Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tear It Up

Rode into work yesterday on The Superfly, still rockin' the 34 X 15 from the weekend. You know your gear was hard enough for a mountain bike race when you have trouble getting it up to a decent cadence on the frickin' road. It is just shy of the gear I run on my fixed gear, and I've probably got a wee bit less rolling resistance on that fifi boy.

We had our shop ride at 5:45 (well 6 really, I have trouble getting out of the shop). A bunch of good folks showed including none other than the Old Coot himself, Bill Boles. I joked to one of the other mechanics that Ned Overend, John Tomac, and Rishi Grewal were going to show up as well. They didn't.

Bob K., the man organizing Cutler Trail Care Day on May 16th (details are forthcoming) provided us with the first Mecha-stop-and-enjoy-the-nature-for-a-minute-nical of the ride. Wednesday night ride die-hard, Corey helped him out.

I really have no idea what Alex was pantomiming here. "And then I tried to ride my bike through a hole this big...I got totally stuck, it was crazy that time that happened".

Then she asked the group a question about cornering. She said she didn't know how to do it, period, that she just rides straight through things. I tried to explain how I think I do it, probably not very well. Something about weighting your outside foot, weighting your inside hand, and bringing the knee into the top tube, not angling it out like a Moto GP rider with knee pads. I spent the next ten minutes thinking way too hard about cornering well instead of actually cornering well. Once I get a proper video camera I plan on posting How-To videos on that and a couple other subjects. I bet I can do a really good one on "How to not sleep...ever". I am one of the world's foremost experts in that field.

I predict a comment from PVD on the subject of cornering like a proper madman.

So pretty that I couldn't decide which one to choose. These are undoctored Helmet Hero photos. Just wait for the shot in a few weeks when all flowers are blooming along this stretch. You should probably come out on the ride and see for yourself...unless you have allergies.

When you accidentally leave your helmet-cam on photo "photo every two seconds mode" for half and hour, you get lucky with a few great shots. Ok, maybe not so much lucky. When you take 600 photos you are statistically wicked highly likely to get a few good shots.

Will came out for the ride. He's one of those guys who rides a big, heavy single speed but doesn't really race. He just goes racer-fast and rips through technical stuff all the time.

We had a great ride, Bill Boles showed us an extra little loop at the end of our out and back through Cutler and shared some history about the old Brookline reservoir system which has something to do with the fact that Cutler Park was never developed. The guy can ride a bike too.

After the ride it was back to The Shop for a "Build Party". Me and a few other guys stayed after hours to build up our Demo Bike fleet. We had a few beers and built up some EX 8s, Paragons, and Hi-Fis. I wound up with a 13 hour workday, spun home in my 34 X 18 (which was a little different than the 34 X 15), stopping along the way for a Meatball sub, which I devoured like a starving animal in balled up in a fetal position on the couch at midnight. Then I turned into this:

Hilarious mayhem ensued.

As in I got home from work at Midnight and my Thursday Post is gonna be a little late...
check back later.


Wednesday, April 29, 2009

It's Gonna Prove I Can Beat Up a Woman and Some Midgets

"Hello International Bicycle Center"
" much is a"
"Um, how much is a tube?"
"A tube is six dollars"
"Wid tax?"
"That's before tax"
"So it's like seven somethin'?"
(Massachusetts sales tax is 5%)
"Uh, no it's six twenty nine"

When the kid came in to get the tube I had a mind to charge him "seven somethin'". Take the 5% sales tax for the state and charge him the balance as a "Stupid Tax". Like a much smaller version of the State Lottery.

And I was going to keep it all crazy positive over here today. Talk about my, (I'm not kidding) beautiful commute yesterday. The trees are doing the thing they do around here at this time of year where they're budding and blooming. Folks with allergies might not think it's so swell, but I love the way the streets are lined with yellow and white flower-filled trees. They block out the view of vinyl-sided three family homes for little more than a week, but it's nice while it lasts. My Dad's the poet, I don't usually attempt to describe things of beauty with words.

The ride home was a contrast. I was so tired, I yawned hard enough that something popped in my jaw, now it hurts to eat, is that bad? The headwind was so brutal, something hit me in the eye so hard, I thought I'd have to go see a proctologist.

Going to lapse back into further snarkiness for a minute.
Commuter racing. The dudes who don't race, who get their Ya- Ya's out by crushing anyone on the road during their commute. Usually I don't mind them very much, but yesterday, I'm riding along from the coffee shop to work at the end of my commute...I've got a large ice coffee in my left hand, clearly visible, I'm spinning out in my 39 X 19, this guy comes squeaking past me on an old ten speed with the seat too high, and goes "Ha-Hah!". Ha-hah...really? You derived that much satisfaction, that much sense of accomplishment from dusting a guy (albeit a shaved-legged guy wearing a race kit) holding an ice coffee? Silly milk crater, races are on weekends.

Can't believe I can't find the actual quote (I'll try to get it as accurate as possible) but Jack Spade from "I'm Gonna Git You Sucka" may have said it best when asked as he's on his way to confront the family that tormented him as a child, "What's that gonna prove Jack?".

"It's gonna prove I can beat up a woman and some midgets".

I made a gamble, I came home and went straight to bed lat night, too sleepy to put aching, bike shop fingers to keyboard. I thought I would write this morning, this is all I could eke out. Don't know how some people do it, the waking up so early and the get the blogging done.

Two things, then I go to work.

Tonight, Wednesday Cutler Ride out of The Shop, 5:45, 71 Needham St., call over if you got questions 617-527-0967.

Saturday. NEMBA Take a Kid Mountain Biking at The Fells, Flynn Rink, 9AM.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Epically Stoopid Thursdays

You know you're screwing around on your bike properly when ten minutes into the ride you've bent your XT Disc brake lever and ten minutes after that you're fixing a flat and noticing a dented rim while your bruised tailbone throbs. Riding this bike is so different from riding my 29ers. At speed it is amazing. Downhill, amazing. But on flat or uphill technical stuff the 29ers kick its ass. I feel more prone to going over the bars in slow speed stuff on this thing...and I've got six inches of travel. The things it does well though, yikes. I feel like an entirely different person riding it. I wouldn't dream of trying the stupid stuff I do on this bike on my other bikes.

Remedy Ride from thom parsons on Vimeo.

The crazy kids have been busy in "the woods about five minutes from my house". They've taken what was a pretty good downhill, added berms and a table top, and generally made it exponentially more awesome. Just the thing to do a different kind of hill rep on. Downhill reps. Like a shuttle run...without the shuttle. I still think I might be the only Remedy 8 owner who runs up the hill with his bike. I've been meaning to start running, thinking it would be a great weapon to have in the Single-Speeding arsenal. Gotta get off and walk? Why not run your ass off? Why not? Because I can't really run. Something me and my 32 Lb. Orange friend are going to work on. The fun way.

Roll the dice...
since I had the Helmet Hero Cam with me I kept going faster and faster at this log ride until Bam! Went down on my backside -hard. Like a snowboard crash. Can't recall ever really going down like that on a bike. The bark slid away and I slid out. Don't know how long this "sick stunt" will last, but it's gonna be fun while it does. The "ramp" is really just a sheared off piece of a large tree laid on its side. The next crash sequence might be that "ramp" breaking and me flying skinny ass over coffee pot into the woods.

My Cross bike is going to feel pretty light this fall

Monday, April 27, 2009

Root 66 Fat Tire Classic

One word, Hot. After this race I had this idea that guys from the hotter climes, like Arizona and Florida could watch for wild fluctuations in the weather in New England during the early part of the race season, or at least attempt to predict the day it might suddenly hit 90° when it hasn't hardly cracked 70° any time before that. Then they could come up an prey on us like Gulls on hatching sea turtles, as they thrive and we wither in the heat.

Just don't tell any of them that.

As usual my pre-race prep was great. I was coming off a rest week on the bike and anything but at the work. I won't list the ways I abused my body throughout the week. One is worthy of a post, so you'll likely hear about that later. Saturday night I went to my nephew's birthday party where I ate a couple Pastrami sandwiches, handfuls of Doritos, cake, and then walked away with a bottle of premium Tequila my sister brought me from Mexico which I sampled followed by a couple cans of Dale's Pale Ale as I made last minute adjustments to my bike.

I awoke about an hour before I had to and decided to get on the trainer while eating an egg & Cheese and drinking coffee and Pedialyte while watching yet another Angel rerun (did you know there's a fan site for the theme song of Angel? For the frickin' theme? I hope not). Figured it was the only hope I had of getting my legs going after the lethargic week I'd had, full of excuses for why I had to drive to work every day. Miriam was away doing a 65 mile race down at The Cohutta in Tennessee so I had full access to the car all week. Miriam wound up getting really, really sick during the race but finished anyway and I am incredibly proud of her.

Pre-ride with Matt O'Keefe, that guy is a smooth rider
and a class act all the way.

After one lap of the course I decided to head back to the car and gear up from what I thought was a Big Gear to a BIG DUMB GEAR. Went from a 34 X 16 to a 34 X 15. I didn't have the stomach to
whip out my cell phone and do the calculation to see where that might land me gear inch wise. Turned out it was around 'Cross gear range. Just the thing for a 'Cross course. I did another pre-ride on the new gear and found it just the right amount of horrible. It was painful on the uphills and almost spinny on the flats. Almost.

The start. Small uphill into loose corner hole shot. This was nailed by the only other single speeder in the Pro ranks, James Harmon. I was close to the reverse hole shot, as you can see here. You can see me grab a couple spots through the corner but I was pretty much dead last. When things opened up after the first singletrack section I started making passes, my gear only feeling good when I was going all out.

Post race discussion: "Yes, it was hot, I did not feel good".
"I too thought it was hot and did not feel good".

The heat makes recalling details hard. It was a drooling, tongue wagging, hyperventilating nightmare from the gun. A whole bunch of really fast guys were suffering horribly due to the temperature. People who started fast ended slow, or dropped out entirely. I remember getting up to speed by the end of the first lap, chasing a group with John Burns from Bikeman, I think my teammate John Foley was there too. Man, I am really having trouble bringing up details. I guess I had a very focused race.

I have no idea how far into the race I caught up with Matt O'keefe. I thought "This is good, he is probably winning this jam". I asked him if anyone was ahead, he said there were two. I couldn't think who that might be. Matt wasn't feelin' it and evetually Mike Rowell gapped up to us, I picked up the pace to stay on him, we left Matt. I haven't had too much of a chance to ride with Mike, he's a rider I respect, but I'd always thought of him as a mountain biking roadie, not the case. He impressed me with his cornering prowess and even performed a sweet five foot bump jump gap. Mountain Biker with sick roadie power. The way he hits the short climbs is scary.

Speaking of sick power, I am going to try to wrap this up in the next ten minutes. I am too cooked to write and you're probably already thinking this thing is too long. I know you.

Rowell's pace proved too high for me and I began to feel the effects of the heat, My head went all tingly and my legs started to twinge. I had made a slight miscalculation. I thought the race was going to be sub hour and half like last year...but they added a lap. Oops. Two bottles was a little too little. As I started to feel weird, I just downed them, only taking on one Gu because my stomach was feeling a bit off.

Mike dropped me, another guy (Brian Wolff) caught up to me, but just after I passed Linnea in the midst of my mid-race dead spot and she told me (god, I can't write tonight) to "Get those meat sticks turning" or something like that, I began to rally. Shedding Brian and getting back within maybe fifteen or twenty seconds of Mike. But this was his part of the course and he just hammered away through the high-speed, snaking turns toward the finish, doubling the gap by the end.

I came through 4th, still in the money, although I didn't know it and missed the podium presentation. I was actually doing this awesome interview for Cyclingdirt:

I am so much more funnier and articulater in print. Cameras make me nervous...unless I'm pointing them at myself. It's cool what Colt and those guys have going on over there at Cyclingdirt, giving our little racing scene some pro-style-media coverage.

After the finish I rolled over and found a hose which I used to take a cold shower which may have been the highlight of the day. The fact that I had no qualms about pointing the hose straight down the front of my bib shorts in front anyone watching about sums up how I was feeling. I went over to talk to Mike, telling him "I don't know whether to hug you or hit you with a shovel". Thanks for the ass-whuppin' Mike.

I was so spent that I almost drove off with my coffee on the roof.
Wouldn't be the first time.

Linnea was so spent, she fell asleep in a horrible position.
Colin was so spent, he looked like this.

"The mountain biking's really making a comeback around here
and it's fun to be part of it"

- Johnny Bold on Cyclingdirt

With the numbers we're seeing at these first couple races, he might be right. I hope so.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Mixed Nuttiness

Or week's-end wrap up of random crap.

First off, take a look at the guy in the upper right hand photo. He lent me a pump at The Fells opening Day and I never found him to give it back. If you know him, let me know so I can repay his kindness with something other than the theft of his pump.

The other night I had a dream that I was working The Booth at The Shop (the thing where you are stuck signing in repairs and talking to an endless stream of people all day). A customer began walking past the counter and into the back of the service area going "Hello! Hello!". Remember - dream. But people do this pretty often in reality. They wait at the counter for about half a nano-second, then begin shouting for help. Then they walk behind the counter a half nano-second after that. Just like you would at any retail establishment.

In this dream I came walking out, almost smacking right into the customer and began waving my arms and walking like a sardonic chimpanzee going "Hey, is this what you do at Starbucks if no one's at the counter? Just walk behind there and start making your Latte? Hey look at me (pantomiming steaming milk) I'm makin' a Latte, I know how to run a Rancilio - AAH, my eyes! Oh God, I can't see!".

As I was doing this my boss walked back and witnessed my open mockery of a customer. He tried to explain to me that this was inappropriate behavior. He was upset.

And last night I had dream that a race course took the riders through a large house. I've had this type of dream before. We get lost in the house, the course markings non-existent. I'm running up stairs with my bike, opening doors, trying to find my way out. I get upset.

At least I'm sleeping enough to dream. It's been a while.

When I came home last night my mini-shop vac had taken a dive off the closet shelf. It had burst open, its dusty, gnarly contents spewed out all over the floor. I picked it up, put it back together, plugged it in and proceeded to vacuum up the mess. There's a metaphor there somewhere...running over a fireman with your car and totaling it in the process. The fireman drags himself out from under your wheels to rescue you with the jaws of life he had on him. Like I said, it's there somewhere. Maybe I vacuumed it up along with the dust monkeys.

Things I forgot to mention but meant to. Last Wednesday I went for a pre-work ride, kind of an off-shoot of my commute with IBC teammate Kevin. We hit up some trails behind McLean Hospital, The Old Met State Hospital, and took a loop around Rock Meadow and Beaver Brook. Kind of a lollipop that leads back to my route to the shop. Way to start the day totally stoked. Even belligerent Prius drivers were gentle when I rode past.

Horrible things I ate last week:
  • Two Big Macs in one sitting
  • A late night Cheese Steak from a disreputable sub shop
  • A gargantuan meatball sub from Bob's in Medford (very reputable, so delicious, yet so horrible)
  • A pile of pulled pork from Redbones
Somehow all that added up to me hitting another weight goal. In the past two months I have gone from Ryan Trebon Weight, to Bart Brentjens weight, to Jan Ullrich Weight (fit Jan), to Lance Armstrong circa 1999 Weight, and now I'm hovering just above Heinrich Haussler Weight. I thought Ivan Basso weighed that amount, read it somewhere...but his, I'm sure, very accurate Wiki Page says that he's a mere 150 Lbs. I Googled around trying to find a cyclist of my height and weight, Heinrich was all I got. Basso would have been more impressive.

Last Saturday was The NEMBA Fells Opening Day Celebration. I actually wrote about that over here.

Sunday, I got a beat down at the legs of Big Dan Barry. We met up at The shop and started out on my kind of suburban hill loop through Belmont and Waltham (this was a road ride). I got scared when we did one run up Bear Hill Rd. and he was asking "So how many times you wanna do that?". He did the same thing after the first trip up Prospect Hill. The dude has mad spin. He flies up steep pitches, ticking over his 39 X 23 like Armstrong. I've been doing a lot of big gear climbing so trying to mimic his more fluid and efficient style is really painful right now. It makes me breath hard. It's good for me.

OK, I have to go now. I'm really just going to go over to the IBC Blog and write something about the NEMBA thing to link to. I won't be far away, don't fret.

Racing Sunday Down in Farmington, CT. Putting a BIG GEAR on. Can't hardly wait.


Thursday, April 23, 2009

EBBs Vs. Sliders

The other day Colin "I think it is perfectly reasonable to wear a bucket for a helmet" Reuter forwarded me a question regarding EBBs (Eccentric Bottom Brackets) Vs. Slider style rear dropouts on single speeds.

Since the only people who really ponder such matters are Single Speeders (and really only the biggest dorks amongst that contingent) I'll give you a quick rundown on the types of tensioning systems used on Single Speeds. There are a couple other solutions out there, but I'm going to stick to the ones below for now.

Here you've got you Rear-Facing Horizontal. Fine for a fixed gear or a track bike, really lame for a Mountain Bike. Mountain Bikes have Disc Brakes, they just do. Hybrids and Children's bicycles have V-Brakes. This "solution" was used because tensioning the chain with varying gear ratios would cause the relationship between the Disc Rotor and Caliper to change. The easy way out was to run a V-Brake on the rear. Leaving the ass end of your bike firmly planted somewhere in the mid-nineties.

Simple Expander Style EBB, Common on most EBB mountain bikes. This is the type of EBB used on both of my Fisher Rigs and My Ferrous only a bit bulkier. The current Fishers use a model with cut-outs, reducing the weight significantly. I had PVD machine out the EBB on my '07 Rig to save some weight, but that's beside the point...

The Good:
Easy and quick adjustment allows you to swap out gears before rides or races. Rotor and caliper stay in absolute constant relationship. No potential for rear wheel slippage. Certain fit issues can be addressed with fore/aft position of EBB. Very unlikely to slip out of adjustment. Adjustment changes BB height.

The Bad:
Creaky. Must be pulled out and cleaned repeatedly to maintain quiet. Totally screws up your Saddle height and fore aft adjustment. If you are an XC racer-dork or Endurance type bloke, you will probably find having to adjust your fit every time you change out a gear pretty damn annoying. HEAVY. This is by far the most lard-assy system. Adjustment changes BB height.
I've heard people say they like to run their BB in the up or down position (you get the same tension on the chain in either one) depending on the terrain, i.e.; run it low for fast, buff stuff and run it high for "East Coast" technical, rocky stuff. I always keep mine as low as possible. In the "up" position I feel like I'm standing on a skateboard...on stilts. Keep the BB low, keep the center of gravity low, corner better, go faster.

Carver makes a nicer version using a more complex expander wedge system with a nylon sleeve which eliminates the creaking. A good upgrade for a Fisher Rig or any bike with the same BB shell diameter.

Niner Bikes was using a simple Set-Bolt Style EBB, now they have some crazy new deal. They claim it is the holy grail, I really know nothing about it other than that it exists and that it sounds pretty cool. This one is red.

Set Bolt or Pinch Bolt Style EBB. I don't have much experience running one of these but I have seen what happens to the EBB after many adjustments. The Bolts make little divots in the EBB. When you make an adjustment the bolt wants to slide back into that divot. Probably not the best system. I'd take an expander over one of these.

Now to The Sliders. Paragon makes the end all be all of Sliders. Kona has their own version as I'm sure other folks do as well. I used these on my Independent Fabrication Single Speed. I really had no problem with them at the time.

The Good:
Saddle height and fit are obviously not influenced by changes in gear ratio. The relationship between the caliper and the rotor stays constant. They are pretty light.

The Bad: Adjustment requires re-centering wheel. Changes wheel base. Gear changes most time consuming of any system., really depends on your needs. If you change gears a lot and either don't mind monkeying with your fit or could care less about it, go EBB. If you want to save weight and if and when you do change out your gear you don't want to monkey with the fit, go Slider. If faced with the choice between Set-Bolt style EBB and Slider, go slider. Which I think is what I was actually supposed to address here.

Is that really a conclusion?

Big Bikes may have magically re-appeared at the top of the Google search listings (which I will not crow about, I learned my lesson Death-Bots...please don't hurt me Death-bots, have I told you how sexy you look today Death-Bots?) but it is still not a place people generally come for technical advice. Which, of course, won't stop me from speaking of such things in my own special way.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Too Much Riding Not Enough Writing

You're just going to have to keep reading to find out the answer to burning questions like "Why does Rooter have bucket on his head?". I'm sorry.

Last week was a long one. I'd upped my on-bike hours to the longest yet this year. Shot for 18, ended up with 17. My life doesn't really allow for more than that. Not sure that I need more than that either. I primarily race twoish hour events. The benefits of riding 6+ hours per week are lost on me. Mark Weir is faster than I could ever hope to be, and he thinks a 16 hour week is long.
I also worked a lot, sure some of my work involved stuff like this but it still made for long days.

Sleep didn't happen, I predicted a breakdown at work today if I couldn't muster a little Stage 4 sleep. Ten hours in "The Booth" (Hey Adrian, want your old job back?) writing up repairs and dealing with the public. Here, have a taste:

Man walks in dragging (yes dragging, always a bad sign. The guys at the ER probably cringe when someone drags another person in) a Magna mountain bike.
"I would like some air and some grease...and whatever else it needs".
I take a look.
"Yup, it needs a Bronze Tune and a front axle nut, that's $65 plus about a buck for the nut".
Sixty Five bucks? But I only paid one hundred dollars for it on Craigslist, that's ridiculous!".
I bite my tongue because it wants to tell him what is truly ridiculous in this situation.
"OK just check it over and make it safe and give it some air and some grease".
"I'm sorry sir, but the bike needs a lot of work to make it even roll. Unfortunately it is my honest opinion that the bike is unsafe to ride in its current state".
I air up the tires and hold a bottle of Finish Line in close proximity to the black, grease-caked chain while pantomiming the application of lube. I drop the bike off the stand and hand it back to him.
He and his wife walk away, staring at the bike bemusedly wondering why the air and "grease" did not remedy the wobbling wheels, the front brake lever which pulls straight to the bar, the front brake housing that was wrapped around the head tube, the rattling saddle, the fact that while riding this bike it would seem perfectly reasonable to wear a 5 Gallon bucket for a helmet.

It is strange that I don't tell more angsty bike-mechanic stories. I have a lot.

Speaking of not enough time...wait, were we even talking about time? I don't know, but now I'm going to talk about not having enough of it because I do not have enough time to write here, never mind the other places I sometimes try to write. Therefore I wrote a 29er Crew specific post about getting my Bontrager Xr1s mounted up Tubeless over there. It is so exciting. Not exciting enough for exclamation points, but what is!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Man With Two Helmets

Ya see, I had to get a newer new helmet even though I had bought a new helmet just a few days ago. I will now tell you why in such a convincing manner that you will not think I am King of The Douche Bags. At least for a day. OK, maybe just the morning. My expectations are probably still too high.

I bought the new helmet because my old one met an untimely demise. Note to self: Do not check your helmet in a soft bag at the airport. I'm sorry, but the folks who tell you that wearing cracked helmets is A-OK and that the malevolent helmet companies (who put addicting drugs in their products to make you crave them fortnightly) tell you not to because they want to sell more helmets are probably the same people who don't wear their seat belt because they are afraid of getting trapped in burning car because they couldn't release the belt. I saw that episode of Chips too. However, it did not influence my motoring safety habits.

Are they locking antlers like two Elk vying for dominance.
Or are they going SMOOCH! You decide.

The comments on the photo up top there are just too damn obvious, I'd probably just leave that one alone.

After the Hop Brook Dam race I got several comments regarding my lack of a pink helmet. How I was virtually unrecognizable without it. Thing is, I didn't know I could get a Trek Sonic in Pink...until it was too late...not to spend more money on a helmet I don't need. I hadn't clicked on the link to the proper Thom P. helmet because it was listed under "WSD" helmets. I'm going to let you in on a little secret here; the only thing WSD about these helmets is the pink paint. They measure the same 56-60cm as the MSD helmets. They don't have pink straps like my old Atmos and the box doesn't even have a butterfly on it. Quite manly. Chuck Norris would wear one. At least if Glen Beck told him to.

Part of my justification was that I am going to be leading kids rides for NEMBA soon (maybe this Saturday if we can pull it together. Sorry, don't know what's with the extreme linky-ness today). Sometimes pink helmets are confusing for kids and (ignorant) parents alike. I want to spend time teaching kids Mountain Bike skills, not forcing a discussion on tolerance of people of alternate sexual persuasions, or people who appear to be of alternate sexual persuasions (because they wear pink helmets...and have streamers on their bikes...and listen to Bronski Beat).

I want to explain how to wheel-to-wheel logs without hitting your chainring, and avoid having to explain why implying that someone is gay is not inherently funny. Next time you hear someone make a joke like that, change the word "Gay" to "Black" and see how it sounds. And if you don't get it then, you are beyond help.

Oops, actually got serious for a second there. Won't let it happen again.

I was going to talk about how I got my XR-1's mounted up Tubeless and the P.O.W. like weight it has brought the Superfly called Precious Thing down to, but it's late and I've yammered enough tonight. See you tomorrow.


Monday, April 20, 2009

Epic Thursday

Last season I had Sundays and Mondays off from work. Which was great, it allowed me to do a race or a hard ride on Sunday, then basically sit on my ass all day Monday and recover. This season I've had Sundays and Thursdays off, allowing me to race or do a long ride Sunday and do an epic mountain bike ride Thursday.

Recover when you're dead I always say. Or when you're broke, busted, and burnt out.

The Fells opened last Wednesday, so I wanted to get in there. I also wanted to get up to Lynn Woods and check out all the craziness the kids have been building there. And I wanted to ride the Remedy. The Remedy is not a fast and light XC bike, it drags on the road, but it is really, really fun once you are in the woods.

Riding out my front door and down the stairs is not how I generally start my rides on The Superfly...or the road bike. Right off the bat, the ante is upped. Another difference between the Superfly and The Remedy is the tinkering, the adjusting. I hadn't ridden the bike since late last season, so a good portion of the beginning of the ride was spent playing with air pressure in the fork and shock. It's worth the trouble. The second I got into to The Fells I was pulling off stuff I wouldn't even dream of doing on my other bikes. The 60mm stem and 67° head angle say "Go jump off that shit". And I say "OK - Aah!".

I rode up through just about every section of The Fells to the tip top and hopped on the road over to Breakheart Reservation. I was looking for a cut through over to Lynn. All I found was some pretty thankless powerlines and a paved bike path. I guess it beat riding on The Lynn/Fells Parkway or whatever, but it dumped me out well south of where I usually hit Lynn Woods, causing me to have to ride up Route 1 through a series of parking lots until I got to the overpass which takes you to Walden St.. I couldn't resist a last minute stop at a Starbucks for a little liquid motivation before I hit the dirt.

When I got into the woods I was standing there, looking at my map trying to figure out where I was going to go. I don't actually know Lynn that well. I haven't been up there in about four years, and when I did go it was more to do Trials type stuff up on the now developed Bow Ridge. Serendipitously enough two dudes, I think their names were Nick and Joel, I suck with names, so it could have been Nort and Jubsy, anyway they rolled up, asked if I needed help, then offered to show me around. So much better to just follow someone seamlessly through a place without having to stop and figure out where you're going. Of course you end up no wiser for it really. I couldn't retrace the ride we did if you told me I could have free Butternut Donuts (and I do mean "Donuts" ) for life.

We never did find the "Crazy Crap" but we did ride miles of super-rocky, technical terrain for about an hour and a half. Lots of steep ups and roll ins, no eight foot drops or anything, but enough excitement for an XC Dork like myself.

With about and hour of daylight left and the hunger knock firmly setting in, I began the rumbling grind home on my 2.35 tires jacked up to 28Psi. Back in the, as we say, day I wouldn't have had the juice left after four and a half hours on the mountain bike to hit up more trail on the way home but I guess the boring road miles have paid off. I ripped through every section of The Fells on the way back as well and didn't come home drooling and draped over my bars, spinning my granny gear on flat ground.

It was a good week for the riding of the mountain bicycles. Got out on Wednesday night as well. We'll be out there this Wednesday, 5:45PM, at The Shop.

Friday, April 17, 2009

On the D List

I don't know this for a fact, but after consulting with my guy who I consult with when technological matters cause me confusion, it seems that my "crowing" over the fact that Big Bikes had come to occupy the top Google spot for the keyword search "Big Bikes" may have caused the Google Death-Bots to de-list my site. You can't be serious Death Bots.

Have a heart death bots, don't be as cold and uncompromising as WADA. Guys who forgot to get a Doctor's note for their Asthma medication shouldn't have to miss The Le Tour De France and guys who ride their bikes a lot and like to talk crazy about stuff on their blog shouldn't have their site blocked from keyword searches.

Jeez Death Bots, can't you take a freakin' joke? Like anything I do over here effects The Leading Designer & Distributor of Cruising & Touring Accessories in any way.

Yes, most people who Google my site find it by way of "Big Bikes", but you can keep it Big Bike Parts Inc., you and your little buddy with the laser-beam-shooting eyes, Ted The Google Death-Bot. People can still find my site with othe popular searches like "Bigbikes", "Thom Parsons", and "Bikes for fat people".

I guess what I'm trying to say, in so many words is...
suck it!

The week actually ended with a surlpus of bike-related material, but I have to be up extra early tomorrow so I'll have to space all those amazing stories and photos out over next week. That and there's a shiny-metal-dude with glowing red eyes knocking on the door. Gotta go.


Thursday, April 16, 2009

Bad Food/Writing Day

Some days you go out hard and the next day you pay for it, it's recovery time. Yesterday I went out too hard, today I have nothing left. In the morning I rode an hour of trail on the way to work with IBC teammate Kevin. Commuted to work on the Superfly. Then rode some more trail post-work with a few people. But all that may be a story sandwiched between way too many photos to distract you from the fact that sleep deprivation has turned my brain into an object that resembles petrified dachshund poop and that I cannot put two words together, um...for another day. That sentence plummeted to destruction faster than a drunk college kid on a brakeless fixed gear with a snapped chain going down Mission Hill at 3AM. That one wasn't much better. I give up. See you tomorrow.

Oh yes, the photos.
I started off the day with a large Dunkin Donuts coffee with a shot. I was sweating from my Superflyin' Commute, so the woman behind the counter easily convinced me to go iced. First time this year. Must be summer already. The coffee did the trick, kick starting my brain enough for it to provide a bare minimum of functions. This is the part where my brain should be telling me the funny functions it did actually perform...nothing.

Ok...still nothing.

Never mind.

Word on the Needham Streets was that McDonalds was giving you a second Big Mac for a penny when you bought the first one at full price. I offered to split the deal with someone...if they bought the first one! Ha! So funny, get it? Because they would pay the FULL price and I would pay a penny. That is so funny. I am peeing myself. Wait, I do that when I'm scared and when someone says "Thom Pee!". It sounds the same as "Thom P.!". Honest mistake.

Truth is everyone I tried to convince to do this thing with me wanted both Big Macs for themselves. Bastards. Then it was coffee time. Bryan and I went on our daily Man-date to Starbucks. He went for the much more reasonable prospect of Fresh City, but for some reason retreated, coming back into Starbucks to tell me he would enter into the heart attack pact with me.

I did it, got the two. All with the idea that I would give my "extra Big Mac" away. But it went horribly awry. After one Big Mac I felt fine, it was delicious. Bryan sat to my left, looking at naked pictures of Abe Vigoda on the computer, he told me to stop being a pussy and eat my second one. He told me he was feeling fine. I did it. I Quickly did not feel fine. Far from it. Bryan wasn't far behind, he too was feeling the awful sugar headache thing, the gurgling tumult in the gut.

Why? Because it was there. And so was the other one.

The one-two punch to the stomach the 540* calorie a piece sandwiches delivered sent me into a comatose state. I shambled around the shop like and extra from The Thriller Video until I offset the fat and sodium tsunami with a Venti Coffee (with a shot) from Starbucks.

Crap food, crap post, I'll have photos and stories of all the crazy trail riding up tomorrow.


* I posted this originally last night, for some reason the clock for my blogger posts is screwed up, and I realized today that it looked like I double posted for Wednesday (isn't this fascinating?). So I re-posted, losing Zencycle's comment about the fact that the Big Mac has 540, not 450 calories. That was actually me doing the thing I do where I transpose numbers. And yes Zen, I felt pretty much like I was going to puke.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Been doing a bit off cross-posting. Putting stuff up over on the 29er Crew site that is basically a re-hashing of stuff I've already done over here at The Big Bikes. Not the case today. I actually wrote something wicked awesome specifically for that site. It is a re-telling of events at The Hop Brook race only with more of a Thom-is-smoking-tons-of-crack-cocaine-feel to it. Haven't piqued your interest yet? I'll just say that it involves Sasquatch suits, me getting kicked in the nuts, and is almost 100% made up. OK it is 100% made up.

So go check it out. That way when Fisher 29er Crew Team Manager Travis Ott looks at the site stats he'll be all like "Whoah, that cat Thom P. sent us four referrals! We should tell him to quit his job at The Bike Shop and pay him a six figure salary to travel the world doing bike races, eating weird food, and generally being a raving dumb-ass".

Help me realize my dream, go read my post over on the 29er Crew Site. It's what Jesus would do (if he worked a desk job and had low standards and lots and lots of time on his hands). It's what Gewilli would do any way.


Tuesday, April 14, 2009


I know that some days you must stop by here and say to yourself "Man, I wish Thom P. would stop talking so much and posting so many narcissistic (sweet, spelled it right the second time!) self-portraits. Can't he just tell me what he ate for breakfast and how many watts he put out during his commute?".

Egg & Cheese from Dunkin Donuts (we were out of eggs and spinach at home) and not too many on my recovery ride into a brutal headwind.

Wind, I do hate it. Yesterday I tried to do a little endurancy spin up to Concord on the way to my sister's for Easter dinner. I basically did three-quarters of the ride into a headwind and the last quarter with a ripping tailwind. Then I ate John Goodman's weight in Mac & Cheese and Ham and lay about sweating and groaning for the remainder of the day. I love Mac & Cheese as much as I hate wind. If the wind blew Mac & Cheese into my mouth while I rode, I might reconsider. Until then wind can take a flying f#%*! at a rolling doughnut.

You know that I can't even spell "Doughnut" right thanks to Dunkin Donuts? I imagine many children in Massachusetts grow up with this handicap.

So ya, I'm going to sleep now, I will tell you a couple more fascinating things and then good night.

Wednesday April 15th, IBC MTB ride in Cutler Park, out of the Newton Shop, as in meet at the shop, 71 Needham St., 6PM, no lights required. We'll ride at whatever pace the group dictates until it begins to get dusky out and the Coyotes begin circling. Call over the shop if you have any questions - 617-527-0967.

Saturday, NEMBA Fells opening day. IBC 'll be there, leading rides, doing tech support, giving away popcorn. It's the first weekend you can legally have fun in The Fells. I personally cannot wait.

That's all I got for now.
Oh, I just got clued into how awesomely Cyclingdirt is covering The Root 66 Series. I grabbed the below video from their site. Watch for the guy with purple sleeves (I forgot my arm warmers) in 20th place at the start. I use The Jefferson's model when it comes to mountain bike racing - Movin' On Up.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Hop Brook...Damn

That's right, Big Bikes has toppled Big Bikes Parts Inc. from the top Google spot when you search "Big Bikes". Of course by the time you read this they will have knocked me back down where I belong. That didn't stop me from doing an obnoxious-logo-altering-victory-dance. In your face Big Bikes Parts Inc!

I've been doing this thing lately where I wake up way before I need to be up. When I awoke Saturday AM I felt like I was doing that thing, mainly because I felt like crap. I looked at my phone , it read 8:03. Huh? My alarm was set for 7:15, my IBC Teammate Kevin Sweeney was picking me up at 8, I was confused. It was either a.) Kevin never got my last email and he wasn't showing up at all, or b.) he had come and gone, or c.) he was running slightly late. Lucky for me it was C. I filled a coffee mug, threw my clothes on, Kevin knocked on the door, I handed him bike, and by the time he had it ready to put in the car I was ready to go. Eight minutes from the time I got out of bed, we were rolling. I hadn't brushed my teeth or "done my work" but we were rolling.

No work. I hate leaving the house without having done "My Work". The other day, I'm not kidding, I suited about, bibs, sweater, jacket, helmet on, ear buds in, glasses on, then I had to go back to do more work...three times. The suit up, un-suit-up process taking three minutes each time. Fucking Chipotle.

Hey! I'm talking about poop here, don't rush me. Do you actually think this post will get better than this? Keep smokin' kid, keep smokin'.

As much as I talk about my love of Dunkin Donuts, I nearly never eat the stuff before a race. I wasn't close to having enough time to make my oatmeal, so it was Egg & Cheese on an everything Bagel for breakfast. I'm definitely not complaining about that.

I've made a huge mistake. That's what I was thinking when Kevin and I headed out for a "warm up" lap on the course. No way to warm up really when it's sub-50° and pissing rain. The only purpose this pre-ride served was to strike terror into my legs as they backfired and sputtered while attempting to turn over my one dumb gear.

The first time I did this race was last year. It was a freakishly warm day, I got sun-burned. The course was fast and dry and lead me to believe that running a 34 X 17 this year would be a great freakin' idea. Oh what a difference 365 days make. I decided to go back to my single speedy roots and show up to the race with no box of tricks. No chain whip. No arsenal of cogs. Just show up and ride what I've got. Thing is, in the past I was perpetually under-geared. That was not my problem in Middlebury Saturday. I ran a 58" gear. A gear that has been fine in training for the past few weeks. But I haven't been training in greasy-ass mud. "Hey rear tire, what the hell's going on back there?". "Oh, don't mind me, I'm just slipping out with every over-torqued rotation of the cranks". "That's just great buddy, this is gonna be fun, can't wait".

Note: I'm trying to multi-task, watching Paris-Roubaix and writing. It's not working, this race is just too good.

OK, I'm back, you have my undivided attention. You and The Office.
Hey you guys want to hear about Hop Brook?
It was indescribable.
Actually it was describable.
I will now attempt to describable it. And I will try to make it short. Like Danny Devito. But I will try to make it less fat and hairy than Danny Devito.

There were a lot of guys in the field, I guess the whole category change thing is working. The start was muddy mayhem, my glasses useless within seconds. Being tired and utterly lacking high-end capabilities right now, I just let things sort themselves out. I wound up in a group with a guy on an IF 29er and the only other Pro, single-speedin' guy present, James Harmon. I would pull ahead here and there and then James would spin up the hills as I got bogged down and struggled. He was running a much more intelligent gear, a 34 X 19 on a 26er. Until half way through the race he was even keeping up on the flats. You know you've selected the wrong gear when you're running up the hills, attacking geared riders on the flats, and only getting spun out on paved downhills.

The course was slick, a whole lot more fun than last year. Lots of high-speed double-track, broken up by little technical sections which were sketchy if taken at full throttle. I was cold, wet, generally hurtin', but I was really having a great time. Eventually I found myself in no man's land, a couple riders shadowing me from behind, Mike Rowell ahead, dangling just out of reach, opening gaps imperceptibly. I've been spending a lot of time on the Mountain Bike, the skills are good, I was confident that I was closing through anything remotely hairy or technical, but Mike is a powerhouse and was laying it down through the open stuff. At one point I thought I had magically decimated the gap on the last steep pitch of the one major climb. But no, I had caught Cathy Rowell in her NEBC kit. I tried to get her to chase Mike with me, but when you have a Teammate/Husband in the break, you can't be expected to do any work.

After the first lap I was pretty much running all of the climbs. As conditions deteriorated, the geared guys were slipping and sliding so much that I was actually gaining ground in some spots. God, I hate running though.

Last lap, going into the final singletrack section I saw Mike closing on Nate Ringquist who was, in turn, closing on Gunther Hofer. That flipped the switch. I was looking right through Mike at Gunther, probably forty seconds ahead. I caught Mike, then dragged him up to Nate as we entered the last substantial climb, the kind of grassy thing, that turned into a mud-fest by the top. I went into the gravel road stuff alone, knowing that it was only a matter of time before Mike and Nate closed down the gap. I blasted up the pitch on the gravel road, coming up on Gunther.

Nate, Mike, and Gunther closed the gap on the pavement just before the entrance into the small, penultimate climb. Nate got the hole shot, Mike countered with a Jens Voigt-like attack of incredibly ferocity. "I do NOT have that!" I said to Nate. Nate chased, I followed, Gunther was still right there. Mike faded, I came around Nate and gasped my way to the top, pretty sure that if I got to the last stretch of rocky, muddy singletrack first, no matter how much I was vomitting on myself, I would likely hold it to the line. It's nice when you think about doing a thing and you can actually pull off the thing you are thinking of doing the way you imagined it. It was an awesome finish, like something out of a spring classic. Like we were duking it out on The Koppenberg.

I landed myself in 7th place. Behind 29er Crew Teammates Andrew Freye and John Foley (1st and 5th respectively), the always fast Matt O'keefe, Mike "I arrived ten minutes before the start and whupped major ass with no warm up whatsoever" Mooradian, an uncharacteristically geared Mike Montalbano, oh ya, and Tim Johnson (Andrew actually beat him...sick).

Super Army Soldiers Colin and Kevin (hey, Kevin, start a blog!) ripped it with matching 3rd places in the 19-29 and 30-39 Cat 1 races. And George Shaw pulled off a top ten in the Sport 30-39 race. It was also good to see IF rider Mark Elsasser out there. Hopefully I'll be visiting his neck of the woods for some Michaux stuff this summer.

OK, gotta crash. A wee bit too much celebrating last night with The Leg and The Todd Downs who (gasp!) updated his blog.


Friday, April 10, 2009

New Lid

Man, I thought I had something to say tonight. Now I'm pretty sure I'm going to blurt out a couple random things then trail off and fall asleep on the couch. First random thing, I got a new helmet. My old Giro Atmos had developed three defined cracks, rendering it beyond useless. If I had taken a direct hit, I would have been dead or worse. I could have spent the rest of my days with the intellectual capacity of a Brussels Sprout (but how would we know the difference?) Hey! Save it, I'm making fun of myself here, no need for you to chime in.

Now I don't remember taking a hit that would have cracked it like that. There was that time I woke up next to a parked car wearing lipstick and Lederhosen while I was on my way home from Redbones though.

So I ordered a new Team helmet. It's a Trek Sonic Helmet. Which is just as light, or lighter, and every bit as ventilated as the much more expensive Atmos. I'm a good salesman huh? And, as you can see form the above photograph of my very scientific testing process, it is actually much stronger. "Sonic smash Atmos - Smash!".

Got my hours in today on the bike, which cut into my writing hour(s). Went out on a shop ride with some of the boys from The IF Elite Team. They're doing these rides every Thursday night out of our Newton shop at 5:30. The pace is brisk and steady, but not brutal. Maybe 20-24MPH and not very hilly at all. Check the Event Calendar for details. It was nice for me to ride with these guys. They made me realize I'd been neglecting my spin. Being surrounded by five Cat 1's who can pedal a bike way the hell better than you'll do that to an octagon pedaling clod like myself.

After we looped back to the shop I threw my pack and lights on and kept on rolling out to Weston, Lincoln and Lexington. As I turned down Trapelo road the moon was huge and orange and hanging low in the sky over the city. You never know when you're gonna see something so god damn beautiful, it'll blow your silly, little cycling socks off. Guess you just have to keep getting out there and pedaling until it comes along.

Ok, what really happened to the Atmos. The Sonic didn't smash it. It carried it off while I wasn't looking, wrestled it under the hydraulic lift, and crushed it alive while it laughed maniacally. I'm hoping I can harness the evil power of the helmet and wield it against my enemies.

Racing Saturday down in Connecticut (one of those words I'm always psyched to spell correctly the first time, I usually want to double the n and the t's, like Mississippi, Connectticutt) at The Hopbrook Dam. I'll have my race report on your desktop first thing Monday. See you then.


Photo Cred: Jason WG

Thursday, April 09, 2009

It Will all Make Sense in Time,
Just Keep Reading

This is totally un-bike-related, but it's the funniest thing I can think of right now. On second thought, it is bike related because it occurred in a bike store. So never mind.

The other night M and I had my niece and nephew in for their first sleep over in The Big City of Somerville. They live in the Burbs and wonder why we park our car on the street. "Where's your driveway Uncle Thom?". That's right, Uncle Thom. And I used to live in a cabin, I'm not kidding, I really did. It was full of spiders. One bit me on the face while I was sleeping. I respect spiders, but I hate them...because I fear them. They probably fear me too, until I'm sleeping, then they crawl up and bite me on the fucking face. "Not so scary now, are ya puffy face?".

Quick sleep over synopsis:

we went to the park up on Eastern Ave. where I sometimes do hill repeats, the guys did slide repeats, then we went to Spike's for hot dogs, then we went to the video store where we debated getting The Wizard of Oz or some random, crappy,made for T.V. Xmas movie my Nephew grabbed off the shelf and insisted vehemently was better than The Wizard of Oz, with a surreptitious cue from me the clerk informed Noah that the DVD he had selected was actually broken, it worked, we picked up some ice cream and popcorn and lit out for the house where we stayed up too late and ate too much junk food, perfect, after a couple stories the guys were out, no problem, in the AM Noah woke up at, in his words
"Six-Zero -Four", I woke up at Seven-Zero-Zero, so he had time to open up Miriam's lap top and Google "Noah" and "AAA", apparently he's a budding narcissist who might require road-side assistance, of course I told his mother he Googled "Boobies" and "Bum Bums", we had some pancakes at Soundbites, then went to the shop. We were the first ones there (I know I said this would be quick, doesn't using commas as the only punctuation make it seem quick? Alright, I'll knock it off.).

The kids ran amok, riding every bike in the store, I thought they might get a kick out of our massive hydraulic lift (which oddly enough factors into tomorrow's post as well)we use to take bikes up to the warehouse, Lyla was with me, but Noah wanted to do his own thing. He was not to be swayed. I had to get creative. "Hey Noah, the lights are still out, that means that the dogs might still be loose". "What dogs?". "At night, when we close the doors, we let the dogs out. They're these two HUGE Doberman Pinschers with big teeth and glowing red eyes". Lyla piped in "What're their names?". "Siegfried and Roy".

Noah fell in line, right on my heels as we went over to the lift.

I was going to tell you some other stuff but I ran into Big Dan B. on the way home tonight, and after chasing him up the Arlington Water Tower a couple times, I am shattered. That guy can spin out some watts so smoothly, it looks like he ain't workin' at all. If he hadn't snapped his seatpost, he would be The King Of Burlingame, without a doubt.


Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Slump Day

Last Thursday I went out for another Solo Epic. Yes Epic. I said it, I'll say it again EPIC. We just don't use that word enough anymore. We also don't chest bump as a greeting enough anymore. "Hi Gramma" - Bump! "Oh God, someone call the paramedics". Maybe four and a half hours on The Superfly. Thursdays were my long road ride day, but since I got the Superfly set up and the trails have cleared, I haven't been able to help myself. Every chance I get, I'm out on that bike, riding all over the place just to ride. Training-wise I'm not sure if it makes sense. I don't really care. Enough road already, I want to play bikes.

This ride was another of those over the river and through the woods to god freakin' knows where rides. I had to get to the shop to attend to some very serious business. That leg of the ride was primarily road, although I did throw in some urban trials. There will possibly be a video to accompany this post sometime in the (probably distant) future showcasing how awesomely I suck at trials. I spent far too long messing around at the shop, leaving with about two hours of daylight remaining.

I talk a lot about all the music I listen to to keep me sane on long road rides but I on the mountain bike I almost can't tolerate music at all. I knew I'd be out for a long time and a good amount of that time would be spent spinning my brains out (Shut up, it's all relative, some of us just have less brains to spin out. Don't make fun of me just because I have a placard on my bike that allows me to park closer to the coffee shop than you) on the road. I was in a hurry so I even loaded up my ipod with my all time favorite, 150 song, nearly five hour comp, No Thanks! the '70s punk Rebellion. And even that couldn't keep me happy. For whatever reason, I prefer silence on the knobby bike.

From there I explored some trails along The Charles River around Hemlock Gorge and down Quinobequin Road. Nothing to write home about, but something to write on the blog about how they aren't something to write home about. Yes, that sentence doesn't quite work, does it?

I picked up some Fisherman's trails along The Charles in Waltham. These trails don't really go anywhere and no discerning mountain bike rider would ever consider them a destination, but string 'em together with some other stuff and you're a stoked puppy.

And Here's the funny thing. Half way through the latter part of this ride I bonked terribly. I had the camera on so whenever I had the thing running and some tasty single-track was thrown in front of me I started riding like a freakin' idiot. No one wants to watch a helmet cam video of someone poking along the trail. Except maybe my Mom...because it wouldn't make her quite so nervous. This practice quickly sapped my stores. The amount of food I'd normally ingest on a steady road endurance ride was nowhere near adequate.

I still had a Metric Butt-Load of trail to cover before I could hang my helmet so I veered about a mile off course in either direction to scare up some supplies. A little Liquor store on Trapelo road was the best I could do. So I drank a Forty of Old E and ate some Beef Jerky and Hot Fries and I was on my way.

No. I'm not quite that fucked in the head, nor I am I that dietarily punk rock. That set up makes the fact that my emergency meal consisted of Coke and Cream Filled Chocolate Easter Eggs seem pretty reasonable. Hey, they did the trick, I went from being useless, to being able to pedal my bike with some feeling, to kind of rockin' it again. So much so that given the choice between turning for home as the sun set or taking on more trail, I opted for the latter.

That went well...for a minute. Then I took a left when I should have taken a right and found myself over a half an hour from home, half an hour after sunset, with no lights. Dur. Here I chose to ride down the powerlines toward Horn Pond in Woburn, figuring it was safer than riding the road in the pitch dark. As I rolled down the powerlines I caught something out of the corner of my eye, I thought it was a Red-Tailed Hawk. Which would have been cool. Common...but cool. It was, in fact, a Great Horned Owl. It came to a perch on a leafless tree, staring right at me, it did that head thing, the pivoting in circles thing, it didn't make a sound, I did, I let out a hoot, not like and Owl, like an imbecile who was really, really stoked to see and Owl. Then it flew away.

After that I picked my way blindly through the Forest, spun home down the Mystic Lakes, and came home to find Mountains of Indian Food awaiting me. Such a perfect day.

Trek Rep Bill dropped these by the shop today. I quietly slunk back outside and removed the Banana I had just put in his tailpipe.

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Weird, Barbaric Polish Duke
(Who no one in their right mind would marry their Princess-daughter off to)
of Burlingame

It's alright, I'm partly Polish. I can make jokes like that, but because I'm only partly Polish I have to leave out part of the this case, the funny part.

Where was I? Something about terrifying driving and not warming up. Sound about right? So we actually got there pretty quick (flashback to two sentences ago when I was talking about terrifying driving). Not enough time to pre-ride, but time enough to put our clothes on at a full sprint, number up, and check out the first part of the course. Looked good, very fun and techy. Boded well for an out of shape (I'm just going to weave my excuses for why I sucked like a big sucking suck into this post in a sort of subliminal way, therefore you will come away from this story saying "Well, that douche bag Thom P. did pretty well...considering he had more chips stacked against him than that guy on the news who got killed by that overturned Pringles truck". What's that? That's the wrong kind of chip? Well then a joke about an overturned Pringles truck wouldn't make much sense now would it. Way to parade on my piss.) dude with some rusty Bike-Ninja skills.

I seriously almost forgot to finish that sentence after the parentheses.

As I was saying, before I so rudely interrupted myself, Dan B., Linnea, and I rode the first section of the course. By the time we got back it was nearly go time. I decided to roll to the car which was a mile from the start to ditch my wind-vest and extra tube and to put some warm up balm on my butt-ass-white legs. Mike said I didn't have enough time. He was right. I slept maybe seven hours in the two days leading up to the race combined. I sprinted back from the car, missing my start time by two minutes. And I didn't get to race. The End.

Lies and craziness. They were running late and I had time to spare. No problem. Except for the fact that my legs were torn to shreds from the four hour ride I did Thursday, where I bonked and had to eat cream filled chocolate easter eggs and drink Coke until I regained stasis. The guy doing the starts, where he actually held your saddle while you clipped in, was hilarious. Hamming it up and taking the piss out of everyone in his pronounced Gaelic lilt. "Aye, Thommy Parsons, everyone's favorite bike rider...Thommy, I love them wee pink tassels you have on yer bike there lad". And I was off.

The big (to my legs) gear of 34 X 17 felt good to me through the tech stuff. But soon I ran out of tech stuff and entered the drag strip straightaways which would typify the remainder of the course with a few exceptions. I knew Johnny Bold and Kevin Hines were out there behind me somewhere, lighting those sections ablaze as they searched for more gears on their bikes. Super gears.

Quickly I began picking off the riders ahead of me. Which surprised me because the way I was feeling saturday afternoon, after the NEMBA trail day at The Fells, I was pretty sure I had The Black Plague. False Alarm! I had this insane idea that I would see Rooter. I wouldn't even end up putting a minute into him in the end. Remember how much faster the kid got between the 07 and 08 'Cross seasons? Watch out Root 66 Series, IBC has him on a doping regime you wouldn't believe. We first created an actual Centaur by combining the preserved DNA of the deceased race horse, Secretariat and the DNA of Eddy Merckx. Over the past few months we have been blood doping Reuter with the super-blood of this creature. I told you you wouldn't believe it.

I'm lost. I forgot that race reports are actually really, really boring. Triple arrow fast-forward, no, f-that, quintuple arrow fast forward...and I'm standing at the finish line with Colin and IBC's Dan B., who'd ridden the whole dam race, just about, with his seatpost snapped off, on a single speed. He stood for twenty five minutes. And he beat lots and lots of people. It was cold, so we rolled back to the parking lot where we tried to lay plans for a post race ride with the the likes of Chris Gagnon, Kurt Johnson, and Rob Stine. People I had different time lines so Colin, Linnea, and I ended up rolling to Arcadia where Mr. Stine showed us his personal playground. Those trails are sweet! It is no wonder the guy is a Technical-Gorilla-Jedi-Wizard. Most XC courses don't let a guy show off the fact he can cleanly J-hop a two foot high log in his sleep.

In summary: Great race, I'll do it again next year, especially with the added bonus of Rob's trails being nearby, Tim Horton's is better than Dunkin Donuts, getting a doughnut as part of your sandwich combo is awesome, I ate bacon with every meal Sunday, I drank, perhaps a record amount of coffee that day, in possibly related news I also peed more times throughout the course of the day than the word "Fuck" is used in the film Scarface and Goodfellas - combined, The Superfly was wicked! When you haven't breathed really f-in hard for months and months and months and then you go out and breath really f-in hard for half an hour you don't feel too too good, you can do anything for ten minutes but you can't do some things for more than twenty minutes, I got second in my age class and won a sweet full face Bell helmet which I will wear to Highland when I go up there with my Remedy, and...what else? Oh, I saw Gewilli stopped on the side of the trail during the race updating his blog. Now that's commitment.

1.)Rob shows us the way 2.) Collum searches for the precious 3.) "There can be no question, my dear Watson, of the value of exercise before breakfast."

I'm pretty sure Sherlock Holmes was talking about racing your bike before going to Tim Horton's.

Oh ya, oops! Cutler Park doesn't open officially until NEXT WEEK. So yes, big , I say BIG Cutler Park ride, on the actual opening day, Wednesday April 15th 6 PM, 71 Needham St. Newton. No ride this Wednesday though.