Monday, December 24, 2007

The other 'Cross

I did my first CX race Sunday morning! With the The Hurt & Crash, V-dog, The Hitman, The Cap'n and even former teammate White Chocolate all professing the wonders of Cyclocross, I finally had to give in and do one. Friday night's Lagwagon show and Saturday night's drinking probably weren't the ideal precursors to a race, but hey, what the hell.

30 seconds into the race is when I believe I racked up the 203 BPM on my Sigma heart rate monitor, but that was about 15 seconds after Brant and half of my category were already out in front of me! I managed not to get stuck behind any of the technically challenged riders, though, and was able to calm my HR down a notch or two and settle in. My hearty cheering section which included Rog, Ryan, and the ladies Brant had shuttled in for the occasion gave me the much-needed motivation to keep plugging away lap after lap, too. Headwinds in a couple spots and the (luckily only one) portage section were definitely power suckers.
I decided against demo'ing a cross bike and stuck with my trusty Tanasi hardtail. Rog outfitted me with his XTR wheelset sporting some Kenda Kwicker 1.8s I believe, which definitely put it closer to CX shape, but I guess I will have to try a "real" CX bike in the future.
Unfortunately, halfway thru the race I was apparently assaulted by a not-quite-fossilized avian skeleton. That's correct, I took a chicken bone to the rear tire! Even a Slime tube was no match for this osteopathic onslaught. I slowly began to depressurize, wobbling a little more and more around every turn. So slothful was its seepage that I thought I could finish the race on it, but on the third lap of leaking, I realized I would never make it to the finish. In true Backbone team style, though, Ryan sprinted out to the truck and retrieved my Spinergy rear wheel, and on the next lap I pulled in for my Nascar wheel change!
Adrenaline still rushing thru me I was not even No help, I was completely detrimental to the process. Roger ended up bleeding and 5 people passed me, but I had a quick drink of water as he tightened my QR and I was off again with two laps to go.

I was amazed at how much I was able to keep my speed constant thru the race as others were slowing, and with the fresh 60 PSI Small Block 8 rejuvenating my vigor I was able to catch and pass four of the five who had gotten by me in the pit. One guy gave me challenge as he was quicker over the obstacles than I was, but soon after we were back on the pedals I was around him again. I had the fifth in my sights as we rounded the last corners to the finish, but was too far back to catch him. I would have to settle for 12th, but all things considered I'm content. I'll be back out there in a couple weeks, though, (maybe with a CX bike) and we'll see what I can do.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Criss Cross'll make ya...

I found out how small Aliso Woods is yesterday when I tried to mountain bike for an entire 2 hrs at high speed. Entering from the Mormon church entrance on the Aliso Viejo side I got a little warm-up before hitting Mathis and climbing up it to the Top of the World (Laguna entrance). From there I bombed down the ridgeline fireroad and down Rockit, which turns out to be pretty bone-jarring the first time you've ridden it on a hardtail in months! Glancing at my new SigmaSport Onyx watch (sponsor plug) I noted that I had only burned up 40 minutes and would definitely need to rethink the remainder of my planned route!

Sooo, what's the longest closest climb I could come up with? Well, back up Rockit, of course! Five minutes later as I turned the corner to the trail's namesake battery of babyheads, I tried not to smirk as a family-type group of five and a few others making their was down looked at me in amazement: Who goes UP Rockit? Nut-jobs like me, that's who!

Back at the top I stopped for a drink of agua but had to jump back on the pedals when a 40-something couple started down the trail. NOT that I'm prejudiced, but they just didn't look like they were in the same forties that "The Hurt" is. I couldn't tell if he was trying or not, but I was already putting time on him before the singletrack. My second time down the trail right in a row difinitely gave me an advantage, and even though he had full suspension I never heard from him, even when I had to slow down for my second painful trip down Babyhead Boulevard. Trying to keep my bones from shaking loose, I was impressed to see two guys making their way up. Were these guys complete nut-jobs? I hope so, I need the company!

Back at the bottom once again, my hands and feet aching, I focused on getting back up to speed heading out Coyote Run. As I crested a little rise, a little boy (7?) riding the other direction asked his dad behind him "What do I do Daddy?" I had already pulled over so he told him to keep going. The dad was also towing his daughter in a trailer behind him. Sweeet!

Out off of Coyote and onto Wood Canyon fireroad I quickly arrived at Cholla. Left right left right...etc etc...switchback madness. Back onto the West Ridge fireroad and aaaaaaaaall the way back to the Top o the World.

A quick look at the sun about to plunge into the ocean and I shot past the picnic tables and onto the pavement on my way to Meadows. Once "The Muther Of All Climbs" when it was an almost straight line, it has now been castrated with switchback upon switchback and though it's still a good climb it's now suitable for descending as well.

Back onto the valley floor and I still have 15 minutes to kill! I speed up the canyon to the bottom of Mathis and hook a left onto the (relatively) new Dripping Cave Loop. A nice bit of singletrack with a mix of ups n downs and a lot of sandstone. The recent rains have made the foliage super moist and green, and the trail between the rocks is fantastically tacky. It's not a long enough, though, so I race back around and do it again!

Back out to the canyon fireroad I swing right and begin the cruise back to the truck. 5:00 and the sun has been down for 15 minutes and I just beat the last pinch of light as I roll onto the pavement.

Even though I almost quadrupled back on myself, it was still a fun ride. :)

For something seriously wild, check out the following site I found that has a history of the park, and a trail map and photos that are probably 10 YEARS OLD! (Before thousands of identical stucco houses and a toll road were built on two sides of the park) Wacky stuff!

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

The Legend

As you may or may not know Evel Knievel passed away. This guy was the fucking man. His middle name was Cajones! See Jimbo's blog for a couple great vids. In addition to the crazy gyro powered chopper bike I also had this:

...that you rolled up in a ball and then tried to find the highest tree to climb or somebody's roof to throw it off of!

And the Muther Of All Electric Toothbrushes:

Friday, December 07, 2007

Words cannot express...

...the elation that washes over me. Especially since I don't have the time at the moment to sit and contemplate the right words. But the Brown Santa (yes, UPS) brought something for me:

And ohhh, baby!

My new frame is here. The sleek shiny sexy black carbon TOMAC CARBIDE XC-1. Courtesy of Joel Smith and Johnny T himself. The Hurt and I will be racing this vision of beauty and epitome of velocity next season and you better get a good look now, cuz it's gonna be flying by at high speed later and it'll be hard to see ;)

Thursday, November 15, 2007

More Riding

After work on one o the last nights before the sun dwindled away I was able to shoot this one. Because it's shorter the quality ends up much better. Also I'm startin to use my editing software to it's full potential. Hope you likey!

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Singletrack Vid

This is me and some friends riding down a bit of fine Southern California singletrack. I hope to be enjoying lots o this during the "winter" season now that I'm back in the Golden State. Get out there and ride some yourself.

Saturday, August 04, 2007

Cal State #6 - Rim Nordic

Amazingly enough, I got up to the venue on time, over 2 hours before the race! I got registered, saw Mandy (who's always got a smile on her face), the Volpinator, Vanessa, Rog and Brant hanging around, and watched James and Randy start. I headed back to the truck and found a great spot to set up my trainer under the shade of the Snow Valley resort building. Unfortunately my wonderful SigmaSport BC 1200 wireless comp had it's first battery failure at the wheel sensor (I've had it for 3 years now) so I didn't get any readings, but I had a great 40 min warm up and felt great and was very optimistic. Drank lots. Had my MP3 player cranking the tunes and drowning out the buzz of the trainer. Got to the start line and chatted everyone up and was ready to go. 10 minutes into the race, however, I was light-headed and seeing stars. I slowed down to recover and just tried to poke along, but I still felt like shit. The fire road at the top was less painful, but the climbs were hideous. I made a complete pit stop at the end of lap 2, trading in both water bottles for more H20 and Coke (for the caffeine). I hopped back on the pedals and was off for lap 3. I was demolished, though. I was barely able to turn the pedals up the first set of climbs. I got off the bike at the flat spot before the first descent and rested under a tree for about 10 min. I got back up and cautiously made my way through the descent. Once at the bottom, since I was staring up at another climb and only within rock-throwing distance of the start/finish line, I decided I had had enough.

As I stumbled by the announcing tent, I notified them of my demise. They thanked me, as they had put me down as the WINNER of my class! I was so far behind that they thought I was in front.

Apparently the elevation and heat were combining to try to kill me. Also someone said that the anti-inflams and muscle relaxers I was taking for my back spasms are dehydrators, so that was probably another factor. Plus the air conditioning had been out at work for 3 weeks prior, leaving us at 86 degrees 8 hrs a day, which I’m told can cause mild heat stroke by itself.

I was 7 pounds lighter than normal on Monday morning.

I don’t have any cathartic closing for this one, it just plain sucked. Thanks to Rog, the rest of the team, and everyone else for supporting me.

Thursday, June 28, 2007


I crashed on Sunday and it was no fun. I didn't even get to the dirt before it happened. I was only on the bike a measley 7 minutes before I hit the concrete like a sack of concrete. Three of us were tooling along the sidewalk on the way to the trail when this concrete light pole jumped out in front of me. Then his buddy the fire hydrant jumped out of the bushes on the other side of the sidewalk. I was barely able to remove myself from the bike and dive inbetween them.

Yes, that is yellow paint from the hydrant on my derailleur.

So yeah, I tacoed my front wheel, scratched up one of my new SUNLINE bolt-on grips, and got a few bruises and this lovely gash, but I'm relatively ok.

Well, since there was still 1-1/2 hrs of light left and I have another bike, we bent my wheel back enough so I could wobble home and then I headed out again on my own for an hour or so.

Good times, good times.

Monday, June 11, 2007


I have to say that Firestone was incredible. Considering the torturous races I’ve had there for the last 2 years, having not only a good race but a GREAT one was far beyond my expectations.

The sweltering heat that greeted me when I arrived at the venue on Saturday didn’t make me very optimistic, though. Neither did the musical-chairs-like switching of the course length. 2 Laps? 1 ¾? 1 ½? Vineyard loop? Team Lame Bear again proved its near-worthlessness at putting on a smooth race weekend.

Waiting till later and leisurely pre-riding in the cool evening put me in a great night-before race mood, though. A mid-course phone call to Greg and directions from Matt was a huge help as well. Then I kicked back and ate dinner outdoors under the stars with James and Rod, and then we and Roger, Vanessa & Chris turned in for the night.

Race morning saw me up and running around trying to find out how many laps I was ACTUALLY supposed to race, but to no avail. The registration tent directed me to the start line, the start line was busy starting the Beginners and Sports, and when I finally found someone they told me to go back to the registration tent. Brilliant. None of the other racers were aware or seemed too concerned with my issue, and unfortunately it bit the Semi-Pros in the ass. Team Lame Bear didn’t have anyone up at the fork in the trail for the ¾ lap, and they went sailing by and had to come back and repass people they had already overtaken. Ouch. Luckily we were after them and it had been sorted out by the time we got there.

Anyway, the new course was great. The start thru the vineyard, although dusty, gave a nice warm-up before we hit that first nasty climb. The usually gnarly foot-deep creek run was bone dry and pitifully easy. I don’t know if it really was, or if I just felt great, but the normally bumpy cow trail course didn’t beat up on me like it usually does. They also carved some superfun new singletrack into the hillside. Well, as suprising to me as it was to the rest of the Backbone crew, I was able to speed around the course like a goat on amphetamines. 3 or 4 of us in my category kept fighting back and forth and passing and repassing each other on the ups and downs. I was finally able to put screws on those guys, though, and set my sites on The Bear Valley Bikes jersey I could see ahead of me who I knew was in my class. I inched slowly closer to him over the second half of the second lap. I finally caught up to him in the trees on the last leg of the course, but that’s when he started turning up the heat. I don’t know if he knew I was back there or not, but he was certainly making it tough. I lost a couple bike lengths on him and struggled to close the gap. I finally did, though, and was right on his rear tire as we rolled into the gravel gully near the finish. He hesitated halfway up the other side and I decided to make my move. I cranked up around him on his right, but I as I slowed down to dive into the last left-hand corner I half expected him to repass me on my right. As I righted myself I sprinted with everything I had left and came across ahead of him. SWEET. I took him by .47 seconds to come in 7th out of 21. What a rush.

I have to give props to my team and everyone who cheered me on for the motivation, it really helped.


Well, the first race of the season didn’t quite go how I would have liked. After waking up on time (don’t laugh) and spinning out my “before breakfast” 30 min warm-up, I proceeded to eat my oatmeal and prepare to leave. And that was about the extent of the “on-timeyness.” As so many of you know, and those of you who don’t have probably heard, I have an issue with arriving anywhere at a predetermined time. Making a long story short, after stopping at the ATM to get money for parking I got on the freeway at 9:23. Arriving at Bonelli at 10:05, I crammed down a banana and a bottle of Cytomax as I skirted through registration, said hi to everyone at Chris’s elaborate twin booths of death, and suited up for my 11:00 start.

That’s the end of the detailed version that I started, so here’s the recap from what I recall:
After the start it took less than 2 minutes before my category had left me in the dust. The exposed fireroad climb on the back side I remember being especially torturous, and I don’t know if it was good bad when Chrissie Bono’s smiling face went by me at high speed. How I beat anyone I don’t know, but I DID beat Brant and one of the Possibilities guys. Go figure.

Well, on Monday I woke up with a sore throat and ended up sick for another 3 weeks, so definitely the combo of just being sick with the extreme toll a race puts on me was bad. I ended up missing the Nova National race and Sea Otter recovering.

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Thursday, March 08, 2007


Saturdy, Jay led Ara, Teri, some guy named Jesse and me on a bike shootout for Mountain Biking magazine. Five bikes, five people, five rides up and down the same trail. Tapia Canyon in Valencia was the spot Jay chose, pretty much cuz of its proximity to the heralded 661 offices. That, and it was actually a very diverse trail that allowed us to see how the bikes handled climbing and descending, on fireroad and singletrack, smooth hard pack, rocks, loose dirt, little whoops and even a couple drops.

Between the pedal changing, seat height adjustment, debate & discussion, paperwork and strong headwinds it turned into a longer day than we expected, but it was definitely fun getting to ride bikes that I never would have ridden otherwise.

You'll have to wait for the article to see what we came up with as I have been sworn to secrecy by Jay and several government agencies.

This may or may not be Jay.

This may or may not be one of the XC bikes we tested.

Thursday, February 15, 2007

This one's for Jimbo...

I wake up in the morning and my legs are a little more wooden than usual. My biceps are painfully bruised and my shoulders unnaturally sore. My neck is aching; every blind spot check as I drive to work is a chore. I have another bruise, a dent in my back, between my shoulder blade and my spine, that's in just the wrong spot, that I feel and don't feel. Maybe it's just the right spot. The skin stretches tightly across my left cheekbone from the elbow that landed there. I turn down the stereo. My ear is still ringing and I recall the sharp whack from my skull connecting with someone else's. I have a skinned knee. And a purple elbow on the same side from falling to the concrete. I'm more aware of every small movement of my hands on the steering wheel, the meat of my fingers has thickened and the joints have become inelastic from hundreds of pushes and pulls and bracings and balances. I am clean and fresh and dry and new now. I was wet and dirty and sweaty and stinky and we were wet and dirty and sweaty and stinky. And angry and joyful and raging and elated and intoxicated. And drunk and sober. And Old and new. And we were different and we were the same. At the same time. Spinning and twisting. And churning.

And I did then and I do now




Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Long Overdue

Well, the Second Annual New Year's Rockin Eve Rocky Peak Ride was so warm, bright and sunny that I thought I would post pics of the innaugural inundation for a jolly juxtaposition.

First, we have fellow South OC contingent (The "Tailbone" of Backbone!) member Betsy overseeing the boys changing her tube. How many 'Boners does it take to change a flat???

Next we have Chewy making his helpful contribution to the process!!!

Ter-Ter came decked out in her Penn State garb for the East Coast weather that quickly descended on us.

Dawn came equally well-dressed for the wet, but wasn't always sporting her usually sunny disposition!

The Cap'n checkin to see if The Colonel is coming up the trail with a fresh bucket of Original Recipe for him.

Jimbo, Jaybo and A-bo leadin the way.