December 29, 2009
A major tip of the hat to (dis) for pointing out the following to me via his amazing twitter feed:
2010 Tour prologue timed around World Cup game in South Africa
Dutch organisers look to avoid conflict with possible Dutch quarter-final game
The prologue of the 2010 Tour de France in Rotterdam is being scheduled around the fourth quarter-final game of the football World Cup tournament in Johannesburg, South Africa. The Netherlands may play in that game, and Netherlands race organisers wish to avoid a conflict.
The city of Rotterdam announced Monday that the prologue on Saturday, July 3, would start at 4:30 p.m., and run until approximately 8:00 p.m. The football game is scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m., Dutch time.
The prologue will run 8km through Rotterdam, the second-largest city in the Netherlands. Stage one the next day runs 224 km from Rotterdam to Brussels, starting at 11:50 a.m., with the official start being 20 minutes later at the Erasmus Bridge.
The anti-soccer cyclists I know are going to be awfully frustrated with this one. Ha. Good move by the organizers as the Dutch have an awfully good team this time around and have arguably the easiest 4 team group (Netherlands, Denmark, Japan and Cameroon). Right now Holland is posting as a 15-1 favorite for the win. Not too shabby since only 5 teams have more favorable odds at the moment.
Oh, did I mention that the National Sports Center is going to be owning a professional soccer team next year?
I am very, very, very excited.
December 28, 2009
Three years ago (dis), Little Guy and myself put together the cycling team. I told myself in the beginning that I would give it two years before it would fizzle out. Amazingly, the team is still strong and our sponsor’s seem to be relatively happy and I couldn’t be happier. While my admittedly grandiose dreams of success have been scaled back I am thrilled to remain part of the squad that has partially defined my last three years in the Twin Cities.
No matter where we end up next year I will be rocking the Behind-Bars/LGR kit with pride next season. The team keeps getting better and better (in terms of membership and community involvement). Next season we will be seeing a renewed interest in the road for the team, continued forays on the dirt and expanding success on the Track and Cyclocross. The women’s squad has increased in size tremendously and we are extremely excited for that. In addition, we will be fielding 3-4 Cat1/2s on the road on the men’s side of things. This may make things lonely for me in the Cat3s, but I plan on being able to hold my own next year.
The Team Highlights:
- 3 successful years of promoting VeloCX
- “Successfully” promoting the Campus Crit a mere 10 blocks from the site of the bridge collapse 4 days prior
- Tom Hagerty decisively winning the 2009 Minnesota State Keirin Championship
- Sharing the love of Behind-Bars Bicycle Shop and Grumpy’s Bar and Grill to many people
- Meeting some incredible people through the team
- Winning our team category at 24 Hours of 9mile
- Not going bankrupt
Sarah has almost finished all of her graduate school applications. With 12 total applications it has been an almost full time job meeting all of the deadlines, writing cover letters, giving writing samples, and coordinating the various letters of recommendation. I am getting awfully nervous as in a few months time we will find out where and what we may be doing for the next 4-6 years of our lives.
Getting into a Ph.D. program isn’t guaranteed. Some of the programs receive over 500 applications and accept just 9-10. In fact, even with Sarah’s very impressive resume and letters of recommendation it still all boils down to game of chance! It will depend on which professors are willing to take on graduate students, and which programs have funding (which is extremely tight with the financial markets). We don’t really have a “plan b” so who knows what will happen if we don’t get some much needed luck in the process.
Yet, with a little luck we could be living in the following cities:
- Gainesville, Florida
- Atlanta, Georgia
- Chicago, Illinois
- Evanston, Illinois
- College Park, Maryland
- Minneapolis, Minnesota
- Syracuse, New York
- Durham, North Carolina
- Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania
- Philadelphia, Pennsylvania
- Seattle, Washington
We find out in mid-February to late March how we played the lottery.
If I had to selfishly rank where we would be living come next fall it would look like this (taking into account the respective job market):
- Gainesville, Florida
- Atlanta, Georgia
- College Park, Maryland
- Durham, North Carolina
- Seattle, Washington
After that the rest just kind of melt together with Philly being a very, very, very, very distant last place. I would probably have Seattle at the top, but the job market is EXTREMELY tough and the cost of living is high. It would be reminiscent of our time in Chicago when we didn’t have much money. Nonetheless, I won’t complain no matter where I end up!
December 27, 2009
The holiday season is in full swing and things couldn’t be better here in our “cozy one-bedroom apartment” in the old neighborhood. The gift giving exchange is over and I scored big time with new equipment from my folks for tailgating and 24 Hour Race camp (folding table and chairs!) and some much needed cash from the Florida side of the family.
Naturally, I could stop right there when recounting the gifts, but Sarah and my Brother/Sister-in-Law came through big time with a set of Manchester City jerseys!
Here is the 3rd jersey that my brother picked out:
As you can tell the Manchester City style compliments my East Side of St. Paul mustache quite nicely. I don’t have a picture of the custom jersey that Sarah got me, but it is straight off the back of my favorite player Shaun Wright-Phillips #8. Who is SWP? Watch this.
In a few days I will be heading to Milwaukee with some friends to take in a Milwaukee Wave vs. Baltimore Blast game on New Year’s Eve. It should be a ton of fun and we get to cheer on some former Minnesota Thunder players which will always be a hoot. I am really looking forward to that little trip. Adding on to the excitement is the recent announcement by the National Sports Center that they are saving professional soccer in Minnesota and will be fielding a team in a yet-to-be-determined league in 2010!
You can follow all of that exciting news over at Inside Minnesota Soccer. Brian has been been doing an amazing job of keeping everyone informed on the latest in minor league soccer news (amazingly the minor league soccer market is bigger than the marginal cycling market…who knew?)
Times on the trainer:
Winter of 2008/09: 5 times
Winter of 2009/10: 6 times and counting
Looks like I may be taking bike racing seriously again. Who knows where this will lead?
Happy Holidays to everyone from Sarah and myself:
December 19, 2009
Teal Bunbury is a forward for the University of Akron (The Zipps!) soccer team. He is a sophomore and is one of the best players in the country. He is expected to be a top5 pick in the upcoming MLS super-draft and is one of three finalists for the Hermann Award which is given every year to the nation’s best college soccer player (think Hobey Baker, or Heisman). Why does any of this matter? He is from Prior Lake, Minnesota.
The proprietor of a local soccer website posted an article about how the Star Tribune has failed to mention any of this in their pages. I agree with some of the points brought up by the author. Without a doubt there should have been a story on Teal in the paper, but at the same time the Star Tribune needs to appeal to as many people as possible, and quite frankly, not many people care about college soccer in the Twin Cities. Nonetheless, it is quite impressive that one of the best college players in the country is one of our own.
Yet, when all the dust settles there is a simple question that can be asked, “why do we need others to validate our sport?” All to often soccer fans tend to force the sport onto others. We don’t need to do this. I have heard from countless people, “go watch soccer,” or “soccer sucks and is boring.”
An example of this was a conversation I had with my father during the MLS Cup after he had sat down to watch the final 5 minutes of the second overtime, “why is he just lying there? He was barely touched.” Sure, he may not of have been aware that the player in question had been running for 2 straight hours and had covered the equivalent of a a half marathon with copious amounts of sprinting, jumping, physical contact and no water breaks, but I digress…
Yet, after hearing from him and many other people and their intentional and unintentional slights about the game I don’t really care how they feel. We are all entitled to our opinion, and I love the game. I don’t care if others think it is boring. I think baseball is boring. I think football can be awfully boring. I don’t think soccer is.
It was with great joy that I read this comment as it sums up almost all of my feelings [paraphrased from Chris A]:
I do not care that “they” do not share the same passion I have for the beautiful game. I do not care that “they” do not “get it”. I do not need their validation through coverage. I am perfectly happy to have it be a so-called fringe sport here that gets a spike in interest every four years for the World Cup.
My point being that I think it is some kind of inferiority complex some soccer fans have in seeking approval for being soccer fans. I do not try to persuade people they should be soccer fans by argument and analysis. It is kind of like trying to make people appreciate art.
We do not need to justify our passion to anyone. Nor does it need validation.
People can bitch and complain about how soccer is “boring,” “gay,” “lame,” and “stupid,” all they want. Give me a beer and a television, or the North End at the NSC and I will be among the happiest people in the world. There are tons of soccer fans in this world and in our city. We are numerous and proud. We don’t need validation from others. They just don’t get it, and that is okay.
December 15, 2009
I just finished reading Homer and Langley by E.L. Doctorow. The book is about the infamous Collyer brothers who were known for their compulsive hoarding. The story is told through the voice of Homer Langley who was blind and relied on his brother for feeding him. Eventually, all the crap piled in the house would collapse and set off some homemade booby traps and kill Langley, and by default, Homer as he was unable to find any food.
It is a good book and extends the lives of the brothers from their actual death (1947 to the 1970s). I would recommend it to anyone that likes Doctorow (World’s Fair and Ragtime). If you aren’t one for the fiction, I highly recommend you read the highly informative, entertaining Wikipedia entry. Many people have seen the show Hoarders on A&E. Nothing on that show compares to the Collyer brothers!
The inside of the house:
Authorities would eventually find a complete Model T Ford inside the house and over 137 tons of rubbish. Oh, did I mention that they couldn’t find Langley’s body till a few days later buried underneath a bunch of hoarded goods?
December 14, 2009
This past weekend Sarah and I got to hang out with quite a few of our friends. On Friday night we went out with Jesse and Angie a couple we met while attending soccer games at the National Sports Center over the past two years. When dinner was finished we headed down to AJ’s house for a very belated housewarming party. While there we were able to talk with even more of our soccer friends. Even Megan and Justin from the team were in attendance!
On Saturday night we headed up to Erik and Shana’s house in Blaine for another housewarming party. While Erik and Shana made the rounds with all of their guests we got to talk with a ton of great people including Rich Bergstrom (he has an imposter) and Paul Erikson. Bergstrom is a great guy and always has a smile on his face when we chide one another about our cycling skills, and Paul always has a ton of great things to say. Most recently it has been all about the demise of the Minnesota Thunder and the hopeful resurgence of another professional team at the NSC!
Amazingly, both events were thanks to the National Sports Center. In short, if it wasn’t for the NSC we would of have had a pretty boring weekend. In the small and insular world of amateur cycling we sometimes frown upon things that are all to often a good thing. Sadly, and mostly in the past, this has been the case for many bicycle racers when looking at the NSC. Seen by some as a “the man” who wants to keep cycling down it really isn’t. This has led me to cynically suggest that, “the NSC doesn’t like cycling,” but in my eyes, that couldn’t further from the truth. Look at what they have done for cycling over the years!:
- Thursday Night Lights: It wasn’t long ago when only 30-50 racers a night would show up to Blaine and race in front of 20 people. It wasn’t much fun and the experience was lackluster, but now thanks to some amazing volunteers and the leadership of Bob Williams, Dave Thimsen and Skibby there are record numbers of racers and spectators. I am also willing to bet that the longest running event on the MCF calendar is the Thursday Night Light series (don’t worry, if I am wrong someone will correct me).
- Track Introductory Class: Who knows how many people have learned to ride the velodrome?! If I had to guess I would think it is over a 1,000 different people have taken to the boards through this class. Most of whom have been taught by Bob. Now other individuals have taken the lead on sharing the “gospel” of track racing.
- VeloCX: While Behind-Bars/LGR provides the volunteers and “organization” behind the event the NSC is a huge silent partner in making it happen. They help us get the facility ready with all of their supplies and staff. Equally important is allowing us to ride on their pristine grounds. It wasn’t by circumstance that we were able to lengthen the course this year, it was thanks to the NSC who offered up more land and opportunities for us.
- Indoor Cycling: Sure, it didn’t get off the ground in the winter of ‘08/’09 it was pretty cool of them to allow some of us to test it all out. I don’t know of many places in the country that would let a rag-tag group led by Smithers to ride around in circles on a half-million dollar piece of carpet, but the NSC did.
I am willing to bet that the inclusion of the James “National Champion” Tainter with the always resilient Bob Williams have helped keep the cycling culture alive up there, but let one thing be known. The NSC isn’t the enemy when it comes to promoting local cycling. The enemy are the very same pretend bike racers that the NSC has served since its inception (did you know that the NSC campus was originally designed to hold criterium races?). So, before everyone starts to point the finger at the NSC for their supposed lack of love for cycling just remember not to bite the hand that feeds you.
I hope that the new soccer team at the NSC is called the Voyageurs. That would be awesome.
December 13, 2009
Sarah has a new blog. The focus of the new project is to bring together her academic career with some of her hobbies. It is a fun read and I am more than happy to be her taste tester when she tries out amazing new recipes. It is also a way for readers of my site to cut through the nonsense, clutter and garbage when trying to figure out what is going on in our lives!
BikeThrow is no longer. The contract has lapsed and we sadly had to put it down. It was fun while it lasted and I had a great time talking about local bike racing with my co-founder Homme and recent additions Frye and Hanna. The site contained over 65 podcasts about all things ridiculous.
I was always surprised by how many people actually cared what was posted on the site and said on the podcasts. The reactions ran the gamut from those in support from day one, to those that overreacted when their names were mentioned. There were many highlights, the biggest being when I was asked if I was Super-Rookie from Bike Throw by a random bike racer at the 24 Hours of Afton this past year.
The new car is working well. It doesn’t look like a new car as the season’s first Snow Emergency deposited a fair amount of salt, snow and dirt onto the exterior. Sarah and I are trying hard to not damage the insides, but I have a feeling that the long winter will do a bit of damage on our ride.
The first installment of the indoor soccer season has just finished the regular season. We finished in 10th place in the 12 team league. The last game was against a top team and we fared well against them so I think we are turning the corner. I have had a great time playing with my friends, but more specifically playing with my brother for the first time in 13 years has been great. He used to be a damn good player and judging by what I have seen he still has a little bit of the skills left in him. Now, I just need him to grow a mustache like me and we will complete the Hayes Super-Duo.
Getting some tattoo work done in January. The plan is to finish off my lower calf/shin near my stars and bicycle tattoo. It should be known that my track bike tattoo is circa 2002 so well before the fad
December 10, 2009
My mustache is coming along nicely. Sarah is also thrilled. In fact, she admitted that my mustache is so stylish that the only way for it to be more awesome would be if we would have purchased a Ford Transit Connect. She said a stylish van without windows would, “really make your mustache exciting.”
In a sport that 99% of the world doesn’t know exist, nor care about, there is big news. The UCI (cycling’s governing body) has decided to forgo the Madison, Individual Pursuit and Points Race and replace it with the Omnium. Naturally, marginal amateur cyclists are complaining about this move being the death of “endurance track cycling.” Even though the Points Race, and Individual Pursuit will still be contested in the Omnium, some are fairly disappointed. While I understand their argument I just don’t think it has any merit.
When I went to the 2005 Track Cycling World Championships in Los Angeles the Individual Pursuit was the most boring 2hour segment I had ever witnessed. The Madison was a complete clown race with 18 teams (36riders) rolling around the track in a discombobulated mess. The only thing remotely interesting was the Women’s Point Race which wasn’t even on offer in the Olympics. In fact, I would rather watch the Modern Pentathlon than the Individual Pursuit.
Good riddance to that boring event.
December 3, 2009
I have reached an important time in my life. I have a job that will last for the rest of the school year. After which I will need to send out my resume in a crowded field to find a Social Studies teaching job somewhere in this country. Hopefully, I will be applying in one of the cities that is on Sarah’s list of graduate schools, but if that doesn’t work out I still need to get on the job market and look all pro.
Therefore with the blinding light of opportunity striking me squarely on the face I have decided to grow a mustache.
I wonder what Sarah will think.
I forgot how much fun bike commuting is. Last year I rode my bike into work a grand total of 6 times. This is probably why I gained a bunch of weight and failed miserably in the bike game. Riding into work these past couple of days has been great and I even pulled out some of my old messenger clothes to look the part. Today I opted for the choppers of years past and they worked perfectly.
The commute today featured my first game of Leapfrog in a long time. Leapfrogging is when you get stuck with a bus on the commute and you are constantly passing each other, but you try to get far enough ahead to stay away from the Leisure Limo. I totally kicked the #3’s ass today.
Nothing else to report. Except that we bought a car. Went with a 2007 Nissan Versa w/ 6000 miles on it. Sarah and I are pretty excited as the price tag fits nicely in our budget and the car will get the job done. Point A meet Point B in a nice hatchback:
The Poquet shopping experience was a ton of fun and I can see why so many friends recommended them to us. We will certainty be sending our pals to this place!