Thursday, March 28, 2013

Hatching the Classics

After sitting on it all winter it's finally hatched - Spring Classic's in someplace called Belgium.

I'll skip our own "Classic's opener, which was the Barry Ruby, which has had so much posted about it already that one more thin mint might make Mr. Creosote explode. After all it was attended by about 10,000 riders, racers, photographers, hanger-ons, beer drinkers and race-reviewers (which thankfully I am not - a race reviewer that is in this case - and some of the other identities are questionable too) so if you weren't there or didn't hear about it you are probably dead. Rest in Peace, bro.

The Koala's Barry Ruby race reviews got mixed reviews, which begged the question "Are you Koalafied to Krazy Koala assumptions if you live at the top of tree? Trying to figure out what went down in a race of 10,000 is mind-boggling, especially for a little bear. Stay in the beer tent is my motto.

 If you want to read a really good review of the Barry Ruby Experience™ may I suggestion The Drunk Cyclist review posted just days ago. It's utterly Classic. For visual evidence of the race I suggest that you only need to flick the blue bar on the right hand side of your Face Book Page u as fast as you can. The 10,000,000 Barry Ruby photos that have been posted will all blur together and create a moving testament to the race. Of course you'll get blurred vision and throw up, but then again, you'll be getting the full Barry Ruby effect.

What does the Classic Season really mean? Great Beglium beer and shaky internet feeds.

Well if you are a real Classic (Euro-Style) fan you can sit around getting sloshed while trying to keep the crap internet feed going, or get out there and try your hand at recreating your own private Belgium Classic effect by riding downtown over cobbles and potholes along with stopping by the pub for a Belgium Brew or two. That's really riding Belgy-Style since you don't carry anything to drink or eat and stop at bars to refuel - or refool in this case.

Here's a video put together by Vittoria that celebrates this year's freezing-ass early Spring Classics. While it's pretty good, the over-the-top melodrama and gushy-romanticism made me want to throw up in my mouth a few times (maybe it was all the Duval I drank on the ride?). Hey, it was tough, but these are pros getting paid to do this and they can get back in the car and meet me at the brewhouse anytime they want - they're not soldiers in combat, so lets not forget this isn't exactly life or death. If you want that you can try riding through East Grand Rapids at night. 

Friday, March 22, 2013

Ruby, Ruby, Barry Ruby, When Will You Be Mine?

Barry Ruby™ Approved/Not Approved Course Sweeper™

Otto and I plan to play unofficial sweeper tomorrow on Otto's SHIT JUST GOT REAL SNOW SLED (as long as there is no actual law or ordinance against it, or somebody digs up that warrant on Otto)  to make sure there's no one left behind - at least not alive. While I thought I had covered all possibilities of conditions in my trademarked yet worthless Barry Ruby™ Conditions Rating™ Chart, Dan Socie, the man and the myth behind Soigneur products for the athlete (I'm pretty sure Dan will be at the Soigneur tent tomorrow so you can congratulate him on one-upping and essentially destroying my Barry Ruby™ Conditions Rating™ Chart) with an up-to-the-almost-damn minute report, complete with live still photos from the course.

I only thought about ice, snow and mud. I forgot about dog shit and road kill.

According to Dan, here's what Barry Ruby riders can expect to find on the course tomorrow. Of course you won't see this, you'll just be running over it before you know it, because you're going to be surrounded by 10,000 other racers gunning for one of three steps on the Barry Ruby™podium. (Good luck on that!) Hopefully the aroma of 20,000 legs slathered in Soigneur Embrocation, and 20,000 butt cheeks stewing in Soigneur Chamois Creme, will kill the smell. Here's Dan's report (This just in: Dan reported that he picked this photo (above) and report (below) from Rick Plite.) on that thing called Facebook, this morning:

You’ve Been Warned!

... roads have fresh road kill, dog crap, snow, ice, mud, ruts, washboards and dry sections. The 62 milers need to hold your breath on Henry St near the dead skunk. On a good note, I spoke with the road commission and we will pay them for an extra pass to drop more sand tomorrow for all courses.

Well I'm glad to hear about the sand. That will improve the possibility of survivability if you believe my conditions rating #5 and #6. The sand will also provide a proper burial for the dead critters and turn the dog shit into something resembling fried chicken or a Clif Bar,

The only thing to really watch out for when you're racing tomorrow is road kill that look like this ...

Kelly Paterson, MI State Cyclocros Champion, found a photo of this creature. I don't know if she was riding the Barry Ruby™course or not, but it looks like something from Barry County. You know those crazy meth heads out there in the woods ... it's all just fun and games until the cross-species breeding starts!

The thing above, a cross between a human baby and possum, may be something you want to avoid if you see it laying on the course tomorrow. First, it's big fat and will probably take you out if it's dead or alive. Being possum (should oh-possum, I know) it could just be playing dead, and still be alive when you hit it. It could also just be overcome with Soigneur Embrocation fumes and has just fainted. If you hit it, and it is alive, and kill it, you may be brought up on manslaughter charges (ask Otto about that when you see him on  the sled tomorrow) since the creature may or may not be half human. Also figure that the Barry County Prosecutor may be related to it ... you know those small communities.

So hear are things you'll need tomorrow ...

Plenty of this and embrocation. And don't get them mixed up! Not only will your ass be kissably soft, and your legs warm, you'll also kill the smell of dead animals littered around the course.

You'll also need one of these crappy new helmets. Perfect for crap-weather riding. This is the latest thing from Specialized. They just released it in an effort to close the Crappy Looking Helmet gap Giro had on them.

Taylor Phinney, get on the bus. And what's that on your lid, frosting or Italian Love Batter?

As you can see above the crappy new helmet designs look so much cooler than regular old helmets with those vents that let shit (tomorrow literally shit) leak onto your head. The crappy new design let the world see the epicness of the elements stuck to your dome.

What are you riding in tomorrow's Barry Ruby™, Surly?
 ... asked no one, ever.

Well that's not true, people do ask, but they all assume that I will be rocking a 'cross bike. Unfortunately I don't have a 'cross bike that would withstand the rigors and jarring of the Barry Ruby™course - not because it's that rough, but because I have hollowed out all the carbon tubes and filed away most metal material of my bikes to make them as light as possible for cross racing. They are perfectly timed to "fall to pieces" after approximately 45 minutes of racing, making them unsuitable for Barry Ruby™ style racing. 

Lately I have been telling people that I will race Barry Ruby™ when I get a Fat Bike. I've been holding off getting a Fat Bike, but once I saw this proud beauty I knew I had to have it. It's just got Barry Ruby™ written all over it, don't you think so?

No, this is the way to rock a Fat Bike. I think there's even a cup holder for my Embro!

Unfortunately it didn't arrive in time for this year's race, so it looks like I'm going to be riding shotgun with Otto tomorrow. Good luck everyone racing, or just standing around drinking beer.  To keep everyone motivated, like Soigneur products do, Otto and I are going to be blasting the official Barry Ruby™ Theme Song™ out from giant speakers on Otto's SHIT JUST GOT REAL SNOW SLED™. Crank up the volume, and enjoy Barry Ruby™ Racers!

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Stupid Bicycle Races

Some people live for stupid bicycle races. The stupider the more awesomer. Just ask the all knowing, all seeing, all chewing, all tree-climbing little Koala bear.

Okay, don't get me wrong. I'm not saying that there are a lot of stupid bike races out there right now, like the plethora of weird-one-off races taking place in a day or two, or week or three, and on and on until the actual race season begins when it all gets really stupid. No, what I'm saying is that they're stupid, like stupid good, crazy, sick, or bad-ass as in great, not bad. You know, like this ...

Being stupid, is kinda of like being sick. Just hope there' a nurse like this for your kind of bike racing stupid - you may need this health care pumper in pumps for the race this weekend. See my  Barry Ruby™ Conditions Rating™ Chart,  for the upcoming Scary Ruby™ on Saturday. I'm certain you're doing it. Everyone is.

It doesn't matter where you live, Michigan, Portland, Colorado, Portland, New Mexico, Portland, Australia, Portland, Mexico, Portland, South Africa, Portland, Alaska or Portland you can't swing a dead cat without hitting a stupid race right in the spokes. Take for example Cult Cross. Cult Cross was created to fill needs of cyclocross racers that didn't get enough 'cross race pain and suffering from August through February. Born in the High Country and the Front range, wherever the fuck that is, the promoters dropped in a cross series to cover the spring months. Whatever spring is. Have you seen spring? As you can see the branding is all about suffering and pain - and how it's a bad thing to let up on the pain for even a few weeks?

Here's a little video from the promoters about what Cult Cross is all about. Nice guys, but I still don't get the High Country / Front Range stuff. What country does this take place in again?

If suffering from the fall through most of the winter makes sense to you, I guess the question is why stop ever? And why can't we enjoy cyclocross suffering all Summer long? It seems that road racing and mountain bike leave a lot of suffering to be desired, for some reason. And if the suffering and pain part is all we really want out of our cycling experience then  why don't we all just pick up some rusty dental equipment at a garage sale and save all that money we squander on carbon bikes and expensive wheels, registrations and travel, and just take our non-stop masochistic selves to the basement. "Is it safe, right?" 

Stupid races don't just take place in the High Country or Front Range (isn't that a movie with Kevin Costner and Bob Duvall?) It's everywhere in the world. And apparently very popular in places where everybody sounds like they are narrating an Australian beer commercial.

I found this race (above) exceptionally stupid because of the over-the-top video that touts it. It all begins with a profound reading of a T.S. Eliot or Charles Bukowski poem with dramatic shots of dead bodies and skulls, war and images of raw survival on the Veldt. Next thing we see are a bunch of knuckleheads on single speeds all dressed in drag, bras, slips, tights, as if they were living in Portland. Crazy, hip, or just plain stupid? The exceptionally stupid part isn't just riding around Africa, Australia, Antarctica, or wherever they talk like a continues Foster's Beer commercial, wearing their mommies underwear, riding around WOOF MUTHAFUCKA signs, and getting stupid tattoos at the end of the ride, it's riding a single speed mountain bike in a place where there are animals that can eat your ass if you can't get away that's the most stupid part. And believe me, you can't get away from much on a single speed mountain bike. Ask my dog. I'm just glad she can't eat me. But this WOOF MUTHAFUCKA could ... 

Too bad in the middle of "Kunye", the single speed race across Afristraulia we didn't see some of this sweet animal on cyclist action.

Like I said there are stupid races all over the world. You've probably seen this stupid kind of race, which really goes beyond stupid, it's pretty much fucking insane. I think it takes place somewhere in Mexistraulia. The beer they drink there is probably called something like Dos Fosteruis.

Whenever I watch one of these Stupid/Insane downhill races I'm always waiting for a dog, a drunk, or a Mexistraulian Cab driver (drunk and high) to pull out in front of the stupid/insane bike racers. Good advertising for Red Bull isn't it? If I ever decided I want to die I don't need to shoot myself, I'll just drink a bunch of Red Bull and I'll do something stupid enough on my bike to kill myself. The added benefit is that the video of me offing myself will probably go viral. The downside, I'll be too dead to see it.

Red Bull. It gives you wings.

The 2013 Yukon to North Pole Race could be called stupid by people that are afraid to freeze to death or get eaten by wolves. But then those people are big babies. Like me. Here's a shot of our own Dan Jansen, taken from some kind of flying machine because the photographer wasn't stupid enough to get down there with him. Pretty impressive, actually. Hat's off to Dan, who has his hat off - strange because it 120 degrees below zero!

In this stupid good and crazy bike race,  where people race their Fat Bikes from the Yukon, someplace that's even colder than Michigan, to the North Pole where it's so cold it's literally stupid. Our own Dan Jansen (above) did this race and survived. That is certainly bad-ass, and at the same time stupid crazy when you think what could have happened out there on the frozen tundra (Green Bay Packer's Field?). While we are wildly happy to report that Dan was a successful finisher of this stupid hard race some were not as lucky or tough ...

In the Yukon to North Pole Race keeping ahead of starving wolves is more important than a podium step. And on a Fat Bike, that's stupid challenge. (See Cheetah video somewhere above and factor that the wolf may be slower, but that the fat bike on snow is too.)

After the wolf made his catch all you could hear was wolf burping and belching from that distant tree line.

Could be last year's Barry Ruby™? Or maybe not. Looks like it anyway. Let's call it a dramatic re-enactment of a race that hasn't happened yet, shall we?

Due to stupid cold, icy and snowy conditions this weekends Barry Ruby™, or recently renamed Scary Ruby™, could fall into the stupid file. With over ten-thousand participants there has been some concern that the snowy and icy trails will become some kind of stupid bike trap that will strand racers out in the Meth Lab infested woods of Barry County for weeks to come. The sheer number of people doing this race is literally mind-blowing to somebody like me who thinks a field of 30 in a race is big. Barry Ruby™ is now so big and popular I hear about it from people I don't even know, and that don't even look like bikers. The Barry Ruby™ buzz is on the street, in restaurants, and in the shower.

Here's another dramatic re-enactment of a Barry Ruby™ incident, overhead by your humble reporter, just last night in the MVP locker room.

Hey, any you guys doing the Barry Ruby™ this weekend? I heard they were going to call it the Scary Ruby™ but then they took out all the stupid hard parts that mountain bikers like us dudes are so good at, and it's the Barry Ruby™ again. Did you hear that? You still doin' it?

Yes, yes, yes! We're going to be there, you betcha! Do we look stupid enough to miss the most epic race of all time? Even without the stupid hard parts that would have given well-washed mountain bikers, such as ourselves a distinct advantage over pathetic road racers and cyclocross racers that are actually better on that shit than we are, we're still gonna do it. Now could you bend over and pick that soap up for us?

Let's hope that conditions are good this weekend. With over 10,000 riders on this trail, a little ice and snow could go a long way .... down.

Speaking of bending over and picking up the soap, there have been crazy stupid predictions for the race this weekend and the possible race winners. There was even my own stupid Barry Ruby™ Conditions Rating™ Chart, which doesn't actually predict winners, or the conditions, but it just gives you an idea of what to expect, depending on the cards Momma Nature deals you on Saturday, which covers everything from #1 fast and dry, to #6 we're all going to die.

For out an out and out lead-pipe and sure thing-locked up picks the all knowing Koala Bear once again busted out some some surprising predictions which include everything from real-world favorites to the Koala's usual "WHO THE FUCK ARE THESE PEOPLE?" picks. To understand the Koala Bear's selections, especially if you are going to be gambling big bucks and the farm on the race like I am (and will probably be going into a gambling rehab unit after the race when Bob doesn't win), you have to get into the Koala's head and find out how he knows so damn much about bike racing even though he lives at the top of a tree in far off Afristraulia. Well I found out how the Koala does it by getting my sweaty gambling mitts on this exclusive Koala footage shot on location in Afristraulia. Drink up the cycling knowledge of Koala and let it enlighten you like a six pack of ice cold Dos Fosteruis.  Good luck to everyone  racing. I've hear that the temps on Saturday are going to be the 40s so all should be good, fun and epic. Enjoy, ride hard and be safe!

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

The Numbers Game

Yeah, it's about that time again, isn't? Soon Skip will be telling you that you've got it too high, too low, too close to your arm pit, on your ass ... wait you took your hands off the bars you're DQ'd anyway.

It's all about the numbers, isn't it? Saddle time, BPMs, wattage, EPO injections, mileage, psi, cadence, mph ... and so on. But the only one that really counts is the one you pin on that gets counted. Without it, well just stay in the care and keep playing with your iPad douchewad.

I've kept a crapload of numbers over the years to remember some of the races I've done. I see some of those in  there I should forget, too. Let's have a weiner roast, shall we? That coated paper and ink should add some flavor.

There are all sorts of numbers Some numbers, like those used at last year's USGP Derby Cup were made out of radioactive paper that could be read by gigantic x-ray machines at the finish line no matter where you pinned it.

Old school pinning ... well there are masters of the game. Like Bob, who pinned on so many numbers in one day that he needed a blood transfusion from sticking himself.

There are also also sorts of number placement, too. I really like the placement of this pair, myself.

On some kits it doesn't matter where you put the number, you're not going to see it, Look at this too long looking for a number and you're likely to have a seizure.

Of course before you pin, you have to get it. It's about that time of year when you start lining up to get your number. Always my favorite part of race day.

Wouldn't it be nice if we all just had our own number? All of our kits would be printed with it and it would be the same for every race. No waiting in line. No pinning. They could just scan it for payment as we passed the finish line for the registration fee like a speed pass.

Now for the ultimate number pinning video of all time. Watch and enjoy - since it's snowing like a shit storm and riding it out of the question for a few hours - And start collecting those safety pins and filling the ashtray with the sticky little buggers. The season is upon us. And don't crumble the goddamn thing either.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Cyclocross in National TV Ad for a Car Company? Get Outta Here!

Hey dude, where's our car? This is a car commercial, right?

Imagine my surprise while finishing up my off-season training by eating donuts, drinking beer and watching television (I was breathlessly awaiting the announcement of the NBA brackets or something like that) when I saw a television commercial for a car company, or a car, called the  SCION, whatever in the fuck that is, come on my donut and beer splattered BIG SCREEN TV.

While I was more than mildly interested in the amount of bicycles featured in the opening of the spot, let me tell you I almost dropped my powered donut into my French Dip (I prefer it to hot chocolate - dipping in beer just seems wrong) when I saw a short clip on cyclocross in the spot. I know that there was some beer ad on TV over a hundred years ago that contained a Cyclocross scene, but that doesn't count because everyone that saw that ad, or was in it, is now, sadly, dead. So check this out, and let me know if you see it on the air.

While hipsters and fixies are a favorite car ad "prop-theme" (as they are in this ad) cyclocross is all new - and wait until to see what it is - a bike change no less! The only thing disturbing about this ad (and it's been noted that even the hipsters are wearing helmet so that's no disturbing) is that they keep referring to that "Every Second Counts" theme which comes from Lance Armstrong, disgraced TdF ex-champ that confessed on Opwha he had sex with Sheryl Crow.

This week I should also have some "Funny" posts about riding around our hilariously Bike-Friendly-And-Nothing-But-Fun-And-Laffs City, plus some updates on the Barry Ruby course conditions which were rated today on Facebook by a well known and experienced cyclist as ... 


If you didn't know there was a Barry Ruby Conditions Rating Guide™, read up and get wise - here it is kids - and Barry Ruby contestants:

1. Top Notch - Dry, no potholes, perfect weather. The hills have been flattened so there's none of that painful climbing shit. Wear your tri-suit for a better tan.

2. Dry, some sand but fast. The hills are back in but Leprechauns are wandering around the course with pots of gold. And beer. And Strippers (both male and female - Barry Ruby loves to celebrate diversity.)

3. A little rainy but warm. You can pretend you rode an epic race without it really being epic, or hurting like an epic race really does. The photos, which there will be about ten million, will be cool and you'll look like a total bad-ass.

4. Rainy, snowy and crappy. Typical Barry Ruby. You'll hurt some, but it should stop short of crying in public. You'll be able to tell everyone that you, "bonked," explaining your shitty finishing position.

5. Frozen shit storm of elements common on Jupiter, but never seen before on this planet. You'll probably lose a few toes and maybe a finger, or you'll get a flesh wound from a 22 LR weilded by a roadside Barry County Meth dealer, but nothing major. You'll live. The good part is you won't even know you've broken your collar bone until you thaw out at home and the all the crappy free beer you drank wears off.

6. Conditions finally reduce the chance of there being any survivors of the race to absolute zero. You are all going to die.

Thursday, March 7, 2013

The Party's Over. But the Party Never Stops.

The Cyclocross Party is over and these people have gone home - thankfully. But for some, it's hard saying goodbye, and a lot of it we'll miss ...

Yeah like Katrina Nash and Georgia Gould can stick around and party all they want. They're always fun.

And those laugh-a-minute Belgians (except for K-Paws). They're home and partying down after kicking everybody's ass. Take that World.

And how long will it be before we see the Katies together again? A small Katie and a Big Katie in matching poofy jackets no less.

And crazy fuckers like this dressed up for a cross race or a trip to the mental ward? Yeah I can't get enough costumes.

Well it's over and I'm a bit gutted, floundering around the internet looking for more 'cross videos and pics I might have missed. Going down to the basement to sniff Mastik and watch my tires rot, building up bikes for next year that are way more than I need ... it's either that or watch road racing. Yeah, sitting down and watching 3k prologues won by guys with UCI illegal helmets is so exciting I couldn't get up off the couch to get another beer.

You know this is the kind of shit that makes me want to dig my eyes out of my head with a grapefruit spoon when I watch road cycling. So the guy who won had an illegal helmet and looks like the Green Lantern, and the guy that lost had short sleeves? Are you f*cking kidding me? So now that we're supposedly past the doping era in cycling where going to with illegal helmets and short sleeves? It's no wonder your mom won't even come to watch you road race ...

Gaudin won prologue with illegal helmet,QuickStep DS claims

Damien Gaudin (Europcar) rides to the win in the Paris-Nice prologue

Keep your mouth shut and your hands on the bars you'll be faster!

Chavanel lost due to short sleeves and sticker on Gaudin's helmet, Peeters says: Sylvain Chavanel lost the Paris-Nice prologue by 56 one hundredths of a second, and Omega Pharma-Quick Step sport director Wilfried Peeters thinks he knows why – it was the material. Winner Damien Gaudin wore not only a different jersey, but may also owe his victory to an illegal helmet, Peeters indicated.Europcar's Gaudin covered the technical 2.9km course in 3:37, beating Chavanel by a whisker. One of the reasons for this, Peeters told Het Nieuwsblad, is that “Sylvain rode with short sleeves while Gaudin wore long sleeves. This kind of detail made the difference.”

So what we to do now? Stuck with helmet and short sleeve controversies, waiting for next cross season to roll around is a long wait. And there isn't going to any of this ...  though I find this video above a little sad ... maybe it's the music. Maybe it's the fact that there won't be another World Championship Cross race in America in my lifetime (maybe yours, but not mine, I'm old). If you're still in the mood to look back just take a look at these ESPN Sports photos of World Championships. Very nice stuff.

You really know that the Cyclocross Party is over for the year when the Blue Lights come on and the terrible Belgium entertainers come out to serenade the cyclocross stars, and then torment them with uncomfortable (you can tell they're uncomfortable even though you can understand them - body language I guess - everybody starts looking like Pauwels, except Nys) in Superprestige Awards show that happens ever year. And it's always the same ... right down to the blue lights, white chair condoms and cheesy singers. If you've got the time it's really interesting to watch - quite a look at the Belgium culture and their lurve of cyclocross. I'm sure they have something like this in Canada for Curling.

If the blue lights and Belgian crooners are enough to let you know the cross season is over, then the goofy Masters race is. It's kind of the Inside Out race of World Champions. 

I wonder if the Koala was there to take note? He always loves Quixotic and unusual racing with bikes and venues that may or may not actually be racing.