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Sunday, January 18, 2015

Five for Fighting

Dear Readers,

(ONE)  Earlier this week, I sent myself to the internet penalty box. No Facebook and Twitter until Sunday. I got myself into one of those internet arguments that you know no one wins over some assholery on Facebook. I was embarrassed to get pulled into it, but also upset that the situation happened at all. Frustrated, I went to the twitters looking for comfort, peace and smiles. I then realized that the sole purpose of the Twitter is to allow folks to be snarky and basically tell everyone that they suck. Oh- and pimp awesome blogs like this one.
Nick and I after I totally bonked in the final 15 minutes of my ride and he escorted me home...
Look I'll own this, I'm an ex-race promoter, and an ex-series promoter. I don't walk like I used to walk. Heck,  I barely walk at all these days. And to be honest,  I am stoked I'm out of the promotion game. But it just felt to me no one was adding anything other than "USAC SUCKS" or "the CEO makes $350k he doesn't care about cross" "everyone is a moron, I am so much smarter" Meanwhile, getting lost in what I felt like was a lot of bitching with no solutions (solutions apparently don't fit in 140 characters as easily as whining I guess) was the real travesty of nationals getting delayed for a day, (the junior women totally getting shafted) which Colin did a great job of highlighting here.  So essentially after getting totally frustrated I gave myself 5 for fighting and kept myself off of Facebook and Twitter until Sunday.  Had to be done. So Internets, did you miss me?

(TWO) Girl Scout Cookies are now being sold at work. They are $4 a box. I gave my friend who was selling them for her daughter $5 to not sell me any cookies this season.

(THREE) After Diane and I rode on Thursday night, I stopped in town to pick up a pizza. I didn't have a quarter for the meter, so I just figured I'd push my luck. I hustled into Grottos and picked up the pizza, and got back to the car. No Ticket. No Issues. I figured I'd run into the beer store and grab a six pack, again pushing my luck. When I came out of the beer store I saw him. The Meter-man. I saw him look up the street and see my meter flashing red. I looked at him, he saw me. We made eye contact. I, with six pack in hand, started running up the street. I ran to my car, and turned just as I opened the door giving my best lance armstrong look back to the meter-man .  He was walking up the street. I smiled at him. He did not smile back. I jumped in my car and pulled away...

(FOUR) Had an unplanned serendipitous group ride Saturday morning. It was gonna be wicked cold. Word on the street was that most of the fairhill and middlerun/white clay system were still very icy, but ironhill was golden. NOTE: Iron Hill was golden.  I rolled out of the house and set off to meet Diane at Ironhill. We'd been on a couple of text chains, but didn't really expect as awesome and a large group as we had today. It was rad. Diane hates Ironhill. Going back 20 years, a totally weird fluke crash and frankly she's not loved the place since then. Today she rode like a champ. I know she wasn't happy with her #Januarylegs, but she was technically on point.  I was super proud. Super Fun group, and a great time..

Travis H, Lisa Lisa, Buddy the leg breaker changing a flat, Monkey, Jen,
 Benny da Jewlar, Mr. Nick Sears and Dennisbike.com
 (FIVE) Riding bikes is really fun. But if you're reading this blog, then I'm guess I don't need to tell      you that huh?

thanks for reading.

best to you all, even those solving the world's problems on twitter

respect
fatmarc
vanderbacon
former walker, current talker

Sunday, January 11, 2015

beginning of a vision quest...

Dear Readers,

The other night Diane and I sat down at the table and were discussing our plans for 2015. We had a couple things marked out.

 "If we are traveling over a holiday weekend, I want to get the airfare, so that flights don't sell out." She said urgently.

"Monk it's over 6 months away, I think there will be plenty of time, we don't need to get the tickets tonight. I really think you're putting way too much into the logistics this far out."

She gave me the look that I imagine wives have been giving husbands for millions of years. The look that says, "I don't want to fight about this, but don't push your luck here..." In pulp fiction terms it's the "It's dangerous to push a race car in the red look." Men- you know the look. Ladies- you have given that look.

My phone rings. It's my brother. I'm saved.

Middle Run was in amazing conditions this morning. Maybe better than in the summer...


 With Cyclocross Nationals in Texas this week, Craig and I have been following the races, and enjoying all of the coverage that come with it. We also have developed a bit of a Vision Quest for our own trip to Nationals next year in Asheville. We started talking about the race schedule and if we expected it to be like this year's. We talked about when we plan on making the drive, and started talking about when we'd plan to leave, what days we'd be racing.

I looked up and saw my beautiful bride smirking at me.

"Really!!?" she muttered in a smart ass way.

"Six months is too soon to buy plane tickets, but you two are scheming a vision quest more than a year away!?" Monkey said smiling.
had the pleasure of riding with Mean Joe(he's not really mean), Ryan, Shane,
Hardest Working Man in Show business  Eddie, and  leading us today was
Birthday Boy Buddy the leg breaker...
"Touche Monkey!" I smiled. I could hear Craig on the other end of the phone laughing.  "Hey, man let me give you a quick call back, I gotta buy some plane tickets..."

thanks for reading.

respect
Vanderbacon

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

A meandering blog about Strava with Self Awareness, Brilliant Moves, Cannonballers, Fatbikes, Asshat Hannity and Gravel Grinders

Dear Readers,

I love Strava. I think it's a great training tool. It's amazing as a platform to store and analyze data. I like segments. I like being able to set goals for them. I love that it gives me an easy comparison between different times that I rode different sections. I like the social aspect of Strava.  I am happy to have connected with a number of friends and training partners through Strava. We have a Strava group that is primarily a local group of people that ride together. It creates a fun environment, and is a great training tool, and a nice addition to the community.

Recently, Strava made two moves that have generated lots of buzz in the Internets.  I think both recent moves were brilliant and helped to pump up energy and engagement for Strava.

First, the year end summaries:  I looked at exactly three of these. They were cool. It was nice to have an entire year's worth of riding summarized. I didn't understand why folks hated this. After I saw three I had enough. I didn't look at anymore. Everyone could make that decision.

Second, and probably the more controversial was the introduction of "best of the year" rankings. I'll admit that it was pretty weird to go on our annual New Year's Day Toast ride, which is by no means a hammer-fest, and come home and get some trophies. I know that some have criticized this as "everyone wins something". I don't see it that way at all.

First, those initial times will all be surpassed as the year goes on. They will be improved upon all year.  Most of those from our New Year's ride have been already. Honestly, there are really only a couple times a year that I normally look at the leader-boards. There are three periods a year that I'm really strong enough to challenge for any of them. You know what? January is not one of these times. Strava's move adding "best of 2015" has had me looking at the best of the year leader-boards, as well as the overall leader-boards. Riders will be chasing the best of 2015 results. They'll be looking at them in January. Frankly, I think it will create a  "rising tide lifts all ships" event. People engaged in the leader boards, at a time when normally maybe they wouldn't. I like it. It's fun. Cheers I say...

I have to admit, I  don't really understand Strava haters. I respect their right to not use it. I don't understand the vitriolic passion and angst against it.  Perhaps a soul rider that doesn't freakin' care at all about the ride data? That's cool.  I respect that. But do we all have to be the same? Clearly to some extent everyone of us get something different from riding. Strava is something that many enjoy and I believe adds to the experience for those that like that sort of thing.

I think of Strava use like my relationship with Fox News. I don't really like Fox News, but I also don't generally feel the need to tell the entire world that I think Fox New sucks. If you don't like Strava, don't use it. I don't like Fox news so  I turn off that ass-hat Sean Hannity every chance I get.

Okay, maybe Hannity isn't a great analogy. Let's say Fatbikes. Not something that I am interested in or understand. I understand there are fatbike evangelists. I just don't get it. That's cool, if that's what you dig. Good on you. Just not my thing. No one is making me ride a fatbike. Just like no one is making anyone use Strava. Each to their own.

 Now the term gravel grinder that's a different story- damn cycling marketing.... I do generally enjoy fire-road rides... I hate gravel grinders and that term should be banished from the cycling vernacular.

Perhaps the push-back on Strava is a result of some of the bad behaviors it can encourage. ( how many can you pick out of your community ?):

The Obsessed Hunter- the rider so busy collecting KOM/QOMs they don't have time to race, or to upgrade out of the beginner class.

The Mimic- the rider who will see one rider's successes, and the next day go out and try to better those successes by blatantly attacking all the same segments. I find that I inspire a lot of these folks. It's like they are saying "if that fat-fuck can get up that hill at this pace, I know I can crush it!" I guess imitation is the sincerest form of flattery? Fuck you very much for the compliment.

The Cannonballer- the idiot storming through sections yelling "out of the way Strava!" No comment really needed here. Strava is no excuse to ride like an idiot or not be social.

Yeah, these behaviors make me crazy too, but at the end of the day, I know everyone gets something different out of cycling. If their bag is different than mine, that's cool. Overall I find the benefits of Strava outweigh the folks that tend to dick things up... Don't worry, Hunters and Mimics- I still love you. Cannonballers, not so much.

Now a moment of self-awareness:

Yeah, I own that I can be an elitist, and I believe the game should be played a certain way. I also pride myself in listening and learning. I want to know what works for other people. I want to keep learning and getting better. Maybe not faster, but better. That's one of the things that I love about cycling- always something to learn and improve. I'm lucky to have a great support system and a great coach,  Chris Mayhew, who helps me from myself. But you know, I respect folks have different approaches and play the game differently. Frankly, this is one of things that makes cycling great as everyone can get something different from it.  Wait, I don't like cheaters, I have a pretty low tolerance for cheaters and vampires. Now jackassery, yeah I like that. So yeah, if folks don't like strava or fatbikes that's okay man. It's also cool if other people do. There's room under the tent   Long time readers of CUTER THAN JAMES FRANCO are probably not surprised by any this. AND YES, I get that NONE OF THIS PARAGRAPH REALLY HAS ANYTHING TO DO WITH STRAVA, and MAY BE A LARGER OUT LOOK ON LIFE.

BUT I DIGRESS.


Obviously, I'm a Strava guy. In the last year, I've really used it more as a data analysis tool and frankly looked for my own PRs and goals.  All of that to say: Bravo Strava! I think both of your recent moves were brilliant. You successfully got folks talking about Strava, and got folks engaged in Strava at at time when most of us would probably not be looking at the leaders-boards at all. If you aren't a Strava person that cool too. We all get something different out of this game after all...

wow, that was some meandering...

thanks for reading.

respect
fatmarc