Saturday, December 30, 2006

Timmy Tooth vs. Owen the Irritable

Seems that Owen has decided to start sprouting teeth. He exudes this really thick drool and tries to chew on everything in sight. It's like having a puppy that screams. This little bit of maturation along with yesterday's drive-a-palooza conspired to make Omac one cranky little dude all day.

Went on a big, chilly group ride. About 12 people showed (where were ya'll last saturday when it was warm?) and it was a nice smooth ride. Nobody pissed of the Killah and he allowed everyone to remain upright for another day. Charles rode his cracked (in 3 places) carbon fiber frame and to my relief, it was still in one piece when I turned around.

Over the holiday break, we got to ride with a few people from out of town. It is really nice to ride with people who aren't from here; it helps me to appreciate even more how good the riding is here. One guy even said, "Wow, you guys HAVE to ride here everyday. That's really gotta suck." This as we rolled down the freshly paved Steeltown Rd. past the most beautiful horse I've ever seen in person. Yeah, rolling terrain, mountains, lightly trafficed roads, beautiful scenery, it all combines to make this a really crappy place to be a cyclist...

Hopefully by now you know that I try to help my friends out. Now, I would like to say that my good friend Dr. J-mac has a problem: his new partner at his family practice backed out on him at the last moment and he needs a replacement. I talked with him briefly in order to get the particulars. Apparently, he is pretty firm on the applicant having a medical degree. Other than that, a willingness to move to Lenoir would be helpful and interest in cycling would be a big plus. Drop me a line if you're interested.

Friday, December 29, 2006

Back to the motherland

I spent about nine hours in the car today driving to Fayetteville for a neurologist appointment. Now before you go shouting "Fayett-nam" at me (like I've never heard that before...), I gotta speak a little truth about the place. It's a shi**hole. Now, I can confidently give you this assessment because I was born and raised there. If you are unsure of where I am talking about, look up Ft. Bragg Army Base and you'll see it. I know, I know, sh**hole is a harsh term and maybe even a bit unfair. Fayetteville is absolutely a fabulous destination if you want to a) pawn something, b) buy a used car, or c) go to a strip club. If one of those things is on your must do vacation list, then Fayetteville is a freakin' disneyland with transvestite prostitutes instead of people in animal outfits. Oh yeah, and it get's hotter than hell there in the summer with like a 1000% humidity. Let me also state for the record that I am not in any way, shape, or form a military kid. I am of the rare breed who's family is from Fayetteville. Our part of Scotland must have sucked back in the 1700's when my ancestors came to America, found Fayetteville (then the twin towns of Campbelltown and Cross Creek) and said, "this is it!"

So what could lure me back to the land of my birth? The best neurologist in the world. You may or may not be aware that I have multiple sclerosis, a degenerative nervous system disease. I have had it for 15 years and consider myself very lucky for my current robust health. Dr. Serranno, my neurologist, has been with me for 12 of those years. He is the absolute coolest doctor. He sits down and talks to you like a friend. He sees you, not a chart. And he spends 30 minutes to an hour with you, just talking and telling stories. I actually look forward to my trips to the doctor. He has me on several medicines that aren't specifically for ms, since he approaches ms treatment as an experiment. He is way outside the box and I really dig that about him.

So long car trip, visit my grandmother, show off Owen, get back in car, long car trip and now: home! A quick reminder: one week to Lenoir 'cross! Looks like mother nature will be conspiring to produce some very true cyclocross conditions. And now a little something to help you get in the mood: (set volume to 11!)

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Avoid the blindside

This little 4 week lull in the NC 'cross season hasn't been conducive to any sort of form maintenance. So, it is with heavy legs that I want to remind you that we are a mere 8 days from Winter Cup Race #1 right here in Lenoir. Jeff spent most of today out inspecting and working on the course. The beta from the field is that course conditions will be "interesting". Jeff is hoping to put on a memorable event; hopefully, the first of many.

I have got to say that Jeff has been hustling and working his ass off to pull this 'cross race together. The only way he could hustle harder would involve a pole and a thong... Suffice to say, this race will reward all of the classes, starting with a $1500 pro purse ($1000 for men, $500 for women). So unless you made the world's team or managed to pull together enough scratch to head to Belgium for the Christmas 'cross fest, you should drag your carcass our way for a double race weekend with large rewards!

On to other news. Owen is eating food and rolling over on his own. He's also teething and drools worse than the dog. Hard to look at your kid, the front of his shirt soaked with spit, and think "genius". Yet, somehow I manage to pull that little bit of self-satisfied pride off without a hitch...

Bathroom update: Everything has been torn out (including the sink) and things were not as bad as I had feared. No need to drywall or rip out plaster or anything like that. I did find that the only thing holding in the brand new bathroom window was the molding. Yep, framing a window can really cut into the ol' profit margin... I suggested to Golden that we didn't really need a sink in the bathroom and that, in fact, it made the bathroom roomier. The look on her face was truly priceless. It's nice to know I can still make my wife think I am a complete idiot. Like the time I set the porch on fire while trying to light the charcoal grill with white stove gas on the 4th of July. It was the same look to a lesser degree, but fun nonetheless. I told Golden (after the fire had been put out by the fire dept.), "If you're just now figuring out you married a moron, you're not so swift yourself." I guess I'm just destined to be misunderstood in my lifetime...

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

The beauty of friends

I truly love this period of time between the solstice ( or xmas, or hannukah) and the new year. I feel very hopeful and nostalgic at the same time and it seems like anything is possible in the coming year. Friends seem to stand out a little bit brighter amongst all of the lights in my life right now and I find myself regarding them like a diamond eyed by an appraiser. I think that your friends are a real reflection of the person that you are. I hope that I live up to what I see reflected back at me.

My friend Chris has been visiting from Tallahassee. He is kind and genereous to a point that makes me feel protective of him. He is full of stories and good cheer and pitches in with whatever project I have going on at the time. If I needed a brain transplant, Chris is the kind of guy that wouldn't hesitate to get in line as a donor.

Now, for a true show of friendship. I have heard that bridesmaids often sacrifice dignity for the sake of pleasing their dear friend, the bride. I submit to you that this:

is the ultimate self-sacrifice in order to make a friend happy.

Now, I don't like to cast stones, but you might be a sh**kicker if you get married in duck hunting camouflage...

Monday, December 25, 2006

Happy Festivus (for the rest of us)!

Hope you have a great holiday today. The only advice I have to give is: don't hold back. Enjoy everything in massive quantities! Golden got me the DVD "La course en tete", the Eddy Merckx story. This is the best sports bio-pic I have ever seen. You have to see it just to watch him do mach 10 intervals on rollers (and the bike barely moves). Eddy gives a quote that is definitely appropriate for the holidays: "They say that cake is bad for cyclists. But it's not the cake, it's the climbs that are bad for you." Here, here!

Well, Owen had his first christmas day present opening extravaganza. As always, the big hit was the book we got for him. Every instance of present opening he's experienced, he has really zoomed in and been captivated by the books that people get him. He grabs for them and wants you to read it to him right then. Now, to just keep him that way...

I've added a lot of new links, so be sure to check those out!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

"Ya'll come back now, ya hear?"

I guess that in the Dick Cheney world of "intelligence", what Jeff and I have received over the past few days has been "increased chatter". Our chatter has focused on one beautiful thing: a new piece of paved road whare previously there was dirt road. Now, what we had been hearing was that Indian Grave Rd. was freshly asphalted and ripe for two-wheeled traffic. Today turned out to be the day we were gonna go see it for ourselves.

Seeing that today was the day before the day before Christmas, it is entirely understandable why our group ride turned out to be HUGE! Everybody was there: me, and Jeff, and Shelly..... did I say Jeff was there? Oh yeah, Shelly was there, too. Oh, and how could I forget that I was on the ride? Anyway, the three of us set off to check out the new pavement.

We (I) decided to take Indian Grave from 321, rather than going up to 268 and cutting over. The first part has been paved since I've been here and then it turned to dirt in the usual spot right at the top of the climb. Huh... Well we descended the dirt (it's primo dirt road; you can rail it on a road bike) and got to experience a big slice of Caldwell County. First, we passed the narrow, steep gully that all of the locals throw their big garbage down. You know, appliances and furniture and such. ("We've been dumping here since my grand-diddy was a little boy!") We passed a really attractive trailer/shack with a rebel flag and "Southern Justice" painted across the gateway. A little bit later, we passed a touchingly idyllic scene of a grandfather out walking with his grandson. Touching, until you noticed the pearl handled revolver grandpa was toting in the holster he had strapped on. Then, we popped onto fresh pavement and I saw a woman in a BMW SUV talking on her cell phone and turning up the road. You may or may not know that our county motto is: "Where progress meets tradition". They leave out the last part: "and they don't get along." Honestly, we are living in the 21st century and there are still a bunch of ignorant rednecks out here pining for the "good ol' days". I can't believe I'm actually supportive of developers buying everything up, but it seems to beat the status quo alternative...

Anyhoo, we turned up Steeltown Rd. and rolled all the way to 268 abouta 1/2 mile shy of Ft. Defiance (it's just an old house, not a single cannon anywhere). Indian Grave Rd. is indeed freshly paved from Steeltown Rd. to 268. We rolled to Riverside and then rolled in on 268. Total ride time was about an hour and forty-five minutes at a sedate base pace. Now, I have to start harassing people early. This spring, when people come out for a ride after having been firmly planted on the couch all winter, they start complaining about "You guys ride too fast" or "You guys don't ever ride slow". Well, we're riding slow now, but you can't beg some people loud enough to come ride. The weather was beautiful today and has been all winter, so far. There is no reason NOT to ride! This winter is the time to start making deposits into that endurance account that you're gonna want to make withdrawals from this spring and summer. Come out and ride some slow base miles; you might just have some fun...

A little trivia question: what is the origin of the term "Hillbilly"?

Friday, December 22, 2006

In vino veritas

There is an unwritten rule in the bike industry. Well, it's almost a commandment, actually. Gift a bike mechanic some beer, and you will be repaid in the future with some act of generosity. It's often termed getting bro'ed out. Well, Jeff and I have been on the receiving end of a lot of holiday generosity the past few days. Yesterday, Rob (the doc that delivered Owen) dropped off a MAGNUM of Duvel. Our eyes lit up like a pair of kids finding bb guns under the christmas tree. Then today, the mayor drops off a pair of Duvel 4 packs for us and the Grom brings us a bottle of Kriek (belgian cherry beer). What have we done to deserve such an outpouring of good tidings? I have no idea, but I hope it means we've been doing something right this year.

Now, needless to say, we had to sample our booty this evening as we closed up shop. The Kriek was good (better than Jeff expected) and the Duvel, as always, went down nice and smooth. Now I would like to unequivocally state that neither Jeff nor myself are cyclists with a drinking problem. We are drinkers with a cycling problem. Cyclocross and winter weather have certainly conspired to make us more Belgian in both sports and leisure. Oh well, there are worse problems to have...

I hope that everyone has a good holiday, regardless of your belief (or lack thereof). Anything that makes people consider those important to them and inspires people to be kinder and more generous to those they encounter is very good, indeed. Eat, drink, laugh and love as much as possible. I know I'm going to.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Back when men were men and cobblestones were scared

Golden and I finished watching "A Sunday in Hell" last night. It was my anniversary present from her (what a great wife, buying her husband bike porn!). In case you are unfamiliar, "A Sunday in Hell" is a film shot by Jurgen Leth about the 1976 Paris-Roubaix. Watching a bunch of helmetless, wool-clad guys hammering over the cobbles on steel bikes with friction downtube shifters in slow-motion getting absolutely pummeled by the pave du nord is an absolute must see. The editing is clean and direct. The voiceover is simple and straightforward. Golden thinks it is the most accessible film for explaining road racing to the non-cyclist. It follows the exploits of Merckx, Moser and de Vlaeminck with a spirited side competition over who has the most awesome sideburns (I gotta give the edge to de Vlaeminck on that one). Looking for a gift for a cyclist? Then check out World Cycling Productions for A Sunday in Hell.

Don't forget, base pace miles! Meet at the shop at 10am, Saturday.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

"Misty, watercolor memories...."

Today is my seventh anniversary with Golden. It is amazing to think how far we have traveled together since then. We have gone from a bike racer + full-time student couple to full-time teachers and new parents. Amazing...

We got married in a beautiful place called Oak Creek Canyon between Sedona and Flagstaff, AZ. Our family and friends had to hike in about a quarter mile to what is left of the Zane Grey homestead (the place where he wrote the book "Call of the Canyon") right on the banks of Oak Creek. Our friend Anthony De La Garza got ordained just in time to perform the ceremony (yeah mail-order ordination!). Our dog, Luna (the bike shop's namesake and the world's best dog), was the ring bearer. I remember little details about the event, but nothing really big. I guess I was just too caught up in everything for it all to register. I do know it was a great time and one of the happiest days of my life (catching Owen and being the first person he ever saw is now number one).

Marriage has not been one big happy joy ride. It is an ongoing piece of work with good times and bad times, but I am incredibly fortunate to have found someone who not only shares my passions in life, but who accepts all of my eccentricities and tempers my dreamy optimism with enough reality to keep me from making too big of a fool of myself. If you have pulled off the same feat as I have, congratulations. If you are still looking, feel confident that your true love is out there and one day you'll find them.

Monday, December 18, 2006

A little slice of NYS!

Alright, only two responses to the trivia question (although Chris in Talla-hissy wrote a frickin' annotated dissertation; it was still wrong). Howard Rhyne managed to pull out the win though with this response:

"I'm sure you have an answer already but I'm going with the World Cup points leader, but a better answer is it signifies he's a bad mofo."

Bad mofo, indeed...

Now I present Mr. Nys with a brief lesson in Cyclocross fashion:

A rare picture of Sven wearing the same uniform as the rest of his teammates:

Mr. Nys sporting the Belgian National team garb:

Sven as the Belgian national champion:

Sven in World Champion stripes:

And Sven Nys as the World Cup points leader:

Before the ProTour, road had the world cup. It was so much less complicated. Can the ProTour last? Or will the UCI manage to destroy cycling?

Howard, sticker's in the mail! Try not to rub it in the faces of all your fellow cyclists!

Bathroom update:

I have successfully ripped out half of one wall AND removed an outlet and light without electrocuting myself (thank you very much). I'm eyeballing the other half of the wall like the biggest guy in prison on my first day locked up. Oh, it's got something coming to it... Chris has convinced me to try to sheetrock over the plaster. I quote, "Dude, there's a reason why people a lot less intelligent than you make their living hanging sheetrock." I'm not gonna say anything like that; I don't like the taste of crow...

Sunday, December 17, 2006

a little bit of me time

Went out for some base miles for the first time this winter. The mayor, Alex, Big E, Mikey MC and Jeff were all in attendance as we rolled out towards Collettsville at 9 am. It was cold. It was ice-cream-headache-on-the-descent cold. Jeff seems to think it was an inversion layer, but regardless, it was a nippy start to what I knew would end up being a pretty warm day. The mayor whined a bit and said that he needed more mangina cream, but he perservered.

We rolled out at a great pace, just cruising along, talking and generally staying relaxed. The plan was to ride out to and around Lake James, about a 4+ hour ride. I planned on turning around early in order to help with holiday stuff. We made it to 181 and I turned around, while the group cruised on. I pulled over and pulled out my iPod (I can't stand it when people wear them while riding with a group, "HELLO! Human interaction is ok!") and found that it had been playing away in my pocket and the battery was showing this tiny sliver of red on the display. I turned it off and stuffed it back into my pocket and started back on the 20 miles home. Golden said I was doing it "old school" meaning sans music.

I don't think I'm freakish, but maybe the fact that I sort of let my mind wander and then bam!, I was almost home without even realizing it is a little weird. Anyway, it was good to have some time to just be alone and think. NPR has been doing this series on sounds where people send in some sound and then talk about the situation that it was created in. I got to thinking about all of the sounds that are associated with cycling. The way the tires make different noises on different kinds of pavement, or the variety of noises different freehubs make when freewheeling, or that weird little ZIP! noise of a front tire hitting a rear tire just prior to somebody hitting the deck. I guess it was a nice, relaxing 3 hours...

Congrats to Ryan Trebon for finally moving up to the top step at 'cross nats. He just got 10th in a SuperPrestige race in Europe (a race where there is no rider cap on nationality, so of the top ten, seven were Belgian. Had it been a world cup, Trebon would have been a lot closer to the podium!), so the dude is flying. Hopefully, that means a good showing at world's is within his reach. I wish him nothing but the best on that endeavor.

Well, I'm off to bed. I do want to throw out a little trivia question, though. First correct response gets a large Luna Cycles sticker to be proudly displayed wherever you would like. Email your response using the contact me link in my profile box, don't forget to include your name and address!

What does the jersey in the picture signify?

Saturday, December 16, 2006

And now for something completely different...

I had to go and pick today to start doing demolition work on our bathroom. A little history would probably help you out with this sudden segue: due to the fact that Golden and I were totally fed up with moving, we bought the house we had been renting for 3 years. I highly recommend this sort of real estate transaction for the ease of packing aspect that sort of immediately jumps to mind. We packed and moved one ceremonial box and lo and behold, we were moved in...

So, the house had been remodeled by its new owners prior to us moving in, but there is a difference between remodeling a rental and remodeling the house you own. Naturally, there are things that we have never been happy with and I have decided that now is the time to start fixing them. I don't think I am being to immodest in saying that I am really good at tearing stuff up. So, this morning when I woke up, one thought burned brightly in my mind: I am going to tear the hell out of my bathroom!

My plan was do a little bit to get things ready for a visit from Troy the cycling plumber and then go enjoy our 60-70 degree weather with the 10am group ride. Suffice it to say, things got a little out of hand and I didn't make it... What a shame, too, as our very own Charles decided to give a double presentation in our group ride lecture series. Presentation #1, entitled "The coefficient of friction of human skin", could not be faulted for the sheer gusto of delivery, but lacked in originality. I mean, please, how many times have you seen somebody sliding face first down chip-sealed asphalt before? Now butt first, that I would really be kicking myself for missing. Honestly, though, I am most disappointed in missing presentation #2, entitled "The Human Elbow: an in-depth anatomy lesson". By the time I got to see this one, the thing was so bandaged up it looked like he was sporting a cast. Eyewitness accounts claim that there was little to no bleeding of the elbow because "there wasn't anything left to bleed". There were reports that fascia was clearly visible. All I got to see was Charles all bandaged up, wearing a pair of knickers that had been cut all the way to the groin. Sort of like a Chippendales dancer, but a looooooooootttttt skinnier. I'm gonna have to really be more vigilant about making the group ride...

Charles should be fine, except for the next week or so of excruciating shower experiences and that fantastic sensation of sticking to the sheets from all of the white blood cells trying to do their thing. Yeah, except for that and a lot of pain, things should be just fine... I hope Charles get's better soon. And to Charles: inevitably, people are going to have all sorts of dumb questions and comments about how you could be so injured from riding a bike. The best analogy is to tell them to get in their car, drive down the road at 30 mph and jump out onto the pavement. It's the same experience, but it's a perspective they can wrap their heads around.

9am at the shop for a base pace cruise around Lake James!

Friday, December 15, 2006

From the Luna Cycles WTF file...

TAMMY Thomas, yes, TAMMY

You may or may not have seen this little news article that's making the rounds of internet cycling sites. The above pictured WOMAN is currently being indicted in the whole BALCO affair. Here's a little background:

"Thomas was banned for life in August 2002 after testing positive for the performance-enhancing drug Norbolethone, which was detected in her urine samples."

Now I'm not a doctor, but I'm pretty sure that a pee test was pretty unneccessary on this one. This isn't about p/e ratios or some exotic super-blood drug. This chick looks like more of a dude than me or most of my friends do. I showed this picture to Golden and she couldn't stop saying "He" when referring to it. Now here's the super fun part of this: her defense was that the test was a false positive triggered by a CONTRACEPTIVE that she was taking. Now let's glance back at that picture and ponder on that one a bit... Yeah, I'm gonna call bulls*** on that one, too. I'm pretty sure that there is a whole plethora of reasons why ol' Tammy didn't need to be too concerned about getting pregnant. For starters, you typically need a partner...

So, suffice it to say, that I am wholly unoriginal in having anything to say about this little bit of news. Here's my favorite comment:
Jebus, I can't stop looking into those shark-like, lifeless eyes. It's like one of those gigantic paintings on Scooby Doo where the eyes follow you all over the room."

You can check out more at RoadBikeReview Forums

A little holiday spirit would be great

I got this in my inbox today:

Hey everyone!

Alex and I found a stray dog two months ago at a gas station in Lenoir . She was going from car to car trying to find someone who would help her. When we opened our car door she jumped right in!

She was in pretty bad shape - hook worms, bad skin, ear infection and really thin. We had her shots/ check up, treated the worms and had her spayed. During the operation the vet found out that she was pregnant with eleven puppies. At only 40 pounds and starving to death I don't think she would have survived the birth of eleven puppies.

We have nursed her back to health and she is doing great. She has a healthy coat of skin and hair due to some really good food. She is fully crate trained and house trained. She is a super sweet dog who loves people and other dogs. She walks well on a leash. I have been using a prong collar with her and she heals right beside me with minimal correction. She really doesn't bark but makes cute silly noises.

The vet thinks she is probably a pit bull and lab mix. She is approx a year old. Our vet thinks she will max out at about 55 pounds. Small and stocky. She does have a high prey drive with squirrels so I think she would need a fenced in area and need to be on a leash when out and about.

She also rides well in the car and doesn't mind going to the vet. She seems to be a very well balanced dog with no signs of aggression with people or dogs.

If I didn't have six dogs already I would keep her for sure!

Please forward this email to friends, family and rescue organizations you think might be interested. It is one of my main goals in life to never turn an animal away who asks me for help. Alex and I have fostered and placed several cats and dogs over the years and reunited some with their families as well. We can't do it alone so any help in placing these animals we can get from friends and family and even strangers is greatly appreciated!


Beth Holden
828-265-6464 cell
828-758-7588 home

I know somebody out there would like a dog for Christmas - what'ya say? If you know someone or you are interested get with Beth and let her know. She and Alex are huge-hearted dog people, so you can take this pup with no reservations!

Take advantage of this weekend's incredible weather; a little spring in winter action for sure! We'll be heading out at 10am from the shop tomorrow, so ditch the booties and tights and come enjoy some base miles in the warmth!

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Just a bit more

The '06 Sledgehammer Charlie's Cyclocross Team (not pictured: Bob Pugh, Howard Hesterburg and Ken Johnson)

Here's a few more pics to keep the 'cross fires burning. Now, the big man himself, Tim Hopkins, sent me this link to the best flemish tv coverage of professional cyclocross racing. Don't spend too much time on this at work; each one is over an hour of non-stop coverage!

Well, I gotta write a quiz and go to bed!

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

The plague

You know how people say that when there is a nuclear war, the only thing left alive will be cockroaches? Well, in the coming plagues that mankind seems hellbent to unleash on itself by pushing deeper and deeper into places we have no business being, the only people left alive will be teachers. You have no idea how strong our immune systems are after spending so much time around less-than-hygienic, germ-riddled kids. But one must be vigilant! Golden's sojourn into stay-at-home mommydom has left her white blood cells critically unprepared and a bug slipped through. So now, she is sick and consequently, so is Owen.

Owen is now facing the first real dilemma of his very young life: how do you suck on a pacifier with a stuffy nose? Apparently, it ain't working out too well for him, judging from the pissed off screaming that led up to his finally passing out. I had to go rub his tummy to relax him. I know that works for me; just my rub stomach and I'm pretty much out...

Somehow, I have dodged the bullet. No hacking, sneezing or general stuffed sinus pain for me. That's good because when my sinuses get stuffed, I'm pretty much useless - okay, more useless that normal.

I got this email today:

userid = shawnmoore1
FirstLastName = Doug Snyder
Email =
Message = Hi,

I'm Doug Snyder and I found your blog by googling jellydots. I wrote "Bicycle" and I wanted to thank you for the mention.
I just went for a cruise on my 70's Peugot touring bike and realized it had been too long since I'd done that.


Doug Snyder Age 34 acting like I'm still 19

Now either that is pretty damn cool or these guys are really going all out to sell some records! Well, it worked 'cause I went and downloaded the whole album from iTunes. It's like post-punk rock for kids, so it's pretty much right up my alley. I'll leave you with this:

One day Owen, half of all this will be yours...

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Enough, already!

So, last night, parenthood and bike racing clashed and I heard the word "obsession" used in the same sentence as "bike". Now, first let me say that I am truly fortunate to have a spouse who not only shares my passion for cycling, but is much better at it than I am, too. But G's lack of riding and my non-stop babbling about how much "fun" 'cross has been sorta came to a head. I want to set the record straight, though. I am not obsessed with bikes or riding bikes. I like to think of it as love. Not puppy love or infatuation, but that burning, intense, can't-stop-thinking-about-you kind of love. Obsessives build bikes and like to rattle off stats, watts and weights, lovers ride themselves into an endorphin riddled euphoria and can't understand why no one else finds joy in pushing the physical limits of their body.

The other day at school, a student asked me, "Mr. Moore, why do you ride your bike to school?" This is a much less common question than you would suspec,t as your average middle schooler is not exactly all that curious about anyone other than themselves (shocker!). I looked at him and asked, "Do you think riding your bike is fun?" He nodded yes. "So do I", I said. He grinned and acted like that was a pretty good answer, which made me think: how many adults do something simply because it's fun? Not enough, if the high-strung, ego-centric people I see ripping around in their cars trying to be first in line in some imaginary competition that seems to break out on the roads around here, is any indication.

Golden turned me on to this band, The Jellydots and their song, "Bicycle". Check it out. It's like an anthem to being an adult who still finds joy in what most people (unbelievably) think is a toy.

I read an article about Kelly Slater, the pro surfer, who just won the surfing world championships after coming out of retirement. He said that he re-found his love of surfing through a chance meeting with a 54 year-old skater. The skater was talking about how quantum physics is the fountain of youth and that since "anything" is possible at the quantum level, he believed that he was able to stay young simply by picking the age he wanted to be and then living his life the way he had when had been that age. I don't know about that, but I do know that I don't feel the same age as a lot of my colleagues. Even colleagues that are younger than me strike me as being older.

I guess this is a really roundabout way of saying that I think bikes are keeping me young. What do you think?

Cold turkey

I finally woke up from the daze that Sunday's race put me into. I don't want to characterize my performance as lackluster, I'll let you decide that for yourself...

I wish that I could tell you that Jeff unleashed the whirlwind and beat Ed D. by the 2 places he needed to regain first place in the series, I really do. Reality, however, is a cruel mistress and the comeback was not meant to be. Jeff rode at or near the front and looked to be putting Ed into a spot of bother at several points, but then big Randy Shields bridged up from the 45+ group (that started a minute back) and all sorts of chaos ensued. Jeff got 4th behind Ed and had to be content with 2nd overall in the series. I don't know what he is thinking, but I suspect he is stuffing his "1st loser" status into a little ball of seething fury way down in the pit of his stomach where he will nurse it for the coming year. At least, I think that's what he's doing.

Shelly Welch managed to crash at the base of the ride up on the first lap and chased from that point on. She finished a close third, but true to her self-deprecating manner, she will not be satisfied until she can stand at the top of the podium. The bitter taste of her all too familiar 3rd place was quickly washed away by a not unsubstantial quantity of belgian beer immediately following the race.

The men's 4's saw the biggest field of the season with 54 guys toeing the line. Our team had 4 guys: Heartattack Mark, Double Down Dave Brown, Jack Brown and myself. The whistle blew and I took off trying to stay with the lead group. A mtn bike decided to cut me off in the first turn and I fought from there. I made the lead group of 5 or 6, but I couldn't hang and started the all too familiar slide backwards. Jack came by me, rolling well and I jumped on his wheel, but the legs just weren't there. I have spent this season riding with good looks and smoke and mirrors, but good fortune had finally run out. Jack finished 8th, I got nipped at the line for an ignominous 21st and both DDDB (39th) and Mark (50th) had strong finishes. Hell, Dave looked like an actual cyclocross racer!

Bob "le" Pugh finished a strong 11th in the 45+ race and the team minister of beverages and other belgian indulgences, Howard Hesterburg, finished 4th in the 55+ race. Jacob "grommet" Wood blew through the course like the lithe and nimble "vachette" that he is, to finish 2nd in the juniors race. We might just make a bike racer out of him yet! Congrats to everyone! Finally, the Sledgehammer Charlie's team finished 7th overall in the team standings. Next year will be a different story...
Some pics:

Shelli MAKES the podium!

Heart attack, shmart attack!

"... It's the eye of the tiger, it's the thrill of the fight; risin' up to the challenge of a rival..."

Double down sports the anti-global warming 'cross racing uniform...

Is it better to look good or to be good?

Don't you think the grom looks like he could suffer a lot more?

I will post more pics as I get them. This will be the end of 'cross coverage until the winter cup kicks off right here in Lenoir on Jan. 6th (check out that pro purse!). Until then, you'll have to suffer through my less coherent, non-racing ramblings!

Sunday, December 10, 2006


Deep, deep pain cave spelunking at the NC 'cross series finals. My head is still spinning and I am in danger of drooling at any moment, so I'll give you the lowdown tomorrow. Congrats to everybody who I've raced against this season and I'll see you at the Winter Cup in Lenoir (hopefully).

Thursday, December 07, 2006

The Throwdown lowdown

First, a huge thank you to everyone who came (or thought about coming, wished they could have come, etc...) to our 1st annual customer appreciation throwdown. Jeff and I were a little afraid that no one would show and we would have a lot of food, beer and wine to work on ourselves! It was very hopeful to see a room full of people, enjoying themselves at a true party and the only thing they had in common was an obsession with two-wheeled, self-propelled recreation. Thanks to all for making it such a success. Jeff and I are very lucky to have such supportive friends in our fledgling cycling community.

With partying being the theme for today, I would like to present a beginner's guide to cyclocross spectating. As you may or may not know, this Sunday will be the 8th and final race in the NC Cyclocross Series and I would like to encourage everyone to make the trek to Tanglewood to watch everyone lay it on the line for final glory. The course is incredibly spectator friendly and you can see 95% of the course from just one or two vantage points.

Now, since the belgians set the bar in 'cross racing AND spectating,
(Exhibit A)

you've got to go with a good Belgian beer as your spectating drink of choice. But, what to choose? We at Luna Cycles have been engaged in an extensive search for the quintessential 'cross brew of choice and you get to benefit from all of our hard work!

Chimay Premium, Cinq Cents and Gran Reserve:

Made by trappist monks since the 1800's, Chimay is very smooth and drinkable. Alcohol content varies by type going from 7% to the 9% Gran Reserve. Only comes in big bottles, so bring a buddy!


Very effervescent with a slight bitter bite. Drinks very smooth and easy, but watch out for that 8% alcohol content! Available in single bottles, doubles and our personal favorite, the magnum. Perfect for popping and spraying from the podium!

Howard Hesterberg's 2007 NC CX 10th Anniversary Belgian Ale:

You've got to do something pretty special out on the course to have one of these bestowed on you! Bubbly and slightly sweet with very little head. Hopefully, I'll be worthy of one this weekend!

This is a Belgian Special Ale that will be sampled this weekend. I'll let you know what our panel thinks.

Come out and cheer us on at the final 'cross race of the fall season. I'm gonna be super-fanning it big-time since I just got a big Lion of Flanders flag! I'm gonna be cheering Jeff on in his effort to win back the master's series in the final event! I need someone to take up the superfan challenge during the men's and women's 4's since I'll be racing... Any volunteers?

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

"A long time ago, in a bike shop far, far away..."

I do not want to come across as being holier-than-thou, but we here at Luna Cycles have made the ultimate sacrifice in order to better serve you, our loyal fans. Yes, dear friends, The FORCE is now with us. In an effort to actually be able to speak intelligently about the new road offerings from SRAM, Jeff has willingly volunteered to give up his beloved Dura-Ace components and allow his BMC SLC01 to serve as a test platform for the new Force group.

Well, it arrived in the UPS truck yesterday (thank you brown Santa!) and was promptly hung on said bike. Now we want to be all scientific and stuff, so we kept some stats for you.
Size 49cm BMC SLC01 with Easton EC90 SLX fork and seatpost, Ritchey WCS 4 axis stem, Deda Super Natural bars, cinelli cork tape, speedplay x2 pedals, alloy bottle cages and full Durace group (no wheels): weight 10lbs 6ozs

After SRAM:
built with Force shifters, ft. and rear brakes, ft. and rear d'lers and SRAM 10spd chain, but keeping the DA crankset: weight 10lbs 1oz

total weight savings: 5ozs (approx. 1/3 of a pound!)

Initial impressions:
In the stand, the shifting took all of 3 seconds to adapt to. It is incredibly intuitive and very solid feeling. Finish and quality are equal to Shimano and almost as nice as Campy (I doubt that SRAM can afford an army of italian virgins to hand polish their components to a jewel-like finish with pure linen cloths soaked in the tears of the pope himself like Campy does...) I felt like an unfaithful husband as I mentioned the idea of replacing my Campy Record gruppo with this new, young, sexy interloper. So far, my gut reaction is to definitely believe the hype. All of the bad-mouthing on the internet about shifting difficulty and the like is pure garbage. You would have to be incredibly deficient in gray matter to not get the hang of it in a dozen shifts or less. I am also extremely happy to have successfully rescued my dear friend, Jeff, from the evil clutches of the dark empire (Shimano). I think I'll have him on a campy bike in this lifetime for sure now! I'll update you more as we get more feedback. Want to see it, feel it, ride it and fondle it in person? Come by the shop and we'll let you shift and twiddle to your heart's content, that is after all why we got it!

Monday, December 04, 2006

More 'cross report

From: Shelli
Subject: Burlington 'cross
Think you should also publish fellow Sledgehammer Charlie's teammate, Bob Pugh's performances. He placed 9th yesterday. Go BOB!!!!
Although both he and Ken Johnson have not done enough races to place in the overall, both have raced well this season and congrats should be made. Also worthy of mention, is that Sledgehammer Charlie's as a team is great. Though full results have not been posted (come on Tim!), as of Race #5, S.C.'s was ranked 6th out of nearly 60 Teams. Equally important to mention, is that you yourself are ranked 5th in the Series right now and that the Mens 4's Field happens to be the largest field out there. You had 40 riders Sunday. So, 12th and 18th for you and Jack is awesome. Luckily for Jeff, Ed is still only 27 points ahead. Still very doable for Welch with a winning performance (which we KNOW he can pull off!) and a 3rd place or worse finish for Ed. All kidding aside, the man is NOT a Terminator... vulnerable, human and subject to mechanicals just like the rest of us mortals. Everyone out there focus your mental energies on the S.C. Squad and hold your breath... next weekend should prove to be an exciting one!

Sorry for overlooking you Bob. I cheered for Bob while I warmed up on the trainer, so I didn't get to see how he did. A big belated congrats! As for my current overall standing, I am not sure what kind of math Tim learned as a child, but I am holding out on any high hopes until later this week 'cause I just don't see it the way it's listed right now. Around here they might opine: "that dog don't hunt".

I am super stoked that our little band of merry men + woman has managed such a high overall team standing. Tanglewood has come down to do or die for us all. I hope to leave everything on the course and have just enough strength left to tip a bottle to my lips afterward.

Here are some race pics:

Shelli gets off to a flying start!


Jeff took this photo a little out of focus to make me at least look fast...

I'm telling you, she's ready to eat her own guts and ask for seconds...

Here I am with the men's cx4's rocking out to A Charlie Brown Christmas by the Vince Guaraldi Trio. At the starting line. Seriously. Please, please, please can we have some music with a little more energy during the races?

So Shelli is wondering what I meant by telling her she had just 2 more steps. Well SW, it's just two more steps to the top of the podium!

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Like fun, but different.

I got home from today's suckfest in Burlington and had to go to the grocery store. I went by myself, since Owen was close to what we have come to recognize as "crabby time". I had a list, thanks to Golden, so I wandered the aisles matching the words on the list to items on the shelves. I went and waited at the deli to get some sandwich meat. I sorta layed out on the grocery cart and waited for some dude to get like 50 lbs of bologna. The lady called me next. She knows what I want and always asks "1/2 lb. of turkey or are you going to try something different?" I nodded and sort of formed the word "yes" as by this time I was really, really, really starting to feel all 4 laps of fun. She handed me the package and said, "Now you can go home and take a nap." This leads me to ponder: how bad do you have to look for a grocery store employee to notice how worked over you are?

The down and dirty of today's races are as follows:

Jeff managed to drop his chain after the barriers on the second lap, losing 6 places in the process. This prompted Ed D. to decide that would be a dandy time to drill it. Jeff chased like a cornered animal and finished 3rd to Ed's 2nd. The 35+ overall series is not a mathematical impossibility given the double points on tap next weekend, but Jeff has to drill it and not look back. Now, I don't want to repeat gossip, so listen very closely the first time: Is Ed D. a robot sent from the future to make the master's suffer in the NC 'cross series? You be the judge:
Give a real close once over to Ed at next week's race and let me know what you think.

Shelli Welch finished on the podium, again. She is like a broken record with this 3rd place thing, but mark my words: next weekend should see a confident and charming young lady ready to turn herself inside out and ask for seconds if needed! Just 2 more steps Shelli!

Jack Brown and I had just a fun, fun, fun little race, I tell you what. I got a good start, drilled it in the lead group of 5 or so for the first lap. Saw a guy try to remove a lot of his own skin the first time through the barriers. Hit a pedal and had my rear wheel swing around and say "Howdy!" Then on the finish straight (read "grassy bog of suckiness") I managed to lose contact. Jack came by me looking very strong so I didn't feel so bad. I tried to settle in to place conservation mode for a little bit. Now Burlington is a super-duper twisty course with more turns than a corkscrew, making it very difficult to pass. Ironically enough though, it seemed really easy to get passed... a lot. Jack managed 12th and I fought for shreds of dignity for 18th.

Howard Hesterberg, while not having an on day, perked right up when I yelled, "One more lap until you can have a beer!" He got it done to preserve his 3rd in the 55+ overall. Thanks for the chex mix, Howard. I think I would have had real issues driving home without it!

Pictures from the race and a full customer appreciation throwdown report in the next few days, plus a big surprise Luna Cycles product test is coming this week! Check back often and don't be afraid to email!

Thursday, November 30, 2006

The countdown begins...

Wanna race like a belgian? Train like a belgian!

We are now at t-minus 20 hrs and 30 mins to the 1st annual Luna Cycles Throwdown. We provide food and drinks (covering the spectrum of the Rockwell Hardness scale). Hope to see you there from 6 to 9ish.

2 days 'til the Burlington 'cross race. I've got my angry, how 'bout you?

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

just a day...

Today was lost in a serious fog of ennui. I think I am taking the angry thing a little too seriously, I was just right on the edge of pissed most of the day. I need to just relax and go to my happy place...

Well I don't know about you, but this in no way is going to influence my tire choice for next season.

Thanks for the emails, I promise to send replies out when I have half a second. Don't forget the throwdown Friday night and Burlington 'cross race on Sunday. See you there!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

"Don't drive angry..."

You may remember that prior to the NCGP 'cross races, I said that hopefully we would see a return of the angry. Jeff told JB that he just didn't have that fire in the belly anymore. "You need to find angry Jack" is what Jeff's advice was.

When I first met Jack, the guy rode like he was bound and determined to make everyone pay for a lifetime's worth of misdeeds, but now he is much mellower due to some new found happiness. Now I don't want to rain on anyones happy little parade, but come on, it's 'cross - you've gotta have some anger - or else its just getting dirty and screwing up a nice bike.

Well my friends, I think it is safe to say that the anger has returned to the Luna cycles crew. And since most of you probably don't believe me I have a little evidence for ya:

Here you see Jeff putting the wood to the master's 35+ field from the gun. I suggest you hum "Eye of the Tiger" while looking at this one.

Shelly Welch gutting it out in a combined 3-4 field. The overnight shifter change made her even more ready for drilling it all the way to the podium.

Jack Brown balances the warm glow of happiness with just a little razor blade of mean. Burlington is so suited to this guy it ain't even funny...

Yes dear friends, even I got in on the act, but I can't take all the credit for such a good race weekend. Some credit is due to Big Jonny for the drunkcyclist sweatband and matching socks. Money may not be able to buy you happiness, but it can help get your mean-on started.

Alrighty then: the countdown continues with 3 days to go until the Luna Cycles Customer Appreciation Throwdown and 5 days until the return of nccyclocross at Burlington! Get your A game ready!

Monday, November 27, 2006

Another day, another dollah...

First day back "in the trenches" as Jeff would say. Not much to say about it. No warm greetings from the kids, no "we missed you Mr. Moore". Don't blame 'em, the feeling is sorta mutual... Day in, day out bored, disinterested, 14 year olds staring at you waiting to be entertained and all your giving 'em is education. Oh well, we'll all get back into the groove of things.

I missed Owen like crazy today. Kept looking at the clock thinking its feeding time or time to take him out for a walk downtown. Colleagues asked me how I liked my "maternity" leave. {sigh}

Now the only way to snap out of this funk is to think about the weekends festivities:

Exhibit A - the Luna Cycles 1st annual customer appreciation throwdown is Friday from 6-9ish pm. Bring your A game for this one kids, cause it is on like donkey kong... No excuses will be accepted! Let me know if your coming so we'll have enough food for everybody!

Exhibit B - 'cross returns after a weekend off! Burlington will host the 7th race of the 8 race series. Only 2 chances left to podium!

So, I finally cleared up a misunderstanding between Jeff and I. Mid-way through my race on Sunday at Hendersonville, I hear Jeff shout what sounded to me like "get your head out of your ass!" There is a really funny thing that happens when people are shouting at you during races. When your doing well, they shout really encouraging things like, "your riding perfect""; when you are in it, but not quite there, they shout things like "don't get comfortable!"; and then when your sucking they say "alright, good job" or "keep it up". Our crowd is a bit more - - spirited is the word. From the infamous shout of "rip his f---ing guts out" to "crush him", our cheers are definitely more instructive. So what I thought Jeff had said to me felt pretty much par for the course. Come to find out, what he really said was a bit more banal. "Get your head in the game!", was the true statement shouted at me. Either way, it was sound advice. So come this Sunday, I will keep my head out of some things and decidedly in others. Hopefully, that is the recipe for success.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

We have a winner!

Congratulations to Chris Harris, Luna Cycles meccanico agiunto, of Tallahassee, Fla for his correct answer to the 1987 worlds question. Visible in the picture (yes, I am enforcing the strict letter of the question. I'm a middle school teacher remember...) are Stephen Roche, Ireland, (the really happy guy), Moreno Argentin, Italia (forza azzurri!), Juan Fernandez, Espana (3rd in both 87 and 88), Sean "the cannibal" Kelly, Ireland, Steven Rooks (tall blond guy) and Teun Van Vliet, both in the orange colors of the Dutch national team.

Thanks for the entries, all 3 of you!

Well, back to work tomorrow. Whoo-hoo....

Saturday, November 25, 2006

The worst kind of post

Kevin Carlisle, our 'cross friend from Morganton, got hit by a car Friday. I spoke with him and he said he has a lot of road rash and he is (understandably) pretty sore. Apparently, some asshat decided that they needed to turn directly in front of him, rather than wait 5 seconds and turn behind him. Please, please, please be careful out there. I know it is easy to feel safe, but remember they outweigh us by a significant amount. They scratch and dent, we break. Check out Kevin's 'cross blog. He has a lot of pictures up from Hendersonville. Let him know you're thinking about him. Heal quickly, Kevin!

Friday, November 24, 2006

Back to work...

The big feast has come and gone and now it's all about some leftovers. We went to our friends Tom and Lynda Lee to have the big meal with their families. Their son, Auguste, is about 7 months older than Owen, so it's like seeing the future when we are around him. Good to spend time with other people's families at the holidays to help you sort out that everybody's family is weird. That could be a new psychiatric revolution: just cart all your clients to your house for the holidays and show 'em, "see, we're screwed up too".

Got a good ride in with Jeff, A-Rod and Big E. Nice spin out 90. I turned around at Sand Mtn. so I could help out with the t-day baking. Golden cranked out a pumpkin pie and an apple pie that were so good they would make you want to slap your mother. I made sweet potato biscuits with orange-honey butter. We had dinner, Golden and I split a bottle of Chimay Cinq Cents, while the horde actually preferred Budweiser. What can you do....

All my time off has relaxed me to the point of nostalgia, when all I had to worry about was studying and riding my bike. I found this picture on and it definitely brought back memories. Campagnolo put this picture out as a huge poster, it was like 3ft. by 4ft. and I somehow managed to get a copy (and lose it in a move which makes my heart ache to this day). Stephen Roche had won everything that year: Giro d'Italia, Tour de France and then World's. He was the man that year. Of course, he really didn't do squat after that, but who cares. I was 17 and had been racing for like 2 years. I remember I felt physical pain if I didn't ride my bike every day. To say I was consumed was definitely an understatement. What is weird though, is that a lot of things have come in and out of my life; I've been obsessed and then nothing. But the bike has always been there, always holding my attention. I have no idea why. I go back to work Monday and I hope that I can hold on to some of the things I have found in myself these past three weeks taking care of Owen. The stress and angst of teaching can't dim the passions that make me who I am; I can't let it...

Alright, that's more than enough introspection, how about a trivia question? Be the first to name 3 other riders pictured in addition to Stephen Roche and I'll send you a Luna Cycles t-shirt. Email me using the contact me button. Send your address and shirt size!

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Turkey Day Eve

Looks like we will be doing a little pre-turkey throwdown ride at 9am. Nothing like a Thanksgiving day ride to get you ready for the serious amount of eating that the day has in store for you. I think the one thing that cyclist's like almost as much as riding is eating.

When my parents first met Golden, she was still racing professionally and it was smack in the middle of the season. We went to Cuisine of India (or as our finnish roommate would say "cousin of indian"). Golden ate all of her meal, tried some of mine and then sat, vulture-like, watching my parents as they picked through their first indian meal. Finally, Golden said, "Are you going to finish that?" My parents sat wide-eyed as they watched my 5'1", 105 lb. girlfriend polish off the better part of 3 indian dinners. My Dad still says, "Man, that girl could eat!"

Well, tomorrow is that kind of day. Eat a lot, but know that you better earn it and burn it before you end up having to carry it around come springtime.

My little vacation as Mr. Mom is drawing to a close and I've gotta say I'm pretty bummed about it. I wish I could stay home with Owen and work at the bike shop and not have to deal with the stress of teaching. I have to admit though that every day I see something or hear something that I want to incorporate into my class. The only heartbreaking thing about it, is that I will be the only one in the class enthusiastic about it. I just got through watching "An Inconvenient Truth" and it was very good. It is clear, precise and while the numbers certainly veer to the hopeless, it ends on an up note that we can do some very simple things to make a difference. Check it out over in the links bar.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

I need a spotter while I climb up on this soapbox...

One of the best things about going to races is the conversations you have with your teammates. I headed up to Pinehurst for state CX champs. with Double Down two weeks ago. After he argued with me about my CORRECT directions being different from what his super-crappy GPS said, we started talking about cars. Now DD drives a big Chevy Tahoe. I think it gets like 2 mpg or something crappy like that. DD was telling me that his dream vehicle is a Hummer. After I got through cussing/harassing this "dream", I started talking about alternative fuel vehicles and hybrids and such. Then DD had the most cogent insight: people will not buy electric vehicles because they lack the right "noise". Now, where I live, we have a varied assortment of big, out of shape, rednecks who think pushing an accelerator to make a car/truck go "VRRRROOOOOOOMMMM" really loud is some sort of secondary sexual display of male verility. It never ceases to amaze me how caught up we can get in how the stuff we own establishes who we are...

I am not perfect and I am not rabid, but as a science teacher and a semi-intelligent human, I am trying to recognize my small responsibility in the current global environmental problems that we now find ourselves embroiled in. This has been an attitude that Jeff and I have brought to the shop as well. Bike companies are an absolute nightmare of packaging and we have made a concerted effort to recycle as much of this waste, plus the glass that we seem to magically produce through the consumption of various frosty beverages and I gotta say, all that stuff adds up. During the summer, I was taking a full truck load of recyclables to the recycling center (outiside the city limits, thank you Lenoir city council) every weeks or so. We have also been purchasing NCgreenpower energy credits to offset our carbon output due to electricity consumption. It's a start at least...

When Owen came along, Golden and I did not want to contribute another crap load of disposable diapers to the landfill and so we did some research and decided to invest in a set of Fuzzi Bunz cloth diapers. I was amazed at all of the "experienced" parents who said things to our face like: "Oh, that'll never last." Now let me explain, these aren't cloth square with diaper pins people. We have put men on the moon, a computer in the home and a phone in your pocket, but cloth diaper technology remains unchanged since the 18th century? Right... Anyway, the diapers work extremely well. At first, due to recurring cases of both monkey butt and baboon ass, we had to use the dreaded disposables. I should have just wrapped Owen up in money, it probably would have been cheaper and I wouldn't have felt so bad about throwing it away since it would biodegrade in a reasonable period of time. Now, with the exception of when he goes to bed, we use them exclusively. They are easy to use, you wash them in the washing machine and you don't feel like a wasteful ass when you use them.

Alright, enough ranting. I've been making some changes to this site and plan on doing more. I want to point out the contact me link in the About me box. Drop me a line and let me know what you think, even if you want to point out how I'm an idiot!

Sunday, November 19, 2006

"I'm your huckleberry."

The word for the day boy's and girl's was SUPERCOLD. Hendersonville was a swirling wind refrigerator of frostiness that brought to mind well diggers and witch's lingerie. Jack Brown, Shelli, the grommet and I were all slated for a frosty 10 am start. I managed to crash during warm up again today, but no harm befell me.

Jack and I set off at the whistle. Decent starts for both of us. Nobody decided to be a tool and crash in the first g turn like yesterday and I found myself in about 5th or 6th spot going into the g up. That went smooth and I hung with that group for a little while, but the body suddenly realized that this was the second day IN A ROW of racing 'cross and decided to let me know how it felt. I hung in tough staying in the top 8 until I went around a turn on lap 2 and decided to see how wet the grass was with the entire right side of my body. A bunch of dudes passed me (thanks Howard for not running over my hand!) and I jumped back on the bike and took off in chase. I realized that my right shifter/brake lever was cocked in about 45 degrees, but decided to keep riding that way rather than lose more time. I knew Jack had passed me, so I had hope for a strong finish for somebody on the team. I chased and brought back some guys and then in the closing half of the last lap, I could see Jack and 2 or 3 other guys all clustered together. I bridged up close, but not enough. Jack finished 13th with me right behind in 14th.

Shelli got a replacement shifter last night and got to race with gears, so needless to say she felt redemption in the air. And redeem herself she did, sticking with her main rival until the close of the race and finishing a super strong 3rd in a mixed 3/4 women's field. I smell a category upgrade for next year...

Lastly, the grommet smoked the field placing an incredible 1st place in this his first weekend of 'cross racing. Today's gold matches the silver he earned yesterday. The sheer intimidation factor the kid brings to the line, coupled with the appearance that he might actually eat one of his competitors, could be the start of a fine 'cross career. Grom's mom weighed in by telling him he needed to stop riding "scared", leave it to a mom to cut through the crap and go straight for the heart of the matter. Yeah grom, do what your mom says...

The marquis event featured another Jeff Welch vs. Ed D. show down. Two new clowns were in the mix putting the screws to everybody and locking up 1st and 2nd place, but the overall series is still a tight race between the once and the future kings. Yesterday saw our hero bested by a mid race Ed D. surge (patent pending), but today was a different matter altogether as JW had managed to stoke his inner angry to a new level of intensity. From the gun, Jeff was pinning it to force the large lead group into a select few, so that business could be gotten down to. By mid race, Jeff and Ed were locked together until, with 3 laps to go, Ed surged hard. But not hard enough. For two and a half laps, Jeff slowly but surely pulled Ed back. Ed must have felt like someone had just walked over his grave as he nervously looked over his shoulder again and again. Jeff caught him in the grass before the barriers and ran by him through the barriers just to mess with him. Ed attacked one last time in the woods, but to no avail. Out of the woods, down the g turn, across the off camber, up the g up and down the final chute to the hairpin leading to the pavement straightaway, Jeff and Ed were locked together. But once tires touched pavement, Jeff unleashed a furious sprint and bested a tired looking Ed to the line by several bike lengths. Their finishes cancel each other out so neither of them has gained or lost ground in the series, and so, with 2 races left, a 20 point differential seperates Jeff from overall victory. This one is gonna be a nail biter...

This weekend was a great race at a great venue. Spectators were few, but rabid. I know we yelled our brains out for everybody on course. Howard even came down and let us bask in the glow of his megaphone. I think we need to get one of those...

Race pics coming soon!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

A brief personal history

So, I got a hit tracker for this blog and noticed that I was getting link hits from an old friend, the gnome, at The gnome is a true flagstaffrican homeboy and one of the best riders I've been around. I have a story about his cycling prowess, but I need to give you some background first.

I did my first 'cross race in Flagstaff at Ft. Tuthill on the day after Halloween in '98 or '99. I think 4 of us showed up to race and then a few spectators showed up who were so hungover from all the Halloween festivities that standing up became a sort of side competition. I totally sucked, but I was hooked. The "series" never materialized that year. Jim "legs" Lehmann won the AZ state 'cross championships that year, I think like four people showed for that too.

The next year, I somehow took over running the northern AZ 'cross series. We did a total guerilla series, never bothering to secure any permission or permitting for the races. The races were advertised with a generic starting area, Late For The Train coffee shop. Everyone would ride to the coffee shop and then I would tell them where the race would take place and they would ride off to meet me there. The courses were pretty low budget and we had to get in and get out before we got caught. The rules were that if you were in last place then you had to pick up the barriers as you finished the last lap. You also had to drink a shot of Old Crow Whiskey (the cheapest whiskey I could find) if you lost. We started having 15 to 20 people showing up for each class. It was time to go legit-ish...

The next year, I got "permission" to run the series on the NAU campus. 6 races, 2 per weekend for three weekends. I would get up at the buttcrack of dawn and hammer stakes into frozen ground and run tape as the sun came up. I think we charged like 5 bucks for each category. The most memorable course feature was a super long, super steep run up called "the Crippler" that actually made Jeremy "Pounds of" Bounds vomit on one lap.

So the last race of the series came down to 2 riders in the A class battling it out for the overall: The Gnome and Pete "Creamy" Prebus. Right from the gun the gnome puts the wood to it and starts bunny hopping every barrier in sight. These were the regulation 16" high barriers and the dude was bunnyhopping the triple, the double and even the barrier I placed at the bottom of a steep grass berm to force riders to make it a run-up. He dropped creamy hard, but then all of a sudden, Creamy started bunnyhopping barriers for the first time ever. Now creamy had raced 'cross for as long as he'd been alive. When he was 13 or 14 he had been featured in a how-to video called "A taste of 'cross" (anybody got a copy?) showing how to run through the barriers. The dude was glass smooth dismounting and remounting, but the gnome had gotten the edge when he started bunnyhopping. When I talked to creamy at the end of the race he said that he figured he better learn how to bunnyhop the barriers or the race was lost. I'm sad to say that the gnome was not victorious that day, but he definitely made for a thrilling race.

I checked out and learned that the gnome is about to join my ever growing circle of friends who are new parents. Congratulations on the impending birth! I agree with the gnome that nobody can tell you what parenthood will be like, but I will add that it is the greatest thing that has happened to me and hope him the same experience.

Lastly, day one of Hendersonville:
Jeff Welch 4th place master's 35+
Shelly Welch 6th place Women's 3/4 (crashed warming up, so she busted it out singlespeed style!)
Me 4th place CX4, hell yeah I top fived! I gotta bottle of Chimay Grand Reserve to celebrate with too!

I'll update with race details after tomorrows fun!

Friday, November 17, 2006


I'm starting to lose track of what day of the week it is. I love that...

Owen and I have gotten into a nice routine. We've been hanging out downtown and I am really struck by just how different it is than when we first moved here. It is so much more vibrant and I am still dumbstruck by the negative attitudes of some locals. I guess you either figure it out or you get left behind. Please make a visit to downtown merchants during your holiday shopping, you can only better our town by spending your money locally!

Don't forget to talk about bringing recycling back to Lenoir. Talk to anybody who will listen. The next step is to present this request to the county.

Well, Mr. Grumpy needs to go for a walk...

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Photos from SandHELL!

Finally got a hold of some photos from the weekends festivities (Thanks Jeff and Shelly!). Owen is napping, so I actually have a chance to post during the day! The Overall standings are posted, so check 'em out at!

Last nights weather should make for some interesting course conditions in Hendersonville this weekend. Jeff and I have been debating the right setup for this weekend; it comes down to being ready for mud and slick grass (especially the G-up). If you can make it, this weekend's races are well worth the travel time to spectate! 2 days to go!