Saturday, December 30, 2006

The Ringer

Let old Blanco Suave tell you a little cross racing tale. See, the Suave is what you might call a cross aficionado. I’ve been into it for way too long, and paid my dues. I’ve raced the mountain bike short-track on the drop bars and persevered until the local yokel heathens saw the cross light and started realizing what fun a real cross course is. Not just a jungle cross-not that jungle cross isn’t fun- but a real, honest to goodness, actually can pass someone, shorter than three mile, sometimes even bits of pavement, cross course.

Of course I’ll take the credit for that, not all the publications, web sites and industry types touting the cross scene as the next big thing. No, it was Blanco Suave out there pimping to the unwashed masses.(And by masses, I mean the same dummies that show up every year to finish in roughly the same order, regardless of the course or equipment in cross.)

So anywhoo, the Suavesters done all the requisite cross pilgrimages and immersed himself in the cross culture. I’ve started in the traditional cross story by building a frankenbike on the cheap and worked all the way up to multiple bikes and carbon tubulars. I am unabashedly a cross whore and Blanco Suave doesn’t give a shit what you think. I’’ll buy and acquire any type or quality of equipment and race on it and be damned happy it helped me to 7th overall in the men’s B field. I like it, so I have it. Suck on it, Patsy.

Anywhoowhoo, with all of the blinging gear that exists in cross now, it’s easy even for me, Blanco Suave, to get caught up in the arms race and want the newest, latest, greatest, shit. Couple that with an industry job, and the parts aren’t so unobtainium. Having Portland’s cross scene, access to cost of goods way below wholesale, and a magazine and web site fetish only adds fuel to the Blanco fire. Yeah, that’s right. I’m sporting the shit. Spare me your old school rant on how back in the day, blah blah blah whatever. I’ll ride what I want to ride. If you have questions, please refer to the last sentence in the previous paragraph.

Moving on with the story for real this time. I forget sometimes that not everybody rolls the Bentley gear come cross season and that sometimes, they even sport the odd ATB. WTF? didn’t everybody get the memo two years ago about how cross is the new whatever, and how your only cool if you have enough gear at the races to make Sven Nijs blush, even though your only competing for 12th out of 10 in the old, slow, fat, and employable division?

Long story short. (For real, I promise!) Blanco Suave hasn’t been riding nearly as much as he did last year or no way close enough to justify his gear. Mrs. Suave gives the Kitchen Pass to travel to Redding to race some December cross. Picture this, Blanco and Ale-Prop roll to the start/finish area of the race with multiple bikes and not only multiple wheels, but glued on and sewn-up multiple wheels that most of the local crew on their ATB’s have never heard of. Of course there are a couple of local hotshots that recognize the gear from an article in VeloNews and decide such foreign(probably Belgian) gear signals the showing of a (and I’m quoting the actual verbiage used) “Ringer”!

Well, Blanco Suave’s been called lots of thing, but ringer ain’t one of them. I figure the best plan of action is to walk the walk before I have to talk the talk. So I walk the course sans bike, ride it way slow and early on, and then warm up on the trainer until race time so as to maximize the psyche-out. I mark the guy in the only other skinsuit and then the gun goes off and it’s on like Donkey Kong. A few bumbles and stumbles and Blanco needs Ale-Prop to reel in the big fish and haul his ass back into the fold. Luckily, Ale-Prop is all about riding hard and blowing himself up in his first year of A’s, and I bridge back. I trade a few blows with Skinsuit and Niner Noel and finally finish in second. It’s an awesome course, and the racing is tight. Alessandro Cristacchi hooned on the locals until his 45 minute legs were riding into the last bits of his 65 minute race. The kids gonna wind up wailing as soon as he gets the whole cross suffering/masochism/suppression of survival instincts/ self doubt down. Even Blanco Suave made old Niner Noel barf and was able to look back on a pretty good day of racing. Redding is just lucky that the whole Blanco Suave training program basically consists of not drinking at lunch plus treachery and deceit. Wait ‘till next year when the fitness catches back up with the smack talk. I’m gonna go all Sven Nijs on their asses. Let’s see what Mr. Skinsuit has to say, then.

Oh Yeah, I don’t feel like posting any pictues right now. Deal with it.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Word on the street is that El Ocho is in secret training for another shot at the Creampuff. He got his knickers in a twist when he heard the course was going to be a single loop. He might want to consider keistering a shiv and a change of underwear.

Rumour has it that Sasquattle has heard of El Ocho's intentions and is warm for Ocho's from.

Even if El Ocho completes his Tonkin man-crush beard before the Puff, Sasquatch will know it's El Ocho and not Tonkin when the race clock goes into the double digits and Ocho's all weak and wobbly kneed. It'll all be over but the crying.

Poor El Ocho will probably wind up looking like this.

Sasquatches forest prison bitch.

The Blanco Suavester has just about had it with this shit. It seems the only days I get to ride look like this. No fun at all. You can have all of the gear, but when a good half of your allotted ride time is taken up by the layering and dressing, well fuck that. I need to go skiing or some other type of nordic shit where at least you get to huff wax fumes to get ready. Maybe that's why I love gluing tubulars so much. At least with skis you get to use them right away. It's a 24 hour wait in the old sew-up test ride.

With this weather and the holidays, I need to have this sign posted at the Blanco's work and home. I don't even go into the garage to work on the bikes anymore. I'm really sneaking out so as to get the old fashioned "secret drunk" on. Well, not really, but if I linger a bit to much in the Man Cave it keeps me from hanging more garland or some other Santa shit.

Piss and Moan. Piss and Moan. Man, just when a guy gets a good pity party started, this kind of weather happens, and suddenly JohnfuckingDenver is chirping about sunshine and shoulders some other shit. If this high pressure front, as the weathermen like to say,is coupled up with a kitchen pass and no wind, then say it ain't so , but I'm going riding. It even fell on the weekend, imagine! I figure I'm pissed for the rest of the year, but oh well, the rest of the year ain't here yet and I have an hour and a half to try and stretch into two without getting on the shit list!

Monday, December 04, 2006

Der Klumpen is aboard.

He's all about the Placenta. This last weekend we journeyed about in super secret training mode. It mostly consists of bagels, coffee, and a bit of dirt thrown in for good measure. Der Klumpen is clued into the honored training rituals of Blanco Suave. It's not about the fitness, but really getting one's ass capable of sitting on an upholstered two by four for multiple hours. I figure you can always eat more and keep going as long as Blancito and the twins are comfy. Der Klumpen has even threatened to bring out a new kit, just for the occasion. Blanco Suave knows the kit, but you lasses and laddies are gonna hafta wait and see. I predict much gnashing and wailing.

Der Klumpen was such a hero this weekend, he even went to Redding to race cyclocross. He had the B's in the bag until some cheating mofo decided to cut the course every where he could. Hope he has fun padding his resume with that one. Good job Ace. Way to be a real Eddy Merckx. I'm certain TreeFarm and Wicknasty are now looking over their shoulders and afraid of losing their factory spot. I hope the promoter upgrades his ass to the A's where he will promptly get it handed to him, if they don't hook his ass into a barrier first.

Blanco Suave decided to do a little cross training by looking at flooring. Aside from the mile long hike into Lowes, there wasn't much in the way of cardio. The thought of spending the better part of a long weekend moving furniture, stripping carpet off of concrete, and crawling around on my hands and knees did make the old back lock up in fear. Maybe I should be doing some crunches and stretching so the core isn't so suave. Nah, I think I'll have another beer and watch Cops to see if I recognize anybody.

Speaking of heroes and cross, Alessandro traveled up to the North Land to show all the metrosexuals how a Southern Oregon boy throws down.

Hope he had Pam all over his bike. At least it wasn't the kind of mud that coats the crevices and makes it feel like you have just spent the better part of 45 minutes spackling your crack shut, all the while covering your bike in a highly efficient grinding compund. It sure didn't look like fun to pedal an ever heavier bike as it loaded up with what I'm certain Alessandro hoped was clay and mud and not what it smelled like. Good thing for him he's got Baby Blue and Number Two, the Burley twins. A man has to have his options.

And on a final note, a good friend had his house broken into and four bikes stolen. If I wasn't such a caring and generous soul, I 'd say that the theft was punishment for having way too many 700c bikes. But if you see any of these, give the guy a shout after you've given the thief an ass kicking and took the bike (or bikes) back. Details below.

STOLEN Niner SIR 9 - Portland OR
This past weekend, my house was broken into, and among other things, 4 of my bikes were stolen. Please keep a lookout for the following and contact Portland Police (503) 823-2143 or myself if you have any info.

Niner SIR 9. XL-ORANGE. Paul’s Thumbies XT Rear Der, SRAM X-Gen Front, Race Face Dues cranks, headset, stem and Next carbon post. One black and one grey Avid Juicy 5 disc brake. Salsa Pro-moto 17deg bars with Control Tech Stumpy barends, San Marco Strada saddle, Time Atack Ti pedals, Mavic A317 Rims, XTR centerlock hubs, Exi rear, Fast Track Front.

Also stolen:

Colnago Super “fixie” 62cm YELLOW. Sanshin track hubs on Mavic Ma2’s. Campy Chorus headset, Super record 170mm cranks and front brake. Black Spire chainring, BB is loose.

Serotta Nova Special X 64cm ORANGE, Campagnolo Nouvo Record Group, Mavic GL 330’s Vittoria Corsa CX front tire, Cyclepro Rear, Campagnolo alloy Freewheel. White Turbo Saddle, Black cloth bar tape. Toe Clips and Straps.

Schwinn Paramount 63cm Blue w White Panels. 60th anniversary frame, Campy Chours 10-spd group, Ritchey WCS bar stem post, Look carbon fork. RED Time Equipe pedals. Embroidered San Marco Strada Saddle

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Paskenta Beeyotch!

And the Blue caboose is rollin!! El Ocho and Blanco Suave are already geeking over making the big trip come Stuporbowl Sunday and laying the wood the the fragmented back of the packers. For those not in the know, the Paskenta Century (hereby to be referred to as the Placenta) starts and finishes in Chico every year on above said date. It essentially travels North and West to the itty bitty hamlet of Paskenta. Where is Paskenta you ask? Just about as far away from Chico as you can get without climbing over anything of significance. No fees, no sag, no worries.

Last year there must have been UCI points awarded or some shit, 'cause every football hatin' fast greyhound from sunny CA. was out to establish the pissin' order. The first few miles were in town and homies were gassin' it like Oscar Friere racing Tom Boonen. I'm talking about curb hopping, elbow banging, gutter flicking, the works. Luckily, it settled down with a "friendly" 25 mph peleton into a 30mph headwind going up HWY 99. By Blanco Suave math, that means I must have been 55mph or something.

El Ocho and the Suave know that coming up is the turnoff that can take the Placenta from an even hundy to about 108, if so desired. We decide discretion is the better part of valor and will opt for the straight shot up 99 to the real turn off. Besides, it's freakin' February. Only the true hammerheads will choose the longer route, leaving us with a large main group to safely nestle into for the next 6 miles of truly nasty headwind. Well, nobody ever said El Ocho and Blanco Suave were soothsayers. One, that's right, one other knucklehead decided not to take the detour. Oh well, Ocho and Suave got enough bulk to take turns in the wind and drag this coot along too. With any luck we'll beat the group to the turn off and join up with the second or third group through. Sure enough, we manage to make the turn ahead of the peleton.

So were rolling along all nice and El Ocho looks back and sees something ominous in the old rear view. It's the fragmented peleton, strung out in echelons all over the road behind us in groups of 8-10, and the last two or three guys in the line are dragging in the gutter. Ocho quips, "I think if we work together, we can hold them off." and the dork who has ridden the girthy coattails of the Blue Caboose until this point takes himself and El Ocho seriously and replies, "Sorry guys, but I can't work with you. I've got teammates back there." Jackass.

Long story only slightly less long. Those first few echelons stream past us like the Bullet train in France. The first one goes past so fast that if it weren't for El Ocho and Blanco Suave's heft and cunning, we would have been blown into the ditch like when a semi passes too close. We basically spent the rest of the damn Placenta by our own selves after about 25 miles. No big whoop. We had lots of time to look at cows and crazy Jesus signs way up in trees. One was so high(the sign, not the cows) up in a tree, it must have been meant for reading after some biblical flood that was nigh, or some shit like that.

Anyhoo, getting back to making the story shorter, (or at least finished) the whole payoff for the trip is the four miles of gravel out in the middle of nowhere and about as far away from a bike shop as you can get. If you are lucky, it's dry and fast, like all the "dusty" years at Roubaix. Less luck means wet and muddy. A cross bike would be a worthy idea. If you have no luck at all, such as El Ocho has had in the past, it is shitty and rainy and muddy, only until you have a couple of flats in the gravel, and then after you've straggled back to the pavement, the sun comes out and dries all the mud to your bike like cement and sucks all the lube off your chain in about three pedal strokes.

Last year was nice and sunny, and except for the wind, was great. I've decided this next year, for El Ocho and Blanco Suave to ride better in the Placenta, a few things need to happen. First, we need to hornswaggle the Shipper Bunny into riding it. Nothing passes the time faster than listening to the Shipper Bunny heckle a few roadie dorks and waiting for him to start drafting butterflies. Second, it needs to rain. Us Oreegawn boys need a little Belgium in our spring riding or we don't know what to do. And last, we need to train. But hey, two out of three aren't bad.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What the Hell is Blanco Suave?

It's not what but who. Blanco Suave does not trifle with the ways of mere mortals and underlings who do not fear and worship at the great alter of the Suave. With his trusty sidekick, El Ocho, Blanco Suave crushes all comers who dare challenge their middle of the pack supremacy.

Actually Blanco Suave is a totally cheesy, self given nickname that I thought of after my friend, Scott came up with the brilliant idea of referring to himself in the third person as "El Ocho". It's become such a running joke that everyone at the cross races now refers to him as "El Ocho". Never mind that we all know that it literally translates as "The Eight". It sounds kind of like a cross between a name of a Mexican wrestler ala' Jack Black in "Nacho Libere" and the idiocy of giving yourself a nickname that your not quite certain what it means like Will Ferrell did in "Ricky Bobby". Well I gots to get me some of that action. I mean, Scott and I travel to races and ride together and it was starting to sound like I was becoming a sidekick. He tried to help out by coming up with the clever pun on my name, "The Thomohawk". He even would shout out last lap, "time to unleash the fury of the Thomohawk!" It was to no avail. So I did what any cyclocrossing fan of the Aquabats would do. I gave myself a better nickname. How is it better you ask? Well for one, it sounds all smooth, like Rico Suave, the jackass from the eighties. Plus, it's longer and has more syllables than El Ocho. That's always better. Also, there was divine inspiration when the name was thought of. It came to me as I was changing a light bulb. It jumped out at me right off of the packaging. The fact that it translates to "soft white" is just a sign from God!