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Thursday, May 28, 2009

Sasquatch and The 650b 29er Mountain Bike

Growing up, we knew it only as "The Black Thing."  As we played Kick-The-Can or a neighborhood game of Chase (a made-up game where one team hides and the other team finds, chases and tags), every now and then after dusk fell someone would see The Black Thing.  I just got a shiver writing this.  It would run across our Wisconsin street from a house with a stand of large pine trees to between the houses across the street.  It ran on two doggish legs and seemed to have the appearance of an upright hairy Great Dane.   Most of the kids I hung out in the neighborhood with had seen it at one time or another, not shy enough to talk about it among friends, but too-shy to let mom and dad know there was a giant creature roaming our suburban community.

The reason I bring this up is that, like Sasquatch and Yeti, I have once again spotted something that I don't think anyone else has seen.  I bring you the 650b-2-Niner.

It's an IF 29er with 650b wheels.  Why?  Because Mitch at BioWheels bike shop in Cincinnati sent his 650b back for repairs and the 29er wheels for the IF were on the fritz.  So needing a bike for the Mohican 100 this weekend, he logically put chocolate in his peanut butter.  Unless he got out last night, this monster has yet to be tamed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

101 Reasons I'm Looking Forward To Mohican 100

(The following is more or less a re-run from an earlier post, but riding comes before blogging.  I've got three days to squeeze in 5 days of work and to pack and finish cleaning/tweaking my bike for Mohican 100 '09 this weekend.  Enjoy and thanks for reading.)

I shared a beer with Floyd Landis last year at the Mohican 100 in Loudonville Ohio. There’s the picture to prove it. Still kick myself for not putting on a team jersey, mainly because my baggy shirt makes my 162 pounds look like 210 next to him. I zip tied devil horns from a Viking helmet I bought at a rummage sale to my helmet and the photo at the header of this blog appeared in Cycling News because of it. I peed on trees. Hundreds of tricked out bikes surrounded me all weekend. A buddy spent at least an hour and a half debating his tire choice while Trek’s Jeremiah Bishop and his teammates rode past our cabin for a pre-ride. My team, friends from all around Cincinnati, Louisville and Columbus shared tools, tweaked bikes and drank dark beers till well past sundown. We piled 4 guys into the truck at dawn and drove to the start. A black cat crossed the road in front of us entering Loudonville. I made the road rollout lead group split with the pros. I got a pint glass filled with Sierra Nevada at the finish line. Despite the trough of free food in the lodge, someone had a deep dish Chicago style pizza delivered to the venue. As for the race, like everyone else I spent the day covered in mud in what turned out to be the first sticky hot and humid day of the summer. I overheated between rest stops, slogged up shoe stealing mucky hills, cleaned my bike, took water cooler paper towel baths, nearly dropped out, got encouragement to continue from teammates, felt good for 5 miles, only to repeat the process over and over again for the next eight and a half hours. You could wait and watch the weather radar and make a last minute call on registration on Friday night, but truthfully there's really nothing that can happen between now and Saturday night that'll make the Mohican 100 more or less fun.

Link to confirmed riders of Mohican 100 here.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Facebook Friday: Favorite Post-Bike Ride Cravings

It’s Facebook Friday on The Best Bike Blog Ever*.  Every Thursday Facebook friends answer a burning cycling related question and every Friday the answers are posted here.  If you’d like to join the fun, send a friend request with a note about “Facebook Friday” via the facebook link on the right side-bar.  Today’s question is:

I’m so hungry, when I get home from this ride I am so going to devour a feedbag, trough, plate, bowl, pail of this:

Marty: Chicken Singapore noodles with 2 dollars of extra veggies!!  Damn fine meal.




Kate:  Chipotle!




Bridget: (1) bottle of Clementine Izze and half a box of Back to Nature Choc Chip Cookies...or the Fudge Stripes ;-) 






Jaden: Bagel w/ Tofutti Better Than Cream Cheese and a shake with OJ, yogurt and protein powder. Doesn't matter if it's an AM or PM ride always the same thing afterwards. Well unless there is a Chick-Fil-A on the way home. . .




Bob (or maybe Bobbie or Bobbette or Mrs. Doubtfire):  SUSHI!!!!!!! or a big ol' mess of HOT Cajun Somethin' (Red Beans N' Rice, Gumbo, etc....)






Dan: Chipotle. Ckn fajita burrito w/ a little bit of corn, a little bit of mild salsa, little bit of cheese, guac, and lettuce. Nantucket nectar on the side!  Mmmmmm chipotle!





Eric: Starts with a reverie about a burger from Terry's Turf Club (with some special truffle sauce and caramelized onions), but then I have to tell myself to stop it and get realistic. Then I start thinking how cool it would be to get home and cook rosemery and garlic chicken. I usually finish my ride around 9:00, so this is not practical, so a Currito "Summer" buritto is usually the result.


Candace: After a long ride, it used to be a Chipotle burrito bowl with black beans, rice, fajita veggies, corn and tomato salsa, a little bit of cheese and guacamole. Always yummy with a tortilla on the side. Maybe chips if I have someone to share them with. Mmmm. I miss Chipotle. Lately it's just a chocolate protein shake with pb and a banana.




Andy: Chocolate protein shake with pb and a banana!?! What has he done to you?






Me:  Egg Sammich on an everything bagel with ham and cheddar cheese with a smoothie and Wavy Lays chips on the side.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Socks Make The Cyclist

Asking me “What should I wear today?” is the equivalent of asking me “how many cents per ounce is this detergent?” or “what looks better on the mantle, the votive candles or the wood carving we picked up in Durango?”  My mind goes blank.  I feel like the 2nd grader singled out in the classroom.  I try to find a beginning to the question to start the deduction, but any benchmark evades me.  My eyes dart through the closet, so at least I appear to be helping.  I end up with a confused look on my face that looks remarkably similar to being constipated.  “I’ll be right back.  I gotta go to the bathroom,” is my perfect out to these fearful questions posed by my spouse.  As many Banana Republic argyle sweater vests that I own, I put very little thought into planning an outfit.  The chances of running into a client and what matches the only clean pair of less wrinkled pants lying on the floor usually narrows my choices down to a singular logical choice.  Then all I have to do is pass the test.  If I kiss her goodbye without her saying “you wearing THAT,” I pass.  While my wife can easily spend an hour trying stuff on and re-reasoning with herself to find the perfect outfit for the day at hand, I can usually address my day’s outfit while half-asleep brushing my teeth standing in the closet with the light still off.  There is really only one item of clothing that I put any real thought into whatsoever.  That’s cycling socks.  I have 28 pair and a reason to wear or not wear every single one of them.

If my wife asked me, “What cycling socks should I wear on this ride?” Like an ESPN Sports Center analyst, I could spend a half hour crunching the options, split-screening with the experts and reasoning the perfect pair.  Racer ride, casual ride, commuting or coffee shop?  I happen to have a pair with a cup of coffee on them and they deserve their time in the daylight.  What’s the weather like?  Low cut hot, medium cut temperate, wool sock windy or just a little long sock cool?  Is the sun out?  Don’t want to risk a tall-boy sock high tan line.  Rain chance percentage?  I do have a neoprene pair in case of a hurricane on the Ohio River.  Are you wearing the road team, mountain bike team or other jersey?  Old green one or the new blue?  Team shorts or black ones?  Which helmet are you wearing?  Gloves?  What bike are you riding?  Is there a seat bag?  Which bottles you bringing, or are you wearing that baby blue Camelback?  Like fly-fishing and golf, cycling is half fashion show.  Are teammates, shop employees or team sponsors on the ride?  What about THAT GUY who always wears his “Hammer” socks.  Don’t’ want to be a bopsy twin with him.  You plan on riding hard or hiding out in the pack?  What socks do you want the person behind you seeing as you trounce them up the hill?  Ohio or Kentucky?  Might be an opportunity to break out the UK socks.  Any chance you’ll get caught out at dusk, cuz there’s a day-glo orange pair in the drawer somewhere.  Then again, those are kind of safety geeky.

Out of my 28 pair, there’s a pair and likely 2-4 that are perfect for any given day on the bike.  However, there are two pairs of socks that I’ll never wear: the red ones with the black devil silhouette on the cuff and a pair of long-boy world championship striped socks.  I get the heebie jeebies wearing satanic images.  Lastly, I believe only world champs or former champs should wear the rainbow stripes and the same goes for Stars and Stripes socks. 

I think my half hour’s up and I’m late for the ride again.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Einstein & The Theory of Cycling Relativity

Sticking my knees out I pedaled wildly, mocking him from behind.  A kid on the sidewalk raced ahead of our approaching group herking and jerking as our racer group peloton noodled through a historic small-town downtown.  Even though he didn’t see me thrashing around mimicking his moves, imitating how goofy he looked especially in front of others was a dufus move on my part.  He was just a kid having fun on a bike.  Sorry kiddo.  It only took me a few seconds to realize my childish and arrogant indiscretion.  Before we reached the corner, I settled in and encouraged him to keep it going.  I think its super cool when kids who see the weekly group ride roll down their street jump and pound on the pedals to race the group to the corner.  Beats getting throttle blasted by a teenager in a diesel pick up truck any day.

Just this past Sunday we rolled by what seemed to be 15 people riding recumbent tri-cycles on the bike path.  One is usually an oddity.  But, by the time we hit Milford, passing one after another tri, it was clear that our traditional road racing bikes were the minority.  I thought they looked like cool little Indy car versions of bicycles.  Up near Devou Park this past Monday three kids raced my wife and I up a steep little street.  In a cute little moment, she egged them on, gave ‘em a run for their money and pipped ‘em at the crux of the climb.  Every so often, I see a mammoth man getting a good sweat going while riding an old mountain bike as the tires cringe under his weight.  Then there’s the occasional bike rider with a 12er of Bud Light in one hand and a cigarette hanging out of his mouth.  There’s as many different types of riders as there are types of bikes.  I’ll never mock a single one of them again.  

I try to give as many bike riders as I can a wave or a head nod.  When I see a bike rider at the side of the road I try to stop and lend a tube or at the very least slow down ask, “You okay?”  Just because my shorts match my jersey and my bike weighs 15 pounds, doesn’t make me a higher level of cyclist than others.  When it comes down to it, racing bikes is not the pinnacle of bike riding.  Enjoying yourself is, Einstein.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Facebook Friday: What Is Your Best Road or Trailside Find While Biking?

Facebook Friday is a new feature on The Best Bike Blog Ever*.  If you’d like to participate, click the Facebook link on the right, send me a friend request with a note about Facebook Friday.  On Thursday, I’ll pose a cycling related question to you and my Facebook Friends.  On Friday you get the answer on The Best Bike Blog Ever.  For a link to previous Facebook Friday posts see link on right.

FACEBOOK FRIDAY: What is your best road/trailside find while pedaling?

BUTCH: While doing a nite ride on the Loveland bike trail, the wife and I found a couple..who weren't kids...were talkin 40s here...making "whoopie" by the side of the trail...not 50 yards north of Nisbet park. Does that count? 


ADAM: Once found a red Maglite flashlight, unscratched, totally functional and full of batteries on the road in Anderson.




KATE: (Found) an unopened box of Lee press-on nails. mama got an instant manicure...oh ya.




ERIC: I found a bag of weed...too bad I don't smoke.





B-JET: I don't know if this qualifies as a "find" but I saw a cat on the Loveland Bike trail carrying its kill, a baby bunny. Other than that I have seen random wildlife; wild turkeys, baby foxes, a coyote, and a rattlesnake. Yesterday we rode past some miniature horses two which were f...... (edit: “getting it on”) In Kentucky of course!



DAN: Mickey Mouse ears on the side of the road up near John Bryan park. You know like the kind the Mousekateers wear.






SUSAN: One time on a 98 degree day near Ames, Iowa, we rode past a senior center, and a dozen 90+ year old women were outside playing the spoons, a washboard, a comb with wax paper, 2 or 3 kazoos, with the rest singing "you are my sunshine." They were all dressed in white blouses, blue skirts, and red ribbons around their necks, and each one wore a diamond tiara. Their 65+ year old sons and daughters stood near them holding umbrellas to protect them from the sun.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

How To Drop An Attackus-Nonstickus With AAD

In some cycling circles this bone head move is know as a Break-a-lame.  Some go so far as to call these riders Wad Blowers, or the more PC “natural sprinter.” Nothing ruins a group ride faster than a dolt who shoots off the front of a strong paceline causing everyone to surge and chase, only to have said dolt sit up when others reach the dolt’s wheel.  This particular syndrome is known to the cycling community as AAD, Attack And Die.  Symptoms include half-wheeling, increased time spent riding alone, chest thumping, frequent looking over one’s shoulder, moving left after their “attack” is done and they are in the “die” mode, riding with their knees out while attacking with hands on the hoods, the inability to hold a respectable fast speed for more than 14.3 seconds without needing a 5 minute recovery and a Clif Bar, and an over-zealous appreciation of high speed coasting. 

Those with AAD also didn’t get enough attention from their mommies.  If they weren’t going off the front and sitting up on your group ride they’d be shouting “get in the hole” at televised golf tournaments.  I consultultated (a George Bush term) with The Global Center For Naming Everything With Latin Lingo and they have approved a whole new animal kingdom sounding term for this dufus, Attackus-Nonstickus.  Women aren’t immune from AAD.  On occasion I have witnessed the female of the Attackus-Nonstickus species go all AAD on a group.  It’s very rare and just as unimpressive.  The Attackus-Nonstickus doesn’t realize that there’s no glory in an attack unless you can stick it to the end of the ride, the sprint sign or the coffee shop.  To attack and not stick it is like a football player fumbling the ball on the goal line…a shameful wasted effort.

If you encounter an Attackus-Nonstickus, first of all never give a hard chase.  The Attackus-Nonstickus, much like a 7th grader pulling the fire alarm at school, thrives on attention.  By standing up and ramping up the speed to quickly close the gap you just fuel the fire, the cycling equivalent of dialing 9-1-1.  You also risk dropping riders you enjoy riding with.  By maintaining a steady tempo and gradually reeling in the Attackus-Nonstickus you don’t give them undue attention.  The best catch of an Attackus-Nonstickus is not to simply reach their wheel, but to just keep rolling by them like they aren’t even there.  It’s easy because they usually end up on the left after their non-sticking attack.  Even better, during the chase, arrange the order of the paceline so the weakest rider of the group is the one who ends up making the catch and the pass.  That leaves an Attackus-Nonstickus thinking “what the?” in their head as ninety-pound Nancy rolls on by.  If this technique fails to quash the spirits of the Attackus-Nonstickus, your next option is to systematically drop them from the ride.  While it does sound mean spirited, it opens up a whole new world of fun to those “in” on the drop. 

To accomplish this, let the Attackus-Nonstickus off the front at least 3 times.  Each of those three times reel them in as stated above.  However, on the 4th attack, preferably at the farthest point form where you started or in a bad part of town reel them in steadily.  Before you make the catch, let your co-riders know you’re going to drill it.  Say something sly like “get ready to go.”  When you make the catch sit on the wheel of the Attackus-Nonstickus just long enough for them to feel as if they have tired you out.  Count to three bananas.  Let out a big sigh to solidify your bluff.  Now!  Swing out wide-right to the shoulder and drill it!  Go hard enough to get a gap but not so hard as to lose the riders behind you.  Now dial it up to donkey wheezing speed.  Even if the Attackus-Nonstickus managed to see the move, they won’t be able to grab the last spot in the paceline before they know what hit ‘em.  Now YOU got to stick it.  Hold it hard for one minute followed by a steady pace higher than the original pace of the ride.  Don’t look back for the next five minutes.  Since the Attackus-Nonstickus will be tired from their four hard efforts, has no idea that attacks can go up the right side of the road, and can’t hold a fast speed for more than 14.3 seconds, you will never see them again…at least until next week’s group ride.  

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Screamy Holler Complete – Update Covington’s Devou Park Trail Build

While I was swinging the Rhino, I wondered what this section of trail at Devou would be called.  Running adjacent to Sleepy Hollow Road, Screamy Holler seemed to fit the dirt.  Quads scream on the way up.  You holler on the way down.  Woo hoo Devou!

On the previous trail day I attended, the flowers under the railroad trestle had yet to bloom.  Saturday the yellow flowers were almost surreal.



With the help of well over one hundred Give Back Cincinnati volunteers, CORA tackled the deepest bench cut sections to date at Covington’s Devou Park Mountain Bike Trail.  Some sections ended up being two feet deep on the steep ravine-side roughly two-thirds of the way up to the first vista point.  Section #5 was the toughest.  At the end of the day, it was all hands on dirt, to bench the last of it.


So far, the completed trail section is officially long enough to question whether you really want to hike all-the-way up or take your bike instead.  It’s an hour round trip on foot; at the tipping point to where riding a bike (and all the prep that goes along with it) might be the more logical choice. 

No doubt, Cincinnati’s longest sustained mountain bike climb, or downhill, depending on which way you see it, is complete.  

To learn more and take part in the next trail building day, visit the CORA website here.

A previous post about the first big trail day at Devou is here.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Facebook Friday: How Do You Prevent Yourself From Smashing The Bikes On Your Car Roofrack Into Your Garage Door

Yakima used to make a device called a “Load Alert.”  It’s an ingenious little device that sticks to your car's hood with a magnet.  It’s a spring loaded sign, that only pops up when your car goes under about 25mph.  Over 25, the presure from the wind holds it flat to the hood.  I have one.  It work great as long as you're not so hungry you pull into McDonalds drive-thru at 30mph.  Unfortantely we have two cars with bike racks. 

Another solution I read was to put your garbage cans in the front of the garage spot when you pull out.  That way you have to stop and move them before you pull in.  Brilliant.  And, if it still fails, you can just toss your rack and bike in the convenietly located garbage cans.

My wife nearly decapitated her Indy Fab this past week.  I saw it all unfold.  From the thrid floor, I heard the garage door open.  Being a good hubby, I started down the stairs to help her out.  As I got to the 2nd floor, her car was already in the driveway and still rolling forward.  STOP.  STOP!!  I shouted out the open window.  Her windows rolled up and her on the phone, she couldn’t hear.  I broke into a full sprint, leaping down the last flight of stairs shouting, “STAAAAAHHHHHP!!!!”  Then, the crunch.  I opened the front door, expecting total carbon carnage.  Luckily the bike was just short enough and the garage overhang wood just soft enough that the bike barely wedged in.  

The only damage was to the wood of the garage overhang (see above photo of scatches) and the hinge pin of her heart rate monitor strapped to her handlebars.  Fhew.  Bike OK.  (photo left) Nothing ten bucks, a little garage paint and a trip to the watch repair shop wont fix.

Since I didn’t have a whole lot of time to write and research solutions, I posed the question to my Facebook friends.  How Do You Prevent Yourself From Smashing The Bikes On Your Car Roofrack Into Your Garage Door?  Here’s a few comments:

SUSAN 

Some kind of alarm system that smacks you in the face when 5 feet away or something. Had the same error about a week ago with a low-hanging ATM. Bike OK but bike rack pretty (messed) up.  The bike torqued the whole thing.  I was hurrying to do errands and get to a ride.

JADEN

Giant mirror above the garage door like they probably have on the ceilings at the Wild Wood Inn in Florence Y'all! 



SHANNON

Hang a sign from the inside of your garage door. When you press the door opener and the door opens, the sign will be hanging down, reminding you to check the car roof for bikes.

MITCH

Store all of your junk in the garage so you can't pull your car in.