Monday, March 29, 2010

Let's do this...

Ok so first order of business on this POS rainy monday where I should be out riding tranquilo on the road bike just about ready to pull off into my first pastry shop for a little chocolate croissant and a double macchiato an apology. Kind of a preemptive apology if you will. Who exactly am I apologizing to? That would be all the sport class ( I just can't call them 2s) mtn bikers in New England. All five of you. Why am I apologizing to you. Well in two weeks I guarantee it will be painfully obvious. In two weeks I am doing this.

Sure doesn't sound like such a big deal. A mountain bike race so what. Have I mentioned I am the worst mtn biker on the eastern seaboard? Have I mentioned I am really old? Well I guess the good news is I will be racing against other old dudes. The bad news is being old doesn't seem to slow down these dudes at all. In fact they seem to get faster and tougher by the minute. How else do you explain 3 old dudes beating a young dude at a young man's game? I am going to get beat like a drum...

But to get to that next level in cross the suffering needs to happen now. Well in two weeks. But my suffering will be small in comparison to the suffering of the rest of the sport riders that unfortunately find themselves behind me. Oh and it will happen. Hubris me stating I will get in front of riders in the sport class? I am a cross racer we live for the hole shot. Entire season's worth of cross glory can be gained in one hole shot. If you get the hole shot at G-star it doesn't matter if you go from first wheel to 30th position in one lap. Trust me I've been there people forget the enormous slide you just did they only remember seeing you at THE FRONT! So long story short I can get out of the gate pretty ok. The bad news for you is I can barely hop a small root. I have a deep seated fear of wood bridges. I crash a lot. I get off and run faster than you can say wtf. Actually I may have to invest in ear plugs because I am sure there will be a lot of brake squealing and screaming of epithets in a short two weeks.

My friends have been trying to help me. And I really honestly am so in debt to them it is almost beyond words. People with real talent have actually shown an interest in keeping you all from physically assaulting me on the race course. But I think I am a tad beyond help. They have been kind. I've heard "you get off that bike awfully quick." And "yeah I guess it was faster to run up that." Like I said these are my friends and I do love them all. I am lucky to have friends like these. Come to think of it maybe its not you all they are worried about. Maybe it is me they are really worried about. The thought of me trying to go race pace over axe head rocks and drop offs must be terrifying. I need about 4 months riding with these friends before I can even hope to be competent on the dirt.

The good news? I do love mtn biking. I hated it when I first moved here. The rocks and drop offs and woods bridges scared the crap out of me. Well they still do but its less Freddy Kruger and now just kind of ok wood bridge I know how to ride a wood bridge chill out and ride the wood bridge. Yeah that is the other bad news for you. Hopefully I will be able to keep this dialogue with myself internal. But when I am bonked to pieces and trying to keep my shit together I can't guarantee that I won't start talking with myself a bit about these trail features and how to deal with them.

Half the reason I am going to partake of the VTT racing this summer is that mtn biking just takes me to the redzone soooo fast. Perfect for cross. Cross is ALL about the redzone. Mtn bike racing will also force me to run. It might force you to crash or run/walk as well as I get off right in front of you and run up something you are going to ride but what can I do about that? I hate running and this will be a perfect opportunity to get some trail running in.

Sully cautioned me at Washington Square Tavern that its too "dangerous" Coming from him that is something. This guy lives danger. So did that make me nervous? Maybe a touch. But road racing is dangerous. Hell road riding in a group ride with a bunch of amped up wannabes that you don't know is wayyyy off the danger scale in my mind. Just ask Eli about the last CRW ride if you get a chance. That my friends is danger. So we'll see how this experiment goes. I guarantee there will be some hijinx out there. I may ruin your mtn bike race. Cross riders are kind of like that. We are pretty much the red-headed step child of bike racing and frankly I like it like that.

See you out there! Hup Hup...just remember when you scream at me for running a section or getting off on a sketchy descent and "ruining" your line I warned you wayyy in advance. Peace OUT...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Bikes of the RdR

Kevin Sweeney's "Ridley" Hilarious. Last CX season I was like come on get Kevin a Ridley. If I was his sponsor this type of humor would work instantly he'd be on an X-Night the next day. But you know what? He's better with aluminum for cross anyway. Chapeau brother that joke still kills me!

I love bikes. Love working on them. Love looking at them. Love the feel of them. The weight. The smell of oil, lube and rubber. Aesthetics are a part of it. But not in the fashion that has taken over a lot of the mainstream press. I am much more Ak-47 than M-16. Give me a weapon that will work in all elements, all the time and will never let you down. And like an Ak make it for the masses. Or at least for the masses of real bikers who are going to live and breathe on the machines not treat them like some kind of show pony.

The build up to the Rhonde had people scrambling for bikes. Friends were frantically building bikes for friends who wanted to ride it. I got countless emails about bikes etc. I tried to hook people up as best I could. Friday night I was up until 1:30 in the am building up the Sycip into a cross killing machine. Lately I have been on the edge as far as what shape my bikes are in. Surprise surprise I get a bit OCD with my bikes. Not in the I want my bikes looking PRO OCD but in the I am very finicky about how they work and run. They have to be reliable. Cross teaches you that. I toss out cable way before its to the point where it will be a problem. I change cables and housing constantly to get the right shifting. I run campy and that shit is not cheap. But it is a small price to pay.
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.

Couple of observations. Campy has changed up their housing. Don't know if its a 11 speed thing or what but it is really nice. I had just put Yokuzunas on my Rock Lobster and those are NICE but the new campy? Bellisimo! The brake housing is supple. Certainly compared to Yokuzunas which are super stiff...Cabling up the bike with the campy cables and housing was a joy. Its weird as I am on the cusp on switching (or trying at least) Sram Force. Everyone has such good things to say about it. I still just don't know. I love me that campy thumb paddle. I love that campy is just bombproof. Is it a coincidence that the deraillers that keep ripping off peoples bikes are Sram? I don't know. I have ripped a campy off. Granted a huge stick got sucked up in there but still. Once in 10 years of riding campy in cross races and just riding my cross bike everywhere. That's a pretty good track record.
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!

Both my bikes worked fantastically. The Sycip rebuilt is a thing of beauty. It basically is me incarnate in a bike--blue collar east coast grit with a little west coast mellow thrown in to take the egde off. Chris Igleheart built me that gorgeous segmented cross fork right before last cross season. Budgets and life got in the way of me building the bike up. That fork changes everything on the bike! It rode/rides so nice its incredible. Are steel forks heavy? Yes. But sometimes stiff and light doesn't make it right. A steel fork made by a master, and make no doubt about it Chris is a master, rides so smooth and so carvy it will blow your mind! I loved this bike before I really love it now. I set it up single ring with a pauls chain protector and it is one nice riding cross 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.

We'll see its still Belgian weather in the NE it sure feels like cross season still. Summer riding seems like a lifetime away. I may just be that guy it will be a test of metal to see just how the cross guy does on a ride like Tuesday Night Worlds....that should be entertaining...

Monday, March 22, 2010

Hup Og & Hup New Skool in da haus!

We are going to be talking about the Rhonde for years. Well until next year anyway when we do it all over again! So many legends were born on Sunday. So many epic stories. They will all start trickling out through all the usual channels. Lots of story being talked already. But what really is the defining piece of the whole day for me is all the people that flocked to this event. Sooo many New England Hupsters came out for this. It was so good to see Hupsters I haven't seen since cross season, or even Battenkill or some even from a cross season ago. Its such a small world even some our new Hup riders already new older Hup riders. Six degrees of separation? More like two as Jenn said so well yesterday. One Hup Finds Another has never been more true. All the pictures here were shot by Natasha. They capture so much about the day. The dirt, the grittyness, the wood bridges! Yikes the wood bridges! There were a few "incidents" on the woods bridges. The biggest shocker is that it wasn't me who ejected off of one as I have a real bad history with wood bridges. The fact no one t-boned each other as they passed back and forth on the same bridges as they did the out and back on the first woods section of the course is one of the most PRO parts of the whole day.
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

Today was a good day

Obviously that is not Ice Cube pictured above but in the immortal words of Ice Cube "today was a good day." Rosey pulled off one of the greatest outlaw rides of all time today. The Rhonde de Rosey was a huge success. 67 riders, 67 miles of dirt, mud, crazy trails all kinds of tarmac some wayyy more technical than any of the dirt we rode. Rosey is going to grow weary of my cheshire cat grin I will be wearing from now til cross season.

Here's basically how it went down. When Bjarne Riis wants his troops to get ready for the spring classics and the grand tours he builds comraderie by throwing them off an inflatable in the north atlantic and making them swim to shore. Rosey sets loose a wild pack of cross dogs on the Rhonde! Rosey proved in technocolor today that cross season is never over!
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.

Team out of bounds needs some McGiver award and Matt Roy should accept it. Wow. Talk about adversity. The first dirt section one of their riders ripped his rear derailler off. No problem Matt turned the bike into a single speed. The rider then rode his single-speed for 30 miles. Dear god it was hard enough with gears can you imagine? Was that the end of their bad luck? Mais Non. Next the now single-speeder snaps his chain. Matt Roy now tows the rider without the chain from Lexington to Arlington with an inner tube as a bungy chord. Incredible. That type of effort becomes the thing of legend trust me.

We had our share of bad luck as well trust me. My good friend Eli started the ride with a badly separated shoulder. At around mile 50 as we are traversing a narrow wood bridge about three feet high I hear rider down called out from the back of the train. My brain instantly goes "rider down?!" Holy crap. Eli fell off the bridge and jacked his totally messed up shoulder even worse. He is one seriously tough hombre. I'd be in the fetal position crying for my mommy. He just climbs back up on the wood bridge and away we go. He was in obvious pain for the last 17 miles. Hardman of the day right there. The whole team rode so out of their heads it is just awe-inspiring! Thank you to all of you! Each and everyone took their turn at the front, helped navigate some tricky section, provided great conversation and hilarity at all times. I bow down to you guys seriously!

Last bit and I need to get to sleep. Richard Fries. Holy shit. I don't even know what to say. I guess the only thing I can equate it to is when you find out just how talented your friends are and it blows your mind. He drove a pace that never stopped. Seriously. He was on Tim Johnson's old 9-ball cannondale with jets and just rode like 10 men. Once again he showed what a patron really is. He kept us safe, had us moving like a Seal team through enemy territory and provided a clinic in not only technical cross riding but urban riding unlike anything I have seen. Chapeau my friend! It was impressive to behold.

Sleep well my brothers and sisters. I am sooo lucky to call all you my friends! Hup Hup and huge thanks to Rosey, Gerry and the Washington Square Tavern, Murat, Natasha, Mo for bringing yummy vegan cupcakes and cookies, Hannah for the SSC Hupcakes, all the sponsors of the raffle and all you cross freaks for bringing it all day long!!!!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

R is for...

R is for Rhonde. R is for Ruta. R is for cannonball run? Well the run part anyway. And most importantly R is for Rosey! Dude pulled this off! I cannot even believe it, the Rhonde is in 3 days!

Ok unless you have been in a sleep study for the last week or perhaps fled to the Cayman Islands we've had a little rain around here. In Biblical proportions actually. So with that said everyone is always saying epic this, epic that. People throw around the word epic for a pastry ride at this point. Everyone is always itching for an epic, well this will be epic! I promise you that. And I mean epic like Ruta de la conquistadoras epic. Outcome unknown epic. Element of danger/destroyer of bikes epic. Tighten up those helmet straps cause this will not disappoint! Rosey and I have been marking La Ruta as best we can and 'R' marks the spot! On key egress and ingress points there should be an R painted on the tarmac with an arrow. Look for them but also use your head every transition isn't marked we are only mere mortals.
We also put up some blue ribbon and used trail features to try and help you all navigate. But this is an adventure race and is bandit style. No course marshalls, no caution signs. Use your skillz both brain and body. Be safe. Be prepared for anything. You may have to wade, walk, swim to get around some flooding etc. Most all of it is passable. I think. By Sunday hopefully the water may have receded an inch or so...Be careful! And have FUN!!!
See you all Sunday AM. I am so geeked out I think I may puke...breath in....breath out....ok I am better now. Thanks Rosey and everyone who made this happen. Seriously on Sunday when you see Rosey give him a big hug, hand shake, high five, Hup Hup...what evah but just thank that man cause he is a badass!

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

There can only be one

Velocb.blogspot is going radio silent for a little while. Not going to bore you with the details of my so-called life but its Spring and time spent on blogger is time that should be spent outside riding bikes or playing freeze tag with the kids.

So thank you blogosphere it has been an awesome run! I am also saying au revoir to Twitter. I am kinda OCD as it is and twitter has to be the most OCD networking tool on the planet. Looking at pictures from NAHBS just hammered home how whack it is that even when we all get together in the real world and have our good friends all around us we stay glued to the little super phones ala an idiot box instead of just being present and being there for and with our friends. Again thank you though to all my tweeps! Twitter is an amazing way to stay connected and I have learned a lot using it and have been hugely entertained by all your creativity, wit and knowledge. It was an education in biker life. So seriously thanks to all of you.

I will stay on Facebook as its the easiest and most ubiquitous platform to keep Hupdated with all my teammates and friends. So, much love to everyone out in the blogosphere! Big Hup hugs when I see you in the real world! The Hup NE fb page will keep rolling on and frankly with these other 2 monkeys off my back there should be some real good posts up on there. Lastly Spring is here! Get out on it. Ride your bike!

Hup Hup!!!!

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

The Cat with the Hats

Hup United - New England Rider Profile Numero Uno

Just who are all these alarmingly attractive athletes decked out in Belgian Blue? Enquiring minds want to know...There are so many ridiculously talented riders on Hup United it sometimes blows my mind. The more I get to know all my Hup brothers and sistahs the luckier and luckier I feel to be a part of this squadra.

The first time I met Theo was probably two years ago at G-star. First thing I noticed of course was his damn fine Seven Mudhoney! He got big props from me for that gorgeous cross rig! Second thing I noticed was what a cool cat he was. Super nice. Really easy to hang out with. The more I have gotten to know him the more I realize he is also scary smart and really creative. Theo makes some of the most beautiful cycling caps you'll ever see. His wool caps would make anyone instantly more attractive. Guaranteed. Theo agreed to make some custom caps for the Squadra and his design is out of this world! Thanks Theo for bringing some serious style to our team! If you want to take a closer look at his work check out

I had to learn a little more about what just makes Theo tick so I fired him off a wicked lame Q&A. Being the true professional he is he hit me back with some great answers!

VCB: How did you start making cycling caps?

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

I hate Facebook, I heart facebook

Ha, seconds after blogging about how facebook has ruined my blog I get this love letter from SpectaCross and a reminder that Karma is real posted up on my FB wall.

"Hey Chip, did you know that you're the Lord Stanley of cyclocross? I guess we should tell you that the "Chip Baker Trophy" is now a permanent part of the NJ State Fair SpectaCross. It's kinda like the Stanley Cup of cyclocross (except it's a piggy bank instead of a bowl). Just like Lord Stanley, you make a donation once and you're name's attached forever. No matter where you finish, your name is on the trophy!"

Its like FB has implanted a chip in my brain and is now feeding me exactly what my fragile ego desires to hear. Hell yeah we are going to keep the Chip Baker Trophy alive and well at the NJ State Fair. Hmmm I might have to see if the winner might win say an actual pig this year. I'm not talking full-size maybe just a Vietnamese pot-bellied pig. I hear they are better pets than most dogs. Wow. I can now die a happy man. Some people have children and create entire industries to ensure their legacy lives on...not me I have some pig!

Thanks SpectaCross I really do appreciate it and am up for it. I'll break my own piggy bank and send a chunk of coin to NJ to sweeten the pot. Who is fast enough to take that Trophy from Coach Al?

21 Days

Facebook is ruining my blog. There I said it. Between Facebook and twitter I have become totally lazy about blogging. Ideas are constantly swirling in my head calling for a blog post but because of my ridiculous lifestyle the only thing I have time for is a quick FB update. Its been good don't get me wrong. Hup United has gone coast-to-coast in a quest for Facebook world domination...Ok who am I kidding? Sockington the cat has 1.5 million followers on twitter. The rest of us are posers on a grande scale compared to that feline wonderkind.

Its almost becoming like the Seinfield episode where Elaine laments wether her love interests are sponge worthy...I want to save the good stuff for the blog but I just don't have the time to sit down and put it down on the pad. The biggest news of course is that Winter is ovah!!! Jonny Bold said it, so it must be true. He is the Chuck Norris of cycling after all and if he says winter is over it damn well better be over or JB will kick old man winter in the nuts and that as they say will be the end of that.

In a mere 21 days it will be the first day of Spring. And even more importantly The Rhonde de Rosey shall be contested over hill and dale all throughout Boston and its environs. I did a Rhonde recon ride on saturday in a light snowstorm and had a few epiphanies. One: cross tires are slow as hell on the road. Two: the woods are going to be a mudpit. Three: I am seriously going to need to decide between do I want to go fast on the road sections or crash and die in the mud sectors. The Rhonde de Rosey may end up being more a Three Peaks on meth than a true Rhonde hardman road ride. With the trail sectors we are going to be asked to ride (well demanded to ride!) you will need a cross bike.

I had to hike a bike a good section of trail on saturday so road shoes are out. It is going to be an incredible day on the bike. I personally am totally geeking out about it. Did I buy specific tires for this ride? Maybe. Am I going to divulge just what rubber I bought...not so much. Suffice it to say its not a semi-slick and its not a true knobby. Last hint: they seemed to work pretty ok at the real Three Peaks this last year.

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.

But back to Facebook and its evil twin sister from Hades Twitter. The power of the two for their social networking abilities cannot be denied. Their power as an all consuming time suck are pretty much Legion. Blogs to me are an amazing journal or diary/teaching tool. I am not naming names because there are so many great blogs and bloggers right now but when I first moved back to Boston five years ago three blogs pretty much laid a map for my reentry. I owe a lot to those bloggers. Over the years I've also found a few that are equally as poignant. There is one that just for some reason strikes a chord lately and is one I stumbled upon via faticus's blog. She is without a doubt my hero. Seems like a badass, great mom, great rider, priorities dialed. Check it out the entries are short but to the point. Its a totally personal diary style blog but what she shares is just fantastic. Her take on Facebook is spot on. Check it here