March 31, 2006
Last night at the shop we took all of the bikes and racks down to make room for the carpet cleaners. So, we now have to get in early before we open and put everything back to where it was. We might change a few things around, but I don’t know how far we are going to take the ‘remodeling.’ Taking down the shop last night was a lot of fun as I am now aware of almost every product we carry. This will allow me to sell things to people that really don’t need them.
At the shop yesterday I had a real interesting sales experience. I had just gotten done placing the food order in across the street at Booby’s (Hilary Clinton’s old haunt) and a gentleman walked in and went straight to the recumbents. I approached him and asked if he needed any help. He told me that he only had one question. He wanted to know the size of the bike he was looking at. When I told him it was a medium he looked up and said that he will take it. I was shocked! Granted the bike he bought is a quality product at a decent price relative to other recumbents, but I thought he would at least want to sit on it. But, out came the credit card and off went the bike. Best part about the entire transaction was that I made it to Booby’s right when the food was getting done. That just shows you how quick of a transaction it was!
Since I still have my bosses mountain bike at my house I have been waiting for an appropriate time to take it back to the shop to get it all cleaned up. But, I don’t enjoy taking the bus or train unless it is really necessary. So, since I am going to a shop near the loop right off the train line to pick up some wheels for Casey in Milwaukee I thought today was a better day than any. The worst part about the entire ordeal is that I now have to ride a mountain bike on the city streets. I am going to be one of those guys that has a totally inappropriate bicycle for the place that it is being ridden. I should bust out a head band and my walkman that straps to my bicep and go to the lakefront path as well as Lake Calhoun in Minneapolis.
Imagine this guy on a bike!
Last night was another xXx team get together. We basically created plans on dominating the entire universe. A couple of new faces showed up that haven’t been able to make previous team “meetings.” We met at Moody’s which is in Edgewater. It was a decent place that ended up being pretty cheap. Supposedly the burgers are supposed to be good, but I thought they were average. Really. They aren’t anything to be blogged about.
My team is filled with a bunch of cool guys that will make this season a lot of fun. I am really looking forward to toeing the start line with a lot of these guys this season. I just hope that they are equally excited to receive in race recaps. I know they are really popular all around the racing scene.
Well I have to go lug a mountain bike up to Niles, Illinois. Oh, that reminds me! As I was riding into work yesterday I was coming up Milwaukee Avenue about a block away from my work. I had to get over to the middle lane to make a left hand turn. Since I was all the way in the right hand lane I had to start rather early to do this. So, I put my hand out and signaled my merge. I made it to the left hand line rather easily as cars understood what was going on. As I was taking a left I heard “Learn how to properly ride a bike next time asshole.” This came from the loudspeaker of a car. As I looked to my right I saw one of those community police officers in a mini-van. Not a real cop, just one of those that holds little stop signs for kids in front of schools. I kept looking at him, but nothing from him. So, I just scoffed in his general direction and told him that his mother was a snowblower. But, then I heard “It was me.” From the same loudspeaker. As I pull into work I see a marked squad car from the Niles, Illinois police department. So, the cops in Niles are big dicks.
But, the funniest thing is that they bring their police bikes into the shop to get fixed.
March 30, 2006
There is a small industry open house going on in the Chicago area this weekend so lots of reps are in town making the rounds to all of the bike shops trying to convince us that their products are better than what we already carry and so forth. Most of the reps understand when you are busy and will either leave some literature or wait patiently for a few minutes to talk with you.
But, sometimes these reps show up and interrupt you while you are either helping a customer or doing something else that is taking up your time. These are also the same reps that directly ask for the boss and treat you like you are the scum of the earth. I wonder if these people know who makes the buying decisions.
When I was a messenger I got to know lots of mail room employees. They would tell me about how many times a day different courier companies would come in and try to get the companies business. Reps for various places would come in and ask for the manager of the mail room. Directly going over the head of the actual employee they were talking to. Little did they know that the mail room worker is the one that made the phone calls and signed the contracts with the individual companies.
So, if you are going to come in the bike shop don’t act like a pompous prick about how cool OnGuard Locks are. Because, in reality they are pieces of crap and the Kryptonite rep was much more respectful and better groomed. Oh, another piece of advice, don’t smell like poo when you walk into a shop trying to sell something.
Why isn’t anyone famous dying? Or better yet, why hasn’t anyone died in the last few months from Sarah’s Death Pool presented by Super-Rookie.com? I thought for sure that Ariel Sharon was going to kick it, but the miracles of medicine saved him. Plenty of people that are way more famous than any of us have also passed. One of the greatest center-fielders to ever live, Kirby Pucket. The host of Hee-Haw, Buck Owens and the leader of the X-Clan rap group Professor X.
The Tour of Flanders is coming up. I would mind going over to Europe one day for the cobbled classics. It would be really cool to get in with a fan over there that knows how to criss cross the course in order to the race 15 or 16 times. Instead I will have to settle for the World Cycling Productions video that will come out next year. But, I have faith in my team of crack bicycle racers!
Floyd Landis announced that he will not be participating in the upcoming Giro(best stage race behind the Tour of 10k). His team director said that the team will be racing for Oscar Seville and Axel Merckx. I think Axel needs to start picking up some results!
Did you hear about the release of over 800,000 pounds of raw sewage into Lake Michigan? Well, here is a link to the story. Guess where it happened? That’s right! Milwaukee!
Looks like Tuffy sponsors a softball team.
March 28, 2006
The Parkside Criterium series that I have been participating in is sanctioned by American Bike Racing (ABR). Most cycling races in the United States are sanctioned by the United States Cycling Federation (USCF). Because of this the USCF is the most important license to obtain in the sport of cycling in the country. I don’t know why ABR exists, but it does.
Technically I can’t use races from ABR towards an upgrade with the USCF whose classifications dictate when and where I can race. I find this a little confusing. Although, most of the local officials down here officiate for both associations I find it a little ironic that there is such a distinction. Why is it such a big deal that one race is an ABR race as opposed to a USCF race? To me no matter what crit I do is going to have over 80 people in the field and men/women wearing funny light blue shirts with a patch sewn on that shows their officialdom. I don’t see the difference. I am hoping that the anonymous bike guru that frequents this site will let me know.
Also, I don’t understand the distinction between practice crits and real crits. It seems to me that when you have over 80 people in a field going around a course that is closed to traffic and follow the exact rules of any other race isn’t exactly a ‘practice’ race. I hope someone can help me out on this one.
As you may of read over on hotpinkevil! when I came back from Parkside the other day the apartment was completely taken apart. CD’s were everywhere and the furniture was askew. It was almost as if the Manson family came into our house to rearrange the furniture in the middle of the night and just got to lazy to put it back! But, now the apartment is in much better shape with the back room no longer a bike room! The bikes are in the old office area and the office is in the back room.
This weekend is the Milwaukee Messenger Invitational. I am getting really excited to go up to Beer City with Yuppie. We are leaving Friday evening after work and will be coming back on Sunday. Before we roll up there I have to stop at Upgrade Cycle towards downtown and collect on a wheelbuild for Casey who won the wheels from the Tour da Chicago.
We are staying with our friends Dave and Jen on the south side of the city. I used to make fun of Milwaukee. For instance, extend your right arm, now raise you middle digit. Do you know what you are looking at? Yup, that’s right! It is Milwaukee’s skyline.
In Milwaukee I will be picking up my new stallion from Dispencer. I have already picked out the gruppo that will be going on the new bike. Shimano has a sweet deal right now on Ultgera 10spd for employees. So, I am going to take them up on that offer with the wheelset as well. I am trying to figure out what handle bars to get, but I have them narrowed down. I will also be getting a Selle Italia Storika. Check out the sweet picture!
Hmmmm. Oh the shop made it’s sales goal for the month of March. That is really sweet so the boss is taking us out for beer at the local pub. We are getting pretty excited, especially the 18year olds that work at the shop. To bad they have to drink Roy Rogers. But, I think they may know about the website so I can’t talk about them anymore. But, hotpinkevil! can talk all she wants about ‘em.
March 27, 2006
I got picked up for the Parkside Criterium at 10:30 by teammate Matt. After piling my bike and trainer into his car we were off to what was going to be a fun and exciting day in Kenosha, Wisconsin. As we were driving up the Edens Expressway towards Kenosha Matt told me that he was going to do the Cat 3 race as well as the 4/5 race. Right then I was thinking that I should probably do that as well. After all Parkside is really laid back and I should see how I can handle the 3s.
After we crossed the state line we got pulled over by a nice Kenosha County Sheriff’s Deputy. He told us that we were traveling 88mph in a 65mph speed zone. Matt admitted his misdeed and took the ticket like a true champ. But, it took Officer Lake a good 30minutes to run Matt’s credit card (we had to post bond since we were out of state). Matt assures me that he is going to his court date to get some of the $280 ticket knocked off. After the officer was done shopping on Ebay with the credit card we were off to Parkside, at 65mph the entire way.
We arrived at Parkside with plenty of time to spare. xXx seemed to have a rather large presence in the area just preceding the entrance into the main building. We knew it was going to be a fun day. After registering for both races I went back out and got my warm up on. I wanted to get ready to race today.
About 5min before we took the rode we called the team together and the 15 members of the team had a brief discussions that went a little like this;
“Stay at the front and let a teammate in if he is there.”
With 93 people at the start line I was a little nervous. But, I knew what I had to do today. With the pace a little slow at the beginning I put in a little flyer about 3 laps in and was soon joined with a rider from Vision Quest and ABD. Our 3 man escape lasted for about 4 laps and we soon packed it in with the surging pack. But, our little escapade put a little bit of damage into the field as it was more strung out. Upon getting caught I was getting swallowed back into the field when I got a nice push from a teammate that put me back into 7th or 8th wheel. I sat in this position for a good amount of time.
With about 3 laps to go a solo attack from the same ABD rider went off the front. With an orchestrated chase he continually had about 60 meters on the group. But, with 2 laps to go my teammate Ed Kelly and I had a nice go at closing that gap hoping to set up Ansgar or another teammate for the win. Ed put in a monster pull that I was barely able to hold on to. I soon found myself caught by the pack with one and half to go. At this point I found Ansgar and was going to lead him out in the sprint. I got into a nice position in about 9th wheel. At this point I turned off my brain and came out of turn 4 flying and was able to sprint to 7th place in the field sprint. With the solo attack off the front that was good enough for 8th place. Another teammate of mine got 4th place and Ansgar came in 9th place after a tough 40+ race earlier in which he got 2nd.
Although I didn’t win the cat4/5 race I had a very good result. More importantly my team had 3 top 10s and I felt that my fitness level is coming around. I also need to work on my technique. I feel that my sprint is just as fast as anybody in the field, but I found myself not engaging the highest gear nor standing in the sprint!
Shortly after the cat4/5 race was over I found myself lining up for the cat3 race of about 50 entrants. With the blow of the whistle we were off. I hadn’t even remembered to eat anything as I was trying to console Matt for his troubles A) speeding ticket B) seized bottom bracket. My goal for the race was to be able to stay with the pack and get a feel for the race. I was able to accomplish that.
I stayed mostly at the back and enjoyed the nice pace of the race. I also found myself able to move around the pack with relative ease, but with only two teammates in the race we weren’t going to be major players in the outcome of the race.
On two separate occasions during the race I heard “Superrookie!” As I looked over to my left I saw Casey Masterson who destroyed most of the field at the Tour da Chicago over this past winter. He is a top notch cat3 that has had a great result at the previous weeks Parkside. It was quite encouraging hearing some friendly talk. But, since I was in the back I didn’t have the opportunity to tell everyone what I thought about the race. Then before I knew it I got another “Hey Superrookie. I love the site.” I then replied “I do what I can for all the fans.” That was when I realized that it was Alan a former xXx’er that I had met at last years Super Week in Milwaukee. He now rides for Cliff Bar and we had a nice chat for about a lap. We then realized that we were drifting a little towards the back. But, it was great to see some friends at the higher level.
After all of the escapades I finished with the pack and made sure to yell my number as I crossed the finish line. I also made sure that I didn’t get last place! But, there were a couple of noticeable difference between the cat 4/5 and cat 3 race.
1st- It is really quiet in the cat3 race. You don’t get anybody yelling “hold your line,” or “slowing!” at every corner on the course.
2nd- The pace is more consistent. But, when the pack surges it really gets going and you have to be able to respond or you will be off the back.
3rd- Eat between races!
4th- People seemed to be a lot more laid back in the cat 3s as opposed to the 4s. I think this is because most of these riders are good enough to be there and know that they can’t just be the bad ass that they were in the 4s anymore.
March 26, 2006
I want to first congratulate my good friend Matt Noble-Olson on getting accepted into the Graduate Program at McGill University in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. I was really stoked to hear the news the other day. I was about to call Matt the other day in Michigan where he is currently living with his girlfriend, Maura, when he called to tell me the news. I must admit that I was a little shocked that he didn’t get into the grad program at the University of Minnesota. However, he will love Montreal!
I spent about a week in Montreal a couple of years ago with The Little Guy, Caitlyn and Tony all of whom were messengers with me in Minneapolis. We went to Montreal for the North American Cycle Courier Championships. It was a lot of fun. I have always thought that I wouldn’t mind spending about 6 months there. I don’t think I could ever live there, but it is definitely a place that everyone should experience sometime in their life.
It truly is the only place in Canada and America that you really feel that you are in a foreign country. For example, when you are in Winnipeg(home of the Blue Bombers!) you feel as if you are in Fargo(home of nothing). But, Montreal has so much to offer! You get to hear people speak a weird language and you can see some kick ass architecture.
Montreal also has a great history with cycling. There are two velodromes within driving distance, and Montreal was the site of the 1974 World Road Cycling Championships in which Eddy Merckx captured the Triple Crown by winning the Giro, Tour and the Rainbow Jersey. The route featured the climb up Mt. Royal which is a nice climb from the southern tip of the island all the way to the northern part. I got to ride this climb on a fixed gear. OUCH!
Anyways, congrats to Matt! To think that it was only a few years ago that we walked to Murray Junior High in the morning. Now, Sarah and I will have to visit him and Maura in one of the most beautiful cities in North America!
Today is the third Parkside crit in Kenosha. I received a nice pep-talk from The Sick Boy the other day. So, I am going into the race a little nervous, but I know what I have to do to come out on top. But, my team also has some plans for a nice breakaway attempt. I don’t know if I am going to join in or sit in the sprinters lounge for a field sprint at the end. If it comes down to a sprint I am going to treat it like a keiren. I am not going to let anyone get the wheel in front of me. I will then let all hell break loose coming out of turn four. If I can turn off my mind this will work. If I think about it to much I will not have the result that I know I can get.
I need to start performing either for myself, or for my team. I know it is only my second race, but I need to be a cat 3 by the end of the year. I don’t like being a 4 on the road. I want to ride more miles in races. Today is the start of a new year of cycling.
March 24, 2006
I can’t believe what I am about to type.
Holy Cross 4, University of Minnesota 3(OT)
Now I know what all of the people in Ames, Iowa felt when they got whooped by that small school that I have seemed to have forgotten.
I don’t know what I am going to do now. To make matters worse this upset happened in North Dakota. We will never hear the end of it.
If it was any other team that got beat I would be stoked for the cinderella story. But, not the Gophers.
I have nothing else to type. I am going to cry now.
Tomorrow is the big bike show down at Navy Pier. So, my boss and I are renting a truck from the U-Haul place and loading it up with a bunch of recumbents and heading downtown to unload them. This means that the shop will be closed till about 230pm and we won’t be around to accept packages from UPS. This also means that we will have to sit in traffic for a good amount of the day. But, I will be on the clock and it is a change of scenery and I won’t have to sit and listen to people on the phone trying to describe their problems. There is nothing worse than calling a bike shop and trying to tell the mechanic what is wrong over the phone. NOTHING. Get off you lazy butt and go into the shop. That way a mechanic/or employee can diagnose the problem.
2006 NSC Velodrome Schedule
The 2006 racing schedule for the Blaine Velodrome is online. After looking at this schedule I wish I was still up there racing! It seems like we have added another two weeks of racing to the docket. These extra weeks are in September as well as the Thursday during the Nature Valley Gran Prix. I am stoked that they are not taking a Thursday off during the NVGP like they have for the past 3 years. This will allow for some consistency over the season and help grow a fan base. It also seems like the qualifications and timed events that happen on a Thursday late in the season have either been moved to a Wednesday or a Saturday so the racers don’t lose any mass start events at the track.
Perhaps the biggest change of the season is the dedication to Madison racing on the track. Bob has been working hard to get the track up to par with the Madison and seems like he has succeeded big time. I just hope that a lot of the top cat1/2s come on out to the track to race in these events. I heard that the state Madison championship last year was fantastic because some of the top racers in the area came out for it. Just look at the schedule of the cat1/2+ on Thursday June, 29th!
Madison Miss n Out
Now that is what you call dedication to the Madison! The other cool thing about Bob is that he allows experienced riders that attend his Madison trainings to race in the Madison. Because of this he has been able to get a fairly large amount of racers on the track that want to compete in this event. This has also produced some racing that has resulted in some awesome teams. For instance the team of Tom Haggerty and myself. Although, we didn’t win anything overall last year we did make a glorious comeback after Tom made a speedy recovery from a crash earlier in the year. There was also the time that Bob selected the teams for the event and put me with Uber German Ben Richter. I don’t think I have ever been so scared in my life other than when Ben was throwing me into the race. We got second that night. As I am sure you guessed I didn’t do much work that night!
Since Blaine has put up there race schedule so early I will now be able to target my training dates. This also means that TEAM MBMA.NET will, hopefully, qualify for Nationals once again and actually show up. We don’t need a team leader for that either. Between the Little Guy (best starter ever), Dispencer (decent racer) and me (never able to hold Little Guy’s wheel in the start because he is just so damn fast) we should be able to make it to the starting line in Los Angeles this coming year. But, if the Gold One wants to take my spot I will allow him to do so and act as an ‘alternate!’
March 23, 2006
I don’t know if any of you have been over to Hotpinkevil! lately, but it seems like there was a major breakup. After going steady for over 1.5 years Ullrich was given the pink slip in favor of Tom Boonen. Speaking of Boonen, what a wonderful sportsman!
Did you see the picture of him celebrating Pozzato’s win at Milan-San Remo. While some superstars in sports would have been pissed that a teammate stole their thunder it seems like Mr. Time Bonus(thanks to tuffy for that) is just happy that his team won! Look here at the photo:
Last night I met up with Yuppie and Ben(he is from New Orleans) and we went up the Small Bar and had some beers and listened to some rocking music on the jukebox. While the Small Bar isn’t Dusty’s it is the best thing we got here in Logan Square. Last night the special was $4 Boddington’s. But, it seems like Tuesdays are nights to be at the Small Bar with $1 mini-burgers and $2 pbr’s.
I can’t remember all of the hits that I played last night, but the usual suspects were scattered amongst some newer songs. But, I had to finish with the classic 1-2 punch of Rush and Prince. It was great we had people singing along! Perhaps the biggest excitement of the night were the 3 separate men playing air drums to Tom Sawyer.
The shop was ridiculously busy yesterday! I was helping an average of 3 customers at once. Everyone was taking bikes for test rides and asking ridiculous questions about their ‘x’ seam for recumbent riding. But, in the end most of the people bought a helmet and took my card and boarded the B-Back bus. But, I have faith that at least a few of them will come back into the store and get a bike from us.
I did sell a kid a new Haro bike. It was his 9th birthday so his folks wanted to get him a new bike so I sized him up and put the pegs on the bike and off he went in to the sunset. He was stoked, I also convinced him that helmets were the coolest thing ever. So, he will be rockin’ the helmet in suburban Chicago!
It has also been real hectic because of the upcoming Chicago Bike Show at Navy Pier. As one of the premier recumbent dealers in the area my boss feels it is important to have a huge selection of bikes on display for the show. So, tommorow we are renting a truck to unload all of our wares in downtown. While I think the show is a waste of time and shouldn’t be at Navy Pier it is popular among the kids and we get a fair amount of buzz from the festivities.
Sarah and I are about half way through Season 4 of OZ. It is getting really good!
Gophers vs. Holy Cross on Friday. I doubt the Gophers will lose to the number 15 seed of the tournament.
March 21, 2006
There is a new blog in cyberspace. It is pretty awesome. No longer will Sarah be living vicariously through my website! Now she has her own blog. I am sure that the bike talk will be kept to a minimum. I highly recommend you check it out. After all, if I didn’t recommend that I would be out on the street!
The Tour de Georgia just announced the team lineup for the upcoming race this April. Perhaps the biggest news is the appearance of Tom Boonen and his Quick-Step team. It kind of makes me want to go down to Georgia just to see his sprints in the rainbow jersey! The biggest name that is missing from the start list is Levi Leipheimer and the entire Gerolsteiner team. It is to bad that Levi won’t be at the race to challenge Floyd like he did at the Tour of California.
But, I am a little less saddened by the announcement that The Waffle House is the official breakfast sponsor of the Tour De Georgia! I told you the Waffle House has some style! I sure hope that Tom Boonen goes to the Waffle House and orders a MVP Special. That is what I got with three of my teammates down in Kentucky the other day!
What is an MVP Special?
2 Eggs, 3 Strips of Bacon, Hashbrowns, Grits, and 1 Big Waffle
Just imagine the Quick-Step team sitting down in this place playing songs on the jukebox! If anyone gets a picture of Boonen at a Waffle House let me know what is going on! Either way you can buy the jukebox hits! Lookie here…
On my way home today I didn’t break my chain. But, I did take a page out of Smithers book. While I was on my way home tonight a guy in a gigantic Ford Excursion tried to cut me off in the bike lane. When I passed him I gave him a nice dirty look. He then proceeded to flip me off and roll down his window. He then came up next to me and started to yell. Here is how the conversation went;
“Hey asshole. Get on the fucking sidewalk.”
“Do you know me?”
“Do you know me?”
“Well then quit fucking talking to me.”
I would like to thank Smithers for that awesome technique of dealing with cagers on the road.
I did my taxes today. I am going to have to pay in this year. Crap.
March 20, 2006
Tomorrow is a big day here in Chicagoland. It is the day that I have to ride all the way up to a northern suburb to get my taxes done. I am sure that Mayor Daley is waiting for me to file my return so he can start spending my money in awesome ways, such as, naming a bridge or a sign after himself.
Because of my appointment with the CPA I have been getting my taxes ready. It has been a busy night. I have saved a bunch of my receipts and all of my checks that I wrote to sub-contractors. When you are a messenger you are a 10-99 employee which means that you are an independent contractor and you must pay all of your taxes. So, when you have somebody substitute in your place you have to pay them out of your pocket. Because of this some messengers have to pay taxes on money that they didn’t keep. Just this year I wrote over $1500 in checks to my substitute riders. That is a lot of money that I don’t want to pay taxes on!
I also kept all of the receipts from my bike related purchases. Holy crap bikes are expensive! I hope that I get some money back since I forwarded my returns from last year to help offset my taxes in ’06. We shall see if that pays off!
Milan-San Remo was this past weekend. The title sponsor of my team must of sent their package of Epogen® to the Superstars of Clown Porn on Ice team. My team got absolutely zero points on Sunday. That puts me in last place after the first race of the year. But, I would like to remind everyone that I am ready for the grand tours.
Check the standings on the league page in the right task bar.
I left work early today with the hope of getting to the loop in time to make the Advanced Road Tactics clinic that our team coach was putting on. However, my plans were doomed when I broke my chain halfway towards the loop on Elston. This meant that with out a nearby bus line and a crappy chain tool that I was shit out of luck in the middle of the city.
Somehow I convinced Yuppie to come and pick me up with my bicycle. I was stoked when he arrived with Margaret and we had a lovely ride home! I think working in a bike shop sometimes makes me forget about my own bike! Now, I have to ride my track bike to the CPA and to work. I will then get a chain and put it on back home here tomorrow night. I wish I was a good mechanic!
When I broke my chain I instantly thought of my friend back home Matt. We used to call him “chainbreaker” because on three straight Saturday night rides he broke his chain. So we got real creative and came up with a name for him!
I think the broken chain is a sign that the Masi should be built up a lot faster than I thought. I can’t race on a bike that isn’t structurally sound! I think even my mom would agree with that. She would want me driving a car that didn’t have seatbelts!