Saturday, May 31, 2008


SEE FOR YOURSELF!!! THEY HAVE EVEN INFILTRATED THE SMALL HAMLET OF ENUMCLAW, WASHINGTON. Located in the center of town, and masquerading as a piece of public art, no less than TWO demon cows who are no doubt hell bent (if you'll excuse my use of the phrase) on stampeding their paths of destruction directly towards the utter destruction of the human race. Which makes no sense at all, and might not even be a complete sentence, but if you pause to reflect on my grammar (sloppy at best-- I know -- BUT DON'T REFLECT!!!), the demon cows will already have won. How, I don't know, but just look at their evil scowls--empty soulless eyes with a downcast gaze -- DOWNCAST TO HADES ITSELF!!!!!A mighty yoke joins the two evil beasts so that they might ravage the surface dwellers in unison.
A humanoid demon, also with empty soulless eyes brandishing some sort of harpoon-like weapon [with pieces of man-flesh adorning its tip, not unlike marshmallows on a roasting stick!!!!!!!!!] stands by the hell-cow's sides, urging them forward in search of human flesh.

In other news I placed 7th in today's TT, despite whatever I said in that post down below. The person who wrote that was clearly misinformed by a deceitful president practicing a form of propaganda-based coercive democracy in what has been called by critics a "permanent campaign". I now realize that I was part of a massive attempt to obfuscate the truth from the American people, and for that I am deeply sorry -- or wait...maybe someone just misread the results as they were posted.

I didn't get in the top ten in the day's crit, but I'm happy to report that the road was dry. It was a very fun race, and I'm happy to report that Cooper LangE, who my readers should remember (right readers?) placed 3rd out of a wicked-fast field. Go Coopie!

Also, I found this unfortunate bike while preparing for my race. It belongs to a masters racer who got "up close and personal" with the pavement. I've never seen a saddle like this, but it looks uncomfortable:

UNLEASH THE COWS (and donkeys) OF HELL!!!

Today while warming up for the Mutual of Enumclaw Points Omnium and Three Ring Circus, I encountered these horrifying beasts:
What could I do but flee in abject horror from their terrible fangs [obscured in this photo by their woolly coats], their terrible claws [obscured in this photo by the grass], and their EXTREMELY terrible horns [normally found with pieces of man-flesh adorning the tips, not unlike marshmallows on a roasting stick]. Look at me flee:
Speaking of abomination of nature, this encounter reminds me of another phenomenon so perverse it usually isn't found outside the gates of hell: donkey basketball. The fact that this heinous activity has garnered the attention of the mainstream media is more than appalling. See for yourself:
2-Year-Old Donkey Called Up To Pro Donkey Basketball League

In other news, I placed 6th in today's time trial. Not bad, but one place worse than I placed in last year's race. It's a points omnium, so nothing matters but the placings. Hopefully this darn rain will give it a rest for tonight's crit. So I can win.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Dude, Boston Rocks!

So I made a quick trip out to the olde east coast. Boston is a pretty cool city with pretty cool buildings. As with most cities, a little country boy like me was pretty awe-struck. Here are some photos. Notice the awe on my face:

OMG a trolley! Yes, those are the very same ducklings found in the famous children's book "Make Way For Duckings"
Cookie Monster moments before decapitating that poor woman. "I thought she was a macaroon," Mr. Monster said later in his defense.
Fast racing boats ready for a regalia. A ricotta? A -- whatever, a fuckin' race.

Saturday, May 24, 2008


Years ago the prospect of cold fusion was explored by scientists in search of limitless free energy. Enthusiasm for cold fusion research faded after the initial experiments proved to be not-repeatable -- a veritable dead end. However, today a team of Japanese scientists and a lone Northwest-based bicycle racer have simultaneously unlocked the secrets to this virtually limitless energy source. In Japan, an Osaka based laboratory held its experiment in front of a live audience, and were clearly excited about their results. "We've been researching this for nearly two decades -- it's good to see our hard work pay off like this," the chief Japanese scientist said.

Amazingly, Sam Johnson, a Seattle based bicycle racer also discovered a nearly limitless source of free energy by accident while pedaling his bike around Mercer Island earlier today. Having at best a modest physics background, Johnson appeared as surprised by his results as anyone else. "I was in honors physical science in 9th grade, which was, like, this special group that met after school -- well I guess not technically -- it wasn't on my transcript or anything, but I'd show up almost every week anyway, so I guess I'm pretty scientifical minded, and stuff," Johnson said. According to various sources, the energy source was discovered while Johnson, an elite level cyclist, was doing a twenty-minute maximum power test early Saturday morning. "I knew I was feeling good -- but whoah -- I mean cold fusion? That's pretty rad!" Johnson said. While Johnson's method has yet to be fully validated by the scientific community, early examination of Johnson's power meter data is, like, totally legit.

Friday, May 23, 2008

A Few Notes on Pressure....

I would like to thank Kenji for helping me uncover these memories from my former life as a competitive guinea pig breeder. And no, this isn't entirely historically accurate -- some names were changed, some facts were bent. There are people out there (namely my mother) who remember this event, and could call me out if they choose to. However, the spirit of the story is (hopefully) spot on.
You want to know about pressure? I'll tell you about pressure; the obscure yet highly competitive world of guinea pig breeding and showing is filled with pressure. Let me paint you a picture: imagine a show table, a waist-high, carpeted table with a long row of small cages along the outer edge. Inside each cage sits a guinea pig, the best-of-breed (BOB) winners from the previous rounds of showing. These animals already have proven themselves to be remarkable specimens -- they are already winners, yet only one of them will take home the ultimate prize: best-in-show (BOS). On one side of the table, four or five judges nervously pace, examining the competitors with the stern faces of battleship captains. On the other, the audience watches the proceedings with an almost religious silence. The cavernous fairground warehouse is silent, save a few click-click-clicks from guinea pigs chewing on the metal wire of their cages; the nerves of a rodent can fray too.

I’m sweating. This is the 1993 ACBA* national convention, the biggest show in the country. My satin-Abyssinian boar, Mr. Mistoffelees, won his breed by a healthy margin, and is on the table with the rest of the nation’s best. He’s a beautiful strawberry roan with excellent sheen, nice boxy shoulders and a Robert Spitzer** nose. His rosettes are nearly perfect, except for a little guttering on his rump, and one doubled rosette on his left shoulder***. Like I said, nearly perfect.

Dr. Clifford Boyle is the head judge presiding over the final round of the show. An anesthesiologist by profession, Dr. Boyle's true passion becomes clear the moment he dons his judge's coat****: he's a guinea pig man through and through. Known for his strict adherence to the ACBA Standard of Perfection (he was an associate editor after all), Dr. Boyle is known for being both extremely fair, and extremely critical. After a quick sweeping survey of the field of competitors, Dr. Boyle began his evaluation in earnest. Some judges give running commentary on what’s going through their minds while they judge. Others (the better ones) save all their remarks until their decisions have been made. Dr. Boyle is one of the best; the silence is unbearable, the suspense is sublime.

He reaches Mr. Mistoffelees and removes the tiny rodent from the show cage. As he did so, I could swear I saw his eyes light up -- was it the smoothness of Mr.'s coat? Was it that Mr. is an unusually large and well proportioned Guinea Pig? Or was that glimmer in his eyes a reaction to something distasteful? He moistens his fingers with saliva and begins to adjust Mr.’s rosettes. Overwhelmed, I get up and leave the room. I return once Dr. Boyle has moved on the next animal, a gorgeous tortoise-shell and white teddy.

Having watched Dr. Boyle judge shows before, I knew that he often returns to those that are in contention for the win, evaluating the same guinea pig as many as five or six times. After forty-five minutes of judging, he appears to have narrowed it down to three animals: Mr. Mistoffelees, Cheerieo (an American golden-agouti sow), and none other than Robert Spitzer's Numare (a highly decorated chocolate silkie boar). With a furrowed brow, the judge puts Mr. back in his cage for the last time. My fingers are crossed, my heart is racing. He lets out a huge sigh, then draws in a lungful of air, before looking out at the audience for the first time in over an hour. “I want to thank you all for coming. This has been the most difficult National Convention to judge in years,” he says.

I know what pressure is.

*American Cavy Breeders Association. Guinea pigs are properly known as cavies (rhymes with navy), but I shall continue using layman's terms so I don't confuse all you laymen.
**Robert Spitzer, one of the best breeders in the business, was rumored to have more space in his house devoted to his caviary than his own living quarters. He was known for being a reclusive, secretive man, and a fierce competitor. Spitzer specialized in the long haired breeds (mainly silkies and a few Peruvians), but he dabbles in Abyssinians, thus making him my competitor at times. Mr. Mistoffelees was sired by one of his animals, and carries a distinctive nose that is considered very desirable. Mr. Mistoffelees won his breed, much to Robert’s dismay. His own Pandora won Best-Opposite-Sex-of-Breed (BOSB).
***Guinea pig breeding is an honorable activity. It would have been easy to pluck out the hairs in his double rosette, making it look clean and precise. But this isn’t what his genetics dictated, and thus, not what he should be judged on*.
****Embroidered "Dr. Cliff" above the ACBA crest

*Compare this to the spineless world of dog breeding where some dogs get their teeth bleached, their hair dyed, or even plastic surgery to compensate for the ineptitude off the breeders. There is no honor in dog breeding.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Oh Where Oh Where Have My Powerfiles Gone...

Well I'm back safe and sound in Seattle. I've once again invaded the home of my team manager, and here I shall stay until my next round of races (which, for those who haven't been following along at home, are updated in the "upcoming races" list on the right).

I can't say I'm thrilled with home my first two NRC races went -- I clearly showed that I have the strength to do well, but not necessarily the wisdom, judgment or patience. I was feeling pretty discouraged after Mt. Hood, but returning to the familiar and supportive Seattle surroundings have helped me restoke the fires of motivation. I'm actually excited to do some quality training -- I haven't used my power meter since before Walla Walla (that's well over a month, for those not following along at home). I can't tell whether I like it or resent it that I am racing bicycles in the age of power meters. It will be interesting to see what has happened to my wattage -- am I objectively stronger or weaker than before? I guess it's nice to have the concrete data, but I sort of long for a simpler time -- before heart rate monitors, before periodized training plans -- heck -- before training was scientific at all. I wish I were riding back when superstition and tradition govorned training practices. I want to roll out of bed, eat a breakfast of well-done steak (the high carbon content helps thins the blood) and black coffee (adding cream will get you dropped for sure), warm up by doing jumping jacks and smoking cigarettes (they open the lungs you know), and when shit hit the fan in the race I'd just catch a train to the next town and get back in the race. Those guys had it much better than we do.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

Suffering The Indignity

Here are a few different ways to look at how today went:


The Disbelieving: I can't believe you attacked yourself out of the race. What the hell were you thinking going off the front alone like that? Why did you keep attacking the field even though you knew you were pinned? Were you trying to get dropped?

The Compassionate: At least you learned a bit more about what your limits are as a rider, right? I'm sure that information will be valuable in the next race.

The Illogical: WAY TO SHOW 'EM SAM! The North American pro peloton is now sure of one thing: for the first 40 minutes of the race, you have the biggest balls of any man out there. And you know what they say about the first 40 minutes: "they're a lot more important than the last 40 minutes".

The Rationalizing: At least other people got dropped too -- and I doubt those racers attacked NEARLY as hard as you did. You were the strongest racer to get dropped in the first 40 minutes by far.

The Optimistic: At least you were able to hitch a ride home, right? I bet you sure were pretty scared you were going to perish out there -- especially when you rolled through the first feed zone only to find that everyone was long gone, huh?

Guff. Another race is over and done with. At least this means I can drink beer without feeling guilty tonight.

Friday, May 16, 2008

Oh Man...Ouch is the Word of the Day.

I'm getting thrashed around out here in Hood River. These last several days have been extra hard:

Wednesday's crit was brutal. I had a moment where I was sure I wasn't going to finish -- I was completely falling apart, and every time I got to the top of the hill I barely had enough juice to hop on a wheel for the descent. I looked at the clock and to my horror, still had over an hour of racing left. I don't know how I stayed in the race that long.

Thursday's circuit race wasn't any easier -- in fact it was much harder. I didn't get any credit for doing so (neither a picture nor a mention of my name 0n velo- or cyclingnews), but I got in the day's breakaway about 4 miles into the race. I don't know why I thought it would be a good idea to get in a loooong breakaway like that, but the opportunity was there, and at the time it sounded like fun. As a result, I had a really unsteady, really hard day in the saddle. Guys were flat out attacking eachother with 40 miles to go, and that didn't help things at all once the breakaway got caught by the field and the real attacks of the day began. I got dropped hard by the field, and lost 5 minutes in the last 5 miles.

Today's TT wasn't much easier. Despite a slight tailwind (as opposed to the usual headwind), the course is really really hard. I don't know how I did, but I certainly could have paced it better, and I felt awful. It's a good thing tomorrow is such an easy day --- oh wait --- tomorrow is un-fucking-believably hard -- 105 miles, 11,000 feet of climbing, 95 degrees outside (except for the finish at the ski area where there is still 6 feet of snow on the ground). Should be a breeze.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"It's A Silly Race..."

Yesterday's Prolouge was a silly race. NOBODY knows how to pace themselves for a sub-3 minute effort, nobody! It's a silly distance, and a silly thing. SILLY SILLY SILLY. Ben Jacques-Maynes CRUSHED everybody, beating the next competitor by a solid 2 SECONDS!! WHOAH!!! HOLY SHIT!!! (he averaged 37 miles per hour to do so). I on the other hand finished a scant 6 seconds back, good for 22nd place. SILLY RACE SILLY RACE!!!!! The only thing sillier is Camelot:

Monday, May 12, 2008


Holy shit there's a strong field (be sure to look at the "complete 8-man teams" page from the pull down menu on the right) at this year's Mt. Hood Cycling Classic. Full pro teams include:

Health Net
Rock Racing
Sucessful Living
Toyota United
Jittery Joe's
Kelly Benefits

For info on any of these pro teams, go here.

Full amateur teams include:

Hagens Berman
Fior Di Frutta
Kahala La Grange
Red Truck
Liquid Cycling

Tomorrow's prologue is a mere 1.7 miles. Should be fun and fast. I feel good -- I certainly feel a boost thanks to the increased oxygen down here as opposed to the thin New Mexican air I've been breathing the last two and a half weeks. Huzzuh.

Sunday, May 11, 2008



The Anniversary

Today marks the one year anniversary of my first blog posting. The cycle has been completed -- the spell has been broken -- I am done. My life as a blogger is now over. Thanks for tuning in.

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Tour of the Gila Wrap-Up

Ok, after 4 days of sitting on my ass doing next to nothing, I finally summoned the energy to type this:

Saturday's Stage 4 was a 40 lap crit (totaling a little over 43 miles) right through downtown Silver City. The course was a rectangle with long straightaways, a high-speed downhill corner, awful pavement on the back stretch, and enough wind to make it much easier in the draft. Except for a short, punchy hill, it was easy to sit in. I was nearly half an hour down in GC by this point, so when a breakaway formed (without me in it), and Bissell lined all eight of their guys up at the front, my focus shifted to conserving as much energy as possible for the final stage on Sunday – and what better way is there to conserve energy than to fall off the back and get pulled? None! So, I slid to the back of the field, and when a gap opened up in front of the Trek-Landis guy in front of me, I didn’t come around him to close it. It didn’t really occur to me that this guy was actually getting dropped – I was having such an easy time sitting in that I foolishly assumed he was trying to get pulled from the race too. So I sat on the poor guy for several laps while he chased in vain. At one point he nearly dragged me back to the field. I pulled up along side him and said “dude, what are you doing? I’m trying to get dropped here,” which naturally crushed his desire to keep chasing, and kindled the flames of hatred towards me that no doubt still burn in his heart. After 20 laps the race officials took mercy and pulled us from the race. I was given a pro-rated time of four minutes (not bad considering I missed out on the last 45 minutes of racing), and got to clean up, change, and eat before watching the exciting final few laps. I'm glad I wasn't out there -- the pace quickened a lot towards the end. Bissell brought the break back to within fifteen seconds on the final lap, and Chris Wherry delivered Henk Vogles to the last corner with enough of a gap to hold off all the chasers. Yee-haw.

Sunday’s stage is one of the hardest races I’ll do all year. The first 50 miles or so are pretty tame – the terrain is rolling, there isn’t a ton of wind, and the leading team usually lets a breakaway escape before reeling them back on the slopes of the first big climb. There are three big climbs in the last 50 miles of the race. The course profile resembles the lower jaw of some fearsome monster with massive teeth. First we go over a major mountain pass towards the Gila Wilderness visitor center, then we bomb down the CRAZY descent into the valley below, turn around in the visitor center parking lot, and climb right back where we came from. Over the top of the first climb, the some guys attacked, and I chose not to respond (although in retrospect, I should have – it wouldn’t have hurt me to be up the road, and there was a chance I would have made the lead group). On the insane descent, I was right behind the big crash of the day, and narrowly avoided going down myself. I caught up the “main group” of 20-30 guys, and sat in until the next climb, where I did everything I could to stay with them. I got gapped off 2 miles from the summit, but kept calm, and didn’t blow up. I went over the top perhaps 30-40 seconds behind the group. I caught the Tecos rider ahead of me, and before long, Tom Peterson caught up to us, and helped us chase back to the group. I was surprised to see Morgan Schmidt was up there, considering he had done a lot of work pulling the breakaway back – a great ride for the HB alum. The final 20 miles are a SLOG – almost all uphill, very slow and very tiring, especially since we were all cross-eyed after the previous two climbs. I hung in the group until the sprint, and didn’t have much when the finish line finally did come. Michael Grabinger took the sprint for 9th place (making that a total of 4 current or former HB riders finishing in the top 16). Last year I finished in the third group on the road, so it feels good to know I did better, and hung with a faster group this time around.

For now, I’m hanging out in Santa Fe, recharging my batteries for Mt. Hood. I’ll be here until Saturday when I’ll fly to Portland. I’m excited to see that my fitness is pretty good these days – I’ve clearly got the strength – I just need to put it together and actually get some results that turn some heads.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008


On Sunday I witnessed the worst crash I've ever seen in a bike race. On the early slopes of a steep descent, four guys (including the race leader Tom Zirbel) rode off the road and crashed into the hillside at a very high speed. I was right behind them, and barely avoided crashing myself. Several riders abandoned the race, and one of the Tecos riders, Fausto Esperaza Munoz, was very seriously injured. It appears he is paralyzed below the waist. This is the worst crash in the Tour of the Gila's 22 year history. I am rather traumatized by this news, and by the severity of this crash for everyone involved, especially since I clearly recall thinking it looked "not so bad" as I went by. One look at the three pieces of Tom Zirbel's bike would suggest otherwise. Whenever someone actually gets injured in this sport (as opposed to the relativly superficial wounds suffered in most crashes), I am reminded that we human beings are such fragile creatures. We are breakable and delicate and mortal, and we are literally taking our lives into our own hands every time we ride. It is unwise to keep this reality on the forefront of our minds when we actually race -- to focus on the danger inherent in riding (instead of the wheel in front of us) would only increase the risk -- but it's important to acknowledge that the danger is real.

As always after a period of questioning, I return to the same conclusion: risk is everywhere, and while I shall do my best to manage that risk and to be as safe as possible, my decision making can't be guided entirely by the presence (or absence) of risk. Yes, I might break my back in a bike race -- but I can also break my back in a car crash. Or in a sledding accident. Or tripping on an untied shoelace. There are bike racers who have raced professionally for twenty years without breaking a bone, and hundreds of racers who remain active and healthy into their golden years -- injury in the sport of cycling is a danger, not a sentence.

Nonetheless, my thoughts are with Fausto at the moment. I wish him the best of luck recovering.

Enjoy the Contrast.

Hard to believe all I did was shave the 'stash, no? Fear not, the mullethawk is still alive and well underneath that hat. The motorcycle tattoo is also alive and well underneath that shirt. SWEET!!!!

Monday, May 5, 2008

Silver City Images

Not much to say -- expect a big summary of the last two days of the Tour of the Gila
soon, but for now, here are some nice pictures of the classy, quirky old mining town turned artsy.

Friday, May 2, 2008

Lady Luck is an Evil Heartless Bitch.

So I was well on my redeeming myself. Was being the operative word there. Let's start with yesterday's stage:

Stage Two of the 2008 tour of the Gila -- I remember this stage well. Historically I spend the bulk of this stage in no man's land either by myself (in between the breakaway and the field in 2006) or as part of a small chase group (in between the two halves of the split field in 2007). Determined to save as much energy as possible, I did something a little counterintuitive--- I throttled it through the first 10 miles of climbing, and fought hard to stay near the front all day. That way I stayed in the field all day, as opposed to the numerous schmucks who got popped in the hills or through the wind throughout the day. Tecos -- that team of mighty Mexicans and colossal Columbians did a fantastic job of keeping control of the race lead. With a few miles left to go, the pace quickened, and the crosswinds plastered the leftovers of the field against the gutter. I decided it would be about as hard to fight for a spot in the top twenty as it would to get guttered and leapfrog guys as they got popped (or worse yet, get popped myself). With two miles to go, no team had really grabbed the race by the horns (despite the fact that the fill Toyota and Bissell teams were up there), and I just took a deep breath and put in a hard effort, moving up along the outside, into the top ten guys. Finally the Colavita team managed to get an attack together, and I wasn't in position to respond (although I could have been -- I was a little timid being around all those big-name guys/teams). Instead I waited for the Race Leader to surge hard (in what I assume was a desperate attempt to avoid losing time), and sprinted around him and his teammate in the final 200m. I actually won some money ($45 whole dollars ma!!), something I didn't really expect to pull off, seeing as how I'm now fully out of the GC. You can see me in the background of this picture (I'm the blurry guy):

Now let's get to Stage 3:

I miiiiiight have to rant here. Bare with me.


Long story short -- I was having a great ride in the TT today, and I WAS ROBBED!!!! I nailed every section of the course: didn't blow up on the way out, drilled it over the top of the first climb, got into a really aero tuck on the steep descent, caught my 3 minute man by the turnaround, kept it steady on the way back, throttled it up the second big climb, and thanked my lucky stars I tracked down a 56 chainring for the last 4 miles because I needed every tooth. With 3 miles to go, just as I was BLAZING past my 7 minute man (to be fair, he was on a road bike), my front tire started to feel funny. With about 2 miles to go, I was certain I had a leaky tire, but through I could just ride it out. With about 2 k to go, my tire went completely flat, and I realized I was going to ruin my fancy carbon wheel if I kept racing on it. I pulled over with 1500 meters left in the race, and walked home -- but I screamed and cursed and had to use every OUNCE of restraint I had to keep myself from stomping my foot clean through my disc wheel.

I figured I'd earned the right to have a good ride, especially after the morning I'd had; I realized my bike wasn't UCI legal, and since they did check bikes at this race (as has reportedly been happening more and more (perhaps this increased curmudgeonly scrutiny is an attempt to make up for the fact that there is no drug testing at the race (which there fucking should be in my humble fucking opinion))) -- sorry -- anyway, where was I? Oh yeah -- I needed to make my aerobars 1 cm shorter this morning. Doing so involved asking every bike mechanic in the parking lot if they had the shims that make a 28.8mm handlebar fit a 31.1 mm stem clamp, finally finding a guy who had some, grinding a piece of metal off of said shims with a dremmel tool so they would fit under the face plate, and cautiously tightening my bars into this full blown kludgie of a hack job of a clusterfuck. See for yourself.

See that gap between my stem and my bars? That's a DICEY fuckin' way to ride some aerobars, I'll tell you -- but I somehow made it work. COME ON!!!


Oh yeah, and I shaved off the mustache. WHATEVER!