Thursday, November 14, 2013

Don't call it a comeback

For those of you who know me and for those that don't, I am a huge fan of the Cyclocross. Love that stuff. It is so much fun to watch. It is fast, and the PRO Elite fields only race for 60min. Full gas. Mud. Sand. Grass. Ice and snow and rain, wind, whatever, you name it they race in it. How can you not love 'cross? This brings me to the point where I actually race 'cross, or I at least enter, pay my money and line up for a race. If you see how fast I go, I would not call it racing. More like surviving. Racing 'cross is like a dare you make with your own body. "I dare you to go as hard as you can without puking." "oh yeah, try me." Why would anyone want to do this? 'Cause it's FUN. Right? Sure.

NO, it hurts like heck. But. We do it anyway.

I have not raced all season, so I decided to race a three day race this last weekend. I am a shell of a human, after. Not being in race-shape and then racing three days in a row is incredibly intelligent. "Race yourself into shape" -add that to the long list of Cyclist Lies. This is the most painful way to gain fitness, maybe. Three days down in the books and I'm shelled, beat, cracked, broken. So, I should enter a 50 mile MTB race. Great idea.

So there is that. I'm headed to Texas to hang out with the family and destroy my body one pedalstroke at a time. To paraphrase Tyler Durden, "we are dying one second at a time" it's how you spend those seconds that matter. I should spend close to 18,000 seconds of my life dying, riding in what I consider one of the most beautiful places (Palo Duro Canyon). What are you going to do for five hours on Saturday? Maybe, just maybe I'll let you know how this goes...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Changing seasons not underwear

It's not even August yet, and I'm already thinking about Fall. This is like living in Utah dreaming of the snows to come when it is ninety degrees out. I'm getting that dirt frame of mind, I've been riding the CX bike a lot and threw a leg over the MTB for the first time in... forever. Just when I'm getting into the swing of things, mother nature throws a wind storm party and there are all these drunk fallen-over trees in my way. You know some of the trees on the trail are like barriers, dismount-jump-remount. Shouldering a 30lb full-suspension doesn't have the same appeal or is as nimble as it's off road cousin.

Le Tour is over and it was the most entertaining boring thing I've ever watched. It was similar to watching a movie that you know the ending to, but think that watching it this time it will change. No such luck. I was really enjoying the race until Froome put a strangle hold on yellow. Boring. Yes, he lost like a min when crosswinds shredded the field, but he took it back and more. Sagan locked up the Green with his points grabbing scheme. Don't feel he is the best sprinter, he is a Classics machine. He can get over the bigger bumps that the other pure sprinters die on, but in a heads up full gas sprint he is good, just not Cavo good.  Kittel, boom! This guy is for real. Impressive wins all 4 of them. Argos, in just three years has produced a Pro ProTour team. Impressed. Quintana was a breath of fresh air, slightly greedy with the jerseys. Hey pal just take one and move on. Oh, you want the White one and the Polka dots? Greedy, should have taken the Yellow while you were at it...

Enough of le Tour for now. Utah is coming up. Get the App and watch the stages on your mobile. It will be the hardest stage race in 'merica. After that we have the Tour of Colora... I mean US Pro Tour Challenge or something like that. It's Colorado. It's in one State, call it what it is. Coors needs to step up and sponsor this thing... Wait a min, we could call it the Coors Classic. Nope, just having a flashback. Sorry. Maybe Red Zinger? Hell of the West?

The days are getting shorter, you probably have not noticed yet, but they are. This means the changing of the seasons and I know you are expecting me to say CycloCross, but not yet. We still have La Vuelta and the Fall Classics, and don't forget Worlds. Lots and lots of racing left on our plates.  There is CrossVegas middle of September in Vegas and the World Champ will be there. (as will I, just not in a professional manner)

More coffee por favor, my body hurts, but I want to ride. Gonna ride down to the local Starbucks and see if I can get them to mainline me some espresso. I hate needles, maybe should drink it. Just French press it into my mouth. (that sounds dirty) Sorry trying to keep it PG-13

ps don't get all used to this

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Ice cream recovery

Totally foiled today by mother nature. Rode the MTB up to Turkey for a little single track goodness that turned foul very quickly. Somehow I forgot about the carnage that occurred just a night ago. Four hundred thousand mph winds knocked about and left several trees and debris all over the place. {Hey, what happened to the term "gust-nado"? Is it dead? I thought it was the stupidest meteorological term ever. Glad I have not heard it uttered.} This was pretty evident when I turned
0nto the Red trail and and everything sounded "crunchy". Branches and tree litter everywhere, and it's a shame because the trails are in perfect condition in spite of being laid to waste.

So it wasn't too bad climbing up to the top, the soil perfectly tacky and firm. No slipping, no sliding. Hooked up. I pointed the rig towards Bunny and let it out, after a few super nice turns I had a handful of brakes. Stopped for a tree crossing. Well, they don't really cross, they just stay there in your way. No matter how long you wait. I didn't wait long and shouldered the bike and traversed the tree with the elegance of a drunken monkey. Few more turns down and a few more trees in the same condition. So much for getting my flow on. Ride, get off, climb tree, ride, stop, turn around, ride, stop, pull out branches from rear derailleur. There's your flow.

That last branch must of bent something up pretty good, cause my drivetrain sounds like a broken hamster wheel in a grade school classroom. Minus the smell. Another lap of turns and tree hopping and it's back to the shop to put things back where they belong either all nice like or with a hammer. I can't complain, well I am just a little. Not bad for a day off, it could always be worse. At least the bread landed "butter side up", right? I got outside on the mtb and rode, it wasn't the postcard home kinda ride, but it was a ride.

I'm on the couch convalescing with some Dinosaur Jr in the background, legs up, and a pint of Ben & Jerry's Phish food. Oh, I hate it when people say "life is good" "life is good" blah blah blah, but Life is Good. And it's almost beer thirty, or is it... Pssshhhhhsssss! Yep. Ahhhhhh!

Sunday, June 30, 2013

le Tour fever

I should be mad at work pouring sweat over the keyboard, punching out blog after blog after blog. But. I'm not. Holy crap everyone is going crazy over le Tour, as if there has not been any racing going on since  February. Yes, it is big, and if it is the only cycling racing that you know, then that is fine, but it is not the only be all end all. I am thankful for all the coverage and I love the hype.  I love the fact that we can turn on a TV and have a live feed from across the pond, or type a few keys, slide some fingertips and voila... Magic. No more waiting for a racing periodical to read and relive the past.

Just a little recap of the first stage. "Your bus is too big"-French accent "Your banner is too short"-Aussie accent "The finish will be at 3km to go"-race radio "The finish will be at the Finish"-race radio Crash, Crash, Crash, Fast, Fast, Crash, Sprint, Win, Yellow, Roadrash. That was hard to watch, not saying it was not entertaining, 'cause it was. Not the crashing part -I hate that. I can feel the pavement, hear the carbon grinding, and the smell. I hate watching crashes, and if you like it, you are a sick individual. Stop being sick.

Stage two was great. Attack! Breakaway! Catch! Climb! Sprinters off the back! Counter! Attack! Gap! Catch-not so fast! With just what was it, a second? One second to spare, the solo (if you can call it that) fought to stay alive and hold off the surging peloton. Oh yeah, it looks like they have the same problem in France with stupid dog owners... Keep your dog on a leash you freaking idiots. Seriously, dogs are super cool and are generally smarter than we are, but they do dog things and we get in their way sometimes. So, for the sake of your dog's safety, keep them on a leash or in a fenced yard. [getting off soapbox and exiting stage right]  I love a good hard fought stage and today was a great example of what that looks like.

I hope for more days like today to keep this 100th edition of le Tour exciting. I'm not promising anything, but hope to punish these keys a little more in the next few days. It's been awhile and my skills are pretty bad. Good night.

Monday, April 8, 2013

Rubaix cube

Ok, so Fabian did the Ronde - Rubaix two step, and in the process hoisted the cobble for the third time. Now we can all get caught up in the hoopla that Mr. Swiss Miss has poured out, or we can look at what really happened in the Queen of the Classics.

Biggest losers on the day are Omega Pharma (OPQS), yes they did get the last step on the podium with Terpstra. Don't get me wrong I don't want to take away from what Niki did, he rode an excellent race and had the best luck of the whole OPQS squad, and most likely would have been higher up if he had not been playing the teammate in the chase groups that he found himself. First off, how about Stybar? Where did this guy come from? CX, that's where. That is where just three years ago he was running all over Belgium wearing the Rainbow jersey of the World Champ, and then Quick Step snatched him up and put him on the road. Someone knew what they were doing when they drew up that contract. Zednek rode hard for the team and then clawed his way on to the charging Spartacus until a hapless collision with a spectator sent him to the showers in a solid 6th place. Not bad, I would like to use the word Awesome. Vandenbergh!!!! Ah, he was en fuego! I thought he was going to run away with it and make the Belgians proud, but a twist of fate or should I say handlebars -caused by a spectator sent his cobble hoisting dreams into a dusty, dirty, and bloody nightmare of First to chase to a 20th place. Heartbreak. Lady luck is a B!&(#.

One word... Chavanel. My favorite and my pick, looked to be in the cat-bird seat all day. Team all around doing work controlling the race and just being in the right place at the right time. Perfect day to be on the Northern French roads for the Frenchman and I'm sure he could taste the Champagne, right up until he felt his rear tire go soft at the worst possible time. Dream over, damage control, time to chase for scraps. Gert, the workhorse that he is did his job to get the team where they were and he made it look easy, and even with burning himself up for the team, finished the race smack in the middle at a respectable 55th -for a super diesel engine worker only 6mins off the leader. Love Steegmans.  

Oh and I guess I should mention my boys at Lotto Belisol, well they had worse luck than OPQS, 24th was the highest they could manage with Sieberg. Shame, their team is a Classics wrecking ball, instead of being the ball they have been getting smashed by it lately. They still have L-B-L and Amstel...

Biggest winners of the day, not named Fabian. Have to tip the cap to Sep. In the shadows on Garmin, gets a transfer to Rabobank (now Blanco), and then the second step in the Roubaix Velodrome. I am so happy to see a great young talent, such as Vanmarcke get the chance to showcase his ability. Smart move Blanco. You also have to hand it to Sep for his guts to trade pulls with the strongest cyclist on the planet. He could have easily set on Fabian's wheel all the way to the finish, but he chose to roll the dice and extend their gap. I can't say that is was the wrong move, all I can say is that I have so much respect for that kind of move. Stand up, classy move. More people should take note.

Another note worthy talent that is way overshadowed by big names on his BMC team is Greg. Van Avermaet is always on my shortlist for Darkhorse Winner in big Classics races where his teammates are going to suck. Just off of the podium and well off the radar. Greg needs to be on a team that will use his talent in the way it should be... put a freaking #1 on his back and work your asses off for him, or not. What do I know? Oh yeah same boat, as in the HMS OVERLOOKED, Bernie Eisel. I'm talking to you Sky. Bernie is a superstar, a superstar domistique, but more importantly he can destroy Classics races. Unyoke this legbreaker and work for him, or transfer him to a team that will give him carte blanche.

I would be remiss to not mention JAF. Juan Antonio Flecha. The Spanish have a special hatred for the cobbled classics, but few thrive. (just look at the DNFs) Juan rode with such panache, I would say that that guy was switched at birth and should have been from the Low Countries. If you make a fantasy Classics team, never never never overlook JAF, he will deliver.

Ok, so what is up with Europcar? These guys are starting to look legit. Stop Laughing, I'm being serious. Gaudin is for real, and Turgot is impressive. It is almost like these guys are taking a page out of Voeckler's book. They are riding with the vigor of Thomas' reckless abandon, and they are getting results. Is this the first "real" French team to become a contender? I've got my eye on those green and black jerseys aboard their Colnagos. Oh yeah and most of Europcar rode CX bikes, just a little tech bit for you.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

It's Classical

If a blog gets posted and no one reads it, did a tree fall in the forest? Or is it something about a bear. Maybe a Priest and a Rabbi. Whatever? Yeah I'm back, sure... you've heard that one before. No really, I'm not promising anything. But, on the other hand get ready to comment, send hatemail, and call your congressman.

I am not a fan of Fabian. I don't hate the guy, I'm not going to say that he is doping or using motors in his bike. I just do not like the guy, and I have nothing to back up my feelings as to why I don't like him. So there. I like Swiss Miss, love Toblerone, and the cheese with the holes is great. Fabian no.

And now for something completely different. I am going to try to be racist, sexist, and crude in the next sentence. Did you see that Cech dude grab that chicks ass? If Peter Sagan was half as good a bike rider as he is at playing grab-ass he'd be... Guess the UCI and Pat didn't tell Peter that the grab-ass only goes on behind closed doors and after money has exchanged accounts in an off-shore bank. Silly Peter he is so young. I love this kid. He is funny. One hell of a bike rider. He can ride wheelies. His powerslides make hipster-fixie-riders bow with envy. I don't know who put him up to the FB video apology, but he looked like a hostage. Shame on you. Where is Ted King when you need him? Ted, put your boy on a leash and keep the wolves away from him. If I can't have Tom standing on the podium, let it be Peter. (and not Fabian)

As much as I love to Boonen on the top step, I have to say that I love when a guy like Gerald Ciolek comes from out of the ashes and wins a monument like Milan -San Remo. Ciolek has been in the shadow of Zabel, Steegmans, Boonen, and Cavendish. Looks like he might have learned a thing or two while being "just" a lead-out man. Takes balls to go to a non-ProTour team to get what you want. And that is why I like the Darkhorse.  I love the back story.

Paris -Roubaix is right around the corner, and I would kill to see Sylvain Chavanel solo into the velodrome. Chavanel fresh off of his overall at de Panne is my favorite. He has to be the most overlooked rider in the peloton. He could lead any French team of his choice, yet he faithfully rides year after year for Patrick Lefevere under the banner of Belgium. Please Please Please let Chavanel have his due. Give him the number 1 on his back, and ride for him. The last thing I want to see is a healthy Chavanel playing nurse-maid to an injured Boonen. Chavanel on home soil hoisting the Pave. Dream come true.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

"I'm not dead..."

Oh boy, do I suck. Suck at this whole blog thing. Sorry about that, my faithful reader/s (Mike). Guess you haven't had any reading material on the throne.  Anyway, I used to be able to just tap tap tap at the keys and put out some sort of time filling garbage that made me feel good about myself or at least make you crack a smile.  Holy Crap a lot has happened to me in the last year or so, and with the magic of storytelling I'm going to start at the present and work my way back, well at least back to a few days ago.

In a land not too far away, in a country where everything is bigger, there was a young boy... wait, too far back.  So, this last weekend I drove down to see the parents for Easter and to get some riding in on those choice Texas roads. The weather was perfect. When I say perfect I mean Perfect, not Panhandle perfect where the wind is only 20mph, I mean the flags needed Viagra it was so windless. Perfect. This never happens. Seriously check the history books, talk to a groundhog, do what you gotta do, but it is always windy. Well, except for this last weekend. I could not even fly my kite for the Easter tradition -heartbroken... sorry Grandma. It put a whole new perspective on the cycling in the Panhandle for me. Amazing is a pretty strong word. Beautiful roads, equally beautiful weather, and the stark emptiness of the land made for a religious experience.

I would, and will have to say that getting to share it with my parents was as they say "Priceless". Days like that don't come around very often. With that being said. When you ride in harsh, or less than perfect conditions all the time (like in the Panhandle) it makes the good days that much better. I guess what I am trying to say is... is. Make sure that when you get that "perfect day" you hold on to it and you appreciate it for all that it is worth.

It's short, don't know if it is sweet, but that's what I've got and that is what you are going to get. I miss writing like this and hope to be able to get back into a good rhythm. This is my favorite time of the year, it's the Spring Classics, and de Ronde was just two days ago. I've got lots to say, just having trouble getting it out into the magical 1's and zeros.  Stay tuned you never know if I will write again.  

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

Day one of 365 in 2013

So I'm starting of the New Year right, I'm trying to produce a metric ton of snot.  Yeah you heard me right, sounds funny, but it's snot.  I have been fighting a sinus infection for about a week and a half.  Two doctors visits, two prescriptions, a shot in the arse and I still feel not so bueno.  Enough about me.  Seriously, how much mucus can your body produce?  This is crazy, in the last couple of weeks I'm sure I have pound for pound equaled my body weight.  At least once or twice.  So, it can only get better from here, Right?  That's right... Positive.

I am not making any resolutions or changes for this coming year.  I'm just going to take it as it comes, and make the best of it.  That being said, I would like to be a little more consistent with things (writing).  Don't want to jinx things, just trying to get off on the right foot.

I haven't been on the bike much, one because of the weather and two because of being under said weather.  I really want to ride the MTB more this year, and I want to do it in other states.  I want to use my car even less this year.  Wow, this really sounds like resolutions.  Na, it's not, just being hopeful for the New Year.

Well so stay tuned, and see where this goes... I could possibly talk about cycling, life, funny stuff, gossip, dirty laundry, jokes, secrets, history, chemistry, algebra -I'm not so good at math.  Anyway keep tuned in and we will see if I can stay on a roll and continue making letters into words and stuff.

See you out there on the trail, road, and in the shop.