Tuesday, September 30, 2008

I'll take that with a side of no Selma

Due to popular demand, I won't be mentioning my lust for the new Salsa Selma today. Sure, I could go on and on about how her beautiful blue bits make my tingly or her carbon ass end goes twang when you flick it but I won't because you come here for more than just Selma blather, you come her for the insightful, um, humorous, um, the indignant, um, to be honest, I don't know why you come here. Truth be told, I barely make it here on a daily basis.

Anyway, onto non Selma-y bits.

Last week I finally got fed up with my Garmin Edge 305. It's a cool rig with lots of nice features (funny enough, it's the ability to import workouts that I like best, GPS is a distant second) but it has become so finicky that I can't use it. Every time my bike would hit a bump it would shut off. Yeah, that's a great feature on a mountain bike. In the end it couldn't even handle being mounted on my road bike so I'd have to stuff it in my jersey pocket. Useless. So, anyway, I called Garmin and they had me send it in. I hope the just replace it with a new one but I'm not crossing my fingers. If they just fix it I'll be happy.

Continuing our quest for world domination, Marcy and I picked B up from daycare on our bikes again yesterday and I've got to say, my plan is working. As you can see from the photo, the kids are totally into the bikes and trailer and are practically begging for a ride (or maybe just to be released into the wild). Also, on a good note, the parent who I had planted the trailer seed with (that sounds pretty bad huh?) the other day got to see our trailer and was grilling me about costs, safety etc while his daughter kept saying "I want one of those" in the background.

Monday, September 29, 2008

I Feel Dirty
My weekend of sin is over. You see, barely a minute went by this weekend that I wasn't dreaming about/lusting for young Selma and her lustrous blue/gray tubes. Lucky for me, Marcy understands and is willing to make it happen. A Ricky sammich if you will.
Marcy told me on Saturday that she had been wanting to get me a new bike but had no clue what it would be or how she would go about building it up so when she saw my lustful, pubescent Selma post the other day, she clued me in on her plan and gave me the go ahead to build her up. Unfortunately, Selma isn't available until February which means I have lots-o-time to think this build through proper. I'm sure of a few things already, I'll be running Stan's hoops because I have to have tubeless, a Reba fork and Ergon grips. Beyond that, things are up in the air and next year's Bikeman.com sponsorship will weigh heavy on my choices. I suspect I'll have lots of SRAM/Avid bits before things are said and done.
During one of the few, lust free, moments I had this weekend, I snuck in a quick ride with my father and brother after helping my dad bust up a concrete block chimney (sledgehammer time baby!). The ride, for the most part was uneventful but it was nice to be out (only my second ride since the Bradbury 12) none the less. The one memorable moment came towards the end of the ride. We were heading down a narrow, old, washed out road and I was letting things flow with my hands off the brakes as we descended the slick as snot ledges. Unfortunately, Darren was trying to stay on my heels with his not so great bike and not so great skills (he's getting there though) and as he came down one of the ledge pieces he touched his brakes, augered his front wheel in and ate a serious shit sammich. I glanced back in time to see him skidding down the trail on his front/side and I thought for sure he was going to be hurt. By the time I got off my bike and headed back up his way, he was on his feet and doing the comical "ouchie run" down the trail right past me. I couldn't help but laugh once I knew he was ok.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

More Bradbury 12 pics

Not much to write today, had a ride with my brother and father today (more on that tomorrow) but I'll leave you with a couple more shots from Jeff Scher at the Bradbury 12 last weekend. I don't know what this boy does with his camera but he gets come cool effects!

The first is a normal shot but it shows my fabulous bum. Ladeez rejoice!

This one isn't of me but I dig the whole nano-technology vibe.

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Friday, September 26, 2008

Spreading the love

There are few things more important than spreading the love of cycling to upcoming generations. With gas prices what they are, the nations' obesity rate and people's general lazinicity I feel it's our job as cyclists to trick, ummm, I mean teach kids that cycling is a viable form of transportation. With that in mind (not really, I mostly wanted to get a ride in) Marcy commuted to work on Wednesday by bike and then, after work, we both met via bike at B's school to pick her up for a nice ride home. B was brimming with pride and excitement as the other kids watched enviously while B got situated in her trailer. One of B's friends said that she wanted one of those (the trailer, not an incredibly handsome dad) so, of course, the next day when I saw her father I planted the seed with him and he seemed receptive. We'll see how it goes.

I finally seem to be healed up from this weekend's 12 hr race. I don't think that I could lay down a serious attack right now but at least I'm not hobbling around like some diaper wearing old fart any more. The lack of actual riding recently has left me pining over next year's possible rigs. After winning a sweet Carver frame this weekend my initial plan was to trade the frame for an equally sweet Carver snow bike frame so I could build up a proper snow bike for winter riding. Since I didn't plan on buying a new race bike next season (more on that later) it seemed like a good idea but now, after seeing Salsa's new single speed, the Selma, my gears are turning a totally new direction.

Oooohhh Selma, how I lust for thee!

You see, with how much fun I've had racing the El Mariachi in the last two races, I've pretty much decided to race a single speed all next season. The Mariachi worked so well that my only planned change was to get a suspension fork for it. The rigid fork on it is nice and all but I think that I can be competitive against geared bikes if I have front suspension. Without it I'm toast given my experience a few weeks ago at Rangeley. So anyway, when my lustfull eyes spied the Selma my plans (hopes) immediately changed. My new plan is to keep the El but put the fenders on permanently for use as a commuter/rain bike and get a Selma for a kick ass race bike for next season. My time will be sparse again next year since our house still won't be done so having a super simple single speed (ssss) that needs no work will be key since wrench time will be in short supply.

This leaves the Carver frame and what I should do with it. I'd hate to simply sell it or send it back to the shop for a credit because it would build up to a sweet ride but building up yet another bike is simply out of the question right now. What to do, what to do...
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Wednesday, September 24, 2008

All dressed up and ready to go

On my way to the Bradbury 12 on Saturday I got the bright idea to get a shot of myself driving to the race while showing the packed car in the background ala Kerkove. When I took the first picture I was horrified at how "night of the living dead" I looked so I took a couple more and tried to brighten up a bit. Here you go!

Pic #1. Can you feel my excitement?
Pic 2. You're kidding me right? This isn't just #1 again???
Pic 3. Now I'm really hamming it up for the pic. Good lord, you can practically see the sleepy seeds in the corner of my eyes!

Based on these photos I can see that I had an unfair advantage on Saturday. One, I was obviously so amped up to be getting ready to race for 12 hours that anything short of the top step of the podium would have been unacceptable. Secondly, you can clearly see that I have an unfair aerodynamic advantage when you combine my pointy nose and chicken neck. EFTA should have profile checks like NASCAR to keep people like myself in check.

Monday, September 22, 2008

It's a Wrap!

The Bradbury 12 would be my final race this season. I really wanted to do well at this race but knew that with everything that has been going on this summer that all the pieces would need to fall just right to be victorious. With that in mind, I tried to set my expectations low, try to put together a good performance, stay positive, have fun and hope for the best. Well, mission accomplished on all those fronts!

I decided to contest the solo singlespeed division this year on my rigid El Mariachi. I had only been on it for 4 rides this summer so I was obviously a bit worried about how my legs and body would hold up to 12 hours of punishment. I had a Panaracer Rampage 2.35 on the front with a shade under 30 psi, both wheels were tubeless and I was running Ergon grips so it was about as plush as a rigid bike can get.

After last years lack of preparedness, I was much more organized this year. I was rolling without support for most of the day so I had about 10 mixed bottles and my food all set out right next to the course on a rubbermaid container and my Ergon BD1 pack all set with lights for my final lap or two.

All of the solo racers went off first and I spun like crazy in my 32x18 gear for the fast opening mile to try to stay with the geared solos. Once in the woods I settled into what I hoped would be a good pace. Before long, I found myself riding with Mad Mike (who was in the solo geared). We rode together, swapping places regularly, for 4 laps. It was good to have Mike as a pacing partner because we both made the mistake of going out too fast last year and paid the price. Mike stuck it out last year but I ending up bailing after 6.5 hours. We both wanted to learn from our mistakes. The whole time we rode together I was in first for the single speed class but Mike was allowing several solos get away hoping that his pacing plan would bring them in later on.

During those first laps, the second place ss would occasionally catch us, follow us to the pits and then disappear because I was running such quick pit transitions. Each lap I'd grab 1 or 2 bottles, havesomething to eat (mini snickers or a can of ready to eat soup which I could suck down in 30 seconds). Those first few laps I also had to make some mechanical fixes in the pits. The first lap I had to add air to the rear tire since I hadn't checked it before the race and I was bottoming out constantly (thank god for tubeless!). It turns out I only has 18 psi in so I jacked it up close to 30 and was on my way.

These three photos courtesy of Jeff Scher.

Things were going pretty smoothly for those first few laps. I was riding well, the bike felt great and I found myself thinking that 12 hours on a rigid bike wasn't going to be so bad. Sometime in what I think was the 4th lap, Mike slipped away as I started to feel an impending bonk coming on. I tried not to panic but in the back of my mind I knew this was the same scenario as last year. To fight the bonk I slowed my pace a bit and ate (gummi bears!) and drank (Heed and Perpetuem) whenever there was a smooth spot on the trail (of which there aren't many). Once back at the pits I was greeted by Marcy and Brynna cheering me on. I was psyched to see them there but unfortunately I was descending into a bonk and my general racer mindset kept me from being cordial which I'm super bummed about. It was awesome to have them there cheering me on and helping out but I go to a different place when I race and can barely function on a social level. That is one thing I definitely need to work on.

B's portrait of mommy.

Back on the trail I nursed the bonk for the next lap and a half and finally came out of it sometime in my 6th lap. Unfortunately, that was also when my low back and hands really started to hurt. Both pains were expected considering I was coming off a season of full suspension geared racing and jumping feet first, totally unprepared, into rigid single speeding but I was still concerned since I still had 6 hours to go. Thankfully, before Marcy had to leave with B she had informed me that I had an 18 minute gap to second place after lap 4. I had no idea if I had lost some of that lead mid-bonk but I hoped that I still had a good cushion.

Laps 7 and 8 went really well considering my body felt like somebody had worked me over with a 2x4 and I was starting to feel like I was back in the game. Unfortunately, that feeling was short lived. By the end of lap 8 I was ready to be done. I still had some energy but my body was frickin beat and I didn't want to see another rock or root for the rest of my life! I risked a quick run over to the placing tent to check where I was and was suprised to see that I was a lap up on the whole ss field. My brain was pretty fried though so I didn't trust that I was reading it right so back out on my ninth lap a Bikeman peep, Bill, caught me and I asked him if he could check my standings when he got it (he was on a 4-man and would surely beat me in). By the time I bounced my way through the lap, Bill confirmed that it did look like I had it in the bag. Another teammate, Bikeman employee and fellow Winter XC'er, Steve also came over and gave me the good news.

I guess, technically, I could have stopped there since there wasn't time left for anybody else to pull off two laps but I came into the race wanting to complete it so I started to mount up my lights for a final lap. That didn't go too well. I got my helmet light mounted but couldn't find the pieces for my bar light (even though it was all right where it was supposed to be!) and I was ready to say f to the bar light and go with my puny 10w halogen for the lap but Andrew essentially slapped me in the head and told me I had to have both lights and he would McGuyver the bar light on. A little velcro and some duct tape later and I was on my way with two lights.

The 10th and final lap was slow and methodical. I knew I had a good lead so I just took it easy and tried not to brain myself since the rocks and roots were getting slick with dew. Early in the lap I was caught by a single speeder who seemed mighty fresh. We chatted for a bit and he assured me that although he didn't know what lap he was on that he wasn't a threat. I wasn't sure if I believed him or not so I stayed with him just in case. Unfortunately, once the dark really set in my bar light started to shut off when I'd hit bumps (awesome!) so I was running solely on a 6yr old 10w halogen which is sort of like trying to put together a 1000 piece jigsaw puzzle by the light of one candle, it's doable but mind numbingly slow. Which is exactly how the last part of my final lap went, slllllllloooooooowwwwwww.

As I crossed the finish line there was no victory salute or even a smile, I simply climbed off the bike, walked it about 30 feet, found some buddies and chatted while hunched over my bike since my back and neck were so sore that I couldn't stand up straight. I was so spent that Mike (who had put in an awesome ride and came in 2nd geared solo), Andrew (who's two man team with Mr. Burns won the two man) and Andrew's father had to load all of my gear into the car. If it wasn't for those guys I'd probably still be there today.

Mike rolling after a pit stop.

Overall, the day wen't pretty damn well for Bikeman and friends. Andrew and John won their race, Mike came in second and Steve's team won the two person co-ed and Steve even got an extra $50 for having the days fastest lap time. Not bad for a guy who suffered like a dog in the Winter XC last winter. When he told me he wasn't messing around anymore I guess he meant it!

For me, I got a sweet Carver frame (which I hope to trade towards a snow bike frame!), a sweet pilsner glass and enough aches and pains to last a lifetime. Here's a question for you, have you ever hurt so bad after a race that both of your thumb nails hurt? I can honestly say that mine both hurt like hell despite never crashing and smacking them.

Rating: 10 enthusiastic squirrels.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Look at Me!

Over the past couple of weeks, while my camera was missing, I developed a bit of a twitch that started in my left eye and gradually developed into a full on Elaine Benes body convulsion. I wasn't sure what the cause was but it finally realized that the cause was a lack of seeing pictures of myself on the internet. So, long story short, here are some pics and the convulsions have stopped. Thank got because have you ever tried drinking coffee while moving like that?

On a bike and in civvies. Weird.

Yet another picture of our future road. I can't frickin wait to live here.

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My best chance for rides recently has been to ride to and from dealing with house stuff. On this day, I rode to meet with a foundation guy to look into getting an ICF foundation. I felt a little weird rolling up to meet the 'crete guy in his giant pick-up on my weenie road bike. Thankfully, I had thought ahead and stuffed some Teva's into the Ergon BD1 so that I could rock the 'white socks with Teva's' faux pas.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008


I'm way behind on posting my Rangeley race report. Partially because of our move, partially because I couldn't find my camera which had a couple of sub-par pics that I wanted to use. With my next race coming up on Saturday I figure I'd better bust something out quick so here goes:

A couple days before the race, I decided to totally switch gears (so to speak) and go from my geared Salsa Dos Niner to my rigid single speed El Mariachi. The main reason for this was to help me make the break from competing in the series (since I can't do the two final races) but, truthfully, it was also because I hadn't been riding much and going to the rigid ss gave me a built in excuse for sucking! I hadn't been on the single speed in months so the day before the race I got out on a whopping 20 minute ride to re-familiarize myself with the El. Not nearly enough time really but that is my reality these days so I took it.

The course is mostly ss friendly with lots of rolling hills few false flats and only one or two super steep climbs that would require walking. The only real ss downfall to the course is the opening mile or two which is a slight downhill dirt road. Off the start I tried to stay with the lead group but I soon found myself spinning way beyond my comfort level so I was forced to watch as the WHOLE expert field disappeared in the distance. Once I hit the single track I started to pick guys off and settled into a good, fun pace. By the end of the first lap I was feeling pretty good. My gearing was spot on and for the most part the lack of suspension wasn't an issue except on a couple of fast-ish downhills that had lots of square edge rocks. Whenever I entered one of these sections behind a suspended rider I lost time.

By the end of the first lap my sissy boy office hands had developed a nasty blister on my thumb from the relentless pounding the course was giving me. Even with the ergon grips, my hands just weren't prepared for the abuse. I tried several differnet hand positions but none really felt better so I said f' it! and just kept plugging away. By the end of the race my thumb was a bloody mess and my grip was stained a nice red.

Back to the race. Laps two three and four went well and I continued to slowly pick off riders but never caught sight of Wheels or Andrew. When I finally rolled (bounced actually since the finish was in a very bumpy field) across the finish I was about 10 minutes down on Wheels and a few more on Andrew which, in retrospect, is pretty close to where I usually finish against them so maybe the rigid single wasn't such a bad idea after all.

Mike on the pre-ride
the bloody thumb after a quick wipe

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Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Killer Jumps

With a super fun and important race this weekend (being that it IS my final race of the year) most racers would probably be fine tuning their fitness, cleaning their bike(s), organizing their stuff etc etc. What am I doing? None of those things, I guarantee. In fact, I haven't touched my bike in 4 days (but I did get two whole days in a row last week!) but who needs fitness for a 12 hour solo single speed race? About 6 hours in I am so going to be crying like a 3 year old who just lost her Poly Pockets' shoes and matching purse. Of course, that is the whole point I guess.

What I have done is spend a bunch of time at the property prepping for the foundation soon to be going in and getting my chain saw jammed in a 1000 pound tree. Good stuff.

You can build some wicked jumps with this thing!

If I started here, I could land somewhere down there...
Woof, did I mention it's 5:30 a.m. and I've already been in the office for 2+ hours. It's super duper to be living at the office so when you can't sleep you can "pop" over to work for a bit. I'm currently already halfway through a full pot of coffee and I predict finishing it before anyone else comes in today... I had planned a night ride tonight to get ready for the night laps at the Bradbury 12 this weekend but I'm no longer sure I'll be awake at 8 pm tonight...

Monday, September 15, 2008

In With A Snip

Over the weekend, the fam headed down to Newton Mass to meet my new nephew, Max. He is a good looking kid (has to be if he's related to me!) but unfortunately for him, Sunday was his bris (snippy, snippy time for you non-jewish folk). We had never been to a bris before so this was totally new territory and to top it off, I was one of the "helpers". Basically, after Max given Manischewitz wine to dull the pain, grampa and I held the poor guy down while the Mohel performed the circumcision. Thankfully, the procedure was quick and Max quieted down quickly afterwards and fell asleep.

This morning the proud parents found this entry in Max's journal:

Yesterday was day eight of my life. It started out just like every other day so far. I'm really getting the whole crying to be fed and then pooping on my parents thing down pat. Things got weird after lunch though. Mommy let me have my first wine. Sure, it was Kosher and cost $3.99 a bottle but I was eight days old so who was I to complain? I tied on a good buzz and quickly fell asleep. The next thing I know, I have a searing pain down below. I tried valiantly to free myself but to no avail. Before I knew it, I was being given more wine and soon I fell back asleep. Today when I woke up, I had a blistering headache and a bandage on my penis. I'm never drinking again.

Ooohhhh, I just checked the results for yesterday's race that I missed, the GrillZ, and see that there was an epic battle between Thom Parsons, Todd Wheelden and Andrew Freye with the three finished within 40 seconds in the Elite class! That would have been sweet to watch. Good job guys, can't wait to see the write-ups! With Todd finishing one spot ahead of Andrew it puts a real spin on this year's Master of Mud competition. I don't think either were planning on heading to the next race up in the stix of northern Maine but they should be in a dead heat after yesterday. I wonder who will make the trip to win it all???

Friday, September 12, 2008

12 Hrs

Well, I've finally put my money where my mouth is and threw down the cashola to register for the solo SS class for next weekend's Bradbury 12. I'm sure I'll regret the decision at some point mid-race but if I ride smart (unlike last year!) I should still have a good time. A cool bonus is that the prize for the SS winner is a sweet Carver SS frame. If I win (and that is a ginormous IF ) maybe I can convince Davis to make me up a snow bike instead! Keep dreaming sucker. It sure is nice to dream though since snow is quickly approaching the great white north.

I'm psyched beyond belief about just riding at Bradbury for a whole day. The trails there are frickin awesome with lots of tight, twisty single track, a bunch of bridges and just enough technical stuff to keep people honest. If I had my way, there'd be more tech stuff in the race course since that is where I excel nowadays but I'll take riding on a ANY single track at this point so I won't complain.

Speaking of bridges, this bad boy was built at a recent trail day:

Previously you had to either ride the skinny board shown in the first pic which was impossible at race pace or blast through the stream bed. Option two doesn't look bad in the pic but it was actually pretty tricky and it meant maintaining your momentum for the STEEP uphill immediately afterwards was extremely difficult. Add the bridge and you'll probably be able to swoop right on up roller coaster style. Nice stuff.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

In the name of science

I got a comment yesterday from Jason Mahokey (aka Soiled Chamois) that while I've been on hiatus he's had more people driven to his blog by searching for my name. Two things came to mind when I heard that. First, where are these "rick nelson" searchers when I'm posting? Because based on my hit numbers they aint comin' here. Secondly, I need to get in on this action. As a result, you may start noticing me scattering some other bloggers' names in here so that maybe I can catch some of their readers. Sure, people looking for Elden Nelson (aka Fat Cyclist) will be mighty disappointed when they get here and find that I'm not nearly as funny as Fatty and I don't give out free shit but that is a risk that I'll have to take. Maybe, if I'm lucky, they'll see one of my nose picking pictures and be hooked for good. Probably not.

Also, just to keep this from looking like a desperate attempt for readers I'm going to go ahead and say that I'm doing this as "research".

Here goes (starting at the top of my "blogs I read" section), the other day when I was talking to Todd Wheelden (Wheels), he commented on how he really likes Guitar Ted's blog because of his insights into 29" wheels. Jeff Kerkove, who used to work and ride with G.T., remarked to his bff, Sonya Looney, that he was sad that Adam Craig had an unfortunate start in the olympics and missed his chance at glory. Adam, being a mainer like myself, just loves to ride with Andrew Freye, John Burns and Mike Joos (sorry, I went out of order there) when he comes back to his old stomping grounds.

There, that's a good start. Tomorrow will be Andy Sanidas through Namrita Odea.

Ok, I've got to go take a shower, doing this has made me feel all used car salesman dirty.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008


I know I had promised to do a race report from last weekend's race but because of the move, my digi camera is MIA temporarily and since I had like two whole pictures from my pre-ride (both of Mad Mike unfortunately) I guess I'll put off the report for another day. Whatever will you do without my nauseatingly long, nonsensical race regurgitations? Read another, more interesting blog is my guess.

Meanwhile, between trying to figure out our new house (excavation for the foundation will probably start next week), unpacking and working my arse off in the office, I find myself dreaming about the next race that I might just maybe do if the moons align. The Bradbury 12 is coming up next weekend and I can't help but want to race. This would absolutely be my last race of the season so maybe it's doable. If I do manage to race I think it'll be on my El Mariachi single speed. I have no idea why I'd torture my untrained body like that but it seems like the right thing to do. Maybe it's the fun of riding a single, maybe it's that I don't expect to win on a single, maybe it's the sweet Carver frame that the single speed winner gets? Maybe, just maybe it's all of those things.

Happy trails.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

I'm back...kinda

Well, our house is officially sold, we are technically moved (still lots of unpacking to do) and I am completely exhausted and overwhelmed. At least now with the house sold I have one less thing to deal with on a daily basis and this 200' commute is pretty easy to deal with as well!

Because I hadn't touched a bike in a week and had been eating like a glutton and drinking like a wino I decided to go for a quick, getting to know ya, ride last night to remind my body what it is like to ride. I expected to feel like crap but, thankfully, the legs felt great and I enjoyed a nice but short road ride in the new hood.

Thats all I've got for now but hopefully tomorrow I'll have my race report from last weekend's shenannigans.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Racin Rick is going on vaca this week. We're taint deep in our move and with everything going on, posts will be sporadic at best. By Sept. 9 we should be up and running again. Have a great week!