Archive for the 'Riding – CX – MTB' Category

eBikes are an admission of weakness. Yes, only weak people ride eBikes.

There’s your answer.  That’s about as simple as it gets.  If you’ve finally made the decision to buy and ride an eBike you have no choice but to accept why you did:

  1. You’re lazy.
  2. You’re out of shape.
  3. You have a physical condition you cry about and use as an excuse.
  4. You’re a lazy commuter. Note; Commuting is almost the only excusable use of an eBike.
  5. You complain about your old age and geriatric condition.

I personally know people in their 80’s and others missing limbs who ride “analog” or “acoustic” bikes as the lazy hipsters no call them.  And don’t you dare for a fucking second say anything about how you can now “go places and enjoy cycling” because you’re “pedaling just like they are” in reference to those who are tough and have strength.  Ebikes are for the weak and therefore their riders must accept being labeled as weak.  So when you’re called a Pansy Cranker or Sissy Spinner you simply say “Thank You” and ride along.  You have no right to argue against your weakness and you will not be considered a real cyclist under any conditions.  Most likely you can’t or won’t even be able to handle the bike under speed because you are not a conditioned or disciplined rider who got yourself to that speed.  Motor+Pedals = Moped.  Amazing some eBike riders will argue this.   These are the ones who are physically and mentally challenged.  Understand that real cyclists don’t hate your eBike.  We hate their weak riders.

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Why I quit cyclocross racing.

I spent a lot of time in my 20’s racing mountain bikes.  Then a couple of years ago I thought I found the best cycling sport to ever cross the Atlantic.  Short track, dirt, spectators, cyclocross has it all.  It also has the very thing that lead me to personally begin to hate the sport: barriers or barricades.  Man made reasons to dismount from the bike in the middle of heated battle.  Also the very same reason cyclocross racers have to learn to “re-mount” or jump on to a tiny saddle as smoothly as possible while trying not to destroy the very thing making them men, their balls.

I never had great “mounting” skills but in the last race I entered in 2017, I had a terrible mount right in the middle of a lead group.  Many other riders hoping over barriers behind me began to slam into me.  Their mounts failed as well.  I still have the scar on my knee from the impact it took with my left pedal in the pile up.  I was off the bike about a week, not up to speed again for a month.  For what?  A “good time”.  Nope.  I always HATED the parts of cyclocross races that were man made obstacles forcing me to jump off the bike.  Stairs and barriers mostly.  So much that I decided I don’t like the sport.

I imagine the interest in cyclocross might be greater if they adopted an even more grass roots approach to the sport, like gravel racing.  Here’s what I think would make a truly great off-road cycling sport for all ages.  Gravel grinding is not far away from achieving these exact specs with new 25 mile short track series emerging:

  1. Get rid of UCI and USA Cycling sanctions and license requirements.  Who needs the roadie rule elitist tainting off road trail blazing or discouraging participation with licensing fees?
  2. To hell with man made obstacles.  If you want to design the course so people have to dismount and carry a bike do it over natural terrain.  Not a couple of 14″ high boards to prance over like fairy.
  3. Sure keep the course a loop, make it a bit longer.  Why not 5 miles instead of 2.5 and a couple of laps instead of 3 or four?
  4. While you get rid of the UCI and USA Cycling rules let them take their equipment limitations with them.  Want to run 40c tires?  Fine.  Want to ride flat bars?  Bring ’em.  Bring your fat bike or a tricycle.  Who cares as long as you think it’s equipment that gives you an advantage in the race.

Like I said, short track gravel series are getting close to these specs so next year I’m taking any money I would give USA Cycling and heading towards the true grass roots gravel series.  Anyone who wants to put up what I call “prancing boards” for men to risk their manhood over can and will certainly argue how much fun it is.  Likely they’ll just downplay my skill at dismounting and jumping back in the saddle or the fact I can’t bunny hop 14″ high boards without risking hospitalization.  I don’t give a damn.  I’m not doing it because I don’t think it’s fun and it hurts me to watch grown men in an aggressive dirt sport prance over two little boards as much as it hurts them when they have a bad “mount”.  Prancing and mounting have no place in dirt cycling.

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Do NOT use Mountain Bike Trails as a promotional gimmick for Real Estate Development.

I don’t think home building companies realize how much damage they are doing to themselves by trying to use what they perceive as a mountain biking “trend” as a marketing gimmick.  I know of three developments nationally where the home builder offered mountain biking trails as a community perk only to shutter the trails within months as they used the land to expand development.  Now I’m not gonna get into how pathetic these over-priced, poorly built track homes are with regards to quality of construction and components (a $3700 laminate double door option, really?).  Regardless of their lack of any real wood I suppose some people are drawn to pay a premium for a house built 10 feet from their neighbor for a sense of “community”.  But when you build mountain bike trails you’ve immediately extended beyond your “community”.

Build all the barn style coffee houses you want beside the community pool.  Who cares.  If you build mountain bike trails word will get out.  We live to explore new trails.  All great for your marketing right?  Yes.  Incredible.  As long as you plant to NEVER remove the trails to expand development of more shot ass homes on the land.  Once you do that, you’re BLACKLISTED.

Blacklisted?  Yep.  A shit community.  Traitors.  Word’s getting out about Wendell Falls.  I suppose they don’t care because demand for their boring track cardboard is so high they destroyed trails they marketed as the second coming of Christ to the area in April 2017.  “Future expansion” they said.  Nope.  Just destroyed trails after one season of riding.  No communication about the trails status.  Just people arriving to find them gone.  Now they can sell all the ghetto fabulous, cheap material track homes they can build due to demand.  We will not forget.  You’ll never have a serious cyclist interested in your matchstick dwellings.  Wendell Falls is blacklisted.  To hell with posers and marketing dim bitches who think this is trend to us.  It’s a lifestyle and you’re a tease for profit.  A teasing whore in a coffee shop barn.  A total misfire.  You DO NOT fuck around by building trails with so much social media and LBS fanfare only to rip them down.  You will lose sales and credibility as anything but development whores for such nonsense.  The cycling community is much bigger than yours.

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Global Bike to Work Day… or… Bike-to-Work Day in the USA?

How about both? Gotta do one out of reverence for Strava and their decision to host the challenge globally and gotta do the other out of patriotism, US ranking.  See, this might not be a real hard decision for anyone with a 15 mile commute.  I have to go 45 miles one way.   Notice I didn’t say kilometers.  I did it in 2:42 last year but only once, the global challenge.  This year I suppose I’ll do both because I’m not sure which is official?  Should we get the UCI and USA Cycling involved?  It can’t get anymore convoluted.

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Went for a ride, made the news.  Good news too!

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Very little faith left in Strava rankings. GPS variance may be to blame.

Got some first hand experience in the reliability of Strava rankings this weekend.  Might be due to GPS variance but there may be more to it.  Data collection and analysis may have something to do with it too.  Either way, myself and others know the truth as of this weekends results.  I give you exhibit A, a segment known as Riverview KOM.  This is the result of my riding partners upload.   Notice anything strange?

21.7 avg. yet 19 MPH max.?

How did Juan average 21.7 MPH when his max speed on the segment was 19 MPH?  Even better… how did these results rank him at 26th when all present on the ride know I chased a slower rider in a forward group to the top of this hill segment, in a brazen attempt to see if I could summit first and then I literally waited at the top of the hill for Juan to get to the top.  I stopped and waited.  And it wasn’t even recorded as my personal fasted time on that segment by my GPS.  So is my Garmin Edge 500 to blame?  Or is Juan’s iPhone 4s the culprit?  The next questionable segment sheds some light on the blame.

Here is another very odd result of this ride that does in fact decide a KOM.  I’m happy, almost proud, Juan got this KOM because it was his first ever but…. there’s another problem.  I pulled Juan on this segment.  The entire segment and in fact the entire road the segment is part of.  His first comment to me upon seeing this KOM was “but you pulled me”.   This was so close that I can only attribute the 10th of a second difference to GPS variance because I was indeed in front, and occasionally creating separation up to 2-3 bike lengths that Juan would have to make up.  Further segment analysis proves data collection is the likely offender.

Here are the results of this KOM segment shown from Juan’s Strava profile and my own.  Notice Juan’s top speed, 44.3 MPH.  I assure you we never did 44 MPH on this segment.  I’m confident because my bike was in front and my GPS reflects the more accurate 27.5 MPH top speed leaving me to believe it was Juan’s iPhone 4s skewing the results, giving Juan the KOM.

Top speed 27 MPH.

Before jealousy and animosity are presumed please understand while I care if the rankings are correct, I could not care less if they result in accolades for myself.  Like I said I’m happier Juan got his first KOM regardless of how it occurred technically than if I got another.  However I will no longer put a lot of faith in top Strava rankings separated by a second or two since I now have personal experience and first hand evidence there is some level of GPS reliability or data analysis skewing results.

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40 miles later…. the office. Can I keep going?

Can I keep going?

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All terrain ride to work today…

Little bit of everything today

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Going to get a new frame and it will NOT be BB30. PF30 bottom brackets creak.

BB30 and PF30 bottom brackets… The darlings of carbon frame manufacturers. The excuse is they allow for the use of larger downtube layups. Bullshit says I. They allow for less expensive manufacturing processes at the expense of creaking bottom brackets worldwide. Leaving the expense of threading to the PF30 bottom bracket manufacturers. I had an aluminum Jamis Dakota mountain bike frame that was BB30 and never could stop the creaking. Flash forward a year and everyone I know, even the top riders in the RTP area complain about the incessant creaking and maintenance.

Problem is almost all the manufactures of carbon frames have elected to go on the cheap. Same goes for the Shimano BB92 press fit. Nothing will be pressed into my frame but the headset cups (assuming it’s non-integrated). So I’ve started look at steel, like Gunnar. eBay has a few barely used CX frames that are carbon and threaded, but used. Doesn’t really matter what I have to resort to I don’t want to deal with the headache of BB30/PF30 maintenance on a cross bike any more than I want to deal with the hassle of disc brakes. I leave those to mountain bikes where they really do make a difference. Never had a problem stopping with canti’s on my CX. Old school? Nope. Just not high maintenance.

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BMX will be dead in America in one generation.

Connor really wants to get into BMX on his own accord but I’m starting to think it’s a bad idea.  Doesn’t seem to be anything near like it was when we were growing up.  Tracks are now privately operated and always closed, the local track is only open for paid practices on Thurs. at 5-7PM.  I suppose it’s now sport for parents without jobs?  He hasn’t even been able to get exposure to a track thanks to access limitations.   Local races are now cancelled when there’s any state points race held anywhere, testament to anemic participation.  I’ve got to go tell him for the 4th time he can’t go today because of rain or another cancellation due to a “state race” somewhere.

I’ve already had some run-ins with parents and race organizers, in person and on-line, who seem less than cordial, expecting pats on the back after making big mistakes the likes of which cannot be made by other USAC officials at sanctioned races without total points disqualification.  To be clear cyclocross, MTB and USAC road officials are volunteers too but somehow manage to avoid total amateur hour.

Now that BMX is an Olympic sport plan to watch the USA continue to get crushed beyond belief by Europeans, mostly Germans, where all cycling is taken very seriously.  In Europe BMX is heavily organized with plenty of tracks still staffed by municipal (ya, government) employees.  Can you say “not for profit”? I don’t know if the private operation in America was because of municipal operators like the City of Raleigh trying to offset liability or because operators thought they could make money?   Regardless, it’s not working.

Sad we start these sports in America, Mountain biking and BMX, but now we can’t get riders anywhere near the podium.  I can now tell this is not due to lack of interest but a failure of how the BMX is promoted, how tracks are operated (privately) and the lack of real training and experience of the officials.  BMX operators would be wise to embrace USAC and the UCI, go to races for other cycling events and see the organization first hand.  If these current track operators had to deal with the number of riders and size of races in the 80s and 90s they would be quickly overwhelmed.

Here’s another odd thing: It seems there aren’t many older kids in BMX (12-16 years old).  Almost comes off like a bunch of dads trying to relive the 80’s by pushing their young kids into it so they have an excuse to go race their own cruisers.  I kept racing bikes, moved to other advanced cycling disciplines.  I never talked Connor into BMX, just built him a bike.  His friend across the street got a dump truck full of dirt delivered last week to build their own jumps.  It’s their interest.  Sad when they want in but can’t easily participate because of massive access restrictions.  Ya, ya… there’s a new super track in South Carolina.  Rumor has it those officials are in over their heads too.  If USA Cycling wants BMX to flourish in America again they better reign it in.  Under the current operating model BMX is gone from America in a generation, no doubt about it.  I better build Connor the cyclocross bike he’s been asking about.  The junior CX division is getting big.

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