November 11, 2010

In pursuit of…

Filed under: non-bike,Training — Andrea @ 9:03 am



No, I’m not in the pursuit of a cover on “Road” Magazine or the handsome man that graces it. I’m in pursuit of the raw emotion that’s going on there. It’s the payoff for hours of hard work and the myriads of sacrifices you make.

I hadn’t thought as much about it until a conversation I had with a customer the other day. I don’t remember the exact topic, but it was something along the lines of, “no, I’ve never gone to that place, never watch that show, and never do X other things, because from the moment I wake up at 5:00am until I go to bed at 9:3opm, my life revolves around cycling.”

I’m not complaining. I like it. But, other people (even some cycling friends I have) don’t always understand just how dedicated you have to get in order to experience what the young man in the photo above is experiencing. It’s those few seconds when you come to the realization that everything you’ve been working towards for weeks/months/years is finally culminating into epic win.

It means I have mornings like today, where I am up at 4:30, have fed the dogs/eaten/had multiple servings of coffee by 5:30, go to the grocery store (they’re a lot different at 5:30am than they are at 5:30pm), ride for 1-1.5 hours, shower, have 2nd breakfast, clean house, do laundry, write a blog post, etc. before leaving to go to work at 9:40.

Work has turned out a little differently than I’d expected when I started a month and a half ago. Not bad different, but since both of my original coworkers have now moved on to other jobs, I’m unofficially “in charge” of the Outdoors, Inc. Cordova bike shop. I have very high standards, and it makes for days where I eat lunch during the 5-10 minutes it takes to enter stock/customer orders into the request form we use and am otherwise on the phone or elbows deep in bike repairs. It’s prettymuch non-stop from the minute I get there.

Once I’m home, sometimes I’ll go to the gym for some circuit training. I usually don’t want to go because I’m tired, but, once again, see photo above. I do my best to make a decent dinner for Ryan and myself, though, I admit, since I started working ’til 6 most weekdays, we’ve been hitting the Kashi frozen pizzas pretty damn hard. By the time we eat, we might have time to watch an episode or two of Ice Road Truckers on Hulu before passing out.

No, it’s not for everyone. I have a hard time imagining it any other way, though.

November 9, 2010

The joys of retirement

Filed under: non-bike — Andrea @ 7:56 pm

I received these photos via email (titled “ancient white river monsters”) from my dad today. He’s in Mountain View, and apparently has some spare time on his hands…



November 8, 2010

…and I still don’t stink.

Filed under: non-bike — Andrea @ 8:11 pm

A while back, I posted that I’d stopped using soap. Well, it’s been since March, and other than handwashing, I’m still soap and antiperspirant free. I figured I’d post an update since apparently it’s a trend that’s become a bit more mainstream: NYT Article

In other news, I’ve got a short interview/profile in the latest issue of Memphis’s Health and Fitness Magazine. It looks like traffic around is up since it hit the stands. If you’re reading this for the first time, drop a comment & let me know!

In the pursuit of more bike bling…

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 6:47 am

Back before Cyclocrunk, I decided that the 40cm FSA Compact bars were too narrow. Actually, I’d decided that they were too narrow about a year before that, but I didn’t work at a shop then, so I was being cheap and just dealing with them. I swapped the 40s out for a pair of **Edge 42s I had laying around on the spare parts shelf. I liked the width, but the shape was pretty lame (ignore the dirty hoods):



So a couple of weeks ago, I ordered some “wet white” FSA compacts in 42cm.

This morning, while waiting for it to warm up outside, I swapped the bars over with the intention of re-wrapping them with some pretty blue Fizik tape that I’d had around the house for a while. Once I’d perfected the bar angle and position of the shifters, I broke out said tape, only to find that it wanted to crack and split when I pulled it tight…



I sent an email with photos to Fizik’s warranty department, and they wrote me back this morning letting me know that they would immediately send some new tape to me (yay for customer service!) Hopefully it gets here by next weekend so I can be ready for the Outdoors, Inc Midsouth Championship race, because as of right now, this is how it stands (Mr Clean Magic Eraser for the hoods, BTW):



**The story of the Edge bars is slightly mosr interesting than the bars themselves. The summer after my post-Metro nervous breakdown (go back & search March/April 2009 posts if you don’t know what I’m talking about), I raced the Oxford Crit Series on a composite team with Debbie Milne. The 2nd day, she was off the front and won a prime (matching Edge bars and stem) while I baby-sat the other women back in the field. After the race, she gave me the bars.

November 5, 2010

Tweed Ride, etc.

Filed under: Bike Racing,non-bike — Andrea @ 6:58 am

Last night we celebrated Memphis’s 2nd foray into cycling culture past the comfort zone of spandex, asphalt, and/or singletrack. In other cities, tweed rides are a big deal- lots of people show up, the dress is fantastic, and the bikes are unique (just check out photos that pop up on a Google Image search). Last night, about 15 very dapper and dashingly dressed individuals showed up at Peddler Bikes for the leisurely ride to Celtic Crossing.

Odd, I thought… because the first Tweed Ride back in March seemed much less publicized and much more attended. More on that in a minute.

The ride and the company were great, of course. I managed to win “best dressed,” the prize for which was a shiny new Brooks saddle. If I can scare up a seatpost with more setback than my Thompson (not too hard- the Thompson is pretty mild), then it’s going on the One9.

Speaking of bikes, the decision has been made (thanks for all the input!). I will get an Air9 carbon sometime in the next couple of months. It will be mine… oh yes, it will be mine. I love Niner too much to mess around on them with other bikes.

So, back to the low turnout of the Tweed Ride…Â Last night was also the showing of the 2010 Race Across the Sky documentary (about the Leadville 100 mountain bike race). I am reasonably sure that it took away from the attendance of said ride. What I’m about to say might upset a lot more people than that time I dropped an F-bomb or posted a gangsta rap song.

To Hell with the LT100 hype.

There, I said it.

I’ll preface this by saying yes, it is a hard race. If you’ve finished this race, you’ve done a great thing that a lot of other humans view as “impossible.” By no means am I calling it easy or saying what you’ve done isn’t a great accomplishment …but NO 100 mile race is easy.

The media has hyped this race sooooo much that people are viewing it as the end-all, be-all endurance race of a lifetime. Newsflash, people- there are other 100s out there that are harder. You wouldn’t know about those, though, because they don’t have their own movie, and L*nce has never entered them. In fact, I’d venture to say that without a film crew that are both very capable bike handlers/hikers and in excellent physical condition, a large portion of races more difficult than the LT100 couldn’t have their own movie because you couldn’t get physically get to most of the trails that make up the race course. I recently realized that most people (even some very accomplished riders) don’t know that the LT100 easily lends itself to filming because most of it is on jeep roads (except for that couple of miles of singletrack between Pipeline and Twin Lakes). The altitude is a factor, as are the 1500 people that show up to race (many of them accomplished pros), but the course itself is generally run-of-the-mill when compared to other 100 mile courses.

I’m not going to blow smoke here- I will likely race in the LT100 some day… it’s a 100 mile race, and I like racing 100s. And yes, being the vain and self-centered person I am, I will probably then go to that year’s showing of Race Across the Sky in hopes of seeing myself on the silver screen. But I encourage any of you reading- if you are wanting to set a lifelong goal of finishing a 100 mile MTB race, then do a little searching. There are others out there that are more, less, or equally challenging. Read. Look for past race reports. Look at photos and course maps. Think for yourself and don’t just go with the one that’s on the front page of the magazines.

If you’re an LT100 finisher and this makes you mad, then please refer back to the above preface to my rant. You’ve accomplished something great, and I’m not trying to take that away from you. But now that you’ve done that, how about branching out?

November 4, 2010

Fabulous Video of the Day

Filed under: non-bike — Andrea @ 8:16 am


November 3, 2010

Did I mention…

Filed under: Product Reviews — Andrea @ 6:39 pm

That Ibex wool stuff is on my top 10 list of favorite things in the world?

During my usual 3 hour Wednesday ride, it was a misty start, a dreary middle, and the final hour was in the rain. Temps hovered in the high 50s, but I didn’t really feel too cold because I was nearly head to toe in wool- socks, knee warmers, shorts, base layer, and arm warmers. My toes were not too happy, but otherwise, I was comfortable.

Need. More.

November 2, 2010

Decisions, decisions…

Filed under: Bike Racing,Trail Riding — Andrea @ 5:27 am

I’m going to be getting a new MTB this winter. Ever since I saw the first photos of the Air9 Carbon, I’ve wanted one. Not only is it dead freaking sexy, but also the frame is compatible with gears or SS because the BB shell is sized to accept various inserts from EBB to BB30.

There’s a problem, though- Outdoors, Inc. does not sell Niner Bikes.

Don’t get me wrong- I can find a place to buy my precious A9C, but the thing is, I can get something like the Scott Scale 29 RC for a good bit less through the Outdoors employee purchase program. Other than a 15mm thru-axle/fox fork, it comes prettymuch kitted out how I would build the A9C if I were to do such a thing as ride one of those crazy geared bikes. The problem is those pesky gears- the Scott isn’t really made to be a SS frame. I know there are conversion options (I’d probably try something like the White Eccentric ENO hub), but I’m still hesitant.

The Air 9 Carbon is just dead freaking sexy…


I haven’t computed the exact cost of each one, but I know for sure the Scott would be a smaller hit to the pocket book- even if I had to build up a separate SS rear wheel. I’m having a hard time selling myself on that idea, though, because I have LOVED my Niners, and the A9C has been my dream bike for more than a hot minute.

What does The Brickhouse Readership think?

Edit to add: Of course, I’d love it if Outdoors would sell Niner. However, there is already a shop in town that sells Niners, so they aren’t really looking to add another dealer in the same area.

Spookycross #1 and 2

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 5:01 am

There’s not much I can say about Spookycross seeing as no other 1/2/3 women showed up. Day 1, I raced in the A race as scheduled and ended up in the back of the pack with mostly older masters men. Day 2, race officials allowed me to race in the B race, where I duked it out with some cat 4 men.

Side note: Dear USA Cycling- Please allow non-USAC-licensed athletes to compete as cat 3s. It works for Cross Country Mountain Bike racing (unlicensed individuals may compete as a cat 2 or 3 without prior race history), so how about extending that over to cyclocross (allow unlicensed individuals to compete as 4s or 3s)? Having guys dubbed “the best triathletes in Memphis” racing in the cat 4 race is just dumb. They shouldn’t have to purchase a license and go through the upgrade process just to compete in one or two CX races per year without looking like sandbaggers. /Rant

And when I say duked it out, I mean it- Miles Cooley and I tried to break each other. I could gap him on the singletrack section, but he’d catch back on and try to pass on the “power” sections. We leapfrogged for most of the race until he dropped off. About that time, I passed a guy that decided he wanted to stay on my wheel. In the final stretch of the last lap (a dismount into the Shelby Farms Amphitheater followed by a runup on the stairs on the other side), he attempted to pass me up the stairs just before the finish line. Too bad my bike was in his way, or he might have beaten me. All’s fair in love and cyclocross…

Here’s a link to video of me in the amphitheater from Saturday:!/video/video.php?v=454211594145

I also have a few nice photos, courtesy of OutCast from MSTA:

November 1, 2010

Cyclocrunk #3

Filed under: Bike Racing — Andrea @ 5:17 am

I took the final tuesday of Cyclocrunk off to allow my strained hip adductor to heal for the “payout” race this weekend. The Cyclocrunk series ended with my teammate Casey Malone taking the race win over Bikes Plus owner Karen Malgorski. As a result, Karen and I tied for the series win…


Not that Casey wouldn’t have raced her heart out otherwise, but if she hadn’t turned herself inside out for the win on the final race night, Karen would have taken sole ownership of the overall award. I thought she deserved some crunkness:


Later on, at the after party, my one remaining piece of crunk winnings was stolen by Robyn (on the left in the photo below), the manager of the Union Outdoors store (though I’m hoping to get it back today when I go to work).


Essentially, all of the Cyclocrunk hardware was taken away that night by hot lesbians. Gangsta indeed…


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