Friday, August 29, 2008

Daisy Hill Puppy Farm Cycling Team

After yesterday's post about the silly season of cycling, I was inspired to daydream (not that it takes much to get me to do that). I thought about how cool it would be to hit the Powerball numbers and get 3oo million dollars.

I'd buy a Pro Tour team and call it the Daisy Hill Puppy Farm Cycling Team.

The cycling world thinks Michael Ball is eccentric, HA! they haven't seen Duckman with money yet.

We'd have a fancy tour bus just like theirs.

Except ours would have a different "feel" to them....

With similarly matching team cars and our riders would have only one objective, win or lose they must and I mean must get in EVERY single break that goes up the road. I want that team car in every shot, every video and every living room in Europe and abroad.

We'd be sassy,

And have undeniable and highly marketable sex appeal.....................

Then after everything was in place, I'd sit back with a tub of popcorn and watch all the fun.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

The Silly Season

This is the time of year when men of stature meet behind closed doors amid cigar smoke and the heavy smell of scotch whiskey to decide the future of hapless cycling teams around the world. In a swift wisk of a pen a riders future can be made or broken.
In the news today, Cervelo is done with CSC, Scott is done with Beef, and Gerolsteiner is just done period. Rabobank's gonna ride Giant's, who know's where that leaves Columbia and the beat goes on.
I am happy to announce that I have extended with Vassago Cycles for 2009 and to quote Timbuk 3, "The future's so bright I gotta wear shades". I am looking forward to riding the best bikes made, as far as I am concerned, again next year and am looking forward to what 2009 has to offer.

My 2009 schedule is being finalized and some new sponsors may come on board. I plan to take my racing to a whole 'nother level and in short some exciting things are brewing.

Many, many thanks to Vassago Cycles, WTB, White Bros, Ergon, Crank Bros, Carbo-Rocket and Under Armour.

You guys rock!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

It lives

The idea of frankenbike came to me like many of my wild ideas - I was bored. I started thinking about building a tricked out singlespeed road bike, something totally on the other end of the scale from the mutt bike that had become my weapon of choice for tarmac. The idea gained some momentum when a friend of mine, Mark Prince, offered me a very slightly used Cannondale Synapse frame, fork, headset, crank and seatpost for a really good deal. All I needed to finish the job was a set of wheels. Everything else I pretty much pulled out of my parts bin.

I found a cool old set of Mavic hubs that included a radial specific front hub that I didn't know I had. I couldn't use the rear since that duty was to be handled by a White Industries ENO Eccentric hub but I could sure use the front. I picked up some rims, spokes a rear hub and commenced to building.

Everything went together great although I did have some trouble with controlling spoke wind-up on the front wheel. This was the first radial wheel I have built so it took a little longer with that than normal. Since the remnants of Tropical Storm Faye are blowing through tonight, I couldn't take it out for a ride but here's some pics of the finished product.

Cannondale makes a cool looking carbon crank. Gearing is 48X18

The ENO hub is what makes it all possible.

The cockpit.

Something old, something new...... This hub is nice. The skewer is going to be replaced with a black one soon.

WTB seats have become my favorite. I have one on almost every bike I own.

It's between the 13 and the 14 and that's WITH pedals, cages and a duck!

I can't wait to ride it.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Pain is just a click away.

I get emails from bike related events all over and sometimes I just gotta look the other way otherwise I'd be wearing my ass out every weekend somewhere. This one is one that I really like. It's called Benge's Revenge and it's a 75 mile road race in Norton Virginia. The first 65 miles are a piece of cake but it's the last 10, specifically the last 5 or so that really hurt. That's where the route turns ugly and heads up to Flag Rock on a road that has an average grade of 11% and some spots hit 20%. It's tough.

Last year I dnf'd this one due to a mechanical. I think I may have to give it another try.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Stuff.... Just Stuff.

Not much going on here since returning from Fool's Gold. There's always a bit of a letdown upon returning from a race, at least for me. Racing is my refuge, my escape. Coming back down is, eh, a bummer sometimes.
Also, I work 2 miles from Bristol Motor Speedway and this week, the population of Bristol Tennessee will grow by about 125,000 by the end of the week. I know they'll spend a gazillion dollars while they are here. Doesn't make it any less of a PITA for the rest if us.
In addition to being a great race and event, Fool's Gold was also the first road trip for the Toy Box. I left Friday after work armed with TomTom, XM, 80gb of stuff on my Ipod, my bike and gear and a few copies of Guitar World, all inside my car with room to spare.

Once I hit the mountains in North Carolina and North Georgia the Element's true spirit came out. This car is part Rally Car and part Cargo Van. I'd go deep into corners, downshift, stab the throttle and repeat. All the while giggling like a school girl.

Even pesky road blocking 18-wheelers were no match and got passed with ease once the road was clear. Oh and I got 26mpg down and back. That's not bad for a 4wd car with the aerodynamics of a cinder block.

I love this car.

All the parts are here for Frankenbike and I know the question on everyone's mind is WTF is a Frankenbike?

Frankenbike is the unholy union of the state-of-the-art and dysfunctional anarchy. It is the creation of a mind that's not quite right. While it's not ready for the world just yet, I have a few teaser pics for now.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Devil Went Down To Georgia - Again!

I loaded up the Toy Box Friday and headed for Dahlonega Georgia and the 2008 Fool's Gold 50/100. It was also run in conjunction with the Nimblewill Festival and a NUE Series race as well. There was a lot going on. For me, it was supposed to be more of a training ride than a race since my fitness was a little off from my time off the bike in July and early August. I did suffer my way through ORAMM but other than that, my longest ride in about 8 weeks was less than 2 hours. Misty and Kris from Vassago were going to be there to give away a sweet new Vassago Optimus Ti frame to one lucky amigo and my plan was to ride the 50 mile event and then hang out with them for the rest of the day since we don't get a lot of contact other than emails or text messages. Plus I had never met Kris yet so I was looking forward to that too.
First thing on the agenda was getting there and finding my room for the night. I ended up in a bunkhouse with some of the guys from Addictive Cycles and after brief introductions and some getting stuff ready for the race, it was bedtime.
Saturday morning and a few cups of 53x11 coffee and I was um...... still sleepy. Luckily after a few words from Eddie O, I had a nice 4 mile climb to Cooper's Gap to wake me up. Not being sure if I packed my legs or not and not really wanting to get caught up in the KOM race at the top of CG, I lined up in mid pack. 100 or so riders funneled into 8 feet is always fun and I just kept cool and started picking off people on the climb. For the first 3 miles it's not so bad but then it kicks up at the top and I began to hurt. By then I could see the front of the pack and I just tried to maintain that spot but my legs were screaming bloody hell. I wanted to push and just then I heard Bruce Dickman shouting encouragement - I knew that meant the top wasn't far and relief. Over the top I cruised a bit and chatted with a couple of other s/s guys but I wasn't feeling great at all. The dust on the FS roads was choking me and messing up my contacts and by the time we hit the first section of singletrack, I was staring at the back wall of my pain cave. Looking at my computer, I realized I had at least 4 more hours to go. Yay me.
The singletrack was nice and flowing and it ended up serving to help me out a bit. I started feeling better and catching a few people here and there. At the first Check, I filled one bottle, grabbed 4 fig bars and was out in less than a minute, leaving at least one singlespeed behind. over the next 10 miles, I went from feeling good to feeling great. It didn't make sense but I wasn't going to argue with it. At the second Check a lady calls out my number and says 4th singlespeed.
"Excuse me?"
"What did you just say?"
She informs me I am the 4th singlespeed that has passed there. I made sure she didn't mean the 4th singlespeed after the other 10 had already went through and grabbed some more figs and went on. Ah hell, now I had a race to ride. I just assumed I was sucking and it turned out I wasn't doing too bad. Every time I passed someone I looked for gears until I came to one guy on a singlespeed. I just kinda rode behind him for a bit to see how he was riding and then ended up passing him. I am not sure if he was a 50 miler or a 100 miler but I assumed that I was now in third. I tried to keep on what I was doing before and that was just maintaining a steady pace, not wasting a lot of time or energy and not crashing. Every time I passed someone with drivetrain problems, I was happy I had no shifters or derailleurs to mess up.
Somewhere after the third Check, I got a cramp and stopped to massage it out and before I could get started again, 3 singlespeeds passed me. Dammit! I rode after them and ended up getting back by all of them (two had flats, I'll take it) and all was well again. Well for a short time anyway.
My day began to unravel in the last 10 miles of the race when cramps began to overtake me. I cramped so hard and so violently that my legs frequently locked up completely. Shit it hurt! I looked down and my quads quivered and looked as if there was some alien crawling around under my skin. It was freaky. I'd ride, cramp, slow down and massage, ride, cramp, stop, rub, ride and repeated this process a dozen times over the next 10 miles or so. The final blow came in the last two miles of the race when I cramped really hard again and six guys on singlespeeds passed me before the end of the race. Oh I was pissed!
I don't know what happened. It wasn't that hot and I did the same thing with the same drinks, amounts, e.t.c that I have done all year and it has worked. Why now did I have this trouble?

I don't look too happy but I was actually ecstatic because I was done but a little pissed because of the cramps that held me back.

I ended up 10th in 5:31.

I ate, took a shower and fired off a phone call to home and by then Misty and Kris were there bearing gifts in the form of some excellent Highlands Brewing Co bounty that they most graciously shared with me. We sat around and they sold a few more raffle tickets for the Optimus. I got to meet George from Bike 29 and we basically had a big time as the rest of the 50 milers and 100 mile racers finished. It was good to see Misty again and to finally meet Kris and talk bikes and cars (he has an orange Element too!) Jeremiah Bishop won the 100 mile race in 7:39 - an impressive time on this course. Later he wandered by the Vassago table and was looking at the frame. I congratulated him on his race and asked how he did it. He said "It's all I do", "I eat, sleep, train and race"

Sounds easy huh?

As the day wound down, we all said goodbyes, I ate again and headed home to sleep in my own bed as opposed to another night in a bunkhouse ( no offense to my roomates but my bed is more comfortable).

It was a great race, I didn't plan to do well and I ended up doing better that I expected. I rode well and had great legs all day until the cramps came. My Vassago worked perfectly. No mechanicals, No flats, No crashes. It was a great day.

Picture pilfered from Natalie. Thanks!

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ouch! I Broke My Nipple!

Another one that is.

No, not THAT nipple, a spoke nipple. For the precise reason I will not build wheels with aluminum nipples, I am plagued with broken nipples. They just do not hold up over time and aren't worth the extra cost and savings in weight. I ended up with them on the wheelset I have because I bought them already built. I could have rebuilt them immediately with more dependable brassies but I am lazy. So now I rebuild one nipple at a time as needed.

I want to ride today plus I need to pack up the Toy Box for it's first road trip. What to do. Well one thing I don't need is to ride much or very hard so the plan is to hop on the road bike for an hour or so, load the Toy Box and pack the rest of my stuff for FG. It should be a fun weekend.

Parts are trickling in for Frankenbike. Stay tuned for details...............

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

I Am So Not Ready For This

After last night's ride at Steele Creek, it is confirmed. My fitness is ass right now. I felt fine on the numerous climbs, some really steep, that are scattered about at Steele Creek but I could tell before the ride was done, my endurance has taken a hit from my absence on the bike. This weekend is gonna hurt but in Duckman fashion, I say damn the suffering and pedal on good people!

I have decided however to skip the last big race on my schedule - the SM100, in favor of an early start on Cyclocross season which kicks off Oct 11. I will spend September just riding locally, hooking up on some of the roadie rides that I always miss because I am racing and building my ability to ride WFO for 45 minutes. Cyclocross is at opposite ends of the pain spectrum from endurance racing. Endurance racing is all about a low level of suffering that lasts all day (and sometimes all night). Cross on the other hand is all about massive quantities of snot pouring, slobbering, choking, on the edge of puking wide f'n open efforts that seem to last all day long. You are on the rivet from the beginning to the end and there's no place to run or hide.

In short, it's a total blast!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Best Laid Plans

Or is that layed? Laid? Laid! That's my final answer.

At the beginning of the year I had a plan, went sumpthin like this:

Build fitness base from Dec 1 thru Mar 1. Continue with base work but add intensity gradually leading up to the first race - the Cohutta 100.

I planned to peak for Tsali and ride that wave through the Burn and Mohican with rest before ORAMM. I wanted to do well for Tsali (I did) and for ORAMM ( I sucked).

Ah the devil is in the details. At the beginning of the year, nobody told me I'd spend most of July off my bike, working my ass off in our house that instead of selling in a month or three like was projected, sold in 17 days. Nobody told me I'd be taking the rest of July and part of August packing, moving, stacking, unpacking........I feel like WALL-E.

All I do is pick up stuff from one pile and move it to another pile and then onto another pile. In short, I am nowhere near where I thought I'd be at this point in the season.

Fool's Gold is this weekend and I am doing the 50 mile race instead of the 100. Oh he's just doing 50 miles, piece of cake you might say. Well in some cases you'd be right but at the Fool's Gold 50 miles is hell, 100 miles is hell squared. I will enjoy it however, lack of fitness be damned, and I will also enjoy the post race festival that will be going on all weekend with large quantities of adult beverage and some good eats too. After the 50, I will be helping where I can in the Vassago tent. Vassago will be there with bikes to demo and goodies for the masses. The 100 mile race will be something to see with Jeff Schalk (3 time winner in the NUE series already), Chris Eatough, Jermiah Bishop and others all trying to get the $1000 that the winner gets. Having ridden this course already, I know what it's like. It will be interesting to see what kind of times are turned in.

After the FG what next? Well, it's hard to say. I was scheduled for the SM100 but now I am not so sure. It is only 2 weeks after FG and that's not much time to prepare. I have already DNF'd one hundie and suffered through another this year and I really wanted to finish one with more than just survival. I don't know what I am going to do yet.

Cyclocross is just around the corner and Vassago is working on something special for me (well not just me, y'all can have one too) that reminds me of something dark, creamy and delish.

We'll see how it comes out.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Oh Yeah.

I just spend 3 hours at the Honda dealer and came away happy and with my dream car. I am soooo pumped!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008


We live with it in some form every single day. For the last month I have had the additional stress load of selling a house and moving (and life goes on in the meantime). The contract process on the house consisted of offer, counter-offer, counter-counter offer and the dammit this is it counter-counter-counter offer. Then came the home inspection, the bug inspection and the appraisal. Any of which could have stalled the process in it's tracks if something went awry. Now, with closing on Friday and 99.5% of the stuff that used to occupy our former residence now residing somewhere else, we get hit with a list of stuff the buyer wants before we close. They didn't do the inspection until late last week and now we only have (had) two days to do all this shit. It's stressing me out. For an entire month I have been doing something until all hours of the night and sometimes early morning to get this thing sold and us moved. I have shit in boxes that like Christmas gifts, may not be opened until Dec 25. It may be that long until I get to them.
My realtor has been great. She has really made this thing work with her hard work. Whatever she gets paid is definitely hard earned.

Fool's Gold is in two weeks and I have been trying to get ready for the August Georgia heat. I rode for 3.5 hours Sunday in the mountains on my road bike. It was in the 90's and a good training ride for heat aclimatization. I am riding where and when I can for now. I wouldn't call it regular but it's pretty consistent. This weekend will be another long one, maybe off-road. I won't really know until I am there.

Frankenbike parts are arriving daily. Stay tuned for details on Frankenbike......

Friday, August 1, 2008

5580? Really??!

I was moving my bike yesterday, getting it closer to the water hose so I can clean it eventually. It still has the number on it from ORAMM and water bottles with just a little Heed in the bottom of each one. I'll get them out and clean them before they start growing a Chia Pet. I just happened to touch my computer that I mounted this year to help me pace myself, especially in the hundies where it's easy to not have any idea how far you have ridden or how far you have to go. Anyway, I punched the buttons and saw the Odometer.

It read 5580. Huh? That can't be right. I thought about it and remembered that I mounted it in December, just about the time I started training for this year. I recalled some of the rides and races and did some basic math and realized it probably was right. I had no idea I have ridden my mountain bike that much this year. I never keep track of miles, only time. That combined with my road miles and I must have somewhere around 8000 miles so far. On one hand that's great but on the other hand I wonder why in hell do I choke in the big races. Let's look at the track record so far this year:

Cohutta 100 - DNF after suffering for 82 miles. Granted I was sick, had a fever and shoulda never started this race so really I can't count that as choking.

Tsali - I did fine for the first 8 hours but really suffered in the last 4 and my performance really fell off. I did finish on the podium so technically it wasn't a choke but I suffered like a dog to get there.

Mohican 100 - It was muddy and I am sure that took alot out of me but I was on the friggin bike for almost 13 hours to finish a hundred miles. CHOKE!

ORAMM - After riding the first 40 miles in good time, I cracked and lost loads of time over the next 20. I had symptoms of heat exaustion and had to really slow down or pay the consequences. I almost quit but I'm to damn stubborn.

Don't get me wrong. I'm not down on myself too bad. I am just trying to analyze my racing program and adjust my training where needed to get more out of it. I am relatively new to solo efforts in endurance racing (this is my second full year of doing mostly solo races. I have raced 12 and 24's on teams for 8 years) and I am limited in training time by significant family and work requirements. With 5500 off-road miles plus all the road miles I have so far this year though, I should be doing better than I am though. I would think so anyway.

Ah hell. I'm having fun and that's really what it's all about anyway.