Thursday, February 25, 2010

Priorities Straight
(But Not Narrow)

This week I decided to get on my bike in a serious way. My plan was to ride to school (2 hour round-trip) every day. I woke up Monday ready to get right on track. I was running late (I'll tell you why in a minute) I ran out the door, then it happened (I just like using that phrase, it makes whatever I'm about to say sound really exciting, even though it rarely is), I got up to the light at the end of my block, went to take my foot out of my pedal, and...nothing. Well something--my foot pivoted outward without releasing. I eventually managed to wrestle my foot out of the pedal and found that one of my cleat bolts had fallen out. Although I generally loctite my cleat bolts, I'd recently been making some cleat-position changes, it was only a matter of time before I got bit in the ass by my tinkering and fidgeting.

I sped back up the house, scrambled for a bolt in what I often think of as my "box of wonders," (the tool box I bring to races, that always seems to have whatever I, or anyone else happens to need inside, however unlikely.), but no luck. I scoured my work benches and bins and drawers...nothing. I grabbed my old pair of shoes, but the bolt heads were ground down to flats, they weren't coming out without a Dremel and more time than I had available. I was already running so late that it didn't seem like a total cop out to hop in the car and drive to school. So I tore off my clothes (sorry no photos), threw them in a pile, and dug out my car keys.

Of course I hadn't started the car since before M and I left for Mexico. It didn't start. I mean it really didn't start. It's an automatic, there was no clutch-popping potential and calling AAA was still not going to get me to class on time. So back in the house I went. Luckily I remembered that I had another pair of old shoes in the basement, and with some effort I was able to remove a cleat from one of them and install it on my shoe. My normal-person-clothes were thrown in a heap and the heap that was my cycling clothes was replaced onto my body. Then I realized that with all the contortions I'd gone through, there was no way that I'd be able to make it to class anywhere near on I relaxed and had another cup of coffee and read some blogs for a while in my lycra and wool and Goretex.

You wanna know why I was running late? That's OK, I'm going to tell you anyway.

I was running late because I had to fill my ipod. Had to.

Not only did I have to fill it, but I had to fill it with songs of the correct duration and tempo to fit my very dogmatic workout plan. So I laid down some Juana Molina for warm up, then took it up notches gradually from (if you're an audio elitist you might want to cover your eyes now or you will surely be vomiting on your vintage vinyl collection momentarily) Bronski Beat (if you click on one link, this would be it), and Talking Heads. Then I cranked the knob a little further up to C for "The Cult" and D for "Danzig." (OK, if you're going to click on two links, this would be the second one, but if you're not a Danzig fan or a fan of hating Danzig it will be bemusing not amusing). I followed that with some Judas Priest ("Turbo Lover"), Sabbath, The Jesus Lizard, Kyuss, and then cooled it back down with some mellow Zeppelin, and some The Smiths.

That sounded awkward, "and some THE Smiths."

Of course that was just the ride to school, I needed a return mix (remember, this was the essential crap I had to do that caused me to run late. And they wonder why I'm never on time to the work). I warmed it back up, re-heated it, with some Laura Veirs, The Pixies, and The Velvet Underground. Then The Nuge (wicked old school with The Amboy Dukes) stoked the coals, along with Devo, The Dirtbombs, Run D.M.C., The Clash, Van Halen, The Avengers, Soulside, Turbonegro, and finally I turned the ipod all the way up to...however far up it goes when you swirl your finger in a very manly fashion around that dial thing until it virtually bottoms out, with some Amon Amarth (it's what Odin would listen to) and Ministry. And then cooled it all the way back down some chill Guided By Voices tunes and some who else? Gram Parsons.

And...I just spent all the time I'd allotted for writing a brilliant conclusion looking up videos to link to on The You-tubes. But man it was fun.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

25th Hour Party People

You ever seen that Spike Lee Movie 25th Hour? (It's not his best, but it'll do.) Basically Ed Norton's character is going to prison for seven years. A benevolent DEA agent gives him a 24 hour reprieve to live it up. That's how I felt today, only my prison sentence looked like this:

That's what I call hypothermia weather

So I had to get some riding in on the way home from school today. Had to. Now I'm cooked...but I have FOUR whopping hours in my legs for the week.

If you're looking for something to read (since that ain't happenin' here today), you might check out the latest issue of NEMBA's Singetracks magazine. I did a totally inane little write up outlining some of my idiotic ideas about training in New England winter. The only way to read it, I'm afraid, is to either become a member and get it delivered to your door, or swing by your friendly neighborhood bike shop (at least it's friendly when I'm not there) and pick up a FREE copy off their counter.

In other, not-all-me-being-annoying-all-the-time-news...
my buddy Mo is holding a raffle to help offset her recent trip to Cyclocross Worlds. So I'll leave you to peruse the info on that (below) and see you tomorrow, I hope. (I hope I will get to write something and I hope you will actually come back here again considering today's weak post).

The time is almost up for your chance to win one of three amazing prizes and help Mo Bruno Roy with her trip to Europe, where she represented the United States at two World Cups and the Cyclocross World Championships on Tabor, Czech Republic with three top 25 finishes!

There will be a limited number (250) of raffle tickets available for purchase. Raffle tickets cost $50 each or 5 for $200. The raffle is available only on through March 4, 2010.

Grand prize: Valued at $7500, a COMPLETE CUSTOM Seven Cycles bicycle built with the identical components found on the Mudhoney SLX Mo races.

Here’s what you’ll win:

1st prize: Valued at $1000, Pedro’s Master Tool Kit 3.0. This 65-piece kit has the tools you need for any event, hand picked by the pros! You’ll never buy another tool again.

2nd prize: Valued at $700, a full Thule rack system custom to the winner’s vehicle along with 2 bike trays.

We'll keep you posted on the raffle drawing party TBD.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Fat Tuesday
Part VI in a Series

Height - 5' 10"
Weight - 168.5 Lbs. (Oops. Guess that's what a week of all you can eat buffets can do to ya)
(My fingers are too fat to use a calculator to figure out my BMI and BMR today)
Weight Goal - 157 Lbs. (I AM LAUGHING OUT LOUD!)

As someone who sort of plays a bike mechanic in real life, I should know better than to begin a project before I've read the instructions through to the end. Last week I was babbling about the NuVal system, assuming that Matt Fitzgerald was talking about it in his book Racing Weight because it's the latest-greatest thing. Wrong! I should have finished the chapter before I wandered off to buy huge amounts of spinach and green beans (and throw away my massive stash soda and double stuff Oreos). The latest-greatest is actually Fitzgerald's own system the "Diet Quality Score, " or DQS for acronym-iness. By utilizing this system you will come up with an overall score for your daily food intake. It does make sense (more so than the NuVal, which if you take literally, will lead you to eat just spinach and green beans all the time). Let me see if I can make some sense here...

The first time you eat a food item, it scores higher. Each time you eat it after that it scores lower and lower. This way, if you want to get a high score so you can win the "making racing weight game" you need to eat a variety of high quality foods.

Although I kind of went into a light coma when Fitzgerald started talking about scores (scores involve numbers, numbers make me sleepy...and nauseous) my ears lit up when he started talking about how "a can of soda can save your life in the right conditions." He doesn't elaborate, although I'm guessing he's talking about that scene in the movie "Bad Boys," (the one with Sean Penn not the one with Will Smith and Martin Lawrence) where Sean Penn knows some bad dudes are totally about to f— with him, so he goes down to the RC Cola machine and starts buying soda after soda, then he puts the cans in a pillowcase, and then when the bad dudes descend upon him, he's ready — WHAM! He smashes the Kurgan from Highlander right in the nose with a pillowcase full of RC Colas. (Talk about product placement. Back in '83 Sears couldn't keep "Pillowcases Full of RC Cola Cans" on the shelf.)

Only it's not really The Kurgan, it's "Viking Lofgren," played by Clancy Brown who played The Kurgan. I'm not sure why in both Highlander and Bad Boys, he didn't go by his real name: Clancy. Nothing strikes fear into the hearts of reform school boys and Scottish warriors like a guy named CLANCY.

Fitzgerald also talks about portions as relating to the size of your outstretched hands. I have disproportionately large hands for my height and weight. You know what they say about short guys with really big hands right? They have big...

Guts (because they measured out portions that are too large using this system).

Speaking of guts, Matt keeps coming back to the basic, obvious, you-don't-need-a-fancy-diet-score-to-figure-it-out principle of CALORIES in CALORIES OUT. Though this is the last thing the "obesity is a disease" club wants to hear. Is obesity a new disease? When was it discovered? Has it always been a disease? Is it just that more people get it now? Do you catch it from leading an indolent life full of energy saving technology and eating calorically dense, nutrient poor foods?

Or maybe it's a newer virus, like AIDS. Did humans initially contract fatness from having sex with or eating obese monkeys?

I've read that a malfunctioning hypothalamus can cause the satiation (stop cramming chili cheese fries down your gullet) message to fire, so that people think they're hungry when they're not. A little naturalistic observation down at The Old Country Buffet would disprove this theory. There is no way that Mr. 300-pound behemoth is going back up for his his third 1500 calorie plate of food because his hypothalamus is telling him "Hey...hey big guy...I think you're still hungry, go get some more food OK?"

Looks like we ran out of time just a little bit late at The Big Bikes today.

P.S. - the photos at the top...
on the left I'm wearing my normal-person-swimsuit. On the right I'm wearing my I'm-a-freakin'-weirdo-Speedo that I go "proper-swimming" in. When we were down in Mexico last week, on vacation, I would wear the weirdo-suit under the normal-suit down to the beach. When it was time to proper-swim, I would tear off the normal-suit, revealing the Speedo. I said "it was like on Knight Rider when Kit would come out of the back of that semi!" Miriam's sister was totally freaked out.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Why I Shave My Legs
(Even in January)

What it comes down to is this: I shave my legs because I want to. Of course I could rattle off a litany of quasi-technical reasons why cyclists, even mountain bikers should shave their legs, but what would be the point? The pro-hairy-leg-lobby would fire back with just as many reasons why you shouldn't shave your legs. For instance, hairy legs are great for their mud-collecting qualities. And then, subsequently, their cleaning of mud-thwarting powers. They give ticks more to grab on to as your legs brush past them in the tall grass (hey, ticks gotta eat too y'know). When you fall on a smooth surface all those long, flowing hairs are great for creating more friction as they are dragged and ripped from their follicles. And then, once they have done a great job of creating a large wound, those same very useful hairs get in the way of the cleaning and disinfecting. Most importantly of all, all that swirling fuzziness is unparalleled in its ability to mask attractive-ripped-biker-leg-muscles.

So I'm not going to pick a fight with the people from the Hair Party, I'm just going to tell you why I shave my legs. And let's get one thing straight; I am not trying to convert you or anyone you know to the hairless elite. I would never do that. I've never asked someone why he doesn't shave his legs, and I don't plan on taking up the habit. I really don't care if you shave your legs or not, in fact, I don't really care about anything you do or don't do. Unless you drive an Escalade and eat egg salad with your mouth open.

Reason #1: It's more awesome than not shaving your legs, I have proof.

In 1972 the number one song on the Billboard top 100 was Don McLean's "American Pie." David Bowie's album "Ziggy Stardust," which was released that same year was not represented on that top 100 list at all, though it boasted tracks like: "Five Years," Star Man," and "Ziggy Stardust." Fact: David Bowie almost definitely had shaved legs under those tight, glimmering pants. Fact:Don McLean probably didn't shave his legs (I could probably lose the "probably" on that one). Conclusion: David Bowie is awesome; Don McLean is not. Therefore shaving your legs is awesome.

Reason #2: It feels awesome when you swim

Well, maybe it's not so much about "feeling awesome," so much as it's about not feeling "not awesome." I love the feeling of going swimming with freshly shaved legs. If you want to feel a sensation similar to this without actually taking a Bic to your appendages, try the following experiment:

  • Put on a thick pair of corduroy pants
  • Go swimming in them
  • Now take off the thick pair of corduroy pants
  • Now go swimming again without the thick pair of corduroy pants on

That is exactly what it's like (especially when, if you don't shave your legs, your legs look like a Wookie's like mine do).

Two reasons...that's all I got. And neither of them have anything to do with cycling. Unless you count "being awesome." Because a feeling of "being awesome" can greatly reduce mental stress levels, leading to huge performance gains.

I was about to launch off on a tangent about how "punk rock" shaving your legs is. But then that leads into a discussion of how "punk rock" lycra is, and then that opens a whole Pandora's can of punk rock worms. I may have to revisit this topic at a later date, seeing as I've already surpassed my new (temporary) daily character limit.

One more thing. I've already written most of my Fat Tuesday post and I'm just gonna say that after the pile of bile I plan on spewing tomorrow, I fully expect to have a mob of clinically obese people holding torches (that are really just sterno chafers they stole from The Old Country Buffet) and pitch forks (which they use as regular forks, as they are commensurate to their portions at The Old Country Buffet) standing (well, not so much standing as sitting on their Lark scooters) outside my house Tuesday afternoon.


Friday, February 19, 2010

SSUSA - Two Crappy Videos of Crazy Crap

Dax Massey Bunny Hops a Fire Pit in Flip Flops from thom parsons on Vimeo.

Dax Massey, the winner of SSUSA (on the bike), hops the fire pit in flip flops.

Jake Kirkpatrick Ride The Flaming Beam of Death at SSUSA 2010 from thom parsons on Vimeo.

Jake Kirkpatrick, SSUSA 2011 host, rides the flaming beam of death.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

SSUSA Ad Nauseum

I don't even think I'll be out of SSUSA pics by the middle of next week. That's what happens when you forget to turn your Helmet Hero cam off and take 999 photos (mostly of your hands and the ground).

Sometimes I felt like we were riding on the moon. I had the same sensation in Durango. This type of terrain is entirely alien to me.

Me and Keith: "is this thing on?"

Tracks...sweet, I'm not completely lost.

There were all sorts of users out on those trails, from dudes driving real live versions of an eight-year-old boy's automotive wet dreams, to ATV peoples, and guys firing off guns that sounded like howitzers at targets in the shape of deer. I wonder if after they kill the male deer (I think it's called a "John Deer") with these cannons, if they then go burn the deer village to the ground for good measure. They must really hate those deer.

Side note: I was heading out to school this AM and I saw a guy with hunting stickers plastered all over his 4 X 2 pick up, "GUNS DON'T KILL DEER - I DO!" one of them said. kill the deer...with a gun. Unless he's a new breed of hunter who tackles animals and kills them barehanded. Now that would be totally bad ass. I would hunt if I could hunt like that. But I'd probably only hunt guinea pigs and de-clawed elderly cats.

Don't get me wrong, I think there's a deer population issue, and I'm pro-hunting, but not really pro-shooting-things-with-machine-guns-and-hanging-heads-on-my-wall-hunting. There I go, probably pissing off the entire state of Wyoming again.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


The other day M and I were driving down Mass Ave. I was going the speed limit, if not a little above, rolling up to the intersection with Mystic Valley Parkway. I was planning on taking a left turn at the light, so I was oriented accordingly on the roadway.

Then it happened.

That sounded more foreboding than it really was.

This dude comes blazing up behind us, gets right on my ass and starts getting all aggro. Then he cuts right and tries to out-run me (to the red light which we're less than a hundred yards from). Me being the inherently competitive dick that I am, I decide to match him, effectively blocking him, "shutting the door." He leaned out his window, screaming something at us and waving his fist. He was so committed to his belligerent course of action he didn't notice that while the left turn arrow that I was traveling toward had gone green, the light to go straight had turned red. He hesitated, half-stopping in the middle of a a busy intersection, then gunned it.

On the other side of the intersection he screeched a U-turn into a gas station and came out on Mystic behind us. For second it looked like he was going to pursue us, but no, he had just missed his turn and had needed to correct for it by looping through the gas station.

M asked if I was scared at any point, "no" I replied, "the guy's driving a Toyota Highlander."

I can see how he could have confused being "The Highlander" and being in a "Toyota Highlander."

Be careful out there.

Now...SSUSA photos with captions!

It was warm 70° day, but the streams were full of snow run off from the hills. This made for cold feet.

Dejay's idea of water stop. It's backcountry dude!

The early climb. There was a lot of socializing going on as we ground up the thing.
I tired to focus on how clean and clear the air was, how good it felt in my lungs,
not how farty and bloated I felt from the Dale's Pils I drank during the roll out.

Dejay's idea of a Le Mans start. Riders had to take their front wheels off, leave their bikes around a corner, and walk down the hill a ways. What I lost in the run I made up for with my quick-mechanic-quick-release-skills. And what I made up for with my quick-mechanic-quick-release-skills I lost with my crappy fitness on the climb.

Single Speed races are way more talky than normal-people races. Partially on a account of all the pushing the bike business. I learned a lot people's names and hometowns that day. And then totally forgot them.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Photo cred: C.J. Vincent, Wow Arizona

Fat Tuesday Part V

Height - 5' 10"
Weight - 167 Lbs.
BMR - 2723.9
BMI - 24
Weight Goal - 157 Lbs. (I am re-thinking this, seriously)

Damn, I can't believe I'm four weeks into this thing, I also can't believe I've only lost 3.5 pounds. OK, I can believe it. I haven't been riding as much as I usually would be at this time of year, the time of year where the pounds usually just kinda "melt off." I've also cheated a lot. My day to day diet has improved in quality as Matt Fitzgerald suggests in Racing Weight, and I suppose the weight is coming off at a reasonable, if not spectacular rate. I like spectacular, but according to Matt, achieving rapid weight loss goes with a rapid decrease in the speed of your metabolism. All this "Biggest Loser" I lost 4% of my total body weight weight in a week stuff is a recipe for disaster.

(If you don't know what I'm yammering about, check out the other posts about my fascinating weight loss saga. )

Matt talks about "Nuval Scores" for food. Telling us that the glycemic index is, in his words (as I remember them), not mine: "a steaming pile of horse shit." I won't bore you with the details (which I don't understand anyway) but basically the Nuval business takes into account all factors relating to a particular food, putting it in context. For instance, the most awesome foods on the planet are green beans and spinach (I didn't see that coming) and the worst foods on the planet are soda and Double Stuff Oreos (again...not shocking). Serendipitously enough, I have recently taken to eating steel cut oats for breakfast (see photo below). According to The Nuval rating, they are pretty high up on the awesome food scale. Sweet! They are pretty damn good I have to say...a little brown sugar, dried cranberries, raisins, and a splash of very, very manly soy milk, and you got some good eating.

Matt also talks about eating small amounts throughout the day to (paraphrasing here) avoid getting so hungry you want to eat your own butt. This is actually something I realized a while back, after I did my first couple hundred milers. I was all like "dude, I eat more during the day at work than I do while riding my bike for eight-frickin'-hours at some crazy Chris Scott race." I started eating less, more often, never getting to the point where I wanted to jam Doritos in my maw fistfuls at a time. So adapting back to that kind of diet schedule hasn't been too hard. I think of eating throughout the day as I would eating during a 100 mile ride.

Yes, dinner these days is generally something like THE BIG SALAD. I make these things huge, with lots and lots of veggies. They take a while to get through. Like I said to M the other night, "Eating salad is exhausting!" I wasn't whining about having to eat salad (it was a great salad), I was talking more about the duration and intensity of the eating process involved in putting it all away. You feel like you've done some work, you feel satisfied, satiated even.

With my school schedule I've begun cooking again. This is one of my favorite healthy dishes, it's Zeytinyagli Fasulye, a Turkish (Hi Memet...hi) green bean dish. And you know green beans are awesome according to that Nuval stuff.

Oh yes, the photo at the top. No shirtless, belly distending photo today. That's me kinda looking skinny (and like a creepy pedophile) at SSUSA as I check out Nat's pink panty's. When I came up on Nat, I thought he was riding a 36er, I was hallucinating-lightly. I was also confused by the fact that he had stopped to change into women's underwear (perhaps a bit too soon, seems his netherlands experienced some wear and tear). I looked at him going: "I know a guy that looks just like you...only not wearing pink panties."

Anyway, I fully expect next Tuesday's weigh in, after M and I get back from Mexico, to be really, really bad.

Ice Cream Donuts on a stick are not on the Nuval chart.
They have to be more awesomer than spinach.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Since You Been Gone

Did I forget to mention that I'll be away this week? Don't worry little skippers, I've had Reuters design a...thing, a software thingy, that does...high-tech stuff. It's got algorithms in it or on it (I've always thought that Al Gore should have put out a CD of his favorite songs like Bill Clinton did of his, it could have been called "Al Gore Rhythms." I say I always thought that, because if I said it aloud, people might say: "That joke is stupid and awful." Good thing I didn't say it out loud.). These crazy,, little algorithms will generate blog posts that are almost identical the ones I write, they might even be better.

These auto-posts will likely consist of stories about:

  • Poop

  • Me doing something stupid

  • Bad things happening because I'm stupid

  • Bad things happening to me because I'm stupid and I did something stupid (involving poop).

Those topics are contained in all, if not some of my most popular blog posts.

In reality what I'll be doing for the rest of the week, with the exception of Fat Tuesday, is posting more photos from SSUSA, (which will hopefully have hilarious captions) and writing mini-posts. I'll be back Monday the 22nd with both guns ab-lazing.

We don't end up washing a lot of wine glasses in our dishwasher
(I tend to drink it straight from the bottle).

Friday, February 12, 2010

Why Wyoming, Why?

OK we're gonna get all serious today. Sort of. Monday night was the DCR/NEMBA/Friends of The Fells meeting up in Med-fid. I apologize to my readers...excuse me, make that reader in Bulgaria, but we're going to talk about something that really only relates to people living in the Metro-Boston area today. So sorry Aleksandar (I don't really know if that's my Bulgarian reader's name, it's just the first name that came up when I googled "popular Bulgarian boys names.") you are excused from reading today's post.

You know what's funny (besides seeing someone get kicked in the nuts so hard that they fart)? I also only have one reader in Idaho...and in North Dakota...and in Arkansas. Hey one guy in each of those respective states, tell your friends to read The Big Bikes OK? They might think I'm an annoying, whiny, idiot, who makes crazy crap up and doesn't know what the hell he's talking about — just tell them I'm a lot like Glenn Beck...without as much crying like a big fat baby-man.

I'm sorry, I just love my country. Even the jerks in the state of Wyoming who don't even read Big Bikes AT ALL. That's right, no readers in Wyoming, not a one. I've even been to Wyoming and ridden mountain bikes there. Right outside Laramie. Do you guys hate me because I once bit the head off one of your state birds, "The Western Meadowlark?" I can see how you might take that the wrong way. You have to understand, my meeting with the execs from CBS wasn't going well, they were getting cold feet about producing "Big Bikes: a Karaoke Rock Opera" (Which really just involved me singing along to Danzig...atonally...totally naked. Well, not totally if you count my "Natural fur sweater." But ya, it covers up the wrong bits, I know. ) I had to salvage the thing somehow, so I bit the head off a frickin' whaddaya call it...Meadow Lark, for effect. They didn't go for it and the rest, as all four of you know, was never even made into a VH1 Behind The Music special.

Of course now you Wyoming-inians will come over here and read this. Why? Because you're narcissistic like everyone else (That's right, still #1 Big Bikes and #1 Thom Parsons according to, I mean Google) and you'll be up late one night googling your state name and your state bird and "jerks in Wyoming" (just to see if somebody's talking smack about you), and you'll come across this post and then you'll leave me 143 hate comments. Please don't kill me Wyoming.

What were we talking about?
Advocacy, right...

The meeting went well, only a couple of the yellow-toothed, gray haired, neurotically twitching whack jobs from Friends of The Fells got all aggro and started shouting and acting like crazy people. I'm leaving out a lot of back story here, but we gotta move along. Basically the FOTF wants to limit access for mountain bikers to The Fells, i.e: ban them completely and then, if possible, have them stabbed, doused with gasoline, set on fire, and dumped in the Mystic River.

I just got the folowing email from Adam Glick, Greater Boston NEMBA. What we need to do is get as many emails as possible into the DCR so they know the primary users of The Fells are responsible mountain biker-types, not nine angry men who want the place to themselves so they can, uh...fornicate with flowers. Read Adam's guidelines below and fire that email off! Hey, I did it and I don't follow through on anything. I swear I'm still going to learn Spanish with my Rosetta Stone cassette tapes while working my abs on my Bowflex. I did not buy them for nothing.

Adam's email:

Last night was a high water mark in a long, long dry season of MTB advocacy at the Fells.

Time to get back to work however.

It was clear that DCR *wants* more comments submitted. This is **very** important to DCR. They are counting them all up - they had nice bar charts summarizing them. What struck me was that the bar representing "Expand Mountain Bike Access" wasn't very much higher than its opposite "Don't Change a Thing" bar. We must do better.

Action Item: We need everyone who hasn't sent comments to send them in. Keep them short and to the point. Here's the original DCR source page:

Some suggestions:

Simply state that you:

1. Support increased mountain biking opportunities.
2. Support a change to the winter closure policy.
3. Support increased NEMBA volunteerism
4. Support after dark riding.
5. Support separating loop trail overlaps
6. Support providing access to the reservoir trail systems
7. Support improved signage

You don't need to answer all the questions -- just the ones that are important to you.

There are some basic principles we hope riders will support:

1. Fair and equitable access policy
2. Access to singletrack
3. More marked loops
4. Positive use to replace illegitimate use

It's even better if the comments are in your own voice and express your own concerns. We're not trying to control the message -- it's the getting a message out to DCR that is really important.

If you are looking for other ideas, here's some stuff that Greater Boston NEMBA has come up with (look at the bottom of the webpage):

Email your comments to:

When you send them please also cc:

Spread the word. Tell your friends. Make a point of getting the word out about this.

This is like when you are on the last leg of an epic ride and you can feel yourself beginning to bonk. We need to find that extra energy to keep us going and get us home because we have a lot of traction right now.

Hi, it's me again. If you're still reading this is the email I sent out:

Hello Paul,

I'm just writing to voice my support for increased access for mountain bikers at The Middlesex Fells.
The Fells are just a few minutes away from my house, I use them for running, hiking (that's really just a fancy name for walking),
cross-country skiing and mountain biking. I am over there, enjoying the place in some capacity several days a week, year round.

I would love to see more opportunities for NEMBA members to oversee trail building and maintenance. Well built, managed, and maintained trails
are much more durable than the kind of hiking and default trails that mountain bikers now ride on.

Allowing nighttime access and instituting a "Mud Ban" rather than winter closure would be great.
Night-riding only disrupts two of the nocturnal species in The Fells — partying high school kids lighting fires and naked men running.
The winter ban keeps bikers out during the months when the trails are least vulnerable. The trails are either frozen
or covered in snow. NEMBA members are always very good about keeping off the trails when they're muddy.
NEMBA rides are canceled due to muddy conditions.

On behalf of my 62 year-old mom I'd like to say that allowing access to the roads around the reservoirs would be excellent.
Many riders are like my mom and would much rather ride on semi-smooth dirt road than single-track. They really aren't hurting anything in there.

Another point of concern is the Dark Hollow area. I know my mom won't go near the place (though I'm not sure
she has much to be worried about), and my 16 year-old friend Nathaniel (who might have something to worry about) won't even go into The Fells
because of all the talk about "undesirable users" in that area.
I feel strongly that a trail running through that swath of land would only displace one type of wild life...
and I'm not talking about newts.

Thanks for your time,

Thom Parsons

Note my use of clever euphemisms for "sketchy men cruising and having sex in the bushes all the time." Newts...newts aren't that size or color and they have those gill things on the side. Dead giveaway...the lack of gill things there.


Thursday, February 11, 2010

Disgusting Disappointment

There are a whole lot of things on my mind but not a lot of thoughts about any one of those things in particular. Because that's what I'm big on: thinking about things. First order of business...


Do we have to talk about this? It's disgusting and disappointing (adjectives which are too often used to describe me and my actions). Although I didn't come close to making my bribe-goal to drink even one Chelada I did say that I would drink at least one for Zen and Eric, but they had donated to the general cause of going to SSUSA, not specifically to me drinking a Chelada during the race, so I wasn't legally bound to do so. You can see where I'm going with this can't you? I didn't do it, but it wasn't for lack of trying.

I told Keith that I had one errand to run as I followed him to Sooter's house outside Tucson Friday night before SSUSA: I needed Chelada. Two, maybe three cans. I wasn't sure what Tucson's policy was on after-midnight alcohol sales. I was holding out hope for a late night liquor store or at least a 7-11 that would sell me beer (mixed with clam and tomato juice). When Keith pulled his borrowed big yellow jeep into a CVS parking lot I wondered what was going on in his usually obviously large brain. Keith knew something I didn't — in Arizona CVS has liquor and abundance.

In addition to the clam-weirdness I realized I needed breakfast, coffee, late night snacks, just in case beer, and a hydrating type beverage for the racing.

So getting the Chelada at 12:30AM in Tucson was not a problem. Good thing to know for next time you're in Tucson. I made the mistake of trying one when we got to Sooter's house. I didn't make it through very much of it before I cast it aside and cracked a Tecate. It is that gross.

In the AM I threw a tall boy of the Clam-tomato-beer-combomination (shut up spellcheck, it's a word. It means the combining of things that are vile, disliked, and abhorrent. You got that spellcheck?) in my rear bottle cage and wedged a packet of Endurolytes into the cage with it (to help off-set the effects of the heat, the altitude, and the beer). Not too far into the race, sometime after I "spun" my 33 X 19 up the first climb, I decided to pop some Endurolytes. I jammed the rest of the packet up my short leg (there were no pockets on my wife beater undershirt). After a couple rumbling fire road descents, as I rolled along on a flat section, I started contemplating my plan for imbibing that tall can of repugnant crap I was carrying...I was carrying, shit. It's gone, I just littered in the Arizona wilderness, I am a dick. The packet of glorified salt pills must have been holding it in. Without them wedged in there, the can had ejected. I was disappointed and relieved. I wasn't too sad that I didn't have to drink a big warm container of clam/tomato juice and beer in the high desert during a (sort-of) bike race.

I guess I pushed the limits of my King Cages. They'll never eject a bottle but a tall boy of weird beer? That's another matter.

And now...
photo captioned photos from SSUSA, yeah dude!

When I turned my computer on Monday Am, this is what I saw. "What? It's going to be 70° and sunny. In Boston. In early February?" (Takes another gulp of coffee) "Wait a second...crap!"

This was the weather I'd actually be riding in.

George! He convinced me to do his race, "The Gravel Grinder" up in Vermont in April.

Yes that's a 36er. It made my 29er look like a 26er and it made 26ers look like BMX bikes and it made BMX bikes look like 16" wheeled kid's bikes and it made 16" wheeled kid's bikes look like those little bikes monkeys ride in the circus and it made those little bikes that monkeys ride in the circus look like a bike that Stuart Little would ride and all those bikes were represented at SSUSA so it was easy to compare them side by side.

I still cannot believe that guy navigated that course on that bike. I'm happy to be alive. Milagrosa!

These guys were named Matt and Mark. They were both from Sierra Vista. One of them, either Matt or Mark (I don't know which is which) said "Walk early, walk often, that's what I always say." I rode past him like a total prick as he said it and then...

Bam! I uphill jack-knifed lunging up and over a rock. That's my style.
Make the big move, blow the small one.

Um, hi Matt or Mark, I guess I'll be civil and walk with you now. Sorry about that time I rode past you while you were talking to me. So like...what's your ratio dude?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

SSUSA - The "Race Report"

"Where post? "
"There. "
"THERE post."

Tuesday, February 09, 2010

Fat Tuesday Part IV

(And a bit of SSUSA)

Height - 5' 10"
Weight - 500 (up 332 Lbs., oops)
BMR - 5939.6 (now I can have waffle fry nachos three meals a day!)
BMI -71.7 (obesity is classified as anything over 30)
Weight Goal - 157 Lbs (ya right)

Wow, I was so spent from the tornado trip to Tucson that I couldn't even muster a lame, Monday—litany of excuses—post. And now, being the perpetually lame-ass that I am, I'm only going to talk about SSUSA regarding how it impacted my quest to make my optimum racing weight. It impacted it like a meteor made of bacon wrapped bacon. Maybe that had something to do with the weight gain—all that bacon wrapped bacon I ate after the race. Or the hot dog outside the Surly Wench. Or the pizza. Or the couldn't have been the beer. It must have been all that delicious rotisserie chicken we all ripped apart and devoured with our bare hands around the bonfire the night after the race. I felt like a frickin' viking, home from the battle, feasting on...gourmet rotisserie chicken. Vikings kicked a lot of ass and stole a lot of treasure. If anyone could've afforded fine rotisserie chicken; it would have been frickin' Vikings.

The full post will be up on the 29er Crew blog later in the week. Well maybe not the full post. I have plans for the full story. I think Bicycling might want to buy it, that is if I could work it into a piece called: "Get fat fast! Five easy steps to off-season weight gain." No, you're right, they probably won't buy that.

has some thoughts and words on SSUSA though.

And no, I'm not even really going to yammer about Racing Weight today either. Truth is I haven't even picked the book up since last week, too busy reading for the school to get to it.

I am weak and spent and not at all my typical garrulous self, so I will now half-assedly caption these photos, eat some cheap carbs, and then pass out. I think I may have passed out halfway through writing this post. More words later...

There will be blood. Blood and prickly things stuck in my legs.

But it was a dry-not-16°-like-Boston-heat.

Now that's f-in' teamwork!
That's the kind of not-race it was.
A race with cattle gates in it.
Not a lot like a ski area race.

I have an aversion to cactus.
It might have something to do with the time I dove face first...onto a cactus.
Not on purpose.

Friday, February 05, 2010

A Stupid Plan

That's what this trip to Tucson, AZ for SSUSA is. No two ways about it. I leave directly from school at 12:30 tomorrow. I have just enough time to get to the airport, if all goes well. I don't even know what horrible thing is going to happen yet, but it's already sounding foreboding.

Chelada Challenge News
Before I go on, just in case you missed yesterday's post, you could go look at the post itself but here's the deal:

For every $50 that gets dropped into my Paypal account (donate button, upper right there) between now and tomorrow morning (Friday Feb 4th) by 11:00 AM, I will consume one tall boy of Chelada. DURING THE SSUSA RACE. What's that, it's too expensive you say? Exactly. I am not going to make this easy on you because it ain't gonna be easy on me. I will also be capping my intake at six cans. Just six cans OK. Only six. This doesn't mean that you have to donate $50 yourself, just so long as the total is $50. And to sweeten the deal I will be rounding up to the nearest $100. Which in my thinking means that if I raise $151 I will drink 4 tall boys of Chelada.

All my cameras are working and will be along for the ride with me. I will either be taking Helmet Hero footage or Canon Digital Elph video footage of the drinking of each can. That I, dude.

As of 10PM Thursday night we have raised exactly $0.00 toward our goal, I'm going to take this as a gesture of kindness on the part of Big Bikes readers and not as a sign of the unfathomable unpopularity of Big Bikes. People just don't want to see me ON VIDEO puking tomato/clam juice and beer into Dejay Birtch's ample sideburns in the Arizona desert. Hey suit yourself.

To honor Eric and Zen's donations to "my cause" I will drink at least one Chelada during the event. I'm still curious just how horrible those things are.

We now continue with our regularly scheduled program...

I realized about two hours ago that "my" bicycle hard-case (really my equestrian friend Deborah's. She now has a much larger hard-case for when she flies with her horse.) was missing. Seems I forgot to retrieve it after lending it out last time around. Thing is I hadn't even planned to use it. I had this brilliant idea that I was going to screw the airline while they were trying to screw me; only they have the fine print on their side.

I thought I could get away with splitting my bike into two small boxes: a wheel box and a frame box. I recall only getting charged the $25 (now) standard baggage fee for a wheel box when I went down to NC a while back. But just to be sure, I checked Delta's baggage guidelines. They go with the length + width + height must = 62 inches or less total so we can totally screw you equation. My wheel box was bigger than that. I'm pretty sure most suitcases are bigger than that, but they look at a suitcase and go "," they look at a small box and go "!"

If they deem that your luggage is oversize or "special" they will hit you with a $175 fee per item. AAH! That means if they nailed me for both items (which according to their demented rules would be well within their rights) I would end up paying $375 as a result of attempting to get of the $175 bike case fee. Even I am not quite dumb enough to play the odds on that one. Long story short...oh wait that is the long story, I opted to go with the bike case and walk into Delta check-in fully prepared for the brutal financial reaming that awaits me.

Now I just need a bike case. Right now I'm waiting for my neighbors Matt and Mo (ya I got awesome neighbors) to get home so I can steal one of theirs.

I'll get into Tucson around 10PM and head straight to The Surly Wench (not The Surly Wrench as I've been calling it all week) for registration and maybe a beer. I'll be heading to The bar in Randy Jacobs car, which will also be serving as my sleeping quarters. Depending on how things go or go off, I will either be sleeping (Tucson man-raper-and-murderers stop outside The Surly Wench in Randy's Honda (hey Tucson man-raper-and-murderers you can start reading again but will you go ahead and tell the Tucson bike thieves to stop with my Superfly SS locked to a pole outside (OK Tucson bike thieves you can start reading again. Hi Tucson man-raper-murderers, why are you still here? Why are you looking at me like that? You're freaking me out.). I may head out to Sooter's house that night or wait until the AM. Of course if somebody says "hey you can sleep on our couch as long as you promise not to make us look like assholes on your blog," I might take them up on it.

At some point I have to find time to put my bike together before the 9AM roll out. Ouch, why so damn early? Grr, I'm a tough single-speeder, I ride really, really hungover, grr, grr!" Then it's 47 miles of riding with my new best friends!

I leave Tucson for Boston at 2PM Sunday. Like I said, stupid plan.

Excuses for why I couldn't write a proper post Monday.


Thursday, February 04, 2010

Do You Really Want to Hurt Me?
Do You Really Want to Make Me Cry
(Tears of Tomato/Clam Juice, and Beer)?

Alright, I'm going to yammer this way and that and that and then make you people an offer that many of you will not be able to refuse (it involves making me suffer horribly...wait for it).

Sorry my bold claims from earlier in the week have proven false. No I will not be writing a book review of Bicycle Diaries by David Byrne this week. I promise I'll get to it soon. OK maybe promise is too committal of a word, how about, I swear I'm gonna do, dude. And we all know that you come down here to read Big Bikes for the book reviews not to look at me taking my shirt off and doing Magnum P.I. impressions — "Now I know what you're thinking...". Ya, that's much more convincing with the jungle bird shirt, Detroit Tigers cap and mustache. For now I'll just tell you that I liked it and more importantly that Chip liked it and he's much smarter and more discerning than I am.

I have to apologize to the Harpoon ITT. My write up on the 29er Crew blog yesterday portrayed it in a pretty dark light. I lost count of how many times I used the word horrible to describe it. And it was horrible...for me. For almost everyone else it was awesome (except maybe for the guy who's bike I borrowed. He's probably still wiping beer and beer-reeking-sweat off his frame). The guys from Harpoon and Fast Splits did a great job with the thing, really impressive and well run. And man, those folks had to have worked 16-something hour days. It had to suck, but they were all smiling when I got there...twelve hours into their work day. Shit, I work at a bike shop and about six hours into my workday I'm ready to staple people's asses to their faces. That's just me though, everyone else at The Shop is really, really nice.

Here's the important part!

I'm bringing back the Chelada Challege.

Back in December I couldn't commit to drinking a six pack of Chelada during The Ice Weasels race. Not so much due to fear that I would get too drunk, throw up, and crash my bike into a tree. More out of fear of not being able to perform my very demanding race promoter duties (like heckling Colin on the mic).

This time it's different.

I am headed to SSUSA in Tucson tomorrow afternoon. It is a 47 mile Single-Speed race. It is going to be hard for a guy who's ridden his bike 47 miles...during the entire month of January. It is going to be hot by Boston in February standards, about 70°. I imagine I am going to be out there for over five hours. I figure if I'm going to go out to Arizona and suck it big time, I might as well provide some form of entertainment while I'm doing it. Here's what I propose:

For every $50 that gets dropped into my Paypal account (donate button, upper right there) between now and tomorrow morning (Friday Feb 4th) by 11:00 AM, I will consume one tall boy of Chelada. DURING THE SSUSA RACE. What's that, it's too expensive you say? Exactly. I am not going to make this easy on you because it ain't gonna be easy on me. I will also be capping my intake at six cans. Just six cans OK. Only six. This doesn't mean that you have to donate $50 yourself, just so long as the total is $50. And to sweeten the deal I will be rounding up to the nearest $100. Which in my thinking means that if I raise $151 I will drink 4 tall boys of Chelada.

All my cameras are working and will be along for the ride with me. I will either be taking Helmet Hero footage or Canon Digital Elph video footage of the drinking of each can. That I, dude.

No mas michelada con clamato, por favor!


Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Watt The Hell Was I Thinking? - Harpoon ITT

Hi there. There's no story here today. The big, crazy story about the Harpoon ITT and how badly I sucked it is over on the 29er Crew Blog. So go get it! Why are you still here? Get over there, GO! NOW!

The Shark and I, we don't see eye to eye on warm up techniques.