28 December 2007

Project Rwanda 50-mile ride

Saturday I rode a 50-mile mountain bike ride to benefit Project Rwanda with Max and Jack. Years ago I read We Wish to Inform You that Tomorrow We Will be Killed with Our Families (here on google books) so I know a little bit about Rwanda. Project Rwanda was started by Tom Ritchey, the same guy that was around for the beginning of mountain biking and the guy who makes the break-away system I have on my track bike. On the website he says, 'To me, the bicycle is just a freedom tool to a bigger vision for Rwanda.' I couldn't agree more, but I don't think its use as a freedom tool is limited to Rwanda. He was on the ride and Jack and I chatted with him about our track bikes ('How exactly did you get them?' he asked), but I didn't mention this to him.

I rode my freshly painted Cross-bike that was recently rebuilt with a bunch of new parts:

Jack rode his Kona mountain bike, that is set up fixed gear:

The ride started at 7am at Cook's Corner, a place famous as a motorcyclists' hangout. The route(with photos!) was made available beforehand and I had planned from the beginning to take my cross bike. I was a little concerned when about 75% of the bikes were full suspension! The course was beautiful and after only a few miles the hundred plus riders spread out.

Can you believe this is Orange County?

I was riding strongly, passing people on the climbs (I have a compact road crank, 50/34 and a mtb cassette that is 12-32) and getting passed on the descents. Cross-levers made the technical downhills much easier; which I learned the day before when Jack and I rode El Prieto in the San Gabriels. You can lean way back and still have access to the brakes. About 15 miles in I guess I was leaning too far back and pinch-flatted on a technical downhill. Probably for the best as it made me take it a little slower. Jack caught up while I was attending the flat and we rode together long enough to run into the guy from Planet Ultra who then told all his buddies about us at the HooDoo 500 earlier this year. With me on Cross and Jack on fixed the 'look at us!' factor was high.

A woman's single-speed

The terrain was varied with fire roads, double-track, some fast, packed sections, technical single-track with stream crossings and steep, long climbs. I even passed some jumps that took all of my discipline to not go off of. Finished in about 5 hours, in time to hang out with Megan and Sufiya who had volunteered. They even had veggie burgers at the BBQ! I heard the fat, leather-wearing guy running the grill say, 'We should of known all these healthy cyclists would want veggie burgers.' Also, during the raffle the woman running it (also from Cook's Corner) kept making reference to cyclists shaving their legs. How many mountain bikers do you think worry about healthy food and shave their legs? I don't think very many.

Jack, Myself and Max giving the sign of devil to counter the earlier prayer

My only complaint (even the t-shirt is dope!) about the ride was the presence of god. At least two of the organizers are into god and insisted on talking about it and even had the audacity to have a prayer before the ride. They are not working directly for Project Rwanda, but I still think it reflects poorly on the project to have Christianity involved. The last thing Africa needs is more Christianity. Like the earlier statement about the bike as a freedom tool that is probably true for the whole world.

26 December 2007


The Story of Stuff.
With cycling, and adventure in general, there is a return on the higher quality (more $$$) stuff you buy in that it lasts longer. It's very difficult for someone as cheap as me to shell out the money, but I have found it economically and environmentally worth it.
Less stuff = Less work = More fun.

22 December 2007

Skateboarding is cooler than triathlons

I think that is obvious.

But I am going to go further and say that it is also much, much more difficult to master the skills needed and there is far more pain involved. And watching it can get you way more stoked (on anything) than watching, well, anything else. Jamie Thomas' part in Welcome to Hell (Toy Machine) has always been one of my favorite parts in a video, ever. Is this almost ten years ago? Also note that him doing the railslide barefooted was part of an ad campaign about making skate shoes that weren't leather. Get stoked.

19 December 2007

Venn Vegans

At first I could not believe the number of vegan blogs that exist and the amount of traffic they get. But it makes sense: No one likes to tell others about something they are stoked on more than vegans do. And is that not the purpose of blogs? Vegans are about 1% of the US population, but what percentage of bloggers do vegans make up?

Just look at this vegan blog and the amount of links to other vegan blogs!
I use this blog mostly to post about adventures and races, but I do admit to taking photos of food sometimes, so I might as well post them. Plus it is winter and adventures are on the minimum tip, while working to make money for more adventures is (slightly) more of a priority these days.

homemade Indian food

Our yearly Fall vegan potluck: Circle of Dead Pilgrims
(what says vegan and anti-colonization better?)

Porches bring much happiness

Morgan's Metal breakfast
(note that he did not approve frothed Silk Nog for coffee as metal)

A vegan buffet in Oslo, Norway

Second plate.
Note the corn on the pizza. I had falafel the
day before and it had corn in it as well.

Fast food in Brighton, England

meal in Dublin, Ireland

More dessert and coffee from Cornucopia

10 December 2007

Hang out

Come check this out. Fun times.

Featuring: eat!sleep?bikes!

Thursday, December 13, 2007, 7-10 pm
at the new Bike Oven location!

3706 N. Figueroa St, Highland Park 90065

Special LACBC screening! We will be joined by director Sasha Edge, as well as the four cyclists who braved the Furnace Creek 508 on fixed gear bikes.

Cover: $5 LACBC Members, $10 Non-members
Membership deal: Join tonight for just $30, and get in FREE!

Prize raffle!
Brought to you by Swarm!, Scoops, Orange 20 Bikes, Coffee Cellar, and Pure Luck Restaurant.
Beer generously donated by New Belgium Brewing!
Screening at 8pm, but come early for food, coffee and ice cream (vegan too!).

06 December 2007

New photos up

After an hour swim workout last night I rushed home to avoid the rain and had some free time. Finally got some photos from the summer organized. I am not sure what the netiquette is for this, but I back-dated the posts so the photos appear near the original stories.

Click on this photo for Norseman and Eidfjord photos

Here for PBP photos

30 November 2007

Ride to the Ride

Ride to the Ride!

The Great Eddy Merckx was asked what three things
someone could do to be a better cyclist and he said
“Ride your bike, ride your bike, ride your bike”

Riding to the ride not only increases your mileage, fitness and experience, but each time you replace a car trip with a bike trip you:

Increase the visibility of cyclists: making the roads safer for everyone
Decrease pollution and smog: improving our air quality

Join us in improving the air and roads for cyclists by leaving your motor vehicle at home.

For more information on traveling by bike, see bikenow.org or the LA Bike Coalition's Solution Revolution page.
This is a project brought to you by Swarm!

We need more bicycles in the streets. Who better to target than people already riding their bikes? The bicycle is far more than a recreational toy and I want to share that with others. Above is the text for a small flyer I am making to put on cars at the start of rides (or in Griffith Park, etc). I appreciate any feedback.

26 November 2007

Read Read Read

I got a couple of rides in during the holiday week, so on the weekend I had some extra time to waste on the interweb. I was looking for some cycling blogs, particularly ultra-cycling and touring stuff. I also was perusing for some new Southern California routes and groups to ride with. Assuming some people who read this blog have similar interests I'll share them.

In the world of randonneuring only certain people are qualified to put on rides. This is why we had to travel to San Diego or SLO to qualify for Paris-Brest-Paris. For 2008 there is finally a local group. The Pacific Coast Randos. Their rides seems to cost a little more than the others, but they do have a SAG vehicle running sweep, which some other rides do not have. They have some routes listed, but I think you have to pay for them. The San Diego Randonneurs have some Permanent routes on their site with direct links to the routes. Awesome.

Down in Orange County, where I ride occasionally there is a group called the OC Rebel Riders who have multiple route slips online. There are actually some nice, quiet sections of Sprawl County. The Ultra Rob blog has a recent post about web pages to map your own rides to share with others. I am also considering submitting my blog to Great Cycling blogs, but I am unsure if mine qualifies as great.

This is just amazing: 1001 lists to read before you die. This list references Ghandi: Top Ten Things to Think About if You Want to Change the World. Lastly, if you are vegan or interested in political prisoners, the Green Scare, etc, you probably know about Eric McDavid who is in prison on suspected Earth Liberation Front activity. The article Conspiracy of Dunces explains the role of the FBI in his case.

19 November 2007

LA Auto Show

The talk (or more accurately Green Wash) at the LA Auto show makes me cringe. I ignore the entire show the best I can, but others who are more ambitious infiltrate and spread their green message. Green LA Girl posted some of her thoughts on her LA Times blog. Are you skeptical of Chevy's 'From gas-friendly to gas-free' ad campaign? You should be. It is only an ad campaign.
Lastly, some good people at Rain Forest Action Network approached Toyota's General Manager about the hypocrisy of selling themselves as green while suing the state of California for setting fuel standards higher than Federal regulations. He responds by knocking the camera out of his hand.

14 November 2007

Six Middle Six !

When I was 15, BMX was my life. More so than I could ever describe. Fortunately I grew up around Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, which was, arguably, the BMX capitol of the country. It was the early 90's (pre X-games) and dirt jumping was breaking away from racing and merging with 'freestyle'. Suddenly everyone was riding everything; trails, street, skateparks. The best riders could do it all. I was best at trails. Posh trails and the locals (what's up Mach-6, Markie, Sal, Lonergan, Keith, Joe, Griffin) being harsh, but good teachers for a young kid like myself. I was still traveling to BMX races, but soon it was more to ride the local trails then to race some boring NBL track. My style of riding was progressing as I was riding more and more.

In Pennsylvania there is a long, cold winter with no trail riding so we would ride street. This includes 180ing down staircases, grinding ledges and jumping gaps. The bike companies (we'd only support rider owned ones like S&M bikes) were just catching up with making components (called parts) and bikes that could hold up to the abuse we'd put them through. We were often left to improvise. My favorite being a yellow mag I found in Tucker's backyard. I threw that ugly thing on my bike and felt so 'street'. Riding street that winter would end up improving my trail riding. I was transitioning from a racing-style to a more all around rider with plenty of trail rider flow.

Our own local trails got plowed the next summer cause some whiny fun-hater called the police on us for loitering (can you call it loitering when you are either digging or riding?). It was a sad day and my mag wheel, after almost a year of use, was ready to be put down. I buried it where the trails used to be. It did not take long for surburban sprawl to take over and now there is a new neighborhood on top of my wheel.

Anyway, I put a mag on my track bike and I am stoked. Am hoping that this story will stop my friends from referring to it as a hipster wheel.

13 November 2007

Our Inner Swarm(!)

From today's New York Times. Pretty amazing. Follow the link for the article in its entirety.

From Ants to People, an Instinct to Swarm

By studying army ants — as well as birds, fish, locusts and other swarming animals — Dr. Couzin and his colleagues are starting to discover simple rules that allow swarms to work so well. Those rules allow thousands of relatively simple animals to form a collective brain able to make decisions and move like a single organism...

...“One of the really fun things that we’re doing now is understanding how the type of feedbacks in these groups is like the ones in the brain that allows humans to make decisions,” Dr. Couzin said. Those decisions are not just about what to order for lunch, but about basic perception — making sense, for example, of the flood of signals coming from the eyes. “How does your brain take this information and come to a collective decision about what you’re seeing?” Dr. Couzin said. The answer, he suspects, may lie in our inner swarm.

11 November 2007

Fixed Gear Paris-Brest-Paris

Fixed Gear bike parked at the finish of the 760-mile, 92-hour Paris-Brest-Paris

This weekend I went on two social rides, Friday night the Midnight Ridazz Dia de Los Muertos ride (500+ people) and Saturday night the Spoke(n) Art ride for Gallery Night in North-East LA. It has been awhile since I've been around for these and it got me stoked again on what we would call local bike culture. Saw a lot of fixed gears and it reminded me that I should post some of these photos from France.

Are fixed gears the coolest thing ever or an annoying trend? Good for the city only or for long-distance rides as well? In skateboarding or BMX usually you get really excited about something new and then slightly annoyed by the people who find it after you. Is it the same for fixed gears? Like many cities these days Los Angeles has its 'scene' (does that word make you cringe?) that no doubt includes the core groups (I've been riding fixed for 5 years!), the hipsters (Is this NJS certified?), the converts (I have 10 bikes and I just converted an old Colnago to fixed), and those who just enjoy riding a simple bike. Many blogs and articles have dissected this further than I care to (Bike Snob NYC). I ride a track bike for commuting and in the city for two main reasons: It is different than my other bikes and requires different riding skills and it is low maintenance. No brakes rubbing, shifters needing adjusting, cables fraying. Just the most basic bicycle possible.
But what about for long distance? When we rode the Furnace Creek 508 on a fixed gear team someone said to us, 'Sorry this race isn't hard enough for you to do on road bikes.' And maybe some of those who ride fixed are self-handicapping: Yeah, well I did it on fixed gear!! We rode it fixed cause we thought it would be fun to have a team and to use our everyday bikes. I have no interest in riding fixed over really long distances, but many people do. I give them the benefit of the doubt that they just love riding fixed for what the bike offers them, the same way others choose to ride certain bikes, components, races, etc.
At Paris-Brest-Paris I tried to speak with as many fixed gear riders as possible and also shoot photos when I could. Photos and story at my original post for this ride.

Emily from Boston

Seattle guy

07 November 2007

The Many Faces of Morgan

Close friend, long-time housemate, fellow explorer/troublemaker Morgan, excuse me, Dr. Beeby, took the extraordinary step of photographing himself every morning of the four months he hiked the Pacific Crest Trail this summer.

Bonus points if you can find the photo with devil horns or Mt. Whitney.

01 November 2007

Coffee? Bikes? I am definitely not alone

Please file this post under: How to waste time and ignore all of your A, B, and C priorities.
After 3 months earlier this year of caffeine abstinence, I slowly worked my way back to full-time coffee drinker. Luckily not to the levels of Budge and I last year. We were polishing off a 32-oz French Press of strong coffee every morning.
In denial of my coffee drinking habits I am yet to unearth my mug (read: I am throwing out a paper one every time I drink it). A quick internet search (which reminds me: Did you hear that Google is coming out with a cell phone? wtf?) I came across Kent's bike blog. He then pointed me to, I am not kidding this is a real link, bicyclecoffeesystems.com. A serious site. Do I have the intellectual ability to sort through this and pick the best one? Maybe after a strong cup of coffee.

29 October 2007

serious delirium

27 October 2007

This is important to very, very few people

New Era Cap has redesigned the on-field official baseball cap for the first time in forever (basically)and it is not wool! It is high-tech wicking fabric, 100% cotton and even made in the US! That I have any knowledge of sports is usually a surprise to people who know me and those who know baseball are ever more surprised that I am Yankee fan. I was born into an Italian family from Brooklyn, there really is no choice in the matter. Giving up Catholicism was less of a big deal than switching baseball teams would be.
And having some knowledge of sports helps in those social situations where no one cares to hear about bikes, veganism or my feelings on hierarchy/privilege/race/etc.

16 October 2007

RAAM's 1000-mile race

Race Across America is introducing a 1000-mile race in 2008. Basically it is the first 1000 miles of the RAAM course, ending in Taos, NM. According to their press release, 'The 1000-mile event fills the void between the traditional 500 mile races and the full challenge of RAAM.' I can sleep better knowing that void is finally filled.
Looking for motivation to race a 1000 miles? Check out Danny Chew's website. According to Steevo, who does PR work for Danny on the side, he rode his 1,000,000 kilometer this week.

10 October 2007

2007 Furnace Creek update

Jack DNF'd on Townes Pass, about 200 miles into the race. Brian finished in 36 hours and was elated just to have finished! This is a photo with Jack holding a secret message for the Swarm! racers from Morgan. He just finished hiking the Pacific Crest Trail last week(!!), but when it crossed the 508 course back in July he had left a message under a rock in a strategic location. Amazing!

06 October 2007

Furnace Creek 508

Look to the left to see Brian and Jack (wearing Swarm! vests)

The Furnace Creek 508 started this morning at 7am! After PBP I realized I was not going to be ready for this race. From PBP till 508 I only had one free weekend; not enough time to train properly to finish this 'comfortably' (I put that in quotes cause I probably could of finished, just not well or in relative comfort). And I am still homeless and training with no where to live is harder than it sounds. See this post for some more thoughts on that. Luckily even with me wussing out Swarm! still has two team riders out there, both entered as solo: Jack Jaxartosaurus and Brian Emperor Moth. They are strong riders and we hope to see sub-34 hour performances by both. Jack is eating a vegan diet and Brian is eating strictly raw, as he has been for 4 months.
I stole all of these photos from the AdventureCORPS webcast which is updated throughout the race with pictures and reports. You can go straight to the time station and result times here.

05 October 2007

Time's Up!

I was in New York City last weekend and went to the Time's Up! 20-year anniversary party. I've always loved this group and am envious because we do not have a similar organization here in Los Angeles. In NYC there is such a huge overlap of environmental organizations, bike advocates/riders/etc, punks, and activists that organizations like this spring up (and exist for two decades!). Is it me, or here in LA are those all distinct, separate categories? Is the geographical layout of the cities that literally causes the overlap? I am constantly trying to sort out how and why I love NYC and LA equally. After riding around Manhattan and Brooklyn for two days in beautiful weather I sure do miss being out there. Is it possible to take the good from NYC and apply it to LA? Surely I am not the only one thinking about this.

There are some things you do not see every day and I am thankful when I have my camera with me. In these shots I was able to get two obscure sitings simultaneously: an Earth Crisis t-shirt and a guy with a cat on his head.

23 September 2007

No whip?

I can't help but post this. The name of my blog infers 'no car', but the pun is based on the dairy-based substance of the same name. It's nice to see the Humane Society step up and address veganism.

19 September 2007

HooDoo 500

All photos from hoodoo500.com. Hope to have my own photos up soon.

Sometime around midnight I was descending off of a mountain in Utah and looked down at my computer and saw 48 MPH. The support van was behind me, the air was crisp, but not cold, the roads were smooth and we were finally descending after a long climb up and over a mountain. My first thought was that this was a great way to spend a Saturday night: With friends in a beautiful area, on my bike speeding down a hill, chasing after the first place team in this inaugural 500-mile ultra-cycling race. My second thought was that I probably shouldn’t be looking at my computer while going that fast at night.
When we first heard about this race in the Spring we knew we had to get a team together. Brian, Jack and I were down and we asked newest Swarm! member (and successful triathlete) Nicholas to be on our team. Unlike the Furnace Creek 508, this race offers unlimited rider exchanges. At least one racer needs to be on the course at all times, but all four can ride together and can switch out at any time. Also different from the 508 is that at night the support vehicle does not have to follow at all times as long as s/he has two front and rear lights. This way the vehicle can drive ahead and the next racer can be set up for an exchange without losing any time.

We drove up to St. George on Thursday night and met up with Nicolas and his wife McCall, who would be our other support crew member with Megan (who was on Morgan’s support team for 508 in 2005 and the Bonobo fixed gear team last year). Like Nicolas, she had no ultra-distance experience, but was a quick learner. We could not of asked for a better support team then the two of them. At the pre-race meeting Deb from Planet Ultra, who knows us pretty well by now and referred to us as the tattooed vegan team, asked me what I thought our fastest time could be. I told her 24 hours. Jack and Brian are both training for solo 508 and are all-around strong riders and Nicolas is a fast road rider. I have experience with ultra-distance, but after a tough summer and a lot of traveling, I was the weak link of the team. How frustrating that is! Deb informed us that Team BHB was thinking around 25 hours and considered us their fiercest competition. Deb went back and told them our prediction and the race was on.

Brian in Panguitch
Race time for four-person teams was 11am Saturday, which gave us time to sleep in and be prepared. From the gun Brian set a brutal pace. Jack rotated in with him so they could paceline awhile, then Nicolas and I did the same. At one point we had about five miles on them. Then our inexperience with the terrain and the format cost us some time. We kept Brian out for too long. We had multiple riders out at some points where one rider would have been just as fast. We were passed and tried to hold on. Team BHB were the locals; Deb told us they had ridden the course four times together in preparation. Most of the course was above 6,000 feet and the highest point was almost 12,000; obviously to their advantage. Previous to Friday night we had no ambition of winning, so we easily reverted to riding our own race. We enjoyed the beautiful course and rode the best we could. We had only one support vehicle, an extended cabin pick-up truck, where five people could sit comfortably, but sleeping was not so easy. Except for a few minutes of shut eye, I think our entire team was awake for the 28 hours it took us to complete the 519 miles. Amazingly we all got along and worked well together sorting out who had what responsibilities.

Some notes:
- Brian ate raw the entire time.
- The lowest temperature was 36 degrees.
- No flats or mechanicals!
- Nicolas had some nausea late Saturday night, but bounced back into the rotation after a few hours
- I was happy to ride a lot of miles through the night on the B-team while the A-team (Jack and Brian) could get some rest.
- Utah is beautiful. I was reminded of the descriptions in Monkey Wrench Gang and of the Wile E. Coyote cartoons.
- A car chase passed us at about 2am; a mini-van going about 120 MPH followed by a succession of cop cars. Apparently two kids from a foster house stole the van and tried to make a get-a-way.

A-team finishes while B-team dances
After the Altitude Sickness at 12,000 feet and the headwinds on the last 60 miles, we rolled back into St. George in 28 hours and 29 minutes. Team BHB beat us by about 100 minutes (or 20 minutes per 100 miles), but we had second place locked by almost 3 hours. The first solo rider came in around 35 hours. It was a tough course under tough conditions. At Monday’s banquet we each won some prizes from the raffle and were able to hang out with the other racers. Jack and Brian got some great experience for the 508 (October 5th), Nicolas had said he would never do this again on Sunday, but after a full night of sleep was already talking about how we could beat them next year, and I was just happy to be a part of such a great team. We may do a road race at the end of October, but for the most part this is the end of my season.

Jack shaved off his stupid mustache

13 September 2007

Paris Brest Paris photos

Food preparations

French fries or just fries?

Rolling with Marcus (German messenger) and others


Villaines-la-Juhel- best control ever

I cut a blister out from under a callus from Norseman


12 September 2007

Paris Brest Paris ride reports

Have not been able to post much, am finally back in California two weeks after PBP ended and almost two months after I left, but it is straight back to work. Till I have time to get my photos and other stories up here are some ride reports from other PBP riders:
Emily Archaeopteryx
wordpress PBP tag
Joel Metz (messenger)
bike forum list of reports

For now I am preparing with other Swarm! members for our 4-person team at the inaugural HooDoo 500 . I can't believe I leave tomorrow night for a 4-day trip after only being back 3 days. Also need to find shoes and pedals because my cardboard box got wet in Iceland, opened and one of each fell out. Those Sidi's are the most expensive clothing item I ever bought!

27 August 2007

Paris Brest Paris

see this post for the background on this ride.

The 930pm start (I was way in the back and didnt leave till 11pm)
I was in one of those deep sleeps, when you are oblivious to the outside world. I don`t know how long it took him to wake me, but the first thing I remember is some guy speaking to me in French. The room is bright and empty, except for this guy talking to me and another guy with a tv camera behind him. I realize I am riding Paris Brest Paris and am at one of the controls. I went to sleep around 230am and had asked them to wake me late- 9am. That`s why the room is empty. I try to gain some composure. I touch the spandex and jersey I slept in- dry. I wonder over to the window- no rain, but cloudy. I see my other set of spandex and jersey hanging and I touch them- still wet from the rain I rode in for the last 5 hours of yeterday´s 18 hour ride. Do I wear my last dry set and risk them getting wet or put on the wet set and be cold for the first hour or so? All of this seems quite rational when the camera guy asks me something in French. I recognize him as the same one who asked me some questions in a small village we has stopped in yesterday. He is with www.parisbrestparis.tv. I explain my ignorance of the French language. He says, in broken English, `Is your head okay?´ Apparently my touching and looking came off far less rational than I thought. Can`t wait to see the video of that.
And that is one story of hundreds I could tell about my 1227 kilometer ride from Paris to Brest back to Paris. Part bike tour, part double century, part critical mass...I dont even know where to begin. The French love bikes! We rolled through all these little villages and people had food and coffee for you, little kids yelling. Great. Some towns even set up tents outside where dozens of people were hanging out (and drinking) and when you rolled by they all yelled 'bravo! bravo!'
When you are riding with 5000 people and the route is sign-posted, it is not all that miserable. Even if it did rain 20 of the first 26 hours I rode straight through. 760 miles go by quickly. I finished in 77 hours, which I was happy with. I slept about 15 hours, which apparently is a lot. I kept hearing, ' You slept how much???' Ride Hard, Sleep Fast. Or Ride Fast, Sleep Hard.

I cannot say enough about the people along the route and the other riders. In the USA Randoneuring`s reputation, unfortunately, is that it is boring and for old people. Just look at Randoneuring USA´s website (I won´t even go into how they did not want to accept Swarm! as an official club). But internationally it seems to have such a different vibe. There were far more young people from other countries and it is a well-respected type of cycling. I guess that is true for a lot of Europe- respecting things that are not respected in the US, for example a cyclist`s right to the road.

Through the first night I rode with a women from Colorado who is a 24-hour mountain bike racer. She dropped me about 100 miles in and I never saw her again. I then hooked up with a bike messenger from Dusseldorf who recognized my Team Bonobo cycling cap. Apparently a call went out from the guy who runs www.messengers.org that bike messengers should attempt PBP (and early on I ran into a kid riding a track bike from Hungary who knew Jack-crazy!). We rode together awhile, but I quit the ´fuck it, lets just keep riding´ camp at 1230am, after 330 miles and 25 hours of cycling, and went to sleep while they pressed on to Brest. Even the kid with no gloves and no bar tape.

To keep this readable, I am switching to list format:
  • I rode with a German and French guy up and over the biggest pass, working together the whole time. Outside of the teams that were there, not many worked in pacelines. We did and it was super fast and a fun time.
  • There seemed to be two ways to take this on: ride fast and sleep little or ride moderate and sleep little. The only people I saw who did what I did (ride fast, sleep a lot) were young and by themselves (that is not very many riders!). Each control had cots set up where you could sleep comfortably with a pillow and blanket!
  • Helmets were optional. Pretty cool. Lots of women did not wear helmets and a lot of the recumbant riders as well. The less their bikes looked like a a normal bike, the less likely they were to have one on.
  • Saw multiple fixed gear riders, including Emily from Boston who rode the Furnace Creek 508 fixed two years in a row. She said this was the first time she didn´t ride to a Brevet.
  • Rode with some Spaniards with beards. They were stoked. We talked Spanish and rode fast.
  • I had what I thought were bad saddle sores. Not horrific- I was able to shuffle around on my seat and avoid hitting the worst ones- but present nonetheless. There was some blood and I didn´t put anything on them, so I was scared to look at them. When I finally did, at the end, I saw that the worst one was not a saddle sore, but a 3-inch long gash. Wtf? Fat Dan, ever the funny one, said I was probably shanked by a RUSA member in my sleep for not being patriotic enough. It sure looks like I was sliced!
  • The controls had plenty of vegan food. I heard the French word for vegetarian many times. I had carried or put in my one drop bag, almost enough food for the whole ride. I ended up eating some peas and rice and some soup at a couple of controls. I also carried some tofu pate in a tube (Mexican flavor!), that was delicious with fresh baguettes from bakeries.
  • In towns, people moved aside so you could get what you needed. They opened new registers for you so you wouldn´t have to wait in line.
  • I did have some emotional lows and some hallucinations, but those stories are far better in person.
  • Any and all rain gear is worthless after several hours in the rain. Though, my strap on fenders were pretty helpful for the periodic rain and/or wet roads.
  • One of the toughest parts, mentally, was the last 30 miles and then after I finished at 4am. I had no where to go, nothing to eat and no clothes to change into, so I slept on the floor of the gymnasium in my cycling clothes, using my bag as a pillow and my space blanket to stay warm. Never one to shy away from a good night´s sleep, I slept till 11am!
  • I will hopefully get my own pictures up when I am back in California. All of the pics on this post are from www.parisbrestparis.tv