Thursday, May 31, 2007

On Order

Dropped by Capital Hill Bikes last night and officially put in my order for the new bike. By this time next week I should be rolling around on my new Cannondale CAAD 9 Optimo 2. Man am I excited! This will be my first brand new bike since ’98 in high school when I bought my Trek mountain bike (that I still own and love). I can’t wait to get out and get some good rides in on it.

I also ordered some replacement handle bars to swap out for the ones the bike comes with (I think they are 42 or 44cm’s where as my Specialized bars were around a 40). I also decided to try out the wing style so we’ll see how much I like that, lately though I’ve been wishing I had a wing bar as I think I put a lot of weight forward when I ride. Otherwise I’m going to put some speedplays on it and keep everything else stock for now. I may change out the seat after a bit if I decide I don’t like stock one.

Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Greenbelt shots from last week.

At some point I said I'd get these up and since they are some pretty sweet shots I couldn't pass it up. Thanks to Joe and Roy for the shots. I missed last night at greenbelt and am taking an easy week after a crazy and fun weekend with the family. Hopefully next week I'll be back out there and it looks like I'll even be on my new bike!

Roy and I riding up near the front mid-race.

Shifting on the second to last lap.

I like this shot cause it looks fast...

Standing on it for the sprint.

The final picture before the finsh.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

New Direction

Well as usual, I’ve been flip flopping over the choice of bike I’m going to buy and while for the moment it looks like I’ve got the financial aspect of the purchase worked out I’m still a little bit up in the air. I’ve decided against the Bianchi, too flashy, I don’t really like the campy shifters and Ultegra would be a high priced up grade from Veloce and I think I’d be more worried about the bike getting damaged. I dropped back into Capital Hill Bikes on Thursday last week and hopped on the Cannondale CAAD9 equipped with 105 and really enjoyed it, probably even more then when I rode the 1885. The bike is so stiff and responds so well and I liked the feel of the frame size and everything. It really felt smooth and handled like a dream. The full aluminum frame will be a bit rough on longer rides I’m sure, but I won’t be racing any seriously long rides any time soon, and if I decide to do any centuries or longer rides I’ll probably use the Specialized anyway.

So, we’ll see; I may be going in to order it as soon as this week since I think I’m pretty much determined on it. On Friday on the way home I stopped by Performance Bikes to check out the Fuji’s and store brands which were really inexpensive and featured full Ultegra, but after spending 30 or so minutes in the store and not even receiving a hello, much less an offer to help I decided I’d rather support the LBS that is doing so much for me already and get the bike with a frame that is worthwhile. Plus I’ll get service deals there where as I would never even consider taking a bike to Performance for service. So, I think that settles it, at least so far as where I’ll take my business. Hopefully I’ll be reporting a new bike to the collection soon.

Monday, May 28, 2007

Wedding Pics

The Happy Couple at the reception, they couldn't have looked better and couldn't be happier.

Dad and I sing the traditional family song, and Jenny and Brian have to kiss everytime a song with the love is sung.

Breaking it down on the dance floor.

My parents are happy even if it is past their bedtime.

Jenny and I enjoy a laugh, probably at my dancing...

The official Mother Son Dance.

Thursday, May 24, 2007

Blogroll Update: Part II

While this seems a bit sudden, I seem to have accumulated quickly a few new blogs to the blogroll that I feel eager to share.

The first is a sensational blog which I’m sad I had not picked up sooner. I’d seen multiple links on multiple blogrolls but had never stopped in to read it for myself until about a month ago. I began reading just as Fatty and his wife found out that her Breast Cancer had metastized meaning it moved into her bones, spine, lungs and lymph nodes. This lead too a few short and sobering posts, a huge out pouring of support from loyal readers and a few guest posts while things were dealt with. Now I’ve been sucked in entirely as Fatty deals with everything he and his wife are going through with a combination of support, humor and riding and as his incredible sounding wife urges him ever onward in his own quests. This blog is both awe inspiring and greatly entertaining and if you have never visited before, I highly recommend checking it out.

Fatty also has some sweet jerseys for sale at the moment, though I'm holding out for the pink variety he'll be offering as a fundraiser with proceeds going to help fight breast cancer.

Randy at circular life is another aspiring triathlete whose blog I’ve been reading and who has reached out to offer motivation and encouragement to me on my own path to the tri. Randy’s posts are short and too the point, but it’s definitely been good for me to be able to read about someone else going through similar training and things as I’ve gone along the way. Keep tabs on Randy and his progress and show him some support at his blog.

Beakerz at A Feel Good Production has lately been mia, though when around he has a very entertaining blog. I believe he is also in training for his first triathlon though he doesn’t write about that too much. Beakerz is a teacher and appears to have a good outlook on life as far as I can tell. He at least has a good sense of humor.

This next blog, No Impact Man gets away from the sports/cycling area and focuses on a zero impact lifestyle experiment. You may have seen or heard of this guy before as there have been many stories on the news about him. Basically Colin will be blogging over the next year as he completes an experiment in a no-impact life style meaning he and his family will produce “no trash, no carbon emissions, no toxins in the water, no elevators, no subway, no products in packaging, no plastics, no air conditioning, no TV, no toilets…” So far I’ve been reading this for a month or two and what he has to say has been extremely interesting. It’s also somewhat of a wake up call in that it will bring out things that I wouldn’t even think of as impacting the environment. Of course this is extreme, but using homemade detergent Colin and his family are stomp washing their clothing in their bath tub, and that’s just the beginning. Follow their progress and get a glimpse at what it would be like to live the zero-impact lifestyle.

Rob is an ultra-athlete and writes about it in his blog, UltraRob’s Adventures. I find it fascinating and absolutely inspiring to read Rob’s posts and get a glimpse into what it would be like to fully engulf yourself in the ultra endurance lifestyle. Everytime I read about this stuff it makes me want to get out and try it; reality returns soon afterwards, but for those really fleeting moments I really believe I could do it. If you feel this way too, just read Rob’s blog and live vicariously through him a bit.

Alright, that’s all for now; hope you enjoy the new links!

Greenbelt Training Series, Part III

Last night was another training race at Greenbelt which turned out only myself and Roy to represent the Union. We were supposed to have all four of our Cat 5's for the C race, however the other two had to bail at the last minute due to work conflicts (damn jobs getting in the way of our hobbies!) Anyway, the race was good although a lot of the riders seemed a bit shkey in the pack. I include myself in this assessment as well though I can feel myself getting better at my pack handling and I'm finding myself more confidently watching the back of the rider in front of me instead of their wheel so these training races are certainly paying dividends in that regard.

There was little action throughout the race and the total riding time was cut a bit short to more like 24 or 25 minutes as opposed to the 30 scheduled. I jumped one breakaway, though it was bad timing coming over the top of the hill and of course it didn't last there. We wanted to attempt another but the next thing I knew they were calling for two laps to go so I stayed in the pack and watched what went on.

Caught a wheel coming up the hill on the final lap and managed to hang on until just past the entrance to the parking lot where I stood up and sprinted past my lead out guy and held off the rest for the win. The ride felt good despite my body feeling a bit crappy and my calves still being sore from Saturday's beach run and winning was definitely a nice thing. Not too sure what happened with the crash other then the two guys came together back and too my right and rolled into the grass together before laying it out. I think other then a tacoed wheel though everyone came out alright.

Hopefully next week we'll get some more Union guys out for the race and we can come up with some similar results. This weekend is my sisters wedding so I may not get much time to ride, though I'm bringing both my mountain bike and road bike with me when I head up to Columbia. Fingers are crossed that with a couple of early rises I'll manage to get out for some decent rides out in some of the more rural areas in Howard County. I'll just have to hope I don't run into this a-hole Chip from WBAL radio.

Oh and as soon as I get the pics from Roy I'll throw some of them up as well. I think there are a couple of good ones showing the finish and the second to last lap with me reaching down to show off my dt shifters. This weekend I'm stopping by performance to look at a relativey cheap bike with STI that I wouldn't be too upset about crashing. I'm leaning more towards that route at the moment on the new bike front.

Tuesday, May 22, 2007

Gas Crunch My Ass

During a random fire drill here at the FPB this morning, Scott made an interesting point regarding the recent oh so "shocking" high price of gasoline. He pointed out that it is finally beginning to reach an equilibrium with the price of milk. Someone pointed out that a gallon of milk runs about $3.50, give or take a few pennies, while gas is apparently ranging in low $3.30's these days.

Now there's something to think about; a domestic, even possibly local product that is considered a staple in everyday life (milk and bread are what people buy when the snow storms hit aren't they? oh and I guess TP as well), costs and has cost for so long that much more then a gallon gasoline. Gas includes all these extra costs such as oil mining, drilling and extraction, followed by refining and a big (read: expensive) cruise across the ocean before reaching the tanker trucks that (burning diesel fuel mind you, which according to the Union of Concerned Scientists via despite it's better overall fuel economy still takes 25% more oil to produce then gasoline), lug it across the country to the gas stations that sell it to consumers. Oh yeah, don't forget the overhead costs at stations and government gas taxes.

But, milk still costs more then gas, and we're up in arms about the high price of gas... Gas isn't even exactly a renewable resource, at least with milk there will always be more (well until the population of humans finally destroys the earth and everything on it. Cows? There's no room for cows! We need space for more strip malls and highways!) We're draining the world of oil faster and faster each year with hardly even a blink of an eye as to the decreasing real supply. And I'm not even going to start on the pollution/global warming front either.

I guess I'll leave you with this little tid bit of joy. At least we know that all this whining and crying about high gas prices is having it's effect and consumer demand is finally kicking in to start curtailing America's obsession with irreverent over consumption...

What's that you say about digging one's own grave?

I'll be here in the corner rooting for something more around the $10 range personally; maybe, (though likely not) that would get people to stop and think.

Monday, May 21, 2007

Hot Calves

I spent this weekend camping at Cape Henlopen State Park in Delaware just North of Rehoboth Beach with a very large group of friends. We got in late Friday night and spent some time in front of the fire just talking before crawling into our warm sleeping bags to sleep away the chilly night. Saturday morning had some coffee and food before making our way to the beach to spend the day. After walking a ways down the beach alone I decided I should just get my run in then and ended up running down to the Rehoboth Beach boardwalk and back barefoot in the sand. The run was great and I felt good after I finished both for actually getting out and doing it and physically my body was feeling pretty good.

The next morning and even more so this morning my calves are screaming at me, but I’m still very happy I got for that run. I only wish I could get that kind of a calf muscle workout more often around here.

On another note, I’ve gone through with the biker leg shaving and surprisingly I’m actually pretty happy with them. Aside from a bit of razor burn on my thighs they have turned out to be very comfortable and for now I will continue with it. One of these days somewhat soon I may even shave off the essentially 10 year old beard. Oh the horror!
Senior Year School Play, That's me in the blue polo. I was Shoeless Joe Hardy in Damn Yankees and apparently Shoeless also Means Beardless. I was not pleased.

The spread of the revolution

In a recent release by the Racing Union's Supreme Council for Propagation of Message and Truth; a broader approach the spread of the revolution has been announced. The message is as follows:
"In an attempt to broaden the reach of the Racing Union’s message throughout all facets of the two wheeled revolution and to truly realize the organization’s potential, we will be branching out our repertoire to include a few mountain bike races this season. We will plan to get out for at least a couple of Greenbelt-esq. Wednesday’s at Wakefield rides and also plan on competing in the Cranky Monkey Series which includes two races at Wakefield, one at Fountainhead and one at the Quantico Marine Corps Base.

If anyone would like to join us for any of these races please feel free to do so. The Union will be present at many if not all of the these races and will look to continue the growth of the revolutionary army by digging deeper in to the world of cycling. The chasm that is found between the different sectors of cycling is no longer acceptable and the Union must work to eliminate it. The time for partisan bicycling politics is over; let’s reach out to our brother’s and sister’s on two wheels, no matter how fat those wheels may be and revolutionize the cycling world from all angles!

Revolutionary points WILL be awarded to alternative forms of transportation including but not limited to: public transportation, riding of bikes to the race and car pooling (the more people in the car the more points awarded). The driving of an SUV with one passenger and bike will result in a large net loss of revolutionary points."
This message has been cross-posted on the official Communiqué of the Racing Union.

Friday, May 18, 2007

A Successful Day of Bicycle Commuting

Well this morning was bike to work day so I recruited my neighbor to join me and we rode out to the Rosslyn pit stop to meet up with a few of the Racing Unions’ finest. It was chillier out then I expected so I ran in and threw on my arm warmers and rode with them along with my racing kit. I later ended up wishing I wore more clothing, but I’ve dealt with worse before.

The Rosslyn stop was nice, some fun music along with a bunch of people coming in and out. It was great to see so many people commuting by bike, though had the weather been better and the clouds less threatening I think there would have been a ton more. The Union stood out like a sore thumb in our green kit and attracted a decent amount of attention from photographers and their cameras. Hopefully soon I can post some links to a few of these pictures and videos.

We rode in a good sized group to Freedom Plaza where we hung out for a bit as well and were approached by a number of folks promoting their causes including a newish organization promoting car free areas in dc (carfreedc though no website yet) and one calling a few of us out for not wearing our helmets. Saw Mayor Fenty posing for a couple of pictures before taking off though we missed his speech since we got there a bit late. Saw a big 4 wheel mountain bike monster looking thing (Chris was a bit skeptical of this since technically it fits into the four wheeled hegemony idea, though I thought it looked pretty sweet) and a number of folding bikes. I stood around and caught a few guys from and talked to some folks for a bit while my legs started involuntarily shaking from the cold.

I caught up with Gwadzilla a bit and we started talking about some races including the Greenbelt Training series and the Cranky Money mountain bike series. He said he’d been thinking about going to the greenbelt races but didn’t feel like dealing with the roadies. After hearing today some things about roadies being unwilling to do things like bike to work day and some of the general attitudes towards non-road racing cyclists that many apparently have I can’t really blame him. This goes back to a few previous posts I’ve written on the old “can’t we all just get along” vein. Eh, whatever; I refuse to let that get in the way of who I ride with and what I do so f’ it.

We also talked about some mountain bike races, most notably the cranky monkey series and Wednesday’s at Wakefield. I mentioned I wanted to try out racing but that I’ve never done it before and he assured me racing those would be good as a beginner. I’ll definitely have to get out and try out the Wednesday’s at Wakefield which essentially sounds just like the greenbelt training series for mountain biking. Sounds like a great way to get my foot in the door, or woods as the case may be.

The final portion of the ride was pretty brutal coming down Pennsylvania Ave with the wind and rain blowing in our faces, but it was short and overall it was all worth it. Looking forward to next year’s event and hopefully we’ll get an even bigger turnout (and nicer weather). I may even join Chris in riding all the way out to Vienna to meet everyone else before riding back in, though we’ll see about that one.

(Oh and I was shocked this morning that on bike to work day, dcblogs went ahead and specifically featured the nations highway system. WTF is that about?)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

LT and B to W Day! Get on that!

Tough, tough LT workout at the point tonight for Scott and I (Chris and Mikhail wussed out…). Mostly tough though due to the abnormally high number of busses doing weird things and causing issues for cyclists and cars alike; one almost ran over Scott twice. Otherwise it was good, though I wasn’t feeling that bad until I got back to office; since then however my legs have felt a bit weary and exhausted. LT is tough, as Scott explained to me because it’s so much of a mental workout to just keep hammering. While it is not the high level aerobic workout, the work is hard and the mind especially wants to stop. So far I’ve managed to overcome the stopping call, though I think a bit of a lack of focus leaves me with a little less of a workout then I would ideally be getting.

On another note, according to WashCycle tomorrow’s Bike to Work day is poised to be DC’s largest yet with 1400 registered participants and more coming! That is great! I’ll be joining my neighbor to ride out to Rosslyn to meet some team mates and another coworker before heading back in. Tomorrow should be a great time for an even better cause. Make sure you to bike to work with us tomorrow!

Beating the storm

Yesterday evening as the big storm that had been running along side of the city for hours, was finally about to hit us I was taking off from work for my commute home. I’d decided (probably against better judgment) to ride home despite the impending ruckus and within the ten minutes between looking at the radar at my desk and then walking by a coworker’s cube on the way out and seeing the new image I knew I had a very limited amount of time to get home. I figured all was well here though since I wasn’t racing at greenbelt and needed a workout anyway so a hard ride would be good. The hard ride I got ended up being much different then what I expected.

It seems in my subliminal desire for efficiency I’ve worked out the perfect pace for my commute home as a relatively easy ride with very few interruptions from lights. In riding faster then this pace I essentially achieved no decrease in time since every time I tried to ride faster I ended up pulling up to a red light to wait for traffic to clear and lights to change. So, essentially I had a great drag race ride home of quick hard acceleration followed by hard braking at each light (eerily similar to what we cyclists always laugh at cars for doing). While I didn’t decrease my commuting time by much I did manage to get what is probably a great sprinting workout due to all the hard starts. I guess that’s one good way to look at it.

I luckily managed to get to my street just as the real heavy winds picked up and about a minute after walking in the front door the down pour began. From the Racing Union Listserv shortly after I left work yesterday:

“Kevin apparently just left the office to bike somewhere, giddy with excitement at the publicity his soggy rap has inspired. More on that later, but for now, he’s riding into a terrible storm, and what the weather radar data on my 21 inch monitor tells me is sure death. Here at DOL, we’re pretty much sure he’s a goner. If the brick throwing kids north of U street don’t get him, the wind and lightning will. The feral cats will pick the carcass clean. It was good knowing him. We’re putting together an advertisement for a new person to replace him. if you all know anyone who rides bikes and is also good with numbers and shit, drop me a line.


And later:

“Right on. Just don’t go out in the squall tonight.
We have already lost Kevin and Bryan.
Don’t give the storm what it hungers for.”

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

Upgrading the stable with a new steed.

Last Thursday I stopped by Capital Hill Bikes down on 8th St SE to say hello to a friend who works there and check to make sure they would still honor a gift card belonging to another friend. While I was there I started looking at their road bikes and the next thing I knew I was hopping on the Bianchi 1885 Veloce for a test ride. I’ve got to say, to this point in my life that is by far the nicest bike I have ever ridden. Campy parts have always just been sort of a wet dream and I never thought I’d actually be considering anything other then Shimano equipped bikes.

The difference in the shifting would take some getting used to since I automatically try to push the brake lever and shift the wrong direction at first but the parts seemed flawless the comfort on that bike was fantastic. I also rode a Cannondale CAAD9 I believe which felt a bit bulky and clumsy, though that may have just been the bars which will be switched out. Later that night Scott was able to talk me out of any immediate and drastic decisions on a new bike, over the weekend however, I spent some serious time looking into my financial situation and the options I’d have were I to make a purchase in the near future. At this point it looks like I should be making a decision sometime in the next two months, assuming nothing comes up that messes up my monies.

While I certainly don’t expect the bike to make a huge difference, I am to the point where it is becoming noticeable in my eyes that I would be better suited with a bike without DT shifters. Coming down on the quick descents and needing to take my hands off the bars to shift is an unnecessary burden and with higher speeds a shaking wheel is inevitable. Causing a crash because I was shifting would not really be my cup of tea. Also while hammering on the pedals, most notably during sprints I don’t really have the option without introducing serious risk to everyone involved of shifting and therefore my overall sprinting speed could be improved with a more modern bike with sti shifters.

Since I’d like to keep the Specialized as it is my natural conclusion is that another bike must be added to the stable. While I would still like to get a cross bike as well, I think the most useful purchase at this point will be to go with a new road bike first and then in a year or so if possible, then I can go for the cross bike. Now to narrow it down from the 13 + models I’m eyeing since I don't know if I can justify the campy equipped Bianchi; I mean it doesn't match my kit at all...

Friday, May 11, 2007

Bike porn, though not good enough yet for the Freewheeling Spirit Bike Porn Contest

Wanted to post some of the latest pictures of the fixed gear, now appropriately named El Diablo (it's branded on the saddle). No real great shots but it's the right idea. Wasn't going to use the red and black bar tape on it but I was bored in the hospital so I figured I try it out.
The saddle itself...
The saddle bike fit
Ain't she sweet?
Well you can sort of make out my first wrap job with the red and black bar tape.
Soon to come, red and yellow bar tape. Oh and the red and yellow skin suit to boot.

Greenbelt, a photo recap

A quick photo recap of the last couple of Greenbelt Training Series C Races. Pics Courtesy of Scott Gibbons aka Dear Leader.

Waiting at the start of the 2nd race.

The Union Vanguard Rolls out.

Keeping a close eye on the field and the front of the pack.

Chris finishing strong in week 2. If you look closely you can see Jeff along the left of the group coming in strong and a bit further back I'm cheering Chris on.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

FBBT Roundup, finally

Too much going on since and I got back and too many more interesting things to write about have delayed this report much longer then it should have been delayed. Unfortunately there was a bit of a lack of interest in writing about this on top of that as well. The ride itself was a bit of a disappointment to me and was nothing when compared to getting hit by a traffic cop in NYC.
(My new saddle, look at that color coordination!)

Anyway, the ride was a great route, though a bit too much highway riding in my view of things. With over 32,000 riders riding it, it was also a bit too crowded for my tastes. I definitely saw areas that I’d never seen in my previous two visits and many I’ll likely never see again so in that sense I really liked it. I probably would not do it again due mostly to the number of people involved, though a big group of friends and plans to stop at a few places along the way for beers and food would be tremendously helpful for dealing with that aspect.

(Waiting at the start.)

After the ride due to ferry issues we had to wait for an hour and a half to get back to Manhattan; sitting with thousands of other cyclists in the hot sun with little to no water and no way to really get out because of all the bikes and people every where. Better planning on that part would have been good also. We ended up being in a bit of a rush to get to Penn Station to catch our bus home so that didn’t help with the aggravation factor either.

(Just a small taste of the number of people around us waiting to start.)

In the future, I will absolutely use my bike for more city tours, though I’ll stay away from tours that are too big. Using the bike to get around as a tourist the day before was great assuming you are comfortable with riding in heavy city traffic. The next time I go up I will definitely be bringing my bike again.

As for the Five Borough Bike Tour, if you want to do it go with your family (not too young of kids since it is an all day thing) or a big group of friends and plan out some stops ahead of time for food and beer. Either get there extremely early or plan on waiting around. Probably plan on leaving a car or staying on Staten Island and forego the ferry experience and ride slowly and casually with your friends. Also watch out for idiots flying through the crowds doing their best Robbie McEwan sprint impersonations (though imagine it from the back of the peloton instead of the front).

Greenbelt Training Series: Pt. Deux

Week two of the Greenbelt Training Series and while we just missed taking home the win in the C race the Union had a plan, executed and turned out excellent results. We had three riders this week in the starting field of 26 and managed two top fives and a 12th for myself. Jeff, Chris and I entered the race with a plan and while it was not executed to perfection 2nd and fifth was an obvious sign of some success.

My lead out at the final hill before the finish absolutely took the pack by surprise and created some excellent separation, unfortunately that separation was between Chris and my own wheel so I waited a bit to pick him back up and when I drilled it again we once again created the necessary separation though we pulled along the unattached rider that won as well. I pulled for a bit and got some great separation for the two following riders before peeling off and basically sitting up in front of the remaining pack to slow them as much as possible.

Unfortunately Chris ended up pulling the 1st place rider up to the sprint where the fresher legs prevailed. Holding off the rest of the pack however Chris’ effort put him in a very strong second place and Jeff’s chase with the pack put him in 5th. Ideally the two riders following me should have been Chris and Jeff but the dynamics of the pack when we wanted to go were not conducive to getting organized and we probably started to try to do so too late. Next week we have some more ideas of what to do and hopefully we’ll have at least the three of us back out there again. Hey Roy, where you at? Union representing with all four Cat 5 riders next week?
Congrats to Curtis out of HoCo MD who rode a strong and smart race for the win, even if he did steal our team’s hard work…

Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Reckless endagerment from our supposed protectors

Well the weekend turned into a bit more of a flop then expected after a bit of an unexpected and unwelcome incident on Saturday evening. After touring the Guggenheim Museum a friend and I started riding down 5th Avenue to try and find one of New York’s photography museums. Around 51st and 5th my friend was hit by a car and knocked off her bike. When I came back to where she was I shocked at what I found out.

I was leading the way down the one way street with her following 10 to 20 feet behind me and didn’t realize she was not behind me anymore for a block and a half after the light turned yellow above me and I knew she wouldn’t make it through. I waited by the light for a couple of minutes with no sign of her before I called to see where she was. She said she’d been hit though she was fine and I said I’d be right there. When I rode up to where she was there were a few cops there and some concerned pedestrians looking on and my friend had a decent gash above her right eyebrow. The people there were telling her she needed a couple of stitches and making her stay put and I agreed with them and we waited for the ambulance to get there.

The real shocking part here was that one of the cop cars that was stopped at the scene was actually the car that had hit her, and was a traffic cop at that. (I feel so much safer knowing the traffic cops know how to drive.) Apparently at a red light the cop had been close to the curb so my friend went around on the right of the car before pulling up to the front left near the curb. When the light changed she started up and the car followed and ran into her with the front left side of the bumper. Not sure in this situation the cop had eny opportunity to not see her since she went around his car and directly in his field of vision and the fact that he hit her from behind with the front of his car suggests the same.

I’m pretty sure the police report will be a bit of a write off and any kind of law suit will be hard to follow, especially considering no contact information for any witnesses was taken and well, the guy is a city traffic cop and the city cops filling out the reports know that. The whole thing happened pretty quickly though and we got a slip of paper from the filing officer with a number to call and a report number to receive a copy of the report before they took us and our bikes to the hospital.

My friend has spoken with a lawyer who is very interested in the case and who apparently used to be a messenger in NYC so hopefully he will know exactly how to handle the case, but I have my doubts that there will be much of a chance. Unfortunately with my limited experience with dealing with these kinds of accidents and lawsuits did not think to grab as much information from the scene as possible and the witnesses were gone before we thought to get their information.

Hopefully this works out and something can be done about the whole thing and this cross eyed pissed off looking M’fer of a traffic cop gets at least something on his record. From the sound of it his motives were harmful and overly aggressive towards my friend and from the looks of the guy he was pretty royally pissed while standing around afterwards. While I’ve said this so many times before about other traffic incidents this could easily be chalked up as reckless endangerment, reckless driving and once again the use of a motor vehicle as a weapon. That’s jail time in reality but I’m seeing more of a slap on the wrist and a day off of work at most.

Anyone have any suggestions for how to proceed or anything else they could offer up to help?

Monday, May 07, 2007

Weekend "results" soon to come...

I don't have the energy to write this post right now so I'll make it short. The weekend turned out to be a bit strange and I have a lot to report, one part much more important then the rest. Got home late last night after a very tiring day and work today started with a plop of work that needed to be done right away. I will write this post soon; or rather these posts as some things will need the full attention of the audience.

In other news, Freewheeling Spirit is back!!!

Saturday, May 05, 2007

Biking in New York City

Up in NYC for the bike tour on Sunday and I'm writing this from a coffee shop just North of Chinatown (not really sure where we are but I know we just rode through Chitown. NYC on a bike is amazing, a bit hectic during rush hour yesterday but it's so easy to get around here on the bike. I still need to get batter at having people follow me as Swan is having a tough time keeping with me the way I ride but for the most part we're having a great time. I'll have a ful report upon my return to DC but for now I'm having a blast.

Thursday, May 03, 2007

Strong showing for the Unionistas!

Last night was the first of the Greenbelt Training Series races and Scott, Chris and I all went up to represent the Union for the Race. Chris and I both raced in the C race at 6 while Scott raced the A race around 6:45. The C race was good and the Union did extremely well in the outcome. Chris managed to hold on for a 5th place finish with the final break away of about 8 guys while I finished 16th pretty much dieing on the last lap and a quarter. Overall though it was a great race and we were very satisfied with the results. (Check out some pictures at the start line over at the Racing Union blog; you can see me anxiously chewing on my cheeks basically oblivious to what is going on around me).

Chris and I talked a bit before the race trying to set up a bit of situational strategy for the race though we didn’t get much in that regard done during the race. When there was the final breakaway of the group of about 8 I had just chased down a guy that I really didn’t need to chase down and was pretty much spent. At that point I did what I could to let them get away since Chris was in it and I really was not going to be able to do much the rest of the way anyway. I finished up the last lap at that point and sat up for the finish (no point in contesting for 15th really, and with the recent D20 discussions of stupid cat 5’s I certainly didn’t want to live up to my cat 5 rep).

I’m already pretty excited for next week and once again, though I didn’t contest the finish feel good about the race as a whole. I’ll definitely be a bit more conservative towards the beginning of the race, even if I feel like we’re not racing hard enough and be careful to try and gauge the climate of the group before doing any rash. Also I need to not try and chase down breakaways that aren’t going any where like the last one I chased that drained me towards the end. The more experienced riders were saying to let them go but since I was feeling decent and had good speed built up from trying to get Chris off the front (which he later informed me was entirely unnecessary) I decided to just go for it.

Two down, plenty to go along with lots of learning still to come. I’ve got a four pack for the C races and I just signed up for Quicksilver as well so I’ll definitely have plenty more opportunities to improve.

Wednesday, May 02, 2007

TV Reality: When TV becomes reality

You know that Seinfeld episode where George gets into an argument over a parallel parking space in front of Jerry’s place when one guy pulls in front first and the other backs in (like I was taught in driving school)? Well last night I got to witness a little part of tv in real life. As I was riding up 18th St on my way home around 8:30 or so I saw two cars stuck in basically the exact same situation.

One car, I think a Honda Accord with a young lady driving it was backed towards a spot but was blocked out by a guy driving some sort of monster pos SUV (I think a land rover to get through these crazy urban paved roadways presumably) who had pulled in head first basically sitting perpendicular to the space. Not sure who was there first or any of that but as I rode by a police cruiser was pulling up on the other side to see what was going on.

The guy in the SUV started crying about the girl trying to take his space (literally I think he was about to start crying) while traffic heading both ways on 18th in the heart of Adams Morgan was now being blocked for this ridiculous little quarrel. As I rode by the scene I mumbled something about stupid cars and drivers and reflecting on this there are a few things that come to mind. First off, why do people feel the need to drive around the city when there is perfectly good, cheap and hassle free (especially compared to driving) public transportation to get you pretty much where ever you need to go. Not to mention the fact that aside from mornings before say 10 am there is NEVER ample parking in Adams Morgan, why even bother trying to deal with it? This is a mentality I may never understand, and with cars and car life being so expensive these days, both in monetary and emotional (see road rage, traffic jams, driving around looking for parking) terms I don’t understand what people see in it.

The other major issue I saw here is just how ridiculously insensitive and self serving people are; actions that seem to be exacerbated by the automobile culture which always seems to give people an ill-placed sense of power and distance from everything around them. People become so self absorbed that they forget about the fact that everything they do on the roads affects most everyone around them so these two squabbling over a stupid parking space ended up causing a bit of a traffic jam on both sides of 18th. This would never happen on a bike.

I’m guessing the girl in the Honda probably won this fight since for one she was backing into the back in only spot, and for two she was a cute young girl and the cop was a guy. Sorry for your luck land rover driving crying dude, next time take public transit, or better yet ride a bike. I’m sure affording one won’t be an issue since you apparently are doing well enough to buy your massive SUV and pay for the 13 miles a gallon gas guzzling too.

Tuesday, May 01, 2007

The spirit of a community in shambles

DC was hit with tragedy yesterday, twice. In case you haven’t heard, one of the most popular areas of the entire city, especially on a beautiful weekend morning was burned in a three alarm blaze that took out fourteen of the businesses and caused $20 million in damage. About 12 hours later another historic building was hit causing what is being called extensive structural damage on top of the documents of books lost flames and likely water used to extinguish those flames.

Both are tremendous losses for the DC community and while both will be rebuilt not all will ever be returned to the full glory and they once were and the items lost may never be found. While I can’t say I’ve ever been to the Georgetown Branch of the public library the loss still resonates in my heart. My mother being a librarian, I have always known the importance of books and information that the public libraries offer at no charge. In the days of the internet we often forget about the importance and the simple joys of visiting these public spaces and picking up a real honest to goodness book.

The same and more can be said for the Eastern Market; it was truly one of the cities greatest treasures. I’ve only been there a few times but the sense of community and simplicity found there could hardly be rivaled by anything even near to DC. Once again the act of getting off the internet and shopping in a market surrounded by strangers, friends and neighbors is something that is often lost in the hectic world we live in and the Eastern Market provided one of the most inviting and exciting areas to slow down and enjoy the experience.

Thankfully this weekend the outdoor portion of the market WILL be open and the Mayor has pronounced things will be rebuilt as quickly and consistently as possible. I hope that Mayor Fenty being basically a lifelong DC resident will understand the importance of these locations to the cities residents and will follow through on these strong words of support.