Monday, January 31, 2011

What Chris Eatough and Kev29er have in common - elite training regimens

Two-fer Tuesday out here at the rancho relaxo and I've got two words for you:

Night Ride, Bitches.

Be here at 6 PM on Thursday with your heartrate monitor turned off. Because, damn that Chris Eatough Coaching program, I say pinning it in February is the only way to win in July.
Although it looks like Chris could build you a mean website with bike part graphics in place of key letters if you need that.

In fact, let's take a moment here while we're on the subject of elite training rhetoric and examine the habits of what makes a real champion, 2nd place at Snotcycle over the weekend, Kev29er.

Sample 2 week Training Regimen, Winter 2011, Kev29er.

Monday: Gym day - Wake at 4:30 AM and do a couple hard hours at the gym. Circuit training: squats, bench, dangerously weighted pull-ups and dips, pelvic thrusts, repeat. no rest. heave. repeat. vomit. repeat. sweat a lot. cool down with more squats to failure. jump some rope for the hell of it on the way out.
Tuesday: Twofer Tuesday - another go at the gym, a la Monday's schedule, then 1 more hour on the trainer, late night, with only the company of sedentary golden retriever and Zombieland. Nut up or shut up.
Wednesday: rally outside day - a hard, overdressed, dehydrated, poorly fueled midday rally at noon to replicate the symptoms of hour number 7 of the SM100. See stars. Wonder what the overtraining fuss is all about.
Thursday: Three-fer Thursday. 2 hour gym session. Midday Rally. Trainer at night. Also, can be replaced by skipping work and putting in a 4 to 5 hour dirt road ride as long as more than 6,000 feet of climbing can happen. So options abound here.
Friday: Pre race tune up ride day - 1 hour of hard intervals and a cool down. Recklessly change entire bike set up, to include but not be limited to: swapping tires, changing saddle height, switching gear ratio, overtorqueing bolts, etc. Also, substantial dieting should occur on this day.
Saturday: Race day - Dominate. details not necessary here. Post race celebratory black and tans. Meat and eggs.
Sunday: Wake up groggy, dazed day - Unable to really talk. Fat tongue and hurty throat. Something not right. Maybe try to rest some? No, split firewood for an hour and try to shake it off. Cramp up sitting at the lunch table and then consider a nap.
Monday: Crushing, debilitating sickness day - Strep, upper respiratory infection, influenza, pneumonia. Hydrocephalus. Vicodin and couch. Watch Zombieland again and curse wasted day.
Tuesday: Still sick, maybe even worse day - Surf bike parts online. Find blue handlebar to match sexy blue seatpost collar. Work 16 hours from home. Suspect feeling better around 9 PM, so hit the trainer but pass out.
Curse wasted day.
Wednesday: Still feel badly, but turning the corner day - midday rally, slow with a lot of chest wheezing. cough up something green. Feel better. Nighttime trainer session. Body temperature reading, 107 F. Consider rest day tomorrow.
Thursday: Three-fer-thursday. Early Gym. 2 hours. See Previous Monday routine but also add jumpsquats to circuit. Midday rally, 1 hour. Feeling better. Cut evening workout short in order to get proper rest. Tinker with bike some more.
Friday: rest day. evening dedicated to copious fueling by adult liquid carbohydrates.
Saturday: Set singlespeed land-speed record up Flattop day - Self explanatory.
Sunday: Rest day - Decide on a night ride anyway, blue ridge school at 9 PM. Work on fastest lines for hucking and skidding the super d course. post-ride debate aerodynamic merits of blue handlebars while carbofueling with CHam until 11 PM.

There you have it. Success in action. The secret is out.
And, while we're on the subject, it should be known that you can emulate this regimen all you want. But unless you were building your own ramps and throwing down reckless 360's at the not-so-tender age of 16, you'll probably never be as good as Kev29er anyway.

Without further ado, and as promised, I present to you the flying blond mullet.

Sitting in your office alone, it's likely difficult to really wrap your mind around just how awesome this is. Rest assured, it is even more awesome than you think it is. I could offer substantial commentary here, but instead I'm opting to just let beauty speak for itself.

On to the weekend, the weather looks questionable. And in my book, questionable means rally. If you've got a hankering for some dirt, hit me. I'm nursing a little knee pain from sloppy singletrack stem bashing, but I'm likely good to go by Saturday.

And, lest we forget, next Sunday, February 13th, is the Marco Pantani Ride, now officially sanctioned by BRC. Secure the appropriate permissions, get a sitter, and assume the position. It's gonna be a good one.

Up, up, up.

No-cycle race report and some other no-sense

Let's start this Monday with a newsflash from the mailbag, because this is just in from parts northward: Racing in the snow is hard.

Per SSramsay, the analysis of how SnotCycle went down.

Well, I was totally off in my predictions. I figured on balmy 40+ degree temps and slop with occasional snow patches. Nope. We got to Leesburg plenty early at 7:30ish as we watched the temps drop on the drive up, and the temps bottomed out around 12. As we got in the outskirts of NOVA, we noticed that there was snow and lots of it. No bare patches, just snow. Somehow we got in the field after spinning wheels in foot-deep snow to make it off the driveway, and there were tractors trying to clear spots for folks to park. It was interesting to see people park their bikes by just plunking them down into the crusty snow, and I should have known then that it wouldn't be an easy day.
nice kickstands

As usual, the races got off to delayed starts as the collective waited for folks to get cars unstuck, layer up, and roll to the start line on the icy packed-snow driveway. That farm path/driveway served as the lead-out for the races, so folks got to test their snow legs for about .1 miles, and then the trail headed off into fields at what would typically be easy climbing or flat-out big-ring hammering, but not today--it was hike-a-bike into the woods for the next 5 miles before finally getting underneath the mature pines that shielded the trail enough to only have a couple inches of snow, which allowed for actual riding. Other than that, you could maybe roll a few feet downhill until your front wheel dug into crusty deep snow and plowed to a halt no matter how much wattage you were producing.
The beginners had it worst since they were literally the pathmakers. Ellen started in a group of a dozen women and returned to the truck about an hour later. I kept watching for riders to stream past the start/finish, but didn't see anything. Hmm, that's odd. When Ellen returned, I asked how her lap was, and her reply was, well, not so good since she only went about 1.5 miles and bailed when the course hit the farm road. Not a good sign, and the day was still cold and all that snow was not going anywhere. I lined up with Carl and Jay in a big expert field of 61 riders, and we rolled out with a mercifully mellow start, and then promptly did the hike-a-bike thing on grades that we'd typically be in the big ring. My plan was to finesse the course as best I could, but it took too much effort to ride, so I trotted but didn't run; the front-runners were literally doing that--shouldering bikes and running. Temperature-wise, the snow was starting to soften a bit as noontime dawned, but the snow didn't really disappear so much as just get moved aside. After hundreds of bike wheels and racing cleats mashed the snow down, it started to get rideable into the second lap, and I was glad I didn't bail after suffering through a rough first lap. I shedded my partially dislodged booties, fogged sunglasses, but wisely kept my layers. I was soaked from the sweat generated by my first-lap effort, and it felt good to actually be able to ride most of the second lap. I finished, not sure how many in my field bailed. Postscript and hindsight analysis: I ended up 22nd of 44 finishers, and that's a better placing than last year's slip-and-slide fest. Carl was a couple spots ahead of me, and Jay had a fast first lap but called it a day after putting in tough efforts with lots of running. Jenny Whedbee finished her two laps with a tough effort. Yep, all races were reduced by a lap, and if it were possible there should have been a way to shorten the beginner racers' single lap. Ellen, as I noted, pulled out for her first DNF, but gets points for professional preparation for an unrideable race. Kevin had the best conditions of the day and blazed a sub-hour lap to score second in single-speed.

So yeah, I feel a summary is in order: that's a 3 hour drive to a poorly marked course that was shortened by 50% due to unrideable snow drifts in 15 degree weather. That sounds super. I do give a discerning nod of approval, however, to the folks that showed up and raced, and to the organizers who shrugged off nature's suggestions in favor of a good rally. It's good to see the crew getting it done, and our hardman singlespeeder Kev29er seems to have gotten the job done in a big way. Although I waffled, I'm glad I stuck to my guns for a change and went skiing.

Which leads me to another newsflash:

Pennsylvania kicks ass.

Moving on, I know you've been hanging on by a thread to learn what the next chapter of the Silky Big Boy 2000 saga will reveal. Well, it turns out that Sherrill Tree had to back-order replacement saw blades for Ms. Silky. From Japan. So she was abroad for a while, finding herself - a little bit like Eat, Pray, Love, if you ask me. Except that instead of finding a good man abroad, and in a remarkable show of poor judgment, she has returned home to her abusive first lover (me) who has promised to not swing her around like a lightsaber as much as he used to.

Because that's what love really is, kids.

You know what else is love? I've got a streak of 4 night rides in 8 days going. I do love the dark. So let's crank it up this week a time or two? Like the cellulite in my post-holiday thighs, these batteries aren't going to drain themselves.

To wrap this up, you can check out the next public release of my wife's badass photography in the pages of XXC Magazine this month, along with some of my thoughts you've already mulled over and dismissed as malarkey. Check it out for free online, or buy it and support our man Jason Mahokey in his quest to have a real publication devoted to epic rallying instead of the sort of twice-a-week bikesmut you can find here.

Someone hit me back and let me know when and where I can night ride in the company of others. And until next time; tread lightly, and carry a big saw.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Betty White won't be attending snotcycle

Three-fer Thursday out here at the Rancho Relaxo, and who is up to bat?

Mrs. Betty White, that's who.

Well, well, well.

well, well, well, well, well, well.

On a personal note, Betty White (known at the time as The Silver Bullet) was the first bike I ever raced. 2002, I think it was, in Fruita, CO at the fat tire festival. I took a single 12 ounce bottle of water on a 30 mile race through the desert in mid April, got dehydrated, got smoked, and I was hooked and I haven't stopped racing since.

So yeah, here we are 9 years later, and she has risen from the dead. A little cracked, a small dent here or there, but otherwise this is excellence in full effect. It's a hoot when things come full circle and you can see it from the other side.

Some highlights - 1.6 inch teal tires. Full length housing for some cross nastiness when the time is right. And the smoothest 60 mm fork that Jude Monaco Ortiz ever threw around the trail in frustration. Thanks again, Jude.

Interestingly, when I was setting the v-brakes up, I discovered a not-insignificant amount of blood on the right brake lever.

No idea where that came from, but perhaps that's why I don't usually ride v-brakes. Will test more.

The very real possibility of total implosion aside (me OR the bike), Betty will be near the front at game time on February 13th.

But back to the matter at hand, Three-Fer Thursday and the Snotcycle. I don't appear to be participating in either one in any significant way. We did, naturally, only get about 2 inches of slush yesterday when the final prediction as of game time was 9 inches, so that works out in favor of a 3-a-day rally and a race on Saturday. But I'm a little too busy working, taking pictures of my bloody brake lever, and going skiing this weekend to otherwise participate.

But someone out there is likely giving workout number two hell right about now, possibly with plans for a third. I won't name names, but I will, sometime in the next month, post video documentation of him 360ing a BMX bike off a homemade wooden ramp when he was an over-developed 16-year old hoodlum. smoking cigarettes.
with a blond mullet.

So good luck up there. And remember, kids: pain is temporary.

But one-geared, blond-mulleted glory is forever.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Everything from Snotcycle to dangerous quadcycles.

So late last week, the weatherfellas were giddy with the idea of a big storm tomorrow, Tuesday. Scenarios were hashed, models were drawn, and plans were made to hide in the holes for a few days because it was going to be frozen hell on earth. Appropriately, this might have made snotcycle a test of misery, further validating my decision to go skiing in PA for the weekend instead.

skiing on skis, that is. not bikes.

The forecast for tomorrow at this very moment: 54 and sunshine.

Waking up this morning and having a look at the new forecast, it occurred to me that this level of inconsistency could be produced in a far more entertaining way. Think about it - NBC 29 has 4 weatherfellas. Clayton Stiver. Norm Sprouse. Eric Pritchett. David Rogers. Right now they all give the same, inaccurate forecast at different times throughout the day. Then the next day, they switch it up, and collectively give a new forecast as our "dedicated weather team."

Why not just give each one his own bit, have him independently pick a forecast, and then present that in juxtaposition with the other three so that we can see just how little certainty there really is in their predictions. Plus, this would open up a sort of "league" mentality. They could track wins and losses based upon who was actually right any given day. And fans could get on board, sort of like how we pick a rider to follow in the Tour De France based upon their race, demeanor, good looks, and other mostly irrelevant differentiators.

The real entertainment would be the presentation of the forecast itself, with Eric Pritchett giving a forecast like, "Sunny and 54 on Thursday" only to be immediately followed by Norm Sprouse saying something like, "oh HELLLLL no. Cloudy, 30% chance of some drizzle. And how could you trust a guy like Eric after last week when he said ice storm and we just had a cloudy day. Plus, he pays for his spray tan. Screw that guy."

Anyway, here's how we look right this very instant:

As you can see, in the 7 minutes it took me to write that, the forecast for tomorrow has changed. Brilliance at work. But that's enough talk about the weather, because let's face it, you'll be riding anyway. Good luck up there with your snot and all that. The first race of the season is seldom a time that I don't cramp, so if you lock up something important early, I'm there with you in spirit.

Moving on, forkage finally arrived from the West on Saturday, presumably on a wagon train that was harassed the whole way by marauding natives given the timeframe it took to actually arrive. But arrive it did and Betty White in bike form was one step closer to realization.

a little piece of history. the Z2 superfly. the first air fork marzocchi ever produced.
not the first air fork that Jude Monaco Ortiz threw off a cliff in frustration, however.

Betty White then, regrettably, took two steps further away from real completion as it seems her bottom bracket threads have dried out a touch and the decrepit bottom bracket within is stuck solid. With force, you can turn the axle and hear ovalized, rusty bearings grinding. So, like your liver someday, that's gonna have to come out. And it's going to take some real elbow grease to get 'er done, but rest assured I'll get 'er done.

In related velo-assembly/velo-disassembly news, I'm making a modest effort to sell the Palomino. Damn, I love that maverick design, but I've gotta be out with the old to be in with the new. And I LOVE the new. So she's on ebay, but if you're locally interested let me know.

1 X 9. Single. Clean. Sagittarius. I get told I look like Jessica Alba pretty often. Enjoy candlelit dinners and love dogs. And I rally like nobody's business. Looking for my soul mate. or companionship. or even just a fling. for God's sake, LOOK at me. I'm crying out here.

And why not wrap this up with some fun. Because what the hell, it might be Monday, but the $199 dollar quad-cycles that are on sales right this very second at Tractor Supply Company can be hucked, skidded, and ridden to your death on any day. Even a weekday.

please, sir, we ask that you remove our extension cord-powered security system before rally-hucking yourself into oblivion on a product you haven't paid for.

Wear your helmets, kids.
Keep arms and feet inside the car at all times.
And try not to eat the yellow snow.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Things to do in Tucson when you're still alive.

Three-fer-Thursday out here in Earallysville. You heard me; three.

Those of you already familiar with the now-notorious (or at least, gaining notoriety) two-fer-Tuesday training regimen that Kev 29er has adopted, you probably know what I'm referencing. For those who don't, Two-fer-Tuesday represents the two hard workouts that Kev29er does every Tuesday in January and February to be stronger than the rest of us when March rolls around.

you don't just inherit a body like this. you build it. the rig frame though?much easier to come by .

Three-fer-Thursday is the natural progression of that discipline, pushing the boundaries of reasonable training methods in an effort to not only OVER-train but also embody the great spirit of cramming that, for example, makes our public universities so prestigious. Welcome to the United States of America.

And, let's transport ourselves for a moment back in time; welcome to Target. This is a real conversation I overheard between two Target employees last week:

Dude #1: Come on dude, seriously? Betty White instead of Katy Perry?
Dude # 2: Yeah, dude, Betty White is beautiful.
Dude#1: But she's like 100 years old. You can't mean that.
Dude#2: Doesn't matter. She's timeless.
Dude#1: Seriously?
Dude#2: Think about it. You get with Katy Perry, and 50 years from now, what have you got? Nothing. No one will remember who she is. But Betty White is forever.

Set aside for a moment what this says about Target's level of customer service (all good things, of course.) The personal significance here for me is that conversation became my inspiration for building back up the silver bullet.

the last time the silver bullet rolled. Pantani Ride 2010.

There's just something about old bikes that I can't get enough of. Additional inspiration? The 5,000 feet of climbing on the Pantani Ride between the base of Fox mtn and the final rally back down Simmons gap - rare moments that I'd rather not have a full suspension behind me.

So I've set about cleaning her up and getting the stuck bits spinning again. And wouldn't you know it, I wish I'd actually cleaned some of this grime off a year ago. The good news is that things are coming into focus, an old friend with an even older fork has come through in a big way, and I will soon be able to present to you the bike formerly known as the Silver Bullet but now called...
Mrs. Betty White.

for the sake of proper build-up and tension in the plot, I will withhold the picture of my Pantani Day ride until February 12th.

Let's move on. I've got news, much of it out of date or rapidly becoming so.

With a return trip to the penultimate sections of the Pantani Ride today at 11 AM to train and strategize, Erico Moortani has established himself as the man to beat on February 13th. If you want any chance in hell of getting around that loop in front of him, I recommend you either join him at 11AM today or schedule some time of your own to grunt and suffer up there in the cold.

Oh, and even bigger news. Last night was a 54 degree full moon in January. Around here, that's like seeing Bigfoot - rare, but not altogether unexpected. Anyway, we had sticky singletrack, a big silver dome going in and out of the clouds, short sleeves, disconcerted skunks and possums, the whole wonderful experience. That made night ride #2 of the week for me, but when the sky is like that and your dad says rally, you rally. Some things, well most things, are more important than rest days.

Saturday plans? I know I promised. Let me under-deliver in the most brief, unapologetic way: I don't know. Looks like snow tonight, and then freezingfreakingcold. Those conditions are not conducive to the plans I previously made but didn't disclose. So we'll see.

To close on a somber note, I probably don't have to tell you about Rep. Gabrielle Giffords, US Congresswoman and all around nice lady, being shot down in Tucson last week by some lunatic who probably doesn't get out and ride much. I also probably don't have to rattle off the countless ways that sucks for her, for her family, for Arizona, and for our country and world in general. But I feel I should ADD one more way that it sucks so we all know what's at stake here.

Gabrielle Giffords rallies.

singlespeeds are cool. Congresswomen who RIDE singlespeeds? Off the charts.

It's easy to sit back a bit on our haunches here on the right coast and carry on - that shooting took place a long way from here in a world we don't often see. But Mrs. Giffords is one of our own.

On an enormously positive note, Mrs. Giffords is doing her best to persevere, and yesterday she stood up and looked out the window.

Not really sure why, but I thought I'd hijack some pictures of me and my old crew from my buddy's website (hi Kirk) on a road trip we took down to Tucson in 2004. It's an amazing place. Lots of laughs to be had down there, and it's not so far away.

To us, he is Jude Monoco Ortiz. But he is known to the Navajos as "crashes in parking lot"

Sedona, AZ

Ocatillo forest gun show, Tucson AZ

buddha beach, Sedona, AZ

Damifiknow, a terrible trail choice in the Spring.

maggie eventually married her titus.

still haven't seen anyone else who can ride like that.

tucson, AZ

Get well, Mrs. Giffords. We're with you.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The ups and the downs

Solid weekend. I rolled a fast 55 miles on the road on Saturday with the CRC crew, then I went out for 3.5 more hours of gravel action with the BRC crew on Sunday. I felt good. Beautiful weather. I did, admittedly, pull the plug a little early on Sunday in order to get home and watch some grown men in tight pants sweat and wrestle. Didn't matter. I was riding the early season fitness high pretty high.

Today? Supposed to be a rest day. But the rumor is rain for tomorrow, so why the hell not head out on the Monday Night Fo'Lakes ride for some swoopy, hand-manicured onetrack before things get goopy later this week. Just a little 1 hour spin. On the way there, I tossed in a little Modest Mouse from years ago, and Teeth Like God's Shoeshine is the first song on the disc. Get berserk.

Alternative shit. I've always thought the way the tone there bounces up and down is reflective of the ups and downs of endurance racing, which I've sometimes, especially right before dawn during a 24 hour race, thought is reflective of life itself. You can feel strong to start a race, sometime later feel worse than the puke on your own shoes, and inexplicably rebound an hour later and feel like superman again. The inconsistency boggles the mind.

So yeah, you might see where this is going. I bonked on the moderate, 1 hour night ride around Fo'Lakes. Had to stop and eat halfway through. Literally couldn't make it in. Then I cramped up before dinner, had to spend some time on the couch propped up in front of Sex in the City in order to right the ship. It was a weak showing. But metaphorically, and as a matter of karma, I found the experience pretty strong. Also further evidence that if you're reading this blog for training tips, you should instead consult the proper authorities.

But I've got your back when it comes to lessons in life and racing, kids, and here's one for today: ride the highs a little low, and the lows a little high. You never know what's right around the corner.

Let's have a brief dip in the mailbag:

From: Kev29er
To: BRC crew and others
Subject: Muffins in town.
My good friends Dangermuffin play the Southern on 10FEB. Spread the word. I'd like to get my boys a solid turnout.

Oh...hell...yes. You had me at muffins.

lesson # 2 - rock out as loud and as frequently as possible.

Also from the mailbag...

From: TedShred the 3rd (no relation to the original Ted Shred of Afton Mountain fame)
Subject: Iron Horse

Hope you had a good holiday season and 2011 is treating you well so far. I cracked my frame a few days ago and seeing that Iron Horse is out of business...I was wondering if you know anyone selling a large frame or maybe even a complete, well maintained bike. If you wouldn't mind keeping your ear to the ground for me I'd really appreciate it. Thanks a bunch! Cheers, Ted Shred the 3rd

Congrats, Shred. And welcome to the club. Bikes are sort of like electric guitars. If you're not smashing them, you're not rocking. Someone help Mr. Shred out before he breaks out the torch and burns off a digit.

Other things that could probably use your attention:

1) Spin class. For God's sake, you look like a beached whale. Pull yourself together, dust off your trainer, and be at BRC on Wednesday at 7 PM.

2) If you're an SVBC member, your membership likely expired on December 31st. Time to buy back in and gamble on the fact that you'll make it to Massanutten to ride the glorious, private singletrack more than twice this year. And while you're at it, check out your CAMBC, CAMBO, BOA, or whatever offroad membership you might have dutifully subscribed to once upon a time and then forgotten about.

3) On the subject of the other side, you might think about getting your smoove on with the white, fluffy stuff. Or the sort of off-blue, icy-gray stuff, depending on the day. What I'm trying to say is that Massanutten mountain is open for skiing, and if you're there between 4 PM and 9 PM on Mondays, you're helping SVBC build and maintain some of the finest action that side of the other side. A very modest amount of detail can be found here:

4) Lean over before you fall asleep tonight and make sure that person next to you that's tolerating the incorrigible addiction to riding and bikes that you've developed knows that you love them. Up or down, they're with you.

5) Stay tuned. And by tuned, I mean, dowhatchoogottado, but check back once before Friday. Rest a little. I've got plans.

up, up, up.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The Miller School

I was out at The Miller School last night watching the Blue Ridge School hoops team duke it out with The Miller School, when who should appear and thwart my halftime trip to the john than our local pro, Pete Hufnagel. "You gotta see this," he told me.

Indeed, they've got a bike shop set up out there for their student bike team, and you really do gotta see it.

at first, I was too excited to focus on any one thing, and the photos I took show it.

Or, I might have been starstruck by hanging out in such a lair with such a pro. But things slowly came into focus - is that a dozen trek 8000s?

finally focused. Hufnagel's personal whip hanging in the workstand.

Hufnagel has a goal to make The Miller School into the choice educational facility for Junior Expert riders, nationwide. It would be the kind of place you could go to when you're 15 and obsessed with bikes and be treated like an actual varsity athlete, sort of like the mutant children in X-Men.

Substitute Pete for Xavier. Rad.

Apparently, Kazane threw down some pretty big funds to provide the school with some frames. ditto that for Trek.

and oh hell no, those aren't Miller School stickers. That's a custom paint job, kid. Now go ride some intervals.

The shop itself was at one time a dirty storage facility. Hufnagel says there was just tar flooring and boxes where this photo was taken.

Now it looks like the sort of apartment you'd pay $10,000/month to live in in Manhattan.

no teenage bike lair is really complete without a lounge area where you can watch bike porn and dream.

hanging over the T.V. 1600 acres sounds like a trailwork project to ponder. The paranormal loop, for reference, is 6.5 miles long and on less than 100 acres.

a parting glimpse

Items still in the works: high school 6 race series in the state of Virginia. Team car. Some real young talent that will blow the doors off of any local weekend warrior who thinks he owns Tuesday/Thursday worlds (like me).

On my way out, a few things became clear:
1) Holy shit that's cool.
2) I'm a Blue Ridge School fan through and through. My allegiance is all north side. But my boys at Blue Ridge School had better get training if they want to remain the team to beat in high school mountain biking in Virginia.
3) No matter what you do this weekend, there's a kid out there somewhere riding harder, dreaming bigger, and getting stronger than you are.

Like this guy.

The red shades compliment the pink kit very nicely.

It's Friday. Looks like a killer weekend to ride. What you did last year doesn't mean much anymore. Those resting on their laurels need not apply.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

An Interview with Erico Moortani and The Pantani Ride Details

Without delay, let's get right into the only partially fabricated interview* with yesteryear's Pantani Ride Champion, Erico Moortani. It went something like this.

BRC: Thanks for taking the time out of your training schedule to join us for this interview today.

Erico Moortani: No problem. I'm happy to be here.

BRC: Jesus! What font is that? It burns my eyes!

Erico Moortani: Oh, sorry. It's "webdings." You caught me while I was doing yoga.

BRC: I see. Question # 1 - Do you realize that if you show up at the Pantani ride without the leader's jersey from last year, you'll be forced to ride shirtless and with no helmet?

the coveted maillot pistachio

Erico Moortani: Yes, of course I do. But fortunately, I never take off the maillot pistachio, not once in the last year since I won it in 2010. So it'll be easy to remember it on race day provided it hasn't just rotted away by then.

BRC: Can you describe what the Pantani ride is and what it means to you?

Erico Moortani:
I can't really describe the full Pantani ride, as last year was my first and the real climbing was cut out due to impassable snow in the high mountains. But the Superfly rocked the paved portions and on the descents I got into my triathlete aero tuck as often as possible.

BRC: How has your training been so far this winter? Riding? Running? Racing?

Erico Moortani: I'm trying to find a balance of anaerobic intervals, long sustained climbing, and extreme crash dieting. Speaking of which, that reminds me I need to throw up my breakfast after this interview.

BRC: So you haven't been running or swimming?

Erico Moortani: While I enjoy running and swimming, I am 100% focused on reclaiming the maillot pistachio so I can sleep in it's bountiful softness for another year. It's very soft on my skin. It's wonderful. So no, no running or swimming.

BRC: My notes here tell me that's not true. I see that you had a top ten finish at the Bear Creek Lake 10 miler in early December. Plus, this past weekend you completed your 5th or 6th Tour of the Rivanna Trail in just over 3 hours. So your running appears to be going pretty well.

Erico Moortani: Look, my training is my business. I can't give away too much information here. How about you ask the questions and I'll give the answers, or I can just break your hip, wiseguy?

BRC: Talk to me about the route. Do you have any favorite/least favorite parts?

The Route:

Erico Moortani:
This year I'm eager to tackle the real climbs of the Shifflet Rd-Bacon Hollow-Brokenback Mtn-Wyant Mountain Rd loop.

BRC: No, sorry, that's also incorrect. I'm told your favorite part is watching people puke in your wake when they're trying to climb the steep part of fox mountain near the top of the first climb. That or when you get lost on 810 and have to wait for everyone else to catch up so you can drop them again.

this picture stolen for effect from Team Dickey's website. Rich, I'll give it back if you show up, but you gotta win it from me.

Erico Moortani: What?

BRC: Nothing, let's continue. Do you have any sort of strategy to win this year? Will you attack on the climbs early? Late? Or will you just sit in to contest a sprint finish?

Erico Moortani: I'll probably attack early. And in the middle. And then some near the end too. Plus, I'll sprint the finish, even if everyone else is 30 minutes behind me. No gifts.

BRC: What about those people that come out for the ride and aren't there to win - what's in it for them?

Erico Moortani: Frankly, I have no idea. Winning is everything.

BRC: Really?

Erico Moortani: Well, no. I sort of see that just cruising around the loop at your own pace might be fun and challenging, just a good ride with friends followed by a barbeque.

BRC: Really?

Erico Moortani: No, just kidding. Winning is everything.

BRC: What about nutrition? How much should a person eat or drink during a ride like this? Should they bring it all with them?

Erico Moortani: I really have no idea. The great thing about winning last year is that I have full team support this year - a devoted team car, domestiques, the whole deal. So I don't really have to think about anything, just attack constantly and eat or drink when someone hands me something. It's how racing should be. I'm told that my domestiques can pick up some water at the intersection of brokenback mtn rd and wyatt mtn rd, although again that's not my problem.

BRC: What if the race gets away from you and you have to settle for a secondary goal, what would that be?

Erico Moortani: If I can't retain the jersey, I really only have one goal left: to crush that saggypants upstart American, Geoff Armkeenanstrong. He said last year he only let me win because he wasn't really racing, just hanging out with friends. I will make him feel pain.

BRC: As an inspiration for this ride, can you comment at all about Marco Pantani's contribution to cycling, good or bad?

Erico Moortani: Who?

BRC: Marco Pantani. Little Italian guy with the big ears. Maniacal climber. Won both the Tour and the Giro in 1998.

Erico Moortani: Rings a bell. Maybe I'll do some reading if I can get the blood out of my legs and back into my brain.

BRC: Try these if you need an example.

Erico Moortani: Just kidding, I can't read.

How about safety? The course is unmarked, open to traffic, steep, and at times outright dangerous. How do you deal with that?

Erico Moortani: My strategy is to get to the front and stay there. Most of the carnage happens behind me. For everyone else, I recommend a new helmet and some caution. Maybe take a map too, or just look for the scorch marks on the trees where I accelerated from time to time and my opponents combusted.

BRC: Well, that's all the time we have today. Thanks again for the delightful interview.

Erico Moortani: Stuff it. I'm going to crush you like a grape.

* This interview does not meet the rigorous standards of the FCC's truth in print journalism mandate, and thus, its integrity cannot be verified. But chances are it's all true.

So yeah, the interview went something like that, and indeed, I feel all questions pertaining to the Pantani ride have been answered. I might have missed a comma or paraphrased a segment or two, but you get the idea. For anyone who wants a closer look at Mr Moortani's sculpted calves, you can meet him here at the rancho relaxo tomorrow (Wednesday) at 10 AM for a little jaunt around the course. Pack a lunch.

To prevent this from being an entire blogpost without any actual news or truth of any sort, let's talk about something else, however briefly. Because this is newsworthy:

2011 schedule, rules, and action, Jackson. Notably, the Hoo Ha! and the Middle Mountain Momma both made the series this year. Also, the 18 on the Farm moves to November 5th as the series finale, which is fortunate for The Summer of Toph as his risk of total meltdown and implosion could probably use an extra few months to simmer down.

Still, November gets here quick, knowhatimean?

Up, up, up.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Pantani cometh

Waking up Friday morning, I certainly didn't think I would be stealing a 3.5 hour ride from the wrinkled, foul maw of the man on what is widely regarded as a workday. Despite the close proximity to Saturday and the usual temptations of a premature cocktail hour, I'm told Friday is still technically a "weekday,"whatever that is. But work got a little silly a little early, one thing led to another, and when K-rod and Bruce Almighty showed up at my door with misanthropy on their minds, off we went.

A good ride. Limited pictures. The image below, though, is what it looks like when you watch a good friend trying to scale brokenback (the steep side) on a dubiously calculated hodgepodge of 2X5 gearing.

pity, shock, and awe.

Let's dip into the mailbag for a moment though. It would seem that my "hearken" post from last week drew out some more of the same. So a smattering of action is in order:

Yeah. It was a good year. More of that. Keep em coming.

Though not directly from the mailbag, Summer of Toph has made a declaration:
"I'm racing 18 on the farm solo."

and he'll make those shades look good too, son.

So too, has Kev29er:
"Shen 100. sub 9 hours. 38 X 17."
I may or may not be exaggerating a tooth or two there for effect, but you get the idea.
Tis the season for setting goals.

OK, let's get to the meat of this thing. The rumors are true. The Pantani Ride is scheduled for Sunday, February 13th 2011 at 10 AM, leaving from here at the rancho relaxo. Preemptively, I'm going to cut off two of your questions early and just answer them before they slip out of your uninformed, drooly mouth.
1) Yes, I realize that February the 13th is not February the 14th.
2) Yes, I realize that Marco Pantani did, in fact, kill himself with cocaine on February14th 2004, not the 13th. So our memorial ride in his honor is a tad early. But let's face it, the 14th was probably a bit of a blur for Marco anyway. So I don't think he'll have much problem with us moving the schedule up a tad to accomodate valentines, daylight, and the aforementioned mysterious "weekday" concept.

All other details, questions, and misgivings about the Pantani ride will be creatively addressed in a new format - an interview with multisport phenomenon, reigning champion, and all around man of metal, Erico Moortani. Because who better to educate the masses on the shape of the thing than the dude who finished at the front last year. Stay tuned for that.

Up, up, up.