Wednesday, August 29, 2007

any port in a storm

So it looks like the UCI finally realized that it has a big bundle of documents from the Spanish authorities in that Operation Puerto mess from LAST YEAR.

Today they announced that Alejandro Valverde is barred from competing at the World Championships next month in Germany. They issued a statement today that read in part:

"During the meticulous studying of the 6000-page Puerto dossier, the UCI has concluded that several documents may show the involvement of Alejandro Valverde in the affair."

Now the big question has got to be whether anyone will get barred from the Vuelta a tte last minute.

Developing I am sure

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Last week on the bike

Well for my last week before school starts up again I got in quite a bit of riding this past week.

Since I had stuff going on Thu And Fri, I went out Mon, Tue, and Wed. Ending with an almost 30 mile ride on wed that took in Victory memorial and Theo Wirth parkways before looping around the cedar lake/greenway and heading home. I felt pretty stiff for the first 45 minutes or so but was still able to keep over a 17 mph avg for the ride. Since my personal goal lately has been to keep over 17mph on all my solo rides, I felt pretty good about that.

Sat was rough as I went out on my own in the am for a 20 mile ride down the river rd to the falls and back, ran some errands on the bike, and then went out with Liane for a 10 mile ride in the evening. add onto that going out in the PM via bike to meet the crew at Jag and it was about a 50+ mile day all in all, including 5 climbs up the hill to our house. If I was keeping track of the miles on my single speed I am sure my total would be well over 100 miles this week.

Needless to say I was pretty sore on Sun and decided to take it easy for the day. Mon is a day off as well due to class, but Tuesday I will try and get 15-20 miles in and then we are off the the cabin in Ely this weekend and hopefully I can get in some good rides up there as well

Week Total - 80
Season Total - 1152

Thursday, August 23, 2007

People suck

the star tribune is reporting that a woman was raped in the hallway of an apartment building in St. Paul and despite several people witnessing it only one person attempted to intervene while no one else even called the cops.

investigators talked to one resident in the apartment building who said that a woman had knocked on his door in the middle of the night yelling "call the police!" The man said he didn't open the door or look out. He said he called police, but police said there is no record of that call.

The affidavit also said the building manager gave officers videotape from a surveillance camera in the hall that shows Ibrahim standing over the victim, removing his pants and getting on top of her. Several people are seen in the hall but no one intervenes

seriously people what the fuck.

I think that anyone who witnessed this and didn't do anything should be charged in this crime as well. How could you not get involved in something like this.

About 6 years ago I was walking in downtown and heard a couple arguing. Soon enough the man started to viciously beat the woman. I immediately yelled at him to stop, started calling 911 on my phone, and started going over to them to stop it. Not that hard to do.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

a perfect storm - last week on the bike

After last week I thought that I was well on my way to my goal. Not necessarily the 100 mile a week but at least being at 1200 miles by month end, however I was not counting on the perfect combination of family being in town and rain all weekend long. Now it looks like it might be raining the better part of the week, which might put me a full week behind.

I was able to get out both monday and tuesday which were a little miserable due to wind but not too bad.

Saturday I woke up early, looked at the weather, and figured that if I didn't ride early I wouldn't ride at all so I had a quick bite to eat and just rode the quick little Cemetary Hill in TT mode and was about a block from home when it started to rain. From that point on it rained pretty much all weekend so that was it for me.

It sounds like I wasn't the only one affected by the rain however as the National Criterium Championships and the warm-up races for them in Downer's Grove were also beset by rain. Congrats to Kirk O'Bee(Health Net-Maxxis) on taking the stars and stripes jersey in the Pro Crit Championship Sunday despite coming in second. Lucky for him the overall winner was Kelly Benefit Strategies-Medifast Martin Gilbert a Canadian and thus not eligible for the jersey. I hope the stars and stripes jersey will make an appearance in this neck of the woods in the next year in the Nature Valley GP.

I did discover the showroom for World Cycling Production on Saturday though so that was a plus. I was able to get a nice Castelli thermal long sleeve jersey for half price so I am set for the fall now with 2 jerseys. I would definitely reccomend checking them out as all last season merch is up to 50% off and current merch is 10% off. With that in mind I also picked up "A Sunday in Hell" the awesome documentary of the 1976 Paris-Roubaix classic.

Week Total - 41
Season Total - 1072

Thursday, August 16, 2007

surviving the city

I just finished reading The Art of Cycling by Robert Hurst a couple nights ago and it was a pretty interesting read.

It is basically an overview of his view of how to ride a bike in an urban setting in the safest manner possible so it includes info on navigating in traffic, common obstacles in the street, and a few other topics.

Though it borrows very heavily from John Forester's principle's of vehicular cycling, it differs in an important way that I tend to agree with.

The vehicular cycling crowd will tell you that bicyclists fare best when they act and are treated as vehicles with the same rights and responsibilities that motorists have. Hurst however argues that the problem with this view is that you are putting responsibility on motorized vehicle drivers for your safety, and that a small mistake on their part can have massive consequences for cyclists up to and including death. His solution is one of taking all responsibility for your safety when on the road. How do you do this? Through a combination of vehicular cycling, altering your route to include roads with less traffic when possible, utilizing bike paths when convenient, and even being ready to bail onto the sidewalk if necessary.

In addition, he goes over common hazards in the roadway (form potholes to railroad tracks) and how best to avoid rapid introductions to pavement of any kind. He also discusses topics as wide ranging as the effects of air pollution on cyclist and how best to mitigate.

The ultimate message however is to take control of your fate when riding and PAY ATTENTION (he argues that getting distracted from the task at hand is a large factor in bike accidents).

I don't know if I would reccomend buying this but definitely worth getting form a friend or the library.

Next up is The Book of Dave.

On the nightstand currently:
Book of Dave (in progress)
Essays – George Orwell

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

of detours and men

In irritating news for those of you in nordeast and probably other locals around town, the wonderful city of MPLS is seal coating streets right now. For those that haven't already groaned at the sight of those words, this now means that potentially some of your favorite streets for riding/commuting/whatever are now coated with a fun layer of gravel.

In my hood, Johnson is coated from 18th to probably 37th, St.Anthony parkway between Stinson and New Brighton Blvd was done the other day, and who knows what else I discover as I try to avoid the mess.

In other better news, the Cedar lake commuter trail doesn't detour over by the walker anymore. They have laid some fresh asphalt that kicks you out right on the corner by Lee's, so at least that stupid detour through the city vehicle refueling station is over.

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Last week on the bike

Well my goal was to hit 100 miles for the week and while I didn't hit it, I came damn close.

If you count the days I commuted, whether to work or for errands, I rode every day this week. Since the new single-speed doesn't have a computer on it I won't be tracking the mileage I log on it, so my mileage will be strictly on the road bike.

I did make a couple of attempts at new routes this week to make up for the old west river road route I was riding with regularity before the bridge collapse. So far what I've come up with is going directly to the U riding the east river road to either Marshall or ford pkwy and then coming back on the other side crossing back at Franklin. Not too bad but I had to go down by the Weisman to get a hill climb in.

Thursday I rode the Googly Moogly through TCBC and it was a blast. I ended up rolling out with the fast group and it was rough for the first few miles until I warmed up a bit. Once I did however, I couldn't believe how I was able to keep up. We were rolling down the transitway towards St. Paul at 24 mph and a kind of semi-pro paceline going on. Though we slowed down a bit going through the residential areas by Lake Como, the overall ride was by far the fastest I have gone for the distance which was 24 miles (avg was 17+ usually at any distance over 20 mph I am lucky to get up to 16 mph). I guess I am ready for the A/B rides after all.

Sunday Liane & I rode the gateway trail from the Ramsey county court bldg on White bear ave which was a good time. nice to log a decent amount of miles while taking it pretty easy, though it seems no matter how hard we try our rides end up at about 15.2 mph avg speed. Hopefully we can get enough miles in to make the Snooze Button Metric TCBC ride pretty easy on the 26th.

Weekly Total - 88
Season Total - 1031

Friday, August 10, 2007

holy crap vol 2

Discovery Channel has announced they are stopping their search for a title sponsor and Tailwind Sports will end the cycling program at the end of this season.

Velonews article here

Cycling news article here

So this puts a number of high profile riders out of a job at the end of this season and after many teams have already made their moves for next year.

We know that Big George is going to be at T-Mobile, but what about Levi, Tom Danielson, Contador, and the rest? Levi seems to be a sure bet to land at another ProTour squad but it should be interesting to see what develops. I wonder if this is why Contador had his big press conference today where he denied the swirling accusations about doping.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

everybody's got one

So I was checking out the whole controversy caused by Elizabeth Edward’s comments on media coverage for her husband or reasons for the lack there of via this guy and in the comments at Feministing I came across this:

“Thanks for posting this, and for the clarification. I think a lot of the time young feminists can see that something is wrong in a statement or event, but they're not sure exactly what it is. Putting your finger on the heart of the problem is really helpful.
Posted by: manathe”

I really hope there is some sarcasm on display here that I’m missing because this is a perfect example of what irritates me about all sorts of people lately.

I have a novel idea…how about we think for ourselves? How about we learn to form an opinion on our own? Is there something wrong with her statement or not? what should I have for dinner? It seems like so many people are afraid of their own feelings and opinions.

Oh my, what if my opinion isn’t right? What will I do? what will people think about me? Just ridiculous.

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

A sinking ship

Seems like every day it's more bad news for the Astana team.

They lost their bike sponsor, their clothing sponsor and now today Velonews is reporting that Andrey Kashechkin has tested positive for homologous blood doping in an out of competition test Aug 1.

Yet another blow to the team and one has to wonder how long they can last or even if the UCI will pull their Protour license now that they have had 3 positive drug tests in the last few months.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Last week on the bike

well I might as well not have ridden at all last week given the minuscule amount of miles that I logged, but at least I have good reason being on vacation and all.

Monday I was busy and both Tues and Wed were too hot with temps over 90 during the time I had available (thank goodness I didn't ride Wed as I had been planning to ride the River Road).

So the only ride I got it was Sunday evening after getting back into town. Liane & I rode the NE Cemetery Hill+ loop for 8 miles. Not a lot but enough to stretch my legs after being on a plane.

My goal is to log 250 miles for the rest of August and now that my new bike is ready to roll but doesn't have a computer, I won't be logging commuter miles only road miles so it will be a little more challenging.

Week Total - 8
Season Total - 943

Catching up

Haven't checked in in a few days as I have been in NYC on vacation. It was my first time there and it was a good time. The only thing I am bummed about is that I didn't get to check out any music shops, but you can read about the rest of Liane and my adventures here

In other news I finally finished The End of Poverty and within a couple days finished The Polysyllabic Spree

The End of Poverty is a great book that makes a good case for the reasons certain countries cannot get out of the trap of extreme poverty (living with less than $1 a day). Jeffrey Sachs make some very good arguments for what needs to be done to solve these issues and why the west, and especially the US, needs to make the investments he calls for. He is a firm advocate in the idea that capitalism can help everyone provided they are helped onto the lower rungs of the ladder that leads upwards out of poverty.

The Polysyllabic Spree is a completely different kind of book but that should go without saying. It is a collection of Nick Hornby's monthly essays for Believer Magazine which were an influence in my checking out the magazine in the first place. I have found that I tend to like his prose a little better than his fiction but I will be giving High Fidelity a chance here in the upcoming months (provided it doesn't keep getting bumped down the list).

On the nightstand currently
The Art of Cycling (in progress)
Book of Dave
Essays – George Orwell

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

HOLY $%&!

WOW...I am at a loss for words right now.

Seeing the images of the 35W bridge collapse is just jaw dropping. I got home from dropping off a bike at the shop and turned on the news to see the chaos ensuing just a couple miles from my house.

Once it sank in what had happened, I almost needed to sit down. I drive across that bridge practically every car trip I take and perhaps more frightening I ride underneath it several times a week-usually around 6 O'clock.

MY favorite bike routes take me under that bridge along the river road and the only reason I wasn't riding today was that I was lazy with my trip coming up tomorrow and let the heat talk me out of it.

My heart goes out to all those injured and killed in the collapse and I just hope that no one was on the river road at the time either in a vehicle, jogging, or from our extended cycling family here in the twin cities.

more to come I'm sure