Friday, July 31, 2009


After shattering like a Porcelain toilet dropped from an eighth story window on Wednesday AM's hill ride with Kevin I began wondering whether I am just going to get more and more tired and slow or if my fitness will somehow bounce back and I'll find my self sort of fast again.

Today's ride made me feel like I might have something going on in those appendages which hang in a very often uncooperative fashion off my pelvis. At least on flat to rolling roads. I left from Wrentham with the goal of covering fifty miles or riding for three hours, which ever came first. Due to some getting turned around business I wound up with 57 miles in three hours in the wind and 85° heat. Which is good for me. I usually lack motivation to pedal fast on the road for no apparent reason.

I can say that I have never taken notice of my body producing more sweat than I produced today. It was nutty. I drank and drank and for hours after the ride and I did not pee. It is part the New England condition to constantly complain about the weather. I hate 44° and rainy, or sleety, other than that, bring it. It can't be too hot as far as I'm concerned. I reveled in every drop of sweat falling on my bike while my legs cooked in the sun.

I know my way around the environs of Wrentham pretty well...not well enough not to get totally lost. I kept turning down roads which kept the wind in my face or at my side for the first three quarters of the ride. Or taking streets which were named "Maple" or "Cottage", not "Center" or "Main". I didn't have a map and most of the time I had no idea where I was. Good thing my only appointment was with two little people and some S'mores late in the afternoon.

Little People

Golden Brown

Well, the EFTA race this Sunday got canceled due to muddy trail conditions so I'll be heading down to The Hodges Dam race to make an ass of myself this weekend. I won it last year, my expectations are a little lower this year. And like some really annoying idiot on a Food Network Reality show once said "But at least I'm failing at the right thing".

I think Adam Myerson once used this a victory salute while wearing this jersey

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Proper Mount Snow Race Report

It's not here, it's HERE. On The 29er Crew Blog. So go over THERE and look at it.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mount Snow, A Reality Kick in The Nuts

Hours of Sleep: 5ish
Weight: 165.5
Gear: 34 X 22

This is a horrible, painful race, but like a repressed businessman who commissions an Asian prostitute to hit him in the nuts with a high-heeled shoe every second Wednesday, we know what we're paying for and we keep going back for more.

It was definitely a 4 bagger, 4 bags of ice in my post-race ice bath that is.

I have the feeling this one ain't gonna go too linear like. I knew it wouldn't go well, but I thought it would be a good workout and I figured since I raced Mount Snow three times last year, I should at least race it once this year...and I'm not feelin' like Kenda Cup Pro material right now. I don't know what material I feel like. Perhaps whatever material most resembles marshmallow fluff. No one would want a suit made out of that material. Especially on a hot day.

I want to write a race report but my thoughts keep going back to the Dunkin Donuts bathroom from this morning. By the door was a sign next to a timer switch, explaining how they were trying to conserve energy and that you should set the timer for the desired amount of time you plan on spending in the bathroom. The options were:


Or something like that, point being, the maximum amount of time was an hour. If you plan on spending an hour in the bathroom, you should probably be calling an ambulance and planning on spending some time in the hospital. What kind of operation are you performing over the course of an hour in the bathroom? Even ten minutes is a stretch for me, I'd have light to spare. What can I say, I eat a lot of Kale.

And what else can I say, I am not going to get through my race report tonight. You came down here on Monday morning looking for a race report and what you got was me circuitously talking about poop again. Poop is funnier than bike racing anyway. There are almost no jokes about bike racing in Will Ferrell movies. I will try to post a report, probably a pretty straight-laced one over on the 29er Crew Blog.

I also hereby usher in the pre-24 Hours of Great Glen smack talking. Me, Harry Precourt, Jeff Whittingham, and a yet to be named Ringer of incredible racing pedigree are doing it as a 4 Man Pro team. My IBC teammates Colin and Kevin are doing it on a four man team as well. So too are Jesse Chebot and Chuck D'He...I don't know how the hell to spell his name. Our team is split like Astana. Me, the old-ass two time GG24 champion, they the young bucks, coming to dethrone me.

But like Lance, I am old and crafty and kind of a dick, I have tricks up my sleeve.

  • I have bought a bag of cheap Alarm clocks which I will hurl toward their campsite in the wee hours.
  • I will go all Brady Bunch on their ass, filling their sleeping bags with itching powder.
  • Their bottles of chain lube will be filled with crazy glue.
  • At a key moment I will offer them Ex-La—I mean Brownies, just normal brownies.
  • I will grind up Ambien and put it in their energy drink mix.
  • The hell with Ambien, I will slip them all Ruffies and drag their sleeping pads to the top of Mt. Washington.
I don't know how much I'll actually have to sabotage Chuck and Jesse, we'll see if they can make it to start time without one of their teammates running over their bikes with a car.

So ya, maybe tomorrow for race report and maybe, real maybe for a possible video of the new Mount Snow course for those of you who are racing the Kenda Cup but couldn't be bothered to come up to West Dover and suffer horribly with the rest of us clowns today.

Rain drops starting to fall on a Mount Snow morning, ominous.

A wise-mechanic called The Todd Downs once said "Road bikes never get valve caps, Mountain Bikes always get valve caps. If the rock that hit this guy did it just a little harder I would have had a hell of a lot worse race. And that's saying a lot.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Pop's Camp

After the self-imposed blogging vacation during the pre-wedding craziness, I never quite got back at it with the five day a week writing schedule, this is due in part to what I've been doing with my Wednesday nights through Friday mornings. M and I have been heading down to my homeland of Wrentham, MA to Pop's Camp on Lake Archer. Pop was my great Grandfather on my Mother's side. For a brief period in the summer 0f 2006, I occupied Pop's Camp full time and during that period it was referred to by my siblings as "Uncle Thom's Cabin".

Technically I could Remora (shut up spellcheck, it's a parasitic suckerfish, you dumbass) Internet off the neighbor's and keep up the blogging, but we've chosen to make this time at the cabin media free. It's been a good thing.

I wake up, take a jump in the lake, and then head out for an epic loop of Wrentham and Foxborough. The trails are rough, mostly moto-stuff, but I roll on The Remedy (or today, a demo-Roscoe, more on that later) which makes it all a hoot. In the upper right of the photo above you can see how my cousin Christy has transformed my Grandparent's place into a vibrant organic farm. Cutting through there to say howdy is always part of the ride. The wildflowers actually grow along the abandoned rail road tracks, which my family watched the Worcester Tornado travel down back in '53 (of course they also watched Cyclocross bikes travel down it in the winter of '08).

Above: 1.) A ripping descent. You can ride these trails on a hardtail XC bike - you can play on them with a six inch travel trail bike. 2.) The gash in my leg from a failed drop attempt, that's the bastard that ended up getting horribly infected. 3.) Me ten feet from The Roscoe, where I landed after my bike stayed in a slimy moto-rut at twenty miles per hour as my body chose to dive into the trees. 4.) The Bezema Palace...I'm still not sure what the story is with these people but they have some sweet lion statues guarding their front door. If Scarface ran a construction company and lived in Wrentham Massachusetts, I'm pretty sure his house would look a lot like this.

1.) Somehow on every one of these rides, I have to go all "Old School" and get all worked over, bonked out, and generally destroyed. Riding in baggies on a hot, muggy New England day is dumb. The chamois is a joke and you feel like you're swimming in corduroys. 2.) I started out at the top of that slimy, green rock...and went for a slip and a slide. 3.) A bit of trudging through stinking swamps is par for the course. 4.) Always finish with the plummet off Sweatt/Knuckup Hill. Which I actually skied on during its brief re-opening in the early eighties. The J-Bar was terrifyingly sketchy.

After the ride it's nice to take a bath in the lake (with eco-friendly soaps) and then relax on The King Cobra Raft with an ice cold beer. It's much easier to mount The King Cobra when you're in shallow water, but, like I said as I grunted and contorted my body trying to get on the thing, "I have to learn to do these thing myself!".

And that is why I've become a blog-slacker.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The Original Big Ring
Interview Part Two is Up

That's right, once again, all the action is over HERE today, so please go check it out will ya.

In the all me all the time news we have these shocking updates:

I woke up this morning to an infected and throbbing leg, the result of a wound I received while riding the big squishing bike in Wrentham last Thursday. At work it began oozing and then dripping globs of yellow pus. I'm an idiot when it comes to medical situations but I'm not a big enough idiot not to go to the ER when I begin to feel feverish and my entire leg is buzzing from a small, festering abrusion (combination of a bruise and an will be a word, it will be). They put me on antibiotics and I should be all set with no legs falling off every time with the gangrene.

I also ran this morning. It was a dumb idea altogether and even dumber still because I ran for a total of 40 minutes after not running at all for over two years. Did I mention the ten long-ass stair repeats? And some of you come here for training advice, you are doomed.

The tri-in-fecta of the running, the pus-gushing wound, and the ten hours of combined sleep over the past two days had me wondering which of the three was making me feel like total crap the most. That reminds me, I really should be off to bed.


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Ooh, Look at Mr. International Over Here

Today was a swell day. I knew it was going to be good when I dropped an apple first thing this morning, and while fumbling for it, I punched myself right in the nuts. But we're not here to talk about me inadvertently punching myself in the nuts (for a change).

Sorry there is nothing to read here really, BUT WAIT! Don't go away, there's all sorts of crazy silliness to read way up north on The Original Big Ring Blog. You see I did an interview for Craig Barlow, you should totally go check it out, it's right HERE.

Have fun up there in The Land of The Free Health Care and come back and see me tomorrow (so I can redirect you back to Craig for part two of the interview). Craig has a great Blog full of self-depricating humor, race reports, and tales of adventure, I read him daily (or at least every time he posts something). He likes peanut butter and single speed bikes which almost makes us family.


Monday, July 20, 2009

Oh, Sunapee Lions

Sleep - 6 Hours
Weight - 164.5
Gear - 34 X 18
Result - 4th Elite

And I feel like Nancy Kerrigan did after Jeff Gillooly got to her with that pipe.

I last raced over a month ago, it was past time I got back at it. What better race to start with than the first race I ever did. In 1999, as a Sport, I entered the Sunapee Lions race. Tyler Hamilton was there, fresh off his first Tour De France with Postal, he was riding a borrowed Gary Fisher with canti brakes racing Expert. He got his ass kicked, this was a real mountain bike race. Those Experts looked so frickin' big and scary back then, Matt Svatek's sideburns pointy.

Today I lined up with a small Elite field at roughly the same venue. The course has changed a lot over the years, and there was only one face there from that '99 race, Matt O'Keefe. In '99 I was happy to finish 5th in the Sport field, today I was happy not to utterly embarrass myself during my tentative return to Elite level mountain bike racing.

And I promised myself I wouldn't ramble.

The posse today consisted of Greg The Leg and Kevin Sweeney . We arrived at the venue relatively on time, but after waiting in huge lines for registration and longer lines at the port-a-potties we had no time for warm up, never mind a pre-ride of the course. Mass Starts...are wicked awesome. It gives the appearance that an event is really well attended, especially when you're waiting at registration for twenty minutes and at the port-a-potties for another twenty minutes. Eveyone has the same start time, registration time, and poop time.

Poop time. I damn near had to go to the start line with "one on deck". Think about that, folks work so hard to shave pounds off their bodies and grams off their bikes, when if they only ate more roughage they might go to the start line two pounds lighter. I thought about it the whole race long "At least I'm only five pounds over base race weight, not seven pounds, that would suck much worse".

Talking about poop is not rambling.

Through the first part of the course I was spun out on the flat, bumpy, jeep roads, I made my first passes after the first high-speed mud bog crossing, on an uphill. Passing GTL and Brian Hughes, looking back to see EX-Super-Blogger and my '09 24 Hours of Great Glen Teammate Jeff Whittingham in tow. The climbs were great, broken up very nicely, with some high speed downhills, and one not so high speed "I can't believe I'm having to pedal down this mud bog at this gradient" section, with a great flip yourself over the handlebars mud bog crossing at the bottom. I'd get each of the bog dialed, find my line, only to get thrown off my plan the next lap by lapped traffic (another awesome element off mass starts, major lapped rider traffic).

Jeff and I caught up to Mike Bartlett, who was climbing very fluidly, getting so in the zone that he actually tried to spin off up a hill going off course, Jeff and I got him back on track though. Jeff was nursing a slow leak in his rear tire and Mike was outpacing me on the climbs. After flipping over in a mud bog and fumbling with a bottle, I'd never see Mike again, Jeff would keep coming back after his tire fiddlings, even though I was out there going "Dude, I am totally railing this shit! – Oh, hi Jeff".

The singletrack sections were rad, albeit few and far between, if they could add 20% more of that stuff to this course, it would be the best damn thing ever. That stuff was so flowy, twisty, and fun. I don't know if the Webb brothers are still out there cutting that stuff, if so, thanks fellas, very nice work.

So as you might have gathered by now, I liked the course while I felt the race organization was lacking. A final note on that, the Elites paid an exorbitant $49 fee and pay out was for first place only, $100, and a claimed $200 medal. A word to promoters, racers could give a crap about medals. I personally have so many "Yeah! I finished the race" nondescript medals, I have no idea what to do with them. Sometimes I would award them to my niece and nephew for accomplishing amazing tasks like washing their hands or wiping their butts. I'm not quite sure what the thinking was on that one. We pay more, they pay out less.

I'm deadly serious when I say that 90% of the Elites who raced today (we were kind of unanimously pissed) will not return next year and those that do will save themselves twenty or so bucks and race Expert.

And I have promoted a race.

As a promoter I'll say this regarding the shit storm Kevin started about the Pat's Peak course. What the hell good is it for a promoter to focus on all the ass kissing about how great their race is? Not to ring my own cowbell, but the race I did promote didn't get a lot of criticism, what little it did, I noted, I took it to heart, and if, I say if we put on another race this year improvements will be made based on those criticisms.

Next week, Root 66 Mt. Snow, such a bad idea for me to do it, we'll see what happens.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

OK Fine, I'm Back...Sort Of, I Guess

What's it been, ten days since I wrote something here? Nine? Wow, seemed longer than that. I was really wondering how I was going to get back at it, then, like that, the insomnia returned this morning. Not the old kind where I couldn't get to sleep, this is the new breed where I wake up at an ungodly hour and can't fall back to I write.

I once attended an art show at The List Gallery at MIT called "Shakespeare From Memory", where an artist had tried to piece together synopses of all the great works of, yes, Shakespeare, scrawling the words on large canvasses. She hadn't read them since high school, so it was actually pretty funny. Don't get me started on the conceptual art. If I go to see art in a gallery, I want it to be a visual or some other sort of sensory experience. Writing large words on a canvas is called writing and like most conceptual art it conveys an idea. Ideas can be conveyed by telling people about them, you don't necessarily have to waste your time shlepping to a gallery to see those ideas hanging on a wall.

My point, my point, it's in here somewhere...ow! There it is. I am going to try to piece together (briefly) what has happened in the past tennish days (Tennish, in this usage means "roughly ten days", it is also how a Dutchman pronounces "Tennis", just wanted to clarify).

July 4th - I don't like to get stuck far from home sitting in traffic during this holiday, so I went down to the cabin in Wrentham with my then fiance, Miriam, keeping it local. Not before I went out and did the CRW/ NEBC hill loop. At some point I'll post a my own version of the thing with suggestions for improvement, I've got a few of my own hills that would work nicely into that thing, particularly if if you skip the whole thankless lollipop section going out to The Burlington Mall and back. A lot of the hills are right in my backyard and I had no idea they were there, it was pretty awesome having a couple epiphany moments during the ride "THAT thing has been hiding up in that random neighborhood all these years and I didn't know about it, dang!".

Then, later that day, M and I headed down to Foxborough for a rip around F. Gilbert Hills. The place is rough, but on The Remedy and the Genesisters Hi Fi we were flowing like human powered motorcycles. The place was built by motos and it is still pretty overun by them, they rip a lot of stuff up, but hey, I 'd rather ride moto trails than hiking or equestrian trails any day.

We were three quarters of the way around the loop, it was getting dark, the quadruple-normal mosquito population had come out to party, so Miriam went back on the road as I took off to hammer out the rest of the loop, with the car keys in my pocket. I instantaneously flatted. Knowing that I had only a 29" tube in my pocket (not too many 26" tubes in my house) and that the bloodsuckers would descend on me with a vengeance, I tried to run it out, realizing pretty quickly that I was miles from the trailhead, I stopped to fix the flat. I got it done in record time while still giving the skeeters plenty of opportunity to bite me on every un-deeted spot on my body multiple times. The result looked like a bad reaction to Poison Oak. It felt great too.

July 5th - With the first Parsons/Kornitzer family barbecue looming, I was given an hour and a half window to ride. I struck out with my cousin Will in tow for the over The river and through the woods to Grandmother's house we go loop, which encompasses right-a-ways, private property, town land, Wrentham State Forest, and the old abandoned ski hill. Always one of my favorite rides.

July 6th - I think I rode to work, I'm not sure, I bet it was really, really exciting

July 7th - I think I did some of the NEBC hill loop and some of my own stuff on the way to work, I think I felt like crap doing it. I am fat. In fat, I mean fact, I am weighing in at 167 Lbs, right now. That is how much Bart Brenjens weighs. That is not good.

July 8th - Team TT of the Fells MTB Loop with Kevin Sweeney. It was wet, my RWS skewer slipped, I felt gross, I dabbed at least four times (which is just pathetic) we did it in about 29:15. Not a record. Awesome! Then we rode to work, me on my spinny, spinny off road gear, 32 X 17.

Oh, then I rode up from IBC Newton to Melrose through all but one section of The Fells to a NEMBA meeting on preserving and promoting MTB access to The Fells. After that I was tired.

July 9th - Super-Connector. Went out from The Danish Pastry House for a three and a half hour tour with Kevin, Alex, GTL, and wicked fast youngin' Nathaniel Williams. We hooked up Brooks Estate to Horn Pond to Cummins Park to Willard Woods to Burlington Landlocked to Great Meadows to Whipple Hill, it was sweet.

You ever seen a little kid draw a person and they get to a point where they figure out that there is no way they can keep their figure in proportion with the space available so instead of running their legs or head off the page, they just curve the legs or tilt the neck, making it appear like the poor guy is trapped in a cramped little box suffering horribly?

Monday, July 06, 2009


But Big Bikes isn't closed for a race. I have a choice; I can get ready for my wedding (which is Saturday) and blog about not having time to ride my bike, or, I can get ready for my wedding and still ride my bike a little bit, just enough, maybe, to not become totally obese and out of shape before my next race (Probably The EFTA Sunapee race).

I'll be back here in a week or so.

Feel free to sift through the archives while I'm out. Oh and by the way (that's a less obnoxious way of saying "BTW") if you want to weigh in on the subject of The Big Bikes top ten, that'd be sweet. I don't feel like I should decided for you which ten posts should line the sidebar as a best of list. I know posts like this one and this one are pretty popular, the other eight...I have no clue.



Friday, July 03, 2009

Bacon Burner/
Connecting The Dots Between
The Pieces of The Puzzle/
Putting The "Raining" in Training

It's Waterworld out here. Someone folded the map of the U.S. and Boston now has the weather of the Pacific Northwest. I sat around in Lycra for two hours today, waiting for my window. It looked like I had one, then the rain came back ten fold, absolute deluge. This threw a Capuchin Monkey wrench in my plans. There was no food in the house and I began to get hungry. I made do with what we had...tater tots, bacon, and cheese. Then I felt like crap, lying on the couch full of tater tots, bacon, and cheese, in my lycra. I had to ride, I just needed a window...but a slightly larger one than normal so my fat ass could fit through it.

Starting a ride in the dry and getting caught in the rain is one thing...starting a ride in the rain is another thing entirely.

The window opened and I jumped out of it with my bike. I mean, it had stopped raining but the streets had water cascading down them. I was soaked instantaneously from the spray off my tires. Oh, the photo at the top has nothing to do with this post, that was me driving to meet Rooter last night. I was driving so fast and erratic that I had to wear a helmet. The fact that I was taking photos of myself while doing so made it all the more dangerous.

I've lived in Somerville for nigh on fifteen years off and on and I still don't know all the secret stashes of trails. I know a lot of folks drive their gay-ass SUV to the trailhead (it's OK, I can say that, my brother drives an SUV), maybe don body armor and cover about 8 miles during a ride, that's fine, I do that sometimes too. The rides I really like though are the ones where you go exploring, find new ways to cut through green spaces, linking up areas, making huge meandering loops.

People think that you need a road bike to get fit enough to race a mountain bike. Let me ask you this...what's the difference between riding a mountain bike on the road and riding a road bike on the road? It's all about continuous pedaling. Trail riding is actually pretty easy compared to going hard on the road, you get to stop pedaling way more than you realize. Try going out for a ride on a single speed in a 32 X 17 with a good 30% on pavement. You'll get to spin your legs a whole lot.

That's just my 6 Polish Zloty.

I won't bore you with the details of where I rode and how exciting it was when I made some new connections. If you don't live and ride in my hood, you won't give a flying frog. If you do live and ride in my hood and you want to check some of the stuff out, drop me a line.

If I did not have a hose in my backyard and laundry in the basement dealing with the aftermath of these rainy rides would suck so freakin' bad. I have been riding in wet shoes for weeks, I have moss growing between my toes. You've heard of a green thumb? I've got a green toe.

I think moss is beginning to cover the area where my sense of humor is toe? Ugh.
I'm outta here.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Day Off Wrap Up/Cop Out

Oops, I forgot to write a blog post last night. I rode until 8:15 in the semi-rain with Rosey and Rooter out in Bedford. It was a mad dash to get out to meet them. I rode The Ferrous called Dunderchee into work (which is kind of a slow way to go but I think it's giving me my form and spin back and ends up being a lot more fun than being relegated to the road alone)
By the time I realized how dead The Shop was and that the thunder and lightning had subsided it was too late to make it to the ride on time. I hopped on my road bike to hammer out the commute home "The Dumb Way" through Watertwon Square and that awful artery with 16 and The Mass Pike, a place where I once had to violently outrigger onto a Volvo's front left quarter panel to avoid going under its wheels as the driver talked on his cell phone while trying to cross four lanes of traffic at a right angle.

We had a great ride, slick but not super muddy. It was Rosey's maiden voyage on The Mojo. I hadn't seen the white version of that bike, very striking. On the way home I called Miriam and asked her on an impromptu date to see The Hangover. It was insanely funny, on a totally different level than the cookie cutter Knocked Up, Role Models type stuff that's been coming out in the comedy department lately. And that's why this is such a weak post.

If you want to read a post that is not wiggidy-wiggidy-weak you can check out what I wrote about the Holland School 110 Kids Bike Donation.
There are some good photos like the ones at the top of this post over there as well.

Videos, they are a total waste of my time, but I didn't have to edit the ones below so I won't feel so bad when two of my three readers looks at them.

If you watch careful you can see my wheel (I'm full-face guy) slip on the both of the bridges...sketchy.

Highland Mountain Bike Park Slippery Bridge Stunt from thom parsons on Vimeo.

We did these practice jumps at the beginning of the day, they were scary then. Later, after all the free-ridin' craziness they seemed like nothin'. So much so that I went a little fast and damn near missed the landing, compressing pretty good as I came down.

Highland Mountain Bike Park Practice Jumps from thom parsons on Vimeo.

This video I did spend a long time editing, I've also posted on the 29er Crew Blog and The IBC Blog. It's my attempt at a how-to video. I have work to do.

How To Hop A Log from thom parsons on Vimeo.

This is awesome...for the few of you that got to see what the original title of this post was. I seriously thought it was Friday until Miriam said "Friday Wrap Up/Cop Out? It's Thursday". Oops. Jesus, what the hell am I going to use for end of the week filler tomorrow?

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Department of Re-Directions

Alright, you know the drill, all the action's over on the 29er Crew site today. Posted a little product review of the above gloves or the gloves above and a thing about the new Bontrager 29-3 tires. So check it out!