24 April 2017

Sleepy/Rainy Monday

And for once, the gloom and rain is a bit welcome.
I'm tired. I want nothing more than to sit today.
5 days last week. All felt good, and I'm feeling better on the bike, so there's that.
And the new carbon wheels ride really freaking well. I haven't been on carbon wheels since I rendered my Williams obsolete by going to 11v. It's been a year.
I tried to tell myself that my 28mm alu Williams wheels were just as fast as a set of 50mm carbon wheels. I was lying to myself. At 30-ish kmh, there's not a lot of difference. Once the speed ramps up, it's obvious.
Glad I finally came off the nickel, and got a set built. Yeah...BUILT. You can do that.
One doesn't have to go into the LBS and buy a set of wheels whose price is driven by marketing. Shocking, I know...
Gigantex 50mm hoops (23mm wide), Novetec straight pull hubs, & Sapim CX-Ray spokes/nipples. 1430g 635F/795R). <<< I weighed them...
Stiff and fast. Simple, cost effective build. No drama. 25mm Vittoria Corsas w/latex tubes measure right at 27mm.
I would have like to go a bit wide on the hoops, but the silly Noah won't accept rims much wider than 23/24mm. I tried a set of 27mm wide wheels, and the clearance in the fork was @ 1mm per side. Nope. No thanks. Too close.
One does what one must.
4 road rides, and a CX ride went in the book last week. The weather was pretty perfect for all of them.
 The PowerStation is in good nick. Lots of animals out there milling about. Deer, hogs, raccoons, snakes, raptors. Ride the road. Leave them alone. You are a guest. If I find another Gu packet, I will put on my ghillie suit, and hunt you down. Fuckwit.
 Lower Richland is looking pretty green. And someone is actively picking up trash on the sides of the road. Thank you! And to the people who just throw their crap out of the car, you're a bunch of dicks.
Saturday, we were WAY out. Pretty much had it to ourselves for a while. New tarmac. Light winds. No cars. Yes please....
I posted these shots to social media, and a friend commented (sarcastically) that it must be tough to ride here. It's a cross we all bear.
As an aside, we should be very grateful for it. I've ridden all over the country. We live in one of the best places there is for road riding. Remember that next time you want to complain...

In sad news, Michele Scarponi was struck and killed by a van driver last week. And of course, the driver used the old "I didn't see him" defense.
Ride in Peace Michele! And thank you.

Valverde won Fleche and LBL, then stated he'd be giving his winnings to Scarponi's family. All of you who seem to harbor so much hate for Valverde should take note of this. How many others would do such a thing?
Yeah, he got popped for doping. He did his time, came back, and is still kicking ass. It's amusing how much righteous indignation is wasted on Valverde, but not aimed at the rest of the guys who have gotten popped and come back.

I won't bore you with the video of Fleche. It was a fast group ride with a 1km sprint up the Muur de Huy.
There...you know what happened.
LBL was pretty good though...

In happier news, I picked up a new bike for #1.
27.5" wheels. Discs. Decent spec. He's pretty chuffed about it. Oh, and it's a 17" frame. He's 11. FFS.

And as I finish this, the sun is starting to peek through the clouds. It'll probably be pretty nice...right up until I need to go pick up Junior Management at school. Ain't it always the way...

We're done here. Go be frank and properous. (H/T to KK)

17 April 2017

Ride, or fish?

Junior Management was on Spring Break last week, so it was a bit random around here.
I rode Tuesday night. It was fun...until it wasn't. It was slow, so the group was BIG...and squirrely. Once on Gator, CC and I sat up, and rode in together.
Evidently, there was a crash. Hope everyone came out okay, but it's not too surprising. Too much speed, and not enough skill. Nowhere is it written that you must rush to the front when the ride slows.
Stay in line. Watch and listen. Learn how to ride in a pack. Some of us have been doing this for decades, not months...
Some of the speed > skill bunch got to see what fast actually was on Thursday night. The groups got mixed up, and false pride got a bunch of people popped off. By the time we got past Amazon, the group was already down to 8.
Did I mention I was on the CX bike? Knobbies @ 55psi and a 46 chainring? LOLZ.
I bid the group adieu, and headed in on the dirt. I could see the remnants of the bunch...spread out in 1s and 2s all the way down 12th.
It was damn nice out on the dirt. It's in good shape. Pretty fast too.

Corpo got up Friday, and headed to the farm. A little work was done....
...then we decided to drown some crickets...
The body count was 2 smallmouth bass (one flopped out of the bucket & escaped), and a half dozen bream.
JM had a good time. In all of the baiting hooks, taking fish off hooks, and cleaning fish, I didn't eat/drink much.
The plan was to ride Saturday morning, but that quickly got shot in the ass. I woke up at the crack of 9:30, and felt like I'd spent the previous evening face down on the bar. Feeling that poorly was one of the reasons I stopped drinking 16 years ago. Fuck...it was bad.
I drank a lot of water and Skratch, and ate everything that wasn't tied down.
Woke up Sunday, and still felt puny, but I knew I was hydrated and well fed, so I headed to meet The Heathens for Easter Sunday service.
We headed out to Kingville & back. As usual, service at The Church of The Big Ring was good stuff. Good group. Much conversation. Many laughs.
Plus, it was a brilliant day. 65 at the start. 80 at the end. Can't ask for better...except for MAYBE a moment of respite from the wind?
Sunday's reading was from the Gospel of Eddy. Book 53, Chapter 11, verse 110.64
"And so the wind will swirl, tailwinds be not at your back. Thus you shall become like the bull...robust and powerful."

And we end today on a sad note. Friend to many, friend to Columbia cycling, and my friend for 20+ years, Jim Leventis died suddenly last week. He was way too young to go. He was laid to rest today.
If you knew JL, and called him friend, you're better for it. I know I am.
Rest well my friend.

10 April 2017

Not much...and you?

I took last week as an active rest week. Feeling tired and dinged up after a couple of big months.
Rode the CX bike on Tuesday. As usual, my frequently concussed brain forgot that it poured rain on Monday.
Yeah...this was clean when I left Service Course. I are smurt!
Still got a solid two hours. Felt better as the ride progressed, so there's that...
Didn't look at a bike for the rest of the week.
CC, TVH and I did a little CX ride on Saturday morning. It was quite enjoyable. Much fun was had. I think TVH even had fun. His bike got dirty, and he learned that one must keep momentum in the soft stuff lest one falls over.
Full on Arte Johnson-style...
Fortunately, the sand was very soft, and he's pretty close to the ground.
He even got his new CX bike dirty!!
Sunday, The Heathens were but two. I had to be home at a decent time for family stuff, so we did the Tues/Thurs. loop.
That got me home in time to go to the Fireflies game. The Duke got to go out on the field pre-game. He was chuffed.
We got to watch Jesus  Tebow hit a homerun too.
As an aside, you folks that call yourself Fireflies/baseball fans should cheer for EVERY player on the team as hard as you cheer for Tebow. Remember...Tebow is a millionaire. The other guys make @ $400 a week. Tebow is living in a $3000/mo. rental house. The other guys are bunking up 3 & 4 to an apartment.
They deserve your adoration a bit more.

Funny stuff :

I've seen this very scenario before...

Sexy aero things...

I'll take both. My birthday is in two weeks. That gives you time...

Roubaix was yesterday. I did not watch...YET. I know who won, but not how...SO SHUT UP!!

And Boom Boom called it a career...
Merci Tommeke! #Legend

Spring Break for Junior Management this week, so my plan is to appear at the group rides. We all know what happens when one makes plans....
Hopefully see you guys there.

03 April 2017

So yeah...

If you look up "Chamber of Commerce Weekend", last weekend was it.
Perfect weather. Started in the 50s. Ended in the 80s. If one had wishes, and didn't burn one of them for the weather to be like that EVERY DAY...FOREVER, one is a sucker.
Went out Juan Solo on Saturday. Did a little climby. Did a little speedy. Ended up with 2.5 hours and nearly 70km. Not a bad solo jaunt in the perfect weather.
The Heathens rolled out yesterday for an easy spin out over the ridge and back. There were no goals, and no real need to be very serious, so we rode slow, chatted, and even hit the river trails to get back to the 'hood.
Twas a lovely day, and what riding should be about. An enjoyable ride, on a great day, having fun with friends.

Flanders was last weekend too.

PhilGil goes horizon...from 40km+ to go. Old dogs can still hunt.

And Coryn wins a HARD sprint.

The women's race was arguably better....

Short one today, as I really don't have much to yap about. Shocking, I know...
Headed down to Service Course now. Gotta slap a chain on a custom Eriksen. Tough gig...

I'd say #GoOutside, like usual, but this is coming...
Spend this morning making sure you stuff stays dry.

27 March 2017

Eh...you have big happt Monday only...

Decent last week on the bike.
Well, it started out okay, got worse, then ended up okay.
Tuesday, I was as crooked as a hickory stick. (It's an old euphemism, but fitting nonetheless). Felt like I was turning left the entire ride. Legs were decent, but my pedal stroke was a bit notchier than usual.
Took Wednesday off...
Thursday, I went to see Dr. Renick, and got my business cracked and stretched. I was crook-ed. When your physio actually comments on how jacked up you are, you know the visit was much needed.
Friday, I rode just to loosen up. easy peasy. Never ride well right after getting beaten by the good Doctor.
Saturday was a fun ride. Felt good, rode well. Actually had a big tailwind home. It's really nice to glass crank @ 40kmh on the way home.
Saw this train car from the bridge on Saxe Gotha. Had to get a picture, so I went fully into the locker, and raced the train to the level crossing. The shot turned out okay, considering I was slightly hypoxic. Also begs the question, is it art? It's more art than some "art"...
Sunday, a smaller group of Heathens met for a big, fun loop out into Swansea. Twas breezy, but the direction of wind would bode well for the run home...
 We saw mini-horses!!!
As you can see, it's pretty bad out there. You should keep riding in the Fort.

 Got a new kit last week. My friends at Feedback Sports hooked me up with a new jersey. Thanks Katie!
Anyway, it's needs to be said that Primal (yes, the folks who make all of the dopey jerseys that you tend to see on the MS150, or on clearance in the Nashbar catalog) makes VERY, VERY nice high end clothing. The jersey is the "Helix" line. You will be hard-pressed to fine a better fitting jersey, made of nicer materials. Stretchy sleeves, durable zipper, vents built into the back/shoulder, and a correct length.
I needed a new pair of bibs anyway, so I picked up a pair of Primal Helix "Onyx" bibs on a pro-deal. Again, outstanding stuff. Compressive. Proper strap length. Proper inseam length. Great chamois. ZERO issues on yesterday's 3.5 hour jaunt. Never even had to adjust luggage.
Scoff if you must, but I can tell you, they're better than ANY other manufacturer at similar price points. Period!
 Also got some Belgie socks from Mad Alchemy. So fresh. So clean. Style. It's a thing.
 The guys at Festka just keep making nice stuff. This is a Columbus XCr stainless frame. Clean and simple. Met them at the NAHBS a few years ago. They know what they're doing, and will talk to you about frames, materials, and theory for as long as you want to talk about it. I'm leaning towards a metal bike. This one has jumped to the top of the list.
Speaking of things Belgie. Belgie blue Noah. Now complimentary colors/graphics needed. Built for bidness.
Yeah, it has discs. Ignore them They're silly and unnecessary on a road bike. They will not make you a better rider.
Finally, if you don't know about the things in this picture, save me your expertise.

Gonna be nice all week. You should go outside and get it on you!!

22 March 2017

Eh Mario...you has big happt birstday!

Cipo is 50 today.
He had style before you knew about style...

2002 Zolder

That's a proper leadout, BTW.

20 March 2017

Back on the horse

After a couple weeks of relative inactivity...3 days a week...I remounted the horse(s) last week.
I even rode the turbo...WHAAAAT?
Tuesday was a shit morning, and being wet and cold didn't hold much romance, so I rode in Service Course for an hour. Once again, it showed me that I cannot live at any Latitude further North than the one at which we currently reside.
No way in Hell I could ride inside all Winter. I'd be homicidal.
Anyway, after an hour at tempo, some good sweat, and a viewing of 'Road to Roubaix', I climbing off. Of course, as it happens, by the time I got out of the shower, the Sun was out. Whatevs....
Thursday was a CX ride. It was cold. 28F cold. The waterholes on the dirt were frozen. No pictures were taken as I really didn't want to take off my giant gloves. No matter. 2 hours in the book.
Friday was a "not as cold" ride. Plus, the sun was out, and it got warm pretty quickly. Another two hours with a ramping up of effort.
Saturday morning was junk. Dark. Cold. Rain. I went out anyway. Hey...I'll RIDE in the rain, but I won't LEAVE in the rain. Wasn't raining when I left. Got a solid hour before it started.
Once it did start, I had two choices. One was to turn for SC. The other was the finish the loop. Wet either way. Bike dirty either way. Fuck it. Finish the loop.
50 degree rain is fun...sort of.
Same story as Tuesday. Out of the shower. Sun out. Oh well...
Went down Beckham Swamp. Spooky ass road.
Good Heathen ride Sunday. CRAZY wind out in the country. Felt reasonably okay, considering it was the 4th day in a row on the bike. We struggled home together, and got a good 3 hours.
I'm tired today. Legs and back are toast. Legs from riding. Back from TVH trying to knock me off at a light. Only my catlike reflexes kept me from hitting the ground. No harm, no foul.
 Speaking of, he goes pretty well for an old guy. :)
Obligatory product placement shot. Diadora. TwinSix. Ridley. Williams. Vittoria. Stuff that just works.

Stuff :
 McGovern bike from NAHBS. Handbuilt carbon. ALL handbuilt! No pre-made lugs, nor tubes.
 Sagan, Kwiatkowski and Alaphillipe bike throw from MSR. Take a look at Sagan's chain...
Shut. Up. And. Take. My. Money.


Yeah...Peto didn't win, but in a post-race interview, he went all Maximus from "Gladiator".
He said something to the effect of, "...it's not always important to win. It's important to put on a show..."

Okay...get to work...
I need to do the same.

13 March 2017

Mother Nature

You knew it was coming...
Everyone was enjoying the short sleeve weather. Hell, I loved it. The tanlines are already tightened up...in March.
But you knew it wouldn't last. If you've lived here for longer than a week, then you'd know that Mother Nature does peculiar things.
Sunny and damn nice at the end of last week. I rode W-Th-F, all in shorts and short sleeves. The warmth was nice. The wind...not so much. The pollen...yeah...that's funny.
Yes...that's a cross tire. No, that is not dirt. That's pollen. And it was only 8.8/12 on Wednesday.
Still did 50km on the knobbies.
Thursday was worse. The wind was stiff. Clouds of yellow floated across the road. Lovely. I did a couple of big efforts on the hills, and got nice and sweaty. Thus, I returned to SC with a nice coating of pine pollen. The little yellow crystals on my eye lashes were sublime.
Still got 60km in 2 hours.
The forecast was for rain ovenight. The hope was that the pollen would get washed away. Well, it did...sort of...
It washed into large puddles. The Noah was foul when I got back after 3 hours. The ride started wet, gray, and cloudy. It ended pretty well...
Honestly, I don't think it rained out on the other side of the ridge.
Swansea and back. 3 hours. In the wind. Solo. Big fun.
No ridey over the weekend.
The Duke had a T-Ball thing on Saturday. And Sunday...yeah...Mother Nature took our warn weather and gave us a gray, snowy day. None of it stuck, but I wasn't going out in it.
Back on the horse tomorrow. The group ride is supposed to fire up, but as the first ride is always a dangerous clusterfuck, I'll be Juan Solo in the morning. Not to mention the wind is supposed to be right @ 20mph tomorrow evening. You guys enjoy that. I'll see you next week.

Two more from the "If you don't know..." file...

Lots of stuff going on in both photos. If you don't know who, nor what...well...

Two wheels good!! BMW R90T Scrambler. Change nothing. Send it to Service Course. I'll make room.
 And four wheels not always bad, but in this case...
Seriously? Sorry about your penis Sir.
The perspective is a little off in the pic. That's a full size, crew cab Chevrolet. I could have pulled the hood of my Yukon XL UNDER the side of it.
The amount of impracticality is staggering. I question whether it's actually street legal.

Okay kids. It's Monday. Keep your heads down!
Supposed to be warm again by the middle/end of the week. Go outside.

06 March 2017

Sort of a rest week?

Given that I've been fighting an ear infection for the last couple of weeks, and have been on antibiotics, the decision was made to ride easy all week.
I still rode, and still got some decent time on the bike (10 hours +/-), but none of it was with ANY sort of anger.
Tuesday was a tempo-y road ride. Felt like there was a small Rosehead spike driven into my right ear, so no real effort was given.
Friday, I got on the Salsa and headed to The PowerStation to make sure TVH wasn't going to A) Injure himself, B) Perish, and C) would enjoy himself. It was pretty damn sublime out there.
Things are greening up. Trees are budding out.
I will say though, the pollen has started. I came home with a yellow scalp, yellow arms and legs, and the bike was covered.
We even had a nice CX/Dirt mini-group ride on Saturday. To be honest, it was the best ride I've had in a long while, and kind of brought things back into focus.
We went out, rode bikes, had conversations, laughed, and introduced TVH to something new. Lo and behold, once he got on his CX bike, and out on the dirt, he discovered just how fun/good it is out there.
Shocking, I know!
Special thanks to the USC Ladies X-Country team for vastly improving the scenery as well!!
The PowerStation is in fine shape, and there seems to be a new line around the waterhole. It takes a little skill, but it's very passable, and prevents getting mud and water up to one's hubs.
And the day itself? Yeah, if you complained about Saturday, well...

Sunday, we went out for a shorter ride. It was chillier to start, but turned into another Chamber of Commerce day.
I got almost 3 hours, and felt surprisingly good.
Again, no effort was put forth all ride.
Sometimes, just riding your bike is enough...or should be...

Strade Bianche was Saturday. It should be a monument. Period. I don't care if it's only been around for 12 years.

And look!! You CAN ride dirt roads on a road bike. GASP...!

No ridey today. I'm lazy, and have a couple of things to take care of this morning. Mostly lazy...

27 February 2017

The week that was...

Ups and downs...
Felt good (for most of the week), and rode pretty well. It was Chamber of Commerce nice here last week.
Actually, no...it wasn't...it was terrible. You don't want to come here...ever! ;)-

Normal loops both Tuesday and Thursday...in short sleeves and bibs. It was terrible.
Started doing a little interval on one section of the loop. It's a good test that gives me what I need. 7 minutes +/-, rolly, with a couple of draggy sections, and an ugly climb to finish.
Where? LOLZ. Not telling. Too many Columbuses around...

The wind was brisk again last week, and came to it's denouement on Saturday. Blowing from the WSW @ 15-20mph.
We headed across the river. It was the very last time I will ride out on 321. Ever. The climbs are nothing. The wind was nothing. The rednecks, in a hurry to get wherever they go on Saturday morning, were the issue.
We got buzzed WAY too many times. It's just not safe. Dean said F it, and turned around. Can't say as I blame him.
We went back looking for him, then just did the Tues/Thurs loop. Still ended up with 75km...AND got a ripping tailwind home.
Sunday was markedly cooler, and I was Juan Solo. The Heathens all bailed. Weaksauce.
I went out and stomped out 2.5 hours, and got home with another 70km.
What you guys missed :

This is where my day went sideways...
I ate lunch, and headed out to LexCo to pick up Junior Management. On the drive home, I felt wonky. I chalked it up to the fact I didn't eat/drink enough on the ride.
Once home, I laid down on Clifford the Big Red Couch. As a preface, I've been having trouble with my right ear for about a week. Just felt...well...full...
As my thimble-like bladder began to betray me, I got up to hit the bathroom. Nope.
My ear was KILLING me. Equilibrium? Shot in the ass. Crazy dizzy...to the point of serious nausea.
FUCK! In my (ringing) head, I thought, "FLU..."
My hands were tingly, ear hurt, vision wonky. Sweaty. GD it.
I crawled, literally, to bed, covered up with the sleeping bag and passed out. This was @ 5:30.
The next thing I knew, my alarm went off @ 6:00am. 12-1/2 hours of crazy dreams, sweat, and rolling around like a baby elephant in mud.
I feel okay today. Not great, but passable. No ear pain, no dizziness, no nausea. Weird. The body is an odd thing. Guess my batteries were flat, and it was time for a system shutdown/recharge.

And some sad news. We lost a member of the family last week...
RIP Admiral Ackbar. You were a good fellow. You will be missed...

OK kids...gonna be nice this week. Go Outside.

20 February 2017


"Easy peasy, lemon squeezy" pretty much describes my last week on the bike.
I was a bit snapped after back to back metrics two weekends ago, so I just pedaled last week.
Tuesday : A whopping 1:15 on the bike...never out of the small ring.
Thursday : I had a brainfart, and didn't think about the rain that fell Wednesday night. Felt pretty good on the CX bike until I got to The PowerStation. It was wet and heavy. Not a lot of fun. 90 minutes and home. All I really cared to do.
 Saturday : Dean and I met and meandered around LR for three hours. Slowly. It was fine, and worked out the kinks.
Sunday : The Heathens met and did a hilly-ish LR loop. We hit some roads that I hadn't been on a YEARS. And that's no fabrication, nor embellishment. We went all the way out Leesburg Rd. to Congress. I want to say that the last time I did this, a former pro & DS went down in front of me in the turn, and I crashed on top of him, destroying his frame.
I'd forgotten how far out Leesburg one must go to get to Congress. As TVH and I took turns keeping pace, the phrase, "I think the turn is over the next rise..." was uttered no less than a half dozen times.
And I must have a little bit of fitness, as Leesburg wasn't hard, and Congress seemed shorter. Weird.
We cut down across the country, and ended up on the normal Hopkins loop.
 As you can clearly see, it was a horrendous day. I mean, I had to wear armwarmers for the first hour!!
And as Dean & I came to the tracks, this big fella was crossing the road. We stopped, and I helped him across. He was a BIG boy. Shell the size of a salad plate, and probably tipping out at 8-9 pounds. He seemed camera shy once I placed him back on the ground.

We fought the headwind on the way home. Big fun. No matter. That's the shit that makes you strong. Another metric in the book. That makes 3 in 8 days.
Thankfully, I went to the physio this morning. It was needed.
Gonna be nice this week. Many kms will be had...

Speaking of The Heathens, probationary member TG has injured hisself playing soccer. Knee injury...same thing that I did...playing soccer. Hate to say "I told you so...", but I MAY have mentioned it previously. No ridey for him for a while.

Stuff and things....
 When more than one rider had panache. Know these guys? No? You know the rest...
 Cannondale Evo. My thoughts are leaning this direction. Fortunately, I know a guy in Pa. who can hook me up. No reason to buy one from a yob here in town.
And SOMEONE needs to bring these into the US. PLEASE!  Factorbikes.com 
Sexy Mfer...

Ok kids...it's gonna be nice all week. 70s and 80s. Go outside and get it on you!!