Thursday, October 08, 2009

Got Beer?

That's at least two or three days of work to get down the line.

Saturday, October 03, 2009

BCA Cross

First turn. Flatted out. Not my day.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

Gee Atherton

Breathtaking. How do they do it? I'm worried for the announcer's heart. On the verge of cardiac arrest, best I can tell.

Not a Rod Stewart Fan

Something tells me Chris Horner is NOT a Rod Stewart fan. Dude is not one of the guys with all the luck.

http://www.cyclingnews.com/news/horner-out-of-vuelta-with-fractured-wrist

And, Robb, you don't have to say it. I know how you'd characterize this post.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Un-BEE-leviable (Redux)

WTF? 30+ years without a bee sting. Now, within a two month span, I get stung TWICE!! FU bee. Out at Rosaryville, a bee landed on my arm and struck. From my July experience, I kinda knew what to expect. But I also thought I might get off easier this time. No dice. Elephantiasis of the friggin' forearm. Popeye the bloody sailor man. Evan is into this whole seven (or eight) minute abs thing. Me? I'm into the arm muscle development...in a day. It's pretty tender and sore and itchy and scratchy and ugly. A buddy tells me most people get stung two or three times in their lives.


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Liberty Tavern

Gonna try to be more regular with food postings...even if they end up fragmented or incomplete or not neatly packaged.

On a beautiful Sunday evening, we ended up in Clarendon around dinnertime. Hoping to try Eventide, we found it shuttered for Sunday dinner and opted for Liberty Tavern. The result? A generally mixed experience.

Most notably, service was pretty lacking. Sat at a four top upstairs for about fifteen minutes before anyone acknowledged us. Waiter reported one special for the night and couldn't spit it out without looking at his cheat sheet after mentioning each component. We requested a dessert menu so one person at the table could decide if she wanted to save her appetite for a starter or dessert. Getting that menu took about five minutes. These little things added up to a less than stellar service experience.

SVR's rum drink did not taste good. Very, very sweet. Tasted a bit like chlorine and bottled Margarita mix. Never mind that the $9 drink came to the table in a glass only about 2/3 of the way full. Seemed an awful value (decided before tasting how unpleasant it was) and I mentioned the paltry pour to the waiter. He assured me it wouldn't taste good if there was more in the glass. What?! Does the greater liquid surface area interact with the air to make the already bad drink taste worse? Very odd.

Bread basket was really solid. The meal's highlight??

I had some shortribs to start. The meat was very pleasant. The savory sauce and bread made for a nice, gooey, sloppy, rich bite. The heavy meat was paired with some fruit and sauce I imagine was meant to cut the meat's richness. The accompaniment was melon and a melon sauce. It tasted of simple syrup or Karo syrup. Painful in the mouth kinda sweet. Too bad, as the meat was very good.

I had skate for a main. Pan fried nicely. Tender fish. Sides (though Spaetzle and potato seemed a little heavy for a summer evening) worked well. Again, though, the sauce (raspberry this time?) tasted like candy. It was sweeter than I tend to prefer dessert. Very odd.

Sooooo...I really wanted to like Liberty Tavern. I thought the menu looked thoughtfully composed and smartly balanced. Service and a really heavy hand with, of all things, sugar left me feeling disappointed. For what we paid (about $60/person), I wanted something a bit better.

Friday, July 31, 2009

None of my Business??!!

If person #1's illegal and irresponsible behavior could cause harm to person #2, is person #1's behavior person #2's "business?"

Yesterday, I was riding down Tilden Street, NW into Rock Creek Park. From Connecticut Avenue, NW to Beach Drive, it's a pretty zippy descent. There's a bike lane on the right side of Tilden. When I descend that stretch, I often top out around 38 mph. Keep in mind, the speed limit is posted as 25 mph. When I descend, I'm generally in the wrong and breaking the law. So I was descending Tilden yesterday afternoon and was going above the speed limit and was outside the bike lane. If I'm not going under the speed limit, I believe I can travel in the automobile lane. As I'm coasting downhill, I hear the ever-familiar 'beep-beep' in the distance. The horn gets louder and I can tell the car is barreling down on me. I check my speed-o and see I'm at 37 mph. The fuck if I'm gonna move out of the way of a car that's clearly going way too fast for the conditions. But the car persists with the honking and I decide to move right and give them no reason to go bonkers. So they fly past me at what must've been 45-48 mph. At the bridge near Pierce Mill, the traffic is backed up due to a red light. The car that passed me is last in line and I roll up to the vehicle. Driver's side window is down and I see the woman is happily chatting on her phone (no hands-free device in use). I opt to interrupt her phone call to point out that I was, on the descent, already going well above the speed limit and she was driving pretty dangerously to pass me. She ignores me, so I give her a, "Hey. Hang up your stupid phone. In DC, it's illegal to be on the phone without a hands-free set." Her response, "Leave me alone. Me being on my phone is none of your business."

What?!?! To me, that's just so hard to stomach. How is it not my business to look out for my own safety and best interests? How is it not my business to point out the illegal behavior that could easily lead to my injury or death? It IS my business to protect myself. And if engaging in conversation with strangers who are behaving irresponsibly and dangerously is what I need to do to TRY to protect myself, then I'll make their business my business. Grrrrrrrr.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Could I Bee Less Lucky?

Remember JV's episode at the 2001 Tour? Insect (wasp?) sting that swelled up nice and big? See here:
Well, I was out Wednesday and almost met a similar fate. Thankfully, I was wearing sunglasses when a bee came bombing at my face. In a split second, it ricocheted off the glasses and hit my lower quad on the upstroke of my pedal stroke. The bee must've been frightened and ready for attack, 'cause it immediately stung me. Believe it or not, I've lived life having never previously been stung by a bee. Turns out...I must be pretty allergic. My left leg is swollen enough that it's painful to bend the leg. It kept me off the bike Thursday and we'll see about today. I don't want to pull a JV and have to withdraw from July's big race (locally, at least), but we'll have to see how the leg feels tomorrow morning. I think the poison worked its way up my leg, as a gland in my groin area is also very swollen and tender. Un-BEE-lievable!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

GamJams Reviews: Bottle cages - Bontrager Race Lite Cage

Pretty straightforward accessory part. The bottle cage, primarily, must function well. That means it should keep a water bottle in place securely over smooth and rough pavement. It should also allow for relatively quick and easy bottle removal and replacement. Bonus features are low gram count, attractive design, and low cost.

I find the Bontrager Race Lite Cage to do pretty much all I ask. I've used 'em on mountain bikes and road bikes and find they perform admirably.
  • Secure grip? Check.
  • Easy bottle removal and replacement? Check.
  • Low gram count? Not as light as the Zipp Speed Weaponry cages on the Giant (25g), but certainly respectably light at 38g.
  • Attractive design? Simple look. Almost looks like a human reach out with a hug. At the same time, moderately aggressive with some acute angles.
  • Low cost? Check. You can find these on sale for about $10. Much better price point than the $60 Zipps.
I find the Bontrager cage to work really well with the 21 oz. Specialized water bottles. The top tab on the cage grabs the lip of the water bottle very securely and holds snuggly. What more can you ask for? Colors, you say? Take your pick. I've had white in the past, but am currently running the ever-neutral black on the Cannondale.

I don't see reason to move away from this cage anytime soon.

Thursday, July 09, 2009

Positives at the Tour

Can't put my finger on when or during which Grand Tour, but I remember seeing similar headlines in the past.

'Haussler remains positive'

Don't you think 'hopeful' or 'upbeat' or 'optimistic' might be a better word choice? In cycling's context, "positive" has a bit of a bad reputation.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

Warning: Lance Arstrong Sympathizing Ahead

There will be plenty to watch and plenty that entertains at this year's Tour de France. I'm not one to focus too much attention on Lance Armstrong, but I did start to ponder a certain 'what if and when' question.

If you believe Lance Armstrong was, pre-retirement, unfairly targeted and even set-up/sabotaged by 'the French' (authorities, media, organizers, etc.), then it seems logical Armstrong, competing again on French soil, will be up for a new round of accusations and sabotage. Why would 'the French' stop now? So the questions are:

1. Will it happen?
2. If so, when will it happen?
3. What will they say he's on?
4. How will he defend himself this time?

Now...it's entirely possible Armstrong was on something throughout his first career. It's hard to imagine he was the sole clean top performer. Never mind that. Even though riders continue to get caught red-handed, you have to figure Armstrong is not inclined to use illicit methods during the comeback. He knows testing is stricter, he knows he's a target, and he knows what he (and his foundation) stand to lose if authorities accuse him and can prove it true. And even if he has methods at his disposal he and his confidants think will escape identification through testing, I really don't think he'd chance a positive at this point. Let's assume he will ride clean.

The bicycle racing will produce plenty of thrills. And the past few years have produced a fair number of post-stage doping thrills. I'll anticipate an exciting race, but I'll also be on edge to see if and when Armstrong turns up a (false) positive at this year's Tour.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009

TdF Ladder--Ghost Rider

So cyclingnews.com already posted a Tour de France ladder. See here.

Read the third paragraph of Cunego's entry. You'd think riding the race would be a pre-requisite for being included in the ladder, right? Apparently not. Ninth on the ladder, but not participating in the race. Oops! Cyclingnews.com predicts Cunego (not participating) will somehow beat Frank Schleck (participating). If that happens, I'll be very, very, VERY impressed.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

Ray's

Not much cooking in my world on the cycling front, but there's plenty cooking at Ray's the Steaks in the Commonwealth. Some thoughts on a recent trip...

Hadn't visited since February...the first month Michael was open in the new location. This visit was much, much smoother. My summary: simple and classic stuff executed very well. Also of note, nothing is light. Among four, we had:

-Devilishly Good Eggs
-Bacon App.
-Four Sunday specials (two clam chowders, two crab bisques, two onglets, two bacon-wrapped medallions, two key lime pies, one dark chocolate mousse, one coconut cream pie)
-Two bottles of Gamay

The eggs and tartare offer a really nice and surprisingly refreshing start to things. The raw meat was bright, the toast points amuse me (friggin' Wonder Bread!), and the cornichons and capers were wonderfully tart.

I hadn't had the bacon before. Despite appearances of being extremely fatty and gristly, these slabs were most certainly not either of those things. Mostly meat tissue. Expecting to be turned off by the weight of this pork in my mouth, the bacon didn't leave any sort of waxy or fatty feeling. Salty and smoky, this was a nice surprise.

I had the crab bisque and found it to be as good as ever. I'd say half the cup was taken up by crab meat instead of liquid. Amazing. This sort of treatment is what I wish every restaurant achieved. I HATE going to a restaurant and having the place skimp on the featured ingredient of a dish. Sometimes I get overly caught up in the value concept and end up distracted from a nice product 'cause I feel like I'm being shafted. Ray's keeps value in the front of my mind, but for the right reasons. I'm reminded how much better I feel about spending good money on food that is plentiful and meets a high quality standard.

Based on some previous posts on DonRockwell, I encouraged tablemates to get the clam chowder. It's a good soup, but we all agreed the crab is king.

Only thing to say about my steak is that it was very near perfect. I'm loath to call anything perfectly perfect, but this was close. SVR continues to be slightly dismayed with Ray's cooking her steaks a little cooler than she prefers, but I'm content to get a med.-rare closer to rare than medium. My onglet was a wonderful steak. SVR didn't send anything back and I think she's coming around to medium-rare instead of medium.

Sides were standard and flavorful. I actually prefer skins in my mashed potatoes, so the sheer whiteness of the mashed at Ray's throws me a bit, but that's hardly something to complain about. I love that the spinach has a great creamy flavor without feeling too heavy. A nice balance.

I tasted all desserts. Wanted to get the coconut cream, but my mother put dibs on that and I felt someone had to play sacrificial lamb and get some mousse. I loved all the sweets for different reasons. The family was in town from Miami (I was raised there) and we all thought the key lime pie has the right amount of sharpness and brightness and tang. It's a good pie. I only took a tiny bite of coconut and can report I know I'll get it next time. I can't remember much about the exact flavor, but it definitely drew me in and left me wanting a full piece to explore. The mousse was good and chocolate-y. Too much whipped cream for my taste, but, then again, I don't really prefer whipped cream on anything.

I don't think Mark was on staff Sunday night, so I was left to pick our wines. The waitress wasn't familiar with the Gamay (from Beaujolais, not California) I locked in on and she explained it was newly added. I lucked out and drew much praise from my family for an excellent choice. If anyone in the group had had scallops, I think this lighter red would've been fine with the seafood.

Service was really cheery and friendly. Stemware and utensils were spotless.

I was very, very full after this whirlwind tour. I think I've only been fuller four or five other times in my life. Leftovers over the past two days have been great. Steaks brought to room temperature are almost as good as when warm.

We're walking distance to 2Amys. I wish we were, somehow, also walking distance to Ray's!

Friday, March 20, 2009

Milan- San Remo Pick

Look out for Davide Rebellin. I'm just sayin'.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

GamJams Reviews: Cleaning / Degreasing - The Pre-Moistened Wipe-y Things in the Gym

This week's review is about cleaning agents. I'm a total nut-job about keeping the bike(s) clean. Number one rule for keeping the bike clean? Don't let it get dirty. True of most things. Shoes off in the house. Don't cook like a whirling dervish. Keep your poo in the potty.

Anyhow...we live in a tiny apartment. It's clean in part because I don't wheel nasty, grimey, muddy, greasy bikes into the bedroom. SVR is a sweetheart for putting up with five bicycles in our 750 s.f. of indoor space, so the least I can do is keep those bad boys looking spotless.

Here's my process. Keep my gym access card in my cycling wallet. At the end of every ride, I roll straight into the gym in the basement of our building. I grab four pre-moistened towelettes from the dispenser in the gym. I pull the front wheel and wipe down the tire, rim, and hub with towel #1. Next, I flip the bike upside down and do the same to the rear wheel, still attached to the bike. That's towel #2. Towel #3 is for the rest of the frame exposed while the bike is upside down. Next, I flip the bike over and re-install the front wheel. Towel #4 goes to wipe down the top of the frame and any other, non-moving, dirty parts.

Of course, who knows what those towelettes are saturated with? For all I know, the solvent is terrible for carbon and aluminum. Somehow, considering the product is distributed for gym use (and presumably for people to wipe their bodies with), I imagine it's pretty mild. Still, though, the best I could do for this entry's title is 'The Pre-Moistened Wipe-y Things in the Gym.'

I also use some paper towels to wipe down the chain after every ride. I lean it against a wall and simply run the chain backwards while firmly gripping the towel around the lower run of the chain. The sweet spot is holding with enough pressure to affect some cleaning, but not with so much pressure that the towel shreds into a zillion small shards.

Once in a while, I mount the bike in the trainer (again, 750 s.f. doesn't exactly allow for a workshop with a stand and toolbox and workbench) to give the chain a good scrub down. I use Pedro's Bio Cleaner and spray the heck out of the chain and go through the same process referenced above. With the Bio Cleaner, I use a proper rag instead of paper towels. Heavy saturation usually leaves the chain looking okay. It never gets too dirty to begin with (see rule #1 above), so this spray down is usually good enough. I always let the bike sit overnight before re-applying any lube. Gotta let the cleaner evaporate before applying new lube. If not, the de-greaser will simply break down whatever new lubricants I apply.

Considering the review is only supposed to be about 'cleaning/DE-greasing,' I'll leave it at that.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

A Pleasant Trade-Off

Ended up opting out of the trip to the Barn this weekend in favor of trying to nurse myself back to health. Been suffering a raw throat for about a week and I didn't think 8+ hours of riding in the cold and wet would improve my chances of healing up. Reading some of the enthusiastic reports of the riding in WVA, I stand by my decision. I did get out for a ride in the drier conditions Saturday. Legs felt like heavy, heavy bags o' sand.

Of course, the weekend's exciting news is hardly mine or ours. E&K welcomed their son to the world early Saturday morning. Andrew Bernard Ellicott. We've seen him twice already and he's an outrageously cute little bugger. I've never had a good sense for children and have never felt much of a draw towards them, but this guy just exudes cool and I can't wait to watch him grow. While the other visitors in the room were catching up and hearing the stories of the hours leading up to and following the birth, I was plopped by the little crib thing transfixed by Andrew while he slept. Anyhow...here are some grainy shots from day two. Congrats to mom, dad, son, and extended families!

E promises he (and the 'he' in this case is Andrew) should be good to go for the 7AM next Saturday...assuming the weather is fine.


Monday, March 09, 2009

Why I Don't Post

I'm lax about posting largely 'cause this is the kind of excitement I have to share. The weekend went as follows:

Friday evening: We had every intention of cooking at home Thursday, but caved and hit up 2Amys instead. So Friday saw a nice NY strip, a couple Yukon Golds, and some asparagus sitting in the fridge awaiting heat and consumption (the act of eating, not TB). Simple ingredients, but good flavors. Paired with some new Cabernet SVR is into, we had a fine meal at home. Also, I finally watch 'Children of Men.' A bit one dimensional. The thing coulda been over in 25 minutes and it woulda been the same movie. Not sure what the critical claim was all about.

Saturday: Up early enough to not have to rush to get ready to ride. The 7AM is often unappealing cause it puts me in a state of frenzy just to get up and out the door by 6:30AM. Anyhow...MattyD. and I met up and committed to a jaunt out to Poolesville. The deal was to try to flog each other a good bit on the way out there. We did manage a bit of that and then bumped into some other DCMTB fellows just outside the Bretton Woods entrance and we all headed out to P'ville as a larger group. Matty and I throttled back a bit for the remainder and that probably turned out to be a saving grace. After 3:38 of ride time, I struggled like heck to get out of the Park on Porter and up the stairsteps from Connecticut to Wisconson. Ouchy. All-in-all, though, an excellent showing considering my very, very inconsistent training regimen.

After a quick shower, SVR and I knocked out groceries for the week and kicked back for a bit before heading over to D&S's. They planned to cook some Best Recipes gumbo. Sounded promising. When we arrived, S was pushing the roux well beyond her comfort zone. Tom Colicchio would have been way proud. Things were looking very good, with nice shrimp, spicy Andouille, healthy chicken breasts, a uniformly diced 'holy trinity,' and homemade shrimp stock all lined up for incorporating. And then D effed it all to hell! Adding the stock in one fell swoop was a big mistake. The result was not a thick, brown, rich stew. Instead, the pot looked like dirty dishwater with little roux floater terds. In the end, SVR pulled through with some fine improv skills and we had a hearty and flavorful Andouille and shrimp pasta dish.

Speaking of improv...the remainder of the eve was spent at The Source theater. They're running 'FIST: The Tournament of the Fighting Improv Smackdown Tournament.' I'll leave it at this: great idea, poor execution. I didn't laugh much.

Some brews at The Squirrel closed things down and it was off to bed already an hour in the sleep hole.

Sunday: Up at the ass crack and off to Trade Zone to do my volunteer duty. Marshaled turn one for all the races and was kinda surprised by the number of absolute dip-craps that tried to turn on to the course. Needless to say, I saved the day a number of times (pat, pat).

Standing and watching for four hours just about wore me out, but I still had to kit up and put in some miles with hEllicott and Dr. B. I hadn't ridden to North Beach in many years and forgot how hilly that area can be. My teammates absolutely pummeled me, but it was a swell time. I opted to ride the Giant all weekend and don't have my own data to spew, but apparently Evan's PT registered a TSS of 199 for day. Total weekend hours amounted to seven and mileage was just around 130. Needless to say, I need to carry that sorta load forward and ramp up on all fronts.

As The Wrob aptly pointed out, Walkersville should prove a painful ordeal for me. He kindly offered to save me the longer drive to the course and dress up in his old RHD kit and kick me in the nuts for a full three hours. He even offered to do that for $13.50 less than I paid to register for the race. What can I say? He's a giver.

After a rush to get home, we ended the weekend with another fine meal at 2Amys. The Commish, hEllicott, and the nearly born baby (Monkey, for now) joined us and it was great to sit outside with them during the calm before the inevitable storm. Hard to believe how different things will be for them in a week's time.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Christopher Baldwin?

I know there are, like, sixty-two different Baldwin brothers out there. Is Christopher Dodd one of them? Take a listen:

http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=99385379


and

http://www.savethemanatee.org/audio/Baldwin_Script1_30PSA.mp3

Audio twins??? Christopher Baldwin?