The 100 mile bike trip is scheduled for Labor day weekend. So far, four of us are commited to trying it. We have a nice cabin set up for arrival, and I am looking forward to spending the time with my friends, on the road and off.
Today I rode 45 miles. My average speed was about 15 and a half miles per hour. That's not bad, but I think I could have done better. It was hilly, and I wasn;t prepared for that, and I had a nasty headwind cropping up from time to time. ALl in all, I feel fine, and I think I cound easily have done another 50 today. I would have, too, but I already arranged the ride home, and I had the cell phone, so I couldn't call it off.
This week we will be riding 25 miles a day, give or take, to try to get in better cycling shape. I will try for a turnaround trip of 35 next weekend(that's 70, total for the trip, and 195 for the week).
Friday, July 29, 2005
Ever been RAVENOUSLY hungry after sex?
Well, I just ate a ton of chinese food. Let's hope I get this hungry in 2 hours.
My New Bike
I was going to wait until next biking season to buy a new bike. I have a VERY nice Raleigh M-40, and even though I don't mountain bike, it serves my needs. It is light and fast (for a mountain bike) and has a mid to high level component group.
All that being said, my friend just bought a new road bike, because his friend just bought one, and they both want to come with on my 100 mile bike trip. I doubt, even though I am quite fast on my mountain bike, I could keep up with them. So I broke down, and I ordered a bike.
Now, I am no fool. At least, I hope not. So I did my homework. My buddy bought a name, and paid too much for it, in my opinion. His is a specialized allez triple, and it runs around 700usd. But it has the same components as the Trek 1000, which runs around 550usd. I figured, for an aluminum bike, with shimano sora der STI shifting, I should be able to pay less than 400usd, it I went with an off name, or overseas bike. Or I could get something a year or two old on eBay.
But homework told me that shimano sora was the bottom of the line in top of the line bikes, if that makes sense. Also, aluminum bikes, while a pound or two lighter, ride "noisier" meaning more inclusion from the road on your joints and muscles. Since I am not racing, it was suggested I go steel instead, and get a better ride. I COULD go titanium, but I don't have 2000usd to spend. Sora der, though, would have to work.
I bid on a few older bikes, including a very nice LeMond (first american tour winner) and a trek 1220. Both got outbid at the last second, because other ebayers apparently know more about bidding than I do. So I used "buy it now" and bought a brand new, 2006 pre release Dawes Lightning DLX. 330usd. Compared it to the specialized my friend bought and found out it is the EXACT SAME BIKE. Same frame, same components, same wheels and tires, same weight, same fork. Different color and decals.
I feel pretty good about that. It isn;t that my friend is a stupid consumer, or I am a smart one, it is just we had a different agenda. He wanted a branded bike, and I can't blame him. We have both been screwed by off brand in the past, and he felt he had the money to drop on a name. I wanted components, and sacrificed a bit of style to do it.
I cannot wait to get it, either Tuesday or Wednesday. The same friend didn't believe I got my M-40 up to 35 mph (even though my bike computer records high speeds, and I saved it) so he won't believe how fast this one will go, either. The guy at the LBS told me with the way I ride bike, I should be able to hit 40+mph.
I will be buying a helmet.
Tuesday, July 26, 2005
Now, I am not one to get down on America, or society in general. I think we have a pretty good thing going here. But, I would like to point out what could be one of the signs of the apocalypse, or at very least, a disturbing trend in American culture.
That's right, Chicken fries. That's a strip of chicken, battered and deep fried, and then put in a convenient fry box. Say it outloud: Chicken fries.
I also don't claim to be the most fit person in the world. I am surely not this fit. But, in my defense I am not that gay, either. Did you see that guy, he's VERY happy to be on that bench. But I can honestly say, I have never had the desire to grab a "quick snack" of fried chicken fat. this guy has, but he seems happy enough.
But what self-respecting person would want these things? Seriously, I need to know. I am having nightmares of these things making their way into my mouth while I sleep, clogging up my arteries, and introducing a flat-tax system. They have to be stopped.
Some chapters to think about and write about later:
Money and professional sports Psychology of Losing Athletes and Ho's
WHICH IS IT?
First of all, I need to learn that there is a certain person with whom I cannot argue. Neither of us will concede a point, no matter how valid the argument preceding it is.
That being said, I had a crazy argument with that same person over choking in sports. He maintains, like much of the sports world, I imagine, that if a player misses the final shots of a close game, and those shots end up deciding the game, then that player has choked. similarly, we can assume, if that player makes those shots, then he is clutch. Everyone seems to agree that such is the case.
Everyone but me.
See, in organized sports, especially when a team is involved, there is a concept of a whole game. That game, certainly, is made up of moments, but you have to take ALL those moments together to get a game. In a close game, then, the chances are great that there were moments both teams missed opportunities. One team, certainly, more than the other. The converse stays true, as well.
So, if the game is close, then any one of those moments before could have decided the game, and THOSE people are never accused of choking. If the guy who made the first shot in a game never takes another shot, and the team wins by that shot, then he is not considered clutch, either.
I don't agree. EVERY SINGLE MOMENT in a game has significance. We lend drama to the contest by making the last moment more important. But talk to anyone who has ever played a close game, and the last shot is the last thing on their mind. They want back a pass in the second quarter, or a ten foot putt that went right, or a pitch that was called a strike.
In fact, more important to the game may just be all those middle moments, added up. A team that goes on a run, only to come up short, probably doesn't think of the last shot missed in that run, but that the WHOLE effort was not enough. That psychology of sport far outweighs a single moment by a single player.
Now, what brought this about was Michelle Wie's last attempt at getting on tour. He said she choked on the last hole. I maintain that her whole back 9 (played on the front 9) was terrible, and put her in that position. Further, the accumulation of that bad back 9 weighed far more on her than the severity of the moment, and the outcome of one putt. Had she made two putts anywhere on that course, she could have choked her way right into a victory, and she did not. Now she is sitting at home.
Just think of it this way: if the team or the player performs better in the stretch of the competition, the situation most people describe as choking could not exist. Better to be good over the long run, than great over the short run.
Or, as Alonzo says, "This shit is chess, it ain't checkers!"
I cannot even begin to describe how amazing Lance Armstrong was today, in the first of the serious mountain climbs.
It looked from the beginning that he had something to prove, after two days of neysayers spouting off at the mouth about "he is too old, he is too fragile, his team is out of synch." Well, they will all be quiet today, having to chew all the crow they must now eat.
Lance let the first break-aways go, calmly knowing they weren't serious riders. He stayed with the peleton, watching from the middle at first, sizing up the competition. Then he, along with his team, started to lead. They pushed the pace up the first climb. Riders started falling out the back. Still they pushed, and more riders fell. Voigt, the yellow jersey, fell back. Then Ulrich, then Basso. In the end, it was just four riders, Lance amongst them. Rasmussen was the only big name, and Lance knew he had taken the malliot juine back, and taken time over his rivals. He let Rasmussen, the king of the mountain contender, take the stage, congratulation him as they finished one and two, posting the same time. Lance is now back in yellow.
But more importantly, he has time on ALL of the people thought to be challenging him for his last ride. More importantly his team looked great, and his legs looked better, and he sent a message:
I may be old, and I may be gassed, but I still have enough to win. Again.
Now, I need to preface this by saying I don't really even like baseball. I think it is terribly boring, and I think it is too individual, and I think it is too full of scandal to really get behind now. All the endorsement and praise has not fully recovered the sport from the disaster of the strike.
That being said, the Home Run Derby last night was special. Bobby Abreu was the lead off hitter, and set the pace with 24 home runs in the first round. That beats the last best by 7 runs. The crowd was nuts. I mean, every time he hit one everyone just KNEW it was going over the wall. The kids picked to shag balls in the field just sat with their hands on their knees, because they had no chance of snagging one of these historic balls. He injected some life into a dull competition, and an even duller sport. It was incredible.
Then, he barely made it through round two, scoring only 6 more. It looked like he was out of gas. It looked like after that impressive hitting display, he wouldn't even win.
But he did, and in style, hitting 11 more in the final round to set a new record for the competition: 41 home runs.
It is good to see the sport get some life. I really think the stars of today are starting to shine through the clouds of the past. I hope, for their sake, this happens. No matter home much I dislike the sport, it still has a certain tie with Americana, and we should never let that die.
Sunday, July 10, 2005
So, Jose Canseco is on the Surreal Life: 5. It makes sense, the theme is a circus, and that's what he made out of baseball.
Balchi is on there too, so I guess the world is in balance.
Saturday, July 09, 2005
Sometimes, for no reason, I get the urge to push myself and my body to the limits. Now, I am not superhuman, or in good (or bad) shape. I am just a normal guy, six foot, 190 pounds, 14% body fat. Pretty normal. SO pushing the limits usually means something just outside pedestrian.
This time? Yeah, that meant rollerblading around the lake in town. Just over 18 miles of rollerblading.
I knew I couldn't go alone, not only because that would be a bit boring, but in case something should happen, it would be nice to have the help. Heaven forbid I should need a big mac, and not be able to move. A friend would have to go get one for me. See the dilemma? Anyway, I convinced Sean to bike beside me as I bladed, and we headed out.
Everything was ok for about 5-7 miles, and I felt really good. Then we hit the head wind, and a slight grade, and I felt I was going to die. I didn't. Instead, in just under two hours we completed the journey. For those of you math majors out there, that's about 9 miles an hour. Not bad for the first try.
So what's next? A one hundred mile bike trip in one day. That shouldn't be so rough, but then we will have to turn around and do it again. Ouch.
Friday, July 08, 2005
Tour de France
Every year, I get the cycling fever when I watch the tour de france. Maybe it is the fact that I could not possibly attempt what these people do that makes it so interesting. I ride bike, and I like it. A lot. But I could not ride over 100 miles in a day, much less in hours. My top speed, on my mountain bike, was recorded by the bike computer at 33.7. That is just about the average on tour this year. I did that downhill, pumping my legs the whole way.
And in no small way does Lance Armstrong make a difference. Something about the best guy in a foreign sport being American tugs at my heart strings. It reminds me that, while our sports are becoming global, we are not losing any ground. We are gaining acceptance in foreign markets as well.
I will blog more about this, and edit this post, but for now, I just feel good writing again. Thanks bink, for making me.