Saturday, January 15, 2011

New Season

It has gone so fast, yet seems like forever.  The ProTour offseason is over.  The ProTour teams are amassing at the bottom of the globe for the Tour Down Under.  This weekend will kick off with a pleminary Crit and then the big race will start on Tuesday.  I don't know about you guys, but I'm ready to start watching some racing again.  I've enjoyed getting to see some sporadic CX racing on the interweb, but it is just not the same as watching the roadies battle it out.

I can't wait to see the fight that is going to take place between the Manxman and the German Gorilla, former teammates that never liked each other now get a chance to race head-to-head.  There are going to be some awesome sprint stages with Cav, Greipel, Tyler, Thor, and Tom all going at it.  Little Robbie Mc is racing on The 'Shack, and with Thor and Tyler sharing the sprinter position it is going to lead to some interesting finales.  Stay's gonna be good. 

The Classics are just around the corner.  Hardman time: le rouleur in action center stage.  Ah the Classics, bring on the weather, the cobbles, the mud, the Belgians, and the frites.  Pass the mayonnaise, please.  Danke.

The World Champs of CX are coming up this Jan 30th, so if it is the only CX race you watch all year at least watch this one.  It will be a great race.

Versus Schedule  *tentative* all times Eastern*

Santos Tour Down Under: January 16 & 18-23
January 16 @ 5pm- Cancer Council Classic Criterium Race
January 17 @ 6pm- Interview with Lance Armstrong
January 18-22 @ 6pm
January 23 @ 5pm

Check out this article on the Cyclingnews.  It has a breakdown of the team's new kits.  I found their reviews pretty funny, I'm not sure if they were trying to be funny or not???

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

the red pill

I love gadgets. 

I want to know how fast I am going.  I want to know how many watts are being transferred into motion.  I want to know how far I went.  I want to know how many feet that I rolled up.  Give me an overlay of my GPS waypoints on a topo map.  I want to be able to tell you what my cadence was.  I want to put it all into a computer and see it on pretty pie charts, bar graphs, numbers, decimal points, calendars.  I want it now give it to me caffeinated and in HD.

Could I turn it all off?  Could I do it all without having a number, a dot with a line, or a colored piece of pie?  Could I unplug, take the tech out of my life?  How would I ever quantify, calculate, nurmerate?  How can I even breathe without knowing how many calories I am burning to sustain life?  Was that 144 or 145bpm?  Did I gain weight? Is it water? Is it muscle? Don't tell me it's FAT!!

I love I'm addicted to gadgets.

I don't want all of this in my life, I need all of this.  I know, I know it's a sickness.  I've taken something as pure as bicycle and turned it into a wheeled iPod with more computing power than the first Mercury Missions.  I am guilty, I'm a sinner in the Church of the Purists.  I've eaten from the forbidden fruit and my eyes are open, open to technology and wanting to know.  Wanting to know everything, every number, every equation, every solution.  Give me the answers, yesterday.

I have to know.  I have to know, so that I can change anything and everything to just get faster.  I ride, to work harder, to get faster, to ride longer, to work harder, to get faster, to work harder, to ride longer...

Monday, January 10, 2011

Radio Free Europe

You probably gathered by now that I like R.E.M.  I do, but do you know what I really like?  Listening to the radio, and finding new music -music that I have to listen to again.  I hate the radio stations here in Tulsa.  Tulsa is supposed to be a kind of hotbed for music.  No hotbed here that I can see, unless you count that we do get some big headliners: Lady Gaga.  If you have tickets to that (and you spent your own money) you can stop reading now, this will be of no interest to you.

I really think there is one person that programs every station in Tulsa.  We did get a "Retro" station a year ago and it was cool, until all the other stations changed their programming to suit, the songs were new -for awhile.  Crap, now even their playslists are played.  This brings us to the point where I bash and rehash my disdain for Tulsa radio.  Ok, I'll be positive, too much negativity in this already, no need to add more.

I went on a road trip to Texas and New Mexico between Christmas and New Years.  I loaded up the Sony Walkman MP3 player set it on shuffle and let digital magic happen.  Oh boy, did it happen, it was like listening to a radio station programed by me (kinda was), but there is a little bit of chance and randomness involved. 

I used technology all the way to the Texas State line and then turned the AUX off and the radio on.  89.9 FM 90, Amarillo's Cutting Edge.  Who would have thought?  My favorite radio station was still playing songs I wanted to listen to, and new songs that I had not heard -but wanted to listen to.  College radio in the middle of a truck-stop-town nowhere, that destroys any and all radio in Tulsa.

I grew up listening to 89.9 and I turned out alright, didn't I?  That's not the point, what is the point is the ability of a station to be everything for all of these years.  Tuning in two weeks ago was like reconnecting with a long lost friend.  We've both grown up (kind of), but we are still the same even after all of these years and the time away from each other.  At least one of us should have changed for better or worse, right?  What are the chances that we grew old together with time being the only void that needed spanning?

With a little help

MTB is, for the most part, a solitary activity/sport.  You get out in nature and ride the trails with the freedom of being solo and doing it all by yourself.  It is one of the attractive elements of the mountain bike, a self-propelled freedom vehicle that can take you to places that are remote, out of the way, and beautiful.  The mountain bike is a tool/toy that is used for solitary consumption of remote singletrack.  Mountain bikers are notorious for being self-training, self-sufficient, self-riding apparitions of the offroad two wheeled locomotion.

I personally have spent countless hours peddling a fat-tire beast up over around and down, solo.  Yes, it was by choice.  I wanted to ride my pace, my trails, my time, me me me.  No one to slow me down, no one to chase.  Selfish riding, all about me. 

There are no words that I can put down to describe what it is to ride with someone that you can push and can push you back.  It's a one-up showdown singletrack style.  Progression happens when you hear the knobbies grabbing some hard-pack in a smooth right hander a millisecond behind.  That's right, when you can feel the rider behind you without having to "look back", -that is a two handed push toward progress.

I'm lucky to have someone I can ride with that pushes me to be uncomfortable, to ride one the edge, to progress.  I do my best to return the favor.  I have been fortunate to be the lead rider on our rides (thanks to my knowledge of the trail system), otherwise it would be a different story if I were the one chasing.  I am dead after riding in the lead, I would be obliterated if I were the one chasing.

I know why mountain bikers ride alone, and for the most part I enjoy a good solo ride, but when I get to ride with an equal or someone of superior talent -it makes for an experience like no other.  Don't get me wrong.  I enjoy company of any skill level on rides.  Riding with someone else and getting to share in the experience of the ride together is what it is all about.  If I had it my way, every ride would be a shared experience.  Let me know when you want to go.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Could be worse

I'm getting ready for a mtb ride this afternoon, and a look at the weather says 32* wind chill of 23* with a 30% chance of snow flurries.  If you reside below the 32*of latitude then this is not a good day to be out and about, as for you people who reside in a more Northerly climate -it is probably a t-shirt and shorts kind of day.

Location, Location, Location.
I should be counting my lucky stars that I am actually getting outside and not having to shovel 26" of snow to do so.  Sure we all want nice sunny days to throw a leg over the saddle and get some miles and hours of freedom.  I would prefer to sit on the couch and watch episodes of syndicated nothingness until I want to buy everything that is advertised, and I really do think that Depends would be a great way to watch more TV.  I digress, I have decided to brave the elements along with a couple of guys that for some reason want to take the "hard-man" approach to doing this thing that we like to do. 

I am going to get "suited up" to go ride.  I will, when I get back -through the magic of time travel, let you know how my little jaunt was.  If I survived, had fun, was miserable, so stay tuned.  As my sister says "ciao for now".

I'm back, showered up, recovering, at least as good as I can be right now.  I put in a hard day on the mtb yesterday, and then followed that up today with a real roaster.  I'll write about that later.  Anyway, the weather was really not much of a deterrent, well it was livable.  The digits were a little cold and had to stop a couple of times to bring them back to life.  You kind of need them to put the brakes on, the toes were cold, but not frozen -at least I thought.  When I got in the shower I realized that my big toes were in fact frozen, nothing a little hot water couldn't fix.

It is great to be able to get out with friends and ride, even if the thermometers say it is FREEZING outside.