Monthly Archives: December 2009

Red Bull Romaniacs

Someday I want to do a race like this.

[Vimeo http://vimeo.com/7141693%5D

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End of the Decade!

December 19 , 2009

–       We are almost out of the first decade of the 2000’s.

–       We are almost to the shortest day of the year, and my oldest daughters birthday.  (Dec 21)

–       We are unfortunately a long way away from riding locally.

–       We are just 43 days away from the first National Enduro in South Carolina!

–       We are just 67 days away from our annual riding and early season testing trip to St. Joe Missouri

–       We are just 126 days away from the first D16 Harescrambles event.

Woohoo!

Maybe there is a GNCC event in there as well, haven’t completely decided on that.

Either way, it seems like there are some things coming up.  But, it is a long time until I can be on a 2 wheeler outside with regularity.  The problem is that I am going to get to South Carolina to do the enduro and it is going to go all wonked, I am sure.  I will get on the bike, be super excited to be on the bike, get a few miles into the Enduro and KINK!  No riding ain’t going to help my ride, people.

Fatcyclist is a pro.

I am super enthused about Fatcyclist.com getting to go and ride with the RadioShack guys last week.  That was really cool.

Here are the video’s of his time there, if you missed it.

and another.

and another.

My suspension just came back this week from Factory Connection.

Here are some gratuites pictures of my suspension on the counter and against my shop cabinets.  Did I mention how excited I am about my suspension?  I know that everyone get’s their suspension done, but damn.  Mine is just the best.  Factory Connection you know.

New, rebuilt, shinny, cool.

cheap opportunity for me to show off my garage floor, and the rebuilt FC suspension.

New Helmet cam!

This year, we will be showing some helmet cam video’s here at the site.  I am going to try to take video at least once per month, and put it up on the site.  We will see how that goes.

VIOsport helmet cam goodness.

The guys at VIOsport took my old camera and updated it to the new stuff.  New lenses, new mounts, new straps and new software.  I am super excited.  Those guys are up in Marquette Michigan, where the National Enduro is and where the best mountain bike riding in the entire Midwest is.  I wish I was back in my college days, this would definitely be my choice for a school in the Midwest.

I wonder is a 49 year old can go back to college?

My bike is not ready.

It has a long way to go before the Enduro at the end of January.  That is ok, I have a few weekends to work on it between now and then.

So I am out in the garage now.  I seem to spend a bunch of time in the winter out here.  Heater is on.  Floor is mopped (yes I am weird that way.)  I like it out here.  My bikes are here, my motorcycle is here, my skis are here, my truck is here – and there are no girls here.

That is it for now.

Try not to fall on the ice.

Joe

Top reasons I cannot wait for next season!

Next season will be here soon, just a few months away. But, in my book it cannot get here soon enough. My counter says that it is just 31 days till the National Enduro in SC, but a pathetic 114 days till the first local race.  The season of racing signifies so many good things it is almost impossible to list them all, but I will give it a try to list the ones that impress me the most.

Reason #1 that I cannot wait for the season.
The motorcycle season does get started before real summer. But, it is really summer where it gets going in earnest. The other thing summer leads to is people wearing a lot less clothes. Some might say, most importantly summer equals girls in shorts.  But, to me what that really equals is me in flip flops.  Why would someone want to wear shoes when they could wear flip flops.

Let’s examine this closely. Shoes are completely closed in.  Flip flops are wide open.

Reason #2 that I cannot wait for the season.

Leaving early with Scott in the van.  Have you ridden in the van?  If you have not, you do not know what you are missing.  It stinks, it is loud, it requires 2 hands on the wheel to keep it straight on the road, there is no cruise control.  Now all of that sounds like a bad experience, but in fact it is really really fun.  Candy will be on the dash yelling at us to make the right turn, not the left.  Scott will shove an entire sandwich in his mouth while we are driving.  One of us will try to eat a Quiznos sandwich while driving with one knee as both hands are shoving food in the mouth and trying to catch any of the peppers that fall towards the ground before they bounce.

Reason #3 that I cannot wait for the season.

The first turn.  I LOVE the chaos of the first turn.  I love trying to get there first. I love looking for the line through the melee.  I love trying to see where John is if it is a local race.  I love trying to count how many back I am from the front when we hit the woods if it is a national race.  I love the feel of my bike as it roosts away from the line and away from the first turn.  I love the stupid pass that someone will put on me as we go into the woods.

In the end, the race is fun… but the first turn.   Ah…

Reason #4 that I cannot wait for the season.

Skiing is silly, it is snow after all.  I mean, that is frozen water that we are trying to slide over with planks bolted to our feet.  It is damn fun, but much less predictable than dirt is.  Plus, it is cold out there.

Reason #5 that I cannot wait for the season.

I love having Candi on the dash.  She is so boisterous.

Reason #6 that I cannot wait for the season.

Quiznos.  I don’t have much reason to go to Quizno’s at any other time of the year.  Even though they are sandwich artists there.  Plus, have you seen my teammate eat?  He can put it away, and I get to witness it almost every week.  How can a guy that is mostly just lungs on top of legs put that much away?   Jeez!

Reason #7 that I cannot wait for the season.

Race gas.  Who doesn’t love the smell of race gas.  I mean it is not the smell of a pan of brownies being cooked or a burrito.  But, it is way better than dog doo on your shoe.  Now that doesn’t smell good at all.  But race gas, yum.  Maybe it is just that it means I am going racing that weekend.

Reason #8 that I cannot wait for the season.

I have a new pair of boots.  Enuf said, right?  Who doesn’t like that new boot look and feel.  You look like a dweeb with some matching gear and spanky new bright white (I hope I don’t get these dirty) boots.  You cannot feel the shifter or the brake lever, so as you over rev the motor or blow right through that first turn when you cannot find the brake – you look really good.  Girls swoon for new boots.

Reason #9 that I cannot wait for the season.

More riding, and less counting down till the season.

Reason #10 that I cannot wait for the season.

I love that “someone ran over me with a truck feeling” the day after a harescrambles race.  It is like 2 hours of someone hitting you with a hammer.  You pee every 20 minutes on the way there.  You drink 5 bottles of water and cytomax and recovery drink on the way home, and you do not need to pee until the next day.  I am certain that you drop about 5 pounds during a race.  Your bike is usually shredded after a race, but it makes the someone ran over me feeling all worth it.

Bonus reason #11 that I cannot wait for the season.

It has been a few months since we have needed to have someone pull us out of a muddy GNCC parking lot.  God I love that.

So, please please bring on the season.

out.

JV

Sugar Maple video

Dave Hollub made up this video for Sugar Maple MX track and woods. I am following Brian Terry in the video. Not the greatest riding, but we were just figuring out the track and woods that day.

The D16 race there in May should be really good though. There is a lot of terrain for Brian to work with.

SUGAR MAPLE MX TRACK from Dave Hollub on Vimeo.

Joe

10 Reasons my job does not suck

Sometimes my job doesn’t suck! This week was one of those times.

I was out at the new RadioShack cycling teams first camp in Tucson. If you are a cycling fan you know that this might be the strongest cycling team that has ever been built. It is all built with the singular focus of dominating the Tour de France the summer, and placing everyone’s hero, (Lance Armstrong) on the top of the box again. If you are not a cycling fan, you should be and you better become one because this summer is going to be epic. If you cannot become one today, I am sorry but you will just have to gut it out through this blog post.

Reason #1 that my job doesn’t suck.
On Wednesday when I arrived I went straight to the F1 meeting. The F1 group is the name for the group of people and companies that have come together to help the team achieve its goal. As I was late arriving, the only seat left was between Johan Bruyneel (the all time greatest cycling coach with 9 TDF wins to his credit) our man Ben Coates (full time Liaison for Trek to the team) and just to Johan’s right was Bart Knaggs (President of the company that owns the team) and Allen Lim (one of the most highly regarded sports performance gurus for any sport). I was so out of my league.

I do not profess to be any kind of expert, like the other people in the room. I was in awe.

Reason #2 that my job doesn’t suck.
On Wednesday evening, Ben and I personally got to show the new RadioShack team bike to Lance. He was the first person to see it in real life, outside of Trek employees.

Reason #3 that my job doesn’t suck.
A team like RadioShack has an impressive budget. I am talking Formula One team budgets or GP motorcycle racing budgets. As a result of that budget they have the best of everything. The best of performance efforts, the best of food and the best of hotels. Here are some shots of where we stayed with the team this week.

Reason #4 that my job doesn’t suck.
Eldon “Fat Cyclist” (fatcyclist.com) raised a ton of money this week for Livestrong and World Bicycle Relief and we get to help him give away a couple of bikes as a result.  Follow the link and read the whole story, it is about 6-8 blog entries.  He is a great guy and a super funny writer.  We got to give away the bikes that he talks about in the story.  He also has a surprise waiting for him for when he gets there.  Ben and I got to put that in motion while we were there at team camp.

Reason #5 that my job doesn’t suck.
On Thursday I got to go for a 2.5 hour ride with the RadioShack team. The link contains photos and the story at Velonews.  I spent more than 30 minutes riding next to Lance (no I did not knock him down, and yes I was very nervous that I might). He and I talked the entire time. And, it wasn’t me doing all the talking. I wanted to ask him about the goings on in the bus with Alberto last year, but didn’t. We did talk about bikes, politics, the TDF this coming season, his chances and a bunch of things. Wow.

Reason #6 that my job doesn’t suck.
I also got to talk to Chris Horner for a bunch of time during the road ride.  He is a hoot.  We talked about cars, and about how many bikes he has in his garage for him and his kids and his wife.  He gets a kick out of being the mechanic for all the kids in the neighborhood that he lives in.

So we were talking as we were going up a longer climb.  It was a good pace, I could talk and not breathe too hard.  I was trying not to give it away that I was going at a good clip.  After about 3 minutes of talking back and forth, I finally looked to Chris’s right, and he has his hand on another sponsors back pushing him up the hill.  The whole time we have been climbing, he has been just yacking away with me and still pushing someone else up the hill.

I hate it when that happens to me.

Reason#7 that my job doesn’t suck.
Thursday evening was the sponsor dinner.  It was a big banquet room with assigned seating.  There were big round tables.  Outside the room, you found your name tag and it told you which table to sit at.  I was at table ten, sort of in the middle of the room.  Seated to my left was Axel Merckx (Eddie Merckx son, ex racer and coach of Trek/Livestrong) and to his left were Justin Williams (sprinting hope for the Trek/Livestrong team) and then Taylor Phinney (Son of Davis and Connie Phinney and current pursuit junior world champion).

During dinner, Axel was telling racing stories while Justin and Taylor made fun of him.  Axel told stories of rooming with Mark Cavendish on Tmobile and a bunch of other racing stories.  He told the story of Mark Cavendish first year as a pro racer, being told that his numbers would never allow him to be more than a pack filler racer.  Axel told the story of his first classic win and Cavendish immediately calling the trainer that had told him that and asking “how do you like my numbers now?”

Taylor is crazy.  He never stops talking.  He makes fun of Lance on stage.  He laughs at the music selected for the rider presentation and basically keeps everyone around him in stitches.  Ben once called me after Taylor made him play 4 hours of video games with him.  And of course since Taylor was 19 at the time he just destroyed Ben for 4 hours straight.

Reason #8 that my job doesn’t suck.
This week Ben and I got to work closely with Lance this week to develop the plan for the bikes that he will ride this year.  We are going to kick of something really special in a month or so.  I know that you have probably seen the RadioShack team bike by now.  If you have not, here is a link to the gallery of photos on Trek’s facebook page.  The team will start racing these babies’s in Australia in a few weeks.  But, there is another plan for bikes for Lance.  And that plan is big – really big.

Reason #9 that my job doesn’t suck.
The RadioShack team hotel had the best oatmeal known to mankind.  Oh yeah.

Reason #10 that my job doesn’t suck.
I got paid to do all of this, this past week.

The RadioShack team. Here it goes. This is going to be fun.

At the end of the presentation of the team riders, Lance had the microphone and this is his quote.  “I don’t know where you will be in July, but I would recommend being in front of a television – it is going to be epic!”  I think he is right.  The Tour de France is going to be the best race we have ever seen in our lifetime.

I know where I will be.

Out – Joe.

In appreciation of the Burrito

The reasoning.

For a long time I have been thinking about writing this. I am finally doing it because I have been inspired by an advertisement that I saw from Fox mountain bike suspension. I the advert that I am referring to, there is a really sweet piece of singletrack heading off into the distance. The singletrack is pitched slightly downhill, and the vantage point of the photo gives the impression that it is going to be 30 or more minutes of sweet descending to get to the bottom. You just know it is going to be epic. At the top of the mountain, perched right on the side of the trail is a Burrito stand. The only caption on the advert is “In a perfect world..”.

That advert says it exactly, a Burrito makes even the best experiences just that much better. It is, after all, the worlds most perfect food.  I intend to prove that to you below.

I don’t know about you, but topping off a great experience with a Burrito is nearly perfection. After a great long road bicycle ride or a great MTB ride or a motorcycle race or… A Burrito really floats my boat. I know Scott and my other riding buddies really get tired of the endless stream of Burritos in my life, but most anything leads to a Burrito. About the only thing that doesn’t lead to a Burrito after doing it, is a roll in the hay with my girl (but this is a family blog, so we will leave that alone).

Burrito vs Pizza

There are a lot of you out there that want to argue about now with me about this. There are some of you who have written in claiming that I am wrong and actually the Pizza is the perfect food.

Well I will agree that the Pizza is very good. A tremendous food. In fact, Pizza nearly qualifies as it’s own food group. Who can argue with thin dough spread out covered with tangy tomato sauce and then garnished with any manner of toppings. It can be eaten with a fork or with your fingers, and on that point it scores just as high as a Burrito. Plus, Pizza is Italian, I have been to Italy and the women there are hot.

But, Pizza looses out to the Burrito in 3 areas.
1. A Burrito is good with almost anything added inside. Burritos can make even something like broccoli inside ok. The measure of a truly exceptional food is one that can make mediocre things tolerable. I just cannot imagine broccoli on Pizza.
2. Both Pizza and a Burrito can be eaten with beer. That is good, because non breakfast foods that cannot be eaten with beer are to be avoided. But, Pizza can also be eaten with wine. Because of that, it is inevitable that someone feels they need to fancy up a Pizza joint, making it a place that one cannot go all muddy after racing your motorcycle. I mean, the term upscale Burrito joint just doesn’t exist. Plus, they can serve chips and salsa with Burritos, (the perfect sidedish – but that is another story all together.)
3. The Pizza takes to long to prepare. When you show up at the non-upscale Burrito place after destroying yourself on a 4 hour MTB ride, you can be tucking into a fat handfull of post ride bliss in about 4 minutes. At the Pizza place you are still waiting for your food after the Burrito guy is stuffed to the gills and farting black beans back in the front seat of the truck. Now that’s living.
4. The 4th reason of the 3 reasons,  My girlie is actually a really good cook. She makes dynamite Italian food, including a really mean Pizza. She gets it from her mom, who was a really excellent cook. I really enjoy making Pizza with her at home. Her Pizza is actually better than anything not made by that hot Italian chef Giada on TV. But here’s the deal, she cannot make a Burrito better than a good Burrito joint. As I said, she is a really good cook. So, that leads me to believe that the Burrito requires a higher level of culinary expertise than the Pizza.

So there you have it, advantage Burrito.

Is the Burrito actually Mexican food?

I think this is a legitimate question. I mean, you can find a burrito when you are in Mexico, but they really are not as good as the Burritos in Texas or California. I think that the Burrito went through a transformation when it migrated north. It transformed and got better.

Sort of like Artimus Prime. Prime is pretty cool as a semi truck, but he is really cool once he transforms into the skating badass that he is as a Transformer.

Transformers appear to be just trucks or cars from some assembly factory on first inspection. But in reality they are from outer space somewhere. That is why I question if the Burrito is really from Mexico. Are they really what they seem?

A wrap is not a Burrito.

Brace yourself. They aren’t. A wrap is someones attempt to fancy up a Burrito. In concept, almost anything wrapped in a tortilla shell should be a good thing. And it is. It isn’t the food itself that makes a wrap inherently less than a Burrito.

A place that serves something called a wrap is putting on airs. The names is trying to trick the people that are looking for an upscale Pizza joint into trying something new. And, generally speaking a wrap doesn’t involve beans and us jus a rolled up sandwich.

No, a wrap is not a Burrito.

Random Burrito notes:

You cannot get a Burrito of any consequence in China.

There is some sort of magic that holds the Burrito all together.  Try it at home, you can never get it all to stay together.

I think I look pretty striking while eating a Burrito.

Dutch people do not do Burrito’s.

My teammate Scott can eat a Chipoltle Burrito in about 3 minutes.

That pretty much sums it all up for me.
The Burrito is hands down the best food there is. (although I do really enjoy a Quiznos sandwich… they are sandwich artists there.)

Time to go have a Burrito.
Joe

No more local riding

Snowed on Friday.  More snow coming today/tonight.  Possibly 5-6 inches.  If that happens, we will definetely be done riding this year.  Knew it was coming, it always does.  But, I was just so hopeful that it wasn’t really going to be soon.  You know, living in denial.

Since I didn’t get to make it to Tennessee with Mark and Scott, I was just so hopeful that I could still ride locally somehow.  Not to be.  Winter has decided to step in here in Wisconsin.  I suppose that is ok, as it is time to work on the garage, work on my motorcycle, ski, train and get ready for next year.

So, today I am going to work on the garage a bit, take an inventory of things in the garage, create a laundry list of bike-gear-garage things that I need to work on, figure out locations for a few things that just have not gotten put away this fall etc…

New Pipe

My friend JD Friebel called the other day to brag that his new 4strokes are quieter than my 4stroke.  (I am exagerating of course, he called for a number of other reasons – that is just the one that I am quoting here.  I have to make the story fit my point after all.)

My teammate Scott and I have absolutely fallen in love with our Suzuki RMZ250 4strokes.  But, we both wish they were a bit quieter.  Not that riding a dirt bike doesn’t have some noise associated with it.  I just don’t like being THAT guy.  Mark Junge has pledged to work with us also to try to quiet the things down a bit and still have power.  Not the easiest things to do.

I am also working on it on my own.  So, I ordered up a new FMF exhaust system.

Always nice when you have boxes like this show up! Feel the power!

And Inside!

So, I have a new Q muffler from FMF, and a new stainless Mega-Bomb header.  FMF literature claims below 96db on the muffler and the header also claims a reduction in noise as well as more torque and 1.5hp.  We will see.

Now it is time to get the suspension back to FC to be reworked.  Going to ask them to take it back to the GNCC setting.  I am finding that a bunch of our racing is more about speed than it is to go through super technical enduro terrain.  I am doing a National Enduro in January, but by spring time we will be back to HS racing every weekend.

Ready to go back to Factory Connection for some love. Check out that floor!

Tough time of the year for moto guys, but eveything comes back around.  Spring will be here and the timer on my computer says that that the first race will be here in about 130 days.  Seems like an eternity, but it will be here soon enough.

Joe

Early Dec update

Lots has gone on of late.  Unfortunately, not a lot of motorcycle riding.  But, plenty to talk about

MTB riding in Arkansas

As usual, the whole family was down in Arkansas over the Thanksgiving week visiting my mother.  My brother and his family and my sister and her family all converge on my mothers house for a week of shenanigans centered around MTB riding, running around in the woods, drinking too much beer and burning stuff in the back yard.  It make you feel like a redneck, but the sophisticated kind.

One of the best parts about the week is that I get to MTB ride a bunch with my brother.  He is a mountain bike freak and we have a great time riding together, too bad it is only once a year.  The kids are all getting old enough to ride now also, so it ends up a great marker for the whole extended families.

Over the years, we have found 3-4 really good places to ride right around the Hot Springs area.  First one is the Cedar race track.  It is built around a county park that has a climbing wall, RC car track, RC airplane strip, BMX track etc…  A great little community park.  The MTB loop is about 10 miles around and 100% singletrack.

We also do some riding around my mom’s house, and over the years we have made a bunch of obstacles to practice on.  Here is one of the kids playing around in the street in front of my mom’s house.

Getting the skills down.

Ipod tragedy

Always has to be one calamity on a trip to my mothers house.  In past years, there was stiches for cousins, lots of abrasions etc…  There was the year that I smashed my face into the ground on an MTB ride.  That year required 20+ stiches inside my mouth.

This year was a lot less traumatic than others.  But, I did fry my little ipod shuffle by running it through the washer with my cycling shorts.  Stuffed it into my pocket after a solo MTB ride and the shorts got into the pile of laundry and…  well you get the picture.  Now it is just a nice little shinny silver plastic thing that does nothing.

Ugh…

Arkansas Karaoke

Not sure what the significance of Arkansas Karaoke is, but I am writing about it nonetheless.  I am also not sure that Karaoke is any different there than it is anywhere (except maybe Japan.  In Japan, those people take karaoke seriously.  I once went to a bar with multiple karoake stages in Sekai City.  The place was huge and as I said had 3 different stages.  People were jammed in there like it was a Prince concert.)  Someone got a Karoake thing for the gift exhange that we always do there.  We used it, and damn it was bad.  Just thought I would throw all that into the story as well.

Tennessee OMA race

Didn’t go, because work got in the way.  Damn.  It is tough when that whole being responsible thing gets in the way of serious professional dirt biking.  Wanted to go.  Had it on the schedule forever but it didn’t work out.  Originally we were going to go down with Mark Junge on Thursday.  Then, Mark and Scott decided to go on Wed.  I couldn’t change my schedule, so I thought “Ok, I will just come down on my own on Thursday eve or Friday.”  Work happened on Thursday and Friday became too jammed to leave.  Dang.

Anyway, if you want to read about what is probably going to be a stellar time, jump over to Scott’s blog after Tuesday or so and you can read about his account of the Tennessee trip.

Sure would have been fun to see Mark do his very first dirt bike race.  Mark is 43 time national endurance road racing champ, or something like that.  I have seen him on a MTB also.  The guy has mad skills on a 2 wheeler.  But, he was actually a bit nervous about his first dirt bike race in the woods.  I am sure it will have been cautious at first and then ripping it up after that.  I cannot wait to hear the results.

Anyway.  Out for me.  Talk to you later.

Joe