Soggy Bottom

Saturday cross practice. Lush, verdant grass from 100 yards away, stink bog sludge-fest up close. The best part of the afternoon was seeing the old cross barriers (Version 1.0) still in their hiding place. Looking a little worn from a winter of snow and ice and a spring of showers, they still worked to perfection sending Bloggy down after a mistimed leap. Luckily the natural toilet mattress was there to cushion my fall. Not much mud at least, all septic overflow water and grass clippings to gum up the drivetrain. On a related note, Bloggy found out Jose is currently plowing his way through the “Battlestar Gallactica” reboot via Netflix. We’re hoping to rope him into providing episode synopsis on the blog and who his favorite Cylon is. We’re thinking Boomer but he’s mentioned Number 6 on several occasions while tapping his nose. His receiving department nickname? “Starbuck”

Could We Get A 40 Foot Container With Packing Peanuts For Once Instead Of…

98 tons of Kenda product. We’re having a busy Friday…

For your pleasure, the Jens Voigt soundboard to entertain you into the wee hours…

By the way, the 2nd leg of the SC State mountain bike championship is this Sunday at Harbison State Forest. Come heckle in anonymity within the protective surroundings of a deciduous forest!

Gettin’ Crazy With The Cheez Whiz: Mench Off!

(Nicholas Roche, non-replicant version)

Watching the Tour Sunday, I couldn’t help notice Nicholas Roche’s pain face up the final climb of the day. After a cursory search there was nary a photo to be found, but it was pretty crazy looking. His mouth was stuck in this frozen “Oh” shape, like he was trapped in a state of perpetual terror all the way up the climb, however his eyes looked like they were half shut, as if he was falling asleep. His head was bobbing up and down but also had this funky side to side motion. His knees appeared to be knocking on the top tube, beating a rhthymic overture to his impending funeral dirge. It was pretty awesome. He was shattered. It made me feel good as I sat on the couch eating a bowl of Reece’s Pieces ice cream at 10:50 AM. Couldn’t find a good pic of his pain face, but the one above shows him earlier in the climb on the verge of super-barfing over his handlebars. Anybody got any Roche clips they’d be willing to share? I thought homeboy was transforming into more of a sprinter, not a climber? Anyway, chapeau! In addition to this non-climber, I noticed some bona fide climbers suffering a bit more than you would expect. Bradley Wiggins got dropped like a sack of doorknobs. I shall miss his tall socks. It was hot and the pace Astana set at the start seemed high, but perhaps with all the doping “heat” on Armstrong, the GC riders are laying off “the good stuff” to be on the safe side? There’s no telling but here is a fascinating article in the NY Times about climbing times and power output being a tell-tale sign of doping. BOOYAH!

(Bradley Wiggins riding the Tour equivalent of appropriately tall socks on his way to a lackluster finish)

In other news, The Blog’s incomprehensible pick of Denis Menchov for the Tour overall is still hanging by a thread. A very tenuous, Damocles-ian thread, but a thread all the same. “Ole Hungry Boy Slim” (not his nickname, but one he should have and therefore, will now be given) finished ten seconds behind in the Contador-Evans-Leipheimer-Basso group. As he tackled the final climb, Eurosport’s David Harmon used the word “lurking” to describe Menchov’s position. I thought it was appropriately menacing and underscored Menchov’s overall creepiness factor in addition to his ride for the day. Was he riding up a mountain or was he living within the crawlspace of an orphanage scaring children? The guy has a permanent thousand yard stare. I’ll stick with Menchov until the bitter end as the Armstrong rats jump ship and swim over to whoever looks like a winner at the moment. Schleckstrong? If Denis wins the overall, here is the chest tattoo that I shall get minutes after the podium ceremony:

Apparently, cyclists seem to attract “The Crazy” more than other demographs. Here are two salient and somewhat provocative articles…
Bicycle “Rashomon”
Ban, Baby Ban
And just in case you missed it or were lying dormant in your muscle re-generating synthochamber as millions of nano-robots rebuilt your innards like so many replicants, here’s a chance to win free spot at Leadville 100. A brief moment of your time could earn you a painful day in the saddle and a caffeinated beverage with Dave Weins…

(Late edit, thanks Paolo: Wiggins finished 1:45 behind, Roche was at 2:18)

Handlebar Tape Disease: Ghana Area

So for the past few months, I’ve been wracking my brain about what hood/handlebar tape combination to run on Jacques Lobster. Because HUDZ carries pretty much the visible color spectrum and if you combine all the color options from Deda, Bike Ribbon, Cinelli, Sram, Eleven81, Singleworks, Zipp and Lizard Skins, any retina-searing set-up is possible. Since I’ve been on a dub/reggae listening kick for a while, reinforced with a healthy dose of Michal Veal’s “Dub: Soundscapes…”, I had a eureka moment: I shall outfit the Lobster in Rasta colors! Huzzah! So after selecting a yellow set of Hudz (BKPT11832) to fit my Campy shifters and some red Lizard Skins bartape (HDTP1603) it was time to step back and behold the glory that is “The Original Rockers Rosewood Sound System”. Sadly, the Rasta wasn’t working. It wasn’t giving off the Black Ark vibe I was going for. It felt more like a Ronald McDonald meets Oscar The Grouch mash-up. Shell Oil meets Jolly Green Giant? Sales flunkie Jose predicted it would look like a hot dog, and I was on the verge of grudgingly accepting his prognostication, when I glanced up at the TV and saw the joyous hordes of Ghanaian futbol fans waving yellow, green and red flags after they dismantled the US. Eureka, for the second time! An out! An expedient reason to save face: Handlebar scheme was now “in honor of the Ghanaian world cup victory” instead of the Rasta bike/Original Rockers Rosewood Sound System. And yes, it is a most hideous color scheme indeed…

By the way, this was the maiden voyage in my new Toms Shoes kit, courtesy of Team Toms Shoes team director Adam “My Hawley Graphics Department Coworker” Abramowicz. Go buy some Toms espadrilles since it’s for charity and Adam is a kind, old soul with a button nose and two eyes made of coal. That is all.

(Post script: It rained buckets on me yet the white bibs stayed opaque, keeping my nether regions obscured from the lecherous eyes of Shandon freakazoids)

Monday Rage-a-thon-free-for-all-palooza

The Decline of Western Civilization, a case study. Exhibit A: This weekend’s top box office returns. Remember, good hard working folk are shelling out 11 dollars ticket for some of these clunkers. We’re in big trouble people. Exhibit B: This headline from “salient web news source” Huffington Post. Seriously important! The hope for Western Civilization? Lobster rage fists, new Cardiff saddles and grips, the FATS trail system in Augusta and a worldwide protest against anything that needs anything from BP

Georgio Faulknerleria stepped up his game and added the Cardiff line of leather saddles and grips for 2010, including the fabled wooden grip. The saddles are lovely bits of leather and brass for your favorite Mixte or bar stool. Tweed jacket and Holly Golightly vinyl EPs not included.Loading up for the FATS ride, the Thule 822XT Bed-Rider (CARR6155) is being put through its paces. My first experience with it and all signs pointed to “impressed by its simplicity and stability” yet disappointed with its lack of a midrange and fuzzy bass tones. Inquire within.

The Blog’s Planet Bike Orion full finger glove (GLVE1427). The actual physical properties of a “glove” have slowly been replaced with flimsy, stinky strands resembling some sort of bird nest, if that nest was constructed on the set of “The Dark Crystal”. Nevertheless, 90 percent of the fingers are covered from the elements and provide an olfactory assault beyond description to wake even the foggiest of heads. Below is what these gloves looked like 2 years ago…

You can’t front on these bullet points, hugs and kisses from Sandy Emmanuel:

  • Amara palm and anatomic slim gel padding to absorb vibration
  • One way stretch terry and four way stretch-woven spandex body with woven Lycra forchettes for a durable, snug fit
  • Ventilated mesh upper for cooling
  • Silicone fingertip prints for increased grip (on hobo necks)

FATS (in beautiful North Augusta) is and will always be one of The Blog’s favorite trail systems. Last week was a slog so Saturday’s ride was almost cathartic in the amount of stress it immediately relieved. Suffocating heat and stifling humidity dampened our jerseys, but could not dampen our spirits as the mile after mile of rootless, bobsled-track-fast singletrack was mind bogglingly fun (as usual). IMBA Epic an hour from the house! How can you lose?

Cane Creek stooge Eric let’s another “bib bomb” rip in Joshie’s face.

Teenwolf gathers himself after the first half of the ride on his “wacky” Orbea. Teenwolf rode well and was able to keep his world famous temper in check. Seriously, you’re always on eggshells around this maniac…

Getting A Grip On The Weekend With Jose’s Backside!

Rabid Italian cycling fans sprint alongside Basso lending him a hand. Job well done fellas!
Speaking of things that are rabid, Jose’s eyes got all “buggy” when he saw the newest Knog Big Dog colors soon to be in the USA (Dirty stone, Black & Concrete, and Lime). Wanting to show off the results of his recent VHS acquisition, “Toning Your Backside For The Ladiez”, Jose demanded I shoot the Knog bag on him for the sake of scale, etc as he rubbed his hands and arched his eyebrow in a most prurient manner. Horrified, I grabbed the camera and five long hours later, Jose finally found a photo that would suit his “needs”. And yes, that bag is crammed to the gills with hardcore Puerto Rican skin mags! I love this guy!

Fortune Favors The Brave: A Bib Short With A Poop Flap?

Or is it, “Discretion is the better part of valor”?
It’s funny, The Blog has been reading a lot of post-Double Down recaps online. Lots of brilliant observations with a few that seem to miss the “purpose” of eating a Double Down but for the most part, top shelf reporting. Most, however, only concentrate on the actual eating of the Double Down. First impressions, reactions, etc. Very few deal with the aftermath of eating a Double Down.

Each Double Down is packaged in its own bag to prevent them from mating, like Tribbles and subsequently ravaging the countryside in a wake of ectoplasmic bacon grease…
Well gentle reader, wonder no more. I shall work backward like that lovely little romp “Memento” and regale you with a tale of horror from my bathroom around five thirty this morning. I awoke feverish with a patina of glistening sweat on my forehead. My baby was kicking with reckless abandon in my stomach until I realized I wasn’t pregnant. (Late Edit; Management). “The horror, the horror” was whispered as I passed out on the cool tile floor of the bathroom. The Blog had received a premonition from beyond the grave pertaining to this morning’s “battle” based on an phantasmagorical William Blake-styled dream I had the preceding night before. Basically, I was Billy Crystal’s character in “Running Scared” and a zombie version of Gregory Hines was force feeding me cube-sized bits of Double Down as he sang Steve Miller’s “Jungle Love” sotto voce while a filth covered Colonel Sanders rubbed his hands together and laughed maniacally in the background. Yeah, it was weird, but the subtext was clear. Preceding this most unsettling of unsettling dreams, The Blog’s tummy felt like a beehive alllll afternoon. It was a constant, buzzing hive of sharp, pain. I knew I was in trouble. The ride home was especially disconcerting as the only thought running through the head was “These bibs aren’t going to come off quick enough. If I try and rip them off, they’ll only stretch. Just close your eyes and think happy thoughts if it happens. Let adrenaline take over and just pedal standing up… then jump in the Congaree River.” The Blog had no idea the Double Down would shred his insides so thoroughly. It’s the perfect, human-engineered killing machine that has turned against its human creators. A culinary Rutger Hauer.

Speaking of killing machines, in order to get to the KFC, receiving wunderkind, bon vivant and mutton-chopped Lothario, Chris Maret was gracious enough to chauffeur us in his PT Cruiser. Chris drives like your typical Massachusetts native: A mixture of Steve McQueen and Speed Racer, both in the throes of a meth binge the day before the earth is to be struck by an asteroid. Chris also chats like your typical Massachusetts native. The topics came fast and furious: Pirelli Tires, Junk Shop Tetanus Shots, Ant-Filled Alice Cooper Records, The Rarity Of Blackberry Slushees, Paris Honeymoons, “Buffalo 66″, Vincent Ghallo’s Inexplicable Aversion To Jewish Hobbits (seriously), Greek Food Masquerading As Italian Food, Cop Shoot Outs, Moog Synthesizer Pricing: English Vesus American and The Inadequacy Of Live Neil Diamond Performances. These topics were touched upon in a span of 15 minutes. You can ask Chris OR Josh, who rode in the back just trying to keep up. In fact, the ride to KFC was almost as intense as the Double Downs themselves. In
conclusion, the Double Down will completly dominate the lower half of your body with extreme prejudice. Iron stomach? Titanium stomach? DARK MATTER STOMACH??? You can’t win. Just remember these words that were shouted by the KFC employee who took our three Double Down orders” “GIMME SIX FRIED CHICKEN BREASTS!!!!”

Here is a list of 10 awesome pre-death monologues that you TOO can repeat before you eat this abomination: READ ME

Double Downer: Profiles in Courage

(NBC’s “Manimal”, now in High Definition, after “The Office”)
There’s nothing to write about today people. Absolutely, positively nothing. I had a quaint little tale of an encounter with a Copperhead while riding the beloved Jaqcues Lobster on the Palmetto Trail (long story short: mistook aforementioned Copperhead for stick and almost ran over it. Doubled back to examine the Copperhead and then suddenly remembered how deathly afraid I am of Copperheads and almost soiled my already sweat-soiled bibs with something a little more density, a little more colonular) but that is inconsequential. It matters not one wit.

Hawley carrying the new Pake six speed urban cruisers? Trifling, banal, jejune, frivolous (well actually, it’s quite awesome as Pake has basically taken the Copenhagen-styled city bike and given it a few North American tweaks to make it street ready in American climes like Birmingham Alabama, Newark New Jersey, Stockton California and the always glamorous Batavia, NY for those sophisticates who must pedal in their latest tweed finery or seersucker ensemble).

What about the fact that at 1 in the morning, I received one of the strangest interrogative text messages ever written (And yes, I think WE all know the show was “Barney Miller” but why would The Rudeness ask such a question and why would The Blog be friends with somebody called The Rudeness and why does The Blog own what appears to be the first cell phone ever made?). Poppycock!

None of this matters because KFC unleashed the Double Down from its titanium, King Kong-like restraints upon a suspecting if not wary public. Josh and Chris Maret have promised to buy one with the Blog tomorrow. We shall consume them for lunch and ride the cosmic dream rainbow to lands and worlds only dreamed about… in song. Crank up the Floyd. Free laserium!