11.30.2004

Various Bike Stuff

Kevin Dillard of NCVC has some photos posted at TRUESPORT.COM

and while doing some random Web Surfing I stumbled on this after doing a GOOGLE....

Cycling Central Va.org
... I think he was riding a Surly Karate Monkey with gears with Chris Redlack. ... I think
he was riding a Surly Karate Monkey with gears with Chris Redlack. ...
cyclingcentralva.org/forums/ index.php?showtopic=1719&st=30 - 49k - Cached - Similar pages

I wonder what the forum is about?
Something good?
Something BAD?
it seems to be discussing me!
who did I offend this time?

also on the Redlack tip....chris sent me this article this morning
it is a bummer
exactly why I do not own a gun
hope that this guy has a cycling team as a jury or better yet 12 couriers or maybe 12 bicycle commuters
I say NOT GUILTY!
or perhaps JUSTIFIABLE HOMICIDE
mornings/life is cumulative
yesterday morning after I made that hectic cross down dash to drop Dean off at Rosemount Center for his Anarchy in the Pre-K experience
I leashed up the dogs and headed out into Rock Creek Park
unleashed the dogs 20 yards from my front stoop after crossing the street and entering the woods
as I walked behind Roscoe and Brutus down the trail across the street from my house the dogs stopped at a cross roads
left we could do the short loop behind the original location of Rosemount Center
roscoe pointed right in anticipation of heading over to the Melvin Hazen trail to do a longer loop that gave them a chance to splash in the waters of Rock Creek
I followed Roscoe to the right
the dogs frantically paced around my legs in anticpation of me putting them back on the leash to head across the street and over the bridge into the slightly more dense section of woods
after a refreshing hike through slippery crushed leaves on risky off camber heavily eroded slopes I headed back home to remove my sweaty morning duds and gear up for a quick commute into work
as on Mondays I work the late shift there is just enough time for a 35-45 minute pleasure cruise
like a fool I spun for over an hour after my elongated morning hike with the dogs
manicly spinning I raced the Karate Monkey Single Speed in an effort to make my 11 am in time
10 minutes late
that is the problem with being slow on the bike.....my 45 minute rides take an hour and my hour rides take an hour and a half
this morning was particularly slow as a 35 minute ride took me well over 60 minutes
even if I was rotating my cranks way beyond my threshhold

the work day went its merry post holiday course
burried in work that was ignored before Thanksgiving
and
rushing to complete work that must be done before Christmas
then why am I BLOGGING? Cause I can and cause I MUST!

after work I slid right off the dinosaur back onto the bike
rather than heading straight home I went across the river into Virginia to take in a view of the city as it reflects upon the Potomac River
out to Washington National that is now called Reagan National as the idiotic Republicans felt that it needed to be named after a president
only to turn it around and head for home on the carless Mount Vernon Trail
on the ride out I had seen a paraplegic on a race style wheel chair making his commute
it was my intention to make contact with him on my return
as I weaved down the path along the river there were very few cyclists headed in either direction
eventually as I was nearly out of trail I came up on the low cruising wheel chair racer
just as I would with any trail user I accessed his gear
his ride was sleek and high tech
he had good marking for reflectors with lights and a vest
there were still race numbers pinned to the back of his chair rest
the only thing unfitting for him was that he was still wearing his pin stripped pants from his work day
I slowed my pace
we chatted
it was a pleasant exchange
we talked about his placing second in the Marine Corps Marathon this year, but finishing an hour slower than last year
I spoke of the fragility of life and how seeing him is a reminder of the risks we take
we spoke of how he came to be in the wheel chair
apparently he was in a high dive accident, I refrained from any jokes about a high dive into a shallow pool
he was positive and friendly
we shook hands and exchanged names
I thanked him for his inspiration and I thanked him to myself for his warning/reminder at how fragile life is and can be

pedaled on home to find that lisa was just putting Grant to bed
and Dean had just been put to bed early himself

so I leashed the dogs and went for a walk in the woods
we did not take the right to the water
instead we took the left to the short loop

life is cumulative
I did not hike and ride my bike in an effort to train for various multi hour races next season
no
I was not thinking of beating previous year's time in the Shenadoah Mountain 100
I hiked my dogs and rode my bike because that is what I do and because that is a great way to spend my time

these things do add up
not neccessarily training
but definitely a great way to live life
after all life is cumulative

Mount Vernon is the house that George Washington once called home
this trail heads from Key Bridge in Georgetown/Rosslyn all the way to Mt. Vernon
it is a great ride along the Potomac River

Mount Vernon Trail
Melvin Hazen Trail
Rock Creek Park


11.29.2004



patience
we all need to have patience
yes, in that senstive Axel Rose sort of way
we all need a little patience
the key to parenting is patience
the key to dealing with others in public is patience
when dealing with other parents in public it is vital to have an excess of patience
we are all overly protective of what is ours, especially our children

over the past several days I had various "incidents" with an assortment of parents
all of which involved a need for attention towards our own children as much as towards others
co-parenting perhaps?
well, that is what it should be
but
that is not the way it tends to be
as for me....I need to re-evaluate my dealings with others in public
crashing and coliding into other adult personalities just makes for an awkward experience
and who wants to feel awkward

INCIDENT ONE: Pittsburgh Children's Museum

Dean was crawling in a massive structure that looked like a bird's version of a gerbil's "haba-trail"
there was this multi-level structure strung together with all sorts of cables
it was huge, maybe 3 stories high and 30 feet in diameter
with holes cut through out each level for a small person to climb through
after Dean was in this structure for some time I thought that I might climb in myself
maybe spook Dean
maybe share the fun with my son
I consulted with a museum employee as to the rules of this structure
she said, "sure....climb on in! have fun! that is what it is there for"
so I did.... I climbed in
early on into this odd structure, just a few levels up I started to feel slightly claustrophobic
a level which may be large enough for a toddler or small child to crawl in was just enough room for me to fit
after all I am a bit of a beast
I tried to snake my way from opening to opening as best I could
half way up I ran into some bottle neck
a few girls wanted to go back down
they waited
as I noticed that they did not realize they would have to move I decided I would just head back down
I said my good byes to these girls and tried to snake my way down
just as I had snaked my way up
only upside down this time
in doing so I clumsily stepped on one of the girl's fingers
having noticed this I checked that she was okay, made my apologize and then went down
then called Dean to come down
since he rarely listens to me
I enticed him down by asking if he wanted to see if "the cousins" where here yet
just as Dean and I were about to leave for another section of the museum I got a tongue lashing from the young girl's grandmother..."YOU SHOULD NOT BE IN THERE! YOU ARE TOO BIG! THIS IS FOR KIDS!"
anyone who knows me knows I am not much for taking orders
after all....I am just a big kids
and not unlike most kids....I am not much for being yelled at
I was calm a patient for a few lashings of the tongue
I said that it had been an accident and that I was sorry
but this little lady was determined to drive it home
she continued with the "YOU SHOULD NOT BE IN THERE! YOU ARE TOO BIG! THIS IS FOR KIDS!"
so I informed her that I had checked with the museum employees and they had told me that I was more than welcome to climb in the giant bird cage
we went back and forth
neither getting anywhere other than frustrated and angry
and went our separate ways
once the dust settled I tried to approach her again in another section of the musem
there was no reasoning with her
after all I SHOULD NOT BE IN THERE! I AM TOO BIG! I AM NOT A KID!"
so I agreed with her
admitted that I was wrong to climb in the giant bird cage that was clearly for kids
then we went our separate ways
she may have been satisfied, until she saw me going down the giant slide that fed out of the anti-gravity room

oh well, I paid my eight bucks
and I was not going to let someone who was tired of living to stop me from having fun

I did feel bad about stepping on her grand daughter's finger
but in our society we are not judged solely on actions but also on intentions
to granny's attack I plead not guilty or perhaps insanity
INCIDENT TWO: Food Court off Interstate 70

in an outlet mall on the way back from Pittsburgh we stopped in at the food court to get some food
after eating some substandard grub Dean went over to play on one of those coin operated cars that shakes about in place for a few seconds at a cost of fifty cents
the type of device that they are perfectly satisfied sitting in without the vibration
until an ignorant parent like myself puts the unsolicitated money in the slot
then
the once perfectly fine inactive car now needs more money to be active
we went over there and waited as a women finished feeding her child so that Dean could satisfy his immediate need
Dean was well behaved and entirely patient
after the little girl climbed out Dean moved towards the car
just as he was about to climb in the door way of this little Who Framed Roger Rabbit car a long legged girl stepped in front of him and started to pry her way in
Dean pushed his way past her and snuck his way in the door
the mother of this girl yelled at Dean, "NO PUSHING! DON'T PUSH!"
yes Dean had pushed this girl
but
the girl had failed to wait her turn
a common case of action and reaction
without her action of stepping out of turn there would not have been the reaction to push
not to mention it was a 3 year old vs. a 7-9 year old
clearly the mother should have given greater attention to her daughter than my son
we were able to sort it out minutes later after the smoke settled
it was a pleasant exchange
glad we left friends
unlike the sour old grandmother from Pittsburgh who is sure to mace the next poor fellow who vaguely resembles me

INCIDENT THREE: The National Zoo

yesterday morning I called one of our neighbors to see if I could borrow their older son, Elijah
Dean and Elijah are buddies and pals, perhaps even best friends
it was clearly too nice a day for them to be playing around indoors
we tried the deck out back, but that was only good for 20 minutes
so I packed a survival kit filled with juices, clementines, fig newtons, and a FONZ card for free popcorn
then we marched down the road to the zoo
Dean felt a need to stop and rest periodically
there were some minor complaints of his stomach hurting
but his activity level made me think he was fine and just feeling that he needed to have Elijah slow down the pace
this complaint that I thought was fabrication until he had a machine gun vomit session at dinner time later that evening
we made the several block trek to the rear entrance to the zoo
and headed straight for the PIZZA PARK
it is fantastic
a massive structure that resembles a large pizza roughly 20 feet in diameter
there is an olive large enough for the kids to climb through
as well as sliced onions and mushrooms that can be stacked or tossed
and also a large wedge of cheese that works perfectly as a slide
then finally a whole tomato that is perfect for perching upon
the rain of the night prior left this large foam structure damp
after the boys slipped and fell and got soaked
I removed their socks and they opted to do their wrestling thing in the perimeter of the pizza park
during that time there was a girl, an older girl, perhaps in the 9-11 age range
she had stacked each and every onion and mushroom slice into a tower
Elijah could not contain himself
he approached
surveyed the situation
and did what boys do when they see towers
he knocked it over
I witnessed the whole thing
sure I could have stopped it
but
there are times where you just have to let boys be boys
and let the world sort itself out
well
to my dismay
this girl was a tad sensitive
she threw a tantrum more fitting to a three year old
and stomped away
as she went to put on her shoes and evacuate
I had Elijah approach her and make an apology
there was a fitting full sentence that I wanted Elijah to deliver
"I am sorry, I had not realized that you were still playing with those pieces"
but, Elijah is more of a one word type of guy
he issued his sorry, spun around and went along his way
never being heard by this somewhat temperamental girl
so I had him say it again
he did his same routine of a quick unheard apology and spin in the opposing direction
I asked that he make eye contact and say the whole sentence
two more tries later
he had her attention
only to get an aggressive reaction to his sincere apology
of what sounded like "go to hell"
I looked at the parent and said...did she say "go to hell?"
the mother assured me that she said "whatever!?!?!?"
either way
the meaning was go to hell
it seemed like Elijah was being an appropriate 4 year old (nearly, his birthday is next month)
sure I could have stopped him
but I tried to educate him afterwards
while this mother enabled the tantrum
did not instruct her daughter to behave more empathetically to 4 year olds
not to mention
her child was monopolizing each and every topping for that pizza
leaving all the other children with a plain pizza pie


this is basically how my life goes....

I go around doing things that I need to apologize for


if you go to Pittsburgh
you must go to the PITTSBURGH CHILDREN'S MUSEUM
even if you are not a child or if you have children
parents
kids
and
museum geeks (their words not mine)

Pizza park Review

Zoo on Pizza


11.28.2004

Back from the Burgh....
another Thanksgiving Weekend behind us
we managed to survive the fog filled drive up to Pittsburgh over the passes in Western Maryland and West Virginia
the car traffic filled drive back to DC on Saturday was not as painful as what must have happened today, but trying just the same with an occassional crying baby and an intermidently complaining toddler
we may have been the only car on the highway without a portable (or built in) DVD player
we drove the several month old Honda Element and doubled the logged miles in just a weekend
many of the miles were spent tailgating a Ford Explorer so that I would not miss the climatic ending of The Little Mermaid

highlights from the weekend.....
Dean getting to hang with his cousins
Grant getting to hang with his grandmother; Miga as she is called (mother side)
trip to the Pittsburgh Children's Museum with the cousins
(hope the new and improved DC Children's Museum is as awesome as the one in The Burgh)
and me getting to witness it all
playing X Box with my 5 year old nephew Billy (Amped 2; snowboarding in a shockingly accurate Breckenridge Colorado, he taught me a trick or two)
Thanksgiving matinee; The Polar Express (which Tom Hanks did not ruin, was good even with him doing five voices when he only has one)
eating turkey
eating more turkey
eating at Primantti Brothers downtown with the fries right on the sandwich
and
eating leftovers
too much left overs
winter weight starting to settle in
that last slice of pumpkin pie may have thrown the scale back over the 230 mark
must fight hitting 240 too soon if at all
then finally
sleeping in my own bed on Saturday night after a long weekend of sharing a pull out couch with Dean


Saturday night had its own little antics

11.23.2004

Rays Indoor Mountainbike Park Cleveland Ohio

Rays Web Site with Images and a heart Pumping VIDEO

I have not been
but I am feeling that FIELD OF DREAMS pull
he has built it.....




Jason Berry's Film on the Shenandoah Mountain 100
great clip
this film pales in comparision to his production on some TREK athletes
and OFFROAD to ATHENS

also on the movie tip
last night I watched LAST LETTERS HOME
I am not ashamed to admit that I cried for the whole hour
and cursed Bush in between tears

and
a good article about 24 Hour Event at Big Bear Lake in 2005, Dirt Rag Article

from two wheels to four.....

a friend of mine, Duck, is involved in this project EASTCOASTAHOLIC
check out those pools

and of course my old buddy Micro and his world; RAMP TECH
the skateboard world has come a long way


11.22.2004

.



City Bikes has a Trail Locater on their WEBPAGE
Pretty Cool!
Unless you want to keep your trails a secret

well
they do not have info on the Cabin John Trails
not that great
but close
well....
moderately close
if I take the towpath along the C&O Canal I can get a healthy long distance dirt ride
it has known to be great prep for the Granny Gear 24 Hour Events and the SM100



.
Dean at the Zoo
playing his own little version of leap frog




being a dad
if is fun and scary all at the same time
how much freedom should a parent give a three year old?



This weekend past I had the honor of receiving a sportsmanship award from the promoters of The Classic Series presented by TREK. This is the first year where the promoters are giving an award to memorialize the passing of their friend and fellow cyclist Andrew Mein. I will give you a better understanding of what this award is about by posting the speech that Marc Vettori presented before he handed this award off to me.

Ambassador for the sport.
No better word could be used to describe what
Andrew Mein was for mountain biking in our area. Andrew was for many a
new rider, the first person in the “bike scene” to lend a helping hand.
Andrew would often take folks under his wing and help foster their
young passion for the sport. Andrew would teach us of the greatness of
Tomac, six day racers, the Belgium classics, the tour de france and men
who would look at our scrawny legs and just laugh. Andrew never would
flinch to help some one become initated in the local racing scene,
sorting out who was a true player, a sandbagger or just had too much
disposable income. As a racer Andrew found much success. As an
ambassador Andrew would impact so many more riders. Andrew was one of
the founding member of the wooden wheels mountain bike team, and as a
technical rep for Specialized, Andrew traveled the country wrenching on
peoples bikes, helping them to find to joy of cycling, and bring smiles
to faces. Andrew was selfless in his support often times forgoing
racing himself, to support his teammates efforts. A very intelligent
man, Andrew had a very eclectic tastes. On rides Andrew would often
lead choruses of Monty Python’s “I’m a lumber Jack and I’m okay…”
“Henry the 8th I am, I am …” or the repeated chant of “fire, fire…”
from one of Andrew’s favorite shows of the time Beavus and Butthead. A
huge proponent of technology Andrew was the first person in the area to
run SPDs, and to set up a disc brake. Andrew also believed in the true
suspension of 2.3 tire in the front, and low pressure. Andrew was not a
big fan of the corporatization of Mountain biking, and he would have
been proud of the grass root commitment of the Classic Series. Andrew
could often be heard saying “ mountain biking is about freaky people in
lycra riding their bikes in the woods” Andrew owned quite a fleet of
bikes himself, including his heartfelt “SS vomit boat” a steel single
speed/ fixed gear courier bike which he commuted on. Andrew would
often say of commuting through Newark by bike, “15 minutes by car, 10
by bike” In late November of 1998, while finishing one of these
commutes, Andrew was hit by car on Elkton road in Newark, and passed
away two weeks later at the Christina hospital. Andrew was survived by
his wife Olivia, his parents Simon, and Nan. And I am proud to be part
of an an army of cyclists whose passion for the sport was molded it’s
early stages by Andrew. Andew Mein, ambassador of the sport, and
tonight, in Andrew’s honor we present our Andrew Mein sportsmanship
award.
Prior to hearing this speech I had thought that I fully grasped the loss of Andrew Mein and the creation of this award. I had done some minor research on the incident that lead to the death of Andrew and I thought that my own personal life experiences of losing close and influential friends gave me proper empathy. But it was only after I heard this speech and stood in a room surrounded by Andrew's friends, family, and fellow cyclists did I actually understand the meaning of this award and the impact of the loss of Andrew Mein on so many lives.

I had not thought of the parents who lost a son. The women that lost a lover. The empty chair or desk at work. The bed that no longer had anyone sleeping in it, that extra tooth brush with no teeth to clean, the clothing that would never be worn again. I had not thought about the empty bicycle seat, the same set trails that would be different without him riding them, and the group of riders that lost their riding partner and their friend to wrench with. I had just seen a name and heard a story. But I had not really felt any loss. But, after gathering with these people and hearing this story I had a better feeling of how important one person can be and how important life is. Andrew died living. He died doing what he loved. Death is a topic that the cyclist likes to avoid. We all know it is out there, yet we try to ignore it thinking that it will go away. Death will not go away, death is around us. We must respect it and avoid it. Test our limits without testing our fates.

There will continue to be rides, races, and parties where people will slow down and think about Andrew and what life was like with him and what life is like without him. People will get drunk and curse GOD and question WHY! Only to find that there is no answer. There may be moments where someone comes around the corner and for a second a person may think...is it...can it be? But it won't. Andrew is gone. There are very few things as sure and true as death.

I can not say that I understand life and know its meaning. In respect of the Andrew and all others that have died I will not try to sum up life with a simple metaphor, but I will say this. Perhaps it is sad that Andrew did die, but we must all be happy that he was here and he did live, even if it was for an abbreviated time. Better that he lived fast and hard to die young than to have not lived at all. Let all that knew Andrew be happy that when he did pass through this life as short as it may have been, that he passed through and touched your lives. His actions helped to make your lives better.

Through the experience of winning this award and meeting some of Andrew's friends I have been touched by Andrew, not by him directly, but by those who were close to him. Now, his life has meaning to me.
Let his life continue to have meaning.
Lets all go out and ride!



maybe next year I will compete in more races hosted by the folks at Wooden Wheels and Mountainbike Racer.com and get a chance to better know some of these people

what did I do to earn this award?
just what I would hope that someone would do for me....
I stopped my race (which I was in the first place spot in the Clydesdales) to help a racer who had crashed off trail and appeared to be injured. The second place racer also stopped to lend a hand. We were able to resume the race. I ended up taking second not placing much significance on us having to stop for another racer. It seemed like the most basic thing to do.

Solidarity and Competition are vital in cycling....but I intentionally stated SOLIDARITY first; as it is more important.

even my GWADZILLA size does not diminish the size of this trophy




Race Report on the Granogue Race with mention of stopping for an injured racer

and

Halfway down the page is the Race Report from the Fairhill Classic
you do have to scroll down past some stuff
I really need to back up this info
and
design it so it is cleaner to surf through
Flip Orley Comic Hypnotist

A few years ago I went to see a Comic Hypnotist; Flip Orley.

It was amazing.
It was entertaining.
I was hypnotised to tell all of my friends to go see him.

Here is an article my brother sent me about this entertaining form of comedy.

Flip Orley's Site

I have seen this several times and would definitely see it again.
Not sure what your tastes are, but if you like laughing at people this may be for you.....or even if you just like laughing!
The 2005 World Single Speed Championships in State College PA




11.20.2004

FLASHBACK: Reprint: Reissue
here is an email that I created when I SPAMMED a list of friends with my rants
when my life was PB
( Pre-Blog)



yesterday I was doing a post work spin on my Kona Humahuma-nuka-nuka-
apoha-ah out on the Mt Vernon trail
I was spinning the single speed gearing around as fast as it could
go, which does not propel the bike all that fast
but manages to give me a pretty solid work out in a very short time
this is how I try to get a four hour ride done in only 45 minutes out
on the bike
the view along the river was epic as usual
the post work traffic on the was getting thick, again as usual
I rode out past the airport and turned around at the wooden boardwalk
just before the beginning of Old Town Alexandria
my turn around was to the outside and not on the trail, as I know how
dangerous a blind buttonhook can be
people are always button hooking right in front of me
if only they could repeat after me...
"look before you buttonhook!"
"look before you buttonhook!"
"look before you buttonhook!"
or even better button hook onto the grass and take a look before re-
entering the grass
but my lectures are for another time and another group of people

[that mantra is as close to my heart as "pass bicyclist, don't harass
bicyclists", but this is not for trail users but a subliminal message
that I want to be implanted in people's head, hidden in subliminal
frequencies that could play over their car radios, or perhaps in the
background of the elevator music played at the MVA/DMV so each
licensed driver walked away with an updated license and an updated
sense of respect for the cyclist ((more realistically this would make
for a great red bumper sticker to be placed on STOP signs, using the
word STOP and the sticker reading HARASSING CYCLISTS, and in small
letters...pass cyclists don't harass cyclists))]

the ride was business as usual
there were many people riding too fast
all sorts of people drafting/racing/being all out reckless
very few people were giving any warning to the other trail users
walkers/runners/and other cyclists were all being harassed as much as
being passed
showing each other basic disrespect
all the while runners were stopping at inopportune times and doing
that buttonhook thing that can be so dangerous

knowing how much I hate to be spooked by a rider passing closely
without warning
I was ringing my little frog bell as I passed each other trail user
often saying excuse me as I felt can often lessen the effect of a
close pass
sure there were some passes that offended a few, but I tried to be as
safe and pleasant as possible while still getting a workout
and when I am quasi-dangerous, I want to at least be pleasant

then when approaching one of the road crossings I was passed by a
women on an old school Bridgestone with mustache bars coming the
other way
then following behind her was a women on a generic department store
bike outfitted with tri bars and other equipment
she crossed the road, over the curb, and onto the trail
soon she realized she would not be able to hold her lane and make the
winding curve without having an head on collision with me
she opted to go straight, off the trail, over the grass, and into the
airport service road never checking to see if a car was coming from
either direction
clearly out of control she went off the curb and got thrown from her
bike
stuck in the tri-bar position, out of reach of her brakes
by this time I was at a standstill watching it all
as she tumbled on the asphalt and the bike crashed riderlessly
against the curb
I went to her aid, as well did another cyclist
she seemed okay and it was clear that she wanted me to retrieve her
friend
I took off spinning, hectically spinning
lucky for me this other rider had slowed down, the maximum speed of
my cruiser is slow
when I caught her she was frightened and excited that her friend was
seriously hurt, which she appeared not to be
we rushed back
the other cyclist was reviewing the condition of the fallen cyclist and of her bike
the cyclist who had crashed was back
with everything under control I figured I best be off before I chewed
her out
as she was out of control and could have seriously hurt someone,
namely me!

it was a wake up call
the trails are not really any safer than the streets
and the best place for racing is at the races
one thing I love about doing a race on a Sunday is having a trail
marked off
knowing I can take a turn or downhill fast and not have to worry
about a horse or a dog or a blue haired lady to be coming up the
other way
the likelihood of a cyclist coming the opposite way is rare
and the other riders may be more knowledgeable about courtesy and
safety
or maybe not

in any case
enough time with this
back to work for me

this is a story that can be any or everyday
the close calls
the interaction cyclists who are moving beyond their means
glad no one was hurt on that day
again
glad I was not hurt
just as everyone puts themselves first
I also put myself first, only I do not do it at their expense

11.19.2004

ART-O-MATIC

ARTOMATIC


and Artist Review in a Person's Blog
A Photo a Day?

Fellow Karate Monkey riding BLOGGER TimmyP has started to post a PHOTO A DAY
in this digital age there is no reason why I should not do the same
they say "a picture is worth a thousand words"
well
maybe I could spare people
instead of typing my thousand word rants I could load an image a day
that is not to say that I would limit my Blog Compulsion
but
it may give my images more relevance

below is an image of Dean and Grant taking a bath
often to make the bathing experience more interesting (for me and for them) I blow bubbles for them

THE LOVE IT!

for those who do not know
the best bubbles on the market are from Gymboree

bubbles.org
bubble art
and
more bubble art

maybe my BLOG will move from Bicycle related topics to BUBBLES!

11.18.2004

New Business Cards
and
Original Thought?


Yesterday I called Mike K. at the Chevy Chase City Bikes location. It was an odd occurrence. Mike actually had more than a second to talk with me, unfortunately I called just to catch up; not to pick his brain on product or to make an order....if only I could nail him down with an excess of time to talk when I need to order something. In any case, Mike K. and I were talking about life...his new one month old son Jeremy....my 9 month old son Grant....his older daughter....my older son...ideas of trying to balance riding with the responsibilities of work and family life....and then as I brought up various other topics I was amazed that Mike K. had more useful information on each and every idea that I brought forth.

Sure, Mike K. has been in the bike industry for over 12 years so he will be able to compare and contrast Suntour to Shimano with the best of them, or marketing failures of the industry over the years, but when I brought up the ideas of the Republican Govenor's plan on selling public land he was able to explain to me one step further HOW FUCKED UP THAT ALL IS! I shared with him my ideas of everyone driving in their own neighborhoods as a PACE VEHICLE, he told me that this is already a nation wide movement, then when we talked about the issue of Commuting and my desire to create an anonymous business card that Read on one side

NOT CREATING TRAFFIC
Just Traffic
Just Like You
only I am on a bike and you are in a car

then on the other side there would be a long list of the laws
a cyclists rights
how the car driver's have opted to modify the laws within an accepted parameters
and
how a cyclist also often modifies the laws within what may be accepted parameters

well....
Mike K. told me that there are people already handing out such cards

so
what is my point....
give mike a call
ask him some questions
listen to him
he and his wife have been and are currently very active in the cycling community
these are people that we need to appreciate
they are the ones trying to assure a safe place for the cyclist in the future of this country (and this world)

now it is time to work
yes
I am at work
yes I do other stuff at work than BLOG
work is what keeps me from being able to proof read my entries
A Party on a Wednesday Night?

Garcia the local motorcycle mechanic was in the alley behind his house waiting to meet up with a person in need of some motorcycle maintenance when I cut through the alley behind his house to get to a party on Kilbourn Place a few blocks from my house on Park Road. Knowing that Garcia is an interesting sort who enjoys a party I extended the invitation. Garcia questioned why someone would have a party on a Wednesday night....I responded quite quickly, "For the same reason someone would have a party on a Saturday night."

Garcia and I talked about the beautiful Yamaha RD 350 that was front and center in his garage, then his friend with a motorcycle in need rolled up, and I said my hellos and goodbyes then I walked on my way. Mistakenly I had told Garcia that the party was on the 1800 Block of Lamont Street, but as I got closer to the 1800 Block the email invite breezed through my head.....KILBOURN STREET became highlighted. I walked on using the old rule of House Parties...."no need for the exact address....if the party is good enough to go to you should be able to recognize it from the street." (sight or sound or collection of bicycles locked up on the sidewalk)

Sure enough, I walked up Lamont, over one block on 18th Street, then back down Kilbourn. It seems that John had no need to hire movers. He had moved from one group house on Lamont Street that backed up to another group house on Kilbourn Street. Before entering the house I ran into friend and fellow father Dave out walking his muppet of a dog Ollie. We chatted as we watched the party goers enter the party with bottles of wine in hand. Either way I knew it was a party. No matter what I was going to have a glass of wine. Right party or not!

I walked into the party with some hesitation, not knowing if this was the right place. I avoided any lengthy eye contact and moved my way towards the "hooch" in the kitchen. Before I got to the kitchen I ran into my friend and host, John Monte. John is a character, we grew up together, never entirely that close, but always living somewhat parallel lives; same grade school, same high school, an overlap of friends, we both work/worked in the news industry, and we both live in Mt. Pleasant. John was in mid story (of which he has many) so I went to get a glass of wine and join him after he finished his tale, and could start fresh story with me. I returned for a hug, an handshake, and some colorful tales of his adventures in Afghanistan. This is Washington DC, not rural Iowa, so most of the stories I hear from Afghanistan or Iraq are not told by soldiers, but rather by film makers, photographers, and journalists. John falls into the category of film maker, perhaps DOCUMENTARIAN.

The party was filled with eclectic people with colorful resumes, endless stories and anecdotes of different sketchy experiences in different sketchy places in different sketchy times. Passports being stamped and memories being made. Collections of rugs and knick knacks only to be topped by the collection of photos and stories. I met various people, some who felt compelled to chat about their recent experiences in Kabul others who shared exchanges about whatever came to their heads. There were brief discussions about the Bush predicament and the Bush Dynasty that is being built and the ugly future of our once glorious nation.

(by Bush Dynasty I mean to say that I have accepted the next four years of George, but I fear the next 8 of Jeb, and the 8 after that of Jeb's son...shit....fasten your seat belts this may be a risky ride)

There was a good mix of ladies and gentlemen. The exchanges were clever and fun, more light and fun than serious. There were a few Macs set up in the living room playing slide shows from Afghanistan, really some epic imagery, but that is what these guys do and mountain ranges are so beautiful that even an amateur like myself could score and epic shot here and there.

There seemed to be a number of people in the Cult of Yoga, all of which were followers of the style known as Bikram. A non-Yoga type joked about his development of Yoga in pill form. We discussed about the FDA approval of such a pill as well as the potential of overdosing. Apparently he was confident that overdosing on such a pill would just make you really limber, really really limber, like a boneless chicken. (that is more of a Gary Larson joke than a Jessica Simpson brain fart)

I stayed way past my bed time. Somehow my need for a nap or an early bedtime was superseded by my need to socialize. Shrewdly I opted to hang and hydrate rather than depart and crash. The morning was far less painful than I had feared. Both Dean and Grant slept through the night, and slept late into the morning. Lisa had evacuated and was well on her way to work by the time Dean rose out of bed screaming. Grant was asleep by my side in an angelic form. I rushed from bed to hush Dean as it is always easier to let someone wake up naturally at their own time.

I had Dean dressed and reading a book with his cold medicine in his belly by the time Soledad arrived. Dean traded up for Soledad as I meandered about the house getting ready for work. I check on Grant as I gathered my clothing for the day, when he finally started to stir I took a few photos of him then took him downstairs to join the party. Grabbed my coffee and sat down with Soledad, Grant, and Dean to read Dean the same book that I had read him earlier and Soledad had just read him then. Apparently Dean wanted to hear about the mice and the pumpkins one more time.

With a glance at my watch I realized that I had to start motioning towards the bicycle and the door, but only after walking the dogs. I finished my coffee, grabbed some grapefruit juice, leashed up the dogs and walked across the street and into the woods. We did a quick 20 minutes in the woods. Only encountering a Bernesse Mountain Dog named Kona (without his owner or his dog companion Ajax) and had a near "incident" as the man who lives in the woods down the block was moving slowly up the street talking to himself as he limped slowly with his crutches under his arms. He froze when he saw me and I calmly called the dogs and had them on leash before Roscoe or Brutus got sight of this less than sane being.

Back into the house with plenty of time to suit up in some lycra and pedal into work on time when Soledad told me that the vacuum was not working. So in an effort to prove that men are not in fact useless I made an effort to make a quick repair of the vacuum. Sure enough the long black and gray hairs of Roscoe and Brutus had wrapped tightly around the barrel mechanism that rotates to pick up the various stuff on the floor. I disassembled the mechanism cut it free, reassembled everything got suited up and headed down the alley behind my house when I realized I needed to go back and get my helmet.

Rode in incident free this am. Enjoying yet another very warm day. Perhaps a day so warm that I could have rolled down the leg warmers and the arm warmers to get that Jennifer Beels look going, but in such a short ride there was neither time nor necessity. Then one block from work the road was blocked off. I went through the path blocked by the fireman to get to work and to get a closer look at the scene. Tried to piece it together. There was a man being put on a backboard. A Northface Courier bag was on the pavement, the man had large wounds on his head, bleeding and already swollen. There was a Super Shuttle Van in the middle of the road at an angle. I scanned the area for a bicycle. Took one last look and headed on my way.

Biker or not biker I took this as a sign. Like the rumor of the office romance gone sour, or the person tripping over the branch on the sidewalk, I will try to take this example of this injured man as a reminder of how fragile life is and how dangerous the roads are. Whether on bike or on foot I need to respect how ignorant and obnoxious most car drivers are.

Take it Light.

Enjoy your Health!
Enjoy your Day!
and
Try to Appreciate Your Life Around You!

oh....and do not be afraid of an occassional Wednesday Night Party!

11.17.2004

.


a little fun game
we all grew up reading HIGHLIGHTS
there were those pictures where we had to tell what was different in each image
well
here is one
there are three differences
I can only find 2

test your skills
3 Differences

thanks
let me know what the 3 difference you find are


.
Lessons Learned

In life we often like (well, actually we dislike) to learn our lessons by doing.
We all fall flat on our face and say to ourselves..."I better not let that happen again!"

well

when walking down the sidewalk and the person in front of you trips on a fallen tree branch
do you trip on that branch
or learn from that person's error and modify your own behavior
and step around or over the obstacle

well
here at work there is some strange talk going around
something about, well, an "office romance"
it was funny to hear the gossip until all the pieces of the puzzle were put together
the specifics are not vital
we can all picture the mess
the mess at work
the unseen mess at work
those directly involved in the action now do not know who heard what, who thinks what, who has now altered their opinion all involved in the questionable behavior
what they thought was all fun, exciting, and dangerous
is now depressing and painful

this is one obstacle that we all need to step around
we have seen others trip on it
no reason we need to trip on this ourselves

the incident in question is all a bunch of rumors
who knows the facts
it may all be talk
or
it may all be he said/she said
either way
it is a pleasant reminder to WALK THE LINE!
Cars, Shoes, and Hair-

In my mind these may well be three of the most forward ways for an individual to express their personal interests and perhaps their personality. People will buy shoes and cars to try either live a certain lifestyle or to be linked to a certain lifestyle. Runners are not the only ones wearing running shoes and very infrequently does your average soccer mom need four wheel drive. Hair is a topic I have less of an opinion on, as I have none. But, when meeting someone it seems to be that one of the first things we look at is the hairstyle that this person has chosen. Then we ask ourselves, what does this hairstyle say about them; conventional, non-conformist, slob, hipster, athlete, headbanger, etc.

(eye glasses also fit in there, but only a small percentage of people wear them, but those that do....I bet they struggle to select the frames that suit their inner being the best)

((facial hair also fits into this outward expression of who we are and how we want others to perceive us, but this blog is already headed in too many directions to cover all ideas...and I do not want to get into how the frat boy has ruined the goat-tee and these fashions that were made fun of my so many are now worn by those that were asking 5-10 years ago...."what is that on your face?"))

With the shoes and cars it is clear when we look at the potential functionality of each as well as the advertising campaign of each. Although we may live in the city or the suburbs we still buy these products that may be catering to what appear to be the needs of someone living in the mountains, the country, or even the wilderness. We cling to that identity and we make an effort to let that idea become part of our own personal identity.

The car is an expensive purchase, other than a house it is the single most expensive product purchase that a person can make. As much as people would not like to agree, the car is an extension of its owner. There are certain cars that express this more obviously than others....Jeeps being number one on my the list of car owners seeking a perceived identity. Seems that the Jeep (CJ series) owner is always on their way to a SUNKIST commercial, no matter what season. The driver of this vehicle has forsaken comfort for fashion. The short wheel base makes a rocky uncomfortable ride, the soft top is loud at high speed and cold in the winter, they are far from fuel efficient, yet Jeep owners love their Jeeps. Why? Because they feel a certain way when they drive them!

In the mid-70s the Camero had a certain identity. In my mind it was all CHEESE. But to the owner of a Camero this car was IT! The car was fast and powerful and had lines that were appealing to the purchaser. In my mind the BMW is the Camero of the modern day. It is a fast performance car, the driver's tend to feel that they are empowered behind the wheel. As I ride my bike around the city each day I access all the driver's around me and try to anticipate their behaviors, all in an effort to arrive alive. Different license plates portray different identities, DC Paper Tags being the most dangerous in the list, then each state having its own driving style. Then ethnicity and sex of the driver is also taken into account and of course.....the make, model, and condition of the car.



Each day I am passed fast and close by an assortment of drivers, many drivers tailgate me in an effort to force me aside so that they can be closer to the bumper in front of them.

This am I did that short cross town commute, not the fun one, but the short one....it is a 15-20 minute urban commute, through neighborhoods along what is the commuter route of many suburban residents headed to their downtown offices. It is a risky ride each and everyday. This morning as I headed down Conneticut Avenue towards Dupont Circle I was being tailgated by a car, more specifically a BMW. I was moving at a healthy clip, but not so fast as I was on the single speed, yet going fast enough downhill that I was going faster than traffic, and forced to slow to keep a safe distance between me and the car in front of me. While going down hill I could feel the rev of the engine behind me, it was not immediately behind me, but closer than I felt comfortable with. The far right lane is filled with parked cars, the next lane over was blocked by Metro buses and various cars and trucks double parking to load and unload, so the middle lane was the most sensible lane for me to travel in at this point in time. When I saw fit I moved over allowing the car driver to pass, they immediately were stuck in a line of cars stopped at a light. I stopped along side of the car....

He was good enough to open his window for a little pre-work exchange. He started by turning his car slightly in my direction and revving his engine. Then he rolled down his window and asked, "what is your problem?" I responded, "I was wondering what your problem was...you were tailgating me all the way down the road." He quickly spits back at me, "you were taking the whole middle lane!" Without pause, while maintaining my cool, "it was clear that the right lane was blocked with the metro bus and the vans loading and unloading!"

then things went sour

that answer was not good enough for him
he said something non-sensical and personal
maybe with more revving of the engine

I made some unrelated comment about him voting for Bush and contributing to the demise of our country and that he and his boyfriend were total losers.....then he told me that my "animal friend" and I were losers....I was not sure if he meant Kerry or was implying that I was into beastiality

either way
I had lost my cool!
my effort to open his eyes to my rights on the bike were lost when I got personal
but
it is tough for a person with lycra protecting their fragile body to keep their wits about them as their advisary is pointing a very large heavy metal object at their person, in this case a very fast one with air bags and crumple resistant side panels.




oh
forgot to mention my parting words....
simply looked him in the eyes and said.....
"I am more highly evolved than you."

11.16.2004

Can anyone say ROAD TRIP!

RAYS MOUNTAINBIKE PARK!

Now there are four reasons to go to Ohio!

1) It is too late, but.....TO VOTE FOR KERRY!
2) Ride the COASTERS at Cedar Point!
3) Check out Vulchuers Knob!
and
4) to Ride Ray's Indoor Mountainbike Park!

I don't know much about Ray, just what I see at the 24Hour Events where we have raced against each other as Clydesdales!

he is short
he is a clydesdale
he posesses the two primary traits I like to see in all cyclists, Solidarity and Competition (always putting solidarity first)
he is fast and technical
and
he smokes cigarettes in between laps!


ray is a cool guy
hope this works out for him and the people who are close enough to appreciate it!



here is Mike Mapps skateboard dream....RAMP TECH
no one believed
well
they may want to look and listen up
cause Micro made it happen
even if they all said "nay!"
College can be a weird time.....
and this is most definitely an odd post
perhaps not a post for all
read further at your own risk
this post is not a good sample of my usual topics
as I tend to blog about bikes and my life
but the college topic had me thinking of the weirdness which was college life

College can be a weird time
I most certainly was surrounded by a weird bunch, disfunctional may very well describe things better than weird. There were some more odd, I mean disfunctional, than others. Names should not be named as these people may have been able to gather their wits and live and act in a more sensible fashion; or at least able to repress their disfucntional impulses.

There was one person who in particular effected the campus in a awkward and strange way. He was moist and pear shaped with an odd amount of charisma. Had the campus not loved him so much there is no way that anyone would have put up with him. Our relationship was odd, more like brothers than friends. We were friends, but the static was strong, stronger than our friendship, we battled and we argued, yet we continued to gravitate towards each other. He was always showing up at parties wearing my clothes, as well as climbing from the outside deck of his second floor apartment to our third floor apartment to fix himself some snacks; always leaving the dirty dishes behind, invading my personal space, exposing himself far too frequently.

Trying to find a story or a tale that would sum him up best.....

The naked iguana was always a grand performance of his.....or his manic attacks that ended in a PINK FLOYDESQUE experience as he broke nearly everything he owned and lined it up in the living room just as was done in The Wall....his Sam Kineson yells...or his inability to respect anyone else's personal space...

back up a second...the Sam Kineson screams may be the path to follow

this moist pear shape beast would walk about his day doing his daily things, he would shout out utterances that appeared to be non-sensical
"It is in my ass! In my ass!"
"Professor Myers is in my ass!"
"Dorchester Hall is in my ass!"
and so on
you name it
and he said it was in his ass!
it was only years after the fact that I was able to pair his yelling with some of his behavior

there was a time when this same odd character was living off campus in a trailer
it was in God's country, Ridge Maryland, God lives in Ridge
it was a small trailer that shook with great residence each time an acorn hit the roof
not sure how this unlikely pair got together to room togehter
guess it was another situation of a brotherly relationship rather than friends
as they were not always friendly, their interactions were more like Cain and Able than Akbar and Jeff
well...
so we were in Ridge meeting at the trailer for a drink before we really went drinking
I will make this fast and as painless as possible
not sure what we were looking for
as everything was forgotten as I stumbled in on something that no many, women, or child should ever see

In the side bedroom there was an odd gathering of what one would usually think as unrelated things....a tub of Country Crock margerine, an Atari joystick, and an adult magazine

it was clear what it was all being used for
and no one was playing SPACE INVADERS...or were they?
maybe the game was Asteroids?
okay enough already

so I discovered that this guy was running about campus yelling that unrelated things were "in his ass"
seems that this moist pear shaped beast was bored with his excessive masturbation habit
and had taken to some sort of alternate stimulation
guess that college is a time for education and discovery
in and out of the classroom

I will Post this entry for now
may end up deleting it later
it is a story that is funny when shared among friends
but
is just gross and weird when shared with strangers
St. Mary's College of Maryland

Over a decade ago I graduated from a small liberal arts college in southern Maryland, St. Mary's College of Maryland. Not a parochial institution, but rather a school named after the county, St. Mary's County, where the school exists.

My college experiences were more than likely not so different from most people's college experiences in those times. It was the mid to late 80's, Micro brews and good tasting beers were not within our vocabulary, no one ever considered going to coffee shops and eating carrot cake, and word of mouth superseded phone contact as we only had a hall phone in the dorms and cell phone did not yet exist. So we wandered around campus a little tired cause caffeine was not part of our daily routine (neither in the morning or in the night,) asking those who we think might know "what is happening tonight?" and then going out and buying as much cheap beer as we could possibly afford (usually National Bohemian ((Natty Boh,)) Milwakee's Best, or Schaffer ((which had a strong lobby, SFS: Students for Schaffer))) We drank. We drank fast. We drank hard. We drank often. Someone usually ended up puking. Most everyone was too hung over to learn. This was a process that was repeated nearly every night of the week, the weekend started on Wednesday and ended on Tuesday. Some nights were more significant that others, but very seldom did we take a night off.

It was odd for me to enter this college world. It was almost a regression from my high school years, where I had pretty much opted out of field parties and keg parties. My time was spent going to clubs to dance and shows to listen to live music. Oh, of course I was not too cool for high school dances, our high school dances were pretty cool (thanks Ed Mullaney!) In any case, upon arrival to college I took a "can't beat 'em...join em" approach to social life. Quickly I grew to love the field parties with their massive bon fires and drunken chaos.

My time in college was not entirely well spent. There are fond memories of windsurfing on the St. Mary's River and playing varsity soccer. There were also many great friendships forged in those years. It was a small school with a tight knit student body, we did not have a Greek System, but as with any place with people there were no shortage of cliches (clicks?) Many of the groups were set up by what dorm a person lived in, then sub divided into what hall they lived in. There were union and intersections of various groups with the sub divisions of what sports a person played and what major people had selected. But, since this college was comprised of roughly 12 hundred people (1,200) there was plenty of room for intermingling and breaking boundaries....

If the was an off campus party very seldom did anyone or any one group feel as if they could not attend. It did not matter if the party was being hosted by the rugby team or an off campus house comprised of members of the ultimate team, but if they hosted parties on the same night....well then there would be some decisions to be made. All in all it was a pretty darn good time. Each year very similar to the next, with a little variety tossed in and some variety taken away. Every year there was a new freshman class, and every year the seniors complained that the college was not as wild or as crazy as it used to be. They may have been right.

It seemed that the St. Mary's faculty wanted to be recognized by Consumer Reports for its high SATs and its liberal arts education, while the older students were still clinging to some ancient rumor that St. Mary's was ranked as one of the top ten party schools in the United States.

Either way, the world changed and St. Mary's changed. I even caught myself saying that the school was not as wild or as crazy as it once was when my graduation approached. If I ever meet an Alumni who graduated more recent then I did, there is a bit of a rift about what school we each attended, mine being a party school....theirs being an academic institution. Each claiming that their experience was superior to the other.

What is my point?

there is no point!

Water Web Cam


one thing I have noticed
everyone has grand recollection of the grand quantities of alcohol consumption while in college
I have witnessed that most of the drinking women at SMC could out drink the drinking men from most other colleges
ah, the women of St. Mary's
oh....that is a story for another day

(St. Mary's was always known as a safe place for a women to send her boyfriend)

11.15.2004

Another day
another crash....another humbling experience


this morning was on its way to being nothing shy of epic
my trajectory was planned and all the pieces were falling into place
the weather was pleasantly unseasonably warm
a morning frost still existed on the grass and leaves along side Rock Creek Parkway, yet the sun was already warming the day
Roscoe and Brutus tugged at their leashes in anticipation of a brisk swim in the questionably clean water that is Rock Creek
(the origin of this creek is not known too me, if my sources are correct there is a Car Wash in Silver Spring Maryland that can account for most of the running water and the soap suds, the rest is spit and urine from the urban alleys that runs down the valley into the creek)
the morning hike was a tad longer than usual as my Monday schedule is not 11-7 rather than 9-5
(a change in schedule created so that I could allow time to drop Dean off at school, walk the dogs in the woods, and then a quick spin on the bike while still arriving at work on time)
I hiked the Melvin Hazen trail while the dogs splashed around in the creek
they barked incessantly for me to skip stones for them to chase
it is annoying, but it keeps them moving
I tossed a few rocks from the my top of the hill perspective
during my trek in the woods I encountering a few other hikers with their dogs, pleasant exchanges shared between all humans and all dogs
once back at the house I suited up in all that roadie gear (arm warmers, leg warmers, skin tight shirt and shorts) I rolled down the hill towards the park
I eyed the patch of land between Park Road and Beach Drive looking for that 20 yard path that would get me to the dirt quicker
took one turn too soon and zigged back
re-evaluated the approach and rolled in with aggression, attitude, and intensity
not sure what happened...there may have been a loose log under the deep leaves
or I was not at all on a trail and caught in a crag or a gully
no matter how or why....I was upside down going over the falls
doing a Polish wheelie with style
my right foot still locked in the clip, only to twist my leg and slam my calf against some unknown part of my bike
pain, plenty of pain, but no real injury
without hesitation I was back on the bike crossing the road
I tentatively rode in towards the same set of trails that I had just hiked earlier that morning, gliding over the spot where I had crashed one week prior TO THE MINUTE!
once in the woods I fought to discover a groove
it was hard to trust the tires to hold on each turn
the trails were dry
the leaves were plenty slick
so I stayed my course moving along with hesitation
and perhaps a little more respect for the potential danger of mountainbiking than I usually possess
just as well
on multiuse trails it is essential to take blind turns in anticipation of other trail users ahead
normally I do not ride with a BONZAI KAMAKAZI mode anyway, but on this day the volume was turned down a few more notches
but not so low that I did not get the pleasure of riding in the woods

even with the crash and the mellow pace I arrived to work ontime

took a long hot shower in the second floor's men's room
then went to grab some Advil and Asprin from the First Aid box above the water fountain
only to discover they have either had the pain killers stolen from the box, or the company has decided that headache medicine is a liability

either way
I was at work on time and in one piece
a great way to start the week
best that I buy some Advil and Asprin of my own
as I can not promise that I will not be crashing again any time soon

11.12.2004

ROAD RASH IS A PAIN IN THE ASS!
or in my case....A PAIN IN THE HIP!

Earlier this week I took a turn too fast and felt the leaf covered world get pulled out from under me. The whole experience was painful, the injuries were far less than I could have been. I walked, well pedaled, away body and bike in tact, so I am not all that worried about it. As a matter of fact I am thankful to have the occassional humbling experience to help me to keep things in check. It is good to be reminded of the frailty of the human body and the risks of riding a bicycle, such small accidents can aid in avoiding larger accidents in the future.

Days have passed since this event and I am slowly on the mend.
My hip is swollen and tender with a large rasberry the size of the palm of my hand. This rasberry demands all sorts of attention. I am constantly forced to clean it out, apply Neosporin and a gauze pad, and walk in a fashion that does not aggravate it. Sleeping offeres me one hip to sleep on. And any contact to the area sends painful sensations throughout my whole body.

It is raining outside.
Glad I got a few short rides in this week.
Not riding as much as I would like, but it is difficult to ride without a definite goal in site.
How does this work?
I hate Tom Hanks and Kevin Costner, but they are in some of my favorite movies

Kevin Costner fulfills this equation to a much higher level than Tom Hanks, yet Tom manages to do some of the same.

How can it be that I hate these actors.... I hate the sound of their voices....I hate their inability to have a tonal range...
yet I can love a high number of their movies.

Perhaps the answer is "casting."
or
Maybe it is the "machine gun approach;" they are each in so many movies you are bound to like some of them.

Honestly, it is beyond liking some of these films.
Some of these movies are carried by these actors end up being some of the best movies of our times.
Many of which are in my personal collection to be viewed again and again.

RIDDLE ME WHY?

Here is a short list for Costner:
(it looks like he has not done anything worth seeing in 14 years, or maybe I have missed something special in his list of new films; somehow "The Bodyguard" did not catch my eye!)

Dances with Wolves
Field of Dreams (sure, Bull Durham)
No Way Out (definitely)
The Untouchables (most definitely)
American Flyers (just because it is a cycling film)
Fandango (a lesser known MUST SEE!)

And for Tom Hanks:

Bosom Buddies! (need I say more?)

okay, realistically
I have missed a good number of his recent contributions that the film world is all crazy about
so I will only list the ones I have seen and really enjoyed

BIG (eating baby corn and jumping on the bed is not tough acting....that is everyday for me! A fun movie just the same)
Toy Story (1 and 2)
Cast Away (he was silent for 50 minutes of it, which was GREAT! a great film)
Forrest Gump (any joker can play a retarded person, but somehow he fit the mold perfectly)

okay...guess he is not as big in my list of "Personal Favorites" as I had thought
but I did enjoy a number of his movies, although they may not qualify as "MUST SEES"
here are some other good ones
remember
just as I vowed to never see TITANIC, I have a strong aversion to Tom Hanks
so I have missed some films that may be epic or at least grand

Catch Me if You Can (cute and clever, like that 60's thing, the same way I loved Castaway and its ability to move at a seemingly slow pace...Castaway was nearly artful)
Road to Perdition (a very good film)
You Got Mail (good for a Meg Ryan fix)
Apollo 13 (never saw the IMAX version, but I am sure it rocks, Our little Opee Taylor sure can direct a film!)

okay....HATE is a strong word
I do not HATE either of them
but I do question how this can happen
Sleepless in Seattle (a great Sunday matinee when you are hung over and it is playing for the 1,000 time on television)

no reason to go on with Tom Hanks....
my feeling....
if you do something for 30 years....I hope that you are good at it!

where does this rant come from....
POLAR EXPRESS
Tom Hanks does the voices of 5 characters in this film
Will it be tough to distinguish between them?
Lets see if he can pull it of...as for me...even with two kids and the approaching holiday season....I will more than likely wait for DVD on this one and spend my trips to the theater to see the INCREDIBLES!

11.11.2004

I am just one piece of many puzzles.....

In Washington DC I am just a tiny little puzzle piece that fits into a puzzle of Mount Pleasant
which when complete fits nicely into a puzzle of DC
which fits into a larger puzzle of the United States
which fits into a puzzle of North America
and so on
and so on
and so on
(I have a copy of this puzzle to scale, actual size, but I lack the space to assemble it)
I am just one piece that fits magically into many puzzles
(we all are)
puzzles of the past, present, and future
for each puzzle that I am a piece of, I have a different level of importance
in the puzzle which is my family I am a moderately significant piece
while in my immediate family which consists of a wife, two kids, and two dogs....my position of vitality increases
while at work I am just a small piece of a corporate puzzle that consists of many many small pieces to manufacter a massive puzzle; a puzzle piece that is pretty much expendable
in the world of cycling I am an even smaller piece of the puzzle
whether that puzzle be the puzzle of cycling in the past, present, or future
my contribution is still small
but, that puzzle can be broken up into smaller and smaller and smaller, yet complete puzzles
in the mid atlantic clydesdale mountainbiker puzzle I have a larger piece than when in the puzzle that is mountainbiking as a whole

it is important for us to keep the priorities of these puzzles in order
while making sure that our pieces always fit in cleanly
it is foolish to try and get yourself to fit into a puzzle by force, that is not fitting in at all
may cause more harm than good

no matter how you look at it I am still just one puzzle piece no more no less
expendible in some puzzles while vital in others
so many puzzles could be completed with a part so similar to me
only the puzzle of the family is incomplete without me

if I stopped mountainbiking or quit my job...
another piece would quickly take my place
I would hardly be missed
no one can take this puzzle piece place in his family

just as I am a puzzle piece
I am also a puzzle
I am a husband, a father, a dog owner, a computer guy, a mountainbiker, etc....
all these pieces and more combine to make me the puzzle piece that I am
as insignificant as I may be in the scheme of the world

Also on the Granny Gear tip.....

Granny Gear has an article making mention of Keith Bontrager turning 50 and completing his 50th 24 Hour Mountainbike Relay!

Well worth a look....
as each of us complains about our getting older
those 50 plus guys can help us to look in the mirror, check our birth certificates, and shut the fuck up!




Granny Gear has a West Virginia Location for its 24 Hour Relay Event!

24 Hours of Big Bear!

there are those of us who care
while there are others who can not be bothered
for me....this is very exciting
24 Hour Mountainbike Relay Racing is what really got me into racing more than just riding
there is something about the 24 Hour format that is just nothing shy of fantastic
the team work
the camaraderie
the emotional input
the intensity
the competition
for those of us who do not have the pleasure of going to war....these are our trenches

I do not know about you...I am definitely going to sign up for this event!
Looks like I will try to build a Clydesdale Team to slug it out with some of the podium winners of years past....
looks like I have Chris lined up...if he can make weight!
my brother is more than likely not going to qualify as a Clydesdale this year, which is a bummer as I enjoy racing with him (he brings a great deal to the table not just as a racer, but as a team leader, as a self proclaimed alpha dog he immediate takes the reigns...someone has to do it...why not have it be him)
jon from Ohio has voiced interest...hope there are no conflicts with auto racing
not sure if Aaron from Idaho is up for racing....he has been a good friend who I always enjoy riding, racing, and hanging with....but...well we will need to talk

okay
we need four over 200
Me
Chris
Jon
hmmmm...maybe Phil Rice?
who else is there....
it is not just about stacking a team
it is about riding fast and hard with some friends
some friends who all happen to be fast Clydesdales!

11.10.2004

apparently Freddy is not Dead

here is that goop that roadies throw on their legs instead of knickers or tights
FREDDY'S CHOICE
remember for cold weather usage
or else your ride may turn out to be A NIGHTMARE ON ELM STREET!
Cars Suck!

yes
we have grown dependent on them, but cars still suck
many years ago when I was touring europe via bicycle with my buddy rob hardesty
we realized one thing
the use of the car and bike are reversed over there
as we driver our cars each day and ride our bikes on weekend
they do the opposite
riding the bike each day and driving their car recreationally on weekends

certainly there are many car drivers in Europe
but
there is certainly a significantly larger pedaling population in Europe than the states
just take a tour through Amsterdam! (thank me later)

here is someone's post on 50 reasons why cars suck!

if we could only design our lives in such a fashion that the bicycle became more practical for everyone!

ps.
I actually heard an advertisement for bicycle commuting on the radio the other day
wonder if it will make a dent
work of mouth and peer pressure tend to be the best ways to get others to commute via bicycle

pps.
I own a car
my wife owns a car
I drive as little as posible
ride my bike or walk where ever and when ever there is the option
currently I am using my car to drive my son to school in the morning
as hip, cool, or enviromentally concious as it may be to get him in the Burley Trailer and go across town
it is entirely unsafe, thus impractical
that cross town trek is dangerous enough for any rider
but with that 3 foot wide trailer in tow!
forget about it
.

Reefer Madness!
Downhiller Tests Positive for THC
a drug that is banned not in the sport of cycling as a whole
but
only in the sport of DOWNHILL!
is THC considered a Sports Enhancement Drug?
you tell me!
GEAR!
again...
let me try to bring this BLOG back to the BIKE!


The seasons have started to change (finally.)
We had a wonderfully prolonged INDIAN SUMMER, nothing shy of epic. The warm days carried us all the way into November, who knows, there may be a few more warm days to come. Then comes the cold damp freezing, just above freezing cold; Rain, Sleet, and Hail.....with very little snow always bordering on snow but giving us icy cold rain!

When the weather is in that awkward in between stage where it is not hot and not cold it is not always clear what is the best gear to wear. Especially for the bicycle commuter, where the early morning ride may have a very different temperature than the late afternoon/evening ride. One of the best investments that I have made in the years past has to be the ARM WARMER and LEG WARMER purchase. Sure this is ROADIE GEAR, but....it makes sense! So lets all drop our hang ups and borrow ideas from any and all subcultures, whether they be friend or foe.

The Arm Warmers and Leg Warmers are great!
Your basic Arm Warmer expands the practicality of wearing a short sleeved jersey longer into the year, up until a jacket is mandatory. When gearing up, less is more. It is best to get on the bike with a tad bit of chill rather than all toasty and warm. Because once the movement starts, the body heat increases, the sweating starts, and if the rider is over dressed...they will be wet and uncomfortable with sweat. The leg warmers do the same thing for shorts that the arm warmers do for jerseys, the great thing about this gear....it out on a ride and the sun starts to warm the day...then all of this stuff can be peeled off or down. As unattractive as it may be to have arm warmers or leg warmers rolled down and bunched up at the end of each appandage in an 80's FLASHDANCE sort of way....it is highly practical if you do not want to slow down the pack by having to stop and entirely remove the gear.
Now go out and get yourself some arm and leg warmers....I even have knee warmers; these turn any shorts into KNICKERS!

(BTW: Knickers Rock!)

An old college friend who went from being a fringe skate boarder with a passion for anything Ian (Ian McKaye of Minor Threat onto Fugazi with many quality bands in between and after) to being a conventional lawyer dad with a love for the road bike (who knows what is on his iPOD now or why he chose the road over dirt) has been telling me about various gels that can be applied to the outer surface of the arms and legs as an option to tights or leg warmers. I personally have never tried such gels, but would be curious to give them a shot. The price on these are a bit of a deterant, not to mention that once the gel is applied it has to run its course, nothing by a milk bath will neutralize this heating power (okay, I made that up, never used the stuff, so I am embellishing all the way.) The college friend who asks not to be named had a story of such a gel warming his legs during the cold morning, but when the sun started to bake the days his legs got FRIED!

In addition to the mid weather gear there is also the need for colder weather gear as well as RAIN GEAR.
For raingear nothing tops GORTEX! Also from our friend from the north, MEC, there are some great outer shells that can make the winter riding experience not just endurable, but pleasureable. I have a GORTEX jacket and a GORTEX pair of pants that are tailored specifically for cycling that I purchased from MEC. The style that I have may not be carried this year, but these products may be an improvement on the previous designs. MEC is a co-operative (just like REI) The US to CANADIAN exchange is also in our favor.
Ontop of all that...it is cool to buy Canadian! (hope no Union friends read that statement)

When riding at night there is one simple rule....LIGHTS EQUAL LIFE!
GET A LIGHT!
GET A LIFE!
Everyone needs a light, reflectors are great, but they do not take the place of lights. Everyone needs to have a few of the inexpensive battery operated blinking lights and also a rechargeable headlamp system. For the blinking light most anything will do....I have had good experiences with VISTA LIGHTS and BIKE PLANET, but for the more expensive (not expensive over time...as you save so much without having to buy batteries or an ICU bill!) headlamp I would recommend some comparitive shopping as well as some advice from some sources that you trust. Personally I have gone with the NITERIDER SYSTEMS for years, faithfulness has taken me down that path, but in recent years I have not been satisfied with QUALITY CONTROL. Too many brand new systems were glitchy out of the box....for the high price you would think that things would work. Sure they have a great return policy, everything came back fast, but...I would prefer for everything to just work.
Sure you may look like a Christmas tree with all of these lights, but it may help keep you alive to see the next holiday!

Yes, the light systems are expensive with the initial investment....but over time the per use cost is actually pretty low. Once a rider has used a decent light system they will ask themselves how they ever rode at night without a decent light.

Socks...
I have some GORTEX Socks....
tend not to use them as often as I should.
I need a better system.
Cold feet lead to short unpleasant rides.
I need a better system.
Share in the comments section.

Fenders...

Here is the last and final commuter "must have," FENDERS. The fender comes in as many design options as the bicycle itself. It is a matter of preference and taste. For some riders the "clip on" style is preferred, while others choose to have a set of fenders that are sturdily mounted on the bike in a permanant fashion. To each their own. But to those without the fenders....be prepared to become more wet from what sprays up from the road than from what falls from the sky. I have never known a time when a long spray of mud on a person's backside is fashionable.
Even after a rain, the rider can still get soaked without fenders.
So if you are a commuter and you use your bike strictly for commuting....do yourself a favor and get some fenders!

more in a bit
gotta do that work thing

11.09.2004

.


Some more light humor on that whole BUSH/KERRY thing

oh
just heard that Ashcroft is stepping down
not sure what this means


.
.


here is the BLOG PAGE from my partner from the Panarama Paranormal

maybe we can get him to write a race report from that event

or one of the other events that we have done together
or against each other


.
REVISION:
This morning....last night...


It is tough for me to realize that not everybody wants to hear my anecdotes of parenting
not even other parents want to hear someone go on and on about how great or advanced their child is
or how little sleep they are functioning on each day

so I have deleted this previous entry and started from scratch
removed all the banter about Grant's cold and Dean's nightmares
no one cares about Lisa and my having to alternate getting up mid night to talk Dean down from hysterics
sure Dean and Grant are cute, but no one wants to log in for a daily play by play of a child's growth

so I will bypass the tales of 9 month old Grant's endless climbing of the stairs
or
Dean's expressing his 3 year old version of adolescence by not wanting to do anything and definitely not wanting to go to school

in an effort to keep things cool at work
I have swapped for the late shift at every opportunity; every Monday at least
it is tough to make it in to work at my set 9am in time with my duties as a father with both kids before Soledad arrives to watch Grant which frees me up to take Dean across town to his daycare facility on the Trinity College campus, only to return to walk the dogs

with a 11 am in time I have the freedom to do these things without that classic Dagwood Bumstead spastic acceleration
and if I am hyper efficient I am also given some time to take a quick spin on the bike before arriving at work
with the early darkness morning rides are key, although last night I dipped into the woods with a single head lamp mounted on the helmet

the fall weather is cool and crisp
nearly all the leaves have fallen from the trees which adds that extra interesting variable when mountainbiking on single track
sort of a mystery of what is under all the leaves

with only 50 minutes to make it to work I had to move briskly
I headed down Park Road towards the trail
made a hesitant shortcut on a path I had never taken before
it bisected a switch back on the road that would all add up to making me late
even if it was only 30 yards; it cut off what may be a half mile in a direction I need not go
it was an exciting 30 yards as I had no idea what was hidden under the leaves
cautiously crossed Rock Creek Parkway and got onto the bikepath
once on the bike path I started to spin vigorously in an effort to assure that I could make it to work on time
failure to make it into work by 11am would defeat the purpose of switching shifts
I crossed a foot bridge over the creek and started in on a turn
not sure if I tapped my front brake too hard
or if I was taking the turn too fast
but it felt like someone had pulled the world out from under me
once second I was an invincible super hero
the next I was a lost lonely child crying out for his mommy
it was a painful slam and slide
I was back on my feet leaping around like a drunken kangaroo as I accessed the damage
no dislocated shoulder
no broken wrist
both legs seemed in tact
no damage to helmet
no damage to head
still doing what may have appeared to be an Indian Rain Dance to any onlooker
just as I was about to regain composure another commuter made the turn on his bike
only with a little less speed
and
a whole lot more control
he slowed, stopped, and offered me some assistance
I felt that I had not been terribly injured and was confident that the bike would still roll
we chatted as I mounted the Surly Karate Monkey Single Speed and started to pedal along side of this Czech Republic stranger commuting to work at the late hour of 10:10 in the am

we rode along side of each other
I bailed on the cultural exchange for a romp into the woods
the fellow commuter on the road bike moved along the path
and
I turned uphill onto some dirt

I made the cross town ride through half mile section of trail only to cross the road
and link back up to another three quarter mile of trail
and so on
and so on
until I was in Georgetown back on the city streets
wrestling with traffic
running the lights
racing the train

I arrived to work at 11am sharp
ran up the back stairs put my bike away
then went into the office
showed my boss the raspberry on my hip like a third grader shows off his loose tooth or his black eye
my boss was not entirely excited to see my peel down my tights
as he is a tad conservative and such things make him uneasy
(the photos of me wearing the cheerleader outfit gave him nightmares)

the urban woods ride had been moderately mellow
the crash had stolen some of the wind from my sails
to be humbled is vital
we need these little speed checks in life to keep up from getting too cocky
confidence is one thing
arrogance is idiocy

even with the crash
the raspberry on the hip
the sore shoulder
the bruised shin
it all adds up to what it means to be a mountainbiker

such is life being me

the work day went well
most of the day was spent at a remote site on Capitol Hill in the Capitol Building
it is fun to get out of the office