Monday, June 30, 2008
A good omen? This wooden bicycle sculpture was on display as I entered terminal A at Philadelphia International Airport. The bottom photo provides the name of the artist. Cool, no?
I had an uneventful flight and the Brompton sailed through in its suitcase. I did not have an opportunity to ride today (with a brief exception that I will get to below.) That means my June mileage is finished at 659.5. That could be the highest monthly total of my career, or right up there anyway.
While in route I received the text message that Floyd Landis's appeal was turned down by the Court of Arbitration for Sport. I must say I was surprised. I thought Floyd had really made a case that the handling of his samples was bungled from the beginning. Whether that means he did or didn't dope we'll never know. But the court disagreed and quite vigorously. So vigorously in fact that they charged him a lot of money to pay the costs incurred by the UCI! While the fairness of the whole system still remains in some dis-repute, the bottom line is that he has exhausted the system and remains guilty. Having read the history of the Tour De France "Blazing Saddles" on the plane ride, I'm more inclined to believe that doping was so pervasive in the peloton that Floyd's story just doesn't hold up. But it isn't up to me, and the authorities of spoken.
We are staying in a wonderful house in Woodland Hills, CA. The views are spectacular. Which, of course, means that we are on the top of a hill. And I mean hill! The car has trouble getting up, let alone a cyclist not trained for the Tour and riding a Brompton. Yes, I know, I managed the Manayunk Wall, but that was only less than a kilometer. This climbs steadily for a good couple of miles. Curious to see how I'd do, I went out and rode down about half way and turned back to climb up. I really couldn't make it. I could have done better but I wasn't in good clothes and I didn't want to kill myself the way I did on the Hill Climb. In other words, I gave up.
So we will have to find another route to ride and probably drive down to it.
Sunday, June 29, 2008
I have just finished packing and will get a few more last minute things done before turning in. I'll be on a plane early in the morning, with my Brompton already safely packed in its suitcase. Can't say whether I'll ride tomorrow afternoon, but seeing that it is the last day of June, I'd love to add a few more miles to the monthly total. We'll see.
And tomorrow morning the announcement from the Court of Arbitration of sport will finally be made regarding Floyd Landis' appeal. I suppose its a little anti-climactic, but not for Floyd!
Friday, June 27, 2008
Thursday, June 26, 2008
Then I came home and rode a double loop, plus another half for a 26 mile ride. The Brompton is with me to get to meetings and pastoral visits. Hopefully the darkening skies will pass quickly.
Finally, I've added two new books to the side-bar: Blazing Saddles by Matt Rendell, and The Tour Is Won on the Alpe, by Jean Paul Vespini. I am reading both now and will report back, but they both look great.
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
Found that Bill Strickland was nice enough to check out my blog and leave a comment on the post :"Author! Author!" Coincidently, I intended to write about his book and Johan Bruyneel's today anyway. Actually I wrote about them in my lost post of the other day, but never included it in the "make-up" post. I did finish "We Might As Well Win" and really enjoyed it. Much more than I expected to. Lots of good stories inside the TDF years of Johan and Lance and well written. That may well be because of Strickland. I went on to re-read "Ten Points" and want again to really recommend it. The whole ambiance and mentality of amateur crit racing was really instructive, fun and interesting. so there's plenty for a cyclist to relate to, but to quote Lance, it's not about the bike. Or maybe it is. The story of Bill's family and childhood is terribly moving and I guess all of us who come to depend on our bikes to work out something, to fill some space or heal some wound begin to realize that while it is about life it is also about the bike. Read it, and let me know what you think. Better yet, buy it through the widget on my side bar from Amazon, then read it and let me know what you think.
Tuesday, June 24, 2008
So with little enough time to ride, let alone write, I ended by just calling attention to the new listing on the blog list in the side-bar: Le Grimpeur, a great blog about climbing, its history and its wonderful pain. Very nicely done.
As today's tidbit I will just call attention to the Tour of Pennsylvania that begins tonight. I tried to keep my schedule clear so that I could watch the Crit tonight, but it is not to be.
Another loop in magnificent weather this morning and then took the Brompton for errands in town today.
Sunday, June 22, 2008
Nothing special about this photo, just the Cafe at Boathouse Row where I stopped for a bottle of water and a cup of coffee during a rather long and unplanned ride today. Annie is still not home, so I was out early and rode about 28 miles around the drives which was pleasant enough but for having to dodge in and out of a Triathlon that was going on on the West Side. Then I went to morning service. But I took my bike with me intending to take it over to Bicycle Therapy after services. I noticed a couple of little things that I wanted to get taken care of: The front wheel seemed out of true; the gears slipped a bit and the rear brake was a bit sticky. Indeed there were a few adjustments to be made. Anyway, I was done with services at 9:30 and the bike shop didn't open until noon. so I headed back to the river and went around a couple of more times, stopping in between for a nice break at the cafe. Eventually brought the bike in, left in and just picked it back up ready for tomorrow's ride.Ended up riding just over 45 miles today.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Next, if you take a look at my cumulative miles and do the math, I have finally recovered enough miles to where I am on the pace to reach my goal of 4500 miles for the year. Considering the really low start I got in January and February, I'm happy to have reached it so soon.
Finally, and most importantly, riding has taken a bit of a back seat. My daughter hurt her back and Annie has been up in North Jersey all week. So not only do I have to ride solo in the mornings, my days are more stressed keeping everything going alone at home and I haven't been able to ride much, or blog. We will have to skip the Iron tour we'd hoped to go on Sunday. Well, their calling for rain anyway. And next week Annie needs to leave for LA to get ready for our son's wedding (I go the week after) and its being my last week of work I could not protect my day off, just too much to finish before I leave, so I will not get a big ride in on Wednesday. but if I get up early I should still be able to do a moderate ride.
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Arriving home I quickly switched bikes to the Brompton and threw a pair of real shorts over my cycling shorts and met another friend for lunch. Did some errands and added a couple of miles to the day's total.
Tomorrow I need to bring the car in for service and so will miss my morning loop. But I can throw the Brompton in the car and ride back to work, so I'll get some riding in.
Finally, I came across this new web site that allows you to view and buy children's books. I thought it was cool. They also let you embed an entire book into a blog. So enjoy this one on cycling. You can check it out by clicking on the Lookybook logo or here
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Here's Johan speaking:
Both books are available through Amazon and are listed in my sidebar. I've read Ten Points and loved it. In fact will now read it again. the cycling side of the book is great, but the story of a family and of a man and his demons is much better. I have not yet read the Bruyneel book (co-written with Strickland.) I assume it will be more of a celebrity memoir but I'm interested to find out.
Finally, a later addition, a couple of shots that Denine took including the one of Johan and Bill signing my book:
Sunday, June 15, 2008
It couldn't have been better. We were at the start (pictured above) by 7:15 AM and registered, received our bib and prepared to ride. We settled on the 40 mile route to Valley Forge. Exactly how they calculated the mileage is a bit of a mystery, since I do that ride frequently and know it to be at least 46 miles and in this case, since we went into the park and rode some on the park trail before reaching the rest stop, it was definitely not a 40 mile ride. In fact, our round trip mileage from home was 52.8 miles.
Be that as it may, we had a great ride. For me it was the old familiar path to Valley forge using the tow-path rather than going up Umbria. It seemed the wisest choice for Annie's first ride out there. She did great and had a great time. We met lots of folks we know, as we are getting to know more and more of the regulars on the bike scene. Henry the breakfast guy was there; Mike from Trophey, Al Gilens, the photographer; David Finger, the Braffs, Seymour Cohen, a few people we see in the morning on the path like Lee, and Steve Masters. It is nice to begin to feel a connection to folks in the hobby.
The service of the Bicycle coalition was terrific. We hit our first rest stop at Spring Mill, only about 10 miles out.
In the past I had never actually ridden around the park. It was really nice to see some of the actual history exhibits as we rode. We stopped to view these soldiers barracks before we reached Wayne's woods for lunch
This is a shot of the lunch crowd.
The return was uneventful. The weather stayed good, a bit muggy but the clouds kept the sun from baking us. Home in plenty of time to enjoy the rest of Father's Day.
Thursday, June 12, 2008
Another good bicycling weekend looms ahead, with good reports vis-a-vis weather. This Sunday Annie and I will do the Freedom Valley Ride of the Bicycle Coalition of Philadelphia. I'm not sure which of the rides we'll do yet. Maybe just the 22 mile to see how we like it. Or the 32 mile "vigorous" ride, whatever that means. But it sounds like it will be fun.
Also considering the French Creek Iron Tour the following week, but haven't decided yet.
This morning I rode solo. Just a regular 13.5 mile loop and no more biking today as my schedule does not allow it.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
It's making its way around the web, but if you haven't seen it yet here is the picture of Presidential candidate Barack Obama going out for a leisurely ride with his family. Somehow I think this is for real, and more, that Obama is the kind of guy who could seriously get behind cycling as a transportation/health/environmental alternative worth putting some big Federal bucks behind. Let's hope.
Meanwhile, Annie had to stay home on a rare Wednesday because of work commitments, so I got up early on my day off and rode a double loop of 20 miles with her. She peeled off to go home and I did three more loops for a 48 miles ride. A pleasant ride with no destination. I will take the Brompton to do some of my own errands later, and add the mileage then.
Sunday, June 08, 2008
Annie and I left the house just after 7 AM and met the hundred or so other riders in today's Philly Family Fun Ride. That is the ride around the Pro race course. The 14 mile loop started at 22nd and The Parkway, up Kelly Drive into Manayunk, up the infamous Wall (again,) and then through the back of Manayunk back to Kelly Drive, up into Fairmont Park a bit in the Lemon Hill area and finally back to the Drive and onto the Parkway. Of course, the highlight was the Wall. It was my second attempt in three days and Annie's first ever. She made it about half-way up, stopped and walked another quarter of the way to where I stopped. We walked a bit together and then re-mounted and managed to finish the climb. For me, pretty much the same results on Friday and I didn't feel the climb was made any easier by being on the big bike. In fact, I actually think the Brompton was a tad easier. But I made it in almost the identical mix of walking and riding. It was a great ride and we had a lot of fun. Denine met up with us near the end of the ride and we spent some time together. I met her at various points along the course throughout the day as we both watched the race and participated in some of the other goings on surrounding it. Met lots of other folks I'm coming to know in the cycling community as well. Definitely a day for the Philly cycling community to turn out in force. Here are Annie and Denine after the ride.
After we rode and hung around a bit, Annie took off for home. Lots to do. I stuck around and moved from one vantage to another, catching both the men's and the women's races various times. It was exciting and I took a load of photos, only a few of which are posted here. If I can figure out how to post a separate album of these photos I will do so.
At one point, as I was leaving the festivities at Lemon Hill, I found myself in just the right spot to watch the peloton coming down the hill. At the bottom there is a pretty hard right turn and I captured a rider going down. I couldn't identify him, but it was a miracle that there was not a pile up. The road was wide enough for everyone to swing around him. He was not hurt, but blew a tire and called his team car for a replacement wheel and was on his way
I left before it was over also. Jewish holidays begin tonight and I had things to do to prepare. But was home to catch the exciting end of the race on TV and to watch Matti Breschel win it for team CSC.
A couple of days off the blog now for the holidays. It was a great cycling weekend. Next Sunday is the Freedom Valley ride, so another good one coming up.
Saturday, June 07, 2008
It was quite an experience! I arrived at the starting line about an hour early and registered for the race. Had to purchase my one day racing license from USA Cycling and then register for the race. I had no idea that it was going to be a time trial. I thought there would just be a bunch start and everyone rode together. Instead each person went off individually. They held your seat while they counted down and you had your feet on the pedals and then..off. I was number 72, the number proudly affixed to the back of my jersey. There were 16 folding bikes among the hundred plus riders. I came in number 14 out of 14 in the men's category. The two women beat me also. But I made it up the wall. If I had actually found it the day before when I was looking for it, I probably wouldn't have even shown up. It is an incredible climb. I made it about 3/4 of the way up and felt like throwing up. I had to stop and walk about 10 feet to get my breath back, but then I got on my bike and made it the rest of the way up. I felt quite good, like I had accomplished something. I was dog tired by the time I rode the seven miles home after the race.
But it was really exciting. One of the photos below shows the arrival of the Mavic car, the neutral race mechanics who are always at the pro races. There was a lot of excitement and curiosity at this first ever sanctioned folding bike classification at a USA Cycling event. The other photos show the start gate, the folders lined up ahead of me, some of the folder guys milling about before the race.
Rob English, riding a titanium Bike Friday finished in first among the folders with a time of 1:35:22 (my time was 5:35:99) which was only about 9 seconds behind the race winner on a regular bike. Pretty impressive. Nice guy, too.
This afternoon Annie and I walked over to Walnut Street to watch the folding/unfolding contest. It was a gas. And I was given my Jersey!(picture tomorrow.)Also met Alvin Gilens, a professional photographer who was taking pictures at the race and got one of me going up the wall.
Tomorrow its PHILADELPHIA INTERNATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP FAMILY FUN RIDE. We'll ride the course before the pros do, including the wall again. This time on the Fuji! Then we'll watch the race.
Friday, June 06, 2008
Thursday, June 05, 2008
Meanwhile I was able to tack on 15 miles to this morning's 13 miles for another good day before coming back to work.
Wednesday, June 04, 2008
Well, you can't please everybody all the time. In the interests of fairness I'm sharing this blog link to bike snob NYC who takes a very dim view of Mr. Mackey's L'Etape du Tour exploits.
The racers pass by the Logan Circle fountain in Center City. (Daily News file)
Though I haven't seen it in the print edition yet, the Philadelphia Inquirer web site has been running this special feature on Sunday's upcoming Pro Tour race all week. You can read all the features here.
We're getting ready for the weekend in our own way. First of all, in combination with race weekend, Trophy Bikes is sponsoring its annual folding bike round-up:
ROUND UP USA RETURNS JUNE 6-7-8, 2008
ROUND UP USA FOLDER FEST-- America's biggest little bike event.
Look for new challengers to Brompton's "fastest fold" title, more imaginative bikes from Pacific, some refinements to the classic Brompton folder, all set against the backdrop of the Commerce Bank Cycling Championship.
MANAYUNK HILL CLIMB ADDS FOLDER CLASS;
Bike Friday is sending hot rider Rob English,
Read about the custom TIKIT Rob will ride in
hill climb here.
see below for details
HERE'S THE 2008 DRAFT SCHEDULE
PLEASE NOTE changes as of
May 10, 2008!:
Noon-4:30pm FOLDER DEMOs and informal talks . Trophy Bikes, 3131 Walnut Street.
4:45 pm sharp FOLDER RIDE to Manayunk to watch hillclimb. Meets at Trophy Bikes.
6 pm COMMERCE BANK MANAYUNK HILLCLIMB, Main and Levering Sts., Manayunk. CLIMBERS WANTED!
If you're a good climber, please enter this event. TROPHY BIKES is sponsoring a FOLDER CLASS--with cash prizes for the top male and female folder bikers.
Click HERE to register.
OR... ride out with us and cheers as folder bikes from Swift, Dahon, Friday, Brompton (and more) take on the Manayunk Wall .
7 am TIME TRIALS Art Museum, 26th & the Parkway. Cheer Swift Folders (and maybe others) racing against the big bikes in the Commerce Bank Time Trials along the MLK Drive.
(note FOLDER FORUMS time TBA)
10 am sharp -- FOLDER BIKE ON RAIL EXCURSION. Meet Trophy Bikes--we'll take the SEPTA 10:20 R6 at 30th St. Station, then ride back from Norristown along the Schuylkill River Bike Path.
ALL DAY –Informal folder demos and test rides. –Trophy Bikes.
2:30 p.m. FAST FOLD SHOWDOWN and BIFOLDATHLON.
Think you're pretty fast, pardner? Then bring yuhself and yuh folder to the FFS and ride/fold/sit/unfold/ride. Schuylkill River Park at Market Street. SEE THE '07 FAST FOLD HERE.
SAT EVE approx. 6pm --Evening folder gathering and ride . Bridgewater Pub, 30th St. Station. 30th and Market Sts. There may also be a informal video screening, TBA.
8:30 am FOLDER RALLY at COMMERCE BANK TRIPLE CROWN race start, Logan Circle, 19th and the Ben Franklin Parkway. Watch race start, visit bike expo.
10am-Noon FOLDER DEMOS and informal talks. Trophy Bikes.
3-5 pm MUSICAL FOLDERS variety ride. Test ride the max number of folder bikes in the minimum time. Schuylkill River Park at Walnut Street.
6:00 pm FOLDER FROLIC. Ride to a classic pub for a good meal.
I hope to get over to Trophy for some shmoozing Friday afternoon. Annie and I will walk over to the River park to watch the folding competition on Saturday afternoon. But the best part of the weekend will obviously be on Sunday. We have registered in the charity fun ride in the morning. We will ride the course of the entire race, including the Manayunk "wall" beginning at 7 AM. Then we'll hang around for much of the day watching the race and participating in all the hoopla surrounding it, including the Bicycle Club of Philadelphia picnic, the bike expo, etc.
The weather forecast for the weekend is good. Unfortunately it is not so good today. Cloudy with rain on and off. I'll ride but not too far from home.
Tuesday, June 03, 2008
But thanks to Deneen I wanted to share this two shots of me using the Brompton to get around town yesterday. The best of the three shots she took I've added to the (semi-) permanent place on the sidebar.
Meanwhile I wanted to just remind folks of the really interesting blog that Robert Mackey is writing for the Play section of the New York Times that I've mentioned before. He is 41 years old, and having a "mid-life hobby" crisis that not only brought him to cycling, but to signing on for the L'Etape du Tour, the chance for amateurs to ride the same route as the pros for one of the stages of the Tour de'France. In this case a stage that includes climbing the Tourmalet, one of the hardest climbs in the tour itinerary. His blog is charting his training as well as interesting other tidbits about the tour. Check it out.
This morning we had a fast ride in perfect weather on the Fuji. I have the Brompton with me for town use and will fill in the mileage later.
Sunday, June 01, 2008
The Drives were busy but not really annoyingly so. Wonderful to see so many people out. So many different kinds of bikes and cyclists! A Recumbent tandem was a first for me, I think.
While I haven't watched the race yet, the results are in: Contador is the winner of the Giro D'Italia!
Now we begin June. Today Annie and I did a Brompton/Tikit double loop. The weather was perfect and we love the bikes. With some shopping later in the morning I managed 23.9 miles today, a good start to the month. We will ride the Fuji bikes tomorrow morning, though I must say I'm satisfied to ride only the Brompton.
Ready to watch the finale of the Giro later tonight. Looks very good for Contador.