Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The Sweet Fixie Kids Are Alright

Union Foundry T-0001 Roto-Fix Tool from Paper Fortress on Vimeo.

The above video was sent to me by my buddy Bullit. It is perhaps one of the dumbest things I have ever seen. The idea that a shop mechanic would choose to use that silly hokiness instead of a chain whip and lock ring tool is just plain nutty. It is a pretty sweet tool for all all those hipsters who put out such mad, mad torque that they waffle steel fixed cogs on a regular basis and need to replace them in the field (or in the alley). But I can't really make fun of the sweet-fixie kids, they're alright, and besides, that market is already cornered. I love the sweet-fixie kids, they ride bicycles and riding bicycles, however stupid the bicycles might be, is still a good thing. I think it's cool that they ride the bikes to the cafes and bars, and that amongst their tribe, a man (wearing girl's pants) can pick up a women while straddling what mainstream women often perceive as a child's toy or a vehicle for men who have lost their driver's licenses for driving under the influence. Who knows, these fashion accessories may become addictive, and these crazy kids might end up as cyclists for life. If they don't die from attempting to ride brakeless first.

But then again, what do I know? I think this thing is awesome:

No self-respecting hipster would be caught dead rocking one of these things. And I wouldn't recommend that they should run it. They could really wreck themselves on it as they went over their bars in a skidding contest. All I know is that my King Cage Top Cap Mount worked wicked, wicked well during the Lumberjack 100 last week. I was amazed at how well it worked actually. I was reaching for my bottle in spots on the trail where I would never have reached for a down tube mounted bottle. I was even showing off while leading groups through the twisty singletrack. It worked so well that I even switched out my traditionally mounted bottle with the top cap mounted one. And the added weight on the bars didn't bother me a bit.

So ya, this post is really just filler. I wanted to post my "Crackin' Up" video from the trip to the Lumberjack, but Vimeo is all slow this morning. That will go up tomorrow I guess. And yes, this video is the "something a little special" I had alluded to in last Friday's post, while talking about Monday's post (that never happened).

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

I'm Alive. Barely

"I'm not racing this weekend, but I may have something a little special for you Monday."

Or not.

An old friend got married Saturday. It's funny, the older the friends, the younger you end up acting when you're around them. We hit it hard Saturday and Sunday nights, I am hurtin'. I'm hoping to pull something together for Wednesday, no excuses, no promises.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Pay No Attention to The Man Sleeping Behind The Curtain

But do pay attention to what this man is doing. My 29er Crew teammate Tim Finkel's brother passed away suddenly last year, and now Tim is embarking on an insane charity ride to benefit the Make A Wish Foundation to honor his brother's memory. Get this, he's riding 700 miles in 7 days, on a mountain bike. It's easy to donate, just go to this PAGE.

Hopefully my attempt to help Tim help others out will garner more of a reaction than my mis-guided attempt to help busted-up-Doug out. How many contributions did I get for the Big Box O' Bike Porn? Zero. That's how many. Whatever dudes. It could have set a great precedent, maybe any time someone in the blog-o-verse got banged up, the Big Box O' Bike Porn would have made its way over to his house. But no, folks had to let their VHS copies of Kranked 4 gather some more dust on the shelf. And of course Doug had already seen any of my "hot new DVDs." Just wait for my wicked timely review of 24 Hour Solo. Just a few years behind that, I'll be doing one for Race Across The Sky.

The registration fee for the Darkhorse 40 goes from $55 to $75 July 1st. And, are you ready for something truly awesome? $500 goes to the top Elite male AND female. That's right, equal pay for equal work at the Darkhorse 40. And good pay it is. Oh, almost forgot to mention that Long Trail has signed on as a beer sponsor. If you're worried about the beer running out before you finish, don't you fret. At the Darkhorse 40, the aid stations are always well-stocked. The course is fast and fun, one of my absolute favorites and I would love to be there but...

I will not be there, I will be HERE.

I will be returning to the Wilderness 101 in an attempt to better my 2007 performance, and if I can't pull that off, at the very least I'd like to better my race coverage for Cyclingdirt performance from the Lumberjack. I'm a little scared of what's going to happen when I get thrown at the 101 course with gears beneath me. I foresee bad decisions and pain.

So that's about a month off, but in the interim, as in two weeks from now, I will be doing the six hour event at the Pats Peak Mountain Bike Festival as a "tune up" (sounds so pro doesn't it?) for the 101. It's a relatively sedate course with a metric butt-load of climbing. A good way to get in shape without getting destroyed in the process.

Well, I ran a little long yesterday (did anyone actually read that crap?) so I'm gonna go a little short today. I have been running a little short (cough! Understatement) on sleep these past few days, I think I'll go try to deal with that situation. I'm not racing this weekend, but I may have something a little special for you Monday.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Lumberjack 100 Report

OK, you know the deal. Proper racing reports go over HERE.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Warm Up for The Lumberjack 100 Report

I'm not quite ready to put my Lumberjack report together, not quite recovered enough, mentally. The car man, the car caused me trauma. I was so beat this morning, but I did not want to get back in the thing to drive to the work. I was also too lazy or discombobulated to go about procuring what normal people might consider acceptable breakfast food; I chose to subsist only on what was left in the car from the trip — pop tarts, beef jerky, pretzel rods, and peanuts. That's what I ate today. And that is a culinary representation of what my brain looks like right now. Shit, look how I packed the car when my brain was functioning at 100%.

So I will stumble half-blindly through some lengthy photo captions, perhaps insert a couple news items, then crawl into bed, where I will fall asleep, hopefully in the manner I described to K-Sweet on the phone last night during the last hour of my drive home from Michigan, the manner of falling asleep in which it feels like a hand is grabbing your face and pulling it down into a pool of water, it's frightening at first, but then you take a breath, fill your lungs with water, and drift off into oblivion. Not sure I put it so "poetically" to K-Sweet last night, but the sentiment was there.

The photo caption for the above photo goes something like this:

I am a somewhat savvy habitual speeder. I try not to be the fastest moving thing on the road, or at least not the leading fastest thing on the road. If a car passes me, I wait for it to get about a quarter mile up the road, then I accelerate and lock my cruise control onto that car's speed. That way it can flush out any Super Troopers for me. While driving across upstate New York I was employing just this method, I had an Escalade up the road from me, we were going about 85MPH. Thing was, I was rocking out with my ipod headphones on (couldn't find the cord to hook it up to the stereo to save my life). I was paying no attention to what was going on behind me. Suddenly there was car to my left. It was going the same speed as me. It was brown. It was a NY state trooper. Oops.

I realized that I was wearing a pink-pig neck pillow. I suddenly felt very self-conscious. It was way too late to do anything about it. He just drove next to me for about two minutes, though it seemed like an hour, and then took off.

Pedro's is holding a raffle to benefit IMBA's public lands initiative. IMBA is trying to protect bike access and push for more bike access around the country. This benefits us all and it is rad. There are a bunch of great items from Orbea, Mavic, and Pedro's being offered up. So check that out.

On the way to Michigan for the Lumberjack, I stopped off outside Buffalo to visit my friends Craig and Neilie and crash for a night. Neilie is a massage therapist and Craig is an acupuncturist. Before dinner I was lying on the floor, doing the muscle energy exercises that SBZ gave me. Craig and Neilie walked in and asked me what was up. They have both done work on me in the past, and they know what I mess I am physically. Craig went right after it, popping a couple of those...I have no idea what you call them...little magnetic buttons on my calves and quads. He told me to press them periodically as I drove. And holy crap they worked. I rode my bike once last week, on Tuesday, all I did was drive the rest of the week. I drove almost ten hours the night before the race and I got out of the car feeling fine and actually raced pretty freaking well. So thanks to Craig and Neilie, not just for putting me up, but for working their magic.

Another excellent part of that stop on the trip was dinner at Neilie's sister's house. It was a cool little country place, surrounded by vegetable gardens and incredible trees. If you look closely you might see human faces in the one above. That thing would totally freak me out on a windy night.

The 'gansett's. That was my addition to our grass-fed, all organic-type-meal. Thought those guys might want a little taste of "home" (Boston doesn't have a real crap-beer, we have to adopt Rhode Island's crap-beer as our own).

Raw Milk and "Chang," a homemade Nepali rice beer. Hanging out with people like this, in a place like that, so full of positive energy, makes me more aware of what a crotchety, cynical, east-coast douche bag I really am.

And hanging out with Neilie's brother-in-law, who is a Sherpa, who has lead Himalayan treks from the time he was sixteen made me realize that, although I was on my way to a 100 mile mountain bike race, I am still a huge wuss-bag.

Just in case you wanted to know, there is a Tim Horton's right at the Canadian border station at Niagra Falls. So don't do what I did and get off an exit or two before the border to pee and grab breakfast (or try to anyway) then get lost in an industrial-nightmare-area for an hour looking for an on-ramp.

After a nine-and-half-hour drive I showed up in Manistee six minutes before night-before registration closed. Just like I planned. Right.

Then I cooked a healthy dinner. Not exactly grass-fed chicken and Chang, but it'd do.

A little tech-tip aside here. If ever you are setting up a Bontrager Node 2 computer and you're having trouble getting the heart rate monitor to sync with the head, pay special attention to the part of the instructions that tell you that the contact point on the strap should be "slightly moist."

The Lumberjack report is coming. Don't worry, I've got it all stored in my semi-functional brain.

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Lumberjack 100 Helmet Cam and Video Report

Cycling Videos on CyclingDirt

Got back late last night from the last leg of the Michigan trip. Drove up from the Finger Lakes after a nice visit at my Auntie Ann's. A cold swim in Keuka Lake helped shake off some of the hurt from the Lumberjack, but I definitely have a whole lot more shaking off to do. That, and sleeping, lots of sleep to catch up on, even more so than usual. I am a hurtin' eunuch. That is the expression right...hurtin' eunuch?

No time to put the proper report together today, so you'll have to watch my video report if you haven't already. Well, you don't have to, there isn't going to be a test on this stuff. It's sort of like one of my blog posts, only with more ums and buts and aaahs and teeth...more big teeth for sure.

The helmet cam thing was frustrating this time around. More time on the bike means more time to screw up filming. I pulled the classic, Helmet Hero mistake of leaving the thing on when I thought it was off, using up all the memory on total crap. I did the best I could with it, practicing my editing. Lots of nice sun light through the trees shots. 'Cause that was what I was going for...sunlight through the trees shots. "Aw dude, I can't wait to see all that sick footage I took of the sunlight coming through the trees!" Sorry to Tim Finkel, Eddie O'dea, and all the other guys who might have thought they were busting all those sick moves out there for the papparazzi.

Cycling Videos on CyclingDirt

Friday, June 18, 2010

Product Review: King Cage Top Cap Mount

If all has gone according to "plan," I am now in Buffalo, and hopefully I'm still sleeping as my robotic super-assassin helper monkey posts this for me. That would be nice, getting a good night's sleep before the Lumberjack 100, especially since I just woke up from five hours of shabby sleep, which would be fine on a normal day, but today is an abnormal day. I've got an eight hour drive ahead of me, my sleep to driving ratio is way off.

I can't believe how far I have fallen, I used to be able to drive like a trucker on meth. Like Kowalski (in a 4 cylinder 4 X 2 pick up).

Of course I was a teenager on two fists of Mountain Dew. I once drove from Boston to San Francisco in three days at an average of sixteen hours a day. I think that would actually be illegal for a trucker to do, he'd have to forge his log entries. Log entries...I'm sure that crap is all recorded digitally in some way these days.

I gotta hit the road, but I wanted to talk about the crazy bottle cage mounting system I'll be running at the Lumberjack this weekend first.

It's a King Cage Top Cap Mount. I tried this thing out during my ride with Jeff Whittinghammer up in Waitsfield, VT a couple weeks back. It worked great. We were out on a long ride with little possibility of refueling and I hate running the camel-bags. I thought that having my bottle sitting up there on the bars would freak me all out, but it didn't, it was fine. I probably wouldn't run it if I were doing crazy-techy-chest on my saddle drop type rides, but for endurance stuff, for 100 milers like the Lumberjack...I think it's just the thing.

I didn't know which way to run it, so I went with the lower profile, long end facing back style pictured above. This style does give you less knee-clearance. Technically you are supposed to run it with the long end facing forward, which is how I'll be running it this weekend. Looking at the thing, you might think that it is basically a bottle-launcher, and it might be...if you don't run King Cages. I'm pretty sure you could mount a King Cage upside down on your downtube and your bottle wouldn't eject, even on the Mount Snow downhill.

When I met Ron "King Cage" Andrews in Durango last August, I was coming off a rash of bottle ejections (it was my near-deadly bottle ejection at the Darkhorse 40 on that 100 degree day last season that tore it for me). After talking to Ron's buddy George about his ten year run of zero bottle ejections, I jumped at the chance to buy a couple King Cages. Since then — no bottle ejections, not even on Milagrosa during SSUSA (OK, we're not counting the Chelada ejection).

When I visited Ron's shop, I got to stamp a top cap mount with my wife's name, then, realizing that she's not eight-years-old, and that she doesn't have a license plate on her bike with her name on it, I decided to put it on my bike instead. An $8 custom stamped top cap mount is way cheaper than a tattoo.

I'm stoked on the top cap mount thing, I'm hoping I'll be able to complete the 33 mile lap at the Lumberjack with no stops for water, and not having to run a camelly-bag or throw a bottle in my jersey pocket is pretty awesome. I think it's a killer idea for endurance stuff, but it would also work well for small frames that only have one bottle cage mount (like M's Hi-Fi), kids bikes (that actually use a threadless steerer system like the Fisher Precaliber), or for bike-pathers on their hybrids. The bottle is just way easier to get to up there on the bars than it is on the down tube.


King Cage Top Cap Mount, wicked good idea.

Butanyway, not sure if I'll be able to get any of the Lumberjack stuff up on the cyclingdirts before Monday, but I will try. I am going fully strapped with cameras and lap tops and all that crap, so the potential is there. We'll see what happens.

Have a nice weekend and try not suffer as much as I'll be suffering out in Michigan.

Thursday, June 17, 2010

As You Read This

As you read this, I am already on my way...
who am I kidding, there is no way on hell I am actually going to leave for Michigan on time .

Let's try that again.

As you read this, I am probably scrambling down to the market to grab some of those non-perishable, very manly, little soy milks and trying hard to think of all the crap I'm going to surely forget. Just moments ago I was loading the car going, "Ya, packing for hundred milers isn't that different from packing for a regular race, you just pack more food and a tent.

My tent. I put it away wet after the North East Kingdom trip...two weekends ago. It's been hanging up to "dry" in the backyard ever since. Thing is, it's rained periodically during that span, re-dampening the tent. So it would get left out to dry for that much longer. Lucky for me I married someone who has a larger brain than I do. She pointed out that the tent was lying in a puddle in the backyard and that I should probably shake it out before I packed it for the MI trip. Miserable suckfest #1 avoided.

Paahsins, yer blog is supposed to have this!

When I was working on the IBC Blog the other day, I went "Oh ya, blogs are supposed to have linked titles, why doesn't my blog have a linked title?" So I contacted my counsel on all things techy, Colin Reuter. He urged me to give him access to my blog so that he could mess with it. I thought for a moment that this meant giving up my google password, which, at this point, is the password to my entire E-life. I love me some Colin Reuter, but this was still kind of a freaky prospect. He held my wrinkled old, out of touch hand, and guided me toward granting him administrative privileges for the blog. I will likely forget to un-grant these privileges, so if you see anything dodgy or off about my future posts...that's Reuter monkeying with my shit, 100%.

Colin used to design video games. Kids who drop out of video game design school become neuro-scientists. It took an intellect of that level to figure out that I had un-clicked the "show title" box in the formatting area of the blog set up dealy. Thank you Colin Rooter, you have vastly improved the functionality and user-friendliness of the Big Bikes. No wonder no one used to link to my posts, damn un-linked titles.

You may have already heard the crazy news from Trek/Fisher, or as they will be known from here on out: Trek/Trek Too. Trek has officially absorbed the Gary Fisher brand. Gary Fisher bikes are now the Gary Fisher Collection of Trek Bikes. The Bike Rumor interview with Fisher brand manager (and my team manager) Travis Ott does a better job of explaining the whats and the whys of the move than I ever could. (Man it was sweet how that Bike Rumor post had a linked title so I could just link right to it! I get it now, I get it.)

One exciting product of this new relationship is a Carbon Trek Cyclocross bike. Pictured above.

Do you think you can handle anymore excitement today? You sure? an effort to be slightly less of a douche bag, I have purchased one of those Starbucks re-usable iced cups. I may have mentioned that I had taken to re-using Starbucks and Dunkin Donuts iced cups for the iced coffee I made at home. I just can't drink iced coffee out of a normal travel mug, but I felt like such a massive douche wasting all that plastic when I bought iced coffees every day. So I got the cup and I think it's rad, it has totally solved my problem and made my life better. It's like a re-usable iced coffee cup-version of Colin Reuter.

Off to the Mitten in the AM. Looking to make it to Buffalo tomorrow, and then do the long haul up to wherever the hell the Lumberjack is...Manatee or something, before registration closes. No on site camping this year, so I'll be seeking out some rustic camping elsewhere . Although the prospect of rolling around on the sandy, tick-ridden ground in the parking lot, Dicky-Style sounds pretty appealing.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

If You Can Read This

It means that I didn't have a vicious bout of insomnia last night that lead to me getting up and banging out a blog post besides the one I already did for the IBC Blog about the Holland School bike donation. It's a little dryer than the stuff I do here, but it has its moments. Such a great salesman I am.

So ya, another day of shameless re-direction. And I will be spending the rest of this day of shameless re-direction prepping for the Lumberjack 100, which I still know almost nothing about: Can I sleep in my car on site? Should I run burly tires or wussy tires? Not to mention the more personal questions like: Can I actually ride a hundred miles right now? And if I so, how the hell do I pace myself with gears? Then there's the creeping sense of dread that precedes the truth. The truth that this is really dumb idea that I might have to bag for several reasons, none of which are entertaining.

And yes I'm screwing with my template, it is not going well. Thanks for noticing.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

The EFTA Pinnacle Helmet Hero Video
(with captions)

It's not here, it's HERE.

I spent way, way too long trying to sync up Matty O's sick dance moves to The Fall's version of "Strychnine." Wait for it.

Crazy day and the bike donation thing continues tomorrow, gotta crash.

I'll sleep during the drive to Michigan Thursday.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Cycling Videos on CyclingDirt

Monday Morning Nightmare

The race report ain't happenin' tonight. Just got back from loading up the IBC truck with kids bikes for the second part of the Holland School bike donation tomorrow (more on that later). I went pretty much straight from racing the EFTA Pinnacle to The Shop. After I loaded up the bikes, I uploaded my pre/post race videos to cyclingdirt. The helmet cam video will be up Tuesday. I've reviewed the footage and there's some exciting stuff in there, including Mike Rowell and me descending the Pinnacle Plunge simultaneously. The sprint for first place went down in sort of the same way, as Matty O describes in his hilarious monologue above.

I feel a lot like K-Sweet looks in this photo. My pre-race video with K-Sweet was almost entirely crap due to two factors:

1.) The light quality in the car was miserable.


2.) After yammering entertainingly for the first hour of the car ride about his pre-race drinking exploits, K-Sweet decided to go all monosyllabic on me when I busted out the ipod Nano.

The video quality (outside a car) on the Nano is not bad. Although asking someone to talk to a tiny black box, the size of a pack of gum is sort of strange. It's like asking someone to talk to a pine cone or a tube of toothpaste. They just might fail to take you seriously. And I have enough trouble getting people to take me seriously as it is.

Despite how adorable and innocuous K-Sweet looks in the above photo, he still ranks as Calhoun Rooter's number one nemesis, as he illustrates in the video below.

Cycling Videos on CyclingDirt

My goal while doing these interviews today was to try to avoid breaking down into uncontrollable giggling. I was somewhat successful. The giggling sounds even more disturbing and insane when it is directed right at the back of the camera.

And yes, it is official: I have won the Breck Epic Blogger Grant contest. So I will be heading to Colorado in August. After my amazing (look at my eyebrow) climbing performance at the Pinnacle today, I have work to do. I can't ride up a wheelchair ramp right now. There was some last minute craziness with the contest, something about extending the vote until Tuesday and opening up to non-facebook members, but it didn't really happen, which is a good thing.

Thanks to everyone that voted, and double, triple thanks to my more-facebook-savvy-than-I wife, who made voting for me into an event, and got all the facebook peoples she knows to invite their friends to "the event." It got me votes up the yin yang. And thanks to Bike Rumor for posting about it. I still can't believe they did that. Just goes to show what gluing a few pubes to your face can accomplish. You hear that kids?

Things we're going to need to talk about (but I'm too spent to get to them now).

I leave Thursday for Michigan. In a car. I have no plan. When I say I have no plan, I mean I have no plan. I'm looking for a place to crash somewhere around the midway point between here and wherever that race is.

In other crazy news, I will be flying out to Oregon in August to "cover" the High Cascades 100 for cyclingdirt. It's nuts, I know. My job interview for cyclingdirt consisted of me laughing convulsively in front of Colt's camera. Now I get to laugh behind the camera. Actually, if you look closely at the interview with Matty at the top of the post, you can see a guy point at me as I bite my hand and turn red in an attempt not to break down cackling.

I received a mysterious package from Durango yesterday. I'll talk more about what was inside before I leave for Michigan.

Alright, that's it, gotta get some sleep so I can put on a good show for the kids tomorrow, early, early AM.

Friday, June 11, 2010

It's That Time

Time to hang a bunch of tall boys on the top tube of a Schwinn Varsity, much to the chagrin of the employees of Blanchard's Liquors. They insisted that the beer had to be covered, and they were none too pleased to begin with that the Varsity had been wheeled into the store as a sort of ghastly shopping cart by a deranged man wearing all black clothing and stylish sneakers.

The deranged man was named Gaulzetti. He complained that the Varsity was geometrically flawed (for Gaulzetti's sake, pray these blasphemous words never reach the eyes of The Todd Downs). His argument: The top tube is a touch too short — it won't quite accommodate three six packs of tall boys.

"When you're riding a Schwinn Varsity down Brighton Ave. with three six packs of tall boys hanging on the top tube, every frat boy and hipster wants to be your buddy."

I bet the sweet ti rack on Matt O'Keefe's Seven Cycles cruiser could hold a bunch of tall boys too. I've just always loved this rack.

The truth is, I shouldn't even be yammering right now. It's not really time to hang a bunch of tall boys on the top tube of a Schwinn Varsity, it's time for kids bike donations again. I have a box truck out in front of my house with fifty-something colorful, little bikes in it, along with fifty-something colorful little helmets. They are headed to Dorchester EARLY tomorrow AM. I should be sleeping now is what I'm saying.

So ya, EFTA Pinnacle report on Monday, complete with Helmet cam video and interviews of all the major players on cyclingdirt. The Elite field is growing, it's up to about 14 dudes, not bad. Speaking of things growing, thanks to some fancy foot work by my awesome wife, I rallied from a precarious third place in the Breck Epic Blogger grant and I am now solidly back in the lead.

See you Monday, that is if the load in the back of the box truck doesn't shift, causing an avalanche of disproportionately heavy kids bikes to pour out and crush me to death when I go open the door tomorrow morning.

Oh right, and as if that all wasn't enough excitement for you, I have here the much-awaited sequel to yesterday's NEK video. And this one has 60MPH winds and golf ball-sized hail in it. I'm still a little goofy with the editing, tried a little transition from Jane's Addiction (whom I forgot to credit...dur) to Danzig, and the incorporation of still photos. Kind of a trainwreck, see for yourself:

North East Kingdom from thom parsons on Vimeo.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

"Like An Addict" North East Kingdom #1 from thom parsons on Vimeo.

You Wanna Look Pretty Though, In My Video

(Is the title I would have used for this post if I hadn't already used it for some other semi-pointless past-post.)

Late, emergency edit: I have fallen into THIRD PLACE in the Breck Epic blogger grant poll. And while the thought of getting out of, whatever the hell it is, 40,000 feet of climbing in six days, is somewhat appealing, I still want to win this thing. So go over to the facebooks, you don't need to share any more information with big brother than you already have by signing up for the facebooks to begin with, and vote for Thom "Rocky Donizetti" Parsons. It's as easy as clicking the little button dealy next to my name. The poll ends tomorrow, do it. And thanks.

Oops, I did it again. I done spent all my bloggin' time video editin'. I have to practice though, for possible future endeavors, and besides, I'm kind of addicted. I've got another one on the way right behind this one with all the crazy weather stuff that happened day two up in the kingdom. The song "10 A.M. Automatic" by The Black Keys was stuck in my head all day long on Friday. I was growling it under my breath as I rode. I was even growling it under my breath as I set up my tent that evening. "You're a dork," Whittinghammer sang, right in rhythm with my muted growling. The above video sums up the vibe of the day, all the flow and all the fastness. Having my internal soundtrack go external made me super-stoked, hopefully that comes across for you all.

The weather in the Kingdom definitely put the new Stylus-I'm not exactly sure how-tough 6000 to the test. It's alleged to be shock proof and waterproof, which is a good thing, because it was both dropped and doused with water more than once during the trip. I even washed some grit off the thing in a stream. But all was not 100% awesome. At the end of the day it got stuck in "P Mode" and refused to scroll through any of the menu functions from the camera settings. I could still take photos in one mode and I could still take video, but to take more than one video, I had to turn the camera off and then on again. Not convenient...and fascinating. Sanidas has had the same camera for over a year and he's had zero problems. I'm just a frickin' destroyer I guess.

Good news is, when I went into The Shop on Monday, I hit the camera with some compressed air and BAM! It was working again. Amazing. I might just be a little bit more careful with it in the future. The photos are not up to the level of my old Canon Elphs, but the video is decent. I did the Big Ring Rumpus post-race interviews on it:

Cycling Videos on CyclingDirt

It was a good thing it was waterproof for those.

And speaking of cyclingdirt, I'm heading up to the EFTA Pinnacle race on Sunday and I'll be "covering it" for cyclingdirt. Sadly for Rooter and K-Sweet, my helmet cam will be facing forward, not backward, so the only hope they'll have of making the web-pages of cyclingdirt will be if I lap them. Although I bet I can get them to give me a couple killer pre/post race interviews during the car ride home (if they don't boot me out of the car somewhere along 89 first). I suppose I'll have to figure out how to bleep out f-bombs before I air those things.

Falling asleep at the wheel here, be back tomorrow sometime.

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

Anarchy in The NEK Part One

After riding the massive ascents and rooty descents of Waitsfield with Whittingham last Thursday good food was eaten and good beers were drunk. In the morning we loaded up on coffee and breakfast sandwiches and hit the winding roads to meet up with Sanidas and company in East Burke. The rendezvous at East Burke Sports was made and Cars and bikes were shuttled back and forth, leaving us enough vehicles down in the valley to get us back up the insanely steep hill to the campground on Burke Mountain at the end of the day.

The first time I rode the Kingdom trails, about ten years ago, we made the mistake of riding out of the campground (which was really odd because I rarely make mistakes). Five hours and however many miles later we ended up at the Pub Out Back for beers. When it came time to ride back up to the campground, we realized the error of our plan. Not this time around, these guys are pros, they had the system dialed.

We started our epic day of playing on bikes in the woods on the mountain, shuttling right up to the top so we could hit all the sweet stuff on the way down, like D.H. run and Dead Moose Alley (pardon me if my trail names aren't accurate, I didn't look at a map all weekend, I was too busy looking at the wheel in front of me). Jeff, Andy, and I were on our hard-tail 29ers, while everyone else was on big, squishing bikes. It was a major challenge to try to hang with these guys, I got in over my head more than once. I always feel like the technical beatdown does me good though. After a couple days chasing these nutters around, I feel wicked Jedi, the force is very strong within me.

The past few times I've been up to the NEK, the trails on the mountain have been closed due to wetness, so I was stoked that we got to hit them. Although I might not recommend the D.H. trail for XC dorks. I was lucky to escape that one alive. Dead Moose Alley though, that run is killer.

Adjusting to having the Helmet Hero on was tough. I might have to look into the chest mount dealy. This wasn't the only time I caught a low bridge. I'm convinced the added weight makes my neck ache. I got big problems, I know.

Bill was ripping the descents. He had cleaned a billion hairy moves with conviction, when out of nowhere, something grabbed his foot and sent him flying into the pricker pushes. He came to rest in a patch of softness, somehow missing the large log that was lying right across his debris path. It was impressive, and terrifying.

The big-squishy bikers came up with name "Menage a Niners" to describe Andy, Whittingham, and me. We did our best to enforce negative stereotypes about XC-Dork-29er riders by doing things like rolling a couple extra miles back into town to fuel up while the rest of the crew pulled picnic baskets and deck chairs from their enormous camel-bags on the trail. But, in our defense, while they sucked down perpetuem and gagged on energy bars, we feasted on Italian sandwiches and Fritos, washed down with ice cold PBR.

Done with the DH-ing portion of the day, we headed down to the valley.

Charlie would fight a bitter battle with a greasy convenience store egg-sandwich the whole day through. The egg sandwich would prove victorious.

Chris and Peter, the men in white. You can get away with wearing white when you have the super-mutant-ability to leap the largest of mud puddles.

Andy ices his hematoma, brought to him courtesy of a tree on the Sidewinder trail, smiling as always. He would live to ride another day.

We were really roughing it. Dueling Macbooks Pros with Helmet Hero footage from the day. People made fun at first, but within minutes the whole posse was gathered around, drinking Long Trails and watching their very recent exploits. Chris' Helmet Hero HD definitely kicks my non-HD cam's wide-angled buttocks.

And ya, we stayed up way too late, drinking way too many PBRs... and something about a bottle of tequila that wouldn't die.

The really exciting stuff happened on day two, but that's a story for another day, perhaps a Thursday.