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Here are some things I’d like to sell off before the little one comes.

Spot Belt Drive Kit – great condition w/ about 100 off-road miles.  39×24.  Newest setup with guides on both sides of the rear pulley.  $150.

Magura Hugin Rear Shock.  “Short shock” 6.5×1.5 . http://www.magura.com/en/products/older-products/rearshocks-2008/prod/hugin.html  Used on Titus Racer-X 29er for 3 rides.  $150

WTB Rocket-V Race – Ti Rail – White.  Used twice.  $50.

Shimano XT clipless pedals – brand new in box – $75.

Niner SS Cog – 22 t – Brand new. $30

Will possibly trade for the following:  Crank Brother’s Egg Beater SL pedals, WTB Silverado Saddle.

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It will be interesting to see who will line up for Puzzler dos.  So far we’ve got two Coloradoans and a couple El Pasoans signed up for the torture fest.  Online registration is up, so we’ll see if that gets people going on it.  We have as much swag and cash as last year.  This year we’ll be awarding some incredibly cool trophies.  This trophy will be worth putting on the mantle.  It will definitely be placed at the front of the stash of award crap.  I only wish I could race for one as I used to dream of a similar trophy when I was a kid.  I missed that opportunity….created a new one….but I can’t participate.  Being a race director kind of sucks.  Oh well.

We finally got some cold rain and snow in El Paso this week.  The mountains were white most of the day yesterday and today.  I wasn’t sure if I’d be putting fenders to use this winter or not.  The new PI rain jacket kicked ass.  Gotta love PI’s stuff as long as it fits correctly.

Sign up for the Puzzler.  It’s going to be a blast.

Single speed enduro guru Dejay Birch has announced the date for th 2008 Single Swizzle.  The 50 or so that participated last year will all tell you that it is a single speed experience not to be missed.  Jen finished it in 4:20 and this year it’s supposed to be a lot longer.  There was a limit on the field size last year, but we’ll see what Dejay has in store for ’08.  I sat out ’07 with the dog nursing my knee injury, but took part in much of the post race festivities….cheap pizza and good beer!

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?

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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.