Saturday, January 29, 2005

More Responses...

"To clear my head on a bad day.To fill my life with joy as I poke or speed along. To eat like a cow and drink like a fish."
- Karl Faruzal, WW/SoulRide Rider, NY state TT champ, bad bad man

"The way that I got into racing is a little pathetic now looking back. Well, the first part of it isn't but the second part is. I started as rehab after tearing ligaments, cartilage and having bone separating in the knee from 2 really bad skiing accidents . . . they didn't call me 'crash or calamity' as a kid for nothing! I have a sister that is 5 years older than me and her boyfriend at the time was on the Canadian National Cycling Team and as I emulated everything that he did from the way that I talked to the way that I dressed, I figured that if I had to ride a bike for recovery, then I had better race (like Cameron did)!

Well, the hook was firmly set and I was going to be a bike racer after that. I am not a super competitive person during anything except when I am racing and watch out because once I get through the initial pain of the first 15-20 minutes, then it is all business for me. Riding a bike is enjoyable but racing is where it all comes together for me! Why do dogs lick themselves - because they can! Why do we race - because we can . . . not because we can't lick ourselves -sick-o!!"

-Michael, Spot Brand, Single Speeder


-Josie Shew, FSVS Queen of the Mac, all around bad ass, nice too.

"When a group of four are doing a perfectly synchronized rotation at 28 mph!
You're going up a hill, peddle stroke for peddle stroke with a rival, and you hear the click of his down shift.
Cresting the hill after a long climb and immediately downshifting and listening to the fracas behind you!
The silence of the peloton just before a hard climb!
Looking over at someone and realizing they're at 100% and you're at 90%!
After the completion of a very long, hard ride and the realization that everyone in the group that day went beyond the limits that they thought they had before the ride!
For that moment, even though you're maxed out, your performance feels effortless!
Riding with a 20 mph tailwind!
Riding into a 20 mph headwind!
you just got off the bike after a hot summer ride

and your feet leave wet imprints on the garage floor!
Your leading out a sprint, and no one pulls around you!
You hear people cursing your name!
Cold Pepsi and Pop Tart after that hard ride!"

-Mark Wise, Ironman Triathlete, wicked fast guy

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

Velo News Rip Off... Why I love to ride my bike.

here are some early responses:

"ummm, endorphins, and beer! Addicted to both."

-Mike CZ, FSVS all around strong man

"The reason I ride is quite simply, it makes me feel fast and young again, every time. Even on a bad day I find that what I do on a bike is something no one at my firehouse could ever hope to do. Whether it be the Mtn bike or the road bike the sense of exploration and adventure is still there, 15 years since I started. That’s why I ride a bike, and also so I can eat ho ho's any time I want in season. "

- Bill Trautman, Wooden Wheels Racer

"So I can drink more beer!"

-Bill Breslin, D20 BAR

" Simply:
Riding helps to keep me from doing the things I shouldn't do. Ya have to be healthy to ride/race"

-Dennis Smith, FSVS, super photog, one of my heros

"well i don't 'zactly know if this is a good or bad reason, but after spending an hour and a half trudging around fairhill on snowshoes today, i realized what a great fat beast i would be if i had to rely on exercise rather than riding to stay in shape"

- Fuzzy, MASS Champion, Mountain Bike God Father, one of my heros

"September 2005 will mark 20 years of riding for me and I can't imagine lifewithout it. It's not exercise. It's not about getting a workout. It'ssomething that feels good. The possibilities are endless, the sky's thelimit. And it boggles my mind the things I've accomplished. Someday I mightconsider getting serious...but probably not.Life is good!"

-Nancy Waddell, FSVS, Queen B, National Champion


The feeling of good pain, the type that only makes you stronger.
Crash and Burn stories shared among friends
Coming back from an epic 45 miles of high desert singletrack to a cooler of beer and a sunset.
The feeling of entering a barrier section and flowing through it like an olympic hurdler. (I don't feel this one very often, actually I've only felt it once)
Riding singletrack with friends while it's snowing.
Justifying the enormous amount of money spent on my addiction.
The feeling of a cleaning that humbling technical section for the first time.
The anticipation of lining up at the start.
Going for the whole-shot and getting it
Railing a corner on a road bike at 30mph
Descending an eleven mile descent at 62mph
Comparing caloric intakes and resting heartrates.
Shaving my legs and wearing shorts.
Going to the World Championships last year in Hamilton,Canada and realizing that I was among 800,000 other people who share the same enthusiasm that I do for this great sport.
Climbing on a group ride and listening to people pant, then dropping to a smaller cog in the rear. (I know it's a little cocky, but man is it fun)
The feeling of riding a that new bike that is perfectly dialed in.
Fixing peoples mechanicals during a ride.
The image of the light train which occurs when you get to watch your riding buddies flow down a section of singletrack at night.
The feeling of making a great recovery from that almost ride ending wipeout.
Riding new trails.
Finding new roads.
24hour races(everything about them)
The adrenaline rush felt when racing against the clock during a Time Trial.
Sprinting for the finish line.
Feeling like a chased rabbit during a solo break-away.
Winning a race on a solo break-away.
Finding that forgotten 5 dollar bill in your saddle bag in front of a WaWa, 45 miles from home.
Knowing that I have burned more calories before 10AM than most people burn in a week.
Camping out at the end of road18 in Fruita,Co.
Post-ride LaTolteca.
and finally,
The feeling of being part of a brotherhood, road or mountain, black or white, fat or thin, baggy or spandex, shaved leg or carpet leg, 1 speed or 27, huckster or weight-weanie, we all partake in this great sport for 1 reason......we love to ride."

-Dan "the man" Wilson, Beans, Secret Henry's Team, Bad Ass MoFo

" I guess the best way to describe why I ride is toenjoy the outdoors. I grew up hunting and fishingwith my family. As the years went on and my life gotbusy with a family, my time became very valuable tome. I found that I can use cycling (road or mtb) toget out year round and stay in (or get in) shape aswell as see the wonderful outdoors. There have beentimes that I have used my mountain bike to get tohunting areas or fishing areas, however, most of thetime I'm out with my friends or family. As far asracing goes, when I get up to the starting line, theonly person I'm really racing against is myself. Ienter the races to keep myself in shape andaccountable for health.(gotta keep up with the kids!) If I happen to pass some people, preferably my friends, along the way, that's even better! "

- Trevor Miller, Single Speeder

"I ride my bikes so I can drink delicious malty and hopped charged beverages while maintaining my girlish figure....."

-Chris Allen, rider

"Because my wife doesn't."


Monday, January 24, 2005

Spot Brand Whore Test Pilot

As many of you know I am lucky enough to be a part of the Spot Brand organization. My job aside from getting to ride sweet Spot Brand frames and generally spreading good will , includes intensive product testing and development. That's right the Spot Brand Whore is actually a Spot Brand Whore Test Pilot. I am lucky in that I get to test Spot Brand products before they go into production and provide important feedback that helps to shape how and what Spot Brand brings to market. And you thought I was just a pretty face...
Posted by Hello

The most recent product I have been testing in the Spot Brand chain tensioner/bottle opener. Dubbed the Rocket Tensioner, the newest Spot Brand offering is both aesthetically pleasing and functional. Last weekend's heavy snow allowed me plenty of time to test the bottle opener/chain tensioner. The rocket shaped opener is ergonomically correct and feels great when I hold it in my hand. It is a light weight, yet a durable product. Easy to use, light, stylish and comfortable, just what you need in a bottle opener/chain tensioner combo.
Posted by Hello

Held in hand the opener performed quite well. It grips the bottle cap and folds it quickly, thus exposing the sweet nectar inside. Now it was my experience that the Rocket Tensioner didn't blast the cap off, but rather wrestled it off. This is important, avoiding "alcohol abuse" that occurs with rapid cap removal related spillage. The torque on the opener is not as powerful as say your average kitchen bottle opener, but clearly enough to bump a cap off of your favorite beverage. All the while insuring that none of the sweet sweet ale goes to waste. This method of cap removal is by superior design and makes this bottle opener/chain tensioner superior to all others.
Posted by Hello

In the field the opener again tested very well. Due to the parallel bottle opening technique there was a greater risk of spillage. Once again the Rocket Tensioner technology wrestles the cap, without shooting your fine beer all over the ground. The tensioner seemed to have more torque in field tests, on the bike. This is a result of the Rocket Chain Tensioner/bottle opener gaining strength from the bike's chain stay. This of course is by design, and highlights the true purpose of the Spot Brand chain tensioner/bottle opener. This tool will allow you to open bottles in emergency riding situations when cold ale is a necessity.
Posted by Hello

cap wrestled, not blasted off... superior by design Posted by Hello
Based on the hard work of the Spot Brand Engineer Team, and Industry leading Product Development Group, new cycling wonders will continue to be delivered to the market from the fine folks at Spot Brand. The next product I look forward to testing will be the Spot Brand Wool Thong. That’s right sexy and breathable! Keep an eye on the site as I share my product future development notes with you on this important product as well.

Saturday, January 22, 2005

Snow much Fun...

Todd and John make their way across the Frozen Tundra of Fairhill this moring... Posted by Hello
I can count on one hand the number of times I have been able to ride in the snow, while snowing. It truly is a special and fun time. The trails at Fairhill were superb this morning as a large cast showed up to enjoy what will likely be the last mountain bike ride for some time. The cast included (hope I don't miss anyone):

Biddle (the tye domi of cross), Dan the Man, Slick Rick, Todd the Maestro, Fuzzy, Mike K, Green trek John, Buddy, Alan the cleaner, James, Andrew Mc, Keith G. (bobby's boy),Paul G, Jay Jay, Fitzy, Brian B.

I was pleased with my ride. I was able to hang on for 52 minutes or so this week before getting dropped and was out for 1:30 all told. Alan flatted very early on, Jay Jay and I cuddled to stay warm. Biddle, Dan the man, and Slick Rick were laying the smack down all day. Once I was dropped Fitzy and Andrew Mc, were kind enough to accompany me back to my toaster. Truly a special and fun ride. Epic and enjoyable all at once.

First flat, it's all part of riding in a group. Alan the cleaner makes a quick change with James looking on... Posted by Hello

Mike K. sponsorship rocker. weight weenie. Hell of a good rider. much respect. Posted by Hello

Alan the Cleaner leads, Keith G, bobby's boy and Green Trek John into the corner.. Posted by Hello

Biddle- Tye Domi of Cross, Surly Ass Bastard, always fun to ride with. Almost always angry. He is riding very strongly. He flows down the trail like water. I love riding with this guy. Where ever he chooses to race this spring he's gonna have a great season. Posted by Hello

Ironman Andrew Mc coming up the fire road at Fairhill. Posted by Hello
Quick Notes:

Jason Sager, nice guy, Durango/Texas rider, and I swapped emails a few weeks ago, as we both commented on the new Dukes movie coming out at the same time on our blogs. He was really nice guy, and asked how I found his blog. I explained my connection to Joey T and basically the six degrees of separation in Durango blogs. Well Jason used that exact reference “six degrees of separation of blogs” in a recent post. Can I get a footnote or something? Whatever happened to literary integrity !? :)

Ate at Chili’s last night. Not usually a fan of that joint. I got a Quesadilla Salad. The chicken breast served on top of it was fantastic. Grilled just right, the salad however was awful. It had so much dressing that you couldn’t taste the vegetables at all. Luckily we had ordered the bottomless pit of queso and I could fill up on that. I will admit that the queso was really hard on my constitution later though…

With the snow piling up, Diane and bought a couple of pies from Rosa’s around the corner, who really do some of the best pizzas I’ve ever had. We also got a couple of six packs as the weekend might be long and we aren’t going anywhere. Victory Golden Monkey gets 2 thumbs up from me!

When I got home from the ride some of the neighborhood kids wanted to sled in our front yard. I told them to tear it up. Next thing I know Diane is giving them water so they can make some ice jumps. Hopefully, this will make up for us missing Halloween this year. I mean seriously, who ever heard of moving Halloween to a Saturday night when it falls on a Sunday. I guess that’s life in Cecil County.

Thursday, January 20, 2005

One a day, keeps the doctor away ...

I had hoped to have a cool ass picture of the snow, the lights, the trail, but my freaking camera's batteries died, so you get this... Posted by Hello

The rittenhouse trail is a 5 mile run that cuts through west Newark. It travels along the muddy banks of the Christiana River. In my early days it was a staple of my weekly riding. The mixture of soils, lack of climbing, and always evolving trails constantly challenge any rider that wants to hone their technical skills. Now a days the trail has some scary bridges, some good logs too. The one rule of rittenhouse is that the trail will never be the same 2 times you ride it. If you think you know a quick short cut line, it might work once, but next time it might land your ass in the river.

Tonight, I rode with Todd, Fuzz and Slick Rick. My fitness was still awful but I was happy to be riding. I had new lights, and the snow on the trail made an already challenging rittenhouse that much tougher. Our lights reflected brightly off the snow covered trails. It was so quite in the woods you would be hard pressed to convince anyone that the entire time we were just feet from someone’s backyard, or some schools driveway, or some industrial park. Truly the joy of a trail through a town.

Years past I spent countless nights chasing Todd and Fuzzy. Trying with every bit of my soul to not get dropped by those guys. Tonight, if not for their kindness, I would have been left to my own in the woods. It was de ja vu as I tried in vain to keep up with the group. Todd and Fuzzy were dicing it up a little, each taking turns leading while the other would nip at the current leaders back wheel. Slick Rick acted as my wing man. He kept a watchful eye on me to make sure that I wasn’t crashing or hurting myself. That Slick Rick is a good man. Todd had a chant of “it don’t matter it’s fecal matter!” going as we rode through a suspect area. We thought for a second that area didn’t smell as bad in the cold, but we quickly changed our minds. Lets say no one wants to stop and rest at that section of the trail.

Stupid me, I kinda jacked myself up last night riding rollers. Yeah, I know I’m a jackass, riding rollers, but sometimes the desire to ride out weights common sense. Anyway, my road bike set up is much longer the my mountain bike or my cross bike, and much more bent over. It was the first time I rode my road bike since September , so I definitely irritated my back a little. Knowing that I was a little jacked up tonight, I rode extra tentative, and walked a lot of sections I’m sure I could have cleaned. Truth be told, I was being careful. The woods were bright, and quite and wonderful tonight. At the main lot, I decided to slip back to Todd’s house and call it a night, Fuzzy, Todd and Slick Rick continued on to Iron Hill for a quick loop. I got back to the toaster and felt exuberant, triumphant. It was a good night for sure.

Quick Up Dates:

Got to see my family tonight that was cool. Craig was at a meeting in Philly, and slipped down for the night. Good to see everyone. Me, Tim, Craig and Bry sat around the table talking smack for a couple of hours. That was cool.

Saw Lost in Translation. That was cool movie very enjoyable. Slow but enjoyable. I did finish off Napoleon Dynamite. Many folks said that I should at least watch the ending, So I did. It still sucked. I will say that the short film that the entire movie was based on was much better, and even made me laugh. That’s it, it should have stayed a short film.

Slick Rick is gonna help me set up my road bike more “Fred” style so that the position is exactly the same as my cross bike. Fuck you don’t laugh, it’s either that or I go with a recumbent. Please shoot me if I have to do that. I gotta make sure I am sitting more up right and that the positions between my bikes are very consistent. Basic goal is to have my bikes be as common in position as I can…

Saw the doctor and it spurred more appointments with more doctors and they still don’t really know what the hell is wrong with me. Good news is I am riding.


Wednesday, January 19, 2005


Diane and Layla play king of the mountain on an AB ball. Want to guess who won ?
Check out Layla's fancy pants, that is a nightmare for another day...Posted by Hello
Driving home from work, My cell phone rings. It is my wife, Diane.

I answer, “hello?” Diane asks, “Hey, babe, where are you?” I reply coyly, “On my way home, why?” Diane, a little hesitant continues, “Well, I kinda got myself in a situation and I need your help, are you coming straight home?” Me a little curious, I begin to interrogate a little, “Yes, honey, I’m coming straight home. What did you do?”

In my head I picture all of the times I have taken off for rides and Diane has launched major home renovation projects, like painting rooms, adding flower beds, taking down Christmas trees, cleaning out my closet. Fear Strikes.

Diane explains, “You know how you ordered some t-shirts from the internet the other night?” I prompt her to continue, “yeah, what about them?” Diane, stalling a little, “They came in, I thought I’d just check them out, and one of them still had the little ink tag on it. So I figured how tough can it be to get this thing apart and I started messing with it, and an ink cartridge exploded all over the place. Now I’m stuck here holding the shirt and the ink cartridge, but the other half hasn’t gone off yet, I need your help”

In my mind I envision ink squirting all over the house. Kill Bill blood style shooting all over my wife and dogs. Our carpets ruined. I hated the berber anyway. The shirt ruined. I hope it’s not my Frank the tank shirt. With a bit of trepidation I ask, “how bad is it?”

Diane replies glibly, “Not too bad, but the other side is blue, and I really need your help, I’ve been walking around for 20 minutes with this thing trying to get it off without breaking the other side.”

I rush home, and into the house expecting to see yellow ink everywhere. Much to my surprise, the initial explosion has been contained to the kitchen sink. Diane explains “once I saw it was going off I got it underwater pretty quickly so the damage was small, the other side however is blue and will be much worse.”

I smile in a Tim Allen kind of way and say “ I’ve got some tools follow me to the basement. In the basement we stand around the t-shirt and ink cartridge like one of those bad 70’s bomb squad movies. I pull out my trusty SIS cable cutters, and my leatherman’s tool and move closer to Diane. “I can defuse this!”

I think to myself, which tool to I use? Do I cut the red wire or the green one? Without hesitation, I attack the ink tag with the leatherman’s tool. Diane screams and backs away “be careful, it’s gonna blow!” I jump back trying to shield myself for the potentially exploding blue ink tag.

“whew, that was close” I think to myself and I approach again, this time with the SIS cable cutters, I gently wedge the blades between the shirt and the tag, it’s very tight, I squeeze the cutters, the tag cracks, it’s gonna blow !! Quickly Diane raises the shirt now detached from the tag into the air with her left arm above her head. With her right arm she now holds the disarmed ink tag straight out as far away from her as she can.
Wow. We made it. No blue ink explosion. I have to be honest; I figured the T-shirt was a lost cause. I was having fun playing bomb squad, and hoped at best to not get ink all over my wife. Well, damn that worked out well. Kinda makes the story a little anti-climatic thought doesn’t it? Well, I can only tell ‘em like I see ‘em. One thing is for sure though, Diane will never make a living as a shop lifter, and I’ll never be on any bomb squad.



Sunday, January 16, 2005

Sunday in the Park...

Slick Rick clears out the cob webs... Posted by Hello
It was awesome with a cast of what seemed like hundreds, a huge group of single track conesiors, showed up to ride from the Appleton lot, at Fairhill this morning. The cast included (hope I don’t miss anyone):

Todd F, Fuzzy, Ted, Alan the cleaner, Single Speed Dan, Keith G, Les, Kurtee, John T, Slick Rick, Biddle, Wayne, Andrew Mc, Leo

The trails were frozen, but where not quite 100% hard. Let me explain. The ground was frozen, and sure enough if you rolled across the trail, you would not change what the trail looked like in any manner, but somehow when you pedaled the ground felt spongy, almost like you had 2 flats. Had I not added air to my tires this morning, I would have thought that had low pressure, but alas I had, and thus low pressure was not the case. I looked at the trail behind me, where this wonderful group had ridden, and there was no trace. It was as if the soil at Fairhill was some kind of alien sponge energy robbing trail soil today.

Look, I’m not complaining, the trails were in phenomenal shape. Todd led us out of the parking lot and through the twilight zone trail. Our group moved through the section with skill and precision. This was the first time that anyone in this group had ridden in the dirt for a very long time, so everyone was taking it in. Slick Rick was so entranced by the trail that he inadvertently planted his head into a tree, and then stacked it hard. It was kinda scary as Slick Rick lay prone on the ground in, as my yoga tape says, “corpse position”. Perhaps more scary was when Slick Rick jumped up looked at Keith square in the face and called him Kurt. In later conversation Rick explained that he was looking at Keith, and thinking about his new curtlo, and thus spoke out “kurt”. It made sense…

We cut out of the twilight zone, and dove down towards the covered bridge. It was fun watching the group snake down this semi technical decent. Todd led the group up the ruins trail, where I was dropped like a bad habit. I made each of the quick little climbs up the trail, but could feel my heart, which had settled nicely into a sloth like routine, climb into my throat. Deep in my soul, I had hoped that I was dropped for good, but alas my execution would be stayed.

From the back of the group, it was wonderful watching the front of the group flow down and around the Fairhill trail system. Then my get up and go had got up and went. I couldn’t even see Todd or the other leaders. I was suffering, but loving it. As we rode through the mortal combat woods, I could taste a little vomit in my mouth. I was dropped again.

50 minutes in I realized, my day was over. The trails were great, I had fun, but I suck. I mean really bad. I had so much fun, but had nothing for the game. And so instead of smashing my head against a wall. I went home. 50 minutes is short, but as I pedaled back to the toaster, I was in bliss with the ride. I smiled like a fat kid with a piece of cake. May be next week I’ll make an hour!

Other happenings:

Diane and I went to Don Pablo’s my favorite pseudo Mexican chain restaurant. I got chicken tacos. They sucked and not in a fun way. Very disappointing. I had planned on getting buffalo chicken fajitas, but changed up at the last second. Try to live dangerously and you end up with suck ass tacos.

We bought a couple of dvds. The first was Dodge Ball, which was entertaining but not the high hilarity I had hoped for. Lance has a bitchen cameo that made me laugh. Vince Vaughn is king. Also got Napoleon Dynamite. Fuck that movie sucked. It sucked so bad I couldn’t watch the end of it. It was really the most horrible movie I ever saw in my life. If there was an award for the suckiest movie ever, this would get it. “IDIOTS !”

So although I sucked, my lunch sucked, and I watched a suck ass movie, it was really a good day. Rick checked out to be okay, and shit I got to ride my bike, hang with my wife, and play with my dogs. Life is good.


Saturday, January 15, 2005

I’m not the world’s most physical guy but when she squeezed me up she almost broke my spine.

give me a brake ! Posted by Hello
Mid Atlantic Cyclocross Party…

This was a good time. This event was more of a party less of an awards banquet. Sure the hardware got handed out, but it was much more social; much more good people getting together sharing a fine ale, and enjoying each others company. I will admit, it is sometimes tough to recognize folks when they are not in lycra. But alas, it all worked out. Chris suggested that everyone where name tags with pictures of them selves in full kit. Sounded like a good idea to me.

I bailed a little early, I was kinda beat. But the party was really fun. Dennis S had a bad ass slide show going from the cross season, that was sweet. His pictures are so good. (check the link ) Perhaps the highlight for me was a video that Tom Mc had borrowed from Tom C. that was a show case of Katie’s season. That was pretty bad ass to see too. Best part of the show was just after she won nats, and Tom is jumping from side to side, cleaning the mud off of her face. Katie steadily moves forward through her interviews, never phased by the man spit washing her face. My hero.

In addition to seeing some of the great folks in our local scene, it was cool to see the cross folks that are so nice and fun. Reminded me very quickly, why I fell so hard for cross again last fall. It was cool because Diane got to meet a lot of the folks that I would ramble on about all the time. Chris and Cheryl, ate with us. Wes was looking very sporty. Heck, I even got an award. Meg, the MAC queen herself, and proprietor of (check the link…) handed me the “mac racer most likely to dress up like a superhero award” One of my highest honors yet. Seriously. I was stoked.

It was just good see james, lisa, kurtee, wayne, rick and jen. Yeah I know, this is starting to feel like the end of the Mickey Mouse show. Anyway, it was a good time. Shit so many people, it was really motivating me to get going again. Leaving the party, I feel really fricking hungry right now. Hungry to ride and to train. I can’t wait for the next cross season. Les, Rick and company are gonna try and hook up with our group for tomorrow’s ride. I’m likely gonna get my ass handed to me, but I’m really looking forward to this ride. Frozen Fairhill. Halleluiah.

BTW. Friday I ate at Taco Shells again. I ordered “the worlds greatest burrito”- Damn if it didn’t live up to it’s billing. Outstanding, my taste buds were in heavenly bliss.

Friday, January 14, 2005

Just the good old boys...

Knoxville and Stiffler as the Duke Boys? Willie Nelson as Uncle Jessie? Jessica Simpson as Daisy, okay well it couldn't be all good, and wasn't Daisy a brunette? Regardless- Stifler and Knoxville together. This will truly be a cimematic tour de force. Posted by Hello

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

what i am is what i am; you what you are or ?

tool. Posted by Hello

toy. Posted by Hello
In fall of 1989 I bought my first mountain bike. A Muddy Fox. When I first started riding I was still skating so lycra was way out of the question. I was strictly vans, baggy shorts and t-shirts. A few years later, I would meet one of my biggest influences Andrew Mein, who would say that lycra wasn’t punk or stylish as baggy shorts, but then neither was a chapped ass. So I started wearing lycra.

Next came the road bike. Never envisioned myself wanting, or riding a road bike, but sure enough I ended up with one. Still remember that first long road ride. I had just come off of an all night shift at work; Diane let Andrew, Nick, Dirty Stephan, and Matt Card into the apartment. They tormented, pestered me, kicked me and did anything they could to keep me from going to sleep until I agreed to go. We did 85 miles heading out to turkey point that day. I suffered like a pig. A pig that had been awake for 24hrs straight. That was a great ride.

I can clearly hear Andrew’s voice encouraging me to be a “complete cyclist” and refuse to be pigeon holed as either a mountain biker or a roadie. Hmm, I wonder if the guys on the Team DE rides ever thought I was a roadie showing up with my dirty shoes, and muddy helmet. I bought into Andrew’s philosophy, and frankly still believe there is truth in his words.

Over the years I fell in love with racing, and the process involved. I loved learning the process of getting stronger getting fitter. The annual cycle of resting, and building, of training and over training, of pushing the limits of what I thought I could do. As a beginner I never thought I'd be a sport rider. As a sport rider I never thought I could be an expert. As an expert I never believed that I could be a single speeder. But dedication to the process allowed me to continue to evolve and develop as a rider. Sometimes I felt like I loved the process as much as I loved the races. The annual planning, the race selections, the training, and finally the pay off of showing up for the first race of the year.

The road bike was instrumental in this process. LSD rides were much more manageable, and with the right group down right enjoyable. Still, the road bike was still just a means to the end. Enough quality time on the road bike allowed me to do the things I wanted to do on the mountain bike.

Don’t get me wrong, I have tons of respect for the road, and road racers. I spent a season focused on road racing, and got my ass handed to me. I learned a lot that year which helped me to become much more well rounded as a cyclist. I am proud of the work I did as a domestic for my teammates. We won races. that was cool.

Right now, I’m kinda on the bench, and my motivation, my thoughts are not as much about racing, as just getting myself back into the woods. I want to get back to riding 3 days a week. I have to be honest, not one of those days do I want to be on the road.

Saturday night, I had totally planned on heading out to Willowdale Road ride with my friends. Trails were too wet and the road was really the only option. I called my buddy James. I had full intentions of making that ride. I listened to James, who has started his base miles describe his plan. He passionately professed his desire to put in long steady miles. His mission was clear. Mine was not. My motivation waned. He was looking at 4 hours on the bike. When he shared this with me, a little voice in my head screamed, “4 hours! That’s 240 minutes !” I felt my heart sink into my stomach. Kind of, ashamed, feeling almost dirty I balked. I felt my legs tremble and my motivation disappear. In that moment, I talked myself out of the ride. I slept in the next morning.

As the weather reports look to a cold weekend, and finally produce frozen trails, I have a little more pep in my step. I smile with the thought of carving the single track at Fairhill, or middle fun. It is in this moment, that I know I have failed as a cyclist. It is at this moment, I know the truth. The road bike is a necessary evil for me. The road bike is a tool; it is a means to the end. For me it is the greatest place to become a stronger rider. It is however, not where my heart is. For me it is part of a process for which I am not using right now. The truth was clear, and undeniable. Maybe more so now than at anytime in the past 5 years.

At the core of it all, I am a mountain biker.

Sunday, January 9, 2005

I got soul but I'm not a soldier...

great show. Posted by Hello
Saturday night I headed to Philly to see a sketch comedy show. The show was written largely by a woman I work with, Leanne. Leanne has recently been accepted to Second City Chicago comedy/writing school. Yeah, that Second City. She is the shit. But I digress, she wrote most of the show, and she acted in a bunch of the skits. Milk out the nose funny stuff. Stomach hurts in the morning afterwards funny. This was the second show of hers that I have seen. She and the entire cast are so passionate about what they are doing. I think that I would enjoy watching them, based on their passion. The fact that the show kicks ass would be my recommendation to anyone looking for something cool to do. I think this group is going to do one more show before Leanne moves to Chicago. If you get a chance. Go to the show. So damn funny. There was also bluesy sexy band that played between the skits. They were also very good. The Jesse Shurr Band. I will admit it was odd having my funny bone tickled and then my blues ybone tickled too, but the overall package was very good. Anyway, check ‘em all out on the web: and

Perhaps as memorable as the show was, the events afterwards certinaly spiced the evening.
As Ted, Gwen, Diane and I approached the parking lot where our car was parked,
we see 4 black men all huddled closely and yelling at each other. Well that’s not exactly true, as it turns out it was one fellow yelling at the parking lot attendant, his 2 boys trying to get him to let it go.

Yelling Dude shouts loudly, “you motherf-cker, you scratched my car, and practically destroyed my boys car, you bastard I’m not paying you a cent to park here and you better take care of my car.” The parking lot attendant sat quietly, and patiently dealing with the verbal battery being laid down on him. The yelling dude’s buddies were trying to get him to leave. Ted and I puffed up our chests directed Diane and Gwen towards the toaster. To be honest we really were not sure how this was gonna play out.

The yelling dude comes over to Ted and I and smiles. He is very well dressed, suburban almost, with large bling, bling rocks in his ears. His face had a number of stylish piercing including a large barbell through his soul patch area.

Very calmly and frankly eloquently, he comments to us “that bastard scratched my car, and I told him I wasn’t gonna pay to park here anymore. He damn near ripped my boy’s bumper off, that rat bastard. And of course, you can’t say anything once you leave the lot. I mean it’s 4:00 am you’re coming out of the club, you’re drunk, you’re probably not even sure which car is yours right? So the next morning I see the gouge in my paint, what am I gonna do? I got no way to prove he did it, but God Damn it, he did it. I told him, I’m gonna park here for free for a year, because of what he did to my car”

I ask coyly “so when did this happen?”

Yelling dude replies matter of factly, “about 9 months ago, it’s not like I’m gonna torture this fucker for the rest of his life, just for a year. Shit as I see it, that’s fair, after a year, I’ll leave him alone.”

The parking lot attendant approaches.

The dude politely concludes “excuse me.” He turns to the parking lot attendant and starts his tirade again

“listen motherf-cker you’re gonna park my car over here, and it better not get scratched. You Jamacian bastard.”

Ted and I look at each other and start laughing not because it was funny, but because we didn’t know what the hell else to do. Looking around our group I can’t really describe the confusion on our faces. It’s like laughing as Bam or Tom Green torture their parents. On one hand it’s totally wrong and just insane. On the other, the sheer outrageousness of the situation caused us to laugh. The yelling dude seemed like a nice guy. His boys were getting kinda antsy and wanted to go to the club but he was staying steady on the attendant’s ass.

As we all stand in utter disbelief of what we are watching, Ted asks his boys “So he does this every weekend?”

The two men look at us and reply, “every weekend, sometimes, both nights” “he was in the military for a while, and well he just gets real militant about this…” we laugh as much because we can’t believe it as it was funny. “George is just too damn militant.” They rugged men finally coral the yelling dude, and scamper off for the club.

We load up the toaster and head for home.
Life in the big city. Damn.

Wednesday, January 5, 2005

2004 Sensational Six Single Speeders

People magazine has the sexiest people of the year, ESPN has the sportsman of the year, Time has the man of the year, Playboy has the playmate of the year, and I have the Sensational Six. I have always enjoyed having an avenue to let folks I respect, I honor know how I feel. It's part of that whole never leave something unsaid philosophy. Basically these are 6 people who I thought had extraordinary seasons last year. These rankings are not scientific in any manner, and in some cases include efforts outside of 2004. Criteria I used were:

1. these are all cool folks (i.e. they are nice to me, and other people)

2. they give back to the community (more than just race)
3. outstanding race results (fast freaking folks here.)

No offence was intended to anyone not on the list who thinks they should be. Please note my honorable mention list, many of which could easily been in the sensational six, I also recognize there is probably another bunch of folks I am missing all together. Sorry, if I missed you. Start you own blog and call me an

ass-ole on it, or sit back and enjoy, celebrate the accomplishments of some of our fellow single speeders.

Mark Elssaser- Elk or the Elssassinator. Probably the most soft spoken and reserved of any of the riders in this elite group. On any given day in a traditional distance race, Mark as proven himself to be a tough guy, but in endurance races, Mark really shines. 2004 Single Speed National Champion for 24 hr racing, 5th in the worlds. At a cross race this fall, I knew my Spot Brand teammate was cheering for me because he was the only one yelling "you're weak, you're not suffering enough" I am scared to imagine what goes on in his head for 24hrs. Mark was 2nd in the Monster Michaux as well. A co promoter of the Philly single speed rally the dude is tough as freaking nails. I have heard rumors that the guy gets up early so he can get 4 hours on the bike before he goes to work. Methodical in approach, a machine to race against. Mark has been single speeding for a long time, and is the dean of mid atlantic single speed racers.
Posted by Hello

Lauri Webber- 40 year old mother of two, Lauri would seem to be a calm, quite woman. On her single speed she regularly destroys competitors half her age. She led her team at the 18hrs of Lodi farms to victory not only in the single speed class but the overall. She did the Wilderness 101 in just over 10 hours, raced on an all womens single speed team that finished in the top 15 at the 24hrs of Dalton. Lauri is as relentless in her training as she is in her support of the sport. Lauri leads a group of elementary kids on rides from school each week, and puts tons of time helping to promote local races, and leads the best winter rides from her house. Top notch all the way.
Posted by Hello

Les Leach- won 2 of 5 trek series races, the big cheese of the philly single speed rally. All over cool guy. He goes on little 80 mile single speed rides. Always approachable, always cool. Fast as all hell. Les is super human. On his IF or Surly, Les pushes big gears effortlessly, and make our game just seem easier than it is. I was very fortunate to have the chance to ride with les on a semi-frequent basis this year. 2nd place in the wilderness 101, and top 10 overall, Les rides on a level I'm not sure I can even comprehend.
Posted by Hello

Keith Goulet- Bobby's boy. Perhaps the most underrated single speeder in our region. The Trek Classic Champion, Wooden Wheels own Keith Goulet. Keith comes to us from New England and makes his home in Delaware. He brings a strong BMX background, and frankly is one of the most powerful riders I have seen. As single speed classes started to come to fruition this spring, Keith was a bit of an unknown commodity that changed really quickly. Keith is a mtbr regular, and a notorious weight weenie, Keith was champion of the No Cents race, and a member of the 18 hrs of Lodi farms championship team. Keith had the fastest overall lap of that race, which he earned on his last lap of the race. F-cking sick.
Posted by Hello

Eric Roman- by far the most famous single speeder in our region, maybe this side of the missippi. Eric had a dominating spring winning just about every race he entered. The mind behind the ECSSCOU, the indy fab sponsored rider worked his ass of this year and reaped the awards. More importantly, Eric is one of the nicest most approachable guys you will ever meet. When I first met Eric, he treated me as if I was an old college roommate. Super guy, super fast. Single Speed Dignatary for sure. In 2005 Eric has mentioned turning his fury loose on age group racing again. Watch out gearies, bad man coming soon...
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Jon Hansen- Who you ask? Jon who spends the bulk of his season racing on the road as a cat 2 for Embestida! was the 2003 single speed cyclocross national champion, and this year podiumed finishing in 3rd. That's a feat really matched by anyone in any class. Jon has also made a number of appearances on the Wednesdays at Wakefield series. During the MAC cross Series, Jon won every single speed race he entered. Then just for fun he'd throw down with A pro race. Super cool , very strong, really good guy.
Posted by Hello