Thursday, April 23, 2009
On Saturday, I awoke at 5am, to the sound of rain; the kind of rain that comes down just hard enough to make a day on the bike uncomfortable. I checked the forecast, which gave me a glimmer of hope, as the rain was supposed to be sporadic throughout the day. The Meet & Greet was scheduled for 9 am, so after my morning coffee, it was time to start getting final preparations completed; ice for the fine Shmaltz beer (particular favorites- Origin Pomegranite & Lenny R.I.P.A.-an absolute mindblower), batteries for the camera & a few food items for breakfast & supper. Folks started arriving about 9 am, and the Shmaltz was quickly dipped into, as we all commiserated on the weather, which had diminished to sprinkles. Richard Cheese provided the soundtrack for the morning. At 10 am, we all departed, the usual BiLLys, save DiRk, who was sorely missed. We had four new BiLLys on this ride: CDV, Anthony, John & Chad. The ride out of town was a spirited one, with everyone wanting to quickly arrive at Denton, our first beer stop. The weather continued to improve as we arrived in Denton, but we were hit by our first mechanical; John's Bianchi broke a rear spoke. eDBiLLy rassled the dangling spoke free & opened up the rear brake & we were good to drink! After an extended rest break, we continued on to Crete, through the rolling hills, enjoying the (by now) beautiful spring weather. The group separated into two groups, with eDBiLLy & I riding at a comfortable pace, far off the back. On the approach into Crete, we came upon John & Anthony, walking their bikes; John's rear wheel had failed, breaking three other spokes. Luckily, the car dealership was nice enough to give John a ride to the bar (lunch stop). At the bar in Crete, we all recounted stories of past rides, including the KeRNeL, eDBilly & my recounting the wildest RAGBRAI we ever rode on. John needed a ride back to home base, so I called my wife, who graciously agreed to drive support. The trip back yielded another mechanical, as RuSSeLL the MuSCLe suffered a set of pinch flats. Upon arriving home, it was time for more delicious beer, homemade chili & giant cinnamon rolls. We all reveled in how beautiful the weather turned out & made plans to get back together for Bunyan's to Bob's on May 30th in Vermillon, SD. Special thanks to Zak & Leah at Shmaltz who hooked CiTy BiLLy up with some mighty fine brews.
Monday, April 20, 2009
Friday, April 17, 2009
I saw the Suburbs twice live in the 80's; both were unforgettable. Once, at the now defunct Ranch Bowl in Omaha, we snuck in before the soundcheck, got the front table & ordered drinks. We tipped the waitress (a saucy number in her 60's) $20 & created a friend for life (or at least, the evening). We were told we had to leave for the soundcheck. Imagine our surprise, when upon readmission, we found our table had a reserved sign on it. We started trying to find another good spot, when our waitress yelled, "I saved this table for you!". The rest of the night was magical; a great show, with our new friend bringing rounds of drinks (without us ordering them), saying, "You boys looked thirsty". The Suburbs were definitely one of the gems of the 80's. Their album, "Credit in Heaven" is still my favorite double lp.
The weather looks delightful. I have enough beer that we had to ask our neighbor to stash some, as my house fridge & beer cooler are overflowing, with multiple cases of Shmaltz stacked on the floor. I still have some cleaning & cooking to do. Most of the NoRtHeRn BiLLys are traveling to Nebraska tonight (need to be wide awake for the meet & greet): I wish them safe journeys. In personal news, I'm going to try & get out for a little spin today; it'll be my first ride since I took the spill at work. Hopefully, I'm comfortable enough to ride tomorrow (it would take a lot of pain to prevent me from seeing all the sunshine that we're going to experience tomorrow).
Wednesday, April 15, 2009
Today is the first day of vacation for me, culminating with LBL. I like to stay busy on vacation, so I'm going to finish kB's Motobecane, clean the basement, paint the living room & get things lined up for the ride. This afternoon, I have to go pick up some beer.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009
Saturday, April 11, 2009
Paris Roubaix has always tugged at my heart strings. The epic nature of this day, enhanced by occasional rainstorms, has long ago surpassed the Super Bowl as my favorite one day sporting event. PB2009 shapes up to be a very interesting race! Last year's winner, Tom Boonen, definitely remains a sentimental favorite for yours truly, but it seems like this year (witness Tours of Flanders), that Pozzato has figured out a way to get into Tomika's head, and basically neutralize him. Now, the serious question; who to watch? For my money, I'd have to go with Devolder, although my heart wants to go with "I just need someone to hold me" gorgeous George". This poor guy has had more bad luck at PB than anyone, but truthfully, I don't see an end to his drought.
I don't know about you, but my mouth is starting to water. On Wednesday, I'm going to pick up these beers: with any luck, there'll be some left for LBL (Just kidding). Shmaltz has come through big time, & for that CiTy BiLLy raises a big glass: thank you! These beers will be featured at the meet & greet before the ride. After the ride, I'll bring out an old friend (for those of you who rode LBL 2008, you'll know what religious drink I'm referring to). On the homefront, my back is feeling better, except when I sneeze: then I pray the end is near. I hope to be on the bike by Wednesday, and pre-ride the course on Friday (I'll try to post some pics). On Thursday, I have to go help a friend. Later!
Wednesday, April 8, 2009
Gent-Wevelgem starts in a couple of hours. Can Boonen return to form? Will Devolder win again? This is the week for racing! Sunday is the card carrying badass, Paris Roubaix, the one day wonder. I'm still very sore, to the point it's hard to sleep. I'll really have to recover quickly to get everything done for LBL. Beer stops for LBL; Denton, Crete, Denton.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009
Monday, April 6, 2009
I went out for a brief ride on Saturday: the weather here was windy, cold & wet. Yet, I felt pretty good. Fast forward to yesterday: I'm at work & through my own clumsiness, I somehow manage to slip & fall & smack the back of my head on a concrete floor. By smack, I mean the single largest impact I've experienced in the last 20 years. The back of my head quickly swelled to the point it was scary looking. I iced it several times yesterday (I still, in my own stupidity, worked a 10 hour shift), and the swelling went down. I came home last night & did a little research on head trauma & what danger signs to look for. Sure enough, this morning, I wake up feeling nauseated, so I went to the Dr.. After a thorough exam, he concluded that I just "had my bell rung", but there weren't any signs of rapid brain bleeding. Now, over the next week or so, I have to look for signs of slow bleeding: a change in neural responses or motor control. My head hurts a little, but the rest of my body (especially my upper body) feels like I flew over the handlebars. So, I think I'm going to be off the bike for a couple of days. In better news, the shirts for LBL have been printed: the fronts look like this (LBL sticker), & the backs simply state, "Hell of the Midwest". Long sleeve this year, for a change. I'll try to post daily in between now & LBL. Please watch the video: it features Sir George Martin & Brian Wilson; their interplay is priceless.
Thursday, April 2, 2009
If you've signed up for LBL, could you please leave your t-shirt size as a comment on this post? Oh, by the way, if you don't watch CMT Crossroads, you should. For my money, it's one of the most intriguing shows on TV. Pair a country star with a rock (for the most part) star, who influenced them. Here's Taylor Swift (a meteorite) with Def Leppard (who started in the music biz as early teens).
Wednesday, April 1, 2009
LBL is just a shade over 2 weeks away. It's not too late to join in on the mayhem: just drop me a note. CiTy BiLLy CyCLe is proud to announce that our friends at Shmaltz Brewing are going to sponsor our 9 am meet & greet (your favorite beverage). It'll be a great opportunity to catch up with old friends & meet some new ones. On an unrelated note, the pro cycling calendar has begun (for me) with the semi-classics in Belgium. This Sunday is one of my favorites, Ronde van Vlaanderen (the Tour of Flanders). The cobbles, crazy fans & unpredictable weather all work together to create an electric atmosphere. One day, I hope to be there, with a cooler full of Chimay, showing the locals how crazy a BiLLy can be!