schmalz’s log 2013 part 11


In winter my natural inclination towards curmudgeonliness turns from its summer state of "goodly natured" to the more grumbly and sinister "Floridian". This means that I do what all good curmudgeons do—I complain. These complaints are usually filed with my wife, who listens to them and then bestows the proper amount of importance upon them—which means she lets them pass like a fart through a fan—loudly, noxiously and quickly. I, like all practiced complainers, am convinced that my condemnations are treasure maps to great nuggets of truth. I am sure that my past tirades against pleated shorts, henley shirts and Bruce Springsteen lyrics are cultural milestones. (For those who are curious, pleated shorts make you look like you have a ski belt of lard around your waist, henley shirts are preposterously pointless and Bruce needs to start making sense and lay off heading out to the "edge of town".)

A curmudgeon like myself tends to think that things were much better in the past. People were nicer, the weather was more interesting and the only crime was loving too much. This skewed manner of looking at the past is almost never accurate—most people just choose to feel a certain way about the past and remember anecdotes that support the way they want to remember things. I admit that I am guilty of having a similarly skewed view of the past, especially when it comes to training to be a pretend bike racer.

And there’s a lot for a grumbler like me to complain about these days when it comes to modern pretend bike racer winter training. It’s cold out, everyone’s got really nice equipment, everyone seems to have a coach, training camps in warm places, Strava, Jed Kornbluh… These are all wonderful topics to launch tirades against. I began riding my bike in the winter a long time ago, and in my day there were no coaches, no training camps, no power meters or carbon bikes, no one went to training camps, granted, there was Jed Kornbluh but thankfully no one knew about him. And you know what? Things back then were much worse than they are today. Almost everything about modern bikes has improved, there’s better equipment, more people to ride with and loads of information about almost everything. Yes, everything is getting better these days—except for me, I am not getting better—I’m just getting older.

And that’s really what I’m complaining about if I am to be honest.

And as if there wasn’t enough for me to complain about, my cold has been tenacious in its occupation of my mucous regions, denying me opportunities to display my mightiness on the open roads of Northern New Jersey, but I did ride yesterday and here is the evidence.

Roman’s Beer Corner

Roman is on a Russian Imperial Stout binge as of late. His recommendation this week is for my West Coast reader ( you know who you are). Roman recommends the Nectar Ales Black Xantus, an 11% concoction which I imagine that I will never have the opportunity to savor. Grumble, grrrr!



Bernardi Lorica

Big Bad Baptist imperial stout from Epic Brewing.
22 ounces and 11.8% (and a serious caffeine kick)
Aged in Bourbon casks with Sumatran coffee, cocoa, and actually available in places (maybe Whole Foods).

Samuel Grips

Who is interested in drinking these 11 procent beers ales or IPA’s? Bleh. All these weird non beer flavors like chocolate, nut etc.. The Germans are proud of their reinheitsgebot for a reason.

Try a Czech lager (not necessary Urquell unless you can get to the CZ Consulate/ restaurant in the UES). Together with some German lagers one of the best coming from Europe. I think they drink most of the world a head of any country. No surprise because their breweries offer a wide range refreshing crisp lagers with their typical geographical defined hop flavor.

If you want to save some money (and have some extra to spend on your bike craziness) get your beer from a distributor, for example S.K.I. in brooklyn.

Bryan Liner

Please have Roman suggest some beers that (a) have lower alcohol content and (b) are available. Thanks.

Sacha Flange

I had Black Xantus at my local watering hole/microbrewery a couple years ago, and it was possibly the single greatest stout that I’ve ever had the pleasure to enjoy. It was deep, rich, smokey, coffee and chocolately flavored goodness. Too bad it was a limited run and isn’t available for the foreseeable future.

Kylian Sealant

Who cares about Jens Voigt – do you really have doubts about a guy who made his name as a powerhouse during the dirtiest years?

Rayan Housing

Lance to announce he has herpes, coutesy of that little fling a few years back with one of the Olsen twins.

Wants to get back into masters cycling at the int’l level. Team Itchy Ballz p/b GlaxoSmithKline.

Hamza Hammer

ok, im betting armstrong never confesses, but that people slip away from the sport en masse and “maybe” he returns to limited unsanctioned masters racing at 45. $100 who else is in with specifics?

WC Fields

I clicked through to the Nectar Ales site. Now very curious about the hemp ale as they are located in Humboldt County


Farting into a vacuum cleaner is also a fun experience, slightly different than into a fan.
45 seconds more of daylight today than yesterday – I’m looking forward to stripping off the layers which currently make me look like the Michelin Man on a bike, and clearly my winter habits are simply not good for anyone. . .
Oh Spring, where art thou?


Andy, Dan, or any of the other bike geeks on here… is it bad to ride a carbon bike extensively on a stationary “rear-lock” trainer? There seem to be differing opinions out there as to whether it’s damaging to the frame or not.


It CAN be hard on your frame, but there are a lot of variables involved. If you are relatively smooth and stable on your bike then don’t worry. If you’re a hack who can’t stay upright and you flail your bike side to side harshly… then you should work on that issue first. Normal usage isn’t a problem. Abnormal usage can be. Basically, the same philosophy as out in the world.

Lenny Hammer

Just make sure the trainer connection doesnt touch the frame (should only make contact with the QR) and use the QR that was provided with the trainer.

Remi Fork

I predict smallie and handie will be revealed as the bottom feeders that they are, Oh wait, they have already been. They still have a market with cat whatever cyclists who buy the shite in the side-bar!

Axel O-Ring

There’s some genius in Roman’s pick for the Black Xantus, in that, it’s a “big beer” and is made on the west coast. But it’s also unavailable, at any price, in Seattle. They (Nector) made 400 cases of it in 2011 and did not make any in 2012; therefore, it was a stroke of willful obscurantism on Roman’s part. The beer might as well be as mythical as the bird it’s named after! So a clever paradox, my friend. It’s more obscure than Westvleteren 12, which is how Schmalz started the column space to begin with, Chapeau!

Axel O-Ring

btw, I did find Lagunitas “Sucks” Ale at 7.85% abv which is related to Roman’s ‘Brown Shugga’ pick. I recommend it, the excitable cat 4 comments about too-high alc% beer can calm down with just one bottle.

It’s a Reasoned Decision.

Axel O-Ring

also, no plyometrics this winter for me, dan. too top heavy with a beer belly and man-boobs and a double chin. I’m going to do some LSD (long slow distance) and maybe some LSD or shrooms at night with the beer.

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