Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The Gift

I've known Richard Fries, aka the voice of New England cyclo-cross, aka the Godfather for a long time. Over a decade. Even more really. He has been a mentor, an editor, life coach, friend, teammate. He's been a lot to me. And he means a lot to me. A lot of our relationship was bi-coastal he ran The Ride magazine here in Boston and I ran California Bicyclist magazine out in San Francisco. They were such similar publications I could call him and bounce ideas off him and look to him for advice. He helped me out a ton. Both titles died inglorious deaths but that is how publishing goes it is a hard knock life.

When I moved back to Boston after being gone for 14 years he was my Virgil guiding me through Purgatory and out of Hell...haha well I guess that's a tad dramatic even for me but suffice it to say he made all the introductions I needed and he helped me find my place in the culture. I wouldn't be living the vida loca of Boston bike culture right now without his guidance. Some could argue there would be no Boston bike culture without him but that would be misguided as the bike culture here is so rich and diverse it is not beholden to one individual it is a true collective. A hive if you will..kind of like the borg..but he is one of the key movers of our culture make no doubt about it.

So like I said at this point I count Richard as one of my real friends. Bike-wise or otherwise. We have been through a lot together. You don't get to be 45 and 50 respectively without some shit going down. But he has always supported me and cut me a ton of slack and I have always done my best to support him anyway I could. The man with the mic has brought me some serious laughs at cross races. He's heckled me sooo bad during races that afterwards people will come up to me and ask if we are friends. Hell if you can't find humor in your own heckling take up another sport. Two of the most classic Fries frame moments revolved around the USGP finals out in PDX. A bunch of us went out for it as a kind of mecca. I was sooo stoked to be racing in Portland. I highly recommend it. We did so much in that short 3-day trip. But back to the racing and heckling.
Richard was out announcing and I was racing. I lined up in the 4s (acckk total sandbagger but I was a 4 what could I do?!) This was 3 years ago but still. Anyhoo. Apparently they take their racing a bit more relaxed out west as I went from the 3rd row to the whole shot in a blink of an eye. I thought maybe they had called the racers back or something. But like a good crosser I put my head down and drilled it. I was away for two laps solo. I crashed in a corner and it took me a while to get my act back together. But I was still in the lead. Barely. Anyway with 1 to go I come through the start finish and Richard blares out "Chip Baker is going to win this and if he doesn't he doesn't deserve to fly home to Boston!" Oh crap I thought the baseball bats are coming out way are the locals going to put up with this.
Like I wasn't jacked up already after that comment I got a little carried away and got way ahead of myself and just laid it down hard on a transition from mud to pavement. Slid about ten feet into the chicane. Well of course as I am lying there pulling my bike out of the police fencing I see 1, 2 ,3 dudes go flying by me...oh well. Winning is fleeting races like these serve a lifetime of memories. Still I came in 4th and had one of the best races of my life!

So back to Richard. We fly home (yes he let me on the plane!) and the next weekend its NBX. Well once again I am on the start grid. Richard sees me and announces that "Chip Baker has just returned from PDX from his seal clubbing expedition.." OMG I wanted to die. I guess that was the payback for my Eddie Vedder flannel shirt that I'd been wearing the whole trip out in PDX and had worn to funny. I love that guy.

But back to the whole point of this post. I swear there is a point. I honestly do. So we have this great shared history. A couple of months back Natalia from Pedalpowerphotography had an awesome art show at Belmont Wheelworks. All the cool cats were there. And we got to bid on a bunch of Nats art. Well there were a few items that stood above the rest. And one of them was the framed print you see above of Richard holding his fist in the air. That was a hot commodity. I wanted to get that for Richard. Richard's wife wanted to get it for Richard. But there were some hot bidding wars going on and in the interest of harmonious bidding that print slipped through our hands. It did go to one of my all time favorite people in the world and a guy who really wanted it and deserves to own it. Its actually really cool that he wanted it so much. It says a lot about what Richard means to bikers in Boston.

Afterwards I asked Nat if she could make me two additional prints. She agreed and I have one in my man cave and I gave the other to Richard. He was sooo stoked he was speechless. And that is saying something! He kept telling me he had something for me as an exchange/trade. I shrugged it off assuming it would be some really cool swag but no worries. At the Ride Studio Cafe one night he hit me with "The Gift!" Holy shit! A 1991 Tour de France mussette bag with Greg Lemonds autograph! I still don't know what to think. I am beyond appreciative. It was such an act of generosity and friendship that I will always remember it. That bad boy has taken the top spot in my mancave. I am going to take it to the framing shop asap and give it a proper frame job so I can hang that up in a place of honor.

Amazing. Both the man and the mussette bag have been a gift. Not just to me but to Bike Culture everywhere. The man fights the good fight every day of his life so you and I can live our biker life. Thank you Richard for everything!

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Rapha Roll Out Ride

Not to rip off Alanis Morissette but...Thank you Iceland, Thank you Eyjafjallajokull, Thank you Ashpocolypse, Thank you Twitter, Thank you Jeremy Dunn, Thank you Ride Studio Cafe, Thank you Embrocation J, Thank you Pete (Mad Alchemy) Thank you Hupxpress...what a weekend on the bike. It all started to shape up late Thursday night when I got an email from JD. It was pretty innocuous really...just a "you around?" Yeah man I'm around wazzup? I replied back. Well looks like JD was in town and he had some serious British Steel with him! The Rapha Condor Sharp team had raced Battenkill and then been stranded state side by the Ashpocolypse that had brought air travel to its knees. But being the consummate professional when the god's give you lemons JD makes lemonade! JD (and his team) whipped up a fantastic Roll Out Ride with the pros at Ride Studio Cafe in a blink of an eye!

The plan was simple really. Show up at the brand new Ride Studio Cafe in Lexington @ 5:00 on Friday night and schmooze a bit then roll out on a ride with the Rapha squadra. I tried to give as many of my friends the head's up as possible. I pulled into the municipal lot parked right near the MM bike path and saw Noir rolling right by my windshield. Jumped out of the car and yelled "Link!!!" Luckily (like any good Hupster) Stephen Link had spotted my cx bike on the roof rack and had slowed down from his tempo pace to check out my bike enough to hear me scream at him. It was such a good omen seeing Stephen rolling back from a raid on Mt Wachusett. I didn't even try and talk him into hanging out as he looked wicked fresh for a man who'd been to hell and back solo but I knew another ride would spell doom for him. He headed off and no more than a second went by when who pulls into two spots next to me? Pete Smith of Mad Alchemy fame of course!

Man this was going to be a good night I could just feel it. We got the bikes ready talked shop a bit. Pete pulled out a cache of Mad Alchemy and offered me up some Gentleman's Blend. So sweet! Stuff is my new fave! Just a bit of warmth but some serious sheen and just makes you feel freaky fresh and ready to ride! Pete and I rolled over to Ride Studio Cafe wondering how long it would take before the Lexington sidewalk Nazi would realize he had a captive audience of cyclists to harass on the other side of the street and left his perch in between Peet's and Starbucks and moved to where the real biker action was going to take up permanent residence.

It was just a bikeapallooza. Clint rolled up with Marty just as we were propping up our bikes next to the rest of the bike pile. I have to say I am beginning to fetishize a bike pile. Ever since the Ronde de Rosey when we had like 100 bikes in a pile it is just a thing of beauty to me....I said hi to those cool cats and went in to say hi to all our hosts and hostesses. Let me say this straight away Rob Vandemark and Jennifer Park have been amazing host and hostess the last couple of months at RSC. They have embraced so many functions at the Studio and shown just what a hub this space can be for the cycling community. Kudos and thank you to both of you. Rob and Jen were handing out espressos and had water on hand and just welcomed all us bikers with open arms. I said hi to Jeremy Dunn. Thanked him for making this happen and gave him a big hug. I love that man. Then I became somewhat star struck. Maybe that is not the right word for it.

I've been around plenty of PRO's. I've been lucky to ride with some real legends. But maybe its because I am getting old or whatever who knows but I was instantly struck by how stunningly handsome every young man on the Rapha team was. I mean gorgeous. It must be a job requirement. Maybe it was the team kit which is so simple yet elegant or just their dashing good looks. Who knows. They also proved to be so nice it was reeediculous. The team Director and Jeremy laid out the ground rules for the ride. Social pace. We obey ALL stop signs. Ride will be respectful etc...They said all the right things.

We rolled out of the RSC like critical mass hitting Lexington Center! No less than 10 dudes attacked from the first light leaving a 200 yard gap between the rest of the riders. How fast can a pro circuit rider shut that down? In a blink of an eye. Not sure who it was but one of the Rapha guys went by us like a F 117 Nighthawk Stealth attack fighter. He was on them instantly and had a few words to reiterate this would be a tight social ride with no attacking. The rest of the ride was mellow and easy with some great conversation. We had two back to back flats and Clint had a bit of elbow music on the MM path in Bedford from a random walker/mugger but all in all just a super fun night riding with the pros.

One rider worth mentioning is Dean Downing. I am embarrassed a bit to not be as well versed on PRO teams and their rosters as some. But Deano as JD calls him is so damn cool and such a good ambassador for his mates and his sport its beyond words. And you can tell when you are talking to him he can bring it man...seriously he has the look and the fire in his eyes when he is talking about racing. From the sounds of the weekends racing he did bring it in spades. I'll be rooting for these boys and trying to follow them a bit more and see how they do out there on the circuit.
Over beers a ride plan was hatched for Sunday am ride of our own. Ride to the Ride Studio Cafe Hupstyle. I had no less than 10 takers before I left the party. Of course when Sunday dawned we had a smaller group of four. But in reality four was the perfect number. We rolled from my house in Needham and picked up one of the nicest Hupsters on Earth Justin Cox. The day turned out to be perfect. Sunny but not too hot. No flats. No drama. Well a few close passes from motorists and Chauncy the Trust fund baby giving us shit from his daddy's Range Rover but have to just tune out that white noise.

We were drawn to the RSC like a beacon. As we got closer and closer we kept talking among ourselves. "Will they have food?" We were starting to bonk a bit. "Will they be open?" that was a dark thought none of us wanted to even entertain. No worries. We rolled up and were greeted by Rob VD! He invited us to bring our bikes in and hang them from a rack. We talked a bit asked him how business was going and just drooled over the bikes and the pastries. We had some great snacks, a fabulous cappuccino and then rolled back to Needham! What a great day on the bike. The Ride Studio Cafe deserves some serious Love. What Rob and Jen are doing really has never been done before. The space is beautiful. The people are sooo inviting. Trust me this is a place that will become a hub for our community for a long time to come. Check it out when you get a chance.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Cos I'm T.N.T

Women to the left of me, women to the right....

Ok so most of you probably aren't big AC/DC fans but I always found those lyrics very poignant. Certainly reflective of my life in an entirely different context than the song was written. But that line really captures my existence. I am and always have been surrounded by women. I was raised by women. I had/have no Grandfathers. My namesake died when I was still in uttero that's why I am a Junior instead of the 4th...I live in a house with 3 other women. Father figures in general are pretty much non-existent in my life.

I am a stay at home parent of two daughters. I worked in publishing for over a decade which is predominantly staffed by women. Most of my greatest teacher's have been women. I am probably more at ease around women than men. I usually feel more myself and much more relaxed in the company of women. Guys are so weird sometimes with their posturing and inability to say what they really mean or want out of a situation it gets frustrating to say the least.

What I am finding a bit ironic right now in my biker life is that women in cycling tend to be WAY more tough than the men. I am not just saying tough like how hard the rider can push themselves or how much they can suffer on a bike but tough! And not only are they tough they are tough on me and willing to teach and push me to be better. Guys either by a self preservation mechanism or just a live and let live approach tend to let a lot of stuff slide. Especially when in a group of other guys. I suck on a mtn bike. My guy friends are ok with this. I am a cross rider, I am not a mtn biker and they could care less if I can ride some dropoff. Day one of learning to be a cross racer was and is when in doubt run it out. Its faster. Period. If you are racing all that matters is going faster, doesn't matter if its riding or running. Get from point A to point B the fastest. Riding over shit isn't always faster. Running can be way faster than riding.

My re-entry back into the east coast has been an epiphany. I got into the bike game late. I didn't start seriously riding a bike until I was late in my 20's early 30's. So things that form your ability to handle a bike like bmx were never part of my learning curve. When I grew up after you got your drivers license you would rather walk than ride a bike. The only option was driving a car. Riding a bike was about the dorkiest thing you could do. You'd be an outcast plain and simple. I grew up in a muscle car culture and it was the only mode of transport anyone would even consider.

Thank God I moved to San Francisco after college! That is where it all came together and I fell in love with the bike. But you can't even compare mtn biking in Northern California to New England. They are two totally different animals. It has taken me a while but I now love mtn biking here in Boston. I owe a lot of people for helping me fall in love with it. My first forays didn't go so well. But guys were patient. Nobody heckled me or hazed me or gave me shit for not riding something. I remember riding with some local free-riders who showed me a ton of crazy trails in Hale Reservation. I'd get off my bike so fast, run up something and get back on while they were trials riding and hoping up and over the boulders. They would just mention it in passing "oh you get off that bike fast" or "wow I've never seen anyone get back on their bike like that" And the cross conversation would come up and that would be the end of it.

But I never really got better. I stayed at the same level average at best. Below average riding east coast trails. But then something game changing happened this last winter. I got hurt at the end of cross season. I reached out to a friend for some help. Once I was healed up I started riding with some people way above my level. And started noticing "how" they rode the woods. Then via the same circle of friends I started riding in the woods with more and more women. Pro level riders with gobs more talent and ability than I'll ever have and that was and still is an eye opener. And what is amazing and again the whole point of this post is that women teach. They see you struggling and they push you to get it. To get better. The last ride I went on was hilarious. Up to this point all the coaching if you will, for lack of a better word, or as I like to call it Bike Practice, had been ride by example. Follow their lead.

They'd just kind of yell things at me as we descended or went through a rock garden. Nothing earth shattering just "get your ass way back off the saddle." Then the follow up--"did that work?" "Did you ride that?" All very positive and low key. But last Thursday was different. Tough love came a calling. For full disclosure I hate wood bridges. I have a primordial fear of them. Kind of like how some people are afraid of Clowns or The Easter Bunny I am afraid of wood bridges. Intellectually I get it I really do but I get all freaked out by a raised wood bridge. I'm fine on a boardwalk its not like I have a phobia its a fear, big difference. But just like the great quote in Dune "Fear is the mind killer. Fear is the little death that brings total obliteration. " These ladies had had enough of my weak ass freaking out.

So I ran one two many wood bridges that day. Granted I really wussed out on one that was really a board walk and totally rideable not sketchy at all. I could here SBZ finally have enough of that crap. From a few yards ahead I could here her saying "are you running that?" Of course I was as I was now basically a bike length behind her with my bike on my shoulder...But I am a cross racer.

Not today cross boy. "Go back and ride it again!" Really? "Really" So I turned around and rode it back the way we had come and then turned around sucked it up and rode it back towards the group. Amazing. It is all in my damn head. Now these women may be the death of me its true. I am old and sort of slow. But if I live I might just possibly end up being an ok east coast rider. And I will have some of the coolest, most badass women riders on the planet to thank for it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Edward Abbey got it...

Long before any of us had a clue...Saw this posted up on a new fan of the Hup United FB page and it jogged my memory about just how much Edward Abbey framed up who I am through his writing. We should be living his ideals every day as cyclists...

Do not burn yourselves out. Be as I am, a reluctant enthusiast, a part time crusader, a half-hearted fanatic. Save the other half of yourselves and your lives for pleasure and adventure. It is not enough to fight for the land; it is even more important to enjoy it. While you can. While it is still there. So go out there and hunt and fish and mess around with your friends, ramble out yonder and explore the forests, encounter the grizz, climb the mountains, and bag the peaks.... and I promise you this much: I promise you this one sweet victory over your enemies, over those deskbound people with their hearts in a safe deposit box... I promise you this: you will outlive the bastards. -Edward Abbey

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Waffle Cross good to the last drop!

New Rule: All rides must now start and end at Taste Coffee House in Newtonville. This day started early and the New Rule hadn't been established yet so let's start from the beginning. Andy Huff of Belmont Wheelworks and owner of one of Boston's most gentlemanly mustaches sent out cryptic invites of a rumored cross party/ride coined Waffle Cross about two weeks ago. That got my attention straight away. Waffles and Cross how bad could it be? Pretty great is what I thought. I got on the bandwagon early and tried to talk sooo many of my teammates and friends into this. Granted it was a 7 am tee time. But still that's not that early. I get up for some cross races at some ungodly hour half the time.
My next thought was ride to the ride. Enough of this driving to the ride crap. Its weak. Seriously on so many levels it is weak as hell. So being the suburban cat I am I scoped directions via google maps. It didn't look pretty. But I have become a bit more emboldened from riding with Richard Fries through Porter Square at Mach 10 during the Ronde so I kept digging a bit. I remembered there is a guy who commutes from Dover to BWW everyday rain or shine on a Bianchi fixed gear. Ok I thought I'll call and see if someone knows his route. I called Belmont Wheelworks and who answers the phone? Of course it was the super commuter himself! He gives me the killer sneaky sneak route in. It was perfect! I met David Wilcox and Jenn at Cutler around 7 am and we rolled in together.

I broke a very important rule of meeting up on bikes for a ride. Rule #1 of meeting up for a ride? Be where you say you are going to meet. Duuh? I so almost screwed up. I thought I knew where David and Jenn would be riding from. So I plunked myself right next to Nahanton and waited. David appeared. We caught up saw all the grumpy triathletes go by. Damn Adam is right they are downright unfriendly...we'd wave and they would scowl...Time went by and then a nagging thought kept popping into my brain. What if Jenn is at Cutler? I checked the super phone and shit she's at Cutler! We hop on the bikes and get to the parking lot just as she was pulling out. She was very cool about it. Sorry Jenn totally my bad.

We rolled through Newton and into Belmont in a flash the route was fantastic. Easy, very little traffic and just a nice way to get to a ride. We rolled up and were greeted by all the cool cats at Wheelworks! To say they are nice is an understatement. They had waffles ready for us and we all talked about cross bikes and hung out for a while. I got to meet one of our new teammates for the first time! Michele is so awesome! And her Husband Ed and son Elliot were there as well which was really nice. At 9 am we all got together and headed out on the road. There were about 20 of us. A really cool mix of bikes. One ss mtn bike, a crazy Igleheart mixte, a fixed gear and a classy road bike ridden by quite possible the cleanest biker I have ever met in my life. Andy the Castelli rep rocks! I seriously need to spend more time riding with that guy he just radiates biker style. If I am lucky maybe some will rub off on me. He rode the cleanest pair of white sidis I have ever seen in my life. They were spotless when we got back. I have no idea how he did that. I was covered in mud. Granted a mud puddle is pretty much a magnet for me but still impressive.
Eddy would have approved. I assumed, incorrectly, this would be a "social" ride. Ha. This was a very spirited, quasi-attacking cross ride. We did 2 hrs on Battle Road and some sweet trails/fields in Belmont. It wasn't attacking like on some group rides it was more just plain letting it rip because it was so cool to be on cross bikes with other riders who are just as stoked as you are about cross. I was sooo impressed by everyone's riding ability. There was some crazy stuff. We rode a trail called Star Wars and it was sketchy but sooo fun. I had a close one as I was taking some action photography and everyone turned sharp left all of a sudden. No one crashed or freaked out. Another reason why I love cross racers. Its going to take more than an out of control dude with his hands off the bars clicking photos to get them all a twitter.
Hup had a good crew we had Jenn, JZ!!!, Michele, and me. Oh and the I raced Battenkill excuse to why you didn't make it? Not happening we had a very fresh and snappy rider from NEBC who'd raced the 4s and was attacking at will on her cross bike all day. She seemed unfazed by all the gravel and sand we were riding on. Imagine that. She was super cool. I think her name was Joy. She may think I am a lunatic between my near t-boning the crew while shooting pictures and my blabbering on about mindless drivel. I can become a chatter box when I am getting close to bonky town. Sorry Joy usually I am pretty normal. I think.
JZ is a BALLER! It was so good to see Justin! The Van Dessell is looking hott! And damn I had no idea what technical skillz our brother has. I was literally freaking out of my mind as we were dropping off some rocks and Justin is all chill just dropping in and surfing that single track. I did almost implant my record shifter into his butt at one point...Sorry 'bout that...But seriously this is not just a social ride. The Wheelworks crew have a gem in the making right here. It would be so cool if this built into a monthly crossapalooza. No excuses next month. Be there!!!

Ahhh and as a wrap up back to the New Rule. Taste Coffee House is a special one. We stopped on the way back and the four of us—Jenn, David and Andy vowed all rides now must start and end at Taste. The coffee is incredible, the crepes and egg sandwiches are out of this world and you can just tell they dig muddy, dirty and smelly bikers. Well they liked Andy too and he was sparkling clean and smelled of Eddy Merckx's Swiss Nanny's eau de toilet...Such a good day.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Happiness Is...

I hope everyone has their Happiness is Angel sitting in the left pocket of their jerseys this weekend! I saw this picture up on Stevil's AHTBM site and it just brought a smile to my face. I love that I am not the only headcase that rides a bike. The fact that PROs who are at the top of the bike game are even more superstitious than I am makes me love this sport so much.

When Cancellara starting ejecting extra gels out of his pocket on the run in to the finish and then pulled this out and flashed it to the camera I pretty much lost it. Its one thing to sew a medallion onto your helmet strap. That's no big deal its almost like the proliferation of huge gold crosses that come out to play in the summer during the TDF when the boys unzip their jerseys all the way open on the climbs in the Alps. Do they wear all that bling because they are devoutly religious? The Peleton is probably 75% catholic but they are wearing that as a protection symbol as much as anything else..But a little gold angel in the back pocket of your jersey? Awesome.

Paid a visit to the mothership to check in with the boys before they headed up to Battenkill. This was my first visit to Seven. I have to say I've been in a few shops in my day and this is by far the cleanest and most organized shop I have ever seen. Well that is not totally true. Wayyyy back in the day I got to tour the Merlin factory. That was unbelievable in its Zen-like layout and cleanliness. It was so streamlined. The way it was explained to me was that basically the tubing came in the loading dock then you did a counterclockwise trip of the fabrication of the bike from mitering to welding to paint to finish to right back where it started and out the door!

It was great to see Mike Salvatore and Graham. For two boys who are gonna be tasting some serious pain in less than 24 hrs they were chillin like villian's Graham is almost too relaxed...that man is gonna do some damage mark my words. Graham gave me the dime tour. I got to put on some safety goggles, oogle some ti, geek out over all the beautiful bikes and just get stoked once again about our amazing biker life.
Happiness is....raw ti tubing from floor to ceiling. Saw some cool carbon frames and I have to say carbon should never be painted. Raw carbon is hott. Slap a blue decal on it clear coat it and you have the sexiest bike possible. And I don't even like carbon. But raw it has a certain art-like quality to the material that just gets lost with all the paint. We talked about the merits of bikes for racing and riding. I put my hands on some Campy Super Record levers...stupid stupid stupid What was I thinking? I am a peasant and need to think like a peasant. Boutique Italian bike parts have no place in my life right now...but it is so sexy it is not even funny. And those new levers ergonomics feel real good on the hands.

Even the travel mugs at Seven are super cool

Happiness is...Honey! This is my second viewing of the Honey bikes. The first time was at MM racings raffle party. It was a party so while the bikes served as a great backdrop all my time was spent talking with good friends. But under a little more scrutiny they are really very nice. It is going to be very interesting to see how Seven and Rob Vandermark position these bikes. But from what I saw they are a good balance between sexy and understated.

Good luck all my brothers and sisters out on the tarmac and trails this weekend! Hup Hup

Monday, April 5, 2010

Strip Poker Mtn Biking

The title of this post was so close to being called fatter is better. Or maybe Meaty, Beaty Big and Bouncy...I have been living fat all winter long...not that kinda fat although I am by no means svelte. I have accepted my body type I am never going to be svelte just the way it is. I'm talking rubber. 25c fatties. And 2.2 fatties. David Wilcox is kind of responsible for this new big rubber love of mine. I did a ride with him over the winter and he had 2.4 racing ralphs on his bike. I had nokkians with 295 carbide studs. It was icy as hell and David rode everything. Literally. Didn't crash once. After that ride I vowed to ride fatter tires once the snow melted. Skinny tires do not make you faster. They only make the ride harsher and I guess that feeling of getting knocked about makes you feel faster cause you are out of control all the time. Speed should be smooth and flow like water not be skittering all over the tarmac.

I have been running 25s conti 4-seasons for 3 months now and have been loving them. I am on the hunt for some white 25c 4000s if anyone knows where to get some please, please, please hook me up. Not asking for free I'll pay just haven't seen them anywhere. Also a set of challenge 25s in white might be pretty sick as well. But back to the dirt. The 2.2 Schwalbe's have been awesome! I am trying a newer model called the rocket ron. I know the names are pretty lame but its a name whatevah. The lowdown is they are sweet. Much better than the Nobby Nics. They hook up real well in the wet and seem to offer pretty good traction in a lot of terrain. I have been crashing a bunch but its because I am riding with riders who are so much better than me and I am trying to keep up. But they just flow so nice. And they are fast. Even on the pavement I have been very impressed by how they roll. Racing on these should be interesting...Oh crap racing. I almost forgot I am racing again very soon...maybe a few more weeks of goofing off 'kaye?

But back to today's ride and the title of this mash up post. It was gorgeous. Like almost 80s I think I have a sunburn on my head gorgeous. I haven't been without knee or arm warmers since Sterling. So four months. I left the house with all on. At ten minutes I took of the arm warmers. At twenty minutes I took off the knee warmers. When I took the knee warmers off I felt naked. Seriously. It was the weirdest feeling. As I was stuffing them in my jersey pocket I spied a little movement in the trees. Three white tailed deers were still as statues staring at me. Once they realized I wasn't a threat they just moved about their business eating twigs and such. Beautiful creatures and just one more reason why the woods f'n rock. I love the road but give me a break how can you even compare the two. Going in the woods is like stepping on Hallowed ground. If you listen and take the time to look around you it becomes a religious experience.

Ok so once I came off this tree hugging moment and looked down at my legs I almost vomited! Who put that disgusting hair shirt on my nice legs? wtf? Oh crap I need some manscaping. Funny how you just don't notice these things under the leg warmers. Well I promise myself and all my biker friends this will be dealt with this week. I don't want anyone else puking if they have to see this madness. The ride went on fairly nicely. I did some hotlaps on the short track course out at the island. Tested the seals on my rock shox...oh man I was headset deep in that little dip. So yeah the flooding hasn't really receded. That's the bad news. The good news? Riding a bike through 3 feet of standing water is actually pretty damn fun. It is like a playground out there right now. Very little trail damage things are either under three feet of it or they are dry.

Made it home barely in time to get out of my kit wash the mud out of my eyes and off my face throw on some jeans and run to Syd's school to pick her up. As I was standing in line waiting for her to come out of class it hit me what do these mom's do with their time? Seriously? Is it wrong that I am out riding? Maybe. Probably I should be home cleaning the bathrooms or paying bills. But the bathrooms can wait for a rainy day and the bills? They'll get paid. Eventually.

The Move

Lance is sooo famous for among other things "The Look" Spartacus just etched "The Move" into his own legend. Quick post for a post-Ronde monday and the beginning of Holy Week. Our Holy Week that is for disciples of the Church of bike.
I had high hopes for JAF and Team Sky. And to Sky's credit they worked hard at the Ronde. They probably worked too hard. What's incredible to me about Cancellara 's win wasn't his dispatch of Boonen but how he overcame so much to even be in position to do so. I counted two bike changes. And trust me I was glued to the live feed much to my wife's chagrin. But there were at least two other times where he was way at the back. I might have missed some stuff between running to Whole Foods and getting ready for 20 guests for our Easter Party. Yeah I am kind of in the dog house again...

So credit him for fighting back and his team and Riis for putting him in contention after falling back. The bike changes were things of beauty. Like 8 seconds in most cases. And how he moved through traffic? Unreal. Boonen has a problem now. Between E3 and this win Fabian now OWNS him. At E3 it was tactics and a technical move at Flanders it was a move. And to further the head games I love that Cancellara is downplaying the effort. Brutal All bets are off for Paris-Roubaix. Boonen will be like a wounded animal and be very dangerous. Its going to be another one to stay glued to your computer screen for!
And Chapeau to Team Sky and JAF. Did they get played? Maybe. But you know what for a first year team to be at the front all day trying to win that is huge. These days people just try not to lose. Seeing Team Sky at the front riding like warriors was a beautiful thing JAF will have his day no doubt about it in my mind...maybe next Sunday! Oh and how cool was it seeing Lars Boom at the front for a bit? That made my day!

Friday, April 2, 2010

A day in The Biker Life

Boys, Bikes and cupcakes as my good friend Natasha coined the night! Eric and I are sooo geeking out over Mo's bike. The bike itself is a thing of beauty but all the touches and details courtesy of Matt's wrenching genius blow away anyone that has put a hand on a bike. The front brake was soooo smooth I seriously need to pick his brain about cross bike set up before August. Photo by Natasha of Pedalpowerphotography

So I had this whole long winded diatribe about The Biker Life in the works. Blah, Blah, Blah Boston rocks, Portland and Boulder make you soft....F it it was boring me and that is never a good sign so I deleted it. Its like preaching to the choir anyway right? But man I love being a biker in the NE. And I know JD hates the term biker. But I like it so I use it. Cyclist just doesn't convey this life...not even close. Had a great 24 hrs in The Biker Life. Thursday was MMracing's raffle/party and a chance to see Ride Studio Cafe in Lexington. Matt and Mo put on a great party! Was feeling uber lucky! Felt 100% sure I was walking out with that Seven! Not to be...but it went to its rightful owner. A guy stepped up big time and bought 12 tickets! At $50 a pop that is still a very good ROI!

Saw all kinds of cool cats. Talked shop, ate vegan cupcakes and enjoyed being with so many people I just love hanging around with. The brunt of my whole blog post which I deleted was how all of my friends are bikers right now. At this point it is almost painful dealing with someone who isn't a cyclist. We are lucky to have this life and all these great friends with passion and talent. I can't think of a lot of occupations that have this. Maybe surfing. Maybe. Saw some really great bikes at the RSC it will be real interesting to see how they use the space and the community that it builds around it. I can see it being a hub for cyclist passing through Lexington for years to come.
The next morning I woke up with a fairly sizeable hangover which for me who doesn't drink that often was pretty funny. Even more funnier still was it was off only 2 beers that I drank when I got home after the party. Dj Robert, Jenn and Jenn's friend rolled up to my Casa all clad in Blanco and looking PRO as hell! Well Brad wasn't in Blanco but was still a great guy and I won't hold that against him. I quickly kitted up into my best Blanco and we headed out. I think a few cars almost drove off the road as we headed into Dover in a tight paceline of white lightning! Such a great day out there. We did Strawberry Hill and the Bosberg (PVBs secret Hale short cut!) then did the Dover TT loop.

Post ride I got this in my in-box of my email! My teamates kick ass! Those two are my heroes! They road the bikes to my house, picked me up, we did a pretty hard ride, they ride back to boston and stop for beers post ride all while clad in Blanco! Chapeau! Its been great getting to know Jenn. She is a super strong rider and so cool. We are lucky to have her on Hup she adds some real firepower into the mix. Talking with her about the Ronde on the ride I still am soooo impressed by how well she did. She is strong as hell so that piece of the puzzle was never in question but when she told me that the Ronde was her first foray into "mtn biking" and all on a cross bike I was blown away to say the least. And like the rest of us just talking about it and reliving the ride brought a smile to her face. She gets it and is going to be a cross killah mark my words.

After my ride I took the kids for a little lunch at an outside cafe in Dover. While ordering turkey clubs and pizza I bumped into The Jerk and Embro James. I said hi to James but don't think he recognized me...he looked at me kind of funny like who is the suburbanite and why is he speaking with me....wasn't rude perse but out of my clown suit I just look like any other townie so maybe he was nervous I was gonna give him some shit. Bikers can never be too careful when they travel out of the City and into the mean streets of the 'burbs so I won't take it as a snub or anything. I did take the opportunity to take some spy photos of their bikes while they were inside the shop. I especially dug the Gaulzetti. Some nice touches all around. And even discounting that ISM I do love a blanco bike...
The Rooster has always been good luck to me. What a day....Hope everyone's weekend is filled with miles and miles of car free riding, wind at your back, legs pumping out effortless watts...Hup Hup