Sunday, January 27, 2008


SATURDAY: Bike building with drunken Ukrainians

My buddy Donnie got a Kona Unit 29er frame and fork for Christmas and asked me if I'd help build the bike up for him when he received all the parts. The boxes arrived, the date was set and my basement was the laboratory. He and his wife treated Pookie and I to Chinese in return. Donnie and I would build the bike, the girls would watch a movie.

Donnie said his friend Ramona from the Ukraine wanted to lend a hand also. I knew she was a good wrench, but worried about her drinking habit.

Things started off well enough with the dis-assembly of some old bikes to pilfer parts for the new Unit.
But as the night wore on and Ramona was 7 or 8 beers ahead of Donnie and I, the trouble started. I could tell she had a thing for him. She hit on him relentlessly although she knew Donnie's wife was right upstairs!

By about beer number 10, Ramona was having trouble standing and complained about severe pains about the head and neck.

After a loud pop and a sound reminiscent of a Slurpee being run over by a gasoline truck, her head fell off.

Even through all that, Donnie's Kona Unit 29er SS turned out great!

SUNDAY: Snow melt

Pookie and I headed to Bedford's Falling Creek Park to get in a nice long ride in the 40 degree temps. We were greeted by some fun new trails and about and inch and a half of peanut butter-type mud covering them. A new off-shoot no more than 50 feet from the trail head has some fun technical features that required 100% concentration in the wet, gooey mud.

Some off-camber downhill drop offs with logs in the middle of them were a bunch of fun. We went back near the end of our ride to hit them again. This section will be sweet once the trail bed sets up and becomes a bit firmer.

With the trail conditions everywhere in the park bordering on unrideable, we decided to cut the time we would ride down to two hours and stick to the double track trails that zig zag across the open fields at Falling Creek. Even these were a wet nasty mess.

Alot of the park is under construction. New soccer and baseball fields are coming in the near future.

Slop. At least it was fairly warm.

We had fun, but grew pretty bored without being able to ride much of the singletrack. Perhaps some sun and wind will dry the trails soon.


Saturday, January 26, 2008

CONGRATS J.B.! USA Cycling Names Bishop to 2008 Olympic Long Team

Jeremiah Bishop is among 35 athletes who are eligible to represent the United States at the 2008 Olympic Games in the disciplines of mountain bike, track and women's road cycling.

Bishop is one of six men eligible within the cross-country mountain bike discipline.As part of its nomination process, USA Cycling named a Long Team of eligible athletes in the disciplines of men's and women's mountain bike and women's road cycling, which will serve as a list of riders from which this summer's Olympic Team will named.

Of the six men named to the mountain bike squad, five received automatic nominations as the top-five Americans in the UCI Mountain Bike Rankings on December 31, 2007 and provided they were in the top 60 overall - Adam Craig (Bend, Ore.), Jeremy Horgan-Kobelski (Boulder, Colo.), Todd Wells (Durango, Colo.), Jeremiah Bishop (Harrisonburg, W. Va.) and Michael Broderick (Chilmark, Mass.). The sixth-ranked American, Sam Schultz (Missoula, Mont.) received the only discretionary nomination to the men's mountain bike Long Team.

"This is a gratifying acknowledgement of all the hard work I've put into [my career as an athlete]," Bishop says of his qualification onto the Olympic Long Team. "It's an honor to be recognized in this way, and it's the first step in the qualification process to making it to the Olympics later this year."Pat McDonough, USA Cycling Director of Athletics, sent his congratulations to all the athletes named to the 2008 Olympic Long Team. "Their hard work and determination to succeed has helped raise the level of American cycling to remarkable heights and their collective accomplishments are indicative of the United States' ability to be a legitimate medal contender across all four disciplines of competitive cycling in Beijing. The athletes on this list have either proven their capabilities to win medals in major international events or illustrated the potential to do so in the future."

Jeremiah Bishop races on the Trek/Volkswagen Team and is proud to represent JBL, Shimano, Rock Shox, CytoSport, Tecnu Extreme, Bontrager, Dumonde Tech, Cane Creek, OGIO, Sara Sport Line, The Peaks Coaching Group, Advantage Physical Therapy, Shenandoah Bicycle Company, IMBA, World Bicycle Relief, Oakley and The Sole Source.For more information, visit

Monday, January 21, 2008


These days (these cold, windy winter days) many blogs are full of posts about losing motivation to train. Maybe this will help...
Nothing compares to crossing the finish line first. Nothing. Not freezing toes, not unbelievably tired legs, not sore bones. Nothing.

This year I feel the pull more than ever. The pull to do more than I have done before. The pull to ride stronger. To race better. To elevate my ability beyond what it has ever been before.
That's what gets me on the bike for hours and hours in the cold.
That's why.

Friday, January 18, 2008

Is the 29er singlespeed the greatest invention of all time?

Some would argue that the wheel should take the prize for most important invention in history. I would argue that it's not just any wheel, but the 29 inch mountain bike wheel. The 29er singlespeed has done more for mountain biking than just about anything I can think of. 29er singlespeeds are everywhere you look. There was even a racer on a 29er SS fixie in the 35+ cyclocross race last weekend in North Carolina!

Perhaps the toilet should get some consideration for best invention in history, but I still say that the 29er SS has it beat. Ever seen anyone ride through a rock garden on an American Standard? Doubt it.

The telephone is also overrated. Telephones can be used to call your riding buddies, but your boss can also call you to ask you do do more work. Points off.

"How about the light bulb?" Well, the light bulb is good for night riding, but again it has it's low points. Light bulbs can burn out. Your legs may burn out on a 29er SS, but you will never get burned out on the joy of those big wheels!

I'd say my arguments for the 29er SS being the greatest invention in the history of the Earth are pretty strong. Beer is a close 2nd...

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Don't believe your eyes

Picture courtesy of Racing Yenski. It almost looks like I know what the heck I'm doing in this here cylocross race. Don't be fooled.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Cyclocrushed - NCCX Polar Bear CX Race Report

Once in a while I like to try my hand at something new. Since I'm too old to try out for American Idol, I thought cyclocross was the next logical endeavour. Four from Team Taco (3 raced, 1 cheered) piled into the Subaru to make the (deceptively long) drive to Davidson, NC for an event called the Polar Bear Cyclocross Race. The bear showed up, but the polar part didn't. It was cloudy and about 46 degrees, but not frigid by any means.

Goals going in:
1. Have fun
2. Finish
3. Eat Mexican food after.

Things I learnt:
1. 'Cross is a blast, even though it is as painful as beating yourself in the head with a shovel.
2. People who race 'cross seem to train for 'cross. I haven't been training at all.
3. 'Cross isn't anything like mountain bike racing. It's more like trying to catch a speeding bus that has your wife or best friend or loved one on it before it goes over a cliff at 90 mph...on your bike.
4. It's definitely something I will do alot of next fall...after training for it.
5. Training for and racing cross will make me a faster mountain bike racer.

When I saw Ron suffering like a dog, I knew that I was hooked! That didn't come out right...Let's try again; Cross is challenging no matter what level you are as a racer. It is a race of truth. There is always room to improve. I guess what is appealing to me is that becoming a good cyclocross racer is a journey, not a destination. Deep thoughts.

The fun is hard to beat. You push yourself to the limit and when you have nothing left, you push some more. I can get into that. I finished way down in the field at 28th. I wasn't last, or second to last or third to last...but that wasn't my goal. My goal was to discover something new, and it turned out to be harder, but better, than I ever expected. Good job Frank. Good job Ron. Thanks for cheering Pookie!

Friday, January 11, 2008

New year, new helmet, new challenges, new fun

I guess what they say is true about time passing faster the older you get. January is almost half gone. Crazy. The weather is crazy too. I hate it when it's warm in January. It will get cold, and it will seem much worse because my blood is getting thin in this 60 degree winter. Is this Virginia or Florida? At least it is supposed to be cooler this weekend when I attempt my first 'cross race. Maybe some drizzle too...perfect for any off-road endeavor. My goal is to have fun. I'm using a couple 'cross races to test some stress-rest-stress theories I have noticed that my body responds to. I trained completely by the numbers last year and had a horrible, incomplete, non-fun race season. This year I'm going to go alot more by feel and make sure that my #1 priority is to have whole tanker-truck loads of fun.

Remember boys and girls, danger is everywhere. It was time to take care of the noggin so Yenski the American Flyer dealt me up a new Garneu Oz-zy. Sharon! Where's my %^$#! helmet? Not that Ozzy! Fits like a glove, a helmet. I don't think I could get a glove over my head.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

Pleasantly Surprised

I had heard stories about Candler's Mountain in Lynchburg, VA, but had never ridden there. Over the past few years several different people have told me how rugged and technical these trails were, largely because they were relatively un-maintained. However, over the past year or so, the mountain has received some much needed attention and has turned into an awesome destination for a day of mountain biking. I was very surprised how good this trail system is shaping up to be.

Pookie, Brian, Chas and myself piled into the Snuggle Truck and drove to meet some native Lynchburgers for a guided tour of the most happenin' trails on the mountain. Our friend Jen (from here in Roanoke) introduced us to the folks pictured here:

A hearty THANK YOU goes out to these dudes for showing us around. Without them we would have gotten lost about 300 times and wouldn't have enjoyed our visit much at all. Candlers has so many trail heads that negotiating through it uninitiated would be a nightmare. You guys rock!

The rickety wooden bridges scattered throughout are absolutely awesome! The first few times you put your wheels over them really scare the hell out of you though!

The mountain (owned by the gracious folks of Liberty University - thanks for the access!) has tons of stiff climbing, and it's fair share of double-track gradual climbs too. Pookie demonstrates here:

Nice new signage is everywhere, making it easier to navigate through the trails (if you bring a map - which we didn't).

There's even a romantic (I ride with my wife - cut me some slack) gazebo overlooking the Liberty University campus and the spectacular Peaks of Otter.

Some of the newest IMBA designed trails offer up there fair share of challenges - like super-steep switchbacks.

So when the day in the saddle was done, it was off to Ci-Ci's for some pizza...

...and cinnamon rolls!!

Great day. Great new friends. Great trails. Candler's Mountain is on my list of highly recommended places to visit for some great riding. Cheers.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Hi Mom!

Gordon started calling me "Grizzly Skmeetz" at the new year's day ride. My very own wife referred to me as "Grizzly" in her latest blog entry. I don't think I'm on par with Grizzly Adams just yet.
Now that's burly! That's some fine quality facial hair ladies and gentlemen. That man has set the bar pretty high. I would need about six more months and some miracle grow to get that much beardness goin' on. I have noticed however that mine contains quite a bit more gray than Grizzly's does. BURLY!

Friday, January 04, 2008

Lust, in red

If the planets align and I get a decent amount of $$$ for the ton of items I'm gonna list on ebay, this Niner frame will be in my future.

Red is beautiful. Scandium is beautiful.

I will keep the Rig. It has been the best bike I've ever owned and I will build it into a fully rigid winter machine. The One 9 will be for racing. I already have a pair of gooch Stan's 355 wheels built around Hope Pro hubs, Juicy 7 brakes, an many other metal and carbon lightnesses to drape from the One 9.

I lust, indeed.