Tuesday, November 1, 2011

biking in the winter

it's not that hard, just get on with it. the first day i started working as a messenger in chicago it snowed over a foot. i rode to the place through the unplowed chicago streets at 8 am, they gave me an ID, pager and radio. I worked as messenger for two winters; the summer was for amateurs, once april 15th rolled around the amount of packages needing to be delivered decreased and the available couriers increased. 

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

tragic yet true

i have a serious parts 'issue', i cannot be left alone on payday with a list of shit that any 1 of my 3 bicycles needs to operate semi-PRO. so i spend alot of time in the bikeshops lusting, craving stuff that i may or may not purchase. i'm not gonna say anything more about bike parts, 'cept that i need some bad, ASAP. the point of this post is to relate the total bullshit that i hear while i'm looking for something or consulting with a crack mechanic on what would solve a drive train issue that has reared it's expensive head.

so even as the skinniest  and most fit people at the table, road bikers and most bikers are constantly watching their weight/diet/VO2 max etc.
i overheard this recently ' dude, this fall carbohydrate and coffee thing is making my skinsuit, like, way too tight'.
Yes. i did almost want to bitch slap that guy with a 700X 23 tire, restrain him with toestraps and force cheeseburgers down his gullet. F-ing roadies!

Monday, September 26, 2011

what really matters.....

it ain't shit if it doesn't keep you from going insane.  my day will begin with an alarm at 3:30am, i will rise and get ready for a 12 mile commute. at 4:30 am i will leave the house and start riding on a bicycle loaded with work clothes, the tools of my trade and a few other necessities. it will be chilly, i could even see some rain. it's fall in minnesota and winter will be coming soon, i'll ride through that too. it's my life

i am going to work, i am leaving my family while they sleep. for an hour i will be riding and nothing else will matter, but how my bicycle is performing and how my heart and muscles are pumping blood and utilizing energy to get me from one place to another. i will be at peace.

that is all and that is nothing. 

Monday, August 29, 2011

alright then....

i have a good feeling about this years cyclocross campaign. i have been riding more, i have a better perspective and  i only work monday thru friday, which is virtually unheard of in restaurants. i also won't be traveling by car to any races, the schedule is slimmer(2 races) but i think i like it better. so i will ride to Wirth Park in mpls for the first one on October 9th. a little more than a month later i will ride to Basset Creek in crystal for the state championships.  i don't know if i'll take part in any of the weeknight clinics or races, i work at 6 am and i'm pretty exhausted after i finish cooking, then cleaning up and planning for the next day. what's a working man to do? it's nice to spend time with one's wife and children on a daily basis as well.

 i broke in a brooks saddle this week. it's a sweet ride, pardon me while i explain the reason; i don't have to adjust my junk everytime i get on the saddle, 'things' slide right into the correct position without the usual manipulation. that's enough about that.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

sunday morning

re-building the cyclocross bike. i have the tires, the chain is fitted and i'm considering my chainring size. new bars this year, new saddle, new brake levers. it's the third bike i have rolling this year, and that may be something i haven't had for a few years. our family has 5 bicycles, not counting the trailer and the trailer bike; plus two bikes we don't ride and a restoration project i have yet to tackle. my wife and i are car-free and loving it.

among my friends this is a small stable. this year a friend of mine had collected so many bicycles that he had to open a bike shop, not the only reason he opened it, but it was a determining factor. i spent Saturday morning visiting a few mechanics trying to organize my thoughts on repair and maintenance and bought a few bit and pieces at each stop. grips and brake pads, bar tape, tires and pleasant conversation on the state of the industry; i even had a chance to consider a few new projects.

what is the state of my preparation for racing after my accident? pretty darn good, i'm 20 pounds lighter and commuting 125 miles a week fits nicely into my training schedule. when i get the cyclocross bike built i will be trading these skinny thighs for a pair of sprinters thighs. it's going to take a major schedule re-adjustment to add a nightly high intensity work-out into the mix.  i'm not going to be on the podium but i don't think i'll be DfL either. i'll let you know how it's going after my first race in October. until then i will be preparing by biking, consuming Belgian beer and eating french fries, and maybe a few mussels.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Monday, August 8, 2011

riding and building is not training

So i have determined that the first cyclocross race i will enter isn't until sometime in october. i didn't spend the summer riding, nor will i race my way to form for CX championships in November. Too many things to do on the weekends and too little cash. racing every weekend would be ideal, but i hate driving to venues, setting up and then driving home. i will ride my bike to a couple of races, race and then ride home. the alternative would be to drive in a car, pre-ride, warm -up and race, and then drive home. if i ride there i'm already warmed up when i get there, i know the venue so i can skip an extensive pre-ride. it's flawless(on paper).

Whence cometh the training? and where are the 'practice races'?....let me see, how do i put this best....'been there done that, let move on to the other questions'. i'm sure i'll hit a few stairs and practice a few dismounts, but i've been doing this for a while. Can i say it's just like riding a bike without offending anyone? i do have other commitments in my life and i work riding into my life.

I ride 12 miles to work in the morning, work a fairly physical job for 8 hours and then ride home 12 miles. I fitted my road bike that  i use for commuting with cyclocross handlebars. Luckily i have the weekends off, and there are nights to train and perfect technique. I plan on enhancing my base miles of 125 a week with a  few intense work-outs on a cyclocross bike, or maybe i'll ride trails on my mtb. This is not rocket science folks, it will be a great season.

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Singlespeed cyclocross

True story; a couple years back after I had registered, ridden the course and was milling around I met a man. This gentleman was obviously in a spot of trouble, he looked at me and asked if I knew if any mechanics at the venue. I looked around and noticed one my friends who also a mechanic, I directed the question in his direction ‘do you know any mechanics?’. He just smiled and said ‘no, not today’, although both of of us knew the correct answer would have been in the affirmative. I can appreciate the sentiment and hey, it was race day and we both had better things to do than adjust a derailleur that morning. That’s when I knew I had made the correct decision to rock the singlespeed.

I could say there are better ways to race, but for me there are not. Singlespeed is lighter, less hassle and since carrying your bike is mandatory, just as competitive. My first CX race was on a mountain bike(it sucked) the second was a geared(better), but for my money singlespeed is the way to go.  After a pre-ride the course course conditions will determine the proper chainring/cog set up. The rule for off-road singlespeed riding has been 2 to 1, for a lighter bike used in CX I start with 38/16. I’m not saying this can’t be fine tuned, but how many people carry along a full set of chainrings and cogs? I just might consider it, if I was doing this for anything other than extreme recreational riding. What about a set of 3 chain rings and 3 cogs, plus a chain tool, allen wrench and maybe an extra chain? I will admit it could be tough under some conditions to pre-ride, breakdown, reset the ratio and pre-ride again. But how bad do you want to win? I’m thinking of testing out a derailleur/chain tensioner set up that will allow me to flip/flop a rear tire with two singlespeed cogs of differing sizes.

Why does singlespeed make sense? Considering the mud/slush and general bad conditions of most venues and the weather in northern climes during CX season it’s a no-brainer to me. Add into that the fact that dismounts and re-mounts may cause your chain to shift out gear and I’m sold. The weight saved in eliminating a chainring, multi-speed freewheel/cassette and derailleurs is significant.  Anyone who has ever had a derailleur caked with frozen mud can appreciate the fact that the elimination of one could be a positive benefit.  More than once while winter riding I have been forced into riding with a de-facto singlespeed on my geared bike, ice clogged cables are an interesting problem.

So, as you fine tune your rig(or rigs) for the upcoming season consider what needs replacing and what can be eliminated altogether. I’m spending an inordinate amount of time fine tuning my set-up in the garage this summer, with the hot weather. When the winds of fall start blowing I’ll be more than happy to start the season free and clear of unnecessary parts. Good luck and may all your barrier jumping be free of stutter steps.

Friday, July 22, 2011

planning the comeback

you work and slave and then you slave and work, then you slay 'em. it will be familiar to some that i have had more than one comeback. there was  back surgery in june of 2007. The week before my daughter was born, i was getting a titanium ring inserted in between two lumbar vertebra. i was inspired by my lack of pain, to pursue more pain. 3 cyclocross races.

but then the family pushes back..... and for good reason. cycling is a costly sport, even competing in 4 races a season. there are the minimum of three bikes, cause ya'll know it's never enough. i work a road bike, mtb and a singlespeed cyclocross bike. all are steel and cobbled together from old stuff that i find around the bike shops and swap meets. the other part is the danger, when my wife saw this years TdF she was even more hesistant.

with danger there comes liability and responsibility. i carry my own insurance and monitor my extreme riding. unfortunately i don't always wear a helmet. most of the riding i do is commuting, you know junk miles. it's not dangerous to ride, as dangerous as being a pedestrian. when i ride off-road or ride on my road bike long distances i wear a helmet.

 i'm done.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

so i'm not unique

it's official i have a thirty year old doppleganger in the tour de france
this just in from cycling news

Thursday, July 14, 2011

a brief history....

Feel free to stop reading now.

i have an idea how i got the way i am today, there was foreshadowing in my profile. i started riding a bicycle seriously in highschool, taking my brand new motobecane 12 speed off on long solo rides. the first indication my family may have had was the phone call from a pay phone 10 miles outside of town that i needed a ride after i blew up my rear derailleur on a quick shift. it was a long quiet drive home that day, my dad didn't under stand the whole spandex thing. then there was my dad catching me drinking a beer and smoking a cigarette after i finished a transition work-out at 10 pm, i ran a 10 k and then biked thirty miles, i needed the break. the perplexed looks continued until i moved out of the house.

i won't bore you with details, but instead give you the highlights.

  • '90 bought my first mountain bike
  • '93 mountain bike racing
  • compete in first CX race in wirth park
  • winters of '01 and '02 work as messenger in chicago
  • 2007 begin comeback with 3 CX races in Mpls
  • 2011 bust face preparing for 2011 CX season
and now the predictions.... you can guess the rest won't be pretty but it will be memorable.

Monday, July 11, 2011

so i've been at this a while

life time bicycle crash report(only the ones that sent me to emergency room)
  1. 1975 lay out my stingray in the gravel 12 stitches in my left knee
  2. 1985 over the handlebars onto the pavement, unconcious, 5 hours of plastic surgery on forehead, eyehole , 2 days in the hospital
  3. 2011, singlespeed ride in the park....you know the rest by now

rest day update on TdF 2011

Where and why 18 riders abandoned the Tour de France

Stage 9:
DNF Wout Poels (Ned) Vacansoleil-DCM Pro Cycling Team - illness
DNF Pavel Brutt (Rus) Katusha Team
DNF Alexandre Vinokourov (Kaz) Pro Team Astana - crash, broken head of the femur
DNF David Zabriskie (USA) Team Garmin-Cervelo - crash, broken wrist
DNF Frederik Willems (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto - crash, broken collarbone
DNF Jurgen Van Den Broeck (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto - crash, collapsed lung, three broken ribs and broken shoulder blade
DNF Amets Txurruka (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi - crash, broken collarbone
DNS Juan Manuel Garate (Spa) Rabobank Cycling Team - crash on stage 5, arm and hip injuries

Stage 8:

DNF Beñat Intxausti Elorriaga (Spa) Movistar Team - crash on stage 1, broken radius bone (elbow)
DNS Christopher Horner (USA) Team RadioShack - crash on stage 7, head trauma, broken nose

Stage 7:
DNF Bradley Wiggins (GBr) Sky Procycling - crash, broken collarbone
DNF Tom Boonen (Bel) Quickstep Cycling Team - crash on stage 5, injured shoulder
DNF Rémi Pauriol (Fra) FDJ - crash, broken collarbone

Stage 6:
HD Vasili Kiryienka (Blr) Movistar Team
DNS Iván Velasco Murillo (Spa) Euskaltel-Euskadi - crash, broken collarbone

Stage 5:
DNF Janez Brajkovic (Slo) Team RadioShack - crash, broken collarbone
DNS Christophe Kern (Fra) Team Europcar - knee tendonitis

Stage 4:
DNF Jurgen Van De Walle (Bel) Omega Pharma-Lotto - crash on stage 1, shoulder injury

tour de france stage 9 2011

credits: http://www.cyclingnews.com/tour-de-france/stage-9/photos/181772

Friday, July 8, 2011

tour de france stage 7

so here's the action on today's crash at the tour de france. to make a long story short, he crashed, then passed out and then finished the stage. Anything sound familiar here? so did a few more people. i was entertaining/biking this morning so i actually haven't seen the coverage.

thanks bicycling for one piece
and the there's this from cycling news

....in which we discuss options for liquid nutrition

so for the next six weeks i will be on liquid diet. the last two visits the doctor has decided to keep the jaw immobilized pretty tight, so it's not even gonna be mashed potatoes and applesauce or god forbid meat pulverized in a food processor. i'm not really happy with a diet that looks to be composed of protein shakes. smoothies, and juices. i have a bad feeling it's gonna get expensive.

i lost 15 pounds the first 10 days of my incarceration,...i mean recovery. i wasn't riding, i was on antibiotics and i was in massive pain. the two days i spent in the hospital were pretty much a , the morphine haze. the first 12 hours they were just working to get the swelling down so i could have surgery the next day. i'm nearing my ideal 'fighting weight' 0f 185, for biking i should probably still drop another ten pounds.

so the second i got out the hospital , after i posted gruesome photos on facebook, i went searching nutrition advice. i wasn't happy with sound nutrition advice i rec'd from the hospital's registered dietician. she suggested those nutritional shakes(ensure, boost or generic) or carnation instant breakfast, both of which are sickly sweet and chalky. the odwalla or naked bottled fruit smoothies and protien shakes are better tasting but roll in at $4 a pop. i'm not really adverse to sugar, but you do realize it's not a food group right? there are a few other things i'm still checking out. i could get the blender fired up and start making my own, it is summer and there is plenty of fruit available. next installment we speak of the juicer, it worked for jack lalane

gotta start somewhere

update: 7/11/12
i've been thinking about this for a while. but i think i know what aided my demise. several weeks after my accident i re-built the bike, i noticed a loose stem. a loose stem that would cause problems. i tightened it but noticed that it wasn't any more solid. i purchased a new stem, it's solid now
[my apologies if somebody recognizes the following excerpt from a personal msg i sent them last week, once i get the account how i like it i kinda tell the same story.]

i busted my jaw, last friday fucking around at lake harriet after midnight. so i got all layed out and then to make it awesome i rode home cleaned up and went to bed. next morning my wife drove me to southdale and i had 4 hours surgery sunday am. i'm fine i went out biking today and yesterday. but i kinda busted my face.

if you want the details( i'm thinking you do) here goes. jaw wired for 5 more weeks, crushed orbit and zygomatic arch(?). the only part that is really freaking me out is the blackness from not brushing my teeth for 6 weeks. i'm thinking CX season i'm gonna kill it hard. if you think 2007 and the back surgery jazzed me then 2011 and a walk with grim reaper at lake harriet is gonna make me even more motivated. 45 minutes racing ain't shit after almost dieing.

yes, that's the real deal. i fucked up and i almost died

no, i didn't call 911 i just got back on my bike and rode to richfield. i have no idea if i passed out or not, it wouldn't surprise me if i did. what's freaky is that i had a weird voice in my head, saying, 'yeah, your gonna want to stay down for while there' and that made me get up and straighten the bar run a quick check on the bike and jump up and get home. never listen to voices, they're usually wrong.