October 17, 2008


Greetings from the Cycling Classics Capital,

Not to beat a dead horse, but I too am a new rider to the 53x11 scene and will hopefully contribute a unique perspective to the randomness that is this blog.

Hailing all the way from Los Angeles, California, he's a zero time world champion and winner of exactly no gold medals, he weighs in at a lean mean 90 kilos and a lanky 195.6cms, please welcome the newest European (American) member of 53x11...ME!

Yes, I'm happily blogging from the other side of the planet in what is commonly referred to as Belgium or as cyclists call it...heaven. I'd like to thank Evan and Owen for the badassness that is 53x11 coffee and for openly suggesting that I'm the type of cyclist they're looking for, one that can stay upright on a two-wheeled bike without a motor. Now, I'm a blissfully over-caffeinated crank turning machine that can hammer up cobblestoned climbs in an amount of time that shall not be discussed here.

Clearly I've lost the attention of everyone so I write for the sake of writing. I'm an avid cyclist of 20 years, I'm 35, having cut my racing teeth on a full rigid aqua-green Peugeot mountain bike that I bought at a garage sale from my Dad for $50 (he gave me the family discount). For the most part I've been an MTBer for those years only riding into the road genre over the last three. Fortunately business has brought me across the pond and placed me in Belgium for at least 6 years. I've been priviledged enough to be racing the local road scene for the last two years gaining the Amateur Euro experience to take back to the States to whoop all you old Cat 5 guys. I'm living the dream folks, great cycling, great beer, and more podium girls than that convention I went too...ahhh, but never mind that. I could go on for minutes about the coolness of living in Belgium, but you've all heard it before so I'll just cut right to last weekend's escapades.

Last Saturday a buddy and myself attended one of the bigger season ending Randonnees (Rando or a fully supported club/individual ride that costs about $3 to do) and had a blast doing it. The ride was only 126kms, but was one of the funnest rides I've done since the last rando that started and ended at a brewery. Skipping to the good parts, about 20miles in on relatively flat Belgian roads someone decided it would be funny to throw a 600 foot climb with a max grade of 22% right in my way. At my size most folks mistake me for someone who doesn't give a damn about climbing, but rest assured as Eric and Paul can attest too, I can drop those skinny fellas like a college kid drops a shotgunned beer can while reaching for another.

At the 45 mile marker I had the pleasure off turning 3 laps on the Paris-Roubaix Velodrome in Roubaix. HOLY CRAP, if you've never ridden a velodrome you need to back your butt away from this blog and do it, go ahead, go, now, you won't regret it. If you've ever had the opportunity or the ability to ride sideways on a wall you've ridden a velodrome, just not the one in Roubaix.

Later in the day...I had been skipping from group to group when I finally caught one doing 35-38kmph in a tight little red and white french speaking group (Belgians don't speak Belgian) and was lucky enough to be witness to one club pedaling right through another to get out in front while on a three bike wide canal road. I'd never seen anything like it until I saw some sort of Contador-Armstrong power struggle between riders at the front of the group. So, I did what any smart rider would do I pushed my way to the front, by riding the sidewalk past the cluster of red, white, black, and blue that was the mess of carbon and spokes. Fortunately no one was physically injured, although Egos were clearly damaged, as we all ended up riding to the finish in one small 44kmph (the last three downhill kms) group.

Then we drank beer.

Although your boredom has almost caused you to surf elsewhere, you'll be happy to know that the hysterics that are my measly life will continue to grow in a made for TV movie and you'll be one of the founding members of my fan club. That is, as long as you can prove to me you can pedal a bike uphill at 75 MILES per hour after gulping a piping hot, sans warning label, cup of coffee made from the sweet beans that are the addiction subtly known as 53x11.

My cycling legacy will not carry on forever, sadly. So for my sake and yours drink some 53x11 coffee, it'll make you much much cooler, but not cooler than me (except you Paul).

Check it out Yo, http://www.53x11coffee.com/

Peace and Precisely Ground 53x11 Coffee Grease
(Get it, peace and grease rhyme)

Riding with the bean...

Hello all!

I'm perhaps the newest member of the 53x11 team, just joined a couple of weeks ago. Glad to be aboard, seems like a great group, and I love the coffee! I'm going to have to change my favorite brew to "The Big Breaker", I've really enjoyed a ratio of about 2 parts "Big Ring" blended with 1 part "Chain Breaker" - Just right! I'm in the Chicago area, western 'burb of Naperville to be exact. Hoping for more people to join from here to have some fellow riders at events this year. I'm new to road riding this year, having spent the past few summers casually riding a hybrid. For some reason, at the ripe old age of 43 I caught the riding bug - and am hooked beyond belief. For the past dozen years or so most of my summer has been devoted to golf. Played well in tournaments, won a couple small flighted events, got my handicap down to about 7.6.

Last winter I decided to get a road bike to take the riding up a notch or two. I loved it from the get-go. Golf definitely took a back seat this year to the riding obsession.

I've gone just crazy on buying bikes. I've now got three:
'07 LeMond Zurich - all carbon with Dura-Ace everything, Race X Lite wheels (going carbon tubular...)
'01 LeMond Victoire - All-titanium beauty that rides like a dream, Ultegra SL everything
'08 LeMond Poprad - Cyclocross bike for the prairie paths and rougher riding - and maybe even CX races next season...

Overall this year, I've ridden 3,250 miles, and will ride until there's ice on the roads... Last night I was sportin' the 53x11 jersey and did a fast 40 miler around the area. Beautiful crisp Fall evening in Chicago. I competed in 3 time trials and 1 road race this year. One of the time trials I won my category - the Citizen/Cat 5 group. Small group, but hey, a win's a win - right? I did my first road race at the end of September, placed 20th out of 50 starters. I met Scott Glendenning there, a fellow 53x11 rider. I was fairly happy with my finish, considering I took the first 8-10 miles *very* conservatively since it was my first race and didn't want to cause, or be part of, any wrecks. It was fun learning some strategy along the way, had a blast jumping from one group up to a faster group and then working together with a group of about 6 riders. I felt like they sucked my wheel more than any of the others in the group - but it was a great learning experience. I also did a charity ride this year for the American Cancer Society, raising $800 for the cause.

I look forward to next season, and the winter in Chicago will seem more like 6 years than 6 months until the snow melts and I can get back out there. I plan to do more time trials (getting some deep section carbon tubulars in the offseason to [hopefully] help my times) and road races next year - and will be flying the 53x11 colors!