30 November 2008

American victory...

Here is something that kicks ass. Why? American Katie Compton won a world cup cross race this weekend in of all places, Belgium. Why is this a big deal? I'm not aware of any other American ever winning a World Cup Cyclocross race in the history of the sport. I do remember a bunch of years ago, maybe 8 or so, being at a mountain bike race somewhere in Pennsylvania, probably in Philadelphia, and watching the women's race. I was wondering who the really fast woman was racing for Trek-JBL at the time, turns out, it was Miss Compton. She was fast then, and I think she is faster now. She does have a pretty good little back story to her racing success.

Not too long ago, Compton was racing bikes, but as the sighted captain of a blind tandem team. She competed at the highest levels of that sport on the track with her partner, and I believe, if I remember correctly, that her and blind stoker won several gold medals at the paralympics over the years. During that time, Compton was living in Colorado, and riding cross races with the cat 2/3 men, and either winning those races, or being in podium positions most of the time. Take it from a guy who has been "girled" in several races in his career, those guys did not like that happening, but I'm sure, just like me, she earned a grudging respect from those guys during those races, and they also probably realized, that indeed, that woman was fast. She was bound to do some damage. See, thing is, she wouldn't race UCI women's cross races, because then she wouldn't be able to pilot the tandem as the sighted captain for her blind stoker. So for a number of years, she would just race the local cross races, beat the boys, and also beat the women (she would double down on races on a given weekend).

One year, she showed up for the US Cyclocross national race, looking to take the national championship jersey. She showed up, and the women who didn't know her, were wondering, "Who is this woman? She's going to get smoked.." See, women's bike racing, at least in my experience, can be very "catty". In other words, when you have core group of women who are racing against one another, week in, and week out, they are nice to one another, but if an "outsider" shows up to spoil their fun, and arranged pecking order, they seem to take offense at this. I'm sure Compton showing up to nationals looking for a big win was really no different. They started her in the back, since she had no points from the year's racing, and the race started.

Compton surged to the front in the first or second lap, took a look behind her, and then dropped the best women cyclocross riders in the US, and took her first national championship. Again though, she didn't bother competing the following year in the UCI races, for the same reason that she didn't want to lose her eligibility for the paralympics. And again, she showed up at the start line of nationals the following year, and again, starting in the back row, and yes, again, surging through the mass of women, and winning another national championship jersey. I think since that time, she's pretty much won the national championship every year since then.

She has now moved on to Europe. She took that win yesterday, took 2nd last year at World Championships, and I believe we may see her in the rainbow jersey before too long, or actually, possibly, at the end of this year's season in Europe. She's been close before, and I can foresee her winning the "big one" in the coming months, and if she does, we'll have another World Champion in cyclocross, I believe Matt Kelly was the first for the US, having taken the U23 title a number of years ago at Poprad, and hence the naming of the LeMond cross bike after his win there. Kelly though faded into the "where are they now" file after his win, and I believe Compton, will be winning for a few years yet to come, and I'll be happy to see that happen.

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28 November 2008


Here I sit, on the couch, the morning after Thanksgiving, and I think that I'm still working food through my gut. It was an extravaganza yesterday. We didn't go the normal route, well, the normal foodstuffs route. We did go the normal route of stuffing ourselves silly, but alas, it was not with turkey and the usual stuff. Here is what we had for our Thanksgiving:

Cheese Ball
Various Marinated Olives
Sausage Balls
Peppered Salami w/ Bleu Cheese
Relish Tray
Various Pickles
Spinach and Artichoke Dip
Various Cheeses and Crackers
Champagne and Wine

I've got to say, it was pretty damn good. Sure, I'm a little sad about not getting turkey, but the sausage balls and cheese ball more than made up for that stuff missing out of our day. Instead of feasting in a huge amount once, we put the stuff out on the table, and then just grazed, more or less, for hours on end. The other thing we did other than eat, was to watch part of season 3 of Bones, or some of the episodes. We did end up heading towards bed around 8:30, after a long day of eating, drinking, and lazing about.

Today, we're going to head out, and battle the masses on Black Friday. First, we've got to get Steph's new watch sized, but the thing is, we don't need to purchase anymore gifts. Steph did all of our Christmas shopping weeks ago, which is fine by me. We decided to divide and conquer this year. I got the easy part. I had to purchase the tickets for us to head home to Maine for Christmas, and she got to buy the gifts for everyone. I'm glad she did the gift buying, mostly because I'm not that good at it, and I would have put it off for far too long, and would have been rushing like a day before to get everything done and bought, and wrapped. Now I don't know if she likes getting all of the gifts, but she's good at it.

We have our 1 year anniversary coming up, on Monday. In a fit of compulsion buying the other night, I got her a somewhat fancy watch (see above) for our anniversary. I figured it would be something that she could keep for possibly a long time. So I was glad to get it for her. Me, being me, and not being able to wait to give gifts to my wife, almost as soon as I got home, I busted out her gifts. First, we had the watch. Then, I figured since I was already at the mall, I would get her a fancy dress
from Banana Republic, and gave that to her for Christmas / her Birthday (which is on the 8th). Now, all of my personal shopping is done. Also in the plans for the anniversary, is to go to the Richmond Hill Inn, just outside our hometown of Asheville for a fancy dinner on Monday night. I'm pretty psyched about that. The place looks great, but we'll see how much I like it after we eat there. I seem to have this issue about fine dining, meaning, I'm seldom really super impressed by someone's food. I guess I'm just a harsh critic or something like that. Don't know for sure.

Tomorrow, tomorrow starts the fitness plan for myself. I've not really had much of a chance to workout, or to get into good shape since this Spring, mostly because the new job got in the way, then the move, then the house buying, moving into the new house, putting in the fence, doing work at the house, and so on and so forth. It's been a busy year of turmoil. Good turmoil, but turmoil nonetheless. It made my normal pattern and way of doing things pretty much not able to be done, and so, we start all over again. It's OK though, I plan on being at my planned "race" weight by March, or April. I've got a goal (which I'm going to keep to myself for now), and I plan on making it. I'm definitely not afraid of hard work, and sacrifice in the pursuit of fitness, so we'll grind it out, and see what happens. I've thought about racing again, but we'll see how that shakes out. Living now in Asheville, it is going to be easy to do a bunch of training races right near my house, and also there is always a bunch of racing in Greenville, SC, which is but a short drive away for me. So who knows, I might do some. We'll see how it all shakes out come March.

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26 November 2008

Good stuff.

Good stuff, and oh so true. See below...


04 November 2008

Everyone repeat after me...

Everyone repeat after me...

President Elect Barack Obama. Hell yes!

He did it. He won. We have wrested control of the White House from the republican death hold that it has been in here for 8 years now. I hope that Obama can bring the country back together, and lead like I know what he can. And really, to think, just a short 40 years ago or so, black people couldn't vote in most parts of our country, and now, we have an African American President of this country to the world. I do believe that we'll see a turn and an almost immediate change in how the world perceives the United States starting tomorrow morning, and moving forward through the next 4 years. 

And now, I want to see how many electoral votes Obama actually accumulates before this is all over and done with this evening.

Great job Mr. President Elect. You've earned it. Take a few days off, and then, get to work, and don't let us down. Don't let us down as a party, as a country, and as a citizen of the world.

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02 November 2008

Not that's cross...

Check out that picture. Now that is cyclocross my friends. I'm glad to see Sven Nijs still kicking ass and holding it down over there in Europe. There have been a few chinks in his armor in recent races, but the man still dominates the sport. Adding to the hardcore type nature of cyclocross, this race was run up the famed Koppenberg, in less than desirable weather conditions (as can be seen from the picture). Amazing. These guys are as hard as woodpecker lips. Just thought that I'd share this with you.

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