Monday, January 31, 2011

Welcome Back, Kotter. You're Laziness Was Your Ticket Out.

To say that I have been doing nothing would be an accurate statement. Now with the racing season upon us, I have scraped myself off the couch (not an entirely true statement as I am currently typing this from the comfort of my couch) and decided to renew my posting of stylistic writing samples on this here website.

With the 2011 season underway, we have already learned the champions of the early season's two largest races:

2011 Tour Down Under: Cameron Meyer of Team Garmin-Cervelo
2010 Tour de France: Andy Schleck of LEOPARD-TREK (formerly of Saxobank)

To be fair, the disqualification and suspension AC is facing is not official yet, but I don't think it will turn out favorably for him. So, despite Andy's reluctance to accept the win, he seems to be in the same position as AC - fighting a losing battle.

Speaking of racing, I participated in my first "event" of the new year. It was a fund raiser to support cancer research. On Saturday, about 65 people gathered in downtown Leavenworth to race around a 400 meter track in Breaking Away style:

In Kansas, we're all cutters.I was looking to get in some early season miles (I've heard others use that phrase. Though I'm not quite sure what it means I think it is appropriate in this situation.) so I signed up as an individual rider. I was enjoying myself, when after about two hours I shredded my rear tire and had to stop. I guess that's what I get for using tires designed for racing for the last year of everyday riding. In the end, I think two hours was enough for me and my current state of fitness. To tackle the issue and get back to peak performance, I have been partaking in some cross-training that Bicycling Magazine has suggested:

Balls of Fury indeed.While I lack cycling ability, one thing I do not lack is the ability to be a good team member, unlike Belorussian National Champion Aliaksandr Kuchynski. I'm sure there are many individuals who would love to be part of the team photo and wouldn't do anything to draw attention to themselves.

While I haven't (unfortunately) been playing any table tennis lately, I have been snowboarding. A couple weeks ago a few of us traveled to Breckenridge, Colorado to enjoy some winter fun. I was told on more than one occasion that nothing compares to the Rockies, not even the Alps. I may be biased, but after spending my first weekend in the Rockies I can say that I disagree. The tree line is higher in the Rockies, and the mountains we rode on were about 2,000 feet higher than anything I've ridden in Europe, but in the end there isn't that much difference. Any difference I did see was in the ski town itself, not the mountain. In the ski town competition Europe easily wins.

While in Breckenridge we ventured to the Breckenridge Brewery, where I sipped down one of their cleverly named Pandora's Bock:

I did not take the intermediate shots this time due to a low battery dispute I was having with my camera. The bock was hearty and smooth, but nothing to write home about, so I'll stop now. This weekend I'm meeting a friend in Salt Lake City for another weekend of snowboarding, or cross-training if you will.

To ensure I spend less time on the couch, Namco has been kind enough to create this:

I'm sure AC could make up some of the money he'll miss out on this year by selling his famous "finger bang" to Namco for future editions.

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Year, New You! Welcome to the Future.

I trust everyone enjoyed their holiday season and remembers everything they did on New Year's Eve.

Over the break I noticed this bike in Lawrence, Kansas:

he flower doubles as a light.It wasn't the best "cockie" I saw, but as I wrote in an email to BSNYC,

"I saw a "better" cockpit, but I think the bike belonged to a homeless guy begging for money. I felt it wrong to take a picture of his bike while he sat there in the cold. I also felt it was wrong to give him some money only to make myself feel better about taking a picture of his bike. So I didn't take a picture, and now I feel bad about that."

I also hit up Mr. Snob concerning the famed IKEA bike:

Sweet bike, wish I got one for Christmas.Notice the backwards fork on the second picture. I didn't give this poor wrenching a second thought until I read through the book Fixed I received as a gift. I must first say that 75% of the book is interesting in its coverage of the history of the bicycle and numerous forms of track racing that I had previously been under-informed about. The last 25% is crappy hipster writing about how cool the "fixie culture" is. Anywho, back to the matter at hand. In that book, the authors discuss motor-paced bike races and specifically say that the forks of these bikes would be turned around in order to allow the rider to get deeper into the slipstream of the motorcycle they were following:

Looks comfortable.I suggested that perhaps the IKEA bike rider was testing the bike's feasibility as a motor-pacing racer. We'll see if we see an increase of IKEA employees on the tracks of Berlin in the coming year.

During the break I also enjoyed some beer from The High Noon Saloon. In order they are Stumblin' Reindeer Christmas Ale, Raspberry Wheat, and Honey Wheat:

Stumblin' Reindeer
Raspberry Wheat
Honey WheatLike most beers at The High Noon, each of these is a tasty treat. The Stumblin' Reinbeer is obviously a seasonal beer, but the two wheat beers are brewed and served year-round. The only thing I'll say about them is that if you aren't in the mood for a sweet beer, stay away from the wheats. The combination of sweetness and the fact that they are wheats makes for a filling glass of beer.

Welcome to the future, here's to hoping it turns out as even-keeled as you can make it.