Sunday, November 29, 2009

A year in the life

The kid is more than a year old now. I just downloaded a bunch of photos from the year off the phone. Here's what some of it looked like.

One of the first visits to the swings down the road.

In the backyard a month or two laterBraden the Destroyer. Here he's just ripped the corner molding off the wall. He was very proud. This was the day Dad learned that a Cheerios box,
even with a closed bag inside a closed box,
does not make for a good rattle.

One of the first times he sat on the Pooh Bear chair. Just crawled over and took a seat to drink.A favorite from the first birthday - the tunnel! Kris likes it too.Braden finally caught the cat. This did not last long.A hike with at Jordan Park on one of the last nicest days of the year.Tongue out in concentration
preparing to descend the stairs.Under the coffee table. This is apparently a lot of fun.
Mastering the scooter, rippin' around corners,
taking Lamby for a ride.

A whole year. That was fast.

Friday, November 13, 2009

The dog ate my post

Well, there go another two freakin' months. I'd have posted but the dog ate my post. Or the baby spit up on the computer. Or I'm lame.

By the way the stellar service from BikeLine continued when I didn't hear back from anyone at corporate when I followed up on my local BikeLine craptastic shitsperience. Ahh yes. Itsa vherrry nicea.

I hope you can tell me and busted wrist Raydawg have been working hard on Trans-Sylvania. If not, take it from me, we have been. I can't wait for this thing to go off because it is going to be friggin' fantastic, but we're also anxious as all get out since registration is moving slowly and trying to coordinate all the stuff and personalities that fit together to make this happen can feel like herding cats. Its funny how little things feel like big victories and then we step back, look at the big picture and poop ourselves.

Don't anyone look, but the team has been posting blogs like its our job. That's good cause it sorta is. I think we've done something like five posts in the past week. Course between; the Team blog; Facebook x2 (did you become a Trans-Sylvania fan yet?); Twitter x2; the Savvy Grouse blog on; a YouTube channel thing we're trying to put together; CyclingDirt; this blog and probably some stuff I'm supposed to submit posts to that I've forgotten about completely I feel like social media may be the end of me. I have blogs updating Facebook sending Tweets updating blogs and I have no idea which does what or in what order. If I'm offered the option to connect stuff my course of action is to just do so blindly and hope for the best. It's probably just a gigantic feedback loop and I'm just posting stuff to myself. I need Braden to tell me how this stuff works.

Speaking of, the kid is just too dang cute. Pics coming.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Worst Ever

Dang, once again its been an age since a post. By now, if you actually check this thing you probably realize a new post means that:
A. I have another freakin' race coming up and I'm trying to drum up some luvin.
B. I stoked because I actually rode my bike but completely destroyed from the effort.
C. I'm way pissed about something
D. All of the above

Today was actually going to be a little B. since I've actually ridden a bit lately, but no I had to go into Bikeline Bethlehem and ruin this happy little blog.

Here's the story:

A couple months back I went into Bikeline Bethlehem to make a purchase. This particular item was something I certainly could have picked up at one of the dozen+ connections that I have after having been in this industry for 20 years to get stuff cheap. However, unlike most of my years on this planet I'm finally in a decent financial position (note, this is mostly due to my wife) and I thought I could and should help out a local bike shop, admittedly in a pretty small way to start, by making a not inexpensive apparel purchase from them. I stopped by Bikeline Bethlehem and picked up a rain jacket that has a special treatment that allows it to breathe when dry and have a pretty significant level of water repellency when wet (note #2, this isn't just random information, stick with me, we get back to it).

So, I'm happy, I'd picked up a jacket I'd been wanting and while I spent probably twice as much or more than I needed to on it, I was cool with it. The shop had supported a friend and so I felt I could support them - and that I could continue to do so and I'd be glad to refer other folks that way.

I used the jacket once. That particular outing was on a mountain bike and I had the hydration pack on my back. When I got home I realized that the straps of the pack had rubbed the membrane off the jacket.

My first thought was, "That sucks." My next thought, because I've been in the bike business for a long ass time, was, "I wonder if the hang tag said anything about the potential for the membrane to wear off and I should have paid attention." My immediate response was not, "This is a piece of shit and it shouldn't have happened," because one thing working in shops teaches you is that the vast majority of complaints are user error and "Just riding along" doesn't really happen.

So, I'm assuming this is potentially my fault at this point. I don't have the hang tag of course so my first stop is the web. Nothing there telling me the pitfalls of using straps on the jacket. My next stop is the store.

I stopped in today to look at the hang tags on the jackets in stock. As I was doing this the shop owner approached me asking, 'Are you finding what you need?'

I responded, 'Well, I'm just checking the hang tags. I bought one of these a couple months ago and [had the issue described above]. I wanted to check to see if they mention that these jackets should not be used with a hydration pack or backpack and that doing so will ruin the jacket and void the warranty. I see that they (this bit is emphasized for you, I wasn't worked up) do not say anything about this possibility and so I'm thinking this would be covered.' Keep in mind here that I've zero reason to be upset. BTW, speaking in italics is tough. I then say, 'I know someone who can take care of this for me if you'd rather not but I thought I'd check here first since this is where I purchased the jacket.'

This is when things start to go south.

I'm thinking, "Cool. I'm probably good to go here."

The next thing out of his mouth caught me by surprise, 'I would expect anything that I wear to rub through if something else is rubbing against it.'

.......Wait, before I go on, I've done the research, I've been completely cool about the whole thing, I'm not demanding and even offered to take care of it in another way if he'd rather not be bothered with it. The easy thing here if you just didn't want to deal with doing your job would have been to just say, "I'd rather you have someone else look into it." Instead I'm being confronted with what is some really really poor logic and an attempt is being made to make me look and feel stupid.

'You would expect anything rubbing against something else to rub through it?" I respond (at this point I'm just needing to clarify what I heard because this was not the response I thought I'd get and I'm a little flabergasted by the reasoning or lack thereof.)

'I would expect something rubbing against something else to wear it out.' then very snidely, 'I don't think they would have to put something on their tag warning against something rubbing against the jacket. That should be obvious.' This last bit gets under my skin a little bit because now he's definitely calling me an idiot - it was in his statement and in his tone.

'This is a $100 rain jacket worn only once with pack and you would expect the membrane to wear off when make no mention that it could be damaged this way?'

Again with, 'I would expect something rubbing against something to wear it out.'

Now I'm kinda frustrated 'I certainly don't expect this to happen on a $100 rain jacket. It hasn't happened on my Gore-Tex jacket. It doesn't happen on my jerseys. It doesn't say it will on the jacket. Why would I assume it will? Have you ever seen it happen on any other jackets or anything else?'

'If something was rubbing against something I would expect...' (Good job here of not actually answering the question.)

'Seriously? You think this should happen?'

'You said you had someone else who could take care of this.' (This was a statement, not a question.)

'Yes and I will never be back here again' and I walked out.


In 20 years of working in shops and riding tens of thousands of miles I've never had or seen a single other piece of clothing worn out or through by the straps on a hydration pack or back pack. I'm not saying it has never happened, but it is an incredibly rare and unusual occurrence if it does. I have a hard time believing any reasonable person would expect this to happen on the first use of a piece of clothing.

I don't like being treated like an idiot or with disrespect. I spent good money in this person's place of business and had a legitimate complaint that I researched well before bringing it to his attention. Notably, through this experience not once did he ask to see the jacket.


If you should get anything with a purchase at a local bike shop it should be killer customer service. That should be a major reason you support local stores rather than just shop by price on line; you take care of the local guys because the local guys take care of you. I wanted to support these guys when I had literally no reason to. I was treated like shit. Lesson learned at BikeLine Bethlehem.

I'm completely disgusted.


Of course, seeing as how this is the worst thing that happened to me today it is pretty apparent my life ain't so bad. I realize that. Maybe this is just whining. You can decide that for yourself.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

I need your vote!!

If you're one of my Friends - and I know you are - then you already know I'm trying to get a position on one of Palin's Death Panels. This job really appeals to me on many levels and since I'm remote from Cadence now I think I can squeeze this into my schedule.

I love the name of these End of Life Decision Making Boards of Supervisors and besides trying to get job on one may co-opt "Death Panel" for the name of a new band. I can't decide whether the band should be Death Metal, a five member boy band or a new Christian Rock group. I'm leaning toward a Christian Rock Death Metal Boy Band amalgamation approach. I'm going to need four strapping young 6'0"+ muscular blue-eyed blond haired man-boys dressed in all black and jackboots wearing a distorted cross on one arm and one very effeminate 5'5 slight portly illegal Mexican immigrant for the group just so no one is sure what the hell is going on. Hugo Boss will be supplying our clothing. I'm betting that we'll be at least as successful as Faith+1. I can't wait for that first myrrh album award.

Of course, I'm sure that everyone on the death panel will need masked and robed to keep our identities hidden lest we find ourselves the victim of blow back from killing off senile old crippled people, unwanted crack babies and people we just aren't really that into of or who piss us off by mowing their damn grass way way way too early on a Saturday morning.

I'm thinking Darth Vader here. Maybe we can use the same get up with the band - all black, we'd just need the armbands. Either way, I've always wanted my own Star Wars costume for Halloween, weddings and to wear while acting like a complete jackass trying to get on Versus running along some doper up a climb that I've no interest in pronouncing the name of properly since everyone should speak and spell American. I figure it could help convince Kris to get one of those Princess Leia getups from Jaba's sand skimmer rig scene too. Yea, you know what I'm talking about.

I'm not really sure how to go about getting on a Death Panel exactly though. I've been on Monster and Careerbuilder searching for a posting but nada. Maybe the stimulus check on this job creation platform hasn't been processed yet. I did see something for Solar Panels and figure they could be turned into some sort of James Bond Death Ray Panels which is close, but not exactly the same thing. I did an international search too just in case Palin Panels are actually going to be held on foreign soil.

Why international you say? Well, get this, I just found out that we can completely hide all record of their existence and won't be held to any annoying laws or inconvenient foundations supporting our democracy like the Bill of Rights or the Constitution of the United States of America if we run them in places like Cuba and Diego Garcia. I know, I know, hard to believe but its true!! I mean who could conceive of doing such a thing, right?

See the reason this works is that, apparently, our morals and convictions end as soon as we're over international waters - you can feel them lifting like a heavy wool small pox blanket gifted to an Incan baby, I'm told. Who knows how many of these folks we'll need put out of our misery by forced drownings or some other death inducing apparatus so getting Palin Panels off US soil is the best bet. I can't imagine that the government of the United States of America could ever condone that sort of action so we better make sure to keep these hidden from view.

But I'm still not sure how to get myself on a Death Panel. Application and interview? By appointment only? By vote? Maybe that's the best way we can organize these panels, by voting. If we all vote on who is on them then we can make sure that every person on Palin Panels (have you caught on to what I'm doing here - the way this works is that if you say it enough times it is true) is there to do the work of all and will not be influenced by any outside forces other than what is best for the country and what the vast majority of their constituents want. Voting for these positions will ensure that it will take much more than just yelling and screaming to thwart intelligent passioned debate over what is certainly a touchy subject.

See, there are all sorts of good reasons to get on a Palin Panel so I implore you; vote for me!! As long as you pay me lots of money in advance, when your name comes up in the Loom of Fate I'll just throw in a little sleight of hand to make sure Ang doesn't curve any bullets in your direction. Oh, umm, wait...

Please Sarah, don't pull back on the blatant lie spewing hate mongering completely misinformed rhetoric just when you have turned the tide on effective constructive and useful debate. I'm super excited by this new vocational opportunity and don't want to see it disappear like the opportunity to be a WMD inspector in Iraq.

I'm off to sacrifice someone to Coalemus now.

Don't Panic, It Ain't Real

Thursday, August 06, 2009

Home (but not) Alone

Some folks know this and some folks don't, some they gonna care and some they won't, but I'm remote from Cadence now. That's right, no more soul destroying commuting for me. Maybe I'll even ride my bike now and then again. Way less dinero too, but we're okay with trading that for things like:

Actually seeing my wife and kid - nice to know they didn't leave me

Not ending every day wanting to kill myself or someone else - thankfully I don't own a gun

The opportunity to step up to Trans-Sylvania...and perhaps some other stuff, nudge, nudge, wink, wink, say no more

Not having strangers raise our kid completely - just once or twice a week

Sleep - one week in without the commute and associated morass and I'm already sleeping better than I have in four years

Health - 20+lb gain in two years and all the above...makes a man dead inside and out

So, its a new chapter in life here in Chez Kuhn.

I'm going to miss working with the other coaches on a daily basis. When you're surrounded with people who share your passion and commitment you definitely feed off of it. There are some new guys down there in Philly who are just kickass too and I'm hopeful that I can stay a part of their development as they've a lot to offer once they learn how all this works.

What I won't miss is the commuting. A car that's falling apart - literally - the muffler fell off a while back - is no place to spend 3-4 hours of my day. Speaking of that I'm pretty pissed about the Cars for Clunkers thing.

Fifteen years ago I figured out a car that would be really good on mileage and work for me. I've driven that thing into the ground. Now every time I fill up its "gimme 10 gallons in the tank and two quarts of oil"...seriously, the thing uses/burns/leaks/Idon'teffinknow oil like its going out of style. Hopefully it is. New the car got 33-ish with bikes on the roof - usually between two and five. Now it might get 25/gal with nothing on the roof and a good stiff tailwind. I made that car work for everything too. Need to get three bikes inside and everything I needed to live for three months in Arizona? (Damn it was nice to drive across the country when gas was $.98, good times, good times.) No problem, rip out all the seats and stuff it all inside. Still averaged 29-30 mpg on that trip even loaded down like an SUV.

Now, she's gotta go. Besides the aforementioned environmental/economic impact of this thing its just too small and so we're going mini-van. BUT, because, once upon a time, the car got decent mileage no CfC for me - even though the car is now, without a doubt, a full blown POS clunker and needs to desperately come off the road. I bought a car that got good mileage because I thought it important for the environment - now I'm screwed. That's completely fair and logical. Lets only give to people that are too selfish to do it right the first time - and probably won't learn anything from it other than to do whatever they want since they get paid for poor decisions. Just like the health insurance. And the bailouts. You're completely overweight, don't try to exercise and don't change habits? Don't worry, someone else will take care of all those medical bills, go get your diabetes, heart disease, and wheelchair. You ran your gigantic company into the ground and haven't made any decisions in the past other than how to make a buck today? Don't worry, we'll give you all the money you need so you can keep right on doing what you're doing so very poorly. Lost everyone's money? Screw them, we'll give you their money to pay yourselves off for being shitty at your job. Everyone who has tried to do things right - make healthy choices; exercise; be prudent and make purchases for the long term; base decisions not only on what is right for you but right for the future, save money. Here's a big fuck you. Thanks for doing your part, now go away. But make sure to keep sending in that money. We need it for everyone else.

Whatever. Its not like this changes how I'll do stuff, but its pretty ironic that you try to do your part and the only thanks you get is 'thanks.' Well, you're real fuckin' welcome. You giant douches.

Where was I? Oh yea, staying home with the kid. More on that later - he just woke up and is shaking his cage. Errr, crib. I mean crib. What'd I say?

Saturday, July 18, 2009

That's all folks

At least this poop show ended on a medium note for me. And I got the buckle. Now I need a belt big enough for it. I'd take a pic and show you, but my camera is busted. From crashing on it. Poop show it was.

The last stage took us up and over and up and over Boreas Pass, an old railroad grade turned into wide dirt road and some sweet funnest on both sides. Named after the howling wind on it by some old guys digging in the dirt for metals to make 'em rich and due to the tons of snow they had to work through - they put in a tunnel on part of this thing cause it was way easier than trying to clear the tracks each winter - Boreas was a nice change from the damn steep ass climbing they'd had us doing all week. There was a humungous snow blower for the front of the trains - big enough that they'd need a couple engines to push it - on display close to the start/finish of one of the stages. Then there were pics that showed guys on snow 6 feet above the top of the blower, their job being to shovel down to the blower height in front of the train. That's a freakin' ton of snow. Might have been easier to just shut down for the winter. Or build a much bigger tunnel.

Much of what we were on during the rassin' out in Breck was in some way linked to the old mining days and it wasn't unusual to be rolling along some way remote piece of trail and come upon remnants of the reason these towns existed in the first place - it actually wasn't about powder originally.

Today started with another bitch of a climb - basically back on the damn prologue course and the leg was into full lock down mode about an hour in again and what little power I might have had was gone. At just about that time though I hit the first descent and dropped onto the RR grade road over the pass. When the trails and roads got real steep all week I had to get off the bike. With this grade at only a couple percent, that made things a little different. Today I was able to actually put some power into the pedals and though the hip was screaming at me, I could roll the gear.

It was really nice to do nothing but pass people all day long. Finally I wasn't just suffering and sucking ass. Today, I was suffering but not completely sucking ass.

I rolled up one side of Boreas catching a dropping a ton of people I should have been spanking all week by basically ignoring the hip as much as I could and trying all sorts of different pedaling positions. Eventually I settled on jamming the tip of the saddle into my taint and putting a bit more into the top of the pedal stroke. I also stood up a ton and got way forward on the bike. This sorta worked. I ripped the singletrack on the other side and then found that same sweet grade on the way back. I kept eating people up until I finally got to a point that the pain was a bit much and I had to back off.

We crested Boreas to the tune of "20 minutes back to town!" and I'd have been smiling today if not for the grimacing. On the next road descent I was actually yelling in pain trying to get some release. It was also on this descent that I finally caught some of the SSers that had been kicking my butt from day 1. Mr Moots, Rich D waved me by to drop into the singletrack in front of him. I obliged and immediately bounced back and forth in one of those western ditch singletracks before dismounting hard into the ground. Rich probably should have dropped in first.

I hopped back up and caught Rich who let me go by again probably thinking it'd be worth the entertainment value. I found Tomicogs spinning his way down the trail shortly after - man he's got that dialed - and he let me scoot by. Got one or two other guys in that last bit o' singletrack in Breck too and finally felt okay about a day in this thing coming across the final finish line. It was definitely a good way to wrap things up.

Got back to the condo and Kris and little guy wanted to get on the lift to the top of the mtn. Well, Kris did anyway, I'm not sure Braden cared one way or the other. So we did a little hike around Wheeler Pass so I could show the family where I was stinking things up. Actually, I could just point to any land visible between us and the horizon from the 11,000 foot peak and say, "I sucked there. And there. And over there. And over there. And over there. And there. And over there too. And there. And up there. And down there. And that spot. And there. And, yep, there. And over there." Kris threw snowballs at Braden, unfortunately he doesn't know to duck. Braden lost his hat on the way up in the lift, but mom saved the day by hiking back up after to get it as it would have been a crying to shame to lose that. At least that's what I was told.

The dinner party came later at the swanky River Walk. We watched a kick ass video made during the week and I got to see what the front of the race looked like after the first 20 sec. of any stage. We also got our buckles. Then they did a killer raffle with kick ass long boards and Crank Bros wheels and other cool stuff. I won a pair of tires and a light up aerobie. Thank god there was free beer.

I canvassed the place with the help from my friends Harlan and Garth with TransSylvania Epic info and got an overwhelmingly positive response to the whole thing. Keith B was all about it and sending his buds in England the info. A bunch of western types were all licking their chops with the promise of tearing up the east coasters with their train high approach and easterners were like, "Yeah Rocks!! and Oxygen!! Bring it bitches." So spread that word - May 30-June 5, 2010 -

All's well that ends well.

Except I couldn't f'ing walk for three days after I got back.


Sunday, July 12, 2009

Mamma said there'd be days like this

(This post is about a freakin' week in the making, final Breck Epic post to follow)

I intended to post following the Wheeler Pass stage with a wrap of days four and five of the Breck Epic. During that stage things went really badly on a couple fronts and I came very close to pulling the plug on the whole damn thing. Not much interest in writing about it then either. I've been dealing with the aftermath of the race since and only finally starting to get a handle on the injuries in the last two days. Heres the first post, started last Friday (7/10).


Wednesday was one of the hardest things I've done on a bike. None of the stages here are very long - 30-40 miles basically every day but the prologue - but what they lack in distance they more than make up for in vert. In the first 20 miles we did about 5000 feet of climbing (for comparison races like the Wilderness 101 and Shenandoah 100 contain about 10-12,000 feet of vert in 100 miles). Of those first 20 miles there were also 5-6ish miles of descending. So, 5000 feet of climbing in 15 miles. Up and over the continental divide. Then we went up and over again. Yes there was some hiking involved but it was a lot of just steep ups on the bike. My back and hip were pretty wrecked early on from the steep stuff and I ended up off the bike a lot trying to stretch out and keep moving. I screwed up on a refueling stop too and that was biting me in the ass for a bit.

When we finally got up and over the second big climb we rolled into an absolutely killer descent of a section of the CO trail. This particular bit starts out swooping and fast and then turns into something a lot like the descents at Lehigh U in Bethlehem in an instant. It was pretty cool to see such a sudden difference in the trail and it was very cool to be able to stomp the crap out of some people that went into that descent 5+ minutes ahead of me while I was standing along the trail stretching one more f'ing time.

After this killer descent I had a little bit of motivation and was able to fight through the hip/leg (mostly by trying to ignore it) and pushed pretty hard to the end catching back basically everyone I'd been with during the first hour. I felt like I was almost actually racing for the first time this week. Unfortunately it was not to last.

Thursday was harder. I was expecting something easier, instead ended up being the worst day of the week and the hardest terrain and the biggest disappointment. The first hour, much like on Wed, went pretty well and maybe even a bit better than the day before as I was much further up in the field and riding decently. Then the hip struck again. Off the bike I went and just stood there for a while, somewhat numb. Really frustrating that I couldn't get in one damn day without pain. My warm up even included downing a bottle of my favorite pain killer. Didn't help.

It took more than an hour to do the next 6 or so miles to Aid 1 from that spot. Every time the trail went the least bit up hill I was off the bike walking due to the hip pain - and almost none of this section was steep. Sucking more was the fact that this bit was rocky and when I was on the bike I was riding it well - and way better than most of the west coasters that were around me. By the time I pulled in to aid 1 - two plus hours into the race and out of liquid (since I didn't expect it to take 2+ hrs to go 13 miles) I was ready to throw in the towel. I stumbled around the checkpoint feeling a bit sorry for myself and going back and forth between "This isn't worth it, I'm in pain and its not going to stop" to "Quit being an f'ing pussy and keep going so you get that damn buckle."

I was soooo close to stopping. So close. Luckily for me along came my new friend Peter from Misfit Psycles on his trusty rigid single speed and kept me in the game. He convinced me to keep going and for the next hour and a half he and I basically hiked with our bikes to the top of Wheeler Pass above Breck. I'm pretty thankful he showed when he did though the hike to the top was unreal - nothing like getting spasms in your back from pushing your bike up a hill. By the time we topped out on Wheeler at hour 3.5 into the stage I figured that the front boys were probably getting close to finishing their day (damn you Jeremiah!!!!!!!!).

Since I couldn't ride I was taking a bunch of photos and as I'm cresting Wheeler taking shots I realized I've 5 bars and figure what the hell, I'm moving pretty slow, I'll call the wife. After a little "Hey, I'm going really slow and it'll be another 2 and a half til I'm back, you might as well go back to the condo."
"Okay, be careful, don't crash."
"I will, love you."
I'm off again and Peter and I take some pics next to the summit sign. After this he says to me that that rigid fork of his I'm might as well roll, "be safe." So I do. And into one of the sweetest descents of the week I go.

I'm rolling along and finally starting to find something to enjoy about the day, stopping a couple times for more photos to show off the exposure and in general feeling much better about things than I did getting to the top of that pass.

Wanna take a guess what happens? I'll save the suspense. I eat shit. Rolled into something that wasn't even that bad but missed the line a little, corrected, thought I had it, and then launched through the air landing f'ing hard on my low back. On a rock. Freakin' awesome. As if the day hadn't been swell enough I'm now lying on the damn trail cursing and swearing and generally pissed off.

And I knew it happened when I hit, but I didn't want to look. Pulled the bag out of my pocket and there is my iphone...smashed to bits. The phone took the whole impact. Its toast. Can't get a damn thing off it. Lost all those photos. No proof I actually rode up there. Just my word. You'll have to take it.

I'm pretty sure the phone saved my ass from a broken rib or worse - more than a week later and I can still barely touch the area - so at least the phone was sacrificed for my well being. I'm not happy about it, but at least I can walk. As an aside, I thought, "well at least I can get the new iphone." F' that. $500 without the contract. Not even that bit worked out.

I got through the rest of the stage just plain annoyed. I wasn't even happy about finishing the day. I didn't get a sense of satisfaction from completing something this hard and I wasn't even glad it was over. It just was. Not being able to race or even ride for much of the week and then destroying my phone and injuring myself further had me in a pretty bad place.

One good thing about stage racing is that you get to (or have to) get on the bike the next day and that is at least a chance to be less shitty. And even a little less shitty can be a good thing after days like today.

Gotta take a sec to again thank Pete and to apologize for leaving him hi and dry on pedaling his ass off on SS on the bike path from Frisco to Breck. I didn't tell him, when he told me we were no longer friends since I left him behind, but he probably wouldn't have wanted to ride with me then anyway. I mean who wants to ride with some douchebag swearing and cursing and generally pissy for a minute, let alone an hour and a half? Not me. Unfortuneately I was stuck with him for the rest of the day and wanted to save Peter from the same fate.

And, if you call or text send include your name since I gots nothing in the phone.

It gets a little better before getting worse.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Breck Epic - I ain't done yet.

Obeekaybee, two full stages and the prologue in and I'm only down about 3 hours on GC. I'm kinda having a Murphys Law style race out here. Certainly I wasn't prepared for it (like, uhhh, probably would have been a good idea to put on a triple for a race claiming 40,000 ft of total elevation gain, at uhhh, elevation, derrrrrrrrr), but its not been super smooth on the bod either which has been a bummer. The thing is, its still pretty great.

Easy to see why, no?

The first two "real" stages were tough and Wednesday's "Queen Stage" is going to be brutal - we're going high enough to ride through a snow field. Today was a little better than yesterday for me, but I'm still barely moving out here. I'm holding out hope that I'll get healthier and adjust a little more before the end of the race. You want to make sure you don't go into the first week of the stage race peaking. You have to time it for week three... I'm just lulling everyone into a false sense of security.

We're going way up there tomorrow.

It is hard to tell by the pic, but up where the snow is there are no trees. There are no trees because the climate is too freakin' harsh. Sounds like a great place to "race" a bike. Who is the genius who came up with this? Who is the bigger genius that bought the ticket?

That'd be me -- on a break and a little sample of the Colorado Trail.

Besides the killer riding, we're enjoying the stay out here too. Though not quite as easy to get to race HQ as billed - making the family friendliness a little difficult to work through - we're in a nice joint.

Roughing it at the condo contemplating the peaks
(and getting in some product placement all at the same time.)

Braden checkin' out the ladies at the pool.

So that's it for now as it is already past bedtime with what's on the radar for tomorrow. Here's to hoping I drift off easily even with visions of my large ass ascending 12,000 ft peaks. 'night kids.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

Holy (don't let the kids see this) Fuck

Those are happy clouds. You should see the mean ones.

Sorry if I offend. If you are offended you'd best not read more. Still reading? It is on you then.

I'm in deep shit out here. We did the uphill ITT today. 5.5 miles or so. It took me almost an entire fucking hour to get up the hill. Guys who started a 15 minutes after me came by. I don't think I've ever suffered like that - I can't go at all. Holy shitballs batman. I definitely should have trained for this. And while having properly functioning lungs would probably help, they wouldn't be helping enough. I tweeted about needing a lung. Screw that, someone send me a vat of EPO.

About an hour before my start time today the sky let loose with just this side of wrath of god rain and hail. Lucky for us that's likely going to be a daily occurance. Here's to hoping I'm back before it happens most days. I'm going to pack with the expectation I won't be since we're looking at 6,000-10,000 ft of climbing daily from here on out. 40 miles tomorrow with a profile showing 7,000 feet of up.

I had good notice that this might be bad when trying to fall asleep at 7:45 last night. Yep, after less than 3 hours of sleep Friday night before the travel on Sat due to the illness setting in (Kris is sick too and suffering the same) we were in bed way early last night. Not like the clues the Hardly boys get, my clue came in form of suffocation. Okay, not complete suffocation but the pattern was like this: take 10-15 deep breaths trying to feel normal, settle into a bit of a rythm, drift off, awake with a start because I wasn't getting enough fucking air. It went on for like an hour. Awesome.

I meant to grab a shot from the top of the TT since going that slow should certainly equate to good race shots of guys like Harlan and Garth coming by. My air starved brain forgot. Instead, here are some shots from our first day in town; traveling out; Braden figuring out crawling; and from the final clean up at the farm after last weekend.

Helping grandpa get things cleaned up.

Note placement of team logo.

Gotta start 'em young.

Braden on the move. Looking for mom.

She's right behind you!!

Found her!

Breck with kid in Deuter pack (yep, more gratuitous product placement).

Braden sending you off from the Rasta Pasta man (he recommends the one with the pinapple curry sauce, yummy).

Friday, July 03, 2009

Ready or Not, Here I....go?

Breck. Starts in two days. I was going to start training today, but I caught a cold instead. I'll have to try to start training tomorrow now. Awesome. 6 days of hard mountain biking. This was supposed to be the carrot. The motivator that got me back on the bike. The year was going great through Feb, since then...not so much. Instead I've done less riding than I have in at least a decade and probably longer. Not feeling super confident about this, but what the hell it'll be great riding in a great place and I'm told the time cuts are "generous." By best hope now is that this just takes me down a notch - in my belt. Then I need to keep the ball rolling and stay on the bike. More than twice a week would be a big improvement on the recent past. 'Course this is also a good opportunity to spread the love about our Trans-Sylvania Epic with some folks into that sort of thing.

Jr. started crawling today. Well, he figured out that he is able to crawl today and that crawling gets him places. He had the scooting around a little thing happening for a week or so but it was just short little bursts and it was never very far. This morning he crawled across a room to get to Mr. Bear. Something musta clicked. It wasn't immediate, but by this afternoon he was doing laps of the house and Kris and I were putting in the miles trying to track him down. Gates went up on the stairs and the cat food went up on the table and out of reach. The joy on his face and in his laugh was pretty great. He moves and then squeels for no other reason than he's moving. Tomorrow we're supposed to spend a bunch of hours on a plane. Today Braden learned that he can crawl. We're a little concerned about tomorrow.

Uh oh, spadoodios

More from Breck as I at least use it as motivation to blog again.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Great Expectations

So the Festival is wrapped. A great time had by all. I'm sure those of you who didn't show are already quite sorry you missed it so I won't rub in just how great the weather was and how sweet the trails rode and how stellar the prizes were and how good the band was and how much fun everyone had. I'll just let you wallow in your own self loathing wondering what might have been had you been there.

Already thinking I want more partying next year so its probably shorter rassin on Sat and more fun after. Plus we're doing individual and team points next year so those of you who measure your manhood by the number of MASS points accumulated in a year actually get some satisfaction from the event - since rippin' it around one hell of a fun course and all the other good stuff apparently doesn't do it for you.

The Race in #s
6 days to put the race course together
3 days to race it
2 days to tear it down
40+ volunteers
40,000+ feet of tape
500 stakes
$3400.00 in cash payout
$2000.00+ in merch in the raffle
$7500.00 in prize merchandise
150 rassers
12 light up flying discs
8 portajohns
4 sets by the band
5 laps by me
2 brand new trails
43:18 by Rob L.
1 big announcement about a new ride in central PA next Memorial Day
1 exhausted promoter and crew
1 hell of a good time

Breck Epic next week. I've done less riding this year than I have at any time in the last, oh I dunno, decade or two. So my plan to be well rested should work out. More on my preparation horrorshow later.

Those of you who came out - thanks. Those of you who didn't - put it on the schedule for next year. It just gets better and better.


Friday, May 22, 2009

Come play with me!!

If you check that MASS homepage much or have visited the Cadence site lately hopefully you've picked up on a fun few days of good endurance training I'm leading in mid-June. If not, check this out:

"The Mid-Atlantic Super Series is proud to announce as part of our sponsorship with Cadence Multisport The Cadence Endurance MTB Racing Camp. This camp will be lead by Mike Kuhn, the Director of Coaching at Cadence and major MASS race and event promoter. As a veteran road and mountain bike racer including the Ultra Endurance 100 milers Mike is an expert in the correct preparation for endurance events of any type. As a special offer the price of the camp includes your entrance fee into either the Wilderness 101 or the Shenendoah 100. Only 20 spots available so reserve now."

How sweet is that? You get three days of great training, entry into either the W101 or Shenandoah and to hear me babble on endlessly about how to prepare and ride an endurance mtb race, which happens to be my passion in this sport (even if I don't get to do many of them these days...I know pitty party). The plan is for one or two of my buds to join us for some of camp too so at least that will give you some respite from hearing my voice as the boys chime in on the best lines and best endurance race prep.

The camp goes the three days following the Stoopid 50. Yes, that will increase the difficulty of the three days. Camps are supposed to be hard. The idea is that you go into it with a little rest - which you should be planning if you're coming out for Stoopid anyway - and then spend a few days really pushing yourself. You push yourself much more than you would regularly because the only things you need to do are ride, eat, sleep, and recover --- and have fun! It's like being a pro for a few days - only you don't have the pressure of knowing that if you don't win your next race its ramen instead of steak again this week!

My plan is to ride the Stoopid as hard as I can on Sunday and then hang out in State College overnight. Monday mid-day we'll meet in Coburn, the start of the Wilderness 101, and do an easier ride on dirt roads to check out the early parts and late parts of the race - these are key in figuring out how to ride this thing. Tue and Wed will see us start the rides in other locations in the Rothrock State Forest that will allow us to access different parts of the 101 and over the three days ride almost all, if not completely all, of the 101 course. It will be stellar training and a course preview all in one!

I promise that you are going to come out of the camp far better prepared and far more confident in your ability in endurance mtb events and you'll be ready for your best ever race!

Catch up with me through work - Cadence Cycling and Multisport - 215-508-4300 - if you have any questions or to sign up for this great new camp!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Yummy Yum Yums Ladies Man & RB's Gremlins

So RB was fun this past weekend until a little mechanical put paid to my ride on Sat with some tough guys who showed up to take on the course I'd laid out for the race. I made sure they all kept going so my little snafu didn't take away from their fun, but combined with everything else it sure seemed like there we evil forces at work trying to keep me from riding RB this year! That will not be the end of the story though so stay tuned here for more...

In an effort to be a slightly less chauvinistic piggy I listened to some ladies - and not like I "listen" to Kris either - and we're going to have a little ladies only competition at the festival this year too. With a little Tweist to it, we're gonna do a Women's Duo/Trio competition with teams of two or three women entered into the same race. The goal is to allow us a big enough field for women to do some good racing and allow women who are more experienced to double up while those with a little less experience or need to destroy themselves over the course of the day to go three person. Look for that to go live soon on the race site.

Lastly, you're getting food this year with the Festival entry fee too - yep dinner Friday night, breakfast Sat morning and dinner Sat evening are all part of the deal. You're on your own Sat through the day and on Sunday, but all the good grub you've come to expect will be there courtesy of The Hammakers again this year. Bonnie and Mark and the rest of the family will be manning the stoves and Kyle will be banging together pots and pans for you.

Spaghetti Dindin on Friday evening - as much as you can stuff in your face
Pancakes and Sausage Breakfast on Saturday morning- all you can eat again!!
Picnic dinner face stuffing post race on Saturday - BBQ, mac and cheese, baked beans, and whatever else Bonnie whips up.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

What's goin' on? What's goin' on? What's goin' on? What's goin' on?

Well, since you asked...

Braden is doing well. Teeth poppin' through in all the right spots. Threatening to crawl. Baby proofin' is high on the list.

Getting ready for Rocktober. Trying to get the word out and get some more folks signed up before this weekend so I'm sure it's worth doing. I burn a lot of human capital to pull this thing off with course marshals and motos and trail work and reg volunteers and results and checkpoint workers and gophers and racoons and deers and other small woodland creatures and it needs to be worth it to put all those folks to work especially since its not right next door.

Of course, the fact that its not right next door is part of what makes the place as good a place as it is for mountain biking since it isn't overused and beat to death but with some absolutely unbelievable trails. There isn't much else going on that weekend and nothing else is going to have the riding this place does so even if you're not racing you ought to come out and ride since the trails will be marked. It doesn't cost you anything to just ride, just don't go eating racer food! All the latest info is up on BikeReg since my Dreamweavin' computer ate poopy a few weeks and I can't keep up with all this media stuff anyway.

Gotta pull the Festival Weekend together too. That's almost ready to go on BikeReg, but I keep refining and I probably just need to put it out there so yinzers can get your teams together and get signed up.

If you didn't hear yet, the Festival is changing from the stage race format. We're moving to a 12 hour relay/9 hour solo on Sat and bookending it with a Night Team Time Trial Friday evening and an STXC on Sunday morning. Of course we'll be doing up all the fun stuff too just trying to get some more folks to come out and find out how freakin' cool the place is for the weekend. A little different this year is that everything is included in the entry fee - all the races and the camping and all the fun stuff - the only thing you don't get included is food, but the Hammakers will be cooking up a storm all weekend long.

Lupine is coming back as the lead sponsor for the Night Team Time Trial on Friday and will have some demo lights available for those that do not own lights and need one to take part in the festivities. We'll have a sign up on BikeReg for 'em or maybe on Lupine's site.

So, look for that stuff soon and check back for shots of Braden. He's just so damn cute, how can you resist?

Okay, off to FaceBook this stuff then back to BikeReg to update the Festival then I'll email it to some people and blog it here and on the Team blog and maybe make a video of me Twittering it to put on YouTube before finally LinkedIning though no one pays attention to that anyway...or perhaps I'm just not professional enough to get that one.

Actually, off to ride first since I've done that 4 times in three least this weekend is the Allegripis Trails opening at Raystown where I'm leading some rides so I'll get in a little something!!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Been a long time glad to see your face.

So it was gonna be the Nine and a Half Weeks post since I have this need to try to tie all my stuff to some pop culture reference, but as that was...oh hell, I've lost track and have no idea what week we're on. How about we just say we're about 4.5 months and leave it at that? If you're marking it by the development steps - he hasn't rolled over yet, but he did paint his first masterpiece. Yep, he's going to be one of those artists that throws excrement at the wall. With his butt.

He doesn't like naps. Everyone wants to ask about the overnight sleep and we thought that'd be the big deal. That ain't nothing but a thing. The kid has no problem with the overnights. During the day though sleep just doesn't happen. Of course that gets him all ornery - just like his dad at about 1pm on Sunday of the Festival weekend. You know, when I'm telling all you racers that its been nice to have you but don't let the door hit you in the ass on the way off the farm.

Speaking of the Festival; the word is out - we're on the Dirt Rag World Tour!! Yep, plan your trip now! BTW, we moved it a week earlier so you won't be torn by the temptation to be off drinking at the shore or drinking at the campsite or drinking on your lake boat or just sitting on your ass at home drinking over the Independence Day weekend - since that's definitely the best way to remember what it took for this to become the best country on Earth, by drinking your face off and eating some grilled lips and assholes (count it!!). So, in an effort to stem the tide of disappearing beginner men from the Festival weekend we're now the last weekend in June. We have been tossing around the idea of mixing it up a bit this year and going all 12 Hour Relay and your asses instead of Stage Racing...

In other news: Big Larry got done with back surgery #3 in the past 12 months a short time ago. This one was really on the base of his neck so was super psyched to be a neck immobilizer/collar. Anyone know how they work on your spine in your neck? By going straight through your throat. Yep, slash it open over the voice box, push that and the old trachea aside and dive in with both hands. From the front through your throat.

You know he'll be out on that tractor getting the courses ready for you come spring - more on all the racing stuff on the team blog. Dude is tough. I wish I had more of that.

Hugs and kisses and Happy Friggin' New Year (see, I didn't forget).

And here is one of Boo to send you out.