27 February, 2008

A Funny Thing Happened On My Way To The Forum

hmmmmm. it seems here like there's a failure to communicate. the following written transactions occurred on my team's forum. i cut and pasted the interesting stuff and names including the sponsor have been changed to protect the ill. here's the deal: we have a sponsorship with a dealer and some of us think it's not so hot...
rufus: This is a pretty strict contract from people only giving us 40% off retail.
team captain: I wouldnt bitch to [sic] much, its better than 0% off.

me being a smartass and piling on: i respectfully submit (i.e. no bitchin'): yes it is a 40% off a 30% markup from msrp; and did i mention i love rejayjay as our sponsors? yessir, i do. team captain, missed you at the denver spoke ride sat...i see why the products are non-transferable: it'd be difficult to find somebody more gullible than we are (statistically improbable). did i mention i love our sponsors-rejayjay especially? the free ten-dollars-for-shipping-goggles was coolio though...
i'm keeping my fingers crossed for the pro-deal i'm working with wal-mart for one of those sweet mbx dual suspension, coil-over rear shock rigs for my off-road campaign this year.
and another thing, i want to thank team captain for giving us the opportunity of having more than 30 minutes to order an out-of-stock item for the team (i'm being serious).
y'all have a good day. ite den...

team captain: WTF is up with this bitching about sponsors BS!
You dont like the deals dont fucking order anything.
From here on out I will just let the guys that work on these deals with our sponsors know we are not interested any breaks on products they might offer because they are not good enough for us.
I will be absolutely honest, all I hear right now is a bunch on un-grateful cat 3 & 4's bitching.
A little gratitude never hurts...............

team captain (a little later on): First off, I have to apologize for flying off the handle in my email to the team. I hope I didn't offend anyone to badly. I was not pointing a finger at any-ones email in my response, but at the attitude I was getting in general. Sponsorships mean different things to each of us, to some its no big deal, to others it means they can afford to upgrade to products they might not otherwise be able to afford. Regardless of what the sponsorships mean to you, a general thankfulness that we even have these deals might not be a bad idea.
kathy (not liking my sarcastic reply): Machmoud, I honestly can't tell what the point of your email was. If you're trying to thank team captain, you should try to make it clear that you aren't being sarcastic.
Just so people know where you stand....

yours truly with smart-ass full throttle, replying to kathy: Kathy et al.,
i'm going to preface this with i'm being sarcastic. oh, and my apologies to the king estate.

i have a dream today.

this is our hope. this is the faith that i go back to vitamin cottage 3/4 team with. with this faith we will be able to hew out of the mountain of sponsorships a stone of hope. with this faith we will be able to transform the jangling discords of our sponsorship into a beautiful symphony of discounts, without having to go to performance bike. with this faith we will be able to race together, to stand up to BRO deals together, knowing that one day we will get a true, pro-deal (instead of trickle-down from our elite brethren).

i have a dream today. okay...

just expressing my opine on our forum about the ultra-le-hame rejayjay deal and the realities of participating on a 3/4 team (read: crocus' last thread). it isn't a form of dissension; furthermore, your attempts to work out deals for us does not go unnoticed, and for that, i am appreciative (Kathy, in that aforementioned run-on sentenced section, i was being truthful or not sarcastic). this repartee of illness-or malingering feelings-has no bearing on our future endeavors as a team, which, from the group rides (under your tutelage), looks promising. ite? ite.

peace be with y'all...

andreas: To bring a little perspective to this crazy thread here is what this whole thing looks like to me.

1. team captain decided to take the sponsor bashing personally and really shouldn't have, especially since he had nothing to do with working the deals.

2. The sponsorship blowz [sic].

3. The divide between the different teams grows when rosalyn and kathy cannot post freely on this forum. It keeps the elitist attitude going by closing off communication with other team members.

Teno needs to chill and realize that this team's sponsorships are one of the worst in the ACA. There are other 4's clubs that get full bikes: carbon, dura ace etc, for around 800 bucks. Their races are paid for if they race a minimum of X and even have travel expenses reimbursed if they place well. So, if the sponsorship and racing were the only reason we were all on this team I am sure everyone would have left a long time ago and gone to other clubs with better deals. The reality is, we all race in purple spandex because we are friends and we enjoy each others company, in a non-gay way. I like to ride with rosalyn, I like to ride with team captain and with everyone else on the team. So to team captain and everyone else that has their panties in a twist over the reality that the sponsorship is sub-par, get real and understand that we don't care. We are on VC for the sake of racing and riding with people we like, not to get flashy new gear every year. That's part of the sarcasm in everyone's posts. If they were serious they would have left the team or never joined in the first place.

I believe this subject is now dead.

and last, worth mentioning, a friend of mine benny, whose subject line read, "Ciao": I personally don't like the changes that I have seen in this forum lately. I don't want to deal with the petty bullshit, I no longer feel welcome, and I am thus choosing to take my leave. For those interested, I have set up a new "open" VC group over at i blanked it out

I am about to send an invite out to all members here. If for any reason you don't get it and would like to join, just visit the group at the URI [sic]above and request to become a member. I hope to see you on the flip side. If not, best of luck to you!!

the saga continues...

26 February, 2008

My Girls' Second Report Card At Their New School

just looked at my girls' report cards and pleased to say they were nearly perfect. maricel's the oldest and they rank her proficiencies from 1 being not good (like the bozo t.v. show's the euphemism of loser-almost winner), 2 being close to proficient, and 3 being the cat's meow. maricel was a 3 in almost all categories. yea! maura's system was either a plus sign (proficient), or a minus sign (not proficient). she, too, was nearly proficient. almost all plus signs and her reading was at the cusp of reading at the first grade level (she's in kindergarten). yup, i definitely am proud of my girls as well being a generally proud papa...as for colleges, if worse comes to worse we can always default on the legacy rule. both of us got our undergraduate(s) at texas in austin and melissa got her doctorate at cornell. you gotta start thinking about those things (and how to fund their degrees). they'll be two years apart so they'll overlap time at university.

23 February, 2008

First Group Ride of the Year

damn. my butt got shelled a smidge under an hour into the ride. it was a pretty good showing for a cold day in colorado. some knuckleheads actually had their knees and ears exposed. i'm guessing it was in the mid-30s when we started and with the self-induced windchill, that couldn't have been any warmer once we got rolling. anyhoo, i chilled in the back until it started going uphill. i tried my darndest to draft-physically and mentally while everybody was jamming it on up. it's kinda cool seeing a big, swarm of riders start going singlefile, and you pass some and mostly get past by the faster ones. then pop! i started going backwards. hooked up with some slower riders while the fast group waited for us (the slower riders) at the turnaround. thus begins the downhill with their hair on fire. needless to say my heartrate could not come down so i turned off early and did my own thing. got some more miles in and did hill intervals on my way back to my truck. ouch. it only took 2 hours and change to feel completely inadequate as a road racer before the season begins...
let's try that again tomorrow. here's a picture definition of what (a happy)hammered looks like. gotsta clean my house kids...

okay this video has nothing to do with this post but how cool is it to do this kind of foolery to a $118,000 car?

18 February, 2008

The Annual Pilgrimage to Moab. Updated with Video (thanks Kev).

hey kids. just returned from moab with a close group of friends/cycling freaks. it was, again, spectacular. the southwestern part of the u.s. has just been getting pounded by incredible amounts of snow lately and it wasn't looking too good for cycling action when we left friday night. our plan b was to ride 4 more hours west (in addition to moab which is about six hours away) to ride at st. george because the weather's 10 degrees warmer. we decided to stay in moab instead.
the trip out wasn't the least bit promising because on either side of the highway snow was measurable either in feet or in inches. not good, because our goal was to mountain bike. mud and snow usually runs counter to base miles on singletrack. we got in late--or early--saturday and we reconnoitered sovereign trail in the dark. our roadtripped-induced dulled senses said the ground's dry. so it's off to sovereign 8 hours later...
at the sovereign trailhead, as we're gearing up, we talk to some people who just finished and we asked them if they heard anything about st. george. they said, "our friends said 'it's snowed in and they're expecting more rain'". yeah. good call to stay in moab. another rider returned and said at about 30 minutes out it's too muddy to continue the ride. off we go and it's pretty darn chilly. 42 fahrenheit, probably mid-30s with the wind, coupled with our self-induced windchill; but, the ground's mostly dry and the sun feels good on our faces. we're on a major learning curve because it's the first time this year we're riding mountain bikes-let alone on semi-technical terrain. kev leads billy follows and i'm riding tailgunner. kev's hitting it and billy and he exchange leads cleaning a bunch of technical sections. i, on the other hand, commit the first dab of the year. i don't like that...it was a nice introduction to our machines.

this the nutty moonrock at the beginning of sovereign that's not fun on a speeding hardtail (my friends both have dual boingers). sho 'nuff at around thirty minutes it's muddy, so we turn around and blast it back to the car. not exactly high mileage, so we do amasa back trail.
the high cliffs in my attempt to do something artsy in b/w are the cliffs towards amasa's trailhead.
this is amasa back

at amasa i like the technical uphill climb so my evil roady side surfaces. i try and bust a mountain goat move and billy matches me and it's off to the races. the rocks are still kind of wet so traction on technical portions is like a leap of faith for the rear tire to hook up. on a particularly nasty, off-cambered part of a sharp ledge we're clearing, my rear tire's sliding to the fall line but i keep pedaling smoothly and it hooks up. billy's drafting close but his tire slides and he has to dab. it's nutty when i'm in front-especially during mountain biking-i sometimes feel intimidated by the people drafting because i have this pressure to not dab and to keep the pace high (the roady in me). at a plateau we regroup with kev and rocket it on up.

at the top, i snap this with billy and i in the foreground and the la sals in the background, is amasa back. the wind's blowing inside my vest making me look cylindrical. instead of doing the pipeline descent, we race on down the same way we ascended. very gnarly descent.
on the descent, we saw some riders doing this stunt. this also shows you what i mean by a technical trail...

tomorrow slickrock...
it's cold again and the folks at poison spider bike shop recommend slickrock because it's the only thing dry in town worth doing. slickrock is kinda bittersweet for us because we've done it many times and folks, it's technical and can be painful.

pictured is billy rolling up slickrock at a pitch of 60 or so degrees. the sandstone has a such a high coefficient of friction (as a hs teacher, i just finished teaching my freshman how to calculate mu using slope and algebra) against mountain bike tires, in a way, that whoever possesses testosterone'll (or is a adrenaline junky'll), attempt the nutty topography. this is what i mean by interval workouts. you jam it, until you crest the uphill. perspective and respect of slickrock occurs when you smack your mellon and the remaining leftside of your body doing a 180 degree unintentional wheelie-just ask billy. it's pretty much like doing intervals for three hours (when ridden with others outside of us three). this time 'round though, we attempt to ride it as fast as we can. halfway through, the smiles are returning as well as the clouds. it's cold again.

here's kevin underneath this ominous cloud...we finish slickrock in two hours. we guess that's good, the brochure says 3-4h. we're in pain and to add insult to injury-to completely destroy our legs-we do another ride in klondike bluffs that begins with a mellow uphill grade, coupled with slick, moonrock.
billy this time busts an uphill move and we're barely hanging on. my legs are in its lactic acid threshold the entire climb. i stand to try and disseminate the poison evenly throughout my legs. at the top it's muddy, and kev returns the favor by showing us his downhill skills. i'm on the rivet trying to hang on both directions. at the end our blood sugar's low and the endorphins are circulating in our blood. ah yeauh. oh, and the sun's now down and we're freezing! on the way home, i eat a whole, medium, cheese pizza. crust and all! it was a very ascetic weekend. very pure. no extraneous distractions. the plan: ride until the muscles fail, eat super healthy, sleep, and repeat until you bonk was generally fulfilled. my first criterium's in march. oh boy...

01 February, 2008

What Was I Thinking?

okay. so i had this great idea: the snow had been baking in the sun for the past 2 weeks since i last gathered wood, i figured it would be hardpacked enough to support a 145 pound hominid straddling an atv for the purpose of gathering wood. i fire her up, reverse her down the hill (reversed so if i begin to sink, i can blast it forward before i sink even more), and butt-forward myself to the woodpiles. exactly halfway down the backyard i sink in snow such that the bottom of the motormounts are sitting on top of the snow. okay, so forward here i go...nothing, just digging myself deeper and deeper. my last strategy was pushing while walking next to it and gunning the throttle (it worked last time!). instead i'm pushing, next to the atv, gunning the throttle while the atv's sinking like a hot piece of coal even deeper in the snow. if there were a video camera filming me it'd be a hillbilly vignette of what not to do with an atv in deep snow. it's stuck and i'm getting frustrated because it'll be a while--like spring--until i can get it out. can't pull it out with my truck because the atv's so far down the hill that the truck'll get stuck, don't have a winch on the atv so i really have no other option than to gather my five and seven year-old daughters to give it a real team effort.
so here we are, it's 6:00 at night during winter (23 degrees fahrenheit), and all three of us are trudging down the hill, my girls probably thinking: what the hell's daddy getting us into now?. i put my beautiful five year-old in front to weigh down the front wheels and my seven year-old's piloting the beast. all the while i'm pushing the rear of the atv and inhaling precious carbon monoxide and all sorts of sulfates and nox-everything a growing boy needs! i put her in 4wd low and maricel's gunning it while maura's doing the hillbilly pistonic, up and down oompa band dance movements up front. i'm busting an aneurism pushing in deep snow with everything i have-butt and back to the rear, hands as bumpers pushing the rear of the atv. one hour later, including some fancy snow shovelling work from yours truly we're out. it's quite a cathartic finish slowly heading out of the decline towards the house. it seems like it's in slow motion. i look up as i'm pushing and here's what i'm witnessing: maricel's hunched over the controls steering and thumb throttling like ayrton senna and maura's up front like a viking riding point on the ship soaking up the wind...just a little bit more...a little bit more...we're out!!!!!
teamwork baby!!!! that's what i'm talking about!!!!! yup. my girls are righteous. not only did we get the atv unstuck; but, even in the twenty degree weather, the girls never, ever complained. they were just attentive to directions and willing to work (although i had to really yell when maricel had the throttle wide open). when we got inside the house they were freezing and i was sweating. time to start the fire for my little badasses...
ps. the pictures were taken this morning, after the fact.