Friday, March 24, 2017

WYD? The Barry Roubaix part 1


We're stupid. Really stupid. 

We're heading out on a Friday for a three-day trip to Michigan for a three to four hour race, the Barry-Roubaix. 

Think about that for a minute. We're giving up three weekend days for a 3-4 hour race. Does that make sense? 

And, here the forecast for race time:


Meantime, it's gonna be nice in central Ohio:



But first, I had to pick up my new bike. So, I headed off to Breakaway


As Joe and Mikey and I discussed the race, Dan and Paul started looking nervous. Paul said "your first ride on this bike is going to be a 62-mile race?" "You're killing me."


Yes. Yes I am. Paul is right to be concerned. The brakes haven't been burned in yet. No test ride for sizing. No opportunity to shakedown the build. 

I'm stupid. 

The bike is sahweeet. It's a Trek Crockett 5


And I'm gonna go get it dirty. 

I dunno. What would you do?

Be. Rave and be stupid. 

Sunday, February 19, 2017

Are we hipsters? And my race calendar.

So, my team just picked up a new sponsor, Mad Tree Brewing  This is our second beer sponsor, since we already are sponsored by Staas Brewing  Oh, and we're sponsored by two blogs. 


Two beer sponsors and two blogs. Are we hipsters? Hm, well we do have a lot of beards. 


On the other hand, there are a lot of mom jeans happening. And, we're mostly middle aged. So, probably not. Also, there's this ...

Anyhoo, believe it or not, I have already done my race calendar for almost the entire year of 2017. 

Seems early to do this in January, but there are so many good races and many require travel and days off. Add in family trips and school/work schedules, and you can see why I need to do this so early. 

Plus, I'm already in training for the season. I have to. Long races start already in March. 

My calendar is mostly based around three race series: the NUE Endurance Series  the Ohio Mountain Bike Championship Series  and the Tri-State Six Hour Series

Following the Quickdirt plan, I tried to schedule not more than two events per month, although I still ended up with four months with three events. 

Without further ado, here it is:
16 COMBO Fatbike
28 Fat Bike Nats Grand Rapids MI*
29 COMBO Fatbike

11 COMBO Fatbike
26 Brewery Vivant Fat Bike Grand Rapids MI*

18 OMBC Mohican
25 Barry-Roubaix Hastings MI*

9 OMBC Eastfork
15 CAP City Short Track Chestnut Ridge
29 NUE Cohutta 100 Copperhill TN*
7 OMBC Scioto Trails
17 NUE Lumberjack 100 Wellston MI*

9 Tri-state Eastfork
15 CR 6 Hour
23 OMBC Lake Hope

6 Tri-state Hueston Woods
13 OMBC Westbranch
19 Tri-state Idlewild
27 OMBC Dillon
3 NUE Shennandoah 100 Harrisburg VA

7 OMBC Great Seal
21 OMBC Championship
3-5 Iceman Grand Rapids MI

Fat bike racing starts again!

Saturday, February 11, 2017

Catching up and coming down

So, I have continued to be pretty busy.  Spending a lot of time on COMBO stuff lately.  But it's all good, because the end result will be amazing.

By the way, head over to COMBO's website before Feb 17 and grab one of the cool new jerseys.  Proceeds benefit COMBO so we can keep building trail.

Plus, the jersey is pretty fly, so, you'll be looking good while you help the trails.

Speaking of kits, my team has a brand-spanking new one:


Pretty stoked that Mad Tree Brewing joined the crew, along with Staas Brewing, Breakaway Cycles, Quickdirt, and Trek.  And MTBTP is on the kit too (look for the tiny font).  Could it get better?

Anyhoo, I realize I have been pretty bad about posting lately, so for the three of you who don't follow MTBTP on the book of faces, here's my latest Dirt Rag  column.  It's one of my biggest efforts to date.  Damn near good, if I do say so myself,  And there's some good advice in it from racers better than me about how to cope with the end-of-season blues.

Check it out.  Or don't, but pretend you did, for my sake.

That's it for now.  Should have a longer post up next weekend.

Be brave in the offseason!

Saturday, December 31, 2016

F*** it. I'm hanging with the king


Serious question:

Burger King is offering a $4.00 value meal with a whopper jr., nuggets, fries and a soft drink. Assuming that you take a full-strength (not diet) drink, that's around 1,100 calories (including nugget sauce and ketchup). 

I'm not picking on Burger King, other chains offer similar deals, I just keep seeing their commercial and it makes me think about stuff. 


So, here's the question. Can you name another source of 1,100 calories that tastes that good for $4.00? 

You couldn't buy the ingredients to make this meal at a grocery store yourself for $4. 


That's 4/10 of a cent per calorie. It's hard to buy any food that cheaply. Maybe if you drank straight veggie oil. 


Nevermind nutrition, if you're going for bang for the buck, why wouldn't you eat this? 

Assuming a 2,000 calorie diet, and eating this 365 days per year, that's 730,000 calories per year. Or, 664 $4 value meals. That means it would cost you $2,654 to eat all year. Or $7.27 per day. Or, save even more by eating one $4 meal (1,100 calories) for lunch and then 2 packs of top ramen and a coke (520 calories, $1.50) for another meal. Boom. Out the door for $5.50 per day. 


Can you beat that? And I don't mean with plain rice or oatmeal. I mean with a flavorful meal with a drink. 

Check this site out if you really want some calorie bang for your buck. Although I don't recommend eating straight flour. 


Be brave, and eat a whopper. 


Wednesday, December 28, 2016

Burning the candle at four ends


Before we get started today, a word of warning. This post has very little to do with bikes and isn't very funny. Read at your own peril. 

Red Green famously said that "if the women don't find you handsome, they should at least find you handy."

I am neither handsome or handy. Instead, I am always occupied. 

I work a busy job. When I'm not working, I'm volunteering for COMBO. And I'm a captain of my race team. Oh, and there's this blog, and the Dirt Rag column. And training and racing. Did I mention the three teenage kids?


I don't have to do all of this. If I was wired differently, I could quit some or all of it.  Might be nice to read a book or watch a game of sportsball sometime. But I can't. 

Instead, I burn the candle at four ends at all times.

It's always been that way. When I was younger, I filled my days with whatever hobby crossed my path. Cars, cards, concerts, cooking, tattoos, gaming, drinking, whatever.

Perhaps I'm still doing the same, though at least now my distractions are healthy and productive. 


But it's not getting better; it's getting worse. In the last couple of months, many friends and colleagues have remarked repeatedly that I look tired. I suppose I am. So what?

(Do I look tired to you?)

I don't expect a long and uneventful life. Never have. The hottest fires burn out the quickest. Again, so what?

Case in point: right now, I'm on vacation in Florida. (By the way the photos on this post are of weird stuff I saw in Florida). It's beautiful, clear and sunny. Unseasonably warm. Or, at least historically unseasonable. 

 (Don't swim with diarrea, please)

My kids and wife are relaxing. They're at the beach, at the pool. But they're eyeing me uneasily. 

They know that I can't just rest. They know me and they know I can't. I think that's why they are so easygoing about all the stuff I do. It's probably exhausting to be around me and a relief to let me go do things without them.

But it is my vacation, so I'm trying to rest. Yesterday, I went for a bike ride on the beach. Bikes usually clear my head. 


Mountain biking in particular stops my brain from spinning. If you aren't paying attention to your environment at every moment on the trail, you're gonna wreck and it's gonna hurt. Beach biking, not so much. I had time to think. Dammit. 


As I rode along, it dawned on me that my interaction with the beach was different than most peoples'. Whereas I was riding along parallel to the tide, on the hard sand near the water, most other beachgoers were moving perpendicular to the tide, from their beach towels to the water. Across my path. Or perhaps, I was crossing their path. 

In any event, I didn't mind. I was being attentive and I was happy to stop and wait for someone who toddled in front of me. 

Most of them were indeed toddlers. Or sun-baked middle-aged drunks. If they noticed me at all, my smiling gaze was usually met with an open-mouthed stare. That's to be expected of the very young or the very drunk. 


The few sober adults that didn't see me coming had one of two reactions. Some smiled and waved at me. Maybe even asked about my "big tires."  They weren't bothered by me. They seemed to enjoy the fact that I was enjoying myself on the beach too. 

Others were angry with me. They scowled and glared. Why would I use with the beach in a manner different than theirs? I must be nuts. How could I occupy the same space as them, if even briefly? I must be incredibly entitled. How could I expect them to stop their march to the water for me? I must be selfish, rude, and greedy. 


This got me thinking philosophically. So many dimensions in these interactions came to mind. 

On one hand, it's a classic "tragedy of the commons." This theory explains that mutual gain can be quickly diminished when a person with rights to a common space withdraws his consent to share. 


Or, maybe it's an illustration of the American system of property rights, inherited from the British. Property rights are among the oldest, and most unchanged legal foundations of our country, although the system of private ownership is little discussed or questioned. But I have questions. 

When does someone have the right to put up a fence, or a beach towel, to the exclusion of others? And do our settler private property rights inform the walker's feelings about the biker? Does he have a better right to the linear path to the surf than I have to the lateral path of the coast? Is there a border there that he must defend? Can he zone me out? Regulate me away? Criminalize my behavior? 

Or, maybe it's just a question of individual experience. Perhaps the walker has never been on a bike, but has heard that cyclists are rude and lawbreakers. Maybe he had an unpleasant brush with a cyclist in traffic last week. Maybe he just didn't like my tattoos. 

These personal experiences spill into every encounter and decision. That's why the toddler stared at me - he had formed no bias about cyclists yet, he was just observing. Forming future biases. 

I smiled and waited for him. See kid, bikes are nice! Same with the drunk. His cognition was impaired beyond the ability to accessing bias and process a reaction. His few remaining brain functions were working full-steam on staying upright. 


Or maybe too, it's a matter of self-interest. Perhaps the walker felt entitled to this strip of beach and is unwilling to share. This beach time was a precious resource, bought at the expense of his travel costs and a week off work. And there I was, encroaching on his limited free time and license to the beach. 

Whatever the case, I can't help thinking about it. And wondering what role my own bias plays. 

If I'm being honest, i haven't always reacted kindly when someone intrudes into a space that I am entitled to. I keep trying though. 

(Except for birds. I hate birds). 

In my reasoned view, the beach is nice and bikes are nice. Walking is also nice and so is swimming. I'm not in a hurry and I have no reason to hurry. So, I choose to wait on others, to share, to be kind, to smile. At least, I try to do so. 

But what do I know?

By the way, I'm writing this post on the beach. I took a couple tall boys of PBR and started walking. When the first was finished, I stopped, cracked the second and sat in the shade. Am I resting? I can't tell. 


Be brave and burn out. 

Saturday, December 17, 2016

You take the good, you take the bad,


You take them both and there you have the facts of life, the facts of life ...

Well, in matters not in any way relating to a teenage boarding school, I have had to take the good and take the bad. 

Last night, I went out for a ride. It didn't end well. 


Seems I broke a rib. 

My friend Tom summarized the story for me, and he did a better job that I will, so, here it is:


In any event, the worst part of the wreck was the three miles back to the car.  In the dark.  At 20 degrees.  I was moaning and cursing so much that, if anybody was listening, it probably sounded like Sasquatch sex. 

The ER doctor said "riding mountain bikes in the dark in the snow? That's crazy." 

But, as I told Christy, doctors don't know shit about mountain bikes.  Unless they ride mountain bikes. But this doctor didn't ride mountain bikes.  So he didn't know shit.  Except about doctoring. Pshhhht.

Anyhow, it could be worse. At least the weather forecast looks like this:


So I probably won't be hitting any trails soon anyway. Which is kinda why I was out there last night in the first place. 

But let's move on from pain to something pleasant. 

See, I wrote a piece about my trip to the IMBA Summit and the accompanying road trip. It's up on Dirt Rag's page. I discuss the finer points of th (mini) Van Life. You can find it here.

Check it out. You can find out whether Chuck is thinking about murder. 


In any event, it beats a broken rib. 

Be brave, and take your pain meds. 

Thursday, December 8, 2016

'Tis the Off-season


Kittens keep it real. 

Anyhoo, it's the off-season and I'm busy getting fat (again). The good news is that I'm only a few pounds away from racing Clydesdale next season, so there's that. 


That's me between the kiddos. 

It's also almost Christmas, so I thought I'd give you some gift ideas for me, just in case you haven't gotten me anything yet. 

"Go in Peazizzle" St. Broadus, Patron Saint of Long Beach. 


For those cold nights on Hoth

I just need this, okay?

But if you're done with your shopping, could you do me a favor?

Stop in at COMBO's annual meeting and celebration  It's on December 19 at Lineage from 7:00 to 9:00. 

I will be presiding over the event until someone tells me I've had too many of Lineage's delicious beers and takes the mic from my hand. So, you know, get there early. 


You can hear about the threats to local mountain biking and what COMBO's doing about it. Plus, you get to mix and mingle with luminaries like Ed Braunbeck and James Knott. 

What else you got to do, eat Christmas cookies? 

It's gonna be a good time, fo' shizzle. 

Be brave in the off season.