Wednesday, September 30, 2009

SSWC09 Mop Up

Ever since I posted my spastic SSWC notes and the subsequent explanation for the first half of them, folks have been clamoring to hear the explanation for the latter part of that deranged mess. Sort of a quiet, almost inaudible clamoring, which only a dog could hear, but clamoring nonetheless.

Oh, in the above photo (swiped right from the SSWC site), if you blow it up and look all the way over in the left corner, you'll see my big teeth and pink hat.

These are the notes:

pizza, mtb vids,
no siesta, ska brewing, party you’d pay to go to, basketball, Dakota “you lace curtain motherfucker”, Ben Thornton, someone’s getting punched in the face, Deejay, Fuzzy fixed game, confusion about team affiliation, New Zealand, bands, food, art show, my piece hanging at Chainsaw Chad’s house, Hamish dissing my accent, “Marty’s not Irish you know?”, after party, Peter? From Misfit, Steven stopping beer truck, Trans rockies, after party, boa glowstick, PBR machine, Carl Decker is the man, streaker, air horn, Ron’s arch, , almost dying on way home, Ben putting Brad on I.V.

Pizza — there's a pretty sweet pizza spot at the corner of Main and College In Durango. The slices are HUGE, like a grown man couldn't possibly finish two. While you sit, not finishing your two slices of pizza, you get to watch sick mountain bike vids on two separate screens. This is not how things are in Boston. Of course in Boston you can get a slice of pizza in thirty seconds. There's this weird west coast thing where you ask, "Do you have slices?", they say "Ya sure", and then proceed to cut a wedge of dough, pour sauce on it, sprinkle it with cheese, and put it in the oven. This process takes well over ten minutes, kind of negating the "Fast Food" aspect of the equation. Then again, I'd trade ten crappy Greek pizza joints for one good Burrito place in Boston.

Siesta — no siesta after the race, straight to Ska Brewing for the party and selection event. It was an incredible party, many people have already said it, I'll say it again, Durango raised the bar on SSWCs to a new, probably unattainable height. The selection event (to determine next year's venue) was a full on regulation collegiate basketball game under the lights, with camera crews and announcers hovering above it all on the platforms of cherry pickers. Each team was dressed in vintage NBA gear, complete with high tube socks, head bands, and Chuck Taylors. It was a sight to behold. Regulation...kind of, there was a lot more drinking, wrestling, beer dousing, and pantsing than would be allowed under collegiate rules.

I ran into a couple East-Coasters, Rebecca and Dakota, we sat courtside like Jack Nicholson at a Laker's game. Dakota lost his leg not too long ago in a motorcycle accident, he was wearing shorts with his prosthesis visible, "Hey buddy! Did you just kick my leg?" he yelled at one guy. I thought the dude was going to crap his pants. "Ah, I'm just fuckin' with ya!" Dakota is slightly frightening. I became aware of the guy one night, years and years ago while visiting my friend Seth at Umass Amherst. An altercation occurred between a crazy Serbian guy and Dakota. I guess The Serb got on the losing end of Dakota and decided to even things stabbing him in the gut with a knife. That made an impression on me for whatever reason. I spoke of the Texas sense of humor, well Dakota embodies the Boston sense of humor. Upon meeting another New Englander who commented on Dakota's Bruins hat, "Hey I rode in a B's jersey today." Dakota replied "Oh ya, where you from?" "Manchester" "Manchester? — you lace curtain mutha-fucka." The guy was bemused. I'm pretty sure if you put Dakota in a room with a bunch of Texans, someone would probably get punched in the face before they figured out they were all "just fucking with each other."

During the game I found myself rooting for Italy, even though I really wanted to go to New Zealand. What I found out later was that a couple of the guys on the Italy team who looked good in practice were sucking it big time during the game, in hopes they could send SSWCs to New Zealand. Most people were cheering for Italy, even though, if you asked them, they'd tell you they all wanted to go to New Zealand. People's affiliation to their sports teams is such a weird, fickle thing. "I like the cut of his sideburns...I'm a-rootin' for them."

So ya, there were awesome bands, great food, all that good stuff. A highlight of this whole deal for me was finding out that my registration piece (above) had made the cut; it was framed (well a print of it was anyway), put up in the Ska Brewing gallery, and entered in the silent auction (not sure how that went). Later that night at the after party Chad "Chainsaw" Cheeney introduced me to his wife with the descriptor, "This is the guys who's art we have hanging up in our house." I was honored, I may have not represented myself on the bike as well (burp!) as I possibly could have (hic!), but my art was on the wall of Ska and at Chainsaw's house. Small victory.

Two out of chronological order stories: first one, late night at Ska, I'm talking to Hamish from Scotland. I decide to regale him with my impression of Marty at the 2007 SSWCs giving the pre-race speech "First rrrule...if you don wan the tattew...don fookin' win!" "Ah, that's pretty good", Hamish says, "but Marty's not Irish y'know."

Second one: I ran into Peter from Misfit Psycles, we have a mutual friend in Craig Barlow. Thing is, I've never even met Craig, he's strictly my blog buddy. You gotta be careful with these blog friendships, you can end up being buddies with guys like this. Peter just assumed we actually knew each other, maybe some day we'll meet...hmm, I hope he's as sexy as he looks in his blog photos.

Ah, look at that, this is awful long for a non-posty post.

To be continued...

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

The Vermont 50 Race Report 2009

Nope, it's not here. You can look all you want, you ain't gonna find it. I went and hid the thing over HERE on that 29er Crew Blog (hint: click the pink words, they'll take you somewhere else, don't worry pink words aren't addictive).

Monday, September 28, 2009

The Vermont 50 2009

  • Hours of sleep - Pretty much zero
  • Cups of coffee - Not quite one
  • Gear - 33 X 19
  • Precip - 100%
  • Tires - Bontrager XR1s 1.9
  • Flats fixed - 1
  • Flats ridden on for 3 miles - 1
  • Time on bike - 5:21
  • Result - 7th?

When I say pretty much zero sleep, I mean zero sleep. I can neither hear nor write. The report is forthcoming, suffice it to say, it was just about the hardest damn day on the bike I've ever had.

As far as what I know about the race in a more objective sense, Jesse Jakomait won in about 4:45, followed by Will Letendre, Jeff Whittingham, some guy who sounded German, Stephen Humphreys, some other guy who I don't know (yet), and me. Peter Ostroski made a charge from the back (he'd started with the young guys, maybe two minutes back), he ripped his derailleur off, turned his bike into a single speed, his drivetrain detonated and he had to scoot/coast his bike in...three minutes behind me. This proves that Peter Ostroski is so fast he could beat me while riding a Razor Scooter. Proves it..definitively. With science.

Check back soon ya hear.


Friday, September 25, 2009

Vermont 50/SSWC/Vermont 50/
SSWC/Vermont 50/SSWC

Really don't know which way to go today. Still much more to babble about related to SSWCs, oh so much more. Then we got the Vermont 50 Sunday. I've done a lot of babbling about that already. Now it's here and I'm all clammed up. Oh, and it's Friday and I got no photos...stupid dead camera.

Where is my head at? Well, in an email to last year's VT50 winner, Jeff Whittingham, I wrote just moments ago I said something like "Blah, blah, blah -I just want to get this over with so I can drink beer and eat bacon and Pizza for a week".

"I am gonna win this shit!", that is something I said repeatedly throughout the week prior to SSWCs (usually just after I'd seen JHK or Travis Brown ride by).

I can tell you the stuff I have on my bike for The 50. Hell, I don't think I've ever given the run down on The Superfly's parts spec. Here:

Frame - Gary Fisher Superfly SS 19.5"
Wheels - Bontrager Race X Lites (geared Freehub body, spaced out with Endless Fibonacci kit),
converted for use with rear facing track dropout with DT Swiss RWS 10mm Thru-Bolt and 10mm end caps, this only works on the old Dt 240 based hubs.
Bar - Bontrager Race X Lite 12° Big Sweep
Stem - Bontrgaer Race XXX Lite 100mm 10°
Fork - Fox RLC 80mm
Crank - Um, XTR
Pedals - XTR
Post - Race X Lite
Saddle - Race X Lite MTB
Grips - Race XXX Lite
Bar Ends (yes, bar ends) - Singletrack Solutions Pro (I prefer the ST Lites, but I can't get them)
Brakes - Avid Juicy Ultimates
Chain - Sram 991 (that's a 9 speed chain kid - Power links allow you swap gears easily)
Chainring - e.13 33t Guidering (or 34t Spot ring)
Tires - Bontrager XR1 1.9s (set up Tubeless with Stan's)
Bottle Cages - King Cage, Ti
COG - Endless Bike Kick Ass Cog 19t

As currently configured it's weighin' 20.3 Lbs.

I'm running a little lower gear this year and keeping the wee tires regardless of conditions. So much of the climbing is on road anyway, traction shouldn't be an issue. I'm hoping the "altitude training" will kick in. Right now I'm a mess; sweating profusely for no reason and panting uncontrollably with the slightest efforts on the bike. Bodes well. No matter what happens we'll have lots to talk about Monday.


Thursday, September 24, 2009

Ron "King Cage" Andrews

As I sort of offhandedly mentioned, when I arrived in Durango I was dropped right into ground zero. Ground zero of awesomeness that is. My friend Jane had put me in touch with her friend Ron (she didn't mention his last name), as a potential host. When we started exchanging emails I learned that her fiend was none other than Ron Andrews. There are certain big names that get thrown around in Boston area bike culture, then there legends. Some of these legends I have never met, they are as real as Sasquatch to me. Wait, I kind of believe in Sasquatches. They are like a Burrito in Boston that doesn't suck to me. Ron Andrews is one of these legends of the industry. In reality he's cooler than you'd ever imagine. Kind of like I'd imagine a Sasquatch to be.

Ron is basically a hub which a whole lot of great things rotate around, he played a major role in the success of SSWC09 Durango. All the major players in the scene there look to Ron, his energy and creativity is inimitable. He graced the very cover of the official SSWC magazine, he built the bicycle arch which spanned over the finish line.

Photo stolen from Mountain Flyer, more great photos over there, check 'em out

He made a bunch of official SSWC09 Top Cap Mount bottle cage holders. I had the opportunity to custom stamp (horribly) two of my own. One for Miriam and One for my 6 year old nephew. M can only mount one cage on her Hi-Fi and my nephew has no cages on his bike. It's a great solution for the no cage/one cage issue, or endurance racers looking to carry more water without dealing with the whole unwieldy Camel-Bag thing. Freakin' brilliant.

For a couple years I've been running plastic cages which work well for the most part but deteriorate rapidly, leading to bottle ejection at the most inopportune times. Ron's buddy George was telling me how he hadn't ejected a bottle in ten years, I was sold, I bought two. The Ti guys of course. I ran them during the SSWC race, my bottles didn't eject on Raider Ridge, that means they ain't gonna eject anywhere.

I stole the above photo from his site since my camera died before I could document the magnificence of the Andrews' yard. Everywhere you look, a beautiful flower or crazy metal sculpture. Go check out the the video on the King Cage site. Ron moves at double speed in everything he does (following him down the bike path was terrifying), whether he's making cages or making coffee.

Thanks Ron and Shari for putting me up in Durango, you guys rock.

You should see the bike Ron built this cage for.

The last photo my camera took. This was the view from my futon in
Ron and Shari's living room, the giant Jade plant

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Pimp My (Friends Who) Ride

erhaps tomorrow I will continue elaborating on the frantic SSWC notes post. There is definitely more to share. If you want to read something which will give you a better idea of the big picture not just my subjective cycling shoe gazing bullshit, go check out this article from The Durango Herald. There's a really well done video of the event over there too. So pro.

For now I pimp my friend's event:

MM Racing Season Kick Off Event
Thursday October 1st 7-10PM
Belmont Wheelworks 480 Trapelo Rd. Belmont, MA
Food, beer, cupcakes, and a raffle that will blow your pants off!

For more info, go here:

I went to last year's event, it was a who's who of awesome Boston area bike peoples...and me. I felt like a total loser, but I drowned my self-loathing in beer and muffled it to death with cupcakes. My pants were already off by the time the raffle rolled around, but I did feel a strong draft capable of blowing pants off (if you were wearing pants...which I wasn't, as I mentioned).

See you there.


Tuesday, September 22, 2009

SSWC09 Part Six

Above Photos, top to bottom left to right:
Marshall and Shanna check out Ron's Single Speed coaster brake Yeti full suspension bike 2.) Marshall, Eric, and Shanna on our failed course recon 3.) Durango local James (one of the tattoo artists who inked the SSWC winner's tattoos) talks us out of riding the course in a thunderstorm 4.) The COGS just kept getting bigger as the hype built.

Since you must be absolutely dying to know the explanation for each and every one of the items in my caffeine-fueled post race notes from yesterday, I have now written a report based almost entirely on that frantic mess. It is obviously not here, it is HERE, on the 29er Crew Site of course. So GO over THERE and get IT!

Have fun, see you tomorrow.


Monday, September 21, 2009

SSWC09 Part Five - Sort Of

Above Photos:
1.) Durango Cyclery was the hub, all the action emanated from there 2.) The D9 Van. These guys have a sick scene outside of SSWCs 3.) John Bailey (facing camera), one of the conductors of this symphony of madness 4.) Chad "Chainsaw" Cheeney a co-conductor of the madness symphony. He also works with the DEVO program. Too legit.

It's getting late and there's no point really of posting today's post so late that it's really tomorrow's post, right? There's just a lot to talk about is all, don't think I can get it all together and still get what I need to get done today done. I have thrown some photos into my previous posts, so check those out if you want. The camera did die a couple days into the trip, which was off-putting, but I managed to get out of "I have to take photos of every fucking thing mode" and deal. It was actually quite liberating.

What I give to you this afternoon is a preview, merely the notes I jotted down on the plane last night, with very little editing (this is what it looks like inside my brain, especially when I'm trying to sleep). These notes will, with any luck, prompt me to write something like a race report tomorrow. If some of the stuff below doesn't make sense to you, that's OK, some of it doesn't make sense to me either.

A sample of my notes:

Costume options, roll out, wig throw, oncoming traffic, Kelli Emmett, trying not to throw up, I should have tried harder, Chad, Travis’ bike, powerline, bad passes, DJ’s crack, hike-a-bike, whiny dude, Matt Savory, beer feed, sweating it out, raider ridge, Greg carpenter, Lynn Woods, dumb line, Darren from Ca on Kona, Shonny Vanlandingham, cheering , crowds, good old days, table top, baby head descent (find DH vid Ross Schnell, who is Ross Schnell?, rock slab/leg breaker, people all over course, Soulcraft guy, never seen anyone stronger, hot, pull down unitard, George, heard of this guy, 29th, tight switchbacks, catching folks, what Gears did the pros run, James 3D racing, moonscape tight rope traverse, praying for rain and thunder, stopping guy, catching like five dudes, doesn’t matter any way,there is only one place, next year a human might win not someone who gets paid to ride a bike, so thirsty,beer feed coors light, bacon whiskey twinkies, stuff in the bushes to screw you up, horrible at switchbacks, finish dale’s pale, pizza, mtb vids, no siesta, ska brewing, party you’d pay to go to, basketball, Dakota “you lace curtain motherfucker”, Ben Thornton, someone’s getting punched in the face, Deejay, Fuzzy fixed game, confusion about team affiliation, New Zealand, bands, food, art show, my piece hanging at Chainsaw Chad’s house, Hamish dissing my accent, “Marty’s not Irish you know?”, after party, Peter? From Misfit, Steven stopping beer truck, Trans rockies, after party, boa glowstick, PBR machine, Carl Decker is the man, streaker, air horn, Ron’s arch, , almost dying on way home,

Ben putting Brad on I.V.

End Notes

You know what would be a really fun writing exercise? Being given those notes by a stranger and then trying to piece together a story from them. Not like it's going to be too different from that when I sit down to write my report. The exceptionally, even uncharacteristically sleep-deprived version of me suffering from a compound hangover sitting on that plane last night is a strange dude.

All I want to do all week is sleep and drink water.


Saturday, September 19, 2009

SSWC09 Part, What are We up To Here....Four

I do not know why I am awake. I closed the bars last night with a dude from the Texas crew (I believe they call themselves "The Rogue Posse") named "Chaos" (his real name is Steven). At "No Way Jose's" an after hours Mexican joint he first shouted for Tequila, then, when he was refused, shouted "Pastore!". When the server looked at him bemusedly he said "This is a Mexican restaurant...Tacos Pastore, two!".

It gets better.

Earlier that night Brad from Texas cooked us up an amazing meal of braised pork tenderloin. While we sat eating a couple young women walked in, one of them said "Hey, I think that guy (pointing to Steven) walked into our house last night, walked back out and started puking off our porch. I went out there and patted him on the back and asked if he was OK, he just looked up and smiled and said 'Ya man!'".

The Texas sense of humor is as hard to acclimate to as the Durango altitiude. It basically involves saying "Fuck you" to people's faces a lot.

I could go on, but you probably want to hear something about the bike race. It's in two hours, the air so thick with tension, you could eat it with a fork. I do have to keep this quick, I have a costume to assemble. Yesterday I got out for a little course recon. The plan was to hit just Raider Ridge but I wound up doing almost everything. I started out solo, but that didn't last long. First I ran into George from Bike 29 and his VT buddies, then Dicky, and later the super-fast crew of Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski, Heather Irminger and Travis Brown. I hopped on their train, getting a locals tour of all the best lines. You know what? Heather Irminger freakin' rips.

This went on until a Soulcraft rider in their group rolled his tire off the rim (BLAM!) on an off camber rock section. I began following the a guy in a Colavita kit, I was sucking wind, feeling like I hadn't acclimated at all. Then I started talking to the guy, turns out it was Anthony Colby, winner of the 2009 Mt. Washington Hill Climb. My wind sucking had nothing to do with altitude. Anthony ended up showing me around the course, super-cool guy.

There was a haphazard plan to take the 3PM Hermosa shuttle with Ben Thornton and the Texans, but I spent too long out on course. Apparently the idea of taking a 3PM Hermosa shuttle is pretty stupid according to the locals. We all ended up bagging.

All right, time to go buy a Coke and suit up. This is gonna be ri-god-damn-diculous.


Friday, September 18, 2009

SSWC09 Part Three

This is impossible. There is just too much going on to sit here and blog it up. Over the past couple days the town has been overrun with single speeders. This place is the perfect venue for this event, the riding out of town if amazing, the bars are abundant, and the food is cheap and really good. Yesterday we hit up a run called Test Tracks with a local named Robin. I ate it twice pretty good, overcooking corners trying to hold his wheel. Strong kid too. To me it was like riding on the moon. Fine powder of shale coating everything, incredible traction.

The's dead. I'm trying not to get too bummed about it. I may have to hit up the Walmart down the way and see if I can't get something cheap to get the job done for now.

Oh, Heather Irminger is filling up her water bottle at the cooler at the coffee shop here. Looks like she's heading out on a ride with Travis Brown and Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski. She and Jeremy are looking resplendent in their 29er Crew baggie shorts.

I was going to head out and scope the course, but the sight of JHK has driven home the fact that tomorrow's race is just a giant group ride...with 999 or so other folks. Which means today we'll be doing a shuttle run out to Hermosa. My thought is that I'm out here to ride as much different stuff as possible.

Last night was the Run What You Brung bike show at The Irish Embassy. Standouts for me were the 3D Racing belt drive and Curtis Inglis' Retrotec step through rigid. The Bangers and Mash at the pub weren't bad either.

OK, I can't take it anymore, it's gorgeous and my legs are twitching, I look like a dog dreaming of chasing cats.

Tonight, should be nuts and tomorrow we race!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

SSWC09 Part Two

Yesterday was kind of a wash out. The day started out gorgeous, maybe even too hot and sunny, then it took a turn for the worse. By the time Shanna and Marshall and I got out for a course pre-ride the lightning began hitting the ridge. James, a local (and the tattoo artist who will be doing one of the winner's tattoos) spotted us from his pick up truck and implored us to bag it. He also told us that we should "go low" gear wise.

This post is going to have to be almost Tweet-like, gotta get out for a ride. Meeting up with SSWC05 winner Buck Keich for some pedaling out of Durango Cyclery.

The energy is definitely ramping up as more and more folks roll into town here. The kids from Scotland are here, I've sighted East Coast bad-ass Adam Snyder, Troy Wells, and Travis Brown (word is he ripped the course in two hours).

The beer is great everywhere you go, the coffee is spot on as well. The Barbecue at Sean's house last night was a good time, super nice place, all the houses here are really cool. Funky as hell.

Everywhere you look there are Single Speeders, wild facial hair is the norm and overheard conversation generally revolves around gear ratios and varying reports about the course. Lies about the course are...par for the course at SSWC. Of course.

My legs are itching to pedal, gotta get out on the 33 X 21 and see how it feels in then thar hills.

More tomorrow.


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

SSWC09 Part One

Things are going well so far. Well in the sense that I slept, scratch that, laid in bed for two hours writhing last night, stressing over minutiae. For once it wasn’t over gear rations and tires, bigger things than that at least, kept me from resting my bleeding and rapidly degenerating brain.
I’m flying United to Denver, they were really the only option for the dates I wanted to fly, so begrudgingly, despite their absurd $175 fee for a bike case, I bought my tickets. At check in they told me my case was overweight and that there would be an additional $125 surcharge. Aah! I went over to TSA and began the process of removing 23 Lbs. of stuff from the case, transferring it to my small back pack, which I was checking.

Normally TSA wouldn’t have you hanging over their shoulder while they rifle through your crap, the experience is kind of awkward, particularly when, during this process your Dorothy costume (one of my potential outfits for SSWC) is sitting on top of the pile of bike clothes and assorted junk I’d heaped over my bike. “What’s that, like a Wizard of Oz costume or somethin’”. “Yup, it’s kind of a weird event I’m going to, I may need that.
Last night I rolled into town, met up with Ron "King Cage" Andrews, and was whisked off to help hang the coloring contest entry show at Ska Brewery. Met a whole lot of core-crew there, very cool.
Gotta run, can't hang out here at The Steaming Bean all day. Marshall and Shanna from Endless Bike are on their way down here, we're headin' out for a pre-ride of the course. More tomorrow!

If You're Reading This
It Probably Means I'm Dead

Did I say dead? I meant to say "If you're reading this, it probably means I couldn't figure out my new, little PC laptop type thing and I didn't get a new post up". In that case, go look at my little SSWC send off post over HERE.

Jesus though...look at that second climb. You think there's gonna be a ladder on that thing? I will try to post from SSWC, so stay tuned.

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

I Am My Own Worst Nightmare...

not Alec Petro as previously alluded to. Although he is pretty scary. You see, his weakness used to be technical skill. He was like a Bugatti with bald tires, all power, little control. Apparently the guy's a quick study, he was having no trouble riding his bike during The Landmine Classic Marathon event yesterday. I held out hope that I would eventually catch him, picturing him slipping and sliding all over the wet rocks and roots, trying to put out his insane watts haphazardly, wasting all his energy and ultimately cracking. Not the case, far from it in fact. Can't hurt that he just got one of these.

Back up. And hold up...

I zipped over to the Bugatti site while I was "researching" this " piece" and found the following:

With best thanks!

With the purchase of one of our products you receive a high-quality "BUGATTI Veyron Calendar 2009" free of charge.

- While stock lasts -

So buy a what? Million-and-a-freakin'-half dollar car and you get a free calendar. Sign me up! Sorry, been watching a lot of Top Gear while I blog.

But anyway...
to The Landmine. It's part of The GT Golden Bike series (too rushed to link everything, I'll let you do the Googling if you don't know what the hell I'm spreching about) so there are Cheerleaders there. They had some awful rickety chants, one about "the racers in the middle, let me hear you sizzle" and "the racers in the rear (as they flipped up their skirts at us) get right out of here"...or something like that. Whatever it was, it caused me and eventual Marathon winner (I'm assuming here, he had a good lead when I left to take Miriam to the ER. Hey! hold onto your jets there, it shall all be revealed in time...if I have enough time that is) Mike Lorranty to look at each other bemusedly and say "this is just fucking bizarre".

These poor girls had probably worked Sea Otter and some other big events, so they're looking around Wompatuck State Park going "What the fuck are we doing here" and we're looking back at them thinking the same thing. Sorry, I'm swearing a lot today, I know.

The Venue was impressive on this misty morning

As usual we started to a six gun salute. Wait a second that's not normal. Chris Gagnon went down right next to me in the hole shot sprint, as if he had been shot by one of the starter rifles. I fell onto third wheel behind Mike Lorranty and, yes (queue ominous and foreboding orchestral music) - Alec Petro. Mike was freaking DRILLING it from the guns (can't get over the guns thing) down the first mile of fire road to the hole shot, I don't know what was going on behind me because I was sitting on the tip of my saddle spinning like a god damn gummy bear on a milk shake machine (I don't even know).

BLAM! My right pedal clips a rock as we swerve around a puddle (fuck, I should have gone straight) and I absolutely yard sale at about 18MPH in front of I don't know how many dudes, bike bouncing, body sliding and rolling over rocks and roots. I land off the trail, pull my bike out of the way, see that my bottle are missing and my chain has dropped (you have to whack a Single Speed good to do that). I then wait for the entirety of the Expert Marathon field to pass before remounting and beginning a frustrating chase through the first section of singletrack.

I don't know how long it was before I started catching guys I was actually racing against. I found Matt Domnarski and rode with him for a bit, then Stephen Humphreys and John Peterson. I sat in for a while, recovering from the initial surge. My left leg was hurting somewhere on the back of my quad, I was limping on the bike. It was good riding with John and Stephen, we'll all be doing the VT50 and we'll probably spend some time together there as well.

After a while I got the fires burning again and began gapping the other guys here and there. However, after I had accrued a decent gap, I went off course for the first time, having to double back and get back in line. Then my wheel shifted in the frame on a quick up hill, causing a stop, impetus was beginning to be lost.

Still thinking I could win this thing, I took off, getting out of sight and then earshot of John and Stephen. Soon I could hear the tell tale signs that I was closing on the two in front of me, screaching Disc Brakes. "Are the two in front together?" I asked an EMT as I passed. "Yup, they just went through". Sweet! I sprinted up the next hill, smelling blood, came out onto the pavement, put it on the big wait...spun like mad down the road looking for those riders. After a while of not seeing arrows I thought "wow, this is a long section of crappy road stuff". Just then Alec Petro came riding toward me, aw crap. He was pissed. I was pissed. We doubled back to find where we'd gone astray.

We saw John Peterson and another rider shoot across the road, a quick left-right, with the arrows barely visible from the course, at least at race pace. Alec put it in his super-gear, I tried to hold on. Peterson did, I didn't, the idea that I was wasting my legs for a less than impressive finish eating me from the inside out. The dark veil dropped over my mind and fell down to my legs.

I hadn't given up entirely yet (that's coming right up) I heard the guy in fourth had gone down on the bridge coming up to the Start/Finish. I rallied through the spectator area, showing off for my mom and niece. I saw Peterson on the side, he hopped back in it as I passed. He would let me lead into the first section of singletrack, shortly after that I came upon Gagnon, rode with him for a little bit, then the tentacles of darkness came creeping again (tentacles,'s all darkness). I backed off, letting Chris go, I sat up waiting for John, knowing that he could tell me the fastest way out. I gave him my litany of excuses and cut out.

While spinning up the road I saw my Wife coming out of the woods. She had gone down in a mud bog, cutting her arm deeply. She needed to head to the ER. She was in good spirits despite this fact, happy with getting the hole shot in front of a large Sport field and holding onto 3rd place until her accident. She'll be back! Oh yes, watch out now. So, Miriam happened to fall right in front of a photographer (not Sebastian from Candlewood) who continued to snap photos of both Miriam and the guy who had fallen in front of her...and then the people that fell behind her.
Riders were in a tangle, Miriam was obviously more than just muddy and bruised from her tumble, but when she asked the dude for help he replied "I'm just here to document the race, not to interact with the racers". When asked again he repeated this statement with renewed attitude.

As Linnea from October Bikes said "What an asshole. What, does he think he's dealing with some indigenous people who can't be disturbed?". She's from New Zealand, so when she says things like "Asshole" it sounds as pleasant as me saying "Tulip". Apparently the douche works for a "magazine" (for all I know it could be the Hingham Sun-Times). If you know him or know someone who knows him, pass along a message for me "Hey photographer douche, you are a major raging douche". He may have been there as a result of the whole Golden Bike Thing, which is good, because he probably won't be back. If I figure out who he is, next year he can document me running over his face. When he pleads for help, I'll treat him with the same common decency he showed my Wife. Cretin.

Wow. That felt good. There're a lot of loose ends in this report but I am out of time. I'll just say that I hereby volunteer to help with course marking next year at Landmine. This is an awesome race, but if you talked to enough people afterward, one thing was abundantly clear - the course markings sucked. I'm serious, I will spend Saturday marking the course, taking corners at Expert/Pro race pace to make sure it reads at that velocity. Hold me to this, I will be there. I love this race, it is amazing on so many levels, but it needs help in that department.

Crap! Out of time. I'm off to SSWC in the AM.

Somehow I hit the "One Life To Live" filter on my camera

Monday, September 14, 2009

So Many Excuses, So Little Time

They'll just have to wait until tomorrow.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Hey You Cat 1 Morons,
Stop Being Morons,
Come Race Landmine
and Win a Freakin' Bike

Before I say anything else (I can't promise that I have anything else to say tonight) Let me just say, "what the hell is everyone's problem?" (wait, do I have to put it in quotes if it's always me talking here?) I'm looking at the Pre-Reg List for Landmine this Sunday, it's looking slim, particularly in Cat 1 fields. What's up with that? GT is offering a free bike if you win, you slackers. Of course it's a hideous Golden colored bike which I don't really approve of for several reasons which I won't go into (little wheels, it's not a Fisher, it's squishy), but don't let that stop you; win it, and sell it.

I'm not really up on all the rules and the site is all slow right now so I can't brush up my Golden Bike knowledge, but it is my understanding that you get flown around to a random assortment of Golden Bike events, defending your Golden Bikeness, getting put up in a hotel and followed around by cheesy cheesy cheerleaders. What's wrong with that? OK, some stuff is wrong with that. So, like the bike you sell the cheerleaders. Oh, they don't have that category on Craigslist? Look, news flash, Arab Sheiks don't buy the white sex slaves for their harems on Craigslist. Just find out where they do buy them and then sell The Golden Girls or whatever they're called wherever that might be.

James did an analysis of possible winners, men who could topple The Golden Bike God and roll off into next season with the Golden Bike. I think it'll be a tough battle between Colin and Kevin, but I'm biased.

Who knows if the program will continue into next year and how that'll work if it does. All I know is that if the number of Cat 1s registered for Sunday is any indication of how incredibly successful the promotion has been overall, they'll probably scrap it, but at the very least you'll have an ugly, expensive bike to sell on Ebay this winter.

Why every sand-bagging Elite Roadie and Cross Guy in New England isn't jumping all over that shit, I don't know.

For those of you that think I'm being a little bit of a douche today just look at the photo above of my nephew (just before I threw him off a dock) looking adorable in a sweet pair of Dolomites, and me looking spent and Abe Lincoln-like. Or just look at the photo below of the flowers and the artistically designed wood piles, the sight of which made me feel warm inside. I'm not that bad really.

Oh, my chances at Landmine....hmm. All I have to say on that is that I had a nightmare last night. I walked up behind a man playing a piano, wearing a creepy mask. I tried to restrain myself, but I simply had to see his face. I ripped the mask off, and there before me stood - Alec Petro!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Farm Bike Yeah!

My cousin Christy and her partner Chris run an organic farm down in Wrentham, MA. You may recall this place from such events as The Ice Weasels 'Cross race of '08 and my wedding (which I didn't blog about, but which was awesome). The place is called White Barn Farm, they run a CSA and sometimes set up a farm stand out on Route 1A down the street from The Outlets. If you're in the area you should check them out. M and I have been on the CSA all season and we've been eating like really, really healthy Kings (and Queens).

Christy and Chris helped out a ton with the wedding and I wanted to do some little something for them in return (I still feel like I owe them big time) so I built them up a utilitarian Farm Bike. It's basically an old Trek Multi-Track Hybrid set up with narrow diameter 29er tires, as big as I could fit on the frame (WTB Mutano Raptor and a Bontrager XDX 1.8) and a couple big baskets. Of course they got pink Big Cheese star grips and a bell as well. I rode the thing down to the coffee shop for a week to test it out, it's pretty sweet.

We delivered the bike last Monday, I took some photos, here they are:

This is the tree M and I got married under. The arc Christy is following is almost identical to a turn in the Ice Weasels course. There's a been a lot of talk about whether or not that thing is happening again, not sure yet, gonna have to talk to The Colin.

Chris gets on for a spin, word is the ride is "Smooth".
That's a 29er for ya.

Farm Bike went right to work, fetching us some lettuce and other vegetables for our salad that evening. The peppers and cukes were so freakin' good, I couldn't believe it.

Chris, Tyler, and Christy discuss potential uses for The Farm Bike.


On three...

Farm Bike Yeah!

Next up: Discussion of my chances this weekend down at The Landmine 50.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

Assisted Perpetual Motion
Tubular Glue Removal Machine

Before he left for New Zealand Colin handed me an old pair of Jonathan Page's Mavic Tubulars and told me a vague, confused tale of an alleged method for removing tubular cement from rims. It involved a tub of tasty, refreshing Acetone, a (clean) truing stand, and a fan. I realized that with the Cross season fast approaching (some crackheads have already been racing. Have you heard of a little sport called "Mountain Biking"? It's what you do in the summer before real Cross season begins. Or you can road race. Or you can chop off your own leg, pick it up and use it to kick yourself in the nuts) and Sir Colin imminently returning from the land down the street from the land down under, I should probably get on with it.

Time was not in abundance and I chose not to scour the internets for information regarding this silliness and go it a-blind. First off we needed the wheel to spin. Wheel in stand, fan on! Wheel no spin. Wheel aerodynamic...that makes sense. Change angle of fan to hit flat blade of spokes, still...wicked aerodynamic, no spin. So I decided to turn the thing into a god damn pin wheel, as envisioned by a class of disgruntled, possibly drunk special ed students. Spin you mother- oh you are spinning, sort of. Good enough.

Then we had to make a vessel for the aromatic and skin soothing acetone. A take out container from fresh city was not long enough. Eventually I hacked a long zip-tie container into a working solvent troth. It had to be long enough for the arc of the rim to pass through without hitting the sides and deep enough to hold at least a half inch or so of the volatile, awful crap from hell...that is lovely in its way. Apparently zip tie containers are made of the the type of plastic which Acetone doesn't eat alive.

Colin had said something about leaving it for hours, or even overnight. That was not the case. I came back in a couple minutes to find a ring around my troth and no liquid. The fan next to the open door had aided the Acetone with its flight into the atmosphere. I added more and walked away again. Next time I came back there was base tape and all sorts of slimy crud hanging all over the whole wheel, down to the hub. Oh joy. It was working - in a sense.

After quite a bit of time, many pairs of rubber gloves, ample swearing, and a huge amount of post fan/acetone/bath/demented perpetual motion machine business wiping and scrubbing we had an almost new-like rim which looked liked it had never been glued at all. Was it worth it?


The second wheel I mounted in the truing stand, this time with the knowledge that under the gobs of gnarly Tufo cement there was also Tufo tape. This is a great system. If you're Jonathan Page and you can ride a pair of wheels for a short amount of time and then sell them to someone who can then give them to someone else who provides him with free labor because he's a superstar to remove the gobs and gobs of disgusting glue. I put the troth in place, spinning the wheel toward me, scraping with my perfect scraper made from a ground down cone wrench, first pulling off the base tape with a lot of the glue. Then going around with a rag, using the excess Acetone to wipe the rest of the rim clean. This version of the process took one tenth of the time and made one tenth of the mess. It really wasn't so bad.

My gluing method I won't bother sharing. People get awful worked up about that sort of thing. Suffice it to say it involves a lot of time and a lot of glue and stresses safety over cleanliness.

Oh yes, I did just find this when I googled something like "Tubular acetone removal cement fan".

Next up: Farm Bike

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Freaky, Monday, I Mean Tuesday

Even Dicky didn't get his Monday post up this week (and I was up at 5AM looking for it damn it!). I guess unprofessional cyclists who are professional Bloggers observe the largest of national holidays just like normal American humans. And I was just being lazy and irresponsible by not posting mine. I was away from the internets, down at the lake in Wrentham, leading a big-ass group ride. Not big-ass in the sense that a lot of people came, but big-ass in the sense that it took four hours or so. It's a good thing that I took a lot of photos because I'm not feeling super talkative this morning. So, photo captions for you!

That photo above: The Superfly literally floated up into that Buttonwood sometime during the night, it was amazing. In truth that did not happen, I hung it there. The winds were so high when I woke up in the AM, I half-expected to find the thing split in two over a steel lawn chair.

1.) Miriam gets a saddle height adjustment mid-ride. 2.) Pete drops in somewhere in Foxborough. 3.) Miriam and Pete debate whether to or not they are going to ride off the large rock behind them.

1.) Pete knew a great short cut which would cut out a section of Route 1, it involved riding through a junkyard. After doing a few laps, realizing that there was no trail out of the place, we opted to go out the front driveway...of a sketchy junkyard...on a Sunday. Portage! 2.) Pete felt so bad that he almost got us all mauled by Rottweilers and sprayed with rock salt, that he bought us all 65 cent cokes from 1988. 3.) Hello, it's me again!

1.) A section of The Warner Trail in Wrentham. Miriam traverses a slippery-ass foot bridge. 2.) Sara Bresnick-Zocchi shows the results of her plunge into the muck. She went right up to her knee, it was awesome. 3.) Pete: "That is some Stephen King shit". We rode away before alien-babies popped out and tried to suck out our brains.

We finished the day with the traditional descent off the face of the old abandoned ski hill, something that gets sketchier each time I do it. Eventually you'll need to rappel off the 200 foot drop with your bike.

It sounds crazy, but tomorrow I might actually talk about work.


Friday, September 04, 2009

NEMBA Explorers Ride

In case you haven't already heard via the various avenues I have employed to promote it, this Saturday there's an IBC NEMBA Explorers ride. For more photos and stories, check out this IBC Blog post.

You go do that and I'll sit here scrutinizing the SSWC09 Start List some more. No really, I think I can win this thing. Hell Dicky might not even come. That means I'll just have to contend with a bunch of losers with names like Carl Decker, Adam Craig, Ned Overend, Andy Schultz, Barry Wicks, Travis Brown, and "Jesse Lelonde" (I'm pretty sure he's related to Jesse Lalonde, but I hope not). I should have misspelled my name by one letter too, like "Thom Persons". That way my competitors wouldn't see me coming, then I'd bust a Ninja-move past them and get that tattoo that my Wife and Grandmother have always really wanted me to get. I suppose I could have also gone by my straight up Single-Speeder moniker "Thorn Parsons" (damn! I was hoping to link to Crossresults where "they" actually used to have one result with my name as Thorn. I liked that. That site sucks now). I suppose I should wait until I go underground, drop off the grid, grow my sideburns down to my knees, and become a full time Single Speed racer to take that name.

Thorn out.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Chain-L Belated Follow up Review

I first started using Chain-L lubricant on my chain about three months ago. The first test was a resounding success with impressive results. Not impressive results as in I did well in the race, but impressive in the sense that the bike took some serious wet-weather abuse and this stuff worked beyond expectations. I actually received a call from the owner/creator of Chain L after that review. He gave me a serious earful about chain lube. He thinks about chain lubrication as much as I think about gear ratios and beer. Per his more detailed instructions, this time around I took a new Sram 991 chain (the only chain I use) out of the box, ran it through the aqeous parts washer, laid it on a bench, TOOK A BLOWTORCH TO IT, applied Chain-L, let it soak in for ten minutes or so, lightly wiped it, and installed it on the bike. Then rode it for weeks without thinking about it.

The blowtorch insures that all moisture is removed from the chain prior to lubrication (a less dramatic hair dryer or oven can be used as well). Due to capillary action there is no way to eliminate all the water molecules clinging to the innards of the chain without heat. A hot chain also causes the lubricant to soak in more easily.

I've been using it ever since and like all things that are working really, really well I hardly think about it. It took another ridiculous test of the product to get me to think about it at all, The Norcross race was that test. We were racing in near hurricane conditions, an absolute monsoon. While I didn't have the car on the roof in the driving rain on the way there, the bike and its components definitely got a lot wetter on course this time around. We were all so covered in mud that all you could see were eyes and teeth, but the rain was coming down so hard, when you rode out into and open area it just about washed you clean. We were out there for two and a half hours in that craziness and my chain stayed squeak free and smooth the whole time.

After the race I sat with my bike in a pond, splashing it clean. When I got home I didn't lubricate the chain, as a test. It has not begun to rust and I could go ride it with no trouble right now. The performance of this lube is off the charts compared to anything else I've tried, I highly recommend it.

Sorry I've got to go, I'm divorcing Miriam and marrying a bottle of Chain-L.


Wednesday, September 02, 2009

No Regrets

Why did I just shell out a ridiculous amount of money to fly to Durango, Colorado for a five day trip during which I will get my ass kicked so soundly by old men and acclimated children? Because ever since I missed SSWC06 Stockholm, I have sworn an oath to attend every Single Speed Worlds I possibly can. To say that I am taking a relaxed attitude toward this event would be a massive understatement. You may have noticed how I have been talking over it, looking only ahead at the Vermont 50.

Last year the race was stacked, this year it's just a huge, horrible joke. The locals alone so formidable that worrying about placing well is delusional. Never mind all the real Pros who may show up. There isn't some silly little bike race in polluted Beijing to keep Adam Craig away. "Hey Thom P., where are you going to get the tattoo?". "I don't know, why don't you ask that Leprechaun Jockey on that Racing Unicorn over there?".

This means it's all about hitting some sweet trails (the organizers have a whole itinerary of great stuff for us to do), drinking beer (Dale's Pale Ale), and having fun (which really only consists of the two things I just mentioned). This is not a race you take seriously but it's a race you seriously don't want to miss.

Further thoughts on this later, I know there are more in there knocking around. I can hear them like a broken off nipple rattling around a rim. Maybe I should do what I would do for a paying customer...inject some tubular cement into the rim cavity and shake the wheel until the nipple bits become lodged in the blob of glue. Kidding. I would never inject tubular cement into my ear, it would never reach my brain. I'm crazy not stupid. Well, not that stupid. I'm just going to back out of the room while mumbling unintelligibly now.


Tuesday, September 01, 2009

19 Hills

That's what I've been thinking about. Even during other races, I'm going up a climb thinking "is this like The VT 50, how would this gear feel on those climbs?". The other race is all like "Where are you right now? Your eyes just glazed're like a thousand miles away". And I'm like "No race baby, I'm right here with you...hey you, what's the name of this race again?".

Last year I may have geared too hard...but I may not have. It was wet, I wasn't planning on wet. I had to switch to bigger, slower rolling tires at the last minute the night before. I should have geared down at that point but I'm not too quick like that. My time was better two years ago I geared lower, finished in a better time, but I placed worse. I was also riding a new, heavier, and unfamiliar bike. Maybe I need Doug Jansen to make some calculations for me. He seemed to have The Race to The Top Vermont figured out alright. Seriously, if you're bored here today, go check his report out, he drops some single speed science in there too.

Hi reader, you are now inside my brain, isn't this fun? Now imagine hours of this while I'm trying to sleep. Things were so easy back when I rode a geared bike, I would just go to race with the attitude "I am not going to have fun and I am going to go out there and suck it and suck it and suck it". And that's what would happen. I swear I am working on a kind of Bi-Cycle-Ography wherein I tell the tale of my transition from slow-ass geared rider to not as slow rider with one gear and many excuses. I'll publish on the coldest, darkest day of winter I'm sure.

So where's the point? Is it in there? Ow! I thought I asked you if you had any needles in there? Cretin. The point was that in preparation for Da Fitty as race promoter Michael J. Silverman himself calls it, I raced back to back long-ass XC races all month, finishing with the 2.5 hour slog Sunday. The beauty (and I do use the term "beauty" with my right eyebrow raised to the ceiling) of a Saturday race is that I can go out and ride on Sunday (after of course going to the pub on Saturday night). I had this dream of completing the NEBC Wednesday night hill loop front and back with my own additions sometime before Da Fitty. The short(ish) punchy bastard climbs it is comprised kind of mimic the terrain of Die Fünfzig, as the Germans call it.

I started off the loop with Miriam, trying to do each climb twice as she did it once. She was too quick though and the plan had to get a little more amorphous. By the time she spun off I still felt the need to bang out something like nine more climbs. By my count on that profile map above there are at least that many. For those of you who care and for me in a couple hours when I forget, here you (and me ) go:

Hutchinson X 4
Waltham/Ridge (Cable Tower) X 2 (only once all the way to the tower)
New Meadow Etc X 1
Myopia X 2
School X 1 (more than enough ARGH!)
Eastern X 2
Access Road X 1
Clifton X 3
Concord X 1
Old Concord X 1
Access Road/Cut over on Highland/Eastern from the stop sign by the park X 1

And that's 19 climbs in the spank myself bank.

Maybe tomorrow I'll talk about the fact that I actually committed to the SSWC09 trip last night and bought my damn ticket, maybe.