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Archive for the ‘Witticisms… or not.’ Category

It happened today.  I’ve felt it coming for some time – even thought about why it may be happening.  But there I sat on the edge of my couch.  I’d carefully planned my lunch break (I was working from home) to coincide with the mid-day Versus presentation of the end of Stage 5 of the Tour de France.  It was another flat stage – so all down to the sprinters.  The last few kilometers showed the normal dominance of the HTC Columbia lead out train (more on that choo-choo later)  But wait – Garmin snuck in there.  Things were getting interesting.  It was coming down to the line…  could go any way…

That is when it happend.  That is when I realized that I was not cheering on Tyler Farrar, hoping he could overcome his fractured wrist and take the win.  I wasn’t hoping for Thor Hushovd to win (as he should, if for no other reason than his name is Thor)  What was I hoping to see?  I wanted to see anything but Mark Cavendish riding across the line with his arms raised.  For a large number of reasons, I found myself rooting against someone rather than rooting for someone.

How the hell did that happen?

My wife thinks it is because he always wins.  That may be true.  I’ve definitely got an “always cheer for the underdog” type of mentality.  It is boring to look at the elevation profile for a stage and know “Yup – that’ll be Cav fumbling with his green sunglasses again…” (by the way – can anyone find video of that online?)

Is it because I’m completely sick of hearing the term “Lead Out Train”?  Yea – that might just be it.  Seriously need to call it something different.  It is almost as infuriating as the “Manx Missle” comments.  Makes me want to form my fingers into a gun and shoot them all in the head.

Mostly, I have to be honest and say it is unfair of me.  Sure, the guy is cocky, but all those stage wins gives a person at least some justification for being cocky.  I tried to be really mad at him for the Tour de Suise crash – but I’m still not sure I objectively think he was actually in the wrong there.  From now on maybe I’ll just salute him on every win the way he saluted folks

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There is a very long tradition of getting dad a tie for Father’s Day (that’s June 20 this year, by the way.)  But what if Dad’s favorite pastime involves a saddle, two wheel and two pedals?  As a general rule, folks don’t wear neck ties on the weekend group rides.

Luckily, there are a number of items – ranging from the relatively inexpensive to the completely extravagant – that can fill the bill.  Here’s a list of some ideas in no particular order:

  • Socks.  Socks are probably the closest analogy to the tie for the cyclist dad.  They provide that splash of color, that personalization, to whatever kit dad wears.  Get him socks for his favorite pro cycling team (Does dad have a favorite pro cycling team?  If so, do you know who they are?)  Or maybe some socks branded with the logo of the company that made his favorite bike.  Perhaps some uber-high tech socks, utilizing the latest research in nano-technology, genetic engineering, interstellar travel and manipulation of the public through advertising (you’ll recognize them by their inclusion of PhD, Tek or Sci in the name).  Or, maybe just socks with a cutesy saying embroidered on em.
  • Cycling Caps.  Another good substitute for the neck tie.  You’ll need to be a little careful with these, though, as some men don’t like to wear them casually.  Know Thy Father! However, if dad is into the caps, you can find these ranging from the common manufacturer-labeled black styles, to the omni-present Capo caps, to the stuffy “let’s ride to Cambridge on our classic Bianchi” wool variety.  (Hint: this last item might be a good fit for dad if you’ve heard him use the phrases “Brooks,” “leather,” “saddle,” and “I own” in combination in the same sentence.)  And just like socks, know what components dad rides (ask if you don’t know – he’ll be more than happy to talk about them for a few hours) and get him a cap that matches his crankset.
  • Spare Tubes.  OK – a little caveat here.  Giving spare tubes to dad may evoke a similar reaction to giving a new vacuum cleaner to mom on Mother’s Day.  It depends entirely on the person.  Spare tubes are an extremely practical, and completely unsexy gift.  They will be greeted with either gratitude or fits of fury.  Again, Know Thy Father! If you do, however, happen to know one of those practical type dads, be damn sure you know the difference between presta and schrader valves (Know Thy Valves).  Check the bike while he is sleeping if you don’t know for sure.
  • Jersey Always a sure hit – but expect things a little more on the pricey side ($75-$150).  See Socks and Cycling Caps above for logo ideas.  When all else fails, go for a beer themed jersey.
  • New Bike.  OK.  If you are seriously looking at this item and considering it as an option, I’ll recommend the Pinarello Dogma.  If you are still seriously considering this item, please contact me ASAP, as I can assist you with disposal if dad doesn’t like the bike you selected for him for some reason.

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I know – it has been ages since I’ve posted.  Been busy as hell – and now it is all about filling my mornings with the Giro.  And filling my evenings with everything that I should have been doing in the morning.

The Amgen Tour of California starts this Sunday, and I’ll be on site for each of the first four stages.  Expect posts from there, as well as video from my GoPro Hero camera.  I’m also looking forward to meeting in person with some of the folks from VeloReviews.com.

Again – apologies for the long period of silence.  Hold tight for just a few more days.

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Ironically, some of the clearest signs that you are a die hard cyclists actually reveal themselves while you are driving.  If you find yourself doing any of the following behaviors, there is a very good chance you are a cyclist.  If you find yourself doing more than one of these – well, there is no question about it.

You know you are a cyclist if, while you are driving, you:

  • Stick your hand out the window to point out a broken bottle in the road to the drivers behind you
  • Find yourself instinctively veering off the road towards the entrance to the bike trail
  • Get out of your car at a stop light to hit the cross walk button – certain that the light won’t be triggered by your presence in the lane
  • Tuck in behind semi trucks when you start to feel tired
  • Curse the guy directly behind you.  But you don’t call him a tailgater.  You refer to him as “that god damned wheel suck”
  • Yell “car back” whenever anyone passes you on the left – even on the freeway
  • Drink your Starbucks out of the side of your mouth without tilting your head back
  • Gently use your throttle at stop lights on hills instead of your break and refer to this effort as a “prefect trackstand”
  • Try and figure out how to switch your headlights to “flashy mode” in heavy traffic
  • Carefully measure the distance between the back of the driver’s seat and the gas pedal
  • Shift into neutral and drop down with your eyes barely over the steering wheel when going down a “steep hill”
  • Refer to the “steep hill” as a “descent”
  • Wonder why you can’t seem to drop the person in the passenger seat

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Just celebrated my 36th birthday with my family.  Just me, my wife and the three kids.  Good times.  Being a cyclist, there was definitely an overriding theme to the gifts – due to both my family knowning me, and a couple of “hints” about what I would like.

So what does a cyclists 36th birthday look like?  Well:

  1. I’m still older than Mark Cavendish
  2. I’m still younger than Lance Armstrong
  3. I’ve never ridden pro, but I can still ride with the “Masters”

Socks!

And the gift list?

  1. Blue, long sleeve Perl Izumi jersey (Comfy!)
  2. Arm warmers (Toasty!)
  3. 3 new pairs of socks.  (Sweet!)
  4. and 3 new BlueRay movies – clearly intended for the post ride recovery/relaxation period :)

So at 36 I know I’ll never ride in the pro peloton – unless I get filthy rich and buy my way into some silly sponsorship, ride a stage type deal.  I’ll also never be as fast as those young bucks that blow past me on the trails.  I’ll also never be as fast as some of the “old” guys that blow past me on the trails.  But I am faster than most of the people I interact with on a daily basis, and I’ve got many thousands and thousands of miles lined up for these legs.

There are big plans for this coming year.  I want to try my hand in an actual criterium at some point.  I’ve also got a century on the schedule (the Tour de Cure) as well the Seattle to Portland ride – either a double century, or two centuries back to back on consecutive days.  Sounds like a good year for this old fart.

There you have it – a cyclist’s blog entry about a cyclist’s birthday.  Cheers to all, happy new year and I’ll see ya out there.  I think I’m gonna go out for a ride now.

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Random thought of debatable worth:

  • You’ll never get a second chance to blow your second chance.
  • Pessimism is best.  You’ll either be proven right, or be pleasantly surprised. (nods to Curtis)
  • If given a choice, flooding is always preferable to burning.  When flooding, if you don’t drown, your injuries will be irrelevant.  Burns hurt like hell.
  • Competition is a team effort.
  • Throwing up from a hangover does not purge the Facebook and Twitter updates you posted while drunk.
  • If it seems too simple, remind yourself that you are not that smart.

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