Wednesday, September 28, 2011

cyclocross is happening

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

Premium Downer

This depresses me on so many levels.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

one month

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

new hardware, new members

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.

Although I generally like steel, I opted for the weight savings of titanium. And since my insurance is (hopefully) paying for most of this, it seems like a worthwhile upgrade. To be honest, though, "opted" isn't really accurate since they just went ahead and decided the best components for my collarbone. They also told me that they used 6 screws, while I would have suggested using only 3, like some pro mountain bikers do on their disc brake rotors, but again, I was not consulted. Upon examining my x-ray, I noticed an extra bonus 7th screw (although technically #4 might be a nail or pin). Once again, I'm all for structural integrity, but I want to get weight savings wherever possible. I was also somewhat puzzled by this mystery bit right here: 

It isn't attached to the plate, and it looks suspiciously like a brake cable end-cap. 

Since this component was added to my right side of my body, I took the opportunity this weekend to balance the weight with some hardware on the left side. 

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.