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Lance Armstrong, 7 time players’ Champion and still a hero

July 31, 2013 40 comments
courtesy of Bing image

courtesy of Bing image

This month held the greatest cycling event in the word, aka Tour de France, and it was intense. I am completely sapped and I haven’t even ridden a bicycle all month! I’ve been doing minimal work and rushing home to watch about 4.5hours of Tour de France every day. It’s actually very difficult to keep this routine up for the entire month, minus the two rest days.

This particular topic on Lance is something I’ve been meaning to vent on numerous occasion, but I seem to do it more in restaurants and sport bars than anywhere else .lol. It’s amazing how much hatred there is for this man, and I think it is overblown.

It is no argument UCI’s Anti-doping program is probably the strictest in the world. You can be involved in a car crash with a broken collar bone and blood everywhere, but you are not allowed to take any banned substance such as aspirin/Tylenol as long as you want to stay in the race.  These guys can come after your urine/blood samples while you are having Christmas/Thanksgiving dinner with your family, and they will preserve your samples so they can screen it through any future drug testing method that is yet to be developed. They are relentless.

Ethic of the bust

As you may already know, Lance Armstrong is the most tested athlete ever by multiple anti-doping agencies. For 20+ years Lance has passed every test imaginable using latest/greatest testing methods and equipment, this guy was clean in terms drug test results. The way Lance got busted in 2012 was absolutely disgusting in the type of tactic these agencies used. USADA knew they couldn’t bust Lance using any of their testing tools anymore, so they resorted to threats and persecution on former team members who are not as financially fortunate as Lance. Most pro cyclists only make an average living and they don’t have the money to fend off federal agencies like Lance can. USADA made lives of these former members and their family a living hell, and coerced these close friends to point their fingers at Lance.

It’s like a schoolyard bully trying to kick my ass, but because I kicked his ass, he has to go beat up my sister and my pet turtle instead.

Is Lance a hero?

I’ve been once called a hero for participating in one of those Walk-a-thons and various other charitable activities, I think most I ever raised was about $500. Firefighters are heroes for savings lives, Police officers are heroes for saving lives, and the U.S. military would be considered heroes for saving all of our lives. You think there are drug users among these undeniable heroes? Does it make them any less of a hero if they did?

Lance raised over $500million for cancer research. If my math is correct that’s about $500million more than the most I ever raised for charity. Through his work, I’m pretty sure he helped countless amount of loved ones make it through one more birthday, one more anniversary, watch his/her child get married, etc…

You can take away his Tour de France titles, but let’s not take away what he accomplished in the cancer community. The dude is a hero, no argument here.

Does U.S.Postal have anything to get upset over?

I think Lance did more for the U.SPostal than USPS did for Lance. Lance made USPS a cool icon, a really cool icon. I bought stamps, jerseys, and other misc. USPS trinkets because of Lance. Without Lance, the USPS is just another bloated government organization that is bleeding taxpayer money and misrouting my mail. Currently the USPS is asking for their money back from Lance. By similar logic, can we get our money back on all the GM stock that we purchased during the bailout? Yes, I would like to get $95/share for the current $36/share stock… just want to break even please. Or can I get my money back on my Pentium 2 desktop computer that I spent $1000 about 10years ago? I really thought I was buying the fastest machine on the planet, but I just realized it’s actually not that fast.

I think USPS should just focus on delivering my mail instead of wasting more money and resource on this lawsuit. If the lawsuit is for $14million, I guarantee the USPS will spend over $20million to get the $14million from Lance. Yeah, that will show’em who is the boss.

Lance and me

I didn’t start cycling back in year 2000 by some random chance. I was inspired by his cancer story and the amazing matchup between Lance and Ullrich. Cycling has done wonders for my health, cardio, and saving money at the gas station. Lance has inspired many people around the world to just grab a bike and go. Even when Lance admitted to doping, it never crossed my mind, I should stop riding because I feel so cheated.

Is Lance the 7time Tour de France champion?

Riding bicycle through multiple countries, through the massive French Alps, through the daunting peaks of the Pyrenees, riding 23 consecutive days till you reach 2000+ miles, traveling at 50+km/hr wearing nothing but thin fabric and a bicycle helmet, etc… Is it even possible to complete this race without doping?

As a recreational cyclist, I actually attempted climbing the Alpe d’huez on one of those fancy simulator trainers. I only made it 1/2 way up the mountain traveling at 2mph before I had to stop. Ladies and gents, it’s absolutely insane that anybody can do this 2000+ mile bike race through Europe.

There is almost no wrong answer to the question of Lance’s championships. I can fully understand why some would say he is or isn’t a champion. My answer to this question is in a form of a question, did the guys who finished 2nd and 3rd also “cheat”? The Tour de France organization already answered this for me by declaring Lance’s 7 Tour de France wins to be left vacant, because the next guy also admitted to “cheating” and/or there is no proof he did not “cheat”. Even Jan Ullrich came out and admitted to doping soon after Lance was busted.

What if we were playing a game of Monopoly and ALL the players decided to start with $2000 instead of the usual $1500 while the banker was away. It’s as if the players formed a union and decided to play by their slightly tweaked rules. Is there a winner in the end?

Come to think of it shouldn’t Gatorade, Powerade, and Powerbar  be considered performance enhancing substance?

Although Lance has been stripped of his official 7 time Tour de France championship, I believe he is still the 7time champion among the other Yellow Jersey contenders that were competing at the time. I firmly believe ALL the contenders were doping.  Ones that over-doped got busted and the ones that under-doped made it through.   Lance is still the champion among the contenders.

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Addendum A

Here is a short top 5 list of characters that seems to be doing good job of flying under the radar who, in my opinion, are bigger frauds than Lance Armstrong.  If you use these names as a comparison point, Lance isn’t so bad after all.

1.  The politicians:  Some of the real crooks seem to get re-elected every election cycle.  How ironic Lance and some other athletes have to appear before a Congressional committee over cheating.

2.  Steven Seagal: One of my favorite blogging friends, call him ‘Cook’M to cover his identity, is convinced Mr. Seagal and his TV show ‘Lawman’ is a fraud.  Cook’M comment sums it up, “He is a commissioned JP officer for political reasons only. He is a huge financial contributor and they gave him an honorary commission. He is such a joke. I don’t know any real police officers who like him. Well at least not here anyway”…mmmm…mmm.mmm.  That’s a sure sign of a fraud if I ever saw one.

3.  Owners of various drug/alcohol recovery clinics: CNN broke this last week and these frauds pay few bucks to random people off the street to get signatures, so they can bill the taxpayers for the recovery service they provided.

4.   CEOs and directors for Toyota Camry hybrid: This thing gets same gas mileage as a Toyota Corolla and many other fuel efficient gas cars.

5.  Directors at Fannie Mae: For misleading investors about their holdings on all the toxic mortgages leading up to the big housing crisis.

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Addendum B

Confession…I’m guilty of cheating under the UCI rules.  My bike weighs less than 14.99lb and I take Advil before every bike ride…I’m a doper 😦

Luckily I’m riding with other people in my category and we are all middle-aged, have nice bikes, and rely on Advil, so its okay.lol

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Categories: bicycle

Route in Google Earth and transfer to Garmin GPS (part 2)

September 21, 2012 2 comments

Updated 9/21/12 using google earth version 6.2.2.6613

In this guide you will learn how to get any sketched or routed path from Google Earth directly to your Garmin GPS.

I got an email request for an update to using standalone Google Earth software with a Garmin GPS.  Everybody knows I stive to keeping perfect customer satisfaction rating, so here is my update.  Please refer to part 1 if you are still using older version of Google Earth.  This post will be using Google’s latest v. 6.2.2.6613.

There are several ways to get info into your personal GPS, but this method is the cheapest method(free) without having to sign up for another web account service.  Besides, its just so cool when you can integrate Google earth with any GPS.

1. Install GoogleEarth for your computer

2. Install Garmin Mapsource

3. Reboot your machine

4. Start your GoogleEarth

5a.  There are two options now.  You can use “Add Path” icon from Google earth to sketch your route.  Once you are done sketching goto step11.

5b.  or if you want Google Earth’s calculated directions proceed to step 6.

6. Create all your “Placemarks” first. This sets up a point to point connection of your path

Note: Once you initially hit the placemark icon, you will need to drag and drop it to specific location.

6.  Place your mouse cursor over the starting placemark, right mouse click, and click ‘Directions from here’

7.  Place your mouse cursor over the next placemark, right mouse click, and click ‘Directions to here’

8.  Click icon for ‘Copy the current search results to My Places’.  This moves directions and route to ‘My Places’

9.  Repeat steps 6 to 8 until all the routes are created and moved into ‘My Places’ box.

10.  Here is what it would look like after you connect everything up. My routes are in blue, also notice all the connections I made on the left side of the screen

11.  Once you are happy with your newly created route(s), its time to get it ready for your Garmin GPS. Go to “My Places” in Places box/right mouse click/Save place as/<route_name.kmz>

Note: DO NOT use the upper left File/save/Save place as…

12.  Open up your web browser to GPSvisualizer.

13.  Browse for your .kmz file, be sure to set output file to .gpx, and hit the ‘GO’ button. Your form should look like this.

14.  Click on your shiny new .gpx file and save it to your computer

12. Open up GarminMapsource

13. Open the newly created .gpx file from step 14.

14. Connect up your Garmin GPS to your computer

15. Click Transfer/send to device.

 

 

Part 3 will be a guide to using Google and GPS to mark your own property boundary, with excellent correlation!

Categories: gps

Sausagefest over this person/machine (TDF celebration part2)

July 14, 2012 57 comments
Figure 1

Figure 1 (courtesy of Jenny Fletcher pro-triathlete)

For those that just fell off the turnip truck, world’s greatest sporting event is in full swing and it’s nearly over 😦  Yes, I am talking about the Tour de France!  What better way to celebrate than with a blog related to cycling?

There is an English slang word, “sausagefest”.  What is the definition of sausagefest, you ask? I’m not talking about the kind you experience at local state fair but it’s of something more…umm…anomalistic.  Since Mr. Webster has decided it’s not worthy of his dictionary, I will have to define it for the public.  Definition of sausage fest:

sau-sage-fest” n: An odd phenomenon that describes plurality of modern male Homo sapiens to particular location in mass.  This strange gathering is usually triggered by some sort or stimulant that seems to disrupt the homeostasis by erratic discharge of testosterone of the affected subject.  Possible known stimulants are: 1. anything that involves torque/horsepower, 2. Anything that explodes, 3. anything with wheels 3. Female subject or equivalent.  Such fantastic congregation ends up overwhelming female participant(s) within the group.  The event usually ends with no resolution and no satisfaction by all parties involved.

My wife and I are part of a weekly bicycle ride group in our area.  It’s a fairly large group consisting of 40-50 riders, predominantly male riders.  On this one particular day, we had a new member that rolled up in a STUNNINGLY gorgeous $8k (MSRP) fully decked out Orbea Ordu Time Trial bike.  The cyclist just so happened to be a really pretty young lady probably in her 20s or early 30s.  Please refer to Figure 1 for reference on the rider and the time trial bike.  She was also seriously decked out with a matching aerodynamic body suit and all the bells and whistles.  It was unfortunate she showed up for the ride by herself and no wedding ring on.  I say unfortunate because the event that happened next is something I don’t even wish on my worst enemy 😦

Can you say, “Release the Kraken” or “open the floodgate”?  It was a sausagefest of the millennium!  I’ve never seen such blatantly obvious ploy/tactic/excuse to meet the new member like that.  I counted about 9-10 isolated cyclists around the parking lot and one giant hive of cyclists around this one particular area.  You could not see the new rider, it was that dense!

My wife made a comment about how stupid they all look…lol.  Apparently she has never witnessed a sausagefest of this kind of epic proportion.  I simply told her that our overly friendly bike group is just trying to be helpful to the new rider and probably just making her feel welcome.  Most of them were trying to talk over each other and you can hear some of the ridiculous comments coming from the hive.  Comments ranged anything from the weather, road course, bicycle tune-up, proper setup of the bike, etc…  I think every single one of them offered free tune-up of her bicycle…lol.  It was obvious they were not thinking with the correct brain, because:

  1. It was picture perfect weather.  70degree F, no wind, and not a cloud in sight.
  2. Road course? It was obvious she came equipped with a bike gps with all the turn by turn programmed in.
  3. Bike tune-up? A person with an $8k bike will have her own mechanic that she trusts.  You do not trust any bloke mechanic that you just met at a parking lot.
  4. Bike setup? A bike shop that sells you the $8k bike will not let you out until it is professionally setup, usually takes hours under close video analysis.

The new girl handled it with great personality.  If anybody was touching/groping my bike like that, you better believe there will be some fists flying!

Anyway, while all that was going on I also realized there was another “forgotten” new rider in the parking lot.  Rider was a she, and ironically she also came alone and without a wedding ring.  I actually noticed her front wheel wasn’t on properly.  So I went over there to introduce myself & reassured her that I used to be a bicycle mechanic, before working on her bike.  The lady was a postal worker in her mid 40s and her bike was pretty old, it had been in storage for 15+ years!  I lifted the front end of her bike and smacked the top of her front wheel, the wheel popped off with ease.  She was very thankful that I caught the problem and offered to pay for my service.  She made one funny comment that made me laugh.  She said, “Well I’m glad she (referring to new girl#1) didn’t need all the bike mechanics from this group today…lol”

I looked at my wife and I thanked her for marrying me, thus saving me from such embarrassment.  I like to think I am better than all those guys participating in the sausagefest, but who knows?  I could have been the loudest one making the biggest fool of myself…lol  I was just so glad I wasn’t part of that and I have my wife to thank 🙂

In case you are wondering about the new girl, we never saw her again after that ride…lol

Categories: bicycle, family, humor, wife

Fun at Stonewall resort in WV (review)

June 28, 2012 8 comments

I took a week off with my 2 boys and we went back to a place where it’s a guaranteed perfect vacation spot.  Here is my short summary of the resort:

I decided to write about my experience at this resort because we live in a world where people are quick to complain but not enough complements are given out.  I’ve already stayed here 4 times (in the past 14months) and it’s one of the best resorts I’ve ever stayed at.  It’s easy to find a resort that is pure family friendly, they are dime a dozen.  Its lot more difficult to find a resort that goes another big step further, and accommodates a vacationer who HAS to work during the vacation.  Haters can hate me and criticize me for working during family vacation, but I’m the one that has to put the food on the table, and that dang electric bill better be paid so the light turns on when my wife flips the switch at night.

There are 6 areas within the resort that are critical to my family’s enjoyment, they are:

  1.  Indoor pool
  2. Outdoor pool
  3. Hot jetted pools
  4. Restarurant #1
  5. Restaurant #2
  6. Kid’s activity area

All these locations are clustered together and it’s easy to migrate from one area to the next, if need be.  I have perfect line of sight, and all within audible range, to what my kids are doing from any of the mentioned locations.  There are comfy chairs and tables to accommodate my work package.  I also have direct line of sight to all my work stuff as I’m interacting with my kids, too.  All this adds to peace of mind and I don’t miss a beat.  Everything just flows from work to fun seamlessly.

I found this 1900acre BEAST of a resort hidden away in West Virginia that has earned the Four Diamond Award from AAA.  It’s so huge that it’s got its own separate waterfront campground, waterfront cabins, full marina, fishing bridge, 18hole Arnold Palmer Signature Golf Course, and 3 restaurants.  You might be saying, did he just say West Virginia?? Isn’t that where all the hicks hang out?

This resort couldn’t be further from the West Virginia stereotype.  All the staff and visitors are so friendly and I assure you they all speak the proper English.  It feels like visiting ummm…that Munchkin land from Wizard of Oz, with normal sized people though.  Everybody is smiling there.  Not just any ordinary smile but a radiant one from all the staff members.  There are visitors of many shapes and sizes.  Best way to describe the resort experience is, it feels alive! You can feel life there!  There are cute little kids bouncing around, there are great grandparents holding hands by the campfire, there are newly married honeymooners embracing by the dock, & everything in between.

Just because there are cute little kids there doesn’t mean people without kids are going to be shortchanged.  All the parents I’ve seen are very responsible and staff member are very strict about keeping things in order and enforcing the resort rules.  For example, when my kids jumped into the adult heated whirlpool, one of the staffers was on to them like a hornet on a stick wielding kid.  Let me repeat,

The staff members will STRICTLY enforce the, no kids in the hot pool rule!

I love kids, but just not in my whirlpool.  I wish I knew the name of the staffer that booted my kids from the whirlpool; I would have tipped her generously and would have given her boss a high review.

I’m kind of an uptight vacationer and I do embarrass my wife with all my complaints.  But as I said, I’ve vacationed here 4 times and I haven’t had a single incident.  When a resort does something so magical where it makes even the grumpiest vacationer happy, I will reward them.  I am extremely generous tipper, and I will tip like I’m gambling in Vegas when I’m jolly.

Lastly, I want to comment on their drinking water, because it is so clear and so crisp.  I have a nose for fishy water, probably from all the years of my aquarium hobby, but I’ve been to various high end restaurants where water smells funny.  I love the drinking water from all of Stonewall’s restaurants.  I think the water is so good to a point where it could be a bad for their business.  Why? Because I will not order my usual glass of Coke with my meal, when I’m at Stonewall.  Their drinking water is that good.

That’s my quick summary in a nutshell.  If you ever see a man with a portable Dell laptop and 2 rowdy little boys, stop by and say hi to me.   Now I’m going into the details that matters to me the most.

Pool

If you are vacationing with little kids, pool is a #1 priority.  Stonewall have a large heated indoor-outdoor pool.  Two pools are connected so the indoor side is warm and the outdoor side is cooler.  Also, there are two adult only whirlpools that are jetted and bubbly hot, it will instantly melt all your stress away.  Sometimes I’ll get in a repeating rhythm of working on my laptop for few hours followed by relaxing in a whirlpool for 10-15 minutes.  There is also a fitness area with changing room, complete with sauna and a steam room.

Foods

No such thing as a good resort without good food.  Exquisite food can only start with the freshest locally raised ingredients.  Their meats and veggies taste noticeably different than what I’m used to back home.  Burgers are amazing and they use traditional recipes on their other fine gourmet dishes.  Oh and kids under 8 eat for free!

Categories: bicycle, camping, children, family, wife

Leopard DC1 bike, my Ferrari on two wheels. (TDF celebration part1)

June 18, 2012 19 comments

Summary:

I want to showcase my most favorite bicycle from my fleet of bikes, sorry Orbea 😦

This is a custom built climbing machine, built by yours truly, and it only has the components that has been certified by weight weenie federation of the world…lol.  I had an option to complete this project with the Shimano Dura-ace DI2 system, but I’m a firm believer in “light makes right” philosophy when it comes to bike building.  It currently does not meet the weight requirement, of 6.8kg/14.99 lb, set by International Cycling Union, but I am not racing in UCI sanctioned events and none of my riding competitors need to know how light my bike is…lol.  Some may say it’s cheating but I’m older and I need the technology to even the playing field among other better riders.  I don’t have the time and luxury of training everyday but what I do have is a credit card to purchase my “performance in a box”, I order parts and it arrives in 2 days.

My Race stat:

The last competitive race was back in 8/8/2011 for a duathlon race, and here is the result of it.

The machine spec:

Without further adieu, I present to you my Ferrari on two wheels, Leo-pard DC1:

  1. Bottle Cage:  44 Bontrager XXX carbon holders w/bolts
  2. Rear Brakes:  130 SRAM Red
  3. Front Brakes:  135 SRAM Red
  4. cable adjuster: 6
  5. cable housing: 54
  6. Cables:  100
  7. Cassette: 106 SRAM Red
  8. Chain:   255 SRAM Red
  9. Crankset: 720 Token Carbon 170mm, 53/39, bb, rings, bolts, arms, cups,
  10. Derlr (Front): 71 SRAM Red
  11. f derl hanger: 31
  12. Derlr (Rear): 139 SRAM Red
  13. Fork:  380 taper Leopard Carbon
  14. Frame:   876 53cm 2010 Leopard DC1
  15. Grips:  39
  16. Handlebar:  192 Ergonova 3T Pro Team Carbon Handlebar 42cm
  17. Stem:   100 edge 110mm
  18. Headset:  138  Headset Cap/Bolt:0 with fork Headset Spacer: 0 with fork
  19. Quick Releases: 89 Zipp
  20. Seat Binder:  20
  21. Seat:   103 custom full carbon-carbon
  22. Seatpost:  156 Exotic carbon
  23. Shifters:  293 SRAM Red
  24. Tire (Front) 215 tufo s3 215 tubular
  25. Tire (Rear): 215 tufo s3 215 tubular
  26. wheel (Front): 480 Reynolds cirro sv carbon
  27. wheel (Rear): 685 Reynolds cirro sv carbon

Total weight w/o pedals: 5772 grams or   12.7 pound

Categories: bicycle

3 bears and Goldilocks story (Tour de France style)

April 13, 2012 13 comments

This picture reminds me of “3bears and Goldilocks” story…lol.  There is “Momma bear’s bike” that is sleek, fancy, with all the bells and whistles.  There is “Papa bear’s bike” that is purely functional.  There is “junior bear’s bike” where he can bounce to the moon and back.  And, last but not least, there is “wee bear’s bike” that rocks him all the way to the finish line…lol. 

I didn’t purposely configure our fitness room this way, it just ended up looking like this.  This is our post dinner exercise where we all go in the basement, get on our assigned equipment, and watch Tour de France stages on the big screen.  I suppose it is a pretty funny sight when all four of us are working out at the same time.

Categories: bicycle, children, family, humor, wife

Hunny bunny sweetie pie, I love you so much. Oh, BTW look what I just won on EBay.

March 28, 2012 22 comments

I’m in a little “dilly of a pickle” (Ned Flanders from Simpsons) this afternoon.  I ended up winning an item on EBay that I had no intention of winning.  Cycling season is in the air and I bid on pair of bicycle wheels with MSRP tag of $2500.00usd.  Of course I’m not crazy, there is NO way I’m spending that kind of money on some bicycle wheels.  I kept my max bid amount at $1101.00 just because I knew there is no way these wheels are gonna go that cheap.  Call it a surprise, miracle, fate, or coincidence.  I get a notice this morning via my smartphone saying I won the wheels for $1100.  My first thought, were all those Ninja Ebayers sleeping?  Those Ninjas always wait till the very last second to snipe the item, but somehow missed out on these wheels.

Now what am I gonna do?  My wife is my director of operation for finance and accounting, I can’t really hide a big purchase like this.  I thought about having my other cycling friend pay for this, and I would pay him back in monthly installment of cash.  I would simply tell my wife I am buying some cheap beater wheels from Larry, in hopes she doesn’t notice the quality and aesthetic difference.  Problem with this approach is, Larry has a wife that watches over his bicycle spending like a hawk, and my wife might know the difference between aluminum wheels vs. carbon fiber wheels.

I can also do the whole flowers, multiple I-love-yous, chocolates, dozen Georgetown gourmet cupcakes, but she’ll know I did something really bad.

I can argue its whole lot better than spending $1100 on gambling, smokes, alcohol, or drugs.  I’m kind of leaning toward this angle if I can’t think of anything better.

I suppose I can also email the seller and tell him my 5yr old son accidently bid on the item without my consent and ask him to cancel my purchase.  This is almost unthinkable because how often do you ever win a lottery? I just won the jackpot here, I can’t give that up.  Besides, what if I get a negative feedback as a result?  I am a model Ebay’er with perfect 100% feedback, and I have various award certificates to prove it.

There is a 3 way conflict going on here. 

  1.  I can’t lie to my wife about this
  2. I am not going to rip up my “winning lottery ticket”
  3. I really don’t want to deal with arguing over, “that money could have been spent on bathroom upgrades, kids clothing, end world hunger, help animal shelters, etc…”
Categories: bicycle, family, humor, wife
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