Monday, March 29, 2010

Sushi and Sword Sharpening

Taste of Colorado Springs, part 2 took us to Yoo Mae on Kiowa downtown. This was a lunch time outing and again, quite nice. Yoo Mae does a special sushi roll for each of the 50 states. The Colorado Roll is shrimp tempura, cucumber, spicy tuna and avocado. Most of the rolls have an American twist which usually consists of creme cheese. Not exactly my thing, but other people must like it. The outside isn't much to look at, but the best places usually aren't. Their lunch specials are tasty and pretty cheap. I like this place, thumbs up.

Today, like most days, I rode past one of my favorite Colorado Springs establishments. I finally stopped to take a photo of the Prince of Blades which offers sword sharpening while-U-wait! I've never actually been in the Prince of Blades, but the fact that they offer to sharpen your sword right there on the spot automatically bumps it to the top of my list. I mean where else can you be in a sword fight, need to get your sword sharpened, and get right back to the duel? Genius.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Taste of Colorado Springs

Monday night was the first evening of Taste of Colorado Springs. I'm just going to go ahead and call it ToCS. Some of the swimmers, TAJ and myself decided we wanted to eat at all the restaurants in The Springs. So, each week we're picking a new restaurant and trying it out. It's going to take a while, but hey, what else do we have to do?

First up was Jack Quinn's an Irish restaurant/pub. Don't worry, we went for dinner, not to drink. I was the only one who had been there before, and instead of being adventurous I ordered my usual- fish 'n' chips. As usual, it was delicious. The swimmers and TAJ also enjoyed their meals. Maybe we should come up with some type of rating system if we're really going to do this....

There are actually quite a few restaurants in Colorado Springs to choose from. This is no easy task people, this will take a long time. ToCS is a serious undertaking! More to come on this.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Tucson Bike Classic

This was my third year racing TBC, and first year in the P/1/2 field. It was also the first race on a new TT bike, and first race back from a gnarly crash in a master’s race. (Avoid falling on your head. It’s not good.) Luckily, I don’t remember anything from said crash, which is probably a good thing. It did however make me a little anxious to sit on wheels, and be boxed in sitting in the pack.

The TT was short- 3 miles- and started with a downhill, then finished with a climb. My time was sort of disappointing and put me 29 seconds behind the leader. The next day, going into the road race, I wanted to get comfortable in the pack again, and not lose any time. The first 50 miles were SO boring! Nobody wanted to do anything, so nothing happened. Thankfully, we raced the last 10 miles. The lead up to the finish was a bunch of punchy little hills, then a downhill left hand turn into the finish. The road got narrow, and sandy through this section, so I moved up to the front to avoid a potential crash. One of the old Paralympic tandem pilots (Cari) was also racing. She jumped with 1k to go, and I followed. She opened a gap that I decided to close, then I kept rolling. Rebecca was on my wheel and I knew I couldn’t hold it from 600m to go. I figured, Why not just try to lead Rebecca out? Pursuit mode kicked in, and drilled it as best I could to the finish. Second for Rebecca, and 12th for me. No time lost, so it was fine by me.

The circuit race on Sunday was 7 laps of a 5-ish mile loop with some hills, and a quick descent after a tight right hand turn. After the boring road race, Cari and I decided to do something, to make the race more interesting. We took turns attacking, spent some time off the front, got brought back and did it over again. On the last lap, with about 3k to go, I tried to get away but got caught before the last rise into the finish line. At this point, the group split in two with most of the top 10 in the front group. Through plain stubbornness, I got in for 6th on the stage, and bumped me up a spot on GC. Rebecca took the stage, which was enough to take the overall. It was a great day of racing, and a fun way to end a stage race.

One thing I learned that I need to improve for the future is my (finishing) sprint. It’s an awful habit, but I find myself with my head down. What happens to animals with their heads down? They get eaten. So, to avoid being eaten, keep your head up!

Velonews covered the race as well, check out their article here.

Photo Credit: Mason Ibas

New Bike, New Friend!

A lot of people say that a carbon bike frame is a carbon bike frame- they’re all the same with subtle differences. Admittedly, I was one of those people. That’s until I got a new time trial bike- a Specialized Transition. Seriously, this bike is awesome!

The time trial is an exercise in pain management. Leaping headfirst into the pain cave isn’t something many people think is fun, but several years of bike racing has changed my outlook. I love it. Maybe I’m a masochist, but to be a proper bike racer, you have to be.

The Tucson Bike Classic was the debut ride for the new S-Works rig, and it didn’t disappoint. The TT was short- only 3 miles, which meant going straight into the pain cave. Between my heart about to explode out of my chest, and my legs feeling like they were pumped full of battery acid, I didn’t notice much- besides the amazingly smooth ride of course. It just felt… right. It usually takes a little while to get the feeling of a new bike, to become friends with it. Well, it feels like the Transition and I go way back. I’m looking forward to the upcoming season and spending quality time in the pain cave with my new friend.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Expert in All of Us

There’s something about watching Olympic coverage that brings out the expert in all of us. Never mind not having any previous interest in the sport, you’re now inundated with luge and speedskating coverage. It’s amazing to watch any of the sports really. Maybe because it’s the best athletes in the world competing on the world’s largest stage, or seeing the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat. Simply watching the games is fun. You don’t need to know a damn thing about the sports, you’ll learn anything you need just by listening to the commentators.

I am now a hockey and sliding sport expert. In “real life” I’m a cyclist and stay as far away from ice as possible. After watching all the coverage of the sliding events, it’s safe to say I know exactly what to do. And as a new expert in the sports of luge, skeleton, and bobsled, I feel it’s accurate to say I could totally do that- it’s sledding in a skinsuit. Never mind the fact that it would take me 27.6sec of running (I use “running” very loosely here) to get started down the scariest tube of ice and speed imaginable.

Not only do I feel I could dominate a sport I know nothing about, I could also judge an event I know nothing about. Take for instance freestyle moguls. How hard can it be? First, they have to go really fast through bumps, then flip and twist around like they’re in a wash machine. They land, do it all over again, then throw their arms in the air in victory. Simple as that. They get a time, they’re judged on difficulty of trick (they all look equally hard to me) and the only real thing I can see- if their knees separate through the moguls. Based on these newly acquired judging skills, the IOC should hire me for Sochi. Really, those skills transfer to all the judged events- ice skating, ski jumping, aerials- I’m a jack of all trades!

In all reality, the Games will end in a month and I’ll realize the extent of my Olympic delusions. There’s no way I could do skeleton- I’d get too cold around all that ice and snow! I am going to hold out for a judging position in Sochi though. Anyone can do that!

*The Vancouver Paralympic Games will be starting on Friday (Mar 12-21). Sign up here for daily email updates with results etc, and check for results and photos. should be streaming live coverage of events as well. Please tune in and support team USA.