Sunday, January 29, 2012

I was right!

First, I should give credit (or blame) to two smart-ass sidekicks for the video below.  The inspiration was the e-mail exchange started with Rider Two, P.M., suggesting the icy day ride and Rider One, A.M., responding with threats, tears and Justin Bieber.  It is nice to have funny friends.

Second, it appears that they should have taken my warning more seriously.  Rider Two went ahead on his icy day, Belgian-esque ride.  I will let the picture tell the tale better than my words or any cartoon video could. 

 I tried to warn him. 

Condolences and pictures of flowers can be left in the comment section. 

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Wawawai Landing TT & Wawawai Grade Hill Climb

The first race of the local season is coming up quickly, as will your heart rate and lactic acid if you participate.  The name may be mysterious, but there's nothing funny about the effort these events will take.  So, if you are ready to get off the trainer and get on the road, here is your chance.

Sunday, March 4, 2012 - The Wawawai Landing TT and Wawawai Grade Hill Climb.  Here is the link to the full information:

I also found a couple of race reports from participants last year - and

Local racer and erstwhile car/bike-wreck celebrity, Ted Chauvin, is the promoter.  You can check out his tumblr here -, or his Twitter here -  You could also start stalking him by tracking down his home and work address and sitting in your car outside waiting to catch glimpses of him while you feverishly write a list of questions about why you would promote a race just south of nowhere and involving two excruciating efforts when many of us will just be dusting off our race bikes for the season, but instead, I just suggest just putting the race down on your calendar and planning to come down to the Wawawai Landing for an early season tester.

And really, how much could it hurt?

Monday, January 23, 2012

Shit Cyclists Say

This meme got out of control a little too quick and this isn't the funniest of the "Shit ____ Say", but hey, it's the only cycling one I've come across, so enjoy. 

Also, I should point out that I'm not a climber either.

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Longing for Spring

Winter finally came to the Inland Northwest this week.  All the signs were here: snow, power outages and pick-up trucks in ditches.  With that came the bane of the cyclist's world - the trainer.

For the last months, even as November, December and half of January wore on, lots of cyclists were still outside rolling around.  It was cold, but with some decent technical clothing, it was surprisingly ride-able.  Some make the switch to mountain bikes, with more protected trails and lower windspeeds, but even on the road, it was nice to be outside.  Even a week ago, I found myself thinking that maybe global climate change isn't so bad if I get to ride my bike right through the winter.  I'll be dead by the time the world succumbs to famine and pestilence and I get to ride my bike in the meantime, right?

Anyway, all of that came to an end with the snow-pocalypse of last week.  Of course, when I was a kid, we just called it a snow storm, but the jack-asses who now produce local television insist that every weather event is the equivalent of biblical swarm of locusts devastating everything in sight, but anyway, the roads are no longer hospitable for bike riding.  As a result, I hit the pain-cave. (When I was a kid we called that the basement, but now we have to hero-ize all our actions so instead of being a middle-aged guy enjoying his hobby and fighting back the bulge, instead I am involved in an epic struggle of titanic importance that requires me to enter the PAIN CAVE!!!!!)(Apparently cynicism is the word of the day).

So where was I?  Oh yeah.  I went into the basement to get on the trainer.  I have a pretty nice set-up for riding my trainer with an old bike frame permanently affixed to a Kurt Kinetic trainer (actually I just got a new one at Steve's On Cannon, passing along the 10-year old Kurt Kinetic trainer to my kids) set-up in front of the old family TV and a library of cycling videotapes and DVDs stretching back to the 70's.  I have a long-standing habit of starting with my oldest recordings and watching them chronologically from the oldest to the newest and then starting over again.  It keeps them all reasonably fresh and I love watching the progression from the amphetamine-enhanced, wool-jersey-wearing athletes to clenbuterol-enhanced, lycra-jersey-wearing athletes.  And, thus set up, I can sit on the damn thing for an extended period of time.  Yesterday, with only a modicum of fitness, I managed to eek out 2 hours, 45 minutes.  Today, I will endure a bit more, all in hopes of being ready for the snow to subside and the fun to begin again.  Which brings me to my point.

Last year, I seemed to struggle with winter more than usual.  Most winters, I enjoy the snow, I go skiing, and like not having yard-work.  It all seems okay and then I look forward to spring with a normal amount of joy.  Last year, however, I was deeply yearning for the warm sun.  I became oddly obsessed with the feeling of the sun warming my skin in just that perfect way where it feels good and life-affirming.  It was a peculiar feeling for me, because I am a long way from a sun worshiper and I assure you, no one in their right mind, including me, is longing to see my carcass warming in the sun.  So why was I hit with that last year?  I think I know now.  It was those cycling videos.

Yesterday, I watched a few stages of the 2007 Tour de France, including about 90 minutes of coverage of one stage (thank goodness for the 15 hour DVD set) where the temperature was perfect for the day.  The fans were clad in shorts, a few in bikini tops, and the cyclists were warm in the valleys and okay across the mountain summits.  In other words, one of those perfect days.  And I was sitting there on my trainer, in the cold basement with a view of the daylight window with snow outside and frost on the panes, thinking of how nice it would be to feel the sun.

It could be a long time until spring if this trainer time keeps up.  I think I'll go hibernate instead.

Friday, January 13, 2012

Friday the 13th

Today, a post that has nothing to do with cycling or Steve's on Cannon.  Instead, I wanted to acknowledge one of two things.  Either the curse of Friday the 13th or the hubris of youth.  Either way it results in bloodshed.

Approximately 28 years ago today, no, exactly 28 years ago today, on Friday, January 13, 1984, as I had breakfast, I warned my parents about the dangers of driving on a day that was cursed.  I laughed at the pointless fear of the number 13 (technical term: agoraphobia)(by the way, that comment was inserted specifically for the benefit of my younger son, Code name - The Quibbler, who will be up in arms about that fact that fear of the number 13 is not agoraphobia.  No, really it is called arachnophobia) and I laughed at the idea that any one day on the calendar would be that much more dangerous or cursed than any other.  As a high school kid, I'm sure that I thought that all days on the calendar were either blissful or cursed, depending on my mood at the moment, but I was sure that one particular day would not be cast as evil by mysterious forces.

Having issued my facetious warnings, I headed out the car with my brother where we met two other kids in the neighborhood that I drove to school daily.  We left the neighborhood, as we did every day, probably by being lawfully obedient within three blocks of home and then potentially less so as we made progress towards school.

Our drive took us up one of Spokane's thoroughfares.  This one had an "S" bend in it and, unfortunately for me that day, a car wash was situated just up the way so that the water from the cleaning process was able to run off of the parking lot and onto the road as it bent around the site.  On this cold January morning, this provided a nice wide slick area of black ice.  I came cruising onto it, blithely thinking that I was 90 seconds from school, when I started sliding across the street and into the path of an oncoming vehicle.

In those days, I was driving a small and economical vehicle.  A japanese econobox, as we called them at the time.  A Honda to be specific, and a stripped down, bare bones Civic to be even more specific.  That car weighed about 300 pounds more than the engine.  I was probably able to pick up the back end of it in those days.

The oncoming car in question, on the other hand, was a good old 'merican made piece of US Steel with a V-8 attached - A Cadillac Seville.

It wasn't a fair fight.  It was like putting Pee Wee Herman in the ring with Cassius Clay.  Dakota Fanning versus Joe Frazier.  A 115 lb cross-dresser against Oscar De La Hoya.  Wait, that's not right.  Anyway, let's just say it wasn't a fair fight.  The Caddy in question had a bruised front, but I went all in - totaling the Honda and smashing a large dent in the windshield with my forehead.  This dent resulted in some confusion for me, as my brother clearly recalls standing next to me when the police office asked to see my driver's license.  I pulled out my wallet, looked straight at the driver's license on top and said I couldn't find it.  I started searching through my wallet, looking at every item including the license and getting frantic that I couldn't find it.  My brother took the wallet from my hands, gave the license to the cop and they both helped me sit down.  It was my last memory for a few hours.

My wife thinks it explains a few things now.  I don't recall whether it does or not.  Either way, I just know that I tread a bit more cautiously on Friday the 13th.  Out of respect of triskaidekaphobia, if nothing else.

(Dear Quibbler - Oh, all right.  That is just a general fear of the number 13.  Fear of Friday the 13th is really friggatriskaidekaphobia.  Now are you happy?)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

January Thoughts

I would suggest that you skip this blog entry.  Really - just don't read it.  There isn't much that is funny or interesting or thought out.  It's about nothing, literally.

Normally when I sit down to write a blog post, I have a good idea about exactly what I'm going to say when I start clacking away at the keys.  It doesn't take much, because once I get started, it just floods the page.  Sometimes to the point that an idea takes flight and turns into two or three posts.  Occasionally, however, I am bereft of ideas and inspiration.  Honestly, it doesn't take much to get me going.  Once, I was asked to write about anything other than staring at my navel, so what did I do?  Yes, wrote a post that was centered around navel-gazing.

Today, though, I just have the idea that it is time to put something up on the blog.  I don't have anything else.

It's a bit surprising to me.  I actually spent most of my morning drive thinking about cycling.  I have a new bike ordered that should arrive in about a month.  I have a new wheelset for my Niner Single Speed sitting at home that I have never ridden, but should get a chance to this weekend.  In other words, I have fodder for a new blog post, but somehow, nothing is really coming to mind.  No inspiration, no muse waiting in the wings.  Nothing to say.

I guess I'll just skip it today.  You should too.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

January Update

The River City Red Cycling Team is coming together nicely. Our team kits are mocked-up and ordering is in process. Most teams are doing that this time of year, but we are doing one other thing that is noteworthy - we are riding our bikes. Sure, if you are from Florida or California or Hell (roughly equivalent spots), then you are used to riding a bike in January. If you are from the Inland Northwest (or even more so if you are from the Inland Empire), you are used to snow and ice being the predominant road surface in January. That doesn't lead to ideal cycling. In fact, except those who have purchased fat tire bikes or studded tires, this time of year can be strictly limited to trainer time, ski time and beer time. Personally, I don't have a problem with any of those, but it is nice to be able to get outside and ride given the opportunity.

Nice, however, ends with the weather if you happen to be the weakest link in the group. Not that they weren't nice about it, but my lack of riding, lack of fitness and lack of pushing away from the table sooner is readily apparent when this group heads out. There is a theory that you can improve this equation and I have put a call into leading authorities to establish the veracity of such claims. Until then, enjoy the early season riding opportunities.

One other shop related item. Steve has been busy re-organizing the shop on Cannon Street. He is making room for more bikes on the south wall, moving cabinets to open up the space a bit and installed lots of space to hang things. He is getting in 2012 inventory as you read and making ready for the new season. Stop in to check out the re-arranged digs.