Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Devonport 2

Day 2 of Devonport looked alot like day 1, but colder. Cari smacked some women around, the Malaysians are too fast for thier own good, the hometown boys had the killer start marks and won the wheelraces and we stayed pretty consistent. Despite illness and lack of speed, I kept within .03 seconds of Kelyn and kept my head above water in the wheelraces.

It's pretty clear now that if I head to any World Cups next year I'll need a few weeks or a month in a warm place with an open track. Cari is already planning a pre WC/carnivals training session in Melbourne next year. There's talk of a Melbourne house for US track racers similar to the Belgium house for US cyclocross and road racers. Seems like that would be the key to carrying over form and pushing each other on to bigger things.

So instead of obsessing about the minor details of a bunch of races I didn't win, here's my moment of the day: I'm sitting at the car, winding down after a wheelrace heat and a shabby looking guy with a loaded touring bike walks over and starts talking to Cari. Turns out this guy is named Ward, is from rural Iowa, and is riding his bike around the world with his wife. Ward used to own a bike shop back home, and one day he and his wife decided that this huge world tour is something they wanted very strongly to accomplish. So after the kids went to college, they sold the shop, sold the car, sold the house, sold everything and bought 2 touring bikes and a plane ticket. Now 32 countries and 3 years later, they end up in Tasmania at the Carnivals, talking to Americans for the first time in months. Ward is probably one of the most inspiring people I've ever met. The idea of dropping the common social constraints of the "american dream" and following your own damn dream is incredible to me. The nerve, the vicious determination involved! What a pair of originals. So we got some pictures, talked for a while and went on our separate ways. If you want to keep up with Ward and Jacky check out From The Benches Of The World.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Devonport day 1

This weather is crap! Woke up this morning feeling absolutely miserable and listening to the rain outside. Still 5 hours for the skies to clear before racing starts, but the news this morning is all doom and gloom about the weather.

The first day of Devonport was actually quite good. Since the carnival is split over two days, we only had one UCI race to do on top of the wheelraces. That UCI event would be the kierin. I was feeling pretty good about myself after yesterday and my goal was pretty clear: figure out my round and do nothing wrong. Once again it was 2 go through with a stacked field, so saying "I want to qualify" would be like hopping in my truck and saying "I want to drive a top 5 in a F1 race." So I started at the back and watched everything shake out. One of the Malaysians was trying to push Perkins off the track (despite perko being twice his size) and they were inspiring the rest of the field to get amongst it for the first few laps. I was rolling at the back with a small gap, watching everything shake out when I saw one of the Kiwi kilo riders swing just a bit too high off Azizul Awang's wheel and I fired off a good one and took the wheel from him. So here I am, 2 to go, motor pulls off, I'm on the wheel of the fastest guy in the race thinking "SWEET." One to go and I'm actually entertaining the thought of sticking to Awang and maybe me sneaking in for a second place. Then he jumps. It's not like I missed it, I could see him winding up for it. As he stood up and jumped, I stood up and jumped. And as I jumped I watched him accelerate away so fast it didn't even seem natural. My brain had a bit of trouble grasping how fast he was traveling. Either way, I made it to mid-field and he made it to 4 bike lengths off the front of the field in about as many pedal strokes.
Just before he jumped.
The lightning wheelrace went much better. Not much you can explain about such a short race. Just making it into the finals is an accomplishment in itself, as every heat starts with 25 and only the top 3 go through. The Devonport oval was being whipped by an offshore wind all day, so the homestraight was a stiff headwind. I went out hard, caught the front markers, hid from the wind and went with one of the kiwis in the last 100m to grab second in the heat and make it through to the final. Kelyn made it through his heat as well, so we were both in the big show off the same mark. Starting off 55 in a 1k handicap is a tough mark. You're pretty far from the frontmarkers, and at the same time, if the scratchmen catch, they'll have a full head of steam and you'll never have a chance. So the challenge is to keep it fast enough at the front to overtake the guys off 150 and keep the scratchmen behind you, at the same time saving enough for a sprint. Tough to do by yourself, so you have to split up the work. As the only one of us who's been on the track doing sprint work in the last 2 months, Kelyn was drafted to do the finish, while I would do the bitch work in the first 700m. We were off to a decent start, caught the frontmarkers reasonable quickly, I hit the front at full noise with 500m to go and pulled off at about 150. Somewhere in there Kelyn lost my wheel, but still managed to snake by for 3rd. Only 2 of the 5 scratchmen caught, and they would be the two in this picture:

Lightning Finish
So overall, the day went well. Made enough money to have a decent New Years Eve and raced smart. It took until the last day at Burnie last year for us both to make a final, so things are looking up.

Devonport day 1

Sunday, December 28, 2008

slinging spew at the silverdome

At my darkest moment yesterday; legs seizing, lungs full of fluid, couldn't breath, head spinning, I reeled toward the bathroom and came across a sign that it could always be worse. One of the Malaysian sprinters was doubled over the toilet, wretching the last little bits of his breakfast into the porcelain, making this horrible howling sound like he was being stabbed by some invisible torturer while it was all happening. He had just been very publicly smashed by Shane Perkins in the sprints. Immediately I feel better.

Racing actually went fairly well yesterday. Despite the poorly timed cold that has made itself at home in my chest, I managed to ride halfway decent and not look like a complete a-hole. My 200m time was nearly a half second faster than last year with (with no track time for 2 months) and only a hundredth of a second slower than Kelyn's. The depth of field for the racing this year is pretty incredible. Both on the sprinter side and enduro side, seems like it's the who's who of Oceanea. It's a bit disheartening to see previous winners of wheelraces and national champions starting 50 or 100 meters in front of you in a short wheelrace, but what can you do? HTFU. So the even the heats are rediculously quick. For instance. Our 2k handicap heat today finished in 2:08. The final finished in 2:01. Holy cow. Tactically I'm feeling great and I know where to be and when to get there, but my legs cannot match that much speed endurance. So on to the kierin. I lined up with Shane Perkins, Shane Niblett, Azizul Awang, Joel Leonard, and Razil Tisin. 4 of those 5 are current Olympic riders, and Joel Leonard has been doing World Cups lately. So for me to earn my start money, I at least need to put on a good show for the 3000 people in the stands and who are hollering like banshees for anyone that shows some flash. So whaddya do? You put on a 98 inch gear, right turn up to the rail before the motor pulls off, come screaming down and a thousand miles an hour brushing everyone's shoulders to keep them from jumping with you and take off at the front for a lap. Of course I didn't win, but for the first time I could hear the deafening roar of several thousand people loosing thier minds at a bike race.

Of course I didn't win. Or get second. So I didn't qualify. But who cares? The final was essentially a world cup round and I pulled the move of the night in my heat, so who can complain? I've never raced in a 98 before and last year I was getting dropped off the back of every kierin I did here with 2 laps to go.

So Devonport today. I'm hacking multicolored goo at an alarming rate, but f#@& that. Didn't fly around the world to sit in the hotel room and cry about it. As chopper would say...


Friday, December 26, 2008

thanks qantas!

After leaving our bikes on the tarmac in Melbourne, Qantas finally delivered our bikes. After most of the racing was over.
The sprints went by with no rides. As did the keirin and the first wheelrace. Finally right before the feature wheelrace heats were about to go off, Cari's phone finally went off and to the gates we ran. This gave us a solid 30 minutes to warm up, which wasn't so bad. Went for a spin on the road, investigated a little of backcountry Tasmania and got back to the track just in time to line up for the race... and run for cover as the rain started dumping. 2 hours later, with no open track or warmup: "RIDERS TO THE LINE."
All things considered, everything after that went fairly well. After two months of almost exclusive strength training I managed to not completely detonate at any point in the 3k full noise handicap, and simply ran out of gas after a tactically sound race, ending up around 6th with 4 going through.

And that was the day.

Tomorrow is unfortunately a day off. The next day is my favorite track: the Launceston Silverdome. A beautiful indoor board track packed out with tons of spectators and plenty of crazed intermission entertainment. Looking forward to it.

Thursday, December 25, 2008


Christmas with the Starrs was pretty great as usual. Nancy and Rick threw down a huge Christmas Eve dinner for everybody, Rico and the parents threw down some hilariously entertaining argument, everybody threw back a bit of champagne, and I ate so much I was a forkfull of stuffing away from throwing up. The Starrs made Kelyn and I feel at very much at home on Christmas Day. Even got us some rad-sweet presents.

After making both our flights with several seconds to spare, we finally landed in Launceston yesterday. Trouble is, our bikes never made it out of Melbourne. So Latrobe is a hour and a half drive from here, racing starts at 10, and our bike should get to Launceston by 10. Math. Doesn't. Work.
So maybe we'll get bikes by the time the feature handicap heats start. Maybe. Fingers crossed.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

from LAX

You know what's funny? Sitting in an airport bar, listening to an LA sports radio dj argue with a half-drunk kiwi about whether rugby or football is more manly and violent. I love airports.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

all tomorrow's parties

In 24 hours I will be in LA.


Even though that city is a steaming poo-hole, at least it's about 60 degrees warmer than Colorado (high of 12 tomorrow!), and I only have to be there for 6 hours. Long enough to sneak out of LAX for a greasy meal and maybe a 9 dollar beer. The low here tonight should be a downright tropical 1 degree. I'M OUT! My sunblock, multicolored wifebeaters, acapuclo shirts and speedos are packed. Get me on that plane.

Armed. Locked and loaded. Ready to get reckless. Wreckless.

The UCI sprint series start lists are impressive to the point where I'm so outgunned I'm not even nervous (which says a lot). I'm walking into a gunfight with a knife, but why not? I have zero track time, so my 200s will be less than stellar, but the beauty of the carnivals is the wheelrace. The beauty of the wheelrace is its total unpredictability. You can look at it through an economic filter. To win the UCI sprint series: 500 bucks. To win a minor wheelrace: $1000. To win a feature wheelrace: $15,000. So if I can't even make the sprint rounds but make the right move in one of the wheel finals, there's my rent for a year. Even top 10 in a final nets more cash than my roundtrip tickets. It's like a Vegas poker room if there was a thug with a pipe wrench breaking 1 of every 40 collarbones in the room. The odds are for you making it out clean, but against you making off with any of the house's dough. But luck can change either way.
"Buy the ticket, take the ride."

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

5 days to go

Till I start my favorite/least favorite journey. I love being in the South Pacific, but getting there couldn't be less fun. Fly to LA and sit there for 8 hours... Just to get on a plane for a 13 hour flight. Gross. No complaints though, I'm just happy to go again and test myself against the wheelraces, now that Kelyn and I have a better idea of what we're doing. Should be interesting to see what I can do after a hard summer and 3 months off the track. Still snowdrifts on turns 1 and 2, so all my on the bike training has been on the BT for the last month...

The good news is that when I get back there'll be an indoor velodrome waiting in Boulder. Looks like the track surface is done and their just plugging away at red tape to get the sucker open.

Open your velodrome! Get me off this trainer! I will pay to ride!

Monday, December 15, 2008

watch this video right now

Presidential Duck

Apparently this guy is a hero in the mideast now. He's my new favorite.

Thursday, December 11, 2008


I decided my site needed to look much better than Tuckerman's so here ya go. Now 100% pro-er. Links are all updated, so checkemout.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Sunday, November 30, 2008

Took this picture about 4 hours ago, and it's been coming down steady ever since. That's the trail we ride to work as seen from the shop parking lot. In Portland I used to laugh at the idea of studded snow tires for bikes...

Saturday, November 29, 2008


I didn't commute to work today as much as I kind of slid to work. An inch of fresh snow fell on Thanksgiving, just long enough to make Jenny a little giggly and get the roads nice and wet. After a 19 degree night and another layer of snow, transport was a bit treacherous this morning. Snow covered ice. Classic. These conditions would throw the Northwest into a panic, but everyone here is understandable unfazed. I was white-knuckled by the time I got to the shop, but felt a bit better as I saw everyone else I work with enter the parking lot in a sideways four wheel drift. Our mechanic (a lifelong springs resident) summed it up the best: As long as you're sliding slowly you're probably okay.

Training has been humming right along. Long days on the BT trainer, hard gym sessions and worrying about what race shape I'll be in come race day in Tasmania. I could do a million workouts a day, but without someone to gauge my form against it's impossible to tell where I'm at. At least the gym gives me concrete numbers, and so far those are all climbing steadily. But how does a clean-pull 5 rep weight translate to finishing speed in a 3k handicap against a bunch of Olympians? We'll find out.

Cari's already in Australia turning up the speed knob. Girl did her first world cup in Melbourne, is set to do the Revolution coming up soon and will probably embarrass all of us in the wheelraces. So I got that going for me.

Tuckerman's headed back to NZ on Monday to do a little "welcome home" liver exploding. Hopefully not too much, as he's going to be in yellow next year on LR/O, and yellow is not flattering to the fatties. I'm sure Pabst the cat and his wife (my sister in law (how strange))will miss him dearly. Also pretty sure that all the bars within a 3 block radius will all see a 20% decline in profits as soon as he's gone. Bartenders are already cleaning their tears off the cash registers.


Thursday, November 20, 2008

From Cyclingnews:

"Olympian to head American team for Christmas Carnivals

Two-time Olympian Gideon Massie will head the American team at the Christmas Carnivals. It will be Massie's first time at the carnivals in Latrobe, Launceston, Devenport and Burnie. He will compete in the skilled U.C.I. sprint series and other wheelrace and scratch events.

Massie, a winner of multiple US National titles, will head up the team which will also include sprint National Champion Dean Tracy, team sprint National Champion Kelyn Akuna, Collegiate National Championship bronze medal winner Eugene Chacherine and keirin, sprint and team sprint National Champion Cari Higgins. Jame Carney will also be making the trip after missing the carnivals last year due to suspension.

The American team is one of several foreign teams expected to compete. "

As usual, the old CN gets 85% on the accuracy scale. I sure wish I was the sprint champion. And Eugene went last year, but as we speak is probably at football practice. Apparently he's playing wide reciever for the Western School of Mines.


Monday, November 10, 2008

hey everyone, come see how famous we are!


You know you've really made it when you get in the International Business Times.

Thursday, November 06, 2008

back in black

I think the Mercury's headline says it best. We're right there with you Portland. Watching election Brian Williams call it for the good guys, crapping our pants. In the throes of a Barack-attack. Dude managed to deliver easily the most moving speech I have ever heard. I'm suprised he could still stand after 2 years of campaigning like that. I have a hard time behaving like a normal person after a race and a 4 hour flight let alone several flights a day with several speeches a day. What an animal. Barackasaurus Rex.

In my small corner of the world, I'm back to training. We had three weeks off after Nationals, then Blatchford and I both simultaneously imploded right before training kicked up again. I came down with a nasty flu/cold and Blatchy has early-20's onset arthritis or something. Guy is so messed up the physios at the OTC have him doing "water jogging" until his nerves recover. I hope he's wearing neon inflatable arm floaters. Anyway. So now that I'm not feeling like death, after 4 weeks off I'm back. Went to the track yesterday and enjoyed a sunny day with just me, Mark Tyson on a SV650, and a bucket of spew. Back to sleeping between workouts so I can hold a conversation with Jenny without passing out at the end of the day. Back to eating 200 dollars a week in groceries, pretty much by myself. Back to heavy gym workouts and gaining weight faster than John Candy.


Thursday, October 30, 2008


You know what sucks more than getting sick? Getting sick right before the Boulder Handmade Bike Show Halloween Zombiefest Road Trip. Suckfest.
I may be under, but the bike show looks to be pretty kickass. Perfect weather (mid 70s and sunny, as usual), tons of great builders (Courage, Nobilette, Tiemeyer, GROUNDUP!) and some Halloween polyfreakery. There's even a USGP cross race right after the show. Should be fun if I can quit coughing, and it'll make me feel better for missing the Astoria Hecklefest this year.


Thursday, October 23, 2008

only good things

Most anniversaries are pretty much no-brainers. Everyone knows what to do on the annual markers of weddings, or national independence, or births. The question is, what do you do on the anniversary of your friend's death?

We lost Brett Jarolimek a year ago yesterday to a bicycle vs. garbage truck collision that the police essentially called "bad luck." All things considered, the situation surrounding the accident was absurdly frustrating. The way I see it, Brett was an uncompromisingly good person who deserved nothing but happiness and the best things in life. So if a person like Brett could be taken away by "bad luck," then all bets are off. This is not to say that the future is pointless, but the present is far more important. If it could happen to him, it could happen to any of us, which only strengthens the idea that we should make every day worth it. This ultimately made it easier for me to let the little things slide, see the bigger picture, enjoy my days a little more. So that said, I didn't want to spend the entire day analyzing the experience and what it meant to me. I know what it means. I know what I'm doing about it.

So Jenny and I came to the conclusion that the best way to remember the event and celebrate Brett's life would be to spend the day living our interpretation of what he meant to us. In short, doing only the good things in life. Making people happy. So we took the day off. We woke up late and wandered to our favorite cafe for breakfast and coffee. I did a short workout while Jenny watched her favorite show. We made a great dinner and drank wine until late and enjoyed the cold mountain air. We lived outside of stress and obligations for a day and enjoyed ourselves and each other's company. It was Jarolimous.


Tuesday, October 21, 2008

bcn pic

On the podium with Blatch and Jergen

Pete. English National Team coach. With a friend.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

tige's special request hour

A few from LA. Still haven't managed to bring in the Barcelonan pics yet.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

187 from 719. 25 it.

El Velodrom' D'Horta. Barcelona, Spain.

jerseys are cool

bikes are cool

El Beacho De Barcelona. Giant golden fish in the background. Frank Gehry is almost as weird as Gaudi. They're both from another planet.

Friday, October 10, 2008

win or don't bother coming back

So I'm sitting in the pits. Slumping, actually. Tired, wrecked, overall exhausted from 2 weeks of hard racing and endless travel. It's round 2 of the kierin. By this point I've had a dissapointing Nationals. My legs feel like they've quit, like they're already back in Colorado on my couch, leaving me a stressed out legless torso with a lot left to prove. When the first round rolled around, I reverted back to my brain and elbows. The safest way to make a dangerous living? Maybe. Not sure what really happened in the first round aside from a great fight with a young Rock & Republic rider. The moral of that story was toestraps are good and don't ride a 2000 dollar front wheel in a kierin with a frustrated sprinter who can see you coming. Anyway. So it's about 45 seconds before round 2 and I get a text message from Kacala that says "Kay says either you win something or don't bother coming back." Kay is the owner of the bike shop I work at back in Colorado. Awesome.

By the time the kierin wraps up, I'm not in the place I want to be, but there's not much else I could've done. Tuckerman would've been proud. There was chaos, there was violence. Not quite the "hosing all the blood off the track" scenario that he wanted, but I couldn't get kicked out before the team sprint...

Which went as well as it could've. Teamed up with Kelyn Akuna and the freight-train Jimmy Watkins. I rode first, got caught in the gate (of course), had an average first half and the best first lap of the day by a half second. We end up winning by over a second over the second place team. Finally! After about a billion 4th and 5th place finishes at Nationals, I got to stand up on the top step, get a sweet jersey and a chunk of (fake) gold. Brian hugged me so hard he almost crushed my larynx. It was brutal.

As for what this says about my future, it's uncertain. at a low 47 seconds we didn't do a world-class time, and missed the qualification time for a world cup by a half second. We could probably still make "coaches' selection" since we were the winning team, but the problem there is funding. Namely, we'd be on our own. We'll see what happens. Most likely scenario is that the Training Center starts picking up my food bills and I concentrate on the Christmas Carnivals in Tazzy. Anything after that? Well. It's all in the air. The coaches are either scattered across the country or in cardiac surgery as we speak (good luck Des!). After everyones out of the hospital and back in the springs we're having a meeting, but until then I'll assume that Tazzy is the end of the season and cross my fingers.

Spanish Kierin round 2. Prepared to stomp.

Friday, October 03, 2008

the best of times, the worst of times

I hate Los Angeles. This place is a wasteland. Brown skies, endless choked roads and angry people as far as the eye can see. What a monumental bummer to come from Barcelona to this.
Nationals is not going as well as I hoped. By the time l adjusted in Barcelona I was feeling lethal, here I can't seem to get my head out of the sand. My standing lap on the first day was an improvement over last year, but not nearly the time I feel capable of. Sprints were downright embarrassing. Bad 200 followed by an even worse first round put me in the stands for the next round. Kierin and a chance for good times and redemption tommorow. Going to throw on a big gear and ignore some rules, see who's watching. Maybe headbutt a watercooler and drag a junior by his hair through the pits screaming bloody murder just to set the tone before racing begins.

At least I'm not on the fast track to a cold doctors table. Des felt some odd chest pain and a tingle in his pacemaker his morning, so he's on the first flight back to CO to see his cardiologist. Not to be outdone, Blatchford has added "mystery back pain" to his trans-Atlantic post grand-prix fatigue, and has promptly pulled out of competition and into the doc's office. Guess that means I'm starting the team sprint on Sunday. Funny how quickly things turn around sometimes.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

an update of updates

Racing is blurry. The brain is sloshing around in a sea of exhasution, coffee, sangria and seafood. Racing has ended, they sponsors have been smiled at, the promoters wined and dined us and generally, all is well.

Beginning from the beginning, the sprints started horribly.

Maybe that´s not the beginning.

The beginning is like this. A Euro Grand Prix is something else. Certainly bigger and cooler than anything I´ve ever done before. The racing featured riders from the Netherlands, England, Scotland, Russia, Spain, Catalunya (they don´t like to be called Spaniards), Switzerland, Germany and probably a few others I´m forgeting. Most riders were from their national "B" or "development" teams save for the Spanish who brought a few big guns for the home crowd. All in all it was a bit wild to be on the line for a keirin with all those national jerseys instead of the local club teams. But anyway. About those sprints.

With the perfect equipment and the perfect warmup, it just did not come together. Slapped on a 94, rolled up and did a perfect windup, but the legs would not fire. Rolled in with a time almost a second slower than I´ve been doing in the last few weeks. Pathetic really. Put me near the bottom of the seeding list, but at least I was in. First ride: Jose Escuredo. Olympic medalist and current world cup baddass Jose Escuredo. To my credit, I rode smart but was just overwhelmed in the drag race. This put me in the rep round which went almost as well. The whole time I think I´m riding fairly aggressive rounds and Des tells my I´m riding like a passive idiot. "Make a diversion" he says. "Hook someone, if the officials like you they won´t see anything." When all was said and done, I finished 10th, and on to the Keirin.

Keirin was considerably more fun. The first 2 rounds ran directly after the sprint rounds on Saturday. This was new. I'm already feeling beat from my sprint humiliation and I´m getting called up for another go. Damn. To compensate for my crappy legs I put on a bigger gear and put on some white gloves. Turned out to be the magic pill. First round felt like a rugby match. I heeded Des´ and Kacala´s advice and rode like the lanes were mere suggestions. Took me back to the days of Abers´ Grasstrack Gauntlet From Hell. Nothing but fur flying, wheels scraping and me managing to scrape across the line first. In the second round I ended up again with Escuredo, the top seeded Russian, Theo Bos´ brother Patrick, his sneaky-ass Dutch teammate Yondi, and the biggest Catalunyan the world has ever seen. As the motor came off, Bos tried to come around with what I assumed was Yondi on his wheel. I immediately right turned into Bos´s front wheel (shredding my right shoe cover and part of my shoe) then sharply left turned to put the charging russian on the apron. Meanwhile Escuredo wound up a supersonic jump, and flew around with the Catalunyan on his wheel. Coming onto the home straight I was a solid third, with three through to the gold medal final. Then (remeniscent of a pink flash I saw at AVC) an orange Dutch flash named Yondi pipped me at the line for 3rd. Aparently he had watched the whole thing from the back and afterward told me "I think I shit myself twice before I could get close enough to pass you."
Anyway. The 6-12 final was my favorite ride of the weekend. It was somewhere near our 11th hour of track time, I was dead tired but somehow managed to feel magical for 7 laps. The highlights: Kneed the Russian´s handlebar to get the wheel I wanted, flicked Bos so hard he squealed (we laughed about it later) and dropped everyone to get to the line first. Sure it was only for 6th, but for my first European Gran Prix, I´m happy.

Team sprint. Ouch. Rode third. Hurt-box. Rode with one of the Dutch, who tried to talk his way out of it when he saw Blatchy and I start in warmups. All ended well though. I don´t remember anything past the first lap. Think I woke up with the announcer telling the crowd (in rapid-fire spanish) that we were third. Great way to end the tourney: standing on a podium with a trophy and flowers. With a gingerheaded Dutchman showing his teammate the international symbol of the full moon. What a bunch of tweaks.


Friday, September 26, 2008

heaviness increased

The Groundup got the pro treatment today. Full shebang. Mavic iO in front and Comete disk, Conti Sonderclausse tires and ceramic bearings. Feels fast just rolling on the apron. Started the usual warmup with our group plus the Dutch, which meant the whole thing was 30mph faster than usual... "im not hurting yet, are you?" Ended starting with 12 and finishing with 3. Rolled onto the apron with Des giving us that WTF? look. Don't give me that. I wasn't about to get dropped by a skinny carrot-topped dutch guy on a sparkly white BT in a warm up paceline. I've got an ego to consider.

Flying 100's went well. Des timed everyone that was there, and Blatchy and I were going the fastest. Good sign so far, but the Brits and French are still yet to arrive tonight. Juniors just rolled around while Des and Howard kept saying "just have fun" "just have a good time." Meanwhile we're in the middle of a tightly controlled workout with each 50m timed, compared and critiqued, and at one point Blatchy says "What about us?" They both say simultaneously "Don't fuck up!"

Guess we're not in Kansas anymore...

Anyway. Off to the showers, the cafe and out yonder. Barcelona has an incredible subway system that was installed for the 92 games. Lets you get anywhere in the city for a few Euros, so I'll see how lost I can get. Just need to make it back in time for dinner and a solid night's sleep. Crunch time tommorow. Racing starts at 10am. Trofeo International 2008. Got maneuvers to make.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

dia numero dos

How is it possible that I'm the only one awake this morning? Even the juniors "sleeping" in the "beds" which are actually cupboards underneath my and Blatchford's beds are still asleep at the late late hour of 5:10 am. Which is actually 9pm at home. Amazing stuff, this Ambien. Kills jetlag faster than a Polar Bear standing next to Sarah Palin. Oh, it's only 11 o'clock in the morning where you live? Just take one of these and zzzzzzzzzzz...

13hrs later when I finally come to, I'm adjusted to the time zone and ready to get my food on. Couple things about the food here. Catalans (Catalonyans? Catalites?) eat rice with tomato sauce at every meal. Also on the menu every meal of the day is some variety of fish. For instance, last night at dinner I ate some squid that must've had tentacles 5 inches wide. Huge. Tasted a little like starburst which was weird, but strangely satisfying. I guess that's probably just part of life on the Mediterranean coast. Squid, sangria and siestas. The whole siesta thing is pretty cool too. Everything shuts down for an hour or two in the middle of every day. This used to be a glorified national nap time but now it seems to be an excuse for everyone to wander down to the corner cafe to get a little soused before going back and facing the rest of the work day. We ended up at the track during nap time, so no one was there except a haggard old caretaker who was probably cursing us for interrupting his afternoon hooch.

The track.
Is all kinds of cool. Outdoor, looks over a hillside covered in ancient buildings, tons of spectator seating and a soccer field on the infield. The boards are no more than an inch tall each but a couple feet wide, which gives the surface sort of a bizzarre look, like someone dropped about a billion chopsticks on a concrete track. It's immaculately maintained and smooth as ice. 250 meters, 43 degree banks, long straights and perfect transitions. Makes LA feel like Alpenrose. Talked to a bunch of racers today. Pretty big group from the Netherlands (including Theo Bos's brother) who are all tall and thin and speak perfect English.
Did some flying hundreds and a standing start.
More of the same tommorow, then I'm headed to the Sagrada Familia and the Museu DePicasso.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Day one

A few notes from a short day.

People in barcelona are painfully fashionable. Walking around this city feels like strolling through the pages of GQ and Vogue at the same time.

If you're ever in this part of the world, visit the Parc D'Laberint de Horta. Like Forest Park, but with 17th century marble sculptures, an incredible hedge maze, something that looks like a dog house with a moat around it. Think Pans Labyrinth outdoor scenes, since this is where they filmed it.

Catalan might be the most beautiful language on the planet. Which is good, because these people are stuck in an endless loop of conversation.

The track is closed today for a national holiday of some sort, but you can tell it hosted an Olympics. That thing is sweet.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

rain, rain, don't make me punch you in the face

Can we get some of that magic Chinese silver nitrate anti-rain spray in the clouds above Barcelona? Can someone get that done?
If the 10 day forecast is correct and it rains the entire time I'm overseas I'm going to fight someone. Probably someone smaller than me, because I don't like to loose. In fact I might fly to Portland to punch that skinny cripple in the jaw. So you better hope it doesn't rain, Tuckerman.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Blazin Apes.

I don't have anything particularly important or exciting today (not that I ever have anything important to say), but Tuckerman's bored at home with two broken heels and the shop hasn't had a customer walk through the doors in over 2 hours.
Two broken heels, you say? How can that be? Well, maybe you should ask the invalid himself for the full story, but the abridged version involves: 1 late night, 1 tall concrete ledge, the desire to scare some friends and an undetermined amount of alcohol. The end result being a pair of hideous black and pink casts and Tuckerman being incapable of leaving his apartment without someone else opening the elevator door. This gives me semi-hilarious visions of my friend sitting in a rolling desk chair, holding his heels off the ground, doodling on his iPhone, waiting for some good samaritan to open the door and maybe roll him down to the coffee shop. Anyway. This one's for you buddy.

Recently the US Collegiate National Track Championships rolled into town. This to many collegiate racers is the Rose Bowl of turning left over and over again in skinny pants. The non-cycling world regards it somewhere on the level of the World Championships of Short Haired Kitten Wrestling, and the bike shop world thinks of it as a rough storm that must be weathered. Ten days of confused collegiate racers wondering why we don't have square-tapered italian-threaded Campy bottom brackets or requesting things like 15 matching aero helmets (and immediately following with questions about our return policy). No, these helmets are not prom dresses.

So we stock up on chainrings, chains, tools, cogs, all that crap that Aaron and I will probably buy anyway and hope for the best. The racing goes by smoothly, and it becomes pretty clear from the stands that this race is many of these riders' first time on the track.

One rider who's been on the track more than once is Aaron Kacala, who is racing for University of Colorado, although you wouldn't know it by the blank grey t-shirt he raced in. Aaron is awarded the Ride of The Year by virtue of a 4-up match sprint which was the most entertaining of the night by far. Aaron has been overloaded with school and work lately, so his training has been less than stellar. Read: he's ridden his bike to work a few times. Knowing this, The Big Gorilla decides to try and win by virtue of intimidation and control. If a rider tried to go over the top, he quickly found himself heading toward the rail so fast a parachute would be the only thing to save him. If a rider tried to go underneath, he would be immediately sandwiched between a slab of concrete and a big hairy ape in a gray t-shirt. I've seen a lot of match sprints, but until this day I've never seen someone travel farther laterally than they did forward. The officials were so overwhelmed that they stopped all the riders with one lap to go, removed the offensive simian Kacala from the track and restarted without him. Hilarious. So funny. Made me shoot beer out of my nose.


Sunday, September 07, 2008


CC is buzzing with a new crop of privileged youth, UCCS is back in session and all the news can talk about is CSU Pueblo's new football team (and that ghastly Palin woman). Since Labor Day there's been about a 100% increase in popped collars and baseball hats at the local bar. I don't think it's a coincidence. Also not coincidentally I've lost yet another training partner. First Blatchy goes to Beijing and now the Gorrilla Goes To College (good movie name). The infamous Aaron Kacala is stuck in the icy grip of homework and study, therefore I'm by myself at the track. Just me and Des with a stopwatch. Scary. Not as scary as the coming weeks of traveling, but still...

The Ground Up is in the middle of the painting process (read: Eric Barr with a can of flat black Krylon), so I'll get some pictures up soon, then FixedGearFever will have a feature on its birth.

Collegiate Natz! Coming soon! This weekend! If you're in CSprings and you're not in school, let's heckle! Heckle the Gorrilla!

I've also been writing the shop blog lately, so check that out if you want to see some boring crap about what bikes we have in stock.


Thursday, August 21, 2008



I wish I would have paid attention in Spanish class instead of doing... whatever it was I did in high school. Probably would have been good to take a few college classes, since I actually attended my college classes.

Either way. I can order food, I can ask for the bathroom and I can swear like a Spanish dockworker, so I think I'm ready. Headed to Barcelona for a UCI sprint tournament at the end of september. "But wait" you might be saying. "Isn't the US National Champs at the beginning of October?" why yes. Yes it is. So I'll spend (by priceline's estimate) about 23.8 hours in planes and airports, rebuild my track bike and hop right back on the thing for Nationals. Bitchin. I'm in. Sounds great. Wouldn't have it any other way.

Actually I am a little bummed that I won't be going to LA in the freak-mobile RV that we took to Portland, but hey. Whaddyagonnado.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

building dangerous things

So the AVC and all its triumph and bits of disappointment are behind me, and we’re rolling strong back into the routine of training. Disappointment, you say? Que? Yeah, well. The keirin was a bummer, but more so I wish I had some more time to hang out with family who came to see me race, friends I never saw, and friends I didn’t see enough of. But bills call louder than loud and I had to get back to work. Being a non-pro cyclist doesn’t pay much.

Speaking of which…

Do you love Land Rovers? Because I do. But not because I have that much money or am a closet off-road enthusiast. I love Land Rover because they’re the main sponsor of the new Land Rover-Orbea Professional Cycling Team. Yeah. Remember Rubicon? No more Rubicon. Now Norrene and Dave are the proud, very stressed parents of the newest UCI Continental pro team. I was perusing the UCI rules to see if a track sprinter could even be on a road team, and found that it can be so. The only catch is the rider must be ranked in the top 150 in the world by UCI points. Drag, I said. Mostly to myself. Then out of curiosity I checked the UCI rankings and sure enough, there I was, number 133. Bitchin. So looks like Dave and Norrene are stuck with a track racer who is building a death-metal track bike. So bummer for them, but I’m psyched.

Speaking of the new bike, it's brutal. It’s so brutal I’ve decided to name it Murderface Murderface. Or Snizzysnazz Bullets. One of those.

This is a pile of metal. Heavy metal. Biggest legal aero downtube available. Another downtube for a toptube. Seat-tube, chainstay and seatstays intended for a tandem. Big chunks of metal for secret tricks and pieces. And a local beer for good luck.

Handmade from the GroundUp.

Making dangerous things in dangerous ways.

Jigged up.

Speaking of dangerous… That top tube doesn’t come like that. That top tube was placed in a vice between 2 steel chainstays and deformed by hand. Comment of the moment from Eric was “Man I hope this thing doesn’t hit me in the face like last time…”

Does your seat tube pierce your top tube? Cause mine does.

Heavy metal moustache.

Nothing caps a good day of building like some DizzyDrome construction. Hmmm... what could make this thing a little sketchier? Wall ride!

Dallas hitting it, fur flying.

Dallas misjudged that one and had to resort to his emergency landing-gear apparatus (most people call it a collarbone).

Monday, August 11, 2008

ill write a new post tommorow, i promise

But for now I'm at work, so you get this.

Stolen from the Bummer Life.

Thursday, July 24, 2008


Since I'm at "work," the two second update commences:

The team sprint was ugly, but ended with us on the top step...

The Keirin was going swimmingly until I lost by this much to a unicorn in pink panties...

The sprints went well, I tried not to blow a top seed and ended up riding Geo in the final...

Which went well.

More later.

Monday, July 14, 2008

this man wants your wheel

Lock up your daughters and booze. Kakaka is on his way. But maybe someone could get him a band-aid? He's starting to smell like blood.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

bumps in the road, chumps on the road

Anybody seen our downhiller? Seriously, anyone? Our 5th driver for the trip, Erick has vanished in a trail of blood and confusion. Last we heard he was somewhere in a bar in Snowmass losing blood from a beer bottle vs. bar vs. hand collision. Since the cut is allegedly 2 inches long and just as deep, the race was a no-go, but further angry drinking was a go. Only contact from him in the last 24 hrs was a single word text-message: Arrested.

So, anyone know where our downhiller is?


Wednesday, July 09, 2008

the final hour aproacheth

T minus 6 days and 22 hours until five track racers, one downhiller and a mad scientist bike builder cram into an RV with nothing but barely enough gas money and seven mostly broken ipods for a cannonball run to the promised land. Portland, the laser sights are right between your eyes. Laser sights is a bad analogy. More like a bottle-rocket with the fins broken off careening in your general direction. I'm sure Abers would prefer more of a "running of the bulls with us being the big dumb animals and the rest of the people at the avc just getting in the way" type of a thing, but I'm sticking with the uncontrollable bottle rocket.

Oh and side not to all Dirty Couvers. Doesn't that look like the world famous Pete O'Conner getting the gnar thrown on him by that bull?

Wednesday, July 02, 2008


kids bikes for killers.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Dave might just earn a gut point on this one. "Hey I have an idea: Solo Six Day! Word!"
Granted he did use miniMark Duff as his attack dog slash willing partner on the opening day TT but if he A: survives and B: finishes that bastard by himself he will earn one (maybe two) gut point(s) and come out the other side with a good 8 pounds less midsection and some killer fitness. The Big Rig Scotty would be proud.

Totally unrelated newspaper quote:
From the NYTimes: 'Charlie Black, a senior adviser to Senator John McCain, was quoted in a magazine interview saying that another terrorist attack in the United States would “be a big advantage” for Mr. McCain in the upcoming election.'

Our heartless politicians will be the end of us all.

Heard Nader on the radio yesterday. Seems like you can't control the guy or even talk to him in an interview, you can only pick a subject and stand back. I wish he was a little more of a legitimate candidate... he'd get my vote.


Friday, June 20, 2008

9 minutes left

on my library internet session... bills take too much time, too much time. This calls for a bullet list.

-I'm pissed that I can't afford to go race in San Jose. Or Seattle. Whatever. Training here's pretty good, so it's hard to complain when all my track time and gym time go into consideration.

-Did my first race of 2008 last thursday (not counting the Burnie carnival on Jan.1). I was fast but stupid. I made 8 dollars.

- We saw Ira Glass do a one-man show. Full run down later, but for now a 15 word synopsis: Public radio is gooder than network news. Tell good stories in these five easy steps.

-Tuckerman and his wife Cassy are getting a kitten. Of the names in consideration, I'm pulling for Pabst.

-Blatchy slayed all at the Olympic trials and secured his spot at the games. Now it's for real.

-Megan spent a week in the Springs and left sunburned, sore and kinda hung over.

-Official soundtrack to my life in the Springs so far has been two albums: Black Rebel Motorcycle Club "Baby 81" and the Jack Trades self titled. With some Joe Strummer And The Mescaleros thrown in for flaaavor.

Times up, gottamoveon.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

here's to consistency

Looks like Aaron isn't intimidated by the whole "pro" thing. He's still pulling his signature move: The Tuck and Roll.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

pictures that have nothing to do with china

Or training or any kind of responsible behavior.
Most of these are from the Tuesday Pixie Downhill Series (otherwise known as the Tuesday Awesome Mountain Pixie Outdoor Night Series. any acronyms are purely coincidence)I mentioned a few weeks back.

Litespeed eat your heart out. GroundUp's new Ti finish. One part lathe, one part chisel, add titanium tubing and lots of time.

The Dizzydrome. Kid's bikes only. Record lap time: 3.71 seconds. My PR is 4 flat, but next week it's on... Note the extremely sketchy lighting tower in the center of the track, dug out of the junkyard mere days ago. That thing's about 20 feet tall and only buried about 3 feet into the ground. Turns out a full grown man can climb all the way to the top without knocking it over. Who knew.

My downhiller/dirt velodrome-er. The pink chain means business. It's business time.

This is the entry to the dark junkyard of death on the downhill course.

Another view. Riders come boosting off the double jump in the lower right, take a nice big sweeper to avoid the Caddy, and down into the yard.

Sing it: Fat guy on a little biiiike.

The Dizzydrome, the high tech lighting tower and the GroundUp workshop/Crow Flies Tuesday night concert/practice venue.

The new harbinger of doom somewhere on Cheyenne Mountain.

The view from my driveway.

My commute to work's not so bad, either.


Wednesday, May 28, 2008

stop protesting me!

So a group has been protesting the US Olympic Committee for a few days about our involvement in the Olympic Games in Beijing. Maybe 4 or 5 people. I think the peak was 10 a few days ago. They stand outside the training center with some signs and they yell at tourists. Good stuff. Very effective. So they've attracted the attention of a big group of hippies in Denver, and are now determined to free Tibet by keeping me from working out. So today or tommorow (no one's too sure) there are 4 busloads of stinky hippies headed down from Denver to engage in "Political Action" against the USOC. The offshoot of this is that security at the center has gone into critical lockdown mode, and non-residents are stopped at the gate and turned around. That means me. That means even Des (the national team coach) couldn't get in today.

First off, I agree that China has a habit of doing some pretty nasty shit to innocent people. This sucks. So in order to fix things, a bunch of yuppies come down to the Springs to try and shut down a proccess that's already 2 years past the administrative point of no return. They protest the athletes that aren't even going to Beijing from working towards a goal. Why protest those of us that are trying to do something with our lives? Wouldn't a better target be the massive Wal-Mart/K-Mart/Target style corporations that fuel the Chinese economy and essentially fund the atrocities that these people are protesting? Nah. That probably wouldn't get them on the news...

As athletes, we're meant to be apolitical in competition. The Olympics have never been about making a statement. It has always been about putting political, religious, idealogical and all our other differences on the back burner for a week to engage in the highest level of sport and competition. It's unfortunate for the athletes that the Olympics are becoming a political tool, but in this world I suppose it's unavoidable.

Are these same people protesting soccer games in response to US run military torture prisons in Egypt and Cuba? Did they boycott football games when we sold weapons to Iran to fund terrorist activities in Nicaragua, or supported genocidal maniacs like Augusto Pinochet? It doesn't make sense.


Thursday, May 22, 2008


Posts are few and far between now that training is neverending and work is the only other thing I seem to do. Still no internet at home, so you'll just have to deal with the giant post on occasion.

So here we go.

Cliff diving is tough at Helen Hunt falls (did not make that name up).

Ping Pong had been working on his moustache for a couple of years, and brought it to Colorado to share it with the world.

I'm a competetive person, so I couldn't let an Asian with distinctly Aryan facial hair beat me in the stache-off.

I like this picture, because you can actually see the rays of hate that my cat is trying to shoot though Kacala's head.

Behold the new go-rocket.

This picture is all that could be recorded of what turned out to be a bit of a chaotic evening in the pursuit of "avoiding the bummer life." Eric from Ground Up cycles built a mini dirt velodrome on his front yard. It's 15 meters long, 14 inches tall and has a banking of almost 40 degrees. An average person on a 16 inch kids bike can do a lap in about 4 seconds. This track has become the centerpiece in a weekly barbeque/minidrome-cycleslaughterama. Never satisfied, Eric and co. has nearly completed a downhill course in his backyard which features some nasty switchbacks, a decent dropoff, a junkyard, a woodpile and a cactus field. Wheels bigger than 16 inches need not apply. Same goes for sissies. No sissies allowed.

On the ride home from the miniraces, we decided that finally, we really like it here.

Sharks with frickin laser beams on thier heads... Note the sweet Meshke bars. Still in the original poo brown.

And this is where I'll leave again for another stretch. Headed back to the track this afternoon to get chased down on a half lap start by the best starter in the country. I get a 10m gap, but we'll see how long that lasts.