Sunday, May 27, 2007

Last week on the bike

Considering the weather some years this has been a pretty good memorial day weekend. Too bad the forecast on Saturday was so off. L & I had considered going on the TCBC all club ride but were scarred off by the weather report and ended up cleaning the garage instead.

Sunday we rode the Gateway Trail from Flicek park to the end and back. About 30 miles so not too bad. That was my best ride of the week due to the insane wind that we have been having. Maybe I just haven't noticed it before, but it seems like it has been a really windy spring.

Interestingly I didn't pull the MTB out at all this week, not even to commute since I had Friday off.

Unfortunately this week's forecast is not very promising rainwise but we'll see. Hoping to get out and do another 30 mile ride next weekend and the Cannon Valley Trail the following weekend.

Total for the week: 56
Total for the season: 369

P.S. don't forget the Nature Valley Grand Prix coming up in June. I will definitely be there for the minneapolis stage (unless there is another monsoon) and I think L & I will be going to the Stillwater Criterium as well.

Friday, May 25, 2007

cleaning up cycling

Everyday lately pro cycling seems to get messier and messier. Yesterday With Zabel and Aldag admitting to doping and now today Bjarne Riis admits to doping when he won the Tour de France and the Amstel Gold Race amongst other wins.

Add to that the mess that is Puerto with some riders being banned until it is cleared up, others allowed to race anyway, and the rumors galore. Something has to give.

Over at Velonews, Andrew Hood has an excellent editorial on the whole Puerto affair that has some suggestions that echo some things that I have been thinking for a while. With the system that is currently in place you are never going to get anyone to admit to anything and consequently you will never be able to clean it up. Hood proposes a number of steps to help in this including:

offer riders a chance to clean about what they did, proffering details on the who's, what's, where's and when's. Don't require them to spill names and even let their respective doping infractions remain anonymous as part of a package amnesty.

The trade-off? A racing ban of 12 to 18 months, with the condition that they will be put on a watch list, they will be tested more often a child molester on parole and any subsequent infractions will lead to a lifetime ban.

Personally I think this is the way to approach it. It may seem a bit unsavory but so what. At some point we need to stop the speculation and get to some sort of conclusion about this whole fiasco that is Puerto and whatever other doping rings are out there.

I do think that Slipstream has the right approach with their new partnership with the Agency for Sporting Ethics. It may be expensive but I it seems like it could stop doping because you aren't looking for the doping products but the effects. Though it may not be as drastic as the Slipstream process, it seems that T-Mobile is doing a good job this year, and with all the admissions from the Telekom years they need it. They even suspended a rider for markers that seemed questionable but not rising to the level of a doping offense (I can't seem to find the link but will keep looking).

Ultimately something has to be done because it undermines the sport and eventually it will drive away fans and more importantly maybe the sponsors.

Wednesday, May 23, 2007

car trouble

Why are so many car drivers aggro when it comes to bikes?

I noticed this last year when I started to ride a lot more but this year with all the miles I am logging in multiple situations it has become even clearer.

A great example is Tuesday. I went for a short ride and in it I approached a street that intersected a highway. The light was red and is was on a hill so I started to brake to stop. all of the sudden a car is on my left trying to get ahead of me and get in the turn lane when they only have 4-5 car lengths prior to the intersection. They ended up having to slow down and change lanes behind me.

While the driver was sitting at the red light (did I mention it was a no turn on red) he tried chewing me out for being in the road. WTF?

I follow all the rules of the road for bikes when I am riding, especially when I am on my road bike on long rides, so I am not sure why it is such an issue for some people.

I sometimes get the feeling that drivers feels they just "should" be passing bikers. This occurs typically when I am riding at a pretty fast clip like 25-30 mph in a 25 or 30 mph zone. It's almost like I have offended them by going almost as fast as them.

Maybe it's just the hold that car culture has on our society so that it pisses people when you "upset the balance".

Sunday, May 20, 2007

Last week on the bike

Well this past week was a pretty good week out on the bike, but the very windy weather continued which is making it hard to keep my motivation up.

I did make it out both Tuesday and Wednesday and both days were pretty cool and windy. Especially Wed. where the gusts on my way back were pushing me all over the road.

Saturday started out like that and the first 10 miles of my ride were rough but I rode out of the wind and then it was great. Went form NE down the cedar lake trail and around to the greenway which I followed down to the river, then crossed over at Franklin and came back the usual way down Stinson. Longest ride of the year at about 28 miles total and it felt great. The whole length of the greenway I was averaging 20+ mph and I never felt tired. I definitely need to find some new longer routes to ride. Might try to go down to Fort Snelling in the next week or two.

ON a product note I have been trying the sports gels this week as a way to refuel. I tried the Clif vanilla on Tuesday and it was just ok. It had kind of an odd, fake flavor to it. Saturday I tried the GU vanilla bean and it was pretty good. Flavor wasn't too bad and it kept me going so I can't complain. this week I will try the powerbar version and see what I think. All in all I was pretty skeptical on the whole gel thing but it is much better than trying to each a power bar while riding. the only downside I see is that you need to drink a good amount of water with them and if it is hot out that means carrying extra bottles in the jersey. Not the end of the world but better if you can avoid it.

Weekly Total - 47 Road/9 Commuter
Season Total - 313

Giro update: Well as a Quickstep fan it was a disappointing week with Bettini just missing on 3 different stages but still impressive. So far it has been mildly interesting which for week 1 of a grand tour isn't half bad. Tinkoff has been impressive getting their men in every possible break and creating them if they have to. It will be interesting to see how things start to shake out this week.

Monday, May 14, 2007

issue #2475 why the music industry is failing

So L really likes Rufus Wainwright and with his album coming out tomorrow I have been on the look out for any songs to download or stream for her to hear some of it and last week I found out that VH1 has/had the whole thing available to stream.

Perfect I thought, but that was before we tried to listen.

Try as we might it didn't want to work on the Mac so this weekend I gave it a try on the PC and low and behold it worked. It seemed to only be available to stream via media player, but here is where my complaint comes.

TO play it I had to download an "Upgrade."

Well what was the fabulous "upgrade"?


Yes that's right. To be able to listen to an album that is being streamed for free they want you to download digital rights. What a crock of shit. This is being offered online for two reasons. to get existing fans excited and to entice new fans to give it a try.

There is just no reason for this and I think it is yet another example of the problems in the music industry. They just don't seem to be able to update their business models to account for the new technology that is a fact of life.

Sunday, May 13, 2007

Last week on the bike

This will be a quick one as I am completely fried from writing two final papers this weekend, but yay!!! I am done until summer session in 3 weeks.

Not as much commuting this week, due to finals and bad weather but I did get 2 longer rides on the road bike in .

Tuesday along the river road to Lake Street and sat with L road the Cedar Lake Trail and cut across to the greenway and back home via downtown.

Sunday was all about homework and mother's day so no riding for me, but I am completely open this week so I am sure my mileage will increase dramatically.

Weekly Total - 40 Road/16 Commuter
Season Total - 257

p.s. the Giro started this weekend, so I know what I will be doing at work the next few weeks.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

trip over my shoelaces

So for the first time in about 6 months or so I decide to actually go to a show and made it to the Peter, Bjorn, and John/Fujiya & Miyagi/Au Revoir Simone show at the Ave. Surprisingly I picked one in the middle of the week, but I suppose it also helped me procrastinate writing my Lit final (watching Lost would have done that as well but I think I picked the better option).

I showed up at 9 thinking I would catch the end of Au Revoir Simone but it turns out the show wasn’t supposed to begin until 9 so I caught all of their set. Unfortunately this was not a good thing for me. I am not familiar with any of their music other than fallen snow so I am not the best authority on how faithfully they performed their set, but it just seemed shaky. The sound was bad for the first couple of songs, but they seemed to be off from their drum machine making everything a little jerky. I will say whatever song they ended with was their best song of the night both in performance and songwriting in my mind.

The real highlight of the night for me was Fujiya & Miyagi and I was not disappointed. They opened with Ankle Injuries and at first I was not sure how the show would be. I though it might be the same issue—playing along to a drum machine doesn’t leave a lot of room for error. How wrong I was. They played sucker punch next and you could see them getting warmer and every song they played kept getting better and better. The crowd seemed to get more and more into them as they plated as well. When they played Collarbone second to last the crowd really went off.

They also played In one ear & out the other, Transparent Things, Photocopier, and a couple of songs I was not sure of. The last song of the night which may have been from their imposiible to find first album was just awesome funky-Neu! groove.

I really didn’t know what to expect from them live and was prepared for the worst, but I left the show an even bigger fan than when I arrived and hope they will come through again soon.

As it was getting late at that point (at least for someone who gets up at 6 am for work) and I am not much of a PB&J fan, I bailed at that point and went home to bed.

The killer last song of their set was the title track from their first album Electro Karaoke in the Negative Style.

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Last week on the bike

Well after the great weather and many miles of last week, I was reminded why spring in MN sucks.

Due to bad weather on Monday I didn't commute to school, so I decided to go a little longer than my usual Tuesday ride. Just 15 miles but I know that by logging more miles midweek it will allow me to go even longer on the weekend.

Thursday I bailed on my ride as L had been out of town on business and was back that night, but I did commute on Friday despite the forecast for strong showers. I only had to ride on the wet rodes and catch a little mist, but I was reminded that inclement weather brings out the prick in so many drivers on the rode. It is almost as if they are offended by someone biking in bad weather.

Saturday I woke up to cooler temps, wind, and some nasty looking clouds. L wanted to wait until the temps warmed up a little due to the wind before we went out, so we didn't try to go out until 12:30ish. Unfortunately as I checked the radar just prior to our ride, I could tell it was about to rain, so we decided to just do a short 6-7 mile ride with a little climb in it. As we were cresting the climb about 4.5 miles in it started to rain pretty good so we took the short way home and got in just before it absolutely poured. I spent more time drying off the bikes and lubing the chain than I did riding.

Sunday wasn't any better with wind gusting up to 30+ mph, so I just cut my losses and wrote my philosophy final. Better luck next week.

Weekly Total - 20 Road/16 Commuter
Season Total - 201

just to give an idea of how much more riding this is for me this year, I only rode 700 mils all of last year.