Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Rollin' down ol 95

My first rule of road trip travel and for cycling training routes for that matter, is never come back the same way you went out. Life and cycling ain't about the out-and-back. So I cruised up to DC on I-81 through TN and VA and I'm going back on I-95 bound for the AtL. As C-Dog, has so often said, you can't break the rules if your the one making them.

It's too early to claim victory in DC, but things went well. The Queen of Cap Hill and I hit up my favorite bar that I have never been to before last night in DuPont Circle right across from the monument to Taras Shevchenko. They claim to have beer from everywhere in the world, but ironically not from the home country of the man whose monument stands right in front of it--Ukraine.

Despite the fact that I couldn't throw down any Obolone and they were out of my Russian standard, Baltica, they had this amazing Ethiopian beer. Also, there was a French beer that had a wine like texture to it which went down smooth. Much scorn I have for the person who walks into this bar and orders something domestic, light and cold . . . unless it's obscure.

Quick lesson learned this week-- you can buy a closet in DC for the same price as a plantation home in Mississippi. Even quicker lesson-- I'm home.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Tilfords got Mad Game

Mad props to Tilford for the Kansas-style win at Nature Valley:


Leave it to a Kansan to attack through the corner in a race that's soo nasty that they need to cut it short.

A BBQ with Ivy League Law Students

My bar review buddy and I strolled up to M & Wisconsin last night to meet an old friend of his for a BBQ. I come to find out that the other people at the BBQ, including the old friend, all attend a pretigous Ivy League law school and were down for the summer working for huge law firms. This, of course, I see is my perfect chance to see how socially unadjusted they all were. Bar review buddy and I walk in and introduce ourselves and within 30 seconds they had fallen into my well rehearsed trap. Amazingly, I did it all without pulling out my best southern accent.

$30k per year in law school tuition obviously doesn't do much for you. The first guy I came into contact informed me that he had spent a couple of days the previous year touring Natchez and Vicksburg. Das is ne perfekt!!! We chatted for a moment about what he saw and where he went. Then he hits me with the concern that was on his mind...slavery. I love to talk about a 150 year-old dead economic system, especially to people who know next to nothing about history, like this fella. After touring some of the "plantation homes" in Natchez he was shown the old registers and books which listed the value of the slaves kept, names, etc...

He was appauled by this, he couldn't articulate his emotions very well (that skill must be in the extra ivy league law school package which is $5k more a year) but the jist was that Southerns need to be more apologetic for slavery and the exploitation that went along with slavery. Polite was my first response. My second response was factual and explanatory about the historically accurate relationship that was common between master and slave. Third was my theoretical response where I asked him to move beyond the idea that it was ownership of another human being. Having not satisfied his desires by this point in time and despite my best socratic method, having failed to draw out his real concern, I moved to the final approach--abject apathy. The conversation ended something like this.

ivy leaguer: "I just don't understand, I expected a greater degree of sympathy and awareness from the tour guides showing us the records."

me: "Most people that I know in the South have dealt with this issue for their whole lives and for the lives of their parents. I think largely they have made their peace with it and have decided that it would be better to move on and move forward in life. Also, it is kind of foolish to continue to blame the current generations for the actions of those who lived 150 years ago, but if it makes you feel good you can continue to blame them for it...I'm sure they won't care that much anyway about your obviously learned opinion."

Afterwards I walked over openned another beer and proceeded to find the undercooked burgers.

The one thing that disgusts me more than stupidity and ignorance, is when morality is thrust into the middle of it and then used to espouse a way of life. While, not being from the South as a result of birth, I am still patriotic of my law school home and defensive when someone attacks it without having the first inclination of the historical facts which they are challenging. When I was in school in Ukraine my professor told us this great truism. He was filled with these truisms and it was like manna from heaven every time he gave us one-

A man can spend a week in a place whose culture and society is foreign to him and after that week he gets the desire to write an article about the place. The same man can spend a month in the same place and after that he'll get the desire to write a book detailing his travels and the oddities that he faces. It isn't until after that man spends a lifetime in that place that he realizes that all his previous efforts were foolish and fruitless and there is no way that he can encapsulate what he has experienced for those who will never experience it.

After leaving that BBQ, bar review buddy turned to me and said (obviously saracastically) "those ivy leaguers know how to party." Had this been Arizona State (his institute of higher learning) we would be doing keg stands and diving into the local swimming pools. I looked at him and responded, had it been Ole Miss we'd all be whiskey drunk screaming off the balconys on the Square at passers-by. I guess class is something regional after all.

On a personal note, I realize now why Georgetown looks different at night compared to other cities in this country--the street lights. They don't use the same orange sulfur lights but rather something else. It's really strange, but definitely makes things look nicer.

Thursday, June 15, 2006

DC World Tour

I guess that really is a totally incorrect statement and Scanlon will call me on it. I'll walk into work next week and Scanlon come up to me and say, "how can it be a world tour if it's just one city?" Ok, so it's just a trip up to DC and that's it.

I spent the last two days driving through some of the prettiest country I've seen in a long time and have arrived here along the shores of the Potomac ready to begin my search for a new home. Come this Fall, I'll be the newest member of the Federal Govt's growing attorney roster and thought that it was about time to find me a place to live. I'd been pushing off the hunt as long as I could, but suddenly I caught Potomac fever and now here I am.

The trip was uneventful, which was a blessing. I'm still hampered by my sprained wrist which made driving and using the turn signal a little more difficult than it should have been. I spent the night in Bristol, TN. The area was just gorgeous. I'd had a great chat with some random folk at the local watering hole where I put down the biggest and tallest cold one I've seen in a long time.

Random folk are great to meet. You don't have to worry about what you say to them because you'll never see them again. You don't and they don't put on an aire of superiority because what the heck do you have to prove. It's definitely better than the typical bar association happy hour...I mean at least with random folk you don't have to pretend like your interested in their insurance defense case work.

I'm excited about my soon-to-be new home and my new professional life. I cannot wait for my first Cosi chat with the queen of Cap Hill, or the impending questions from my high school buddy about joining the volunteer fire fighters in Falls Church. So tomorrow morning the hunt begins in full.

Monday, June 12, 2006

And the Bad Luck Continues

I think it's offical, this cycling season has been cursed. I'm typing now with only one hand because I had my 4th crash of the year. Over the last two years I crashed only once at Tyson's Corner two years back. So far this season on top of the crashes and the flat at Tri Peaks I can add dropping my chain twice in the TT last weekend at the Giro d' Rankin.

The wrist is sprained and in a splint. I pulled some muscles in my leg and I'm sore everwhere else. Therefore I've decided to take sometime off from racing. I don't think the pocket book can take much more of this. It's my right hand so now I've gotta brush my teeth, comb my hair and tie my tie with my bad hand. I never realized how uncoordinated I am with my left hand. Guess I'm going to have to learn to make it all work.

The crash was my fault. I was just a little too aggressive going through a corner in the crit and put the pedal into the pavement. When I dropped I was able to grab the top tube of the guy behind as he came over the top of me. That saved him from a lot of road rash and kept his bike from getting hurt. My machine is just fine, no damage to speak of, so I continue to get lucky in that regard.

For the road race this weekend in the 96 degree heat I continued to have troubles with hydration. I tried a gatorade and water mix, but it was still too sugary for me to get it down quickly. I went with Gu packets and that really hit the spot. It was a big change from my dry Nature Valley bars that I had been using till then. I think I'll stick with them for the future when I start racing again.

Well, it's off to DC in 2 days. I was going to race and ride while there, but I'm not even going to take a bike this time.

Monday, June 05, 2006

South Carolina Road Trip

Btw...if anyone reads this post who lives in Clemson, rides bikes and is named Ben is interested I'm thinking about driving through in 8 days or so, and maybe we might do some mountain riding for a day?


My weight in January 2006: 175lbs

My weight in June 2006: 155lbs

I think the diet is working, but I won't be sure until my body is so calorie starved that it begins to cannibalize the tissue in my spine causing me to shrink in height. When I hit that point I'll officially be ready to race.

The most recent struggle I'm facing is getting the calories necessary to keep going. I've started a new training/eating regime now. I'm giving up the chocolate Lucky Charms for Raisin Brain and I'm going to carry a banana with me during my morning rides. Afterwards I'm going to down my favorite Slim Fast shake on the way to work in place of my Pop-Tart. Just looking at my eating habits for the last couple of months I'm amazed that I continue to survive.

Back in Kansas I could get away with drinking little and eating less because of the temperatures and distances that I raced. However, here in the South where we are so close to the damned sun I cannot do that anymore. This weekend we start our road race at 1:30PM on Saturday, where the forecasted temperature is 96. That's insane, it isn't even summer yet.

So the question I pose to the more knowledgeable members of the cycling community is how the heck to hydrate and put calories into your body efficiently. I've seen a million different gimmicks and supplements and crap ad naseum, but what actually works? What is going to get me to the last 20 miles of a race in a position where my body can react when called upon and not run the risk of cramping or bonking out?