Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Battenkill v.2

Battenkill seems a lot less epic than in the photos below when you're with a laughing group that got shelled from the leaders less than 15 miles into a 100K race.

So, with that in mind, I decided to give it another go in 2010. The team will now have five guys in the same race. Wouldn't it be nice to have a few of us left in the lead group during the run into town after that last mile-plus long dirt hill?

So I guess that means the blender we got for Christmas should not mass produce milkshakes from now until April 10th.

photos courtesy of Dave Kraus

Monday, December 28, 2009

The month in photos

Thanks to everyone who stayed up real late a few weeks ago to see Hastings Refrigerator Company play.

photos courtesy of D. Nash

A pre-Christmas trip to southern Ohio where they had more snow than in Cleveland.

A holiday photo, that way too many people believe was taken without irony.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

That's nice, but can you buy some milk on the way home?

The other night, a few of us got to talking about the typical post bike race telephone conversation with our significant others. These conversations are very revealing. And funny. A few of them go as follows (names are withheld):

Racer #1 has a chance to win any race he enters. His post race conversation with his wife usually involves her asking him, "Did you win?" If he did not, she's mildly disappointed, because she's used to him winning, and she likes it when he takes home the 1st place prize money. We're pretty sure she doesn't realize how hard it is to actually win a bike race.

Racer #2 calls his wife to find her completely disinterested in his result, but rather curious about his estimated time of arrival back home. Her first words in the post race telephone call are something to the effect of, "When the hell are you going to be home so you can take care of the kids for the rest of the day...they're driving me crazy!" At least she's honest.

When I call Katie after a race*, her first words are usually, "Did you get dropped?"

Probably the most appropriate question for me.

*she used to go to more races, but now not so much. When she came to a race this year, someone in the race before mine was carted off in an ambulance. That really left a warm and fuzzy feeling in her belly about bike racing.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

The price of hobbies

photo by Petr Kratochvil

In 2009, I did about 37 races. Highlights included Battenkill, Frankenmuth, the team winning our Tour of the Valley race, doing the Chicago Criterium, and finishing off the season strong at Tamarack. From a results standpoint, the cyclocross seasons was a disaster, but fun was generally had at the races where the bike didn't break.

When I encountered Brian a few months ago on a late afternoon autumn ride, we talked about how the end of the road racing season means catching up on things put off for the last seven months. I guess doing all of this racing and riding forces you to compromise other aspects of your life.

Nothing illustrates this point better than a recent trip to Target with Katie (who has her own time consuming hobbies) when we bought some silverware and three steak knives which is, by itself, not all that noteworthy.

The noteworthy part about these purchases is the sheer absurdity of the state of our utensils for the last several years. To put it nicely, in many aspects of our lives, we live like people in abject poverty, not because we are poor, but because we are too lazy to buy stuff like knives. For many years, we used crooked forks, crappy spoons, and three knives, none of which matched and few of which worked.

We live like this not because we have to, but because we always have something better to do than shop for knives or do other things that responsible adults do. Going for a three hour ride, playing with our dogs, or making a new coat from old clothes are generally more appealing activities than driving to the store to buy kitchenware.

So now, we actually have silverware that is not a total embarrassment.

I wish I could say the same for our moderately operational gas range, which we are prepared to replace next time we have a chance.

But not today. I need to ride the trainer.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Office + park

I used to work in a suburban office complex and tried to commute there by bike as much as I could. The building management and the company from which we sublet were reasonably accommodating and provided me with a free key to the garage where I could store my bike. In all honesty, the garage was the ideal place for my bike.

But, it was hilarious that these people also completely prohibited me from bringing my bike anywhere into the building or into my office. They were determined to maintain the professional decorum of the building. And by professional decorum I mean a lobby covered in fake marble with fake plants everywhere.


Now, even buildings with elaborate fake marble in New York City must allow bikes inside common areas and on freight elevators. This article talks about the recently passed law, and how employers there may still prohibit employees from bringing bikes into the actual offices they lease. So I guess the law is intended to prohibit building managers from prohibiting bikes and designed to leave the issue up to individual employers.

Some will argue that the law is an example of government over regulation, and that the market should sort out this issue. If enough people are in favor of riding bikes to work and keeping them at their offices, and if enough employers are on board, than bike-prohibiting office buildings will be forced to change policies.

I tend to think that the need to accelerate the campaign against an anti-bike mindset is too important to leave 100% to market forces. Crippling obesity, environmental decay, and a reliance on oil countries with sordid rulers are just a few things that come to mind to justify laws like these.

Even if the sight of a bike on fake marble makes some people cringe.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Coltrane at the Village Vanguard it won't be...

So I'm in a band, and we're playing at the Grog Shop in Coventry (Cleveland Heights) this Saturday night, 12-12. We're called Hastings Refrigerator Company and will probably be playing last of three bands, starting at 10:00pm.

Heckling is encouraged.