Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Back From The Brink

Iggy Pop, 32 years ago on the Dinah Shore show. Iggy gives props to Detroit and Ann Arbor.

Then he rocks out, with David Bowie on keyboards and two of Soupy Sales' kids in the band. Thanks to boing boing...

Soupy Sales died last week. The guy was muched loved in Michigan.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Rider Down. Driver Down.

Bad news. Another Michigan man pays the ultimate price while riding his bike on the road.

John DeStefanis was riding his bicycle to meet friends on Saturday night in Clinton Township, but he never made it.

A driver struck DeStafanis, 41, of Roseville, less than a block from his destination, leaving him on life support in a local hospital.

"They found his body in the middle of Gratiot," said his girlfriend Diane Ferschneider.

"They're talking about maybe taking him off life support tomorrow. And he's a father. He's a good man."

DeStafanis has five children, and friends say that despite a rocky past, he had turned his life around in recent years.

Witnesses say a dark blue sports car struck him. It may now have front-end damage.

It's an old story, right? Hit and run. Cyclist in the hospital and close to dead. There's even the local cyclists arguing whether the rider was an ignorant bike salmon or a "legit" member of the lycra set.

But this one ends a little differently than the typical "Corvette Driver Hits Cyclist and Gets Away With It" story.

With police zeroing in on him, the key suspect in a hit-and-run accident that left a bicyclist brain dead took his own life early Tuesday on the bike path outside of Metro Beach, according to police.

A man riding a bicycle on the bike path found the man’s body about 6:35 a.m. near the intersection of 16 Mile and Jefferson. A shotgun the suspect used to kill himself was found near the body, according to the Macomb County Sheriff’s Office.

“He left a couple of notes, one in his truck and one in his home, but I wouldn’t categorize the contents as a confession,” said sheriff’s Capt. Tony Wickersham.

The suspect, a 38-year-old St. Clair Shores resident, was being sought for questioning in an Oct. 4 accident on Gratiot, near Quinn, in Clinton Township that left John Destefanis with critical injuries.

I don't even know what to say. Two lives lost. A cyclist meets his end on the road, and the driver who took him out dies by his own end on a bicycle trail head. WTF?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Vacation Weekend Craptacular

I'm on vacation. Today. Officially. Unlike the Italians or French who take a month long national holiday every summer I'm doing things the American way. taking a week off and I'm going to Vegas, baby! That means gorging myself on $19 buffets. Giant cocktails by the pool. Overpriced versions of off broadway shows.

Before I go there's a few things to lay on the table. Stuff to get off my chest. Yeah, more ranting. And some props.

First off, Sue George gives mad props where props are due to a guy who put the pros on the ropes this year. A working stiff, who punches the clock 40+ hours per week. Christian Tanguy ripped up the pros this year in the NUE Series. He beat almost all of them. At the finish line of the Shenandoah 100 Bishop put it all on the line to beat Tanguy by only 20 seconds. But who was sprinting? Tanguy thought there was 2 miles of trail left! Christian is a down to earth French expat who now lives in Michigan. No pro ride, but the real deal.

"Christian is the revelation of the NUE series this year. His fitness is world class," said fellow competitor and Shenandoah Mountain 100 winner Jeremiah Bishop (MonaVie / Cannondale). "He's opening some eyes for sure."

The 34-year-old Tanguy placed second at the Mohican 100 and the Lumberjack 100 races earlier this season. In August, he finished second at the Wilderness 101 and he won the Fool's Gold 100. Last weekend, he was second at the Shenandoah Mountain 100.

This weekend is race number two of the Midwest Triple Crown, Chequamegon. How does Simonster train for such a race? By Motopacing! Mike Simonson has won The Iceman AND Ore To Shore. But Chequamegon has eluded him. Will this be the year?

While Tanguy is moving up in the world and Simonster is riding his Superfly behind a subcompact hatchback on a gravel road somewhere, the fight against Sport Class Women racers continues.

Why do they always start the sport women before the beginner men? There is always this big, race-deciding log jam in the single track section. It sucks for the guys to be stuck in "traffic", and it just HAS to suck for the ladies to be getting passed all the time.

Yeah, why do they start faster people before slower people? Oh wait. Here's a tip, dude. If you race beginner and the Sport people in front of you are in your way, it means you're not supposed to be racing beginner. It makes for good comedy, though. There's nothing funnier than an internet fight between sandbaggers over trail etiquette.

It could be worse. Instead of being a sandbagging tool who is edging his way into a healthy sport with a cool subculture, the guy could be a right wing closet racist who can't stomach the fact that an articulate black man is the president.

Sunday, September 6, 2009


Early results from the finish line

1. Bishop
2. Tanguy
3. Schalk
4. Jakomait
5. Koerber
6. Draugelis
7. Kuhn

1. Haywood
2. Shogren
3. Lowery
4. Musto
5. Simril

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A Treasury of Dirt Bag Videos!

How many times have you heard someone say "I'd ride my bike more if I only had somewhere to park it." What if the problem wasn't parking, but finding it again?

Bicycle Rights! Bicycle Rights!

Let's make S'mores! WTF is wrong with people in LA? I remember riding through the hills over Oakland, CA the year after the fires burned most of the hills above East Oakland. Lots of charred foundations up there. Ride through those hills today and there's nothin' but overpriced homes, bigger n' badder than they were before those fires. Wonder how long that'll last?

Let's make S'mores!

Californians Gather To Celebrate Annual Wildfire Tradition

I'm a Skeptic and an atheist, but I'd read this bible.

Book of Genesis illustrated by R. Crumb from Mark Frauenfelder on Vimeo.

Please, Please, Please let them get what they want this time.



Fuss Vom Gas

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Double Down!

Yeah, that's what I'm talkin' bout! Gimme some a that KFC, yo!

Fresh off that news.....

Obese People Have 'Severe Brain Denegration'

A new study finds obese people have 8 percent less brain tissue than normal-weight individuals. Their brains look 16 years older than the brains of lean individuals, researchers said today.

Those classified as overweight have 4 percent less brain tissue and their brains appear to have aged prematurely by 8 years.

The results, based on brain scans of 94 people in their 70s, represent "severe brain degeneration," said Paul Thompson, senior author of the study and a UCLA professor of neurology.

"That's a big loss of tissue and it depletes your cognitive reserves, putting you at much greater risk of Alzheimer's and other diseases that attack the brain," said Thompson. "But you can greatly reduce your risk for Alzheimer's, if you can eat healthily and keep your weight under control."

Maybe that explains why someone would actually eat a sandwich made of two pieces of deep fried chicken hugging bacon and melted cheese food.

Crazy food ideas that'll make you fat aren't new. 80 years ago some dude filed a patent for a banana ice cream injector.

Yeah, that's a banana.

If you have any doubt that Americans are nuts when it comes to their health, take a gander at how the crack-pots act at those Heath Care Town Hall Meetings. Even John McCain feels their anti health wrath.

There's nothing like watching a bunch of fat AARP members, who are probably on Medicare and Social Security, scream like maniacs that they don't want the government instituting "socialism."

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Saturday Night Video Fun

I figured all the gun nuts showing up at Health Care Town Hall Meetings with firearms would like this video.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

She's the Man

There's a ruckus brewin' in the world of international track & field.

"A female runner accused of being a man tonight took gold in the 800m World Athletics Championship.
South African Caster Semenya, 18, had to take a gender test after doubts were raised about her sex.
But despite the furore, she easily took gold in the final in Berlin.

The teenage sensation has sparked controversy over her strikingly muscular physique.
Today officials at the world athletics body, the IAAF, revealed that it ordered her to take a gender test three weeks ago.
IAAF spokesman Nick Davies confirmed the tests were taking place, though he said the results would not be confirmed for several weeks."

I don't even know what to say about this brew-ha-ha. It's like the past 100 years of anti-feminism dumped on this poor 18 year old all in one massive media disaster. She's too fast, therefore she mustn't be a she. She's too "muscular," therefore she must be a he.

She doesn't fit everyone's stereotype of what a woman should be, so she's gotta be......must be a guy.

The sad part of this is she just won Worlds and instead of being celebrated she's being turned into a joke. And how will the world apologize when, after blood tests, psychiatric tests and a gynecological exam it turns out that all the haters were just stupid men thinking with their.....

This is nothing new, women upsetting society's idea of what they're supposed to be. Society abhors a standout that isn't also a man. What kind of message does that send to kids? Don't step out of line girls, or the world governing body of sport will send you to a shrink and inspect your genitalia.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Rebecca Rusch wins Leadville, gets 6 sentences at Velonews

Velonews has an article online this weekend covering the much hyped Leadville 100 race, which took place August 15. Of course, the focus of the article was on Lance Armstrong, Dave Wiens and a handful of the other top male finishers in the race. Armstrong's decision to target Leadville this year brought a lot of attention to the race. That's good for the Leadville 100 and it's good for mountain biking. The media shines it's bright lights on Mountain Biking rarely, and even more rarely (even in cycling circles) is there any substantial coverage of ultra distance racing.

So, don't get me wrong. I would never get may boxers up in a bunch and go online and diss Lance Armstrong like a lot of weekend warriors have been doing all summer on the intertubes. And as far as the Velonews piece that was posted on their website this weekend I don't want anybody to think I'm even criticizing the author. Like I said, any coverage is good coverage.

What irks me is the fact that the woman's race got barely even a mention. Following the typical cycling media report format, the article (as of today) contains 734 word and 22 paragraphs. 5 brief sentences AT THE BOTTOM of the story are dedicated to the fact that Rebecca Rusch won the women's race.

"Rebecca Rusch (Redbull-Specialized) won the women's race in about 8:15. It was the first Leadville for the two-time 24-hour solo world champion, and her win didn't come easy.

While the men's leaders got over the Columbine climb without too much bad weather, Rusch was stuck in a stingy sleet storm above treeline. Returning to lower elevations, she faced a stiff headwind much of the way back to Leadville.

Still, the Sun Valley, Idaho, resident praised the Leadville race for its friendly community and fellow racers.

"The whole vibe was great," she said. Having never raced or ridden the Leadville course, Rusch rode with a self-drawn map taped to her top tube, showing the major climbs.

She was not getting time splits on her position relative to the other women.

"I was pretending the guys were women and I got a scare near the end when I came up on a guy wearing pink," she said.

The headline in large red font at the top of the article reads "Armstrong Wins Leadville 100." In black much smaller font below the headline a second line reads "Rusch wins women's title." Shouldn't the headline be one line (all the same font size) that reads: "Armstrong and Rusch Win Leadville Titles!" Or better yet, how about "Rusch and Armstrong win Leadville Titles."

I have to give Rebecca some major props for that win. Rebecca is an ultra power house. She's won some huge races, including 24 Nationals and multiple 24 Hour world championships. She's raced all over the world. And she's a cool as hell person on top of all that. Plus, Rebecca had to beat Amanda Carey. Prior to the race I would have called it in favor of Amanda. Amanda had done Leadville before, and had been training on the Leadville course this summer. Unfortunately, anybody checking out the Velonews article wouldn't know any of that. Amanda's name doesn't even appear in the article.

Luckily, has a couple of paragraphs mentioning both women at the bottom of their Leadville Article:

"In the women’s race it was 2-time 24 Hour World Champion Rebecca Rusch (Specialized/Red Bull) taking the lead early. Unlike the men, Rusch opened up a gap early and held on throughout the 100-mile event.

Her chief rival, Amanda Carey (Kenda/Tomac/Hayes) suffered a flat tire in the opening miles of the race and she never fully recovered from the mechanical. Carey held the time gap steady at 14 minutes over the first 50 miles and even took some time back on the Columbine climb but that was the closest she would get to the leader.

The endurance specialist Rusch clearly had something left in the tank as she hammered her way back to the finish, eventually crossing the line at 8.14.53. Carey held onto the runner-up spot 26 minutes behind Rusch."

With all the media attention focused on Armstrong, it would be nice to introduce the thousands of people who might not have otherwise followed the goings on at Leadville to the fact that some very accomplished women also threw down on that infamous course yesterday. If all the coverage does is mention a guy we already know and admire, what good is all that attention for the other half of the pros at the race, the women who ride as hard and sacrifice just as much to be there? It seems like such a huge opportunity to introduce them with more than a few token words about the women's race.

When I run across the women's full results I'll post them below. In the mean time, good job Rebecca, Amanda and all the rest of the women who started the race yesterday. Some of us were checking the results all afternoon yesterday just to see how YOU did!

Ore To Shore....And Back Again!

I'm reposting my Ore To Shore race report, which I originally put up last week the Twin Six site:

Last week we loaded up the truck and pointed it North for the seven hour drive to Marquette, Michigan for this year’s running of the Ore To Shore. I hadn’t competed at Ore to Shore for four years. The last two times to Marquette I did hand-ups and support for my wife and sister-in-law. This time I was back in the mix.

Unfortunately for me, my three top 25 finishes were old news for the promoter. Since I’d been away so long I wasn’t awarded a preferred start. “Come on,” I argued at Friday’s registration, “I used to be fast!” But the promoter wasn’t having any of it.

Race day arrived, cool and wet. Grey skys covered the area following overnight rain. We arrived at the line one and a half hours early, only to find that the start area in Negaunee was already filling up with bikes. I wedged mine between the dozens of others and attempted to keep warm, while my wife enjoyed the fruits of being a legit pro with a preferred start. She got to warm up on her bike, her preferred start was secure.

The 600+ rider mass start came soon enough. Time flies when you’re standing around with hundreds of other damp cyclists on a cold U.P. morning. The flat, paved roll-out of Negaunee instantly became a big ring sprint. Memories of Ore To Shores past flittered through my mind as I sprinted and elbowed my way through the throng of riders. Time was running out, though. A mile and a half later the course turned to the dirt and soon after we were hitting the big grassy toboggan hill where the real race selection is made. Get to the top with the leaders and you’re in the game. Miss that selection and you’ll be chasing the next 46 miles downhill to Marquette. At the top of the massive hill a spectator was counting riders outloud. “54!” I heard him shout as I rode by.

A few miles later I was chasing the leaders. I hit a stretch of pavement rolling through Ishpeming. Up ahead I could see a large group of three or four dozen people. That was as close as I’d get to the front of the race.

The rest of the 2009 Ore To Shore became what felt like a long long time trial. Now and then I’d catch lone riders who’d been shelled off the back of that original lead pack. Near the midpoint at Missery Hill I shouldered my bike and put a huge gap on a large group of riders who’d been on my wheel. 6 miles later an infamous stretch of pavement they scooped me back up. 12 on the road roll a lot faster than one. I took a breather in that group, then hit the gas again when we reached the dirt for the last 18 or so miles.

The last third of the race was a blur. Head down and spinning away, I managed to hold off everyone behind me exept one. I blew past a few lonely straglers as I neared the finish line. When it was all over I’d crossed the line in 28th place overall (2:42), only a minute out of the money. It was my worst finish at Ore To Shore, but since this has been a rebuilding year for me (after 3 years of injury and rehab) I had to be happy with the result. My legs actually felt really good.

My wife came in not far behind for 3rd overall. Once we’d both caught our breath we made our way out to route 41 and spun our bikes for another hour for the ride back to Negaunee to pick up our car from the start line. Ore To Shore 2009 was history. Bring on 2010!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009


Our hearts go out to Elden and the kids. Susan inspired so many people.

"Susan died tonight (August 5) at 7:25pm. It was a hard, long day, and Susan fought right to the end, for much longer than anyone would have thought she could.

My mom, my sisters Kellene and Jodi, and my Brother-in-Law Rocky were all here to support my family as Susan passed away.

I’ll have more to say soon, but consider this. Susan inspired me to expand the focus of my blog from nothing but bike-related jokes to a serious and pitched fight against cancer."

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Adios Amigo!

Kirk O'Bee is out this time. Probably for good.

The Bissell Pro Cycling team issued a terse press release Friday noting that it had dismissed Kirk O’Bee for a contract breach that involved a violation of the team’s “zero-tolerance policy” regarding performance-enhancing drugs.

Short on specifics, the team’s statement referred to “actions (that) are an isolated incident that occurred independently and without the knowledge of both team management and his teammates.”

The team also noted that O’Bee is now cooperating with both the U.S. and World Anti-Doping Agencies to address an apparent doping violation.

O’Bee, too, issued a statement noting that he regrets “that a mistake I made as an individual will reflect poorly on the entire sport. I’d especially like to apologize to my teammates and to my sponsors, and hope that my actions will not damage their good names.”

If the case is pursued by USADA, O'Bee could face up to a life-time suspension for a second doping violation.

Kind of sad when half your Wiki Page is about your doping problem.

Kirk O'Bee (born April 9, 1977 in Ada, Michigan) is a professional road racing cyclist from the United States. O'Bee is a three-time United States national champion: in 1997, O'Bee captured the USPRO Championship in pursuit; followed in 2001 to become the USPRO Criterium Champion. In 2007, he again won the USPRO Criterium Championship in Downers Grove, IL, while finishing second overall in the race to Canadian Martin Gilbert. In 2002, Kirk O'Bee received a one-year suspension from professional cycling due to an elevated testosterone to epitestosterone ratio as a result of testing performed at the 2001 US Professional Cycling Championships. O'Bee declared that his positive drug test "resulted from a special training regimen recommended by his coach, which involved dietary supplements and exercise."
On July 31, 2009, O'Bee was fired by the Bissell Pro Cycling Team for an apparent doping violation

O'Bee is from the 616. His title sponsor, Bissell, is also here in my home town. I'd like to say he is a local hero. But you can't be a hero when you end your career like that.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Right Wing Scum VS. Reality

I've been to Amsterdam. The place is pretty damn safe. Even the homeless (who are few) are polite. If society there is falling apart I'm all for it. Please bring some of that anarchy over here.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Steaming Piles of Bike Poo

For a couple of weeks I avoided the intertubes. Lots of work. Lots of riding. I DVRd Le Tour every day and rushed home from work to watch the action. Thank the gods for Digital Video Recorders. Three weeks ago I went out to the Rockies (Breck and Colorado Springs). Needless to say that daily rides above the tree line and ample supplies of liquids from Breckenridge Brewery put me in quite a state. It took me a while to catch up since getting back.

With the Tour over it's time to look at second half of the cycling season. Seems that while the rest of us are thinking ahead to Cross Season and counting the remaining days of summer, The 2009 Tour Champion is acting like an inglorious SOB!

“My relationship with Lance Armstrong is non-existent. Even if he is a great champion, I have never had admiration for him and I never will,” the Contador said. “On this Tour, the days in the hotel were harder than those on the road. It was a delicate situation, very tense, the two riders who had most weight on the team did not have an easy relationship and that puts the rest of the technical staff and the riders in an uncomfortable position.”

I've been a Contador fan for while now. They guy is gifted. Hard not to be impressed by a guy who's won all three grand tours. If you truly appreciate the sport you want to see guys like Contador ride. Guys like him and Armstrong are history makers. Contador is Kobe. Armstrong is Jordan. Get it?

So Contador mouths off like an immature jerk and what's Lance's response? Lance the arrogant prick. Lance, the guy who made fun of Pantani's "elephant ears." Lance, the man the French fans loved to hate?

“Seeing these comments from AC. If I were him I’d drop this drivel and start thanking his team. w/o them, he doesn’t win.”

“hey pistolero, there is no “i” in “team”. what did i say in March? Lots to learn. Restated.”

Sounds like a new Lance. I liked the old Lance. But I like this one even more. There's no "I" in team, Poonta! Look at the photo. Every one of those dudes left it on the road for you. EVERY one of them.

Time to switch gears. How about NO gears?

While I spent a week in Colorado with no bullshit the rest of the world was piling it on. As soon as I started catching up on my email I found a piece of spam in my in box that verified beyond all doubt that the hipster fixie craze is over: Urban Outfitters now sells Fixies.

Buy yourself a pair of skinny jeans, white leather belt and too small print hoodie, then plop a multi color bike in your shopping cart. Check out with your moms Amex and you're good to go. Hip has never so easy, thanks to the folks who brought you used Levis at new prices and flannel shirts only your grandpa would love.

For every stupid idea, though, there's a less obvious good one. Like oatmeal stout ice cream.

My old friend Bernie Chihuahua used to take his Founders Oatmeal Stout with a scoop of Hudsonville Vanilla. Probably just as tasty.

While I was dreaming of beer ice cream and sipping Fat Tire in Colorado Lance Armstrong was teasing hoards of cycling fan boys with a promise to be back next year with a bigger and better team. Looks like it's Team Radioshack!

Yeah, Radioshack! That place your dad bought his CB Radio, and your grandparents bought you that cool set of walkie-talkies back in the day.

While Lance was holding his tongue at The Tour. The little lady fought the good fight and managed to finish 5th at the Breckenridge 100 last week. Altitude sickness, nausea and some screwed up organization didn't get her down. Why is it so hard to properly mark a race course? The week before we were lucky enough to catch two stages of the Breck Epic. An award should be given to the Epic's promoter, who set a great example for how to mark a course: easy to see, bright and frequent signs with arrows at every intersection and turn!

To prove that performance ain't about the bike it's the motor, I submit the LaLond freak bike.

LaLonde's weapon of choice is what he likes to call the "GT Freak Bike", a GT Zaskar hardtail frame with a rigid fork, 29er front wheel, 26 inch rear wheel, and all of it is powered by a singlespeed drivetrain.

Mark LaLond has been crushing the field in the Midwest for years. And he doesn't need a 30 speed $7,000 plastic bike to do it. What's the moral of this story? Save your money, buy a six year old bike on ebay and throw half the components away. Oh yeah, then train your ass off and get fast as hell.

Helmet Saves Cyclist Life

I can't even come up with an ironic and snide comment on this. What kind of a sick SOB shoots a guy for riding a bike with his child?

ASHEVILLE, N.C. -- A driver, now identified as an Asheville firefighter, shot a bicycle rider because he was angry the man was riding with his child on a busy road, Asheville police said.

Officers said the victim was riding with his wife and had his 3-year-old son in a child seat attached to his bicycle when a driver approached him. Police said the driver, Charles Diez, claimed he was upset that the victim was bike riding with his child on the heavily traveled Tunnel Road.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Ladies, say goodbye to a Rock Star! My man Hecklejack goes off the market on Friday. Yep. He's gettin' married on Windmill Island in three days.

That dude is one fast as hell hollander. He's won a lot of races. And he's still a young buck. The photo above is Mark getting a "podium shot" after winning the Athens Twilight Crit in 2007.

I got plenty of stories about this guy. But I think he probably remembers that night in Athens more than any crazy shit I could tell you about him. Like a bone-headed ride late one winter at a secret training camp in North Carolina. I had to rescue his big ginger ass from the top of a mountain with my Subaru Outback. The Dutchman was wacked, it was 45 degrees and he sucked down a dozen donuts on the ride back to the cabin. Or the time I dropped him (the only time I ever dropped him) on a ride up Yellow Creek road. Ha Ha.....

Those were the days. But no more. Hecklejack is a legit pro, I'm a fat old man and I don't think I'll be dropping him on any ride ever again.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Ain't No Warrior

I don't care what anybody says, all men like to think of themselves as warriors. Guys want to pretend that firing up their X Box or playing golf on the weekend gets them in touch with their aggression. I can buy that some if you're talking about blood sports maybe, but even killing a deer ain't much of a sport when you're using a rifle and scope.

Mountain bikers like to think of themselves that way. Ever seen a couple of Sport Class dudes scream at each other at a mountain bike race? It's quite a sight. With all that weekend warrior testosterone oozing from their chubby pores, the antics of a 15 mile mountain bike race can set a dude on fire. Cut em' off on the trail or worse yet, be some unlucky slower chick blocking Joe Racer's path to glory and you're gonna hear it!

All dudes think they're warriors. Me included. But the truth is I ain't no Mickey Ward. I'm the dude who ducks under the table in a bar fight. I can get amped up for a race, though. I've talked wild shit because of it. One year I told everybody all summer that I was going to win the Wilderness 101. Instead I got schooled by Mike Keefer and Skip Brown and ended up just far enough back not to make it into the Wilderness Wiki. I ain't no warrior.

Last weekend I found myself on the line at the Stony Creek marathon. Still too far out of shape to line up with the big dogs in elite. But I hadn't lost any Expert races yet this year. Three laps in and right on the tail of some dude who should have been racing in Elite I went down on a wood boardwalk and hit my ass so hard I almost crapped myself right there on the trail. At the three lap mark (halfway) I bailed.


The little lady pulled off a good one, though. Maybe she's the warrior.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Michigan Hardcore

What does it mean to be hardcore?

No, this isn't another one of my punk rock posts. Hardcore means taking the hits. It means getting back up and doing it again and again until you stick the landing. Evel was hardcore. Had to be. How many times did he crash? How many times did get right back on the bike!

Hardcore means pain. Tons of pain. Trainloads of pain. Pain from one end of your body to the to other. You can't be hardcore until pain has crushed you. It means giving failure the bird and dealing with the consequences. It means breaking your bones and gettting back on the bike. Hardcore is the difference between ordinary or being fucking amazing.

My wife is Hardcore.

I'll leave all the details to her. She tells the tale of the 2009 Lumberjack like it was another day at the races. Like it was just another podium finish. But the truth is that the difference between a good mountain biker and a great mountain biker is that the great one can take a thousand times more pain.

Each lap was 25 miles long and after the first lap Scott informed me that I was in 3rd place and 4-5 minutes behind Betsy Shogren (the female race leader). I wanted to make up time in the 2nd lap and tried to pick it up a bit. I was having a little too much fun on the downhills and hit one downhill WAY too fast. The bottom of the downhill had a bunch of wet roots that you had to turn on and you can probably imagine the rest...

65 miles later she finished in third and after the obligatory podium photos we drove to the ER in Manistee so she could have the dead tissue cut away from her knee. 2 hours after that we were back in the cabin in Brethren with Jeff, Chris and Roger (from Trek) and Nam and Eddie (from Topeak/Ergon). Talk that night was about that long day, Jeff's second Lumberjack win in a row. How bad ass Danielle was riding 60 miles with a smashed knee. How great Michigan micro brew is. How Jeff and Chris are going to kick ass at the BC Bike Race.

You can check out my "official" full race report at .

Another day at the races. The difference between ordinary and extraordinary.

Monday, June 22, 2009

Breaking Away

Nice pic, eh? Look at all those scary skinny Euro dudes climbing a mountain during this year's Dauphine, reminding us why they're worth millions of Euros a year in salary and endorsement deals. Just look at that field! Right there, all the way on the right in the black and white BMC kit is Brent Bookwalter. Brent is from the 616. He rode for my old shop team when he was in high school. He's won multiple National Collegiate championships. That dude was kicking my ass on a mountain bike when he was 16 years old. And now the kid is mixing it up with the big (er little) guys back in the old country.

Give em' hell, Brent!

The Long Hangover

After game 7 of the Stanley Cup Finals I couldn't bring myself to update this freakin' blog. Looking back at the playoffs I realized that I'd skipped at least 4 rides over a three week period (so i wouldn't miss the start of several playoff games). I was pissed. Man, I was pissed! I came out of the NHL playoffs with what felt like a Hockey hangover. One that didn't go away until several days of work, rides and ample amounts of IPA.

The hangover is over. This will be my last Anti Penguins (and Hockey) post of the summer. Now, back to my regularly scheduled Program.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Wizard of Oz

Yeah, I bailed. There was an actual mountain bike race on a sweet trail up north (Hanson Hills) and I bailed. Saturday night I stayed up late to watch The Wings humiliate The Penguins in game 5. After that and a growler of Centennial IPA I didn't even bother setting my alarm. A lot of other guys showed up, though. Despite a night of thunderstorms and morning forecast of chill and wet, a crowd of hardcore mountain bikers managed a pilgrimage to Grayling Michigan and and kicked some ass. Mad props to Mike Anderson. The 20 year old, too young to even drink his sponsor's beer, took top honors the Elite Men's race.

Catch ya next time, guys.

Speaking of The Red Wings..... Tuesday night could be the night. Wings up 3-2 versus Penguins. The Game is in Pittsburgh but Detroit has the Wizard of Oz.

You're thinking, why the hell does he keep posting all this crap aboot hockey? Cause this is Michigan. And here in the 616 it's hockeytown west. We're all crazy here. Don't worry, though. By the end of this week Lord Stanley's Cup will be decided for one more year and I won't have any excuses left to skip another race.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

La Grand Vitesse

Fresh on the heels of last night's debauched ride/bachelor party for "Van Candy" Dan, there's a lot going on this weekend.

For starters the Western Chapter of the MMBA has organized a trail work dat at Luton Park. The plan is build 1-2 miles of new trail this weekend. The trail network at Luton is quickly becoming a local gem. Check it out.

The Hanson Hills Challenge is Sunday June 7. Hanson has long been one of the best XC events of the Michigan racing calendar.

There's a skinny tire highway bike race this weekend too. The Duck Lake Time Trial is Sunday.

The biggest event of the weekend is the Grand Rapids Festival of the Arts. Here everyone refers to it simply as "Festival." If you've been craving Elephant Ears (funnel cake) cruise downtown this weekend to the Calder Plaza. But don't ride your bike. The police have been ticketing and harassing cyclists downtown for years during Festival weekend. Amazingly, after 40 years of closing the center of the city to cars one weekend every summer the powers that be still don't get it when it comes to bikes.

The center piece of Festival every year is one of Alexander Calder's pieces which resides in downtown Grand Rapids. The sculpture was the first piece of public art commissioned with public monies via the National Endowment of the Arts. While the sculpture is classic Calder, few of the locals even know that it has a name, "La Grand Vitesse." Around these parts most folks just call it "The Calder."

For a small city there is a lot of art in Grand Rapids. There's a brand new Art Museum. There's the sculpture park at the Fred Meijer Gardens, which is hosting a Calder exhibition that focuses on La Grand Vitesse. There's also the Urban Institute for Contemporary Arts, as well as Kendall College of Art and Design. Despite all of those institutions, it's Calder's sculpture that has become a visual icon for the city. So much so that it appears on everything, including the city's logo and flag.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Keep It Real

You wanna get to heaven? Mail me a $100. Or better yet use my Paypal account, cause most of my mail is junk and I rarely open any of it. Just don't fuck with Michael Dean Damron. Cause that dude is the real deal and something tells me he doesn't take well to being messed with.

Talk about the "real deal", I'm hoping soon to catch a new flick called Veer, a documentary about the growing urban cycling culture in the United States. There's a little piece of that culture festering here in the 616. Like the Tuesday night group rides at the brewery. And the Wednesday night road racing out at Gratten Raceway. And there's the over active local chapter of the MMBA, which just hosted Midwest Mountain Bike Summit. But there's also a lot of hipster kids getting into the swing of things. There's a weekly fixie night ride downtown, and they've found the Youtube and figured out how to sell T-Shirts online.

It's hard to tell how much of the "new" cycling culture is here to stay. I've seen a lot of trends come and go. Trends can vanish overnight. Skinny jeans and American Apparel Ts will disappear one day soon. But it's unlikely that it'll take the rest of our cycling culture with it. The folks who dedicate their time and energy into fighting the Horse Menace have already shown that they're in it for the long haul. Some of them have been fighting the good fight since the 1980s. Something also tells me that the commuter guy who rides down my street every morning at 7 am and every evening at 6 pm isn't riding his bike to work for the style props.

Like Michael Dean Damron belting out wicked tunes, there are those that will forge on for the love the bike. They ride because they have to. It becomes who they are. It keeps them sane. At the same time the trendy bits of cycling culture can't totally be written off. While a lot of those fixie kids will probably finish school and put away their track bikes in favor of conformity and suburban sunrises, some of them will get hooked. Like a punk in a high school garage band they won't be able to let it go.

On top of that there's the reality that can't' be ignored. The dominance of the car culture is on the wane. Peak oil, global warming and a seriously screwed up global economy may have finally turned the tide. Change will still come slowly. But it feels almost inevitable that car culture, once driven by the dominance of General Motors, will never been what it once was. Public transport and human powered transportation will fill in the gaps. The flavor and feel of cycling culture 20 or 50 years from now is anybody's guess. But when we finally get there I hope people look back fondly on these times, when cycling was small, fun and still something of a counter culture.

Until then, keep it real and don't forget where you come from.

Thursday, May 28, 2009


Back in the day, before Facepage, Mybook, Tweeter, Youtube, blogs and vlogs, before iPhones and texting and all that other crap that sucks up everybody's time and energy, people acted differently than they do today. People went about their lives assuming that nobody else gave a rat's ass about them. Yeah sure, your mom cares and maybe your girlfriend too. But all those 6 billion strangers out there certainly didn't. Back then people went to work, watched the teevee, took vacations, joined bowling leagues and just plain lived their lives. That was OK. Life was good.

Somewhere along the way something when horribly wrong. The first glimpse we all had of the decline of humanity was the MTV show, The Real World. In 1992 the show was an interesting novelty. The "cast members" seemed like real people. They didn't seem to be all that self conscious of their own celebrity (until afterwards). I remember that a year after that first iteration of the show the cast was appearing in ads for a car dealership here in Michigan. And of course, anybody my age probably remembers how Eric Nies went on to become a big star on MTV with shows like The Grind. Reality programming spawned fame. Big mistake.

The first time I noticed the peoples' need to turn the minutia of their everyday lives into entertainment via the intertubes was when I first stumbled across Anacam. Anna Voog was the first legitimate "cam girl." Her 24 hour web cam started as an art project and continues to this day mostly unchanged. Click on and you still see the webcam in her apartment just like you could in 1997. In a lot of ways her online "journal" was a companion blog before there were blogs. Back then shoddy web cams and telephone modems made the whole experience buggy, slow and a little weird. By the early 00's so many web cams had hit the web that "cam girl" came to mean porn, and legit artists like Voog were becoming hard to find over the clutter of the web and newcomers gunning for celebrity like Tila Tequila. Everybody wanted their own slice of the Reality TV fame, and the web was going to give it to them.

Now don't get me wrong. I love the Intertubes and I love me the blogs too. There's some good stuff out there. For instance, sites like are a lot better than your average blog. Bloggers like offer a point of view and a perspective that is refreshing AND unnerving. My point here is that "reality" internet content is good when it has a freakin' point to it. Just like most magazines suck, most blogs suck too. There are a handful of newspapers with editorial pages worth reading, like The New York Times. But there are a lot more that suck, like The Grand Rapids Press. There is only one Ana Voog in the world because there are only so many good ideas out there, and most people don't have them. The difference with today versus yesterday is that the the web allows people to pretend that their ideas are good.

Which leads me to this group of lame ass turds I first stumbled upon at bikesnobnyc.

Albion in the Gloaming from Albion in the Gloaming on Vimeo.

I don't know what's more annoying, hipsters wearing the word "gloaming" on their sleeves or the idea that going to Europe with a backpack and a bicycle is an original enough idea to create a multimedia site around it. What started with The Real World almost two decades ago has gotten all wrapped up with hipsterism. And the result is countless Youtube videos exposing the fact that hipsters are the worst type of pathetic posers.

The fact that a couple of suburbanite morons are recording their upper middle class "holiday" in Europe is about as insipid as the fact that these NYU students think that shopping at Urban Outfitters and wearing skinny jeans is changing gender relationships and transforming the world. Reality TV gave everybody the idea that anybody is interesting. Everybody is a celebrity. On top of that the internet and modern technology helped create a potpourri of modern pop culture where everybody talks about "meaning" in their style and life choices but nothing really has any meaning. Meaning is fame. Meaning is being number one in Youtube views. Meaning is being the next Eric Nies.

Oh the humanity! What to do? It's like the internet needs a bullshit filter.

By the time MTV got around to filming the The Real World in Chicago's Wicker Park the locals and neighborhood activists were primed to go apeshit crazy.. It seems that the reality TV world has come full circle. So much so that the last cast of The Real World went into it knowing that they had to deal with haters:

"The Real World: Brooklyn" cast-members believe it's a real shame people are already judging them.

The show debuts on Jan.7, so America has not yet met them. And even before they had set foot in Red Hook in August to film the show, local residents were already harping on the negative images of seasons' past: sex, drinking and public rowdiness.

"We'd hear, 'Oh, it's Fake World. You guys suck,'" said roommate Scott, a 23-year-old personal trainer and model from New Hampshire, who is one of the eight "RW" guys and girls (yes, it's eight this season).

"This one guy in a bar said we were a virus," Scott said. "So I walked up to him and said, 'Really?' You don't know who I am."

I can only pray that in the near future the same backlash that now plagues The Real World will somehow manifest itself online. It's as if the internet needs a Critical Mass to remind everybody how pointless most internet traffic is. Or maybe these days it would have to be a Flash Mob.

There are plenty of great things to find out there on the web. Sometimes virtual reality serves up an interesting slice of actual reality. I'll give you a great alternative to the Albion Gloaming idiots. Check out Where Are You Go, a flick debuting at this year's Bicycle Film Festival if you want to see a truly interesting bike trip.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

R.I.P. Jay Bennet

In 2002 my friend Derek Phillips interviewed Jay Bennet for It's an interesting read for Bennet and Wilco fans. You can find the it here.

Bennet was brilliant songsmith and musician. He will be missed.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Haters & Hot Links

Horse fight keeps on going and going. Now they're poaching trail at Cannonsburg.

No brainer tips for avoiding bike theft.

New York is becoming a "cyclist's paradise," but Toronto is going to Hell.

Get some Obama money for riding your bike to work.

Yes, driving a car is dangerous. So buy a "motoring helmet" and stay safe!

The Obama government is resurrecting the crusade against bike saddles. For the protection of taints everywhere!

What!? You've got mountains of cash and you want to look as cool as Julien Absalon? Well then, load up your wheelbarrow with Benjamins cause the new Sram XX will set you back $2,300!!!

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Memorial Day 2009, Never Forget

The picture above is from Map The Fallen.

This Memorial Day I would like to share with you a personal project of mine that uses Google Earth to honor the more than 5,700 American and Coalition servicemen and women that have lost their lives in Iraq and Afghanistan. I have created a map for Google Earth that will connect you with each of their stories—you can see photos, learn about how they died, visit memorial websites with comments from friends and families, and explore the places they called home and where they died.

This is amazing project and a great way to connect the public with the human cost of America's wars in the Middle East. One can only imagine what such a map, with links to personal information about each lost soul, would look like if it included the tens of thousands of innocent people who have also died because George Bush lied.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend Roll Out

Levi in 3rd after the big TT. Can he take the lead? Can Lance fill Horner's shoes on the climbs?

Last week's race at Bloomer, the first XC event in the Michigan NORBA Series, was delayed do to flooding. Bloomer 2.0 will take place this weekend. Bring your scuba gear.

Update your blog, Hecklejack!

Das Tour of Fankenmuth takes place on Saturday (5/23). While you're there, don't forget to visit Bronners!

The Horse Fight heats up! Will wealthy horse owners somehow manage to destroy mountain biking in the State of Michigan with one poorly written law in Lansing?

Red Wings vs. Blackhawks game 3 tonight! The Beard Is Back!! Head on over to The Wings website and rate the chin whiskers of some of their biggest fans. Like this guy! I gave him "5 pucks."

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bombs over Ponzi Scheme

I was chilling to a cool summer breeze here at the pad tonight. Suddenly, there's some crazy ruckus!

Can you describe the ruckus?

Yeah, sounded like 4,500 bombs.

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) - Amway is putting on a downtown fireworks show Thursday night over the Grand River that a representative says will double the size of the Fourth of July show.

The fireworks will celebrate Amway's 50th anniversary and are slated to begin at 10:15 p.m. About 1,400 visiting executives and manufacturers are expected to attend. The show is part of a series of private events, so the public is discouraged from coming downtown.

Nice! Scamway puts on a fireworks show right in front of the Ford Presidential Museum with a big "F You" to the community.

Thanks for nothing, DICK!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Horse, the other red meat

The weather has turned. It feels like summer. That means cold beer and steaks on the grill:

It turned out to be pretty awesome--a sweet, rich, superlean, oddly soft meat, closer to beef than venison. I put some slices over a salad of arugula with olive oil and a splash of lemon juice and some caramelized onions. It was like a livelier, lighter braseola.

It's not that I don't think killing horses is cruel. It's just that I think killing chickens, pigs, sheep and cows is equally bad. Morality based on aesthetics is pretty shallow. In fact, the only weird part about eating horse was that, unlike with bacon or rib eye, we kept picturing the animal, which was kind of gross. Nonetheless, until I decide to stop my less-than-noble practice of eating other animals, I've got little choice but to order up some more horse.

I can think of a lot of things to do with a horse. One thing includes a bachelor party in Tijuana. I hear they're good for pulling wagons loaded with shitty beer. Pony rides at the State Fair. How about horse clothing?

One thing horses are NOT good for is the condition of trails in lower Michigan. While mountain bikers have learned over the years how to build and maintain trails on this soil, the sandy consistency of the Earth in these parts makes it easily churned up by horse hooves. Riding or hiking on a trail that gets a lot of horse traffic is like traversing a loose sandy beach. Both hikers and cyclists require a firm trail tread. Sustainable trails for cyclists here means careful trail construction and lots of TLC by countless volunteers throughout the summer months.

Equestrians are doing everything they can to wreak those trails. The latest battle line is Fort Custer, where a very active local chapter of the MMBA maintains 20+ miles of multiuse trail. Equestrians have always had access to the trail network, but two other horse specific trails nearby have kept conflicts with mountain bikers to a minimum. That quickly changed this year when cyclists built a short stretch of new singletrack at Fort Custer. Equestrians are enjoying the new trail so much that it's becoming unrideable for bikes:

Rode the re route on the Green loop yesterday and was troubled by the damage caused by horses riding the steep drop portions and caving parts of it in. Why do they feel that they have the right to ruin trails that were put in by mountain bikers for mountain biking? They have plenty of other areas that are not so sensitive to ride at the Fort but they insist on riding the most technical areas of the trails and damaging them severly with their 2000# rototillers. Met another rider who crashed on the damaged area and destroyed a expensive front wheel due to the horse riders lack of common sense. I'm also getting tired of having horse crap flung onto my water bottles and clothes. What about parade bags? Do we crap on their yards and driveways?

No, we don't crap in their yards. In fact, I don't even let my dog crap in the yard. I walk my dog twice a day and carry a pooper scooper every time. Steaming piles of excrement are something best not left in yards, on sidewalks or even on trails at the park. Hell, is wrong (and against local laws) to leave dog poo in the park, but it's just fine to drop hundreds of pounds of horse crap?

What's really got every one spooked isn't the destruction of trails at Fort Custer, it's a broader effort by equestrians in the State Capitol to open up all existing trails on state land to horses, and even to reopen trails that have long since been shut down and "reclaimed" by nature in favor of reroutes and more sustainable trail designs. House bill 4610 (R-Tim Moore) would do just that. Specifically:


What does that mean? It means that if equestrians were using a given trail or trail network 10, 20 or 30 years ago they'll have guaranteed access to it again. Imagine the shit storm that would ensue if Cyclists crafted a law to allow access EVERYWHERE they may have once had "historical" access.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Shit Faced Weekend Preview

Scientists finally tell us that kids like to get hammered! Duh!

Detroit turns a filthy alley into a rail trail and the Trehuggers are pissed off. And a lot of Mountain Bikers who live in the suburbs are pissed off too.

This weekend is the Tour of Kensington, for all you roadies.

Get your NORBA license out for Sunday's Bloomer XC race. Part of the Tailwind USAC MTB Series.

This weekend is the Cannonsburg Game Area trail work day. If you want to see what a great job local trail volunteers are doing, check out the before and after pics from the recent Luton Park Trail work.

Game one of Red Wings Vs. Blackhawks is Sunday 5/17.

I can't wait!!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Spaghetti and Meatballs

FYI: Spaghetti and meatballs isn't even an Italian dish. In Italy they never serve a meatball on top of a plate of spaghetti. They have great wine, though. And the dudes there wear $500 shoes and live at home with their mothers until they're 40 years old. No joke. They know how to live.

European cycling is like single Italian guys. Sometimes it's too good to be true.

Checking out today's Giro results I noticed an article on Velonews titled Tools of the Pro Tour mechanics. It's an interesting piece of fluff. Until I started actually sort-of wrenching for the LIttle Lady I thought all pro mechanics were set up with shit loads of Snap On tools and a rig full of fancy ass spare parts. Like NASCAR or F1. Turns out those euro freaks have some homemade stuff in their tool box. Like fancy homemade truing stands and work stands. The most interesting tool though was a butter knife which was being used by a naked fat guy who wrenches for Astana!

Away from The Boot, The Belgian Federation has Boonen's back. How is it that testing positive for Cocaine isn't a doping violation? It's DOPE!

The UCI statement said: "Following the control ... on the Belgian rider Tom Boonen, which revealed the use of cocaine, the UCI President Pat McQuaid has decided to refer the matter to the UCI Disciplinary Commission.

"The behavior of Tom Boonen, even though it does not constitute a violation of the anti-doping rules, can be considered unacceptable (Art.1.2.079) and liable to harm the image, reputation or interests of cycling or the UCI (Art. 12.1.005).

"This infringement is punishable by a suspension of 1-6 months."

All I know is that if I blew a drug test at work they'd fire me for the cocaine and wouldn't care about EPO or cortisone. Do you still want to believe? Well, check this out: an expose on Telekom, the doping years 1995-2006:

The findings of an independent commission have broken new ground on systemic doping on one of the sport's most successful teams. It has been revealed that two doctors from the Freiburg University Clinic ran an organised doping programme for the enormously successful German Telekom/T-mobile squad from 1995 to 2006. Cyclingnews' Susan Westemeyer reports.

Is it my imagination or does Telekom's stool pigeon, Patrik Sinkewitz, look a lot like Chris Kattan? Mango!