equally athletic

Climbing Mt. Olympics: Did You See That?

Tyson Chandler dunks it home. From the Associated Press   As much as I've loved this Olympics - the dramatic gymnastics finishes, another year of hotly contested swimming matches, archery being the most watched event due to the sucess of The Hunger Games franchise - there's little fun as watching a barn-burner that nets the highest point total by a single team, that demolishes the team record for made 3-pointers in a game, that buries team records for shooting percentages, and has Carmelo Anthony set a new mark for points by an American player like the USA Men's Basketball team's 156 - 73 win over the Nigerian squad earlier today.

   Surely a game worth a paragraph long (run-on?) sentence, it's hard to even mention all of the records bested by the American squad. Most impressive in my mind, is the record for most points in a half by a team in the Olympics at 78. 78! Nigeria wasn't even able to match 78 points all game, let alone the 45 they had at the end of the first half, and not an embarassing number either. The USA squad was simply dominant for the first quarter, scoring 49 points in the first 10 minutes alone!

   While the American audiences went home happy, one person who wasn't having a good time was Coach Krzyzewski. Despite his teams success, Coach K looked like he was having about as much fun as if his team were the ones down by 83. Continually throughout the game the cameras would cut back to Coach K, head in his hands, miserable. Why? Well, in spite of the shooting clinic Team USA put up today, there was little offense to speak of. Especially once Carmelo Anthony clinchined the team's scoring record off another smooth-as-silk three, the team's offense at most consisted of a pick-and-roll which inevitably led to a quick dump off the the nearest 3-point shooter.

   These guy proved today that sometimes they don't need to be coached, that sometimes talent just takes over and there's no getting in its way. Even if the Americans had played a cleaner game, what would have Coach K said anyway? "Well crew, we're up by 30, you really need to be hitting the offensive glass harder." Only there weren't any missed shots to rebound. However the London Olympics turn out for the Men's USA Basketball Team, this game against Nigeria will be the one that people will remember. It has permanently altered the teams legacy that even Coach K will have to concede to.

   I think it's worth noting a tweet direct from @usabasketball, "In case you were wondering ... Melo's 37 points came in 14 minutes. No, that's not a typo..."

Festive 500 - Day 2: Just Like Christmas

   The sun was shining on Christmas Eve day for a few wonderful bike rides in my pursuit of the Festive 500. Unfortunately, those rides only amounted to 19.9 miles, 15 short of what I needed to accomplish. Having to still pack and leave for my parents place to celebrate Christmas, the two hours were all I could really commit to riding. I was able to get some last minute Christmas shopping in their too, so it wasn't as if my riding was without reason.

   I brought my bicycle to the folks house, hopefully to ride on Christmas, but a night of good food and holiday drinks bodes badly for actually getting a ride in - I need to leave Christmas night for Chicago to be home for work on Monday and you better damn well believe I'm going to be watching the first Bulls game of the season.

   The ride today was nice, the sun was shining, but the wind was blowing. Still, my legs felt good and strong. That's what I really appreciate about this competition: it's main effect is that we're continuing to ride through winter, although this winter hasn't been much of one thus far. I'm riding and feeling good, enjoying that crisp air and the feeling of two wheels under my feet, pushing.

   I took some pictures much to that effect, and you can see the best one above. I'm coming through the final stretch of my ride, maybe 100 yards away from my street. You'll notice the matching Rapha Bomber jacket and Winter cap, too bad the cap has seen better days! Also notice my Great Lakes C.O.R.E. patch - a badass piece of memorabilia from the Great Lakes effigy crew for 2011's Burning Man Regional Effigies. I love that patch, looks lovely on the jacket, don't you think?

Festive 500 - Day One

This goose that got in the way.

Day 1: 33 to 29 on a blustery day with the blowing Chicago winds that make it feel like you are always pedaling into the win, Day 1 of Rapha's Festive 500 Challange (a competition to ride 500km over the holidays) was a succesful day!

   Riding 68 km (or 42.3 mi for those who are interested) I accomplished more than I had set out for. I made one trip up to Metropolis Coffe in Rodgers Park of nearly 14 miles up along the Lakefront Path in Chicago. This is an extened series of cycling paths and walking paths that run the majority of Chicago's contact with Lake Michigan. It went handsomly, except, of course, for the aggresive Canadian goose apparently thinking himself chicken. Honk indeed.

Willis Tower and Chicago traffic you can't bother me!

   After chowing on a croissant and cappaccino it was back on the bicycle. I rode west to Damen and took it south, separating at Milwaukee Ave and taking it all the way back east to the bike path to get in some more miles. I ended at home short of my goal of 35 mi by 3 mi, but wound up going back out again to meet up with old buddies of mine Stan and Matt. Heading to their house and back brought me up to my current total of 68km. My legs are a bit sore, but nothing out of the ordinary. Now, I'm looking forward to bed and a nice Christmas Eve ride tomorrow!

 Click here to see Strava ride stats.

 

 

Festive 500 - Rapha's Road to Redemption

   I'm already anxious for Rapha's Festive 500 - a challange for riders to log 500km (that's about 311 miles for the Americans like me) from Dec 23 through the 31st.

   For those doing the math, that's about 35 miles a day, for nine days. Accounting for work and Christmas, I have no idea how I'll be able to muster this (hell, even without accounting for work and the holidays that's a lot of riding!), but I'm sure gonna try.

   The way I've worked it out thus far is so:

23rd: ride to Metropolis Coffee and back (about a perfect 35 miles)

24th: I'll be in the Chicago suburbs then, so I plan on riding the trails to get my 35 miles in

25th: same as above, although it's Christmas - frankly, I don't know if this day will happen

26th-28th: riding there and back from work is about 10 mi, so I'll have to extend my morning ride quite a bit

29th: I'm picking my girlfriend and her family up from the airport. Going to try and ride the lake in the morn.

30th: another work day - same as the 26th to the 28th

31st: ride the lake front until I fall over!  this is my last shot!

 

   So, as you can see, my plan only brings me right up to the goal and leaves no room for a missed day or anything unexpected. Also, if the weather doesn't cooperate and it gets real cold, this is going to test my resolve even more. I really need to pick up a pair of winter riding gloves before the challange starts. I'm trying to stay confident, but, truth-be-told, I will be super happy and proud of myself even if I only hit 200 miles. Happy riding everyone!

First Below Freezing Ride of the Winter!

   The mercury had dipped to 29* F as I suited up for my ride this morning. While I've been riding through the end of fall and into what will be the winter of 2011/2012, we've had temperate weather up until this week. My ride two nights ago hover around the 32* mark, but never dipped low enough where I'd consider it freezing weather.

   From that ride, I've started to incorporate a bandana into my winter riding necessities. Worn over my scarf and covering my nose and mouth, I have found that it certainly prevents much of the chapping and 'cold-burn' that I've experienced in winters past riding without face protection. While the bandana gets significantly wet from respiration, it still provides enough of a barrier to offset any problems from essentially wearing a cold, wet rag on your face. Even two nights ago, which took me all over Chicago, didn't bother me even on the third and fourth leg of my journey. The wind was howling - and would blow that sucker into my face now-and-again - but was never irksome.

   I've also added a pair of 'magic gloves' (the one size fits all that is routinely sold at Walgreens et al) for use underneath my Rapha Town Gloves (this link is to their newest version - mine are three years old at this point). Once the thermometer meets 35*, the beautiful Rapha gloves start losing their value and I find I need to either switch gloves or wear magic gloves in addition. Truth be told, once you hit 20* there's very little any gloves can really do for you, but I will need to splurge for some kind of winter riding glove sooner than later. After a thirty minute ride today, only my pinkies felt that hypothermia burn that winter loves to provide!

"deflated" - Bears lose Cutler

   Well, it became official today. Jay Cutler is out for at least the regular season as quarterback of the Chicago Bears. As a Bears fan, I can't imagine any other way to feel.

   Caleb Heinne is now our astute back-up quarterback whom, I imagine, will remain in that roll as Da Bears announced today that they have picked up recently waivered Denver Bronco Kyle Orton. Yes, that Kyle Orton who used to do this job for us once upon a time. I'm fine with this, afterall, he was essentially the guy who led the team in the Grossman days. 

   Anyway, Go Bears! Anything can happen in these strange games many of us are so fascinated by. Strange things tend to happen when the down-and-out somebody has to face the mighty and invincible (think Bears/Packers), well, you get the idea.

newspaper clippings: entitlement and owning a basketball team

 

'The Nets and NBA Economics:'  This story appears on the Grantland website and highlights the kind of nonsense involved when the wealthy play pauper, in pursuit of the all-mighty dollar. Eminant domain for a basketball stadium and losing investments that still return 10%. You can find more fun-facts on greed and basketball in Andrew Sharp's piece 'The Real Evil in the NBA Lockout' on SB Nation.

 

For an artistic release from all the ill-will fostered by reading about billionaires looking for a hand-out try this video of Shabazz Palaces performing "the King's new clothes were made by his own hands"

 

 

YTGVB: Shabazz Palaces "The King's New Clothes Were Made By His Own Hands" from Yours Truly on Vimeo.