Tuesday, October 21, 2008

CX pics

Here are a couple amusing pics from the Blue Sky Velo cyclocross race:

Monday, October 20, 2008

Motion detector + cat = funny

Somebody rigged up a motion detecting camera to a blender and a strobe light to keep his cats off the counter. The videos of it in action are priceless:
http://www.plasma2002.com/blenderdefender/

Cyclocross weekend

It was a busy weekend with plenty of cyclocross racing.

Saturday my bike team put on our very first race and it went unbelievably well. The vast majority of the organizing was done by a few CX fanatics and they put together something great. We have one of the largest clubs around and everyone came together to volunteer and make this race one of the best of the year.

After spending Friday afternoon setting up the course, I was up before 5AM on Saturday to go back and take care of the registration crew. By the time my race rolled around, I was beat. My morning caffeine buzz had worn off, I was running on little sleep, my back hurt, but I was happy to be at the start line. My group had over 100 racers and I had the fortune of having a 2nd row starting position. I knew I didn't have the legs to really rocket off the line and I probably let way too many people pass me in the first few hundred meters. For the first couple laps, I was actually riding pretty easy and having a ton of fun on the course. There were so many cool features on the course, and it is probably the most fun course I've raced. Eventually I got it in my head that I should start racing and passed a bunch of people. I finished somewhere in the 20's.

Sunday morning I was nice a tired feeling still, but there was a race in Fort Collins. When there's a local race, I like to go out and race to support the effort. Hopefully my entry fee helps the organizers make it happen again.

The race was at the CSU stadium and it was bumpy. It was a much smaller group than yesterday (about 25 people), and I lined up at the back knowing that my legs had nothing left from the previous day's effort. The course featured a couple curb hops, 3 barrier sections, loose corners, and lots of bumps. I have a bad curb hopping history, so I think I was the only person in the group that dismounted for the curb. Oddly enough, it never cost me any time. It was an uphill curb, and most people were going slower than I was running anyway. My bike handling skills felt pretty good in general, but I had to laugh at myself for crashing on each of the first three laps. One time I remounted and found out that my bars were 45 degrees off, so I had to dismount and straighten them. Funny stuff. The last lap or so I was riding about 20 feet behind some rider and decided to stay there and out sprint him at the line. I don't know why, it just seemed like fun. I beat him to the line, but then I felt bad later when I saw he had a bandaged leg from an earlier crash. He probably would have beat my ass otherwise. :) I finished 9th. The number sounds good, but in a field of 25 I'm not even in the top third. My shoulders are totally sore now from all the bumps on that course. I think I'll take a day off from the bike.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Religulous

Christine and I made a last minute decision to go to a matinee showing of Bill Maher's Religulous. I already had the motorcycle out for something else, so we decided to ride two-up on my V-strom which was fun (and a little chilly on the way home).

I expected to like this movie. There's a lot of wacky things in religion and it's sometimes fun to take a step back and laugh. Maher goes around "asking" people questions about their religion but his questions are really nothing more than setups for jokes or starting points for a one person conversation. (We get it Bill, a talking snake is pretty strange.) I would have liked to hear him talk with actual religious scholars or followers of a religion who can actually talk intelligently about why they believe the things they do despite evidence to the contrary that it is presented to them.

The movie was certainly funny at times, but I think Maher missed the mark. Or maybe he hit the mark he was targeting. Either way, I didn't think it was very good. I would love to see a similar concept done by someone like Morgan Spurlock. Does anyone know of any documentaries that cover similar ground?

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Beer

The Great American Beer Festival is a glorious event for beer lovers. So many beers to try, all in one place.

Christine and I went with a couple friends to the Saturday evening tasting session. The only other time I've gone to the festival was 4 or 5 years ago, and my how things have grown. According to the GABF site, the attendance has grown from about 28,000 when I came a few years ago to 46,000. I think they moved the tasting to a larger room and let a bunch more people in the past couple years. We showed up at the venue a little bit after the doors opened, and there was the most amazingly long line wrapping around the building. I bet between walking to the end of the line, and then following the line into the building, we walked at least a mile. Last time I went, we showed up at about the same time and enjoyed a short line.


With all the people at the festival, we amazing got into line at the same time as a couple dance friends (Kathy and Will) we haven't seen in a long time. Stranger coincidence. And if it's any indication of the size of the event, we didn't see them the rest of the evening once we got inside.

I have no idea how many beers we tried, but it was a lot. Some were great, some were terrible, and all of it was fun. Hopefully we can go again next year, but we may have to try a different tasting session so we can avoid some of the crowd. As it was the last tasting session of the weekend, a lot of the brewers were running out of beer (especially the award winners).

Sunday, October 5, 2008

CX

It seems likes it's been forever since I posted on LJ. It's been a pretty crazy couple months. I"m a bachelor again this week while Christine is at a conference in New Orleans (and hopefully eating Cajun food).

Cyclocross season has started up, and I've been doing some races again this year. I had a couple 13th place finishes in Breckenridge and Broomfield. This weekend there were a couple of races in Frisco and our team showed up with a bunch of people. I organized a rental house for 9 of us and we had a super nice place for relaxing and hosting a team dinner.

Saturday's race went okay. I had a good starting position in the third row, but my legs felt like garbage. Normally this is a course where I think I would have done well because there was a long climb, but I just didn't have any power. I also just put a new fork on and I was having some trouble with the different handling of the bike. I need to do some work on bike skills this week. I ended up crashing on one of the last corners just long enough for 3 people to pass me and I finished 22nd.

Sunday's race was a whole different story. I was a little worked from the day before, but I was actually feeling decent. My starting position stunk but I was content to race in the middle of the pack. The first lap of a cyclocross race is pretty much mayhem until the group gets all spread out. I had to navigate some early crashes and poor cornering, but that's par for the course when you race anywhere but the front of the group. The shit really hit the fan when my chain came off on a really basic gravel section. I'm not sure why or how the chain came off, but it took me forever to get it back on. By then, I was waaay off the back. My race was over within 2 minutes of starting.

Nothing frustrates me more than equipment failure. I can deal with my poor fitness, but I hate it when gear just doesn't work. By the time I got to the spot on the course where we had our team tent set up, I just pitched my bike under the ropes. Eventually I got back on a soft pedaled for a couple laps while I waited to get lapped so I could tag on to the back of a group and at least get some race speed practice. I never did get lapped, but I did get some good skills practice.

I look forward to redeeming myself in the next race.