Sunday, December 28, 2008

We have had an unexpected medical emergency with our beloved family member and returned to Ottawa for treatment. It has been very upsetting and stressful and therefore will be away from the blog until it is resolved - hopefully soon and for the best.

Friday, December 26, 2008

In case you missed it

You'd think it was Christmas or something . . . blog hits were down, really down, this week. What's everyone doing? You'd think over the holidays people would be trying to escape their relatives and in-laws by isolating in front of a computer and surfing the web. Doesn't appear to be that way.

And since I am feeling fat and lathargic due to over indulgence during the past couple of days, and don't feel like putting up a proper post, you can re-visit (or visit for the first time if you haven't already seen it) "How To Shoot A 'Naked Gear Review' Part I and Part II".

I also worked reaaaaaaaaallly hard on this, so you need to look at it and tell me how great it is. With all the weight gain and slothfulness my self esteem is at an all time low and need all the kudos that I can get.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

How to Shoot a "Naked Gear Review" - Part II

How To Do A Naked Gear Review - Part II
(not to be confused with the children's story book of the same name)
- by the original big ring

Ask Yourself, "What Do I Want To Review?":


You must also choose what you are going to review. It needs to be something that you feel worthy of getting your gear off for. For example, my Vassago Bandersnatch - totally worth getting naked for. I'm also waiting for a very special Vassago product to arrive sometime soon to get naked for! Time will tell.

LinkLinkThe facial expression captures your readers attention.
My facial expression in this photo is saying, "Yeah baby! This bike is the cat's meow."


It's All in the Eyes:

You may also notice my facial expressions. Try mixing it up. The same boring bland smile may have worked on your significant other, but it ain't going to work on tech savvy bike geeks looking for a little skin. Use your money maker and sell the product!

Camera Angle:

Stan's No Tubes
Try different vantage points. Shooting from the same location gets boring. Mix it up a little.

Product Placement:

The use of strategically placed objects help cut down on the need for 'blocking rectangles'.

A wheel works well.

From a recent review, my knee/leg creates the perfect "My eyes! They burn!" shield.

LinkIn this review that I am presently working on for Citra Wipes, I photoshop'ed a towelette to be much larger than it actually is so to act as a cover up. It also 'exaggerates' the product - an advertising trick widely used.

Get Creative:

LinkPlaygirl centre fold? Moi?!? Awwww, shucks - you're making me blush!
What cycling related piece of gear could I possibly be reviewing on my sofa? My heart rate monitor.


One last tip, try taking some shots in unexpected places. Most all of us will be in the workshop or on the trail when taking photos for your review of cycling gear. Be creative and get out of the workshop and off the trail.

Good luck, have fun and I'll be keeping an eye out for you on the web!

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

How to Shoot a "Naked Gear Review" -Part I

After reading Dicky's post last week about wanting to take some semi nude photos wearing a cycling jacket (personally I would have loved it, grrrooooooooowr), but feeling he may be infringing slightly on my creativity rights and naked theme, he opted to keep his clothes on.

Originally, I thought I don't have a trade mark on this, a reality show or even a spot in a magazine (though I have hit up Dirt Rag with the idea -and if you'd like to see that happen, let 'em know!) . . . . so why not use my experiences and knowledge to pass along to you how to do your own 'naked gear review'?
Better yet, hopefully my own teammates, who have yet to do a 'naked gear review', will get one done.

How To Do A Naked Gear Review
(not to be confused with the children's story book of the same name)
- by the original big ring


Get Comfortable:

Rwwwooooooooar!!

First, you've got to feel comfortable and relaxed in front of the camera. No one wants to see some one all stiff (if you're into that sort of thing you need to look at other places on the internet) and uptight. I like to loosen up my going in my backyard and bouncing on the trampoline for a wee bit wearing nothing but a ten gallon cowboy hat. It feels good and my neighbors love it. But with it being winter and stuck indoors, I like to pretend I am an animal, wild and free. Rwooooar!

Loosen Up:

Next, I like to limber up so that I feel loose and won't pull a muscle while I get into my poses.

The calf muscles are especially important to stretch. Doesn't my bottom look taut!?!

Reveal Your Goods Without Blinding Anyone Permanently:

Face it, if you're as ugly as me, no one wants to see you naked. So, you're going to have to use some sort of "blocking" device to cover up your junk or be prepared for people to send you nasty e-mails telling you to put your clothing back on.

You must decide how generous, or modest, you are going to be with your cover ups.

Here I am in one of my earliest 'naked gear reviews'. I was fairly modest with my rectangle. What can I say, I was feeling a bit shy being new to the 'naked gear review' thing, the basement was also very cold that day so there was 'shrinkage' involved - hence the smaller square.

Here I am wearing a very nice vest that I picked up in Switzerland this past summer

The shot above, however, I was feeling relaxed and the workshop was at room temperature allowing me to 'hang' how I normally do. Hence, the need for an appropriate sized rectangle.

Penis nosed elves are perfect "Ewwww! My eyes! They burn!" shields

Also, don't limit yourself to just using black squares and rectangles. See More on this in tomorrow's Part II.

Lighting:

Lighting is very important. The above shot is during a review I am working on for my lighting system. It didn't work so well. When shooting outdoors, make sure you do so in enough light.

The sun is providing perfect lighting to show off my lilly, white taut bum as I ride off in the distance on my Vassago Jabberwocky.

Choose a Theme For Your Review:

Besides the obvious , I have a running theme in all my reviews: I am wearing my helmet, socks and shoes, and sometimes gloves and glasses. Wardrobe changes are important too. Notice I am wearing different items in my photos? It keeps the reader coming back for more, "What won't he be wearing this time!?"



* Part II of "How to Shoot a 'Naked Gera Review'" is tomorrow.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Minor Blizzard Sunday Ski

Blizzard like conditions yesterday made skiing a hoot.

Vegan Vagabond goggles

Golonghardman & the Vegan Vagabond

a groomer unexpectedly caught up to us on Ridge

video

I gave chase in this high speed pursuit video

beauty back country trails

Jeeeeeebus . . . . that's waaay too close.

Western cabin
- had some tea and a bite to eat. We ended up having to leave as other visitors feared for their lives as Rick wielded an ax at an attempt to chop fire wood in the middle of the room, surrounded by people. He is so smrt. S-M-R-T.

Frosty, snowy eyebrows

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Classic Saturday Ski

Cold classic xc ski this afternoon under sunny, but frigid skies, with Stef, Dr. Kim and Jenn. Air temperature hovering around minus seventeen degrees Celsius (1.4 Fahrenheit)
- windchill put it around minus twenty-four.

Stef and Jenn climbing up Fortune Parkway

Fortune Lake

Me

Dr. Kim. The guy has got 'walking pneumonia' and was still skiing ten times faster than we were AND staying in zone one. Sick.

Jenn spotted a big woody just off the number one.
A dryocopus pileatus pecking away at a tree.
Do you know your peckers?
Is this a male or female?

Friday, December 19, 2008

Feelings of Appreciation

At times I question why I am blogging/posting and why anyone would want to read what I write. The other day I got a very nice e-mail which answered that question. Every now and then I get an e-mail from someone who reads my blog and it's nice. Sometimes it's from someone asking me to put my clothes back on, other times it's someone asking me to take them off. It's nice to know someone finds what I am posting interesting in some form or another.

I blog for the same reason I read other bloggers: to experience and share in others experiences what is bike related. I try to keep an element of humor, share my ups and downs, tech and training, throw in some non-bike related stuff now and again, and support the companys who provide me with some kick ass products. I enjoy reading different bloggers for different reasons - some are informative, some funny, some live a totally different lifestyle than I do. For all the reasons I read blogs I come away with a new experience, which nine times out of ten I really enjoy.

Thanks for the letter Blair and I hope you don't mind me sharing . . . . I do so not to toot my horn that someone other than me reads what I write, but in appreciation of someone taking the time to let me know that they like my blog. I guess I'll keep typing away. Cheers!

Craig,

Hello. My name is Blair. I came across your blog(via Dicky's blog) and wanted to drop you a note. Your blog is great. Good reading/pics/race reports. I have been riding/racing since 91 and can appreciate your content/passion for riding. The Desalvo is a beautiful machine. Jacks is a beautiful dog and great buddy(I am sure). One of my best friends has the same dog(just a little smaller than Jacks).

I ride/race FS/SS mtn, road and cx--so I am glad that I came upon your blog. I will make it a daily read. I am always stoked to see/read the passion that people have for the simple pleasure of riding. I was really digging the BC race and North Carolina ride reports. I live in Georgia--about 4 hours south of where you guys rode in North Carolina. Western North Carolina has some great riding. Pisgah and Dupont National Forests are great!. Going to session up there in a few weeks.

Anyway..just wanted to say thanks for a great blog. Keep the fire burning. Have a great holiday and Happy New Year.
Have a kick ass race season next year too!

P.S.
Great pic of the double cheeseburger. Nothing like a HUGE protein fix--after a hard ride.

Cheers-
Blair

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Naked Gear Review: The Yellow Pages

Yellow Pages? Yes, the Yellow Pages.
After Dicky pimping me out and sending the masses my way yesterday, I did not want to disappoint any new viewers looking for some semi nude photography. It now being the 'off-season', the Christmas season and my lack of money season to buy any new exciting bicycle related gear I had to think of something to review. And it was right under my nose the entire time.


I don't mean to just pick on Kurt, there's Saris, Tacx and others who offer a product (which is way over priced for what it's meant to do in my opinion) to place your front wheel on to level your bike while riding your trainer.

Save your money and use your Yellow Pages.

It keeps your front wheel level with your back wheel sitting in the trainer. I don't find using the Yellow Pages an issue of balance or sliding off, even during hard intervals or sprints. You may need to open it up (to get it thinner) if you live in a very large city (big Yellow Pages), so to get that perfect height.

Perfectly balanced and level. Being the original big ring and doing naked reviews, the last thing I want is my saddle in compromising places.

I've been using the Yellow Pages ever since I got my first trainer - it doesn't cost anything, it's the perfect height (or I can make it the perfect height), I can recycle it every year if I want to, it's delivered to my door for free, and the best part is when I am done a work out I got all the pizza delivery shop phone numbers close at hand.

Mmmmmm, pizza.
Notice the wardrobe change?


Unfortunately, if you live in Butthump Nowhere, your Yellow Pages may be a tad bit too thin to keep you level. Some of the training/climbing blocks that you can buy have varying heights, whereas the Yellow Pages do not. Easy solution: stack your White Pages on there to simulate climbing or a piece of scrap wood, or your favourite bed time story book. It's pretty easy to save yourself some cash-ola for purchases of more worthy bicycle items.

*any bicycle related industry big wigs with loads of money they want to save for more important things (like gingerbread lattes and company jets) rather than costly advertising - send me your wares and I will review them for free . . . . naked and free!

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Kissy kissy - part deux

The big man himself was over last weekend helping me set up the Power Tap. Since I'm on an ass kissing binge as of late, I may as well continue with Warren.

I haven't asked him yet, but I'm hoping he'll act as my unofficial coach for this upcoming season (I know he reads this from time to time when he's not shaving his legs). A guy with his success, knowledge and experience is someone who's brain (despite how primordial and small it may be) I'd like to pick.

Now don't get me wrong, I have no aspiration of being the next roadie racer in Ottawa - I don't have the body type or genetics to be successful, nor do I want to shave my legs. And I'm too damn friendly while on the roads - I wave to pretty much everyone one.

Can this giant make me, a middle of the pack hack, a wee bit faster?
Sounds like the making of a new reality series.
Stay tuned!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Monday morning ride to work

It rained Sunday night and into Monday morning. +5 Celsius and slushy roads.

Obligatory "proof it was me" photo.

It was pretty gross out there. Studs didn't have much to bite into as the slush got out of the way of the tire.

The ride home was MUCH better - roads were clear of all slush, big puddles though.
Crazy how it can be minus twenty-six on the weekend, then be plus seven today.
My bike is getting rustier by the day.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Two plus months to go

Chrissie is all belly (and a whole lot of boob). Two plus months to go.
Doesn't she look great!? Beau-ti-ful!
Hard to believe I'm going to be a dad soon.
Will life cease to exist? Will I hang up my bikes in exchange of pleated pants and a baby carriage?

It's a kick'n like a character in a bad Chinese martial arts movie.

Then I read this little write-up.
Jebus.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

First Skate Ski of the Season

This year's first skate ski for me was pretty near a carbon copy of last year's first skate ski, only difference is I am about a week late starting. Hurt like hell to start (from P8 to P9, the North Loop, it was very soft and ungroomed), then got worse when I hit the Fortune climb, then got better when I stopped at the top. Like last year, I started to find my groove and the technique came back about three quarter of the way through the ski. My heart rate when through the roof - winter is time for base work my ass! Anyone know how to pace yourself while skate skiing??

Skate skis on fresh, near perfect trails.

Skate skis? Classic skis? What's the difference?
Skate skis are a tad more narrow, shorter, you don't use grip wax (only glide wax),
and the poles are longer. Oh yeah, I suck on both.


The trails were very nice, very nice indeed - especially from P10 (bottom of Fortune) onwards.
Anyone know this trail?

Saturday, December 13, 2008

Kissy kissy

I was reading Dicky's blog yesteday morning, I read it every morning before heading off to work on my piece-O-Crap, purple single speed that shouldn't be a single speed, with a fruity (not that there is anything wrong with that) pink bell. I'm a creature of routine during the work week: get up at 6am, get Jacks out for his walk, come home, feed Jacks, coffee (two cream, one sugar please) and two slices of toast with organic crunchy peanut butter, then sit myself in-front of the computer to check the weather and surf a little. Dicky's blog is one I always go to cause I know he updates it in the morning before he goes off to work. Personally my brain isn't functioning that early in the morning to come up with good shit to write, but Dicky always manages to entertain and find something funny to write about, in a self depreciating-sort-of-way.

Yes, I know what you are thinking . . . . despite sounding like I love Dicky, I do not . . . . .agggrrahhhhhhhh!
I cannot tell a lie. I DO LOVE DICKY! I DO! I WISH I WERE HIM OR HIS BEST'EST FRIEND EVER.

Where's this going . . . . oh, yeah . . . . so like I was saying, I was clicking over to it and saw that he did this big overhaul on his blog. What caught my eye, cause I'm totally ego driven, wasn't his new fancy pants blog header, spiffy new sponsor logos or even his short and concise blog tag-line, but his blog linkages. On his old site I was listed, but in a seemingly sea of other bloggers - many very entertaining and very, very famous in the world of blogging - the who's who of the blogging world. If you saw the list you'd probably would have missed my name all tucked away down yonder. BUT NOW, holy cow! I'm like in a list of 27 other bloggers (still tucked away down yonder)! But Whoot! It's like I've been called up to the show. The entire list probably is the same list, but now there are new subheadings. I'm in the second group of bloggers who, and I quote:

Suffering from regularity issues: What can I say? I would love to get these folks on some Metamucil so maybe something would come out of them on a daily basis. Some of their blogs are updated regularly, then go on a few day hiatus, then post a photo and a sentence for three days, and then spill their guts like they took a dose of sodium pentathol and drank a six pack of Corona. Lotsa folks fell into this category, which leads me to believe that they actually have stuff to do that's more important than writing about the stuff that they do.


Suffering from regularity issues? I guess I should have gone on to tell about the rest of my *routine after I surf each morning. It hurt that I didn't make the "A" list (Daily Doses) because I almost always blog daily in some sort of fashion, but I'd have to agree with Dicky and especially as of late (to be explained in a sodium pentathol sort of way in the near future). So from now on I am going to work like hell and blog, blog, blog until I make that "Daily Doses" list; to be called up to the big show.
Just between you and me, I think the only ones on that list are those who are deep and personal friends of Dicky's, and those slipping him some cash-ola to increase their blog hits. I can only offer Rich
this song, tips on doing naked-reviews, how to finish races in the middle of the pack, personal grooming tips, and two cross country ski lessons absolutely free.



* for those of you wanting to know the rest of my morning routine after I surf, including my 'regularity issues' and the order in which I wash in the shower (cause I shower the same way every day), please e-mail for an unsensored video description.