Wednesday, April 29, 2009

weird things (that really aren't so weird)

It's weird how some days you're just feeling on and some days not. Today, not. Though I felt better the second hour of my ride than I did the first.

Also weird that yesterday we hit 90, and today I'm not sure we made it to 60.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

crazy weather

Last week I spent 15 minutes in the shower after the tuesday night races thawing out my cold feet.

This week we're in the 90s.


Wednesday, April 22, 2009

happy Earth Day

I wore a green shirt today to celebrate...or whatever it is we do on Earth Day.

And this showed up in my inbox:

I'm having a hard time figuring it out. I think the windmill is supposed to represent hope...hope that alternative, more responsible energy production (and presumably energy consumption patterns) will prevent global warming and save us and our animals.

Yet the picture also conjours up apocalyptic sentiments...and seems to suggest that the reliance on technology for a solution to consumption and pollution problems will be the ultimate cause of destruction and extinction.

I can't tell if the irony is intended or not. So I'm puzzled.

Oh well.

My celebration of Earth Day is overshadowed by the fact that it coincidently falls on the last day of class, which for me is a holiday much more worthy of celebration. Except that it also signals the wheelbarrow-load of grading I've got to do in the next two weeks.

To further celebrate, I drove the girls to school and didn't take the car back home afterwards, which will require Valerie to walk to school to pick them up. Now that's green.


TNR last night... No rain to start, but by the end it was poring and we were all cold. Well, I was cold. As with last week, it took about 10-15 minutes in the shower to thaw out my hands and feet. But despite the rain we still had a group of eight. PA breeds them hard.

I also got beat. I think this was the first week that's happened. My boys are getting stronger. And I'm not getting any younger. Pretty soon it's going to be all I can do to hang on.


It's a silly thing to get excited about, especially since riding in the rain means a major bike cleaning effort afterwards, but I love how the yellow center strip of rubber on my tires gets all shiny after a ride in the rain. I should take a picture...

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

knocking on wood

Two road races this year and two single-digit finishes. That feels good.

Saturday at the SOYOCO I finished third, the butt-end of a three-man breakaway (the race was 35 miles long--14 laps over a completely non-flat 2.5 mile circuit). Excluding mtb, cx, and time trial, that's the first time I've finished in the money since Easter weekend '07, and the first time I've been on the podium since August '06.

So...maybe after a couple of years worth of crappy results I'm on my way to a decent season (if I can keep my collarbones intact). I sure hope so.

Some pics from, here, here, here, here, here, here, here, and here.


In other news, the first ever SU Youth Bike Rodeo was a success. Details here, pictures here.


TNR tonight, 5:30 pm. Ride today. It will dull the pain from another disappointing Jazz loss later on.

Friday, April 17, 2009

moralizing on flow

A rock climber and poet describing the psychology of optimal experience (quoted from Flow, pg 54):

The mystique of rock climbing is climbing; you get to the top of a rock glad it's over but really wish it would go on forever. The justification of climbing is climbing, like the justification of poetry is writing; you don't conquer anything except things in yourself.... The act of writing justifies poetry. climbing is the same: recognizing that you are a flow. The purpose of the flow is to keep on flowing, not looking for a peak or utopia but staying in the flow. It is not a moving up but a continuous flowing; you move up to keep the flow going. There is no possible reason for climbing except the climbing itself; it is a self-communication.

I think that describes well the allure (and compulsion) of cycling to me. But it needn't be cycling; a hundred other variants of adventurism would do. Presently, it's cycling. Since transplanting to the relative doldrums of spirit that is the North American continent east of the Rockies, it's the best I've found.

Besides activities of adventurism (cycling, skiing, hiking, backpacking, etc.), flow manifests itself in my life in other areas as well. A few that come to mind immediately:

debriefing a favorite class exercise (teaching...sometimes)
driving (more accurately, road trip driving)
reading (on occassion)
board gaming (at its best)
twilight conversation with friends

Would that I could get into it whilst grading papers.

Not to say that there isn't crap in life worthy of discipline's application (doing dishes, cleaning the house, changing diapers, attending meetings, and grading papers), but damn the person, religion, organization, institution, or culture that would condemn or make to feel guilty a man (or woman, obviously) for doing that thing, or structuring his life to facilitate the doing of that thing which, when doing it, that man feels most human...most fulfilled in the measure of his creation.

"Oppression, from the gospel truth you cannot hide."


history re-run...sort of

Some time ago I wrote:

Unfortunately, McCain's place in history will forever be that of the man who tried to keep the first black president of the United States from becoming the first black president. A milestone chapter in the progressive history of the country is being written, and the McCain/Palin parts will forever be that of the ineffectual villains.

It seemed to me at the time that McCain had unwittingly become the object of hope in the eyes of the bigoted, fear-mongering, and absurdest right (among others who supported McCain for rational and reasonable political priorities). On a personal level, I'm sure it was a role McCain was uncomfortable playing. But a vote is a vote, and, McCain, like any politically savvy candidate, isn't likely to turn away a vote on such flimsy criteria as moral principle.

It turns out I wasn't the only one to see it this way. In the last segment of an episode of This American Life from a few weeks ago, Alex Kotlowitz draws a comparison between McCain's miscasting as the champion of all anti-progress and Bernie Epton's failed Chicago mayorial campaign in 1983. I found the comparison of the two incidents enlightening.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009


Very excited about the upcoming change in weather...

...though I'm trying not to look beyond Saturday.

April showers bring May flowers and all that...but man I'm sick of this dreary weather.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

su youth bike rodeo this friday

For Immediate Release:

Shippensburg University Cycling Team Announces Youth Bike Rodeo

Shippensburg, Pennsylvania -- April 14, 2009 -- On Friday, April 17, 2009, students from the Shippensburg University Cycling Team will host the First Annual Spring Youth Bicycling Rodeo. Intended for children 14 years of age and younger, the event will include activities such as helmet fitting, minor bicycle maintenance, safety tips, and a skills-testing obstacle course. The event begins at 4:30 pm and will continue until 7:00 pm.

The rodeo will be held on the Shippensburg University campus, in the parking lot between the student recreation fields and the Luhrs Performing Arts Center. While there will be no adult specific activities, parents are encouraged to stay and participate. All participants should bring a bicycle and wear a helmet.

About The Shippensburg University Cycling Team:
The Shippensburg University cycling Team is organized as a university club sport. Its members compete in road and mountain bike events in the Eastern Collegiate Cycling Conference ( under the auspices of USA Cycling ( The team is funded by the university student senate as well as the generous support of area businesses including Sunrise Computers and Electronics (, Historic Preservation Services (, InGear Cycling and Fitness (, and The team holds regular training rides, open to all area cyclists, in the beautiful rural farmland and mountainous terrain in Cumberland and Franklin Counties.

# # #

Monday, April 13, 2009

that hoodoo in the indian ocean

From the Times:

Senior defense officials, themselves marveling at the skill of the snipers, said each took a target and fired one shot. Indeed. I marvel as well.

Only slightly less worthy of marvel will be the sharp increase this week of bright-eyed, hollow-headed high school seniors schlepping off to their local Navy recruiter's office to sign up for the big time. In terms of Navy recruiting dollars, this incident was worth the weight of the Bainbridge in gold.

Lame. But more lame than that is this:

In Somalia itself, other pirates reacted angrily to the news that Captain Phillips had been rescued, and some said they would avenge the deaths of their colleagues by killing Americans in sea hijackings to come.

“Every country will be treated the way it treats us,” Abdullahi Lami, one of the pirates holding a Greek ship anchored in the pirate den of Gaan, a central Somali town, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying in a telephone interview. “In the future, America will be the one mourning and crying.”

Profound logic. So...hijacking big ole cargo vessels on the open seas and holding their crew at gunpoint for millions of dollars in exactly is that consistent with this policy of in-kind retribution?

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

another from the vault

From the 2006 Roan Groan RR.

That was a fun race, but then we had to ride nearly the whole 40 miles back to the start (and our car), Josh got all mad at me on the way because I misunderstood where someone had offered to pick us up and he had to come chasing back after me, and after all that riding we were then both pretty fried for the TT in the afternoon.

I also remember eating copious amounts of Josh's almonds on the way home. And that I brought my computer along to do some dissertation writing in the car. Yeah, like that was going to happen.

Bike racing memories. All the more reason to do more bike racing. :-)