Thursday, November 26, 2009

If you have to shop...

So tomorrow is the shoppingest day of the year or whatever. Then there is cyber monday. If I were in charge of the world, then there would be a few rules:

- Dont buy gift cards: Yeah I know you get double the free gas every 100 dollars or whatever. So you save a few cents right?
Think of how many gift cards are lost. Think of the balances that are sitting on gift cards Most states allow a charge for less than 5 dollars on a card. Essentially somebody, you or somebody that you care about is losing money. Oh and you are giving it to some super rich dude or dudes.

- CREAM: Cash rules everything around me. Right? So what if there is a chance that your 16 year old cousin is going to spend the 20 spot you are giving him on beer. Its better than him giving it back to the gap.

- Support small economies: Come down to bohemian Lawrenceville. (My house is across 39th from Roberto Clemente's knee)... Since that Times article, more stuff has opened. Wildcard particularly supports local artists and crafters.

- Buy direct: Have you seen Etsy? Like just about any gift you were going to buy can be found here and shipped to you. It will be handmade and the profits are better held onto by individuals. Like that impulse buy on christmas eve at bath and body works could be better spent here on handmade soap or jewelery or whatever.

- Support people you know: How many artists are around you? I have a few in my life. Maybe its cause I am super bohemian.

Nobody that I know is making a living off of their art. They do it cause they love it. It is their bike racing. Knowing that somebody chose what they do over something from a mall means a lot to an indy person.

Garbella. She holds it down. I genuinely like her stuff and I help out with what I can (cleaning gears and staining). You pay 20 bucks at american apparel for a T shirt. Or you pay like 22 from her with it hand screened, by her, in the basement.

Matt. Matt totally made my house livable. He is a maniac/perfectionist. Everything he does, he does 200%. His photos are rad .. he has a darkroom in his house... good stuff.

Rocco.Rocco and I have been bff's since like 88. When I was 20 or so Rocco saved my life in a parking lot. He got stabbed 6 times in the chest so that I didnt have to. His black and white 35mm galleries are rad. Yeah.

Two Beans.A childhood friend makes stuff from solid rocks (yes I dumbed this down). Imagine how freaking long that takes. The stuff is super reasonable too.

Jeff G. Jeff and I were both on bikesnob within the same week. He makes rad ceramics. Amy gets mad if I drink out of her coffee cup (that jeff made) when she wants it. Freaking Campy Coffee Mug!

Cosy Knits. Her name is actually Cosy and she spins her own yarn and knits stuff. If you are going to buy something, why not have it be handmade?

If you are in Pittsburgh, the Pittsburgh Craft Collective has a lot of independent people making cool stuff.

Finally. While watching a rad skate video at Fat Marc's this song came on. Known for being the creepy Buffalo Bill scene in Silence of the Lambs, but it is a good 80's song for sure. Yes that is a chick singing.
"See my hopes and dreams lying on the ground...."

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

bulletted weekend recap. SO PITTED

- am mayhew picks us up
- very tired
- drive to Maryland
- get thrashed in a bike race (8th)
- feel crappy
- drive to delaware
- hang at fat marc's for an hour or two
- shower (but apparently do not remove all sports balm from legs)
- go to hip restaurant
- eat a fancy tofu hoagie (they had another name, but it was a hoagie)
- eat the pie that brett won for 17th place
- watch badass skate video

Saturday or Sunday:
- wake up with burning legs from not washing off all sports balm


- gallon of coffee and more home made bagels (post coming when they are better)
- watch what people not racing bikes do on sundays (read book then go riding)
- drive to maryland again
- watch TWO people crash while trying to ride holding trainers or spare wheels
- warm up on on Riskus' trainer. His friend jokes "last time you used that you killed it"
- "kill it" for second place
- stoked


This is how brett described the sand pit on the first lap after a small pile up.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

if you dont read all of it, at least watch the cartoon

Best cartoon ever. There are a few swear words... cartoons about bike racing are the best... Chodroff found it, not sure who made it.

So if you take a bunch of bike racers to an arcade and play air hockey it gets pretty competitive. 45 minutes of air hockey leaves a pretty fit dude more sore than riding for 8 hours.

I decided to forgo the USGP in New Jersey this year. Last year it was the first race I ever dropped out of because I was sucking so bad. I was kind of ashamed of myself. I had no desire to race 90 dudes and fight to not get lapped. Cycling purgatory: Race one of the biggest races in the country for 50th (based on my scientific "i beat him a few times... this is what he got" or race regionally and try to win.

Pittsburgh has been getting springlike weather for the past week. Friday I headed out to do a quick spin, get my heart rate up, then head home. The cool guys call these "openers"... Well like 3 hours later I was riding my bike still in Riverview Park. It was too nice to pass up. Riverview was perfect, the leaves covered the ground and made the whole park orange. So rad. Days like that are why I convince myself that it is ok not to have a coach. Anyway, halfway through the ride I kind of admitted to myself that the weekend would be a bust since I rode too long and didnt have food or water.

So we headed to some races in Ohio. Lake Effect on Saturday and OVCX on Sunday. Both days had pretty killer fields and both had good, fun, different styles of courses. I managed to win Saturday. I was stoked. Only my second or third or fourth win of the year (do you count the oval? the mohican where I got DQ'ed?...) I held a 10 - 15 second gap on Gerry, shawn and Ernie for like 45 minutes. It was super hard.

Sunday was a wide open fast course. It was so fast that the fastest dudes didnt win. After a few laps of racing, myself and Mitch had a small gap on some of fastest dudes in Ohio. Paul Martin and Matt Weeks, who literally rode away from me a few weeks earlier were giving a huge chase to catch us.

I got out sprinted in the end. I towed the dude around a good bit (I think.. it always seems that you do more work than the other guy)... I attacked him a good bit the last two laps. He couldnt pull through, said his legs were gone. But still had the jump to go with my attacks. I know it is just bike racing, but I tossed and turned a few times in bed last night thinking about how I should have attacked more. I was so afraid of being caught by Paul and Matt that I didnt put it ALL on the line. Nothing risked, nothing gained right?

Funny stories from the weekend:

Ohio is freaking lawless. There was a sign on the LIBRARY door in Kent that said had a gun with a line though it. It said something like "no guns allowed unless you have a permit to carry a gun"... Which in my mind is like a sign saying you cant do illegal things? Or maybe they had a problem with the black panthers rolling into town with guns?

Mayhew and I are standing in the pit after giving Eric a new wheel during his race. I point out a 2000 dollar wheelset with 250 dollars worth of tires glued to it. I was like "oh those are my pit wheels" (fyi both of my cross bikes would maybe cost 2500 new TOTAL) and we both laughed. Then some old dude rides into the pit all frantic.

Me: "dude grab your wheels, we can get your wheel off".

He rolled a tubular rear tire.
I undo his skewer and pull his cassette out of his derailleur. The rolled tire itself is being hooked on the brakes so it is stopping the wheel from falling out.

mayhew tries to explain the situation to him. He wont listen. We walk away.

Guess who's freaking 2000 dollar wheels they were? Exactly. Brother could have had 3 bikes in the pit, or could have bought me lunch and I would have glued his tires on properly.

I have been listening to a lot of Cock Sparer after traveling with Eric and hearing it for the first time in a decade.

Things wrong with me listening to Cock Sparer:
Im not a Brittish nationalist.
I am not a Nationalist.
I am not working class.
I dont really even work.
I dont drink.
I dont like soccer.

Its catchy though!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Dear Internet Cyclocross Diary....

2 weeks of racing since my last post.

The Jersey weekend was a total suckfest. I couldnt ride fast on the packed stuff and I couldnt ride slow in the mud. I was just no good. I even had a pit crew to hand up bikes. "Who is the dude in last getting a bike a lap?"...

Then I was riding during the week with my brother and fell over on some wet leaves. I was avoiding a log crossing and took easy path around it and fell over. ugh. I jammed my finger. It hurts still.

This weekend was Delaware MAC and Maryland MABRA races. I had good legs for the first time since September I think. I could jump out of every turn and attack a bit. 7th Sat and 2nd Sun. Sunday was a climbers course and I actually didnt blow up. It may have been the first race this year where I had a better position at the end than lap 1, like I went forward instead of backwards.

Thought process on Sunday:
"seriously guys slow down"
"I hope I flat, this sucks"
"sweet I am in the money"
"dang I am on the podium"
"there is a chance that I can win this"

Anyway, I out sprinted a sprinter for 2nd, which was cool. That was an unexpected result, so I was pretty freaking stoked.

We stayed with a friend who I have known for like a decade. We were both cool kids and now we are both ex cool kid now bike racers. His wife was limping and I asked if she was ok. She told me that she has foot cancer (?!?!). Needless to say that is not good.

So I was like "I can totally relate to your problems, I stoved my finger this week and thought I was going to have to ride my B bike with shimano STI's instead of my A bike with Sram in order to have extra leverage to upshift. I was really stressed about it."

I didnt actually say that, I was just pointing out my problems against hers. What I thought was "dude her problems show how much of a freaking cake walk your life is..."
Take a life lesson there...

Monday I rode Raystown lake with Babik for a long time. Raystown is apparently a newer trail system by Altoona / State College. It lived up to the hype and was some of the best riding I have ever done. Go there before the snow falls. It is rare that you can go 25 mph uphill for like 5 minutes straight.

Oh yeah, if you are still reading this crap you have earned this video of a cyclocross race in Paris in 1945. badass.