Sunday, December 28, 2008

Down with rain!

Due to uncooperative weather, today's group mtn. bike ride is cancelled.  I'll post info on upcoming mtn. bike rides in the future.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

"She steals a piss under the mistletoe"

We are listening to Fiona Richie's "The thistle and the shamrock" celtic music show on NPR and I swear that Fiona just said the above quoted line as a description of a song she is about to play.  Apparently, I am not living up to my scottish heritage as I only kiss under the mistletoe.  Something to work on next holiday season.

Big, fun offroad ride happens tomorrow at Kerr Scott Reservoir (located on HWY 268 outside of Wilkesboro)!  We will meet at the Over Mountain Victory trailhead at 1pm for the first group mountain bike ride of the season.  All skill levels welcome!  If you haven't ridden this trail before, it is a great one to ride for beginners and experienced riders alike.  It is an out and back trail with several natural regrouping points, so please join us for a good, dirty time! 

Friday, December 26, 2008

Further Holiday Happenings


Owen's first ride with pedals. from Shawn Moore on Vimeo.

You've built up a serious store of calories as you have eaten your way through the holidays.  Don't try to lie, you know I'm talking to you.  Well, this weekend will be the perfect opportunity to put those extra calories to work!  Saturday morning shop road ride will meet at 10 am.  Sunday, we are looking to do a group mtn. bike ride at Dark Mtn.  Tentative meeting time is 1 pm.  I'll post a firm meeting time as soon as I know it.

As always, I'm gonna get you Shaw Brown!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

When brains win out

So, we met up with an abbreviated crew this morning for the Christmas Eve Day Dirt Road Epic.  Noticeably absent was the rides original organizer, Paul, who apparently got his days mixed up and despite telling everyone that the ride would be today, did the ride yesterday.  Bad form.  So Jeff, Todd, Chuck, Max, Eric Sandifer and I met up at the Hard and Flossie Clark Park at the overcast grey time of 8 am.  Despite the forecasts and predictions to the contrary, the weather could best be summed up with one word: effin' cold.  We bundled up and took off for what we intended to be a 3+ hour dirt road ride.

Within 10 minutes of riding, my hands were essentially useless blocks of wood.  Then it started to rain.  You know it is bad when within the first 10 minutes of a ride you start figuring out where it ranks in the pantheon of stupid crap you have done in your life.  This ride was headed for my top ten and we hadn't even really begun.  I pulled up beside Jeff and just gave him a look like, "we aren't seriously gonna push through this are we?"  We had gone from cold to wet and cold pretty darn quickly and everyone was pretty eager when a reroute was suggested.

We turned onto Johns River Rd. and started heading back to the car, but we were hell bent to maintain our new tradition of mid ride tea time.  We pulled over at the coffee cup house (a house completely covered in coffee cups in case you were wondering) and began pulling out our tea time fixin's.  Todd, incensed by my act of one-upsmanship at the last tea, pulled out all the stops as he layed a lace napkin out on the ground and proceeded to light candles and place them on the cloth.  Tea, cookies, chocolate and ritz crackers with peanut butter dipped in white chocolate (hey, we were burning LOTS of calories just maintaining normal body temperature) were layed out and tea was poured into everyone's cups.  Civility was rampant.  Not to be outdone, I have a big surprise for the next epic ride tea service.

Merry Christmas and Happy Sir Isaac Newton's Birthday!  No epic ride tomorrow, but lots of mtn. biking this weekend!  Owen will be tearing up the greenway on his new Hotrock once he wakes up and sees it under the tree!  Is the world ready for him to be on a bike with pedals?

Stoking the fire



Get ready for some Dark Mtn. off road riding this weekend! 

Sunday, December 21, 2008

les forcats de la route

On particularly difficult rides or rides where conditions degrade and the general consensus terms a ride as an "epic", a peculiar mood strikes the group.  There is a certain point where everyone settles down to the business of getting the work of the ride done, where everyone punches the clock and accepts the grim business of accepting that the more pain one endures, the sooner the end will come. 

Today, we headed out for the slightly longer than 3 hours Maple Sally dirt road ride.  The temperature steadily dropped over the course of the entire ride until finally, feet and fingers were no longer felt or functional.  The pace turned up as an unspoken desire to get back to the cars and the warmth that they could provide was realized by everyone at the same time.  We got back to the cars, loaded up and headed for home.

In an attempt to maintain civility on the ride, Todd and I both packed flasks of hot tea to be shared at the midpoint of the ride.  Todd went with a Black Chai, while I went with the classic Earl Grey with a touch of soy milk.  Todd produced several metal demi-tasse cups from his bag, but  I one-upped him with an assortment of Dutch Butter Cookies.  We are both contemplating how to up the ante for the next ride.  I'm thinking scones with a bit of creme fraiche at the very least, but the idea of having a camp stove and a stove top espresso maker isn't entirely out of the question, either.

Once we were back to the cars, the realization of how cold I was made me yearn for the warmth of the car, but this was a hollow dream.  I have a 1987 Mercedes-Benz Turbo Diesel station wagon.  Apparently, the heating system on this car is a hold over from a Nazi design as it functions like some sadistic experiment.  It primarily blows cold air for a vast majority of the journey, no matter how high you turn up the thermostat.  But then, at some point, the heat cranks up to an unrighteous degree.  You want to turn it down, but this does nothing.  You turn off the heater - nothing, it still blows horrendously hot air.  You roll down the windows and get a mixture of cold air and desert wind swirling around inside the car.  Alas, our trip home wasn't long enough to even put a toe into the hot zone.

Please stop by the shop this Tuesday beginning at 4 for a bit of holiday cheer.  This Wednesday will be the Christmas ride leaving from Hard and Flossie Clark Park in Collettsville at 8am.  This will be a dirt road ride with 3 and 6 hour options.  Mountain and 'Cross bikes are welcome!  Bring a snack!  Call the shop for more information.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Weeks end, holiday windup

Finally, school is at a brief break and the week is at a close.  Stress at the holidays is compounded for teachers as they must juggle to keep students engaged and ultimately entertained for the week that runs up to Christmas break.  It ain't easy as you know (and have had yourself) to control those daydreams of flung open doors and young bodies hutling out into the light of freedom that lies just outside the school.  And who blames them?  I, too, am ready for that brief respite that comes with the holidays.  A chance to relax and recharge.  And a chance to ride, run, eat and be merry. 

There are several holiday rides in the works and I will announce all the information that I get.  There will be a dirt road ride on Sunday (time TBA) and a dirt road ride on Christmas Eve Day (time TBA).  Both will be casual affairs.  We will also embark on some dirtier excursions as we will be looking to hit the trails at Dark Mtn. for the next several weeks.  Most importantly, there will be a trail building day tomorrow at the new Warrior Creek trail near the Dark Mtn. trail system.  The announcement is as follows:

HO, HO, HO!

No, that's not what you will find at trail day but come on out
anyway. Listen up. WE, myself included, need to get out and support
the faithful few that have been trudging forwards in the muc and mud
at Warrior Creek to bring us the sweetest single track yet. Here's
the deal:

Saturday, December 20
9:00 am @ the Warrior Creek Campground gate house
we'll stop whenever, you can stop when you want - we're all
volunteers

There's plenty of work to go around. If you've thought about coming
out, now is your chance.

If you're coming late, come on through the gate and drive until you
see our cars. Walk towards the sound of the Ditch Witch. We'll be
close by.

Call Horton if you have any problems. 336-957-0211 Look here for
directions: http://www.bmcc. us/kerr_scott. htm

And remember, trail work is fun.

I hope to see you there.

Bum


If you can make it, this is a great opportunity to help build one of the best trail networks around!  If you can't make it this time, there will be other days in the future, so stay tuned for more information.

Lastly, Tuesday the 23rd will be our informal Holiday get together at the shop.  Come by anytime after 4 to share in good cheer(s) and healthy libations!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Luna Cycles vs. the world at US CX Championships


Other notable results:  Bob Pugh 28th (B Men's 40+) and Chris Behrman 19th (B Men's 30-34).  NC riders are doing well with several top 5 finishes in the various B Men's and Women's fields and the Junior races.  Get full results and follow the action live at cxmagazine.com!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Newsflash

Jeff Welch has just won the Men's B 40+ race at Cyclocross National Championships in Kansas City!

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

A little experiment

I'm starting a mailing list (electronic and old-fashioned!) and invite you all to join.  You can fill out the form here.  Thanks!

I'm gonna get you Shaw Brown.

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

'Cross Season Postscript

My head no longer hurts, my neck is no longer tweaked, and I have ripped the fickle tires from my wheels in an effort to make a clean break from the cyclocross season.  All in all, I had a great season and was able to more than accomplish all of my pre-season goals.  Further, I now have a willing and good-natured nemesis to harrass, cajole and plot against from now until the first race of next year's 'cross season.

Jeff, Chris Behrmann, Bob "the guru" Pugh, Jeremiah and Sonni Dyer have departed for Cyclocross Nationals in Kansas City.  Good luck to everybody headed that way to race!  Keep it upright and kick ass!

Special thanks to everybody who hung out to cheer for the Brown-Moore Salisbury Throwdown.  Sorry it wasn't more of a battle.  Thanks to Marty for the fresh, back of the pickup brewed espresso shots pre-race and to Jack for my post-race recovery beverage. 

I'm gonna get you Shaw Brown...

Saturday, December 06, 2008

Reap the whirlwind, Gigantor!

 
Dear Shaw,
While you have been coddling yourself, keeping your legs elevated and channeling the advice of a cycling coach who last had success in 1984, I've had this bottle in the refrigerator as a reminder of what tomorrow is all about.  Today, I annealed my strength in the snowy crucible of Bristol, TN and channeled my inner flauhute, Bart Wellens.  
Assemble your crew.
Shawn

Racing in a winter wonderland!

A freezing cold race was made all the better with the onset of snow midday. It is really coming down now. True Belgian 'cross conditions in the mtns of TN!

Congrats to Todd Braswell for his 2nd place in the Master's 35+ and a big win in the singlespeed race in the worst conditions of the day!

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Sticks and stones, Mr. Brown...

After trying to both spark a friendly rivalry and provide a bit of face-saving anonymity for my adversary, Shaw Brown (owner of Boone Bike and recent voluntary foe in the Brown/Moore Throwdown in Salisbury), Mr. Brown has fired a none too subtle shot across my bow with his taunting remarks about my being a "smelly pirate hooker" and that he will be beating me in my fancy new Luna Cycles kit. 

Well Mr. Brown, you sir have taken things right to the gutter.  I will remain far above the fray and will refrain from making any remarks with regards to your freakish size or what some may regard as a severe crack problem.  No sir, I consider those sorts of things to be off limits and beyond the realm of good taste.  I will let my legs do the talking and can only hope that you will not be so quick to call someone else a smelly pirate hooker in the future.  And as for my shiny, new Luna Cycles kit, we made the back of it very interesting for people who find themselves in the position you will find yourself.

To be continued Sunday, sir!

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

Luna Cycles shop kits are here!

The kits are here and they are super pimp! If you have spoken for a kit, please get up with us ASAP as our stock is limited and the demand is high.  If you have spoken for a kit, but want to hold off for now, let us know so we can fulfill someone else's wishlist.  Give us a call at the shop - 759-1990 one way or the other.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Challenge: Accepted!

"Stan" has accepted the challenge I have laid out for the final CX3 race of the season! I accept the consequences of this challenge knowing full well that his crew will be in full heckle mode, but I suspect my crew will be able to hold their own on the sidelines as well! As for the Shawsquatch's contention that we should be racing 35+ - oh, I'll be doing that race, too! and Bristol the day before! This should be the blowout ending to the NCCX series. Rumor has it that there could be certain Belgian libations on the race course proper, but keep that under your hat...

In other news: Luna Cycles kits are expected to be in our hands this Thursday! Talk about your serious pre-christmas stocking stuffer! Look for a grand unveiling and review here in the very near future. In the meanwhile, practice your cowbell ringing, horn blowing and rude comment yelling for this Sunday's ultimate test of pack fodderdom that will henceforth and forevermore be known as The Moore-Brown Throwdown - 2008! Bring it Big Boy... Bring it!

Monday, December 01, 2008

3 races left

I find myself lamenting and looking forward to the end of 'cross season. It is weird because I have more than accomplished all of my preseason goals, so rather than thinking about what should have been and trying to salvage what is left, I'm pretty much satisfied and yet there are still races left to be raced. In order to stoke the furnace for the final push to the end of the season, I have come up with a simple motivational tool. There is a certain bike shop owner of a certain bike shop in Boone with whom I have a very friendly rivalry. We have both had good race seasons, both have upgraded to CX3 and are both pretty evenly matched. Currently in the NC Cyclocross series, I am 2 points behind, let's call him Stan. Now in the Hendersonville races, I finished 2 places behind Stan both days. On day 2 I passed him twice, and came to grief within seconds of each pass. The first time I rolled my tubular, the second time I crashed hard into the plastic barrier at the base of the run up and Stan jumped over me.

The point of all of this. I know, get to the point. Here it is: I propose I friendly wager with "Stan". If "Stan" finishes higher in the NCCX CX3 point standings for the season, I will buy him the beer of his choice. If I beat "Stan", then he will do likewise. What do you think? Fair and friendly? Motivational? If you know "Stan", how about running this modest proposal by him for me. A nonpartisan mediator may be the best approach.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Post Turkey Day throwdown



A group of us met up at the still unbelievably named Hard and Flossie Clark Park in Collettsville to do the Maple Sally-Mortimer-Brown Mtn. Beach-Adako Rd. loop.  The route is about 90% dirt roads and goes through a very undulating series of wooded climbs and descents, dumping you out onto Brown Mtn. Beach Rd. where you rip back on a mostly descending road through Wilsons Creek Gorge.  It is a beautiful mini-epic ride.

It started off downright cold, but after a short bit the weather warmed up a bit and the ride was very comfortable.  At about the midway point, Jeff, Chuck and I stopped and I whipped out my flask of Earl Grey and shared some nice, hot tea and ate my pbj sandwich.  Ah, the civility of social rides!  Next time, I will endeavor to have scones and jam, maybe a bit of ham and cheese...  At the end, Paul Sullivan of Winskins, started talking about a Dec. 24th EPIC ride that he and Sonni Dyer of Studio 7 have dubbed the "Zig Zag loop".  This ride figures to be 80% dirt roads and features several significant climbs.  Not sure of an estimated length, but bringing a couple of meals would probably be in order.  I'll let you know more specifics as I get them so you can come join the fun!

A little something to help you through this 'cross-less weekend:

Thursday, November 27, 2008

happy thanksgiving!

The beginnings of the mushroom bread pudding to be served with the roasted pheasant.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Weekend update

This weekend will be the NC Gran Prix UCI - C2 races on Saturday and Sunday.  Perusing the list of pre-registered elite men online has revealed the potential for a very exciting and competitive race amongst the big boys! The lowdown on the weekend's players thus far:

Jonathon Baker-(Vitamin Cottage) when not ripping the legs off of competitors in Colorado, he likes to do little things like top 10 at this year's 'Cross Vegas and race select World Cups in Belgium and the Netherlands in preparation for his run at this year's Elite Cyclocross World Championships.

Russell Stevenson (Redline Bicycles) - 2008 Washington Elite Champion

Jake Wells (Mafiaracing.com/Pabst) - this guy is crushing everyone in sight and likes the cold and nasty! Check out the pics!

Bart Gillespie (MonavieCannondale) - Bart is on the way to his 6th consecutive Utah Cyclocross Series Championship and looks to be able to bunnyhop barriers like nobody's business!


Phil Gaimon (Fiordifrutta) - The guy won this year's Mt. Washington Hillclimb, need I say more?

Meanwhile, my hope for a top 20 finish in the 2/3 race looks pretty good given that only 18 riders are preregistered at this time.  If it stays like this, I'm liking my odds at that top 20....

Monday, November 17, 2008

Weekend report

A big weekend of results for the Orangemen of Sledgehammer Charlie's!  In Bristol, Jack Brown finished 4th in the CX4's, Jeff got 2nd and Todd ot 4th in the Master's 35+ and Todd finished on the podium in the singlespeed race.  On Sunday, the boys headed to Sandhell for round 6 of the NCCX series.  Jeff "Pou Pou" Welch finished 2nd in the Masters 45+ race, Jack Brown found the top step of the podium in the CX4 race and Chris Behrman erased the bad luck he's had with a strong 3rd place finish in the CX3 race.

My upgrade was approved today thanks to the very quick work of Vicki Lyons, USA Cycling ref.  Thanks, Vicki!  I am already preregistered for this weekend's throwdown in Hendersonville.  Two days of racing on a stellar course and getting to see the big boys chasing UCI points will be a great pre-Turkey Day treat.  Can't wait!  Now, we just gotta get Jack to upgrade...

Saturday, November 15, 2008

At long last

Today, I once and for all relieved myself of the inability to push through and win a bike race.  Having finally realized that I was beating myself more than anyone else was, I resolved that today would be my last race as a CX4 and that I would go out with a win.

I had this great, well though out strategy of what I was going to do and how I would execute a win.  Like every good race plan, this one was renedered null and void within 10 seconds of the word "Go!".  Two jokers rested in today's deck of racers as some of the Lees-McRae guys showed up.  These guys are no slouches and I knew once I spied the green and gold kit that they were the ones to watch and worry about.

My race plan was to make the lead group (duh) and then with 2 laps to go, to attack and try to hang on for the finish.  In previous races, I waited until too close to the finish to attack and slight screwups (i.e. attacking the ground with my body) were magnified into the difference between a win and an also ran.  I wanted this time to be different and so I was mentally preparing for all of the strategy necessary to accomplish my goal.

The ref said "Go!" and we all took off down the long opening straight in a grassy field headed for the tight, twisty technical section that lurked beyond the first turn.  I got the hole shot and headed into the technical section.  Because the course doubled back on itself several times, I was able to get a good look at the race behind me and how it was unfolding.  I saw the Lees-McRae guys stuck in traffic, saw that I had a gap and thought "Now or never".  I attacked right then knowing that I was trying to go clear from the gun and hang on to the end.  And sure enough, it worked.  For the first two laps, I had a 10 to 15 second advantage over a hard charging group of chasers.  Constant encouragement from the sidelines by Jeff and the Braswell clan let me know exactly how I was doing and what I needed to do to maintain.  Once the gap hit 30 seconds, I knew I just had to ride smart and the win would be mine.  More than anything, a sense of relief washed over me as I put my arms in the air and crossed the line.

Thanks to everyone for all of the encouragement; I couldn't have done it without you.

No more monkeys jumping on the bed

Finally, a W!

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

The big dip

Fatigue has set in and I can't seem to actually get energized.  Sure, I can muster little bursts of excitement, but sustainability is definitely lacking.  Not sure what is going on; I just hope I can snap out of it.  I'm banking on this weekend being the breakthrough that I am searching for.

Bristol is going to be my last race as a CX 4.  I will be upgrading following the race.  Jeff has been none to subtle in his insistence that I should upgrade, but I have some pre-season goals that I am trying to fulfill.  Going into the season, I wanted to podium a race and I wanted to win a race.  So far, I have 2 podiums, 8 finishes in the top 10, but no win.  Bristol is my last shot at fulfilling this goal as a CX 4 after that, I readjust my goals for my debut in the CX 3 class.  Unfortunately, my first 3 race will be the Hendersonville UCI race which is a 2/3 combined field.  Nothing like a good trial by fire to sharpen the senses and keep you aware of your fragile mortality.  Now that it is all out in the open, I feel much better and maybe Jeff will stop calling me a sandbagger...

Check out these great photos from the Dobson/NCCX State Championships (make sure you turn your sound up!).  See you Saturday!

Sunday, November 09, 2008

NCCX #5 - Dobson, NC

Tthere are about a million things that have to go right in order to be in a position to win a bike race. When the stars align, you know it is your time. When they don't, you engage in an epic struggle with luck and fate, and that deck is stacked against you.
Today Jeff finished an impressive 3rd after suffering a flat and having to work his way back through slower traffic.
I did not feel the good sensations prior to my race, but once the referee said, "Go!", I realized this was a good day. Running up the barrier/run-up section in the lead group I realized that my front wheel was loose and in danger of falling out of the dropouts. I stopped to fix it and was passed by what felt like 100 or so racers. I drilled it, passing everybody back and making it to within 10 meters of the lead group. They dangled there, just out of reach for the next 20 minutes. I was ultimately pipped for fifth, finishing a hard fought 6th place.
This marked my last race as a CX4 in NC. Would have been nice to win, but sometimes Fate as other ideas.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Lenoir Downhill


Owen rips the downhill. from Shawn Moore on Vimeo.

The Difference

There are contenders and there are pretenders. Which one are you? Jeff takes time to file his tires to prepare for tomorrow's NCCX state championships. See you there!

Sunday, November 02, 2008

Hat trick


The Lenoir Cyclocross race was today.   A large turnout of racers plus some really warm weather made for a great day of racing.  The course was fast and not too technical, lending itself to some great tactical racing.  The Orangemen of Sledgehammer Charlie's Racing were in force in many of the days races with the most impressive lineup in the CX 4 race.  Jack Brown, Max Dyer and I punched it from the gun opening up a gap and driving hard at the front for 3 laps.  One non-Sledgehammer ramora fish got a good tow around the course until he decided to capitolize on his fresh legs.  Our hopes of a 1-2-3 finish were slightly disrupted and we finished 2nd (Max), 3rd (Jack) and 6th (me). 

The big news of the day was Jeff's breakout sprint victory over Randy Shields in the 45+ race!  Big props to Jeff on a big, big, well deserved W! Congratulations also to Nicole Thomas and her 3rd place finish in the Women's CX4 race!

The true madness on the day lay in the ability to do multiple races.  Scott Staley and I both did the Masters 35+, CX4, and CX3 races!  That is about 2 hours of 'cross racing!  Bob Pugh rode the 45+ and the CX3 race, Jack Brown the CX4 and CX3 race and  Howard Hesterburg rode the 55+ and CX4 race!

Now, I'm eating rice pudding with my feet up, trying to stay awake a little bit longer.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

MUD!



Nys kills it in Koppenbergcross despite a crash that dislocated his finger!  See you in Lenoir for Round 4 of the NC Cyclocross Series tomorrow!

Friday, October 31, 2008

Pumpkins for change

My Dad got busy with the cutlery and carved up these three pumpkins for Halloween. Holiday and political statement twofer! Don't forget to vote!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

The enabler

So, in addition to this Sunday's Lenoir edition of the NC Cyclocross Series, Saturday sees race number 3 of the TN MSG Cross series hit Bristol, TN.  I had mentioned this to Golden last week and between you and me, she was less than thrilled at the prospect of a double race weekend,  and rightly so, I must add.  Too much goin on in a tightly packed weekend is hard with a two year-old running around in full effect.  So I let the idea drop of trying to do both.

Then up pops a text message this afternoon from none other than Hammer down Jack Brown asking if I was interested in hitting the race and jetting back here in time to do course setup on Saturday.  Damn you, Jack!  We'll have to wait and see how this bit of bedevilment turns out.  Stay tuned...

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Now it's on like Donkey Kong

Alright boys and girls, this Sunday the NC Cyclocross series heads to our home turf of Lenoir and the always entertaining Rotary Soccer Complex 'cross course!  Never a dull moment, come check out the most exciting, painful and FUn half hour, 45 minutes and 1 hour of bicycle racing.  Experience the thrill of victory, the chills of hordes of bikes and bodies hurtling towards barriers in a ballet of chaos, and don't forget to bring your cowbells, drums, horns and hollering voices to cheer on every racer as they push themselves to the limit!

Go here to get a nice primer on cyclocross racing and spectating.  (*Caution - video does contain images of adults having a lot of fun doing things that may be deemed childish.  Please do not view videos if you have issues with adults having fun.  You've been warned.)

A little 'Cross Vegas for ya!
               
CrossVegas Cyclo-Cross 2008 from cyclofile.com on Vimeo.

Look close and you'll catch a glimpse of Jeff in the crowd (at least I think it's Jeff, I'm outside of the camera angle eating pizza and enjoying free beverages with the BMC guys)

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Hawksnest 'Crossfest preliminary results

Jeff pulls a Poulidor for the third straight masters 45 plus race. Big Jack Brown pulled off the W and I dug deep for sixth after some issues...

Heading to Hawksnest

Cold and windy, shut your mouth!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Newsflash

Congratulations to Todd Braswell (Sledgehammer Charlie's/Luna Cycles) for his 27th place finish at Round 1 of the US Gran Prix of Cyclocross in Louisville, KY!  We'll keep you posted about his results at Round 2 tomorrow!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Hawksnest Crossfest

This weekend we hit the next venue in the NC Cyclocross Series at Hawksnest Ski area.  The weather right now is perfect: cold, rainy and generally classic 'cross conditions, but Sunday it is supposed to be sunny and warm.  Damn!  The live DJ, beer tent, "Kitty Box" sand pit, Black Cat burritos and Sledgehammer Charlie's chili will have to make up for the depressingly nice weather....

Get up the mountain for a great day of 'cross racing thanks to the Boone Bike crew.  First race starts at 10.  Be prepared for a party and all that that entails.  Some people have been known to have to sleep it off in the parking lot before being capable of driving...

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Finally home

Just got home from a looooong weekend of 'cross in Raleigh and Cary.  Two hard days of racing and lots of travel time have added up to me being on the verge of passing out.  The team was out in force both days and we are definitely starting to get some respect.

Saturday's course was all power and very little technical skill, so not my strong suit.  Jack and I made the front group, but I did way too much work and didn't have enough gas left when the moves happened at the end.  Jack got 4th and I got 6th.

Today's course was much more technical and was long and hard with lots of full gas sections.  Jack and I were 2nd and 3rd going into the barriers at the start.  I blew a pedal on the G turn descent, got hung up in the tape and then snagged my shorts on the saddle when I tried to jump off and run.  Went from the front group to deep in the pack in the blink of an eye.  I knew it was going to be a long day.  Drilled it and moved up to 8th and then at the end of the last lap got passed by two guys on the same team and just couldn't hang on.  Jack got 12th and I got 10th.  

Jeff had two solid 2nd places behind an unstoppable Randy Shields in the 45+ class.  Chris Behrman had some long days, but he will come back ready for a fight next weekend in Boone.  Bob "the Guru" Pugh rode strong both days, as did Howard Hesterberg.  Scott and Lara both rode hard and Lara bagged two podium spots this weekend.  Jeremiah Dyer smoked the Juniors field and then rode to 7th place in the CX 4's today.  Sonni rode strong both days and is racing better every race.  Charles Hicks was in attendance on Saturday, but other committments kept him out of the mix on Sunday.

All in all it was a great weekend, but I'm glad to be home.  Pics will be up soon.  Next stop: Boone on Sunday for the Crossfest at Hawksnest complete with DJ and beer tent!  See you there!

Friday, October 17, 2008

Taking a lap!

First stop w Lowe's Motorspeedway

Friday at CECHS

Today, we are taking the sophomores to Lowe's Motorspeedway and Michael Waltrip's Race World as part of the Physics of NASCAR unit in Physical Science. Shea is our able bus driver and her husband Rich is joining us as a chaperone.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Press Release

"Although I have never been a professional cyclist nor a member of the Pro Tour peloton, I have, after much careful consideration and after discussing it with my wife, child, two dogs, our cat, my neighbor and a guy who was jogging down the street, decided to come out of retirement.  Never before had I thought that even competing in the world's greatest cycling races was an obtainable goal for me, but now I know that with the right combination of above board medical technology and shadowy underworld pharmaceutical enhancement, I may one day stand on the podium of one of the Grand Tours.  I look forward to competing against Lance Armstrong, Alexander Vinokourov, Francisco Mancebo, Ivan Basso, and many other of the world's greatest cyclists."

- Shawn Moore, former washed up, never was pro cyclist announcing his "return" to the Pro Peloton

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Sermon on the Dismount

This weekend, the 'cross season started in force with the first two races of the Mud, Sweat and Gears Cyclocross Series in Tennessee.  We carpooled together to get our very large group of riders there in as efficient a manner as possible.

The first race of Saturday was the CX4 race.  On the line they announced that a subscription to Cyclcross Magazine would be given as a holeshot award.  I thought to myself, "Well, looks like I'll be getting me a subscription..."  They said go, we took off and I got the holeshot with Max "Ghostface Killah" Dyer on my wheel.  As we went across the holeshot line, Max said, "You better let me read those when you're done."  We kept the throttle on and emerged at the end of the first lap with a lead group of 5, including Max, Jack Brown and me.  The perfect setup was in the cards for a Sledgehammer Charlie's/Luna Cycles win, but I came to grief on the 2nd lap with a couple of crashes and a mechanical.  Jack and Max were still in the group putting the pressure on, but there was less of an advantage.  Max crashed near the end of the last lap, but managed to power back to the lead group, but couldn't press the go button in time for the sprint.  Max got 3rd, Jack 4th and I limped across in 29th.

Jeff, Todd the Preacher and I all lined up for the next race, the Master's 35+.  We took off and I quickly evaluated the idiocy of me trying to race two races back to back and demurely pulled off the course shortly after the start.  Jack and Todd duked it out near the front with Todd finishing 3rd and Jeff finishing 6th.

Sonni Dyer raced the CX3 race and is plunging into his first full season of 'cross with a vengeance.  Once the nuances catch up with the motor, he is going to be a force to be reckoned with.  His son, Jeremiah, took the Juniors race handily after finishing within the Top 5 of the CX4 race.  The kid is every bit the motor that the father is...

I spent most of last night positively visualizing how I would avenge my poor performance of Saturday.  My stated goal was to win the CX4 race on Sunday.  But the sermon on the dismount included much more than vengeance and wrath, as I would come to discover.  Jack and I toed the line, ready to make good on the promise of yesterday.  We again made the selection and found ourselves in the a lead group of 4 with the same two guys as Saturday.  A few bobbles here and there could not deter my motivation, and I hung tight in the group as Jack did the lion's share of work keeping the pace high enough to discourage anybody from getting antsy. 

I had literally dreamed of when and where I was going to attack to win the race, and I was fortunate enough to lay it down in exactly the way I had foreseen.  Attacking on the final paved climb, I gapped the group and drove hard into the grassy finishing dip and rise.  Just as I was about to stand up to make the final push to the line, my rear wheel shot up in the air and to the left as it bounced out of an unseen hole.  The gap closed.  I stood to sprint and again, my rear wheel shot up in the air out of another unseen hole and my two companions came around me.  I crossed the line in third, hand raised in a what-can-you-do? gesture as the final part of the sermon, humility, was writ large before me. 

Jack came in for another 4th place finish.  My hats off to him for all of his work to set me up.  I'm just sorry I couldn't pull it off.  Later, the guy who won the race came up to me and said, "Now I know that I won this weekend because of your bad luck.  I'll know that for next time."  That compliment was the saving grace of the race for me.  I don't think that most people have any idea how hard it is to win a race of any kind, let alone a bike race. 

Nicole Thomas drilled the Women's CX4 field, walking away with 1st place.   Jeff had a much better day in the Master's field, taking a hard won 3rd place.  Chris Thomas joined in the fun, landing himself in 11th.  Jeff then decide to enter the Pro,1,2 race, but a wrestling match with the course tape at the barriers tok him out in the first lap and he wasnt able to make up enough ground to make the race worthwhile.

All in all, not a bad opening weekend.  I have to admit that my two goals for the season were to finish Top 3 in a race and to win a race.  Now that I have two top three's out of 3 races, I find my expectations rising.  I've got to remind myself to just take things one race at a time...

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Vino' returns

 
Alexander Vinokourov has confirmed his intention to return to the pro peloton.  He has stated that he will return to Astana, since the team was custom made for him. Now some might see a potential conflict with this plan given that Lance Armstrong will also be riding on the Astana team, but let me throw this idea your way.  The US and Kazakhstan are increasing their political ties, much to the dismay and consternation of Russia.  Condoleeza Rice stated today that Kazakhstan is free to be friends with whoever they want and that Russia needs to stop whining (or something to that effect).  Now, since the US has not had such good luck with infiltrating foreign governments through the front door (Hello Iraq and Afghanistan!), we are going to return to our old clandestine roots.  The CIA has cooked up this cockamamey Lance Armstron unretirement plan as a cover for his real mission to further US relations with Kazakhstan.  Now Vino' is a Kazakh, but look at the guy.  He's an ethnic Russian.  But the real story is that he is a highly trained Russian counterinsurgent who has been given the mission to kill Lance Armstrong.  Or he might just want to race bikes and kick ass.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Fall fabulosity

Fall is here, finally.  This is my favorite time of year along with Spring.  Cool mornings and evenings.  Warm midday.  It is the perfect time to be outside and especially to be on a bike.  My daydreams about riding are scattershot across the entire gamut of cycling.  Long, contemplative road rides.  Flying, flowing mountain bike rides through the woods.  Running errands on the town bike.  Slipping and sliding in the mud on the 'cross bike.  For me, now is the best time to ride.  I hope you'll get out there and have a good time, too.

Monday, September 29, 2008

On the DL

Brought Kaibab home from the vet today. He's been there all week since he blew both of his rear ACL's last weekend. He had his first reconstruction surgery on Friday and he seems to be doing pretty well. He is on some pretty strong drugs as far as I can tell from the glassy eyes with the blown pupils. He's all highed up on something...

This period of forced immobility is going to be he perfect time to put ol' Kaibab on a diet. For those of you who aren't familiar with Kaibab, he is rounding portly and making a beeline for obese with his sights set on trapped inside the house huge. He's just hard-wired to eat as much as he can get into his mouth since he was abandoned on the Navajo Reservation as a puppy. The stories about everything he has eaten are legend in my circle of friends, but suffice it to say, when as a puppy I caught him eating a Coke can, I decided then and there that I would never rush him to the vet over him eating something he shouldn't. Now that may sound cruel, but he is still very much alive and kicking and he has eaten more than his fair share of disgustingly unpalatable and downright "what made you think that was something to eat?" stuff.

So now we embark on the big push to rediscover the slim and trim Kaibab that we once took on epic mountain bike rides and trail runs. I'm sure he is still there buried underneath all of that pudge.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Sloppy seconds

My attitude for today was to just see what happened. I lined up, the official said,"Riders ready!", everyone hunched forward, the whistle blew and we were off. I banged bars with the guys on either side of me for several pedal strokes, but the entire time I was thinking, "Look for the holes... Find the holes..." I squirted through and out of the group, getting the hole shot. From then on I just concentrated on keeping the pressure on and staying in the lead group.

For some reason, everything came together and I had a phenomenal race, finishing 2nd. Jeff finished 2nd in the Masters race. Bob Pugh had a strong race, but I'm not sure of his placing. Scott Staley raced for his first cyclocross race today. Chris Behrmann was racing with the big boys in the Pro 1,2,3 class. Howard Hesterberg did both the Masters and the CX4 races! I'll update with their placings as soon as I hear from the fellas!

Now I'm gonna pass out.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Eve of 'cross

Like a lot of the people around these parts, I get as giddy as a little girl getting her first set of RealTree overalls when opening day of the season comes. Unlike a lot of the people around these parts, my season doesn't involve freezing your butt off out in the elements while wearing ridiculous looking clothing in order to kill a defenseless animal. Okay, so my season doesn't involve the killing a defenseless animal part, but everything else is pretty spot on.

Tomorrow marks the preseason opener of the NC 'cross season. The race is at the tried and true Salisbury venue. Due to the inordinate amount of soaking, misting rain the course should be good and muddy. Perfect 'cross conditions. Now only if the temperature will drop and stay down, it will be proper 'cross conditions. I think that long days of walking and standing, coupled with a higher than average daily intake of alcohol over the course of our time spent in Vegas should prove to be a formidable preparation for tomorrow's race.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Vegas Industry Cup race underway.

women's race in progress

The notorious turn claims another one.

heading to the crit

Vegas Crit!

I believe we will be moseying on down to the USA Crit finals here shortly. Stay tuned.

Luna Cycles shop kits!



Here is the almost final version of the Luna Cycles shop kit. No pricing yet, but let us know if you want one. They should be available by the beginning of December, just in time for CX Nationals!

A whole heap o'BMC mtn. bikes

fuji tri/tt bike

Luna Cycles kits!

Now taking pre--orders!

It's all about clothing

Gary from Sugoi translates our incoherent rambling into art.

Wake up

I'm in the dark waiting for everybody else to wake up, so we can start the day. I need breakfast, preferable something big and greasy. Brian's horse snoring woke me up about 2 hours ago, so I just got up and stayed up.

'Cross Vegas is not a great race to spectate at. It's pretty easy to lose sight of the big picture and then it just becomes guys on bikes whizzing past. It is, however, a great place to run into all kinds of people that you know and haven't seen in a while. Today should prove to be more of the same on that front.

Today is appointment day, so we will be hustling around doing bidness like the wheelers and dealers that we aren't. I'll also be grabbing every poster I can get my hands on and hopefully getting some autographs. I'm still hunting for Phil Ligget's autograph. I got get his soon while he still remembers his name...

Brian Fox...the lost recordings.

Turn volume to 11!

this town smells like a big cigarette

Lance still ain't in it!

Trebon controls it!

Kabush attacks!

5th lap!

4th lap of 'cross vegas!

2nd lap!

Opening lap of the men''s race

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lance Armstrong in the house !

3 to go!

'Cross Vegas Women's race

opening lap barrier action!

Gene o!

crazy vegas cabbies

vegas cab drivwrs are totally willing to sacrifice the lives of pedestrians and other drivers in order to get you wherever you are going as fast as possible.

Chuck keeps it real.

don valverde's bike

personal space

Notice how everybody tries to spread out while waiting to board a flight. inevitably, you have to sit beside someone. the guy I sat down beside promptly got up and moved. Does that mean I look shifty or even dangerous?

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The Vegas Experiment

Tomorrow afternoon, I land in Vegas. I am mentally and physically prepared for the mental and physical test that is Interbike. It is always risky to plan your season around one big event, but like Armstrong and Evans, Ullrich and some other guy who only raced to win the Tour de France but I can't remember his name right now, I feel my time has come.

I will be (hopefully) live blogging throughout the entire trip via cell phone in an attempt to bring you to Vegas with me. This could be an epic fail, but I have faith.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

Post B2B

A long, tough weekend and I didn't even ride in the Bridge to Bridge.

To everyone who participated in the event this year: Thank you for the graciousness that you took the news of the last moment route change with and the understanding for the tough situation that the organizers of the event found themselves in at the eleventh hour.

To the Caldwell County Chamber of Commerce: You are to be commended for pushing through and making the ride happen despite monumental obstacles. Rick Rasch deserves much applause for middle of the night course marking, Deborah Ashley for working the phones to negotiate all of the myriad details, and Melissa Eastman for handling her trial by fire as the new ride director with grace and aplomb.

Please keep all of the Caldwell County Sheriff's Department in your thoughts as they search for the man responsible for the death of their fellow deputy. May a peaceful end come to this horrific series of events.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Unretirement

Now that Armstrong let the cat out of the bag, no self respecting retired pro cyclist is going to sit idly by and watch LA get all the glory. Michael Boogerd and Joseba Beloki are both considering returning to the peloton. But Jan Ullrich has issued an emphatic, if not muffled, "Nein!" when the question was posed to him while consuming his weight in schnitzel.

Up next will be the unretirement of the Merckx's. When questioned about who would ride for whom, Eddy stated, "Axel knows he should be honored to fetch waterbottles for me. I won 5 Tours, he never even won a stage. He rides as a domestique or not at all!" Neither Axel Merckx nor Axel Rose could be reached for comment.

But the fun shan't stop there. With the powering on of the Large Hadron Collider, the very fabric of the space-time continuum is now called into question. Preliminary reports indicate that Fausto Coppi and Jacques Anquetil have both been spotted swirling around in the ether and are in negotiations with several big teams in anticipation of staging comebacks.

Rumors of a return to the peloton by Miguel "Big Mig" Indurain have proven to be unfounded. Indurain has been determined unfit to return to racing by software technicians who have been unable to update the firmware in his CPU and have found that most of his joints are completely fused from neglect while he has been in storage. They did not rule out building a completely new Indurain v2.0 at some future date.

Lastly, Le Blaireau, Bernard Hinault may have to lay off the bread and cheese for a while if he hopes of even spotting his ideal riding weight on the distant horizon. But never fear, last reports indicate that Laurent Fignon no longer sports the pony tail that cost him the 1989 TdF by 8 seconds and that when convinced of the superior performance advantages of an aero helmet, he will be unstoppable!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Other cycling news



Lost in the shuffle of all of the comings and going and reemergences of cycling's top stars, there was a story of the unfortunate passing of a man living the dream of riding as a way of life.

From Cyclingnews.com:

Ian Hibell, legendary adventurer and rough-stuff cyclist, was knocked off his bike and killed in late August, aged 74, whilst riding on the Athens-Salonika highway. Although reported as a case of hit and run, the car's number was taken and the driver later arrested.

Ian Hibell was best known for his cycle treks to little-visited corners of the world in an age when such places really were the back of beyond for westerners; Antarctica, the Amazon, the Sahara and remote Indonesian islands. This incredible man was credited with one the first (possibly the first) true non-motorised crossing of Colombia's Atrato swamp and Panama's notoriously marsh ridden Darien Gap as part of a Trans-American journey. To this day there remains no road connection between Colombia and Panama.

He left a secure job in Devon in 1963, determined to see more of the world, and spent much of the rest of his life cycle touring, often in extreme climate and terrain. His initial idea of a two-year tour turned into ten-year odyssey. Marathon cross-globe treks included Cape Horn to Alaska and a trans-Amazonian journey. His travel anecdotes included over-curious elephants and lions as well as the more friendly interest of a Dyak headman in Borneo and an Eskimo.

Custom bikes were another reason why the intrepid traveler garnered interest from throughout the cycling community and beyond. Ian didn't rely on retro-fit pannier racks but insisted that racks be welded onto his Argos frames.

He was honoured by the League of American Wheelmen (now League of American Bicyclists) and by the CTC for his 'trail-blazing' tenacity. Invited to address Yale University, he subsequently lectured on both sides of the Atlantic. His book 'Into Remote Places' recounts many of his cycling exploits.


What a life. It is a thing to envy, the life of adventure. Imagine just chucking it all and taking off on a ride and never finishing it. Just one long ride to wherever in the world you end up that day... Beats punching a time clock.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Stop the presses

The whole world seems to be all atwitter with the confirmation of earlier rumors that Lance Armstrong will be returning to the pro peloton. Could this be the return of a living legend? Or a way of firmly setting his legacy of being a phenomenal and clean athlete.

This comeback is pretty much a no-win situation for Armstrong. For him to prove that he won 7 Tours drug-free, and firmly erase doubt about his past, he will have to win the Tour de France. Anything less and a cacophony of naysayers will steadily point their fingers at him and cry "J'accuse!" at the top of their lungs. This is a shark jump of epic proportions and we are all in on the ground floor.

It is truly audacious, but I don't think it is the best idea. Sure, Trek are probably sacrificing every virgin they can get their hands on in an effort to get this deal done and in the books. Oakley reps are probably holding them down for 'em... There isn't much to gain from this kind of comeback, but there is much to lose. Remember Michael Jordan retiring and playing pro baseball? Remember him playing for the Wizards? Sometimes the competitive urge whispers in your ear and you've got to ignore it.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Oh the things we'll do out of love...

The first cyclocross practice session is tomorrow at 4:30 at the Rotary Soccer complex on Zack's Fork Rd. Bring a bike (obvious) and your running shoes (onerous, perhaps) so that we can ride and then do a nice trail run. For most cyclists, running is akin to non-elective surgery: you don't want to do it unless you really have to, it's painful and you feel pretty crappy afterward.

But love knows no bounds. While getting a Tasmanian Devil waving a Confederate Flag tattoo at the urging of some girl you barely know, but looks cute while your drunk, isn't exactly the foundation for a rock solid relationship, mixing running in with your cycling is the ideal foundation for a strong 'cross season. Think of running as a benign tumor that bulges out of the side of your head. Sure, it isn't hurting you and your just fine without the surgery, but imagine how much of an improvement it'll be to get it removed. Just as a road bike frame will not collapse the second its wheels touch dirt, your spindly cycling legs will not be crushed into dust by the repeated impact of heel on Terra firma.

In other news: while my bike still hovers at the 16 lb 2 oz mark, Jeff has remarkably shaved a significant amount of weight off of his new 'cross bike and now has it down below 15 lbs! Weighing in at a remarkable 14 lbs 50 ozs, he may finally be up to bunny hopping the barriers!

In addition to running and riding, don't forget to be doing some upper body workouts as well. Those cowbells get heavier and heavier as the laps go by and you don't want to enter the season unable to adequately ring on the run ups! My coach has me on a strict regimen of 12 oz curls and while they are dastardly in difficulty, I marshal through knowing that the season awaits!

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Tyler

Tyler Hamilton is the new USPRO National Champion. Let that sink in a little. Cyclists seem to fall into two camps over the guy either loving him or loathing him with very few people in between those opinions. While no one has even remotely hinted at caring what I might think about the situation, I'll jump right in and give my two cents worth anyway.

Tyler tested positive, was found guilty of a doping violation, and served a two year suspension plus a further two year banishment to the kids table after that. When he signed with Michael Ball and Rock Racing it seemed like some horrible Vegas sideshow of a comeback, destined for some kind of spectacular "Where are they now?" type of flame out. And then with the signing of other convicted dopers, coupled with Ball's over the top "look at me, look at me!" persona was just a "Jerry Springer is our new director sportif" announcement away from a complete fruit salad.

The Tour of California shadow tour didn't allay these fears. Content with spectacle over substance, I was afraid that Ball was in cycling for all the wrong reasons and was going to do more damage than any had imagined. Little by little, the hype machine wound down and the riders spoke with their legs and not their mouths. Hamilton's performance at the USPRO Championships spoke much more than even Michael Ball could have done.

The fact of the matter is that Hamilton has served his suspension and is back in accordance with the rules of the sport. Now it seems like that isn't good enough. Now people want some weepy, Oprah moment where he admits to everything, wails he is sorry and begs for forgiveness. This only brings closure to the voyeur inside us who secretly enjoys the trainwreck of innuendo and quasi-objective scientific testing data that lands someone in the powerful clutches of WADA and USADA. Innocent or not, the guy has done his time and deserves to find his place in the sport once again.

For comparison, I would like to refresh memories of David Millar, convicted doper turned anti-drug advocate. Millar was allowed to return to the top end of the sport directly from his two year suspension, unlike Hamilton who was convicted after Millar. Hamilton's is a much tougher road to comeback on. That alone deserves respect. Mistakes in the past do not make for evil futures and it is up to Hamilton to plot his own future wisely.

Monday, September 01, 2008

an experiment

I'm conducting a little blogging experiment in the hopes of providing some real time posts while things are actually happening. I got out and did a trail run/mtn bike ride today. I''m trainig for the dark mtn. offroad duathlon next month. Running and then riding was a new sensation for the legs. That coupled with the fact that my mind kept wandering off on tangents, made for an interesting day. Hope you had a great Labor Day... now get back to work!

Sunday, August 31, 2008

a day of labor

Today didn't quite work out like I would have hoped. I was hankering to go mountain biking, but things just didn't work out and we ended hanging around the house and puttering. Got the lawn mowed, so maybe a mtn. bike ride is in my near future after all...

In case you haven't read about it yet, Tyler Hamilton won the US National Road Championships today in Greenville, SC. Whether you believe or not, you gotta have a little bit of respect for the way this guy has come back from his suspension and raced again. This win also has to give some serious cred to Michael Ball and his Rock Racing team.

I got the new 'cross bike built up and have done a few rides on it. It is especially evil to be yearning for 'cross season and doing 'cross rides in sticky, muggy heat! I want cold and rain! The first race is 41 days away! Oct. 11th will be the first race of the MSG Cross series in TN. The next weekend will be the double race weekend kick-off for the NC Cyclocross Series and then BANG! 'cross season will be on with a vengeance!

Here is my new bike:

This bike is so fast you can only take blurry pictures of it! Note that the blurriness factor does not include the rider...

And just in case you were wondering:

The "no excuses" bike...



Here is the first course of the MSG Cross series:


View Larger Map

Better start running and practicing those barriers! 'Cross is bearing down on us like an angry god looking to wreak vengeance!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

end vow of silence now - full stop


It has been a week and change since I got back from Switzerland and dove head first into the new school year. The sheer volume of brain power required to get all of one's ducks in a row for the new school year is unbelievable. I found it easier to take a break from posting in order to conserve the precious few brain cells that I have left as they were starting to get crispy and needed to be babied if I had any hope of keeping them with me.

Now that I have emerged from the stress cave, I'm ready to dive into the pain cave. Hell yes boys and girls, cyclocross season is inching towards us with the ferocity of a CX4 field approaching the barriers on the first lap. Jeff and I have been hard at work procuring, finagling and building this season's 'cross machines for our personal assaults on the NC Cyclocross series! We have gotten everything pretty well built up and have stepped up our efforts with some new bits and modifications.

We are now both sporting SRAM brake levers sans ft. shifter mechanisms since we both run single ring setups. The removal is fairly easy once you get past the whole "holy crap - I'm taking this thing apart" phase of the process. Tomorrow we start gluing and taping tubulars to our respective carbon wheels. I'll post pics of both bikes in full race livery once they are complete so that I can go completely over the top and reveal myself as the deep down, hardcore bike geek that I am!

Suffice it to say that Jeff and I both have taken our love of 'cross up to a level that can best be described as a missionary-like zeal. To further the madness, we have taken to proselytizing the joys and benefits of the single ring setup and are attempting to convert all who wander into our path. We are maintaining our dignity though and have not followed our brother-in-arms Preacher Todd has he wanders the lonely path of the singlespeed 'cross rig!

Besides cyclocross (only 53 days 'til Race #1!), we have the Lenoir Triathlon this saturday, Bridge to Bridge in 3 weeks and then the gathering of bikes, booze and debauchery known as Interbike in Las Vegas! Needless to say, there is a lot of training in multiple disciplines necessary for the upcoming months, but do not fear! We have our noses to the grind stone, our shoes running the trails, our tires on the ground and our glasses filled to the brim with all of the necessary inducements to top cyclocross performance! So get out and run, ride, and drink in hard, fast bursts from now until the cowbells incite you to go harder than your gag reflex will allow, for the best time of the cycling season is swiftly approaching!

Hup! Hup! Hup!

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The long road home

Geneva, Switzerland -

I am completely exhausted and looking forward to sleeping in my own bed tomorrow night. Tonight I am flying to London where I have an overnight layover and then final flight to Charlotte in the morning.

Today I left Crans-Montana and got dropped off at the Geneva Airport. I met up with the guys from the UK that have been on the trip and we went and bummed around Geneva. They headed back to the airport a few hours before me, so I just wandered the streets for a few hours before taking the train back to the airport.

The trip has been unimaginably wonderful and everybody at BMC really busted their butts to make this a fantastic 3 days. I have limited internet time, so I will briefly describe the Gran Prix d'Alex Moos as really f'ing hard. I'll go more in depth later.

Switzerland is fantastic and I can't wait to come back. The mix of german and french cultures, combined with stunning natural beauty has made this trip exceptionally memorable. All of us celebrated my birthday pretty much the entire day Thursday and BMC was beyond generous in giving me a birthday present.

I have done as much as I could to dive into Swiss culture in the short time I've been here. As I write this, I'm eating a gruyere sandwich and drinking a Rivella (a soft drink made from milk). Besides these things, I have experienced fantastic cheeses, fresh breads to die for, warm croissants every morning that are so good they almost make you cry, Raclette (the simplest and most awesome food ever invented), panache (beer and lemonade), and multi -course dinners everynight. I have also gotten to see and understand BMC in a way that just isn't possible in anywhere but Switzerland.

See you soon!

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Ross ist gut!

Grenchen-Nord, Switzerland

It has been a long, long day of travel and resetting the internal clock. It was really hot and humid when we finally got to our hotel beside a little airport. We drank some beer and watched the airplanes towing liders into the air for a good part of the afternoon. I went up to my room to just chill and ended up passing out within about 5 minutes of sitting on the bed. I woke up in a sweat due to the total absence of air conditioning in the hotel room and the building humidity. We hooked up with a lot of the other BMC folks for dinner shortly after I regained consciousness.

So far, the participants are from Slovenia, France, the UK, Benelux and China. There are others set to meet up with us tomorrow at the BMC facility, about 500m from the hotel. We are oing to see the new 2009 BMC line tomorrow and then go to Futek where all of the frames are tested to meet the EU safety requirements.

Tonight's dinner was a lot of swiss beer, horsemeat and salad (with these great pickles that tasted more like cucumbers), and pistachio ice cream for dessert. We head to Crans-Montana tomorrow afternoon and have already been served notice that we will be eating and drinking a lot tomorrow! Where we are headed is famous for its raclette, which is food that involves a great deal of cheese (like fondue but with more work), so I'll be giving it a full review.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Anticipation

I'm sitting in the Charlotte airport waiting to catch a flight to Switzerland. The shop won a trip to Switzerland for a corporate tour and to participate in the Gran Prix d'Alex Moos on August 1st (Swiss National Holiday) at the Interbike tradeshow last year. After a grueling selection process between Jeff and me, Jeff was originally awarded dibs, but has generously deferred the trip to me. This will be my first time out of the country (except for trips to Canada, which, let's face it, is a cleaner, nicer, cooler version of what the US could be) and to say I am excited is an understatement. I'm flying overnight to Frankfurt and then catching a plane to Geneva. The tour will take place on Thursday and then we will transfer to the Alps for the ride/race on Friday. There will be multiple hotels, restaurants and probably a healthy amount of German beer, since we will be in the German portion of the country. I will post pics and commentary as I can.

Several of you have asked for my thoughts on this years Tour and I have been contemplating it since it ended on Sunday. I have a lot of faith that the sport is lurching towards a dope-free future, but there are going to be some definite rough spots between now and then. I think that the strong performance of Garmin-Chipotle and Columbia have gone a long way to restoring some people's faith in the sport, but the outpouring of love and devotion to Ricardo Ricco show that cycling still has a long way to go.

David Millar was criticized by some for statements he made about Ricco, saying that he was "too good to be true". I don't think that Millar went far enough. Watch those stages that Ricco won. When you see the top riders in the world obviously riding at their limit and you see a rider right in the middle of them barely breathing hard, you're seeing doping in action. What's worse is that Ricco was an arrogant little prick and now there are reports that he may have begun doping at the age of 15. 15! Having just seen a bunch of wide-eyed juniors overflowing with energy lining up for our local crit series, I can't help but think about what may await them if they head over to Europe to pursue "the dream"...

For me, cycling is the same beautiful sport that I fell in love with 20+ years ago. I still remember running in the house from outside to watch Paris-Roubaix on ABC's Wide World of Sports. The Phil Ligget pre-written soliloquies, the John Tesh soundtrack, the way John Dockery butchered the pronunciation of every french town that the peloton passed through. Though I would come to learn that the spectre of doping hung thick and low over the riders in those days, I still hold strong to the idea that my heroes were clean. I'll never forget seeing Andy Hampsten sitting silently, holding his head in his hands at the end of an alpine stage of the Tour; coming to the realization that he wouldn't win the race... again.

We have come to expect the riders to be superhuman. In some ways we have made them become subhuman. We applaud their strength and cruelly hammer them when they show weakness. I long for the fragile hero, the quicksilver flash of brilliance that comes when I man finds some untapped power within himself and pushes to a new realm of pain and suffering. I yearn to see a rider throw it all out on the table in some hellbent-for-leather, go for broke attack that will spell everlasting glory or doom, like Icarus in his dash to the sun. I want a rider with passion and ethics.

I firmly believe that Andy Hampsten left the guaranteed success of La Vie Claire for the complete roll of the dice of 7-Eleven because he knew that you didn't have to dope to win. He said at the time that he wanted to do things his way and I believe that way was clean. Hampsten embodies the ideal of the Grand Tour rider for me and I saw that again this year with Christian Vandevelde. Vdv's 5th place was a confirmation for me of how things should be. Next year, instead of the top 10, Christian will hopefully be aiming for the podium.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Fin

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- A thrilling and dramatic finish along the Champs Elysees saw one last shakeup in the standings of the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!". With the performances of Thor Hushovd and Robbie McEwan, DS John McMenemy's team was able to slip into the top 3 ahead of Charles Bennett's Team Far North.

The final podium of the 2008 Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!"

1st place - Howard Hesterberg, Team Birra Carolini
2nd place - Charles Hicks, Team High Life powered by Miller
3rd place - John McMenemy, Team Meatballs

Complete Results

Saturday, July 26, 2008

LCFTdFpbUCDCfM Newsflash: Time trial may render final decision

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- With a huge victory in today's stage, Sylvain Chavenal moved Team Birra Carolini in to first place in the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!" DS Howard Hesterberg has shown the skill and savvy that he has gained over his long fantasy cycling career. While not a commanding lead, the odds are in Team Birra Carolini's favor as they have a deeper pool of talent for le contre la montre than Team High Life presented by Miller.

Current Standings

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Queen stage proves no lady

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- French riders David Moncoutie and Sandy Casar put in phenomenal top 20 performances on Alpe d'Huez proved decisive in the standings of the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!". Tomorrow's stage has not appeared on the radar of any reporters as being one of significance, but it seems like the kind of stage that could prove dangerous given the right aggression from the right rider.

Complete Results

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

LCFTdFpbUCDCfM Newsflash: Hard day in the mountains may cause difficulty for riders who can't climb well

Damiano Cunego denies rumors that he's ill prepared for the Alps today. Photo courtesy Jason Darden

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- Today's difficult stage in the Alps could see another day of fireworks amongst the top GC contenders. A strong showing by french riders could spell upset amongst the teams contending the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!". Stay tuned for updates throughout the day.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Really tired guys rest after actually racing their bikes.

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- After a stage that some have described as the best day of racing they have ever seen, the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!" takes the day off. The top 6 are all in with a shout as they are all within less than a minute of the golden fleece.

The LCFTdFpbUCDCfM team competition has tightened up after the disqualifications of 4 riders for positive doping tests. Frenchman Sandy Casar has singlehandedly boosted the standings of several teams with a strong showing in the mountains.

While the French riders seem to be aggressive and are finding some success, they still have not performed at a level that would make recent criticism unwarranted.

Complete Results

Saturday, July 19, 2008

LCFTdFpbUCDCfM Newsflash: A lot of guys go really fast in final kilometers. Really, really fast guy wins!

Lenoir, NC(LC Press)- Stage 14 is in the books and little has changed in the overall standings. Tomorrow's mountain stage should toss things up a bit. The biggest news is that Mark Cavendish looks like a man about to leave the race as he struggled to maintain contact today and was nowhere near the front at the end.

Complete Results

Friday, July 18, 2008

LCFTdFpbUCDfM update

Raise your hand if you're doping...

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- The Amoury Fantasy Sports Organization has officially declared all results by Moises Duenas, Ricardo Ricco, Manuel Beltran and Leonardo Piepoli void and has recalculated all results for affected riders. Further, a fine of 1 double iced Americano is levied against Team Not Caught Yet and Team Far North. It is not necessary for either team to completely withdraw from the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!" at this time.

Complete Results

More Manuel

"Dancing to rock around...
To rock around...
it's right on time
it's tricky.
It's Tricki, Tricki, Tricki..."

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Unimportant action dominates stage

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- Today's stage of the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!" made little impact on the overall standings of the teams. As men of little consequence were given room for fleeting glory, the real players in this poker game on wheels marked each other and called as the bet came to them. In the coming days, we shall see these men throw "all in" in an effort to win the maillot jaune and distance themselves from the competition.

Moises Duenas, however, will not be in the mix as he has been very naughty with respect to illicit substances. Not only did he pop positive for EPO after the stage 4 TT, but a subsequent search of his hotel room found lots of things he shouldn't have possessed. Isn't it interesting though that we are seeing climbers getting doping positives for time trial stages. After targeting the 10 riders with suspicious blood values, 2 have now come up positive. Who will be next?

Complete Results

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Rest day

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- The only thing guaranteed to be more boring than a Tour de France with Lance Armstrong racing in it is the Tour rest day. But in what has become a Tour that defies categorization, the rest day proved to be full of theatrics as well. Today, all 17 ProTour teams participating in the TdF announced that they would not renew their ProTour licenses. This sets up an interesting set of scenarios with regards to the current anti-doping crusade within cycling.

Firstly, a rider like Floyd Landis who serves his two-year suspension (ending in Jan. 2009) now finds himself capable of returning to the top end of professional cycling since the Pro Tour Code of Ethics banning riders from riding for Pro Tour teams is no longer applicable if there is no Pro Tour. Could Landis be spared banishment to the doper's purgatory of Rock Racing?

Second, in an effort to appear completely, 100% squeaky clean, above reproach, "this isn't about money, it's about integrity", anti=doping the teams shut out riders like Landis, who legitimately serve their two year suspensions and want to return to the sport. This would be incredibly bad and, one could argue, short-sighted given the extreme anti-doping stance of David Millar, a convicted doper who served his suspension and returned to the forefront of pro cycling.

Third, the whole sport comes crashing down and next July I'll have to content myself with play by play of Extreme Cage Fighting on Vs. Good god, I hope somebody does something to make everybody come to their senses before that happens...

Monday, July 14, 2008

Changing of the guard

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- Team Far North leapt into 1st place on GC today after strong performance by Ricardo Ricco put him in both the maillot a pois and the maillot blanc. Strong showings by Ricco and Sandy Casar also gave Team Far North the stage win on Hautacam today. Team Baisez-vous! began their march to the top of the GC today with a strong second place showing in Hautacam.

*Reporter's note: a birthday celebration for Mike McClinton turned ugly as several directeurs sportif drank more liquor than would normally be advisable. Your humble reporter was definitely in the course de la tete and paid dearly for his efforts on Sunday. Thus, no posting until today.


Complete Results

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tricky, tricky...

Lenoir, NC (LC Press)- Howard Hesterberg continues to dominate the Luna Cycles Fantasy Tour de France presented by Uncle Chuck's Depilatory Cream for Men, "For all your hard to reach hairy places!", in what is shaping up to be a wild and unpredictable race.

In other race news: Manuel Beltran became the first positive test in the Tour this year. If the B sample confirms the result, this will set Team Liquigas back a cool 100,000 euros in ASO fines. Beltran's positive nullified his placing in the fantasy race, moving frenchman Sandy Casar up to 35th place. Also of note, Team Basez-vous! lost half of their team with Christophe Moreau and John Gadret failed to make the time cut off and are now out of the race.

*Reporter's note: My apologies for the lack of daily reports. I have been in a secluded retreat, preparing for today's Grizzly metric century. Up until now, I have been adhering to a rigorous training schedule that focused on positive visualization and active rest. I felt it necessary to take a break from this regimen, clear the important chakras and detach myself from this physical reality in order to arrive at the line refreshed and ready. Now that The Grizzly is done, I can get back to my real fantasy job of reporting on fantasy cycling.

Complete Results