Friday, October 30, 2009

Oh My ...

So after scrubbing the living he!! out of my MUDDY skinsuit and getting the Ridley in some semblance of looking mostly red & white again, I decided it was time to celebrate. I went deep into the Drumroll beer cave (ok , my downstairs closet) and pulled out a year old Ommegang Biere de Mars. The first sip was all I needed to know this was something else .. oh my, soooo good. Ms. Drumroll noted something was up right away so I offered her a taste .. she says "hmmm, that's pretty good". A moment later she's pulling a glass out of the cupboard so she can have her own.

So lesson learned. When you pull a Biere de Mars out be discrete or you might have to share. Cheers!

It's Mud -- Honest, Really, It's Mud

Sunday, October 18, 2009

I think I might 5hit my skinsuit . . .

That's paraphrasing what Drumroll said right before the race. Apparently he got a hold of some bad oatmeal. About 50 minutes later he rolled across the line in 1st place in the Masters Men's race. It bears mentioning that his kit looked clean to me.

Just goes to show, you never know what's gonna happen on race day. If you feel like 5hit, or 5hitting your pants, get to the race and toe the line because you just never know.

Great job Drumroll, now you can bask in the warm glow of a win while you're sitting on the can.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Chocolate & Vanilla

My original plans for an X-Fire were dashed by a lack of 54cm availability early in the season. The good news for me was that they had Bryan B's size and he was willing to swap his 54cm Supercross for my Specialized road frame. More on that another day, but I was now the proud owner of 2 matching Supercross frames. Initially I thought I'd build up an inexpensive "B" bike. I should have known better because when it comes to bikes, bling and grams always outweigh common sense. I could have bought some inexpensive TRP brakes, but the adjustability of the TRP Mag's was too much to pass up. I could have thrown on an old seat, but I really needed a white one. While I'm at it, I'd might as well just spring for the titanium railed version. In hindsight, I'm gonna jump on it 8-9 times per race so maybe I should have saved the $164. Handlebars and stem . . . the white look pretty sweet, might as well spend a few extra bucks and get something decent. When it was all over I was left with two bikes that were very similar, but both had their pro's and con's. My original "A" bike was all of a sudden better in some ways and lacking in some. I could have taken all of the best parts and built a "Super" bike, but I decided to go with Chocolate and Vanilla. Red crank here, FSA there; Carbon seatpost with a heavier seat here, standard seatpost with the titanium railed seat there; heavy cockpit here, light cockpit there; clinchers here, tubulars there. At the end of the build, the most obvious difference was the black wheels and stem vs. the white wheels and stem. Chocolate and Vanilla. No "A", no "B", just two sweet bikes. Maybe next year I'll get that new frame. Well, I guess two of them now. Maybe I shouldn't have given up running, matching shoes are pretty cheap in comparison. Then again, running sucks.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

7 Years Ago Today

7 years ago today (October 14, 2002) I woke up in a hospital. I had an oxygen tube up my nose (that was irritatring the living hell out of my sinuses and throat), inflatable compression stockings on that hurt each time they inflated, an IV in my arm pumpin in all kinds of meds, a catheter jammed up my "man parts" and one incredibly deep and throbbing pain in my lower back. I was not a happy camper. Freaking tubes and cords everywhere, an anesthesia fog/hangover with a boatload of pain just to round it out. I believe my first words (at least the first ones I was cognizant of) were, "how's Tim"? I was told he made it through fine. Not sure if I physically smiled at this news but I was smiling inside anyway. Tim is my little bro and he now had my left kidney "inserted" into him just below his belly button.
I typically don't mention this to alot of people because, while it's hard to explain, it is kind of a personal sort of thing. I figured I would "mention" it here because probably most of you know me and I want to (1) show you that a kidney donor can lead a normal lifestyle (note the beer in my hand and they fact I'm racing a bike in the previous post) and (2) to ask you to consider getting your name on the donor registry. Online info can be found at the following link:
So yes, that is a kidney pic (not mine) above. And yes, it is true that (in a highly medicated state ) I got frustrated with my mom asking about the catheter and just whipped open the covers to show her much to her surprise. And yes, of course, the cutest nurse in the place ended up being the one to remove the catheter.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Beer hand-ups 101 ... Why he's the King of Kross

Study this picture. Zoom in and slowly scan the varying nuances of what has been digitally captured here at this precise moment of time. Think iconic action photos like that of Michael Jordan in mid-air coiled for a highlight dunk or Bobby Orr splayed out horizontal like Superman just after he releases a shot to find the back of the net. Yes, look closely my CX brethren. Are you seeing it ... no. no. no, not the bike, not the jackass on the bike ... What you are seeing is perhaps the perfect hand-up.

Puzzled? ...Let me explain. First we should note that the guy offering the hand-up (technically called the "hander-upper-er") is known as the King of Kross. For the uninitiated, CX (or KX if I may in deference to the King) is more than just the bike race itself. You see, KX is the alpha, and the omega of cycling. It is not road biking, it is not mtb'ing, it is neither and it is both and the hand-up is the path to KX enlightenment.

So now let me help you take the first steps on your personal path via the KX hand-up with a detailed examination of this picture.
(1) To start, the hand-up is within close proximity to the golden elixir dispensing station. Think easy access, minimal transport, readily available and steady supply.
(2) The hand-up is occurring at a location where the rider's (receiver's) speed is relatively slow as he comes out of a technical chicane onto a straight section. In this manner, the receiver can most easily disengage a hand from the bars and prepare for a transfer. Please note that a hand-up right before a super technical section or a power climb is a waste of golden elixir -- both hands are needed on the bar and the golden elixir cannot be properly protected for consumption. Any waste can be easily detected in the form of spillage or vomitization.
(3) The transfer vessel contains approximately 3-4 ounces of golden elixir. Any less and you have to ask why bother. Any more and you risk spillage or vomitization as technical sections approach. Also note that in this case a lighter style of elixir (Witte or Hennepin) was chosen. Heavier elixirs (Abbey Ale, Three Philosophers) are best for post race consumption.
(4) The hander-upper-er has clearly identified himself ... in this case in an Ommegang cycling cap. It can become difficult to decipher hecklers from hander-upper-ers in the heat of the battle.
(5) Plastic cup. Should be a no-brainer but let's consider hitting a root with a glass bottle in hand -- can you say dental visit? Also the plastic cup can be harmlessly and easily discarded in the direction of a heckler or let's say some Catskill hillbilly in a Banana Republic sweater he found in the trash. Firing bottles off from the bike is just not cool or enlightening, especially if you don't see it coming.
(6) Zoom "way-in" on the exchange of the vessel of golden elixir. You will notice the hander-upper-er has left the bottom 2/3 of the vessel exposed for a smooth and efficient transfer. Additionally, the cupped grip the hander-upper-er has over the top of the vessel helps to maintain stability and limit potential spillage.
(7) Perhaps the most subtle aspect of this transfer, yet a very advanced technique, may not even be noticeable unless specifically pointed out. What is it you ask? ....Notice how the King (the expert hander-upper-er in this case) has just the slightest of bend in his elbow. This is key; I cannot emphasize this enough. The very slight bend allows for a firm yet flexible exchange of the vessel containing the golden elixir. A locked elbow, or overly bent elbow will significantly magnify any seemingly minor misalignment of the transfer with the potentially devastating result of spillage.

It is unlikely you will find similar instruction at any 'cross or KX clinics so consider yourself fortunate. You have been granted insight to a powerful and exhilirating part of the KX world that many are scared to explore. Go forth my friends, my consumers of golden elixir, and hander-upper-er wannabe's, explore and discover your inner KX through the process of the hand-up.

Note: Drumroll is available for group or personal hander-upper-er training. Please do not hesitate to contact him through this website. While open minded, Drumroll explicity requires a true Belgian hand-up experience, and cash up front.

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Ommegang Race

It's tomorrow . . . Do it. Do it.