Sunday, December 24, 2006

Hot Patapsco Action

Happy f'in Holidays! What a Christmas Eve this is! Thanks for the weather. I don't need anything for Xmas now! This has been an amazing year and the trails dried up from the rain the other day very nicely. The trails are in great shape (most of them) and today was a great day to get out, to be sure.

Big bike day out at the jumps. Jed and the boys were out there and Frank managed to show up and ride. I took a bunch of video and I'll figure out how to post that later. Here are some pics that Punga snapped. He's got 3 weeks before he's back on the bike from shoulder surgery. Thanks for coming out Punga. It was fun.

Notice the helmet cam and my new invisible full-face helmet. It's the latest thing! And the invisible pads were hard to find...

Thanks to Endura for the comfy clothing, Speedplay for the rad platform pedals, Jamis for the bike.

I gotta tell ya, I really like that bike. I need to put some smaller tires on that thing to speed it up a bit. That 2.7 on the front is MONEY, but it's a lot of rubber. And that 2.5 on the rear... Damn. It's hard to keep that sucker rolling. But I probably won't change it... Also, the bottom bracket is 12.6" off the ground, which is low! I like it but it's hard to get on the pedals quickly when you hit the ground. You basically pedal straight into the dirt. Those pedals are the nicest I've ridden. I took the Crank Bros 50/50 pedals off. They didn't stick at all and the smallest amount of water made 'em pretty slick. Not into it.

I keep forgetting to mention my favorite sticker on the bike. It's on the fork leg. I'll snap of pic of it but the text is the most important. Runs down the back of the lower leg and reads: 'Development Prototype' which I probably should have looked into before riding this bike as much as I have been. The fork is nice, but I don't know how it feels compared to something that is full production level. Here's hoping it doesn't kill me...

I'm making quite a face in a few of these. It's really making me work! Damn, I look stupid. Shawn was nice enough to say that it was like Jordan's tongue. He's being nice. He's also the one that showed everyone the face on the trail on his camera. Figures...

I'd like to figure out how to edit the video stuff and put some music down. Shawn seems to know his stuff so I'll .ftp it over to him to see what he can do. I copied it off the camera but I haven't even looked at it. Shawn and I took a quick look at a few files on the trail and I think the camera was pointed a little too far down. I got about 20 runs of cam work, but most of it is done with nobody in front of me so it's boring. Who knows. I think I'll have to find riders to help me out. I think Shawn is the guy. Between the two of us, we could produce a lot of photos and videos. These stills were taken with his camera and I have some video from his camera as well. Helmet with still and still video should go together nicely and I don't think there's anything that I can ride that Shawn can't so it should fun. We'll see how it goes. Maybe I'll take some of the 24 hr events as well. That would be rad.

So, stay safe, travel well and spend some time with loved ones. It's a great time of year for family and friends so whoop it up and I hope to see y'all out there in 2007.

No makin' fun of the face... It's hard enough walking around with it everyday, I don't need anything else to hold me back!

OH! I almost forgot! Bruce, me brother-in-law showed up on his annual bike ride and I met him at the top of the Norris Lane side. He's never seen the jumps before. We sighted up on that first 3.5 footer (photo #2 above) and I told him that it was kind of an ugly drop with nothing on the other side and a flat landing and I THOUGHT that he heard me. Turns out, not so much. He rolled up that thing like he was gonna roll back down the other side when WHOOP! There's nothing there! He went ass-over-teakettle and augered himself into the dirt. DAMN! That was some funny stuff. Shawn and I BOTH missed the shot as we were just setting up to shoot. Heh.

Bruce didn't find the time to hang out and try to ride the rest of the stuff although he did manage to bring his buddy back with a broken chain for me to fix. I should've gotten him a chain tool for Xmas...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Fun for Leadville

So, Lance announced he's racing the Leadville 100 in CO. Oh, and so is Floyd. I hope Floyd wins. That would be rad.

My money will be on Lance... I guess I win either way.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Meeting Report

There is a lot going on so I apologize for getting this out so late. Whaddyagonnado?

I'd like to personally thank everyone for coming and to those who TRIED to come out. We had a solid group of 25-ish show up. I estimate that this group represents a solid 100 riders. Everyone told me that their friends couldn't make it and that they were to report back. Here's a quick shot of half of the room. I was paying too much attention and should have taken more pics... Sorry.

As a recap, I told the story of how we got where we are today in terms of the Norris Lane jumps. If you scroll through this blog you'll get details but here's the short story. Time line might be off as I'm stoopid:

Mid 05 - stuff shows up at Lewis and Clarke (depending on who you talk to, it's called different stuff). I started riding it and paying attention.

Fall 05 - Full-time trail crew mentions to Eric that they saw a bunch of jumps off of Norris Lane and they are going in there to remove (destroy) it all. Eric and I ask for a stay of execution to talk to park management about the features. Dan and I go out there to take pictures and check it out. MORE and MAMBO put out the word to find out who is doing all the building and ask them to stop and open a dialogue.

Spring 06 - Dan, RickyD, Eric, Jeff, Amy, Jen and I meet with then park manager Gary Burnett and he agreed that we could keep the stuff for a while. He asked that we do what we can to stop the builder as a condition of it staying. Dan, Eric and I pitch the idea of a new site for a jump park with legit stuff in another area. He's stoked and thinks it's a good idea. We have another meeting with Austin, Dan, me, Eric at Park HQ to show him what we are talking about and he's still stoked.

Fall 06 - MORE is still defending the Norris Lane stuff until the new stuff gets built. Gary Burnett gets re-assigned and we start working with District Manager who is also stoked on our ideas. We bring in Ben from IMBA Trail Solutions to work on the layout and design of a Hilton Area site that looks promising.

Winter 06 - I find out Ben will be in town, we convene a meeting, people show up, I blog about it... Here we are! I also spent a few hours in the woods at Patapsco with Ben and Dan at the proposed Hilton site. Looking at the ground and listening to Ben describe what we are going to do was rad. I was able to really visualize what we are talking about and it will be amazing if we can pull it off. This is going to be one cool riding area!

I handed off the mic to Ben from IMBA and he explained what was bad about the site and why we are talking about another site. He lays out his pedigree of building experience (including street courses for pro riders like Aaron Chase in Asheville). We then talked about what we want to do on the site, time line for the building and approval process, $$, rider involvement, etc. We asked everyone to write down what they want to see and we got some great feedback.

In January, there's a DNR Resource Planning meeting at the Norris Lane site. Staff from Annapolis DNR HQ will be coming out to see the jumps. MORE will be on hand to answer questions and talk about the realities behind how this happened and our desire to avoid bike-trail-whack-a-mole in Patapsco. The MORE Patapsco Attack Team is me, Eric, Jeff, Joe, Dan and Austin. Most of us will be there. If you want to be involved and can take the morning off during the week, just let me know and we'll coordinate.

February is the quarterly meeting of DNR people who approve the projects in all central region state parks. Our Patapsco Attack Team (I just made that up and I like it) will be presenting and asking for approval of this project. It's rare to have access to this group and we are confident that we can push the project through at this meeting. Here's hoping.

MORE has ponied up cold hard $$ to pay IMBA for technical trail construction plans. I occasionally hear bad stuff about MORE regarding stunts, jumps, etc and people think that MORE is responsible for taking stuff out. The reality is that MORE is made up of people like me and you. We work for ALL KINDS of riding. Ever ride at the 495 jumps? MORE and IMBA have been involved in keeping that alive for years now. Do you like some of the log rides and new trails out at Patapsco? That's MORE. If you support this type of stuff, you should be a member. If you live in the area, you should be a member. If you DON'T live in the area but support this type of stuff, you should be a member. This is OUR organization and if you think stuff is going in the right direction, you should volunteer to help out. If you DON'T like the direction that in which MORE is going, you should be involved and change that direction. It's a democracy and we all need to pitch in to get it right. Join MORE, join IMBA, show up to trail work, volunteer for the board, show up to meetings and help make mountain biking better in this area.

Preachy, eh?

Hit me with questions. Thanks again for coming out. Check back for updates. Keep a good thought and Happy Holidays!

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Happy Holidays

Tree is up. Kids are happy. Needles are sharp.

Of course, the tree guys that set up near the house thought that we were weird again. At least they remembered me from last year. It was a nice day for a walk and the Burley held up for another year.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Basso to Race for Discovery in 2007

In case you didn't already hear the announcement, like me...

JB Crashes at La Ruta

Get well soon, JB. Image from Cycling News.

Jeremiah got second. That's huge.

He finished 3 miles of downhill AFTER breaking his jawbone. They grow 'em tough in HBurg.

Patapsco Jump Park Meeting 14 Dec 7pm

Patapsco LEGIT Jump Park Meeting
Thursday Dec 14th 7-9pm at Fleet Street Cycles/Avalon Cycles (same place)
5871 Washington Blvd. | Elkridge, MD | 410-276-2029

We all love the jumps off of Norris Lane but it’s not legal and MORE has been fighting off the destruction for almost a year. MORE has contracted with IMBA Trail Solutions to design and build a three-phase Challenge Park to be built at the Hilton Maintenance Area starting in Spring 2007. Come out and meet Ben from IMBA Trail Solutions and give us some feedback regarding what YOU, the riders, want to see out there.

This is your chance to meet Ben and make your voice heard! Ben was one of the guys that built the Santos Trail in FL -

Phase one – aggressive xc trail with drops, skinnies, huge rocks and natural hits. Easiest to get approval for, easiest to build, Spring 2007.

Phase two – larger-than-average pump track with huge berms, table-tops and rollers in Fall 2007.

Phase three – (longest approval process) dimensional lumber constructed drops, skinnies, ladders and more! We are hoping for construction to begin in Spring/Summer of 2008.

Check it out
Look what these guys can do!

Questions? Hit me – mike at citybikes dot com.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

I Love Fugazi

There's no way around it. Top five favorite band of all time. Here's a great article from City Paper about Joe Lally. If you don't know who that is, it's worth a look.

Damn I love Fugazi. It was 1989 and I was in the back seat of Punga's (che)vette and he pops in this tape and Waiting Room comes on. Screw Minor Threat, this was IT! $5 shows in DC, $10 cds, punk rock ethos perfected. I saw them the first time at a Positive Force DC show at a church on 16th St (I think). There is a story that occasionally gets brought up by the Klasmeier parents about the night I went to my first Fugazi show in DC at age 14. June 1990, I think. Let's just say that it involved rappelling out a window and RUNNING to the getaway car. I wasn't allowedto go to DC. It's 'dangerous' or whatever. Why do so many scared people live in the 'burbs?

But I digress. Go out and buy 13 Songs if you aren't already a Fugazi fan. Beware: it's good.

Pics courtesy (AKA used without permission) of the Washington City Paper. I think the pic on the left is from Ft Reno Park but it's hard to know.

Oh yeah, you should check out Dischord records. Good DC music. Let's hear it for the locals, eh?

Henry Rollins is another DC boy from the punk rock scene. At least the punk rock scene that I remember. Angry man. Black Flag, Rollins Band, movies, etc. Funny spoken word stuff from the 1990s. My favorite quote from his spoken word stuff was 'three things you should never pay for: drugs. You should never pay for drugs. Drugs, sex and office supplies.'

Here is all of the stuff that he has done. My favorite is when he played a cop in that stupid Charlie Sheen movie. Sure, you are asking 'Which stupid Charlie Sheen movie.' You are on your own... There's little Henry on the right. Isn't he cute?

Monday, December 04, 2006

Busy Season

If you live anywhere near your nuclear family, you know how busy this time of year gets. For us, it starts with Emma and Jeremy birthday celebrations in late October. Actually, it REALLY starts with my birthday in September... Wait, what the hell am I talking about? Life is f-ing busy.

City Bikes starts planning for the next model year in August. Again, another qualification, we TECHNICALLY start planning in July but August is the big push. The new model years are announced and ready-to-ride in the middle of the season. Usually, the lower-end stuff pops out as early as May. It's crazy. This is usually the beginning of my busy time.

Racing and riding usually run my life from Jan (depending on the weather, I'm not a masochist) and really ramp up in April. 'In Shape' for me means that I can ride hard and not feel like I'm going to die. There are some people I know that I should ride with when I'm starting to feel fast. They usually allow me to realize that I'm still just slow but I feel better about it.

Spring and Fall are the trail work seasons for us as well. MORE does all of their trail work in these seasons. As the Patapsco Liaison, I'm in charge of setting the dates and figuring out the projects. Luckily, I have ECrawford, Joe and Jeff to help out. I haven't made all four trail work days in a year since Emma was born. Now that Emma is helping out, maybe that will change.

Of course, this is just my small, inconsequential world...

This week, John Bolton resigned (WOOHOO), Utah considers redistricting and adding a fourth seat so that DC can have a voting member of Congress (about damn time), Gates has his confirmation hearing in the Senate so we can get Rumsfeld the hell out of the Pentagon... Maryland is getting ready to have Martin O'Malley, Democrat, in the Governors Mansion, another mayor of Baltimore as Governor and the previous mayor of Baltimore turned Governor turned Comptroller is out after many controversial mistakes including asking a staffer to walk away again... A younger female staffer. Smart. AND we have the Supreme Court hearing a case on school choice.

Busy times here in Washington. Oh, how could I forget... Congressman Oberstar is going to be the Chairman of the Transportation and Infrastructure Subcommittee in the House. Let me be one of the first to bring up reauthorization of the transportation bill, TEA-LU. If the Dems keep control of the House during the 2008 election, bicycling will be in even BETTER shape.

Keep your ears open. The Portland Eurobike show has been canceled and they are now working with Sea Otter to do something down there. I wish the industry would go to Portland...

Some Fall pics for ya.

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