Saturday, July 26, 2008

Northern Heat Wave

So much for my plan to try posting more often. It didn't help that I spent a week in Michigan with no interweb access. Michigan was cool. Not temperature cool, but a change of scenery cool. We showed up for a damn heatwave. We drive 16 hours north, and it's still 90+ everyday. And to add insult to injury, A/C is not so prominent up there. It's kind of like the lack of heat in South Florida homes. The Michiganders were melting by the droves. They all look to us and say, "Oh you guys must be used to this. I bet it doesn't even bother you!". Yeah we're used to it! We call it "hot". It sucks, but we use this great new tool called an air conditioner. Luckily our host had a pool. I spent so much time in there that I started to grow gills.

Riding in Galesburg, MI is very similar to riding N. Florida trails. The trails I rode are kind of a mix between the better parts of Jacksonville's Hannah Park, and our own, Cadillac Trail. Ft. Custer boasts approximately 20 miles of trail, and if you find yourself up that way, give 'em a shot.

Ft. Custer Cyclery is a nearby shop, owned by a fellow clydesdale. You can always tell when a clydesdale is on duty in a bike shop, and no, I'm not talking about a trail of donut crumbs! When a clydesdale has any sort of influence on shop inventory, there will actually be jerseys of the XL and XXL variety. I even saw a XXXL on the rack! Just to show my approval, I bought a couple of his shop h2o bottles and XXL shop shirt. You gotta support those who fight the good fight.

Being in the shop and meeting the owner stirred my juices again. When we left, I asked my Ol' Lady how this northern breed of clydesdale gets to be a shop owner. I have to say, I'm more than a little envious. If I thought this town of ours could support it, I might throw my hat in the ring. But I just don't see that being the case. I do miss the wrenches, though.

As usual, trips are good, but it's even better to be home again.

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Big Man Goes Home.

All mourn the loss of the King of Clydesdale, from this year's Tour de France. That's right, Big Maggie Backstedt packed it in yesterday. After trying desperately to come in under the time limit, he missed the cutoff by 4 minutes. Backstedt was the only guy out there who could represent for those of us who continued to grow after the age of 9.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Yee Haw!!

Wearing that orange Jittery Joe's jersey, this is kind of what Big Jim Slade looked like, right before he augered on the Joe's ride last night.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Tying Up Loose Ends

I've been horribly lax about keeping this site up to date. I feel like I need to have a lot to say, or it's not worth saying at all. New plan. We'll try smaller posts from time to time. I'm not sure if that will work either. I once had an art instructor who told me that the more simple the subject matter, the more perfect the technique must be. We'll just have to see how it works.

In perusing the local blogs, I see that we have several stories left incomplete, so I'll try to tie up those loose ends.

Bump-n-Grind: Big Jim Slade won. The rest of us didn't. That's what that instructor meant by poor technique not carrying the simple subject, so let's fill in some blanks. BJS won, but there is the sidebar about him cherry picking the Beginner class. I shouldn't be so hard on him, though. He had fair sounding arguments. He hadn't raced in 10+ years. He was unsure of himself. He'd sworn to never race again. Too much pressure, and he would've stayed home. Despite our reassurances that he is faster than ever(after all, he does ride with us) he went and pulled on his water wings with the rest of the beginners, and proceeded to drag them around the kiddie loop, by their tongues.

Thanks to 007, there was a wager amongst the rest of us, involving prorated lap times. The loser wears a mini skirt at the Tallahassee race. That was my biggest focus. That, and trying to hawk down Wrecking Ball, who started 2 minutes ahead of me. I started hard, but not redlined. Hit the woods in 4th and settled in. I caught guys on the technical areas and the downhills. They would reel me back in on the longer climbs. When we hit the fireroad to the big climb, I was still in 4th or 5th. I could not have been happier to see 007 standing by the trail, all red faced and blown up. I was already stressing how the skirt was going to keep getting caught on my saddle. With that off my back, I just tried not to lose too much time on this long drag of a climb. As soon as we hit the singletrack downhill, I was back at home. It took awhile to pass an over braking, too nervous sport rider. I think I rode too hard to get around, because shortly after I got around, I felt my rear tire getting soft. I pulled over to fix it, and watched helplessly, as all these people I had passed, returned the favor. I changed the tube, and went back to full charge, but the damage was done. I ended up around 7th, with the next guy just 6 seconds up.

Wrecking Ball flew! The fear of me grabbing his ass in lycra in front of all those mountain biking peers was just too much. Even after factoring out the 3 minutes I spent on the flat, Wrecking Ball put time on me. Somewhere in the neighborhood of 2 minutes. The resident fast guys did as expected. Silk, Ice Berg, and Marcus all got 2nd in their respective expert and sport classes. I don't remember where Jim Smart finished, but he never fails to impress me with how fast he goes on that damn rigid single speed. He had 2, 17 mile laps, and they were both faster than my one!

So goes the story of Bump-n-Grind.

Team Type 1 and RAAM: I'm damn proud of that team. I can't entirely explain my attachment to them, as Phil is the only one I know that well. Being there that first year, and then again for the sophomore attempt, the experience is so huge, it's not easily dismissed. This year they gave it their all, again, but came up a little short. For a more detailed peek behind the curtain, check out Monique's site. The Norwegians rode hard. Very hard! I remember reading somewhere that great champions are defined by their competitors. The Norwegians are worthy adversaries, and I can't wait to see how next year pans out.

Big Foot Sighting: Yes, Juancho rode with us this past weekend. The last time we invited him to a southside ride before noon, he wanted to know why we were obsessed with doing night rides! Juancho not only showed up, but he was there before me. I dig it when the crews intermingle. Otherwise the gene pool gets a little shallow.

Top quotes from the ride;

"You just gotta figure out how to get the big black man to give you more of that banana pudding."

"It's all relative. That log is a lot bigger to Wrecking Ball, than it is to the rest of us."

"Riding without Wrecking Ball, is like a road trip without a radio."

"If you put a saddle on that fox squirrel, Wrecking Ball, I bet you could fly around these trails!"

"I feel a crack coming on." (2 seconds later) "And there it is."

Sorry for the flack W.B., but you had it coming after that video post. Thanks for the entertainment, Juancho.