Monday, December 29, 2008

We will return...

after a few days of playing.

It's that time a year when it's time to recharge the batteries a bit.

It's been a pretty full year of riding here on the old Commutes Blog. Lots of events, shenanigans, riding, odd days, good friends moving on, beer and flesh.

Next year is already shaping up to be better with the events I'm planning to attend. Of course, there are a few holes in the schedule, so if anyone has suggestions...I'm more than open to go play.

Hang in there...

Friday, December 12, 2008

For the weekend

Cross is the happiest time of the year. It would take a Herculean effort to slap the smile off my face while I'm on course. The bikes. The crowds. The mud. The smells and sounds.

Shoot...I even hurled at the end of the USGP in Portland and I'm still a fan.

This weekend is Cross Nationals in Kansas. Last year was (for lack of a better term) epic. Between the frozen mud and snow...I couldn't imagine a tougher race to prove who should be the National Champion. And it's looking like this weekend could be right on par with last years.

This year we (Raleigh) teamed up with CXMagazine to provide some live coverage of cross Nats.

{click the banner and follow along}

So while most of can't attend...we can get minute by minute updates as the race unfolds.

Since I can't attend I think I'm going to head here tonite...

And then hit this on Sunday...

That is...if can still move after eating one of these...

Tuesday, December 9, 2008



The costumes can be stored.
The Rainier can be hung up after a complete overhaul.
The "winter training" can really begin.

The highlights from the USGP in Portland this weekend?
Mud bogs that went on for miles.

A 9:30am start time for the SS class?! (Most SS Cross riders can't even get to work that early!)

One of the best races I've seen, in the Pro Category on Saturday.
One of the best displays of raw power, in the Pro Category on Sunday.

Portland crowds.

And being suckered into the "we'll dress up if you do" routine.

Things I learned from my second season of cross?
Mud is the greatest equalizer.
If you want to get "results", play by the rules.
If you want to have fun, ride your style of race.
Heckling is what makes this sport so much fun.
After downing a bacon covered maple bar, don't chase it with a beer in front of an official.
Leather pants may suck to run in...but they keep the mud out of "areas". Orange Hot Pants, complete opposite!

I may have done only one race in Seattle this year but you can bet your "hand-up" I'll be here...

My good friend Brad of Bicycle Adventures is responsible for all the pictures you see here. If you want to see more of my muffin top....go here.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Spreading Holiday Cheer...

One way to do it is to pre-order as much Bacon Jam as humanly possible!

The other is to find yourself in Portland for the USGP this weekend. Last year was pretty amazing with the torrential rains, lake crossings, and snow. All made sweeter with the giant "tickle me Elmo" diaper that I was sporting.

{spreading something...but it sure don't look like cheer!}

What didn't really get reported was the "Prom Party" the Cross Crusade held as an end of season bash. Complete with a photo booth to capture that special occasion with your date...or dates depending on who you were...

Yup...good times.

They're doing it again this year. I believe it's going to be a great time. Hope to see you there.

Thursday, December 4, 2008


Can't see in front of you.

Can't see behind you.

All you can see is what's right around you.

And even that isn't so clear.

But you keep on pedaling. Hoping. Knowing. You'll eventually ride out of it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

What does it mean?

Hang overs happen, whether we like it or not. And it doesn't have to involve friends like Jack, Jose, or Johnny. It can take on many forms from a variety of things.
That hollow numb feeling after the holidays. All from spending too much time in commercial space trying to find that 'perfect gift', the family time, and travel.
The depleted haze that sets in after an event. Once the air of anticipation is gone, all the planning is over, and the adrenalin has seeped out and left a mere shell in place.
The funk that refuses to let a ride be as fun as it should be. That plants roots to the couch and grows a remote for fingers.

However, sometimes it's just the drink that gets us. The other day while reading Pilder's site, I noticed a pretty good description of a good 'bender' night results. The kind that we've all had at one point or another. The kind that we (foolishly) swear that we'll never do again. And I couldn't help but notice the picture that was attached to it.

Honestly...what does that mean?!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Some days...

you just need to keep riding.

Turn the clock back to Tuesday and my struggle to ride home. For some reason I couldn't find a rhythm. I couldn't find a cadence. I couldn't find that moment when I've left work behind and I start 'riding my bike' home.

Was it my sweet new winter ride? I'm in the process of 'winterizing' one of our new Clubman's for the worse Seattle can throw at it. With the full tire wrapped fender action, comfortable/stable riding characteristics, and gears (!) this bike is going to see some winter abuse.

Was it the weather? It was a little breezy, but it wasn't slowing the ride down to a walk. And the grey clouds were just playing the part of a bully. Threatening, but not really doing anything.

Was it my apparel? The folks at Rapha would scoff at this as it looked like I drank the Rapha "Kool-Aid" with all of their stuff I had on.

Was it the new bag? I'm trying out a new bag from Sealine. I'm used to a messenger style single strap bag, and this one is a double strap back pack style.

Was it the lack of tunes/riding partner? I didn't have my Ipod with and I wasn't able to ride home with anyone that nite.

I pondered this the whole way home and couldn't figure out why this ride wasn't agreeing with me. I was perplexed and a little vexed.


Slurping my cup of ambition, I stared at my mountain of 'clean' clothes on the floor. (sigh) Is there anything I could do to avoid the funk-ride I had yesterday? So I decided a complete change from what I did the previous day was in order.

Instead of cycling clothes, I pulled on my trusty Carharts, cotton Tshirt, and non-cycling socks.

Instead of gears, I would ride my new Rush Hour Pro prototype. It's fixed (which is really scary) and has no cable actuated brakes (no drilling's on fork or frame).

Instead of the double strap pack, I slid my Dank bag over my shoulder.

Instead of silence, I put my Ipod in my pocket and turned out some People Under the Stairs.

The weather was still grey, but it was lighter than the day before. And don't ask me how but I was the lucky recipient of a tail wind into and leaving work.

It was if the Cycling Demi-Gods were punishing me on Tuesday, and then smiling on me with favor the next.

How big was the difference? So much so that I rode right past Raleigh and kept on riding for a couple more miles. I was having so much fun that I didn't want it to end, and I'm glad I didn't stop when I saw the Heron on the door. When the occasion arises, and everything clicks, there is no other place I'd rather be than on my bike.

I just hope my boss isn't reading this, because the excuse I gave for being late had nothing to do with some extra miles/smiles on the way in.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Be Seen...

Now that daylight is lasting as long as a Seahawk Highlight real, I've taken part in a time old tradition of "digging out the lights". For cyclists this ranks up there with watching Dad try and untangle the Christmas Lights every year.
When broken down, this routine is pretty similar to a dance. The dance isn't that complicated, and I believe everyone is versed in their own moves. Mine can be best summarized as looking something like this...

It's a little herky jerky and unorganized. There are flashes of brilliance mixed in with a Wow factor. But mostly, it looks like a monkey trying to hump a football....

While digging though boxes of spare parts, and swearing to myself that I'll keep everything together next year, I discover I've lost most of the mounting brackets to keep my light on my bike.
Get creative with some duct tape.
Realize after testing that the light would work perfect, if it was a search light or trying to signal aliens. Remove all 20 feet of '200mph tape'. Remount at a more reasonable level. Perfect.
I enjoy the first 10 minutes of the ride and marvel at how well I mounted the light.
Eleven minutes into the ride I have a sudden bout of tourette's as the light slowly fades because I forgot to re-charge it.
Spend the next 20 minutes riding the Braille Trail home.

Now...I'm not going to do dive into a product review or endorsement here...I'm just going to tell you about the current lighting systems that I'm using. There's no harm in that, right?

Last year I picked up a Cateye Double Shot for the long winter nights. I was pretty psyched on how small the whole unit was and how bright it was. The only thing that really bothered me about it (along with EVERY light on the market) was the mounting hardware. I don't know about you, but I put my light on a variety of bikes with a variety of handlebar sizes. I'm also vain...and don't like the look of empty 'brackets' on my bikes. ever so small of a kingdom for a mounting bracket that will work on a variety of handlebars and be easily transferable from bike to that really too much to ask?
With that in mind I'm a big fan of Sigmas MicroFlash lights. Yup...they're there for safety, but I can use them on any bike and the Velcro strap makes it uber easy to transfer from one bike to the next and remain visible on dark side streets...

Visible? Did I say Visible?

{I just love those kooky Canadian girls at Momentum}

Only 34 more days, until the days start getting longer again.

One Last Parting Shot...

I see Orange Shorts EVERYWHERE!

Now...back to our regularly scheduled blogging...

UPDATE>>>I almost forgot to add the link with some of the prettiest pictures in cross. Check out PDXCross.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


life still feels like I'm looking through empty pint glasses for goggles. I've been reading so many posts, articles, blogs, scrolls, and parchments about SSCXWC that you'd think I'd have my story straight. But it's no where close to making sense right now. Reading other people's accounts has only clouded my memories of what I saw and did, that I might be blending in other people's stories to create a magical tale that is only lacking leprechauns right now.

So today I turned to my camera for some clarity. After all...if I can't trust my own camera...who can I trust?

Scrolling through the photos I recall that I took absolutely NO PHOTOS of Saturdays time trial. The rain was falling faster and harder than the stock market lately. I do recall setting up a tent. I also recall Team Beer hanging out under my tent. And I remember Team Beer drinking all the beer I had in my car at 10am in the morning. This was verified later by CXMagazine...

The nerve of those Team Beer guys! Anyway...

The ride to the start was awesome. Just what everyone needed to get warmed up before hurling themselves on the snot covered course for 13 minutes. Unfortunately, the 30+minute wait we all had before we started gave us plenty of time to cool down.

The course went up until you were ready to puke. Then you were handed up a shot of Tequila and you really wanted to puke. Then you descended like a tripod around the grease covered corners. Crossed the finish line and prayed you didn't puke.
The top 100 qualified...unfortunately not everyone from Hot Cross Buns qualified.

Fortunately, in true SSCXWC style, they offered other opportunities to qualify. The first being a quick Alley Cat style race around Portland that started at Vanilla and included a stop at Mount Tabor, Voodoo Donut, and someones house to grab a PBR. Upon returning to the studio the donut was inhaled and beer slammed to qualify. (2 more HCB's racers qualified here)

{What a crew...can you spot the Kiss Kross shirt?}
The second way was to be the last person standing in the pub crawl hosted by Team Beer. (I still can't believe they drank it all!) One of our troop thought he could win this...I wish he would have done the Alley Cat...because I saw things that nite that will haunt me forever.

{Sabotage...reunited and it feels soooo good}

The first being Steve Fassbinder showing us all he could use a little "manscaping".
The second was my good friend Higgins receive a birth day lap dance by the biggest Zoo Bomber in Portland.

The third was a Zoo Bomber version of "Chicken". In which 2 hetero males "fight" seductively and try to make their opponent 'turn away'. (I'm still at a loss for words how to properly describe this)

{What not to say to a Team Beer member...while slurring}
{I can drink you under the table!}

Saturday was everything you can imagine and more. It truly is something to be experienced. The "crack" team I assembled was awesome. Their energy and enthusiasm for this was unmatched. Everyone in costume. Everyone participating. Almost everyone either on a RX 1.0, One-Way, or a Rainier...(which THIS girl won at the end of the event(i think she was psyched))
Results...well...we had 2 Hot Cross Buns dressed riders in the top 5. The rest were littered through the results like so many beer cans on the course. And one DQ.

{shouldn't someone be yelling at us about our Freedom?!}

{like lambs to the slaughter}

{How could I be DQ'd!?!?}

{I can hear mechanics everywhere groaning right had to be done!}

I think one of the emails I received summed up the event pretty well.
Maybe it's because you sent Mr. "Munson" over the edge on Sunday. Good lord, it was like trying to corral a 3 year old after a bath. Dude stripped down in the parking lot and was running around trying to clean the mud off of himself with a 5 gallon jug. Not caring who he ran across, or past. Then again G running around in his thong was much, much worse.

I don't know who the "you" is that this email speaks of...but they know who they are and I'm sure the guilt they feel far out ways any punishment they could receive.

To polish off our SSCXWC experience we honkered down in a fine PDX establishment, tried to order Rainiers...but they were out. All they had was Hamm's....hmmmm...I wonder what a Hamm's painted cross bike would look like?

Till next year...

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

If Only I Could See Straight...

{Hot Cross BUNS!}

I might be able to type more about SSCXWC.

I still need another day to recover and really digest everything that happened this weekend.
I do remember....
A sweet foam machine.
Feeling like Happy Gilmore was trying to putt me though a windmill.
About a dozen orange short shorts...(with one thong sticking out)
One bacon covered maple bar hand-up
About a dozen "illegal" handups
Being DQ'd for receiving an "illegal" handup

{The only thing that should be illegal here is the length of those shorts}

There is sooooo much more to tell from this weekend. However, I need another day to figure out where I put my liver.

In the mean time you can entertain yourself with a few of these write ups...
Yakima Bicycle Vigilantes
CXMagazine (scroll down)

And you can find a ton of photos at my friend Dave's site and the kids at IronClad.

Too be continued....

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Here we go again...

When participating in an event for the first it's inaugural's hard to tell what kind of event it's actually going to be. Conservative, structured, traditional, unorganized, just never know. Except when I heard about SSCXWC being put on for the first time in Portland last year. I knew deep in my liver that all the 'traditional' rules would be thrown out the window and the only thing to expect...would be the unexpected.
They did NOT disappoint.
As soon as the event was over I fell in love with SSCX and the idea of having a SSCX bike. So over the next couple months Carey and I sat down, punished our 'evil' livers and dreamed up the Rainier. year later...we will return to Portland, hot off our stunning Sabotage of the Manifest, and "serve" PDX another steaming plate of Seattle Cross.

{the weather is looking agreeable (?!) so far...}

The team is bigger this year...and the amount of flesh we will be exposing would not be suitable for a PG-13 movie.

Go to the race. You will not be disappointed. While you're at it...put on your orange hunting gear and come grab a handful of Hot Cross Buns while you're at it!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

I'd Rather Be Riding...

...but it feels like I'm running.
It's late.
I'm still at the office.
I didn't get to ride my new bike in today. (nope, not that one...I got another that'll I'll let ya'll see next week)
I haven't posted a thing yet this week!
I'm heading out of town tomorrow and I haven't packed...shoot, I don't even know what I'm going to be for Halloween yet this year. (the most beloved of holidays in my family) I might just have to crack out what I wore last year.

{What you don't see is the SlimJim wand completing the RedNeckFairy outfit}

If I was sticking around Seattle for the weekend you could almost bet that I would be at this event... Shoot...I don't even thing Vegas would be willing to place a wager on that! What really gets me is I know the inventor of the Mitch Morgan drink you see highlighted in their flier. Crud...I think I hold the record for the largest Mitch Morgan EVER drank...and I most likely own the record for the 'shortest amount of time it took to lose a pair of pants after drinking a Mitch Morgan' as well.

I digress...that is a story for another time.

However after the great Bacon Brawl I'm sure you'd find me at MessMann's event as well.

And lastly...don't forget that SSCXWC are just over a week away!'s been a year, and the only thing that has even come close to the amount of fun I had at the first SSCXWC was the RollerCross event we attended just a little while ago.
I have a theme, I have a team, and I'm now dreaming of this event and will be counting down the days till we get there.
(And as a little motivation to any of you out there...a Raleigh Rainier frameset will be given away as one of the prizes)
If there's more fun to be had on a bike than at a Cross event...I want to know about!
Happy Halloween