poem for the week

away with me to the woods of old
where the stories grow taller each time they are told
where the wind blows soft and the roots of the trees
form the floor of the forest and one only sees
his life ahead in the road behind
what lies in front is the place where we'll find
camaraderie, friendship, and experiences of a lifetime

I'm gone to the forest, be back in six days.
Go ride your bikes, eat turkey, and laze.


I am the calcamus

Calculus is not like riding a bike, turns out. Who-duh-thunk?

But I can always make myself feel better by watching Johnny Math miscalculate these barriers (it's at the end).

Today's how to:

How to convince yourself to ride when it is 34 and raining! A crucial winter riding skill here in morgantown.

Actually, I have no idea how to do that. I recommend that you pray that it gets colder and turns into snow so you can actually go do something. Drink some tea. Do some yoga. Play video games.

That is winter training.


Carrera De Los Muertos

The Thrilla at Marilla!!

When we last left our heroes, they had just eliminated the threat of, making sure that the city was safe for another day...

And what a day the first of November would turn out to be. A day after which, the city would never be the same again. A mysterious event called Marilla Cross was about to take place, and take the town by storm...

The excitement started early, as our heroes met at the secret "blue house" lair for coffee and power wafers, trying their best to recover from the previous night's festivities. Both agreed that the best idea was to quaff the caffeine and count on energy from the previous evenings luxurious allotment of libations.

"Jumpin Jack Daniel's, Batman, I'm HTFO!" exclaimed Robin.

"Now isn't the time, Robin." I said. "We must rally. News is out on the bat radio that there is something quickly developing at Marilla Park. We must go!"

Our heroes took the bat dog out, loaded her in the car, and meandered down to the park to investigate the goings on. They found cat-woman and bat girl already on the scene dressed as pumpkins.

Carrera De Los Muertos they called it.

The race of the dead. I didn't like the sound of it one bit. As the "Bee Men" began to swarm around the park, we made our way around the scene to collect some information and stay out of danger.

We found Lovely Laurie and asked for an update. "This course is a tough one!" she exclaimed, not taking the time to slow down as she passed. Probably best that way. Meetings with informants should be brief, concise, and inconspicuous. I understood what she meant though. The course of action we needed to take wouldn't be easy. But in the fight for justice, it never is.

We moved on. As the Bee-Men and also the Aw-Omen field flew about, all around us, we caught sight of another of our friends on the scene. She's known as 'The Moment'. No one quite understands why. Today she was decked out and ready to make some trouble.

She told us that this was some sort of "race." At least on the surface. However, Robin and I could see that there was more afoot than cleats and barriers. Curious individuals were all around. Some good, some bad. We booted up the bat-car's computer and started to search for identities.

Of course, how could we miss it! All the baddies in town were here. There wasy Gary, "The Promotor"; Mark "Mr. Glass" Glass; Aaron "LB" Yevuta, the head of the shady operations of the WV Night Club; Johnny "Blaze" Martin; Gunnar "The Gunner" Shogren "The Shogun"; Chris "The Baker"; The Brothers "Beardy Steve" and "Lanky J One Legger". Robin and I knew what we had to do. We had to defeat these evil-doers in shoulder to shoulder racing, in the name of justice, in the name of all that is right and good.
We registered ourselves just as the Bees had finished swarming. Matt the pirate put on a good show, narrowly losing position to "BirdMan" but holding off a strong charge from the Don and the Lion of Flanders.
We took to the line and sized up the competition.

Through the course of the race, we waged epic battle, and though we didn't cross the line first, we took the Victory in the name of Justice, successfully ousting a number of evildoers, getting help from many in the process. Gunnar made good on that closet full of stars and stripes jerseys by letting 2 other former national champions by (plus one other guy for good measure). Annon the Cannon took on Beardy Steve, and One-Legger J cruised to just miss the top 5. A glorious day for the forces of Good and Cyclocross.
Later, a rail jam, and previously, an adventure!


Big Ass Weekend

Okay, mystery fan. It is time to show yourself because it is time for on giant weekend of fun!

Things kick off friday night with HALLOWEEN. Don a costume and hit the streets.

Saturday the fun continues with the Marilla Cross carrera de los muertos

It's the most legit (and most fun) cross race to hit morgantown in a long long time. Come out in costume ready to have a good old time. Bring friends. I'll be there somewhere, maybe dressed up as a celebrity from childhoods past. Or not. You'll have to show up to find out!

After a good flogging on the cx course, the afternoon will be even more exciting! We're trucking in dumptruck loads of snow for the 2nd annual MOTOWN THROWDOWN Rail Jam. We're closing off a whole city block downtown, with a 25foot tall ramp, big stair set, boxes and jumps. Pro snowboarders will sqaure off with local talent fighting for a big cash purse. RedBull will be there keeping the crowd and competitors on top of their game.

Oakley will be there with a jumbotron TV
A Hot DJ will be provided by DC
There'll be raffles, giveaways, and more
Ski, Board, Boot, and Binding companies galore

So Saturday at Four
Get your ass out the door
All the way downtown
for the Motown Throwdown


What I'm Listening to

Maybe it is just my love of rube goldberg machines, but this is what I'm listening to right now

Bonus video: Time to goof off!


Tech Talk

Welcome to a new feature here on TheSeatPost: Tech Talk Tuesdays!

We'll be featuring tech tips from your favorite mechanic(s) on all sorts of topics, from new technologies, hot trends to trail-side repair and routine maintenance.

Today's Topic: Broken Chains

First of all, broken chains are mostly caused by poor shifting technique. During a shift under load (like when climbing a steep hill or when starting off in too high of a gear), chainring teeth and chain links can become deformed, bent, and/or damaged. This doesn't always (or even usually) cause the chain to break right away, though shifting quality both front and rear will be adversely affected. Rather, these will become weak pieces of the drivetrain that will fail at that least opportune moment sometime in the future, most likely near the finish of an important event or at a point in the ride many many miles from the nearest road/phone/car/house etc.

So the first tip is, as always, use preventative maintenance and proper technique. Keep your chain well lubed, and ease up on the pedals when you shift front or rear. As a general rule of thumb, use an easier gear than you think you need and shift before you need to.

But, too late, you were really jamming up that hill and went searching for that extra gear and now you've broken your chain! What do you do next? Reach for your chain tool! You do have a chain tool, right? right? If you answered yes to one of the previous two identical questions, keep reading. If not, skip to the section that starts with "You Unprepared Goof". So you brought your chain tool! good for you. Do you know how to use it? No? Well, read on. The idea is to remove the broken link, and reconnect the chain in a usable fashion. Here's how:

First, take a deep breath and relax. This'll go a lot better if you're calm and focused than if you're shaky and panicky.

1) Locate the offending link. Usually an outside plate of the chain will peel off and get jammed in your chainrings, cogs or derailleur. It make take some force to get the chain out, so try to pull strait out so as not to further damage your chain. This is also a good time to look for other damage that may hinder your ride even after you fix your chain.

2) Inspect the break and determine how many links will need to be removed. These include any frozen, broken, or twisted links. Use your chain tool, with the chain firmly against the stop, to push the chainpin most of the way out of the side of the chain at each end of the offending links. Do not push the pin all the way out because it is very, very difficult to get one back in. Leave the pin so it just holds the chain together. You may then have to put gentle side pressure on the chain to get the links to come apart. Be careful to remove links so that both a pair of outside plates and inside plates remain.

3) Make sure your chain is routed properly through your derailleurs. Forgetting to do this will invariably cause frustration and is very likely to also cause damage.

4) Reconnect the chain. Carefully line up the inner and outer chain links, again being careful to have the chain firmly against the stop on the chain tool. Next, slowly begin to push the pin into the chain, checking every few millimeters to make sure that it is going in strait. Push it until it just begins to protrude through the other side of the chain. This may leave the link tight, in which case you can apply moderate side force on the chain to loosen the taught link. You can also use the second set of holders on your chaintool (if it has them. some small ones such as the Park Tool CT - 5 have them, but most chain tools that are part of a multi-tool do not) to loosen up the link.

5) Pedal the bike into a decent gear and go!

You Unprepared Goof, you don't have a chain tool. Way to go. You probably wouldn't know what to do with one if you did. Do you have a buddy who does and knows how to use it? Great! Whenever possible, utilize this course of action. That way when it breaks again, you can blame that person.

Okay, so you're alone in the woods with no one around for miles and your chain is broken. Eff. But you're not totally SOL. You can actually take rocks and bang that chain back together. I've done it before and you can limp out of the woods a lot more often than you'd think.

Whichever of these techniques you employ to fix your chain, be sure to treat it as a temporary fix. However, there is another faster, simpler, safer, semi-permanent solution to your problems. It takes more planning, but if you're already planning on carrying your chain tool with you, you're 90% of the way there.

For another great explanation, with photos, check out Park Tool's own HowTo

This is something that has allowed me to fix a broken chain during a race in under a minute, and help dozens of other racers and riders repair their chains quickly and safely out on the road and trail.

1) Go to your local bike shop
2) Purchase a SRAM or KMC reusable quick link. I find that a 9-speed KMC or SRAM link will repair any 9 or 10 speed chain and work safely in your drivetrain.
3) Attach it to your chain tool
4) Go ride!

The quick link saves you the hassle of using the chain tool to reconnect the chain and the risk of a bad connection that goes along with it. Also, since it is a strong, new connection, you can treat it as a semi-permanent solution. You may want to do this if you have a worn drivetrain and a new chain would cause moderate or severe shifting and power transfer problems.

Thanks for reading.

I decided

not to write a story

but to leave you a little fall poem:

this week, two days
the autumn light
fell leaves

but in our rush
we didn't notice


Lost and Found and Given Back

Remember the last time you lost something? Lost your keys? Lost a sock? Lost your dog? Lost a footrace? Seems like a strange question. And it is. Because we (at least I) don't remember loosing things. We only notice that they're gone. I spent a whole year in high school trying to figure out what happened to my favorite pair of jeans. It was only after I realized I hadn't seen them in at least three weeks that I started to recognize their absence. And they really were gone. How does one lose a pair of pants? To this day I'm still flabbergasted by the disappearance, even 10 years later. And oddly, that is not the first, nor the last pair of pants I've lost.

This past Friday after a particularly reaming physics exam, I stayed in the room filling out a form for class registration until long after everyone else had left. On my way out I found a notebook and a TI-83 Plus graphing calculator, separately under different desks on different sides of the room.

They were just lying forlorn upon the floor underneath the desk of some carefree student who couldn't be inconvenienced with picking up their scholastic servants, whose services had been employed just minutes earlier in the good name of higher education. I waiting until the next class started to enter the room before removing the notebook, calculator, and myself. I wanted to see if the owners would come back, panicked and worried. They would scoop up their lost items, tell them it would all be okay, that they had never meant to leave them behind. They would make up some lame excuse like, "you know it's Friday and I had to get right home after class to start getting hammered" or, "I totally thought that I had put you away, but you must have fallen out of my backpack!" And that's the way isn't it. Always blame the victim. But alas, no one showed. I thought it proper to rescue these downed soldiers, forgotten by their commanders and left to be scooped up by the enemy. Tortured for their valuable information and cast aside like so many others.

I've resolved, however, to do my best to return them to their rightful owners, though no contact information was available for either. Maybe years ago my pants ended up in the hands of a good samaritan who would have returned them had only I written my contact information on the inside. So I'm going to go write my name in all of my pants. I recommend you do the same.


Viva la Tour

The route for the 2009 Tour du France (thanks Bobke) as we Amurrkans like to call it was announced yesterday. This comes right on the heels of the news that two more riders who had very successful 2008 tours were found positive for being dopes. I'm all for it. It's satisfying that the cheaters are being caught and that the four real surprise performances of the tour have now admitted to doping. Personally I never liked Schumacher, Kohl, Ricco, or Piepoli and I'm glad to see them go.

The tour looks like an exciting one (and not just because of the scandals) with the team time trial returning (too bad for Cunego and Valverde) and a summit finish on one BFM the day before Paris (too bad for whatever sprinter doesn't make the time cut).

I'm more excited about the Giro though. Lance, Basso, Sastre, (again, too bad for Cunego) and bunch of quacky italians. Plus it's in May so I don't have to wait so long to see it--and I hate waiting. Luckily for me, not only is it months earlier than the tour, but it'll feature the comeback of mellow jonny. I'm on this side of the Atlantic so I still like Lance. I think there are about equal chances that he is either an ex doper or just the most amazing physical specimen to jump on a bike in the last 40 years. I'll give him the benefit of the doubt because that makes the world less depressing. Either way I'm excited because Lance means people aware of cycling and the more Amurrka sees, the better for all of us out there pedaling around. Now I hear a lot more "Go Lance" than I do "Get off the road, F*&%#$".

He's spreading the wealth around. Sounds like a good idea to me.

omfg blog

OMFG. I m bloggin'.

'bout frikkin' time.

Welcome to The Seat Post. This blog will, if I follow through on my intentions, become a fervid file of flair, fuming with facts, photos, race reports, social commentary, news, editorials, jibber, jabber, jabber, and more jibber.

I'm Rolo. Wrench, Rider, Student, Cynic.

Welcome to The Seat Post