the ball whisk

July 31, 2008

Updates on Madison to Chicago?

Filed under: VeloFietsen — crelatia @ 8:36 am

J, I know that you are getting some updates from S via the iphone. Will you post the updates on the ball whisk so the A’s can follow? Also, they can be archived forever and ever on our loverly site…

Edit by J:

Pic S sent


July 30, 2008

Moose Wears Muppets

Filed under: Sporto — groenefee @ 2:32 pm

The NYT is reporting that Mike Mussina was seem wearing this T. Kinda cute. Crosswords, Stanford, Control Pitcher, Muppet Fan, Moose is looking kinda adorable.

July 29, 2008

Yay! WordPress for the iphone

Filed under: tech — quietglow @ 6:57 pm

Free at your local iTunes app store.

Forget Riding My Friends…

Filed under: Fashion (Facism) — crelatia @ 4:09 pm

Since we are all aging—well, I mean, I just turned 35. I don’t want to ride with ya’ll anymore, I want to have a Botox Party.

Cosmetic Enhancements–it’s the latest fashionable gift for your bridesmaids!

July 28, 2008


Filed under: VeloFietsen — groenefee @ 9:48 pm

K Chitowners I need the easiest routing for Thursday into your house from the NW. I can’t plan my route till I know my approach.

Right. This is why I steer clear of Critical Mass

Filed under: VeloFietsen — quietglow @ 3:31 pm

This seems to be always a hair away from their rides. I’m sure they have another take, but the fact that the dude got whacked with a U-lock and his car totaled is agreed upon by all.

July 27, 2008

Madison Century Plus!

Filed under: VeloFietsen — crelatia @ 7:14 pm

So, j and I were just talking about the logistics of our *quickly approaching* ride. We have a bunch of stuff to figure out. I imagine family B is a little road worn and probably need some sleep…but sometime this week, we need to have a conference to discuss the details. Maybe dinner on Tuesday evening over ichat?

Family K needs to figure out if we can pull this whole thing off…Can we really ride to Madison, ride a century and then ride back? *I think, YES* but I am often overconfident. Family B now has some experience with riding day after day and we need to glean some information from you.

Anyway, can’t wait to be in Madison on the bikes…

Oh—the image is for the stuff that I want to eat while in the area around Madison. I want to go to every cheesy Madison tourist trap and eat a bunch of cheese…Screw Power and Cliff bars—cheese will be my energy.

SRAM Rival 2009

Filed under: VeloFietsen — quietglow @ 4:14 pm

Just got back from the Chicago Criterium and had a chance to stop by the SRAM neutral pit (they were providing freakin Zipp carbon wheels if you flatted!) and oogle some of the 2009 SRAM gruppos. Rival is by far the most redone of the groups as noted here. They are now sporting carbon levers and the SRAM dude didn’t have a very good answer to my question as to why I’d go with Force over Rival — they are getting very close and are differentiated mostly by the crank. No word on pricing yet, but the rep said there would be an increase over 08.

Will post some pics from the crit if any turned out good.

July 26, 2008


Filed under: VeloFietsen — groenefee @ 10:54 pm

here’s the picasa link.


What to say to summarize a week of riding with near perfect weather, in very pretty countryside, with exceptionally generous and friendly locals? I’m glad I did it, I’m glad it’s over, and I don’t think I’ll ever understand some of it.

The days seemed divided between a riding and a logistics workload. The haphazard and poorly coordinated camping situation often impinged upon the biking. They really should be separate. It seems that the hassles and lack of organization could be done away with with a much better coordinating effort from the RAGBRAI organizers. You have small towns unaccustomed to the mob descending upon them and the logistic coordination was seriously lacking. I LOVED the town of Harlan, but was in serious danger when the storm blew in in the middle of the night because of poor safety and evacuation planning (I would put money that the pressboard and corrugated metal shed that was behind the Baseball diamond would have hurt more of us than helped in the event that the storm had tracked a bit closer.) Riding into every overnight town began a frustrating game of try to find my tent. Posting the info board for notices at the town limits would have saved so very much hassle.

A word about the Iowa police, State Troopers, Sheriffs and such that kept us safe: I cannot believe the balance kept between relaxing the atmosphere of the event and maintaining order in that mob scene. The friendliness and the professionalism of the officers involved was amazing. I remember how horrible the proto-fascist Phoenix police made my experience at the World Baseball Classic (I don’t say this lightly, front the para-military uniforms and armament to the swift and violent take-down techniques used on lone non-violent drunks [“not me officer, the other black guy!” honest to god.] to their ugly collusion with La Migra, it will be a very long time before I revisit Phoenix, a town I once lived in.). To escort a group of rowdy often drunk vehicles across a state with good humor and Shepard-like perspective, the Iowan officers that helped us all week really reminded me of what a professional and caring enforcement group can look like. KUDOS Iowa, you must be doing something right. The only time I felt in danger was at the Tipton Fairgrounds in the middle of the night when a group near us thought that drunken ATV rides through the tents would be a blast. Posting an officer or two around the grounds would be nice in the future. As an aside, my apologies to the female officer that I thanked with a “thanks, sir” on a corner the first day. I was focused on the turn and only saw the uniform, not the person. It was a good lesson about my assumptive gendered language.

The biking was on a slightly hilly course, no serious climbs and only a couple of dead flat days. Slow rollers would be the theme of the course with 21K ft of climbing over ~480 miles. Of course for those that went to Iowa expecting southern Iowa, the slow rollers seemed to tear them up. On top of actually having terrain, we had several unexpected days with uphill Chicago hills. This did more than anything to eat up legs.

All members of the team rode fully packed on the first and hottest (muggiest) stage of the event. I was riding with an extra 110 lbs. and boy did I feel it. My 25 inch Trek 520 really noodled under that kind of load. After the heat, climbs, and noodling, my upper body was shot. A. was badly sunburnt through her jersey. T. found himself very much up to the challenge and AC felt at the tip of her conditioning.

A word about riding in the RAGBRAI. The rider quality is fairly poor. This is good and bad. The good is the egalitarian nature of the event: that EVERYONE regardless of biking experience and conditioning in Iowa seems to think that they can jump on any rusted frame and participate in this rolling clusterfuck. The bad follow directly from this. Sixty year-olds with a max pace of 12 KPH rolling 4 to 5 abreast (team Grace…fucknuts) on a climb blocking even those carrying packs from retaining momentum, People shouting on your left or rider on and moving without ever looking to ensure they had a clear lane that didn’t endanger or slow others. This was standard. Riders riding with cars, who had never ridden with traffic before. Overcooking and dismounting on hills without warning, huge knots of humanity at every town en route, popping chains and flip-flops slipping from plastic pedals, the mighty all over the road wiggle uphill and the crappiest pacelines this side of a drunken midnite club ride with children. Did I mention that the quality of the rider on RAGBRAI is poor?

Iowans. I don’t think I can emphasize enough how wonderful these people were. From opening their houses to strangers, to working long hours to show off their JUSTIFIED pride in their community, to the kindness of the church pasta dinners, to the free tea, beer, pork chops, water, toilets and great effortless conversation along the way. Here’s a run down of my highlights for cities (again if I didn’t stop in your city, I’m very sorry!):

Missouri Valley: Wonderful start town. Highlight? Watching a huge snake chase a huge frog across a dirt road at high speeds. Thanks for watching my sister in law’s car for the week!

Shelby: Great Corn!

Tennant: Beautiful peaceful hilltop community.

Harlan: Really attractive town. Loved the people staffing the little league concessions. The woman staffing the grill gets the superstar award…tasty food in a punishing hot environment! Kudos to our nice campsite mates that night and the kind young tattooed lady who brought our diver coffee in the AM.

Elk Horn FD: I love you. All you can eat Biscuits and Gravy and all you can drink poweraid. NO LINE. After the hilly century loop you were the nicest thing I could have seen. Everyone so nice!

Coon Rapids: Separated from my teammates. THANK YOU to the Kind minature Burro breeders who lent me a cell phone!

Scranton: Felt like I was in the middle of nowhere and ran into a fantastic party.

Jefferson: Best campsite of the trip at the school. Great campsite neighbors. Well-demarcated driving/sleeping lanes. Nice briefing about emergency shelters. FANTASTIC hospitality at the Central Christian Church (I slept on my pillow all week!).

Boone: Loved the Adobe bar! Hit it twice (I rode the route with A then again that day with Big S.) II heard that in between those visits I missed Lance?

Ames: Loved the ride into town! best arrival ride in the trip. Loved the girls partying on stage in far west Ames (Your Daddy’s T &A?). Understand that the campsites were really unorganized, but that they were a last minute shift to accommodate weather issues. Battle BBQ HORRIBLE (worst food experience of the trip…from the Ass of a manager yelling at his confused staff, to the wrong food being given out, to the over cooked (not low and slow I’ll tell you that!) crappy brisket. AVOID Battle BBQ at all costs.

First instance of shitty drivers and angry people. Tacks on road (T got 2 in the front tyre) and hicks in trucks honking and driving at bikes. A.’s bike hit, fast professional response time from the ISU police. Thanks!

Campus Pretty, but happy to leave Ames.

State Center: Wonderful people at beginning of town offering free tea and water. Such nice people. THIS WAS THE MIGHTIEST PORK CHOP I’VE EVER HAD.

Montour: Thank you very much to the kind couple who were giving away smoked pork! Good People.

Tama Toledo: Confusing entrance into town. Poor coordination of staff. That said, really really nice staff, wonderful morning shower, good food. THANK YOU THANK YOU to the man that handed me that Goose Island as we left town. Beautiful ride that AM to Belle Plaine.

Belle Plaine: Was this the toilet races? tickled me pink!

Amana Colonies: What a glorious disappointment. I honestly thought we’d see wonderful people and good food. Instead, we ran into kitschy museums and beautified ghost towns. The buildings were pretty but the communities were soulless. I always worry when I see more museums of framing instead of farming. Is this the city-level version of Nabokov’s “dead-leaf echo?”

Homestead: Sadness creeping in as I realize that RAGBRAI has much more in common with Sturgis than what those kind people on the side of the road imagine.

North Liberty: Well organized entry, but this is what happens when you exist as a satellite town for a larger city. Nothing pretty, just suburban tract housing all cheaply put up. No recognizable character or soul to this outlayer of Cedar Rapids. You wouldn’t be able to tell where you were in the country if you were dropped there. Could be 15 miles outside of any small city.

Mount Vernon: What a beautiful and wonderful oasis. We went from amazingly pretty stereotypical Iowan countryside into this nook of stately buildings and tree lined streets. If I could live anywhere in Iowa it would be here. The people were so lovely and the town was gorgeous.

Tipton: The Tipton bakery has freakin’ great Crescents! This should be bracketed by the discussion of the comedic acts to play on the main stage that night. In the words of one employee, “He’s funny! You should really go. He tells racist jokes and all!” One can only hope that the bubble that allows that shitty of an attitude is bursting and that in a town as nice as Tipton and a bakery as wonderful as theirs, that kindness and inclusion will creep in and allow them to live up to themselves. You never want a town to verify sterotypes, and I’ll be damned I let one young employee ruin my experience of such a lovely community. The Lasagna dinner at the local Church of Christ was so lovely, and the women working it were fantastic people.

Eldridge: Didn’t need those handing out bibles to get in the way of my bike as I rode through. Did very much enjoy Del’s Bar though.

Le Claire: A great town to finish at! Beautiful riverfront. WONDERFUL coordination of all those vehicles! KUDOS to overcoming that logistical nightmare.

In Summary: Probably will not ride RAGBRAI again. My hope is that the amazing people of Iowa get the riders that they deserve. It is the Sturgis like rolling-Asshole nature of the riders that made this less fun. The communities and police involved outdid themselves and deserve my thanks!

Apple Cider Century

Filed under: VeloFietsen — crelatia @ 10:35 pm

Family K is signing up for the Apple Cider Century. If Family B can join, it would be great fun…

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