Thursday, November 27, 2008

But is your dog fit?

This past week, Katie's dog Sylvia had minor surgery to remove a broken tooth. During the surgery, the vet techs began monitoring her heartbeat and got worried because it was so low. The vet, who is a friend of ours, reassured the techs that nothing was wrong....Sylvia just has a crazy low resting heart rate from being so active and fit.

Kind of funny.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Last rider on the course!!

That was me today at the state CX championships. After a decent start (for me at least, in such a stacked field), I found myself leading a small group of 4-5 people in the middle of lap two. Included in this group were Thom D. and Ray. Coming around a 180 degree turn, my handlebars caught some caution tape and I went down. Hard. Ray and another guy almost ran me over, then the group flew by me as I lay sprawled on the ground with a bent derailleur and seriously banged up shin.

I spent the rest of the race cruising around in no man's land, and barely missed being lapped by the winners. Since they pulled all of the lapped riders behind me, I was, in fact, the last rider to finish the race. There should be a prime for that distinction.

Congrats to Tony M. for winning the Cat 3/4 race today, and to Robert for winning his junior race.

Friday, November 21, 2008

What a maniac.

That must be what the neighbor thought of me while she was pulling out of her driveway and I was hosing off my muddy bike at 5:15 p.m. today in the middle of a minor snow squall. I knew I should have tended to this situation when I arrived home from the race on Sunday, but just couldn't bear to do it.

Oh yea, did I mention I had to leave the frozen garden hose in the bath tub all day so it could defrost for this chore before sunset?

This bikewash was necessary because I'm busy all day tomorrow and plan on doing the Ohio State Cyclocross Championships on Sunday, or "states," as the cool kids call it. I suppose I'll throw my hat into the 1-2-3 race and see what happens. And by "see what happens," I mean try not to get lapped.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Bishop Allen - Kenyon

There is just something fascinating about small liberal arts colleges located in little towns in the middle of nowhere. When arriving in one of these towns, you feel like you were just teleported somewhere far away from the desolate country roads and Wal-Mart you just passed en route to the college.

Last night, Katie and I and a few friends hopped in the car and drove to one of these colleges (Kenyon College) and towns (Gambier, OH) to see the band Bishop Allen play live.

They played a room called the Horn Gallery, which is an on-campus performing arts building. In a nutshell, it was a blast.

We arrived early, then assisted the local Gambier economy by buying a bunch of sandwiches, Christmas Ale, and Bass to enjoy before the show. The show was great, the room had a neat feel, and the crowd was totally into it.

Which brings me to another question: Why are the crowds at these shows so much better than crowds at shows in major cities? Maybe because they are all free spirit college types who have yet to let the troubles of the world beat them down? Maybe because most of them don't have to wake before 10 a.m.....ever? Maybe because they're happy, as I would be, that they come from families who can afford tuition that costs nearly $50K a year? Regardless, they know how to have fun and they have the courtesy to shut the **** up when the band plays quiet songs that are so much more enjoyable without the background idle chatter of disinterested people at the back of the room.

Here's a live clip from the band playing a record store last year:

Monday, November 17, 2008

Boyz on da Hood

Remember that Portland area drunk driver who, in a rage, ran down a cyclist earlier this year and then drove around a bit with the cyclist still on the hood of his car? (The cyclist is ok)

Well, according to this article from today, he was sentenced to 45 days in jail, three years of probation and 160 hours of community service. He has already served 19 days in jail and also faces a mental health evaluation, drug and alcohol abuse evaluation and an $800 fine he must pay the cyclist due to lost work.

45 days.

The motorist intentionally hit the cyclist, then drove at high speeds, went fast around corners, jammed the breaks, and swore at the cyclist, all while he was holding on for dear life (literally) to the hood of this guy's car.

45 days.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Antecdotal Observations

...from today's Broadview Heights cyclocross race, where racers faced temps in the low 30's, considerable wind, a slight bit of snowfall, and lotsa mud from yesterday's inch-plus of rain:

-There seemed to be more participants in the "A" and "A masters" fields than usual. Nice.

-There seemed to be more participants in the women's field than usual. Nice.

-It may not be warm enough all week to use the hose to clean my bike before next week's race, and I was too lazy to do it today. Not nice.

-There was an ungodly number of grown men congregated together and changing clothes in the heated "one-ie" bathroom at the race site before and after the race. Nice/Not nice, depending on how you roll.

-The firepit, cookies, and brownies by the registration area ruled. Nice.

-This sport is insane.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Wednesday, November 12, 2008


I inadvertently stumbled across this website that is a fan page for Obama's recently announced future Chief of Staff, Rahm Emanuel. The website is very odd and has the feel of a teen magazine idolizing the latest boy band. Strange stuff, and yes, very nerdy of me to even find it (don't ask).

It also contains links to a few articles about Emanuel that refer to his exercise habits and hobbies. According to this Mother Jones article from 1993, the dude goes on super fast bike rides on bike paths wearing spandex, a helmet and no shirt. I'm sorry Rahm, but I can't condone that look. Even in 1993. Even on a bike path.

This recent article on says that he races triathlons, and that:

He told Fortune magazine's Nina Easton that he trash-talked President Bush about his mountain biking, trying to goad him into stepping it up to a triathlon and telling Bush he could wear water wings for the swimming segment if he needed them.

That's good stuff. Anything that rips on W. and fans the flames of the (friendly, of course) rivalry between multisport people and other cyclists deserves some props.

But it still does not make up for that whole lycra and shirtless debacle.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Not a fan...

...of the cold. None of us are, but Reuben is especially pathetic during the cold months.

Last night, after being shamed into exercise when reading the weekend training exploits of Bill and Tony, I decided to go on a run with Reuben. He lasted about 400 meters, took a big poop, then begged me to take him back home. His tail was so far between his legs it was insane. So I obliged, and did the run solo.

He's got very little body fat, and very short fur (if you can call it that). So, he actually needs some winter digs.

squished lips

It may not rival Sarah Palin's campaign wardrobe, but it makes life (barely) tolerable for him during the winter.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Waiting Room

By Fugazi, live in 1988.

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Bike Night

That's right, Thursday night is bike night at Now That's Class on Detroit Rd. on Cleveland's west side. According to their site, "Ride your bicycle to the bar and first beer is free. Any beer."

The place also hosts a lot of punk rock and indie rock bands. We've played there before. It's got a good vibe and an impressive beer selection.

It's places like this that keep this town interesting.

Tuesday, November 04, 2008


Katie and I rode to the polls this morning and voted.



We did not vote for DRE 700. Many others, however, apparently did. Watch story here.

Jonathan Page, Enemy of the State

According to this article, American cyclocross racer/Euro stud Jonathan Page was placed on a watch list by the Chinese government for the summer Olympics. The list contained nine U.S. athletes and one assistant coach China thought might cause "problems" because of their association with "Team Darfur." I checked Page's website today, and found no references to Darfur. Hmmm.

The funny part, of course, is that Page was not even in the Olympics this year (as far as I know), and the watch list also included a U.S. golfer. Golf is not an Olympic sport. Am I missing something here?

Perhaps China could be more effective at squashing free speech and other human rights if it approached the issue in a more efficient fashion.

That's just my advice, China. You can take it or leave it.

Monday, November 03, 2008


Here is a video of the band Portishead playing the song "Roads." It is taken from their 1997 show in NYC when the New York City Philharmonic backed them.

I knew people who attended this show, and I still envy them to this day.

Within a year or so of this concert, they played in Detroit, their closest U.S. show of the tour. I was in college and all set to go, but had to bail at the last minute to work on some group project for some business management course I was taking at the time. I'm pretty sure our group's job was to organize a mock public relations campaign for Wal-Mart to diffuse public outrage over their employee rights violations and the child labor violations of their suppliers in the developing world. No joke.

Our group probably received a mediocre grade because, like most group projects in which I participated at John Carroll's business school, a member or two of the group would not take these projects seriously. Most of the time, it was because they were too busy kissing ass at some internship to care about their grades (or more importantly, the grades of others in the group).

The band later took a 10 year hiatus, recently got back together, and still have yet to play live anywhere near me.

The moral of the story: Life is too short to miss Portishead shows.

Saturday, November 01, 2008

The Scene

While hanging out today after the finish of the Chagrin River Cyclocross Challenge and drinking some Honey Brown from the keg Brett so kindly provided, the average conversation went something like this:

"Holy crap, was that hard today." (spoken while caked in mud after shelling out $20 to enter a race at which most of us had no chance in hell in placing in the top 5). Or, "Every pedal stroke was misery. It felt like I was riding through wet concrete." (spoken while shivering wet and hovering over the bonfire to regain some sense of warmth.)

Most conversations, however, ended like this, "So are you doing the Kirtland Park race tomorrow? Yea, me too."

Why? Well, the answer is quite simple.

Those of us who gather for these periodic tests of fitness/power/technical skills/mental toughness/insanity know exactly what I'm talking about. It doesn't really matter where you finish, or what race you do. You come back week after week because you have to. Because it's an obligation, like going to some aunt's house for a dinner with the extended family.

Except this obligation is something you actually want to attend.

As I sit here before my computer with tired legs, I know that I will be there tomorrow. How can I not? Ryan and I have to do battle again for 9th place (or whatever scraps we can manage.) Zak might be there, and maybe I can hang with him this time. Or Thom or Ray. Or maybe I won't get caught by the fast masters this time (or maybe I'll hang with them if I do). Hope always springs eternal.

Regardless, Bill will be there and will always be friendly as hell. And Lynn will be kind enough to run the show (again). And Robert S. will impress us all with his riding. And John E. will likely bring 17 different sets of wheel and tire combinations for different conditions, and will certainly be unhappy with the combo he ultimately chooses.

And fun will be had by all, as it always is.