Monday, July 28, 2008

Vive le Tour

Now what will I watch in the morning - NEWS?? I swear I woke up this morning and couldn't think of a single reason to turn on the TV, or to get out of bed, for that matter. No calming voice of Paul Sherwen, no exciting stage finale commentary by Phil Liggett. No attempting-to-be-poetic-like-Al-Trautwig by Craig Hummer, no "ask Bobke". No gorgeous, dizzying views of chateaus and winding mountainous roads from the helicopter, no crappy broken-up video shot from a motorcycle. No annoying, repetitive commercials for motels, rum or male enhancement products.

Ah, the Tour. It's over until 2009. It always makes me feel so elated yet melancholy, like watching the Closing Ceremonies after the Olympic Games. But Beijing is only a few days away! That makes me realize that there is something to look forward to. It gives me hope.

Anyway, I was happy for Carlos Sastre, and I am proud of how the U.S. cyclists finished in the Tour this year - Christian Vande Velde in 5th (if only he hadn't crashed!), George Hincapie, Danny Pate, & Will Frischkorn. Next year will be even better when Astana is back, with Levii Leipheimer & Chris Horner (hopef.ully!) It was exciting to see the 4 stage wins by Mark Cavendish, though some of my favorite sprinters were missing (Paolo Bettini & Tom Boonen). This year the Tour was completely unpredictable from one stage to the next, but in the end, CSC-Saxo Bank epitomized how a team should ride in the Tour, and somewhat reminded me of the Discovery Channel years. They were unstoppable. Team Columbia and Team Garmin-Chipotle made very impressive debuts in their first appearance at the Tour as well.

As much as I would have liked to see Cadel Evans win after his close 2nd place finish last year, his legs just didn't seem to have the snap that they had early in the Tour this year. He wasn't quite the same after his crash, and his TT performance wasn't his best. I felt badly for him, especially since he was so emotional when he got to wear the yellow jersey. But it was still progress, and I don't think it's completely beyond the realm of possibility to see him on top of the podium. For now though, my favorites are headed to Beijing! Allez!~

Friday, July 25, 2008

l'Alpe d'Zoobaix

Yesterday I finally conquered what I called L'Alpe D'Zoobaix. The third time I've ridden home from work, and I finally managed to find the way up to Washington Park and the Zoo. Because one of the roads is all torn up, I decided to call it "Zoobaix", though I actually rode through the gravel, potholes and all without having to stop, unclip and walk. And the climb wasn't really so bad. People were flying by me going downhill but there are actually some rather flat areas where I could gain speed. I also remembered hearing (maybe it was Phil Liggett) that you should accelerate on the corners when going uphill on switchbacks.

Due to stoplights, etc. it took me almost an hour and a half, but I didn't officially get lost or have to backtrack this time (or cheat by taking Max from Goose Hollow to Washington Park). Actually riding up the hill is much more satisfying than taking the elevator!

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

A new way to support my habit..

I've found a way to fund this passion of cycling I have which drains my bank account. Sell stuff I don't need! I was given a Polar F11 heart monitor a few years ago for Christmas. The person who gave it to me is not someone I've remained in contact with, and honestly I didn't like the watch. I used it a few times but think that at some point in the future I'll invest in one either specific to cycling or just get a new wireless computer for my bike. So - thanks to that idea, I sold it on eBay, and my Paypal account has just miraculously been infused with some cash. Now I can figure out something else to sell in order to be able to afford those Sidi shoes I'm lusting after.

What will I sell in order to save up for a new bike? (Do I really need furniture?)

In other news, I rode my bike again today. Well, okay, so I rode to the Max stop, but I'm riding the entire way home, hills and all, or at least that's the plan. It's hot outside.

I love both cycling AND the Olympics. What a great summer it will be watching the Tour and the 2008 Games! Plus the men's team includes favorites Levi Leipheimer, George Hincapie, Dave Zabriskie, Christian Vandevelde, and Jason McCartney. Only Chris Horner is missing...

Saturday, July 5, 2008

le Tour de France

July means one thing - the TOUR!!!!

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I did it! I commuted by bike!

Okay so I took Max part of the way to save time. See, here is my bike hanging upside down on the train.

And on the way home, though I was determined to ride the entire time, I skipped the ride up to the zoo because I'm not really sure of the route. I tried to map it out but because there are some paths that are not named roads, it's hard to figure out. Also I left work at 7pm so that didn't leave a lot of time for getting lost. I actually found some Dan Henry signs leftover from the Worst Day ride (which is the last time I rode from SE to Hillsboro - in 2007!) So that helped, riding along 26, crossing Sylvan and then cruising at 24mph down the other side of 26. I found Park Way, but then got totally lost and kept running into dead end streets in some neighborhood that was entirely unfamiliar. Finally I saw an elementary school and rode through that but didn't see a way out. I reallyl need to study the map of that area. I was laughing at myself by that time. Finally found 107th which lead me to Walker Road, so I was fine from them on. Pretty uneventful, and a fun ride for the most part. The best thing is that riding across the Hawthorne and along Water Street and the road in front of the office building where I work is not so bad. I was so worried about the deep ruts, potholes and tracks, not to mention the trucks, but I had no problems. I consider it an obstacle now overcome. Yay!