Monthly Archives: February 2016

Weird is the new normal

I have a nice looking butt.  Well proportioned.  Nicely shaped.  Looks good in spandex.  I’ve been told this recently.  Actually my wife was told this by a fellow rider friend of mine.  I walked into the conversation.  I’m sure they were probably talking about tandem riding or riding in pace lines.  I don’t care.  She said it.  My wife took it in stride.  She knows.  Cyclists are strange folk.  We wear strange things.  We talk about strange things.  We drink and eat strange things.  Cyclists are special.
 Have you ever been at a family or friendly gathering where no one else rides a bike and it’s rarely brought up?  When it is discussed its kind of a “well, we gotta ask eventually” kind of discussion?
“So Eddie how’s the job going?”
“Good, good.  Can’t complain.  One day at a time you know.”
“Cool, cool. You see that new movie out?”
“Yeah.  It’s good”
“Yep…soooo you still doing that bicycle thing?”
“Oh yeah, yeah.  Road a few miles this morning.  I have a century race next weekend.  Should be a blast”
“Well good.  Sounds fun….soooo I read that your junk can go numb on long rides?”
We wear skin tight clothing and know the difference between spandex, wool, polyester and mixed blends.  We order race cause it sounds European and cool but order a size larger so it fits lie a club cut.  We don’t discuss “outfits” in daily life but have no issue coordinating kits.  For some of us, the brighter the better.  Orange, blue, red, yellow, polka-dot, green, fusia…sometimes all on the same jersey.  We have no issue with putting lube down our pants in mid conversation then grabbing a pre ride GU packet and sucking down Maple Bacon gel.  It’s not weird.  It’s a cycling thing.  We wear socks that have a picture of bacon and eggs on them.  Socks with roosters, skeletons, gorillas, biohazard signs and even a pair with zombies and blood.  We wear shoes that click more than tap dancers when we go into a gas station for the almighty mid-ride pizza stop.  We ride bikes more expensive than some used cars.  Kids don’t need a college fund.  Look at us.  We didn’t have a college fund and we turned out “normal”.  We sometimes leave our families, drive hundreds, even a thousand miles to carry our bikes in mud, walk our bikes up hills and suffer through a century of pain…and it’s “epic”.  Cyclists are strange folk.
We aren’t alone in the world though.  When is the last time you saw a cyclist wear bibs with the word “juicy” written across their butt?  (Although not a bad idea considering the lead In to this post).  When’s the last time a cyclist sprayed urine all over himself to better hide theirscent?  Had toenails fall off from pedaling too much?  Gotten cauliflower ears from wearing their helmets for too many years?  Peed in their clothes while driving near 200 mph for 4 straight hours?  Taken their cycling gloves off and retightened them 30 times while approaching the bike?  Jumped into the air and head butted another team mate because he bombed that last low water crossing like a FREAKING BOSS!!!  Ever see a cyclist cross the finish line, run 100 feet, do a belly slide in euphoric joy and have 20 other cyclists jump on top of him?  Sick, No?  No.
Look.  We all have our “other” lives away from our desk jobs.  We all have our outlets.  We all need our outlets.  Some of us read, play sports, take long walks, go shopping, grow gardens, target shoot, research genealogy, etc…the list is limitless.  So, the next time you think about that weird family member or friend in his crazy spandex and crotch lube remember to look around you.  Remember cousin Bobby actually pays money for deer urine to pour over himself.  Not the cheap fake urine either, the GOOD stuff!!  Remember poor sister Kerri can’t paint her toenails for a few months because of that last marathon.  Uncle JeffY still has to adjust his crotch every 5 minutes even though he gave up baseball 10 years ago and finally stopped wearing his cup 5 years ago.  Weird.  I know.
 We’re all weird. We all have odd rituals.  It’s not a cyclist thing.  It’s a human being thing.  People are all weird.  Cyclists just say screw it and embrace it.  We all drink the same coffee in the morning and beer in the evening.  Except, well, cyclists enjoy the best espresso pull and finest IPA or Stout because you know….we’re better than everyone else….
 Let’s all embrace and support each other in our weird ass lives and habits.  Our growing community will be a hell of a lot more fun if we just laugh, shake our heads and say “what are ya gonna do, they’re family”.
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 (I hope you realize I wrote this entire blog entry to brag publicly that someone said I have a nice looking butt, right?)

Reagan’s Story

Every night my wife and I tag team bedtime duties.  I take the youngest.  She takes the oldest.  I read books, lie with my daughter for awhile, kiss her good night then go into my oldest daughters room to get hugs and say good night.  Sometimes I catch her on her Kindle or old iPhone and have to remove the device from the situation.  She knows she’s not supposed to be using it after bedtime so she’s usually very apologetic about it.  Last night was one of those nights.  I could tell something was a little different though by the way she reacted.  She was smiling sheepishly and had more of a look of pride then guilt.  I asked what she was doing and she told me she was writing.  She saw me writing one of my upcoming blog entries on a plane ride and she wanted to do the same.  She asked if I would put it on Facebook when she was done.  There’s no way I could say no to that.  I love watching her confidence grow every day and I will never stand in the way of that.  So…here’s Reagan’s first Blog Post.  If you like it, let know.  I’d love to see her do more…

PS – Yes.  I am wrapped around her finger.  Yes.  I do realize this all could be an elaborate plan for a new American Girl doll.  I don’t care.  It’s what daddy’s do.

 

Reagan’s Story

My dad rides in the DK 200.  It stands for Dirty Kansas or Dirty Kanza.  My dad rides in it every year.  I love watching him cross the finish line at like midnight.  I love giving the riders that come across his fives.  I love asking my dad, “Did you win?”.  He always tells me no.  He tells me “a race is not just about winning, it’s about having fun”.  I like riding bikes with my dad.  We go riding around Thorndale by Emporia.  We ride gravel rides and sometimes at Camp Alexander.  My legs start to hurt really bad but he always says “you just have to keep going”.

A couple weeks ago I went around Thorndale for the first time without stopping.  There’s a very steep climb on a corner that has always been hard for me.  I have gotten a flat tire on my bike when we were riding.  My mom came to pick up my bike but I wanted to stay and keep riding on a different bike.  That worked because Norah wanted to go home with mom anyways.  One of my favorite things to do on vacations is find bike shops and go in them with my dad.

Last year a lady gave me DK riding cards.  My dad was not in them though.  So when I got home, I made a card for my dad and put it in with the other cards.

DadsDK1Dadsdk2

I like that my dad writes stories on line and he lets me read them.  On the airplane to Florida, my dad wrote one and I got to read it.  One of them I read was really funny.  I’m forward to riding in another race with my dad again.

– Reagan


I Created This Thing

I like feeling a sense of community.  I love being part of a community.  Community in my mind is defined as a group of people with a common interest.  My communities right now revolve around my family, my friends and the area we live.  I enjoy few things more than sitting around with friends listening to cycling stories, talking about roads yet travelled and usually being the butt of jokes.  I love the communities that I’m a part of.

The problem I have, the problem most of us have, is time.  There are only so many hours in a day and so many days in a week.  Most of us dedicate the majority of our time to the community described as “our families”.  Absolutely the time with family is without a doubt the most important community any of us can be a part of.  The time is justified.  The time is needed.  The time is treasured.  I do have free moments at the end of the day however when the kids are asleep and Kerri is reading that my mind drifts to those other friendships I have.  Usually it’s at 9pm or so at night.  I have 30 minutes, not 3 hours free.  What I try to do to keep those other friendships alive is check social media.  Yes, social media can be evil.  No, social media is not a replacement for sitting at the pub with friends, sitting around a fire pit with friends or going on a social ride with friends.  BUT…it does help fill that void until the next outing.  I have cycling friends I only see in person at race events.  I have church friends I see once a week…mostly.  I have family I see only on holidays.  Various reasons but it comes back to lack of time.  Social media, when not used as a soapbox to promote ones own agenda…can be wonderful for filling this void.

A few weeks ago I created…something to help myself and hopefully others who love cycling.  We all have our own definitions of “cycling” but mine is basically…having fun on a bike.  Period.  You can ride around your neighborhood.  Ride around your town.  Ride around your county, your state, the world…but just remember to Have Fun.  Life is dramatic enough as it is…when on a bike…have, FUN.  I created something called “The Casual Cyclist”.  I went with the name because that’s what 99% of us are, Casual Cyclists.  Sometimes we pretend to be more, dream to be more but at the end of the day please don’t forget, we do this for fun.  Keep it casual.

The Casual Cyclist is a collection of a Twitter account, an Instagram account, a blog and most importantly a community minded Facebook page.  I manage it all.  I try to keep it light hearted.  I try to keep posts consistent.  My goal is that when you have 30 minutes free, 15 minutes free, 5 minutes free and your mind drifts to that “other” community of yours, you have a quick place to check.  My goal is that you will share your memories, your pictures, your stories.  My goal is to help in some small way help to continue to grow and strengthen this community of friends and cyclists that I’m a part of.  I don’t care about drama.  Drama will not be tolerated and I alone can control that “delete post” button.  I like that power.  We’re not a big enough community to be split by silly things.  I’m looking at you Jeff Young and your lack of handle bar mustache.  We ALL want that thing back!  Please have fun with The Casual Cyclist.  Please help me grow the sport of cycling.  Please help me strengthen that friendship bond.  Have fun with it.  Have.  Fun.  

I want to hear cycling History.  I never get to hear stories anymore from Mike Wise, Gary Bacon, Matt Brown, Randy Smith and countless other locals who have been doing this a long time.  I just can’t be everywhere.  I’d love to hear those stories.  I’d love to preserve those stories.  I’d love to see those old pics. Tell me your stories no matter how small you think they are.  Imagine yourself sitting around that campfire, on that bar stool or in your lawn chairs.  I think we ALL know I can post pictures of myself all day long.  Selfie king.  I’m happy to be the butt of jokes if they are from friends.  I’d rather reveal too much than not enough.  My friends know I wear my heart on my sleeve and I’ve come to accept that fact.  It’s cool.  It’s me.  I’m not changing.  I hope you enjoy The Casual Cyclist.  I hope you have fun.  I love having you in my community!

Most of all, Keep it Casual.  Please.


Local Rider Spotlight #5 – Michael Barrett

Local Rider Spotlight #5!!

Husband, father, hunter, cyclist! The boy just loves being outside around family and friends! Say howdy to

Mr Michael Barrett!

Primary miles bike- none other than “Susie” a TREK Boone 9 from the great dudes High Gear Cyclery, Inc.

Fave in-ride food- pretty much any GU pack and roctane

Tree stand or ground blind-Definitely a tree stand

Riding in cold or heat- can’t believe I’m saying this, but probably heat

Grilled or smoked- smoked

Default “Family Night” movie- Lately a combination of Big Hero 6 and any Harry Potter. Not going to lie my daughter has turned me into a Harry Potter nerd

Gas station grab food- have to go with Caseys pizza and Orange Gatorade…. Anyone remember what that combo does to me?

Two races or rides I look forward to in 2016- Gonna go with the Rouge Roubaix in St. Francisville Louisiana, and I’m anxious for the Tour de Lyon county. I was a little mad I couldn’t do it last year.

Spandex or Camo- why not both? But I prefer camo

Cajun or BBQ- tough one…. A good crawfish boil is hard to beat. So Cajun

Crawfish or crawdad- crawfish

What is One cycling lesson you learned the hard way- Don’t let Garret throw things away out of your saddle bag the night before a race. You might not be able to air up a tire if you get a flat

I’m adding one Bobby, my little motto- If you’re going to be a bear be a F-ing GRIZZLY


Local Rider Spotlight #4 – Tyler Anliker

He rides!  He hikes!  He runs!  Why would anyone run???  Anyway here he is!  Your very own!

Tyler Anliker

Primary miles bike?  2012 Trek Cronus Ultimate is the front cannon

What’s your go-to calorie intake during a century race?  Kroger chewy almond granola bars and Gatorade glacier freeze for the first 50 with a chaser of fruit punch Octane for the last 50

Bathtub or shower?  Does the bathtub come with bubbles?

Gravel or pavement?  It depends if I’m in my “Lets draw pictures on Strava mood

Deer chili or jerky?  Hmmm, yes please!

Coke or Pepsi?  Ad whats wrong with Mr. Pibb might I ask?

Favorite gas station cuisine?  Sausage pizza with Doritos Cool Ranch

Two races or rides you look forward to in 2016?  Dk200 and Prairie Fire Marathon

Star Wars or Star Trek?  May the 4th should be a national holiday…just saying

Default getaway – beach or mountains?  Mountains…I like to get high

Guilty food pleasure?  Guilt?  What guilt?!?  Theres nothing wrong with a package of double stuff Oreo’s and a gallon of Braum’s whole milk

Whats ONE cycling lesson you learned the hard way?  Don’t be messing’ with your rig a week or two before a race!  If it’s gotten you hundreds of miles of training, then it will get you through a measly hundred.


Find Your Gravel

Thirty two degrees. Rainy. Moderate wind. Shades of grey and brown. Definitely not the most inspiring time. Especially those days when that wind pics up speed and just digs down deep into your chest. Winter in Kansas.   

   
I needed gravel this morning. I needed my chance to zone out and think over life. Nothing life changing. Just needed to recharge a bit. I did not need the weather that was given to me. Don’t get me wrong I don’t mind being cold for awhile. I don’t mind being wet for awhile. I don’t enjoy cold and wet. I definitely don’t enjoy cold and wet on a casual morning ride before I head to work. That’s why people buy Jeeps. Jeeps can handle cold and wet. Jeeps can keep you warm while you get your gravel fix. I have a Jeep. I took a drive. I thought about life. I stayed warm and enjoyed gravel. Problem solved.

Gravel is definitely my happy place. You have yours and I have mine. You have the beach. I have flats with sandy mixed fine gravel. You have the mountains. I have endless rollers with chunky 2 inch gravel. You have the ocean. I have thousands of acres of waving green grass. More of a solitude kind of person? I can ride for hours and not see a single person. We all need a place to go hide for awhile. Mine just happens to be in the middle of nowhere surrounded by rock, cows and grass.   

   
I grew up in the 1980’s and 1990’s surrounded by gravel. I learned to drive a car on gravel. My rural high school was on a highway and gravel. The girls I dated were on gravel. I road my ten speed bike with road tires 20 miles to my cousins house…on gravel. I never thought anything about the actual gravel road. It was just a necessary evil to get some place. Eventually computer games became my gravel. I could play for hours. I could get lost in that huge world of bits and bytes. Leading armies, fighting dragons, racing cars, throwing the perfect touchdown pass, computer games had it all. No matter the game though I always finished feeling like I was missing something. I really wanted those experiences to be…real. I missed the physical challenge. Getting enough friends together for a pickup football game or softball was too much work.

Four years ago a friend mentioned riding bikes. Where? On gravel roads. I hadn’t owned a bike in 15 years. I bought a bike. I road 6 miles. It sucked. I road 10 windy miles. I had to have my wife come get me. I think it was ride 5 or 6 before it clicked…I’m on gravel. I’m on a bike. This is hard but…fun. I think I might really like this!!!
I’m not saying you have to run out buy a bike and fall in love with gravel riding. It can be hard at times. It’s not for everyone. It could be for you though, who knows. Find whatever makes you feel happy. Find what ever gives you a chance to hide from the world for a little bit. 
 Find you own Gravel. 

 You deserve it.

  


Local Rider Spotlight #3 – Smitty Smith

Best race memory? More of a ride than race; but our trips to Arkansas and Wisconsin were pretty memorable.

Bikini or tighties? I’m a briefs kind of guy.

2016 gravel bike? Salsa Warbird.

Gas station food? Snickers, choc milk.

Slow n steady or short n steep? Short n steep…power up that hill!

Punk or rock? Classic 70’s rock.

2016 event most looking forward to? I look forward to all of them.

Chamois cream or bare? Definitely cream.

Pre-race ritual? Starts the day before…everything has its place; clothes laid out in order that I put them on; oatmeal with peanut butter and honey for breakfast.

Bucket list ride? Kokopelli’s Trail ride…Loma, CO to Moab, UT.

True love, Jeep or BMW? Gotta go with the BMW.

Cycling advice? Don’t forget to look, listen and feel!