The pedals go round and round

Sep 26
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There are many reasons @ericbateman and I are friends, and this is a big one. 15 minutes of straight Radiohead puns.

Sep 19
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rockets2sprockets:

Best use of GoPro

GoPro on an eagle? Now we’re talking.

Jul 08
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Jul 05
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Jun 04
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A few inches to the left

After the downhill with the bermed turn at the bottom, and the drop through the roots that follows but before the twisty spaghetti noodle section through the trees, there is a quick S-turn on the trail. Four quick pedal strokes after the dropoff into a left turn, then cut to the outside of the trail and use the natural berms a scant few inches tall to take the left hand turn. Then snake right, using the banking on another pile of dirt mere inches tall to keep your momentum. Slingshot out of the turn. 

By virtue of well over a hundred repetitions, I barely think through this section of trail. But the second pile of dirt, it does not make a perfect berm, it ends too soon, before the turn is quite completed and where sand and a few small roots sprawl across the trail, waiting precariously to send a wayward front wheel with too much momentum sliding left and your bars careening down towards the ground. It’s happened more times than I care to admit simply because the turn, it looks like it should be faster, and who wants to brake? Weight the front wheel, unweight it, nothing solves the problem except caution.

But today, my eyes were different, saw a new line. Taking the natural line around the dirt’s banking, seemingly so obvious, wasn’t quite right. Let the front wheel climb the banking, ride it high, and right before it so suddenly ends, dive down the banking, a miniature charade of a sprinter riding down the boards on the track, and finally hit the roots and sand more directly, most of your turning done.

It was a matter of mere inches on a pile of dirt that almost escapes the eye, a shifting of an arc almost imperceptibly, but there is no longer a need to feather the brakes into the corner, an extra half a second was shaved off the loop. 

Every time I take the bike to the woods and dodge my way through the trees on the singletrack, I learn something. You can never be the master of a trail even after a thousand passages, but after enough time and attention it will show nuance after nuance to you for you to absorb.

May 28
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The analysis of collective action is a risky adventure. For one thing, there are too many experts around. It is a bit like good, or sex, or speech. Almost all of us know about good, sex, and speech to survive in our own environments, and none of us likes to be told he is ignorant in any of these three regards.
— Charles Tilly, 1978
May 13
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If I’d seen more stuff like this as a kid, I probably would’ve wanted to be an astronaut.

npr:

This is Canadian astronaut Commander Chris Hadfield, performing David Bowie’s “Space Oddity” while floating around the International Space Station. You may have last seen the space station team walking around in outer space fixing stuff.

You will never do anything this cool.

‘Space Oddity’ In Space: Yes, Astronauts Are Still The Coolest Humans : Monkey See

Apr 03
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So, I’m riding along and really railing some turns, driving the bike way too well for having not been on trails since December. Oh, snow, you’re a cold hearted bastard. And then, going around one turn for the third time on the day, an innocuous little stick - one of those millions that lurk on or next to the trail during the early days of spring or after storms when the trails are not quite cleaned up yet, reaches into my spokes. I hear a little ping and a twig snap and assume that, as with the fifty times this has already happened this ride, all is fine.
Then, a whoosh. A flat, and not a normal one. It sounds as if my tire has been torn asunder. As I slow to a stop and dismount I check for where the air is coming from, and it takes me a while to realize what has happened. That innocent twig has… sheared my valve stem off right above the nut that holds it in place on the rim. Bizarreness abounds. 
So, I begin to pump up my spare tube, and realize it has a hole in it. And I have no patch kit. You see, when you run tubeless tires with sealant inside, you get kind of lazy about these things because flats, in general, just don’t happen. Thorns? No match for Stans. 
So, it’s time to get ingenious, or I’m walking a mile or more to the trailhead (and that’s cutting through the woods, not following the trail) and then home through the non savory portion of South Bend that is the decaying industrial wasteland in the southwest portion of the city. 
I begin to tear my tube around the valve stem with my tool’s screwdriver, then resort to biting it and tearing it with my teeth. Remove the tubeless valve stem, replace it with what is left of the one with the tube, tighten the nut down as tight as possible to hold it in place. Curse myself for having a tiny pump instead of a Co2 cartridge with plenty of oomph to re-inflate the tire past the difficult point of seating the bead on the rim. But, somehow, incredulously, my frantic pumping slowly plumps the tire and, after five minutes and countless times switching arms, I hear a *pop* echo through the woods as the bead seats on the rim. 
That should not have worked. Should NOT have worked.
Somehow, I MacGuyvered a solution and was able to ride home. For the first time on this ride, fortune was on my side. 

So, I’m riding along and really railing some turns, driving the bike way too well for having not been on trails since December. Oh, snow, you’re a cold hearted bastard. And then, going around one turn for the third time on the day, an innocuous little stick - one of those millions that lurk on or next to the trail during the early days of spring or after storms when the trails are not quite cleaned up yet, reaches into my spokes. I hear a little ping and a twig snap and assume that, as with the fifty times this has already happened this ride, all is fine.

Then, a whoosh. A flat, and not a normal one. It sounds as if my tire has been torn asunder. As I slow to a stop and dismount I check for where the air is coming from, and it takes me a while to realize what has happened. That innocent twig has… sheared my valve stem off right above the nut that holds it in place on the rim. Bizarreness abounds. 

So, I begin to pump up my spare tube, and realize it has a hole in it. And I have no patch kit. You see, when you run tubeless tires with sealant inside, you get kind of lazy about these things because flats, in general, just don’t happen. Thorns? No match for Stans. 

So, it’s time to get ingenious, or I’m walking a mile or more to the trailhead (and that’s cutting through the woods, not following the trail) and then home through the non savory portion of South Bend that is the decaying industrial wasteland in the southwest portion of the city. 

I begin to tear my tube around the valve stem with my tool’s screwdriver, then resort to biting it and tearing it with my teeth. Remove the tubeless valve stem, replace it with what is left of the one with the tube, tighten the nut down as tight as possible to hold it in place. Curse myself for having a tiny pump instead of a Co2 cartridge with plenty of oomph to re-inflate the tire past the difficult point of seating the bead on the rim. But, somehow, incredulously, my frantic pumping slowly plumps the tire and, after five minutes and countless times switching arms, I hear a *pop* echo through the woods as the bead seats on the rim. 

That should not have worked. Should NOT have worked.

Somehow, I MacGuyvered a solution and was able to ride home. For the first time on this ride, fortune was on my side. 

Mar 26
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UW-Platteville: Favorite team in my conference. This is why. THEY LIKE FUN

wtfkits:

Oh University of Wisconsin at Platteville Cycling team. You guys make cycling better. Last years Cowboy hotness has given way to the Ahoy-paloy, fairway psychedelics I once consumed. They were originally thought to be truffles that a house broken boar named Bertrand located in a field 130 kilometers outside of Antwerp.

I located a golfer name Francois. He had a penchant for shallots and gin.

He wore similar pants.

Bikes.

Mar 22
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Anticipation

There is hardly a case of nerves like the day before the first race of the season. So many unknowns, unanswered questions, float into your consciousness despite attempts to block them out with distraction or positive thoughts or measured expectations. Have I been training well enough? What about those few days I had to skimp on because of work? And how much faster has everyone else gotten? It can be nerve wracking, even after doing this for ten years now (though honestly only four of them seriously).

Over perceptive during your pre race spin, analyzing too deeply every sensation from your leg muscles. Because though there are chances upon chances during the season to make a bid for glory, yours or a teammate’s, the first race always seems like a harbinger of what is to come. There is little making up ground once you are behind, this sport is an unforgiving mistress.

This year, the nerves are greater. I began a new experiment by racing a full cyclocross season, all the way through nationals in January. My time off the bike was months later than I was accustomed to and hence I am starting racing a month later. There is a plan, and I believe in it, but wondering how the first race will go is only heightened by this abrupt shift, even with the coolness that comes with years racing.

Tomorrow I will forget it all, focus on the race and feel the sensation of wind whipping past my face that only racing gives you that feels so odd after months of solitary training. But tonight, I am brimming with anticipation am eagerness like a small child. What will tomorrow bring?