Ode to a bike ride that took place one night in early April, 2014.

April 12, 2014

I did some brutal Functional Threshold to Maximum Aerobic Power intervals tonight, 5 of them, 30 seconds on and 2.5 minutes off, repeat 3 times.

Oh the pain.

They sucked. But they were very rewarding.

They occurred under a temperamentally cloudy sky with our crew fighting headlong into, or racing at our backs, a warm spring wind that had that kiss of promise that warm spring winds can have.

It whispered and then roared a declaration of renewal, rebirth, and of great things to come.


Mark Goes All Next Level

October 22, 2012

There’s something very rewarding about seeing a friend elevate himself to a new level. I remember when we were cheering ourselves hoarse as McConnell moved into Elite, doing the same as he found his way to the podium in those races, then likewise when he first grabbed the top step against very fast company in that category. So seeing the photos of Mark taking the win at day 2 of Spooky Cross in LA this last weekend wasn’t a new emotion, but it was certainly a new level of that emotion.

Here’s hoping Mark soon gets his next opportunity. All the guy wants to do is race his bike as fast and as often as he can.

Rapha visits Alex Steida. Mythic stuff here.

July 20, 2012

This is really, really good. Especially once they start talking to Steida about his experiences in the Tour. First Team 7-Eleven, 1986. Phinney, Roll, Grewal, Alcala, Heiden, Keifel, et al. Put together and managed by Ochowicz. If you were to take each of these names and follow their stories you’d have pretty much the blueprint for the entire history of North America’s involvement in European pro road racing. The only element missing would be LeMond, but, oh yeah wait, he won his first Tour that year, already a hotshot racing for the French La Vie Claire squad.

Anyway, back to Steida. How cool is it that he lives in Edmonton? Seems like a rad guy, would love to meet him. What a great storyteller. They did a solid job with this one. You totally get it. Love that he mentions getting hooked up for this through Andy Hampsten as well, another key player in the history. Gavia Pass. The Giro. Cycling’s best era and best stories, in my opinion.

Let me take you to a place no ones ever seen.

May 28, 2011

Ah, Ten Foot Pole. To get this song back in the heady days of the mid nineties you needed to buy the Satanic Surfers – Ten Foot Pole split album. And you probably needed to do that at Megatunes. There were two songs from each band on the CD and this was the first TFP song. Still one of my favorite tunes, from still one of my favorite bands, and not just because lead singer Scott Radinsky is such a neat story.

I dig this one so much because ‘Walkin’ is basically an eulogy to the forest and to those natural places hidden and sacred, where, as ‘ol Cormac McCarthy so poetically wrote in the final paragraph of The Road, ” all things were older than man and hum of mystery.”

I so get that and I so love that.

A cold sweat just watching this.

September 7, 2010

Alex Honnold is a 22 year old climber that has a mutant ability to turn his brain off. How else could you explain his capacity for putting himself in such insane, high risk situations? Free soloing means climbing without a partner, without protection, and without any room for error. He free solos big walls – not just a pitch or two – but nearly a vertical kilometer of climbing. One lapse in judgment, a simple mistake, and he falls 500 meters or more. That’s 5 football fields. Honnold climbed Half Dome, in the Yosemite Valley, in just hours – a climb that can take up to two or three days for most human climbers. And speaking of time – and someone more physics oriented might correct this – but in the case of a fall from 500 meters, it would take close to 15 seconds to deck. Honnold would accelerate to 50% of terminal velocity within just 3. In 8 seconds he would be at 90% of terminal velocity. By 15, he would be at 99% of terminal velocity and right around then he’d hit the ground at close to 200 km/h and be terminally dead. That’s a lot of time to think about things as the ground rushes up.

No idea how someone could have that mental discipline. Good Lord. Think about this the next time you’re bombing a bike, or your skis, down some choppy hunk of downhill and you start to wonder if maybe you should speed check or pull back a bit. You’ll probably be just fine.

Alone on the Wall – First Ascent from Mountainfilm in Telluride on Vimeo.

Laurent Fignon, 1960-2010

September 1, 2010

Aw man – Laurent Fignon passed away today.

Fignon was a truly iconic rider from the days when cycling wasn’t anywhere near the consciousness of most North Americans. To me, at 12 years old or so, Fignon was the embodiment of the mystery of the country of France and the continent of Europe. Decked out in these round, Lennon-style glasses and with his blond hair held back with a trademark sweatband, he was the dashing avatar of the romance and mythos of road racing. He was stoic and pensive on the bike, reserved and dignified off of it.

Nicknamed ‘The Professor’ within the PRO peloton, Fignon won the Tour twice, and will also always remain in the record books as the guy that lost it by the closest margin ever – 8 seconds to Lemond, in ’89.

His autobiography was just published in English and, ironically, I ordered it just a week ago, right around the 12th of August, which was Fignon’s 50th birthday.

In the book, there’s a quote:

“A true cyclist sometimes has to bite the dust before he can reach the stars. Win. Survive. Hang in there. It’s a race against oblivion, a race against time, a race against yourself: a career, a life. Can a man’s character be represented in the way he rides a bike?”

Fignon was pure class. RIP.

Friday the 13th? Just turn it around, says Fabian.

August 14, 2010

Fabian Cancellara won the Tour of Flanders and Paris Roubaix in such powerful and convincing fashion this year that there was an insane rumor going around that he had an electric motor built into the bicycle. Really. People said this. “Mechanical doping”, they’ve called it. Riiiiiight. And it wasn’t just Tom ‘Montoya’ Boonen, the guy Cancellara rode away from. (Boonen never said this, by the way).

But, honestly, what else would you expect from a 185 pound diesel engine nicknamed Spartacus? He’s the current World Time Trail and Olympic Time Trial Champion for a reason – because he can ride away, on occasion, and in suitable conditions, from the best guys in the world just like he had a freaking motor in the bicycle.

But, of course, Fabian doesn’t have a motor in the bicycle. He’s just going for it. And he’s a mutant. And cuts the heads off chickens before every race. Or has some other superstitions that he follows, anyway.

Cycling tradition is that if you get the number 13, you pin it upside down. Cancellara did in the 2006 Tour de France prologue, and won it, taking the Yellow Jersey as race leader as a result. Looks like pretty good luck to me. Or maybe it’s his legs?

This slideshow requires JavaScript.