Tag Archive: cycling


 

It’s a crisis!  I wish everyone I know would just buy a goddamn Porsche and be done with it.  Instead, everyone around me – everyone who is every bit as middle-aged as I am – is not doing that.

Porsche

Midlife crises used to be so easy work through.  So predictable, so easy; practically transactional.  You ran out and bought a Porsche.  Or you got some bouncy new boobs.  Swipe your credit card, you’re done.

Suddenly a 911 and pectoral saline vessels aren’t good enough anymore.   No, now everyone’s got to get fit.  Gotta work out, gotta pump up!  When you realize that you’re closer to death than you are from your birth, no one wants to go out in a blaze of glory anymore.  Instead, everyone wants to amp up the health factor, make up for years of indulgence and intoxication, desperate to try and reverse the aging process.

So yeah, let’s all work out and kick ass.

Remember when everyone on the planet wanted to take up kickboxing?  Ooooh, so tough.  But kickboxing is just so ‘90s, you guys.  Now, if you really want everyone know you’re middle-aged, kicking ass, and taking names, you gotta run a dozen miles, AND go to a spin class, AND take a crossfit session.  All before lunchtime, bitches.

Marathons?  Fuck that shit, you pussy – ULTRAMARATONS FTW, motherfucker!  Wait, scratch that – running’s not enough, I better tack on some swimming and some cycling to it!  Fuck yeah!

“Hey, how’s your marathon training coming along?” “Hey, are you signed up for next month’s tri?”  “We totally need to sign up for that obstacle race where they swing glass-encrusted sledgehammers at you and send 50,000 volts of electricity right to your nipples.”

OMG, SHUTTHEFUCKUP, SHUTUPSHUTUPSHUTUP, SHUTTHEFUCKUP!!!

A buddy of mine once shared this joke with me, “When you’re at a party, how can you tell which ones are triathletes?  Don’t worry, they’ll tell you.”  Except it’s not a fucking joke.  The only thing more irritating than a triathlon are all the assholes running them.

All these fucking guys can’t wait to tell you about all their training, how their last event went, what races they’re signed up for, how many miles they ran this week, what shoes they ended up with after they got sized up by some supercomputer or some fucking shit like that.

Stop being so psyched, for fuck’s sake.  It’s fucking irritating.  Fucking nerd dorks with 2% body fat.  No one’s impressed.  You’re annoying as fuck and you look gross.

The most irritating of all are all these obstacle races that are all the fucking rage.  Crawling through mud, climbing walls, running under barbed wire, and fuck know what.  And these fuckers get so fucking carried away with all of it.

Mud Run

Admittedly, I signed up for one of these fucking things.  A year ago, happened upon one of these races and saw a bunch of people climbing ropes and running through mud, and thought, “Hey, playing in that mud looks fun.”  I have the maturity of a 5 year-old.  So I signed up for this year’s Merrell Down And Dirty Mud RunAs a goof.  Because I hate running with every fiber of my being, and I am the least competitive (in physical activity) person I know.  I chose this particular event because it was the most creampuff event, and it took place 5 miles from my house.  That’s how lazy I am.

No fire pits, no swimming through pools of urine, no electric fences, none of that bullshit.  This was no more treacherous than playing flag football a bunch of pissed-off midgets.  Seriously.

Yet, I showed up the day of the event, and the entire scene instantly laughable.  Girls with team shirts saying “Beast” or “Tough Bitch” or something touting grrrrrl power.  Beefcake dudes with bandanas wearing eye black.  Everyone was constantly growling or grunting and pumping their roided fists in the air.

I had entered the WWE of running.

Are you fucking kidding me.  This was little pussy 3-mile run with a bunch of shitty obstacles thrown in, and you guys are losing your shit over this?  Calm the fuck down, you Adderalled assholes.  Maybe cut your Red Bull intake in half, let’s start there.

MuddyShoes

And for all the posturing and bullshit tough guy theatrics, I ran this race and came in 8th in my class.  8th.  This fat fuck.  All without any growling or making my pecs dance.  Puh-fucking-leeze.

You fuckers need to save all the grunting and shouting and the eye black and the compression sleeves for something that’s worth going ape shit over.  At the rate these types of events are taking off, it won’t take long.  Assholes aren’t going to happy until there’s an event in which race organizers are firing live rounds at the runners, making them run through actual minefields, and playing dodgeball with a balloon filled with the Ebola virus.

This is how “The Running Man” will come about.  And when it does, I hope it comes with all the shiny spandex we can stand.  Until then, would the rest of you please, PLEASE, PLEASE shut the fuck up about your workouts.

 

 

 

 

Loud Noises

In Louis CK’s latest HBO special (I know that’s not Louis CK in the picture above, so calm down), he talked about saying unthinkable things – horrible, unimaginable curses – at others, all from the safe confines of his car.

Worthless piece of shit.

Hey, FUCK YOU!!!

I hope you die!

Hell, I’d done the exact same thing only a week before.  I was in a multi-level parking garage, trying to quickly find a parking spot so I could dash into a clothing store to pick up some stuff.  Naturally, given the common denominator of humanity, the parking garage was full of imbeciles who were indecisive, clueless, or clinically retarded.  The words that came hurtling out of my mouth at all the shitty drivers were startling even to me.  I literally said out loud, “Holy shit, what did I just say.”  All because these awful drivers dared to get between me and some shitty linen shirts and a couple of pairs of trousers by about 12 seconds.  I’m a terrible person.

When I watched that Louis CK bit, it was cold comfort that I wasn’t the only one who could get offended by myself.

Then a week goes by, and more different circumstances can offer you an entirely different perspective.  Let me explain.

This past weekend, I went on a 20-something mile bike ride with my friend.  He’s a long-time roadie, and I’m a road noob, so it was good to have some company on a road ride as the New York weather began loosening its icy grip.  In fact, the weather was fucking spectacular by anyone’s standards.  Just the best day to be out riding.

With about two miles to go from the end of the ride, we were riding single-file along a high street when, from behind, I heard a persistent series of beeps.

*beep-beep*…*beep-beep*…*beep-beep*…*beep-beep*…* beep-beep*

As a rule, I fucking hate it when drivers blow their horn at me while I’m riding my bike.  More often than not, they’re being assholes.  But even those who think they’re being helpful by blowing their horn to let me know they’re there, it fucks me off to no end.  I’m attuned to my surroundings and I’m aware of cars in front of me and in the back of me – because I can hear the cars coming up behind me.  Blowing your horn to “alert” me does absolutely nothing but piss me off.

Anyway, back to this persistent horn.  I was already hugging the shoulder on the right, and who passed me but some crazy old fuck on a yellow three-wheeled Harley.  It wasn’t even a proper Harley.  It was a fucking tricycle.  And it was lemon yellow.  Motherfucker.  Naturally, I shot him my middle finger as he rode by.

Yellow Harley Trike

[Picture at left was plucked off Google images for illustration purposes only; not the actual asshole in question]

The Harley fuckhead then proceeded to tailgate my friend ahead of me, and harass him with the same series of beeps.  The old fuck zipped by him and I caught up to my friend.

“I’m gonna fuck this guy up, I swear” I said.  (I wasn’t really sure what I meant when I said that.)

“’The fuck was his problem?”

“He’s an asshole is what his problem is.”

We approached the traffic light at the intersection up ahead and old fuck Harley was stuck at the light, but inching forward.  I sprinted towards the light and hollered out, “Hey, asshole, don’t you fucking go anywhere!”

I caught up to him.  “What the fuck is your problem?!  Go fuck yourself, fuckface.  Fuck you, fuuuuuuck you!”  I’d never stringed that many fucks in a row before.

His response?

*beep-beep*…*beep-beep*…*beep-beep*…*beep-beep*…* beep-beep*

I peeled off, turned right, and left him while the light was still red.

My buddy rolled in to help himself to a second dose of bollocking on this guy.  While I did a slow roll by and bitched out the Harley asshole, my friend was more patient.  And sadisitic, I think.  He rolled up next to the yellow Harley, stopped, and unloaded an ungodly serving of verbal beatdown for what felt like an eternity.

Every manner of profanity in the known universe was unleashed on this Harley asshole.  And I do mean every fucking word.  “Fucking” might’ve easily been the kindest word in that tirade.  That bollocking made Satan cup his ears, blush, and say, “Woah, dude, language.”  It was masterful.  It was fucking poetry is what it was.  I swear if he could’ve taken a shit on this guy, he would’ve.

Farther down the road, my friend and I collected ourselves to deliberate what had just happened.

“What the fuck was all that about?”

“I dunno, was he high or something?”

“Could be.  Ahh shit, part of me feels bad bitching out a crazy old man.”

“I gotta tell you, though… that felt good yelling at someone.”

“You’re right, it does feel fucking awesome bitching out someone when you’re totally in the right.”

And he was too fucking right.  It’s soooo exciting to bitch someone out when you’re totally in the right, and they’re totally in the wrong.  I mean, the ability to justifiably yell at another human being without restraint – and without repercussion – might be one of the last underappreciated experiences you might ever have.  God, it’s so hard to put into words just how satisfying it is.  Delicious is the only word I can conjure up.  It so is.  And when you’ve had a taste, you want it all the time.

So much so that instead of letting my phone go to voicemail, these days I pick up every time my caller ID shows that it’s a telemarketer.  God, I so look forward to those calls.  *Ring ring*… HOLY SHIT IT’S A TELEMARKETER, NO ONE PICK UP, I GOT THIS!!!

I usually let them introduce themselves and just inch their way into their spiel before I cut in with,

“Excuse me, WHO ARE YOU?  Where are you calling from?  Why are you calling me?  I’m on the no-call list.  You’re not supposed to be calling me.  What did you say your name was?  No, I want YOUR name, and I want your company’s name.  I’m reporting this bullshit.  I want your name, I want your supervisor’s name, the name of your company, all of it…”

I usually don’t even get through half that rant before they freak out and hang up.

Mmmmm… delicious.

 

 

Road Noob: Part 2

 

CONTINUED FROM Road Noob: Part 1

 

When I resolved to buy a road bike, you wanna talk about a smorgasbord of simultaneous emotions.  I was fucking bummed because I thought I was “resigning” or “downgrading” to a road bike (because, you know, mountain bikes are fuckin’ ‘ard).  I was thrilled because, holy shit, a shiny new bike!!  And I was dreading the inevitable “WTF, another bike?!” from the missus.  Ugh.

In the end, I bit the bullet and nailed a titanium road bike.  Oooh, titanium… so ‘90s.  Every fucker out there’s on a carbon fiber bike these days.  Titanium is so, so passé.  They’re the harem pants of road bikes.  But because I’d come from a mountain biking background, where everything is about durability – because let’s face it, you’re gonna fuck shit up when you’re trying to ride a bike across rocks and streams and logs and badgers – the idea that my fat and clumsy ass might inevitably shatter a carbon fiber frame scared the living shit out of me (reality check: carbon’ll hold up just fine).  Theory being that I can get titanium re-welded if I fuck it up.  If I fuck up a carbon fiber frame, all I’m getting an ass full of carbon fiber shrapnel.  Fuck that.

Nevermind that it’s impossible to choose from all the carbon fiber bikes out there.  There are thirty gajillion models to choose from, how the fuck do you make sense of it all.  Narrowing it down from only a handful of titanium options made the whole process more manageable.  [Let’s, for the time being, ignore the fact that there’s really nothing wrong with a carbon bike, I just wanted a titanium frame to be different.  OK?  OK.]

So I got the bike.  Off I go, right?  Fuck no.

There’s a lot of shit to work out when you make a wholesale change to what bike you’re riding.  Going from mountain bikes to road bikes is not like going from white toast to whole wheat.  It’s more like going from a rack of ribs to a salad.

As a result, I’ve had to relearn a shit ton of new things about cycling.  Things like:

HelmetHelmets.  Mountain bike helmets typically have a bill (visor).  I have no idea why but they do.  All the riding I’ve ever done has been under a canopy of woods, so I have no idea what that bill’s shielding me from.  And I’ve been using the same mountain bike helmet model for over a half-dozen years.  It’s the only helmet I use when riding my Frankenstein bike on the road.  Mainly because I’m already riding a completely unconventional fucked up monstrosity.  A mismatched mountain bike helmet? Perfect!  But roadies don’t wear billed helmets.  Oh no.  Roadie helmets have a billon vents and are made of carbon fiber (again!) and cost a trillion dollars.  Oh no, what to do!  Fuck it, I bought a road helmet.  I’m such a goddamn sucker.

On One MidgeHandlebars.  My Frankenstein bike has these cool flared dropbars (above).  They look a bit weird, but they’re massively comfortable.  This new road bike has conventional dropbars.  Ugh, another goddamn thing I’ve gotta (re)learn.

Saddle.  All my mountain bikes have exactly the same saddle.  That’s what my ass likes, so that’s what my ass gets.  All these road bikes seem to come with these thin wafer saddles.  Different saddles for different rides, I get it.  I guess they have little need for all that taint-saving structure on mountain bike saddles.  But which one to use?  This one’s thin, but is it thin enough?  That one’s narrow, but is it narrow enough?  WTF.

Road bike tiresTires.  So, so many tire choices.  With mountain bikes, I got quite good at understanding the tires.  There’s visual common sense that plays a big part.  Different tires have different tread patterns.  You can make a pretty well educated guess on how different tires will work on different terrains.  Makes tire selection not an entirely complicated affair.  Road bike tires?  There are four trillion models out there and they’re all slick.  How the fuck do you tell what’s a good tire and what’s a shit tire?  Getting up to speed on road tires has been a fucking tedious affair.  Also, I used to be able to score brilliant mountain bike tires for about $30 pop.  Why the fuck do road tires cost $80 a pop?  I blame the overall roadie populace for willingly overpaying for all sorts of shit.

Pedals.  Fuck road pedals.  Road pedals are big and clunky and they all use these massive cleats bolted to the sole of your cycling shoes.  And of course, these cleats aren’t compatible with mountain bike shoes.  Of course.

Shoes.  Fuck road shoes.  These things look like ass, with all the ratchets and straps.  And they all have these slick soles that’ll guarantee you’ll slip and bust your ass when you’re off the bike.  Speaking of off  the bike, those massive cleats on slick road shoes make you walk like a duck that’s just shit his pants.  I’m sticking with my mountain shoes and mountain pedals.

Shorts.  Roadies and their fucking bologna-skin outfits.  Mountain riders wear baggy shorts.  I’ve never worn anything but baggy shorts when I ride.  My ass is too fat to wear skintight lycra shorts without some modesty shorts to hide behind.  Fuck you, I’m riding with baggy shorts.

So much shit to think about.  So many rules…  Ahhh yes, “The Rules”

Velominati“The Rules” are a crowdsourced “sacred doctrine” devised by the brilliant cycling iconoclastic site, Velominati.  Velominati’s “The Rules” are fucking ace.  They’re hilarious.  But they’re also the quintessential road cycling commandments.  I love rules for things.  But while I love how fucking hardcore some of the rules are, there’s just no fucking way I’m adhering to all of them.

Because whether roadies want to admit or not, there’s a roadie mold, and it chaps my taint and I’m not doing it.  I’m not riding with a fucking heart rate monitor.  I’m not measuring my cadence.  I never want to know what a VO2 max reading means.  I sure as fuck am not shaving my legs.  I’m never wearing a bib.  I’m riding with sleeveless jerseys when it’s 100-degrees out.  I’m gonna keep wearing baggy shorts.  And I’ll keep riding with booze onboard.

I’m just gonna go out there and ride this stupid bike.

 

 

Road Noob: Part 1

Ti BikeJust over eight years ago, the missus and I were expecting our first kid.  And as fat and out-of-shape as I am now, I was even more grotesquely overweight then.  I was over my ideal weight by about 50lbs or so.  Absolutely no athletic ability to speak of, I got winded walking up the three steps to the front door of my house.  I was fat, repulsive, and I realized that this was no way to greet my firstborn.

So I bought a $300 entry-level mountain bike and started huffing it around town.  Then I took the bike the dirt and decided that a $300 bike wasn’t something I should use to bomb around these dirt trails.

As I have a slightly obsessive personality, one thing led to another, and eight years later, I ended up with eight bikes in my garage – each one quite different from the next.  Dual suspension, geared hardtail, singlespeed hardtail, geared 29er, singlespeed 29er, the list goes on.  But they were all mountain bikes.

I took pride in riding mountain bikes.  Because mountain bikes are fucking hard.  Mountain bikes are big and burly, not skinny and frail like road bikes.  Mountain bikes have big chunky tires that eat up the earth, not thin little pussy tires that glide on the road.

But I went further.  While everyone’s riding aluminum bikes, I only rode steel frames.  Heavy, tough steel rides.  And I assembled almost all of them myself.  I bought the frames, I bought the bike parts, I bought tools, and I gradually learned how to assemble bikes in my garage.  I was obsessed with building bikes.  If I’m honest, I probably enjoyed tinkering with bikes more than actually riding them.

In that time, I’ve had nothing but disdain and bucketsful of fuck you for road bikes and the sinewy, shaven fuckfaces who ride them.  Road bike riders are goddamn nerds.  And nerds ruin everything.  Road bike nerds are the fucking worst.  These shitheads with their immaculately specced carbon fiber bikes with carbon wheels and carbon parts and their shitty skin-tight bike clothes that are color coordinated with their Kenny Powers sunglasses and matching helmets, and their shaved legs and heart rate monitors, all nerding over their wattage and VO2 max and cadence and GGGAAAARRGGGGHHH, fuck you, fuck you to hell, roadies!

God, I hate roadies.

But the sad reality is that over the past two years or so, my time on dirt trails dwindled to almost nothing.  Trail riding takes time.  It takes time to get all your gear together, it takes time to actually get to the trail, and when you’re there, you wanna take your time to enjoy the trail.  Mountain rides go slow compared to road rides.

Having a couple of ingrate kids with increasing demands (soccer! baseball! camp!) meant time that would’ve been spent on the trails was now rapidly being sucked away.  A three-hour trail ride now turned into a mere hour-long sprint on the road.  To do this, I had to convert one of my mountain bikes for the road.

This bike was a proper Frankenstein’s monster.  I had bought the bike for $50 from my local bike shop and had immediate stripped it of all its shitty parts, then had the whole thing repainted.  Then through some manner of witchcraft and sheer luck, I was able to cram road wheels (which are larger than mountain bike wheels) into the frame, and cobble together something was somewhat roadworthy.  This beast would serve as my road ride for over two years.

But it was far from perfect.  The chain would fall off the bike frequently.  Using road bike parts on a mountain bike frame had its challenges.  Most of all, it was slow as fuck.  The combination of being an older heavy lugged steel frame with only 9 speeds meant that I wasn’t about to suffer windburn on my rides.

Denial: not just a river in Egypt, as they say.  I was in denial so long about needing a road bike, I can’t even pinpoint the moment when I finally did face up to the fact that my Frankenstein bike wasn’t cutting it anymore.  I mean, fuck road bikes, right?  I don’t ride road bikes.  Asshole nerds ride road bikes.  And you know who else ride road bikes?  Old people.  Old fucks whose bodies can’t hack it any longer on a mountain bike.  Because they’ve gone soft.  And old.  I’m not old, I’m still young!  That’s what I kept telling myself over and over again.  Somehow, in my head, I’d conjured up the perception that getting a road bike is a sign of giving up, growing old.  I wasn’t prepared to do that.

But then, I went and bought a fucking road bike anyway.

 

TO BE CONTINUED…