Friday, March 30, 2007

Bicycle Racer

Well, I will soon be a neophyte Cat 5 bike racer for real. Last night I signed up for the Carl Dolan Classic to be held in my hometown of Columbia, Maryland on April 22nd. I’d been eyeing up the race announcements for a while now but until now none had really caught my eye. This race however is only a couple of minutes from the church I went to growing up and it is likely that I’ll have some family there to cheer me on. Sounds like about as good a first race as there could be!

At this point I don’t expect much out of myself for the race, mostly since I haven’t done nearly enough riding up to this point and I’m sure I won’t have a great a base as the majority of the field. My thoughts at the moment are just to get out there and stick with the pack for the whole race. The race is only 25 miles long and I think that if I can do that much I might be able to think about trying to put in a sprint somewhere near the finish to pull out a few spots since I always tend to be able to muster a burst at the end of races. But then again, there is a good chance that I will get dropped by the pack before we even get to the finish so I probably don’t want to get too ahead of myself here.

It looks like we got three guys in there for the Cat 5 race as well as three more guys in the ¾ race so we should have a pretty strong showing for the event, probably one of our strongest numbers wise yet? I believe there is also a possibility of one or two more guys to jump in a couple of the races that are still open there as well.

So, here’s to getting in some miles before then and big day for the Racing Union at this Carbon Neutral Race!

Alternative dieting...

I recently decided I think it's about time for me to try out the diet I used back in college rowing to cut weight to get myself into top shape for the upcoming events I'll be doing. Today Chris at Beer Frites Waffles provided another approach to dieting:

"Norovirus: It's a brutal way to drop some weight, but it works!"

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Bicycle Maintenance Wisdom

Last night my friend Mandie stopped by with the front tire off her (somewhat) new Jamis cyclo-cross that went flat last week during a ride. As I started to pull out the tube (during the commercial breaks for Friday Night Lights which is a fantastic TV show fyi) and did my best to show Mandie what I was doing, my mind jumped to how simple of a task this is. But, then I started to think about when I had no idea how to change a tire and even when I knew how but still wasn’t very sure of myself in doing so and remembered how dumb I felt when I had asked for help in these occasions. I mean who doesn’t know how to change a bicycle tire, right?

While bicycle maintenance is far from complicated and difficult, it is also not just something that you pick up and automatically know how to do (at least not most of us). This past weekend I took my “new” polo/beater bike frame over to City Bikes to get a couple of measurements and I was reminded of just how useless one can feel when dealing with bike maintenance. The first reaction of the mechanic when I walked in with the frame was a bit of an eye roll and a quick run through of what he would likely need to do to build it up. When I explained that I was building it myself and that it was for polo his tone and the amount of respect towards me changed noticeably (keep in mind this was one of my favorite mechanics there and I am not complaining about him or his help as he has been more then helpful to me in his many encounters with my “dumb” questions).

After I told him this and said I was just getting a couple of general ideas for what I would need, he launched into a whole tirade on routes I could take for my bottom bracket and my headset which went well beyond my scope of knowledge. The main thing I got out of our discussion was that it looks like I’ve got an English threaded BB along with a couple of measurements he gave me. Hmmm, most of the rest came out to a smile and nod unfortunately, though I got the general idea for a bit of what he told me. Basically though my knowledge on these parts of the bikes are limited to what I’ve read in my basic bicycle maintenance manual which really is just a basic guide that doesn’t cover most of what I need.

So, I pretty much found myself in similar shoes as to when I first was learning how to do something as simple as changing a flat. I’m sure that after I continue to work on my bikes I’ll get a much better understanding of all the parts and measurements and then I’ll look back at this like I do changing a tire now. Until then though I’ll just have to keep asking questions and trying things out (hopefully with out breaking anything) until I get to the point that I am comfortable with it all.

Scott posted on the Racing Union blog yesterday a post which quickly discussed the differences between knowledge and wisdom. Here I can read about threadless and threaded bottom brackets and headsets all I want but until I get my hands dirty and get some real working experience with them, all this reading is going to produce is some basic knowledge; the wisdom will come with the work itself.

Luckily I’ve got Scott to provide some knowledge to me from his broad bank of wisdom and for the most part he is willing to deal with the “stupid” questions I consistently throw his way. Hopefully I’ll be able to do the same for my friends as they get more ingrained in the world of bikes as well.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007


I’ve never really gotten into the whole biking film thing since I always just thought they’d be just compilations of a bunch of guys doing mostly tremendously terrifying freeriding jumps and tricks that I could never even dream of attempting. Really the only time I’d seen any kind of footage of them was in bike shops that had them showing in the background trying to push their sales. I always found them fascinating but unrealistic in my life and therefore never felt compelled to purchase one of them.

This morning however reading the latest post by Graham at Go Clipless, I got a bit of a different idea about biking films. Graham recently interviewed Jason Berry, the director of the soon to be released cross country film 24 Solo featuring the XC god Chris Eatough. After reading through the interview I could tell that this film was going to be completely different then anything I had ever expected from a cycling film and after watching the trailer I was completely hooked.

I also checked out the trailer for Jason Berry’s Off Road to Athens and was blown away again. Both trailers gave me chills as I could feel a bit of adrenaline rushing through my veins. Maybe it was just the music on top of the awe inspiring footage or maybe the words followed by pictures of the extreme conditions, but whatever it is I want more of it. I’m definitely going to have to get out and get my hands on Berry’s previous film Off Road to Athens and I’m going to try my best to make it to the a showing of the new movie in late April in Arlington of 24 Solo. I expect that after watching these films I’ll be raring and ready to get out for a bit of cross country myself so if anyone wants to watch with me, bring your bike!

Go here to preorder 24 Solo or check out the showing at Arlington Cinema Draft House.

Tuesday, March 27, 2007

And I'm off!

And I’m off to start my triathlon training! Yesterday I went out during lunch and picked up some goggles and located the local public pool after work. The pool itself is located on Champlain St. down inside the Marie Reed Center and is only about 2 blocks from my place so I was pretty excited when I found it. On top of that it is free to DC residents so really, I have almost no good reason not to go.

Having not attempted to swim since I was in 8th grade or so when I swam on the neighborhood swim team, I knew that it was going to be tough getting my swimming fitness in gear, but I had no idea just how tough. I hopped in the water and swam about 50 meters before stopping to catch my breath already. It’s amazing how unprepared my lungs and body were for this, and I could never get enough oxygen into my lungs as I swam along. I recomposed myself and tried to work on technique through the next few laps and worked back and forth between freestyle and breast strokes and lasted for about a half an hour.

Thankfully my recovery time when I’d stop was very quick and I could certainly have continued going at the end (with lots of short breaks involved of course) but I figured I didn’t want to kill myself on the first day in the water. I think overall it was a good start and I’m sure I will quickly improve as long as I make sure to get to the pool on a consistent basis. I wish the pool could be open in the mornings so I could swim before work but it looks like that just may not be available right now. But with free swimming two blocks from my house I guess I don’t have a whole lot of room to complain.

Sunday, March 25, 2007

Updating history

Sorry to anyone who might be getting my blog RSS feed as I'm currently trying to update all of the older posts from before I got beta and had the labeling capabilities and compact the ones into fewer catagories that have been labeled. I should hopefully finish this up soon but until then there will likely be a number of "new posts" showing up in your thread.

Looking through my previouis posts just a little bit tonight I'm realizing just how random I've been with my topics. I guess that is mostly due to the fact that I don't really have a specific topic for this blog and I also feel like most of my posts are just recaps of what I'm doing (probably not terribly interesting to others). I guess this is mostly for me to be able to look back at what's been going on in my life and kind of see my thoughts and reactions to things that have happened.

So, I'll probably continue to be a bit random in my posts but I will also try to make a concerted effort to write about more things that I find interesting since those are the most rewarding for me to write. Actually sitting down and thinking out a post is not something I really do on most occassions (mostly due to a lack of time to post) but when I do I generally enjoy them a bit more and they are what really get my thoughts out there. Anyway, that was just a little bit of me thinking through the fingers on a cool Sunday evening. (I don't know maybe hitting my head affected me more then I thought.)

Hope everyone else enjoyed the nice day.

My first real bike wreck - A foggy review

I knew it was bound to happen again sometime soon, though I was hoping it would be similar to the last time where there was no falling or injury what so ever involved. Unfortunately this time was very much different from then beginning with the fact that this one was entirely the drivers fault. I was out on a bar crawl with some of the polo/ crew and was seperated from the main group and then from the couple of guys I was with when one got a flat.

The bar we were on the way to was Hayde's on Mt. Pleasant St. so not knowing exactly where the bar was I headed over on Park and had just crossed 16th Street when the guy hit me. He was pulling out of a parrallel parking spot as I was riding by and I had no time to react before he hit me and I was on the ground. I was very lucky in that I didn't break anything or get seriously hurt from it but my bike was across the street and I was on the ground in front of the car with road rash all over my right arm.

I also hit my head and was a bit foggy the rest of the night but a number of people witnessed the accident and were there to look out for me. One guy was helping me and getting pretty confrontational with the driver that hit me before I calmed him down and pulled him aside to help me figure out if I was hurt seriously or not. I could feel I'd hit my head but didn't know if it was bleeding or anything and was definitely in shock but visually the guy said I looked fine.

The driver made it pretty clear early on that he had no insurance information to give me and I think had been drinking as well. Once I got my bike back I told him to be more careful and took off to try and catch up with the group from the crawl. On hindsight I wish I'd at least had the where with all to ask for some information or get something from the guy. Turns out now I'll be replacing my chain ring and likely my cranks on my fixed since they are bent to hell after that.

Later I tried riding my bike home after meeting the group for a couple of drinks at Hayde's and crashed. The chain had come off the bent ring and gotten caught and sent me over it looks like but I didn't check into it as all I wanted to do after that was get my ass home. I threw the bike over my shoulder and sulked back to my place to sprawl out on my bed and fet some rest.

The next morning I was stuck to the sheets from the road rash on my arm/elbow and I was pretty sore overall but didn't feel nearly as bad as I was afraid I would. I managed to get some ibuprofen in me and then play some ultimate frisbee with some friends at 11 before an early evening bocce ball party on some friends' roof deck (which I walked to). I kept myself pretty loaded up on the pain killers the whole day though so today when I woke up I felt worse then yesterday and spent the majority of the day staying put and trying not to cough since it feels like I did a thousand sit ups yesterday or something.

So, there it is, my second time being hit in the city. Significantly worse then the first bounce off the truck involved in the first but still I was extremely lucky. Hopefully I'll get a break before I get another one of these things as I'm not really interested in this sticky road rash crap right now.

As for riding, I rode to the frisbee game on Saturday and while it wasn't too uncomfortable I was definitely a bit nervous and maybe even a bit shakey on the bike, though that may have to do with how long it's been since I've ridden the Specialized with gears. I was supposed to get out for a ride today and in hindsight I wish I had but the body just was not interested and I didn't want to keep loading up on the pain killers since I've been taking them pretty regularly lately because of all the running as well.

Tomorrow morning I'll probably ride to work and might even try and get out for an easy spin during lunch but we'll see how I feel. For now I'm just glad I wasn't sidelined with anything worse.

On a side note, it appears that one of my favorite blog writers will be officially taking a break. I've heard this from others lately that came right back to posting within days so I was sceptical at first but it's been a bit and there is nothing new. This is truely a sad moment for Freewheeling (and Fixed) Spirits everywhere.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

Conversion Part I: The bulk buy

Picked up my frame for my new beater/polo bike last night from the massive Craigslist group buy I got in on with some people from the dcfixed discussion board. While a lot of the stuff ended up being complete junk there was definitely some great stuff mixed in as well. I believe everyone who was hoping for a frame out of the deal will be getting one and there were certainly some decent bars and some coaster hubs people were getting pretty pumped up about.

Being the first person to show up I picked out a frame I liked almost immediately when I saw the burnt orange glint on top of the pile. The frame turned out to be an old Raleigh steel frame built in Nottingham England with Sprite 27 on the down tube. I found the matching fork with the stem attached and picked out some basic bars that I’ll chop down for some skinny polo horn style bars.

So, next step is to try and get my hands on the rest of the stuff for the build and get this baby on the road. I’ll probably pick up a new bottom bracket and seat post just for ease there and try and pick up the rest of the parts used through Craigslist, ebay and friends and hopefully will get this built on the cheap.

As of now my total cost is the twenty I put in for the group buy, though I plan to grab a couple of more junk parts from the “booty” once everyone has had a chance to lay their claim. Otherwise I’m hoping to keep my build right around if not under $100, though we’ll see how well that works out once I really start looking into the parts I’ll need. For now the fingers are crossed and I’m pretty optimistic I’ll come out of this with a sweet cheap a** ride.

I’ll be posting up pictures of the build as I go also once I get my hands on a camera so be sure to check back for those. Hopefully I’ll get some this weekend to put up of the parts I’ve currently got.

Monday, March 19, 2007

Sham-rocked it and ready for another!

One of the greatest experiences ever!

Well, we did it! We completed the 2007 Shamrockfest Marathon in well under our goal of 4 hours and had a blast doing it! For Teddy and I it was our first marathon while Cole ran the Marine Corp Marathon back in October as his first. All in all we were/are all sore as can be but otherwise we're feeling great! My right knee is pretty sore but I think that is due to me twisting it a few weeks ago during training and should be back to normal soon. Otherwise my muscles feel a bit like they would after a hard day of lifting in the gym but nothing more then that.

The three of us started the race with the 4 hour pace group and ran a good pace to open up the race. We averaged around an 8:45 minute mile for the first 6 or 7 miles before picking it up to around 8:30 where we held consistently through somewhere around mile 17. At this point we started to let our minds into the race a bit too much, especially as we compared heart rates and mine was still consistently at least 10 points lower then Cole's. We also hit a stretch of the race where supporters were few and far between and we were left with only the sounds of our own breathing and our shoes on the pavement.

We also through this period hit a steady and torturous head wind which we were left to fight through. Occasionally we would catch a pack and I would jump behind a taller runner to draft, but my lack of discipline had me pulling quickly by them as I wanted to continue my pace. We figured on the way back down though we would get this wind as a tail wind and we would get blown in to the finish with help. Unfortunately the wind was shifting and we only managed a few bursts behind us to help us along, not to mention by this point in the race leg movement was hindered by the soreness in our hips and knees so that help from the wind was only refused by the legs.

While we ran together we stuck three abreast and for a good portion of the race had a following of 4 or 5 runners that stuck behind us and joked along with us as we ran. While this was certainly not the best strategic approach (especially as the other runners drafted behind us through some of the toughest sections of wind) it felt good to be setting the pace three abreast with two of my closest friends.

The three of us though managed to stick together through somewhere around mile 20 or mile 21 were we lost one at a water stop and the distance was never recovered. I lost the second at a water stop a little further down and was left alone in front trying to chase down the 3 hour and 50 minute crew that we had just let slip away. As I watched them run off ahead and knew my friends were falling off behind I tried to fight off the pain in my legs and carry myself through the last few miles. The last 5 miles were by far the hardest miles of the race and the final 2 or 3 were probably some of the toughest accomplishments of my life. Every part of my body was telling me to stop, but I knew I had to keep going for just a little bit longer.

From miles 24 to 25 as I ran by myself watching people pass me I hit the lowest point of my race here and I knew it as I went along. I ran my slowest mile at 9:17 and just wanted to be finished. From 25 to 26 I managed to pick it up just a bit as I knew I was getting into the final mile and it was just a matter of minutes until I would be crossing the finish line with my hands held high. I came to a corner and figured the finish was just around the bend, came to another corner and another with the same hopes until finally I hit the boardwalk and saw the finish line in the distance, probably less then 1/2 a mile away.

I picked up my pace just a little bit more here and started to pass other runners offering words of encouragement as I went by. When I got to the 26 mile marker I lengthened out my stride for the last 2 tenths of a mile and went barreling across the finish line as fast as my legs would allow. As I "sprinted" for the finish I could hear people calling out my name since I was all alone out in the open lane. My face twisted from agony to ecstasy and back again as I ran past all of the supporters and clanging cowbells.

Looking back on this even as I still sit here in pain, everything about it was entirely worth it, even the searing pain in my knees and the ankle that was rubbed raw from the chip strap. I feel like for the first time in a long time I set a goal for myself that wasn't an easy accomplishment and I overcame my fear of failure, worked hard and completed my goal. It feels even better that I essentially smashed my expectation of time by nearly ten minutes finishing in 3 hours, 50 minutes and 21 seconds (though I am a little disappointed by that damn 21 seconds!).

Now as I start to think about number two I'm thinking a good goal should be around a 3:30. I know 20 minutes is a lot of time to drop, but I think now that I've got an idea about the race and the confidence in me to know that I can do it I should be setting another tough possibly unattainable goal. I think 3:30 is about right; not to mention my ideas about a possible triathlon. I've officially become a DC resident now so it is probably about time for me to start using those public pools for some swimming training!

Saturday, March 17, 2007

T minus 23 hours

And we're on our way. Full race report hopefully with some pictures to follow Monday or Tuesday!

Friday, March 16, 2007

Let the countdown begin

Well, the wheels are now officially rolling on the last stretch of my marathon road. Right about now the Pittsburgh contingent of the marathon Crew is loading up a car and leaving to join me here in DC. We’ll probably grab an early dinner at one of the great local Italian joints down the street, watch a movie and get a good nights rest before leaving tomorrow morning for Virginia Beach. Work is next to impossible today but that is to be expected.

Last night I spoke to my father for a little bit as yesterday was his birthday. He and I have very similar feelings about our birthdays in that neither of us really care to celebrate them and we will almost never tell anyone about them. So, in that fashion my father spent his day up in Piscataway, NJ in meetings for work. My father is a runner and has been as long as I can remember in that he has logged thousands of miles over the course of his running “career”. When I was younger he would enter road races on a regular basis and he ran the Peachtree Classic in Georgia for a number of years. This got my sister and I out running the Peachtree Jr. for a few of those years as well and I will never forget seeing them cheering me on while I tried to be tough and not smile.

Last night while we talked there was very little mention of the race aside from the good luck wishes and typical pre-race encouragement. One thing he said though that kind of got me thinking was “don’t forget to finish”. Not that this was the first time I thought about it but really just a couple of days ago WAS the first time I realized that there is a chance I could not be able to complete this run.

I don’t think I have anything to worry about in regards to my fitness, but there is always a chance that my body won’t be able to take the strain. I’ve read stories of marathon favorites having to drop out because of one type of body failure or another. While I know it is unlikely but it is still a possibility and it is lingering in my mind. Hopefully once the rest of the crew arrives it will be blocked back out of my mind and I’ll forget about it until after the race when we are sitting around drinking cold Yuenglings and eating big bowls of Irish stew.

Thursday, March 15, 2007

Training recap ramble

WARNING: This post will babble on probably incoherently at times and will likely be very boring to read. Proceed with caution.

As the last few days before my marathon have been winding down, I’ve bee trying to assess the last few months of training, both physically and mentally. I basically decided back on October 29th while I watched my friend Cole run the Marine Corp Marathon that I wanted to run one as well and soon after that I had decided on the Shamrockfest and began my training.

I started off with a bang, and went through a number of highs and lows with my consistency in training and overall motivation and now the time has come to see where it has gotten me. Sunday is the day; my mind is already there even though physically there are a few days left. I think I’m ready for it and can’t wait to get going; some people don’t even blink an eye when it comes to a marathon, but right now in my mind, this is one of the biggest and toughest goals I have ever set for myself.

The first run of my training program back on October 30th was supposed to be a quick easy 2 mile run. I knew I was in better shape then that and would go out and run 4 miles on average normally so I started off with a 5 miler. I went through the rest of the week completing slightly more mileage then the program called for on each run. The first Saturday of the program was supposed to be a quick 4 mile run but my over ambitious self wanted to get out and see what I could do. 12 miles later I was hobbling another mile back to my apartment to rest away my Saturday afternoon.

The entire first month of my training went similar to this though I did not continue running myself to my limit on the weekends after the cold walk home the first weekend. Around the holidays my training and motivation began to slack a bit, understandably before I picked things back up for a bit. A few weeks of traveling and heavy biking in late January and early February sidelined my training for a bit again before I picked things back up in mid to late February for my build up to my longest pre-rave runs of 18 and 20 miles. Both of those runs fell just short of the intended mileage, though due to my poor preparation this does not worry me too much for race day.

Overall, I would say I’m not terribly surprised by the way my training went for this race; I tend to start off with a bang and fizzle when I get excited about things like this and I certainly couldn’t have kept up my early enthusiasm throughout my training. One of the most helpful things I could have had would have been a training partner though for the times when motivation was low and the only thing I had to rely on was my own inner voice telling me to get up and go. I think a bit shorter and more intense training program would also have served me well with less time to keep up the enthusiasm and a more structured and prominent program which I would be more likely to adhere strictly to for the shorter time period.

I think I proved to myself that my base level fitness is high enough that the early easy training is relatively unnecessary for me and that without even changing the program I followed I could cut off the first half of the training entirely and just keep up my typical activities for that time period. To begin with this would probably be a much better option then the strung out program which I followed this time around. I think when training for my next event, whether that is a cycling race, a road race or a triathlon, I think the general lessons I’ve learned from this experience will transfer well into my next program.

I think that mentally the shorter training program would be huge; four and a half months is a long time to stay focused and motivated on a single goal, especially as my team is preparing for the season and spring outdoor activities are starting back up full steam. While it is possible and beneficial to do a number of cross training activities, the majority of the training needs to be in the specific area of whatever I’ll be training for so the shorter program will require less time in activity specific training.

The shorter time frame would be easier to keep a focused training diet going for a time period. One of my biggest vices is food and I find it hard to keep up on a healthy diet for long periods of time. I think I will save this for a future post however as this one has rambled on far enough. Teddy and Cole will arrive in DC tomorrow evening and we’ll leave Saturday morning for Virginia Beach to catch the Expo and get out packets etc… I think once they get here and the ball gets rolling we’re just going to snowball to the start of the race (and probably to mile 20 when things are supposed to get really hard). Until then though, I can hear the seconds slowly ticking away.

Monday, March 12, 2007

RL's got nothin on this Polo

This post should have been up Friday, but unfortunately I was moving and thinking a bit slowly after a late Thursday night.

I’d been wanting to catch up with some of these guys from the DCFixed discussion board that I’d found after tracing a link from one of their threads to a post on my blog. On Thursday nights a bunch of them play bike polo down in SE DC at a court that has been set up for roller hockey with the side boards and all. After grabbing a few drinks with the typical Thursday happy hour crew I hopped the fixie down to Rush Rink at 13th and D SE and found the first game just about to begin. I sat on the side with another first timer and watched for the first game before playing the next couple of games.

In the end I came out with a bloody nose, a banged up knee, a twisted headset, more crashes under my belt then I’ve had in the past year and a half of city riding and a big ear to ear grin on my face. While it’s pretty tough to get a handle on, bike polo is an extremely fun and challenging game. As for injuries; it’s like my father always used to tell me about anything and everything I didn’t want to do or when I got hurt or… everything really, it builds character! (This little saying was also brought up by Tink on DCFixed for concrete crashes).

Anyway, the group seems like a great crew and after joining them for a “drink” at another player’s bar I drunken cycled home sometime around midnight. My single beer quickly spiraled into a couple of pitchers a random shot of who knows what and an Irish Car Bomb with the bartender Shane for good measure. Apparently this is more commonly referred to by the group as “getting Shaned”, hence the lack of my Friday post.

I spent the amazing weekend outside working an animal adoption event in Bethesda Saturday afternoon and riding a nice easy ride through downtown afterwards. Sunday, I got caught up in the parade festivities of the Garrison Frisbee crew before heading back down to the SE area to help clean up another basketball court area for some more bike polo.

*Marathon countdown: 6 days baby!

Thursday, March 08, 2007

Bikers to the rescue

I was going to write up a big post today about stolen bikes and bike thefts and everything but I’ve changed my mind. I think there was just too much to recap fully so I’ll just give a basic overview of the events leading up to this post.

Some craigslist posts brought to light a sketchy ebay seller in the local area. Some fine detective work by a number of members of the DC cycling community managed to link this stolen bike to the original owner and the police were notified. The bike was recovered at a pawn shop on 14th St. NW and there is talk that more will be done on this; prosecution being the idea.

In the meantime, more local members of the cycling community were able to identify a couple more of the bikes being sold by the same individual on ebay and hopefully at this point at least 2 more bikes have been recovered and noted in the case against the pawn shop owner.

Overall this is excellent news; most notably that a handful of people are being reunited with their stolen rides but also possibly even more exciting to the rest of us, the police seem to be taking on an active role in this situation and hopefully at least one stolen bike “dealer” will be “dealt” with. After the contact number for the officer handling the case of the first stolen bike was passed around on multiple discussion boards and listservs it seems he’s received a number of calls from people to report their stolen bikes. He’s requested reposts to ask people not to call him but to report directly to the local district where the bike was stolen.

Unfortunately, my experience with reporting a stolen bike did not even yield a case number much less the returned phone call I was promised.

Tonight, I will cheers to recovered property and the possibility of prosecution against the individual(s) involved. Oh and a truly caring and active community of cyclists; whether racers, commuters, messengers or just general bike riders; the support, help and cooperation that came out of this was truly amazing on all sides and I’d like to thank everyone who did what they could to try and get this situation figured out.

Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Personality of Pictures

I hate sick days! It means you've got to be sick and I can't stand being sick. But, after being essentially sent home yesterday and waking up hacking up a lung this morning I decided to take today also and just get over this crap.

While trying to find stuff to do I was directed to this site by Freewheeling Spirit which I found to be pretty cool. After taking the little "quiz" and reading what it had to say aout my responses based on the pictures I chose I was pretty shocked at just how accurate a lot of it seemed to be. I recommend checking it out if you are bored and have a couple of minutes...

Monday, March 05, 2007

A wasted weekend in the training/exercising front unless of course you count the workout for my throwing arm. I dog sat my friend’s exceptionally well behaved dog this weekend and spent a great deal of time playing fetch since he absolutely loves it and will play for hours if given the opportunity. My new favorite place is Malcolm X Park; we went there a lot and it was never too crowded so there was plenty of room for me to play with Clay and include a game with myself in seeing how far I could chuck the ball (an the follow up game of how sore I can make my arm from a game of fetch). Anyway, the weekend was amazing with Clay; he went just about every where with me and sat outside on the curb if he wasn’t allowed in.

On Saturday I went out to see my first bike race ever in person and watched the 3/4 and 1/2/3 races at the Quicksilver Winter Solstice Series before helping breakdown the tents and pack everything up. The race was fun to watch as a group of 4 riders broke from the main group within the first few laps and held the gap for the remainder of the race. A second group managed to break away as well though they never caught the lead group it was still exciting to watch. What was probably even better is this morning hearing some of the reports and discussions of race tactics being used by teams and individuals in the race.

(Edit: This picture was taken by Ed Hazelwood and can be found and copies purchased here.)

Unfortunately the Racing Union only had one guy in the race and the way things worked out there was no chance for him to accomplish much after the initial breakaway without the help of teammates but next week there will be two RU racers whom have worked together on multiple occasions and will likely be able to do some damage in the race.

On another note, our official kit order came in last week and I picked up my order at the race. There were unfortunately a number of mistakes with the printing on the jerseys and shorts which our guys spent tremendous amounts of time and energy working on but in the end we’ve decided to keep them since it would take quite a while to get another shipment in. I did really like the color the new kits came out, which was not exactly how they were supposed to since they are brighter and will be more visible in a pack. Also the “hammer man” in the background of the jersey looks awesome and stands out quite a bit more then the previous version. All in all I think I’m very satisfied with the kits, though I didn’t have much input on the changes that were worked on so hard by some of our guys. Oh yeah, another good thing about my kit is that it fits me like a dream; almost as if it was custom made for me. Now I just have to be sure not to gain any weight or I’m screwed.

Sunday I didn’t run like I had planned when I woke up with a sore throat and feeling like general crap. I’m keeping a “close eye” on this latest development but so far it is only getting worse. With my marathon in less then 2 weeks I will be taking whatever drugs and precautions necessary to get over this crud quickly…

Friday, March 02, 2007

Yesterday I was supposed to get in a 7 mile run during lunch but after a couple of hard workouts on my legs earlier in the week I was struggling in the motivation arena. Before I knew it it was 1:30 and was too late to take off for a run so I called it off. I did end up getting the motivation going a little bit and left a little early for a quick 5 mile jaunt around the mall before getting back to meet some people at 5:30.

As I was running down that mall and down along side the reflecting pool for the Lincoln memorial I started to think about where I was and my overall indifference to everything around me. When I first moved down to DC I was doing a lot of running, more specifically running on the mall. I remember the feelings of awe I had as I made my way past the capital building and then the white house. “How many people get to get a morning jog in past the national monument and up the stairs to turn around at Lincoln’s feet” I can remember thinking.

I also found a group of people that played pick-up ultimate Frisbee out in front of the Air and Space Museum every Thursday night and I can remember leaving a game one night walking across the mall as the sun set back behind the monument. I stood there amazed at everything around me and thought the feelings could never wear off; it was just all so incredible to be in such a central and important part of the country and even though I went to high school thirty miles away I rarely came down to the city.

As I ran along yesterday the main thoughts running through my head were along the lines of “damn tourists” and “get these damn kids out of the way!” So much for my amazement at the historical monuments surrounding me. What’s worse is that I’ve become what I thought was crazy when I first moved here. I heard things about people who’ve lived here for years but haven’t even seen the majority of the museums and memorials and now that’s pretty much me. I always want to check out the museums and especially actually go down to see the Lincoln memorial when I’m not in the middle of a run but I just haven’t.

The first time I got stopped on my bike by a motorcade I stood with my jaw gaping as some important person was escorted by dozens of vehicles into the white house compound. Now I don’t even flinch or even cast a glance towards the sounds of motorcades flying up and down Pennsylvania Ave. I guess it just comes with the territory.

Hopefully I will still someday start getting myself out to see at least some of what DC has to offer.

Thursday, March 01, 2007

Bike Stuff

I’ve known for a long time that I tend to jump from idea to idea on things; especially when it comes to large purchase items. Recently these things have included (though are probably not limited to) thoughts about buying a condo within the next year or two (only truly major purchase that is more of a pipe dream then anything else), a new cyclocross bike, an old road bike to convert into a beater fixie project, a bunch of camping/backpacking gear that I’ve been wanting to get for the past 4 or 5 years, a new full suspension mountain bike (29er maybe) and eventually a new road bike (plus all the other little things I’ve come up with).

Now I certainly don’t have the means to buy all of these things and really probably shouldn’t be buying any of them, except maybe the condo as the housing market is slumping and all); but, since I plan on racing cyclocross next season and I also could use a nice lightweight bike for touring rides like a possible ride to Pittsburgh etc… I think the cross bike would be a great investment for the long-run. The least expensive option for me at this point would probably be the fixie/project bike since the plan there is just to pick up an old road bike and using as many used parts as possible build up a basic beater that I wouldn’t mind leaving parked outside all day.

What’s really got me on this kick right now is the dividend money I just got back from REI along with a 20% off coupon from some camping stuff I bought last year. Looking at their website I found the K2 Enemy x bike (a very favorable review here on which I could probably get for around $800 and would be my first brand new bike since I bought my Trek 6000 back in high school. Enticing, but I’m now thinking I should consider spending my rebate money on a used x bike and save even more on that. My thoughts are that since I won’t be doing extremely serious x racing I don’t need anything too top of the line for now and anything I do get will probably take a beating through racing and the longer rides I’d plan on using it for.

I’m planning on heading to an REI this weekend to see if they’ve got any better deals on the K2 that I could get my hands on; maybe since it is an ’06 model they’ll have a lower price on it in store or something could be worked out for that. Otherwise my eyes are peeled for any deals on Ebay and I’ll probably send out a feeler on the regional racing listserv. To spend, or to spend less? That is the question…