Archive for August, 2008

Ahh, Memory Lane…

Posted in On the regular on August 31, 2008 by bencycles

I was going through some of my old photos and found some truly precious shots.

It takes a lot of work to look this stylish.

It takes a lot of work to look this stylish.

Being 6’4″ and 155 lbs makes it really tough to look normal. Especially when your as uncoordinated (at least off the bike, wright?…wrrriiight…) as I am in daily life. Though it doesn’t look like I was doing myself any favors with those orange Oakleys.

Another shot I found:

This is probably late 90’s. I think I’m the fourth over from the left with the blue helmet. But that’s not why it’s here. I saw this photo and one thought came to mind; Where the f@$&k did you guys go? I mean, look at how many people are lined up to start a sport race. This was when we would wake up at the crack, drive 3-5 hours one way (nothing is close to home in a state as big as TX) to do a 1.5 hr sport race, and there would be like 800 people there all doing the same thing. Now I drive to Big Bear to race (2 hours from one of the nations largest cities) and race against 9 guys. Really, Play Station and internet porn don’t take that much free time. It’s still fun to race off-road.

But now it’s time to offset the bitter with the sweet…

Funny story about this beer which I’m sure N and T will be pleased to find. They came to stay with us for a night to go diving the next day. On the way over, they stopped at BevMo to get some sweet nectar. Apparently, BevMo was selling “mystery boxes” for $15 and NnT were told they wouldn’t be disappointed. The box was comprised of mostly Bud longnecks with a few choice cans of such favorites as PBR and the like. There was of course, a single can of Guinness for those who might raise a nose to such delights. Frankly, this box has Cross season written all over it. I’m sealing it back up and waiting three weeks for cross season to start, where such treasure can really be appreciated.

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Cool Book

Posted in Books on August 26, 2008 by bencycles

A great book about cycling I read in my free time (free time, that’s funny) is “The Rider” by Tim Krabbé. At first, I almost stopped reading it because it seemed arrogant and kind of fumbly. But as I read more and got into the rhythm of his writing style (Jack Kerouac if he used a bike instead of hitch hiking, maybe?), I began to realize the true genius of what Krabbé had accomplished. The way it explores the mutant psyche and random thoughts that go through the mind in the middle of a race is almost too accurate in a couple places and while I know it’s all in my own head during a race, to read it described in text is an interesting experience. It made me wonder if it takes a special state of psychosis to be a good cyclist or if that is learned over time. hmmm…

The garage

Posted in On the regular on August 23, 2008 by bencycles


IMG_3656

Originally uploaded by Ben Love

Since it’s a Saturday and Im just hanging around like a dirtbag in my underwear on the computer all day, I thought Id post a picture of my favorite room, the garage. Maybe it’s to compensate for being so poor when I was younger, but I have a lot of toys. A lot of it I collected pre-baby, but a lot of it still gets some decent rotation. Some of it however, is collecting dust. The surfboards and camping gear still get some use. The climbing gear on the other hand, hasn’t been touched since the sprout. Part of me knows it doesn’t make sense to try and sell it because I wouldn’t get anything for it, and the other part of me isn’t ready to let it go yet. She might want to go climbing in a few years when she’s 4.

What should I get?

Posted in On the regular on August 23, 2008 by bencycles

I’m thinking either this or this

The 2009 Trek Top Fuel 9.8 looks pretty sick and I already have a nice set of race wheels from my current bike. The Gary Fisher Superfly looks totaly awsome, too though… I am leaning twords it, but then I’d have  26″ wheels lying around with nowhere to put them since the Superfly is 29″.  I think either would be a good race bike for the courses we have around here.

Any opinions?

To the winner goes the sparkling cider!

Posted in Race/Ride reports on August 18, 2008 by bencycles

Well, just racked up some more scabs on the shins at the final Rim Nordic series race #4. Oh yeah, I won the series in the expert 30-34 category and am now “XC Series 2008 1st in Class Overall” as my cool picture frame award says. Schawing… It was a cool way to end a nice weekend in Big Bear. We spent a long 3-day weekend up there with some friends at their cabin. These “bike race vacations” are typically anything but relaxing, with the racer (me) usually so stressed out about messing up his/her (not naming names here) performance on those last critical days before the race that they do nothing but stress everyone else out around them making sure “the racer” (again, no names please, it’s not important who) is not disrupted. But that was pre-baby. Now I’m sticking to my guns. I just wanted to have a good time and not get all hyped up. And it kinda worked.

P1000208We loaded the Prius and drove up Friday, only 30 minutes off schedule. I had to have my egg sandwich from Pipes Cafe. The sprout only cried the first hour before she fell asleep and she didn’t barf at all while we were driving up the twisty roads to Big Bear this time. I should note The Professor was driving.

We met our friends Captain Epic and his family up in their cabin in Big Bear where they had been for a couple weeks already.

I had met them on a camping trip in the spring before I’d given much thought to getting back into riding. I noticed his mountain bike hoody and we ended up getting along pretty well, eventually doing some rides together. I quickly realized I needed to add at least an hour to any hypothesized ride time Captain Epic told me, maybe two. That’s just my style. Of course with the sprout at home, I’ve gotten in a bit of hot water a couple times. I’ll bet that’s been covered on the professors blog… but I digress.

The sprout really loves them and she enjoys staying up at their cabin. Maybe it’s because it gives her a chance to hone all those danger baby skillz I try to teach her when The Professor isn’t around like this or this.

Either way, when the baby’s happy, we’re all pretty happy.

Captain Epic tried to lure me into the den of distance but my brave wife fended off his advances (I am too weak to resist) and we only rode for 2 hours on Friday on some dirt roads and some fun singletrack. After the ride, it was time for some booze and bread. Sometimes life is grand.
P1000086
Saturday we had a leisurely morning followed by a fun 2 hour ride on some loosey goosey singletrack. Because the trees had all burned down in one of last years fires, I could feel the sun starting to sear my body in the open spaces. Sunday was going to be hot hot hot. I could feel it. Crap.

That afternoon we took a pontoon boat out and the Sprout got her first boat ride. Also got her first chance to hate life vests. Luckily I was able to divert her attention with the aid of some wind in the face… P1000153

I got the bikes ready for the big day that evening.

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I was really worried about mechanicals ’cause I almost lost #2 with a flat and this time around I had made a lot of fit adjustments that weren’t totally dialed yet.

I should have worried less about that and more about my own technique…

The big day, race day. Have I mentioned I really like the Rim Nordic course. It has a good mix of roads and singletrack so at least if I’m sucking ass, the trail is fun. But F&$% was it hot and sunny. I think all the sun from being out all weekend was starting to get to me. Did I drink enough? Remember, stick to those guns, good time. That’s better. And it was a good time. I don’t know the guy that beat me, I hadn’t seen him before, but it was a fun cat and mouse. I shot ahead the first lap. He bridged on the second. I caught him after the switchbacks, he crashed. I waited for him to get up because it seemed gentlemanly. I got ahead and he was out of sight, guess he broke something. Shit, there he his again. Had I known he could catch me at will, I would have kept going. That guy was a bridging genius. Then I crashed pretty hard on the swithcbacks of the final lap trying to stay on his wheel and had a hard time getting out of one of my pedals. Note to self, time for a new set of cleats. I get going again, spitting out the dust… and hit the same tree I hit in the first lap. Whats up sketch? Every once in a while I got a teasing glimpse of him in front of me but never managed to bridge. He beat me by about 20 seconds. He was the faster rider. It was a really fun race, being pushed outside my comfort zone like that. I think getting 2nd is usually the most painful result because it makes me wonder what I could have done differently. Someone asked if this was one of those times or if it was a “good” 2nd. I think it was a good 2nd. Plus I won the overall, which was a very nice consolation.

We packed the gear and the sprout and headed home.P1000211

My single speed 29er

Posted in On the regular on August 14, 2008 by bencycles


My single speed 29er

Originally uploaded by Ben Love

Rode my single speed on the Wednesday night ride last night. It’s a fast ride that often draws a local pro or two and I wanted to see if I could keep up. Lucky for me, only a couple guys showed up this time and the ride was a bit more subdued than usual. There were still a couple moments of “push it bitch!” going through my head when I was falling off the pace, mostly on the downhills. The area we ride is a lot of rollers and tight fun trails which suited the little gray ghost just fine most of the time. Had to run two sections. Told myself I was practicing for cross and it was OK… I was disappointed to realize I like the handling of this bike a lot. Disappointed because now my head has visions of possible new race frames for next season dancing in my head. The professor will no doubt be excited to read the previous sentence considering the amount of bike gear I’ve already acquired lately. It’s all about the subtle hints : )

Anthem 1

Posted in On the regular on August 7, 2008 by bencycles


DPP_2005

Originally uploaded by Ben Love

Thought I’d throw up a picture of my race bike with a THANKS to Ross over at Sun Country Bikes in Texas for setting me up with a rad bike. I’m a bit of a closet bike geek (not even all that closeted, to be honest). Sometimes I think I must be autistic or something because often times I just hang out in my garage and look at my bikes at night, sometimes for an hour just hanging out in the garage looking at them. Seriously, I think the Professor even gets jealous sometimes. I sit there and contemplate different stem/bar combos, pedals, tire combinations, what if I flip the stem and move it up a spacer, what if I remove every other bolt on my rotors for the race, and blah blah blah… See, it’s bad. Anyway, one of my favorite parts of my bike is the wheelset, which I had custom made by Dave at SpeedDreams. 1375g for the pair, that’s light. And with a Set of Conti Supersonics, damn they spin up stuff quick. I love riding my bike with my Dave wheels, but save them for races. Psychologically, I like how it feels the night before a race as I put these wheels on my bike. They create a bit of an expectation and I get a little giddy. I don’t understand why the Professor gets jealous…