Sunday, August 26, 2007
It started with a Buick(?) commercial several years ago. I was in the kitchen and washing dishes. The boob tube was on in the other room and suddenly I heard the opening riffs to 'Gravity Rides Everything' (Modest Mouse). Hunh? I thought the TV had shut down and the stereo had suddenly sprung to life. Hands still wet, I scooted into the living room and couldn't quite believe my eyes and ears. A big-wig ad exec probably overheard some 'indie' tunes spilling from his teenage son's bedroom and figured it'd make a good soundtrack for his next project. And so there I was, watching a soccer mom load up her Buick mini-van to Isaac Brock's wistful guitar composition.
Next up was Dickie Buckman (politely known as Richard Buckner). Same situation as above. TV was on, I was in another room, and I heard a tune that hit home. And this time it was 'Ariel Ramirez' as background for a VW commercial. With that one, I even got the background story, as I chatted up Richard at the next Iota show he played. Of course, I can't remember how it all went down. Needless to say, I don't know the exposure launched Mr. Buckner to any sorta super-stardom. I have to say, though, he hasn't been as publicly available at the last coupla Iota shows.
And now VW's back at it. They've jumped on the Jeff Tweedy express. That's right. Wilco is prominently featured in VW's current ad campaign. I've seen two commercials and, on first listen, recognize them from 'Sky Blue Sky.' That album isn't yet permanently ingrained in my brain like all the others, so I can't cite the specific songs played. Never mind one ad seems to promote driving for no constructive reason. In it, some dude wakes up at 5AM to drive around with no specific errand to run and crawls back in bed one hour and twenty-seven minutes later. Good message to send with gas at $3+ a gallon. Anyhow, I guess it all leads to one conclusion...
My musical tastes are a little more conventional than they used to be.
Next thing you know, I'll hear Built to Spill's 'Reasons' as the backing track for a Target commercial. When that happens, I think I'll have to official retire any aspirations of being 'music forward.'
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
Monday, August 13, 2007
And so here is a photo of the style I call the tri-hawk. Though the faux-hawk still seems a bit radical in the U.S., I think this look steps it up a whole level...maybe two. Check it:
That one's for you, Grandma.
Monday, August 06, 2007
This past weekend, I lined up for the first running of the Pleasant Valley Road Race. Great course. Decent rollers, but nothing out of control. The finish was cool...a pretty steep pitch with about 200 meters to go.
The heat was the toughest part of the race. I heard several reports at the start line of temps hitting around 108 degrees. Hot!
The race was largely uneventful and I didn't feel too taxed...despite the heat. Maybe it has something to do with 15 years of athletic competition in Miami, Florida, but I tend to do okay in the extreme heat.
For me, the highlight of my race was my ill-timed move to the front. As I've mentioned, my worst enemy for a finishing sprint is, not surprisingly, position in the last km. I tried to work things out so I would move to the front for the last 3km or so. Well, my cyclometer must've been playing tricks on me. I worked my way forward thinking there were about 1.5 miles to go. Dave Crouse was up there and I got the sense he also thought we were closer to home than we were.
We jockeyed up front for about 3 more miles before we hit the final two pitches. Coming into what was the feed zone, I was sitting about third wheel. Never one to want to piss off the bunch, I held off crossing the yellow line in the closing stretch. I kinda thought we were free to move over at the base of the feed zone climb, but then I heard someone claim the road was open at 200 meters to go. Of course, I never saw a 200 meter sign. And so I never made a jump that might've won the sprint. Instead, I gave a push up the final short hill and passed a Route1 rider about 1 yard from the finish line. I try not to give up coming to the line and this time it paid off with a fifth place finish.
It was a wonderful day to be out racing bikes and it was all the better with my closest crew cheering from the sidelines. Thanks to hEllicott, the Commish, and SVR for being there at the finish and then trucking up to Ellicott City for post-race sustenance and libations. Mmmm.
The circuit race was fun. I heard there was little chance at breaks sticking, but I didn't let that stop me from bridging to the only break of the day. Turned out to be a bust, but at least I opened up the legs a bit with that one.
The finish was in town and quite technical. I wasn't forward enough coming into the first turn into town. There were requisite crashes and I held on for a not-so-impressive 23rd. No points.
The 4s did a short race. We went up and down one hill and came ripping into 'Toona. I crested the climb with a lead group of about 15. The descent was incredible! Looking at the cyclometer, and I assume my max speed for the stage wasn't during the sprint, we maxed out at 54 mph. That was made possible by the very cool rolling enclosure. Those speeds are only do-able when you can take the whole road for turns.
Coming into town, I heeded Evan's excellent advice and kept my eyes open for the 1 km sign. I guess our lead group turned into about 27 guys by that point. I tend to have a problem getting good positioning coming into a sprint, so this time I made a decision that coulda bit me in the tush. At about 750 meters, I clawed my way to the front, right side of the group. I hung out in the wind for a good 500 meters. It was my only chance to stay up front. At about 250 meters, I saw the 200 meter sign and figured my best chance was to go from that distance. I ramped up and laid down as much sprint as my 131 pound body could muster. Turned out to be enough. Good times. 25 points.
So...after stage two, I was sitting pretty in third on the GC. The guy in fourth was one point back. The goals for Sunday were to finish the crit and try to keep rider 603 in my crosshairs so I could finish near him. I thought I had it wrapped up. With five laps to go, I stopped seeing his number in the 20 or so guys who were ahead of me on course. Seemed like good news. Like Friday, I never took the risk enough to get into the top ten for the finish sprint. I rolled in for 21st, but was content to finish a crit that clocked in faster than the cat. 3s. Not seeing 603 ahead of me, I thought I was gonna hold on to my GC spot. No such luck. During the podium presentation, mister 603 was standing tall on the top step. Doh!
In the end, my weakness in the crit bumped me three spots to 6th on the GC. Not the best. Not the worst.