Saturday, December 29, 2007

God bless Rock and Roll

I think these guys were one of the first cassettes I bought as a wee lad back in the day. Actually, I think the first tape was Quiet Riot but my brother had TS and I do remember listening to that many a time. I remember being at a couple of parties in college listening to them and we would jump off the couch, air guitar stylie. When we landed, the impact would make the CD player skip. Ahhh, good times. Good times. I guess that's saying something when you can overlay a christmas carol over a 1980s hair band rock tune.
Then again, I guess it can go both ways. Sabbatum, an Estonian medieval music group covered some Black Sabbath tunes, like War Pigs. All in Latin and on medieval instruments. Pretty crazy.

Unfortunately, I've spent the last hour trying to figure out how to post audio to the blog with no success, so I give up. for now.

Sunday, December 23, 2007


I made some huge progress over the last couple days, at the expense of a day on the bike in 60 degree, sunny weather. Small price to pay so I don't have to take a day off the bike in Jan or Feb. Anyway, with the help of my buddy Matt, we wrecked shop and got all 560 square feet of the flooring laid down. Small bonus was that I got to return some unused flooring to reduce total expense of the project. We all know what that means... MORE BIKE PARTS!!! We spent a total of about 20 hours each. Time well spent, for sure. Once I get back from the whole fam damily on Wednesday, I'll spend some time putting the quarter round trim down to finish out the project. I may actually get done before Feruary!
So here are a few pics of what's happened so far.
ceiling paint. new paint should be obvious.

Bachelor priorities (TV and satellite hooked up) and the pile of nasty carpet and padding removed:

Start of the floor:

Finished flooring, ready for trim work:

More later, once I get things arranged a bit better and start laying down the trim work.

-the ATM

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Wish you were here!

Yet another day in paradise! How can you not want want to ride that?!?

I did a solo ride today that was supposed to focus on leg speed snaps into corners to simulate race pace without all the extra effort. I started out thinking the snow would make it too treacherous but quickly threw caution into the wind since it was too damned fun going a little faster. As per SOP, I looked for opportunities to "work on technique"

It wasn't too easy to get up to speed on the flatter sections with all the snow plowing I was doing with 15psi in my tires, but I didn't really care. Temperature was hovering around 30, which was just about ideal. This was confirmed on the return trip looking at my tracks. Pretty much no bleed through of mud, save for a few sections.
I ended the day with only a handful of mishaps that amounted to a little snow on my jersey. no broken or bruised body parts. That tells me I was trying just hard enough. I did get loads of exercise on line selection since there were plenty of rocks and branches hidden under the snow.

yep. That's all for now.

-the ATM

Saturday, December 15, 2007

No Pressure

No pressure was the phrase of the day. I accidentally took this entire week off the bike, mainly to get stuff done around the house so I'm not still working on the mother of all projects in February. I did that last year and don't want a repeat. Anyway, I heard a few friends were going to ride at Brown County State Park on the fantasmalactic MTB trails at 10a for the first snow ride of the year. Count me in.
I really had no agenda for the day, other than to have a sweet-FA ride. Mission accomplished. I led into the single track and for the first 30 or so minutes and was digging the trails and being the first one to cut tracks into the fresh snow. Not being one to hog all the fun, I pulled over after a bit to share the wealth. Jeff pulled through and looked to be having just as much fun as I was.
As is often the case, Jeff and I have a bit of a rivalry for who leads from after stopping. I made sure to straight arm him as we started so I could kick up some snow on him with my rear tire. I wasn't quite as smooth as I should have been when I did, tho, since I drilled my knee on my shifter and bent it just enough to not allow multi-gear shifts for the rest of the ride. Oh well, he ate snow and we had a laugh.
Back to pressure, or lack of anyway...I started out just below 30 psi, and was not getting the traction I wanted. I think I let air out about 3 times over the course of the day, and ended up somewhere around 20. Not bad for a fatty like me.
We ended the ride at one of the hippie joints (er, bad word choice... let's try establishment) apres' ride for some coffee, food and conversation. I loaded up on a black bean burger and a pile of hummus, so I took care of the post-ride protein needs soundly.
I don't have a jersey pocket friendly camera, so I left it at home. I did do my customary first-snow-of-the-year donuts and laid down a few sweet ones after I remembered to turn off the damned traction control. A mobile phone pic had to suffice. Homer Simpson would be proud.

Ok, so back to painting.

-the ATM

Monday, December 10, 2007

Boom shakalaka!

Sunday's race conditions were a little worse than last week's. It was raining pretty much all day leading up to the start, nevermind the week leading up to it. Motivation was low to get out there to test tire pressure and get warmed up, but I did have motivation to test out some flat out billboard pimpness in the form of a set of Easton Tempest II wheels.
Sick doesn't even begin to describe these wheels. Having 34c Challenge Grifo tires made it all the better. As if previous posts didn't make it clear enough, I rescind any negative comment ever made about tubies, cost be damned.

Anyway, with about 25 minutes to start time, I jumped out on the course. Hoo boy, was it nasty. I chose a false flat (~2% at most) to determine tire pressures, and was nervous about 23 psi but traction was the order of the day.
After dispensing with the guys that were driving their bikes - you know, steering and counter steering from every small change, I settled in. It was a definite powerman's course since there were at least two sections where it was faster to run on pan flat ground!

I ended up oh so close to the podium, but did not deserve... I was some 30 or so seconds off that pace in 4th place. At least I did a good enough job of representing those dope wheels, plus I got the result I was looking for for damned near the entire season. My best result of the season in the most miserable conditions of the season... and I was rockin' the belgian knee warmers. My blend for the day was Pre Ride Oil and Medium Embrocation, both from Qoleum. It worked. I had nary a problem... at least until about an hour after the race.
I had some pretty uncontrollable shivers that lasted for at least 30 minutes, but I think that was more a result of 4 hours of sleep with a little dash of cold weather thrown into the mix.


Sunday, December 2, 2007

More Euro cross

So today was another epic cross day. Weather report was fairly promising in that it promised rain.
So let it be written, so let it be done.
The course was reasonable early on during the preride, but I was struggling with tire pressure (damned clinchers). The last attempt was a bit too low, ending up with 20psi front and rear. bottoming out my rim on small sticks was a bad sign.
Anyway, I bumped up the psi before the race and was pretty comfortable with where I ended up. Missed my pedal, dammit. First time of the year and of course it's with a good grid position. There were plenty of corners that were slick, but no really big issues. Definitely several occasions to slide both wheels coming out of a corner. Pretty fun, actually. It started to rain around halfway through and I was having an enjoyable ride. I wasn't making up enough time, though, and ended up a little worse than I wanted but felt good about my ride.
Changing in the rain was not fun. Having about a cup of mud on my chamois was also not fun. Hopefully I'll find some pics on the web soon. Until then, here's a Brookside pic also in the mud, so imagine me in a Ridley skinsuit with about the same mud content.


Saturday, December 1, 2007


I pretty much go from project to project with little relief, and those projects vary in difficulty/length randomly. Sometimes, they're easy, like changing from summer wheels/tires:

to winter wheels/tires:

But sometimes they are a bit more difficult which is pretty much where I'm at with my home improvement project for the winter. Since I spend alot of time on my bikes in the summer, I am smart enough not to start a project on the house. The funny thing is that I still spend a ton of time on the bikes in the winter, but I think it's a nice way to think about other things than just riding bikes. The theory is that this pays into the motivation bank come summer when there is no excuse not to be on a bike.
Anyhoo, my winter project on the house this year started out as a flooring replacement job. Rather than keep using carpet, I wanted the durability and cleanliness of hardwood flooring. A side benefit is that I can do the work myself and save some bux for bike stuff. Funny how that works out... As I was surveying the project, I decided I should paint the walls, too since I could be a little sloppier on the painting without dripping on the floor to worry about. Then while talking to my mom, she pointed out how dismal my ceilings were and I should paint those, as well. Sure, why not?!?
So now I'm about a month into it, and I'm almost done with the drywall prep work. Matching surfaces when installing new sheet rock is no small feat. Since you're pretty much adding around a 16th of an inch of drywall mud at a time, days go by, not hours. If I was a drywall contractor, I'm sure I'd be better but I'll stick to my day job engineering stuff.
and have started pulling carpet. Wow, that shit was nasty and well overdue for replacement. Once I'm done with the not-so-small task of painting about 1000 square feet of ceiling, and way more sf of walls, I'll be ready to throw down the floor:
Yep, that's about 650 sf of floor cued up, ready for placement. Sweet.

As this has become quite a book, I'll finally get around to posting some pics of my sweet (formerly) new CX rig a little later. Stay tuned.

the ATM

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

tubies and craftsmanship

I'd pretty much sworn off tubies since I went through two of them in the span of a month last year. Too damned much money to blow. That was on my road bike, but still. When determining what setup I was going to do for my cross bike this year, I decided to just keep running the Ksyrium clinchers like I have for the past few years. Damned reliable wheel that need no maintenance, zero expense so I could spend a little more and get a good clincher setup and STILL be money ahead.
That all changes for next year. At the Lafayette cross race I was duking it out for 7th place when I started to feel a little squishy in corners. Turns out I had a slow leak and I was in the semi-fortunate position to be about 60 seconds away from the wheel pit. I rolled in to the pit, spotted my buddy's spare wheelset, grabbed the rear and threw it on my bike. Maybe it was lower pressure (which is a benefit to riding tubies!), but that tired just hooked up. It felt way better at a lower pressure than my clincher did at that same pressure, and I wasn't bottoming out, either. So now I'm sold.
The other benefit to running tubies is that I'll be building these wheels, which has become somewhat of a joy for me. Granted it seems like I never have enough time to devote to build a wheel and I'm still pretty freaking slow at it, but it's pretty fun and I always love being able to say "yeah, I built that." Craftsmanship is still very much appreciated by me. The devil is in the details, as they say.

This segways nicely into my next thought.

The devil is in the details, for sure. Kinda like passing the brake cable through the integrated seat post on the Speedvagen from Vanilla bicycles ( or

I'm by no means trying to take credit, but I've always wondered why TT bikes don't do that, even to the point of drilling the post through the seat tube. Seriously, a 3mm hole is not going to compromise a bike. If nothing less, it just cleans up the look so much.
This goes double for the front brake cable routing... look really closely:

Yeah, I like craftsmanship. That's all for now.

the ATM

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Cyclocross, Euro style

I suppose it didn't really rain because I washed my car this am, but that's about my luck. No matter, it was pretty dirty and needed cleaned regardless. Enjoying a thick cup of coffee and washing my car was a great way to start of my Sunday. It would have been better if I could listen to the Hangover Cafe' but suck Clear Channel axed it some time ago.
Anyway, back to the rain. On the way up to Indy for the race it rained cats and dogs. Excellent prep weather for a good 'cross race. AT the start some d-bag was late to the line and held everybody up while he took off his tights. Then of course said d-bag drilled my bars at the start and shot me into the guy next to me. Awesome. I stayed on the bike and sprinted like mad and got into about 10th or so. Pretty much the entire course was a soupy mess so it was slow going. I ended up 9th, not quite able to close on the guy in front of me.
Overall a good day, results are ticking up a few at time. Maybe by the time Nats comes around and more CX-appropriate weather starts to show (where I accel) I'll have a podium or a victory salute.
Oh, and I broke the axle on my Ksyrium at some point in the last month. That's because I make mad power.

-I'm out

Saturday, November 10, 2007

a little late, but no biggie

This is a video of a buddy of mine having issues through the sand pit at the USGP race #1 a few weeks back:

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Simple words

I've operated under a fairly simple motto over the last few years: If I'm not on my bike, I should be.

that's about it

Monday, November 5, 2007

Brakes only slow you down...

Sage words learned in my cycling infancy straight from my bro. Somewhat obvious, but ever so true. This little nugget came back to bite me big time this past weekend.
I'll start off with the, uh, start. I got a bad grid spot - way back in the 4th row, but as the gun went off, everyone seemed to shoot straight to the middle of the course. This allowed a huge path for me to get into the top 10 or so, which was nice. Heading into the sandpit on the first lap I decided to stay to the right. Apparently not far enough to the right, tho, since somebody was able to clip my bar and send me straight into the sand, head first. This wasn't really a big deal aside from the time lost in the spill. So I quickly jumped up and headed on my way. After 40 or so minutes, I was really ready to explode. I did my typical 'want to quit the race' thing about 15 minutes into the race, but the feeling came back, which never happens. I simply could not put any power to the ground. About 5 minutes later, I was in such a bad way that I had justified not ever racing 'cross again. This is fresh off the heels of my getting a super sick bike:

I could not figure out why the leaders took over a 3/4 of a lap on me IN ONE LAP! I struggled around the last section and wanted to ride the sand pit one last time so I flat out sprinted for about 200 meters then pedaled thru the pits, throwing in the towel just after.
It all came together when I was tearing the bike down to put it into my car... turns out during the sand pit incident, my rear brake spring had popped loose which meant only the left side of the rear brake had a spring. This, of course, means the brakes were no longer balanced and the right shoe was dragging on the rim. That means I was racing for about 50 minutes with my brake dragging. AHA!

So at least I don't have to quit racing 'cross, which would suck.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


I just got a call from Shonny Vanlandingham, who was talking to a friend of mine at Interbike. Keeping in mind that Shonny is magically babelicious, I'm glad she couldn't see me because I'm sure I had the deer in the headlights look once I realized it was her.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

All smiles

Well, my legs felt pretty good when I woke up. Not great, but good. Having a 3pm start time was pretty nice. No big hurry in any way. Hell, even when I flatted on the pre-ride I just walked back to my car and changed the tube.
Anyway, I got to the grid about 2 minutes too late and ended up pretty much DFL. Awesome. Mental note: Get there faster. Anyway, I gassed it at the gun and picked up quite a few spots, but didn't force anything. I figured everything was about right when halfway through the second lap I wanted to quit. To add to this, I tried just a little too much on an off camber corner and lost my front wheel, going down in the process. Naturally, I lost about 6 positions in the 4 seconds I was down and back up.
About 5 minutes later I was feeling good so I started pushing it a little more. Started picking guys off slowly. Then about 50 minutes into the race, I all of a sudden heard a noise. Turns out it was JP and his buddy from Switzerland. Holy crap they were flying. I guess that's what getting paid to ride you bike can do for you. About a quarter of a lap later, I saw a few friends that were watching from the sidelines. They told me I had a huge smile on my face as I was uttering the words "Yeah, I just got lapped by Jonathan Page!"

Back to it. As the race was wearing down, I was reeling some guy in, but every time I'd get within 10 seconds of him, my chain would fall off. I need to fire my mechanic. Alas, 37th out of about 80 starters is not too bad for my first Elite race. Not great either. More to come.


Friday, September 21, 2007

All Crossed up

I have this long standing belief that there are two kinds of runners; the first is the kind that when you look at them you can say "wow, they are quite graceful when running," then there is the second kind that when you look at them, you wince and say "ooo, that hurts me just watching!" I fall firmly into the second category. Not only is it painful for the onlookers, but also for me. No getting around it.
So I guess I started 'cross training a little later than I should. I've now done 3 full blown running exercises for less than 30 minutes each. Two days after each run, my legs feel like I've never run before in my life. I must look like an 80 year old man walking down the street now. This sucks.
With any luck, I'll wake up tomorrow feeling fresh. This is fairly critical since I'm starting my first CX race of the year tomorrow. I have no UCI points so I won't have a starting place to speak of. Well, that and I fully expect to have my ass handed to me by none other than Jonathan Page, the World Champion Silver medalist and a whole slew of others, but that's besides the point. All that being said, I still don't want to get pulled in the first 15 minutes. Having shit legs will not help this cause.

Alas, the show must go on and I will nevertheless show up with the intent of ripping somebody's legs off. Sorry for your luck if its you.

the ATM

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Missed Opportunities

Today's race was opposite of yesterday... 10 miles of singletrack followed by about 55 miles of road after with the other 5 peppered in 3 grassy parks. I was feeling good and got a good jump into the single track. The trail was uneventful, but immediately onto the road I had a flat. Nice way to start the day. Big up to my teammate, Will, who gave me his wheel so that I could bridge up a whole lot faster.
The rest of the day went pretty smoothly, and the pack was whittling down. Unfortunately, I only ended up with one teammate whereas they had three. Ugh. Eh well, figured I would leave it to the last park to makeup the time since I felt strong and had been nailing all the other grass sections. Wrong tactic. I needed 75 seconds and only had 15 towards the end, then missed a turn that brought it back to zero. I still hit him onto the road but he clawed back again. We rolled onto the final straight where we were sprinting for pride, er I mean 2nd. I lost. My earlier attack had done a good job of softening legs, but they turned out to be mine.
3rd on the day and 2nd overall, not too bad, considering last year I popped for good with about 10 miles to go.

Tired, I'm going to bed.

the ATM

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Wow, that was a brutal race... Got in the winning 3 man break with about 60k to go. Sweet. With about 15k left, we hit the gravel road except there was a SAG about 3 ft in front of the turn. WTF!? So I missed the turn and got gapped. Luckily there were still 7 miles of single track in a bit, so I pushed hard once I got there. Got back to about 15 secs then blew. Took some time to recover but it didn't help. 2nd on the day, 1:15 down with 70 miles to go. Bring it

Headed to the Huntington 140

On the way to the huntington 140. SPD and the ATM ready to kill it