The Breaks.

A lot of you know I don’t believe in fate, predestination, or whatever else people use to eschew responsibility and accountability.  Rather, I’m a believer in the law of averages, statistics, probability, and chance.  Unfortunately, I was mathmatically ready for a serious mechanical/wreck after not having had one on the road bike for at least 4 years.  Too bad it was on a night that I held the lead of the Tour of Anchorage.

Tonight’s stage was the pancake-flat Fort Richardson road race.  Normally time bonuses liven a race up and keep it moving along pretty quickly.  Bull shit.  This was the most pedestrian (thanks for the adjective, Cullen), twitchy, squirrely race I have done since doing the category 5 Podunk criterium in BFE South Carolina.  Quick note to all you guys who can’t handle a bike well enough to sprint:  GET OFF OF THE GOD DAMN FRONT!  Now, I’m not much of a sprinter by any stretch, but I’m a pretty damn good bike handler (which we’ll get into later).  So yeah, I feel like I can mix it up with the guys whose wattages easily double mine.  Hey, my lead was slim, and if I see a guy trying to chip into it with these time bonuses, I’m going after him for sure.  Anyway, it had been pissing rain all day, I had road grit in my shorts, it was getting cold, and I was in a real big hurry to get this race over.  It was over alright.  On the last lap, one guy scrubs my wheel, panics, hits another guy, and he falls over into my rear wheel, taking all the spokes from the drive side with him.  Fuck.   

So that wheel I just shined and polished and degreased, etc. now looks like this:

Dammit.

Dammit.

Well, at least I'm getting a Power Tap with my PFD.

Well, at least I'm getting a Power Tap with my PFD.

I’m just glad I spent so much time on the mountain bike this Summer, otherwise I wouldn’t have kept it upright.  All the Twitchy McSquirrelingtons in the group would have crashed spectacularly.  Unfortunately you don’t get time bonuses for narrowly evading crashes, nor do they give you a break for finishing 10+ minutes down because of a wreck (at least as far as I know).  I do feel bad for the other 2 or 3 guys who didn’t come out so well.  That’s probability for ya.  I don’t want to sound presumptuous and say I was a shoo in, but I feel I had a better chance of winning the Tour of Anchorage than most.  I’m philosophical about it, though.  I’ve had the best year of cycling I’ve ever had in my life.  I never would have thought that I could finish a 24 hour race on a rigid single speed, much less finish in 3rd.  And look at my results through the season.  This was the first race all year I finished lower than 4th.  Maybe some of you guys were right, I should have moved up to Experts.  I dunno.  Maybe I’ll stick around in Sport and run the fucking board next year (again).

So, three beers, six waffles, and one blog later, I’m going to make a promise to you readers since you’ve stuck with me this far.  With all the time that I lost today, I get to have a little fun.  This means doing what I do best, and what I do best is attack, drive the pace, and just put a fucking hurt on people in general.  I can guaran-damn-tee that people will be suffering come Sunday.

-Yrjo

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Tour of Anchorage Stage 1

Well, it’s really a prologue, but 5 miles is a bit long to call it that.  Anyway, I’ve said many times before that despite being Dutch, I really hate riding in the rain.  Looks like I’ll be doing 4 straight days of it.  I didn’t really feel like I got a very good warm up, and I couldn’t get my foot in the pedal at the start, so I cooked it too quickly out of the gates.  All evening I was wondering how badly I flubbed an event in which I normally excel.  All that doubt was for naught.  Check the results here.  Kudos to Joe for riding a hell of a race! 

I’m gonna eat some more and go to bed.  Be back tomorrow!

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My First Product Review!

There’s nothing more exciting than getting a package in the mail with your name on it (unless it’s a pipe bomb- well, that’s exciting too).  Today, I got a package from my friend Nick Huemmer all the way from Evanston, Illinois (and it wasn’t a pipe bomb) containing a bottle of El Duke biodegradeable and non-toxic degreaser.  Right away I was a bit ambivalent, since I’m a Tar Heel fan; plus, I never really liked Orlando Hernandez just because he played for the Yankees.  But all polemics aside, let’s see what we have, shall we?

Not a pipe bomb.  Alright!

Not a pipe bomb. Sweet!

As you can see, Nick is a shrewd enough businessman to know that dirtbag cyclists really like free shit.  He didn’t disappont:

No mysterious white powder either.

No mysterious white powder either.

The first thing I figured I’d test was the biodegradeable and non-toxic aspect of the product.  Well, I stared at the bottle for a while and it didn’t deteriorate, so the jury’s still out on that.  Also, I couldn’t find anyone willing to taste the product in spite of its very light, non-offending odor.  That would have to wait too, so it was time to put this stuff through its paces.  I started out by putting on the t-shirt, which was made by American Apparel in the good ol’ US of A (good on ya Nick).  Not to turn this into a clothing review, but the shirt was rather comfortable.  Ok, here’s some pictures of the bike before:

010

011

013

I’m ashamed my bike ever got that dirty, but it’s all in the name of science.  The first thing I noticed when I opened the bottle was the smell, or rather the lack of.  It wasn’t at all unpleasant.  In fact, you really couldn’t smell it unless you poured it in a rag and huffed it…ahem.  Anyway, the second thing I noticed is that I had spilled some of it on the floor.  No big deal, since it was about to get messier. 

Generally when I clean a drivetrain, I’ll just use a bunch of old rags and just go to town.  The El Duke degreaser cut the time that would have taken in half- easily.  Here’s some pictures during:

Getting there...

Getting there...

Oops.  Better not let the wife see that...

Oops. Better not let the wife see that...

Ta da!

Ta da!

So it seemed to be working well enough.  Once I got done cleaning the drivetrain, I put the degreaser to the handwash test which it passed easily.  It’s probably the first time I’ve seen degreaser lather up somewhat, which got me thinking.  What if I dilute some in a bucket of hot water and use it to wash the bike?  Brilliant!  Check out the results:

El Duke totally made that cassette his bitch.

El Duke totally made that cassette his bitch.

020

Why, it even turned that yellow tire blue!

Gorgeous!

Gorgeous!

So there you have it, a produt that does exactly what it says on the bottle- and then some (still haven’t tested the non-toxicity part yet).  My only nit pick would be to have a smaller opening on the bottle so you could drip it if you needed to and not spill so much.  But really, that’s a very small nit to pick for a product that works so well.  If you’re looking for a good degreaser and don’t want to use kerosene or other toxic fluids, El Duke is the stuff!

You know, after all that hard work, it’s a shame I’m racing that bike in the rain tomorrow.

-Yrjo

I’m not able to embed this video, but the link is clickable one way or another.

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Long Time No See!

How long has it been anyway?  I figured a nice break from excessive Facebooking, blogging, Tweeting, and whatever else-ing might do some good and get my brain back in gear.  Boy was I wrong.  It’s even more convoluted than usual, and now I have to try and sort it out and type it with my two index fingers on this here blog.  So, let’s catch up shall we?

Rumor has it, there was some race over in France.  Now, I know this is the good ol’ U S of A and we all like our comeback stories, but I couldn’t be happier that Contador won.  Especially after reading this little bit of typical Armstrongian dickery.  I’m sure Versus was there with Craig Hummer giving a play by play of his drink selection.  Sycophants.  Don’t get me wrong, I love the Tour, but this year was more like the “Tour meh France.”  Too damn predictable.  The only thing I looked forward too was Cavendish’s victory salutes after making Hushovd his bitch- SIX TIMES!  He even rolled out a commemorative wheelset for the occasion.

haters

I hear he’s making this easily customizable wheel available to everyone with a cadre of haters.  Quantity of said balls can be adjusted accordingly.  -1 for Lance (All You Haters Suck My Ball), +6 for Jens Voigt.

Speaking of balls, my friend Tim over at Bicycles and Icicles had the audacity to criticize the design of our roundabouts in arguably the best planned roads on the planet.  I mean, really, why in the hell should these engineers be bothered to keep cyclists in mind?  God forbid we impede the flow of the almighty automobile.  Seriously though, my only regret is that I don’t have more hands to give that post four thumbs up.  What’s really funny is the shit-storm that brewed when ADN took it upon itself to link to the post in the newsreader.  You thought comment threads were bad before?  Holy crap!  In spite of all this, I would still rather take my chances here than in Charlotte.

The Soggy Bottom 100 is right around the corner, but regretfully, I will be putting this one off until next year.  The Tour of Anchorage is only a week and a half after that, and I doubt I would have recovered in time if the 24 hour race was any indication.  Nonetheless, here’s the flyer:

[SB+100+09.jpg]

If that bit of of masterful artwork is any indication, the race is certain to be radtacular to say the least.  I don’t even have the sack to start.  Me and the Moots will be there next year, friends!  I’ll even be sporting the “All You Ballers Hate My Suck” wheelset.

I was asked by the 3 people who read my blog when I would post again.  One even suggested I post about the recent exercise in masochism I like to call the Glen Alps Hill Climb.  Not a bad idea, really.  Actually my friend TB made a nice little video of the course, but I’ll try my best to explain it in words.  It climbs somewhere around 2500 feet in around 9 miles with some crazy grades (17% or so) thrown in the mix.  I wish I had some GPS data to show you, but the only way I can describe it is “damn hard.”  This one probably ties with my Arctic Valley single speed hill climb in terms of difficulty.  Still lots of fun though.  It helped having all the volunteers and racers who already finished cheering everyone else on. 

Finally, I signed up for the National MS Society’s “Carolinas Biketober Challenge” today.  And being a fundraising ride, I need to raise funds.  If you’re so inclined, you can make a donation here.  I’m pretty sure it’s tax-deductible.  I know, it’s kinda douchey to hit you guys up for money on my blog, but it’s for a great cause. 

Anyway, it’s nice to be back in the blogging chair hammering away at the keys again.  Hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing it.  See you next time!

-Yrjo

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It’s Hot!

Not sure if anyone’s noticed, but it’s been rather warm out there, at least by Anchorage standards.  It reminds me of the last time we were in the Netherlands.  It was hot then, and just as in Anchorage, not many people have (or need) air conditioning.  My brother-in-law and I found out the best way to keep cool was to drink lots of beer and watch “The Tour.”  I lost count, but I think every other day we were returning our 24-plus empties for our deposit and using that to buy more beer.  Funny thing is, I don’t remember ever really getting drunk.  It was just too damn hot.

Oh yeah. Crates and crates of this stuff.

Just picture the two of us resplendent in our cargo shorts, t-shirts, and sandals, cruising to the C1000 on our bikes and loading up a crate each on our racks.  Almost looked like we were separated at birth.  I’m honestly surprised we made it the 2 miles back to the house without drinking any.  Definitely makes a bike handle a little differently, that’s for sure.  Which reminds me:

If any of you tri-geeks get the bright idea of showing up to your next group ride with aerobars, just watch the TTT stage of this year’s Tour and leave that shit at home.  If the guys who get paid pretty well to ride their bikes wreck that spectacularly, there’s no way in hell you white-knuckling those monstrosities could ever hope to manage in a paceline.  Seriously.  The mankini is bad enough.

-Yrjo

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I’m Back.

Hope you all survived the Fourth of July weekend with your fingers, eardrums, diets and dignity intact.  Well, your fingers at least. 

Finally, after a much needed blog hiatus, I’m back in the writing chair with index fingers on stand-by ready to hammer out another gem for you.  But lo and behold, all the fun stuff I did this weekend, all the news that’s going on, I seem to be having a bit of a head cramp at the moment.  I think it’s all the food and UFC over at my friend’s house.  Great times.

The Tour started this weekend, as I’m sure one or two of you may know (or care).  This means that in the States our TV experience equates to nothing more than the 3 weeks and some change Lance Armstrong stroke-off.  You’d almost think that there were 179 other guys out there riding with Lance just to keep him entertained.  It’s comparable to Tiger Woods and golf, David Beckham and soccer, and Park Joo Bong and badminton.  I suppose it’s good to have someone who personifies the something enough to make it popular to even the most ignorant person.  But we already have a self-aggrandizing, mono-testicular, sanctimonious, media-basher, and she called it quits a few days ago.  Maybe she’ll come back in four years and run for governor again.

After a week of recovery rides and ample leg stretching I’m back on the bike and gearing up for the next bunch of races on the calendar, all culminating into a (hopefully) successful Tour of Anchorage.  I was 50/50 about doing the Soggy Bottom 100 mountain bike race before the Tour, but it’s now looking like 80/20 against, especially since the feeling still hasn’t come back in my toes and now I’m getting this funky thing going on in my left thumb.  I know, I know “HTFU.” 

 That’s pretty much it for now.  It’s kind of anti-climatic, isn’t it?  Here I was blogging nearly every day in the wind-up to the 24 hour race, and then POOF!  Seems like the race was the blog’s raison d’être.  Rest assured, I will be doing it again next year.

-Yrjo

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Recovery

The soreness is subsiding, the feeling is coming back in my toes, and I can finally squeeze my left hand into a fist again.  The chaffing?  Meh.  Bugbites?  Almost gone, as is some of the bruising.  I even managed to spin on the trainer for a bit just to get the legs moving again.  Thanks everyone for the pats on the back and the attaboys.  Here’s my friend Julie’s take on the race.  There’s also an article about the 24 hour race at ADN.  Not sure if you have to subscribe or anything, but the link worked for me, I promise.

Originally I had planned on doing the Fireweed 100 road race, but I think I’m going to skip that just to get some long solo miles (again) before the Soggy Bottom 100 Mountain Bike Race and the Tour of Anchorage (with some shorter races before that just for flavor).  Perhaps I’m being overly ambitious by taking on these two races within 2 weeks of each other…or not.  We’ll see. 

Also, in a previous post, I mentioned wanting to sell a certain bike.  Well…my friends convinced me that it probably wouldn’t be such a good idea.  Especially not if I was planning to do it all over again next year.  It seems a fully rigid single speed 29er was perfect for the course.  It was for me at least.  So the bike is off the market for now. 

Yep, she done me right.

Yep, she done me right.

At any rate, I’ll be keeping you all up to date as usual!

-Yrjo

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