A random collection of thoughts associated with the sport of cycling, as relayed by one hopelessly devoid of too many competing interests. It's a one track blog I'm afraid. But hey, if you like bikes you might enjoy it. So keep reading and the worst that'll happen is it might rot your brain..

Friday, February 13, 2009

TOC 2009 the Clone Wars?

I don't usually chime in about bike racing. This is because I know next to nothing about it. I do, however, see an uncanny resemblance here and, regardless of how you feel about either of these riders, you have to admit a Hinault/Lemond style showdown at some point this season would just be great to watch.. If only to see some animation from either one of these two.

Edited to add; This picture was pilfered from the Velonews Site. If it's yours and you'd like it removed let me know...

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Come ride your bike on the Dirts!

We, here in the smallest, brokest, most corruptest, Isle of Rogues have something many of you of the more northern climes do not. That, my friends, is DIRT. The real deal brown stuff. Hmmmm. Where is your dirt? Ensconced in snow and no doubt hiding out under a crusty layer of filthy mean spirited snow. It's not even poking it's head out to taunt you is it? Nope, it's still sleeping and waiting... for May.

How on earth will you cope? You could run, snowboard, XC ski, ride on snow. You may also caress your cranks, lube your johnson rods and fix the flux capacitor. Oh, and don't forget about perfecting your fixed gear spin (working on your 1000 yard stare at the same time is optional)! You could also look into building bicycles from human hair and squirrel corpses. (Something tells me this guy needs a good old MTB ride ASAP).

Sure, all the above will stave off insanity and tide you over until the polar ice caps in your local woods give way. But, I bet that it's all getting real old right about now. What you could do to cure what ails ya is head down to Burlingame in Charlestown, RI. Why? Because there will be dirt. And rocks, and rollers and steep climbs, granite and drops. It's all there and waiting for you. It's also a fund raiser for the Good Vibes Youth Ride to boot and we'll most likely have some post ride food (chili again, maybe?). If you are the bike racing type you could simply ride the Yellow Loop to get your head around the King of Burlingame TT course. If I may be so bold (I will be anyway), I would recommend riding the longer, and more technical, trails that Lennon and his crew of hardcore ninja builders have constructed. Kung Fu Grip required all the way but it's totally worth it.

For details feel free to visit this thread on the NEMBA forums. There is also one on the MTBR forum (MA and CT/RI) for good measure.

Hope to see you there. I'll be the skinny looking guy on the black Sinister 29er. You may even catch a glimpse of the angriest dude on two wheels if he just sucks it up and makes the trip from Pawtucket.

No pics so I'm borrowing this clip from Steve over at the Duff Guide to Ska. It is excellent to say the least. Enjoy.

Monday, February 09, 2009

Slower than Snot

I've been riding at a snail's pace recently. Slow, big(ish) gear and SS only. Working on climbing strength for MTB SS riding and spinning it every chance I get on the flats. Lately it's been about trying to avoid the worst effects of the annual head/chest funk that seems to afflict everyone I know, myself included, right about now. I did get in some ride time last week and over the weekend, and it was really nice to get out in the sun and warmer temps. The night time rides are OK in that they keep me off my trainer, but sunshine is where it's at. Hell, even grey skies and blowing wind beats the TV. And, honestly, last Thursday nights ride was freaking COLD. Didn't help I was still sickly and shouldn't have ventured out either.

The Old North Burial Ground on North Main is where I've been ending my recent rides. The pavement is decrepit, sometimes muddy, and beat to shit in every way possible. Awesome! There are basically no dirt roads to speak of close to Providence save the old rail beds and the fire roads in Lincoln Woods. Riding the cemetery is as close as it gets and it's a good thing the place is actually kinda big. No one is ever really in there either, which allows you to cruise at a nice clip and take advantage of the punchy climbs and crumbly asphalt corners. It's a weird place, scrunched between North Main and I 95, and it's full of dead people, but the roads offer a decent early season workout and the plow work is better than many of the area roads receive.

In other somewhat bike related news I had to head up to the soon to be new office in Quincy on Saturday morning. The good thing was it allowed me to fully scope out the ride to work from 138. There's a park and ride right off 138 and from there the route will take me through the Blue Hills. The days I ride in from the P&R will cut off ~ 20 miles from the drive. I can extend the ride a bit as well, I could also add some single and double track once the trails are open to bikes again in April. I'm thinking of getting some better 'cross tires though. The stock tires on the San Jose (WTB All Terrainasourus) are soft, squirmy and adhere to road surfaces the way peanut butter sticks to the roof of your mouth. This is good for some resistance but not so hot for getting anywhere quick. I think my standby 'cross tire, the Ritchey Excavader, actually rolls easier on pavement and would probably handle the woods riding better as well. The only sketchy looking part of the ride is in Quincy near the office but it's a short stretch, and I'll be heading in a little after the rush, so hopefully it's not a death race.

Here's to hoping this week's temps allow for enough melting so Lennon can host the planned Fun Ride down in Burlingame next Sunday..

Sunday, February 01, 2009

The Harder They Come

It seems, to me at least, that here's been an awful lot talk on these internets about hardening up, being tough and riding your bike in the elements and all that. It has seemed nearly impossible to avoid the sentiment over the last few weeks. From where I'm sitting (reclining, really) we on the right coast are experiencing a winter. Fancy that! Anyone over the age of 30 might remember playing pond hockey all season and not really riding a bike at all during the winter. I know it's been a few years since we've all gone through the maddening routine of chipping ice from the walk and throwing down enough salt to pay a Roman army, but unless you just moved to NE from a sub tropical locale you really can't bitch too much. Nor should you tell anyone to HTFU and ride.

And here's why I want you (you know who are) to STFU about Hardening TFU. I want to be faster than those loathe to heed your advice in April and May. That's it, it's really nothing more than that. I want to put time into them during early season MTB races faster than Mike Phelps heads for the bong at a kegger. You all can have June through August and 'cross season to boot. When you're a Sport (cat 2?) racer for life like me the only bike racing related joy in life comes from being fast in March, April and May. All the articles written in all the bike mags in the world will tell you to avoid "overtraining" in the winter because, well, no one wants to be fast in the spring and slow the rest of the year. Oh yeah? STFU! Some of us great unwashed have followed this widely denigrated trend almost every year we've ridden bikes.

All of sudden people want to encourage you, Mr. and Mrs. Trainer, to suck it up and visit Mother Nature at her most bitter moments. Allow me to set you straight; This can be a particularly demoralizing time of year to meet Ms. Nature. Her menopausal hot flashes will entice you out of doors shortly before her icy mitts slam your riding window shut with whip crack speed. Let me encourage you to heed the advice of those common sense training articles found in Bicycling and tell you to just stay home and sit on your trainer. No one, I mean no one, wants to be a superstar in April. Just stay home and ride your trainer to nowhere. Let us plebes get in our junk miles and don't tell us to HTFU. We know there's nothing hard about it. Because, if we're remotely honest with ourselves we know the that the folks we see riding to and fro, weather be damned, on clapped out Huffys are harder than you, me and anyone reading this.

That is all, please enjoy the pictures below. Or don't, it's OK if you don't.