Tuesday, March 31, 2009

vertical space

I love this picture...

...and I really wish we had mountain bike races around here on that kind of terrain.


So I tried to phly in Philly this weekend. Four laps over a six-mile, two-hill course. Given the course profile, I really expected some kind of selection to emerge. Or a breakaway to stay away. I'm sure we lost a few few people along the way, but probably 70 or 80 percent of the 50-60 riders that started made it to the foot of the final accent to the finish line together. But that wasn't for my not trying to get something going.

At one point early on I bridged up to a group of three that had a little gap, moved to the front to motivate the group to work, but when I looked behind me found that I was all alone. So, thinking I should cease the opportunity, I just went for it. I opened up a pretty decent gap, and was hoping that because we were early in the race the pack might just forget about me out there, but they didn't, and I was caught after about three miles.

After recovering for a lap I tried to get things going again on the bigger climb, moving to the front and pushing the pace, hoping for some attacks from behind that would maybe create a group of 10 or so riders off the front. That didn't happen either.

The race came down to the final up-hill chicane to the finish line. I totally blew it by not putting myself in better position before the climb, having to come around a lot of slowing riders on my push to the front. Finished a disappointing seventh. It would have been so nice to have a teammate bring me to the front of the pack at the beginning of that climb. I think I could have won--or at least finished top three--had I little help there at the end. If I were asked in a post-race interview, I might have said, "My form was good, but a tactical error cost me the race." (A post-race interview... My, what delusions of grandeur...)


A post-script to everyone wipes:

I work in a five-story building. There is one male restroom per floor, and they are all in the same place, and the layout of each restroom is exactly the same--two urinals and one stall. If you were to bisect the building, you would see that each toilet is placed vertically exactly above the lower floor's toilet. The only toilet without a toilet above it is, of course, on the top floor.

When sitting on the toilet, wiping or otherwise, it's not wise for me to give the facts of this architectural arraignment much thought. If I do, it might cause me to peek upwards, involuntarily, at the ceiling (I'm half expecting to see a brownish tint to the ceiling tile). Of course, my mind wanders to what might be going on up there (how could it not?)...what I might be privy to if the ceiling were transparent. Yup... Odds are pretty good there's some up there...wiping.

The thought is enough to motivate me to make the trek to the top floor every time I've got to go. If forced to poo, socially, in vertical space, I absolutely prefer the top.

Relatedly, I once tried to explain the claustrophobic feeling I get in large, vertical cities. Places like Chicago and New York. It's the absence of free vertical space that gets to me. Population density can be measured in three dimensions, and something about that I find deeply disturbing. And it's not that I don't like the city, I do. There's just something about living in three dimensions that freaks me out a little.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

competitive pleasure

I found an old pic from an old race.

The Sandy Springs Crit, from 2006. In an early four-man break, that was whittled to two. I attacked with two laps to go, lapped the field, attacked out of the field again, and came across the line for the solo win. Pleasure.

I rediscovered competitive cycling in 2005 (see photo below, with show-off MacBeth keeping pace on the group ride with his mtb), but didn't rediscover its pleasure until I'd built enough fitness to really race. '06 was a fun year.

on my mind

A ride I've been contemplating:

From Shippensburg to Cowan's Gap via Timmon's Gap, then back through Fannettsburg and Upper Strausburg. Six climbs which total, according to mapmyride, 5800 feet in elevation gain. Seventy-four miles.
But not this weekend. This weekend the forecast calls for phlying.
(But maybe Thursday...)

Monday, March 23, 2009

shippensburg university cycling team

(A note on the title, if you want search engines to find you, ya gotta write things out...a lot.)

On the off chance that I have readers that don't know about the SU Cycling Team blog, then you should visit it.

If you're local, you should come ride with us on Tuesdays (peruse the SU Team blog for up-to-date details).

If you're a cyclist (competitive, want to be competitive, or just like to ride), and looking for a place to go to school, you should email me (link for that at the right).

Monday, March 16, 2009

everyone wipes

On my way to the office this morning I was proud of myself for remembering to stop at the bathroom before walking down the hall to my office. The usual routine is this: getting to my office, sitting down to the computer, getting started on something, then realizing it's going to have to wait while I trot back down the hall to the bathroom.

Amidst the sense of pride, however, was this lingering feeling that my time in the bathroom would be wasted time. I can't really grade papers in the bathroom (well, I could, but that seems an unnecessary cruelty), I can't do any computing, I don't want to call anyone (there's the flush, then the pause, as you both realize that you thought enough of that person to talk to them while sitting on the can)...what to do? It occurred to me briefly that I should have someone else doing my work while I was in the bathroom, thus saving a few minutes time. You know, bottlenecks and efficiency and all that. Ask the secretary to do something, a graduate assistant, or something to that effect. But it's too early. No one was here.

Of course, all of this played through my mind in about the time it took to pick my stall.

But once settled into my business I began to interpret the situation a little differently. Rather than wasted time, the time became precious. My time. Time that I don't need to do anything, and certainly time I can't feel guilty about for not doing it. After all, nature called.

Then, finishing up, I had a minor epiphany: Everyone wipes.

Yup. That's it. Everyone wipes. It doesn't matter how busy you are, how many things on your mind, how important you are, how many people depend on you...ya still gotta wipe. That dude you're trying to talk you into giving you a job? Has to wipe. Your big client? Wipes himself. Your CEO? Wipes. The president? Also wipes. Himself.

Yup. Everyone. Nature's call...perhaps the most egalitarian of human institutions (ignoring sex difference, for the moment). And I find that immensely comforting somehow.

It's been an intellectually clear morning.

Monday, March 9, 2009

my little freak

As it turns out, it seems I have a freakishly beautiful kid. Who knew?

Props to the photographer...

Saturday, March 7, 2009

spring break training camp


Cold. Road ride. Three hours. Around 3,000 feet of climbing. Alex and Beth for company.


Warmer. MTB ride. Two hours. Around 2000 feet of climbing. Solo effort. Earlier in the day, a few hours of skiing.


Crazy warm (had to shed both the knee and arm warmers). Road ride. Two hours. About 1,500 feet of climbing. Big E for company.


Crazy warm (again shed the warmers). Road ride. Four hours. Around 5,000 feet of climbing. Moats, Big E, and Devon tagging along.


The change of weather has been my soul's delight. It takes spring to realize how depressing winter can be.

(And though I've ridden without leg covering the past two days, I haven't gotten around to the spring leg hair harvest. At 30mph+ the wind feels so strange whipping through my beaver pelt of hair. Hairless legs = good.)


Sobering news. A friend of a friend killed on his bike. A semi-truck passing caught his saddlebag, apparently whipping his bike out from under him and throwing him under the wheels.

Truly awful.

Monday, March 2, 2009

bicycles, cars, laws, and video

I'd suggest taking the five minutes and watching this one. Muito interessante.