Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Monday, January 28, 2008

It's Plug Time

No not hair plugs for men (although it has crossed my mind a few times).

I'm talking about local races on wheels and foot.

First off, it's the VA BAR Suffolk Weekend Kickoff (sounds like a good name, huh?). Saturday, March 15th is time for the VBW Smackdown. No taps-outs allowed here as Joshua and the VA Beach Wheelmen bring back the old crit course back to life in the Sleepy Hole section of Suffolk.
Registration on Bikereg.

There's no time to recover as you slip into the skinsuit and bring out the carbon fiber deep dish bling wheels on your TT rig for the Dismal Dash Time Trial presented by All About Bikes Racing on Sunday the 16th. If you done this race before, it's called Dismal for a reason. It's truth time and we'll see who's been slacking on the couch this winter. Chip timing will continue this year by Kale Running.
Registration on Bikereg.

Speaking of Kale Running, you haven't spotted me on the bike in the past 3 weeks because I'm pounding the pavement to get ready for some races (on foot). Kale Running is sponsoring the East Beach 1/2 Marathon and 5k race on Feb 2nd. I'll be doing the 5k to get some speedwork in and to kick off the running season. The wife is doing the Shamrock 8k on March 15th and I'll do that to support her (and to drink the sponsor's beverage - Yuengling - after the race). Next up is the Dismal Swamp 1/2 Marathon in April.
All this running stuff can be found on my new running blog - Blistered Toes.

Race season is upon us.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Vah Beach Approves Cycling Safety Resolution

It's a good step towards safer roads.
Ed's note: Read the stupid comments at the end of the column to get your blood boiling such as this typical one: "Face it! You are NOT Lance Armstrong. I'm sure if you hit a top speed of 25mph it will only be for a few seconds before your spandex squeezed lungs will let you know you shouldn't have eaten that other donut.")


In other VA cycling related politics, check out the latest on HB 855:


Friday, January 18, 2008

n + 1, Where n is the number motorists angry at cyclists

A recent article on the proposal in VA Beach for the Multi-Modal Accommodation Resolution (shown with a picture of some local cyclists 2 to 3 wide*) spawned over 60 reader comments in the local paper on cyclists vs. cars on the road. One Pilot editor puts his perspective on the situation.

*There were only five cyclists and approaching a stop sign so they began to fan out. The picture makes it look like they're 'hogging' the road.

(Attention 757 cyclists, the Multi-Modal Accommodation Resolution will be on the agenda on the next VA Beach City Council meeting on January 22nd - come show your support)

The online version and the reader's comments can be viewed here:

4-wheelers, 2-wheelers need an intervention

The Virginian-Pilot
© January 18, 2008

IT'S ALL THAT spandex. That's where the problem begins. It cuts off circulation to the brain.

It also covers taut bicyclist bodies that by their very existence mock a real American's sloth and cigarettes.

Dressed in such finery, avid cyclists pedal around on $4,000 collections of carbon fiber and titanium, taking up space on narrow roads clearly made for SUVs held together with rust and fast-food wrappers. They refuse to follow the laws, run red lights, blow through stop signs. Bicyclists, that is. No driver would ever do such a thing.

Cyclists putter along at 15 mph - 25 mph if their spandex is brightly colored and extra distracting - holding up traffic and refusing to get out of the way. They even ride in groups, which makes it much harder to pick off just one or two.

Then there's the danger they present. If one of those infernal machines runs into a vehicle, it might scratch the paint. Who's going to pay for that when the rider's lying there, moaning in the ditch?

Will no one think of the automobiles?

That's the kind of thing I might find amusing if drivers weren't, with some regularity, running down bicyclists who get in their way. Getting angry at the two-wheeled - not to mention runners, skateboarders or the guy who rides down my road in a golf cart, for that matter - is as much a part of most drivers' DNA as a cell phone and travel mug.

To pick the most immediate example in my brain: While jogging one morning last week, in a newish neighborhood, I had to leap onto the curb to avoid being bumpered by a driver who: ran a stop sign, was talking on her cell phone and was going like a blind bat on fire.

Anybody who has actually walked, run or bicycled anywhere - even across a mall parking lot - knows that pedestrians and bicyclists aren't the problem. Drivers are. They scare me enough that I won't actually ride my bike on the road; in fact, I don't want to be anywhere near motorists unless I'm surrounded by my own couple of tons of steel.

You know this, too. Drivers are busier, angrier and more distracted than ever. Sitting in traffic - especially one of those two-hour tunnel back ups - is a festival of rising blood pressure and spittle, with men impotently pounding their wheels as if trying to loosen the clog a mile up the road.

Now imagine those same drivers forced to sit behind a bicyclist or two or 10 poking along a narrow road that has home at the end of it.

Here's how it's supposed to work: The bicyclists are supposed to ride single-file, as far to the right as is safe. Drivers are supposed to pass them, making sure to leave plenty of space. How it actually happens, often, is that cyclists don't move, or drivers can't get around. Horns are honked and fingers are raised and everyone gets angry and goes home and writes nasty letters to the editor and psychotic posts on blogs that nobody reads.

(Here's where I allow that bicyclists are in no way perfect, and too often break the laws. They shouldn't. But the crimes they commit, at their worst, endanger only themselves. The traffic infractions of bicyclists are far less a danger to you and your car than the ones committed by your fellow commuters this morning. So let's keep some perspective.)

I don't want to put too fine a point on this, but getting angry at bicyclists, or runners or skateboarders, throwing coffee or hamburger wrappers at them because they break the law or slow you down, makes me worry for your sanity.

If you find your eyes popping and teeth grinding because some bicyclist is pedaling in front of you, take a few deep breaths. Count to 10 and take a few more. If that doesn't work, you might seriously consider pulling over and giving your keys to somebody mature enough to be behind the wheel.

Donald Luzzatto is an editorial writer at The Virginian-Pilot. Reach him at donald.luzzatto@pilotonline.com.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

L. H. (Ronnie) Thomson

The Master of the Thomson Masterpiece

As an owner of several Thomson seatposts and stems, I can say that these are the best engineered components on my bikes. The seatpost clamp design only requires a few turns to adjust the seat angle and the stems don't budge or slip under pressure.
Thomson is so well-respected in his hometown of Macon, GA that the local cycling club organizes an annual Thomson Appreciation Day.
Below is Thomson's obituary.
- nPlusOne

L. H. (Ronnie) Thomson, 68, passed away on Sunday, January 13, 2008. Ronnie was born on January 17, 1939 in Byron, Georgia.

Ronnie was an entrepreneur, inventor, and philanthropist. Ronnie learned his dedication to hard work while growing up on a family farm in Centerville, GA. After graduation from the Georgia Institute of Technology as an electrical engineer in 1962, he worked for a period at McDonnell Aircraft in St. Louis, where he met Marge, the love of his life and wife of 41 years.

Shortly after returning to Centerville, Ronnie fulfilled his life-long dream of starting his own company, Numerical Engineering Machine Company (Nemco) in 1968. After several years of hard work, Ronnie sold Nemco to the Boeing Company in 1980 and was the first president of Boeing Georgia Incorporated. Returning to his entrepreneurial roots, Ronnie started the L. H. Thomson Company in 1981.

The L. H. Thomson Company has been recognized with many industry awards, including Boeing Silver Supplier and Bicycle Seatpost of the Year. Under RonnieĆ¢€™s direction, the L. H. Thomson Company holds numerous patents on the industry leading Thomson bicycle components. Ronnie's name will live on as over 1 million Thomson bicycle products have been sold. These successes would not have been possible without the help of many devoted employees who Ronnie considered dear friends.

Ronnie was passionate about philosophy, science, and freedom. The following organizations have benefited from Ronnie's involvement and support: Reason Foundation, Objectivist Center, Ludwig Von Mises Institute, Ayn Rand Institute, and Access to Energy/Oregon Institute of Science and Medicine.

Ronnie will be remembered as a loving and devoted husband and father, doting grandfather, friend and mentor. He has touched many lives and will be dearly missed.

Ronnie was preceded in death by his parents, Walter Harold and Ruth Barbour Thomson, and his brother, Walter Randall Thomson. Survivors include his wife, Margaret Thomson, Byron; son Brian Thomson (Paula), Warner Robins; daughter Amy Holaday (Jason), Snellville, GA; grandchildren Garrett and Avery Thomson, Max and Lucia Holaday; sisters Vivian Long (Darrell), Centerville, and Pamela Maynor (James), Warner Robins; brother Larry Thomson (Christine), Perry. He is also survived by many aunts, nieces, nephews, and cousins.

In lieu of flowers, donations may be made to Bladder Cancer Advocacy Network (www.bcan.org). McCullough Funeral Home has charge of arrangements. Visitation will be Tuesday, January 15, 2008 from 6 p.m.- 8p.m. A memorial service will be held at 11:00 a.m. Wednesday, January 16, 2008 at McCullough Funeral Home followed by a procession to a graveside service at Glen Haven Memorial Gardens.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Yoga! Yoga! Yoga!

After suffering from a Grade 1 (minor) hamstring pull the other night at Velocity training (pic courtesy of KH) while attempting to outsprint a CAT 3 BAR Winner (ok - so it was off the bike), I decided to rethink my need to increase my overall body flexibility.
Prior to cycling, I only did strength training by putting as much weight on a bar and push, press, squat or curl. Stretching and flexibility were for those in lycra. Well, those 350# bench-presses are long gone and I wear more lycra than dress shirts these days. I have read how more and more cyclists use yoga as part of their training program. Same as surfers/skaters to increase their balance and traditional sports (baseball, football) athletes use yoga as part of their training.

So I just ordered this book and will hit some yoga classes at the Y. I'll post a followup after a few sessions.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Random Articles - One Even Cycling Related

I thought Virginia is For Lovers?
It's only been 3 years but VA is back in the news with a bill that is being proposed in Richmond. Remember the "droopy drawers" bill that got national attention a few years back that VA tried to pass? Now we have the "balls" to hit some drivers where it hurts. Read about it.

More Bike Lanes (just not on my route)
1/2 around the world (at least from me), read how a city in a 3rd world country has more bike lanes than my city and it's getting more - (link to story). Great to see it too. Traveling by roads in the PI is a like combination of a Nascar race and NY City cabbies.

Make that a double
Cloned Animals Are Safe for U.S. Food, Agency Says

I'll have to wonder about those "2 For 1" deals at my local "Ghetto Cat" store. But it's good to see the my local bacon supplier in Smithfield is holding off on cloned swine.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Lights - My Current Setup and Reviews

With the warmer than usual weather experienced in the '757' lately, I've been able to get off the trainer at night and ride outside. Seeing the various lights (and having light envy) on other bikes and with the recent Roadbikereview.com light review, I decided to do my own review on my light setup. I hope this info will be helpful to those looking to ride at night.

Roadbikereview.com is doing their LED Lights Shootout again. They will review various lights that are suitable for both trail and road. The previous light shootout was about 2 years ago. Click here for the old review. You will notice some changes in technology from the previous review.
As you notice from the title they will be focusing on LED lights. LED has surpassed halogen and the latest technology has some LED lights as bright as HID lights. The advantages are listed in the new LED Lights Shootout article.
The latest review is on the Dinotte lights. As an owner of an older Dinotte light, I was excited to read their review of the 200L, 200L Dual and 600L lights.

My older Dinotte light is only rated at 120L (Lumens) on high and 80L on low. That's sufficient to ride on the road but lacks in the trails without the use of another light. The runtime averages about 1.5-2 hours on high and close to 3 on low. It attaches to either helmet or bar. With the longer battery extension, you can just mount the light on the helmet and the battery pack in your jersey pocket or camelback. Since the light is less than 80g, it's hardly noticeable on your helment. Besides the easy mounting feature (uses a rubber hoop), the best feature is the use of 4 AA batteries. I use rechargeable 2500mAh and carry spare AA as a backup. These batteries and charger can be bought in bulk at your local Sams, BJs or Priceclub for about $15.

I'm looking forward to picking up a newer 200L to run a dual on my bars alongside my existing Dinotte light.

Since my existing Dinotte light shot a wider beam but was not sufficient for some of the trails or unlit backroads in my area, I picked up a helmet light for a spotlight. After researching online and on various forums (www.candlepowerforums.com and www.bikeforums.com), I came across Fenix lights. These lights received high reviews by the forum members for inexpensive and bright light options.

I went with the Fenix L2D (pictured). It's the size of a small flashlight and puts out a tight spot up to 175L. With a "Twofish Bikeblock", it easily mounts to my helmet. This light also runs AA batteries which reduces the hassle of having various batteries for each light. The claimed runtime is 2.5 hours on the highest setting (175L).

To be seen from the back, Dinotte also offers a tail light but at 140L of red light, that may be overkill for my use and the guys behind me in the paceline would go blind. As a commuting light, that would be a great option but is also expensive at $170 for a tail light.
I use a Planet Bike Blinky Superflash tail light. It's brighter than my other tail lights (Cateye, Blackburn) and has a brighter main LED light supplemented with 2 smaller lights. It has various mounting options for seatpost or seatstay and also a clip for your jersey or hydration pack. This was also rated high by commuters in various online forums. The only downside is the need for a phillipshead screwdriver to install/remove the mounting bracket. Other lights have "tool-less" mounting brackets. The "tool-less" feature comes in handy when I'm running late for my night group training rides and need to switch over my light from another bike.

Remember, just because you can see a car coming doesn't necessarily mean they can see you. Please use lights (both front and back) and reflective clothing whenever you ride at night.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Team Ride Video

Video of the AAB Racing team ride from Chesapeake, VA to Knotts Island and back.

For a bigger picture, it can also be viewed at Stage 6.

Sunday, January 6, 2008

Sunday Ride Preview

I took the Oregon Scientific ATC2K video camera out on Sunday's team ride and will have a video soon. It was a great ride with 15 riders with two VB Wheelmen riding along too (Goyet brothers). Sunny, alot of wind and temps in the high 60s at ride time. We traveled along the "country roads" of Hickory, Pungo, Creeds, Blackwater and onto Knotts Island in Carolina and back.
I don't why, but this scene always pops in my mind whenever I head down these roads. (Just kidding, these roads are great to train on and the "locals" are usually friendly to us lycra-clad folks)

The ride video will be posted shortly.

What a difference a (few) days makes

After a few indoor training sessions, it'll be great to get outside without freezing. Thanks to Bonnie at the Greenbriar Y for pushing me during her 12:00 spin class on Friday. For you YMCA members in Chesapeake, check out her class - not a bad workout. You'll also see her on occassion on the AAB Saturday morning rides too.

Just check out the 3 day forecast temps. Some morning and lunchtime rides are on tap Monday thru Wednesday. No need for a barn workout this week.

Thursday, January 3, 2008


The geek in me comes out:

IF TEMP <= 35F

import java.util.Training;
public class Train
      public static void main( String [] args )
      Temperature temp = new Temperature( System.in );
      System.out.print( "Enter a temp > " );
      int temp = temp.nextInt( );

      if ( temp <= 35 )
           System.out.println( "Indoor Trainer Session" );
      System.out.println( "Ride Outside" );


if ($outside_temp < 35)
           print "Get on the trainer and pop in the Suffer-O-Rama DVD";
print "Get outside and ride.";