You are currently browsing the monthly archive for September 2007.

The way it’s looking lately, I’m gonna say yes. 

I got a comment on the term “hundie” for 100 mile mtb races and was told to call them “dirty centuries”.  Well, I’m not going to call them that either.  I think 1900 to 1999 will become known as the dirty century as we progressed with the industrial revolution to the automobile.  Pollution will sure to be the highest in the 20th century because we are seeing the decline of oil in this century.  A decline in oil and its use will clean this century up for sure.

Back to the magazines…..

Another reason I don’t like the term dirty century is because of Bicycling Magazine…I’m going to call it BM because you can read the whole thing in one sitting.  If you have ever experienced a year of a Rodale Press publication such as BM, you know that a year is all you need.  You second year will be the same as the first.  Same “Hot Tech Tips” and “How to Get Faster” articles year after year.  So after reading Harlan Price’s report on being interviewed by the fine writers at BM, I’m definitely not going to call a 100 MTB ride a dirty century.  You can read Harlan’s report here:

 http://forums.mtbr.com/showthread.php?t=340912

And have you checked out this month’s Dirt Rag?  Man it’s a lame one.  I usually devour the Rag.  I hope this month is just  a fluke.  My main complaint is the report on the 650b bike and the haphazard review of the Felt FS bike.  A new wheel “standard” is going to really confuse the regular customer.  If the 650b takes off, then I hope to see the end of the 26″ very soon.  First time customers are already confused about the 29er.  I think it would be to a shops advantage to make sure their entry level bikes are 29ers and the only 26″ bikes on their floor should be a couple top end rigs and really small 26″ entry level bikes.  But I again digress.

Blogs today do a good job of allowing us to express ourselves to people that we don’t know.  Much like magazine editors and their writers do from print journalism.  As a fairly new blogger, I hope I can stay focused on my main topic of mountain biking.  I’m sure I’ll stray here and there, but I’ll do my best to stick to writing about trails, big wheels, riding, fitness, traveling to trails to do rides on big wheels to stay fit, and occasionally I’ll pick on those who annoy me.

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Most of my friends know me as a “short track” racer.  At 37, the shorter races have begun to take their toll on my heart.  Having a high max HR (I’ve performed over 20 VO2 Max tests and about 7 other types of tests in the past 3 years), and having some “issues” on the race course, I think my short track career is over.  They are fun….especially when I’m on the podium with guys almost half my age.  I love the tactics, but a tactical advantage is only as good as your anaerobic threshold and power to weight ratio.  At 200 lbs, my power to weight ratio really isn’t that great.

So now is the season for big rides.  I’ve done a few races this year that went about 3 hours.  Usually I suck at those.  Hour 2 comes and I hope I don’t cramp, but this year I stayed hydrated and well fueled and was able to finish strong.  Hopefully my “age” induced endurance will help me through the next few weeks.

I’m doing my second road century of my life.  My first was when I was a teenager.  I’ve ridden hundred milers since then, but only on my own or with Jenn…..and I can guarantee you that there have been less than 3 of those.  My longest mountain bike ride was a 70 mile leg of the Crested Butte 100.  I did that on my Moto-Lite.  It actually felt great and I was able to hang with some of the old time fast guys from Colorado. 

 I’ll also be doing my least favorite mountain bike race – the Chupacabras.  Why is it my least favorite?  About 35 miles or so of flat Rio Grande levee.  Ugghh.  All the Mexican roadies pin that section with team tactics and leave everyone in their wake.  No skill required.  The skill sections are brief and require more hiking skills than riding skills.  A free jersey to the top 600 makes it worth while.  They also give away lots of other cool swag.  It is quite an experience and it is worth doing if you ever get the itch for an interesting event in the border city of Juarez, Chih, Mexico.

The next weekend after that I’m doing my first 100 mile off road adventure, the Zuni 100.  I think most people are calling them “hundies”.  That makes me think of some weird sort of diaper or German brief, so I’ll just refer to them as a 100 miler.  The one I’m doing is at moderate elevation and has only modest climbing.  It’s almost all single track, some of which I’ve ridden.  My skills should help me. 

I’m glad I own a dualie 29er.

For the last year, I’ve been dropping hints to race promoters everywhere that something has to be done about the crappy prizes and nik naks that are handed out at races.  I know I’m not the only one.  This past spring BIKE Magazine had an article about how mountain biking lacks “the prize”….like the Stanley Cup.   Any of you who have stood on the podium or browsed the prize table while struggling to remain standing after a race…..this blog posting is for you.  For your entertainment, I have gathered some of my stash.  Half of it is buried somewhere in a closet.  Others have made it to the landfill.

Medals – I have boxes of medals.  Many of them are made out of plastic.  Some I have no idea where they came from or what place they were.  Others are well labeled and look really cool.  Looking through my stash, I get some great memories.  The guys at Team Big Bear are the worst.  They used plastic medals for years.   Woop d doo…I got a medal.  Stash that one in the box.  And don’t even get me started on ribbons. 

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Big checks – While big checks are cool, there really isn’t that much money to go around to make big checks that interesting.  Jenn and I both won big checks down in Mexico.  They were for 1500 pesos….$150.  Let me go buy that new car!  If you’re gonna give out the big check, make sure the money in the bank is worth it.  Nothing gets good racers to your race more than cold cash.  A lot of it.  Not just $150 for the overall winner…especially when you have over 200 participants.

T-shirts – T-shirts seem to be mandatory for all entrants.  That’s cool, but remember Mr. Promoter, that shirt ends up in the rag bin or the Goodwill dumpster about a year or two down the road.  I can get 8 high quality bicycle rags out of a medium t-shirt.  And that ugly ass color you used since the t-shirt company said they’d give you a great deal on it….sucks.  Why the f^@* do I want another black shirt with pink letters.  Or the purple one with the ugly sasquatch on it…what was up with that Bump and Grind promoters?  Instarag!

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Belt buckles – Unless it’s for the Leadville 100….I see no need to try to copy.  Although this silver from the women’s Iron Horse road race is a nice one.  It just never gets worn.  I’m not into boots and plum smuggler wranglers.  Wearing these is not an option.

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Jerseys – Now were starting to get somewhere.  Of course, road races make this a mandatory thing.  Leaders get a sweet jersey for the wall.  Overall winners too.  Jenn has a bunch of those things stashed away somewhere.  They’ll go on a bike shop wall one day.  The Chupacabras 100K (or 120 K or however long it is now) gives a jersey to the first 600 finishers.  Nice.  And if you win one of the many national championship categories, you get a good ‘ole stars and stripes.  2 for this household!  The downside to wearing these is they’ll wear out.  It’s sad to do that. 

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 Trophies and plaques – Ugg.  So BMX.  I mean look at them.  I’m not going to cover my wall or let dust build on all this crap, so what do I do with them.  And what in the hell is that thing on the right?  Can you get any more lame for a prize?

 trophies-and-plaques.jpg

Bike Swag – Thanks local sponsoring shop or big manufacturer who is friends with the promoter.  I love you.  You’re gonna pony up an assload of tires for the winners!  Just what I need.  A set of 26″ mud tires for me to ride on my 29er down here in the desert.  Or those ugly ass gloves that sat on your shelf for over 2 years.  Or the 2 year old helmet.  Sometimes it’s good stuff, but finisher beware…..make sure you count the spoke holes on those sweet lookin’ rims.  You may never use them and they’ll get all bent up on your way home.  I must admit that I am currently using quite a few products that were picked up off the winner’s swag table.  Other times, I’ve found myself so weary and fried after sitting around for 3 hours waiting on awards, that I just grabbed the wrong thing.  Really wrong.

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THE ULTIMATE PRIZE……

The drinking vessel!!! – A quality drinking vessel is the best prize you can give a cyclist.  Sheeez.  All we do is drink…and eat and train occasionally.  Fluids are key to our survival and sanity!  Why not give us something to remember our suffering.  I fill that pint with a cold Sam Adams and remember putting the wood to those guys out in Vermont.  Fill that mug up with OJ in the morning and remember Yuri H.’s first of many crashes (King of the Hill DH at Deer Valley…thanks for cheering Yuri).  Jenn even has a stainless steel martini glass!  How cool is that?

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So listen up all you promoters.  Order the beer glasses for your winners.  Stuff some cash into them for the experts and pros.  Put gift certificates to the local sponsoring restaurant or shop into them for the sports and beginners.  Fill one up with Sports Legs or packs of Cytomax for the last finisher.  Give the extras away to your volunteers. 

I probably had a few of you wondering about the seatpost I mentioned before this past weekend.  It’s a Moxey suspension post that was way ahead of its time.  The elastomer has dampening qualities that keep the post from springing back too fast.   It has 3 inches of travel.  The company stopped making this post when Cane Creek obtained Thudbuster and threatened a lawsuit on Moxey.  That was way back in 2000.  This post is almost 10 years old.

moxey post

Sunday I rode it to a hard fought victory in the SS category at Cedro’s Greatest Hits…the New Mexico State Championship.  That course was AWESOME!  Super rocky with hundreds of ledgy drops.  I love that stuff and it really amps me when I ride that stuff for the first time in a race and I’m able to rally well enough to stay at the front.  The climbs were almost just as rocky.  The seatpost saved me many times. 

 I ran a 2.55 weir wolf up front with less than 25 psi.  I had 25 in it at the start, but not long after the first descent, I punched a hole in it and it took a while for it to seal.  So I’m guessing I finished with about 20 psi.  I ran a Nevegal in the rear with about 30 psi.  Both hooked up like velcro.  I was pleased.

Jenn made the mistake of racing her SS in the geared category, finishing 4th….just out of the money.  They actually had a SS women’s race… with prize money.  There was a really long meadow descent that had the SS’rs spinning their brains out and tucking through the entire thing.  Sucked.  Other than that, the course was great.

I’ll be rockin’ the single speed this weekend in the NM State Championships with an old school Moxey seatpost I dug out of the parts bin.  http://www.mtbr.com/reviews/Suspension_Seatpost/product_23204.shtml .  I forgot how great those make a hardtail feel.  I’ll post a pic when I get back. 

Black Tailed Rattlesnake

This is a black tailed rattlesnake I saw on my way home the other day.  It had been smushed by a car and then someone took its rattles.  This sucker is about 3′ long.  These are the typical sized snakes I’ve been seeing on the trail.  These guys are much friendlier than the Western Diamondbacks and the Mojaves, so seeing them on the trails will scare you, but not totally freak you out the way the others will.  Jenn rolled up on a huge diamondback about a month ago.  It coiled back into a strike position.  Luckily they don’t want to bite us.  And fortunately that big fellow had a rattle left to let us know he was there.

The rain we’ve been getting will keep these guys fat for the winter.  I dread next year.  There are going to be some huge ones out here.  Hopefully the hawks, owls, and eagles will help thin them out.

Sad for this snake.

Whew.  Being a ubercaucasion makes living in the desert a daunting task.  My large surface area and fair skin make endurance activities feel like I’m the water boy hauling a couple of gallons of liquid life all over the parched land.  Luckily I have a few drops of Cherokee and even more drops of quality sunscreen to prevent me from becoming a crispy critter. 

The winters here provide excellent riding conditions with rarely a need for anything extra other than knee and arm warmers.  It’s these not quite fall/winter days that kill me.  But Sunday was a treat.  I guess some sort of hurricane pounded Mexico from the Pacific and sent rain our way.  It’s always special to see rain here!  The cloud cover was thick and kept temps mild if not slightly cool.  This provided excellent motivation to complete one of my favorite loops in the Franklins.

Click on this link to check out the pic:  http://i171.photobucket.com/albums/u316/fastmtnbiker/FranklinMtn.Tour.jpg

The little loop on the left of the pic is behind my house.  I added it in to get a full 4 hours of riding….cause I was feeling the groove.  The view is from the northeast.  Franklin Mountain State Park covers most of the mountain range, but the park proper….the area with the trails that everyone knows about…. is in the upper right hand corner.

Me….well, I like to climb and descend.  The trails in the park don’t quite have the sustained climbs I need to be able to keep up with the fly weights at the races.  So I saddle up the 32 lb motolite with beefmaster tires and head out and up.  No flats, no mechanicals, and no sun!  What a great ride.  If anyone wants the gpx file for this ride, I’ll be happy to hook you up…though I still haven’t figured out how to do that yet.

And check out this pic of me that was on Rocky Mountain Flyer website:  http://i171.photobucket.com/albums/u316/fastmtnbiker/OffTheRockparajito.jpg

 That magazine is super cool.  Someone get me a subscription!

What is it with motorcyclists?  I sweat my ass off truly saving gas and CO2 emissions as well as keeping my body in decent physical condition while commuting around this dirt hole town.  Motorcyclists think they have some sort of spiritual bond with me.  They always wave and honk and stuff like they are “down” with me or something.   What’s up with that?

 Get a clue moron….you have a motor.  You are a fat ass.  Any moron can twist a throttle.  I burn calories….not fossil fuels.  I have to deal with people who think I don’t belong on the road.  I ride in all conditions, except when we get those insane wind storms that will literally blow you off the road.

I tried the moto thing once.  I had a nice Kawasaki KLR 650.  It was a big ass dual sport that would easily cruise at 70 or 80 with the wife on the back….on dirt roads.  I got it to save time commuting to the military post when I was active duty.  That was dumb.  The inspection lines are so long, you end up idling with hundreds of other cars….polluting away….waiting to get through the gate.  I decided to ditch that idea, sold the bike, and started bike commuting pretty religiously.  I was able to run red lights with impunity and roll to the front of the inspection lines, sometimes beating my neighbors onto post when they left their house the same time I did.

I have no problem with motorcyclists.  It is a blast for sure.  Just don’t wave at me like I’m your blood brother or homie or whatever.  You are a lazy bastard….I’m working my belly off.

Start of chainless DHSaturday I emcee’d the 2nd Annual Chainless DH in Las Cruces, NM.  I figured that since I won the first one, it would be unfair to do it again this year….and that it was my duty to take charge of it and donate to the prize purse.  A quick trip to Costco for a case of Shiner Summer Flavors (5 flavors to savor) provided the winner with at least 19 beers to enjoy.  Dave Halliburton, the NMORS promoter, again donated a 5th of Hornitos and a $10 bill.  How cool is that?

This year I made all participants haul their lazy asses all the way to the top of the road through the technical rocky sections.  I made them ditch their bikes in a depression below the road and walk about 50 meters away from the bike.  When they were all gathered at the top and I was giving instructions, Jenn and some guys down by the bikes did some rearranging.  How fun!  The participants seemed a little pissed, so I told them if they won it this year, then they could be in charge next year and set their own rules. 

The leman’s start was equalized for a few participants.  One dude wore a garter thingy of some sort and his nuts kept falling out.  A chick wore high heels, so she earned a prime starting position for the race.  Anyway, nobody got hurt and Mike Rossin, owner of The Bicycle Company, despite wearing a “fat man” suit, rolled the 29er to victory.

Next year I’m gonna design a super aerodynamic shark suit and retake the victory, or not do the Flintstone thing…therefore destoying my leg….and give someone else a chance.