Monday, June 30, 2008

Long Hollow Road

I'm absolutely wasting my time on the computer, but at the same time I found an amazing resource, at least one to use to explore very desolate, outoftheway KY roads. I've been planning a 'mixed-terrain' ride out of Casey Co. when I take Z to camp next week. I've had some trouble b/c the KY state maps don't agree with googlemaps or yahoomaps. The state map shows Slate Hill road as ending before reaching Long Hollow Rd. I need that as the cut through. While beating around state gov't sites I find this interactive map, much like googlemaps, but one that includes so much more territory than googlemaps. I don't know about your homestead, but googlemaps (and yahoomaps) don't include such detail of rural KY areas. This map does. On this enhanced map below, you can see Slate Hill Rd. ending not too many yards before reaching the other. I also seem some dirt/gravel paths that may connect. Will I get mowed down by a 12-gauge? Will I be attached by vicious dogs? Can I make the connection? Aside from this one spot, these rides are in the 40m range, and include 'mixed terrain' and some nasty steep knobs climbs. I may like the mystery of the map more than the suffering of the ride, but the pics afterwards would be fun, wouldn't they?

Las Multiples Espanas

I alluded in an entry a few weeks ago about Phil Ball's commentary on political problems within the Spanish seleccion. Today Phil presents us with another insightful comment in the aftermath of Spain's big win. Here we have left back/pretty boy Sergio Ramos wearing his tribute up top to Puerta. On the bottom, though, he is proudly wearing the flag of Andalucia (in extreme south of Spain). It's as if I won worlds' road race and decided to wave a Kentucky flag instead of the stars and stripes. It's just sort of a weird gesture. Phil importantly brings up another "what if". What if someone from the Catalan faction, say Puyol, wore the Catalan flag? or Basque Xavi Alonso the ikurrina? we'd be talking, as Phil states it, civil war. Imagine a southern sports player, especially a white one (well, only a white one) breaking out the stars-n-bars at a sporting celebration, a worldwide one at that. It's just strange. I also saw Marcos Senna wearing a flag I assumed that was of Brazilian descent. Again, strange. Would that "traitoress" basketball player break out a US flag if Russia won the Olympics? Again, just strange.

The aftermath

Date: June 30 Mon
Mileage: 17 (Bleriot)
June mileage: 379
Year to date: 977

got in some quick miles this a.m. before the crew got going. 'L' and the good wife are going to Holiday World today, which leaves me and le dauphin here all alone. it's actually a pretty cold day to be doing water parks- 63F and overcast right now. I wore the Tevas today on the ride and the toes got a little cold here and there. the parks are now festooned with closure signs; the Masters Nationals will be here this weekend, as they were a few years ago. last time i only caught a couple minutes of the road race, but this time i'll take more in. today i got a grin out of a roadie on golf course hill. one passed me to the right, the other to the left (poor form if you ask me). they were in the big ring standing and grinding out the climb. i dropped a sprocket and caught up to them for a while. they had a little talk and semi-sprinted up the rest of the climb. i hope their pride is satisfied.

I was going to provide some links to commentaries of Spain's big win yesterday. Instead I'll just mention Grant Wahl's b/c his entries are always quality. Outside of that, I think I'll just use my time more productively.

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Lo Han Hecho

The picture says it all, San Iker el Capitan holding the Eurocup aloft after a brilliant victory in the final vs. Germany 1-0. And to his right, our left, Sergio Ramos wearing a t-shirt remembering, commemorating his fallen Sevillano Antonio Puerta. I can scarcely believe that I wasn't really a futbol fan until watching the World Cup 2 years ago this summer. I thought it was a great team effort, with El Nino provided the difference, but with Iniesta and Senna controlling the pace in the midfield and Puyol the stopper in the back. Other than Ballack's one feeble attempt, Germany was never really in the attack, understanding that every time the service went in the air, I was mortified of one of those Teutonic giants, especially Mertesacker, swooping in for the equalizer. I thought about ordering a nat'l jersey online, but instead I'm going to wait for my next trip to la peninsula. I'm already excited about World Cup 2010, and why not? The balance of this team is quite young, as long as Puyol can hang on until then. I think La Furia can be a force, with Torres, Fabregas, Casillas and Ramos even better by then. Exciting stuff!! Vamos!!!!


Date: June 28 Sat
Mileage: 7 (Bleriot)
June mileage: 362
Year to date: 960

In my haste to do a brief Saturday ride report from the p.m. Crosscheck ride, I forgot about my morning of errand riding with the boys. 'L' and I rode up to Breadworks for coffee and a muffin in the morning. Later I dragged the every-lazy 'Z' to ride to 'L's' baseball game and then home. 2 very simple neighborhood errand rides netted me 7 extra miles, a few or which make up for me driving them to church today. BTW, I had to fill the truck up with gas on the way to church. How much, you ask? $92.75. I like the stories of Doug sans car or Pete who always seems to ride or everybody's fav commuter king Kent. I at least know Doug and Kent use their cars almost never (does Kent ever drive?). I have a big, fat Toyota Tundra, which I love for carrying people, but also which pains me each and every time I get in it. I paid $4.23/gallon, a pretty amazing price if you ask me. Ridiculous! I'm speechless, really, speechless mostly b/c I actually drive it. Mas bicicleta, ?no? It will make that occasional "I'm too lazy this a.m." commute a little easier to pull off this fall, I would imagine. $92.75, I mean, really.


?Seran titulares hoy? Vamos a ver, ?no? !Ojala que si!

Just take a look of Mr. Grumpy Luis Aragones in the center, just underneath blue-shirted St. Iker. Gotta love it.

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Date: June 28 Sat
Mileage: 18 (CC)
June mileage: 355
Year to date: 953
  • slow and easy
  • burbling water in Beargrass in Cherokee. Except for the smell, the sound was intoxicating
  • seeing former students jogging and having a chat. She was running 4 miles to play soccer. The rest were mostly former Manual students. One just got back from Barcelona, another from Madrid, and the first from Venezuela with boyfriend. Pretty amazing, if you ask me.
  • steady, metronomic cadence on climbs, with a 25yd sprint up the last hill for good measure
  • a little one in a stroller yelling "doggie!"
  • a yard party with a ring of chairs and a mound of Bud Light cans in the middle. On the return, the chairs seemed to be facing the house, as thought they were going to put up a screen for a yard movie. or who knows what with all the beer cans

Friday, June 27, 2008

Pisgah Pink Beds

These are some pics from our Sunday hike in Pisgah Nat'l Forest. This was the private hunting preserve of the Vanderbilts adjoining their massive Biltmore estate. They built a 17-mile long road from the chateaux to a hunting lodge in the mountains, and this land surrounded it. We had never partaken of this country, but a day hike fit in perfectly between our wedding plans and more social plans in Maryville, TN.

Pink Beds in a picnic ground with the 'Pink Beds' Trial leaving the north end.

The terrain on this trail was reminiscent of that on our Pine Mountain trip a couple summers ago- Pine, loamy sand, fern, roots, 2nd and 3rd growth forest. It's all very Appalachian. Both the boys and I felt like we would see Sam and Frodo somewhere along this area.

Tall Pine

Sick Pine.
A beetle is ravaging pines throughout the South. It was even more evident while driving through the Smokies (G.S.M.N.P.), where you could see the green of deciduous contrasted with stands of kindling dotting the hillsides.

Fern Forest. This area was quite enchanting.

The culprit and explanation. There were so many ferns b/c this little valley had been damed up by a beaver. The map we retrieved from the ranger station alluded to this, but the blockage was more substantial. I didn't take a pic of the beaver dam b/c I spent my time trying to find the 'blue' trail that we needed. It was across the beaver pond. We were to take the 'blue' cut-through to give us a 3-mile hike; the 'orange' P.B. route was a 5-mile+ hike. Perhaps it wasn't my first choice, but families are compromises, right? So we turned back and had a very nice return leg.

Dappled trail

Meadow near the end. We would have come back this way. This route is also marked 'hiking/bicycling'. Pisgah is full of logging roads and trails for mt.bikers. That would be fun, no? I sure do love a stand of grass.

(One of these pics was taken with a different camera. See if you can guess which one.)

And that was that. A great little hike and enough to wet my whistle to return to this area. Pisgah is full of options and is found within driving distance to G.S.M.N.P., Nantahala Forsest and that whole outdoorsy area. Great stuff.


Date: June 27 Fri
Mileage: 36 (LHT)
June mileage: 337
Year to date: 935

Got out early to do the Riverwalk Loop. Feeling lethargic, fat and glum, so no better way to beat the blues that plod through a ride, and I do mean plod in a good way. I meandered through St. Matthews and found a good little hidden trail, one that took me right into Crescent Hill golf course and right through a patch of poison ivy. Yes, I already have a batch of that to deal with. After that, to the Riverwalk. What I didn't anticipate was, first the mud and second the downed branches. We had some quickie storms, but they obviously hit the West End much harder than where we will. They were large, impassable branches down many, many sticks. I kept going, though, because I just needed to. While going around another impassable branch (on the paved path that is) I ran into an even bigger vine of poison ivy. Then I hit the mud. I kept on going. I stopped several times to clear the brake arms and wheels, but I kept on going. The mud was a very viscous, thick river goo that would be perfect for building an adobe hut. Eventually I cleared the Riverwalk and headed back to total a slow 3-hr+ 36m ride. I'm not riding too fast right now, but the 5lbs of mud clogging the brake arms and wheels didn't help. I did it though, and it was what I needed.

Very dirty front wheel, and this is much cleaner than it was mid-ride.

Unhappy brake arms

Fashion statement. Left foot has poison ivy breakout, so I'm trying to protect the shoes.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

Vamos Furia!!

Spain dominated Russia this afternoon in the Euro '08 semi. Damn, that was a fine 2nd half to watch. It's sort of fun to read all the "underperforming", "monkey on their backs" talk about Spain, all of which is true, of course. They began the tourney as potential favorites and the question was whether they could rise to expectations after no doing so many times. In this semi they certainly did. The first score from Xavi from a pass from Iniesta was one of beauty. Then they took Torres out after he flopped through 5 or 6 legit scoring opportunities. I started gripping b/c Guiza, to me, doesn't even look like he can dribble. 'Z' the elder then said, "dad, you know he'll score in 5 minutes, don't you?". And what happened? Guiza scored a purty volley just 5 minutes later. The back line even looked good. Sergio Ramos certainly played to his abilities and Puyol seemed very industrious. I would say Russia had only 2 or 3 legit scoring chances, and Iker only had to make one real save. Such a satisfying game. Man of the match? It has to be Cesc. He just dominated the entire 2nd half, setting up the 2 goals and controlling the midfield. I know what I'll be doing Sunday afternoon.

And do you think ESPN is happy about their "Championships" coverage, Wimbledon meaning? Roddick out. Blake out. Sharapova out. Davenport injured and out. Djokavic and his attitude out. They almost lost Ivanovic too, but she saved it 10-8 in the 3rd. I just hope we have a Rafa/Roger final, or the men's draw is a total loss. As for the women, as long as there are Williams sisters the American market will have something, but their snippy attitudes turned me off a long time ago.

But, hey, the Tour starts soon.

And I have a massive case of poison ivy on my foot in between my toes. I'm not sure what course of action I can/should take to keep it from spreading.

Blueridge Pkwy

After our 2nd day of hiking, we drove to the Smokies via the Blueridge Pkwy. As the pics show, it was a stunning day. I should've stopped to take a pic of the orange azaleas that were blooming all over. These pics speak for themselves.

Monday we visited a high school friend of the wife's in Maryville, TN. We had planned to hike in Great Smokey Mts N.P., but time and traffic made it such that we came home. To be fair, we missed a turn trying to find the "back way" in. Short cuts make long delays, right? At that point I couldn't deal with going through Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg, only to have to come back out later in the evening for the 4hr drive home. Instead, we stopped in Pigeon Forge b/c Luke wanted to play putt-putt. So we did. The wife won. The boys tied for 2nd. I was last.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

Congaree N.P.

The Saturday morning of the wedding we had a nice time slot open, so I did a little research and found Congaree Nat'l Park about 14m away. This is old-growth bottom land, the last of its kind around. It's known for champion-sized trees that have otherwise been all forested elsewhere in the South. Being a floodplain, the trail was table-top flat, but it was a nice opportunity to see different terrain that what we have in KY. The first portion was a raised platform; several times a year the park floods, so this allows folks to still view part of the park. We took the extended Weston Lake Loop trail, which leaves the platform and explores a back portion of the park towards the lake, giving us a 4.5 miles in all. Many of the pics aren't very good b/c of the lack of light and my lack of ability in using a camera but for the simplest of tasks.

This is the point at which the elevated platform trail becomes, in effect, a platform trail for a bit longer. It provides a nice opportunity to see the local fauna and flora without getting completely muddy in this low plain area.

This is Cedar Creek, which bisects the park between the entrance and the distant Congaree River. Our trail, at its further point, followed this creek for a while. This area of the country is apparently experiencing significant drought, so this would normally be running much higher. Typically they run canoe trips, but that would be very difficult in current conditions. You ain't in KY with this pic.

Bridge crossing marshy area. Check out that really dead tree to the right. Ugly.

Clear-area at far end of trail. It's striking the difference in terrain, flora, etc. when you clear cut an area like this. The trees, flora, everything changes. Think Brazil, en masse.

Bug. He's green. I also took pics of a millipede, another grasshopper looking thing and a green caterpillar. The boys like them.


Cane break. The area was full of them, as was part of KY. It looks like bamboo but is a sibling to sugar cane.

Weston Lake.
My turtle pics aren't very good, but there is a nice spot to picnic here, and the turtles are trained to come up and beg for food. The boys counted around 15 at any given time.

SC/NC weekend

No riding of late. We took the quickie family trip to a family wedding in Columbia, SC, leaving Friday and returning Monday night. The drive there was ridiculous. I'm a pretty efficient, fast driver, so when someone tells me a drive is 8 hours, I assume I can make it in 7.5 or faster. I guess karma bit me, because between multiple potty breaks (mine, for some weird reason) and 2 bottle-necks, the trip took us a solid 8.25+. Frustrating! The wedding was pretty typical and uneventful, certainly a glorious experience for those involved, I'm sure. The bonus was that we sneaked in some hiking during several days of the trip, both locations being completely new to us, so that was fun. Once back, I sat through meeting all day yesterday and spent the rest of the day completely brain dead. Today was full of yard work, so I guess tomorrow will be bike time.

Thursday, June 19, 2008


Date: June 19 Thurs
Mileage: 6 (Bleriot)
June mileage: 301
Year to date: 899

We're leaving for a wedding in South Carolina soon, so today is filled with errands and doings instead of ride time. I did run to the cleaners and to the film developers, but that looks like all there will be. I did consider taking the bike to SC, but I just don't think it will happen. If the timing is right, we're going to try and hike a bit in the Smokies on the way home. Perhaps I'll have some glorious mountain photos.

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Tuesday cont.

This set of pix is the first half of my riverwalk50 from yesterday, FWIW.

Interesting industrial area on west Magnolia. I like the razor wire juxtaposed with the greenhouses. There were plants growing in these, in fact.

Big Gene's. This would be a great pic at any rate, but even more so b/c Big Gene was our security guard up until this year. BG stood a solid 6'3" and went 400lbs, give or take 25lbs. This is his candy store, and from what I know, he only sells candy here.

Supposedly Algonquin Pkwy is closed. I went ahead and found a little bit of construction, but certainly nothing to hold me back. I saw a loose group of 5 cyclists coming the other way.

I like long, flowing grass. I wish I had 20 acres of it. I think I have 8 or so clumps of ornamental grasses in the yard b/c I don't own a field.

More grass along the Riverwalk west.

Riverwalk west in between Algonquin and Campground.

Blue sky, blowing clouds and angular smokestacks


Date: June 18 Wed
Mileage: 21 (C'Check)
June mileage: 295
Year to date: 893

Went on a morning ride with 'BB', the first of the summer. She had some stuff to do, so we were out at 7a.m. Ugghh, that's early when you don't want to be up that early. It was surprisingly chilly this morning, I would say around 60F. After temps in the 90s not long ago, I was cold, having no gloves or sleeves. I should've grabbed the arm warmers, but I was rushed. 'BB' and I had an uneventful ride, doing the Indian Hills loop. She had been up for a good while with heartburn so we went pretty slow, uncomfortably so at times. Just 2 weeks ago, though, she did local MS ride and did 80 the 1st day and 50 the 2nd. That's better than any mileage I've pulled off, so hats off to her for a great accomplishment.

My ride turned very eventful after I dropped her off. I was close to home when BAM!, out of nowhere I felt that dreadful buzz in my helmet. A flying beast entered the vent and stung me on the head. I had been first stung several summers ago (I have no clue if I had the blog or not) the same exact way, but I subsequently went to the emergency care center for some big-time anti-inflammatories and other stuff. It was a potentially dangerous situation b/c my breathing was compromised. This time, today, I was fortunately quite close to home. I put it in a very low gear and crawled the remainder. Last time I kept pushing hard home and wondered whether the extra work rate spread the poison/venom through the system more than normal. Once home, I dug out my epi-pen. This is the first time using it. A lesson learned. Imagine if I had been out in the boondocks with no access to it. That might be the end of a nice summer...

Be wise. Be prepared.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

Riverwalk South

Date: June 16 Mon
Mileage: 4 (C'Check)
June mileage: 221
Year to date: 819

Date: June 17 Tues
Mileage: 53 (Bleriot)
June mileage: 274
Year to date: 872

My route today was very similar to an after-work epic I pulled off last November near by bday. I had business to do at school, so I rode the 7 miles there on the Bleriot. After pushing paper,I headed out, going through the West End and taking the newer southern portion of the Riverwalk. The section along Campground Rd. was shit, full of rocks, glass and metal. It's the same old, same old, wherein the 'gubment' spends on the initial infrastructure, but doesn't do the follow through. I wouldn't be surprised if there were many flats along this section. The aroma was particularly ripe along Rubbertown. I wouldn't be surprised there weren't high cancer rates in the area.

I'm tired. I'm going to finish tomorrow. These pics are from the 2nd portion of the ride, well, the middle portion of the ride, after the first portion, but before the 3rd portion when I got tired and stopped taking pics.

Bleriot at end of useless trail. The path forks left, going towards some type of scenic overlook. Instead, it just randomly ends in this cul-de-sac littered with glass. If I were a redneck I would drink here. If I were a rapist I would...

Mystery road going into the Milltown electrical plant. Is this where they carry the bodies?

I took a pic of this in November, but I still like this bridge.

Mill Creek, which looks nice from afar but damn scary up close.

Farnsley-Moorman backside. This is better than the front IMHO.

Side facing river. Needs some shrubs.

A view sitting in a vine-draped bench in the garden, overlooking the garden and the Bleriot in the distance leaning against an old windmill, and next to an old water pump. This has it all.

Farnsley-Moorman front yard overlooking river.

This appears to be some type of dock or overlook, but now it looks post-apocalyptic. Someone didn't look at their flood charts before putting $$ into this. It very much reminds me of Planet of the Apes, when Charlton Heston sees the Statue of Liberty along the coast.

Sunday, June 15, 2008

More errands

Date: June 15 Sun
Mileage: 4 (LHT)
June mileage: 217
Year to date: 815

'L' and I rode to mom's for dinner, 1 mile there and 3 miles back on the flats. Good ride with the little man.

Otherwise a father's day of some futbol practice, some videogames and gardening and generally chilled-out time.

Saturday, June 14, 2008

More errands

Date: June 14 Sat
Mileage: 20(LHT)
June mileage: 213
Year to date: 811

Today's mileage was in 3 chunks. The first, 'L' and I visited the farmers' market. Our purchases: cherries (wife said they were unripe and horrible), hard and soft neck garlic, strawberries, farm-fresh eggs, Highlands coffee, and a sweet roll for 'L's' breakfast.- 4 miles

The next trip was with 'Z' to 'L's' baseball game. The elder wanted no part of a quick ride. His stomach hurt, he was tired from a lock-in, and it was too hot (85F and low humidity). So I made him ready the distant trek. 'Z' did well on his ride and 'L' has numerous hits.- 4 miles

The last was to a graduation party, in this case the sister of a former tennis player and State Doubles Champ. I had good relationships with these parents, so it was fun to see them again and chat it up. I also saw some recent grads and even some present students. A relaxed time and worth the trip.- 12 miles

And I'm sure all my loyal readers watched the entire Spain v. Sweden match today on ESPN. This pic is of the 2 Spanish goal scorers from the 2-1 win: Torres (the blonde) getting things going in the 13' and Villa (on top) to finish it off with a golazo in the '92. The match was a bit hit and miss, but a nice result and one that keeps La Furia on track with the other favorites like the present juggernaut Holland. Grant Wahl does mention something I've referred to here. Sergio Ramos has looked terrible and undisciplined in his efforts so far. The Ibrahimovic goal was completely and entirely Ramos' fault and the media is noticing. Me thinks the hype has gone to ye Ramos' wee skull and big hair.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Rat and Cat

Date: June 13 Fri
Mileage: 7 (Crosscheck)
June mileage: 193
Year to date: 791

I seem to be stuck in this "errand" cycle, which is a great cycle to be in. My afternoon 19-miler was one of running a few different errands- to the Board, bank, post office, LMS (music). What's bugging me is that I can't seem to get up the gumption for the big onmyown country ride. I do so much in-town riding that dragging myself across the city to the outskirts just doesn't seem to be motivating me. And I'm certainly not one to drive to the hinterlands for the purposes of riding there. I hate to bitch about 26 in-town miles, but I'm ready for more, but I can't quite get there. Oh, this morning I tried to find los Sprawls but failed. My stupid ass body woke up at 6.30, nature calling, whic was about 2 hours earlier than I would've liked . I dressed and went searching for that morning 1-hour ride but they weren't there. I rode around a little but didn't have it or want it or something. Blah! I woke up on the wrong side and stayed on the wrong side.

During my afternoon errand riding I was turning into Cherokee at the Daniel Boone statue. I decided to ride down the walk/bike path down the ravine when I heard a big crash/thud/Thunk to my left; the cyclist I had just seen descending had bit the dust in the turn. I stopped to inquire and he said he was fine but that was the 2nd time he had gone down today. It hasn't rained in a while so I'm sure there is some oil on the road. Off the path I turned back onto the scenic loop when the red shirt guy- the crasher- came roaring past me up the hill. Granted, I'm fat, slow and ride a pig of a bike. How much of a pig? I don't know the weight but imagine SON hub, rack, panniers, sprung saddle, fat tires. Nothing featherweight anywhere. Anyway, towards the top the red shirt guy comes practically to a halt. Very, very slowly he was recup-ing from the hill effort, all the while changing gears to make it sound like his derailer would fall off. Perhaps it was a victim of the crashes. Or maybe red shirt guy has no clue how to shift. I pass him in the first downhill turn. He had wrecked twice and was going as slowly as possible. I continued straight onto chauffeur's rest, another hill. And yes, Red shirt guy comes blowing past. And yes, at the top he comes to a near halt, all the while fighting his gears again. He turned right onto Sulgrave to catch his breath, I down the parallel Casselberry. Where the streets combine I was again ahead of red shirt guy. I casually dropped a tooth and plowed on through the neighborhood. After turning left onto Woodbourne Ave., who passes me? Yes, red shirt guy. Once he got to the front I upped the pace, so I upped the ante as well, falling into his slipstream. Without any mention, he comes almost to a dead stop to turn right onto Meadow. I knew the guy couldn't corner, so I flowed left and then right as well, onto Valetta. Had I not known, I might have plowed right into him.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Bike Jog

Date: June 11 Wed
Mileage: 7 (Bleriot)
2 (LHT)
June mileage: 167
Year to date: 765

'Z' had a soccer scrimmage at E.P. 'Tom' Sawyer State Park, so I took the Bleriot to try out one of the many club routes that leave from that location. Instead, I had completely dead legs and didn't even exit Anchorage. I did get to chit chat briefly with a parent of my former team captain tennis player, so that was nice. Otherwise, ughh. 'Tom' Sawyer is a pretty nice park actually. I think there are some suitable 'slealth' camping spots, but it would be a shitty location to get to on a bike. Alas, maybe to ride another day.

I added another 2mile errand up to Krogers for shallots; I had to look them up online to see what they actually were. and then to the booze joint for a bottle of inexpensive while, pinot grigio in this case.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Indian Hills

Date: June 10 Tues
Mileage: 26 (Crosscheck)
June mileage: 158
Year to date: 756

I'm a little bushed. I took the CC out for a hill ride along the river. I rode up Mockingbird Valley, Indian Hills Trail, Arrowhead and the more benign Westwind. The legs felt pretty good, but my again my back and hands aren't accustomed nor happy to the rigors of the lower position. The next ride will entail the ultra-comfy Bleriot. I wanted to do a "big" ride today, but instead beat around doing nothing and then then watched Spain kick Russia's @#$ 4-1, courtesy of a pretty amazing David Villa hat trick. Now I'm even happier I bought 'L' a Valencia jersey last summer with Villa's name of it. As much as the score is exciting, they have no defense and Sergio Ramos won't stay in position. I predict they get out of group nicely and then fall on their faces vs. one of the more disciplined teams.

Monday, June 09, 2008

The Kid

I don't blog too much on baseball. I tend to not watch the sport that I worshiped as a kid. That was the hey day of The Big Reds' Machine: Bench, Morgan, Foster, Rose, Griffey, on and on. In the modern era it's easy to become very blase, very jaded and cynical about baseball; the Steroid Era has done that. Obviously it's much the same as what EPO has done to cycling. For me, it's easier to admire Lemond or Hinault, Merckx, b/c they weren't as juiced up. Did they take junk? I believe they did of some type. Did Mantle, Mays, Aaron and Ruth take junk? Of some type they did, but it didn't make them super-human; it only dulled the day-to-day pain that interfered with a day's work. That is, at least, my non-scientific pile of BS I espouse tonight. Tonight, the Kid joined a very selective crowd: Aaron, Ruth, Mays, Bonds, & Sosa. I hesitate to insert those last 2 names. They represent baseball just like a Pantani, a Basso or an Ullrich does for cycling. Dopage and dirty sports. Maybe the Kid did the junk, but most pundits don't believe so. Maybe they're wrong, but his numbers seem awfully honest, his accomplishments borne of talent and not of a freakish, muscle-bound Sosa-esque or McGwire-esque freak show physique. I was elated when Griff joined the Reds. It hasn't been close to working out, but that's modern small-market baseball, save those bizarre Marlins. It's fun to see an immortal before our eyes in America's pastime. There is nothing better than a dog, a cold one, and 9 innings of summer to kick back and watch.


Las Regiones No-unidas de la Peninsula Iberica. Phil Ball, the always excellent commentator of Spanish football for has an insightful article on the Spanish psyche relating to la seleccion. You can read the rest for yourself, but found within the article is an underlying, or evident, commentary on the divisive nature of Spanish football. In discussing Raul's lack of participation in the nat'l side, it also mentions his brand of cheerleading for the nation in such a way that bothers- que les molesta- the other players from other regions. Spain is a nation very divided. The Basques, Catalans, Gallegos and others often want to play for their own national side, think Scottish and Irish nat'l teams as well as England, instead of a UK team. Raul represents the old-school, Francoist, RealMadrid version of a unified Spain under the thumb of Madrid. The post-Franco modern Spain is one of several satellite regions coexisting very tenuously. I would gather that the US was more like this, say, pre-70s. Or maybe before. At one time, New England, the South, the Midwest, Cali, the Northwest seemed all different, distinct. Now we have one big amalgam of McDonalds, Wal-Marts and freeways.

U.S. v Argentina

I failed to post last night during or after the game b/c I've spent too much time lately on the box, but it was an interesting game to watch. I haven't read any reviews this a.m., but holding a big gun like Argentina to a nil draw is a pretty good result, especially after looking so bad against England and Spain. It's proof positive that I've watched alot of Euro futbol this past year, b/c so many of Argentina's starting squad are fresh faces for La Liga especially:

Abbondanzieri- Getafe starting keeper
Heinze- Real Madrid defender. I saw alot of him this year
Gonzalo Rodriguez- Villareal defender
Nicolas Budisso- InterMilan
Zabaleta- Espanyol midfielder
Maxi Rodriguez-Atleti (Atletico Madrid) midfielder
Gago- Real Madrid midfielder. I saw lots of him too.
Mascherano- Liverpool midfielder
Julio Cruz- InterMilan starting striker
'Kun' Aguero- Atleti starting striker
Messi- Barca Mr. Everything. Need we say more.

Not only do these players play in the "Bigs", but many play for the better teams in those leagues. Real and Inter won their respective leagues. Atleti, Villareal and Barca were best of the rest in La Liga. Liverpool was top-4 in the Prem. Espanyol underperformed, but is usual a top club.

Contrast that with our players:

Tim Howard- Everton. Obviously the US's best player, and that wasn't never more evident than last night.
Pearce- F.C. Hansa Rostock. His team was recently relegated. :-(
(Lewis)- Derby Co. team was by far the worst in all the EPL and was relegated with many games left in the campaign. I'm not so sure he started, but that could've been Feilhaber.
Califf- FC Midtjylland. Team was 2nd in the Danish Superliga. The Danish league is not usually known as one of the "big boys".
"Gooch" Onyewu- Standard Liege. 1st in Belgium Jupiler League. Played a few matches on loan to Newcastle in winter of '08 but deal not renewed.
(DeMerit)- Watford in England's 2nd Division (AAA ball, right?).
Cherundolo- Hannover 96 in German Bundesliga.
Bradley- SC Heerenveen in Dutch league. Again 2nd tier league.
(Edu)- Toronto FC in MLS. Toronto is a pretty bad club in this league.
Mastroeni- Colorado Rapids of MLS.
Dempsey- Fulham. Fulham almost relegated.
(Adu)- Benfica. Big transfer news but rode the pine.
Beasley- Rangers. Coming back from injury but another top American
(Hejduk)- Colombus Crew in MLS.
Donovan- LA Galaxy. It's evident he's one of the drivers of our "attack".
Johnson- Fulham. Almost relegated. He's been the "next big thing" for a long time and doesn't seem to have that nose.
(Kljestan)- Chivas US. Funnily, after watch the Chivas US/Red Bull game the other night, I've now seen this guy twice in a week after never having seen him play before.'

OK, it's evident Argentina's starting side is playing "big leagues" while our guys are a smattering of local MLS players and 2nd-tier Euro players. That said, I thought the US played pretty well last night considering you have an attach with Messi, Kun, Cruz and Maxi Rodriguez. Yikes! What impressed me more last night was that Donovan and Beasley seemed to be in the mix, and that defensively Califf and Gooch weren't terrible. Oh course, Howard completely saved their asses, and picked Cruz's pocket repeatedly. Without some excellent Howard saves it could've been 4-0. What will be interesting is in a year or so when Donovan, Beasley, Adu and maybe Johnson or Altidore get some time together. Can they become a unit that can actually score goals. I also watched part of the Germany/Poland match and Germany, up front, has Klose, Ballack, Podolski and Schweinsteiger (my favorite name) all up assaulting the goal. Yikes!

In the Spain match my loyalties were a smidge torn, but last night I was very much hoping for a big US result. A 0-0 draw to many American eyes isn't worth much, but to futbol fans, it's understood that it's a result to be more pleased with. Here are some other thoughts:

SI's excellent Grant Wahl
That's on point

That's enough. Time to do something productive. The professionals have more constructive things to say than I, but I'm glad to see several gives Heath Pearce some props for a well-played game. Finally someone stepping up in the back.

los Sprawls

Date: June 9 Mon
Mileage: 19 (Crosscheck)
June mileage: 133
Year to date: 731

For the first time since, I assume, last summer, I went on an early morning ride with los Sprawls, that strapping pair of cardio goons. It's a near perfect situation for me b/c the rides are a little uncomfortable- a bit too fast- but I can get some speedwork in. And if I were to just die, they would be nice enough to let me follow wheels or just slow down for me. We did the river out-and-back. This route has almost not hills whatsoever, but on the mini-hills we found I punched it so I didn't get left behind. After they peeled off I extended by Bowman field and across those flat couple miles on old Gardiner Ln., giving me an early morning 19m (finished by 8.20).

Sunday, June 08, 2008


nice to see the mainstream press giving bicycle transpo a plug. Jon Wertheim, whose articles I enjoy reading on, gave Paris' rent-a-bike program a positive plug (read half way down). Maybe he's a complete bike nerd, but maybe he's just "Joe columnist" who sees a better way than $4.00/gallon gas burning away in fat SUVs.

BTW, 'Z' and I rode to church this a.m., a mile up (and to Breadworks for coffee and scones) and 2 miles home via the "flat route".

Date: June 8 Sun
Mileage: 3 (9.2.5. fixie)
June mileage: 131
Year to date: 712

Oh, and did you get a whiff of that NadalvFederer score? 6-1 6-3 6-0? that's the worst I've seen Roger beaten in years and years. The king is dead...

Saturday, June 07, 2008

Poor man's Big Dummy

Date: June 7 Sat
Mileage: 20(LHT)
Mileage: 5 (LHT)
Mileage: 2 (Crosscheck)
June mileage: 128
Year to date: 709

What a fantastic day on the bike, and none of it "training". With the wife and younger gone, I have the responsibility of the elder. With that, no epic road rides or off-road slam fests. What I instead did was use the bike for every bit of transportation possible, and to great effect.

My first trip was to the house of my tennis Booster president and team captain (same house). We had to look at some catalogs b/c we'll be getting celebratory team jackets. Their house is a 7-mile trip towards the Brownsboro/Watterson area. It's part of the common club loop leaving Seneca, up Rudy Ln., down Blankenbaker and down River Rd. I felt pretty good early on and tried to actually ride semi-fast for a change. Granted, I was on the Hog (using the pannier for the catalogs), but it was a great, functional ride. After the meeting I returned home via the same route, but did an extra loop through Cherokee giving me 20ish miles. Once home, I made sure the 'dauphin' was fine and then suffered from a terribly bright idea. I needed to get some tomato plants potted but didn't have enough potting mix. Tadah! I dug out the old Burley kiddie trailer out of the garage. 'L' is 9 now, so it's been at least 4 years since it's been of any use at all. Since the small children are from days past (let's hope), I decided to use it to haul stuff, ala the Big Dummy or the Xtracycle. The carrying capacity on those is 100lb., so why no? I've thought before of doing big grocery trips with it, but today's trip entailed going to the local nursery for potting soil and a pot. That's only 2 miles away. I couldn't use the Burley with the Hog b/c of the panniers, so I used the Crosscheck instead. Like a T.

The dauphin and I had discussed eating at Qdoba, which we both love. It's one of those modern mexican-ish burrito places that the 'Ville seems to have plenty of. With only the men here, I managed to talk him into going on the bike like we did to my mom's last night. Steering clear of the busy Bardstown, we worked our way through the Deer Park neighborhood and arrived at Qdoba for a man meal. He was surprised how easy it was. Yet again I've had a troubling event take place. As his brother did a few days ago, he beat me up the Lakeside hill (towards Kroger). It's a bit disconcerting to have these little people just float up while my fat ass seems to go backwards. On the return I got a running start and beat him up the other side of Lakeside with ease. He claimed that he was too full. I didn't care. I took my trivial victory with much pride.

3 trips on the bike. 3 car trips averted. 27 bike miles on the legs. 1 fake Dummy hooked up for future use (Actually I unhooked the trailer after I got home).

er, Big Dummy-ish. It the perfect use of the Burley now that the boys are on their own.

plastic pot and large bag of potting mix

I also undertook a mechanical adventure as well. The CC has/had Time mt. pedals for 'cross purposes. It's a big limitation, b/c I don't often wear cycling shoes that much, and these pedals rope me in to either an old pair of Shimanos (15 yrs old?) or new Sidi winter boots (not good for summer). These Times are also strange in that they don't have threads/faces/sides/?? for using a pedal wrench; they only have the hex wrench head at the end of the pedal axle. The early efforts to remove these proved quite fruitless. After talking to Bob at local LBS, I tried again. The left one (non drivetrain) came off somewhat easily. The right one proved more difficult. I couldn't get good leverage b/c the chainring was in the way. I tried a bit, but to no avail. Finally, I used a Bob idea and used the rubber mallet to beat on the hex wrench until it loosened. It was a bit dicey. If the wrench or the pedal strips, whoops, deep doo doo. It came off though.
Time ATAC pedals and rubber mallet (no hex wrench)
I'll put the pedals back on if I decide to 'cross in the fall.

Updated Crosscheck with Paselas and new (old) trap pedals. It will be ridden.

Crankarm and cheap-ass pedals. I love biking in Keens in the summer. They're my most favorite ever. I've yet to test them for long mileage, so we'll see in a few weeks, but they give me no probs on 30-milers.

This is neighbor Mike's Electra. I saw it sitting there not doing much, so I went over to inquire. Note back tire. Apparently, his soninlaw works at the LBS Bicycle Sport. They bought Mike this Electra for tooling around, something he doesn't do much. His foot pump (those suck) didn't pump up the back tire, so I came to the rescue. What I was very surprised was the weight of this machine. Very light given it's beefy nature. I took a short spin and it's like no bike I've ever been on. Hands very high. Head very up. Pedals out in front of butt. I guess it's in between a traditional and a 'bent. I liked it and can see it being a very viable design for the masses out there. 'Alberto' was looking at one last year. I think they're out of his price range, although I think he was more affected by the "old lady" nature of them. Here are some other reviews.

And finally, this is a Knog. It's a cheap little blinkie tail light for a bike that doesn't have one. I thought of using one the other evening when I was out late on the C'dale. I would never put one of the commuting blinkies on it, so this seemed like a good, inexpensive idea. They have front white blinkies too. The name brand may be in a law suit. I'm not sure.

That's it. A full day. And I tweaked the front mudflap on the LHT and it's much better. I'm filthy, but very satisfied. Hope everyone else's Saturday was as good. Peace to all beings.

FS Bridgestone RB-1-DONATED

*Donated to a young bike-hungry friend. Good luck!* And to acquaint yourself with the Cult of the RB-1: