Monday, April 18, 2011

They Don't Drink Amstel in the South

It seems like I spend more time apologizing for not having posting than actually posting. So from this point forward I will not apologize anymore; you'll just have to deal with the fact that you have an additional ten minutes in your day that you'll have to fill since you were unable to waste it reading this desecration of the English language.

If I was going to apologize, I would apologize and then use the fact that I spent the last five days on the road as an excuse. I made my way out to Kentucky for a promotion ceremony for an old colleague. Save for the fact that it was in Kentucky, it was a good time. I was able to catch up with some old friends, one of which I was able to thank in person for writing me a letter of recommendation for law school.

On the way back east I drove through St. Louis:

That second picture is the Arch from the side. I also apparently drove through the north pole, because I thought that is where Santa Claus lived:

I guess I was lied to my parents about the true residence of Ole' Saint Nick - it would appear to be Indiana Route 162.

After the promotion, I departed and headed southeast to Knoxville, TN to visit my college roommate. Knoxville is most definitely a college town, but due to the poor weather they were having I did not see a lot of bicycles in use, though I did see the gamut from fixed-gear bikes to Next mountain bikes chained up in front of coffee shops, college buildings, and of course bars - one would never want to drive drunk. What I also saw a lot of were Mustangs. Knoxville must be the Mustang capital of the world - ah, the South. It actually made me miss the Midwest.

On the drive back home I once again drove through St. Louis:

All things being equal it was a great weekend that allowed me to catch up with old friends and see a couple parts of the country that I hadn't seen before. The only real bummer was that I was in the car for 13 hours yesterday instead of watching the Belgian Bullet (I don't know if he's been called that before, but if not I claim full credit for coining that nickname) Philippe Gilbert win the Amstel Gold Race for a second time in a row. There are a few good videos over at Drunk Cyclist.

Being the road warrior that I am, I will once again depart and head south for some more flying. So if somehow posts show up on Wednesday and Friday think yourself lucky. If not, add those ten minutes each day to your ride.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Coheed, Cambria, Competition, and Cheaters

As I mentioned on Friday, I spent the evening in Kansis City, Missouri at a Coheed and Cambria concert. In what turned out to be a pleasant surprise, the concert started with an acoustic set, transitioned to The Second Stage Turbine Blade album, and finished with a mixture of old and new songs. Not only is Coheed a great band, they put on an amazing show. The video I posted Friday was one of the earliest concerts Coheed performed; here is the same song (Delirium Trigger) from Friday night at the Midland Theater:

The other event I mentioned on Friday was the Queen of the Classics: Paris-Roubaix (pronounced Paris-Roubaix). Pre-race favorites Fabian Cancellara and Thor Hushovd were marked all day (in truth, Hushovd marked Cancellara all day, until Spartacus had enough) and weren't able to get away. Another pre-race favorite, Tom Boonen, had a handful of mechanical issues and an eventual crash that forced him to abandon. With all the attention focused on the big names, Garmin-Cervelo's Johan Van Summeren raced away from the break for a solo victory:

Brush your teeth you dirty fool!Of course the real big news of the day wasn't the spectacular classics win for Mr. Van Summeren, but the blatant disregard for the rules and laws that separate human beings from wild animals. What I'm speaking of specifically is this:

Rule breaker!Do you see it? If not look at this one:

If you read BSNYC's blog, you'll know that the bike lane topic is a hot one in NYC. Apparently the anger with which the bike lanes are being met does not carry over into Europe. I could overlook Van Summeren's law breaking if it wasn't for the other riders who are law-abiding citizens:

It's difficult to tell with the quality of that picture, both those riders following the rules are the pre-race favorites Cancellara and Hushovd. I'm not one to start a conspiracy, but after looking at this photographic evidence I am beginning to understand how a rider who had won two races in his career prior to this win beat one of the best classics riders of the bunch and the current world champion. Then, to add insult to injury, Van Summeren takes excessive liberties with one of the podium girls:

Be a gentleman Johan.In all fairness, that woman he is molesting is his fiancée (who prior to the race was simply his girlfriend).

What have we learned today? Breaking rules levels the playing field. Also that no matter how many rules other bands break they can't compete with Coheed and Cambria.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Nighttime Notes: Coheed and Cambria

This will be a short post as I am preparing to head east to the Midland Theater in Kansis City to watch a Coheed and Cambria show:

Google directions doesn't recognize that address, I hope I don't get lost.I watched them at Sonisphere in Steveage, England and it was an amazing show. I'm sure this one will be just as great.

To bookend the weekend in greatness, on Sunday is the Queen of the Classics; Paris-Roubaix. While Spartacus is the clear favorite, it would be great to see Boonen bring home a fourth cobble stone. Or for that matter a win for the good ole US of A and Big George Hincapie. We can hope, right?

Enjoy the music and the race:

Monday, April 4, 2011

Beer and Belgium, but no Belgian Beer

Yesterday, probably all of Belgium was on the Tour of Flanders route cheering for a native son to win. With Nick Nuyens' victory and two Quickstep riders in the top four (Chavanel second and Boonen fourth), I'm pretty sure they got what they had hoped for. Speaking of getting what they had hoped for: Nuyens didn't have to wait long to "get" his:

I think Cyclingnews may have mislabeled this photo, as you can clearly see that Nuyens is not in the process of "getass" in this shot.

So while Belgium spent a lovely Sunday watching the best riders in the world battle it out on the Kappel-Muur, I was baking in the oven that was the Brew to Brew relay race. I was assigned a 4.2 mile stage that the race organizers categorized as hard. Even if the route was downhill and four miles less it would have been hard with the combination of the heat, wind, and my lack of conditioning. After the race we enjoyed a few brews:

The race was one of those events that sucks the whole time you're doing it, but as soon as it's over you can't wait until next year to do it all again. I'm not sure of our final results, but I know that I passed 18 people (in all fairness 16 of them were walking) and wasn't passed by anyone. Add that to the guy who ran the anchor leg for us (he passed 68 people) and I think we did ok. Then again, the start times were staggered, so we may have passed teams that started real early in the morning and planned to go slow.

Either way it was a day well spent.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Comedy, Cobbles, and Cars

The first day of April brings with it the traditional pranks - chalk in the pull-down map (do American classrooms still have chalk, let alone maps?), tainted coffee, and whoopi cushions on the teacher's chair. In addition to these classics, April 1st also means internet journalists' attempts at humour. To wit:


The Cyclingnews article is pretty good, but it can't beat this "quote" from the Velonews story:

“It should be the man, not his balls, that decides the outcome,” Ditte stated emphatically.

Not his balls indeed.

But it's not just cycling websites that have had the April Fool's bug bite them. If you've seen the newest Buick commercials, you might have thought they were also an attempt at an April Fools joke (and not just because they are attempting to focus their marketing on a younger demographic):

At the five second mark, as the narrator is saying that humans have 3,000 thoughts a day, you get a quick glimpse of a fixed-gear bike that apparently needs to be plugged in:

What the joke is here is that Americans for certain don't think about bikes throughout the day. Most of them don't even think about bikes when they have cyclists on them. Perhaps that's not entirely fair. Americans do think about bikes when they are inconvenienced enough to have to pass them on the street, no matter how fast the cyclist is riding - including times when the speed limit is being exceeded. In town here the speed limit is 20 miles per hour, a speed that is not difficult to surpass on a bike, yet every driver for some reason feels the need to pass me. Clearly I'm not slowing them down since I am breaking the law myself by speeding, so it must be something else. What is that something else? It's the same something that compels dudes with small "packages" and smaller brains to jack their trucks (that they use to haul groceries and drive around town) up six inches and add huge wheels and tires - a sense of misguided ego. Every cyclist has felt it when they come across a kid riding a BMX, or an old guy on his townie; you just have to chase them down and pass them. But what separates the two is that you are not seriously exceeding the speed limit and putting peoples' lives in danger to overtake them on a bike.

And that's no joke.