Friday, August 31, 2007

It Is The Natural Number Following 4 And Preceding 6

The evolution of our modern glyph for five cannot be neatly traced back to the Brahmin Indians quite the same way it can for 1 to 4.

Okay, now that I've bored you fully, the explanation will begin. 5 is a significant number for me now. Last year (2006), I hit the deck 4 times and that was my record number of wrecks in a year. 1 was caused all on my lonesome. That dirty little rock came out of nowhere and beat the crap outta me in some random Thursday night criterium over by the BSU stadium. 2 were in feedzones at the Elkhorn Stage Race. Another was on a training ride on the time trial bike. An oil slick in a corner on a wet day got the best of me. 4 seemed like such a big number of wrecks. I'd never gone flying so many times in 1 yr before, not even close. The plan was to stay on the bike without any wrecks this year to make up for such a big number last year. What do I do in the stead of not wrecking since you know that's what I'm getting to right? I top that performance by 1. Not only that, but I had to 1 up my most painful wreck too. Last years wreck at the stadium took considerable hide off of my hip and wasn't much fun to deal with, especially sleeping on one side for waaaay too long. Luckily it healed up really well and the scar is tiny and hard to find.

On to 2007. No wrecks until I make the trip to Silver City, NM.

Wreck 1: Guys get all worked up when the best in the U.S. show up and there were a few wrecks on the first day. This was on a course that warranted zero wrecks! I'd missed the 2 previous significant wrecks, but the 3rd started 2 riders in front of me and that dominos train came roaring my way. Busted a good pair of glasses in that wreck and lost minimal skin.

Wreck 2: Travel from super dry Boise, ID to perma-soaked Enumclaw, WA. Late May and I'm riding the bike for the first time in the rain in 2007. Made it through the criterium without wrecking, an amazingly wet crit! That was some of the hardest rain I've ever seen let alone ride in. Next day is the road race. What do I do? 5th lap out of 5, I over-cook a corner and touch a bit too much of the rain soaked paint lines. Front wheel started sliding and I had less than 1 second to decide where I was to land. The option of trying to last ditch effort save it was not there, I had to choose where to land and in a hurry. Luckily there was a nice patch of grass just before a fence right next to the road. Those cows got a sight that day! Grass stained and wind knocked out of me, I rolled into the finish a sorry looking sort.

Wreck 3: This one really hurt. On the 3rd day of the Mt. Hood Cycling Classic, after the stage, my teammate and I are riding back to the start line from the finish line. 30+mph into a headwind and trying to talk, he gets a bee in his helmet and our bars are crossed. I tried to unlock them, but didn't have enough time. The ground came way, way too quickly that time. I didn't have time to prep at all, the ground hit me before I knew it was coming after me. Luckily, I didn't break anything even though there were a couple ribs that felt like they had been broken for about half an hour afterwards. Another case of sleep on 1 side for a month after. Here's the cheese pic taken afterwards. No I don't always have that bad of lines.

Wreck 4: Taking a dog for a walk on a leash attached on the other end to a cyclist may sound like a great idea, but it's not. When it's a sub 30lb dog, you'd think this would not be a problem. First half mile, no problem. Second half mile, big problem. Lucy the beagle decided there was something very important that had to be sniffed for longer than I was ready to give her time for. She stopped dead in her tracks and I do an endo. Thud. Most of me hits grass, but my hip hit the asphalt. Ouch, but that went away pretty quickly since it was a thud at around 10 mph rather than 30mph.

Wreck 5: 2nd wet criterium of the year. Elite National Criterium Championships in Chicago. I'd seen at least 15 wrecks happen before the 1 that eventually got the better of me. 2 guys went down in front of me, the 1st guy down would have been no problem to avoid. 2nd guy, impossible. Luckily, I just slid and slid and... slid. That was without a question the furthest I've ever slid on pavement. Probably a good 30 to 40ft is my guess. Get up and have 150-ish elite level cyclists go whirring by, hoping not to get hit by any of them. Checked out the body and bike and there was no damage. I still can't believe it! My left hand hurt a fair amount, but that was internal and could be fought through for the remainder of the race.

The bike is still in 1 piece and I've yet to break anything on it. Scary part is, I've been using the same handlebar since mid-2004. Maybe I'd better invest in a new bar over the winter.

I thought about adding in other kinds of wrecks, but other than the bike, I've been okay. No wrecking on ski's, driving, or even walking - yet.

So there you have it, a blog about wrecking. There were a couple other ideas on the topic title, but they just didn't fit quite right. Five For Riding and High 5 for 7.

Now, it's time to head north. Over N' Out

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Permanently Clean House Vs Occassional Disaster Area

Since moving into Boise and having a guy for a roommate rather than the (ex) girlfriend of almost 8yrs there are a few things that I've learned. 1st on that list is that I am now required to do half of the organization and cleanliness. Luckily, we're both relaxed about the whole cleaning topic. Cleaning on my own accord is this strange new beast that I must overcome on a more frequent basis than I'm used to. I am used to this level of organization all the time.
No that is not my stuff, but it does portray how it used to be, more or less all the time. Key words being USED TO BE. Now, I call the shots and on the rare occassion it still looks like that, but when it does, I feel more inclined to take a picture of my accomplishments. More often than not, you'll see my room looking something like this.

Okay, maybe there's a bit of dramatization purely for the blogs purpose in that picture, but you get the idea. I try, it's true, but there's a balance to everything and being a clean freak just cuts into free time too much. It just takes too much time to be on the super organized level if I still want to have fun. As a cyclist and an outdoorsy enthusiast in general, things need to be cleaned and organized very frequently just to keep order of what's going which direction. Things fall out of order fairly quickly. So the goal now is to become as efficient as possible. Do 90% of the job in 50% of the time, riiiight. Anyways, I've written way too much about cleaning and you have full right to razz me about it the next time you see me.
The other things that were already known but just further confirmed: Boise is better for riding and it's is way better for anything social, getting out in a minutes time is not a problem.
So, I've rambled more than enough today. Until I get another wild hare to blog about more boring things, hope you enjoyed.

Monday, August 27, 2007

A Weekend In The Treasure Valley

Blog Index: Cycling news in the top section, other news and upcoming weekend towards the bottom.

Another race season is very, very close to being over. The last sanctioned races of the year in the Treasure Valley have just come and gone and guess what? The Bob' team bookended the year with wins! The road race on Saturday started with attacks from the gun, almost entirely from my teammate Justin Mayfield. Once he had broken the fields back and slipped away, I recieved permission from our team captain to bridge the gap. After shedding the two guys that tried to make the bridge with me, Justin and I were gone. It was around 4 miles into a 97 mile race and we were somehow supposed to make 93 miles go by very quickly. This is something I have never even attempted let alone succeed at. Last year, Justin went on this exact same kind of "suicide attack" and almost stuck it. His efforts resulted in my winning the State Champs last year, so this year I wanted to make sure that those efforts were repaid. Once I got on his wheel this year, we went into an immediate 1 minute pull trade off. We synced our clocks and pulled evenly for the remaining 93 miles. Roughly 230 1 minute swaps at the front! That's what you call a two man team time trial. The pace would go up and down depending on how much confidence we had that the gap was insurmountable. The final gap ended up being roughly 11 minutes or 4.5 miles. The first big lap went by very quickly when we were first developing the gap and the speed didn't drop off much for the second big lap. By the second of the smaller laps, our speed had dropped off a bit, but the feeling of accomplishment was starting to sink in for sure. As you can see in the picture, Justin rolled in to become the new Idaho State Road Race Champion. Following in for 3rd was none other than our team captain Tad Hamilton. Yes you can win a date with him, but you're gonna have to get permission from his wife first. Also, in fifth was the cramping up Brandon Archibald. That's one impressive showing for the Bob's crew, no doubt.

The next day proved to be more difficult for the Bob's team to control. There were many racers with fresh legs, ready to cover every little move. Eventually, we got a move up the road with 3 of us and 2 of the Bode crew. From that move, we launched Justin Rose up the road, one of our guys with fresh legs. It was a very good thing that he was able to stay away since all of the moves behind were being covered and the field would not break up. Into the second to last corner, two Bode guys wrecked out and completely changed the dynamics of the race for second. Again, it was a good thing that Rose was gone because that wreck really messed up the outcome from behind. Perpetual strong man Tim Root pulled out the silver from the field sprint. All-in-all, 2 Bob's State Champions in 2 days is a pretty sweet way to end the sanctioned season. Now we just need to finish it off with a Bogus Basin "World Championships" Hillclimb win.

Also, my dad decided to come down for the weekend and stayed out at my sister and brother-in-law's. Very good to have family come down and go do stuff away from cycling on such a super cycling saturated weekend. I think he met half of the Boise cycling community in the two days of handing out bottles and watching us go in squares.

Next weekend is going to be the first time in waaaay too long that I get to go camping up on the North Fork of the Clearwater River and luckily it will be for a 3 day weekend. Before that, I'm meeting up with some ol' friends for a brewsky or 5 friday night. Soooo looking forward to a 3 day weekend. Supposedly the Kokanee are running this time of year and will turn the river red. The Kokanee over at Municipal Park/MK Nature Center have turned red, so I'd guess that to be a good indication of what I'll see up north. Typically 3 days is considered a short time, but since I've blown all of my vacation on bike racing, my perspective on time off has to be temporarily adjusted.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

See the world for free. Check this out!

Panoramic views (the picture moves around to see in all directions) of some of the most amazing places on earth:

Find "The Full Screen Archive" section and select a year/place to view. Once you've opened one up, go to the upper right corner and select the Panoramas drop down box to go to another view from that year. Hit F11 when one is open to make it even larger.
Most of them will scroll 360 degrees in all directions.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Ride a bike? Thought about starting? Here's a tip or two.

Ok, here's a list of things that can help make a satisfied cyclist. These tips should help anyone from the novice to the experienced racer. I'll keep the more extensive stuff off the list so that it doesn't bore you too much. Gotta keep some secrets right? So here they are, in no particular order:

Comfort: test various parts on your bike - seats: seat types, makes/models, heights, angles, fore-aft, everything - bars: bar types, makes/models, reach, height, angle, all of it - pedals/shoes: test out various models before buying, comfort is hugely important. Take a guess who I'd recommend getting bike stuff from? They really are good at what they do. Also, If you can afford it, a professional fit would help for sure. There's more than one good option around, but there is definitely a clear favorite here in town.

#1 important part of cycling is to enjoy it. Make sure that you aren't forcing any of it. To be good at it, you gotta enjoy being out on the bike first and foremost. See new places, meet new people, and be adventurous with it.

When cornering, especially downhill, keep the outside leg down and put real weight on it. Whatever weight you can put on your inside arm will help too. Please follow the outside leg down rule! If you don't, you will eventually wreck and people behind you may pay the price as well.

Dress appropriately for the weather. No matter how experienced you are at cycling, this will always be a challenge. In the cold weather, it's better to wear too much than too little, but not so much that it cuts off circulation to anything, anywhere. It's easy to plan for the hot stuff, just wear as little as possible and try to choose reflective colors. Spring rides can be the hardest. You have to plan for everything from rain to heat to wind storms.

Get aerodynamic, especially on the flats, to go fast. Less frontal area presented to the oncoming air equals less air pressure slowing you down. Once you've got a svelte body from riding a lot, there is way more to be gained from aerodynamics than losing more weight.

Make your hard/intense days really, really intense, as intense as possible. Make your easy days really easy, both on the time and intensity side of things.

Tires are super important. Choose wisely for what you need them for. A pair for training and a pair for racing is a wise choice.

Be motivated for the races you have planned. Set goals and shoot for those. Aiming for too many races will burn a racer out, been there done that. 1 month out is a very important time frame.

Don't become too focused on riding and racing only. Make sure to do other things in life or you'll over cook it and want to quit. Eventually the rule of deminishing returns can and will come into play. Been there, done that, got the shirt.

This should suffice for now. I may add on if anything really important comes to mind.

refer to the "#1 important" section over and over if neccessary -
Over N' Out-
Whisky, Mike

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

The Quickie - Crit Nationals in Chi-town

Take off at 8:05 Saturday morning, get into O'hare at 1-ish. Hop the shuttle to Thrifty and find out that a Caravan doesn't hold 4 bikes in boxes and bags. Upgrade to the Grand Caravan and we're on our way. On the drive to the hotel, we determined that the roads in Chicago have no shoulder and look like this. We got the bikes put together and found lunch at a place called the Coyote (mexican). Then it was time to watch the pro-am day-before race that we were skipping since flying and racing same day is just not much fun. Finish the day off with some good Thai food, downing a beer and then try to sleep through extremely loud partiers (not your average loud partiers!) next door at our Comfort Suite. Wake up and give an 8am courtesy call to the neighbors, but we're pretty sure they got evicted by the cops. Looked out the window and saw the predicted 1 to 2 inches of rain making its start on the day. Got to the course in Downers Grove, a Chicago suburb, pull out the gear and ready it for take off. At least one warm up lap to figure out the course was a dream that was not coming true, line up took place as soon as the gates opened. The Bob's team got the short end of the stick in the line up order and we were all very near the back of 170 racers. Not good for any criterium, but it makes things even more difficult when it's wet! We fought the entire race to get near the front. The whole time, it was a challenge to see out fogged up and grit covered glasses. By half way in, I finally made it to the front only to be wrecked out one lap later as somebody slid out just in front of me. I had just earned the sweet spot of 5 riders back and immediately hit the deck... NO!!! At least the bike and body were still functional and I got back in. Back to working my way to the front again, which never truely happened. Miss a few more wrecks, one by the tiniest of margins. There must have been 20 pile-ups or single rider slide outs in that race! I wasn't the only bob' guy to get mixed up in a wreck. Brandon went down twice. Of our three combined wrecks, none were caused by us. Our Michelin tires with 90lbs of pressure kept us fully confident in our cornering skills. We all concurred that the Abercrombie & Fitch team were causing most of the wrecks. Lets get that team on some different tires! Eventually the finish came around and I rolled in for 24th. Rob Campbell finished in 15th, not too shabby Rob! We got the bikes boxed and put back in the Grand Caravan, then managed to get somewhat lost finding our return location due to a north/south sign conflict. There's a reason it's called Thrifty. The flight was nearly 2hrs late. Got back into town at 1am and go back to the 8 to 4:30 grind the next morning, thus the title - The Quickie.

Results: - 24th - not too bad for 170 starters

Pictures: - none include me, but do show the conditions

Friday, August 17, 2007

speed limit 10mph

So this blog is going to deviate from the standard "how it goes" blog entry.

There are a bunch of ways to cross the country and see things in new and enlightening ways. None of which I have ever done, but there is now a newly confirmed possible method of doing so. The retired prefer a motorhome. The young have a tendency to prefer a motorcycle. The hardcore go via bicycles. The extremely hardcore hike it. There is another branch of extremely hardcore that race it on bicycles in an event called the RAAM (race across america). No, I'm not going to do the RAAM next year if that's where your mind was wondering. Sleep deprivation and going broke for no real reason isn't what I have in mind...yet. For the time being, I'm just kind of curious about how the journey Josh Caldwell and Hunter Weeks took from Seattle to Boston went. They decided to give up the regular 9 to 5, hop on segways, roll along at 10mph for a few thousand miles and document the whole thing. Might as well take a chance at making some $ along the way if you're gonna give up your steady source right? I like the idea, now I just gotta watch the flick.
Anyone want to invest in 15 pairs of roller shoes (14 spares) and hit the road? Just don't ask for rollerskates or blades, we gotta go slower and on less reliable transportation to make this show stand out amongst the competitive documentaries coming out. Maybe we could incorporate a shopping cart, worked for Johnny Knoxville. Keywest sounds like a good destination to me, but I guess we could have a game of rocks, paper, sissors on where we go if you think somewhere else is more desirable. Since I don't have a digi-cam, that's going to be a prereq for being invited! Maybe we can put on beer can caps and fill em' with electrolyte energy drinks for the extra unique feature. Another option is to make the whole trip on Subway food only and call the documentary Superslim Me. I wouldn't mind being Jared's replacement. Or forget Subway and go the route of eating only at Dick's restaurants, I'll let your creative mind come up with the title for that one. Borat needed a quest of Pamela Anderson, so I guess something like that couldn't hurt. Any chance that a roller beauty queen that likes Subway food lives in Key West?
Anyways, I've bored myself with writing about docu/mocumentaries and will move on to the very brief "how it goes" section.
Camping was a good time, but waaay too brief. I finally got to do some mountain bike riding. 4.5hrs on a rough dirt road. I'm not sure that counts 100% since it was all dirt road, but 4.5hrs has got to count for something, right? The work week has been too busy and I want (borderline need) time off to chill. This weekend is a trip to Chicago for a criterium. Figure 8's over a 1 mile course. It is predicted to be in the rain and I'm wondering if I'm going to melt. Rain is this foreign thing that I've kind of forgotten exists.
The race form is definitely coming around again as I've felt substantially better this week in the local hill climb and TT than weeks before. Hopefully the national criterium championships will go the way we hope. We're sending a solid crew of Campbell, Rose (sometimes referred to by jokers like myself as Princess Rose - yes, he's going to kill me for this reference), Buster and myself (Mike Charlie Whisky - phonetics for MCW).
Anyways, I'll do what I can to keep you informed-
Mike Charlie Whisky

P.S. if you want to order the DVD or just read up on it.

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Keeping the ball rolling

This summer is getting better each week that goes by. The move to Boise (from Nampa) has been a good thing for the most part. The location is great, the roommate thing seems to be working out pretty well, and I've been keeping busier than I expected with all sorts of random things. Last weekend's fun included a play at the Starlight Mountain Theatre in Crouch, ID. Every weekend from now until mid-September is booked with anything from camping with family to racing in Chicago (Criterium Nationals). After the Bogus Basin Hill Climb, aka the Bogus Basin World Championship Hill Climb (register here), the season is over and I get to do more non-cycling things. Recently I won a bid on eBay for a Garmin Legend GPS so that I can make sure that new places I want to go to get found. Three things that I have been thinking about doing soon are hiking to the Deadwood Hot Springs, mountain biking the Julie Creek trail, and ziplining the Tamarack Resort. As for other news, this weekend is both Jami and my dad's birthdays and I don't get to spend it with either of them since Jami is visiting family/friends and my dad broke his foot in a dirtbike wreck and is in a cast that keeps him from doing anything outdoors. DOH! Maybe the following weekend will make up for it with a camping trip with everyone (pops gets a new walking cast on the 6th).

As everyone knows, the heat has been really full on lately and hitting the water is the only way to survive. So, I've gone swimming, am going tubing down the Boise River this weekend and wouldn't mind hitting up Roaring Springs sometime (mostly just a teeny-bopper place, but oh well, it's still fun). The other side of this heat is that I've had to get somewhat adapted to riding in the heat. That's not an easy thing to do! Freezing a half filled bottle and then topping it off with water before heading out works well, but drinking super cold water messes up the body when working out, so I just dump it on my head and back, which works really well for keeping cooler. For drinking, I just bring along tap temp water.

On a totally different topic, I never gave an overview of the Boise Twilight Criterium, so here it is. The race was crazy! That's pretty much the only way to describe this years rendition! The team had a tent set up in corner one and we knew we'd be hearing our names there most laps :) For the most part all I ended up hearing was Remi's name, the local criterium specialist who ended up getting 5th. With 13 laps to go, jockying for position became much harder as the pace picked up and the insanity going into each corner was taken to another degree. With 6 laps to go, the Toyota-United team took over and I mean took full control of the race like nobodies business! They were swinging really wide, cutting tight and swinging wide into and out of each corner and doing 36+mph the whole time! and another ! So for the rest of us, it was a fight for a good wheel somewhere immediatly behind that train. That fight results in racers getting cut off by other racers over and over in very dangerous situations. Many at the front have no regard for the safety of the riders around them, only the desire to stay up themselves. To stay near the front, it's a fight to cut others off while not hitting the deck yourself. With two laps to go, the crowd around the start/finish line were going absolutely nuts and the noise was so amazing. With one lap to go, the noise was literally shaking me. Even with the focus of the zen master, I could not help but realize that the voices of over 20,000 people within 40 feet of us yelling to go faster was rattling the bike and my body while going 39mph. It was a very strange feeling with a mix of nerves being shaken from insanity through the corners, maxing out the physical limits of my body to go faster and at the same time being cheered on to the point that it was shaking me. In the end, I road in for 21st out of 103 top notch racers from around the country and our entire team showed themselves off of the front of the field at some point in the race, which is pretty impressive in my opinion. My mom, sister, brother-in-law and all sorts of friends from the Treasure Valley were all treated to the best show that a bunch of fast cyclists can possibly put on. Someone likened the pack going by to a couple semi-trailers driving by at 60mph as the wind to the sides of the pack is truly awesome! If you happen to be in town on the third weekend of July next year, make sure to visit downtown for some fun and don't forget to bring some beer to loosen up your vocal chords.

And if you want, leave a comment about how you've spent the summer relaxing around the BBQ or falling asleep at the helm of your raft in the backyard pool. (and I changed it so anyone can comment)
Until next time, it's been fun.

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