Sunday, August 28, 2011

Heat of the Overturning Moment (Slight Return)

The Moment of a force is a measure of its tendency to cause a body to rotate about a specific point or axis.

The overturning moment of an object is the moment of energy capable of upsetting the object; that is, the point where it has been subjected to enough disturbance that it ceases to be stable, it overturns, capsizes, collapses, topples or otherwise incurs an unwanted change in its circumstances, possibly resulting in damage and certainly resulting in inconvenience 

Newton's First law (Let's get physical): The velocity of a body remains constant unless the body is acted upon by an external force.


Time- 5:45pm, warm-up lap.
Angle of repose- 0 (level).
Composition of surface- similar to NYSDOT approved subbase
Visibilty- Unlimited.
Speed- 10mph.
Topic of Discussion- Cross tires.


JRA, you've heard the term, laughed at the stories. "I was just riding along when all the lugs fell off the frame. I'd like a new bike." I still don't believe these folks, but now I do believe the potential for their stories to be true. Why, because of what happened to me. And I have a reliable eyewitness.

One moment chit-chatting about the coolest cross rubber, next a sound, followed by a strange feeling of weightlessness, ending in the too familiar feeling of hitting the ground, grinding body parts into the gravel. WTF?!? Thank goodness my teammate is a pro-level rider, expert at avoiding stupid people pile-ups. But wait? Why did I go down?

After a check of my position, I was nowhere near the brakes.
After a check of the bike, torn hood but everything else spun like butter. No problems.
After a check of the riding surface, nothing. No sticks, pothole, stones, small woodland creatures.
After an interview with the witness, she was unsure why I had decided to practice nose wheelies and could not find any evidence that would have caused the incident.
After all of this, I went home.

After much forensic analysis, computer modeling, the only rational explanation of the event is Voodoo. I have asked several people if they happen to have a 'JohnO' Voodoo doll? And perhaps, accidentally left it out on the kitchen counter only to have their cat get frisky with it?

After all the denials, I went back to the site, expecting to find  a small satchel containing my hair (where they got that I'll never know), a chicken foot, and some eye of newt. Double, double toil and trouble, fire burn and cauldron bubble...

Now, I am creating some talisman of good Juju to take with me. Any symbolic suggestions to place on my frame would be appreciated.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Postcards from the Edge of Traction

The following documents experiences from the Cycle-Smart cyclocross clinic in Massachusetts.

Day 1, Morning Session
Dear Mum,
I have arrived at the Cycle-Smart clinic. As the clinic is relatively short, I do not believe that a care package will be necessary, nor sending an extra set of pajamas. We did skills training this morning, revealing my technique of the past three years is dangerous at best. This photograph best illustrates my mastery of blowing a holeshot lead; narrowly avoiding dental work. As it is my understanding that my insurance does not cover cycling induced extractions, nor any associated reconstructive procedures, I am proceeding to alter my technique per Adam Myerson's suggestion.

Day 1, Afternoon Session
Dear Mum,
Adam is not as mean as his pictures. Since we were doing cornering in the afternoon with a strong emphasis on my chocolate-side turns (I like vanilla), I felt confident he would be yelling at me until I cried. Or entangled myself in barbed wire. Neither happened, nor did I slip and call him Otto.

Day 1, Evening Lecture
Dear Mum,
Although one can collect much data on physical performance, tonight we learned that there is no device to measure Normalized Power for your life. I think it would be useful information, charting it against my heart rate, EEG and time sheet from work.

Day 2, Morning Session
Dear Mum,
You will be pleased to know that Adam did not have to sacrifice one of the juniors to the rain gods to create muddy, sketchy conditions for practice. The gods took it upon themselves to provide, but it was nice to know the clinic had a backup plan. We also had bunny-hop demonstration from Grand Master Matt, so I may need to carry a special rider on that insurance I mentioned yesterday.

Day 2, Afternoon Session
Dear Mum,
Just completed two hot laps, (before you say it- you're thinking of a lap dance) and nearly had a Julie Moss experience at the top of the first lap but held off. It would appear that there are two common traits in elite riders: ink and piercing. To the best of my hypoxic recollection, everyone who came around me, like rats out of aqueduct, had both. Even though Al's art may not be as overt as others, I remain convinced it's there. And, I cannot possibly ask him where his piercing may reside. Intend on swinging through NoHo on the way home to rectify the issue.

Thank you to all the instructors at Cycle-Smart for an enjoyable weekend. Please note that if you, the reader, will be racing Masters 45+  at anytime in the next 5-10 years, the clinic was awful, not applicable and pretty much a huge waste of time.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Spa:Cx T-Shirts

We know that Tosh.0 has had his summer of Deep-V's.
We here at Spa:Cx are declaring 2011 the fall of Cross Dressing.
Pre-Order shirts at a discount on BikeReg, or take your chances and buy them at our event!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Loathing Gears in Spa City

Benjamin Disareli, Mondegreen, and the Need for Speeds
Point of fact: Everyone knows that Eric, Ginger and Co. were trying to talk about Tullio's invention and not The 1st Earl of Beaconsfield. Right? History re-rewritten. Now let's back to the problem.

The proliferation of gear selection over the past couple decades has been obscene, cassettes from 5,6,7,8,9 to 10, culminating in the Spinal Tap clich̩ РEleven. Seriously? Currently, there are more cogs on a Campagnolo cassette than total gear combinations on my metallic, kelly green Schwinn Varsity; thanks Nigel. In theory, one could have anywhere from one to thirty-three speeds on a rig.

Joker, Joker and The triple? Okay, I won't fault someone for giving CX a shot on a mountain or touring bike, which might happen to have a triple but the focus today is ideal race machines. In a clash of cross culture, we find riders subscribing to three approaches to getting in touch with their higher-power.

Miss Wasilla 1984
L'Etate Rouge: 2x10
“You can pry my STI shifters out of my cold, dead hands” On the far right, the setup that came with the bike. Kinda like a closet full of shoes, it gives you the promise of choices, yet you still never have the right ones. A setup for the sheeple that I am told represents the nations thinking, although they forgot to ask me. More gears-more problems, get a raging clue, or maybe not. Wait, shouldn't these guys be voting policy reducing the amount of gearing?

Oh, New England: 1x10
Yankee pragmatism, stripped down. Removing the front derailleur and extra ring is like taking out the car door windows and welding in a roll cage. Install your bestus-chain-stayey-oney devices, bashguard, dogfang, sharktooth and a brake lever from the days of downtube shifters, and hold on. Super fast and Nomex suit is not required.

Thunderdome at SSCXWC
Portlandia: 1x1
Minimalist, for the same people who have bomb shelters and provisions for post-apocalyptic times. Or $225 Rapha bike jeans. Once a refuge for hipsters suspected of drinking the bong water, now SS has been recognized by USA Cycling with a SSCX National Championship. Take that Rhythm Gymnastics, got ink?

Sermon on your mount:
Thou shall have at least one gear.
Thou shall use one gear at one time.
Thou shall require one gear to finish the race.

My fantasy Run-What-You-Brung 2011 

Is this dogma to espouse the single-speed ascetics? Not at all, it is merely a gentle reminder of what you really need and what the decision process might be when contemplating the gearing selection on your bike.