Rants on Cycling and on Life




morning ride
last week my boss was away
leaving me to guide the ship
along with double duty
there were double shifts keeping me late each evening
so as a reward... I got to leave early on Wednesday and come in late today, Friday

waking up to a rainy day did not offer me much excitement
tried to find a positive by looking down at my garden
but honestly... I can water my little garden myself
after drinking the last drop of coffee I realized that I am a loser and have nothing to entertain myself with at home
lisa had taken the two boys and the two dogs
I was at home all alone
so I went ahead and suited up for a wet ride on the bike

lucky for me the bike of choice was not ready for riding
the Jamis Nova cross bike had not been ridden since before my accident over a month ago
there were pedals to swap out
tires to be pumped up
and a chain to be lubed
if I knew any of that roadie stuff I would have pulled out a tape measurer and a plum bob and started a fit kit
anything to keep me from doing what I am supposed to do
(I have cleaned the truck driver's bathroom in my basement in an effort to avoid arriving at work on time)

once on the bike in the morning mist I tried to work the brakes and the gears with my splint isollated hand
braking was not quite what I had hoped
the Paul's cross levers were vital to my safety
the rain was not helping my "worst case scenario" fears

out the alley and down Park Road
there was no getting the big ring on this bike
perhaps more an issue of my 7 speed mountain bike chain rings in the front
not totally agreeing with my 9 speed chain
not sure
maybe it is a turn of the limit screws
not sure
I was already moving and had no concern with tinkering as I was riding
rationalized the failure to get the big ring as a good way to over spin my way into shape
ironically I rode the cross bike as I have been only riding the single
wanted to push a bigger gear
the gear was bigger... but not big enough
still spinning frantically... but on a different bicycle

the saddle reminded me how long it had been since I had ridden
the month push off had made my buttocks soft
my legs and lungs showed the effects of good living
riding the couch has done nothing to aid my love for riding the bicycle

it was a nice ride
cruised up Beach Drive towards Maryland...
dipped onto the car free Capitol Crescent Trail
was happy to be carfree...tired of tailgating assholes... tired of everyone passing me fast and close
poked my head into City Bikes for a second... no Mike K.
back on the bike
back into the Scottish mist

the trail was vacant
a frog, a box turtle, a few dog walkers, a few runners
a combination of off peak hours and the rain gave me full rein of the trails

arrive to work after an hour 20 maybe an hour 30 on the bike
there was the stop at the shop and another stop at Apple Courier
those stops were not factored into my ride time

it was a good ride
a good humbling ride
a good eye opening reality ride
I am slow
I am not even weekend warrior fast
I am common man slow
not biker fast
not even biker slow
just regular guy rolling slow on the bike

I am not that fast in peak condition any how

Commuter Tip: Dry Bags
for those of us that commute via bicycle there are little aspects of our personalized systems that make our arrival to work as sensible as possible

I like to leave an assortment of clothing at work, especially my shoes
I also leave some deodorant and some Gold Bond as a shower is not always part of my plan
for those who lock their bike up at work... I recommend keeping the lock fastened to the post; rather than lugging the extra weight back and forth each day
those are a few basic tips

here is a tip for rainy days.... get a Dry Bag
sure a good water repelant bag would be better
but not everyone has the cash for an Ortlieb Bag
while others are satisfied with their bag, except on rainy days

I have a large Camelbak Backpack that I am pretty much satisfied
the fact I got it off a warranty return from a pack that I was given and used for sometime
makes this bag that much more pleasing
and as always
except on rainy days
so on days like this....
I use my Dry Bag!

I simply put my clothing and my electronic gear in the Dry Bag
put the Dry Bag in my pack
and roll into work
arriving with my underware and socks much dryer than myself
as well as having a cell phone, pager, and Blackberry that are still operational

the dry bag is also useful for outings on a boat or any time you go camping!

just a thought
just putting that out there!

From AP Wires
UPDATE:Alexandria man's death under investigation

ALEXANDRIA , Va. (AP) - U-S Park Police are waiting for
information on the cause of death of a cyclist whose remains were
found Saturday afternoon on Dangerfield Island.
Sergeant Scott Fear says the death of 48 year-old Mark Creasy of
Alexandria has been classified as suspicious. The remains were
turned over to the Virginia State Medical Examiner's Office.
Forensic pathologists will try to determine the cause, manner and
time of death.
The remains were discovered around 4:45 p-m Saturday, not far
from the Washington Sailing Marina. The body was found on National
Park Service land so detectives from the U-S Park Police are
handling the investigation.
Fear says anyone who may be able to provide information should
call the U-S Park Police tip line at 202-610-8737.
watch your back!
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) - U-S Olympics gold medalist Tyler
Hamilton has appealed his two-year doping suspension to the Court
of Arbitration for Sports. The cyclist was suspend in April by the
American Arbitration Association for a blood doping violation.
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
AP-NY-06-01-05 1359EDT
that guy is a weasel
also on the weasel....
LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) - American cyclist Tyler Hamilton
appealed his two-year doping suspension to the Court of Arbitration
for Sport.
The Olympic gold medalist asked CAS to overturn the April 18
decision by the independent American Arbitration Association to
suspend him for a blood doping violation.
Hamilton tested positive on Sept. 11 during the Spanish Vuelta,
a month after he won the time trial gold medal at the Athens
Hamilton's initial blood sample in Athens tested positive, but
that case was dropped because his backup specimen was mistakenly
frozen and couldn't be analyzed.
The Russian Olympic Committee has filed an appeal with CAS
seeking to strip Hamilton of his gold medal and give it to silver
medalist Vyacheslav Ekimov.
while I am cutting and pasting from Associate Press Wires (AP Wires)

AP-MD--Cyclist Killed

Cyclist killed in Montgomery crash
DAMASCUS, Md. (AP) - Montgomery County police report an
unidentified adult was struck and killed while riding a bike last
night near Damascus.
Police say the man was turning from Hipsley Mill Road to Route
108 when he collided with a truck driven by a Mount Airy man.
The truck driver wasn't hurt.
The accident is still under investigation.
Information from: Dutton-O'Hara/WFMD-AM,
(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
AP-NY-06-01-05 0607EDT

and this
AP-DC-(MD)--Bicyclist Struck

Police seek help in identifying bicyclist

ROCKVILLE, Md. (AP) - Montgomery County police are seeking the
public's help in identifying a bicyclist who was struck and killed
last night near Damascus.
Police say the bicyclist was traveling westbound on Hipsley Mill
Road shortly after 7 p-m when he was struck by a Ford 350 pickup
truck traveling northbound on Damascus Road. There was a bicycle
group traveling in the area at the time but it's not known if the
victim was part of the group.
The victim is described as possibly Hispanic, between the ages
of 20 and 30. He has a tattoo on his right upper arm of a rose with
petals falling underneath it, and the name "Alyssa."
The driver was a Mount Airy man. He was not injured. Police say
the crash is being investigated to determine if any charges are
Anyone with information is asked to call the Collision
Reconstruction Unit at (301) 840-2435.

(Copyright 2005 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

AP-NY-06-01-05 1150EDT
this should be enough
11 a.m. PEDESTRIAN DEATHS - Washington regional transportation
and police officials hold a news conference to discuss the recent
spike in pedestrian deaths and to launch a "Street Smart"
pedestrian and bicycle safety campaign.
Location: Discovery Building Plaza, 1 Discovery Place, Silver
Contacts: John Undeland, 202-289-2001


some stats on bicycle accidents and injuries

friday morning
here it is... friday morning
everybody is up
everybody is out of the house
lisa has just walked out of the house with dean, grant, roscoe, and brutus
roscoe and brutus are off to get their "summer haircuts"
dean and grant are off with mommy to go to the Baltimore Aquarium
me? I am blogging
blogging in an effort to dodge the things I should be doing
it is raining and I am blogging
it is raining and I should be riding
it is raining and I will be riding, but will I ride directly to work or will I stretch it out?
tough to be motivated to ride without any real goals... without any racing goals
tough to be motivated to ride with the built in excuse of a f_cked up finger
the rain is just a back up excuse if I can not cave into the first
the mind is always looking for excuses to help the body be lazy

the kick just ain't what it used to be
before kids coffee was this powerful drug... I used in a few times a month
usually paired up with a physical activity
then, with the arrival of kids I needed to be awake and alert with the early morning
the morning being a time of deep haze for me... now and all the years before me
so Lisa doubled the morning coffee creation and I started pouring
one cup... two cups... sometimes three cups
does it wake me up?
but it is now part of my routine
as a creature of habit I enduldge
it is been a while since I had a Red Bull.... hope that still acts like a warm up at the STARTLINE


wish I had more to BLOG about
wish I were BLOGGING about long rides on the road, local night rides, and epic races
all the glory and all the woe
but I am not
as I am not riding very much... I am not BLOGGING very much
since I am not racing, the corner stone of my BLOG has been removed
there is much to BLOG about other than riding...
but I do not want to BLOG about every trip to the ZOO with my boys
no need to BLOG about every time I flip off a speeding car

time to do a few things and point my ass out the door
if I am going to go for a ride
I need to start now


PT today
today my Physical Terrorist gave me all sorts of grief
she is on my team
she is working with me
she seems to get great pleasure from making a grown man cry
in addition to the high levels of physical pain I was also given a strong lecture
the words rang loud and clear


in addition to the extensive pain of which I begged for breaks
there are also two little torture devices that I am to alter between through out the day
pictures to follow

EJ: Eric Jackson
world class kayaker, husband, and father of two

must be interesting having EJ as a dad
must be interesting growing up inside a father's dream
having a father's dream being a child's reality must make for an odd place to grow up
from my outside perspective it looks like a pretty cool place
from my perspective EJ looks like he is living a pretty cool life
it is not for everyone
yet it seems to be working for Eric and his family!
son, daughter, and dad

Eric Jackson Kayak

EJ shows that you can have conventional aspects within an unconventional life
then there are those that have aspects of unconventional in their somewhat unconventional lives
yesterday I had the opportunity to hang out with a friend of my brother's
a father of two with a solid career and a very healthy approach to life and sports
this man in his mid to late 50's is more fit and more strong than I have ever been...
does this mean that there is hope for me?
I have always hoped that I may be a late bloomer!

you may see Eric Jackson towing his Mini and his family with his RV with the that ever positive Eric Jackson smile pasted on the side
his mini lacks the decals
but Photoshop was able to set things right!

conversations to avoid...
one key conversation to avoid is the CAR to BIKE conversation
those who commute via car have an opinion
those who commute via bicycle have another opinion

the conversation is as useful as two people with opposing views on Abortion trying to have a pleasant exchange
there will be no pleasant exchange
both parties will walk away hating the other

I am not sure why car drivers take it so close to heart
while I can see why the cyclists do... because it is their life that is at the bumper of the self centered car commuter

is there such a thing as a SMART CAR?

WAW: Wednesday at Wakefield
three weeks till the local Wednesday Night Mountainbike Training Series at Wakefield Park
that is a goal
I need to get my finger mobile enough to ride for this little local series
this needs to happen
action happens best with goals and deadlines
now I have a goal and a deadline
sure it hurts to try and move this finger
it will hurt more to have an index finger that does not close into a fist at my body's command

mark your calendars
a great local series with a great grass roots vibe!

the Wednesday race series has its shortcomings....
traffic is a bitch getting over there
then summer afternoon rains

life is cumulative
this morning I went for a short pre-work ride
thirty-five minutes short
does not sound like much
but that thirty-five minutes on the bike adds up
better to be on the bike for thirty five minutes rather than just sipping one more cup of coffee as I BLOG!
that short ride happened after a short hike with the dogs in the woods...
not sure of the time on foot with the dogs
maybe a lazy 20 minutes or so
not much
the dogs could use more... I could use more
but again
life is cumulative
all these little things add up
the only sad part....
as all these little positive things add up
on the other side of life all of the little negative things add up...
that midnight snack on top of that post dinner desert
a dinner that was not so healthy on top of an afternoon of grazing....
yes, life is cumulative

everything has its minor effect to compile a final outcome
I am a product of all of those minor little things

food is one of my greatest demons
each time I have a craving I buckle


mac kenzie clare
with a small window of opportunity and a definite need to ride I suited up and got out on the bike today
put on some casual gear and got out on the Karate Monkey single
not sure where to go I just headed towards Beach Drive knowing it would be closed to car traffic on this Memorial Day
as this road is closed on all holidays

being a sunny and mild day it seemed that anybody and everybody was out doing "it"

more regular joes than racers and serious riders
more of a family day out on the trail
lots of roller bladers
lots of baby joggers
lots of family filled peletons; usually with helmeted children and helmetless parents

the single speed is perfect for such a ride as high speed would lead to a greater potential for danger

my broken finger was wearing its protective splint
but I had put a fingerless cycling glove underneith it
the splint and its protective nature did very little for aiding or allowing for the gripping of my handlebar
and even less comfortble for allowing me to brake with full efficiency

so my "spidey senses" were set on extra sensative
as I approached each and every trail user I ran an algorhythm of what sort of stupid maneaver each person could possibley do

from Beach Drive I linked up with the Capitol Crescent trail
rolled on the packed gravel, passed City Bikes, over on through downtown Bethesda
as I crossed Bethesda Avenue I was forced to slow to a slow walking pace
the trail was mobbed
as I got onto trail there were two grade school boys with a little table set up
thought it was a lemonade stand... but then realized that no money grubbing Bethesda business owner would allow such competition without a permit I took a closer look
as I snailed passed I heard the two boys tell a brief synopsis of what they were trying to fulfill

as it turns out these boys were trying to get passerbys to sign a card for a young girl who had been injured in a cycling accident
immediately I dismounted my rig and moved towards the table
there was a donation box
not sure where the money would go I dropped two bucks into the box
then asked the kids for the full story

these boys did not personally know the girl who had been hurt
but they knew her story
they were out there just trying to get a card signed
not sure if this was community service for some sort of "bad deed"
or if it were some sort of social studies project
but I dd find out the details of the accident and the current condition of this young girl

they told me of an accident and paralysis
there was a newspaper article and there were several cards and a multitude of colored pens
apparently this little girl is paralized from the waste down
the odds are against her
she has just begun to wiggle her toes
but still not much positive as the odds go

it was all very heavy for this father to handle
as a father of two boys who will most certainly be taking a world of risks in my future
I began to grow sad
immediately to control my emotion I focused on the card
not sure what to write I did what I do.... I just wrote and watched what came out on the page
there was something about staying postive and staying strong
there were well wishes and a closing statement of love and luck
with my blog address
not sure if my words, my writing, or my links are for the mind of a 10 year old girl
I put it there just the same
after my addition to the card I spoke more with the boys about this girl
withough hesitation my eyes welled with tears and my throat was blocked with that lump
I thanked them for their efforts and continued on with my ride
again overly emotional

feeling depressed... Last Letters Home... and then this

once home I sat down with my older son....
we watched Baby II while Grant napped, Lisa went to the grocery store, and I Blogged
my broken finger is once again belittled by the actual problems in the world
after some a short internet search I came up with this information on MacKenzie Clare

On April 2 the Clare family was in an auto accident on the way to a Girl Scout outing. Both the mother and father were seriously injured and hospitalized for 4 weeks. Their daughter 10 year old Mackenzie Clare was left paralyzed. Girl Scouts in Loudon County are holding bake sales on June 4 and 5th to raise money to purchase a handicapped van for the family. For bake sale locations and other ways to help, go to
it is a sad story...
but I had thought from the children's story that the girl had been on her bicycle when the accident occured
the story is sad... but not as sad as when I had thought that the injury had happened while she was out on the bike

yesterday is a very American Memorial Day Weekend sort of way I spent the day with my family doing a variety of domestic American sort of things

a good part of the day was spent in the garden...
as much as I enjoy the simple pleasures of gardening
my hobby of choice is cycling not gardening
the same goes for home improvement
although I enjoy home improvement and gardening projects
such things are are hobbies for people's hobbies are home improvements and gardening projects
again... my hobby is cycling, well, my main hobby is cycling
that is not to say that I do not have other hobbies... I have many hobbies
(all things family and father... then cycling, hiking, snowboarding.... the list goes on)
sure I get pleasure from working in the garden
the wonder of seeing a plant grow and give fruit is magical
but not as magical for me as rolling through the woods on a mountainbike

dean and made a cross town jaunt to Home Depot
the experience was not entirely dissimilar to a trip to the grocery store
dean was inside, outside, all over the cart
such is par for the course of a sub four year old out shopping
we bought an assortment of plants.... more herbs and vegetables than shrubs and flowers
back cross town

then some shoveling and planting in the garden

we loaded up the car and headed over to my dad's for a dip in the pool
the ambient temperature was not summer hot.... it was glorious spring cool
lucky for us the pool is heated for the early and late season experience

we arrived to be greeted by my brother and his family
marc's older son was already in the water
it is tough to slow Dean down... he wanted to join his cousin immediately
but he was clothed
we needed to get him to change and put on a lifejacket
once changed he was in the water
once in the water it was tough to get him out
both cousin eric and dean were shivering with blue lips, but were having too much fun to exit

also within the pool experience
Grant has a new level of understanding and experience
as with many young children his is a master of monkey-see-monkey-do
having seen Dean and Eric leap off the diving board
Grant had to have a piece of the action
so we suited him up with a swimmy (a diaper for the pool) and a life jacket
toddling at 14 months Grant climbed up on the diving board and made a mad dash
with me right behind him I took his hand and dropped him off the board and dipped him in the water like a human tea bag
we repeated the process
he loved jumping off the board more than being in the water
over and over I repeated this process until my broken finger could not take his grip any longer
with Grant wet we went into the pool for some water baby experience

a good time shared by all

the boys love the pool
good clean fun
heavily clorinated fun

Memorial Day Post:
maybe I should be riding my bike
maybe I should be in the park with my family
instead I am at home watching the HBO document Last Letters Home
although I have seen it before it affects me the same way
not because today is Memorial Day, but because it is a sad reality
a beautifully presented documetary that puts a human element to a news story that we are nearly numb to

each story is sad
the separation of a person from their family
a son or daughter taken from their parents
a father or mother taken from their spouse or children
a person taken from their friends
a person taken from this world
the removal itself makes for a sad story
but the situation on top of the consequences
the removal of the person from all that they deserve is sad enough
but the inability to answer one question, "why?" makes it all that much more sad

why are they in Iraq?
well... that "why?" sprials into so many more questions

if you have not seen this film.... seek it out and watch it
have some tissues handy
if you have seen this film... see it again
have some tissues handy

every person who goes off to Iraq as a soldier has their life changed
every person that goes to Iraq and dies comes back to a family who has been changed

I am all for Freedom
I am all for Patriotism
but I am not so sure what our being in Iraq has to do with any of those things

with the money being spent over in Iraq we could do some real patriotic stuff over here
wouldn't it be more patriotic to work on things over here rather than over there?
could't we experience greater freedom by educating our country
building better schools and giving our people an education so that they can be free to prospor and create a better United States.... to create a better world

the documentary is over
time to more effectively budget my day
this afternoon I am headed to my dad's for some Memorial Day fun in the pool
what to do before then?

more blogging?
on a beautiful day?
inside blogging?
am I sick?
come on.... am I sick?
would I let me sons sit in front of the computer or the television (or both) on a day like this?
I would forbid it!