Monday, August 31, 2009

bike trip photos Pittsburgh - Cumberland day 1

Leaving the house EARLY.

Wilmerding is often confused with Hollywood.

Arona road parallels the Turnpike for awhile out of town

Then it becomes the beautiful part of PA.

I have never seen this lake before. The ridge in the background!

Hit the bike route in Connellsville.

Awesome. Art I can appreciate.

Bridge in Ohiopyle.

Welcome to Confluence, where the Yough meets the Casselman.

10 Miles until the summit.

The climb was awesome. I just could not get a good picture of the surroundings.

First time visiting the highest point in PA by bike! Bucketlist and all that.

Meyersdale in the distance. Going down!

Took the long cut to Meyersdale (went over a mountain rather than staying on the flat trail)... Took the trail out.


Here I realized that I should not have a hard time making it to Cumberland! It was awesome, I cant believe trains used to go up this slope.

Big Savage Tunnel 3200 feet long!!!!

Tomorrow's mountains in the distance.

RIDE TIME 10:56 ... OH YES!

138.28 for my highest day of the year I think?

I camped in some park in some town a few miles south of Cumberland.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

600+ miles in 6 days.

Day 1: Tour De Millersburg TT and Crit.
TT = Try as hard as I can with a full TT get up for 42nd place. Beat stubna by 9 seconds. Should not have tried.

Crit = Try as hard as I can for 25th. 30/80 finishers maybe? 0 points in the omnium. Should not have tried.

62 miles

Day 2: 90 mile road race + warm up and cool down and general riding around town. Race was not selective. Got into a move. Got yelled at by a bunch of dudes for pulling through improperly. Like I was working, but apparently not well enough, as opposed to the dudes who were not working. Whatever. Why are bike racers such douchebags? The dude who crashed in front of me in the crit, like right in front of me for no reason, was one of the dudes yelling at me. I dont care, but there were a few dudes in that move being yelled at who have raced more than the rest of the break combined. Whatever.

Day 3: After driving home, I left early to start riding to the beach. 137 miles.
Day 4: Continued trip to the beach. 107 miles. 6 "mountains". Seriously big applachain hills.
Day 5: Still riding to the beach. 127 miles.
Day 6: Arrive at the beach 98 miles in.

620++ miles. OH YES.
Photo dump of the bike trip to come.

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Chew made it to Alaska.

That is a long bike ride.
On his way home to Pittsburgh from Alaska, he is going to drop his nephew off in Florida. Seriously.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

The commodification of a culture.

Mr Burt Hoovis and I and a few others were riding the other week while he was visiting Pittsburgh. We were talking about Rapha Clothing and their version of cycling. From what the group could gather, it is an overpriced clothing line, similar to Assos, but with the street cred of spoke punchers or some other basement done DIY clothing.

Their advertising seems to push the idea that all riding is epic, and epic rides are best done with lots of photos showing 200 dollar bib shorts. Fine. People need clothing. I have expensive bike stuff. Whatever.

However I am going to share a few stories. These are proof that you dont need any of that stuff to be Epic, and chances are people doing Epic stuff dont really have it.

Story One: Summer 2000. Western North Dakota / Eastern Montana.

If you ever have the chance to cycle across the country, do it. If you follow a prescribed route that is mapped out by Adventure Cycling, the people along the route are familiar with your type. When we stopped in stores or cafes people would tell us that we were 2 days behind somebody, or that somebody going the other way had just stopped in.

Anyway, we had a group chasing us for over a month before they caught us. They were good kids from the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Without knowing it, they were some of the most DIY people ever. They all rode low end mountain bikes, one huffy. They were about 2500 miles into a 4000 mile trip. Instead of racks and panniers, they outfitted their bikes with garden hose holders, clamped to their seat stays, filled with their gear wrapped inside tarps. The only word I can use to describe it was "punk" but they were not punk at all, they were just enthusiastic kids with no money making the best of it.

I know they were cheaper than us, and I spent 800 dollars in 70 days. Total.

Next story is the Chew man. Right now.

As you probably have read, Danny is riding to Alaska and back. 10,000 miles or so round trip. Danny is also doing it on minimal money and equipment. Danny still has shorts with suede chamois. Danny gets 10,000 miles out of a chain.

I guess that I just want to point out the bottom line. Epic is relative. A single day century can be as epic for some as racing the Tour Divide is for others. Either way, buying stuff does not make epic experiences. Likewise selling a product as "epic" hardly makes you down. If you are considering buying 250 dollar bibs, maybe buy the 80 dollar bibs, and put 170 toward entering the Shenandoah 100, or taking your dream bike tour, or buy 2 and give the other to a junior rider.

Monday, August 03, 2009

The 101 and the case of the missing keys.

The youth gave me a ride up, with the initial plan being to race the 101, drive home after and do the road race in Ohio the next day.

The short summary of the 101 was best said "I did not have any fun on any single trail today." I remember really liking this race, and I think that I listed it as one of my favorite races on the GPOA website a few years ago. Weird.

The first hour was chill. The fast guys didnt ride away yet, we had a group of 20 or so just cruising along.

In the second hour the heat got turned up and the race winners rode away. I rode along in my "second group" status that I have in life. Maybe sitting in the top 8 - 12 or so.

A wasp stung me on the chin at the top of some climb, cause yeah I wasnt hurting enough.

In the third hour I felt good. The longest dirt climb treated me ok. The descent that is really hard and scary wasnt TOO bad, even though it was wet.

Fifth hour was not so good. I felt nauseous. I lost 3 spots at aid station 3 while I stood there drinking cokes. I got caught behind a slightly slower dude on the single track climb and got a bit complacent. That is my only real regret of the day just settling in on his pace, and not going up to the guys that I could see 10 seconds up on us. I climbed this thing with a freaking 32x16 before, why did I need a granny gear?

Then the singletrack just tore me up. I just kept repeating "dont look where you dont want to go" but I couldnt help but looking at the rock jagger walls on my right on the one section. It was like being in a giant shark's mouth. Scary.

The sixth hour had me riding with a guy. He dropped me in the last singletrack and I never saw anybody else.

8 hours.
15th place.

After the race I laid in the ice cold creek, then followed it up with food and drinks and chatter. We decided to stay the night again and forgo the race the next day. Sam was getting ready for bed and asked where the car keys were. I told him right where he had left them. Wrong.

I then spent about an hour searching for the keys in the dark. Sam did too. Worst case scenario was that they were in the creek and gone forever. Not sweet. We decided to wait until morning to look for them.

It was about 10:30 pm, I was in my tent falling asleep, and I heard the cheers as another rider came in. That is over a 15 hour finishing time. That is nuts.

1:30 am the rain starts falling. The ship starts taking on heavy amounts of water. I had lent my good tent to a friend for her recent bike trip along with all of my stakes. I had only 6 stakes in this tent that requires like 15. Wet. Pouring rain, sleeping bag in puddles, etc. When my thermarest started being below the waterline, I bit the bullet and walked over to the pavilion to sleep on a picnic table. A dry picnic table.


Awesome. I laid right down on it and started to fall asleep. A few minutes later somebody was walking around the pavilion. I got nervous that I was going to get kicked out, so I pretended to be asleep. The person walked up to me, looked at me, adjusted my sleeping bag so my feet were covered, and walked away. Aw.

Morning comes. I wake up the youth. We search for the keys. I retrace my steps to the creek and back and forth. We totally empty out the car, our bags, the whole camping area. Nothing.

Sam finds the keys in the tray where they should have been. Obviously it was a prank, but who would do it? (this is where you email me and tell me)

Instead of racing Sunday, we drove home and I laid around watching 24 all day. I shaved my face, and I think that I must have pushed the stinger in further, cause my chin swelled up like Minutrn's. For reals.