Moto Mondays: Will Villopoto 4-peat?

Image property of rv2.com

Image property of rv2.com

For the past three years, Ryan Villopoto has won every AMA Supercross and AMA Motocross series he’s raced in. The result: 3 consecutive supercross titles, and motocross titles in 2011 and 2013. In 2012, Villopoto missed the entire outdoor motocross season due to injury, thus resulting in a gap in championships. Ryan Dungy basically swept the entire season with no competition after James Stewart injured himself in the third round and missed most of the remaining races. As stale as the racing became, 2012 would have probably resulted in yet another championship for the Florida native had he been in the mix. Plain and simple, if Villopoto’s in, he wins.

So with the 2014 SX season starting this weekend in Anaheim, the question that everyone’s wondering (and most racers are trying to keep out of their heads) is if RV2 will bring home his fourth consecutive title. While I personally believe he’s the clear favorite to win, I have a feeling that this might be the year of an upset.

So what exactly would be Villopoto’s biggest obstacle? Is it Ryan Dungy’s consistent minimal-mistake style ? James Stewart’s wild attack? The return of Davi Millsaps, Trey Canard, and Chad Reed? How about the young guns like Justin Barcia and Eli Tomac? Not to take credit away from any of the aforementioned racers, all of whom have the skills to beat just about anyone in the world in their sport, but my personal prediction is none of the above. It’s Ryan Villopoto himself.

RV2 is the type of racer that doesn’t like to let off. Ever. Even when he has a season wrapped up and the odds astronomically in his favor, he still continues to push himself to the limit, a limit he comes dangerously close to crossing on a regular basis. Yes, this is what makes him the best rider in the world, but is also the reason he hurt himself and missed the 2012 outdoor motocross season completely. In a sport where the injuries can be more violent than anything experienced in football (200+ pounds of twisted metal falling on top of you as your body awkwardly flips and flails slamming you into the dirt), one bad mistake early in the season and you could be out of the points standings, or the sport entirely.

I am not hoping to see anyone get injured, but as exciting as Villopoto is to watch race, there are multiple moments per event where I cringe and expect the worst. That type of daredevil drive is needed to compete in this sport, but if there’s anything that can beat RV2, it’s the danger he is to himself.

That being said, I’m not suggesting he do anything any differently. After all, it’s been working pretty well for him.

Throwback Thursday: The Wall of Flame Challenge

Wall of Flame

The infamous “Wall Wings.” Nearly everyone who has been to a Wings Etc. location knows about them, the hottest wings available at the restaurant. Far fewer have tried them. And only the dumbest of people attempt the Wall of Flame Challenge, in which you have to eat 16 of the wall wings in a row with no drinks, wing dip, wet wipes, or bathroom breaks. If you complete the challenge, you still have to pay full price for the wings, you don’t get a t-shirt, and in all honesty no one really cares. Your only mark of triumph is that you get your photo taken and placed upon the wall (hence the moniker “Wall Wings”). And with my competitiveness and love of chicken wings, I am just that sort of stupid person to try this challenge.

It was May 13, 2013. On a random day off of school and work, me and some of my friends and neighbors were hanging out when the mood of hunger struck. We brought up that it had been a while since we had eaten chicken wings, and I also commented that I had still never done the Wall of Flame Challenge, something that I had wanted to try ever since I had first heard about it years before. Given that I was to move away after graduation, I felt it was time to man up and cross this pointless win off of my bucket list for good.

When we ordered, the waitress gave me the option of boneless or traditional for my order. I was surprised, as I thought the challenge required one to eat only traditional style, as it would be much more of a challenge to eat around a bone than to quickly gobble down boneless nuggets. Not to be a punk bitch myself, I ordered the traditional style with my signature misplaced sense of pride.

Wall Wings

When I started the challenge, I found that the spiciness of the wings themselves were sufferable, and that the biggest challenge would be eating all 16 of them. Yes, my mouth was hot and I was sweating pretty bad, but I was able to keep it cool and just continued to eat them without hesitation. My friends were amazed at how casually I ate them, stopping between bites to converse like it were any other meal. Unbeknownst to me, one of my friends actually started timing me during the challenge. When all 16 wings were gone, it had only taken me slightly over 18 minutes, which was even more impressive seeing as that I was eating at my own pace and talking during the meal.

I got my photo taken and chose to place it at the very top of the column by the bathrooms (at the Grape Road location in Mishawaka, IN, in case anyone wants to see it). I made sure to place it as high as I could reach, so that I would always know exactly where to look for it on a wall that has a fairly large number of photos on it.

What ended up happening that day wasn’t the real challenge though. Over the course of the next three days, I had unbelievable constant heartburn and gas that would not be soothed, and had to use the bathroom very often. Even more so, it seemed that every time I used the bathroom, I could feel the same heat burning out of that end of my body that I had once felt burning in my mouth during the meal. It was completely horrible.

After enduring the digestive pain during the aftermath, I decided that I would never be inclined to try to Wall of Flame Challenge again. After all, my picture was already on the wall. For anyone who decides to try it, I suggest that you eat them quickly, and stock up on antacids and fiber to help battle the treacherous days ahead.

Wing Review: Wings Etc.

Jerkin Barbie

When I first became a fat college student, one of my favorite foods to scarf my stress away with was chicken wings. My favorite place to go every Sunday to eat and drink while watching NFL games with my friends was a spot called Hoosier Wings. But not too long after we became regulars, the restaurant came under legal issues for getting caught repeatedly serving alcohol to minors, and was shut down. Wings Etc., being arguably the most popular wing chain in my local area, naturally became our next choice. After elevating the back-up to the starting position, I grew fond of Wings Etc., and have many great memories with many different people that bring me back to the tastes of cold beer and messy wing sauces in their varied locations.

But I must not get too sentimental, for I am here to be a critical consumer reviewer and will do my best to not let my personal feelings get in the way of my wing grades. But for anyone who knows how much of a brutally honest asshole I can be to even the things and people I love most, this shouldn’t be a problem.

Upon my recent trip to Wings Etc., I choose to review their Jerkin’ Barbie, Me-So-Spicy, and the infamous Wall sauces. Without further adieu, let us begin.

WING REVIEW (all scores out of 10):

Size: 7

Wings Etc. markets their wings as “jumbo” sized, and while they aren’t tiny, I have eaten much bigger at other local eateries. That being said, they definitely aren’t a rip-off and are a perfect size for someone who would casually eat 10 or more wings per sitting.

Texture: 7

The wings are deep fried just the right amount and the skin, while thin, is usually at a preferred level of crispness.  However, one problem that Wings Etc. seems to have is uneven and/or illogical sauce distribution. While during this last particular trip they put surprisingly the right amount of sauce on each different set of wings, most the time I have gone to any of their locations they completely over-slather and drench the wings in sauce, leaving a huge messy puddle at the bottom of your basket. If you don’t eat the wings very quickly, the ones sitting in the puddle often get soggy and are overpowered by too much flavor.

FLAVOR REVIEW (per sauce):

Jerkin’ Barbie: 10

Ever since my first taste of it, Jerkin’ Barbie has always been my clear favorite for wings sauces at Wings Etc. This sweet Caribbean BBQ blend tastes like chicken wing candy, but not in an overpoweringly sugary way. It is also one of their more mild sauces, so even those who tend to shy away from spicy foods can enjoy it.

Me-So-Spicy: 9

I don’t usually get this flavor very often, but I never seem to have a problem with it when I do. A “sweet hot Asian” glaze that reminds you of the red hot pepper flakes in your orange chicken, it has a little bit more kick than most of their sauces but is balanced out nicely by the Asian flavoring.

Wall Wings: 8

If you’re wondering why they are called the “wall” wings, it’s because completing the “Wall of Flame Challenge” of 16 of these wings with no drinks, wet wipes, or bathroom breaks gets your photo taken and placed on the wall of the restaurant for all to admire. (I have personally defeated this challenge, but that is a story for another time). If you couldn’t guess by the challenge, they are also the hottest wings that Wings Etc. has to offer. Made with habanero, they attempt to make victims out of the taste buds of customers, but in all honesty for someone who goes into eating them expecting them to be unbearable, they really aren’t THAT hot… As far as the hot sauce itself, it actually tastes very good for something that is meant to make you uncomfortable. You will probably sweat a little bit and want a beer close by, but if you like spicy foods I would suggest trying it out to see how you fare.

OVERALL WING SCORE: 8.2

Wings Etc. could definitely use some work on not overdoing it with the baskets full of oily sauce, but as far as the flavors go they have some of the best variety and taste that a single wing place can offer (18 different sauces to be exact). They are also very moderately priced for a private restaurant chain, and the sports bar atmosphere is everything you’d expect from a wings and beer joint. If you are ever in the northern Indiana or southern Michigan area, I would recommend making at least one lunch break at a Wings Etc. location.

Red Bull: Daily Grind

I’m not a big fan of energy drinks (unless they are mixed with Jager), but these companies sponsor and produce some pretty awesome action sports videos. In the Daily Grind, Red Bull’s skateboarding team tears it up in a office setting reconstructed into a skatepark. For any skateboarders out there who have been stuck at a desk setting all day, I’m sure you’ve daydreamed about doing this yourself.

Video property of Red Bull.

2014 Supercross Pump-Up Video: The Best Season Yet?

The return of the Monster Energry Supercross championship series is set to kick off in Anaheim, California on January 4, 2014. With the return of three-peat champion Ryan Villopoto, an always competitive Ryan Dungy, and the recent resurgence of James Stewart (who won the Monster Energy Cup race this past October), the heavy hitters of the sport are back in business. Also returning from injuries that kept them out of the outdoor nationals are fan favorite Chad Reed, Trey Canard and the always underrated Davi Millsaps. And if that wasn’t enough, last year’s 250 SX and MX champion Eli Tomac is moving up to the 450 class, along with Geico Honda teammate Will Hahn, to compile one of the most stacked 450 SX classes of all time.

Even though this is really just a marketing commercial tactic for Monster Energy Supercross, naming their 2014 pump-up video “Best Season Yet” could actually turn out to be pretty accurate. It may be hard for them to top the action and drama of the 2011 season (currently referred to as the best season in recent SX history), but if there’s any lineup of riders that can do it, this would be the year.

Steelers Almost Pull Off Miracle Victory… Almost

Today, the Pittsburgh Steelers came inches of sideline away from pulling off one of the greatest plays in NFL history, one that could have even saved the Steelers season given an unlikely scenario of losses by other AFC teams.

Trailing 34-28 on the final play of the game against the Miami Dolphins, the Steelers pulled the ol’ lateral frenzy trick and actually managed to eventually get the ball into speedy wide receiver Antonio Brown’s hands as he raced down the sideline for what appeared to be the unprobable winning touchdown. But with about a yard of space between him and the nearest defender, Brown got a little too close to the sideline and stepped out of bounds about 13 yards before the end zone.

Image property of the NFL.

Image property of the NFL.

What could have been one of the greatest plays in Steelers history will now be a tale that will repeatedly bring cringes to the faces of Pittsburgh fans for years to come.

Click here for a link to the video from the official Steelers website:

Steelers vs Dolphins: The Final Play

#4 Auburn Upsets #1 Alabama With “The Play”

It’s already being referred to as “The Play.” And honestly, it just may be the most significant single play in college football history.

On Saturday night in front of a crazy home crowd, Auburn’s Chris Davis returned a missed field goal attempt for a 100-yard touchdown in the final play of the game. Had Alabama made the field goal, they would have won the game, gone to the SEC Championship, and most likely their third consecutive BCS Championship game. Now, bearing a miracle and some unlikely losses, Alabama’s hopes at a three-peat are gone. And just quite possibly, if either Ohio State or Florida State lose in their respective conference championships, Auburn could actually find themselves right back in the title game themselves.

Personally, I’m tired of seeing SEC teams win the BCS Championship and would like the odds to eliminate the possibility of another, but if Auburn ends up getting the nod after all is said and done, I won’t be mad.

All I know is there were probably a LOT of bar fights that broke out all across the state of Alabama last night. The Iron Bowl definitely outplayed it’s own hype this time around.