Friday, July 31, 2009

Fungus Factories

Ok, I admit it... I have a phobia. It's not spiders, or bug, or easy things like that. I actually think spiders are pretty cool. I have a fungus phobia.

Yeah, fungus. I am terrified of your slimy ass water bottles that rot in the back of your car, but you continue to drink out of. Ewwwwwwwwwww. I see you, with black floaty stuff swimming around in your bottles, and I get the cold clammies.

The worst? Gatorfunk bottles. Yeah, you know what I'm talking about. All those germies and fungi just living the life of Riley in your bottle after you have continuously bathed them all summer in sugary sweetness. Uh, wash your bottle every now and again? Paleeeeze?

Maybe even worse, camelbaks. I've started using a camelbak bladder for time trials and I live in fear of the little assassins that are hiding in the tubing ready to smack me into the er with some variant of Dengue fever, gut rot, or some other esoteric crud.

When J and I did Bike VA a few years ago we were some of the few souls that escaped the food poisoning epidemic. I told J... no eating out of community bowls, no eating food that wasn't wrapped... and no drinking from anyone's water. We carried our own wash stuff, and we hit convenience stores where we could. (and almost died out there in WVA when the century day was MUCH longer than 100 miles and we bypassed a questionable looking stop only to run out of food and water when there was nothing to be had on the route...) But we didn't get sick, didn't go to the er, and felt pretty smug later.

So help me. Wash your bottles. Like all the time. If they have floaties in them... throw the bottles AWAY. EEEEEEeeeeewwwwww. I get the willies just thinking about it.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Bullshit Bingo

Yesterday my boss got a motivation catalog... go to I thought I was going to die of laughter. It was full of "Successories" unbelievably stupid things to give to employees, in lieu of money, to show them that you really appreciate and value them and all the overtime they work. My favorite...this little card that tells them what great job they did, with a removable button so that everyone in the office could instantly tell that they're special.
I was laughing so hard that I almost fell off my ball. My boss did NOT think it was funny.
And then of course I had to waste more time by emailing that stuff to all my friends. And my buddy, Swinging Balls Battle sent me this back...
"Boy this was timely. We spent 3.5 hours discussing diversity and inclusion today. Specifically hot they related to the workplace in terms of missing opportunities. I'm all for that. But the new buzzword is 'engagement.'
Anyone remember "Bullshit Bingo"? Often called 'Buzzword Bingo?" You have a list of words that you take to a meeting. You mark them off as they're used. First one to complete a line stands up and shouts, "Bullshit!" Other than being a career limiting move, it's pretty damn funny. Anyway, I found my old sheet for this. Cool words. Remember 'empowerment?' How about 'paradigm?'
Sure you do! Play it with me now... 'engagement', 'inclusion', 'divirsity'. Bullshit! See, wasn't that fun!"
Yes, you too can have fun at work. Add in continuous improvement, and other words and play along.
I'm so glad that my friends are as warped as I am. Happy Friday!

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Time to burn in hell

Last night was the chicks ride, with the addition of our honorary chicklets... Bill an Cliff.

Carolyn, Cliff and I were motoring after coming up a nice hill, and as we slowed to take a breath... Cliff spied puppies in the woods. At first we thought there were two puppies... then we found two more.

Too bad they were so skittish... I couldn't get them to come to me. But, I can tell you, they LOVE Natures Path Peanut Butter bars. (I do, too!) So we fed them all we had, and called animal control to bring out the traps. Maybe we'll have luck today and get the little guys someplace where they wont get smooshed by a car or eaten by coyotes.

Yes, we have coyotes. And yes, they will eat puppies. Cats as well. One of the DNR guys told me a few years ago that Louisa Counties feral cat problem had "resolved." As in... eaten. Coyotes think cats are quite tasty.

So to the people who throw puppies out to die... there is a place for you. Its nice and warm.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Seat bag review- just the nutz

At our Sprint into Spring race this year, my teammate Bill Battle forgot to take off his seat bag. I promised him that I would torment him for the rest of his life about it, and I always live up to my promises....

The bag was not well attached to the bike, and swung back and forth... kind of in a mesmerizing way... that brought to mind a set of, you know, testicles. I had to bring his significant other over to take a look, and Carolyn immediately went into hysterical laughter as the bag (balls) swung back and forth, back and forth.

So now, whenever I think of bike bags, that's the first thing that pops into my mind... a set of brass ones, swinging wildly.

In general, I don't use a bike bag. That's what jersey pockets are for. I do have one, a cheap Performance brand monstrosity that I can carry a small family in. I only use that for really long rides where stores are few. If I need something, I've taken one tip from the tri-geeks, and use a Bento Box on the top tube. Trust me, if I want a gel, or a chapstick, or fresh gum... I want it where I can grab it. The Bento box sits on the top tube and is much more accessible than any bike bag.

Now close your eyes and think of Bill Battle... you see swinging testicles now don't you...

Monday, July 20, 2009

Trinity of Terror

Thats what Hany called us at Roanoke... but J and I were thinking... maybe we need cute names like the Vanderkitten girls. You know, like "Mitten Kitten." Then maybe guys will buy us stuff, and think we're cute and all that stuff.

So here we go, the new names for the Trinity of Terror...

Burpsalot Kitten
Rabid Spitty Kitty

Snotty Kitty
Think it will sell?

Monday, July 13, 2009

Rats its gnats redux

Welcome to the Ides of July... or Gnat Season.

Now if you are NOT a dedicated mouth breather like me, gnat season is probably not a big thing. But for the septum deranged like me, gnat season means an extra source of protein on every ride. At least for the month of July...

To make matters worse, I chew gum. Yeah, eeeeewwwwwww....

Friday, July 10, 2009

Got Skilz?

Craig Dodson at the ID3 crits, courtesy of Hany Hosny

I had one of my usually weekly chats with Carolyn Goble yesterday and we were talking about one of my new proteges, Pam Webb. Pam is a killer find, beautiful, talented, and a soon to be rock star on the bike. What does Pam lack? Skills. But she is a perfect student, she really wants to learn, and you can see her sharp little mind just spinning as we discuss things.

I love Pam and I cant wait for her to kick my ass. It will be soon, I assure you.

What was mind blowing was Carolyn's comments about the training that RABA, Team Natures Path, and Craig Dodson of Richmond Pro set up to help RABA with the serious increase in bad crashes they were having on group rides. TNP set it up, and Craig came and gave a great skills class.

Problem was, few people came, and those people who did, were not the problem children.

When Carolyn asked people why they didn't come, they generally told her that they didn't need skills training, they knew everything!

I was floored. I told Carolyn that its a rare pro who doesn't continue to work on their skills. I go out and do skills training all the time! I can't think of ANYONE who couldn't use even better skills.

Trust me, I've been on RABA rides where I have been scared to death by how people ride. I told Carolyn that its rare that I get scared in a race, it happens, but on a group ride, especially with strong people with no skills, it happens all the time.

So thanks Craig for teaching the class. Lets hope next time more people show up, and actually learn something. It sure would make the roads a bit safer!

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Computer review

I admit to being a bit of a Luddite... I'm about 10 years behind everyone else, and if anything technologically goes bad... I start searching for a 12 year old.

On my tt bike, I was perfectly happy with any computer that showed speed, average and time. Except that I typically use a Hed Trispoke up front, and while carpet tape USUALLY holds a computer magnet... on 3 race occasions, it didn't.

Funny thing, that. What is really grand is that on the days that I didn't have a computer, I rode about the same speed as I would ride with one, and once rode faster. Much faster. (I think it has something to do with all the predict your mile time stuff I did when I was a runner...)

To solve the computer thing, I bought a Garmin 305 for the tt bike. Problem, you have to charge it for pretty much every ride. Since the Garmin has to be charged, I have left it at home, on the charger, when it should have been on the bike at a race. That's strike one. Strike two is that the little computer really likes to have its data downloaded into your PC. Except that I'm a Luddite, and I just don't do that.

Garmin has replaced my 305. Multiple times. Those guys at Garmin are just wonderful. I'm still not going to down load the data, and the 305 will continue to lock up after a few hundred rides. And I'm sure the nice guys at Garmin will continue to replace it.

I finally got tired of charging a computer for the road bike, and just got a cheap Cat Eye Strada. Know what I hate... those little arrows that tell you that you are going faster than your average, or slower than the average. I have to turn that sucker over when I go out for an easy ride, as my competitive nature makes me want to keep that arrow pointing up.

What do I need in a computer... average speed, time, distance and current speed. I do miss an old Specialized computer that I had years ago... it told you the current temp. Like you really needed a computer to tell you that it was stinking hot, when you could look down and see the tar bubbling on the road. I may not be a sophisticated geek, but I am a geek. I loved knowing that it was really 115 degrees on the road... you know, where we ride. Too bad I knocked that sucker off the handlebar one day and we could never find it.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The weekend in pictures

Every once in awhile you need to race in the rain. Rain has this way of making you humble... as you take a technical corner and then all of a sudden your rear wheel slides, and you are kissing pavement. Col. Sweatsalot ate it on the first corner, the site of many a bangemup all day. Notice the little kisses on her knee...

But J, who swears that she isn't the best in corners, went thru all day, with nary a slip or slide. J is, as always, our saving grace. She towed Sharon back up to the pack after she was able to get to the pit for her free lap.
I missed my pedal in the rain, don't you hate it when that happens, and slowed to see if Sharon was ok, only to miss my only hope of ever making it back to the field. So I rode most of the day all by my lonesome, except for the one lap that I was able to hook a ride with J and Emily Joyner... just as our group got a prime lap. That was the last I saw J. I was finally able to hook up with a Velobella girl, right before the end.
You know, it can get very lonely out there... J giving Sharon the limo treatment...
All in all it was a great weekend. Maybe not the most successful weekend that we've had, but the racing was hot, Roanoke as always was wonderful, and the people were grand. I may eventually get my bike back from the shop, sooner or later!
Stratton's Keirin Culture shop was fun, and we had a blast at his beer bash. The restaurant recommendation to Issac's was good too. All 4 of us ate for about $40. Saturday we hit the Blue Star with Ruth Stornetta and had a great dinner on the patio. We talked to the masses every day. Bike racing is a welcome sport in Roanoke.
If you'd like to see more of how the weekend went, head over to our buddy Hany's website and take a peek. And no, those are not photo shopped pictures... Hany just does great work. go to I understand that if you buy photos soon, he'll give you a discount. So don't be cheap, show a brother some love.
Hany is trying to hook me up with the fountain of youth... I'm thinking of giving them a try. I may have to quit my job first though. So if you have any spare cash laying around after buying a few hundred of Hany's photos... send it my way. As flat footed as I am, I may have to live at the studio to learn how to MOVE again!

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Killer Bee and the Twins

Have you ever stopped to talk to spectators at a race?

We were walking back down to the race to watch the 1-3 men after we raced. We got to the downhill corner, and were stopped by a couple who were watching the race with a whole lot of enthusiasm. What did they want to know? They wanted to know if it was ok to cheer for the riders, because they really enjoyed the race, but didn't want to break any one's concentration... 'cause they looked so intense...

At which point J started screaming at the guys so loud that the lady was startled (and I think maybe peed herself, you know, just a little.) We told them that yeah, it was cool to scream their appreciation, and that the riders DO hear it, and it helps when you are deep in the land of pain.

At that point, the lady told us that they were rooting for the Killer Bee and the Twins! And here they came! They had no concept of teams, and thought that the "Twins" must be brothers or something. Yeah, kind of... those were the Richmond Pro Guys, and the Killer Bee- was killing everyone... Ben King.

So then we got to explain how racing is like chess, with all kinds of strategy. They listened with rapt attention. They loved it.

And they said that they were going to come out to today's race. We'll see... its raining.

But that cat 1-3 men's race... was the best race in the state all year. Bar none.

We were peppered with questions from passers by when we were on the trainers. Questions when we were walking. Questions, questions, questions. We loved it. And we answered them all, no matter how long it took.

Roanoke- probably one of the best places to race you'll ever find... fabulous courses, great people, killer restaurants, and ... the Killer Bee and the Twins.

Friday, July 3, 2009

On the road again...

Monday I zipped out from home to Kentucky for Masters Nats. I can end the suspense now, I did not win the tt...

But on the way I did manage to break out my handy dandy magic coupon book to score some good hotel deals. El Cheapo Delux here... not paying 130 or whatever it was to stay at the race headquarters. Especially when said race headquarters really didn't seem to offer anything to the racers. My newest find... Microtel. There was a coupon for every stop I made and I don't think I paid over $40 for a room. The rooms were pretty new, clean and quiet. I cant ask for much more than that.

I lived out of the cooler, funny how with free continental breakfast, and a cooler you can do that. I did stop at my other go to place though... Tamarac- the tourist trap in Beckley, WVA. The Greenbrier has a cafeteria there, and you can eat like a Queen for about $8. No kidding. Pan fried trout, fresh green beans and mushroom, roast potatoes. Yum.

After the race I went over to the Kentucky Horse Park to pal around with Cigar and Funnycide. I had a day to kill, and thought that I might as well do something fun. If you are ever in Lexington, its a well spent $15, and next year, they get the World Equestrian Games, the first time that they have ever been held outside of Europe.

Ok, the highlights of the race... getting to hang with all my friends who decided to come out and ride with the best of the best. Dennis, Tony, Marc & Marnie, Mimi.. yeah they were all there. Thank God that Tony had at least brought stuff as I ended up using his trainer. I'm not the only one... Dennis did, too. And Tony did TRY to give me a heads up on both the turn around and how short the course was. Too bad I really wasn't letting stuff sink in!

Tuesday I rode the course about 11:30 am. Yeah, during the high wind warning. Too say that there were points that I really thought I should get off my bike... understatement. And right there I decided to not use the tri-spoke and just use a regular wheel. With the wind, and the bridges over gorges... it was scary. So scary that I only rode the course one time, not the two that I had planned. And to be honest, I really wasn't paying attention to markings, I was trying to stay on the bike.

Tuesday night I went in to Louisville early to get my bike measured. I knew that it wouldn't pass, but was very confident of a morphological exemption. First ref, the not official measurer, agreed... I was about 1-2 cm off with the saddle. So I waited, but never fear, I had my shoes for the exemption.

Uh, next ref... said I was fine. So I made him measure the bike again. Nope, fine. I told him, that when I measured it it wasn't fine, when the other guy measured it, it wasn't fine. Nope, fine.

Now the Natures Pearl guys had to zip out to Lowes to buy a hacksaw for their handlebar extensions... I was worried for them.

Get to the race on Wed and the wind has died down, but there is a good chance for tstorms later in the day. Oh, and the race is delayed, rumor being that no one figured on the amount of traffic on the HIGHWAY that they were using. Oh, I'd be sooo embarrassed. Not nearly as embarrassed as if the other rumor I was hearing came to pass, that they were going to have to cancel the tt. Yeah, cancel the Masters National TT. Yeah, that would be bad.

But the race went off. And when it was my turn to go, the same ref who measured me twice the night before did not pass my bike. But yes, I did get the morph exemption, and then I rode like crap. 1000 miles, multiple days in hotels, and I stunk.

I did get to see Cigar the next day though.

So now we're in Roanoke, and the girls just got here for the Mill Mt Hill Climb tonight. If I didn't like the hills on the tt course, I'm really not going to like Mill Mt. I'll get up though, and maybe with the girlies around me I'll actually sleep tonight.

Onward and upward!