"It never gets any easier. You just go faster." ---Greg Lemond
"Don't buy upgrades. Ride up grades." --- Eddy Merckx
"You drive like shit." ---The Car Whisperer


Kickin' Around in K-town

Kenosha was my first race since upgrading to the 3s a few days before.

John Wolters and I took an early Metra up, arriving in downtown at 8:20. Carrying my bike with my race wheels zip-tied to the back of my Chromebag, $7 and change is not a bad price at all to get to a race. We chilled at a pretty nice coffee shop on 6th street, of which I can't remember the name.

They had really good coffee (Alterra, Milwaukee's answer to Intelligentsia) and tasty breakfast sandwiches. Also on the menu was key lime and sweet potato pie, of which I made a mental to note to include in my recovery routine after the race.

John picked up a $20 paycheck in the 4/5s and then I met Greta, her sister Nadia, and fellow paralympian Matt Bigos in the parking lot just north of the start/finish. I got a solid warm up on Greta's rollers, sugared up, and then took a few laps, scouting out the field and seeing who I recognized.

Ernesto from Van Wagner had apparently upgraded with me, and I also recognized Marc Howe from Geargrinder, who was the points leader in the 3 for Superweek. Voytek from ABD was there as well, but otherwise, a complete bunch of strangers. I'd been getting quite used to seeing familiar faces in the 4s lately, and being able to trust a lot of wheels when the shit got thick.

It was a good first race for me.

I was solo, so I started off at the back and let the early attacks soften up the field. The wind was pretty vicious right after turn 3 and it continued across the field through the home stretch. Nothing was getting off just yet.

I bridged a few gaps, took a flyer, got in a short break of my own. I was active and it felt pretty good, stretching my legs like that:

It was all together with 5 laps to go when dudes started riding into me in the corners. I had flashbacks to last year's horrific crash in the 3s sprint, and right there I phoned it in. I'm not proud of it, but I don't regret it. Everyone did stay up right but more importantly so did I, and I've got a lot more important races to contest before the season is over.

Happy Friday

(Thanks to HTATBL)


Thursday Hate: He Brew It

Sorry about the time off-air, er...offline.

I rode off into the furious finale of Superweek under a banner of controversy, an apology, and an upgrade. Kenosha started off promising, but, ultimately I finished superweak under the banner stretching across Columbus Drive.

Race reports will come later. There are more pressing issues at the moment.

After details began to emerge that Boston police sergeant James Crowley didn't act as stupidly as Obama said he did in arresting his old friend, Professor Henry Gates, the President manned up - much as I did last week - just short of an apology, and invited both men to the White House to mend fences over some cold suds.

We all know the President doesn't wipe his ass, let alone choose the actual toilet paper, without a full sign off from an army of advisers. So it goes without saying that the choice of Barack's beer did not go down without 48 solid hours of focus groups and no fewer than 12 power point decks, analyzing what your beer choice says about you, reveals about you, defines about you. And they chose:

Bud Light?

The social lubricant of date rapes everywhere? The swill drunk by those only looking to get drunk, by those who gag on the taste of real barley, by 99.91 percent of NASCAR fans, and approximately .09 percent of Obama voters everywhere?

How he missed Goose Island is beyond me. Imagine Obama sitting at the table with a brown and yellow bottle of 312, glistening with condensation in front of him. Our local, American-made, beloved brew would've gotten some national exposure, and Obama would've been gotten huge points for a sly choice that isn't too expensive or snobbish, and shows a bit of home-town pride and "in-the-know."

And it certainly would've eclipsed both Gate's and Crowley's equally pedantic choices of Red Stripe and Blue Moon, respectively.

The Obama who wowed us with his amazingly subtle, supple choices designed to show character and originality during the campaign is almost gone, in my eyes, after this display of lame pandering - vainly trying to boost his image with those already aligned against him and shore up his dropping ratings.

A bland, obvious choice, much like the beer itself.

He's lost originality by giving into drinkability.


Man-up Monday

Leave it up to my wise old Dad (ha ha, you’re old) to give me some perspective with this little reminder he sent my way today:

They're rioting in Africa. They're starving in Spain. There's hurricanes in Florida, and Texas needs rain.

The whole world is festering with unhappy souls. The French hate the Germans, the Germans hate the Poles.

Italians hate Yugoslavs, South Africans hate the Dutch. And I don't like anybody very much!

But we can be tranquil and thankful and proud, for man's been endowed with a mushroom-shaped cloud.

And we know for certain that some lovely day, someone will set the spark off... and we will all be blown away.

They're rioting in Africa. There's strife in Iran. What nature doesn't do to us... will be done by our fellow man.

---- The Kingston Trio, 1959, “The Merry Minuette”

Sorry, Mike. I was just pissed that you wouldn’t work with us - you’re definitely a super-strong rider and obviously deserved to win that race. And moreover, controversy just plain makes good reading.

You would do well in road racing and should get your required races and that upgrade in ASAP (although, if you emailed a certain official with your current road racing results, an upgrade might come sooner than you think - or so I might’ve heard). Seemingly everyone but me knew who you were last Wednesday night. Lesson learned.

Until then, I’ll be letting all the Cat 4 and 5s that are going to be filling my shoes to be marking you in your one race a year.

“Get on that dude’s wheel, and whatever you do, don’t pull.”

Holy hell, that was fun!

I've always wanted to do a camping-slash-racing weekend in Wisconsin and it has finally become a reality, with great results as well.

This past Thursday night Liam, Patrick, Ryan and I claimed the last open campsite at Pike Lake State Park in Hartford around 10:45pm, 15 minutes before the grounds closed for the night. Note to new campers: if you've never used your tent before, be sure to practice setting up in your front yard rather than try the first time in the dark with flashlight and a 6 am wake up scheduled. It's good to have a grouchy, old Sourdough around like me to help out as well.

In the morning, we had less than a half mile ride to the registration and staging area by the lake and picnic area for the Tour of Holy Hill Road Race. There we found numerous teammates: William, El Presidente, Stocky, C-Mac, Loukas, Grosspietch, and Heck. And some new guys were racing with us, as well. We had a large presence, and XXX was definitely looking to control this race.

After a neutral rollout from the park, we turned left onto a 2 lane farm highway to begin the first of five, 8-mile laps, before turning off to the right on this starting stretch to finish 300 meters uphill to the line and podium.

At the gun a 14 year old junior of Team Flanders named Jordan took off on a flyer than had him off the front for over a lap. At first, the pack was content to keep letting the rope out, but after five or six miles Liam bridged up to him, and a few others followed piecemeal until the lap completed. Soon the pack was all back together - the pace slowed again and for a few miles Liam and I chatted lazily at the front.

Over the course of the third lap a few attacks went off, one after the other, several by the Flanders junior. Nothing stuck but it did manage to permanently drive up the pace. Nobody wanted to bridge and start something. At two to go, Liam attacked again, and as he was brought in we began one of the tougher hills on the course. Right at the top I countered on cue, got a gap, and began flailing helplessly just 100 meters off the front over rough pavement and a false flat, into a 15 mile an hour headwind.

Liam blocked as best he could, but not being that far out I was only off for maybe a mile or so. But it was enough. I came back in just about two miles before the fifth lap began, and Liam countered my counter and was off. Seemingly for good.

For the next eight miles I blocked my face off as Liam's gap grew. I don't think I've ever worked so hard trying stay 2nd wheel as at least five or six other riders tried to organize a chase. I could tell I was doing everything right, as I must've said, "sorry, man! Teammate's up there!" at least 20 times. Again, nobody actually attacked on a bridge attempt, however. I would've been happy to let Liam have help, but the chasing was just driving the pack ever closer, and it became an increasingly more complex game of Wack-a-Mole.

William joined me after a while, but soon it was apparent that Liam was going to come back. At the top of a hill he was finally doomed, and put in one last dig, as if to say, "f*** you guys!" Then he cracked like lightning, several of us patted him on the back, and it was on, as they say, like Donkey Kong.

The bunch to the end was fluid and dynamic. I lost 15 places after a sharp right and then a hill, and had flashbacks of 2008's Hillsboro-Roubaix as the rider two ahead of me let a gap open up on the following descent. I screamed expletives and I roared around them, not only reconnecting, but by the second to last turn I was sitting 6th wheel. From there it was only 500 meters to the penultimate last turn, and though I was almost taken out by someone swinging sharply right to move up on the shoulder, I came around the last turn sitting 3rd wheel.

Immediately, the Flanders junior, Jordan, launched to a huge gap, and I made the instant decision to chase. I was really moving, and as I watched the gap close, I began to entertain glorious visions in my head as time slowed to a standstill. Then the hill kicked up, my legs fell apart, and the six riders I'd been leading out behind me passed me in all to real time before I crossed the line 8th.

It was still a great and well-earned top ten, but with by far the largest team in the field, we should've had a podium, and I should've managed that sprint better. But, it wasn't for lack of trying that was sure. Liam was beside himself, but he certainly deserved the hard man and most-aggressive rider awards for the day.

We spent the rest of the day lounging around the campfire in folding chairs, napping, listening to tunes on Ryan's iPhone - fully living the High Life - in bottles. We dined on chicken legs, beans, and rice for dinner, and were all cashed by 10 pm.

Coming soon: the Schlitz Park race report.


The sandbagging debate rages on...

The following is a reply back to a commenter on my last race report, in which I accused the winner of Wednesday's Soldier Field Series #3 race of being a sandbagger:

1. Jesus, haven't I apologized for this?? I've never heard of Courage Cycles, or the team, and couldn't see anything on the kit besides the colors. I assumed it was some PBK/Nashbar thing...I even wrote in the original entry it maybe was a team kit I didn't recognize. And since the results aren't posted immediately online how the hell am I supposed to know? Drop it, for God's sake. Sorry I hurt all your feelings.

2. Fine. It's still two categories higher than the race he entered on Wednesday, but it leads me to admit that...

3. ...you are right and I am wrong on this. The rules do allow for Road to a category lower on the track or Cross, but do not translate to Road (the other way around.) I did speak with an official last night:
"You were right in thinking that a higher cat rider on the road can start at the same level in another discipline. Going from another discipline to Road though does not have the same process as far as I can tell...Road involves close quarters and a much higher chance of a crash for a rider with low bike handling skills to cause one, they appear more strict in allowing one to move up instantly on the road."


I'm going to lump your points 4 through 8 all together because they will get addressed in the same response:

He gets an easy win. It's not sporting to enter a field of riders who are not as strong as you, if you can just ride away from them. He did it at Hillsboro in 2008, as well. Your argument is so incredibly self-centered:He doesn't have to risk a crash. He just wants to have fun. Well, it's no fun for anyone else racing who ends up not having a chance!

Why doesn't he get his ten races in an upgrade as fast as judiciously possible so he doesn't have legions of bike racers - who paid their fee and want a sporting chance at a win - bitching about this Cat 2 cyclocross (or shitstrong time trialist for we know) who sandbagged his way to a win in whatever single race he decided to race that season for the next 10 years?

And he is a sandbagger, and so are you, by your definition. He is way too strong to be racing 4s and 5s - obviously - yet he "refuses to upgrade" (i.e. get his ten races in). By contrast - I've never won a race. I got 20th in 2008 down in Hillsboro. Got 8th yesterday at Holy Hill. 12th today in Schlitz Park. I waited on my upgrade because it's pretty borderline and I'm probably going to have to rely on my top-ten finishes. But I'm not going be riding away from any 4/5 fields anytime soon. Let alone even hang onto Mike's wheel.

I will be leaving a category in which I am just starting to become competitive in for a likely long string of DFLs. Why? Because it's the right thing to do. Sandbagging would be to wait until I was forced to upgrade at 30 points, which would probably take me into next season. Your argument doesn't hold any water at all. Especially since in both 2008's Roubaix, and Wednesday's race, Mike simply refused to work with anyone, or even make it sporting.

9. And what word? He didn't say anything to me - I'm the one who held his hand up on the podium.

It's my blog, I can rant all I want and be as mad as I want - so I won't CTFO. Mike needs to HTFU and get his 10 races because it's also my (and every other Cat 4 and 5's) money I'm spending on entry fees, training, and parts, and I want a legitimate shot at winning the race. When I finished on Wednesday I was blown and pissed because I had to TT for 20 minutes - which is not what I call "fun". But then everyone around me was laughing: "Don't you know who that is?!" But Mike had fun, so that's all that matters, right? If he's really going to spend the next ten years getting his upgrade one race at a time, I'll ask Fowkes to handicap him, at least - clamping his rear brake down or something.

Enjoy cyclocross. I'll be out there throwing snowballs at you guys.

Oh, Mike and Ben, of course I posted it - I found your twitter feed through Google Analytics :) - it's only bike racing, right?


Thursday Hate



Having to open up and dig through my "suitcase of courage."

My HTFU bracelet is black

Last night was my second Soldier Field Cycling Series race - overall the third in the eight race series.

I've already submitted my upgrade to the 3s, so I arrived at ten to 7pm with no expectations other than to win a couple burrito primes for Maggie's and my dinner, and to have a ton of fun.

With Superweek running concurrently there were lots of no-shows and the wait list group of more than 25 all got in. The field was still short the 75 rider limit but not by much. The west wind was blocked by the embankment, the weather was beautiful - 70 and sunny - and we were primed for a fast race.

Christian's Vande Velde's father was there at the start line to talk a little 2016, and be the ceremonial starter. The officials added an additional 5 minutes to our 30 scheduled, even though were a bit late, and John VV blew the whistle - we were off.

An immediate gap opened up off the front as an apparently unattached rider (or a kit I didn't recognize) was going for it all right away. I sucked wheel for the first tour turns, seeing if it would come together, but on the back stretch it really started opening up. No XXX jersey up there among four other riders so it was up to me.

Bang. Bridge.

I assume as we complete the lap I've brought the pack up with me. I'm on a wheel, yet there's still a bit of a gap to the solo rider. But when we come back to the straight away, I look back, and we have a pretty decent gap. Seven or eight seconds I'd guess.

Shit. In a break less than two laps in? I was here to have some fun dammit, not put myself immediately in a painful, boring paceline. But we'd stolen it, however early. It was time to run.

It started with 6 of us, then immediately 5. Unattached didn't want to work first, so we pulled around him the first 2 laps off. When finally did pull through, it was more of an attack. I was gapped, had to burn a match to close, and we were down to 4. He did it again, dropping Scott, a Bicycle Heaven rider, and we were 3.

I was chastising him now, assuming he was a super strong newb, (little did I know - more later) who thought he had to show us all up or was just trying to go it alone. "Four is stronger than three" I yelled. We'd put at more than a 1/2 lap gap on the field and now he was squandering it by constantly attacking the break. If he kept surging like that he'd soon crack and we'd all be fucked.

I pulled another lap, and he attacked again. Fatally gapped, I was stuck out in no-man's land, only 15 minutes into a 35 minute race. I cursed, blew a snot rocket, shifted up, and closed the door on the hurt locker, nice and tight.

Nothing else to tell. The gap closed down but I stayed off. The tunnel vision got deeper and deeper, and even though Tom Briney and Maggie were both yelling the split to me, I couldn't tell who was who. They just sounded like voices to me. The blackness was creeping in on the sides, like the color of my HTFU bracelet.

I guess I should be grateful that what really happened was that I found myself in a break with a couple of sandbaggers. Unattached was a Cat 1 cyclocross, and the other was Lou, the owner Pony Shop in Evanston, and a top level mountain biker. Grateful because our gap had grown so large by the time I was dropped that I was able to hold on for third after 20 minutes on my own, albiet with just a 9 second gap.

I guess I don't really mind sandbaggers. Rules are rules, and you need races and experience to move up. But being a Cat 1 allows you the flexibility to race down a category in road or track, and you are definitely strong enough to race in the P/1/2/3 field. You should ask yourself, is it really sporting to take a win if your only strategy is just ride away from the field, and you can do it? Lou was willing to work. Unattached just rode away whenever he could and dropped us all.

That's what I have the problem with. If you're a Cat 1 in anything, you shouldn't need the ego boost that riding away from a bunch of 4 and 5s will supposedly give you. I had a legitimate shot at winning that race. At least he could have worked with us until the end. Who knows, I could've won in a three or four up sprint. And doesn't the audience deserve better as well? And finally, what about yourself? If you really only race one road event a year, shouldn't you make the most of it? Instead of stepping on 50 other guys who are below your abilities?

It's basically the equivalent of going hunting with a machine gun.

Since I was stuck out in the middle, I missed out on every prime. Kenny announced cash and burrito laps for those two at the front, and the pack behind me, but all I got was salt in eyes and cramps later that night.

Okay, okay. I'll relent. I also came away with some pretty solid satisfaction for sticking that third place solo:

In any event, I was over it by the end of the race. I did look pretty pissed up there, I admit:

But I tried to be a good sport about it:

Seriously, though. Race up to your abilities. You're not only cheating yourself, you're cheating everyone else behind you.

A Salty and Snotty Mix - Guest Blogger, Peter Allen

Actually, I am lazy and have a dentist's appointment to get to, so I am posting Peter's race report of our time trial in Hersher, IL on Sunday:

Wolfgang Freitag Memorial 2-Man 50K TT
July 12, 2009 – Herscher, IL
Masters 30+ – 2nd – 1:13:53
252 watts – 25.3 MPH

You can tell you’ve had a good race by the amount of salt and snot on your jersey. And let me tell you, Brian Morrissey and I sure looked like a handsome pair after the Wolfgang Freitag Memorial 2-Man 50K TT. We were covered with enough salt to supply Frito Lay for a month and our snot-encrusted shoulders begged for a case of Kleenex. Thankfully, we weren’t there to pick up chicks...just medals. And we scored (a silver)!

Brian had stepped up earlier in the week to help me in the 2-man TT, despite having a rigorous Superweek schedule. In fact, he did two races at Blue Island the day before the TT. And, this wasn’t a short TT, it was 50K. The course was beautiful. A 25K loop with just 4 corners and relatively good road surfaces. Plus, there was only about 5-10 MPH wind from the north. Talk about ideal conditions for going fast.

Nothing that exciting about warming up or getting to the race, except it’s nice when there’s no traffic early in the morning. Our start time was right behind pro racer (and former XXX member) Reid Mumford and fellow pro Bryce Mead). We joked with them about how soon we would catch them and then pleaded with them not to lap us. It’s amazing at how much better these guys are compared with us mere mortals. Reid and Bryce scorched at the course at an average speed of nearly 30 MPH. Yikes!

Despite being caught in Reid and Bryce’s exhaust fumes, Brian and I’s plan was to go out steady, build a rhythm and try, and hammer the last 10K. OK, easier said then done. We were very strong the first lap, but Brian’s racing from the day before began to show about halfway through. Brian never let up, but you could hear the pain in the sound of his breathing. Thankfully, we kept communicating, took the right length of pulls, so we were able to keep our pace nice and high. It was amazing how fast the 50K goes despite the pain.

My goal for us was to be a hair over 1:12:00, since this would put us in a good spot for a podium finish. We ended up crossing the finish line in sub-1:14 and I was jacked. I knew that was a contending time. We stuck around for the results, which were gradually posted at the village park. We had the fastest time for Masters 30+ and one of the top ten fastest times overall. We were getting pretty excited only to find out we were nipped for first by one of the final teams. Oh, well, second place was a nice showing. This made our trip home nicer except for our quest for Culver’s, which is another story AND doesn’t involve Neil Patrick Harris.

I know the 2-Man TT is held around Superweek, but I highly recommend checking it out. The folks at Midwest Masters put on an incredible race and you often don’t get a chance to race this distance with this little traffic let alone as a team.

Blue Balls

Superweek began officially for the lower categories in Blue Island, IL last Saturday.

This 4-corner corner criterium has become somewhat of a staple for me in my three year amateur racing career. I believe my first year doing this race in 2007 was the inaugural event and I've been there every year since. That first year I crashed with 10 laps to go and then finished well behind the sprint in a giant 75 rider field. Last year was a middling 15th in the Master's 30+ 4/5 after watching a 4/5s race I'm not too I would've been all that competitive in. This year was definitely my best showing in this far southside race, despite a bit of bad tactics and the usual Superweek chaos.

The HTFU bracelet on my left wrist has ensured I will no longer sit out eligible races. The 4/5 race and the Master's 30+ 4/5 were back-to-back, so I was ensured of a vigorous day's work with 25 miles in the former, 20 miles in the latter race.

There were a lot of recognizable faces in both fields, includingDan Soloman (South Chicago Wheelmen) whom I podiumed with at the first Soldier Field race, and state masters 30+ champion Karl Schult (Capital Bicycle Racing).

The 4/5 race was very fast, with a lot of breaks, including a long one in the middle that flirted with some success. After a bit of "urging" on my part, the rest of the boys at the front finally gave Dan Cooper (MS Racing) and I some help and it was reeled in. Karl Schult soon countered in a dangerous move, but with only 5 laps to go, he lasted two laps before we came together.

I handled the last lap much better than in the past, but I was still a bit wary from past crashes on these last two corners. And coming through turn 4 I allowed a gap in the name of safety - needed to be more aggressive. They all made it through fine, the crash happened behind me, and the wind kept me from catching anyone, and I finished 8th.

I was happy with it considering, glad to have the top ten, and reinforce my sprint training. The top ten should help cement my pending upgrade.

Immediately after removing my race number to expose the Master's number beneath it, we were off again. The pace was a bit slower as many of us had just raced before. The pack stayed together entirely, with one or two half-hearted attacks not really getting any traction.

With three to go I was at the front, and looked back for teammates. I was ready to commit myself to lauch a leadout. A couple of hand signals later, Stocky and Michael Young were on and tempo was dialed in. Mike and I traded pulls through to the bell lap, and on the back stretch I was actually waiting to see if someone would try to jump in front of us. Our tempo approaching turn 3 was fast but not blistering, and with the remaining length to the line, a wheel in front of our train would still be welcome.

However, I remained in the wind. Then a change in plans - I glanced back before turn 4, ready to light the candle, and saw Dan Cooper on my wheel - no XXX jersey in sight. I paused through the turn hoping to get a wheel and sprint for myself. Then, chaos.

MS pulled through, I jumped to dig, and saw the ambulance, lights, hands waving, with whistles being blown. I sat up for a second, thinking we were neutralized, when 15 riders blew past immediately. Not neutralized. Shit. Oh well, how's that for a Superweek tradition? I certainly wasn't going to sprint for 20th in a single lane past a guy with a broken hip for a $10 check that would bounce.

The rest of the day was hot and muggy while we watch Chris Kinonen pull off a 4th place in the Master's 1/2/3 race. But we had to leave shortly after to avoid baking in the sun.

45 miles at race pace on the edge of my saddle had some painful consequences. I had to pee as soon as I got home and it felt as though I had a red hot catheter inserted up there. I dreaded using the toilet for the rest of the day, which was sheer terror as I tried to get rehydrated. Thankfully it subsided in time for the next day's 50K 2-man team time trial.


The Tour dah Lakefront - Tandemonium Stage

First, the numbers:

Jersey Sightings: 3 Postal, 3 Discovery (including one entire kit), 1 Quick Step, 1 Saxo Bank, 1 PMU Green, 1 Ouch (Entire kit, originality points awarded for post-doping Floyd support).

KOM points:
Southbound: McFetritch -Brian/Maggie, 49th Street - Brian/Maggie
Northbound: 49th St - William/Charlotte, McFetritch - Brian/Maggie, Museum Campus - William/Charlotte (Charlotte: “So long, ladies!")

1 Break chased down: Fred attacked us. That wasn’t going to stand.

1 Pathlete left nonplussed: Hammered past us, aerobars, messenger bag (?!). But at the riser/chicane past 35th street park, there he is with a flat tire. William: “you need a tube?!” Pathlete, confused, thinking these 4 on tandems are possibly making fun of him: “Uhhhhhh, I don’t know...” Me: “Ok, suit yourself.” Three of us had tubes.

William and Charlotte attacking us:

But Maggie and I countered:

If tandem biking were a first-person shooter game - I'd be loading my grenade launcher for that Navy Pier bike car just ahead:

Nice socks:

The view didn't suck:

Neither did the food:

These things are weird. At very low speeds there is a ton of lateral movement - you feel like you are riding on flat tires or that tar patching when it's hot out - much more stable the faster you get:

Toes, raspberries, sunset:

How bromantic:


Obedience School

Or How I Train My Dog to Bite Your Kid:

Thursday Hate

Celebrity cameos at the tour.

Ben Stiller, as he held the yellow jersey out for Fabian, looked as if he were disappointed. "They told me I'd get to stand next to Lance today..." he'd say in that mopey voice of his.

If McConaughey shows up I am boycotting.


Headed to bed...

...for an EARLY date with 24 minutes of pain at Montrose Harbor. I'll leave you with this:

Riding down Elston, headed home from work today, I decided I wanted a cone from Suzie's Drive-in just west on Montrose. No sooner had the tasty little vision of that drippy, chocolate delight popped in my head than a drippy, chocolate ice cream vendor popped out from between two cars. I dodged him at the last minute, but...eh? Eh?!

Anyway, Suzie's.

What a piece of work THAT fuckin' joint is. Great ice cream. Even better fries. Pretty good burgers too. Tacos, I think are a staple. My friend Rudy always calls it "Suzie's Tacos." But their customer service is EPICALLY bad. The first two minutes in all I got served was a mean stare by the teenaged girl working the drive-thru before Suzie (I can only presume) told her to "move her fuckin' ass."

Good thing their ice cream is so tasty.


I found religion...

...and God plays drums for The Roots.

10 hours after arriving in the bright sunshine of promise and carefree, our smiles swimming in the smells of sweat, spilled beer, and acrid smoke, the high hat and kick drum started and the distorted sousaphone spinning around on stage walked us out onto the beat and then away into paradise.

For the first hour I was under a spell. Before the music started there were four of standing on the picnic table and it was crowded. Now there were at least eight and I had all the room I needed.

While it was free flowing as I've ever seen, they reminded me much more of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band than a hip hop act. The raspy sousaphone contributed much to that, but these guys definitely knew their audience. It was the first time I've seen The Roots live, and it was far from the chill, laid back session Maggie said they usually give.

The beat was much more forward (The Seed seemed even rushed), the sound brassy and tight, and they even threw out a medley of Guns n Roses, George Thorogood, and Led Zeppelin towards the end of the night. It could've seemed over the top and even insulting but it fit so well with what Summerfest is, and it spoke more to their sense of humor and musical breadth than anything. Insulting, to be frank, was the obnoxious 10-minute bass solo shortly before. That I could've done without.

As a perfect cap on the night, The Roots finished up just after 11:30 but the beer vendors were still selling until 11:45. So we were out of the gates and headed toward the shuttle bus before the real crush started.

Friday July 3rd at Summerfest was a better day than I could've ever hoped for.


Vive Le Tour!

Raw footage from "Wired to Win":

The finale of the greatest Tour ever, the time trial into Paris, 1989:

Lemond vs. Hinault, 1986:

Robert Millar, 1984:

Luis OcaƱa vs. Eddy Merckx, 1971:


Thursday Hate

People who ask you a question but then interrupt you to answer it themselves.


Summerfest townies on Kenny Chesney night. They are legion in their starched/distressed cowboy hats, wife beaters, and “designer” jeans (purchased at Target). Why do I always seem to hit this one?


Other cyclists who stare at you/your bike as you ride past them.


Lance Armstrong coverage. The man is old. Too old. He already has race-face and the prologue hasn’t even started. All this consternation over his rivalry with Contador and Leipheimer is for nothing. Uh-uh. Armstrong will not finish. Contador will be in yellow for good before the second rest day, but his leadership will be cemented long before that.


Hump Day

And the winner is...

Nobody. Well, I'll give it to someone, but what was actually on the found flash drive was pretty sad and not worth revealing.

Just a few work documents, some kid's 4th or 5th birthday pictures, and one of those long, rambling, and terribly written, "Dear Family, this is what I've been up do" Christmas letters.

But nothing juicy, nobody naked, nothing threatening. So I'll give the prize to Crank, with his answer of, "1's and 0's. If you want to get technical." Although it seems he lives in Wisconsin and will be unable to claim his prize next Wednesday. Crank, if you're reading this, I'll be racing in Hartford and Milwaukee on the 17th and 18th, and in Kenosha and Milwaukee on the 24th and 25th.

I'm totally serious. If you show up, I will get you a twelver of your choice.


Al Franken wins
his senate seat. By 312 votes. Obama's rubberstamp just got a little more unwieldy.


Why I stopped
doing Critical Mass.


As California goes, the nation goes.


This week's sign of the apocalypse: our politician's rivalries now resemble those of Kazakhstan or Moldova.


Did you know that bikes are banned from Metra for the entire Taste of Chicago? Even at 6am on the outbounds? Such is the mentality of government employees. No shades of gray there. Either On or Off.