whee

Greenville races are fast, especially when you’ve ridden outside twice this year and your longest ride was under three hours. Rouge-Roubaix this weekend, here goes nothing.


be careful what you wish for

Dear Basketball Deity,

A while back, I sent out an open letter asking for a replacement for crybaby Hansbrough. I’d like to thank you for listening, but don’t you think you overdid it a little?


Race Report: NC State

[whoops, since I’m racing tomorrow, I should probably post last weekend’s report]

Well, I wish I could say I started off the season this past weekend, but realistically, it was an exercise in frustration that reminded me a lot of last collegiate season. Mostly because, as John Zaccone so eloquently put it, “Well Flo, I guess that was our last collegiate race.”

Didn’t race Saturday. A barrage of emails Friday night confirmed we’d definitely have a race, then that we might, then that the race was delayed, then that they were all on, then that they would make a decision at 6 a.m. And the decision was to cancel the race, so we went on a nice group ride around Jordan Lake on beautiful, snow free roads. Sunday we showed up to the January Nats course to find ice everywhere. Despite an hour delay, we rolled out at 9 a.m. to a balmy 24 degrees. Oh, and they combined out field with Collegiate A. Sean said something about being near the start, and then there were attacks in the neutral zone and it was all kind of a blur. Nick and I followed attacks along with a few Haymarket guys because we all had guys in the early break. Going from no warm up to gunning it at my first race of the season proved to be a bit much, so after a lap and a half I was popped. I caught up with a few other people in a similar situation and soon had a group of six chasing hard, constantly about a minute down on the field. They pulled us going into the last lap, along with anyone else off the back, and I finished 27th out of 60something. Or something like that. Someone told me they had been scoring pulled riders backwards. We watched the other races, all of them collegiate and public combined. Kat from American wrecked hard in a turn that hadn’t been swept at all, snapped her handlebar in half, caved in her helmet, and was promptly ushered to the hospital, along with a few other girls.

So, in summary, it was a terrible race weekend. But tomorrow it will be in the 60s in Greenville, and although I’ve only been there a few times, Donaldson Center is one of my favorite circuit courses ever. Start of the season, take two.

My baby sister will be jumping at NC High School Indoor Track States tomorrow, where she very well might set a new high school record in high jump… a record she almost beat her first year in middle school. Good luck Libb!


Baracketball

There are three types of blog posts: original content, commentary, and shameless reposting. If you’ve ever seen Noah’s blog, you’re familiar with the last type (except his flavor of reposting is called photography plagiarism), but it’s something I’ve mostly avoided. I don’t really understand how Digg and other social bookmarking websites work, though, so I’m just going to start reposting cool stuff I come across. I really like the idea of the President playing a pickup game with his cabinet, bouncing around ideas along with the basketball. I do my most clear-headed thinking while riding; I wonder if Obama needs a time trialist in his political lineup?

PAULINA STREET JOURNAL
Working for Barack
February 18, 2010

I was reading the recent New Yorker profile of Arne Duncan, the secretary of education, when it hit me: I’m never going to be offered a job with the Obama administration. Not that I want a job, you understand; I’d just like to be offered a job. It’s not going to happen, though. It’s the basketball thing.

The example of Arne Duncan makes this apparent. Does he know education? He ran the Chicago public schools, so I’m sure he does. Plus he went to Harvard, so we know he’s smart. But let’s be honest. The reason he’s in the cabinet is he’s six-foot-five, played pro basketball in Australia, and competed in pickup games with Barack Obama for twenty years on the south side of Chicago. Me? No to all the above. So a cabinet job is out.

I know a couple people who were offered jobs in the Obama administration. One was a teacher at the high school my older two attended — a former law partner of Obama’s. I heard he’d been offered a job in the Department of Education; no doubt he’d gotten a call from Arne. I asked him about it after my daughter’s graduation. Chief of staff or undersecretary of something — I didn’t catch all the details. He was thinking about it. He was qualified, no question. Smart guy, articulate, not tall but wiry, probably good quickness. I’m figuring point guard.

There’s the problem, see. That’s why nobody is going to offer me a job in the Obama administration. My basketball skills are … well, no need to go into detail. But they put me at a disadvantage in certain life situations. Let’s say, hypothetically, it’s 25 years ago and I’m dating some tall, gorgeous lawyer with buff upper arms. I go to her house to meet the family. Her brother decides he needs to size me up. He invites me outside for some hoops. I’ll put it this way: it’s going to be a short night.

Basketball holds great importance in the Obama administration. “Duncan likes talking about how pickup basketball reveals character, an article of cultic faith in Obama’s inner circle,” the New Yorker article tells us. Barack is said to be a decent player — and considering he’s president of the United States and has his finger on the button that can turn the earth into a glob of molten glass, I’m sure he’s pretty much fantastic. Many of his top advisers in addition to Duncan are also quite good.

This unquestionably has an effect on interpersonal dynamics at the White House. Let’s suppose you’re in the Oval Office discussing Middle East policy with Barack, Hillary, and Susan Rice, the U.N. ambassador. According to Sports Illustrated, Susan Rice was a point guard at National Cathedral school in D.C. and played at Oxford. You’re really getting into it with Susan Rice. Is she awed by your command of geopolitics? No. She’s thinking: “I’m 5-foot-3 and stealing the ball from this putz would be like taking candy from a baby.” You see what I’m saying. The job thing would never work.

Don’t misunderstand. I’m not without athletic ability. I can hold my own in miniature golf. You may scoff, but I assure you the game provides character-building opportunities that are the equal of basketball.

Last summer, for example, I was up north with the family on vacation. We took the kids out for a round of miniature golf — you know, that place on Route 31, with the waterfall. It was me, my wife, and our younger two. Lest you get the idea these kids are pushovers, let me tell you they’re varsity athletes. Not, admittedly, in miniature golf. But they have excellent hand-eye coordination.

My son Andrew jumped out to an early lead. I, on the other hand, was scattered. I triple bogeyed the fourth hole. After the first nine Andrew was ahead four strokes. Many would have given up. Not me. I reached within myself, shut out distractions, became comfortable in my own skin. Also, being older and wiser, I didn’t address the ball as though I were swinging a weed whacker. I began to catch up. On the 13th I got a hole in one. Andrew began to sweat. By the 18th I was down two. It was one of those tricky holes where the cup is in the caldera of a little volcano. I calculated. I aimed. I tapped the ball in a nuanced and scientific manner. The ball rolled eighteen feet and up the slope, dead center. In? No. I’d applied a couple millinewtons too much force. Michael Jordan used to have that problem playing miniature golf. The ball sailed over the top and came to rest two feet away. Did I choke? Please. A precisely calibrated stroke, up and in — par. Andrew was unnerved. He double bogeyed; we finished in a tie. You didn’t hear much about it because of Tom Watson at the British Open that same weekend. But it was sweet.

That’s the kind of steadiness and resolve I’d bring to the Obama White House. Picture it: Obama, me, and Rahm. (Rahm was my congressman, did I tell you that? I met him at the church social — really, I did. A regular guy, if you can get past the FU thing.) We’re discussing pipelines in Kazakhstan or something, and Barack says, “I gotta clear my head. Let’s grab the putters. Who cares if you made par on that volcano? I’m owning you, homeboy.”

I’d let him. You don’t want the president of the United States sitting down with Vladimir Putin thinking, I just got my butt kicked in miniature golf.

But it’s not going to happen. It’s basketball or nothing. Fine, Barack. You think you can get past the Tea Party crowd with your jump shot for four years, have at it. However, if you want somebody who can keep his head when the game is on the line, you know who to call.

— Ed Zotti

Source: http://chicago.straightdope.com/sdc2010obama.php


olympic coverage

CNBC, please show something besides curling and women’s hockey. Seriously.


time trial rules, college and UCI

Cervelo gets a one minute penalty for pushing in a TT. This seems sort of odd. In track, there is an entire event dedicated to one rider physically throwing his teammate. Ok, I guess this isn’t just a TT rule, as one rider can’t push another, teammate or not, in any circumstance, but come on, I don’t know how many times I’ve had friendly and hostile pushes and pulls in races. A one minute penalty after a TTT in a short, flat stage race? Better luck next year.

In response to the new rule that TT specific equipment has been banned from collegiate races, here is an email I sent to the collegiate director, Jeffrey Hansen:

I’d like to comment on a few concerns I have regarding aero equipment in road races. As a bit of background, I have raced as an A in mountain, road, and cyclocross for Appalachian State for the last three years.

Aero bars: Aero bars are a fairly inexpensive piece of equipment and add no further travel costs, two of the major concerns inspiring the rules. To that end, as an A rider, I will continue to ride in an aerodynamic position on my road bike, whether there are aero bars present or not – with my forearms resting on the tops of my handlebars and my hands dangling out in front. I use sram so there are no cables for me to grasp. This is a rather dangerous position and it could be avoided with the use of clip on aero bars.

Cost: Despite the rules, riders will continue to attempt to bend of break them. For example, it would be easy to conceive that a rider would purchase a Cervelo Soloist frame and whatever other aerodynamic but mass start legal parts possible in order to create a road bike/time trial bike that will fit within the rules yet still give the rider an advantage. In a way, these rulings have the opposite intended effect: I still own aero equipment, as do the vast majority of my competitors in the ACCC Men’s A field, and this rule effectively de-values our equipment, as we can no longer get as much use out of it. While I feel these rulings are great for the B, C, D, and E/Intro riders, the A rider is racing at the highest level of collegiate competition. The added cost is simply a result of racing at a high level – and again, while this is only my anecdotal experience, most A riders already own aero equipment.

Competition: An A rider, by definition, must be a category 1, 2, or 3 rider, and in my experience, most are category 1 and 2 riders. Most compete outside of the collegiate realm, as well. And, hopefully, most riders will continue to race outside of college. Time trial riding and team time trial riding, on an aero bike, in an aero position, with aero equipment, is a vital part of the rider’s development, especially if he or she plans to race at a higher level or in stage races or omniums where there is almost always a time trial component, and the competitors haven’t been restricted on their equipment in the past. I feel collegiate cycling’s greatest advantage is its developmental nature, allowing riders to race with a team, consistently, in a way he or she might not have access to otherwise.

Thanks for your consideration. Again, I propose that these rules not be applied to A riders. And, at the very least, for safety sake, please allow A riders to use clip on aero bars.

Needless to say, I think this new rule is ridiculous. But hey, developmental programs are all about handicapping, right?


what’s in a name?

I have a slew of drafts saved and ready to publish so that I have daily new content. I learned a lot of CSS. I have fonts picked out and ready to install. WordPress.com can host everything and I can keep using all the tools to which I’ve become accustomed, plus I will have a greater degree of flexibility of creativity. I have a work space, I’ve perfected my morning coffee ritual and reading routine, and I’ve read up on color theory, developed categories to broaden my material, and dug out some various writings for classes and from short stories. I have everything I need to become a “serious writer,” whatever that means.

Except for a domain name. The ones I want are taken, and I’ve mostly run out of ideas that I like. I really wanted referencepoints.com, but it’s been bought by a company that buys generic domain names specifically to flip for a profit. There’s no way I’m going to pay hundreds or thousdands of dollars for a domain name where, if I had gotten to it first, it would cost five. It’s kind of ridiculous such businesses even exist – domain names are the New New World Territories, as it were. Ideas anyone?


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