Monday, June 28, 2010

Dirt Roads

Tuesday @ 6? Same bat place? Anyone in?

Thursday, June 24, 2010


It was a sign. Somewhere in the middle of the race there was a wounded bird on the track. Lap after lap it struggled to get  away from the rush of wheels to die in peace in the grass. I had decided on the next lap I'd stop and put it out of its misery, but it disappeared. Instead on the last lap at Grattan, coming out of the off-camber, simply screaming with speed, there was something in the road ahead trying to put me out of my misery, sending me into a slithering crash-defying skid. While it wasn't a giant boulder, it might just have well have been. It was just another body, this time human, spread-eagled on the deck, blank eyes looking up into the sky, cold-cocked. I wished I had a camera. It would have made a great the poster for this season. When you're flying along, a body and a bike laying on the floor looks just like this, I kid you not.

The only thing worse than running into the "track obstruction" was watching the sprint up the road at the end of the lap. The form of the sprint last night looked something like some kind of many-legged monster, twisting in agony and lashing out at anything that came close to it. Yes kids, that's right, the B sprint now look like a giant octopus jerking itself off. Go anywhere near it and you'll be ensnared in its deadly grip and crushed, or get something sticky all over you.

And while you can only hope that the road rash from tangling with the octosprint will just ink-up the victims and look something  like this ...
... chances are it will probably look more like this when you wake up in the ER:

There are so many riders I'd like to thank for sharing, with the group, some of  the worst examples of bicycle riding I've ever seen l, there just isn't room or time here to list you all. And while I could say "but you know who you are," I got a feeling that you really don't.  The good news is that between accidents and survival instinct the group has come down to 34 riders from its usual near 60 count. In a few weeks, who knows, about eight? Should be plenty of room for a sprint then, boys and girls.

Monday, June 21, 2010


While I can't imagine anything more horrifying than riding a hundred miles on a mountain bike I understand that there are plenty of you Crazy Bastards that think it's not only challenging, but fun, as well. With so many ardent Lumberjack riders in our midst, I find it strange that no one has posted and any news or photos from this highly painful event. Not being there, the only thing I can provide are images of Lumberjacks. Above is that giant statue Lumberjack that you'll find outside of parks and gift shops and has to be an icon of highway Americana. I really liked him as a kid. His axe was so big he could have cut the family station wagon in-two! Why he didn't, I haven't a clue.
Of course there's always the cartoon Lumberjack. I was always very fond of his companion, Babe the Blue Ox. I lumped this character together with Casey at the Bat, and the other Casey, Casey Jones, the suicidal, folk-lore train engineer that crashed to save a bunch of people. I could never figure out how that worked.
Then there's the fake Lumberjack. This guy looks a little Stoogish, doesn't he? Disgusting buddy.

Not disgusting at all is the dream girl Lumberjack. Can that girl handle a chainsaw or what? And her own knee pads? Well now. But word of caution: I'd sleep with one eye open when she's in camp, boys. "Timber!"

And then there's the singing and partying Lumberjack. This is what I think actually happens after the race. The Lumberjack, with an extremely sore ass, sings in a very high key to his girl, and his 29er Mountie support team. They all get "Jacked-Up" on Founders and have a good croon together as the sun sets over the Manistee National Forest. Maybe they're singing something like: "I'm a Lumberjack and I'm Okay, I wear 29er wheels as I ride away ..." and so on. But you never know with mountain bikers, do you?

Thursday, June 17, 2010


While a 25 lap race at Grattan might seem like some sort of an endurance event, it's really not. The race almost always boils down to a sprint finish in the end, with the whole party at the table, elbow to elbow, ready to eat the whole roast all by themselves. Even if there's a break away, of say something like 56 people, there's still going to be a life and death sprint at the end for that coveted 57th spot. You can count on it. Anybody know what the trophy looks like for 57th place? My guess is a bottle of Heinz.

As we have such a sprint-loving gang when their new hero Cavendish does something spectacular on the preceding weekend you're sure that they'll want to emulate it by picking up the phone, wiping their glasses, or flipping the crowd off. Unfortunately in the above photo, you'll see what old Cav managed to do this week. In the pack we were taking odds (and this part is true) on the over-under on how many would go down in the sprint (though there were many attempts to cause crashes starting at 25-to-go). Being the optimist I am took the under on 15-Going-Down and won an orange GU. It was mighty delicious, let me tell you.

From what I hear nobody was seriously hurt on the two man crash on the hill, and that's a good thing. But I have to report that there was a lot of screaming and cursing. If you haven't heard a lot of serious screaming, cursing and wailing-in-pain, maybe you'll want to come out and join us some night. There's been a lot of that lately. And it's so much more realistic than in the movies or X-Box. It really is.

Now while I can't blame anyone for screaming or cursing while their skin is being burned off by sliding across tarmac, or their bones being snapped, I did have a problem last night with all the crying that came after the sprint to the line. I'm mean there's nobody that likes a good cry like me, especially when I've been hurt, or maybe I'll drop a bomb or two when somebody tries to run me into a light pole, but I can't ever remember screaming about my placing at the end of a bike race. Usually I'm just glad they're over and that I can go get something to eat. (I was so hungry last night I almost ate the bar tape off my bars!)

Last night, as the camera's flashed at the finish line and the fans swooned at the death-defying speeds of the racers, riders were screaming, cursing and crying. I thought there was a crash, but there wasn't. No, it was just cursing in anquish from not winning. Boo-Hoo!! If all that noise had a face, it would have looked something just like this:

He sat on my wheel and then came around me and passed me at the line! Bwaaaahhhh!

I'm not really sure if all that noise was about not winning, or because they didn't have a crash-Cavish style. With sprinters you never can tell.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Running from the killer swan. Photo by Werdy

Yes, mother nature can be angry sometimes. And nothing expresses that anger quite like a swan guarding its brood (hidden in the weeds). This big male was on high alert near the end of Ashley Judd Road. He refused to move from this spot, except for short attacks on us.

Face to face with the monster

The big guy also had a few choice words for our group that consisted of Werdy One, Patrick D, Redline Bastard and myself. If you can read swan lips you'll see he's saying something like,"so you losers are back, huh? First Bastard ride of the year, huh? Well here's some news, I'm the boss out here now so watch your step, or your pedals, or I'll be chew the tire off those stupid looking things you're riding, Got it?"

That seat you're riding look delicious.

Here's another interesting "beast" that we encountered on the ride last night. He wasn't as hostile as the swan, but gave us a kind of questioning look. Embarrassing really. We're guessing he was owned by some kind of devil-worshiping fraternity.


And just we you'd think we'd seen it all, well we hand't. Suddenly there was this stupid thing sitting in the road around Brown Lake.

We'll it was a wonderful ride, great weather, and no rain until we were safely tucked in with some beers and carp at the Honey Creek. Maybe we'll do this again next week. Great to be rolling on the dirt again and getting close to good old mother nature.


I liked the black with the flames. I thought the red was a bit loud. I gotta imagine this sunset pic with "him and her" was one of the ONLY cycling themed back drops the Surly one could find. It's a bit serene to be on a bastard blog methinks. I am diggin' the variety overall. I always have to check to make sure I've got the web address right 'cause it's looking different pretty often.

Any one know how to put one of the pics we took last night onto the back drop, I'd be looking forward to that.

Good ride last night guys. Roads were hard packed. A couple notable items, but I'm guessing a report of the ride is still forthcoming.

The Werdy One

Tuesday, June 15, 2010


Let's get the band back together and save the farm. Who's in? I don't know if we've decided on meeting at Townsend or at Jeff's cross crib? I'm thinking that meeting tonight at Townsend would be easiert, and next we at Jeff's ... unless everyone knows how to make it to Jeff's. PLEASE POST!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

R & D

This was my first tandem. I designed it during my freshmen year at MIT. Only two minor drawbacks.... I could only date 200 lbs. women, my weight at the time and we took out a lot of mail boxes.

Should be able to kick azz at Grattan with this machine.

What do you think?

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tandems Rock!

Riding the Appalachian Trail from Georgia to Maine on my tandem convinced me that this is the only way to go. They're fast, smooth, stable and fun. So is my wife for that matter.

I named my tandem "White Lighting" after sampling a little moonshine in the mountains of West Virginia. The still was housed in the out building right behind this fine looking dump truck. I've seen similar operations and vehicles in Grattan Township.

After this little trek, the 100 Grand was a breeze. My wife and I had no problem slaying a number of Tri riders along the way. In fact, I'm currently having their aero-bars mounted so I can hang them on my office wall right next to my prize possum and coon heads.

I'll have to agree with Surly that two guys on a tandem do conjure up scenes from the movie Deliverance. I could only hope that these two unknown riders below are only dismounting to fight over the sweet little blond resting under the tree.

I'm up for a Tuesday evening ride. Care to launch the season opener from my house? The beer is cheaper, parking is not an issue and I do house the secret training hill on my property.

F.Y.I. there is a large contingent of above mentioned Tri guys and girls that do a training session every Friday night on the other side of the lake. I think we can hang with them if Rauol could maybe part the water or we could use helium in our tubulars and ride on top I guess.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


Aaaaah. I'm ready to see this sign again. How about next week Thursday? Sounds like I'm not the only one ready to get off the road and single track and onto some quiet farm roads for a little 'cross-touring. It's always fun, and always an adventure, isn't it? Ride long enough and far enough into the countryside and you're bound to find something strange waiting for you up in them 'thar Michigan hills.
See that cloud of dust up the road? Wonder what could be waiting for us up there? Who knows until you get close enough to see it is either a truck in a hurry ...

... or our favorite back-woods meth-lab messengers on their way to work. Yeah, there's Crazy Bastards, and then there's Cycle-Crazies. Now who wants to join that gang? I think they meet up somewhere on Nugent at about 4 a.m. if you're interested.

Speaking of cycle-crazy, I'm not sure about this statement. Being smug about riding a tandem is like be proud of being the Lawn Jart Champion of Riverside Drive. It's cool, just don't tell anybody. By the way I don't think a bicycle was meant to be ridden by two people, doing it hard or not. And two guys riding tandems in full team kits doesn't look right to me, but then I may just be old fashioned, or tandenphobic. Women yes, couples yes, fathers or mothers with kids are okay too. The only guy/guy tandems that look okay to me are either in a parade, a festival, or look something like this:

Now these bad boys can ride with us anytime. Nice stoker you've got there mate. Mind taking a pull past the meth lab? I'm sure the pit bull will love you. What kind of body spray are you using? Dead Meerkat?

But if we keep riding long enough, maybe we'll leave the Cycle-Crazies, and the tandems all behind us. When we've gone far enough and we see an end of pavement sign like this, at the edge of the desert and at the foot of the mountains, who knows what will be waiting at the end of that particular dirt road?

Hopefully something like this. Hey where's your bike Milla? Let's work out a day and time next week. I'm thinking same CB rally point, 6 p.m. What say you? And pencil in time for some cold ones.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

I don't know him...but I like his style.

Just perusing the results from the Hansen Hills XC race over the weekend. Someone out there has a pretty good sense of humor. Apparantly he may be a ladies man as well. Ms. Time and Ms. Trial from yesterdays post might be impressed and move from the road over to the off road side. Check the winners name....

Sport Clydesdale
1 783 Richard Enormass 01:44:00:00
2 782 Chris Mensing 01:56:00:00
3 780 Robert Stoner 01:57:00:00
4 788 Aaron Maikt 01:59:40:00
5 786 Dave Vaccaro 02:00:00:00
6 785 Steve Coykendall 02:04:39:00
7 781 Fredrick Smith 02:07:42:00
8 784 Ben Nash 02:10:06:00
9 787 Jeff Fox 02:18:30:00

I was thinking I was kinda bored with using the same name over and over at last years CX events. It's time to start thinking about what to put on the post for the fall races. Bastard gun names...lots of options methinks.

Is it cross season yet? How soon can we get a dirt road ride week?


Monday, June 7, 2010

Meet the TT Twins!

After seeing so many Time Trial Specialists and Triathaletes (hey you're a pretty good bike handler for a triathalete!) at the 100 Grand on Saturday I just can't wait for tonight's time trial in Ada. In preparation for the TT I've gotten a new bike and hired two helpers (looky-looky above) to launch me to another promising, yet ultimately disappointing non-record breaking effort. The helper on the left is Ms. Time, and you've probably guessed it already, the helper on the right is Ms. Trial. Wish me luck, not that it matters. (We missed Duck Lake because we were practicing bike holding and didn't have it perfected just yet - Ms. Trial won't let go of the seat post (yeah  that's a seat post Ms. T) until you slip her a C-Note - strange girl, she's from Russia you know). See all you fellow TTers in your loungers in the parking lot!

Friday, June 4, 2010


Just to let the 2.5 people who check in here every month know, the 100 Grand Bicycle Tour is tomorrow, Saturday June 5th. Until I became aware of the fine machinations of the Rapid Wheelmen bicycle club, I always assumed that the 100 Grand was just a delicious candy bar. But not so. It is also a delicious bike tour that's been going on forever, though I could be incorrect about forever. I don't know if that's an Evolutionary Forever, or a Biblical Forever, but my guess it's been around a little after the advent of the bicycle. Below you'll see the Tour originator Mr. Grand Rapid, on his "Wheel" about to roll out for the first club century. Well maybe the last century.

As bicycle design developed, but before high-speed carbon bikes and new-fangled aero-bars , the 100 Grand was a romantic frolic on two-wheels, with lots of singing and bowler wearing involved. While there's still some of that today, hardly anyone does this kind of thing anymore (below). Sitting on aero-bars would make me sing off-key, how about you? But maybe not Katherine Ross. She was such a great actress in her day.

Kidding aside, here's the real thing. I'm going to be there (like that's an inducement to ride) and I promise not to yell at anybody. Even if they jerk their bike out in front of me to sprint for some of the delicious food that will be offered all along the various routes.

If you'd like more info  you can visit the Rapid Wheelmen website, or go directly to the 100 Grand info by this address. I'm assuming you can do all that if you're reading this right now.

Here's some other helpful where, when, what stuff,  like where it starts and where you can register, and what you can ride:

West Side Christian School 955 Westend Avenue
Grand Rapids, MI  49504

The BEST food. Scenic, low-traffic roads.  Friendly, helpful SAG.  17, 35, 65, and 105 mile options. 
  Registration opens at 7:00 am, the course (I guess that's the road) opens at 8 am.

Thankfully the 100 Grand is run by responsible people, unlike me, so the chances of you running into a gaggle of riders that looks anything like this (below) is extremely unlikely. See you there!

Thursday, June 3, 2010


Thankfully the rain stayed away from Grattan last night. Unfortunately, instead of rain, we were given 24 mind-numbing laps to ride before the "The Sprinting Salmon" made their final run to the finish. 24 laps are nothing like an episode of the old 24.  For most of the 24 laps you are not on the edge of your seat of with excitement, you're just pinching yourself to stay awake. It's nothing like  watching Jack do fun stuff like this (below).  Although I did find myself yelling "PUT THE GUN DOWN! PUT THE GUN DOWN! several times last night, for apparently no reason at all. Well maybe not ...

As happens several times a season (at Grattan, not 24) the As will ride all over the Bs on the Bs final, sprint lap. This is unfortunate because it happens just when the B Salmon are grouped together and starting their spasmatic pre-spawning run wiggling. Last night this happened right next to the As, (kinda embarrassing) and it indeed looked like the two groups were just mating like fish on a tarmac river (even more embarrassing). But to jump back to 24 terms, it was more like the As were choking the crap out of us, trying to find out where the nuclear detonator was, or maybe where we were hiding all the recovery drinks for after the race. 

This is what it looks like when the As choke the Bs in the final lap. You just hope Jack leaves you alone and doesn't use any power tools or sharp carbon fiber wheels on you. "TELL ME WHERE THE ENDUROX IS OR I WILL KILL YOU!"

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


It's only two weeks in a row, but it seems like there is now a permanent rain cloud stationed over Grattan, doesn't it? I don't know about you, but while I don't mind getting wet after I start riding, starting in a downpour just kinda sucks in my book. So if mother nature insists on pissing on us every Wednesday, well it's time to fight back.

The first weapon that comes to mind is the rain-roof bike. Combined with color coordinated fenders this thing is as dry as a martini at the Chop House and twice as much fun to boot. The downside is the non-aerodynamic qualities of this rig-a-pig. I believe that Trek and Armstrong tested this as a TT option and graded it a complete NO-GO.

The perfect compromise of both protection from rain drops, yet a design that slips through the wind with ease, is pictured above. Yes you can look for me blasting to the front in this semi-wearable-bike. Of course it will be sporting the red-white-black livery of my team. I'd rather stay home than wear a blue kit. Take that you mean 'mother!