Rants on Cycling and on Life


NCVC: National Capitol Velo Club
on the Capitol Crescent Trail
tonight after work I went out for a spin on the tired old Jamis Nova cross bike with my old tired body
still feeling fried from Sunday at the Susquehanna Scorcher and looking ahead to this weekend at the Hoo Ha I could not help but argue in my head about where or how hard to ride
with lisa and the boys up in Pittsburgh for a few days I had the time for duration... only the dogs at home waiting for me
early into the ride with friction from an out of true rear wheel and a 7sp mountain crank set not agreeing with the years of wear with a nine speed chain
I pedaled a nice mellow spin not looking for excessive sweat, hard breathing, or any pain
not far into the multiuse paved trail I felt the pass of a long lean roadie
recognizing the figure and the form I gave a shout

it was NCVC racer John Whittington an ex-courier, an ex-City Bikes shop manager, and a friend from the cycling community for some time

he slowed to say hello
then he slowed the pace of his ride to chat
while Whittington slowed.... I sped up as we are very different animals... he being the gazelle while I am a rare breed of the gigantic sloth
it was good catching up
nice to hear he is doing well
nice to ride with a friend

at the trail's meeting with Jones Bridge Road we parted

Whittington took the road to Rock Creek Park
while I turned it around to reverse the path I had just taken... the slight railroad grade back towards georgetown is a pleasant spin

the sun had set on the way up the path and I was starting to lose light
with some random guestimation I debated with my route home

by my judgement there was more than enough time to roll this trail to where it links with K Street under the Whitehurst Freeway to link up with the bike path that leads into Rock Creek by the Kennedy Center
then wind Rock Creek towards the zoo and then home to Mount Pleasant
a few miles from my departure from Whittington I passed some pedestrian traffic on the tressel that goes over Bradley Blvd
well.... not sure it is a tressel... but it was once an old rail road bridge
just as I passed these walkers with a friendly "on your left" I heard that snake like hiss
only longer and more painful

my rear was losing air fast

nothing to do but pull over for a quick repair

a dismount on the bridge out from under the trees to steal what light remains as I make the repair

as I went through my bag
I got my pump and a Quickstick.... but no tube that is funny...
I bought four cross tubes and two 29 incher tubes the night prior at City Bikes

could I really have spaced out on putting one these tubes in my bag
in my bag?
all six tubes were in my bag after the purchase as I was on my bike when I went to the shop

so I took all six tubes out leaving me with no tubes

no worries.... there is the trusty old patch kit

I pull the patch kit out of the bottom of my backpack
only to open up and recall I had given some crazy homeless guy with a flat my glue and a few patches

there I was... just past 8 o'clock in bethesda

the dogs had not been walked
the wife is away
no one to call for back up

the Big Wheel Bikes that is within view is unlikely to have anyone there as late as five after eight

so with my tire and tube already off the rim and of course the wheel off the bike I get ready to check the bike shop the the CVS for a patch kit
prepared to go to my dad's house that is less than a mile away

just then a cyclist comes rolling up offering assistance

asking if I needed anything

"glue" I say
thinking a few steps ahead
he responds, "glue.... for what?"

of course he is thinking glue for tubulars not a ghetto as patch kit

I explain
then he is onto the next question of size

I am still thinking glue while he is asking size

I ask if he has a tube as I scan his bike and body for any sort of tools/CO2/and tube
I see nothing
while he pulls a rabbit out of a hat
there it is a tube
there was confusion with my cross tire sizing... he said 27.... I said sure then he said 27 by one and a quarter
while I was thinking tire width
the tube change hands there was no accepting of money
names were exchanged and he rode on his way
I forgot his name as soon as he said it
so I asked for it again
only to forget the name as soon as he said it... again

it was all very amusing
my confusion left this guy thinking I did not know my front wheel from my rear
he was ready to do the repair.... I tried to convinced him I knew what I was doing
not sure if he was too sure of my grasp of the tire tube relationship

with a nod and a thanks he was off
while I was off to make my tube change
using a dollar bill wrapped around the tube to cover the buldge around the tube where it meets with a tear in the tire
another very ghetto repair

with the dollar on the tube, the tube inflated in the tire, and the tire on the rim I was again left to ponder.... of which route to take home
the quick cross town way
or the bike path to Georgetown in the rapidly darkening world
being a genius I went for the idiot route down the bike path without lights
as much fun as it is riding like this
it is a fools game

while riding down the tree canopy with the last bit of the days light putting a blue ghostly haze in the lit areas I contemplated my ride
both riders were of NCVC

hard to stereotype the personality of such a large group as NCVC
for years I had felt a certain way about this club and its image
always thinking that my friends on this team were the exception
the more people I meet from this team
the more I realize that I am wrong
the red and white stars and bars of the DC cycling community has a amazing cross section of the cycling community and the world as a whole

the mountainbikers I know for NCVC may share no more in common than love of cycling and affiliation with the same club.... which is a great deal... yet they are still different

this racer who looked fast and fit stop to help another cyclist in need
and I am a "fred" no less... he stopped to help a Fred!

there are so many that I know and like... too many to list
there are so many I know and respect as people and as racers

than why do I have this stereotype that does not fit?

it is good to know that at this age I am still growing and changing
even if it is at a dinosaur's pace

it is important for me to realize that there are many faces to NCVC just as their are many faces to the world
I have dropped my stereotype
there is now a new and improved view of the people of NCVC
as it turns out it was all in my head
all in my crazy little head

thanks person whose name I forget for the tube
and thank you also for aiding me in opening my eyes
the breaking down of such stereotypes aids in my efforts to deal with my own personal anger issues

(bill davis is still my rival ((clydesdale or not)) and kevin dillard is still some sort of arch enemy)
((this stereotype has been breaking down for years as I get to know more and more people from the road/cross culture.... NCVC hosts a great cross race The Ed Sanders Cross Race each fall.... get out and race it!)

a completely unrelated yet fun GWADZILLA ARCHIVE where I rant about Peru and trying to get a permit for my deck in my back yard

I handed my card, my blog card, to the gentleman who gave me the tube
he refused payment for the tube
if he bothers to read this Blog entry.... I hope that he does not find offense in my effort to thank him or in my effort to explain my feelings for NCVC

I had considered naming some NCVC folks that I have become friends with over the years... but I feared leaving people out

Shenandoah Mountain 100
it is not too late to register for the
it may be too late to start training

not too late to pick up the training
although it may be too late to cram for the test

I am still feeling overwelmed by the thought of this event
we will see how the day plays out
must approach with a Positive Attitude

I was reading a moderately humorous BLOG this morning
on one of the comments the reader had a tag as a signature that I found funny..

Nero Fiddled..... Bush Bicycles


a friend sent me this
I think he thinks I spend too much time blogging
thanks falk
thanks for caring

Life as a Father Alters my Perspective
the image on the cover of today's Washington Post moved me
it was an artful image of a young child lying lifelessly on his back as two other boys stood over him
there was a wagon or a trailer missing a wheel behind them
years ago I may have shrugged my shoulders... and thought... that is Africa.... bummer to be born into that world
.... glad that is not me
but now as a father I see the world through a different set of eyes... I see that image and I can see a child
a boy no different than one of my two boys
only different by the world they are born into
it saddens me... it saddens me nearly to tears

check out the slideshow images from this post story about Niger

then wipe the tears away and dive into some comic relief with this Andy Milonakis character... his show is a hoot

then step back and think what you can do to make the world a better place
your efforts do not need to be a donation made to the starving children in Africa
maybe you can do something here... maybe just be a better person
you don't have to go around your neighborhood picking up trash... maybe you can not throw trash
be more positive instead of negative in your actions... follow the speed limits not for fear of getting a ticket... but to make the streets more safe
give people the right of way
do the just thing
do something....
come on... ask your friends... they will tell you that you are a selfish asshole
change that
it will make you feel better

Andy is right... the Super Bowl is GAY.

and yes
I am trying hard not to be a selfish asshole all the time
and no
it would not hurt to send some money to a relief cause that you believe in Africa, Asia, the Middle East... take your pick
we have poverty here in the United States if you want to save on postage

Thievery Corp to host a Benefit to Build Support in Ending the War in Iraq
and it has a name
Operation: CEASEFIRE
brought to you by UNITED FOR PEACE
it has a date
Mark your Calendars
Book your babysitters now
pencil it in on your calendar
enter it electronically to your PDA
as for me.... I would love to attend but I think that I will be in VEGAS that weekend

this is a no brainer
I like
Thievery Corporation and I do not like the War in Iraq
seems like an easy enough place to stand and be counted

not sure of exact dates or locations

but will certainly post when I know more

check out the videos on the Thievery
my friend Rob did a great job on the WARNING SHOTS VIDEO

his STEREOTONIC video with Thunderball is well worth a look as well
back and enjoy

when rob (not rob garza) is not playing sitar or guitar w
ith thievery... he is doing film or multi-media stuff or working with Fort Knoxs Recordings on various projects such as Thunderball

this was shared with me from another rob.... a different rob all together

poster designed by mike flugennock at
poster can be downloaded for print

Great little Washington City Paper Article
fun and interesting for those with an interest of DC Music, the DC Music Scene, and the History of the DC Music Scene
check it out
Ian MacKaye vs Eon McKai?!?!?!

some funny stuff for anyone into Hardcore

Washington City Paper

this article was shared with me from BK who is currently living in Mexico City
odd that I get my DC news from South of the Border

Note to the Crackheads
guess I was not fair in my earlier post
not all Crackheads are theives and not all theives are crackheads
sorry if I brought down your stock or decreased your property values

guess it was wrong for me not to understand things better
after some thought I think I am becoming more open minded on this issue

sure you had your reasons for cutting through my convertible top to take the change from the ash tray

there must have been a justification for breaking my passanger window in the rear to get those old cassette tapes

when my friends came to visit from out of town they should have taken my advice not to leave anything in their car within view... I warned them... so it is their fault for leaving their tools in their car... I hope you charged top dollar for them and really got off!

when you stole and returned my truck... each time I appreciated that you returned it... but couldn't you have left a few bucks for gas? for a while I thought you were just taking the gas until I later realized that you were taking the whole truck (story half way down the page)
at least you did not smoke in the truck while you were out joy riding looking for "hos"

when I did not lock my convertible because I did not want you to cut the roof again or break one of my windows... I left this car unlocked... I understand that you need a place to sleep... I am sure my seat covers made a nice blanket... but why did you always have to leave things such a mess? always leaving your bottle of hooch.... always tearing things up.... there was nothing of value when you tore apart the glove box yesterday.... why tear it up again today?

when you held me up at gun point... with the pistol to my head
I had not know you had killed before but I still believed that you meant what you said
I did what you asked then I went and got the police
you got arrested as your route of escape was past the 3D station
glad you did not kill me... for that I am thankful
had you just taken the cash and left me with the credit cards and ids like I had asked... i would have never bothered with the police... now you are in jail getting leaner and meaner to walk the streets a little harder on another day

it goes on
sorry for not better understanding your position

Ritchey Hub Recall
Ritchy Site


Craig's list and the Bike Thief
last night before I left out of work an email popped up in the box
long story short...
a friend's wife's bike was stolen
this friend saw this same bike advertised on Craig's List
he was headed over to meet the salesman.... unsure what to do

having already played Robin Hood before, I slowed before I answered
it seemed to me that the adult way to handle this would be to call in a mediator
some sort of impartial arbitor.... maybe the police
there was mention of this tactic
also..... I shared my thoughts on the seat of your pants approach
making the decision after seeing what he was up against
guessing to see if this person would put up a stink only to drop the bike and run or clock my friend-take the bike-take my friend's wallet-take my friend's watch-then ride away
he agreed.... he would wing it
in most cases after a little discussion and mention of the police the thief will make an exit

on my way home I passed by the location where the bike transaction was to take place
uupon my arrival the police were already on the scene
the "suspect" was cool as a cucumber talking with officer one and officer two
the previous owner's husband waited across the street somewhat annoymously waiting for the police to make their decision
unregistered without papers in hand it seemed like a tough call for the cops to make
a simple case of he said/he said

not sure how it turned out
as I went home
I do know my friend got his bike back
hope it was without hassle
hope there is no future friction

as it turns out the person selling the bike was an "opportunist" not a thief
he had a reciept from a Pawn Shop for 120 bucks
so the original owner had to pay the 120 to get the bike
only to head to the Pawn Shop to try and get the money back from them
that is living in the city!

Bike Thieves and Bad Karma Bikes
a few stories about bike thieves
(here is a post I made about me accidently stealing a bike)
stealing bikes is the worst
I hate bike thieves
thieves are low life scum.... bike thieves are lower than that
people who ride bikes and steal bikes are not cyclists.... they are just thieves
crazy ass crackheads stealing something they have no concept of the value of so that they can get high really pisses me off... no compassion for them and their sickness.... not at my expense
the more shine to the bike... the more likely it is to be stolen
a dirty bike of quality apparently has less value than a clean piece of shit
and to think
all this for some low life to cop a buzz

years ago when working in at the Eastern Market location of Big Wheel Bikes I had great exposure to many aspects of the subculture of the bicycle theif
there were the thieves that came in to try and steal our product
there were the thieves that came in to try and sell us their product
there were those that came in with bikes to have work done on them where the bike appeared to be stolen
and there were those that came in with stolen bikes to be worked on

"how could i tell that a bike was stolen?" you ask....

one situation that repeated itself over and over again until I had drawers full of pedals was the customer coming in with a bike looking for pedals... basic pedals.... basic platform pedals
I would pull out the standard 12 or 14 dollar set of pedals and get a look of surprise when I told them the price....

"14 dollars for pedals?" in a tone loc voice with eyebrows raised so high they were pushing up the ceiling tiles

yes... I would reply
then they would pull out a wad of cash greater than what I had in my savings account
then I would offer to swap the pedals for 7.50ty or for free if they let me keep the old ones
then once back in the shop I would try to pick this customer's brain

usually the person would move from the story that they do not like those pedals any more to that they bought the bike for 25 dollars
to that I would try to explain the concepts of Karma and how I felt that applied to life...
from there there would be a discussion about there being no difference between stealing goods and possessing stolen goods
and lastly... the notion that this bike has a value and at one point a person worked hard to earn that money.... then bought this bike... they no longer have it and they may have save up all over again to buy another bike

that human element usually came as a shock to the person on the listening end of these discussions

there was always some back and forth
but at this point there was usually a pause... an "I didn't think of that" sort of response

no.... I never called the police
that was not my job
that was not my place
I was usually one person in a one man band shop
these guys may have gotten a slap on the wrist.... only to come back and ask me "why?"
maybe they did get arrested and prosecuted... well then their brother or one of their fellas would come down and teach me a lesson for getting involved in something that was not my business

was it right for me to benefit for this...
I was young and foolish.... not a pious as I am now
it seemed like a good deal for me
for the most part I just stock piled the pedals and passed them off to friends who needed to move the way of the SPD
those were tight times
a few pedals made it easier to survive the low paying world of the bike shop
there was another guy that worked at Dominos
he paid us in pizza to tune his bikes
he was always rolling up on a new bike
always telling us that the bikes were bought of some crackhead
we tried to express that there was no difference and that he was still in the wrong
but in the end it came down to he needed a tune up and we needed some pizza

there were people casing the place out
there were those that snipped the cable locks on the rental out front and rolled down the block
all sorts of shit happened
less happened to me than to others
but the manager before me got bludgened in the head with an hammer from an alledged customer
the manager after me got held up 3 times in three month
being maced in the face was the last straw
was I lucky or did I just play these situations out differently
not sure

that location ended up closing
it was not a big profit shop for the Big Wheel owner
Sendar treated the Capitol Hill shop like his red headed step child
it always looked like a going out of business sale
I would try to stock it and the other managers would sneak in at night and steal my inventory
this ened up not really being "a" story.... but a general story


the Self Fullfilling Prophecy
when racing it is vital to be PSYCHED
it is vital to be PSYCHED UP and not PSYCHED OUT

I most definitely psyched myself out of this event
driving up to the race I started to mope
as we passed Baltimore it started to get all hazy around us
my head clogged up and I started to sneeze
not a cold... just some psychosematic symtoms to validate some flimsy excuses

then when dave and I stopped at burger king so that I could load up on some breakfast biscuits I started my rain dance
started to pray for rain that I knew I would dread
the rain never came
the dread never left

at sign up I was still torn between Sport and Expert as there was no Clydesdale event on this day
in my head I kept rationalizing a slow expert race as it is better to be the last expert than the sandbagging sport rider

I went into the race lacking what it takes to race

so often the races involve tension and anxiety
sometimes this energy can be channeled into a positive drive
other times this energy can cripple a rider

on this day I was more ambivalent than anything else
the long time lined up waiting for the race to start only increased my ambivelance
the heat did not help
what was a moderate morning was rapidly becoming a hot dry afternoon
we stood for over 30 minutes in the shadeless sun waiting for the racers to be released

at the start there was a pleasant exchange between the racers
when our group was finally released it was a mad dash for the single track
I joined in on the fun
unsure of the course I filed in towards the front
the pace was fast
but I felt comfortable with it
early in the queue a racer kept crashing and creating a backlog
there was anger, frustration, and a great waste of energy
this racer was not in a rhythm and was throwing off everyone else's rhythm
early in the race I kept pace with the lead riders

riding towards the front I felt a good flow on the bike
but my legs and lungs were not getting warmed up
there was still a bit of malaise

my bike felt a serious drag
there was that illusion of a rear flat
I was going through some last lap illusions on the first lap
my head was not right
I was losing the mental game
there was never a stretch where I pushed myself to get some speed
it was all a matter of hammering and hanging on

the course was all up and all down
a serious roller coaster
at a fast pace the water bar descents were a blast of drops behind me
at a slow pace they were an annoying set of obstacles in front of me

early in lap one I started to measure the course in my head
how far into the lap I was
how long was each lap taking me to complete
how much longer would I need to ride
how much longer could I ride

after lap one and into lap two I started to feel better
tried to enjoy the good the descents
tried to endure the climbs
and tried to ignore how slow I was moving on the flats

after lap two I felt like this was a race that I could finish
malaise was being replace by the pleasure of riding
water in the camelback and gatorade in my bottle were rapidly depleting
I thought a great deal about the sodas in the cooler at the finishline
the thought of a cold cragmont cola pulled me through the third lap
I chugged a few bottles of water then cracked open a generic cola
slammed it
like Popeye and his Spinach I feld invigorated
and returned to finish my last lap

the cola burned off fast
but I was content with my pace and my sticking with things
the fourth lap had the advantage of the memory of the laps before
there were sections where I was able to let off the brakes a little and enjoy the winding single track
yet I was still trying to race smart
always remembering my four year old's request for me to "be careful in the race"

picture courtesy of

here is a photo of my friend dave doing things to his bike during the race that he should have done the night before the race

dennis bike blog
I am just checking it out now

American Classic Hub Recall
American Classic's site


Tic Tacs
here I am at work doing a few things late on a Sunday night

taking a break from the busy work of work to blog
as I glance at the monitor my eyes can not ignore the Tic Tacs that rest in my peripheral

you know what.... they put a bad taste in my mouth

sure Tic Tacs can be refreshing
heck... the can be a great temporary solution to halitosis
but right now this little plastic box of Tic Tacs is making me sick to my stomach

why? let me tell you why....

after a day of racing and all things that go along with racing
I got home to Lisa and figured I could try and return the favor for her freeing me up to race
sure a few hours without the boys does not balance my being away all day

but something is better than nothing
so after I showered off the dirt and dust from a hot day of racing on the bike
I swooped up the boys and headed to NOODLES for some grub

things went pretty well

both boys were pretty well behaved in the restaurant

no incidents to speak of

after dinner we went to the quad outside the Noodles at Pentagon Row

there are two small grassy areas where children play

it can be a nice little gathering some times

we walked over and took at look at what there was to see

Dean was immediately let down....
all the children present were younger than him
Dean wanted to play with the "big kids"

I pulled out a bright yellow tennis ball... brand new without a scuff and still holding that new tennis ball smell

Dean was able to entertain himself until some older kids arrived on the scene

Grant was content to jump off a wall that was nearly equal to his height

thankfully he was willing to let me take his hand as he took this leap of faith

after some time playing with a variety of children and this lone tennis ball I went to Starbucks for an Iced Coffee

of course the boys came with me
this had Dean asking for ice cream sure Maggie Moos is right there... but i could not justify the expense
so I figured we could get him some ice cream at Harris Teeter

there was talk of Darth Vader pops or Push Ups

all talk ended when we looked through the refrigerator window

there they were... Super Hero Bomb Pops... just like Issah had the other night

there was no debate
there was no reconsideration

there was only one thing to purchase
and it was this Super Hero Bomb Pop box.....

while in line I gave Dean some space as I tried to keep Grant entertained in the stroller

we went through the self check out and then exited the store towards the parking garage

as we waited for the elevator I could see that Dean had an exceptionally wide grin on his face

I asked him why he was smiling....
he said that there was no reason....

the smile continued
then I looked and saw that it appeared as if he was hiding something
Dean denied this
I moved to his hands and he pulled his hands away only to reveal that they were empty
then I asked if he had taken anything from the store

looking me straight in the eye Dean told me that he had not

I dropped the tough cop routine and assumed that Dean was smiling cause he had so much fun hanging with Dad (me!)

the elevator arrived
we proceeded on with our evening
as that was not an incident
that was just a moment of parenting

a moment that was quickly replaced with a conversation of "why"

the constant never ending cycle of questions of "why"

we drove home

Dean ate is Incredible Hulk Bomb Pop while Grant held his Wolverine Bomb Pop vertical
Grant never taking a taste

ten minutes into the ride I could see Grant was growing tired

Dean and I tried to keep Grant awake

yelling did nothing..... bomb pop still vertical in hand Grant calmly drifted off

when yelling did nothing I gave up...
when Dean and I respectfully whispered to give Grant his rest.... Grant woke back up

go figure

by this time the Wolverine Bomb Pop had changed hands
Dean was having a second popsicle

on our approach I called lisa warning her of Grant's tiredness

also made mention of my need to go into work this evening

I rushed in with the two boys and we started the goodnight process with a hot rag I washed a variety of popsicle colors from Dean's face
then preped his toothbrush
as Dean stripped for bedtime
with his clothes off Dean stood naked in the hall with nothing on but Tic Tacs in his hand
apparently Dean had taken something
he had taken the Tic Tacs from Harris Teeter

I was steamed

there was talk of going back to Harris Teeters

there was mention of jail

there was talk of stealing
there was talk of right and there was talk of wrong

it was a tough moment

now it is time for me to go to bed

I fear that Dean may have nightmares of people going to jail
me going to jail for his son's actions
dean going to jail for his sticky fingers

Dean gave a promise that he would not do it again
he understands that it is wrong

hopefully this is the last of this for a while

pic from

Race Report: The Susquehanna Scorcher 2005

P.A.C.E: Positive Attitude Changes Everything
it is true
I know nothing about P.A.C.E.
nor do I know anything about pace
for that matter I know little about preparation, training, and fitness
in reference to P.A.C.E..... I would find a reason to complain if I won POWERBALL

today I raced the Susquehanna Scorcher
there was no Clydesdale Class... well.... there was a beginner Clydesdale Class
so I raced Expert
thought I could use a spanking
I got spanked good

more on this later
I may occupy my mind with reading BLOGS instead of writing BLOGS
ran into some people at the race and realized that my BLOGGING has been one sided
more out than in
and I could use some input

at work now doing some busy work'
was studying... but narcolepsy was kicking in

and this
at the race I ran into Buddy
first face to face...
read his BLOG before
and definitely seen him at various events over the years
expected to see Fatmarc there.... but he was a now show
apparently he is getting PSYHCED for the SSWC05
that event is going to be a SCENE! A TOTAL SCENE!
(in the best of ways of course)

totally unrelated

yes.... I am curious how the CRANKY MONKEY went for people today