Monday, February 28, 2011

This just in...

Even Florida kicks ass.

gator brap!

The old FSR with a dual-crown judy. An interesting bike choice for a basket

a little rally down the alligator-infested canal trails of the everglades

Aside from the nearly constant threat of attack from dangerous, semi-wild peacocks, that place is allllllllllriiiiiiiight.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Three-fer nothin.

It's three-fer-Thursday on a drizzling, gray one. Nevermind the fact that I can't rally today due to bill-paying logistical constraints (work.) But three people have, indeed, turned up here at the rancho. Jbird, Erico Moortani, and the mighty Geoff Keenanstrong (fresh off his power training winter in Oregon), all showed up and did what people do when they show up here - rallied on trails that I loosely maintain and then banged on my window to see if I could join them. So I'll call that something, if not something truly worth reporting.

What is truly worth reporting, however: a Nolanpalooza top ten finish.
Indeed, the big man hopped aboard his big man onespeed and educated the good people of Fontana on mashing and corner skidding the way they teach 'em at BRS. The Icycle got done, kids.

and no, I don't mean that weird thing they do on a hockey rink every winter in Toronto.

I mean legit, singletrack in the wintertime. This ICYCLE.

Nolanpalooza takes 10th in SS at the Icycle.

In case you clicked that link and checked it out and read "night downhill race" and wondered if that was a typo, it's not. It is, however, an option that needs explored in a more detailed investigation, and I hereby commit to that.

Another thing I commit to: a brownie crit.
From our boy Danny Flow via text, because that's how kids communicate these days, "impromptu brownie crit tomorrow afternoon/evening? Or must we wait until Friday?"
Can I first start by saying how proud I am that Danny is just throwing around words like "impromptu" via text? Kid's got mad skills, on and off the bike. I can hardly wait until he turns 18 so I can start photoshopping pictures of him for this blog to cut him down to size without fear of kiddie-exploitation laws or whatever.

But back to my point - Brownie Crits. I failed in every way this week to actually get one off the ground. Next week - count on it. Details to follow.

Moving on, the mighty Captain America from right down the road is rumored to be off to race the Transflorida mtb race next week. You read that right TRANS FLORIDA. Like, across it. So I set about researching that action, jackson, because the rumor also included a loose description of alligator-infested river crossings, and given Markley's status as a man of the hardest kind of metal, I feared for those gators' safety. Though it would be nice to know that Markley would have something to eat if he were to run out of copenhagen and krispy kremes.

Anyway, so after an inordinate amount of wasted time researching the subject, this is all I've got on Transflorida. Lackluster. However, browse on over a page or two, just past The Naked Indian Ride and The Cross Florida Individual Time Trial, and you'll find yourself at something that does, in fact, seem to be happening in Florida next week that is right up Captain America's counterculture, masochistic alley. The Hurrican 300.

So it's possible that The Captain is doing that next week, but at this point I'm just perpetuating a rumor that was pretty dubious when it got to me in the first place. Again, stay tuned, and I'll try to provide some clarity.

Last but not least, a moment inside the mind of KenTank at this very moment.

"mmmm. look at these incisors. it's like someone overfed a lab rat with rocks. mmmm. pull that one, gooood. I bet that hurts. wow that's bleeding an awful lot. I wonder if Dave is riding Lodi with me. I should ride sherando again this spring. suction. wow that is a lot of bleeding..."

Yeah, you're thinking what I'm thinking. It's time to get the man some clarity on our proposed duo partnership before he has to start cauterizing some arteries. Again, stay tuned.

Gravel on Sunday, sports fans. You know the drill.

You gotta get up to get down.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Two-fer Tuesday on the trainer?

It's two-fer Tuesday in the land of the pines, and well, well, well - what have we here?

Kev29er wants to pull the plug on our night ride. Straight from the mailbag:

From: Kev29er

To: BRC and CHAM

Cold, damp and miserable here. Trainer is sounding better and better. Need to establish some training baselines anyway. Go ahead...think less of me.

Let's take this whining one element at a time before I think less of you.
Cold - well, it's 32. Not exactly cold, but conveniently just cold enough to hold that little dusting we got last night to the leaves nice and tight.
Damp - we got precisely 3/1000ths of an inch of snow. So, no, not exactly damp. And keep in mind this assessment of dampness is coming from the guy who got 2nd out of 60 singlespeeder in a foot of snotcycle snow.
Miserable - well, if you consider beautiful, manicured, leafblown singletrack surrounded by a picturesque dusting of snow to be miserable, I guess it's miserable.

and i also guess you're getting soft.

Pulling the other direction, however, I'm looking at a hunger strike from my guy, Bender. As most of you know, Bender likes nothing better than a rally fast enough to melt your socks. His favorite people in the world? Uncle CHAM and Uncle Kev29er, who show up the moment before said rallying happens. In any case, he's refusing to eat until the trail is skidded and scorched properly, and he's refusing to negotiate on the matter. He's like the Ghandi of rallying. Non-violent protest, but he makes his point.

There's a similarity here, but it goes far deeper than the long muzzle and funny ears. It's in the soul.

Basically, what I'm saying is that Kev29er is starving my dog.
Come on, man. Do what's right.

and you KNOW what's right.

Moving on, let's check in with the Ramseys, who have recently invested in not one, not two, but three new fun-making machines:
From the Missus Ramsey: "we haven't done much standing still since we got the new rides. BTW, the little guy rode right up the DFU yesterday like it wasn't even there. I might have been prouder of him for that than when he learned to walk."

the blurry picture is for proper effect. blurry is fast.

I didn't actually learn to ride the DFU until I was in my thirties. So clearly, this kid is developing at an alarming pace. I've been calling Jasper to win a Brownie crit for about two years now. Feel free to try to prove me wrong on that. But you can't take this kid.

That's the facts on a Tuesday, Jack. From my vantage point, things are happening.

Make history.

Up, up, and outside.

Friday, February 18, 2011

10 years of full moons

Muuuuunday here at the Rancho Relaxo after a glorious start to the week. The Real Marco Pantani, Erico Moortani, the recently dubbed Mark McVoeckler, and I got out for a gravel/pavement mix on Sunday at 11. It's been a while since a 5 hour training ride on a Sunday was that much fun.
data courtesy of Erico Moortani. and by courtesy, I mean I stole it from his facebook page. and yes, a 4:07 ride time DOES indeed round up to 5 hours.

It's 72 degrees again today, and it's staying light until 7 PM. Someone holler brownie crit this week and pick a place and a day. I'll bring the brownies.

And a few words about night riding. Because it occurred to me a few nights ago while out on a full-moon night ride with my dad that this year is my 10th year seriously riding mountain bikes. I rallied around these same trails as a kid some, I guess - but back then we just called it "riding in the woods" instead of mountain biking. And we were pretty bad at it. So I can't really count those years, but after a hiatus from cycling between the ages of, say, 15 and 22, I got back in the saddle and haven't stopped.

I mention this because, at times, we sort of forget as cyclists that what we do - when we dress up in lycra and pedal $5000 carbon-aluminum hunks around the local skinny track in the dark - is a tad unusual.

When you do something for long enough, however unusual it may be, you stop asking yourself why you do it - you just do it because it makes you happy. In that departure from self-analysis, you also lose track of your ability to justify what you're doing to other people. And so you're a little surprised when the guy out spotlighting deer at almost midnight stops and asks you just what the hell you're doing because he thinks you're the weird one. In the grand scheme of things, you are.

I take pride in that. So the following night I linked up with CHAM, and despite the perfect conditions, I extended my streak of night rides at BRS that include a good crash to 4. Happy times.

Don't forget to celebrate your weirdness a little. Although I don't know if we'll have any better full moonage that what we've had already this year.

Full Moon dates 2011

Year Month Day Time Day of week
2011 Jan 19 21:21 Wed
2011 Feb 18 8:36 Fri
2011 Mar 19 18:10 Sat
2011 Apr 18 02:44 Mon
2011 May 17 11:09 Tue
2011 Jun 15 20:14 Wed
2011 Jul 15 06:40 Fri
2011 Aug 13 18:57 Sat
2011 Sep 12 09:27 Mon
2011 Oct 12 02:06 Wed
2011 Nov 10 20:16 Thu
2011 Dec 10 14:36 Sat

Will test more.
up, up, and out.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Pantani Ride Pictures:Forthcoming

Pantani Ride Pictures: Forthcoming. I can't just throw a bunch of blurry smut up on the internet and hope that people can appreciate the experience.

The Rooster on the other hand:

I'd give some kind of photo credit here, but tasteful photography being what it is, I imagine the "artist" might very well appreciate laying low on the matter. Plus, per the copyright, it would appear that The Rooster owns this action, jackson. Or maybe vice versa.

Anyway, for a smattering of photos from the nasty steepness that is Brokenback mtn, surf on over to Roosterville for a taste of hypoxia And check back every now and then as The Rooster amps up to the production of his own annual disorg-event in April.

Moving on, it's Three Fer Thursday and the mercury is making a beeline for 70 degrees today. That's right the 70's. If Disco ever rallied, call me John Travolta - because I am about to boogie. Of particular interest on this sunny, warm, three-fer of a day: you've got a full moon to work with, which pretty much negates any excuse you might have not to overtain your fatpants off and try to fit back into your skinnies before Hilbert.

Make it happen.

And from the mailbag, the real strongman of The Pantani Ride this year appears to have taken some lessons for how to get up something really tall really quickly, even when it's really crappy outside:

In addition to performance enhancing drugs, you've also got to have heart to kill it in a stage like that. And that tiny bike looks familiar to me:

And from my bro at BRC:

Friday at 6pm- Tire changing and chain care class. Beginner focused on the basics of getting home after a mechanical involving a chain or a flat tire.
Sunday 11am at Broadus Wood- Gravel Road Ride. Dave will be leading this one as I am working at Pegasus. Rumor has it that he has a big route on tap, but shorter distances can be made off of it as well.

Two very different events, but that rumor is correct. A big one. 11 AM from Broadus Wood. Those not desiring something so big will likely form a safety in numbers alternative ride. But I've been looking at some maps and thinking about some possibilities. Those owning a compass are encouraged to bring it.

Until then, it's 70 degrees with sunshine, moonshine, and hopefully some soulshine. Have yourself a moment.

You may now resume trying to drink that image of The Rooster permanently out of your brain.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Pantani 2011 in the books

Well, the Pantani ride came and went with no real harm done. To be accurate - it didn't happen without carnage. Some torn up tires. Some roadside ditch vomiting. My knee is a little swollen. Normal stuff. But Metro did, in fact, finally turn up back here Pantani Ride HQ after 6 or 7 hours of deep, introspective hallucinations on Brokenback and Wyatt mountains. So, unless you know someone else who is still missing (and if you do, the time to say so has passed and your silence henceforth is appreciated) it goes down as a clean event in my book.

Some personal highlights in no particular order:
Drawing up some pre-race announcements that I wanted to make sure everyone heard, putting them in my pants for safekeeping, and never seeing them again.
Being gifted the holeshot of a neutral, 50-person mass start because it's my party and I live here.
Surrendering said holeshot to a heavily armed Altius team.
Getting smoked by Zach Bradshaw and company for the better part of the next 45 miles.
Post-ride libations, mudbogging, storytelling, and other such shenanigans. To quote the almighty rooster himself, "I didn't know roads got that steep."

Some data for those who dig that sort of thing:

To follow, I'll post up some pictures of you talented, sexy folks here soon, all taken by my talented, sexy wife. But for right now, what's done is done. Thanks for playing along for another year and making this non-event what it really deserves to be. Though Pantani would have probably big-ringed all of that nasty steepness in his day, I still think we did him justice.

It's 65 degrees in February and the person you love wishes you'd stop blogging and go for a stroll. Or maybe that's just me.


Saturday, February 12, 2011

Pantani Day Eve

As a matter of pure training principle, on the day before a big ride I find a 5 hour trailwork session to be just what the coach ordered. It's Saturday here in Earallysville, and the expert track at Preddy Creek is starting to look mighty fine in the sunshine.


Not to get away from the matter at hand, though. There's business to be done tomorrow, and the confirmations are rolling in faster than 29 inch wheels. Scotty D, in. BigJohn in Richmond, in. C-Ham, 50/50. Although he did throw his oldest child a pirate-themed party today in honor of Il Pirata himself - so that's worth something.

What's not going so well, however? Our map. Apparently, the fine individuals at MapMyRide haven't been making quite enough money spamming my email address, so they've decided that you must sign up to be a "premium" member of their service in order to print the coveted Pantani map. And premium costs money, honey. Again, going with the pirate theme here, that makes it sort of like a treasure map, and I think that's swell. But please, don't submit to the forces of capitalism when Google can provide anarchy in a slightly less feature-rich format.

The Pantani Map, redux:,-78.558083&spn=0.130516,0.220757&z=12

Don't sweat the lack of mile markers. Here's how it works. It's a big, clockwise loop. The dark blue sections you're riding BOTH ways. And the lollipop loop on the north side of the course is also ridden clockwise, although it's slightly more painful than the average lollipop.

Interestingly, Google believes the time you would need to drive the course is just under 2 hours. However, I can confirm that a stud like Bob Anderson can rip around this thing in a great deal under 3 hours. So perhaps some day we can spectate a Bob versus 76 VW Beetle race on this very same route and settle the score once and for all. But for now, we'll just try to hold his wheel.

I had some questions rolling in regarding course conditions. So I took a little jaunt up to the top of Fox Mountain at sunset. It's absolutely perfect. No snow. No ice. Not even as many carelessly discarded wild animal carcasses as you might expect. But the road has just enough moisture in it to be super smooth and really hold in the turns. The conditions are ripe for a course record, or just an all around fine afternoon.

why yes, that is duct tape holding my right grip on.

money for Sunday.

That being said, I suspect there's a little ice up on the top of the pop. So be careful up there; if it looks greasy, it probably is. There's no shame in walking a bit up there if you can't, as CHAM likes to say, "come in hot, lick it and stick it."

60 degrees tomorrow.
Hydrate, bitches.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Maybes Like Rabies

An interesting effect of putting on a disorg-event with no real registration system, only rumors of attendance, is that you end up with a lot of cryptic messages. It's Friday here at Pantani headquarters, and we've got more maybes than Old Yeller.

or maybe that was something else.

Simply sending me an email that says something like "To the Top!" might mean you're in, but it also might very well just be encouragement from a safe distance. So, in terms of event size, we might have 150 entrants and we might have about a dozen. You just never know.

Well, really that's not true. Sometimes you KNOW. For example:

"I know that wearing a windvest but no jersey is fashionable"

"I know that posing with said windvest and no jersey while looking wistfully across the valley will someday land me on a magazine cover if I can successfully maintain a reasonable diet."

Another thing that is certain: The Rooster is IN.
I like how this dude doesn't clown around with maybes. He puts his foot down, says his piece, and people fall in line. You are a leader of men, Rooster.

But back to the questionable, our good friend over at ByeKyle, Mr. K-ROD himself, is on the fence about showing up on Sunday with his gold-chain hardtail and penchant for pain.

He did, however, send me a Valentines day card with a little girl and a kitty on it.


I don't really know where to go from here. Work this week has been the slums, and it's taken an awful lot of effort to slack off, ride, and blog every day. But that's the price one pays for greatness. In any case, the sun is out, the roads are dry, and the weekend looks absurdly nice. Get out and do something fantastic.

A closing note about Pantani. His roommate in Carrera and former TDF stage winner himself, Claudio Chiapucchi, had this to say to the media upon hearing of Marco's death in 2004.

"Now Marco has flown away. I'm sorry to say that his death will probably turn into a spectacle. Until a few hours ago, a lot of people were pointing their fingers at him as a bad person, now they're all saying 'he was a great person'. Pantani could have used more friends when he was alive."
-Claudio Chiapucchi

So yeah. I don't mean to preach too much of a lesson into the anniversary of Pantani's death, but if you've got a moment this weekend to reach out to someone that needs you; do it. And keep climbing.

See you Sunday.

Up, up, up.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011


Three Fer Thursday, and we've got more rumors around these parts than Fleetwood Mac. The swarming Pantani Ride tifosi has prompted insinuations of competition in all shapes and sizes, outright bluffs of attendance from all over the map. But first, a check on the weather:

Bender trying to play camera fetch.

You dammmmmn right. We got a wee dusting last night. A quarter inch, maybe a half. Just beautiful.

67 degrees on Sunday, mark my words.

This little dusting is no match for that big ball of fire in the sky, and Sunday will be the first day of Spring, at least in spirit. Condition report: pimp.

The Ghost of Marco Pantani would be more than a little upset by the dirt and the haphazardness, but overall I think he'd be very pleased with the scene and the commitment to suffer.

too hot to ride. better call it a rest day.

On to the rumors. Of note:
From: The Rooster To: BRC Marco, last year's event did so much for my self-esteem, my spiritual advisor and life-coach suggested I come back this year! Mark the course in day glo colors, provide a cue sheet in 3 languages, email me a GPX file, and leave a trail of bird seed, Capital City will be in the rear with the beer!

Rooster. In. Check. But don't be fooled by his beer-talk. The Rooster is a man of metal for the one day classics, and he brings a team of even greater threats and epithets.

Even more salacious, the rumors surrounding the competition for the young riders jersey (which we don't actually have a jersey to represent) are running amok. Danny Flow Vs Jaybird vs Dwit Zirkle vs...a certain other very talented young rider who shall remain a battle I'd very much like to watch if I could keep up with it anymore. I can't. That's the thing about the front of these races - watching it on Versus with Phil, Paul, and a vanilla latte to keep you company is pure joy. But actually having to pedal to keep up with those wiry bastards so you can spectate is pure pain. So have at it, kids. Let me know who killed who at the finish, and I'll see about finding a white jersey for your victorious, malnourished torso.

Additional rumors:

Aid station at mile 22 and 38? That's the intersection of Mission Home and Simmons Gap, which you pass twice, hopefully. Very possible.

Singletrack options? Oh hell yes. There's a BRC-led contingent set upon rallying the single and not the gravel, and you're invited. Highly acceptable.

Also, certain enterprising individuals of local ilk might find another way down from the top of Brokenback that doesn't involve gravel roads. Officially, this is non condoned, but since it's not a shortcut (not by a long shot, see you sometime Monday) the route is permissible as long as you've got permission.

And for the sake of time, here's a bonus rumor run-on sentence : BRC partners needed for The Burn 24, Jaybird wants to sell you some 9 speed stuff, Ohill race in 5 weeks, Kev29er to set (again) land speed record in Maryland, and the muffinride is tonight at 6 PM.

Breathe it all in. Smells like Spring.

Got a rumor you'd like to circulate? Attendance, illicit drug use, or otherwise? Don't bother peeping it to your podium girl ex-girlfriend to have her spread the news the dirty way. Just post it up here in the comments, and rest assured the world will know just as fast.

Sunday. 10 AM. You know what. Up, up, up.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Muffin would eat the Pantani Ride

What better way to kick off a cold February morning post than a picture of our man in Asheville, Nolanpalooza. I sent out the call for photos from the top, and booyah! Nolanpalooza at the observatory looking a little icy and a lot handsome. On a related note, we should have some sunrays on our Sunday, might even touch 60 degrees. But rest assured it won't be that warm at the top of the hill. Take a jacket.

To the mailbag, sports fans.

From: Summer of Toph (henceforth to be called SOT2.0, per his marketing teams' request)
Big ups for organizing/suggesting an ohill ride pre muffin madness, loving it!....You said 7, right? I like to be that guy that stands front row center and tries to make eyes with the lead I wanna make sure I'm on time.

Nothing really says to a touring band welcome to our town like a sweaty, seedy looking individual in the front row staring daggers at your crotch. Possibly bleeding, likely with his helmet still on. For those about to rock, we salute you. For clarity, and for Toph's creepy sense of timeliness which I have the utmost respect for, we'd better make this a 6 PM and not a 7 PM rally. Meet at the shop at 6 on Thursday, no more than 15 minutes of jive, then a rally up to Ohill and back. Then proceed on to The Muffin. Done.

from: CHAM
to: BRC

RE: Magic Carpet Not-so-ride

The Niner is dead. Cracked it on the top of Bear Hole 20 minutes ago. Looks like I am building the Pivot up tonight 3x9. I wonder if a 10 speed front d will be compatible?

The front derailleur, I believe, needs to be a standard 9 speed and not the shimano 2X10 version if you want to use your granny. I could be wrong though. More importantly, I want to take this opportunity to address CHAM's morbid obesity and also his propensity to ride fragile skinny-tubed steel frames on the most vertical of local rock gardens. Two words: not working. I like the sense of self-esteem and motivation required to relentlessly pedal his massive girth up and down the gnarliest of gnar on a set of rear dropouts no thicker than pencils. He loves his body for what it is, and again, I think that's extraordinary. But at some point, reality has to be addressed.

And here's what reality looks like.

Those of you who have enjoyed the anomaly of physics that is watching just how freaking fast CHAM can ride a rigid hardtail, say goodbye. Those days are gone. Both the hardtail and the watching. Maybe he'll save you some beer at the finish. Probably not though.

And last but not least:
from: kev 29er to: brc RE: Reba Added 5ml of fluid to the pos chamber. Set pos to 150psi, neg to 135 or so. At the moment, I have 100mm of travel and sag seems to be around 20% or so. Ready to rally.

It's like reading an email from a robot. I have no idea what those numbers actually mean. But the effects I am painfully familiar with - especially after our last two training rides where I gave everything I had and couldn't get away from him and his overgeared singlespeed with the screwed up fork. There's always next time though.

And...The Muffin. Some tunes to guide you through your aimless humpday morning.

Thursday at The Southern. Get some.


It's Two-fer Tuesday, Pantani fever all up in this place like the flu.

I don't feel so well.

But let's first start with something a little more distant. Although I hate to invoke one treacherous bout of pain before the other even gets off the ground, the Ohill Meltdown is officially a go. And that mandates a shout.

It's a hometown favorite, UVA approved, and ready for registration, kids. A bit of trivia: at just over 1400 feet of climbing per 6 mile lap, if you did a 100-miler on this course you would have climbed something like 23,000 feet by the time you finished. Awful stuff. Lucky for us, the Meltdown will only throw you around for a couple laps before it bucks you off.

But back to the matter at hand. Pantani ride. Sunday. 10 AM here at the ranch, champs. Print your maps, think about setting up a buddy system, and commence binge dieting (unfortunately, cocaine use as a diet tool not permitted this year.)

anyone with the panache to grow a goat and dye it blond will be admired and then relegated to the back of the grupetto.

full pink kit encouraged but not required.

Radunare! That's Italian for rallyin'.

Up, up, and so forth.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Pantani would eat the muffin.

OK, I don't actually know if that's true. In fact, I imagine he would have opted for lettuce and carrots instead of muffins, thus making his 1000-some watts of uphill sprintage even more light and meaningful. But anyway, maybe he would have dug "sand-blasted roots rock with a sweet jam spread from Folly Beach, South Carolina."
Well, at the very least, I do. So maybe I'll see you there Thursday night.

I will now surrender this blogpost to the humanity that is a top 10 list and Q&A session all in one ugly lump regarding the BRCR-sanctioned Pantani Ride.

Question 1: What exactly does BRCR-sanctioned mean?
Answer: Basically, BRCR's insurance covers some liability when you have a heart attack trying to climb back up Brokenback. How much they cover really remains to be seen. One way to find out, so dig back into that jar of peanut butter with your big balloon fist and then be on the start line at 10 AM on Sunday.

Question 2: When does the ride start and where does it go? Is it a race?
Well, that's actually two questions and not one. But I'll break it down for you real easy-like. The ride-race starts at 551 Allen Rd, Earallysville VA at 10 AM. You heard me; ride-race. For many attendees, it's a casual ride with multiple options to stop hurting yourself and go the hell home whenever you'd like. For others, especially those at the front fighting to hang onto Erico Moortani's wheel, it's very similar to a race, albeit an unsanctioned, roads-open-to-traffic-and-wild-dogs sort of race. Think of it as a spirited group ride. And buckle your helmet.

Question 3: You didn't answer the most vital part of my question: where does it go?
Answer: I didn't want to scare you away, Ben & Jerry. But, since you asked, here's the route:

Question 4: Jesus, I (pick one) can't ride/can't remember/don't have time/am scared of/will drink too much Saturday night to ride all of that. What should I do?
Answer: well, for starters, I would print the map. Then I would carefully fold it into thirds and place it in a plastic baggie where your sweat and tears won't soak it and leave it unreadable. Then, find yourself a small crew to ride with, determine how much of the course you'd really like to do, grip it and rip it.

Question 5: Do I need a pro racing license to register?
Answer: Good question. Technically, no. In fact, there's no registration at all since we're really just a big group out rambling around on some gravel roads. But you do have to consider yourself to be a very big deal. Which you are and you do. Run along now.

Question 6: What do I win when I win?
First and foremost, I love the assumptive victory. Those positive affirmations you've been saying in front of the mirror every night seem to really be sinking in. Terrific. To echo your positivity, you will win the finest pistachio-colored pirate jersey this world has ever seen.

Then you'll have to try to wrestle it off Erico Moortani's trapeziums. Good luck with that.

Question 7: What if I get lost?
Answer: Another good question, and a very real possibility given the remoteness of the ride, the speed and effort required, and the proportionately alarming lack of real substance in that big bucket dome of yours. If you get lost, the first thing I would recommend you do is panic. Drop your bike and all of your water on the road, then run out into the woods screaming and sobbing hysterically. Then eat all of your food, wait until dark. Now, here's where things get really important, after dark in the woods on top of the mountain, quickly stand up and RUN full speed towards the most distant speck of light you can see. You'll be saved in no time.

Question 8: Really?
Answer: OK, no. But you've got a lot of other options. Waiting where you are until someone with a brain rolls up behind you isn't a bad one. But you also might consider printing the map before leaving your house on Sunday morning (see questions 3 and 4) and figuring it out yourself.

Question 9: What about inclement weather? Will the ride still go on?
Answer: Inclement weather on Pantani day is impossible. Conditions will be perfect. That being said, if for some reason they are not, we can audible at the start line with a poorly-calculated back up plan. Right now, word is 53 and sunny. Action.

Question 10: Is the rooster coming?
Answer: After 9 straight questions of real dimness, you finally shine with a good one. To be honest, I'm not sure if the almighty rooster will roll up from Richmond or not. But I have it on good authority that there is some contingent of Richmonders with poor enough judgment to give the ol' Pantani Ride a second go. So they'll either post a rumor up here or there, or we'll just have to wait and see.

And for good behavior, I'll allow you a bonus question.

Bonus Question: I forgot my question.
Answer: Yeah. You're like that. It probably wasn't important. But on the off-chance it was, I'll link you to the Q&A from last year, because that wealth of knowledge really seemed to tide you over then.

if you keep making that face it will freeze like that.

See you Sunday. Up, up, up.

Friday, February 4, 2011

10 day forecast

Today, being the first real day that the 10-day forecast actually covers International Marco Pantani day, I thought we'd go to our local meteorologists and see what their infinite wisdom might haphazardly prophesize for next Sunday.

Partly cloudy. 90 % chance of severe pain. Highs in the low to mid Ican'trideanymores.

Yeah, they don't know. That's pretty much what they're telling you when the extended forecast only gives the average daily weather for this time of year. But, if pressed, I'm pretty sure they'd agree that it can't get any worse than last year.

a stud's studded tires on Fox Mountain in the 2010 episode

Speaking of Fox Mountain, if anyone wants a preview of the Pantani ride on Sunday afternoon - it's possible that it might be 53 degrees and luscious. To me, that sounds like easy money. Though after foregoing caution last night, night riding at BRS with knee pain, and attempting to break my stem again with my right knee, I might be rolling an abridged Pantani course. The one without any climbing. Which, as you might guess, is not the Pantani course at all. But, let's face it, sitting still really isn't an option for me.

And on to other newsworthiness from the mailbag:

from: fattirewilly to: BRC and others RE: new trail big news - Preddy Creek workday thisSaturday 9am Short notice, but the first half of the "advanced" mountain bike "course" was approved this afternoon. This will be a horse free zone due to narrow tread width and "unique" topography having lots of steep short roller coaster sections where "point" impacts would not be desirable. Unlike most all trails where bikes are supposed to yield to hikers (yes I hear complaints from ACPR all the time on this not happening, so please...if the hiker stays in the trail, you're supposed to stop or not run them over), bikes will have right of way. This "course" (notice we're not calling it a trail) will probably take 6+ months to build, so don't go looking for new trail next week or next month, it will be hard to find.

To celebrate, there will be at least two crazy people out there at 9am clearing (narrow) corridor and dialing lines. Please join us. Not doing pancakes or coffee but could easily do a beer at Timberwood after. We could use a couple chainsaw folks.

I'll send a follow up email with parking directions once I get instructions from County. And, it's not too early to think about getting those 3 ACPR workdays in for that parks pass to Walnut in the summer.

You better believe it sports fans. Though not in Earallysville proper, Preddy Creek is a short 30 minute bike jaunt to the East across illicit singletrack and breathtaking country roads. And anything that we not only take provisions to hide, but also term as a "course" instead of a "trail" is something I'm keenly interested in. So if you read the part about two crazy people out there at 9 AM, you can rest assured that "crazy" means "in the pouring rain," and"two" means "Me." I am now taking recommendations for the best mountain bike shoe for intense trailwork and drudgery - the sort of thing most mtb shoes aren't really that great at. Because this thing is going to be awesome.

It's damn near quittin' time on a Friday. Go forth, pillage, wreak havoc.

Attack at all costs.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Climbing and The Muffin

Marco Pantani Park and Monument in his hometown, Cesenatico, IT

Three-fer-Thursday out here at the Rancho Relaxo, and the Pantani ride looms on the horizon. And I've got knee pain. Shooooot. Perhaps all of that sketchy singletrack in slushy (perfect) conditions was not the appropriate training regimen for the upcoming Pantani ride. So it's a self-imposed rest day today, like yesterday, but if my history dealing with injury is any indication, that means I'll rally tonight with CHAM at Blue Ridge School.

So I thought in the days leading up to the Pantani ride, I might cast a few pictures in here for appropriate inspiration. And you're invited. If you've got a photo of you on your bike going up something epic and tall, hit me. I'll get it up here with minimal photoshop modification.

Let's get started. Here we have two complete dorks standing at the top of Mt. Ventoux in southern France.

We actually came up from the little town of Sault on the East side of the peak, only to find out later that was the "easy" way up. Shawn smoked me once it got steep, shamelessly dropping me in the last 5k, but he bought me gummy worms at the top to compensate.
Of note, on the way up Ventoux - the memorial to Tom Simpson is inspiring stuff and worth a stop to take it all in, but also it's a good excuse to tell your brother why you got to the top 45 minutes behind him.

Moving on, a few days later we climbed Alpe D'huez. This time, after properly fueling Shawn with French gas-station cupcakes and espresso, I would have my day in the sun. He got away from me at the base, but I later came back and passed him on the final switchback.

big mountain views, coffee-cupcake flatulence.

"wow it's pretty up here. smells like rotten cupcakes though."

Notably, Pantani won Stage 12 of the Tour De France on this same stretch of road in 2000, one of the final chapters in his bitter rivalry with Lance Armstrong. Say what you will about gifts, drugs, or cupcakes, Marco got to the top first and that counts for something.

Let's dive headlong, willy-nilly into the mailbag for a spell, because sometimes that's where the action is. First, here we have a poignant display of the sort of great mind that is educating the future of America.

From: Cham To: BFR I thought I was the only nut riding at night these days. I have been at it solo style ever since I got rid of that frigin rigid torture device that held my front wheel on, of note (front wheel optional at the ridge). Thursday, night ride, hills, rocks, and werewolf, (hair raising) noises coming out of the dark hollow (great song by the way). Get over here.

There's a real lack of clarity there, bike infected gibberish with rally on the brain. But I know exactly what he means. Proof positive that Johnny needs to rally, not read.

From: BigJohninRichmond To: BRC RE: Hilbert Enduro I need to get it in my head that enduro is only 5 hours. I keep thinking it is 6. For whatever reason 5 seems more reasonable.

I couldn't agree more. But I'll also state with total clarity that around hour 4 of such an effort, the proposition of either a 5 or 6 hour enduro are both terrible options. And anyway, let's focus on the immediate matter at hand: Marco Pantani. February 13th. BigJohn, in particular, has the sort of feathery, stiff, get-you-to-the-front-and-stay-there steed that would likely be the first bike over Fox mtn.

Last but certainly not least, the Muffin:
from: kev29ermuffin to: brc
Dangermuffin is coming to the Southern on the 10th! Help me get the word out, eh?
And for the Facebookers:
The lead singer and I go way back...back before he could grow a beard and I had long flowing locks.

As hard as it is to put aside the image of Kev29ers long flowing locks, try to do so for a moment and focus on the music. Because that's the good stuff right there. And it falls on three-fer-Thursday next week. Anyone with a hankering for a pre-show, post-dusk, ohill meltdown lap around 7 PM can apply herein.

You may now resume your focus on those long flowing locks, if indeed you were even able to tear your eyes away in the first place.