Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Pittsburgh bicycle racing. Past and Present. Limestone at the Kiln

During the 1980's, Pittsburgh was a powerhouse as far as cycling went. There were great racers from here; The Chew brothers, Matt Eaton, Ron Lutz... Davis Phinney lived in the Chew house off and on. Pittsburgh had good bike racers...

We have had our stars come and shine for sure. Mike Friedman and Sinead Miller both represented us proudly...

This past weekend was the final MAC cyclocross race, Limestone at the Kiln. Looking at the results, it makes me proud to be from Pittsburgh.

It looks like around 10 people drove the 4:45 each way to race a cyclocross race. Pittsburgh walked away with: Elite Men Win and 7th, B Men 1/2 and overall jersey, Elite masters 2nd... On top of this, plenty of other results to be proud of. It is really awesome how many people are traveling out east and making a showing for our city. Personally it was also very awesome to have friends from home yelling at me during my race, and hopefully vice versa. Hopefully this trend continues next year.

Here is a video Keith Hower shot of his weekend.

2012 Limestone at the Kiln Cyclocross MAC #8 from Keith Hower on Vimeo.

Wednesday, December 05, 2012

PA State Championship... BMX vs. CX

This past Sunday was the PA state Cyclocross championship. Mostly the Western PA state cyclocross championship, as in the "Elite field" there were only a handful of guys not from Western PA/WV.
I managed to keep my bike upright for MOST of the time,and won my first state championship in 20 years. 21 in cyclocross years. Im old.
This is my medal.

When I raced bmx, if you won something you could run it on your front plate the following year. I rocked the 1PA for two years straight as a kid. Kind of a cool idea.

I told a friend of mine who runs a a real cycling website to watch the first turn, as it kept raining and the conditions changed before our first lap. A change in conditions is not a big deal when you have the skills that I obviously do below.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Dirty Dozen Power Details.

For anybody who is from out of Pittsburgh reading this, the Dirty Dozen is a 30 year old group ride in Pittsburgh up 12 of the steepest hills. One is arguably the steepest in the world. It is a group ride with a winner, as they track the top 10 Men (5 women) up each hill. Low cadence out of the saddle steep climbs benefit me, and I have won the event 9 years running. Im old. Yes I have won a group ride. Anyway, this is not a bragging post, because all of the numbers except a few are relatively mediocre. Here are the power numbers:

Hill 1 High St 4:15 . 375 watts = 5.978 w/k (Cracked 3 mins in.)
Hill 2 Ravine 4:54 . 357 Watts = 5.69 w/k (Cracked 3.5 mins in)
Hill 3 Berry Hill 1:10 610 watts = 9.724 w/k (1st)
Hill 4 High/Seavy 2:27 . 402 watts = 6.40 w/k (1st)
Missed 5
Hill 6 Suffolk St 3:23 409 watts = 6.52 w/k (1st)
Hill 7 Sycamore ST 2:58 409 watts = 6.52 w/k (2nd)
Hill 8 Canton Ave :58 510 watts = 8.13 w/k (3rd)
Hill 9 Bousted St 1:57 446 watts = 7.11 w/k (1st)
Hill10 Welsh Way 1:47 458 watts = 7.30 w/k (2nd)
Hill 11 Berry/Holt 3:07 412 watts = 6.57 w/k (2nd?) Mathematical Lock
Hill 12 Flowers 5:17 324 watts = 5.16 w/k Open Road to final hill.Lots of attacks.

The times are taken from when my power spikes and declines. Don't compare these to Strava. If you do you are lame.

My power over 3 minutes was lower than last year.My power under 3 minutes was my highest ever. Im impressed with Berry Hill and let down with the first two. My weight was about the same at 137/138. Bike setup was the same as last year with the exception of lighter skewers.

Canton Ave filmed by Matt Dayak

Dirty Dozen Race 2011-Canton Ave from Matt Dayak on Vimeo.

It was great racing somewhere that my family could see me. My Dad showed up to watch his first bike race in about 20 years. Amy wanted to watch 1 hill but watched like five. Im thinking Matt will have another video of Canton this year.

The Niece doing recon for future years.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Its not what you have... its what you do with what you have.

So this is a story of a 320 dollar bicycle.
Amy was in the hunt for a bike in 2001. She was basically broke. We scoured ebay and found a Jamis Aurora touring bike for her. It was a funny bike. 26" front and 700C rear. Shimano Sora throughout.

She got it on her birthday March 20th. (3/20... $320)... The stars aligned.
I know a lot of people want to hate on cheap stuff. Yes it is heavy. Yes it can break, however, I have found the light stuff breaks too.

Anyway, I took her on her first bike tour, an overnight camping trip. Then we rode to DC. Then we packed up the bikes and rode around Europe for 9 weeks. She also commuted on it everyday. After 10,000 miles the sora shifters died. TEN THOUSAND MILES.

The bike got stolen, and then recovered.

Then she and her best friend rode Pittsburgh-San Francisco together. Same 320 dollar bike. At this point it has new wheels, shifters, rear derailer, chainrings and cassette.

Life is about what you have done, not what you own.

Still set up to commute and carry stuff.

Under a bridge to avoid rain somewhere in germany. Taken with an analog camera.

Friday, November 16, 2012

An agreeable sound...

So about a year ago, I posted a video of me "singing" Love is a Battlefield and Amy doing time after time. My buddy Matt who makes the movies was in California and filmed my brother in law. I think it might be my second favorite after Amy's.

An Agreeable Sound : Brian from Matt Dayak on Vimeo.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The rarest of blog updates

If you are reading this, my apologies for not updating. A few things that have prevented this:
- Space bar on my computer broke. This makes typing anything more than an email annoying. - Nonstop travel to race / work / grown up stuff

Anyway. I have to do a post about cyclocross.

Earlier this year at a mountain bike race, I was talking to East Coast cyclocross legend Ryan Leech. I told him that I was going to be super serious this year. He responded "more serious than last year?" which was a huge compliment on my natural abilities and self coaching technique. The answer was simply "yeah".

SOO... Since Mid July all cycling has been for this CX season. C3/Athletes Serving Athletes is the team again and I am getting coached by Kris Auer (ADG). We are riding specialized bikes/tires/helmets/shoes with Enve wheels. Yes, Enve Wheels.

At this point "half way" through the season, I have raced about the same amount as I did TOTAL last year. My results are better, I feel stronger and I am having a ton of fun. The team is great. The people on it are great. The people at races are awesome. I travel with Ed or Brett and they are awesome. Basically its fun and all good.

So far I have won some local races, a regional race and scored a few UCI points. I have had some good luck, some bad luck and some good days and bad days. Basically just normal bike racing. Pretty stoked to be able to do all this while still working full time.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Bicycle racing and art.

Friday night Amy and I took in a lot of art. First was performance art, followed by a gallery thing. I dont know anything about art. I dont know anything about playing music or acting or interpretive dance. I know about a few things one of which is bicycling.

I sat and watched art and thought about how under appreciated cycling is. Competing at cycling, especially bikes that require talent more than natural ability (mountain, cross, etc) is really hard to do. It is similar to being in a band or making art in that there are very few rewards for most. Most people do it for something as simple as self satisfaction.

One great thing in the world is watching somebody who is naturally gifted using their gift. Its not often, but in any discipline of life, it is amazing.

Issac "groundchuck" McCrea. I grew up riding in the woods with him. A few guys we rode with went to the Extreme games and then the X games. He didnt do tech stuff, just big and smooth. I would rather watch him just ride than some super tech kid do 1000 tricks in one air. Below is an ad that ran in the 90's. Sickest 1 handed tabletops evar.

I have never been able to play guitar. I have never tried, but whatever. Watching J Mascis shred his guitar is unlike any other musical experience that I have had. It is so awesome.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Friends.. life's stories

When I was 19 or so I went to my dad's townhouse in the burbs to do laundry. I had been gone for about two years and probably went back three per times year, despite living about ten miles away.

I talked to a friend who was also at his parents' house doing similar stuff. He lived a few blocks from me and we both went to Pitt. We had a few classes together. We had been friends since we were 8 or 9 years old. I would say best friends since 11 or 12 years old. By that time I was racing a ton of bmx and he started getting into it as well. Within a year of racing, he was winning the 12 year old expert field. He ended up two year streak as age group expert PA stat champion...

We hit our teenage years and dated girls who were also best friends. Lots of double dates, lots of "coupling." We continued riding together, however he was way better than me at dirt jumping. He could do BIG 360's and pretty much had no fear. I had no shortage of fear. I remember once when we were about twenty, upon meeting him a kid went "whoah... I had a photo of you on my wall growing up..." He was good.

Anyway, so we are in the burbs doing laundry and decide to go to the restaurant where we both worked as teenagers with two other good friends. Yeah we even had the same job. It was closing,so we went to a local diner, Eat n Park. The first one that we went to was SUPER crowded with teenagers on a Friday night. We left to go to another one like three miles away. Upon leaving, we were going through a traffic circle and had a weird interaction with another car. The tough guys in the car halted us by pulling in front of us and asked if we, and me in particular, had a problem. I was laughing at the situation and told the driver that yes, I had a tetanus shot the day before and I was really sore. That was my biggest problem... Ive been not funny for a long time.

So we pull out and talk about how weird that was, and how those dudes were dicks. We realized that they were following us after a couple of minutes. We continued on to the less crowded diner. Looking bag, we should have just gone to a police station, or somewhere else, but what could possibly happen.. right?

We pulled into a spot, and they pulled right up to our bumper, parking us in. We kind of collectively decided to fight them. We got out of the car and this big dude gets in my face. I remember the trial where the prosecutor asked him how much he weighed and it was something like 225 and 6'4". I was like 145 at the time. Dude is in my face and pushing me. I just kept saying "dude I am not going to fight you" like it was a mantra. I think this just made him madder. I knew this dude. He was two years younger than me in high school. The other dude in the car lived on my high school girlfriend's street.

So when the giant starts pushing me, my best friend steps between us. He was pretty strong and took the push without moving. Then the giant's friend pushes the giant away and just starts tearing at my best friend with a pretty big knife.

I dont really remember watching him getting stabbed. I do remember watching the big guy pull the stabber off. This probably saved my best friend's life. They jumped in their car and took off. My best friend was dumping blood everywhere. Like fucking everywhere. He had new shoes on and took them off, cause he didnt want to get blood on them. I dont think that he realized that he was maybe going to die. I guess he was in shock. Im not sure where everybody else in the car was at this point. My memories are super tunnel vision. We laid my best friend down and ran to find a phone... remember when there were not cell phones everywhere?

Anyway, when the paramedics said casually "we should get the helicopter"... I knew things were really bad. Anyway, this is going nowhere and is too long already, sorry. My best friend had both lungs punctured, his liver punctured and his stomach punctured. Bile went into his body and made him go septic. Like people are always like so and so "almost died" or "it was on the verge of death" ... but yeah I think he was. He lived. He spent a month or so in the hospital. He had to drop out of college, etc. There was a long shitty trial where the kid delayed the inevitable by like a year with bullshit lawyer stuff.

Like I said, this isnt really going anywhere, but was something I have been thinking about lately. I remember going home and staring at my ceiling until I passed out. I remember sitting on my living room floor calling the hospital to see if he was alive the next morning. I remember thanking him when he came to in the hospital. There is no doubt that I would have fucking died. My friend totally punched the stabber a few times and was limiting the damage as it happened. I am weak. I would have been dead. My friend told me "I would do it again" while he was in the hospital. man

There are not many people like this. Even best friends.

4th grade.

My Wedding 20 years later

Tuesday, August 14, 2012


I was flipping through some USAC stuff and some other stuff and came across this old press release by USAC. Cannell 2 year suspension and revised nationals results.

The results are the NEW results after he won a bunch of championships and was on the podium a bunch. So what? It is masters racing... It doesnt really change anything or have any real bearing on "real" racing..

So lets look at the results. I did no research, this is just what I know off the top of my head from cycling..

2009 USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships
Men’s Time Trial - 35-39
1. Ian Stanford Winona, MN 00:30:02.00 Grandstay Cycling
2. Gregory Strock Martinsville, IN 00:30:25.80 Texas Roadhouse Cycling Team
3. Ryan Jenkins Salisbury, NC 00:30:26.20 Carolina Masters Team

Ok, I did not even know that this guy raced again. If you dont know who he is, you should google him. If you dont know... let me google that for you. It seems that his bike racing life was ruined by doping and he turned out for the better as a medical doctor. I cant imagine the experiences that were taken away from him due to doping.

2007 USA Cycling Masters Road National Championships
Men’s Road Race - 30-34
1. Matthew Johnson New Haven, CT/5 Star Fish
2. Daniel Vinson Lake Elsinore, CA/5 Star Fish
3. Mike Stubna Philadelphia, PA/Meredith Group - GPOA - Cannondale

This one was earlier. Stubs moved up to 3rd. We were teammates and he lived a few blocks from me at the time. It would have been cool if he actually got on the podium.
But this is the REAL KICK IN THE BALLS. Mathew Johnson. I dont know this dude at all. I know he was a crazy fast junior. Im like 99% sure that it is the same Matt Johnson that Levi had to turn his amateur national crit jersey over to after testing positive. The dude won two national championships as a result of doping. Neither were professional.
That makes me think that it is a problem.

Monday, August 13, 2012

the freaking kinzua classic

There is a non USAC race in Pennsylvania that is one of the best courses ever. It is along the Kinzua reservoir in North Western PA. It is basically in the Allegheny National Forest. 2x30 mile loops on quiet roads passing primitive forest camp sites and waterways. 4416 feet of climbing. The second lap finishes with a bonus climb up to a dirt road, adding a few extra hundred feet of climbing. It is seriously one of the best courses that I have ever raced. For sure one of the best in PA.

We make a pilgrimage to Brett's cabin for the race it's in the middle of the forest it's awesome.

I am doing this post on my iPhone entirely by Siri. The photos are all taken from Instagram.

Tuesday, August 07, 2012

The best triathletes in the world...

Link Here

Not trying to be a hater. Yes I know that he just swam further than I ever have combined. Yes this dude could probably ride me off of his wheel, but this is an embarrassment to sport. The dude could not ride over a speed bump with his shoes out of his pedals. He is one of the BEST IN THE WORLD.

Here is a former world mountain bike champion... at the end of a 100+ mile day.

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

When you dont race bikes a ton...

So this year has been slow as far as bike racing. That is fine. I have a friend who used to race on the Kraynicks team. He got injured and put his energy into other things, namely family and house. There was a point where I was at his house and thought "is bike racing worth not having this?"... As his house was renovated and nice. I would like to think that I have the brains to do that if I had more time.
Anyway, we finally got around to doing our second floor. Half of it anyway.
Learned: Showering in the basement for 3 weeks sucks. Dont send your kids to college, make them an electrician or plumber. House parts are expensive.
This is a captive room on our second floor. It was crappy asbestos floor tiles and ceiling tiles. Took it down to the lathe. There was a weird room that you had to walk through to get to the second bedroom. It also led to the bathroom. We opened that up to make the bath bigger. In order to make it so people dont get trapped in the bedroom when somebody is in the bathroom we opened the original door up in the captive middle room.

This is a before and after. Wood paneling and sketchy wiring gone. Door on the right is now a pocket door into guest room. Also now a pocket door at top of stairs. There is a blanket hung to block dust from other room.

Finally the bathroom. Our bathroom was so jacked. I had an 9mm allen key with a thimble on it shoved inside of the spigot for like 6 years. We could not take baths. The floor was peeling up, as it was cheap vinyl. There was no exhaust fan. The wallpaper started falling down like 3 weeks after we moved in. Long time coming.
Friends - come visit.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

An agreeable sound. Amy

Awhile I did a video like this. this is my wife's. pittsburgh people may recognize the cameo.

An Agreeable Sound : Amy from Matt Dayak on Vimeo.

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

So I deleted my Strava account...

I meant to post this the other day, and this news story reminded me to.Strava being sued over dude's death.

There used to be a bike shop at the bottom of a big climb around here. In the bike shop there was a chalk board with first names and times to the sign at the top of the climb. This was basically strava before Garmin existed. People would come test themselves against local fast times.

I won an account at a cross race for having the holeshot or something. I then emptied my entire Garmin 500 onto it. I immediately won a bunch of QOM's. I quickly realized that I signed up as a woman. I would be an awesome woman bike racer.

I switched it into dude mode and maintained a few KOMs. Neat. Whatever. Then it started happening, people were taking my KOMs. Hm. Id get an email from Strava saying "joe just beat your time up xyz." Most of the time I would have to click it to see what the heck they were talking about. Like I have Garmin stuff from all over the state and region from riding. A few of the emails were about local things that I did not know could have a KOM, like a road around a park with a stop sign.

So then it makes me wonder, did some dude put on his aero wheels and have a friend carry a spare tubular while he set out one day to break a record, or did he happen to feel good riding one day and hit a climb pretty hard? Maybe hill repeats? My worst fear was eventually confirmed by a third party. A climb that I went up with 28mm tires, a seat bag, frame pump, etc and got a KOM on apparently was beaten. A third party told me that somebody went out to "snipe" it.

So this puts me in a weird position. Do I play their game and go back and race up it and try to take back the KOM? Do I not care? In my mind I do not care. However I do not want some dude thinking that the terms were equal. In my mind I am like "pin a number on and lets race..." However I think by signing up for strava, you ARE kind of pinning a number on.

So basically dudes who use strava for fun, keep having fun. Dudes who use strava to "win," ... just go race. If you do race, race a harder category if you are winning. There is always going to be somebody faster than you. Race until you are racing a bunch of those people and learn to eat humble pie.

im not even going to talk about tail winds and drafting.

Sunday, June 10, 2012

12 Hours of Granogue.

This was my first duo endurance race. Me and Bad Andy whimsically decided to go for it. Babik and Stubna were supposed to sign up to rival us, however Babik quickly remembered that nobody would be there to lead him out and bailed. It is fun to do something new. Drove to Lancaster to stay with Bad Andy and Bad Kat. We watched Tulsa Tough live streaming, which was pretty neat. Then we went to sleep.
Numbers: 35 minute laps. It was not enough time to really eat or do anything other than sit there.
9 laps for me. 10 for BA.
Distance: 59.79 mi
Time: 5:39:47
Avg Speed: 10.6 mph
Elevation Gain: 8,294 ft
Calories: 3,532 (garmin estimate..)
1 song in my head all freaking day. (under pressure... nothing to do with the race but had listened to it earlier in the week)
34:09 - I did two laps with this time!
40 seconds is how much faster BA's fast lap was than mine. dang.
2 weeks in a row that I went to freaking Delaware. That is far.

Food for a 12 hour race:
1 bagel with Peanutbutter
3 gu's
2 donuts
7 cans of coke
1 clif bar
Salt and vinegar chips
Handful of small cookies
5 bottles of secret drink mix
1 THREE TO GO 3musketeers bar.
1 soft pretzel
1 cinabon

My teeth were so slimy after the race that I stopped and bought a toothbrush after the race and brushed my teeth for 6 minutes while driving back. I cant believe people drink coke everyday and some drink that much. wow.
Garmin Link
I rocked a skinsuit all day, until I needed a pocket for my battery for my light. BA hooked me up with a speed sleeve. 20/20 cycling carries them apparently. It fits a tube, inflator, tire levers. It just chills there and is held on by velcro. Pretty clever. There is an under the seat version as well.

Monday, June 04, 2012

Mountain bike races...

So Brody and I headed out to Philly Saturday for the mass race at fairhill on Sunday. 10 hours of driving over two days for 90 mins of racing.

This was our first mass race. Brody's first USAC race. This is the problem with the USAC system. He had never done one so he was going to have to race beginner. He put a full day of phone calls in to get his cat 1 upgrade. He got 6th in the 1 race with one of the top 50 times all day. It would have been embarrassing to the sport if had to race beginner or sport or whatever numbers they are now.

Anyway, the weekend was rad. Stayed with gman and megs. They are old old friends who now race bikes. It is awesome.

The pro/1 race was stupid fast. This is two for two mountain bike races this year that have been pack riding. They are like road races. Yesterday the scott
kid and bad Andy attacked and there were like 3 Scott dudes around clogging it up after. It was like a crit. Andy rode well for second. I mistimed an effort for third and landed fourth.

The debate of the week was about skinsuits vs jerseys for a cool 90 min race. The solution will be posted shortly. I'm at work and this is from an iPhone.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Cool article..

Im always posting about my Somali buddies (not Somalian)... Somalian man evolves from civil war to crafting films This is Pittsburgh's big newspaper. Pretty cool.

Monday, May 21, 2012

First mountain bike race in 6 months or so.

Yesterday, I did my first mountain bike race since the 101 last August. ABRA had the first of their MTB series at WISP resort at Deep Creek MD. Mountain biking is tough. There was at least 3 points in the race that I kind of "quit." Like if it were a road race I would have just finished in the pack and called it a day, but on the mountain bike, you are either racing or quitting. Its also tough cause it destroys the bike. The course was rocky and had a lot of descending. I heard so many rocks banging off my bike, and at the two hour mark I would have paid money for chain lube. And it was like 85 degrees all day, with a sun exposed climb. I basically just followed wheels for the first lap. If somebody let gaps open or dabbed, I would go around them and aggressively prevent them from passing me later. I dont know what the mountain bike etiquette is. In my mind, in a cross or mtb race, if somebody is riding worse than you, they should be behind you. By the last lap it was just me and Dylan from the Scott Pro team. He is like 12 years old or something and literally weighs 120. It was possibly the first time I had to ride my brakes behind somebody on descents. I think I was out riding him a bit in the technical stuff, but I knew that I was in for it on the 2-3 mile climb up to the finish. With 3 miles to go the kid missed a turn. It was the THIRD TIME we went through that section. I called out and slowed down so he could catch back up. It would have been more embarrassing if he had missed a turn, turned around and still beat me, which was likely given that I couldnt climb out of the saddle on the hill. So he dug a bit and dropped me, built a good gap and held it. I rolled in for 2. I cant believe dudes race that hard every weekend, and do that much damage to their bikes every weekend. Mind blowing. Garmin Link to the race. It is neat to see the time splits on it. The first lap felt SOOOOO fast, but in retrospect it wasnt that much faster. I would really like to see the power file for a MTB race, I really think that I can suffer so much more.
Check out the temp. High at beginning is from being in the sun. The other spikes in the middle were the sun exposed climb, so the hottest points were also the slowest. Brutal.

Friday, May 18, 2012

Don't know

Yesterday I was trusted with a two-year old for five hours. I can't change a diaper and I have no experience but I got to hang out with the girl for the afternoon. I took her to a place in Pittsburgh has animals roaming around some buffalo a few caged animals in a big pond. There was a family there with a child who is probably my age who was a little bit physically handicapped and mentally slow. He couldn't speak the tried communicating with us and it seem like other kids were afraid of them as he was very social so I just told my little friend to talk to him. I think it made his day. A little while later we saw him again and his mom gave us five dollars for a pony ride for my little friend. I think it may have made her day seeing her son socialize somebody who just treated him normally.

Monday, April 16, 2012

Battenkill. Honest review of No Tubes wheels.

I woke up at 630 am with my legs pounding, so I might as well use the time. A week ago I got an email from Geronimo seeing if I wanted to guest ride with the Stans No Tubes/AXA team for Battenkill. Why not? I made my plans and made the trip up.

Geronimo lent me a set of the Alpha Team Wheels. More on that later. This was nice because it left out the week before stress about which tires to run, and the self blame afterward if the wrong choice was made.

Saturday's Pro/1 race was uneventful. It was predictable and I am mad at myself (this is rare after a race) but I know that I could have pulled out a result, and I know that I could have. I wasted a bit of energy early and was conscious of it while doing so. Ended up in a group sprinting for the top 10, did some team work and ended up at the back of that group in 22nd or so. Such is life.

Sunday was insane. it was like 30+mph from the gun and just pegged for the first hour. I found it hard to stay at the front as usual. There were dudes letting gaps open 10 miles in. The dirt sections were like Vietnam. Dozens of guys on the side of the road, screaming, dust, crashes, rocks flying. It was ridiculous.

At one point like 50 miles in Kelly went to the front and pegged it. I was in and out of the caravan until the end of the first lap, and that was my day. Props to farbaugh with a top 20. Sick.

Solo 9 hour drive home. Soundtrack: Crimpshrine, Hot Water Music, Danzig, Petrograd, Wait Wait dont tell me, Joy Division, Jawbreaker, Sloppy Seconds, Tragedy, His Hero is gone, Leatherface, Bad Religion. The trip home flew by. There is something cleansing about singing for 9 hours straight while driving.

So this is an honest review of the Stans wheels / Hutchinson tires that I raced both days this weekend. I was skeptical of road tubeless. It is weird. I love Stans mountain bike stuff. It is probably up there with suspension and disc brakes as far as innovation go. The road thing scared me a bit for some reason. We put my front tire at 65psi and the rear at 67. yes 65/67. Bottom line is that they rode great. The feel is like riding cross tubulars. Not road tubulars which are always pumped up super high and kind of hard, but like when on a cross tubular you absorb the bumps. It is pretty cool. During the race Sunday, I did hit a rock that was big enough to dent the braking surface, my hands almost slipped off the bars and I leaned back assuming a flat. . However the tire did not lose air. By the end of the weekend I was asking what I could get a pair for.

Host housing was a 3 bed cabin with a full bathroom.

Real maple syrup at diners!

Friday, April 06, 2012

So I bought this.

There is this weird thing about people. They can live on nothing. Look at my little Somali buddies. Their parents ate sand for a few years, and now they have 62" plasma TVs, own homes and SUVs. Since getting a real job and making real money, I have contended that my overhead has only gone up the cost of the car and a few pairs of dress pants. This changed that.

We have been a single car family for a long time. Amy owned one for work and I generally only used it when it was super important. It wasnt the type of car that went out of the city in fear of breaking down. When I got my job, we got the Fit and it has been fine.

Recently however, I find myself scheduling around her schedule with teaching. I considered buying a crappy car for her, but they seem like a money pit. A few times I found myself riding my bike to my brother's house, borrowing his car and showing houses with that.

90mpg. Insurance is stupid cheap. It is crazy fun to ride. Less than a Caad10 with Dura Ace.

Tuesday, March 20, 2012

A weekend where my life was like a commerical for living a good life.

Yeah spring is here. We are all riding SOOO much and we are SOOO fit and have tans and leg veins and all that. 19.5 hours, 305 miles and 958 TSS last week. This is while working 50+ hours too. (seriously)

Friday night, the lady and I went and took in some culture. John K Samson played a show at a yuppie music venue. When I was like 15 I was into the punk band that he was in at the time, Propaghandi (saw in the 90's in philly). Then as I got over that whole thing and he was in a whiny band called The Weakerthans. I remember seeing them play at a DIY venue in Pittsburgh, and it was one of the best performances I think that I have seen. Anyway, much like his fan base (me) he is older, not as cute as he once was, and a little less edgy. He played well and it was memorable.

"I swear I way more than half believe it when I say that somewhere love and justice shine. Cynicism falls asleep. Tyranny talks to itself. Sappy slogans all come true. We forget to feed our fear."

Saturday was a classic ride out to West Virginia. It is amazing how close West Virginia is to home. My brother was out of town, so I was showing his clients some fancy houses in his bmw. The honda fit is honestly a better driving car.

I took my dudes out for ice cream. The stupid ice cream store on Main Street was closed. I had this surprise all planned and they were closed! I have some cash to my name now that I have a job, and it is really hard not to spoil these dudes.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Bike Riding Stories.

As we rode up the hill, me and Babik:
"Man Colin is going to think that this was one of the 5 minute efforts." (colin is his coach)
"Funny I was just thinking to myself that I have never gone this slow up this hill."

As we came upon some old dude on a DOPE retro steel bike the other day...
me: "man that is nice.."
old dude: "I know... you want to buy it?"
me: "oh man my wife would kill me"
old dude:"HA I wouldnt sell it for thousands more than I paid..."

Old dude keeps going back through our group

Brody: "man that is nice"
old dude: "i love it when people lust after my bikes"

At this point I ramped it up to 30mph to drop him cause I did not want to be around him any more. What the hell is wrong with people?

Monday, March 12, 2012

Bicycling to/from the Pittsburgh International Airport. (PIA)

I want this information to be out there, because it is new. I remember in 2003 when Amy and I rode around Europe for 9 weeks, we flew in and out of Amsterdam simply because we knew that we would have no problems riding to/from the airport.

We used to ride a road referred to simply as "the secret airport road". This was a road that was clearly marked "do not enter" and "private property faa training facility"... but we would poach it for 3 miles or so. We once thought that we were going to prison when an SUV sped up to us, but he simply waved and passed.

A few weeks ago I was picking up Eddy from the airport and was stunned that there was a "bicycle crossing" that lead from the woods to the terminal. Then I read on the internet that a local rail trail (the montour trail) had made a spur connector to the Pittsburgh International Airport. I read a cynical line about how if Pittsburgh's transit cuts go into effect, it may be the only city in the world that you can ride a bike to, but not take public transport!

So yesterday we were out riding and decided to find our way to the terminal. It was a mix of old airstrips and service roads, but sure enough we pedaled right to the terminal. Sweet. I honestly think that this will be a big thing for bicycle tourists who want to ride the trail from Pittsburgh to Washington DC and fly out of both.

For some it might be a bad thing that the rail trail does not fully connect to Downtown and
the DC trail (YET!) however it will, and the ride into the city from this direction is not so bad.
Garmin link to map


Google Tags so people like me can find this.
Montour trail airport connector . Bicycling to PIA . Bicycling to airport Pittsburgh . Riding to Pittsburgh airport. Montour trail airport .

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Seriously one of my life's biggest regrets at this point..

In 1992 Bad Religion were touring with this band Green Day. They were scheduled to play a small club in Pittsburgh called "graffiti." It maybe held 500 people? I remember not doing much in terms of school and planning on being grounded when the show was to happen. My brother bought a ticket, and I did not... Thinking that I was saving 12 dollars. Anyway I dont think that I ever showed my parents my report card that year and did not get grounded. Dang.

Sunday, March 04, 2012

new blog post

I follow a bunch of fake pro guys on the internet. All that they post about is how much they ride. It annoys me for some reason. I think its because I am working and not riding.

Anyway. Riding is fun. Yesterday we did a great ride. People's fitness is all over the place.
5000 feet of climbing in Pittsburgh is pretty tough, cause it is all burg's that are 400 - 500 feet at a time.
Distance: 60.62 mi
Time: 3:42:47
Avg Speed: 16.3 mph
Elevation Gain: 5,131 ft

The ride that crushed Babik's soul.

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

I created a Tumblr dedicated to how amazing Danny Chew is


I spoke with Danny yesterday. I love the energy that he brings. After talking to him I get the same feelings that I get when I hang out with my little Somali buddies. They are so wide eyed and happy. Danny is too. The speech he gave the other night after bicycle dreams was awesome. An old friend who happened to be at the movie, but does not know Danny said that it was "the best lecture he had ever been to." Danny Rulz.

Monday, January 30, 2012

36.5 mile hike with 7200 feet of climbing

So the last few years, while not riding my bike, I went for a few hikes. They have been fun. This year I wanted to do another. I think that with cycling, it is pretty hard to get in over my head anymore. I would have to do a 24 solo I think to get the feelings that riding a double century used to get me. Who knows. So I wanted to d0o something fun and get in a bit over my head. Mission accomplished.

The Rachel Carson Trail is a long hiking trail that skirts around pittsburgh. It is pretty brutal, traverses tons of power lines, and climbs 7200 feet over 37 miles. Sounded pretty ideal. Many were supposed to start, however it ended up just being me and super endurance athlete jared babik.

Summary: Started in the dark. Finished in the dark. Walked a freaking ton. I should have trained more (I trained by doing yoga 4 times and walking 1.5 miles to work 1 time).

Garmin File. Temp is wrong, it was in my pocket.


Water crossings in the dark. We had to take our boots off twice in the first 5 miles.

We made a few bridges. The water was usually just deep enough that it would suck to walk through in 31 degree temps. Glad I brought ski poles or whatever.

Powerline climb.

This was a 500 foot climb. If you look closely on the left above the low trees you can see a dot of blue, that is a guy on a dirt bike.

The actual Rachel Carson Homestead in Springdale PA.

The only time I remember New Kensington looking nice.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

One of those things you will watch and be like "wtf?"

An Agreeable Sound: Steevo from Matt Dayak on Vimeo.

I guess this is what people do when they have tons of energy and dont race bikes.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

On racing Nationals and Worlds.

Obligatory "cycling season is officially over" post. People act like it is a job or something.

Nationals: So I have not raced a national championship since I was 13. It was in Louisville KY on a BMX bike and the results were lackluster. Mr Brett, Amy my wife, and I rolled up to Wisconsin for my first cyclocross nationals. It was Amy's first real cross experience. Up until this point she had only officiated local races.

30-34 National Champs. 2nd row start. 3rd wheel for a distance. First technical turn I dismount to run as a lot of others are doing. I fall flat on my face.
Cycling Dirt Video at 20 seconds in or whatever I just totally slip. Whoops.
The rest of the day was spent getting dropped back to 12th. Rough day.

Elite Nationals. Start too hard as usual. Blow up a bit, work my way back. I started feeling a bit better but got pulled. 43rd. Not really too much else to say about it other than it was a great experience and I wish I was able to race into it.

30-34 WORLDS. Ha. UCI says that anybody with UCI points cant do age group worlds. I am generally the 2nd or 3rd person after the UCI points run out at MAC races, so I figured that I could have a shot at doing well. Again, I wish that I could have raced more leading up to it. Random draw start = me last. Warming up an hour before the race, I crashed and bent my hanger and tweaked my finger. I sucked in the start and struggled to get up to the leaders. I burnt a few matches to do so and they were attacking each other. I went back and forth with some guys. It was all frozen ice ruts, so half of the race was just about not crashing. That was hard. Ended up 5th. In my heart I know that I could have done better, but oh well.

This is all ice. It was post holes. I was worried I would break my ankles running up it.

Monday, January 02, 2012

Dec 31, jan 1

Pittsburgh is amazing.