Friday, August 31, 2007

The Onion on Cycling

Maybe it's just me, but I didn't find The Onion piece that ran yesterday (and has made the email rounds from my riding friends and a mention on a number of cycling blogs) all that funny. Yes it was nice that cycling made it into that prestigious news source, but the joke just didn't work for me. Yes, I "got it". The TdF is so hard that you have to dope to finish on time, yada, yada, yada. I just didn't find anywhere near The Onion's usual brilliance.

I'm not saying it was entirely without laughs. The part about it being carried on "Versus-2, the little-sister network to Versus" was brilliant. I guess I just didn't buy the premise. Also, see #9 and #12 here.

Yada, yada, yada has it's own Wikipedia entry? Now that's funny.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


Info on the Chicago Cyclocross cup races here. First race is September 23 at Jackson Park. I plan on making this my cyclocross racing debut. I'll try to get in some practice Wednesday nights at 6 at Mt. Trashmore in Evanston. This guy's excited for 'cross season. If anyone has other links of interest related to local 'cross events or practices, please post them in the comments.

Glencoe Grand Prix

Nice race summary by Chicago Bike Racing here. FattyM has his take on the Cat 4 and Masters Cat 4 races. More photos are up at the GGP flickr group.

Just Off The Top Of My Head

Next time I'm having coffee and I find the half and half in my fridge has gone bad long before the expiration date, I'll try to keep my disappointment in perspective by remembering that a faulty fridge can do a lot more harm than that.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Glencoe Grand Prix

Yesterday, the first annual (I was going to say inaugural, but I couldn't spell it) Glencoe Grand Prix was held in beautiful downtown Glencoe, Illinois. By any measure, it was a success. There was a full day of competitive racing under perfect weather. I spent my day watching the races, volunteering as a course marshal and taking snapshots with my Canon Elph. I got 81 pictures before the battery failed. My raw photos are now on a Flickr group that I creatively named "Glencoe Grand Prix". Feel free to post your own photos of the event there or add comments. I will eventually post a few of these shots after a little time with photoshop.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Perry DeAngelis

I never met Perry DeAngelis. I only knew him as a voice of wit and reason on a podcast called The Skeptics Guide to the Universe, a highly entertaining and informative weekly podcast talk show that discusses, from a scientific point of view, the latest news of the paranormal and fringe beliefs. I heard of his untimely death the same way that I have come to know him, on a podcast. I don't remember how I found the SGttU, but the first time I heard it, I instantly liked it. It is a rare combination of science, intellect and entertainment made all the more enjoyable by the personalities involved.

Perry, I never met you, but I will miss you.

Good News Everyone

I may be a little late learning about this, but one of my favorite shows is coming back.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Glencoe Grand Prix

Remember that the Glencoe Grand Prix is this Sunday, August 26. Same day registration opens at 7:00 am, but why wait? Go ahead, register online.

I'm told they can still use some volunteers and the weather forecast looks great.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Potter Mouth

"Wands are only as powerful as the wizards who use them. Some wizards just like to boast that theirs are bigger and better than other people's."
--Hermione Granger (from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows)

Funny thing. This was the second time in the book where phallic humor penetrated the story. Without giving too much away, in the story Harry has to use someone else's wand. It's, ahem, smaller than his and he refers to using it as like "having someone else's hand sewn to the end of his arm." One of the first spells he tries with it is engorgio and it doesn't work (Viagra joke anyone?). Hermione's comment to this failure is: "It's all a matter of confidence."

Really enjoying this, the seventh book.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Three Feet. It's The Law

Governor Rod Blagojevich signed Senate Bill 80 yesterday which amends the Illinois vehicle code to require motorists that are overtaking bicycles to leave at least three feet of room until safely past the rider. I wonder if this will change the attitude of Mr. GOTFR from last Sunday's ride?

Many thanks to the Chicagoland Bicycle Federation for their work on this.

Now if I can only get a police vehicle as a pace car.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

I'm With David. And He's a Fred.

The FredCast is a weekly podcast about cycling news and gear. I listen to it (free from iTunes). It seems that the staff of a certain TeeVee actor who may or may not be running for President is using the name FredCast for their podcasts. David Bernstein, the creator/host of the cycling FredCast has written this letter to politely ask them to stop. There is a story about this that you can Digg by clicking here.

Monday, August 13, 2007

SUVs to Pay $50 Daily Fee to Drive in London?

In 2003, London instituted a $16 per day fee to drive within their "congestion zone". This reduced traffic and provided money to invest in their transport infrastructure. Now, Mayor Ken Livingston has proposed to charge owners of SUVs $50 a day to drive them within the congestion zone.

(Just a note about attribution. I first saw this story in today's Chicago Tribune. Since links to their web site require registration, I linked to the autoblog story for convenience.)

Imagine what a fee to drive within the Loop might do for Chicago? Yeah, like that'll ever happen.

Getting Through to McQuaid?

UCI president, Pat McQuaid, blames organizers of Tour de France for scaring away sponsors saying that sponsors are reluctant to invest when there is no guarantee the team will race.

Wellll duuuh!

Later in the article, McQuaid takes another shot at Lance Armstrong as if allegations are just proof of doping that haven't yet been confirmed. This of course is part of the problem. One that Mr. McQuaid doesn't yet seem to understand.

Let me state it clearly so Mr. McQuaid understands. Most of your sponsors are large corporations. They have many sponsorship opportunities. Corporations are risk averse. They do not want to be associated with controversy. Right now, cycling is seen to be a risky association (this point you seem to understand). Therefore, corporations are likely to spend their sponsorship Euros elsewhere. This is even more true for new sponsors. You know, the ones you need to replace the departing sponsors.

Friday, August 10, 2007

I'd Rather Ride

While Alberto Contador, winner of the 2007 Tour de France, proclaims his innocence, Tailwind Sports, owner and operator of the Discovery Channel team, his team, a team which also placed riders third and eighth in this year's Tour, announced that they will cease operations at the end of the season. Two years in a row, the team of the winner of the Tour de France shuts down. Doping is certainly destroying the sport. Just not exactly the way you're being told.

And Christian Prudhomme writes this editorial showing he is completely out of touch.

Thursday, August 9, 2007


Wow. This may not mean what I thought it meant.

Bicycle Film Festival

The program information on the Chicago Bicycle Film Festival is up. This was fun last year. I'll probably be there this year as well.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Fun With Physics

Brewster Rockit: Space Guy is one of those comics that I read mainly because I'm already on the comics page reading Dilbert and several others that I like. BRSP's humor usually ranges from juvenile to obvious and is occasionally funny. So imagine my surprise when I saw this one:

It's not laugh out loud funny, but you do have to remember your high school physics to get it. Also, for some reason, I hear the voice of Dr. Farnsworth from Futurama in my head when I read Dr. Mel's lines (it's his shrink ray above). I also can't believe that Dr. Farnsworth has a Wikipedia entry.

Sunday, August 5, 2007

A Little Fun With That Warning

I saw this sign at Starbucks after our morning weekday ride. Isn't this another way of saying: "Get your coffee and get out"?

I took this picture two weeks ago, did some photoshop magic and was about to put it up as a fun posting when tragedy struck. The hard drive on my trusty 4-5 year old desktop showed me the blue screen of death. In other words, it gave up the ghost. To make a long blog entry short, I bought a new computer, reinstalled my favorite software, and restored my music and pictures from an Iomega backup drive I had been using. I only lost about a dozen pictures from a recent trip that hadn't been backed up (damn!) and a lot of time. The moral of the story. Get a back up drive and use it.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Doping at the Tour

"It ain't cheating if you don't get caught." --Billy Martin

Yeah, but if you cheat to win, it's an empty victory. Don't believe me? Consider where Bjorn Riis kept his yellow jersey from his 1996 tour victory. It wasn't displayed in a prominent place. It was "in a box at home."

That's one reason the Floyd Landis situation bugs me. No matter what you may think about whether he doped or didn't, we will never know. The flaws in the lab's procedures and documentation shown in public by the mediation hearing make it impossible to know if he was doping and got caught or wasn't doping and his results were a false positive (remember that the 'B' sample was known to be Floyd's and the lab analyst was confirming her supervisor's 'A' result. A clear conflict of interest and poor laboratory procedure). Even if you think Floyd doped (and I don't) you have to hope he is cleared by the arbitrators. It is the right result and it just might help reform the system or at least open WADA's eyes to a problem it must fix. One of many before the Tour can recover.

"I win on my merits; my opponents win by cheating." --Mason Cooley

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

Moose Drool

I was up in far northwestern Wisconsin last weekend (more on that in a future post). It was so far northwestern WI, that I had dinner in Duluth, MN where I had the pleasure of a Moose Drool beer. Loved it. A really tasty, dark brown ale that was so good I went through all the trouble (yeah, right) of looking them up on the web. Big Sky Brewing Company in Missoula, Montana. They even have a great tag line: We make water fun. Fun yeah, but not available (yet?) in Illinois.


This was the headline on the front page of today's Chicago Tribune:

The 237 reasons to have sex

Let me repeat myself. This was on the front page. Above the fold. With everything else going on in the world and in our country today, this was deemed worthy of the front page. Important. I'd link to the article, but you have to login to read it.

Besides. Who needs 236 other reasons?