Wednesday, January 30, 2008

I was THIS close to being bike racer dude.

I did a "workout" on the trainer, so I did what I think the fast guys do for an hour or so. I then had to go to the grocery store, which is 5 walking minutes away. Its 20 degrees, its cold, there are 30mph winds and the car is sitting in front of the house. It nearly happened, but did not and will not. That was a close call.

Sunday, January 27, 2008

when you're at the punk house...

Song by Screeching Weasel
if you need a place to stay
welcome to the punk house
it's a party every day
living in a punk house
stay awhile and sit and smoke a cigarette
la la la la
thers's always something happening here
when you're in a punk house
cheap food and even cheaper beer
are always in a punk house
jump up and down, dance on the couch
stuff a potato in your mouth
la la la
life goes by way too fast to spend
it working for somebody else
it don't make any sense
if you like it here why don't you stay
don't wanna work? well that's o.k.
cause no-one else here wants to get a real job
come on down, hang out with us
hang out at a punk house
don't mind all the filth and grime
and muck cause it's
just a punk house
spaghetti stains on the walls
and creepy insects in the halls
we'll have a ball
young and dirt poor and having fun
and we're never growing up

Found these pictures recently of the last house I lived in before becoming a bike
racing yuppie. 155 dollars a month rent. 5 roomates. I had a sheet instead of a door, in a room that was big enough for a single mattress, a computer monitor on the floor, a few milk crates of clothing, and two bikes stacked on top of each other.
This place was nicer than the 125 dollar a month place a few years prior.

This is cliff. He found all of these cones in a dumpster and put them in the bathtub. Then Sari got up for work and just stood on them in the shower.

Ben with one night's krispy kreme dumpster find.

Pizza Dumpster

and this is just gross.

Monday, January 21, 2008

Man its been awhile.

I was going to write about catching a stomach bug and eating nothing but 2 pieces of toast in 40 hours. Although boring, it could be the new diet to the stars, or to Colin. I could post my coaches' orders, but Danny Chew just tells me to ride 500 miles per week, and Mayhew just tells me to ride less and buy a powertap. I could write about "training" and how hard/fun/long/tough it is and how many kilojoules I am burning per week, but there are already enough awful "training" blogs.

Ill write about whats been going down in my taxi the past couple of weekends. In honor of MLK day Ill start with a racist confession.

Im at the greyhound dropping off and a HUGE black dude carrying nothing but a beat up duffel bag flags me. He asks how much to East Liberty, a neighborhood that I dont pick up from. I give an honest estimate of 12 bucks. We are off. He tells me that he is from Brooklyn and visiting his Aunt for a bit. Cool. We are shooting the shit when he asks, in what I can describe only as an "African American from New York" accent, "What .. you like in the bowl." I couldnt totally understand what he asked (the cab is an 8 cylinder running on 6 and makes a hell of a lot of noise). I thought he asked what I smoked in bowls. I said "Im straight man." and realized before the end of my sentence what he was really asking, so I added "Im not even going to watch the game tomorrow, but I hope the Packers make it all the way." He talked about how he thought the Giants could maybe pull it out, and how Plexico used to play for Pittsburgh.

Drop him off, 16 bucks on the meter. He was actually going to Morningside, the suburbanish type of neighborhood one past East Liberty. I told him 12, because I gave him a bad estimate. The estimate was good, he was going a mile past where he said, I just kind of felt like a dick. I dont think he even picked up on my confusion about his question.

Friday night I grab a woman at the cab stand in Oakland. She is freaking out and needs a ride to her house in Shadyside. She is crying and on the phone for the first minute, I assume something bad happened and kind of pick up the pace. She gets off the phone and tells me that her husband of four years has been cheating on her. She said "I am not unattractive, I am a good person, I am a fucking doctor and he doesnt work." Wow. It was true, she was a bit older than me,a cute blonde, and apparently a doctor. She said she has to go home to go online to freeze her bank account and call her family. She told me how she caught him texting a girl, and told him that she called verizon to have the texts sent to her, since all the bills are in her name. It was a bluff, but it worked and he admitted to making out with her twice. She then called the girl and said the husband admitted everything, at which point the girl gave more details about doing a lot more than making out. The way this woman pinned one on the other without real evidence sounded like it was out of a law and order episode. Pretty sweet.

So bike riding... Jared, Mayhew and I set out for Mingo creek for some mountain biking on Sunday. The high was 16, and we had a 2.5 hour loop planned out. Everything was going well until the end. Basically we were 50 feet from the parking lot, but there was "little mingo creek" in the way. It was 16 degrees, but the creek wasnt frozen, nor was it little. The spot that Chris and I had easily ridden across previously was under 2 feet of icy rapids. Man. We decided to head downstream to try and find the bridge that crosses the creek. Eventually the creek curved, and as the curve came upon us, the shoreline disappeared, forcing us to go up a ridge. I guess we could have turned around and backtracked, but even men in spandex are men. I cant exaggerate how steep the climb was. We were all climbing hand over head, with our bikes either being dragged behind us, or thrown in front of us, letting us climb up to them. Epic or stupid? The ground was too frozen to get sure footholds so we had to lean into the hillside (yes it was seriously that steep) while shimming from tree to tree. At one point Jared yelled as he started sliding, I wasnt sure if he was warning Chris to get out of his way as he slid down toward the creek, or wanted Chris to grab him.
If there is ever a time to have a weight weenie bike, its when you are scaling a rock face and dragging it behind you. Eventually we came across a ramshackle pedestrian bridge, after maybe 45 minutes of hiking. I started riding towards it when I flipped over my bars. I was very close to the breaking point, when Chris put out his hand to help me up. "How did that happen?" "I dont know, I guess I hit a rock or something"... Then somebody noticed the barbed wire fence that I hit with probably my head tube. If it wasn't so old and sagging, I would probably have a new sweet necklace.

Sunday, January 06, 2008

There is a lot of pressure. A lot of pressure.

The last 60 hours or so had me living inside of a taxi cab.
Thurs - ride 3 hours. ride to yellow. sit in cab for 14 hours.
Fri - sleep 5 hours. get in taxi for 3. ride to spin class, teach it, ride home. get in taxi for another 14.
Sat - sleep 6 hours. get up and ride with Mayhew for 3 hours. sit in taxi for another 9 hours. ride home in the rain.

It was cut throat taxi time, because of the home steelers game. Every cab in the lot was taken. I had to take what I was given. I got a crown vic with 350,000 miles. Not a bad rig. I get rolling and try to put the heat on. No heat. 20 degrees Thursday night.

The Pens played Toronto. I was cruising a hotel stand at a bling hotel downtown and got waved down. A guy jumps in and asks to go to "the southside bars." In the time it took for him to jump in, two tour buses pulled in and blocked the exit for a minute. I said "man I hope you arent a Canadian hockey player, cause their freaking buses are holding you up." He laughed and said he played for Toronto. Weird, why isnt he on the bus?
"That's cool, hockey is a tough sport..."
"yeah... there is a lot of pressure... lots of pressure... especially on the goalie."
Oh man, he gave up 6 goals.
"wow, yeah thats hard man."
"Playing goalie is all that I have done since I was 3 years old. There is so much pressure man... so much pressure."

Im assuming that he just walked to the hotel from the Arena, because he wasnt on the bus with the rest of the players. Poor guy. He wanted to go to a dive bar, so I dropped him off at Dee's. 20 on a 6 dollar fare. Sweet.

This is the closest thing to a famous person I have had in my taxi yet, that I know of. My grandfather had Ozzy Osborn in the 80's. He only kind of knew of him, and its when ozzy had a bad reputation. Apparently he was drunk and or high.

Another famous Pittsburgh taxi person is Michael Keaton. Batman. After leaving University, Keaton worked as a cab driver for Yellow. Apparently after he was famous, for some kicks, he came back and worked a few shifts. The guys talking about it said he dressed down and grew his hair out so that nobody recognized him.

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

woods in the city in the winter

Riding in the winter sucks. Period. You spend like 20 extra minutes figuring your clothing out, you have to put extra time and energy into fixing and cleaning your bike, you have to buy more clothing most of which somehow makes you look stupider than a regular person in spandex. It needs to be done though.

Pez Cycling news had a feature recently about building the perfect winter bike. I laughed when I read it, because the author must live on mercury. The article is linked, but the bike is basically just a mix of carbon and tech stuff, with a handlebar mounted ipod.

According to Chew, winter is a season and a temperature. If it is 50 degrees in January, and we do a double century, it isnt really a winter double century. He said it has to be below freezing all day for it to count. I dont think this bike above is going to see a winter ride according to Chew's parameters.

Now let me document my blinged out winter rig.

-Surly crosscheck older version that was made of 853 steel.
-mix of 9 speed xt/lx components with an 8 speed dérailleur.
-Chain and cassette and tires have over 3000 miles on them!
-yes that is my dining room.
-yes my house is so cold that the snow didnt melt since my ride.

Some highlights of this bling ride include the custom under the seat bag:

Notice the plastic buckle that snapped when it was 15 degrees one day has since been customized in a way that should avoid future breakage.

Today this hotrod was taken out for 3.5 hours in the city. Pittsburgh's city parks are totally amazing, and this bike is made for them. Today I cruised between 2 parks, rode the trails and headed home.
Ed was in vermont, or else I could have possibly seen him at the fruit loop while I was hitting the trails there. Its weird that gay man walking through the woods have made a good 15 minutes worth of singletrack.