Sunday, October 30, 2011

MFG Cyclocross Series - Race # 5

The cyclocross train keeps on rollin' with MFG Race # 5 now in the books. The MFG and Seattle series usually alternate weekends, this weekend being the rare doubleheader. MFG on Saturday and Seattle on Sunday. More 'cross then you can shake a stick at. Better eat your Wheaties.

This patented Cross-O-Report reflecting the action from Saturday...

Magnuson Park in Seattle hosted as the official race site. Spectacular fall day included at no extra charge.

SRAM red and blue skies.

Still working on my alleged photography skills, playing with blur and panning. Crappy, decent, not bad? Place your vote now.

Aligned helmets. Ian to the left of both shots.

Fast kid and teammate Henry, buzzes the tunnel.

Ian dives into the tunnel.

Other junior racers cruise the tunnel. Not really a full tunnel, but a cool vantage point for some overhead shots.

Teammate Jarrett focuses on the win, taking first place for Junior Boys 13 -14 division. Great job.

Ian looking pro running the barriers. Nothing cooler then watching your 12 year old son race. Put in a solid ride, taking 5th place in Junior Boys 13-14 division, only 7 kids in that class for the day.

Not really Ian's type of course - flat, fast, decent amount of pavement - him being more of a technical mountain biker. Also racing with two swollen knuckles, courtesy of a gym class mishap that bent his fingers back. Ouch. Then, even though he seemed fine at the race, spent the rest of the day on the couch feeling sick. We elected to skip the Sunday race and sleep in - smart move - need to keep all this fun and positive.

Being close to Halloween, Costumes-O-Plenty circulating the course. Gotta love the 'cross scene.

Yes indeed.

Friday, October 28, 2011

Surf Rock - Dick Dale Style

My fascination with surf guitar continues. Specifically, old dudes still rocking surf guitars in defiance to age, trends, tide levels, and loss of hearing.

With that, may I present Dick Dale completely melting ears and shredding guitar picks, along with generally kicking ass. If you don't think this rocks - better get yourself checked...

We now return to our regularly scheduled bike fluff, already in progress...

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Link Wray - Late to the Party

Over the years I've seen the name Link Wray mentioned occasionally. I knew he was some kind of guitar pioneer, but never heard anything he's done. So, I've heard of him, but never heard him. Until recently anyway...

George, a musician work pal of mine and I, did a little music related DVD swap a few weeks back. I loaned him one of my Ramones DVDs in exchange for his copy of It Might Get Loud, which I really enjoyed. The film is worthy of an entire post itself, but that's for another time. In the documentary, Jimmy Page is listening and playing air guitar to Link Wray's Rumble, with a huge grin on his face.

See for yourself, via poor example taken from YouTube...

That put a bug in my ear to hear more of Link Wray, and after a few hours of cruising Google and YouTube, very cool find indeed. Being a fan of louder rock - metal, punk, surf - found his work fascinating. His early country western sound, no thanks, not my deal. His rock oriented work in the '50s and '60, yes please, way ahead of its time.

A few examples from the early '60s...

I've heard The Ventures and Dick Dale, both fantastic surf sounds from that era - but I think Link Wray is even better. There's more of a raw sound to it, which pushes all my buttons. And actual feedback. Feedback, I tell you. Link Wray could very well be the pioneer of the power chord distorted rock sound. And that is the basis for - punk, alternative, grunge - whatever you label it, rock goodness. Amazing.

His life story interesting as well. Born in 1929 in North Carolina, served in the Korean war, contracted tuberculosis that cost him a lung, which curtailed his singing and focus more on guitar. His instrumental Rumble in 1958 put him on the map, however he never obtained full guitar hero status, at least in a modern view. In a sense, denied his rock star fame and fortune, considering the sound he contributed to the evolving rock scene.

Out of all this, what I dig most of his story, is that he continued to perform until 2005. His last show only 4 months before his death at age 76. Incredible. And not only that, from the clips I've viewed, his sound was even better later on. Punchier and louder. Impressive.

Clip from 1998, Link Wray around 70 years old. Incredible. I've watched it about 10 times and still get a kick out of it...

It's always cool to discover great music that's new to you, especially a historic "find" like this. I'm just sorry I'm late to Link Wray party, would have been fantastic to see him live. He may have been possibly the coolest old dude in rock.

Link Wray, R.I.P - with maybe just little feedback for effect...

Monday, October 24, 2011

MFG Cyclocross Series - Race # 4

Gather 'round kids for yet another tale of 'cross racing and 'cross related folk. Each post very similar to previous editions in words and pictures. Yup, let's put that monthly Internet service payment to use, shall we?

This "same yet slightly different" cross report originates from Marymoor Park, smack dab in the middle of Redmond, right here in the lovely state of Washington. This being official Race # 4 of the official MFG Cyclocross series. Not to be confused with official Seattle Cyclocross official Race # 1, held at the very same location. And you though bike racing was easy.

Racer Boy Ian was iffy about racing on this particular Sunday, due to after effects of a bad cold that kept him outta school for three days this week. I skipped my (alleged attempt to sorta) race, so we could sleep in to access Ian's health later in the morning...

Awoke not feeling 100% - but with just a stuffy nose and currently being 4th overall for his division - pushed the go button for race duty. Overall series points are points, no matter what the finishing position. Off we go, mom and sis bagging this edition and remaining at the estate.

I continue to shoot a few zillion pictures per race. Some crappy, some kinda blurry, and the occasional few that look sorta okay.

Some examples in no particular order...

A few of the JL Velo junior boys joke around the staging area, Ian buried back there somewhere. Not shown, dude that helps run Rad Racing who I chatted with, noting his Ramones shirt. I unzipped my jacket to display my Ramones shirt and the rock talk commenced.

There's a lady who knows all that glitters is mud, and she's buying a stairway to nowhere.

The joke would be funnier with running the stairway to nowhere, picturing women racers doing battle. I am however, too lazy to dig though the pile of pics at this point. D-U-M-B, everyone's accusing me.

Actual adult members of JL Velo line up for their attempt at fame and glory.

Part of the course buzzed along the banks of the velodrome, as Ian demonstrates. We heard there were Crashes-O-Plenty earlier on the blue painted stripe to Ian's right. Wet/muddy 'cross tires + painted pavement = road rash. It's all part of that new math the kids are doin'.

Coming soon to a gym near you: Cyclocross Stairmaster. Carry bike up wet slippery steps, watching CNN on a flat screen TV, while fellow gym members heckle you and ring cowbells.

JL Velo teammate Garth, does a little flat track demo for the cheering masses.

You can't go wrong with a name like Team Wedgie. Notice the ample space left over for possible sponsors...

Ian grits his teeth and guns it down the start straight. We talked a bit and changed his strategy for this race. Instead of hanging off the back and slowly passing some people, tried going fast at the start and hanging on as long as possible. He was buzzing pretty good on the first lap, not all that far behind the usual super fast kids, then faded towards the end.

Eventually finished 12th out of 15 kids in his class. Considering he was pretty sick just a few days before, I give him big kudos for going for it and trying a new approach. I always get a kick outta watching him and the other kids race.

Some of the younger kids going at it. With the shades and upturned cycling cap, this little girl is styling. Fantastic experience for these kids, especially the girls. Not to stereotype, but what would be cooler - have this young girl grow into a kick ass 'cross racer - or a cheerleader? I vote 'cross racer. The ballot box is now open.

Course also wandered around the velodrome infield, as well as the surrounding area. Great spot for a 'cross race, pavement parking and real rest rooms included at no extra charge. Call now, operators are standing by.

Ian sets up for one of the many corners, tongue pointing out the correct direction.

Ian's race included all the Junior fields (ages 9 - 17 or so) along with Beginner Men and Women. A motley assortment of adults, kids, pro look racers, sweatshirts, 'cross and mountain bikes - including now semi-famous local dude on the snow rig - seen at stair bottom.

Towards the top is super fast 12 year old Scott, the only racer I saw ride the stair section. Awesome.

Cyclocross racers come in all shapes and sizes.

Teammate Henry's 12th birthday means donuts for all. Mmm....donuts.

JL Velo Racer Dude pierces zoom lens with death stare, while Clark Kent pedals for his life.

Go ahead, comment on his pink kit. I double dog dare you. I get a kick outta seeing the Team Soft Like a Kitten gang in action. The 'cross scene is a cool mix of roadies, mountain biker types, 'cross specialists, hipsters, single speed nut jobs, kids and normal folk. All around fun group of creative and interesting people. Get out there.

Follow the leader.

Carve a corner.

Look into my spokes. You are getting sleepy... You will buy a 'cross bike... You will enter a 'cross race... You will get muddy... You will suffer like a dog... You will like it...

Every face tells a story.

You gotta be a fast dude to rock the neon pink, singlespeed, Speedvagen.

Two pro looking JL Velo types in battle with weirdo helmet guy, along with shirtless dude racing with one bib strap pulled down, Fred Flintstone style. Yabba Dabba Do. Man, I love 'cross.

This now concludes yet another installment of the 'Cross Report; chock full of blurry pics, lame humor, goofy embedded links, and a sappy ending. Good night. Drive safely....

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Must Fight the Lameness

Man, I haven't ridden in a week. Last ride was a quick solo mountain bike cruise after Ian's 'cross race last Sunday. A nice ride, but way too short. Now here it is, almost Sunday again. Yikes.

Busy/weird week at work combined with a slight cold installed as my excuse. Drove to work everyday, sat in traffic, and paid to park. That'll teach me. I almost put in some trainer time in the garage, but did not. I am lame.

Last winter was my lamest winter in years, slacked off big time. Must not let that happen again. Must fight the lameness...

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Seattle Cyclocross Series - Race # 3

Race number 3 of the Seattle Cyclocross series went down on Sunday. As usual, Ian did battle in the Junior Boys 13 - 14 division. I, uh, walked around and took pictures. Oh yeah, I also ate a bratwurst (burp). I'm exhausted. Mom and sister Amy came out to cheer Ian on, which is always cool. They even had a playground to provide a little side entertainment for Amy. Wife Lori eventually froze her ass off, gotta bring warmer clothes next time. Considering they're not bike geeks, good sports to hang around for a few hours.

Event held at Silver Lake in Everett, Washington. Our first trip there, very condensed park; for parking and warm up. Cool course though - very technical with short climbs and descents, a few barriers and plenty of beach sand. At least what I saw of it while eating my bratwurst sandwich...

Ian dug the course, very mountain bikey - yes, mountain bikey - look it up. After scoping it out, was looking forward to racing. I bumped up his confidence by telling him it was his kind of course, with all his mountain bike experience. One of the adult racers on the team also mentioned it to him. Nice.

Unfortunately, Ian only was able to pre-ride part of the course, since we arrived slightly late to the festivities. Sometimes lugging the entire family to the gig slows down the process. Not a big deal though.

Alrighty then, the story in pictures...

I've never seen the JL Velo team tent so crowed. Lots of people racing and related visitors. Pretty cool. First time Ian has warmed up on a trainer (green jacket). Good thing I brought it, since really no room for a riding warm up.

Off go the Juniors. Short pavement start dumps 'em right into the sand. Cowabunga dude!

The sand claimed a few Juniors, as well as adults. That's Ian to the far right.

Ian runs through another Pile-O-Sand. Put in a solid race, grabbing 10th place out of 20 kids. Tough course, I think he did great. He's getting more competitive, was slightly disappointed with 10th place, thought he was going to score higher. I think if he rode the sand sections instead of running, would have bumped up a few places. The faster kids rode most of the sandy areas - not easy though.

I explained being slightly disappointed can be a good thing, means he wants to do well. To me, he put in a great showing at a tough race. There's also some really fast kids in his class, some of which can put a whooping on adult racers.

This kid is around 10 years old. Wanna race him? Some of these kids are impressive indeed.

Run Ian run.

Expensive saddles and Silver Lake.

Some fast dudes give it a go. I'm getting a kick outta photographing this stuff. Shooting a 'cross race is a hellava lot easier then racing a 'cross race...

Run with the seagull. He'll show you the way. Or maybe leave a deposit on your helmet.

Focus on the landing.

Tattoos make you go faster. It's pure science, trust me. I have no tattoos and I'm slower then crap. See? How much proof do you need?

Movement is good. Speed is good.

I dig this shot. Am I allowed to say that? I've been taking a stupid amount of pictures at each race. Burst mode and digital "film" add up to thousands of shots. Total Loony Tunes to sort through later. It's fun though, in a sick "Hey, it's 1:00 AM, I better get to bed" sorta way.

The sand claims yet another victim. Dude started cramping up while remounting. Ouch. I really felt for him while finishing my bratwurst sandwich and checking camera settings...

His bike does match the sand, and his team kit the course tape. Some kind of artistic statement, yes? Maybe not...

Are we having fun yet? Inverted bikes mock all passing racers...

Redline bikes are so fast, hard to keep a hold of 'em. Dudes under Redline tent gawk in amazement.


Blue highlights and sand. Perfect together. Who knew?

Smile or grimace? You be the judge.

Hey, nobody passes me. Especially her....

That's all folks. Another quickly written, fluffy bike post added to the Internet. Just doing what I can to add to the Information Superhighway. Al Gore would be proud.

Until next time. Same fluffy time, same fluffy channel...