Monday, December 24, 2007

more velo-ku

Mel meets the devil
but the malodorous one
gets the last guffaw

Cycling Haiku (5-7-5)

Paulo Bettini literally is poetry in motion on a bicycle. Despite the common belief that writing poems while on a training ride is quite difficult and possibly unsafe, I beg to differ. The art of the haiku is perfect for creating AND chanting while you train. Give it a try....I'll be posting some bike haikus in upcoming blogs. (anyone out there think this might be a sure sign of oxygen debt?)

Winter training camp
Taking a piss while rolling
Making Frozen Ropes

Dreaming of Colnago
with some Campy or Shimano
Clinchers or tubies?

Sunday, December 23, 2007

More Lexington

Cha-cha, yeah another cha for those who don't think training in December pays off in June. Yes, assembled again for a hilly session were a diverse group of mountaineers, from the pro Jeff to a coupla folks who walked up some of the final climbs.

Maybe it is the season - end of December, or the cold, the wet, who knows what motivates one to stay indoors. Cha-cha for those to endeavor to take a piss off a moving bicycle. Grey skies, 44 wet degrees at the start, one flat, some fat dogs, and a near crash when I couldn't get my pedals to release my cleat when we hit some of the remaining snow!

Am I a better cyclist for all this suffering? Knees certainly revert to the creak creak creak of arthritis diagnosed last year...

at least I got a nice 10 hour sleep that night....

Monday, November 26, 2007

Riding with Dr. Evil

Drove 45 miles yesterday to ride the hills and valleys of Lexington. Certainly was a pleasure to roll out with Jaybone and my local heroes Jeff Braumburger and Chairman Fred. We established good training requires some climbing and also that T. Will will be our 'go to' guy in the Masters climbing races (at least early on).

Still wondering what Austin Powers was doing on our ride as he consistently rode 50 yards in front all day! And I don't think he's apologized to Jay for his behavior last year.

Don't really care, but that bad karma will certainly reappear someday soon

Saturday, November 24, 2007


Cycling names are an important and necessary commodity in our sport. The rules say that you cannot assign yourself a cycling name, it must be bestowed upon you. Eddy Merckx was “The Cannibal” and Bernard Hinault “The Badger,” two names fitting the great champions’ demeanors. Closer to home, my teammates have earned some interesting noms de guerre. There was Jungle Jack, The Fatman, Mr. 4%, Professor, and Triple X. For 2008, the following names of my teammates have been established:

George Conti continues to be known as “Cadillac George” because he drove a large sedan with a trunk big enough to hold either 2 bodies or one road bike fully assembled, he has also been called ‘Da Gawdfatha.’

Jim Burkhart will answer to “Iron Man.”

Fred Parks is known as “Chairman Fred” because he has the most experience as a racer, tactician, and can spy sun bathers from ungodly distances.

Bob Hatcher is called “The Donkey” for no apparent reason.

“Iowa Josh,” not to be confused with the “Evil Josh,” has a learning disability and is unable to spell ‘O-H-I-O’

Andrew Will, fka “American Taliban” because his close resemblance to John Walker Lynn, will acquire a new name for 2008, possibilities are “The Young and The Restless,” “Slim,” and maybe “Joe College.”

Pascale Lercangee is, was and will forever be known as “Pascalinator.”

John Price who has yet to lose a race he has entered, will be called “Farmer John” or perhaps “yes, sir” from now on.

Bill York, father of “Billy White Shoes” York is to be called “Father of Billy White Shoes” or ‘FOBWS.’

Dave Chambers is now known as “Luca Brasi.” Brasi's role in The Godfather was personal enforcer/bodyguard to the Don. Brasi's talent, it was said, was that he could do a job, or murder all by himself, without confederates, which made a criminal conviction almost impossible. His powerful riding style, and his ability to maintain the point position in the front of the peloton protects many teammates.

Mike Rea fka as “Jens,” has become Rea-Rea 2.0.

Ryan Carlson might be called “Wild Thing” (stay tuned)

Gus Comstock is just Gus, but pronounced like Pascale does “Goose.”

Heidi Marshall is, of course “LaVerne”

Mike Perakis calls himself “Bob” and I’m not comfortable with that.

Jeff Jackson, aka “JAX,” will also respond to “Nacho Mama,” or “Mr. Chips.”

Butch Weller (not his real name) is lovingly referred to as “Pretty In Pink.”

More soon

Top Listens of 2007

In no particular order:

Dave Rempis/Bishop/Daisy/McBride - The Engines (Okka)
McCoy Tyner - McCoy Tyner Quartet (McCoy Tyner Music)
Dennis Gonzalez NY Quartet - Dance Of The Soothsayer’s Tongue (Clean Feed)
Jim Connolly and The Gove County String Quartet (pfMentum)
Jimmy Bruno - Maplewood Avenue (Affiliated Artists)
Alessandro Bosetti - Her Name (Crouton)
Kahil El’Zabar/Ethnic Heritage Ensemble - Hot ‘N’ Heavy (Delmark)
Nicole Mitchell/Bankhead/Drake - Live In Montrwal (Greenlief)
Michael Musillami Trio - The Treatment (Playscape)
Bobby Selvaggio - UnSpoken Dialogue (Playscape)
Mostly Other People Do The Killing - Shamokin!!! (Hot Cup)

Saturday, September 29, 2007

My Trip Up THE WALL - 2005

There I am in the starting gate for the Manayunk hill climb time trial, I’m watching the clock tick, tick, tick as the USCF official is counting down the seconds, “cinq, quatra, trois, deux, un...” Wait a minute, he’s counting down in French, or is it the 2 double espresso (with double sugars) I drank as my warm up for this 1 kilometer time trial up the famed Manayunk wall? I was in Philadelphia to watch the most famous one-day bike race in America and figured I’d take my turn up the infamous 17% grade.

My problems were two-fold. One, I am a contemporary of Greg Lemond, and while he retired nearly 15 years ago, I have only been racing for three years now. As a Cat. 4 rider I get in line with some polite teenagers and twenty-somethings who have the nasty habit of calling me “sir,” as if I was one of their father’s friends. Even my cycling coach, an ex-pro is younger than me! Second, I’m from central Ohio where the terrain is so flat that I’ve recently pitched a coffee table book idea to a local publisher entitled “The Cols of Columbus” with fine art photography of freeway overpasses complete with the locals riders names painted on the roadways by the rabid fans.

But I just could not pass up a chance to race up this cycling landmark. I remember the decisive moves made here last year by Danny Pate, Chris Horner, and the eventual winner Chris Wherry and another year, my cycling hero Ernie Lechuga, former Mexican national champion, leading the break up the wall lap after lap to win the KOM prize.
Sunday there will be thousands of mostly intoxicated fans screaming at the cyclists each time up the wall, tonight there’s only a few locals come out to see the amateurs.

The offical chimes “go” in 30 seconds interval. The rider who started in front of me turns left instead of right under the train tracks, and by the time he gets back on the course I was rolling onto the climb and chasing him down. A few spectators thought for a second that I must be a really fast climber having bridged this gap in such a quick manner. What the hell, let them think I was Lance passing Jan in the prologue. The climb felt like it was over before it started. I heard a few “allez, allez, allez” while my oxygen debt eventually turned into that head spinning buzz. It was offical, 01:59.75, about twenty seconds behind the eventual winner. My fellow competitors waited at the top each granting me their personal ‘chapeau,’ as I to them.

Monday, September 10, 2007

as requested, best reads of the last year...

You sure find quite a bit of time when recovering from knee surgery.

Talk Talk - TC Boyle
The Sparrow - Mary Doria Russell
Remainder - Tom McCarthy
The Echo Maker - Richard Powers
The Last Town On Earth - Thomas Mullen
The Island Of Lost Maps - Miles Harvey
Off To The Races - Samuel Abt
Saturday - Ian McEwan
Terrorist - John Updike
The Omnivors Dilemma - Michael Pollan
Coal Black Horse - Robert Olmstead
On Chesil Beach - Ian McEwen
Positively False - Floyd Landis

Tuesday, September 4, 2007

Reprint of my TDF rant: I've met my heroes on the road and killed them

When did we replace scientists and statesmen with sports stars? When did you decide to put your faith in Lyle Alzado, Michael Vick, or Barry Bonds instead of Linus Pauling, Jimmy Carter, and John Coltrane? But then again, maybe it wasn't us, it is not a modern phenomena, I think the Greeks and the Romans also exalted the athlete and warrior. So don't blame modern society.
As a fan of 'other' sports, I tire of defending the Michael Claretts, the Albert Belles, the Robby Alomars and have pretty much ceased my attendance at the 'other' professional sports. No more NFL, NBA, MLB, NASCAR, PGA - and don't get me started on the piggish behavior of the entire OSU athletic department -from football to field hockey.
Besides, cycling was/is my sport. Pure beauty. We have all learned that the strongest riders in June were the athletes suffering on some trainer way back in December. It is indeed a noble sport, but like any other human activity subject to cheating, and in the pro peloton GREED. Vinokourov wanted to repeat his successes to fund his team - millions were at stake. I'm sure he thought "if I don't get caught, it isn't cheating." We want to believe Tyler, and Floyd (I really want to believe Landis), and Ullrich - but the culture of cycling tells us differently.
Will pro cycling survive? Yes, but not in the form it is now. I think the pros in Europe have to downsize to the level of the US racing system. When the top riders make $130,000  instead of $1.3 million the cheating factor will be reduced (but not eliminated). We know there will be no more Discovery team next year, and no Astana, no more Cofidis, and no more Gerolsteiner. The big dollars will dry up as the corporations run away from cycling.
I have not lost my faith in cycling, but I have killed my heroes.
I continue to be inspired by a long list of riders that probably will never be written up in CycleSport or interviewed on Versus, they include; Jeff Braumberger, Pascale Lercangee, Fred Parks, Mark Bell, and Ernie Lechuga.
Anyone else out there have names of cyclists that inspire you?

Desert Island picks

My most recent desert island picks as posted on

John Coltrane - Love Supreme
Albert Ayler - Live In Greenwich Village
Beastie Boys - Check Your Head
Clusone 3 - An Hour With
Bill Frisell - Music for the Films of Buster Keaton
Cassandra Wilson - Blue Skies
Rahsaan Roland Kirk - Bright Moments
David Murray - Spirituals
Evan Parker - Lines Burnt In Light
Horace Tapscott - The Dark Tree

upcoming: recent CDs from my listening rotation

Monday, September 3, 2007

Labor Day Training

Hello, and welcome to RyLo - the inconvienient and uncorruptable postings of a broken cyclist. More about that later. Just finished a 2.5 hour training ride with a caffeinated crew of eight. Like my dog Fat Louie aka fish-hook Louie the yellow one, I prefer to run with a pack - This blog will detail trainng, racing, food, coffee, free improvisation (music and cycling), and maybe a bit of talking about Albert Ayler and Marco Pantani's ghosts...