Thursday, April 27, 2006

Karthik weighs in on distance sports in India

A fellow in India named Karthik weighed in on my jokey post about that crazy intersection video, and he provided enough information about cycling and running in India that I feel like I should post it in case you miss his comment. Karthik says:
Hey nice blog there...I read ur post on why there is not a single indian professional cyclist..Well, the sport is slowly catching up.. If not professionally, at least recreationally (bike to work, et al)

Here are some blogs by cycle enthusiasts in India:

I cycle myself, but I am more of a runner.

Though I agree that many roads in India aren't of a great quality and are really congested during the day, we do have many smooth stretches of roads that are used for practice(which may be on the outskirts of the city for example).
There are not many opportunities to bring out the cycling talent here due to a lack of awareness of cycling as a sport.

In this context, there has been a recent spurt in marathons in India, the standard chartered marathon in Mumbai for example,the bangalore marathon, etc which have given a professional touch to marathons and have made aware the sport of marathon among the general public. Similar awareness needs to be brought about by holding 'professionally organised' cycling races, which sadly are non-existent as of now.


Thanks Karthik! Here's to India and distance sports!

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

Vanilla adds Wildcat to cyclocross roster

Vanilla makes the coolest bikes on the planet if you ask me. Beautiful and timeless design, as well as exquisite craftsmanship put Sacha White's bicycles at the very tip top of my list, and someday I plan to own and ride one.

But that's not the point today. Here's the point. BikePortland reports:
Kevin Hulick will be sponsored by Vanilla Bicycles for the 2006 cyclocross season... Hulick, who went to school and raced bikes at Chico State University in California, now splits his time between Corvallis and Portland. He’s “pretty excited to be riding bikes built by Sacha,” and who wouldn’t be?

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I need a Beer Belly™

If I were any kind of a contender at races, I would without hesitation use the Beer Belly as my hydration system.

Just imagine showing up to a mountain bike race with a tight jersey on, a big beer gut, and what appears to be no water, and then whip the pants off everyone at the race.

Hell, I might have to pick up a Beer Belly just to ride with my homeboys in Chico! And the Pleasure Extender will certainly rock on those hot summer days...

Saul Raisin coming home

I don't know if it is because as I get older I think about my own mortality more, but I've continually had Saul Raisin in my head since his crash earlier this month. Saul is out of the coma now, and apparently feeling well enough to extract medical devices from his body.

A post from his parents on his web site today reads:
Today is a good day. We did not tell this before, but Saul was not taken off the respirator earlier, he pulled it out. After 24 hours they had to reinsert it. Yesterday they took it out again and so far Saul does not need it and hopefully he will not need it. Saul is sitting in a chair for short times and talking a little. He told us he does not like it here and he is hungry. Saul is still very confused and will be for a while. The infection in his lungs is a lot better. If he keeps improving with little or no set backs, we are coming home soon.

Here's to a full recovery.

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Lack of professional Indian cyclists

I have often wondered why the sport of cycling is dominated by Europe, Australia, New Zealand, and North America.

I have also wondered why, in a country with over one BILLION people, why India can't produce just one measly pro cyclist. Just one!

Well my loyal readers, I have found the videographic proof of why there are no professional cyclists from India! They have likely all been hit and/or maimed by motorized vehicles!

Please do the needful, and enjoy the video.

I work with a lot of Indian folks at Yahoo, and I asked one of my friends there if this is how it is everywhere in India. He said the following things over IM about driving in India:
"there are lots of unmanned intersections where you need to have special skillsets to cross :-)"

...driving in india is way more crazy particularly after driving here. if i go back - i would be driven nuts. everybody is in a hurry, simple rules like stopping at unmanned intersection and first come, first cross basis are not followed there.

everyoine is in a hurry and want to cross over first  - so it becomes a mess."

The mystery and intrigue of the NEXT BLOG>>

Have you ever bothered to place your mouse in the top right corner of this blog, and proceed to click 'NEXT BLOG>>'?

I just did this exercise for approximately 15 minutes, and the blogs I came across ranged from dull, to sex-filled, to hilarious, to languages I don't know, to people in Singapore, Mexico, Canada, Europe, and every other corner of the globe.

I highly recommend you do the exercise. Who knows what you might find.

Gawd bless the world wide internet.

Armstrong to run the NYC Marathon

According to this article, Lance Armstrong is going to run the New York City Marathon in November. He says:
"I've been training some, but I wouldn't call it serious. It's just something to fill a void in my life after I quit competing as a professional cyclist."
I ran a marathon in Boulder, and I can't think of a better way to fill a void in my life than with a healthy dose of punishment, misery and masochism in a 26.2 mile foot race. Seriously!

And I can't wait to see what his time is...


If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you;
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or, being lied about, don't deal in lies,
Or, being hated, don't give way to hating,
And yet don't look too good, nor talk too wise;

If you can dream - and not make dreams your master;
If you can think - and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with triumph and disaster
And treat those two imposters just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you've spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to broken,
And stoop and build 'em up with wornout tools;

If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breath a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: "Hold on";

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings - nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run -
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And - which is more - you'll be a Man my son!

Rudyard Kipling, 1895

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Mass cycling exodus: water sports show huge gains

Cyclists from all over the area have begun unloading their bikes to unsuspecting suckers as the rains continue to fall. Where the Lance Armstrongs and Landises once stood tall, there arises a new-found rank of stars with names like Kate Ziegler, Duje Draganja, and Cullen Jones.

Out is the Tour De France, in is the Speedo Spectacular.

Local cyclist, whom we will call "Charlie", was recently overheard sadly muttering the words, "This depressing and endless rain has made me reconsider the sport of cycling here in Chico, after 35 years of riding. I have now decided to switch to another sport (undecided as yet) and hence will put all three of my road bikes up for sale."

After a short period of introspection Charlie said he would use the proceeds from his bicycles and bike shorts to fund a wardrobe that consists solely of speedos, wetsuits, and goggles.

An unexpected rise in kayak sales from North Rim Adventures has owner, Paul McIntyre, completely baffled. "Usually at this time of year the sun is out and we can't keep bicycles in stock. Now they're sitting on the shelves, while our most expensive boats don't stay in the racks more than a few hours. We simply can't stock enough boats," he quips.

In an unexpected business move, Moots Cycles has announced that it will introduce a new line of high end kayaks specially aimed at the California market. In their most recent newsletter they also ensured Moots owners that the company name would remain the same despite the addition of boats to their product line.

Also recently spotted floating out of town was the old bearded bum that has been a landmark outside Zucchini & Vine for the past six months. When asked about the hairy fixture, local resident Rodney Cox simply replied, "well, I don't think anyone will miss that guy."

Rain is forecast through the remainder of the week and weekend.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Flu hits New Zealand track cycling team

The New Zealand track cycling team has been hit with the flu on the eve of the World Championships in Bordeaux.

I swear I had no contact with them.

In fact, I've been riding to work for a week now. Baby steps... Today's ride was so windy that I had to stand up a couple of times, and the rain was horizontal. Whee!

Featured tee: The *Real* NorCal

Because we all know that San Francisco Bay isn't Northern California...

Monday, April 10, 2006

Chico Gino: the Café Press store

Tonight I opened up a store over at Cafe Press. I've been wanting to do this for a long time, but I simply haven't had the time. Can you hear the joy dripping from my voice?!!!

I've started with a few smart t-shirt designs (for both men and women, of course!), and have several others in the oven. I encourage you to have a look around - and if you see something that strikes your fancy, then by all means purchase it! There will be more to come as I have time.


Sunday, April 09, 2006

Namazu, the Great Catfish

How many times have you ridden by the Great Namazu just east of Chico?

In Japanese earthquake legend (so I hear) a great catfish, or namazu, lies curled up under the sea, with the islands of Japan resting on his back. A demigod, or daimyojin, holds a heavy stone over his head to keep him from moving. Once in a while, though, the daimyojin is distracted, the namazu moves, and the Earth trembles.

Personally, I just like to say hello to him each time we pass each other. I don't want him bringing any earthquakes up Chico way.

A New Season, A New Look

I became tired of the Blogger template, so I decided to create my own. I wanted to boil things down to their essence, not unlike the reasons I ride a bike: simplicity, clarity, freedom, and fun! I hope you enjoy the new classic look, and moreso the new season that is upon us.

Special thanks to my friend Damien for helping out with a few visual design tweaks and advice on CSS.

I know it is still messed up for those of you that use Internet Explorer, and there might still be some wonky CSS bugs that are my fault, so if you see anything weird, let me know. I might even bother fixing it. In the mean time might I recommend you go download and begin using Firefox. It is a better browser than IE.

Friday, April 07, 2006

Thursday night market in Chico

For me, the best ritual of summer evenings in Chico might very well be riding the cruisers downtown to the Bear, sipping on a pitcher of some variety Sierra Nevada beer while the sun and heat die down - and waiting in anticipation for the Thursday night market to roll into action.

The utter sampling of cultures, classes, colors, and creeds; the music, the smells, the fresh produce that is taken from the rich and beautiful North Valley dirt; these are the reasons that I am in love with Chico.

I made a hard decision to split my time in 2006 between Chico and the Soul Desert (a.k.a. Silicon Valley), and seeing the opening of the market pass by makes me think hard about the decision I've made.

It is a vastly mistaken viewpoint that the Bay Area is a cultural melting pot. On the contrary, the Bay Area in my eyes is a monoculture of the worst degree. Everyone is an engineer, a designer, a product manager, or analyst in some tech company. Everyone is after a fleeting dream of owning an overpriced plot of dirt in an overcrowded area. And the result of that monoculture is exactly opposite of what the Bay Area purports to be. The result is grumpy people with various skin colors - with no patience and a general unwillingness to be kind to each other. It is even difficult to pass someone on a sidewalk in the Bay Area and get a returned smile... or eye contact. I understand and very much appreciate the ocean of financial opportunity in the Bay Area, but a melting pot it is not. It was at one time of California's history, but that time has long since passed.

I'm not sure if that general unwillingness and strain is due to people being so damned busy trying to make ends meet that they can't, or if it is that I simply am unable to comprehend urban culture dynamics. Whatever the case, it simply doesn't make sense to me. Perhaps it is because everyone thinks everyone else is out to get them for something - or that hyperliberal politics have finally started to backlash, and people are trying dearly to protect themselves and their wallets from each other. Who knows.

In the long run, I know what I'm doing is the best choice but oh, how I will miss thee this summer, sweet Thursday night market. The good thought about this is that I figure in 2007, the market will still be there. :-)

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Saul Raisin, my thoughts are with you man

I just came across this terrible news while reading my daily cycling news. Bicycling reporter, James Startt, writes:

American cyclist Saul Raisin is in a coma and his chances of survival are uncertain. Raisin slipped into the coma after a brain hemorrhage, resulting from a crash in the Circuit of the Sarthe on Tuesday.

To Saul's family, my thoughts are with you.

Weather making you feel, um, limp?

Thanks to Tim from Bicycles and Icicles for that photgraphic hilarity.

Chico is the New Portland

You know it's been crappy and miserable out when the Chico ER is running stories on Seasonal Affective Disorder, and giving out phone numbers for the Behavioral Health Crisis Line. Ha!!

Are you guys OK up there? Maybe we should all move to western Oregon where it's dry!

(And let's hope Chico never is the New Portland for so many reasons...)

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

What a beautiful day

A break in the rain, my first ride in many weeks, a work presentation that went really well, and all this new found daylight! Jesus, if I didn't know any better I'd think things are on the up and up! And what better way to spend your after work commute than stop by a park and enjoy the sunset?

Between watching the local Indian kids play a game of Cricket and watching fat sweaty weirdos run around in puffy winter coats, I snapped a couple of photos of my daily driver since I got her all hooked up a few months back. Enjoy:

Rode to work today

For the first time since early March I rode to work this morning. I'm still under heavy antibiotics and Prednisone, so I knew I'd be weak. But holy mackerel, am I weak! I mashed through 3 miles, and it felt like 63! I had to lay under my desk for a minute to recoop.

I'm still not well, and it's well known that the Prednisone demolishes one's immune system, so maybe it was a bad idea to ride. But between the marathon illness in my body and forecasts like this:

... I just can't take much more. I'm going nutso! Bwaffo! Looney!

The rain felt fantastic splashing off my face. I started sweating a little under my rain gear, and that felt great. I even enjoyed sitting in the rain at traffic lights. But maaaan, do I have a long healing and training road ahead when I'm finally done with all this medicine.

I feel very fortunate to be able to ride again, even if it feels like I've never been on a bike.

Monday, April 03, 2006

Tour de France update

1) OK, for those of you who were too nice to email me or post about my previous Tour De France contest winnings, it was in fact an April Fools gag. I did get a couple emails from dear friends, but you guys should've known better. Plus, the post starts with a big green 'Saturday, April 01, 2006'. Ha!

2) I woke up this morning feeling pretty damn good for the first time in a few months, which has me prety excited that I'll be back on the bike as soon as I'm done with these antibiotics.

3) The Prednisone insomnia has passed, but the drug has made me a lot more aggressive than usual, and given me a reeeeeeally positive outlook on a lot of things. Now I'm wondering if I can eat pills that would have the same effect without the insomnia. I'd be a working machine! Any suggestions?

4) The antibiotics I'm taking (2 weeks left) make me extremely sensitive to UV light. Saturday I built a flagstone patio, and even in the mostly Seattle-like weather my face and neck look like cooked lobster. And I had on SPF30. Oh well, it secretly feels good... like I've been on the bike. Oh, and cyclist pipe cleaner arms are no good for lifting 2000lbs. of rock four different times. My upper body feels rocked!

5) My right ear is still ringing like a mofo, but I can hear out of it now. Hopefully the ringing will cease soon.

Hey Chico dudes and chicks, what say we have a weekend BBQ thing sometime soon now there's some daylight?

Well, it's time to head off to the pixel mines...

Saturday, April 01, 2006

Amazing news: I'm going to the Tour De France!

Holy SH@T! At work I entered a contest for a nearly-all expenses paid trip to the last 14 days of the 2006 Tour De France, and WON! I just got the email this morning!

There's a huge suck factor here! Claire can't go because she's working at a medical software startup that is kicking ass, and she has to be here during July for a big beta test.

So that leaves me with an open plane ticket, hotel rooms, and rental car. Now who on earth am I going to bring along? How can I possibly make this decision? I need help!

How to become an early riser

I read and bookmarked this site a couple of days ago. Steve talks about various techniques to get yourself out of bed really early everyday. There seems to be a correlation between people who get up early and people who are rich.

May I suggest one more option: eat a lot of Prednisone! 5:15am was this morning's wake up time. :-D

The amazing thing about this drug is that I feel aggressive, ansty as all get out, and I definitely can't sleep. I wish I could get on the bike! I'll take Jeff's advice and keep pounding away on Distance Logger throughout these long nights... err, mornings.