Thursday, January 29, 2009


We bike racers take ourselves quite seriously. Very seriously, actually.

I am just as guilty as anyone else. Let's see, I can think of a few fits of obscenities of my own this past year without even really trying...after dropping my chain at the first barrier in the last Bike Authority/Team Lake Effect cyclocross race, after being caught behind some guy who decided to quit the first Race at the Lake of the year by sitting up in the middle of the field once the race got hard, etc. etc. You get the picture.

All of which makes me feel like even more of a loser after watching a video of Peter Van Petegem at Paris-Roubaix in 2005. Petegem, who had won there before, was a pre-race favorite, and pretty much owned those spring classics in years past, got caught up in a crash on the cobblestones with over 100km to go. As the lead peloton blasted away, he stood there for over a minute waiting for a bike change. He just stood there calmly, looking mildly perturbed. He then got a bike, and (astonishingly) worked his way back into the main field. No yelling, no cursing, no throwing of bikes.

Maybe we can learn from this guy, who may know a thing or two about bike racing.

...and I missed the pedal.

This is a really well written article about 49 year-old pro cyclist Steve Tilford. It's long, thorough, and enjoyable to both bike nerds and non-bike nerds.

I bet he's a pretty cool guy to ride with. Every time I hear his name, I think of that cyclocross race a year or two ago where he fell into a lake (on a cold day in late fall), climbed out of the lake, then won the race.

And he talks about his demoralizing mistake from the start of this year's elite national cyclocross race when he bobbled his pedal. He still managed to finish 18th out of 75 of the best racers in the country, many of whom were half his age, give or take a few years.

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

So in script that made prominent use of a pentagram,they stenciled their drumheads and guitars with their names

Knowing that Don (of Riding with the Devil fame) loves metal, death metal, and all things associated with the Dark One, this video goes out to him.

The Best Ever Death Metal Band Out of Denton, by the Mountain Goats.

the best ever death metal band out of denton were a couple of guys, who'd been friends since grade school. one was named cyrus, and the other was jeff. and they practiced twice a week in jeff's bedroom.

the best ever death metal band out of denton never settled on a name. but the top three contenders, after weeks of debate, were satan's fingers, and the killers, and the hospital bombers.

jeff and cyrus believed in their hearts they were headed for stage lights and leer jets, and fortune and fame. so in script that made prominent use of a pentagram, they stenciled their drumheads and guitars with their names.

this was how cyrus got sent to the school where they told him he'd never be famous. and this was why jeff, in the letters he'd write to his friend, helped develop a plan to get even. when you punish a person for dreaming his dream, don't expect him to thank or forgive you. the best ever death metal band out of denton will in time both outpace and outlive you.

hail satan! hail satan tonight!
hail satan! hail hail!

Tuesday, January 27, 2009


When it comes to good television shows, I am always late to the dance.

Which is why we just started watching The Wire. We're now nearing the end of season two, and I suspect we'll be done with all five seasons within a month from now.

See, it all makes sense. Instead of wading through all of the nonsense that calls itself good TV, we just wait until the critics we respect and/or friends with good taste recommend a show enough times that we break down.

When you do it this way, you don't waste time watching things like Life on Mars and second guessing your own opinion on how the show is a loser because, you know, it can't be bad with a cast like that.

Not that I would know.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

That'll learn me

I mostly blame the Evil Temptress of a wireless Internet connection at the Justice Center for my failure to ride my bike to jury duty this week. I just don't have enough room in my bag for clothes and a computer. Plus, I'd be hosed if I took a spill carrying my laptop.

Where has this gotten me?

I've accomplished very little work on the computer, paid large amounts of money for parking, got stuck in a traffic jam, and was unable to take advantage of the nice day today. And I caught a nasty spyware/virus thing while using the complimentary wireless, currently rendering my Internet Explorer useless.

Tomorrow I ride and bring a book.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Here's to the next four years

We have a stake in one another ... what binds us together is greater than what drives us apart, and ... if enough people believe in the truth of that proposition and act on it, then we might not solve every problem, but we can get something meaningful done for the people with whom we share this Earth.


Thursday, January 15, 2009

A message from the Department of Snarky Observations

Some people actually use sidewalks to get around. Even in the winter.

If you're not going to shovel or plow your sidewalk after receiving over a foot of snow, can you (or your friendly snow plow operator) at least not pile all of the snow from your meticulously manicured, snow-free driveway onto the middle of the sidewalk, forcing all pedestrians to either walk in the street or climb a miniature snow mountain as they pass your house? Thanks.

Speaking of my walk to the library today, I scored a boatload of old magazines from the "free" bin. Small things in life make cheap people very happy.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Tuesday, January 13, 2009 is one more mom with a big ass who wants more bike paths!

Bike Portland has some great content discussing some Americans' responses to John Boehner's comments referred to in my last post.

At it again

Those who read this blog know my feelings about the pride of Ohio, Rep. John Boehner. Especially his views on bicycles and bike commuting. Here is a new quote from him on Face the Nation this week addressing proposed infrastructure investment:

I think there’s a place for infrastructure, but what kind of infrastructure? Infrastructure to widen highways, to ease congestion for American families? Is it to build some buildings that are necessary? But if we’re talking about beautification projects, or we’re talking about bike paths, Americans are not going to look very kindly on this.

Mr. Boehner, you don't speak for this American.

The comments are around the 5:00 minute mark of the interview:

Watch CBS Videos Online

Monday, January 12, 2009


5 games of it tonight. My first time playing in seven or eight years. I've (re)found a new winter hobby. It may be the coolest winter hobby ever, next to curling.

Dave A., you're next. Let me know when you want to bring it.

Sunday, January 11, 2009


When it comes to using technology for training, I am a bit of a neandercyclist. I have never used a power meter (for those non cyclists reading this who don't know what a power meter is....don't worry about it. it's really cool and really nerdy). I have also never used a heart rate monitor ("HRM"). I bought my first (very crappy) HRM last year and it never worked, and was gifted a good HRM last year that I plan to use on my race bike this year.

With that in mind, I agreed to be one of newly licensed as a coach Ray's guinea pigs for his power tests on his Computrainer.

After a long warmup, the test involved 1 minute riding at 180 watts, 1 minute at 200, 1 minute at 220, 1 minute at 240, etc. etc., until exhaustion, with no rest in between intervals.

Ray conducted the test very professionally and made me feel like a real bike racer.

Until I saw my numbers.

Thursday, January 08, 2009


I've been getting back to listening to a lot of P.J. Harvey lately. Check of this live duet with Nick Cave doing Cave's "Henry Lee:"

No sexual tension between those two at all.

Here's a more recent live video of her doing one of her own songs. Awesome voice. Awesome guitar.

Wednesday, January 07, 2009


Starting Friday, singletrack mountain biking will still be prohibited in the 33,000 acre Cuyahoga Valley National Park, but loaded, concealed firearms will be allowed.

Story here.

Tuesday, January 06, 2009


Some time ago, Katie was into Barbara's Peanut Butter Puffins cereal. I may have even tried the stuff. I definitely picked it out and bought it at the store several times, but never much looked at the illustration on the box.

Then, several months ago, I was lounging around half asleep one evening when she started talking about the puffin, a "small penguin with a parrot's beak that flies and lives somewhere around Nova Scotia."

If I had one at the time, I would have hit the bullshit button. I was sure that she was messing with me in my state of half-consciousness. There is no such creature. Go away and leave me alone.

But there is:

She will now not let me live down this episode because she assumes that the existence of puffins is common knowledge. So far we have asked one other person and they had no idea what a puffin was or what we were talking about.

Did you know about these odd-looking winged beasts before today? Be honest.

Monday, January 05, 2009

Terrorist "Security Threat Group"

That is how the Maryland State Police labeled those who partook in critical mass rides after spying on them. According to the State Police, the "Intentions" of this terrorist group are as follows:

The idea is about asserting the cyclists[sic] right to the road and not denying the rights of others.

Another group on which the State Police spied were "angry consumers fighting a 72 percent electricity rate increase in 2006."

It's quite reassuring that "intelligence officers" in the business of thwarting terrorism are this far removed from reality.

Maryland tax dollars at work, as well as our federal tax dollars that went to help Maryland "fight terrorism."

This story from the Washington Post is here and here.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Today's run

The description of it on says it's 8 miles long. It also says this:

Although noisy at the beginning and end from nearby interstate traffic, this long walk [run] is well worth the effort. You will climb up and down hills, hike through a cool pine forest, and cross the valley of Boston Run on the first part of the hike. At mid-point you will have an opportunity to visit the historic town of Peninsula and new Lock 29 Trailhead. The return section of the hike goes along the flat canal Towpath Trail with views of the Cuyahoga River and wildlife along the way.

I would add that there is a pretty sketchy creek crossing that requires crawling over downed trees to get to the other side. This crossing would be nothing in the summer because you could easily just walk through the wide stream. Not so much when it's below freezing outside. This part, as well as a very neat descent with with dropoffs on both sides of you, occurs near the end of the Buckeye Trail section (before you hit Peninsula and return on the Towpath). You can avoid this bit with the stream crossing (and the extreme coolness) if, about 3.5 miles into the hike/run, you take a sharp right (down the old road) when the trail turns into an old overgrown road for a few hundred feet before continuing into the woods. Hanging that sharp right will take you into Peninsula from the north instead of from the east if you go the whole route.

Oh yea, and follow the blue trail markings on the trees.