Friday, September 26, 2008

Bike Sizes

Although nearly all bikes have some level of beauty, it's well known that some bikes are more beautiful than others. What is less well known, or at least less well documented, is that some bike sizes are better-looking than others. I give you the authoritative guide on mountain bike sizes:

Small: A little too squatty, sort of like the bike was built-up and then smashed. Add 29 wheels, and it starts to get ridiculous. What makes you feel even more ridiculous is when Mrs. Holley easily passes you on one of said small 29er bikes (although this begins to feel more normal/expected after the first few times it happens)

Medium: A thing of beauty. Heavenly angles separate the front and rear triangles. In fact, if a form of deity were to design a bike, it would be a size medium. Add 29er wheels, and it really becomes the perfect bike.

Large: Still a pretty good bike size. The angles aren't quite as heavenly as a size medium, but it can still result in a stunning bike.

X-Large: Somehow, some of the fastest guys I know ride X-Larges. However, it doesn't change the fact that X-Large frames are too angular and awkward to possess the same level of beauty as a Medium or even Large frame.

Those are my thoughts on frame sizes. I'm not afraid to take on these kinds of tough topics that nobody else is talking about (usually because they're not worth talking about). And if it wasn't obvious already, I just happen to ride a size medium frame.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Lance Shows Some Love for the Kazakhs

After being kept in suspense for weeks, Lance pulled the completely unexpected move of joining team Astana. Although it was tough to pinpoint any reason why he'd make such an arbitrary move, I think Nikolai Proskurin, the "Federation deputy chief" (whatever that means) of the Kazakhstan cycling federation finally nailed it down:

"If people say that they want to join this team, it is a sign that they must hold Kazakhstan in great regard."

Yeah, I'm sure that's it.

Pobre Contador. There's only one person in the history of cycling that could make a winner of all three grand tours take a back seat, and that person just joined the team that Contador happens to be on.

Monday, September 22, 2008

New Addition to the Family

Saturday evening, we welcomed a new addition to the family. We had been "trying" for a while, but with no luck. We were about to start looking into alternatives, but fortunately things worked out just before we were about to spend quite a bit of money on one of the alternatives. She was finally delivered this weekend, and she's perfect and well proportioned, although she's a bit on the light side, especially for her height. As is common, she may even lose a bit more weight soon after delivery. Although Wesla struggled with the delivery, she's doing better now and is currently at home recovering. The new arrival needed a little bit of love and care right after the delivery, but she's also home now and doing well. I know you're excited to see pictures, so here she is:

I told you she was beautiful. For now, we're just calling her "Superfly" (a bit pretentious, I know), but we may come up with a different name for her soon. She's already faced some pretty rough patches, but has handled them flawlessly.

As with any family that grows too large, some of the older and less loved family members are placed for adoption to make room for the newer members. Or maybe a better analogy is that I'm marrying-off the older family members (in exchange for a "bride price", of course). Let me know if you are interested in a Gary Fisher Paragon, size Medium. It's pretty well tricked out. You may also remember it as the fatcyclist's "weapon of choice." Here is a fairly recent pic:

Thursday, September 18, 2008

At Least You're Not Married to THAT Guy.

You know that informal list you keep to demonstrate to your wife that there actually are other guys who would be much worse to be married to than you? I can't be the only one who has a list like this, right? Well, a few months ago, I found out from a few friends (hi Jim and Marie, if you're still reading) that I'm "that guy" for Jim. They didn't sugar coat the fact that Jim uses me as the guy Marie would hate to be married to every time he reads my blog. I'm glad I could help you out, Jim.

It's my stance that as cyclists, we should all be proud of being "that guy." In fact, we should strive to provide good material for other cyclists. For me, one the of the best things about the cycling blogosphere is that it provides almost unlimited "that guy" material. That's why cycling bloggers should at least make mention of all big races and rides - so that it can be used by other cyclists to justify the next big ride to the spouses of said cyclists.

The key is to understand how to properly utilize the list. You can't just come out and say "at least you're not married to THAT guy." It's too obvious. Instead, you need to drop subtle hints, preferably while you are washing the dishes, or doing something else that demonstrates what a wonderful husband you are. For example:

Spouse: Are you planning on going on a ride tomorrow (with the tone in her voice that means "you better not be planning a ride tomorrow, because I've been stuck here with the kids all week")
You: No, most of my friends are racing Leadville this weekend.
Spouse: What's Leadville?
You: It's a 100 mile race in Colorado, a four day trip. Sounded like a lot of fun, but I decided to pass (i.e., you tried signing up, but didn't get one of the coveted spots).
Spouse: (speechless for a few seconds, while she contemplates how she got so lucky as to be married to you instead of to one of your friends) Well, you should at least try to get a quick ride in.

My list is something I can use at a moments notice. Of course, the contents of the list are top secret. I would hate for it to be widely distributed. So please don't tell anyone that I'm posting my list here for the entire world to read. In no particular order:

***Chad - he's the fastest guy I ride with. Unfortunately my wife does not consider Chad a valid "that guy" because of his lack of kids. I normally couldn't care less if someone has kids, but in this case, I hope Mr. Hooptedoodle has some soon just so I can add him to the regular "that guy" rotation.
***Elden - Fatty mentioned in a recent post that he has a readership of around 10,000 people (which is only about 3 orders of magnitude more than mine). That means that there are almost 10,000 people who have used Elden as ammunition in justifying their next ride to their spouses.
***Sam - He just rode a sub-9 at Leadville. And although I'm not exactly sure what Sam does for a living, I'm pretty sure it has something to do with breasts. So while I have no idea what the details of his job actually entail, it certainly isn't difficult to spin this to your advantage.
***Brad - Way too fast for a guy with kids, and especially for a guy who is technically over-the-hill. And now he works at a bike shop, which almost matches Sam for being the dream-job, but could be interpreted by many wives as an excuse to play in a shop all day.
***Bart - I don't really know Bart personally, but what I do know about him is enough to earn him a spot on the list. He's married, has at least one kid, races mtb and CX a lot, I've heard that both he and his wife have real jobs, he's been one of the fastest guys in the state since he was about 3 weeks old, and when he's not riding, he's doing multi-canyon backcountry ski adventures. Sometimes the less you really know about a person, the better candidate that person becomes for the list.
***Ryan - he has kids and he's fast. The problem is that our wives have now met and exchanged cycling widow stories. Ryan may need to be deleted from the list unless he can provide me with some good new material.
***Fish - if you are limiting your list to only those who ride a lot, you have a gaping hole in your list. You also need someone to help you justify your next next bike-related purchase. Fish can be that guy. Just don't tell your wife the minor detail that due to Fish's extensive contacts in the bike industry, he's usually not paying the same amount as you are for big-ticket items.
***Sabrosa Jon - he's dang fast, he takes a pile of steel tubes and builds amazing bikes for his friends (certainly at a financial loss when you factor in time spent), and he has a kid. Prime candidate.
***Adam - he has like 25 kids and has ridden more all-weekend endurance races than anyone I know. And he manages to write a great blog on top of everything.
***The following are on the list because if you are fast and have kids, you automatically get a spot: Rick, Jon, Tony, Brandon, Spike, etc.

Don't get me wrong here, I know most everyone on this list pretty well, and everyone here is is a great husband and/or father. The trick is to convince your better-half that the people on the list ride a lot more than you do, and their wives don't seem to mind at all. Unfortunately, if your wife is anything like mine, she'll immediately see right through all the bull crap, and will be quite sure of herself that you pulled the wool over her eyes long enough to marry way up. I know I did, because for whatever reason, Wesla let me get away with way more than I deserved this past summer.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

No go on Baile del Sol

I had intended to race 12 Hours of Sundance last Saturday, but due to some changes in the bargaining positions of my wife and me, I had to pull the plug Friday evening.

Instead, Brandon, Spike (1-speed ICUP series winner), and I headed to Payson Canyon to check out the Nebo Loop trails. It was a bit chilly (i.e., cold as a motel bible) when we met at 6:00am, but we warmed up pretty quick as Brandon took us on an extended climb from the bottom of Bennie Creek to the top of the mountain via Shram Creek and a few other trails. I doubt I can remember the exact route, but I remember Sharm Creek, Lizard Lake, Jones Ranch, BlackHawk out-and-back to and from the campground, and finally down Bennie Creek to the car. The mileage wasn't huge, but we climbed something like 4-5k feet and we were home by noon.

The amount of amazing riding in Utah County baffles me. You could play in Payson Canyon all summer and not get bored. Combine this with Diamond Fork, the Timp/Cascade Foothills, the Alpine Loop and the Draper trails (easily accessible from Hog Hollow), and I can't imagine anywhere that has this much good riding within such a close proximity.

Here are a few pics from the Brandon's camera phone:

Brandon captured all of the the scenic photo-opportunities, including my stop at the outhouse:

Don't ask me what Spike is so excited about or what he's doing with his righ hand, but it's a little disturbing:

I'm not sure what I'm doing here, but it looks like I'm preparing to do some sort of Russian dance:

As you can see, the alpine singletrack sections were just okay:

Even though riding in circles for 12 hours at baile del sol sounds like tons of fun, Payson Canyon was a pretty good substitute.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Glutton for punishment

Remember all my recent talk about how great it is to ride for fun and not for the sake of racing? Well that was a bunch of bull crap. All of it.

Somehow, I've convinced myself that it would be a good idea to race the 12 hours of Sundance this Saturday. I figured my wife would veto the idea, but she had also been devising a strategy to go on a "book club retreat" the following weekend, and was in the mood to bargain. Given the number of Saturday mornings she's given me this summer, I would have been happy to let her go with no strings attached, but if I could get an entire Saturday out of the deal, I wasn't about to pass it up. Because that's just the kind of wonderful person I am.

So here I am, getting ready to do a repeat of the Park City Perfect 10. Except instead of trying to go around in the most circles for 10 hours, I'll be trying to go around in the most circles for 12 hours. And instead of being able to go as slow as I wanted to with no outside pressures, I'll be racing as a duo, so I may actually feel the need to try and go fast, and going fast at this point in the season seems to hurt even worse than it did back in June.

I'll be racing with my pal Brandon. Since he's the faster rider, I wonder if he'd be up for riding 2 or 3 laps for every 1 lap I ride? Now that sounds like something I can handle! Waddaya say, Brandon?

Monday, September 8, 2008

Perfect weekend

The weekend started early - 5:10am on Friday morning, to be exact. I was meeting Brandon S. and his crew at 5:45am for some early morning A.F. canyon action on the mtb. We met up at the mouth of the canyon, and I'll admit I was a bit skeptical based on my initial impressions. Because I'm becoming a cross country mountain bike snob. The ride had everything that the snob in me abhorred - big travel bikes on big trucks, body armor, a helmet being worn backwards (inadvertently), 33 degrees at the summit (this has nothing to do with me being a snob, but worth mentioning), and yes, even the dreaded shuttle ride to the top.

To make a long story short, I ended up having the time of my life.

Brandon and I went off the front of the group so that we could retrieve the shuttle vehicle. Brandon and I went at a decent pace, but nothing crazy. The ridge trail system was in perfect condition. We got to the Mud Springs turnoff and I convinced Brandon that we should give it a shot since I'd never ridden it before. We climbed to the top and then bombed down what may be one of the best descents I've ridden. Perfect combo of fast stuff, twisty stuff, rocky stuff, rooty stuff, steep stuff rutted stuff, etc. Not as technical as Dark Hollow, but still a blast. We crossed Tibble and descended lower Mill. We drove to the top, grabbed the shuttle vehicle and drove back to the Tibble turn-off, just in time to see the rest of the group coasting in.

It was a good way to rid myself of CX snobbery. As long as people are having fun on their bikes and not bothering anyone, that should be good enough. Riding with these guys once again reminded me how much fun it is riding your bike just for fun (what a novel concept, huh?). It also convinced me to hang onto my full squish bike, which I had considered selling. I get the simplicity of 1-speed rigid bikes, but there's something really fun about bombing Mud on a full squish.

Here's a pic Brandon sent me from the ride:

The remainder of the weekend was filled with throwing a birthday party for the youngin' and another trip up A.F. for some Timpanookee+Joy to work up an appetite for the highlight of the summer, aka, Fish's Luau. Fish never ceases to amaze with his ability to cook and entertain. I'm getting hungry just thinking about the pulled pork, not to mention the chicken, beef, and sausages (or brats? My unrefined palate can never distinguish the two). The impressive thing is that he pulled it all off despite some serious drama taking place on the home-front, but I'll leave the disclosure of the details up to him. One of the coolest things about Fish's Luaus is that they have to be one of the largest gathering of bike riders outside of a race or organized ride. I'm almost surprised that a race didn't spontaneously break out during the event. Fish has quite the impressive group of friends (notwithstanding me being counted among them), and it was a great chance to catch up with old acquaintances. Thanks again Fish!

Go Lance.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Binge and Purge

Ever since the American Mountain Classic race, all I've been doing is binging on every type of delicious food imaginable. Bacon Burgers, Burritos, Beer Boiled Brats, Birthday Cakes, Buffalo Wings, Butterfly Shrimp, etc. It appears I have an affinity for foods that start with the letter 'B', although I've been doing my best to give equal time to other letters as well, eating plenty of ice cream, drinking soda, and even the dreaded chili cheese fries while watching football with the in-laws. It's been a delicious week, other than the fact I've felt a little crumby, with allergies and maybe even a hint of a cold setting in. Coincidence?

I've hardly touched a bike since the race. Not because I haven't wanted to, but there's a long list of to-do's that I've placed on the back-burner for a while. Last night, it was time to purge the toxins I'd consumed over the past week or so. Nothing better than tacky single-track to cleanse the system. I did one of the Timp Foothill Suckers - up the bypass trail (this trail still may need an official name), up Crank, down to the Alter where I worshiped Frank for a bit, down reverse Frank (or Betty, depending on who you ask), back down the bypass trail, and home. Today, we're resurrecting the lunch group for some additional cleansing on the Timp Foothills.

Riding with no race to "train" for is actually quite fun. You should try it sometime. Push as hard or easy as you feel like. Recovery? The only recovery I'll be doing this fall is while descending some leaf-covered single track. Intervals? Intervals are for suckas.

Here is a pretty good video of the AMC. That there's some nice 1-track: