Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Rumors!

ATTENTION READERS OF GLIDERBISON BLOG!
GOOD NEWS!

A few months ago, I posted a story entitled Why We Race. I wrote it less than an hour after getting pulled from the criterium at the Joe Martin Stage Race; I went straight to my computer and typed for an hour in a passionate frenzy (sweaty, still wearing my bibs, and nearly bonking). Well, several of you read that piece, and some of you even liked what you read. Three people, entirely independently, recommended that I submit Why We Race to a publication, or a contest, or something. To you three, thank you for the encouragement -- I hope you'll be happy to learn that this month's VeloNews features my story on it's back page, newly retitled "Roll with the Hunted." I have yet to get my hot little hands on a copy of my own (I just checked two bike shops and and they were already sold out), but I'm reasonably certain this isn't just a rumor.


The idea of submitting my "work" to a magazine hadn't occurred to me. First off, I really don't think of myself as a writer; I'm just a blogger. Bloggers don't get published in magazines -- they post stuff about nachos, or Legos, or weimaraners, or whatever the hell they want. Second, odd as it may seem, I post things on my blog for myself every bit as much as I do for you, my readers. That might sound selfish, but it's true. Blogging is what keeps me sane, and helps me cope with the stresses of racing, and the accompanying lifestyle. Like any creative endeavor, I do get some satisfaction from sculpting a good post; however, I also I see blogging as part of my responsibility. Racing is a necessarily selfish endeavor, and the better you want to get, the more selfish you must become. I somehow feel that by recording my experiences and sharing them with the internet, I can better justify this selfishness, and assuage the guilt I feel for leading such an (at times) narrow, focused life. My hope is that other people, especially my friends and family, can read my blog and better understand what I'm doing, or how I'm feeling, or why I'm even racing bikes in the first place.

The fact that VeloNews felt my story would resonate with the larger racing community is as flattering as it is rewarding. Thanks to Ben Delaney at VeloNews, and for everyone who reads Gliderbison -- you are without a doubt what keeps me racing.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The End of Bend

Jolly good, jolly good indeed chaps. I do say, that final day of the elite national championships was quite a doosey, wasn't it? We rode a pretty solid race as a team: Kennett started the first breakaway, and Sean bridged to it shortly thereafter. Phil did a fantastic job of both marking moves, and getting bottles for everyone else. Lang was very aggressive late in the race, starting and driving two very dangerous moves inside the last lap two laps. Chris finished 6th, our best placing at a national championships since 2005, and Kennett wowed us all with his sprint, besting the chase group to finish 9th (I dare say his best ride of the year). I am so very proud of my team for the race they rode. it would have been nice to have someone inside the top 5, but things went pretty much exactly to plan, and that almost never happens in this sport.

I was the only one who really didn't do much. I sat on most of the day, conserving energy (in theory). But when the going got tough, and the tough got going, I got dropped. I rolled into the finish nearly 10 minutes down, wondering what happened, and why I didn't have legs.

Yeah, I had a slightly disappointing nationals. I'm trying to focus on the big picture here -- it's a long season, and it's been a great one so far. There's a ton more racing to do, and I've got a nice chunk of time in between now and Cascade to press the reset button.

To cheer things up, here's a photo of our homestay children, sporting Hagens Berman jerseys, and posting up for the camera:


And here's a beautiful mountain we drove by on the way home: 


And here's the place we got dinner -- the best fast food place on earth. If you don't know about Burgerville, you should. Let's just put it this way: their motto is "Fresh. Local. Sustainable."

 

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Saturday, June 26, 2010

KROGG MASTER OF NACHO UNIVERSE!!!!


Krogg extremely pleased. Krogg have great nacho experience, and would like to share with blog. Krogg have lots of time yesterday before criterium start, and have deep caveman hunger for nachos. So Krogg voyage to nearby grocery store, and purchase following items:

Then Krogg go in search of plate large enough to fit heaping pile of nachos. Eventually Krogg settle on giant baking dish. Krogg pile chips four inches high. Then Krogg pile on salsa, beans, and cheese. Then Krogg zap in microwave for five minutes, and presto! Behold! Caveman Nachos:

Krogg enjoy alongside tall glass of yogurt -- careful Krogg -- don't bite off own fingers now!

Then Krogg build AWESOME lego submarine with host house child. This extremely fun! Please inspect Lego submarine for awesomeness:

Lego sub have multiple awesome propellors:
Also, Lego sub have detachable escape pod for captain! AWESOME: 



This by far best part of Krogg's day. In fact, Krogg have so much fun, him slightly tempted to join AFOL, and attend this year's BrickCon. Enjoy AFOL documentary:


AFOL A Blocumentary from AFOL on Vimeo.


Then Krogg race national championships in criterium. Things no go so well. In fact, Krogg spend so much time at back of race, Krogg build small fan club. Enthusiastic fans scream "go number 38!!" repeatedly at Krogg (every lap for 62 laps). To further add insult to, well, insult, Krogg encounter small contingent of fan club on ride next day. While pre-riding road race course, Krogg hear "go number 38! Nice crit yesterday!" from complete strangers. Krogg pretty sure this first time caveman get heckled by total strangers in public. Krogg feel like lousy stand up comedian. Fortunately, Krogg slightly more confident in his abilities tomorrow. Perhaps Krogg can silence cruel heckler critics.
(P.S. Thanks Amara)

Thursday, June 24, 2010

TT Nats

It's tough to realize
That simply wanting something
Doesn't make it yours

And that trying hard
Often isn't good enough
When push comes to shove

The script I drafted
Clearly wasn't seen by all
And if so, ignored

Worst part: feeling good
About my ride, before that
Glimmer of hope - snuffed

Now I feel stupid
For shaving my hands and arms
So I'd go faster

Oh stop it! You child!
So what - you got your ass kicked!
Won't be the last time

Get up sam, come on
There's more racing to be done
Things will turn around

Just go eat a lot
Of ice cream, that will fix things
I mean it will, right?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Beer. And Nationals. And Beer.



First off, I want to send my congratulations to the Coalition Brewing Co., and wish them good luck in their grand opening tomorrow night! My good friend and high school classmate Elan Walsky is one of the founders of Coalition Brewing Co., and I'm absolutely thrilled to see him bring his dreams to life. Coalition is built around a brilliant idea: anyone over the age of 21 can become part of the coalition. Portland is home to one of the most active and knowledgeable home-brewer communities in the country, and Coalition aims to utilize that potential. Home brewers can use the gorgeous new brewing facility to brew smaller batches of beer, and the best recipes will be selected for mass production. I had the distinct pleasure of visiting Coalition Brewing Co. two nights ago, at their "sneak peak" opening for friends, and I am thrilled with what I saw. The building has been beautifully renovated, and the interior is as inviting as it is classy. The organic herb garden out back is a lovely touch, and their plans to excavate their adjacent parking lot into a patio will be a great addition. The bar serves a full food menu, and some the tastiest beers in Portland, all at very reasonable prices ($3.75 per pint!). Follow Coalition Brewing Co. on Facebook, or just stop in for a taste!

And then there's nationals. The elite national championships are right around the corner. I've always found nationals to be slightly silly -- mainly because of the fact that there's no money up for grabs. Many cyclists, myself included, love to bitch and moan about how x,y or z local race doesn't pay out enough prize money, but then willingly spend a cartload getting ourselves to the national championships so we can race for one of those coveted national champion jerseys. I'll admit, a stars-and-bars jersey is a pretty nice trophy, and it can help land one of those coveted pro contracts, so I'm pretty happy to be headed out to Bend, still feeling like I've got some form.

Monday, June 21, 2010

I Gotta Clear Something Up!


So do you all remember Chris Hong? Last year he made my list of Top Five Mutant Bodies of the Tour of the Gila. Well right now, my hat is off to Chris, and his Exergy teammates, because the guy just won the Elkhorn Classic. He did so by spending 100 miles off the front of the race in a breakaway, and still having the suds to maintain (or even build) his lead over the field up the final eight-mile climb, overcoming a 1:45 deficit and vaulting from 16th overall to first. Chris Hong climbs up hills like a mountain goat riding an elevator in the Burj Dubai. So this leads me to the question: exactly how much does Chris Hong weight? When I first asked Chris' teammate this question last year, I heard an even 100 lbs. If this were true, it would mean that when I go uphill I am carrying the equivalent of an entire extra adult male rottweiler. This is the best case scenario. So:


 

=



However, if you head over to Oregon Cycling Action, and read their coverage of stage one, you'll see that Hong now weighs only 90 lbs:
 "Chris Hong, Exergy’s 90-pound climber who had been drafting in the wings all day, took over and set a blistering pace that caused a split in the main field."

Now we're getting into strange territory. If this is true, it means I weigh *ahem* more than twice as much as him. Think about that.
 +  



=

So is Chris losing weight? He seems faster than ever, so it's not out of the question. Could he eventually crack the 80 lb. barrier?  How fast would he go if we got him down to 60 lbs? I can see the headlines now: "Chris Hong, 50 lb Wonder, Averages 37 mph up Mt. Ventoux." Anyway, I started the day in second place by a mere five seconds. Thanks to my teammate in the breakaway, I got a free-ride most of the day, and got to really unload on the final climb. I was able to crack the race leader and leapfrog him, but my efforts were too little, too late; Hong had already flown the coop. However, considering how well Exergy rode, I'm pretty happy with second in the GC. Nice work Chris; see you next week. 

Saturday, June 19, 2010

Krogg Think Too Hard

Krogg race crit tonight. Things don't go so good at first -- rain cancel 3's race, and racecourse wet for first 10 laps. This no good for Krogg. Krogg rather scared when taking corners, and cling to back of race like frightened cave-sloth baby cling to mother's belly. Several crashes convince Krogg this not the best idea, but Krogg somewhat powerless to do otherwise. Nonetheless, Krogg finish criterium, and lose no more time on race leader. In fact, race leader even more scared of wet corners than Krogg, and him fall off back of race and not finish with pack. Somehow, Krogg race terrible crit, yet still manage to move up spot in GC. Now Krogg perched a mere 4 seconds out of lead. Yikes.

Here's (exactly) What (the hell) Happened:

Starting Tuesday morning I:
  • flew out to minnesota
  • raced in the prologue
    • did pretty well!
  • raced in the st. paul crit
    • got jettisoned out the back so fast it made my head spin!
      • did not make the cut for the next day
    • how the hell did that happen? 
      • well the course was pretty tight
      • and I am still a little frazzled from my crashes at mt. hood
      • but I was one of only three guys not to make the cut
        • ouch
        • you suck
  • wallowed in self pity
    • "I'm not a bike racer -- I'm just a SHAM, pretending to be a bike racer!"
  • drank a few beers
    • felt awesome
  • realized the elkhorn classic hadn't started yet
  • made a flurry of phone calls (team manager, elkhorn-bound teammates, etc.)
  • made a flurry of internet arrangements (rebooking tickets, checking elkhorn rosters, etc.)
  • crossed my fingers that they'd let me into the race
  • flew out to seattle
  • got picked up by the team van and drove to Baker City
  • begged and pleaded that I be added to the roster
  • raced the road race
  • raced the time trial
    • got fourth!
And that pretty much brings us up to speed. 

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

PIMP MY RIDE: River Front TT Course

What's up everyone -- this is Xzibit and I'm here to PIMP YOUR RIDE! Today we're going to help out my friend Sam who wants to ride in the Nature Valley Grand Prix Prologue. As some of you may know, the rules changed at this year's race, banning the use of time trial bikes and certain aerodynamic equipment. So, if my boy Sam wants to go fast on his road bike, he's going to need an aero makeover courtesy of West Coast Customs. Let's get to it -- Sam, are you ready to get your ride PIMPED?!?


I'm going to start off by moving that saddle all the way forward. This will help you to roll those hips forward when you're tucked into an aero position.

Then I'm going to rip out those bottle cages -- you don't need that extra drag!
Next up, I'm going to turn your bike over to my boy Steve at West Coast Customs -- he's going to pimp out your cockpit. Steve:




"WHAT'S UP SAM! You brought your bike in here looking like it was ready for a fat-tire-derby. It's going to leave looking like it's ready for the prologue at the Tour. First up, I'm swapping out your stem -- you need a 140 mm stem on there so you can get LONG and LOW."





"The next thing I'm going to hook you up with is a totally custom ziptie cable harness to keep those cables out of the wind. Check it."
"Next up, your bar tape. You came in here with your tape in tatters after your crashes at Mt. Hood. I'm going to hook you up with some SICK black electrical tape to hold you over until you get some new tape on there." 
"OK Xzibit, that's all I got-- back over to you."



Sick Steve. Nice work. Next up, wheels. I've called in a few favors, and I've gotten you a sweet Cole T85 front wheel to blast you along that course. Scope it out:






Alright, and I've saved the best for last. I found you some SWEET pipe insulation to wrap around your handlebars so you can rest your forearms on there while you're hammering along the flats. Don't have aerobars? This cheap black foam is the next best thing!

Alright Sam, your ride is now officially PIMPED. Now get out there and set that River Front Time Trial course on FIRE!