Sunday, November 14, 2010

Sic semper tyrannis

Six pints of winter ale and SpaCx is officially in the books. But the big news is that my partner in grime is blowing town, down by law. Or something like that.

Andrew J. is moving to Allentown, Pa,, A-Town, to be a gear editor for some archaic form of media known as a magazine. Unfortunately, I forgot which one as I kinda zoned out during his mid-ride ramblings...blah, blah...Allentown...blah, blah...gear editor...blah, bladdy, blah...hipster apartment in fringe neighborhood - yadda - Billy Joel quote.

Quickly scanning the publisher site, I figured I could pick the publication out. Not so fast. Rodale News makes an awful lot of magazines. Pretty sure it wasn't Prevention, but after checking in on Women's Health, I spotted a section called 'Look Better Naked'  and recalling an article he wrote previously, I felt dead on.
Dorney Park, a must.
Andrew J. will have lots to do and see moving to the Lehigh Valley, so I thought it would be helpful if he had one 'gear review' in the bag, in his back pocket, up his sleeve, straight outta Saratoga. Here it is, no rights reserved on this bad boy, just Control-C, Control-V and call it a day.

Women's Health, Gear review, Andrew J. Bernstein, Gear Editor-and-Chief-and-Can 'o Corn
Premier Review

Carbon Equipe Bumpits, As seen on TV
"The trash washes up to shore, even in this landlocked place" - Tilly and the Wall

Newton Universal Performance Racer, Pink
The problem- You stow away the Manolos and strap on the Newtons, killing it all the way to the office only to find you're ten minutes late. Again. You break out the Schrodinger defense- since the manager could not see your cubicle, the manager could not, with absolute certainty, prove that you were not working. That leaves you in the paradoxical state of working and non-working simultaneously. You assert that you were working, despite still wearing your overcoat. It's a tough gambit. From behind the next cubicle, a pouf of bad dye-job hair bobs. And then the gum snaps. How did she get here before me? You left at the same time. And she lives two blocks further away?

In the urban canyons, most do not realize the impact of wind-resistance on pedestrian commuting. Until now. In a newly released, five-boroughs study from CUNY, researchers took a random sampling of administrative assistants, paralegals, dental hygienists and data-enterers to their mid-town wind tunnel facility and measured individuals' drag coefficients. Results were astonishing. On average, women are losing 5 second per city block from dirty air cavetating at the trailing edge of inefficient hair styles. Talk about your bad hair day.
Enter Bumpits. Creating a new hair profile that generates a higher air speed over top of the hair, while propagating a natural laminar flow, virtually eliminating the debilitating eddies that are keeping you from clocking in on time. Aggressive leading edge contour? Aggressive like a mother-in-law on Black Friday. Our reviewer found that not only did Bumpits get her across town faster with less physical effort, but also got her there with less interference. Nothing seems to say 'back off, bitch' like big hair. Street vendors cowered behind their tables, tourist scurried off the sidewalk into traffic, businessmen feigned dropping their cellphones. It just works. We dared the moles at CERN stop smashing little bitty-bits that no one can see (and therefore don't exist) and try to improve upon it. They failed.

Did we just finish the review without a single Snooki reference? So it goes.

Good luck Andrew, wear sunscreen.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Thank you

Thanks to everyone for making yesterday an absolute success!

Results are posted on Bikereg.

Stay tuned as Dave Kraus and Barry Koblenz, professional photographers, were on hand and I will be posting their portfolios soon.

Barry's portfolio now posted

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Cruel Shoes: Confessions

The last word on Saratoga Spa Cyclocross MMX.

Later that day, Carlo was overheard saying to a new customer, "Well, that's it. That’s every pair of shoes in the place. Unless, of course, you'd like to try the cruel shoes."

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Emotional Rescue: Barriers - Updated

You may ask yourself am I right, am I wrong? You may ask yourself what kind of  self-help race is this? Has my cyclocross become unmanageable? Is bike racing cheaper than therapy? Knowing that it takes perseverance to complete a race, and that you may face:
  • Emotional Barriers - Do I feel like racing?
  • Perceptual Barriers - Is it cold outside?
  • Cultural Barriers  - Are the guys from Albany mean, do they use foil?
  • Language Barriers - What the hell is a bell lap?
  • Interpersonal Barriers - Will my significant other let me race?
  • Gender Barriers - Will I get beaten by a girl?
These are various types of barriers that people hold dear to them. They simplify, give them an easy out. But wait there's more! A cyclocross race holds a final and sometimes most damaging; the Physical Barriers.

On a good day, one comes gently winding around a 180 degree turn, butt in the air, like a cat in heat, flitting off the bike for a brisk stroll over the boards, back up and away.
On a bad day, its 35 degrees, there's a 50 yard straightaway after the holeshot turn into a set of structural lumber coming towards you at 25 mph. Since the start is kinda like Han Solo dropping the hyperspace hammer, the barrier approach is like reentry when Alderaan has been reduced to space gravel. Which you might resemble in a matter of seconds because you can't feel your hands and you're pretty sure the brakes won't work anyway because of the constant drizzle and frost on the greens.

What could be worse that approaching 40cm of tibia-snapping new-growth at speed? How about boards that remind you in that last instant as you try to click out and leap of the imminent consequences? Think twice? Do you have that much time?
Warning: Barriers may be larger than they appear.
At SpaCx, this is a barrier that you will have to overcome. Then again. And again. Probably like eight times. Which is what they say is the base number of repetitions required before something becomes habitual. Don't try to break through these barriers, just get over them.

I will be your knight in shining armor, riding across the desert on a fine Arab charger...

Friday, October 15, 2010

What sign are you waiting for?

During the rectification of the Vuldrini, the traveler came as a large and moving Torg! Then, during the third reconciliation of the last of the McKetrick supplicants, they chose a new form for him: that of a giant Slor! Many Shuvs and Zuuls knew what it was to be roasted in the depths of the Slor that day, I can tell you!

Prevent the apocalypse- that is- not racing at SpaCx..
Sign up for now!

(yes, this post is a geek-check supreme, and if you were actually able to recite this, go f*ing go to ComiCon)

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Run What You Brung

Got us a dirt track date, Demolition derby, figure 8,
Eatin' dinner off a paper plate, Eliminations start at eight.
Get your hair piled on up high, I want you darlin' by my side
Dirt track oval, son of a gun, Take what you win, run what you brung.
With every turn we'll tempt our fate, We got a Dirt Track Date.
Southern Culture On The Skids

Many thanks to SCOTS who have provided us with a vivid tableau of the Oct 24 event. Still, people stop me on the street asking about this 'Run What You  Brung'  What's up with that?

The Concept:
Too often I hear, yeah, it looks fun but I don't have the right bike, I'm not in shape, I'm only good at sniffing glue, blah, blah blah.
So we created an event that would eliminate every last excuse.'Shut up and ride'
  1. NOON - who can't get up by noon
  2. FREE - no money required
  3. ANY bike - everyone has something hanging up in the garage. Steal your child's HelloKitty bike.
  4. ONE lap - that's like ten minutes and everyone can experience the euphoria of bike racing
  5. RACERS will be disqualified, skinsuits, carbon bits, etc
  6. RAFFLE prizes - winners picked from all who complete the lap. It could be big...
  7. WARDROBE MALFUNCTION - great chance to test run your Halloween costume 
  8. MONDAY your coworkers will not believe you. Won't that be cool.
Mark your calendar.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Cruel Shoes: pour les voyeurs, per il tifosi

This an interview prep test. A test to prepare your answers to the most common cyclocross questions posed by the miscreants (mes- not, credere, believe). Practice responses in front of a mirror to reduce any facial ticks or microsigns that would otherwise give away your disdain during the inquiry.

Okay, yes, beer does make this more palatable. As does new shoes.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Hold tight, we're in for nasty weather...

IA RATING for Immature Audiences Only
(Contains clinical description)

It’s getting colder.

Cold weather and ‘cross, the topic of conversation will soon turn to embrocation. Embrocation? Yup, the overpriced euro-Ben-Gay that’s not really Ben-Gay and really doesn’t help your knees, medically speaking, but does make you feel invincible, super-pro with your glistening knees, warm and tinglely, smelling like a double chai latte.

So you’re gonna embrocate. Good for you, next you’ll be espousing the virtues of Abbeys and Lambics. No problem, yet. Remember, when prepping in the passenger seat of your car minutes before the start, things can get a bit frenetic. Visions of the giant Plinko game better known as the start are dancing in your head. And what’s my tire pressure? What pressure are they running?

This is when things get critical. You’ve got two things to do. Two goos for two very different purposes. Here is a simple rule of thumb and fingers, a tested strategy with redundancy built-in redundancy.

Step #1 – Do this first (that’s why it’s number one)
Right is right: chamois crème on the right hand. Glaze the taint (potential band name) or have your soigneur prep your bib chamois prior to suiting up. DZ Nuts (XY) /Bliss (XX), Assos, Body Glide, hell- I’d run a couple Hellman’s packets from Stewart’s in a pinch, it’s all good.

Step #2 - “On the other hand we have different fingers” –jack handy
The term sinister is derived from Latin sinistr-, sinister on the left side, unlucky, inauspicious. Embrocation is applied with the left hand. On your knees, calves, quads, lower back, if you’re over 35.

Jigsaw is 'Big-Into' cyclocross, apparently he like the serenity.
FYI- The writers of Saw XVII plan to have Jigsaw’s victim awake naked on the floor of a sauna, neck padlocked to the steam thingy. He does not know his hands have been coated in Mad Alchemy Cold Weather Madness... you know where this is going so I’m gonna quit now.

It boils down to picking your friend’s nose. You can mix up the sequence, use the same hand, but you cannot mix up the sequence and use the same hand.

The Agony and the Ecstasy
Space the above procedure and there will be a new KY ad.
This time, the fireworks in the lands of milk and honey will be set by Mrs O'Leary cow.

And don’t wipe you nose. (5)
Or grind last-night’s eye yark out. (7)
All day long. Trust me. (5)

...gonna come in first place
gonna burst into flames...

Thursday, September 23, 2010

spa:cx Course Layout UPDATE 2

FINAL DRAFT - Saratoga Spa Cyclocross Course
Concept Layout by  Jeremy Powers of Cannondale/Cyclocrossworld
Alec Donahue of NCC/Wheelhouse and CycleSmart

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

spa:cx Location Map

Where it's at. Right off Exit 14, Union Ave, just seconds form downtown Saratoga Springs.
From Exit 14, traveling west on 9P, Union Avenue, .5 miles turn right at first light, Henning Road (opposite Yaddo) Travel north on Henning for .5 miles and turn left into Lowlands Racetrack gate.

View Larger Map

spa:cx Kids Race

Please forward to every irresponsible parent you know!
Notify the entire Saratoga City School District immediately about he cyclocross race.

spa:cx Race Mailer

Share with all. Be fruitful and multiply. Let's get all of Saratoga to attend Spa Cyclocross 2010!

Friday, September 17, 2010

The bigger the cushion, the sweeter the...

Tires. That's what I said...

Disciples of the 'cross are all hot and bothered about that UCI tire width thingy and dis-information is being spread about what equipment is required to toe the line for the twenty-ten season.

What you talkin' about Willis?

"For the cyclo-cross bicycle the width of the tyre (measured between the widest parts) shall not exceed 33 mm and it may not incorporate any form of spike or stud"

Translation: Unless you're a UCI Pro racer, it don't mean a thing if it ain't got that certain je ne sais quois.

"This rule does not affect local events as we currently have no rules regarding tire width and the USCF Board of Trustees is not adding any tire width requirement."

So what are my bike options? Pretty much anything goes, Rollerball style. Not the crappy remake, the Jimmy Caan one.

Choices for 2010 SpaCx:
1. Cyclocross bike, any tires, any brakes, end plugs.
2. Mountain bike, any tires, any brakes, no barends.
3.* Run what you brung...definition coming soon.

How can I leave this behind?

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

O frabjous day: Powers Cross


Yes, yes we did. We got Cannondale/CyclocrossWorld's Jeremy 'J-Pow' Powers and CycleSmart's Alec Donahue, to ride with us. Really, I know we've made some claims in the past but this just happened and the irony of the day did not escape me...hey, I'm decent at Photoshop, but not that good.

I know what you're thinking, "Please post the 'Smoking Gun' YouTube video that you have on these guys that forced them into submission!" Pernicious nonsense, no such incriminating evidence exists, so stay out of my garbage, don't hack into my WiFi. What's the point, why the celebs? Now that we have the best venue, we need the best course. So we asked (or begged, pleaded, groveled, and ultimately bribed) our guests to conceive the Ultimate CX Racecourse (cue thunder & lighting effects and/or maniacal evil laugh) in the universe, or upstate NY.

So there I was, desperately trying not to squeal like a tween at a Justin Bieber concert, riding behind J-Pow. He sported a broken finger from the GMSR race, jeans, some pimp Gucci  belt buckle and SRAM Red cap. None of which seemed to affect his ability to drop us while brainstorming the course layout. Jeremy was also well versed in bike-horse interactions which initially terrified me as he rode straight at a thoroughbred probably worth more than my house.

Result- we have a draft concept for the course, lots of real estate, the lap times can be a solid 8 minutes of righteous racing. Hint, do you like the beach?

SpaCx is truly grateful for the generosity of these guys to come out and share their experiences of racecourses across the country and world. Did I mention, Cannondale, CyclocrossWorld, CycleSmart? Jelly Belly anyone?

How was your Tuesday afternoon? Fill out any TPS reports?

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

It puts the lube on the chain, or it gets the hose again.

Spa:Cx has managed to claw their way out of Buffalo Bill's basement to find that the fall season is almost upon us. Fall, a time for shorter days, fog coming in on Siberian Tiger feet commutes, and those insufferable leaf-peepers. And cyclocross.

Start looking for your CX bike. It’s probably where you threw it last December while swearing off the sport and reaching for the beers. And it’s not clean; you thought you’d get to it the next weekend but ended up raking the entire yard that had been ignored all season. And then you forgot. Looking like one of those Greek amphorae pulled from the ocean floor, the time for restoration is now.

To clean the nastier yark and spooge (yark = dried spooge) off the bike, I often to mount the bikes on the roof rack and go to the local touch-less car wash. As your HR directors will tell you in the lunch seminars, there are good touches and bad touches. For $7, I am not confident that my bike will be getting a good touch, especially from a giant wooly bear caterpillar of nylon bristles spinning at 8000rpm.

So I stick with the car wash type that does the younger brother I’m-not-touching-you thing by spinning around inches from your vehicle. Afterward, you might want to check the greasy bits and the painty bits as they might have been removed. But you’ll be yark-free.

Be excellent to each of your bikes, especially you chain. It makes you go. Find your MTB shoes and find your anaerobic threshold because its time to emerge from your road riding chrysalis and start racing on the dirt.

Look for next Wednesday's 9/8 blog, it'll piss you off.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

Thinking inside the box

This post goes out to two Brooklynites, Brooklynians?, Brooklyhenians?, who showed initiative, planning, timing, and good old-fashioned asking.
Scott is an architect, so I wanted to honor him by demonstrating my skills and drawing a portrait. It took me like three hours just to shade his upper lip. It's probably the best drawing I've ever done. Or maybe I drew a Liger in jeans and black mock turtleneck.
Peter is a veteran, sporting the Helvetica for the super heroes known as BVF. He also hates the beach. He hates the ocean and all of the sea creatures living in it. How do I know this? Look at him running over hundreds of lovingly hand-crafted sand castles. That’s not a race course; he put the tape up at Jones Beach to justify his actions.

They were the first to sign up, wanting the pole position, starting grid No 1. Is this the NYCross protocol? No. Are we gonna hook them up? Yes. I’ll get my can of metallic gold spray paint, which I wasn’t huffing (contrary to popular opinion) and mark a Willy Wonka golden box for them at the start line.

Thanks for signing up!

Monday, August 16, 2010

October is the cruelest month, suffering.

Now, not only is SpaCx asserting that our event is much better than Cats but also that T.S. got the opening just plain wrong in his allegorical rock opera, The Waste Land.

Bold words Mr. Mistoffelees, you say. But remember last year we invoked the superpowers of Eric, the Weather Viking, Thorgersen to bring us PNW style deluge for proper course conditions. So we got that going for us, which is nice.

So, whaddyagot this year? The park was awesome but we’re going bigger to a new locale with primo terrain and spectating- how about the Saratoga Race Track grounds as a venue? That Johnny Walker Red dude blowing the horn, chicks in big hats, the compulsive gamblers in velour jumpsuits, they’ll all be there.

Registration on BikeReg available now. Warm up on the Oklahoma Track will be frowned upon, or subjected to tazing. We’ll get back to you on that.

Shantih, Shantih, Shantih

But wait there’s more…new race category announcement coming soon