Apr 30, 2008

Saying goodbye to an old friend

I enjoy having a garage full of bikes, but at some point enough is enough. When a bike sits unused for the better part of a year, and I have no motivation to take it off the wall, it is time to say goodbye.It's silly to get attached to full-suspension bikes. At the end of the day, they're disposable. The shock, linkages and bearings will wear out eventually. Even if you can find replacement parts a few years down the road, the pace of lighter/faster/more efficient hype has passed you by.

Full squish notwithstanding, this bike is hard for me to let go of — 2004 Specialized Stumpjumper, 30th Anniversary Edition. She served me well through my undergrad years, skipping class to explore the unending maze of trails that crisscross the George Washington National Forrest. My first expert race, first Shenandoah 100, my first 24 hour race and many great trips to Moab were spent aboard this bike. Fit and performance were perfect for my riding style...at the time.

A few years ago while in the throws of a bad case of bike shop burn-out, I'd had enough. I couldn't stand working on my own bikes anymore. Something was always broken, needed adjustment, etc. I'm very particular when it comes to bike setup. Full suspension magnified this. Shock pressure, rebound and damping all had to be just right. Enough was enough. Bikes should not be money pits, and more time should not be be devoted to upkeep than riding.

In a fit of "fuckit" I stripped the gears off my Gunnar Rockhound, tore apart an old cassette for its 17 - tooth cog and got lucky, 32 x 17 work without a chain-tensioner. Perfect.

The Gunnar was a stopgap until I acquired a 29'er single speed. Since then the Stumpy's four inches of travel have not been needed. And, honestly, the bike feels damn weird to ride now.

Ciao bella.

Apr 10, 2008

Mass street hysteria

Within seconds of winning the national championship, fans spilled out of bars and onto the streets of downtown Lawrence. I've never seen so many people celebrating together. Everyone was in good spirits, many were three-sheets-to-the-wind drunk.

Festivities were much the same as Saturday night: total strangers giving each other hugs and high-fives, drinking in the streets and occasionally exposing themselves to the crowd.

By and large, everyone got along. The most the police did was to confiscate bottles and cans, "chug it or pitch it they'd say," plastic cups were fine.

Go here go see pics of the Mass. St. hysteria.

Apr 7, 2008

Brew to Brew

Saturday night KU beat UNC, shortly thereafter Lawrence became the drunkest city in the nation. Mass. St. turned into Bourbon St.

Sunday morning was the 14th annual Brew-to-Brew. A 44 mile race from the Boulevard Brewery in Kansas City, Mo. to the Free State Brewery in Lawrence.

Sunday morning came very early. I've felt better and I've felt worse — but I've never run 11 miles feeling that bad. Our four man team, "The White Trash Avengers," was spearheaded by fearless leader Mr. Joshua Stamper. I was most certainly the weakest link. I did my best to finish my legs of the race in a respectable time, despite my overindulgences of the previous night.

Weekend in review - 6 hours of suck

I've been delinquent in my updates as of late. Real life has taken precedence over the interwebs...

Saturday, March 29 was the Spoke Pony Showdown. The weather was perfect, the trails were fast yet tacky. I ran Continental Mountain Kings — 29x2.2 — corners were railed with precision.

The only thing thing absent was my fitness. I had some "gut-rot"— even if that had not been an issue, my legs just weren't there.

I think a lot of it had to do with the hard winter we've had in the Midwest this year. I actually had some base miles racked up last winter. Not the case this year. As a result, I fell from a second place finish in 2007 to somewhere in the middle of the pack this year.

It was still a good time. This was my first real mountain bike race of the year. I had as much fun catching up with friends whom I only see at races. I could have spend another six hours chatting and drinking free beer.