Friday, May 28, 2010

Still Want to Go to Aspen?

Alright, here it is, I present to you my new moped, Boris: 
Boris is a Kinetic TFR moped. He still needs some work, but I'm proud to say that as of today, Boris does indeed run. He still can't really idle without stalling, nor can he produce enough power to move me forward, but this is a vast improvement over yesterday. I replaced Boris' spark plug, and Boris likes that. I had a moment of supreme embarrassment while attempting to purchase said spark plug at the auto parts store. I was at the check out counter, talking to someone who looked like he should have his own show on SpeedVision, when I realized I know absolutely nothing about gasoline engines. "I need a spark plug for my moped," I said. "Ok, what kind of spark plug," the automotive expert behind the counter asked dryly. Unsure what the guy meant, I tried again, this time slightly louder: " moped spark plug please." The clerk lifted his eyes from his computer screen, and now visibly annoyed said, "Dude, I need a part number for your spark plug. We stock over 100 different types of spark plug." I gulped, suddenly recognizing how out of my league I was. "Oh. I see. I guess I'll be right back then," I said, and inched towards the door. I returned a few minutes later, this time with the old spark plug in hand. I bought a new spark plug, as well as the wrench and socket needed to install it. 
I think Boris might need a new clutch (or at least a rebuild of his current clutch). Provided that the thing next to the engine that spins is indeed the clutch, I'm about 25% sure of this. Not great odds, but that is my best idea thus far. I can't wait for the days when Boris and I cross the country together in search of adventure.

Welcome to the family Boris.

p.s. If anyone out there in blogland is good at repairing mopeds (or moped clutches), and is interested in helping Boris and me achieve our dreams, let me know. Any help would be appreciated.

Who's the BOSS????

Who's the BOSS? I'm now the BOSS (or at least part of the BOSS). That's right, the BOSS Construction Ski-to-Sea team is going to do some serious damage this weekend. Do any of you realize how friggin' good my ski-to-sea team is? I didn't think so. Let's just put it this way:

Steve Fisher just put aerobars on his mountain bike. He is going to crush.

Ivan Babikov just got back from Vancouver. Where he competed. In the Olympics. I'm not saying there couldn't be a faster skier out there on Sunday, but since there are only four to choose from, it's not likely.

Spencer Walsh is busy polishing his new Whidby Island Marathon Overall Winner trophy.

Max Taam can climb to the top of a mountain in the snow, and then ski down that mountain, in about the same amount of time it takes you to squeeze into ski boots.

Eric Moll knows what he's doing here: he was the fastest kayaker at Ski-to-Sea in 2009.

When Bill Torongo and Steven Corlew paddle a canoe, they have to use the paddle equivalent of a 56-tooth chain ring.

And me. I have to make sure I pull my own weight on this team -- but it's a good thing I'm heavy: 45-mile downhill time trial? I can do downhill.

Last but not least, our fearless leader Tony Velasco. Tony is kind of like a mafia don: he can "make things happen," in a hurry if necessary. Never cross Tony.

Check out the team's website. Also -- all you other Ski-to-Sea teams -- you can consider this official "shit talk."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010


For a limited time, you can stream the entire new album from Ratatat. It's called LP4, and it's pretty awesome. The album will be released on June 8th.

If you don't know about NPR's "Exclusive First Listen" series, you should. They release awesome new music before it's available for sale, once again proving that NPR's music site is the best thing to happen to music since Thomas Edison invented the phonograph.

Monday, May 24, 2010


Boy these weeks sure have been flying by. I just finished the Mutual of Enumclaw Stage Race. As some of you may recall, I've done this race in the past, and while I didn't encounter any demonic donkeys, demonic cows, or even demonic sheep, I still had a good time.

I placed third in the time trial (same as last year). I love this race because they've used the same time trial course since 1997, and they've posted all the results on their website. It's fun to look back through the years and see who the heavy-hitters of yesteryear were. It's also neat to see riders improving over time; in 2000 Svein Tuft threw down a 13:31 (good enough for fourth). In 2007 he did a 12:25 (the current course record). My what seven years of riding a bike will get you.

The criterium was rainy (as usual), and filled with crashed (as usual). Why people skip Wenatchee to race at Enumclaw is beyond me. I made it through alive -- that's pretty much all I have to say about that.

The road race was an odd duck. I got up the road early in the race with four other guys, all of whom were interested in working. At one point we had a five-minute lead on the field, making me the leader on the road. We worked smoothly until the final climb when things started to splinter up a bit. I shelled all but one of my breakaway-mates and finished second on the stage, but first in GC. This is my first real stage race victory ever, so that's pretty cool.

To celebrate, I went on a recovery ride today. Actually it had nothing to do with celebration; it's what I would have done anyway -- but it was still a sweet recovery ride. The rain and cold of the weekend has given way to a beautiful day here in Seattle. Here's a slice:

Morgan in Magnolia

Alan and Morgan

Elliot Bay

It's (still) in the P.I. 

Post Alley


Pikes Place Market



Cobbles up to Queen Anne

Flat tire. 



Friday, May 21, 2010


If you're anything like me, yesterday you spent more than your usual amount of time scanning the interwebs for cycling gossip. So Floyd spilled his beans, huh? I can't tell whether he's really dumb, or really brave, or just really bored, but holy shit Floyd! You do realize what you've started, don't you? Most of the big news sources haven't printed the e-mail Floyd sent, so here's a link. You can see why everyone's in such a tizzy.

Here's Floyd:

I'm not quite ready to post my own comments on here, but I'll leave you with some food for thought until I am. Adam Myerson is a pro on the Mountain Khakis team, and his take on Floyd is one I like. I've had a similar progression in my attitude towards Floyd, and I agree with the crux of his message: Floyd should absolutely be condemned for participating in a corrupt system, for cheating, for lying, for begging his fans for money, and for writing a goddam book about how he was innocent -- but I don't blame him for wanting to burn the whole thing down now. Floyd has gone from the highest highs to the lowest lows thanks to pro cycling. Right now he can't get much lower, and if he wants to pull the whole insidious institution down to the same level he's at, so be it. Makes for some damn good television.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

A Krogg's Eye View: Wenatchee Omnium

Krogg race Wenatchee stage race. Krogg give you quick rundown:

Krogg race 9-mile time trial with wheel that go CLANK CLANK CLANK in every gear except 11-cog. This mean Krogg stay in 11-cog whole race, but Krogg pretty much do that anyway. Krogg take 3rd place, behind tiny climber Morgan Schmitt and man from planet Krypton Ian McKissick. Ian crush time trial by unholy 54 seconds ahead of second place.

Krogg race 50 minute twilight criterium, and spend most of race at back of pack. "This race probably come down to field sprint," Krogg think, "I sit back here and rest, and then go sprint at end." Things all going to plan until Krogg hear announcer mention names of members of small breakaway: Sparling, McKissick, Schmitt. This bad news. Krogg have good teammates who chase breakaway and keep breakaway in check, then Krogg jump across gap nice and clean. Other GC contenders think they can have private party off front of race without inviting Krogg. This not the case. Krogg crash private party, and take 4th in sprint (unfortunately move to 4th in GC too).

Then on Sunday Krogg race 70 mile circuit race with four laps over 6-mile climb. First lap pretty boring: breakaway go, Krogg save energy, nobody really attacks hard over climb. Second lap, third lap, and fourth lap all go pretty much the same: Ian McKissick blow Krogg's mind with how fast he goes uphill, Krogg get DROPPED like hot rock over climb, then Krogg chase on downhill like really heavy hot rock loaded into runaway railroad car with rocket boosters on greased tracks flying down Mt. Everest, and finally Krogg catch back on to whatever group was left in Ian's wake. Krogg somehow manage to squeak out third place on stage, and hang on to fourth place in GC, but Jiminy Christmas -- Krogg do this by skin of his caveman teeth!

Friday, May 14, 2010

Course Change

So I've updated my upcoming races. The biggest change is that Nature Valley is back on the menu, baby! This is a very good thing. It's like saying that coffee is back on the menu, baby! (That is if, god forbid, coffee were ever taken off the menu.) This feels right to me because I've got a bit of a bone to pick with Nature Valley anyway. Last year's running of the race wasn't the best for me; I seem to recall lots of nasty things like crashing twice on the second stage, broken handlebars, ill-fitting neutral bikes, and a subsequent total meltdown of my motivation. I'm excited to conquer those demons. Plus, now that Paddy Bevin isn't an amateur any more, I might have a shot at that green jersey. I'll have to miss Elkhorn, which is a bummer, but Nature Valley is where the big fish are (and I want to be a big fish).

This weekend is the Tour of Wenatchee. A pretty standard TT and Crit on Saturday lead to a bonkers-brutal road race on Sunday. Apparently there's a six-mile climb we hit three times. I've never done it, and it sounds like it's better that way (less to fear). Thanks to the highly selective course, and the descent prize money, this race usually attracts some of the stronger riders in the region: Morgan Schmitt of UHC, Ian McKissick, and a whole pack of strong Canadians (among others).

Then we've got the Mutual of Enumclaw stage race. This race is also pretty simple: short little TT, deceptively difficult crit (which somehow pissed off a rain god a few years ago, because it always pours on us!), and a really fun circuit race with a nasty climb capable of splitting the field. The close proximity to Seattle insures a large field.

Over memorial day weekend, I'm doing the Ski to Sea relay race. This is a crazy 7-stage event that involves nordic skiing, downhill skiing, running, road cycling, two-man canoeing, mountain biking, and sea kayaking (in that order). It's a unique event, and I'm excited to participate.

Then things get serious. June is just crazy: Mt. Hood, Nature Valley, Nationals. I'll be ripe for a nice long break by then.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Hell Yeah Paddy!

I'm always happy to see qualified amateurs make the jump to the pros. For Patrick Bevin, it wasn't so much a question of if, but only when....and Paddy just answered that question. Congrats on making the jump to Bissell. Let me know if you need a good lead-out man.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Why We Race

Having just survived an extremely dangerous, exciting, and ultimately frustrating bike race, I walk up the stairs to my room at the host house. I slump down on my pink, pony-covered, four-post bed, and place my fingers on my neck. THUMP-thump. THUMP-thump. THUMP-thump. I'm still alive. Good. As I lie there, staring up at the pink canopy of tulle, my mind reflects.

Our culture is confusing and misleading. What does it really mean to be human? Some people care more about their online avatars in Second Life than they do about their own flesh and blood existence. Others lead a life of such monotonous repetition that it's difficult to determine where the factory machinery ends and the human being begins. I eat food I neither grew nor caught. Much of my time is spent staring at a metal rectangle filled with tiny lights, and pushing buttons to make the lights change. Very few things we do bares any resemblance to the lives led by our ancestors. I envy cavemen — their sense of purpose was much more clear (though I doubt cavemen worried about things like their "purpose").

We are increasingly disconnected from the animal component our existence, the part that spent hundreds of millions of years evolving to do some pretty simple things: gather food, rear children, run from predators, run after prey. In short: survive. I suppose it's a good thing that modern society renders these primitive instincts and impulses nearly useless. Law and order, science and technology, art and culture — these things serve me well. I'm glad I don't have to fight off saber-toothed tigers, or don armor and try to kill the men in the neighboring village with spears — but my brain is still capable of producing some very high-grade endorphins designed to help me survive such situations, and it would be a shame and a loss to miss out on them.

Every race provides a delightful, unique melange of emotions, often in rapid sequence: fear, excitement, disappointment, hope, euphoria, relief, more fear, more excitement, and on and on. Fight and flight are somehow mixed into one, where either reaction yields the same response: PEDAL FASTER. Lap after lap, my nerves are checked and rechecked. My rear tire skids for a moment. I clip a pedal. I bump someone's hip with my handlebars. Two guys in front of me cross wheels. The key is to just keep racing. 

Successful racers neither dwell on the past, nor project into the future. A racer who spends too much time replaying the crash he just saw, or daydreaming about the myriad of ways he could crash, probably isn't going as fast as the racer who's simply focused on the apex, and then the exit, of the upcoming corner. It's almost meditative; other thoughts come and go, but a racer must constantly return his focus to the moment. Failure to do so often results in missing the move, losing your position, or worse. I'm getting brakechecked and have to swerve to avoid a rear wheel. I'm accelerating around a racer who's imploding on the hill. I hear carnage up ahead, and bystanders start yelling "rider down." I'm getting chopped into a corner by some asshole. I'm chopping said asshole right back. I'm witnessing another crash, this time directly in front  of me (nice work getting around that one Lang!). 

What speed! What a thrill! And what insane trust we place in the grip of our tires! I'm bumping elbows with a surly pro who yells at me, despite the fact that he took a bad line through the corner. I'm hitting a nasty pothole and feeling the shape of my rim deform. I'm going to the pit to get a neutral wheel. I'm focusing on what I can do while waiting for the pack to come around again (breath, take a sip of my bottle, shift into a better gear, keep breathing, clip in with both feet, here comes the moto, here comes the breakaway, here comes the field, here I go). I'm merging back into the field. I'm swerving around yet another crash! Shit! Now I'm chasing, badly gapped off. Shit! I'm starting to slow down, and my chase-mates are ready to call it quits. I'm resigning myself to getting pulled. I'm out of the race. I'm pissed as hell because I want to be back out there, and I'm not ready to be done racing, and I hate watching the end of the race from the sidelines. But I'm very very glad I race bicycles. I don't need to put my fingers on my neck; I can feel my heart beating right through my chest. 

When I'm racing I know I'm mortal, and I know I'm alive. It keeps me in touch with the fact that despite our crazy, confusing culture, I'm still just an animal fighting for survival, hoping that my legs, my lungs, and my instincts can give me that advantage — just that shred of an advantage I need to outrun, outlast, or outthink the rest of the herd. That's why I bike race. Because it's how I experience my animalness.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Back. And Other Things Too.

So I survived the crazy crash-marred final stage of Joe Martin. Some of my friends were not so lucky (heal up fast Adrian). I was fortunate enough to stay upright, although I did get gapped off by one of the dozens of crashes, and was unable to chase back on. I got pulled from the race with 5 laps to go, and was awarded an unbelievably harsh 7:01 minute penalty. Seeing how the officials applied the rules throughout the rest of the race (as in poorly, and with little to no consistency: e.g. removing the time cut for the TT, penalizing the race leader a minute for drafting after his fucking fork broke), this doesn't surprise me. I have another post in the works, one that I wrote within minutes of finishing this hellish race, before the strange brew of endorphins had cleared my system. It's not finished though, so I'll leave you with what I spent part of my day doing:

Sun, water, soil -- meet beans, peas, leeks and lettuce. Tomatoes are soon to join you.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

110 Miles is a Really Long Way

Things I remember thinking during yesterday's stage of the JMSR: 

"This cloud coverage is nice. I'm glad it's not hotter. I'm putting on sun screen just in case the sun comes out." 

"Boy I hope it doesn't rain on us; those clouds look pretty threatening. I'm giving my vest and arm warmers to Joe just in case it starts pouring." 

"Here we go; I hope I brought enough food."

"Wow, people are getting flat tires left and right. I'd better not ride in the center lane or in the gutters any more."

"Jeeze, we've already covered 20 miles? We're flying!" 

"It's easy here at the back of the race." 

"Uh-oh, could be a cross wind section up ahead. I'd better move up." 

"Now that I'm up here, maybe I'll put in an attack!"

"Or maybe not..."

"It's easy here at the back of the race."

"Ok, we've been racing for an hour and a half. Some of those guys who've been attacking since the gun have got to be getting tired by now. I know there's a hill coming up at mile 45. I'll attack there."

"OUCH -- maybe I'll just follow wheels up this climb instead."

"CHRIST ALMIGHTY -- THESE GUYS ARE GOING BERSERK! I think the field is splitting behind me."

"Wow, I made the field split. Good for me. Should I mix it up with these attacks? My legs feel like total crap, but it seems like a good time to be aggressive." 

"Shit. I missed the counter-move and now the guys I'm with are sitting up. We're going to get caught by the field!"

"Ok, now I'm in in the field again."

"It's easy here at the back of the race." 

"Wow, we still have 30 miles to go. My back hurts."

"Wow, we still have 29 miles to go. My neck hurts."

"Wow, we still have 28 miles to go. I need to stop looking at my computer. And my eyes hurt."

"Alright, the race is winding down. We've gone 100 miles. Time to start thinking about that sprint. It's not worth spending too much energy jockeying for that corner on such a wide road. I'll move up right before the corner."

"Oh jeeze. Here it comes. Time to move up. Maybe I can lead Soren out."

"Soren, get on my wheel! Is he on? Good! Time to punch it!"

"Sprinting! Sprinting! Ouch! Ouch! That finish line is pretty" 

"Finally, I'm done. Didn't lose any time, didn't crash, didn't flat, didn't spend too much energy. Not a bad day. I wonder who won?" 

"Lang, can you hand me a coke?" 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

We Also Raced Our Bikes....

We didn't just take pictures of dogs today -- we also did a short little race up a hill. See the results here. I got 45th, roughly a minute back from some kid names Talansky. Honestly, want to know the best part of Joe Martin so far? The swag-bag! Check this shit out:

Yeah, that's a Gillette Fusion razor and baby wipes in there! Rock on! Also, Zieke is our new mascot:

Hooray for more pictures of dogs!

Further Proof That Zeke is Gargantuan

Now Weimaraner's are a pretty large breed of dog, but Zeke is the biggest one of all. He is nine times heavier than Lang. Here's proof:

Introducing Zeke, Weimaraner Extraordinaire

This is Zeke. He's our homestay puppy for the week. He's the largest Weimaraner I've ever seen by a solid 40 or 50 lbs. He is nine years old, but shockingly youthful.

And talk about photogenic! No wonder they make calendars of these dogs. 

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Interesting Facts About Fayetteville, Arkansas

Did you know that Fayetteville is former home to Ronnie Brewer of the Utah Jazz? Hell no you didn't! What about the fact that Fayetteville boasts TWO public transit utilities (UARK Transit and Ozark Regional Transit!)?? DID YOU KNOW THAT??? I DOUBT IT!!!! FAYETTEVILLE WAS RANKED NUMBER 7 IN "BEST CITIES TO WORK, PLAY, AND LIVE" BY KIPLINGER'S MAGAZINE IN 2008 FOR CRYING OUT LOUD!!!!!

What you also may not know is that Fayetteville is home to the Joe Martin Stage Race -- and it's where I'm headed right now. I write these words from the Sea-Tac international airport, and I'm about to board my Southwest "tour of the Southwest" express, which takes us from Seattle to Albuquerque to Dallas to Tulsa. Then we're going to rent some tiny tiny cars and drive up to Fayetteville -- Yippy! I've never been to Arkansas, let alone Fayetteville, so this is a real treat. BECOME A BIKE RACER, SEE THE WORLD (or at least a few new states in the US).

See how charming and southern-quaint this place is? See how that stalled-out high-rise looks so out of place compared to those adorable mom-and-pop shops? Fayetteville, I think we're going to get along just fine.

Now then, the race goes like this:

Stage 1: short uphill tt
Stage 2: long hard road race
Stage 3: long hard circuit race race
Stage 4: 60 minute crit

See? Easy! Like cake!

Monday, May 3, 2010

Farewell Dear Ridley

I'm so thrilled to be riding my new Blue AC1 SL (with custom HB paint I might add!), but it makes me a tinge sad to realize that my Ridley has probably seen the end of it's racing days. Let's talk a walk through memory lane, shall we?

Ridley dearest, you came to me back in the early months of 2008, March to be precise. I rejoiced at your arrival, though I was unable to fully outfit you with new parts for quite some time. You served me beautifully all year, carrying me to many a victory, and surviving many a crash. At year's end, you were every bit as good to me as you were the day I met you. You stayed with me, even though I neglected you through the campaign, and spent those months on the hippy bus. Finally, I returned to Seattle, and rode you all through the winter and spring of '09. You endured countless miles in the frigid seattle rain without complaint, and once racing began, carried me to more victories, despite there being rumor that your replacement would soon arrive. We went to the Tour of the Gila together, and we raced against Lance, and you made me proud as proud could be. When my shiny new Blue Rc8 arrived, you didn't complain, you didn't despair. "He'll be back," you said to yourself. And you were right. After the last race of 2009 was raced, I did come back. Blue asked for their bike, so I returned my Rc8 from whence it came. And you returned to me with open arms (or open bars rather), reminding me of how good we really had it together. With next year's bike at least six months away, we steadied ourselves for a long, hard, wet winter together. You became my commuter, complete with lights, fenders, and a big fat buddy flap -- a Burke Gilman cruiser if there ever was one. Some bikes might have felt a pang of indignation to being relegated to mere transportation utility, but you took it in stride, knowing that the months would pass, and the seasons would turn, and finally the racing would start once again. And start again it did! And when it did you were ready! You shed your fenders like a dragonfly emerging from it's cocoon -- a racing machine reborn! And oh how you showed your mettle, rounding up results with finesse, victories even, time and time again. Again, the rumors began to flow -- a new bike on its way. The Blue AC1 SL. But you carried me to higher heights until the very end, saving the best for last perhaps? Finally, my new Blue did come. And again, you have taken the back seat -- again a commuter. A vehicle for the trail, with lights, and fenders, and a big fat buddy flap. I don't know if our racing days are truly done or not Ridley dearest, but regardless, my heart overflows with gratitude. Thank you for the years, the races, and the rides, 


Time For Some Belated Shout-outs!!!

First, I have to give a shout-out to Dr. Steve Noble, of Noble Chiropractic in Bellingham, WA. Dr. Noble is one of our team's sponsors, and when it comes to treating acute injuries, he's a magician. I didn't make this public on my blog at the time, but three weeks ago today, the monday before I was set to go to the Tour of Walla Walla, I suffered a bizarre accident, and was totally incapacitated with back pain the next morning. From bed I called Dr. Noble's office and begged for a last-minute appointment. Several hours, a handful of Ibuprofen, and a very uncomfortable car ride up to Bellingham later, I was face-down on an exam table at Dr. Noble's office. I don't want to give away any of Dr. Noble's secrets, but let's just say that I was impressed with the array of treatments he was able to provide me. I left feeling much better, but still in a great deal of pain. I was worried -- if things didn't clear up before Friday, I wouldn't be able to race! I repeated the process the next day. By thursday I was on my way to Walla Walla, and my back felt much much better. While Walla Walla didn't go exactly as I'd hoped, my back didn't bother me at all, and by Cherry Blossom I felt 100%. What a quick turn around! Thank you Steve, you're a lifesaver!

Next up, I have a quick shout-out for my teammate Soren Petersen, who won the Devil's Punchbowl race in Southern California on Saturday the 24th of April. While me and the rest of the Cherry Blossom field were duking it out on the now-famed Orchard Run Circuit Race, Soren was tackling his own infamous and brutal circuit race. Devil's Punchbowl includes over 7,500' of climbing over 80 miles. Legend has it that Soren and Floyd Landis bridged a 5 minute gap to the front group, and Floyd was clearly heard asking Soren to "please slow down." Soren, my hat is off -- GliderBison salutes you!

Lastly, I have shout-outs for pretty much everyone I know who did Gila. I kind of wish I were there this year -- snowing for the Gila Monster? How sweet is that?!

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Michelob Ultra Grand Prix

So today Krogg race the Michelob Ultra Grand Prix. This relatively short race of 48 miles -- under two hours of racing. Krogg think to himself "Krogg, this short race -- you can swing axe pretty darn hard and still hang on for two hours." So Krogg swing axe. Krogg swing axe very hard first lap. Krogg swing axe very hard second lap. At end of second lap, Krogg and two other riders (Ian and Ian) with Krogg, but nobody else. Krogg work with Ian brothers for next several laps, feeling very grateful that both Ian's are willing to work in breakaway, instead of sitting on like dead weight. Krogg feel pretty tired for most of race due to excessive swinging of axe during first few laps, and Krogg hurt mightily on punchy rollers every lap, but finally, last lap come. Krogg unable to drop breakaway companions, and end up having to sprint for finish. This not exactly Krogg's forte, but Krogg do good job, and win sprint against Ian brothers! Sweet! Then Krogg have podium on top of beer boxes:

Then Ian brother spray Krogg with Michelob Ultra. So Krogg retaliate: 

Krogg happy caveman, even though him covered from head to toe in Lance's favorite beer.