Thursday, September 4, 2014

What is each bike type for?

I have spent a great amount of time in bike shops. One of the questions that people always seemed to ask that everyone answers differently is "What kind of bike do I need?". Today I am going to map out each of the predominant styles of bikes and give this to the world so people stop buying hybrids for the local mountain bike trails or whatever the awful situation may be.

Triathlon/time trial bike:
This is a top fuel dragster. Really fast in a straight line and not good for much else. Only ride it on nice, smooth roads, don't try to haul anything (ride with a backpack), and don't expect it to be cheap - now or continued maintenance.

Road bike:
This is just like the average sedan. You can ride a road bike in grass, gravel, dirt, and all roads you can find. It really is just like a sedan. You won't take it on gnarly backcountry forest roads, through mud and sand, or do many sweet jumps with it before you have to visit the mechanic.

Cyclocross bike:
This is like a rally car. It looks like a car, everything looks the same . . . wait, no it doesn't. It has a little more clearance, Clarence. The tires are bigger. There are big mudflaps on this thing (canti or disc brakes - you know, it looks different). You know you want one. You know you are going to tear something up and get hurt. But to fly through the air while people are lined the course only to land a little crossed up and end your weekend when you taco your front wheel but the roars get louder from the fans - that's the fame you are looking for.

Gravel bike:
Subset of cross bike - holds bigger tires and people probably aren't lining the course cheering. You definitely don't pass the pit every lap. No one wants to come watch.

Hybrid bike:
This thing looks like a mountain bike (more on that one to come) but its really the nasty, breaching the water, won't flush, butt nugget of the bike industry. They are like a crossover SUV - you know those awful SUVs built on a car chassis so they don't have enough power, good suspension, and can't haul anything but still get bad gas mileage and everyone made fun of you because you were stuck in wet grass once. That's how I feel about hybrids.

Fitness bikes:
This is the bike everyone should buy instead of a hybrid. This is like a two-wheel drive Jeep Cherokee from 1995. They are just rugged enough to do whatever you might want to do on pavement, gravel, grass, and even a tiny bit of mud. They can haul stuff (usually have rack and fender mounts) and they are pretty cheap and last forever.

Mountain bikes:
This is a Jeep Wrangler 4X4. Nothing says party like showing up on your mountain bike with a sixer of craft beer in your Camelbak, some big obnoxious light on the top (of your helmet) for your sweet night time wheelin' adventures. Cuz getting nasty in the dark is more fun than in the day time. Also, just like a true Jeep enthusiast mountain bikers are fanatics about tire pressure and "How big your tires is" and "How much lift" (suspension travel) does your rig have. Also - probably the only category of people who carry spare parts other than a flat repair kit with them on the ride.

Fat Bikes:
This isn't really lumped into mountain bikes because they have other uses. They are like a semi truck. They usually aren't stupid fast and a ton of people (comparatively) aren't using them. The people that like them, love them. And let the big wheels keep on turnin'. If you don't get it, don't hate. Some people need 'em.

Friday, June 6, 2014

Bikes!

So a Mountain Bike Radio listener wanted to know some details about my mountain bikes. I thought I would put together a single place with photos, specs, and everything put together nice.

Specialized Carve 29er (geared)






















The full rundown of the bike:
  • Frame: Specialized Carve (size Large)
  • Fork: RockShox Reba 100mm, tapered, 15mm axle                             
  • Rear Shock: hahahaha
  • Headset: Campy style inset
  • Stem: Bontrager Race? 80mm
  • Handlebar: Niner Flat Top Carbon, 710mm
  • Grips: ESI Chunky 
  • Front brake: Shimano M785 XT
  • Rear brake: Shimano M785 XT
  • Brake levers: Shimano M785 XT
  • Chain Guide: None
  • Rear derailleur: Shimano XTR Shadow Plus, Medium Cage
  • Shift levers: Shimano XTR
  • Cassette: Shimano XT 11-36
  • Chain: 10spd - not picky.
  • Crankset: Shimano XT with Race Face 36T Narrow Wide Ring
  • Bottom bracket: Shimano
  • Pedals: Shimano SPD 540
  • Wheelset: Nox Composite XC-R 29 rims laced to I9 hubs (28h)
  • Front tyre: Maxxis Ardent 2.4 w/ EXO
  • Rear tyre: Maxxis Ikon 2.35 w/ EXO
  • Saddle: WTB
  • Seatpost: Thomson Elite 410
  • Extras: Profile Design Kage bottle cage, a bell from the bin at the bike shop. Stages Power Meter XT Crank Arm


Specialized Carve SL (Single Speed)























  • Frame: Specialized Carve SL(size Large)
  • Fork: Specialized Chisel Rigid Fork                           
  • Rear Shock: hahahaha
  • Headset: Campy style inset
  • Stem: Stock Specialized stem
  • Handlebar: Niner Flat Top Carbon, 710mm
  • Grips: ESI Chunky 
  • Front brake: Shimano M775 XT
  • Rear brake: Shimano M775 XT
  • Brake levers: Shimano M775 XT
  • Chain Guide: None
  • Rear derailleur: hahahaha
  • Shift levers: again, laughs.
  • Cassette: Either Surly, Niner, or Endless Cog
  • Chain: 10spd - not picky.
  • Crankset: Shimano XT 34T SRAM single speed ring (no idea where it came from)
  • Bottom bracket: Shimano
  • Pedals: Shimano SPD 540
  • Wheelset: Stans Crest rims laced to I9 hubs (32h)
  • Front tyre: Surly Knard 3.0
  • Rear tyre: Maxxis Ikon 2.35 w/ EXO
  • Saddle: Ergon
  • Seatpost: Thomson Elite 410
  • Extras: Profile Design Kage bottle cage, a bell from the bin at the bike shop. 

Cannondale CAAD10 
























  • Frame: 2010 CAAD10 size 58
  • Fork: Frame specific                             
  • Rear Shock: hahahaha
  • Headset: FSA style inset
  • Stem: Alpha Q 120mm
  • Handlebar: FSA 44cm with shallow bend
  • Grips: Cinelli Kaleidoscope Tape
  • Front brake: SRAM Red single pivot
  • Rear brake: SRAM Red single Pivot
  • Brake levers: SRAM Red
  • Front derailleur: SRAM Red Yaw 10 spd
  • Rear derailleur: SRAM Red 10spd
  • Shift levers: SRAM Red 10spd
  • Cassette: SRAM PG1070 11-25
  • Chain: KMC Gold - Memphis Style
  • Crankset: Quarq Riken Powermeter 110 BCD with 52/38 rings
  • Bottom bracket: FSA converted to English thread, traditional GXP bb
  • Pedals: Look
  • Wheelset: Mavic Ksyrium Elite
  • Front tyre: Michelin Pro 4 Endurance - 25c
  • Rear tyre: Michelin Pro 4 Endurance - 25c
  • Saddle: Selle Italia Flite
  • Seatpost: Thomson Elite 330? the short one.
  • Extras: Bontrage carbon cages.

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Open Letter to RadioShack Cycling Team and Andy Schleck

I was on a  road ride today and the bottom 4 centimeters of my arms were freezing. Which makes my hands cold. My jacket is too short, it is the longest one I have found but it isn't perfect. I realized I want Andy Schleck's old clothes. I know. You probably didn't expect that one. But here is the deal, Andy and I are just about spot-on the same exact size. According to his bio on the RadioShack page he is 68 kilos and 186 centimeters tall. I am 67 kilos and 188 centimeters tall. For those who don't know what that means
I am skinny and tall.                              
None of the bikes in the background are mine. They are my roommates.

















The problem I have with being this skinny and tall, not only do I not have a very good lap for a dogs to cuddle in which leads to a dog holding the chair in his sleep, I can't find cycling clothes that fit. I am not overly picky, it is just that everything is very "American" sized. I am not the size of the average American. If I buy a size small it is usually still loose in the torso, but a little short and the arms are way too short. If I get a bigger size then everything is way too loose and the length is getting to OK.

So that is why I want his clothes. I am not some freak that wants to sniff Andy's used chamois. I am not going to do anything weird. I am going to wash the stuff, put it on, and go out and be warm on my bike rides. Or ride a long 80+ mile day in the summer and not have my under carriage rubbed raw because my small shorts are still a little too big. 

I am sure if I were to spend huge amounts of money I could buy clothes that fit. But the truth is I don't want to do that. I am 25 years old, just starting a real career and a savings account. The honest truth is my roommates offer me a great living situation which allows me to enjoy more racing and still start saving for my future. I can't justify dropping the $250-300 per pair of shorts that I would have to get to fit me. (I am assuming some uber-model from every company would fit as it has the real racer cut, not the Americano lard ass cut).

I am being 100% serious. I can only imagine that these clothes will be all but thrown away tomorrow. The Trek team will fire up and they will have all new clothes for everyone. Andy won't be caught dead wearing RadioShack stuff because he is literally PAID to wear Trek team stuff starting tomorrow. I am not asking for one of his bikes, or a wheelset, or a power meter. I am asking for something that will be boxed up and discarded. Or maybe it's donated and if so why not to me? The amazing gift to have a pro style fully tailored wardrobe that I could never afford? I would be head over heels giddy.

I will pay for shipping. I will donate some money to a charity for you. I will straight up buy the stuff if you say "I need some money to make it worth my time to box it up and ship it to you" but whatever, I want the stuff. 

I'm on the Cannondale, shorts wrinkling in hip.


















When I race CX my mtn bike is my B bike.






















If you look close my HR strap shows through my borrowed skin suit.
















If you want to contact me it's real simple. matthewemcculley at gmail dot com.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

I am (not) the beefcake.

It seems like all the important people had a blog about beef today. If you don't know what I am talking about first read this: Beefy-Dick and then read this: Beefy-Brick and then the rest of this still won't make any sense. Which the total lack of sense will be fabulous.

I tweeted a while back that I was going to make my next blog post completely about shirtless pictures of myself.  This won't be completely about shirt-less-ness but it will have enough shirtless selfies to make any homophobic man turn away in a combination of repressed jealousy and open disgust.

After a disappointing Spa-City 6hr


















Before the disappointment


















My best angle - not too much face



















Taylor Phinney short shorts


















Karen Jarchow would be proud


















Me and the pup


















I should model underwear. . or not





































Well if you made it this far, good for you. If you didn't. . . I can understand.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Eating cereal in a skinsuit.

No matter whether the feeling is anger, disgust, self-loathing, pride, joy, a nearly orgasmic realization that one's goals are becoming achievable, and even often that fucked combination of some of the prior there is always a feeling that creeps in as most nagging: hunger. Napoleon said "An army marches on it's stomach" and that holds very true for cyclists. Some people fill that void in their stomach with chips and cookies, fast food and take out pizza, others make something at home, other people cook a meal that will fill the stomach and soul with the nutrition and love needed to face the world again. I think I fall into the latter of those three categories.

I have never been trained as a chef or even taken the most basic culinary class but I have always cooked. Over the last few years I have learned to cook more from my roommates. Also, having other people to cook for is actually good for me to cook more. I feel if there is someone who can eat what I make I will be much more likely to take the time and effort to make a worthwhile meal. Very few people are such jerks they will complain that dinner is bad. Of course on rare occasions a meal is so bad everyone has a laugh and everything goes in the trash, cupboards are emptied and dinner is a snack of what was found.

I don't think that I am the best cook in the world. I do, however, think I can make better food, more consistently, cheaper than could be found in a restaurant.  Sure, there are some places that make better stuff than me, but not that I can afford even on a semi-regular basis. Some places may be cheaper than me, but it definitely isn't better. As far as consistency, it can probably be agreed that eating out is usually pretty hit and miss.

Sometimes a simple peanut butter and nutella sandwich will hit the spot so perfectly it is hard to imagine any food tasting better. Other times you have just destroyed a long training ride and come home to a bowl of watermelon cut in the fridge that feels like heaven melon in your mouth. Maybe you just did a really cold ride and you have a cup of coffee with sugar and cream.

I know I am not alone in the comfort of food, but I think that Chili's, Olive Garden, and all those other places have gotten us distracted from what is good as food. And why we should enjoy it.

Fried Rice, Avocado, Pan Seared Tuna




















Homemade bread. One of the best tips ever.



















A hell of a lot of kale.















Eggs, Bacon, Sweet Potatoes.




















1 taco per 1 hour ridden. Doctor's orders.




















30 scrambled eggs? No problem.























Mexican night.















Pizza squares and ketchup.




















Those pickles were grown and made 4 miles from my house.















Burger, steamed veggies, fries, rice. My favorite meal.















Pork Chops, green beans, garlic toast.




















Breakfast. Syrup approved.















Sometimes it gets fancy.















Sometimes it's just bacon.




















Or maybe a post ride/pre-dinner snack.

Sunday, August 4, 2013

Why I don't blog as much: The slacker story.

So I used to fill everyone in over here on a semi-regular basis. You know, like someone who ate fiber sometimes, but not everyday so just semi-regular. Because we all know it takes fiber to keep you regular. Over the last few years a lot has changed for me. I have a new job, I feel like I am a much different bike rider, and overall I am in a different place. Here is where I could make the argument that I am too busy to write posts on a regular basis or I could just not post anymore. Am I taking this blog to the farm to live with Grandma? Here is where you could argue that has already occurred. I will try to catch things up so everyone can understand what is happening and where this thing may head.

This season of racing has generally been good yet unsatisfying in an odd way. I feel like for the effort I have put into riding over the last few months I am riding strong and feeling good. Overall though it has been a season of disappointments due to my unreasonably high expectations for myself. I will give you a rundown:

-Slobberknocker/Memphis Velo Omnium Weekend - I didn't race because I didn't feel like I was fast. I had this pride thing going where I felt like I needed to be in a better place before I went and raced. I was hoping to have a "dafuq did he come from" reaction after my first race of the season. I ended up heckling at the Velo race which must have been awkward to see from the racer side.

-Rouge Roubaix - I did great, I had a great race, I did way better than I expected and it really got me gassed up to go race and do well. Andrea of Brickhouse was hit by a car. It puts a black cloud around that race for me because it is impossible for me to feel super pumped looking back at the race when I have to think of being told my friend was hit by a car as soon as I crossed the line.

-Spa City 6 Hour - this was the weekend after Rouge. I decided to go race and get some long mountain bike time in. I drove over the night before and slept in a hammock under the stars at the venue. I was riding the rigid geared bike. First lap of the day I turned a smoking ass lap,was feeling strong. I had the Rouge Roubaix juices flowing through me. I knew I could keep turning these fast laps and probably do pretty well for my age group. I was feeling it. Then I flatted on lap 5. My co2 didn't work, my pump was in the pit, I had to take outside assistance. Rather than cheating I rode the road back, was given permission to continue racing after pitting but restarting lap 5. So it sucked a lot of ass. That was really discouraging. I knew I was doing ok. I knew it was going great. But damn-it-all-to-hell I had left my pump at the pit. Upon later inspection my co2 head is actually not compatible with Big Air 40g cartridges. There was a lip that hit the canister that prevented it from screwing on all the way, which kept it from piercing the canister enough to actually get air out. Fuck, fuck, fuck.

-Ouachita Challenge - I raced really hard, the course isn't really a single speed friendly course. I don't want to hear that crap of everyone is on single speed that is racing one another. People get shady. I know some people can spin faster than me, but to go with lead geared men after a few miles of gently rolling gravel. . . is a tough one to swallow. I personally went as hard as possible down the gravel and it ended up with me going into the woods behind a BUNCH of slow people. Granny gear at mile 6 slow. It wrecked me. Also, that race is really hard. To go full bore and get handled is a rough one. I was happy with how I did for the first time there and everything, but I wanted to be faster.

By this time everyone should be seeing a theme of "I did ok but still beat myself up afterwards".....

-Syllamo's Revenge - I don't think I even wrote a post for that race. Again, the feeling of intense pride of everything working well immediately coupled with the feeling of being a complete and total fucking failure. I had a perfect race. I smashed my course PR by a lot, on a hands down slower and much harder course based on trail conditions. I went up the first climb harder-dan-a-motherfucka and went into the woods in 10-12th place. Overall. I rode hard all day. I didn't flat, I didn't wreck, I didn't make a single wrong turn. I was fast enough to finish 12th overall on my single speed. It just happened that was only good enough for 5th in single speed. I had a year long battle of really wanting a rock (the trophies at this race are rocks engraved just like a tombstone would be. Much cooler than it sounds. It is a unique and tough trophy just like the race). And I didn't succeed. I cried a little, tiny bit at that one. Seriously, when I looked at the results and saw that I was 5th single speed I got teary eyed, said my goodbyes to everyone I knew there, and had to leave. I couldn't stick around. I had put so much into this race and just ended up not being fast enough. If I had signed up age group that day I would have been 2nd. That is a tough one. Hindsight is 20/20 and shit.

-Fast forward and I didn't really race again until the state champ race, it was a tough one. It has been an entire month since then and I shuttled a truck to Colorado again. This time I found some cool stuff along the way, made some plans that opened up a few really cool opportunities, and really got excited.

Since the state championship race I have gotten a bunch of great parts for my Specialized Carve which allows me to run it geared as XTR 1x10 with a Reba Suspension fork, Enve AM 29 Wheels, and a Stages Power Meter. It is a really cool bike. I haven't ridden it a ton but I will be soon.





Below I am going to just dump some photos of what have been going on over the last while.






Chunky Cat
Pain cave.
Blue skies and clouds in. . .ARKANSAS
Different strokes for different folks. Fun isn't universal.
I tried to win a state jersey
Shorts were chafing so I rolled em up
Shredded after a century ride.
I rode a bunch of bikes.

























See, I was in CO
Enves added



Sunday, July 7, 2013

State Championship XC and First Cat 1 Double-Whammy

So about a week before the State Championship XC race I was pressured guilted harrassed about STILL being a Cat 2 on the mountain bike I applied for an upgrade. It was approved. So now I am big time, big balling, and in deep shit. Cat 1 racing is real fast and a good bit longer.

Matt Robbins, the eventual winner and current State Champ did a great write up. He is a great guy, a hard worker, and it has shown for him this year. I didn't enter the race thinking I was racing for second, but thinking about how it would feel to stop his winning streak from the road. I was unsuccessful and don't feel bad about it at all. He works more, harder, and deserved the win. He did a great write up here and I can add a few things:

I broke my chain about 15 minutes before the start. I had been having some bike trouble and I guess my chain was compromised. I was doing some standing starts to figure out what gear I wanted to start in and how many time I wanted to shift/when after starting. Call me crazy, but I came from BMX and know the first 10 pedal strokes can make or break a race.

Luckily, Matt Noe from the Peddler was there and the two of us had a new chain on my bike in 2 minnutes. A real 2 minutes, on the Garmin it was 2 minutes stopped. I made it to the line with a few minutes to spare and tried to calm down.

 When they said "Go" I dropped the hammer and went pretty hard. I was able to go into the woods first, which I could not have been more happy about. I love leading. Throughout the first lap I turned the screws up a little and got rolling really well. There is a rooted, gentle downhill right before the end of the first lap and I used that and the full suspension bike to roll off the front with a 4~second or so gap. Everyone was yelling and cheering and screaming my name because I had a gap. . . so naturally I attacked the connector trail and went into the Blue Trail with a bigger gap.  I decided to keep riding my 1st lap pace at this point. I knew I couldn't stay away at the attack pace for 2 laps but I wanted to make them work hard and not have my line to follow through the tightest portion of the race. I was hoping it would sap them to have to close back down to me. . . bad news, it didn't.

I had opened a can of worms I couldn't close. We rolled a little quicker and kept the pace up, eventually Richie Slagle went by. I knew I couldn't answer the question he was asking. I asked Matt if he wanted to chase and let him by when he wanted. At this point I knew I had 2 guys up the trail who could pop at any moment, hit a tree, taco a wheel, flat/burp a tire. I just laid down my own thing for the rest of the lap and all of lap 3. Within the last 1/4 mile of trail I saw a flash ahead that looked like Richie. Deep inside something clicked. It wasn't a question - I knew I was going to catch him. I laid into that gentle downhill and clacked over all the roots. I yelled to him something along the lines of "Richie we are still racing" and caught onto his wheel coming into a small bridge. The bridge opens up into a small clearing with about 100 feet to the line. Rolling over the bridge I was out of the saddle dumping gears, as soon as we popped off the bridge I went right, put it in the 11 tooth cog and sprinted as hard as I could. I sprinted and threw my bike and just barely got him at the line.

I am not happy with a second, but to lose to someone who works so hard isn't bad. Also, know I had to do my own thing and later in the race it could pay off (going their pace would have just blown me up) and it actually paying off felt great. By the speed and power numbers my sprint was great....25mph on flat grass at a good wattage number for me to sprint, especially after such an effort over the whole race.