I enjoy visiting the rustwire website every once in a while as it is full of cool stories and ideas for redeveloping the Rust Belt area of the United States. Everyone now and again they drop a real gem.
This video is one those:
It shows a once prominent mall and the aftermath of urban blight that now litters our landscape. The intro is fairly cool as it has an old-school politician proclaiming the end of the downtown urban core and the creation of suburban sprawl. Yet, in the end, I have to be honest, I just really like the cover of Rush’s “Subdivisions” juxtaposed with the various pictures.
Many of you know that I am a fan of boxing. I like to think I have been a fan of the sport for years, but the truth is that I have only developed a real taste for the sport and its amazing personalities in the past few years. One of my favorite boxers is Bernard Hopkins. He is old. Real old. 46 years old. Yet, he is a champion. He managed to accomplish this task last year when he defeated Jean Pascal in Quebec, Canada. It is the fight where he decided to show how good he was feeling by pounding out some push-ups prior to the start of round 7:
What is amazing about this is that he had the home crowd of Jean Pascal cheering for him as he pulled it off. Hell, he even had the referee laughing.
I recently read an article about Bernard Hopkins entitled, “Bernard Hopkins and the Endless Age of Boxing,” by James Verini on Grantland (which is now home to some of the best boxing journalists in the business, including Eric Raskin who wrote this amazing article on Antonio Margarito and the “punishment in boxing.”). Verini sets up his article with a link to an epic ring entrance from Bernard Hopkins in a fight versus the equally legendary, Roy Jones Jr.:
In 2010, when he entered the Mandalay Bay arena for a long-awaited rematch with Roy Jones Jr., Hopkins was accompanied by “My Way” and by a 68-year-old Bronx garment magnate, his friend Artie Rabin, who walked alongside him purring new lyrics written for Hopkins into a cordless microphone. Harmonizing from the ring were The Sweet Inspirations, a trio that in its day, which was not recently, backed up Wilson Pickett. One could feel the Las Vegas crowd wondering — not of Rabin, but of Hopkins — how old is he? “And yes, Bernard Hopkins is 45 years old, but no one has been more disciplined, more of a committed professional,” the ringside announcer acknowledged, notes of apology and pride in his middle-aged voice. “And however much you look in the rear-view mirror, it isn’t needed. Lauding his past is so easy, but his current status is still the envy of so many fighters.”
If you click on the link provided above you come to this video:
Here are the lyrics to the song:
And now, the fight is here
And so he faces the final curtain
My friends, you all came here
To celebrate this great occasion
He boxed his whole life through
Has many wins and so few losses
With all his might, he’ll win this fight
He’ll do it, he’ll do it his way.
Bernard, it’s up to you
You know how to do to win this match
You punch to the left, shot to his nose
And down he goes, what a sensation!
It’s a fact, he’s not coming back
He’s got to the count, and the ref counts him out
It’s a TKO, and here we go
He’ll do it, he’s gonna do it his way!
Yes there were times when Bernard knew
When he bit off more than he could chew
But through it all, when there was doubt
He stepped in the ring and knocked them out
He faced them all and still stands tall
And did it, and did it his way!
There is tonight this special fight
He’ll jab and punch with all his might
He’ll show the world, he’s number one
You’d better look out, ‘cuz here he comes
The record shows he throws the blows
And does it, does it his way!
The record shows he throws the blows
And does it his way!!!
That, my friends, is a ring entrance.
He has the mask.
He has the crooner.
He has the back-up singers.
He has it all.
This, is one of the major reasons I am a fan of boxing and Bernard Hopkins.
I am finally done racing cyclocross for the 2011/12 season. It seems like ages since I toed the start line at the season opening Tropical Cyclocross event in Miami. It has been a long four months of traveling the state and country in search of mud, thrills, spills and jokes. It was a ton of fun and my teammates from 352 Racing made it all worthwhile and memorable.
This past year I decided to focus on cyclocross as opposed to my usual quest of trying to do as many races as possible across multiple disciplines. I skipped a ton of road races and when August came around I had a relatively fresh set of legs and dabbled in a few mountain bike races to get ready for the long season. I targeted the Florida Cyclocross Series and had a goal of finishing in the top3 overall. Thanks to a few decent races and some good attendance I was able to manage my goal:
I was pretty stoked with the result. Especially since I got to stand on the podium with two of my teammates. The competition wasn’t lacking either. Every week there seemed to be a new kid entering the race destined to beat us into submission. In fact, I never even managed to make it on the podium (attendance matters!). I managed to get three fourth place finishes and a few of these came down to just a few seconds. I was knocking on the door for most of the season, although my extended trip to Minnesota over the holidays didn’t really help as my last three races fell by the wayside. Nonetheless, I was able to hold on to third overall.
The Florida CX scene is small. It is growing at a great rate, but it reminds me of what the Minnesota scene was like in 2005/6 when I first started dabbling in the sport with a few of my soon-to-be teammates at Little Guy Racing. Like Minnesota we had one race of over 150 racers (Little Everglades Ranch) and quite a few races at about 80+ registrants. We are really only about 20 racers away from the critical mass of having a great turnout week after week.
Sadly, we are hampered in our development by our wonderful weather. The road season goes all the way till the end of October with the State Road Championships held on the last weekend of the month. This leads to a very sporadic calendar through the holidays and into the middle of January. There are quite a few dedicated volunteers that are working hard on increasing our numbers, but we can only do so much. Cyclocross will be successful in Florida. We are among the highest populated states in the country and there are a ton of avid racers in our state. We just need to find a way to tap into the various markets and get them out to the races.
A major plus to the Florida scene is a small group of tight knit racers that have a ton of respect and admiration for one another. A teammate of mine calls us ‘cyclocross carnies’ as we barnstorm across the state trying to sell the gospel of cyclocross. There a few large teams that show up en-masse and together we have helped create a fun and welcoming environment to newer riders that instantly fall in love with the sport. This is how we are going to have to grow the sport. Best part about living in Florida is that we have 12 months of riding weather to convince others to join us next October.
Here is a historical look at the numbers of racers in Minnesota for a comparison of the growth I forecast for Florida. I believe Florida is sitting at the 2005 numbers.
Perhaps my favorite part of the season being done is getting to train with Sarah:
Many long time readers of this site know I am a fan of the Swedish crime fiction that has been coming out over the years. The most popular books are the mega-sellers by Stieg Larsson. The first book in the series is “Girl With the Dragon Tattoo.” While it isn’t my favorite book in the series (I like the second one, “The Girl Who Played With Fire”) it is a great read and I found myself enjoying the Swedish film of the same name that came out a few years ago.
Hollywood decided to hit the iron while it was hot and came out with their own version directed by David Flincher. They hit it out of the park. I thought it was very well done. The actors are fantastic and they did a great job of creating the book on film. Often times I find movie remakes of a book frustrating, or dumb.
This thing was amazing.
Go see it. Like yesterday.
Yes, a major reason Sarah and I are visiting Copenhagen, Malmo and Sweden next year is because I am a dork and love these novels.
However, I must admit. I am more of a fan of the Wallander series by Henning Mankell. That is some top notch stuff.
Sarah and I got to visit with some close friends from Minnesota this past weekend in Orlando.
We went to the Animal Kingdom in the Walt Disney World complex, and I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised. They have a pretty sweet safari ride and the roller coaster “Escape to Everest” is pretty darn awesome. The crowds were minimal and we had a pretty awesome buffet dinner featuring all kinds of Mediterranean and East African food at the Tusker House restaurant. The Lion King show rocked and I can’t complain about almost everything else. Wait, who am I kidding, it was cold. Super cold and that made me miserable for a little while.
The 2nd Annual Doc Hollywood Invitational limerock road ride is taking place on February 26th and we anticipate a large turnout.
Going to pre-ride on Dr. King day.
NBC Sports has a new boxing show on the docket. They have added the legendary Freddie Roach to be a color commentator and I couldn’t be more thrilled.
I have been complaining about Stomach of Anger t-shirts for long enough.
I am admittedly jealous of their easy to use website and their sweet designs that include:
Adam Myerson signature “Can’t Stop / Won’t Stop” shirt.
Jeremy Powers signature “J-Pow” shirt.
They also did a great job of raising a bunch of money for the family of Wouter Weylandt after his untimely death at the 2011 Giro d’ Italia with the tasteful:
However, I got a little fed up when they quickly capitalized on the misfortune of Jonny Hoogerland in the 2011 Tour de Franch for when he had an impromptu meeting with a barbwire fence:
This crash became this:
The Weylandt shirt was tasteful and well done. The Hoogerland shirt was opportunistic. Nonetheless, they struck the iron while it was hot and took advantage. I have been harping about it on the Twitterz ever since. Well, finally, thanks to (dis)pencer they have come up with an awesome shirt in honor of me:
I can only hope a bunch of people want to buy this one. I mean, seriously, how can you not?
While the entire cyclocross community had its eyes trained on Madison for the 2012 USA Cycling Cyclocross Championships we here in Florida were racing our very own 2012 State Championships. Once again the race was at the world famous Little Everglades Ranch. The facility is amazing. It is privately owned and the owner wants top level events on the grounds. It is a shame that Florida isn’t a bigger cycling hotbed because it could easily host a UCI level event.
This was my second year of racing in the state championships here in Florida and I was hoping for a much better race than last year. The course this time around was much better suited for my skills and I went into the race fairly confident with a goal of finishing in the top 8. Normally, I would want to be in the top5, but like most State Championships all of the heavy hitters come out to race and strut their stuff.
Things were going to plan as the three “newby” cat3s cleared off the front and it soon became a battle for 4th place. I never made it higher than 6th during the beginning laps, but I soon found myself in a comfortable group of racers of like minded skills in 7-9th place. I was biding my time, but having some fun racing with my teammate, Ryan Fisher, and another local Gainesville rider.
I then approached the barriers at full speed and did my very best Joey impression:
Yes, that video pretty much sums it up. A little bit different, but just as painful. My first memory after the crash is hearing Fisher ask me, “is Joey okay?” Ha. Well played, sir.
I believe I ended up in 12th place on the day. I didn’t score very many points for my quest of a top3 in the Florida Cyclocross Cat3 Series, but I still had a blast racing with my 352 Racing teammates and racing at the ranch.
157 cyclocross racers showed up to the state championships today. This is almost a 100% increase over last year. I firmly believe that Florida cyclocross is right on the edge of becoming a legit series. All we need is about 20more consistent racers to get us to the critical mass of over 100 racers per event. When that happens we will blow up.
We are almost there.
This is Jeb Stewart:
He is ridiculously fast. He is also a cycling coach. I am his Twitter coach.
I have the feeling 2012 is going to be a great year. Sarah and I are loving Gainesville. My job is great and the bike riding is amazing. Not very much else you could ask for at this time. Well, I guess a pay raise, but I don’t want to push it.
Bike riding tally for 2011:
281 hours on the bike
4,892 miles ridden
25 races entered
$724 in entry fees
$145 reimbursed from my team, 352 Racing
For all those folks that think there is only diving in soccer I encourage you to watch this video. I now expect an overreaction from every football fan in the country. Ha, that won’t happen.