Monday, August 31, 2009

Can you hear me now?

Life has gotten in the way of me doing this race over the weekend, so I will have to settle for this race, which is still quite fun, but just not in Vermont. Oh, how the life of a bike racer with enough time and disposable income to race nearly every week elicits great sympathy with his tales of woe and sorrow.

Really, life isn't that bad.

What is bad is the fact that Mission of Burma is playing the last slot of this year's Studio-A-Rama on Saturday, which is very incompatible with a pre-6 a.m. alarm clock on Sunday.

I hate it when being a bike racing nerd conflicts with being a college radio music nerd.

Speaking of college radio, I almost want to get back into college radio broadcasting so I can have a show that begins with this song every week:

The End of Radio, by Shellac (album version)

is this thing on?
can you hear me now?
are we going?
is this thing on?
test, test, test, test, test, test...
can you hear me now?

as we come to the close of our broadcast day
this is my farewell transmission
signing of
mr. and mrs. america, and all the ships at sea
anyone within the sound of my voice

i've got 50000 watts of power
i want to ionize the air
this microphone turns sound into electricity
can you hear me now?
out on route 128, the dark and lonely
i got my radio on

can you hear me now?
can you hear me now?
can you hear me now?
can you hear me now?
it's the end of radio

and that snare drum
that drum roll
means we've got a winner
if you're the fifth caller
or any caller at all...

welcome to my top ten
i'd like to thank our sponsor
but... we haven't got a sponsor
not if you were the last man on earth
she was prepared to prove it
this one goes up to a special girl
but... there is no special girl

it's the end of radio
the last announcer plays the last record
the last watt leaves the transmitter
circles the globe in search of a listener
can you hear me now?
can you hear me now?
can you hear me now?

is this really broadcasting if there is no one ever recieve?
it's the end of radio
as we come to the close of our broadcast day

i got my radio on
can you hear me now?
can you hear me now?
can you hear me now?

this is the test
if this had been a real emergency...
hey, hey, this is real god damn emergency

Sunday, August 23, 2009


The guy from Hudson who hit and killed a cyclist on E.55th, fled the scene, then claimed that he didn't know he hit anyone received 3 years of probation, a $5,000 fine, and must perform 100 hours of community service. Story here.

I am in no position to judge anyone here. We'll never know the circumstances surrounding the accident.

If Mr. Biro is telling the truth, and he is the good person his friends say, I am sure he carries unimaginable guilt right now.

However, if this guy is lying, I hope the image of the poor victim terrorizes his soul every day for the rest of his life.

My sympathies go out one involed in this story

The August 10, 2009 edition of the New Yorker includes a wonderfully written article chronicling the live music industry over the last 40 years. It does so while intertwining the story of a New Jersey woman who tries desperately to score very close seats at a Bruce Springsteen show this past May at the Izod Center in the New Jersey Meadowlands. An abstract of the story can be found here.

The author does a great job presenting all sides of the issues, and briefly succeeds at vilifying the artists, Ticketmaster, Live Nation, ticket scalpers and agencies, and pretty much all parties involved in the concert business. He then pulls back and suggests that the live music industry is ailing and that the unscrupulous practices of all of these players may simply be necessary evils needed to keep the concert business afloat.

By the end of the article, I was practically cheering for the main character, who did in fact score her dream Springsteen seats through a convoluted series of events. Then I took a step back and realized that it's hard to characterize as "victims" people willing and able to pay $100 per seat to see a live music performance. I also realized that Senator Schumer from New York (who got involved in this issue after the Ticketmaster controversy relating to the Meadowlands Springsteen shows) will never lose for re-election due to his ability to identify issues that transcend party politics and matter to a lot of people who vote, regardless of how absurd the "issue" is when compared to other pressing matters of our day.

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Skype v1

I was required to take several computer related classes as a business school undergraduate in the late 90's. My teacher for one of these classes competed in ultimate fighting (no joke). One day, he was very excited to show us a new technology to which he had access. I forgot what he called it, but it was essentially an early version of video old school Skype.

He positioned the camera on the class and used the giant classroom projection screen as his computer's monitor. He then solicited some other random users of this program on the web and asked to chat with them. We eventually found a taker, which was apparently some guy from some country I don't even remember right now. As soon as his camera engaged, the entire class got a close up of of him removing his pants and starting to fondle himself.

Our professor went berserk, the entire class had a good chuckle, and I still marvel at how this pervert hit pay dirt that day....he had an entirely captive audience in the form of a class of American co-ed undergraduates all staring into the camera watching him begin to go to business with himself.

So now my new computer has a built in camera and a pre-installed version of Skype. And every time I look at it, I think of my professor yelling, "Holy s&*t, he's taking off his pants!"

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

But I can buy a new bike at Target for half that price...

This is a great article where the the author explores the relationship between the median price of used cars vs. used bikes on Craigslist in different cities. Unsurprisingly, cars cost more and bikes less in Phoenix compared to Seattle.

But is the author really surprised to find that people in the city of Portland are willing to drop more cash for a decently working 20 year old (or older) bike at a trendy urban bike shop than they are willing to spend at a suburban Costco for a brand new Schwinn? Here's the quote:

But you’ve got to love a city whose citizens put a set of moral/aesthetic principles — whether it’s riding a bike with proper disc brakes or refusing to support the Big Box stores — this far above their own financial well-being.

Street cred. The recycling concept. Supporting local businesses. I can think of 100+ more reasons. Unless you want to start getting really self-righteous and open yourself up to others nitpicking your own hypocrisies, there is no right or wrong answer to the questions of what type and from where should you buy your commuting bike. The real question is how is a NYT econ blogger truly surprised that people take into account things other than price when making purchasing decisions?

I know the article is a bit tongue in cheek, but his observations on this issue are about as insightful as me pointing out how curious it is that some people spend $450 on designer jeans...or that people spend weeks of their salary to buy a shiny rock mined from some hellhole on the other side of the world.

And by the way, who buys a commuter bike with disc brakes anyway?

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Close call

Today at Westlake, my front tire exploded as I entered turn three (commonly referred to as the "cop turn") at around 30 mph sitting third or fourth wheel, somewhere around lap 5. Knowing that we were lined out and that the corner was covered by the police officer, I straightened the bars and headed directly for the (very high) curb on the other side of the road. I managed to clear the curb with both wheels and coast into the grass, unscathed.

Wow, that was close. I guess my 2009 cyclocross season officially began today.

It turns out that a giant piece of glass punctured the tire and tube just the right way to cause it to instantly explode.

After walking a mile back to the car, I changed my wheel and re-entered the race, but was relegated to sitting at the back of the field and watching all of the fun go down at the front.

Kind of lame, but at least I didn't die.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Car 7318 where are you?

The last time I was buzzed by a car was about 2 months ago. Some elderly guy passed me within inches of my handlebars. Today was another such incident. The thing that makes today's buzz special was that the it was by a police officer. In a squad car. I don't know if he/she did it maliciously on purpose, or if the cop was just reckless. Either way, the whole thing sure makes me feel all warm and fuzzy.

To the driver of Valley View, Ohio squad car 7318 at 1:00p.m. on 8-8-09, you are a real treat. Keep up the good work keeping us safe.

Here's a nice photo from last week's Zoar race. By the way, the reason I never wear a cycling cap bearing my team sponsor's logo is because they don't fit my giant head.

Sunday, August 02, 2009


Chilly and damp. Hot and humid. Drizzle. Chilly and torrential rains. Mild and humid.

All in a bit over two hours.

That was the weather cycle today during the Zoar road race.

In the 1-2-3 race, I found myself in the lead break of six riders at the base of the final climb, about 3 miles from the finish. The charging bridge group then caught us, and I was unable to hang with the fast guys to the top of the hill. Even the perfectly timed playful romp of the horses in the pasture near the top of the hill couldn't inspire me to turn the pedals fast enough to stay with those guys. So I settled for 16th, which could have been 15th, had I cared enough to contest the "sprint" with an ambulance coming through the finish line the other way en route to tend to the pileup that occurred at the end of the Cat 3/4 race.

Hopefully those guys are all ok.

Thanks again to the Stark crew for putting on this race, which has evolved from a bike race to an institution since I started racing around here.