Thursday, May 31, 2012

Australian "Tourist" Hits The Big Time In Oregon

Looks like Salem has made the big leap to bicycle blogging stardom when Bike Snob NYC pointed his cross hairs squarely at a story based out of our own town.

It appears we have an Australian drifter who came through our town posing as a cycling tourist. Only he's been bouncing around the west coast for some time. Leaving tall tails and empty wallets in his wake.

There are a couple stories from Bike Portland with all kinds of testimonials from people that have been taken advantage of by "Ian".

Bike Snob grabbed part of the story about Salem's own Chad Butler (Who I've raced cross with on several occasions.) trying to help this guy get back on his feet. Only to have other people on OBRA Chat debunk this guy's stories.

So everyone keep an eye out for this fella. He fools us once, shame on him. Fools us twice shame on us...

Rubber side down,

Big E

Friday, May 25, 2012

It's Been a Year...

 I'm going to forgo Famous Friday today. But I will come back to it next week. Promise. Until then here is a little tribute to Jim Henry. Gone, but certainly not forgotten...

It's been one year since Jim Henry had his fatal crash on a group ride.  We were having a talk about it on a group ride (The same route as a matter of fact.) last night. It's so strange, in one breath it feels like time has gone by so quickly. In another it feels like it was ages ago.

Here is the little blip I wrote the day after it happened~

May 25th, 2011

 Before I get into today's post I just wanted to take a minute to talk about a really bad crash here in Salem that happened last night. It was within the fast group of the Scott's ride. From eye witness accounts  a large portion of the group went down at 28+ mph. There was a lot of broken equipment, bangs, and bruises. Two people went to the hospital. One came out pretty banged up but "okay". The other did not. He is laying unconscious (Induced coma) in the ICU. With a hemorrhage in his brain and Lord only knows what else. The doctor's are optimistic about his recovery thank goodness. But it's still very scary. It makes us all stop and take pause on how much we really rely on each other when we ride in a group. Not only for our own safety but also during an emergency. So thank you to all the people who helped out on the road, the medical staff, and the social networking grape vine that keeps us all informed. I wish for him a speedy and complete recovery. Thanks. Now on to the fun at hand.  

Here is the post from the day after he passed~

June 6th, 2011

Jim Henry passed away yesterday because of complications from his bicycle crash two weeks ago.

I really don't know what to write...

It's always sad when we lose someone we know. It blasts us in the face with our own mortality. And the thoughts that we will never be able to interact with that person again. He'll never be on a group ride again. He'll never be able to squeeze his boy's. He'll never get to kiss his girlfriend. It makes me sick to my stomach.

Especially when the cause of his death is something we all dearly love.

I believe that part of the reason there is such a thrill and excitement about bike riding is the inherent risk that is involved. We all know it's there. But over coming that fear and being successful at coming through the other side is, in part, where the satisfaction comes from.

But then something like this brings it all crashing back down to reality.

Cycling is risky. Period.

I know it, you know it, and Jim knew it.

That doesn't make it any less beautiful, fun or scary. It just is what it is.

Christ, I'm just rambling...

I want to yell and scream and tell everyone that we should be more aware. Enjoy more! Love more! Laugh more! And LIVE. Live while you have the chance.

It sure seemed from the small, tiny sliver of Jim's life that I saw that he did all those things. And that's all you can really ask of this life.

Take advantage of it while you are here. Cuz we aren't here long. And you never know when it will end.

I'm sure Jim would have agreed with me.

Rest in peace Jim...

This is also Memorial Day weekend. Which is great time to enjoy friends, family and this beautiful place we live in. Because it really is beautiful...

Enjoy it all guys.

Live well, laugh often and love lots!

Allez Jim Henry!!!!

Rubber side down,

Big E

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

A Useful Video

This video was brought to my attention by Kenji from OBRA. I think it was meant more for Pelotonia's charity rides than a group ride service message. But it does a good job explaining the basics of group ride etiquette. There are a couple things that I don't completely agree with (The yelling, "Clear!" being one of them. Fodder for another post...). But if people only get some of these habits it would greatly enhance the enjoyment of everyone out there on the road.

On a side note. I think the part about bike maintenance is hilarious. I'd love to see someone get 2 tubes, 2 CO2, levers, multi-tool and a patch kit in that tiny saddle bag (Or kit. As they like to call it.). To funny...

Also, don't ever flip your bike upside down to change a flat or secure your quick release. Besides making it harder to get the wheel to seat into the drop outs (Especially on the rear wheel.) properly. Nothing screams Fred or newbie more than that (Well, maybe a fanny pack...).  This flipping up phenomena is something that's come about in the last twenty five years. Before that, you couldn't turn your bike upside down because of the brake cables sticking out of the hoods wouldn't allow it. And besides that your bar tape and saddle are going to get all nasty. That most definitely isn't pro. Just sayin'....

Hope the video was helpful.

Rubber side down,

Big E

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Reached The Beach

The crew right before. Evidently J is standing for all that is good and decent in the doping world. And I look very non-plussed for some reason...

Despite the terrible news about losing a rider in Grande Ronde our version of the ride was great.

It was a logistically tough ride to set up for ourselves.  Because its a point to point ride making sure that everyone in our group had a way to get home was tough. Friday night I drove over the "Team Awesome" van which has the ability to carry seven people and bikes. The pour van was squatting mighty low as we left the parking lot after the ride. But I digress...

J, Adam and their families have RV trailers that they drove over Friday night to have as a home base of operations for the weekend. Which made a parking place for our van possible. Parking is something that is always a challenge at Reach the Beach. With out it we would have ended up parking a solid mile (Or more.)away from the finish. When you are tired and salty, riding or walking any kind of distance afterward has about as much appeal as sanding the sphincter of an alligator while in a phone booth. That is to say, none at all...

So Friday night I met them over in Pacific City. While I waited I went to the Pelican Brewery and had an adult libation, some food and watched the sun set with a lovely couple from Vancouver, B.C..  I thought them spooning me was a little odd. But I'm not one to question other countries customs...

Once the crew arrived and had set up their respective mobile dwelling devises we again had some more adult libations and some more food (I wasn't driving...). After feeling quite stuffed and happy J, Adam and myself headed back over to Salem to get some sleep. I didn't end up getting into bed until 1 am. Needless to say I was a touch crispy the next morning.

We all met up at Wallace Marine Park in West Salem to start. Long ago, there use to be an official start here but I guess Salem isn't to cool enough anymore.

Once everyone arrived and got their whohha in order we made our way our Wallace Rd. We only stopped one place between Salem and Amity. We had a few people that were done using their morning coffee and there is a nice little park with a bathroom. We also had a SAG wagon (Thanks Gordon!) that followed us where ever we went. I thought it was pretty awesome having our our team support vehicle. But after I couldn't get a "power bottle" (When you see pro's get sling shot up the road by their director.)  up the hill before Amity I thought it was less cool...

Once we were in Amity we stopped at our favorite coffee shop and had the best espresso ever (At least the best I've ever had.) while other's got signed in at the official check point.

Adam was having his usual fluid supplement and the rest of us were having a good time.

The weather while not super sun was warming up and pretty decent. In fact I would later on add to my already stellar trucker tan. Good times....

Once we finished up there we headed to Sheridan along the flat lands in the western valley.  The wind was pretty calm and we kept a good clip. Passing people with regularity. But certainly not killing it. In fact I would say that was a pleasant theme through out the day. No one went crazy. Even if someone went off the front for awhile they never went far and rolled back into the group without much fuss. It was really nice.

After Sheridan we rolled through Willamina (The bustling metropolis that it is.). It's a neat little town, but their roads and railroad tracks leave something to be desired. Pothole and cracks everywhere and three sets of tracks that could easily drop a newbie on their face.

Log town USA you know...

Unfortunately the road doesn't get any better once we end up on Hwy 18. Between the rumble strip and the constant flow of slower cyclists I did my best to stay between the white line and the rumble strip (About an 18" space.) It's probably not what they wanted me to do. But I felt much safer there than having Fred's and their friends push me off into the rumble strip with some regularity.

Once we passed that section and that terrible bridge where the accident happened (Please read yesterdays post.) we got off of Hwy 18 and the route is much more pleasant. And to be fair. That whole portion that I'm talking about is probably only 5-7 miles. I also don't believe there is an alternate route. So there you go...

The section between Grande Ronde and Hwy 101 is my favorite. Pretty smooth roads lots of twisting and turning, up and down. Tons of fun. In fact it's probably one of the best hunks of road  that I've ridden (Although on a normal day the truck and RV traffic on that section are TERRIBLE.). There is a slight climb followed by a fun gradual descent. Then a much steeper short climb followed by another awesome gradual twisty descent.

Once we reached Hwy 101 it's really only a few miles the end. In years past the wind in this area has just been brutal. But we really lucked out and it was not bad at all.

When we finally rolled into the RV park we spent some time getting cleaned up and changed. Congratulatory beers were drunk and we went and ordered pizza from Doryland Pizza. Which is quite good. Took all our booty back to the RVs and had a grand old time.

Many beers were drunk and many lies were told.

We told JP to stop smoking but he just wouldn't...

It was awesome.

Special thanks to J and Adam for hosting us. JP and Gordon for figuring out the SAG wagon and most of the awesome beer that I drank afterward. And of course my SSHW for coordinating the whole thing. You guys all rock.

Rubber side down,

Big E 

Monday, May 21, 2012

Someone Didn't Reach The Beach...

This last weekend was the annual Reach The Beach ride. For myself and my friend's it was a great trip. Full of awesome things. Coffee, smooth twisty roads, great conversation and afterward, pizza and beer. It was truly a fantastic trip. I'll talk about that wonderful stuff tomorrow. Promise...

But what I want to talk about today is something sad. Something that seems to happen with alarming regularity.

A cyclist died.

Steven Dayley was struck and killed on a bridge on Highway 18 in Grande Ronde. For those of you that know the road its the bridge about a half mile east of the casino (Really the only bridge in town that I'm aware of.)

From the news report it sounds like the typical scenario of a driver going the same direction as the cyclist. Attempting to pass while on the bridge and there is an on coming car. Miss calculating the distance and space and striking the rider in an attempt to avoid the on coming car. Given the choice between a head on collision from another vehicle or hitting the cyclist. The cyclist losses.

The cyclist always loses....

It's a truly unfortunate event. Something that I've touched on before in this blog is how the mentality of people change when they get behind the wheel of a car (Myself included sometimes). Within their vehicle they are insular. In their own little world. It allows them to be aggressive and angry. Most of the time if they get caught the worst thing that can happen is a ticket or a minor fender bender. But not this time. This time it took a deadly serious turn.

 Now I'm not saying that the driver of the vehicle in this particular accident was either angry or aggressive. But he certainly could have been one or both for those things. He could have thought the coast was clear. Maybe he thought he had more room or more time. It's hard to say. But a person died because of his lack of observation, patients and caution.

It just takes a few seconds people... I know you've got places to go and things to do. So do I. But is risking your own life (Potentially) or the life of the cyclist worth those seconds!? In a rational moment I would be hard pressed to find someone that would say yes. But it's so easy to think of another road user as an object and not a person. It's so easy not to think. And stuff like this happens...
I'm not going to go into a big soliloquy about this accident because frankly the facts aren't out there (Yet).

But I would like to talk about what I do in a situation like this (I actually did do this in this very situation.).

Now this isn't a "Do what I tell you." thing. I don't want to get sued. You are all big boy's and girl's and can make your own decisions. But hear me out. Think about it and do what you think is best and legal... (There hopefully that will stand up in a court of law.)

So my piece of advise is this....


That's it.

Of course make sure you're not going to pull right out in front of someone. You need to be safe about it. But if there is no shoulder (Just like there isn't a shoulder on that bridge in Grande Ronde.) and no safe place for you to be. TAKE THE LANE. Sure the drivers behind you are going to be irritated. And you might even get a person who is going to tell (Yell at) you in no uncertain terms what they think of you and your bicycle. But that's okay. If it keeps them from thinking that they can "squeeze" by you on the bridge (Or other place on the road where you have no where to escape to.). Let them be mad behind you. Until you can get across the unsafe area and back over to as far right on the road as you feel safe. I'd much rather have someone irate at me and make it through safely. Than try and be "nice" by being over far enough for them to pass and pay the consequence.

When we heard about the accident later it was very shocking. Driving back we saw the large line of drivers backed up by that bridge but had just assumed it was because of a concert at the casino or something. God how I wish that were the case.

Enjoy cycling. It's truly a wonderful sport and an awesome way to see the world.
But please, be safe out there.

The story of our happy trip tomorrow....

Rubber side down,

Big E

Friday, May 18, 2012

There Is Beach Reaching To Be Done!

RTB Header

Tomorrow is Reach the Beach. A ride that's a lot of fun and for a good charity.

Now for you very astute folks out there you would know that there isn't an official start point in Salem. In fact there hasn't been one here in town for the past several years. But we don't let that get us down. We just all take off from the same place as before and hook up with the event ride in Amity.

Amity is also the place where you can get one of the best demitasse of espresso around from the Amity Foods & Coffee House. It is worth the ride out to Amity all by it's little self. But I digress...

From there the route hops from Sheridan, to Grande Ronde. Where you can donate your money to the local tribe via a thing called a casino... From there it hops over the hill to the coast and ends up in Pacific City.

A lovely route with some lovely people. There are all kinds of people too. I remember stopping to help ladies that had a Walmart tandem that wouldn't shift. I gave them the easiest gear and told them not to shift until they got to the next rest area (Which are only about 12 miles apart.). But that's part of the charm. I've seen unicycles, recumbent like contraptions, I've even seen a long boarder. All desperately trying to get to that salty water.

I'll do my best to take pictures (Or at least steal them from other people.)...

On to Famous Friday~

The Muppets!

Jennifer Garner
Thanks for reading!

Rubber side down,

Big E

Thursday, May 17, 2012

Cycling And The Search For Meaning

Every once in a while I'll go and look at the stats for this blog. Just out of curiosity more than anything. I always get a kick out of seeing some of the far off places where people come from to look at my blog. Places like Uzbekistan, Hong Kong, South Africa, New Zealand, Utah...

There are other stats as well that are kept track of. One of them is key word searches that direct people to my blog. I get a lot of words searches like Banana Belt, Bike Porn, Focus Bike Review, What to Wear at What Temperature, How to clean your banana hammock and Laser Nose Hair Removal.
Most of these are pretty hum drum searches that make some sense in the context of the content of my blog. And then I ran into this one...

Cycling And The Search For Meaning.

My immediate reaction was. Man! Do I feel bad for this person. They are totally barking up the wrong tree.

But after a while I kind of became flattered. Either this person saw something in their Internet search that peaked their interest about my site. Or the Internet gods found a direct path to me, for them.  Either way I'm sure at that point in my content I was totally unprepared for their query. But now I think I may give it a swing. (Mostly because I want to try. Not so much that I think I can.)

The bike can be anything you want it to be.

Just like you can make anything out of your education, situation or your life that you want (Reasonably so any way). You can get a fantastic education for $200,000 at an ivy league school. Or you can get just as great a one at your local library. It's totally up to you.

The bike is the same way in my opinion.

If you want it as a mode of transportation from point A to point B. It can do that.

If you want to race around with other like minded individuals vying for that ultimate prize. You can do that as well.

You can do it as a form of exercise. To help lose weight and have more energy.

You can even ride to focus your mind down to the singular task at hand. To forget about all the other stuff that's happening in your life.

Or you can just ride a bicycle because it's fun and a wonderful expression of freedom. That's why I do it (Although all those other reasons are in the background too).  It allows me to feel the wind on my face, the sun in the sky (Hopefully.) and chat with my friend's. There isn't anything better than that.

Here is an often recited story that I hope will shed some light on this person in search of meaning...

A Bike
A Zen Teacher saw five of his students return from the market, riding their bicycles. When they had dismounted, the teacher asked the students,

"Why are you riding your bicycles?"

The first student replied, "The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes. I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back!"

The teacher praised the student, saying, "You are a smart boy. When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over, as I do."

The second student replied, "I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path."

The teacher commended the student, "Your eyes are open and you see the world."

The third student replied, "When I ride my bicycle,  I am content to chant, nam myoho renge kyo."

he teacher gave praise to the third student, "Your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel."

The fourth student answered, "Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all beings."

The teacher was pleased and said, "You are riding on the golden path of non-harming."

The fifth student replied, "I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle."

The teacher went and sat at the feet of the fifth student, and said, "I am your student."

Ride and live.

Thanks for reading!

Rubber side down,

Big E

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

OBRA Road Race Championships: Part 1

From the Women 1/2/3 race in the afternoon (Photo credit:Ben)

Well the first day of the OBRA Road Race Championships were this last Saturday. All said and told I think they were a big success.

Capitol Velo was in charge of the soiree. More specifically Mike, Kurt, Jim and Eric. They did an awesome job. Between the heat, the local drivers and a really large number of racers it made for a mad capped day. But I think we pulled it off in swimming fashion. Only on bikes... It would be weird to swim in a bike race. That's just silly. I digress...

My entire day involved sitting my fat butt in my car and driving around in circles. Which was fine by me. Just looking at all these people suffering in the wind and sun made me feel as though I'd made the correct choice (With just a light seasoning of guilt.).

My morning shift was to be the lead car in the men's Cat. 4 race (My own category. I think the powers that be wanted me to feel guilty...) which was 3 laps of the 13.5 mile course.

The course has only 4 "real" hills but there really isn't a flat spot on the whole course. Just up, down, up, down in between.

The first two laps of the men's race were pretty subdued. Not a ton of action going on in the rear-view mirror. But on the radio there was all kinds of chatter about the different categories potentially catching the 4's because of the slower tempo (They were still moving along at 20 (ish) mph most of the time.). It was kind of  a weird scenario that kept in play the whole day. The categories that you would think would be fast weren't and the one's you would thing wouldn't be, were. Huh, go figure...

On the third lap of the men's race several racers took a dig on the steep hill on Enchanted Way. But it was pretty obvious that they either didn't have the juice or the peloton wasn't having it. So it was a sprint finish at the end.

The guy in the ditch was a Masters racer I believe. Cramps and heat exhaustion were a common theme through out the day.
In the afternoon I was the lead car for the Women's Cat. 1/2/3 race. Which I was pretty pumped about. Next to the Masters 35+ and the Pro 1/2 races its generally the most action you are going to see. And the ladies didn't disappoint.

For the women's race I was joined in the car by Ben (Photographer extraordinaire) to take pictures of his girlfriend (Mackenzie) and the race. Ben was a real nice guy. Although conversation was tough sometimes. Because he spent most of the race poked up through my sunroof to get the best shots he could (I was really impressed by his knee and leg strength. Holding himself in that awkward position had to be tough). I learned that both of them were triathletes. And after becoming Face Friends I discovered he knows a guy I grew up with (Hey John!). Small world... All the great pictures in this post are from Ben. He was nice enough to allow me to use them (See, I told you he was a good guy.).

The ladies were attacking pretty consistently for the first three of four laps. After that I got the feeling the ones that were left in the field were trying hard to save something for the sprint.

There was a racer I never got a chance to compliment after the race but this lady~

I believe her name is Anna. The one just to the left is Mackenzie.
 She get's the Super Tough Chicka award for this race. I swear every time I looked in the rear-view mirror she was either pulling the train (Huh, huh) or off the front. And then at the end she lead her teammate out for the victory. She was double tough. Huge kudos to her.

In the Men's Pro 1/2 race I couldn't have been happier if I was twins with good friend Graham coming in second. He and a couple others started a break the first lap and just kept it going the whole race. He shed all but three of his breakaway companions on the final lap. With the eventual winner taking the final corner in the lead and gapping the rest. Graham couldn't bridge the gap and win the sprint so he had to settle for second. Still a great achievement and they had over 6 minutes (!) on the rest of the field. Double tough effort and quite impressive.

So that's the first day of racing. The second comes in mid-June and should have some good racing too.

Thanks again to Ben for permission to use the photos. Great job to the team for putting on a great race!

Rubber side down,

Big E

Friday, May 11, 2012

The OBRA Road Race Championships

This weekend is the first of two days of racing put on by my team Capitol Velo for the OBRA road race championships (Just in case the big header wasn't a good enough clue.).
Being part of the board for the team I can tell you that a lot of planning and work went into these races. We are really hoping that they will go off without a hitch (Keep your fingers crossed.).

I will be volunteering for both days. Mostly just trying to keep an eye on the racing action from my rear view mirror (As of this point I'm a lead car for the Cat. 4 men and the 1,2,3 Ladies). If only I had one of those cars that has the third row seat that looks backwards I could charge exorbitant fees to fans to be driven around in the lap of luxury. Kinda like this~

That would be SA-WEET! 

But alas, I don't have such a vehicle. So I'll have to settle for getting all the action through the mirror. Maybe I could strap on one  (Huh, I said strap on...) of those mirrors that seem to be all the rage with my neon clad brethren.

That does seem like a really awesome look...
I am pretty pumped to see that both the Men's and Women's PRO 1,2 field's get good prize money. The fact that both get the same amounts is also a refreshing change of pace. Hopefully that will bolster both categories numbers and the competition as well.

Prizes$1000 purse
3 deep for mens Pro 1/2 & Women's Pro 1/2 | 3

1st - $300
2nd - $125
3rd - $75

So to everyone that's racing, good luck! I'll have a full report and hopefully some good pictures to share Monday.

But it is also Famous Friday (I know, you thought I'd forgotten.)! So in an effort to keep this going as long as I have pictures. Here you go!

Natalie Portman is always nice.

I wonder if he's contemplating biting someone or just through the chain?
Have a great weekend!

Rubber side down (Especially on the Delaney and Parrish Gap corner...),

Big E

Thursday, May 10, 2012

How To Fix A Warped Cycling Cap

If you live in a busy household like I do, laundry is a chore. In fact, I guess if you live in any household laundry is a chore.

There are all kinds of rules...

-Separate your whites and colors.
-Wash the delicates separately as well (Things like cycling clothes, panties and man thongs...).
-We don't check pockets for wallets or cell phones (Much to the chagrin of the kids.).
-Hang dry certain items.

It's that last rule that comes to mind when I think of cycling caps.  Inevitably a cap finds it's way into the dryer. Oh sure, if you're gross you don't wash them at all. Until everyone starts avoiding you during rides...

If you have something like a Walz Caps then there really isn't much to worry about. However if it's a normal cycling cap with a thin plastic piece inside the bill then you do have a problem. You end up with something like this...

Isn't pretty is it. It's sort of the head apparel equivalent of dirty white bar tape. Or perhaps having the dreaded "see through" bibs...

Can you read the number?
 Regardless I have a reasonably quick and easy fix. The only thing this particular technique won't help is a broken bill. If the plastic piece is cracked or busted off inside. Really your only two choices are to remove the plastic altogether. Which leaves you with a limp bill... I'm not going to lie, it's kind of sad and emasculating. Or toss it into the cycling donation box. But fear not! Other than in those extreme cases these easy steps can be taken to save your cap.

1. Get out your clothes iron and ironing board. Or if your like me and lazy. Just lay a towel down on the counter top.

2. Get the bill and surrounding part of the cap wet. Either with a squirt bottle or under the faucet. This keeps you from melting the plastic. Or if it's a synthetic cap. It keeps you from melting the cloth itself.

3. Turn your clothes iron onto medium and let it warm up.

4. Lay the bill as flat as you can without damaging it against the towel or ironing board.

5. Smooth out the curls and creases in the bill with the iron.

Doesn't my SSHW make a great hand model?
 6. Let the cap lay there flat until it cools down.

7. Wear and enjoy!

I'd like to the thank my lovely assistant SSHW for helping model.

Please take a, "How to wear your cap lesson." from Miguel Indurain (At least while you're doing the espresso stop or before and after the ride). Who always had his cycling cap neatly perched on top of his head. Like this...

Very stylish...
 Rubber side down,

Big E

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Knick Knacks And Paddy Whacks

C is for Cookie.

Sorry it's been so long since I've posted something.

A lot has happened...

The Monster Cookie was a couple weekends ago. The weather was great and a lot of people did the ride (About 2100 people). Those things are great. The bad part is that a couple of my good friend's went down in a crash.

Tom, while banged up, got away with just superficial wounds. Although he still manged to break his bicycle. Unfortunately, Martin didn't do any favors to his body or his bike.
Martin's knee... (Photo:Martin)
Martin signing his bike over to the rest stop mechanic to be dropped off at the start. That's Tom on the right with the black and orange. (Photo:Martin)

 When I found out about the accident I was gutted.  Martin just got back on the bike from another serious accident that involved shoulder surgery. I was instantly worried that he had re-injured his bad shoulder. And of all the shit luck, that's exactly what happened (Get well soon Martin. The group just isn't the same without you.)

In other news, my SSHW and I celebrated our 3rd anniversary this last weekend by running away to Sunriver/Bend. It was a lot of fun. We ate, drank and slept to much. But also got a chance to enjoy a tandem ride from Sunriver up to Mt Bachelor. It was an out and back trip with the first 17 miles being all up hill and the later being the opposite.  It was challenging for our legs and lungs being valley dwellers. But still a fun ride.  We also saw a herd of elk asses since they couldn't be bothered to look up at us while they were grazing and we flew back down the mountain.

The road was really nice. Smooth and almost no cars.

There is nothing better than having a beautiful ride on a beautiful day, with my beautiful wife. Nothing gets better than that.

The other thing that has started since last we spoke is the Giro.

I love the Giro d'Italia. Easily my favorite race of the year. Couple that with the fact that Taylor Phinney won the opening time trial and is wearing pink just adds to the awesomeness.

 Taylor Phinney (BMC) on the podium

The un-awesomeness is that the douche bag Ferrari just about ended Taylor's race after stage three. Although I must admit I'm still not sure why Phinney was up that close to the front. He wasn't contesting the sprint and there for not getting any of the time bonuses. He'd have been far better off just making sure no real splits happened and hanging back. I'm sure that's all 20/20 hind sight now...

That sort of maneuver has no place in sprinting to the line with the entire peloton behind you. It's just ridiculous. Then to cap it off with the fact that he didn't think he did anything wrong just makes me want to freak out! I was amazed at how lightly they came down on him. I've seen guys get ejected from races for less. But I guess since it's an Italian race and he's Italian they kept him in with just a time penalty and a small (200 Swiss francs) fine. He got off really easy in my opinion. I'd would have loved to see Cavendish with his busted bike still on his shoulder, walk up to Ferrari and punch him square in the neck. That would have been awesome.

There is more to talk about. But I'll save that for tomorrow (I don't want to blow it all in one sitting...). Until then, have fun, be safe and make good choices (Just kidding, what fun would that be!?)!

Rubber side down,

Big E