Monday, December 29, 2008

early b wheely wheely

This mega photo came to my attention last week and is clearly a top cycling record. In addition to the song "Wheely Wheely", Early B has another song called "Bicycle Bicycle" and yet another called "Pedal Pusher". In classic Jamaican music industry fashion, he found an untapped genre and ran it into the ground. Song snippets here. Full song here. Clearly Early was on point. Mid 80s Dancehall Style. So far it does not appear that he is related to Steady B.
Nice Wikipedia factoid, he got the nickname "early" cause he always arrived early at dances!
Tragically (and too close to home), he was killed by a stray bullet at a Jah Love show in Dorchester in 1994.
As seen here, Early had a knack for good album photos.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

best cycling moments of 08

1. Cancellara (Eroica, Milan San Remo, Tirreno, Bronze in Olympic RR, Gold in TT). Able to attack at will and win as well. Wants to win all the monuments...Is Flanders next on the list?

2. Planes de Corones time trial. Finally an epic Giro stage works out...

3. Boonen's acceleration at Roubaix. That was sick.

4.Devolders attack and win at Flanders

4. First week of tour-so much better than the usual prologue/sprint/sprint/sprint.
5. Sastre wins the tour. Attack on Alpe D'Huez!. Finally Sastre gets the win.
6. Voigt on the tourmelat. CSC in general at the tour
7. Spain dominates Olympics. Finally Sanchez gets a big win.
8.Ballan gets the win at the Worlds! Forza Italia!
9.Slipstream TTT in the Giro, Vandevelde in the Tour, Maaskant in Roubaix. Lots of high points for them.
10. Cavendish. He may look like a monkey, but man can he sprint.

low points
1.Ricco turns out to be a fucking scummy drug bag (ditto for Piepoli,Schumacher, Kohl, and the rest)
2.Bettini denied at Olympics. Bad season for him in general.
3.Spain blows it at the Worlds. Valverde is about as dependable as Hincapie.

I am sure I will think of a few more, but those stand the test of time. A memorable year for sure.

Flanders 08. Fan Cams Rule


Bike Life Round Up

I love cycling for many reasons, but super obsessive posts about keeping your feet warm and wearing multiple plastic bags and socks are high on my list.

I remember Max Schaaf towing Gonz on a motorcyle, but didn't realize he was this deep in the game. Will these fit on the hyphy bars on my fixed gear?

Xmas is over, but for the man who has everything, why not "bike to work" pants with hidden reflectors and "mud flaps"??? Mud flaps? How about a fender. It is a thin line between clever and stupid.

Random Roubaix footage with a very unique Flemish Country song....

Jonathan Page may be an asshole, but I doubt he is a doper. Regardless missing a control is going to fuck his life up.

37 and raining on Saturday and 55 and dry the next. This is December?

Friday, December 26, 2008

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Goal One of 09 Accomplished

Got a spot in Battankill! Stoked. Time to get some miles in.

Sunday Morning

We had kicked around the idea of a Sunday morning ride. Brad was flying in late on Sat night and needed a bike. No problem, my winter bike is available. Except I hadn't really washed it or looked at it since about March.
So Sunday morning arrives and it is day three of snow. No Ride, but might as well get the winter bike ready for action.
So here is the evidence of how I spent my morning. Drive train started out barely turning and sounding like a bad coffee grinder. Finished off shiny and ready to ruin again.

Looks like this Sponge is getting retired soon.

In honor of the Saeco colors I wore these highly coveted Vans Saeco Super Marios.....

Looks like it will be Patriots and Porters today and maybe some time on the trainer.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

CX Nationals

A couple fights? Who cares. What is the story behind this photo? The kid looks like he is running from zombies

Monday, December 15, 2008

Blue CX head tube heights

Another installment in the Real 1% series.....
My Cross-Guru pointed out that Jonathan Pages switched to Blue bikes in the middle of the season. An inexcusable move in the CG's mind. He also casually mentioned that he thought Blue head tubes were too short and caused some crazy spacer stack heights and stem angles. Not a major point of our bike life discussions, but once we rolled up to the Warwick race, I felt like Rowdy Roddy Pipper in THEY LIVE. Wherever I looked was a Blue with a huge run of spacers or crazy riser stem. I felt like the Manchurian Candidate. Wherever I looked Blues leered back.
They didn't look crazy in smaller sizes, but anything bigger than a 52 required some major after market work to seemingly get a good fit. Compare that photo of Van Gilder to this on of JP.
Very strange.
Here is a picture of JP on a Ridley from earlier this season.
The devil is in the details and with winter coming and most teams changing bike sponsors you can expect more real 1% nerd action.

The real 1%

Is this an old school cross dude with a white integrated bar and stem combo?

I love it when one photo sends you off on a CSI nerd quest to figure out what is going on. Photos on his site were not conclusive, so it is off to the mesage boards to post and hope someone knows what up. Velonews board says yes it is the Stealth Evo Pro. Not too much insight on other boards.
You know you are pro when you can run white-not just bartape but bars and bike! Never mind carbon bars!

PS- The Real 1% refers to the minority of uber-nerds who study race pictures like aerial surveillance photos looking for anomolies! It also marks the latest sub category of WWDIS categories.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Set your goals. Looking back. Looking forward

Sounds like three sweet hardcore tunes!
Warwick was the end of my season and I took this entire week of the bike. Total shut down and Porter binge. Back on the bike tomorrow. As far as those lunchtime runs?? Maybe after Xmas.
Now is time to assess and look forward. I have a ridiculous jumble of numbers hanging from a hook in the basement. All this race years numbers. Cycling, running , whatever. Some good memories. Some not so good ones. A bunch of lessons learned in the school of hard knocks.
Looking forward to next season both for racing and for doing some longer more epic rides.
I set 7 goals for myself for this year and I got 4 out of 7. I am giving myself until the 1st to set my 09 goals down in ink, but Battankill and Deerfield are two big ones along with a host of usual suspects and a full cross season.
At least if the economy goes totally south and I get laid off, I will have more time to train...............

Friday, December 12, 2008

October Part Two!

-How did you get into frame building and how did you hook up with Dean?
I always dreamed of starting my own frame company, even before I had any clue whatsoever how it was done. After following my one of my other dreams of living in Colorado, I was laid off from an engineering job along w/ half the dept. Ironically, I was out on a lunch time ride when The Man's hand came down, so I was pretty much the last to know. Through a friend (the one who does all the graphics for October), I met Sean from Rol wheels who had a relationship with the Dean folks. As it turned out, they were in need of a builder because one of their guys was leaving. I made contact and shortly after was offered the job. Best thing I've ever done, next to starting my own thing...

-Favorite tool(s) in your shop?
Has to be my frame fixture. Don Ferris from Anvil really knows how to make tools. My frames come out of the fixture tighter and straighter than I could hope with other tooling. Of course, like all builders that use them, my Bridgeport is kind of like a family just get to know the ins and outs of your machine and how to adjust for them.

-Why do you think titanium gets a bad rap? (you know the whole bike rich dentists ride thing....)
It gets a bad rap? Perhaps I'm the modern version of old fashioned or something, but to me, titanium is an incredible material for bikes. It's expensive as hell, so I see the angle you are referring to. It has soul though. Carbon fiber is amazing, can be laid up to do just what you want, but if done wrong, there is no life in it. Titanium/carbon bikes ride amazing, are adequately light, and have excellent durability. For my money, its the magic combination..

-Internal cable routing-friend or foe?

Haven't really played with it on my bikes. I think it's cool and has a place in a lot of the bikes the artisan builders make. I don't read/hear a lot about how much more aero it makes a TT bike, although it gets used a lot in that application. I guess I just haven't decided to have a look at it yet.

-What is more fun to build? Road or MTB?-Take a stand
Cross bikes! I love making cross bikes. I totally would take a stand, but I really don't like to build one over the other. I certianly don't pick up a build sheet and think 'oh crap, not another road bike"... I'm still too stoked on the whole thing to be complacent

**notice the classic hardcore song title aspect of the above questions? Good for you, I ran out of steam after two.

-Extened seat tube/masts?
I think they are pretty rad. I use them on my cross bikes and have had excellent feedback both from the racers and the public.

-What makes a beautiful bike?

Giving it soul. Totally. There are so many amazing bikes out there and if I had the means, even though I am a builder, I would have a fleet of bikes from lots of companies. I've ridden tons of bikes, owned tons of bikes, and I certainly have had good ones and bad ones. When you get to the level I am striving to be at with my bikes, I truly think in so many ways it's the company vibe/image/soul that ultimately a customer wants to associate with. It may sound a bit lame, but I care about each one of the bikes I build as if I was building it for myself. I truly feel like I am living my dream, so each bike has a piece of me in it. I want someone who decided to drop the money on an October to feel the soul of the bike in each pedal stoke.

-Who are some of your other favorite frame builders?
Man, so many... I love the Indy Fab guys and where they came from. Richard Sachs, of course. I think Sacha White is a trend setter and deserves major props.

-Best music to build bikes to?
I've totally been on this The Devil Wears Prada kick lately. I have such a crazy musical range.... some days it's Sigur Ros, other days it Youth of Today. I'm also totally digging Agraceful as well. I loved the Emarosa EP, but felt like something was lost in the new album they put out with the new singer. When I have the welding mask on, I tend to like mellower stuff, just because I get in the zone and don't feel so aggro. When I'm doing the machining, I definitely am diggind the heavier side. Any suggestions? I need some new stuff...

(WWDIS:Suggestions? I tend to break more stuff to music than fix it, but AC/DC is pretty much mandatory bike cleaning/working/etc music to me.)
So there you go 2 rounds with Andrew from October. Check him out. In these tough times it is important to support small business. And where else can you talk about extended seat masts and 24-7 Spyz with the same dude?
A few more shots from his shop. I am not trying to be Ansel Adams(and I did not do these bikes justice! Check out his site for better bike shots), but it is alway cool to be able to wander around a workshop and be surrounded by this many nice bikes and more in progress.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Best Records of 08

I struggle with these list every year. This year, I am basing it on stuff I listened to most. I spent a ton of time in the car this year and most of this is good driving music. There are a few records that blew my mind (Krallice for instance), that aren't on the list. If I was listening to Krallice while driving, I would proably start playing demolition derby. This is pretty much all get up and go music

#1Torche. Hands down best record of the year. The power, the hooks.

Nachmystium. There were several reasons this record should have sucked and the arty excesses are as bad as anything on Funhouse, but this record slays.

NightMarchers. Not unlike Nachmystium there are some swings and misses on this, but when it connects it is fantastic.

Annhilation Time. RKL vs Thin Lizzy? These guys have moved well beyond their ealry Blast/Black Flag worship into a pretty enjoyable band borrowing heavily from 70/80s hard rock(and obscuro English hard rock at that)

Terror-Forever Crossing the Line.

TI Paper Trail

Paul Weller 22 Dreams. The modfather covers a lot of ground on this sprawling double lp. Pulled most of it off live as well.

Sixto Rodriquez. Sugarman is overhyped compared to the Dylan vs Donovan battle the rest of the album undertakes.
Brotherman SDTRK. Hard to believe this lost gem isn't a hoax

Close but no cigar

With 20ish days left to go in the year, I am sure I will remember a few more records in the coming days....................

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

James Brown saves Boston

At first glance, I wasn't sure how Jim Sullivan was going to stretch one James Brown concert into an entire book. Mix in MLK's assassination, Boston Politics, and the hardest working man in show business and it wasn't that hard.
This is a great book that uses one moment in time to illustrate a bunch of aspects of history, music, politics, and economics. It is hard to understand how much was changing in America in 68. America was a powder keg ready to blow and it took the hard work of a lot of people to hold it together. This is a nice study of one such moment and one group of people centered around the King, James Brown.
And for Mass/Boston locals with an eye on politics, witness names like Chuck Turner and Barney Frank turning up in this story in the early days of their careers. Small world.
Even JB's music was in a time of transition. Going for the horn section propelled, "I got you" to the more bass and drum driven stuff of "say it loud" or "licking stick". He was making it crazier every time out with every instrument contributing to the precussive affect.
The book wraps up focusing on James's struggles in the 70s/80s. The stuggles of JB to succeed as a man while all his actions are weighed, measured , and critiqued by a peanut gallery both black and white was a burden worhty of Atlas , but unlike Atlas James never shrugged.
This is a good read that straddles the successfully combines some biogrpahy and some history.
"Don't Burn, Learn!"

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

48 hours of fun

Pretty amazing longish weekend. Warwick was rad. Picked my cross-master up on Thursday and got to watch him unpack some nice bikes and gear. Friday night visit to the October workshop ran a little longer than I planned due to my not so excellent sense of direction(which was a theme of the weekend).
5AM wake up call and a 6AM roll out for the C race starting at 8:30. Arrive to a pretty cold Goddard Park with plenty of time to warm up. Beach section was shorter than the video I watched, but still no joke. Fast asphalt start. UCI/Verge finale race so there was a call up! So pro. Since I registered pretty early, I was definitely a few rows ahead of where my legs should have been. Bang and it's on. Furious charge through some asphalt corners to the 1st run up. Jump back on after the run up and I have a flat??!!!???? Cursed! How can I have fucking flatted in the first 30 seconds of the race? I am pissed. I ride about half a lap to the pits totally bumming, but get wheel fast and am back chasing. The Saturday course seemed more suited to road bike guys. More longer straight sections. The terror and fear of chasing and not wanting to get lapped got me moving. You have to just set small goals. Mine was to catch five people. I got six by the end so that was a success, 66 out of 75 and I didn't get lapped. Stoked.
The rest of the day was a blur. Watched all the races. Driscoll was a beast. Jumped in the car, got lost, got home. Quick bike cleaning and that was that-off to bed.
Repeat the morning routine. Up at 5 out at 6.

Where's the snow? I thought. Don't worry it started a few minutes into the drive. Arrive to a totally new course-much more technical and cross like-especially covered with snow. Another front wheel issue. I didn't have much of an opinion on the Hutchinson bulldogs that came on the Redline, and was withholding judgement, but just like their road tire cousins, Hutchinsons suck! Too prone to cuts and the attract debris and problems like a magnet. 1st upgrade to the cross bike will be new tires.
So after one slow practice lap, it was time to line up and race. This day had a much longer second beach section and I was anxious to test out my cross-guru's advice to run it clean the whole way rather than try and ride it and fail. Cross-guru's advice was good, cause I was catching and passing people on the run. The snow added an element of fun as my front wheel seemed to wash out at every opportunity. Either way it was fun and over before I knew it.
I got to sit in the pits for cross-guru's race with his spare bike and did one bike exchange which I didn't fuck up (thanks Matt Roy for the cross clinic!) Waiting in the pit, while Dan was racing was probably as stressful as my race. Especially after getting lectured by the mechanic....
Pam spray works! But I spent lot of time banging my shoes trying to clear the cleats to clip in. But for $2.99 you better have a can of it in your possession.
Thanks to Dan for the wheel, the advice, the support, and putting up with my driving. Thanks to Andrew for the support and the cheering. Also thanks to the neutral support mechanic(Mark)for the fast wheel change!
I am bummed that my cross season is over, but totally stoked for it to start next year when, hopefully, I will have some leges!

Monday, December 8, 2008

Warwick Sunday

Now this is cross weather! Despite the snow it was warmer than Sat. The wind got worse later in the day.

The barriers got moved to this hill. Way more fun both to ride and to watch. Dollar bills up for grabs! The one dollar Narragansetts and bunny hop primes kept it lively all day. PS Narragansett makes a Porter that is pretty good!

They called this the "intestinal track" and the pros road it pretty fast without crashing(unlike the 4s)

I am suprised I took so few photos and even less good ones.

Warwick Saturday

It was too cold to take a lot of pictures and I was geeking out watching the races but here are a few that made the cut. Sunday to follow.
Lightweights in the Masters 1/2/3 race??

Barriers one Sat

McCormack through the barriers on Sat

Nicer bikes than usual on the Subaru.

First Run Up was tough. This Army dude got heckled a lot. Go Navy and worse.

I got no good photos of the Elite race, but Driscoll was a beast and just road away from everyone.

Monday, December 1, 2008

October Bikes Part One

It is really a small world. Andrew and my wife met walking dogs in the morning and somehow bikes came up. Not too long after that, we stumbled on the youth crew/anthrax connection. Not too long after that he dropped that he had played drums for Wishful Thinking(arguably the best of the Western Mass Community Chest releases....but good luck finding someone to argue with about this. Any G-Man fans out there?). Not only that, he was the kid on the cover! He makes some nice ti and carbon ti frames. Road, Cross, MTB, whatever you want. He started building for Dean in CO and then moved back East.
Anyway he was dowh to answer some questions, so read on and check him out here. More Bike Questions and photos for part two!

1.How did you get into music? How did you get into hardcore?
I started playing drums probably when I was around 8 or 9. I used to make the biggest set I could from boxes and whatever else I could find around. I made full-on erector set hi-hats and bass drum pedals...I guess that was one of the early starts to engineering as well. Anyway, for some reason, music was a big part of my life from early on. My folks really enjoyed music and had it playing all the time at home. I think the aggressiveness, and passion of hardcore music is what got me hooked. The raw emotion and energy, as well as the speed of it just resonated with me. Which in some ways is very strange since I'm pretty much an introvert. Then I really got into the straight edge stuff and that was just amazing. Here were these kids, agree or not, living in a positive way staying away from drugs, etc. Was cool to feel a sense of community and that the music (and the scene) had your back if you needed an army against the peer pressure.
2.Favorite show? Best show at the Anthrax?
Man, it's a tough one to pick a favorite. As for hardcore, probable a Youth of Today, Judge, and Bold also happened to be at the Anthrax. Another memorable one was Absolution at the Anthrax...they opened, then another band played (Hogan's Hero's I think) then Absolution came on again! Was pretty sick. Other notables in varied genres were an early Rage Against the Machine show, Sunny Day Real Estate at the UMASS Student Union, any of the 8 times I've seen Tool, Earth Crisis at Pearl, I could go on and on..
3.How did you end up in Wishful Thinking?
I met the Wishful Thinking guys through mutual skateboarding friends. Their current drummer was getting into county music or something, so they needed someone new. Unfortunately for me, they already recorded the 7", but fortunately, I got to play the shows!
4.What was the best show you played with them?
Probably at UCONN, we opened for 24-7 Spyz.
5.Fondest youth crew memories?
Just skating, listening to music, heading up to Main Street Records. Western Mass had a pretty good hardcore scene. I mean, we had a ton of fun, plenty of shows came through, or weren't too hard to get to. I am grateful that my parents tolerated all this stuff and trusted that I was hanging out with a good group of friends.

6.Top Ten hardcore classics?

Only ten? I guess these were probably my fav's back in the day:
Break Down the Walls - Youth of Today
I Against I - Bad Brains
Destroy the Machines - Earth Crisis (is that considered a classic?)
Beyond - Demo
Speak Out - Bold
Insted's album
Chain of Strength - True til Death
7 Seconds - Walk Together, Rock Together
Minor Threat - Out of Step
Brotherhood - Demo

7.Where you into bikes or skateboarding or anything back then?
Totally into Skateboarding. I had a BMX bike as a kid, but skateboarding, then snowboarding was where it was at. I just realized - this will be my 22nd year snowboarding! I've missed a couple seasons in there, but yeah, been riding regularly for a long time. I also still break out the skateboard now and again...

8..Did you get into road or MTB first?
I got heavy into mountain biking about '92 or so. I just was so stoked on it! Then I got into some beginner racing, and found I was only riding my mountain bike in the races - the rest of the time, I was out on the road. So I became a shaved-leg roadie! Now, I pretty much do it all, except I don't do any of it all that much! Seems like once you start building bikes, you stop riding them....

Part Two of this interview will be along shortly. That will cover more of the bike-life rather than the core.

As a side note the Rise to Surprise 7" is a 9 song rager. More trad HC with a Cali (UC) or DC(Faith maybe) feel than the CT posi-core that the cover hints at. It reminds me of the bands that were on the Open Your Eyes tape series(if anyone remembers that) Get it if you can-especially on orange wax?
"Time Out" and "Inside Out"are my favorite tracks. Inside Out has a real NYHC feel (Side by Side?) Youth Crew forever!!

Sunday, November 30, 2008

If this cross thing doesn't start getting easier, I am switching to this.

Start Stick and Mad Alchemy Embrocation

I am pretty much helpless in the face of novelty products and impulse buys. So when a review of Mad Alchemy embrocation popped up from Cyclocross mag, I knew I would be getting something from this company. Small local company making niche product? Sign me up. There are already some established sites that focus on embrocation(BKW has water bottles!), so I will focus on the thing that really got my heart racing. The Start Stick Nasal Inhaler! How had I made it this far without this? No wonder my racing has been so sub par! I haven't been able to open my nasal passages.
There are a variety of cycling urban myths that I subscribe to-compression socks for example and these seemed to be another one I would succumb to.
I also have an OCD compulsion to brush my teeth before rides because I read the mint smell can improve performance.(no evidence found in my personal performance).
Double espresso before a ride is another sacred cow for me. The start stick was a perfect addition to my pre ride/race OCD rituals.
Since it is natural it seems better than abusing athsma inhalers or cold medicine, but I can always fall back on those if the Start Stick fails me.
So what are the initial reports? I messed around with it on a cold commute, but that doesn't really match the "rigors of competition"
Finally had a chance to test out the start stick in colder race conditons. A 5K not a cross race, but hey what can you do. A couple snorts on this thing and my nose was clear. I don't know how much of an impact it had, but I sounded much better than the 50 year old hyperventilating next to me with Re-Load cranked on his IPOD.
The small stick is easy to misplace and thus failed to make it to the start of my next two cross races with me. I kept sticking it in a jersey pocket and forgetting to transfer it. I need to stick it in my race bag and leave it.
Sat night, I managed to remember to stuff it in my bag, so I was ready on a cold Sunday morning in Palmer. I had a runny nose and this definitely cleared me out. Hard to say if it helped during the race since my mouth was hanging open most of the time-not much relaxed breathing through the nose as your are chasing back after multiple crashes.
This item will take its place in my pantheon of performance enhancers that don't seem to enhance my performance, but I can't really blame any of the products when the engine isn't there...........
One caveat, this stuff seems to encourage some seriously adhesive boogers a few hours after the race, so if you are afraid to dig for gold-think twice!

As far as the embrocation, it is good. It is the color of squash and that makes me want to eat it. Warm, but not insane and it washes off no problem. Smells good. MA also has done a couple cool limited runs or coffee embrocation, so keep an eye on the site and support small, local business! It's a winner.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Darkthrone Darkthrones and Black Flags

I guess this has made the rounds, but much like the the new "darkthrones and black flags" cd which snuck out last week,it was new to me. Fenriz is the real deal. Long Version of interview here-long but worth it.

The woodland metal posing on the booklet for the new record is worth the purchase. Getting to see Fenriz's epic Speed Metal tat is a highlight. Imagine black metal woodland posing, but in focus, in color, and in daylight. Too Good.

The music on here is way more rock. Not D-Beat, but Motorhead is an obvious influence. Super dirty and primitive metal. Demo quality recording (in a good way not a scuzzy black metal side projectway) I was kinda hoping that the black flags in question might hint at some greg ginn level shredding, but I think it is more like black flags of pirates or orcs or something.
Song titles are killer.

These guys have gone from tech death metal to the architects for the blueprint of black metal ( the black print?) to know scummy rock and roll/thrash. What next?

Not everyone is a fan though. Check this post on the Klaxon blog. Darkthrone may not keep it true but Klaxon and Bone Awl do. In some ways I agree, Transylvanian Hunger is some life changing, next level shit. But once you have defined a genre and not died(a la Euronymous or the Big Bopper) what do you do? It would be equally as lame if the Throne kept pumping out Under a Funeral Moon copies or tried to polish it up to Satryicon levels. So given the choice of A.No Darkthrone, B.Transylvanian Hunger Redux, or C.Whatever they come up with. I will go with C

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Boot Camp?

Bjarne puts the drug sniffing dogs on the Schleck's.

Integrity and Bikes? This Blog Rules

Stumbled across this post on the Slow Your Roll blog. Gotta email him to find out if he ever road to see Face Value,Confront, Outface, or OLC.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Enforcer Into the Night

In the age of the retro throwback metal, I was expecting a more straight ahead thrash attack from Enforcer. It looked like they got hold of most of Megaforce's fonts for the layout. I was suprised to see them mining a different vein of music. Metallica, Maiden, Diamondhead and NWOBHM seem to be the reason d'etre for enforcer. They also pulled out all the stops on the group photo shoot in the booklet. Cover kind of reminds me of Exciter but it is more pro than what Exciter used to put together. I think HA jacked some Exciter art for their site. Way better than the Century Media power metal BS, this is some crucial metal.
9 songs of classic NWOBHM. Even the song titles have that feel. So does this make this the New New wave of Retro-British Heavy Metal (NNWORBHM)?
Heavy Artillery is the label. They are pretty reliable for metal these days.

Monday, November 24, 2008


I was never a big Bill Walton fan. He sucked(sucks) as a commentator and if I am going to be a fan of a drugged out Dead fan, I'm going with Bill Lee. Regardless Bobke Strut dropped this nugget last month.
There are some pretty cool links at the end of the article for Walton fanatics.

3rd time not the charm

So they say your first season of cross is a learning experience-more like a series of dope slaps. Headed down to Chesire CT for a race. Cold! The couse was infamous for some gnarly run ups. Video here.
Got my shit packed with multiple layers and back up clothes etc. Felt pretty good. Got to the course and got in one lap between races. It was a combination of frozen grass, off camber normal cross in the park conditions and then rocky, rooted, rutted single track with 2 run ups that were pretty long-as tough as advertised. Both run ups could be ridden the full distance if you had a clear shot and that is pretty much what got the winners to the top.
As for me, I wasn't sure how to run the tire pressure. Dan said a lot lower than I had been, and based on the half thawed grass/mud/pine needles/leaves the lower the better, but with the rocky single track too low might mean a flat. Got it another practice lap and decided to go lower. The sand pit was thankfully frozen, short, and fairly easy to negotiate.
Almost missed the start of my race trying to squeeze in another practice lap. Tire pressure felt right.
1st lap was fast, but not bad from the back. Squealing brakes was the order of the day as people were full gas trying to close gaps on the single track and or pass where you could. Run ups were hairy. I made up ground on the lst two laps and was feeling pretty good. Hit the gas again towards the end of lap two and that might have been a little too ambitious. Died going into the barriers. There were two corners that you could almost pump like a snake run and I was thankful for that. Crashed in a slick right downhill S turn in the mud. Redlined it to get back ground before the singletrack. This is where the trouble starts. I clipped a rock pretty hard before the run up and again before a little bridge. Hopped off for the run up and when I jumped back on at the top, I felt the rim hit the ground. Pinch flat. FUCK! Now if I had spare wheels, I could have run or rode it to the pits, but I had spare clothes, not spare wheels. Thus my day was done.
Still battling with the tire pressure issue, but felt stoked on this race. Rode pretty good in the cold which gives me hope for Warwick. Next time I will have pit wheels. The good news is every weekend is another chance and I can work it out again in Sterling next weekend. I will miss the Andover XC 3.5 miler which was a highlight of my 5K campaign last year. Damn.

How much Art?

Can you take? Apparently a lot. Rule of Thirds is the new one from Death in June. Like a black metal band, I anxioulsy await their new records as much for the art and imagery as the music. This one lays out some very straight ahead acoustic folk. (neo-folk?, pagan-folk?, post-folk? creepy Waterboys?) Sounds like the most straight forward record they have done in ages. Obtuse lyrics. Wickerman and grapevines. Tight.
You already know if you are going to get this.
The usual word play, allusions, and obscure refereneces. Do the work and the lyrics are hiding a lot of cool things-and you can feel like a smug smart asshole.
"My Last Europa Kiss" is one of the standout tracks for me.

One thing I always appreciate about DIJ is that they pay attention to detail, present things as they want, and don't seem at all pressured on concerned with the usual BS around the "music business". Not unlike Mr.Fenriz from an upcoming Darkthrone post. They do it for themselves and don't compromise the presentation.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Knee Warmers or Thigh Warmers?

So Maggie B is one of my favorite riders. Big giant freak who rides hard. But what is going on in this picture? Knee warmers are supposed to cover your knees. What is he wearing thigh warmers? The mysteries of pro cycling.

cross bike is back from another mechanical meltdown. I am like kryptonite when it comes to smoothly functioning bikes


Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Micheal Barry -closet journalist?

Samuel Abt better watch his back. Micheal Berry Canadian Columbia Rider just wrote an article about the Toronto CX races a few weekends ago. Does this foreshadow his post riding career?
Article here. And it isn't bad either. His book and columns in Velonews are good reads.

Taking a Knee -Cross weekend two

Woke up to perfect cross weather-drizzle and overcast. But I knew I wasn't going to race today. My legs felt dead, I got a good nights sleep, but woke up tired, and I was feeling a little sick. Since I don't get paid to race and since I have no form to speak of, it was back to bed not off to the races. Not a fun decision, but hopefully the right one. My rite of passage muddy cross race will have to wait until next Sunday.
Being a cyclist, you are constantly analyzing every sensation your body produces.
There are the obvious conditions-sick, injured, tired. But a cyclist's life is not a binary good/bad world. If you are not sick,injured, tired, it doesn't mean you are "good". Almost any ride usually starts with everyone cataloging there issues. The litany of sore this and strained that. From the front of the pack to the back, everyone usually has a laundry list of issues whether they are riding well or off the back.
So I hit the trainer and went for a long hike all bundled up. Felt better by the end of the day. Starting to get nervous. There are two weekends worth of races between now and Warwick. Most of the races have early starts and are about 2 hours away. I am usually a fan of the predawn roll out, but am having trouble getting my ass in gear. Regardless of how I do, these races will pay off next year either for spring road races or just a head start on handing for the 09 cross season. (come on super nerds, haven't you started to plan your 09 season? Battenkill Roubaix pre-reg starts in 33 days. Get ready.)
Chesire, EastHampton, Sterling, and/or Palmer. These are my choices before the big Warwick weekend. At least gas is getting cheap.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Stealth Beauty

This gets me so much more stoked than another lugged stem. Blink and you'll miss it. He's got a regular site and a blog. The blog would be good for you. Even if he is a 650B devotee.

A few things for Monday

This is the reason I read the forum on Velonews. This kind of tech-geek stuff as been in short supply lateley. Hats off to anyone with steady hands and time to burn, who can take apart ergo levers.

Second. I don't know how to feel about the auto industry, but a bailout seems like a bad move. This article puts it in some perspective. It is hard to see how loaning more money to a company capable of losing 2.5 Billion a quarter is going to help. Their CEO's performance on 60 minutes didn't help either.

Third, I enjoyed this Thomas Frank editorial from a few days ago.

How do you know you are skinny? When you crash your bike and rupture you spleen. Ask Niels Albert. Not much meat on him.

Last up. Baden Cooke to Rock Racing??? That is an upgrade for them. Kayle looks to exit stage left. Rock and Katusha are both cobbling together stronger riders, but don't seem to have a cohesive unit yet.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Mega Intro Bust

The Intro-Bust is probably one of the most crucial elements of a good show. A couple minutes of instro rock to build anticipation for the 1st song. Done right it is like bringing a pot of water to boil. There are four that I think rise above the masses
1.Intro to We Gotta Know-Cro Mags
2.Rise and Fall-Leeway
3.Back on the Map Intro Slapshot
4.I against I Bad Brains

Since the Cro-Mags Jam manage to drop both Rise and Fall and We gotta know into one mega intro, I think it is worth ignoring the Blair Witch quality of the video to enjoy it.
Frank gets the credit for finding this one.

Monday, November 10, 2008


Everything you read about cross is true. More to follow........

Ode to a Black Man

The economy is in about as rough shape as the sound quality on this, but how can you resist. Especially with... Huey Lewis on harmonica????? What? Obamas/Bidden. Lynott/Lewis. Why not.

My wife gets the credit for tracking this one down!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Cross Weekend One

"Tensions ran high, but we ran higher". So goes one of my favorite quotes from the My Rules photozine. Nothing is quite as fondly remembered as the butterflies in your stomach as you line up for some event your not so sure you can do.
That was the thing running through my head as I lined up for my 1st cross race. Buy a bike on Wed, race it on Saturday? Sometimes you just have to jump first and look second. I had practice mounts and dismounts on this bike for about an hour.
Got to the race(Plymouth North) early to be able to preride as much as I could. First off which way does the course go? Luckily, people at a cross race seem friendlier than at a road race so that question gets answered quick. Off I go one set of a barriers and one run up. One pretty technical( for me!) single tracky section. Pre ride ended fast.
My mind was racing-how many layers to wear? what tire pressure?. Would I even notice a difference on tire pressure? What would be worse a flat or a rougher ride?
Line up for the start. A prime for the hole shot and a prime for the first lap. Based on that, I knew it would be a fast start. I lined up in the second row and didn't challenge the start. First time through the barriers was ugly. Luckily no one was watching. The run up was much better and after one lap, I was pretty sure it would be okay. Just another 30 minutes in the pain cave. Off the back, but okay with that. Shifting the SRAM wasn't a major problem, but my thumbs were ghost shifting where the Campy thumb levers should have been!.
Andrew from October was there and gave me some encouragement which was appreciated as racing off the back can feel like a lab experiment as you ride drooling past people talking and laughing behind a piece of tape. The urge to fake flats and get some neutral support Zipps was running high.
Bell Lap and it's over. Last place? Hard to know since I didn't get placed in the results.
It is obvious why cross is so popular. Fast and fun and over pretty quick.
Packed it up pretty fast after the race

Day Two. Plymouth South. Get to the race nice and early. My legs felt OK, not great, but not lead either. Start to preride and right off the bat, this is a harder course. Off camber corners after the start. Steep Sections. And a ton of riding around a soaking we soccer and baseball field. Steep hillsx2. Lots of wind and it was a loongg lap. Two warm up laps in, I am feeling like I might be in over my head. This is killing me and I am not even going full gas. But since it is technical and challenging, I decide to skip the race and preride until the racing starts. Maybe I can figure out how to ride some of it with some practice. Good move. I got in about 90 minutes of training and bailed when the racing started. Watched the races to see what lines people took. I felt lame for not racing, but I think it was the right move. My 1st season goal is in December, so I need to bring what little "form" I have to a boil slowly and not burn it out when it doesn't really matter (excuses, excuses, I know....._)

There is something to be said for trying new things. Your mind gets fully utilized as there are hundreds of decisions to make and you can't go on auto pilot. I read somewhere that one of the keys to keeping your mind sharp as you get older is to pick up new hobbies and activities (they suggested learning new languages), and as long as I don't crash on my head, I think cross will keep my mind engaged for the foreseeable future. Just dialing in tire pressure seems like and endless quest. Never mind maintaining the mental upgrade list for another bike......

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Koppenberg Cross Race

Koppenberg is a killer climb in the Tour of Flanders.Now imagine having to turn right onto a mud path at the top of it??? And then climb it lap after lap???? This footage is crazy.
Mass young gun Luke Keough finished 7th in the juniors race. He is having a good run in Belgium. You can help support him by buying raffle tickets here.
That is it from Arlington's biggest cross poser

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Off Season

Just got back from a 2 hour hike with my dog. Off season is in full effect. Running, doing 5Ks, attempting to strengthen my core/gut, and trying not to gain too much weight.
It is also the time to review the season and try and prepare for next year.
hard to believe I only did 10 races. Started early and ended early. My summer got owned by lyme disease and my kids getting ready for college. That said, I did have a good spring, so overall stoked. Best result? Ouch, probably Sturbridge RR. 39th. Mt.Agamenticus was super fun despite the pain cave-maybe because of?

As far as worst where do you start? Wells Ave crash that ruined me and Billy's bank accounts. Norwell margarita purge. Blue Hills handlebar fiasco. There were a lot of not so sweet moments.
Biggest regret? Missing Deerfield, not upgrading to a 4, and not racing cross this year.
Next Year?
Battinkill, Marblehead, Sturbridge (or Palmer-whichever one goes uphill more), Blue Hills, Myles Standish, and Deerfield. I want to hit a late summer race either Hilltowns or GM stage race. Something to keep me turning the wheels through August.
Then try out cross!
What will be harder, finding form or finding cash for a cross bike and gas to the races?
Based on the roughest calculations it is 150 days until my next race. Rollers are out. Get busy!

Dog in a Hat

Bare knuckle, hard times bike racing in Belgium. The sales pitch for Dog in a Hat is a no brainer and most bike riders are grabbing it like zombies grab fresh brains. The good news is it is a good book.
All the seedy side of cycling is here th drugs, buying races, etc. There are tons of memoroable moments.
It even has funny stories about racing cross. What else do you need?

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Italy's next big thing

It wasn't too long ago that people were anointing Visconti to be Bettini's successor. Well, say what you will about Paolo, but I never saw him shopping for make up looking like this..... WTF???? Looks like growing up Gotti hits the motherland. And not Ivan Gotti either!. Give me Ballan any day.

As seen in the photo above, it doesn't get more Italian than pulling a pink jersey over the national champs jersey, but he has a long way to go before I can get over the whole manscaping thing.
But what's worse? Plucked eyebrows or Cera-enhanced bravado? Visonti beats Ricco. (until proven otherwise.........)

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Planks/Tombs split 12"

Tombs side opens up with a pummeling track that drives like Black Metal and has a real bleak relentless pounding. "Cypress" is up next. Slower, moody jammer that kicks into a Motorheady Swedish rocker after a couple minutes. "cheval noir" closes it out with another switch up. Female Vocals are in effect. This is that morose, melodic shit that I fucking love. Kind of a codieney/seamy dirge ballad.
Planks are some German rockers. 3 tracks from them. Heavy for sure. Knut,Black Cobra, you name your favorite post-core, post-metal bangers and these guys hold up pretty well against them. Regardless, Tombs are the main event for me.

If you hit up Black Box fast enough you might be able to get it on red wax! Comes with a card to get a digital copy for free so your ipod can get pummeled too. Get it now before their Relapse debut gets everyone wise to whats up and you miss out.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

records on the curb...again

Driving to grab lunch last Sunday, I saw three boxes of records on a curb in Belmont. Drove past, cursed myself, and turned around.
First box had a bad Metal looking record by Axe, so maybe not a total waste. It was hard not to pull over immediately to check them out, but I was in a rush to get lunch. Whoever this was had a pretty odd collection. The entire collected works of UFO and Michel Schenker coupled with a healthy serving of mid 80s dance 12"s.
As I sat there I realized I couldn't seriously drag home another 300 records of marginal worth(there are only so many fights with the wife worth having), so while I ate a quesidlla, I paired the three boxes down to one and left the remainder in my parking space. Let it be some other OCD record nerd's problem. Pass it forward.....
Outside of the obvious spinal tap brilliance of UFO/MSG, there were a few good finds
Piper was one of them
Billy Squier was inescapable when I was in 7th and 8th grade. He and Foreigner were like the sorta fake hard rock/arena rock shit that cooler kids listened to while I was totally in the thrall of AC/DC and Joan Jett. So I was pretty surprised by this Piper album. Only a dick, would be overly critical of an album that came out of the trash, but this was much less produced than the solo Squier and straddled a power-pop/hard rock faultline. Super catchy(and of course cheesey, but no worse than Guns and Roses for example)
This was a nice surpise to find in the trash. As far as the UFO/MSG... Lights out London and The Attack of the Mad Axe Man really don't hold up so well..............

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Say What You Will

Saw these guys open for Maiden when I was in 7th or 8th grade. Cape Cod Coliseum. My first big Metal Show. I bought a totally ridiculous sleeveless checkerboard shirt. Looked like Vans so I figured it was cool.
So who would have guessed that almost 30 years later, this dude would be in flogging molly? Go figure.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Cycling Odds and Ends

These are some serious leg warmers. Pro only.
Nys manages to headbutt the barriers one day and win the next.

More Race Footage here. The huge grassy rhythmn sections look like they would be super fun to ride.

Good list of who will be riding for who next year here.

Winter is right around the corner. Cold ride on Saturday. Colder on Sunday and frost on the windshield this morning. Watch out.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Gloucester II

again, you can see here why I am not a race photographer....

Best bikes? Saw a Wilier cross frame. And a couple Spiuks that looked cool.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Gloucester Field Trip

Went up to Gloucester for the cross race today. Warm and sunny, Perfect fall day. 100 plus starters for the 4 race is an indication that cross is popular in NE. Full day of racing.

, Parlee, and Maietta all had bikes on display. The Parlees had deep dish Edge wheels with giant Parlee logos that looked sick. Their cross bike is totally over the top and rad. Maietta was new to me and had this cool frame on display.

Treborn's bike looks big sitting there and still looks big with him on it.

and still looks big with him on it....

Watched all of the elite men and women. Both Dombroksi and Treborn were dominate. The Treborn Johnson battle was pretty epic, but Treborn had the final blow when he opened up a ridiculous gap with 2 to go. He held enough to basically free wheel across the finish line. A good sign for his upcoming European vacation.
Here are some other random bad race photos shot from the north side run up and beer garden.

A beer garden and real bathrooms(no porta potty nightmares)! Big day out.
My computer is acting up so I will dump some more photos tomorrow.
Watching cross and not racing it is kind of like watching a porno. It is cool to look at, but more fun to do. I can't believe I have to wait until next year to try this out!

Saturday, October 11, 2008

K-9 Possee... Campy Only???

There has of course been a long history of cycling caps turning up in black culture Spike Lee/Brooklyn, Wesley Snipes/Colnago, Mariah Carey/Vitalicio Seguras. So I shouldn't have been too surprised to see the K-9 Posse sporting matching Campagnolo caps on the picture sleeve to this record.
I didn't even notice at first as I was too busy grabbing every hip hop 45 with a picture sleeve in what was the illest score of the fall record collecting season thus far. 12 James Brown 45s, 4 LL Cool Js, 2 Beastie Boys, 3 Fat Boys, get serious. 40 records later as I am looking them over in my car, the K-9 Record catches my eye. Campy hats? Only the best for the K-9 Possee! Outside of this odd cycling tie in, the record is not so good.
Either way it just goes to show you, start a record about collecting records and cycling and who knows what will fall into your lap.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

more kickboy face

With headgear that would give Keith Richards a run for his money watch Claude Bessey run down the Factory labels roster.

Life of Crime

I heard this for the first time on the Laughing Hyenas record of the same name. Wasn't a huge fan of early LA punk. Too arty for my tastes, and anyway the Weirdos were dropping Condor in 1990 which was competing with too much crucial music to get a lot of spins. Fugazi Repeater for example. Thankfully some cheap bootlegs introduced me to the brilliance that is the early Weirdos. Life of Crime, Neutron Bomb, Solitary Confinement Destroy all Music. These are fucking classics. Unlike a lot of the more arty shit their contemporaries were playing, elements of the Weirdos sound were pretty much Incorporated into the classic Cali punk sound.
And by more arty shit, I of course mean this....

I never would have checked for this video if I hadn't namechecked Kickboy Face in the last post about economics.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Non Cycling Odds and Ends

60 minutes was a home run this week. One segment on a Delta Force soldier that was hunting Bin Laden and has a book coming out and a second segment bringing another financial time bomb too light. Sub-prime mortgages might be bad but credit debt swaps are worse. More interviews with Jim Grant who seems to be an economist I can appreciate. Grant seems like a less partisan Thomas Franks, but I really am not familiar enough with him to say that for sure. His book will most likely be on my xmas list. I would get a subscription to his magazine, but I already read too much that I barely understand. I need the Lester Bangs or Kickboy Face of economic journalism.

This is a pretty crucial article. Sobering in light of where Bush's exhortations for the average American to fight terrorism by shopping and traveling and spending have gotten us.

Third up is a movie review. Streetfight is a documentary about the race to be Mayor of Newark NJ. Wire fanatics should do themselves a favor and rent this. So much of the Carcetti vs Royce action seems lifted almost directly from this.

Roller-rama. Winter is coming

Took the rollers out of cold storage last night. Forgot how much fun they are to ride. You can zone out on a trainer, but rollers require you to pay a little more attention. Maybe not as "intense" as a rear wheel trainer, but time flies and you use your brain more. I think I will do most of my indoor training this year on rollers rather than a trainer.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Sombra -good shit that won't get you busted

Sombra is some kind of company that makes products for physcical therapy pros. This "original warm therapy" pain relieving gel is like some hippie'd out flexall or ben gay. It is a good rub for aches and pains. It is less gross and vaseline like than the main steam products.
Since it falls into some embrocation like category, it benefits from having a superior smell than FlexAll or IcyHot. The temperature is not as high as IcyHot, but it works just as well. It is a little more expensive than your current drugstore favorite, but the only real drawback is having to most likely mail order it if you want to test it out.
If you are going to rub ridiculous underground euro juice on your legs before you ride, why not go with some underground shit after you ride? Your legs are worth it.