Dec 19, 2007

Thank you MR. Cop. Part Deux!

Holy wow, you guys out there are ready to knock some teeth out. I can't believe the response I've gotten from so many people. Thanks for all of your offers of bikes, tools, fists and revenge.
I'll make a post on the side bar with the bike information. The post I made was pretty cathartic, and got some good responses from other kindhearted folk.
Part 2: The investigation.....
Philly cops. I don't know how I would feel if I had to clock into the mean streets of Philadelphia. Undermanned, disrespected and targeted. Can I really blame them for spending 50% of their time in my house commenting on how great it's going to be when done?
"Wow this is really big!" "It's gonna look great, holy crap that's a big backyard!"
me "Um yeah, I'm real fortunate."
"Sorry we can't really get any fingerprints, since it's so dusty in here."
me "oh, i should have vacuumed."
Actually I was surprised they even sent out a finger printer. I walked the first officer through the house, then the detective showed up, smoking a cigarette, and chewing gum at the same time. Trying to give a full layout of the house and explain why the back window was unlocked, made me feel like I was the guilty party. We went out to talk to my neighbor, who had seen the thieves pull their truck up on the sidewalk. As Leon was describing what he saw I kept looking a the detective, trying to read how he was processing this information. Every time I looked at him, was smoking his cigarette pinched between thumb and index, head cocked back. I imagine a detective to be sponge, someone who is soaking and computing every minutia of detail. I was looking to him for an eureka moment. An instant when it all came together.
As I tried to figure out what he was thinking I kept feeling like we were sitting at a table working on two different puzzles, with the pieces mixed into one pile.
The detective left after telling me the crime labs guy would show up later to take fingerprints. That left one officer sitting in her car on the front sidewalk, dozing off with the heat on.
As I said above, the finger printer walked in with his plastic bag of crime scene investigative tools. We walked through the house, and at every possible place the thieves might left a print he discarded the possibility due to the dust.
After he left all I had was a huge feeling of being alone and vulnerable. It was cold, my house seemed like a big block of swiss cheese, ready to be invaded by any mouse in the neighborhood, and I still had new heaters and new copper all over the place.
Anyone who has ever been robbed must know this feeling of insecurity and paranoia.
More to come...
In the meantime, I take my stuff everywhere. Nothing stays at home. Saturday Charlie and I put in a good 5.5hr cross ride. I've decided to keep the knobbies on for awhile.
Bat Cave

Dec 17, 2007

How'd you get in Here?

Last Monday I stepped out of the house at 9:48am. I'm that sure about it because I was expecting my plumber to show soon after 10, but I needed to run to the hardware store for a floodlight bulb. No problem I said to myself.
Went to Stanly's hardware, then stopped for a coffee to go at the Set Table. Back at 10:30.
My front door has two locks. I always bolt the top bolt-lock if I'm going anywhere, and the bottom knob-lock usually gets the key too. When I got back I noticed that only the handle was locked. That didn't seem right, but I gave myself the benefit of the mistake and walked back to the kitchen to get some maple syrup for the coffee.
I noticed on the kitchen floor two or three pieces of mud and a leaf from the tread of a shoe. If you saw the house right now you might have wondered how I could distinguish one piece of dirt from another, but these seemed out of place. I looked at my soles, recognized I had been digging sewer pipe out in the basement and assumed it was from me.
Walking up to the cluttered kitchen counter I set my coffee down then looked right to see my kitchen window open.
I knew that wasn't right. It's 30 degrees outside and I never open that window. First reaction was to run to the front room to see if my new mountain bike was there. I had brought it home from the shop the night before, freshly polished, tuned and ready to ride.
A quick look around revealed blank holes where my compressor, nail gun and other power tools had been. I ran upstairs to my bed room to find a big hole in the plastic door, and inside was one less Laptop, camera and printer. Still left down stairs was my cross bike with the new PowerTap wheel in it. Unlocked.
Ran to the back yard, realized they took to much stuff to go out the back. Went to the front, asked the guys working on the street if they saw anything. "nope" with heads shaking. Called 911.
Talked to neighbor, Leon. He says he saw a white work truck pull up onto the curb 5 min after I left, but assumed them to be some of the people working on my house. His sone even said hi to one of the guys. Their descriptions didn't match any of my workers. So I waited for the police.

Dec 8, 2007

If you missed it, you don't know.

This past week following the Auction has seen so little spare time. People visiting, contractors working on the house, me me me, always me. Why don't I have enough time. There is never enough time. Time is money. Time doesn't grow on trees. Time machine in overdrive. Time out, Dave Brubeck, (is 91), Time in. "Making time"= something vaguely sexual.
Take the time to smell. (It's winter, there are no roses.) You really do have to take it. Be aggressive. Demand it, be an unhappy customer at the time shop. Bang your fist, just once and say "by golly! This is mine". Polly wolly wanna time cracker?
Found time on my way home the other day. Put it in my pocket but spent it on trinkets. 5 minutes here 15 there. I'm selfish with time. Don't have enough to share. Shared time is the best way to use time. Cause then it's like double time. I could go on.
A situation.
It's important to know what you want. Ever see a thing (noun) that you wanted? But would never really be able to take full advantage of all it had to offer, if you had it. Still it is there and you convince yourself of all the things you'll do with it, and the glorious days you'll spend appreciating it while using it. (noun) Garage sales have ton's of these things. It's there, it's easy to fit in the hatchback, no challenge is forthcoming to stop you. As the sun fades and home draws into sight the sudden realization that the super subject (noun) of this metaphor, has no business in your car or life or home. Essentially you've robbed said subject of it's utility since it will sit underused and under appreciated in a corner of the house, while someone out there would have built an empire around it. Take caution. Be reckless. With intent.

Auction was great. Everyone who made the time to come out and listen to me do my best auctioneer voice thanks. I was visibly drained at the end. Basically three hours of keeping the 1dolla,1dolla,1dolla, rolling off the tongue. We had a group of about 30 people, eating (par diner food) and drinking.
Of course the Stans Wheelset went for the highest. But another couple of surprise additions to the table were, some t-shirts from
a case or organic beer from Peak Organics.
A couple of goodies from Valentine Baby. Super ladies, workout clothes. See picture above.

I liked it. The money raised will go to my winter and early race schedules. Oh and a dental visit I've been putting off.
Plus 10% ($150) will be going to Neighborhood Bike Works.

Thanks to everyone.
I'll let the upcoming schedule out soon.

This is a classic, Spiritualized "ladies and gentlemen we are floating in space"
look it up

Nov 27, 2007

Auction Action

Auction is here. In three days.
Just a reminder about what is going to be on the table...
Stan's Wheelset
WTB Tires and Saddle
Stephanie Stago Massage
Formula Brakes
Ergon Grips
Smart Wool Gear
XT Rear Derailleur
Reload T-Shirts
Independent Fabrication Goodies
Walt Cycling Caps
Thompson Seatpost
Framed Photos..

Gift Certifcates from....
Lourdes Greek Taverna
Full Plate Cafe
Set Table Cafe and Coffee Roasters
Art Star Gallery
Honey's Sit n' Eat Restaurant
One Shot Coffee
Trophy Bikes
CBOP Photo Lounge
CHEZ Bow Wow Pet Grooming

And more
See you at the diner.

Nov 18, 2007

Cross Race'n: USGP: Getting there!

I was trying to figure out where to ride this weekend. Then I figured that since I'm a fan of cycling I should do what fans of other sports do. Go Watch!
One of the biggest cyclocross race weekends was being held in Trenton NJ. If you were a big time North American racer you were there.
Plus I had friends there.
Charlie and I decided to ride to the race, watch, yell, jeer and shake cowbells, then turn around and head back in the dark. I sent out the bulletin, and it looked like a group of 4-5 were set to go. Slowly they dropped out, and by the time I met Charlie at 9:30am sat morn, it was down to two. The route to Trenton is not a back roads romp. But with the help of Google maps, I found a 42 mile, completely flat path, that took us up the PA side of the Delaware. 2.5 hrs road adventure. I kept expecting something to go wrong, but besides a little confusing directions from a couple of preteen BMXers, it flowed like leaves dropping in fall winds.We crossed through Waste Managements' reclaimed wetlands, with a landfill towering above us.Glad I'm neither

This is my Cross essay

Women's winner: Gould.
Indy Fab Lady Pauline Frascone
Mo Bruno Roy on the other side.
go ry go
Race for 2nd

Nov 14, 2007

Nov 11, 2007

Auction Time & Good bye Norman

Norman Mailer is dead.
My first long time impression of him was that he was a chauvinist pig. Due mostly to his "the prisoner of sex" and sports writings. He spent his life being outspoken in the face of historical moments. Vietnam, civil rights, womens movement, death penalty, '68 republican convention. He wrote with limitless research, wit and wry observation. If you were a topic in his books, you might take him personally, but in my opinion he always asked the questions that needed to be answered.
If you like to read, go back and investigate someone who polarized opinions.
One of my heroes.It's auction time! Last year the auction was to help send Topher and I to La Ruta. We're not going south for 2007, but there is still a lot of racing to be done. The 2008 season will be here and I have some big plans. A domestic stage race, a world cup marathon in Europe, the NUE series, and possibly the National Super-D title. Sponsors don't really give out money, but I did ask for extra product to put in to my annual auction to help me raise dough to race with. Also, I'll be giving 10% of monies raised to the most noble Neighborhood Bike Works here in Philadelphia.
This year there will be some high end items on the auction block. Stan's NoTubes will build a custom wheelset for some lucky winner. You choose from their line of rims laced to the hubs they carry with the spokes of your choice. That could equal out to a $800 wheelset. Winner definitely stands to get a deal. Wilderness Trail Bikes is offering a saddle of your choice. And Formula Disc brakes will have a set of fresh brakes up for grabs.
I want to keep this interesting for the non cyclist friends I have, so there are lots of gift certificates for different businesses and restaurants in town. Art Star on liberty walks has lots of limited edition cool stuff from artists around the country.
I'll make a more precise list later.
Most of all this event is about some fun times. We'll meet upstairs at the Manayunk Dinner, where food and drink will be available. November 30th 7-9pm.

Nov 2, 2007

Spare change here: Plum Grove and Halloween.

Last Friday I ventured down to Plum Grove Cyclery for a little Living the Dream tour stop-age. I walked in late after a 5hr drive in the rain to see about 30 people listening to Matt Bracken talk about IF and bikes. The most amazing thing were the 27 different IF bikes the crowd had brought in. All makes, ages, and colors. Pretty neat to see the diversity of possibilities. Again reasons why I like my sponsor.

We went for a group ride the next morn.
Did someone get a new single speed? Me Maybe?

Things are going to be changing around here. First of all I got a coach for the 2008 season. Scary business since I'll be putting my body in the hands of someone else. But Jeff at Allez Training is an old Indy Fab rider and a PhD Candidate in Richmond, for sports physiology. And really this picture of him makes him look a lot more square than he really is. I expect big things. Now I have a place to place blame.
Also there will be some other sponsors on board. I'll let you know as they come. IF and I are staying together, so no speculation there please.

Oct 23, 2007

Hello Luv: West Virginia

High Meadow's Joely's photo
Pete in the rocks Again thanks joel
It's not about the bike. I swear I didn't inhale.

We had 17 people people Saturday and 19 on Sunday. Camped low beneath the towering bare rock fin of Seneca rocks.
Our fire was the only one in the campground shut down by the local police. Fire jenga, yelling and spirits = the long arm of johnny law.Chris was stung by a bee one hour into an 8 hour ride. The beer was in his pack.
Midas touch.
Can you say holy cow, watering hole!

One trailer, one beat suburban, 17 bikes, 17 people.
North fork final decent, took about an hour.
Legend says her dad would marry her to the first who could climb to the top of Seneca rocks. Death toll unknown.

West V.

Five minutes into Saturday ride, Tim D. dislocates finger, pulls it back into place and proceeds to ride for 12hours in two days. Point your index finger at the computer screen. Tim's would be pointing at the "U" key in dislocated mode.We ran out of gas Sunday night, 1/2 mile from gas station.30 years, 17 yards and one arrow later, landed this for a happy hunter.

Oct 15, 2007

Iron Cross+Cookies+Crashing=50th place

Homemade Cookies. Cheaters. What the hell!
Racing at a high level requires a lot of sacrifice. Apparently that includes homemade cookies at aid stations. I found this little secret out as I pulled into Station 3 this weekend at the Iron Cross race. "The Worlds Longest Cross Race." Normally for these long endurance races I have no idea what the promoter has at the stops. At one time, it meant a lot to me if there were an abundance of random goodies, like Swedish fish, pringles, and PB & J's. As of late, we've gotten nutrition so dialed, along with drop bag grabs, I never stay at a station long enough to know what's on the buffet. So from now on as I approach those tables I'm yelling for a handful of homemade goods as I cruise by. There is a story as to why I was able to enjoy the bounties of aid stations 3 and 4. But that will come later.
"For when the One Great Scorer comes to mark against your name,
He writes not that you won or lost - but how you played the game." (Grantland Rice)

Below is what I consider to be a good summary of why sportsmanship is important. It comes from a slo-pitch softball guy.

"It seems in our sports today, the concept of good sportsmanship has been lost. While winning at all costs and poor sportsmanship may be condoned and even promoted in professional sports, this does not mean it is the proper way for athletes to behave. Whether we like it or not, sportsmanship in sports is a direct reflection of our own ethics in real life. Sportsmanship like ethics concerns both the character and the actions of an athlete. The image you project as an athlete is a product of your character. Good sportsmanship is not just what you do on the field, it is hopefully the way you conduct your life both on and off the field. In the same way, unsportsmanlike behaviour on the field is probably an indication of your off the field conduct. Unsportsmanlike behaviour -- acts that are unfair, dishonest, disrespectful or against the rules - are unsportsmanlike because they are unethical. If you are unethical in sports, can you be ethical in the other areas of your life - your business dealings, your treatment of others, your family?"

John Ariss - Touching Base Magazine - February, 2000

What's really at issue here are course manners. Or more to the point, unethical acts/ poor sportsmanship. Maybe there needs to be a lesson.
1. Making a mistake on the course, (lets say missing a turn and accidentally cutting part of the course.) And I do mean accidentally! Some times that happens. It sucks, your race is kind of ruined unless you turn around and go back to the missed turn. Then it's trying to make up lost time. There is a certain pride in coming back from a huge deficit.
If you have done this, accept it and turn yourself in. That's much better than being called out for it on someone's blog. If you roll in to the finish and act like nothing happened: lame.
2. Also consider this. Maybe it's not as cut and dry, but it's definitely on the slippery slope to yucks-ville. You organize with someone outside of your class to pace you around the course to get a better time against your competitors. Not necessarily illegal, especially in road racing, but there is a fine line. Many marathon foot races specifically have rules against pacing. Often times it's a male pacing for a female, because the male is only average in his class but it's enough to carry a good female racer to a better position.
Again this is an area of ethics that would have to be self regulated. But if you think about it, sportsmanship in road cycling dictates that if you are going to sit in and let others work for you, it should be for a few good reasons:
-you should have a teammate in mind,
-your giving everything you have already
-it's close to the end of the race and you want your competition to do more work.
That is boring.
Now the fun.
How Harlan got his cookies back.
Sunday bizarre.
Surprisingly I got a call up to the start of the race. That was nice of the promoters, and meant I had about 180 riders behind me on the start line. 180 people for me to use in a massive pileup.
At the "GO" I stepped on the pedals and my chain skipped, causing a looney tune reaction of riders falling on my (Topher's) rear wheel. People were cursing me as I tried to untangle from Bob and the leaders plus another 50 people launched themselves into the cross course. Back on the bike I made it about 200 feet and realized that somehow my rear brake had come undone in the tackle from behind. A quick stop saw it fixed, while another 30 people went by.
Okay time to start chasing.
I got about a hundred feet. On an uphill left hand turn a rider in front of me bailed and for some reason decided to flat my front wheel. Explicative!
I pulled off the course, and started to get down to business, but Theo came by and saved the day by giving me his front wheel. Thanks Theo! I'm off through the cross course death spiral almost out of the camp, and then realize the front brake is undone. Another word to the sky and I stop and reattach it.
So in the first 10 minutes of my 4-5 hour race I've stopped 4 times. A hundred people are in front of me and the leaders are attacking each other. What can I do but start chasing.
On the way to the first climb of the day someone informs me that my rear brake will hit my tire if I try to brake. I decided that since it was uphill for 15 min I'd wait till the top to adjust it. I was making some good time on the dual track climb. At one point I caught Pete who was riding no hands on the rocky terrain. It sort of looked like he was walking a tight rope.
I kept the the pace as high as I could, reeling one group in after another on the climb. Little did I know the boys up front were attacking each other up the KOM. At the top I stopped to adjust the rear brake. The descent down into the apple orchards was a blast, and the climb back out was the second test of the day.
At the top we rolled down Piney Ridge road till we turned left on Lipencote trail, where a mountain bike would have ruled the moment. Rocks and logs for hoping on the cross bike. Arms were tightening up, but it was a perfect spot to pick off a bunch of people. At the bottom I had different reports of times back from the leaders. 2min, 5min and 10 min. I liked the idea of 2, but 10 was more likely.
Coming out of the woods I saw who I thought was Mike Hebe, and tried to chase up to him. He slowed down to let me get on, but about 10 feet too soon I said okay and he took off, leaving me in the dust. That was Colin. Not Mike. Eventually I caught him and Hebe on the Wigwam run up, and we all cruised to about mile 40 together.
At that point our group was in about 14th place. Not bad I thought, but suddenly what I had went and I decided that my day, month and winter would be ruined if I kept trying to push it. Hell, it's fall, this race wasn't really one of my goals, and I discovered that if you stop at aid stations there might be homemade cookies.
So I shifted perspective. Eat cookies. Ride with different people, sit on the side of the trail and watch the race. People kept asking if I was ok. It was great. I got to see the women come through and cheer them on.
Then just before the finish line I tried to bunny hop the barriers and made a fool of myself infront of all the finishers. Over all a great day.