Sunday, April 30, 2006

Sunday

The funniest thing about Dela-vania is the suburban sprawl located amongst the beautiful foresty areas and mushroom farms. You'll be cruisin along, enjoying some nice shady trees, you pass a stinking mushroom farm, and suddenly you're surrounded by sold and converted farmland with sterile, oversized McMansions. Depressing one would think, but there is light in this situation. All of these shitty developments for people with no soul, they all have amazing ironic names. Like Candlewyck (the 'y' makes it so Old Money). Or Meadowlane Farms (farms?!?!). Or my personal favorite from todays ride: The Preserve at New Garden. New Garden is like a township collection of McMansion farms, the only thing being preserved in this township is ego. I'm going to develop one of these and call it Sir Wiltshire Huffington Fordingsworth III Acres.

Good day today. Got ahold of some people riding out of Newark and when I finally got directions, I had a half hour to get there. A tall order if traffic is bad. Of course the second I'm ready I have to go to the bathroom. So I do my business, go to the kitchen, fill the water bottles, grab a ClifBar.

I rush out the front door... 25 minutes to ride time. No car in sight. I left it over on Lovering St last night because I was too drunk to drive home and I walked. A 15-20 minute walk. I throw on my Sidi Genius shoes (best shoes ever), clip into the pedals, and SPRINT over to Lovering. Get in the car, throw off the shoes (worst shoes to drive in ever), and tear off for Kirkwood Highway - aka shittiest road in America - 20 minutes to ride time.

I tear ass all the way to Polly Drummond and Paper Mill and pull into the parking lot at the park as they are riding out. They agree to wait, and I hustle and get on the bike. All is good in the world.

It was a decent ride, only 35 miles compared to the advertised 45, but I cranked out some good efforts on some of the hills. I'll take what I can get, with soccer tomorrow, then travel the rest of the week, it'll be at least 5 days til I pedal again.

Hockessin smells like socks

So yesterday I decided to ride my bike out to Elkton MD (where I work) to pick up my car. It has been sitting in the parking lot since I left for Germany. I got up, ate some oatmeal, had my coffee and planned out a nice 34 mile stroll on the back roads of Delaware, Pennsylvania, and Maryland:


I poured the last of my Gatorade out, about half a water bottle worth and figured, it's only 30 miles, I don't need that much sugar for the trip. Skip the ClifBar. Because Dela-vania is so frigging good at marking street names, and coordinating on street infrastructure at the state border, I end up taking a wrong turn and end up in Hockessin. See green below:

42 miles from setting out, I am completely bonked, and I had to ask for directions twice more in Pennsylvania. So anyway, this is a long way to say "Thank you Dela-vania for your lack of streetsigns, your chicken-shit fertilizer mushroom farms, and your 'Stop except for right turn' signs."

Right now, I am nursing a hangover obtained via gin and tonics and cheap beer. I spent my night at Scratch's telling my friend I was bored because I was the best looking guy in the bar. I wasn't kidding.

Friday, April 28, 2006

Liberty for all

Working in a reverse timeline, I'll account for the lack of updates (and riding) for the last week point five.

I just got home from Mainz and Kirkel Germany, where a business trip was less than efficient (in a land that prides itself in exactly that) left me with a day off to see some old shit, meet some cool Germans, and drink a lot of Dunkelbier. We found a cool underground bar called the Red Cat and ate and drank in the shadow of the Dome in the Domplatz.

Before that, my mom, her boyfriend John, and my little brother Nick came to visit. Nick and I did some climbing at Go Vertical while it rained Saturday. On Sunday we did the tourist thing in Philly - saw the Liberty Bell, Independence Hall, ate philly cheesesteaks. It was ironic that to get into any of the national monuments mentioned above, there was more security than airports on September 12, 2001. I put everything, including my dignity, into a little tray and enjoyed a pat-down just to see a national monument singing the praises of the constant fight for freedom.

This weekend: get back on US time, ride the bike, get ready for 2 more weeks of travel.

P.S. I need to go pro.

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Mathematicians

Last night Cerissa drove us up to Philly for a Mathematicians show. I was psyched because the Mathematicians rock hard, it was $1 PBR night at that particular bar, and I was not driving home.

We showed up at 8, the scheduled start time, and there were a couple dudes hanging out in the bar in front of the stage. After talking to them for a while, we realized the show wasn't gonna go on for another 2 hours. So, we accompanied the fine gentlemen to Jim's where they got their first official Philly cheesesteak sandwiches. A couple more people show up closer to 10, and the dudes we were hanging out with (names withheld to protect their alter-egos) change into their true form - Dewey Decimal and Pete Pythagoras. I talked to Albert Gorithm IV for an extended amount of time about their tour and a possible "Live from Delaware" album. These guys rock so hard that they want to be the first (that we know of) to have a live album from the small wonder - Delaware. I'm going to try and help make that happen.

Anyway, onto the show. Over the course of a 1.5 hour set and 6 delicious $1 PBRs, I came up with the following talking points.
  1. They did not play like a band that has been on tour around the continent for 40 days. Their showmanship was on a level of a band with 20 years experience; their energy was on that of a band on their first tour stop.
  2. They fucking rock.
  3. Upstate NY shows are more fun because people sing along//dance.
  4. The Mathematicians fucking rock.
  5. The musicianship, dance moves, equations, rhymes, rap stylings, algorithms, and punk rock moves of the band are on a completely new level.
  6. They rock so fucking hard (and like PBR!)
Anyway, hopefully more to come on a Delaware album recording concerto. Today I'm in Cortland NY on business. I saw some funny shit on cyclingnews.com just now, namely Viacheslav Ekimov scaring the locals in Georgia. I'm pretty sure he's trying for Donald Trump's bad hair//cobra-strike-hand-thing combo.



It looks like CSC took yet another win, in this case Lars Michaelsen won the sprint for the first stage win in the aught-six Tour de Georgia. Pretty exciting shit, especially with another stage tomorrow, and the Fleche Wallonne tomorrow. The CSC lineup for FW = ass kickering: Basso, Julich, Kroon, L├╝ttenberger, Voigt, Sorensen, Schleck, Sastre. Holy crap.

Finally, cyclingnews had this feature on the history of the nickname "Hell of the North" for Paris-Roubaix. My main takeaway was that 1919 champion Henri Pelissier was a pussy compared to 1920 champion Paul "Tha Man" Deman. Reason? look at the pictures:


1920 Champ Demans: Brakeless Fixed Gear

1919 Wussbag Pelissier: BRAKES!!!

Sunday, April 16, 2006

Easter wrap

Yesterday the Queen B ride was exactly what I was looking for. Mostly a moderately paced ride with a couple rolling regroups. We did have a nice long haul ass period where myself and two other decent (read: fitter and slimmer than me) riders had a nice 3 man break. We were pacelining at around 27 mph. It may as well have been fucking Mars for me because there was not enough oxygen around for my liking. Myself and one of those two guys had a friendly little rip-each-other's-legs-off jaunt for the last 2 miles of the ride as well, though I ended up fading and he took the 'win'. The ride averaged around 18 and a half mph for 47 miles - not bad for a "B ride".

Today I did the 32 mile Shroom Route that traces the north DE to PA border. There's a mushroom farm within farting distance for the majority of the PA part of the route. I started out slow - my legs felt like shit, I think from a sober night in last night. As I shook out the kinks, the pace picked up a little, and I averaged just over 18 mph. Whatever. I'm fat and proud.

Justin had an Easter potluck today. I had a couple PBRs and some wine from an empty PBR can. There was some delicious ham, some mac and cheese, and some really good sweet potato casserole. We played some Cranium, and Christin and I got schooled - I blame poor dice rolling, and a trick Jimi Hendrix question - I KNOW HE WAS LEFT HANDED. Rob, Stacy, and Justin won, a close second to Tim, Jaran (sp?), and Lindsay.

CSC had another fine day in the office. Another one-man win in the spring with Frank Schleck. One hard man from a team of Rockwell's over-achievers. Cancellara last week at P-R. I can't help but think they are taking a note from Jens Voigt, one of my personal favorites - mostly for his lack of fear of taking a huge flyer - over and over and over again. Though I have to give Steffen Wesemann credit for spending a huge amount of time alone off the front and then attacking again for a commanding second place.

Saturday, April 15, 2006

Good little consumer

Thursday night, owing to the fact I had Friday off, I went out drinking with a bunch of people from Gore. We did nachos and margaritas at Kid Shelleen's, then spent the remainder of the evening at the DelRose. I swear Trolley Square is one giant frat party. I'm going to spend less time drinking in there and more time leading a healthier lifestyle, meaning I'll drink tall boys of PBR on the curb outside instead of in that sweaty fire hazard. It's sad when my main goal of an evening is trying to see how many fat balding frat-type boys I can annoy without getting my ass kicked. That, and bars is the worst way to meet people if you want to actually have some sort of rapport.

So anyway, after nursing my hangover in bed until noon, I got my lazy ass out on the fixed gear to work out some of the kinks that are lingering from soccer//hill ride. I spun out 52 to the intersection with Route 1 in PA and came back the same way. It was good to get that hoss rolling, I miss spinning downhill at 180 rpm and trying to keep my ass in the saddle. It works wonders for leg-kink-removal.

With the upcoming travel on my calendar, I've decided I think I'm going to buy a new ipod. My current one has no battery life left, and it works great as my car's source of music because I can leave it plugged in. On top of that I'd really like to buy a pair of these. Unnecessary, yes, but my checkerboard needs are never quelled. Additionally, I'm thinking about buying a new singlespeed mountain bike, namely a Carver 96-er. Why? Because everyone is going 29" around here, and while that only makes me half a man, it's something a little different. I'm going to need to sell my current singlespeed to afford this new steed though. Finally, I'm thinking of buying a new car before the year is out. Right now, the current choice is a mazdaspeed 3. It's not out yet, but....

Last night the r4L and I went to see the Appleseed Cast at the First Unitarian Church in Philly. Holy shit are they good live. The second band that opened for them, Aloha, was also really fucking good. They had a rotating line-up with a lot of emphasis on percussion, and really catchy repeated riffs. They even had a marimba! They also had some guy selling used vinyl at the show; I picked up some Elvis Costello, Talking Heads, and of course Frank Zappa.

I'm listening to the latter now and getting ready for the 50 mile Queen B ride out of Newark. Supposedly no faster than 18 mph average group ride, but there are some fun "unofficially peppy" sections. It's funny to hear that some consider this a "hilly route." Hi, I say to them, we're in... Delaware.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Body and mind

Turns out the kid I collided with at my soccer game yesterday is fine, just a little sore or so I hear.

I, on the other hand, feel like someone filled my legs with lactic acid impregnated cement. I went on the Wednesday night hill ride up in Chester county PA, around Landenberg. I didn't realized hills that painful existed around here. None of them are any longer than a half mile or maybe a little more, but there are a lot just sitting there with around a 10 % grade. It seemed the whole time like we were either going up or down. One downhill had to be 14 - 15 %. This is a magnified 3-D map of the area:


I think my poor performance was due to a combination of lack of intensity in my recent riding, and residual dead legs from yesterday's soccer game. Anyway, Michael (a.k.a. Jan), Dave, and Jay Cimini (of Gore) schooled me.

I got home to a URL left from Chris that started a chain of events in action (which is ironic once you click the link):
>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1kvdq8cRNBM
This link had links to these following videos which I'd argue are more impressive:
>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wWfKVJQ9MSw
>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1Ofdql52zHs
>http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwuKD0FuT4I
The finesse and attention to detail got me thinking about these videos I once saw:
>http://www.ebaumsworld.com/ag-machines.html
And of course of Larry Kagan's amazing art (click gallery):
>http://www.arts.rpi.edu/~kagan/gallery.html
I then jumped in the shower and this popped into my once-blown mind:
>http://www.steelcitysfinest.com/HondaAccordAd.htm
On the commercials train of thought I came up with this:
>http://www.bravia-advert.com/commercial/braviaextcommhigh.html
And the song in that last commercial was Jose Gonzalez's cover of Heartbeats by The Knife (you'll have to click the link to play the song):
> http://www.myspace.com/silentshout

Anyway, the power of the human mind to create all of these things will never cease to amaze me. I guess equally impressive is the power to file away all of these things and then bring them all back to consciousness at the blink of an eye.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

I think...

I may have sent someone to the hospital today. Our team APS/CH lost the first Gore soccer game to EM2 (2-nothing). We definitely had more shots on goal but accuracy is everything.

So anyway, back to the exciting stuff. Since I have no finesse whatsoever, I rely on hustle and intimidation on the football pitch. This one dude and I were charging head to head for a loose ball. We connected, shoulder to shoulder, and he went down kinda hard clutching his. Our team got the ball, and their team got the first injury of the season. He left for the hospital with ice on his shoulder... It may have been separated, or maybe a broken collarbone... I hope it's just sore.

After that, I won most of the loose ball head to head showdowns.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Full week

I must admit, life is pretty good. I'm traveling, biking, climbing (sort of), working a cool job. I do feel somewhat isolated in Delaware sometimes. I'm pretty far from most of my best friends and all of my family, but there relief here and there. Ma and Nick are coming to visit in 2 weeks which will be nice. I'm going up to Troy to visit people at the end of the month. Silas is probably going to visit in the next couple of months. July, it looks like I'm going to head out to San Francisco to see a bunch of people. August will have the family together in Tennessee hopefully. And Thanksgiving/Christmas can't be far past that. I guess I need to try a little harder to make good friends around here. The bike community holds a lot of promise.

Go Vertical is a pretty nice climbing gym. We spent about 2 hours there yesterday before we headed home so I could watch Paris - Roubaix. What a frigging heartbreaker. Hincapie with a broken shoulder when the race was going his way everyway possible. Then Leif Hoste and Vlad Gussev and De Peet all DQed for an illegal train crossing the referees didn't even see. Even Boonen, who "took" second was a little bummed with the outcome - just not in the true spirit of cycling. Though Cancellara had a fabulous ride to win - no one can take that away from him.

Up ahead this week:
Tuesday - first Gore soccer game.
Wednesday - Hilly road ride out of Newark
Thursday - Mountain biking (hopefully) or fixed gear road ride
Friday - Day off + Appleseed Cast in Philadelphia
Weekend... don't know. It should be a good week.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Cerissa's party

Well, no one died Friday night, but I think our house got a little abuse. Our 3rd roommate and his girlfriend were not pleased with the party atmosphere. I can't say I blame them because we did break the shower, the front door, my bed, and someone did attempt to break the beer pong table.

Thankfully, Adam was here (and helped cause the damage), and he used his carpenter ninja skills to will the furniture back together with the help of MJ, John, and I. And he bought me a bunch of tools because he's a ridiculously nice guy like that.

I went with Rocco, Cerissa, and Robyn last night to see Inside Man. Rocco and I snuck some Red Stripes into the theatre and both of us almost exploded our bladders. On the way home, I was in Robyn's car and Rocco in Cerissa's, and Rocco ran up to Robyn's car at the stop light and ripped me out into the street. I made a big show of it and played dead before jumping back in the car. Of course, this all happened right in front of a State Trooper, and Cerissa was immediately pulled over. I hid my beer bottles under the seat (they were coming home with us to get recycled) and the cop drove up from Cerissa's car and asked "Were you guys just fuckin' around?" I reply, "Yeah that was my friend Rocco." He shot an annoyed glare and drove off.

If the lovely roommate and Rocco ever get out of bed today, we are going climbing at Go Vertical in Philly.

Friday, April 07, 2006

inventory

Someone may die this weekend... At the liquor store buying the following:
  • a 6 pack of Dogfish Head 60 minute IPA
  • a 6 pack of Oxford Raspberry Wheat ale
  • a 24 pack of Yeungling bottles
  • a 30 rack of "Le Champagne" of beers: Miller High Life
  • a big bottle of Cuervo Tequila
We get the following call from Nate: "We just bought a bottle of Sambuca, a bottle of spiced rum, a bottle of whiskey, and MJ and Adam are buying beer now." If there's one thing I know, the word moderation does not exist in Adam's vocabulary.

This worries me...

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Mountain ride at Middle Run

After work today I rode with Chris at Middle Run. Man that place is fast, flat, and gave my singlespeed legs the boost of confidence they need. All without my trademark faceplant. I think you could really spend a 3-4 hours there messing around and connecting all the loops in different ways. I'm pretty sure it hooks up to White Clay Creek State Park if you head north on all the trails, though that is speculation. It was good to get out on the mountain bike, all road and no dirt makes me something something. The goal this fall is to combine the best of 3 worlds: skinny tires, dirt, and beer - cyclocross.

and this is just awesome:
http://www.cyclingnews.com/tech.php?id=tech/2006/features/sram_road_launch

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

More rocks in Delaware!

Apparently in Alapocas Park there are some sizable rock faces, and someone has set up some sport routes. There is some bouldering too. Supposedly you need a permit to climb here, but I didn't see any warden.

The face.

Cerissa's first problem - Fisher Price.

I tried to make it a little harder.

More pics here.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Boulders in Delaware!!

The R4L and I headed over to Rockford Park today after work to see if the rumors about boulders were true.

We found this one first.

and then some more.

More pics here.

It's the long one on the right...

Spent all day yesterday and today drinking the corporate Kool-Aid. I really think HR people like to hear themselves talk when they are explaining common sense shit. Anyway, I know now I shouldn't make racist, misogynistic or ethnic jokes at work, so thanks for 2 days of un-productivity. At least we get free lunch.

Anyway, in my boredom at this training session I started thinking about my morning commute. 30 minutes is far longer than any drive I've ever had to work, and I really don't like it. Since I'm not moving anytime soon, I decided to do an experiment in an attempt to minimize my overall commuting stress.

On trial is the notion that driving conservatively rather than my typical speeding, aggressive, yellow-red light running self will be better in the following facets:
  1. Improved gas mileage
  2. Little or no difference in time of commute
  3. Reduced chance of speeding tickets
  4. Improved safety
  5. Reduced stress
Parts 3, 4 and 5 are really speculative and qualitative, and will be measured as such, seeing as my experimental control is flawed in that I have a record free of tickets and accidents. The reduced stress aspect I already know to be true; if I'm not driving like there's a fire in Elkton MD, I'm far less worried about aspects 1 - 4.

Therefore my experiment will go as follows:
  • My commute: Google Maps Link
  • The first 5 day period will be the experimental control.
    • I will drive in my normal aggressive fashion:
      • Yellow to red light transitions will be run when possible.
      • I will stick to the fast lane primarily and pass on the right when possible.
      • I will average 10-20 mph over the speed limit.
      • Menacing glares will be given to those who stand in my way.
    • I will start with a full tank of gas, and I will refill it at the end of the week to measure fuel consumption.
    • I will time my morning commute, and try to leave at the same time each day.
  • The first 5 day period will test the hypothesis.
    • I will drive conservatively:
      • Yellow to red light transitions will be treated as red lights.
      • I will stick to the middle lane primarily and pass on the left when the following speed is not possible.
      • I will average no more than 10 mph over the speed limit.
      • Eye contact with other motorists will be avoided.
    • I will start with a full tank of gas, and I will refill it at the end of the week to measure fuel consumption.
    • I will time my morning commute, and try to leave at the same time each day.
Updates will follow, this experiment is slated to run from 10 April to 21 April. Pre-test feedback will be appreciated - i.e. are there other worthwhile measurables, variables, or recommendations? Does anyone else want to test this hypothesis in a different region?

As for now, I'm going to explore some possible bouldering spots in Wilmington.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

my room

I posted some pictures of my room in Delaware: http://www.forty15.com/photo/818NHarrison/index.html.
more to come.

Troy folk are coming to DE next weekend, we are getting a keg, it is going to be fun.

Not-so-lazy Sunday

Got up at 5.30 am today to make sure my clock reset itself, then went promptly back to bed for another hour upon confirmation. Climbed out of bed at 6.30 and did the normal morning routine: piss, coffee, oatmeal, news.

Mike picked me up at 8 to drive up to Pedricktown NJ to meet a bunch of Jersey folk for a 3 hour Sunday ride. My roommate's girlfriend Morgan was here overnight and she brought her stupid fucking dog, Buck, who bit me when Mike came to the door.

Anyway, went up to NJ to ride, and we were on the road around 9. By 10 am, the knee and arm warmers came off, it was sunny and pleasant if not a little windy. I'm really starting to like to pull into the wind. Anyway, I was at the front for a majority of the 3 hour 55+ mile ride with Tom, Mike, Doug, Chris, and there were a bunch of old guys draggin' ass and suckin' wheel with which I was fine.

After the ride, Tom, Mike, Doug and I wnet to get some pizza. Tom was enlightening me on the best of the 80s music, i.e. Joy Division (which is playing as we speak) and New Order (which I know through Cerissa) as we watched a tractor pull on ESPN - yeah, the sports network ESPN, which still doesn't show cycling.

This afternoon, I read up on the results of Ronde van Vlaanderen (seeing as we STILL don't have cable)... big surprise Tom Boonen won. I like the guy, but I also like surprises. I also washed my car and did some construction around this dump of a house.

Saturday, April 01, 2006

April fool's weekend

I just returned from my first business trip, and subsequently, my first trip to Texas. We flew into George Bush Int'l Airport (fuck off) in Houston and drove up to Texas A&M in College Station. In the 2 hour drive I came to one conclusion: I never want to live anywhere that flat and spread out. The Rope Technology Workshop (see www.gore.com/omnibend to see why I was at such a conference) was really boring. This uber-nerd from www.makerope.com had this 2 hour presentation on rope technology from 1880 - 1920. The only good thing to come of that was the instantaneous laughter that exploded from my team when the elevator doors closed on our way out. Needless to say, it's good to be home.

Friday night I went out with some people to Trolley Square and had an average time. I got pretty drunk. I'm starting to get bored with the drinking scene in Wilmington - mostly because I miss drinking with the people who taught me how to have fun while drinking.

The highlight so far this weekend was my 46 mile ride out to Oxford PA from Newark with Doug and Mike. We had a vicious headwind from the West on the way out, and I felt like pulling as much as possible. We met this old dude named Scott along the way, and he joined us. He was a complete badass for the following reasons:
  • He never left his big ring, in 25 mph headwind mind you. The guy was a diesel truck that a hand grenade wouldn't have displaced.
  • He's been racing since 1964, he used to race with Andy Hampsten.
  • He has a sweet bike and rides without a helmet.
  • He's quit "good jobs before because they didn't allow him to ride when he wanted to ride."
Anyway he gave me hope for my future in ditching the corporate world. Then we had a tailwind coming east on 273, cranking along at 30 mph. We lifted the average speed of the ride from 16 to 17.7! Tomorrow I'm riding in south NJ, 60 miles at a relaxed pace with Tom, Doug, and Mike at the least. Oh, I also earned the nickname "snap crackle and pop" for my obnoxious gum snapping habit.