Tuesday, March 30, 2010

BikeSnobNYC is Eben Weiss (no, really!)

(photo by Shelby Gates)

BikeSnobNYC, after years of anonymity, has revealed himself to be Eben Weiss, bike racer, writer, husband, soon-to-be-father, and former literary agent. The reason he outed himself? His new book, Bike Snob: Systematically & Mercilessly Realigning the World of Cycling Culture, is due out in May and it's difficult to propote a book anonymously. Quote: "Doing interviews in a balaclava tends to scare people away and get you in trouble at airports" (from Bicycling mag).

(photo by Bryan Derballa for the Wall Street Journal)

It'll be interesting to see how much, if any, this changes his blog. I've been reading it for a little while and many of his posts have struck a certain nerve with me (and countless others). It's nice he'll finally get some recognition for the fine writing evident on his blog.

The interesting thing about the timing is that he actually outed himself in a comment on March 19th, on Streetsblog NYC, but apparently nobody believed him.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Deep shadow / Randy Wayne White (New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 2010)

In Deep Shadow, the seventeenth Doc Ford Novel, White has created an interesting contrast to the previous ones. Set almost entirely in a cenote in Southern Florida, the story involves an attempted salvage of a downed plane carrying gold from Cuba and a monster that stalks the group as they also deal with a deadly duo of murderers hiding out in the swamp. Initially, the single location was somewhat bothersome, but then it became the perfect vehicle to contain both the group and their story and allowed some suspense to build. As with all Doc Ford novels, all’s well that end’s well, so no worries on that part. Will Chaser is back and I have to say, he is one of, if not the most, unsympathetic protagonists I have ever read. I just flat out don’t like him, but it appears that White is trying to develop him into a recurring character. I wish he wouldn’t, but it’s not for me to say.

All the Doc Ford novels are highly recommended, including this one. Pick one up in any order (some references to past adventures are included, but they’re not usually vital) and visit Randy Wayne White’s website for info on him, his books, and book-signings.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Metal cowboy: tales from the road less pedaled / Joe Kurmaskie (New York City : Breakaway Books, 1999)

Picked this up at the library to read to and from work on the train. This collection of short stories flows along nicely, some better than others, all a gentle look at stories, characters, and impressions the author has gathered while pedaling his bicycle long distances. Recommended as a simple way to pass some time. Easy to pick up, put down, and never feel like that’s a problem.

Kurmaskie has quite the website http://www.metalcowboy.com/, selling everything from himself to his books and tours. I hadn’t realized it until I looked at this site that Bicycling magazine had an article written by him, which is now his latest book.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Hackney's Printers' Row restaurant

For lunch today, to celebrate a colleague's birthday, we headed over to Hackney's Printers' Row restaurant (website here). Even before we went, they impressed me by accepting a reservation for our group, even though they normally don't do so. For an appetizer, we had their famous fried onion brick, which, while greasy and incredibly unhealthy, sure did taste good. I drank my Arnold Palmer and sampled their Inside-Out burger, which was stuffed with bacon and cheddar (did I mention we weren't trying to be healthy?), on a pretzel bun - cooked well-done, as I like it, the burger was very nearly perfect and, though I planned on saving half for my wife, I finished it along with most of their outstanding fries. This was a top-notch lunch and I highly recommend Hackney's if you get down that way.

Have you eaten at this restaurant? Leave a comment and let everyone know how you liked it.

Hackney's on Urbanspoon

Your next triathlon training camp is free (well, almost)

That's right, the folks over at Endurance Nation are hosting 2 weekends, one in Lake Placid, NY (June 10-13) and one in Madison, WI (July 8-11), and the coaching is free, for the most part, unless you count the coaches' talks, which occur during the evening social, which requires admission. The training will be held on the actual courses of Ironman Wisconsin and Ironman Lake Placid, so that's a nice preview for anyone interested in participating in those events. I've watched their Long Course Triathlon dvd and they seem to have an insightful, easy-going approach to coaching, backed up by what seems to be quite a bit of personal experience. For more info, check out the Endurance Nation website and look for the Tri Rally info. There is plenty more free stuff on the website, plus packages to purchase. Good folks and a good product, not much more you could ask for.

One should count each day a separate life. - Seneca

Monday, March 22, 2010

Book Review: Bob Morris’ Zack Chasteen novels

Just read the Zack Chasteen novels by Bob Morris. I didn’t read them in order, as I picked up the newest, Baja Florida, in the new books section of the library. However, I did read the other 4 chronologically, over the course of 3 days or so (hard to put down!). As with Lawrence Sanders, there is a lot of the same verbiage used in all of the novels, in case you read just one or possibly to orient the reader in each case. Not overly annoying, but definitely noticeable.

A Deadly Silver Sea, if not the outright basis for the movie Speed 2: Cruise Control, definitely influenced it markedly. Hope he got some money for that, but he's not mentioned in the credits, at least on the above website.

The books were all uniformly informative, interesting and, as is often the case with murder mystery novels, a great opportunity to learn about something that one has no clue about (shipwrecks, cruise ships, palm nurseries, etc.). The books:

Bahamarama (New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, 2004),

Jamaica Me Dead (New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, 2005),

Bermuda Schwartz (New York : St. Martin's Minotaur, 2007),

A Deadly Silver Sea (New York : Minotaur Books, 2008)

Baja Florida (New York : Minotaur Books, 2010)

Morris, like many Florida-based mystery novelists, owe a great deal to the late John D. MacDonald, and, while Zack Chasteen is not a carbon copy of Travis McGee, he definitely fits a similar mold. Definitely not a complaint, as MacDonald is one of the best ever! Recommended as a pleasant way to while away a few hours.  I'll be looking for these in the bookstores to add to my Florida collection of Hiaasen, Dorsey, MacDonald, White, et al.

(*Turns out Bob Morris has a blog right here on Blogger - follow him here: http://surroundedonthreesides.blogspot.com/)

Movie: Prefontaine (Burbank, CA : Distributed by Buena Vista Home Entertainment, 2002)

Watched Prefontaine Saturday night with my family. Everybody enjoyed it so much, we watched the whole thing, even though we had planned on turning it off halfway and finish Sunday. It was good. Though slightly deifying, the script did attempt to portray his flaws, albeit in a very surface manner. Got the kids excited about running!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

Gear: Profile Design Tri-Stryke Saddle

Yesterday, I received in the mail a Profile Design Tri-Stryke Saddle that I purchased on ebay. I'm excited to

find out whether it helps with some numbness I've felt on and off, especially during longer rides. My training predominantly has been indoors on a stationary trainer, so that might have been a partial culprit. Right now I'm riding a thin, minimally-padded Bontrager saddle, and I'm guessing my big butt will be happier on a more padded seat.

Here's what the Profile Design website has to say:

The Tri-Stryke Chromoly:
  • Cut-away with vents for comfort and moisture transfer
  • Triathlon specific design
  • Extra padding for all day comfort
  • Nose and tail designed to fit over transition bike rack
  • Colors: Black/white or Black/Black (pictured) Rails: Chromoly Weight: 310 grams

I'll try to get the saddle on the bike today and get at least a short ride in tomorrow, but definitely Sunday morning.

If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at lakotega@yahoo.com.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Book Review: Lance Armstrong's Comeback 2.0 (New York : Simon & Schuster, 2009)

Kind of an uneven book, but really enjoyable and an interesting peek into the glamorous life of Lance. The photos were, for the most part, pretty good, but again, a great photo followed by decent ones, interspersed with some ho-hum work. Maybe it's a reflection of his life; it can't all be wine and roses, right?

For me, 2 of the photos really stood out. One where he is jumping (actually, flying!) over a work bench and then another where he is sitting in front of an ENORMOUS jar of Nutella (so jealous, I love Nutella!). One amazing, disgusting but also cool photo, shows his legs when he's "ready to race." Veins popping, just freakish in the way bodybuilders are ugly but fascinating. Definitely worth picking up and paging through.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Book Review: Greg Moody's Dead Air (Boulder, CO: VeloPress, 2002)

After reading Greg Moody's Deadroll (see review here), I found his Dead air : a cycling murder mystery at another library. I was somewhat underwhelmed by his breathless pose in the first book and this one started much the same way, with him just trying way too damn hard to convey the angst-ridden emotionless pit that Will Ross had become. I almost couldn't continue, but I'm glad I did, because the book became much more enjoyable as Moody moved into the action portion of the story. This book has a wittier tone to it than Deadroll. Here are my favorite lines:

As he walked across, he extended his hand about five feet before he should have. The damned lobby was so big that he had to take four extra steps, looking like an elephant with an erection, before he reached Whiteside.

The plot's twists and turns are more satisfying, the denouement exciting, and the bad people (lots of them this time), all get their comeuppance. Very satisfying.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Quote: Jon “Blazeman” Blais (1971-2007)

Over at the Daily Mile, we are sharing our favorite motivational quotes. One of mine is a poem by Jon "Blazeman" Blais, who died young from ALS.

More than your neighbors.
Unleash yourself upon the world and go places.
Go now.
Giggle, no laugh.
No… stay out past dark,
And bark at the moon like the wild dog that you are.
Understand that this is not a dress rehearsal.
This is it… your life.
Face your fears and live your dreams.
Take it all in.
Yes, every chance you get…
Come close.
And by all means, whatever you do…
Get it on film.

To become a Blazeman warrior and help work to find a cure for ALS, visit their website.

Book Review: Over the Hills by David Lamb (1996, NY: Times Books)

I like pretty much all books that recount a bicyle trek. A little bit worried about this one, since it hints at mid-life crisis motivation, but it really is well-written and interesting. Lamb recounts his decision, at an advanced age, to spend some time pedalling his bicycle from his home in Virginia to Santa Monica. Though he meets many interesting characters, they remain in the background, while Lamb focuses on his feelings,thoughts, and reactions. I kind of liked that. Well worth reading.

Somewhat coincidentally, Heidi over at Grit and Glimmer published a post about Bicycle Dreams, a movie made with the Race Across America as the subject. It looks pretty damn good from the trailer and it neatly juxtaposes the difference between David Lamb's moseying along to gain perspective and experience, versus the racers, who court disaster and death to make it across just as fast as they possibly can. See for yourself:

For more info regarding the movie or to buy a dvd, visit the website.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Quote: Joseph Addison (1672-1719)

“Men may change their climate, but they cannot change their nature. A man that goes out a fool cannot ride or sail himself into common sense.”

Triathlon Training Plan: Swimming

I’m a little nervous, because I am going from zero swimming to a one-hour, coached workout. Have the feeling it’s going to kick my butt, but, on the positive side, I think I’m going to sleep well tonight! I have 40 days until my first triathlon of the season (indoor, timed, same pool I’m going to train in), so these twice a week sessions should at least get me somewhat prepared. Wish me luck!

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Book Review: Greg Moody’s Deadroll: a cycling murder mystery (Boulder, CO: VeloPress, 2001)

In Will Ross, Moody has created a sort of Everyman, if your ordinary Joe was an ex-bike racer whose past is filled with death and destruction. Deadroll appears to be the 3rd in a series featuring Ross, but this is the only one that our local library had. It’s reasonably well-written, with an occasional section that really grabs the reader, but it also features some very breathless, angst-ridden prose that one sort of slogs through. If this were not a cycling murder mystery, I couldn’t be sure if I would recommend it. However, it is, and I do. Find it at your local library (possibly), local bookshop, or buy online at http://www.velopress.com/.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Gear Review: Nike LunarGlide+

I have been really happy with my LunarTrainer+ shoes from Nike, so decided to stay within the same series now that I wanted to buy a new pair of running shoes. These shoes, in the Black/Metallic Silver-Dark grey-Medium Grey, are the very definition of understated, much like my running ability. On the website, some of the other, flashier versions beckoned, but in person these were the most attractive to me.

First run this morning, on the treadmill, and it went really well. Threw caution to the wind and opted not to do an easy run to break in the shoes. Ran too fast, slowed down, ran too fast again, was happy to finish (it’s my birthday, I had to push it!). The shoes were great! The only strange thing (and a positive one for me) is that these shoes are really wide for Nikes; in the past, I’ve shied away from Nikes because they were so narrow. These however, are so wide that I had to stop my run and tighten the laces – awesome!

Compared to the LunarTrainer+, these definitely feel more firm/supportive and will be my daily and long distance runners. I think I’ll keep the LunarTrainer+ for speedwork – they’ll last longer as well. Heard a rumor that the LunarTrainer+ is not long for this world, might buy an extra pair or two to have around. In either case, I recommend either and both these shoes. I also tried on the LunarSwift+ and did not like them at all, felt really clunky, narrow, and short (my size 13s were not amused).

From the website (http://store.nike.com/index.jsp?country=US&lang_locale=en_US):

At last, a lightweight shoe that doesn't sacrifice stability or cushioning. Behold the Nike LunarGlide+ Men's Running Shoe, a daily distance trainer that combines lightweight performance with top-tier cushioning and as-needed support. It's best for underpronators through moderate overpronators.

The DYNAMIC SUPPORT system responds to a runner's changing needs, constantly adapting to your stride to deliver just the right amount of comfort and support. LunarLite cushioning provides excellent shock absorption and responsiveness for a bouncy ride. A wedge of firm foam on the back side of the midsole offers pronation support for those who need it. And the LunarGlide boasts gender-specific features for outstanding fit and performance.

Named "Best Debut" by Runner's World magazine: Flywire for ultra-lightweight support, comfort and a snug, secure midfoot fit; Seamless upper for long-distance comfort; Reflective elements for enhanced visibility in low-light conditions; Men's-specific heel pocket for comfort, fit and support; Design that allows your feet to move naturally; Deep, men's-specific flex grooves to encourage an efficient stride; Rubber outsole beneath the heel for durability; Green rubber, Waffle pattern outsole for durability and traction on various surfaces; Nike+ ready.

If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at lakotega@yahoo.com.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Triathlon Training Plan: March Goal

According to Wii Fit, I weigh 200.6 pounds today, a 3.1 pound weight loss of the last 28 days – I’m really surprised, because, to put it mildly, I have not been careful about what I’ve been eating. However, I have been very consistent about exercising, putting in my 4 of 7 days every week (even 5 some weeks) and I did add 10 minutes each to my weekend run and ride, so that workout schedule seems to be effective. All in all, I am pleased with my progress (wish it was faster, but long-term this slow, consistent track is good).

Our family has been attempting the 100 Pushups Challenge and will now take on the 200 Situps Challenge (except for my wife, because apparently situps are NOT overly comfortable for pregnant women).

For March, my goal is to really work on portion control. With proper amounts of fuel, my weight should start coming down more quickly, which will help with my running, cycling, and swimming. This brings me to the next portion of my March goal, which is to start swim training. As I mentioned earlier, I’ve been unable to get going on my own, so I’ve registered for a swim training session with Experience Triathlon – it starts a week from tomorrow, so that’s pretty exciting right there!

Gear Review: Louis Garneau Power Bib Cycling Bib Short

Sunday was my first ride in my new Power Bib Cycling Bib Short by Louis Garneau and man, were they comfortable! This pair either did not come with magical powers or I am unaware how to access them, because I did not become a better cyclist immediately, but I was happier (and less numb) at the end of my 40 minute ride. Here’s the description: Power Leg grippers, Printed, Super comfortable polyester chamois pad (with gel, aaah!), Lycra Power, Ergonomic fit (that means more comfortable on the bike than off), Back pocket, No seam inside leg, and Flatlock seams. I purchased them as a Buy It Now on ebay from Fast Sports USA http://stores.ebay.com/fastsportsusa and they were awesome! Immediate confirmation, immediate ship, got them quickly and for a fair shipping price. They are definitely recommended as an ebay seller – check them out! If you’re interested in learning more about one of our northern neighbor’s fine companies, visit the Louis Garneau website at http://www.louisgarneau.com/us-en/.

If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at lakotega@yahoo.com.

Update: Team CarboRocket

Unfortunately, I was not chosen to be a member of Team CarboRocket. I guess fat, average, and boring wasn't what they were looking for. For team members and to read Brad's post, go here.

Running, Skiing, and Endurance Sports - Patagonia.com

REI: Gear for the Great Outdoors

UnderArmour - I WILL

Outdoor DIVAS - Adventure Gear for Active Women