Tuesday, July 31, 2007

being a celebrity is very difficult

i am glad i am not a celebrity because all the horrible things i do wouldn't be a secret anymore. like yesterday i was digging in my totebag for my iPrickle charger and i found a moldy banana i must have stuck in there last week sometime. it was black and squishy and mooshed all over. also, this morning i didn't know the Mayor was leading clients through the building and i belched loud enough that they heard me downstairs. then i ate nearly a pint of blueberries with my breakfast and now i am feeling a little "loose" down there.

if i were a celebrity everyone would know these things and point their fingers at me on the street. i would have to get a toy dog to carry around and i don't like toy dogs because they wee where they shouldn't and remind me of cats. they also run away during tractor pulls, and you and your cousin have to chase them onto the track and your cousin gets his foot run over by the sled and can't play soccer ever again and the dog is very dirty and you have to clean it.

so, i am glad i am not a celebrity.

Monday, July 30, 2007

leipheimer beats contador...

...at least in BlogScope's Hot (HOT bzzzzt!!) Keywords tracking, as of, like, now. leipheimer's more requested than contador, barry bonds and... saturday??

Levi Leipheimer: more popular than Saturday.

bitchin camaro.

combating post-Tour depression

congrats to adam for his country's (first) podium finish in this year's Tour. it's sad luck that rogers crashed and mcewen seems to flourish only in even years of the Tour -- or else the aussies might have taken 2 spots on the podium and the green jersey.

after riding over 3500km, the top 3 riders finished within half a minute of each other. contador came in at 91 hours and 26sec, evans was 23sec behind, with le
ipheimer only another 8sec back. crazy.

oh, the evenings will be bleak without "the boys" as my mom refers to paul sherwen and phil liggett. enter PTD: Post-Tour Depression, a serious affliction of cyclists and sport aficionados who in the past 3 weeks have grown dependent upon tour coverage for the excitement of the sprints and crashes, the gorgeous scenery, the clash of titans in the mountains and the promise of daft europeans running alongside the peleton wearing antlers, g-strings, borat underwear or simply nothing at all.

to fight PTD over the next weeks, i provide the following suggestions. if you don't need them yourself maybe you know someone who does.

Suggestions for Recovering from the Tour
-- ride your bike.
-- ride your bike with people with whom you can rehash in gritty detail every seminal event in the tour. don't try this with your coworkers. you've already hammered and killed what little patience they had.
-- trip through phil's and paul's audio blogs.
-- watch taped versions of the stages you missed, or want to see again. this strategy should be employed judiciously, as it may lead to even more Tour dependence. if you're still watching archives in september, we'll need to talk.
-- hit up google image search. here's a start: the pocket rocket, boonen, and for the guys: podium girls (kinda slim pickins so here's PezCycling News's distractions de tour).
-- learn to (or perfect your current) streak effectively so that maybe in 2008 YOU can run up an alp or two alongside the peleton and get on television. here a clever gentleman demonstrates the tear-away suit he designed for optimal streaking. or perhaps you'd like to be more artful and unique, like the individual below who should be commended for his creative use of Sexy Chicken.
-- write letters to Versus to thank them for their round-the-clock tour coverage. tell them trautwig doesn't suck as much as he used to, but if paul and phil ever kick the bucket far better they be propped up like that guy in Weekend at Bernies than turn the show over to trautwig and bob roll. tell them too that their new name is gay. Versus vs. OLN? gay gay gay.
-- ride your bike even more.

hope that helps.

Friday, July 27, 2007

contador tested positive?!?

time: yesterday aft
place: JM lot
dramatis personae: LAF y moi

LAF: did you hear the latest on the tour??
oh fuck me. another painful exegesis. three times at work today i got thrown on the ropes and had to come to the rescue of my sport. poor cycling, withering like tinkerbell. :sigh:

F: yes...

LAF: so, you heard what happened today?

F: well, i heard what happened late last night, about rasmussen getting booted from Rabobank.

LAF: you didn't hear about Discovery?

F: nooo. what about Discovery?

LAF: contador tested positive.

F: shut up.

LAF: no, i'm serious. he tested positive for testosterone after Stage 15 and got kicked out of the Tour.

F: not contador.

LAF: so evans is in yellow now, and if levi can make up time in the TT it'll be the 9th straight american Tour victory.

F: you're serious about contador.

LAF: dead serious.

F: motherfucker. i really liked that little dude. he was scrappy. but vino was scrappy too. fucking contador.

LAF: haha. just kidding. contador's still in yellow.

i'm not sure whether the question is "why are my friends such pricks" or "why am i so gullible" but the take-away lesson is that busloads of our heroes could ejected from the Tour because of drug use, and i wouldn't be surprised. disappointed, betrayed, but not surprised.

earlier this week rudy told me of EPO allegations swirling around one of my triathlon competitors. i'd never heard such a rumor, and i find it ridiculous. EPO isn't cheap, and it's not readily available AFAICS. and why would normal people with jobs and families and lives outside their sport take such a risk?

i can understand how a Tour contender riding for a team paying him $600,000 USD a year might submit to pressure that i'm sure is ubiquitous in that rarefied environment. it's stupid, sure, but within the realm of reason. but taking EPO to win a no-name race in new jersey? get real.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

my suspicions are confirmed

- D, come here and check this out! - i'd just dismounted in the driveway and was checking my bike computer.
- what? you rack some killer average speed?
- no, no, i went easy. but this is my time elapsed, see? zero-three-zero-zero-zero-zero. i rode for EXACTLY three hours, no minutes and no seconds. isn't that crazy?!? - i'm awash in the freakiness of pure coincidence but D trucks in practicalities, not mysticism.

- what's crazy is that 3.

yes, i rode for 3 hours, but it was a nice day and i rode with E, who explained the reason he dissed me all last week was complications from taking in a stray
cat that bit him when he tried to give it a bath. after i stopped ROFLg he added - and i've lost count of the number of people who've asked me in the past week, "don't you know cats don't like water?"

did you know, also, that
-- it's not cat fur, per se, that triggers allergies; it's that cat spit they constantly coat themselves in. eeeew.
-- 30-50% of cat bites result in infections (with dogs you've got a 15-20% shot) because cats have sharper teeth and can therefore inject their bacteria deeper into your flesh. the day after his cat bit his finger, E woke with a swollen, locked hand, even though he'd already started antibiotics.
-- cats ARE the durty, nasty creatures i always suspected they were. (there's my college-taught, deductive critical reasoning at work.)

i've got to revel in my right-ness. it's so rare.

(don't ask me about the Tour. i don't know WTFs going on. next i'll hear lance was doping the whole time and there's really no santy claus.)

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Finn and the Frog

this morning, for the first time in months, i had to share my lane in the pool (for it is MY lane. Bernie knows it, Grumpy Gary knows it, and so do The Juvie Whisperer, Enthusiastic Splashing Woman and Happy Go Lucky Man who leaps into the water with the joy of a child. everyone knows Lane 7 is Finn's Lane).

so imagine my surprise when i encountered my visitor mid-lap – a terrible breach of swim etiquette which prescribes dangling your feet at the wall while the incumbent approaches. entering an occupied lane without warning is an invitation to a head-on collision, especially if you hop in with me.

so yes, midway into my set of broken 400s, i was looking straight down at the pool bottom when i saw movement. i pulled to a halt and sculled while scanning below. again, there! long kicky legs, short little black body: a frog! -cruising the bottom of the pool right under me. poor froggie, trapped in a big bowl of chlorine while clumsy humans sputter like wasps above him. i look meaningfully at the lifeguard, hoping she'll notice i've stopped mid-lap to splash about in the middle of my lane, but she's oblivious. she is our Singing Lifeguard. whether she sings to entertain herself or to stay awake at 5am i don't know, but she's lost in her singing world right now and i'll get no help from her.

it's up to me to save the frog. i take a deep breath and drop to the bottom, slowly caving my hands around the unfortunate amphibian. with gentle deliberation i gather up the body which lies passive in my hands for about 3 seconds, then explodes into muscular motion, causing me to revert to girl-ness, squeeeee and release him abruptly. liberated, the frog zooms off and takes up residence with Enthusiastic Splashing Woman in lane 8.

i mournfully watch her pummel by, knowing i don't have the chutzpah to invade her lane and attempt to catch the frog again. plus, i'm still slightly skeeved out by the feeling of that froggy body in my hands. i finish my lap and turn at the wall, and when i come back the frog is gone. i figure he's off visiting bernie or grumpy gary and while i finish my set i keep my antenna up for the commotion i anticipate my frog will cause; but the next half hour passes without incident.

i passed the lifeguard as i left.
- um, i think there might be a frog in the pool - i informed her.
- oh yeah, we know about him. he's a regular - the lifeguard said lightly.
- a regular? you mean he's okay in there? in chlorine?
- seems weird, doesn't it. doesn't seem to bother him though; neither does hanging out with you guys swimming over top of him.
- and he can get in and out? - poor dude must have been freaked when i tried to "save" him.
- oh sure. we've found that trying to catch him stirs you people up more than he does. this weekend one of the lifeguards went after him with a skimmer net and a little kid got so upset that he climbed out of the pool, raced across the deck and ran straight into the pace clock. probably had a nice shiner the next day.

hah. there you go. i'm braver than a 6-year-old.

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

what goes on behind closed doors

crushed with work. i did get out yesterday afternoon for a perfect-pace trail run with LAF, and we spent much of the hour talking about the recent demise of his 10-year marriage.

- you know... ever since i knew you way back when at gold's, i thought you and M were an unlikely couple. "unlikely" is my tactful way of saying, you're really hot and your wife's not, so WTF.
- if i had a nickel for everyone who's said that to me in the past month. so much for the ballyhooed piscean intuition. at least i can intuit the obvious sometimes.

- but but but then i saw you guys at that cocktail party and i thought to myself, "yeah i can see it." you're both down-to-earth with the same sense of humor. that night i could understand.

- i was fucking miserable that night. give me an audience and i'll perform. i love performing. but this experience has taught me you
never know what goes on behind closed doors.

people continue to surprise.

thank god we're unpredictable.
i wish we were MORE unpredictable, because yesterday's supposively EPIC stage kinda sucked. if it weren't for contador's badgering the yellow jersey, i would have fallen asleep in my ice cream. cadel, levi and sastre were content to sit like zombies on rasmussen's wheel.

- jesus, why doesn't anyone attack him? - i finally exploded out of sheer frustration - he's just leading them like lambs to the slaughter. ATTACK YOU LAGGARDS! - i exhorted the little people in my television. D looked at me bemusedly.
- i'd like to see YOU attack right now. the pack's climbing the out-of-category Port de Balès, which is so steep that once guys crack they can't ride in a straight line anymore. i would tip and fall over in the first 50m, but you don't hear ME boasting about winning the Tour.

a big FUCK YOU to vinokourov, w
hom we took to our hearts for his scrappiness only to learn today he tested positive after his TT win on saturday. the entire Astana team has reportedly withdrawn from the tour, and poor kloden's left out in the cold again. you never know what goes on behind closed doors.

the one bright spot in this year's tour? - alberto contador. sweet dreams, young man. i hope you're getting stronger on this rest day.

Monday, July 23, 2007

a weekend without racing

weekends without racing can seem oppressively dull. what's the point of a saturday morning if you don't get up at 4am, pack your transition bag and bundle into your car for a 90-min drive to new jersey? what's the point of living if you're not constantly testing your limits??

but we all need a break sometime.

this saturday morning i slept in, then met the group B ride at 8. it was a gorgeous day, i was with good people and several times during that ride it occurred to me there was no place else i'd rather be. my legs have come back from blackwater, finally. i've learned my lesson -- long course will break you if you don't train for it -- so i've gone back to the drawing board and am spending the next couple weeks laying down base, forgoing speed. this probably means SFA to everybody but fatcat but i'm laying it down in verse to make it stick.

slow down.

friday afternoon i took the dog for a run. i didn't realise what a week of excess had wreaked until we hit the trail. i felt like shit, and the only remotely cheering thing out there was jack's feet trotting ahead of me. first i opted out of the 8-mile trail for the 5-mile one, which i then dismissed for the 3-miler. but after 2 miles i pulled jack to a halt. we looked at each other, then sat down on the grassy airfield and watched members of the Silent Knights Flying Society fly their machines while a dry, cool wind washed over us. on the way home i gobbled wild raspberries like a little bear, while jack followed deer and groundhog tracks.

when i am an old woman i shall always run without a watch.

Friday, July 20, 2007

3-week anniversary!!!

tomorrow iPhone and i celebrate our 3-week anniversary. i'm not planning anything big: cocktails, a just-the-two-of-us dinner at home, and then a romantic video like Pitch Black or The Perfect Storm. i can't say what the future holds for us, but i'm not exaggerating when i say these past 3 weeks have changed my life. i can't imagine life without iPhone.

granted, my previous relationship history was rather grim, and those of you with partners who give you email, web browsing, calendaring and contacts will think me awfully naive. my ex didn't even have a camera! so, part of this may be me maturing as a person, becoming more empowered and confident so i can say, "i SHOULD have internet access at home, on the road and on the floor of the Sovereign Center in Reading!! why? -because i'm worth it."

i don't want anyone to be jealous of my and iPhone's relationship. it's not all sunshine and unicorns; we have disagreements, and sometimes it acts in ways i can't begin to fathom. i'm sure it would say the same about me. but we're still learning about each other, and i believe that with honest commitment on our part and support from others we'll be together for a long time.

Fatcat and Kath, my heart goes out to you both. i wish you too could experience this kind of happiness, but in this world each of us has to find our own way. maybe i can offer this as your Virgil, guiding you to a place where you can envision your possibilities and move toward personal fulfillment: the DIY cut-n-fold iPhone:

if you want, you can put it in a blender and see what happiness. i mean, what happens. freudian slips LOL.

best of luck my friends!!
(if it don't work, there's always jameson, and valencia.)

Tool fans are responsible drinkers

from the Asbury Park Press:

About 20 arrested during concert at arts center
Posted by the Asbury Park Press on 07/20/07


HOLMDEL — State Police said there were about 20 arrests made Wednesday at the PNC Bank Arts Center, a night on which alternative rock group Tool performed.

Capt. Al Della Fave, spokesman for the State Police, said that total included arrests for underage drinking and possession of marijuana, but he was not able Thursday to provide a more detailed breakdown of arrests.

That total is less than half the number of arrests made before and during a June 25 concert headlined by The Fray. A June 6 Fall Out Boy show generated similar results by law enforcement. Most of the arrests at both concerts were for underage drinking.

Wednesday's show was the latest in the series of arts center concerts this summer that are expected to draw an under-21 crowd and consequently are slated for extra police presence.

The beefed-up security was part of a plan set by the State Police, the Turnpike Authority, which owns the amphitheater, and Live Nation, which leases it.

The plan to curb underage drinking was put into action in June after 15 concertgoers, 13 of them minors, were brought to Bayshore Community Hospital for alcohol-related illnesses during and after the Gwen Stefani performance May 18.

The next show expected to have extra security is Tuesday. John Mayer is performing.

HALF the arrests of The Fray??
the SAME as Fall Out Boy?
jesus we're lame.** i bet John Mayer beats us twice over.

just wait 'til nails come back.
we'll whip the pants off everybody.

**lame, or older/wiser/faster than cops.

Thursday, July 19, 2007

tool in holmdel, NJ - 7.18.07

yeshhh occifer, we're doing a soda pop taste-test, see:

i wouldn't trust these people.
don't let them near your children, or your cats.

0 for 3 on making the opening band.

first up: Jambi.

constellation of the crowd during the snack break following Flood.
-did you bring the brownies?
-i thought YOU were bringing the brownies.
-goddammit why do you always forget the fucking brownies.
i could really go for a brownie right now.

see the Wings for Marie?

god wears green spectacles and has a funny mus-tache.
his name is Lateralus.

alright now it's time for us to let you go.
thanks guys. see you soon.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Nashville is now part of the Axis of Evil

at least according to Newsweek's 7/16 issue:

damn that johnny cash!!

i want a donut

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

tool in reading, PA - 7.16.07

my second tool show. missed the opening band, Big Business, ah-gain, but in a day comprising a swim, an 8-hour workday, a run, a massage and a concert 90min away something's gotta give so it's the opener. and sleep.

tool - 7/16for all the cop presence outside the sovereign center, you'd think the black panthers were holding a rally there. i think they got their skeds mixed up because my experience with tools fans thus far has shown them to be mellow and friendly. i'd rather hang with them than the typical snotty, clique-y nails gang. (just goes to show pot's good for you, kids!) waiting for my $2.50 cup of water, i had one of those serendipitous conversations you could never script with another nails fan. somehow it turned out that he's gonna send me his extra Beside You In Time DVD because i can't play the HD version i have. (thanks for nothing PS3, but that's another story for another day.)
tool - 7/16
stinkfist (ext.)
46 & 2
schism (ext.)
lost keys/
rosetta stoned

--water and sandwich break--
wings for marie/10,000 Days
lateralus (ext. w/ drummer from Big Business)

yeah, we got flood. i'm not a huge fan of the album version, but it's an entirely different experience live: every drum clash is accentuated by a paroxysm of force from danny carey, while rain flares down the vid screens. very powerful. i might have peed myself a little.

tool - 7/16the sound wasn't as good as Boardwalk Hall in AC; maynard's mic seemed low sometimes. but danny's still a madman, and i could watch justin chancellor's fingers move over the neck of that bass all day. he's so fluid, the fingers of his left hand fluttering like wings. dude must have put away 6 yuenglings during lateralus but it didn't seem to faze him.

ah, lateralus. once again the drummer from the opening band came out to duel with danny, only this guy was better than Melt Banana's drummer. dude killed it up there, not even missing a beat when maynard loosed a roll of toilet paper into an onstage fan, weaving skeins all over the second drum set. (knowing maynard i'm sure there's a poop joke there somewhere.) a little guy compared to danny, BB's drummer reminded me of a barky, posturing pekinese, all frenetic and shit, while big dawg danny just grinned at him and rumbled louder and bassier.

that grin was the best. it's good to see people doing something they love. and something i noticed in this show is how much the band keys off danny. while justin and adam jones embarked on some sick jam sessions, they always returned from the periphery to face danny. in fact, one of the things that strikes me about tool in general is how the guys are always watching each other, and no one takes off into solo superstar la-la-land. refreshing.

tool - 7/16pix aren't great, sorry; but maynard's like a nazi when it comes to photos. apparently word filtered down to security that you're not allowed to take a postage-stamp pic 100yds from the stage but knocking off a doob in the 10th row is perfectly fine. if pot actually worked on me, i'd have had a good contact high going on thx to the guys in front of and beside me who kept taking time-outs to beef their highs.

i love these guys. wed is their last US show of this tour, and i don't have a ticket.

what to do??

reason number '/3412-0 why i love mac

iPhone ready-made wallpapers from nin.com.

Monday, July 16, 2007

i got tired of winning...

...so i let someone else take the glory in saturday's sprint du in jersey. i probably shouldn't have raced at all on these tired legs of mine, but i saw on the pre-reg list the woman who won the sprint du in philly last weekend, and i wanted to see how we'd stack up.

well, i learned! she beat me by 2min, which in sprint language is roughly a week. she bolted through the first 2-mile run 30sec faster than me. no prob; i know she's a better runner than me; i'll just make up time on the bike. good in theory, but my legs were not about theory. they were about – what the fuck are you doing you big stupid wombat, didn't you understand when we told you yesterday that we need more TIME to RECOVER from that LONG COURSE race you didn't even TRAIN for? fuck YOU.

so, the bike kinda blew. i could turn the pedals, but i couldn't turn 'em in anger, to employ a classic liggettism. the 3rd place woman whom i beat handily last week caught and passed me, and i thought about pulling out of the race right then & there. i've won my last 6 races. i cannot be THIRD in a local duathlon. see?? -don't let my charming exterior fool you; deep down i'm a real cunt.

i felt even more crappy when my feet hit the pavement, but i ran myself into 2nd place on the second run, and the lead woman was far enough ahead that i wasn't tempted to blow out a hamstring trying to catch her. thank god for that, and finish lines, and podium finishes on days when you should have just slept in.

second place netted me a noice trophy and $75 – sweet, eh? on the way home i blew half my winnings on a jersey fruit & vegetable stand. very vicey, i know. but you should have seen the melons and peaches and corn oh my! F calls me his little Fruit Bat. i call him my Westernised Whore.

my condolences, adam, for your countrymen mick, robbie and stewie. what a gloomy day in oz yesterday. let's hope cadel takes up the charge.

Friday, July 13, 2007

the fastest man on no legs

this sunday south african sprinter oscar pistorius will race 400m against a field of olympic and commonwealth champions at the sheffield grand prix. it looks to be a hotly-contested race, both physically and philosophically, because pistorious is running on carbon fiber blades.

a double-amputee, pistorius is known as "the fastest man on no legs" and is a paralympic gold medalist. this weekend he'll race able-bodied athletes in an attempt to qualify for the olympics... and to be treated like a plain old elite athlete instead of a disabled one. meanwhile, the IAAF, world athletics' governing body, is still waffling about whether pistorius' blades confer an unfair advantage, the general public quibbles about mixing abled and disabled athletes and in a recent poll run by Athletics Weekly magazine, 68% of readers said pistorius shouldn't be able to compete in the olympics.

kinda makes my flip-flopping on racing this weekend seem picayune.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

iPhone: will it blend?

(hint: there's iSmoke)

NOTE: Not Safe For Fatcats

Not Safe for Clients

occasionally my job requires me to quit surfing the net for porn & puppies and do something which might be construed as meaningful (adam's word) if not to me, then at least to The Man. so yesterday i took a field trip with a handful of my dunder-mifflin compatriots to pitch some big ideas.

i'm stealing one last look at danny lohner's myspace when the Mayor wanders by.
- shouldn't you guys have left by now?
- yeah.
- so you're late.
- yeah. that's part of our brand. - we have just completed a torturous rebranding exercise. no grass, but we've all got embedded RFID chips now - being late is one of our differentiators.

when we finally arrive, we sign in and clump awkwardly in the cavernous main lobby as we await our sponsor.

- look finn, this security system should be no problem for you - P, our high-powered consultant observes. i swivel to examine the entry she's referencing, expecting to see weenie guards P assumes i can overpower, or tall turnstiles she expects i can leap in a single bound. but there are no guards or turnstiles, only channels with red and green lights.

- no turnstiles - P confirms, and turns to the rest of the group to clarify - see, finn has a habit of getting stuck in turnstiles and revolving doors - that is true - and as a result she's been classed as a security risk with [that big pharma firm downtheroad] - that is true too - which means she needs an escort. i didn't know this but it explains why i haven't been invited to any of the status meetings out there.

what P doesn't mention is that i once got HER stuck in a revolving door. she was mid-revolution when i charged into the next cell without scanning my badge first. the whole door came screeching to a halt and P lurched into the glass. she left a big face print and almost broke her nose. then we had to shuffle backwards so the door could barf us back to where we started.

now she lets me go first through the dangerous stuff and periodically reminds me of my past sins. it's a good reality check, though -- you may think you're hot shit, going to worlds and all, but you can't be all that and a bag of chips if a revolving door can defeat you.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

the Tour de France makes me sleepy

here we go again with the Tour-induced sleep deprivation. we tape (yeah, like VCR-tape. old skool) the morning coverage with phil liggett and paul sherwen because i can't take the prime-time commentary (sorry bobke, but your long-winded, perplexing metaphors drive me batty, and i know more about cycling than your sidekick). and though we can skip the adverts and boring parts, stopping for the mid-course sprint bonuses and crashes, i still lose another hour of sleep a night.

but it's worth it. yesterday the 4-man breakaway was caught right before the line; for a while it seemed the sprinters' teams had waited too long and the break would have its day, but no. there was mass confusion leading up to the finish, though -- nothing like the old days of team saeco, when the entire team would line at the front and stretch the pack single-file, then peel off one-by-one until they launched cipollini at 50mph for another stage win.

nothing like that. instead, out of the mass confusion emerged, of all things, the yellow jersey of the tour leader, fabian cancellara, who took the lead in the prologue time trial on day 1. dude is NOT a sprinter and as the maillot jaune has all the excuse in the world to sit pretty in the pack protected by his posse, but instead he busted out a stage win yesterday by going off the front and skunking all the sprinters. (sorry robbie.) does this give you goosebumps, or what:

maybe the 2007 tour won't totally suck after all.

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

britney does NOT pwn

robbie mcewen pwns

the tour de france kicked off this weekend. at first D and i were all like snoozers cos there's no lance and now everybody knows that cyclists are a bunch of craven junkies but then sunday afternoon found us sitting on tenterhooks (v painful, are tenterhooks. like those things in Hellraiser) as we followed the drama of robbie mcewen.

robbie's one of the best sprinters in the peleton: his specialty is popping into the sprint out of freakin' nowhere with eye-tearing acceleration. in sunday's stage, he got caught in a crash 10K from the finish. tom boonen's and thor hushovd's teams got to the front and drilled the pace so that mcewen wouldn't be able to get back on, so their sprinters might have a fighting chance.

check this out. the last 20sec of the vid shows a slo-mo replay of the sprint -- watch how mcewen comes up on the outside right and rockets past some of the world's best sprinters even as they're topped out. props to your man, adam.

i'm bloody sore, btw. i really do feel like i ran a marathon this weekend.

Monday, July 09, 2007

going to worlds!!!

yesterday was the regional qualifier for long-course duathlon worlds; top 3 in each age group (AG) get invites to Team USA. i had HOPED that i could score a 3rd place in my AG behind the studly k-rob and alicia; instead i won the whole damn thing. incredible, eh? no one was more surprised than me. here's how it went down:

12K run (7.2 miles)
the starting siren sends off a pack of 50 women and half a mile later there are two women out front, then a cluster of three, then me, then the rest. the cluster of three includes k-rob, alicia and another woman in my AG. (thanks to bodymarking, we've all got our ages written in permanent marker on the backs of our calves. i love the smell of indelible marker in the morning.)

i gradually catch my AG trio and roll with them through the first mile marker in 6:07. that's the last time i look at my watch. from then on i run and ride purely on feel.

the first 3 miles pass quickly. it's just k-rob and me running shoulder to shoulder; the other two women dropped off the pace. i'm feeling relaxed and am comforted by the fact the woman next to me is breathing harder than i am.
she turns to me and simultaneously says – sooooo, what's your name? - then goggles at me - oh, it's you, finn. yeah, i don't know what i'm doing up here running with you either. i suspect my body is treating this race like a sprint du. boy, is it in for a surprise!

the last couple miles are harder than the first, but i'm in 3rd place when i hit T1.
D witnessed the debacle first transition. your transitions SUCK. you had thirty seconds on K when you came in. she grabbed her helmet and bike and was gone, while you were still doing... what WERE you doing? well, i was stuffing my spare tube and C02 cartridge, 3 gels and the collected worx of henry miller in my pocketses... and then i rummaged in my transition bag for a jug of water and dumped most of it over my head cos i knew it would be freakin' hot out there on the bike.

70(ish)K bike (~41 miles)
when i finally hit the road, K is a mere speck. within a mile, she's gone, out of sight, and i write her off completely.

it seems to take an eternity to find a rhythm on the bike, and for the first 5 miles i can't find the right gear. i'm like goldilocks: this one's too easy, but the next one's too hard. i've got Comfortably Numb in my head and contemplating the next 40 miles sends me into a somnolent state which rudely dissolves around mile 10 when i nearly run into a dude fixing a flat on the shoulder.

now i'm awake and properly geared (in the big ring, even!) and armed with Wings for Marie. i don't know how fast i'm going or how far i've gone because my bike computer had a meltdown in the first 5 miles; but D and i drove the course the night before so i know roughly where i'm going -- plus, the bike leg is 2 laps, so any of the sights you missed on the first you can take on the second. ospreys hanging out on the wharf? -check. dead possum on the bumpy stretch? -check. snapping turtle crossing the road in front of you? - safely gone.

i catch one woman before the end of the first lap, and a third of the way into the second i come upon k-rob. i never catch her on the bike, so something must be wrong. as i pass her, i inquire – are you okay? - and she nods and grins, somewhat manically. the heat and miles are taking a toll.

but you know what? this isn't so bad. sure i am on the bike for almost 2 hours, but i don't mind. my bike is really comfortable, i'm not super-pegged and the mental jukebox is cooperating. plus i'm in second place when i roll into T2.

8K run (4.8 miles)

go get her – a well-meaning spectator hollers at me – if you can see her, you can catch her!! what? i don't see ANYone but a couple man-specks on the horizon, and honestly? -i don't care about winning; i only want to qualify. though a big chunk of the race is behind me, a lot can happen in those final miles, especially in this heat. so why push?

if the first run and bike weren't so bad, the second run is the polar opposite. in duathlons there's a fine line you walk between energy expenditure on the bike vs. the second run, and i fear i've given too much on the former with nothing left for the latter. two miles in, i still don't have any rhythm and i feel like i'm in one of those dreams where you're running as hard as you can but you're moving in slow motion, going nowhere.

the run's out and back, in full sun, and did i mention the brutal heat?? at every aid station i snag a cup of water, drink some and dump the rest over my head. when there's ice i dump it down my jersey.

gradually some flow returns and holy mother of god there's the lead woman right in front of me! she's moving steadily, but slowly, and i pass her right before the turnaround. i might actually WIN this race - how crazy is that? after rounding the turn, however, i see k-rob and another woman not far behind, so i kick up the pace a notch. it takes my body about 30sec to convey to me in no uncertain terms that this was a singularly BAD idea. the messenger is a slight flutter in my upper right hamstring. motherfucker. no. not now.

i try to soldier on, but with every step my hamstring tightens more and i'm afraid i'll tear it again. so i stop and stretch it briefly, then start again. it's still seizing, and i stop, stretch, start, stop. several men have passed me and i move off the road, out of the way. i don't even want to look to see where the other women are. i can't believe i was winning, and now i might not even qualify - i think - now i might not even finish, period. i am pissed off and helpless; i don't know what to do. i continue my useless stretching and in my peripheral vision see the second-place woman approach.

- i know exactly how you feel - she says as she passes me - just stretch it out. you'll be able to run again. you'll be able to run again. those words are so calming to me. i finish my stretch, take a deep breath and begin to walk slowly down the road. hamstring is okay with this, so i begin to walk a little faster. still okay, so a little faster, then a light shuffle, okay, now a slow trot, easy jog, very very light run.

i take back the lead a couple minutes later, thanking my mentor as i pass her. i've learned my lesson, though, and i don't push the pace at all, just keep the legs turning over.

i get to break the ribbon at the finish. i don't remember someone putting a medal around my neck, handing me a bottle of gatorade or removing my timing chip, but i do remember my foot and left calf spasming into a crippling cramp as soon as i crossed the line. i looked down to see if indeed someone were twisting my foot sideways in a vise and was startled to see all the veins in my legs standing out in stark relief over taut skin and dehydrated muscle.

from the stories i heard afterward, everyone cramped on the bike and/or second run. no surprise: after 2 hours we were bits of human jerky moving around the course with an hour and a half still to go.

so, long course is TOUGH, esp in the summer.
but i did have fun.
and i am going to worlds in october.

Friday, July 06, 2007

countdown to LC world quals (or Drink Now Bitches)

hallo friday; hallo señor jameson.
pleased to meet you!

off to southern maryland this weekend for qualifiers for long-course duathlon worlds. long-course = 12K run - 70-ishK bike - 8K run = fucking snooze-ville. i can't remember the last time i rode my bike more than 50K, and i most certainly didn't precede OR follow it with any kind of running nonsense. in the Finn Universe, though, it makes perfect sense to begin my long-course career with a worlds qualifier. why ELSE would you run and cycle and run for 4 hours, esp in a heat index of 100+F as sunday promises to bring?

the run and bike courses are deadly flat and don't think that because they run through the Blackwater Wildlife Refuge they're any kind of fun. i did a short-course race here and nearly died of sheer boredom. the only wildlife i saw was a dead squirrel on the shoulder and that amused me for about 8 nanoseconds. also, "blackwater" makes me think of the doobie brothers song, which makes me want to ask you to pass the spliff and get me another beer. it does NOT inspire me to tear the legs off my competitors.

top 3 in each age group go to worlds (in richmond, in october) and looking at my field's entry i see at least two women who're way more studly than this here boozehound, chicks with national and world titles. good thing i have been eating chocolate non-stop since monday, stoking the glycogen stores you know. that extra junk in my trunk is muscle, bro.

the one saving grace is that my teammates will be there too, and whining's not allowed in that crowd. case in point is this email convo from yesterday:

[AJ] On another note, I am somewhat handicapped. I hit a goose walking across the road and crashed my bike. I have some good road rash up the left side of my body and arms. owweee. I should be OK to go by Sunday... at least to run.
[sir aeroflot chumblenucks] Should have paid attention to the "Goose Crossing" sign, Goose has the right away.
[hen] There are so many thousands of things to say here my head re-booted... Hey J, do you still have that fake goose doll that we can put at mile 17 on the bike?
[finn] if not i'm thinkin D in that swan costume bjork wore a couple years ago
. swan/goose, it's all the same when you're pegged. hen, do you make the happy mac sound when your head reboots?
[hen] I do, because I am using the iPhone it does it for me.
[finn] nyah nyah,
nyahnyah nyah nyah nyahnyah nyah nyahnyah nyah nyah nyah nyah nyah.
[pf] If I see D on the course as a swan/goose I will spew my gatorade endurance everywhere.
[hen] OMG like the Jersey devil... it will be worth NOT going to worlds to see him jump out with a gaggle chasing after AJ... totally YouTube stuff... so shhhh don't tell AJ our scheme.

note that not one person meeped a note of sympathy for a dude who's just given roadies another round of ammunition to use in their argument that tri-geeks are phreds with no bike-handling skillz.

but all that's sunday and between now and then is MFBT.

happy weekend all.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

there's a secret handshake too

spent the 4th in (what i consider) true american style: on the sofa. was halfway through a james patterson novel and would have finished it if not for a call from the GAD's Ex spinning toward a nineteenth nervous breakdown. he talked me into brunch at loie's, and over eggs benedict and bottomless mimosas we delineated the virtues and drawbacks of men, monogamy and shaving. we had a number of eureka moments and if not for the whole bottomless aspect i could share some of them with you right now.

with distended bellies and foggy noggins we toddled forth toward rittenhouse square when striding toward us came a tall, handsome black man wearing a 2002 Indoor Track & Field Invitational t-shirt. he gave me and my Delaware XC Championships tee the once-over and we exchanged collusive grins. hey – i said as we passed; hey – he responded.

the Ex, whose tastes have been known to run toward the Nubian, was flummoxed. outside of men's figure skating and swimming, he is sport-blind.
- what was THAT?
- that was a smokin' hot man, Ex.
- yeah, but do you know him? what was that little exchange about?
- oh it's like a freemason thing. can't let outsiders in; you know the deal.

the Ex suspects i am shitting him but is too sleepy-full to pursue the subject.

luddites have faith, for even in these times of solipsist, earphoned experience you can still find community.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

no Garage Band, but it will make coffee

some of the less-publicised iPhone features:

happy 4th of july to the 'merkins out there.
i intend to sleep as much as possible.
back thurs.

stopping by the mall on a sunny afternoon

hey little girl, do you like candy? you do? come in here; i've got something i know you'll like. look at thissssss, precious. marvel at the shiny, sleek surface.....don't you want to touch it? run your finger across the face; press here. look – immediate response, information at your fingertips; instant gratification. store notes, music, pictures – you can take pictures too! - store up to 8 gigs of whatever you want. not your thing? what about a calendar, address book and music library you can sync with your home base? still not convinced? what about weather, stocks, YouTube? -- wait wait! -don't leave just yet. there's email, visual voicemail and a web browser built right in -- yes, that's what i said, a WEB browser. safari. yes, you can access regular web pages, and look – they're even readable on this small screen. look how you can re-size and move around the page like this, see? totally intuitive; easy-peasy-punkin-pie. here's how you click on links and input fields; this is how you magnify input boxes and move the cursor wherever you want within them. so that's your web access – now let me show you the Google maps functionality: it's just like on the web. you can get directions and see satellite views and – what's that? what's the monthly service charge for net access? are you a current AT&T customer? yes? well then it's what you're paying now, plus $20 per month, for unlimited access. miss? are you okay? do you normally froth around the mouth like that? should i call someone? a salesperson you say?? are you sure? right then, wait here...

and that, friends, is how i came to be one of the 500,000 victims of steve's jobbery this weekend. after all my brave talk about Thinking Different, i'm just another apple hoor.

but now i'm an apple hoor with net access at home, in the car, up my bunghole... anywhere i can find AT&T or a wifi network. huzfuckingzah.

Monday, July 02, 2007

Black Light Burns at the Recher - 6.29.07

finally got to a show/race on time and arrived at the recher in towson, MD while roadies were setting up for the opener, guys by the name of Horse the Band from LA, i guess to distinguish themselves from Horse the Band from Ohio and Horse the Band from the Hole of My Ass. they were pretty insistent on the LA bit, anyway.

the stage set for Horse-TBFLA includes screens of fake trees populated by a colony of stuffed raccoons, rabbits, squirrels, you name it. a stuffed fox and turtle perched atop the keyboard. why?? your guess is as good as mine, and i was there.

turns out the roadies WERE the band because at one point they were all gathered onstage at the same time and without ceremony kicked into their set – jacked-up thrash that stirred up a mosh pit right away. not my music of choice, but when Horse chilled the thrash you could see the guys aren't too bad, the drummer & guitarist esp. dudes didn't take themselves too seriously and had good repartee. when someone in the crowd eloquently expressed his desire that Horse get the fuck off the fucking stage, the synth player grinned and asked, are you people always this dour? -which i thought was effin' priceless. look it up in the dictionary – Horse's frontman suggested - it IS a word.

though their music is not my thang Horse the Band FROM LA are fun to watch.

next up was Black Light Burns, wes borland's new hobby. BLB the studio band includes danny lohner and josh freese, but freese is committed to touring with some other band this year; and i heard lohner still suffers from PTSD brought on by two tours of duty with trent reznor. borland didn't launch any mic stands or pitch his bassist into the crowd but he's pretty ripped and probably could.

BLB opened with Mesopotamia, a ramones-y, post-punk wake-up call for the douchebag faithful who came to see wes borland cover Limp Bizkit. the live band is tight and sounds good: sean fetterman and marshall kilpatric are solid on bass and drums; borland's voice is good enough you wonder why durst did the lion's share of LB's vocals; and nick annis wrangles some heavy axe riffs (and is a nice guy, to boot). would have loved to hear him open up on that ringing, ethereal Noose-y guitar of I Am Where It Takes Me but that track didn't make the setlist; shame. need someone to pick up napolitano's parts? i will! i know the lyrics – just ask fetterman.

soundboard guys were on -- there were only a couple times when borland's vocals dropped away in Stop a Bullet – and i gotta say that BLB at the recher sounded 500% better than BRMC at the TLA... plus the recher serves jameson – hellyeah!!

the only bummer of the night was the paucity of the setlist, which comprised the first 10 tracks of Cruel Melody, shuffled. guys i know you're getting this shit rolling but how about tossing in some Damning Well or Eat the Day, eh? we could use more axe work from annis and borland too. open up those songs; make 'em something different live.

the show finished when borland hopped off the stage and walked through the crowd to the back of the venue, where he and the rest of the band hung out, signed autographs and fielded questions. what a PR coup. if you don't have the material to support the marathon shows fans expect, why not chill out with your homies afterward? must be like having conversation with my grandmother, though: how many different answers can you come up with for the tired questions: do you still talk to fred? where's danny? is Limp Bizkit dead? what's danny doing?

seeing these guys again in lancaster in a couple weeks, at the chameleon club. wooo.