Friday, April 30, 2010

Friday Foto Dumpster

The NEMBA Fells opening day event is tomorrow (which you should come to). I'll be leading rides at 9AM and 1PM, and Gary's gonna be there. They are advertised as "hammer rides," but I don't know how many hammers I have to drop after Wednesday night's ride with Gerry and the gang. It seems I did something to my ankle and I'm not sure what. I banged it during the ride, found that I was limping slightly just after the ride, but then, after burgers and a couple beers. and some standing around at the pub, I noticed that I was standing like a god damn flamingo, all my weight on my left foot. By the time I left I was limping like a parody of a guy limping. On the way home I had trouble pushing the gas pedal, using cruise control in light traffic, which I never do. Then, when I got home I was hopping on one foot around the house until I realized that M was asleep and that I was making a huge racket, so I began CRAWLING around on the floor, gathering ice packs and ibuprofen.

Now, I've done terrible things to both my ankles several times prior to this and if I really broke the thing or tore a bunch of ligaments it hurt immediately, like rolling on the ground, get the hell away from me, nothing could possibly hurt more than this pain. That was not the case this time, the pain crept up on me and then attacked, pounced on me like a pain-puma, a puma of pain. (Which gives me a great idea for a tramp stamp tattoo for my wife, I think she'll go for it.) I was up half the night wrestling with the pain (puma), but by the time I woke up, after significant amounts of icing and with 1600 milligrams of ibuprofen coursing through me, I felt a lot better.

Just to make things clear, the RIDE IS ON, I just might not be as hammery as I might be otherwise. In fact, at some point during the ride you may see me rolling on the ground like a world cup soccer player or NBA player, holding my ankle, hoping the ref will call a foul.

Here's the schedule for tomorrow:

Saturday, May 1, 2010
9:00am - 3:00pm
Flynn Rink
300 Elm Street
Medford, MA

9:00 AM Event Opens
9:00 AM Guided Rides - Thom P / Hammer Ride
9:00 AM Guided Rides - NickB / Intermediate
9:30 AM Ride with Gary Social Ride - Tim / Mellow Ride
10:00 AM Guided Rides - AnthonyG / Intermediate
10:00 AM Kids Ride - Howie
10:00 AM Ride Like a Girl! Beginner Women's Ride with
Karen and Kate
11:00 AM Guided Rides - Andrea & Junko / Intermediate
11:00 AM Guided Rides - Int-Adv Women's Ride with LunaChix
12:00 PM Lunch courtesy of Redbones
12:30 PM Kids Ride with Gary Fisher - Adam
1:00 PM Guided Rides - Thom / Hammer Ride
1:00 PM Guided Rides - AnthonyG / Beginner-Mellow
2:00 PM Guided Rides - GregK / Intermediate
3:00 PM Guided Rides - Adam / Mellow-Medium
3:00 PM Event Close

That's right, I was making excuses for why I am going to suck on a GROUP RIDE. That is how far I have fallen. Next thing you know I'll be making up reasons why dudes with milk crates zip-tied to their bikes are passing me during my commute. And while I'm on the subject of making fun of myself — what the hell was the deal with my wearing my full 29er crew silly suit while I was on a ride with a seven-year-old? He was wearing warm-up pants and a T-shirt (and he was a on a single speed). In my defense, it was hot and I only had one change of clothes in the car and I had a long day ahead of me, a day I didn't want to spend wearing sweaty, dirty clothes. Still, it must have looked wicked-quee-ah to the townie kids who came by to text on their i-phones and pretend to ride bikes.

Now, ride reports in the form of extended photo captions!

These are shots from last Sunday AM's Fells ride. At one time I was sick of The Fells, but after a winter of riding everything BUT the Fells, I am stoked to be back in there. As the Roman poet Sextus (huh-huh) Propertius once said: "Always toward absent lovers love's tide stronger flows."
See, all this schooling is good for something. Wicked fast young-dude Nathaniel Williams came out for the ride. We were on our 29er XC bikes, riding around in circles, looking for a crew of guys who had left a half hour earlier on their 6-inch-travel bikes. While we were looking, we ran into an MTB Mind rider named Hans. He took us on a fast rip through his favorite technical trails and then peeled off for home. Then, after a few missed calls and text messages (and a call taken while riding down a washed out fire-road one-handed) we finally found the bigger bike crew.

They dragged us down some descents at mach-speed. I always feel like it's good for the XC dorks to get out with guys who can really ride bikes once in a while. Jerry Garcia, Len, JP, and Colin were ripping, and so was Nathaniel. I was really impressed with that kid's technical prowess, he can ride a freakin' bike.

In a deeply ironic incident, I got dropped because my (factory-installed, shut it!) inner chainring bolts backed out and my chainring fell off. The single-speed Gods and Generals must be angry.

And speaking of technical ass-whuppins and technical issues....

I've been riding in Needham a lot. The shot at the top of the post is of me doing a little bridge maintenance. After a few slips, there's the "aw-screw-it!" moment when you just step into the water and get 'er done. The bridge configuration in the above photo is not how it ended up, but it would have been sweet if that move had worked.

I met up with Gerry's Wednesday night crew (who were all on big squishy bikes). Pushing their pace through the rocky, rooty weirdness was exciting on my full-saddle-height XC bike, but again, I feel like it's good for me...until I get hurt and end up having to crawl around my house. After a brief warm up lap while we waited for the crew to amass, my right cleat bolt backed out (I've been screwing with them a ton and not loctiting them afterward). Luckily Barry had a bolt for me, thanks Barry. Then my chain started dropping off my inner chainring suddenly and painfully KAH-CHUNK! This, a result of riding it briefly while it was loose on Sunday. How, you might ask, had I not noticed any issues for three days? I like my big ring, that's all.

Of course I had to catch a flat too. I had been trying to hold The Coug's wheel through all those nutty trails (except for when he did stuff like the slimy, sketchy drop with a stone wall waiting to catch you if you botched thing in the video below), it was only a matter of time until I paid the price. The Stan's sealant I installed sometime late last summer wasn't doing much for me when I pierced my rear tire on a pointy, pointy rock.

Wow, this is a long one, and for no good reason, I will shut my gob now.

See you Saturday AM or afternoon.


The Coug Drops in at an undisclosed location from thom parsons on Vimeo.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Ride With (The) Gary
& Noah's Birthday Ride

I've got a post up on the 29er Crew Site today talking about the NEMBA opening day event at The Fells, where I will be leading rides at 9AM and 1PM. Oh, and by the way, Gary Fisher will be there too. There will also be Trek and Fisher demo bikes on hand. That's right. So go OVER THERE for all the details and photos of my nephew Noah's birthday pumptrack ride at Russell Mill.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Choosing Cranks,
Figuring Out Single Speed Gearing,
and Riding Willowdale

I have a problem that a lot of people would kill to have. I am at risk of falling behind on ride reports, and there are even more potentially killer rides on the near horizon, so I guess I better get crackhead! (That's the expression isn't it?) But first I am going to answer a couple "reader questions" relating to those things I used to ride back in the day called the "Single-Speeds." Because I know you guys only come down here for my technological spouting (and, of course, my knowledge of James Bond films).

This from a Big Bikes reader who might be French and who might have a girlfriend nicknamed after a Martin Scorsese movie about the Dalai Lama:

Hey Dood,

Please help me with SS road gearing. I need to buy a SRAM crank. My project bike centers on a Madone frame and I have SRAM BB90 bearings.

Rival 39x53
Rival 34x50
S300 38x46
S300 48 - single ring

Which crank choice gives me the best ring to work with. I won't be hammering on the road but mostly riding with Kundun who will be on [her] Trek hybrid.

I just need a good place to start. Any help would be appreciated.


Blogger Big Bikes said...
Bonjour Jacques!

While any of those cranks will work just fine, I would lean toward the Rival crank with the standard road 130 mm BCD. The bigger the better, that's what I always say...when it comes to chainrings, and the 130 BCD will allow you to run as big a chainring as you like. Big chainrings mean slower wear as the load is distributed between more teeth and they just feel better when you turn them over — so smooth. That, and your drivetrain will look boss! Stupid people will think you are running a HUGE gear when they see that big frickin' ring and that enormous rear cog.

For casual cruising with your sweetie-pie Kundun, you probably want stay under 65 gear inches, for example: a 53 x 22 = (roughly) 65 in. But I would maybe go even lower, like a 50 x 21. To figure out gear inches you can either do the easy thing and google "gear calculator," or simply divide the number of teeth on your chainring by the number of teeth on your cog and multiply by your wheel size, which is roughly 27". Make sense?

Those cranks also let you run a ring on either the inside or the outside of the spider, giving you more options for chainline adjustment. (Which reminds me...I've been meaning to do a bit on chainline measurement, but it involves taking photos and thinking about how to explain semi-mathematical things which is daunting for me. We'll see if that ever happens.)

130 BCD chainrings are also the most common, so when you waffle one while trying to impress Kundun by bunny hopping your Madone single-speed onto a concrete planter after too many Dog Fish Head 90 Minute IPAs, you can lurch into your nearest LBS and buy a new one right off the shelf.


Although they are going the same speed on their singe speeds,
one of these guys is CRUSHING a 36 x 16 while the other is whirring a 34 x 18.

And this letter from a guy who actually has a birth certificate with the name "Skippolini" on it:

Hey Thom,

How's it goin? I would like to consult your ss expertise. I've been riding a 32x17 (26" wheels) for a couple of years now and wonder if that is correct for me. I typically ride Willowdale/Bradley Palmer near my house and do very well on the double track and fast single track. Howevahhhh, I generally get dropped on the single track. Obviously, part of this is do to my dorkiness and general lack of being fast on single track. But some of my friends think I would be faster if I went to a 19 or 20. Some think I should give up and start playing golf. I think my cadence definitely could be faster on the single track with a smaller gear and I certainly struggle on some of the climbs.

Anyway , I very much respect your expertise and as I was struggling to keep up with Raj today, it occurred to me to consult you. I would also love to have you come over for a ride in those woods. There are even more new single track trails that I think you would love.

What think you?

- Skippolini Delete

Blogger Big Bikes said...
I really did take Skip up on his offer to ride up in Willowdale and it was so worth it. That place is a twisty, smooth, flowy, speed-fest. "Ridiculously fun" as Skip says. It is also the location of the EFTA Weeping Willow race on May 23rd. I will be there.

Butanyway, the ride was also a consultation of sorts and it went well. On paper I thought that Skip was suffering from being over-geared and possibly bogged down in the singletrack, based on the fact that he was holding his own on the doubeltrack and fast stuff and getting dropped in the singletrack.

BUT when I got up there and started riding with him, he seemed to have no problem spinning through the singletrack, only getting bogged down on the steepest of climbs. Sometimes I think it helps to run a slightly larger gear in the singletrack, because it's like driving a car on twisty roads, wicked fast, in a low gear. You just have more control...but this only works out for you if you can really get on top of the gear coming out of the corners and eat up any rolling hills or technical sections without trouble.

By the end of the ride I realized that I was having a harder time holding Skip's pace on the fire roads than in the singletrack, and I was geared! What the crap? His leg speed was so high and so consistent that he just floated through the open sections. This lead me back to my initial, on paper conclusion, that he was over-geared and would benefit from going to a lower, that is LARGER cog in the rear, like a 32 X 18.

OK, I'll shut up now, see youz tomorrow...I hope.


Tuesday, April 27, 2010

My Other New Favorite Spot
(and George Lazenby)

This is going to have to be part one in a totally lame two part series on Needham Town Forest. I have a lot to say on the subject but due to time constraints, I have little time to say it. Wow, that was about as well worded as the part of my hurried post from yesterday where I said "was Monty churning a 34 x 16 again, churning it over like a viking rowing a dragon boat?" If I used a thesaurus, I'm almost positive that it could have given me another word for "churning." I'm almost positive that if I asked a brontosaurus for another word for "churning," he could have dug something out of his walnut-sized brain. But I don't have time for that kind of shit right now — using thesauruses or asking brontosauruses for literary advice, I only have time for not-silliness...and the riding of bikes apparently. I am getting that done, which is a large, good thing.

Oh, while I'm on the subject of how much I suck at writing and what an idiot I am, let's talk about my post from the other day when I said:

"It was like when Daniel Craig took Pierce Brosnan's place as James Bond, no one was complaining really. Everyone knew that the new guy was superior in every way. Except for Remington Steele fans; they were pissed. They love 5mm Bondhus Allen wrenches...wait, what were we talking about?"

Anyone who was actually reading that and half paying attention (and I know neither of those things are likely) would have caught the fact that Daniel Craig did not follow Pierce Brosnan in the playing of James Bond department. "What about Timothy-frigging-Dalton ya ignorant douche?" you would have said to yourself as you read that bit with a sardonic smirk and a John-Belushi-raised-eyebrow. How could I have made such a "gregious" error you wonder?


a.) I rush the hell out of these little writey things I do, and I often huff beard-cement while I do it.

b.) I don't fact check a motherlicker, and that's because no one pays me to do this kookiness...yet.

c.) When the fact you screw up conveying is that Timothy Dalton played James Bond a couple just doesn't matter.

Except to the folks on the Timothy Dalton chat room site. They get pissed when someone entirely forgets that Timothy played James Bond that one time (intentional, I'm baiting here).
The Timothy Dalton chat room's motto is: "Non Sibi Sed Omnibus," which means - Not Alone, But Altogether.

I'm afraid the only place lonelier than the Timothy Dalton chat room is the George Lazenby fan club site.

Sadly, by the time I made it over to the George Lazenby fan club site home page I learned that although it was "The largest club at Pacific Grove High School," it was unfortunately " in it's fourth and final year."

Oh yes, I'm supposed to be talking about Needham Town Forest.

It has lots of pointy rocks to pierce (Brosnan) your tires (sorry, couldn't help myself)
and break-a-you-face. Sound good?

It does to Will. Will likes danger. If you blow up that photo you can see his crazy eyes.

Kevin contemplates the danger. He wonders what it will sound like when one of those pointy-frickin'-rocks gores his fancy-carbon-frame. I think it'll sound like a cash register opening, followed by a giant sucking sound as it acts like a money-blackhole, drawing in all the cash around it.

He decides to proceed with reckless abandon anyhow, screaming "PLEASE GOD MAKE IT LOOK LIKE A WARRANTY ISSUE!"

But Will's thirst for the danger overwhelms both me and Kevin when he decides to plummet down this wheel-trap-riddled descent.

In fact Kevin is so bemused by Will's wild style, that he says "The hell with it!" and chucks his bike down the rock face.

And that was the last we saw of the man who so vehemently insisted that we refer to him only as "K-Sweet." We had to leave him there, jabbering and gesticulating, sitting on that rock like a derelict shaman or something. Needham Town Forest does funny things to a man.

Monday, April 26, 2010

I've Made a Huge Mistake

Yup, this is gonna be a sad excuse for a post I'm afraid. I wasn't down at Darkhorse Cycles Singlespeed-a-polooza (that's a link to the results by the way). I wasn't even at the local Massasoit Lung Opener race. I was extra-bummed to have missed the SS-a-polooza when I saw that Dejay Birtch had hauled his ass all the way up from Arizona to race. The usual suspects were all there as well. I can only imagine how horrible it was trying to hold Monty's wheel as he ground out the win. The suddenly more-terrifyingly-fast-than-he-already-was (which was wicked-frickin-fast) James Harmon was right behind him. I have to wonder: what gears were those two pushing...was Monty churning a 34 x 16 again, churning it over like a viking rowing a dragon boat? And was Harmon behind him whizzing his cranks around like a blender blade in some typically low gear? Maybe, if he ever updates his blog, we'll find out. Rob Stine and Sean Cavanaugh weren't looking too slow either. I'm actually breathing a sigh of relief right now, knowing that being a geared-o-weird-o this year, I will not be measured against them, I will be just another sorry-assed geared rider falling in their wake.

K-Sweet put in a great performance for the team of our favorite LBS at the Massasoit Lung Opener, and then, in a manly attempt to launch himself into local-legend territory, rode 40 miles back home from the event. Hopefully, if he keeps up that pace, he'll be completely burnt out by the time I have to stand on a start line with him.

Going back to school in a feeble attempt to better myself was the hugest mistake of my life. What possible good can come from hitting the books all week and watching other people go and play on the weekends while I fix flats and explain to people for the eight-billionth time why I can't just install a chain on their mushroomed and shark-toothed drive-train, while simultaneously trying to convince them that WD-40 is not a lubricant?

Yes, I am freaking


Friday, April 23, 2010

Russell Mill,
My New Favorite Spot

As I mentioned yesterday, I had great excuses for why I didn't post on Wednesday. First off I clocked a whole lotta miles on the mountain bike, riding to school in the AM, then heading out from school in Bedford up to Chelmsford to locate the alleged, elusive (to me) Russel Mill pump-track. I haven't done anything like what I'd call a "base ride" on the road bike (that's really a cross bike) this year. But I have been extending my off-road riding radius, exploring areas out in Carlisle and beyond. I'd been trying to get out to the pump-track for a while, Wednesday I decided Enuff Z' nuff and bee-lined it straight up there.

This is the M-approved photo of her rocking the pump-track.
(Taken the next day when I brought her up there to share the awesomeness.)

And this is the one I like. It is not M-approved.
If I start running now I might live through the night.

These are some excellent, sustainably built trails. Note the rock-armoring in the above photo.

What I didn't realize was that in addition to the really-pretty-sweet pump-track, Russell Mill also boasts a bunch of very well thought out, mountain biker designed and built singletrack. It's a small area but it's one of those deals where the designers have, er...made it work, packing a lot of trail into a tight space. I rode all the trails in both directions in about an hour, but I'd do it again...and again.

I actually ran into one of the trail-builders while I was out there. I thanked him profusely for his work. I think he thought I was a weirdo. Maybe I shouldn't have gone for the hug...too soon for the hug. Should have stuck with some standard bro-bro handshake. Damn.

You can tell the trails were designed by bikers because they go out of their way to go over rocks and logs. Hikers and horse-people tend to avoid these things. M feels the stoke.

I wore myself out blazing around the place like a Jack Russell on Red Bull, and then I realized that I was really, really far from home with no food and no money for water or sugary-good drinks. I still forged ahead, trying to find passage through Great Brook Farm into Estabrook and on into Concord. I re-filled my bottle at the water fountain at the Concord visitor center and hopped on the road, grinding out the last forty-five or so minutes at as fast a tempo as my twinging legs would allow, thinking about tasty reward-cheeses the whole way.

I think M told me to "Go slow and make it look cool" or something to that effect.
I don't know, but I think I'm ready for my
Mountain Bike Action cover shot.

The thing is, I promised M I would clean, I mean clean the living hell out of the house before my grandmother and aunt and uncle showed up for dinner. I cut it close, down to the wire, and showed up at the house with an impossibly short amount of time to get it done. So I stumbled in from my four-plus hour ride, took a shower, drank a chocolate milk, and busted out the Ajax and the Murphy's Oil Soap. I think that's how Fabian Cancellara recovers from his training rides.

The move to my left is something I might not be able to work out, it's trickier than it looks.
And I'm less tricky than I look.

I did ride this hatchet blade of a rock. That's about as SICK as this XC-dork can get.

Naked Indurain With a Killer Whale

I almost forgot my best excuse of all. When I woke up at 5AM with wicked bad insomnia on Wednesday AM did I write a blog post? No. I put the finishing touches on the Singlespeed-a-Polooza mix tape for Mike D, winner of the "What pills wuz I a-poppin' when I went a-photo-shoppin' contest." (Big T and Endless, yours are in the works I swear.) I'm kicking myself repeatedly in the nuts over the fact that I'm not going down to New York not-city this weekend. At least my music will be there, so those of you who are going can feel like you're stuck in a car with me for an hour and a half, listening to my completely imbecilic idea of sweet tunes while I pound on the steering wheel and sing horribly.

I feel like this post is lacking a conclusion, how's this? — zzzz.

Have a nice weekend, go ride your bike, rock the shit, see you Monday.


Thursday, April 22, 2010

Gravel Grinder

Oh I don't have good excuses, I have GREAT excuses (for why I didn't get a post up yesterday as promised). Theses excuses involve a four hour mountain bike ride, the discovery of the sweetest new riding spot I've seen in a long time, and my grandmother. They may involve a four hour mountain bike ride with my grandmother. You'll just have to tune in tomorrow to find out.

As for today, I recommend that you mosey on over to the 29er Crew site and check out The Gravel Grinder Report.


Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Two Days in The Valley

Heading up to Vermont for the it's-not-a-race Gravel Grinder ride was a great dry run for actually heading out to the races, something I won't be doing for another few weeks. Except it was more of a wet run...cuz it was wet. Hur. If I were going off to a race I would have been sweating over what crap I should be bringing, ending up with a double-wide milk crate full of redundant superfluousness. This was not the case as we packed up Friday afternoon. I threw a pump, a tube, and a multi-tool in a backpack with a pile of clothes and we were gone. Only I did bring a something I don't normally bring to the races — a bucket, brushes, and some Dawn. I was fearful about the snowy/rainy conditions and the havoc they would wreak upon my snazzy new drivetrain. (Do geared bikes even work in the rain?) I wanted to be able to scrub my bike down after Saturday's ride to and make sure it was functional for Sunday's not-a-race.

The not-a-race was on Sunday up in Waterbury, but the bigger beat-down would come on Saturday while out on a "mellow ride" with a gorilla who was shaved down, taught to ride a bike, sold on the blackmarket as a human child, and named Jeffrey by his unwitting adoptive parents. In the above photo he puts the finishing touches on his engineering masterpiece — a stilt made of two 2 X 4s, buttressed by rocks, sitting precariously on a picnic table. It was used to hold up the leg of a pop-up tent which was being employed to cover a grill, a grill that was in the process of cooking a a chicken with a beer can shoved up its ass. There's allegedly some sound culinary theory behind the shoving of a beer can up a chicken's ass, but think about this for a second...or picture this...your butthole (it's yours so it's not so incredibly gross). Now imagine trying to insert a beer can into that not-exactly-enormous opening. That would hurt. Now imagine that you were the size of a chicken...and your butthole was proportionately sized. That would hurt even more. It would hurt so much that it would cause you to sing Moon River, even if you were dead.

We went on Jeff's "hour-and-half loop" and it took us two-and-half hours. We did get up above snow line, where we caught some "freshies." Mountain bikers get hella-stoked for freshies. At one point I tried to duck a trail-blocking fallen tree by bringing my leg around the back of my saddle like an old lady getting off a three speed, crouching on the left side of my bike as I rolled beneath the obstruction, all my weight on my left pedal and my eyes level with my handlebars. It was so slick! Except I then rode into a deep puddle. That had a rock in the middle of it. I flipped into the icy waters and went AAH! Luckily I was wearing wool socks. Suckily it was 33°.

Jeff takes a walk next to his bike.

I try to hold onto my breakfast just a little longer.

This was the first time I'd ridden with Jeff while he was single-speeded and I was geared. The irony was that I would sit there watching him go up some impossible incline going "how the hell is he doing that? That is insane!" as I bobbled in my 26 X 28 and ate shit.

He took me out on the trails around his house in Waitsfield Vermont. He lives on an massive hill. As we descended away from his house, I wondered if he was going to pull some amazing trick where we wound up coming back to his house on a downhill. Jeff is apparently not a magician.

Although I did think it was kind of magical when I saw all the wee-baby ferns popping up trough the thin layer of new snow.

Oops, I'm out of time. Gravel Grinder not-a-race report tomorrow!


Friday, April 16, 2010

The Weak(or so)in Photos

I think my eggs are trying to tell me something about the abject horror that awaits me at the Gravel Grinder this coming Sunday. "NOOOO! 30's and rain...GET OUT (of it) GET OUT (of it)!

Ya, ya, yesterday was kind of my photo-cop-out post of the week, but I ain't got time to shave my chest and glue the hair to my face every day y'know. Besides, I only have one chest to shave. I suppose I could shave somebody else's chest...and glue the shorn hair to his (or her...ew) face, but in most cultures that would be considered rude. In fact they'll strap you to the electric chair for such an act of malfeasance in Texas.

Years ago I was in Turkey — Please, don't confuse this with the story your buddy the de-boned duck told you. He wasn't in Turkey, he was in a turkey being served in a dish called "turducken." But I can see where you'd get speech it's hard to convey the capitalized "T" thing. In Turkey, turkeys the bird are banned, just to avoid confusion. You can do things like that when your government is no longer secular. If you get caught trying to smuggle turkeys into Turkey these days, you get sentenced to 30 years in Turkish-Man-Rape-Prison. (Don't worry, that's a safe link, it doesn't go to Sweeney's favorite website. And Kevin, I apologize, but Greg "The Leg" doesn't have a blog, or I'd link to him in a heartbeat on something like that.)

Butanyway (I just decided that's one word. You hear that Merriam Webster?) I was in Turkey. — and now this story is damn near completely pointless — and I was talking to a Turkish guy about stupid-racist-American-stereotypes about Turkey, mainly based on the film Midnight Express (guess what, if you didn't click on the "Turkish-Man-rape-Prison link, and I have no idea why you wouldn't have done that, it actually goes to the Midnight Express Wiki page. And explaining that was so much more effortless than linking to it again) and the notion that the Turks will imprison Americans indefinitely for nearly no reason (and man-rape them). I was surprised when he informed me that Turks are afraid of certain areas of the states as well. "What, like New York or L.A. or Baltimore?" I asked. "No...Texas. They kill people all the time there." He wasn't talking about murder, at least not the free-for-all disorganized kind, but state-sanctioned murder (as I see it, but I'm a knee-jerk liberal) — capital punishment. This totally freaked him out.

And that is why I was not supposed to talk today. Not a good talking day for me.

McKittrick completely outclasses the competition in the shoe race
at the benefit for MM Racing at The Ride Studio Cafe.

Hey! Oh...OK, that's cool. Sorry I bristled there for a second.

Jorge "George" Cardona commuting like a madman from Salem to Newton. Jorge is the man. He is always on the bike and he only has one speed — wicked frickin' fast.

Jerry Garcia gets the most out of his 30-something-pound trail bike. "Oh ya, it was made for this shit!" That's the real live down-hilling nut-job Jerry Garcia, not the deceased hippy one by the way, in case you were wondering. Which reminds me of a quote from Dr. Bryan Philbrook: "Phish only exists so that the Grateful Dead aren't the worst band in the world." Doctor I concur! I mean, I'm pretty tolerant of other people's horrible music, and admittedly I listen to some abhorrent stuff myself, but Phish? I would rather pass one of their albums through my urethra like a kidney stone than listen to it.

Jerry is one of the best bike handlers I know. I saw him do things on my Superfly that it only does for me in my dreams. He only bit it trying to ride through this puddle because Eggleton and I had ridden through it ahead of him, muddying the waters, thereby concealing a large, submerged rock.

Due to all the time I have spent in soaking wet bike shoes lately, I actually have things like this growing on my feet right now.

Colin has a magnificent beard and rips it up on the trails.
Which is impressive for a guy riding a recumbent.

Why do we clean our bikes lil' skipper?
So we can get 'em dirty again, that's why.

Man, it just dawned on me that I'll actually have something to talk about Monday AM...I mean Tuesday AM, Patriots day y'know, I'm very patriotic. I've been invited to take part in a reenactment on the Battle Green in Lexington that day. What they don't know is that I'll be showing up as Kimbo Slice. That shit's gonna be over at one minute and forty five seconds of the first round!