Rants on Cycling and on Life



I should not find pleasure in this, but for some reason I do.
This morning I got an email from a friend of mine who raced at Fountainhead this weekend past. He wanted to know who a certain rider was that raced that day. Apparently this rider was a bit agro on each pass. Although I did not race and have no real opinion on this person, I do know the feeling of an overly aggressive person trying to pass. The tone of the request shape the exchange. I always try to be friendly and appreciative to all and any that allow me to pass, as well as trying to be as reasonable as possible in allowing others to pass (this often includes pulling off trail) From what I heard from this friend....this guy was less than pleasant.

Scroll to the photo before and the photo after as it has a nice sequence shot.

I would not share this photo if it looked like he got hurt. I do not wish ill will upon anyone, not even George Bush, but the thought of Bush slipping on a patch of ice does make me giggle....this set of photos has that same response...only after the intro that he was an agro asshole who may have been sandbagging his class.

A number of years ago an old friend of mine invited me to his wedding. To my pleasure and surprise that wedding was in Peru, an opportunity of a lifetime. Or perhaps more precisely said, the excuse of a lifetime, the option of travel is always there, but who has the justification. This was an amazing trip. I brought a bicycle and did some riding/touring. Hung out, saw some fantastic things, met some wonderful people, attended a glorious wedding, and then went off to hike the Inca Trail. Lisa and I hiked for several days with a group of trekkers. At Macchu Picchu I proposed to Lisa, had it not been for the glorious surroundings and all of its power Lisa would have never said yes.....she said yes and the rest is my present history as well as my future.

Here are a few photos that I stumbled upon in my hard drive at home...

Rhetorical Questions

people ask stupid questions all the time...

People see Poison Ivy on your arm....
does that itch

or You are all beaten and bruised from a serious wreck...
did that hurt?
(actually they say, that looks like it hurt. but that is not a question)

and to parent's of newborn babies people always ask..
(including those that have never had children)
are you getting any sleep?

Recently our 6 month old son Grant is going through a phase where he wakes up every two hours in the night to feed. I have tried to rock him and soothe him then return him back to the crib, he wants the breast. are not getting any sleep. I am an exhausted zombie blogging his life away; and maybe my job.

Home Repairs
this is a simple and short topic to blog about...
Home repairs are not for the hobbyist, unless the hobby of that individual is home repair. Home Repair takes a great deal of time, always more time than anticipated; which gives a certain amount of sympathy to the contractor who is never meeting their deadline. Currently this deck project that my father and I have been working on is taking time away from every other outside interest that I have. Less time with my wife, less time with my children, and less time on the bike....sure there is a reward to swinging a hammer and standing back and looking at something that was built with my own hands and yes, I am having a good time bonding with my dad (although a full day yesterday was leaving us a tad frustrated towards the end of the day) but, I am ready to finish this project and get back to my regular life. I do not foresee myself as being a weekend gardener....sure, I will plant a tomato and some basil, water it in the evening, but do not expect to see me in some Japanese farmer pants and some clogs weeding out back, CAUSE THAT GEAR IS BEING USED FOR THE DANCE FLOOR! Well, this gear would be used on the dance floor, but I am too tired and too busy for anything after work and then my deck to do anything but put my feet up and sip a glass of wine. The deck project is actually the backyard project...once the deck is finished there are flower boxes to build, benches to fabricate, weeds to pull, flowers to plant, and so on and so on and so on.....

I will continue to do some home projects from time to time in the future, but I will also consider farming out some work from time to time. This deck project is significantly larger than I had anticipated. My father's assistance is beyond assistance. When dancing only one person can lead, and he is clearly a better dancer than me, thus he is leading in this dance. I have had to hold my breath as he has stepped on my toes once or twice. But the big father uses far less duck tape than I do when doing such projects and this multilevel deck is far closer to square and level with his handyman skills than with my "lets knock it out" approach to home repair.

this is all so exciting....

I will have to go ride my bike after work today...
yesterday was bikeless
and that is shameful
but I felt that resting my body and getting some sleep was a better option
to my dismay....Grant did not let me sleep
but that is a blog for above

side note:
a friend of mine who was a documentary film producer many years was working on fixing up her Mount Pleasant house. during the process she found great joy in the whole experience, she also gathered a wealth of information, as well as piecing together a beautiful house. Once her house was finished, well, these things are never some point in the process this women decided she could do this as a business. After all she already had all the plumbers, drywallers, painters, etc. lined up and on the speed dial, so she created Girl Friday. Girl Friday was some movie from the 50's that I had never seen, but I took it to be a play off the character Friday from Robinson Crusoe. In any case...she had a baby... the baby took more time than a home business would allow for so she is no longer Girl Friday. but then, my wife emails me a link to (and this is where the world gets small) a person who has started the same style of business, Toolbox DC. Oddly enough, this woman who started this business is married to a man who is very good friends with the husband of Girl Friday. Ontop of that we all are friends with a Graphic Designer whose design firm is called Toolbox and to top that brother dated this toolbox chic when he was in college.

2 things.

1. Lets hope that there is some truth to this; Electoral Vote


B. Lets still get out and vote Bush out of office


does this come in a 29er?....Phil Wood

Bontrager and the Tour
Bontrager and Lance
Bontrager and his garage

this is something that I failed to think about
this is really cool
Bontrager's contribution to the USPS and Lance's success in the Tour
I have a faint memory of a friend out west buying some mountainbike wheels with road rims trimmed to 26 inches
he bought them from a guy who made them in his garage
we take today's technology for granted
those wheels were lighter, as strong, and got fewer snake bite flats
(or so I recall, but I never owned them)
it impressed me
but it also impressed me that it seemed obvious to make what works
all started in a garage
the wright brothers were bicycle mechanics who created flight in the garage
never underestimate what can be done in the garage
I am not sure, but I think that was Keith Bontrager making those wheels in his garage

from the FAQ on the Bontrager site....

Q: How do you pronounce Bontrager?

A: We get that a lot!
Bon Bon-fire

-tra- tray-

-ger grrr

Rocco shared this Bontrager Interview in the Comments section....thought it was worth a read

Back to the bike...

Bike Fit....

link found here...wannabe bike girl
some good stuff here

another PEZCYCLING article
bookmarked here for later

Will Ferrell/Politics

I do not normally find this guy particularly funny, but he hits the mark on this one.

White House West

(here is an alternate host of the same movie)

JibJab has a movie that pokes fun at both sides.

and lets not forget the quality efforts by!

DT shared this with me....Billionaires for Bush

and on a non-US note....
here is a piece about a Tibetian Monk framed by the Chinese Government
the folks that put this together have a number of great FLASH animation pieces
go to and check out their work

Road Bikes
A few nights ago I went ahead and dug, well dug and climbed my way through my garage and pulled out my old Raleigh road bike. It is an old Raleigh racing bike, no braze ons for a rack or fenders, moderately light weight, but not too light weight due to the old not old school components. This frame is actually not that old, well maybe over a decade old, seeing that it was a warranty off a broken frame of a yet even older Raleigh Racing USA frame, but old just the same. I took the bike into the basement for a refreshing tune up. There is a great reward in working on bikes, something organic about the simplicity of it all; even if it is just patching some tubes. I trued the wheels and cleaned the chain, adjusted the brakes and the gears, sure I neglected to repacks any bearings, but felt that the bike was road worthy and the couch was calling. The next morning, before even leaving my alley on my way to work I was reminded of this bike's handlebar issue. The road bike drop bars are too narrow in bar diameter for the stem to clamp down tightly enough to keep the bars from tilting up and or down. This is beyond aggravating, it is down right dangerous. I adapted and dealt with it, keeping a mental note to get new bars and trying not to put myself into a situation where this tilting bar issue would put me at risk. In no time at all I was reminded all of the things I love about a road bike, then just as quickly I was reminded of all the things that I hate. On the plus side, the road bike is quick, nimble, and light; the acceleration is near effortless. The wheels roll with what seems to be zero resistance, so different than the fat and slow knobbies of the mountainbike. The downside, the wheels are narrow; so cracks, crevices, and definitely pot holes must be avoided. For those that know the DC streets....potholes are everywhere, some are deep and wide enough to park a car in....some roads are worse than others....the lesser maintained roads are more like the crater covered surface of the moon rather than the capitol city of the most powerful nation in the world. Other factors on the downside of the road bike include the surface contact is decreased so turning on loose gravel or rocks is more risky and the braking power is significantly less effective with the sidepull brakes than with the cantis-v-brakes-or disc brakes of the mountainbike. So essentially I have to alter my riding style through the city. Fewer risks are taken as reaction time is slower. The drop bar position decreases visibility and decreases stability, the wider mountain bars may be an issue for going between rows of cars with various side view mirrors, but the upright position with shoulder width bars still offers a more stable position. In case it is not clear....the mountainbike is the preferred machine for the city, while the road bike is grand for long spins on country roads. At some points in my life I have tried to keep a rule, no road bikes unless I am going out for more than 30 miles. ( last night may have hit that on the mark)

My ride to work was short. Riding that day was pending on my boss and his willingness to let me leave work early. To my delight he abilged my request. I was on my bike and headed to Great Falls, Maryland on my way home, debating with doing the turn around climb that feeds into the great Falls parking lot several times if I had the energy and the time. As I pedaled north on the Capital Crescent Trail I noticed my bike was a tad squirrelly as I politely passed another cyclist. the summer rain was not going to keep me from riding, but the condition of my bike may be a variable to consider. I glanced at my rear wheel and could see that it was sorely out of whack, so bad that it was rubbing my frame as well as my brakes, that was only effecting my speed. The loss of air in my front tire was causing my lack of control. As I slowed to a stop the air in my front tire rapidly exited the tire and tube; leaving the tire completely flat by the time I was off the bike. With the front tire flat I checked the rear wheel. It was bad, real bad. The wheel would not spin one rotation, I had noticed the rear wheel was slightly out of true a few miles prior and had flipped the quick release lever on the brakes to back the pads off the twisted rim, but I had not realized the extent of the damage. A broken spoke on the drive side had caused this wheel to go seriously out of whack! The paint was starting to wear on the frame from where the wheel was rubbing. I started to walk back without changing the tube, I felt that the wheel was so out of whack that riding on it any longer may cause greater damage. Then after a mile or two of walking I decided that this wheel was past its prime and I might as well ride on it. So I fixed the front flat and rode gently back the way I came. I pedaled into Georgetown and headed right for Big Wheel Bikes. This shop is closer than home and has a greater likelihood of having a replacement spoke of the right size, but only a slightly greater chance, after all this is Big Wheel. Upon arrival, Lance the Aussie accented shop manager/wrench offered me what spokes he had and use of his tools. In minutes the spoke was replaced, the wheel was true, and I was putting air in the tires. With a quick thank you and good bye I rolled out and rolled home to get on the deck project with my dad.
I got home, my dad was doing his solo thing. I mixed some concrete, we poured it, Lisa and the dogs ended up walking through it later that night. For the most part my dad did not need my assistance. The deck was fairly unproductive and the boys had gone off to sleep so I thought to myself that my time would be best spent riding. With the wheel fixed and the Shenandoah Mountain 100 just a month away I figured I needed to get some miles in on the bike. Permission from Lisa was granted and I was off on the bike at dusk. With my red lights blinking I conserved my headlamp. As I headed out Beach Drive in Rock Creek Park I could see the roadies headed in from the Goon Ride. As I rode the down the winding road various riders gave me a nod, more friendly than the usual roadie, I attributted this to the fact that they must have figured I was doing a post Goon Ride cool down.
On some freshly paved section of road I really got feel the pleasure of the road bike. At certain sections I glanced at my watch to check my progress. It was clear that the road bike is significantly faster with a lesser output. This brought smiles to my face. The road bike cruised silently; no sound of the chain and no hum from the the tires on the pavement, it is really quite the darkness it is even more soothing. There were times where I spun along with a feeling of floating as I went around the curves and the bends. There were a limited number of assholes on the road, shockingly the biggest asshole was some guy on a Beamer motorcycle (BMW) who passed me by inches while holding down his horn. I raced after him and fantasied his demise, he drifted away into the distance and so did my fantasy. For the most part I do not wish any ill will upon anyone, but there are short instances where I wish that I had the powers of Carrie on prom night, but those feelings are fleeting. It is not healthy for me to let this anger brew. There are far too many incidents to let my heart rate change over.
For the most part this ride was alone in the darkness. As mentioned the cars were few and far between, leaving the asshole count to a minimum, yet for as few cars I encountered the percentage of cocksuckers was high. The soothing experience of rolling around at high speed with the wind in my hair...well I am shaved bald and wearing a helmet, but I know the feeling from younger days, was able to help me to shed all anger, hatred and frustration. The Mormon Temple was aglow with its stark white marble walls and its golden angle with trumpet in hand. In the woods along side the road were a wide variety of glowing eyes; stray cats, many deer, a few foxes, and other nocturnal creatures that I was not able to identify. These animals were as curious of me and my Cyclops like helmet light. I watched their eyes pan as I passed by their field of view. After making a U-turn at the end of Beach Drive right past Garret Park I decided that I had plenty of fuel in the tank and picked up the pace a bit. Again enjoying the pleasure of the road bike and its advantages on such a road verses the bulkier mountianbike with all of its drag. The miles sped behind me, back past the Mormon Temple, over East West Highway, and then just as I passed Candy Cane this point I felt a pop and felt a snap on the back wheel. It is a feeling of either a rock bouncing off a spoke or a spoke breaking, knowing this wheel and its history I assumed the later. I cranked it home keeping up pace, not letting the drag of the rear wheel slow me down. Turning onto Park Road I left a few tailgating motorists behind me.....another cocksucker on a cell phone passed me too fast and too close only to be passed at the light at the top of the hill (just 30 yards from my own house on Park Road.) As I motored up the hill with the cars behind me I heard the oh so familiar sound of a car horn. Looked back, slowed my pace, stopped at the light at the top of the hill turned around and headed for home. Being the dumb ass that I am I slowed to a near stop and spoke to the same cocksucker on the cell phone, his window was up and he did not hear what I had said. Nothing obnoxious, nothing of value, just venting a little steam.
A great evening ride that left me too energized to fall asleep before midnight, which made for a tough morning with the boys. Luckily for me my wife was there to pick up the slack, she is plenty use to my sluggish mornings by now. Maybe we should move the coffee machine into the bedroom.

The athlete of the modern day knows that all these space age fabrics all have their flaws. Aside from the high cost, the greatest flaw of would have to be STINK FACTOR. This phenomena is seen widely throughout all athletic gear, scoring Higher Stink Factor Marks in some fabrics more than others. Polypropylene ranks high in venerable to Stink Factor, while wool scores low. In addition to materials there are certain types of apparel are more venerable than others due to the type of use they get and the parts of the body they are warn on. Gloves (namely cycling gloves) may have the greatest venerable of all gear, luckily for the user gloves tend to be a lesser expensive piece of apparel. The sweat off the arms drains down to the hands. The hands are touching all sorts of random stuff, the hands themselves may be sweating, and the natural inclination to wipe a sweaty brow dry with the glove (or even a runny nose.) Once the gloves are inundated with Stink Factor the hands can then suffer Glove Hand. Glove Hand is where the hands continue to carry the rancid smell of Stink Factor even once the gloves have been removed from the hands. Glove Hand is way the worst...A social NO-NO; imagine giving a strong confident handshake in an interview or a business metting and having the recipient stepping away and putting their hand to their nose....sorry you do not get the job (and definitely not the girl in a social situaiton) So if you think you may have Glove Hand, WASH YOUR HANDS, do not go around asking..."smell my hand! do they stink? smell my hands!" The maybe in your mind should be enough for a vigorous wash, like a doctor heading into surgery, scrub those things clean. Gloves can be washed, but as we have all learned from previous Stink Factor experiences, washing is only a temporary cleansing, the Stink Factor is deep within the material and comes back to surface after the first sweaty workout. There comes a time when certain things must be thrown away, the product may be in good shape and form, but the Stink Factor can be so great rendering the gear useless. (or if the user continues to use the stinky gear they may end up friendless and jobless!) Backpacks also tend to be venerable to gathering a great deal of sweat and stink, thus leaving them venerable to Stink Factor. Just the other night I came into the house with my backpack by my friend Dave who had not smelled me outside commented on my stench as soon as we were in closed quarters, my wife rolled her eyes and nodded in agreement, meanwhile the dogs ran under the table and covered their noses and let off a helpless whimper. So last night after a evening night ride I went ahead and emptied out my pack, removed all external blinking lights, and dropped the Stink Factor ridden pack into the washing machine. I lacked Febreeze, so I used some standard detergent and some Oxy-ten. These efforts are often just a temporary fix...Just enough to keep your job and keep your friends until there is time to buy a new pack (gloves/jersey/etc.) Packs cost more than gloves, so the temporary fix may become part of the routine. I tried spraying some Febreeze on the pack from time to time, even sprinkled some Gold Bond on the pack. From the site of the dirty water in the washing machine as the pack soaked I feel that I may have bought myself some more time. But we will know soon enough. The pack is at home hanging to dry and will go out for its next hot humid sweaty August ride tomorrow....if the pack starts to stink....then it will be time to go shopping.


time to grab some breakfast

back in two

where should I get my next pack?
what pack should I get? too many choices!


What was the babysitter doing?
All kids love substitued teachers and babysitters. This is a great chance for children to bend the rules. I recall being a year or two older than Dean I talked a babysitter into letting me stay up and watch a movie with her. The movie was Crow Haven Farm. A family trip to Salem Mass, a god fearing christian mom, and this movie.....I had nightmares for years.

oh shit
back to work
no time to rant
bye for now

all I remember is a door being put ontop of a live women (suspected witch) as they burried her


Ashtanga....a great way to start an awesome day
On Saturday morning past Lisa and I ran our preferred Saturday morning routine; I dropped Lisa off at the AYC for an Ashtanga 1 Class and took Grant and Dean to Turtle Park. The park was pretty much vacant. Dean rode his bicycle over to the basketball court and did a few uneventful loops, somehow it just is not the same without other kids to ride and race with. After Dean lost interest with pedaling in circles we moved to the toddler section of the park; all sorts of the classic slides, swings, and jungle gyms....then there is also a very large sand box as well as a short hardpacked dirt hill. It is an odd yet wonderful little park. For some reason this park has become the land of the misfit toys, or more precisely the land of the old broken toys. It is oddly enough an asset. There are all sorts of battered beach toys in the sandbox and the hill is used for riding old big wheels and other cars down. Well, the big wheels have disappeared, perhaps they were a tad too much of a liability, but I add the missing toy to aid in the imagery. Dean played solo as the other children filled in around him. It is parallel play. The children play alone, yet they play more vigorously in the presence of others. Grant was entertained by all that was around him and even got to get some swing action. With some negotiation I was able to tear Dean away without any tears, there was some force, but no tears. The car was loaded up, Dean was fueled up with a Capri Sun and we were motoring down the road. We arrived just in time for the transition. Lisa comes out of Yoga and I get to go into Yoga. It is a simple system. I look forward to the time with the boys and I look forward to the Open Yoga class afterwards.

My usual teacher Gail was there but on her way out the door. Gail had some other plans and another instructor was subbing in for her. It is always interesting to see what each teach stresses. It is not that I feel that one teacher is better than any other, they are just different. Some students prefer different styles. As for me, I just like the variety.

the factory bell is about to chime
or the whistle is about to blow
I am outta here

running against
This is a group that is growing nationwide. This weekend past they had a BIKE AGAINST BUSH ride in Rock Creek Park right by my house. Was unable to attend due to the forever daunting deck project. The slogan BIKING AGAINST BUSH is not as clever as RUNNING AGAINST BUSH, but it is a good cause just the same. It is an effort to unite people in getting BUSH out of office. Any activism of this kind is very valuable.
Join one of the RUNS in your area!
Buy a Shirt!


there are a lot of different walks. walks in the woods and walks down the street. there is a simple way to make the same walk different; add or remove variabels. a walk with the dogs is different than a walk alone and a walk alone is different than a walk with Dean. mix the variables...put grant on my back and the dogs at my side, now remove the dogs and mix up the combinations some more. add lisa and tag on dean, take grant off the shoulders put him in the stroller now grab roscoe, but leave brutus behind. each variable dictates the pace and intensity of the walk. Dean with his bike, on his scooter, or running on ahead all create different walks. The season, the time of day, who or what we encounter will all act to sculpt the walk into a different experience.
tonight I went up the street without the dogs with grant in the baby jogger, I was wearing shoes unfit for running, nearly unfit for walking. it was the end of a long rainy day and the sun had set or at least gone down or was so ubscured by the overcast rainy day. yet it was still bright out. the lighting was like an old color movie where they filmed in the day and dyed the film blue as so to make it look like night. grant relaxed, got really relaxed, so relaxed that he was asleep. it was relaxing. my pace pushing the stroller is not as fast or as manic when I walk alone. to be able to have both hands on the stroller if I wanted to because the dogs are not tugging away at my teathered arm. never at this walk did I have to be hyper alter of a cat behind a bus that may cause the dogs to lunge forward pulling my arm out of its socket and causing me to tip over the stroller. it was nice....
more on this
time to relax
a long day on the deck
we made some progress
we did some things that needed to be done
there is still many more days in front of us

time for six feet under

here it is the next morning
I took a quick look at the entry above. not unlike most of my stream of conciousness rambling it is without salvation. best to leave it alone and just start a fresh thought. but before I start a fresh thought I will add a short piece onto this one.

this morning Dean and I walked to the Rosemount Center just blocks from our house. rather than taking his preferred sidewalk route on his bicycle I was able to trick him to take the woods by bringing out some cheapo Walkie Talkies. This is a much greater pleasure for me. the dogs are off leash, no dog poop to pick up, no need to lean over an push dean on his bike up the hill as I hold the two dogs on the leash (forced to tug at them each time they slow to sniff or pee) And most of need to carry the bike back home after his three and a half block ride; which is really more of a one block ride since I have to push him up hill for all but one small stretch downhill. But the trick only worked halfway through the woods. At the halfway point dean stopped dead in his tracks, his arms fell limp to his side, and he began to cry. " I want to ride my bike to art class, I want to ride my bike to art class" Dean broke into a mantra that was backed up by tears. it was like he was in a deep meditative state. we slowed. we talked. the tears stopped. I collected the walkie talkies. Dean was then put on my shoulders and I walked him the remainder of the hike on my shoulders. At this point we were only 20 yards from the road. When I put dean down to leash the dogs, Dean was fine and he walked the last city block to "art Class" where he had the joy of sharing his toy walkie talkies with all the children who cared to see them.

that was a boring story
not sure why I wrote it down
well, not boring to me
but this parent thing is only fun for parents
guess, similarly the bike thing is only interesting to other bikers
and so on and so on and so on