Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The sample is the flesh and the beat is the skeleton...

Listing to music in iTunes on shuffle is fantastic because every now and again a song that I have not heard in a long time gets played. Most recently that song was MacArthur Park by Richard Harris (note that i've embedded youtube clips that won't show up in the RSS feed).



You may ask why I have this song in my library. Some of you may recognize the Fact that this song is by the same person who played Dumbledore in the first two Harry Potter Films, but that is not why I have this song. The real reason is that it was sampled in the Song "Dreamy days" by Roots Manuva.


I get a certain amount of pleasure when I can match up a sample from a hip-hop song with the original. It is like a light bulb goes one "so that's where that came from".
I generally come across these connections while listening to internet radio stations playing classic rock, oldies, etc. I have two more parings that I'll share with you. The first is "in a broken dream" by Python Lee Jackson (Feat. Rod Stewart).

which was used to form the bassline of the Lovage song "lifeboat".

The vocal combination of Jennifer Charles and Mike Patton (Faith no more) make this entire album killer.

The last pair features the classic Beatles tune "across the universe"

The opening guitar riff is sampled and slowed down in Eligh's song "makeshift message". The new tempo/pitch is kinda haunting, and works really well with the rest of the song.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Best present EVER...

Mom is out of the hospital. Fortunately it was noting major, but her Crohn's flared up and she was in enough pain to spend a day or so in the ER. She's much better now and it finally feels like Christmas. Due to theses complications and the bad weather, Grandma and our Aunt and Uncle will be arriving tomorrow. Best wishes to you and your family.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Can you dig it!!!!

Baltimore slowly began to dig itself out from under the 20" of fluff that we received over the past day and a half. Most of the neighbors were out shoveling walkways, a welcome change from Urbana-Champaign where nobody shovels their sidewalks, and the expected banter of "where the hell are we gonna put all this stuff" was had. Back when I was in school at Binghamton we had this thing called "alternate side of the street parking". For those not familiar on odd days of the month, you can only park on the side of the street with odd numbered houses, and on even days, the even side of the street. Normally this is a huge pain in the ass, especially if you don't drive on a daily basis, because you have to move your car every day from Nov. to March. However when it snows it is a godsend as the plows come through and you move to the other side of the road into a nice clean parking space. It is kinda like the quote from Jacob's Ladder:
So, if you're frightened of dying and... and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth.
Baltimore does not have alternate side of the street parking rules, which means that I'll be riding in slop for the next few days, blah.

After digging out, I met up with Alex in fed hill for an espresso a some snow biking. After downing our black gold, we headed over to Federal Hill (the hill/park for which the neighborhood is named). Kids were out sledding which brings back memories of my youth as the big spot to sled in our town was just across from my back yard. It was a bit cold, but all in all it was a nice day for fun in the snow. Here is a shot of Alex rolling toward the downhill.
While at the park we watched at least three kids slam into parked cars at the bottom of the hill. All parties involved were OK, but it was a little disturbing seeing a kid go face first into the grill of a Ford. After cruising around the neighborhood for a while, I rolled back to Medfield. It was delightful to have more than one gear on my bike, as I'm used to rolling on the single speed madwagon within city limits. While the gradient is pretty steady from the harbor up, i'm usualy a bit over geared (and under geared on the way down). It makes me consider other options for a commuter, but I doubt that I'll take any action in the near future.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Buffdown...

Having kept the rubberside down during the season, I figured my ass would be meeting pavement at speed in the near future. Remember it is not if you'll fall, it's when.

The most recent when was on my way to work yesterday morning. I was rapidly approaching the right hand sweeper at the bottom on the hill on 41st where it joins University Pkw. As I approached the corner I see that a sewer cap has burst and is spewing water into the intersection. Cars had been going through and creating a fine spray that had coated the pavement in black ice, bollocks. I threw a quick look over my shoulder to check for cars coming from behind, and I attempted to take the corner wide, but it was no go. Front tire pushed, and I'm sliding on my hip/shoulder/forearm faster than I can say "cocksucker". The good news is that I came away with just some bruising and abrasions. The bike took a pretty good hit as I managed to bend the steel riserbars and stem. Call me prejudiced but black ice just sucks, while clear/white ice is fantastic. The latter makes your drinks cold and helps reduce swelling when applied topically. However, the former often leads to situations where one needs to self-medicate and reduce swelling.

It seems that my sacrifice to old man winter was not well received, as he has taken it upon himself to dump a crap tonne of snow on the the mid-atlantic.

I figure that we've gotten about fifteen inches of snow, which happens to be three more inches than Canadian Hip-Hop/Reggae artist snow's debut album, there is something about a white kid from Canada toasting/chatting reggae vocals, but I digress. The snow is still falling and we may get up to 30 inches out of this storm which might be B-more's single storm record. Now I can look forward to more black ice from the typical thaw/freeze cycle that the moderate temps of Baltimore provides.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The holiday spirit...

With Hanukkah in full swing and x-mass just round the corner it is hard for me to not get caught up in the "spirit" of the season. That is until I see a gift like this:

I understand that this is a quote from a Winnie the Pooh book (said by Pooh to Piglet), and to most people it is a sweet and loving sentiment. To me it simply says, "My dearest, I'm a selfish bastard and I hope that I die before you so that I don't have to spend my last day in misery. No, my love, I leave it to you to die a miserable sod."

Happy Holidays.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Naughty...


I just got back from the "Naughty" launch party for Chesapeake Roller Derby. They are going with a holiday theme, with the "naughty" party being held at a local strip club, and the "nice" party being held later in the week at a more family friendly arena, the skating rink. Tronica (AKA: Tron, K.O., etc) is a member of the league so a few of us showed up to help support the league and their charity: The American Breast Cancer Foundation.
We didn't have the entire club to ourselves, but most of the people were there for the launch. That said, the club was still open to the general public and there were still girls working. I'll say working and not dancing as some of the girls had not flow or style. Jess agreed and she knows her stuff. She was even allowed up on the amateur stage to strut her stuff which was a big hit with the derby crowd.

Anyhoo, at one point I'm having a conversation with some friends and one of the girls from the club comes up and is just standing next to me for a few seconds. I break off my conversation and she starts in with some small talk in an effort to move some bills from my wallet to her garter. Not interested I play a long a bit. After a short while she lifts her garter dropping a not so subtle hint. I glance at the garter then back up to her eyes dropping a subtle hint that I'm not interested in tipping her. The rest of the conversation when like this:
her: "no?!"
me: "sorry."
her: "really!?"
me: "really."
her: "If you're gonna come to a strip club you should be ready to tip!"

Then she stormed off. It is best that she did because the bouncers were probably looking for an excuse to tap dance on someones skull, and bad mouthing a girl that works there is a sure fire way to get your teeth kicked in. Needless to say I was a little miffed. I'm there to support a friend and a charity. I mean if the "nice"event was held at the local nursing home would I be expected to sponge bathe every octogenarian I see?

Anyway all in all it was a good time, and if I'm lucky I'll win a raffle for a giant basket of booze.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

T-givins...

I opted out of the Sokolic–Kimberley thanksgiving feast this year as it was taking place in Cali and I was not wanting to deal with traveling on such a crazy weekend. I figured that I could provide a pretty good spread for some friends with the cash I would have dropped on a plane ticket. Most peeps had gone home to be with family, but I was able to muster up a few stragglers to partake in the feast. Nitin brought the traditional green bean casserole which was good seeing as it was Buyang and Jian's first time having Thanksgiving dinner. Tronica (AKA: Monica, Tron, Knockout Rose, or Tina Fey) and Ryan brought some taters and homemade cranberry sauce to round out the fixins. I cooked the bird and a few sides.


Da Bird

Ryan dishing some soup

After dinner and dessert bChan and Dylan (AKA Axel) stopped by. These are friends from UofI that have recently relocated to Philly. Becky has family just west of B-more and they were able to swing by for some pumpkin cheescake at the end of the night. It was really great to catch up with them as I has been about a year since we had last met up. Dylan is thinking about joining the ranks of LSV which would be a lot of fun. It has been several years since we raced together.

Anyhoo, Thanksgiving officially marks the start of the season for me. I've actually ridden two days in a row, and am planning on a third. Expect to see some more regular posts here as cold lonely winter rides are my muse. The stupidity shall flow.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Maf can be purty...

While I'm trained as an experimental scientist/engineer, and have a visceral rejection of pure mathematics, every now and again something worthwhile (in my narrow view of math) appears. Actually as I've touched on before I don't think I have the capacity to have a visceral reaction to anything as my logical side generally overwhelms more low level reactions, but I digress.

While cruising /. I stumbled upon this interesting bit on the search for a 3D Mandelbrot set. A 2D Mandelbrot set leads to pretty stunning images that have a fractal nature, and the 3D "equivalent" is pretty mind blowing. the overarching basic concept of a fractal is that is comprised of smaller building blocks that are of the same form, this is self-similarity. This patterning holds at any scale so as you "zoom in" the structure is maintained. A classic example is the Sierpinski triangle.

The Mandelbrot set is a more complex fractal, and someone has tried to create a 3D analog. This is what it looks like:

While this is a pretty interesting looking "thing", it gets better as you zoom in:

Checkout the rest of the site to see some other really cool images that are found by zooming in on different parts of the rendering.

Monday, November 9, 2009

I Know that dude...

While flipping through images of SSCXWC 2009 I found myself saying "I know that dude" in my best Jeff Spicoli impression when I saw this image.


That is the one and only Dirty Mike dead center with the bills stuffed in his undies. Glad to see that my old crew is keeping it real. There are some really good shots at CXmag so be sure to check them out.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Some kind of happiness is measured out in miles (or lack thereof)...

Yet another Beatles song graces my blog with its presence, the title is a lyric from "Hey Bulldog". As you may guess from the title I've been enjoying my lack of miles. Lots of social events, and all around good times. Tank bought a house a few weeks back and we spent the better part of two weeks gutting the place down to brick and studs. He's finally started to frame the place out and I think I'll try to get down there to lend a hand again. There is a certain satisfaction that comes form partaking in a task that involves manual labor. At the end of the day you can often see a measurable change in the state of the project. This is a pleasing contrast to my work life where I can labor for a week and not have a damn thing to show.

I'll be getting back to riding soon as we have our first team meeting on Oct. 31st. We've got a few new riders, but the bulk of the crew for 09 is returning. It's gonna be a good year.

Monday, September 28, 2009

All the lonely people...

Tronica and I were at our new local stomp, The Backstretch tonight, talking about days past and those to come. The girl next to us asked if we wanted to hear anything on the juke as she had some extra credits. Seeing as this place reminded me so much of Les's Lounge I started racking my brain to recall a song from back in the day. It was pretty broad list: You never call me by my name by David Allan Coe, Policy of Truth by Depeche Mode, Slip Away by Clarence Carter, but I finally settled on something I hadn't heard in years: Eleanor Rigby performed by Ray Charles. I'm not sure if I like it better than the Beatles version (one of my Fav Beatles tunes), but it is still pretty good. See (hear) for yourself.



If you are fortunate to find a place that you can surround yourself with friends on a regular basis, cherish every moment; as it may soon be a parking lot.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Cycling geek tidbits...

As many of you know I'm a bit of a bike geek. Not in the sense that I need to have the newest equipment, but in the way that I get excited in advances in technology. Since getting my powertap a few years ago, I've been pretty interested in the advances in power measuring technology. While traveling down that road I came across a neat open source software project called Golden Cheetah. It grew out of the need for a better analysis program for the mac and linux.

I got involved with the project by helping with testing and debugging as my coding skills are not really up to snuff, and it has been a pretty fun journey. In any case the project has grown a lot over the past few years, and it in now running on mac, linux, and windows (as well as a few other *nix type systems). This cross platform compatibility is the key to an exciting new project/device that is being developed by Quarq: The Qollector. It is a data logger that will record data from any ANT+ device (speed, power, heartrate). It is essentially a USB stick on steroids, and you can plug it into your computer to download the data. The coolest things is that it has a lot of storage (4 GB) and you can actually run golden Cheetah directly from the usb stick. away at a race and don't have you computer but want to looks at some data, no problem, find a computer, plug your collector in and you are good to go.

Here is a short video showing a little more info on it.


Congrats to all of the developers and the folks at Quarq for having the vision to put this all together.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

This is my Autumn. This is my introduction to winter.

"I just wanted to feel normal, important, warm, I wanted to feel cozy when it rains, instead of depressed by a storm. I wanted a hand to hold when my heart skips, maybe worth a tear in your eye, I just wanted one person to love me so I wouldn't be so afraid to die. So I when I'd sleep I'd rest, not a psyche to fuck, but a comfort to kill anxiety, so I could swallow without it getting stuck. I just wanted to breathe so I decided to pretend to be another reason you'll learn to never trust...lord forgive me."


Ink by Cubbiebear


It's 2 AM and I'm a bit restless. I've got a lot on my mind as of late. Some of the things running through my mind have probably been piling up over the past few months and possibly the events of the past few days have brought them front and center. In any case I was feeling a bit introspective and dug out my Journal from 2001. While it started in the dead of Winter the journal was about my Spring, a time for rebirth. I'm not sure if that was the case as I often find myself in the same trappings of old.


I began reading with he hope that I'd find some wisdom buried deep within the quad-ruled pages of the marble notebook (yes, only an engineer would use a quad-ruled notebook for a journal). 2001 was a pretty tumultuous year in my life, I was single after breaking up with my girlfriend of several years, starting a research project for my masters degree, and trying to figure out If I was cut out for a Ph.D. I was also not racing (running or cycling) for the first time in my adult/adolescent life. The combination of all of these factors lead to a period of soul-searching that provided no real answers, however the journey was still worthwhile.


The actions that were chronicled during that year were mostly fueled by alcohol and lead me down some roads I never should have traveled, but at the same time some very good memories were captured in the pages of my journal. Looking back through the pages of booze addled ramblings sometimes I am shocked by what I had written, as the clarity that I peered into my soul was a bit too much. I'm also a bit taken back at how dark and depressed I was at times. Here is an entry from 5/27/01:



I'm kinda fed up with the way things are. I'm pretty unhappy with the way life is unfolding. I feel shallow. There is so much to life & i just don't think I appreciate it . I'm just frustrated. I just realized that I don't like people that sit around a question everything. They lead me to question myself, and I don't like what I see.

While a bit spooky I think it was a very honest entry. The short sentences were blurted out via pen as quickly as possible. in some respects this is a really uplifting entry. I shows a willingness to let my guard down to myself. That may sound silly, but ask yourself when was the last time you really took a deep look at yourself.


I'm also a bit surprised to find entries expressing rage, lust, jealousy, and genuine love. While these are common human emotions, they are not ones that I express on a regular basis. People describe me as laid back, and I often wonder if that is a polite way to say "dead inside".


A recurring theme is my willingness to put others needs before mine. I think this is a virtue, but only to an extent. Eventually you have to be selfish, or else you end up at the back of the line, alone. That said, you have to pick your selfish moments wisely as they can have devastating repercussions. I hope that 8 years on I have the wisdom to pick my battles more wisely than back then; for actions cannot be undone, and regret is a bitter pill.


It is now almost 5 AM, and I'm pretty worn out. While writing the above I've been trying to take stock of where my life is right now and where I'm heading. I'm in a pretty good position, certainly better off then I was in 2001.


As an aside, while writing this I received an e-mail to join the "Les's Lounge Alumni" group on facebook. Apparently an old friend was suffering a bit of insomnia too and decided to create the group as a tribute the the local bar we called home several nights a week (Thursdays and Sundays to be specific). My journal is peppered with entries related to Les's, and I can say that many of the best and worst situations I found myself in that year involved the Lounge in some way. My nights at the lounge led me to broken bones and broken hearts, but my luck never really ran out.


And in case any of you are worried about my mental state here is a picture of cute little bunnies, This is what I feel like on most days. Just had some things running through my mind as of late.


Monday, September 21, 2009

It's all over...

My bike racing season is over, that is.

Overall it was a really fun year, and I felt like I was racing at the level I am capable of. Since it has been a while since I've updated here is a quick rundown since July 15th:

Sterling turned 21, we drank lots, and I offended the new girl that works at STScI with Alex.

I turned 32 shortly thereafter. It was a gala affair and the girls at work made me some goodies. Sadly The festivities were cut short as I came down with the Swine Flu (yes, really... I was diagnosed). The university deemed that I would get a 7 day "vacation" as a present, and I went batshit crazy after a few days of solitary.

I nursed myself back to health, and started racing again just in time to see my teammate Nate really come into form. Fresh off the podium (2nd place) at Junior Natz, he nabbed 2nd at our regional championship road race.

From there it was on to Millersburg for a two day three stage race (ITT, Crit and RR). Nate was a rockstar and ended up winning the RR and was 2nd on GC. I felt pretty snappy, and managed to win the bunch sprint behind Nate and his breakaway companions for 4th on the stage. The team races so well at this race. We were in every move and animated the hell out of the race. This is becoming my new favorite event. The racing is great, and our host family (Duane and Juandeen) are the best. They took such good care of us the past two years, and I can't wait to go back.

With the season winding down our team numbers started to dwindle but I was able to hook up with a few teammates for a few races. My last weekend of racing would be a Twilight crit in Wiles-Barre, PA, then PA RR championship, and a crit in Basking Ridge, NJ.

Wilkes-Barre Twilight: C-Dubs and I were the only guys from the Amateur team, Shane and Clay were there representing the pro squad. We started in Twilight, ended in pitch black. Bryan Vaughan had his helmet cam on, so check it out. If you've never raced a crit this will give you an idea of what is going on. If you have raced a crit forward to the last 10-15 mins and you'll get an idea of how dark it was. I felt pretty crap, so I decided it was not the night do get in a break. I gambled on Hunting for primes and the hope that it would be a bunch sprint. I kinda pushed on that one as i nabbed a $50 crowd prime, but the winning move of 7 went away shortly thereafter. The sprint was hairy with a big stack that ate curtis on the last lap, but I kept it upright and finished 16th. Not a great result, but ending up in the $$ seems to make it seem like a successful race.

PA RR Championship: Todd, Blair and I lined up for 91 miles of rolling terrain on a pretty fun course. No huge hills, but enough up and down to thin it out. The boys were active early. A group of two got away, countering either Balir's or Todd's move. They got a gap quickly, Two more slipped away and then I jumped across. After a little solo effort, I grouped up with the two chasers and we caught the leaders in short order. From there it was a long day of paceline work. Our gap was sitting at 1-2 mins for most of the day. Apparently the big guns were happy to give us some leash, but we never ballooned out. We got caught with ~15 miles to go. I felt good at first, but the pace dropped and my legs shut down. With ~2 miles to go there was an attack up a small climb, and I just popped. Todd battled it out and was just inside the top 10.

Basking Ridge crit: Blair and I were the only representatives of our squad. Todd needed to spend some QT with the wife. This was my first time racing in my "home" state of NJ. The course was hard, with a few long false flat drags and a blazing downhill finish. Blair took an early exit when some dude stacked in front of him. I was active and had a good gap with one other guy in the middle of the race, but we needed another rider or two to make it stick. I was hoping for a bridge, and he seemed to be interested in not working too hard so we got caught. I countered as soon as we were caught, but no one else came along and it was a short lived move. A group of 4 got away and stuck it. I was 5th in the bunch for 9th on the day. Got some bills for my hard work, which was a bonus as the race was pretty fun.

I ran into an old friend, Jeff Lenosky, who is still killing it on the trials bike. He was doing Demos a the race and we shot the shit a bit after my race. The cycling community is so tiny, it is always a blast to show up to an event and see some people you've been out of touch with for a few years.
With that I've decided to hang up the wheels for another year. Next year is going to be interesting as I'm looking for a Job as a professor, and I might have to take a step back from racing for a little while.


Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Banner weekend...for falling down...

Man, it was a bad weekend for my two wheeled brethren. I suppose that it all started mid-week with Rick getting an infected saddle sore excised. I guess that it was so bad that the doc ended up removing a 2"x2" piece of his ass. Rick is about six feet tall and weighs a buck-forty, so by my calculations they removed an entire cheek.

On Saturday, Ryan M, of Team That's What She Said fame, got in a car accident...sort of. He was out for a spin getting ready for a triathlon on Sunday when some dude pulled out in front of him. Ryan t-boned the dudes car, destroying his bike. Initial reports are that Ryan is mostly unscathed, which is good news. This incident is further proof that God hates triathletes. I've railed against the tri-peeps for years now, but I've given up on it. You see, tri-peeps treat their sport like a religion, and if I've learned anything during my stay on this earth is that you don't try to change peoples views on religion. I've also learned that worshiping false idols (or at least lesser deities)is a bad idea, and from time to time the guy in charge must smite a person that has strayed from the flock to remind people who is boss.

A little closer to home (Hagerstown, MD) was the location of another bike related injury. While racing in the MABRA championship crit, my teammate Blair got tangled up (rather ran over) another rider that wanted to test how hard the pavement was. Apparently Blair didn't believe the results of the first test, and decided to take a closer look by smashing his face into said pavement. The numbers have been crunched and with a small margin of error the pavement in turn three is "fucking hard". Now most of you are asking, "how hard is that?". Hard enough to leave a two inch gash over his eye, an nickel sized hole in is chin, and a jaw bone that is in two pieces. I'm super bummed as Blair has been riding well and we'll miss him in the field for the next few weeks while he is eating out of a blender (scroll to 3:58 and listen). I'm telling you man, pea soup is the bomb.

I've already poured libations (I was dying for a mint julep on Monday night) in the hopes that the gods will allow you all to heal quickly, and keep the rest of us out of harms way.

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Updates...

Sorry for the lack of updates at Fitchburg. Internet access was sparse, and I was pretty worn out from the race action.

I forgot to mention that le TSK graced us with his presence during the 40-44 RR on his way to visit his fams on Hilton Head. It has been a while since we'd seen each other and it was nice to catch up. I think we are both nearing a point in our lives when bike racing is going to take a back seat for a while. John starts medical school in the fall and he's thinking that he'll be transitioning from face smasher/axe murderer to med student that can still win bike races.

On Wed morning Todd Raced the Masters Nats Time Trial while I chilled in the parking lot in preparation for a marathon session of driving to Fitchburg, MA via my parents place near Bling-Blinghamton, NY. Oh yeah the TT starts were delayed by 2 hours because the course was not able to be secured. Obviously someone (promoter?) screwed up bigtime with the traffic control.



Todd in the start house.

We got to my 'rents by 11:00PM, grabbed some grub and hit the rack. We had to be on the road by 7:30 or so to make our TT start times. The drive went well despite some crazy rain. Along the way we saw this van.

WTF???



Apparently the scooter store thought that having a picture of a WWII vet dressed in his bomber jacket, leather cap and goggles "tearing ass" at 5mph on a scooter through a forrest of cartoon cacti was a good marketing move. That or it is just a medicare racket and they painted the van this way to give the finger to the government. Neither option leaves me with a good feeling.

The TT at Fitch was interesting as the fog was pretty thick, reducing visibility to a few hundred meters at best. The road surface was good, and we al kept the rubber-side down.

Todd and I were pretty exhausted so I went into max recovery mode; I was in bed by 8:30 that night.

Friday was the fitchburg Circuit race. This race was insane in so many ways. 24 laps of a 3 mile loop with a super steep climb, and wicked fast downhill. 175 guys getting argy bargy trying to stay in good position. Oh yeah, about half way through the race the skies opened up. Lots of people fell down and I think I picked up 4 pounds of sand from the road spray. I felt like crap and ended up losing a lap to the field, fortunately we were allowed to reintegrate with the field so the time loss was minimal. Jake, and Jeff finished with the main bunch, while Todd and Blair had some mechanical issues and lost a little time.

Saturday was a 110 mile RR on an 11 mile loop with a pretty serious climb to and after the finish. There was also a stupid fast downhill. I set a new record for speed on two wheels, this was on the first lap while surrounded by 170 other racers.
58.7 MPH, silly fast.



I often comment on motorcycle riders that don't wear helmets and leathers, but I guess that I'm just as dumb. Spandex is not gonna help much if you come off at ~60MPH.

The pace was ballistic from the gun and I got spat out of the bunch the second time up the climb. Fortunately a good number of guys got shelled the first time up the climb so I was able to ride easy and ended up in the autobus for a 25 person group ride. Blair and Jake hung tough and finished with the main group.

Sunday was a 55 mile crit with a slight uphill drag to the finish. The pace was pretty chill for the first six laps. After that some attacks animated the race, and a small group got away. It was still pretty easy to sit and move in the bunch, but with 15 or so laps to go the the chase heated up with Bissell and Kelly vying for the overall. I was tail gunning and had to close some gaps, but I managed to finish in the bunch, as did the rest of our boys.

All in all it was a good week of racing. A bit too much time in the car and being ill before we left lead to some crap legs, but it was good training if nothing else.

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Geriatric nationals day 3: USAC shits the bed, several times...

Today was a low down dirty dirty shame. With championship jerseys on the line race organization should be top notch, but today was a mess. There were several events that took place that directly affected the outcome of two races.

In the 35-39 race there was a group of 5-6 off the front. A crash took out two or three riders and in the fray, The break sat up a bit to try to figure out what to do, but one rider decided to keep the hammer down and rolled away. He was solo for a few laps. He was at least a minute up on the field when he flatted. He pulled over toy get a wheel from Shimano neutral support, but they just drove right by. Apparently they though he was a dropped rider. Would he have stayed away? probably not, but if nothing else he would have gotten back in the field and had a chance at the win.

In the 40-44 race the officials screwed big time. The race had 100 starters, and it was on from the gun so people were shelled left a right. lap traffic was a problem. with 2 laps to go a group of four had a 40 sec lead over the main pack, and there was chase of 5 or so in between. With one lap to go the lead had shuffled a bit with 2 riders leading the chase group of 7-8 and the field charging hard. Apparently the moto refs and the lap counters can't keep track of the leaders the two leaders did not get the bell lap. It is not clear what the chase group had been told, but i think they got the bell. Coming into the finish, the two leaders were about 5 seconds up on the chasers, that is within sight.

The course was a bit strange with the finish line not being part of the main loop so that you had to go straight/right at the top of the hill instead of making a left to continue on the course. The lead moto took the two leaders left for an extra lap, and a few of the chasers followed. Some on the chasers were paying attention and went right/straight to the line. One of these smart men won. Rick put in a huge solo bridge and managed to close the gap to a few seconds by the finishing climb and ended up in 5th passing some of the people that made the wrong turn.

After the debacle that took place at U-23 nationals last year I've pretty much lost all faith in the blue shirts. Officiating is a difficult and thankless job, but today the officials stole something from a few riders, and cheapened the national champion jersey that was awarded in the 40-44 Road Race.

Monday, June 29, 2009

Geriatric nationals day 2: Road Race flail, epic flail...

Ugghhhh, That pretty much sums it up.

Todd and I lined up for the 30-34 age category road race today. Weather was pretty much perfect, and we had 13 (lucky) laps of a 5 mile course that was pretty much like every roller-coaster ride i've ever been on. Slow grinds going up, stupid fast descents, and corners that make you hold on for dear life. Also, I felt as if I might vomit a few times. This course would be a blast to do a group ride on.

It was a bit of a reunion as I ran into Luke Seemann from CBR before the race and then I lined up next to Tom Burke (former West Mich. Coast Rider). Cycling is such a tight community that It you're bound to run into several people you know at just about any race you attend.

The race started off quickly with DC velo sending Josh Frick from the gun. The gap quickly grew to 40 seconds and then the bridge attempts started. It was pretty much a bar fight from this point on. I chased a dangerous attack through the feed zone on the 4th or 5th lap which damn near killed me. I finally recovered only to have another dangerous group roll off. Todd had been really active and I thought that I needed to pitch in as the field seemed content to let it go. I kept the group in striking distance until we hit the base of the major climb. The group went ballistic up the climb, and I got shelled. I chased through the chaff that was shed on the next climb, and ended up in a three man chase group for most of the day. Todd continued to battle, and just missed getting across to the winning move. BIg ups to Rick and Nima for getting me bottles, it was a warm day and every ounce of liquid was needed.

I'm not one to call people out over the internet, but today something happened that stuck in my craw. On the last lap, our group of three started picking up riders, none of them even attempted to contribute to getting to the line as quickly as possible. Let me make this very clear, I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH PEOPLE SITTING ON IN THIS SITUATION. We've all be shelled and just want to get things over with; some times sucking wheels is the only option. What I do have a problem with is when some ass, Jacob McGahey, decides to sprint for the line. I made my displeasure known to the folks around the finish line by sitting up and pointing at Jacob McGahey as we crossed the line and shouted something to the degree "That dude is awesome, he just got 15th place after sitting on for an entire lap". I was hoping that Dave Towle would publicly chastise him over the PA, but no suck luck. More so than any other the race, at National Championships the only place that really matters is first. I truly hope that the 16th place finisher, Jacob McGahey, will be remembered for being a feckless weenie

Sunday, June 28, 2009

Geriatric nationals day 1: Travel and the assisted living races...

Todd and I (not "the Todd") packed up and left for our tour of the eastern half of the U.S.A. We are going to the old peoples bicycle racing national championships, and then to New England to race Fitchburg against the youngsters.

I'm excited to be going to nationals, but more excited to not be peeing out of my butt every hour on the hour like old faithful. Last weekend goes down in history of the worst weekend of racing...ever. Two mechanicals, riding 55 of 65 miles of a RR solo with two gears was a bad start. Then my TT bike "ate" my rear derailleur while warming up 5 miles from the start. Needless to say I got my second DNS ever. At this point I didn't think it could get much worse, but tuesday I came down with a 102F fever and the runs. I didn't eat a "normal" meal until saturday night. Just about everyone in our race picked up an intestinal bug from the cow poo laden run-off water that resulted from the massive downpour during the first hour of our race. But enough whining, I could have swine flu like Bloomer.

Anyhoo, on to the task at hand. We're at masters nats chasing jerseys, not like the the "jersey chasers" at superweek, rather we are actually trying to win a bike race or six, and get a fancy red white and blue jersey (or six) for our hard work.

Todd pulled the long haul and drove the ~10 hour leg from B-more to L-ville.


Forty miles outside of Louisville. I call Rick for a status update on the tandem RR. call goes as follows (sorta):
Rick: Hello?
Jamie: Rick, It's Jamie.
R: We got our first national championship jerseys.
J: Sweet.
Todd: Awesome.
RN: Gotta go mack on podium bitches.
(Click).

Here is the photographic evidence:



Rick is the on the left, and note that this is the first time I've ever seen him smile after a race.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Kids say the darnedest things...

On our way back from lunch on monday, Alex and I overheard a young woman utter the following into her mobile phone, "I hate my sister cuz she looks like a dude."

I slowly came to a stop as I tried to wrap my head around what i just heard. Alex just started laughing.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Podium(s)...

Yes kiddies, It has been a while since I've had a finish worthy of standing on some numbered boxes, but my luck changed this weekend. This weekend was chock full of good racing and circuit race courses. Saturday was SoYoCo, a 2.5 mile loop with a nice mile long false flat to a steep kicker 300 m to the line. We had limited numbers (with Just three of us) so we tried to mark/jump into moves rather than initiating them. Todd had some bad luck and flatted out about halfway into the race. The short of is is that I got frustrated with the team tactics and killed it for most of a lap. One dude came through when I swung off and boom, we had a group of eight, with the right teams represented. Some guys were sitting on so I tried to shake it up by attacking on the kicker each lap, but never got a smaller group to work. It looked like we were going to come to the line together, so i started preparing for the jumps/ last ditch attacks. An Alliance rider (Mike) dropped a bomb with a little over a km to go and no one reacted. at about 800 to go a Landrover guy jumped after him and got a good separation. I got boxed in bit and by the time i got out he had a good gap on me. at this point it was a bar fight and we just motored to the line. I picked up one rider on the way to the line and despite my best efforts he grabbed my wheel, at about 200 to go we caught Mike and the dude on my wheel attacked. I clawed my way back to him and past him to finish second. The Land Rover guy won. His attack was well timed and he earned that win fare and square.

It was a great feeling to be competing for a win again. It was a little weird, there was a point where I wasn't sure if I would know how to "finish", but offseason training and experience came through.

Today (Sunday) was the Carl Dolan Circuit Race. We had mostly a full squad and were ready to try to rip the race to shreds. The plan was to let the early race action keep things fast and then start dropping bombs. Things didn't go exactly as planed as Rick and Jeff got off in a group of 5 on the second lap. That quickly turned into a group of four as one dude got dropped. This was a break that we wanted to support so it was all hands on deck to shut things down. The next 5-6 laps consisted of a flurry of attacks with out team siting one or two guys on every move. The gap slowly creeped up to 30 seconds, and then there was finally a lull in the filed letting the gap grow to a little over a minute. The attacks continued, but they never really made a dent until about 5 laps to go. The break had dropped to three riders and the field was still full of motivated guys that wanted a field sprint. It was a little touch and go, but Rick drove it hard to make sure that they stayed away. In the end, Jeff came up about a half of a bike length short of the win and Rick held on for third. I tried to lead out Marc F. for the sprint, but hit the front a bit early and didn't have the gas to get him to 300m.

At the end of the day we raced really well and will get that elusive win shortly. Next weekend we have the Tour of Ephrata stage race. It has an 8 mile TTT with the last 4 miles being a significant climb. It is gonna be interesting.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Philly 2-Day recap...

This a a week late, but I was laid up with my annual "spring cold". Hopefully this year I'll recover from it a bit better. I've got my physicians in a row and we're being very proactive with respect to my asthma so that I'm not still hacking up a lung in the middle of June. Anyhoo, last weekend, Bloom, Nate and I headed up to Philly for a 2-day omnium, Circuit on Sat., Crit on Sun.

We had initially though this would be an easy race to nab some upgrade points for the young-uns, boy were we wrong. Empire showed up with a full squad and were ready to throw down. Bobby Lea and Choderoff from OUCH/MAXXIS were there too. To fill out the field there were squads of 8+ from GPOA, Pitt. Elite velo, and Indiana Med center. That last squad included my old housemate John Rowley, It was really fun to see him again and not surprisingly he can still ride quite well. To add to the drama, Sat was stupid windy, with gusts upward of 30MPH.

The race was pretty fast from he guy, with lots of attacks. There was a lot of "follow the pro" with tons of people scrambling for Bobbies wheel. I understand that he's likely to make the selection and following him is a smart move, but if you make that selection you are racing for second place. This was especially baffling as the bigger squads should have tried to get something away without him and make him/Choderoff work. In the end Empire got two guys away with Bobbie and it stuck. GOPA chased but were not organized enough to do any damage. The gap settled at about 1 min and that was it. I took a flyer after a prime and spent a few laps out there solo, but it the group behind pulled me in. At that point I tried to shepherd Bloom to the line for the sprint. I dropped him off at the front with about 500 to go and he was able to jump on the surge up the left side and grab 7th. I rolled in for 13th, Nate 21st.

Sundays crit was fantastic, it reminded me of Winfield (saturday) except the finish was at the top of the climb. It had some good technical turns and a nice steady big-ring uphill. The plan was to try to get Bloom a good finish and hopefully a top 5 in the overall. I was on the Hunt for some primes; my legs were really sluggish on sat and prime hunting is a good way to get the snap back. The race was a little more negative than saturday as Empire was trying to isolate Bobby, and noting too major ever developed. With a handful of laps to go, Nate got in a move of four that go t a gap of ~20sec. Empire and I went to work shutting it down. The break was not super organized and had a few guys sitting on, but it still looked like it would stick. Bloom got on my wheel with 2 to go and it was on. The leadout from empire stalled a bit on the last lap and I lost Bloom. When things got rolling again I was a little further back than I should have been, but whatever. The front of the sprint actually caught the break a the line, but Nate held on for 3rd place. I ended up 10th which was good enough to end up 9th overall. Overall we raced pretty well especially given the competition and our small numbers. Also a big shout out to our teammate Jacob who let us crash at his pad outside of philly. He raced on sunday too and Nabbed a prime and helped keep the race active.

Next week I'll be racing the Carl Dolan crit/circuit. Pray for better weather than last year (the photo at the top is from that race). We're out for blood and win so it's gonna be a barfight. I can't wait.

Monday, March 30, 2009

The Shaving...

The season has officially begun. Legs have been shorn and them pedals have been turned in anger for the first time this year. This is by far the latest start to any season that I can remember as I'm not allowed to race the collegiate stuff any longer.

The season opened with a bang and a crash at the Jefferson Cup race in lovely Charlottesville, VA (the location of the University of Virginia). The weather was perfect and the 1/2/3 field was filled up at 125 riders. Things got started off fairly quickly with some attacks going on the first climb. Strong headwinds/tailwinds and oddly enough little cross wind kept most of the field together. Our guys had some digs but it was pretty clear that nothing was getting away. That was till late in the race when a group of four slipped away. We held them within striking distance with the plan to reel them in so that Jeff and Jacob could mix it up in the sprint. With about 2 miles to go they "mixed it up" in a bad way and got into a huge stack with several other riders. It happened just in front of me to my left and I swear that Fuentes from Harley was flying through the air level with my head. The pace let up as teams tried to figure out who was left in the pack after the crash and we never got as organized as we should have. I didn't see the finish but apparently the sprint caught two of the four off the front and was ~50 yards behind the other two.

All in all it was a fast tough race and while we didn't come away with the result we wanted, I think we rode fairly well as a team.

In related news, Rick and Lusby went to town on the masters 35+ field with Rick taking the vee.

In the coming days I'll post some pix of my new rides. If you though my road bike last year had a big head tube, you need to see this years frame.

P.S. Thanks to Sophia for getting me off my lazy ass and updating this here blog.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

wow...

"It has been at least three weeks since I've touched it." -geo

"It has been a while since I've pulled it out." -geo

"as a woodwind player I only make about $40 an hour" -some girl

Yeah, music speak.

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Holla at the Chief...

I've been down in DC the past two Fridays looking at space rocks for some experiments I'll be running, and that place is going to be a mad house today. I was on the Mall and almost very inch of the perimeter was flanked with at least one row of port-a-johns. Two million people create a lot of waste. Anyhoo, the town has Obama Fever and the only cure is overpriced booze as evidenced below.
That's right Obama has his own P-Diddy approved cocktail.

I have several friends that are attending the ceremonies today. They are all prepared to walk back to their homes in VA and MD as I have a feeling the Metro is going to grind to a halt when the masses attempt to leave.

I'll get back to catching you up on my life later, but first a picture of a sloth (two-toed).

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Updates: Cali pt. 1...

It has been a while and I'll probably split some updates up over the next few days.  As you may know I went to Cali to visit my sister and brother in-law Adam.  My Parents came out for Christmass too and a good time was had by all.  Adam and my sister are always great hosts, and It was nice to get out of the cold weather on the right coast.

Travel was uneventful, for a change, other than the fact that I had the aisle seat next to the shitter on the 6 hour flight out. The most interesting moment had to be whie sitting in Newark airport hearing one of the airline workers ask for "Dylan" to come to the ticketing desk.  Upon hearing this I started to laugh and I noticed several others starting to break up.  I even saw one guy count the five best  rappers of all time on his fingers.



Once in Cali, all was pretty chill. I took the Ibis out for a spin down the coast.

The rest of the week was nice, with Adam and I getting out for some good miles. Here is a nice shot of Adam and I at the top of PID, a bugger of a climb but worth it for the view.

The Pacific Ocean is behind us and there were some nice views of the mountains inland to our left.

Stay tuned for a deep-fried christmas, ice cold NYE, and rocks form space.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy Fugging New Year...

25 Degrees and 20 MPH winds, way to cold to ride home.  More later.

Jamie