Running With the Foghorn Leghorn


Bummed I wasn't able to make it but I'm not surprised the race was a success... I've not been to an MTBNJ race/event where I wasn't looking forward to the next one on the drive home. well done!


Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Wednesday, July 22, 2015

1. I sit down early and write my race blog entry. It is long, like really long. The truth is, I'm sure that covers 1/3 of what goes on on race day but really people get the point. I do not mention the tiger problem we had at the race, because people generally don't believe tigers live at Stewart and that's best to keep it that way.

2. I replace the batteries in the remote sensor for the thermometer. It does nothing, so I leave the sensor on the kitchen counter next to the mango tree that D planted for me. Why do things just not work like they're supposed to?

3. I do the race finances and start paying people back. I also funnel some of the massive profits to my offshore bank accounts so I can afford that...extra matchbox car.

4. Talk to @jdog on the phone about a Six Mile group ride on August 8. He's going to try to be there and we're going to do a ride from the Canal Road lot at 9am, then we're going to invite the group back to the shop for free pizza from MTBNJ. Jay is then going to give everyone who shows a 10% discount. This is pretty cool stuff, makes me happy to do stuff like this and give back to Jay who helps us with so much.

5. I empty the dishwasher.

6. Clean up after this f'ing dirty ass tiger again. I swear this thing east 20 bowls of cereal a day or something.

7. I go for a bike ride with Fred at Chimney Rock. He is on a circa 1973 mountain bike and has absolutely no chance to keep up with me on any downhill. At one point he is actually passed by a guy on a pogo stick followed by a guy on a jackhammer.

8. I empty the car of the stuff I got from Utah the day before. This includes the tent & one cooler, which we will use for going to cross races, and the podiums which need to be repainted because they have mold on them from being stored under Utah's rain spouts for 2 years. I also find a dead racer jammed in the podiums. I toss him across the street in the weeds.

9. I then re-pack the car with all the stuff I need for the Chimney Rock TM session. This consists of a gallon of gas and a lighter.

10. I go to get the boys from camp and I convince them that society is falling apart because people are soft. And if we don't go and trim the bushes at CR the communists will have won. They agree, and we jump out of the car screaming "WOLVERINES" in unison. Simon attacks Iggy then pisses on his leg and calls him a pinko bastard.


11. We do TM at CR, which like most things eventually winds up with Simon getting pissed at Zac, and then he starts throwing rocks at him. D arrives just in time as Simon is standing in 2 foot tall grass ripping it out in anger. I weed whack the entire High Tech trail, then up the new switchbacks and all the way past the rock cairn and then to the road with Chris the ranger.

12. We take the boys to the gyro/crepe place where Zac & I demolish everything in front of us, not unlike the post-bandit ride meal from the night before. Not a single scrap of food is left.

13. I get this awesome note when I get home. I appreciate how they addressed it.


Arwen's Mom

Mother of Dragons, Breaker of Chains
Six Mile group ride on August 8. He's going to try to be there and we're going to do a ride from the Canal Road lot at 9am, then we're going to invite the group back to the shop for free pizza from MTBNJ.

Waaaaaaah! :(
why Aug 8th? I have a craft show that day so cant make the ride :( :( :(


Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Thursday, July 23, 2015

Having trouble keeping up.

1. I create a Stewart 45 map in an effort to design the infield area to maximize shade and road width for next year. I choose to leave out the tiger pit and the lava fields. Again, ignorance is bliss. In the end nobody makes a single comment on it.

2. Pack lunches for the kids. I give Zac a normal lunch but I put nothing but cottage cheese in Simon's bag. I also super glue the lid on the cottage cheese container.

3. Drop Simon off at school. Right before we get there I feed him a triple espresso and a whole chocolate bar.

4. Undo what the tigers did. Again.

5. I book the hotel in Columbus. I then rent a minivan for the trip so I can bring bikes with me. The hotel is .8 miles from the office so I can walk there. Breakfast is included but this is Ohio. My expectations are pretty low on this whole experience. It turns out that Columbus is the 15th largest city in the country. It also turns out that I won't actually be in Columbus but some suburb. Who knew Columbus had a suburb? I assumed it was all trailer parks outside the city limits.

6. Head out to do more TM at CR. I hit the ballfield trails with nothing more than a pair of scissors. I get it all done in 2 hours.

7. Ride to D's work, ride with her for an hour, then ride home.

8. Go to A&P to get ice cream for Zac and more cottage cheese for Simon.

9. Do laundry.

10. End the day with a party at Simon's day care. His teacher is moving to South Carolina and it is also her birthday. I give her a brick for a present. But I also put "do not open until SC" so when she gets there she'll realize she was carrying brick around for no real reason.


Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Friday, July 24, 2015

Friday was a wonderful day. Today represents the last day of my 3 week hiatus from work. First was Vermont vacation. Then there was no contract which was fine since we had the race prep. This past week was just trying to relax and get things done. Today I tied it up with a good bike ride with a good friend then dinner with other good friends. It was a really great day top to bottom.

After getting the kids up & out and off to camp I headed down to Fred's house for a 9:00 am arrival. Got there a tad early and had a cup of coffee which was one of the better cups I've had in a while. I have not been able to roast anything worth anything in a while and it was nice to have a solid cup before the ride. Talked a bit to Fred & Linda about life & the kids and so on, then we were off to the 4th state of the month, Pennsylvania, and the tower on the other side.

I've been on a lot of rides out of Fred's house over the years so a lot of the roads we were on were familiar to me. Often times I'd guess which way we were going. Sometimes we'd been any number of ways before depending on where we're going. In all it was really familiar in both a location way, and a nostalgia way. This ride reminded me a lot of what we used to do together. We used to have a lot more of the team on these rides. Now, the road element of our team is basically dead. Regardless, it reminded me of days past when Fred was a major player on the cross scene and we used to do these rides together. Good stuff.


We rolled to Lambertville then crossed the bridge by foot because they apparently don't F around. Rolled from there a few miles south then found the tower, climbed up a road that was closed to roads, went through a gate, past a sign that said no bikes, then made it to the tower. We took pictures, verbally confirmed what we both knew before that, which was that we were way behind schedule, then booked out of there.

We took the straight shot back. Climbed up & out of the river basin and then rolled along, pounding out the miles until we were flying down Zion and almost back to Fred's. Somewhere around the end of the ride the rear wheel was making inordinately loud noises which had Fred a tad concerned. This is the hangover from the last shitty wheel build (not done by Jim or anyone here, just a HG "replacement") and the incident in Canada with the destroyed RD and frame. This was all well & good since I'm buying yet another set of Reynolds wheels at half price yet again. Fred gave them to me before the ride so timing is perfect. I'll take the current ones to Jim and see if they're lifecycle is over or if they have some life left.


Went back, had lunch with the Fred family, then took off for home.

That night we had a really great time at dinner with @seanrunnette and his wife. Fantastic end to a fantastic day. Is retirement like this? Because if so, I really look forward to it.


Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Saturday, July 25, 2015

I just drove 530 miles in 8 hours & 1 minute. Hard to just get here and go to bed so I'll put this up while I'm detoxing from all that sitting...

Sleep. Oh yes, the sleep it is wonderful. I open my eyes here & there but they do not open for the day until about 8:50 am. This is unheard of these days. And yet here it is. @UtahJoe texts and says the same thing. Woke up at 9. We are lazy bastards today and damn it, it feels good. We take our time getting out of bed, because frankly we get to do this about 1 day a month. Today is that day.

We're off to the Korean market and thinking of @soundz as we fight for samples with the old ladies and buy fish for tonight's dinner. In all we don't spend a ton of money which is easy to do at H Mart. We get what we need, a little of what we want but don't need, and mostly skip the not-at-all-necessary for this trip. It's early still, the samples are not all lined up yet.


Back home and we're off to ride before the day gets too old and the ride is a low-key, just-get-it-done affair. We both ride an hour and a minute or so, averaging 13-ish mph. We ask nothing more on the day and our legs are happy.

We head over to our non-MTBNJ friend's house for sushi dinner and as usual D makes a killer meal. She rolls her own again and because I love Utah so much (or because I'm trying to fatten him up) I invite him over. Bobzilla hangs with the 3 year old girl of the house and we drink margaritas and eat awesome food. As the night winds down I start to get immensely tired. We roll out, head home, and crash hard again.



Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Sunday, July 26, 2015

I wake up with the following things to do today:

1. Pack
2. Ride
3. See Julia
4. Drive to Ohio

I pack. I have made a list at some point during the week which is like 19 items long. I got the car the day before so I have that covered. If you go for 4 days you end up just renting for the week. Price is cheaper that way. I pack up some stuff in the morning before we really get going. But only a suitcase of work clothes for now. Just business casual. Suits. It's Ohio. They don't wear suits, man.


We ride. I think we average like 13 mph again. Who cares. Just chatting and riding. We get back, shower, and gotta go grab J from a birthday party in Florham Park. Does anyone else say "floor ham" when they say that town?

J asks what we're going to do today. I say, "we have like 90 minutes to hang out. I'm going to pack this minivan mostly." Being 9 years old she pretty much asks this question every 20 minutes or so. Eventually I pack the minivan. 1 suitcase of work clothes and the remainder of the minivan with bikes, tools, camping gear, and bike clothes. Priorities.

At 2:45 I'm off. I drop J off at her mothers, then hit the road for a 525 mile drive to Columbus. As she is about to go into her mom's house she looks at me seriously and says, "I'm gonna miss you daddy," then gives me a hug. This is both wonderful and awful. I think it's obvious why I feel both. I have seen her a total of 2.5 hours in the last week and at best I'll see her on Thursday. I do my best not to think about it because it's out of my control.

I decide to not put the GPS on because there are 4 roads that cover the first 524 miles and me being OCD, I will look at the miles remaining every 9 seconds. Oddly if I don't have it on I peacefully just drive. I start with The Slow Ride podcast. It sucks, honestly. It's just pro cycling which is meh. Then I listen to the first Serial. It's good but honestly just too dark. Like we watch crime drama on TV but that's fake. This is real life. I think TV desensitizes us a bit. It's kinda hard to take in that sense. Finally I listen to Open Mic, another bike podcast - the one with Adam Myserson. I can't help but think these guys are all way too fucking removed from real life biking. They have no clue at all what most actual bikers think and go through. The rest of the time I drive in silence. Oddly enjoyable.


Anyway, Pennsylvania is long. West Virginia is short. And Ohio is at the end. I make the trip in 8 hours and 1 minute with 3 stops. 1 stop for gas, coffee, and pee. 1 stop for pee. 1 stop for coffee. The check-in takes like 60 seconds and I'm in my room in no time. I have a beer and talk to D and go to bed and sleep is ok, not great.


Mayor McCheese
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Monday, July 27, 2015


I wake up in Columbus, Ohio. Wait, no, scratch that. I am not even in Columbus, Ohio. Technically I am in Dublin, Ohio. Do you know what Dublin is famous for? No? Well neither do I. I'm pretty sure it's famous for nothing, though later in the day we will get to experience a few things about Dublin that I did not know. But first we have to get up and get out the door.

I eat in the hotel, free breakfast. When I travel I try not to eat too many bullshit carbs. So I pile on like 40 pounds of scrambled eggs and pineapple. I also get the coffee which could double as elephant piss. I then grab my bag and walk to the office.

The 1 thing I notice about Ohio is that they put water moving devices everywhere. I had told @Kirt that they are waterfalls. But really they are sometimes "waterfalls" in a technical sense, or sometimes they are water spouts, or water aerators, or just holes with water in them. There seems to be a fascination with water here. Perhaps because there is so little of it naturally occurring that they take what they have and totally waste it on these fountains that absolutely nobody will appreciate.

I get to the office and I'm sweating already. Dale greets me and we sit in his office a bit and he explains what we're going to be doing on this project. I don't feel like drawing a picture so I will make this ascii graphic to mimic what he basically says:

you ==> do the work

That more or less sums it up. This is fine. This is why I'm here: to do the work. Angie from South Carolina comes in, we all say hi, then we go to the conference room. The details are unimportant but in 2 hours I am making changes to their prod system and have started to find mistakes the previous guy had made. They liked the previous guy and he didn't write crappy code. That's all I care about. I have no problem picking up where this guy left off.

At 11:15 Dale comes in and says we should go to lunch to beat the crowds. Ok...that's fine. We pile into his truck and he drives us to a generic sandwich shop. Dale and Angie are about 120 years old total. They have children that are closer to my age then I am to their age. Dale is 63 and tells us he is retiring at the end of the year, and the only reason he is not already gone is because his wife is not ready to leave yet. He says he's been in Columbus 30 years and has hated it since the day he got here. He does not say this with malice. Just as a point of fact.

After lunch we drive around and he shows us where Eric Clapton has a house. Then we drive by a field of cement ears of corn. Then we go back to the office.


At about 1:00 Dale gets bored and goes into his office. Angie and I keep working and I make a bunch of changes and start getting these report conversions ready for prod. Dale thought it would take me about 2 weeks to ramp up on this. It has taken me about 4 hours. At some point in the afternoon we realize that Dale is gone, and the office is more or less empty. Just before 5:00 we both jet. I walk back to the hotel which is less than a mile and Angie drives the 500 feet to her hotel.

I quickly find a road loop and load it up, add it to the map, and head out the door a bit before 5:30. The first thing I am met with is 50 billion cars all trying to get the F out of Dublin, Ohio. I cannot blame them. I ride the sidewalk for about 1/4 mile, then I hop on the road and surf the traffic about 1/2 mile. Then I am in a residential area which is totally quiet. I cruise through this for about 3 miles, then come out the other side in what appears to be the middle of freaking Kansas.

You would never know at this point that you're about 10 miles from the 15th biggest city in the US. For the next 40 miles I ride in what can only be considered a mental mindfuck. Maybe 16 miles in I am riding through a town that probably had more outhouses than flush toilets as of 10 years ago. After that there is nothing, like nothing at all. I see what appears to be some sort of brick-like modern building that might be some attempt at an apartment for maybe 2 families. There are big windows in it facing out. But the freaking this looks out on a graveyard. This is so utterly mind-blowing to me. I can't really compute this.

I end up with about 47 miles and average 21.2 mph. This will likely be by fastest ride of the year. This is by far the most interesting thing I see:


I go back, shower, go to the bar, get a burger and a beer for dinner, then get another beer and go up to the room to do a little more work, talk to D, then write my post from the day before. I am anxious because Dale mentioned that I'd be around all week. This annoys me as it is clear I have zero need to be there more than 1 day. But in the end they pay me a bunch of money to do this shit so I guess I need to deal with it for better or worse. It is what it is.

After 1 day I narrow down the problem I have with this area. When I travel I look for the following things:

1. Good/unique food
2. Interesting geography
3. Things to see/do
4. Quality bike riding

Ohio has exactly 0 of these. Utah asks me what I have found here that is good. Usually when I travel I can find something worth something. Here, I struggle to find anything in any realm that is enjoyable. The food lacks any form of soul. The geography is as interesting as a pancake. And the riding is pretty much road-only and drab. I have not properly explored #3 but I don't have it in my to swing and miss a 4th time.

Anyway, day 1 is long. Tomorrow is another day.


The Moped
There is at least one of every single shitty chain restaurant in existence in columbus. They use columbus for their testing ground for all things corporate generic food. Because it's all so ordinary.


The Opinion Police
Team MTBNJ Halter's
Remove the negative Columbus attitude and search out a good mtb loop. All will be forgotten.


Overthinking the draft from the basement already
Staff member
agree....w/norm. don't look for anything redeeming, aint worth the struggle.


Sport Bacon
Team MTBNJ Halter's
The convo with Dale and Angie should come easy; you've had practice with Iggy.

I'm not sure why, but I find this more interesting than the Singapore/Taiwan/China/North Korea trip you took a few years ago. Dublin is known for quilts. Bring me back one or two.

Do not leave until you have an answer on the cement corn. And put it in one of the TPS reports you are doing for Dale.

I shall call you Leatherlips from now on.
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