Rants on Cycling and on Life


funny thing...
I was on the web looking for an image of Eric Roman in a dress when I found this product on the TIMBUK2 site

pretty cool

these guys are moving forward with the times

hope it pays off for them

my punk sensibilities never had a problem with anyone cashing in
all long as the product is good
why not get paid!

La Luna De Miel con mi Hermano!

This is one of those stories that gets passed around the internet, you know the ones, the one that you tell at a party about your "friend from college" in an effort to make it sound more legitimate...
but in this case it is true
just verified it with "a friend from high school!"
he knows someone who knows someone
(actually he claims to know him, but you know how that goes)

Check it out....
One classic case of lemonade created from a tree full of lemons!

the link says it all-


I will wait for the movie
as I don't read much...hurts my brain.

The city is litter with a colorful cast of characters, within this colorful cast of characters there tend to be a grand representation from the bicycle culture. Having lived in the city for well over a decade I have come to see an assortment of these characters over and over and over again. Fore example there are these identical twin sisters that walk and run along Rock Creek Park...they tend to move at an awkwardly slow pace and often work out together, but never within 20 yards of the other. Their body frames are thin and muscular, their equipment is high end, my guess is that their training is for endurance as it is long and slow, perhaps they are triathletes. My paths crossed with one of the ladies, then just a girl, at a party many years was short and abrupt, my introduction did not come welcomed and I retreated and went my way...that may be how women respond to me or that may just be how women respond to men in DC, that is a sociological study for another day. These twins with their thick and wild red hair are just some of the regulars, as is also a slightly women who rides an old blue ladies frame mountainbike, low end from the early days of the mountainbike. She climbs Calvert Street towards Reno Road all the time, often with a tennis racket in a pack. It is never clear to me if she is crossing town or doing loops for exercise, she too is annorexically thin...over time I just assumed that she is crazy. We met one time as I was stopping in at Big Wheel Bikes in Georgetown saying hey to an old friend who was working as a manager there at the time. She was less crazy than I had expected, while still a tad crazy. Turns out she is a freelance graphic designer...something I can understand. As when I was a freelance graphic designer I spend some free time riding my bike like a crazy person across town only without the annorexically thin body and without a tennis racket.

In addition to the regular cast of people that I see on the city road and the bicycle trails occasionally there are the occassional treats. A kid on a low rider at Logan Circle, a man with hundreds of reflectors on his bike down by Union Station, or the Latino guy on Mount Pleasant Street last night. As I cruised down the main strip in Mount Pleasant heading for home last night I saw in the distance at the corner of Mt Pleasant and Park catty corner to the Argyle market a guy chilling on a small white bike with a strange box attached to the frame no unlike a gas tank on a motorcycle only larger and boxy. As I rolled in closer to him things became more clear, I could hear music coming from that box, he has some very soulful Latin rhythms coming from that box. Not sure if it was folk or electronic, but it was grooving, not the usual latino flavor from a Toyota Fourrunner that I do not care for. I rolled up on the curb along side of him and accessed his custom ride. It was a small white girls bike with pink detail, pink banana seat, and black 20 inch tires with gum walls. The custom box was wooden with large car speakers on each side and a cable leading to a motorcycle battery stored under the seat. It was an impressive little contraption, if for nothing else originality and for the action of actually seeing it through. We exchanged hellos as I complimented his handy work. His age was not clear, maybe 15 maybe 25, more than likely closer to 25. His speech was clear and crisp with no hint of an accent. As we spoke I could see his pride and pleasure, his invention was an attention magnet. People driving by were honking and people walking by were staring he was an exhibitionist in all his glory. Each of my questions were answered with pride and precision, each question had certainly asked before as he did not stumble or slow with any of the answers. In the future I should start carrying my digital camera, such a sight, much like many others should be documented. I suspect that this summer I will be seeing him again....maybe on a different bike with a more professional display of a similar apparatus or on this one, either way I hope to have my camera and hope to have as pleasant of an exchange.


24 Hours of Snowshoe
With the 12 Hours of Lodi Farms behind me it is now time to set my sights on the 24 Hours of Snowshoe Granny Gear's Grand Daddy of mountainbike races. This is the race that really got me into racing. From the early days of Canaan this race weekend went on my calendar, yet somehow it nearly slipped away. A rainy race weekend two years ago, packed upon a few other rainy 24 hour race events left me and my team a bit despondent. So when the race weekend approached we were not signed up and we felt as if we did not miss a turned out to be a dry fast race weekend. Racers were doing 2 laps back to back before the exchange to give longer rest breaks between laps. Part of me felt left out....another part of me felt like I had chickened out. It is all very hard to explain.
This year I tried my darndest to assemble a fast Clydesdale team to win back the Podium spot that we had slipped off of several years prior but I just could not get anyone to commit. As the race got closer, my once clydesdale brother, now leaner and meaner is assembling a Vet team. When a slot was vacant on his team I more than willingly accepted. For me the race is about the experience and racing with a few people that I am friends with would be more important that assembling a fast Clydesdale team just to take the podium and perhaps a few prizes.
In the end I can always do the math. Average my own times and figure how I would have finished with a TEAM OF GWADZES...more over a team of Joel Gwadzes, against the winning Clydesdale team.

over and out
time to punch the clock
grab my lunch box
get on my horse
and head for home


The Emotions of the 12 Hours of Lodi Farms
In my previous post on the 12 Hours of Lodi Farms I gave a skeletal description of the evenings onto mornings events. The earlier rants just scratched the surface of the whole event and the struggle of mind and body. In an event like this there is a battle, as the body tries to cave in, it is vital for the strength of the mind overpower the weakness of the body. Testing one's personal limits, questioning the body's limitations, demanding the peak performance from a sleep deprived system are at the core of such an event. The rants posted earlier made mention of one lap that took place a short time after midnight, that in itself is no great feat, but to demand the body to replicate the same level of performance five times over the next twelve hours can tax one's body. It can be a dramatic event. The trauma on the body is great, the will of the mind falls weak, the desire to pack it all up and sleep is over powering, each sore muscles throbbing pain is amplified. In my case I have to constantly remind myself that I will feel better once on the bike. Each time my body responds to that natural experience of the bicycle and quickly forgets the pain and fatigue and concentrates on the activity at hand. Deep into the race during one of my nights lap I was feeling good. My body felt one with the bike, my mind was focused, then I thought about my actions. Almost outside myself watching as I rode up, down, and around on the wooded trail. The whole process started to intrigue me. All the variables, all the demands, and somehow the body takes it all in and answers to the task. The action felt ballistic. My mind was not really active, my body was just responding. There is no way that I could give a play by play of each minimal reaction and action that my body was going through. It was intense. An almost religious experience. I felt incredible, the clarity was beyond explanation, yet I ramble on. What makes it all so odd was that at the campsite between laps I was hypoxic. Like the astronaut tests we all have seen in the movies, where the actors portray oxygen deprived astronauts playing Black Jack or other simple games and can not rationalize the most basic combinations. In one of these breaks between laps I had one of these episodes where I could not manage the basic problems, I was trying to recharge my lights and I was trying to connect the head lamp to the charger rather than the batter to the charger. It did not go on that long, after a minute or so I managed to catch myself, but my behavior was being dictated by my sleep deprived brains. Well, I am no astronaut, I don't even play one on TV. But I was having some similar symptoms or so I thought in my over exhausted, over exerted, sleep deprived body and mind. This is a recurring experience for me in these mountainbike relay races. I have conversations with God, Yoda, and myself. It can all be very amazing, a bit odd but amazing. My body is lose, limber, and strong; while my mind is euphoric in a natural drug state. I try to stay focused and ride fast and hard, but somehow I still manage drift off to this land of HR Puffin Stuff, that is without the magic flute.

too tired to continue
each night I write one of these posts thinking I will edit it at work in the morning
but instead it just remains posted and unchanged
somehow I don't think that this rambling rant will be any different
as mentioned prior I am an unlikely editor
in college it was not uncommon for me to hand in papers with the spelling unchecked and the ink still wet
not something that I am proud of
just the reality that is my past

here is a free tip to those that are involved in Graphic Design....those who like Graphic Design....those that like to page through magazines with flashy ads and nice layouts....and finally for those that like something for free
yes FREE!

GRAPHIC DESIGN USA is a free magazine

Check it out!
I love it!

Lodi Numbers
Big: 5 laps, 48.6 minute average, 45 minute fast lap (two 45 minute laps)
Bald: 5 Laps, 47.8 minute average, 43 minute fast lap
Bossy: 5 laps, 53.6 minute average, 48 minute fast lap

Big, Bald, and Bossy finished 4th in 3 Person Expert and were faster than the fastest 3 Person Sport Team, the last lap finishing at 12:30

The winning 3 Person Sport Team was comprised of some racers from Mt. Nittany Wheel Works a shop in State College PA, Eric and Frank were two of the founding members of the City Bikes Mountainbike team (along with current member, ultra endurance racer Brian Kemler. Eric Roman manage to score the second fastest lap in the race on his Pink IF Single Speed which stole the 'kitty' at our pitt for the 2 dollar gamble for FASTEST LAP (a competition I did not enter after seeing Eric's name on the list, figured I could just toss my 2 dollars into the fire.)


Big, Bald, and Bossy heads out to 12 HOURS OF LODI FARMS
No, I did not race this 12 hour mountain bike relay race as a soloist. I joined up with two other City Bikes affiliates, the team captain Brian P. and the City Bikes Chevy Chase manager Mike K. As it turns our Mike K. is BOSSY, Brian P. is BALD, and I am BIG (as well as being bald and bossy) The time leading up to the race involved a flurry of excitement and anxiety. Everyone was watching the weather channel in anticipation of rain. Those of us who raced this course last year in the rain and the cold had made the honest declaration that we would not bother to race this course again if rain was part of the equation. But as we got closer to the race date and the teams started to get more established I felt as though I would race either way. The real question was whether or not I was going to do the whole race on my rigid single speed. Each member of our three person team had decided independently that they would start the race on the single speed and see how things felt, each of us had all brought a back up bike just in case the course was too brutal to the body on a single speed (a bike lacking a derailuer, thus having only one gear, my bike lacking a suspension fork as well)

Brian, Mike, and I all traveled to the race independently knowing that gathering at the race site would not be tough as the race is a fairly small event and that Mike was headed up to the race with the City Bikes extra long box truck. Upon arrival to the event I found a space next to Brian, with room for my tent (which was to be set up but not used, not even for a 5 minute breather) Immediately I was greeted by friend and fellow Clydesdale Firedawg Don Watkins. Don was racing duo with a retired fireman, I respected their ambition, personally I felt that a three person team was enough of a challenge for me. More power to the duo riders and PROZAC to the ones who opt for solo. There was a buzz around the campground. Everyone was happy to see old friends, familiar faces, and plenty of competition. The atmosphere was somewhat relaxed considering that the midnight race start was approaching fast, but the need to connect with the other racers was as vital as registering for the race and checking over the equipment. One of the City Bikes newbies decided to bleed his hydraulic brakes 20 minutes before the make a long story short he ended up racing on a loaner bike from our race team captain Mike K.
When midnight arrived we were all very excited to get things rolling. Brian P. waited in the transition area with Mike's bike and I waited with Kemlers. The racers were spread out with a a Lemanns style running start to their bikes. I was shocked to see another friend and Clydesdale come around to the bikes in first (this racer was on a crazy fast team that took first in the single speed class) All the racers were anxious to see how fast the lap times were. I went to my big blue truck and suited up to ride. It was a warm night, and shorts and jersey seemed to be enough. I got ready to race with a tummy full of anxiety not knowing if I was going to be snailing around the course on the single geared bike with its 29 inch wheels. It seemed like seconds, but was a bit more than 50 minutes and Mike was already at the START/ was not the most fluid transition...but I was at the gate to greet him which is more than I can say for many of the transitions that I have experienced in my years of mountainbike relay racing. My gloves were off, my helmet was a bit askew, and the button on my helmet light was slow to start up and so was I. As I peddled down the crushed grass I hoped that I was headed the right direction. As the grass met some double track I pointed downhill and approached a stream crossing. It was then that I realized that they were running the course backwards this year, I had no advantage from racing this course the two years prior. I dropped in and SPLASH. It was refreshing. The race had begun!
Getting into a groove is always tough for me. Red Bull helps to warm up my legs and lungs, but my races always start a very heavy Darth Vader breathing style for the first several miles and tend to end with the same. What I felt was the halfway point marked a transition in the trail, less log crossing, less tight winding single track, but significantly more up hill. It was one of those situations where a significant amount of my brain power was wasted on asking myself, "when is this course going to end!?!" Sure enough there was a turn onto some jeep road double track and some tiki style lamps in the not so far distance marked the START/FINISHLINE. My laptime was strong, 45 minutes, equally important my body felt good and I was going to stick with the Karate Monkey. Brian P. aka Pooch aka Bald went out on his first lap on the single, enjoyed the experience, but shifted to his geared full suspension bike, Mike also moved to a geared bike for future laps, but that may have had to do with his loaning out his Phil Wood gearless bike to kid with the hydraulic brake issues.

The race momentum had taken over. I was able to get Mike to agree with my aim on racing single laps rather than doubling up having each racer do two laps back to back, sure that would have given each racer time to sleep in the night, but with all the caffeine pumping through our veins and the party atmosphere around the campground it seemed unlikely that anyone would sleep if they had the option.

I never checked the clock or the results board for my lap times or our team's lap position. Our status or my speed would not effect my intensity. My efforts were at their peak and I was going at it as hard as I felt possible, I felt good, rather good, maybe even real good. With my first lap at 45 minutes I felt that later laps were all faster than the first, I was wrong, but it felt that way. In the end even with my multi-crash last lap in the daylight and the rain that gave me a slow lap of 57 minutes I managed to average about 48 minutes per lap. In the end I walked way feeling very good about my efforts on the Karate Monkey, but larger than that I have the long list of memories and the increased bonds that occurred on the course and in the pits. Our base camp was set up along with a gathering of people from MORE (Midatlantic Off Road enthusiasts) It was an impressive display. I was blown away. Scotty from More and PVC (Potomac Velo Club) was a machine. Racing at age 57 on an open class, running back to back laps with an average of roughly 55 minutes per lap he was on fire at the stove. We had pancakes and bacon in the morning and he deep fried some tastee wings at the finish. The team atmosphere was high! Once familiar faces were immediate friends. THere is an energy that is shared at the multilap events that can not be matched at any single day event. Day races are great, but multiday events ROCK!

I had a blast. Was very glad that the pain that I thought was a broken leg on my last lap just happened to be a painful crash. Was also pleased to learn that the Karate Monkey has some grand race potential at some local short climb courses that I am already familiar with.

this is another race report from the same race
but I am not sure that I hit the mark
will read over this and the prior report over tomorrow am
that is
if I have the time
work has been busy

if you want something
if you want to keep it
hold onto it with both hands
one hand is not enough


12 Hours of Lodi Farms
This is where the BLOG began for me. In the beginning the purpose of the blog was to post my race reports, reports written as an email to my city bikes mountain bike team mates, while here I am starting a blog that may be copy and pasted into an email message and sent along to the team...then again...maybe not. as my 1,000 word race report on michaux was actually a tale about dean and myself battling the rodavirus (perhaps I will post this tale later, if desired, comment if you want to hear the tale in full) that race report did not get the best reviews, it may have lost some of the city bikes audience on my reports as a whole after that entry.
The 12 Hours of Lodi Farms

The twelve hours of lodi farms is a grass roots down home mountainbike race relay race just outside of Fredericksburg Virginia. I have participated in this race on a three person sport team for the last two years. This year I joined up with the City Bikes Team Manager Mike and the City Bikes Mountain Bike Team Captain Brian and raced expert. Big, Bald, and Bossy was the team name, I was not sure why Brian named the team after me, but before the words left my mouth I learned that I was Big, Brian was bald, and Mike is bossy, well, it took the 12 hour relay race for me to really learn that Mike was bossy. Big, Bald, and Bossy registered for the 3 person expert team. Anxiety flowed around the city bikes team/support area. There was talk about how to approach the race. Mike was adamant about us doing two laps back, "doubling up" We discussed it. Brian backed off without opinion. I wanted to do single laps throughout the race. We had all brought single speeds, although we did not register for the single speed class, I was going to try and run this race on my Karate Monkey. Having not raced a rigid 29 inch single speed before I had the twenty six inch blizzard on location. We discussed our abilities and our strengths and came up with a compromise...we each go out for one lap, then we each double up, and then we re-evaluate our strength and race out the morning, this approach would give each racer more time to sleep in the night, having just under 4 hours between laps rather than a buck thirty or so. I agreed to go second just to get on the bike, the anticipation was great...I wanted to ride...the sky was clear while the weatherman called for scattered thunder storms, I wanted to make sure I got some dry laps in before the dry earth became dinosaur shit and the off camber roots became ice-like in texture and grip.
There was a race meeting, the before I could put the bike in the stand to see if it survived the drive, it was time for the LeManns style start. I was in a pack holding Kemler's bike right along side Brian holding Mike's Phil Wood single speed. The racers came screaming out of the woods and the race had begun. Mike was on his bike and I was off to get dressed and to check over the bike. The bike went into the stand, the wheels spun and I thought outloud...IT IS A SINGLE SPEED! and headed over to the start to wait for mike's lap to end and my lap to begin. Mike pulled a fast first lap, somewhere in the range of 50 minutes. So fast that when he arrived I was gloveless and just back from pissing in the woods. At the handoff of the numbered pink scrunchee functioning as a baton I awkwardly tried to turn on my lights and put on my gloves.....the clock had started for my lap....the race had started for me....I got on my bike and started pedaling. The gloves were on, but the lights had not powered up....before I could get frustrated the beam came on, first dimly, then in all of its blue HID glory. I made the turn down a dirt road and saw a stream crossing in front of me...."oh, they are running the course backwards this year, guess I lack the advantage of knowing the course." cleared the water crossing with ease, zipped up the mud embankment, then over a pipe, then a set of roots, my heart race, then my lights unveiled a short steep climb. I was off my bike and galloping up the hill. my heart felt like it was going to explode. questions came my way, "do I pace myself or do I go for it?"..."how will a 29 inch single speed with no suspension effect me?"...."where is the meat of the message for my blog?" at the top of the first hill I was back on the bike. Red Bull pumped fast through my veins. A smile peeled across my face and I thought to myself....ride the bike, just ride the bike, and have fun.

that was the start of lap one
at the end of lap one I was a mixture of smiles and popping veins. I felt good. my time was fast and my body was not exceptionally sore....the karate monkey had won its roll for lap two, my team mates would retire the single speed after one lap. while I would learn that this was the bike for me, well at least the bike for me on this course.

more on this later
I will post this for now without a proof read
maybe after a reread in the morning I will delete and start over
or I may continue from this point

only joel the unlikely editor will know the fate of the electronically typed text

today after a short ride through traffic to say good bye to a friend moving north I grabbed the dogs to go for a hike.
dean was amped. it seemed clear to me that he could use to burn some of the excess energy in the woods, but I could see that he was not in any mood to go hiking. his head says yes, but his legs say no, which cause his mouth to say, "daddy....put me on your shoulders! daddy....put me on your shoulders! daddy....put me on your shoulders!" until I put him on his shoulders, there can be momentary deals, but ten yards later it is all, "daddy....put me on your shoulders!" until I finally raise him up on my shoulders. after the 12 hours of lodi farms or after just your average day at work I am not in the mood to carry all this excess weight on my back. sure I love that whole "courtship of eddie's father" bonding session stuff, but my knees and back are not always feeling the benefits. so I knew how to out smart him. grab Elijah and see if he wanted to hike. dean bought it hook, line, and sinker. we were not on the sidewalk for two houses before the first, "daddy....put me on your shoulders!" the reminder of elijah got him running. we got to elijah's house, the vortex was strong, dean was pulled right past james to elijah's toys. james searched for elijah's shoes. I waited with the dogs outside. the boys were gathered. the rules were set. we were off to the woods. the basic rule. Listen to Joel or immediately go back. the rules started as we stepped into the woods. no sword play, only one stick, no running with sticks, etc. the boys were off and running, without sticks by my command. every 20 yards it was a gathering of cicadas or banging a tree with a stick, until I distracted them with the idea of running, racing, turbo boost, or putting it in over drive. they ran the whole loop. racing up slippery hill or going to the fort were all great motivators, but calling them each a t-rex and getting them growl as they ran....this got us home....well back to the sidewalk. I had seen all the cicada shells on the leaves and branches and wanted to take some pictures of lisa, dean, and grant. we are going to put together a set of images of the boyz with cicadas; NOT TO BE OPENED FOR 17 YEARS! So that they know that they have experienced this phenomena before, well if the world is still hear or if the current president and his frat boy buddies have not paved over all the green space in the next 17 years...after all Rock Creek is great real estate for a Hoyts Cinema, a Target, and a parking lot.

Never made it back to the house. The sidewalk was a more obvious place for the boys to collect the live adult cicadas. they were scared at first. but soon they were picking up the adults and placing them in a insect container with a magnifying glass lid. they were pumped.

no photos to tell the tale
but I have the memory

more cicadas tomorrow

maybe by the weeks end Dean will be able to explain the life cycle of the Cicada on his own
after all
it is all happening in front of us