Rants on Cycling and on Life


chasing the peleton

watching the olympics
reading blogs
surfing the internet

was reading blogs about LIVESTRONG
then went to the NIKE PAGE
joined the PELETON
not unlike life on the bike
I am fighting to keep up

it is really rather clever
use the scroll bar and see who is in the Peleton
people from all over the world
click on each rider with the different colored jersey
click on the leader
sure enough
Lance Armstrong

so many commercials
way too many commercials
the ratio to actual Olympic Sport and advertising is not good
some good swimming and diving tonight
and of course....this cycling is quite exciting
last lap
got to go

and off to a party with a bottle of Richard



a moment of base filled silence as a sign of respect to the passing of Rick James
David Chappelle had some create CLIPS spoofing Rick, but they may have been removed out of respect
oh well, I wanted to celebrate his life with a laugh
guess I will have to buy the dvd

Red Bean: A restaurant Review-
today went well...I dove headfirst into a day of some serious work...anything to escape the thought of my Red Tag situation. The Stop Work Order has been occupying my thoughts, so much that every I am ignoring it all together. This weekend I need to devote some serious time to this project, next week I need to take this permit process to the next step. With that said, after work today I got on the Geared Karate Monkey to test out the rear hub repack, the new SIDI shoes, and the new Time pedals. Being that Lisa and the boys are in Pittsburgh I took advantage of the situation and tried to go for an extended post work ride. Like a fool I stepped out the door with a healthy pace...on this ride I ran into old school skater/snowboarding buddy Mirco. He was out helmetless on his roadbike 'jocking out.' We rode together for some time, exchanging who lead...I was an excellent draft for him while he did not offer such a comfortable wind slip as I may well be a foot taller than him. The highlight of that ride was when I was on his tail headed south west towards the airport from Old Town Alexandria. Being able to see his cell phone in his cycling jersey pocket I thought it would be clever to give him a ring. My cell was in my mountainbike style baggy shorts so I pulled it out and scrolled through my cell phone book. There is was in my short list of logged numbers; Micro. I hit SEND and began smiling. Sure enough there was the ring. Micro's hand drifted back and pulled the phone from his jersey pocket. It was too funny...Micro answered and I spoke up, "Put down the cell phone and pick up the pace!" Our third ridder a Ramptech employee Mike laughed in the background. Micro picked up the pace and we put away the phones.
At Key Bridge we said a quick good-bye and pedaled away before our heart rates dropped. I rolled down through Georgetown onto the Capitol Crescent Trail. The legs were still fresh, the bike was feeling good...with some unknown drag...maybe the rear wheel out of true or maybe a rear hub that is too tight. I rode upright hands off the bars with my legs spinning fast and hard. Relaxed and fast. Before I knew it I was being passed by some cat on a road bike. His lack of audible warning triggered an aggressive response. I asked for the audible and then told him that my grandmother rides faster than him. We picked up the pace. Not being the drafting type we move forward and further at a fast pace.

need a drink
don't think I will make it to the review

thumbs up
good fish tacos
nice atmosphere

we will be back


Although they are completely different.....there is the basic similarity that both the LIVESTRONG bracelet and the Madonna Bracelet of the 80's are made of RUBBER

which caused me to surf and stumble on this site...

Which Madonna are you?

You are the Ray of Light Madonna!!
You are Ray of light Madonna!!

Which Madonna Are You?
brought to you by


which has nothing to do with GWADZILLA!

The Right Tool for the Job!
There are a few simple rules in life that are vital to be learned and lived by; the right tool for the job is definitely one of those basic rules. Before the Red Tag was glued to my front window I was out back working on the first section of my deck. In an effort to make things as sturdy as possible I decided to use some expansion bolts in through the joist into the concrete base of garage. There I was with a drill in my hand and several drills by my side....various speeds and varying power.....a variety of drill bits many new and sharp. Minutes with the drill and nothing but a scratch to the surface.....20 minutes and on the verge of some serious carpel tunnel syndrome and I stopped and reached for my cell phone. I had heard that there was a tool for this type of task, a hammer drill. One call to my friend Lev and I had a short term loan of this particular tool, contractor grade. Lev is a good friend, it was wrong to ask to borrow this tool, no one likes to lend tools, especially the tools of the trade, but Lev is too good of a person to not say yes...he mind said no while his heart said yes. A quick pedal from Mt Pleasant to Petworth and the hammer drill was in hand....only to return to Mt Pleasant to do the job and then back to Petworth. I took a short pass through Brown's Carribean Bakery for some Jamacian Beef patties and Coco Bread. YUMMY! Lev was psyched! The tools were back in the short time frame as promised, the tool was not damaged, and he had a fresh Jamacian Beef Patty with Coco Bread.

In this morning's rant I bitched about some spacers in the hub of my geared Karate Monkey's rear wheel. I also questioned the best way to fix the hub. Well, I must have stressed that I did not have a 17mm cone wrench. Sure I have a 13mm,14mm,15mm, and 16mm cone wrench as well as a 17mm box wrench and 17mm box wrench....but no 17mm cone wrench. A quick trip to my local bike shop, City Bikes, and I was able to get two 17mm cone wrenches in hand. They had them in stock and now I have them in my tool box. Once home and once in the basement I was able to get some grease on my hands and get things fixed. It was an enriching experience. It is an enriching experience. Working on a bike always has a special gratification once it is done.....tomorrow I will ride the Geared Monkey to work and test my repairs to the hub as well as my wheel true. The Clydesdale can be tough on gear....the repairs need to be done right!

an aside.....
It is good to have the right tool for the job. When I worked at the Big Wheel Bikes Capitol Hill location some many years ago I was always amused by the local kids and their misconcepetion of tools and their usage. BMX bikes would roll in with severly stripped bolts. Bolts so rounded it was impossible to tighten was impossible to remove them. Some of these kids cruised around with the culpret that stripped these bolts into submission; lock plyers. It is quite a sight....the lock plyers locked tightly onto the seat post as if it has any business being used on a bike. How many times did I replace these bolts on these bikes? Each time trying to explain how wrenches work and how there are bolts and wrenches that are certain sizes. Who knows who learned what ihn those exchanges? I have often been curious of those local kids and who and what they have grown to become in the time that has nearly grown to be a decade. I fear that the anger and the violence of the city may have sculpted this wide eyed children into hard and jaded crimials. The survival skills as children were clear.....and drugs and violence are after school jobs of the average go getter teenagers. Internships in the hood are different.

this evening rob and snoopy came down from baltimore for a late afternoon assault on the Cabin John trails. snoopy called me on my cell as I was headed home from work, there was a tad sprinkle coming down, not much more, but the storm was on the horizon if I cared to look that way. Perhaps I looked the other way so I could honestly lure Rob and Snoopy down for a little 'guy time;' not exactly 'boys night out' but similar....only without the stumbling and the hangover. My words were was just a sprinkle...but the storm ahead was eminent. Sure enough, I stopped by City Bikes to grab the right tools for the job and the clouds spilled over. Some time was killed in the mechanic's area and then the shop, kicking it with the various different employees and grabbing some 17mm cone wrenches. As the time was surely not going to pass I was forced to mount up and ride home with buckets of rain falling down on me. Visibility was down, my lights blinked, but I feared the anarchy-like driving style that occurs when DC drivers encounter a storm. Every winter the same thing, some driver gets behind the wheel and says to themselves, " I can not drive in the snow!" So, THEY GUN IT! Durning Armagedon-like storms just like this evenings running red lights becomes more regular for the cars. So I rushed home gritting my teeth, avoiding all rolling obstacles, until my cell rang. It was Snoopy again. I knew it was him...sure enough it was him. I was forced to pull over in this rain and answer the phone. Long story short....I asked Snoopy to stop and get some sun screen as I was sunbathing in the backyard. Then stressed that he grabbed SPH 45 as it was getting quite bright this late in the day. There were jokes about riding....making sure that they had lights.....and that they had the right tires for the deep mud.
Once home I did my tasks as a home owner. Rainfall of this volume tends to run the risk of flooding my basement. The water volume is great, but it is the debrie that is carried that is the true villian. The leaves, mud, and silt clog the drains...when all three drains are clogged the water stacks up and soon enough the basement begins to fill up. I scurried around in my underwear and no socks cleaning all the drains...moving to the gutters....then back to the drains again. The rain slowed and drains were cleared and there was only slight mopping to be done in the basement and even the kitchen, the kitchen got wet on my entering and exiting.
Rob and Snoopy arrived and were greeted by my bare chest, sockless feet, and drentched one batted an eye...after all it is 'guy time!'
There was no convincing Rob Wrenches Hardesty to fix my rear wheel as I walked the dogs. So I walked the dogs as he tunned my that I can not and do not play. The dogs ran wild in the woods as the rain came down. Watching the water gush down the trails showed some areas that were highly vuenerable to errosion so I threw down some dead wood and debrie to create some temporary water bars. All the while with shorts and shoes on, as I do not want to be caught in the woods soaking wet, sockless, in my underwear.
Once back with the dogs we ordered pizza and I fixed the rear hub. With the right tools it was all possible. The hub was packed, my new TIME cleats were put on my new SIDI shoes, with time for me to show my inability to play guitar all before the pizza came. During that time Snoopy had the time to give me a simple gift; a yellow rubber wrist band. I had seen these wrist bands around town, but had not known what to make of them. Had seen one on a crazy traveler telling his tale of spider bites in the mechanic section of City Bikes...I thought it was a hospital bracelet...but is a LIVESTRONG band.

How can I be so in the dark with these things?
Tomorrow at work I am going to go online and make a donation and order some LIVESTRONG wrist bands for some friends, maybe even enough wristbands for Dean's whole preschool class.

hmmm....seems to be backordered
guess i will order them just the same and hand them out when they finally catch up with all the orders

Blog Blog Blog....
When I first started to BLOG it was all about bikes. Well, was supposed to be a place for me to post my already written Race Reports. After each race that any member of our team does they are encouraged to share their experience with the rest of the team. Most people wrote a sentence or two about the event, the weather, and their finishing standings from that day. My reports tended to be more about the stress of arriving late, the traffic to and from, or how my son and I spent the night vomitting which kept me from racing. Then after the first couple of entries I went ahead and posted a few other old reports and then some humorous emails....
Well, my BLOG much like my Race Reports ended up being more about me/my life/and my family then just about bikes. Funny how that all works out.
If I were racing more then there would be more Race racing for the last few weeks. Just Deck Building! Now with the Red Tag I am freed up for riding....earlier today I overheard someone claiming that I sent an anymous tip so that I would get this Stop Work Order so I could put the hammer down and go out and play.

Karate Monkey....
A few weeks ago I did a night ride in Patapsco State Park with my friend Dave...we rode single speeds. There were two reasons for the single speed over the geared bike; first of all Dave showed up at my back gate with his rigid single speed. This dictated my choice in rides...being that I am a tad faster than he is on either bike...had I taken my geared bike with front shock...well...I would have been waiting around for him a whole lot (as opposed to waiting around for him a little...which I had to do on the single) Secondly, my rear hub was crazy loose, which I did not realize until I took my bike off the stand after a rapid post Snowshoe Tune Up. With two kids, the demands of my job, and the now Red Tagged deck project I had very little time. The bikes got an occassional clean up with a lube of the chain, but the Geared Monkey got not riding and no love since the 24 Hours of Snowshoe...well it was tunned other than the rear hub. With the HOOHA this weekend I figured it best for me to fix that rear my disgust the spacing seemed wrong. There were an assortment of spacers in there that just did not fit right. I took it all apart and threw some grease in there, but was unable to get things to lock down. There were two lacked a 17mm cone wrench, that was easily remedied by flipping the thin spacers so that the notched side for the thin cone wrench was on the outside, thus allowing a standard 17mm wrench to do the trick....but then...and maybe a greasy gearhead will know the answer to this....


in short...
I was frustrated
went to the garage and grabbed a few old wheels
cursed my donations to Chain Reaction, my generosity may have shot me in the foot
was going to pirate some spacers off some old axles, but the axles are different diameters
and I did not have as many wheels to chose from as I had expected
in any case
I need a new cone wrench, a special took if it exists, and the correct spacers...
And this needs to be done by SUNDAY
wanted it done for today so that I could do a test ride
see that this machine was running in 'tip/top' shape

guess not
so that was a no go!


Genetic Potential and Sports
and perhaps the notion of TELOS

A few weeks ago some joker from the midwest wrote an article questioning cycling/the tour as a sport. This article that was shared greatly among the cycling community acted to enraged many readers, including me. For this guy to have a job where he is being paid to share his thoughts is what angered me the most. To think he has an editor as equally uninformed enraged me even greater. When people talk about guns...I step back and listen. I know nothing about guns....don't claim to know anything...don't care to know anything....there are gun experts and those guys are not me. My opinion on guns....well I have one, but that is an opinion not factual information.

This Mike Imrem character said so many things that revealed that he not only does not know about cycling, but he lacks any idea about sport as a whole. If he were to analize football he would have to understand that when a budding athlete is moving through the ranks of pee-wee leagues onto high school and then college ball that this individual must realize that they have strengths and short comings dictated by their build. As much as a lineman may want to carry the ball....well....they may lack the speed and agility, thus their dinosaur build is better placed on the line. Or the tight end...not fast enough to be wide reciever....not strong or quick enough to be a running back....a kicker or a punter....a quarter name the position. There are body types that dictate to a certain degree who would be best suited for each position. It does not take a genius to see this.....these words from a person who has not seen any more than an occassional highlight since I stopped watching sports on TV some 15 years ago. Now, if this Imrem character was shrewd enough to understand that there are basic limitations to where a person would be best suited to play on the football field than maybe he should be shrewd enough to expand this notion to sports as a whole.

Clearly a world class jockey would not make a good basketball player and vice versa. Clearly the build of a world class cyclist is different to a world class running back...obvious enough. Where a bulky muscular build is an advantage when getting groped by a stack of steroid bound dinosaurs, this same build as strong as it may be is certainly going to be a grand disadvantage to the cyclist climbing uphill.

te·los Pronunciation: 'te-"läs, 'tE-Function: nounEtymology: Greek; probably akin to Greek tellein to accomplish, tlEnai to bear -- more at TOLERATEDate: 1904: an ultimate end

or perhaps

tel·e·o·log·i·cal Pronunciation: "te-lE-&-'lä-ji-k&l, "tE-Variant(s): also tel·e·o·log·ic /-'lä-jik/Function: adjectiveDate: 1798: exhibiting or relating to design or purpose especially in nature- tel·e·o·log·i·cal·ly /-ji-k(&-)lE/ adverb

There is something amazing in this world that guides people to one direction or another. Why did Wayne Gretzsky play hockey andMichael Jordan play basketball? Would each of them of been as prolific had that each been drawn to the other's sport? Sure their achievements are a testiment to their hard work and dedication, but...there is certainly something more. Is somebody actually 'a natural?'

Height is clearly an advantage in basketball...
yet this same advantage would be a distinct disadvantage in various other sports.
Great gurth is an advantage for linemen in american football or sumo wrestling in Japan, but these qualities are clearly not advantages in most other sports. Desire will only take an athlete so far.... It is unlikely that with all the hardwork in the world that Lance Armstrong could ever dunk on a regulation height rim....but he can ride a bike like no other.

that is enough for now
this is a discussion that could drag on forever
but the seed is planted
the basis of my idea is layed out
expand on it if you will
or dispell any of my misconceptions
do what you will
I best get back to work

next topic?
performance enhancement drugs?
(and I am not talking about Viagra)
who uses them?
is it still cheating even if those drugs are not banned?
can someone be competitive against the other atheletes if they are clean while the others use?
can we get two fields of athletes...
let the clean athletes compete and have the enhancement drug using atheletes go home?

Our House
On Park Road in Mount Pleasant....
It is the grayish white one with the copper gutters and the clay shingles....the old leaded glass and the tall tree in the small front yard. It is a wonderful house with a slight tilt to it, no more than the houses on either side, but enough of a tilt that you would not want to try and put a pool table in the living room without checking it with a level. Then again...these old row houses are so narrow that you would have to knock down a few walls to make the width great enough to get a good stroke with the pool stick, breaking would not be an issue....the houses are deep, but not wide. Three stories and a basement....a backyard and a garage....not a bad place to call home...not bad at all, yet, not unlike any and everything else in life it leaves us wanting more. For some reason nothing is ever enough, we are never satisfied. There could be a more economic use of space in our house...hopefully we will find it. Only a year and a half in this house that we now call home. We have settled in nicely, but there are still many steps to go to make it more desireable.
First the deck....
then the garage....
then the basement....
well....first a permit

dean and his friend fernando at Rosemount Center
they are no longer in the same class
but they may be in the same class next session
it is tough
they like each other
but I think they fight a good deal
and fernando is a bruiser
nice kid but he has muscles on his side

Grant does sleep...
only not at night.

fun fact.....

the house that lisa and I lived in here in Mt Pleasant was called Lamont Street

but as it turns out

100 years ago that same street was called Grant Ave.

we did not know that!

this image makes me think of TIMMP

although I only know him electronically

I do feel that he is a FUN GUY!

My house now wears the Scarlet Letter.
My house has been tagged. Now I am publicly shamed. Earlier this week an inspector came by and issued a Stop Work Order; otherwise known as a Red Tag.
I did not know. Sure, I should have known, but I did not know that I would need a permit for a deck or a fence. Well, I know now. And it is going to be a learning experience, hopefully not an expensive learning experience. So many people build these things in their backyards without a permit, guess I was naive to think it did not require a permit. My actions were bold and slow and now I am humble and the work has stopped.

This is how I see it....
Pregnant Cheerleader
I am that kid in High School....that cute little cheerleader girl that was putting out, not in a slutty way, but putting out just the same. You know the one. The one that happened to get pregnant. So many people having sex, then when someone gets pregnant....there is the talk, the stigma, the labels, the hush of name calling, and the Scarlet Letter. That is how I feel I am that one that people are pointing at and talking about. Right now I feel bad and dirty. I have been publicly shamed. Everyone I know who has put up a deck in our Historic District did so without a permit....go figure! Now I have to get a permit to show the plan of a process that is near completion.
Wish me luck!
I hope that it not a long/sad/expensive process.

think good thoughts

black clouds suck....even when they are self imposed
I should have known better....but I didn't
call me stupid...cause that is what I am
hope this does not become one of the most expensive lessons of my life

in my defense....
so many people in these Historic Neighborhood build decks without permits...
heresy had me thinking that "if you can not see it from the street." and "if it is not attached to the house." and "if it does not effect the house structure itself." then you do not need a permit...
you need a permit to put up a fence!
silly me
silly stupid
naive me

why 2/3 of a backyard in wood?
it is a heavily shaded back yard
the top section near the garage has a huge stump in it
my brother and I spent a day taking it down from 3 1/2 feet to 2 feet high
but it is still making that whole area useless
then the next terraced tear down has a 18 X 16 slab of unlevel concrete on it
then the concrete sidewalk was narrow and unattractive
this wooded world is an improvement
it brings to life sections of the backyard that were rendered useless by poor design
maximizes space potential
offers more room to play and more room to entertain

and lastly
we hope that it will make our moist mosquito infested backyard a more dry less mosquito hang out

surfing-free diving-living life-loving life-cancer and death

check out some of these CLIPS

I know I have blogged on about it before
but I think it is too inspirational not to bring it back up

and those smokers out there
today is a good day to quit
there are better ways to die


Sunday evening after another long day working on the never ending deck project my dad left my house headed straight for his favorite neighborhood Chinese restaurant; Shanghai Village. With my father gone I had a few things to put away then walk the dogs. Without much thought I figured it would be best for me to hop on the Single Speed and ride over to my dad's house as Lisa drives over with the kids. So, I helped load up the car then I took Roscoe and Brutus for a quick loop in the woods; hiking the dogs is a great way shed the day but riding the bike is better. Something about turning those cranks that really releases tension and allows the mind to wander. Once on the bike a glance at the time and I realized there was no time for elongated loops so I headed straight over to my dad's for a wonderful carry out feast. Upon my arrival I was saddened to see that the plates were full, some of the cartons were empty, and all of the soft shell crab had been devoured. There was still plenty to entertain my palate, but some soft shell crab would have been nice. The trip to my dad's house was a great escape from our Mt Pleasant house. We all love the change of scenery, especially Dean and Grant; they get so sick of those same walls everyday and every night. Everyone had already been swimming earlier that day so no one was rushing for the pool after dinner, there was plenty of entertainment with the Chinese food dinner, the assortment of Tonka trucks, and the popsicle desert. The cousins all bonded; 3 year old Dean and 4 year old cousin Eric fought over the big yellow trucks and toddler Conrad entertained infant cousin Grant with a set of multicolor toy bowling pins. The whole setting seemed symbolic of the pairing to happen in the years to come as Dean is a year younger than Eric and Grant is a year younger than Conrad. Once the popsicle had left all hands and faces sticky and nothing but a stick it was time to go home for a much needed bath. Again I helped Lisa load up the car and she was off, I headed back into my dad's house to put on my cycling gear said my good byes and head for home.

My path was through downtown Bethesda....oh how it has changed. Where did all these beautiful people come from? Where did all the warehouses and alleys go? Maloney Concrete is now a pseudo hipster Mexican hangout, Rio Grande, and the once dilapidated train tracks are now the well maintained Capital Crescent bicycle path, all the other landmarks are gone and forgotten. As I meandered through Bethesda I cut through a very familiar route in Chevy Chase where I would try to link up to the trails by Candy Cane City. My confidence was unfounded. I failed to recall the path that Les showed me 17 years ago, my route was inefficient, my road time was cutting into my trail time, a few too many wrong turns and cutbacks. Finally I was headed down Western Ave towards the Park, then with a right turn I was running parallel to the Park on Oregon Ave, perhaps I should have turned left. My light pointed to the woods rather than the road in front of me as I looked for a good place to dip into the luck! There was the pleasurable site of 5 young bucks feeding on the landscaping of someone's suburban front yard, but it was single track that I wanted not venison. Eventually, I ended up linking up with the trails far further south than I had planned, no new or unfamiliar trails. The trusty old trails.
Either way I was on dirt. Nearly every car that passed me on this short trans-neighborhood excursion gave me fuel for rationalizing my scoff law adventure.

Once in the woods my energy change. I was invigorated. The anxiety of a geriatric unknowingly running me over as they head home from Bingo Night was gone. No more fears of some high school kid driving too fast and too furious in an effort to impress his or her adolescent cohorts. No third world transplant with their third world sensibilities and their lack of respect for the traveler on foot or on bike. four wheel worries....just four legged worries...those glowing eyes that are hiding in the brush. Some eyes are high and some eyes are low...all eyes were on me. It must be a curious site to these animals.....this bright bluish light atop the helmet. Who knows what they make of it? Most people do not know what to make of it! The world will never know what they are thinking. Just the biologists and their love for anthropomorphism.

The dirt experience was short; more wide fireroad stuff than singletrack. And all the downhill stuff was taken at a moderate pace as I did not feel so good going over the water bars with my right foot coming disattached from the pedal at the precisely wrong time. No need to injure myself or my bike, no glory in spending the night lying facedown on a horse trail, bicycle by my side, waiting for the next hiker or jogger to find me exhausted and alone with a broken leg or back.

The highlight of the cross town trip was not the 5 young bucks, nor was it a fast sprint through one of the small sections of singletrack, it wasn't the glory of grinding up some climbs that I had to walk up in the winter. The highlight of the trip occurred when I was back on pavement running parallel to the creek on the bicycle path. I was on the bike path and all sorts of bats were flying in that seemingly erratic bat pattern above when what appeared to be a bat swooped down right in front of me. Then just when I thought this bat was going to slam into a large tree, this bat-like creature arced up slightly just inches before the tree and gently slapped onto the bark like it was made of velcro. But instead of sticking in place the bat turned out to be a flying squirrel and scampered up the tree with great agility and speed. It all happened so fast that it was hard to take it all in, but I am still confident in what I saw. Knowing full well that flying squirrels are indigenous to this area, but never seeing them, this was my first sighting. The wonder of nature made me feel all giddy inside. The smiles could not be contained within me, my teeth were open to the air as I rushed home to share my long awaited flying squirrel sighting with Lisa. Even after a few missions to see them, Lisa and I have even picnicked at certain spots waiting quietly for the flying squirrels to do their flying squirrel thing.

back to work

there were so many blogs in my head as I rode last night
but those ideas are gone and forgotten

if there were only a way to do a mental blog as I biked
guess that technology is around the corner


the MISadventures of frank

I was taking a break from the once daunting now frustrating deck project
was reading, well, paging through the Washington Post Magazine when I stumbled upon an article about Frank, titled