Friday, December 8, 2017

Floral Vans

I lost my Floral Vans Authentic this fall. Not like got-blackout-drunk-and-lost-my-shoes lost them. They died. They were totally worn out and I decided they weren't worth moving from Wisconsin back to Colorado. I placed an undo amount of sentimental value on those shoes. See, Vans Authentic in black on black were my work shoes. My final two years living in Memphis I worked for a sign company. I was a customer service representative and had a desk/production job. I spent a decent amount of time out on the production flooring checking quality, lending a hand, shooting the shit, and generally not doing stuff I could do in "office shoes" but I had it in my head I wanted to look nice. I got a pair of Authentics in black on black and it took me kicking back with my feet on my desk one morning when everyone was talking about their weekends before anyone realized I had Vans on. The shoe may be black from the top but the sole is still gum when viewed from beneath. A few of my coworkers had trouble believing I had been wearing them for months. Where does this rambling story take us? I liked the shoes a lot. I wore them a lot. I had a pair of red ones in college but I really liked them now.

Fast forward to when I moved to Denver and there is a thing called the Colorado Mills Outlet Mall. It has a Vans outlet. This outlet sometimes did buy one get one free on SALE shoes in size 11.5 or larger. Ya know, to blow out the big uns. Well I wear 12s and would often swing in to see what they had in my sizes because to you may be walking out with two pairs of shoes for $32.50 including tax. Pretty sweet deal.

Enter the Floral Vans Authentic

Now this picture kinda spoils it, but those shoes saw a lot. I wore them to work at Wheat Ridge Cyclery a ton. I kinda felt they were my fun little slice. I hadn't grown my hair back out, I had to wear a shop shirt, and any pants that aren't dark denim or black is "suicide by work" for denim so I had to go with footwear. They didn't do great. They got dirty. I sprayed them with degreaser and pressure washed them in the bike wash room. I was deranged and hell bent on saving them. It worked, sorta. I will admit that the extreme pressure washing probably had something to do with the expedited death of the shoes, but also the grease and dirt may have become the shoes and by removing the grease and dirt I removed a little bit of the shoes, too.

I wore those shoes when I stood at the top of the podium in my first expert race. For those keeping tabs I won a single speed race long, long ago but this was my first race where the people who I lined up with were my age and agreed to be my ability and I was el numero uno crossing the line. It was a very emotional day, I was very happy. I actually nearly cried throwing away my Floral Authentic Vans. Not like a blubbery boo hoo kinda cry, but a little teary thinking about how much it had meant to me to stand in the Winter Park Ski Area parking lot changing clothes, sliding my feet into those shoes, and thinking "I really did it. It was just perfect."

The story goes: The guy who had been dominating these races was fast. He was big. He was built like a sprinter. We were climbing for like ever. We had been back and forth all day. He would surge and pass me, bobble later. I would overtake him and set a fast pace. Neither could shake the other. Finally we were heading up a fire-ish road climb. It was somewhere between a really old fire road and really shitty double track. He had 1x10 and was parked in the easiest gear. Groaning. I set on his wheel for probably two minutes and decided I had to go now. I didn't know how far to the road but I knew I had to go right now. So I attacked like all hell. We hit the road WAY too soon and I just know this big dude was gonna chase me down. I stay on it down the road and make sure to get over a roller so I am outta sight. I ride my face off, hit the last single track. I am railing, two miles of single track go. There have been racers finishing ahead of me all day, due to different classes and staggered start times. A recreational rider comes down the trail towards me. I slow, he slows and weaves towards me, bumbles on a rock, goes OTB and grabs onto my bars to save himself. I shake myself free from his grasp, say "Are you ok?" and as he says "Yeah" I say "Sorry dude I am trying to win a race here" as I clip in and rail away. I am officially freaking out thinking this will cause me to get caught. I didn't get caught. I won. I could barely believe it.

Maybe one day I will order a new pair of Authentics in a wild color. Maybe one day I will make a custom pair from Vans. That is a thing. Until then, I will keep wearing my black pair that is dying a very slow death and hope to make some good stories for those.

Friday, August 4, 2017

Three years later.

This is merely a test. Nearly three years have gone by since I hammered out my last post on here. I am not proclaiming a come back, but I am just going to start plugging away. This first entry back will be a rapid catch up of everything things that didn't make it to the internet between then and now. One of the reasons I stepped away from here is I felt like my life was pretty well documented through Mountain Bike Radio and it came down to time. Now I feel like I have a sort of curated existence in the internet. I am known to be abrasive, sometimes witty, and often times underdressed. I come across rather strong in the internet. While I like to think that in the real world I am rather agreeable, it is only when things are going in the direction of sense. When nonsense is involved I am not very happy.

Since the last entry here, I accomplished a long term goal of obtaining a Syllamo's Revenge rock. It took me a number of years and a ton of cussing to get this one done, but I finally did. I can't find the photo right now, but there is a picture of the bike I used. The geared only crave I had for a short while.

Moving forward in time, I quit my job at the sign shop, found a job at a bike shop in Colorado called Wheat Ridge Cyclery and worked there for a little over two years. Working at that shop had some really cool and really annoying aspects, but all in all it was a great experience.

I was given the chance to ride to the top of Mount Evans from my house, which was one amazing experience. It was a little over 100 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing round trip. Pretty big day.

A long time racer buddy Levi Lester moved to Colorado on accident and we went for a bikepacking trip when he got here. My first overnight trip on the bike.

Not long after that, he started working at WRC and we were coworkers. Tall Bros Unite. Myself, Levi, Andy, and Ali.

Jake D saved my ass repeatedly. He let me sleep in his basement when I interviewed for WRC. He let me stay in his basement when I was evicted. My roommates didn't have permission to have me subleasing. I was evicted in Denver with 3 days notice. Less than ideal, sub-optimal. I did learn that pancakes are amazing ride food, they are really good with fruit shredded in like apples, and they are cheap.

 I painted my dented up cx bike.

I started going fast on the XC bike.

 And when I moved to Wisconsin this summer to work with MBR full time as a real job, I didn't stop being a nice guy and helping a lost daughter/mom duo on the local tails.

That is a real quick breeze over of what things happened since we last talked last.

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


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.