Saturday, February 28, 2009

Frosty Toes

Let the racing season begin. Today was the Frosty Toes Road Race in Hartford, Ohio. Thom D., Pete S., and myself drove down there together.

Jeremy already has a good writeup of the race here (including a video of the finish). Thom took 2nd (nice work), I snagged 3rd, and Pete got 7th.

Fun race.

Friday, February 27, 2009

The triumphant return...

...of us. To Tommy's.

2 zippies, no peppers

It has been far too long.

Note that the photo is from over two years ago, yet our food order has remained the same, every time we go. At one point, at least three servers did not even need to ask what we wanted. They already knew.

I'm not sure if that is something of which we should be proud, ashamed, or both. Regardless, the Zippy pita sandwich is where it's at.

Thursday, February 26, 2009


Warm(er) temps. Long(er) days. That can only mean one thing...hiking season has returned.


If only the people with the off leash dogs who go to these places actually had an ounce of control over their dogs, Alex and Reuben would approve of these hikes even more than they already do.


Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Uncomfortable sweaty pedaling

taken from

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Hey Jack, nice music

Several years ago, Katie and I and some friends saw the White Stripes play the on-campus bar at Oberlin college. This was before the band had gotten popular, and they were opening for the band Sleater-Kinney. I had never heard of the White Stripes before, but their performance that night blew me away. Enough so that I eagerly bought a cd from their merch table, which was being tended to by Jack White. As I gave him the cash for the cd, I told him how much I liked their set that night.

To this day, Katie mocks me about that interaction and how nerdy I sounded. I strongly disagree with her about my nerdiness, of course.

I suspect that Mr. White was just happy to sell another cd. It probably went to their gas fund so they could make it home to Detroit that night. Or to their beer fund.

Why am I even talking about this nonsense? Because they played Conan's last show on Friday. Which was pretty good, but not as good as this time back in 2003:

The White Stripes
Uploaded by molivera

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Beauty v. Utility

This Plain Dealer article from last month discusses the paved section of the Towpath Trail that runs behind the Steelyard Commons shopping center in an industrial area just outside of the Tremont neighborhood. The article criticizes this newer section for being "hard, mean and repellent" and looking like a "cattle chute." The above link to the article also contains a photo of the section in question.

The relevant issue here is whether we should spend the extra time and funds to create "beautified" trails or whether utilitarian trails are sufficient, especially if we can use the extra money saved by not fancying them up to built additional utilitarian trails.

It is true that the high fence running along both sides of the section at issue poses a security risk to trail users. Other than that fence issue, though, I'm not sure I see a need to make that section of the trail look park like or pristine. It runs along steel mills and other industrial buildings that create a gritty yet aesthetically attractive atmosphere that many people appreciate.

Let's focus our energy on creating more of these paths, not artificially perfecting the ones we have.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Stuff 80's people like

I consider myself to have been pretty cultured back in 1983, you know, when I was in kindergarten. However, I must have been too busy entering coloring book contests at local greeting card shops to read the book Class by Paul Fussell. Actually, I had never even heard of the book until it was referenced in this article in this month's The Atlantic. Here are a few quotes from the book, which lightheartedly mocks the 1983 American class system with pointed wit:

Only six things can be made of black leather without causing class damage to the owner: belts, shoes, handbags, gloves, camera cases, and dog leashes

One must learn that fishing in fresh water is classier than in salt, and that if salmon and trout are the things to catch, a catfish is something by all means to avoid catching

The high-prole bathroom reveals two contradictory impulses at war: one is the desire to exhibit a “hospital” standard of cleanliness, which means splashing a lot of Lysol or Pine Oil around; the other is to display as much fanciness and luxury as possible, which means a lurch in the opposite direction, toward fur toilet seat covers and towels which don’t work not merely because they are made largely of Dacron but also because a third of the remaining threads are “gold."

Sound familiar? I just don't know how the author of the Atlantic article could have written such a long piece on this topic without mentioning StuffWhitePeopleLike.

Wednesday, February 18, 2009


The recently signed stimulus package includes an income tax deduction for the cost of automobile sales taxes and interest payments on car loans.

I can think of about 150 reasons why our country should not encourage more new car purchases. I can also think of just as many reasons why bicycle purchases should be encouraged and subsidized.

One can dream.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


This stage race looks to have some serious potential. Good prize money, sensible breakdown of fields, and (presumably) close to Cleveland and Pittsburgh.

The Ohio race schedule has the race set for July 10-12.

Sign me up.

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Note to mainstream American sports reporters

We appreciate the publicity given to the upcoming Tour of California. However, you appear rather clueless when penning an opinion piece on something about which you have no clue.

I would wager that there are very few, if any, riders in the TOC who care at all (from a competition perspective) who receives the "Breakaway from Cancer Most Courageous jersey." And how exactly does the recipient of this jersey receive an unfair advantage over the rest of the field? More importantly, can Mr. Bradley even name a professional cyclist other than Greg Lemond, Lance Armstrong, and Floyd Landis?

Perhaps Mr. Bradley should take a page from his own book and admit that this jersey is simply a harmless and feelgood marketing tool being used by Amgen and by a sport desperate for sponsorship. (Sound familiar?)

And, as a bonus, unlike the LPGA, professional cycling in all parts of the world welcomes diversity of languages from its participants.

Unless, of course, that last statement was too politically correct for folks like Mr. Bradley?

Tuesday, February 10, 2009


Wednesday night will include a trip to Case to see these two fine ladies perform:

Haley Bonar:

Jennifer O'Connor:

Monday, February 09, 2009

And it begins...again

The past seven days amounted to my first week of spending nearly a dozen hours outside in the saddle for the first time in several months. I am now beginning to remember what the next eight months have in store. And, like usual, I am looking forward to it. A lot.

The real question is "why?"

Spending ridiculous hours on the bike each week brings me great joy. I think.

Then again, it may be nothing more than the vicious cycle of an all consuming addiction or obsession. One of my greatest fears is that one day I will look back on all of this craziness and see a good portion of a life wasted on worrying about miles, race fields, and fitness level. Will I regret these decisions and wish that I volunteered more and helped others instead of participating in the selfish pursuit of bike racing?

Maybe. But, then again, I would have been robbed of all of the great relationships I have made in this social circle had I not participated in the sport.

Maybe the key is balance. Which is why I plan to do more volunteering again this year. Then I can justify the other stuff. Maybe.

Thursday, February 05, 2009


In most circles, it is considered abnormal to shovel your own driveway if you have the means to purchase a snowblower or hire someone to clear it for you. In cycling circles, the opposite is true.

It's not like I have interviewed every cyclist I know and asked them whether they shovel their own driveway. But, I cannot think of one cyclist homeowner friend or acquaintance of mine that uses a snowblower or the services of a snow plow company.

Does that make us cheap? Frugal? Addicted to exercise? Sensible? Self righteous?

All of the above?


Monday, February 02, 2009

"Funeral Procession back"

Today a funeral procession passed me while riding my bike. I don't think that has ever happened before. It was on a curvy and hilly stretch of road, so I decided to pull over and allow the procession to pass without fanfare or incident. I did it out of courtesy and respect for the deceased and for the motorists in the procession. After thinking about it some more, I realized that it was also a really smart thing to do for purposes of self-preservation.

Judging by my own experiences, motorists in funeral processions are often unfamiliar with the roads on which they are driving and are anxious to not get "dropped" by the procession in front of them. That combination of factors seems to be a perfect scenario for someone to pass a cyclist in some unsafe or dangerous way. Throw in some oncoming traffic and you may end up with a pretty bad scene.

I think that I will have a "pull over for funeral processions" policy from now on. It's probably the safest thing to do, and it makes me look like an honorable and upstanding model citizen. Which, of course, I am. (Insert laughter here.)