Thursday, October 29, 2009

These are free.. The book will not be.

When your can of WD-40 doesnt squirt anymore but you shake it and there is still some left:
Take needle nose pliers and and take that top circle off. Its like 3/4" in diameter and comes off pretty easily. You will be amazed how much more you get, and how much you have probably thrown away over the years.

This is about the same as cutting the head off of your squeeze tube of toothpaste to get a few more days' worth of paste.

Seriously though:
Getting famous in a magazine? Not me. Gerry Kraynick, is apparently in the new Bicycling magazine. I heard that I am in the new velonews, but they are not comparable. I was just having fun, Gerry has put a lifetime into being a really good guy. I have not read the article, but I would venture that it talks about; letting people use tools for free, giving hundreds of bikes away to needy kids, B race cyclocross domination over several years, etc.

Last weekend was local cross racing. Murrysville and Raccoon. Second step both days. Oh well.

Friday, October 23, 2009

2 hours.

What a difference two hours and an eight mile drive can make.

Amy's work is helping host a man from South Africa over the next few weeks. It was his dream to visit America and a nice man made it possible. We had him over for dinner last night, and we invited a few of the older Somali kids (now adults). It makes sense right? You guys must have something to talk about, you are from the same continent but like 4000 miles away from one another. Right?

They talked about soccer. Well and they talked about oppression, living under Apartheid, living in refugee camps, witnessing extreme racism and poverty. The people in charge seemed to have the same basic idea, turn countrymen on one another based on race or tribe, and divide them... I think the quote of the evening while a young Somali guy was looking at a book about Apartheid, "man Europeans are animals..." This was after they both talked about living under European colonization, one as recent as 16 years ago.

So then Amy and I drove 15 minutes to an area I can only describe as "upper fox chapel" for some sort of art happening in which she was involved. We had the shittiest car in the lot by about $20,000. It was normal art party stuff, wine, beer, people fake laughing while wearing expensive clothes, etc. What really got me though was the ring one woman had on. I am not a jeweler and know very little about diamonds, however I can only guess that it cost as much as a few cars in the lot. I stared at it for a minute thought about the difference between the men from Africa and her. What a crazy world.

Then I drank like 3 or 4 more free waters and hit the road.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Post race text conversations.

Babik: How did you do?
Me: Paul Martin* won.
Babik: So he is good at all bike racing?
Me: Yeah. And he is like a lawyer too. And I hear that he sometimes cures cancer.

I was talking to Dave before the race and said "I dont care what place I get, if I beat Paul Im putting my arms in the air"... Another time.

*for those who dont know.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

On Cyclocross.... public thanks.

Ok, so I am pretty stoked on racing cross.

Here are a few things that are pretty freaking awesome.

- Having 2 bikes. A brother hooked me up with some nice 10sp shifters last year saying that I needed a pit bike. I was not going to argue, but wasnt super sure of it. This weekend in Cincinnati I took a few bike exchanges the first day in the TOTAL MUD FEST. It made a huge difference having a mud free bike. Thank you Sean.

- Sweet people. John and Dave pitted for me Friday. This basically consists of standing in cold mud and having me throw a dirty bike at them so they can hand a cleaner one back to me. Somehow they were stoked on it. I was all like "let me buy you beers" and then I didnt (due to John going to another race sunday and getting paid that day in checks not cash etc etc). I OWE YOU. Awesome.

- Crowd hecklers / cheerers. It took 5 laps on Sunday until I was offered NON ALCOHOLIC BEER hand ups. That is freaking awesome. Im still not sure who those kids were, but they were obviously down. Each day I also made about 6 dollars in crowd money. This was then used to buy cokes for people I raced against afterward. A coke after a cross races is indescribable. No I wont even try to describe it.

- SRAM shifters (warning, total bike geek stuff...)... After the mudfest of Friday, I had to play with my bike some. The shifting was not perfect Sunday and I was a bit worried that the shifter might have shifted its last shift. (We are talking 1st generation Rival Aluminum shifters with at least 10,000 miles on them for real). I took it apart today cause it wasnt dropping into the smallest cog in the back very well. I am fairly mechanically inept as far as dudes who have been tinkering with bike stuff for 20 years goes. It was so easy. Remember the 9 speed sti's and how you knew when one was dead and there was like nothing you could do but push up on the shift lever while shifting or stick a rubber band around it to hold it to the brake? ....

- took shifter off.
- took 3 screws out and removed plate.
- cleaned all the dirt and muck out of the wheel that I saw. (you can actually see how the shifter works right here. Unlike the shimano stuff...)...
- cleaned it better
- sprayed it with T9
- put 3 screws back in and put on bike.

It seriously feels really really good. Not new, but really good. So stoked.

Monday, October 12, 2009

On Cyclocross, Pittsburgh Bike History and the Misfits...

Cyclocross rules. I hate driving more than 2 hours for a 1 hour criterium, but for cross, a 5 hour drive is no sweat. The mid atlantic rules. There were a lot of fast dudes from the Mid Atlantic going head to head with National "pro" cross racers these last few days in Ohio. Bad Andy, Wes, Wittwer etc. Pretty impressive.
Maybe I just like it cause I do ok at it? I think I would still enjoy it if I was worse than I am.

Pittsburgh Bike Racing History:

So I caught a ride down this weekend for the UCI 3 day with Gerry Pflug. Pflug might be the most accomplished bike racer that people dont know is that accomplished. To quote Ryan Leech "Pflug is a legend." I remember the first time that I raced him, I was like "who is this gray haired dude dropping me on the climbs?!!?!"
On top of it, he has a history of all of Pittsburgh racing for the past 25 years or so. Chew has it too, but you have to have the ability to talk to Chew to get it. Who knew Scotty Root won a silver medal at master's worlds? I didnt. So somebody in the know needs to make a website or something with all of the awesomeness of Western PA before it is long forgotten.

And The Misfits:
The Misfits and Cross go hand and hand, being that it is Halloween (video from 82 pre roided out Danzig) time. They were basically a bunch of jocks dressed in costumes singing songs about horror movies, but were branded a punk band. Danzig became Danzig, Robo was in Black Flag, and in true adult American spirit, they grew up and sued each other for lots of money and rights. Awesome.

"Walk Among Us" was the first punk cassette I owned. It was like 1988 or 89. Between my brother and myself, we wore that thing out. In the late 90's sometime, the box set came out with the lyrics and tons of odd recordings. It was awesome. For those of you who like to download music.... Dont feel bad, cause if you have a good enough lawyer you could probably own the rights to the music as Doyle and Jerry Only do now. The 4 disc box set: D1.rar D2.rar D3.rar D4.rar

What do you think we are ...lightweights?

Friday, October 02, 2009

Last of vegas. 2 day bump = Going to Zion.

Willie (Nicol's cousin from California)... Nicol and I drove up to Zion and hiked the Angels Landing Trail.
We were REALLY close to Colorado City, AZ which is the polygamy capital of the US. It is also has the highest rate of fumarase deficiency in the world, which is caused by having "uncle dads"... yeah make fun of Appalachia and west virginia. Like everybody in the city is a direct descendant of 2 - 3 people. Creepy. Didnt make the side trip though.

Picture dump:

We hiked to the top of this thing

This is the "great arch" of zion. Wind did this. That is pretty great.

Cool trail up.

Then it got kind of scary, like 1800 foot cliffs.

1/2 mile from here to the top along this spine. It took 45 minutes to an hour. Drop offs on both sides.

Kind of gnarly.

View upriver. We did not come from this direction.

View back down the spine.

View downriver the way we came.

California Condor migrated to zion from the grand canyon. Largest north american bird. Pretty sick. If I were a "birder" I have probably seen a lot of birds in my travels, however Matt and I just made fun of birders and the advice to see rare birds when we did the Great Divide MTB route.

The dudes.

Another arch. Crazy.

About as much fun as you can have winging a day trip somewhere that you dont know at all.