Monday, July 30, 2007
I was a bit displeases with myself after eating poorly all weekend and not getting the Saturday ride in like I wanted but the ride felt great and made me not feel as bad about the slacking on the diet. Today to make it even better when I weighed in after my lunch time core class I was 157, four pounds lighter then last week so I’m doing something right. I know I’ve been dehydrated when weighing myself so I realize that I won’t be racing this weekend at my goal of 155, but I am at least making the progress to get myself down to a good weight.
Thursday, July 26, 2007
Anyway, despite the fact that I could never get behind Rasmussen and would not have cheered much for him if (when) he won, I don’t like that he was pulled. The is no pride in victory left for Contador at this point; here we are left feeling that he was beat and would have to settle with second and now all of a sudden a move like that puts him in yellow. It is just winning by default; like winning through a forfeit it means nothing but a win in the record. You didn’t necessarily deserve it, you were just there. The live coverage writers at cyclingnews.com and velonews.com are right when they mention the lack of meaning in this tour any more. It will never be remembered as the epic battle that it should be; it will be the tour that Vino was kicked out of and that the team pulled out their own man while he was almost the definite winner of the tour.
Sad, but I am now almost viewing this as a joke myself. If it weren’t for the frown on my face and anger in my heart, I’d laugh.
Got in a pretty solid day on the bike yesterday with somewhere around 60 miles total. Went to haines for the lunch ride but mostly just spun out the legs. Then decided instead of heading out to the final Wednesday’s at Wakefield race I’d rather head out to Greenbelt for my first race up there in a while and first B race ever. Chris and I rode out there nice and easy though my poor direction gave us about 4 or 5 miles extra on the ride. We got there with plenty of time to relax a bit before the race though I still had my doubts that I’d be able to hang for the whole race.
I surprisingly did manage to hang in, though at times it was just barely. Coming into the final hill on I actually stood up and felt pretty strong as the A race started pulling up on us again. I started to try to go with the big guys up front but it was quickly apparent I would not be finishing with them and I sat in to finish with the main pack. All in all I feel great about the ride and it definitely helped in the confidence arena after my worst week yet of cycling.
Hopefully I’ll manage to do the rest of the Greenbelt series this season and actually with one more race I’ll have my 10 race starts for the upgrade from V to IV. I think no matter what though I’ll wait until the season is over to do so since I don’t think now is a great time to try to break into the ranks of Cat IV racing. I’ve still got a long way to go before I can really do much good in a Cat IV race. This off season, with a clearer cycling goal in mind I’m going to try to log some serious miles out there and maybe even start hitting the hills a bit as well.
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
It's not the drugs or the fact that the riders are using them. It's that Pro cycling is considered a joke because of it to so many people. Whether they understand how truly grueling and difficult professional bike racing is or not (and I certainly can't claim to; I've only just a sliver of a taste from my Cat V sufferings) they won't respect these riders and they won't respect bike racing. It made me so sad to see this break out and now to read the after math of people giving up on pro cycling and losing faith in their heroes. Shoot, I had the utmost respect for Vino, and quite frankly I still due, even if it's a bit diminished after this; he is still an incredible rider and and can do things on the bike that I can never dream of. Doping is the wrong message and a doper is a bad role model, but what about Michael Vick.
While Vino's career and perhaps even his future in the world of cycling is over. It'll be telling to see when Vick is allowed to start playing again and when his endorsements will fall back into line. Playing time this season would certainly not surprise me.
Along another vein, Mike over at GamJams.com had an interesting take on the possible fall out from the latest tour disaster. While it sounds rosey and great I think I'd have to lean towards the ideas of my club that less is better, even if we all wish we could get the same great deals on our gear a lot of the other clubs get.
On the other hand I would think with a drop off in sponsorship of pro racing there will be less money to go around no matter what the marketers want. The following drop off in interest in bike racing, which of course has already started, will only lead to a drop off in sales for the companies that were sponsoring it. Those Lance wanna be "Fred's"
The guy on the Colnago, which probably should be recycled to an owner who will ride the thing hard and fast, like it deserves to be ridden, will have the highest end Campy special edition gear that he could afford, based on the sale of his eldest child’s kidney, or a little bit of creative billing to one of his more unwary clients.
everyone loves to complain about make the sponsorships possible. Not saying these guys don't suck to deal with sometimes, but we should be thankful to them for at least supporting the sport and bike riding in general. I'll cheer for them over Michael Vick or massive gas guzzling SUV's any day. Shoot, I'd rather cheer for them rather then half the doped professional athletes America has to offer. These guys get away with it because the governing bodies believe/know it's good for the sport (or at least it's popularity) to let the power hitters dope and build excitement. I mean what reasonable SUV driving, overly self indulgent, super size eating slob wants to see a game where it's all natural; no home runs? c'mon now that's just boring. Just imagine all the records lost, and shucks, we'd have to be in awe still of Hank Aaron and Babe Ruth. Where's the fun in that?
Apparently the French Media and the and the rest of the drug busters crew don't give a damn about America's (or Germany's for that matter) interest in cycling.
Sorry, the bumbling rant is now finished.
The second is in response to the Vino situation. Another well written post that puts a diferent spin on things then you're going to see in the media, and in my eyes a substantially more accurate one at that. Read it here.
Today for lunch I rode at Haines Point in cognito with Chris and finding ourselves off the front of the pack at the end of the first lap, we picked up the pace and held off the chase for a lap before being gobbled up by a speeding pain train lead by a DC Velo rider on his tt bike. I was quickly shat out the back but feel like I got a pretty solid bit of riding in anyway. Chris on the other hand was pulling like an animal and managed to stay with the first group to come up on us for a while after we were caught. Not an easy task at the pace they were moving.
The diet has also been good and the plan is to be down to the mid 150's by next weekend. Yesterday after sweating through the core class I was 161 which is significantly lower then I expected even with the water loss. The small salad and peanut butter sandwiches the past two days will certainly help me in this goal.
ASO's CDU, counter doping unit reports.
"We have started a war on doping, and unfortunately in war there are losses, but it is out of the question to quit," Clerc said. "There was never a question the Tour would stop. Then the cheaters would win."
That was VeloNews.com quoting Amaury Sports Organisation president Patrice Clerc following the Vino doping fallout. See the article here.
Sounds a lot like Bush and his war on Iraq, only here there is certainly no winner should the tour be canceled. Cheaters are cheating to win, not cancel their races.
I feel like David Millar right now; I just feel like crying.
I guess it answers mb's question in the comments of my post yesterday "What would Vino do?"
Monday, July 23, 2007
During the first lap I let my mind wander to thoughts of quitting and after being dropped I did it, in the feed zone towards the end of the second 12 mile lap. I didn’t need to, I wasn’t even in that much pain, I just mentally didn’t want to keep going and I quit. That is officially the first time I have ever quit like that and it will be the last.
I cannot really understand what was going on in my mind other then feeling the need to finish in the main pack. Once I was out I just let myself believe the race was over and pulled off. It was tough as I watched rider after rider ride by, all dropped from the pack but still going. For whatever reason I didn’t even consider that an option on Saturday. I guess that’s what Cat V racing is for though, live and learn. I know I can’t let it eat me up too much, though I’ll sure try and use it as fuel for the Pleasant Valley road race. I really liked the road race feel as opposed to the crits and office park races I’ve done previously, despite the tougher feel of it. I also liked the climbing even if I sucked at it and I gave up on it; I will certainly be looking forward to this race next year and a stronger showing (aka finish) for me personally.
Hopefully that will conclude my shittiest week of competition and riding ever. My first DNS, my first 2 DNF’s, my first out right quit and flats galore. What crap. To make it all worse watching Vino take the ITT stage and then keep fighting despite his obvious struggles on Sunday I feel like a royal cat 5 pansy.
On another note despite my own tremendously poor showing; what an amazing race. Thanks a ton Giro Di Coppi for teaching me a lesson and thanks to Squadra Coppi for putting on such a great event. The weather was perfect and you couldn’t ask for a greater event.
I’m now entering my emergency diet and training period for the next two weeks to try and get my fitness and more importantly my diet back into shape by the Pleasant Valley RR. I’ve been seriously slacking and eating like crap for the past few weeks and that seriously needs to change. I know I’ll at least have a little bit of extra fuel to run on.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Wednesday was W@W #3 and I picked up a flexcar and drove out there for the race, feeling too lazy to have to ride and metro home afterwards. In the morning I thought to myself my tire pressure was a bit low, but I decided not to take the time to fix it and just rolled to work. Then before the race I was sitting thinking I was probably going to flat with the pressure I had and what made it worse was I didn’t bring anything to fix or change a flat, much less the tube necessary for it. Of course as the first lap come to a close I felt my shock bottom out over a rock and knew I was done for. It happened a couple of times actually but finally as I finished the final big climb of the lap the flappity flap of the flat was finally there. So, within a week I got my first DNF as well as my first DNS. What a crappy week.
The race had started off relatively poorly on the dry course as I struggled to get a grip and pass people during the beginning sprint. The remainder of my ride was going pretty well however and I probably passed a good 7 or 8 people prior to my flatting out. I took off right after I dropped out and didn’t see it, but it looks like the guy who was in the top spot for the overall points was the winner so it looks like he has it all but locked up at this point. I don’t think my 12 points are going to hold me a spot in the top ten for the overall. Dang.
Unfortunately once I do move out there I will need to go out and buy a car as there are no flexcars near the new place and I’m probably going to be a good 2 miles from a metro. I will still ride my bike to work most days though so the car will likely not be used too terribly much. Have a pretty good route which takes advantage of the Anacostia Tributary trail system for my route in. Plus, I’ve often said how my commute is a bit of a joke at only 3.5 miles; just enough to need a shower on a warm day, but not enough for a workout. Guess I’ve got my wish there.
Friday, July 13, 2007
While I did read the article first what I really wanted was to see the pictures of these electronic deraileurs and shifters. First thing I though upon seeing the shifters is damn, they're even bigger then the bulky ultegra and dura ace hoods we've got now! (This is coming from one who loves the sleek look of shimanoe 600 hoods without the integrated shifting, everything else just looks bulky). Plus to add to that they've got a damn lcd on the top of them! How wrong can you be??? Sorry but the simplicity of biking is certainly lost on these things; they certainly don't live up in that sense to a fixed gear rig. We've never known from our hoods what gear we were in before so why should we need to now?
Next a look at the deraileurs reveals pure unadulterated bliss... for the ugly fairy. The deraileurs are simply hideous blocks of hard machinery. There is nothing beautiful about them outside of their operation, though I unfortunately will probably never get to witness that. To make all this worse, the damn thing needs a battery pack! It looks very similar to a true night time riding light system; which is something I would never want to try to race on the road. Despite any of the advantages these new products may bring I just don't think I'll ever be able to understand or appreciate this in the sport of bicycle racing.
There is something lost to the sport and unfortunately in the race for the best new thing a boundary appears to have been crossed. The pure simplicity of the bicycle, in all it's complexity is what makes it beautiful. It is simple and easy to understand; all of the moving parts that make up the bicycle are intuitive and logical and electronic convenience and complexity has always been reserved for the rest of the world. Sure, the bike is still human powered (for now) but there is definitely something pure about human powered shifting, where you can feel the moving of the deraileur in your finger tips and you can tell the gear in both your legs and in the movement of the levers.
Bicycle racing is best in its purest form; like drug free... In the race to be the best though, it seems some of these things can be forgotten.
NOTE: In an attempt to not be sued on this I decided not to post the pics of the products here w/o permission. To see the picks and the velonews article, go to Shimano's latest prototypes are racing the Tour
Thursday, July 12, 2007
So, one week ago in mentioning my interest in starting to look to my mother I somehow set my self into the whirlwind of activity, stress, excitement and lack of concentration on everything else that is buying a home. My mother got our close family friend involved and by Tuesday we were out in Greenbelt looking at condos. What have I done; but damn I am excited! Looks like I won’t be getting a condo (if I can help it) but am instead going Saturday to look at some town homes in the beautiful Greenbelt Home Inc Co-Op and based on an open house I went to on Sunday there I may be putting in an offer as early as next week. Shoot, at the rate these things are going and the fact that my room mate wants to be moved by mid-August to avoid conflicting with the start of the school year I could be living in my own place within the next 2 months!
In other news, I’ve decided I’m not doing the Pittsburgh Tri this time around after my first two choices of places to stay fell through and my doubts about being able to complete the swim rose higher and higher. I decided now would not be the best time to go spending more money to get out there and not even finish the race anyway. On top of all that I’ve hardly been riding having lost the spark of motivation I seemed to be riding on for the previous few months. Added all together I’d say even if I managed to finish the swim my bike would still suck and my run would even more. Maybe that Annapolis tri would be a good idea, transportation and lodging wouldn’t even be an issue and I’ll be running and biking plenty considering I’ve got the marathon in October… Note to self: get on that! Heck I could even bike the forty miles to Annapolis for the race if I had to.
Sunday, July 08, 2007
The today as I rooted for Millar I couldn't help being dissapointed as he died before the final climb and waited for the peloton but then when two of the last three were caught he managed to salvage the polka dot jersey with a second place on the climb. On the other hand Stéphane Augé's heroic solo effort to hold off the peloton was incredible as well.
The to take the cake, we get a glimpse of pure experience and confidence as Robbie McEwan somehow came back from well off the back with 10 and even 5 miles to go and blasted through and then out of the front of the pack to destroy the rest of the sprinters. My blood is still pumping from that one. Watching him in the chase I thought for sure his chances were gone for the day but he definitely showed some grit and determination along with some incredible bike handling skills in making it all the way through the rest of the riders to take the win.
If this doesn't make the tour worth watching (drugs or no drugs) then you must not be human!
Or, for another take: Go Clipless has some more compelling (or in my eyes scary) reasons for why you should watch the tour. You best be out there boosting those ratings!
Friday, July 06, 2007
While baseball continues to try and ignore the never ending drug debates and conspiracies (including letting the ah Bonds keep playing to take over the all time HR record in the next few weeks) Versus is out there addressing the subject and trying to salvage what dignity they can from the taint. Don’t get me wrong, I would have and still will be watching as much of the tour as possible and I really don’t care about the drug scandal that much. (I care about the baseball scandal because I think Barry is a jerk and I just don’t think he should beat Hank Aaron for that record).
The way I see it is that it’s a shame that some of the greatest cyclists in the world today will be unable to compete in the premier cycling event because of this whole thing. (Though I also respect that in cycling something is being done about it unlike in baseball with jack a** Barry). As for the advertisement campaign, they’ve got nothing to lose since anyone who might be interested in watching the tour certainly knows about the “scandals” and most likely has their mind made up about whether they’re going to watch it already. If nothing this could be a little fresh breath of air for people seeing that the cyclists are signing an oath stating they won’t take anything during the tour. Granted a person’s word is only so strong but at least it’s a start.
Thursday, July 05, 2007
It seems to me capitalism and our own economy are driving down the overall standard of living in our country, at least in certain sectors of it and will continue to do so for years to come. Reading through this New York Times article this morning got me thinking about the state of our country, the outsourcing of certain jobs and the future of our economy. Not that any of these are new ideas or are all that astounding, but I think they are imminent and unstoppable with the path we are driving through capitalism.
First as more and more middle class jobs are outsourced and others are replaced by computer programs and machines, there is going to be a huge portion of our nation’s workers that are left floundering in the hole that is left behind. They may not have the creative potential or the training to compete in the ever changing “higher end” work environment and will therefore be left out of the new world economy as replaceable parts. On the other hand since retail and service jobs at the lower end of the economic ladder cannot readily be replaced and certainly cannot be outsourced (until we have robots being operated by technicians in India working at McDonalds) their pay will continue to be eclipsed by the ever advancing high end positions.
We talk about the increasing gap between the richest and the poorest Americans but with our economic system what else would we expect? Not everyone has the ability or opportunity to become a high end worker and unless things within our domestic policy take on some pretty drastic changes we will continue to see an ever widening gap and a dieing middle class to boot. In fifty years when the efficiency of our capitalist economy has eliminated costs (ie payrolls) where are we going to be left? Corporations keep getting larger and larger with ever increasing power, politically, economically and globally.
I guess the ideal situation will be when we finally reach a level of efficiency where costs are so minimal we will no longer need a lot of money to live well. I suppose then no one will have to work and the standard of living will be at an all time high. Maybe then we’ll all be able to have the same low cost goods and services available to us and universal healthcare for everyone. Maybe this is what our corporate ideals will bring us, assuming they don’t ruin our living environment first.
Instead of focusing so much on growing our GDP and making things better for the top half of the income brackets, maybe we should start to think about how to help bring up the bottom half’s standard of living. That of course wouldn’t be economically efficient though, I mean where are the profits in that? Maybe if we could get companies and our country to stop focusing on the short term they would see that bringing up the lower income brackets would produce a larger base and a broader range of customers to cater to. That seems to me like it would provide a much higher potential for growth and income then would saturating their current customers.
I now return you to your regularly scheduled postings.
Tuesday, July 03, 2007
While I believe the fines may be a bit hefty, especially for first time offenders, the idea seems like a step in the right direction. The state is using simple economics to both raise money and try and curb dangerous and reckless driving on its roads. What is not to like here? Unless you’re openly admitting that you drive drunk and recklessly at an excess of 20 miles over the speed limit then you should have nothing to worry about. If you do admit this fact then your license should simply be revoked and your dumbass should be forced to sit through testimony of people affected by the idiot drivers in this country.
This morning after a couple of quick posts on how much the new fee’s suck, a pair of replies shut the conversation to further discussion pretty abruptly.
You know. . .I hate to go here, but I am constantly amazed when I drive to a
MABRA race somewhere on one of our interstates and have my doors blown off by
another driver with a bike on the roof who is obviously heading to the same
event. This is usually the case even if I'm exceeding the speed limit.
Then you get onto a listserve that bitches and moans about
reckless driving and how bikes aren't given as much respect they should, drivers
are dangerous, indignance about a rider who is killed by a reckless driver
that gets off scot free, etc. etc.
It seems somewhat odd to me
that cyclists would bitch about the Commonwealth of Virginia, or any other state
for that matter, taking action to actually enforce driving laws. It seems to me
that cyclists more to gain from this than anyone. Granted we don't ride on
interstates, but any effort to enforce safe driving can only be beneficial to
Cut the hypocritical crap guys. If you can't do the
time, don't do the crime. . .
People who are viewing this effort by the state of Virginia as
being some kind of obstacle to driving your car, probably shouldn't be
driving in the first place! This is a benefit not a hindrance. As
cyclists we should all be applauding the increased effort reduce reckless
driving that's long overdue.
Seriously, those worried about these
fines should examine their own behavior and stop creating an environment that
promotes and enables this foolishness...people who drive dangerously on the
interstates don't suddenly become responsible, considerate, and well meaning
when they travel on smaller roads that we live and ride on.
Couldn’t have put it better myself. I will agree with the one follow up post on the topic that while it is a great thing, it is truly a shame that it’s only going to affect in state drivers. I guess they don’t want to discourage tourism; even if those tourists drive like a-holes and kill their residents.
With help from the Washington Area Bicyclist Association, the Park Service is
expanding its free bicycle valet service. The service, to operate from 2 p.m.
tomorrow until 30 minutes after the fireworks display, provides two secure areas
for bike parking: 15th Street between Independence Avenue and Jefferson Drive,
just east of the Washington Monument, and on the south side of the Lincoln Memorial near Daniel French Drive.
Now I've known about this serviceand have heard about it at previous events as well but the thing that really caught my attention was the ending time for the valet parking. 30 Minutes after the end of the fireworks??? In all my years (alright bare with me here) of attending fireworks displays, especially large scale festivities, never once have I even made it to the car in less then 30 minutes, much less gotten the car moving out of the lots. What makes getting a bike out easier? Is this based on the small number of cyclists actually using this service? Or do they really just think they can get through the bikes and folks picking them up that quickly?
What about the people who don't make it back to their bikes in time? Will they lock them up somewhere? Send them to the bike barn opperated by the city where they take recovered bikes?
Don't get me wrong here, I think this is a fantastic idea but I think a time frame of 30 minutes is a bit unreasonable. Checking out WABA's site for additional information I am feeling a little better about the situation, though I'm still a bit curious about the rest of the details. According to Waba.org the service will run until 10:30, and assuming the fireworks start at 9:10 and go for 20 minutes, bike riders will have an hour to pick up their bikes. This may still be a tight squeeze depending on how crowded everything gets, but it is certainly better. What remains to be told is what will be done with bikes that are not picked up by the 10:30 cut off.
It'd be interesting also to find out how many people actually use this service. I personally will be staying away from downtown tomorrow due to my aversion to large crowds of people who have no idea what they are doing or where they are going. The cattle herding atmosphere has never really suited me either.
Hopefully there will be none of this going on tomorrow with the valet parked bikes...
Monday, July 02, 2007
Anyway, the ride Saturday included just the route to Laurel while Sunday I did the same route with an extra 30 or so miles in the middle along the route that is from Greenbelt to the Bay via Annapolis. All in all it seems like it should be a pretty nice route, though I think there may be a bit too many turns and non-country roads to use for a regular team ride. Eventually I’d like to get a group ride organized that we can call the Union ride and invite teammates, friends and prospective members out on; hopefully soon I’ll get something that’ll work.
It’s so nice having a camera again and I took a few lessons from some of the blogs I read in my photography during the ride. I like having a reason to stop and enjoy my surroundings for a little bit instead of just pushing on the whole way through. I also spend more time paying attention to the things around me when I’m looking for picture opportunities. I’ll just need to make sure I don’t let the picture taking take over the bike riding.
My sister picked up their new puppy this past Friday and being the dog person I am I naturally stopped by three times this weekend. (I probably won’t even do all that when they have their kids)… I took a bunch of pictures of her too and boy is she a cute little pup. A bit shy and scared at first, she is quickly warming up and I can tell she’s going to be a great little dog. They’re being very vigilant with the crate training and following the “rules” of their dog adoption books now so I’m sure she’ll be through that bit pretty quickly here. It’s good to be an uncle…