Sunday, September 30, 2007

No Soup For You!

4th at the Lion in the 35 Bs but found out it was pointless (as in NCNCA for that CAT). T and I are a little bummed. Did lot's of planning with nurses and all that now has to be redone.
Rethinking the schedule now and will be hitting the CCCX from here out.
I'll hit the 35Bs at CCCX and then double up in the SS A's with Gianni.

Lot's of unsupervised little ones crossing the course in real bad places. Not the cause of mine, but almost the cause of one that would have killed the kid and made 3 of us eat it into chain link cheese grater.

Was doing OK in the 35 A's, as in I wasn't last, but started making mistakes not seen in previous mentioned race then laid it down in a fast dangerous corner that went from dirt to gravel to asphalt.
Add that to the above news and one kind of says to one's self (Double Fook).
Not the end of the World, but a bit disappointing. Don't like loosing skin either.

On the upside, the now usable double ported extrusion on the front of my face was a treat. With the dry starts and dust flying it was a first in my life that I didn't have to eat the dust. Close mouth breath through nose.


Of course, a better start would help, but starts on a hill tend to suit my abilities a little better. Everyone starts fast on the flats.
The course was dangerous, as previously mentioned, but for the most part played to my off road skills and I managed to pick riders off as the race went on.

Next year I'll just send the school a donation and keep my skin.

[edit] As I was writing this I heard my son teaching himself YYZ from Rush on his guitar. DAMN the kid learns fast. He has only had the guitar since Christmas. Guess I'll be the rhythm guitarist, or start working on the singing. La la la la.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Two steps beyond infinity...rambling rant

What did you say? I can't here you over the dull infinite noise of the machine called society.
The mindless droning and solving of problems that are only the symptoms.
Forever chasing the perfection without resolving the underlying issues.
Engineering, building for the sake of re-engineering. Put it here, no that's wrong it should have been over there.

We need more lanes, we need more jobs. So let's put the jobs in places where there is no housing, then we can stack people up on top of each other and not offer solutions to the environment...the chaos of humanity...or the mindless consumption of everything.

You create solutions? Solutions to what? Everybody has a magic bag full of solutions to the symptoms. Each solution creates a need for a new solution, it's and endless supply of problem creating and problem solving. It's a spiral of over thought, over priced, and under needed intangible solutions.

When did being part of the problem become the solution?

I need more...he has more than me...mine broke, I need a new one.
I liked the old one better.

Pay very little for manufacturing, then let every leach from China to California stick their slimy hand in the cookie jar. What really cost $3.00 is sold to the end consumer for $ tax and shipping.

These things are a dime dozen, yet you want a dime for one. All while you pay a child a $1.00 a day to produce thousands and yell at him to work faster, all the while his mother gives you a glory hole job with a happy ending for an extra bowl of rice. Scum Bag!

No worries, because on Sunday you will pull out that special suit and sit in a pew for redemption of your evils. How very Christian of you.

For five minutes you will think of no evil, and sit in judgment of those who choose not to warm the seats made out of rain forest wood in your upscale ministry.

Sin, oh yeah, sin. That very thing so many religious folks think they are being cleansed from. The one thing that makes that boring little futile life of yours remotely interesting. Yes, let's not be interesting, let's not have different ways of thinking.
Oh. you think too much, we need to put you on medication. Numb you down a bit and keep you in the gray.

This is not reality.

"All I want is the same as everyone,
Why am I here, and for how long?
And I raise my head and stair into the eyes of a stranger"

What is it all for anyway?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

A New Cause

Next spring I am going to ride my bike across the U.S. to raise money for highway and bridge repairs and widening.

It's my way of helping to relieve congestion.

Who is with me?


Friday, September 21, 2007

Maybe I am Dreaming

I have been envisioning for a while a few features of the "Perfect" bike shop.
Maybe I am dreaming on some of these things, but as a cyclist and a person with enough bikes to ride a different one each day of the week with spares, here are the features I think would make the ideal shop.

1. Service.
Not just the ability to repair a bike, but also responsiveness for parts ordering and completion. The big point here is in timely execution. Calling the customer back when promised and making sure parts that were ordered actually got ordered.
This might have to be a dedicated position and even set to a schedule.
Follow up and execution are the key.

2. Top certified (if that exists) mechanics. Yeah, bicycles are not that complicated and most things are pretty easy to fix on road or mt. bikes, but there are important details here and there that the average mechanic doesn't seem to know about.
I want to know that the person wrenching on my bike is more knowledgeable than I. Unfortunately this is not always the case. "Dude, aren't you supposed to use a torque wrench on that stem and carbon bar?".

3. A high level of expertise and product knowledge. New products are constantly coming out, and the bicycle industry constantly pushes the envelope on engineering and design. The ideal bike shop would be up on these innovations, even excited about them, and be able to explain them to even the more advanced avid cyclists.
The folks that own and work at the shop better be on better bikes than I ride. They don't have to better riders, but they need to have the bling.

4. High end parts in stock.
One of the things I have seen on a consistent basis is riders needing parts right away and hearing from the shop "we can order that for you". As I have heard my teammates say "um, I can order it myself, there are a bazillion online resource for me to order it from". The rider came into the store because they need the part today. Maybe it just broke, maybe they have an event in the next day or two, but the bottom line...they need it now.
Mostly, having the things that break in stock are critical.

5. A nice selection of tires and different decent prices.
Tires might be an area where the shop just has to take a wash. But if riders know that there is a good selection at good prices, they will come in and they will likely buy other things.

6. Tubes: I am going to be very clear here. BUY a SHIT LOAD of TUBES! Buy so many that you can blow them out at under $4.00 and still make money. Maybe even make your own brand and go direct to the factory. As our team found out, tubes are to riders like cigarettes are to inmates at a jail.

7. Environment: The store needs to be inviting, impressive, and it needs to flow. If I opened a shop I would definitely consult a Feng Shui expert.

8. Link it to a coffee house. Cyclists drink coffee, why not get in on that action? Get the thing opened up before the morning rides on the weekend, then be ready to serve some smoothies for after ride recovery. It would also be a place where riders could hang out and BS about the rides, races, or any of the other stupid things we occupy ourselves with.

9. Training room/meeting room:
Having a room that could accommodate a good number of trainers during the winter could bring more traffic into the shop. It could be a bring your own, or rent a shop trainer situation. It could be a situation where spin like classes could be lead by local fitness trainers or coaches.
Have a big screen TV in place, show movies or cycling videos to ride to. There could even be designated sessions where the feature is a specific Spinnerval video. Perhaps a different one each week, or run in a series.
As a team president making sure I have a location for team meetings is critical. This room could double as a meeting room for local clubs and even local cycling advocacy groups.
(make sure the coffee house is open).

10. High-end race wheels available for rent:
Mostly I am talking about time trial wheels. Disks are hugely expensive and yet see very little use on a per rider basis. A shop could rent these out to the riders at a pretty decent penny. Heck, I would pay $100 to use a really nice disk wheel for a weekend versus spending a $1000+ to have it sit in my bike garage collecting dust 360 days a year.
Considering the value of these wheels, a shop could easily rent it out for a year then sell it on Ebay for probably close to the shop's cost. That makes the rental money pure profit.

As I said, I am probably dreaming, but it is my dream and I have exclusive license to dream anything I want.
You never know though, reality sometimes starts with a dream.

I am sure I will have people tell me I am crazy, or give me all their justifications for why these ideas won't work. But you know what? People told me my ideas for how a bike racing team/club should be run wouldn't work, and well, 5 years regrets.

Maybe some folks are just afraid to try. Perhaps comfortable in their current state of existence.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

No Jail for me Gianni!

I went back to court for the final hearing on my bicycle red light ticket (see earlier post about court) (the second court date), today was the third and final hearing.
Yeah, baby, the checks in the mail, all of the research and screaming "Objection" like raving lunatic paid off.
See, the deal was I had to remain bicycle violation free until the hearing and the judge would dismiss it. DONE!

In the previous hearing It was his way of playing both sides of the fence. He didn't want to hand me a victory in front of the officer, but he also didn't agree with the officer (back it down a notch Kojak). Thanks to CB from MS, his advice gave me the tools I needed to win that thing.
It would be nice if it sent a message to officer Thichead, but probably not.

But at the end of the day it is a nice "TAKE THAT BEOCH!".

So Gianni, no jail for me, I am getting my money back. So not only did this stupid ticket cost the courts who knows how many thousands of dollars to deal with a trial by declaration and 3 court dates, but they have to give me my $361.00 back as well.

So I thought I might toss my hat (or leg) into the ring since everyone is measuring their quads.
19 inches

But the photo below shows why the limb in the above is rendered useless when it comes to making a bike go fast. You try dragging these damn 15" mutant calves around. This has got to be some kind of cruel joke.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Advocacy, it's a funny bunch

I have recently started to get involved with local advocacy in Pleasanton, where I work.
It's strange because I really find most of the people involved in these groups to have more time to complain about things they don't understand then to try and take the time to learn about why things are done a certain way and make viable changes from an informed position. I find that they tend to be very good at politics and getting their voices heard, the problem is they tend to not really know what they are talking about because they are too busy with the politics to learn or immerse themselves deep enough into cycling to understand the lifestyle.
However, they usually know just enough to toss out a couple of buzz words that would make them appear knowledgeable to the non-cyclist. In other words they know just enough to really cause a lot of problems for the rest of us.

A part of me would like to leave well enough alone because it is a big headache and my teammates will tell you I have enough on the plate. At the same time I can't stand idly by and watch bad decisions be made that effect our little community. So the passion consumes me, even if some what reluctantly.

The reason I am becoming passionate about advocacy and continue trying to make an impact and bring folks up to speed is for a couple of reasons:
1. As a signal and roadway designer I have seen uninformed bicycle advocacy groups causing cities to incorporate dangerous and just plain wrong design standards. (I don't want to see that happen here in my community). A bit of NIMBYism I guess.

2. I don't want to see my cycling friends and teammates get hurt from poor or misguided design decisions being made by people who just don't understand how the avid cyclist thinks or functions on a bike.

My intent is :
  • To make things better for those who are already on their bikes (these numbers are in the 100s round these parts)
  • Grow the sport by making our community more cycling friendly
  • Put attention into education and development for those who are just getting started or those that would like to reach new levels. (I would like to reach new levels)
I don't know though, I am not sure it's worth the stress, but I don't see anyone picking up the torch. Well, those of you who know me know that I am too damn neurotic to just let the torch sit on the ground and burn out. It shows in my racing too, I always tend to do too much I have been told.

Anyway, some feedback from the blogger world might help me move forward or let the torch go.

P.S. GroovyT picked up second place yesterday at LARPD Cross #3. OK, so there were only two of them, but she improved big time on her dismounts and she seems to be having a blast. I am just so damn proud and enjoy watching and cheering her on.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Today's Cyclocross Lesson

I have a great skill coach, he teaches his lessons very literally to show his students exactly what will happen if you do certain things you shouldn't do.

Today's lesson:
Commit to your hand position when entering a section of the course that requires your attention.

Today's second lesson:
Even at slow speeds the ground will still hurt your face more than you will hurt the ground.

I should have told my skills coach that I already knew the second lesson from previous mountain bike face plants.

Heal up buddy!

Tuesday, September 11, 2007


The itch to ride is getting hard to contain. But I am following doctor's orders and holding off a few more days.

Looking forward to Gianni's little interclub cross clinic this week. Fitness will suck, but it will be nice to ride again.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Looks like I'll be chewing bubble gum

Well I went and saw the Doc. He says I blew a gasket (blood vessel) and packed my nose on the right side. LOTOJA will have to wait until next year. I am pretty bummed, and so is the fam. We were really looking forward to the trip.

Dr. Zeme believes it was from the bit of racing I did the last two weeks, but I don't think so. I didn't tell him about our Hyperbaric chamber and that I did a treatment Sunday and Monday night. I am pretty positive that the pressure did the damage. Stupid on my part as it was too early in my recovery to use the chamber.

However, Dr. Zeme mentioned that the elevation in Utah and Wyoming could have cause this to happen as well. So it is better that it happened here at home than out in the middle of nowhere away from my doctor.

So I'll take a couple of weekends off the bike and get the healing going again and focus on Cross in October. That's life, you take what you are given and make the best of it.
Next year, I'll go get me some of that, and I won't be bringing any bubble gum.

Bloody Friggen Mess!

4 days to LOTOJA, we leave tomorrow night, and I am stuck at home with random nose bleeds that ensue with only warning being that feeling of liquid running down the throat.

Things opened up last night and I was breathing really clear. Then about 30 minutes later a steady stream of red stuff started flowing. (WHAT THE F^%^$#@#!).

I got a little scared when it wouldn't stop. T looked at the post surgery instructions and we called the doc. "Sit back relax and apply pressure". Did that, been doing that, and after about 15 minutes it started to work.

It started up again at 4:00 AM but only lasted 10 minutes. "OK, maybe I'll be OK, there is no pain".

Got up, did my normal morning thing and it started again during stretches. Only lasted 5 minutes...OK, it's getting shorter and maybe if I just take it easy today and skip the Noon ride everything will be fine.

I am almost to work and I feel it open up again...NOT GOOD! I pull in to the parking lot nose stuffed with TP and am hoping it stops.
It doesn't and is actually getting worse. SHIT!
Now I am spitting it out and not very well. Beige pants with blood spots are probably not going to go over well at the office. I jump back in the truck (still bleeding) and drive home...quickly.
Hope I don't get pulled over cuz I sort of look like I just murdered someone.

Hopefully this is just a today thing. I really want to do a good ride on Saturday, but if this doesn't stop there is no point of even getting on the bike.

I see the Doc at 3:30.

Fingers crossed.

Sunday, September 02, 2007

It's all good

Just a quick thanks to all the folks who gave me some solid set up advice for the Ridley CX rig.

(Not in any certain order)

Olaf, Gianni, and teamie Greg Phipps (also rides for Black Market).

Thanks to the advice by these 3 the bike worked flawlessly at the first Cross race of the season.

I had intended to run two races for some practice and to get a feel for where I fit in, the Elite Bs, and the Masters As.

I started the Bs nice and easy and worked my way up. It was a short race so the youngens were set on killing it out of the gate. No worries, I wanted something in the tank for the later race in the heat and it would be my first dismount on the new rig. Better to do it with a little oxygen to spare and work things out. Lots of season for killing it later.

Ended up 5th and had a nice clean ride that got smoother as the race went on.

Started up in the Masters As making sure I didn't get in the way of the more experienced riders. 2nd lap I started getting into a nice groove and picking off stragglers 1 at a time when the race came to an end with a flat. T and I ridden to the race so no spare wheels today, but it was cool, the rig past all tests and I am looking forward to more racing when we return from Wyoming.

Thanks again to all that shared set up advice.