Saturday, May 30, 2009

A word of thanks to our sponsors

There is a special place in the afterlife reserved for the kind folks who run businesses that support or sponsor local amateur bike race teams. Without these businesses, self important bike racers everywhere would be unable to feel entitled to things like free or heavily discounted bikes, parts, and/or clothing.

If you are on a bike race team, make sure you thank your sponsors next time you see them. Remind them that their sponsorship is greatly appreciated. And remind them that it could be worse....they could be sponsoring a kickball team.

Sunday, May 24, 2009


There were at least 13 of us from Northeast Ohio who made the 4+ hour trip to Frankenmuth, Michigan to do the Tour de Frankenmuth on Saturday. It was flat, windy (even though there seemed to be no wind at the start/finish), well attended, and well run. The Cleveland crew took 2nd and 8th in the Pro/1/2 race, 1st in the women's 1/2/3 race, and had 3 out of 8 money spots in the Cat 3 race, including 2nd place.

Oh yea, and staying at a hotel literally 100 meters from the start/finish is the way to go, especially when it is 48 degrees and raining 20 minutes before the start of the race. And when you can take a post race shower within minutes of crossing the line. So pro.

Thursday, May 21, 2009


Last week, Katie and I met some friends at the Beachland Ballroom to see Bonnie Prince Billy. Here's a few videos from the show, courtesy of some nice person who looks to have recorded and posted almost every song from the set. I do love those two part harmonies.

The first song of the set, which was a cover. After messing around with their instruments for a while, they just started playing:

Another great duet:

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I am rarely ambitious enough to drive over an hour to go mountain biking. Which means that I rarely go mountain biking. That may now change, however, now that I have experienced the 25 mile loop at Mohican State Park.

I am no mountain bike guru, and I'm actually really mediocre at it. I've probably ridden mountain bikes in five or so states, and I have never ridden a trail with such a good mix of flow, mildly technical sections, and climbing. Lots of climbing.

Now I am almost tempted to do something irrational. Like this.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

What the cool kids did this past Friday night

Dog agility, of course.

Reuben and I had 2 of 3 qualifying runs and earned another title. Sylvia and Katie went 3 for 3, and some of the generous 4-H teens who volunteered to set jump bars had a pretty productive makeout session behind the building, in plain view of the parking lot, in between rounds of competition.

Overall, a success on many fronts.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Never say never

When I was a young kid, I vacationed with my parents in Frankenmuth, Michigan. I vividly remember the faux-Bavarian buildings, the tourist traps, the world's largest Christmas store at which we shopped, and the sports cards store where I bought a good condition Donruss Kirby Puckett rookie card for $11. I also remember telling my dad that the baseball card purchase was a really good investment.

As I grew older, I figured that I would never have any reason to re-visit this town. That is, until I was convinced to race there next week.

So now I will return, about 20 years older, wiser, and the proud owner of a Kirby Puckett rookie card that is currently selling for $1.29 on e-bay.

At least this time I won't have to go to that stupid Christmas store.

Monday, May 11, 2009


Last night, Katie and I saw Thao Nguyen at the Beachland Tavern with her backing band, the Get Down Stay Down. Having forgotten the real camera, we still managed to get a few ok shots with Katie's phone.

Here's a video for one of her songs. Nice bikes.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Race at the Lake #4

I prepared a race report for the team website, so I figured I'd post it here also.

On Saturday, May 9th, 40+ riders lined up for the final Cat 1-2-3 Race at the Lake this year. Thanks again to Summit Freewheelers for organizing this well run event. Tom K. and I represented Team Spin.

The first few laps were fast and full of action. I managed to go with several break attempts, but nothing stuck. After I blew up and had to settle back in the group, a move got away. A bit later, another move got away. Unfortunately, neither break included a Spin rider.

About halfway through the race, I looked around and realized that the main field was rather small, and that there were about 11 riders up the road . The high speeds and strong winds (that got stronger as the race progressed) must have taken their toll on many riders in the field.

With a bit over 3 laps remaining, Tom K. took a nice hard pull at the front. I grabbed his wheel for a bit, then attacked the field. I managed to stay away until the line and take 12th place in front of a charging field. Those 3 laps seemed like an eternity due to an error on the lap card which made me think I had 2 to go when, in fact, I had 3 laps left. They also seemed like eternity because the wind was absurd. Going through the start line/parking lot section each time, I felt as if my elderly mother with two knee replacements could run that section faster than I was riding it.

Tom K. finished strong in the field sprint and took 15th overall.

Not a bad day, but next time we need to make the break.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Yes, that's right.

My cat's photograph made it on "The Secret Life of Animals" television show on the New England Cable Network ("NECN"). Katie happens to know the animal trainer who appeared on this segment.

Benjamin is doing the "sunnyside up" pose, as it is called, which happens at the 1:40 mark. Katie says he looks like a loaf of bread with legs sticking out of it.

Katie's cat Patterson also appears at 1:05, doing the "princess and the pea" pose.

Yep folks, now we have really made it. It's all down hill from here.

Wednesday, May 06, 2009

I've got your premium right here

I'm pretty sure that many of us are pre-programmed to make irrational decisions regarding health insurance. Specifically, healthy people tend to shy away from insurance plans with high deductibles and instead opt for higher monthly premiums. People often view this approach as "cautious." I view it as throwing money away.

For example, last week I received a love letter from my health insurance carrier informing me that my premium is rising by over 20% this year, despite the fact that I never even used my insurance last year. At all. (I guess all of that Ohio medical malpractice tort reform from a few years ago didn't really work in keeping our rates down. What a shock.)

In my particular case, the question comes down to whether I am willing to risk paying an extra $1500 if I get hurt in order to save about $750 in yearly premiums. Stated otherwise, am I willing to bet $750 that I won't need any major medical treatment this year. The answer: yes. I figure that I spend an obnoxious amount of time every year riding my bike and doing things that keep me healthy. I might as well enjoy a return on that investment.