Thursday, November 26, 2009

Common Sense: Saving for a rainy day

Some big news has come to my attention recently. The first ever (?) Canadian Single Speed Championship will be staged on Prince Edward Island in Fall 2009. Eric has been putting in bids for the SSWC, but to no dice. Evidently, Eric's singing voice wasn't sweet enough to woo the powers that be. I think it could have been his score selection. Maybe, a little advanced for our boy's skill set. It's good to see that he's focusing his ambition in the right direction, now.

I don't know if I've said it here before, but 2010 will be the year of the single speed in the Maritimes and this event should be the crowning jewel in the tiara of East Coast SS Mayhem. Updates and contacts can be got at the CSSC 2010 site.

For you industry gossip types, there's been no shortage of whispering and speculation as to who had who's hand in who's parts bin. Cycles Lambert, Canada's largest bicycle parts distributor, has dropped Raceface like third period french class.

It probably went down something like this

I'm finally over the flu, so to celebrate, Mr. Yertle drug me and some of my closest riding buddies into the woods to build trail in the rain. This is what you do when it's to shitty to ride, I guess. It wasn't that bad. Kelly and I, built a sweet bridge with some armoured lead-ins and feebly attempted to tear out a dead fall that was damming up the works down stream. I cut it up, hopefully nature will help out now. The rest of the kids were laying down cedar stringers and building platforms to bridge an unavoidable swampy area. What has been the bane of riding the Islandveiw/Tree Farm Trails should soon be a (the?) highlight of the loop; 20-30 metres of 30 cm boardwalk with only a small drop into deep mud for the poorest of bike handlers. It will be ├ępeek. The crew in this town is awesome. Most of the best trails are maintained by gnomes in my experience. It's the attentiveness that makes the difference. On the other hand there is really something to be said for getting a committed group together to really throw down some serious damn productivity. Riders in this town blow my mind.

I actually remembered to bring my camera, so here are some pictures of the uber-committed.


Slopfest! This stuff is the consistency of chili and will swallow your foot well past the ankle.


These floor braces did the trick to get the line cut, but they split eventually for some endo-tastic feats of non skill.

more stringers

The new system will be about 15cm high with fresh cut cedar braces and pressurized lumber.


The watchful eye of Norman. I get the feeling that someone to my left has displeased the taskmaster.


Marcel slaying for the good of all. It rained allllll morning.


I didn't get a picture of our bridge, but here's Kelly. Fashion meets function.


Big Air McNair


Canine crew: Cute? Yes. Helpful? No.
Our unofficial safety inspector, Sean, keeps our pooches jacked up on people food.

That's it. We hope to get the project wrapped up before the snow flies for real. You might get more pictures, you might have to ride it to see it.

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Monday, November 16, 2009

Jacqueline: A Love Story or Put a dress on him and dim the lights

I've had the good fortune to meet a philanthropic gent here in Freddy Beach. A little over a month ago Bob Matthews, of adventure racing and Frigid River Adventure Race coordination fame, invited me over to bike geek out. After a quick open sesame incantation I was lead into a treasure trove of adventure sport that would make Sinbad quit the loincloth, swashbuckling scene and head for the hills in full kit. When my eyes had finally adjusted to the blinding glow that accompanies any huge pile of riches, there amongst para-sailing gear, skis, paddles and adventure sports you-name-it's was nestled a mint, blaze orange Jake the Snake. Bob look at me solemnly and said this was to be my steed and I was to go forth, to hill and vale, over ditch and dale, through bog and stream. Armed only with this bike and a limited supply of domestic beer I was to chase down, blow up and get dropped with a solitary mission: To ruin the race for everyone. I feel that with a single mindedness that can only be achieved by relegating 90% of your faculties to keeping your hangover breakfast down, I like to think I made Bob proud, or at least distracted enough that he won't notice that his bike is no longer mint. I found the frame to be *cough* laterally sti... *sniff* and vertica-a-*achooo* complia...*COUGH, HACK, WHEEZ*

I actually started this post over 2 weeks ago and then got brutally sick. Sick as in prone to a vertical position and all but retarded with pain and misery. That's right dear readers, I actually, contracted the dreaded "Droid flu". That's what I call it, anyway. R2D2, C3P0, H1N1, all are strains with there own characteristic symptoms. They include, but are not limited to, high pitch nasal whistling and intonations, stiff joints and neurotic impulses, and a nagging cough and unbelievable ache over the entire body. Seriously, I had a to dip into my recreational pill stash for legitimate pain needs.

I haven't been anywhere near a bike since the final VeloNB cyclocross race last, last weekend. It's was awesome. There are pictures on FB if your so inclined to find them there. (I'm not down with Facebook. I burned all those bridges in high school for a reason) I managed to keep my lazy, hung over ass just in front of one junior racer and behind another. The only two in the race. so, I guess I finished mid pack... 17 years ago.

Where was I? Oh yeah... Jacqueline (What kind of perv gives a dude's name to a bike? That's like dressing your only son up as a girl and prancing him around town. No wonder events like those in the Sleep Away Camp documentary trilogy keep repeating themselves year after year.) Dear, dear, Jacqueline. Awesome bike! Hands down. The fork was a little heavy by roadie standards, but I loved it. I didn't take it easy on this bike, by any stretch, and there's a confidence that comes with a beefy aluminum when your slamming into ditches and wailing down rocky chutes (once you've given up on the cantilever brakes, you've nothing left to do, but wail. Such is the nature of canti's) that you just won't get from crabon fibre. I got a lot of comments on the colour. Mostly from none cyclists. I like the blaze orange for this time of year, when your cruising through the woods at the speed of... oh say... a deer. I live in an area where orange vests are as important as helmets for the fall season and I take a very "be seen" approach to city riding, too, so it's the perfect colour, really. I've never actually picked the colour of any bike I've ever owned. If I can save even $50 by taking the leftover colours, gimme the pink one, for all I care. I did have some issues with the drive train for a couple of events. Jacquie, was dropping chains like Cool Hand Luke. The first bit of trouble was attributed to a mangled link. I knocked it out and the situation improved a great deal, but still if things got hairy, like on the singletrack bits at Fredericton's Pumpkin Cross Race, it became mechanical for me to put the chain back on, usually with an up shift of the front derailleur. I know that it's seldom that a shop will take enough links out of a mountain bike chain and perhaps I could have tuned it, but I'm not sure what the procedure is for cross/road bikes. All in all, this is an outstanding bike and it gave me new vigour for the fall season. Cyclocross is here to stay for me.

If you're getting the Velo Cape Breton newsletter you would've found this link. Sad really, but who didn't see it coming. I would love to embellish, but getting into it further here would be a mistake, because I see this as is just one more symptom in a degenerative disease that society has. This is just not the forum.

I stumbled across this and thought it quite interesting. For those of you that do want to pick your own colours, why pay top dollar and go through the questionable glares from the auto detailer when your getting all your parts done up in pink ano for your new ride that you've probably named Gary.

Or do your gun. I'm not sure how your supposed to name guns, but his one looks like a Linda.

While I was out Xtranormal dropped and dropped hard. These funnies are possibly the best thing to happen to cycling irony since the recumbent. If you missed it check here, here, here, here and finally, here. Now, your as sick of it as the rest of use. As streetgang said, "This is sooo November '09." Sock puppets and poorly done spanish accents are the new black in parody. get on it, now. It'll be dead by Xmas.

If your just starting to think about hitting the gym for the off season I've got news for you. You've been working out this whole time! It's no secret that it there are ways to pass the time and keep the edge off, but who knew you were getting cut, too.

If your working out while your reading this blog, that's just creepy. You probably need to get out more. So, grab Chad or Todd, or whatever you call your bike and go for a ride. It's exercise, too!

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Monday, November 9, 2009

Great Bus Expectations or I'll think of something soon

Turn out for the recent 7th Annual Pumpkin Cross Race was not one for the record books with 26 riders, but the the start line was definitely top heavy with skillz. there were only 2 of each C cat and F cat racers. The rain that was forecast, turned into a very atypically substantial UV index and temps were up in the mid-teens. The highlight of the course was easily the rooty snake of wide singletrack that wound it's way to a watery ditch and immediate stiff hoist and hike. Woot, woot! I hit so many trees and at one point botched a remount that turned into what spectators (voyeurs?) might confuse for an amourous encounter between a white boy and his orange bike. Barriers proved to much for our resident bunny hopper, JR, and there was many a grassy makeout session and some poor cornering recoveries for the text book. A really exceptional group came out to ride, spectate, BBQ and geek out. Thanks to Spinney for sponsoring to post race wobbly pop, but as you bumped me for podium, I'm afraid that next week, at the final race in the series, I will have to chase you down and brush my teeth with your blood. That's just how it goes, my friend. I'll bring the beers, though. I can't find picture of the event anywhere, but will post asap.

I've been hanging around Joe Parkin's Blog, Six Years in a Rain Cape. This i great stuff straight from the horses mouth. It's where I nicked these wisps(spsps?) of yesteryear.

I'm getting inked again. I have a big project in mind and I figure I better ease myself into it with some clean up work I've been meaning to have done for some time. I've been talking to my bro, Ghandi, at Hell or Highwater Tattoo Parlour and after a look at his portfolio I'm sold.

The artist left of the labels. Let's see if I can get them all:
Delicious, Delicious, Delicious,
Delicious, Delicious and VERY Delicious

What am I getting? Here's hint.

I really wanted to get a candid of my mo' for you, but Mrs. Lucky is away and I've been very busy celebrating life as an independent man. By which, I mean I've been playing online board games and eating out of the same bowl for days. I haven't really been all that busy, but she took the camera with her. At least, I'll get lots of enchanting pictures of New England in November.

There are lunar surface photos with more vibrancy

In all honesty, the attention that my moustache has garnered so far has been mixed: 1 part awesome to 10 parts ftw. I like to think of the poor reviews as rum and the favourable as coke and that mix is not bad for upstanding (fall downing?) East Coaster. Dissing a mo' this time of year is like jabbing your finger into prostates everywhere without even a kiss on the back of the neck. I'll have picture of mine up soon. Until then, go check out Rantwicks or Fatty's.

Stevil, linked up to these pics of the SSXWC'09 and I'm gonna have to agree that if this is how they rock 'cross in the west, than we in the east are indeed candy asses. A stripper bus short cut, for crissakes. Strippers on a bus! They must've been enticed by all the dollar bills floating around. A bus full of strippers!!! I think I have to go now.

Good Gravy! Dark mop gladiators on the wing!

What the hell do you follow that with?

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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Fear mongering and Ti hording

If you switch sides, just for the night even, you soon see how entertaining and empowering fear mongering can be. It's amazing what a mask and bottle of hand sanitizer will do for the panic threshold of a party atmosphere. Throw in a bottle of bourbon disguised as Dimetapp, watery eyes and some melodrama and you have pandemonium... and all the chips to yourself.

Bronchial harvester of souls

What a race this past Sunday at the Dieppe Rotary Park. The kids were all there and the spirit and panache of the 3rd race in the series was great. Rivalries were footing themselves like kicks on climb up and the juniors weren't kicking there legs over full susers anymore. No sir, they were full on 'cross dogs with the appropriate whips. The course was top notch. Master flag sticker and log layer, Luc, laid a strip of solid gold through hill and vale, both steep and boggy, respectively. I lived, truly lived, when the second hump gave me just enough air drop me into a 4 foot berm to whip me deeper into the pump track. I think I've had a spiritual awakening.

I though about taking pics, but there are so many people doing it better than me. Don, by the way is looking like a million and is already on the trainer. The 2010 SShowdown anticipation is palpable. At least, I'm palping it. I'm even formulating a special Psyclepathic SSurprise for 2010.

Those of you that would recognized me in the pics may be wondering about the full beard after the 1st of Movember. I can assure you fellow mo' growers it's gone now and you had best make the most of the headstart I've given you. Find out more and support the kid here.

Just to throw this out there. Surly 1x1 vs Bianchi S.A.S.S? Huh? Say what you will for a nice stiff frame, but I'm looking for some compliancy and forgiveness for those SS enduros. And then there's these guys SteveC recently turn me on to: Singular out of the UK. The Peregrine intrigues me. Finally a home for those beeeeyouteeful OnOne Midge bars. I'm currently calling a Titec H-bar home for the digits. I'm totally at home with a severe sweep and I don't know how a body would ride rigid (especially around here where buff has no context with singletrack) without multiple positions of respite for one's paws. With just a few more sweet nothings I should have Afrow Craig seduced into parting with his Jones Ti model.

I just figured you would want to see my set up in a nice autumn setting

Shout! Really, get your poppadom on. I don't know where I'll get fed this weekend when Fredericton hosts the 4th Race in the Velo NB Cross series. Info here. I've got a crew coming up early for a warm up ride on Saturday and a handicap controlling BBQ. It's nice to know who drank as much as you when your sizing up guys at the start line. It's been a slack riding week, so my coach is gonna make an intensive plan for me to get the power up and win the game! (What ever happened to Cliff Yablonski?)

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