Saturday, December 25, 2010

Best of 2010

Best Reads (no particular order))
1. The Imperfectionists - Tom Rachman
2. Thelonious Monk - Robin Kelley
3. War - Sabastian Junger
4. Nixonland - Rick Perlstein
5. Sunnyside - Glen David Gold
6. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter  - Seth Grahame-Smith
7. The Homecoming Party - Carmine Abate
8. Travels In Siberia - Ian Frazier

Best Listens 
1. Nels Cline - Initiate (Cryptogramophone)
2. Magnus Broo - Swedish Wood (Moserobie)
3. Allison Miller - Boom Tick Boom (Foxhaven)
4. Mose Allison - The Way Of The World (Anti)
5. Jason Moran - Ten (Blue Note)
6. Jason Adasiewicz - Sun Rooms (Delmark)
7. Dan Weiss Trio  - Timshel (Sunnyside)
8. Scanner - Blink Of An Eye (Thirsty Ear)
9. Jerome Sabbagh - I Will Follow You (Bee Jazz)
10. Fujiwara & The Hookup - Actionspeak (482 Music)
11. Parker/Guy/Lytton/Evans - Scenes In The House Of Music (Clean Feed)
12. Bernardo Sassetti Trio - Motion (Clean Feed)
13. Vandermark 5 Special Edition - The Horse Jumps And The Ship Is Gone (Not Two)
14. Geof Bradfield - African Flowers (Origin)
15. Brotzmann/Nilssen-Love - Woodcuts (Smalltown Superjazz)

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Sunday, October 17, 2010

If this is Belgium, it must be raining?

Actually we were warned of the opposite = "If it is raining, this must be Belgium." Throughout our October visit to Brussels, everyone was telling us that this was not typical weather. So, taking to the cobbles of Flanders without the cold and the wet might NOT have been THE REAL experience, but Mel & I agreed. the dry rock was more survivable.
We drove to the museum in Oudenaarde dedicated to de Ronde van Vlaanderen, or the Tour of Flanders. Sports fans, if you have a bucket list and are a cyclist, this is one place you don't want to miss. Hallowed ground, a sacred space, their Canton, Ohio. I got the same feeling in Boston one December day when the grounds keeper at Fenway let us walk down the ramp and into the stadium. You see, the Tour of Flanders (or Ronde) is the equivalent of the OSU v Michigan game. If you live in Belgium and even if you have no interest in cycling, you have an opinion about whether Fabian Cancellara was guilty of mechanical doping or if Stijn DeVolder is a worthy champion. Oh boy, do you have an opinion. 

In the museum you can see Eddy's bikes, the muddy jersey Tom Boonen wore when he won the Ronde and you can even meet Freddy Maertens the former World Champion, and winner of Liege, the Vuelta, and of course the Ronde. The real treat here is the riding. From the museum, you can do several routes that afford you the opportunity to test your legs on the narrow roads of Flanders passing cows and school children who yell "Fietsen - fietsen!" 

Mel and I were accompanied by our friend Kristof a true Belgian hardman, while we found nice bikes, Kristof rode a single speed fixie! Gulp...48x16. You do the math, my knees were aching, just looking at the bike. I guess I couldn’t complain about the ex-pros bike I was riding (no compact crank) with a 21! A 21-tooth cog, for the love of God, er, Eddy. For the love of Eddy Merckx!
 His name was Ronny Assez and he showed us pictures of his races with Eric Zabel and super Mario. He had done the Ronde several times and even raced the San Francisco GP. 

We rolled out, riding the tiny, no, REALLY TINY roads of the Ronde, past apathetic cows and a few young Museeuws in the making. No need for a yellow line rule here, if you aren’t at the front of the race, there is no way for you to move up. Sometimes I even felt nervous when a car was coming the other way. Would there be enough room? At one point a car full of tourists stopped me and asked for directions, of course in Flemish, when I replied in my best Brooklyn accent “What do I look like, a map?, they all began laughing and calling me "Lance, Lance, Lance." Then, I guess it was better than "Floyd, Floyd, Floyd."
Riding the cobbles was what we were here to do, and we got plenty of practice. Ask Mel about the blisters she made on her hands. My bike bounced left and right following Kristof. No way was I going to attempt to ride next to him over the cobbles, I followed Phil Ligget’s saged advice and kept to the crown in the middle of the road. By the time we got to the Oud Kwaremont climb, about 3 hours into the ride, I was ready for the cobbles. Bounce, bounce - seated bounce and I was past Kristof who was turning his gear over a bit slower now. There’s the church and I’m up. Certainly that was enough. Back to tell Ronnie about our exploits. He says with a bit of a smirk, “If you come back for the Ronde, don’t expect this nice weather.” 
On the drive back to Brussels we stopped in Geraardsbergen to walk up the Muur de Grammont , or the famed wall. Beginning in the town center the cobbled road just goes up. And up. This cobbled climb is steep, 20% at the ouchy part, and not much wider than your driveway. It has the feel of Philadelphia’s Manayunk wall until it turns into a small forested climb and then past the chapel. 
Arriving just before sunset, it was so quiet, but yet it was easy to imaging the roaring crowds who wait all day for their heroes to make a move and ride on to the Bosberg. 

Friday, September 24, 2010

2010 World of Pain Cycling Awards

So let us raise a glass to the heroes...
Sometimes there's a team... I won't say a team of heroes, 'cause what's a hero? But sometimes, there's a team – and I'm talkin' about the World of Pain here – sometimes, there's a team, well, there’s a team for this time and place. They fit right in there. And that's the World of Pain. In Ohio. And even if they’re a lazy team – and this team was most certainly that, quite possibly the laziest in all Ohio, which would place them high in the runnin' for laziest worldwide – Sometimes there's a team... Sometimes, there's a team. Ah, I lost my train of thought here. But... aw, hell. I done introduced them enough. So here's the 2010 Cycling awards.

Comeback of the Year:
Tie: Cadillac George (from near death) and Mark Ames (from vacation)

Most improved Rider Female:
Abbey Trimble (who podium’d her first race)

Most Improved Ride Male:
Keith “Larry” Flint

Best ‘bonk’ of the year:
Dan Tinderholt on the Dan & Josh Century (but he finished!)

Cyclist(s) who drove the farthest just to go for a bike ride:
Brian O!, Mel Longo, Cadillac George, Dan 4% Rhule, and Pantani (who traveled 500 miles to ride 50 in Iowa)

Best lead out draft:
Gus Comstock’s Butt.

Team Rouleur Award 2010:
Brian “Lil’ Fabian” O’Hara

Where’s Waldo award (awarded to the World of Pain rider spotted wearing another team’s kit to every major ride in Central Ohio):
Mike Rea nka Waldo

2010 Padrone Award (read while humming "Old Man River"):
Jeff 'Nacho Mama' 'JAX' Jackson

Best skin ink of 2010:
tie; and Keith Flint

Best Crash of the Year:
Iowa Josh who skipped a scheduled race so he wouldn't have road rash for his wedding, but crashed in a training ride anyway

Best new name:
Ted Pablo (that's not it) aka "IPB" (that's it) or "International Playboy" (credit goes to Jaybone for naming him)

Best excuses why they couldn't make another thursday evening ride:
The award goes to the WIVES of Bob Hatcher and Bruce 'BRUCE!' Pijanowski

Best Ride of the Year:
The Peckerhead Invitational

Best Bike Shop:
Breakaway Cycling

Best Race of the Year:
Garrett Wonders Columbus (fast, with cobbles – great set up, great venue)

Toughest Opponent 2010 Road Races:
Mighty Scott Young

Best use of Pink in training or racing apparel:
Butch man, who else?

Best use of the LARGE chain ring:
Dave Chambers

Rider most likely to be mistaken for a sausage casing: (winner 3 years running):
Stuart Hunter

Most admired quadriceps (not by me, but I'm not saying there is anything wrong with that):
Tom Kingery

Cyclist of the Year:
Tie. Coming in with equal number of votes Farmer John Price (Ohio Cat. 4 Crit champion) and Chairman Fred Parks (Master’s 55+ Ohio Crit champion and 2nd in Ohio Road Race)

Cyclist(s) who opted out of a races that started just 10 minutes from their own homes:
Again tie. Jaybone Allred and Mike "Waldo" Rea

Mountain biker of the year:
sorry, but no one really cares

Hairiest legs:

(see above Mtn. Bike award) Ben Trimble

Living proof that evolution can be reversed by de-evolution:


Best Calves (criteria, must be larger than my quads):

Tennis Bob

Best physical condition in October (after season is over):
tie; Dale black-truffles and Frank "the taxman" Seebode

Best tribute to our former Sponsor:
Dan Will

See you next year...