the bicycle version of the shoe tree?

is this the bicycle version of the shoe tree?

somehow... I do not see this catching on

Bike Registration?

San Jose Cancels Bike Registration...
calling the several dollar bike registration a SCAM!

in my limited life experience I have never been a fan of mandatory bicycle registration
in fact... I have never been a fan of bicycle registration and its process as a whole
never did I see its effectiveness... potential yes... but not in its current state

the mandatory bicycle registration seems to be more for the police than for the cyclist
not having a bicycle registered always seemed like something that the police could hold against a cyclist when they pull them over for a moving violation
you know the drill... "no bell... no light... not the proper reflectors... and no registration!"

then in the case of theft...
the registration is only to the benefit of the cyclist if the stolen bicycle is located... which is unlikely

I have had several bicycles stolen... never was my situation treated with any seriousness by the police
the police always made it seem like I had to relocate the bicycle... then contact them to have there be a verification of ownership... but honestly... if I am able to make that much happen... I think I would take the bike back myself

yes... I understand... the police have more important issues to contend with
so... if they are not going to use the bicycle registration along with a data base and an earnest effort to retrieve the bike... well... cancellation of the program only makes sense

looking for some good GWADZILLA RANTS?
check out what comes up when I search Gwadzilla for SANTA CRUZ!
a fun collection of rants
a scan for San Jose brings up some similar stuff... only slightly less


Six Tips from MY BIKE LAW

Six (legal) Tips to Cyclists from MY BIKE LAW


so... this past Saturday night there was a reunion for my high school graduating class
fellow B-CC 1985 graduate Laura Hillenbrand was not there

there is an article in The Washington Post about best selling author Laura Hillenbrand's new book UNBROKEN and her life dealing with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome

in The Washington Post

the article gives insight into Chronic Fatigue Syndrome
before Laura announced to the world that she was crippled by this illness I had never heard of it
and sadly... when I heard of it... I had a hard time believing it

what is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome?
what causes it? what brings it on?
why is it not treatable or controllable?

Laura looks pretty much the same as she did in high school
from the photos of her you would not know that she suffers from this illness
yet once again... truth is stranger than fiction
this is her reality

hopefully heath and normalcy will one day return to Laura
maybe the illness will leave her
maybe the marvels of modern medicine will have a breakthrough that free Laura from this imprisonment

I thoroughly enjoyed Seabuscuit and plan on reading Unbroken
I wish Laura the best... she deserves it


no bike for the kids today...

today it is cold... not freezing cold... but cold
we woke with the cars covered with a sheet of frost
that may have given the impression that things are colder than they are

no bikes for the kids today...
it is brisk
it is cold
the kids are sniffling and sneezing
it may be the end of our drive-bike combo
unless we get a change in the weather
unless we get our head around the idea of riding in the cold

I plan on watching the weather

I plan on having a few days were the boys dress appropriately and ride anyway
hopefully we can continue the post school bike ride home a few times a week through the winter

we will see... it is unclear what I can get my six year old son to agree to these days

these images amuse me
the images tell me a million stories
stories of that day
stories of my children

it also amuses me that we can pass these landmarks without the children giving them a glance
Washington Monument... seen it!
The White House... come on... what is so special about that? it is always there... we have ridden our bikes by it a hundred times...

for others it may be mountains while for others it may be the sea
for us... it is museums, monuments, and federal buildings
that is our the landscape that is the backdrop to our lives

this series of photos are from an extended post school bicycle ride
normally we do not go this far from home on our ride home
on this day the boys had a half day
so rather than rush home to play Wii

we rode our bikes

things are not to be taken for granted
things are to be appreciated

opportunities are to be taken advantage of

so I wonder...
even if Grant objects to the bike
what is best for the kids?
if dressed appropriately the bike rides can still be fun... even in the cold
not the wet and the cold
but in the cold

a winter hat... some gloves... the ski jacket zipped up tight
sure.... we can make it happen!

no... not today
maybe not tomorrow

but... a few days a week each week in the weeks to come

the best idea
to just do it
not to take a measure of the temperature
just accept that there will be days where we ride the bikes
that may be the only way to make it happen



a few more shots from a warm day last week... or the week before

a gathering...

this weekend past my high school graduating class had an informal 25th reunion at a bar in Bethesda...

25th High School Reunion

as part of our family Thanksgiving Tradition we stagger our approach and departure...

we try to dodge the holiday car traffic by leaving for Pittsburgh a day or two early
then we head back on Saturday rather than Sunday
there is always some traffic on Saturday... but nothing like the parking lot that people experience on Sunday

getting back on Saturday evening made it such that I was able to attend a gathering that worked as an informal 25th High School Reunion

we arrived home and unloaded the car
everyone was happy to be home
happy to be home and out of the car

the drive was long... a closed road on our back road route home made a long drive longer

out of the car and into the house our black dog Brutus greeted us with a hearty wag of the tail
Brutus' wag was so great that his hind quarters swayed from side to side with such energy that his aging hips nearly slipped out from under him

after unloading the car I took Brutus into the woods for his evening walk
it was good to be back home

I took a moment in the early evening darkness to enjoy the silence
no cars swarming around me
no arguing kids
just me... my dog... the leafless trees around me... and the star filled sky above
I was able to breath

it felt good

once in the house I glanced at the time and plotted my evening
at the computer I double checked the information on FACEBOOK for my high school reunion for date, time, and location
although I had never been to Union Jack's in Bethesda I had a good idea where it was
seeing its address on St Elmo's I estimated that it should be right around where the pool hall SHOO
TZ used to be... in fact... I guessed that Union Jacks could in fact be in the spot where Shootz once was

as my family ate dinner I suited up and stepped out the door
with knog lights back on the bike and a NiteRider light on my helmet I was on the bike and moving
it was cold... I was dressed in casual street clothes rather than riding gear which had me feeling the bite in the air

as I rode the short distance between my home in Mount Pleasant in DC to a bar in Bethesda I could feel some fatigue
the combination of the long holiday weekend with family, the two bike rides in the cold, and the long drive from Pittsburgh to DC was evident in my level of intensity

the Specialized Tri Cross with its flat bars was feeling crusty
the bike had not been cleaned... this made for some additional resistance
the drive train was suffering from the ride in the rain on Thanksgiving Day, the ride in the cold in Saturday, and having to rest on the bike rack in the wind and cold on the drive up and back to visit family
a little lube would have gone a long way

it was refreshing to be on the bike
as tired as I was... getting back in the car did not seem like an option
especially since I planned on having a few drinks
so I accepted my fate and pedaled my way to the bar

drinking and biking makes more sense to me than drinking and driving
except for the danger of there being drunk drivers around me... the drunk biker

it is not a long distance from Mount Pleasant to downtown Bethesda
I arrived and found a spot to lock my bike up across the street from the bar
as I changed my shirt I watched as other graduates from my graduating year arrived
with a pack filled with jacket, helmet, lights, and other assorted bicycle gear I entered the bar
sure enough... Union Jacks stands where Shootz once stood

reunions can bring on an onslaught of emotions
anxiety... awkwardness... excitement
and then some

it is interesting...
gatherings like this act as our personal UP series (7 UP is now on 49 Up)
Seven Up and the UP SERIES on the WIKI Page

a clip from the UP SERIES on YOUTUBE

I will admit... I attend these sort of events as much to fulfill some curiosity as I do to see people
honestly... I was not friends with that many people in my class... friendly yes... friends... no
there is a difference

even if I was not best buddies with the people at this event
I did share a four year experience with them

this creates a common bond
many of these people went to school together for more years than just high school... this extends their bond
I went to Our Lady of Lourdes for grade school... which made it such that I was not introduced to any of these people until 9th grade

it was good to see everyone...
it was good catching up...

everyone looked pretty good considering

the conversation was interesting and awkward for everyone
I was not sure what other people were experiencing... but at events like this there is often a bit
of a paralysis
it appeared that people get stuck in place... afraid to mix and mingle... anxious that they will not recognize people or that people will not recognize them

I admit... I suffered some of this
it was fun to try and figure out who people were
this was all done without the assistance of name tags

what to talk about?
there was the usual...
so... what are you up to? where are you living? married? kids? etc...

it is all very interesting to me...
five years ago at our 20th reunion I had a similar experience
I meandered about shaking hands, kissing cheeks, and exchanging hellos with people
often finding myself in a position where I was hearing a person's voice for the first time
sure... I knew them... I knew who they were... I recognized them... but in my four years of high school I may have never talked to them
even if I had home room with someone or a class or two... that does not mean that we ever talked or hung out

maybe I was a bit shy...
maybe I was a bit of a geek...
maybe a little of both

maybe the social groups had already been formed from grade school and then junior high
so that when I arrived in high school I was not able to break in...
or maybe I should just accept that it was the shy geekiness that was previously mentioned

no matter what the reasons were... I was never able to properly assimilate

that was my reality
that is part of who I was and who I became

never fully inducted into any one group
which allowed me to float in and move about the peripheral of many groups

as much as I like to go to these events for the sociological experience of getting to witness the real life UP SERIES where I get to see what people have become
I am also in attendance to sort things out
to try and figure out why things were the way they were

I would like to think that I am at peace with things

there were "in groups" and their were "out groups"

Bethesda Chevy Chase was a fairly large school... maybe 1,200 to 1,400 people

which allowed for a number of "groups"
our school was in my perspective SUB-CULTURALLY COOL

while my class of 1985 may have still been clinging to an older identity of cheer leaders and football players

the film DAZED AND CONFUSED would do well to give people an idea of what B-CC was like
but... not for my full duration
when I arrived the school was transitioning from the Hippie Era to Punk Rock
while still possessing the standard percentage of PREPS and JOCKS
after all... B-CC was a Soccer Power House as well as Basketball State Champs!
as said... it was a fairly large school which allowed for a good number of groups and sub g

others would tell it differently...

if you were smoking cigarettes on the C Steps you had a different experience than if you were spending your time hanging out in the gym
then of course there were AP classes and an Industrial Arts hall
so... one person may have lived an life closer to HOOP DREAMS while another person may have been in THE BREAKFAST CLUB


we occupied the same space at the same time

we grew up together in the same era
this shared experience creates some sort of bond

it is not just about seeing old friends
it is about reliving some of those old experiences

so... with beer in hand I meandered through the crowd

I am confident that I am not the only one who wished that we had name tags
everyone hates name tags... no one wants to wear a name tag
but we all appreciate when someone has a name tag that aids in kick starting our memory
if nothing else... non-graduates... spouses should have at least been wearing name tags... that could have helped each of us in a few situations
I know that I mistook one spouse for a graduate... and I do not doubt that others did the same

all in all it was a good time
time well spent
good use of my time

I really enjoyed seeing people
as per usual... I did not get to make contact to everyone I wanted to
there were people who I stood next to and started to make contact... then got pulled away

I guess that is the way it goes

and of course... my manic personality can cause me to short a circuit and act a little scatter brain in these situations

there were people across the room who I recognized and would have like to exchanged hellos with... but did not make it across the room
if I tried to cross the room.... I did not make it more than a few steps
it was a slow migration through the crowd of familiar faces and some less familiar faces
these events can play out like this

then as it got later people peeled off
humorously... a group of people left not telling everyone that they were leaving

when one attendant looked around for a friend I told them that they had left... leaving him as a decoy
it was all very funny to me
lots of things are often funny to me... but maybe not to others
and it is not just the beers... or which I had many

the evening went on... the beers took the conversation from a polite superficial level of conver
sation with a G RATING to PG-13
then by the end of the evening there was more laughter and maybe an R RATING

with people gone there was the discussion of WHO WAS HOT and WHO WAS NOT!
really... some people looked great...

others... not so great
but for the most part... people aged pretty well

people seemed well and well adjusted
there were the standard number of marriages with kids... divorces... divorces with kids... and of course... unmarried without kids

many people seemed to be on the same page
not sure if there was talk about real estate
while there was definite some talk about schools and school systems

although I had my camera in my bag... I did not take any photos
sometimes I just have to leave the camera in the bag
best to look at people eye to eye rather than from behind the camera
then there is the intrusiveness of it all
people love photos of themselves... but hate to have their picture taken
but of course... I regret not taking a few photos

it was good...
it was time well spend...
glad life is working out for everyone!

this shot is not from today... much colder today

Chasing Legends... ON TOUR and ON DVD!

Chasing Legends
Chasing Legends is on TOUR!
Chasing Legends is on DVD!

Chasing Legends on the Gwadzilla Page


One Less Car has changed their name to BIKE MARYLAND!
Bike Maryland

which now ends the debate as to whether it should have been




let us not write the biography yet
it is a little early for an obituary
the story is still playing out


more than just a cyclist
an inspiration

but yes...
you do not need to be dead
I think you just have to be old to be in The Mountain Bike Hall of Fame
so Gunnar is a good fit

oh... this is not a Roast Gunnar post?
Gunnar Shogren is a logical addition to The Mountain Bike Hall of Fame

I am definitely of the mind that Gunnar embodies the spirit of the sport
Gunnar did then and does now and of course... Gunnar will again tomorrow

Gunnar Shogren belongs in The Mountain Bike Hall of Fame and then also The Wax Museum!

tradition... holiday traditions... my traditions

there are no photos to go with the words
although I had the camera
my time on the bike was far too wet for me to contend with both riding and documenting the moment

so... you get text
all you get is text
text and no images

Thanksgiving Traditions.


Fiddler on the Roof... Tradition
no... that is not me dressed for the Tweed Ride
that is Tevye... our beloved protagonist in the film adaptation of the classic musical The Fiddler on the Roof
and yes... Tevye is ripping off some of my classic dance moves

here it is Thanksgiving... over the years my family has developed our own set of Thanksgiving holiday traditions
where we go... who we gather with... what we all do once we are together
these are our traditions

rinse and repeat... rinse and repeat
it is the repetition that makes it a tradition

on Thanksgiving people create their own traditions...
traditions are often more than just the gathering around the table for turkey dinner... although turkey dinner and all the fixings is a pretty great tradition...
there are more opportunities during the Thanksgiving holiday than just the meal itself

we all have our Thanksgiving Traditions... for some... working on Thanksgiving is part of their tradition
then some people look forward to snagging some deals with some Black Friday shopping or catching the latest new release at the movie theater
while for others there are morning runs... afternoon golf sessions... family football games... and for the two wheel set... Thanksgiving Bicycle Rides

ah... The Thanksgiving Bicycle Ride!
a great excuses to get out of the house...
a get away from the stress of being with family...
and of course...
a chance to burn some calories

over the past few years I have tried to develop my own Thanksgiving Bike Ride Tradition
this year was no different

so... when packing the car to leave to visit the in-laws I made sure that the boys had their Nintento DC games, I loaded Season One of Avatar the Last Airbender onto Lisa's iPhone and that I had my bicycle... along with my bicycle I packed what I believed to be the requisite riding gear

we made the drive from DC to Pittsburgh the day before Thanksgiving
this is all part of our holiday tradition
a staggered approach and a early departure to try to evade holiday traffic at its most thick

I had glanced at Weather Dot Com and plugged in my inlaws Zip Code to get an idea of what gear to bring...
the right gear can make or break a ride
the forecast... rainy and cold!
so... I packed for rainy and cold...
well... I almost packed for rainy and cold

having not done much riding in the rain or the cold this season... my packing was a little disjointed
I filled a bag with some random stuff and hoped for the best
thinking I had everything I needed... later realizing I spaced on some valuable essentials that could have been used and would have been appreciated

we made the drive arriving at the in-laws to a misty moist reality... not rainy... not cold...
but definitely misty and moist
okay... a bit cold... but not frigidly cold
not cold enough to snow cold

we gathered with family informally... took a family photo for grandma and grandpa at the local mall
after the photo fiasco we disbanded... then re-grouped for pizza
pizza with the same people at the same place as the year before
which was the same place as we had pizza as a group the year prior to that
tradition or habit?

then later that evening... there came rain
and then Thanksgiving morning... more rain... steady rain
steady rain... steady cold rain... not cold enough for snow... but almost

as I sipped my morning coffee I looked at the rain and the cold
the Thanksgiving Day ride seemed illogical
I stepped out onto the in-laws' back porch and looked at things
it was hard to get motivated

in the RIDE OR DON'T RIDE argument in my head
DON'T RIDE was winning out

then as I looked at my day I gave it one last thought
so... I get a little wet
what is the worse that can happen?

I have the bike... I should ride my bike
sure... what is the worst that can happen?

I get wet and cold then have to take a hot shower to regain my core temperature
really! I can handle that!
okay... that is not the worst that can happen... the worst could involve a crash and an injury... or worse yet... a collision with a car and an injury
non of these things were enough to keep me off the bike
the risk of car to bike conflict is always there... that should be a reason to be cautious... not a reason not to ride

so... after realizing that my wife Lisa had created afternoon plans for a movie matinee I realized that I best get on the bike
my ride had to fit into the family schedule

so... to the guest room
I stepped out of civilian gear and got into bicycle gear
then I realized... oh man... I knew I forgot a few things

I did not bring Gortex socks... I did not bring neoprene shoe covers...
one or the other would have been great... BUT NEITHER!??!!
I seemed to have everything else I would need... the shell pants and the shell jacket would be the cornerstone of my apparel
but gloves? I just had basic full finger gloves... nothing water repellent... and nothing for borderline freezing temperature... I had the Lobster Claws in hand when gathering my gear... but did not pack them
and head coverage... another shortage... just a cycling cap to go under the helmet... nothing more
yes... the balaclava was in hand as well when I was packing in DC... that too got tossed back into the bin rather than into the travel bag


the three most vulnerable parts of the body when it comes to cold... hands... feet... and head...
each would be covered...
but not covered to really protect me from the wet cold rain

the rest would be a guessing game... how much to wear? how much would be too little... how much would be too much?

I wore my wool Dirt Rag Jersey over a long sleeve jersey with the gortex shell over top
then I packed my pockets with a bottle of water... a can of coca cola... and my wallet in a zip lock bag
no cell phone... and no tools...
I double crossed my fingers to prevent a flat or a mechanical

somehow I had made the rookie mistake of forgetting my commuter pack
a pack with tubes, patch kit, and assorted bicycle specific tools
including a pack pump
I would be riding my bike with the air pressure as it was set for the Rockburn Cyclocross Race
more than likely the PSI has slipped from the 38 in the front and 40 in the back as it was set the night before the race

oh well...

realizing that my window of opportunity was closing in on me I jumped into my riding gear and onto the bike
the rain was falling as I rolled out of the garage and onto the driveway
as I pedaled down the road I looked for the turkey family I had seen in the holler behind the in-law's house the day prior

I have come to expect the turkey family to move to the higher ground when it is wet outside
so I scanned the suburban yards for the wild birds as I started my ride
sure enough... the turkey family was marching about someone's front lawn
had I had my camera... I would have taken a Thanksgiving Day photograph
alas no.... no camera... too wet for a camera

no time for photo ops
just time to ride

so I rode up and down the very hilly roads of suburban Pittsburgh until I found access to the Montour Trail


ah... sanctuary
sanctuary from the Pittsburgh Hills!
sanctuary from the Pittsburgh Drivers... but really...
the ratio of fast close passes and dangerous cell phone driving did not seem any different than the DC area
most cars passed unsafely fast... only a few passed obnoxiously close... a good majority of the drivers had their arms at a right angle with a cell phone pressed to their ear

ah... just like home
only not being on my home court I refrained from giving the obnoxiously fast close passes the one finger salute
only a choice few got the bird

so... safe on this Rails To Trails path away from the cars I started to spin the cranks
it was raining pretty steady... I was already feeling wet and cold
even with the cold rain there was still a good number of walkers, runners, and dog walkers doing their daily thing
as well as clusters of families doing what I would guess to be part of their Thanksgiving Tradition

once I was soaked through and through the rain stopped
by this time my feet were numb and I was regretting not having better coverage for my feet, hands, and head
on top of that... I was thinking that my long cycling tights were just tights... no pad... no chamois
sure I had brought some padded shorts
but in my haste to get my ride of an undetermined distance and an undetermined duration I got dressed without noticing this subtlety
a tad less than comfortable

I had a random objective... a slight modification of last year's ride
I was unclear of the distance or duration
all I knew was I had the desire to push the pedals past a series of old train trestles and an old tunnel before turning back
not wearing a watch I was not sure of the time on the bike
not having a computer on the bike I was not sure how far I had ridden
it was an arbitrary turn around point... in short... I wanted to see some of what there was to see
a few things a little more special than just the path beneath my tires

the miles went past...
not a full day epic
nothing near a century... maybe 25-30 miles when all counted
I pedaled along side a large creek and then a small river
there were all sorts of water falls on the hillside that flanked the old railroad grade
water flowing in the mist... it was quite picturesque

I exchanged nods of respect and hearty Happy Thanksgivings to the other trail users

sooner than expected I reached my destination
pausing at a water fall for a moments reflection and a 12 ounce can of Coca Cola
then pointed things back

off the bike I could feel the numbness in my feet
it was tough to put the cold gloves back on my hands after I finished my can of soda

as I exited the more rural areas into the more developed areas I thought to myself...
this is not even that remote and it is pretty amazing
these old hills with all of their mining history
then I thought... maybe THE DEER HUNTER did shoot on Pennsylvania locations
but no... some web detective work shows otherwise


to get home I simply reversed the path out
it seemed like the trail was uphill on the way back
which was interesting... it did not seem like it was downhill on the way back
maybe I was just getting fatigued

on my return I passed a number of the same runners and dog walkers
even the groups of people playing football were still on the field playing ball
they too had braved the rain for their Thankgiving Day Tradition

the limestone path turned to asphalt and then I was off the rails to trails path and back onto the road
knowing that I was on a time constraint I tried to maintain pace
even though the rain had stopped it was still wet
going fast downhill was a mixture of pleasure and pain

off the multi-use bike path and back onto the streets
once again gritting my teeth and crossing my fingers as each car made its pass
then having to climb a series of hills to get back to my final destination
returning to the inlaw's neighborhood I again looked for the turkeys

refreshed from my ride I entered the house only to find that my family was dressed and ready for the movies
but before putting on some dry clothes I needed a shower... a shower and a sandwich

after getting my core temperature back to normal I was in the car and off to the movies
Lisa and Grant saw Mega Mind
Dean and I saw the latest Harry Potter Film
on the drive to the theater I tried to share some highlights from my ride with my less than interested family

after the movies we gathered with an the same cast of characters that we have gathered with on this day each and every year since I have been married
we ate turkey and all the trimmings while football played in the background
then after a few slices of a few different types of pie our Thanksgiving Holiday Tradition was complete

I was pleased that I had not let the rain and the cold inhibit my desire to fulfill my holiday tradition of riding my bicycle

the holiday traditions continued in other directions
the day after Thanksgiving we went to The Pittsburgh Children's Museum

I heart Urban Velo

Urban Velo
the illegitimate love child of Dirt Rag
as shamed as this demon spawn may be from some perspectives
I try to be open minded and love them for who they are


The Wash Cycle

if you live in the DC area and are concerned about bicycle related issues...
then you should read The

and if you are on FACEBOOK


everyone loves the EXTRANORMAL


cyclocross season on EXTRA NORMAL on YOUTUBE

good luck to any and all racing at the MABRA Championships this weekend!



lost in the digital shuffle...

my six year old son tells me that I take too many photos
he may be right

my boys have stopped asking why I take photos of people on their bikes
they asked for years
never was I able to give them an answer

it is something I do
it is something I have done for some time now

I enjoy it
that is the most simple explanation
it is a hobby
which makes it more understandable
but that does not really explain why I do it

I enjoy the whole process
not just the photography

taking the photos and then sharing the photos
the images and the words
the blog as a whole

but yes
there are times when I fear that I take too many photographs
so... I am trying to take fewer photographs

less photographs and a higher percentage of decent photographs

these seem to be some nice photographs
not sure if I posted them from before

the cyclist in the last photo once asked... "why do you do that?"
this was after I had taken his photo half a dozen times

now... although I did not give him a good answer
now he knows

perhaps the newest member of DCMTB

a new member of the DCMTB squad
this shot taken of her not racing... but working

Urban Photography

Urban and City Photography

a photographer share his TEN TIPS TO URBAN PHOTOGRAPHY

Race Report: 2010 Rockburn Cyclocross Race

this fall I seemed to have lost momentum on the Race Reports...
I have lost momentum on the bicycle race reports and on the bicycle races themselves

a lack luster effort on the bike
a lack luster effort on the blog
as much as I like to rant on about nothing
I felt like my efforts on the bike did not merit record on the blog
perhaps I did not feel like re-living my races by scripting a race report

yet... I think I will try to wind things up with a few words
with the absence of the Capital Cross Classic this year... Rockburn will act as my final cyclocross race of the season...
not just my final cyclocross race... but my final bicycle race of the year

although I did register for the MABRA Championships in Taneytown I do not plan on attending

when I registered I thought that my fitness, intensity, and desire would be resting on a different plateau rather than lying dormant in a valley

I am done... my season is over
I think my season may have been over months ago
as others ramped up their riding... my riding dropped off
it is usually something like this each fall... but this year it was worse

not sure what I will say
lets see what happens with the hands on the keyboard

a glance at the course preview of Rockburn as presented by
In The Crosshairs you get a good look at my fat ass for about 1/2 of the first lap

RACE REPORT: 2010 Rockburn Cyclocross Race

A few weeks back I had a lack luster effort at Coppi's Tacchino Ciclocross Race at Rosaryville State Park... I am not sure what I scripted about that event... perhaps a glance at that archive will give you an
idea where I am at in life and on the bike
I think I started a report... never finished it... never posted it
there may be some words and images just the same


Tacchino was a good race... a fun course with some energy to the venue
I was in no mood to appreciate any of it
it was a grumpy day for me

okay... let me see if I can get this started
try to get away from words on Tacchino and think more about Rockburn

there has been very little time on the bike recently
being under employed has removed bicycle
commuting from my life
commuting by bike is a way to get
suited up on the bike every day... the rides are not long... but the short post work rides are better than no rides at all

normally I would extend my commute home for an hour or more of intense pushing of the pedals

having been laid off from my job last spring has removed that "stealth training" from my routine
it would seem that under employment would allow for rides during the day
alas no... unemployment is not fun-employment
it is a weird limbo
a weird limbo that exists in between the pick up and drop off of my kids from school each day

I have been working a few days a week at the old job... the routine is not set such that I
guarantee myself a bicycle ride... in fact... those few days a week are not even guaranteed

most of my bike rides are with my kids... we have been working a routine where I drop the kids off a few blocks from school with their bicycles
then rather than picking them up in the car after school I ride my bike to their school and we r
ide home together
our rides vary... but riding with a six and nine year old would hardly constitute training

the distance and intensity of these post school day rides is dictated by our lowest common denominator
... the desire of a six year old
young Grant is not always inspired to ride
some of our post school rides are directly home
some times we ride for three or more miles
but again... at a six year old's pace

this would not qualify as training... unless I were racing the Lil Belgians




I am neither fit nor fast... winter weight is already starting to creep up on me

although my race weight is never slight... I am heavier this year than I usually am at this time of year

my effort on the bike at Tacchino Ciclocross was painful and slow
I approached the race with all sorts of self doubt
my race effort and lack luster results affirmed that doubt and had me leave the race sight feeling dejected

Tacchino was my worst race effort of the season
my body and mind were not in the game
I was there... but attendance only counts for so much

there needs to be more than showing up and throwing your leg over the bike
cyclocross is about want

my race effort did not show want

cyclocross is about racing hard
cyclocross is not about riding hard
there is a definite difference between riding hard and racing hard

yes... I rode hard at Tacchino... I rode hard while racers swarmed around me

anyone who wanted to pass me got to pass me
I may have fought the pass... but I did not fight to pass back

if nothing else... my presence gave glory to those looking to pass one more racer

oh... this is supposed to be a report for Rockburn... not Tacchino... sorry
back to the Rockburn Race Report

let me start over... again
I will admit... the were race report efforts for DCCX and Tacchino that never made the page because
they meandered about like this

RACE REPORT: 2010 Rockburn Cyclocross Race

in the days leading up to the race I was on the fence about racing
at Rockburn
I was not sure what I was going to get out for another cyclocross race
dread overwhelmed me when I thought about riding my bicycle on grass between red and white strips of tape

somehow... it just did not sound like fun

the demons in my head had a thousand and one reasons not to race... I had a hard time battling back the demons... I lacked a solid rebuttal

the thought of bowing out and letting my season be over and done with was winning over the notion of manning up and getting on the bike

it was only towards the end of the week that I realized that I needed to ignore the voices in my head and not give into the demons
on Friday I was able to convince myself that racing was my best option

I had decided I was going to race... yes... decided but I was not entirely convinced... my determination was waning
I lacked want
yet it had been decided

Saturday was a lazy day...

the boys woke extra early to watch some Saturday morning television

the boys soccer season had ended the weekend prior
although I had intended on starting the boys on Karate... being lazy seemed to make more sense

as the boys watched the tube and Lisa did Yoga... I packed my bags with an assortment of DCMTB gear for the race on the following day


with gear in my bag I took a look at my bike
it looked fine
I deflated the tires a bit and set them to 38 PSI in the front and 40 PSI in the back.... then threw some lube on the chain and called the bike race ready
I neglected to pay any mind to my race day fuel
I did not even load up any water bottles

the day unfolded and turned into night
in the afternoon we had a quick session on The National Mall where we went for an early season skate at the Sculpture Garden Ice Rink
then when the evening came we had dinner with friends
the kids went to bed late...
after a few beers... I went to bed late as well

when I woke in the morning I was just not feeling it
the demons were swarming in my head
hugging the pillow felt better than getting out of bed

I got up just to shout down the stairs to my wife saying I would not be racing
then I climbed back in bed
the demons had won
their victory felt like a victory to me

it felt good to be under the covers in my warm bed
I pulled to pillow close and got ready to drift back to sleep

a few minutes passed and I realized... it is unfair for me to be able to cave into my demons
when I so often refuse to let my children cave into their demons

what sort of a role model would I be if I refused to race because I did not feel like it?

it would make me a hypocrite

I had to man up
I had to step up
I had to fight back the demons
I had to listen to the NIKE mantra of the 90's JUST DO IT
I had to listen to my personal mantra... IT IS BETTER ON THE BIKE

out of bed and into some clothes
I grabbed my bike and loaded up my car and headed to the race site
coffee in one hand and directions in the other I drove out of the city towards Rockburn

although I slept a few minutes later than planned I was not late for the race
the distance from downtown to Rockburn is not that far
I arrived with plenty of time to warm up
rather than warm up I socialized and then rode my bicycle around

when I say I socialized... I really mean I walked around bitching and complaining

I was there... but I was not psyched
there was no Red Bull to be had
there was no way to jump start this mood

to race... the racer needs to have their head right
my head was not right

I tried to breath and get my head right
just as I had at Tacchino... I would try here
try to overcome that feeling of malaise
so I worked on breathing
the oxygen to the brain felt good

at the car I filled a flask with Coca Cola for a little liquid energy that I knew I would be needing during this race
Red Bull would have offered a more potent kick... but Coca Cola was all that I brought along
Coca Cola would have to do
when I got to the start line people were already filling into position
I got in the row that corresponded with my number
others were showing up late

the officials barked at people for showing up late
the officials told people to move because there were too many people in each row
sheepishly I stood there... the officials had not singled me out... my number corresponded with my row... so I stayed there

I was not the only one pulling this move
feeling somewhat bad about showing up late I apologized to those around me

not being the only one to be out of line I did not step forward and admit my wrong doin
maybe I should have gone to the back of the pack
maybe all the late arrivals should have gone to the back of the pack

people only moved when they were instructed by the official
not being singled out... I did not leave my row

the officials gave some instruction as the racers braced themselves for the first lap hustle

with a 15 second countdown racers stood poised and ready
my legs started to cramp with my being locked in the same position waiting for the start
then it happened
the release

on the pavement racers took the momentum forward and I moved with them
I did not make a dramatic effort to get ahead in the pack
I just went fast enough so that I did not drift too far back
allowing those who really wanted it to get ahead of me

off the pavement and onto the grass and I was racing
like sheep being taken off to be sheared we moved about like one amoeba mass only minus the border collies nipping at our heels
racing is rubbing
and cyclocross has no shortage of rubbing
there was all sorts of bitching going on
I could hear people barking at each other in front of me and in back of me

racers fought for position
it got sloppy
people got pushed into the tape
I tried not to cause any strife

the first few laps went along pretty okay
although I was not racing for the front I was also not falling off the back
the bike and body felt fine
I did not feel particularly spry nor was I feeling completely dead
I was out riding my bike
and well... that felt pretty okay

people passed me... it is to be expected
faster cyclists belong in front of me
lots of people passed me
most people passed me than slowed their pace and faded into me...


please... if you pass... just keep going
if you pass and then drift in front of me causing me to brake
well... then you are an asshole
I guess there are different ethics in mountain than road
in my mind... that is an obnoxious way to make the pass

a few laps went by and I was feeling content with my riding on the course
my focus was not entirely as intense as it should have been
but my attendance was better than nothing
a no show was my other option
so... I felt good with how things were going

I was at the race and I was on the bike
a few good laps not so far from the front

then it happened...
my pace dropped
more people started to pass me
their passing occurred uncontested

worse than being passed... I started to be passed by a number of people who I would have liked to have finished in front of
first it was fellow Clydesdale Robert Gargantas... then Family Bike Shop Trevor... and then DCMTB's Mark Drajem... oh man... I glanced back... and I saw DCMTB's Michael Mathias
oh... I was drifting back fast... I was destine to be la Lantern Rouge!
I needed to stay in the game... although I did not have enough "want" to hang with Robert, Trevor, or Drajem... I could not accept being caught and passed by Michael Mathias

it seemed like Rockburn was going to be just like Tacchino
another lame effort on the bike
top thirty at Charm City... and now back of the pack at Rockburn
not exactly how I wanted things to play out

riding the course hard was not enough
there was no fight left in this dog
it was all about survival
I worked hard just to finish
hanging on was all I had

I tried to stay in the game by racing the race within the race
it amused me that the people around me could not get away from me
there were three or so racers I was stuck in a cat and mouse game with
it intrigued me that the were content with fighting to be in front of my wheel
rather than chasing the wheel just ahead

but who was I to talk... I was not able to get that wheel ahead of me
I was only able to match the efforts right around me

it was the same thing on each of these final laps
I would try and take the semi technical sections faster than them
then they would pass me on the flat straights and the short power climbs
then I would fight to get past them on a twist or a turn
only to be passed again on the flats or the short power climbs

as with any cyclocross race
I lost several slots on the up hill sections
the disadvantage caused by my weight and my size was displayed on each lap on the paved section and the climbs coming out of the woods
I was getting killed on these sections of the course

it was funny...
I never had that "I WANT TO QUIT" feeling
perhaps I was not going hard enough to get that "I WANT TO QUIT" feeling

listening to the announcer call the race at the front of the pack and passing the remaining laps counter I gauged the fuel I had in reserve

with a lap and a half to go I tried to pick up the pace
well... those around me did the same
and well... I guess those in front of us did the same as well
I did not make up any spaces

instead... I continued that same cat and mouse game with the same set of racers around me

I laughed to myself as I thought about the strategy of the racers around me
and how I was going to fight to the finish for one or two slots on the final results
I laughed to myself that the racers around me were fighting at this point in the course
when they could easily wait for the pavement to the finish to simply leap in front of me

the course went through its last set of technical turns and then put us onto the pavement

there I was... all 230 pounds of me sitting in the saddle with my upright bars on my Specialized Cross Bike hammering... not sprinting... but hammering
hammering past the two racers in front of me and moving forward and further away from the racer behind me
shockingly... I crossed the finish line in front of them... almost uncontested
the two racers in front of me and the racer behind me

it made me smile
it was a good last effort... if for nothing else... but for the tale of the tape
it was a good effort at the finish.... but not fast enough to catch fellow DCMTB racer Mark Drajem
Mark had already crossed the line one slot in front of me

I was short of breath... my legs were burning
it was a pleasure to be done

the race was over... and so was my cyclocross season
it had been a good year on the bike
there were a number of highlights
none of which occurred during cyclocross season... but there were definitely some highlights


I had made the right choice
racing was the right choice

racing was the only choice
although I did not beat the racers I wanted to beat
I did manage to beat back the demons in my head
which was a bit of a victory... a victory not as minor as it sounds

it is always BETTER ON THE BIKE!
it is important not to cave into the voices in my head
it is important not to lose out to the demons

I stayed and watched a few other races
but honestly... my heart was not in it
other people were enjoying themselves while I just wanted to go home
as much fun as watching the tandem race may be... I was not staying for the fun
fun did not seem like part of my agenda

45th out of roughly 79 racers

web shots by Joe Mallis Photography
other photos by me
more photos from Rockburn on the Gwadzilla Facebook Page!

Music from PANDORA

Pandora... money well spent


Pandora... the 40 Hours Free may be enough for most people
while for others... for under 40 bucks you can get unlimited listening
that is something well worth the cost

it is better than your music on SHUFFLE
it beats the process of putting old CDs on iTunes only to learn that they skip

it definitely beats buying songs a 99 cents a piece!

image from here


careful this is going around... I got it from Urban Velo

this is going around
I got it from Urban Velo

but that is not the original source
I think it originated across the pond

Jeff Anderson and Safe Routes to School

Jeff Anderson and Safe Routes to School in Northern Virginia
here is a video clip on PATCH dot com where Jeffery talks about The Wolftrap Elementary Bike Train

yes... that accent is a little rough
I think that if you run it through a Rhode Island translator you can follow it with subtitles

and jeff... sorry... I did not get your sticking your tongue out at the camera
and... how many people did you pass in the Master B?
when you passed me I made note of your high number and your kill list

I think I got some good photos at The Rockburn Cyclocross Race on Sunday

the lighting was perfect for some bicycle portrait shots

I considered staying to shoot some shots of the later fields
but figured I had pushed the shutter button enough times
thought my time would be best put-zing around the house
which was good... made some things happen that needed to happen

it can get tedious having to deal with all the photographs
some people do this for work
I do it for pleasure
there is work in it... but no money
which means that I can not let the work suffocate the pleasure

that shot of Evan second from the top freezes the moment
a millisecond later and it would have been sand flying towards the lens
but I got the shot and got out just in time

I love the side view mirror on the glasses in the fourth shot