Thursday, November 12, 2009

The Iceman Cometh

I hear there is a pretty good race report here.  But the good story will be up shortly.

Know it was a weird night when

this is your recollection of the evening.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

I was there

With the apocalyptic weather last week, the WCA races shut down to wait for the impending end. The Curtes boys had other plans. Those plans included obstacles of fire wood and tree limbs, a barrier of unusual height, a beer pit instead of a wheel pit, S turns of doom, the figure eight of death, suicide alley, high speed turns which were definitely not UCI regulation, and random matches of dodgeball. To top it off, there were no fewer than 10 obstacles on the course.

Eighteen hardy souls lined up on a perfect autumn day to start not just another race, but perhaps to start a new adventure in wisconsin cyclocross. Perhaps it will be a return to the roots of the sport, or perhaps it will be the next step forward. The Le Mans start left me somewhere near the back of the pack and wondering why people in the south of France are required run and jump into/onto their vehicles all of the time.

As the terrain and oxygen deprived madness worked their magic, I worked my way closer to the middle of the back of the pack in the first lap. Or was it the back of the middle? As the next few laps came and went; so did my strength, speed, and any drive to actually race. Midway into the fourth lap, a well placed shot in the dodgeball section sent me to the beer pits with a bad wheel.

I arrived in the pits to find the need for proper hydration had claimed a pair of victims already. The rest of my race was spent as a superfan and pit official. We issued several stop and go penalties for infractions ranging from overzealous racing to judicial prerogative. Despite our best efforts, the men's and women's races were won by riders who were trying way too hard.

Afterward, came the telling of tales and sacrifices of flesh to the pagan wheel gods on the great fire.

Friday, October 23, 2009

I Blame The UCI.

So both of the WCA cross races scheduled for this weekend have been canceled. They say that the races are postponed due to the significant amount of rainfall in the past few days. These actions are in compliance with the wishes of the perspective parks' management. I am okay with that because we should take care of our parks. The last thing that we need is another dog walker complaining about mean old bikers ruining their favorite poop spot.

There is, however, a larger scheme afoot here. I am talking about the UCI's plot to ruin cyclocross in this fine state.

I hear tell that a group of rabblerousers is already planning a rebellion against the evil empire of the UCI.

Shock and Awe

You can imagine my surprise when someone recently mentioned this poor semblance of a blog. My initial reaction went something like "I have a blog?" followed closely by "and somebody reads it?" She then went on to threaten the supply of tasty baked goods if I didn't start updating.

The ride in was positively Belgian today.

Where's my sticky buns?

Sunday, June 7, 2009

And the moral is

MK, never argue philoshophy and life with the Muddy Cup crew.

Posted by ShoZu

Monday, June 1, 2009

It's About Time


At 5’ 6” and 170+ lbs, I am not built like a cyclist. More like a troll actually. In certain circles, the title of “¾ scale Clydesdale” has been bestowed upon me for size and prowess in the consumption of food. It is not a pretty sight when I throw a leg over a top tube. People look away, small children start crying, and Phil Liggett spits curses as I ride down the street. After 10 years worth of racing WORS and a lot of commuter miles, I have had one good season and got kicked into Comp. Like the noble bumble bee, I have managed to pull off a trick for which I am not designed.

On to it:

This gets us into the first 100 yards of the 22 mile Comp race at the Crystal Lake Classic. After the surprise of a call up, a familiar “GOOOOOOO!” and a great start; I worked my way to third wheel on the dirt road. In front of a lot of guys who look like they should be wearing spandex. As we sped up the road to the rolling double and onto the singletrack, riders attacked the front only to slide back again. Once the two track slipped behind us, the course turned to seven plus miles of tight, bumpy, twisty trail with power climbs and some other sweet features which robbed speed and killed momentum. It left little opportunity for a drink or a pass and none for rest as everyone had to ride full on.

Oxygen deprived addition said there were two bibs ahead of me and one just back. Adding in the race factor meant there could be another three riders ahead of me. But how many more lurked behind him. It was now a matter of using the entire bag of tricks to keep ahead, and make any attacks as tough as possible. Passes did come, but the back tags told me hang on and don’t panic. As we started to catch the waves ahead, it became a race of patience. Stay calm and wait for the pass, then listen for the grumbles behind as terrain and passed riders confounded my opponents. More wasted effort for them in their anger and frustration.

As the trail opened up, my man Damm came Rippin’ by and passed with some friendly banter. I was still working on my best finish, but the race was not yet half way. Into the final singletrack and lap through, I played caboose on a fast train from the next wave back. That train pulled all the way to the trees for lap, and gave me a chance to breathe.

As trees and rocks passed, the occasion rain drop fell. The climbs got a little steeper, the rocks got a little bigger, and the roots got a little trickier. Friendly faces came and went offering a good word and a smile. On more than one occasion the familiar flash of Metal appeared. Always there was an eye back looking any riders from my AG waiting to strike.

With the last of the singletrack, came the light but steady rain. Also, the little stab in the back of the calf that let me know time was running short. Fortunately, so were the miles. After a careful ride across the wet boardwalk, it was time to pour on the last reserves of speed and drill it to the finish.

I was greeted with a 5th in AG, and best overall finish to date at 21st.

Buzz, buzz…

Monday, April 6, 2009

Reading for The Day

Book of Velocipedes, chapter 43, paragraph 6, section c:

For the first fixed gear ride of the, thou shall pick a pleasant day on a very nice road with some good company. Thou shall ride and it shall be a good ride.

And it goes on to say...

And Rick shall suffer greatly if he chooses to ride more than 50 miles for the first fixed gear ride. 25 will be a little short, 35 will fine, 45 might be pushing it, but ride more and thou shalt suffer greatly on the second day.


Posted by ShoZu

Friday, March 27, 2009


One trip to Colorado, 2 bottle cages, cushy bar tap, and a set of 35C's take the Gunnar from Cyclocross death mo-sheen to spring classics monster. No matter the setup, it is tremendous fun to ride.

Bringing a little bit of Milwaukee along to MI.

The ride is great, but what can the motor do? Details to come...

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Eat, Sleep, Ride... Repeat

Somewhere, my little brother is choking down tofu, and trying to convince himself that it tastes like this. Can you say carnivorgasm?

She can.

Sometimes, it's worth going to the bad place just for the commute home.

Let's not forget the cat... cause I can't take a picture of myself sleeping.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

What is it about Mondays?

I forgot it was even my b-day until half way through the ride home.

What better way to celebrate than a fine bike ride, a pulled pork plate at Maxie's, and some bread pudding topped with a fish?

All courtesy of my favorite soigneur.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

I Did the Wind Lake Ride...

And all I got was a lousy picture of Russell taking care of business behind this wood pile. Driveway to Wind Lake to Driveway of about 60 miles, and I was too busy taking in the day to snap some pics until right then.

If you weren't enjoying a nice bike ride outside, then present your excuse now for acceptance.

Naw, your excuse sucks.

This posting sent from a lawn chair in the sun dappled back patio of the rusty tool shed.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

It's 9

As in degrees. That's what the giant digital thermometer/always correct clock proudly announced this morning at 5:55AM with it's unblinking LCD. It's the middle of March for fock's sake.

Nine is not weather, it is math for a three year old. There have been too many mornings at 9 already. What's wrong with 28? There is a nice winter temperature. You wake up and sort out which clothes will keep you warm enough for the next 45 - 60 minutes. At 9, you dig out all the cold weather gear, add chemical aids, and hope frostbite doesn't set in. At 9, you get to work and there is a snotcicle hanging off tour nose.

Yes, I am whining. Go get your own blog if you don't like it.

Then just for spite, it dropped another couple of degrees before I left the house.

At this point, you walk outside raise a defiant digit to the sky and ask "is that the best you've got."

I expect it to be raining carp on the ride home tonight.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Highs and Lows

The low greeted me for the morning commute. For those not familiar, it is a lovely crust formed by laying down sleet followed by snow then covered in freezing rain.

What little common sense saw fit to raise a voice in protest. As usual, the ride continued anyway.

The high came with cruising Rockesha with Ronsta and his merry band. If you missed out, I highly recommend making it next time.

Friday, March 6, 2009

Out and In

On nights light this, take the long way home. And if you have some good company, take the really long way.

It was just too tempting to ditch the tights today. Don't worry, there is some road sludge left for the rest of you.

By the way... SOCIAL!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Does Anybody Remember Summer?

Summer may not be my favoritest of seasons, but this was good day by any standard.  It started out by finishing the morning coffee on the bike, involved many miles of raining fear and chaos on the western regions of the Sha with this motley crew, and ended with a fine beverage in the laboratory.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

NAHBS, frittes, and Thank You Russell

So, NAHBS was all you would expect and more. My highlights went something like this... The fine details of an Ellis. Sweet samurai astethic from Cherubim. Lust worthy commuters and grocery getters from the likes of Map and Bilenky. Many fine finishes and good words with the folks at Spectrum Powderworks. And love for the wheel coming from Rapha/Embrocation. Sights and possibly sounds follow. I am sure there are photos a plenty to be found elsewhere. Although, I have to say that missed the good stuff.

No, I did not forget the band of rapscallions who made the trip fun. And the cobblestone crits. And making fun of frat boys... and hipsters.

As a welcome back, work provided the privilege to put in some extra effort. Does anyone need a mechanical engineer with a passion for bikes? I will likely go cheap.

How do you improve that sort of day? That's right. Head down to the local cafe for a big plate of mussels and frittes with a fine beverage on the side.

Finally, this morning I got something more than "get off the road!" during my commute.  A fellow commuter gave me a hearty "Go Cupcake!"  Just when I thought my 15 minutes was up... Thanks Russell.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

First Tracks, Yet Again

Bike lane by Brookfield. Sountrack by Radiohead

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

Frank the Tank

Everyone this is Frank. Frank this is everyone. As seen in recent press, Frank garnered top honors in the best commuter bike category at the recent Bike Fed event. This struck me as ironic since Frank has gears, brakes, and a proper handlebar for daily trip to the 'sha. As Russell was quick to point out, Frank also lots of reflective bits. About as far as you can get from hipster.

Frank and I have a dislike/hate relationship. Perhaps it is what Frank represents... the daily grind. Perhaps it is Frank's short comings such as the lack of proper rack mounts and the crappy wheels that Trek saw fit to equip Frank with. The count is up to 5 rims gone to crap in less than 2 years. Perhaps there it's just not fun to ride.

At any rate, Frank has gotten his 15 minutes. I am fairly certain that he brags to the stablemates endlessly.

Thursday, February 5, 2009

Pour One Out For a Homey

Lux Interior 1946 - 2009

Posted by ShoZu

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sick Day

Oh, I'm sorry. I'm can't update the blog right now. I'm afraid that in my weakened condition, I could take a nasty spill down the stairs and subject myself to further work absences. You can reach my parents at their places of business. Thank you for stopping by. I appreciate your concern for my well-being. Have a nice day!

Saturday, January 24, 2009

This is Just Bizarre

But satisfying all the same.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

Variations on a Theme

The other day, Claire brought up Bullitt as proper training inspiration.

Today, my suggestion is "Le Mans." It is at least worth one good session on the rollers... if you are inclined to ride indoors this weekend while the temps bounce below zero. 100+ minutes of vary little dialogue and plenty of auto racing. Actual auto racing with left turns, hairpins, chicanes, and the like with no stuntmen or CG. One of the best movie lines ever as well:

"When you're racing, it's life. Anything that happens before or after is just waiting."

Posted by ShoZu

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Jackass of The Day

People of Tosa. Your neighbor who drives a crappy little green Neon-like car with license plate number UVN-595 is a jackass. He can often been seen in the vicinity of North Ave and Mayfair road in said community around 7:15am.

This neighbor saw fit to take time out his hurried morning commute to get my attention, and say that cyclists are "number 1" in his own special way. he next proceeded to swerve accross 2 lanes of traffic to make the on ramp for 45 N

If my horn sounded like a defective party toy, I would think twice about sounding it in public. Let alone in anger.

His water cooler bravado probably went something like this...

JA: I sure showed that whack job on the bike this morning.
Coworker: What did you do?
JA: I honked at him.
Coworker: Then what?
JA: I flipped him the bird.
Coworker: What did the other guy do?
JA: He waved at me.
Coworker: yeah, you definitely showed him

So feel free to laugh and snicker if you are ever on the receiving end of his road rage.

Posted by ShoZu

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Catch up, or Fresh Tracks at Last.

I truly despise people who put weekly summaries on their blogs... so here is mine.

We hit the swap last weekend and were in good company. I came home with more money cash than I took, and kept the expenditures to a minimum.

It was nice to see that the posenger scene is alive and well in Mad town. You couldn't swing a skinny ass chick in that place without hitting one. Just to test the theory, we brought one with us. And we bought this guy to swing said chick. It was ugly to say the least. Some dude got knocked clean out of his vintage Members Only jacket. Did anyone happen to see how many floor waxers were parked out front?

Also, we took in a show and imposed on the hospitality of others. Madison has pretty cool roller derby league, but it was a bit upscale for my liking. This is more like it.

First tracks came Monday night on the commute home. A little pow, the right tunes, and the familiar rumble of studded Kendas at about 40lbs were my companions. Sometimes winter commuting has it's upside.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A Cyclist Triumphant

It was a brisk ride (see the ice in the gratuitous self portrait.). The first commute is on the books finally.

The dizzy demon still afflicts me, but wild swerves into traffic were kept to about three.

And my new party trick will have to wait... Eating a bowl of cereal while pulling a no handed skid. I pulled it off twice while riding rollers.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Who Are You Calling Cupcake?

From Bikes, Bikes, Bikes...

First Tracks, or The Passenger

As I do time with windshield sector this week, my theme song comes courtesy of Iggy.

Some people have their idea of fresh tracks and I have mine. It is that first 35mm wide slice through that strip of wet snow between the car tracks and the no man's land of the white death.

Back on the bike next week. Vertigo or no.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Bike = Love

The view from Il Mito on the last fall weekend the patio tables were out. As I recall there was some Hendricks consumed and some people watching.

And the pleasant dinner company.

*The dreamlike quality of these photos is achieved by keeping my Iphone in my pocket.

Cross Season Wrap Up, Or

Living Life One Barrier at a Time.

Plenty of folks have talked about how good/bad their season went. As for myself, the accomplishments seem small. Things like going through a set of barriers without panicking, proper dismount and remount at speed, and generally holding things together for 30 minutes or so. By the end of the season, there was even some strategy involved for the mad dash to the finish and the occasional step through dismount.

The joys were many. After work practice sessions that kept me out way past the street lights came on, rocking the local trails with reckless abandon on a fine steed, some quality bruises from remount after remount after remount, and the little celebration that came with every successful barrier section.

Somewhere along the way, I read that cross is about second chances. If you botch a section, there is always a chance to get it right on the next lap.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

It's a Lot Like Love


Dizziness, nausea, disorientation, cold sweats, difficulty walking, and none of the good stuff. No biking, no driving, and not much of anything for now. Dunno if it was a fall snowboarding, or just a nasty bug camped out in my noodle and partying down. Either way, lets hope it sorts out soon. It sure looked like a decent day to go break out the commuter.

Since everything else is out, there might as well be some the blogging going on. And catching up on Battlestar Galactica.

by the way, does anyone remember fall?

[insert Creepyfriendly like photo-montage here]

And one for Tim. It was likely the last time this beauty saw the road for the year.