Wednesday, August 30, 2006

The Edge

I bet something happened in the Vuelta today. Not sure what, because I haven't been paying attention, but I can guess. Today it was hot. Really hot. It's hot in Spain this time of year, and today was no exception. It was also hilly, because Spain is also not flat. Some guy would have attacked out of the parking lot, because I hear the Spanish are into siestas, and they would have wanted to get things over with by 3ish or so. Another guy played it smart and did not attack out of the parking lot, he attacked later in the race and won. He's probably not the guy you expected to win either, but he's got heart, and maybe something a little extra in the bottles...

I got the competetive edge this morning by staying at Stumptown for an extra cup of coffee before I hit the track. I hear hydration's important, and coffee's mostly water.

Couple hours of efforts later and I'm ready for a nap, just in time to rush to work. Sounds like coffee time.

Friday, August 18, 2006


Andy Smalls. Rennaissance Man.

Ramming speed in Raetehi, NZ

Staredown Championships '06.

New team van. Just needs a black paint job.

Breakfast of champions


Coffee Time

As summer winds down, life at the bike shop gets wierd. Managers get tense as profits fall, staff gets restless as the shop stays empty regardless of the sunny weather. Most of the people who make it through the doors these days are either "just looking" or in for a tube and some energy gels. Neko Case is singing about stars again. Clouds are hanging around too long in the morning. Solomon thinks Summer is dying. I need to get to the beach this summer before it's dead.

Watched some poor woman case it on her motorcycle in front of the shop yesterday. Big, bright red jeep is stopped at a light, she's not paying too much attention, careens toward the jeep and turns to see it, smacks on the brakes at the last minute (which sends her right hand off the bar), she executes a frantic rodeo impression for a split second and finally gets bucked to the ground. Fortunately this all happens at about 20 mph, so she doesn't look too bad, but is a living example of why you shouldn't ride your motorcycle in a t-shirt, velour sweatpants, Teva sandals and no gloves... Fire is on scene immediately and has her on a long backboard before you can say "where's AMR?" Ambulance arrives a solid 20 minutes later. A good natured homeless guy tries to direct traffic on Sandy around the giant Portland Fire rig, but the police shoo him away at his most glorious citizen-in-charge moment.

Dick Speers' back in the mother country and Tuckerman's headed back on Saturday, so we had a little send-off last night. All was good untill he found my phone and began calling everyone in alphabetical order. Including my Dad. At 1 in the morning. Lucky for Tuckerman he didn't pick up.

Not a single person has walked into the shop in the last 2 hours and 13 minutes. I wonder what Ping-Pong's doing right now?


Tuesday, August 15, 2006


So that friday night crit was pretty intense. There's a series of pretty sketch corners in that course (actually the whole thing is all sketch corners), so Dave and I set up at a place where we could see the two sketch-est. The first was a downhill 90degree super-rough peice of road, the second was an uphill-but-sharper-than-it-looks little beauty.
So the gun goes off, the Yamaha R1 lead bike rolls through and the first thing I see is Tuckerman completely sideways throught that first downhill left, layed out corning on pure luck and some pretty good tires. He miraculoudly survives and charges up the hill so hard he passes the lead motor on the inside in our second corner. I didn't see the final one before the straight, but I'm told the motor came back around him and Tuckie passed him one more time on the inside through the last corner. Good stuff. After that, I saw a lot of orange guys in the hurt box for the rest of the night. Made me not sad to be sitting in the beergarden. Other highlight of the evening was watching Mark Blackwelder fly ass-first into the downhill corner, blow up his rear wheel on the curb, do a header into the art museum, get up like nothing happened and sprint up the hill with his bike (in his road shoes... full sprint) to the pit. I'm not gonna lie. I was impressed.

Let me say this one first: I love the state crit in Gresham. Fun, wierd course, yet easy enough that I can still do something. I don't tend do so well on "challenging" or "hard" courses. I get tired. I like flat, and the state crit is very flat.
The sun was out, birds were chirping, all the guys were all on board with the plan to keep everything together, the bike was shining and I was feeling pretty good. The first 57 minutes went exactly as planned. If anyone went away, Richard, Kirk, Logan, Aaron or Steven was either sitting on the back of them, or chasing like a banshee. I hung out in the top quarter all day. Supervising. It was kick ass. THEN. The last 15 laps started to get a bit hectic. The pace started heating up, people started getting nervous and I found Shannon's wheel and stuck to it like glue. I figured it was a good place to be, but so did everyone else. Had to pull some serious eyes-closed elbows-out ninja moves to stay behind those chiseled calves. Faster and faster we went, Mr. Vanilla and I made our way through the field to about 10th with 5 to go, meanwhile Mikkel and his Dr. Seuss cronies went to the front. Coming around the final corner with three to go, we were hauling ass. The front group had pretty well worked itself out, we were going too fast and taking up the whole road, so those in the back didn't have much chance to safely sneak around by this point. Anyway. Going into this corner, I'm planted pretty well, Mr. V and I are on the inside line and I see some genius in blue and white go flying up next to the sidewalk on the inside at mach 10 trying to make up 50 places in one corner. Most bike racers know that you can't go inside on a corner at that speed without ending up on your face (something you usually figure very early on), but this guy didn't, and not surprisingly, he ended up on his face. Unfortunately, he decked himself maybe 2 people in front of Shannon, who executed a perfect forward double-axle front flip that should have landed him gold at the X-Games. I avoided everything by pure luck, including Mr. Skerrit's rear wheel, which was inches from taking my head off. Meanwhile the front group rolls away up the straight...
I ended doing the mad sprint to get back to the group, then not doing a very mad sprint to win. Ended up seventh, but with all of my skin intact.


Wednesday, August 09, 2006

rockin the park blocks

According to WillyWeek readers, the BG is cooler than iced coffee. Once again, we've been voted Best Bike Shop in WW's yearly Best Of issue. Boo-ya.

Another big winner was Molly, who won the award for Best Transgender, All-Vegan Bike Shop Owner. Big ups.

I singlehandedly won the award for Best Commuter Racer this morning when I beat the 14 bus up Sandy through traffic all the way from 12th to 53rd. On a fixie. Uphill. Big ups to me.

Pretty sure I'm gonna win the Best Beer Garden Heckler award at the Portland Crit this Friday (as long as Tuckerman's racing). If you think you can challenge, or maybe just want to watch a master at work (by master I mean me), while watching some dorks ride around the Park Blocks, come on down to the Art Museum around 6. We'll rock out.

On a more cinematic note, if you haven't seen An Inconvenient Truth yet, you should. Seems that Al Gore has kept himself pretty busy since the 2000 election debacle. If you are trapped in your house or have no access to a movie theater you could also check out thier website, which is pretty hot, in a fact-ey kinda way.

Did you know they serve Tots at the Side Street watering hole? Discovered that little jem at Solomon's retirement party. Tater Tots. I know. Awesome.

I missed PIR this week, which made me sad. I'll get to do the State Crit Champs this year for the first time in 3 or 4 years, which will make up for it. Till then, I'm praying for a field sprint again... Just have to figure out how to fill Skerrit's tires with cement.