Saturday, January 31, 2009

Perilous Pilgrimmage

It was bad.  So bad that it was good - in fact miraculous - that last night's icy ride to Chelsy's didn't result in a reset of the mo7s "Days Since Last Crash" counter.  We were probably helped by the fact that our lead crash candidate bailed at 5pm (ykwyaasdw*)! But we still managed six riders for the perilous pilgimage to Chelsy's (a couple of "fun" crashes, nothing counter-worthy).

The pace line to Chelsy's was uncharacteristically slow, with a prudent 8 foot spacing instead of the usual 8 inch silliness.  It warmed our hearts as we entered to see the usual eclectic crowd through the smokey haze, and Roy (the bartender) did not miss a beat and was pouring our pitchers before we got to our customary spots at the far end of the bar.  A few random tidbits:
  • Our multi-variate-ice-and-sluts-sensitivity-analysis was inconclusive.  
  • Some unpleasantness occured in the men's room and it's proximity to the kitchen led a few of us to agree that Chelsy's is forever a drinking establishment and will never be a dining establishment, at least for us.  
Interestingly enough, the pace line on the way out was much faster and much tighter than the trip in.  I guess either we became better riders during our 2 hours of drinking at Chelsy's (not likely), the ice melted in the 15F temperatures (impossible), or the beer was "talking" (yes, this is it).  And thanks to one of our Irish contingent for riding as "caboose" during our short stint on 282 with his light strapped on backwards as a warning (or target) for motorists.  It seems the Irish get a little smarter with each beer, a trait developed from lots of practice I am sure.

Yet again we tempt fate and come out reasonably intact.


P.S. ykwyaasdw - you know who you are and so do we

Thursday, January 29, 2009

MO7S Expose'

Since the riding conditions are crap (black ice is conspiring to spoil our Friday Chelsy's run, stay tuned) and we're not doing any biking, I figured I would fill the void by talking about biking, or at least something remotely related to biking.  If you are bored by this drivel then please skip to the end for a ride update.

“We may be old but at least we’re mo7s.”
You may recognize that double entendre as the tagline from the
 mo7s blog.  No doubt you are wondering what the heck "mo7s" is anyway? Well, mo7s is many things to many people.

M07s (em-zero-seven-ess) is of course a resin-based brake pad material used in some Shimano and Avid brake pads.  Google it if you don’t believe me.  The biking association however is a lucky coincidence, the blog is not named after a brake pad.

Mo7s (em-oh-seven-ess) is also shorthand for the British
 techno-rave band “Moving Over 7 Seas.”  But ecstasy has not
 really caught on with our crowd so no, the blog is not named after a British techno-rave band.

Our mo7s is somewhat elusive.  It is generally found on twisty
 country roads in 1st world English speaking countries.  Mo7s can be found in various shades of white or grey, depending on age. Mo7s is both wide and tall (can be seen in satellite photographs) but is so thin you could ride your bike right over one and not even know it.  In fact we rode, drove, and walked over our mo7s hundreds of times and never even knew it was mo7s. 

Then one night, in a moment of sublime insight Sebastian saw
 through the deception and exposed our mo7s for what it really was (at the time it was camouflaged as a warning to motorists). We were so impressed with the clever deception that we adopted that mo7s as our own.  

Our mo7s is prominently featured in this arial view.  I hope that sets the record straight, once and for all.

Now let's get back to riding:
  • Friday night Chelsy's is questionable (black ice) but if we go we'll shoot for an early departure, around 7:30.  Stay tuned, we'll make the decision by mid-day tomorrow.
  • Sunday 9AM ride will depend on trail conditions, we will make it a game-time decision so let me know if interested and then stay by your email early Sunday.

Monday, January 26, 2009

A Heaping Helping of Home Cooked Pork

Solo ride Saturday, so I thought I would take the opportunity to document one of the curious man-made features of Marsh Creek State Park.  That would be the human-powered tram below the dam. The tram is slung from a 200' cable tensioned between two huge buried concrete anchors on either side of a creek that drains the dam discharge into the Brandywine.  A stainless steel car is slung on the cable and sort of secured by a gated cage (it would be much more secure if the lock were actually locked). 

After much discussion and an impromptu interview with a Park Ranger we have concluded that this is an example of a fun project funded on the backs  of the PA state taxpayers. In other words pork.  But it is pork in our backyard so it is good and we should consider how to leverage it to our advantage, right?  

The car is big enough to perhaps fit two adults, or one adult and a healthy cooler of beer.  We know this because we loaded one adult last year but stopped just short of sending him down the wire. We were reluctant because we couldn't fabricate a plausible excuse to use with the Park Ranger who we knew would turn up shortly (and who is already grinding an axe with the local mountain biking community).  

But who knows, a future Chelsy's run might include a detour to the tram for a test ride.  You would not want to miss that one.  That's a plug for a possible Chelsy's run later this week (Wed, Thr, or Fri).  If you are interested in participating in this possibly headline grabbing event, let me know any date constraints/preferences you may have and we'll dial in a date that works best for most.

Also this week might be "the" night ride of the '09 winter season with the possibility of substantial (for us) snowfall Tuesday and Wednesday.  I am out of town through Tuesday so will probably get stiffed on this one, but if it happens I hope you guys can take advantage of it.


Friday, January 23, 2009

Crap Shoot

Dry and sunny this weekend:
          • Friday low 27F - Conditions on Saturday morning questionable.  
          • Saturday low 13F - conditions on Sunday morning should be excellent
I have family in town this weekend, so if I can ride on Saturday then I may hang up the cleats on Sunday and make it a family day.  Riley is as dedicated as they come, maybe he will put something official on the schedule for Sunday since I can't.  

It's a crap shoot but I will likely try a ride on Saturday morning.  But if it's a slop fest I will bag it and reconsider Sunday.  Let me know if you are interested in shooting craps with me on Saturday.

From the rumor mill department:  The next Marsh Creek State Park race may be at night, and may feature an endurance event in addition to the normal fixed distance format.  If you guys thought the last race was a nice change of pace, then this has got to get you pretty excited.  Who knows if they can pull this off but God bless them for trying.   

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

WTF #1

Can you identify this image?  Is it...

A) The notorious "fleshtone unitard?"

B) A disturbing never-before-seen Deliverance outtake?

C) The winner of the coveted green polka-dot jersey for exceptional navigational skills racing home from the awards ceremony at Chelsy's?

Correct entries will be entered into a drawing for a free bike tuneup at MRDBS, no warrantees expressed or implied.


Monday, January 19, 2009

Munday Funday

I woke up this morning to perfect winter riding conditions - 1" of fresh powder, 20F temps, and brilliant sunshine.

So I fueled up with a cup of espresso and an ample slice of fresh home-made apple pie, saddled up, and spent the next three hours laying down the very first tracks on both sides of the lake.

Since I got back four hours ago it has been snowing non-stop. After lunch I took Sydney and the girls over to the lake for short hike and a romp on the ice. Conditions were perfect for ice formation last week - wicked cold, no wind, no precipitation - and the result is optically clear and pefectly smooth.  Kirk was skating on Saturday (before the snow) and said he could see the fish moving under the ice as he skated over them.  

It's 3:30 now and still snowing and I think the riding conditions might be even better than this morning. I think I just might...throw this morning's wet clothes in the dryer......and head out to do it again.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Skin in the Game (but not Exposed)

Temps during last nights ride fell through -14C. That is a mere 259 degrees above absolute zero - the hypothetical and physically unattainable point at which all molecular motion stops. Seven riders seized this rare opportunity to test the limits last night. Some highlights:
  • One rider (the first one to put skin in the game) ironically turned out with absolutely no skin exposed (chickenhead and ski goggles). Oh, and wearing a Steelers Jersey.  
  • Our digital thermometer that was strapped to the handlebars of our team meteorologist froze up early into the ride. How a digital thermometer "freezes up" is beyond me but one would suppose it has something to do with the cold.    
  • The fleshtones were reportedly in use but this time as an under layer, not an outer layer. Probably best for all concerned.
  • No ride of this nature is complete without a crash. It the entrail delivered for us mid-ride with a very loud thud. The victim swears it was a soft landing but I assure you the ground was not soft last night - perhaps the extra clothing or the numbing cold was a mitigating factor.
And as predicted, the first 10 minutes did really suck (ok, maybe the first 15) but it is still amazing how the body acclimates and you reach a point where you could seemingly ride 
indefinitely in  that stuff - it is actually the stopping that becomes the problem.  

At any rate we seized on the opportunity and now the polar express is departing and leaving behind some prime grade-A riding conditions for next week (teens at night, low 30s during the day).  That doesn't suck even a little.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Clarity from the Cloud

I recently added a tag cloud to the mo7s blog. This triggered some observations which I think are pretty interesting:

Race is by far the most frequently used tag with 26 postings.  We are neither terribly frequent nor terribly successful at racing so this is very odd.  Apparently we just like to talk about it, I guess that makes us "enthusiasts."

Debauchery is pretty big with our crew, but Dave (19) and Jim (18) are each way ahead of debauchery (13).  Of course we have multiple daves (at least 4) and multiple jims (at least 2) so I suppose there is some tag teaming going on here.  Debauchery is safe for now.

Crash is pretty big (19), but I think that is mostly older postings from when we felt immortal. Few of us feel that way anymore (I sure don't).

Politics just has 1 posting, but that's probably a good thing.  No religion yet but just a matter of time I am sure.

Fleshtone Tights (1) doesn't display as prominently as it should.  Whoever has them (you know who your are and so do we), maybe those puppies should come out for a reunion tour?

Chelsy's (13) equals debauchery (13).  I think that should be our new motto.


P.S. We need to crank up a Chelsy's ride before too long so we can test our new motto.  Maybe next week once temps moderate a little because I know that some of you Nancies don't like the cold.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

A Potent Combination

Do you know what this means?  

It's from Accuweather and it means the days of constant rain and sloppy trails are coming to an end and that next week we'll be zipping along on firm dry singletrack again!

And not a moment too soon because I for one have been in a nasty tailspin since Thanksgiving. The crappy weather has seriously limited any riding opportunities and I personally filled the void with a potent combination of cookies, eggnog, and Wii Sports. Nothing to be proud of there.  

But opportunity for redemption is on the way.

Consider this to be your official heads-up that some really prime grade-A winter riding conditions are around the corner.   Ask any of the regulars who rode through the last few winters, and they will tell you that yes it can be a push to get yourself out of the house and into the cold after dinner, but I don't think anyone ever came back from one of those rides wishing they had stayed home instead.  


Go ahead and ask around. 

Because the cold really isn't a factor if you're dressed right and the engine has been stoked for 5 minutes or so.  The riding is awesome and it is really rewarding to be playing outside in conditions that most people find completely intimidating and debilitating.  

Get pumped!  Don't be debilitated!


P.S. Snow is in the forecast for Saturday so stay close to your email in case we rally a last minute snow ride.  The snowy forecast also bodes well for the Sunday morning ride, 9am as usual.  

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Positive Attitude

Three things.

#1 - Don't you admire this gal's attitude?  I mean like, I really dig bikes but she is really over the top.  

#2 - A couple of us plan to hit the trails tonight if we are lucky enough to get some snow.  We are keeping it fairly loose since the forecast is for snow changing to "wintry mix" sometime tonight.  We are suckers for snow but not for wintry mix.  If we go it would be sometime between 6:00pm and 9:00pm.  Let me know if you are interested and I'll be sure to keep you in the loop.  

#3 - Performance is running a pretty good sale right now on tools, clothes, components, accessories, bikes, etc (basically everything).  I was just over there and even got a 10% lunchtime discount on top of the sale price - a $40 chain cost me about a nickel.  Plus I got to rap with a new mechanic who custom built his fixed gear bike with "offset cranks" to solve a knee pain problem (Rob I will have to kick this one around with you).  

If you are in for #1 then you should probably keep it to yourself.  However if you are in for #2 you need to let me know promptly.


Sunday, January 4, 2009

Solo Opportunity

Today's ride was solo so offered an opportunity to document some of the iconic images on my way out to the bonus loop (ok so "iconic" may be overstating it a little but you get the point).  Sub-20 degree overnight temperatures made for wicked fast trails.  Brilliant sunshine was the icing on the cake.   Sometime soon I'll round this out with a photo tour of the west side of the lake including the under-appreciated white trail.

Trivia: see if you can identify the location of the middle top row image (clue is in the background).  

This was also a great opportunity for me to get acquainted with my new bike with the big wheels. We are getting along famously!