The Love of the Sport

Is it a coincidence that the English word love and the French word velo use the same letters? I think not.

When I was in high school playing football, it was always in the worst time whenever my coach would say, “You got to love it, boys!” It was the middle of the summer, most kids were sleeping in or lying around the house, but not the football team. We had two-a-day practices in 100 degree heat. The season was so far away. The stands were empty. Tired and exhausted, our coach was still screaming, “You got to love it, boys!” It was all about the sacrifice. If we didn’t love it, we surely wouldn’t be out there in the heat. Many would only make it a few days and quit. I use to laugh and shake my head at them. Everyone loves to be a player on game day, but no one wants to pay the price to get there.

I look back at those days and relate them to my endeavors today. I love to ride. I ride in the cold, the heat, the rain, the wind, and sometimes when it is actually pleasant. I get the fact that some only ride for the social aspects of it or to show off who has the most expensive toys, but I care less about that stuff. Put me in a group or by myself, it doesn’t matter. I just love the freedom of riding my bike. I find it curious that during this time of year the bike paths and roadways are pretty much barren of riders. No one wants to put in the time or truly embrace the sport. Then at the start of the cycling season, most group rides consist of people wanting to ease into things, claiming that it is too early to ride hard. I shake my head.

Now, this time of year, when the trees are bare and the wind bites hard, I surely wouldn’t be out in it if I didn’t love it. More than once, I have been cold, snotting on myself, squinting at the wind, climbing a steep grade, and I hear my coach yelling, “You got to love it!” Well, I do, Coach. I always have and more than likely I always will.

The secret of going fast

secondratecyclist:

Rollers are on my next order of business.

Originally posted on CycleStuff:

Vintage

The secret of being fast. As revealed by Evelyn Nurse, aged 7, currently in her second cyclo-cross season.

Dad, I know we Cian is so fast.  <Cian is 8 and current boys U8 Welsh cross champ>

Oh, you do?

Yes.

Go on then.

It’s the rolos.

The Rolos?

Yes. The rolos. He’s on them before the races.

Ahhh.

Josh is fast too. And he’s on the rolos as well.

rolos

Rolos

So there you have it. The rolos. I nipping around the corner shop to buy up their entire supply.

I daren’t show Evelyn this video of Rochelle Gilmore (team Wiggle-Honda) on the rollers. A little way to go yet. Cycle poster available via Fine Art America here.

View original

Masi Alare

The Masi I purchased the other day for a secondary, beat-around bike has been confined to my fluid trainer since day one. This Monday I took it out for its first road ride. If you haven’t read the earlier post about this bike, it’s fairly simple: aluminum frame with a carbon fork, 105 group, compact crank, and bottom tier Mavic hoops. Weird, but I was nervous about the weight and the handling compared to my main squeeze. Surprising it turned out to be a very nice ride.  First of all, I really like the look of this bike. It is a deep gray with white and orange accents. The emblems and pin striping is painted on, not stickers. The first thing that I immediately noticed when putting on my arm warmers after a few miles into the ride was that bike has excellence balance, having a lot to do with the weight, but the smoothness of bike didn’t leave me gripping the handlebars and fighting the bike. The compact crank is a bit of a bugger for me. I have a standard crank on my Cervelo, and it will take getting use to the gearing. The jury is still out on which I prefer: yeah, climbing is better . . . flat sprints and acceleration not so much. I have toyed with the idea of putting a compact on the Cervelo, but I’ve heard good and bad both ways. The Masi Alare also has a bit of a weight problem (Chris Farley reference), bumping 21 pounds. I only look at it as something to help me get stronger when training. Overall, I would easily recommend this bike for a somewhat better than entry level bike or a trainer. At $600 dollars, I feel that I made a great purchase.

 

No More Games

In recent light of breaking news this morning where children were slaughtered in Pakistan and the act claimed by the Taliban, I must write. It is at this point, should you choose not to read the post, that I warn you that it is a rant . . . but a rant that must be written, to heck with the PC police.

Before I begin, let me be clear that I am well aware of our involvement with helping the Taliban back in the day when they were fighting the Russians in Afghanistan and of our propping up radical murderers like Osama Bin Laden. Just like our hugging up to Stalin during World War II. It’s not the first time, nor will it be the last I’m sure. But that is not why I’m writing.

The “War on Terror” begin after September 2001 and suppose to be an all-out war on the scum of the earth who call themselves jihadists. And the years roll on. Billions of dollars spent. Thousands of soldiers die. What do we have to show for it? A few dead radical leaders and few more imprisoned at Guantanamo? Oh, wait. We release a few of the top dirt bags, so that a coward deserter could enjoy coming “home,” even though we have a Marine in a Mexican prison that has been given a second thought. But I digress.

Being a military veteran myself, I understand a part that makes the mission very difficult: fighting cowards who have no uniform and no standing army who blend in with civilians and could care less if innocent people die is a huge part. War is ugly. But it is a necessity to those who know nothing else but force and aggression. This is where mistakes are made, by allowing non-military personnel (politicians) to make critical decisions and pander the enemy. I do not claim to be a military mastermind who can solve all of the problems associated with the current issues in the Middle East, but I do know that the mission is not for the faint of heart. It is at this point that most people, who either don’t understand the military and what they do or would rather not know, need to look away.

Back to non-military personnel being involved, how many wars has the United States, and countries aligned with her, won since World War II? During this time in history, great military commanders were given task of accomplishing a mission against TWO standing armies, and many of the tactics implemented to win the European and Pacific theaters would not be tolerated today because of the mollycoddling media and over sensitive politicians with an agenda and no spine . . . I say again, NO spine. Today, when an idiot holds hostages in Australia and demands an ISIS flag to go with his other jihad flag, no one wants to mention the word Muslim or terrorist. He is just deemed a nut. When an radical at Fort Hood shoots up a mess hall, it is deemed a work-related incident. When a U.S. embassy is attacked in Benghazi, it is blamed on a Youtube video and “T” word has nothing to do with it. And on and on and on . . .

The first step is calling a spade a spade. We do NOT negotiate with terrorists and actually hold to the statement. We do NOT allow some ISIS piece of garbage to offer to trade the body of a beheaded journalist back to his family for a million dollars. We set up the trade and shoot the dealers in the head and return the body to the family. Terrorist know one thing: fear. It is the life blood of what they do. Killing dozens of children in a school in Pakistan is an implementation of fear. If they’ll do this, what else would they do? Oh my gosh, they’re crazy and scary. No, they are cowards who need to truly understand what fear really is. We cannot get nervous when the nastiness of war comes about. Too many people get mushy and sad when someone mentions the fact that terrorists have been tortured for information. Well, let me be perfectly clear: I would easily take a pair of bolt cutters to a terrorist’s fingers, if it meant saving the lives of innocent children who were just trying to go to school. And by the way, if left to metastasize, the terrorists acts in Pakistan will be in American schools in due time . . . our borders are now a great funnel for it. We had a slight taste of it in 2001. Do we forget that quickly?

In the mid-1940s, allied forces defeated and rid the world of a terrorist and a terrorist organization, Adolph Hitler and the Nazi Party. We need to understand that the allied forces defeated Germany, Italy, and Japan almost 70 years ago and still occupy those countries with multiple military bases. The United States and Great Britain alone had more than 80,000 military casualties in four years of non-stop fighting! Yes, with today’s technology, we can trim that number significantly, but we need to understand that death is inevitable in war. It will not be quick. We will have to stay and occupy those countries to prevent or stunt any more growth. Training their army to do it alone is a a lesson we should have learned from the Iraq pullout where now billions of dollars and lives will now have to be spent to re-occupy what we already had. Soldiers, marines, airmen, and sailors know exactly what they signed up to do. Vietnam is a lesson in what not to do, as politicians used our military as pawns, implementing ridiculous rules of engagement and fire and no-fire zones and respecting the holidays of the enemy. I completely understand that we cannot police the world, but we may have allowed too much time to pass, as factions of the enemy seem to sprout up more and more. The cancer must be cut out at the source. Every single malignant cell. We must act now. Terrorists must be terminated with extreme prejudice. Countries need to band together with one common goal. It if you are not with us,  then you are considered in support of the enemy.

Merry Christmas?

It is always this time of year when we are caught up in figuring what to get someone for the holiday season, and it can be a bit stressful. As many of you know, I work in a public school in a poorer area of town. One of my sweet aides the other day, told me how excited he was for Christmas, and naturally I asked what he was requesting from the Big Guy. Clinching his hands together, he said that really hopes for a compass. Yes, you read correctly. He wants a compass. . . no, not an Xbox or a motorcycle or a television, just a compass. My heart was moved to say the least.

To me it is unthinkable that a child would wake up on Christmas morning with nothing to open. I know that it’s not about that, but I think about when one of those children hear “merry Christmas” if he/she already has a good idea that it won’t happen. The joy of childhood is having those special memories, although many children have nothing to recall that is special about Christmas or any holiday for that matter. Sure, my wife and I buy presents for a needy child through the church, but there are so many . . . so, so many.

Although it is hard not to focus on our selves and our own family during this time of year, we really need to look beyond and help others. Yep, I know what you’re thinking. Yes, there are families who ask for help who then use their own money for drugs or whatever. I have even (when I use to be a police officer) experienced “parents” taking donated gifts for their children and refunding the toys for cash. I, personally, cannot focus on what might happen. I have to know that I am at least trying to make a difference in a child’s life.

The Beauty of Bikes (or insert any generic title)

This week has been a refreshing need in my cycling life. Mostly overcast skies, cold wind, darkness by 5:45 PM, and the dreaded trainer have placed me into a funk. Always does. I love it too much to stay away though. Here are three things that gave me a deep draw of fresh air in my lungs:

1. Walking into my local bike shop, the owner Mike Kendrick said, “Hey man, I’ve got something for you to see. It just came in.” Mike went into the back and came out with a fresh-from-the-box Dogma F8 frame. I am a Cervelo guy, but it’s like saying that a Ferrari is cooler than a Lamborghini or Porsche. They are all beautiful cars with a touch of something unique. This F8 frame was so light that I though Mike hadn’t let go of it when he handed it to me. It was like holding a work of art. I ask him to give me a second, as I sat down on a shop stool and admired the work. Ahhhhhh, fresh air.

2. Saving up for a bit, I purchased a training bike. It is a Masi Alare with a 105 group and Mavic hoops. It has an aluminum frame with a carbon fork and perfect for the pounding of the trainer and training rides. The bike is practically brand new, and I paid $600 for it. My Cervelo S5 can avoid the abuse and stay ready for racing, centuries, and seasonal group rides. Ahhhhhh, fresh air.

3. Walking into CrossFit on Monday night, the box owner Craig Stahl (yes, the player from the Detroit Red Wings) came up to me. He stated that he ran into a guy that he knows who knows me. He then proceeded to tell me that the man thinks the world of me as a cyclist and a person. He told Craig that it is known all over town how good I am on the bike (news to me), but that I care about people and really want to help others love cycling and do their best. The guy went on to say that he has seen me stay with someone to encourage them when he knows I could have easily ridden away. Craig made a big deal about it, as we talked. I must admit that it was very uplifting, even though I don’t do things for accolades. Ahhhhhh, another breath of fresh air.