Saturday, April 10, 2010


The run up to Roubaix has been stunning this year. Cancellara is displaying world-class form, Boonen is riding right at the top of his game and the races we've seen thus far have all been riveting. Boonen has already knocked out 4 second place finishes in the classics campaign. He's maintained a (Belgian) sense of humor and is still my top pick for the Roubaix podium. Plus, he appears to be keeping clear of coke and I always like to see that.

Cancellara has seemed super-human as he can pull away from sprinters like Boonen without leaving his saddle. I've always liked Spartacus. Dude's got class. Remember Flanders last year, when his chain broke at the bottom of the Koppenberg? He went back, picked it up and hammed it up with the press and fans while the race tore on without him. What can you do? (Take note here, Matti Breschel, nobody likes to watch a child throw a tantrum).

My podium (not that anyone cares):
1.) Boonen
2.) Cancellara
3.) Hushovd

Sadly, unless purple bunny rabbits begin to fall from the sky while ACDC's Highway to hell blares out from the clouds above, then Hincapie's probably not going to make the top 5 (although THAT would be pretty good).

My Printable Roubingo Board

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

An easy ride.

I'm riding through a neighborhood called Solterra, it's a new developement in the hills above Golden and this street is lined with "patio homes" that offend me a little bit. I mean, yea, they DO have patios, but they're all between 3,000 and 5,000 sq ft with big yards and pricing starts (according to a sign we pass) in the low $400,000s. As we ride further up, the patio homes are dwarfed by single family mansions that I could describe as both capacious and palatial--in the same sentence--without worry of exaggeration. One of them actually has a three-story bell tower. Comparatively, the homes we just passed do seem patioesque. Otherwise, the view is truly amazing.

It is steep, I've been in my 27T cog for as long as I can remember, we're almost 2 hours in and have already gained something like 3,000 ft in elevation. There is a pretty serious headwind, I do not like it. I'm tucked in behind Matt, who's tucked in behind Joe. I can't really tell if the draft is helping matters any, the wind seems to be coming from every direction at once. Ahead, Joe's pedalstroke is like magic, constant, smooth. I glance down and can only compare the stilted, squarish motion of my own legs to chopping broccoli. We cross an intersection and the road tilts up further, I try to shift into an easier gear before I remember that I don't have one. Joe doesn't pedal faster, he doesn't slow down, I'm pretty sure he's not even breathing heavy. Matt stands up, hammers out a few pedal strokes and regains Joe's wheel. I do none of those things. As the gap widens I am, however, pretty sure that I can see Jesus over the next rise. He looks disappointed.

Later, in an unusual move for us, we decide to pretend like we we're friends who are just out for a good time on bikes instead of dudes who are out training for something and correspondingly, stop for coffee and pastries before heading back up the mountain and home on the final leg. The pastries are tasty and the respite has a reviving effect, if not for my lungs, then certainly for my soul.

On the final climb back home, I crack. Hard. Joe and Matt circle back for me and begin making excuses so I don't have to. That's what friends are for. After I've eaten something and am no longer dizzy, some light hearted ribbing will follow, that's what friends are for, too. Note: apparently, even during an "easy" ride, it is wise to consume more water than coffee. Also, one should eat stuff and apparently, 1/3 of a scone--no matter how delicious--doesn't replace 1,500 calories. Good tip.

Saturday, March 13, 2010


Things that are filthy: Congressional ethics panels, the floor at a strip club, my bike. Seriously, this is nasty. On the way home today, I was pursued by such a racket that I couldn't decide whether to pedal harder so it'd be over sooner, or to attempt to quietly coast the entire way home (as it's predominately uphill, I didn't have much choice in the matter). I passed some guy on a sparkling white Colnago who, as my screeching drivetrain neared, slowed drastically. I could pretend that I was just much faster, crushing a monster gear on my commute home, but the pained look on his face told me otherwise. It said "holy shit, have you got Rosie Perez caught in your chain? Hurry up down the road and away from me so I can continue to enjoy my Italian-themed ride in peace." And I don't blame him, 'cause I felt the same way. Except, you know, for the Italian part.

Tomorrow: it puts the lotion on its skin or it gets the hose again. Actually, it's getting the hose anyway.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Dogs, sleeping. And me.

When I was drunk, I sometimes forgot about the things worth fighting for. The further I descended into my dark, alcoholic mental wasteland, the more I lost sight of anything tangible and good. It happened slowly, over the course of many long, shitty months, so I didn't notice. Like boiling a frog, by the time I realized anything was wrong, it was way too late: I was screwed (I've never boiled a frog, not really my kind of snack, but they just swim around all happy-like until they're cooked. Weird, right?).

In a crap mental space to begin with, I started to see everything, EVERYTHING as should'a been, can't have, no point, lost cause, don't deserve to be happy anyway, etc. I woke up one day and realized--drunk or sober--I was depressed practically out of my mind. I had been destroying my life like a narcissistic time bomb from Super Mario Bros. blindly running around and wrecking everything good with almost surprising success. Chasing and detonating madly until all I had left was myself for company and in that state, I was no fun to be around. Seriously, when you really, really hate who you are, who you've become, usually you're the only one left around to hang out with. I was so sad-sick and confused that I couldn't see what was happening, had no idea that I was an alcoholic, and certainly had no idea that I was an asshole. It's sort of funny, I always thought that it was easy to tell if you're an asshole, because assholes are so easy to pick out of a crowd. I have a knack for it, actually. But, especially under cover of alcoholic denial, I was the last to know. My fucked up brain kept me pretty much in the dark about it, which is a little slice of crazy that I never want to see again. With a startling, white clarity of purpose, I knew that everything hurt too much to go on, that drinking made it hurt less and that it never really hurt less, in the end. What I didn't know was how to stop. And no, it really never, ever occurred to me to try and quit drinking. Like I said: crazy.

So when I see my two dogs asleep on the couch (yea, I let 'em sleep on the couch) and the whole fucking world just makes sense, that's when I know I'm doing OK.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Winter is Dead to Me... The Legs are Shiny and New.

The many justifications seem to vary from aerodynamics (thin), to looking Euro/Pro (weird), to "chicks dig it" (creepy), to the application of embrocation and ease of massage (meh). But the crux is this: If you ride your bike on the road, chances are you shave your legs.

Yea, it is a little weird and no one apart from other roadies seems to get it, but there it is. I suspect some men do it because if one is to parade around in public wearing brightly colored spandex and chase other spandex-clad men about, it only makes sense to go the distance and shave the legs to really complete the package. I suspect, too, that it may be a thinly veiled attempt not to be outdone by female cyclists who (as the minority in this sport) can shave with a skill and aplomb that few men will ever achieve. SOME FRIENDS OF MINE are working pretty hard on the "minority" front, and if you are a woman, in Colorado, with a bike, I suggest you spend some time getting to know the Beti's and definitely, definitely check out THE BETI BIKE BASH on June 12th.

I am--at best--an inconsistent climber. I can occasionally sprint pretty decently and I am an absolutely dreadful time-trialist. However, I am a fantastically consistent crasher. No matter the shape I'm in, or the confidence with which I can sometimes handle my bike, I can count on falling rather ungracefully from my bike at least once a season. I have had only one really spectacular crash thus far, but my legs are littered with the many small scars of other minor contact with pavement, and in one case, a guardrail.

A long time ago, I rebelled against the smooth-legged roadie scene. Sure I had a shiny road bike and a fair amount of spandex, etc. But I was far too manly to spend too-long minutes in the shower shaving my legs. I perceived the act to be far too... feminine, and it was the last straw. I was intractable. I couldn't make the leap.

Then, one sunny day, I was descending, turning and a bit of gravel sent my arc a little too wide around a corner. Thankfully there was a guardrail there. An old, rusty, slightly jagged guardrail. I escaped nearly unhurt. My bike remained upright and only my knee hit the rail as my brakes grabbed hold and scrubbed speed 'till my wheels locked up and the cloud of my own dust overtook me. Later, after I spent a very long, painful time scrubbing the dirt, rust and (manly) leg hair out, I quietly decided that shaved legs might not be such a terrible idea after all.

In the offseason, I do not bother. Because, when it's 12 degrees outside, it doesn't much matter. Not shaving is part of my winter routine. But it's nearing the end of February and this is Colorado, so where the fuck is my sunshine? I am growing impatient and so I've decided to do something rash. I have shaved my legs while it's (literally) still snowing outside. I have declared the offseason to be over. Winter-be-damned and fuck-off icy, gravelly roads. Lets get on with it, shall we?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

The Coffee Problem

I used to collect crushes on baristas like frat boys collect vodka bottles: As souveniers of days gone by that look much better after the glossy sheen of time has polished away reality's harsh sting. Yes former frat boy, I know it seems impressive, but trust me, to everyone else, your wall of shiny bottles once filled with cheap, flavored booze conjures up pretty clear images of projectile vomit and date rape. So you should recycle that garbage, clean up the kitchen, buy some clothes without a little golfer or a boat or an alligator on the chest (or at least UN-pop your collar) and you might meet a nice girl who likes you for your personality. Or not. But seriously, un-pop your collar. That shit was annoying three years ago.

Frat boys aside, sure, baristas are a bit dark and mysterious and often pretty. They can make espresso and they listen alternately to punk and indie rock. They smell of flowers and scones and coffee grounds. But they also listen to emo crap and moody experimental new world jazz and shit, so in reality, it's a bit of a wash. Plus, you know, they're still just people, so many of them are probably crazy bitches. Watch out for that.

As I have never, ever, in any way received anything more than a polite smile from a coffee lady (Doris at the greasy spoon included) and having long ago outgrown my own moody, brooding, angsty, cigarette smoking phase, I suspect I am intensely qualified to give a dissertation on romancing baristas to my single friends in the hopes that they carry on the torch. Or carry the torch anywhere, or pick up the torch off the floor before it sputters and goes out.

Should you wish to pursue one of these denizens of coffee-house culture, let me lay out a few guide rules gleaned through my moderately keen powers of observation (looking at stuff and writing it down): If you don’t have a Mac, you should probably get one. Or at least hide your PC. Macs are pretty awesome anyway, and baristas/everyone are not impressed by anything that smells even remotely like Bill Gates. Also, you aren’t picking up ANYONE, EVER if they see you with a netbook. It's like showing up for a first date in a Yugo. I know its convenient, practical even and I’m sure it works well for whatever you need it to… Facebook stalking your EX and surfing tiny-sized porn at a moment’s notice or whatever. But trust me, at first blanch, you probably don’t want to encourage that smaller is adequate association, "Vaguely sufficient for my needs" is not sexy. iPhones are good, as are ratty artists notebooks with clever or ironic phrases scribbled on the cover. Act disinterested if at all possible. And, if you are capable of projecting an air of tortured douchebag with the hint of a nice guy lurking just under the surface, you sir (or madam), are in.

I should note that D. (the chick I date) once worked as a barista, and while she's pretty far removed from her brooding punky days as well, she makes a mean pot of moka, and I still felt it bore mention.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Championships AND Champions

This weekend, Lars Boom worked his ass off and rocked his way to a Dutch National Cyclocross Championships win. In true euro-cross style the course was snowy and muddy as hell, the field was in top-form and Lars' victory is not to be under-appreciated. Proving, however, that he is not to be outdone by his rival, Sven Nys stole the spotlight by returning from a sub-par start and shedding dudes like Bart Wellens and Niels Albert to win the National CX crown in a country that really matters: Belgium. Now I suppose this really isn't fair, it's not Lars' fault where he was born. And you know...  The Netherlands is, (or are or whatever) pretty nice and all what with the legalized prostitution and those "city" bikes and everything. But Belgium gave the world Waffles. So, you know, suck it Netherlands.

Sadly, Nys had to take time out of his much-deserved victory celebration to reprimand a few of his fans for literally pulling Niels Albert from his bike at a critical section. This level of rabid behavior is unfortunate and sick and I am HUGELY impressed that Albert got back on and roared to a ninth-place finish. Then he performed like a true champion with grace and humility when, after expressing sadness at the behavior of the [douchebags] he said: ”But chapeau to Nys, he deserved to win.” That shit is classy and a true departure from the too-oft heard whiny-bullshit in the pro peleton.