Friday, March 28, 2008
Bike racing has started in earnest. Each year the season seems to be more competitive earlier and earlier. It used to be that winter was the off season, and the spring was for loading the easy miles on for the summer.
But now Spring is racing from the gun. I think that might be the reason why pros race less races then they might have in the mid 80's. Couple the fact that so many pros in the earlier years of the sport would depend on the criterium races as a means to support themselves, as promoters would pay lucrative start fees to the racers, much like they still do it today, but the difference today is that most pros are now making more than minimum wage. Today pros do not need to race the criteriums, due to the fact that the sport has developed to the point where teams are able to pay their riders enough for them to just concentrate on the races they want them to do and not focus on the races that they might get a small pay day on just for showing up.
Today the competition is fierce from the go. Witness Paris-Nice. The race had been a sleepy, slow French affair till the start of the 1990's. Little by little, it no longer was just a training race, but rather a season target for many of the top racers.
The upside for the spectator is that we now witness more competition from more racers.
Gloves are personal in terms of fit and warmth for most, so it can make it hard for one to say what really makes a good glove a great glove. Of all the factors durability is often the one that is the hardest to quantify. With that being said I was going to provide my notes on a set of Castelli Nano gloves with caveat being that the stitching on one of the fingers has come undone after less than 5 road rides. No crashing, no mountain biking or any other activity than gingerly holding the handle bar for roughly 200 miles...I will be getting another set in the near future and will re post on the long term durability of these gloves down the road assuming that this set just had an anomaly of poor manufacturing.
Fit: the fit is nice. I went with a slightly larger style in case I wanted to wear them with a set of thin glove liners. The length was spot on as was the width for my smallish hands. In general, most Euro clothes are sized smaller. Evidently, across the pond, they eat less than we do. There is a nice rubber cuff piece that keeps it cinched up around the wrist. not to tight so it can be worn over or under a long sleeve jersey or jacket.
Style: Johny Cash black with rubber scorpions as the grippers? Totally cool.
Below: The busted stitching on my bird finger.
Warmth: These gloves are not intended for the deep cold although they were used at temperatures that hoovered around the low 30's. With the wind it often felt colder out and while they were good, there is no substitute for a true winter glove like a lobster style glove. I would reserve this pair of gloves for 35 degrees.
Summary: The busted stitching on the index finger of one of the gloves really was disappointing as I really like these gloves. I also don't want to feel like I have an article of clothing for biking in which I need to treat as if it was a piece of delicate Belgian(outside of bare knuckle boxing tough racing the Belgians also make superior lace) lace....which is pretty much how I treated these suckers. I have found that Castelli products to be normally pretty sturdy, although they have a slightly sheerer feel to them compared to a Pearl Izumi.
I like the styling, the warmth, the functional and very cool looking Scorpion rubber grippers on the palms and for under 40 dollars a nice package.
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Tuesday, March 25, 2008
Monday, March 24, 2008
Overstepping boundaries? I don't think so. But it is not for me to decide and decry what offends others and what does not. Their prerogative to protect their feelings comes first and when a friend asks for it to come down I will do it. I will say it is bull shit, and there is no say in editorial input other than the devil in my ear, but it will come down. Frankly, I am not really sure who reads this dribble and so consequently I must feel that this forum is intimate to the extent that there is nothing written I would not tell my friends about over beers.
I wonder why and who I do this blog for. I had done other blogs and I stopped short with them because they lacked an element in which I knew was crucial. I wanted more than content in which to fill this space with. Anything of substance in our lives is true and real and so I had hoped to make this blog a place in which to take the self editor off and allow for what is at the front of my cranium to be public. It has been hard to rant with out conscious, laugh out loud at the folly of life and share the broken heart. Much harder than I thought. It may not be hard for others to be so open, but it certainly was/is for me.
Obviously, this led me to the conclusion this might be why people keep their journals private. I do that too, but I wanted to bridge that gap a little: One is meant to be a lighter friendlier version while the other is full tilt S&M. And you know me, I always want the S&M version.
Obviously, this led me to the conclusion this might be why people keep their S&M lives private.
Thursday, March 20, 2008
Pretty amazing that Vaughter's team has gotten an invite to the Tour....regardless of the talent on the team (Millar, Dave Z, or Maggy) Slipstream is making its way into the big dance a la 7-11 did in the 80's...Why? A new team, with some modest results and strong anti doping message.
It remains to be seen whether or not a team can truly compete at the top tier PRO level clean...
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Koji live and direct:
The blog is worth checking out just for some of his pictures of his Brooklyns and other randomness like "It is holiday until today"....
Anwyay, this post is dedicated to the Japanese bike boy of the year..... Koji.
Although I was glued to Thrasher mag and Tranworld of Skateboarding, living off the still images of various skaters of the days, it was not until I saw Future Primitive on the VCR, which was so alien for a Luddite kid like myself whose parents only recently dropped the smoke signal and have opted for the telephone. The video was groundbreaking not only in terms of the way it was filmed but for the footage. It was my first hand viewing of "rad" skating.
It was here that I saw Hosoi skate for the first time and just the way he turned was so style. It was fast and aggro and yet so smooth. It was the first time I understood what style was and what little of it I had.
It was embodiment of the rock n'roll, as if I had been going through life only seeing black and white and now I could see in full technocolor. It was like the first I heard "God Save the Queen" by the Sex Pistols: you could help but say "Fuck yeah!"
Future Primitive has a DIY sensibility in comparison to today's bigger budget, well produced products...this video was just skating and was originally designed for kids who may have a chance to see the bones brigade do a demo. Where else was somebody from Iowa going to see the moves, the style and attitude? No where because these skaters would go a long way to defining pop culture as we know it now. It was punk rock when punk had died or become a fashion statement. Even the Stacy Peralta flash of him riding old school style, even though his expiration date had occurred many years prior called for a hushed silence in the room.
I was reminded of my hero worship earlier today when I came across an old Belgiumkneewarmers.com post about style and being pro. Style is looking relaxed while riding right on the edge. They were the edge and style making them the most pro ever.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I feel content
I rode with AM, Joe, a three guys from a club team, a older guy on a Pinarello and a guy by the name of Frank. Felt fast. It was 40 degrees. My legs screamed at me for deprieving them of oxygen and my brain wished I had killed more brain cells over the weekend so the pain would be ever so dulled. Regardless of how I felt I definately rode fast which I think made a few people look at me differently after I strung them out. Had trouble breathing but I did not slow till I had a few people drop off the back.
It is starting to come.
I will have to start the miles again in ernest.
I hope that whatever keeps me pinned to a past that I can only visit in memories will be left behind.
Grants Tomb Criterium ended up being a bust because of the field supposedly filling up...I later heard that the field was on the slim side. I was annoyed not to race. I really did not have expectations to do well frankly as my legs were sore for whatever reason (pretty sure it is the adjustment of going from a cross bike with a much lower saddle to my road bike), but nonetheless I wanted to get into the mix again.
Ended up getting first dirt of the year at Blue Mountain with LD. I rode the SR-6 which is built in typical LD style (like a tank) and had a blast riding it. His build is overbuilt in my humble opinion and would be closer to a true all around trail bike with lighter wheels/smaller tires. I know he builds to have his stuff bullet proof at all times so that he can ride "till the break of dawn" with out mechanical failure. A bit heavy but made for an awesome work out...If it was my bike I would build it like a muscle car: XC wheels, 2.2 tubeless tires, swap the saint cranks for XT which are just lighter but just as stiff, lighter bars with less rise, take off the Gustavs and put lighter XC brakes. ...And trigger shifters since there is no front derailleur. Then the bike bike could be more of an all day bike. Heavy wheels take their toll on the engine....
Saturday Night: 16 hot 23 year old girls...do I need to say more? It was cousin Sophie's b-day and since there was no way I was going to stay out all night as her party started at Midnight I opted to join the inner sanctum of the double X chromosome and have dinner with the girls. Was not half bad...made it home by midnight in the hopes of a early AM departure for what i had planned to be a super hard ride...
Thursday, March 13, 2008
"All I need are some tasty waves, a cool buzz, and I'm fine": The week has been somewhat slim on my posts. Work has cut into much of my free time and free mind space. I can only maintain so much info and right now my brain seems to be filled with info on maturity, yield to maturity, credit quality and "legaleese" on offshore investment development. With what free time I have had I ridden a little (Tuesday and Wednesday) and painted a bunch till late at night. the week has sped by and I am really looking forward to the weekend. Glass of wine, good conversation and the chance to repose and ponder the goings on that seem to have made my life accelerate seems like the plan at the moment. I love being busy, but with out some down time one is less likely to appreciate those moments.
Cyclingnews had an interesting factoid/number in regards to cheating at the Tour de Frnace: The last suspicion-free winner of the Tour was Greg LeMond in 1990. Take out Lucien van Impe and Bernard Hinault, neither caught in tests, and there hasn't been a shadow-free winner since Federico Bahamontes in 1959, which was before dope-testing started [in 1966 - ed.] Of 273 riders who have made the Tour podium in Paris, 138 have been at some time implicated in doping, says the "Annuaire de Dopage".
Read the entire article at cyclingnews.com
Another local picture taker in Brooklyn I stumbled across. I am always fascinated by going from link to link to see what I uncover when I am on the phone.
untitled from kara canal on Vimeo.
Finally, Saturday could be race day...lack of determination on my part has cause me to question fitness and this put off registration for the Grant Tomb Crit. I am feeling ok and feel like I have enough punch to follow wheels around a technical concrete playground. Not sure it will happen as the race may have already filled up.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
Many I know struggle these days. Cancer, divorce, broken hearts, failure in their career and lack of personal fullfillment is the carnage on the road of life at the moment. As a reminder, try and be a little better to those in your life.
"Be kind to one another – everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” ~John Watson
I am on the fence about Grants Tomb this weekend. I have not really done any work on riding fast/speed...just base/endurance. But I recognize I need to bust my cherry sooner or later and since I have raced there before and the crit only last 30 minutes means I know it will be fast but I also know what to expect.
Last night in preparation for Grants Tomb I did three sprints on at 110th street. The tune up basically consisted of me rolling tempo after recovery and then hit it as hard as I could at the base till I could go no more...Only three of them becasue I wanted the sprints to be meaningful and not just a hollow work out.
Tender is the thigh:
The six repeats on river road has left my thighs a littel tender. Even though I stretched and I took Monday off my legs feel a little sore. Nothing to worry about as I am sure they will repair themselves before Saturday. I could really go for a rub down on my thighs to work the junk out of them...
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
"How can you explain shadows in the rain..."
Weekend Ride Recap:
Saturday the rain gods were angry and the place was looking like Noah's back yard on day 2 of 40. But for a brief moment a respite occured early in the day just long enough for me to roll 2 hours fast in the park. I wanted to get some miles in over the bridge but did not know how long my good fortune would last so stayed local and just rode like I had stole it for 2 hours.
Saturday night dusk ride through CP.
Sunday I ended up heading to River Road over the bridge and did 6 hill repeats up from the boat basin to the top where the ranger station in a row. Legs are a little sore from what was more of a work out than a ride. I may start doing that with more regularity now that I have built some endurance up over the last 3-4 months.
Great Article entitled "Where was my bike made?"- It might suprise you to find that what you thought was European/US bike was actually a China/Taiwan bike.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
One of the things that struck me when LD emailed methis picture was that we had just literally peddled by Metro Bike on 6th ave. It was there we had met over 10 years ago (1996 or so...). I was skinny. LD was geeking on XC bikes. He rode with no bar ends like I did: we had something in common.
There was a few years were we each dropped off the planet and it was not until I bumped into him on 10th street moons ago riding his Rocky Mountain that we reconnected.
But it was strange to think 10 years ago I was still a full tilt bike shop boy...
Finally ...Track Racing in Vegas:
Something worth returning to Vegas for. Otherwise I hate Vegas. But there is a report that a major 6 Day raced is slated at the Mandalay Bay...I may have to see that.
Monday, March 3, 2008
The great thing about riding in the snow is that you get to see where folks did or did not dab. Does one follow the tire tracks or does one break new trail?
No matter what there was some pushing to do...Annoyingly there was more pushing than riding.
On Sunday I spun circles in the park for a few hours. It was clear and cold. My legs and my upper body was tired from mountain bike pushing from the day before. I wanted to ride for 4 hours but the thermostat said 20 when I woke up and I was not having it.
It went to 29 and I had to motivate long and hard. Finally I bundled up and hit the park. Climbed the hill at 110 street over and over (5 times in a row) trying to loosen up the legs a little from the prior day. Then did 5 laps at a steady pace.
The grass was green and parts of the park seemed in bloom. I wish I felt better but for whatever reason I felt sluggish.
The guy in the right was riding a Colnago carbon Extreme Power decked out in Campy Record and dressed as if he was a member of some sort of super extreme faction of Hamas. Khaki GI Joe pants, khaki army sweater, black vest, Oakley Glasses, Exteondo hat and a beard that would make the Wild Card seem clean cut. The full tilt Korresh vibe. Road style that a LD or Wildcard would dig on as he was riding full tilt mega racing machine rocking the down tow