Monday, December 21, 2009

Shortest Day

Sun. More please. Shortest day of the year today (I think). Tomorrow will be 3 seconds longer. I plan to use that time to change my chain.

Another ride today. JDar and I headed out to the dam and back, had some coffee, then I headed home. Took several hours. I love that. Shortest Post.

Can't Stop

Can't stop with this blog thing.  It's self-serving and my motives are questionable but I can't stop.

AEDC was beautiful yesterday.  Cold, very wet but not too cold and wet.  Ended up doing three laps hoping the sun would come out.  It didn't.  Afterward I went to Cracker Barrel and hammered down some fried chicken that still hasn't found it's way into my digestive tract.  I thought it was a good idea since I'd done 4-5 hours in the saddle and covered almost 40 miles.  It wasn't a good idea. I feel terrible still, like there's a football in my lower intestine. 

Headed to East Nasty to get after a greenway ride with JDar in a few.  First sunny day in Nashville since I've been home. 

Ezekiel Bread rocks.

Steevo's at it again:

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Bail

Last night I got all worked up thinking I was heading up to Louisville tomorrow for the Cyclo-Claus race.  This afternoon I changed my mind, deciding if I was going to ride around in the cold and wet, I wasn't going to pay $20 and sit in a car 6+ hours.  Instead I'll pay $0 and sit in the car for 1.5-3 hours.  Considering my options as it's been raining and wet.  Had such a nice ride out at AEDC, considering that again or maybe Sewanee, haven't been there since January.  Probably end up at Montgomery Bell since it's closest and probably in the best shape but I'm still a little burned out on the twisty scene over there.

There's also the possibility of doing a long road ride or a multi-use exploration adventure employing the bike and some boots.  Either way, I'm about to crack my second beer and officially bow out of tomorrow's Cyclocross Race. 

No photos today.  Maybe tomorrow's adventure will yield some visual accompaniment.

Friday, December 18, 2009

Winter Riding

Headed to AEDC yesterday, my first time there. Gorgeous.




Took a lap, around 11 miles of sweet singletrack and old fire roads. Ate some food and took a lap in the opposite direction. Much much better counter clockwise. 3 hours, 22 miles.





This is what most of it looked like. Very sweet.

Here's something Colorado could learn from:









Segregation is good for bikes and horses.

Today I tried a new route across town to my meeting, straight down Charlotte. Got home in 32 minutes, usual route takes an hour. This is a good thing.

Found out about a cyclocross race in Louisville.  I went to post something on Twitter and Bob's Red Mill was trying to tell me to go.  So I'm going.  I'm done training.  Training is a dumb idea.  I want to just do things, not train for them.  BSNYC gave me that idea.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Home at Last

If you follow this blog, you may have too much time on your hands.  You also know that I've been on the road, away from home for several weeks.  I have big plans, serious adventure plans for this week, starting first thing tomorrow, but in the meantime, I feel like I should quickly summarize the last few weeks with a simple narrative and some photos.  Ready?


Super Cool Painting at our Managers House

First weekend we were in East Tennessee. I could have raced in the MSG Cyclocross race out there but logistically it was a nightmare and I was sick after Thanksgiving so I bagged it. The previous post shows what I did instead. Spent Monday and Tuesday in Charlottesville doing a photo shoot (photos forthcoming) and doing a shit-ton of band business. This painting is in our managers appartment, I found myself staring at it until the kids eyes freaked me out. Try it.


Railroad Earth with 4 Infamous Stringdusters ripping


We finished our year opening for Railroad Earth for 3 nights.  Our van broke down in VA, so we scrambled, rented a van and beat it to Brooklyn with 45 minutes to spare. Here's video:



RRE is everything a band should be. Everyone (but me) got up and jammed with them the second night and it was sick. Here's a little YouTube Video. It's gets crazy around 6:20.



Sarah came to the last show and we stayed somewhere in Maryland before going to see my grandparents in Lancaster County, PA. Lancaster County is Amish country and is home to two great towns, Intercourse and Blue Ball. We were driving through Intercourse before I even realized it. We had to stop and get a picture:


Welcome to Intercourse, Pennsylvania

Sarah and I rocked Brooklyn and Bayport, NY, then I hopped a shuttle to ISP and flew home but not before seeing this little gem of a magazine cover. Bad timing, eh boss?


Tip #5: Don't get married.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

AT Hike

We're playing two nights at the Down Home in Johnson City, TN this weekend.  Woke up this morning to substantial precipitation mostly in the form of snow. Headed to the Appalachian Trail outside town for a quick hike (borrowed the fiddle players car for a couple hours). 2 inches of snow on the trail when I started, probably closer to 4 near the top. Only had a couple hours, but it was really cold and I was vastly under-dressed and alone so the time limit probably kept me in check. There were a few other tracks, mostly filled with snow. Didn't see another soul out there. Beautiful. Here's a couple pictures, they're nothing like Up In Alaska's shots but the clouds were low and there were no vistas:


 

I had my Keen Growler boots on. The boots were perfect, everything else was inadequate and as such, I tried to keep it mellow and pay attention to where my feet were falling (fortunately, with those boots on, I didn't have to pay too close attention).  When these boots wear out, I pray that Keen still makes them because I'd buy them again in a second.



Hiked about a half hour and started to hear a humming sound.  Thought I was coming up on a generator or something but I topped a ridge and stepped into a clearing under some whirring power lines.  It was pretty eerie with the cloud cover.




Tomorrow we're in Roanoke, then two days off in Charlottesville planning The Festy.  One day we'll be scouting the trail system at The Festy site, checking out ride/hike potential and also looking at the possibility of running a cyclocross race out there, as well as designing the layout of the site and daydreaming about the features (multiple outdoor lounges and fire rings, onsite camping, multiple stages, brewery onsite, beergardens...  the list will grow).  The Festy will be the single greatest weekend event ever.  More to come.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Enough About Wanting

Saw this contraption on BSNYC this morning.  He referred to it as an idiot concept bike. I would say I want to have it but since it was just black friday and the last post was all about wanting shit, I'll want not.

Except that I might add the Carolla needs new front axle/CV joints and a radiator to the tune of $800.  Sweet.  I could buy a new bike for that.  I could pay off credit card debt with that.  I could save for future-child's college with that.  I could buy an Xtracycle and stop driving for that.

I know I shouldn't complain but the ride home last night to beat the dark (45 minute TT) agrivated my right knee.  It's a sleeping giant, this knee problem.  I'm beginning to think that the inconsistency of my riding (not by choice, I might add) coupled with a larger gear for the road is setting me up for some long term issues.  I need gears.  I'm sorry, fellow SS lovers, but as my manager said, "single speeds are for assholes."  At least on the road.  Why have I convinced myself that I can/should do 4 hour road rides on a single speed cyclocross bike in the cold, over hills with a 42x16?  It makes you wonder, right?  Maybe Santa will bring me a geared bike for christmas, or better yet, maybe some high-end bike company will stumble upon this ameteur blog and misinterpret my zealousness for readership and offer me a bike.  Maybe my knee won't blow out before ski season...

Monday, November 30, 2009

Football, Fixies and Fantasy

Yesterday I woke up later than I'd hoped and had to skip the pre-game ride. We headed to LP Field about 11:15. We arrived and there was no traffic and the parking lot was empty. We pulled into the D Lot (primo parking) and asked the dude what the deal was. "Game's been moved to 3pm, TV Network." Superb. I got a little worked up but my lovely wife finally calmed me down and we went to breakfast at Noshville. BLT and fries, cup of coffee. Saw these nice hipster pieces outside:



One of the dudes came out to talk on his cell phone and smoke right as I was crouched down to take the picture.  He said they weren't stolen.  I noticed they were both running 42x16 ratios (a little info for the who-gives-a-shit file).

Headed toward the Flying Saucer for a couple pints but got distracted by the Toyota Dealership.  We're nursing our little old Toyotas along, the '93 Tercel's got 75,000, the '92 Carolla Wagons pushing 175,000.  Taking the wagon in today to get it checked out before our trip (should be doing that right now, actually).  I think I've convinced my father to kick down his 4Runner when he upgrades (4 door Tacoma with a camper) this summer, but we still drool when we see our dream cars:



A green Sienna for my wife (and the inevitable shorties)



A Brown Venza for me

I love the Venza.  I know it's a little high class for someone like me, but it just looks so cool and it's got those big wheels...  I made my own on the website and it only cost $36,000 which is only about 12 times what we payed for our Tercel when it had 35,000 miles and got 40+ mpg...

Anyway, headed to the Saucer and got a couple Youngs Double Chocolate Stouts then validated and walked the mile or so down Demonbreun and across the pedestrian bridge.  I hadn't done a good long urban walk-instead-of-drive session in awhile and it felt like the right thing to do.  We drank a few beers at the game and stayed until the end of the 3rd quarter:


We had some good seats.

We had another engagement, so we headed to East Nashville for some music at Madd Donnas.  Watched the last two minutes of the game there and wished we'd stayed.  Vince Young looked like a champion.  Go Titans.  Battered and Fried for some fish with Unky Dan and my mother then home.  Now I'm eating into todays ride time writing this for the two people who read it...  

Headed out for a ride inbetween cloud bursts.  Taking a camera (these were all iPhone shots) so the evidence will be there.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Duo Video/RV/Sue

Titans game today, 27th row.  Many many Bud Lights and footlong hot dogs and fries will pass through this body by tonight.  No riding in December.  Opting to leave the bike at home on the 18 day tour.  The logistics are too daunting and I don't have any extra $$ to throw at elaborate travel plans right now.  The next three days I'll be on the bike and Christmas week I'll throw down but in the middle there it'll be a lot of running.  Not ideal for January, the second peak of my season, but what's a guy to do?  Pulled in so many directions, so many things that want to be done, that need attention.

Sarah and I are locking in the dates for our March Duo Tour out west.  I'm acting as booking agent and it's been an eye opening experience.  I've been salivating over this little number; it would make the perfect duo tour vehicle.  Park in the venue parking lot, I could get up early and drive to the ski resort/trailhead and do my thing while Sarah slept, then drive off the mountain, into the next little town, soundcheck, dinner, show, repeat.  Paradise.  I could follow that schedule the rest of my life, really.  It would also be killer at the races (don't know about the mud factor).

Sarah and I played on Black Friday at the Taproom in Nashville.  Love the Duo setting.  Here's a taste:



The show was packed and loud but our sound engineer, Drew Becker, stopped in and worked the sound for free beer. I love the Taproom, what a killer zone. Drank a bunch of the limited edition Sue from Yazoo. Ridiculous. Probably going to get a growler or ten of this before they stop making it.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Later the Same Day

Double Post today.  Increased frequency = quality reduction.  This time I got pictures.

Left the house in shorts, a base layer and a jersey.  Under the I-40 bridge this dude came roaring by me on a gas powered bike.  I tried to catch up before the light and get a good picture but he plunged directly into traffic.  This is the best shot I got.


Hit the Richland Greenway and stopped to hike down a side trail, adjust my brakes and ditch the base layer.  Sleeveless jersey (old school) and shorts the day before Thanksgiving, beautiful.  Rode across the greenway bridge then ducked through the Kroger parking lot and hopped on Belle Mead Blvd.  BMB is a two lane residential divided road.  Full on Boulevard.  Very mellow uphill pitch leading straight to the Warner Loop.  Sun was shining, I shot this self portrait.


This was the calm before the climbing storm.  I'd not ridden the Warner Loop since I'd geared up and I got my ass absolutely kicked by the three substantial climbs on the loop.  I didn't have to walk and the third climb actually seemed a lot shorter than I'd remembered but it was tough pushing the 42x16 up those hills.  I briefly stopped at the overlook on the last climb.


Went back the same way I arrived, down Belle Mead, down the Richland Creek Greenway.  Walked down a trail that passed under the elaborate bridge system and found a nice rocky patch to hang out on for a moment.


That's it.  Happy Thanksgiving.

Word

Nice little ride on the Shelby Greenway with my man JDar yesterday.  In the grand scheme of things, our little rides on the greenway are pretty mellow.  Lots of dudes around here take their riding more seriously; 1:45 on the bike followed by a New Belgium offering and some video watching would be considered "weak."  JDar and I are not ones to worry about our position relative to others (though we did smirk then talk trash for 10 minutes when three fixie hipsters passed us with their hands overlapping on their tiny little handlebars).  One of these days I'll call up JDar and we'll go kill ourselves on some super epic ride to a place I've never heard of but until then, we're content with the relative safety of the greenway. 

I've heard there are real legit group rides that leave from East Side Cycles.  When I get some gears I might show up, on my cross bike, with a camelbak and knobby tires, and scare the roadies to death with my sudden braking and swerving.  Until then it's greenways and Percy Warner and other familiar loops and rides that I do mostly by myself because I have one gear and no friends.

Today may be the day that my blog is accompanied by photos.  May have to decide between taking the iPhone and taking the Nikon.  Both have their advantages but only one has a super sweet case.

Nashville Cyclist does something smart; he actually raises awareness about issues that matter.  Brilliant.  I'll do the same here:

Share the Road Plates
Apparently, they need 1000 pre-orders for these by this summer to make it go.  I'm considering it, you might as well.

Greenways Update
So they're getting it all fixed up and adding a needed section.  The Metrocenter/Downtown link is a regular part of my routine (it'd be ideal if the Metrocenter continued for about 10 miles down to Bells Bend, but I'm not complaining) and there's still never anyone on most of it.  They're inacting a 15mph speed limit.  I will not be obeying this.  I will pay fines if they can catch me.  Wouldn't they need to have super fit bike cops on super fast bikes to pull off this enforcement?  Time will tell...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Ego Cargo

Arrived home Sunday night from the uber epic Nor'Easter Tour.  It's good to be home and back on the bike, at least a little.  Spent all night cleaning the house so I could squeeze in a ride before I pick up my lovely mother at the aeropuerto.  Hoping to hook up with JDar for a short ride on the east side.

Feeling a little conflicted about the blog.  It's clearly the ego speaking, some need for attention, some need to seem important that drives this constant flow of Me on the intertubes.  Not really sure what I'm going to do about it.  If I get any deeper into it this blog may just cease to exist.

Here's a video rock-u-mentary that our banjo player put together, it covers the first few days, there will be more to come.


Next month I'm on the road, doing 7 shows with the Dusters and 4 shows with my wife.  Hoping to take the bike with me, maybe hit up the MSG race in Bristol during the day between our Johnson City shows.  Scored a Yakima Space Booster for $105 on Craigslist yesterday.  I didn't realize how long it was; can't really open the rear door. 




Trying to decide if I'll a) drill new holes and slide it forward b) deal with the door not opening even halfway or c) try to trade/sell it and get a newer/shorter one.  They make them now with these awesome lever-style mounts so you can take the thing on and off in a matter of seconds.  It takes about 15-20 minutes to put this one on.  The good news is my total investment in the rack is now $325.  New, it would cost me $360 for the locking steelheads, $250 for the cargo box, $160 for the control towers, $70 for the bars, $100 for the copperhead and $35 for the wheel fork.  $975 total.  Now, granted, all of my stuff is between 6 and 10 years old, but it all functions perfectly and once I buy a four pack of locking cylinders ($40) it will all be tidy and secure.  Now I just need a ski rack for ski season and another wheel fork and I'm good to go (possibly wider cross-bars). 

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Hipsters Discuss Cyclocross

I'm not the first person to pass this along but it's definitely worth the watch:

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Monday, November 16, 2009

Other People's Thoughts

Just sat and caught up on my blog reading. For some reason I find other people's blogs my favorite news source. I don't even know most of these people, but for some reason, reading about adventurers in other parts of the country always inspires.

Euphoria Before Implosion tore the USGP Mercer Cup people to pieces. He should have come to Louisville. That race was awesome. Course, people, weather... I miss it already.

I hope Bike Snob never stops.

Up in Alaska makes me want a Pugsley. I have no use for a Pugsley, even if I had conditions like Red Stone Cyclery I wouldn't need a Pugsley, but they're so freakin' cool. I want one.

Red Stone always makes me wish I lived in Lyons. I wonder if there are any hillside lots in Lyons I could put a yurt on. The yurt fantasy is surfacing more and more often these days. Right along with the pumptrack in the backyard.

Big Bikes threw down at the Swank 65. I read this blog because I'm envious.

East Side Cyclist rode on some secret trail that I'm sure I'll never know about. That's fine. I'll make my own trail, you'll see.

Raleigh Commutes posted up the video of the SSCXWC. I missed this. I can't believe it but I missed it. Freakshow:

Raleigh SSCXWC from Saleigh on Vimeo.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

America, Fuck Yeah!

Last night someone gave me this photo from a festival we played last year. I just sat and stared at it for 2 beers. Majestic. I didn't know I looked so good in front of the stars and stripes.


Look at me, such a patriot.

Tour rolls on, all my running and short nights and beers are catching up with me. Sinus' are rebelling and the body is shutting down. Taking a day, maybe two off (no running + 1-2 beers = Day Off) in hopes of putting my body back on track. Van call, gotta get!

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Nor'Easter Blues

It finally caught up to us. Hurricane whatever, Ida or something finally caught us. We've been slowly working our way north on this tour, Virginia, Maryland, Jersey, Brooklyn, Boston, and now up here in New Hampshire the rain's have arrived. Not a lot of sun these last two weeks but at least the morning runs were dry. Managed to find a bunch of nice greenways down in VA. DC area is especially good at creating space. I guess they have to make up for their inability to move traffic around.

The rain is forcing my runs inside, onto the human hamster wheel. I'm only good for 30-40 minutes on one of those things and I have to stop before my brain dissolves into some type of gelatinous edible. These long tours I'm a runner and there's little I can do about it. Two three week tours in the middle of 'cross season does not a single speed gear smasher make, if you know what I mean. Next season I'm going to dabble in gears. Don't hate me.

Here's some photo highlights:

Deer on a Virginia Greenway




                                 Slice of Salad Za on Long Island


Glass of Local Cider in New Hampshire

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

20 Day Bicycle Fast/Nor'Easter Tour

Headed out today for my last ride for 20 days.  The Stringdusters are headed to the Northeast for the Nor'Easter Tour, a 15 date ramble that takes us through much of the mid-Atlantic and lower Northeast.  I'll be off the bike as there's not really room in the trailer.  Lots of running in the cold.  Optimistic it'll translate to decent fitness (maybe a little weight loss) and fresh legs come the 23rd.  Last night a put slicks and a 42x16 on the cross bike.  That's 11 gear inches more than I had on there and my short jaunt around the neighborhood in the moonlight made it clear it was going to be a whole different ride.  Bottom Bracket is also shot from last weekend so I've got a little added resistence there, which is nice.

Headed out on a relatively flat loop to test out the big gear.  Mid-ride I have to stop by the studio to sing one last harmony part on the Dusters record and that'll be done.  It'll be nice to not have that hanging out over my head for the next month.  I like things to be complete. 

Sarah and I checked out this awesome, outdated, but large (by our standards) house in Fortland Park yesterday.  It's two blocks from the Shelby Bottoms Greenway and a ten minute ride from downtown.  You could not ask for a better location to be a cyclist, not to mention the backyard is large enough for a pump track/dirt jump area (honey, can I tear up the yard?  thank you).  Unfortunately, with me being out of town there's only so much we can do to get our house ready to go on the market so we'll have to cross our fingers and trust that if it's to be ours, it will be. 

I'll get a camera, I promise.  Until then, you'll have to deal with text and links.  May not post up much until I'm back on the bike the week of Thanksgiving.  If you want to check out any of my music/tour related ramblings, I've got a full time gig as band blogger on our blog the Infamous Word.  It has it's moments...

Nor'Easter Tour Trailer, by Chris Pandolfi:

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Cross the Way #4 Race Report

I'm in pain. I hurt. Mud got thicker. Course did not get easier, quite the contrary. I'm ready for gears now (though the cleanup would have been more involved). I don't think I ate right last night. I think I had too many glasses of wine. I didn't eat enough today. Maybe something else bad happened. I can't tell.

Started out in second, behind Troy. Stuck with him until the hill (long runup for me). Then he rode away. I was in second through most of the second lap, but again, on the run-up I was passed by Ryan. I was hurting. Fortunately, the Jeremy's were way off the back, saving themselves for the single speed race. I'm not really into that sort of thing, but I guess I understand why they did it. The course was brutal. The mud had turned into something worse than mud. It was like mud on acid. Actually, it's funny I mentioned that because right around the top of the 5th lap, I started to hallucinate. Literally. When I'm over the top, pushing too hard I get this little strobe light type blip in the middle of my vision and I know I need to chill or I will pass out in a mud puddle and asphyxiate before anyone even notices I'm missing. It was a long lap. The single speed riders probably wouldn't have even noticed me laying dead in a puddle.

Let me bring this narrative back together. It's the second lap and Ryan's riding away from me, Troy's in his own race, Jeremy N's already dropped out (again) and Jeremy C is chilling (like I should have been). They had more than enough gas to mix it up in the Single Speed race.  Here they are on their matching Bianchi's.  Like Brothers from different Mothers.





So I keep pedaling and trying to ride hard even though I'm way behind and way ahead and basically by myself. 5th lap I start to feel like shit. I'm walking two long sections because they're too muddy and two super long hills because they're too steep and wishing I had some freakin' gears and thinking about Burger King and getting some TBRA points and basically walking to keep from dying. It sucked. I came around and finished and immediately got a beer and some candy and mooched a granola bar. Here's a picture of me happily eating and watching the Single Speed/Junior race (I once again skipped the Single Speed Race). Max Gander's in the forefront. He's the only junior and he slayed the 4's coming in 3rd. His father, Wolfgang, is responsible for all these photos.

d


So I've yet to ride back to back. Yet to do a Single Speed race this year. 60 minutes is a long time. I wish I was tougher than I am, but I'm not.

Melissa Hudson-Grant and Brian Grant put these races on, they're super cool and I'm very thankful they do what they do. Brian got out and raced today which was only fair since he laid out this sadistic, messed up course. Here they are in action:





Great scene again today.  Sun was shining, people were in good spirits.  Not a ton of racers but a nice day for a race.  Today was the first day I actually thought I needed to consider giving in to gears.  I should probably decide before I get a road bike, might be able to kill two birds with one stone on that one.

Also, just realized that October saw 18 posts; a new personal record.  November will be light as I'm headed out on the road with the band until Thanksgiving.  Next race is in December (maybe).  January is the second season, things may pickup then.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

Cross the Way #3 Race Report

Epic.

I don't know what conditions are usually like in the notoriously muddy Northwest, but I'm pretty sure if things were like this every weekend, I'd be a little less enthusiastic about racing cyclocross. Yesterday afternoon it started raining and didn't quit until early this morning. It rained hard. The course was through goat fields and involved some serious sustained climbing that would have been brutal on a dry day. Today, with my gearing, it was more than I could handle. I ran about a sixth of a mile every lap. Whenever I wiped mud off my face, it tasted like goat shit. It was awesome.  And terrible.

Fortunately, my costume rocked and only restricted my breathing when I was riding really hard which was only for a couple laps, which was also super awesome.  My wife gave me the halo her friends left in our honeymoon suite (which she proceeded to wear for three days after the wedding; love that woman) and I zip-tied it onto the helmet.  I found in warm-up that it provided a little wind resistance but I was feeling fast so I let it ride.  I coupled that with a ballerina type outfit my niece used to wear when she was 6. In order to put it on I had to involve my wife in a dramatically orchestrated dance/procedure in which I would put my arms through the arms then raise them above my head while she tugged it down over my head.  It was really tight.  It hurt to breath.  We had to cut it off at the end of the day...

So we kicked it off at 12:45, 9 of us in the 1/2 category. A lot of the same cast of characters: Brent, Tanner, Nagoshiner, Ryan and Matt. Troy was also there. Troy's fast as hell. I harbored no illusions about beating Troy.



Today, I did something I never do, which was sit in at the start. I learned last week that it doesn't do a whole lot of good to freak out at the start, which is what I generally do, then I get tired and I fade and want to drop out, which is lame. You can see my halo toward the back. I was relaxing.



I was in 8th, I think, when we hit the mud, but things quickly sorted out and I found myself riding fourth behind Troy, the eventual winner and Tanner. We hit the long climb on the backside of the course and I jumped off the bike and ran. I was right behind Tanner, he was riding but I passed him by the top of the hill (this thing seriously took like a minute and a half to run up) and hopped back on and sped away. I briefly caught up with Troy at the beginning of the first lap and rode Troy's wheel for awhile but he shed me on the run-up. He's really strong. He won the Masters race last weekend in Louisville. I will say he made fun of me for riding a single speed before the race so I took it upon myself to at least stick with him for a little while. He gave me some props after the race (and after he beat me by a third of a lap), so he's forgiven.  I will beat him.

After they rode away from me I realized that I was pretty much riding alone; the leaders were gone and fourth place was out of site. The slog had begun.


                                       No, I do not want a beer, yet.

I was finding some parts of the course really difficult with my gearing, other sections felt great. Here's Brent in his getup demonstrating how brutal the conditions were:



I ended up running both the climbs on the backside so I was on and off my bike 5 times a lap. Finally got my beer at the end and landed my first podium of the season. Matt nailed 4th in his first race as a 2.  Kick ass.  He looks tired.  He told me he's going to party tonight and blow off tomorrow.  I respect that.



Only 4 of us finished on the lead lap, three guys dropped out, it was that kind of day. Sun came out before it went down so I've got high hopes it'll dry out a little tonight. If not, I'll be hurting, bad.  It was muddy.  When I got home I realized there were no spaces between my chainlinks.  Like I said, I don't know how muddy it is up in the Pacific Northwest, but we had some mud today.  The Mud before the barriers:



My bike:


Cool how it blends in, eh?


                         Here I am unhooking Brent's bra, brah.

See how much better things are with pictures? Yeah...

Oh, how about a video? You like videos? Here's Thad running up the Run up of Death. It was a little like a kick in the balls every lap. I'd chide Thad about his futuristic reverse carrying technique but he eventually won and I want him to think I'm "cool" and invite me on the super sweet single speed epic rides I'm not cool enough to go on so I'll just say, "Check out the futuristic technique by Thad, wish I'd thought of that!"



Well, I think I outdid myself on this one. Don't get used to it.

Might ad I just found out it's Daylight Savings Time. I don't like Daylight Savings. It's bullshit. Especially in Nashville. It'll get dark here at like 5pm now. Tonight is the only night it's a positive, so I'm going to stay up an hour later, eat a little more food then sleep an extra hour. After that, I'm pissed. 4:15 sunset sucks. Daylight Savings is an outdated idea, I'm over it, I hate it, it makes no damn sense.

Thom P wrote this compelling piece about racing a Single Speed cross bike. It's entertaining though I disagree with his over-gearing philosophy (I don't know how you could have turned a 42X16 today, but I'm not a "regional demi-pro," just a musician who likes to pretend he's a professional). Still, if you want to know how it works racing a single speed against the geared buffoons, this is and interesting piece. He's also making some very single speed faces on here so it's worth the read.

I see...

It's come to my attention that I don't like blogs without pictures.  My blog doesn't have many pictures.  I don't like my blog.  I'm taking my wife with me to the cross races today.  She knows how to use a camera.  Here's the proof:




My expression says:

1. I'm a happy little girl.
2. I'm shocked we got that thing over my head.
3. How the hell are we going to get it off?
4. I'm going to post this on my blog immediately!
5. Maybe I should stop her from taking this picture.
6. All of the above.

This is just one part of my costume for today's race. I clearly have no shame. I also didn't spend a dime on my costume. When I was in second grade, my mom dressed me up as a girl for Halloween. When I was in third grade, my mom dressed me up as a girl for Halloween. When I was in fourth grade... you get the point. My mom wanted a girl. I was a boy. I had to play both sides a little to keep ma happy so I've got some experience dressed as the opposite sex. I only require semi-regular therapy.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Quandary


If I put one of these on my credit card, will my wife kill me? Will I be able to keep up with the roadies on the semi-group rides? Am I about to find out? Stay Tuned.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Fixie Crisis

Started checking out production fixies today, mostly out of curiosity, not because I could afford one. Really it was Bike Snob NYC's interview of the dude at Felt that got the gears turning. By the way, if you want to read a real cycling blog, read Bike Snob. It came to my attention that a lot of the bikes I was drawn to were similar aesthetically to my SingleCross (which inexplicably has been discontinued) and it got me to thinking. By the time I ended up back at home I'd decided that it probably made more sense for me to drop a 16t cog or freewheel on the other side of my practice wheelset, swap over the 42t chainring that came stock on the bike and put a set of cheap road tires on it and see how it felt. It occurred to me that it probably makes more sense for me to ride my racing bike anyway since some cheap ass conversion would probably have whacked out geometry and not feel a thing like the race bike, thus defeating the purpose almost entirely. I'll also still have brakes, which will be sweet. Also, I really like my bike, it's very comfortable and I already own it, which is a big advantage over any other bike,.

I'm hoping the decreased resistance of the road tires will help me out because I'll be going from a 58 to 70 gear inches. All the bikes I was looking at rocked a 42x16 as standard gearing, which means the hills will suck but the flats will be heaven. That also puts me just one tooth off from my 'cross gearing of 39x18 so the chain will work and the wheelbase won't change much. I'll probably still have to adjust the brake when I switch back and forth and if I want a pit wheelset I'll have to change the tires back every weekend (hastle?) but I'm excited about the prospect of hauling some serious ass instead of just spinning wildly.

Out of curiosity, I priced out a tubular race wheelset so I could avoid the tire change and rock some tubbies at the races but even with budget parts (Surly hubs, DT butted spokes, Mavic Reflex rims and Grifo Tires I'd be in over $450 plus a bunch of my labor. That'll have to wait for next year. Right now the priority is getting a faster road-type bike for the least amount of money and putting $40 worth of rubber and a $10 16t cog (maybe freewheel...) on the race bike makes a hell of a lot more sense. Why didn't I think of that before...

On a more ride related note. Ran over some slugs today out on the Metro Center Greenway. I know this because their gooey remnants dried to my frame and were uncomfortable to look at. Hoping to find a rideable route connecting all or most of Nashville's greenways and related roads (like Percy Warner Park). A nice big fat loop with a coffee stop 2/3rds of the way through and a beer stop at the end would be ideal. If I new the roads of Nashville better I'd probably already have a plan...

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Someone Else's Handywork

Last night I played a show with my wife at the Belcourt Theater opening up for Sara Watkins.  My wife killed it, she's so good.  Also found a fourth for the weekly social ride, which is sweet (three's akward).

I have no new content, but I found some good stuff.  Here's a handlebar cam video taken by Kirt of Downeast Cross Day 2.  Anyone who's curious what cross really looks like, this is a good representation.  I'm on the lookout for the helmet cam footage someone in our USGP race shot.  I bet that's awesome.

Downeast Cross 2009, Day Two from Kirt on Vimeo.


Yesterday I stayed off the bike. Today I will crush my hungover legs. Percy Warner then some intervals around the dry version of my practice course. It's been raining and I already did one massive muddy cleanup on the bike this week so I'll skip the permanent muddy sections and throw in some grassy uphills in preparation for some deep grass this weekend.

I did manage to find this great highlights video of the Elite race last Sunday. Course had dried up considerably when they hit it but this vid shows a lot of the great sections of the Louisville course.

Cycling Videos on CyclingDirt

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Monday, October 26, 2009

Nice day for a ride

Left the house at 9:30 this morning.  Weather was nice enough I didn't need the tights, which was sad because they're my trademark, but great because it was that warm and getting warmer.  The tights were still mangy from yesterday, but I would have used them anyway since I love the purple swatch and 15 years is not enough....

Rode over to East Nasty and picked up my man JDar then headed out the greenway.  Conversation is infinitely better on the bike and JDar is finally getting comfortable around my riding.  I think the squeaky muddy bike, the vintage tights and random diversions into the grass, over jumps and through weeds made him nervous; he would always drop back when another rider came our way but I've seasoned him a little.  Today, riders or runners or whatever would come from the other direction and we'd actually maintain formation, riding side-by-side on our half of the path.  This is a serious improvement as it creates no disruption in our conversation and the last thing a good conversation needs is a disruption.  I think I still make JDar nervous but he knows I won't take him out.  Or maybe he thinks as highly of the conversation as I do and is unwilling to disrupt our flow.

Still on the prowl for the elusive conversion bike.  Saw a road bike for sale today that I really wanted but the budget is set and the gear will be fixed.  Again, if anyone sees a 58-60cm bike with vertical dropouts, I'll pay a $5 finders fee.

Planning to fix the camera but until then it's only text.  I recommend bike snob in the meantime.  He's profound...

Tomorrow is a much needed day off.  Looks like it'll be warm enough for my costume on Saturday which is good for me but bad for everyone who lays eyes on me...

Here's more pictures of me with my tongue out.  I used to get a lot of shit from my friends when I was a kid for balling up my tongue like that whenever I made any type of effort.  Clearly I haven't changed a bit and still have no sense of style.  Thanks to Danielle Mahan for shooting some great photos.







Sunday, October 25, 2009

USGP Louisville

Nothing can prepare you for the speed of the best. I had no idea how fast a bike could be ridden before today. Now I know. It's seriously fucking fast. Absurdly fast. Couldn't believe it. Tim Johnson won, he was flying. Love that guy. He went off the front on the second lap I think and never looked back. I think he won by 40 seconds, which is like a damn eternity. I took one picture...



















 The course had dried up a bunch by the time the Pros hit it. It was super fast and tacky with a great line; I was really jealous. When we raced it wasn't nearly as fast but it was a lot sloppier which really hooked me up in the end.

I was only able to register on Tuesday of this week and since staging is based on registration, I lined up on the 10th row in 95th place. I'd never raced against 110 individuals before, and I didn't have a chance to pre-ride the course so the first lap was an adventure. I started right behind Matt who'd given me some really good advice; relax, don't try too hard, let things shake themselves out. Fantastic advice, really. Whistle blew, pack surged and down the opening straight I got lucky and things opened up in front of me. I was doing a lot of talking, trying to keep everyone calm, filling every gap that opened up in front of me. I think I was in the top 50 by the time we hit the first mud section. There were a few guys trying to force the issue; yelling, jumping on and off their bikes, swearing.  There's a photo series of it here.  I took it upon myself to ask them to shut the fuck up and chill out. I think everyone sees the leaders riding away and they freak but you've got to stay relaxed, stay upright, be patient and people will make mistakes, move out of the way, move backward and things sort themselves out.

So people were freaking and this kid was running, trying to pass people and he stuffed his pedal right into my front wheel. Miracle my spoke didn't break. I had to tell him to mellow out then I took it upon myself to ride him into the course barriers. I'm generally really peaceful, I have no vengeful motives when I race, but if you act like an asshole and almost end my race being an impatient selfish dick, then I'm going to take your line and hand your ass to you. I weigh 185, you're not going to push me around and I will not tolerate inappropriate behavior.

I got him out of my way and stayed relaxed but kept the speed up through the barriers. The first lap I was checking out the course, taking advantage of mistakes, (and there were a ton of mistakes; must have been a bunch of roadies...) and basically putting riders behind me. A few guys came by me obviously aiming for the front of the race and I was happy for them; being fast is fun. Otherwise, I just put people behind me. Guys were falling down a lot; it was really slippery, but there were some really good fast lines developing and the sun was coming out. I stayed on it, steadily putting riders behind me. It's a long course and I thought we'd do 5 laps. I was right. Toward the end of the second lap a spectator cheering on a friend told him he was top 25. Top 25? I don't really remember passing that many people, I must have gotten a lot of them in the first 2 minutes.


Tongue Biter


With less than 2 laps I caught my friend Brent who placed 20th on Saturday. I patted him on the back and told him to come with me but he was on the rivet. I knew I was doing well, there weren't a lot of riders ahead of me but I kept pulling them in. I was closing in on a group of 5 when my time ran out. I probably could have done another half lap, but all of a sudden, as quickly as it began, I was done. Tanner was at the finish line waiting. Soon after the whole crew rolled in; Brent, Matt, Nagoshiner, Nate. We got a photo taken then rolled to my car for beers and water, took showers and hung out, shwilling beers and watching races. Great day for Team Biker's Choice (and Nashville in general, Brent can't help that he's on the wrong team, just like I can't help that my jersey says Mapei and I don't even know what that is).



               Matt, Tanner, Brent and Me.  Skinny guys make me look fat?

I ended up 19th, right behind Tanner who started 40 spots and 5 rows ahead of me.  Made up 71 places through 5 laps.  I'd say that's pretty damn good. SS race went with us, I was passed by a couple of those hammerheads but as far as I could tell there weren't any other Single Speed riders in the 2/3 race. A source of pride for me, as I'm sure you can tell. Next weekend is the local Halloween Race as part of the Cross The Way Series. I'm probably going to ride too much this week and come into it tired but I don't get to ride enough as it is so I'll have to risk it.

Looking for a old road bike I can convert into a Fixie. If anyone's got the line on a 58-60cm old style verticle dropout bike, let me know. I need something for the road and I'm not about to start shifting...

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Raleigh and Rainier

I love Single Speed Bikes. The simplicity is part of it. The aesthetics are part of it.  The silence, the maintenance (lack thereof), the list goes on.  Today, it's all about the bikes. Nothing's cooler than something special for the guys who aren't afraid to choose one and stick with it. Raleigh has come on strong with this Special Edition frame for the Single Speed Cyclocross World Championships (SSCXWC). Winner gets one. 50 have been made, 49 brown, and one white, delivered at random with complete Shimano Dream Groupo.  That's hot.



Raleigh is also responsible for this little number:

















When I first got my drinking licence, I was also broke.  I'm still broke only to a lesser degree.  At the time, I would walk to work and on the way home, drop by our little local liquor and libations location and pick up a 12er of Rainier beer for around $6.  Thus begins my very first, "I remember when such and such used to cost such and such" of my life.  Does this mean I'm getting old?  Should I be thankful it hasn't happened before?  I digress, the point of the story is that early on in my legal beer consumation life, I had a soft spot for Rainer beer and now I've developed a soft spot (hard-on?) for single speed cyclocross bikes (clearly the coolest, most versitile bikes on the planet).  Is this a sign?  Should I do whatever is within my limited power to attain one of these beauties?  Would I really be able to take it out and ride it the way it's supposed to be ridden given my attatchment to it's aesthetics?  The answer to all these questions is no.  As such, I'll just look at this little picture from time to time and put it out there to the cosmos that at some point, years from now, I'd like to stumble upon one of these babies on craigslist, stripped to it's frame, but distinguishable none-the-less, and buy it for $100.  You hear me, cosmos?

Monday, October 19, 2009

USGP Here I Come

Got home last night from a long weekend of rain in NC and SC. Got in two days of running but a night of moonshine drinking wasted a day and an ultra-early departure Sunday ate up the last morning so it was with (relatively) fresh legs I hit the road this morning. Clear blue sky on an early autumn day, tights and a base-layer but no additional clothing necessary. Hit the trusty Hillwood to Percy Warner to Belle Mead Blvd to Richland loop. It's funny how cylcocross racing has made seasonal depression a thing of the past.

Returned from a ride to find that our tour manager booked the drive up to MI this weekend in such a way that I can make it to the USGP race in Louisville on Sunday. Twice a year the Big Show comes close enough to Nashville for me to race. The band plays in Cincinnati on Saturday night and Sunday AM I beat it down to Champions Park in Louisville for day two of the Derby Cup. There's already 91 confirmed riders including most of the 2/3's from the scene here: Alex Dayton, Jordan Humble, Tanner Hurst, Ed Jaramillo, Edward Krei, Brent Mahan, Jeremy Nagoshiner, Nathan Newton, Matt Schupp... a mess of guys heading up there. Only 7 racers in the SS race that's going on at the same time so that decision was simple. Largest field I've ever been a part of was 25 4's mixed in with 25 masters at last years KY State Championships so this should be really really fun. I'm shooting for a top 25, which is ambitious, but it's only 45 minutes and I don't know any better.

Super stoked about this and fortunately I'll be sitting in a van on Thursday, Friday and Saturday so I'll have some fresh legs heading into Sunday. USGP, watch out.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Camera

My camera's still broken. It's ok, I don't ever ride with anyone anyway so pictures would just be of me and woods (since there's no views in Middle Tennessee) so that'd be borish. The good news is there's a bunch of new blogs I'm following so you can read these other peoples blogs and see how it's done. They've got pictures.

Two laps at L4 this afternoon. Setting limits for time in front of this little white box. Hard to believe how interested I am in other people's race reports. I think I might be a loser, or just that guy who's super interested in what everyone's doing (is that guy a loser?).

Monday, October 12, 2009

Beautiful or Greenways are Fun

Long ride today with my man Jeremy D. Took the long way via the Metro Center Greenway. Discovered this little gem links to downtown a couple weeks ago and I've been trying it on. Fits alright, though I get tired of looking at the back of warehouses. Anyway, arrived late to the ride but Jeremy was in deep phone conversation anyway. Headed down to the Shelby Greenway, rode over to Stones River and found the elevated section had been crushed by a falling tree. Not awesome. We turned around and went and got some food at the Ugly Mug. Nice little Turkey sandwich and this incredible edible called the cookie sandwich wherein two cookies are pasted together with some type of maple frosting. Dangerous.

After that and a cup of coffee I started the trip home. Actually felt fantastic. Love bikes. It got sunny for a few minutes then clouded over. That always happens. 26 hours and I'm back on the road, off the bike and behind the mic, where I belong. No complaints. Have to head all the way to Gallatin tomorrow to pick up a shaving kit I left in the bus a few weeks ago. Might inquire about the status of L4, try to get in a couple laps on the old MTB before a week of running. Maybe, maybe not, hard saying not knowing.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Kick Ass

Had a kick ass time today. Spent an hour setting up the course. Matt and Brian showed up. Matt was worn out from yesterday's epic gravel grinder (they forgot to call me, bastards) but we still went through the paces and got super muddy. I love guys who don't mind getting their super clean bikes totally covered in shit on a sunny day just for fun. The course is totally honed in, by-the-way, and if there were lights out there we'd do Wednesday night races.

Watched the SSWC video on YouTube. So pissed I missed it. I lived and rode in Durango for 5 years but I couldn't make it to the most epic SSWC ever. Grinding my teeth. Check out the video and tell me those trails don't look incredible. That's it, I'm moving back to CO ASAP.

Greek food with the family tonight then back to the couch for the Titans. They'll probably lose but that's nothing a few bloody mary's won't take care of. Planning a little greenway ride tomorrow around 11am over on the east side of town. If either of you who read this find yourselves available call me or shoot me an email. Bikes are fun.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Informal Cross Race Sunday, October 11

Couldn't go to Cincinnati this weekend, so I'm throwing a last minute, un-sanctioned "race" on my course at Charlotte Park ( http://maps.google.com/maps/ms?ie=UTF8&hl=en&msa=0&msid=113650980836426734944.00045ccd8ac90f4696fd4&z=17 ). No other races around this weekend so I'm making it happen. I'm going to set it up around 12. 45 minute race at 1pm. I've got some short barriers and I'll be flagging and taping a couple sections. This course is not easy, not at all, ladies and germs, so come prepared to really get it on...

email me with any questions: travis.book@gmail.com

Friday, October 9, 2009

This Sucks or I'm bored...

This blog is boring. I know, I know... It's my fault. I don't have anything funny to say and the races I'm in are basically time trials against like two other dudes I don't know... I won't make excuses. I vow to do better. I promise to make these interesting, even if I have to make them up (not even my mother reads this thing, blogs are dead, why am I even writing this right now...)

Seriously, our races here in Middle Tennessee are great but tiny. I showed up last weekend and was stoked there were 10 of us in the 1/2 race. TEN DUDES!! Wow! I might actually race next to someone on the course. I just popped over to the Cross Crusade website and checked out their results. 120 people in the Single Speed race. 70 in the A race. We're lucky if we've got 50 people in EVERY RACE. Do you know how much it sucks to still be racing in deep grass after every other race has raced on the course? Do you know how freakin' sweet it would be if 50-100 riders rode the course continuosly all morning, then 80 of us lined up and ripped for an hour?

I'm already planning a move to CO, but I think I'm going to spend at least a month in Portland every fall. October 25-November 15 seems like a nice time to spend in OR. The snow's falling but not skiable in CO, the weather sucks in Nashville. Why not head to the Beaver State (are you kidding me?) for a few weeks of serious riding... Now if I can just hit the lottery or convince my wife...

Today the plan was to ride to some appointments but there's a severe weather warning the lines up perfectly with that time frame so I guess I'll be borrowing the car again. My tan rocket is in the shop staring down a massive bill for a new gas tank. Weather's good right now, but the weather channel promises massive storms in the near future. Guess I'll put on a leotard and do some yoga. God, I hate this, this sucks, I'm bored...

Sunday, October 4, 2009

Cross the Way #2

Similar scene today down at Cross the Way. The course proved to be MUCH better in reverse. Faster, twistier and easier. Ripped off the start in the lead, through most of the first lap I rocked it in front with a little lead. Second half of the course was a lot tougher/slower. Drifted back to 5th, got into a back and forth with a rider from Alabama. He was stronger but the course had a bunch of corners that required mad skills so I'd pull him back in or ride away in those sections. With about 4 laps to go he came by me and said something about how I was handling the shit out of my bike. I passed him on the front half but he got me back at the top of the back half and rode away. That was it. Three laps out in space and the suffering was over. The course really was super in this direction. Yesterday all the corners were uphill and didn't really demand any skills, today was the opposite. I was happy about that.

I bailed on the second race. I won't apologize. The other Single Speed riders gave me shit but I was sick and tired. Best part, Melissa and Brian insisted on giving me my $5 back. I wanted it to be for the cause but they didn't want to take it so I spent it on Taco Bell which was far and away the worst decision I've ever made. I've been sick all afternoon and I tried to go to sleep and couldn't cause I was sick. I hate you Taco Bell. You're evil. I'm a fool for being lured in by your purple sign but you're evil.

Cross the Way #1

The season is definitely here. I know because it's Sunday, the alarm woke me up and my legs hurt. Yesterday was a big day. Excuse the halting writing style, I'm tired and haven't had my coffee.

Left the house and 15 minutes down the road my car overheated. I think the thermostat is shot. I milked it home, threw my stuff in the wife's car and headed back in the direction I started. Arrived with 25 minutes to register, dress and warm up. Plenty of time, really. 10 riders in the Pro 1/2 race. Second place going into the grass, ended up leading after the first set of barriers, rode in the lead for most of the first lap, even had a gap coming across the line. Felt good but not that good so when they started reeling me in I let it happen. A group of 6 formed, Tanner took a spill, then Dustin Greer (local hotshot) came around. I slowly worked my way back to about 6th, but with 4 laps to go Tanner dropped Brent and I knew he was coming back to me with spent legs. I pulled around Brent and was content with a podium spot but with a little less than 2 remaining I realized Dustin was running with a flat. He made the change but didn't catch me so I ended up 4th in my first race of the season.


Satisfying result for me. All the guys I raced against looked to be in top shape and I know most of them have been racing the road all season. Brent was the CX3 State Crit Champ. These guys weren't slouches so to for a slouch like me to hit the podium, within striking distance of 3rd on my first day back is a really good feeling.

Lined up 10 minutes later for the SS race. There were 4 of us. I rode 2 laps and bailed. I just didn't have any energy. I think I needed some food between races and I didn't have a thing. I was also thinking about the two shows I had to play later that night and my desire to come back on Sunday and do it all again. That was my first withdraw from a cross race and I'm not proud of it, but I had to do it.

The shows went really well too, Station Inn was full of people. Loaded out and headed home by 1, hung out and bullshitted with our band manager who's staying with me and finally crawled in bed around 3am. I'm going to be ready to sleep again when today's over.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Season Starts Today

Can't believe it's been since January. Blue skies and early fall temps today for the first race of my season, I won't be needing my tights. Today's Schedule is pretty hectic:

10:45 leave house
11:35 arrive @ Race
12:45 CX1/2 Race
2pm SS Race
3pm Depart for Fanfest (bluegrass festival downtown)
4pm arrive @ fanfest
4:30 Fan fest (30 minute set)
5:30 Soundcheck @ Station Inn
7pm Shower/food/rest
9pm Station Inn (gig)
1am go to bed (hopefully)

then it all starts again tomorrow (the back to back days is the best part of cross). I'll finish tomorrow off with a nap, a few beers and football. I love fall

Thursday, October 1, 2009

More Fun

The Freak sent me a link to the photo album from Sundays race. I've never seen so many people looking so happy in what looks like miserable conditions. If you're still on the fence about racing cross, check these photos out.

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Plants

This is what my diet consists of this week.  Came down with a little sinus infection at the studio this week and with the first race weekend this weekend I'm pulling out all the stops.  Drank nearly 3 gallons of water today on the trip back from Charlottesville.  Antioxidants are on the loose in this body.  I'm waaay out of shape heading into this weekend, but I'm too stupid to be worried. 



So I've been reading a lot about food and cancer and animal products and all that stuff and I'm moving toward the plants.  Plants are where it's at.  This is what I bought today at Trader Joes, much of it organic, none of it cheap, but I imagine I'll be feeling pretty good by week's end:

Power Plant Green Juice
Cranberry Raspberry Juice
Vegetable Broth
Rice Milk
Dozen Free Range Eggs
Broccoli
Carrots
Celery
Almond Butter
Kidney Beans
White Beans
Pinto Beans
Hummus
Bananas
Raisins
Prewashed Greens Mix
Sprouted Wheat Bread
Simpler Times Lager
Apples

Add some oats, a little granola, coffee, a bunch of quinoa and you've got an idea what I'm eating this week.  Hopefully this will leave me feeling great by Saturday.

Speaking of Saturday, Saturday is the first race of my season.  Last weekend a bunch of the local heroes duked it out in epic conditions at Beat the Freak.  Last year I notched my first win in this race, here's some footage.


Find more videos like this on Freak Adventures


I'm chomping at the bit to get out and hurt.  I'm behind in training, but that's what the CX1/2, 60 minute race followed by the 30 minute Single Speed race is for.  Last season I started out getting banged up in the 4's and finished winning the 3 races ahead of the 2's in January.  Maybe I'll have that kind of luck this year.  I'm definitely in better shape now than I was when I started in November last year so I've got faith and that's all you can really have when you're racing cyclocross.

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's Coming

Less than two weeks till my first races of the season.  All but two days of it I'll be in Charlottesville working on the new Stringdusters record.  Fortunately the bike's going with me and we're staying away from town in a nice wooded area with some hills and country roads.  Unfortunately I had a run-in with a banjo case on the bus night before last and tore off the tip of one of my toes and it hurts.  To walk.  So it'll be interesting to see if I can get in the right kind of workouts this week with the limitations. 

Cross the Way Series

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Real Practice

Yesterday's practice was mostly a little barrier hopping and some bullshitting. I like to bullshit, but you can't shit a shitter and I wanted to ride, so today I went to the hardware store, bought some rebar, some eye hooks, a 4 lb. sledge, and some spray paint and built some barriers. I also picked up a mess of those little orange flags and headed over to Charlotte Park for some real rehearsal. It had been raining all night and all day so the course was thoroughly soaked. It was a little like last January in Knoxville; water everywhere. I set up the barriers, layed out the flags and ripped off 6 laps in 53 minutes. I was basically whipped by then from riding with that much resistance (deep grass and deep water) but with the flags out it made bike handling an issue and I think I've got a really difficult course. The barriers are a little small, however, so I'm going to have to go back to the drawing board and find some 1x18's and really make something to jump over. I took a picture of the spray paint phase but it didn't come out and it was raining too hard to show off the course so you'll have to wait for next time (a few weeks from now...)

Anyway, I'm headed out of town tomorrow, won't even have time to golf before I leave town, but hopefully I'll get into a little riding when I'm over in Charlottesville. Season kicks off in 17 days, hard to know what my fitness is like. There were some fast guys at practice last night but they weren't really showing me anything so it's hard to say... At least I weigh less than I did at the beginning of last season, of course I was racing the 4's last year and I opted to upgrade to 2's at the end of last season. 1 full hour plus the SS race should whip this old boy into shape...