Thursday, January 29, 2009

Inaugural Gleaning

Local DC artists Matt Sesow and Dana Ellyn used boards, gleaned from the inauguration parade bleachers, as a canvas for their latest works covering this historic event. Although their work is quite different in style and composition, they share a common love for dark political humor and bright vivid colors. Rather than dropping cash on matching Obama t-shirts or the coveted limited edition presedential ceramic plate collection, why not commemorate Obama's inauguration through the magic of recycled art? ("Aretha" & "Obama" by Dana Ellyn)

Dana Ellyn's art >>>> HERE
Matt Sesow's art >>>>

("Guest of Honor" by Matt Sesow)

Speaking of gleaning >>> "The Gleaners and I"

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Long Day

Monday, January 26, 2009

Dirt Rag

Sometimes I confuse rags with new undershirts. Jeff's illustration helped to clarify things...

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

The Big Day!!!

Jeff and I set off on the C&O just outside Frederick on Tuesday morning at roughly 7:30am. On any other day this would be my normal commute to work; however, today was special ….today, Jeff and I were making a pilgrimage to DC to take part in the most significant historic moment of our lives. We arrived in Georgetown around 10:30am, dropped our bags at the new CycleLife Gym, and headed for the national mall. Standing in the crowds we watched the jumbotron as Obama was sworn into office. It was truly a sacred moment. (photo: jumboTron on the lawn)

With a three hour ride home, we opted not to hang around too long. We grabbed a quick cup of coffee in Georgetown before we turned our bikes against the current and followed the Potomac back to Frederick. (photo credit: J. Schalk) Cold and tired, we arrived at the car just after 6pm. It was a monumental day that will forever be etched in our memories.

The day in pictures:

Monday, January 19, 2009

Faux Pro

Guest blogger: Jeff Schalk

I’ve only recently learned to ride on the rollers. I was always afraid of learning to use them, not wanting to crash in my own living room and look like an idiot. But, Anna inspired me to give it a try. After living with her for several months and watching her use them on a frequent basis, I began to get a complex… she is a better cyclist than me in many ways. I eventually concluded that a full-time cyclist should be able to ride rollers, so I gave it a try and it wasn’t so bad. Now I feel a little less like a phony, though I still nearly kill myself every other time I try to dismount the damn things. So, I’m still an idiot.

This reminds me of the many other things that I took way too long to learn how to do as a cyclist. The most ridiculous of all was simply learning how to ride without my hands on the bars – it wasn’t until my third year as a Pro when this happened… pathetic. It never really seemed that important as a MTB’er, and I apparently never thought I’d win anything worthy of having my arms raised. Then, I somehow won the Shenandoah 100 two years ago. I set the course record and took down Floyd Landis in the process, and as I crossed the finish line, all I could think was: “I am a tool.” My first winning photo on (see photo): my left hand is firmly planted on the bar and the other is giving a sad little wave of embarrassment.

So, I worked on it all last winter just in case I happened to win anything in 2008. Every recovery ride was without hands, and I prepared to look more Pro. My next chance came when I won the Cohutta 100 the next Spring. I took my hands off the bars for the entire paved straightaway as I approached the line, but I had no idea what to do with my arms. As I finished, all I could think of was a scene from the movie Talladega Nights – during Ricky Bobby’s first TV interview, he awkwardly stares at the camera and fidgets and mutters: “I’m not sure what to do with my hands.” So, I still felt like an idiot.

But, I’m getting better at some of these things… with a little practice. If you pass by our place in Frederick, and look up at our second floor window and see me riding the rollers with my arms raised in victory… well, I look like a tool because I’m trying to avoid looking like a tool later on.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Bridging the Gap

Representative Earl Blumenauer (D) received some much deserved praise in the Science section of yesterday's New York Times. A passionate bike advocate, Blumenauer has made great progress in the direction of creating more bike friendly communities in his home state of Oregon. As founder of the Cogressional Bike Caucus he has also helped to bridge the partisan gap and bring much needed attention to the rights of cyclists. With the twilight of the automotive age on the horizon, it is forward thinkers such as Blumenauer who will pave the way for a more sustainable future. (photo credit: New York Times)

Many of us have a long weekend coming up ...this might be a good opportunity to write Blumenauer a letter of thanks?

729 N.E. Oregon StreetSuite 115 Portland, OR 97232

2267 Rayburn House Office BuildingWashington, DC 20515

Monday, January 12, 2009

Suck It Up

I suppose no cycling related blog would be complete without the obligatory post on training while sick. The web is teaming with sites that would have you believe that it is better to err on the side of precaution when it comes to the common cold and training. For years I have operated under the assumption that there are no gains to be had when riding while sick; however, new studies may suggest otherwise…

Lorena and I are currently working on a contradicting theory suggesting that training through the common cold might actually help you get better faster. Although our pool of knowledge is based solely on random websites and hearsay; this should not deter you from trusting in our sage advice. As it happens, I was feeling a bit under the weather last week which gave me a great opportunity to test this new theory.

Case Study:
Monday & Tuesday I took it easy on account of an emerging sore throat. Wednesday’s two hour ride in the freezing rain (Sorry Steve! You make the weather call next time!) only helped to further the progress of my illness. Aside from my three hour ride to work on Friday I took things pretty easy the remainder of the week. Sunday morning came and I was stilling battling a sore throat; however, I decided to head out for a long ride in effort to test our new theory. About halfway through the ride my sore throat turned into a productive cough and by the time I got home I was expelling a copious supply of mucus (sorry, this blog post is not for the faint of heart). This morning I awoke feeling almost completely healthy! Yay! I’m cured!

Literature Review:

Everyday Athlete (the more conservative voice)
Runner's World
EAS Coaching
Testosterone Muscle

These references, coupled with my own experience have led me to conclude that it is indeed ok (if not beneficial) to train through the common cold provided it only involves issues above the neck (i.e. sore throat & runny nose). This theory does NOT apply to physical maladies below the neck (i.e. bronchial infection), as these tend to be more serious. Finding that fine line between the two can be tricky. I’d also like to suggest Cycle-Dumb as another fantastic source for revolutionary training ideas. (photo: Tony Little, icon of revolutionary indoor training)

Disclaimer: Lorena & I accept no legal responsibility for serious illness that may result from faulty medical advice. A grain of salt should be taken with any advice gleaned from our respective blogs.

photo credits:,,

Friday, January 9, 2009

Feet Without Gender

When it comes to footwear, the Euros really know what they’re doing. One size for both genders, that’s all you need. Why is it necessary that each gender should have its own sizing scale? I found this to be particularly frustrating when ordering my first pair of women’s specific SidiDominators. Up until now I’ve always worn men’s Sidis in a Euro 41, which converts to a women’s 8.5. But for some reason Sidi has decided to make their own brand of Euro sizing ….one for each gender. (click photo to enlarge sizing chart)

When my new shoes arrived I had a difficult time cramming my boat feet into a women’s 7.5 ….WTF? Looking at their sizing chart one is led to believe that a Euro 41 will translate into a women’s 8.5. I still don’t have a good explanation for the disparity in sizing, but I thought I would forewarn other women who might be in the market for some gender specific shoes ….don’t get burned like I did!!!

Speaking of gender specifics, today is the birthday of Simone de Beauvior (according to this morning's Writer’s Almanac), author of The Second Sex . A famous French feminist in the 1940s, she made the distinction between sex and gender. According to de Beauvoir, "One is not born, but rather becomes, a woman”. I wonder how that translates to shoes.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Flying Dog

Coincidentally, it looks like Flying Dog is making a neighborhood appearance this afternoon:

(seen from our living room window)

Tuesday, January 6, 2009


Our last night in Athens was spent sampling the various brews of Terrapin Beer as part of my induction into the Wake-n-Bake team. As the team’s newest member, I felt a certain responsibility to acquaint myself with the Terrapin product. The specialty brew of the night was the Dos Cocos (or something like that). I’m usually not a fan of darker beers, but this one was quite nice …something you might like to sip slowly by the fire. Next we tried the SunRay Wheat Beer made with honey from Savannah Georgia as well as the India Style Brown Ale, each of which were quite tasty. We finished off the evening with the award winning Rye Pale Ale which coincidentally was our favorite of the four.

Light weights that we are, Jeff and I opted not to sample the remaining beers and instead made our way to the gift shop. Fairly cold and slightly buzzed, the his and hers Terrapin sweatshirts seemed like a logical decision.

Terrapin Brewery (inspired by the Grateful Dead album “Terrapin Station”) is based out of Athens, Georgia and released its first beer in 2002. Since then Terrapin has developed a well rounded collection of beers, won honors at the World Beer Cup and Great American Beer Festival, and continues to expand its range of distribution. Turns out they also have a satellite brewery (Flying Dog) in Frederick!

New Year;Old Friends

I will forever have a soft spot in my heart for the quirky town of Athens, Georgia and the many friends I made while racing collegiately with the University of Georgia Cycling Team. It was the spring of 2002 that I lined up for my first bike race at the University of Florida ....little did I know that, seven years later, racing and riding would continue to be a major component of my life. Nothing can compare to the camaraderie of collegiate cycling. Over the course of my undergraduate career, we formed friendships that have weathered the test of time and distance. And so, it was a special occasion that all of us (well, some of us) gathered again to ring in the New Year in Athens. Some got married, some had babies, some moved to big cities and accomplished great things ....but at the core, we're still the same kids who love to ride bikes.

And if it weren't for Jake's unrelenting passion for taking photos most of these gatherings would go undocumented. Thanks again Jake!!!