Wednesday, December 29, 2010

bigger picture

Two things today caught my eye and made me think. I was never really a Captain Beefheart fan, but reading this Byron Coley penned obit/appreciation, it is hard to imagine something nicer being written about yourself. Essentially Beefheart the shield that nerds could wield to protect themselves from the world.
"...they were more a way of creating
a bubble of madness to protect me
from the goddamn normals
who dogged my every sullen step"

Then I saw this little known fact about Gino Bartali. I never really took a side in the Bartali vs Coppi debate, but I leaned towards Bartali on principle-this seels the deal. What did you accomplish on your last training ride? How will your actions as a human be remembered?

So two different stories, but one theme-how will your words and actions be remembered when you are gone? As the new year approaches and goals and training plans are being laid out, a reflection on the bigger picture can't hurt.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

best of 2010

These are some of my favorite records from 2010. I talked about them on here earlier in the year so I will just let the music do the talking. (apologies for that last hyper link) All of these are road tested good times.

ted leo -brutalist bricks. keep em coming. gets better with every listen.

Leatherface stormy petrel. Stubbs for Life. Sound on this is weak, but the footwork is excellent.

God is dead - Leatherface 2010-9-6 Tokyo@Kouenji HIGH from Spalding on Vimeo.

superchunk proof that bands don't have to suck as they grow older.

Superchunk - Digging For Something from Merge Records on Vimeo.

off! 1st ep. all 4 eps are good, but this one is perfect. more proof that old dudes can do it.

gaslight anthem-not original but I listened to it for most of the summer and fall. pretty good driving music

colesium -slowed down and pretty much one groove, but still a great record.

COLISEUM Blind In One Eye - Music Video from Coliseum on Vimeo.

daniel higgs-say god. double dose of higgs? yes please.

madball empire. road trip staple. sometimes dumb is just what you need.

castavet mound of ash-best record that I didn't listen too enough

dynamic truths- reissue of year and if they were still around, this would hands down be my record of the year. sadly can't track down any video.

A common thread amongst all these is the "veteran presence". I guess this was the year for the old bands and old dudes. Sorry new bands and young kids-maybe next year you can do it.

PS another absolute road trip staple was Brian Posehn "Fart and Weiner Jokes". classic. Slaaayyyyeeerrr!

Saturday, December 4, 2010

signs you are over the season before the season is over

1. bike still dirty from last weekend
2. forgot that bike is in shop, not in basement
3. dirty kit is in car, I think....
4. ...hopefully everything else you need for the race is in your car
5. only openers you do the day before are on bottles and cans
6. fantasize about how fun a training ride to Harvard in the freezing rain would be
7. trainer covered in laundry
8. haven't checked points list on even looked at it all week
9. accepting wearing leg warmers cause you're too lazy to shave your legs
10.saturday night-did someone want to go out for a beer?

tombs fear is the weapon

If you read this blog, you should know I love Tombs. Fear is the Weapon is a 14 track collection of tracks from singles and splits with some demo tracks from the Winter Hours CD. Limited to 1000 and available from Relapse mailorder.
I have reviewed the Tombs/Plank split which was rad and the early singles. They are all still rad. Cheval Noir is a standout with the female vox. The last 4 tracks are demos. All killer songs from Winter Hours. Main difference to me is the vocals are a little more prominent. For "demos" these tracks all sound pretty fucking good-maybe better than a lot of the competitions A-game. These dudes are pretty much the perfect bridge between early 90s noise rock and what gets lumped in as metal or "extreme music" now a days. As a dork who has been listening to heavy music for a couple decades, these guys just get it and deliver the goods. Support it.

Artwork is rad and heavy on the hidden symbolism. Esoteric to say the least.

If that isn't enough David Cross loves them.
I kid, I kid.

Friday, December 3, 2010

gemco banks

at best a historical footnote in skateboarding, but clearly an awesome spot for a frontside boneless

some people want to see the grand canyon, I would like to see this spot

Saturday, November 27, 2010

.....ruined my life

I am pretty sure that Consolidated was the first team to make this slogan popular. Wasn't really a fan of the idea. I don't have a stick up my ass and I get irony, but skateboarding pretty much opened up the world to me-from art to music to you name it. Skateboarding was the gateway to it all. So that shirt was funny, but just not an attitude I could get with even as a joke.
Skateboarding and cross seem to have a lot of people in common, so I shouldn't have been surprised to see a "cyclocross ruined my life" shirt pop up. But of course I was.
Not surprisingly, I had a similar reaction. I just can't get down with that attitude and even as a joke it rubs me the wrong way. Cross has done a lot for me, but one thing it hasn't, is ruined my life. It has cost me time,money, and sleep, but for everything I have put in, I have gotten back way more than expected.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Dynamic Truths Understanding is Overated.

This record has it all some post-punk Wire/Fallishness, some mission of burma melodicism, the whole gamut of domestic post-hardcore cred. Honor Role were a pretty amazing and timeless band-while being out of place in their own time. This is a band for record nerds, that just transcends that boundary and is amazing. There are a select few bands that sound completely unique and totally familiar at the same time-almost like you had this music in you head and were waiting for someone to make it.
If Lungfish has been writing the same song for 7 albums, you can easily see the straight line from "Listening to Sally" to "Headed to the Halfway House". And that is not an issue, since it is a good fucking song. Schick has this ability to write these really vivid almost short story like stories in his lyrics. They transmit such a sense of unease and awareness of how bogus "regular" life can be. A skill he has had since Honor Role and Coral and now with the Dynamic Truths.
"Bustop" unleashes the wicked anglo-funk and makes for 2 minutes you will want to listen to again and again. Atonal, bass driven, melodic -perfect.
I threw this on unheard before a drive down to the Cape and I was absolutely ecstatic the entire time. Reminded me of bands, I would lose sleep over night after night in the mid 90s upstairs at the middle east with a dozen other nerds.
Little Black Cloud is the label that put it together. Essential and easily reissue of the year.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Some shots from Shedd Park

A few of the better photos I got from Shedd Park. This was a really fun day on the bike.

Saturday, November 20, 2010


This was a pretty fun course which had all the necessary features-bmx action and pump bumps-check, long ass run up check, sketchy pavement to asphalt transitions-check, 2 sets of barriers-check, a little mud-check, spray painted rocks on the single-track-check. I had a shit start and bad first lap-one crash, two dropped chains. I was in full baby mode for the next lap til I mentally got my shit together and just settled in to race my bike. After that it was fun. Short lap would have had me doing 8 laps but junior soul stealer Nate Morse caught me and that gave me a pass on the last lap.....

The "track" portion of this was not too exciting, but the infield was laid out well.

Those in the know said the course ran the opposite way so you had to get up this last year.

There was a lot of scary rear wheel in the air action. A lot of people were struggling with the concept "pump" and "rhythm". This is a fast way to end up "face down, ass up"....

One of the two sets of barriers


I thought these things got recycled?

railing it

For those of you who don't know what goes down on a bmx track check this out-and pay attention to which wheel is up....

I was running low on batteries so that is it for photos. took a lot of blurry throw aways today. Shedd Park tomorrow. Waffle hand ups? Four Loko hand ups? Be afraid!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

couple more shots from eco cross

I wrote race report for this on the team blog, but here are a few photos from the men's 4 and the elite race. This is a rad event-where else is the elite field 50% current or former national champs? More people should do this, but I think they will need a longer lap if they get bigger fields.

more photos here

Sunday, November 7, 2010


I see a lot of terrifying bikes and fixed gear conversions at my job. This was one of them(there will be no pictures of the drive train of this nightmare), but I was struck by how much clearance there was around the fork-even with long reach calipers. In related news there was a kid racing in Northampton this weekend on an old trek frame with long reach calipers.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Woodrup in DC

Whenever I am walking around in DC, I seem to stumble upon bikes that are too nice to be locked up, locked up on the street. For example this touring rig from Leeds England.
The wrap around seat stays are what first caught my eye.

Didn't want to manhandle the bike to get a better picture of it, but you can get the idea from that picture
Cool logo-also rad center pull brakes not mafac, but what can you do.

The full bike

The Brooks saddle reminds me of something else I saw.....

The value of the saddles in this picture is greater than the value of the bikes, but I guess they ride in comfort and style.
Did appreciate the file tread cross tires on the commuter, but is some bartape too much to ask?

DC always a good time for looking at bikes.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

required reading

Big Bikes got me through the summer, but Cyclo-What is the fall favorite blog!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Dag Nasty with Shawn

So 2 of my favorite bands were and are Dag Nasty and Swiz. (Edge goes to Swiz who broke up before releasing some shitty records....). The fact that Shawn Brown started out singing for Dag Nasty should make this reissue a homerun. It is good and was released years ago as a 4x7" boxset. All the Dag classics in a rougher demo quality with SB belting out the lyrics. I think it works best on songs like Can I Say or Justification where the classic Shawn Brown vocal style shines though.
This is better than a nostalgia trip, but not quite a total power/total cool classic. Dischord has plenty of other gems in the vault they need to get cracking on releasing.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

how to do it right



OFF! - UPSIDE DOWN from jake burghart on Vimeo.

this is a timeless formula for making a kick ass video.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

of course

Good read from time magazine here on wingnuts. This section hit home to me
"Vanderboegh is hardly a man of action himself, living these days on government disability checks. Even so, when he wrote a blog post in March urging followers to protest the health care bill by breaking windows at Democratic Party offices, they did so across the country."
Of course the patriot on disability had time to agitate against health care....

If that wasn't enough try this article on CIA incompetenece from Harpers. Rendition? Remember that?

Monday, October 11, 2010

Race Report Simplifier

At this point in the season, signs of fatigue are setting in. Bike stays dirty longer. You stay in bed longer, etc. So blogging and race reporting is starting to slow down.
To make my life easier, I have boiled my race reporting down to a multiple choice madlib. Could have been a flow chart, but multiple choice is easier. Feel free to use if helpful.

1.Today's race was______
a. wetter than I like
b. too dry
c. too muddy
d. too hot
e. too cold

2. I had a ____ start

3.I tried to go fast, i ______
b.failed due to_______
-random body issue

4.Race ended, I ________
a. can't wait to look at cross results
b. did exactly what the race predictor expected
c .don't want to see to look at cross results

5.I am_____ for next weekend
a. stoked
b. dreading

6.I need to _____ coach my
b.hire a

Add in a couple self deprecating remarks about handling, poorly maintained equipment, and maybe sketchy canadians or officials and it is a wrap.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Watching the Weasel a non-race report

My ribs and ankle were still pretty banged up from Gloucester and with 2 more days of racing in Providence on the horizon, I decided not to race the Night Weasel. That said, there was no way I wasn't going out to support this event. Rolled out in a downpour which fizzled out the closer we got to Ski-Ward in Shrewsbury.
Course looked fun. Technical wet and hazardous as well. I was glad I left my bike at home-cause I would have lined up if I brought it and I would have crashed for sure.
Nick,Billy, and Thom lined up to kill it. We posted our tent up on a nice muddy corner that would deteriorate nicely over the next few hours.
I got my heckle on as the other dudes raced. Buying a new camera before cross season seemed smart, but trying to learn how to operate it at the races is not a good plan. I got a couple hundred blurry shots from this race.
Races continued. Beer was drank. Veggie burgers eaten. Rad night. Elites were killing it.
Amazing prizes. Where else are FMBs on the prize list? And not for the winners either-sick!
Pedros did major community service on the bike wash front.
SkiWard deserves major props for letting this happen, and Colin,Linnea, and Chip deserve even more major props and thank yous for making it happen.
Packed up and rolled out. I really, really hope this race happens again next year. A New England Super Week seems like a great idea.

the curious case of Judas Priest song titles

night crawler

To the casual observer, this might seem like a list of things ending in "-er", but to a true metal maniac, it is clearly a list of Judas Priest song titles-all with one thing in common.
At work yesterday, most likely thanks to an Ipod's shuffle mode, I heard Exciter followed up by Invader. Couldn't remember if they were on the same album or not, but thought it was weird. Which was all it took to get the gears of my mind spinning towards some useless record nerd analysis. The results of which are the list above

10% of all Judas Priest Songs end in "-er" 17 out of 167
69 % of non live or greatest hits contain at least one "-er" title. 11/16
28% percent of the songs on the live Unleashed in the East end in "-er"
0% of my childhood favorite Screaming for Vengeance's song titles end in "-er"
4 out of 4 of their 1st 4 lps contain an "-er"
This does not include plurals or phrases like Defenders of the Faith
I also cannot explain the 1997 dalliance with "-or" titles (juggalator and abductor)
I guess that since the singer's nickname was Ripper they felt safe to experiment. It does have a Halfordian precedent in Dissedent Aggressor from 1977's Sin after Sin....

I can be fact checked here

I suppose I could have written a race or non-race report, but variety is the spice of life.

This video does not stand up to the test of time very well



Monday, October 4, 2010

things I learned at Gloucester

Everyone should already be OD'd on Gloucester coverage, but here are a couple observations.
It was always my impression that barriers were meant to be leapt over with the grace of a gazelle. They are not to be climbed over like Visigoths storming a castle. This year at Gloucester, I realized that might not be the case. Wave after wave of riders were planting their foot on the top of the barriers as the went over them. Fast guys were doing it. Pros were doing it. And they all seemed to be getting over them faster than I did.....

Another observation. The one armed javelin carry was very popular this weekend. Whether over the barriers or up the run up, it was seen in it's full glory in almost every race

Last observation is the escalation of pre-ride wardrobes. Last season the NBD preride in jeans seemed to be pretty standard. It seems like by the end of the season the elites will be preriding in suits or tuxes or maybe some fully articulated Patagonia preride suit. Sorry no good photographic evidence of this sartorial trend, but watch it's trickle down effect into the 4s if you get up early enough.

Oh and Mark McCormack is still wicked fast

What about a race report? Gloucester wasn't a great race for me last year and that may be becoming a tradition. I DNF'd one day and got 54th the next. Walking wounded-rolled my ankle and bruised some ribs crashing after riding like an asshole. Weather was perfect and it is always an amazing weekend no matter how you ride. Good kick off to the Mega-Cross Week.