Thursday, January 11, 2018

A mix of Audrey Hepburn and Queen

The fact that we are exactly, at this very instant, 1 month out from Il Pantani 2018 is hardly noteworthy for you.

As I mentioned earlier, many times, you are screwed.  Look at the route.  Look at the elevation profile.  Look at the guys who are out there killing themselves training already.  Now look in the mirror.  Racing this thing, by any stretch of the imagination, is out of the question.

Granted, I think you'll have fun anyway, near the middle of the group, cruising along with the mediocre likes of myself, talking shit and telling stories, pacing yourself, making sure you're ready with a proper calf joke for when we see Will Leet walking up brokenback with a headful of lactic acid, like a wobbly newborn pony.

"What does a quarterback say to a cyclist?"


And so forth.  
Indeed, that will be fun.  But racing?  No.  We aren't doing that.  So there's no need to actually stress about your fitness now.  In fact, at this point in my life, just showing up not injured is half the battle.  I say...don't prepare...just panic in the final week.  Panic is equally effective, and it takes less time.

For now, focus on the fun.  Winter riding is one of the best things about Virginia.  No bugs.  Huge views.  But not really any snow either.  This place glows in the winter, no matter how grey it might seem on the surface.

Build a trail.
Drink dark beer.
Go see Will Overman with a full band on Saturday at 6 PM at The Ante Room.

And worry not.  I've got a thumb on the panic button on your behalf, and I'll let you know when it's time.

Up, up, up.

Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Racing Age: 40

Racing Age: 40.
It's a somber moment, I can tell you.
Not bad, really.  Just earlier than I expected.  You always assume you have more time on this, because you actually DO have more time.  Your birthday isn't for a few months.  And yet, January 1, as a bike racer, you are 40.  Racing age.  Not real age.  Thanks for the early punch in the gut, USAC.

But then again, your real age, if that were somehow a measure of your mileage, would be way, way older than 40.  Look at you.  Your knees pop and creak like an old wood floor every time you stand up.  You pee every 7 to 10 minutes, like an over-hydrated golden retriever puppy.  You haven't stayed up past 10 PM in at least a year.  No indeed, racing age - 40 - that's being generous.  Take your 40 years and shut up.

In 2003, I raced the Firecracker 50 in Breckenridge, back when MTB categories were still Beginner, Sport, Expert, and Pro.  On your calf at registration, they marked you with a black sharpie - E2 was an expert in his 20's.  S3 was Sport 30's.  And so on.  As an S2 at the time, I was humbled on lap two to be in the mix with a lot of E5s and E6s.  By "in the mix" I actually mean "remorselessly dropped and left for dead."  More than an asskicking, these guys gave me pause, encouragement - I had some good years left.

And I still do, I guess.
So do they, I imagine.  One or two of them might even be an E8 by now.  Wow.  I imagine if "racing age: 40" gives you a jar, then "racing age: 80" will make you shit your pants.  Or by then, you'll be over it anyway.

It would be my honor to take that asskicking again, if they were so inclined.  Maybe I will get back out to Breck someday.  Maybe I'll do so as an E6 myself, look over on the paved road back up the mountain on lap two at some S2 spinning way to small of a gear and tell him, with no hyperbole, "you're pedaling like my grandson."  Maybe he will actually be my grandson.

We should all be so lucky.

Up, up, up.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Pinch the Grinch for being a Holiday Villain

Well, I hope the big guy in the red suit from the north pole treated you OK.  But if he didn't, at least you still have Death Row Entertainment.  And they can't take that from you.
At least not yet.  

Aside from that, happy new year or whatever, and being new as it is, let's go straight to Pantani info:

1)  The course will, indeed, remain the same this year, despite my threats to lengthen it and make it harder when B-slow and other mutants finished in under 3 hours.
Rather than make the course itself longer or steeper, I'll simply make it colder, and we'll hopefully have the same effect, that being Will Leet walking up brokenback (again.).

2)  Though I am no longer on Facebook, I do have eyes and ears posted up, and they keep me in tune with all of the questions, rumors, and so forth, including but not limited to stories of Will Leet walking up brokenback, jokes about Will Leet walking up brokenback, and the nefarious lack of photographs of Will Leet walking up brokenback.  And other Deep State type shit.  So don't think that just because I'm not there doesn't mean I'm not listening.

3)  Those very same eyes and ears sent me this:

As Pantani Claus would tell you, he makes a list and checks it twice.  And he is never wrong.  (See also, Will Leet walking up Brokenback, 2017.)

Get your shit together, old men.
It is later than you think.

Monday, December 18, 2017

Pantani Ride 2018 - 2.11.18

Fair notice - Il Pantani 2018 will go live on SUNDAY, February 11th 2018 at 11 AM, and it's gonna do it HARD, right square in the hurty undercarriage.

Almost immediately, the boiler, untested at such intensity for a few months and not accustomed to wearing so many layers anyway, will blow, and you'll be left crestfallen and shelled, like a chubby peanut on the side of a steep dirt road.

See also: Will Leet on Brokenback 2017.  One of my favorite moments of all time.

Once you're that far gone, I can tell you from experience, there will be nothing much to do but putter along and look back at this moment in December when you heard this was going to happen, ponder the time-space continuum itself, and wonder if you could just go back 2 months, exactly, to that moment when you knew what you were in for and did nothing, would you do it differently?

Flashback.  Here we are.  12-11, 11 AM, 2 months exactly until The Pantani Ride, and look at you.  JESUS.  You need a coach.  Nutrition.  Intervals.  Instruction.  Motivation.  An enema - something.  Anything really.  Don't do this to yourself in your current state.  But we'll get to all of that soon enough.  My point here is that you need to get ready to get ready.

There's a fair chance that you - new to town, reading this hinterland of the internet that you found linked via some nefarious facebook ad - assume that this is Russian-backed fake news, and you are correct.  But also, it just might be a real thing.  See past Russian-Funded fake experiences via the smorgasbord of misinformation around these parts, and read 'em while you poop.  Ponder that it all might be a thing that really happens, somewhere, for no reason at all, and if realize you want in, then you're in.  Easy as that.

Set your watch to show up somewhere, at that time, and in the meantime, get ready to get ready.

Up, up, up?

Friday, December 15, 2017

Alabama: not just a punchline in your trailer park joke anymore

Alabamans, take heart.   There is good in your neighborhood, yet.

1)  The potential return of political human decency
2)  Oak Mountain State Park
3)  St. Paul and the Broken Bones

Oak Mountain, in particular, holds a special place in my heart.  Right around the corner from some family of mine, Oak Mountain absolutely rips.  GO.  Especially now that, quite possibly, your daughter won't be molested and her story ignored.

Because, gold shoes and ripping vocals aside, if Arkansas can do it, then Alabama, dammit, so can you.


Up, up, up.

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Shortcutting and skidding our way to fame and failure.

Processing the French Alps - Jordan Regnier and Alexander Kangas ride Tignes/Val D' Isere from Kona Bikes on Vimeo.

I'm not usually such a grump about this stuff, or at least I used to not be.

But I gave this one a gander, because I like Kona and I like their grassroots program, and let's be honest, I just love seeing talented riders do stuff that I can't do on trails I might never see.

I've done a ton of riding in France.  And I've actually skied Val D'Isere.  Never ridden bikes there, but the skiing is phenomenal, and the landscape itself, like a high-alpine version of the moon, is breathtaking.  In the winter of 2000, I got caught in a whiteout blizzard there, skied down the mountain to get out of it, but unfortunately ended up in the wrong town.  I was a 20 minute drive from the proper lodge.  I remember the laughs from the locals at the bar, who then informed me to take the red train - which was, in fact, a bus - back to Val D'Isere.  Wonderful people.  Glorious place.

So maybe that's why seeing two bros skidding down pristine high alpine trails and actually shortcutting large sections - like, totally blowing corners and sliding through what I presume is fragile, semi-cryptobiotic soil that can barely hold itself together in the short growing season of the summer, bothered me.

Do you know anyone who rides like this?
I certainly do not.
If I rode with someone who rode like this, I'd take their bike from them.  Just awful.

Why then, are we glorifying this in digital form?  By we, I mean a pretty terrific American mountain bike brand.  Does this actually sell bikes?

Maybe I'm getting crusty in my old age (I am) but I feel like this shit is setting us back way, way more than it is putting Kona's brand forward.

From an advocacy perspective, doesn't this get used against us?  Even in a laissez-faire environment like the Alps in summer, I have to figure this hurts the effort, if there even is an effort anymore.
(In case you didn't know, Laissez-Faire is French for Bud Lite Lime.)

Digital media is the future - I get that.
Films like this are the way to reach the groms who want to buy your bike, Kona.  But would you really let one of those groms ride like this on your local loop?