Sunday, August 25, 2013

Yes...Strava is a good thing

Yeah, Strava Powered
Those of us that use Strava on a regular basis, know that it is the best thing to happen to cycling since... well, cycling itself. Ok, I may be exaggerating a bit, but it is arguably one of the best ideas that actually promotes good health and of course fun.

Now, before anyone sends me any hate mail about my views; send them somewhere to someone who cares-it aint me. Strava has come under fire in the last few years due to the unfortunate incident that involved a rider in California and ultimately lead to his death. I am going to be blunt and straight forward; just like guns dont kill people, people kill people.

I know in this day and age of blame someone else for my stupidity has become the new schtick, I still (among many other cyclists) agree that you control your own stupidity. How far you are willing to go to prove how stupid you are is based on your perception of stupidity; not society's. If you feel the need to go out and win a digital challis without regards to your own safety, by all means go for it, but dont blame software for your moronic decisions. I know my limits and I know going beyond them could reduce the SS Moron to just a moron. So, there is my flaming arrow to the heart on the view on people that use Strava as a scapegoat; now why Strava is the cat's meow.

This is what matters
I am not a Facebook, update my status every 3 seconds kind of guy (I am not even on facebook or care to be for that matter)
nor do I think that the majority of the population cares anyway. This blog is the extent of my updating (which isnt very often). Strava, at least by what it was initially designed to be used for, is a way for those of use to track not only ourselves, but others in the cycling community. It is a great way to track your progress. Whether it be for racing or just for fun, it is a great online tool. 

What I really find unique about Strava is that it also allows users to connect with other riders that you would never even thought about riding with. It allows cyclists to get out and ride and learn a few things about each other and share tips as well.

This is Benjie Moreno. A very cool cat that started following me on Strava. The only contact prior to this ride where comments on Strava about rides. Today, we finally got a chance to ride together along with 4 others. Now, Benjie isnt the fastest guy out there (yet), but he learned some valuable info on the ride-have fun and dont be afraid to push your body to where it is comfortable for you. I had the most fun on the mtb in quite sometime. Trace was on his second ride and his first time at Gunpowder and he had a blast and met some cool new people as well. I think we tend to get caught up in the ride hard every time you go mentality, we lose track of these kind of rides. I would have never known who Benjie is or ridden with him had it not been for Strava. 

So, say what you will about Strava, but I am stickin' to my guns. For those of you that think it promotes pointless racing, mindless achievements and feeds ego's, does. Nothing is perfect, but think of how many people you have met because of it. Over and out.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Hill Killer Apparel Review...sorta

Well, not on this road
Well, I have put some time in my new digs from Hill Killer Apparel and not only are they a Maryland company, but they have awesome cycling clothing.

Long story short, the shop received some of their samples in the mail a few months ago and I called Mike at Hill Killer and told him what we were looking for and we talked a bit and we were really pleased with what they had to offer. I also asked about sponsorship and Mike and I talked a bit and said he would love to send something to me. Not only did he send a great looking kit, but hand delivers it as well...awesome. Now dont expect that if you live outta the area, but give these guys a look.

I have been wearing my kit religiously for a month now and it is the best fitting
My Peter Sagan routine
stuff I my arse has rubbed against since...ok, onward. The chamois is top notch. I have had a few 40 and 50 miles rides wearing this kit and complete bliss (altogether now...ahhhh). No sore caboose, in fact, it is the only chamois that didnt seem to be stitched too high in the back. I have had some really nice stuff (no names, but they hail from Europe) that made you wonder if they used a unic for a model?

I normally wear a large jersey and medium bibs and these fit the bill perfectly. No binding whatsoever and the bibs go un-noticed...well from a comfort standpoint anyway. Full zip jersey and pockets are at just about the right height; could be a tad lower, but not worth really nitpicking. The SS moron does not believe in cages on the bike, so it must pass the bottle test; and it pass it did. I didnt eat asphalt nor run any fellow riders off the road whilst trying to get my bottle out. They were very easy to stretch and manipulate. I was told by Mike that the fit was close to Primal Wear, and he was spot on. I have to admit, I like the racer fit, but these really didnt feel to "clubby." The sleeves
Pretending to be a Hill Killer
arent elastic; which I prefer, too.

They have a fitting chart on their site, but my measurements are as follows (now dont be jealous, it took 45 years and riding the ss to get this) 44 chest, 31 waist and 35" inseam. I like my shorts about 3-4 inches above the knees and that is close to where these fall.

These guys have THE BEST PRICES ANYWHERE. Seriously, if you are looking into shop, club or team kits, there is no need to look elsewhere. No minimums and you can provide your on artwork of course.

So my final thoughts? Great stuff all-around. I look important wearing it and people wonder if I really am a killer of hills... especially on the flats. Give the guys a call and tell em' the SS moron sent you and you might just get laughed at, but its worth it.

Friday, August 2, 2013

Just Some Thoughts on the Year

Well, this year's race season was a bit of an abbreviated version of what I normally manage to drag my elderly body to. I picked the races that are my favorites and left it at that. Although the Cranky Monkey series was a no-go this year, I had pretty good success elsewhere. I would have to say the highlight of this year was getting to know and race with my new co-ed partner-Liz Hunter. We literally met for the first time at Baker's this year and really clicked. We went on to finish a super nice 3rd spot. We teamed up again for the 12 Hours of Cranky Monkey and finished 2nd. I have to admit, the whole co-ed thing was not on my bucket list in the beginning, but having Liz as a team mate certainly changed that.

I decided this year that I was not going to have a structured training plan. I
The Crew
had no reservations about this; just ride hard when needed and rest hard as well. I have to say, it has been fun and I dare say that I may have even gotten  a little faster? I can say, at least on the road, my efforts have been beyond what I expected. It is nice to just get out and ride and see things that you never noticed before.

The Aviation Velo Shop ride is going very well. Everyone has been getting stronger as a group. What started out with rides in the 17mph range, are now in the low 20's. Pretty impressive when you figure in the average age is 41. We have also been having a great time with our "spin-off" rides at the shop as well. Now if I could just talk them into doing some dirt exlporation.

Now the sad news. I havent really been riding the mountain bike like I should. it's not like I dont want to, but the trails have been unrideable on the times I can ride them. I have been on the monocog steed 10 times in the last 3 months. No, the moron is not jumping ship and embracing the dark side, but rather getting in touch with my inner asphalt merchantism...something like that.

We had an awesome time away in our home away from home this year. Spending time with the family is always an adventure on these trips. We went from from me having to rescue my son from the rapids after his tube flipped to wondering if the truck was going to make it through the mountains. All ended well. I was able to find some awesome new fire roads to ride which yielded some great elevation and views to boot.

Last but certainly not least, spending time with the kids on the trail. It is very tough to get them both together and both wanting to ride together, so I cherish those times when I can. My wife (who does not like being photographed) does not indulge in the two wheeled arts ever since her crazy accident a few years back.

I am not sure what or even if I am racing next year, but I will certainly be riding and having fun. I have been thinking about "retiring" from racing and just enjoying the "casual" side. I am at the age where I can say that I have accomplished most of my racing goals and did them all over the age of 40. That is the most satisfying accomplishment of all. I can honestly say that I am in better shape now than I was at 40. I am riding faster and as long as I can still match or even beat my younger cycling comrads, that makes it worth while. Wait, I think there is still a sense of competitive nature still in there? Of course there is.I am a moron, not an idiot.