Loyalty and Such

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I do 99% of my riding on my own, so I often find myself pondering a variety of things as a roll along the trails and roads: personal issues, what I’m having for lunch, why I see so many panties along the road, and of course, bike stuff. My most recent “bike stuff” thought (not to be confused with my “butt stuff” thoughts) was about the strange beast that is brand loyalty in the cycling community and how it weighs versus supporting one’s local bike shop.

None of the following thoughts apply that much to riders who wrench on their own bikes; for them, building a frame up is as easy as ordering it off the Net or direct from the builder or manufacturer, riding the hell out of it and servicing it themselves. What I am thinking applies more to someone like myself: someone who can do some minor maintenance, but for bike builds, serious fixes, or the want of having a repair done right, by someone who actually knows what the hell they are doing, knows the local bike shop is the place to go (OR to a friend’s garage who has all the tools, digs working on bikes and is happy(ish) do it for few dollars or a six-pack or two).

And so my thoughts…

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Neffness IX

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How could I not post a photo giving props to our my [current] favorite big haired, flat billed hat wearing, super fast XCO racing, lady-type Jolanda Neff for winning her third UCI XCO race of the year on Sunday in Méribel, France, AND celebrating her overall Women’s UCI Mountain Bike World Cup series title???

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A Sad End to a Season

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Sad news from the world of UCI XCO racing

20-year-old Dutch XCO racer, and current under-23 European cyclocross champion, Annefleur Kalvenhaar died Saturday as the result of injuries sustained during qualifying rounds of Friday’s XC Eliminator race in Méribel, France. It is reported that the Focus XC Team racer crashed off on a wooden bridge and landed awkwardly on her head. She was taken to a nearby hospital, then transferred by helicopter to an intensive care unit in Grenoble where she sadly passed away on Saturday.

The web site mpora.com reports that the bridge used during the XC events had been used by cyclists and pedestrians alike throughout the weekend without incident and that the crash appears to have been a freak accident. All in all, an extremely sad way to draw the 2014 XCO series to a close and a horrible loss for the world of cycling, not to mention Kalvenhaar’s friends and family.

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Trying Out New Habits

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Old habits are hard to break; like limiting myself to riding during daytime hours since I left my (cash paying) job in March of 2009. I mentioned this a couple of weeks ago, but it’s funny how true it really is and what other habits–good and bad–have come to replace a post-work ride on a weekday evening.

Let me say, this blog post was NOT supposed to be this long, it was just supposed to be a few photos from last night’s ride, but then I got thinking, wandered more than a bit off track and found myself “on the couch.” The short story is that I had a great ride on Wednesday evening (as illustrated above), the long story below is to be filed under Too Much Information or Never Has So Much Thought Gone Into Deciding To Go For a Fucking Ride. I don’t encourage you to read on, but do so if you wish.

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A Weekend of Dirtz

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My plan for Saturday morning was this: get up, drink 2 to 14 cups of Bust Ass Coffee, eat some sort of lame breakfast, watch football (YES!!!) and then head out to ride some singletrack north of town. All of that was on course to happen until I checked the radar on Weather-dot-look-at-all-these-ads-and lame human interest videos-dot-com and saw that my trails appeared to be getting pissed down on with rain by the uncontrollable, loose bladder of Ma Nature.

Plan B was activated.

Plan B was to grab the El Mariachi and head out for a couple of hours or so of pavement and dirt roads. Obviously not my first choice (made fucking obvious by the fact that it’s Plan B, NOT Plan A. But dirt is dirt, miles are miles, calories burnt are calories burnt and a fat, crap cyclist is a fat, crap cyclist).

Upon fetching the El Mariachi (my current “go-to” gravel road bike that is really just a hardtail mountain bike) from the Not-So-Stankment®, I realized that in a raging fit of laziness [surprised?] I failed to rinse the bike off after Tuesday’s muddy dirt road ride. No big, I sort of like riding around with what amounts to an extra 2 to 5 pounds of dried cement on my frame. What’s a few extra pounds of dried cement on my bike when I’m already sporting at least 15 extra pounds of beer, pizza and general fuck-up-ness around my ever broadening and bouncing midriff??? Nothing!

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The Curse of Tuesday

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I’m not going to lie, I HATE Michigan winters. Of course, I also hated every one of the, slightly shorter Pennsylvania winters I experienced in my first thirty-nine years of life before moving here in 2010. On the flip side, MOST of my time here in Michigan has been blessed with some amazing summers and falls. I would have included spring, but our spring is the drunk, psychotic uncle of seasons; cloudy, cold, sunny, blustery, warm, rainy, icy, grey, humid and dry. However, this summer has been pretty darn excellent in the weather department; not too hot, not too humid and sunny most of the time. Except on Tuesdays.

It seems that Tuesdays in central Michigan are reserved for heavy rains, strong winds and storms. Tuesday also happens to be the day that Wifey has the option to work at home, which allows me to get out for a ride during the day. Sadly–more often than not–on the days she has done so, I have awoke in the morning to the sounds of rain blowing against the house. Today was no different.

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What Saturday Is

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Saturday–by the grace of God (as well as Buddha, Allah, WICCA, Lucifer, Jake The Dog, that crazy guy that screams Bible verses at you in the park and everything and anything else that is holy, unholy and plain old strange in this world) is meant for one thing: bike ridin’!! Watching football (proper football), comes in a VERY close second, but thankfully matches happen early enough in the day for we Americans, that once the season gets started (NEXT WEEK!) it shan’t interfere with the divine holy/unholy/strange grace bestowed upon Saturday and the bike riding that is to be done within its hours.

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Firmness, Blogging & Monkeys

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I am a firm believer in what an old bike blogging sensei once told me in a hazy drunken dream atop a rain-soaked and muddy Pennsylvania mountaintop : “If you can’t think of anything worthwhile to blog about, just post some crap photo you took while your were out riding, no one reads the shit anyway, and if they do–especially in your case–they probably think you’re a complete and utter fucking wanker.”

And so I have. ‘Cause no matter how many miles of the same freaking trails I ride, I find something that I dig and want to make mad, passionate, retinal love to. I have never said that about a road ride. Nothing against road riding, I dig it, and I’ve had  some pretty freaking awesome road rides, but no matter how hard the road tries, it just ain’t as kind on the eyes.

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