Editor’s Note: as you know, I generally like having a “first touch” review and then a “months later” review on most of the products I share here. Well, when I gave a pair of DZR Marcos (www.dzrshoes.com/marcoblk) to Horse for review, we were (and are) in the middle of a very snowy winter. Not wanting to break rank, however, Horse diligently performed a “first touch” review despite the inability to play polo. Enjoy!
NOTE: Once again, the 30 that Horse had up for pre-sale are now gone. If you’re still interested, contact Horse (Matt Krofcheck) over Facebook.
Horse is Making More WarHorse disc Guards:
for $38.99 USD you get:
- 160mm disc guard
- Caliper guard
- Mounting hardware
It fits most IS front disc brakes, comes in powdercoated black, and sold out the first time Horse did a pre-sale in a matter of a few days. He’s changed the design just a bit to allow for easier mounting, a lighter product, and a bigger caliper guard so you can make adjustments on the fly.
AND YOU’D BETTER HURRY, FRIEND-O: this is a very limited run, so there isn’t much room for dragging your feet.
I just got this in the ol’ email today from a mysterious writer who identifies him/herself only as “Handlebar Mustache.” As it turns out, it seems the general malaise I’ve been feeling about bike polo isn’t a singular thing:
I want to play bike polo so bad it hurts. I’m currently under a foot of snow, slowly withering away into nothingness. I have to take public transportation to work with the yuppies. I have to wear fifteen layers and stare directly into the sun just to remember that I am in fact alive. Every day that there is ice on the polo court, my sadness and frustration multiply exponentially. The ennui grows within me like a tumor in my heart.
Watching the videos on Mr. Do momentarily abates my listlessness, but I am jarringly rocked from my fantasy world when the video ends and the Fixcraft logo appears and I’m staring at a blank computer screen. It’s like watching porn, except I don’t feel as ashamed when I watch people having sex.
Sometimes I rub chain lube on my fingers just to pretend like I’ve done work on my bike. My mallets are all capped, taped, and tightened. My wheels are trued and covered. My brake pads are dialed in and toed in.
I just want to feel alive again, I want to feel the adrenaline pumping through my veins when I am hurtling down the court on a breakaway. I want to feel the pressure of a goon’s shoulder on mine as we smash into the boards together. I want to feel the thrill of scoring a goal on an overhand shot with zero angle. Ok, maybe that last one has never happened, but I want to believe that it COULD happen if I were back on the court.
My body aches for contact. My heart aches for drinking beers court-side. My joints… don’t ache. They feel pretty good, actually. My knees haven’t had this much scab-free skin in quite a while. My elbows don’t have bruises and my quads aren’t sore. I don’t have any black eyes or helmet hair. It feels unnatural. My day job productivity is way up, and my free time, on a scale of “one to America,” is as free as a bald eagle flying over Mount Rushmore. Maybe I could get used to this! More likely, however, I won’t, and I’ll just keep waking up every morning with my arm outstretched, as if waking from a dream where I scored a game winner and went into the boards at full tilt. C’est la vie de polo-vélo.
A few weeks ago I went out to the local beer hole with a few bike polo players to talk shop and see who could drink the most while still maintaining verbal acuity (the answer was nobody). Early in our frivolities, we got on the subject of really outstanding players and how they make going to tourneys (with the idea of winning) a forgone conclusion for most other players.
In the past I’d mentioned having a major and minor league for this very reason, actually, though when I brought that up the people around me made the wise choice of ignoring what I was saying. Good on them, really.
But then Lumberjack brought up this idea:
What if we had divisions in NAH Tourneys?
Now I realize this isn’t a new idea. As far back as 2011 people were suggesting this very thing on LoBP (ALL HAIL!), but I wasn’t part of those conversations and I’m willing to act like they didn’t happen.
What Lumberjack suggested, more or less (the beer was taking it’s effect on me at this point), was the following:
- Players would, for 1 year, have their records of goals/wins/other important data recorded
- After that year, the club reps would tally up the group and split them into A/B/C rankings based on defined measurements from the NAH
- Those players would then go to tourneys and play in those divisions (C players playing on Friday, B players on Saturday, and A players on Sunday, much like (he says) MTB racing does.
- Players individual records are continuously kept, allowing them to either move up or down based on performance.
There are lots of problems with this model, but I’ll get to those in a second. First let’s talk about the benefits.
1. All levels of players have a chance to win big: Let’s say you’re a C player and you really want to go to a tourney, but realize you’re just going to be pushed out of the thing by Saturday. Well, that really doesn’t give you much of a positive outlook on how things are going to go down, is it? If we broke things into divisions like this, there’s a very real possibility that your team could make it to the podium, as there’s an equally good chance that the folks you’re playing against are around your same level of play. Same with B Players, too.
2. Seeding is less difficult: Instead of having a day where organizers try to work out who is the strongest and who is the weakest team, they can simply start up the tourney for each division respectively. Since everyone is already vetted into a group, organizers can simply create brackets and start the event!
3. bigger tourneys, smaller brackets: Sure, we’re talking about having three individual tourneys happening here, but the brackets will be far smaller for each one, and that leads to a faster event.
4. More entertaining to watch: One of the big things that gets tossed around in bike polo is making it more exciting to watch. Well if you have players who are all closer in skill, the games get more fun, and you have more people to root for. Breaking up NAH tourneys into Divisions gives viewers more champions to root for, and inherently creates more viewers simply because the people who are playing in other divisions will more than likely want to cheer on their friends who are in the currently playing group.
And now some of the problems that I can see with this: Read more
I’m so happy to announce that out of all the wonderful puppy pictures we saw, this one was just the supercutest:
Well done to all entrants and I’m so happy all of you entered. Here’s to hoping all of us spend some quality time with our furry snuggle wuplekins or whatever you say when you’re talking to your pets.
Looking out my window, I can tell this snow storm is a survival situation. If you’re anywhere in the Mid-Atlantic to New England, chances are you’re in the same frozen boat that I am in : the snow is building up, the car is disappearing under it, and your supply of whiskey is concerningly low not that you’re looking at it so early in the morning, right?
But if my stint in the Boy Scouts and half-hearted prepper-of-a-boss have taught me anything, it’s the indomitable spirit of survival-ism. So I’m here to make sure all of us locked in at home/at work make it through this beauty of a snowstorm by using the
LANCASTERPOLO.COM HARDCOURT SURVIVAL KIT
Item 1: Videos
When you open your kit, you’ll first find some tried and true cures for being stuck inside: The following Mr. Do Videos, which will more than likely take some of the strain off:
So the videos didn’t keep you as warm as you were expecting, huh? Well, looks like it’s time to go a little deeper into the survival kit. Why not spend some time reading about the sport.
Heck, if you can’t play it but can’t stop thinking about it, why not make yourself a little more heady about the subject and impress all your friends by being able to cite a blog about the sport? They’ll love that in June when you manage to get yourself shoveled out. These articles, like the finest of MREs, are a mix of sugary sweet, heavy energy, and little bottles of hot sauce that take FOR-EV-ER to open and really don’t have quite enough in them, do they?
The Unidentifiable Package Inside the MRE You’re Going to Eat Anyway All Kinds of Polo
What? It’s still snowing? Well, I didn’t want to break this out, but I will if you’re down to the last thread of survival: the LOBP forums.
May God Have Mercy On Your Soullllssssss
No, but really. If you need to take up the rest of your
life time, hopping into the forums and just disagreeing with some people is a great way to take up six hours or so. That should see you through: https://leagueofbikepolo.com/forum/active
One of the draws that bike polo has for plenty of us is just how little organization it has. Or at least, how disorganized it seems. To someone who is outside of the gritty of the sport, it just looks like a weird, spontaneous collection of people who happen to all be rolling past a court and decide “oh, why not, let’s invent a game right now.”
But to anyone who has spent more than a month playing, it’s very clear that there are many forces at work to assure that things happen which need to happen.
No, I’m not talking about the NAH level, necessarily, but more about the club level of organization.
In The Beginning…
When I first started playing with Lancaster, there was no elected leadership (our godfather, Kyle, was the de facto leader) and certainly nothing more than absolute democracy (one person, one vote. No representation). This worked out because we weren’t really trying to do anything other than play, and we were all pretty happy about it, I think.
But then had a series of events which required more than one guy to decide on, and needed less than the whole club to take action for. This happens to every club, I believe, and it lead to the idea of “polo elders,” or players who had more experience as being members of the club and could be trusted (more or less) to do what was right for everyone.
In this structure we managed to purchase a generator, develop a transportable lighting system, and also managed to make club shirts (though that was much harder than it should have been, truth be told).
Lancaster United Gets Some Government
But even that wasn’t enough–or maybe it was–and that takes us to where we are now as a club: we’re preparing for the Eastside Qualifier, we just elected Elders to lead the club for a year, and the Elders have asked one of the players (appropriately, Fat Stacks,) to act as treasurer because we’re now collecting club dues from club members.
This is all kinda amazing when you think about it, and I’m curious if other clubs collect dues from players. Actually I wondered for a while if we were going too far with it all, if it made any sort of sense to be so rigid in our organization.
But when I got to thinking about it, it made lots of sense: there are times when a situation comes up (buying club shirts, paying local gov’t for space, insurance costs, court/light upkeep) where only a few members actually pitch in; or the people who do pitch in are the same ones who always do. By putting a cost on membership, we assure that the load is balanced fairly between players, and we also have a bit of money for any unseen expenses. Read more
Sochi, Russia–Local bike polo team “The Farmer’s Daughters” arrived in Sochi yesterday to participate in the 2014 Winter Olympics. The three players; David Magbee, Troy Young, and Emilie Watts, touched down just 12 hours before the games were set to commence due to a scheduling error on the part of their coach, Matthew “Horse” Krofcheck.
“Does anyone really know how to figure out local time?” Krofcheck said when asked about the mix-up.
The Sochi Olympics are shrouded in scandal already, and the late arrival of the three American Bike Polo players adds to the already tenuous relationship the States have with the Russian Federation.
“In Soviet Russia, schedule keeps you,” a stereotypical representative of Russia said, probably after drinking “whodka” and wrestling a bear or something.
Despite the mix-up, “The Farmer’s Daughters” have high hopes for a good showing during the games.
“I think we’re the only team here who even plays bike polo,” Watts explained. “No, I don’t mean that as a sarcastic jab at other players. I really think we’re the only people who are here to play bike polo.”
“Is it even an Olympic game?” Young asked reporters at a press conference held in a parking lot.
“We don’t even have matching team shirts.” Magbee said when asked how prepared he felt for the games.
The three, after a lengthy call to the US Embassy and a much louder call to their coach in the States, have decided to press on and try to combine bike polo with a recognized 2014 Olympic sport. The Sochi games will be the first to feature Bike Polo Bobsled.
“We’re going to die doing this, aren’t we,” Watts said as they rode off towards the Olympic Village.
Just a quick tip that (I think?) I heard Joe Rstrom point out during Worlds:
If you find yourself icing your hot balls for play, it’s best to take them out of the ice bath perhaps thirty seconds before you’re going to put them into play. Idea being that a completely frozen ball is not exactly the best thing to hit at full force, and it won’t respond how you expect it to (really, it could just break apart. Let’s be honest).
Editor’s Note: A reader commented below that the most current form of the Fixcraft Hot Balls are not meant to be iced at all, but kept only in water. The more you know!
Something else that he said in passing (he’s so full of wisdom) is that the process of evaporation can cool the ball to the just-right temperature more often than not, so dunking a ball in an ice bath and then leaving it out on the bench might be your best bet to get them to the right temperature for play. Naturally, you’d want to do this to a few balls for the course of a game at once (so you can just throw another out when the first gets too gooey).
I haven’t necessarily tried the evaporation method yet, as it’s been too cold to worry about overheating orange balls, but I have high hopes.
Any other tips out there?