Archive | August, 2014

Firmness, Blogging & Monkeys


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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An Unforeseen Ride


It’s 3:45 p.m. and I’ve started making dinner. An ungodly hour to be making dinner for anyone under the age of seventy-five, but a very light lunch, boredom and the want to avoid cracking open a beer has forced me to the kitchen.

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My Cycling Metamorphosis


Lately I’ve been thinking about the magical metamorphosis that took place when cycling went from being a hobby for me to lose weight and stay in shape to something that–in many ways–defines me as a person today.

Some Background

As a kid, the extent of my bike riding was rolling around town on my black and yellow Mongoose BMX bike wishing I had the skills, speed and balls to race BMX with my friends Scott and John. The bike was cool, with sweet yellow mag wheels, checkered bar and stem pads and even though I never did race the bike, I rode around with a number plate on it. I was #4, paying tribute to then Pittsburgh Pirate shortstop turned coke-head Dale Berra. A tribute paid only after buying the #4 decal and being asked why the hell I was #4. If eleven year old kids called each other poseurs back in 1982, I would have surely been called one, and deservedly so.

After the BMX days, I sold my bike, stopped playing soccer, stopped playing baseball and turned all my attention to my new hobby; eating. Through my teens and very early twenties, I ate myself to a robust, ruddy cheeked, lonely and depressed 300 pounds. It wasn’t until I was on the brink of exceeding the maximum girth of my size 42 pants and lacked the funds to make the move up to 44s, that I finally did something about my weight (it seems it’s cheaper to lose weight than buy new clothes).

After years of saying I was going to “diet,” I finally just changed my lifestyle. I no longer attempted to starve myself, try diet pills or Slim-Fast shakes. For the first time in my life I started eating healthier foods, cut out between meal snacking (which were actually between meal meals) and started exercising, and IT WORKED!

Keep in mind, that at 300 pounds, my “exercising” consisted of long walks seeking out the biggest hills in town while listening to my Walkman, and that when you go from doing nothing to doing something, things will start to change; regardless, I was stoked to see the pounds start to come off. Then one day while sitting in my room listening to sad bastard music and flipping though a magazine I saw an ad for a mountain bike. It looked cool as hell and on top of that I remembered that this really hot girl I had gone to art school with had one. Cool looking bike… hot girl rides one…. OH, I’M GETTING ONE!

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Neffness VIII


In light of her complete and utter domination of this past Sunday’s UCI XCO race in Mont Sainte-Anne, Quebec, Canada, I would be remiss if I didn’t give another shout out to Jolanda Neff (Liv Pro XC Team) and her continued “Neffness.” It was pretty amazing to watch as she took the lead in the opening lap and never looked back. In the end she took the victory by over a minute on Canada’s own Catharine Pendrel (Luna Pro Team). With two races remaining, Neff leads the series with 900 points, 310 points over the second place Emily Batty (Trek Factory Racing).

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Metaphors Aside


I recently found this photo amongst the hundreds of unused, crappier than most, photos I take while riding my bike. It’s obviously not all that good, yet I find myself liking it. I like it–if for no other reason than–because in the past, every time I have ever crossed over this particularly heavily trafficked intersection (heavy for being out in the middle of Bumfuck, Michiganderburgh) where the North Higgins Snowmobile Trail crosses a Roscommon County seasonal road, I have been forced off my bike to walk. The sand is too soft and the numerous tire ruts from trucks, ATVs and dirt bikes too deep.

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A Talk With The Trail


Last week I was putzing around in woods and realized that most of the photos I take of the trails I ride look like smooth ribbons of easy riding dirt. So, I got down and took a few shots of the trail to highlight why I so often opt for my full suspension bike.

As you can see I’m not talking about trying to smooth out Pennsylvania mountain rock gardens or technical descents, I’m simply talking about the ability to ride smoothly over trails that so often appear to be smooth and buff (and thankfully are in some places) but upon closer inspection beat my 43-year-old body up without the aid of some sort of suspension.

It was during this impromptu photo shoot that I starting rapping with the trail. Before I knew it, snapping a photo turned into a short interview that gave me a little insight into the life of the trail I ride so much, and you an insight into me losing my mind.

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Flying Fat


You probably think that I have already reneged on my promise to no longer follow Cycling Writer Law 26/3.7 and that I am writing yet another post about riding a fat bike and using the word “fat” in the post title. Well, you’re wrong fool! This time I AM talking about me being fat and rolling fast enough to use the word “flying” (in my feeble mind) to describe it. So take that!

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In an ironic twist of fate (or at least vocabulary) the UCI has eliminated the Cross-Country Eliminator (XCE) races from the 2015 calendar. With a growing number of top racers choosing to skip the XCE races to save themselves for the XCO main event later in the weekend and the UCI and promoters apparently not making any money from the event (always a motivating factor), it’s really no surprise. The format had its pros and cons, fans and detractors from the first race.

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Fat Again


No, the title of this post is not referring to how 20+ years ago I was a hulking, 300 pound sack of man flesh, lost 125 pounds and am now seemingly going out of my way to gain as much of that weight back as I can with a steady diet of burgers, pizza, pasta and beer. No, I am simply adhering to Cycling Writer Law 26/3.7 which states that if you ride, review, touch, hear about or suggestively rub up against a fat bike and proceed to write about it, you MUST mention the word “fat” in the title of your piece, e.g. Getting Fat, Rolling a Fatty, Fat & Fun, Fatties Do It BetterFat Between My Thighs, etc., etc.,  Since I suggestively rubbed up against rode my Surly Pugsley for the second time this week on Thursday, I have gone with the title Fat Again. OK, with all that fat talk out-of-the-way, I will move on…

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