Friday, December 18, 2009

Post Challenge Results

Well the post challenge is finished and we had two entries. Both of them are excellent.

First of all is Jeff from the Road blog. Jeff wrote about day 6 of the 2009 Colorado Rocky Mountain Bike Tour. On this day he rode 70 miles and climbed over 7000 feet on a journey from Durango to Ouray Colorado. He’s got some really nice photos of this ride as always. Sounded like a great day on the bike with some crusher climbing followed by some incredible descending. His post can be found at:

By the way, Jeff rides a sweet looking Madone. You take a look at it if you scroll down to the very bottom of his blog. It’s a work of art. Can you tell I’m a little biased with Madones? Finally, Jeff gets extra credit for working the word interdigitate into his post. He put it into the title which is somewhat cheating but I’ll give him the credit anyhow.

The other post was from Groover. She has a great blog that I love reading called Competitive Cycling – Goals and Dreams and Hard Work.

Her post was about the Tour of Bright race that she recently participated in. She trained really hard for this race so I was happy to see that she had bettered her time by 11 minutes this year. Her description of taking some sprint points on the first day cracked me up because she doesn’t see herself as a sprinter. She said “I guess the one-eyed is king amongst the blind so I can be a sprinter amongst climbers”. What a great saying.

Her post is located at:

She also included a video at the bottom of her post which is fantastic. If I ever get to Australia I’d like to take a crack at climbing Mt. Hotham. It looks like a great climb.

So that’s it for the post challenge. It was kind of fun throwing out a post topic and seeing what others came up with. If you’re interested in throwing out a topic for others let me know. I’d love to participate.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

My Favorite Ride/Adventure of 2009

Last week I threw down a challenge to write a post on “Your favorite ride/adventure of 2009”. Since I’ve taken up this challenge as well I’ve had to mentally sort through the all of the rides of 2009 and determine which adventure survives while the rest get voted off of the cycling adventure island. The three rides that made the final cut were.

The Alpine Loop. This ride included a leg busting 8 mile ascent at 10% grade and a screaming 10 mile descent.
Tuesday Night Group Ride. This ride included the fastest pacelining I’ve ever experienced while accidentally running over road kill. One for the books.
Day 2 of the STP. This ride didn’t include any incredible descents or major road kill but I was able to celebrate with Jenny and my oldest son their first and second centuries on successive days.

I know that the suspense is building so without any further delay the winner is Day 2 of the STP.

If you’re not familiar with the STP it’s an organized ride from Seattle to Portland which spans 204 miles. We split the ride in half with 102 miles the first day and another 102 miles on the second day. Day one of the trip went amazing well. For my wife and sons first century they had perfect conditions. The weather was warm and as an added bonus we had a tail wind for the last 50 miles. It just couldn’t get much better than that.

Day 2 wasn’t as easy but proved to be more rewarding. Two or three miles into the ride we had to stop because my son was having some knee pain. We offered to let him call his buddies who were driving a support vehicle for us but he decided to stick it out and continue on. A little while latter Jenny started having knee pains as well. We were having a full blown bad knee fest-o-rama. At this point I was seriously wondering if they were going to make it to Portland but they kept on.

At times during the day we would keep a really good pace but at others we slowed down to a crawl but at no time did either one of them quit. Both Jenny and my son showed some true guts.

It was a really long day for both of them but and as they crossed the finish line and enjoyed the celebration in a park in the middle of Portland I could tell they both felt like they had just done something special. I think if the journey had been easy that day they wouldn’t have felt such a sense of accomplishment.

As Jenny and I held hands in an interdigitated manner after the ride I was happy that I was able to share this experience with both of them. I believe you can learn a lot about yourself when you push yourself beyond what you think you can accomplish. Both Jenny and my son did just that. I’m sure we will talk about the 2009 STP for years to come.

Friday, December 11, 2009

The Post Challenge

For the past week I’ve wracked my brain for something interesting to write about and the only thing I could come up with was my hatred of little green balls of poison. My lack of writing isn’t due to a lack of riding but I’m guessing that not many people are really interested in my trainer ride monotony. Unless you’ve been out riding in the latest arctic blast you probably don’t have much to write about either.

So here’s my idea. I’m going to throw out a writing topic and ask everyone that is interested to write a post on it sometime in the next week. I’m sure you’re really busy at this time of year but hopefully you’ll be able to find some time in the next week for a post. I will also write a post on the same topic and post it next Friday.

If you choose to participate in this assignment your efforts will not go unnoticed. Nosiree! If you paste a link to your awesome post in a comment to me I will consolidate all of them into one post with a short synopsis and link of your post. That way the 1000’s of people (OK, maybe a little less than that) who read my blog will check out your post and take note of the incredible writer and rider that you are. Also, if you don’t have a blog (I’m not sure how could that be) and still want to participate just email me your post and I’ll post it on my site for all others to check out. My email address is mikeonhisbike1 at gmail dot com.

So without further delay here is your post challenge.

Your favorite ride/adventure of 2009

I added adventure to the topic in case you don’t ride and still want to participate. This topic could be on just about anything you want from a great race, excruciating mountain climb, incredible wreck, interesting tour, brush with fame, trip to the dentist and the list goes on.

I went on a lot of rides in 2009 so I’m not really sure which one I’m going to write about but I’ll have a good post up by next Friday. Don’t be shy about taking up this challenge, I’m excited to hear of your greatest adventure moments of 2009.

As with any good assignment here’s a stretch goal for you. If you work the word interdigitate into your post somewhere I will give you extra credit. So start thinking about what you can write about and get your creativity going on that extra credit word.

Have a great weekend and be sure to make some time for writing.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Little Green Balls of Poison

Kids love sugar! I believe this is pretty much an absolute. They love it in just about any form. Cookies, cake, candy bars, soda, ice cream and the list goes on. How could you not like a food with a name like everlasting gobstopper or super double chocolate chunk fudge? I think if we let them our kids would eat some form of sugar based food for every meal. Of course being the health conscious people that they are I’m sure they would eat ice cream and cake for at least one meal of the day because after all there are flour, eggs, and milk in this meal. That would be their form of kid health food.

The love of sugar is one of the things that make you a kid. There is no way that I could as an “adult” eat like my kids do. It would make me sicker than a dog. So, when does this love of sugar go away? I remember as a kid when the vegetables would show up on my plate the gag reflex would initiate. For the most part gag reflexes are good. After all that is what prevents you from eating or drinking dangerous things like motor oil, paint thinner (I drank that once but that’s another story), battery acid, and poison.

My theory is little by little as kids are forced to eat vegetables their gag reflexes are dulled with the likes of broccoli, spinach, turnips, green beans, and peas. In fact, if forced to eat enough of these foods over time they actually acquire a taste for them.

Lately, I’ve been trying to eat healthier in addition to my training in hopes to get to an optimal riding weight. I’ve been eating green beans, salad, carrots, corn, and I even tried brussel sprouts for the first time in my life. To be honest they weren’t too bad. Not great but not bad either. I guess you can say that I’ve been eating like an adult. After all of this healthy eating there is one vegetable that I still can’t get myself to eat because the gag reflex still exists. This vegetable is like my form of kryptonite. I can’t conquer it and frankly I don’t really want to. So I’m following the example of Superman and just staying as far away from it as possible.

Today product review is on my vegetable nemesis “Peas”!

In my opinion Peas are little green balls of poison! They are just plain nasty. They top the chart on the gag reflex quotient in the three categories. Texture, smell and taste.

Once you have bitten into them peas have the texture of a nice warm inviting MUD. Right now I’m betting some of you are saying, but Mike, what about fresh peas right out of the garden? They don’t have that texture at all. That’s true fresh peas have escaped the membrane coated mud texture but they still don’t pass the rotten taste test. I think paint thinner might just taste better than peas. I’ve tried them both.

I’ve often said that everything tastes better with bacon. Bacon wrapped shrimp? Better! Bacon wrapped green beans? Better! Macaroni and cheese with bacon? Better. Bacon with peas? Not better.

So, from one friend to another my recommendation to you is to stay as far away from peas as possible.

They are little green balls of poison.

Finally, in the spirit of full disclosure, I have not received compensation from either the peas growers of America or the National Pea Haters Association (NPHA) although I’d like to become a member some day.

My name is Mike J and I approve this message.

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Book Review: A Dog in a Hat

Over the Thanksgiving break I read the book A Dog in a Hat: An American Bike Racer's Story of Mud, Drugs, Blood, Betrayal, and Beauty in Belgium by Joe Parkin. If you’re not familiar with Joe Parkin he also has a very entertaining blog where he answers questions that he receives from people on a whole host of subjects related to cycling.

Anyway, back to the book. When Joe was 18 he was living in California and doing a lot of amateur racing when he met up with Bob Roll. Bob in his wisdom convinced Joe that if he really wanted to go where there was some serious bike racing that he should move to Belgium and learn the ropes. With that Joe got multiple jobs and saved up $3000 for his grand adventure. Joe also wrote a letter to Albert Claeys who had taken in some racers in the past and asked for some assistance. He never heard back from Albert but with $3000 in to his name he headed off for Belgium with a goal to make in onto a pro team and support himself.

When Joe arrives he ends up hooking up with Albert who gives him a place to stay and starts entering races. After racing a season as an amateur he lands a contract with a team at which time his eyes are opened to a whole new world of the pro ranks.

I’ve read books before of pro bike racing but never from the perspective of what it’s like to be a pro at the bottom of the ranks. Joe describes season after season of bike crashes, contract negotiations, dealing with the language barrier, training, drug use, and throwing races in the late 80’s and early 90’s.

Years ago Charles Barkley published an autobiography in which he ended up refuting some of the things that were said in “his” book. I wasn’t surprised when this happened because most autobiographies are written by a ghost writer after a series of interviews between the subject and writer.

What I really liked about this book is that is was actually written by Joe himself. This book is all Joe which means it’s a little rough in sections but you know it’s in Joe’s words and what he wanted to say.

For me there are two kinds of books. The ones that I breathe a sign of relief because I finally finished them and the ones that I’m really sad when they are over.

This book fit into the last category for me. It was a really interesting look at the inner workings of European bike racing.

This book gets a thumbs up from Mike J.