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?'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.