Thursday, December 8, 2011

The Planets Align

 There are two things that I've spent the most time doing on this earth, Skating and Cycling. There years cycling are not quite as many as the skating but the amount of time I've spent on my bike in the last 10years probably equals it out. Any way I've been thinking posting about how I see and feel that there is an ever growing connection between skating and cycling communities. I see it every weekend at cross races guys and gals who have skated or still do that are completely engulfed in everything cyclocross. Even at a pro level, some of my skate heroes are now riding bikes. My man Ed sent me this video this morning and it pretty much sums it up. Cardiel !! Stranger !! riding the roads of Marin county.  I don't know why but seeing these guys doing what I love to do so much makes me love it even more.  For those of you who don't know the John Cardiel story you should really check him out. If Cardiel wanted to win TdF he would, All Hail Cardiel!!

Monday, October 17, 2011

A Dance With the Queen.

 It's the weekend I have been most looking forward to since I laid down the first layer of mastik on a clean rim some time in August. Granouge is known as the Queen of the MAC and for good reason. The venue sits on the Dupont estate just over the PA border in Delaware. The last two years I have attended the race I have not been able to find enough adjectives to describe how amazing, brutal and all around fantastic this race is. This year not unlike last year the weather was perfect, 60's and sunny and a nice breeze, great conditions for hanging out all day and racing a bike.
If you love this sport and have never been to Granouge to race on one of the toughest courses in the country you're truly missing out. The crew that put this race on are the best and every time I see how hard they work and how much fun they are having I feel a little guilty about showing up simply to race. I hear more and more as the seasons go by about the cross "community" and Granouge and the people involved are what it's all about. From toddlers on striders to the oldest competitor in the master classes Tom, Marc and the crew make sure everyone is having the best experience they can.
As far as the racing goes it was hard, very hard and I expected nothing less. There was some really good inner team battles between Chris, Eric and I all weekend. When we finally pulled out of the field Sunday evening I had left a fair amount of turmoil in the dirt and grass of the Dupont estate. I am beginning to learn that in races like Granouge it's not necessarily how fast you can go that gets you the result but how well you can handle the bad patches your body is going to go through.
Thanks again to the whole Granouge crew for a wonderful weekend and to Bad Andy for some secret lines and motivation on Sunday.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

small world and the two wheeled connection.

So today at the shop A-rod wheeled down a big red I.F. touring bike with flat bars and a sweet pair of Paul canti's. So with a small I.F. fetish I quickly made my way over to it and inquired about where it had come from. Aaron(A-rod) explained that it belonged to a guy who was upstairs and was riding across country from Oregon to NYC. " I know that guy" I said. Technically I didn't know him but I knew about him. Bruce Weber was his name and I believe he was keeping track of his journey the NY Times. Any ways here's a little interview with Bruce and NYCVelo. Happy trails Bruce, pleasure meeting you today.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

New England Dreaming

It's not often that things live up to the hype. Think of all the albums you've bought all the movies you've gone to see that were supposed to be the greatest thing ever and they were barely meh. When we got in the car last Friday morning to start the 10 hour drive to Boston for 2 hours of bike racing the hype was high and at about hour 8 we slightly began to question if this trip was worth it. When we awoke to steady rain Saturday morning it was a little unsettling, but this was New England and cross racing so it may not have been proper without at least a little mud.
Once we reached the venue at Gloucester and began to see the lay out of the course the excitement started to settle in. I got my number at reg and quickly made my way over to the Mad Alchemy tent to get myself some special blend for the weekend and glad I did when Sunday's constant mist and cold winds came through.
We were lucky enough to spend the weekend with C3 crew from Baltimore. Since I started traveling to MAC races a few years ago I've always admired and kind of looked up to these guys and girls. They are always are supper supportive of each other, encouraging and making sure everyone has what they need. Getting to race with Auer and Fatmarc was super cool and it's always awesome when BA and Kat are around.
As far as the racing goes, it was incredible. The courses, the competition, the weather it was all pretty much perfect. Watching the battle between Johnson and Powers on Sunday may have been some of the best bike racing I have ever seen. Also watching Steevo battle Ted King in a skills verse pure power display was totally worth standing in the cool mist of the Atlantic.
I already miss Boston and the people who live there. I think that Gloucester is going to have to become a regular thing.
JPow and Ben Berden 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Wheelies and Machete Fights

Baltimore is one tough town. Drive around it for a couple of days and tell me you think any different. No way can a bike race even compare to the hardships that the people in the neighborhood we stayed in face on daily basis. Crime, burned out buildings every other block and no shit, a machete fight took place a few blocks away from our hotel hours before checking in. You have to understand that in order to qualify for a machete fight both participants must be in possession of a machete. I mean how tough is a town when a machete fight can just break out in shopping plaza parking lot.
Now as far as tough goes in the bike racing realm Charm City is one of the tougher weekends of the season. If you have any weakness in your cross game this course will expose it for sure. It's got everything, sand, multiple dismounts, and this year for maybe the first time ever mud. All the fields were pretty stacked and a good time was had by all but don't think that the course didn't claim it's victims. Saturdays endless cornering and slick conditions challenged everyone and Sundays sun and high speed put the legs to the test. Local heroes Steevo Cummings and Mike Mihalik mixed it up with the best of the Mid Atlantic and beyond. It was cool to see such an international field in B'more, Belgians and Brits and a shit ton of Yinzers. To say the least it was a little intimidating to hear Tim Van Nuffel speaking Flemish to a teammate or coach or whoever it was in the light drizzle, felt like some "real" cross was about to go down, and it did for sure.
Thanks again to all the C3 team members and their efforts over the weekend for putting on such a high class event. Next stop back to Maryland to race for a suitcase  full of sausage or something that involves a turkey.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

O- hi; yo Cult of Mud

After tons of hype, shit talking, and gear gathering cross season has finally arrived and one way or another I was racing this weekend. With the bulk of my cx crew out of town and most of the Yinzers heading to Nittany Cross friday I was left to fend for myself and decided the trek across the state was not in my best interest on so many levels. It was great to hear that teammate and all around awesome dude Eric Lundgren hit the ground running and ended up third and on his first MAC podium in the killer B's. Also Shane Watters, another swell gentleman took home the V. As I caught results and photos from the days action in T-town I was bumming pretty hard that I was missing it, so I loaded the car back up and headed to lovely town of Elyria, OH for a little NEOCX action. Rain soaked the already tacky to muddy course about 2 laps in and some "real cross racing" got going. Local legend Matt Weeks and Paul Martin man handled the field with Weeks coming out on top. It felt really good to get the season started and it will be a long crazy ride to January in Madison, see you all in Baltimore next week.

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Washington County to Wintergreen.

after the final stage of the weekend and Babik's second win.
Lots of fun packed into a very small of mount of time is why I'm sitting at a computer on perfect Sunday morning instead of out pedaling around. Last weekend was the Tour of Washington County, a wonderful stage race that takes place in and around the fine city of Hagerstown, MD. This was the first team race trip I have taken since the Kraynick's squad went up to Ontario for some stage racing almost a decade ago. I learned a lot last weekend racing with my new mates on GPOA, most of all I learned that they are the shit. In learning this I also realized that I got to get it together man. These guys killed all weekend, Babik brought home 2 big W's in the crits and young Bobby got third in a scorching road race. Everybody else just road there asses off for the good of the team, Seitz(Sikes), Steevo, Smiling John aka Mtn Bike John, and Colin all were amazing all weekend. These guys can do battle with the best the east coast has to offer. I did however manage to put like 4 minutes into Steevo in the final TT, regardless if he was soft pedaling in a group or not.
    So after one day back at work I was back in the car with the wife on our way to Charlottesville, VA for nice little two night stay at B&B about 15 miles down the road from Wintergreen mountain and the Blue Ridge Parkway.  I can easily say that I went on one the best rides of my life. The BRP is like some sort of dream road for cyclist, virtually no cars, great road conditions and the view is insane. I could have spent days up there but my proposed two hour ride turned into three and there were brew pubs and food spots to check out. Charlottesville is a cool little town that houses the University of Virginia and a bunch great places to eat, we tried to get to as much as we could, The Local was my favorite of the bunch. Well summer is in full swing, hopefully a heap of good times yet to come.
high up on Wintergreen