Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday weekly round up and some mail

First off - some apologies are in order for the great dearth of posting this week.....All work and no play makes PooBah a dull boy:
Damn day-job is kicking my ass.

Second order of business is to let you know that there will be no posts next week either.....again due to aforementioned 'ass-kicking day-job.'

Third - I think we are long overdue on a round-up of some COMO cycling news.  There has been lots of activity over the past week and lots going on this weekend.  Some of our finest COMO cyclists have been busy on and off the bike.  So let's get caught up:

1) A great post is available over at COMO cyclist John Schottler's blog about his USAC Pro Ultra-Endurance MTB race in Hot Springs Arkansas last Saturday called the Spa City 6-Hour.  It sounded like 6 hours of pure hell, and Schot came in second - only 4 minutes behind winner Manuel Prado of Sho-Air Specialized.
Schottler is currently in 2nd place in the 4 race series: next up is the Firecracker 50 in Breckenridge over the 4th of July.

COMO's own Dr. Green-Beans also laid it down at the Spa City 6-hour finishing a strong 20th, after not having ridden his dirt bike for 6 consecutive hours since 2008!

These beans are faster than they look!

2) University of Missouri's Austin Vinton rode sans team in last weekend's Mizzou Road Race (Men's A) to finish an impressive 8th place behind incredibly strong teams from Marian and Purdue Universities.  This kid is scary good.

3) COMO's own Ltd. Dan has also been posting away on his blog....bringing us THREE highlights this week: 
First, a photo of his (not-so) new set of wheels that is doing double duty as his road and CX bike in his preparation for another Bubba Cross season as well as for CX Nationals in Madison: 
What's going on in the background?

Second, the above photo also inadvertently gives us COMO CYCO's Babe of the Week....literally! 
I hope there's not a stain on that armrest...

And third, he brings us news of his awesome wife taking part in a fund-raising event Saturday night to raise money to combat childhood cancer.  She's shaving her head!  The least you can do is chip in a few bucks...

4) Next up - a little off-the-bike news about COMO's Cat 1-2 transplant from Manhatten, KS, Lawrence Simonson.  Not only is he tearing up the pavement in preparation for what promises to be an impressive spring road and crit season racing as one of CBC's leaders, but I stumbled upon this article in the Columbia Tribune that he is also moonlighting as a gigantic shoe!
"The new Walking School Bus mascot greets West Boulevard Elementary School students Wednesday morning.  The mascot, yet to be named, is meant to attract kids to the walk-to-school program."

Now onto some other news and announcements:

This Sunday is The Great Forest Park Bicycle Race in St. Louis.  Best of luck to the CBC, and all other COMO kids competing there.

If you've got gravel on the brain this Sunday instead, The Hermann Hairy out and back ride is going down and promises to be 72 miles of gravel bliss.  The ride starts at 9AM sharp from Wings A' Blazin' in Hermann, MO.

I also want to give a shout out to our very own polo squad: COMOPOLO

It sounds like their practices are now in full swing - and as ever, they welcome newbies!
Well - that leaves us only time for a couple of letters this week....

Dear PooBah,
The loves of my life include camping, mountain biking and my girlfriend, Bambi. Unfortunately my tent only has room for two and I choose my mountain bike (I call her Liz Hatch) over Bambi. Mainly because only one of my loves is ready to ride (or should I say be ridden) at a moments notice. Even though Bambi doesn't fully understand, she's sticking with me for now. (Also, I've got the keys to the van).  Is there anything that you could suggest so I can help her understand where I'm coming from?
Peter Strokenoff.

Thanks so much for the letter.  Many of us can understand the obsession you have for your bike.  And I'm very familiary with all the arguments to justify the time you spend with her:  "She's always there when you need her, she's in the mood 24/7 and she loves getting really dirty, etc, etc, etc..."  Just remember, my friend...this can go both ways.  You keep this behavior up, and you just might come home to your girlfriend doing this with her handlbars....
Consider yourself warned...

Dear PooBah,
Sometimes in the middle of a ride, I just like to pull to the side of the road, sit down and contemplate how totally awesome I am.  I find this actually enhances my conditioning through positive mental reinforcement and thought I should share this little tip with your readers..
Stuart S.

You may not be aware of just how close to being truly awesome you actually are, my friend.  I mean - you are literally a couple of bic razors, one cannister of UltraSlim fast, a couple of hundred thousand miles of actual riding and two units of Vinokurov's finest O negative from being a bottle washer for Astana!  Keep up the great work.

Dear PooBah,
I am a road cyclist that wants to convert to triathalons, but I have a question about the different apparel that the different groups wear.  I notice that most triathletes actually wear much smaller cycling jerseys and shorts than roadies.  I'm guessing this is to optimize performance during the swim, run and on the bike, but honestly, I'm really not sure. I definitely believe in "looking the part" so want to be dressed appropriately.  I have my first sprint-distance event in a couple weeks. Can you tell me if this outfit will work? 
Marianne G.

Surprisingly, this outfit is the most appropriate apparel for just about anything you want to do, be it road cycling, triathalons, washing the car, cleaning out the gutters, pouring concrete, etc, etc...  Well played.

Have a great weekend and week.  See you in April sometime (I hope).

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Mail: Don't read.....go ride instead

Yeah....If you are actually stuck inside reading this crap today, I'm really, really sorry.  You should be out on your bike.  We both should be, actually.

And with that - let's jump into the mailbag.

I read your post this week in which you made fun of the email I sent you giving some tips on how you might save a little money on gas in these troubling economic times.  I'm sure you and all your little readers got a nice little chuckle at my expense.  God forbid I should try to teach you anything....I guess you know it all, now - right?  Well, despite what you think, I've always had respect for your bike much so that I thought your readers should see a picture of you back in the day - when you first started getting obsessed with your bikes.
Because I know how much you try to protect your anonymity, I'll let your readers try to figure out if you are the one with the erect nipples and buck teeth, or the fellow wearing the Daisy Dukes.  By the way, call your Mother.

 Dear PooBah,
By the occasional hints you and others have dropped about your age - I'm guessing you grew up in the 70's.  Would I be correct?  I'm an undergrad, so cannot even conceive of what riding in the 70's was like.  Can you fill me in on how you used to train way back then?
Jackson V.

Yes, I was a 70's kid.  And if the aforementioned photo did not clue you in enough on what training was like back then, maybe this will help complete the picture:
Open your parents' extra fridge in the basement to stay cool, buckle up your suspenders and give those rollers hell!

Dear PooBah,
I'm hoping you can give me some advice on why my bike may ride so rough.  I absolutely love cycling, but am just shredding my taint every time I'm on the bike.  I've tried chamois cream, expensive chamois shorts, three different kinds of saddles, and have been professionally fit but still cannot seem to have a comfortable ride.  Can you offer any kind of advice?
Thanks in advance.
Myron F.

You might try to ride a lower air pressure in your tires....oh wait, nevermind.

I know it's not safe, but I love listening to tunes while I ride?  Do you have any good recommendations?
Thanks a ton!
Norman G.

There are some really good Swedish alternative groups that are definitely worth a listen....

Dear PooBah,
I just wanted to let you know about some sweet jewelry that I just made for my girlfriend.  She's a great cyclist and loves wearing anything cycling-related.  She's also really into piercing - so I had to come up with something that would dangle well.  I ended up grabbing some old parts laying around my shop and made these for her.  What do you think?
Trent A.

Nice job, man.  But if you used the small chainring for an earring, I'm wondering where she's wearing the big chain ring?

Dear PooBah,
I hope you've recovered from that letter and photo your Dad sent of you back in the 70's.  They were really HARSH!  Old photos are hardly every flattering.  Everyone has some truly cringeworthy pictures that were taken of them from decades ago - and you shouldn't let it get you down too much.  To make you feel better, I'm enclosing a truly embarassing picture taken of my sister and me training back in the early 80's.  I can hardly even look at it now.  Anyway - I hope it raises your spirits.
Allison V.

Holy CRAP.  And I thought my picture was bad!  I cannot believe you actually wore one of those leather hairnet helmets!  Absolutely humiliating.....

Enjoy the weather everyone - ride safe!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Scary fast: Chasing a rainbow

Perusing the cycling news today, I stumbled upon an interview that pezcyclingnews did with American cyclist, Clayton Barrows.
Once, not long ago, Clayton was abroad making a name for himself in European kermises.  That is, before his team folded and he was forced to return to the states.  Clayton currently races for AXA Equitable and is considered by many as a 'crit king'.  But that is only his second priority these days.  First priority is completing his PhD at Penn State in Energy Engineering.  Many of the local roadies here in COMO know him from his visits to our town to see his significant other.  It is upon those occasions when he joins in on the group rides and inflicts a special kind of pain and suffering upon all of those who try to hang with him.  The man is scary fast, or so I've been told.  I never see him long enough to know for sure as I'm almost always shelled out long before the real fireworks begin.

Last year, he won the Iron Hill crit in West Chester, PA - his first win at the national level which allowed him to take the lead in the overall crit series.

A part of PEZ's interview with him that I found particularly interesting was the question of doping:

PEZ: What's your take on the recent flurry of drug scandals?
CB: I think cycling has a long way to go before anyone can have faith in the system.....The contador situation is hard to understand, one day he's guilty and the next he's off scot free.  When you compare that situation with Tom Zirbel, it makes you wonder how much money has to do with it all.  I have doubts about the 'cleanliness' of some guys I race against, but in five years of US racing I've been tested once.

Speed and talent aside, Clayton is a hell of a nice guy.  I know the COMO group appreciates the sufferfest that he always is happy to share with it.

And speaking of scary fast...I was interested to see today's results of Tirreno-Adriatico.   Tyler Farrar learned what it's like to be a leprechaun and find a prize at the end of the rainbow.  That rainbow being none other than the mighty World Champion Thor Hushovd who pulled his ass all the way to the finish.
How's that for a lead out man?

But damn, someone really needs to advise Farrar a bit on his victory pose.
I've not seen a double devil hand-sign executed this well since the Quiet Riot tour of 1983.

Isn't it Vaughter's job to be taking care of shit like this.  I mean - he is the ultimate man of etiquette and good form - right?  Take his pre-race tweet and photo:

@Vaughters:  Anyone still use these for anything but pure recreation anymore?

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

True/False True Fact: Your father is always right....(sometimes)

I love my father.  And since he has retired, I've noticed that he emails me a lot more.  Rarely are the emails very informative - but rather contain a lot of spam or chain messages others have sent to him.  This is one I received last week regarding tips on how to pump gas.  Maybe you've received it as well.  (I apologize in advance for its length.....)

Here are some tricks to get more of your money's worth.

Only buy or fill up your car or truck in the early morning when the ground temperature is still cold. Remember that all service stations have their storage tanks buried below ground. The colder the ground the more dense the gasoline, when it gets warmer gasoline expands, so buying in the afternoon or in the evening....your gallon is not exactly a gallon.

When you're filling up do not squeeze the trigger of the nozzle to a fast mode If you look you will see that the trigger has three (3) stages: low, middle, and high. You should be pumping on low mode, thereby minimizing the vapors that are created while you are pumping. All hoses at the pump have a vapor return. If you are pumping on the fast rate, some of the liquid that goes to your tank becomes vapor. Those vapors are being sucked up and back into the underground storage tank so you're getting less worth for your money.

One of the most important tips is to fill up when your gas tank is HALF FULL. The reason for this is the more gas you have in your tank the less air occupying its empty space. Gasoline evaporates faster than you can imagine. Gasoline storage tanks have an internal floating roof. This roof serves as zero clearance between the gas and the atmosphere, so it minimizes the evaporation.

To have an impact, we need to reach literally millions of gas buyers. It's really simple to do.

I'm sending this note to about thirty people. If each of you send it to at least ten more (30 x 10 = 300)...and those 300 send it to at least ten more (300 x 10 = 3,000) and so on, by the time the message reaches the sixth generation of people, we will have reached over THREE MILLION consumers !!!!!!! If those three million get excited and pass this on to ten friends each, then 30 million people will have been contacted!

If it goes one level further, you guessed it..... THREE HUNDRED MILLION PEOPLE!!!

Again, all you have to do is send this to 10 people. How long would it take?

After I read this, I smirked like a gambler who's holding a royal flush.  My commuter bike was sitting in the corner of my office, a little muddy from the morning ride in to work.  "Oh, silly father - does it really need to be so complicated?" I thought.

I replied to his email:

Thanks so much for this note.  I'm forwarding it onto a few of my friends as instructed.  Plus I've added an illustrated tip of my own that I've noticed helps reduce the number of trips to the gas station.  I hope that was OK.
Ride a bike.


I got no response.  Fast forward to the weekend.  The GEEC and I decided to ride our bicycles to and from the True/False film festival all weekend.   Despite the foul weather, the streets were teaming with like-minded cycling movie-goers and every bike rack we saw was piggy-piled with bicycles.  We waved at others on their bikes, riding quickly to and fro with laminated movie passes flapping at the end of lanyards around their necks.  We smiled, and nearly broke into song...just like this:

It was in the midst of this little cycling smug-bubble, between movies 3 and 4 on Satuday, that I began to get a little sleepy and decided I needed some coffee. The GEEC and I dashed over to Starbuck's to grab a quick cup of coffee before our next movie. We emerged with warm cups in our hands, unlocked the bikes and I attempted to throw my leg over the top tube.  Now, were I more astute, perhaps I would have been able to sense the cosmic tumblers that were begining to fall into position in delayed response to the snarky reply I had sent to my father's email days beforehand. Regardless, as I mounted my bicycle, I felt a sudden resistance in the movement of my leg and then heard a loud POP.  The resistance had vanished and a sudden rush of very cold air entered my groinal region.  I looked down to see that I had blown the entire crotch out of my jeans.  Luckily, the weather was cold enough that day that I decided to wear long johns underneath.  The GEEC, of course, snapped a picture.

Two attractive college-aged girls passed by on the sidewalk at that very moment and looked at my tattered pants.  They didn't snigger, they didn't giggle.  The look on their faces was as if they were watching a crow disembowel a road-killed skunk in the middle of the street.  The ride home was drafty and long and I wished I was in my car, which incidentally was on empty and required filling before we drove it to our final movie of the night.

Thanks for the tips, Dad.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Mail: True or False?

Those of you far-flung readers who don't reside here in the lovely Columbia, MO will likely be unaware that we are in the midst of utter pandomonium due to the invasion of the True/False Film Festival which began last night.  This is the time of year when COMOmians pretend like we actually live in Park City, UT and walk around with laminated passes around our necks and sit through movies about chess and hand-signing chimpanzees and then end up with diaper rash due to the swamp ass that follows trying to cram in 14 movies over a four-day period....that is - if you are into that kind of thing. 

For those of you that are, I give you a challenge!  Traffic downtown is going to be a cluster-fu-man-chu, so why not ride your bike to your movie?  If you do, Cyclextreme is offering FREE valet bike parking both Saturday and Sunday from 12PM until 8 PM at the 10th and Cherry Parking Garage on the Tenth Street entrance.  The COMO bike brigade will park your bike securely out of the weather for no charge.  And if you are feeling extra smug by attending a documentary film festival on bicycle, then why not go the extra mile and give your bike a spa treatment while it is parked?  For $10, the COMO bike brigade will not only park your bike, but clean and lube the chain, clean your rims, deglaze your brake pads and check your pressure for you.  All proceeds go to, an organization that provides bikes, bike carts and bike ambulances to villages in Zambia.

And with that - let's get to this week's mail!

Dear Poobah,
About 2 years ago I got tired of riding by myself and tried to start riding with some cyclists here in town that claim to be the "fast group." I am by no means "fast," but thought it would be a great way to meet others and enjoy some of the social aspects of cycling . However, this did not last too long. At every ride I was told to "go big or go home" and because I did not understand what is meant by "go big," I inevitably ended up being shunned and indrectly told to go home. Since then I have been saddened by the lack of social support between cyclists here in Columbia and have spent my time riding alone and pondering what it means to "go big." Finally, in relation to one of your previous posts, I think I have realized the meaning of "going big" by my discovery of the following DVD, along the roadside, while out riding. Is this truly what the fast group means by "go big?" Because if it is, I think I'll just go home.
Frank Catalog

Censored with a single-fezzed Shatner for your protection.

Thanks for your note.  This seems to be a common theme.  Let's try to take some lessons from the little item you found along the roadside and apply them to the group you are trying to break into.  I don't expect this will change anyone's opinion - but it's still worth a shot.  Did you ever read that book, "Everything I need to know I learned in kindergarten?"  Well - the same holds true for cycling and porn.  Every good director of pornos has already learned that...
  1. "You've got to go slow to go fast."  Shooting off your wad every10 minutes of every ride results in some pretty lackluster results.
  2. "It's more fun with a partner."  If you are all about seeing how many people you can drop on your group rides, pretty soon, the only one you are going to be playing with is yourself.
  3. "New faces are welcome,"  Pornstaches went out a long time ago - so getting some new folks involved keeps things a lot more fun to look at.

I just wanted to share with you a super secret training device that a certain Howard county native uses...

That's the BOCOMO peloton's own "Benji", with a "saddle cyst" (a.k.a. 80's era ankle weight strapped to his seat post). Dominic Klemme ain't got nuthin' on Benji.

Trevor R.

Thanks so much for the head's up on this little gem.  At first I thought he had applied a muffler to his seat post, which many "hefty riders" will use to quiet the creaks and moans that can come from an overworked seat-post clamp.  By the way - I would be cautious in comparing this Benji to Dominic Klemme....putting a cyclist on a pedastal so high with skin that pale could result in some serious sun burns.

Dear PooBah,
I just recently started going to a new bike shop because the mechanic there is so friendly and always smiles at me.  The only problem is that he speaks very broken English and has a very thick German accent.  Sometimes I'm not even sure what he is suggesting my bike needs?  Do you think I should stick out the language barrier and keep working with him, or find somebody new?
Thank you!
Kristina L.

First things first, pull your pants up - your muffin top is showing.  Seconly - I'd stick it out with him. Nobody understands mechanical things like the Germans.  And if you play your cards right - Fat Adolf might just invite you back to his fortified bunker one day to show you his wienerschnitzel collection.

Dear PooBah,
Your recent Swimsuit Edition featured nothing but ladies.  What gives?  I for one would like to see more scantily clad dudes with bicycles.  Can you help a sister out?
Emily T.

I know.  I've taken a lot of heat over that post.  I hope this will appease you a bit.

Dear PooBah,
Have you heard about the Iron Horse Bicycle Classic in which cyclists race the steam engine that runs between Durango and Silverton, CO?  I want to try it this year and thought I could train by racing the locomotives here in town.  I'm not part of a team, though.  Do you think without support and sponsorship that I will have a chance? 
Veronika G.

I think your training program will attract a lot of should secure yourself some sponsorship in no time.

Have a good weekend, kids.  If you are free around 4:45 today - don't forget to jump in on the True/False March March Parade starting at Sampson Hall by the Stephens College Visitor Center.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Vindication and inner peace...

Despite the fact that the road season has only just begun, there have been some early rumblings in the pro-peloton regarding various groups that have yet to secure a big win:  One is from the entire country of Belgium, and the other is Team Trek Leopard.    But like some sort of cosmic vindication for red-headed cyclists everywhere, Dominic Klemme (the object of much COMO CYCO ginger-related teasing) pulled off a sweet victory this week at the GP Le Samyn.

For all the shit I have given this lad, I'd like to congratulate him on his win.  I am quite sure that with the fully loaded roster of Leopard, no one saw Klemme as the guy who would take the team's first major victory.  I know I have, upon occasion, posted humerous photos of Dominic in the past.  But in light of his first major victory, I'd like to give credit where credit is due and try to shine a new, more flattering light on this champion of the Leopards!

This is one of the only photos I could find of him on the podium - I swear!

Yes - anonymity in the peloton can be a very good thing when it comes to making a break and having it stick.  Now that others are learning that Klemme has some legs under him, getting away the next time may prove to be a bit more difficult.  Which is exactly what some of the Belgians are lamenting as of late.  Take one Belgian in particular; Tom Boonen.... word is he's a little frustrated by how he is being marked in the peloton these days.

"'s always the same thing.  If I move a finger, I have half the peloton on my back watching me, while lads like Langevald or Flecha can escape without even really attacking, just by accelerating a little."

Tommeke, Tommeke....shhhhhh.....relax.

And speaking of Belgians finding their inner peace, RaceRadio recently uncovered the program from Team RadioShack directeur Johan Bruyneel's 2002 wedding.  Why, you may ask, should I mention such a thing on this cycling blog?  Shouldn't I refrain from delving into the personal lives of cycling personalities?  Probably.  But it's rare that I'm touched by items of such beauty, and I find myself incapable of refraining from sharing these with you, dear reader.

Front Cover
I love this photo of Eva Maria, Johan and Johan's sweaty right foot.

It's not even the wedding night yet and he still has a handful!

Back Cover
The money shot.

I have a confession to make.  Sometimes, when I'm feeling blue, I just stare at the last photo and listen to this, and a feeling comes over me that everything is going to be all right...

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Weekend Recap: Racing, Radios and Rages

First order of business today is to send out a big congratulations to our local boys and girls who competed and ran the Froze Toes race over the weekend.  It wasn't quite Belgium, but not far off with a little rain, a little sun, a little fog, a little mud, and a little blood.   Special mention is in order to the CBC race team and club who worked so hard to put on a great race and CBC cyclists Jason Wulff and Jason Ozenberger, who had top 10 finishes in the Pro I-III race and Gideon Bennett who won the Cat 3-4.

You can check out photos of the race taken by Elizabeth Rangel on facebook, here.  As ever, she did a great job with the photos despite having her jeep stuck axle deep in the mud all day.  Of all her photos, this one is my favorite.  I hope the Big Shark cyclist will forgive my addition of a caption.

In other cycling news, of course this past weekend was a big one in Belgium with the Omloop on Saturday and Kuurne on Sunday.  There was some speculation that a rider protest over the recent UCI radio ban might occur, but it never materialized.  I go back and forth on the radio ban issue myself, but think it has to ultimately be up to the racers.  They are the ones out there on the pavement and pave day after day, and if the majority wants them, it seems like Fat Pat should be listening.  I mean - Pat remembers what is was like to be a cyclist - right?
Dayammmm - check out my boy getting macked on back in the day!  This photo almost makes me respect him a little bit.  Ok - I'm over it now.

That said, how could anyone actually want this going on in their ear?

And lastly for today, I'm giving out a little bit of homework.  If you commute to work or school by bicycle, you may want to take a peek at a well-written article appearing in this month's Outside magazine:

When did riding a bicycle become a political act?

The article has become particularly poignant in light of something that happened in Brazil over the weekend.  The driver of a black VW Golf intentionally plowed his car through a critical mass demonstration Friday night in the town of Porto Alegre, hitting 20 cyclists and putting 9 in the hospital.  Here's a screen grab from the video.
The video is viewable on youtube if you feel so inclined to find it, but it is not easy to watch - let me warn you. 

Granted - a critical mass demonstration is something political, and far different from simply riding to work in the morning, or God-forbid, training out on a less-traveled country road.  But the indifference that the motorist shows to life, regarless of the demonstration surrounding him, is near surreal.  The driver of the car has turned himself over to police and is claiming "self defense" for he and his passenger, his 15 year old son, who felt threatened when the cyclists "started hitting the car."  The cyclists he is accusing and hit included women and children.

"He felt cornered, he acted to protect his son who was in the car," his attorney said.

I am generally opposed to critical mass demonstrations, but am probably a little more opposed to one turning their Volkswagen into a snow-plow.  I also hate waiting in long lines at the airport trying to get through security while stupid people ahead of me cannot figure out in advance how to put their stinking liquids and gels into a separate baggy, but that doesn't mean I take a running start into the crowd and mow them all down to get to my gate.

I hate ending posts on a downer note so here's a random picture of Cavendouche playing nerf pistoleros with his girlfriend's son to hopefully raise your spirits back up....

Ride safe and don't critically mass yourself anywhere....