Friday, October 31, 2008

From Joel: Wassup?

Thought I'd share this vid from Joel. I'm sure many of you have seen it...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Yes, YOU!

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

DCCX Pics - Finally!

Lots of culling went on... Too many bad shots. I think I deleted close to 200 shots. Now I have to get the other 400 or so out in the world.

Patience, please.

Thank you.

The man, the myth, the guy with the idea for DCCX, Mr MattyD. Thanks man. Pre-reg is my favorite part of the race!

Matty's fam - Pops, Moms and Saint Katie. That's right, it's a family affair.

Nothing says 'ready to party' like Mr Pat in his cow suit. Yes, you must notice the Milkmaid's wig under the helmet and cow's ears. This is no ordinary cow suited-man.

He's also a scholar.


Here's Mr Family Bike Shop himself, Jonathan Seibold, hamming it up while 'racing.' As Bega said, if you have time to acknowledge the crowd, you aren't riding fast enough.

And there were a few of us out there Sunday, for sure.

And we have Uncle Kent Baake...

Always up for some hard work and a good time. I don't think Kent knows how to have fun without hard work or how to work hard without having fun. A great guy, all the time, without exception.

This is how Kent prepares for a race. Smiling...

And of course here's Mr Joe 'New Daddy' Foley. He's clowning for me. And he's in charge of posting results. No thanks. That's actually work. And you can easily piss somebody off.

But we managed to avoid that, to the best of my knowledge. And don't tell me otherwise...

Normally a smiling, relaxed guy, Dave looks like he's got something on his mind.


Easy Dave. It's ok.

I swear there was a race going on somewhere... You wouldn't know it from these pics, eh?

And here's 'Put Me In The Catalogue Mr Hollywood' Mathias.

See how good everyone looks BEFORE a race? It's almost as if we all actually enjoy cycling!


I don't have a race report. I lined up cuz this is the only 'cross race I do. I really like this course and Marc does a great job laying it out. The corners are fun to rail, there's always multiple tough sections and you can't really relax too much.

I bowed to peer pressure, well, Bega PA pressure, and gave the barriers the What For. I managed to get over the first barrier twice and barely had a shot at even trying the second one.

Next year, I'm setting up those barriers. Sign me up.

I won a box of chocolates. Those chocolates made their way to work and now they are no more.

I owe many of you a lot of photos so look for emails later tonite and tomorrow. I'll try to get everything out.

And here's Big Joel and Kent.

Huge thanks to my fellow DCMTB'ers for another great race. And thanks to all of you who trusted us enough to plunk down some $$ for a race in DC. I don't think there's a question about next year. We are in. Unless Matty says 'no' or Katie drops the hammer.

Thanks for the frites, Scud. Thanks for the beers Sonoma. Thanks for the other stuff Belgian embassy, especially that Merckx guy. More pics later.

Stu Has Cancer

It's not just a blog, it's a reality!

Stu is a good guy and ex-bike industry knucklehead, rocking and rolling for Nema in its hey-day. We are cut from the same cloth and I was upset to hear that he was diagnosed with Hodgkin's Lymphoma. Checking his blog, I realized that he is doing well, still alive and still himself, just without the ability to taste.

Send him an email, send him some love, read his words and remember to love hard. Take care of everyone around you.

Get well Stu! You MF!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Tour de Patapsco


Cargo Mike and Darren were a bit late to the start, arriving 15 or so minutes late to Rockburn Branch Park off Landing Rd, just across the street from Patapsco's Rockburn Branch section.

On the trail at about 8:30am at 48 degrees... we were all smiles as the cool air ripped through us as we dropped through Rockburn, across Landing Rd to Rockburn Brach area of Patapsco Valley State Park, the official start of our epic Thru-Trail Expedition. We all hit the skinny log ride, a pre-cursor of many technical challenges that really make this ride an absolute hoot and a chore.

We paralleled Landing Rd on trail as we headed North toward Norris Ln and then linked up with Cascade for the descent down to the swinging bridge. We took the steep chute down to the bridge just south of the bathrooms. Another good iconic trail for what we would see.

After descending all of that trail, we were pretty chilly. The climb up Nun's Run proved to more than warm us up. We got up to the pavement and Darren needed to stop. Why not? We were only 30 minute in, why not stop?

His cleat was in his pedal, he was sitting 15 feet away. Pearce and I tag-teamed the repair, working to free the cleat then re-install it while also checking out the other shoe. This would begin the truly vicious assault that Pearce and I would level against poor Darren almost all day. I'm not saying he deserved it, but it sure was fun.

We bombed the super-rocky section out of the Hilton area to the skinnys over to Charcoal then up to Hilltop Rd. Instead of the usual left to Buzzards Rock, we went right onto 'Not A Trail.'

On the map, that red line took us all the way across the pipeline. Stopped at the top of the field, Jed, Evan and some other supa-fast guys passed us, on the same basic route (although we would find out these guys passed up quite a bit of dirt and fun for pavement). We all remarked how glad we were that we WEREN'T riding with them at their Semi-Pro pace. We were out to have fun.

We had a bit of a bobble when I followed Jed's line around the field instead of following the route I had learned from Poz the week earlier. It was a minor delay and we made the descent to River Rd without much incident. I think Darren got a huge kick out of my need to pull out the map. He laughed rather hard and loud every time I rolled my Camelbak around to pull it out. Pearce was always laughing along...

We dropped onto River Rd and rode up Frederick Rd to Oella Ave past the mill and down onto the Mill Race. There was some sketch as we rode down the stone stairs and onto the bridge. My handlebars are barely above the railing on that thing and dropping off the 2 footer at the end is a skill I haven't tried. There's always next time, yeah?

We took the Mill Race trail toward the first bridge and climbed up the not-a-trail to the old road then dropped down the S K E T C H Y downhill to the Rt 40 bridge. Pearce passed me when I got hung up in a tree (again) and Darren walked. There was a lot of laughing.

We checked out the dam and I walked back to my bike. And a rear flat. After I fixed that, I hiked down to check out the crossing of the river. And Darren broke his chain.


So we fixed that and I determined that we should cross on the dam. I rode down the dam and found a good place to cross. Off came the shoes and the socks and I slid down the face of the dam to the water's edge. With many jokes and much cajoling, Pearce and Darren followed. The water wasn't too cold. It'll be worse later in the year. Darren was very unhappy about the crossing. He likes his feet. Too much, if you ask me...

We rode under the bridge on some grass-covered trail and Pearce slid out right in front of me on a log that was 45 degress to the trail under the grass. I told him to move down the trail 10 feet to wait for Darren. Sure enough, Mr Funnypants came riding toward us, hit the log and went right down onto his side at 2 mph. Pearce and I lost it. He got up with his classic Biggs smirk on while we laughed. Perfect...

We linked up with the railroad tracks for a jarring link up to the Daniels bridge then onto the proper Patapsco Thru Trail. We missed the first turn off the railroad tracks crossing (the sign is backwards and about 30' off and 20' above the trail). We rode down to the next tunnel then turned up the hill on an old atv trail and linked up with the Thru Trail again. We missed a right and ended up at the powerlines a short ride and short steep climb away from the Thru Trail. We got back on it and stayed on it up to McKeldin. We ate a quick lunch about 2 miles south of McKeldin.

We crossed the river into McKeldin then rode up the white trail to descend Plantation trail, which is rad and fast and flowy and fun and totally worth it. We cross the river again, tired, and started our trek south.

We left at 8:30 and started heading out of McKeldin at 1:30. The boys were worried. I was worried. We shrugged it off knowing that there was only one way to get back. More riding.

Could be worse.

We stayed on the Thru Trail and missed the wrong turns that we made on the way north and had some purty sweet descents and climbs. The trail is flat in sections, which we hammered, and the trail has some steep sections that we suffered on and then descended with passion. Much like riding the SM100, we were not going to slow down when the speed came free.

It was awesome. It was fun. We were spent but the trail kept demanding more and we kept sucking it up and moving.

We cut out a bit of railroad tracks and took the Johnnycake bridge across the river back to the railroad tracks back to the Rt 40 bridge with more wet feet. We rode the Mill Race from Rte 40 to Oella the whole way. That's one tough section of straight trail. We cut out a section of steep fireroad for some pavement as we were all feeling pressed for time and estimated a 5pm finish.

We descended on Hilltop Rd to Buzzards Rock, passing our Not-A-Trail turn that originally took us north 7 hours earlier. We dropped into the park to Bloedes Dam, hit the Grist Mill paved trail to the swinging bridge, climbed up Cascade and rode over to Rockburn, crossed Landing Rd and hammered up to Rockburn Branch Park and the cars. We were spent. It was 4:15.

I feel pretty stoked about the trust that Darren and Pearce put in me to lead them around this pretty epic ride on my first shot. I would have done it solo in a heartbeat but I didn't have to. And we had a great time.

I'll be hitting this ride again in November for sure. A lot of people want to rock this section of the park that very few have linked up. The numbers are less than 100, I think. It's not a secret but it ain't exactly easy to link it up. (Joe thinks it's 50).

I would also be remiss if I did not mention the help that Joe and Poz offered me. I spent a few hours looking at maps and asking questions about this ride despite my threats to not do so. It paid off, for sure but I wanted to set expectations low. Darren and Pearce seemed prepared for total chaos... And trust me, I was fully prepared to serve some up.

Alas, we were pretty successful. Put this ride on your list...

I think Darren tried to get a gps track. He didn't. I brought a gps but didn't turn it on. Or it turned itself off. Or whatever. has a bunch. Search for Patapsco Thru. That link is for Joe's ride. Ours was slightly different.

We did about 50 miles. It took about 7.5 hours of which 1.5 was wasted getting lost, fixing stuff and having too much fun. I don't think I'll have to check the map but once or twice next time. It's REALLY well blazed once you get on the trail north of Johnnycake Rd. There are only a few sections that'll screw you up and there are a lot of trees down all over the place. I think we hopped more than 50 trees total, up and back. Out of the 50 miles, maybe 10 were road or railroad tracks.

I know a few people have the Pickall Area dialed and Joe likes to ride up into Hollofield and bushwhack down to the railroad tracks. With the addition of some trail in those two areas, there is a 100 miler in there. You'd have to do a lot of riding up towards Sykesville (10 additional miles) and ride more in McKeldin and the southern parts of the park but I think it'd doable, especially if you start way down by the aquaduct.

I'm sorry if some of these areas don't mean a lot for you. I don't want to provide a How To for the Thru Trail. If you know where all of the things are in this post, you are ready. If you don't, find some people to ride with and study the Big Map of Patapsco from DNR. It's called the Complete Guide. It's really good.

So, that's it. I'm a member of the Patapsco Park Pilots. I'm stoked.

Darren's impressions and pics here.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

From IMBA re: NPS Access

Visitors Will Benefit From Rule Change in National Parks
For Immediate Release 10-15-08
Contact: Mark Eller, IMBA Communications Director

A proposed National Park Service (NPS) regulation change will benefit Americans by improving mountain biking experiences in national parks. The new policy would empower park superintendents to manage trails for bicycles, without sacrificing environmental review or public comment opportunities.

"Bicycling is a good fit for many national parks. It's a quiet, low-impact, family-friendly activity that provides a great way to get adults and kids excited about exploring America's most scenic places," says IMBA Executive Director Mike Van Abel.

"We're very pleased that the NPS intends to update its regulations to better serve visitors." IMBA looks forward to an upcoming NPS announcement on the pending regulation change, and the ensuing public commentary period. Stay tuned to IMBA's website for additional news, and to register your comments with the NPS.

Bicycling Helps National Parks
Expanded opportunities for mountain biking can help energize national parks by attracting new visitors - particularly young ones.

According to the Outdoor Industry Association, bicycling is the top gateway activity that gets kids outside and engaged in a variety of outdoor sports. Visitation numbers are a concern to the park service at all levels and something we are working with our many tourism partners such as IMBA to address. Having worked with mountain bikers on public lands at gateway communities, I know what a great economic impact they can have on a small town," said NPS National Tourism Director Dean Reeder.

"In my experience, we can sustain a balance between resource conservation and appropriate, healthy recreational opportunities such as mountain biking. Mountain bicycling on appropriate trails in national parks will also enhance visitors' appreciation for the natural world, as parks are better experienced on foot and by bicycle than from inside cars and RVs.

Independent scientific studies, including those conducted by the National Park Service, have shown the environmental impacts of mountain biking are similar to those of hiking and less than those of many other user groups.

IMBA's Partnership With National Park Service
Since signing a formal partnership agreement in 2005, IMBA and the NPS have been working together to create and enhance appropriate opportunities for mountain bicycling in national parks. Currently, more than 40 NPS properties host mountain bicycling, on both dirt roads and narrow trails. Each year IMBA leads volunteer work parties to help improve eroded trails and unite trails communities around national parks. Annually, mountain bicyclists contribute almost one million hours of volunteer trailwork on public lands.

"Mountain bicycling is an appropriate activity in many units of the National Park System," says Christopher J. Stubbs, a NPS community planner in Virginia. "I have seen firsthand what bike trails can do for a park. IMBA's folks know how to build sustainable, environmentally sound trails that bring all user groups together. I see a huge potential for bringing a new generation of mountain bicyclists into the park system."

IMBA Has Requested Rule Change for Years
The current policy governing bicycling on NPS trails dates from 1986, and does not account for more than 20 years of research and experience managing bicycling on trails on public lands. The outdated rule is directed at motorized users such as personal watercraft, motorboats, snowmobiles, ORVs and commercial trucking, mining and aircraft. Regulation changes will streamline an overly cumbersome process, while maintaining all review and comment required under the National Environmental Policy Act.

"IMBA first began asking the agency to clarify and streamline this rule in 1992, when IMBA Executive Director Tim Blumenthal met with [then] NPS Director James Ridenour on the subject," says Van Abel. "We hope to see the process for recognizing mountain bike trails will now become more clear and efficient."

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Thru Trail: Stepping Up 10/19

Joe, Posner and others have been rocking the Patapsco Thru Trail ride for a few years now. For whatever rediculous reasons, I've never made it to one of their rides. Nobody showed them where to go, they just figured it out.

With their help, I'm leading (yes, LEADING) a ride from Avalon to (almost) Sykesville and back on Sunday. A few fools have agreed to accompany me with the assurance that they will be no help at all and will not complain about hours of wandering around in the valley that is Patapsco State Park.

We'll be riding from Glen Artney up past CCBC through Hilton, across Thistle Rd, down to River Rd, up through Oella onto the mill race, up the hill to Rock Haven Ave, down to the river again, across the river, under Rt 40 to the railroad tracks across I70, through Daniels then onto the Thru Trail to McKeldin. After Marriotsville Rd, I have no clue where we are heading.

We should reach Marriottsville Rd/McKeldin area at around hour 3-4. I'm waiting to hear back regarding what we should be riding up that way but at least we'll get that far. If we don't make it to Sykesville, this will be an advanced scouting trip for a future November excursion.

The total not-lost mileage should be around 40. It could go above that but we'll keep it conservative this first time out.

Darren's bringing a camera, a GPS and a flare gun, I think... He said something about an EPIRB and a space blanket... If he shows up with a 50lb pack, I'll know how worried he is...

We plan on riding most of the day but here's hoping we are back for a late lunch.

If you want to check out some of the thru-trail routes that others have used, search for 'Patapsco' and then look for tracks that are 40 miles or more.

Thursday, October 02, 2008


(Great event, seriously. Casual and fun to watch. I'm not even racing!)

DCCX, the only cyclocross race held in the nation's capital, will be
held on October 26 on the grounds of the Armed Forces Retirement Home in
NW Washington DC. Registration is now open on
For the second-annual event, race promoters DCMTB/City Bikes are
building on last year's exciting, successful race and will offer
improvements to an already awesome race experience -- and provide even
more extra-curricular fun for racers, kids and spectators. DCCX joined
the MABRA cross series this year.
Three ways the fun continues from last year:

1. The race is held on a classic, European-style cyclocross course. It's
fast with lots of transitions from grass to pavement to gravel and back.
There are some tricky barriers and roots. Amateur archeologists from
DCMTB uncovered a stone, Paris-Roubaix-style path before last year's
race, and that has become DCCX's signature feature. The layout is great
for first time cyclocross racers and a fast, challenging event for
2. The Armed Forces Retirement Home is the site of four National
Historic Landmarks, including the Lincoln Cottage. Lincoln withdrew to the
Soldiers' Home each summer to escape the heat in the White House. It's
difficult to get on the grounds the other 364 days of the year; with a
registration you can drive right in and check out the grounds, and
schedule a tour of the Lincoln Cottage.

3. Beer. Yes, indeed: Racers will once again be able to enjoy a beer
after their race courtesy of Sonoma Restaurant and Wine Bar in
Washington, DC.
Three ways the race will be so much better this year:

1. We've upped our payout for elite racers. Whole Foods-P St. has
expanded its sponsorship of the event so that the winner of the women's
1/2 race will for the first time get the same payout as the winner of
the men's 1/2 race. City Bikes remains as the title sponsor of the men's
elite race, with both races paying $700 total, seven deep. Other
category winners will get cool loot.
2. Li'l Belgians will be sponsored by the Belgians. This year, as part
of the MABRA series, DCCX is adding a race for kids, and we've pulled in
as sponsors the Belgian Embassy, which will be offering all
participating kids a special (and tasty) prize.
3. Frites! Just adding to the Belgian ambience, we will be serving free
-- yes, free -- frites (that's Belgian for French fries) to riders and
spectators. Oh, and there will be delicious, vegan cookies from Sticky
Fingers bakery and Drink More Water for those opposed to beer and frites.
What you need to do:

1. Register early at Last year's race drew 240
participants, including a sold-out 80 for the Cat 4/beginner category.
Given the great buzz that followed last year's event, this year's race
is likely to be even more popular, and so register now to get into the
race of your choice - and get a better call-up. (As of Oct. 2 there were
already 51 Cat 4 racers registered. The field is capped at 100.)

2. Bring an ID on race day. You may be asked to present an ID upon
entering the base, please be prepared. Also, there will be day-of
registration, but it is guaranteed to be a royal pain in the neck. No
money can change hands on the grounds of the Armed Forces base, and so
you will need to drive back out to an undisclosed location to make your
payment before you race.
3. Remember that Oct. 26 is also the day of the Marine Corps Marathon.
There may be traffic issues. I-395 is open to traffic from the south
(except the HOV lane). Road closures can be found at:

AFRH address is Rock Creek Church Rd, NW & Upshur St, NW, Washington, DC

Course layout can be seen at:
Use the satellite view. Distance 2 miles. In last year's dry conditions
the top B and masters riders did 5 laps in their 45-minute race. The
winning elite men averaged seven minutes a lap.
Photos from last year's race are here:

The write up of last year's race is here.

Starting order will be based on the most recent MABRA 2008 CX Series
standings, order of registration, and promoter discretion.
The most recent MABRA-Cross standings will be used
to call up the first 2 rows (16 spots), then racers will line up row by
row, as
determined by order of registration/bib number.

There are no call-ups for the 9am/Cat 4 Men race. Racers will line up
by row based on order of registration.

Team/race info:

Thanks Mr Obama

Obama voted FOR funding for Metro in MD, DC and VA. Article is here. McCain voted against.

40% of federal workers take metro every day. That's 200,000 government employees. Traffic in DC SUCKS! I mean SUCKS! No wonder it's so nice to ride a bike or walk or take the Metro.

I don't know how you can spend any time in DC and not support the Metro. Even if you drive to and from DC every day, you should support the Metro funding. And think of all of the people that WOULD take Metro if there were more stations, more cars with more room and a Purple Line AND an extension out to Dulles?

There's no future in more cars on the road. There's no room.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Going With Solar at Work

Yup, that's my back in that video. Like my shirt?

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