je ne sais quoi

Thursday, September 28, 2006

Offseason Ramblings....

The longer the lapse between entries, the harder it is to write new to combat this dilemma, i'll just type up little filler entries like this one to ease the transition between "quality" pieces.

So yeah, offseason! I haven't fully stopped riding yet...been doing lots of base-type rides (long and slow) with the ocassional group ride mixed in. The short bursts of speed are still around, but recovery has naturally gone to shite. I can ride at 60% all day though, so that's what I'll do. Gotta burn up enough of a caloric deficit to rationalize having (lots of) drinks in the upcoming month.

While the "establish a caloric deficit" master plan is great in theory, it requires the full cooperation of a working bicycle. I got that hard-as-hell to find front derailleur, got a chain (KMC DX10....$40 cheaper than campy, doesn't work as well, but it works), and so I got to riding much post-superweek bike drama, right?! The frame, both derailleurs, the chain...gahhhhh. Today, we add more to that list: My right (rear) shifter has finally died. Typical of Campy...after 30,000 miles they just break, almost instantly. I've only had these shifter since january, so can't be that many miles yet? The indexing is gone (no audible "click"), and anything more than 200 watts makes the chain shift -real annoying! So yeah, more $$$ to repair/replace. Gah. But wait! There's more! Right as I started descending the crest this afternoon, front tire fails!! Parts of it came off the rim, all that. I hitched a ride home, but surprisingly wasn't too annoyed. All this is so past annoying that it's funny. AND the new bike's making noise.

apologies for this worthless entry....not even any photos, geez...

Friday, September 22, 2006

This Is Not A Test

It's nothing, really. Just another post. But I do have some big news.

First: I got my chain/derailleur yesterday. Finally. After the world tried to conspire to keep me from getting these items, they arrived. Late last night, through UPS. For some reason, it took a full 6 days to get from Palm Springs to Los Angeles (80 miles). Eh. I'm really stoked on having a nice clean front derailleur for once (the old one was beat to hell). Now about getting a record to replace the veloce rear That'll wait. A lonnnng while. The Caad8? It looks nice, yeah stiff, all that. The Caad7 was smoother. 1000%. I'm pretty sure "smoothness" is completely overlooked on this series of frames...if they ride too well, no one would pick up the more expensive bikes. Ah well.

The second news item....I have five NRC points. FIVE. Big Money. Big Cars. Hotel suites in Vegas. Magazine Covers. All those things and more await. I'm conveniently located on the very last page, rider #375, here. I did 4 NRC races this year: Gila, Shorewood, Schlitz Park, and Manhattan Beach. 68th, 24th, 25th, and 17th. ~$500 total cash earned. Fun times. They really are the best races.

3rd, and perhaps most important: Hockey preseason has started! The OIL played sunday, monday, and tuesday. Won all three games by a combined score of 10-3. It's only preseason, but hey. The season starts in a little more than a week. I am ecstatic, immeasurably so. Bouncing off the walls levels. I don't know if i'll be able to hold back the tears during the first regular season rendition of O Canada. To pay homage to the Oilers, I got this crafty new haircut:
To some, it won't look like i've got my hair at all, but I definitely did. Note the action in the back. I've dubbed it "80s Hockey Hair In Progress". In particular, it's a tribute to my favorite Oiler, Ryan Smyth. Basically, he's got the best hockey hair (aka "mullet" but that's much too vulgar a's much much classier than that) around. I won't blaspheme by saying "mine's gonna be like Ryan's", no, but I will try to emulate it to the best of my ability.

Some of the cycling kids grow the euro version of these "mullets" I'd mentioned. I must stress that mine is not cycling related. It isn't a Tom Boonen or Cunego special. This is timeless. Just check out a hockey mag from the late 80s/early 90s. What an era. For both hockey and hair. Allright allright, enough on that.

Last: Next Year. Lots of people have asked, and will continue to ask. Please keep asking me! It keeps me motivated and gets me sending out emails, resumes, etc etc etc. It's really easy to be discouraged in this game. I've sent about 10 out so far. Have at least 5 more planned. One felt particularly promising. Health-Net "politely declined"...I think it's beause of the prime money I took from Karl in Wisconsin...totally understandable. The only other "official" rejection came from a Canadian team with an "all riders must be Canadian" mandate. I told them I'm a CORE Oiler (who hail from Canada) fan, but no go. So yeah, keep asking me, and hopefully i'll eventually have something to answer with.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Since '88...

...I haven't ridden a road bike, feels like. I hope that stops today......waiting on the postman to bring the goods (front d, chain). So...that last entry got a bit stale, so I thought I'd update. Nothing going, though, so I'm going to have to be extra creative here....

Thursday, I saw that new John Lennon documentary: The U.S. vs. John Lennon. I'm a lifetime Beatles fan (mainly my father's influence), so I was psyched on it. The film? I'd sum up my review with "Worthwhile". Nothing more, nothing less. I don't really swing on either side of the political fence ('we sharrrrre the saaaame bi-ol-ogy'...couldn't resist...)...and this film is basically edited in one direction to maximize exposure of one side's cause while fully exploiting the other. Particularly annoying was one guy...Gore Vidal. What a jerk. Not so much what he says (the usual "bush is bad, la la la la" stuff that's so popular nowadays...), but how he says it. His tone, facial expression, his decrepit pompous face. PUT HIM ON A ROAD BIKE! I will crush him.

This week...I rode my dad's town bike. Lots. I took it out on a group ride on Thursday. This bike:
Classy huh? It's a size or two too small, weighs 30+ pounds, but it makes up for it with it's exquisite style and grace. Needless to say, the group ride did not go well, and I abandoned it about half way through. The upright position kills. Eh, I set out to burn some calories and that's what I did. Now I can eat. Lots.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

The Irony Cycle


I'm broke. While walking the supermarket aisle the other day, I came to the conclusion that (assets aside) i'm more broke than i've ever been ever. With that out of the way...


This weekend, I went down to Temecula to hang out at a friend's ranch, watch football, and ride a little. The roads out there were amazing (with some steeeep pitches). I still don't have a front derailleur, but hey, I'm still going to ride...just like i've been doing all week. I've nearly mastered the "manual shifting" thing. So we set off for a nice 3-4 hour ride. The roads were great, but were in poor shape. I usually enjoy jaunts on poor pavement...dirt, even...but again, I harshly learned that the main purpose of the front derailleur is not to shift, but to keep the chain from coming off. Definitely riled me up and vastly took away from the enjoyment. Gah. So phase one of the story: I'm upset and annoyed and have a black left hand from putting on/shifting the chain.

So...3 hours in, 15 miles from home, on a short little roller, boom. The chain snaps. My chain-autopsy findings for the chain are as follows: During one of the several (10+) times the chain came off due to bumpy roads, the chain got lodged between the crank arm and the chainrings. I guess I took a pedal stroke to try to align it (I remember doing this), and instead, the jammed chain became slightly warped. Then it mangled itself slightly more with every pedal stroke, until....yeah. Campy chains just don't break. Ever. This is the first. F, man. It's really destroyed my will to ride. I need a front D, I need a new chain. Silly. What else is there to move on ebay? I should be working soon...but not soon enough, obviously. Eh.
Derailleurless, Chainless, Motionless

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Aram: The Group Ride Slut

I do 'em all. I do 'em often.

Barry was first. Everything went swell. Put in a long 10 minute effort up Verdugo. It hurt like hell. I usually wait for the last mile to attack, but went early...I used to try this move all the time a couple years (and categories) ago. I felt like I HAD to prove something, you know? We've all been there. It's all just a bunch of low-pressure fun now. Especially in September. I used a timely green light through an intersection to launch the move, and stuck it. Nice times. I tried to sprint for the short hill on top of Chevy...I usually take this guy easy, but a guy I know only as "crusher" took it at the line. Swell times.......except when a guy crashed on the descent! A good, smooth rider, too. It's the gnarliest turn around, and rated at 10mph for really tight, bad camber, dots...the whole bit. It was my 3rd ride on the new bike....I narrowly missed running him over. I thought i'd left my "evasive maneveur" skills in the icebox.....

Next was the bowl. There's really nothing else to do. I've figured out how to go up and down the big ring without getting off the bike, but the most important function of a front derailleur, I've found, is not shifting -but holding the chain in place. One pedal stroke into today's sprint for instance, and the chain went on the small ring. Gah. Poor Christian was all alone at the finish line. I'll get one, but i'm not gonna rush. My beat to hell old Record one was great. It is missed.

Maybe the velo ride tomorrow? The legs still feel good somehow. Race-good...though I haven't really sprinted anything proper. I'm sure the sprint is off the mark. Not racing will do that. My legs have 2 week's growth on them as well. Classy. Right now, I can't wait to fall asleep so that I can feed the Koi in the morning. They missed a meal last night...and I alllllllmost have them [literally] eating out of my hand.

And a photo of me and the pups having a good time to close this out:

Sunday, September 03, 2006


Hi. Long time huh? I'm sitting here at my computer following the live updates of the USPRO Road Championships. About 60k remain, and I figured a blog entry would be a pleasant way to pass the time between updates...

I'll start this entry off by saying that my season is over. The awesome-looking $6,000 circuit race in San Diego was canceled, and who's going to drive to nor-cal for a $200 road race? There might be a track race or two thrown in there, but i'm already embracing the looking for a job. I'm not looking for a "take over the world" type of position, just something that offers some cash, part time, and the flexibility (and convenience) of being able to ride the bike to work.

But First...

A Photo:
The NEW bike. It came in on thursday. It's classy, huh? It's the first "new" bike I've ever ridden. "New" because everything but the frame is used as hell, but hey. You'll notice there isn't a front derailleur...Cannondale upped the seattube diameter on the Caad8 to my 32mm front derailleur won't work. It looks good without it though, and I did a nice 3 hour ride with it yesterday: I can shift down from the big ring with my hands, but have to dismount to shift back up...and the chain comes off when the road gets bumpy. The ride is great! Stiff and "not smooth" at all, but that's precisely how I like it! Aka: Lively. The wheels are borrowed (of course), and I'll lose quite a few style points when I put the cxp33s back on, but ah well. And...I've never used that much seatpost before....I think Cannondale changed the geometry as well...maybe a slightly sloping top tube?

To be quite honest, I'm hoping this bike doesn't see too many miles. What am I getting at? Next year. New Team. New Bike. New Hopes. Nothing to report on that front yet, but we'll see. "Selling Myself" isn't my specialty, riding fast is...but I need to do lots of the former to get something going for next year....How I loathe this aspect of our sport.

From Bikes to Brats (we're goin random...):
These guys were on the course at Sheboygan. Definitely not a big enough gut to warrant full-credibility, but I think I saw at least 3 sober people buy a brat and enjoy it. Manny had one and liked it, so gut or not, he wins! So excited for the foto, too!

Back to bikes...40k to go now. Pate, Leipheimer, Hincapie, and Caldwell. Go Pate!

From a Del Taco somewhere deep in the Inland Empire. The implied "caution" is a bit higher with cleats on...for sure.

Cal Poly Pomona. I ride there when I don't feel like doing hills. It's about 4 hours round trip...lots of traffic lights, poor roads......but...the koi pond on their campus is terrific! Worth the trip every time, and I snuck in some koi food this time. I really like the little blue/red/black one near the center of the 2nd photo.

My own koi...I have 7 of them in a much smaller pond than at Cal Poly. The one pictured is of the Ginrin Orenji variety, and I picked him up really cheap...he'll definitely grow to be a handsome chap. I love the white accents on his underside and fins. The guy to his left....not sure of what type he is (possible Doitsu Shusui...though he's too dark), but he's a good guy as well and we love him. Like most cyclists, eating is their #1 pastime.

Okay...that's it for this one. More deviations from cycling in future depending on who you are, check back more often, or check back again in January....heh.