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Celebrate Bacon

Posted by Albacore On September - 1 - 20121 COMMENT

 

Today Is International Bacon Day. No, not that Bacon. I know I don’t need to tell you to enjoy bacon; you were going to do that anyway. Recite all the cliches you’ve heard before because they are all true. Bacon is meat candy. Bacon is gifted from God. Bacon makes everything better. . . etc. The only thing more perfect would be a bike made of bacon. But then I’d never ride. I would have half of it eaten before getting to the trailhead. Yes, I have made just about every incarnation of bacon and they are all great. Bacon explosion,  bacon Jack Daniels, bacon cookies, bacon wrapped everything, the list is infinite. I am not going to bother with suggesting bacon recipes. Want a recipe? Add Bacon! That’s it. Don’t like bacon? Then we are not friends as I could never trust anyone who doesn’t eat/like bacon. Even my ultra hippie-lefty-vegan friend says the hardest thing about eating vegan is the absence of bacon. After nearly a decade it is the one exclusion he misses most. ENJOY BACON TODAY! And enjoy bacon tomorrow too.

 

Larger image here. Hang around a while, The Oatmeal speaks the truth.

ART’S EDITORIAL : THE GREATEST CYCLIST WE KNOW!

Posted by Art Aguilar On August - 27 - 20129 COMMENTS

WHAT THIS MEANS TO ME

A true professional.


Lance Armstrong came out with his statement this last week stating “Enough is enough.” and he is not going to pursue his fight to go into arbitration with the USADA ending his battle in clearing his name and all allegation of doping, but of course the USADA came out and stated that this was an admission of guilt and stripped Lance Armstrong of his 7 TDF titles and banned him for life from racing.

So how did I feel about this, did I feel let down by Lance, did I feel that what he has did for cycling in the USA is now not worth doing, or do I feel like one of Americas best hero’s, a crusader for Cancer, a fighter with the strongest of wills to push far beyond most humans has somehow let down a nation that needs someone like him and now he’s a cheater.
“Hell no, my hats off to him for saying enough is enough!” Screw the USADA and Travis Tygart, what gives them the right to strip him of his 7 TDF titles. They are the UNITED STATES ANTI-DOPING AGENCY not the UCI (INTERNATIONAL CYCLING UNION), I mean the last time I checked the UCI was the governing body that handles international bans of their cyclist not the United States governing body of all sports in the WORLD telling the UCI what to do. I have never seen the USADA ban a foreign rider for the UCI.

The UCI has been against the USADA’s law suit of Armstrong and have supported him, so I say to the UCI, no I challenge the UCI to pronounce “LANCE ARMSTRONG IS STILL 7 TIME TOUR DE FRANCE TITLE HOLDER!!!”

OK we all know his background of fighting cancer, winning 7 TDF championships, countless lawsuits fighting doping charges from 1999 to 2012. (see Lance’s statement CNN.com 08/24/12), fourteen years of fighting this crap. Fourteen YEARS!! This is enough to make anyone say enough, I don’t blame him one bit and to spend the amount of money to go through this, its got to be millions.

7 time TDF CHAMP!! Always and forever!!

So what does all this mean to me. I didn’t start really paying attention to the Tour till Greg Lemond won, this was a BIG, BIG deal, I mean the first American to win the Tour De France, a race we as American’s were never suppose to win in a sport that was dominated by the Europeans. Now I was not into cycling like I am now, but I understood the significance behind this, then comes Lance Armstrong. I will never forget the 99′ TDF when him and Ullrich were battling and Ullrich goes down bad and what does Lance do when he hears what happens, he waits for Ullrich, what a sportsman, then you had the famous Lance look back. Oh man if you got that handed to you, you were done and you just knew Lance was gone. It was the ultimate confidence breaker.

There is know doubt that he is by far the greatest TDF competitor on the planet, so when did this really start to become a real problem for Lance in my eyes, well Lance retires in 05″ after his 7th win Floyd Landis wins the Tour, but he’s busted for doping. Now if you ever saw this Tour Landis was not doing good, one day he’s way back not looking strong at all, but then comes back and just kills it. Okay I’m thinking cool, but wow this was an incredible come from behind win even Lance has never done a win like this. Landis is tested and well we know what happens, denial and of course he is stripped of his title, but he then starts pointing fingers. Tyler Hamilton came out and stated lance has doped, by the way both Landis and Hamilton who were former teammates of Lance.

Don’t cry because you got caught spoilsport.

Greg Lemond has been against all the doping in the sport back when he raced.  Lemond has even come out and said Lance has doped. Man was there a battle between these two.
I do believe no sport should have the athletes cheating.

TWO OF OUR GREATEST CYCLIST IN AMERICA,BUT NOT BEST BUDS.

The USADA can say what they want and do what they want, but Lance Armstrong will always be 7 time TDF champion. Come on lets look at this, Lance beats cancer, wins 7 TDF titles, retires, comes back after few years off not getting in enough training time to place 3rd in one of the WORLD’S toughest races know to man, and in the mean time since 99 has been the MOST tested athlete in the world since. He has NEVER, NEVER tested positive for drug use, do you think in all that time you would make one, I mean ONE mistake. Could one man have that much power and influence over the UCI and all those around him that all would be quite this long. I don’t know about you, but I would think that with people being greedy someone would have ratted out Lance a long time ago, hell our own President’s have gotten caught for stupid crap they do and Lance has way more power then them to keep people quite. He must pay them well.  I gotta say NOT!!

I want to see the absolute truth, the facts, the proof, a smoking gun that blows the doors wide open not a blood and urine test from 99, or here say. Screw you Mr. Travis Tygart of the USADA, I’m sure taking down Lance is a big punch ticket in your book and your patting yourself on the back right now.

The only thing Tygart has done is make Cycling look bad for the UCI and I sure as hell hope the UCI doesn’t let some other country tell them how to do their business.

All I can say is” Mr. Lance Armstrong you have given me some of the most exciting racing I have ever seen in my life. You have given me the will to push myself in my racing and to NEVER EVER give up, how to be a true sportsmen and professional.”
Thank you for all you have given us and I hope for the best to you and your family and I understand why you did this and you will hold your head up high and proud. Lance you will always will be one of the greatest cyclists alive to this sport.

I hope that some day I can meet you and give you a handshake.

“GO LANCE!!”

HATS OFF TO THE GREATEST!!!

These are my opinions and are not in any way the expressed views of MtnBikeRiders.com.
Photos provided via Internet.

 

 

Kuat Vagabond Preview

Posted by Albacore On August - 23 - 2012ADD COMMENTS

So my favorite initialized Filipino sends me a text last week asking if I have a roof rack. “I have an overly priced set of pipes named after a town in the Pacific Northwest on my car. Whas up?” I reply.

“A Kuat Vagabond came in, Google it.”

“A giant basket that makes my little commuter coupe look like a shopping cart sans handle? Sweet, I’m in.”

From Kuat’s website:

Features

  • 2 Bike Capacity (40lb bikes)
  • Flat Black Powder Finish
  • Fairing included
  • Mounts to all factory & aftermarket cross bars
  • Skewer mounts integrated from factory
  • 160 lb. capacity with bikes & gear
  • Up to 3 feet between cross bars.
  • Max crossbar size-4.5” wide by 1.75” thick
  • Weight-26lbs
  • Outside dims-52.5”x44”x5”
  • Inside dims-45.5”x41.5”x3.75”

 

So far in the 5 days it has overshadowed my car I have driven over half of SoCal with no issues. It’s built well and holds a ton, what more could you ask for? OK, you could ask for more details. Well, an in-depth review is coming. In the meantime, if you are broken down on the side of the road, give me a call. I’ll throw your car up in the Vagabond; it’s big enough and strong enough.

Me llamo es hambergueso.

Posted by Albacore On August - 22 - 20123 COMMENTS

I have heard it from so many other riders, “skinny = fast.” But, as a friend of mine, Wankmeister, is finding out, skinny also equals misery.  As anyone who has ever tried to lose weight knows, there are a gazillion different diets out there. One thing all diets have in common — you can’t spell diet without die. Whether you want to lose 5 pounds or 50, at some point you’ll want to die. Perhaps at some point you’ll even think you did. This post isn’t about the new miracle diet trick, or some tip I’ve found successful that I want to share with you. No, this is just nonsensical fluff to keep the webmaster happy. (RL stands for Red Lamborghini. He gave me the keys under the condition I write a word or two. I want to keep driving it so here are my words.)

Sadly, you can’t lose weight and drink at the same time. Regardless of what Pharmstrong and his Michelob Mediocre drinking buds will tell you, the two are mutually exclusive. Trying to keep your sanity while dieting? Don’t try to cope with he help of  Sailor Jerry or Pliny. Trying to keep your sanity while your 2 kids are having you shuttle them from soccer to hula to ballet to tae-kwon-do to school all the while you are off the bike. . . Sorry, that’s just me.  As you get older life gets more complicated. All the hassles, commitments, responsibilities, and general adult-like-sh*t gives you more reason to drink. One of those adult-like sh*tty realities — the older you get, the harder it is to lose weight.

When I was 17 my then boss took me out to lunch. I ordered the special which consisted of a double cheeseburger, french fries, AND onion rings, AND zucchini, and a salad. Pfft, why the hell add a salad to all that? Screw it, cover it with Ranch. I still remember my boss saying, “Enjoy eating like that now. When you get older and eat like that you’ll look like me.” Yes, he was in his mid 30′s and had the most perfectly rotund belly with disproportionately smaller arms and legs. Now I am 2 weeks from turning 36 and I feel like he looked.

 

 

Another thing about my youth, during high school and my first 2 years of college I did everything I could to stay above 200 pounds. I took all sorts of foul smelling, ill tasting, and even some now found to be dangerous supplements. Now, thanks to cycling, when the motivation strikes, I do all I can to dip below 180. The guys who bitch about ballooning up to 158 lbs are the same guys I use to pummel in school. I want to be one of those guys. Why, because they are hard as nails as fast as f*ck.

 

I was a World Cup MTBer before I was a sucked-up roadie.

 

Those skinny guys drop me like a bad habit, a prom dress, H.S. French, and any number of other metaphors. Every ride is a race. All of life is a competition. If I wanted to just cruise on my bike then I would install tassels, a bell, and a basket. I want to ride. I want to perform. I want to go to the front. I want my body to make possible what my mind thinks is possible. The solution: eat less, eat like a caveman, ride more, run more, see hamburgers everywhere, be miserable, be cranky, be hungry, be Betty White, look good, be fast. Or, continue on my current path and just ride with slower friends.

Tomorrow. . .

You’re riding like Betty White…

Posted by RL Policar On August - 21 - 20121 COMMENT

Taking notes from some clever Snickers commercials…


Do you ever wonder why there are some days you just feel extra specially-slow? Well take it from me, a guy that can easily be like Betty White or a Diva if I don’t eat. Make sure you have something in your stomach at least 1-1.5 hours before your ride. It’s going to make a big difference in your performance and enjoyment level.

My humid weekend…

Posted by RL Policar On August - 20 - 2012ADD COMMENTS

SoCal was pretty humid this weekend. So much so that when you sweat, it doesn’t dry out so it can cool you down. Nope, all it did was stay on your body and make you more miserable. In fact, it was so humid that in the course of 2 days I must have showered at least 6 times just to keep fresh and cool. This Saturday we gathered some of the troops to go riding at Whiting Ranch over in South Orange County. I loaded up the IBEX Asta and the KHS XC604
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If you’ve ridden Whiting, then you’ll know about the dreaded climb called Mustard…it sucks. I’ve been told that this photo looks like I’m about to throw up…well ya, I was about to. Ugh…But going down the other side of the trail made the climb worth it. A great number of fast switch backs and g-outs made it so much fun.
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You know what else I find fun, matching Lady P’s outfits, yes,I try to match her even when we ride.
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I’m not quite sure what Doc and Dan were looking at…
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Perhaps they were checking out Khoa’s new carbon Rocky Element 70…nice
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Before I end this write up, I must say that IBEX ASTA EXPERT was such a blast to ride. It was very easy to climb with and super responsive during the switchbacks. The suspension soaked up all the bumps and made the whole ride so much fun.
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ACKNOWLEDGE ME!!!

Posted by RL Policar On August - 16 - 20122 COMMENTS

To follow up on my frame shopping, I ran in to something else that really bugs me. I hate it when I walk into a shop and none of the sales people acknowledge me. I know that I previously said that I’m getting hooked up with a frame, but I still wanted to shop around to see what I kind of deal on a different frame I could find. Anyhow, I went to shop A. yesterday, walked in and start looking at frames, and not one employee greeted me! So I drive down to shop B…AGAIN, shop employees didn’t acknowledge me! In fact, when I walked in, I had to say “excuse me” so I could get through the door way because one of the employees was talking to another guy about how the new Shimano shifters are so nice and yada yada yada. I spend about 10-15 minutes looking at frames that they had on the wall. After a while I just shook my head and walked out.
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Ya I know that if I really wanted the help, I could have asked. But dude, what happened to “Customer Service?” I’ve been to other businesses where I’ve been treated better. In fact when I bought a refrigerator at Sears the lady made the sale based on her willingness to help. I was genuinely impressed with how well she treated us that when I was ready to buy the fridge, we made an appointment to see her and not just go with any other sales person on the floor.

Look man, I’m all about “supporting local businesses” especially bicycle shops, but if the customer service is lacking, then I’m taking money else where. If you work at a shop and you are reading this, think about what I’m saying. Would you keep going to a business if the customer service is poor? No! It’s the same thing with the sushi restaurant across the street from my home. Good food, but horrible customer service, so that means I won’t be coming back. Here’s an idea, for shop owners/managers, PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE train your employees proper customer service. Teach them to greet and acknowledge potential customers. Teach them to be helpful as well as courteous. If there’s a shop that has great customer service, I’m more likely to shop there and I’m sure that goes for other people.

Clif Shot Roks-Review

Posted by RL Policar On August - 15 - 20122 COMMENTS

photo (1)
I received the Clif Shot Roks to review. Here’s the “specs” (nutritional value)
roks2

One of the things I really liked about the Roks is that the outer coating doesn’t melt. So that means you can go on super long epic rides with the Roks in your pack or even in your pockets and they won’t get all melty and stuff. Shoot if you’re like me, you like to ride after work. That means I leave all my biking stuff in the car where it reaches up to 120 degrees. But Clif says it won’t melt so I don’t have to worry about them.

So how does this stuff taste? PRETTY DARN GOOD! Man, I have to admit, Clif Shot Roks have quickly become my new favorite in bikey snacks. They’re great for rest stops or for recovery. The fact that it has 20g of protein per serving makes it post-ride perfect. Plus there’s enough Carbs (28g) in there to help you keep going through out your ride. The best way to describe the texture/flavor would be this…take the chocolaty cover of a Whopper Malt Ball, and cover a chocolate Clif Bar with it. Bam! ROKS! It really is delicious and its easy on the stomach, it’s not heavy so its great for longer rides.

photo (2)

Clif Shot Roks average $2.25 per pack or $$25 for a 10 pack.

FTC Disclaimer

Something bugging me…

Posted by RL Policar On August - 14 - 20126 COMMENTS

One of my pet peeves in life is lack of effort. I can’t stand it when people see an opportunity or challenge and don’t even bother trying. I’ll give you a bike related scenario, I was just at 2 different bicycle shops in my immediate area and I walked in looking for a frame within a certain budget. Shop #1 told me with an arrogant tone that there’s no way I can get frame for that price and recommended that I just save up my money and put it towards a new bike. I explained to the guy that this was not the direction I wanted to go. So I asked, “are you guys a Santa Cruz dealer?” He hesitantly says yes and follows it up with, “ya we really don’t do too much with them but if we HAVE to, we can order something.” So I tell them that I know for a fact (because another shop quoted me a price, but they are a bit further away) that the SC Superlight was around my budget. He then says, “Ya that’s cool…but we don’t have anything in stock that would be in the same price range. You’re better off going to Jenson USA or something like that.” WHOA whoa WHOA! Did I just hear an LBS tell me to go ONLINE to find what I’m looking for? Don’t LBS people complain all the time how people SHOULD buy from their LBS to help support them? At that point, I just said my goodbyes and was super disappointed with the lack of effort the kid made.

So I drive off to shop #2 and I ask them the same question. The sales rep gave me the reaction that Don would have had from Napoleon Dynamite…

Then he goes on to tell me that Trek carbon XC frames start at over $2k…annoyed I walked away. Like I said, lack of effort is something that REALLY bugs me. I’ll be honest, I shouldn’t be too surprised because I’ve been to these shops before and have had the same experience. What am I going to do now? I mentioned earlier that another shop, though further, has offered me a SC Superlight within my budget. Unfortunately, that one in particular just got sold. But here’s where EFFORT comes in, the gentleman who I am dealing with put in a call with SC to see if they have any other frames available and he’s checking their inventory for another frame that would suit my needs. See…that’s what I’m talking about, EFFORT!

A few weeks ago my family and I all jumped in our van and drove up to New England to visit family in Massachusetts and New Hampshire. Since I’d only gotten my Niner EMD9 a couple weeks previously, I had to take it along. I got to ride some of the trails I grew up riding in Massachusetts, then went up to New Hampshire (where my parents now live). Since I haven’t done much riding there, I hit up Google to see what was in the area, and discovered Fort Rock.

Yes, there is a trail here

Fort Rock is actually two different town forests in Exeter, NH connected by a trail tunnel under route 101 – Henderson-Swasey and Oaklands (check the link for some good maps). They’ve been given some good attention by the New England Mountain Biking Association (NEMBA)- there are multiple areas with nicely-laid planks over swampy (and just plain pond-y) areas, which is great because otherwise the trails wouldn’t be rideable (or would just get torn up). There are also some less-noticed touches in certain areas to help with drainage and prevent erosion – but mostly the trails are left pretty natural – which is a very good thing!

Trail tunnel!

Overall the entire system is both a blast and a challenge – and like many New England trails rocks and roots are more common than, well… dirt. Some suspension is pretty much required here unless you’re just begging for a beating. These trails were a little rockier than most though… not many New England trails get a branch named “Kill-Zilla” (according to some forum research, it’s also known as the “Demoralizer”). The name is fitting… I’m sure with some practice I could clean it, but the two times I rode it (once from either direction, once on purpose and once by accident!) I definitely had several foot dabs and a couple walks up hills when I couldn’t get going again on the slope. The rocks aren’t just around the trail – in many places the best way to go is OVER a bunch of rocks (and I’m not talking small ones), and there are lots of ways to kill your momentum – especially going up the steep hills that make up pretty much the entire trail. I spent much more time in my granny gear than I think I ever have before (boy was I glad I wasn’t on my singlespeed!).

This is definitely singletrack!

My one gripe with the trail system is that I’d read it was signed, and that was true – but only barely. It has blazes – but one of the major trail sections runs in a circle, and actually branches a couple times – so even with the blazes it’s not always that easy to figure out where you are. I’m sure after a couple rides it becomes easier (I was starting to figure it out by the time I left), but for a first time rider bringing the maps along would be a good idea. I figured that out after my 1 1/2 hour ride turned into a 3 hour ride… I kept finding myself looping back around to where I didn’t want to be anymore! I was on my bike and having fun though, so it was all good (well, up until the point my water ran out!).

The trails loop through the powerlines several times… as I found out when I kept ending up there!

I didn’t get to ride anything like all the trails in this system despite the time I spent in it, so I’ll definitely be back there next time I’m in the area. I do want to thank the town of Exeter for letting mountain bikers use the trails in this way though – and NEMBA for helping make it into a more sustainable (and fun!) system. My introduction was exhausting and challenging, but incredibly satisfying.

The threat of falling in this water made me pay close attention to staying on the boards!

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