Monday, September 28, 2009

043: pictures and words

This vision of beauty graced Nystrom and my lives as we drove home with our wives Sunday.

But one set of testicles are not enough. What I failed to capture in this picture were the big brass nuts hanging off the bumper. God Bless Maryland...

Firing out the gates in pursuit of the leaders...
Houston, I think we have a problem, all matches have been burned:
Why does Jan look so much happier than me, Despite what it looks like he did NOT pull me across the line, although I would have liked it if he did.
a pile of me:
Saturday someone was cheering for me "Fatmarc, you aren't that fat!" To which I counter with this picture:
some guys go for six pack abs. I say why stop at a six pack, go for the whole case, and some pudding too. Like 40 pounds of pudding in a 20 pound sack...

my little boo boo.
thankfully is was nothing, and structurally everything is cool. I'll be back at it this weekend.

Thanks to Anthony ( and Bruce Buckley for images.

"when you're up it's along way down, when your down, it's a long way up"

Sunday, September 27, 2009

042: I still love you Lily...

second week of racing action in the Mid Altantic.

Whirly Bird:

Race started fast. I essentially tried to bridge to the leaders in the first 2 laps. Failed miserably. Chasers made me pay for my audacity in the middle two. Jan rode up to me with 2 to go. I think I gave him a chance to recover a bit before he went after the next group. He came shy of catching them, but sat up enough for me to finish right next to him. Disco used some savvy to secure 9th. I was the meat on a Jan/fatmarc/Disco C3 sandwich. I don't get single digits next to my name all that often, so that was pretty cool...

Props to Chris Samuels for the win Saturday. A fine effort.

Tip of the hat to Guys for an outstanding race. I was happy to be apart of an event to support the memory of passed DCCoDer and Guy's racer Joe Manning. Viva la Joe.

Ed Sanders Memorial (Lily Pons)

Oh Lily, why have you turned on me? Just 3 weeks ago while making a groomsman speech in my dear friend's wedding, I referenced you. I met said good friend with you Lily (Wes), and my coach who is another good friend (Mayhew) too. Lily, baby it was you that made me fall in love with cross again. I thought I was done with Cross, and you Lily, you Lily brought me back in...

Lily I had my first podiums with you, and today well, well you kicked me in the nuts, or at least the knee...

Was it because I cheated on you with that Hillybilly last year? why Lily? why have you broken my heart?

Truth be told, Lily can be a vengeful partner. Perhaps she could see it in my eyes. I was shattered from running around with the Whirly girl. No cologne could cover up the stripper smell. I had flirted with others, but Lily it was always you.

I told Diane, Sunday morning that I planned on bagging Lily Ponds. When I explained to Diane my plan, and that I'd pick up a race on our off weekend. She responded that I better get my ass in gear and get to the race, because i wasn't spoiling our off weekend.

Once at the race I did a lap with my Michelins. I was going to take them off because I thought they would be overkill for the open sections. Monkey advised against. If you didn't know, Diane is like a tire savant. I ignored her advice, and threw my griffos back on the bike.

I think Lily and Diane talk sometimes...

Race starts, I move up from the second row to 4th place. Second corner or so of the race, the 180 into the barriers, I lose the front wheel and before I know it I am on the ground. There are 70 or so flying masters men coming my way so I tuck up, thinking for sure I'm about to get run over 100x. Then I realize my knee is throbbing and I have a wave a nausea come over me. Gwadzilla and Wes came out to check on me. I had thoughts of jumping back into the frey, Gwadzilla talked me down. 2 hours of driving for less than 2 minutes of racing. Sweet. Lily's brothers offered me a spot in the 123, I passed... Lily didn't want me today...

Lily is a that crazy hot girlfriend that you know is bad for you, but you just can't quit. I promise Lily, I'll be back. I still love you. I won't give up on us. I'll be back Ms. Lily Pons. Only 364 days, I'll be back...

thanks to Wes, Gwadzilla, Nystrom's PT neighbor, CZ and even Ken for making sure I was okay...

Thanks to my fellow masters who didn't run over me.

Lily, I just can't quit you.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

041: of skate spots and cross practices

Back when I was a kid skateboarding there was a lot of secrecy around skate spots. Unlike now where there are skate parks and parents can safely drop off little Billy to ride the park for a day. For the record, I hate you little Billy.
When I was skateboarding, it was a hit and run proposition. You’d skate from spot to spot, hitting the fun curbs for 20 minutes, maybe the library stairs for 10, and then get going and keep moving. Reason being, no one wanted skateboarders sessioning around their store or place. You learned pretty quickly, if you didn’t keep moving you’d end up arguing with some rental cop with an attitude or worse off get a meeting with the real deal 5-0.
Perhaps more importantly, we all recognized that new spots didn’t come along often, and that they needed to be protected. A new set of banks or a smooth ditch would be a golden find, but we all knew as soon as it was general information, tons of kids would be skating there, and before you knew it the spot would be lost…. Loose lips sink ships…

Over the years, DCCoD has experienced the same thing. We find a great place to practice, a small group of folks start riding there. The group is selective . It’s not meant to be elitist, or snobby, but this core group recognizes that if we draw attention to ourselves we stand to lose everything. And for those of us that this is our entire season, it’s a huge risk.
One of the things I always have loved about cross practice is that is sort of the counter culture. We’d go to a park hit the efforts fast and furious and then get out. We don’t draw attention to what we are doing. One moment a bike race, the next we are gone. Like a fucking phantom in the night. It always felt a lot like skating to me. I love that…
For the last few years, school x has been a cross heaven on for the DCCOD. I am always stingy when new people asked about the practice. I find myself suspiciously asking three questions before inviting anyone to join us:

1. Does (or will ) the person help out with our races?
2. What are they looking to get out of this?
3. Will they be around in December?

If I couldn’t answer all three of those question in a positive way, I didn’t invite. I’d do the old dip, duck and dodge. If they ended up showing up, I’d pretty much be a dick, or just ignore them. There are no free rides, DCCoD membership is earned, not assumed. If the person panned out, great. If not, too bad, so sad.
Look, I get my role to support and grow cross, I work hard at it. But selfishly, I cherish cross practice as much as any other part of this game, and frankly I CAN choose who I want to ride with, and at this point in the game, I don’t want to be surrounded by folks that don’t get it. I just don’t have that luxury, and for a pirate practice to work, everyone has to know what time it is.

I CHERISH the opportunity to have cross practice and the fun that it brings, I never have taken it for granted.

Sadly last night, we lost School X.
Frankly, I felt like to kind of cement our invitation to hit the bricks we pushed limits of what we could do. There was a huge group of folks that out. Most of which I knew. Of course a number of people who I didn’t know showed up too. I was pretty uncomfortable with that. Frankly if I crash into one of the folks I know, I don’t have to worry about a lawyer calling me. If some stranger gets tangled up with me, or one of my friends, I can’t say I know how that story ends up. I am not prepared to assume that liability…

Last night’s eviction and gigantic group reinforced for me that we were getting sloppy. We lost our focus on hit and run. We got comfortable. We forgot of how this is supposed to go down. Now we have lost School X.

This isn’t the first time that we have lost a practice venue: WI-hi, Heritage Park… It’s all about being stealth, and keeping the group tight and together… We have to all be on the same page….

The first two rules of DCCoD practice are :

#1 you don’t talk about DCCoD cross practice
#2 you don’t talk about DCCoD cross practice

We forgot this, and just as I have mourned the loss of many hot skate spots as a kid, I mourn the loss of school X. For now DCCoD practice is sadly dead….
I am bummed, but I know somewhere a single blade of grass is sprouting through a slab of concrete.

photos by

“I hope you know this will go down on your permanent record.”

Monday, September 21, 2009

040: opening weekend

Nittany Cross

The first race of cross season is always so exciting. The only feeling that I can try and equate it to is the first day of school, seeing friends I haven’t seen in a while, digging in for a new season of cross. Totally awesome. Fuck, who am I kidding I never got this excited for school. I admit I had some additional stress coming into the race. Friday, Diane realized that her knee just wasn’t going to happen this fall, and she pulled the plug on her season all together. That was a tearful, angry tough decision. UGG.
Next, I am starting in a new class, had no call up, and frankly was unsure if it was going to be a scrum start or order of registration or what. Comes to find out the entire call up for the masters was fucked up. I think they used the ’07 rankings, the wrong people were in the wrong places, then it was all scrum. Look, I’m old, I’m tired, I can’t afford to waste energy on the scrum. Make this easy: use the right rankings, then go by order of registration for god’s sake.

Aside from the call up fiasco, Andy and company did a marvelous job, the venue rules, the course was awesome fun, results were fast, everything was awesome. Hats off to the Nittany crew. Get the call up protocol down and you guys will be total rock stars. Grumpy cross nerds like me get all worked up over stuff like call ups.
Anyway, I scrummed myself into the 5th row. Got a good start. I’m pretty confident in my abilities to get through traffic, I moved up into the top 20, as high as 16th. Halfway through the 2nd lap I rolled my tubular. Shocker huh? You know I roll tubulars like it’s my freaking job. When I signaled to Diane that I was coming in with a rolled tubular I could tell she was more bummed than me. I fell back into 35th or so and tried to move back up into the points, but it was too fast, and I made very little forward progress at that point. In the end Kelly and I went back and forth a few times, before I was able to slip away and finish 31st. Fuck, I just got the Heisman, no points, no call up for the Granogue/Wissahickon weekend … yet….

You know my day was kinda made when Monkey was celebrating International Talk Like A Pirate day by wishing ole Jan a happy birthday in Pirate speak. Jan has promised a long and painful retribution… That was funny as hell.
Later that night, Monkey and I hosted the boys (Zach, Gunnar and Jeffy). We had pasta and watched Office Space. Zach is working on the TPS reports right now, and Gunnar has a red swingline stapler on order.
Monkey was on a conference call with some Facebook friends reviewing how I destroyed this glue job and getting some ideas and additional techniques for hoping to keep my rubber on the wheels. The next morning as soon as I saw Jan he had some other ideas to help keep my tires on the wheel. It’s good to have great people around you. Thanks guys.

Talking to Gunnar about my race, I commented that I was glad that I could get some space between Kelly and I before the finish. Gunnar asked me if Kelly was a great sprinter. I commented, “not particularly, but fighters fight. Fighters fight.”

Charm City

Early Sunday morning. My C3-Athletes Serving Athletes brothers and sisters and I get to the venue long before the sun comes up and start putting the course together. This year Nystrom and Auer made some subtle changes that even further dialed in the course. Like Saturday it was a fast course, but with the new stairs, and the section on top of the stairs, it was so much fun. I had probably 10 folks come up to me and tell me how great the course was, how great the event was. Congrats to everyone. Proud to apart of the home team.

The C3 start followed protocol, and was much less stressful for me. Everyone with points got a call up, then by order of registration. Sweet, I was 4th row, as the 3rd nerd to register for the race over a month ago on a faithful August morning at 7:00am …
The prospect of getting shut out of the points again weighed pretty heavily on me. I really didn’t want to rely on early registration for my staring spot at Granogue. The whistle went off and I got a good start. Again I worked through traffic well, and battled for wheels. It was tough racing. The first two laps were the fastest I have ever raced. I was dangling on the back of a group. I would start to get gapped and then creep back on in the corners. Out of the corners it was sprint and hope for the best. In the end, I finished up 16th. Grabbed some points, and best of all I kept my tires on the rim. All in all a pretty damn good race for me…

A couple of other highlights:

- I announced the cat4 race at 9:00. It was fun. At 9:25 one of the racers from Route 1/Arrow Bicycles gave me the finger as I made the observation that my teammate Kevin Dillard was sitting on his wheel using him. I may have encouraged Kevin to continue using than rider for all he is worth. That was pretty funny. So Mayhew/Ken/Joe/Erik how long did it take you to have someone tell you that you were number one?
- Monkey, Sven and I ran the kids race, that was HUGE. I have to apologize to everyone that had to watch me walk around in my skinsuit while we ran the races. Really, I don’t love the lycra all that much. The kids race was directly after Nystrom and My race. Essentially we came off course and right to the kids race. It’s not too creepy that a fatguy in lycra was having about 30 kids race around the field was it? As we handed out water bottles stuffed with candy to the kids I said to one cute little girl, “any other time it’s not okay to take candy from a man wrapped in spandex in the city park…” Her mother laughed.

- How badly is your coach willing to help you get better and race well? Well to say I was a little anxious before my race might be an understatement. Right after Mayhew came off the course from his excellent 3rd place ride, I called him over. I directed him, “Dude stand here.” I proceeded to attack him using a duck under to body lock and drove him up in to the air in a bear hug. To say he was startled might be an understatement as he exclaimed, “whoa! Whoa!1” I set him gently on the ground, and said, “sorry dude, wrestled for 15 years, felt like I needed to get that out of the system.” I grabbed my bike and set off to stage, I was now ready to go. What other coach offers that kind of service huh?
- I hugged two good friends this weekend both told me the loved me. Good people, really good people out there.

Anyway, great weekend, it felt great to back with the Mid-Atlantic Brotherhood and Sisterhood, it felt great to be racing again.

Man, I fucking love this game.

pictures stolen from

“Yeah, well, that may be. But at least I never slept with Lumbergh.”

Thursday, September 17, 2009

039: no substitutions

I am a simple man. I love my rituals, and my routines. As cross season in the Mid-Atlantic swells and perches on the edge of opening I have felt some anxiousness this week. More than the normal fluctuation in confidence. As I move to a harder class, I fully expect to get slapped around a bit. The question is how much?
Certainly those all too familiar pangs of doubt have crept into my head and into my dreams. I’ve spent too much time on I have argued out loud with the race stalker. Do you know what a bawler Dan Brill is? Chris effing Long, I've never even come close to Chris Long. How can Jan and Disco be listed behind me when they have dropped me on every ride I have done with them this year.
I ask myself: Have I trained hard enough? Am I good enough? Am I ready? All of that will be sorted out pretty damn quickly when the gun goes off Saturday and Sunday.
Perhaps making me most anxious of all, coming into this weekend, I don’t feel like I have my rhythm at all.

One of my favorite things about cross is the rhythm that shapes up as the season unfolds. Each week, getting to the race early, pre-riding, registering, following a consistent routine. As this season opens for me a new class means an entirely different game plan race day. With Diane not racing, and her race moved to 11:00, there is no need for us to be at the venue before dawn. My new race time of 1:15, will mean slightly altering my eating schedule. Do I eat twice? How about coffee? With this year be another red bull year? Am I a two donut guy now?
Through it all I pull upon one certainty that brings me some comfort. It was a tip given to me by my coach a few years ago. On my training plan for opening week that year, he scheduled my workouts. A couple of loose efforts to keep the legs open and supple. He advised that I pack early, and to get a few laps in before my race. But perhaps most importantly he wrote, “ two nights before the race, be sure to wrap your handlebars with new tape, And make sure it is white tape.” He continued “ Take your bikes with freshly wrapped white handlebar tape, and go race your ass off.”

For me, the start of every season since then, it’s been the same: Fresh White Handlebar tape.
Accept no substitutions.

Hope to see you this weekend.

“game on.”

Monday, September 14, 2009

038: five days and counting

I have been a busy bee…

Putting in some last efforts, some last touches…

I’ve even had some ideas for some tweaks to the fairhill course.

I put out a note that I was going to be doing the Queen B ride this weekend. This is usually a pretty mellow, very steady 50 mile ride. The end result was that a pack of angry, hungry crossers showed up, and not many of the usual queen B riders.

The ride was steady, but anything but mellow. My apologies to anyone who showed up and got something different than normally advertised. The pace was such that I couldn’t take the time to take any jackass group ride shots. It was a hard day. I struggled to stay on the group at some points. It was a little more than I was looking for on this day. I only really have one thing to say about that.

It was CZ’s fault.

Congratulations to BL Rich who turned a crank in anger and was able to win the 35+ expert class at Bear Creek Last weekend. Rich is a great guy and a class act, I was very happy for him in his victory.
Cross Opens this weekend, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t feeling some anxiousness and some nerves. My first full year in the Master’s 1/2/3, I’m looking forward to learning a new class, but really nervous … It’s like it’s all new again… I have been spoiled with front row call up the past two years in the Killer B’s. I’ve started from the back before, I’m pretty good in traffic, but opening weekend often has larger then normal fields, and anything can happen in the packs.

That scares me a little bit. All I can do is control my ride, focus, and put forth my best effort and hope for the best. Mentally I am trying to approach this the way I do when I race outside of the region, lineup and let it rip, and the finish will work itself out. Truth is I wouldn’t be nervous if I didn’t care, and I do care. I need to get some points man, just a few points…. Can you spare a brother a couple of MAC points?
The point mongering for call ups has begun.

I’d gladly pay you on Tuesday for some points today….

I’m feeling good, I have some skin in this game, and I have high expectations. My confidence is up from where I was a few weeks ago, I’m driving the bikes well. Now I just need to go out and have some fun and make things happen. Race and race hard.

If you haven’t registered all ready for Charm City, then it means one of two things:

1. You are super pro and really fast, because the super pro thing to do is to not register until the last moment. You know gotta keep the options open.

2. You don’t have any points, and like the idea of starting in the total back. Come from behind victories are the total best.

Anyway, if you haven’t registered you should. And while you’re at it, you should go here, for the MABRA opener, which I will wax at length about next week, and of course you should be getting your name in the hat for Granogue and Wiss weekend the “King and Queen of Cross” weekend.

Let me also mention that the 9:00, 10:00 and 11:00 races will be staged by order of reg for Granogue so get in there folks, get your name in there….

Someone get me a drink…


Rep. Joe Wilson (R-SC), tennis legend Serena Williams and recording artist Kanye West held a press conference in Washington, DC today to kick off the first annual National Outburst Week.

"We're here to celebrate every American's right to unleash a sudden, unprovoked verbal outburst," Ms. Williams said. "And if you don't like it, you can shove this tennis ball down your fucking - " "Hold up, Serena," said Mr. West, seizing the microphone. "I just want to say that Beyonce's video is one of the greatest videos of all -" "You lie!" shouted Rep. Wilson.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

037: wet grass; kick ass

Wet Grass
Kick Ass

4 hit the deck.

Tom taking the worst of it. Talked to him this morning he seems to be okay. Let’s hope we can get him back out on the bike next week.
Bill is new to the cross game. A piece of off camber snuck up on him and appeared to take him down. Sneaky off camber has been the down fall of all of us.

Kid Chris, Dr. Collins, and Blair Blair continued to ride on the sharp end of the efforts. Collins went hot into a 180 and slid out taking the Canadian with him. Once I confirmed that everyone was fine after the slip and sliding, I attacked before they could get back to speed, securing my first and perhaps only “win” of an effort for the year. Mark that goal off the list.

Hollow Victory you say? Don’t rain on my parade I’ll take whatever I can get in this group. The pack was breathing down my neck all night. I’ve asked K-man and Bennie da Jeweler to return my rear wheel as they were glued to it all night.

Slip and Slide was the name of the game, as most of the group reported drifting through corners, and performed odd bicycle acrobatics to keep things moving forward. Does anyone do it better than Dennisbike? Maybe Lauri. So impressive.

Frankly it was wonderful practice, and a great chance to see what the cross bike can do.

I wasn’t thinking that as I drifted my front wheel around a corner with 2/3 of the DCCoD on my wheel. Letting out a high pitched squeal, I was able to keep from stacking it, but perhaps used one of my nine lives in the process.

As many of you know Monkey glued my tubulars. On wet off cambers, the passed the first test. That’s good because last year I was rolling tubulars like it was my job.

Fun times for sure.

No tacos for me on this night, 1 had to get home to clean the grass of the bike.

Ryan looking debonair...

“What if the writer is attempting to create a story where nothing much happens,” Cage says, “where people don’t change, they don’t have any epiphanies, they struggle and are frustrated, and nothing is resolved?” Wouldn’t that be more “a reflection of the real world”?

Monday, September 7, 2009

036: Congrats...

15: I find it a little disturbing that a game involving bean bags and boxes is called "cornhole" just saying...
14: no one should make a bride cry anything but tears of joy on her wedding day. The proprietor of the Earlyston Manor didn't quite get it. Luckily that would be the only hitch, or area of unkindness on the day. Let me say this, when Mr. Angry Bed and Breakfast owner gets to the pearly gates, if it's close for him getting in, how he treated folks on this day was pretty bad, and not helping his case.

13: Quite the opposite, Ernie and Kathy at the Keller House were amazing. We had a wonderful time. The rooms were super, the food was outstanding, and the folks could not have been more kind. I enjoyed the peek a boo shower curtains,Monkey and I both relaxed around the coy ponds... 12: my friends over at Visit are well known for their prowess on their mountain bikes, but what they might not be as well known for is their amazing dance moves. Mike Kuhn's pole work is something that has to be seen to be believed. I'm thinking they make next year's MTV's best dance crews. 11: Wedding dancers are awesome. Somewhere deep in my soul I wish I could be one. Sadly the score is Fatmarc two left feet= no dancing. I do enjoy watching folks dance, not in a "I'm too cool to dance" kinda way, but that I love watching folks having a really good time. Maybe someday.., I do like to slow dance...

10: I think I could sit and BS with Jimbo for days.

09: At the rehearsal dinner Wes and Regan presented all of the groomsman with a unique pair of vans to wear during the wedding. Mine were green, super sweet: 08: LWeb and the rest of the Bahnson Clan 07: Ethan and Megan looked great. Ethan is doing very well in school, and very soon will be an outstanding lawyer I am sure. Either that or he'll be taking over Orville Redenbacher Popcorn Company... 06: potential Christmas card material? 05: Christmas Card plus Liz material? 04: Monkey says I need a hair cut. I asked if she didn't like the Anton Sugar look. She replied she didn't like the Amish boy look. 03: Everyone was having a great time: 02: We'll call these the Money Shots: 01: congratulations to Wes and Regan. Thank you for letting me apart of an awesome freaking' weekend.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always preserves."