I rode the North Table rim rock trail this weekend for the first time this summer. It’s a magnificent little 1.7 mile trail on the top of the mesa, a breezy little relief after you’ve busted your ass climbing up from the valley that encompasses the Coors brewery, clear creek and the straggly bits of Golden. The trail pops you out onto the north-eastern rim of the mesa. For those coming from the airport, hauling ass towards the ski resorts, this is the first ‘mountain you pass, on your right as you crawl up I-70. I waved, you should wave back next time.

You swing around a couple of low hills, and all of the sudden you’re looking at Kansas. I mean, probably not, unless the flat-earth people are right (they’re not) but the view is epic – downtown to your right, Boulder and the Flatirons behind your left shoulder. Geologic dramatacism making space. Bad shit too, the sins of man – Rocky Mountain Flats, a pretty sketchy pile of nuclear poison, the bastard step child of the yet-to-be-unplugged military-industrial-complex sitting right there under three big ass wind turbines, so everything is ok, cause it’s Green now. The brown cloud of Denver sitting below you so, it’s kind of ok cause you’re not breathing it in theory? Also how is smog still a thing?

The trail tops out (again – its small, 90 feet of vertical from where you top out on the mesa, don’t be impressed), and there’s two crows – just playing in the sky with half the state as their backdrop (again no, cause flat earth is not a fucking thing). There was reasonable breeze coming up the mesa from the east and these dudes were loving it. Launching into sharp, frankly stupid (they didn’t ask me) dives into the head winds blowing up the headwall. I sat there for a good fifteen minutes just watching them dive and soar, at times making -– what bird noises? – maybe just joyful sounds as they played on thermals I’m not blessed with an understanding of. Diving off the mesa with a foot or less of clearance over the rim and then shooting up into the rarified Colorado air. Just joyful play. I guess they don’t understand the guy on the bike either, but at least we’re both enjoying the day.

Near Fall

The Texas Summer, while not as epically brutal as 2011, has finally let slip it’s hold on the hill country. At 65º in the day time, it finally seems sensible to be wearing something more then a tee shirt and watching college football is seasonally appropriate.

This is not just my Texas centric perspective speaking, I really think we have a different take on this whole seasonal change thing. I don’t say Fall, as well, we just have Summer and Not Summer. Not Summer is comprised of spring-like and fall-like days (not necessary in the traditionally correct order). Either of these ‘like’ days can also be liberally interspersed with fresh shakings of summer heat or weird an unexpected freezes. The unpredictability keeps it spicy – northerners, you just settle in with your snow tires and road salt. Us, we could be sliding sideways own Mopac one day, and out looking for an open swimming pool the next.

Regardless, today was an acceptably awesome fall-like day. There’s was an early roll to ride bikes. There was drinking of coffee and not subsequently sweating bullets. There was some nice rolling trail. Flat Creek ranch is a private piece of steep creek-bed with old oak stands, multiple drainages and about 10 miles of trail. Apparently someone skewered themselves (shoulder to lung) with a cedar branch in a TMBRA race a few years back (he lived and was henceforth known as kabob (that last statement is untrue, but funny)). Either way this place is pretty and fun and sadly closed to us for most of the year, today being a noticeable exception.

I seem to remember hitting the deck being a lot easier to bounce back from in my early and late twenties. One little miscue trying to unlock the rear shock before some loose but fun down hill found me on my back epically tangled up in bike. I think i used my leg as a brake somehow. My only serious motivation to get up was to not be run over by the folks behind me, who I’d only recently passed. Had I been alone on the trail I probably would have stayed there some combination of thrifty minutes minus the time insects (who don’t give two fucks about near-fall, they will eat you any time of the year) started to gnaw on my appendages.

Getting old seems to be a lot like fall-like days – some of the good of the old (i can still ride a bike) and some oft the not so good (I considered letting ants consume me as a less painful alternative to finishing those last four miles with what appears to be some epically bruised ribs). I guess, like the weather,  the hope is we can still keep it interspersed with a little youthful absurdity. And that we can avoid sneezing at all costs, cause holy hell does that hurt right now.




Beautiful footage of the Paris-Roubaix cobbles. That’s a lot of punishment for both tire and rider.

Just, Whoa…

A year ago this same time, Murray was on a waiting list for a heart.

Around the same time, Kevin Underhill, an Austin man who Ron Murray had never met was also experiencing a life-rendering change.  Underhill, an avid Austin cyclist and a rock and mountain climber, spent weeks observing cyclists racing at the Driveway Racetrack off of Smith Road in southeast Austin. In August 2009, he finally got the courage to participate in the bike race for the first time.  Several minutes into the race, Underhill crashed on his bike and suffered a severe head injury. He died in the hospital a few days later.

Underhill’s family donated his organs, reportedly saving up to five people’s lives.  One of those people was Ron Murray, who received Underhill’s heart.  On Thursday, the Murray finished the first lap of the same race that Underhill embarked upon last year. More…

Ron led us out on the first lap of the race. Pretty wild.

Racing is Fun

Really. Don’t I look like I’m just having a great time?

SXSW at Mellow Johnny’s

One way for an already kickass bike shop to become more so? Hold free concerts. With free beer.


We raced at Comfort this weekend, and to say it did not go well is a magnificent understatement. Here’s how I remember it at least.

Ok, here we go wade. One minute, timers, running…30 seconds… we’re going to roll, off clip in, sprint for the first turn, cut it on the inside, and then just hang on. And here we go…holy crap that worked! I’m in 4th! Well now 5th, well now 6th ok, shut up and keep place, don’t mess this up. Here we go, first technical section. And crap. Wow, you screwed that up horribly…so much for that, look there goes my entire field. Fantastic. Ok calm down we’ll catch back up on the climbs…and here we go, we’re climbing. And climbing, and jesus did I take a wrong turn? I’m stuck in some repeating climbing loop that never goes downhill. Ok , no it’s cool there’s some down…oh wow, more climbing, awesome. Look 500 feet up the side of that hill – more riders… wow that’s my group. Ok not going to catch them, lets just finish this thing. And we’re climbing again. Oh look a solid wall of rock, nope not going to ride that. Ok, cool just got passed by a junior girl who started 30 minutes after me…yeah this is not going well. And we’re climbing…ok the end is near. The end of me, not this race. Liz, I’m sorry for leaving the toilet seat up. Mom, dad – love you. God is that you? You’re black, that’s rad! Oh wait, no that’s just the course marshal. Holy crap it’s the finish…there’s my car… there’s beer in that car. Wonderful little beers, I’m going to finish this wretched ride for you…

Mud. Lotsa Mud

4126933962_99dc035504I’m going to defer to Cormac McCarthy to describe my first lap at the Mellow Classic this weekend. If you haven’t read The Road and don’t plan on seeing a grizzly Vigo Mortenson this week when the movie comes out, the brief synopsis is a boy and his father surviving in post apocalyptic America. In lap one this weekend, there was mud, cold, mud, bleakness, mud, and despair. There was no touching father son interactions (my dad was wisely at home grouting a bathtub) and I was not being chased by a horde of starving cannibals (although the NRC Pedal masher team makes a good substitute), but read the book, or really any of McCarthy’s work and you get the idea.

Lap two was more about me spacing out and trying to figure out a few things.

1. Exactly how bits of mud had made it into certain parts of my shorts that will remain unmentioned for fear of site censorship at various workplaces.

2. Exactly how many miles I was from the cooler or Fireman’s #4 that awaited me in the back of the Hotel Subaru.

3. The precise weight gained in mud and gravel that had affixed itself to my person, my bicycle and it’s tires.

4. How many more of the 12-and under group were going to pass me before I finished the fucking race, thereby further crushing my spirit.

5. Thinking on new adjectives to describe the state of my person, as simply muddy wasn’t really cutting it.

Upon finishing lap two, and the race, my chief accomplishments were 4126857110_1624c1e695grandly tallied up as not being last, not falling down, and making it back to the car to find the previously-mentioned-sextuplet-of-blessed-golden-elixir.

Riding at Lance’s house is fun though. You get to watch National Champions Race. You get a (peanut butter like mud aside) fantastic course, and of course great spectators. Mellow Johnny’s deserves credit for putting on a helluva an event, even with uncooperative weather.

Also of note – this race was not impossible for some, as Germ pulled second and from what I understand, was just edged out of first by a slippery rock.  And to the racers who donated their prize money back tot the LAF foundation – damn classy move.

Germ’s Pics | My pics


It’s 8:30pm, it’s still about 98+ degrees (even though the sun is down) and I’m sitting on the back porch at Rudy’s with rob, clad in full spandex-riding gear, shot gunning a Lonestar, after having walked three miles up from the bottom of the greenbelt. But let me back up…

I’m a firm believer that everything should have general operating parameters. Don’t not use this toaster in the bathtub. This tuna best eaten before 2062. This bike is best ridden in non-fatal temperatures.

3663413540_6b8255a320On that last one, I think perhaps we maybe exceeded our advisable temperatures range today. In hindsight the bike probably was fine, (the tires were not), but the rider (me) was functioning a little below optimal efficiency. Now I’m a big believer in getting out when it’s hot, and I’ll take this any day over the nefarious winter version of this extreme. If you can ride your bike in Texas in the summertime, you can ride pretty much anywhere. But at 5:30 we were pushing 104 with a Heat index of 107, so things were going from epic to stupid pretty fast.

The idea was, lets put down some miles on the road getting out to the trail, do a figure-eight loop with a few gut-buster climbs, roll back in to downtown the road, drink a beer at Royal Blue. It was solid, it was great, it was fucking retarded. The problem comes from me being cheap. Sometimes this works in my favor, sometimes it ends in me shotgguning lonestar’s at Rudy’s. Six months ago, I bought some very lightweight tires to race on and liked them so much, I’ve kept them into the summer (since my racing season was one race), and well past the useable life of the side-walls. Whether it was the heat, my ever-exapnding girth, or just my Karma coming back to bite me for being a cheapskate, At mile 3 everything started going wrong.

Keep in mind, I’m an Eagles Scout so I leave the house on a bike ride pretty well prepared. There’s redundancies in place to keep things from going to hell. Well, first the sidewall split and the sealant, which had pretty much cooked off in the heat, didn’t really cut the mustard. Then the tube i had was a narrower diameter than recommended for the tire. Then the whole thing exploding a second time, just as we finished our second descent to the creek bottom. So, at this point, as the british would say, we are good and fucked.

I guess we could look at the positives of this experience. I didn’t throw my bike into the woods like I tempted too (I did throw a few rocks). The bums that populate that area of the Greenbelt learned some new choice, f-bomb-laced phrases. Germ got to run an evac to get the car at time trail-speeds and find a new exit out tho the road that, in his words, smelled like death and dead things. And Rob and I got a scenic walk back through the gated community next to the bum camp (from which we almost did not escape), down 360 which was pleasantly radiating the days heat back into space and our faces, while Semi’s barreled past at mach5.

Not a good day, but we leaned some things – like don’t be cheap when it comes to something like a tire. Many public thanks to Germ and Rob for tolerating the chaos that I caused, and the facilitating the evac. New, thick bastard tire with a gallon of sealant, is going on today.

Bad Day

It wasn’t the whole reason, but it was the final straw for sure – after two days of missed appointments and way-too-long phone calls, the AT&T U-verse dude informed me that, due to our apartment’s electrical system being so old it was actually installed in 1836 by Mescalaro Apaches hoping to trade some day-labor for some booze, we will in fact, not be able to have cable installed, and more importantly I will not be watching the Giro de Italia this weekend.

What follows is my not-so-PG-13 rant on this subject. If you are easily offended, best just to press on down the road. Read more