To cast or not to cast?

September 25, 2017 § 41 Comments

One of the best things about writing a mostly-regular blog is that it keeps you in shape. One of the worst things about writing a mostly-regular blog is that is looms over you each day until it’s finished, like a giant safe suspended over your genitals, ready to be dropped should you fail to bang out the requisite half-baked thought or meaningless musing.

Of course as a friend pointed out, “You don’t have to do it,” but that’s mostly like telling a drunk “You don’t have to take another drink,” when it is very much in the nature of being a drunk that yes, in fact, you do, else you will no longer be one.

A while back a different friend called and suggested I do a podcast. I was dismissive. “Where the fuck am I going to get the time for that?” [Side note: It’s weird that friends don’t call me up very often.]

Anyway, my eldest son started a most excellent podcast dedicated to Magic the Gathering in Austria, and it warmed the cockles of my heart to see that my offspring had decided to focus on a microcosm within a niche within a microfissure that was, if anything, potentially more narrowly focused than delusional profamateur avid recreational cycling in the South Bay of Los Angeles.

“Have you ever thought of doing a podcast?” he asked.

“Yes,” I said, but didn’t add the “Where the fuck am I going to get the time for that?”

I listened to his podcast and liked it and thought I would give it a try. “It can’t be any harder than blogging,” I thought, “and it can’t be any less interesting.”

Now I’ve completed my third Low Fidelity Podcast and can say that podcasting isn’t any harder than blogging, but it isn’t any easier, and it sure takes a lot more equipment. You also don’t get any do-overs unless you have that thing called “time,” and those things called “editing skills” and that thing called “patience.”

Several people politely said they like the first two Low Fidelity Podcasts, and several people politely said they didn’t, but since only a couple of them were actual $2.99 subscribers, I took it all with a rather large grain of IDGAF. Going forward, I’ll try to do a little of both paying great attention to those who pay and studiously ignoring the deadbeats. The variety of talk/write is easier on my brain, and switching from broadcasting to blogging and back again takes my eye off the dangling safe, if ever so slightly.

So here’s Low Fidelity Podcast #3: World champions? (Please don’t pay attention to my stomach gurgling noises, thank you.)

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PS: Don’t forget the Wanky’s. As if you could. And I may have forgotten to mention that there is free food and beer for the first 300 guests, so get there early.

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Low fidelity Podcast #2: Pumping

September 23, 2017 § 9 Comments

A long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away … bike pumping! Click on the above link to listen. Extra special high quality equipment and boss recording techniques approved by sound technicians used in the recording, editing, and post-production of this broadcast.

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For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and get none of the news that’s fit to print but all the news that’s fun to read. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

PS: Don’t forget the Wanky’s. As if you could. And I may have forgotten to mention that there is free food and beer for the first 300 guests, so get there early.

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Low fidelity Podcast #1: NPR!

September 22, 2017 § 65 Comments

Click the bar above and listen to the podcast.

You can click the link in this sentence and see video of the September 19, 2017 NPR crash.

Podcast recorded from the comfort of my bed, spoken into my iPhone.

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One foot in the grave

September 20, 2017 § 45 Comments

After finishing that very long bicycle ride back on September 9, all 243 miles of it, I have been very tired and very hungry. At least one of my co-conspirators has also felt like, how shall we say it, shit?

Falling asleep at weird times, eating compulsively, general mental and physical malaise … it’s obviously going to take my fragile old skeleton a while to get back to its normally fragile old state. This has caused me to reflect about the toll that this kind of effort takes in a big picture way, not in a “When will I feel good enough to hammer the Donut?” way.

There is a lot of sciencey evidence that says long-interval endurance sports aren’t particularly good for a whole particular bunch of people. Basically, your heart has a finite number of beats. How do you want to spend them? Because riding your bike hard for long distances will get you less mileage out of your heart, not more.

One friend has answered that clearly. She went from suited-up, middle-aged hammerhead to helmetless, floppy shorts-and-flipflops on a beach cruiser. She still gets in 100 miles or so a week, looks great, goes super slow, knows everyone on the beach path, and doesn’t get any closer to a Fartlek than I do to cigar bar.

If you think that lots of hard exercise is good for you, and you believe in science, you have a problem. A study recently came out that says triathletes’ hearts stop a lot more often than other people’s, to the tune of about 1.74 times per 100,000. If you’re over age 60 and for some incredible reason still trying to do three sports badly, your risk skyrockets to 18 per 100,000.

That is crazily out of whack with ordinary Americans, who are the world’s fattest, least active, least healthy people on the planet. In other words, if you’re a couch-sitting, Cheez-it scarfing, beer-swilling slug, there are about .5 heart attacks per 100,000 people. If you sell the couch, swear off the beer, burn the Cheez-its, cancel your 24/7 NFL subscription and start your fake middle-aged-wanker bikeracerunswimming career, your chance of having a heart attack skyrockets to 1.74 per 100,000. If you are in the leaky prostate division, it’s 36 times higher.

[*Note to people who don’t believe in global warming: Since all of the above is based on science and numbers, the same things that drive your Strava account and Garmin, you can ignore it. Please pedal harder for longer.]

It’s easy to understand why all this activity is bad for you. Your heart is a muscle and it wears out. It’s also easy to understand why this would be the same for other activities that require your heart to be more or less pinned for hours at a time, like my ride to Santa Barbara. The effect of extended exertion on the heart has been well documented in an article by Leonard Zinn, published a couple of years ago in VeloSnooze.

We all have sat up after a particularly nasty effort and laughed, nervously, while we said to ourselves or out loud, “This can’t be good for you.”

Well, it’s not.

To which I say, so what? Or better yet, to which I say, listen to this song and get back to me.

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For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and get none of the news that’s fit to print but all the news that’s fun to read. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

PS: Don’t forget the Wanky’s. As if you could. And I may have forgotten to mention that there is free food and beer for the first 300 guests, so get there early.

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You’re fired

September 19, 2017 § 19 Comments

My friend and former boss Barbara Radnofsky wrote a book about impeachment. It is called “A Citizen’s Guide to Impeachment.” It explains impeachment.

download

Her book is crazy short. Eighty-eight pages short. I don’t know if it was intentional, but 1788 was the year that the U.S. Constitution was ratified.

This book isn’t partisan any more than an elementary physics textbook is partisan, i.e. here is how shit works. The only beef I have with the book is the title. It should be called “How to Fire the President, Judges, and Assorted Fuck-ups.”

Barbara’s book is beautifully written. It is timely. It is informative. It is written by someone with overwhelming faith in our democracy at a time when faith like that is hard to come by. It only has a couple of typos and one subject-verb disagreement.

Barbara’s book is important because we need to fire the president. Most people don’t understand how to fire the sonofabitch, including the saps in charge of firing him, i.e. Congress. What confuses people most are the reasons for which a president can be fired.

You won’t be confused after reading “A Citizen’s Guide to Impeachment,” because Barbara goes over every single impeachment case, all nineteen of them, that has happened since 1788. Each has a lesson. Each shows how the system has evolved. Each shows how the system works. Each shows how Madison/Hamilton/Jay/Mason/Morris et al. were so fucking smart. Each historical example shows why, without naming him, Trump should be fired, shitcanned, tossed out on his ass, shown the door, terminated, relieved of duty, discharged, dismissed, booted, given the axe, and sent packing.

I am not an especially fast reader and I blew through “A Citizen’s Guide to Impeachment” in two short sittings. It’s fine and flowing writing, unheard of for anything since the history of time that had the word “impeachment” in it. If you have two hours to spend on Facebag this week, you have two hours to save our democracy.

Barbara will be in Manhattan Beach on October 13 for a book signing at {pages}: a bookstore. I’m springing for delicious snacks and beer from Strand Brewing. You’ll learn how to fire incompetent officials, but you’ll also learn that Barbara is a lovely person, a fine speaker, and a real smarty-pants. There will be a Q&A afterwards and a big dose of fun.

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For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and get none of the news that’s fit to print but all the news that’s fun to read. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

PS: Don’t forget the Wanky’s. As if you could. And I may have forgotten to mention that there is free food and beer for the first 300 guests, so get there early.south_bay_cycling_awards_poster_2017_final

Making a difference

September 18, 2017 § 20 Comments

On Sunday I got up and rode to the Center of the Known Universe, where about a hundred fellow lizard collectors had gathered to do the weekly club ride. We left CotKU in a rather unruly fashion, as might have been expected.

I hadn’t wanted to go because I was tired from the day before, and from the day before, and from the day before, all the way back to last Saturday. But it was going to be the annual club photo followed by a club video riding out on PCH. The photos and video were being shot by our club’s biggest sponsor, BeachBody Performance.

bbpl-products-energize

Every year they pour a very significant amount of money into our club. Not fake money, cash money. In addition to that, they provide the club with mountains of their energy/protein/magic powders. One of the mountains is free, the other mountain is at a greatly reduced cost. The total value of the real cash plus the powder mountains approaches six figures. For all I know, it exceeds it.

Our club, unaffectionately known as Team Lizard Collectors but affectionately known as Big Orange Cycling, cannot possibly generate six figures in sales for BeachBody. I know this because scientists have shown over and over that no organism is as cheap and tight-fisted as the serious avid recreational Internet-coached profamateur delusional hobby Cat 4 bicyclist.

What does BeachBody get out of it? For the last few years they have gotten this: A plague of brightly colored lizard collectors swooping through the streets of coastal Los Angeles doing what we lizard collectors do best, that is, have fun. Whether we are in Mallorca, Holland, France, Italy, Croatia, Japan, or home in Los Angeles, we are all oranged-up in our, er, distinctive kits (some of which, for a club called “Big Orange,” are inexplicably all-green), and we prominently display BeachBody’s logo and demonstrate BeachBody’s ethos, which is to go forth and have fun even if you look pretty silly doing it.

This sponsor has been directly responsible for the addition of countless riders into organized cycling. Our club offers skills training, urban riding skills classes, racing clinics, and a weekly club ride that focuses on getting yelled at for five solid hours by Dear Leader G3, which is probably the best simulation for bike racing ever. Some of our most highly talented new riders such as K-Sulk have learned to tell people to “Fuck off!” with the ease and practiced raised middle finger as if he had been racing for decades.

In short, without telling Big Orange what to do, BeachBody Performance has made it possible to expand programs and activities that popularize cycling and that make cycling safer. More fun. More safety. Healthier lifestyle. Have a nice day and here’s a wad of cash to go with it!

And although most people use BeachBody goodies and find them very beneficial to their fake bicycling careers, not everyone in the club consumes our sponsor’s replacement drinks, electrolytes, and radiator fluid. Some people, like me, drink water for the first hundred miles of every ride and bonk for the rest of it, suffering horrible exhaustion, cramps, diarrhea, logorrhea, vomiting, migraines, graphomania, and rectal dysfunction for a couple of weeks. It’s not because we don’t like the sponsored product, it’s because we are simply used to doing things the old-fashioned way, i.e. dumbly.

In the same vein, all riders don’t utilize all of the other sponsors’ services. For example, not everyone gets run over by a car in order to purchase a certain bike injury lawyer’s services. Not everyone replaces all of the windows (Nuckles), breaks all of the indoor plumbing (Penta), or purchases 300 pairs of socks (Torrence) simply to satisfy the sponsor. BeachBody doesn’t care. They only insist that we keep riding and that we keep having fun.

They continue to be a committed and genuine advocate for riding bikes in LA. They make a difference, and it’s appreciated. And as hard as it is for us to go out and ride our bikes and have a good time week in and week out, it’s a sacrifice we’re all willing to make. Thanks!

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For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and get none of the news that’s fit to print but all the news that’s fun to read. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

PS: Don’t forget the Wanky’s. As if you could.

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End of an error

September 14, 2017 § 40 Comments

The era of organized bike racing is gone and it isn’t coming back. It has been replaced wholesale by Strava, grand fondues, club racing, and fun rides.

In unrelated news, the Kayle LeoGrande doping story got picked up by a news web site that focuses exclusively on Olympic sports. Kayle’s story is now running next to an article on the 2018 and 2024 Olympic host cities and a story about corruption at the very highest level of sport.

How the mighty have risen.

A friend sent me this incredibly sad post, which appears to come from Kayle’s Facebag page.

kaylefb

I think it’s sad because, if you read the story and the interview, you can see that Kayle is denying that he doped to improve his performance, something that the test results and his past behavior conclusively prove. A friend of mine who is a mental health expert and former bike racer identifies Kayle not as someone who should be pilloried, but someone who needs help and should be pitied. Perhaps he’s right. It’s very hard to read this without wincing.

In other, completely, totally, absolutely unrelated news, the last USAC crit of the year in Southern California, America’s hottest hotbed of crit racing, wrapped up last weekend. The men’s Pro 1/2/3 field had seven riders.

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For $2.99 per month you can subscribe to this blog and get none of the news that’s fit to print but all the news that’s fun to read. Click here and select the “subscribe” link in the upper right-hand corner. Thank you!

PS: Don’t forget the Wanky’s. As if you could.

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