Friday, May 28, 2010

It's Gonna Be a Caption Cop Out

What can I say dude, I finished a 5.5 + hour ride with my buddy Colin at 8:45 tonight. I am shelled. No, not that Colin, because I try to avoid calling that Colin by his real name (I steal some of his power that way). A different Colin, a secret Colin. We went from Somerville to Arlington to Concord to Chelmsford to Bedford to Lexington and back to Somerville, mostly off-road and none of it in anything like a direct way. It was epic in the truest sense of the word.

So Ya, photo captions...

Steve Cobble from NEMBA and K-Sweet (I called him "Kevin" the other night by accident and the next thing I knew, I was waking up in a pool of my own blood and feces) from...the Finger Lakes region of New York move a massive pile of gravel at the Cutler Park Trail care day in Needam a couple weeks back.

VeloCB at Cutler, dropping the hammer in the wheelbarrow race.

Staples (like the office supply store) gives their employees major incentives to ride their bikes to work. One "major incentive" is that I check their bikes out for them during a "bike to work day." There's always one person who rides fourteen miles to work on a Huffy at one of these things. We all cheer and throw ticker tape as the paramedics charge up the defibrillator .

Craig Mello took this while Colt was interviewing me for my Wicked-Frickin' Pro Bike segment on cyclingdirt. I guess a real pro would have had someone clean his snazzy XX bits before the cameras started to roll.

In a still photo, no one can hear you laugh (nervously).

Craig Mello took this shot before I blew apart during the Glocester Grind race a couple weeks ago. You can tell I was doing well because I'm still in front of eventual third place finisher Big Timmy D.

Have a good weekend, and remember what Mike Ramponi says: "I wanna ride my bike all day long!"

And you know what's better that a caption cop out? A Borstal Breakout.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Bikes, Burritos, and Breck Epicness

Man, the fact that the Breck Epic blogger grant poll is LIVE is a massive time suck for me right now — refresh page, "did I get more votes? Damn!" and repeat. It's extra-ridiculous too because there are fifteen days left in the contest, anything could happen. Right now things are looking good though, thanks to you guys I've closed down the gargantuan gap Sara Uhl had put on me in the first 24 hours. Right now she's only up by two. If you haven't voted yet, go to this link, click the little bubble by my name, which is Thom "Rocky Donizetti" Parsons, and then hit the "Vote Foo" button below. It's wicked easy kid, and word is you no longer have to "expose your privates," or give up your privacy in any way. Ya, I only have to finish top four but I don't want to get too comfortable and I definitely don't want to not bug you guys about this for a single day until the end of the contest on June 11th. It's like a public radio fund-drive except I don't have any fucking tote bags to give you. Sorry.

Way back on Monday night I went to see the Follow Me premiere at the Middlesex Lounge, it was awesome. It was just cool to hang out in a crowded bar, watching a sick mountain bike film. The place was packed to the gills and people were walking by going "what the hell are they watching in there." I felt like I was in some place like Durango, where every sub shop has mountain bike videos playing 24-7. The film itself was incredible. It had all the insane drop, X-Games type stuff, but it also had style behind and in front of the camera. I get down with the sort of extreme XC scenes, stuff where I'm saying "I could do that. Sort of. Just maybe slower and with way less style."

I meandered over to the premiere in Central Square solo (while wearing my favorite shirt), stopping at Olecito on the way to grab a burrito. They are really the only game in town as far as I'm concerned. I'm still not drinking the Anna's Taqueria Kool-Aid.

The only camera I'm using right now is my Go Pro Helmet Hero. What it lacks in playback ability or low-light capability, it makes up for with its spy-camera, I'm so damn wide angle I can shoot everything in sight qualities. I just leave it on photo every two seconds mode and let 'er rip. I might not know what I'm getting but the fact that I'm taking six-hundred photos increases the statistical likelihood that I will get something that isn't total crap.

Sometimes, if you're as awesome as I am, you forget to put the memory card back in and then you go to lead a NEMBA ride and your Go Pro stops shooting after ten shots (that's all its internal memory holds) and all you get is a couple sweet shots of the parking lot. The ride went well though, only one guy almost knocked his teeth out.

Something I was chatting about with folks at the movie premiere was that, no matter how sick the riding in a mountain bike film is, the music is almost always frickin' horrible. Ya sure, I wouldn't want to subject people the stupid crap I listened to when I was a kid, but man...the stuff they put in these things is bad. Seriously. That's why I was stoked when I happened upon this video of some dudes trying out the Sram XX out in Santa Cruz. It's a nice, little piece with lots of fastness and flowiness, but what I found particularly sweet was the Murder City Devils soundtrack. Good stuff.

Brendan Fairclough and Curtis Keene in Santa Cruz from Taylor Sage on Vimeo.

Well, I gotta get up early again to work a bike rodeo with VeloCB, and ya, it's 2AM now. Hopefully I can keep it together and not go all Shakes The Clown on the kiddos this time. That "Shakes The Clown" clip isn't really appropriate (not sure what it's appropriate for) but there's a dearth of good Shakes clips on the Youtubes. Somebody should do something about that. Screw the Breck Epic blogger grant; somebody should do a "Put More Shakes The Clown Clips on Youtube stoner grant." Just pay some thirty-five-year-old dude living in his mom's basement with a bunch of weed to sit and watch "Shakes The Clown" a couple dozen times and post the best clips on Youtube.

That's all I got, that and this one, final shot of the Varsity in sepia-tone.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Breck Epic Blogger Grant/
Geekhouse Party Photos

Today is my birthday, it's true. I know I didn't get you anything for yours, but don't let that stop you from getting something for me. Well, not getting something, more like doing something. And that something would be going over to the Breck Epic facebook page and voting for Thom "Rocky Donizetti" Parsons for the blogger grant. It won't cost you a thing, except maybe a little bit of your privacy apparently. But don't let that stop you, get over there and do it, it'll just take a second.

There are fifteen contestants and the top four get into the 6 day mountain bike stage race in Colorado for free AND they get to blog about on Outside Magazine online or some other reputable outfit leading up to and during the race (at least that was the deal last year, not so sure what, precisely, the deal is this year). I'm pretty sure you don't even have to be a facebook member to vote either, so you have no excuse for not voting other than the fact that you hate me and think I'm kind of a dick. Actually that right there is a great reason to vote for me. Six days of brutal racing at elevation...cast your vote and watch me squirm.

Do it out of love, do it out of loathing, but whatever you do, don't not do it.

I took an early lead this afternoon, but I was quickly and summarily overtaken by former track phenomenon Sarah Uhl. Not far behind me are two guys:Steven "Johnny Oak" Thompson and Fixie Dave "Sweet Jiggles" Nice. It's fun we all have porn names, mine is not made up, which is kind of incredible. Voting ends June 11th, this will not be the last you hear of this I'm afraid.

Below is my Breck Epic Blogger grant contest application, interspersed with totally unrelated photos of the open Geekhouse last Saturday night. I had to make two quick edits from the original — I mixed up the words "site" and sight" and the Animal House characters Otter and Boone, other than that it is in its original form.

Brian Kelly mooshed up his face BMXing

Porn Name: "Rocky Donizetti."This is not made up, I swear (going with the first pet/first street name formula). Our cats were named "Rocky and "Snowball." You may have heard of my sister: "Snowball Donizetti." I think my parents were paid a visit by a seemingly unstoppable cycborg-assasin who had been sent back from the year 2029 by a collective of artificially intelligent computer-controlled machines bent on the extermination of the human race, but when he got to their house he just said, "Hey you guys, you know what would be hilarious..."

Hometown: Wrentham, MA. Where we drop our R's, pick them up again, and put them back in words where they don't belong. "Dyude, I need a slice of pizzer (pronounced pete's-ur) wicked bad kid." It is also not unheard of to punctuate a sentence with an F-bomb for no apparent reason...F-in'.

The event was sponsored by PBR and they couldn't keep the stuff in the house. 90 beers lasted about 9 minutes.

What bike you gonna ride?: Gary Fisher Superfly with the crazy SRAM XX. I've been racing exclusively Single-Speed for over three years, I'm going from one gear to 20 gears, so it's gonna be wicked weird.

Why does it rule? (100 words or less): The Superfly is the baddest bike I have ever ridden. It is lighter, stiffer, and better-handling than any bike I have pedaled. I have tried to set up "B bikes" to ride so I won't trash my race rig, but they don't compare. I'm miserable riding anything besides my Superfly. I'm lucky though, this season I'll be racing a new geared Superfly and my Superfly Single Speed will become my B Bike (for now, the roles may reverse some day soon).

This guy has a blog called "Big Bags"

Best day ever on your bike? (100 words or less):
The Swank 65 '09. It came at the end of a semi-lackluster season. As far as I was concerned, I was fat and out of shape; just doing the race to have fun. But something weird happened. From the start I was able to keep up with guys like Garth Prosser, Matt Lee, and Sam Koerber. I rode around all day having weird, not-race-like thoughts such as: “Wow, this air is so clean…feels so good in my lungs” and “God damn that is a beautiful view.” And somehow I finished 3rd overall...on a Single Speed.

High Life

Your favorite bumper sticker slogan?: "Practice Random and Senseless Acts" (I made it myself by cutting up and re-wording a "Practice Random kindness and Senseless Acts of Beauty" bumper sticker. I was 19 years old, I thoughtit was very clever.

Who's gonna play you in the Breck Epic movie?: Vince The Slap Chop guy.

Favorite quote/words to live by?:
Hey, I could whip him without a reason, cuz I got the guts. Hey, I got the guts...but the guts need fuel!" -Henry Chinaski, Barfly

Bike polo — the best argument for a disk wheel

100 words (or less!) about you. Feel free to lie.:
I put my pants on one leg at a time, just like everyone else; but you'll never catch me putting on a shirt before my pants. As a child I was traumatized by the scene in "Animal House" where Boone goes over to Katy's house and Donald Sutherland wanders by, wearing nothing but a cardigan. He reaches for something in a high cabinet. The sweater rides up...exposing his pale as porcelain ass to the audience. I remember thinking to myself: "If I gouge my eyes out with chopsticks — right now — will I stop this sight from reaching my brain?"

Quien es mas macho, Glenn Danzig o a Wolf?(Insert two ridiculous opponents, choose the winner, then defend your position about why your victor would dominate: A wolf has big teeth but Danzig knows Jeet Kune do (the Bruce Lee sh-t). A wolf has sharp claws but Danzig knows Muay Thai. A wolf has protective fur but Danzig has lots of bad-ass tattoos and a mesh tank top. A wolf has an acute sense of hearing but Danzig has an acute sense of rocking. Score: Danzig - 1, Wolf - 0 feet from extinction. Danzig once said: “There’s no point in fighting when you know what the outcome will be…me victorious.” For that reason, I shouldn’t even come to the Breck Epic.

Hi, did you vote yet? Go vote, we can do this thing. Thanks youz.

Doug "Who Let The Dougs Out?" Klein, tall bike consultant.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Follow Me Behind the Scenes Sneak Peak from Anthill Films on Vimeo.

Follow Me/ Demi-Pro Bike

Wow, I am wicked frickin' spent. Just got back from the Follow Me premiere party at the Middlesex. The thing was a resounding success. Bob and everyone else involved did a killer job setting it up, and judging by the capacity or bigger crowd, they must have raised a metric buttload of money for NEMBA. And more money for NEMBA means more trail access for anyone who rides a mountain bike. This is a huge, good thing.

I've gotta be up at 5AM to work and event for The Shop, so I am really, really glad that Randy Jacobs alerted me to the fact that Colt from cyclingdirt posted the goofy Demi-Pro Bike interview he did with me after the Glocester Grind because that is what is going to serve as content here today. Well, not here, more like HERE.

I know I normally only make you go traipsing over to the 29er Crew blog once a week, but this is a special occasion.

So pleased that Colt decided to use the photo of me in my ghetto-basement looking like I just finished dismembering a body, I love that photo. Some day soon I hope to show Colt my basement in person, and I always give my basement tours while wearing the clown suit.


Monday, May 24, 2010

Photo Cred: Double Hop

EFTA NECS #2 - Weeping Willow -
You're Making Me Cry

Most mornings when you see my post up at 6AM it's because I wrote it the night before and then scheduled it to post then...not this morning. I woke up at 3AM for no reason and wrote a race report for the Weeping Willow. It's a little extra-special.

Oh right, it's over on the 29er Crew Blog.

Double oh right, don't forget, it's the NEMBA "Follow Me" premiere at the Middlesex Lounge in Cambridge tonight.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Something For The Weekend

An incredibly long day of riding calls for an incredibly large number of photos.

Free-form photo captioning (and not talking about Floyd Landis at all) begin:

In the above photo I'm driving out to school to drop off my final final of the semester. This was exciting to me, hence the stunt-driver, I'm Jason Statham in the Transporter one through three stance there. I'm easily excited, like a bi-polar Jack Russell in a manic phase.

After I delivered my final (I had a nightmare last night that I never actually did drop it and woke up in a panic) I drove over to MKR and C(don't know her middle initial) R's house to drop my car and cooler of beer off for later...

Then I hit the bike path, woo! Sick dude, I railed that thing on my cross bike. Not like THIS, but in my own way. (If you haven't watched the video linked back there — do it! Stevil linked to it earlier this week, but I just wanted to share the love in case you missed it. But don't miss it, go watch it, it's some real inspirational shit. Gorgeous.) I don't know a better place to drop this litle gem of bike path wisdom, or riding wisdom in general, so I'll drop it right here —


You see the little bastards skittering this way and that at the edge of road or path as you approach at twenty-plus miles per hour. They're nervous, they're making you nervous, you have no idea where they are going or go or what they are going to do. There is one way to make sure that they don't run directly into your front wheel — bark at them, like a schizophrenic, like a crazy person. They will move and you will potentially avoid an unenviable occurrence like this:

I still don't know why they don't make forks out of squirrels. Squirrels are obviously stronger than carbon fiber.

On the way home from Bedford, I stopped off in Lexington to check out the now open Ride Studio Cafe, a bicycle shop/cafe. In the above photo you can see one of their customers heading in to get a fitting for her new, custom Seven.

I got some great shots of the interior with my Go Pro Helmet Hero. I can't wait to get a new camera.

There's a Pete's Coffee in Lexington center. I always look forward to going there, I am a huge fan, but now that I can get Diesel Cafe quality coffee in Lexington center I'm afraid that Pete's will not be seeing too much of me. Sorry Pete. I milked my coffee with soy milk all the way from Lexington down to Arlington center. Nothing pisses off recumbent riders more than seeing a "Wedgie" rider rolling down the path no-handed, drinking an ice coffee. It's the kind of pissed-off that cats get when they see humans using their opposable thumbs. I once had a conversation with a cat that went like this:

Mittens: You know what I would do if I had opposable thumbs?

Me: (operating can opener, opening a can of cat food) I all the cans of cat food in the house?

Mittens: No.

Me: What then Mittens? What would you do?

Mittens: I would take a gun and shoot you right in the face.

For some reason it was really unnerving.

When I got home from bike-path-raging, I took some recovery time on the porch.

A short while later Dan Barry showed up all a-rarin' to go after his three hour morning road ride.

Randy Jacobs' bike was coming apart like a meteor entering the Eaarth's atmosphere on the way to the meet up in Arlington center. We got his grips electrical-taped back on and we were rollin'.

We learned that riding up the front-side of the Turkey Hill water tower is stupid. On a single-speed it is insanely stupid. Won't do that again.

Then we climbed up Whipple Hill. I still think I climb better on the SS.

Fueling for this long, hot day was key. After Randy whupped our asses and then peeled off, Dan and I hit a convenience store for Cokes and Gatorade. Like that shot? Just be happy I didn't post...

This one.

All that riding was just a pre-ride before meeting up for a brutal beat-down ride with MKR and company.

"Hey Thom, follow us into the pain cave!"

A do-over session on this rock provided a rare respite amongst all the relentless hammering.

Keith cleans it.

And so does MKR.

Then Calhoun Roker's quickly-cobbled-together bike broke. In an email exchange earlier that day MKR had said:

Your date is your date, which means if you bring 'em to the prom,
you dance with them and make sure they get home

I don't know If Colin, er, I mean "Calhoun" was technically my date, but I decided I should make sure he got home anyway. At the very least I didn't want him to end up getting date-raped under the bleachers by some football player (prom metaphor...). Colin's problems involved bad chainline and bad chain. Just say NO to Shimano chains on singlspeeds. More on that in a future post.

I did a great job leading us out of the woods: "Ride this way" — CLACK! — "OOF! Ow...ow...ow."
I'm still icing my hand.

And long story not quite so totally unnecessarily long...
we ended up back at MKR and CR's house for beer and barbecue and talking about bikes and biking and some watching of some Cat-tro-batics.

Altogether a great way to celebrate the end of the school year.

I hope your weekend is as good as my Thursday was. My EFTA Weeping Willow report will be on your desk first thing Monday morning.


Thursday, May 20, 2010

The Angry Fiddler Crab of Trapped Wind

So the other day, in an effort to get my pedaling like a fiddler crab issues worked out, I went to see Sara Bresnick-Zocchi at Pedal Power Coaching. But there's more to it than that. I had sent an email to Bill Peterson of We Do Feet in an act of desperation, hoping he could steer me toward someone who could do something like he does. What he does is bicycle fit from the feet up, including custom crazy foot-beds and orthotics. The only time I have truly felt great on the bike was after he got me sorted before the '08 season. Unfortunately for me and fortunately for him, he has stopped his practice of coming up to a lovely mini-mall in Rhode Island to do fittings a few times a year. He is now in Tucson full time. There was no way I could schedule an appointment during my 36 hour visit to Tucson in February for SSUSA/AZ, which was too bad.

Bill got back to me with the quickness, telling me that he had just trained someone in my area — Sara Bresnick-Zocchi, A.K.A. "SBZ" to do the things he does. Thing is, she has mad skills beyond that already with her PT training, so she is just the person to deal with me — "The Human Pretzel."

Since I last saw Bill, things have gotten all high tech and shit. SBZ had these crazy foot scanners, like something out of Star Trek. My new orthotics are going to be sick! We did have some issues getting my "go to" bike, the Superfly XX into the trainer. I have taken to running man-size tires — Bontrager Jones Xr 2.25's. They don't fit in a trainer apparently, who knew? BUT, happily enough, I now run the kooky Sram XX which means I can throw a road wheel with a Sram Force cassette on it on my bike and it will...

kind of work.

At least it worked well enough for our purposes.

My orthotics are on their way and in the meantime I am doing some muscle energy exercises SBZ told me to do. I am feeling better already.

In other news. I am heading out for a Single Speed ride tomorrow. That's right. Big day...big day. The plan is to do a couple or so hour ride with Randy Jacobs out to a couple hour ride with MKR and Cologne Rooter and company (and then drink BEER). The ride will be ridden by folks predominantly on single speeds, I couldn't be the odd man out, I had to get my SS back up and running. This was no mean feat. I was going to do a whole "how to set up bastard-bitch near-impossible to mount tubeless tires" piece but I failed. I couldn't mount the damn tires. In the above photo there I'm demonstrating how you suds up the sidewall and put a tube in and then remove it, leaving one bead of the tire still hooked. But no dice. The WTB Weirwolf that was on my Ferrous has been sitting flat on the basement floor all winter, getting too accustomed to the idea that it's not a nice, round tire.

So I gave up and put a tube in.
I will flat tomorrow and get dropped and left alone to die in the wilderness of Burlington Massachusetts. My only hope of survival will be to drag myself over to the mall so I can get a strawberry milkshake and a cheeseburger at Johnny Rocket's.

If I do post at all Friday, it's gonna be late, that's all I'm sayin'.

I won't bore you with the fascianting story of how the Superfly SS ("Precious Thing") and The Superfly XX were sharing a rear wheel. Wow, that's a good story, I think it was inspired by one of The Canterbury Tales...fuckin'.

You like that? How I make a nerdy reference and then get self conscious about it so I temper it by acting dumb and saying "...fuckin'."

Suffice it to say, I will be racing the Superfly XX on an old Bontrager Race Lite instead of on a lighter, better Race X Lite so my single speed can live again. Never mind the fact that the Ferrous ("Dunderchee") is now missing a front wheel due to this whole re-shuffling...don't get me staahted. Anyone know of a wheel manufacturer with really bad judgment when it comes to sponsoring riders?

And I know you wanted to see SBZ's assistant, Coconut without my inept, photo-shopping embellishments. Is she really less scary? OK, maybe she no longer wants to eat your face while you're sleeping but she still looks like she's being incredibly judgmental. What Coco? What is it? What did I do now? Stop looking at me like that! I...I can't take it, AAAH!

And I leave you with the Mighty Boosh and Howard as "The angry crab of trapped wind."

No Further Questions!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

I Need To Go See The Pedal Peddler

My XTR Pedals' record is 1-2-0 at the Glocester Grind. That's one win, which really just entailed remaining intact; two losses, that is two of the pedals were destroyed beyond repair; and no draws. Though I have no idea what would constitute a draw between a pedal and a gnarly mountain bike race course. Maybe if I had to drop out for some reason other than a pedal-explosion — like a face-explosion on a pointy rock.

In '08 I slammed my pedal on a rock the first lap and broke one of the few parts Shimano does not offer replacement for. This year I one-upped myself, breaking the actual body of the pedal to the point that I lost the entire spring and cleat retention plate-dealy (or whatever you call it) in the mud somewhere.

Craig Mello even got a photo of me looking down, trying to figure out what the hell was going on:

Fuck, fuck, fuck, maybe fuck isn't a strong enough word...fucking fuck!

There, I made all the swears small so my grandmother, my readers from the Christian right who have trouble reading normal-size words, and small children suffering from hyperopia without their glasses will have more trouble reading them. If you're not offended by the word, go listen to George Carlin for a minute and then come back.

Don't you feel better? I know I do.

The Glocester Grind video below was taken by Chris Gagnon of MTB Mind and Crosscycle Fitness. If you watch closely you can see my not-so-bad start, as I sit in 4th from the gun. You can also see my oh-so-bad pass at the 5:30 mark as I come crashing into the frame from the right side, taking a goofy line through a rock garden.

And ya, I'm still going to yammer some more about my pedal. So here's the upside — this year I broke my LEFT pedal, and the whole car ride home I'm going: "Fuck, fuck, fuck.." No, I'm kidding, I do that sometimes believe it or not. I was going: "I hope I broke my RIGHT pedal last time, I hope I broke my RIGHT pedal last time, I hope I broke my RIGHT pedal last time..."

While the single-speed Gods & Generals may have been trying to punish me for my sin of not single speeding; somebody was looking out for me, and I have a pretty good idea who that somebody was:

I may not know what the hell Dio was talking about, but I do know that I'll be racing on two functioning pedals this weekend at the Weeping Willow.