Saturday, December 12, 2009

Conclusions from Cross

With Pete’s nomination to type up a blog I am taking this opportunity to do so. And as Pete I am no better speller than he.
After the Cornell race no other track proved to be as kind to mountain bikes, although the race in North Hampton Mass offered a railroad track crossing which I (James P.) turned into a jump as I followed up the rear. Nonetheless we all raced hard and admired the pros. Conclusions were drawn that these flat barred, wide tired, disc brake mountain bikes were not going to get RIT cycling the points. We turned to Ebay, and by the end of the season RIT cycling had two more racers ready to go on real cross bikes! I personally want to thank Zack for his mobile internet that allowed me to “snipe” a bike at the last minute while driving to a race in Pete’s’ famous van. This trip also lead to our first stay at an Econo Lodge. This hotel/motel deal was well very sketchy at least. Customer service was minimal. And the so called included breakfast…well a rat may have turned down what they offered. The dining did turn around that night when we went out and enjoyed some broasted chicken. I cannot mention this dinner and oversee our waitress’s “chest piercing.” Yes she had a stud of some sort embedded into her sternum, [Google it for more information]
Over the break RIT cycling didn’t stop and binge out on the turkey. With races the weekend before and after races spent their minimal break that should have spent with family off racing bike. Eric drove 2 hours to the Lowell race his first morning home from break! Personally left a note on the counter with a note that said “Couldn’t sleep so I put together my new bike and went to race.” I want to toss out congratulations to Dan Ipp for his first, first place finish at Staten Island Cyclo-cross race the Sunday before we came back from thanksgiving break. The dedication of racing this weekend played a key role in RIT cycling taking 3rd place in division II.
Cross season came to a close this past weekend with a frozen last race in Warwick RI, Three Members of RIT cycling to on the 7 hour venture to the race. Again the team choose to stay at Econo Lodge, making Econo Lodge the home away from home for RIT cycling, well cross riders. This lodge was surprising well kept compared to what we had experience in North Hampton. As always I must mention we did our duty to try some fine dining in Middletown RI, There we found nothing more special than what could be considered a individual restaurant much like a Friendly’s. While we didn’t encounter snow as last year’s race, the temperatures were just as frigid. After the race the lovely student government van provided warmth as we awaited our feet to defrost and results to be posted. When it was possible to wiggle our toes we went to check the results. RIT cycling finished the 2009 cross season taking one and two with another finish gaining points for the team. The one missing piece from the cross season this year was a female racer. But for now we look to train through the “wonderful” winter months of Rochester and be ready for road season.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Mud Bath

With our old, witty blogger gone new members of RIT need to step up. Some people that I, Peter Hagerty, would like to nominate are Adam Rosenberg, James Parascondolvoldas, Amanda Berg, Pat Streeter, and Chris Mondike. I will extend the offer to all of you to at least try one blog for the ECCC. For now, you will have to deal with me, the horrible speller/poor grammerist.

The fall mt bike season went a lot better than I expected. I was planning on using the season as a warm up for cyclocross with mixed results and broken bones. I ended up getting really good results for the effort I put into it. Further more, I encourage everyone to make the most of every chance they get in the ECCC. A win may not be expected to give it your all when ever you can. We are all here to have fun and advance in the sport of cycling so try as hard as you can always.

Making it out of the MTB season without stiches or a cast/sling was beyond words for me. Having 5 stiches in my face the previous season was not the best way to prepare for another season.

Cornell knows how to make it rain. If there was ever a course that didn't need rain it was Cornell's motocross track. After completing the race I realized there wasn't a road section of the course to clear our tires and use your gears. The whole race was in a pit of mud checking to see if there was still air in our tires. The mud was scary because I knew there were rocks down there but I couldn't see through the 1 foot layer of slime. Eventaully getting a flat sucked because wheels are hard to come by for RIT. We scrapped around so much just to get a few working bikes out there. It sucked even more when we had to run to the van to get the needed wheels. Corey realized how bad it sucked by falling more running to and from the van than in his race. Maybe he will invest in a new pair of crocs which have more tracktion or better yet, actual shooooeeeessss!

RIT definitely has to do some new types of recruiting to get a bigger cross contingency. We will not be able to put together a conference winning season with 2 guys. None the less it was great to have 4 guys come that had never raced cross before. It may not have been the best course or conditions to send them out for their inaguarl ride but it was still great to see them give it their all.

I hope this wasn't murder trying to read, but I hope we will have some more pleasent thoughts about ECCC racing to come.

Saturday, May 23, 2009


To commemorate our final days as students either for the year or for a long, long time to come, the RIT EPO Test Mule Squad held a midnight cRIT. Going through the winding, bricked (the poor man's cobblestone) and weather beaten Rochester campus, the midnight cRIT lacked all the sophistication, classiness and safety of just about any other race one could possibly do. We had a nice mix of rider skill levels and bike types with primes and handicaps being of the fermented variety. I ended up flatting on the third lap and put a new tube in unbelievable record time, but failed to be anywhere the lead pack and just ended up huffing and puffing around. We all know who won (and he was awarded a very stylish Chiang Mai cycling club jersey with THAILAND emblazoned on the back), with Anthony taking second and who cares taking third. I ended up throwing up on the library.

The next day, some of us took an easy ride in the beautiful weather to visit one of our sponsors. Rohrbach's makes prizes of the fermented variety, and it turned out being a fantastic way to spend some time and finish up a season, a collegiate career and a day ending in y. Good times, kids.

Monday, May 18, 2009

A Cavalcade of Disappointment

Allow me to register my disappointment first with my teammates, who, when offered the option to ride the Tour De Syracuse, said, "yes, let's do this thing," and then when the moment of truth came near, said, "no, this thing, let's actually not do it." So, since I was the only one to show up (and because I write this thing anyway), it gets to be a personal blog. Second, allow me to register my disappointment with myself, for getting intolerably drunk and riding my bike, at very high speed, directly into a railing. In true Pyrrhic victory fashion, the railing came home with me to be stuffed and mounted, at the cost of my ability to walk and maybe a minor (ok, major) concussion. Third, I am disappointed that I did not heal faster. I am not, contrary to the way I act, made of steel, though if there were any justice in the world, I would be.

Anyway, I spent the last week limping around, not seeing a doctor, not training OR resting my leg, and eating lots and lots of candy. Luckily, I had only signed up for the crit and not the full omnium at Syracuse, which meant I could run my plan of blowing my knee out in the race and then limping home, where my youth power would fix everything up like those old people in 'Cocoon.' Knowing this, I didn't expect much out of the race, but its really kind of disheartening when your worst predictions come true. I felt good at the start, even breaking at one point, though I was immediately swallowed up by the pack (or, finger quotes, "peloton"). I did my patriotic duty as pack fodder until a gap opened up between the fast guys (us) and the faster guys (them). Then I took a long pull down the windy stretch and then another gap opened up between the fast guy (me) and the faster guys (everybody else). See what I'm doing here? Anyway, the fast guy got pulled with two laps to go, at which point he immediately sat down and wished he hadn't been so dumb as to come out. Disappointment.

The course itself was really fun, the wind less fun, and it was good to see some familiar faces kickin' around ('sup Army?). Everybody always wants better weather, but really, it was nice enough. The fields were split, mercifully, because those old dudes are fast. Also, the younger crowd has an entirely different tenor than that noted last week, which works well for me because I can't take anything seriously. I'll just have to change my race strategy from "go slower than everybody else" to "go faster than everybody else. Beyond that, anybody know any good knee surgeons?

Before racing, I'd fallen off any bike in any serious fashion maybe two or three times, and that was when I was six. Now, I've managed five chance encounters with the ground since March, with the scars to prove it. A recap: Stevens, my second race ever, I'm unaware that braking in a turn is bad. Result: can barely wear pants for a couple days. Delaware: I run into my teammate at very low speed with a very large audience. Yale: I fall off my bike after trackstanding like a jackass, dropping my chain directly before the start of the crit. Penn State: I run over someone's rear wheel, resulting in a purple and bilious-yellow-green mass on my hip, which has now turned into a sort of carapace to protect me from similar accidents. And now, last weekend, running my leg into railing so hard that the hurt comes out the other end. If I had any sense at all I'd take up canoeing.

Here, enjoy the dubious honor of seeing my inexpertly shaved and tanned legs:

Sunday, May 10, 2009

The Real World Isn't Very Fun

While the ECCC was busy kicking people's teeth in in Colorado, The RIT Outlaw Bicycle Crew took time out of its busy schedule to get its teeth kicked in in its first USAC race this weekend, riding around a very windy Bristol Mountain circuit. The picture available on the race website belies the massive, 50+mph descent that went into the straight, false-flat finish. Unfortunately, to get to that finish, a climb (and this has been a subject of much discussion) that was worse than Penn State but not as bad as Dartmouth had to be surmounted. And, even before that, the incredible headwinds along the flat had to be contended with, leaving absolutely no time to rest and making it impossible to attack. Truly, a day for the climbers.

Ejected from the collegiate cycling womb, I discovered the cat 5 pack is filled with old people of whom the hardships of life have gotten the better. No longer are jokes about doping appreciated, and more often than not people have only this brief escape of grueling "fun" before being sucked back up into the machine that crushes people's spirits like children's fingers in massive cogs. High points, however, came when I whistled the Smurfs theme song and someone whistled it back, as well as a guy who was nice enough to offer me a piece of Snickers. Once the "Serious Business" riders got down to their business and left us goofy guys behind, the tone lightened and everything was right with the world. None of us, in any category, had a very competitive race (especially Chris, who broke his chain and decided to run his bike to the finish), leading us to believe that "don't train to save your legs" isn't a feasible regimen.

We left the race just as the rain started coming down and eschewed the fine dining nature of things by getting gas station pizza. The weather, violent and full of thunder and fat drops of rain, disappeared by 3 o'clock, but ushered in a very powerful wind that made eating and cooking difficult. We moved everything inside, where the party stayed until people got bored, tired, or grossly injured, depending on who you were.

Thursday, May 7, 2009

He's like the drunk uncle at the wedding who grabs the mic!

[this post written by Jesse, not your usal blog-tastic Dan, who can be recognized in a pack by the messages on his calves written in brake dust...]

Well, in one last act as an 'important person' in the Cycling and Fine Dining Club, I've commandeered this blog like your drunk uncle who wants to put his two cents in when the microphone and video camera come his way...

Now many of you may have found yourselves wondering why all of a sudden there was a huge boost in good-looking and talented bike racers this season. You may have noticed an unusual increase in general ruckus and mayhem. You may have even seen a glowing white posterior at some point and begun to wonder what it all meant. These phenomena can all be explained by one thing: The Arrival of The RIT Cycling [and Fine Dining] Club. I'm here to answer some questions and clear up some myths about "The Arrival."

The "R" in RIT does not stand for Rennselaer. Nor does it stand for ripped, rocking, regurgitated, or rump. It stands for Rochester.

With our classically handsome facial bone structure and fair skin which gets easily burned by the harsh Massachusetts sun, you may be inclined to think that Rochester must be some beautiful place in Scandanavia where the water is fresh and the women naive. While weather patterns in Stockholm closely resemble those in Rochester, we hail from Upstate New York, a full 16 degrees south in latitude.

The "IT," in case you didn't know, stands for "Institute of Technology," just as it does for our fellow Massachusetts, Wentworth, and Stevens schools. This is really a polite way of saying that the ratio is skewed. Too many bros, not enough hoes. To many dicks, not enough chicks. Women are like parking spaces- they're all either taken or [too vulgar for this public forum. Look it up...]. This makes forming a cycling team a bit difficult, as we all know that winning weekends in the E-trip-C falls largely on the women of many teams.

Another important thing to note is that we're not Princeton. This seemed to be a major point of confusion for many riders in the pack, the reasons for which I can't begin to imagine. Yes, I realize that both Princeton and RIT have kits which are orange and black. I'm going to go out on a limb here and say that it's because the mascot of both schools is the tiger, and not the siberian type. You can pick out and RIT rider easily by the tiger stripes on the thigh (no, Princeton doesn't have them, and somebody owes me $5 because of it), or more importantly the giant letters "RIT" on our asses and on the front of our kits. To be fair, during a race you're not likely to see anything but our hind ends, and the lettering can seem small at such a large distance. [he said facetiously...]

Yes, some of us drink beer. No, you have never seen any of us drunk. Yes, we take our racing seriously. At least as seriously as any collegiate cyclists without serious aspirations of going pro should. If you're not doing this for money, you should be doing this for fun. For me, I'm not willing to give up more for cycling than cycling gives me, and you shouldn't either. Life's about balance. If you're not balanced, you'll topple eventually.

I'll take a moment to address any team who may have been the victim of one of our many highway shenanigans involving bare asses on glass... Hahaha gotcha! But seriously, it's all in good fun. We only moon the teams we like [except for you, that is!].

I'm going to get mushy for one last time before I sign off for good. When this club was formed last March, I didn't even dream of being where we are right now. When the original guys rolled up to the line at Penn State in '08 wearing their numbers on our [now infamous] grey "performance apparel" t-shirts, we could have either been laughed at or respected for even showing up. I'm quite happy to say that it was definitely the latter case, with just the right amount of laughing thrown in. That day explains a lot about why our team is how it is right now. We didn't take things so seriously that we couldn't laugh at ourselves too. And now that we're a "legitimate" team, we've still kept enough of that to keep it fun. By "legitimate" i mean that this season we had at least 12 people at every race, and even with some of those ever-elusive "women" that we were somehow able to convince to get in a 15-passenger van with the rest of us. We wouldn't be here if it wasn't so damn fun. And it wouldn't be so damn fun if it weren't for you, the rest of the ECCC. To the Men's A, B, and Women's A riders, you were at least fun to watch. To the rest, you were fun to race with. To everyone, you were fun to hang out with after and between races. Yes, that's right, we haven't yet fielded a rider in the 3 aforementioned categories. And no, I'm not bothered at all. Give it a year or two. We're exponential, baby!

I've obviously got to give a huge shout out to Joe Kopena. Not only has he put in a ridiculous amount of time and effort to the ECCC that you all know of, he has consistently given us those little hints that let us know the ECCC loves us.

Lastly, I've got to thank everyone on my team. Most of you have heard me say this before, but I want to make sure everyone gets it. You have all made this team what it is today, even if you were only around for one race, or even if you were only ever there in spirit. I never really knew any of you before the club got started, but if I had, you would have seen the huge impact it had on me personally. Before this club, the only things I was good at were partying and school. Not that I'm claiming to be any good on two wheels, but at least now I've got something I can be proud of. I'll admit to dropping a little bit of a tear on the way home Sunday after we had all split from Jason's parking lot. It was probably a bit like a parent when their last kid goes to college. I've put everything I had into this club for the past year, and I've gotten to watch it grow from 6 of us meeting in Java's trying to figure out how to get 6 people and 6 bikes to Penn State, to now watching other people do huge things like run the bike maintenance, the bike blender, and the club. Now that my duties as road captain are over, its incredibly bittersweet. I've got this huge thing that I created and put my blood sweat and tears into, but now I've got to let it go as I move on to something else. My most emotional day isn't going to be when I walk across the stage in 2 weeks at graduation. It was this past Sunday. Thank you all for giving that to me.

Oh, and big thanks to the Northeastern team- especially Al(ex) and Elliot, who got me into riding in the first place, and former member Keith, who always reminded me that I was just a little bit crazy, and got the idea of starting a club into my head in the first place.

Signing off permanently as the founder and former road captain (and president, and sponsorship coordinator, and...) of the RIT Cycling [and Fine Dining] Club,
Jesse Steiner.

I'll miss you guys.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

It's All About the Finish

Tragedy struck the Fine Dining Club mere minutes into our journey to State College: The Molester Van, trusty steed, cherished friend, traffic statute violater and altogether integral part of these cross-state jaunts, disassembled. Specifically, the radiator began to leak antifreeze at an alarming rate and we were forced to abandon it for other, smaller vehicles that proved less capable stages for our theatrics.

We stayed at the Harbor Inn in Philipsburg, "harbor" perhaps referring to the refuge given to the central pennsylvania denizens who scream into cellphones, party all night and loudly make disparaging comments about various minority groups. The benefit of this location was that we were located close to the Moshannon staging area, allowing us to arrive earlier than just about everyone and acclimate to the damp, chilly weather. The C TTT went off first, Jake once again agitated that he could not use the aero helmet. We went off first in the D group, dropping Jason and Zach pretty early and then I dropped Jake a couple of times because I felt as strong as I have in any race all year. After yelling at some riders who were milling about in the middle of the course, I effectively pulled Jake to a fourth place and I am stunned and totally proud of this so don't take it away from me. With our C men taking first (break out the champagne), we D guys taking fourth and our ladies also picking up points in B, it was our most successful TTT of the year. Tough not to be excited.

It warmed up and cleared up for the road race and we set off to our unknown fates, although I was certain my fate would be either a) eat pavement on the descent or b) cry like a baby on the ascent. Some riders went with a, I went with b. I finished by Jake, Chris once again was our top finisher and all of us had a little bit of trouble with the turn just before the end. The ladies finished nicely with a minimum of tears, Julie in Intro picked up our only road race points and our C riders, rocking the very stylish and always classy grey throwback t-shirts, fell victim to the spread-out field and hill and landed themselves outside of points.

By this point, we all smelled like the dried out filth we had been coated with earlier, and once I had had enough standing around in a towel and everyone else had had enough of harassing certain t-shirt salesmen, we absconded to Philipsburg and took a very convoluted path to get beer and food, traipsing around town before settling on Sarina's, a reasonably priced local place whose main claim to the fine dining pantheon of Restaurants That Are Tasty was some very, very well-made bread.

With little time passing to allow for digestion, we headed into State College for the banquet. We attacked the food with all due ferocity, piling our plates with everything that was offered us. There was a video courtesy of MHC that neglected one of the nakedest and certainly handsomest of ECCC riders (me) but featured Jesse's mug prominently as well as one of the most bad-ass of ECCC pictures, the RIT 'Untouchables' shot. Millersville won the dance-off fashion contest with all the grace expected of a half-naked man hopping tables, medals were handed out and then Joe proposed marriage to Caitlin, coincidentally mere seconds before everybody got something in their eyes. Upon exit, I collected a stack of styrofoam take-out trays that will no doubt be put to the dumbest of effects.

The next day provided all in attendance the opportunity to stand around in a light drizzle, and perhaps slip and fall on the slick pavement. The crit course was, it was generally agreed, "bomb as hell" but the slickness of the wet added an element of danger to a course that naturally required a difficult-to-move-up paceline. People still tried to do so, usually resulting in a tumble and a frown. I'd like to take this opportunity to thank the kid who decided to cut me off on a dumb line and then fall in front of me; that was a pretty sweet trick, maybe you could show me how you did it some time. Nevertheless, RIT was well-represented in the D top 10, with Chris taking second, Jake taking sixth and me taking seventh in a euphoric, hungover, post-crash haze. Amanda decided to not race in B women, but Sam put in some strong work with the chase group before getting pulled. Brandon took the Intro W on a broken bike, pushing a nice finishing sprint, and Julie was taken out in the first lap of the women's Intro and was understandbly a little gunshy vis a vis race continuation. The real party was in C, though, with Peter making a massive break that lapped the field and Will doing an excellent job blocking. Jesse had the worst of luck in his last collegiate race, first getting taken out by an Army crash, then getting shafted on the re-entry from the pit, and finally taking another tumble in an overzealous attempt to catch back up to the group. The points Peter and Will picked up, however, helped propel RIT up the standings to a final Overall position of 19th, 9th in D2. The only damper on the day was that I, for the final time, did not get a water bottle, though my teammates had promised me they would be prominent all year long. Shameful.

Somewhere around this time we set up our soon-to-be world famous bike blender, selling a couple of banana-strawberry smoothies like good little capitalists, and afterwards moving on to some well-earned margaritas. Look for the bike blender to be used in longer road races next year; those GU packets are very expensive. We eventually needed some kind of food, so we wandered over to Green Bowl on Zach's suggestion and ate stir fry that can't really be reviewed because it's personal to each member in attendance. A buffet-style pre-prep allows you to put various vegetables, noodles and sauces on your plate that is then stir fried in the mongolian barbeque style and is then delivered to your table. The all-you-can-eat aspect was a positive, as well as the customizability. The minute bowl of rice stands as a negative, as do the people in line who can't figure out if they want two carrot slices or three on their dish. A certain degree of patient is a requisite for eating here.

We returned to our tent as the awards ceremony was beginning, a product of our impeccable timing. People got their medals and we packed up our things, waving good bye to one another and going our separate ways. I found a water bottle on the ground, fulfilling my season long dream of getting one at a race. By all accounts, Peter had a season-best mooning on the return trip, keeping his ass on the window of Amanda's saturn long enough to expose himself to three vans worth of Army riders.

This concludes the ECCC portion of this blog. It'll probably be updated with some RIT-related varia in the next few weeks before I graduate, and after that I'll pass the torch onto someone to whom I can entrust the great responsibility of the upkeep of this blog. I'd like to finish by acknowledging the things and people who've had a pronounced affect on me these past few weeks. First, thanks to the ECCC for existing; you've saved me from the drudgery of my last quarter as a college student. Concurrently, I'd like to thank the RIT team and the Intro field for helping me get into racing bikes, as both were instrumental in my ability to not flounder around like a jackass. Thanks to Neosporin for helping me recover from road rash, thanks to beer, Vitamin Water for helping recover from races, thanks to everyone who drove the incessant miles. I'd like to specifically thank Jesse Steiner for being as good a captain as one can have, through organization, being support for the team and always riding hard and inspiring others to do likewise. Finally, thanks to everyone who put up with my bullshit in the pack, everyone who beat me and everyone who didn't. I guess this is the part where I put an inspiring quote like, "keep the rubber on the road" or something equally banal, but profundity is overrated. Ride bikes, have fun.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

The East is Red...Well, Mostly Just Our Forearms and Necks

Continuing the fine tradition of pressing hams on windows, the RIT Cycling Cadre sped across the dusky New York landscape, running a record 16 deep men and an RIT standard zero women. Before reaching the hotel, we managed a drive-by mooning of the Stevens team, to which they responded by pulling off the road, obviously blinded by the pasty radiance of our bare bottoms.

The next morning promised to be hotter than normal, seeing as at 7 in the morning the weather was "perfect." We set up in the parking lot, but not before Peter made a point of driving around the elementary school parking lot a couple of times in a looping, meandering sort of way that confounded or angered other vehicles figuring out a way to park. He was probably showing off for his parents, Mr. and Mrs. Peter, who were kind enough to show up, watch races, cheer for us and bring us food, but most importantly brought us ice for the cooler. We headed off to the team time trial, Jake very, very antsy about not getting to wear the aero helmet. Turns out he didn't need it, seeing as we bounced across the cratered road into a tidy 2nd place.

Getting ready for the road race, we took advantage of seeing the sun for the first time in what felt like several weeks by working on a nice golden brown exterior. I cleaned up my bike and covered my fingers in brake dust, which I used to write " 'SUP" "GUYS?" on my calves like a very friendly triathlete. The road race itself was, like the TTT, bumpy and dirty. Once again the D field had no idea when the race ACTUALLY started after the neutral bit, so we winged it and started racing when it certainly had to have been running. The hills can best be described as a progression of "that wasn't so bad," followed by "really? REALLY?" and finally "OH COME ON!" I fell off the pack in the second lap and pulled a Stevens kid for a ways before hitting a major hole on the moonscape of a course and flatting out. I threw an OK tantrum (I can do better), expelling curse words and deflating and throwing stuff around, to the delight of Jesse, who had suffered a similar flat fate in the C race. I apologize to any families that were around. Meanwhile, on the course:

Jake Yundt at X-Pot: A Play in 1 Act
JAKE: Oh god I lost my water bottle give me yours.
(Teammate hands Jake water bottle; Jake grabs it, drinks from it, hands it back, does not fall)
JAKE: (amazed) I just did that!
JAKE: Hey, where's the pace car? Is there a breakaway? There's a breakaway. Joe, is there a breakaway?
JOE K: There's no pacecar, so I guess there is.
JAKE: There's a breakaway! C'mon, we can catch them!
(JAKE shoots off in front, pushing the pace)
JAKE: Hey, does someone else want to pull? We gotta catch that breakaway.
PRINCETON RIDER: No. Why should I do any work?
(Under his breath, JAKE profanes PRINCETON RIDER and probably PRINCETON RIDER'S MOTHER even though there is no need to bring her into this because really what did she ever do to him. The PACK catches up to the breakaway, because no breakaway existed. JAKE falls off the PACK on the hill)
JAKE: I went for the breakaway but nobody would come with me!
EVERYONE ELSE: There was no breakaway, you are an idiot.
JAKE: Whoops. Sorry!
(JAKE looks out towards audience with a screwed-up face while a slide whistle plays a silly noise)

The only other notable mention is a certain teammate who decided he was going to walk up the hill instead of ride his bike, and he deserves all the heckling in the world. Oh, and Chris got first, which is a pretty big deal, I guess, considering he did it with a broken hand so he couldn't do anything cool with the finishing photo.

We spent some more time moving past the golden brown stage and into the pinkish-red stage in the sun before heading off into Boston to see the sights. The sights we saw were Mission Hill, where a woman yelled at Peter for driving too quickly on a street, Qdoba, and the Northeastern Campus. We split up, some going to Penguin, a place which by all accounts is very good, and others packing tightly into Jason's Focus wagon for a grilling party with the Northeastern team. The interscholastic bonding that took place warmed us, although that warmth could also be blamed on the intense red burns we were all sporting. On the drive home, we stopped at a red light and had a very civil conversation with a group of ladies in another car, an historic first for any male RIT student.

Sunday brought, once again, the sun, and the heat, and the burn, and I, once again, was too stupid to apply any suntan lotion to my firm and well-toned body. I netted a prime in the crit and worked to try to block for a Jakeson break on the last lap, but I'm bad at blocking and they were caught, resulting in no RIT kids finishing in points. It was otherwise a very good race. The Intro men continued their points-grabbing from the previous day, with Chris once again pounding his very stylish Schwinn around the course. The C Men did an Exciting Thing by breaking early and staying out, netting bunch of prime points and were only overshadowed by a Princeton guy doing the same thing to them, only alone. Tigers out in front, or something.

By this time we had all developed very silly tan lines (Pat's being by far the worst with a stunning deep burgundy chest), Don found a bug to play with and the port-a-potties were ruined. What the hell do you people eat?

The ride home was the ride home, pockmarked (yes, this is the best word to use) by Jake's insertion of Emilio Esteveze jokes that are neither funny nor clever but very entertaining if you've been dropped on your head multiple times, as most of our team has been. Lo:

Which one of Charlie Sheen's brothers should be checked regularly for lumps? Emilio Breastevez!
Which one of Charlie Sheen's brothers drives a white 15 passenger Ford Club Wagon? Emilio Molestevez!
Which one of Charlie Sheen's brothers did Charlie Sheen sleep with? Emilio Incestevez!
Which one of Charlie Sheen's brothers keeps my teeth pearly white? Emilio Crestevez!
Which one of Charlie Sheen's brothers saw me naked? Emilio Impressedevez!
And so on.

Share with your friends!

Not far from the end of our trip, our illustrious captain decided we should display our posteriors for a young girl and her mother. Yo-yoing back and forth with this car, the third time past we preferred to exhibit some modicum of decorum, disappointing the girl who by this time had her cell phone camera out. So we took another run, making her day that much brighter with our celestial bodies. Luckily, nobody was wearing anything that could identify us to the police.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Suffering on a Grand Scale

Note: This post has been modified from its original version to include more smack talk, as per ECCC Blogreel poll guidelines. Edits can be seen in brackets.

New Hampshire [A state that, frankly, sucks] is kind of far away from Rochester, but that didn't really stop us. After all, New Hampshire has that rock that looks like a face that people seem to really like, even if it did explode a couple years back, or something. After a long drive through some hillbilly areas (one sign informed us of Hillbilly Fun Park in the vicinity), we ended up at White River Junction, a town that as far as I'm concerned has nothing beyond a Dunkin' Donuts, a Super 8 and a China Moon restaurant.

The next morning was gray and a little chilly, but not so chilly that I had too put any more material on my legs than I had too, a benefit of still not having fully shaven my legs. Chris, Zach and I put up a fantastic ride, two seconds off of Northeastern and two and a half seconds off of Tufts [You're dead, Tufts. That's right, this is a written threat. I'm going to freakin' kill you], which is to say one of us wearing an aero helmet would've netted us third. Tim and Anthony also had a solid ride in D, Peter and Will desperately missing Jesse but still putting up a competitive time for just the two of 'em. Sam had the bad luck to drop her chain on one of the hill's resulting in what was, by Amanda's account, a comically low-speed fall.

The crit approached as the day got colder and Anthony and Will got more and more wired on espresso. A brief rundown of the course led me to the conclusion that someone, at sometime, was going into the drink. This did not happen [but it probably should have, since you're all scrubs who have no business riding a bike]. The race itself was tiring [probably more tiring for you guys than for me, because I am so goddamn great], what with the little hill. I ended up with an 11th place [because I let somebody else win] with Zach coming in right behind after some quick thinking got him around a crash. The RIT men's intro took their laps with both Pat and Andrew pickin' up points. The ladies were unhappy with their first foray into a Women's B crit, with both ending up getting pulled and both definitely displeased by the fact. Peter, in the spirit of smacktalk, asked a young man wearing a striped polo and khakis where the Audi was parked, positing it was perhaps in his Daddy's garage, and perhaps he would pick it up when he went to the yacht club later. The young man was not amused. When he decided to race, Peter took a couple of primes and a fourth place finish. Will, who halfway through the race looked as if the espressos he'd been pounding finally turned on him, held on to the pack despite going through some wicked withdrawal shakes.

During some downtime between crits, I went off in search of beer, specifically Stinson's, a store I learned of from another rider. On my trek, I discovered two things: 1) There are cops all over Hanover, which makes it very difficult to be a dick cyclist and blow through red lights, and 2) Dartmouth students have a difficult time discerning left from right when giving directions. I achieved my goal, but not before someone complimented my bike, which I thought was odd because I ride a Trek and nobody should be complimenting it. Feel free, however, to compliment my Adonis-like good looks and chiseled abs. My foray into town also helped my team find Boloco, a review of which can be read directly below this post.

We went back to our hotel, some to sleep, others to watch zombie movies and complain about the impotent stream in our shower. After some digesting, we went back into town to Everything But Anchovies, where I took it upon myself to eat an entire pizza and Amanda took it upon herself to ask what the difference between parmesan and provolone was, as well as comment on our server's "funny accent." We had a word find competition on the children's menu, which I won [because I am so goddamn great]. Best word found: shat. Or knurt, which I guess is trunk backwards. Anthony took it upon himself to make up words, find words with letters not in order and probably even add some letters in himself. I also authored a heartwarming comic about two friends and cats.

We woke the next morning pumped for the road race, but especially excited to see Joe Kopena's car had been saran wrapped (shenanigans). Look how helpless he is:

We, and several other vehicles, followed him to the staging area, but he was obviously flustered by the run in with cellophane and led us through the twists and turns of Vermont before realizing that he had gone the exact opposite way. We did make it to the start, which I was delighted (read: utterly crushed) to discover was on top of a rather large hill.

The road race started with a dirty downhill dotted with dimples, though it was, mercifully, a neutral part of the ride [I would've killed it had we actually raced, though]. We then continued to ride for several miles before actually realizing that we were actually racing, and I think it took a lot of the group even longer than that to figure it out. I, in the spirit of trash talk, commented that I was pleased that I had decided to ride with Women's B, which turned out to be a mistake. At the end of the first uphill, my gears started switching wildly and my chain started slipping, and curse words, despite the warnings of the marshalls, started slipping from my mouth as I slipped out of the pack and slipped out of contention. Having been crapped out the back end, Zach caught up to me and we worked on getting back into the group.

For the next part of the story, just play this link in the background: .

Alright, so there we're catching up to the group, little by little. I figure the best time to catch them is on the descent into the hairpin, so I bomb it. I forget that it's a hairpin, and brake way too late. Zach, bike handler that he is, goes around, speeding off into the distance. I shoot out into the field, keep my bike up, turn it around and crank back to the road, where I discover a ditch and about a foot and a half drop. All the marshalls are frozen, waiting to see what I'll do; I go for it. It ends poorly for me, as this artist's rendering shows:

I get back on, a marshall comes running over, helps me put my chain back on and gives me a push. After a nice paceline with a couple of guys, I end up on my own again and finish...poorly. As a sidenote, I end up making horrible heaving noises after a long climb. Chris ends up with the best D finish at 34, Lee manages to snap his rear derailleur in half and Tim narrowly misses being in the Women's B finishing picture. Speaking of Women's B, both Amanda and Sam finished, with Amanda having an experience in the aforementioned field similar to my won and Sam somehow making it through with major mechanical problems that required her to walk up much of the hilly bits. You can turn off the music now. I worked on my euro-pro cyclist tanlines while C went off, with both Peter and Will finishing in a near-dead state. Will noticed that some guys had gotten off their bikes and decided to stretch in the middle of the final climb (what the hell, guys), while others made moves off the front to go pee. I may try this.

We packed up and left, lurching forward to our western new york goal. Will suggested we stop for food, which, by the time the words had reached the front of the Mole Van, had somehow morphed into a suggestion that we stop for gas, so we did. Several hours later, we ended up eating at Golden Corral, which, if you're looking to put on several pounds or just want to make a pile of banana pudding covered in gummi candy, is the place to go. A late night return and an exhausted crew, both from excessive eating and brutal climbing made for a rather subdued return trip.

Monday, April 20, 2009

The Globe Trotting Burrito: a Boloco Review

Goodish, could be gooder

Enticed by the promise of $1 off any lunchtime burrito, the Fine Dining Club made the brief trek across town to take advantage. The subterannean Boloco is nestled along the bustling Main Street between quaint Hanover shops, a subdued facade that hides the Mexo-world fusion food within, brethren to such restaurants like Chipotle or Moe's. The restaurant itself is a triumph of urban reappropriation, an effective commercial use for an otherwise curious and most likely dank and dusty basement space.

The decor is a marriage of the space's rustic roots, apparent by the brick trimmed high, narrow windows that run the length of the establishment, and the post-modern, evidenced by the stylish, low-flourish furniture and exclusively helvetica-clad menus and signage. Customers can choose to sit in either the chairs at the restaurant-standard table (banal) or opt for the more exciting booths, which provide far more comfort and support. The booth also eliminates the need to pull out a lady's chair for her, so chauvinists can still get laid even if they aren't very polite.

The staff, not knowing that I was a high-quality, professional reviewer of restaurants, treated me with the same rough familiarity that comes from lax upbringing. Spare the rod, spoil the future service industry workers of tomorrow, as the saying goes. Despite the seemingly brusque demeanor, the good humor and fast service stands to their credit; after our party noted that we were "racers," their incredulity at our lack of spandex soon fell and they quickly made good the $1 off offer. No doubtthat they will never be sommeliers in a high class french establishment, these two men did a perfunctory job of taking our orders and money, but did stupendously well on the ever-important "make change" part of their job. It should also be noted that, when one of my party's order was incorrectly entered, there was no charge for it and another, more-accurate burrito was promptly engineered.

The menu boasts a range of culinary quirks beyond the Classic burrito. Also available on the standard menu are the Buffalo, featuring the distinct flavors of western New York; the Bangkok, a burrito that recalls images of spicy curries, peanut sauces and ladyboy prostitutes; the bbq, an homage to the tex-mex brand of bbq featuring spanish rice and bbq sauce; the Caesar, a rolled-up version of many people's favorite salad; the Big Green, a vegetarian offering for people who don't like protein in their diets or possibly still think cows have feelings that don't amount to "Boy I wish I were a steak."; the Cajun, a creole offering that will flood your mind with thoughts of Bourbon st; and a good deal of others, which I won't write about because this is getting boring, as well as the option to build one's own burrito, should a customer be intrepid enough to delve into the burrito construction theme. They also feature smoothies of some description.

In order to give the food a fair shake, I was naturally forced to try the classic, to see how it measured up to the similar restuarants of its ilk. The burrito was passable and succeeded in sating my hunger, the bare minimum of the product of any eatery. The well-wrapped nature of the container beneath left little spillage and the construction was such that I was able to hold on with one hand while applying sauce with the other. It is said that adding sauce to a dish is an insult to the chef, but I don't think these burrito builders were especially appalled. After all, as a reviewer I must feel all aspects of the dish; the way the flavors dance on one's tongue both as a naked entree, but also under the stronger, sharper flavors that can be added after the fact. The burrito did passably, excellent as a bear entree but the flavors flowing together a little bit under my steady, salsa-applying hand. In addition to the Classic, I was determined to take Boloco on on my own turf, so I ordered a Buffalo. An interesting take on what has traditionally been the most useless part of the chicken, this Buffalo wing analogue is, in fact, edible. The sauce stood somewhere between 'medium' and 'hot' territory, which worked well within the confines of the burrito space as a place for 'spicy' food but would not alienate those biased against a high-temperature mouthfeel. The addition of celery, though authentic, led to a strange texture dichotomy that may appeal to some auteurs but left this reviewer feeling mildy confused and vaguely betrayed.

Briefly, Boloco stands as an ample establishment from which one can pick up a mediocre to slightly-above-average burrito with a dash of international flavors. One and one quarter stars out of four, designating it above good but not very good, as per the New York Times reviewing mechanisms. Points deducted for service staff not kowtowing at my feet, had to pick up food myself, no smoking jackets of the finest silk for all patrons, no wine list, no toilet made of solid gold in the restrooms, no young child to give me a foot massage while I ate. Quarter point added for comping teammates meal and free refills on soda.

ATMOSPHERE Low-key, post-modern with little frill. Appears to cater almost exclusively to people wearing helmets and sunglasses. Aliens, maybe?
SOUND LEVEL Moderately loud when crowded.
WINE LIST No wine list, laughably enough.
PRICE RANGE Large Burritos, 6.95, Small Burritos, somewhat less .
RESERVATIONS There appeared to be no Native American Casinos on premises.
WHEELCHAIR ACCESS Only if your wheelchair can climb down stairs.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Wet and Cold and Windy and Easter Candy

The Ship of Fools/Voyage of the Damned left Rochester at the standard time and with minimal butt-on-glass action but a maximum of dirty schoolyard drawings-on-glass action, we arrived in New Haven at a semi-reasonable hour. Our hotel, a Lodge of great Economy, ensured a welcome and safe environment by virtue of having two or three cameras at every corner, all viewable from the super villain lair-worthy front desk. We immediately went to sleep, with Jake concluding his solo-sojourn by walking right in the door we thought we had securely locked so as to protect us from the nefarious societal elements lurking just outside.

The next morning, after a decidedly restless sleep, Jake woke up and said, "Ok, we need to address the elephant in the room: Who was snoring last night?" I broke out laughing and pointed at Don, who confessed to snoring a bit when he sleeps on his back. "It sounds like a two stroke engine going full blast," said Jake. I likened it, in my characteristically graphic way, to a man who had somehow discovered a way to stick a straw down his own throat and blow chocolate milk bubbles with his phlegm, amplified. Either one works.

We drove up and down State street, sleuthing out a Dunkin' Donuts from which we could buy breakfast before setting up shop outside of a school. Despite knowing this time trial was a climb, and knowing how miserable my life had been less than a week ago doing something very similar, I still signed up for it. I was neither passed nor did I do any passing, but I did finish without Donning and I assert that my hyperventilation at the end was a result of sprinting in that rarified air. Jake took top RIT D climber and Zach sniped my brilliant time by two seconds, so now he has a target on his back. We waited by the marshall and cheered people as they went past, and a BU rider declared that he was going to "shit all over everyone" come the circuit race. I'm not sure he succeeded in his quest. As the C men lined up, my judicious lack of preparation paid off and the battery in my camera died just in time for the sky to engage in a pissing contest with itself (the sky won, we lost). This is the best way to describe this cold, relentless, medium sized droplet rain that went all over everything and ruined an otherwise very promising day: pissing. We D guys set up the easy up while the C men and Intro ladies got a delightful sprinkling, each coming back to the Mole Van a shivering morass, but morasses with points as Peter and Amanda scooped up a gross amount between them and Sam tossing a couple on to the pile as well.

As the skies had gaped open and had not seen fit to close, we D men resignedly made our way to the line, bitching, moaning, whimpering, petitioning the sky to stop for just 30 goddamn minutes, I mean seriously. After some commiseration at the start line, we launched off at a rainy day race pace, hitting dirty bits and getting wet pieces of road on our faces and in our mouths. At this point I would like to point out that the D field, despite being D and therefore not especially good, is all business once the race starts. Any attempts to discuss weather, course condition or political economies of developing nations just gets blank stares and kinda ruins the whole fun aspect of everything. Naturally, I find it up to me to banter, even if nobody will banter with me, but at least in this race some friendly fellow told me to "shut up and ride my bike," which is better than the usual, "On your right...Oops, I mean left," or, as is especially helpful in a circuit race, "Left turn ahead!" Either way, I dropped a record amount of F-bombs during this race and had a nice screaming match with myself over the finish line, landing me just out of points but having helped Jason eke one out and close enough to watch Jake turn on some afterburners.

The intro ladies once again brought the heat (and some points), and they told us as much while we shivered, mostly naked, in the Mole Van, though they complained about being freight trained by a group of young ladies indiscriminately dressed in blue, which could be any number of schools. In C, Peter finished well, which is the only nice thing to say about that race. Will, in his C road race debut, dropped a chain and then was given the wrong instructions by a marshall, ending his race early, and Jesse managed to put a major ding in his rim, ruining his wheel and flattening his tire. Like a true Awesome Guy, he went back to the start, pumped up his wheel and rode the slowly deflating contraption up to the top of the mountain, managing to not finish DFL.

Lunch was had at a pretty snazzy Thai place with good food, good portions and good prices. Some of the less adventurous went to subway and then sequestered themselves out in the rain while their wider palatted brethren enjoyed the remnants of their southeast asian cuisine. At this point, the ladies split off to Urban Outfitters and we of-age men beelined for the package store. When we got back to the hotel, we tried every permutation possible of hanging clothes up in a desperate attempt to get them dry: leaving them on the AC unit with it on cold, with it on hot, hanging stuff from drawers, hanging stuff from lamps (this works well), hugging things to let body heat take control, even disembowling the yellow pages for use as stuffing to wick the crap out of our shoes. During this time, we discovered channel 80, home to 24/7 pornography of the most grotesque, artless variety. We later watched Red Light Go and pretended we were all people who rode fixed gears and got yelled at by cabbies.

Dinner landed us in Little Italy for another $16-a-plate place, but we don't complain because we're the Fine Dining Club and also the bread was excellent. It however brought to light that can no longer be trusted to accurately describe the price structure, especially since it cannot be overstated that the Fine Dining Club is incredibly cheap. The place across the street from us, an Apizza joint, had a line snaking around the block, but we were all too full to figure out what Apizza was. I later discovered that it is New Haven pizza, a dish my roommate back at school expressly warned me about eating because it is "nasty."

The next morning was mercifully dry but plenty chilly. We snaked a spot by the finish line and got ready to go. In the D race, I was bent on winning a prime because the prize was candy and that is pretty much what I run on. Unfortunately, when I told Jake that we were going for it, he didn't come along and I was hung out to dry, left at the mercy of the Millersville kid who first ran me down and the West Point kid who eked his wheel out for second. At this point I was done and the RIT D riders, mysteriously, failed to get any good finishing positions, but Don made up for it by Donning after the finish line. On the subject of talking in the pack in D, the prize goes to a (I think) BC kid who screamed "STOP BEING SO FUCKING SKETCHY!" to someone ahead. Words to live by. Brandon showed up for his Men's Intro debut, falling into the by this time all-too-familiar trap of pulling for three or four laps and then falling off the pace hard. A learning experience, every time. The more experienced and shrewd intro ladies held excellent positions in the front, just getting beat out for third place by some girl from UNH. The C Men also had a good day, with Peter scooping up a ridiculous amount of points (and some easter candy) with a second place and some primes, another step in his inexplicably meteoric rise to Really Good Rider, Jesse having a solid race and Will showing that his move up to C was not, in fact, a bad decision.

After toying with the thought of sticking around for the open races, we suddenly realized that we had a very, very long way to go, so we went about finding a mexican place and instead settled on China buffet, which was an excellent place to go on Easter. On the way back, we stopped at a gas station where I picked up some homemade beef jerky that kept me awake all night and, upon returning home, my roommate asked me where I had been all weekend. You think he'd figure it out by now.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Race day, baby!

I'm just kidding. I'm not going to jam a pump in your wheel. But seriously, don't cross me.

Monday, April 6, 2009

The First Annual

West point, as it turns out, is a hilly, barren area that is prone to high winds and gray skies. Upon arrival at Camp Anawana, we were herded away from the main setup area (and, more importantly, the SaniJohns) and relegated to a picturesque lakeside that was in no way close to the race course, although we did escape the fate of some unluckier later-rising schools who were placed somewhere further along our very narrow, windy street. We easy-up'd the Easy Up and the Hard Up (and Lonely) just in time to realize that it was very windy and these things were probably going to blow away at the slightest 30 mile per hour gust, so we hung bikes on them. This plan had mixed results. The Team Time Trial got underway, where we were excited to experience the axiom "either you're having a good day or there's a headwind." We were also excited to experience that nice hill right at the turnaround, netting us a twelth and twentysecond in D and a toasty little fifth in C.

The road race had another really fantastic headwind that kept the group together, which was great because I didn't have to do any work and everybody else slowed down dramatically. There was a hill by the finish line that the race flyer promised would "test [one's] inner warrior," which turned out to be my testicles who had by this point taken up residence somewhere around my stomach to escape the cold. My inner warriors passed the test with flying colors though, putting me in fifth, a position I never thought I'd be in (other positions I have lost hope of ever being in: sexual ones). The teammates filed in with a couple of top twenty finishes and Will once again deciding he'd had enough of this racing thing so he flatted as an excuse to stop. On the last lap, a crash happened towards the end of course, prompting a "Someone's down! Attack! Attack!" from a rider, which is kinda douchey but a good way to win, so it comes down to what's important to you, I guess. Peter got caught up in a crash and C, and Jesse, not getting caught up in a crash, netted a top 10 finish.After some well-earned victory beverages, Peter captained the molester van through the winding streets of camp, stopping for a wildly gesticulating marshall who was, like the A riders, on something.

This being the 1 year anniversary of the cycling team, like, this race specifically, 1 year, it has come to be that we can now say things like "annual." Like the Pho last week, Jake once again lobbied heavily for a food group, this time for the 2nd Annual Family-sized Stromboli Eating Event. A BYOB restaurant, which prompted a "can you even do that?" from some of our number (yes, you can) and a stromboli that was less the size of a family and more the size of my lower leg. Only Jesse and Jake stepped up to the plate, with Chris and Zach sharing one like normal people. Jake challenged for a race, to which Jesse calmly replied that he wasn't racing, then proceeded to eat the hell out of some stromboli. Jake couldn't even finish it, the big baby, and as such became the subject of heckling not only of the team but also our waitress and some guy who sold us on dessert pizza.

We went back to the hotel, where some people napped and others watched Black Dog, a movie in which Patrick Swayze drives a big rig and so does Meat Loaf. Before long, we decided it was time to eat AGAIN, so we went to a place our team had gone to last year AGAIN and we ordered some food, none of which happened to be Stromboli. Jake once again couldn't finish his food, but nevertheless ordered some ice cream afterwards, at Rita's. Peter took the Sly Glutton prize by requesting free samples for everybody, and then eating them all himself. When we got back to the hotel, some of us went to sleep and others watched The Flying Scotsman, because watching a cycling movie with strong suicidal overtones seemed appropriate for a hill climb.

The next morning brought us to West Point and the hill climb on a godforsaken pile of rock that was deemed by one of my teammates as "not too steep," although I think when he said "not too" he actually meant "unreasonably." Waiting in line, I immediately had second thoughts about my task and, well, it turned out poorly for me, as this artist's rendering shows:

Never have I wanted to quit something so intensely in my life. Jake once again lost to Jesse, I lost to just about everybody and Peter ended up beating Joe Kopena. About this point, the weather decided to get nice, so I dropped the tights and hit the crit course, which was just as windy as the previous day had been; the river had whitecaps. The crit itself was quite nice, with RIT rolling an incredibly deep field and finishing very nicely at the front. At one point, on the back stretch, we were hit by a huge gust of wind, to which I commented "I wish I got blown like this back at school!" Nobody around me thought it was funny. Jake took a couple of pretend Primes thanks to some guy with a cowbell and the finish was a dirty little thing where I, like everybody else, got boxed into a poor finishing position, but I still ended up fifteenth behind Jake, Will, and Rashid. For intro, Chris pulled the first lap hard and fell off the pace after that, which'll learn him good, and in C, both our guys had excellent rides, with Jesse just missing top 10 and Peter pulilng a couple of prime points. Deciding that we were too deep in D, Will made the big jump up to C on the shoulders of a nice run down of his own teammate's breakaway and a grudge match finish between him and Jake. C can have you, D don't want you.

After working my tan on my fabulous muscles for a bit and pretty much taking a day in the park, we set off towards home, stopping at a Chinese place in run-down neighborhood wherein we witnessed a man demanding an eggroll the next time he ordered from there. We mostly slept on the way home, taking a break so that Anthony could pee since he still hasn't mastered Peter's art of urinating in Vitamin Water bottles and leaving them places.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Alert! Alert!

Just been notified that RIT's moving up to D1 midseason. Kind of annoying, considering I just registered for the D2 race at west point, but that can probably get cleared up. More info at

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Cheeses, steaks. Also, the hood.

The six hour drive from Rochester to Philadelphia was filled with butts against glass and before long, we discovered ourselves sharing our New Jersey hotel with a rather large contingent of other teams. Despite having beautiful, shorts-beckoning temperatures at our departure, the next morning brought miserably wet and chilly conditions, weather whose only redemption comes from the fact that if you pee yourself, nobody can tell. That wouldn't be an issue, though, because I moved up to the Big Boys in D and Big Boys don't pee themselves. Instead, they like to start a circuit race and fall over at every given opportunity to spread the field out, because who wants to do things the easy way? I fell off the main group at the beginning of the second lap and made some friends at the back on my quest to get back on it ('sup CMU guy and Wentworth guy?) and ultimately placed in the top 50%, which gave me warm fuzzies. Some teammates did better, others did worse, with Anthony taking the prize for most enamored of the ground and Jesse taking the prize for most-ruined-brand-new-tyre. The ladies, whose number somehow managed to triple, did a fine job despite a less-than-cooperative bicycle.

After everybody finished, we rode our bikes through West Philadelphia, where Anthony once again thought it would be fun to fall (eliciting a number of bystander "OOOOOOooooooh!"s), and where Brittany was threatened, or perhaps admonished, with "White girl, you gon' get shot." This was an unfortunate time to realize that we had left someone behind, so we putzed around an intersection waiting for both the prophesied bullet, which never came, and our teammate, who came a little while later. In the interim, Brittany decided it would be fun to once again shame Jake by riding with no hands, but had the added bonus of finding directions for us via her iPhone while going. Our little daredevil, riding no hands, engrossed in an iPhone and displaying a cavalier disregard for posted signs that would make any bike messenger wince. We ended up at Pat's King of Steaks, eschewing the flashy lights of Geno's for the more subdued, RIT-friendly restaurant. Disappointed that Boston College had already staked out a spot to make fun of hipsters, we sat on the sidewalk, eating and getting in the way of baby carriages. After eating, we moved on to Independence hall and the Rocky steps, being the biggest tourists possible and raising our bikes over our heads at the top of 'em. We finished our journey by going through the most dilapidated, derelict, desolate, cracked-out part of any city that I've ever been in. To celebrate, we went to an Italian restaurant that was far too classy for any of us, though the food I ordered was decidedly bland (Uninspired! Dull! Lifeless!). Other people liked theirs, though. Peter thought it would be a good time to stick safety pins into a crosswalk button and some girl said she'd call me but she didn't have my number so I think she was lying.

The next day was wetter and nastier than the first, so the RIT cycling team got to take part in RIT's strongest sport: complaining. The TTT went off ok, although I talked some smack to Dartmouth and they took it personally (sorry guys, but lighten up) and Rutgers thought we were Princeton. We lost our crew pretty early, missed the first 180 turn (The marshall looks at us as we fly past and asks, "Are you racing?"), Zach made a noise that sounded half like a dying dog and half like an irate motorist at the geese wandering across the road and I drooled all over myself. We did poorly, and then the ladies decided to not show up for the TTT and didn't ride it at all.

The crit was fast and the rain was flying and we were all very unhappy to put on our still wet, cold clothes to get set up for it. I fell of the group rather early because of my lack of confidence in wet turns and once again we, in the interests of brotherly love, ran the interscholastic chase group, intermittently riding with Zach, the same Wentworth guy from the previous day, a UR kid and a Stevens kid ('Sup, guys? Same place next week?). Despite our best efforts, we never got back onto the pack, though we got closer and closer as our turns got faster and more confident. Will had the misfortune to flat during the race, the fault of an errant staple, of all things, though Don took the This Sucks award for flatting just prior to the race starting. Peter decided to park the Molester Van almost on the course, resulting in his getting yelled at by a cop. Nevertheless, he and Jesse had good rides, with Peter inexplicably shooting off the front for a non-prime lap and Jesse running into people who had fallen over, though he got his free lap and was back in the thick of it before getting boxed out for the finish.

As the races finished, the sun decided to show up. We soaked up some warmth before heading down to Chinatown to pick up some Pho, the eating of which had been lobbied very heavily for by Jake. The experienced amongst us did some damage to the food, while the beginners were less enthusiastic. Guys, really, there were no oxtails in that soup. After leaving Jake to his own devices, we drove home in the pouring rain, getting back to Rochester around 10 o'clock and celebrating by going home to sleep.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Smash that bottle of champagne on this boat, but not too hard because I want to drink that champagne later

Since everybody else has one of these it seems only natural that the fine dining club get one as well. As we're all headed out to Philly tomorrow to eat cheesesteaks and maybe ride bicycles, if there's time, it feels worth it to recap the first three weekends before I pollute the internet with more crap.

Weekend 1 - Rutgers/Princeton: Don't care, wasn't there. MOVING ON.

Weekend 2 - Grant's Tomb: We got lost in "The City". UVM was kind enough to let us follow them as they drove around in circles, eventually chancing upon the parking area for the race. For the record, Grant has a very large tomb but is probably too dead to appreciate it. I marvelled at it as I rode past, a blur of orange and black in the ever dominant Intro class. Other people rode bikes, too, I guess. When they were done, we rolled through downtown, grabbing some excellent pizza and a couple beers from a place that had a closet-sized bathroom. We moved over to Central Park, where Jake chased after anything that moved faster than he did. He looked like a dog with cataracts. In Harlem, some hood woman cursed at us. Upon returning to the course, a man almost got run over by the A racers because he had a difficult time following verbal instructions; unrelated, the port-a-potties were tending towards biohazard. After consulting an ipod touch on where to eat, we left and ended up going to a classy Italian place located somewhere in the swamps of Jersey. The staff seemed overjoyed to see a bunch of scruffy, filthy college kids come in and were kind enough to seat us behind a wall, in case any mob hits happened to be on schedule that day.

Stevens: What a dirty course. It would've been pretty bomb had the streets not been pockmarked like some obscenely acne-ridden basement dweller's face, wrought with cavernous holes capable of swallowing racers whole. I thought it would be cool to try that new fangled "drift racing" and ended up eating pavement. My teammates did not have such immediate meetings with the ground, but the races still ended up not going their way(s). We drowned our depression in beer, ate large burritos and got lost in the concrete, Blade Runner-esque landscape of north Jersey. We eventually escaped, but not before getting some guy to pump our gas for us.

Weekend 3 - Delaware: Took the Molester Van down to Delaware. Amanda's bike dropped off the back and was saved only by the various accoutrement she had left on her handlebars. When we got to the motel, Amanda consoled herself by making friends with the nice old lady behind the counter. The next morning, we ate breakfast with a girls' soccer team. I felt kinda dirty when I found out they were high schoolers, but not too dirty. The race was a great little course and I lost in a sprint. When the pack passed one of the B girls, I requested that she call me; she was not pleased. My teammates did rather well, and to celebrate we killed our Limited Edition Genesee Bock Beer and proceeded to go grab some other, higher-quality beer from some other spot. We drank some of that, too. We followed Northeastern to the Iron Hill Brewpub, where we fine dined and drank more beer. A nap was forthcoming. We watched some 3 Fast 3 Furious and Dodgeball, ordered, ate some calzones (Danger Zone) before we all crashed because hey, big day the next day.

Time Trial weather report: very cold. Jake wore the ridiculously shaped TT helmet. I went second in the intro heat and passed a couple of B girls. What's up, ladies? Zach also wore the ridiculously shaped TT helmet. Jesse wore not only the ridiculously shaped TT helmet but also my gloves, and despite wearing them for at least a minute and half less than I did, he managed to sweat in them a good deal more. The crit was much warmer but with a nasty little turn that made mountain riders very happy but other, more grounded people very worried. A couple of kids thought that if they were going to crash, this would be the place to do it, so they did. I ended up not winning this race. Zach did, though. We watched the rest of the races with a mix of subdued awe and burning shame. "Train harder" would be the chicken scratch on my notepad, if I had had a notepad and taken notes on it. After the B racers left, we took advantage of the down time to make our escape, weaving through lycra clad college kids and surreptitiously giving the finger to kids we didn't like. We ended up at a grocery store not fit to lick the mud off of Wegman's' shoes and I eventually held everyone up by going to a deli and picking up some fine dining while gas was pumped into the Molester Van.

The Molester Van is making a repeat performance this week and this time I'm bringing candy in case we run into any high school soccer teams.