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.