Archive for the 'bicycles' Category

Michael Barry’s Diary

I am really impressed whe an athlete knows his sport, is articuate, and can actually write well. This is a rare combintation of talents, to know the sport well, to be able to put it to words, and to actually put words to paper, er, to keyboard.

Jimmy Conrad comes to mind in soccer; I used to really look forward to reading his features in Sports Illustrated online. I am not sure, but I think they no longer are written but the old ones can still be found. Who would know that the long bodied geek playing right back for the Quakes circa 2001 would evolve to be one of the best defenders in MLS and get to show his creativity in a major national (online) publication?

Now I have been enjoying Michael Barry’s Diary, a feature in VeloNews.com. Again, a well written insight, althought there is a bit of cliche in it. Still, it is a good read. Some entries in the past few months were more original in content, and made me see the more human side of Michael.

Still, it adds to the excitment of what looks to be a great Giro this year. And it seems one can watch it free online on UniversalSports.com. Enjoy, and “Go Levi!”

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Smiling in the Rain

Last Sunday was the Grizzly Peak Century, for which I volunteered. Because I think it is important to give back to the cycling community, and to the club. And because something amusing was sure to happen.

Wife Sherie was the honcho at Island, where I also volunteered. Having been out of town on biz the whole week before, on Saturday I just relaxed and did household errands. So when the alarm sounded at 5 AM on Sunday, it wasn’t that hard to get out of bed. And it was still dry outside.

Now, I looked again at the hourly weather forecast, and it sured looked like the rain was to come during that morning. So I was glad we had arranged stoves to heat fluids for the masses, and I put about 6 fleece blankets in the car along with the various provisions already stacked. Yes, the little beemer overflowed when we got to Amy’s house, but she didn’t mind. But more amusing was the sudden downpour that came when Amy walked down her front steps.

Now, many might not thing that getting wet is amusing, but it gave focus to the morning. And it really wasn’t very cold, and I had good raingear and underlayers that can handle it. And most people that day also had such clothes.

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Once the physical plant (racks, food stations, donated canopies (thanks!!!), etc) were set up, I mostly hung out near the bike parking area to talk to folks as they arrived. Early on, many needed to register at this “alternate start” for “no car” riders coming up from town. And later, most riders were pretty wet, a few cold, and many leary of walking down the mud to the food and drink. But I tried to convince them they could wash their cycling cleats on the faucet once they were replenished, and since there was a “steady stream” (hah, hah) of people doing this, it was not hard to explain. 

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If one smiles, and ask a fellow human suffering through some mutual thing, one often gets a smile in return. And that is what I tried to do, as I watched cyclists ring the water out their gloves or wiping their glasses. And the returned smiles made it worth it for me, as well as the regular “Thanks for being out in the rain for us” replies. Of course, I had been nervous that we would stand in the rain all morning, and no cyclists would come to our party. I guess the official word was about half the signed up rides checked in. And from the amount of food left over, and given to us volunteers, that must be about right. Our freezer and fridge have never been so full.

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Thanks for the other volunteers for being merry, and making the best of a wet day. Especially you Sherie for trying so hard.

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Thanks riders for laughing and smiling through the deluge…or at least the steady light rain…

Cold Morning Comments

With the time to summer time daylight savings time, my body has been harder to adapt than expected. Normally, I awake quite early and ready to get going. And in fact I did do that the last two days. But with our post cold front clear mornings, the morning temps have been quite cool, maybe even into the thirties or so (which is quite cool for so close to the SF Bay for March.) When I made it onto the bicycle, yesterday for a club ride and today for the commute across Berkeley for work, my body just wasn’t ready for the cool temperatures. With the hour earlier departure, relative to the sunrise, the temps hadn’t risen much, and my metabolism just didn’t react. I did ride okay, but even when I had been sweating a bit, I still didn’t feel like my core temp had kicked up made me feel energized.

Anyway, sorry for not writing much lately. I guess my thoughts have been elsewhere. I hope to soon do some posts on my thoughts on the ‘Quakes season coming up, on life on the bike in these hard economic times, and such.

Vuelta Video Revisited

Well, there is some online video after all for the Vuelta. I have been watching some of Cycling News Video highlights, and while they are short they do give some indication of the terrain, the road, the crowds, the villages, etc.

However, it is not as fun as watching the whole thing. My searching has found that it is available online in some countries, but I haven’t explored thoroughly enough to find one worth watching.

No Vuelta Video

I may be missing something, but it doesn’t appear that there is any video of the Vuelta Espana this year. Too bad, as it seems to be a race where Astana is trying to prove a point about not being at the Tour de France.

And it also seems that there is a really epic climb, to give the race to a true climber. See the Velo New story about the Angliru.

Alternative Communte Transportation

Sometimes it is hard for die-hard athletes to admit that others may not have the physical tools to walk or bike to work or the store, even for fairly short trips. In China and Europe, many “bicyclists” have been using power-assist bikes to get around.

Here is an interesting review in SI. Note that one can only now get this in the USA, but it is already pretty well tested.

Of course, it also needs lights and racks. Some other manufacturers probably already provide that.

Le Tour in 2008

Part of me wants to write to the Tour de France organizers and tell them that I won’t watch this year because of what they did to keep the new Astana and its established stars out of the tour, and efforts to battle the UCI, the other part of me just has to watch. I can’t help myself.

First, the HD Versus channel is now on Dish, and just looking at the countryside in France from the ‘copter is great eye candy. And when I record the early morning coverage, I can actually see the race unfold in something like real time. You can watch the breaks, the chase, the various attacks and sprints, and judge for oneself their importance and chances for success.

Second, thank you Will Frischkorn. For the great break on stage three. For the diary. For the agony and frustration in your interview on Vs. with Frankie realizing the missed chances to actually win the sprint. You are trying to make me forget the cynicism I have developed over the politics and money involved.


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