Monday, August 30, 2010

And the StudMuffin Award Winner Is......

I caught a truck draft on the way to work this morning. Not like this:

I was on pavement, in my 53x11, spinning at 42mph. Euphemistically 'hanging on'.

I did two cyclocross races this weekend. It was fun. My club put them on so it was free too. All I had to do was a little work. I helped score two races both days, ran the registration table for a bit one day, and stayed well after the race both days, picking up trash, taking down course tape and stakes.

The saturday race was a new course. Some sick bastard decided it would be a good idea to put in a rocky, steep, long, technical downhill followed by a rocky, steep, long, technical uphill. It wasn't much of a problem for those of us with decent MTB skills. I thought it was a blast, but a bit much for a CX course. The uphill wasn't quite rideable for me on a CX bike, though I know there were guys that could.

Just after the start finish there was a curb with a 3-foot wide ramp over it, followed by an immediate ten foot drop on a grassy slope and then a shallow downhill for the next 100 yards. On the first lap we headed into but I was amazed that guys were actually slowing down and lining up for the ramp. This was 4 inch curb! I jumped around then group, bunny hopped the curb and blasted down the knoll at full speed. I went from second to last in the pack to about 5th in about 1 second. I ended up on the wheel of the dude that eventually placed 6th. I got jammed into a corner shortly after and lost a few places, but came on strong on the rocky, steep, long, technical downhill and took maybe two spots back. I was actually doing pretty well - riding in the top ten - until I tried to ride one of the run ups at that top of rocky, steep, long, technical uphill, fell over into the brush, and couldn't get up. I was tangled in the branches, the bike actually laying under me so I couldn't get my pedal unclipped. There was a spot where you could remount, push up a little rise, then turn a corner and go up a second tier. It was rideable, but not in traffic. I managed to get free and finish respectably, though I know I could have done better. I do well on technical courses like that.

The sunday race was much more traditional, no real climbing, three run-ups, but lots and lots of roots.

On my warm-up with ChronoMan, we ended up behind a small boy maybe ten years old on a BMX bike riding the course with his dad. the kid was actually moving pretty good. There was one section with perpendicular roots that made a sharp left onto a little wooden bridge. The kid went around it, and the rear of the bike bounced over about 6 inches aiming the kid ride for the water. He gave the bike a hip check to aim it back for the bridge and never stopped pedaling. He cleaned the bridge and the mud/roots on the over side. Chrono and I both cheered him "awesome, great save dude!", and his dad turned around to us beaming with pride.

Through the mountain bike mayhem the day before I had no issues, even letting loose on the rocky, steep, long, technical downhill. Sunday, on the first lap, I took a bad line at high speed and hit a patch of roots, resulting in a bent front wheel and a flat rear. As I was about half-way though the field at that point, I ended up riding about 2/3 of the course on the flat. Neutral support gave me a wheel change and I was on my way - deadfuckinglast.

I had hoped for a top ten finish yesterday, which should have been do-able since we only had 20 entries. Now, let's try not to get lapped. I did end up catching a few guys, and managed to escape the leaders by about one minute.

It's a good thing I don't take this shit seriously.

Anyways, our StudMuffin award of the day goes to......

(drum roll)

Cassandra Maximenko.

(Yes, I know 'stud muffin' is a term that usually applies to the male gender - I prefer to apply it genderalisitcally (?) neutral)

Cassadra won the womens overall at the Journey For Sight triathlon sunday morning, then drove over to our race and placed 4th in the womens field, about 2 1/2 minutes down.

I can do one 'cross race in a day, and it's tough for anyone except for the most fit and talented 'cross racers to do well in two races in a day. This woman did a freakin' triathlon and then a 'cross race.

StudMuffin, indeed.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

H.N.T. and other shit - 2

I watched a biography on Bob Marley on the Biography channel the other night.

I was in my formative post-adolescence as Marley came into prominence, but didn't quite catch that wave, if you know what I mean.

No, that period of my pop-culture life was dominated by Led Zepplin and Aerosmith being forced down my throat - I still change the station when Zepp comes on, I'm more tolerant of Aerosmith. Reggae was something that wasn't fully appreciated, though lot's of dope smoking was.

I smoked a _lot_ of dope from the age of 16 to about 25 - when I got into bike racing. I didn't quit, just didn't smoke as much. Between paying for races and bike parts, and trying to become faster/healthier/more fit, smoking pot only served to get in the way.

Road Racers don't typically lend themselves to recreational drug use. Mountain bikers are a different story. In the '90s I rode with a lot of MTBrs that would smoke before rides - hell, they would smoke before _races_.

These guys were way stronger riders than I, they were semi-pro/experts that would regularly win local events and place well in the regional events - riding stoned. They tolerated me because I had the endurance to go on 4 hour rides and would smoke with them after riding. I tried riding stoned once. Not a good idea.

I'm a fun happy stoner, but wholly uncoordinated. While they would have the ability to focus and zone in on the ride, I would be easily distracted.

"oh, dude, check out that" (crash)

Still, I remember the smell of surreptitious bong hits wafting from the back of beat-up minivans at the various pedrosfest events I frequented 15-20 years ago. These guys epitomized what drew me to the MTB scene back then. These were the guys that would drop a multi-tool as they rode by in a race if they saw you with a broken chain - or pull off at a technical section to see if the guy behind them would clean it - or stop and make sure you didn't have any internal injuries if they saw you writhing on the side of the trail. The mello, friendly, everyone-is-here-to-have-fun attitude.

Those days are long gone. The loose carefree attitude of the 80's MTB racer was gradually replaced by the same corporate uptight structure of road racing, replaced by posers with $3000 dollar bikes, team kits, and the attitude of a wall street hedge fund manager.

I don't race MTB anymore for various reasons. Partially because the expense has gotten so high ($40 for an event that requires no police or road closures?) and the races are by-and-large 2+ hours away, and also because that party atmosphere is gone. At least in road racing you have actual teams and can actually practice teamwork. There is as much a point of having a team in mountain bike racing as there is in golf or tennis.

Mostly I don't race MTB anymore because locally the sport is dominated by the Eastern Fuck-Tards Association. Talk about your uptight corporate structure. They used to be the very antithesis the USAC (then NORBA). Now they're harder to deal with than USAC ever was. A classic case of 'us' becoming 'them'.

Maybe they should take a bong hit before their next meeting.


Monday, August 23, 2010

SS#4 - The Myth of the Stochastic Universe

Given knowledge of all variables, everything is deterministic

Thursday, August 19, 2010


I haven't gone out for lunch at work and had more than two beers for a few years now, but I did today. For some reason I got to thinking how cool I thought tattooed urban hipster chicks riding fixed gears are, so I came back to work and made this.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

SS #2

In 1986 I raced my first criterium. The citizen race at the Longsjo Classic - when it was just a 0ne day criterium. I got there and realized I had forgotten my shorts. Luckily, the owner of the local shop I had been hanging around at - Paul Randazzo of Category One Cycle Goods in Tyngsboro (long since defunct) - had set up a table to sell some things. He gave me a deal on a pair of shorts that were just a tad small. I can't imagine this now, since I've put on 15 pounds since then and I'm still really fucking skinny (photo credit - solobreak).

I lined up with about a dozen other guys, none looking any more like a bike racer than me, though I did have one of the better bikes. A silly little ten mile crit. I rode well until the last couple of laps when I just completely gassed and couldn't stay on anyones wheel. Paul saw me off the back and yelled "what's the matter, your shorts too tight?" I would have laughed if I could have. I came in 2nd to last, just outsprinting a much older guy on a touring bike with a full beard.

I was hooked.

Monday, August 16, 2010

SS #1 (stupid shit #1)

I caught a draft from a telephone company work truck this morning, but I had to bail on it after the smell of the drivers aftershave made me gag. I knew it was the truck driver, since it dissipated slowly as he pulled away, and disappeared completely when I went straight passed where I saw him turn. How much aftershave do you have to wear to pollute the air one hundred yards behind you?