Sunday, August 22, 2010

An open letter to Bicycling Magazine

Dear Bicycling:

Your magazine is...a standard cycling magazine. Every issue has an article on techniques for riding (currently cyclocross, which I'm obsessed with right now), clothing reviews, component reviews, bike reviews, fitness information, and of course, the smattering of feature articles. You even have occasional human interest stories, about guys who hang themselves after getting busted for trafficking pot.

But really, the one thing that you have that no other magazine has are your chef profiles. (Note that I don't know if other magazines have this or not, I really don't pay attention unless things go wrong...) Typically, you have some interesting and even tasty recipes. However, things occasionally go horribly, HORRIBLY wrong.

Your most recent issue had a profile of a scruffy, bearded vegan chef, cooking somewhere in Oregon or something. He rides a lot, talks about losing his desire to work with meat, and about the joys of veganism. He then goes on to share his "awesome" gnocchi recipe with the world. He explains the process of making his little cooked potato turdlets, and expounds on how wonderful they really are.

Let me tell you. They tasted like SHIT! Absolutely tasteless, and a huge letdown from something you'd find in an excellent Italian restaurant. I would have done better to drop floured deer turds into boiling water and see what I came up with.

So, Bicycling Magazine..
TRY these recipes before you print them. And I don't mean in the wonder-boy's restaurant, but in your own kitchen. Pretty sure you won't get the same result, and you might save someone a bit of trouble.



Oh, and while I'm at it, Mother Nature, stop with the damn rain. I can't train in this crap.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

As summer winds down:

The heat...oh the oppressive heat around the northeast in the past couple weeks has been unreal. Average temperatures of 85+ degrees paired with 70% or higher humidity have made riding conditions awful. In fact, there's been very little riding to be had.

My mountain bikes have been hanging in the garage with the exception of the 65 miles that I put on them around the time of the wedding in the beginning of July. I've been primarily riding my early season fitness into a big plateau, and re-building my cross bike, tuning it all up to get ready for some cyclocross races.

Cyclocross has laid an entirely new set of skills at my feet and challenged me to learn things like running dismounts and running mounts. Oh yeah, and how not to crush your...tender bits...upon remounting the bike on the fly. Sadly, since your right thigh is supposed to take the abuse of hitting the saddle first, when you MISS the saddle, it becomes a painful learning experience. I'm surprised I don't look like I've been beaten about the junk by a cheap sado-masochist off the corner of 42nd and Broadway (note that I'm clueless about that actual location, if it even exists...)

Similarly, running dismounts have been a hilarity. Not entirely hard to do: unclip and swing the right leg over the back of the bike, then swing it between the frame and your left leg, hit the ground running while unclipping, and go! Sure, easier said than done, especially when your left hand is operating the front brake from the hood and the right hand is supposed to be on the top tube, ready to hoist your beast over the looming obstacles. What could go wrong?

Let's talk about hitting a bump in the grass, the wheel turning sharp left and falling over onto the frame. Funny, right? Howabout scraping your leg on that non-drive-side cantilever brake as you swing the leg over the back of the bike? Maybe jamming the pedal/crank into the back of your right heel when the left foot doesn't unclip cleanly and you (try to) start running with a bike still attached to your left foot. Oh yes, this is supposed to be FUN!

Fun it will be. Mud, beer and cowbells. In fact, this description IS cyclocross. I'm looking forward to my first 'cross races: CX at Brewery Ommegang and the Wicked Creepy Cross Race in Bennington. Those should be a great intro to this bizarre fall/winter sport. consider embrocation on my shaved legs (and hopefully NOT mix it up with my chamois butter...)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

So I'm a married man now...

The wedding was fantastic. No wonder I've not been updating this blog with any frequency at all.

Things have changed mightily in the past season. I built a new road bike (a Look 585 Origin), rebuilt my cross bike with SRAM components (now the Origin 8 Foxtrot sports Force levers and Rival derailleurs), spent a bunch of time riding my mountain bike (right before the wedding) and have committed to racing cyclocross this fall. And yes, my wife was less than thrilled about it, but I finally dove in and pulled off the leg shaving thing, especially since I spent some time tending to wounds garnered on our mountain bike trips.

So there's been trail riding, there's been cross bike riding, there's been road riding, and there's been all kinds of partying and joy.

It's been a great summer so far, and we've got an entire month to go before its over.