Rants on Cycling and on Life


Tour Fever Building?
Lance on Discovery

looks like they are going to have some good shows on the topic of cycling and the topic of Lance

there are some clever videos/advertisments
I have seen some interesting bits on the Discovery Channel
makes me wish I had TEVO!

are we going to be tested on this?

the videos are great... although I can do away with the non-discovery promo ads that need to be downloaded then need to be viewed

City Bikes
after work I did a short ride before meeting up with Lisa and the kids at my dad's house in Bethesda
it was a mellow ride... just from Georgetown to the Chevy Chase City Bikes location
there I had to order a few things
as always I got sucked into the Clubhouse vibe of the bike shop
Mike K. and I talked about all sorts of things.... bikes... kids.... whatever
I placed an order for a Thule rack for my Element
and bought a few shirts; a red City Bikes T and a Dickies Shop jersey with an embrodiered City Bikes Logo....
saw DT sporting the mechanic's shirt at the Wakefield race and felt I had to have one....
they only had as large as Large.... but I was able to squeeze into it
thanks Mike and City Bikes for the hook up...

finally got to my dad's to find Dean not feeling well enough for the pool
so it was a drive by
back on the bike and back home
once home I got on a MORE flyer project that I have been procrastinating on

note to self
tomorrow's comic is bicycle relate
rhythms with orange



book about lance
snagged this off lee's site


so often I bitch about BMW drivers
so that when last week a driver in a BMW decided to yield to me rather than intentionally running me off the road
I figured it deserved mention
it is great when someone does not fulfill a stereotype
thank you lady in BMW for not running me down
thank you for letting me have the right of way which was due to me
thanks for letting me live to take my next breath
just thanks

Schooled by Coppi

last night after work I debated if I had enough time for a post work ride
the combination of the late shift on Tuesday/Thursday and the Wakefield race on Wednesday
left me feeling like I best rush home for some assistance with the kids...
only after a short ride
if I want to start this season... I need to start it now
after the reminder of the great feeling cycling gives me I felt I had to get back into riding
I know that if I stretched my ride out a little I still had time to be home to dress Dean, tuck him into bed, and read him a story or two while lisa does the same for Grant

so I weaved down M Street
passing the bumper to bumper traffic
splitting lanes.... hands always on the brakes.... eyes always on everything
eyes trying to ignore the eye candy on the corner
trying to anticipate the next move of each unpredictable driver
always expecting the worst... always expecting the illogical and the ignorant
always putting my bike and my body in the location that is least likely to allow me to be harmed
zig zagging from what I feel is the safest line to split
always riding defensively in a manner that that is offensive to some
always trying to keep speed
always trying to ride that perpetual wave

knowing I need to be back in time for Dean's wind down to bed time
I pointed towards the Capitol Crescent Trail for a sprint up and back to Bethesda

K Street under Whitehurst Freeway was as blocked up as M Street for the first many blocks
as the traffic thinned I was moving as a pretty strong clip
feeling a bit of a rush from the post work race the day prior
ontop of the pleasure of splitting traffic fast
starting to feel like a cyclist
starting to feel cool

then out of no where a roadie passed me fast and close with no warning.....
his eyes were locked forward
never paying the fred with the backpack any mind
seeing the petite lean man in his Coppi jersey and his Coppi shorts.... I let him go
I was off doing my own thing

then several minutes later I was on the Capital Crescent Trail 10 yards behind this same roadie racer type
so I decided to hang 10 yards back and borrow his pace

in no time at all in a frustrated way I was waved on by the "Koppi Kid"

like I were an insect buzzing by his ear he motioned me past
so... I rode past him at pretty much the same pace

keeping the same strong pace
staying clear of the big ring
I spun nice fast circles in the small ring in the front and the small cog in the back
paying no mind to much other than the sites around me
college girls jogging...
commuters riding
roller bladders complaining that there feet hurt

after some time I glance back....
the Koppi Kid is pacing off me 10 yards behind
no change in pace
I continue doing my thing
over time I forget that he is there and keep doing my thing
trying to stay fast
trying to stay safe
giving an audible on each pass of fellow trail users
slowing at any point that I felt merited such

then out of no where the Koppi Kid comes rolling by
again with the same postition
like a machine locked forward he moved past me
no warning
no comment
no glance
no wave
just eyes locked forward and legs spinning

I let him go
did not change pace
just accepted that he is faster and stronger

fought the impulse to justify things
made no mention of the knobbies on my cross bike
never did I try to weigh his bike against mine or his body against mine
did not try to make it clear that he is schooling me on pavement and that I would school him on dirt
did not do it
there was no panicked justification of my return from an injury
nothing... just this day... just this reality
just let him go
watched his petite little body spin faster and forward into the distance
eventually the trail turned
when I entered and exited that same turn
he was then completely out of view

it is good to be humbled
it is good to be schooled
there is always someone faster
there is always someone stronger

if this were the old west
I would have learned long ago that I am not the fastest gun
that is a lesson that can only be learned one
thank goodness this is not the old west
thank goodness I like bikes and not guns

thanks Koppi Kid for showing me up
thanks for helping me to pick up the pace
see ya on the trail



someone please get me drunk and ask me about Jim Weaver!


Honda Element-
I am getting a little sick of hearing people tell me that my car looks like a toaster!
that is on the same level as my classic response to the Mini Cooper...
when someone tells me that have a Mini I usually come right back with an enthused response...
"Mini Cooper! I love the Mini Cooper! as a matter of fact I am thinking of getting two Minis with sun roofs and using them as roller skates!"

now I know why people make that face
cause I am starting to make that face when people tell me that the Element looks like a TOASTER

some Elements look like toasters...
but mine is the Deluxe Model....
it comes with the Washer/Dryer feature!

maybe I can get two Mini Convertibles
wear them as thong sandles
I could use the seat belt for the split toe

I am no Super... but I can relate to Bob Parr
last night after my trip out to Wakefield I felt invigorated
my blood was pumping
I was alive
cycling is part of me
cycling is vital to my health and well being
much like Bob Parr I returned home feeling a greater sense of self
this burst of self confidence overflowed to my family
it is good to start coming back from my forced retirement
lets see if I can pick up the intensity and make up for lost time
only not so fast.... my finger still will not allow me to make a fist
nor can I grip the handlebars

let me keep things to "baby steps"
Wakefield for now... rock gardens of the Watershed later

which reminds me of a Anecdote from a fast team at the last 24 Hours of Snowshoe
Team: All American Bicycle Club
Class: Men's Veteran (35+)
We are Carl, Roger, Merrill and Ron. We strive to keep balance in our lives. Family - Work - Cycling. This weekend is all about Cycling. Does it offset the balance? We know we return as better cyclists, but what about Family & Work? Do we return as better husbands, boyfriends, fathers, co-workers, employees, employers? You bet your ass we do. Everyone should have an event like this in their lives.
saw roger at Wakefield which may have also added to the anecdote on the brain
I definitely want some GRANNYGEAR-ESQUE events in my future

and here is DT's recap of his Fixed Gear Wakefield Experience
my Wakefield experience is below

funding for NPR and PBS...
for what we spending a day in IRAQ we could fund NPR and PBS for a year
okay.... I don't know the exact numbers
it is pretty darn close
I say lets give the folks in IRAQ a week off
save a few bucks
save a few lives
save PBS and NPR


Organized Ride to Cannes
(fun flash animation is the only reason to look)

snagged this of

Race Report: WAW/Wednesday at Wakefield #1
Summer is Here.... time for watermelon, corn on the cob, steamed crabs, and Wednesdays at Wakefield!

As per usual....
a mad dash from work to home on the bicycle...
to lighten the load of my wife's post work responsibilities I walked the dogs in Rock Creek Park... then I packed up the car and zipped across town towards I395
my cross town zip brought me to a halt in Georgetown where sat in bumper to bumper car commuter traffic
watched storm clouds gather as I crossed the Key Bridge into Rosslyn
then watched rain on my windshield
contemplated turning back... but pushed forward
it took 45 minutes to travel 16.1 miles from my house
a frustrating experience
an experience that would cause many to move to public or alternative transportation
an experience that only gave me greater superiority to the car commuter culture

arrived at Wakefield with just enough time to register, jump into my City Bikes race apparel, and spin the Karate Monkey Rigid Single for a 5 minute warm up before lining up for the start

the Clydesdale field was small.... three deep and the third was no where to be seen at the start
as the few... the proud.... the oversized we waited at the back of the queue and started after everyone else
not sure what my body was going to be able to do after a few months off the bike and a finger still on the mend from surgery, so I did not stress my starting position

the race was pretty much all smiles
it was great to be out there
it was great to be racing
my legs and lungs felt good
my immobile index finger was not as much a hinderance as I had feared
there was a tad less control.... but on a non-technical course I was able to ride strong

the race course at Wakefield had some welcome changes
sometimes change can be good!
there was the addition of several wooden bridges... some Paris Roubaix stone sections... and some interesting chain link fence stream crossings
the alterations of the course made Wakefield more of a ROLLER COASTER RIDE than a mountainbike race
each time we exited the woods the course would switch back and take us into the woods for some more
the whole experience was a HOOT A HOLLER AND A SCREAM!...perhaps a REBEL YELL!
I was so happy to be out there!
it was good to be back out on the bike
it felt amazing to be back on dirt
it was fantastic to be racing again

the rain did not effect the course with any significance
the moisture in some areas caused me to corner with caution
as well as my approach to any log crossing or wooden bridge was done in the most stable and upright position as possible

managed to finish the race without any crashing or any trauma to my injured index finger
my right/healthy hand was worked
clearly I was compensating for the injury by having my right hand do the majority of the work

coming across the finishline at the end of the race was exhilerating
it was great to be racing again
it was great to be reunited with so many friends within the cycling culture

if I can I will try to head out to a few more of these Wakefield races....
maybe I can steal some of the Clydesdales from the other classes to make more of a race out of things
but in the end.... I am racing myself
it is all about personal best
that is was the splits are for... that is what the final time is for

WAW#1 Results


hang onto some heritage
or steal some from your neighbor

sure the kids had a blast playing my home made version of Pin the Tail on the donkey...
not sure if the Pin the Tail on the Shark and Pin the Tail on the Elephant were Martha Stewart getting crafty... or Martha Stewart on crack in the ghetto with some duct tape (duck tape)
either way....
the lack of interest in the activity by Marcos got me thinking...
is Pin the Tail on the Donkey some lame activity proper white people play at their parties?
would a pinata been much more fun?

that said....
the majority of the children playing were latino....
all of them had fun
no one complained
never was there mention of the missing pinata
although a pinata would have been cool

one thing I forgot to mention....
all the children cheated other than one
Donald's mom was convinced that he had not
but the shark's tails were stacked as if no blindfold were involved

I have vague memories of being sent home from a party when I was four
I seem to recall my inabilty to not peek while playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey

I have done the pinata before
if I recall correctly, it started to rain on Dean's birthday just as we were about to move to the Pinata
so the pinata stayed in the back of my truck
later that year I crashed countless kids' birthday parties always looking for the appropriate time to use this yellow paper mache teddy bear filled with dime store toys and penny candy....
I think this teddy bear lasted till 10 months later
at Dean's cousin's birthday party
it was the classic scenario as portrayed by John Hughes in parenthood where the kids lose interest unable to make a dent in the solid structure
and the adults take a failing wack at things
until finally there were broken toys and shattered candy all over the yard

I think I will hold onto my
Pin the Tail on the Shark and Pin the Tail on the Elephant
but maybe add the Pinata from time to time

Self Medicating
self medication is a funny thing....

we live in a society where we no longer fix anything
everything is disposable
everything is made so that a specialist must be called in for the repairs
many things that people did themselves 10 or 15 years ago are now out sourced
we are now a few generations away from a time when everything could be fixed with a little tinkering
heck... slamming the side of that old television set really did fix the picture

there was a time when a man changed his own oil, cut his own lawn, and even fixed his own bike
holes is socks were sewn
rips in jeans were patched
lost buttons were replaced... sadly... I lose a button... I lose a shirt

yes... now it is all a little different
paper routes and dog walks are no longer chores or jobs for young kids looking to develop character
no.... these are jobs held by adults
no longer do pre-adolescent kids mow your lawn or shovel your walk
don't be foolish...
the landscapers needs year round employment.... they will shovel your walk when there are no hedges to trim or weeds to be plucked
there are now professional gutter cleaners, window washers, and car detailers
we don't even wash our own cars anymore?

there is one thing that remains in the hands of the Self Helper and the Do It Yourselfer!


angry.... sad.... depressed..... lonely
you name it.... there is a bottle at the corner store that will fix ya right up

okay... you got me
that bottle from the corner store is no closer to curing a persons woes than those bottles at Track Auto that are sold to "seal your radiator" or "clean your carborator" or whatever else these products may claim to do
I know.... I have tried them all!
well... you got me... Fix a Flat works!
so that bottle from the corner store may fix some minor stuff like a teen heart break
but for the most part those quick fixes are just band aids
band aids that just cover up the wounds and do nothing to cure them
yet we use them just the same

come on.... if you are having that drink before bed to help you sleep
why not seek out something that is actual designed to help a person sleep?

Hornets or Wasps?
I really don't know
I really don't care
all I know
is I don't want them there!

there was a small nest developing on the side of Dean's Clubhouse
(correction: Dean and Grant's Clubhouse)
several children have already been stung... only once on my clock
we should have taped off the area after the first instance... but I had not looked close enough to find the nest

after work I went to several local stores
all with empty shelves where my HORNET/WASP Nest Spray should be
finally I drove off to Strohsniders's in Bethesda.. a "real" hardware store
returned and I sprayed the nest with some instant resolve in a can
not sure if it worked
not sure if it worked any different than my grandfather's efforts with the garden hose
we will learn tomorrow
last night I left it there were piles of toxic foam and a swarm of angry Hornets
or are they Wasps?

this morning I surveyed the area and did some clean up
my only hope is that the remaining stinging insects don't decide to all start their own individual communes!

baby center on bee stings

lenny was right

(Grant appears only on the two side images... the other boy in stripes is not mine)
while my wife was at a party with the two boys...
I was blogging
the party was at Lenny's
should have been riding
but I was blogging
okay... maybe I should have been at the party... but I feared I would be "partied out"
so I spent my time setting up for Dean's Pool Party at his grandparent's house
those are a few shots from the party...
in reality... by the time I had purchased the final items from the list and had the coals going on the grill... the first guests were arriving

Computer Guy... Not Water Boy.
Office Politics.

Throughout our little office building there are various water coolers.

So often I go to get a cup of water and find the cooler empty.

Most of the time I take it upon myself to replace the empty receptacle when I stumble upon it... while sometimes I feel that my actions are performed disproportionately to my intake of water so I shirk the responsibility.

After all... I am the Computer Guy... not the Water Boy!

I am sure there are other things in the office that aggravate me.

I feel that my actions enable the office workers lazy behavior.
If the bottle runs dry as I fill my cup... sure I will change it.
But it is not my duty to walk the building making sure the water coolers are full and operational.

I am sure that people are tired of hearing me tell them to take the stairs.... as our building is three stories high... I have measured the stairs in this building against the stairs in my house... but I risk to say that there are not so many more stairs here that make me feel I need to take an elevator.

oh... my office is SNACK CENTRAL
there are always snacks on the main reception desk
during my daily duties I frequently make a pass through this location
it is not so uncommon to see the empty container from what was once offered to the swine
it seems that they are consistent in their neglect for common courtesy


Back to the Bike: Teaching a child to ride without training wheels

here I am back on this topic
Dean is now 4 years old... he seems to be getting too large for his first bicycle
I have a larger bicycle for him... but am thinking of only giving this bike to him without the training wheels
work is calling
Sheldon Brown's take on various ways to teach a child to ride without training wheels

(spoke borrowed from the Sheldon Brown page)

there have already been a few comments on this topic....
for which I am thankful
one issues....
teaching a person to do something always has one difficult variable..... THE STUDENT!
ever try to teach an adult male to SNOWBOARD?
that can be fun!
they always want to apply what they know from something else rather than listening to the instructions
so whe n I approach this task of teaching my son to ride a bike without training wheels I have to take into account him and his intersts
as well as his abilities....

I am going to try and work on this this evening...
or some of the evening this week
will let you know how it goes
I am going to try and do the basic removal of the training wheels and running along side my son
mix it up with the PEDAL REMOVAL SYSTEM.... which makes sense... except for having to stop the bicycle
hope he learns fast...
hope he wants to take the training wheels....
hope I win the lottery

naming a child...

always a fun topic of conversation

well... for anyone other than the expecting parents
here is some stuff from on the topic
it is amusing to see the trends in popularity over the years

there is something magical about seasonal foods
sure watermelon is tastee....
but would a slice of watermelon taste as good on Christmas as it does on the Fourth of July?
then there is corn on the cob...
and of course steamed crabs (maryland blue crabs)
I love the tastes of the season
enjoy them now before they are gone
before you know it there will be a Halloween display in your local drug store


Race Report: 24 Hours of Big Bear/Cranky Monkey
another bike free weekend...
well, almost a bike free weekend
spun the single out to my dad's to set up for Dean's pool party to celebrate turning 4
then of course after it was over I spun it back... the ride was short but it fits into my "life is cumulative" approach to things
yet... still no dirt and definitely no racing
it was tough to know that there were people out there racing a 24 hour relay while I was getting fat poolside
at various part of the weekend I looked at the clock and thought about where racers may be in their game
the frustration of missing the 24 Hours of Big Bear almost had me racing the Cranky Monkey
but... I refrained

it was a wholesome family weekend

several birthday parties for Dean and a little Father's Day action for myself...

on Friday where I took the day off from work so I could entertain Dean's pre-K class for a birthday lunch
much grilling on top of pin the tail on the elephant and pin the tail on the shark... very custom... either very cool or very ghetto
then there was much hiking with kids and dogs... good distance for short legged kids but short distance for long haired dogs
Grant is an amazing little hiker...
was pleased to see Dean ride his bike to the bakery after our Saturday morning hike with the dogs... Grant was downgraded to stroller... he did not complain

this weekend without racing is all somewhat depressing for me
sure I strive to be an expert dad and accept my sport mountainbiker status (Clydesdale when available)
with no riding and no racing I feel my sport status rapidly slipping into weekend warrior status

gotta roll
dean is out of the tub, dressed, in my lap.. requesting Animal Sounds

granny gear site

for BiG Bear Results and such