Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Emergency Update

So I guess I didn't see the crash, but it happened. Fortunately this time VdV was able to spring right back up and continue racing.

On a related note, I was wrong about the commentator yesterday. Turns out it's not Carlton Kirby, but David Harmon. Doesn't really matter his name, he's still an idiot.

Monday, August 30, 2010

VdV Crashes Out of Vuelta

That is what I thought I was going to be writing this morning. Apparently it is also what everyone's favorite Eurosport commentator, Carlton Kirby, thought as well. During the TTT, Carlton gave VdV a strong chance of success as long as he stays away from crashing. But despite his recent history, the American GC contender everyone wants to support made it through the opening TTT and first road stage. Speaking of the TTT and crashing, VdV's head-butting receiving teammate, Julian Dean, did crash. Perhaps he knew what the course had in store for him as he made the decision prior to forgo an aero helmet and instead wear a normal helmet:

An aero helmet wouldn't allow him to defend himself in a head butt war.Team Garmin-Transitions would end up 17 seconds back of eventual stage winner HTC-Columbia. Saxo Bank finished a bit higher, which makes sense since they brought their "World Champion and Countries No One Really Cares About" TT team:

I bet they planned this order to show off for the cameras.It's like the UN, it looks nice, thinks it carries weight, and has a bunch of colors, but in the end it falls short.

The TTT was a time for reunions as well as goodbyes. We saw the reunification of the two most well known Luxembourgers of all time, the Brothers Schleck:

As long as Fränk doesn't crash he should do well.As well as the last (third this year and 23rd overall) grand tour for Carlos 'Carl' Sastre as a Cervelo Test Team rider (also the team's last grand tour since it will fold at the end of this year and merge with Garmin):

The face of a man who just wants to race.The biggest story from the TTT though is the starting house. I understand that professional riders get perks that we recreational riders can only dream about, but when the Vuelta organizers hire nine attractive women to hold the riders' bikes prior to the start it has gone too far. During our club rides I get the honor of being held by the shop owner's son, a far cry from the hotties seen in Sevilla:

Perks of the pro peloton.I wonder if the riders suffered from ASHFS (After Start House Fart Syndrome) shortly after the stage started.

After HTC-Columbia won the TTT, it was almost accepted that Cav would win the following stage and therefore continue to hold the new red leader's jersey, or camiseta roja. With the peloton together under the flamme rouge, or bandera roja in Spanish, it looked like the scene we have seen 15 times over the last three TdFs - HTC leading out Cav for a stage win. In the American camp there was hope that Tyler Fair-rah would live up to the hype and defeat the Manx Missile, but in the end it was Belarus rider Yauheni Hutarovich from FdJ:

The Vuelta is full of surprises.Who is Yauheni Hutarovich you ask? I have no idea, though he is a two-time national champ as well as a five-time stage winner this year.

In other, more personal bike news, I am selling my mountain bike. If you know anyone who is in the market for one let me know. I am asking $1100 for a Stevens S9 Elite with Shimano Deore XT components:

To end this Monday's post I'll put up this this picture:

I wonder who else is for sale at Macy's.I guess I'll have to figure out something else to purchase my friend for his wedding.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Attention to Details: Sickening Revelations

As any good American cycling fan, I enjoy watching the boys in argyle race and win. While perusing a photo gallery covering Garmin-Transitions Girona, Spain-based operation center over at Cycling News the other day, I came across this picture showing how meticulous David Millar is in labeling his equipment:

Will? I don't see any Will written anywhere.Clearly Millar does play very close attention to detail in labeling his stuff, but he fails to pay attention to the fact that any piece not his will stick out like a sore thumb. Since there is no Will that races for Garmin-Transitions, I am going to assume that bag belongs to marketing manager Will Frischkorn. You would think that with the combination of sponsorships, free swag, and salaries professional riders wouldn't have to result to thievery. If the law isn't enough to dissuade Millar from stealing, perhaps Frischkorn is. According to this bio of Will, he had some aggression issues in 2006. I'm sure that Millar, as meticulous as he seems to be based on that one photo, already knows Frischkorn's violent past and has taken necessary precautions to ensure his safety.

In other safety related news, I watched American Flyers for the first time yesterday. Despite all the cycling-related goings on, the part that I enjoyed the most was after the second stage of the Hell of the West (in actuality the Coors Classic). In what has to be one of the greatest Tom Selleck-supporting scenes, the younger brother David (the one you think is sick) says to his older brother Marcus (who is a predictable plot twist is actually sick), "How can you be sick anyway? Just look at yourself, what you got, you got a mustache and everything." I was always aware of some supernatural powers derived from facial hair, but until yesterday I thought I was the only one.

To close out a few days of KC-based baseball, a few of us went to watch the independent league's Kansas City T-Bones last night. Despite not receiving a replica jersey (the last ones were given out to a middle school band who played the national anthem) or a Bacon Explosion Sausage (they sold out 20 minutes before game time), the T-Bones won the game which is enough for me to be pleased with my $4 ticket.

My knee hurts a little after a run yesterday, hopefully it is good to go for tonight's ride and a 10K race I plan to run on Saturday.

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Weekend in the Books

Over the last two months it has rained two or three times here in northeast Kansas. This Friday, the day I was scheduled to watch the Kansas City Royals, it poured. After about two hours the game was finally called and rescheduled for Saturday at 6:10 pm. We didn't get the same seats right behind the home dugout, but we did get a doubleheader. The first game went into extra innings and was eventually won by the Royals (that's right, they win a game or two every once in a while). The second game didn't start until after 10, so we watched the first two innings and left. Turns out the second game went into extra innings as well, but the Royals lost.

I watched stage 5 of the Eneco Tour yesterday morning. Unlike some of the larger, more popular races, there weren't many people watching it online, which allowed me to enjoy it without the broadcast skipping. Jack Bobridge from Team Garmin-Transitions rode away from the break with a couple kilometers to go to win the stage, at which point he raised his arms in victory:

I'm flying Jack!While it was good to see an American team win the stage, I caught a glimpse of Belgian national champion (both road and TT), Stijn Devolder, in his national colors and was a bit sad:

It looks like him, but it's not.Being a huge fan of Tom Boonen, it was bittersweet to see another Quickstep rider with the national colors, especially since Boonen wasn't even able to defend his win. It looks like he'll make a comeback at the end of this year, which is awesome.

In other news that is awesome, this young one with big dreams pedaled his way right into the sex offenders' registry. I would think that by the time you're seventeen, and riding in the Tour is your dream, you wouldn't go on training rides in jeans, a t-shirt, and beanie cap. What do I know though, perhaps he was wearing a pair of these. On second thought, it might have been better that he removed those and rode naked.

Let's hope that my LSAT results are much better than my BSNYC quiz results:

2.0 and go.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Goal Oriented

With the goals of getting to know the neighbors, enjoy a sunny day, and replace all the crap we sold at the flea market, Penny and I dropped in on an estate sale earlier this week. Whenever I hear the phrase 'estate sale', I think of a mansion full of crystal and antique French furniture. This estate sale was a far cry from that scene - a 1950's ranch that was badly in need up some updates, filled with musty, overstuffed couches, dirty hand tools, and numerous kitchen gadgets of questionable use. We did score a Coleman mini cooler though, so it wasn't all bad. Penny also came across this kid's book:

Good thing that lady is married, hopefully it's her child as well.Some of the topics covered in the book seemed to be teaching children subjects best left until adulthood:

Remember Jane - puff, puff, pass.
Cradle them gently.I failed to post on Wednesday because I was getting 'in the zone' for a 10-mile TT the LBS was staging. It was incorporated as part of our normal Wednesday ride and followed the same course we raced a few weeks ago.

The results aren't posted yet, but I can tell you that I cut almost three minutes off my time. Let's look at a few reasons that could have happened:

1. I've been riding more and I'm in better shape.
- Not true. I've actually been riding about two times per week because I'm lazy.

2. I was using a TT bike and had a sweet aero position.
- False. I don't own a TT bike, I was riding the same bike I rode last time. I actually removed my aero wheels and put the trainers back on prior to the ride.

3. I ate Mexican food a few hours before the race.
- True, but that was more likely a hindrance than a help.

4. I'm using PEDs.
- Bingo. Now I know why people use them. It feels good to do well. Now all I have to do is cut another five minutes from my time and I'll be competitive with recreational cyclists - then I'll be the coolest guy in the ride.

In all seriousness I think my improvement had to do with knowing the course and eating properly during the day (maybe not eating properly, just eating). I also think being sent off earlier helped because my pride kicked in and I didn't want to get passed by everyone (I went off second of about 20 people and I was passed by two people, though I passed the guy who went off first before I was passed). I didn't really have a goal in mind, but under 30 minutes (which I accomplished) was a time hack I am happy with.

I'm going to see a Kansas City Royals game tonight. It should be a fun time, though not necessarily high caliber baseball.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Another Kansas Weekend, Another Demo Derby

Picture dump from the weekend:

The heartland of America!
This car, though painted in a Hulk scheme, was decidedly not mean:

I think Michael Cera was driving this car.
Unfortunately this sweet wagon lost its wheel and was unable to continue:

By far the coolest car out there.
Though it wasn't the final winner, this car had the sweetest (one of two) rear-seat passenger:

Check out the keg, mocking us dry members of the crowd.
Since this blog is supposed to be about bikes (and beer, but being in Kansas there was no beer at the country fair. I know, I cried too.) here is my scoresheet on BSNYC's weekly quiz, therefore proving that I am still 'hip' to the bike world.

Yeah, probably not going to be the valedictorian, but I enjoyed the experience.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Half Century

With the school year upon us, popularity becomes more than whose parents own a pool (or readily available liquor cabinet). Everyone knows that BMX riders are the Fonzies of the cycling world while road racers are the Steve Urkels. With that in mind, a mom or dad who truly loves their kid wouldn't purchase this for their child prior to the school year:

Clearly this bike is for losers.This is what a top-notch parent who wants their kid to be the coolest kid at school would buy:

Awesome!this is a pro trick bike does all the tricks like the shows on tv. xgames etc..

Your kid doesn't even need to have athletic ability since the bike does all the tricks by itself! Electronic shifting? Hey Shimano - try keeping up.

Being the picky shopper that I am though, I did some research into the claims this post makes and I'm afraid that there is a bit of false advertising. Of course we all know that the coolest kid in school is the kid who drives around his 1989 IROC-Z without wearing his seatbelt:

Who's draggin' Main tonight?With Kansas now making it legal for police officers to pull drivers over for not wearing their seatbelt (before they could only cite a driver for not wearing a seatbelt if they were pulled over for another infraction), high school boys who challenge 'the man' will gain that much more popularity. No matter how many miles one drives untethered, they will never be as cool as this guy. Or any of these guys.

Enjoy the weekend; I'll be spending it at the demolition derby. Hopefully the cool kids in town come and compete.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Two Races, One Problem

As mentioned last night, the LBS put on a crit that I attended as a spectator. Here are some of the low quality pictures I snapped with my low quality camera:

A tale of two cyclists.
The women's and junior's race.There was one crash in the cat 5 race, but as there were a total of five racers and about as many spectators, I didn't feel it was right to take a picture of it. Thankfully the rider was ok.

Another race that occurred yesterday was the sixth stage of the Volta a Portugal. To be honest I wasn't too interested in watching it. Maybe it was because I was unable to understand the commentators due to the lack of a British accent or perhaps the lack of Team Radioshack. I guess that Bruyneel 'snubbed' the entire Iberian Pennisula after his team was 'snubbed' by the Vuelta organizers. Is the lack of Team Radioshack riders in both the Vuelta and the Volta the beginning of the end? Maybe Johan took a lesson from history and realized that even the great tactician Napoleon was unable to take Portugal:

The extent of the French empire under Napoleon.Only time will tell.

Unlike the TdF, the Volta a Portugal truly is a tour that encompasses the entire country. If you don't believe me compare the stage six profile with the map of Portugal:

If you are having trouble deciphering them I'll help out. Please direct your attention to the legend on the Portugal map. Notice how from the north to the south Portugal is about 5.5 times the length of the 10 kilometer scale. Still don't get it? Ok, if yesterday's stage was 221 kilometers and Portugal is about 55 kilometers from north to south, than the riders would have to make about four and a half trips to complete the distance.

Enough of that. Joaquim Ortega, one of two Spanish riders on the Portugal-based Barbot Spider team, was victorious as he rode away from the day's break. No pictures of the winner, but check out the sweet team jersey:

It's nice, but it's no Radioshack jersey.Time to go, I'm not supposed to be on this website on Thursdays.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Preparing to Prepare

No need to turn off the TV, this post is a short one. Due to a Santa Fe Trails Bike Shop race tonight (don't concern yourself with the date, obviously the 8th wasn't a Wednesday) down at the middle school, I will be putting off posting until said action is complete. Don't worry, I will not be racing as I have no skill, ability, or drive. I will simply be an interested spectator who will then proceed to blog about the event later. You've been warned - prepare yourself.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Dear Reader,

Due to what is known as the 'Blogmuda Triangle,' consisting of alcohol, laziness, and a general lack of creativity, there will be no images during today's extremely late post. Instead, sit back, relax, and enjoy this tale of intrigue, caution, and alcohol.

Faithfully Yours,

Rhetoricdying (XOXOXO)

This past weekend was the big flea market (and the much smaller country club interview). Penny and I spent a lot of time culling through our wares over the last month or so anticipating the sheer delight we would most certainly enjoy seeing our stuff flying off the makeshift tables. Three car loads, or more accurately Element loads (check out this periodic table) later, ninety-percent of our crap was sitting in the hot sun ready for the hoardes to descend upon it. The market was scheduled to open at 8 am, but no sooner had I unloaded the first box people were mulling. In the end we sold a good portion of our junk and cleared about $1,000,356.

Despite the market only lasting six hours, we had one repeat customer who made a jaw-dropping five visits/purchases. After his third visit, and second viewing of a pair of Penny's shoes, we got to talking with him and learned his abridged story. I incorrectly made the conclusion that he was riding his bike because he lived in town and it is a convenient mode of transportation. I was set straight when he informed us that he recently got his first DUI (at the age of 61). His DUI might have been the climax of the story had it not been for the explanation he gave for his purchases - he would buy items and give them to the disabled veterans around town. Good dude.

On to bad news; Tom Boonen will not race in the Vuelta and probably not in the World Championship either. Less than three weeks now until the start of the Vuelta, then my life will have direction and a purpose again.

Friday, August 6, 2010

Penny and I loaded ourselves into the in-laws Honda Element and headed down to Lawrence to help Penny's younger sister move. Once the manual labor was complete, we made our way to Free State Brewery for lunch. While there I drank a John Smith Ale and a Storm Cloud Stout. Both were delicious, though for the money I would recommend the Oatmeal Stout. Upon leaving the brewery, I noticed a few bikes locked up outside. While not an uncommon thing since Lawrence is a college town, the type of bikes were unusual:

The training wheels are for after the bar.I'll assume that they took their helmets and Dora the Explorer backpacks inside with them.

Over the last few weeks I have been struggling to find worthy competitors to put on my weekly DB Podium. I think it is because I began that idea while still employed. I harbored a lot of anger during those times and I've decided it's best to let it go and therefore end the podium's run.

Despite the end of the podium, there are still those out there that deserve recognition. I may or may not have mentioned how poor the drivers are here in Kansas - not stopping, failing to signal, speeding, etc. In addition to their poor abilities/habits on the roadways of this state, they also fail to understand how parking lots work:

Are you really going to get out quicker?This wasn't the first or only car I saw 'pulled through' on parking spaces that are at an angle. I'm pretty sure that those spots are angled so that they are easier to pull into and back out of. Pulling through them results in three options when you go to leave:

1. Pull out and go the wrong way through the parking lot.
2. Pull out and have to make a difficult turn in order to drive the correct direction.
3. Back out through the parking space if no car is behind you.

I guess Kansas residents would have a fourth option as well - pull straight forward and cut through the parking spaces without looking for cars traveling along the proper thoroughfares. Either way you lose and they win.

Flea market tomorrow - hopefully we'll sell all our extra crap. Come on down and visit (and buy stuff) if you're in town.

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Pawns and Pretension

Last week I mentioned Coheed and Cambria's new album, Year of the Black Rainbow, but failed to actually talk about the music. Instead I devoted a portion of the post giving a weak overview of the book that accompanies the music. So, to back track, I will now give a weak overview of the music on the new album. It is clear that Coheed has evolved over the years, but I think the biggest difference on the Black Rainbow album is the influence of Chris Pennie. I know that he has been with the band since 2007, but he was unable to record with Coheed on No World For Tomorrow due to contractual issues. He may have been involved in writing for that album, but I think Black Rainbow has more of a 'mathcore' (DEP) feel to it on certain tracks. While there may be some mellower songs than there are on other Coheed albums, in the end Black Rainbow is impressive.

Last Wednesday I also took part in a 10-mile time trial with the local shop ride. By sheer placement I performed better than Vino did at the TdF, so I'm going to focus on that positive aspect:

Real impressive.When I first got back to the US I missed riding my bike in Germany because of the amazing bike paths. Now I understand that I miss riding in Germany for other reasons as well. The more and more I do group rides, I realize I like 'riding fast' when it is fast to me, not actually fast. I'm sure riding with a group will help me become a better rider, but I really do enjoy just getting on the bike with no particular goal in mind and exploring. Hopefully once it cools down here in Kansas (around October) I'll be able to do that again. Plus by that time I'll have already taken the LSAT and I won't have to study hours a day for it.

A while back I gave a spot on the DB Podium to LTC Terry Lakin. The reason is because he is a 'birther'who is refusing to deploy because he believes his deployment orders constitute an illegal order from the president. He is of this mindset because he believes President Obama hasn't produced a valid birth certificate or any other legal proof that he is a natural born citizen of the US. LTC Lakin has deployed before, including once to Afghanistan. He is facing a court-martial over his refusal to deploy. Perhaps I'm missing the boat here, but I would assume that any issue with Obama's citizenship would have been sorted out during his election campaign:

Tens of thousands!  You don't say.Although claims about Obama's citizenship were evaluated in 2008 by the McCain Campaign and ultimately rejected,...

Hey, look at that! Obama's citizenship was looked into during his election campaign, by his opponent.

What worries me is that 'birthers' are using LTC Lakin as a pawn. What better way to get patriotic Americans to support your cause than by having a decorated military doctor stand up to what he says (or probably more accurately they - The American Patriot Foundation - say) are illegal orders. I'm pretty sure his court-martial will end badly for him and The American Patriot Foundation will drop him and look for the next face of their cause.

Let's close up shop today with a movie that loosely mimics my real life experiences around bikes:

Monday, August 2, 2010

Crashes, County Roads, and Cleanliness

As you may have noticed, I failed to post on Friday. In my defense, that was due to travel between Leavenworth and Winfield. Why travel to the in-laws you ask? Two words - demolition derby (five more words - greatest day of my life):

Tires?  We don't need no stinking tires!That my friends, was the winning car. The tire was MIA for the last 15 minutes or so of the derby. In homage to the winning vehicle, I went for a ride this morning sans rubber:

Sunrise over KansasA beautiful sunrise, cool temperatures, and miles of rollers:

What a way to start the day.While on my ride I got to thinking about stupid products that exaggerate a problem to help sell their worthiness. I realize as I was sipping water from my mold-free water bottle that the bike world has gotten in on the action:

Nope, I'm not going to believe this is serious.Are we to believe that the same dishwasher that cleans our bowls, coffee cups, and drinking glasses does an insufficient job cleaning our water bottles? I for one may just jump on this wagon and market everyday drinking vessels with screw-off bottoms. What's next, tear-away, disposable saddle covers? What the world really needs is some sort of measuring device, or perhaps a picture-like object we could see ourselves in that would prevent us from going out in public with our ties looking like this:

Yeah, I'm a short timer, what of it?!If his tie were any shorter it would be a bow tie.

So to recap; demolition derby rules, cycling in the early morning in Kansas rules, short ties rules, and creating a river in order to sell a bridge certainly does not rule. Suzy Kolber definitely rules.

Be safe out there kids, there are window-less vans in holding patterns as we speak.