Sunday, December 28, 2008

217: doing the belgium.



nice mellow base ride. gray, foggy, cold, misty the entire ride, pretty much perfect. About 3/4 this through we stopped at Northbrook for some fine donuts and coffee before heading back to finish out the ride. Very fun group including : Monkey, PMP, E-town, Tom Mc, Jebalicous, L-Web, Bilson, Dennisbike, Disco, Bill and me.

Northbrook Orchard Store sits on top of a rather long, and grinding climb. Just before the climb starts there is a set of treacherous railroad tracks. Normally I have no issue getting across railroad tracks, but this particular set has claimed many a rider, and in fact last year took down Tom.

Disco and I were just recounting how nasty these tracks are, and our plan to get off and walk them when Monkey charged across. She was almost clear when her rear wheel got caught and spun out, she stacked it up pretty good. Bill, veteran of Wilmington racing and riding, was following closely behind Monkey as she kindly took him down with her. He must have been saying to himself "message to self: avoid riding with the cross kids."

Once we made sure Diane and Bill were okay, Tom said to Diane perhaps the funniest moment of the day, "those tracks are really dangerous, if only we knew that, if only we had known that someone could crash there, and that when they are wet, it's best to walk them, sadly it appears we had no idea..."

we all laughed. Once at the store, the donuts were hot, fresh and just amazing. the ride ended up very well. I heart my fixed gear.

I was super stoked to get my newest edition of EMBROCATION cycling journal this weekend.

Jeremy Dunn has put together an amazing magazine/journal/snap shot of cross culture. Version 2.5 is a smaller version, but frankly still amazing. I'll admit I was more than stoked when Jeremy asked me to put together an essay, and when the article actually made the cut, I was doing a little dance in my living room.

For what it's worth I highly recommend picking up a copy, not for my essay, but for the overall experience...



Friday, December 26, 2008

216: Holiday Whirlwind

We are beautiful, We are doomed...

Christmas Eve Eve: Buddy the Keg breaker guided Rachael, Monkey and I through the Victory Holiday Dinner. 5 courses of wonderful food, each served with a beer matching the food perfectly. I was pretty much hammered after the second beer.

those bastards were picking on me and said I should be "fatcornelius" because my hands are hairy. At least my back isn't hairy you damn dirty ape haters.

There were waitresses in beer wench outfits. Not the most progressive, but what the hell. Diane isn't a beer person. In fact she pretty much hates it, but like a trouper she sampled each one.


Christmas eve we headed down to catch up with Diane's family. Our youngest nephew and I often wrestle and play around. When I first got to the house, he ran up to me and said, "Hi Uncle Fatmarc!" and proceeded to punch me in my junk as hard as he could, laugh and run away. It was the most direct and painful shot to the junk I have had in years. He thought it was so funny he got me two more times during the night when I was least expecting it. I'm gonna have to teach that kid a rear choke hold or something.

Christmas has my brother down from NE to stay with me, and catch up with the rest of my family at my parent's place.

The day was pretty great, but reinforced how freakin' crazy my family is. Just think I could have been a miniature schnauzer. I am after all an evil son of an ape. Ah the holidays, can't run, can't hide. Just drink yourself silly.It was wonderful having kids around my place Christmas morning, that was pretty freakin' awesome. It was great to see everyone. The kids loved Diane's new teletubie suit!
Friday saw me finally get back on the bike. A couple of us slipped over to Fairhill which was nice and frozen early on. As the day wore on it started to get a little sloppy, and we quickly headed for the fire roads and the loop home. I crashed once riding a silly stunt and knocked my wheel out of true.
here are some truths about me:

(1) I am a total son of a bitch, and evil. I should have been a dog or an ape.
(2) I eat out every night. We are considering just taking our kitchen out of the house.
(3) I am bitter and never funny.
(4) I hate sarcasm.
(5) I'm looking forward to anonymous comments saying I'm ruining the trails that I rode when they were frozen.
(6) I am an ass.

But your are reading this blog so you already know all of that. That's probably what keeps you coming back for more.

happy holidays Folks thanks for reading!

Looking forward to a nice donut ride in the morning.


Monday, December 22, 2008

215: stupid fun

So I admit I was feeling a little bit of cyclocross withdrawal, I mean if you do something every weekend for 3 months and then it suddenly stops, it feels just a little weird. When Anne Rock sent me a note about the urban cross race, and Lenore confirmed for me it was on despite icy conditions here in northern del, how could I resist ?

Jebalicous and I got to the race, paid our entry fee of $5, and walked through the shop of Bilenkey bike works into to the junk yard. Instead of the status quo pinned on number, once you registered you were given a Styrofoam plate, and they used packing tape to attach it to you. You walked through the metal shop and out the back door.

At the opening of the junkyard there was a keg of beer, and fire in a trash can off to the left, and then an army of Philly bike couriers, single speeders, tired crossers and other assorted bike nerds. It was also great to see my C3-Sollay teammate Kevin Dillard.

The course was super fun. Originally I had planned to race in pants and a sweatshirt. There were 2 heats of 25 or so. Jeb was in the heat before mine, He was wearing pajama bottoms and riding his mountain bike, because cross season is over. Jeb’s pajamas got really nasty and muddy fast. Jeff in his PJ was chasing Harlan around the course. Looking at the muddy mess that was Jeff’s wet sagging pajama pants, I realized it would be in my best interest to throw on some tights and shorts.

Harlan won his heat with Jebalicous 2nd, Joe Reynolds 3rd and Josh West 4th.

My heat went well, I had planned to ride with Anne Rock, but she stood me up.

So I kind of started slowly, and then over the hurdles, I found I was able to move through traffic, I got myself back to 4th place by the end of the first lap. Action Dan was out in front of me, and despite my efforts to close the gap, we stayed pretty much the same distance away from each other the entire race. Around the switch backs I decided to try a different strategy. I asked Dan to slow down. “hey Dan you mind slowing down so I can catch up?” this tactic didn’t work any better. At the end of my heat I was beat by three good guys: Big Bush, Porno Pete, and Action Dan. My fourth place finish was good enough to advance to the finals, and low and behold Anne showed up. Jeff and I were both really cold, and figured racing around the junk yard once without crashing into a car and having to be rushed to the hospital to get a tetanus shot was good enough, so Anne took our place in the finals with Jeff’s number on one side, and mine on the other.

She rocked it! Anne you have represented the DCCoD Proudly. We salute your service!

All in all a good day, it felt good to drive the bike fast again or what I perceived to be fast anyway. Since Reston the only bike I have ridden is my beloved fixed gear. As much as I like that bike, my cross bike felt like sex on fire as I carved through wreckage that was this wonderful course. I love my cross bikes. LOVE them. I'm due for new cross frames this year, it will be mighty interesting trying to replace my current rigs.

I also got to meet Joe Reynold’s sister. She as nice. Good to see niceness runs in that family.

a pretty awesome day I must say. Freakin' silly stupid fun.


Saturday, December 20, 2008

214: a bike ride

Really nice mellow road ride today. Good group, good fun, bad blogging.

The group was L-Web, Jebalicous, E-town, Potty Mouth Princess, Mike K, Dennisbike, Jan, Kid Chris, Monkey and I.

Jeb and Lweb each ate an apple fritter with me when we got home.

apple fritters are brilliant.

Since writing about a mellow road ride is kinda boring here were my 10 favorite songs of 2008.

10 best songs of 2008.

Viva La Vida- coldplay
Something is not right with me- cold war kids
Stay Positive- the hold steady
Strange Overtones- David Bryn and Bryan Eno
Sex on Fire- kings of leon
We are beautiful, We are Doomed- Los Campesinos !
Time to Pretend- MGMT
Ally Walk With Me- Ravonettes
Superstar- Sonic Youth
House of Cards- Radiohead

it was hard for me to leave out the eagles of death metal, as I really like their newest album, but I couldn't decide to bump any of these. I wore out my radiohead disc, and played the shit out of the ravonettes. They made me go back to listen to more Jesus and Mary Chain... wow, I feel old.


Friday, December 19, 2008

213: you, me, dancing...

"If there’s one thing I can never confess it’s that I can’t dance a single step. "

Blog’s been a little slow true believers. Cross is over. Withdrawal sets in. This will be a lame post.

I’m in the middle of perhaps my biggest weight gain period of the year. Very Dangerous time for me. Last year from rockburn to Christmas was 167lbs to 180lbs. My discovery of the apple fritter has lead to a long road of happy donut moments:but sad scale moments. Is it bad to weigh yourself 3 times a day?

A disgusting display of gluttony if I ever saw one. I am after all freaking fatmarc.

This year, I’m really trying to show a bit more self control. It is hard. Coming from
Cross to our semi-annual sales meeting, company Christmas party , and just the holidays in general which are as much about food as anything else. I swear I can feel my metabolism slowing down.

Food and getting dressed up. Yes Bad Andy, I had to shave everyday this week, and actually iron. I wore a shirt and tie two days this week.

Riding has been non existent really. Wet/warm weather has trails as a muck bath that I'm not participating in.

I have gotten out for a couple of spins on the ole fixed gear. That was fun. And of course the rides to the packie For some highlife…

If I can hold on to the weight just a little bit until Christmas, life is going to be much easier in January.

It would be great to be able to get out on the bike this weekend, if mother nature can just cooperate...

Been listening to a lot more music again.

Try these on for size: here, here, here.

thank god for college radio.

We’ll see. told you this was a lame post at the top.


Sunday, December 14, 2008

212: body snatchers

Last weekend was the final cross race in the Mid-Atlantic. Kevin Dillard is one of my teammates and does an amazing job taking photos at most of the races during the season.

This week he had a different project. He wanted to do some portraits of the racers from the region. He set us up in front of a big white screen and took a couple shots of each of us. He had us stand in front of a white screen and just kinda stared at us. After a moment he gave this instruction “First lets, get a good picture, the kind you’d send you parents or something” Next Kevin says, “pretend you are a rock star” here’s how some of them came out:

So for example:

My coach Chris:
For the parents:

Like a Rock Star:
Cyclists always think they are tough guys.

My teammate Norman:

Like a rock star: Norman, you are a dead sexy bitch.

This is Harlow and her little dog:
Harlow is very fast and has a dog with her, so she doesn’t need a rock star shot.

this is Jan's :

and his rock star shot:

Germans do engineering great, rock stars not so much.

Diane and Breyla-la went for the tellatubbie look
If you dress like tellatubbie you don't need a rock star shot needed.

Jebalicous with the straight shot

and the "I am not a crook pose"

Think he knows that reference?

I love this picture of Tom. He looks peaceful.I wonder if he's thinking, "I'm finally in New Order" ?

I hope Kevin calls this one "Smash Crash"
And of course mine: And when Kevin told me to pretend I was a rock star, well this was the best I could come up with:
Ugh. How embarrassing. I mean only thousands of people see my rock star shot as well an
Oddly hairy man picking his nose. What rock star picks his/her nose? Oh well. Maybe I’ll end up at some art showing. Super Sweet.


thanks to Kevin for allowing me to use these shots. Full gallery here

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

211: Obligatory Year End Post:

Well, it is Wednesday after my last cross race. No cross practice tonight, and the third day after cross. I have only gained 1lb, vs 5lbs at this same time last year. I’m really trying to show a little more self control this year.

I spent much of Tuesday texting Jebalicious who with Tom, Gavigan, Wes, and L-Web were speeding across the country in the Krafter and the Drafter, headed for nationals.
Jebalicous said something about Tom having a crazy look in his eyes, and peeing into Gatorade bottles on a nonstop trip? I called them at one point and offered to trade Jeb some beer for a stem he had won during the season. He responded, “sure I’ll take some beer for that stem!” Next thing I know all I hear is L-web cussing up a storm at me in the background !? She put the kibosh on the deal. What’s up with that? Is it wrong to offer a 16 year old beer for bike parts?A text at 6:00 am this morning confirmed safe arrival in KC. Jebalicous is busy jumping on the hotel beds, stealing the little soaps and bare assing all the furniture as I type.

So First The Goals and results:
Most goal setting material I have read says that your goals are not real unless you write them down. And if I am going to write down my goals, I might as well go through the process of making sure they are good goals. Generally speaking I use the SMART rule when make goals: Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic and Time bound. So here’s how it went:

1. Top 5 in the MAC 2/3 : FAIL
Came close. Going in to Beacon I figured if I got a top 5, and then managed a top 10 at HP, that I’d have a really good shot to make this a reality. Beacon has historically been good to me, HP not so much. Well, instead I crashed and then got clotheslined in the first half lap of beacon. Despite a good race and a hard fought 10th place, I realized that I wouldn’t meet my goal at this point. Heartbroken I walked off the course the next day at HP, muttering something like, “I suck, I hate this…” For the year I finished 7th, which I’m pretty happy with. I never beat the top 3 guys,
and the next three guys I beat 1x each. So 7th is about right. You can’t always get what you want, but sometimes you get what you deserve. For those scoring at home the past 5 years of Final MAC Ranking: 08: 7; 07:9; 06: 10; 05:21; 04:43. Incremental improvement indeed.

2. Top 5 finish in a MAC 2/3 race: SUCCESS
After 10 long years, I finally made it. 4th place Fairhill. Very pleased with that. I might also comment that my teammate Meatball, in just his first year of cross, has picked up 2 top 5 finishes this year. I think he’s gonna be good at this game.

3. Medal in Maryland 35+ State Championship: SUCCESS
After 5 years in Maryland and not sniffing a medal, I got a nice silver this year.
Making it even sweeter was my teammates with the Gold and Bronze for a nice C3 podium sweep ...

4. Learn to use tubular wheels: SUCCESS
This was my least SMART goal. I rolled a few early in the year. Perhaps not using enough glue for a man of my girth? I had trouble with what pressure to run for a while too. When things went wrong I went back to my old clinchers, but then I rolled one of those at Granogue, perhaps costing me a sprint. I hardened my resolve and only ran tubies for the rest of the year, and at the end I feel pretty confident that I nailed this down. Thanks to the boys at Henry’s for being patient with me, and working to help me get these right.

5. Help Win Mid Atlantic Cyclocross Cup Team Championship: SUCCESS
Last year we had the ability to challenge FORT, but frankly it just wasn’t on our radar as a team. A number of folks were surprised based on our depth and strength, that we didn’t win it. Coming into this year, I resolved that if we didn’t win the championship it wouldn’t be because we weren’t watching it or trying. As the year unfolded we were pretty dominate, and in fact ended up winning 8 of the 10 races. My role in this was to just make sure that the team was aware of where we were, who our rivals were, what we needed to do to win. I’m pretty stoked that we accomplished this goal. Our team is a dedicated cyclocross team. Aside from racing, we put a lot into developing the sport. This frankly is one of the requirements of C3, to not only race hard, but work hard for your teammates, and foster the sport. Three area weekly practices were run by members of C3 (not only for c3 riders) 3 races were promoted by members of C3, in general we tried to be ambassadors for the sport. This was the 4th time that I have been a part of a championship team (99,00 Wooden Wheels, 06 Fort Factory, 08 The Rock used to say,
“know your role” I’m pretty good as a cyclocrosser, but I also recognize that some of my biggest contributions to my team have very little to do with how I ride a bike. If that makes me some kind of cyclocross super domestique, I think I can live with that…

4 out of 5 ain’t too bad. I hope I didn’t sound like I was tooting my horn too much or making too many excuses, just trying to explain how or why things worked out the way they did, and sharing some history from my perspective. Truth is I don’t want Albright telling me I have more excuses than Billy Carter has beer or anything.

And finally the thank yous:

To my wonderful wife Diane, I’m the luckiest man in the world to have her experiencing and plowing through the season with me.

To my teammates on, just the best group of folks out there racing. Many people come to a team with a hand out, “what’s in it for me?” “what are you going to give me?” The expectation on C3 is “how can I help?” “where do I need to be right now” This goes top to bottom. Some days it’s helping each other with tire pressure, or course info, pitting, or working for someone besides yourself in a race. Not everyone gets that. Best of all, we wear black, and bad men and women wear black.

To the DCCoD which again supports each other like a family, fosters cross, and in short just gets it. I am so fortunate to have so many quality training partners.
Of course post practice meals at the ole El Jefe are huge too. The DCCoD community might be one of the coolest things I get to be a part of… Especially Jan, who from a cross style standpoint is the ying to my yan, as our natural styles are completely opposite, working together we have both improved and rounded out out styles. Yeah he can be a grumpy sob sometimes, but that's pretty funny too.

To Henry’s Bikes: Slik Rick continues to be the wise man on the mountain providing me guidance, sharing his experience racing, Rik and Gavigan have done a great job keeping my bikes rolling despite my odd/antiquated set up. That's tougher than it seems some days.

To Buddy the keg breaker : always checking in on me, rock climbing with me for the first half of the season and helping to keep me level. I am looking forward to many mtb rides this winter.

To Mayhew: very frankly I had my best fitness, and was able to ride my best cross this year. This is largely a result of working with Chris. Season planning, focusing on improving my weaknesses, putting a foot in my ass when I needed.

Thanks to everyone that cheered for me and to all the cool folks in the cross scene
that just get it.So that’s it, 20 races (12 masters, 8 cat 2/3) it’s been a great season for me.
280 some odd days until cross 2009.
See you all at the prom…
remember it's not just for folks that won stuff, even guys that got 7th can have fun, and catch up with friends.