Monday, March 1, 2010

Deja Vu and the Onset of Responsibility

Look Familiar? For most I would assume not. For those in the Intro and D Fields during the 2008 Season you may have recognized it as the bike under that guy (see Noob who lacked athletic ability) that got spit of the back instantaneously and/or ended up on the pavement. See Exhibit A:

Heyoooo! Flash back! Some sweet D Zebra Action during the 08 Beanpot Road Race. I would guess about 3 minutes later I was picking gravel out of my elbows.

Nostalgia aside, the point of this blog: I'm racing old school this season. My Orbea Opal, the piece of art that was my steed last year cracked in the most unceremonious of ways. I mean, no one WANTS to crack a frame, but if you do, it needs to be glorious.

The word from Orbea HQ: No dice. Sucks to be you.

After removing a 4lb crank and bottom bracket combo, and putting on a light set of wheels, I have a surprisingly fun bike for this season. The Felt came in just a hair under 19lbs (THANK YOU SRAM AND MAVIC!). As one ex racer put it to me, "There was a time not too long ago when that was absurdly light."

After some bike soul searching and many prayers to the cycling gods, I have decided to fight the urge to drain my bank account and get a Tarmac (one day I will have you!) and order an aluminum bike. I need a workhorse racer, something I can knock around on for the next few years until I get one of those job thingys. CAAD 9 is at the top of the list.

This brings me to another subject. Why has aluminum become such a bad word in cycling? Almost everyone I have talked to (excluding my local Cannondale dealer of course!) acted like aluminum meant I wanted a low end bike. It wasn't too long ago that the CAAD 9 and Cervelo S1/Soloist were TDF machines.

Bike Drama aside, the team is doing great! The team is shaping up into a strong unit. Even got one of our new guys to do a practice criterium last weekend. With the first streak of good weather in almost two months, the boys from UD are riding like banshees....behaving as if 20mph winds and 35deg weather constitute balmy training days.

Many have asked the question why have we gotten so much snow this winter? The so called snowmaggedon. Global warming? A decrease in solar flares?

Nay. Hubris is the answer. For years Delaware as bragged about its ability to ride year round (while the rest of you suckers are snowed in). In a world ruled by irony, we have recieved our come-uppins.

See you all in a few days. I'm looking forward to it and I know you are too.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Living on a Farm, or Adventures in Fighting the Onset of Bike Snobbery

Like almost every cyclists out there, I have a running list in my head of the things I "need" to purchase for my cycling exploits. They are obvious necessities to life like deep dish wheels and gu dispensing did we ever survive without? A repair stand has been on there for a while, but just seems to keep getting pushed down the list.

A few weeks ago, I concocted a scheme to create a stand from scratch while I was busy doing nothing at work. I was pretty pumped to finally get a stand and also flip the bird to the often absurdly expensive companies that create tools for us biking folks.

Enter the family farm and my Dad.

With the exception of the pony clamp, spray paint, and a coupling, everything was recycled from the farm I live on. The supporting struts are old parts of a wheel-and-line irrigation system. Easily 45 year old pieces of galvanized steel. The main pipes were made of 3/4" steel pipe that my father and I found covered in this tarish/rubbery stuff. A grinder did the trick! The clamp "paddles" were made of a piece of oak scrap wood and old mtb intertubes.

A big thanks to my Dad, my patient partner in many of my hair-brained DIY projects that I cook up. I'm more of an ideas man, and he is most certainly a manufacturer. Without him I would have had a clunky wooden monstrosity; instead I have a functional and portable stand. Some would call it cliche to bond with your father through building something, but hey it works.

Come check out the stand sometime as it travels the Eastern seaboard with the Fightin' Blue Hens!

Park Tools Stand: $170
Mine: $25

Put one in the win column for me.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

The Ultimate Training Video

Forget Spinervals and Ventura's Real Rides and journey back to a time of finer things.....when Huffy was a quality bike company and helmets weren't necessary.

Cycling For Success

Enjoy the Rocky-esque Montage and tasty guitar riffs.


Friday, December 4, 2009

Finding the Inner Belgian?

Its the Fall and I'm sure many riders across the ECCC are not only training themselves, but also offering guidance to the young new bucks of the collegiate cycling community.

Despite the cost to my own training, I can say with confidence that helping the new guys (or rookies? I haven't figured out which term sounds better) is one of the most fulfilling experiences I have had as a cyclist thus far. I think this all stems from my less than rosy introduction to the cycling community. When you tell a salesmen that your budget for your first bike is $400 and he scoffs in your face, its not very confidence inspiring. But, I digress. That's a rant for another day.

Anyway back to the subject at hand. One of my rookies (Decision: Use the term interchangeably!) and I were talking the other day and he was worried about his recent performance on the bike which he felt wasn't up to par. After reassuring him that we all ebb and flow on the bike, I said you need to find your inner Belgian. The remark wasn't that important and I mentioned it in a jokingly and off handish sort of way.

His response: "What's so special about the Belgians?"

Trust me when I say that he was properly educated. Included was a lecture on how most people think of the French and the Tour de France when they first get into cycling. I guess more of a rant than a lecture...I dislike the French. Accept Brice Feillu, he's ok in my mind. Maybe Charles de Gaulle too.


The Koppenberg

the Tour of Flanders

Paris Roubaix


Ah the Classics!

Don't get me wrong, I like the Tour de France and I watch it intently. But nothing compares to the racing in Belgium. The mud, the rain, "Belgian Paste", the does everything to dispense rumors that road cyclists are a bunch of Nancy-boys. I believe the word we can use is Epic.

As if this new guy wasn't properly convinced, I proceeded to drop the figurative A-Bomb of Belgian Superority:

Eddy! Boom! (Insert mushroom cloud image)

I sent the rookie on his way to wikipedia land to research "The Cannibal"....

His response?

"So this Belgian is a real OG?"

Ah yes an Original Gangster indeed!


Tuesday, December 1, 2009


Well, I finally got around to it and joined the ECCC Blogosphere. Figured it was time to join the fray and make sure everyone knew what Delaware was up to.

I guess I can start off by explaining the title of my blog. The intent of the title was not to nickname myself the Small Wonder. Anyone who knows me or can remember what I look like, would realize the irony immediately. "The Small Wonder" is actually our old state motto. Our governor changed it to "Its Good to Be First", but that seemed just a bit too pretentious for a blog concerning bicycle racing.

We've been busy this fall replenishing our ranks for the upcoming Road Season. Its been a blast showing the new members the 'ropes' and watching them improve. We even managed a few skills-specific rides.

We're all readily awaiting the upcoming season and the ECCC ambiance.

Until then more training is necessary!