Monday, July 30, 2007

invisible man

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom
I've often wondered if cycling had a way of imparting special powers on its practitioners. I think that invisibility is one such power (at least when it comes to drivers of motor vehicles).

I've been a bit out of commission, but I'm back. I was out on the afternoon of Sunday 7/29 on the cross bike looking to get in some miles riding the BWI Airport loop followed by a few EC Hills.

As I approached a (GREEN) traffic light just before reaching the bike path a car turned left in front
of me. Rather than go through their windshield I swerved and avoided
the head-on impact.

I narrowly avoided the car, but I lost traction while taking
evasive maneuvers. I was on a downhill and going reasonably fast. When my bike went out from under me I ended up sliding across the road on my back
slamming my head (helmet) into curb. My helmet is toast, but it saved

The next thing I remember was 'waking up' in the ambulance on a back
board on the way to Shock Trauma.

I got the full Shock Trauma treatment....Shock Trauma "handshake" i.e. finger up the butt, x-rays, cat scan, etc. Luckily everything checked out and I was out of there in just under 4 hours. This morning I've got scrapes and bruises on my back and elbows, a sore neck, sore chest, and a headache.

I picked up my bike from the police the next day. Apart from scraped and misaligned brake levers the bike was fine. The police were nice, but not so helpful. I had hoped they would be able to answer some questions like did the driver stop? who called 911?, etc. No dice. The report had already been sent off to the archives at HQ. Now I'm paying $10 to request a copy.

I'm lucky that I'm ok. I needed a new helmet & cell phone, but aside from a temporary sore neck and chest I ended up no worse for wear.

Be safe out there and use your invisibility wisely. The world is full of asshole drivers.

Better yet, stick to the trails.

Saturday, July 28, 2007


Originally uploaded by cbnystrom

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

huge balls

Vino has a huge set.

You can tell by the way he rides. He's not afraid to gamble in an effort to win. That's great on the bike, but off the bike it's just sad.

L'Equipe is reporting that he tested positive for homologous blood transfusion after the TT. It's shocking to think that a cyclist heading into this year's Tour de France would cheat in a way that they know is detectable. The dopers don't give a shit about the sport. They have no integrity. They have no conscience.

What good is a victory when you know that you have lied, cheated, and stolen to get it? And if you're only in it for the money there are a lot of much easier ways to make a lot more money. What a waste.

Monday, July 23, 2007

Sock Guy


Harshman and I got out for a ride at Avalon on Sunday afternoon.

Much of the trail system at Avalon is on the steep slopes rising up out of the Patapsco River Valley. While there are some more gently rolling trails up over the ridge you're never far from a steep climb or a fast downhill. The terrain is varied and challenging. I love it.

Our ride on Sunday was pretty typical.

We rode up some trails that are usually reserved for riding down (see photo). This trail is steep & rocky, making it a ripper of a downhill and an ass-kicker of a climb. Ok, so we hiked up the worst part in the name of training for cyclocross.

Also typical was ChrisH having a mechanical. This time he destroyed his chain while powering up the steep water-bar climb. Lightweight SRAM 9-spd chains should not be run on singlespeeds. The spring on his single-ator also shit the bed. Basically, gravity became the bike's only source of locomotion.

I am going to take up a collection to encourage him to get a proper SS set-up (horizontal drops, no tensioner, and a beefy chain). If you would like to contribue parts or $ please contact me.

With his bike unridable we made a plan. I would ride an interval the 25 minutes back to my house to get my car. He would do a chainless downhill off the ridge and jog to the base of Lawyer's Hill Rd. His training plan has him running already so he went ahead and ran the length of Lawyer's Hill Rd. in his socks. Whoah!

Sunday, July 22, 2007


Originally uploaded by cbnystrom
I was too lazy to get the good camera out.

Friday, July 20, 2007

cool friends

Last weekend some of Melanie's girlfriends surprised her with a baby shower/tea party.
Copy (2) of CIMG1188

They even baked a cake...and not your run-of-the-mill tea party cake.
Copy of CIMG1182
A pregnant mountain biker cake with mountains.

Yeah...she has some cool friends.


Monday, July 16, 2007

gold amongst the junk

While organizing my workshop this evening I came across a tube of old posters.
Among the gems inside I found a few that I picked up in Zeddam 2006.

Fidea Team (multiple copies...I was definitely drunk and Fidea was hemmoraging swag)

Treviso 2008 Ciclicross World Championships

Hanka Kupfernagel pin-up. It's a keeper (for cyclocross obsessed freaks like myself). I need to clear out some wallspace for it. Or maybe I'll throw it up on ebay...I know a guy in NJ that would pay up for it!

I'll have to get the camera out soon so that I can post photos.

At least I'm enjoying the ride

Sometimes Wednesday intervals don't jive with Wednesday reality. That's the case this week so Wednesday intervals happened on Sunday. I hit a hard hour on the trails working on some explosive anaerobic power efforts. Ouch.

By the end my lower back was feeling it. Note to on the lower back and hamstring stretching. I suffered, but I got in some good efforts and didn't feel as slow as usual. It was a good ride.

I even nailed the Landing Rd practice skinny that's been vexing me. I have no problem on the slightly downhill ramped direction thanks to momentum, but in the uphill un-ramped direction I'm off it as soon as I get on it. Last night I think I was too cooked from the ride to worry. Some things are easier when you don't think about them.

This is not a difficult obstacle. It's just that my ~freeride~ skills are non-existent. It's fun stuff though. Playing around on the easier stunts is a blast.

I'm slow and getting old but that doesn't deter me from enjoying the ride.

David Millar is doing a TdF diary at Bicycling. He seems truly repentant about doping and serious about helping the sport change. His tribute to Tom Simpson is worth reading.

USA Cycling Cyclocross categories are going to be really useful. There's so much overlap that essentially the races are still self-selecting, except for the Elite UCI events.

MAC UCI races:
Elite Men = Cat 1
Masters A = Cat 1/2/3
B Men = Cat 2/3/4
Masters B = Cat 2/3/4 (Should a Cat 2 be doing a Masters B race?)
C Men = Cat 4

Non-UCI races
Elite Men = Cat 1/2/3
Masters A = Cat 1/2/3
B Men = Cat 3/4
Masters B = Cat 3/4
C Men = Cat 4

In the MABRA races the Masters A's and Elite Men will be racing together. At 2006 Charm City Cross we had 37 Elite Men and 65 Masters A's. Assuming the same #'s that would make for 102 riders in that race. We had 93 B-men so maybe it's not as bad as it sounds. I guess they'd have to stagger the Elite and Masters starts.

To further get the 'cross juices flowing here's highlight reel of some crashes from the Cross Crusade.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

new configuration

Lovely afternoon for a cold beer...poolside.
I'm hitting the trails and then coming home to do just that before firing up the grill.
Husband, father, lifeguard, cook.
It's all part of the job.

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom

nice day for a soak

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom

Saturday, July 14, 2007

recovered but not rested

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom

I'm coming off a rest week in which my legs took it easy but a nagging summer cold (cough) and crappy sleep led to poor sleep.

I hit the trails solo on Saturday without any expectations for how I would feel. Surprisingly I felt really good. The only time I didn't feel good was on the steep, rocky climbs over by Hilton/Hilltop. But the only time I ever feel good on those climbs is when I'm going super-ez. If you're riding a tough, technical climb with any effort your going to feel it.

I'll be happy when this late-night cough goes away so that I can actually sleep.

The wild blackberries are just starting to ripen up and they are plentiful this year.

Big pickings next weekend.

Friday, July 13, 2007

ramble on

Martin Dugard's blog on Active is great, as expected. He's got a great eye for interesting details and an ability to convey the feelings and experiences of following Le Tour in words.

I'm a bit late on this, but A-shiz gave me the head's up that Cyclocrossworld has Dugast Rhino's and Typhoon's in stock. They won't last long. I don't need any more tires so have at 'em. They are worth the $$$. Sell your car and buy some.

If I ever hit it big I'm building a cyclocross bike park. It'll have a permanent multi-configuration cyclocross track, a skills area, and maybe a fountain of chocolate pudding. There will be a permanent maintenance staff to handle landscaping and turf repair. There will be a set of 'euro-stairs-to-nowhere'...not to mention the bike wash, locker rooms, showers, childcare, and cafe. For the centerpiece I'll hire some Dutch artisans to build a windmill.


Big shout-out to Sally at Stellina Sport for going 'above-and-beyond' to make sure that I get a new der. hanger for my Alan Cross Ultral before the season gets going! Stellina Sport (based in Richmond, VA where I grew up) took over the Alan USA business and they are great people to deal with.

My shimano mtb/cx shoes are pretty cooked. These are a few years old and I'm out of the loop on what's out there so I'm looking for suggestions on a good shoe for 'cross.

This weekend is over-scheduled so I won't be making the Fairhill Classic, an excellent mountain bike race and the scene of multiple calamities for me last year. I will get out on Rita for miles of singletrack smiles both Saturday and Sunday. Some day, some year I'll get a result at Fairhill...some day, but not this Sunday.

Bon week-end et Vive Le Tour!
Having a beer with the Cutters

Thursday, July 12, 2007


Originally uploaded by cbnystrom

The Park demolished the jumps & stunts on the 'Lewis & Clark' trail yesterday. This photo shows the carnage of one of the jumps.

I only hit a handful of the easier jumps and a few of the less-sketchy skinnies. I was way too chicken to hit this step-up gap jump...but I enjoyed the challenge of learning how to ride the free-ride stuff. Oh well. Large-scale unauthorized traibuilding is whack.

There's an effort to get some official IMBA built goodies at Avalon. That would rock, but I'm not holding my breath.

I rode my 'cross bike for the first time since Nationals earlier this week. Initially I was just going to tool around Rockburn since I'm on a rest week (and I'm nursing a summer cold). However, it felt so good to be on the bike that I crossed Landing into Avalon to shred some singletrack.

It was all good for a few minutes until I punctured my front p.o.s. Tufo tubular on a root. The sealant tried to plug the hole, but it had been in there since September and was probably pretty dried up.

I rode the slowly deflating front tire for a couple of miles, making haste to get back home, but it didn't hold. I ended up having to shoulder the bike and run/hike the last mile and a half back to my house. That led to nasty blisters on each heel. Ouch.

At least I got my first 'run' of the year in. The rest of my running will be done in the appropriate shoes.

And the Tufos will be peeled off the rims and replaced with more pimpy treads handmade by Francois Marie!

Friday, July 06, 2007

Le Tour

Le Tour begins tommorow. Regardless of the doping drama the race is still a HUGE spectacle and immensely entertaining.

Check out Martin Dugard's wonderfully written blog at Active. With a mix of 3 parts travelogue and 1 part race coverage it conveys the feeling of physically being at the Tour, following the circus.

The race goes up the col d'Aubisque during stage 16. This photo is of one of the tunnels on the Aubisque. This is the 'easier' side...well not that easy because you first have to climb the col de Soulor. It's a beautiful climb and a treacherous descent. Exposure is common and guardrails are not. Throw in sheep and horses wandering onto the road and the fog common to the area and the sketch levels goes way up.

This year the race goes up the harder side with a rare finish at the summit. This is the last mountain stage of the race so it could be exciting, unless someone already has the race locked up.


I've really got the jones to get back over to follow the race. It's an experience of a lifetime on many levels. Mel and I went in 03 and 04. 2003 was the very early days of this blog and I didn't document the trip. However, in 2004 I posted almost daily (or at least formatted emails home onto the blog after the fact). The July 2004 archives are here. I still enjoy going back and reading them to get a taste of the energy of the adventure.

Even following the race from home it's going to be an exciting month. Set your Tivo, bookmark your favorite sites, and enjoy Le Tour!

Mud and Cowbells

79 days until Charm City 'Cross.

26 days until the first official 'Cross practice.

It's definitely time to stock up on parts and gear.

If you're not racing road it's not too soon to start some easy running or to get re-acquainted with your bike and do some dismounts.

Mud and Cowbells has an excellent post to get you primed for the season and ready for CX practice with instructions on building port-o-barriers.

Molly at also has some inspiring words to get you pumped for cyclocross.

I wish someone around here ran a weeknight Short Track XC series through the Summer leading up to the season. Even an informal practice race would be cool. Hmmmmm.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

direct from France

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom
New toys from fmb.

A pair of 'mud' treads and a pair of 'file' treads (with some nice side knobs).

Thank you Francois!

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Happy 4th

Independence Day

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom

Monday, July 02, 2007

Cascade Falls

Originally uploaded by cbnystrom


Originally uploaded by cbnystrom
It's that time of year. The wild raspberries are out there for the picking. I brought along a sandwich baggie to pick a bunch of ripe ones.

With temps in the 70's, sun in the sky, and the humidity non-existent I found a way to get the afternoon free for a ride. I lubed the chain, put new cleats on my shoes, and rolled down the driveway.

This was the best ride I've had in months.

I listened to a discussion about Sicily on Travel with Rick Steves.

I listened to one of Kevin Smith's SMODCAST's (the one about eating poo)

I listened to Dark Side of the Moon.

I listened to the wind in the trees and the water in the creeks.

I had a mind-meld with the trails and was entranced by the flow.

I didn't completely suck on the climbs.

I rode a couple of the gnarlier downhills with nary a butt-pucker.

I felt fresh. I felt good.