Thursday, October 22, 2009

The Other Side

For the first time in more than 18 years, I've been.... um.... how do I say this?... It's um ... I suppose I should just come out with it... um... Geez, this is harder than I thought it would be... I've been... um... OK, here it goes.... in 3...2........1.... I've been riding around on a mountain bike.
And the gods haven't smiled. The chain broke twice in one week. The first time it broke, I was just a mile from Kinetic Systems Bike Shop where, if you ask real nicely, they offer roadside assistance - as long as it's within a mile of the store. I mean, let's be realistic.
The second time it broke, I was in the middle of Bald Mountain Rec which isn't the most difficult trail system in Michigan, but it's remote enough to require a good long walk to civilization.
Yesterday, after putzing around on dirt roads and rail trails AND after replacing the chain, I hit the single track again. It was... how do I put this....?
It was O.K.
I can totally see the allure. It's a rush. To quickly process the information of the trail as it comes flying at you is a trip. I can feel what it did to my body; I appreciate the workout. There's a challenge around every corner - especially if you don't know the trail as was my case. The turns were so tight I swear I saw my own rear end on several occasions.
You knew I had a big but, right? Well here it is:
After riding frantically for 30 minutes, I had only covered a few hundred yards on the map and my top speed was 12mph.
The thing I like about road riding so much is the speed and the distance. I like having to unfold a map to show where I went. I love the speed.
I haven't caught "the bug" yet. It was a fun diversion. I'll incorporate the MTB into my winter workout. I may even ride it to work more often. (Seriously, this is my commute---->)

I'll hit more single track this fall and do my part to bridge the gap between Roadies and whatever they're called.
So to make a long story short, I've entered the realm of mountain biking. Let's hope this gives me something to talk about at Iceman next month.
And stay tuned. I found a good deal on Time Trial bikes.

Thursday, October 8, 2009


In some sports, there is a phrase that covers a lot of unexplainable situations. For us, it's this one: "That's bike racing!"
We use it to reason away anything that we have no control over.
A crash happens right in front of you and ruins your chance of winning? That's bike racing!
You do the lion's share of the work in the breakaway only to get beat by a wheelsucker in the sprint? That's bike racing.
You get a flat tire at the point in your training ride where you were about to turn around and have a big tailwind home? That's bike racing. Technically, it's not, but it might as well be.
You finish one place out of the money? TBR.
You drive 6 hours to get to a race, spend $120 in food, gas, hotel, and you win $12 for 4th place? TBR.
Where am I going with this?
To the American League.
The day after the one-game-playoff game between the Twins and Tigers that went 12 innings, everyone in town (Detroit) was lamenting all the missed opportunities and the missed calls by the umpires. They were complaining about the Tigers' inability to get a runner home from 3rd base with one out. They were railing on the right fielder who muffed two plays.
Listening to the sports radio shows on my drive to and from work, I heard one complaint after another about all the that the Tigers did wrong. Each one was missing the point: it's a game. People are human. People act differently under pressure. Things happen.
They were completely missing the fact that it was an amazing game. This single game had every ounce of excitement that you could pack into the sport. Sure, things went wrong. People missed catches and failed to get hits at the right time.
But you never hear baseball fans say, "Well, that's baseball." It's not in their lexicon.
To them, it's always someone's fault. Trade them. Fire the manager. Put them on the bench. Do something to them for not winning.
If cycling has taught me anything, it's to understand that no matter how hard you work at something, you'll never fully control it. Find the beauty in what's happening around you because really, that might be all you get.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Rio vs. Chicago. Seriously?

It's been just 12 hours since the announcement that the 2016 Olympics are going to be held in South America, and I'm already sick of hearing all the political malarky about it.
And since this topic deals with politics, I will state up front that I consider myself a staunch Independent.
Yes, I believe that Obama should have flown on Air Force Freakin' One to Copenhagen to make a plea on behalf of Chicago. To not go when the other three leaders were going would have been a major snub that would have echoed for years. Had he been successful against the odds, we would have eaten like kings. The economic impact of a the Summer Games is incalculably worth it and efforts to attract it can't be phoned it. That's how the game is played. It's the cost of doing business.
I've heard people spouting crap about the economy being bad and that he wasted money that should have been spent on fixing health care. We're America. We can still afford to fly a plane to Denmark. Get over it. If you want him to fly commercial and sit in Coach, write your congressman.
And now critics are saying that he failed as a president because Chicago didn't get the bid. They don't understand how the Olympics work. Chicago never had a prayer. They were outgunned by Madrid and Tokyo who also didn't have a chance; the Olympics were loooong overdue a visit to South America.
The Games have been in North America, on the other hand, in every decade since 1960.
1960 - Squaw Valley
1968 - Mexico City
1976 - Montreal
1980 - Lake Placid
1984 - L.A.
1988 - Calgary
1996 - Atlanta
2002 - SLC.
And will be in Vancouver in 2010.
Chicago probably had a fabulous proposal. Chicago is a GREAT city. It would have been amazing to have them on the Great Lakes. But you had to know that the IOC was anxious to take their party to Brazil, and Brazil was ready. Heck, as soon as I heard that Rio was one of the finalists, I knew where it was going. It was obvious.
So let's stop blaming the Democrats or Republicans or whoever we can blame for all the mistakes that caused America to fail. And let's stop second-guessing the President's Euro-trip. Even though it was a foregone conclusion, he had to go.
Now, if you want to know how crazy I really am, hear this: Who do I believe needs to start bidding on the Olympic Games? Detroit. Laugh out loud. Go ahead. It sounds crazy if you place it in the context of Detroit 2009, but if you look 11 years into the future, you have to believe that this city will be in a better position. Face it, it can't possibly be any worse than Atlanta was when they were first awarded the bid for the '96 Games. Atlanta was a pit.
OK, maybe 2024.