Tuesday, November 30, 2010

the fastest bike in pittsburgh

20 inch wheels, a two foot seat post, a massive quill stem and color matched bar ends. I'd like to see the person who rides this:

The best part is its "suspension X2" design (which is legible even if the bike is being ridden upside down). I assume that means it has twice as much suspension as a hardtail, and four times as much suspension as a rigid bike. But my math might be wrong.

Unfortunately the owner locked up his machine with an extremely secure wallet chain, so I was unable to steal it. And I really wanted to go huck some stairs with it.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

a tandumb dirty dozen ('10)

It started to snow while I was driving to Pittsburgh for the Dirty Dozen. I got a little worried:

And a certain girl was scheduled to come spectate the event, but she got a bad case of the sniffles. So I replaced her with an inflatable pink flamingo:

A few weeks ago, previous almost DD winner Sam Morrison told me that he wasn't motivated to train for this year's event. Since I find it hard to care about races without singletrack, I suggested that we do the race on a tandumb. So it was settled. We would try the DD on a tandumb.

A week later, Sam changed his mind. He was going to start training to beat Steevo. A few days after that decision, he changed his mind again. Now we would for sure do it on a tandem. Five minutes after that, Sam talked to Danny Chew on the phone. He was motivated to train again. Alright. I was sure he'd waffle a few more times.

He changed it at least two more times, but three days before the race we made the last call. We would do it on a tandem. We emailed the wizened and creaky Gunnar Shogren and asked to borrow his road tandem. He was happy to lend it to us.

Since Sam can't ride down a paved bike trail without going over the bars, we decided that I'd drive. Neither of us had ever ridden a tandem, I'd only ridden drop bars twice, (the second time I destroyed an entire drive train with my awesome shifting abilities,) I hadn't ridden a geared bike in over a year, and Gunnar sets his brakes up moto style. But I was pretty certain we could score some points on a hill.

"You're going to fail miserably." said Don Powers. What an encouraging guy.

When we got on the bike, we were wobbly as hell. I could hardly control the thing. But I didn't get really nervous until we hit the first hill.

The first hill is one of the easier ones, and we only got about half way up before we started to swerve. We fell off. At that point, I was really scared about the rest of our day. It was super hard to balance the bike and pedal up a hill.

We went back down to the bottom, and agreed to stay in the saddle instead of trying to stand up. That worked much better, and we cleared the hill.

Eventually I got a little better at controlling the tandem. On Logan we decided to go for points. We were crushing it up the hill, but still moving slow for the amount of effort we were putting in. We held on to 6th most of the way up, but dropped back a little and finished the hill in 8th or 9th. Just outside of the points.

After that effort, we were pretty shelled. We took it easy on the next few hills. Tried for points again on Mt. Washington, but we were too dead.

Canton Ave. was next. Since it's the steepest street in the US, it's one of the most feared hills.

We took a line through the rough cobbles in the middle and cruised right up it. With a long wheel base and almost 300 pounds on the wheels, we had no problems with traction.

We were a little more than half way through the ride. By that point at least two dozen people had asked Sam if he enjoyed staring at my ass. I laughed every time. Never got old.

The next few hills were like the rest. Hard, but we made them. Some people weren't so lucky:

Ben Stephens photo

On the flat section to the last hill, we tried to use our combined power to break away from the pack. We went from the back of the herd all the way to the front, but cracked when we hit the hill. We slowly spun up and finished the day.

Next year I might get a real road bike and try to actually race it.

Or I might have to do it on a single speed again. Gunnar did it on a fixed gear this year, in a 45x22, and scored one point. I can't let an old person one up me like that.

In any case, that'll be my last ride on a tandem.

Monday, November 22, 2010

the end of heckling season (bruceton mill's cross '10)

Throwing donuts at a 'cross race is like playing dodge ball in gym class. But at a 'cross race, all the nerdy kids are riding bicycles and are too tired to throw anything back. 

But before I threw donuts, I had to be the nerdy kid for a few laps. The Pflug decided to race Masters and 1/2/3 yesterday. He robbed me of my final chance to lose to him in a SS race this season.

The course was all in the grass with some climbing and a lot of turns. The Shrubcutta took the hole shot. I went easy to avoid getting taken into the tape on the first corner. 

I worked my way up to first by the middle of the 1st lap, and rolled from there. Hedgetrimma and Don Powers made a few attacks, but I held onto the gap. Then the Stuntedtreechoppa dropped his chain, and Don Powers was all alone. 
(the only mud on the course)

When I saw that it was only Don Powers chasing me, I relaxed a little. By the start of the last lap he was about a hundred feet behind me and shouting "Brah! I'm Dahn Pahers! Raa!"

I went a little faster and beat him by about ten seconds.

Then it was donut time.

The course went through a barn, so Don and I used the upper windows to attack. I threw donuts, and he whipped the cream:

My throwing arm was warmed up by the start of the 3/4 race. I wasn't necessarily aiming for Ben Stephens face, but I wasn't avoiding it either. 

Regardless of if I was trying to or not, I pegged him in the temple from about five feet away. It sounded like it hurt. I went for people's asses after that. 

Look closely. There's some powdered sugar on that helmet strap:

As I was screaming at Brad and making my wookie noise, he gave me a look that said "I hate you." Then I threw a whipped cream covered donut at his back. After the race he assured me that he hated me. 

But overall, people blamed Don Powers for the donut attacks. Which is excellent. I'm fine with letting people direct their anger at the loud one.

Then Stephanie Swan wanted to swim across the lake. 

I think her proposal went something like "Hey, just saying, if anybody wanted to swim across the lake, I would totally swim across to. But only if somebody else wanted to first." That wouldn't be enough to get me into freezing water, but apparently it was all the prompting Marc Glass needed:

At the end of the day, JR did awards. I finished 2nd in the series. The Pflug was undefeated and won the scarf:

Someday I'll catch the Plug and his little dog to:
Nice tongue.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Morgantown Monster 'Cross ('10)

The work of my esteemed ex-coworker and ex-tent neighbor:

I had to share. I miss him and and his giant jar of kombucha mold dearly. There's a scampering bunny at 1:34.

And Monster Cross'. The Pflug and I split off from the rest of the pack pretty early. We we're going fast, but the pace wasn't crazy. It was a comfortable fast.

On the run-up of lap two, I ran a little faster and passed him.

I'm in the top left, a few feet ahead of the Pflug in yellow. This made the Pflug very angry.

The Pflug went hard and passed me inside on one of the downhill corners. Then he did his best to "Drop that dirty hippy" as so many spectators seemed fond of yelling.

I held on for about 25 minutes, then he dropped me. I took second. It felt like my best race of 'cross season.  The Pflug is just far more powerful than me. And the Bushwaka admitted to stinking:

I spent the rest of the day throwing donuts and making whipped cream "bunny tails" on the asses of tired racers.

My slightly faded handiwork:

Friday, November 12, 2010

I don't think I mentioned this before, but I have an article about the Breck Epic in XXC #9.
issue preview
Buy print mags here. You'll be glad you did.

I was on a computer at school yesterday, and I realized that the video I put up from Marilla 'Cross wouldn't play unless you were one of my face friends. But Rob sent me the videos, and I put them on youtube. Now they work. Even if you aren't my face friend:

Morgantown Monster Mash tomorrow. Unless I get super motivated to tear my bike apart after work, I'll be racing fixed again. Hopefully I won't get lapped.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Murrysville 'Cross ('10)

Every 'cross race is pretty much the same. I ride around in a big grass field, I'm hit in the face with donuts, I get heckled for not having chest hair, something goes wrong, and I get lapped.

(It was fairly chilly. I'm warm blooded. Or stupid.)

I've been riding my Swobo for work lately, so I have it set up fixed. I really expected Murrysville 'Cross to be muddy since we had rain in the days leading up to the race. But sadly, it was perfectly dry.

A fixed gear isn't much of a detriment when the course is sloppy. The rear wheel is always churning through the mud, keeping the rider upright and moving forward. The back brake never stops working, unless the chain snaps. And that's not a problem for me anymore.

Back to Murrysville. There was no mud. Racing fixed was a bit of a detriment. I tried very, very hard, but I was still lapped by Steevo and Mike in the 1/2/3 race. Good times.

My best moment of the day was a few minutes after I pulled into the parking lot.

I got out of the Grumbler and called Brad a douche for warming up on a trainer.

"Don has donuts in his car." he replied.

"Sweet." I said. Don was out on the course doing the vet race. I opened his car, grabbed two powdered donuts, and shut the door.

Don came sprinting up the road. I threw one donut. Missed. I threw the second.

It slammed into his left cheek, leaving a big powdered sugar mark. The crowd huzzahed and Sheriff Gary voiced his approval. I danced in jubilation.

Colleen also raced, and had significant difficulties lifting her 45 pound Karate Monkey over the barriers. That said, unlike her boyfriend, she did not get lapped.

And Rob had all the fun:

But the day before the race, Colleen and I did have the privilege of going to the most exciting thing in Central Ohio:

Smucker's Cafe. Woah! Super Radical!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Marilla and WVU 'Cross ('10)

In terms of placing, Marilla 'Cross did not go well. I burped a tire in the SS race, and snapped my chain in the 1/2/3.

But I learned a very important lesson.

If you throw donuts at your friends, expect your friends to recruit a few dozen spectators to help them return the favor:

Every time I went through there, I put my head down and closed my eyes.

I was slapped on the ass:

Chased by vuvuzelas and sprayed with whipped cream and beer:

And mooned:

And...everyone politely cheers on the other racers:


But I might have deserved it.

I wish I could get the other videos up on here, but for some reason the facebook won't let me. In any case, I was hit by a lot of powdered donuts and traumatized for life.

At WVU 'Cross the next day, I set my Crosby up with my fixed wheel, and clipped my pedals on the ground in at least four turns. I guess I'm going to need to get some 170 or 165mm crank arms.

I crashed going through a turn on a basketball court and removed most of the skin from my left hip. The Pflug beat me, but the Bushwaka did not.

I'm racing fixed for the rest of the year. It's more fun (minus the crashing and missing skin.)

And I hereby declare donut throwing a new WPA/WV 'Cross tradition.