Monday, October 22, 2012

the sexy six

Trying to grade tests and my thoughts keep wandering.  Presently having wandered to this wonderful ride (wonderful in that it looks awesome, but has yet to be done):

The whole thing could potentially be done on a road bike, except I'd be a bit worried about the run up Strohms Hollow. That's a little rough. I think I'd like a little fatter tires up that one. Anyway, I'm thinking maybe Thursday. So much more fun than grading...

70 miles.   7250 feet of elevation gain.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

the man...

A big congrats to 2012 UCI Road Race World Champion, my man-crush, Philippe Gilbert.

(In case you missed it, you can watch a replay of the final 2 km here.)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

September 12th

On the day AFTER 9/11 I can't help but remember what to me seemed the worst of the fallout:  The collective anger.  The united hatred.  The bile in mouths of those that screamed for death, wildly (and ignorantly) aiming their fury pistols at anything that reminded even remotely of the boogy-men that rained fire on our cities.

That was a bad place we were in then.  I was disturbed by the attacks.  I was disturbed by the grisly destruction that hit, well, home.  But I was more disturbed by how the red, white, and blue ribbons folks wore became symbols of hate, retribution, revenge...  So much anger.  Blood-lust, really.  And that collective angry scream found its outlet and the gods of war capitalized on our compromised mental state.  Much to our national disgrace.  Much to my personal disappointment.  Liberties have been trodden at home.  Morality cast aside abroad in the name of "security." 

The reaction, not the action, has made the world a less livable place.  I still get sad--scared, really--when I think about the place we were in then.  I hope we can grow out of that.  Mature.  Become more human.  But I've little hope.  I mean, something crazy and tragic happens in a Colorado movie theater (action) and a FB picture of a holstered gun mounted under a car's steering column (reaction) gets tens of thousands of likes.  Face it, kids...we are angry, bigoted, hate-filled, blood-thirsty bastards.  I mean, aren't we?  We give up our humanity for the illusion of security.  Again...  And again...  And again...

Friday, September 7, 2012

two thoughts on politics


The political meme 'Are you better off than you were four years ago?' is such a superficial and thoughtless standard by which to make voting decisions.

How about 'Is the country better off?' Or a Rawls-inspired 'Is the least well off among you better off?'

But even a restructuring of the question frames an election as a superficial economic (and perhaps security) decision. So shallow. Or is that as deep as us proletariat can go?


I hate political lawn signs and bumper stickers (even though we have both, but that's Valerie) because, really, I have to live with my neighbors and want to get along and need to be able to effectively resolve disputes about pooping dogs and stray balls, and frankly I don't want to know who they're voting for because I don't want to think less of them.


On the other hand, I believe (I hope not in a naively optimistic way, but if it is, so be it) that it's SO important that we have passionate political conversations in the communities in which we mingle!

We should know what our neighbors are thinking because they may have really good thoughts. (Or if not good, at least thoughts.) And their thoughts may help us think better. But we won't know those thoughts without inviting them.

We should be able to do all this civilly, arguing rationally and persuasively AND be able to disagree without picking up pitchforks, but of course we won't, always...but if we don't practice that sort of discussion we certainly won't learn how to do it. And of course sometimes it will go badly, because that's the nature of practice. But it's hard to imagine limiting conversation is going to make a better world than we'd have by facilitating conversation. So I think we still have to talk, exactly because we won't always agree, even if the process is sometimes painful...

Friday, August 31, 2012

Do people get pets because they're not otherwise getting enough (human) affection?

I suspect this is true. (I'm fairly confident that, in our cultural context at least, there are few human beings that get enough affection...)

Thursday, August 30, 2012

cipo at it again

One of the most ridiculous things I've ever seen:

But I still want one. ;-)

(Thanks goes to these dudes for the tip.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Thursday, August 9, 2012

2012 mid-year race wrap-up

Warning:  This is totally a self-indulgent post.  It's the kind of thing that if I were to read on another's blog I'd click away quickly between dry heaves.  So, if someone else's self-indulgence is not your thing (and what blog isn't self-indulgent, really?), click away now.  Please.
Last year I posted a mid-year race resume that, despite a fine win and a feel-good third, I described as a resume of mediocrity.  Looking back, I'm not sure that was fair.  Those two results alone, well, they still stand out in the memory as fine finishes.  I mean, let's be clear: I race to win.  So when a win comes, regardless of the race, it's a success.
But this year has been even better.  USAC says a 3-to-2 upgrade takes 25 points, but that 40 points is an automatic upgrade (in a 12 month period).  In the 15 weeks (10 events) between March 10 and June 17 I racked up 47 points.  Last year over the same period I raced 13 events and earned 13 points.
Anyway, here's the resume (recorded for posterity, and not because I'm faster than you...but, if you didn't upgrade this summer, I might be):

3.10  Grant's Tomb          3 only  3rd       ~100            4 pts
3.17  Philly Phlyer         3-4     dnf
4.01  Morgantown RR         3-4     2nd       59 (48 3's)     6 pts
4.14  Battenkill            3 only  20th      107           
4.22  Fort Ritchie Classic  3 only  2nd       12              3 pts
4.29  Prospect Park CR      3-4     2nd       50+ (> 50 3's)  4 pts
5.05  Turkey Hill           3-4     35th      ~100                    
5.12  Poolesville RR        3 only  26th      ~70      
5.28  Killington SR         3 only  6th (GC)  80+             10 pts
6.17  Tour of Wash Co       3-4     1st (GC)  70+ (> 50 3's)  20 pts
Since the upgrade, I've raced once.
7.07  Allan Butler Memorial 1-2-3   5th       20+             1 pt
I won't lie, I feel pretty good about this resume.  And that GC win?  Well, that was awesome.  (Also, I know I would have had a top 10 at Battenkill without the mechanical problems.)
The problem, however, is that the Cat 3 field has been such a comfortable place to hang out.  I doubt I'll say the same of the 2 field in a couple of years.  Sigh... 
Thank goodness for masters.

Tuesday, August 7, 2012

WADA v. McQuaid...

This ("WADA chief rebukes McQuaid's attempt to assume Armstrong jurisdiction") makes me happy.  Or at least satisfied. 

Clearly McQuaid has something to hide.  Either to save his own butt or that of Hein Verbruggen.  It's the same thing, really.

Verbruggen...  What an enigma.  I suppose it's a bit narrow-minded of me, but it's hard for me to trust a businessperson-turned-sports-federation-administrator.  The biography reeks of an ugly quest for personal power.  It's hard to believe he's not a small, petty person.  The kind of person that holds a grudge.  Who sees organizational power as a means for personal gain.  And that, you know, is what "corruption" means. 

Tuesday, May 8, 2012



It's way faster now.

Friday, May 4, 2012

the tanscendental tubular experience

I had a quasi-transcendental moment this morning.  Gluing tubulars.  (It may have been the fumes.)

Consider the third, fourth, fifth, and sixth sentences of The Rider:

I take my gear out of the car and put my bike together.  Tourists and locals are watching from sidewalk cafes.  Non-racers.  The emptiness of those lives shocks me.

From Krabbe's pen to my soul.

And so I've been gluing tubulars.  Beautiful, handmade Italian tubes of rubber and cotton.  Manufactured by a process that if it isn't a mystery it should be.  The men (they better be men) that make these are like elven craftsman of Middle Earth.  Their craft a subtle magic and exquisite art.  I would sleep with a beautiful bike part.

The hoops?  New 808s.  They've a fancy red dragon sticker on the side.  Apparently they breathe fire. 

Technology as old as my grandparents paired with the latest and greatest.  And it's held together with glue.  Sometimes an unfathomably frustrating process.  But when you can relax, breath deep (the fumes), and focus...  Well, it can become something of a transcendent experience.  The rite and ritual of that elven clan of brothers.  An initiation.  Then a renewal.  A sacrament.  The Masonry of Riders.

Not riders, mind you, but Riders!  And what is a Rider?  Well, a Rider is one who can only stare when outsiders--those tourists and locals with the shockingly empty lives--ask why.


I'll tell you why.

Because it's beautiful.

Because the bicycle is beautiful.  Because calves chiseled of miles of pain are beautiful.  Because of heart-bursting climbs and 55 mph descents.  Because of the dirty road-grime spray of pack riding on a cold, rainy day.  Because of the shadows cast by revolving spokes on a sunny one.  Because of the feel of wrapped cork under your hands.  Because of red blood and street-shredded skin.  Because of the uneasy glee of diving into the last corner of a 60-minute criterium with nothing between you and victory but 150 meters of empty asphalt.  Because...  Because we are Riders!


Apparently, what I have to do to win a sprint is to do just about everything wrong.  But it worked Sunday.

For the video, click here.

Paul and I got up at 4:30 Sunday morning for the NYC Spring Series finale at Prospect Park.  (I love the Central Park/Prospect Park races, btw.  Just such terrific venues.  I'd do them every week if I could.)  Feeling frisky from the beginning, I was attacking and bridging to breaks rather wildly right from the gun.  Four laps in I sort of eased my way across and past a group of 10 that had sat up for the catching.  One little guy came with me, setting a pace up the hill I really had to dig to match.  But over the top and we traded pulls nicely until...about two miles later I looked back and he was gone.  Paul was doing a great job behind, frustrating the folks that thought he should be chasing (but apparently unwilling to do it themselves) and the gap increased over the next two laps.

With five to go three riders bridged (which is what I was hoping for), we cooperated well and the lead stuck.  With one lap to go a rider attacked on the climb, we remaining three couldn't match his pace, and he soloed on to victory.

The picture above is the sprint for second.  Which I won.  From the lead-out position.  With my hands on the hoods.


Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Lake Nockamixon TT

Saturday we (my bike and I) tried to ride fast.

Angry speed face Goat.

The snot, man.  The snot..,
We beat the 3s (there were 3 of them).  We beat the 4s, the 5s, and the 35+ dudes.  And the women (but, you know, I don't beat women).

So I guess that makes this the first win of the season.  But, you know, there were only three Cat 3s and a handful more 35+ dudes, so...

The good news is that my bike and I seem to be getting along ok.  And that's important, because Killington is only four weeks away!

Monday, April 16, 2012

podium fun

2012 Morgantown Road Race (3/4)

For a fun (and funny) race report, read what the winner had to say about how it all went down here.

My response(s):

(1)  My beard is not bad.  It is awesome.  Actually it's not really a beard at all--I think of it as the consequence of not shaving.  But it's still awesome.  (Personal bias, obviously, but beards that require maintenance are girly.  Hair: keep it wild and free or get rid of it all together.)

(2)  The "He must be a mountain biker" comment is hilarious.  Yes, I do like a little fat-tire fun, but I'm sure my mountain biking friends would read that and roll their eyes.  (While it may be a little pathetic that I'm still towing the line at Cat 3 road races after so long, I started road racing in I think I've earned my roadie stripes.)

(3)  But what's really funny about the mountain bike thing is the "roadies and mountain bikers don't always mix" thing.  Why not?  Because mountain bikers have way more fun and don't take themselves near as seriously?  :-)  We could all learn a lot from mountain bikers...

(4)  Not a response to Craig, but a related point about the Morgantown RR in general: take a cue from the mountain bike crowd and let's have some fun after the race!  I mean, I know you didn't expect us to be sitting around for hours waiting for our results (not your fault), but still, how about some music (you had the PA system right there)?  How about some food vendors?  How about...anything?  Road races, besides the actual racing part, are so boring.  Anyone who's been to both mountain bike (or cyclocross) and road events knows what I'm talking about.  Promoters, get with it, man.  Want to attract a crowd?  Make your race into a legitimate event!  (For a case study in boring, let me submit the Rich Ruoff / Dave Butterworth model.  Even when you win you leave feeling mildly let down.  For a case study in good, Turkey Hill.  I'm totally sick of the race itself, but I'm still going this year.  Why?  My daughter looks forward to it all year!)

(5)  I know he didn't know me or anything, but I can't help but be a little offended the dude didn't think I could climb.  (Tell me, Craig, who was putting the hurt on with the last climb, eh?  You forgot to mention that you didn't (couldn't?) pull through once.

(6)  When he asked if I knew how much further we had I thought he was asking if I knew how far we had on the pack, to which I first answered, "Nope," but then modified my answer in the form of a complaint against motorcycle officials that give the pack time checks but fail to give any information to those in the break.  I hate that.  Anyway, he didn't respond.  Now, realizing that's not what he asked, I assume he had no idea what I was talking about.

(7)  On the matter of conversation, I think in total words said I won.  I mean, besides the perhaps unintelligible rant against moto officials, I also initiated conversation immediately after bridging.  When I caught Craig I pulled up along side and (politely) asked how he was feeling.  When he said he could work, I think I responded with something appropriately hip and witty like, "Giddy-up" or similar, then (again, politely) moved to the front and took a nice long pull even though I'd just finished bridging the gap.  So, you know, I can make conversation.  (I do, after all, make a living from talking.)

(8)  Chapeau on the finish.  (You deserved it.)  I didn't see the 1k marker (as was alluded), and I really should have attacked earlier.  Multiple times.  After the last climb, in a TT to the finish, I'm sure I would have won.  But that's not bike racing, and I was clearly out raced.  (Too focused on driving the break, and not enough focused on winning the race.)  Anyway, nice work, Craig.  It was an awesome win.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

2012 SMSS & Ironmasters TT Series

The South Mountain road racing brain trust has been discussing summer mid-week riding fun and do we have something good cooking for you!

As many surely know, Mark Laser has been putting in years of service to the South Mountain road riding community with the Twirly Top Time Trial Series, which morphed into the Ironmasters Time Trial Series, which has been interspersed with King's Gap TT fun and other delicious and FREE summer events for the two-wheeled inclined.  But Mark's got other things cooking now, has put down the torch, so to speak, and, well, with it just sitting there I figured a few of us could probably manage to pick it up and keep the fun going.

And then there's this awesome South Mountain Summer Smackdown that we've been doing the last few years--a team style cycling competition, scored like a cross country meet--and we for sure want to keep that going, because AWESOME.

Well, we're going to sort of integrate the two this year, and this is how it's going to work:  Every second Wednesday, starting next week, we run an event--either an ITT on the Ironmasters course on Pine Grove Rd, an ITT on King's Gap Rd, or one of FIVE South Mountain Summer Smackdown events.

Here's the tentative 2012 CALENDAR:
Wednesday, April 18, 2012 Ironmasters TT
Wednesday, May 02, 2012 SMSS #1 - E. Big Flat HC
Wednesday, May 16, 2012 Ironmasters TT
Wednesday, May 30, 2012 SMSS #2 - Pine Grove RR
Wednesday, June 13, 2012 King's Gap TT
Wednesday, June 27, 2012 SMSS #3 - Ironmasters TT
Wednesday, July 11, 2012 Ironmasters TT
Wednesday, July 25, 2012 King's Gap TT
Wednesday, August 08, 2012 SMSS #4 - Caledonia RR
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 Ironmasters TT
Wednesday, September 05, 2012 SMSS #5 - Ironmasters TTT
And everything is FREE!

Scores will be kept.  Boasts made.  Smack talked.  Please proceed.

If you're not on the regular Goates spam server then please leave comment below with some way to get a hold of you and I'll put you on the you can get notifications of all our fun.  (Or just join the "shipcycling" Yahoo group.)  But if you're on my list, then there will be more reminders and notifications of slight schedule changes or reworkings or whatever, but the general idea is as shown above.  
Plan to come play next week.  Parking at the Mountain Creek Campground as usual.  (You'll get a reminder email next week with the address and details and whatever.)
A short note on the team organization for the SMSS:  I mentioned above that we score SMSS events like a cross country meet.  That means the sum of first three riders' places from each team score the team's points, the lowest team score wins.  Riders four and five from a team can displace the riders from another team, causing them to score more points (bad for them, good for you).  

As for the teams themselves, the SMSS was conceived as a "club challenge," meaning area USAC clubs competing against each other.  Like South Mountain Velo vs. YBR vs. Ship Cycling vs. Lost Boys, etc.  And we'll still do that, and hope to get some of the AVC crew to join us too, and perhaps Round Here Racing, and maybe the Mountainside mtb team, and anyone else that wants to play...  But we also have a place for anyone that doesn't have an official club affiliation or can't get anyone else from their club to come.  In other words, composite teams.  You show up on race night and we'll assign you a team.  Makes it more fun. 
Also, though we've schedule everything for Wednesday, if the weather looks nasty then things get pushed to Thursday.  If that happens, there will be an email.  So...more reason to get on the Goates spam server.
Ok, I think that's it.  Get excited!

Monday, April 2, 2012


FC: "Really?"

asking Nick

I wrote a letter to Nick this morning.  I really hope he responds...

Actually, what I really hope for (beyond world peace) is a bottom bracket "standard" that is light, stiff, easy to understand and maintain and, most of all, is actually standard!

Hi Nick,

I need a comprehensive guide on BB30 maintenance. 

I think we’re all very familiar with the chronic creak potential of BB30, yet it seems to me there’s no reliable way of assuring that (1) a newly installed crank won’t develop a creak and (2) the spacers and dust covers have been installed properly such that the crank spins as freely as it should and that, to the extent that one can expect, the bearings are protected from contaminates.

My best success in installing BB30 cranks comes when I install a new bottom bracket using a headset press, then install the crank.  As far as what to do about spacers and dust covers, it all seems like so much guess work, so, I guess, and usually (I think) things have worked out ok.  However, the real trouble comes when a crank has to be pulled (for, say, sending a Quarq to be serviced, or simply moving the crank to another bike) and those pesky bottom bracket cups stay with the crank spindle rather than in the frame.  Of course, getting a BB30 crank out of the frame is a taxing and stressful experience in and of itself, but beyond that, in my experience, there’s no “good” way to remove a BB30 bottom bracket bearing race from a crank spindle without _feeling_ like the integrity of the bearings have been compromised.  (I recently saw a tool made for this purpose with a Specialized stamp on it, though I haven’t been able to experiment with it yet.)  So when I have to pull a crank and reinstall it, I leave the bearing race on the crank, but it seems that when I do that a creak _always_ develops after a few hours of riding, even when using Loctite to secure the bearing race, as per the recommendations of Specialized and Park Tool.

I’m coming to the conclusion that I should consider BB30 bottom brackets as one-and-done installations.  In other words, if it crank has to be pulled for any reason, I might as well discard the bottom bracket.  This frustrates me on several levels, and I really don’t want it to be true. 

On the second point, regarding when and how to use spacers and dust covers, I’ve found the documentation that accompanies a SRAM BB30 bottom bracket to be completely unintelligible.  Sometimes I finish an installation and notice a bit of spindle (maybe 1 mm) hanging out of the frame’s bottom bracket shell in a most disconcerting manner.  But, if there’s no creak, I’m super hesitant to pull the crank and experiment with possible solutions because (1) it’s damn hard, (2) the aforementioned concerns about bearing integrity, and (3) if the thing’s not creaking, I don’t want to change anything! 

So, your thoughts?  Secrets?  Basic (and not-so-basic) dos and don’ts of BB30 care and feeding?

If it matters, I’ve been sweating over BB30 bottom brackets for nearly four years with varying levels of success on two different Tarmac SL2 S-Works, a Crux, and a CAAD9 CX, all with Specialized S-Works cranksets.  (I’ve also a Stumpjumper with a press fit BB30, which fortunately has had no creaking issues, but when it comes time to replace the bottom bracket, I’ve no idea how that sucker is coming out.)

Thank you,


If any of the two people that read my blog have any hints, I'd love to hear them.

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

grant's tomb 2012

Saturday I had a pretty decent ride.

Totally botched the sprint...  I mean, in a three-up sprint the good money is generally on me...finishing last.  But this time I totally had 2nd place...  Excuses are lame, but this is sort of a funny story so you're going to get it.

Getting my race wheels out and dusted off a couple of days before the race I was frustrated not to find the smaller diameter SRAM cassette lock bolt thingy you need to accommodate an 11-tooth cog--the smallest cog on the cassette I generally use with my race wheels.  But I figured I wouldn't need that gear anyway, so I just put the larger diameter lock-ring on...  Well, I went the whole race not needing that gear, until about 40 yards from the line, and when I shifted into the 11 my chain didn't like it so much, stalled, and popped my rear wheel about a foot and a half in the air...and of course while up there it floated over to the side such that it's a wonder I didn't wipe out ugly right there in front of the line.  A fishtail or two and somehow I held it together, but obviously lost the sprint.

It's all good, though.  I was totally driving the break--racing for third, more or less, from the time the break formed.  I'd rather work my tail off for a high-probability third-place finish than play games for a low-probability win.  At least last Saturday I would.  Maybe next time I'll feel differently.

Good times!  Love the bike games!