was back to familiar territory, the Duke Hospital ER. The staff was very helpful and got things moving pretty quickly and my gratitude to them for that. Since the bone didn't look like it wanted to go back to it's normal place on its own they decided to do surgery, but since the bone wasn't actually sticking out of the skin, they decided to wait until Thursday morning. Even with heavvvy medication, a broken collarbone does not make for a good night's sleep. Add to that the fact that nurses stopped by every few hours to check my vitals, which is good for death prevention, but I had to keep telling them that yes, my resting heart rate is in the 30s now and just because the machine is set to have an alarm go off for heart rates lower than they typical Durham couch potato, there is nothing to worry about.
I'm guessing that trauma clinic reports are a lot like race reports in their similarity and tediousness ("and then this nurse stopped by and gave me jell-o!") so I'll cut to the chase. One titanium plate, 6 screws, and about 24 hours later, I ambled out to the curb to meet the awaiting Kathleen (who was with me the whole time and was so supportive). I was still wearing the hospital "reverse-robe" since I couldn't really get a shirt on. I hadn't showered in 3 days, which included a bicycle ride and lots of drug/pain induced sweating. I was wearing pants (I ditched the chamois the first day, in case you were wondering), but I reckon I looked like a patient trying to escape the hospital, or at least the bill (I haven't seen that yet, but I'm sure that'll be worth of a blog).
In any event, thanks to all for your tremendous support and I hope to see you back on the bike very soon.
Monday, August 22, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
Friday, August 12, 2011
My brother just pointed out that Jan Ulrich has been riding amateur cycling events under the pseudonym Max Kraft, which apparently translates to Max Power.
the video quality wasn't great on that last one, so here's another version, quite possibly in German.
Some might call it sandbagging, but unlike Riccardo Ricco, who snuck into a Cyclosportive event while on doping suspension and actually tried to help his friends win, Jan seems to be just out having trying to learn how to have fun riding bikes again and not wrecking the event for other folks. Sometimes, competition can take all the fun out of a beautiful sport. Here's to Jan, who may have ended up on the wrong side of history. But hopefully, in time, he'll be recognized a great talent and tough competitor who emerged during a troubling time for the sport.
Maximum Kraft(werk), non stop.
Monday, August 8, 2011
Wednesday, July 27, 2011
We're stuck on 666 posts, so I'd better throw another one up to prevent satan from getting all up in our business.
And what better way than with a race report from the (in)famous Huck-A-Buck presented by Happy Fun Racing. This race is always a good time (even without beer laps). Announcers, hilarious local riders, good prizes, fast trails, ample parking. A happy fun time.
Actually, what am I saying? The Huck is usually on the hottest day of the year so it usually feels like hell (a true sign of the devil). Luke "Li'l Pow" kicked things off with the very small guy's race. Luke suffered a bee sting on the drive over but that didn't stop him from racing. True Bull City style (even though he's from north Raleigh). He's a tough one, like his old man.
And speaking of the old man, JD stripped the derailleur off his 29er and joined me in the singlespeed group. He did, however, neglect to put a bell on his bike, which seems to be an important thing for the Happy Fun guys. Here's the math:
Bell = front row start
No bell = tough luck
I was sporting a bell and got a good start position, but was almost too lax in my start and nearly got boxed-out by the Grassroots Bikes dude on the Surly Pugsly. Those bikes are designed to ride through snow, but since late July in North Carolina is the opposite of snow, I didn't want to get stuck behind that guy.
Settled in behind Robbie (former ACCCCCCCCC rider from WVU) and Sean, who set a fast first lap pace. Second lap or so, Robbie crashed and Sean started feeling the effects of the heat so I decided to give it a go and quickly found myself out on my own. JD wasn't so lucky, suffering an early crash or two. This probably wouldn't throw off his rhythm in one of his typical 100km race, but in a short xc race, it puts a fellow at a great disadvantage.
And yeah, so applied force to the pedals and the wheels went round and round and I didn't fall over and then I won. yay! I don't win a lot of races, so let me gloat.
Okay, I'm done gloating. Partially because the two dudes who beat me last time weren't here this time. Also because I know that I have many more whuppin's to receive in the not-so-distant future. Also, much praise is due to JD and the rest of the BCC mountain bikers who make outstanding training partners and are constantly blazing off to fast starts. Since I'm consistently forced to follow JD, Ben, Daniel, Linus, and others on their speedy starts, it's helped me to learn to settle into a reasonable (if not comfortable) rhythm. This one's for you, team!
Okay, as always, mad props to the promoters, Happy Fun Racing and all the sponsors. Also here's some additional product placement for fellow singlespeeder Rob who recently launched True Blue Wrench Works in Carrboro for all your repair needs. He spun off from Back Alley Bikes (Jason was also out racing and shredding w/ gears) who is also a fine wrench. Do support our neighbors on the short side of the Triangle.
And, since we're past post #666 and since I haven't posted a musical interlude in a while, here's the bull city's finest. Hail Satan!
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
My first time racing or even riding these trails had me a bit nervous. I didn't really know what to expect from the course and I had set a goal for myself to try and ride all the climbs that my technical skills would allow. This meant modifying my usual singlespeed setup but even then I knew there would be climbs where walking would be just as fast as a 22x32 grind and save precious energy. I arrived in Damascus Saturday afternoon and was amazed at the number of bikes I saw rolling down the Virginia Creeper Trail and parked outside many local businesses. This little mountain town has a great biking culture and it shows. Free camping just for the race was available right in the middle of town next to a cool little river.
The race started Sunday morning at a reasonable 8am. After the race meeting we headed out of town following an ancient Suburban pace car. After a couple of miles we jumped on the Virginia Creeper (rails to trails). I saw a couple of riders take off from the pack but everyone else just sat back in an easy pace. I tried to pull a David Shaver break away so I wouldn't have so much traffic on the first singletrack climb. It worked at first but then the peleton sped up and passed me. I had no Kevin Costner helping paint me as a "dum dum" nor Ted Danson calling off the wolves since I was a "nobody."
Despite the traffic on the first climb I got to ride up tons of technical singletrack even late in the race when I was sick of it, my legs were stiff, and I was wishing I had my singlespeed as an excuse for walking. I had a little crash on a really slick off camber downhill section that was covered in wet roots but the pain of those scrapes got covered up pretty quick by muscle fatigue from all the climbing. There were some loooong fireroad climbs that had me wondering if I missed the arrow several times. The reward was a big variety of downhills. Some were really fast and flowy while others hammered you with loose, rocky steeps that made one finger braking hard to maintain. Finish was 31st out of 50 something in open men with a time of 7:03. I lost 3 or 4 places near the end when I stopped to help another racer with a flat and a failed tube. We didn't know that we were only a half mile from the finish but no biggie. I was glad to help out since I had no mechanicals and he was nice enough to find me after the race and give me a replacement tube.
“I’m pretty disappointed, but if this is what people want to see, a race decided on a downhill. I don’t think that. A finish like this should not be allowed.”--Andy Schleck, July 19, 2011
Andy and Frank of LAY-O-PARD Trek can just suck it, ATMO. While I didn't get to see it on the telly, I was pleased by the Berto-Cadel-Sammy attack. They and, God-bless-him Thomas Voeckler have made this tour more interesting than any since Floyd's win in the Tour which shall not be named.
I'm going to put it in print here: I am pulling for Cadel for the win. And, can we get a "hey now" for Thor Hushovd? Amen.
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
Sometimes you just want to get away from it all. You check your map, find a beautiful spot miles from nowhere, pack a tent, some snacks, and go. For most of us this enough to guaranty a restful and quiet weekend. That's not the case for Hollywood, who is pursued by admirers even into the deepest wilderness. You can see a full report here.
Friday, July 8, 2011
Thursday, June 30, 2011
If it were not for the FGBC blog, I would not have realized that some race in France was about to get underway (btw, their TdF pool is awesome and you'd feel really silly for not participating). Between the hurly burly of the last few months, my own distraction, and my team's poor performance at the Ardennes classics which meant I felt short of the my goal of reaching the FGBC podium, I just kinda forgot about PRO road racing. Sorta paid attention to the Giro, missed (well, not really) California. Who won there?
More importantly, I know from my visit to the soon-to-rival-Portland's-hipness Durham last weekend, the BCC boys are riding big miles (to be clear, not Pirate). For my own part, a recent move means I'm close enough to kick-ass rocky, technical mountain biking that I have hung up my road bike for the summer. I'm glad to have these blisters and callouses; they are signs of summer's high tide.
Tuesday, June 28, 2011
Does anyone have any interest in what did I do this past Saturday? If so, here's a hint:
Partied with a bunch of sweaty old guys in tight clothing who spent a lot of time shouting at each other? Yes, you guessed it: Master...master...master of bike racing.
Pardon my stutter. I meant to say masters' bike racing. This was my first time racing with the old guys. They say the old guy's races are supposedly better than a normal cat-4 race because it's more tactical and the bike handling is better. This may be true, but I didn't really notice the difference. It's probably since I've raced a lot of these guys in the "B" races at local crits or fast rides. And yes, the guys were solid bike handlers and the entire pack didn't swarm on every single move anyone took off the front. And yes, I did get caught working in the wrong breaks, missing the right break, working in the main field trying to bring back the right break, and missing the jump across from the main field to the right break once we nearly brought it back. One part of me says that I got out-foxxed by savvy veteran riders. One part of me says that I got unlucky. One part of me is aware that I didn't know my competitors and wasn't watching the right guys at the right time. These are all true, but I think in reality, I was outdone by a lack of patience. Case in point: a few of us in the main field were working, seemingly futilely, to bring back a 12-man break. When it surprisingly narrowed from about a minute to about 10 seconds, a couple of dudes who had been doing no work and weren't protecting teammates up the road, jumped across the gap and I think actually finished pretty well. Meanwhile, I was too spent to follow. Is this a stroke of genius on the part of these other guys? Possibly. But I think it's a certain type of patience. Not the type of patience that involves waiting for something they know will happen in a given race (the safe bet was that the break wasn't coming back). No, instead, waiting for opportunities as they present themselves in a given race. If the break came back, they'd jump on it. If not, they'd wait until tomorrow and try again in another race. I think that these guys race enough to know when to work and know when to sit out. They don't have the desperation of an ambitious cat-4 racer, scrapping for any upgrade point of free pair of overstocked socks they can win. Each race is just another in a long, somewhat unmemorable series of races. They may think about it later, but they probably aren't writing blog posts about it.
Nevertheless, it was a good learning experience and a good workout. Kudos to Jay (BCC) and Kent (Triangle Velo) for helping to animate the race and not throw in the towel when all seemed lost. All in all, it was more fun than a Metallica show. Now let's clear our heads of the previous musical interlude with something better.
Wednesday, June 22, 2011
And in case you're wondering about the single-gloved fashion style and potential gang-sign:
well, apparently, the O.G. crashed hard and jammed (broke?) his fingers. He rolled in to the finish with some puffy-digits, a mostly-flat front tire, and a lot of sweat. His fingers were pretty jacked-up, but I think (hope) that they are mostly okay, but he may never play that Eddy Van Halen guitar solo again.
A fun time was had by all. We saw some friendly faces and did not suffer heatstroke. Thanks to the TORC folks for the first in yet another awesome series.
Thursday, June 16, 2011
"Behind the Barriers": This was fun last fall. Check out the summer update.
Sunday, June 12, 2011
Saturday: heat's got everyone crazy. Crazy like a honey badger.
Our team set out to divide and conquer--by which I mean that some kids went mountain biking and some kids went road biking. Jay and I decided to test our mettle against some other local FakeRacers (real racers, not a real race).
The Bitter Dose guys were out in new kits. They looked like a Damien Hirst painting:
...I'll let you guess which one. I'm not sure if their kits were actually inspired by the Hirst painting, but they do look pretty cool. I would have preferred that they went with his shark-in-formaldahyde design. Some people will tell you that sharks are ocean creatures and don't have anything to do with cycling, but to hell with those people.
Either way, I was jealous because we too have new kits, but since I haven't picked mine up yet, I was sporting last year's duds. However, we were quickly spotted before the ride by a cheerful chap on a shiny Pegoretti: none other than Linus' dad. He was apparently keeping Orange County's roads rad while Linus is on vacation. We chatted with him for a while before the peloton showed up and we were off. I quickly jumped into line and was checking out our cross-town rivals' kits. Despite the fact that the Regulators say that they have a picture of a rearing bull on their jersey, I'm still convinced that it looks like a dancing doberman, but what do I know?
As for the ride: the ride was a ride, you don't want to hear about that. Some people went fast, some people went faster, some people went slow then went home and jumped in a pool and drank margaritas. Jay's getting faster each and every week, rebuilding after some serious physical therapy for a torn hamstring. Kent from Durham also rode a notable ride, bridging across a long and lonely gap and sticking with the lead group to the end. Did I mention that some dudes don't like to take pulls? That's not even worth mentioning, that always happens on these rides. Come on guys, get extreme!!!
But the really interesting thing happened when Kent and I were lollygagging our way back to Mapleview Farm. We had been passed on Union Grove Church Road by a solo rider pedaling at a chipper clip. He was soon out of sight, by as we crested a little hill, we saw a man on the roadside tending to a shapeless pile. My mind quickly started building a Cohen brothers movie scenario where some hapless passerby stumbles upon some killer trying to dispose of a body. That seemed too crazy so I re-wrote the scene, replacing the "killer" with a "rouge gardener" and "a body" with "yard debris" (I suppose I would also need to replace "Cohen brothers movie" with "Carrboro public service announcement about the atrocities of improper composting"; however someone probably ends up dead in both). By this time, we had rolled up on the scene and found that the cyclist was sprawled out on the pavement and a guy was tending to him. No cars were present, so I guessed it was either a hit and run or heatstroke. The non-cyclist turned out to be a friendly guy who lived across the street (it's a rural area, so fortunately he noticed the cyclist) and as the cyclist sat up and began to explain what happened, the culprit turned out to be a deer. The cyclist was road-rashed and slightly disoriented, but didn't show any signs of broken bones or massive trauma. He became more lucid and philosophical (it was his birthday) as we waited for the ambulance, so our concerns were eased. Lots of motorists and cyclists stopped to offer help, which always makes you feel good about your community. The one alarming thing that did happen about 10 minutes after we showed up was a little rustling from the adjacent culvert and the emergence of a gimpy and confused deer. It was clear that this was our culprit, but it was unclear if it had a broken leg or just needed to walk off the effects of getting hit by a cyclist. Either way, it limped off into the woods out of sight.
There are a lot of deer out on the roadways these days. I've said it before, and I'll say it again: be careful out there.
Tuesday, June 7, 2011
Sorry for not posting anything lately....technology sometimes gets the best of me (thanks Oishi for helping out).
Yes Ali, things have been happening! New kits are due to be shipped tomorrow, Thursday road rides and Saturday MTB team rides have started and Jay shaved his legs! Everyone here is looking lean and mean and ready to tackle the summer riding season.
On Sunday most of the road contingent of BCC headed out for what I was billing as an easy 2-2.5 hour ride. You know how it goes....bunch of dudes on fancy bikes, nice weather and good conversation for the first 30 minutes or so. Then heads start to drop, cadences accelerate and sure enough easy Sunday ride turns into a 3.5 hour slug fest.
Lot of climbing and aching muscles later...turned out to be a great ride. Glad to see everyone out there. Boone trip is in the works for July 4th, pictures will follow. This time hopefully not ones with me curled up on the side of the road trying to resolve some stomach issues while Geoff, Corey and Jordan point and laugh at me, thanks guys.
Now that I am back in the blogosphere...more posts to follow.
Wednesday, June 1, 2011
Hello! Man, this thing has been dying a slow death. We've got a backlog of content. Some of us (Professor) have been too busy riding, others (me) haven't and the only excuse is laziness. I recently got married and moved to New Brunswick, NJ, home of Johnson & Johnson and my alma matter, Rutgers University. Good news is that I can ride to two mountain bike areas out my door--can you say awesome?-- and my commute is now a 25mile, traffic-free gravel canal path. I hope to be good a lot more riding and documenting some of it. Look out for more bikes of the BCC. I've got a Salsa on the way and need to post my cross bike. For now, watch this video from the Translyvania Stage Race. It looks awesome and I've got in my mind that this is a race I should do next year. Also, I heard Hollywood did the Gunnison Growler this weekend. Report?
Tuesday, May 31, 2011
i've been getting in a lot of road miles lately. few on the bike though.
traveled up to New Jersey for the wedding of BCC's own smAli. "Jersey Shore" it wasn't, but instead, a refined event, as you would expect from a man of such refined taste. the food was fantastic, the people were friendly, the clothing was spectacular, and i finally got to meet his wife.
the Pirate had to cancel at the last minute but we got to sit next to Wicked Mike on sunday which was wicked awesome. word on the street is that he's moving back to the triangle in the somewhat-near future.
also visited my bro and sis-in-law, which was very fun. she's got a brand new bike but hasn't been able to ride it because there's a baby on the way. i didn't take my bike so ended up running with the li'l brother. he used to not like running so much, but sometime in the past decade or so he's gotten pretty fast. i was happy to have him come down to race cyclocross in durham this winter, but i'm worried if he visits again, he'll kick my ass on the bike. maybe i should switch to triathlons.
then we drove up to black mountain to work on our own wedding planning stuff. and while i love the bull city, i would burn the place to the ground and salt the earth behind me for the chance to move up to the mountains.
and, in between, i managed to win the tuesday night durham championships. i never win that thing.
okay, but now that the rain has stopped, the trails should be open. a few of us made it out for a ride on memorial day, and we're talking about getting a regular thursday night ride going. more details soon.
Friday, April 29, 2011
Monday, April 25, 2011
Ali going going full tilt on big wheel technology! Many of you might remember a few season ago when Ali "watered" the 26" wheels of his Seven Sola and grew them to 650B. Well, he has now taken the plunge and just ordered a brand spanking new Salsa El Mariachi. Titanium of course....could Dr. Ali "Double Seven" go with any other frame material....nope. His new baby is slated for delivery June 2011. I hear (of course) that he has a full slate of parts swapping waiting for his new steed.
We will be looking for big things this season from Ali......since according to Salsa's website the "intended use" of the El Mariachi Ti 29er include the following: 100 Milers, XC racing, 24 hour racing and bike packing!!! Wow! Go Ali!
Wednesday, April 20, 2011
I've been getting lazy. Lazy like a dog. Lazy like a dog getting a free ride on a bike.
It's time to get back to doin' stuff. Like this guy.
Truth be told, this is the season with the best weather for riding, but it's also when I typically have a lot of work. Actually, maybe not. The weather has been weird and there's been enough rain to keep the trails closed fairly often.
In any event, more content soon.
Monday, April 4, 2011
If the London Olympic course looked lame, this footage from South Africa's Cape Epic suggests that this format is where the big fun (can we call it grande fondo, or do roadies reserve the right to this term?) is at. I know some will see lots of dirt road riding and even some pavement, but I also see a good deal of fun trail and challenging terrain. Rumor has it Hollywood will be competing in this year's Breck Epic and that he'll also be the subject of documentary film following race competitors. Should be rad.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Saturday, March 5, 2011
Thursday, March 3, 2011
Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Monday, February 28, 2011
the weather's gettin' better. daylight hours are getting longer. it's a fine time for riding in NC.
however, in other parts of the world, people like to spend time in dark buildings. which brings us to smAli-sized track racing:
it's always great to find new ways to crash a bike. will someone please build one of these in the Fullsteam brewery?
Thursday, February 24, 2011
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Thursday, February 3, 2011
We haven't done this in a while, which is why googling "Hollywood's Rides" will net you a photo of Mariah Carey at an amusement park:
Or some actress I have never heard of with a bike adorned with a basketful of smugness (She's riding a Linus, though):
Or a message of "hope"--let's not even touch this.
Without further ado, I present Hollywood's new ride. As you can see, it's a little overweight now. That' okay, it's winter and I haven't been outside on a bike in months, so I'm a little portly too. By the summer, this bike will have shed five pounds to get down to racing weight.
Wednesday, February 2, 2011
Tuesday, January 25, 2011
the dudes at Hawley bicycle supply posted up a nice review:
they apparently liked the off-camber, the gravel, the free beer, and the heckling
it is known across the land that all teams other than BCC suck. but let it also be known that Scott from Regulator Cycling was the hero of the Durham CX race. he did several domestiques' worth of work and without him, the event would have imploded.
Monday, January 24, 2011
That totally happened!
and thank you everyone!
We love Durham so much that we didn't want to have a bunch of fools from outta town fucking it up so we held the cyclocross race in Orange County. Fortunately, nothing got fucked up, and I would like to send a special shout-out to our co-sponsors, Regulator Cycling along with Kim and the magical Rufus at Orange County Speedway. Please patronize our sponsors:
Counter Culture Coffee
ColoredRubber.com, a division of Midwest Elastomers (this is true)
TriClean Professional Commercial Cleaning (fine racing Burke!)
additionally, thanks to Drew who brought the Farmhand Foods truck out (but closed before I could get a late-day pimento grilled cheese), and Fullsteam Brewery (who sold us the beer we gave away).
I was particularly excited lots of folks from the Durham cycling community who came out to cheer/heckle/get drunk, including
Dave & Leslie & others from the Durham Bike Coop
Todd from Duke Cycling
Dave from Horse and Buggy Press
the amazing Miss Kim B who says she's can't race but exerted more effort helping us tear-down at both the Wilkesboro race and our race and ran around and cheered like a maniac
Emma, who finds it appropriate to nearly flash Thor and the Garmin guys but was kind enough to keep things "PG-rated" for Durham cx
Li'l Byron who may or may not have skipped school to help us set up and who i need to be nice to because he will soon be beating me (but hopefully at least not until he's old enough to get his driver's license)
all the members of the Forest Hills Park Cycling Association
anonymous benefactors for goods and services
and many others who i may have forgotten
I'm awaiting an upload of some photos from my brother, honorary BCC member, who traveled down from up north to help us set up and to represent his title as the New Jersey state champion of cyclocross sandbagging and Jimenez Velo.
more reports coming soon with fewer inside jokes and actual picures...
Sunday, January 16, 2011
No really guys, I can't think of anything. You have in me a blank canvas. I need ideas of how dress up for the Durham CX race. Initially, I was considering painting myself gold but then I remembered that bond flick where the lady died. Then I was thinking about some kind of rainbow cape but that could get caught up in the gears...
See the dilemma! What do I do!?!
Thursday, January 13, 2011
To answer the previous post's question: Racing was hard. I didn't have the pleasure of taking on Mr. Powers in the pro race but I did manage to get crushed in the cat3. I'd attribute at least part of the soul crushing failure to the the fact that this was the first real winter cross race for me. I think it was around 28-30 degrees and my lungs closed up. At one point I was pedaling through a moderately techie section with some muddy switchbacks and heard a strange grinding/wizzing noise that I thought might be a bearing or something. Then I realized it was the sound of myself breathing and that I was probably pretty screwed. I tried to keep turning over but without ever getting a full breath it was hard to put any real power down to the pedals. It was pretty cool to watch J-Pows cruise around the course and lay a severe beat down on the best racers in North Carolina. I wouldn't say he was taking it easy or that he didn't brake a sweat but he did seam pretty in control of his faculties. As for me, I think I'm switching into fun 'cross mode rather than fast 'cross mode. Any costume ideas for the Durham race next Sat.? I'm already figuring out how to tape some beers onto my Lazer helmet, though I haven't been able to track down a shinny gold skinsuit...
Tuesday, January 11, 2011
i had the chance to take on j-pow himself on saturday at the nc cylcocross series salisbury race. i was looking forward to adding him to the long list of cyclocross luminaries who have kicked my ass in the past. people like barry wicks, ryan trebon, brent bookwalter, adam meyerson, and countless other dudes. however, i got kinda sick at the end of the week. combining that with not riding a bike for a couple of weeks around christmas and not wanting to spend the day out in the cold, i whimped out. it was probably for the best, since i also had a lot of work to do. i guess i also missed the opportunity to see if the recently-minted cat-2, fifteen year-old byron could be added to my list of people who have kicked my ass. we'll have to wait until wilkesboro to see...
linus raced. how'd it go linus?
Sunday, January 9, 2011
Perhaps like me you've enjoyed following the exploits of cyclocross racer Jeremy "JPows" Powers "Behind the Barriers" this season. I caught this trailer for the "Season Finale" and for some reason I couldn't help but think of Brian and Pirate.
Friday, January 7, 2011
***UPDATE***The Breck Epic is an "epic" 6 day mountain bike stage race in Breckenridge, Colorado. The race starts August 14th and concludes August 19th. Stage Racing?? Think Tour de France....but on mountain bikes.
Why am I doing this? Because of the challenge....because of the adventure....because of the fellowship with the mountain biking community. I'm just a regular mountain biker that can't quite afford the entry fee for this on my own......and a few friends suggested I do this!! So here we are. The entry fee is $990 (which is my goal).....and it has been decided to also try to raise more money than the entry fee and donate that to Trips For Kids (a nonprofit that introduces at risk children to the outdoors through the wonderful world of mountain biking.
If you know me....you know that mountain biking has been my life for over 20 years now. 1988 I ventured out on the trails of Monte Sano Mountain in Huntsville, Alabama on my brand new green Murry ATB MTB something or other. Thanks Mom and Dad.......best Christmas present ever. See what you started...
Anyways.....If you'd like to help and like to see me achieve one of the most grueling things ever......I'd appreciate any and all donations!!
Mr. Davey Boy Norris is also planning on joining me in this endevour....so hopefully together with the support of Wheat Ridge Cyclery we can raise lots of money for Trips for Kids!!!
If you wish to donate you may do so by clicking here.
And remember.....Donate early and Donate Often!!