Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Racing at the North Pole

That's right kids, you too can race your MTB at the north pole.
For the low low price of $15,700 (US), some frost bite, a hostipal stay, a little time off work, and a sure fire way to upset your wife - you can race with the best athletes in the world (the best at blowing money on stupid crap) to participate in a race that means nothing.
This is for real folks... can you image paying almost 16k to hike your bike across a glacier?
Forget it,



I'm out

Monday, February 26, 2007

Breckenridge Trip

Sorry for down time! My wife and I took a trip to Breckenridge with some friends from back in Chicago. Got there wed. night and came home sunday night... no internet access the whole time!
Anyway - it was good to see friends again, and we all had one hell of a good time.

We rented a house - definitely the way to go! Hotels are fine if it's just one or 2 people, but I'll never stay in another hotel on a group trip again.
We had a hot tub, great view from the deck, a garage, stone fireplace, 4 bedrooms and 3 bathrooms, and PLENTY of space. The ski'ing was great, lots of new snow and the terrain was good. I'm not a great skier, usually a black run type of guy that avoids moguls (I don't understand the allure to moguls). Breck has a tall lift system, so we were able to access terrain that I wouldn't normally be willing to get to.
On to the chaos...
Wed night - late night arrival
Thursday - Keystone skiing, hot tub drinks with the wife, and SUPER late night arrival of the Chicago-ans.
Friday - got the girls off to their lessons and hit the slopes with the boys. Great terrain, not to crowded - John decided falling was a good thing and tweaked his shoulder.
Friday night - nobody really remembers everything that happened, but we pieced most of the evening back together. 3-4 hours in the hot tub, 2 bottles of tequila, lots of beers, Vodka and chinese food. John had a mad sprint through the snow in his wet shorts at one point during the evening (I think he was looking for christmas lights?). Apparently Breck doesn't have the best Chinese food in the world, but that didn't stop Corey from ordering some (how did the delivery get there? no one knew our address halfway up the mountain side). John definitely got the worst of it - I've never seen someone pass out that hard.
Oh yea - we were all asleep at 9:30PM
Saturday - Today's John's 27th Bday, that being said - John puked..... ALOT. I guess the mixture of 4 hours in a hot tub, 10,000 feet elevation and a enough tequila to kill the entire local heard of elk didn't sit well overnight. He didn't make it to the slopes that day (was super cold anyway). The girls really stepped it up with their skiing, John found a new addiction Fruit Flavored Canned Oxygen. Check it here - The Big Ox The rest of us made it back, took a much needed nap, and then headed back out on the town. A big dinner (tried to introduce John to good beer and he hated it, found a GNR playing dive bar, I realized just how bad I suck at foosball. No, really - I suck at foosball. Back to the house, have some more beer, listen to some 80's music that really makes you want to grow a fluffy mustache, some more beer, some cards, and a little later evening - 1pm bed time (didn't overdo the tequila)
Sunday - Nice lazy day for starbucks, shopping and packing. All the boys and girls had to pack up and fly back to Chicago (on tiny United seats). All in all - this definitely ranks as one of the best trips I've had in recent memory.

Thanks to everyone for a great trip - Hope we do it again soon!!!

Wednesday, February 21, 2007

"The" Bands

I've been a big fan of music from bands with that have a name that starts with "The" lately
The Von Bondies
The Ranconteurs
The White Strips
The Hives
The Vines
The Strokes
The Rakes
The Apples in Stereo

It's kind of that lo-fi, modern rock thing...
I've also been drawn to rock remix albums of late as well - The Rakes, Modest Mouse, Franz Ferdinand, and many others have had some pretty good DJ remixes... I'm a fan.

I'll be posting my review of Yahoo Music Service soon... I'm working out some bugs with devices, but it should be pretty useful.

Today's words of wisdom,
"There's a whole lotta things I'd like ta do,
Never had sex in a hurricane, never ran around naked in the rain"
-Southern Culture on the Skids

Monday, February 19, 2007

Slow Monday

Hope everyone's President's day was a fruitful and fun filled as you had hoped it would be. Mine was a mix of road riding, house hunting, and discovering the pleasure of an editorial harshness only found in the most corrupt throws of China.
In my downtime today, I caught an episode of Anthony Bourdain's show - He's the type of guy you'd love to travel with, but not let him plan your travels for you. I'm not a big fan of TV shows - but anything that includes world travels, brutal honesty, grain alcohol, some evil smite and a vulgar tung is sure to enthrall me and have me fixated. Watching a grown man willfully choke down some good ol' bull penis in a spicy curry is enough to make one vomit, but it's got an upside too... I think...
The thing that draws me in the most is his honesty - brutal or soft, and his sense of place. He always knows his place. Many people dream of being the way that he is, having a the gull to pull it off is pretty respectable. "Here's how it is, here's how I feel about it" at all costs is a great way to show your true colors... but being able to do this, while having a sense of respect when you should and knowing your place in the world and society is better. He pulls is off flawlessly. He's also able to use a vernacular that clearly shows and demonstrates feelings, memory, and emotion - while entertaining.
Maybe you need to spend countless hours sleeping on the floors of kitchens worldwide and drinks industrial vats of alcohol with names like "black death" to enthrall a group of intellectual veggies into a cloud of bong hazed sense of existentialism. Then again - it might just "F" you up a bit too.

So here's to slow Mondays and to Anthony -
have another on me

Today's words of wisdom -
Travel often, and don't be a tourist.

Sunday, February 18, 2007

A Bit Too Ambitious

So the snow is finally getting to my head. It's starting to effect my judgment... I'm going stir crazy. My bike is starting to speak to me in words and languages that I no longer understand. I'm loosing that precious connection with the dirt, and even worse - with my bike.
OK - you think that I'm kidding? I rode Dakota Ridge today. Yup... I acted against my better judgment and rode some trail today. I've always avoided trails when muddy due to trail damage issues - and avoided trails when icy due to avoidance of injury. Dakota Ridge definitely had both.

I arrived at the trail head and assumed (hoped) the conditions wouldn't be that bad - there were lots of hikers coming down from the hogback. About 30 seconds into my ride, I realized it would be a mud and ice battle the whole way. All of the North and East facing trail was mud and slush/snow, while the West and South facing trails wasn't too bad. I managed to ride it all (ride? more like hike and ride), and was able to play on the Commencal a bit (I need to name the bike - any suggestions?).

I've seen the studies about the impact that hikers have on trails (100 times worse than bikes) and can see it first hand on days like today. It's a shame to see hiker ruining trails... and then blaming Mountain Bikes... Why is it that mountain bikers seem to ALL understand trail etiquitte and ALL hikers don't???

I guess I shouldn't bitch about it - I was on the trail today... being bad, but feeling good.

Today's words of wisdom -
Clean your chain like you clean your teeth, each link is like a tooth - each link needs to be cared for like it was your only link.
Love your chain, clean your chain, love your chain, clean your chain, repeat...
Replace your chain.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Route Slip

Looking for that perfect place to find rides, log your training and get recommendation from other people? Check out Route Slip!

I've been using it for my road rides (no MTB trails here), and to log my winter training. If you have GPS or are aware of the elevation gain on each climb in your ride - you'll be able to log it along with the distance and time. Here in Colorado, almost every road's elevation gain is documented somewhere - but some of you may need to measure these things on your own.

Anyway - Its free, and it's a good place to find some training routes and log your miles. I give it a 4 out of 5 tube rating.


Thursday, February 15, 2007

Fantasy Cycling League

I've seen some pretty half-assed attempts at creating fantasy cycling leagues - but this one is legit. The first round of the league is dedicated to the spring classics.
Prizes include some pretty sweet road bikes, wheels, clothing, glasses, and so on. It's hosted by the Ausie's downunder at Cycling News, so you know it'll be run well.

Check it out, and Good luck!


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Unsupported Endurance Racing?

I'll never really understand this obsession, but I guess everyone has to have one.

Have you guys been paying attention to the growing number of "unsupported" endurance races?
No permits or entrance fees? That worries me a bit... I get a little nervous about creating yet another mad reputation in our sport. The "Mountain Dew" reputation is finally starting to dissipate (has been hugely damaging to our sport) - I'd hate for this to turn into something bad as well.

There is a certain "cool" factor to this "back country" experience.. just don't get lost or hurt, cause no one's coming for you.

Moab Rim Ride
Great Divide Race Site
and the Great Divide Race Blog

I fully support "supported" endurance races - it's a great atmosphere.
Pay your entrance fee and check out these events
24 Hours of Temecula
BikerPelli 2007 - Fruita to Moab

Montezuma's Revenge

Today's words of wisdom -
Training advice
First, train often. Second, train hard. Third, train smart.
Don't forget to eat some food.

Saturday, February 10, 2007

Commencal Meta 5.5 Numero 1

Do you know where Andorra is?

Let's review the stats around Andorra...
Very small country in Europe between France and Spain - in the Pyrenees.
Highest Life expectancy in the world
Incredible skiing
Haven for the rich (No Taxes)
Only 33% of the residents are citizens (this is a way cool place to be, and people know it)

Now that you know a little more about Andorra, maybe Commencal will make a little more sense. Little company that makes kick ass bikes, from little country known for insane skiing and lifestyle sports.

This little boutique bike maker has been creating some of the best designs ever made. Remember Nico's Bikes? Sunn? Yea, everyone wanted one - but no one could get one. Nico always said the quality of his suspension was far superior to anyone elses, and after watching him win multiple world cup's on 3 inches less suspension that anyone else - I believe him.

Commencal didn't exist then, but it's the same designers who designed those bikes that are in charge of this company's design team. I took delivery of a 2007 Meta 5.5 numero 1 in October of 06, and can am posting a review for all to read.

So, down to the nitty gritty! the Spec's (highlights)

Do you know where Andorra is?
Formula Oro Brakes
Fox Float 32 140RL
Fox RP2
X0, X9
Race Face Deus
Modified Single Pivot Design (with extremely low leverage ratio)

The Ride
It's a 5" bike... but no matter how long you ride this thing, you'll never really know how much travel it has. Before I get into the climbing and efficiencies - here's some relevant info. When riding this bike, you can actually feel the dampening system from the shock with every pedal stroke. This sounds like a knock, but I'll get back to that. On most bikes, you can tell that the damping is slower or faster, but on this bike - you can actually feel the fluid moving through the valves of the shock. I couldn't figure it out for a long time, but now I'm convinced. This happens through a combination of the crazy low leverage ratio (right around 2:1) and the fact that you can't turn off the Pro Pedal completely. The extremely low leverage ratio enables the rear shock's dampening system to work rather then react. Your tuning mentally will change after owning this bike - I've found that the bike not only descends, but climbs better with the pro pedal setting turned off. There's little to no bob... no matter what the air pressure. It's pretty crazy... single pivot bump performance with no bob....

Ok - back to the knock... Possibly my only complaint (this may be more of a curiosity) is the rear shock. You have 3 settings on this rear shock, the 1st is supposed to turn off the Pro Pedal completely. Unfortunately - it never turns off completely. In Fox's defense - I'm sure that you'd never know this on another bike. The change in feel is so big, that it feel like a different bike. I'd really like to try riding this bike with NO Pro Pedal and minimal dampening. I view this as the best way to test a suspension design - climbing and descending without dampening is an interesting experience.

It's the weirdest thing ever... it not only climbs better than my old Razorback (coveted by racers for many years), but it bobs less than my K2 Razorback. The Commencal feels like it has only slightly more travel than the Razorback on climbs. The travel is avalible during the climbs, so technical and rocky climbs become infinitly more tame. Descending is an incredible experience. The bike's 68 degree head tube angle helps the bike to feel alive during the descents. Seriously - it's an insane descent. Voiding big drops, big jumps, and stupid technical riding, I can descend on my Commencal as fast as my DH bike. I'd be willing to put some cash down on my Keystone DH trail times. None of the trails there are super technical, but are really rocky at times.

Comparison's? well... I've recently ridden a 5 point, and an SX Trail. Here goes..
5 Point - these are great, truely wonderful to ride. It's pretty obvious that these are more XC oriented (in comparison to the All Mountain Commencal). The bike works well, but I'd say that it feels like a 5 inch bike - you'll never feel like you're own something with more travel. And you feel like it's 5 inched going up the hill as well as down. I feel that the Commencal's suspension is more dynamic - and the feel changes with the terrain.
SX Trail - Super fun!!! The Commencal and SX feel the same on technical terrain and descents. The SX won't climb nearly as well - but the SX series is a ton of fun going down, and on flow-y trails.

If you were going to define the perfect Super D or All Mountain Bike - This would be it.
I guess it's pretty obvious that I'm now obsessed - but that's ok too.

Today's word's of wisdom -
What's important out of a bike?

Wednesday, February 7, 2007

CamelBak Mayhem Review

One of may favorite purchases in recent years (2nd to my Commencal), this CamelBak is built for storage and abuse.

The build on the Mayhem is way more burley than the typical Hydration pack, making it more reliable for long backcountry rides as well as DH/ Freeride applications. The weight will be a little higher, but for those of you sick of rips and tears - here's the fix!
CamelBak's new resivour is a lot more resistant to mold and smells, and the opening is bigger for ease of use. The mouthpiece is also much improved over previous models, resisting leaks for a longer period of time.

Some of the big features inlcude storage for pads and helmets, as well as lots of load balancing options. I'm able to pack my knee/shin pads, elbow pads, full face, goggles, rain gear, 100oz of water, tubes, pump, couple of tools, and some lunch food with relative ease. There's also a pouch for your camcorder/ MP3 player at the top of the pack (best spot ever!). I do have a helmet cam (VioSport) and use this pouch quite often. Some may need a bigger pack (look at the Havoc), but I'd never be able to use all that space.

The Load Balancing straps are perfect! I'm able to throw on tons of gear and make the pack fit solid, while not being too tight. This has been the trick with other models - not being able to attach heavy or ackward loads without over-tightning.

All in all - I'd recommend this to anyone who's not looking for ultra lightweight, and needs something reliable. I'm pretty happy with this and would give it a 9 out of 10 tube rating.

Tuesday, February 6, 2007

Tenatious D

Possibly the funniest comedy made? only if your a musician. The wife had some serious issues with this DVD, but I couldn't stop laughing. In a past life, I was a musician - and can say that anyone who lived as an aspiring musician through the mid/ late 90's would find this the funniest DVD ever.
The humor is very dry - but entertaining if you can handle it. Maybe it's best after a late night of boozing and closing down all the after hours bars...

Be sure to watch the concert (also on the dvd) AFTER you watch the episodes.

BTW - it's 67 degress right now...

Monday, February 5, 2007

Colorado Cyclist Liscence Plates

Check this out -
Link here

Colorado's got this new plate - It doesn't appear that your extra bling will actually contribute to a specific organization. It will help out with cycling events and show the state government that cyclists mean business (we are tough, aren't we?).
About 1 year ago, the state started to cap the number of events because of the cyclists disrupting traffic and motorists disrupting cyclists.
Fast forward to today, event schedule is opened back up and we have a snazzy new plate.

Now we need a plate for DH'ing... and Enduro's, and Rally Racing, and Beer, and.....

Today's Words of Wisdom,
Sharing the road is good, but jumping the road is better. Road Gap

Sunday, February 4, 2007


Ok all, it's not really a local ride - but it's on everyone's top 10 list of world MTB trips.
I've never been to this epic race/ride - but I fully plan on heading out to Alpe D'uez for summer time bliss.
For those of you who don't know, the megavalanche is a true all mountain ride styled race. I guess you could compare it to a "Super D" race - only an hour in length. Many people compare it to DH racing... but DH races don't have climbs and are usually a little more technical (but not much).

For a glimpse of what this race is like, I found a guy's helmet cam video on Google Video.
Click Here For the Video
I've added a 2007 Commencal Meta 5.5 Numero 1 to my stable of bikes. I'm hoping that the fabled bike from Andorra will lead me to a great finish at the race - but only time will tell.

To see more about this race, check out www.megavalanche.com

If anyone's planning on hitting this race - please contact me. My biggest obstacle at this point is getting someone to go with me!

Saturday, February 3, 2007

Earthed 4 Premier

Guess what I'm doing tonight...
Got to love lifestyle movie premiers. It's always a who's who crowd, and there's always a little too much alcohol consumed. My last couple of premier's ended up in a traveling circus, getting kicked out of one bar and moving to the next. When you're in Vegas - that's something to brag about.

What: Earthed 4 - Death or Glory
When: Saturday, February 3, 2007 - 7pm
Where: The VIP lounge of Vinyl - 1082 Broadway, Denver, CO
Why: Because I just watched the movie and it is BAD*ss!
How Much: Free to all

Spread the word and cross-post to get this rollin'. Mr. Rankin has really
outdone himself this time around. You will not be disappointed, you will be
thrilled. Hayes and Utopia have kicked in some schwag to give away, and
you¹re gonna wanna be there so GET ON IT! Email MT with questions -

Tonight's words of wisdom....
Don't be soft - Bitch it Bro

BTW, it's 8 below....

Friday, February 2, 2007

New Digital Camera

I bought myself an el cheapo dig camera recently. I'm not normally one to buy cheap crap - but I've decided to finally move away from film and thought that this might be a low risk entrance to this world.

OK - here it is. A cheap kodak easyshare c875. For under $200 you get a whopping 8 mp's and ISO down to 800. It seems to have pretty decent image quality with the flash, but other wise low light situations suck (even after making all the proper adjustments).

Some Standout Features -
5x optical zoom
2.5 inch LCD (not very crisp, and doesn't truely represent the image quality before pic is taken)
Video and audio
up to ISO 200 in auto - up to ISO 800 in Manual
2 FPS shooting

ZDnet Review
Kodak's Page

I'll be using this camera for the pic's that I'll be posting on this blog. Be sure to pay attention to updates to this post as I become more experienced with it, and develop a deeper opinion.

Today's words of wisdom -
Ride more this February than you did last February - and you'll be faster in March

BTW - it was 10 below on my drive into work today
Below pic is taken at 5mp res, ISO200
Photo is here

I'm out!

Thursday, February 1, 2007

Bush's Deception - Global Warming

Alright - I'll start off with the obvious

Bush is an ass
click here to find out why
How Can he be getting away with this crap!? How did he get to where he is today? Did we vote him in? I think that you need to be voted in to be a political leader in the US...

He's thrown around so many lies that I'm amazed there hasn't been a coup. Anyone want to start one? I'm in.

Today's Words of Wisdom -
You can't rely on polititions, do something about it yourself. Ride your bike, volunteer, write letters, donate.

BTW - it's snowing again....


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