Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Victory Salute Rules

This is a working definition. Please add in the comments.

- No hands shall come off of the bars on a weekday
Obvious exceptions are stage races, and 1 week series, like speed week that is going on now, or super week. This should just go without saying, but be modest at your training races. You went there knowing you would win right? If you dont win, its just training and you were doing "efforts" prescribed by your coach.

- No hands shall come off of the bars where your age is greater than the field size
You are "elite" by usac definition, a 23-29 year old person racing some podunk race. You shopped around for a race that you can win, and you have found it. Thing is, it is such a podunk race, only 12 others showed up. NO VICTORY SALUTE! (Does not apply to masters 45+. Its still amazing to me that they can get a field of 20 guys that old that can still drive to the races without crashing or needing handicapped parking.)

- Do not do anything that will date the victory salute
Remember lance with the Arsenio Hall in 93? Remember Arsenio Hall? Exactly. In 20 years do you want to be telling your grandchildren about your win in the C race at a local cyclocross series and have a picture of you doing "the Roger Rabbit" dance move across the line. Imagine the time it would take for you to even explain to them who Roger Rabbit was, more or less why you decided that was the right thing to do at the time. Picture grandpa Simpson telling the story. Skip it.

- Only first place raises his/her hands.
Dude, you lost. Second is good, yes. You stand on the podium, yes. But you still lost. If you are happy with NOT winning, maybe you should go to Russia or RACE MOUNTAIN BIKES or some such thing where everybody is a winner.

- Field sprint winners, please keep your hands on your bars.
We know you can suck wheels and then come around everybody in the end. Dont celebrate that you missed the freaking break.

- In fact, everybody else keep your hands on your bars as you finish.
I see this all too much. Dudes sitting up with their hands off, cruising across the line 10 seconds after the winners go through. I think it is to show that they DID NOT TRY in the sprint. Yeah dudes, we get it. You probably gave a leadout that Cipo would give a Ferrari for and that is why you are stretching out now. Its not because you got dropped on the last lap, we understand. We know you are fast, its just interesting that you decide to stretch out as you go through the area with the most spectators, which also happens to be the start finish. Look ma' no hands!

- Celebrate in proportion to the race
It just shows a lack of confidence in yourself if you go ape shit after winning the D collegiate race. Both hands off, arsenio followed by hands clapping then jersey tugging with team name stretched tight... ... ... What are you going to do when you win the collegiate D regional championship, then the D national championship. YOU HAVE NOTHING LEFT. You are going to end up having to carry the head to the University's Mascot in your rear pocket in case of another chance victory. Dont risk this. Ramp the salutes up proportionately to the race level.

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

GDMBR image dump 2006. MONTANA

Feeling nostalgic. Great divide mountain bike route with longtime friend matt.

Abandoned border crossing. Canada/US border

Glacier National Park in background

Camping at "Jim Creek, Montana" Seriously nothing around for 50 miles.

I just remember how much bear scat was along this climb.

We ate huckleberries on top of huckleberry pass. Careful, the Grizz also loves them.

Reward for climbing, nice views.

Climbing more, always climbing more.

Getting water to drink

BEARS!!!!!!!!! oh no, just cows.

VERY near the unabomber's driveway

"uh lets just camp here on the side of the road"


Tunnel from 1911

Old mill that was on top of a mountain.


Ghost town that was once the capital. Gallows and everything.

I think this was the only bear bag we did well.

Another view

6368' seemed high at the time. 4th divide crossing.

Southern MT gets dusty.

1 state down 4 to go.

Monday, April 28, 2008

News Flash: bike racing is still hard.

Saturday we loaded up the Escort wagon LX and headed to the race at the lake. RATL #2. Amy's race started 5 hours before mine, which gave optimum time to watch the storm clouds roll in and watch the sunrise, as we had to leave at 5:45am.

Driving to Ohio has been nice. You dont drive into the sunrise like when you head to lancaster, and the total toll for getting to Monroe Falls, which is 110 miles away was $1.00. Very nice.

While warming up a dude was asking which Indiana the IRMC team was from. He asked if we were there the week before. He didnt mean it in a rude manner, but I thought it was pretty obvious that we were there the week before. We were in every move until the winning move went away, and we won the field sprint. This was like a "mental note, be more aggressive this week" type situation.

Anyway, the bike race happened and we all worked super well together to get Jake the win. That was sweet. There were lots of FAST dudes there. One of them probably has more stars and stripes jerseys than I do regular jerseys.

Drive home from Ohio, eat, pack up the mountain bike stuff for the Greenbrier challenge on sunday. Mayhew brought over free coffee and we pressed it before heading out at 8:45. "Wow we can leave late today! 8:45!"

Mountain bike racing is really hard. You cant suck wheels. You cant sit in because you have a teammate up the road. You cant fake an attack and then sit on the break when it gets established. All you do is think "am I going as hard as I can?" Then you get passed by Gunnar who started 2 minutes back and is like your dad's age.

After sliding on my chest/shoulder/head for a good 10 feet, I hopped up, hoping to not lose position. All I heard was "are you ok steevo?" It was a woman's voice. I was in the middle of the woods in a weird state, am I tripping or something? Who knows my name??? Poor Betsy Shogren had some bad luck and was wrestling her chain off her bike right where I fell down. Weird.

Anyway, I kept pedaling real hard like everybody else and got 5th, qualifying for nationals or something. Nationals are on my birthday in Vermont. I have driven that drive once, and it was REALLY far. I didnt even actually drive, I sat shotgun and my teammate Greg drove. Aside from the great roads in upstate NY, my only real memory of the drive was it being like 3:30 am, needing to find a motel, and not staying somewhere cause the guy wouldnt go from 45 dollars to 40 or some such amounts.

My neuroticism really took hold this week when I was trying to find lighter tubeless wheels for my bike. I actually called local bike shops asking prices. RETAIL prices for bike parts, who does such a thing? I got 5th in the expert race, I deserve at least cost right? (this is really thick sarcasm about how nobody wants to pay for anything, myself included)

Weekend highlight: On the line, the dude next to me says "Is Chris Horner on that team?" I gave the usual "Its me and like a bunch of fast dudes, they needed a guy from Pittsburgh." Then I went on about how I want to look through Horner's garage, because if some scrub expert racer gets stuff at cost, imagine what the real deal gets?

Potential lowlight: This is two sunday's in a row that I thought to myself "dude if you crash, you might die." Both involved a mountain bike course where you ride down a waterfall, although we got to do it 4 times at Greenbrier. I wont even talk about how I swtiched wheels before the race and the cassettes didnt match up. Oh I just did.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Still getting Bicycling for free.

Dont get me wrong, I LOVE FREE STUFF. However, I got the newest issue of Bicycling mag the other day in the mail. I have been getting them free (as punishment?) for registering for some race or other. I admit that I do read them, as some of the articles are at least interesting. When the first issue arrived, it said that I was going to get 3 issues free. I joked that it was how long it took for them to rerun the same article, kind of like the local news has the same stories every year.

Anyway, the fact that I didnt know who "patrick dempsy" is really took away from the awe of him losing 12 pounds cycling. I thought it was a huge misprint and they forgot a 0 and he was some guy that lost tons of weight riding. No, just some famous guy talking about his 6,000 dollar road bike. The next few pages reminded you that you NEED one too. That was all expected.

The triathlon buyers guide took it to the next level of crapiness. Why would I buy this mag and not a tri mag if I wanted tri stuff? Whatever, slow news week.

It really hit the fan when I was looking at the race wheel guide. Bicycling magazine made me NOT want to look at carbon fiber wheels. How could somebody do this? Well, they ONLY LIST THE WEIGHT IN POUNDS. Seriously? Pounds? With the exponential cost on the high end of grams to dollars, you are seriously going to list a wheel at 1.05 lbs?

Regardless on your feelings of this crazy idea called the metric system, some stuff is better stated when you can get a more accurate reading and relate it to other things. As a total wheel weenie, I cannot tell you what a single pair of my wheels weighs in pounds. I dont get it.

PS. I just built up my new LOOK 585, the bottle cages I went with weigh a scant 0.07055 lbs each!!!!

PPS. Next time you are in the market for buying running shoes, check out bicycling mag, because they dedicated a few pages to it. Awesome.

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Doing a mountain bike race on 4/20

Saturday: Race at the lake. I break rule number 1 of cycling and get dropped from the break. The break had the race winners + me in it. A PRO guy called me at least 3 things that cant be said on television. That was awesome. Mayhew and I were wondering if it is just a midwest crit thing or what, but dudes are turbo aggro and talk tons of smack and are really mean to you. I said "oh thats really nice."

Sunday: WVMBA race. I was in 4th place sitting behind a current national champion. Awesome, race is halfway over, Im feeling good. Shocks on a mountain bike rule. I FLATTED. If this were a road race, my day would be over. I would either get a new wheel and draft back on or be done for the day. Its not like that at a mountain bike race. It took me literally 8 minutes to change the tire, that sucked. Some dude gave me a C02 when he saw me wrestling with Gunnar's pump that Gunnar gave me when I realized that I didnt have a pump.(did you follow that?). I couldnt figure out how to use the CO2 so I just stood there until Chris Mcgill tossed me his pump, which unlik gunnars crap pump and my nonexistent pump, actually worked really really well. It didnt suck as bad as the 101 where I had to get the 15MM wrench out to loosen the bolts, but sucked none the less. I get back on my bike and dudes are like "get back up there bro." and other such positive things. Chased back on for like 12th place.

The whole race I was torn between "this is awesome" and "if I crash I might seriously die, there are rocks and tree stumps everywhere."

Yozell had shoefly pie from amish country after the race. It was awesome.

Do I race the NORBA national this weekend and try to win my age group expert, or do I do ephrata and pray to finally get into a lancaster county breakaway?

Any Pittsburghers have tubeless 29'er geared wheels they want to rent me for the next week?

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

If everybody were like you, would the world be a better place?

ME? probably not.

I spent like 3 hours this morning using google blogsearch to find .rar files of old albums that I have on vinyl, but want on my mp3 player. Today I got Dag Nasty and Strife. 3 hours. Then I mowed the lawn while jamming to my new tunes. This made mowing the lawn like a 4 hour task.

Then there is the other end. Monday I spent the morning riding with Stig, a guy who is totally amazing. He is one of those guys who raced PRO, then decided to be a doctor. While working like a million hours a week as a doctor, he kept in shape enough to race one race in 2006.

There must be some sort of higher level of consciousness for some people, like a real actual life Jedi. I have only met like 3 people like this in my life, and I really think that they are exceptional. For me to watch it, it is angering and uplifting at the same time.

It is uplifting because you look at somebody like that and hope that if you put your mind to something, you can absolutely do it. Then the angry side comes on. Average exists as a math term. You are probably going to be average, that is what average means. Not everybody can be exceptional by the definition of exceptional. Do you spend your life trying to be something that by definition is limited?

I guess you are always moving forward or backward. Im going riding.

You cant sit still on a moving train. - Howard Zinn

Friday, April 11, 2008

Practical applications of old news.

The prices of everything is going up. Blah blah blah. Everyday NPR has like three stories about truckers honking at the white house over diesel costs, or a broom factory in Georgia that cant afford to ship their brooms anymore etc etc. It is like a national version of the local news, they keep rebroadcasting the same story over and over with a different company name or type of business.

It really hit home today. For year I have gone into Brueggers Bagels and bought day old bagels. 6 of them for 2 dollars, awesome deal. When I have the time, I ride around downtown on a Thursday or Friday, hitting all the shops looking for whole wheat. Today 7th ave had them on my first stop. Sweet.

1.99 even. No tax on groceries.

"That will be 2.49 please"
"ouch when did that happen?"
"Oh... all of our prices went up recently..."
"How much is a single bagel now?"
"99 cents"

HOLY GOD A BAGEL IS NOW 99 CENTS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

50 cents over 6 bagels is trivial. But a 188% increase in the cost of a single bagel over 5 years (I think they were 55 cents 5 years ago) is ridiculous.

Dear NPR: please do a story on how bagels are now a dollar?

Monday, April 07, 2008

you are "bike racer dude" when

- Your bike MSRP is more than last year's income
- You yell at dudes during an amateur bike race
- You are seriously comfortable wearing shorts and aero booties ***
- You feel like you should pay for nothing related to bike racing/riding. When paying cost, you should act as if you are doing somebody else a favor.
- You no longer ride, you just "train."
- You act as if a 1mm difference in stem height was the difference between being comfortable and uncomfortable
- You spent more time figuring out how to drop weight off your mountain bike than you did doing your taxes
- You arent sitting around being lazy, you are "recovering."
- You lie about how much you ride, actually saying LESS hours than you really do

***especially interesting because you look at every reflective surface possible to check your "bike fit," so you know how ridiculous you look.

Just trying to keep myself in check.

Anyway, Sunday was a long bike riding day. 2 hours to the race, race bikes, 2 hours home from the race. Masterson was the "high man of the day" (in chew voice). He put in the extra 3 or 4 miles it took to meet up for the event.

I am 2 blocks from my house, passing the spot where some guy tried fighting me a few weeks ago. A family of Somali's that we are friends with lives on the corner. My favorite 3 year old in the whole world was standing outside of his house with a family tutor. After the bike fun, I was headed to the park where the tutoring organization was having a picnic for all of the Somali families. My main man had to rush home to go to the bathroom, but was locked out.

I offered my bathroom to him, and they accepted. I dont have kids, havent really been around toddlers, and dont really know the pooping customs of African refugees. This put me in a weird spot. "Do you use this?" showing him the paper. Do you do that, or does your mom? Then I looked down at his legs/shoes/feet. He didnt make it to my house without incident.

So now I have a poop covered infant in my bathroom, sitting on my toilet, to which I have no relation. I have no clothes to put him into, and would feel kind of weird bathing him. His grandmother lives a block away, so I thought I would find her to help out. Luckily, ANOTHER FAMILY is moving in next door to her, and this kids dad was helping them move. He came over, put the kid in a garbage bag and carried him away.

If children were like dogs, and you got to go pick one out, play with it, take it for a walk and hang out before committing to it, I would totally take this kid. As I said, his cousins are moving in this week, which will allow the population of Somali kids in the neighborhood to hit one million or so. Awesome. Summer will be fun.

Thursday, April 03, 2008

Pittsburgh cycling history in jerseys

So I took a trip to the The Chew Man's house last week to collect on a bike part I had given him. He was working frantically on 2008 RAAM stats. He hooked me up with a few pieces of Pittsburgh cycling history.

#1: ACA club jersey. Apparently in the late 70's if you were a member of the ACA you got a jersey. It is wool, with long sleeves, it simply has ACA embroidered on the sleeves.

#2: Pittsburgh Power jersey. This was the team Pittsburgh had for the "National Criterium League." It was headed by Franco Harris and had some superstars on it. The league didnt last very long, but its a cool piece of history.

#3: Simply, one of Matt Eaton's Raleigh jerseys. I have yet to meet Mr. Eaton, but the respect is immense. Still the only American to win the Milk Race. Friedman is trying to steal Eaton's title as "most successful Pittsburgh cyclist EVER" but as of now, it is a tight race.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Goodbye to you my friend.

My first "racing" bike is gone. I gave it back. It must have been early 2002 when I decided that I wanted a nice bike. I called my friend Todd W who was famous from riding bmx. He was sponsored by Mongoose at the time, had a house in suburbs that he paid for by doing the bmx thing. I think he regularly signed autographs and stuff. We were bros from way back when everybody hooked each other up. If somebody had a shoe sponsor and wore your size, you had a shoe sponsor. I remember the year that Puma tried making skate/bmx shoes and would send a few guys at the trails 3 pairs a month. I had a lot of pumas that summer.

Anyway, he asked Mongoose for a road bike, and they gave him one, and he gave it to me. Titanium road frame, ultegra/dura ace 9 speed, open pro wheels... it was a nice bike. I raced my first race on it and used it for a few years until I started being cool enough to get other nice stuff for free. Then it was my backup bike, or my winter bike, or my trainer bike, or my lender bike.

It recently sat in a garage for 6 months. I lent it to a guy from California who was visiting for a bit. Oddly enough, he didnt return it, and it just sat in his dad's garage. I then lent it to somebody else in exchange for her going to the suburbs to get it. When it returned, she said that it was missing a brake shoe. Just one. The spare tube was also gone.

I needed recently because I was between team bikes. I rode it for a few weeks recently and raced it at Kirkwood and Mingo this past weekend. While driving home from Kirkwood, Todd called me. I hadnt spoken to him in a long time. It turns out that he wants to do the MS150 and needed a bike. "Well yours is ready to race after I get my new team bike." Todd couldnt believe that it was still around, he was calling just to see if I could hook him up with anything.

Easy come, easy go I guess. There are a lot of memories attached to that bike.