Monday, January 29, 2007

I Fall Down...

The Pro Road season has started down in Qatar which means that the crashing has begun as well.

First mass start stage and poor Tom Steels gets chopped by Brownie and literally kisses the pavement. Mind you this is not one of those euro cheek pecks that the podium girls give, rather more like the sloppy tonsil hockey that takes place at KAM's which often results in a trip to the hospital. Seriously this sucks pretty bad. He broke his shoulder blade in the season opener, now he's probably got umpteen months of recovery.

In more local news, it is official, I am a fat sack of shit. I did a little testing on the bike today and my month long hiatus has reduced me to the level of a mediocre CAT V racer. I'll put it out there right now, if you have ever wanted to whoop my ass in a sprint, now is the time. The good news is that there is nowhere to go but up from here. See you on the road, I'll be the guy huddled in the gutter waiting for someone to put me out of my misery.

Wednesday, January 24, 2007

Side effects...

Stomach upset, diarrhea/loose stools, nausea, vomiting, or stomach/abdominal pain may occur.

The joys of getting better. I was back to the M.D. today. She figured that after 3.5 weeks, this was not going to pass on its own. Thus I'm on the technological wonder known as a "Z-Pack". Hopefully I won't be subjected to any of the aforementioned side effects, which are more commonly occurring than say amoxicillin. Problem there is that I can't take any penicillin derived antibiotics. Some where along the way I developed a little allergy to penicillin. The fun thing about this is that you only find out that you have the allergy if you have an adverse reaction. Fortunately for me this happened in the form of a skin rash while still hopped up on pain meds following surgery, and I didn't give a shit if the antibiotic was killing me.

So I hope to be back on my Bicycle in the next day or so and get back to some real training. I've pretty much decided to pick up where I left off and start training at the beginning of Base 2. I lost about a month and the miles/interval work that you put in this time of year is not easily made up for once the racing starts. This means that i'll be a bit sluggish early in the year, but all the racing I have planned should help my fitness come around in time for NCCA nationals and the big spring races.

Sophia, thanks for the postcard. Any plans to try to catch some of the spring classics?? I hear Roubaix is cold, wet, and muddy this time of year.

Tuesday, January 23, 2007

Fun with science...

Since i'm still too sick to actually ride my bike, I figured i'd lend the kiddies a hand and have some fun checking the calibration of several powertaps. C-Bach, Klaus, Devo, the TSK and I ventured to my lab to drop some plates in the name of science.

Here is a pix of TSK and Klaus setting up the testing facility.

I'll spare you the details, but it turns out that everyone's hubs were within experimental error of spec.

In other news, I'm going back to the doctor tomorrow with the hope of getting to the bottom of my illness. I'm starting to think I might have something chronic like an allergy to something in my apartment and that is keeping me from fully kicking this bug. What used to be simply an annoyance of feeling a little shitty has turned into a bad cough with no sign of going away. I figure if I'm not better by sunday (one month of feeling like shit), I'll try employing a shotgun to clear my sinuses (along with the rest of my skull).

Thursday, January 18, 2007

Quip of the day...

While working on our poster presentation (poster:graduate school::diorama: grade school) for the upcoming project review in Feb. One of the Professors remarked that it was, "too many words and not enough figure" to which I responded, "Reminds me of a girl I dated in high school". Zing.

As per the TSK's request I've been trying to turn off my filter so that the world can be a entertaining place at the expense of the few.

Tuesday, January 16, 2007

Hypoxia, resolutions, and 5 hours of energy...

With the temp just below 20F, I decided that lifting weights at the gym was a better option than freezing to death. Like every year the 40,000+ students of UofI have decided that their resolution for the new year is to "get in shape". This results in every piece of equipment in the gym being taken up by people that will quit after they realize that drinking beer is more fun than going to the gym. All in all it is not too bad, as people are generally nice about letting you work in etc, but i really think that there was a ventilation problem today. I was finding that I was not recovering well between sets, and that i was a little short of breath. This was not a big deal until I almost fell over when getting off of the leg press. With a light head, and blurred vision, I stumbled across the gym thinking that I was having a stroke or a major cardiac event. It may have just been an asthma attack, but in any case it was not cool. So to the masses of cardio kings and queens, stop taking up everyones f-ing oxygen.

Perhaps I was just a little tired and I could use some five hour energy. If you need to take something that will give you energy for 5 hours you do need to "get in shape".

Sunday, January 14, 2007

Toast (again), Dirtbags, and soggy bottoms...

So it has been a few days since i've posted so here is the run down. I've been busy preparing presentation materials for a program review i have in Washington, D.C. in early February. Lots of fun sitting in a room with the four other grad. students that work on the project with me trying to condense our work into some thing that is "presentable" and tells a decent story.

Speaking of presentable, the memorial service for Fritz was yesterday afternoon. All in all it was a really nice service for the family with friends of Fritz relating stories from their past. I think everyone left feeling blessed that they knew Fritz and many of us wishing that we had spent a little more time with him. Back to the presentable comment, Most of you know that vanity is not one of my vices and have probably never seen me wearing proper dress attire. Ms. Pace accompanied me to the services and said that I was looking "very handsome", a nice compliment. While at the service, I had at least 4 other people say "wow, you polish up nicely", read between the lines and you get "wow, you're not dressed like a dirtbag". I love backhanded compliments, they are so full of truth it is not even funny.

Riding the past few days has been interesting with the temps at a steady 36F accompanied by rain and mist. Despite the weather we had several people show up for the group rides. Ms. Cole accompanied me to Gifford after splitting off from C-Bach and Dieter from sprockets. I came across an interesting fact while at the Casey's in Gifford. Apparently they make crackers that taste like toast. I think it is important that these crackers are "toast flavored" and not "toasted crackers" this means that they had to formulate a toast flavor and add it to the crackers. Fucking odd.

In other toast related fun, next time you are bored (or drunk) and at the food store, as the service counter to direct you to the "toast" it will usually take a min. or so for them to realize that they don't sell toast but they do have bread. However, do not attempt this while at the Bashas in Sedona, AZ. THey have "toast" listed on one of the aisles. Apparently this refers to miniature sliced loaves of bread (also know as cocktail bread), and does not qualify as toast in my book.

Thursday, January 11, 2007


So Craig commented that the weather forecast called for strong winds today, and we got them bigtime. I got back from my two hour jaunt to Sadorus and the current conditions were winds from the SSW 26MPh gusting to 35MPH. Sounds like fun. Fortunately it was pretty warm (above freezing) so it was actually a pretty comfortable rides (aside from the fact that I was in my 25t going 12MPH for a good amount of the ride). It looks like the next few days are going to be wet and near freezing which may lead to some roller derby action.

A side note is that Sadorus is a quaint farming community of 450 residents and is the home of the Sea History Museum. A quick look at a map of of the United States shows that having a Sea Museum in central Illinois makes about as much sense as having a "Ham and Cheese Sandwich" museum in Jerusalem.

Wednesday, January 10, 2007

Back in the saddle...

"To cast off sloth now well behooves you. For resting upon soft down, or underneath the blankets cloth, is not how fame is won—without which, one spends life to leave behind as vestige of himself on earth the sign smoke leaves on air, or foam on water. So stand and overcome your panting—with the soul, which wins all battles if it does not despond under its heavy body's weight...If you understand me, come: act now, to profit yourself"
-Spoken by Virgil to Dante in the 8th circle of Hell

So I'm nearly over my illness and really need to get back on the bike. It always amazes me at how much more productive I am when riding, and that is in all my efforts, personal, academic and cycling. I hit the trainer for an hour tonight, and I'm sure to piss off the neighbors with the racket that my old P.O.S. mag trainer makes. Perhaps the rollers are a better option. Hopefully the weather will cooperate tomorrow and i'll be able to get a few hours in.

Tuesday, January 9, 2007


So while my blogging efforts should be related to cycling, I've been sick for a week or so now, and should finally be getting back on the bike. Hopefully then i'll have some entertaining bike related postings.

With regard to a comment about the throngs of women in my pantry, this a very funny because it is somewhat true. All I can say is that if you ever want a bulgarian woman to take interest in you, follow my advice: pick her up and drop her squarely on her head. Several hours later she'll probably crawl thru the bushes behind your house at 4:00 in the morning, and ask to come in for a while.

In other news, today apple announced the highly anticipated iphone. This is a really interesting piece of technology, and quite possibly the coolest "smart phone" out there. The user interface is based on a touch screen that is totally badass. Apple amazes me with some brilliantly simple ideas like "Visual Voicemail" which shows you a list of voicemails so that you can select which you want to hear first. No more of this "press 6 to skip next message" crap. This probably isn't a big deal for most of my readers, but imagine if you were a busy business type that was just in a two hour meeting and you have thirteen waiting voicemails.

Alas, I don't make the bank to afford one of these (i can't imagine what the service plan costs), but maybe there will be some trickle down in the form of a standalone widescreen ipod.

Uninvited Guests...

4:30 AM I awake to a dull thud followed by some scratching noises. Half asleep it takes me a moment to determine that there is an animal somewhere in my apartment. Sitting quietly in bed it determine that thankfully it in not in my bedroom. While putting on some serious clothing to protect my self from the beast, i try to figure out just what I'm gonna have to deal with when I open my door. Raccoon down the chimney? Another Bat? My best guess is that is is a squirrel that has either gotten in the vent for my bathroom fan or somehow managed to get into one of the interior walls between my room and the bathroom. The the time I have prepared for battle the ruckus has stopped, which is almost worse as now I have no idea where this thing is. I carefully poke around the apartment and find nothing. Totally bizarre. Thankfully it found its way out so that I didn't need to call animal control to come but open a wall in the middle of the nite.

Sunday, January 7, 2007

Faux Pas...

So a post on the TSK's bloggy reminded me of an encounter I had while in Cali. Near the midpoint of my four and a half hour trek through Santiago canyon, I caught sight of a rider ahead of me. I notched the pace up a little to see if I could reel him in for a little company. Upon catching said rider I notice that he is wearing a jersey decorated in red white and blue. I pull along side say hi, but he appears to be ensconced in an "iPod Cocoon". I take this a a sign that he is not wanting to be sociable, and he would rather be alone with his music. I continue on at my tempo up the next climb only to realize that he has latched firmly to my wheel. As we crest the hill I ease off and attempt to start conversation a second time to determine if i need to do a "Hubbard Drop". He responds by pulling an earbud out and we chat a bit. Still a bit put off by his earlier dis, after a little banter I drop the bomb regarding his jersey. It came out as "Is that an 'earned' jersey?", he looked at me befuddled, so i rephrased, "where did you get that jersey". These words were chosen carefully as it is hard to tell if it was an actual national championship jersey, or one that looks like it that is available in some catalogues. He responds, "Park City". I congratulate him and ask what discipline etc. It turns out that this guy, Kerry Farrell, won the Masters 45-49 Road Race in 2005. We continued our ride for another 15 miles or so till he got back to his hotel in Irvine, and enjoyed some decent conversation along the way.

The moral of the story is, if you come across some one in a stars and bars jersey, simply ask where they got their jersey, if they say "performance" feel free to drop the hubbard, but be prepared that the person next to you might be a national champ.

Saturday, January 6, 2007

Pudding time...

I've been a bit under the weather for the past few days. Actually looking back probably since last Sunday. This may explain the mystery pains I was experiencing earlier this week. Feeling a bit down , figured a little comfort food was in order so I whipped up some rice pudding. I really wanted some bread pudding with a nice bourbon sauce (Nothing makes you feel better than sugar and booze), but I didn't have any bread to use.

Nick D. and I are going on a ride tomorrow (if I'm feeling up to it). It has been a while since I've seen him so it should be a good couple of hours of catching up. Nick was one of the "killer B's" (SWARM!!!!!) on the Illini Squad, and will be stepping up to race with the TSK and I this spring along with several other of last years B's.

Anyway, Hopefully in the near future I'll have some shit to rant about (which was the initial purpose of this blog. If nothing else, I have some long rides to next week, and i'll comment on all of the random crap that goes thru my head while on a multi-hour frozen cornfield excursion.

Thursday, January 4, 2007

Farewell to a good man...

Sad news this morning. Fritz Miericke, local bike shop owner, passed away early in the morning of Tuesday Jan. 2nd. Fritz was fortunate enough to have a job that he truly loved. Anyone that spent a few minutes in Champaign Cycle appreciated his warm nature and enthusiasm.

This is not the way things should happen. The Dead Milkmen said it pretty well in Life is Shit:

Cause life takes from us the things we love
And it robs us of the special ones
And it puts them high where we can't climb
And we only miss them all the time
And we sing: Life is shit...

Fortunately for all of those who new Fritz realize that life really isn't all too bad, even though we'll miss him a lot, we can smile when we think back on all of the people that he has helped find the joy that can be found in a warm smile and a bicycle.

My most sincere condolences to his Family, who will certainly miss him most of all.


Wednesday, January 3, 2007

It 's official...

I'm old.

For the past two days, i've been dealing with mystery pains throughout my body. I got up yesterday and was unable to lift my right arm above shoulder level due to shooting pain in my upper back. Later, that pain subsided and my left knee started acting up. It was bad enough that going up and down stairs was difficult and riding home was really a pain. Today, the knee was a little better till just after noon, when I was going up stairs and was like wow, my knee feels better, and ran up the last flight.

Bizarre to say the least. This is the price you pay to race masters events.

Tuesday, January 2, 2007

Death, Dope, and Dental Floss...

"Moving to Montana Soon, Gonna be a dental floss tycoon" -Frank Zappa

Montana by Zappa was just on the radio,and i couldn't help but share.

In other news, I recently joined the dopers suck group on Facebook. The regular website for DS is here. There are several websites that promote the general "don't dope" idea, and the content is varied. Two sites that are a bit out of control are Stolen Underground and Race Clean. SU is run by Matt DeCanio, who felt the pressure to dope, did, was suspended, and is now trying to help that from happening to others (well the first two parts at least). His style is not very polished and it has caused him lots of problems in the past even costing him a pro contract after his suspension had been served. Personally I can't stand the way he presents himself (although he seems to be shaping up a bit) as he often comes across as whiny and doesn't seem to think about the repercussions of his words. I suppose this is his way of doing things and i commend him for sticking to his guns, but i think he scares more people off than he realizes.

As for Race Clean, Upon first look this looks like a pretty legit site, with lots of "heroes" that are dope free and behind the movement. My big issue is with the "blacklist" . No real proof is offered up for the names listed, and there are wholesale indictments of entire groups of people (e.g. coaching services) and peoples wives. Calling someone's wife a "slut" has nothing to do with doping an just reduces any credibility you may have had to zilch.

Another site is These guys actually seem to care about their image and do a pretty good job of getting the word out without needlessly slandering anyone.

Hopefully our wonderful sport can dig itself out from under the black dirt that it trying to kill it.

Speaking of death, I was at the food store (east coast for supermarket or grocery store) and apparently someone found a cure for death. It was in Weekly World News so it must be true.