Sunday, March 30, 2014

Need More Leaves


As it so happened I was going to be in Lincoln today so I toyed with the idea to take the bike with me and take a little spin through Wilderness Park. The only factor that was making me second guess myself was the fact that it was going to be really windy again today... seems like any day in spring around here that makes it into the 70s is also accompanied by more than it's fair share of wind. It's a bit of an annoying pattern if you ask me, tomorrow is supposed to be 70 again and again the winds are supposed to be around 30 mph.


I decided that wind be damned I was going to ride, so I loaded up the bike and to Lincoln I went figuring that the trees would help block the wind. While they did knock down some of the wind the fact that there aren't any leaves on the trees allowed in more than a gentle breeze. Cyclists aren't the only things that aren't digging this wind, there have been lots of downed trees lately because of the strong winds... poor little guy never stood a chance.


New graffiti in the park as well, always kind of interesting seeing what goes on inside someone mind and how  it comes out in Krylon.


As I was taking pictures I almost backed into this guy and I promise you that while the focus might not be sharp, the thorns on him certainly were. Would have sucked big time to catch this in the keister or worse.


Pretty excited about trying these shorts out, picked them up at Cycle Works today while I was there. Wasn't really a planned purchase but since I blew the ass out of another pair of shorts riding today I figured I should replace them with something a little less airy and revealing. I guess I can't really complain too much I have had that pair of shorts for a little over 5 years, that's a long time for any pair of shorts to cover my swampass. Hopefully these Club Ride Apparel shorts will last at least as long, they seem pretty well made and durable, guess only time will tell, I do kind of dig their stuff so I'm hoping that they are durable.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

Mellencamp-town races

When I was a young boy
Said put away those young boy ways
Now that I'm gettin' older
So much older
I love all those young boy days
With a girl like you
With a girl like you
Lord knows there are things we can do, baby
Just me and you
Come on and make it dirt...

Picked up a book the other day, "1000 Excuses So You Don't Have To Do Shit", it's a crappy read but it lets you come up with reason to avoid doing stuff you know you should be doing but aren't, It's a NY Times best seller. I should be racing these races instead of making excuses not to, to be honest though the last few years my prep work and training just hasn't been nearly what it was or should be when I was racing more... I think that's excuse # 205 in the book if you're keeping track. Any way... Psycowpath had their first race of the season today, didn't race it but did volunteer to help out...




...and cook an ass load of bacon, 9 lbs to be exact. The apartment still smells like bacon, I may have destroyed a kitchen and I pretty much felt like I absorbed one of these jars full of bacon grease through my skin. but man was it worth it, it is bacon after all.


Got up early and took my loot to Swanson to get ready for the race.


7:15 in the morning and all is calm and quiet for the moment, not sure what the total racer count was on the day but there seemed to be a really good turn out.


Water, bacon, good tunes and cowbell, lots more cowbell, what else could you possibly need for a bacon hand up station halfway through a lap?


Good help is always needed and this guy was here to lend a hand.... er, paw in any way he could.


The Feagan's were even kind enough to provide some pit stick just in case someone didn't feel fresh halfway through their lap?!? Naw, it was just in the bag with the cups but now that the idea is out there just wait, in a year or two pit stick handups will be the norm. Just you wait.



Trail seemed to be in really good shape despite the rain we had on Thursday, wish I would have had more time today so I could have ridden a few laps after the race.


New this year was a running race prior to the MTB race, seemed like a really good concept and everyone I talked to was having a good time and a few of them ran and then rode, I call those people insane but you might have your own word for them.


I was only able to stay until noon so didn't get a chance to see the category 1 or 2 racers but the marathoners and the beginners are always fun to watch and it seemed like almost everyone had a great time.

I say almost because there is one dude out there that should really take a close look at himself in the mirror and make a few changes in his life. About the only negative on the day was the one Jr. racer who showed up at the bacon station almost in tears and ready to quit. She was dead last by a long ways but that wasn't what had her upset, one of the marathon racers decided that they needed to curse at this young girl of about 10-12 because she was "riding too slow and was in the way"... really dude, you should be ashamed of yourself. Guys like that aren't the future of our sport, or at least I hope they aren't, that little girl and her friends are the future of the sport and to yell at her because she was naturally not going as fast as the much more experienced riders seemed more than a little uncalled for. Luckily after a few pieces of bacon, some water and a pep talk from those of us up there, to include her mother, the girl decided to get back on the bike and finish the lap... despite knowing that the "really scary hill" (decent section) was coming up. I truly hope that the encouragement that she was able to get at the halfway point was enough to keep her going in future races and she can block out the bad seed who decided it was more important to Strava the section than to encourage a fellow racer. Fortunately those kinds of people seem to be the exception rather than the norm at these races... deep breaths, rant over... hope everyone who participated had as good a time out there today as I did volunteering. 

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

If A Tree Falls In The Woods...

Today was the first mountain bike group ride with the folks at The Bike Way as the trails were finally dry enough, as luck would have it one of my favorite trails, Swanson Park, was on the menu for tonight's festivities. I think I've ridden Swanson more times in the last 7 days then I did all last year and that's definitely a good thing.


Parking lot was packed with people tonight, always a sign of a great trail. There was even a Pyscowpath MTB Wagon sighting.


Mr. Feagan, working hard or hardly working, it's all the same when nobody is looking, I'm sure there was lots of high level strategizing going on right here that just looks like gum flappin to the untrained eye. All kidding aside though, he was actually working in a new reroute that should make this one screaming fast corner when it's done and properly burned in.



Calling for rain tonight and into tomorrow, hoping it's not enough to make these trails muddy just when they were getting really good.


This bad boy came down between laps and I can tell you for a fact that when a tree falls in the woods it makes a really freakin loud noise. Luckily nobody was under it when it decided to fall over or more to the point pushed over by the wind, can't really blame it the way that wind was howling today but with T.H.O.R already on sight I'm sure it's already gone.


Post ride chit chat session and cokes... soooo much Lycra you'd have thought it was a road ride, although I could just be jealous because I look like a ball park frank after it's exploded on the grill when I try to squeeze into one of those jerseys. Fat dudes in tight clothes and your grandma naked, two things nobody should ever have to see more than once in their lives, trust me on that gravity is friend to neither one. A great things about mountain bikers though is even if you don't know each other there's always plenty to talk about once the sweating is done.


While cokes are good, I had to indulge in a more appropriate post ride beverage after I got home... yeah, yeah, yeah it's no craft beer but I like it and I swear I can hear Jimmy Buffet singing inside the bottle every time I take a sip so what it might lack in cool beer snob points it more than makes up for in pure entertainment value.

Saturday, March 22, 2014

First Dirt

Swanson Park

This place will be teeming with people next Saturday but today there were only a few people out, not being the nicest day we've had lately. Would have preferred warmer weather but with this seemingly never ending polar vortex chilly would have to do.

Swanson Park

Since I haven't been out riding all that much lately figured the El Mariachi with it's gears was probably a better choice, I am really liking the roof rack over the Bones rack I had before. It is taking some getting used to with lifting the bikes above my head to get them up there but for the most part it's a vast improvement...

Bloody Napkin

And then it goes and bites me, actually the bike is what did the damage, man there was blood and a lot of it, somehow I managed to remove the skin from the top of my knuckle, had it not happened as soon as I got there I probably would have just headed home. Not wanting to miss out of the fist dirt of the year, I gingerly slipped on the glove and set off, if the finger stays attached I'd say it was the right choice.



Trails were in really good shape, few soft spots but I'd say about 90% totally dry.


"Don't Ride Wet"... me thinks it's missing a word.


Never noticed this little Blair Witch thing happening just off the trail before... creepy!


Little bit of dirt sticking but really not too bad at all, now if the warmer weather would just stick around. 

Sunday, March 16, 2014


Haven't been out on the bike much since moving to Omaha, partly because the weather has been crappy, partly because I'm still trying to figure out where the trails are and partly because I'm not used to needing to drive to ride. Got a little spoiled living in Lincoln where there was either a trail near you or plenty of low traffic residential streets around to get you where you need to go. I suppose once I get more familiar with the Big O it is possible that I might be able to link enough neighborhoods or less busy roads together that I can get to the trails but right now it seems that every neighborhood is enclosed inside busy streets on all sides.


Made it out late for a little ride around Zorinsky Lake, not a bad place to ride but I bet when the weather is warmer it is just swarming with people which might make for a very slow ride.


Waiting for the dirt to dry, hoping it's soon but in the mean time been spending more time on the Conquest.


Since I was all by myself I had the single file thing down pat but I have always chuckled at these signs, slow is a pretty relative term and doesn't really indicate any sort of desired speed. A bike is faster than a runner who is in turn faster than someone walking... which speed is correct or are they all OK?


It's so disheartening to see people living in these little shanties, barely keeping their heads above bankruptcy... life on the lake doesn't seem all that bad.


Saw a couple of deer and this turkey just strutting across the road like he owned the place.


Happened to be in Lincoln this afternoon so stopped by Moran's and picked this up for after the ride, if you like dark, thick stouts this bad boy is for you. One of the best stouts I've had in a long time.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Put Up or Shut Up


As you may or may not know I like to ride bicycles, I like to ride bicycles a lot actually but I also own a car as do most cyclists, very few people outside of major metropolitan areas such as New York City are completely car free by choice. However without exception whenever there is a debate about whether or not bicycles belong on the road or if it is safe for them to be there, one ass hat is always sure to bring up their retarded theory that cyclists don't pay for the roads so they shouldn't be allowed to use them, the fact that most cyclist also own cars and pay the same taxes for roads as they do is amazingly beyond their level of intelligence. This argument is usually followed by suggesting a licensing fee, insurance, etc. just like a car... I actually would agree to a licensing system if one could be developed that would provide an equal and fair fee for all vehicles and if whatever money was collected through a bicycle licensing system were to go directly to improvements on the road to make cycling on them safer. That will likely never happen in my life time however so for the sake of argument lets just look at what a fair system might look like.

Here's where the logic gets interesting for those who use this argument, the only true way to fairly calculate how much each vehicle should pay is by using the weight of the said vehicle. The heavier the vehicle the more damage that vehicle is going to do to the roadways and should therefor assume more of the cost to repair the damage their vehicle has caused to the road. So lets say that it is decided that a bicycle should be charged a rate of $50 per year for a license to use the road and that the average bicycle weighs 20 lbs give or take, I'm no mathematician so my math will probably be sketchy at best. So if a 20 lbs vehicle's fair share of the road cost is $50 per year, then one could argue that a car weighing 2000 lbs might be $5,000 per year... keep in mind I am not a math whiz so my calculations could be off and most likely off in favor of the car. The average weight of a Honda Civic is around 2700 lbs so in actuality you'd likely be paying more than the example above unless you happen to own a smallish Civic sized car, the average weight of a large SUV by comparison is about 3 times as much as a Honda Civic so the SUV owner would be expected to pay 3 times as much in order to cover their fair share of damage to the road or about $15,000 per year. I gotta say I am liking this more and more, with this kind of money imagine how smooth the roads would be, each and every road could have a bicycle lane incorporated into it and we'd still have money left over for the further development of multi-use bike/pedestrian trails.

Ok, I admit that the scenario above is a bit a far fetched and pretty unrealistic as most people wouldn't be able to afford to drive even a Honda Civic at that point but it would certainly cut down on vehicle traffic and alter how people decide to get around. As a more realistic scenario lets talk about wheel tax, which at it's base is design around paying for roads and is usually decided by number of wheels and the weight of the vehicle or the amount of damage that vehicle is likely to do to roads. So if for example the average car has to pay $50 per year for wheel tax as their designated fair share, a bicycle's share would be negligible by both weight and actual damage to the road.In fact it would cost significantly more money in administration and enforcement costs then you would ever collect with a bicycle licensing fee. Even if you were to charge the bicycle a flat $10-20 bucks per year, you would probably still lose money on it and at that point the fee would be a penalty rather than a fair assessment based on potential damage to the roads caused by the bicycle and in this scenario the argument is about the cyclist paying their fair share to use the road. Also could you imagine poor little Johnny who wakes up on Christmas morning to find a brand new shiny bike under the tree only to find out he can't ride it because his minimum wage, single mother couldn't afford the bike and the licensing fee because if there were to be a bicycle licensing fee it would most certainly be across the board so that every single bicycle going out the door at the LBS or big box store was properly licensed. My guess would be that the retail stores would also be responsible for collecting and reporting licensing fees to cut down on the number of government employees needed to implement the system, turning them from the generally rad dudes and dudettes that they are into the licensing gestapos.

Unless the ass hats out there who complain that cyclists don't pay their share for roads want to start paying according to the first scenario, collecting any sort of "fair" fees on bicycles would actual lose money or just be a penalty fee rather than an actual fair licensing fee. I might also point out that not only do bicycles not cause damage to the roads but they also provide a cost savings by keeping at least one car off of the road that would otherwise contribute to damaging the road. In reality those that chose to use a bicycle as transportation are not only saving wear and tear on roads (i.e. money) but they are also help ease traffic and congestion in parking lots, which means that those complaining could get to their destination faster with less hassle and should be able to find better parking when they get there... heck maybe society should pay cyclists for not driving a car or at the very least say "thank you" rather than attempting to penalize cyclist just because we are annoying obstacles that are "in the way" or "too slow".

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Long Lost Friends Reunited... And It Made My Ass Sore

Finally after a good solid month plus a few days of not being on a bike of any kind I was able to get out last night to join the group ride from The Bike Way.


From the looks of the bikes I was thinking that they take their group rides serious around here, all around me were sub 16 lbs carbon fiber speed machines. The first group ride of the season is always a little sketchy not knowing if you put in enough miles over the winter, add to that a month long hiatus and a new group of people... made for an interesting few minutes until we got going.


I have to admit that matte black Venge was looking pretty sweet, figured I should snap a picture of it while we were all standing still... might not see it again all night except off in the distance.


There were a couple of Langsters in the group as well, hadn't seen this bike up close before now but it was pretty sweet looking. Bringing a single speed road bike on the first group ride of the year is always risky unless you've been keeping your miles up all year or you're some kind of super stud.


There was actually a really good turn out, probably 15-20 riders so we split into two groups, those that don't feel like it's been a ride until they puke, pass out or both and those who prefer to keep lunch right where it's at... I opted for the non-bulimic ride option.


I have no clue where exactly we were riding as I had no idea that there were bike paths in this area let alone ever been on them but for a slacker ride the pace was pretty quick, I'd hate to see what speed the other group was pushing.


Where ever it was that we rode, we paid homage to Shel Silverstein.

"There is a place where the sidewalk ends
And before the street begins,
And there the grass grows soft and white,
And there the sun burns crimson bright,
And there the moon-bird rests from his flight
To cool in the peppermint wind.

Let us leave this place where the smoke blows black
And the dark street winds and bends.
Past the pits where the asphalt flowers grow
We shall walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And watch where the chalk-white arrows go
To the place where the sidewalk ends.

Yes we'll walk with a walk that is measured and slow,
And we'll go where the chalk-white arrows go,
For the children, they mark, and the children, they know
The place where the sidewalk ends."

Post ride beer run!

I'm not sure about all that peppermint wind and moon-bird jazz he's talking about but we rode until the sun went crimson and the side walk was no more... and then like any logical person we turned around and went back the way we came. Swung by the local Hy-Vee to pick up some post ride recovery drink in my favorite flavor, beer. Cheer and hope you got out and did whatever it is you do in the great out of doors when it's nice out.