Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Nader

I forgot to mention that I saw Nader at Hudson News in Union Station just before Christmas. That makes the third time this year. It seems a little depressing to me that such a distinguished man should be reduced to holding book signings at what is essentially a convenience store. Nestled between the candy rack and the peanut display, Ralph signs books as tired bureaucrats hurry to purchase a soda and a magazine for the train ride home. I know he gets a bad wrap, but it seems strange to see a former presidential candidate reduced to such conditions. Maybe next year he'll get upgraded to Dalton Books.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Miami Christmas

Jeff and I have been enjoying the holidays in my hometown of Miami. In addition to getting in some good family time, it is also nice to have a brief reprieve from the snow and freezing rain. Getting dressed for a cold ride really is a big time commitment. Working up the nerve to put on a cold heart rate monitor, the chilling surprise of ice-cold chamois cream, running around the house to find that missing glove; that's about 30 minutes of prep time right there.

Unlike last year, we have decided not to log in the big miles over the holidays. During the 2008 holiday season one of our big rides was out to Key Largo, which might sound like a good idea, but actually amounts to miles and miles of shoulderless, monotonous roads with limited ocean views. This year we have finally accepted the reality of the lack of bike friendliness in south Florida and have resigned to the one decent road ride in Miami ...out to Key Biscayne. This is also a fairly hectic ride, with very little shoulder available until you finally reach the Rickenbacker Causeway. What a dirty trick, that such a warm place to live should be so intimidating for bikes and pedestrians. (photo: notice the lack of shoulder)

Aside from riding, we have enjoyed doing some tourist stuff. Last night we enjoyed a night on South Beach. Rosa was especially excited to take us to Opa, a Greek restaurant where management regularly encourages customers to dance on the tables. By the end of the evening, even Rosa found herself taking advantage of this rare opportunity to live it up on the table tops. I found Miami Beach to be much more bicycle friendly than I ever remember; however, I was a bit disturbed by the frequency of cyclists riding against traffic while in the bike lane. No really ...it really bothered me ...I'm still irritated just thinking about it.

So, Jeff and I will again head out for a ride to Key Biscayne tomorrow. I'm working on my jersey tan while we're here.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

USA Cycling Annual Report


Is it narcissistic to link to yourself? I'm not sure. Either way, here's a link to my recent post on the League Blog.

Kelley Acres in the News!

Kelley Acres Speed Shop in the Frederick Post!

(Me & Joos at Kelley Acres)

Monday, December 21, 2009

Wicks Poetic


In my opinion, Barry Wicks is the best creative writer in the men's pro field.
Cross Nats Reflections posted on VeloNews

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Snow Ride!

Originally I had hoped to get in eight hours of ride time this weekend, but now that our free cable has been disconnected and the snow has reached over twenty inches, I really can't bring myself to log in big hours on the rollers. With a brief hiatus from winter training, I was able to enjoy a leisure Saturday morning snow ride. Mr. & Mrs. Outlaw rallied the troops and together we plowed our way around the streets of Frederick. Post ride libations were had at Brewer's Alley. It was a good day.






























Friday, December 18, 2009

Frederick Bicycle Coalition

It's official! The Frederick Bicycle Coalition is up and running. Now all we need is a logo and some members! Maybe it's time to brush the dust off the 1999 Frederick County Bikeways and Trail Plan. Those lanes aren't gonna paint themselves. Some other exciting items on our agenda include a pump track proposal as well as ambitions to become Maryland's first BFC (Bicycle Friendly Community). More details to follow...

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Climate Summit

Now that I'm also blogging at work, I might as well get my money's worth. Here's a link to a piece on the Climate Summit in Copenhagen: From Climate Summit to US Climate Bill. (photo by J. Peel)

Monday, December 14, 2009

Eatough's Retirement


Last Saturday Jeff and I headed over to Ellicot City for Chris Eatough's surprise retirement party. The gathering was not only a celebration of his racing accomplishments, but also of his character and model sportsmanship throughout his career. Leaving his mark on the mountain bike world, Chris continues his passion for cycling as BikeArlington's program specialist.

Friday, December 11, 2009

CoreHaus Grand Opening

James and Sheba announce the GRAND OPENING of the CoreHaus in Petworth on Saturday from 4pm - 8pm. According the the Thrillist their shop specializes in "raw, burly, and unfinished home décor, either found as-is or crafted from discarded objects, all in furtherance of a refined aggro aesthetic he calls industrial vulgar. " I have always admired the rugged elegance of their home decor (especially the giant gear) and look forward to browsing the CoreHaus inventory of industrial vulgarities.

When: Saturday, December 12th
Where: 825 Upshur St NW, Washington, DC.
Time: 4pm -8pm

Food & Refreshments provided
Learn more about James and the Corehaus at the Thrillist.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Gripped Films

A Ride with George Hincapie will be showing this evening (7:30pm) at the Arlington Cinema Drafthouse! Proceeds will go towards the making of Gripped Films upcoming movie, Chasing Legends, scheduled to come out in the spring. Show your support for DC's local talent! More details HERE

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Brookings Cycling Symposium

Last night my colleagues and I attended a symposium at the Newseum entitled, "Cities, Bicycles, and the Future of Getting Around". The event gathered some of the most active, passionate, and forward thinking bike advocates in the country including Tim Blumenthal from Bikes Belong, Portland's Bicycle Coordinator Roger Geller, and even our very own Chris Eatough from BikeArlington. (photo courtesy of League staff)

The symposium opened with David Byrne of the Talking Heads, who recently published his book, Bicycle Diaries. David began with a photo of Columbia, MD where his elderly parents now live and are stranded due to the autocentric design of the community. He then went on to highlight some of his favorite books including Twenty Minutes in Manhattan, The Death and Life of Great American Cities, and hmmmm ...damn it, I can't remember the third book. At any rate, he continued with a photo diary of his travels around the world on bike, identifying those places that have successfully created streets with people and community in mind.

Following David, Congressman Earl Blumenauer (an icon in the world of bike policy) opened with what he proclaimes to be the universal question of bike advocates ...and it goes something like this: "How many people are currently stuck in traffic on their way to ride a stationary bike at the gym?". A perverse notion, indeed. He then went on to talk about the new bill he recently introduced to congress that would create $2 billion dollars in federal funds for investments in active transportation. Blumenauer described the cyclist as an indicator species of a healthy community. The hobby ecologist in me loves eco-metaphors.
Jannette Sadik-Kahn, commissioner of the New York city Department of Transportation, closed things up with the announcement the launching of "Cities for Cycling", a new coalition of cities pushing for rapid improvements in bikeway design. Recognizing the lack of federal attention to the issue, the coalition aims to assist transportation planners as they create innovative bikeways by providing them with technical guidance on best practices that have been observed in some of America's most bicycle friendly cities.

Sadly, I forgot my camera at the office and missed a photo op. with David Byrne. Hopefully my quick sketch will suffice. I drew it from memory, so it might not be very accurate.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Season Ahead

For the upcoming season I have finally decided to simplify my life. Now that I am thirty, I think I am ready to listen to that still, small voice that says to me "Anna, for f#@! sake, stop spreading yourself so thin". So, in honor of my inner wise woman (and the prodding of friends and family) I have finally decided to focus entirely on mountain biking for the 2010 season. As hard as it will be for me to let go of the road scene, I really believe this is the best decision for my mental and physical health.

As one of the newest team members on Gripped Racing, I attended the team's first meeting of the season at Conte's on Thursday night. I've actually never been to any of the Conte's shops, and was very impressed with their overall shop morale and enthusiasm for the team. Team manager, Jason Berry, really has done a great job of putting together a well run team.

Preparing for the season ahead, the 2010 Kenda Cup race schedule has been posted. Although the current organization is a bit confusing, it looks like the 2010 schedule has some good races. I'm especially looking forward to Tsali and Windham.

In other news, good times were had at James and Mel's ugly Christmas sweater party last night. The cherry bomb launching was a real crowd pleaser. Not to brag, but I was among the few to catch the cherry. I think it's a sign of a promising racing season in 2010.

Cherry Bomb Slingshot
video

Friday, December 4, 2009

BFF

The Bicycle Film Fest kicks off at Asylum (Fri. 9pm) with the infamous goldsprints. Screenings are on Saturday at United States Navy Memorial Theater - 701 Pennsylvania Ave NW. This is the first year the BFF has made it to DC! Very exciting! Should be better than the Bike Porn Film Festival a couple years ago.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving in the Pisgahs

Thursday morning Jeff and I loaded up the truck and headed down south for Thanksgiving with my family in the North Carolina mountains. Along the way, we stopped off at Love's, one of my favorite road side rest stops (exit 84 off I-81). They carry a pretty diverse inventory with everything from Native American dolls and dream catchers to Christian t-shirts, jumbo stuffed animals, and side view mirrors. Jeff was especially taken with their Krispy Kreme display and polished off a bag of doughnuts before we hit the Tennessee border. Arriving in Hendersonville around 4pm we were warmly welcomed by my mom and step-Dad.












The following day we headed for the Pisgahs. Normally we ride up Black Mountain over by Davidson River, but I decided to try and mix things up and visit the trails around North Mills River. Because we weren't exactly looking for an epic ride, I decided we should try to piece smaller trails together rather than heading up Laurel Mountain where I have spent much time extremely lost due to a slew of bandit trails. So, it didn’t turn out to be the best ride I’ve ever planned. A number of deep stream crossings forced us to backtrack a good bit, and I was particularly disappointed by some significant erosion problems.













Saturday was kind of a bust due to matching husband and wife chest colds.

Sunday we made our way to our favorite loop in the Pisgahs: Black Mountain Trail, to Buckwheat Knob, and finally to Bennett Gap. It was a crystal clear, slightly chilly, Sunday morning and not a hunter was in sight. Altogether, this 17 mile loop provides 3,300 feet of climbing with an average grade of 9% (data courtesy of Jeff). This has to be my all time favorite loop in the Pisgahs, with breath taking mountain views, technical rocky descents, endless climbs, and pristine mountain streams.

Dirty and tired we made a quick change in the parking lot, climbed aboard Jeff’s trusty Tacoma, and headed north to Maryland. Stopping again at Love's, I was disappointed with my selection of generic gummy bears. There really is no substitute for Haribo.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Michaux


Yesterday Jeff and I met up with Roger and the Sornson's for a nice long ride in Michaux. Every time I ride in Michaux I have absolutely no idea where I am. Yesterday's ride covered whatever area the summer race takes place in. Wherever we were, I am always impressed by the miles and miles of uninterrupted single track.

After a good four hour ride, we piled back into Lee's truck and headed for the Sornson estate. There we enjoyed a hearty dinner if venison chili and libations. Even with a sink overflowing with dishes, a hamper overflowing with clothes, and walls in desperate need of painting, I'm glad we found the time to spend a day in the woods with good friends and beautiful trails. Thanks again to Lee & Cheryl for hosting the day's events!

And as a side story, I find it interesting that, although the Michaux State Forest was named after a french botanist, Andre Michaux, the Michaux family name is also linked to the invention of the bicycle. It seems that the forest's name sake sealed it's destiny as a sanctuary for East Coast mountainbiking. (Read more below)

Pierre and Ernest Michaux:
Many historians credit Pierre and Ernest Michaux as being the true inventors of the modern bicycle. This father and son duo operated a company that made carriages in Paris when they first assembled a two-wheeled vélocipède around 1867. This bike was was propelled like a tricycle, with its cranks and pedals connected to the front wheel. (about.com)

Andre Michaux:
The Michaux State Forest is located in Adams, Cumberland and Franklin counties. It is named in honor of Andre Michaux, a French botanist, dispatched by the King and Queen of France in 1785 to gather plants for the Royal Gardens. He and his son Francois Andre Michaux are noted for discovering and identifying a host of flowers, shrubs and trees. (pennsylvania dcnr)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Amongst Brown Waves

Last night Jeff and I ventured over to Capitol Hill to see Margaux's one woman plan, "Black & Kinky Amongst Brown Waves." The performance seamlessly pieced together a collection of poems from her experiences while living in India. She will also be performing on Saturday and Sunday night at the Capitol Hill Arts Workshop.







League Blog

Just finished a report on the Highway Safety Improvement Program and how it can be used for bike/ped infrastructure. A Reader's Digest version of the report can be found on the League of American Bicyclists recently revived blog. If you're not outraged, you're not paying attention! (photo by gwadzilla)

Monday, November 16, 2009

Weekend in Richmond

This past weekend I attended a conference down in Richmond put on by our sister organization, The Alliance for Bike and Walking. Being the loving husband that he is, Jeff agreed to come along for the ride and base his weekend training out of the Quality Inn. I also snuck off to get in some of my own riding, as sitting in a conference all day tends to make me cranky. On Saturday I headed towards the west side of town and eventually met up with the Conte’s ride. It was a gray dreary morning and I was most grateful for their company.

Sunday Jeff and I rode along bike route #1, which parallels the James River and eventually spits you out on a pretty busy road with a glass sprinkled bike lane that eventually dwindles into nothing. I will say that the riding along River Road afforded us beautiful views of the James River.

Unfortunately, the trail conditions were too muddy for mountain biking, but I was super impressed to see a decent network of trails easily accessible by bike from town. Judging by their signage, it looks like they’ve got some pretty gnarly trails. Looks like stick man is about to eat some shit (enlarge photo above for full effect)

So, it wasn’t exactly a fun weekend getaway, but we made the best of it. Oh, and the gods were smiling on Jeff as the Coke machine rewarded him with four for the price of one. His eyes sparkled with the magic of Christmas morning.