Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Some Days

Let's see, I can fold laundry, there are a couple dishes that need washing, maybe organize my sock drawer...anything but get ready for work.
Well, not exactly ready for work, but ready to ride to work.

It's a beautiful morning,but I just wasn't into it. Maybe it was Steve's fault for getting me thinking about killer B Audis

Whatever the case, it was a morning where I didn't want to set  a good example, be green, save money and commute by bicycle.

But any day I can, I have to.


See above.
I feel as the co-creator of 3 human beings I have certain ecological responsibility.  Part of that responsibility is not using a car for trips I can make under my own power.  I also need to show them how to live a healthy lifestyle for their own well being as well as the planet.

Oh, yeah kids eat a lot of food, which they aren't just giving away, so every little bit helps.

Begrudgingly I suited up.  All that procrastinating meant now I'd have to pedal harder than I really wanted to get to work on time.


Work was good, but guess what?  There was a bike ride waiting for me at the end of the day.  At one point someone joked a customer wanted to take me home with her, "good" I said "I don't feel like riding".

But the evening was nice, the wind was warm, and the lights were kind.

Ready to do it another day.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Put Your Fucking Phone The Fuck Away!

On the ride to work yesterday, I was sort of perplexed with how hard it seemed for a car to pass me on Middle Rd.  It's a wide, clean road with a good shoulder.  But it got passed me without incident, so no harm no foul, right?

Then it came to a complete stop, 30' from the stop sign splitting the right and left turn lanes.  I need to get to work, so I pull around the car on the left side (I was turning left).  The woman is holding her phone out in front of her face.

You can guess what I shouted at her.

She looked back at me like a defiant child.

Everyone says they are in favor of tougher distracted driving laws, but the consequence of such doesn't seem to be having the right effect.  Informally I'd say 1/3 of the drivers I see are on the phone.  Are you?

Since it seems unlikely that you'll actually be punished for breaking the law, consider this:



Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Pathlete

Twice this past week our paths have crossed.  First time you were headed towards me, as I said hello on the busy rail trail you spit across my lane of travel.

Second time as you pulled along side me, I nodded and said hello.  You kept your steely gaze straight forward as you powered down the bike path in your aerobars.

As you weaved through walkers, joggers, mom's pushing strollers, etc, my  curiosity was peeked.  I wanted to see why such as serious athlete was using this multi-purpose trail for such an intense workout.  I raised my cadence a bit, but alas, you turned down 177 before I could close the gap completely.

The thing is my friend, you weren't putting your money where your mouth was so to speak.  You looked all serious in you matching kit, but you weren't really putting out the watts, but if you could really lay down some power you'd know better than doing so on a busy Saturday morning on a popular rail trail.

You did look cool though; I'm sure everyone you passed was very impressed.
Especially the moms with strollers.

Monday, September 16, 2013

Tymor Park Challenge

Without taking an extended road trip or a boat, the last mtb race of the season was the Tymor Park Challenge, finale of the Campmor H2H race series.  I had considered doing the Freetown 50 as after the Hampshire 100 I'm really digging longer distances, but speaking of longer distances, it would be about 100 miles more in the car, so the Tymor Challenge became much more attractive.

After a pre-ride lap I did something I rarely do; I put on a bigger cog.  Tymor has over 900' of climbing in each 5.33 mile lap; about 50% more than I was expecting.  That's Vermont-y.

The only name I recognized of the pre-registered riders was Brian Kelley.  I don't believe we had ever actually raced, but I had seen his name in the results of some New England races and knew he was no joke.

Talking with Thierry, I missed the pre-race meeting.  No big deal, it's a Cat1 XC race; ride 4 laps as fast as you can.  Right?

They are smart and start the singlespeed riders after the Pros; no slower riders to get stuck behind on climbs.

The Pros go off and our 2 minutes is counted down, whistle blows and we are off.  It not a big field of racers, but as the trail narrows for a bridge, things are getting tight, elbows knocked, and I back off a bit.

There is about a quarter mile more before we bang a left into the woods and head up the first climb.  I spin it up, and get there first, taking the A line on the climb.  Brian grabs the B line and passes me...strongly.  Another rider is dicing with me as we come to the convergence of the A and B line.  I push hard and get there first.

Brian is super smooth in the singletrack.  Conditions are perfect, but this part of the course has slick, black hard pack that take skill and confidence to ride fast.  I'm hold Brian to about 10 meters (eurotrash for 35'), but not closing at all.

Then there is an awful metallic crunch and Brian pulls over.

I'm really bummed, as I'm thinking a horrendous mechanical has taken him out.

But no sooner than I think this He's back on my wheel.

Showing the Broseph nature of the SS, he calls out turns I might has missed do to my unfamiliarity with the course.

When we get to the last third of the lap we are still right together.  But the last 1/3 has some of the most significant climbs.  Slowly I'm able to grow a gap, and by the time we get back to the grass, it's  almost 30".

Now things get lonely.  The next 2 laps I ride completely alone.   Trying to stay on top of things and not get complacent.

It's not until the last 1/3 of the 3rd lap that Matt Boobar, XTerra pro racing the 40-49 class catches me and gives me a little company before he powers away.

I'm really starting to feel it in my legs at the end of the lap, but need to keep on top of it for just one more.  Hopefully I can ride all the climbs one last time.  As I sprint through the start finish I see some Pros hanging around.  "Wow" I think "they finished 4 laps faster than I finished 3".  As I hammer down the fireroad, about to turn into the woods up the hill, I hear someone shouting "3 laps, buddy it's only 3 laps!"

It's my pal Neal from the Errace Power by Central Wheel team and winner of the Pro race letting me know I was done and won.  I guess the Pros would have had to pass me to do a 4th lap huh?  Maybe those pre-race meetings are of a little more importance too?

1st place Singlespeed second fastest Cat1.

About a minute later Brian comes down the road; I'm relived that his only mechanical was just a stick, and his bike was good the rest of the race.

Glad I had the bigger cog, wouldn't have minded one tooth bigger either.

Just when things get rolling the season is coming to an end...

On an equipment note, I rode Blü.2, my Singular Swift. The last race I won was on my this bike.  It was a climby VT race.  I've had decent result on other bikes, but my Swift, even with a couple extra pounds is the bike I've the greatest accomplishments on.  Always reliable.  I haven't officially been a Singular team member since 2010, but if it ain't broke...

Monday, September 9, 2013

Landmine 2013

Things were going well in the lead up to Landmine.

Then they weren't

Time for the commuter mtb time trial test.

I tried putting the carbon fork back on Aspasia (my dirt little whore).

Tried Blü.2

I even tried a big boy gear.

Riding a singlespeed mountain bike to work,  you have a lot of time to think when you get to the road sections.  You start playing games with math and names (well I do).  The bike  (Blü.2) + the gear (17t) = B-17.

When I saw Mike had signed up for the race I decided to have a little fun with him.  I gave one of my rides a cryptic name on Strava making reference to the B-17 and Mike.

Posted a picture of a B-17 on his facebook page.

On the starting line I even pointed out his front tire was on backwards.

Nothing.  The man is unflappable.

Making a special guest appearance in the SS Open class was none other than former Demi-Pro and Dirtwire.TV head honcho Thom P.

The whistle blows and for one glorious moment I'm leading MKRThom, and the rest of the hearty SS field.
As we turn into the woods, the dream ends and Mike takes the lead.  I'm waiting for him to power away from me, but I'm able to hang.

Mike picks really good lines too, so he's making riding 2nd wheel really easy.

I know there is one sort of climb coming up followed by a pretty technical (for me) descent.  It would be good to be at the front for this to A. maybe get a gap on the climb and B.prevent Mike and Thom from running away from me on the descent (Thom is attached tenaciously to us).

Make a cheeky pass on MKR and plans are going as planned.

There is some place swapping here and there, but we're all hanging.

One thing about the SS class is it's like a Brodown-Showdown; you want to do well and go fast, but you also want to have fun riding with your friends.  As such, Mike is calling out turns when he's leading, and we're talking about this and that when we have the breath.

Mike and I start stretching a little gap on Thom.  We even get out of sight of him...until I lead us off course (Doh!  Turn left, not tight left!).  Thom catches us and asks if we're looking for the A line.

Mike gets back on course first and starts to build momentum.

I'm holding a gap over Thom until he gets crafty and latches on to the leaders of the Master's 50+.  He uses them to get back to me, and then the rocks and roots of the course to get away.

The third quarter of the race was a dark place for me.  Thom is out of sight and I really don't know how I'm doing.  Pushing a bigger gear than I normally would I'm having a hard time judging my exertion.  That being said, I'm still catching riders from the groups that started ahead of us.  I try to reassure myself that this is a good sign of a consistent effort.

Popping out on to one of the road sections in the final quarter of the race I see a splendid vision.  Thom.
He's within sight and I have a bigger gear.

I try and leave it all out there as we weave through traffic, Thom going in and out of my line of sight as we wind through to the finish.  As we're about to come out into the field and take the big bermed turn to the finish line I'm right on him.

Why isn't he sprinting?

Because he finished 30 seconds earlier and this is one of his geared teammates.

Mike takes the W, Thom gets 2nd and I close out the podium all within one minute.
Mike and Thom kept the pace up high enough that we caught and passed most of the 19-29 and 30-39 podiums.

Now that's racing!

Thom missed the podium doing the dirty work for

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Hampshire 100

Hi blog, how's it going?  Been a long time...oh yeah, I did a race over the weekend.

This past Sunday 8/18/2013, I did my first NUE 100, the Hampshire 100.  A number of people asked for details so I thought this might be a good place to talk about it.

My personal life and responsibilities have been kinda crazy so I thought it would be prudent to throw all my eggs in one basket and have one big goal.  I've been coaching Jocelyn who specializes in 100s for almost 2 years, and while I've been super impressed with her progress, it was time to put my money where my mouth is and show I knew what the fück I was talking about.

Commuting to work by bicycle, I get a lot of miles in.  Most days this is just about getting to and from work, but there was some specificity thrown in there too.  Some days I would ride my mtb (The Sauser method) hitting whatever singletrack I could patch in to my route.  There was some intensity in there too (40/20s; Jocelyn's favorite).  I rode my mtb on my days off.  I did not do a ride over 5 hours this year prior to the H100.  I followed a pretty standard 2 or 3 weeks on 1 week recovery training schedule.

The week before the race I watched my nutrition closely.  Didn't give up donuts entirely, but I did make sure I was eating well balanced and not just filling up on carbs and simple sugars.  The real Charlie Beal has got me on a "Would you like some oatmeal with your bowl of fruit" breakfast regiment (that would be my Dad and first breakfast).  Thursday night I made pasta with summer squash, tomato, capers, garlic and Parmesan accompanied by a truly kickass salad.  I made a large enough portion to bring leftovers to work on Saturday.

The drive up to Keene after work went like clockwork.  Dropped my stuff off at the motel, and went out seeking some dinner.  Found some and then spent the next hour driving around lost trying to get back to the motel before I could eat it.  Quickly stuffed my face, set the alarm for 4:00 AM and went to sleep.

4:00 AM.
Thankfully Jocelyn brought Starbucks.

I don't mean to brag but then I pooped...twice.

Drive over to the venue, and check in goes smoothly. Pre-race meeting is somewhat redundant, so I skip out to go back to the car to get my backup race food in case I don't like what the aid stations have available.   Can't find it (it was right where it was supposed to be), and make my way back over to the start.  As they announce 30 seconds to go, I realizes my bottles are empty.

Where's the water?

I just get a bottle full before the start.

(@ :50 I'm tied for DFL)

The first 20 miles are fast.  Really fast.  I'm being passed by the 100k elites, then veterans, and masters.  When I stop to fill my bottles and grab some food, the 100k sport riders catch and pass me.  I'm wishing I had the 18t cog I had at Hodges.

Then things tilt up.
Some good climbs to get back into the hunt.  Then some brutal hike-a-bikes to make me curse the man who came up with the idea of carbon soled mtb shoes.

At about mile 45 I'm starting to have some doubts.  Will I regret the 100 miles and dropout at 100k?

Knowing the first 20 miles of the second lap are the same as the first, I try convincing myself that the last 38 miles will be easier.

At mile 54 I realize I'm more than half way done which gives me a little boost (or maybe it was the Coke?).

The race organizers are pretty tricky in that they put the sweetest singletrack in the miles before the start / finish 100k lap.  Makes you forget about the suckiness of the flat miles and two hike-a-bikes yet to come in the final 38 miles.  When I cross the lap mark, I'm not ready to stop riding.

Looping through the venue, catch up to masters racer John Mosher who is suffering some awful cramps.  This makes it possible to keep up with him on the fast stuff, and get away from him and a couple of other masters when we get to the climbs.

Coming into water station 2 (where the sport 100k riders caught me on lap 1) I see Thierry rounding the ball field.

Thierry's a good carrot to chase...but it's pancake flat and he dangles 200 meters in front of me...for a long time.

Finally we get to some climbs and I catch him.  I think he lets me get away so he doesn't have to listen to my creaking bottom bracket.

Suffer the final hike-a-bikes and on to the final pass of the roller coaster singletrack.  Carving through the dark loamy ribbons of awesomeness I come up on a couple 100k riders.
One of them asks in exasperation "is it much longer"?
 I console him with "not much further; you're almost there".
"Is it hard"
"It's wicked fun" is my final reply as I push on.

As I cross the line a robot voice says "Number 1000, 4th in class, 23rd overall".

Say what?!

Turns out podium goes 5 deep too.

Way better than I expected.  I was in this to finish it and have a good time riding my bike, both of which I accomplished, no way was I expecting anymore.  Such a surprise I didn't even get all gussied up in my Createx / Benidorm garb before they were calling us up.

check out more cycling coverage, videos, and photos @

Now that I've done a 100 miler, I want to do more.  So much fun.  Like going on a really long group ride that's catered.  Probably can go a little faster now that I know what to expect, and by streamlining my time at the aid stations.   I can't wait for the next one!

Next time you see me ask me to tell you my bike racing / sex analogy.

Hey!  We made the International Cycling news at too!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

“It's being here now that's important. There's no past and there's no future. Time is a very misleading thing. All there is ever, is the now. We can gain experience from the past, but we can't relive it; and we can hope for the future, but we don't know if there is one.”
― George Harrison

“There is no future, there is no past. I live this moment as my last.  ― Jonathan Larson

What's all this metaphysical hippy mumbo jumbo?

It's about riding a bicycle.

It doesn't matter what you just rode, or what you will have to ride, but what you are riding RIGHT NOW!

You'll get to the top soon enough, thinking about how long and hard it's going to be won't change anything.

Just pedal.
Around and around and around.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

I love this shit

Some of my most memerable rides have been when it's raining.

You say "I just don't give a fuck" and you ride.

So you get a little dirty (for the record, the trails around here are cement hard this time of year especially with the lack of rain this Spring.  More fir needles and decomposing leaves than actual mud or dirt), and as long as you're moving you stay warm.  Just think how good the shower is going to feel?

In my experience, it is most slippery when the sun comes out and things start drying.  There is a transitional slime between wet and dry.  Keep off the front brake and let the rear come around.  A little loosy goosey; steer with your rear.

Better yet, don't think about it and just ride.

Today was one of those days.  Everything was perfect.  

It just flowed.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Bad Dad

Looking at the weekend's forcast the Q's baseball game might be rained out.


If it rains on a day there is a baseball game and a mtb race, the baseball game will be canceled but the mtb race will go on as planned.

Is it wrong to hope for rain?

Friday, May 3, 2013

How was your drive to work today?

Bill sums it up pretty well why I'd rather ride my bike


Monday, April 22, 2013

WT Fat Tire Classic 2013

Boy, did I miss that!

After a anxious morning trying to busy myself before the first race I'd actually participate in this year (I had paid for 2 already but circumstance prevented me from attending), I made my way over to Winding Trails for the Fat Tire Classic.

The proximity of Winding Trails presents the unique opportunity to actually ride to the race.  Carpe Diem and all that jazz.

After catching up with a few friends, and my parents(!),  Chris was calling us to the line.  Being one of the first races of the season, Winding Trails always has a good turn out; there were about 30 of us in the Junior Geezer Class (Cat1 40-49).

The whistle blows and we're a wrecking ball...and I'm not with out fault.  Brian McInnis and I bang hard  off the line, and going 3 wide into singletrack I find myself bashing through a bush on the inside line.

After that ugliness is done it's Winding Trails at it's best; everyone it just beating their brains out.  No place to rest; full on for 4 laps.  Tasting blood in the back of your throat, not leaving anything on the table.

Last couple laps settled into a carrot / cat /mouse scenario.  Jonathon Tarbox was the carrot, I was the mouse and Scott Hood was the cat.  Chasing Jon and staying in front of Scott kept me going.

Finished 10th on the day, which I'm pretty happy with.  Had a great time pulverizing myself to pulp.

Ben from Gita Sports had very generously offered to let me race the Pinarello Dogma XC, but I decided
make-believe time was over and I should just ride my own bike.

Totally geeking out with numbers, last year Josh Wilcox (winner of this year's Cat 1 SS) was 10% faster than me; this year 3.5%.  Mike (winner of the Cat1 40-49) was 8% faster than me last year; 7% this year.  So progress!

One problem with riding to the race is you then have to ride home from the race!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Pinarello Cinderella

 Gita Sports dropped of something a little different at the shop the other day

The Pinarello Dogma XC.
I jokingly quipped to Ben "I could race that at Winding Trails"
Without missing a beat he replied "Go ahead".

I was a little taken back by this; me riding a Dogma XC with full XTR, Fox CTD fork and DT Swiss 1450 wheels.  A little different from my mantra of "Jam Econo".

One problem is this is contrary to my yearly goal of riding only SS or fixed this year.

Technically I ride geared bikes all the time when I'm test riding repairs, so if riding the Dogma XC was considered "work"...

Pete asked me "Are you going to ride the Pinarello"
Hello loophole!!

I rode it home from work cutting through the Res.  Not having a spare tube I took it rather easy.  My first thought was the bottom bracket was a little low as I struck my pedals on some rocks.  But the cranks are 175 mm and I ride 170 mm on my own mountain bikes. so it might just be me not being used to them.

The next day I met Josh and TJ over at Winding Trails for some Recon laps.

Very pleasant.

The center of gravity is low on the frame as is the standover  height; one of the few 29ers, if not the only, that I've ridden that has a suitable top tube length without compromising the ol' wedding tackle.  This helps the Dogma XC rail corners.  The handling is sublime.  The best compliment I can give it is I didn't think about it.  I just got on it and rode.

No quirks.

The carbon has a solid, direct feeling, yet some compliance.  This was most evident, along with the well mannered handling, when I hopped back on my bike.  In contrast I had to really man-handle Aspasia to get her around the course, something I had never noticed before.

Who is the Dogma XC for?
It's a well thought out, great handling bike (except for the single water bottle mount); if you're a XC rider of discerning taste and means, this might be the bike for you.

If only it came in a singlespeed...

Friday, April 12, 2013

Deep Thoughts

Just riding along...
I was noticing just how developed the once local farmland had become.  Can't really argue wit the farmer selling his land; a man's got to make a living.
I suppose the same can be said for the land owner who sells off a forest for development.
(just how did he/they become the owner of a forest?).

Shaking my head in disgust I realized it's what the majority of people want.
Society is less and less interested in being outside, so a  greater emphasis is put on  their insides.

When everyone spends every waking moment "connected" electronically  (and blogging) , with their faces buried in a screen, who needs outside?

I do.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Diving in blindly
centrifugal force, traction
please don't fail me now

Tuesday, April 9, 2013


If I go mountain biking today my commuter ride / drive ratio will drop below 80%

Better make it worth it...

Friday, April 5, 2013

Somethings are decided for you.

This what I wanted to race:

But the Rockshox Reba RL went back to Sram for warranty repair.  Sram says I should follow their service intervals more strictly.  I guess since I've only had the fork since October, it was out of service due to undersized air seal o-rings for about a month, off the trail for about 8 weeks due to snow, and only ridden once or twice a week the rest of the time that service interval is a rebuild every 3 or 4 rides.

I built up Blu.2 with a Manitou Minute.
It just didn't feel right.  I know this combo can feel good, but just needed some more dialing.

Before the dialing, I thought I'd deal with a sticky brake caliper.
Disc brake calipers aren't supposed to fizz are they?
Nothing a good bleeding is going to fix.

So there it is.  The choice has been made for me.

Aspasia rigid it is.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Fan Boi

You can't argue with what works.

I tend to root for the underdog.  Maybe lean more towards the esoteric or exotic rather than the big brands.
But when it was time for new commuter tires I caved to the low hanging fruit and went with what was readily available at my LBS.

Here's what I look for in a commuter tire:

  • Flat resistance
  • Tread longevity
Any other positive attributes are a bonus.

For years I had been using probably the most popular touring / commuting tire.  When my commute switched from the The Apple Valley to the Farmington Valley my flat frequency increased by the power of 5.  A change was needed.

Specialized had an interesting idea with their Roubaix Pro tires.  They take a size larger 120 tpi Endurant casing and mount a size smaller tread to it.  A 28 mm casing has a 25 mm tread (a 25 mm has a 23 mm).  You get the comfort of the larger size with the speed of the smaller.
It also has a harder  center tread compound with a stickier side compound for durability and cornering grip.

So enough of the marketing mumbo-jumbo; how do they ride?

I'm impressed.
These are the most comfortable road tires I have ridden.  That includes tubulars.


Clinchers have come a long way!
I have about 500 miles on them and they have been "F" free (never use the "F" word when speaking of tires).  No signs of wear so far.  I guess a tire can be durable and comfortable.
They've seen all New England has to offer; broken tarmac, dirt, ice, snow and the dreaded Bike Path Roubaix.

Right now I have them mounted on my Cross bike (that I am enamoured with) so I mounted those other tires on my regular commuter so I'd have a bike ready to go with fenders.  Yesterday there was a chance of showers in the afternoon, and it had rained the night before.  Perfect, I"ll ride the Fun Machine.

I flatted on the way in...

and on the way home.

I need another set of Roubaixs!

I forgot to put my pump on my bike this morning; very thankful for the Roubaixs!

(let the corporate shill comments fly)

Monday, March 25, 2013

The human body is truly amazing.

After Friday's excitement I still needed to go to work on Saturday.  Friday night my car wouldn't start (I had to wait for Mrs. CB2 to get home from work before I could drive myself to the ER).
I woke early after a fitful few hours of sleep, assessed I was good enough, and prepared to ride to work.

We start early on Saturdays to meet before we open, and I needed to stop for coffee on the way in.
First store I stopped at wasn't open, so I rode on, thankful the morning chill wasn't having any effect on my stitches.

A few miles down the road I found a store that was open (captivating, I know).

Got to work, soldiered through 8 hours, with a bonus 45 minutes rehanging the shop sign the wind had blown down; a lot of teamwork getting that thing back up, and headed home.

I was very thankful for a tailwind.

Once home, my body knew it's work was done and I just crashed.
My daughter was unable to wake me for dinner.

It was as if my body knew; get through Saturday, then you can rest.

I woke briefly, shoveled some food down my throat and made my way upstairs.
I slept for another 11 hours.

Sunday my body stayed in recovery mode.

Drank coffee.
Went for a walk.
Baked cookies.
Drank coffee.
Changed tires.
Watched an English Sitcom
Drank coffee.

Today (Monday) almost three days since the accident, I'm feeling almost normal.
Other than the fuzzy growth around the stitches, my face feels fine.
Curiously my iliotibial bands are sore but not as bad as the arm I got the tetanus shot in.

Tomorrow, hopefully we'll be back to regularly scheduled program.

Saturday, March 23, 2013

The Mistakes I Made

I was hit by a car.

On my ride home from work, on Boulevard, a couple blocks from Main St (right around the corner from home), a woman rolled a stop sign and hit me.


I slammed on my brakes, swerved clipped her front fender grazing the headlamp and endo'd.

I popped up like it was a rehearsed acrobatic routine.

Slapping my palm on her hood, I marched to her window and shouted "It's a stop sign, stop!"

"I did stop" she replied.

"No you didn't, you need to pay attention" I retorted.

"I was looking for headlights".

I pointed to my bike on the ground with it's 650 lumen headlamp blazing while my two watt tail lamp flashed in her face "I have a headlight".

"Keep your eyes open and pay attention" were my last words as I picked up my bike, gave it a once over, and rode off.

I did not get her name, take a picture of her car, or get the witness' number that was offered.
I did not realize I was injured.

I was.

The adrenaline was masking any pain I was feeling.
When I went to put on my riding glasses they were smeared with blood.

Looking in the mirror at home my chin was dripping and my face was splattered.
Maybe she was in shock at what she had just done to another human being, or maybe she was worried about being sued, but you think she might have had the decency to mention MY FACE WAS SPLIT OPEN.
(maybe she just didn't give a fuck)

6 stitches in my chin, and a tetanus shot.

No matter how good you feel, get names and numbers.

I'm okay, I think my bike is okay, I don't want anything from the lady but a hope that she has gained some awareness.

Be careful out there.
I concluded it could have as easily happened if not more so  in broad daylight as I might have blended into the environment even more w/o the lights.  Driving back from the ER, I couldn't help but notice just how well lit Boulevard really is.

It can happen anywhere.

Monday, March 11, 2013

I Could kiss you GW

I guess that dude's happy about daylight savings time too.

In the past I cursed #43 for his extension of DST (which in reality I doubt he really had anything to do with); it effected my commute.  I was thrown from not needing lights into darkness.

But I don't work there anymore!!!

At Benidorm DST works in my favor.  I should only need a full on headlight 1 day a week.
That's pretty sweet.

Another thing that is pretty sweet, is the bike path is mostly passable.

There were a few section where it went down to a singletrack and even an icy foot path, but mostly good to go.

The sweet smell of Spring is out there too.


Monday, March 4, 2013

It Might Be You

A young man complained to the social cyberness of how he was honked at 7 times in one ride.
 "What's wrong with you drivers!"

I ride in traffic...a lot.  I'm the first to spout off about some douche in a 6000 pound cocoon of death, but 7 times?

I don't think I was honked or yelled at 7 times in the past year.

I think we, cyclist, get awfully indignant  about our right to the road, and drivers sharing the road but do we ever consider the other side of the equation?

Do we obey the law?
Do we ride as far to the right as safely possible (which can be the center of the lane)?
Stop at stoplights and even stop signs (at least when there's an audience)?
Do we try and share the road too or just expect others to extend us the courtesy?

Life is too short, if you are continuously being harassed on the road, you might want to consider how you are using it.  There will always be self absorbed pricks out there, don't give them any fuel for the fire.

Sunday, March 3, 2013

Stack and Reach

Stack and reach is (are) a valuable resource when fitting a bicycle.  It seems simple enough but has been a revelation as I begin to understand it more.

The easiest way for me to understand stack and reach is to think of a framing square.  Hold the short end of the square level bisecting the center of the top of the head tube while the long side bisects the bottom bracket.  The vertical measurement from the center of the bb to the top of the square is your stack.  The horizontal from the headtube back is your reach.

Fortunately I'm short enough to get a rough measurement using that method, but more and more manufacturers are providing stack and reach numbers with their bikes (so grownup sized people can use it too).

Yesterday at the shop a dad and son were looking for a new mountain bike for the boy.  Dad was willing on spending a pretty nice sum on the bike too.   But dad was also worried about the boy having a growth spurt and be out looking to spend a pretty nice sum again pretty soon.  Pete was able to show that although the stand over on a medium Rockhopper 29 was an inch and a half higher the reach was only a centimeter more than a small.   The small would fit and have room to grow (it's spec'd with only a 60mm stem).

Personally (by dumb luck) the Fun Machine fits me pretty well.  Going by the stack and reach of that bike I was able to see I had too long a stem on the Sunday Princess, which explains the slipping forward I sometimes experience.

La Folle is a bird of a different color.  A prototype cyclocross frame with a slightly sloping top tube.  The top and head tubes measure really long.  Going by those dimensions I had put a really short stem on the bike.  It always felt off.  Between the Euro-high bb and quick angles the bike seemed too tall and rode just weird.  When I measured the stack and reach, yes the stack was greater than my other bikes, but the reach was actually a good bit shorter.  I needed a longer, not shorter stem.  I stole the Princess's stem and now I can't get enough of the Crazy Bitch.

Next time you're looking for a new bike or frame, add stack and reach to your arsenal of tools in choosing a size or brand.  Or if you have a bike that just doesn't seem right check the stack and reach.  Still can't seem to dial it in, and hate math, call Jan for a professional fitting.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Interest Earned

Day in day out, week after week, I suck it up and ride to work.  No Jens Factor, it's just what I do.  Before working at Benidorm I would schedule the days I needed my truck around the weather.  Now I don't have an excuse.  I've found that after some initial anxiety it really isn't too tough.  On the worst of days I can still get to or from work in less than an hour.  How long does the average American spend in the car commuting to work?

It's like a bank.  A commuter bank.  I look at every day I ride in as like time in the bank for the days I do want to drive.

It's like a real bank too as operating an automobile gets more and more expensive (duh!).

But this isn't about commuting; this is about today.

After completing 2 of 4 trips across town shuttling students, and running errands, I had a few hours to myself.  Beautiful day, in the mid 40s *F and a great friend returned an old  friend.

La Folle*

What's more fun than riding a bike you haven't ridden in awhile?

Days like today are like the interest earned on my commuter bank account.

*La Folle, the madwoman.  Prototype Singular Kite with  Euro high BB and super quick handling.  You've got stay on your toes or she'll be laughing (maniacally) at you when she crashes you into a snowbank.

Thursday, February 21, 2013

To the Prius driver who felt so compelled to yell out his window "It's too late to be riding a bike", just keep your eyes on the road.  If it is too hard for you to drive you sub compact down a wide well lit road whilst others legally use it, maybe you shouldn't be on the road?
Obviously your motivation for owing a Prius is only self-serving  and you care little about the environment or your impact on it.  Actually if you did a little research you'd have found while your car may get the almost as good gas mileage as a 1980's Honda, it leaves a far deeper scar upon the earth.
Finally, unless you are offering me a ride, may I so humbly request you shut the fuck up!

A Goal...maybe

As I was riding to work the other day, just loving the way the Fun Machine rolled it occurred to me it has been quite sometime since I rode a geared bike of any kind.  Had I rode one this year?

(I might have on January 10th, although I have it marked as the Fun Machine)

So,  can I go for the rest of 2013 without riding a multispeed bicycle?

I had given some thought to riding gears for some of the early season flatter races just to see if it would make a difference for me.  Do I shelf this idea?

Take a different path?

Might put me off the back on group road rides, but maybe that is a good excuse to be otb and just enjoy the ride?

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Your Most Cherished Day

A conversation was started; what was your most cherished day on the bike?

Races were sighted.
Trips abroad.
Time with children.

Beautiful experiences.
All the right answers.

I get that "this is the best ride ever" feeling alot.

On mundane commutes I'll look around at the world and say "fück yeah, this is great!"

Sure winning a race, or an epic trip is awesome, but cherish and appreciate the "ordinary"; you might be surprised...

Thursday, February 14, 2013

image blatantly stolen from Dayle's link to Cycle Tree

First commute in since Charlotte / Nemo yesterday and I'd like to say thank you.

Thank you to all the drivers out there who waited until it was safe to pass.  Who gave me enough room.  Who didn't honk or feel compelled to express their opinion of my sanity.

Most of the roads I commuted on had some semblance of a shoulder.  Others not so much.

I rode Blu.2 with two front fenders (like two condoms; double protection for my pleasure); a down tube, and a clip on, plus a clip on rear.  I rightly thought the added security of CX tires, plus the surgical precision of handling would be well worth any loss in speed.

For the most part everything went as planned.  I was boldly carving through roadside slush until I hit a patch after Farmington HS that was slush over ice.  After that "Oh Shit" moment, I decided to exert my right to take the lane more.

Probably ride Blu.2 the rest of the week just in case (plus it's really fun).

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I hate giving in, and I'll likely regret it, but I'm going to give the roads another day before I ride in again.

(shut up Pete)

Monday, February 11, 2013

This isn't an invitation

I don't know if you've heard, but we got a little snow this weekend.

After fearing it wouldn't start, my snowblower ran out of gas 2+ hours into pushing it through snow up to 30"  deep...with a lot of snow still to go.

No alternative but take up the shovel, and you know what?  It wasn't that bad.  3+ hours moving snow turns out to be a pretty good core and arm workout.

I'm not volunteering to come over and dig you out, and I'm definitely going to tune up my blower, but maybe embrace what the snow can give me back in terms of a workout.

and I got a ride in too.

For some reason the town plows the roads in neighborhoods with an extra digit in the price a lot better than those that have sidewalks.

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Voices in My Head

From time to time I'm post what songs are running through my head as I ride.  This is today's sound track.

  Followed by

(dig Fred's moustache!)

 after this piece of crap infiltrated my subconscious

I lost a chain ring bolt

 thank god Jello was having nothing to do with that and changed the channel


concluding with

Friday, February 1, 2013

On the ride to work yesterday I got to thinking about sports.  this weekend is both the Superbowl and the Cyclocross World Championships.

There was a nice article in the WSJ about the two (you've probably already seen it)

There is such a stark juxtaposition between the two.
Hundreds of thousands of kids play football, but with the exception of the Thanksgivings pre-meal game in the yard how may continue playing as adults?  Are there even adult leagues?  In contrast very few kids compete in bicycle racing, but tens of thousands of adults compete in amateur racing in the US alone.

Which got me to thinking: are there other sports that have world championships for athletes?
Google says yes.

Golfing, Xterra and Tri, boxing, bodybuilding, even pinball have worlds.

What does this all mean?  I don't know.

Another question:  How do you define amateur?
I guess amateur in cycling can be anyone over 35.  To me amateur  racing should be for people who have a day gig other than racing a bike.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

I broke down; I put on the balaclava.

Single digits and a daily morning headwind finally did me in.

With the temperature, and somewhat sloppy conditions (we had a dusting of snow a couple of days), I needed to adjust my strategy.

You know the old saying; "Great race bikes make the best commuters"

Neither do I; they don't, but sort of do.

Blu.2 has been put into the service of the greater good.
I started off with a 63" gear, but with the headwinds or hills to avoid the headwind knocked it down to a 60".

The 35mm Panaracer Cinder X tires I have set up on it tubeless are like Velcro.
This is a Happy/Sad kinda thing.
Great on snow, ice, sand and other assorted road grim; slow as something really slow on dry pavement.
But that's okay; my theory being I have to work hard which will keep me warmer.

It's nice having the the control of an mtb in avoiding road side 'gnar, but even with the stem flipped, and a flat bar you can only got so aero on it.

This post has been brought to you by the semicolon; the punctuation mark of kings.

Saturday, January 26, 2013

This week I must admit has been testing...but doable.
Friday morning was the worst.
The weatherman had promised milder temps (if you consider low 20*Fs mild), and lighter winds.  They arrived but after my morning ride in.  Not only was I riding straight into a stiff wind, wishing I had given my balaclava a try, I forgot my  headlamp (again!) and had to turn around adding a mile to my commute.

The ride home @ 21*F seemed balmy in comparison.

It looks like today will be a similar affair, but hopefully I'll beat  some of the daylight warmup wind by starting an hour earlier.

Maybe I'm just being stubborn, but it's hard to bring myself to drive if there isn't precipitation.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

At work today I jinxed myself; I commented how my bathroom pipes hadn't frozen.  When I got home and went upstairs, I commented to Mrs CB2 how cozy our bedroom was.  "I'm trying to thaw a frozen pipe" was her reply.


Yes Winter is here, but that doesn't have to stop you from riding.

Here's what I've been wearing these past few days are:

The Shimano boots and the two Pearl Izumi pieces really are the standouts of my ensemble.  For me the Amfib's are too warm for anything but the most extreme weather (I have a somewhat freakish indifference to temperature*).  Warm and dry is the name of the game, and the Elite Soft Shell and Elite Thermal Fleece fabric deliver.

The Pro Soft Shell gloves have kept my hands comfortable this week.  They are as warm as some lobster gloves I've tried.  The primaloft® insulation provides a cozy yet not bulky anatomic habitat for your paws.  Tonight one of my pinkies was beginning to feel the chill by the time I got home, but single digits + 16 mph for an hour will do that.  I've worn them into the 40*F's without overheating but I haven't (fortunately) had the opportunity to test their water resistance.

**I started wearing the Shimano MW81 boots in October when the the temperature began dipping into the upper 30's on my commute and as the weather has gotten more "challenging" they have proven themselves time and time again.  The Gore Tex liner works well to to keep moisture out while breathing enough to keep my feet from over heating.  Yet even on the coldest rides this year the fleecy lining has kept my feet   indifferent to temperature.  The Velcro closures seem to be some sort of Super Velcro fastening the boots securely from the neoprene ankle wrap to the toe strap.  The sole is stiff enough for efficient power transfer, while the widely spaced lugs offer plenty of traction for off the bike excursions.  I'm skeptical of any claims of water resistance (or waterPROOF), but when a friend trying to be helpful sprayed me with the hose after a muddy ride, they remained impervious to the blast.  The comfort range I've experienced so far has been single digits to mid 40's.

There's an old saying "There's no bad weather, just bad clothing".  I don't know if I'd go that far, but with the right gear I've comfortably stayed on the bike and out of the car this Winter.

*when I'm exercising; sitting at home, sure I'll take another blanket

**Yeah, this rehashes the shoe review, but I needed something for work, but stop by and you'll see I'm using all of the above daily

Monday, January 21, 2013

Happy Feet

"The path to an enlightened sole is traveled in comfortable shoes"
                                                                                             -The Dalai Lama

The Dalai Lama didn't really say that, but I bet he was thinking it.  Maybe?


Happy feet make for a happy rider, and with the Winter's chill happy feet can be found within Shimano MW 81 Winter cycling boots.

I started wearing these in October when the the temperature began dipping into the upper 30's on my commute.  As the weather has gotten more "challenging" they have proven themselves time and time again.

The Gore Tex liner works well to to keep moisture out while breathing enough to keep my feet from over heating.  Yet even on the coldest rides this year the fleecy lining has kept my feet   indifferent to temperature.  The comfort range I've experienced so far from has been sub 20's to mid 40's.

The Velcro closures seem to be some sort of Super Velcro fastening the boots securely from the neoprene ankle wrap to the toe strap.  The sole is stiff enough for efficient power transfer, while the widely spaced lugs offer plenty of traction for off the bike excursions.

I'm skeptical of any claims of water resistance (or waterPROOF), but when a friend trying to be helpful sprayed me with the hose after a muddy ride, they remained impervious to the blast. 

You might be asking yourself "Self, sure Winter mtb boots might be great for Charlie, he mountain bikes, why would I need such a boot?"

First I've worn them more on my daily commute than offroad, and if Winter comfort isn't good enough for you they offer convenience.  A booty can provide you  adequate protection from the elements  (MW 81's are warmer), but if you are riding every day it is so much easier to put on a boot, than put on your cycling shoes then a booty.  

There is also the cheapskate factor.  Cheapskate?  At $230?  


They are the best constructed Winter boots I have come across, so they are an investment in the future.  Quality booties run about $100, and are great if you are just going to be wearing them on the weekends.  If you are riding more often even the best booties will wear out.  Once you've gotten a few seasons out of the MW 81's that $230 starts looking pretty cheap.  

Heck, I've only got 4 months on mine, and I already think they are one of the best cycling investments I've made in the past year.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Nothing Special

I don't know what it was but something was just right about my commute yesterday.
Everything just went smoothly and I felt great.

My headlight even seemed brighter.

Nothing special, but special.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Fun With GPS

Let's see, looks like someone stopped at the bank, got a bagel, used the bathroom at MacDonald's and bought a dollar coffee before work Saturday morning.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

All About the Experience

Everyone has their quirks.

An online conversation drifted from broken components to modern v. classic bikes.

One side felt the performance advantage of modern carbon bicycles and state of the art components were superior, whereas the other  felt there are some intangibles of aesthetics that no amount of technology can compensate for.

Who's right?

They both are.

If the latest and greatest is what gets you excited about riding your bike that's awesome!

If  a hand-brazed (or tig'd) frame made by a local artisan is what gets your blood pumping; spectacular!

It's all about the rider, their perceptions and what makes them happy.  What makes me happy might not ring your bell.  I'm pretty lucky in that I'm not very particular.  It just has to work, and work silently.  I don't worry about aero-advantage or gram counting (well, not too concerned with grams); those things just aren't going to improve the experience for me (and let's face it, it's all about ME).  I want to flow, man and machine as one (hippy); what exactly that machine is is of less importance, but again, that's ME.

Go ride YOUR bike and have FUN.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

RIP Burry

U23 World Champion

World Cup Winner

2 time Olympian (5th in London)

Singlespeed World Champion

with the tattoo to prove it

you will be missed.