Sunday, December 31, 2006

No stamps for you

Ah, the Swiss.

We took a little ride down to Geneva today, got some coffee, and rode back. My Dad went into a little Tabac shop (coffee, postcards, magazines, tobacco products), and asked to buy stamps. What was he told? "We only sell stamps when you buy postcards". What?!

Get a stamp if you buy a postcard. Since theres no profit in it, why sell it unless you tie it to a product that does have a profit. Of course. If you're not spending money now, you're not getting anything. Take that, you cheapskate. Buy, or leave. Damn, customers can be annoying. Business would be so much better if they would just stay away.


But I digress.

It was over 50 degrees here today. Weird, it felt like mid spring. It made me feel itchy for racing. Not that the urge is really that strong, it just felt like the kind of day where I should be warming up for a road race, somewhere in Oregon. Rolling around the land of chocolates and cuckcoo clocks seemed somewhat off. The season starts soon enough anyways, then it's go time. Cherry Pie RR - 1 month, 19 days.

The Dude Abides.


Thursday, December 28, 2006

Game Meats

What to say... this mangy piece of hide is missing it's left eye, and several patches of fur. Yet it's in the 'game meats' section, meaning wild boar. Farm raised 'wild' boar, sanglier in french. That word always reminds me of Asterix and Obelix. In case you're not familiar with the series, french kids are raised on the stuff. It's brilliant (more here).

Wednesday, December 27, 2006


There was a weirdo Euro across the aisle from me on the plane who couldn't stop sneezing. Which wouldn't have been a big deal if he would have just covered his mouth instead of rocketing forward and letting it all fly between his knees. Gross. And now, I'm sick. I have been for the last few days. Nothing major, just a cold, but with fatigue from travel it hit hard and fast. Sucky.

We took a couple of rides around here, a little over an hour each time. Both kicked my ass. It was the cold which did me in. It's been ~28F or so, low clouds and some fog, the kind that makes the air secretly saturated with freezing particles that get right down to your bones. It's hard to keep extremities warm. All the regular tricks of layering still let the freeze in. The terrain around here is all gently rolling hills, with the option of climbing up into the Jura mountains any time. Basically, the Jura run parallel to lake Geneva like one long wrinkle, for something like 40 miles. Maybe more. So there's a gradual rise from the lake up to the base of the mountains, so it's like one huge off camber stretch, 10 miles wide and 40 long or more. And within that, all the little rolling hills and wrinkled terrain you expect at the base of a mountain. So, no matter where you head, its up and down. The roads wind around and point you down towards the lake, then you have to eventually head uphill to get back to the same level you were on. And if you are lucky enough to ride parallel to the mountains and the lake for a mile or two, you still ride up and down. So it's pedal up, pedal down, coast, pedal down, pedal up... lots of pace changes, and lots of chances to pedal hard and get up a sweat, then be going downhill and freezing in the fog, slow down and go up again but not long or hard enough to warm up, go down again... it's a killer. It would be wild to hold a road race out here. It would be something like the Banana Belts, but tougher.

Alright, gratuitous gory shot time. Butcher's window in Geneva. Three different kinds of chickens, and rabbits, pidgeon, quail. There's a much greater variety of meats available in stores here. It's nothing to go buy a goose, duck, quail, or piece of boar, mutton, lamb, or whatever. Not the same old three or four flavors. And they keep the heads on special chicken varieties so you can tell what you're buying.

Friday, December 22, 2006

La France

Euro customer service sucks. There. I got that out of the way early. Air France sucks, Paris sucks, French airports suck, Euro customer service is terrible (ever have customer service charging you 30cent-min for help line calls refuse to help you because "we only explain things once"?). I cannot get my computer logged on to the folks' net, and half my luggage didn't make it. Why not? Because not only did Air France have us get lost driving around the airport looking for the plane, but when we got there, they didn't have any containers for the luggage. So they went looking for some. Couldn't find enough, so some of the passengers whose trip was ending in Geneva were told that their luggage would arrive on the next flight - all because the damn airline didn't have luggage bins. One would have thought that would be a key ingredient to running an airline. Apparently not. Then all I try and do is connect to the internet, and I get told off by someone who is charging for that phonecall. That takes some balls. But it's surprisingly typical. I have never seen service providers get irritated at a customer back home like they do here. Sure, back in the US most such people are simply duller than a wooden spoon and there's no help talking to them anyways, but at least they stay reasonably polite and try. Here, they act like you ruined their day by making them do their job. Ironically, this is the land of ultimate social services, and high standards of living. Higher than ours, I reckon. Again, weird.

Enough of that.

More King - sweet sweet hubs. It's been christmas early for the missus and I, and I'm loving it. Going to match the frame paint job with the wheel build. We will see what happens. I'm stoked.

Stoked and wiped. I'm out.

Sunday, December 17, 2006

always bet the farm.

"Treefarm" Trebon. Surprise. Good for him, he's been consistent and strong all season. Always impressive to watch, too, when him and Wicks roll around the PDX races it's surreal. Three steps, six barriers, and they're gone again. But Paige, now, what a ride. That has to be one of the best performances ever put up in American 'cross. Winning would have been some sort of cinderalla story crap, and hey, who really expected that, but 2nd is just plain astounding. Dude's got the complete package. Two months off of racing with torn ligaments and whatnot (and freaking surgery), and he rolls in on the podium. Dude's a stud. Read all about it here. Dang. 3-1 says he finishes ahead of Trebon at the world's. Any takers?
And Compton - she's a total stud too. Anyone who wins that race three times in a row has got some big ones. I like the fact that she's been kind of the sleeper in women's cross for a few years, just showing up to win the jersey then going back to tandem racing. She's stayed off the big pro radar, mostly, quietly proving that shes the strongest, and racing paralympic tandems - talk about selfless, and talk about an athlete. That's what it is, folks, pure, unadulterated athleticism. You don't see that much in cycling. Katie Compton - the real deal. Love it.

Someday maybe I'll actually practice enough at 'cross to be able to race the X-Crusade in a respectable manner. It's a beautiful sport, and the strongest and cleanest rider always wins. Not like road racing, where all these tactics come into play. It's like a technical TT, which is why I love it. There's no doubt who's the best at the end of the day. Alright, there's my new year's resolution: ride the new Xbike offroad enough to get comfortable and skilled enough to hang mid-pack with the A's this year. I'm certainly strong enough (I think), just need to learn to keep it upright.

Cold and clear is back. It's kind of nice, if only there weren't ice at the top of every little hill. It makes riding both cleaner, warmer, and more boring since the rideable loops get somewhat dimminished. But, I can take out the race bike, so maybe I should do some power testing before leaving for Christmas. It's about time - it's been close to 3 weeks since I did a 20'TT. 348W last time, and improving - this coming season could be a good one.

The TT won't be today tho - it's 27F and freaking snowing. I thought I lived in western Oregon? WTF?

link dump:
wtf?now we're treating americans like terrorists? again? no wonder we're losing.
lovely. how 'bout another 20 for insolence?
gotta get me one of these
and a set of these for the new 'cross bike (god that's gonna be sweet) and a red set for the race bike (all black and silver, black carbon wheels, getting red bar tape and red tiso bits... ooooo)

and I'm out.

Friday, December 15, 2006


Know how I wrote that no matter how much it rained, at least it wasn't snowing? Yeah, as I look outside right now its snowing. And raining. Crap. Good thing today is just a short recovery ride - yesterday's repeats on lorane kicked my butt. Crest Dr gets pretty steep right at the very end, or at least steep when you're running a 39x16. Sucks. Not as bad as repeats up Greenhill - I'll post a pic of that SOB sometime. Locals know - it's a biatch.

'Cross nationals this weekend. Gotta love it. I suck at 'cross worse than anything athletic I've ever attempted except maybe skateboarding, but heavens help me I love it. Gonna follow the action as well as I can - rooting for Page. That's right, Jonathan Page is going to race nationals, and he hasn't raced since October. That dude is hardcore, and gets my cheers. Altho, really, I'm putting my money on Trebon taking it. Dude's been rocking it. Johnson's in good form, too, but I think Trebon's got the whole package. All that time spent in Belgian boue, with a 10th at the last Superprestige. Yeah, he's good. And of course, last but not least, keep an eye on Horner. I gotta root for him, he's an Oregon boy, from just over the hill. He's just stupid strong. for moe, read the PEZ, for VeloNews, CN, or whatever. It's all over the place. Rock'n'Roll, Dudes.

link dump:

stormy pacific northwest, in case you didn't know.
taller and fatter, and 8 1/2 hrs of media a day. maybe i should get off this computer.
put these guys on a bike - there's a pro cyclist in the making if i ever saw one.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Roll with the King

Yesterday ended up being a fixed gear over and back on fox hollow. Not too bad, since the rain died down and it was somewhat dry. Dry is a relative word, of course, it won't be absolutely dry until about June. But if the amount of spray off your wheels resembles mister spray rather than a small fountain, its 'dry'.
Today unfortunately shows no signs of being dry. Weather forecast varies between "definite rain" and "definite light rain" all day - which is why I am going to do repeats on Lorane instead of heading out on a longer loop. If I get soaked enough to have to bail, I'm closer to home.

Speaking of stuff that sucks, think the US auto industry is slipping out of touch? Sweet mother of pearl, what are they thinking? Muscle Wagons? If you've got a damn wagon with four screaming kids, seats covered with happy meal toys, and a 'baby on board' sticker on the back window, ain't nothin' gonna make you look macho. Not even a muscle wagon.

Alright, some quality links:

Found on - who's dead and who's alive
It pays to be tall - man saves dolphins (what body part is that picture of anyways?)
If you're a fixie affectionado like me, youve seen this, but its always worth a look

And a blurry pic - got an early xmas gift yesterday, to go on my other xmas treasure from my favorite person - custom cross bike. And if you've got custom, you have to get the King. My first and only such piece, and I'm stoked.

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

I love living in Eugene. Everytime I look out my window and it's just pissing down rain, 45F, and a winter wind coming down the valley that makes you go cross-eyed riding a 39x23 on flat ground, I think to myself: at least it's not snowing.
Here's a shout out to all the Oregon riders out there, grinding it out 9-5 so they can buy an OBRA licence and race on weekends. Double shout out to all those dudes who race on weekends, and ride their bike to work all winter. And to anyone currently looking at a home trainer and picturing the next 4 months of workouts, thinking Dante must have missed a level, sorry dudes. That's why I don't live on the East coast anymore - no matter how wet it gets out here, at least it's not snowing.
Got full fenders on my fixed gear, and it's just about time to ride.