An interview with Tarik Saleh

A Moscaline exclusive!

We sat down over some beers with unfamous former bike rider Tarik Saleh.

Moscaline: We heard you retired from cycling.

Tarik: Well I was retired from doing rides, you know the ones that don't include getting to work or getting things from the store. But thats in the past now. I am back, and it feels good.

M: So what caused the initial retirement? Your cycling career has barely registered as a blip on the radar of most casual cycling fans. We were surprised to hear of the retirement as we had barely heard of you.

T: The bottom line is that I got snowed on on the way to work two Thursdays in a row. These were Thursdays in the month of May, the second part of the month of May no less. That set up two weekends in a row where I did not do any recreational riding as planned. And then I threw in the towel and stopped riding all together, other than shopping trips..

M: How long were you retired?

T:Uh, I think it was around 48 hours.

M: Not even a long weekend then?

T: Well, no, you know it is tough to stay retired around here, lots of good riding, you know?

M: Sure, but...

T: Look man, I am not going to make excuses here. I was retired and now I am back. I want everyone to know that I am back and proud of it.

M: So what did you do during the retirement.

T: I rode my bike a bit, you know over to some friends house, corner store for some icecream, that kind of thing. I drank some wine and watched Netflix movies.

M: So... you rode your bike?

T: Well, you know, its riding, but it was not the kind I retired from.

M: But you are back

T: Oh yeah, 100% back. I am rededicated. 110% really.

M: So why did you come back.

T: Well it was the tiny men. I was half asleep on the couch watching those tiny italian men zipping around the dolomites and bob was droning about pain and I kind of woke up as they finally stopped descending, you know?

M: No doubt, go on...

T: And then the most beautiful thing happened, they started climbing, little skinny tiny men all riding their bikes up horrendous mountain passes in the rain and snow. Great stuff. Bizarrely compelling in fact.

M: So you were inspired to go ride in the snow?

T: Well, sort of. You see I kind of noticed that it was not snowing today and in fact it was about 75 and sunny. It might have been a little windy, but boy was it nice out. I realized I live in the mountains too, and although they are not filled with tiny italian men climbing on their bikes, it is pretty nice.

M: Why are we even talking to you?

T: I am pretty sure it is all about the redemption and the comeback. People eat that shit up.

M: Redemption from what?

T: Sloth I think, go look at that wine drinking picture again, it is not pretty. So where was I...

M: Something about riding on a sunny day?

T: Oh yes, fabulous stuff really, I rode up the top of the ski hill, kept going up the trails, sat around for a bit, listened to the birds, looked at the plants, ate some bananas and then rode on back home.

M: Ah.

T: There was some snow on the trail, enough that I had to dismount now and again.

M: I see... So how does it feel to be back?

T: Well, the legs felt a little heavy, but I had good sensations at the end.

M: Great, well thanks for the interview, good luck on the comeback

T: Thanks, we should talk again.

M: Unlikely.


Now and again

I get to a really good garage sale at the right time where deals are offered not asked for and bikes and tools are a plenty. They are few and far between around here, but we got a good one last week

small fraction of the tools I got, but the best ones

Miyata sixten and Miyata terrarunner

Alas the terrarunner was in a bit of a front end collision that buckled the top and down tubes, so my plans for killing it by winter commuting are foiled. Dammit. The six ten is in decent shape though, and the terra runner will fill some holes in the spare box. All told it was something like 24.50 for 2 bikes a blackburn windtrainer a bunch of tools and a couple of uglilicious ties.


Up in there

Wink256 did his mightiest to protect us from a marauding loose dog belonging to some dipshit. Winky appeared to land mighty swats on the dog in round one, but spent round two climbing up into the engine compartment of my golf. It took him two days to recover.

Live to fight another day buddy.


Brass Submarines

Garage Sale score of the week.

Thats 3.2 pounds of brass, possibly worth $5 in scrap alone, bought for $1. Note that one is polished and the other has its sand cast finish. They have threaded holes on the bottom so I can figure out how to mount them to the front fender or rack of the cruisers...


Stupid Racks in Albuquerque

Popped down to do some shopping in Albuquerque over the weekend and saw a really dumb bike rack, a somewhat dumb bike rack and a couple of bus loads of smoke jumpers. See if you can figure out which one is which!

Click pics for more info...



I made one of the best cups of espresso I have ever made in my life on Sunday morning. I tried it again with a camera to document it, but the pull was not quite as good. I did however get this excellent action shot:


2008 La Tierra Torture MTB Race Report

Very short report:
I dominated the novelty bike division.

Take that "norms".

Much much longer report:

So last saturday I got up and started to tinker with my trusty single speed mountainbike for the race. I noted the headset was knocking a tiny bit the week before and wanted to get it tight. I loosened the stem and tightened the top nut and felt virtually no resistance. That is odd, I thought. I pulled the top nut and cap off and saw that the star nut was pulled almost all the way out. Not so good really.

I am usually pretty aware of not tightening a threadless stem cap while the stem is clamped on, so I thought this was really weird. I had no star fangled nuts in the parts box, so I was able to pull the nut out and reset it. It still pulled right out.


So I hopped on the trusty schwinn and rode downtown to see if the LBS had one. Nope, LBS was closed at 1pm on a saturday. I like our little LBS, but only if it is OPEN, which it is falling into the habit of not being. This is a huge problem with living in this town, there is no good help, so there are inordinate demands on shop owners to run their shops solo, which leads to shops being open sporadically at best. And then people don't even bother going to the shop before driving to santa fe or mail ordering things and then the shop goes out of business...

So anyway, I am still out a star fangled nut, I call a few pals no body has one, so then I remember there is a guy who repairs bikes out of his house and I swing by to see if he is working. He is not. Double damn.

So I drive 45 minutes down to santa fe and buy a couple of star nuts. I grab some lunch, ride around on the folding bike a bit and and then head on back up to the mesa for some star nut installation. I go over to the stand, thread the star nut onto the installation tool, and drop it in. The star nut does not even engage the steer tube. Fuck.

It appears that the tasty hunter fork I got last year (to replace the cracked kelly fork) has a really thin steertube and thus the star fangled nut does not engage all the way on the old nut, and at all on the new ones. Crap.

So plan B. Build up the BMX bike, which is still in bare frame form, and race that. So I did. I built the hell out of it and 4 hours later:

I am ready to race. Except for one thing. My handlebars twist in the stem too easily. Crap crap crap.

I am pickled in phil grease and too burt out to figure out the bars, so then I go to plan B, and pull the trusty cross bike down from a hook, clean it up a bit, swap the 36-15 hard man of october gear to the 36-20 up way to late the night before the race gear, slap on some 35mm knobbys and a bottle cage and call it good. In bed at 12:30 am with a headless MTB, an almost built 24" bike and a race ready cross bike. Woo!

A few short hours later I got up, ate a small amount of oatmeal, bannana and coffee for breakfast, drove over to Pal Paul's house and got his bike loaded and headed over to the race site.

The race is just outside santa fe, and is chock full of smooth singletrack and short steep climbs and descents, it manages to cram 1100 feet of climbing in a relatively flat area.. I had two 9+ mile laps on the agenda. Last year it was cold, windy and snowy and I had some digestion issues that caused me to fall apart the first lap and come back strong on the second.
last years report here. This year is was obviously going to be alot warmer and the course had more single track and it was alot drier which implies much more sand and possibly less ideal terrain for the cross bike.

We got to the race site an hour before the start, I bottomed out my golf about 70 billion times on the rutted rarely used road to the parking area. I got registered, picked up a nice jersey that was a registration bonus for the first 100 racers to pay. Got the bike ready and rode around a bit. I felt pretty good and I felt that I was well digested compared to last years debacle. I knew I was not in as good shape as last year and that the bike might be a liability so I was not too worried about racing well, mostly just trying not to crash hard and break the bike..

The race started with about 15 odd singlespeeders on the line. Glen, the organizer, announced that we were racing for two laps, but if we wanted to, we could do a third for the "advanced single speed" something division with the clever acronym ASSHAT. Eh. I guess one of the racers complained that two laps was too short for the singlespeeders and we should do three, but then he did not even show up. Nice. No matter though, I was in it for two and utterly underfed and watered for three, so no wavering on my behalf.

Race started and I got a pretty good start, not like last year, but easily in the top five, we got to the top of the hill and then started a the singletrack and the entire field passed me. Slow and steady says I. I was pleased that I could clean almost everything in my 36-20 gear, and it was much easier than in my 36-16 mtb gear I ill advisedly ran last year. I got into a nice rhythm of descending in the hooks and climbing on the tops or hoods. I forget how much fun my cross bike is when it is not in race gearing. I am pleasantly suprised with how firm the course is. THere are a few sandy bits that I can't ride and the new singletrack is pretty loose, but it goes well. I think I am in dead last for the singlespeeders in the first couple of miles, I pass one guy in some demoralizing hilly bits and another who probably dropped out with a mechanical.

The downhills are very twisty and loose but I am having fun drifiting and skidding around the course. I pull over often for the sports men field to ride by, but no biggie. The lap ends with a fast fun woopty doo arroyo crossing fiesta, the course snakes across an arroyo 7 times in a short period of time.

As the long climb into the second lap begins, my legs tell me that perhaps I have not been taking it as easy as I thought. It is really getting warm, and I feel hungry. I am pretty sure I can fake the second lap with out bonking, but not positive.

I kind of struggle through the hilly bits at the beginning of the lap, get passed a bunch, pass a bunch of people on the smoother climbs and the non technical descents. It is pretty good. While the first lap I climb pretty smoothly, pick some good lines and avoid alot of the sand, the second lap finds me hitting every rock and tree and sand pit. I can't really get my smooth on, but I am probably going faster as I am not getting caught up with sport riders passing me and then flipping to the granny gear on the climbs... My legs are on the verge of the cramping, yet I press on. Not much else happens. I did get lapped by the two leaders in the last half mile or so. It was probably the longest race I have ever been lapped in. New fast guy Mike was pulling established fast guy Damien through the singletrack. People who saw the sprint finish claimed it was really close, but with a half mile to go it was pretty clear to me that Mike was doing all the work and looked like he was about to blow a gasket while Damien was kind of chilling in his slipstream waiting for the hill in the last 100m to sprint by him. It is good to see someone pushing Damien this year, he has been winning all MTB races and hilly road races by a ton in the last couple of years. Next time, I bet Mike tries to get him to do some work...

People seem inordinately impressed that I rode a cross bike in a mtb race. While this is not the best race for cross bike riding, it is pretty skinny tire friendly and certainly is much much better than many other races we have here in NM. Anyhow, I finished in around 2 hours, which is about 20 minutes slower than last year, but maybe the course was a little longer. I was 14th of 15 single speeders, results here. I survived and only crashed once at low speed when I steered slowly into a large loose rock that was the only feature on a smooth bit of singletrack climbing.

Anyway, great race. It was really dusty but not sandy. It was hot, but not scorching. It was hard, but not too hard.
Maybe I will ride the BMX bike next year, or maybe I will compete for the 3 lap asshat award, or perhaps I will sleep in. It is a really fun course and not too far away. Director Glen and the Pedal Queens and other volunteers did a great job with the course marking, results and the like. Well done.

I was actually pretty happy that my back did not get locked up like it does during cross races. The big gear I run in cross and the constant on and off at high speed is much different pain than what I put myself through this time. I think I set the handlebar height on the cross bike in 1996, so I was pretty happy that I can still ride in the drops as well. My neck was a bit sore, but all in all, no biggie.

Paul finished and was happy with his first MTB race in a million years. As soon as he learns that you don;t need 50psi in tubless tires on a full suspension bike, he might be even faster. We boogered off after the race as I was starving and went to the Santa fe brewing company for bitters, fish and chips and salad. Good day was had by all, probably. Anyone still reading?


¡Proyecto equis revelado!

¡Mira Paganos!
la bici todopoderosa:

click for the build

thats a hunter cycles 24" bmx cruiser thingy, formerly known as project X, if you were not able to figure it out from the completely unrelated spanish words.


2008 Atomicman Duathlon Race Report

Once again I managed to convince myself it was a good idea to do the Atomicman Duathlon just down the hill from me in White Rock, NM. Last years report is here.

As with last year I elected to do the short and sweet "little boy" duathlon, which was 4k-15k-4k run bike run. I also again elected to ride to the race and back. 9 miles and 800 feet elevation change, down to the race, back up home. Last year I took a strong fifth in 1 hour and three minutes. In my report last year I said:

Maybe next year I will break an hour with a bit more running training, some lace locks for the shoes and some aerobars it should be pretty easy... unless i get old.

The short version of this years report was that I got old and I neglected to get lace locks or aerobars.

The exciting news is that I finally built up my big dummy the day before. I tested it by bringing a case of beer and case of margarita supplies to a party the night before and also by riding revelers around the block. The big dummy worked great and was ready for me to load my road bike and gear and take me down to the race.

I got up at 5:30 or so race morning and shook off lingering tequila induced fuzz and got ready for the race. Downed a quick breakfast of oatmeal, bannanas and espresso, found my race gear and donned it, put on some warmup clothes and went outside to fiddle with the bikes.

First I noted my road bike had not been ridden since october 2007 or so and was still caked in mud from the mixed terrain ride I took that day. The tires were flat. I quickly pumped up the tires, noted that the casings seemed sound and loaded the bike up on the dummy. It worked well.
I quickly jammed all the rest of my gear in a messenger bag and looked at my watch, 6:45am. A leisurely hour and a quarter before my race was to begin. I jumped on my bike and headed down to white rock.
Loaded up for the ride home from the race, the ride to the race was a bit less comfortable...

Somewhere around now I realized it was pretty damn cold. It has been a chilly spring here in northern new mexico, but it was really chilly. I am going to guess 30 degrees as I rolled on down the road. I was not wearing nearly enough, but I was running a bit late and pressed on. The sky was blue as blue could be and the sun was bright as gold. Surely it would warm up soon.

As I rolled to the edge of Los Alamos and began my descent down to White Rock I noted that "warming up soon" was not NOW. It was fucking cold. My hands and feet were freezing, my legs were dead and I was starting to shiver. I passed through a sunless canyon on the descent and came to be one with my arctic explorer heroes. Would I freeze here and perish? Or would I endure beyond enduring only to loose most of my toes and brain function in a botched frostbite operation? Who knows? Fortunately the descent ended with me, my extremeties, and mental faculties largely intact and I only had to power a few more miles of flats to the race. I was still cold and really stiff. And my hamstring hurt a lot.

Why did my hamstring hurt? Well it turns out if you put my road bike on a tray bolted to the edge of the wideloader on the Big Dummy, and the bike is facing forward, well then, the brake lever hits me in the back of the hamstring on each pedal stroke. Not so much that I needed to stop and fix it, but enough that I was sore after 6 miles or so of riding. No time to fix it anyhow.

So after a bit, I roll into the race site at 7:25am sharp. I quickly unload the bike, slap the wheel on, rack the bike, set up my transition zone and ride the Big dummy to the periphery and lock it up. I hit the charmingly clean portolets, grab my chip and actually hace a few minutes to jog about before the pre race instructions.

It was still cold, but the sun was high, bright and warming, so I stripped down to my Duathlonman outfit and hit the starting line at a 44 degrees F. I lined up on the front row. Got in my racing position and waited for the gun. Now sit down there sonnyboy and let me tell you about when I used to be fast. I knew how to get off the line in the lead and hold it till the end. Yessir. Fast from start to end. Now all I can do is get off the line first, before anyone else, yep thats what I can do.

Falling to the hole shot

click for big
race images courtesy of pet pangea

So I did. I got hole shot and immediately chilled out and started running slower. There was a strong pack of 5 runners that started really strongly with me right behind and unknowable hordes lapping at my heels waiting for me to falter. After a long downhill the course went up a bit and I slowly fell back of the lead group which was spreading across the road. As the run progressed I fell further and further back and all sorts of people passed me. I passed some of them back and then the run was over with me in 10th overall. Last year I felt suprisingly fast in the run, this year I felt slow and struggily.

I had a middling transition and got on the bike. The first thing I noticed on the bike was how much differently it feels to be riding my road bike than the Big Dummy. The course started with a right turn out of the transition area and I almost steered straight across the road into a ditch. After a few pedal strokes I got my rhythm, figured out how to steer again and immediately startd cranking. The course is an out and back over a series of rollers. I pass three people in the initial parts of the ride and settle in the drops and crank. It is cold and a bit windy, but I feel good. I see the next group of riders out ahead of me, but it takes me a while to catch them, I pass two of them right before the turnaround point and one shortly after. I am feeling it in my calves and quads as I try to stay on pace.

locked elbows for speed as I am ambushed by a photog crouching in a ditch

click for big

The rollers are somewhat demoralizing but I manage to put some ground on everyone I passed before the halfway point. I am having trouble dropping the guy (gustavo) I passed after the turnaround, but after going back and forth with him a bit, I manage to put him behind me on a long incline.

Outtadasaddle hup hup hup, into the teeth of the wind

click for big

I roll into the transition in 4th overall with one guy hot on my heels. I manage a similarly middling transition and head out into the course with no one within sight ahead of me, but more hordes real and implied at my heels. Gustavo passes me quickly in the run and I attempt to hold it together to remain in fifth. Running after hard biking is never fun, especially when you practice it once a year during this race, so I was abit clunky, but moving along at a good clip. At about the halfway point in the last run I look behind me and see no one, so I am feeling pretty good about repeating my fifth place from the year before. The course kind of eases up on the second half of the run with a protracted downhill, and I guess I eased up too because three seconds later I hear an odd honking sound and footsteps behind me. I look back to see some fast runner killing himself to blow by me and then promptly do so. He then gapped me, caught gustavo, who was cruising along 100 yards in front of me, and dropped him too. Huh, I thought, I guess I am not going so fast.

As the race drew to a close local fast postal worker Ted caught me. I thought I surely could stay with him for the last quarter mile or so, but no, he ran away from me like I was pretty much not trying too hard. But I was. I was not going fast, but I was trying pretty hard.


click for big

So I finished in 1:04:57 which was about a minute and a half slower than last year. Still good for seventh and first in my age group (maybe second in my age group really, but the winner was in my age group, so I got first by default or something). Unlike the previous year, when there was no one within 2 minutes of me either way at the finish, the second run was quite competitive, but I still think the second run is gratuitous. Results here. It occured to me mid race that I never ever run on pavement anymore as it hurts to much, so going from not running on pavement for a couple of years to raceing on pavement is pretty darn painfull. I could feel the soreness starting on the first run. My calves and hips hated it. I think this more than anything else keeps me from racing the longer race at this point.

My splits were:
17:30 run (10th fastest)- 1:15 transition - 26:18 bike (fifth fastest)-1:07 transition- 18:49 (10th fastest).

Last year it was:
00:17:06 run (6th) 00:27:05 bike plus both transitons (7th) 00:19:21 run (7th)

My conclusions were that more faster runners were here this year, conditions were slower and I am not quite in as good running shape as last year, but my cumulative run time was about the same... Huh. Who knows, next year aerobars and lacelocks, unless I get older again. Maybe I will not sit down in the transition area, I noticed all the fast people did not sit down when they changed shoes. Maybe...

I did win the Cowbell of Age Group Victory. Which is cool. I love cow bells. It had a dinky clapper, but I fixed that with a aluminum water bottle bolt, a dork nut and a lock nut. Woo.

The cowbell of age group victory!

Highly customized clapper mod, west coast cowbells here I come

After I finished the race, I ate some donuts streched a bit, and watched the Fat Man long race. My buddy Clay won by alot. His report is here. He subtly barely mentioned that he won, by something like 7 minutes. Good job pal. He made it look easy.

Anyhoo, I watched some more of the race and then swapped the bike tray around so the bike was pointing backwards. I racked the bike and then road on home. Putting the rack on backwards and at an angle was a nice change. I was able to strap the fork of the bike to the back of the V rack and the rear tire and rack were far enough away from the bike that I could pedal without interference.

The setup was wobbily out of the saddle, especially on the hills, but managable. I think if I used the long loader to stablize the rear wheel, it would have been better.

rolling up the hill

The ride back was very slow, but pretty comfortable. Last year it was slow but really really uncomforable as I was riding the racebike with a huge pack on my back. Things that would have improved the ride this year would be not having the saddle be slightly crooked, getting more stability out of the saddle and not wearing shorts with such a huge seam between the legs. Also not being sore would be nice, but hard to do after a race like that. Overall I really enjoyed the race, despite the cold and the pain and the soreness. I probably will do it again next year. Yep. Probably...

Back at the house