31 January 2007

If only I were younger ...

Wow, this whole NetFlix thing is pretty cool. Kim and I are getting caught up on all the movies we've missed in the past 8 years or so, ever since cycling sort of took over ... not that we didn't see anything, but we missed so much, only catching a few films on video here and there ...

Now we're serializing the movies, watching half or a third at a sitting and finishing it the next night. It's pretty fun, have seen some good films and some not-so-good ones so far.

I've also decided this would have been really fun about 15 years ago: set up the "Q", wait for the mail, then get totally baked and watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind followed immediately by Memento. Then, just because you can't figure out while sober, watch Punch-Drunk Love. Maybe it's better while intoxicated. Finally, you have to top it off with Little Miss Sunshine and Harold and Kumar Go to White Castle. That would be an awesome evening.

ONLY 318 DAYS TO KC!!

29 January 2007

"I say, F*ck the Revolution!"

A historic day yesterday:

Sinn Fein Votes to Back Police
...
Crucially, however, the party motion approved Sunday commits Sinn Fein to begin supporting the police only after power-sharing is revived -- and only if the Democratic Unionists agree to transfer control of Northern Ireland's justice system, including the police, from Britain to local hands by May 2008. ...

And before you leave any comments, the title of this blog is not my own ...

ONLY 320 DAYS TO KC!!

28 January 2007

The real deal!

Today's second post brought to you by the color ... SILVER!!!!!!!

If you had given Jon Page a deal at the beginning of the year: crash in warmup at your first major race, before turning a pedal in anger; find out that you need surgery; undergo said surgery and ride like mad on the trainer; stage a comback starting 3rd row, even though you're the defending champion, at your Nationals; feel good but suffer from piss-poor starting positions at the Christmas series because you have no UCI points; start going up and down on your form before regrouping before Worlds because you have no true base ... AND THEN TAKE THE SILVER MEDAL AFTER CHALLENGING FOR THE RAINBOW STRIPES!!!!!!! ... do you think he'd have taken it?!

BIG congrats going out to JP and the entire U.S. squad -- 3-for-4 on the podium this year! Danny Summerhill got things going in the Juniors with his silver, and madwoman Katie Compton came through with a HUGE ride in her first Worlds (and only 2nd race EVER across the Pond!!!!) to also take a silver medal! What an absolutely amazing year for U.S. 'cross on the international scene ... Geoff Proctor must be falling down by now from all the Champaign!!!!

Good on 'ya to Rhonda Mazza for an 11th place finish, almost there in the Top 10, and Tristan for posting up as the last official finisher in the elites ... you know it's painful when WickNasty is only just in front of you!

WAY TO GO "TEAM USA!!!"

Don't Treat Me Bad ... My Cherry Pie

Did the responsible thing yesterday and skipped Palos -- it was 30-32 degrees, right at that freezing point that probably meant the trails were wet from melting snowpack. So I went up to Pets instead ... big advantage there, as I pass no fewer than 3 Starbucks on the way to and from!

(The route to Palos has a DD I have to detour to get to, with the slowest drive-thru in the world, and gas station coffee for the drive home ...)

It was OK up there, a few degrees cooler and a whole lot more snow. Since I don't know Pets that well, I spent 45 minutes fighting my way through deep drifts, only to discover the only ridable section along the river, just out from the parking lot! It wasn't much, but it made the trip worthwhile to do a bit of bedding in on my new brakes ... man, some days it's pretty awesome to work at SRAM ...

Today's going to be a little rough -- Kim and I got home barely 5 hours ago from our descent straight into the bowels of 80s hair bands ... Warrant and Firehouse at Austin's Saloon in Libertyville. "How you feelin' tonight Illinois?!?!?!!!!" I thought Sammy Hagar circa 1988 had died and channeled himself into Warrant's lead singer, who gave us the silent 3-finger rock salute and everything! Man, it was a night full of leather pants, mullets and WAY too much hairspray!

ONLY 321 DAYS TO KC!!
GO TRISTAN AND THE WORLDS TEAM -- KICK SOME ASS TODAY!!

26 January 2007

Disenchanted

OK, so I'm not naive enough to believe there are no drugs in cycling. But from last July to now, I'm just so disenchanted with the whole pro road scene -- it's just not fun for me to follow anymore. I think I'll just go ride my Rush at Palos and try to forget the whole Euro thing for a while.

http://www.velonews.com/news/fea/11517.0.html

ONLY 323 DAYS TO NATZ!!

25 January 2007

Bike parking

Very slow ride to work this morning -- brought the MTB and am running my "training wheels," which on the streets of Chicago means I'm going about 3 miles an hour. It's funny -- it was super cold, colder than I like to ride (20 is usually my limit), but I was sweating trying to get that thing going!

It's worth it -- right now it's parked on the test track just over the wall from my desk, and I'm having fun seeing people look at it as they walk by! I'm going to spend some time at lunch working on it (how cool is that?!) and need to be sure to get some WBR stickers on it somewhere ...

Looks like Palos will be ridable again this weekend. I think I'm going both days -- you have to grab these while you can, and chemical warmers do wonders! We're trying to get another group on Sunday, 8 a.m. Bullfrog ...

ONLY 324 DAYS TO NATZ!!

23 January 2007

So I can't send a friggin' email ...

But for some reason I can send pics from my new BlackBerry. Go figure.


ONLY 326 DAYS TO KC!!

22 January 2007

Awesome weekend

What an awesome weekend! 3 hours yesterday at Palos, a fresh 2 inches of powder on the ground -- it was sorta' like skiing, mostly just a fantastic mountain bike ride ... it felt SO good to get out there again, it's been way too long. John was nice to me, didn't beat me up too badly. Man, I can't wait to go again!

So I think JPE and the Wisco organizers may need to re-think their planning meeting/banquet date ... how many folks will be there given yesterday's developments? Sure, everyone in Wisconsin may have green (and yellow) blood, but still!

ONLY 327 DAYS TO KC!!

21 January 2007

Check it

Kim and I are sitting here on the couch working and being distracted by the Miami Ink marathon on TLC. There is no such things as a coincidence!

20 January 2007

Rat-a-tat-tat

At least it's not a 31!

Harlan is the man.

Later.

Puttin' it out there

What an awesome day!

Happy b-day: Big b-day wishes to Val, the friend I stayed with out in Boulder. She and I have known each other for a loooong time, and every January 20th is an excuse to say hi! Happy birthday!

My closet: Mountaingoat and Rachael were going back and forth a while back about their "closet" music choices. I didn't join the fray -- my musical closet is so deep, I need a full-on shelving unit to keep up. But I did have a closet TV moment today -- I went down to Palos, alone, to get some of my groove back. I'm feeling great, out on the cemetery loop, on the long section of widetrack about 2/3 of the way through, a looooong section of pedaling, and I think to myself "wow, this is probably what the marathon is going to be like." And what pops into my head? The theme song to 90210. THIS is what feeling great feels like? Help!!

(My brother-in-law Troy and I have a long-running contest every time we visit Arizona. We'll throw on the local "All-90210, all-the-time" cable channel, and try to guess the plot of each episode as quickly as we can once it starts. Not that I'm proud of it or anything, but I totally kick his butt -- this one time, I named the episode from the first outside shot of the house!)

More Palos tomorrow: The main reason for today's ride was because I'm meeting John Firak and a couple of others down at Palos tomorrow, and I didn't want to embarass myself. 8 a.m. Bullfrog if you're in -- I'll probably be there at 7.

Good luck! to all the U.S. 'crossers in Belgium ... just a week to Worlds! Oh, and to John -- kick some ass tomorrow at the Tour!

ONLY 329 DAYS TO KC!!

18 January 2007

Your what hurts?

Cyclingnews.com is reporting that Roger Hammond has issues with 'cross:
Hammond made it clear that this level of competition doesn't suit him. "I don't know what the UCI is trying to do to cyclo-cross but they're making it for pure cyclo-cross riders. But to cross over like me it's hard; to me, they are killing it… I can't do this anymore, it's just waste of my time," complained Hammond.

Now, the lead-in on the main page and the start of the story make it sound like he's fed up with the sport. If you read deeper, he's ticked at the UCI for dropping the roll-over points system. Check out his ideas and reasons ...

ONLY 331 DAYS TO KC!!

16 January 2007

Gutting it out

Wow. Did anyone else watch the last set of the Sharapova-Pin match at the Australian last night? I got home and got dinner cooked just in time, and as I was flipping channels came across ESPN ... it was either that or Back to the Future II ... I have to admit I was rivited.

It was like 120 degrees on the court, and Sharapova was self-destructing ... Pin wasn't playing all that strongly, but looked positively spritely compared to the struggling Russian. Pin won five straight in the final set to tie, and they went back and forth to 7-7 before Sharapova gutted it out to win 9-7. In 2 hours, 51 minutes. In 120-degree heat. Ouch.

Not the way you want to start a season, but at least she's still in it!

ONLY 333 DAYS TO KC!!

15 January 2007

Blog roll

I'm pretty fried from 20+ hours of video editing for work this weekend -- I don't know how she does it, but I do know that a whole lotta' RAM is a must! My computer almost had smoke coming out of it last night, and the video is only 3 minutes and 45 seconds! And it's not even "real" -- this is just a mock-up I made with Windows Movie Maker so I can share it with a real editor who will make it look super-cool.

I do have to say, though, it's pretty sweet -- there's only about a minute of narrative, split between two, 30-second sections, that's how powerful the ambient noise and the pictures are. Plus, I found some really neat royalty-free African percussion music that really seals the deal.

So for lack of anything interesting in my brain, here's a quick blog roll to keep you occupied this morning:

Renee: Check out the sweet bridge they built for the Capital Square Sprints up in Madison this weekend. For a ski race they had to truck in snow for. They do the same thing in Euro 'cross races ... hmmmm ... Angell Park anyone?

Mountaingoat: The big M told me about his plans for next year when we rode a couple of weeks back. I hear my coworker is part of this gig too. (She's also a faster Monday-morning blogger than me. Who is listening to some sick tunes over there today, good thing she's alone!) I have to say, I really admire his plans for a junior squad.

Joe: Gettin' closer, and hitting some "sweet" urban singletrack down in Austin. I think Tristan and Brian would feel right at home ...

Speaking of Tristan: He's still training, and getting ready to leave. Good on ya'!

Nice coconuts: Check out Amy's pic and description of the ukelele lady at Natz. Priceless!

Off we go ... Big changes in the Michigan scene next year. It'll be interesting when Jeff gets a job to see if he needs to change his priorities too ... I know I have!

ONLY 334 DAYS TO NATZ!!

12 January 2007

Quite an ending

OK, wow. LMS didn't quite exactly end like I thought. But it was still good, and very, very funny. In a sick sort of way.

Awesome ride home last night, tailwind the whole way. Easy ride this morning, and now the rain has come. Tomorrow is a scheduled "critical power" test in the morning, should be interesting to see where I'm at ... not very strong this time of year, I can tell you! Not that there's anything wrong with that!

What else ... Tomorrow is the big bike swap up in Madison; I'm going armed with stickers and DVDs to try to spread the word. Should be fun to see everyone. We won't be there for the mad dash to the front doors (see previous paragraph), but won't be too long after. And then we've got some K time scheduled for dinner!

Have a great weekend everyone -- stay dry!

ONLY 337 DAYS TO KC!!

11 January 2007

Where's Olive?

Kim and I received NetFlix as a Christmas gift this year, and I immediately built up a list of 253 titles in our "Q" -- talk about perfect timing not to have a job! I figure, even if we average four movies a week, we're still looking at March of 2008 before we run out ... and that's not including all the new releases we're sure to see!

We're on movie #3, and if you haven't seen Little Miss Sunshine yet -- go out and get it. We've only seen half of it, but it had us rolling on the floor laughing last night, and quoting lines to each other as we laid in bed before falling asleep. It's a sick and twisted comedy (definitely not for children!), sort of like American Beauty meets Napolean Dynamite meets "Malcom in the Middle."

Greg Kinnear and Alan Arkin (who plays his father) are awesome, as are Steve Carell and Toni Collette as brother and sister ... the interplay between the sextet of disfunctional family members (the brother and sister duo of Paul Dano and Abigail Breslin are incredible, each to themselves ...) is so perfectly written, and so perfectly played, that I felt like I was 13 again listening to my parents play off each other's insecurities. It's such a funny, sick, fabulous movie!

"Stuck in L" was the headline in today's Red Eye. Geez, people, buy a bike. The L needs to be upgraded, and 20 months of pain now will make our lives so much better as we begin the next decade (relatively recent reconstruction on the Kennedy and Dan Ryan have proven that!). Suck it up and find other ways to get to work!


ONLY 338 DAYS TO KC!!

10 January 2007

Glad I work at a bike company!

RIDE YOUR BIKE!!!
North Side 'L' riders: Expect 2 years of delays

Commuters who ride CTA trains on the city's North Side will face more than two years of crowded trains and longer travel times as the transit agency rebuilds station platforms as part of the $530 million Brown Line reconstruction project. ...

"You should budget at least double the amount of time to get home and 50 percent additional time to get to work,'' said Michael Shiffer, CTA vice president of planning and development.

Uuuunnnnnggggghhhh

Where did this cold come from? I can't really complain -- after all, it's already January 10, and this is only my first sub-30-degree ride -- but man did it bite this morning! My cheeks still feel a bit rosy ...

Plus, the cold coincided with my first threshold workout of the year. 2x10 minutes at +/- 10% of what I think is my threshold (I do a power test in a few days). Holy cow, did that hurt. I hope it was the cold and the layers of clothing, 'cause if I'm only pushing that many watts at threshold, I'm going to be HURTING bad once the season starts! Thank goodness there's still plenty of time to work on it ... isn't there?

Traveling man: So the coolest weekend/week of my professional life is almost set. I leave for a vendor show on Friday night, spend all day Saturday talking with dealers, my boss is the keynote speaker on Saturday evening, fly to San Francisco on Sunday, hang out all day at the Tour of California expo, maybe take part in a product launch Sunday night/Monday, then continue to hang out all week at the Tour until the finish in Long Beach the following Sunday. For work. I get to talk about World Bicycle Relief the whole time. Have I mentioned that I love my job?!

Almost famous: Let the industry vendor calls begin ...

ONLY 339 DAYS TO KC!!

09 January 2007

He's IN!!

WOOOOOO-HOOOOOO!!!

Somehow it makes it all better when you get schooled by someone who ... goes to Worlds!!

It's even cuter than I thought!

Check out this e-mail from Kari to Kim:
I’ll be working with the little miss about phone etiquette in the near future. When she said she wanted to talk to Uncle Chris last night, I thought she was using her play phone…when I realized that she had the real phone & had her bring it to me to call you - is when I realized that she had already called you =)

Our niece is so smart!

The best phone call in the world!

We're sitting at home last night, reading on the couch. The phone rings. It's Kim's, and it's her sister's ringtone. Kim answers.

"Hello?" Silence.

"Hello?" More silence. Then a tiny, high-pitched voice. "Pease speak a Unc Chris?"

The phone was for me! Apparently Kaylie was wandering around her house, saying over and over that she needed to speak to her Uncle Chris. Well, she picked up her mom's phone and started hitting buttons -- and connected! Kaylie's first phone call!

We talked for a couple of minutes about her Barbie case, her Barbie "'puter," her backpack, and the paitings we each have hanging on our respective refrigerators. It was so cool -- she still hasn't quite figured out the phone, so it was more like she was walking around her house pointing things out to me in her super-cute voice. It was awesome! Her mom is definitely going to have her hands full!

We hardly knew ye: So I'm sitting here in my shoes from Germany, wool socks, cotton dockers, T-shirt and open cordouroy button-down, with my 2CC tassle cap on my head -- my "hat head" from my balaclava this morning is horrible. I'm dressed more like a weekend afternoon at home than a day at work. Man, I love this job!

Transsubstantiation? Someone, somewhere deep in the Chicago Athlete organization must have an elevated view of my place on this earth. Either that, or a fast trigger-finger for the "t" key. If you don't know what I mean, check out my byline in the latest issue ...

Happy b-day: To "Barbarella," Barb Howe. If you haven't checked out her cyclingnews.com diaries, now is the time to catch up!


ONLY 340 DAYS TO NATZ!!

08 January 2007

06 January 2007

Cracked

Some things in life are better left unexperienced. Today I discovered one of them. If you ever have the chance to break a rib or two, skip it. Trust me.

I jumped at the chance to ride the MTB today, and headed up to Pets bright and early. Great day, not too cold, fun to check out new trails ... We managed to assemble a good little group, and started out on the loop -- I was riding like a small child, as my entire MTB existence is only about 2 months' worth, and it takes a minute for me to get back into it ...

I lasted 18 minutes. We dropped down into a gully, quick up and over a nice big root, steep bank ... I got the front over the root, stalled, and all of a sudden I was freewheeling, and tipping over to my left ... oh crap, this is gonna hurt ...

I had made the root and dropped my chain -- as my legs spun furiously with no resistance, my momentum went sideways, and my left ribcage did an unprotected bounce off the wood. Oh my god did it hurt. I won't lie. I'm a pain wuss, and I was swimming in a world of it. I just wanted to curl up into a ball and cry myself to sleep ...

Instead, we headed back toward the cars, and movement managed to loosen it up a bit. I lasted another hour of off-and-on riding as we had a couple of mechanicals, but it was just getting worse and I was mentally checked out -- The Boy was riding stuff I should have cleaned, but was walking ... it was time to hang it up. Stopping was the worst, as the lack of forward momentum somehow made the pain worse ...

I came home and passed out on the bed ... an hour later, Kim was waking me up, and it wasn't a dream ... crap ...

ONLY 343 DAYS TO NATZ!!

05 January 2007

Soggy

I rode to work yesterday morning. It was so awesome. I forget how much I like to ride to work in the city vs. the suburbs. There is definitely a lot more "scenery" ... especially if you take the lakefront path.

Then it started to rain. The 30% chance became 100%, and I wimped out. Thankfully it wasn't that cold, so I threw on my cycling jersey and jacket over my sweater and ran for the L. I probably could have ridden home with no problem (20mph wind out of the south, would have been fast!), but I'm a wuss. I'll ride home tonight if it stays dry.

All this dampness really sucks for trying to get out on the trails. Palos is flooded, Kettle is closed as far as I know, and Rock Cut is out until April 1. It's killing me: I haven't been on real singletrack in almost 4 months. It's a good thing I love 'cross so much!

Like, omigawd! I got a call from a friend of mine, a former employee with even more eclectic music tastes than mine. She lives in Illisconsin, and wanted to give me a heads up about a group outing in Libertyville ... Warrant and Firehouse at Austin's Saloon and Eatery on January 27. Oh, yeah. Where's my fringe jacket?

And on a different note: Kim was able to score presale tix to My Chemical Romance at the Allstate Arena on March 1. Not floor, but first seating section. I'm totally psyched -- somehow each changing phase of my life has been marked by certain band(s) being in heavy rotation on my iPod, and I get to see them soon after ... It's gonna' be a good show! I won't forget to wear black ...

Cool news on the job front: Looks like we're going to the Tour of California next month. Since we have to be in two places at once the first weekend, I'll be flying solo or almost solo for a bit of it. I've got the official WBR shirtwear, and can't wait to start spreading the word! I think I may head up to Mad-town next weekend for the Bike Swap too, start getting contacts with dealers and clubs ... I know the folks, but not in a "professional" capacity yet ...

OK, time to go and do!

ONLY 344 DAYS TO NATZ!!

04 January 2007

Local boy makes good

Check it out, from the weekly RoadBikeRider.com e-newsletter:

---Recently, happy-go-lucky filmmaker Scott Coady advertised his two DVDs in this newsletter. To say that The Tour Baby and Cobbles Baby are different from any other bike racing films you've seen is the definition of understatement. A Belgian blogger has reviewed Cobbles Baby and nailed what the film and Coady are all about. You might find the reading interesting at http://belgiumkneewarmers.blogspot.com/ (scroll down to find the review). Coady's website is http://www.bigringfilms.com/

You gotta laugh when Chicago becomes Belgium ...

All is good today. Rode into work for the first time. Bike is parked at my desk, just in case (have the PowerTap on there). Great when no one notices, as we're surrounded by it! I just wish my hair didn't have hat head so bad ...

ONLY 345 DAYS TO NATZ!!

03 January 2007

Empty office

Second day. Big decision. Lots of work because of it. Totally stoked.

Almost everyone has left the building. I'm sharing a cube with Ben J-M's 'cross bike.

Does life get any better?

Lost and found

Holy cow!

So yesterday was my first day, and what a day it was! I'm totally psyched -- "cloud nine" doesn't even begin to describe where I'm at right now. The work is uber-challenging, but the environment is so completely awesome that I'm excited to go to work each day.

Where to begin ...

First off, I test rode my commute yesterday morning. What happened to Clark Street? Man, I was overwhelmed by staring at so much gentrification that I missed my turn, and ended up all the way down at Clark & North, instead of North & Halstead. D'oh!

I hit Starbucks on my way in, last-minute fortification before facing the crowd. The entire crowd, that is -- the first all-office meeting of the year was my introduction! It was nice to see a familiar face or two; of course, now a bunch of people know who I am and I have no clue as to who they are!

We then did a walk-around of the main floor -- wow. The only way I can describe it is a cross between an open-space loft office and a bike shop. I mean, my desk area right now is defined on either side by a couple of hard-shell bike boxes, and when I spin around I'm facing a table full of cranks! I think Stan (el Presidente and SRAM founder) thought I was joking when I said I felt right at home ... it's just like my dining room ... but for those of you who have seen my dining room, you know what I mean!

My first day went really well, just trying to get my feet on the ground and get them running full-tilt toward the future. We have so much work ahead of us, and it's so exciting!

Oh! I've decided that you know you're in the right job when the reading material left behind in the bathroom matches the reading material in your bathroom at home. It's an even bigger bonus when it's a magazine issue you haven't read yet!

(And can I just tell you how "refreshing" it is to find Bicycling instead of the Wall Street Journal?!)

ONLY 346 DAYS TO NATZ!!

01 January 2007

Ahhhh ... that's better

Whew. Two full weeks off the bike. (Well, except that one ride.) No weight lifting. Eating pretty much whatever I wanted. Sleeping when I wanted, or not. Spending way too much time on the computer.

Man, it's good to be back!

Kim and I did an easy 45 minute ride this morning that turned into an hour -- we headed down to the lakefront and checked out the lake ... it was this cool grey/green under the slate steel of an overcast sky. A chilly wind was blowing from the north/northwest, making our ride home a bit long, but it was a great way to kick off the new year. Let 2007 begin!

Now we're listening to Q101 again (1994 won the battle of 14 years in 14 days, so we have hours of 1994-era "alternative" to listen to. Unless we decide to throw in a CD instead ...), and I just blew up the new frothy milk machine we got as a Christmas gift. Who knew that 4 cups of milk, 1/2 cup of maple syrup and 1 tsp of butter would explode?

Happy New Year everyone!

ONLY 348 DAYS TO NATZ!!