Friday, October 30, 2009

Weekend Preview/Big Bikes Top Six

A while back I asked "my audience" for suggestions for a Big Bikes top ten best of list...I got three responses. It was awesome. I've got them Google Analytics on this bad mammer jammer, I know how many people are out there reading this crap every day. If I was a professor looking out at a lecture hall and I asked the class a question and out of ALL THOSE PEOPLE, only three raised their hands, I would be pissed. I would probably proceed to call on every single one of those MANY, MANY people (OK, it's not that many, not even a third, or maybe even a quarter of what some dudes get), it could take hours, days even.

Imagine Cyrus, from this famous scene in The Warriors, yelling "CAN YOU DIG IT?" At the huge crowd of costumed gang members, only to have three respond, "um, yes, I guess we can dig it." The guy next to one of those three people was going, "I'm not really comfortable affirming that I can dig 'it,' when I'm not exactly sure what 'it' is." That would have been an entirely different scene, and that movie probably would have gone on to suck it big time.

So I took it upon myself to come up with a list, but on top of the three suggestions I could only come up with three posts that I thought stood above the fray, and the drivel, and the pointless babblings. They're over there on the sidebar now, all six of them. I would like to increase that list to a "Top Eleven" list at some point. Now, lets' try this again class, or gang members, or un-trainable Capuchin monkeys (wait, when did you guys get here?) , CAN YOU DIG IT?

In other completely unimportant news, this weekend is The Canton Cup cyclocross race. I'll be down there all day, working for The Shop, and then racing maybe the masters race or maybe the Elite race, I'm not sure which. I might be wearing a costume. I'll definitely be crashing on the hoppable barriers while trying to maintain my Pro mountain biker street-cred.

Sunday I'm taking part in some god-awful massive group ride from Andover to Hamilton. This same ride took the participants nine hours and nine minutes last year. I'm kind of terrified, but it'll give us something to talk about Monday...besides socks.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Where Do They Go?

The socks. where do they go? I have a pile of orphaned socks on my "bike staging area table." Sometimes their mates come back after a short absence, often they do not. I can understand if they disappeared wait, I can't. I have no understanding of how a washing machine eats socks, if they do at all. I've always kind of pictured the socks slipping through the cracks, getting sucked into the pipes, and washing away to sea. What a nightmare for that poor little sock. Maybe not, I don't know, maybe the little guy has a grand adventure out there — hopping onto a passing freighter and absconding for parts unknown...places I've never been and may never see.

If the socks eloped in pairs, I might never realize they were even missing, but they don't, they never do. They leave one behind...a reminder of the awesome pair of socks I used to have. The bastards. That's the thing, normal folks have normal socks, they buy them in big bags, they usually have piles of socks that are identical, it's not so sad when one goes missing. But bikers, we have very extra-special socks. They cost like ten dollars a pair, they often have some sort of sentimental significance, and we generally don't have multiples of a certain model of sock. Losing a sock is like, no exaggeration, having our hearts ripped out and stomped on.

I generally prefer to enter into discussions like this completely ignorant, with no facts to back up what I'm talking about, just my own delusions and hallucinations to go on, but this time I actually did some "research" (about thirty seconds of it anyway). I googled "where do lost socks go?" This article came up. You can tell it's going to be a humorous piece. You know how? It has the word "seriously" at the beginning of the title. Now that's funny because it's not serious at all.

According to that article the socks don't float off to Alaska and become crab fishermen, they merely get stuck under the agitator ("The Agitator" is actually the nickname of one of my co-workers. Don't worry, he'll never read this, he's too busy over on Glenn Beck's website, getting whipped up into a totally uninformed frenzy of thinly-veiled racism and xenophobia). The author describes how easy it is to remove the agitator to get at what is sure to be a veritable bounty of lost socks. I couldn't take it, I grabbed my camera and clomped down to the basement, hoping to add another chapter to this post, "Oh my god, there are ninety-two pairs of socks in this thing, happy freakin' day! Look, look, it's my errant SSWC 2008 sock...and my Rushin' Revolution sock...and that Swiftwick sock I won at The 24 Hours of Great Glen...I am crapping my pajamas with joy!"

That was not the case.

You know how many socks were in there? Zero. Zero socks, that's how many. What a let down. Do you know what that means though? It means I was right all along, the lost socks are off partying on an island somewhere, drinking boat drinks...boat drinks baby.

The now reduced to 100mm in the front yard Dunderchee and
The Ugliest Bike I've Ever Owned (which actually rides quite well), blocking the exit, creating a fire hazard, or really a "getting fired" hazard. Leaving my bikes in such an obtrusive spot is grounds for dismissal in my marriage.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Concrete shoes, Cyanide, T.N.T

The Wicked Ride of The East was really the first test ride of the re-vampinated went OK. When I was performing the travel adjustment surgery I found that there was not one, but TWO travel spacers. Now if I wasn't clinically retarded and I could perform a real job, like that of an actual surgeon, and I was doing an actual surgery, and I got in there, and there was like an extra kidney, like there were two of them...I would take one out, because obviously it's extra.

Maybe I would make a great surgeon.

My thought when I saw the two spacers was, "travel spacers...we don't need no stinking travel spacers!" So I took them both out. More travel is like more ice cream or more pizza or more puppies...delicious puppies. In this case I may have gone overboard like that movie you should never ever see starring Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn. Now promise me you will never, EVER see that movie. Do! Or we're not moving on.

OK, that's better.

Jesus Krispies! This is worse than trying to keep a toddler from sticking a fork in a light socket. Now go take Overboard off your Netflix queue please.

Thank you.

So I jacked the thing up past 100mm to 115-frickin'-millimeters. It looked great anyway. Once I got the thing on the trail it was a different story, I was all over the place. I dropped the handlebars by 20mm right off the bat to improve steering control. I have no clue how I used to ride around with zero drop between my saddle and bars, no clue.

First chance I get, I'm dropping the travel back to 100mm, this thing handles like a bread van. This time I've gone too far.

It's true. My Independent Fabrication Deluxe weighed over 30 Lbs. in '98. It had the Hayes R-Mount for the rear brake and a Marzocchi Z1-CR, wicked long travel fork (110mm). That note is to my co-worker who can't hear by the way, in case you were wondering why I would be writing notes like that. That one was too tough to pantomime.

What can go wrong with a Single-Speed? Not a whole hell of a lot...except for breaking a chain. What are you going to do in that case if you don't have some extra links? Walk, that's what skipper. A few links and a power connector are all the mojo you need to ward off a chain break in the first place; but if it does break you'll be a happy camper. Or at least not such a horribly miserable camper.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Wicked Ride of The East

Often when I'm in other parts of the country, people attempt to do a Boston accent for me. For some reason they can't wrap their heads around the use of "wicked," or "pissah", or especially "wicked pissah." It is baffling to them that a term like "wicked" could possibly be used to describe something which is good. Perhaps it has something to do with how Merriam Webster defines wicked:

Main Entry: 1wick·ed
Pronunciation: \ˈwi-kəd\
Function: adjective
Etymology: Middle English, alteration of wicke wicked, perhaps from Old English wicca
Date: 13th century

1 : morally very bad : evil
2 a : fierce, vicious b : disposed to or marked by mischief : roguish
3 a : disgustingly unpleasant : vile
b : causing or likely to cause harm, distress, or trouble
4 : going beyond reasonable or predictable limits : of exceptional quality or degree

wick·ed·ly adverb

I can see how a term which means "disgustingly unpleasant" might seem odd to use in a positive way.

Now Webster's doesn't bother defining "pissah," and you must subscribe to the site to see the unabridged dictionary which apparently contains the word "pisser." However, does define "pisser" like so:


–noun Slang: Vulgar.
1. something extremely difficult or unpleasant.
2. something or someone that is extraordinary.

1350–1400; ME: one who urinates; see piss, -er 1

Dictionary. reference. com and Merriam Webster, you are not helping. You can not possibly expect people of Scandinavian descent who live in the mid-west to come to any sort of understanding of the term "wicked pissah" based on these definitions.

For instance, the following sentence makes absolutely no sense if we stick to your definitions:

"Ya guy, me and Joey were out till three o'clock slammin' Jager-bombs after the Celts game last night, it was wicked pissah."

What the gentleman above is describing is an incredibly enjoyable experience he had with his friend Joey, but if we use the proper definitions for these words, we communicate another sentiment entirely:

"Ya guy, me and Joey were out till three o'clock slammin' Jager-bombs after the Celts game last night, it was morally very bad, evil, disgustingly unpleasant, very difficult, and did I already mention...unpleasant?"

And while yes, it may have been all those things too, the speaker is trying to tell us that he had a really, really good time, but I can see how this might confuse the Maggie Gundersons of the world.

Usually the impersonator says something like, "I couldn't find a paaahking spot in haaahvid, it was a wicked piss-er." You can try to explain to them how wrong this sounds to your Massachutian ears, but it will make no difference; they will continue to describe disgustingly unpleasant occurrences, following them with, "Aw it was a wicked piss-er."

So The Wicked Ride of The East, is for those of you who can't grasp the colloquial usage of the term "wicked, "The Really, Really, Good and Awesome, Very Nice, Enjoyable, Not Disgustingly Unpleasant Ride of The East." And it was all of those things.

Above, left to right, top to bottom: 1.) Tom Greene, human GPS. 2.) The bad news is, Will wore straight through his front brake pads, the good news is, he brought replacement pads...the bad news is, they were the wrong pads. Doh! 3.) Will flying brakeless. 4.) Andy up a rock ramp

Above: 1.) The day was beautiful, but still a little chilly for getting your feet wet, hence the hike-a-biking. 2.) Andy came ready for mud. 3.) There were hundreds of folks out on the ride. Once in a while we'd run into traffic, waiting in line as each technical move was conquered.

Why? Why wrong pads!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Dirty Deeds And The Dunderchee

In the interest of not totally destroying the Superfly on some rock-strewn group ride, I have made my Ferrous more appealing over the past couple weeks. The first thing I had to do was add a suspension fork: a Rockshox Reba SL 80mm. Due to the fusion of my spine (this is not a joke, my T 1-10 vertebrae are fused with two steel rods) I cannot handle a rigid fork.

There's this kind of one-upmanship that goes on in single-speeding circles regarding how dumb of a bike configuration you ride. "Oh you're running a two-to-one? Aw, you gotta run three-to-one dude." "You're running a freewheel? Weeeeak bro-bro, you gotta run fixed!" Suspension fork? What the crap! You are a massive pussy, I can't talk to you anymore, you're dead to me..." and so on.

On the gearing thing...I run big, dumb gears pretty often. On the fixed thing...have fun (not having fun). Don't get me wrong, I have mad, I mean furious, just plain angry respect for people who kill it on fixed gear mountain bikes, but that doesn't mean I want to partake. A guy who rides a fixed gear mountain bike is not far removed from a Ferret Legger (if you have a minute go read that article I've linked there, it is frickin' hilarious). You respect him, but you know he's fucking nuts, and you know you want nothing to do with what he's doing.

But the suspension fork thing...just plain can't do it, and I literally have a doctor's note to get me out of it. Actually my surgeon never wanted me to ride a mountain bike again, "If you didn't have a congenital, degenerative disease causing you back problems, you would still have back problems due to your lifestyle." "So will I be able to ride a mountain bike after the surgery?" "NO! What, you wanna screw up all my great work?" He was a funny guy.

So ya, I've got a suspension fork. Today I'm going to pull out the travel spacer and jack the bugger up to 100mm. The front end of the Ferrous is twitchy and steep and by my rough guess-timations, the offset of the Reba decreases the mechanical trail, making it even twitchier. I generally prefer a slacker front end. Back when I rode 26" bikes made by Independent Fabrication, I would run a 100mm fork on a frame designed around an 80mm fork. I always thought the stock head angle on those bikes was too steep anyway. At one point I even ran a 135mm Fox Talas...that was dumb. Except on downhills.

Not sure which bike I'll bring to The Wicked Ride of The East Sunday, maybe I'll bring both. I'm crazy like that. Hopefully I'll see you there.


Thursday, October 22, 2009

I'm Not So Out Of Tune...Yet

The Thing: Fells MTB Loop TT
Bike: Superfly SS
Gear: 33 X 17
Tires: Bontrager Mud Xs )left on from the weekend) @ 28 Psi
Conditions: mostly dry
Temperature: 64°
Time: 28:15 (I think that's tied for my, as they say, "P.R.")

Like I said yesterday (which for me was earlier today...which seems weird, even with my demented concept of time), I went out to do a little off-road TT action. It went well, but the faster than normal time does not bespeak a faster than normal me. The conditions were right and I had an abnormally small mount of difficulties relating to bobbles or bizarre technical problems which only occur during these private morning Fartlek sessions.

I do feel fatter than normal, but it doesn't seem to be slowing me down too, too much. I just keep finding incredibly valid excuses to overeat. Or it could just relate to my ongoing depression spurred by the death of Patrick Swayze.

Before I could embark on my morning moron's errand, I had to replace my brake pads which were destroyed during Sunday's frozen hell-fest (and yes, I will keep linking back to that post seeing as it's the only semi-substantial thing I've written all week). I hardly wear through pads during horribly muddy mountain bike races, I have no idea why a silly, little 'Cross race puts such a mean hurtin' on a bike. I hardly even used the damn things!

When I got to the start of the loop (which I get to by riding a bunch of really cool singletrack, for those of you that think I'm some automaton, just going out and mindlessly training on the same stupid loop all the time) I realized I was slightly over dressed. In a symbolic act, I ditched my leg warmers, entirely conscious that this may be the last time the sun hits my legs until next season (or until M and I are on that beach in Cost Rica in December).

Not sure what it is about The Race of Truthiness that I love so much, but there's something there. If I could put my finger on it, I'd pin it down, pull off its wings, and eat it for the price of a nice, shiny quarter.

Oops, I lost me.


Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Riding mountain bikes when you're really, technically supposed to be doing something else is so much more fun. Yesterday Greg "The Leg" and I went up to check out Willowdale up in Topsfield/Ipswich. It was a beautiful day, which was baffling to me after Sunday's frozen hell-fest. The trails did not disappoint, they were every bit as swoopy, fun, and non-technical as I'd heard they were. Don't get me wrong, I love the technical, but sometimes you just need a break. These trails were like mountain bike therapy — by the ride's end I felt relaxed and recharged.

I grabbed a map off this site, and while I don't know how accurate it was regarding the labyrinth of trails in Willowdale, it was definitely helpful for getting us oriented when we ran into a road and had no idea which way to go. We followed the driving directions on that site, not realizing that they took us to the opposite side of Bradley-Palmer form Willowdale. This was quite alright though, we began traversing the park, and as we did we spied a rider fast-approaching from the west (I don't actually have any frickin' idea what direction he was coming from but "the west" just sounds like the coolest direction to be coming from). As he got closer I could tell he was on a 'cross bike, and he was cookin' on that thing. As he passed I realized it was Skip Johnson, A.K.A. "Skipollini!" He informed us that he was out on a quick rip before he had to get back to the airport. This place is pretty much in his backyard, the lucky bastard.

Here we saw, at the same time, two swans, a great blue heron, and a herd of ducks.
Yes, a herd of ducks...that's what they call it. Shut up.

Skip offered to show us the way over to Willowdale via some sweet singletrack, ripping it up in his skinny-tired bike as he went. For whatever reason I was huffing and puffing, having trouble warming up, might have had something to do with the hour and forty five minutes worth of anaerobic effort I put in Sunday, might have had something to do with the fact that Skip was flying. "Ya, I heard you breathing back there, I was like 'Parsons is feelin' it'" The Leg said later. Skipollini! got us situated at a trail-head, wished us a good ride, and hammered off into the distance.

At first we just sort of went with the flow, following the blue dots, we'd cross a fire road and continue along on the singletrack on the other side. After a while we were checking the map and trying to figure out which way to go. The stuff was GOOD. A real departure from what I generally ride with all the pointy rocks and the roots and the sketchiness, just flowing and fun. I would take my mom here, I thought (or maybe said aloud to Greg). Anyone could have fun in this place, even children...or roadies.

Dead End

Our riding window was small, like the Diamond in the back of a pimp's Cadillac, so we probably didn't get to hit half the stuff in there, but what we did hit was brilliant. Can't wait to get up there with some locals and get a proper tour, maybe even get shown the Matty O' time trial. Speaking of time trial, I have to get ready to go do mine, hopefully I won't get a stick caught in my chain like last week. Nothing more frustrating than having a mechanical during an amateur, unsanctioned, personal, nobody-but-you-knows-about-it-but-you (and your three blog readers), time trial, NOTHING! OK, maybe a couple things.


The fact that the next section of the bridge after this one was totally un-rideable probably saved me from taking a cold bath trying to ride this nearly un-rideable one.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Something Wicked (Ride of The East)
This Way Comes (This Weekend)

 For those of you not doing the Verge races (or something equally as dumb), this weekend, you've got no excuse for not getting out to NEMBA's Wicked Ride of The East up at Harold Parker. I did this ride last year, it was SWEET! NEMBA marks out about 25 miles of some of the awesomest singletrack (those are both real words) on the planet, all you have to do is pay $10 (if your NEMBA member, $15 if you're not) and go ride until your legs fall off. When you get back to the staging area, there'll be food and beverages waiting for you. It's like a race, only the pain part is optional. 

It starts Sunday October 25th at 9AM, for more info go over HERE

That's all for today, heading out to ride the Fisher Ferrous I call "Dunderchee" with Greg "The Leg" up at Willowdale. Haven't been there, but I hear tell it's brilliant. We'll talk more about that maybe tomorrow. 

Monday, October 19, 2009

Hate You Two Times

First 'Cross race report of the year is up over on The 29er Crew Blog. It's actually two reports in one, which almost justifies its absurd length for a 'Cross report. I did the Masters 35+ and the Elite race back to back. Go check it out!

Friday, October 16, 2009

An' Annuver Fing...More North East Kingdom

Awesome things come in threes I guess. Last weekend was the Providence Cyclocross Festival/Interbike East. It was also The weekend of The Big Kahuna, something I was truly sad to miss, last year was such a blast. Alas (I hate it when people use that word, they are the same people that think they sound wicked, wicked smart when they say the proverbial — this, and the proverbial — that. Maybe the first person to say "I'm going to go take a proverbial crap in the proverbial toilet," sounded wicked smart. The eight million people who have employed that device since...they sounded like wicked pretentious-philistine-douche-bags.) I was unable to make it, I had pre-pre-existing plans to go mountain biking with my mom and my entire immediate family in The North East Kingdom of Vermont. My mom had booked an apartment sized unit from The Village Inn right in East Burke, the center of the action. 

Now you don't want to confuse the North East Kingdom with The North West Kingdom. The North West Kingdom is where Miriam and I live. It is the north western corner of Somerville, bordering on Arlington and Medford, just a stone's throw from those two bordering towns. I have not verified that it is, technically, a stone's throw from those two towns. When I used to live in a dark, unwashed corner of the world called Allston Massachusetts, I would joke that I lived "a stone's throw" from The Sports Depot (an awful sports bar) and this I knew for a fact. It was, as I said, a joke, I never actually threw stone's at that sports bar, but there were late evenings when I most certainly wanted to. 

If you do confuse the NEK with the NWK, the worst that's going to happen is that you'll show up to me and M's house and we'll take you for a ride in the Fells, five minutes away. It may not be The NEK, but it'll do. 

M with Burke Mountain in the background. The Superfly takes a breather. A little greasy but not muddy per se. Three bikes on the roof and I'm a happy guy. 

The whole family was there, including those who don't even ride. We did get my brother in law, Tom and my brother, Brad out on a ride. Tom came down to the pump-track to watch Noah (my nephew) and my sister rip it up for a bit. Tom got to see Noah take a massive spill ("what was that about football being too dangerous Jules..."), but he also got to see how stoked the kid gets on the bike. 

Let's talk about my brother and sister for a minute...they are prodigies. They are so inherently gifted at riding bikes, it makes me want to take up speed-knitting. Miriam, my mom, and I are, admittedly, not too horrible at riding bikes, I'll give you that, but we work really, really hard to be as good as we are.These guys DON'T RIDE BIKES, and they can get on a bike and absolutely kill it any time they want. My sister doesn't know what her granny gear is for chrissakes. My brother hasn't ridden a bike in four years, he doesn't work out, he doesn't cross train, or any crap like that. He walks around New York City and he goes dancing until the wee hours of the morn. Apparently I should consider taking up dancing, because the kid is FIT. It would be one thing if he came out and rode a geared bike around, you could fake that, but he was riding my single speed Ferrous. When the going got tough, he ground it out, standing and muscling up some no-joke climbs. He would also try anything  — riding over slippery bridges and into water-filled ditches and laughing his ass off when he crashed. 

Brother Brad looking pretty natural on the bike. I'm pretty. B gets acquainted with the practice of "long walks up steep mountains next to [his] bike." The weather was supposed to kind of suck, but we saw more sunshine than rain. 

The simple fact of the matter is that I am the least talented of my siblings. If these guys actually rode bikes instead of raising amazing kids while working full time and being big deal New York artists (and dancing all night), they would be wearing stars and stripes in no time. 

No, this is not photo-shopping magic. Yes, it really was that beautiful. 

Well, I'm out of time and you're probably more than exceeded you attention span, so I'm going to go now. I am planning on writing a more Reuters style NEK handbook style thing for the 29er Crew Blog, for people who may not know anything about The Kingdom or how to ride it. Of course that'll have to wait until after the MRC Cross report from this coming weekend. I am going to die.

Brad has his first "SPD moment", picking a nice, soft spot to land. The first time he started to fall, I ran over and grabbed him, I wasn't close enough the second time. The foliage was just beyond peak, but the trails were strewn with the brightly colored, fallen leaves — corridors covered in red and carpets of yellow. The warm up on Darling Hill, "how're those bacon and eggs sitting in your belly there?" Brad...Rock Star. 

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Stop, Hammer Time

Built up the Fuji Cyclocross Pro today. Quite honestly...ugliest fucking bike I've ever owned. Seriously, I've pulled better looking  globs of gelatinous gook made up human hair and skin out of my shower drain before. 

But it's just a hammer. That's what I tell myself. I'm a carpenter, the bike is my hammer, and you or someone you know might be the nail. Of course I might smash my thumb while trying to hit the nail, in that case the nail beats me. Man, I am way too tired, I am already lost in my own metaphor. I don't see carpenters standing with their hand on their hip, scratching their chin, sizing up hammers for their aesthetic value down at Home Depot. I don't know how I would, I spend as much time at Home Depot as this guy spends at the Old Country Buffet. 

Bike's are not precious to me, they are something to be ground down to a nub and destroyed (or hopefully something to be sold before that happens). 

Not that there's anything wrong with getting a boner when you look at your bike.

But I do think you're some kind of deviated prevert. 

Noah rips the pump-track in The NEK. I loved warming up on the pump-track. After that the whole world is your pump-track. I'll say it again — pump-track!

Then I rode off this thing. Miriam found the "Continuous Mode" on the camera. That setting is going to change my life. 

Noah ate it wicked hard moments before this was taken. We thought he took a handlebar in the eye. It was just sand. He got better. 

It was the wettest I've seen the NEK, but by day three it was just about bone dry, only puddles in the lowest areas. Check out M's game face. Grr—Bring the pain!

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

The Plans, The Plans

It is done. I've officially booked a flight to North Carolina and registered for The Swank 65 November 8th. I'll be staying long enough to get a few more rides in as well, some in and around Carborro and a few out around Asheville. I went down there for this thing last year, it was a hoot, amazingly enough I did a little write up about it. Imagine that. I'm really looking forward to doing it on a bike with front suspension this year. That alone will improve my enjoyment of the event (and hopefully my finishing time).

Riding up the road to the trail head in The Kingdom, always a mean warm up.

The North East Kingdom write up is forthcoming, got a whole lot of photos to edit, the ones gracing this post are just the icing on the ice berg.

My mom (the guest of honor), my sister (The Natural), Miriam (The Pain Magnet), and me (The President of The Facial Hair Club For Men).

In other exciting news: talks have begun regarding The Ice Weasels Comething...Again. My co-conspirators Colin and Linnea are in. It will likely run concurrently with Nationals once again. More on that as things progress.

All smiles on the way back from the pump-track

And in totally retarded news: I will be making my much anticipated return to the ridiculous sport called "The Cyclocross" this coming Sunday in Wrentham at the awesome MRC race. I will be riding with gears and generally making an ass of myself. Being an oh-so-pro mountain biker, once again I will be expected to hop the GIANT LOG OF DEATH. Which wouldn't be so terrifying if I weren't doing it on a road bike. Or not doing it on a road bike. I have registered for both the Masters 35/45+ race and the Elite race. The scary old men's race at 1PM will serve as a warm up and a harsh, harsh wake up call before the cool kids race at 2PM. At least I'll know the course inside out by the second time I line up. I'll be able to pick my spots: where I'm going to throw up, where I'm going to ride off the course and smash my face in, and where I'm going to ultimately detonate and quit.


When your mom says she wants to go Mountain Biking in The North East Kingdom — you go!

Friday, October 09, 2009

Anarchy in The NEK

This is just sad, I'm now recycling my own photos. Like scouring the inner-nets for photos of people or places named "Parsons" is so much less sad. My Mac is dead, won't power up, I think it relates to the actual power jack, but I've heard this can mean a new motherboard. I have no idea what I'm talking about. I am now working on this little gateway notepad thing, it kind of sucks. PCs kind of suck. They're always wanting to update things, it's annoying with all the things popping up all the time. On my old Mac I could defer that stuff indefinitely. Until one day it said "update this shit now, or I swear to god that I am going to stop working tomorrow, try me." And look what happened.

I don't have a point.

I still don't have a camera either, but since I am now married, I will be using "our camera" this weekend in The North East Kingdom. So ya, no post on Monday, I am taking a blog-i-day. I just love Christopher Columbus so much, he was such a swell guy, always out there discovering crap and exploring for the good of mankind. I'll be up in Vermont surrounded by Canadians, riding around with my family, thinking about Columbus. Maybe I'll think about the fact that we should probably just quietly (OK this is pissing me off, speaking of PC lameness, I can't figure out how to move that beautiful photo of Peter Falk down here where it belongs...control C/control V, move! Control C/control V, fuckin' move! Oh fuck it, Peter, you're staying up there) change the holiday to "Columbo Day." Everyone loves fumbling, disheveled detectives with lazy eyes, only a few people really like genocidal, slave trading colonizers.
Tuesday...late in the day post about The Kingdom.

Thursday, October 08, 2009

Oh No You Did Not

Yes I did, I went ahead and ordered a Fuji Cross Pro. IBC is technically a Fuji dealer. Technically. I was about to drop an order for a Presidio, when Mark "The Shark" walked in, grabbed my mouse-hand, and made me an offer I couldn't refuse. "For a whole bike?" "Yes, whole bike, with Ultegra." "So a frame with an Ultegra front derailleur on it, no other parts?" "No numb nuts, a whole frickin' bike, ready to ride." "What you're saying is that, for that paltry sum I receive a photograph of a bike...will you at least sign it for me?" "Look kid, I am going to punch you right in the face..." "OK, sold!"
And that's how it went down. Of course I'll probably still get a 2010 Presidio when they come out in January or whenever, I just need a bike to ride NOW.
Converting The Ferrous I call Dunderchee to a geared bike today. Basically turning it into my circa 1998 Independent; a 30+ Lb hard tail with big tires, super-upright position, and a "long-travel" fork (100mm). The Remedy may be on the market soon, cut backs are being made.

Wow, with these little staccato-burst like posts...I feel like a real blogger. Anyone got some free time they wanna sell me cheap?

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Firing 'Er Up

Fells MTB Loop TT

Bike: Superfly SS
Tires: Bontrager XR1 Team 1.9 (front), Jones XR 2.25 (rear) @ 28 PSi
Gear: 33 X 18
Time: 29:30

I used to have a '92 Subaru Legacy, I took it off the road and parked it. Once a week I would go over and start the thing up, just so it wouldn't die completely. After a while I stopped being so diligent about this task, and sure enough, it stopped starting altogether. I put it on Craigslist and a strange Brazilian man came to tow it away. He sang to the car as he put it on the lift, like the Subaru-Whisperer, "Soo-bah-rooo, Soo-bah-Roo." Like I said, strange.

My body has been pretty much taken off the road and parked for the past week or so, yesterday I went and hit the Fells MTB loop for a little fitness check, just wanted to fire up the engine and see if it still worked. Not my most impressive time (I did go off course...damn leaves) and I was running the lowest gear I've ever done it in. I'm making excuses for a training ride, that is awesome. I also considered this my first Cross-specific workout, so specific. I did do some run up practice before the TT, so fun for me. Not really.

November 8th I'm heading down to North Carolina, (or "North Koo-Koo-Looky" as the indigenous people call it) for The Swank 65. I have this very developed and well thought out theory that if I do an endurance ride here and there (or like three of them this weekend in the NEK) and then do a few Cross races, I will be firing on all of the things that are supposed to be firing in car engine metaphor, whatever those things are. I know more about Cat Power than I do Horse Power.


Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Freedom of Choice

The blog fodder is meager these days. Well, maybe it isn't really but I've gone from having the big, obvious, overwhelming blog fodder of SSWCs and The VT50 to almost nothing. I've got my now reduced, twenty minute commute (I moved to the Boston shop) and not a whole lot of riding outside of that. That will change soon, very soon with the North East Kingdom weekend coming up and thereafter with the many group rides I plan on going on. Oh ya, and Cross...gonna do some Cross I guess.

Couldn't quite pull the trigger on the bike purchase today, on the fence between a 2010 Trek XO2 and a 2009 Gary Fisher Presidio . Before folks jump in with the suggestions for other stuff I could ride, let me say this -- I ride for International Bikes. As things stand they are a Trek/Fisher dealer primarily so I ride what they sell. Somehow this element of sponsorship is lost on some, but I won't get into that. I do have access to Ridley, Pinarello, and Colnago. Although I'd love a Prestige with a carbon shoulder pad for portaging, I really don't see it as a viable option. And Ridley...hey QBP, what the crap? I'd love a Ridley, but I can't get one at the moment, and I do need a bike at this very moment. The plan is to hit the MRC Wrentham race on the 18th. That's soon.

The Presidio is cheap. It is steel, which means that it will make a comfortable trainer/commuter after it has briefly served its purpose as a race bike. Of course it is heavy relative to its aluminum brethren. I'm not a serious Cyclocross racer so what I care?

The XO2 is a pretty good deal for what it is, a serious, lightweight, well-specced, stiff-ass racer. Can't really, really justify the purchase though.

Then again, with the money I save with the Presidio purchase I can afford a set of Tubulars. No! No tubulars...must...not...get....serious...about...CROSS!

And now to answer some questions and respond to comments from yesterday, excellent blog filler for when there's lack of proper fodder.

RMM, thanks for the welcome. If I can ever get in front of you I will chop your wheel like TJ on JP. Watch out.

Rick, I did two full seasons on a SSCX, just way too frustrating to be any fun after a while. Not like mountain biking at all. Only slightly less horrible than entering a road race on a single speed.

Colin, Cross was a given, I need new dumb ideas, like racing over hot coals with ferrets in my bibs.

Solo, 2010 Presidios aren't here yet, I wish I could get one. They've got a sliding rear drop out which allows you to easily run single speed. Nice of them to make a bike with just me in mind, if they were available it would be even better. I can get you a sweet deal on an '09!

Sam, what up cuz? Nope, flying to NC, in and out. Too bad, I'd love to go out for some beers with you and Nancy P..

Endless, my sentiments exactly. Once you run a Kick Ass Cog, you ain't gonna ride anything else.

MKR, I know, it would be sweet to be able to do both, maybe run a costumed SS race later in the day as entertainment...let them out at the tail end of the elite race so they overtake stragglers and lapped riders who didn't get off course. Sick! We'll see about the Weasels, we'll see.

Zen, I thought about doing that thing, if they do it again I'll put it on the calendar a little sooner.

Cary, ahem...I have a big fat 2 on my license, guess I got it for being a Semi-Pro on the mountain bike, I sure as hell didn't ask for it. 3's ain't even an option, but I am old, so I can do that Master's 35s...and the Elites...or the Elites. I don't know if I'll show up at any Verge races, if I do, I have the UCI license for it. That'll be awesome. I'll have everyone and their paraplegic grandmother going "Hey, see that fat, old guy with the $900, 23 Lb. bike? He's a Pro mountain biker, and I BEAT him, fuck yeah!"

See you out there.

Oh, and still no camera, therefore, Alan Parsons not Thom Parsons. Shut up, he's my dad. You make fun of "Eye in The Sky", I'll put a "Foot in Your Ass."


Monday, October 05, 2009

Thing I'm Thinking of Doing

Well that was it, The Vt50 marked the official end to my 2009 race season, we have now officially entered the "what the hell are we going to talk about" season. This really might just amount to a matter of weeks. You see, I went up to watch the Verge Grand Prix of Gloucester Cyclocross race today, and I think I was infected with some sort of bug. A Cyclocross bug. I've been running to the toilet all night, puking up tubular cement and pooping cow bells.

Looks like I'll be ordering a a bike tomorrow. And no, I will NOT be racing single speed. Racing Cross on a single speed is too dumb even for the likes of me. I have been to that place and done that thing. No thanks. So we'll see what happens with that business.
I lied. I have at least one more mountain bike race, The Swank 65 in North Carolina November 8th. I did it rigid last year, that was idiotic, I will be running a fork this year. There's one thing we'll get to talk about.

I sill don't have a camera, hence the photo above. I google image searched "Thom Parsons", that was boring and uneventful, so I googled "Gram Parsons". Much better.
What else...not a whole helluva lot. Heading up to the North East Kingdom of Vermont with the family next weekend for a little mountain bike vacation which should be a good time, I'll probably talk a little about that next week. God, I hope I don't immediately revert to bitching about my commute all the time mode. That would just be sad.
If anyone out there has awesome ideas for dumb things I can do involving a bike, which they might like to hear me talk about, I'm open to suggestions. I'll be your trained bike-monkey with a typewriter.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Big Burritos Blog

Somehow, with all the yang I talk over here I don't generally stir up much controversy. I chalk this up to the fact that most people either a.) get that I'm pretty much never serious, or b.) think that I'm such an idiot that becoming engaged in a debate with me is a massive waste of time. After yesterday's post where I offhandedly backhanded Boston Burritos, I'm thinking I should start a food blog. Way more people are interested in Burritos than they are bikes. Seriously.

Update: Earlier tonight I tried Good stuff (thanks for motivating me to get off my ass and try it Mike). Five dollar burritos that don't suck in the Boston area, unreal. That said, it's still not on the level of the west coast stuff. I don't know how to explain it, it's like trying to convince your grandmother that Diesel's (that's our dope local cafe, for those of tuning in from Romania) coffee is better than Folgers Crystals. You're never going to get anywhere. Anna's though? They fill their burritos with soggy, flaccid meat and vegetables scraped from the sink drain of Boca Grande.

Back to the SSWC notes:

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.

So Steven, you remember Steven, the guy who tried to hug every woman in Durango (did I mention that?) and threw up off a stranger's porch? Yes, that Steven, of course you might know him as "Chaos". That's what his kids call him anyway. I heard a tale from Peter of Misfit Psycles
about Steven at the Trans Rockies race. Word is he performed a miracle...he flagged down a beer truck on the road in between stages. Some people could pull that off, get the thing to stop that is, the next step bordered on the impossible. He somehow convinced the driver to give him or sell him a case of beer, either way he procured a case of beer to share with his camp-mates. If this sounds made up, you don't know jack about Chaos. I believe.

The Ska Brewing party was out of hand, it went on all night, and when that was over, the party moved down the way to a warehouse. There were bands and DJs and a vending machine rigged to dispense PBR. When I retrieved my bike from the fence it was locked to at Ska, I found a large feather boa hanging from it. I guess other people experienced similar things, I think it was a conspiracy. So I showed up to the party sporting a boa and was promptly handed a glow stick. Under normal circumstances I wouldn't be caught dead...swinging a glowstick. Red Boa, eh, Miriam makes me wear one out on date night. Normal. I'm thinking I wrote "Carl Decker is the man" because, unlike some other awesome paid Pro peoples who come to SSWCs, he hangs tough. He was at that party until I left, which was late. All week long he was wearing costumes: wigs and weird jackets. I was impressed. When I left the party I felt compelled to bestow my boa and glowstick upon worthy recipients; the boa went to Topher Valenti and the glowstick to Chaos, who else?

Crap, now I'm all mixed up. There was a streaker at the selection basketball game, well, maybe not so much with the streaking. He kind of hung out while his junk was hanging out, like wandered around...naked. Against the law.

Ron made an Arch for the finish line, it was beautiful, it was used for some other historic event in the past. It was made of bicycles and bicycles parts. Awesome. He also made an Air Horn Rifle for the start. I was in the shower at his house while he was testing it, "Damn that is one impatient Durango cab out there, WHAT is with the honking?"

When Shanna and I were riding home we found that the bike path we rode in on was pitch fucking black, we rode off course more than once. We came out onto the road, swerved over to the right side and pedaled along. Then we saw a set of headlights coming at us, right at us, as in the car connected to them was going to kill us. We threw our bikes over the jersey barrier and leapt along behind them as the car whipped by right where we had been seconds before. The car's headlights illuminated our surroundings, we were on highway 550, going up the left lane the wrong way. So smart. We didn't die, it was nice.

The morning of the big race we went to check on our Texan friends, they'd hit it pretty hard the night before, "Aw, Brad's on an I.V." "Where? At the hospital?" "Naw, in the bedroom" "Huh" "Ya, Ben put him on an I.V." "" "Yup, Brad's a Fireman, y'know he's got EMT training" "Sweeeet".

Bed! Now!