Wednesday, August 17, 2011

One of the times I got escorted out of a bank...

I was recently reminded of this, and it makes for a funny story. I think that I have been kicked out of 3 banks in my life. All similar stories.

This probably took place in the year 2001. I was buying stuff for my cross country bicycle adventure. I had to get like 400 dollars cash to the bike shop in order to pick up a bunch of stuff. My friend had a car for the day and was willing to drive me. This all was going to work out great. I think this is when ATM cards were just for ATM's and were not actually debit cards.

I rode my bicycle up to my bank. It was Mellon at the time, but I think they changed their name to Citizens. Anyway, it was a Saturday. I knew that they were open because they had a banner and signs everywhere that said "OPEN SATURDAY." So I ride my bike up, and go inside. The doors are open, but the women inside say that only the drive through is open for banking. This is when you could not get more than like 200 or 300 dollars out of an ATM in a 24 hour period. I needed to talk to a teller.

So I go outside, get on my bike and ride up to the window in the drive through. The woman (that I just saw inside) was there. She said that she could not help me, that the drive through was for cars only. I ride on and go back inside to the woman. Now this is the THIRD time that I have seen her at this point. She asks if she can help me, as if she does not know who I am. She is on a twisty seat, and is literally the same person operating the drive through.
"I need to make a withdrawal"
"You can only do that in the drive through"
"But you are the same person doing that. Why is this even open?"
"I can only do transactions in the drive through. We are open for people opening new accounts."
"But you are right there, you could just do it... You have a giant sign that says OPEN SATURDAY"
"If you need to go INTO a bank, the Squirrel Hill branch is open for another 20 minutes... its a 10 minute drive to get there..."

At this point the security guard was standing very close to me. He asked me if the police needed to be called and asked me to leave.

This was one of the many times in my life I honestly felt like I was taking crazy pills. Why couldnt the woman just help me out?


Monday, August 15, 2011

Hipster Redux. AKA bikesnobpgh. AKA dude wearing TT helmet in town.

So Amy and I were in the car yesterday and she was like "is that dude wearing a time trial helmet?" So like an old couple in a national park that had just spotted a deer, we pulled over. Sure enough this dude was rolling down Friendship Ave rocking a TT helmet with built windscreen. Lucky for us, he had to take a phone call (have you ever seen somebody in a TT helmet talk on a cell phone? NOW YOU HAVE)...

Amy said that I was not allowed to post it to FB/Twitter/Blog. She is maybe the nicest person alive and would feel bad if somebody was made fun of in public. However, I am going to post it, and tell the dude to own it. There is a guy who rides around with a bike helmet that he turned into a Devo helmet, which I freaking love. So if this dude wants to be known as the dude with the LAS aero helmet with tinted visor, I am simply helping his cause without passing judgement.

Friday, August 12, 2011


I like cyclocross. This morning was the first morning that I could see the steam coming off of my coffee in my kitchen. Its like fall.

Team this year is C3 - Athletes Serving Athletes. They are a rad group of dudes (dude is a non gendered term). I think that I will fit in well there. I know that I will, since I am buddies with them already. I am excited to race with them.

Bikes this year, I am going to race on a Blue Norcross again. This is rad, cause I got one last year and it is a rad bike. Stoked. This year I will have two. We are going to be running Specialized shoes and helmets, which rules because it is what I have already chosen to ride.

I am getting coached by Chris Mayhew at JBV coaching. He has has been a source of advice and g since I was a Cat V, but this year I have a plan. Last year he advised me a lot, but instead of ramping into cross, I did a 1000 mile bike trip with Stubna during August. It is going to be a REALLY long year, and I hope to have a lot left for nationals, so I think a third party strategy is going to be key.

The MAC has rerouted their schedule, putting the Killer B race right after the A race. I will finally have the chance to pay back Brody and Mayhew by actually pitting for them. THE PIT THE PIT THE PIT THE PIT (ill see you) IN THE PIT!!!!!!!!!!!!

Tuesday, August 09, 2011

50 kids. 100 miles. Lots of rain.

So Amy does some work with her old full time employer, the MGR foundation. They are into doing good stuff for kids or whatever. Pittsburgh public schools got stimulus money to put on summer programs the past two years. Anyway, I got roped into helping again this year. The trip was WAY longer and had WAY more kids.

The plan: Take 50 inner city kids on a 50 mile bike ride Saturday. Camp out. Ride home 50 miles Sunday. Kids are all 11-14 years old from what I could tell. A lot of the kids live in a housing project that is literally surrounded by barbed wire fencing and has a gate to enter/exit.

Day 1: Roll out of Pittsburgh. It is drizzling from the start, but the kids are stoked. They all are on comfort bikes with 21 or so gears, huge saddles, grip shifting and V brakes. As we approached our lunch stop (30 miles), the drizzling turned into torrential down pouring. I could not see out of my glasses. Morale was low. Like real low. I think maybe 6 kids did not finish Day 1. Most of those 6 made it 30 miles.

The last 20 miles were a muddy (crushed lime stone mud) 1.5% uphill grade. We started riding at 8am, and I think the last finishers got to camp around 5 or 6pm. This includes some stops.

Luckily, the later afternoon was great. After spending up to 8 hours to finish the 50 miles, the kids could swim in a pool, in the river, catch cray fish, shower, snack, etc. The rain let up and it was hot. The kids had fun. Dinner was catered pasta, followed by Smores and hotdogs on the fire.

4am. FLOODING rain. I heard kids talking, and I went to speak to them about keeping it down. As I approached their tent, I realized that the whole area was a puddle. I heard a kid say:
"I think the river came up to us," talking about the river 100 yards from the camp site. They were totally submerged. It kept raining.

Woke up at 6:15 to more rain. A lot of "I aint riding." We did breakfast / motivational speech under a pavilion. There was 2-3" of standing water in the pavilion. THE RAIN LET UP! The kids shredded their way home. I think all but 2 or 3 finished the 50 miles the second day.

So: Like 40 kids did all 100 miles. Like 45 did at least 80 miles. Sick.

Awesome quotes:

Some random 12 year old girl that I told could not shower Sunday AM cause she took too long to pack up her sleeping bag:

"That half bald guy is always grumpy."

My man Moleek after I told him that he could not have coffee cause it could stunt his growth (he is in 7th grade and was like 5'11 and like 180 lbs)

"Is that why you stopped growing?"


Kids this age can eat anything. Like if you put a buffet in front of them, it will be gone. Its just a matter of how long.

Some college kids look like middle school kids.

Some middle school kids look like college kids.

If you are reading this, you probably ride. Imagine doing an 8 hour ride on a 30lb hybrid in the pouring rain on a dirt trail. Imagine putting in back to back 8 hour days wearing jean shorts (they were told to wear gym clothes but I dont think some had them).

My girl Lakin would sprint at 15 mph for 20 seconds then coast for 45... she did this for about 100 miles.

My man Moleek on the far right. Dude was huge.

Kids eat nonstop.

This is not a professional bike fit.

Friday, August 05, 2011

These are the people in charge of the city in which I live

This has nothing to do with bike racing or is even political. Its just insane that these people are in charge of a city that is pretty big and kind of successful.

This is Darlene Harris swearing into something or another. She pretty much embodies Pittsburgh. Kind of old. Kind of overweight. I see like a million people like her daily sitting in their cars, with their windows rolled up, smoking cigarettes, and just being miserable.
I dont know her personally. I DO know that she didnt approve funding for a public school band to get lunches bought for them when they played in front of the president like a decade ago. She thought that was a waste of money, make them pack lunches right? HOWEVER she did buy herself an air purifier so she could smoke in her office with city money. Good for you Dar!

This is the Mayor of Pittsburgh. His name is Luke Ravenstahl. He is younger than me. He first became Mayor when a freshly elected one suddenly passed away. He won an election because the city is crazy divided. When the Steelers went to the superbowl a few years ago, he changed his name to "Steelerstahl" because the local team was playing against the Baltimore Ravens. This essentially translates to "steelersteel."

Here is a picture of Luke with his buddy Ben. This is a huge parade downtown after the Super Bowl. Ben won it. Luke happened to be the mayor of the city in which the team plays that happened to pay Ben. In Luke's mind, this makes him one of the cool kids and he gets to ride along and celebrate.
Remember when Ben like raped a couple of women?
I am not sure if you can tell from this photo, but Luke is a fucking douchebag.

Monday, August 01, 2011

Wilderness 101....

I would not have thought about doing the 101 this year if a bunch of fun, cool guys were not up to it. Eddy Krall, Says, and Geronimo all had a room and Eddy gave me a ride up, so what the heck.

Rode hard, its hot, no bad luck, best finish ever.

Registered on Thursday, got my stuff together Friday.

The usual prerace craziness / nervousness was all around. Somehow I ended up being the experienced guy in the room. That was kind of nuts to me. Geronimo has been racing forever, but has somehow never done a hundred mile mtb race. His second is going to be Leadville. Haha.

-Up at 5am. Walk to the gas station for hot water for my french press. Cant stomach any food.


-Race starts. Good pace on the first climb.

-First descent, some dude elbows me off the road. I make it back on. Dude is a dickhead. I facebook stalked the dude when I got home. He is a conservative christian and is into christian rap and christian contemporary rock. Yet he had no issues bumping me off a wheel at 35+ mph. I guess it is kind of ironic being that I would never do that in a million years and I have listened to little other than Venom for the week leading into the race. I seriously hate bike racers sometimes.

-Stay with front group until the third climb. There was a bottleneck that I was last out of and I never saw them again.

-Rode with freaking Mark McCormack for 20 miles. He was pulling like a freight train. We slowly dropped the companions of our group. I had to announce to the whole group that he is the only dude who has won USPRO and Cross nats. Duh. He had a frame pump! A FRAME PUMP! I told him about how my friend beat his brother for a preme in a crit where mark led his bro out. "impressive." was all he said. It ruled.

-Had to say goodbye to mark on the big climb. From this point on, I was on my own. I manged to catch 2 or 3 more dudes and just go through them. I figured that I was in 12 place or so. I based this on the fact that I am usually around 12th place.

I rolled in, cleaned up, swam, ate, drank and signed up for a massage before I checked to learn that I got 6th. I was stoked.

I must say that the 101 was one of the best put on races that I have ever done. At one point I simply rode up to an aid station, people put bottles in my cages, and food in my pockets. Seriously the best volunteers ever. I highly recommend this event to anybody looking for a sick adventure or a rad race.

Garmin File (I think the GPS has trouble in the trees)

Maybe I should listen to some christian rock if I wanted to turn into some sort of homicidal asshole.