7.31.2005


RETRACTION?
is it too soon to "publish and post" a retraction to my premature product review on the Crank Brother's mini pump
I may want to rethink or at least re-evaluate my hasty judgement
perhaps I was swayed by design
it is pretty, compact, and cool.... there is something about its apparrent simplicity
perhaps I was swayed by the Crank Brother's name
perhaps I was swayed by it being swag from a race
any way I look at it I may want to compare my pump options

this Crank Brother's tool may be a small light weight option in addition to a CO2 cartridge
but for speed and functionality.... I am much more satisfied with my almost im-portable travel pump
for years I have been squeezing a long thin Topeak pump into my Camelback
it was always a close fit
but
in the situation with a flat.... I was always pleased that it was my relief option
in the Michaux race it would have been impossible for me to use the Crank Brothers pump with my broken finger
forget that... that is a worst case senario that we do not anticipate again

that motion of keeping the wheel/tire stable with my thigh as I contort my body in a fashion where I can pump things up fast without risking breaking the presta valve stem
these are not issues with the pump that I have depended upon for the last many years

this pump is more than likely off the market
but
there must be something like it that would meet not just my needs but my expectations
the Topeak Master Blaster has more than likely made its pass through this world on the clearance table
let me google it

okay
this at SUPERGO
The item you requested no longer exists. Return to Previous Page
finding all sorts of Topeak Products using the name but none of the pumps are anything like my Master Blaster
where is the straw like tube that goes from the pump body 7 inches to the valve
where is the little pop out foot stand (A MUST!)
and
where is the grip that twists out and finishes the mock of the standard floor pump

I will give the Crank Brothers another try
but I am not going to sacrifice form for function on this one
although I have considered going the way of the C02 catridges
and traveling with the two products mini pump and CO2
or stick with the the 7 year old Master Blaster

What is the word on CO2?
(not N20)


if I could get my brother to find a review that rates various pumps with charts and what not
Two Summer Drink Ideas-
Ricard

both refreshing and volatile
a great summer drink
put down the beer
never mind that white wine on ice
get yourself a bottle of Ricard

the basic mix is a 1:5 Ricard to Water
which aids in the hydration while you take on a gentle numbness
it is not cheap
not sure if your corner pub carries it
not even sure if your local package store has it either

but I am sure
that all of those that like that Good and Plenty licorice flavor
this is the summer drink for you

Then for those who like to pull out the Blender*-
Beer-Ga-Ritas!
Aunt Cathy from Pittsburgh's recipe
(no blender needed.... unless you want crushed ice)
(don't picture a blue haired lady... Cathy is a few years younger than me)
simple enough
go out and get some of those little frozen LIMEADE cylinders, some pale beer (Corona or one of the other clear beers,) and a bottle of TEQULLIA
follow the instructions for the LIMEADE except use Beer instead of Water
then add Tequilla
use your own disgression
some people like to sweeten up their Margaritas with Honey
sure.... put some honey in your Beer-Ga-Rita!

CHEERS!
*warning Tequlla can cause short term memory loss or so I have been told
as I can not remember

.

davezabriskie.com
from my friend Gibby

.

here are a few shots of fellow City Bikes Mountainbike Racer DT
to me there are many things odd in this picture
-the fixed gear off road
-the dress (as it is clearly an evening gown for a season other than summer)
-and the absence of underwear or cycling shorts


Wednesday at Wakefield Photos
there were a few folks out at the
Wakefield Races taking Photos
Pete Tuscano and JJ Foley (joe foley's kid brother) have each posted some images on the Web
the "montage" is of some City Bikes folks as taken by Pete

oh
it was hot
a tough call....
let my back breath or wear a camelback
with my recovering hand I never had the moment to refuel from the water bottle in the downtube
that is always a tough call
I think I need to find time to refuel
that Gatorade/Red Bull fusion could have kept lap two and lap three at lap one pace
it is a good little shot of nitrous to the engine

can someone explain some stuff to me
so we have these people that call themselves the CULTURE OF LIFE
the basis of this group is the PRO-LIFE movement
okay....
then we have these same people who are ANTI-STEM CELL RESEARCH
but
these same people are advocates of the DEATH PENALTY and are willing to send people off to WAR (in Iraq)
I am so confused

WHERE IS THE CULTURE OF LIFE?

seems like they are 50/50 on the whole LIFE CONCEPT

me...
pro-choice (which does not mean pro-abortion... but there are plenty of cases where it is the best option)
pro-science and technology (which means yes to Stem Cell research)
pro-Death Penalty (I would be willing to institute the Death Penalty for lesser crimes as long as only the guilty were the ones getting the punishment)
and
Anti-War only as a LAST RESORT (against the war in Iraq... would like to see some sort of action in what is called the War on Terror)

and of course....
where is the SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE when our current president has a FAITH BASED ININIATIVE!??!?!?!

the fact that our country is being highjacked by the Religious Right blows my mind
please
someone please help this country

oh
in reponse to DT's comment
I have no issue with same sex marriages
in this case I defer to the bumper sticker

SHARE THE PAIN: ALLOW GAY MARRIAGES
tough combination
late night drinking
early morning intime at work
mix a little sloppiness in between...
a four year old with a cold who woke up at 2:30 AM with a fever and a nightmare
which in turn woke up his light sleeping little brother who then refused to go back to sleep
which means
my head hurts from hang over and sleep devrivation
such is life as a father who still likes to go out and play
oh
did I mention my legs are sore from pulling the two boys around in the Burley trailer yesterday afternoon
calgon take me away!

7.30.2005


I crack myself up...

respect is letting an old man rib you for how young you are.... and you as the young person do not rib them back about how old they are....

at work I get this all the time
there are these guys who are a tad older, okay much older
not only are they older but they have been in the business since the beginning of time
they are pre-technology
we say animals are pre-historic,well, these guys are pre-technologolic
so I let them rib me
I think once I learned that it is disrespectful to rib an older gentleman about his age
or was it his weight.... or was it his height
or yea.... it was his height
I figured he knew he was short by now
okay... I do not need people reminding me I am bald
it is not that I forget... I just do not need to be reminded
what was my point
oh yea

at the shop today one of the mechanics was helping me out with a tool
the technology has changed
there are more words to describe more types of things
this was for a crank puller
aparrently there is this new type
mike knows my bikes
mike knows I don't know my bikes or the new technology
(disc brakes are new to me... still trying to figure them out.... I am not old school..... just old)
back to my point
I wanted a classic old style COTTERLESS CRANK REMOVAL TOOL
yes... that is what we called them in my day KIDDO!
(I hate when people call people kiddo.... I hate when people call my kids, KIDDO.)
I did not call the tool that
I used the term Crank Puller
and well
Frank and Mike got a laugh out of the tool confusion
I lacked the language to tell them which one I needed but I knew it on sight
so we walked back to the tools and Frank handed me what I needed
then he kindly offered me a lesson in how to use the tool
that is when i broke it out
"excuse me.... I was using this tool before you were born.... ((hold on... I am thinking: light bulb above the head: mouth opens to wide gap toothed smile)) yes.... I was using this tool before you were born."
apparrently I am hard to read
hope frank read that I was joking and that i appreciate his offer
on a day where I did not have one kid asleep in the burley trailer and the other kid tearing down the bike shop I would have love to see the professional way of using this tool

I actually own this tool...
maybe even two of them
but over the years the threads get worn or torn out from missuse
my first cotterless crank removal tool was a tool that needed the assistance of a 15mm wrench
most of the time I used a big set of adjustable knuckle busters
remember... I come from a time when bottom brackets tool grease had a set of free floating bearings
there were adjustable cups and lock rings to deal with
I thought that the Suntour grease injections were a gift from the gods

if I had videos of myself working on bikes without all the right tools and without a stand
those were the days
try putting in a headset without the proper tools
without creating your own press with some large washers and a long screw.... turning bolts on both ends
NO! I used a mallet and a board
okay
this caveman has evolved
far less BAM BAM in my fix it projects

dam
getting late
gotta roll

7.29.2005

starting to feel better
starting to feel good
starting to catch up after a bit of a set back
this broken finger put a little bike of a wrench into my machine
actually nothing more than a speed bump
but that bump took away some serious momentum
it may have been as much as two months off the bike
then getting on was slow
now I am slow
but starting to pick up the pace
and
starting to increase the miles
forty-five minutes are not enough base for an hour and a half race
then how do I expect to perform at the 100 mile off road experience known as the Shenandoah Mountain 100

I do not expect to be anywhere near Jeremiah Bishop at the finish
but
I would like to match my personal best from last year
my intention was to beat my time from last year
but
with the recovery from the broken finger and such
there just has not been the same amount of riding and racing
and
there has definitely been a drop in my personal intensity on the bike
my techincal is even more shy than it usually is
this is not a course where you want to be without your legs, lungs, and intensity

The Paper Boy
a children's book by Dav Pilkey
this book was most certainly written by a person who worked as a paperboy as a child
the book is written in such a simple and plain fashion that it delivers the clarity that only a Paperboy could deliver
although my experience as a paper boy was with an afternoon paper, the Washington Star
there were still the weekend morning deliveries and I have memories of assisting my brother when he delivered the Washington Post
everytime I read this book it is as if I am back in time feeling those same emotions as described in this book
the cold mornings... even in summer
the task of balancing the bike with papers
the freedom of riding with the papers gone
the ballistic motion of having the route committed to memory
the quiet world as everyone else is asleep
it gives me great pleasure to read this book to my sons and to get to experience those emotions again and again
sure it is a book of few words
but
it is a book that delivers a wonderful story
perhaps that is why this book was awarded the Caldicott Medal

it is sad to think that this world exists in a more complex time
a time where tasks were once character building money makers for children are jobs for adults
I grew up delivering papers, cutting lawns, doing yard work, and babysitting
even our babysitters are adults
these are different times that will most certainly produce a different type of adult

I have always wanted to write a children's book
write and illustrate
maybe writing this notion down will make me accountable


Memories and Sense of Smell
when we deal with memories nothing is forgotten....
it is more a matter of failure to retrieve those memories than things actually being forgotten
or so one of my professors told the class in one of my Psychology classes in college

there seems to be something to this concept
in my personal experience I have found that my sense of smell has the ablility to draw out certain memories

this morning while riding my bicycle before work I was taking in the scent of the humid morning and the freshly cut grass as I pedaled along the Potomac River on the Mount Vernon trail
there is a certain smell to cut grass that is still moist from the morning dew
this smell is not just one smell but many subtley different smells... each having the ability to bring back various memories.... so many memories
this morning as I took in the scent of the lawnmower's exhaust and the damp clippings I was delivered the memories of various soccer practices and soccer try outs
so often we would gather in the morning just after the fields had been trimmed
that combination of the dew with a hot August morning where the humidity is just starting to build
so many great memories of so many great experiences
experiences of triumph and experiences of failure
making the team and getting cut from the team
making friends and well... you can reverse the statement yourself

those memories are part of my past
I treasure those memories
and I thank my sense of smell for returning those memories to me

this morning as I rode it was not so much a blend of memories
but rather one memory of one time
then my rational mind carried that specific thought into something different
just like a dream... so often when we wake rather than trying to remember the dream we try to rationalize the dream
causing us to forget that dream never to be retrieved again

okay I am babbling....

other scents that bring back memories
the scent of tar on railroad ties when the temperature is just right often brings back memories of childhood in suburban Boston or other random Tom Sawyer Huck Finn misadventures from my childhood

the smell of excessive car exhaust and burning rubbish can remind me of travels to distant third world lands... bet those lands Nepal, Costa Rica, or Peru

the smell of dried pines often remind me of Northern California or even more local terrain with similar flaura (or is it fauna) that causes the earth to give off that certain scent

perhaps that is why perfume is so popular
women are trying to captivate an emotion in a scent
these women are trying to implant a memory
trying to immortalize themselves by sense of smell

enough with this
better things to blog about

blogs
bloggers
and
bloggging

this network of communication can be nothing shy of amusing
people blog about anything, everything, and nothing
there are blog circles that expand far beyond the media's definition of the BLOG

this being the year of my 20th High School Reunion has got me in touch with a variety of people
when reviewing our Class Reunion Site I was pleased to catch up with a few people
some people I knew and others I did not know so well
there is a fellow graduate that has an entertaining blog... Clark has a wide variety of interests
it seems that he takes his interests to the passion level

when going to Clark's blog I did what I tend to do when I check out people's blogs
I read.... I comment.... and I went to some of his links
in addition to links he has a lot of pictures
his images from the Star Wars Convention are definitely worth a look
anyone who makes fun of this stuff is just jealous!
Clark's pictures from "on the job" are a tad scary
but
it is great to know that someone with such passion may be at the other end of the life line when we are reaching for help

within his list of links were some very popular BLOGGERS
there was the Mom who talks about POOP and there was the stewardess who likes to flaunt what she go.. both of which got fired from their jobs for BLOGGING
a fate that I try to avoid
such actions guide both my behavior and the topics I tend to blog about

usually my blog circles cycle around the bicycle
http://bikecentric.blogspot.com/
http://mycompositions.blogspot.com/
http://www.velorution.biz/?cat=1
http://www.singlespeedoutlaw.com/

to name a few
use my links
use their links
there is so much out there
do a GOOGLE
you will find something that distracts you from what you should be doing

7.28.2005

in reference to my prior post.....
Minor Threat with Trouble Funk at the Lansburgh Culture Center for the PUNK FUNK SPECTACULAR ranks as one of my top five shows of all time
it was an awesome show
it was an amazing experience
Main Entry: 1stop
Pronunciation: 'stäp
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): stopped; stop·ping
Etymology: Middle English stoppen, from Old English -stoppian, from (assumed) Vulgar Latin stuppare to stop with tow, from Latin stuppa tow, from Greek styppE
transitive senses
1 a : to cease activity or operation b : to come to an end especially suddenly : CLOSE, FINISH
2 a : to cease to move on : HALT b : PAUSE, HESITATE
3 a : to break one's journey : STAY b chiefly British : REMAIN c: to make a brief call : drop in


from britannica.com
(and no... on the bicycle I do not stop at Stop Signs)
.

CODE PINK
this should actually read
CODE PINK!
but that way is not a hyper link

and on a non-political note
two blogs worth checking out
http://bikecentric.blogspot.com/
http://musingsfrommexico.blogspot.com/


.

Discord vs. Nike
Minor Threat vs. Major Threat
from PUNK NEWS.org

Pitchfork Media's response
and GOOGLE it for more repponse and more opinions
more Pitchfork

and the Rock and Roll perspective
sorry if my news is a month old
similar to GOOGLE EARTH
I am out of the loop
this news was shared with me from old friend FALK
we skated together years ago
he was always a far superior skater (and skim boarder)
we spent a fair amount of time listening to music together while drinking and hanging together
minor threat was a topic of discussion and a classic on the turn table
so was joy division

what I really love about this whole NIKE advertising error is that they profoundly made this same mistake some years ago
flattering and true there is some great parallel with the abuse of the Minor Threat 7" cover and the use of the song Revolution by the Beatles

but in the same respect
there is something PUNK about ripping off a design or a logo
skateboard decks have had spoofs and plays on existing designs for fun or for a statement
only
when it becomes an issue of profit
an issue of major profit for a huge company
well
then it becomes something differently completely
a pleasant day on the bike path
yesterday after work I took a quick spin on the Capitol Crescent Trail
being able to get out of work 10 minutes early allowed me to hit the trail before the afternoon rush
was able to take my pace up a notch
not bothering with a fast or aggressive pass
went from Georgetown to Connecticut Ave then back to the DC line only to turn back around towards Bethesda again
once pointed north towards Bethesda I felt some riders approaching behind me
then there was a pass
as per usual a roadie passed without an audible
not only did he pass without warning
but he made the pass obnoxiously close to me
I refrained from getting angered or involved
then I glaced back at the person on his tail
without hesitation I recognized the face and the figure
it was Rich... a fellow mountainbiker.... and a person I had seen around at various local races

the last we spoke there was some tension
I had BLOGGED about him after our battle for 3rd Place in the Men's Vet Class at the 24 Hours of Snowshoe in 2004
it is in the GWADZILLA ARCHIVE 3/4 down the page
(an interesting archive as it touches on Lance, Sue Haywood, and other issues of the day)

our last encounter left me wondering how he would respond to me now
to my pleasure there was no ill will
I was greeted with a smile
he released his fast pace on the rear wheel of the road bike in front of him
and dropped his pace to a social side by side pace with me
we talked about things
mainly we talked about the birth of his first son
then we talked about the effort to balance riding, mountianbike, and mountainbike racing as a father

it was good to catch up
it was good to see that there was no tension between us
it was good to see that he and his wife were enjoying life with their young son Miles

I rode out to Conn Ave one last time to continue our converstation
then turned back towards Bethesda where I was meeting my wife and my family at my dad's for a little poolside fun
storms blew in as I arrived
not even enough time to dip in the pool
but
my brother and his wife showed up with their kids
which was great for the boys
we ordered pizza and had some fun before bed time

only to ride my bike back downtown for a few extra miles

these little rides all add up
the question is
will these little rides add up to be enough to make me strong enough to handle the Shenandoah Mountain 100?
ICE Your Cell Phones
ICE stands for In Case of Emergency

this is a trend in London which is finally traveling across the pond
everyone should do this...
not just in case of an injury resulting from a terrorist attack
but
also in the case of any other personal injury

as a cyclist I think this should be the least of our precautionary measures
I may expand my personal protection to a sticker on my bike and on my helmet as well

I remember back in my misspent youth going to DC Punk Shows on my motorcycle
there was one rider who always wore full leathers even in the summer heat
I took his precautions to heart and tried to wear helmet, jacket, and studded gloves all the time
in addition to his body armour this rider also had messages on his helmet

"DO NOT REMOVE HELMET... REMOVAL OF HELMET MAY INCREASE NECK INJURY"

was one message I remember... other message of similiar self protection have been forgotten

accidents... crashing... getting hit
it is part of the two wheeled experience
maybe I should prep myself for the worst
as morbid or perhaps fatalistic as it may seem
if unconcious we can not tell those around us who to call or what medications we may be allergic to

Article on ICE on CBS.com
and an article on NEWS.com
my iPOD is naked
so seldom do I add music to my iPOD
I need some G0-Go on my iPOD
some Chuck Brown
some EU
some Trouble Funk
and of course the Junkyard Band that played on the corner right down the block from my work
(now known as Backyard Band)
here is someone's page on GoGo... it has some good links
I am bookmarking it for myself for later

7.26.2005

.

Race At RFK
sean bega's favorite bike
scrooge
bike cult

.
Tour Fever and the Bike Path
and a good ride for someone getting ready for the Shenandoah Mountain 100
this Sunday past I took the boys out in the Burley Trailer for a long ride
attached the trailer to the geared Surly Karate Monkey and pedaled away
it was Grant's first ride in the trailer
which would make it Dean's first ride sharing the trailer
Grant was alseep before my house was out of sight
Dean was not pleased with how little space he had when he was sharing the trailer
yet he was quite accomodating to his younger brother
at this moment he was playing the role of good big brother
a role that can go the way of Jeckyl or Hyde

it was a long hot pedal
did I mention slow
it was a long hot slow pedal with 70 pounds od kie and 30 pounds of trailer
the boys both slept for most of the ride and complained for the rest of the ride
it was hot
it was dam hot

we rode across the river and then out past the Airport a little bit past Old Town Alexandria
the boys woke in Old Town so we stopped in at Big Wheel Bikes for a few minutes
the kids love to wander around bike shops
it was good to catch up with the manager Bennet for a few minutes
after a little stretch of the legs it was back in the trailer pointed to Bethesda
more specifically.... pointed to the pool at my dad's house
days like this are for the pool
only a fool would be out on the bike in this heat and humidity

the kids were both asleep before we were out of Old Town and back on the bike path
we passed the airport which had been selected as a fun destination
planes landing and taking off entertain children of all ages
with both of the kids asleep there was no reason to stop and wake them
so we rolled forward and further
once on the Capitol Crescent trail Dean was awake again
he was hot, sweaty, and complaining
I tried to get him to mellow out
he wanted out of the trailer
so we pulled into Fletcher's Boat House so dean could strtch and I could grab a Gatorade
with the trailer stopped Dean then corrected my actions... he wanted to stop at grandpa's not here
I got a couple of Gatorades just the same
Dean and I refueled while Grant continued to sleep

ready to continue my ride I went up a wooden boardwalk ramp back up to the Capitol Crescent Trail
atop the ramp I looked one way then the other to see if things were clear
unable to see past the couple with a stroller to my left
I had to take a step forward to see if it was safe to pull out
it was not clear
so I stepped back
while stepping back I saw the on coming cyclist brake hard with a look of panic in her eyes
behind her so close that I thought it was a tandem was another cyclist
at first I thought a tandem bicycle frame was cracking in half
then I realized that the following cyclist's front wheel had collided with the rear wheel of the bike he was drafting off of
the first cyclist was able to recover
the second cyclist went down, but not too hard
the water bottle from the second bike rolled up to my feet

I picked it up and handed off to the rider who had fallen

at this point the cyclist in the lead was yelling at me
I accepted the words and agreed that I should be more careful
she continued to yell
I agreed that I should be more careful and listened on
then having heard enough I moved on my way
it was a quick exchange

certainly I had contributed to this incident
but
by no means had I caused this accident
the accident was caused by two cyclist going too fast through a heavily trafficked section of trail
drafting and pace lines have there place
yet there place is not on the multi-use bike path

it seems that these folks had TOUR FEVER
but they were not a break away group
they were on the bike path
the multi-use bike path should be seen as an individual time trial
in this event drafting is forbidden

actually....
the bike path is not the place for training or racing
but
we all often feel the urge to ride fast and hard on shared trails
it is important for all trail users to be familiar with their bikes and their bodies
be familiar with stopping distance and control
always anticipating the worst
and
always slowing for certain variables
.


a VELO NEWS ARTICLE on getting DOORED
courtesy of my brother

.
locked and loaded chip on my shoulder
yesterday in the premature August heat and humidity on a July afternoon I went for a post work spin on the bike
with flat tires on both Karate Monkeys I went out on the Jamis Nova cross bike again
with Tour Fever still burning strong I wanted to ride fast and far so the cross bike was my best option
but of course
I do not have the time to ride far
and
I lack the ability to ride fast
so I went for a post work spin instead

out from work through Georgetown traffic down M Street
the predictable behavior is just that... predictable, but dangerous just the same
it boggles the mind that these drivers test the performance of their cars and their luck each and every day like this
woth little concern for the possible results of such aggressive actions
some cars show the scars of battles lost in the past
these cars are given greater distance

as I weave through the bumper to bumper traffic on M Street I am trying to balance my concentration between the congestion of cars on the street and the collection of shoppers on the sidewalk
ah.... window shoppers
cars running lights, passangers getting in and out of cars stuck in traffic, pedestrians crossing where they choose...
finally safely onto the bike path as I cross Key Bridge into Virginia and onto the Mount Vernon trail
in the afternoon heat the trail seemed vacant
the water alongside the path did nothing to minimize the heat
the temperature was brutual
only made worse by the thick haze in the air created by that nasty DC humidity

out past the airport then a random turn around point
not distance
not duration
just time to get back to the other side of the bridge
need to swing by the house to grab some stuff before I meet Lisa and the boys at grandpa's backyard pool
it is starting to get late
worked a few minutes late and added a ride... best to get where I need to go

into the city back onto the aggressive streets
everyone is on their worst behavior
the heat brings out the worst in everyone
it is hard to be pleasant on such a day
up 16th Street on into Mount Pleasant I dash into the house

down some water and grab what I need and get back onto the hot city streets

the rush hour drivers have little tolerance for the bicycle commuter
there is some sort ignorant notion in this society of my SUV can crush your SUV where the bicycle is a toy that has no right on the road
odd?
one would think that a car that seats 7 comfortably would be banned from the road if it traveled with just the driver and no passangers

onto Beach Drive and into Rock Creek and I am already being tailgated not just seconds into my turn
then the fast aggressive pass into oncoming traffic by the car traveling behind me
it is only a matter of time before there is a head on collision
this I do not wish upon anyone
especially me

a left turn onto Broad Branch where the turns and curves are blind to what is around the bend
cars follow close looking for a chance to pass
the ignorant aggressive pass of one driver initiates the action of the following drivers
the cars pass in a pack like a herd of buffalo following the pack blindly off a cliff
not one knowing if safety or danger exist ahead... just following the pack
the last driver nearly nicks an on coming car

in packs the cars repeat the same obnoxious passing behavior
I am not a person to them... I am an obstacle
they pass too fast and too close
the speed limit is 25 MPH yet they pass me ranging from 25-35 where the curve allows such acceleration
some pass closer than others
some pass further away granting me more space... but creating a greater opportunity for danger for themselves and traffic coming from the opposite direction

where are they rushing off to so fast?
how much time do they actually save with their dangerous driving styles?

as I the road moves towards the residential Chevy Chase DC the road straightens
cars pass at an annoyingly fast pace
estimating 45MPH on each pass
I grit my teeth as I feel the wind of their pass pulls me around on my bicycle
each car rolls speedily through the stop sign ahead
no one makes a complete stop
nor do I.... but at least I have made an good assessment of the other cars

there is a traffic light ahead
most of this last pack of cars make this light
but get caught at the second
I dip through the Red Light when it is clear
and pass the line of cars that just passed me
I refrain from gestures and/or comments

the light turns green I go
these cars then get one more aggressive pass
one car in line with all the rest passes fast and close
they all roll through a Stop Sign
then this one car with personalized tags pulls to the side to parallel park
I can not contain myself
I launch a wad of spit onto the driver's side window as I roll pass
why?
I am not sure.... sometimes I just do these things
as always
I regret this immediately

in my youth this was usually a fun game with the Metro bus driver
the bus would pass and cut me off
run me off the road and into the curb
pick up its fair on Conn Ave and I would race the climbs to catch them
as I passed I would spit through the window and into the face of the driver
then letting the race begin
up the hills
down the hills
racing to the end of their route at Chevy Chase circle

on this day I regret my actions immediately
I alter my pace
battling the exhaustion induced by the heat and the humidity I go faster
taking an occassional glance back to see if I have enraged the parking driver
a mile down the road I figure that there has been no initiation of a cat and mouse game
I am relieved
I again question my own behavior

eventually arriving late to meet up with lisa and the boys
feeling shame for my action
regret or an altercation that could have been
fear for retailiation that never happened
after dinner and a swim I scribble down a note to be dropped on this parked car's window

it was a simple apology for my inexcusable behavior
brief mention of my frustration of the fast and aggressive pass by the multitude of drivers
then a repeat of my apology
signed by A CYCLIST AND A FATHER OF TWO

I find the car on my pedal home
fearing that I may have a face to face with the car owner I act quickly
as I pull away from the parked car after putting this note under his windshield wiper I see a bike rack and a volleyball in his hatchback
a bike rack?
this guy like so many just got caught up in the momentum
when he could have been a pace vehicle and lead a pack of positive drivers
instead he joined the masses and drove wrecklessly past me on his own street
I check for a child seat.... no such thing
the soccer mom is always the greatest irony of aggressive drivers

ah....
to be a fly on the wall
I hope that my actions of the note have repaired my actions of the spit
when will I learn that I can not change people
and that altercations just lead to greater altercations and not revealations
when will I grow up?

7.23.2005

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Hutch on Dogster
Roscoe and Brutus never got into the online thing

puppies are so cute
everyone loves puppies
just like everyone else... I love puppies
I may pass by a pet store and see a pen full of puppies in the window
if granted the time I may stop by in for a closer look
maybe not on the first pass... but maybe on the second

after I leave I may daydream about those puppies
may give them names
create imaginary personalities fot the puppies I do not know
create names for the puppies I will never own
maybe even imagine how these puppies would fit into my life
but
at home I have two dogs
two dogs that I love
two dogs that I have no desire to replace
would it be leading these puppies on if I were to visit them and look into their eyes?
have I mislead them? it would be a waste of energy explaining my intentions
as they are puppies
and puppies just do not understand


.
another soldier down
it is a somber morning for many
more for some than for others
lives have been changed
futures have been altered
children have lost a father
a woman has lost her lover and her friend
somewhere a mother and father have lost their son
a cyclist will never ride again

I did not know Steven Gordon
I will never get to know Steven Gordon as he is no longer around to meet

Steven Gordon?
I am him and he is me
he was one cyclist
he is all cyclists
he is any cyclist that rolls on the street risks suffering the same fate
be that rider a racer, a commuter, a courier, a weekend warrior, or a child headed to the neighborhood pool
something needs to be done
behaviors need to change
an education needs to be instilled
car driver's need to understand the potential dangers of their actions

would a warning sign every 10 yards on the road side aid in making things safer?

WARNING: BICYCLIST AHEAD
SPEED LIMIT 25MPH
DO NOT PASS ON BLIND TURNS
BIKE ROUTE ON ROADWAY
CURVES AHEAD
SHARE THE ROAD

apparently not... many of these signs already exist
these signs do nothing to alter car driver's behavior

perhaps an IQ test should be administered rather than a driver's test?
maybe the Death Penalty for wreckless driving rather than a few points on one's license?

something needs to be done
something drastic

yesterday I went for a post work ride on my lead sled; Jamis Nova Cross Bike (at least 5 years old)
went up the Capitol Crescent Trail at a leisure pace to get some parts at the City Bikes shop in Chevy Chase
while saying hey to some of the folks at the shop I could not help but to be drawn to the projection screen playing that day's stage of the Tour de France
the screen was like a vortex drawing me in
I left the shop with Phil Liggett's voice echoing in my head

down the gravel Capitol Crescent Trail onto Beach Drive towards home I felt a little Tour inspired RUSH
with cyclist collecting at my side I waited for the Red Light at East West Highway to turn Green
like a racer at the line I stood poised and ready
the light turned green and I was off
with no concern of the actions of the other riders I raced ahead
at a good clip I cruised down Beach Drive towards home
motored up the small climb and the through the stop sign
dropping down the hill at a solid pace
yet not pushing it down the hill as it proves nothing to go fast down hill
the trick is to go fast up hill
once on the flats I held the momentum of the hill
unsure of my speed I felt secure that I was not far from the 25 MPH Speed Limit
maybe a little more
maybe a little less
yet within a reasonable standard deviation

a few cars collected behind me
following close and looking to make an aggressive pass
the first car behind me pulls out along side of me prematurely
nearly having a head on collision with an on coming car
I ride closer to the center of my lane in an effort to keep them from passing on the blind turns
this protects me and protects them from themselves
as the road straightens and passing becomes an option for following cars I glide closer to the edge
yet not too close as the road gets a little choppy as it is riddled with pot holes and debrie
one by one the cars zip past me
each car aggressively returning the lane right in front of me
it seems that none of these drivers are alert to the stopped car ahead
their speed on the pass makes no sense with stopped traffic ahead
with a left turning vehicle ahead I measure the passing space on the right hand side of the road
none of these drivers have given me any space to pass on the right
so much for SHARE THE ROAD
I am feeling punk
I am going for the hole shot
I am going to ride the tube
there is not much space
but I am going for it just the same
with no more than 20 or 30 yards ahead of me one last car sneaks in between me and this line of cars
the red SUV sees that I am not breaking speed
this SUV sees that I am going to shoot the small gap to the right of stopped traffic
I slow my pedaling
tap the breaks with a speed check
make a measure of my path
I am going to go for it
I am going for it with good speed
believe it or not the driver in the red SUV pulls his truck over the small curb onto the grass
so his vehicle is obstructing my ability to pass on the right
in a panic I pull my brakes
forced to come to a complete stop behind this short line of cars

then show some restraint
usually I would give someone the finger or a little lip
but I am trying to live for tomorrow
this driver has show that they are less than rational
they are aggressive and obnoxious and clearly not considerate of my safety or my rights
no need to learn how aggressive or obnoxious they are willing to become
so I keep it to myself
the car in the front of he queue makes its left
then all the cars move forward
I start up again never to catch these drivers again
adrenalin is pumping
I take the last miles at an anger induced pace
hatred is strong
blood is boiling
legs are pumping

then Phil Ligget enters my head again
the cars that created this anger are gone
gone from my view
gone from my mind
my legs are spinning at a fast rate
I slow as I make a polite run of the four way stop
no care about the officers getting in and out of their cruisers ahead at the Park Police station
they do not PROTECT OR SERVE ME
their laws do not apply to me as they do not protect me
where are they when I need them
each day thousands of cars speed dangerously past their station
each day cyclists are passed dangerously close and dangerously fast
HARASS and TICKET seem more appropriate than PROCTECT AND SERVE
I am taking what is mine
as nothing is given to me

the road is a slight grade downhill as I pass he Park Police office
this stretch along side the creek is a beautiful winding road
a tree canopy engulfs the road
a rushing creek flowing with the waters of the afternoon storm runs parallel to the road to the right
in the distance I see another rider
Phil Liggett enters my head speaking louder as I pedal harder
I am the one man CHASE.... the rider ahead is the BREAKAWAY
not sure what has become of the Peleton
I focus and reel him in
effortlessly I pass him at a rate where I am sure that he will not try to match
with an audible and a nod I pass safely on his left and am on my way
banking the turns with some speed and some caution
as the skinny tires of the cross bike never give me the confidence I need on the turns

from Beach I take a left on Park Road
no left turn 4-6:30
it is 6:31
I take the left aggressively past a car waiting to take a left in front of a police car
my pace drops as I hit the hill
this road is a mess
forced to take the whole lane to stay out of the pot hole ridden side of the lane
I block the car that just passed
it is not safe for them to go around me at this point of the climb
curious if the cyclist will over take me on the climb as my speed is less than impressive
I also think if officer friendly redirected his route to give me some instructions as to how to behave on the road
I roll forward
several cars make agressive passes
the road flattens as I cross the Park Road Bridge
then the road climbs again
I pass my house and at the light I pass a few of the cars that just passed me
the light turns green just as I hit it
I finish the Park Road Hill and head home
made it home alive again
another day of combat on the streets

it can be like going to war out there
when it shouldn't be
again my source of release has become my source of frustration

7.22.2005


Crashing and Injury....
unfortunately part of the sport of mountainbiking
A few weeks ago one of the City Bikes Mountainbike Team Members Hillary Elgert was competing out west in a Downhill event when she did not make the landing off a major drop
Hillary took a major tumble an ended up breaking her clavicle.
It is a total bummer!
A bit of a set back for a racer who excitedly took the leap to pro this season.
Last I heard Hillary was mending quickly and planning on racing some more Downhill before the season is up.
Wishing her the best of luck to a speedy recovery and a confident return to the sport.
Hopefully her momentum does not lose too much speed from this "speed bump" that life has put in front of her.
Movie Review: OFF ROAD TO ATHENS
with all the anticipation
with all my excitement
with all of my self created build up and the rave reviews from my peers
there was a great opportunity for a let down
well... let me tell you this...

THIS FILM ROCKED
THERE WAS NO LET DOWN

it is an amazing story
a story that was told well
a story that was filmed and edited well
a story with a beginning, a middle, and an end

EVEN THE SOUNDTRACK ROCKED

there are aspects of the story introduced early that explain themselves later
there are ideas that come full circle
and there is some wonderful poetic irony (Filip Meirhaeghe)

if you can not catch this film in the theater
buy a copy of OFF ROAD TO ATHENS on DVD and a HUGE Flat Panel television set
crank up the volume
then sit back to take in the tale
it is quite a saga

7.21.2005

Single Speed vs. Geared Bike-
26 Inch Wheel Bike vs. 29 Inch Wheel Bike-
last night I ran a little test by racing my Geared Karate Monkey with Suspension
on a course that I raced two times previously on my Rigid Karate Monkey Single Speed
on this course there appeared to be no difference....
well.... no significance difference in finishing times
yet... there was a difference in how my body felt afterwards
my body last night did not feel as beaten up or exhausted as it had on the two prior races

granted this is a difficult test to hold up in any real world of science
there are a number of variables
there is the heat of the day
conditions of the trails (wet/dry/etc)
the prior expenditure of the day which leads into the energy of the day
the traffic of other racers of the day
and there is...
the strength and stamina of the day
the phase of the moon
the amount of sleep that my two young boys granted me the night prior
okay.... these are sounding more like excuses than science
after all... I am man... not machine
but I will let the imperfections of my unscientific method remain and leave it at this

On certain courses I will be able to race at the same pace with the Single Speed as I would with a Geared bike with Suspension.
but... and this is a big BUTT
butt... this only works on certain courses
as it is clear that on some courses I love my gears
my legs love my gears
long flat sections and fast descents.... there are times where I like to push the bigger rings fast
on terribly long climbs I do not mind going for the granny gear

now after doing this little unscientific test I have now decided that I would like to conduct a similar test where I compare my performance on a 26 Inch Wheel bike vs. my preferred 29 Inch Wheel Bike
last Sunday at the Fairhill Classic I felt that I was a tad disadvantaged by not being able to get a fluid rhythm with the big wheels on the tight turns
it seemed to me that I would have been able to expend less energy if I were able to maintain speed rather than working such a herky jerky stop and go style of riding

this test has yet to be performed
but
I feel it is a valid test to perform
and if the 26 incher wins the game... I would most definitely race this bike again

that said....
Sunday at Fairhill was the first time in over 2 months where I rode the geared monkey at all
the conditions were a tad wet
and my confidence was a tad off
it may have been an inability for me to relax and lean into the corner of each turn
much of the turns had off camber roots
and I feared the crash with my yet still to recover index finger

there are a number of things that make summers great...
astro pops and snow cones
blue crabs and Old Bay
watermelon and corn on the cob
women in bikinis and women in sun dresses
amusement parks and state fairs
everything water: ocean/lake/pool/river/stream/water park/backyard hose
then of course there is... Wednesdays At Wakefield

last night was race four of the local mountainbike race series Wednesday At Wakefield
I was lucky enough to schedule my evening to attend this event
what a great way to spend a Wednesday After Work!
here is how it played out

RACE REPORT: WAW-Wednesday At Wakefield #4 2005
having raced the geared Surly Karate Monkey the Sunday prior at The Fairhill Classic
I felt that it may be a good chance for me to get a little more practice on the geared bike
as well as to take this time to compare my lap times on the Geared Monkey with Suspension vs. the Rigid Monkey with only one Gear

the trip to the race site was as uneventful as usual
as I pointed down 14th Street in Norhtwest Washington DC towards Northern Virgina the radio announcer gave a run down of trouble spots in Rush Hour traffic
the mention of slow traffic on I395 South was about as unexpected as if they had said that it will be hot and humid in DC this August

IT IS ALWAYS SLOW AT RUSH HOUR HEADED SOUTH ON I395!
and yes... IT IS ALWAYS HOT AND HUMID IN DC DURING AUGUST!

so I maintained my course and managed to arrive 15 miles from my house in roughly 45 minutes
there was just enough time for a few manic hellos... rapid registration... like Superman in a telephone booth I slipped into the City Bikes Orange and Red in my Element (okay, I was naked in the parking lot)... then pedaled down to the start line and waited for the starting gun

at the start line I was greeted by the pleasure of a large Clydesdale group; six people thick
or
was that six thick people
either way it was good to see more competition on the line
to my mixed pleasure there was my friend and occassional riding partner Chris Redlack
as much as I love the competition.... I also hate to lose
Chris has gotten fast... his performances this year have been fast for any marking
for a Clydesdale... he is super fast
I knew that he was going to be gunning for me
which made for some potential excitement and anxiety
Chris had
raced strong in the Single Speed Class earlier that day and was riding his SS again for this race
those are all factors
but
we do not weigh the excuses for victory or failure until after the race

in my mind this 6 person race was really a 2 person race

at the sound for the release at the START my rear wheel spun out
maintained composure and balance and stuck with it
sprinted with the other racers fighting up the gravel road to be the first into the single track
having gears confused me slightly
never sure to hammer hard or spin strong...
at the crest of the hill I leading the pack
as I turned into the single track I took my speed down a bit to regain breath and composure
behind me I could hear the sound of another biker following close behind
it was clearly Chris Relack
no time to turn around and look
kept my focus forward
yet I was confident it was Redlack

down a small hill and across the creek
as I crossed the man made Paris Roubaix style rock path I tried to use my big wheels and big gears to get a little jump on Chris and his 26 inch wheels and single gear
entered the woods and saw several female racers ahead of me
the trail got tight
there were very few places to pass
trying to respectful as possible I looked for a place to pass
as the racers ahead of me dictated my pace I soon heard Chris on my tail again
able to make a pass I moved from racer to racer
experiencing the same cat and mouse game on each rider
no chance to gain any ground on Chris
the course was too tight to get any distance

on the open powerlines I was able to use the big wheels and the big gears
but sure enough
back into the woods there was more traffic
then the sound of an aggressive racer on my tail
that same aggressive racer

after passing the majority of the Women's Sport racers there was the ever entertaining obstacle of the Men's Sport Racers
at one point a strong and fast women racer was stuck behind a men's sport rider (he fits the demographic)
she was trying to make a pass
he was not allowing it
with Chris hot on my tail I quickly grew aggravated with the slow pace
asked for him to allow
"us" to pass....
TWO RIDERS ASKING TO GET BY
CAN YOU ALLOW US TO GET BY AT THE NEXT AVAILABLE TIME
asked again
tried to point out a good place to let us sneak through
then eventually had to make an aggressive pass
went high on the trail to their side passing both racers in one push
a little danger and a great expenditure of energy
but just like in city traffic... if they will not give it to ya... ya gotta take it

after these guys there was another racer ahead
sure enough Redlack was right behind me
as I rode at this next rider's pace I asked politely to make a pass
there was no answer
I made mention of a good place to make a pass
still no answer
then the request again
he was pedaling faster... but still not at my pace... and his pace was sure to drop again
then I told him I was passing on his left
in a classic New York sort of way my warning on his left was an indicator that he needs to block left
as I accelerated past him
he accelerated as well
to this I shouted... YOU ARE SPEEDING UP!
just in front of us was a gap between two trees
I made the "hole shot"
not sure what happened to him
I felt a brush of an elbow
then went on with my day

not every pass is eventful enough to recount
there were plenty of racers more than willing to share the trail and allow the pass
it seemed as it there were enough racers working for Redlack to make things difficult for me
made some more uneventful passes then found myself behind another racer forbidding me to pass
at my request
there was nothing
at my next request this racer told me to FIGHT FOR IT
unintentionally in a very SPEED RACER sort of way my front wheel grated against his rear wheel
there was lots of noise... knobby tires slapping and spokes plucking
the resistence was enough that we started to slow
the contact was unintentional
although to keep from crashing I had to steer my front wheel into his rear wheel with great strength to keep from crashing
to avoid a crash this rider stopped
with him stopped I was forced to stop and move around him*
*there were some words... nothing too damaging... we spoke after the race and he was cool... adrenalin of the moment
only to sprint to the next rider and find him colliding into a tree and then me colliding into him
from their I dismounted and ran up a little hill with my bike beside me only to find City Bikes Team-mate DT cruising along at a good clip on his IF Mountainbike with a FIXED GEAR
again wanting to make a pass
DT granted me space immediately
to which I am thankful
to my regret Chris Redlack was able to ride in most every wake I created on each pass
we crossed the finishline on lap one and lap two within seconds of each other

the second and third laps went similar to the first
only with a little less aggression on the pass
as I was moving slower
and those that I was passing had less energy to put up a fight

in the end the geared bike was no faster than the single speed for me on this course
yet
my body felt far less beaten up
perhaps I should put a shock on my single speed
ah... economics

ended up finishing first in this race and with my three first place finishes in a four series race I was able to win the Clydesdale Class for the WAW series
after the award ceremony a good number of the racers went over to a local pub for some food, drink, and an all around good time
got home late
but
Wednesday At Wakefield only happens once a year
and well
it is definitely worth it

results

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more random stuff stolen from the mind of ETJB


and an article on drugs with mention of Tom Cruise

as the sideburns are not working for me...
maybe this will help!


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