Monday, March 29, 2010
Friday, March 26, 2010
My midnight run bike build almost ended poorly. It was that close. I was using oldish campy parts and trying to make it all work. God bless campy. Even old campy works better than new anything else. I made the huge error of trying to deal with the chain shifting up into the biggest cog by tweaking the limit screw. Hmmmm how do you think that worked out? Kachhhunk. I had to go crack a Sierra Nevada and take the ear buds out after that debacle. But I took a deep breathe got the chain unstuck from in between the spokes and the cogs and dialed that shit in.
But back to the cables, I am so stoked that Yokuzuna makes campy cables. They are really nice. Shift like butter. Seem to not stretch. And they come in WHITE!!! That stoked me wayyy up! I had no problems with the fresh set I put on the day before the Rhonde. Again I am (it feels like it anyway) walking a fine line between putting new stuff on the bike and dialing it in right before big rides and having it work great. It has been working out but it is taking me way out of my comfort zone. I like to have my bike dialed weeks before anyone could witness or be party to my bikes demise. Maybe I am not as bad a mechanic as I think I am but I am still taking David's class so I can learn to wrap bar tape properly!
Richard Fries showed up to the Rhonde on a borrowed Tim Johnson 9 ball cannondale. Not a signature model, Tim Johnson's personal bike that TJ rode to victory in KC in 2008! And I wonder why he rode like 10 men that day! Tim and Richard must have been separated at birth because that bike fit Richard like a glove! I don't know if that bike is going back to its owner any time soon Richard seemed real comfortable on that machine!
I still am going back and forth in my brain about a road bike. I know at some point as we head into the summer if I show up on all the group rides on my cross bike I will become "that guy" especially if I show up looking like a caveman with unshaven legs. Will a proper road bike make me faster on the group rides? I don't really think so. Would road brakes be safer? The Paul's with swissstop pads work really nice. Lots of stopping power and good modulation. So really it is only fashion. People will see my canti brakes and think I am a dork. The only real limiter is that both my cross bikes are set up without water bottle bosses as I like it that way.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Natasha once again was everywhere. Go to her gallery and check out what she shot over the course of the day. What you won't see is HOW she got the shots. See the wood bridge shots. How do you think she got those? She rode the course like the rest of us with a backpack filled with camera equipment. Then she positioned herself on the edge of the bridge over 4 feet of e-coli and god knows what filled bracken water and shot picture after picture with no fear. Then she'd pack it all up and ride to the next spot and shoot again. I don't even know how many hours and miles she put in that day. But I tip my hat to her once again. Mark my words she will crack the big time in no time. I hope she still remembers all us little people when she is a rock star photographer!
It was so good to see Stephen Link rocking it. He is too cool. Justin Cox and Mike came down as Team Hangover. All the OG's were there. Mike Salvatore, Jimbo, Stephen J. There were lots of new faces and of course a handful of our squadra were sorely missed. But if this day proved anything its we need to do MORE of this. Anyone can pin a number on and race. But how many people can get out of their comfort zone and be with your friends and teammates and just laugh when the shit hits the fan? Oh and it did. Hup seemed to come out of it pretty unscathed. We had a few hiccups and a couple of mechanicals but nothing earth shattering.
The other thing that really hit me looking at all the photos and stories that have trickled out as people blog, tweet and fb is that look at how everyone is smiling. Amazing. For how much we suffered and how much people got lost and dealt with adversity no one, and I mean no one, lost it and got mad or pissed or had some melt down. People worked as a team. Wether it was to share food and water, help a teammate with a flat tire, tow a teammate miles to civilization or just bring the stoke for their team for the whole ride. Teamwork was everywhere.
I am sure all the bikes and bikers are trashed right now. I know I ate my way through the house last night. I won't ever admit to this but I might have eaten a whole tray of truffle brownies at about 11:30 pm. It was a blur of chocolate crumbs and ice cold milk. If pressed to confess I'll blame it on my 5 and 9 year old. They love brownies. I hit the wall hard today at about 2 o'clock. I was cruising along feeling fine and then boom. Total exhaustion. But it is such a good exhaustion. And coach says it a rest week, the weather gods have brought typical Belgian weather to the NE as is usual for spring so I shall rest. Thanks to all y'all that made this such a great day. Huge Hup hugs to all the OG and new Skool Hupsters that came out of the woodwork for this! Thanks to all the riders and friends. When do we get to do this again?
Sunday, March 21, 2010
The greatest quote I heard today was that cross is ruining bike racing! Love it! And it is so true. Obviously the person was joking but their point was that people would rather have fun than race their bikes around in circles around an office park crit. What would you rather do on a glorious spring day in the NE? Office park crit or slay yourself over 67 miles on a cross bike with 70 of your closest friends? Yeah I thought so. Lots of riders who should have been "racing" an uptight boring "race" thought so as well. Washington Square Tavern deserves mad props for hosting this race. Gerry the owner was so gracious as was his staff. And frankly the burger I had after the ride was the best burger I've had in my life. I for one will be a regular at the Tavern by months end. It is that great a pub. Biker friendly, great bartenders and staff real welcoming. Spot on.
My brain is all over the map. Thoughts keep flying around from the day. Its going to take a few days to get all down on the pad. The picture above says so much again about just the paradigm shift between cross racers and the rest of the biking public at large. Look at that bike pile? Seriously. Who other than a cross racer would pile Seven titanium cross bikes on top of each other? No one. Can you imagine? That is just one pile. There were 67 pro level bikes just piled on top of each and not one rider was like ohhh be careful you might scratch it. These aren't show ponies they are Belgian draft horses made for work by a real person's hands. There were Geekhouses, Sevens, Sketchy, IFs galore, Iglehearts, Vanillas! Amazing.
Like proper Belgians we rolled up early found a cafe near by to set up as HQ while we kitted up had chocolate croisants and coffee. Team Hupcake Express was incredible. Ron Steers, Mark Bernard, Eli Levine, Richard Fries and myself. We picked up a Washington Square Tavern rider along the route and he proved invaluable later in the day. Rosey sent the teams off in waves. Slower riders first, faster riders last. It was kind of a handicapping of teams. There are way too many details to go blow by blow here. Long story short the Hupcake Express was the first team in! We had the angels on our side no doubt. And yes we had a huge homefield advantage. But still this course chewed up and spit out rider's with a insatiable appetite.
Thursday, March 18, 2010
Disclaimer/legalize: By participating you accept and understand that you and you alone are personaly responsible for the outcome of the ride. This is an outlaw/adventure race with no insurance etc. Same deal as if you were going mtn biking/riding on your own. You are all professionals but be safe, don't mow down any other trail users. Be careful on some of the road/trail transitions. Its not going to be the fastest riders who win this I guarantee that. It will be the smartest, the best navigators, thickest skinned, best sense of humor, and luckiest. Think Eco-Challenge when it was actually a badass event. Think Cannonball run as opposed to Paris-Roubaix. Frankly the Trench of Arenberg would be a walk in the park compared to some of these sectors. But you won't be taking them at 30kmh on 27 mm file treads with 70 jacked and stacked euro dogs breathing down your neck either but still be safe!
Monday, March 8, 2010
Tuesday, March 2, 2010
Theo: I wanted another copy of a cap that I bought in SF that fit really well but was a hideous orange color.
VCB: What is your process like? How long does it take to make one of your hats?
Theo: Cut (7 pieces) - print - make stripe - sew leather into brim fabric - make body - sew brim to body. It would take about 3h from start to finish to do one if I already have the screen made. About 5h to make a new screen. The stripes take the most time.
VCB: How long have you been on Hup?
Theo: Hmmm. 6 yrs on and off. Last 2 for real.
VCB: How did you join Hup?
Theo: Worked with the Godfather (Hup United Founder Zac Daab) at Seven Cycles during college and all the cool kids were doing it.
VCB: Where does the inspiration for your caps come from?
Theo: Vintage cycling posters and 70's blazers.
VCB: What is your favorite type of riding?
Theo: Mountain Biking on my cross bike.
VCB: Beer or coffee?
Theo: Bourbon - but if that is not available then beer.
VCB: Do you embro?
Theo: No, but I am curious.
VCB: worst day on a bike?
Theo: 60 mph sustained headwind in Iceland on an extended touring trip with my gf. It was a sunny hurricane. Had to walk at 1.5 mph down the road into a fiord that was 10mi long. We could see the town on the other side of the fiord less than 1 mile away for 5 hours. My ears rang for 2 days because the wind was so loud. The real bitch of it - because the exchange rate was so bad we got to enjoy $15 corona and a $70 pizza for dinner (no joke).
VCB: best day on a bike?
Theo: Riding through the Sumner tunnel on a chopper at 4am with 25 other chopper riding crazies.
Monday, March 1, 2010
But back to my ride on saturday. It was one of those rides that take a leap of faith. The end of winter is like that. You have no idea what you are going to get out there. Is it going to just be a cool rain or is it going to turn into a blizzard with black ice covering all the road surfaces? I left my trepidation at the garage bay and headed out. The snow was actually awesome to ride on. Soft and powdery kind of like NBX. But it covered some nasty stuff underneath it. The first real trail sector I hit I had an "Oh shit! I am going to die!" moment. I am barely over my messed up knee from Ice Weasels the thought of getting jacked up just as the season is going to start made me want to puke. But I rode it out. The michelin mud 2s continue to impress in this department. They really are the best handling cross tire out there. I have to make a point to send a set to francois at FMB and see how those would work as a tubular for cross season.
I got a solid 1.5 hours just kind of feeling myself out on the trails. Scoped out Elm Bank which is in great shape! I will say though that the banks of the Charles River are really close to flowing over onto the trail. I had to hike a bike for a while but that was pretty cool too. I walked maybe 1/4 mile up a slogging ridge line with the Rock Lobster on my shoulder. She felt good up there. Light and tight. My shouldering form hasn't lost a beat. I talked with a dog walker for the hike and that was kind of cool. We ended up talking about our knee injuries which morphed into a discussion of Wes Welker and what might have happened if he hadn't gone down with a knee injury right before the playoffs.