Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Discussing Our Bodies in Mixed Company

Women Wheelers!
image via kaputniq

Yesterday I came across a series of delightfully entertaining illustrations by kaputniq, modeled after a Victorian instruction manual for lady cyclists. "Women Wheelers! Don't say 'Feel my muscle,'" warns one. "Don't ask 'Do you like my bloomers?'" admonishes another. While things have changed since Victorian times, in some ways maybe not so much. When I wrote a post on female saddle discomfort some time ago, I received comments and emails from male readers indicating that they were made uncomfortable by the topic. To a lesser extent, the same happened when I brought up the subject of bras in a recent post, and likewise whenever I mention my leg muscles or (heaven forbid) butt in the context of cycling.

During the time I have spent around those who ride bikes, I have observed that male cyclists are not shy about discussing their bodies - be it in real life (conversations that take place in bike shops and at various cyclist gatherings) or on the internet (discussions in forums and blog comments). Thanks to this, I know all about their "taint" and their infertility worries, and how they have to move stuff out of the way when dismounting a bike with a tall top tube, and so on. No big deal. It's a good thing that men feel free to share such things. 

However, female cyclists are unlikely to discuss their bodies in a similar manner, except in the vaguest of terms. Until very recently there was virtually no public internet dialogue about female-specific bicycle discomfort, and I rarely hear any such talk out loud. I don't think I'd be out of line in saying that it is still considered inappropriate in our society for women to be "immodest" - which is how discussing our bodies in mixed company is perceived. If a female mentions her toned legs, let alone her private parts, even in the context of cycling it can easily be interpreted as flirtatious or sexually provocative - whereas if a man does the same it is interpreted as merely clinical.

Despite the double standard, it is clear that female cyclists want to discuss these topics - and to do so using concrete terminology instead of polite abstractions. There is a growing feeling that information is unavailable to us because of our own embarrassment to share that information with each other, supplemented by a palpable male discomfort (or excitement - which is more intimidating?) when we do share it. While I am not the right candidate to spearhead a revolution in this regard, I am relieved to see that there is one underway. From the frank discussion of yeast infections on bikeskirt, to Elly Blue's article on menstruation in Grist, to an entire compilation of female writings about their bodies and cycling coming out in zine format (Our Bodies, Our bikes - order your copy here) it's as if a floodgate has opened, so to speak - mixed company be damned. Let's hope the trend continues. It should not be any less socially acceptable for female cyclists to discuss their bodies than it is for male cyclists.

The Climate Fix Now Available in Paperback

The Climate Fix is out in paperback.  Don't be the last person to understand why climate policy is in collapse ... run, don't walk, to your local bookstore or online retailer and get your copy today ;-)

The Importance of Being Virtuous & Tim Tebow

Here is a note and some parental feedback from one of the Coaches in our Association, Tommy Hagey, from Nashville TN. Tommy will be one of our speakers at our Character Builds Coaches and Captains Clinic February 24-25 in Cincinnati.

Also included is a related article about Tim Tebow that two coaches emailed me (Thanks John and Jeff).
Attached is a picture of me and a painting done for me by one of our parents.  It hangs in my office.  I have also attached a letter sent to our principal and Pastor from a different parent whose son I coached.


During the recent football season at St. Henry my son L. was introduced to the Sports Leader Program.  This program is designed to teach the boys, through a coach mentoring program, the importance of being a virtuous person.  The focus were the virtues of Charity, Humility, and Courage.  L. came home after every small group mentoring session with nothing but positive things to say.  Needless to say, it had a big affect on him.  The importance of this program was emphasized even more to me by the story at the attached link below.  I'm not a Florida Gator fan or a Denver Broncos fan but I have become a big fan of Tim Tebow.  He holds true to his convictions for all the virtues that L. learned about during the Sports Leader Program; characteristics that should be admired, not ridiculed.  I'm proud to say that L. looks up to Tim Tebow as a role model, one of the few professional athletes today that deserve this honor.

All that said, I'd like to express how important and valuable, I feel, the Sports Leader Program is to our young athletes and that I think it should definitely be continued and rolled out to all St Henry athletes, both boys and girls.  I am so grateful that L. was able to participate in the program.

Thank you for including this program as part of the football season.

Best Regards, A.B.
"Reflect the Son"


Tim Tebow, an emerging American folk hero answering a cultural need
By Hampton Stevens - Special to The Washington Times

 In every era, there are athletes who transcend athletics, rising above the level of mere entertainment to express something essential about the national mood, to answer a need in the collective psyche. In the 1920s, Babe Ruth personified America’s explosive new power on the world stage. The comeuppance that Jesse Owens administered to Nazism at the Berlin Olympics cheered a nation deep in the Great Depression. Muhammad Ali encapsulated the volatile 1960s.

A beleaguered, balkanized and self-doubting America needs a different kind of signature athlete, a different kind of hero. And we might have found him.

Last week, he did the same thing to the New York Jets and in front of the New York media that he did the week before to the Kansas City Chiefs, and for years while winning a national championship and Heisman Trophy at Florida.

Last week, America got Tebowed.

Tim Tebow is unpredictable and improbable — symbolizing the triumph of will over skill. The values he embodies are an almost perfect counter to the nation’s sour and defeatist mood. He is relentlessly polite and optimistic, ferociously hardworking, and committed beyond all else to the idea of team over self. (Check out if you can his postgame interview on ESPN after leading the Broncos' wild comeback against the Jets: The rookie quarterback explains to Hall of FamerMichael Irvin — in the nicest possible way — that not all wide receivers are as selfish as he was.)

NFL purists gasp in horror at Tim Tebow’s ugly mechanics. They cringe at his toe-tied, ankle-crossing footwork, painfully slow windup and floppy release. His success despite those bad fundamentals offends the league’s elect. His clunky, raw game is the very antithesis of the sleek, high-powered, micromanaged precision beloved by the 21st-century NFL. He is the anti-Peyton Manning — an affront to the high priests of the pocket passer and their Church of the Infallible Playbook.

Unfortunately, some people detest Tebow for reasons that go far beyond football. He is an evangelical Christian who takes the “evangelical” part seriously. The home-schooled child of missionaries, he mentions Christ at every opportunity. In college, he famously wrote Bible verses on the black tape under his eyes, and the NCAA made a rule against it.

Tebow is the embodiment of everything that the cultural left hates. That’s not to say that all liberals hate him. Of course not. There must be millions of liberal Gator and Bronco fans who adore him. Team loyalty will trump politics every time. Tebow nevertheless personifies the patriarchy — straight, white, big, strong, clean cut, square-jawed, preternaturally confident, radiating exceptionalism and utterly convinced that God is on his side.

He appeared in a pro-life commercial that aired during the Super Bowl. Like Strap, the character in “Hoosiers,” Tebow will kneel and pray at any given moment, something he does so frequently and publicly that copying the motion by “Tebowing” has become a Web meme.

Some — the Bill Mahers of the world — hate the religious right so much that they’ll rag on Tebow simply because he’s Christian. Not very many, though. Most Americans, being American, couldn’t care less what the guy believes. They just bristle at him being so in-your-face about it.

The most common complaint about Tebow seems to be that he’s simply too good, too pure. He drinks milk. He claims to be saving himself for marriage. He does summer missionary work at the orphanage his parents built in the Philippines. The guy is such a goody-goody, right?

Well, duh. That’s the point. He’s Christian. You know, that whole “do unto others” and “turn the other cheek” thing. So he doesn’t go to nightclubs, get in fights, drive drunk and smoke weed. That’s a bad thing, apparently. Sure. Because the country already has far, far too many unselfish, clean-cut, relentlessly cheerful pro athletes who believe their life can serve a higher purpose. What we need are more hard-partying, self-glorifying anti-heroes. Sheesh.

But opinion, professional and popular, may have begun a kind of phase shift Thursday night, with a polarizing athletic fluke transforming before our eyes into an emerging American folk hero. Against the Jets, Tebow was atrocious for 55 minutes. (What else is new?) Then, yea, though he stood in the valley of the shadow of his own end zone, he rumbled, chucked, juked, ducked, shoveled and heaved himself during a 95-yard drive for the winning touchdown and his fourth win in five games as a starter this season for the no-longer-lowly Broncos.

Mr. Tebow is a throwback, recalling a kind of can-do American that sometimes seems like an endangered species. Tiger Woods turned out to be sleazy. Ditto Brett Favre. Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds turned out to be cheaters. The country is still reeling from horrible events at Penn State and Syracuse. Over on the sports page, they will tell you that no quarterback can rush as often as Tebow does and last in the league. They will tell you he can’t pass well enough to win a Super Bowl. Maybe.

Whether Tebow-mania will last is still in doubt. What he symbolizes to the country couldn’t be more clear.


Shane Williams was the first name on the team sheet today - as promised by Wales head coach Warren Gatland - when the side was announced to take on Australia in the Dove Men Challenge match at the Millennium Stadium on Saturday (kick-off 2.30pm).
Williams is one of nine players retained in the starting line-up from the third-place Rugby World Cup play-off defeat to the Wallabies early last month, with just two starters selected from outside of the Wales 30-man squad which reached the semi-finals in New Zealand.
Ospreys second row Ian Evans returns to the starting line-up after a three year absence, having last featured under Gatland against New Zealand in November 2008, and Blues prop Scott Andrews – who was part of the preliminary RWC training squad – makes his first start.
Evans replaces Dragons lock Luke Charteris, originally named in the Wales squad for this match but now ruled out with a wrist injury. Andrews is in for Adam Jones who was ruled out with a calf problem last week.
Captain Sam Warburton (Blues) returns in the back row, replacing Osprey Ryan Jones, who moves to the bench, with Dragon Toby Faletau reverting to his normal position at No 8.
In the backs a groin problem has also ruled out Scarlets centre Jonathan Davies and he is replaced by his Regional colleague Scott Williams. Blues scrum half Lloyd Williams replaces the unavailable Mike Phillips but elsewhere the Wales coaches have been able to name the same back line which finished the World Cup so strongly.
On the bench Scarlets hooker Matthew Rees completes his return from the shoulder problem which ruled him out of the RWC squad at the last minute, Ospreys outside half Dan Biggar returns alongside his regional colleague, flanker Justin Tipuric, and uncapped Blues wing Alex Cuthbert is also named.
“It does not often happen in professional sport that a player gets the opportunity to call time on his international career then play one last match like this one in front of his home fans and the people he has given so much joy and entertainment to,” said Gatland.
“Saturday is a great opportunity for the fans to show Shane what he has meant to them and we all hope to send him off on the right note.
“But as we remember the highs and lows of New Zealand and the World Cup the focus must now be to build for the next four years, the immediate future of the 6 Nations next year and towards the 2015 World Cup, with players like Scott Andrews, Ian Evans and Lloyd Williams with an immediate opportunity to impress and also the likes of Justin Tipuric, Dan Biggar and Alex Cuthbert with a chance from the bench.”
WALES: Leigh Halfpenny; George North, Scott Williams, Jamie Roberts, Shane Williams, Rhys Priestland, Lloyd Williams; Gethin Jenkins, Huw Bennett, Scott Andrews, Bradley Davies, Ian Evans, Dan Lydiate, Sam Warburton (C), Toby Faletau
REPLACEMENTS: Matthew Rees, Ryan Bevington, Ryan Jones, Justin Tipuric, Tavis Knoyle, Dan Biggar, Alex Cuthbert 

Cardiff Devils v Nottingham Panthers - TONIGHT (Wed)

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

A place for this blog and its EIC

Slate's weekly sports podcast "Hang Up and Listen" leads off this week with a discussion of the end of the NBA lockout. One of the points of discussion is the failure of the sports media to fully grasp and accurately cover the bargaining process. Not being experienced in how labor and litigation negotiations work, reporters fall for dramatic, tragic, and pessimistic narratives because, to their eyes, the process appears to be failing. They specifically note Bill Simmons' calls for both David Stern and Billy Hunter to be fired for their mismanagement of this process, a sentiment widely shared by fans but not by experienced labor experts (who recognize legal posturing as all part of the negotiation process).

If this assessment is accurate, it presents a good argument for this blog and, in particular, for Mike's work on ESPN and NBA-TV. They provide voice that can report and opine on the legal issues from a real position of experience, avoiding the narrative traps.

Time for Transformative Change in Intercollegiate Athletics

Well, I've spent the better part of the fall semester thinking and talking about change in intercollegiate athletics. I figured it was time to put my ideas and arguments down on paper and, as such, wrote a brief article, summing up my thoughts and, more importantly, making some recommendations.

The essay was just posted on Huffington Post here.

In sum, I argue that we need to address three key areas: 1) Academics & Integrity, 2) The Interests and Experiences of Student-athletes; and 3) Accountability.

Let me know what you think...and help me improve my proposals.


Moser 2.0 - a Vintage Racing Bike with Modern Components

Francesco Moser 2.0
I have been riding my "new" Francesco Moser for a couple of weeks now and wanted to share my impressions. This is the same frame that I rode last year as a fixed gear conversion, then sold, then bought back and rebuilt as a geared roabike with modern components. Since the summer, I have been vigorously shopping around for a road/racing bike for 2012. The Moser resurrection is an experiment to determine whether it is feasible to refurbish a vintage steel racing frame for this purpose without putting myself at a disadvantage in comparison to cyclists riding modern bikes. 

Francesco Moser, Lugwork
The Italian frame was built in 1978 and raced in Austria throughout the 1980s. Through an interesting coincidence, I happen to know who the framebuilder was, but that is another story. The frame is lugged steel and allegedly Columbus tubing. Whether "tretubi" or something nicer I do not know; there are no decals. The lugs are pointy with elegant cutouts. Chromed fork crown, dropouts and seat stay caps. I have not been able to find this exact model in a Moser catalogue; something is always different. As I understand it, Moser frames were handmade in small batches and the framebuilders would sometimes get creative with individual frames. This could be one of those.  

Francesco Moser 2.0
The current incarnation of the bicycle includes an older Campagnolo Vento wheelset. Retired by the previous owner, the wheels have got quite a few miles on them, but are in good shape.  

Moser, Noodles, Campagnolo Record 9 Speed Levers
Campagnolo Record 9-speed drivertrain and shifters, circa 1999.  

Moser, 52/39t Crankset
The crankset is 52/39t with 175mm crankarms. Not ideal in the long run, but at least it will allow me to try the bike. MKS Stream pedals and Power Grips as usual. 

Moser, 11cm Stem, Nitto Noodles, Campagnolo Levers
From my spare parts, the bike is fitted with an 11cm Nitto Technomic Delux stem and 42cm Nitto Noodle handlebars. White Fizik tape. Cateye computer with a cadence reader. Just to be silly, I finished the handlebar tape with thin strips of multi-coloured electrical tape, to match the "champion" bands on the frame. 

Francesco Moser 2.0
I bought a set of Campagnolo Veloce brake calipers and used the 700Cx23mm Michelin Krylion tires that I had on another bike earlier. 

Testing a Selle Anatomica Titanico, New Version
The saddle is a new generation Selle Anatomica Titanico (with cro-moly rails), on loan from the manufacturer. I will be comparing my impressions of this model to those of the previous version

Francesco Moser 2.0
The bicycle is a 52cm frame with a 53cm top tube (closer to 52.5cm). Right now it is set up with an 11cm stem, handlebars 1cm below the saddle, and the saddle positioned to emulate the seat tube angle with no setback. The positioning feels great, but would probably feel even better with the handlebars a bit lower and the stem a bit shorter (the current stem cannot be lowered, because there is no more space inside the headtube). The weight of the bike as shown here is 21lb. 

One reason I decided to get this frame back instead of looking for a different one, is that I remembered it having no toe overlap. Later I began to doubt myself, as several framebuilders told me that it might be impossible to make a road/racing frame this compact with no TCO. However, now the Moser is back and I was right: no toe overlap, as in none/zilch/zero/not-even-close. How did they do it? I will try to bring this bike to a framebuilder with one of those magic machines that can measure frames precisely; hopefully that will provide some answers. 

Moser, Noodles, Campagnolo Record 9 Speed Levers
So, riding Moser 2.0 so far... I think I got exceptionally lucky with how well this frame suits me. I did not fully understand or appreciate what it was until now. With the long stem, the geared drivetrain, and the lightweight modern components, the bike feels as if it has been unshackled and allowed to soar. The small size feels just right, the forward positioning is exciting, and the lack of toe overlap eliminates my main source of anxiety with small frames. The bicycle feels lighter and easier to propel forward than other steel roadbikes I've tried, including modern ones. Judging by the numbers on the computer, my speed when cycling on my own is more or less identical to what it was when I was riding the Seven Axiom over the summer. I have not had a chance to go on a group ride yet, but will report on that once it happens. Acceleration feels effortless - that same "slingshot" feeling that, once experienced on a fast bike is hard to give up. The ride quality over bumps is better than I could have hoped for. 

It is impossible to make a direct comparison between the Moser and the Seven, because the latter was two sizes too big for me. But for someone of my ability, the bikes feel as if they are in the same ballpark, or at least from the same planet. The revamped Moser is the first roadbike I've tried aside from the Seven that I can see myself riding and being satisfied with.  

Francesco Moser 2.0
On a critical note, Moser 2.0 is a bit squirrely starting from a stop and at very slow speeds. My bike handling skills are good enough at this point to not consider that a problem, but I wouldn't have felt comfortable riding it set up this way last year. Also, the bottom bracket is so low that with the 175mm cranks there is pedal strike unless I am very careful to keep the inside pedal raised on turns. Can't decide whether this means that replacing the cranks is a priority (trade, anyone?), or whether it is an opportunity to improve my technique.

Aside from this, there is the question of whether it is a good idea to ride a well used, retired racing frame with well-used, retired 10-year-old components and wheels if I mean to ride strenuously and possibly competitively. While the Moser frame is photogenic from a distance, it is in rough shape: scrapes on the tubes, missing paint, rust on the chrome. There is also a slight bulge at the rear of the headtube that, as I understand it, happened during the manufacturing process (the frame has been checked for integrity and shows no structural problems). If I decide that I like the bike and don't need a new one, it might still be wise to replace the components with less worn ones and have the frame repainted. Or start from scratch and get a framebuilder to replicate the geometry and tubing. It's hard to say, and for now I am just  excited by how great Moser 2.0 feels compared to almost every single new bike I have considered buying so far. 

Knowing that some readers are interested in the outcome of this experiment, I want to note that I don't think it's as simple as buying any old vintage racing frame and putting modern components on it. But I do think I got lucky and ended up with something pretty cool that I would like to investigate further - with a big Thank You to all those who pushed me in this direction.

Coming up on tonight's Tuesday Night Sports Show - 29th November 2011

We’re here on 98.7FM in Cardiff and online at with award-winning sporting discussion and debate.
- Coming up tonight we pay tribute to Wales manager, Gary Speed, who passed away on Sunday. We reflect on his league and international career and assess his contribution to Welsh football.
- Simon Williams is at the Cardiff City Stadium tonight as the Bluebirds face Blackburn in the Carling Cup quarter final. He’ll bring us the fans’ thoughts and his own tribute. We also have team news from Ian Golden.
- With three wins in their last three games, there was a sense of optimism that Speed’s young squad could make a realistic push for the World Cup. Where does his death leave Welsh football?
- Yousef and I are keen to hear your thoughts, so contact the show with your tributes.
- We’ve also got reaction to the Wales team to face Australia and your chance to WIN a pair of tickets in association with match sponsors, Dove Men+ Care.
- Plus we have our latest Fantasy League Top Ten Countdown.
Give us a call on: 02920 235 664
Send us a Text: 07728 758 759

Monday, November 28, 2011

Q & A

Q: Is computer programming a blue collar profession?

Yes, it is.

Author Matthew Crawford made this connection in Shop Class as Soulcraft. Working with code is not unlike working on a motorcycle or building a cabinet. It requires technical skill, and you get the same sort of satisfaction and feedback as you would getting some motor to run or fixing a leaking pipe. Of course, you don't scrape a knuckle or get covered in dirt and grime with programming. You just eat bad food, work on vitamin D deficiency from lack of sunlight, and feel an excruciating back ache upon standing.

I notice how programmers feel a certain affinity for the blue collar folks. This is because they are skilled labor. Their concerns are no different than what a millwright might go through. They deal with bosses who are clueless when it comes to their work. They also work in the shadows keeping the world running. In this age, we need programmers like never before. If they all went on strike, the world would stop.

Programmers don't fit well in the world of managers or financial professionals. So, they certainly aren't white collar. I will let the programmers who read my blog add what they will in the comments.

NBA TV Interview: Remaining Steps

I joined David Aldridge, Reggie Miller, Dennis Scott and Matt Winer tonight on NBA TV to talk about remaining steps for there to be NBA basketball on December 25. 


I'm sitting here after a trip from Walmart. I bought some groceries and some new work pants. I'm listening to music. I'm tired from working. I feel a need for some coffee.

Resolutions are just around the corner. I only made one resolution for this year, and it was to find inner peace. I realize that the turmoil that I feel comes from my relationships with other people. My only response to this reality is to create an oasis of calm for myself by living alone.

I had a dream where the chick who stole my car was crying and suffering for all the things she has done. I felt compassion for her in the Buddhist vein. Compassion is simply wanting others to be free of suffering. Then, I woke up. I don't care if she suffers or not.

I am facing a simple but inescapable fact. I am going to fail on the inner peace thing. This hit me today. I am alright with it. The best I am ever going to get is to enjoy being by myself and not worry about other people anymore. I think I am simply torturing myself with the idea that I can have people in my life that aren't going to tear me down, use me, or try to destroy me. But this is not the case.

I am OK with this. Strangely, I feel a certain peace with just accepting this fact. Being alone in the world is fine. I can do this. I've been doing it for years now, so why should I stop? This is who I am. I am a loner.

My parents had each other, and I can't recall a time when they were ever happy. I just don't ever want to end up like either of them. And there is nothing odd about them. I see the same misery with every other married couple out there. I don't have those problems. Like I said, I have created an oasis of calm here at my hole in the wall. The reason it is calm is because I am the only person here.

This past year has been interesting as I have pursued this resolution of mine. Ultimately, the only real turmoil that I have isn't other people, but the expectation that I should try and make things work with people in my life. I have turned that over in my head, but in the end, I come back to the same place. I have always done better alone.

I enjoy my friends, the people I work with, and the interactions I have online. Those are cool for me. Family and girlfriends have been misery for me. Trying to change my status from that of a loner just results in the very misery I want to escape. In the end, most of the problems I have had in my life belonged to other people. The most drama I have in my life is deciding if I should do laundry tonight or wait until the morning. Morning is looking better for me.

New Sports Illustrated Inside Report Interview: Legal Fallout of Bernie Fine Scandal

Temperature Regulation and Underlayers

Ibex, Icebreaker Wool Underlayers
From a reader's email, quoted with permission:
...not sure how to put this delicately, but when I ride my bike in the cold I inevitably end up with a sweaty bra. Even if I am not exerting myself, the bra is soaking wet by the time I get to work and The Girls are not happy spending an entire morning waiting for it to dry. I've taken to stuffing paper towels in there, but was hoping you could share a better solution. How do you deal with this? Don't tell me you only wear wool bras?
Now approaching my third winter of cycling, one of the most valuable lessons I've learned is how to dress for the cold weather. Merely piling on layers can lead to overheating, then freezing underneath the sweat-soaked clothing when stopped at red lights. This is where choice of fabric becomes important. Wool and silk not only keep me warm, but regulate my body temperature - meaning that I sweat less underneath all those layers of warmth than I do wearing cotton or synthetic fabrics. And compared to technical synthetics, wool and silk do not retain body odor. 

When choosing temperature-regulating fabrics, the key to the whole system working for me is to start from the inside out. If I am wearing a wool sweater with a cotton long-sleeve tee underneath, that cotton is going to be drenched in sweat; it's better to wear a wool baselayer and a non-wool garment on top of that. Similarly, underwear matters a great deal, since it is the first thing to contact the skin. Cotton or polyester underwear will end up soaked in sweat, causing discomfort even if every single other article of clothing I am wearing is wool.  

So yes: In response to the reader's question, I only wear bras made out of fabric that regulates my body temperature effectively, which for me means wool or silk. Wool is the more durable and somewhat more effective option. But wool bras tend to be plain and sporty looking, and not everyone likes that. Also, women with larger chests often report that these bras do not offer sufficient support. If you prefer a look and feel that is more lingiree than sportsbra, real silk bras are available with everything from decorative lace to underwire support and nylon stretch. After having tried a number of manufacturers, I have settled on Ibex for wool underwear, and on Winter Silks for some fairly inexpensive silk bras. I also like to wear Icebreaker leggings instead of stockings once it gets cold, and always Smartwool socks. There are other excellent options out there. But as long as it's wool or silk, there should be no need to stuff your bra with paper towels before cycling to work. 

Light LC

LC 2x20kg: 5, 71(/10min), 5

LC 2x24kg: 5
LC 2x28kg: 5

Push-ups: 3x 10 reps

Felt the strain in the hand from last jerk session with 28s, so I did some 20kg lifting.

Would this picture work on a dating site?
Here is a long cycle competition in England in february (LINK).

I also think that the Irish EGSA-section will have a long cycle competition in March 2012.


This is your chance to WIN a PAIR of PREMIER TICKETS to WALES v AUSTRALIA at the MILLENNIUM STADIUM this Saturday, KO 2:30pm in association with Dove Men+ Care.

Listen in to the Tuesday Night Sports Show from 7pm on 29th November, answer a simple question and you could be watching our World Cup heroes back on home soil against the mighty Australians!

Dove Men+Care™ offers a range of personal care products that are formulated especially for men that deliver superior care. The deodorants offer 48 hour protection with unique caring ¼ moisturizer technology and the shower gels are clinically proven to fight skin dryness. For more information about Dove Men+ Care products visit,

A New US Hurricane Record

On December 4, 2011 it will have been 2,232 days since Hurricane Wilma made landfall along the Gulf coast as a category 3 storm back in 2005. That number of days will break the existing record of days between major US hurricane landfalls, which previously was between 8 Sept 1900 (the great Galveston Hurricane) and 19 Oct 1906. Since there won't be any intense hurricanes before next summer, the record will be shattered, with the days between intense hurricane landfalls likely to exceed 2,500 days.

If you are in the insurance or reinsurance business and want to stir up a little constructive mischief, you should ask your favorite catastrophe modeling firm or ratings agency to show you the mathematics behind their estimate of the probability of zero intense hurricane landfalls from 2006 to present (both made at the time and what they'd say today). (Hint: Zero. Zip. Nada.).

This remarkable streak has to end sometime, and likely won't be repeated anytime soon.

International Sports Law Review Pandektis

The most recent issue of the International Sports Law Review Pandektis, an IASL-sponsored journal, has been published. A number of articles caught my eye that Sports Law Blog readers may be interested in. Of particular note is the article published by Stephen Argeris pertaining to the MLB draft, which was presented earlier this year at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference and last year at the International Sport Law & Business Conference.

The complete table of contents for the most recent issue can be found here.

Sunday, November 27, 2011


1. I think it is good to lead off with the obligatory ass picture.

2. DISCOVERY: If you eat nothing but beans, you will shit mud. I won't share the details at how I arrived at that discovery.

3. Steve Jobs is thoroughly dead, but they can't stop talking about the guy. I doubt the same will happen when Steve Ballmer bites the dust.

4. Christian Bale has played Batman for the last time. Of course, I think Stallone said the same thing about Rocky Balboa.

5. I've been reading Blowback by Chalmers Johnson. Basically, imagine the US eating a Mexican dinner called the Cold War, and 9/11 was the explosive diarrhea that came later.

6. Ass and feces. You have to admit this is one quality blog.

7. The Gamecocks beat the Tigers for the third straight year. There will be much gloating Monday morning at work.

8. I got hit with the Blue Screen of Death twice in one evening. I am gun shy now.

9. Katie Couric wants to fill in for Diane Sawyer at ABC. Correct me if I'm wrong, but didn't she have her shot over at CBS? TIP FOR KATIE: See if you can go back to the Today show at NBC. Your ambition fucked you good and hard.

10. Finally, a nice country video:

Quotable Quotes

Forgotten is forgiven.

A man can be happy with any woman, as long as he does not love her.

A life spent making mistakes is not only more honorable, but more useful than a life spent doing nothing.

I have never seen a situation so dismal that a policeman couldn't make it worse.

I went through life like an idiot for a great deal of the time, saying there's nothing I would change. That was a very arrogant thing to say. There's a lot I would change. There are people I would have steered clear of.

Gary Speed MBE - 1969-2011

Following the tragic news of the untimely death of Wales manager, Gary Speed, the Tuesday Night Sports Show is inviting you to send in your thoughts and tributes to be included as part of our own tribute on the show this coming Tuesday at 7pm.

Welsh and British sport has lost a model professional who was at the very top of his game and leading a new era in Welsh football.

Tune in to Radio Cardiff this Tuesday at 7pm - 98.7FM and online


Iva Jean Rain Cape: Ethereal, Wearable

Iva Jean Rain Cape
When asked to review the Iva Jean Rain Cape, I immediately recalled the remarkably successful photos of this item I had seen in the lookbook several months earlier. I'd been mesmerised by the stunning model and bicycle, by the perfect combination of my favourite colours, by the foggy, milky, electric feel of the whole thing. But a staged photoshoot is one thing; the article of clothing itself could be quite another. What we have here is essentially a silver hooded cape, to be worn on a bicycle. The skeptic in me was thinking that few of us can pull off a garment like that without looking like we are headed to a sci-fi convention.

Iva Jean Rain Cape
When the Iva Jean cape arrived, I was relieved to find it quite wearable. The colour is a metalic slate gray, in no danger of being confused with an aluminum foil alien costume. The fabric is fluid and drapey, not stiff. And it is mostly noiseless (no swooshing). 

Iva Jean Rain Cape
The cape is made in Seattle out of a water-repellent, breathable nylon-polyester blend fabric with reflective piping. It is one size only and hits mid-thigh. I don't want to repeat manufacturer specs, so please read the complete list of features here

Iva Jean Rain Cape
Close-up of the hood, visor, rear vent and reflective piping. 

Iva Jean Rain Cape
The hood is roomy and can be loosened and tightened using a system of drawcords.

Iva Jean Rain Cape
 Rear view. 

Iva Jean Rain Cape
Stand-up collar inside the hood. The zipper extends half way down and makes the cape easy to put on and take off.

Iva Jean Rain Cape
The arm openings have velcro closure, as does the large front pocket. There is also a system of drawcords and thumb loops on the bottom for keeping the arms inside the cape. 

Iva Jean Rain Cape
Full rear view. 

Iva Jean Rain Cape
In use on the bike. Speaking generally, I must admit that I am not a "bicycle cape person." When I look down and see a tent draped over my legs, it abstracts the pedaling experience for me. That said, this cape is so lightweight, that this effect is diminished. What I like about it particularly is the breathability, the flattering shape, and the ease of movement it affords off the bike. With capes I can sometimes feel as if I am getting tangled in them, but this one has such an airy feel to it, that I could hardly tell I had it on. 

One thing to keep in mind is that this is a cape, not a poncho. It is intended for casual use, such as commuting. As you can see in the pictures, the forearms are somewhat exposed when I am holding the handlebars, because I am fairly leaned forward on this particular bike. The more upright your position on the bicycle, the less this will be an issue. [Edited to add: The manufacturer explains that it is possible to cover the handlebars with the cape like so. However, when I attempted this my arms felt constricted and I was not able to use it comfortably in this manner.]

Iva Jean Rain Cape
Having worn the cape in the rain a couple of times, the coverage was sufficient and there were no problems with the waterproofing. As far as temperature regulation, the cape functions as a light shell and you can layer underneath it. The vents provide good ventilation on warmer days. The front can be zipped all the way up to cover the neck up to the chin on days when you wish for a scarf.

I found the system of drawcords a little complicated, but I think this is a matter of preference and others will appreciate them, as they basically allow you to reshape the garment in a variety of ways. The one point of criticism I have, is what to me looks like some subtle bunching up of fabric around the seams (you can see it in pictures like this one). It could be just an unavoidable characteristic of the fabric used, but I am detail-oriented and my eyes keep being drawn to this. 

Iva Jean Rain Cape
The Iva Jean Rain Cape is available for sale online, and the retail price is $240. If you would like my review sample, please leave a comment with your email address by Monday, November 28th, 11:59pm Pacific time and I will choose a recipient at random. Continental US entries only please. In my opinion this cape will fit women up to size 10 US.

Enjoy the rest of your Thansgiving weekend!

Wales Rugby League Statement - Gary Speed

Everyone at Wales Rugby League would like to send their sympathies and condolences to the family and friends of the Wales' national football team manager, Gary Speed MBE.

The Football Association of Wales have announced that Gary sadly died today aged just 42.

A number of us at Wales Rugby League knew Gary either through media work, coaching or socially. He was a well loved person who will be missed by all who knew him.

WRU Statement - Gary Speed

The Welsh Rugby Union offers its deepest sympathy and condolences to the family, friends and associates of the late Wales soccer manager Gary Speed following his tragic death.
The thoughts of everyone involved in rugby are with you all at this sad time.
Wales has lost a great sportsman, a true gentleman and a man who was working extremely hard and succeeding to deliver a bright future for Welsh football.


[U.] U-Man's Baadasssss Song

the sirens ringing in them ears. u-man comes to banish those fears. u don't need to hate. u-man will set it STRAIGHT. k-missile incoming. this mushroom cloud laying motherfucker is in the HIZZY. give up the love for the U-DADDY!!

illuminati k-bomb for ya. watch and LEARN:

obama goes after ALEX JONES. NWO power move to make alex a bitch:

when will the O-man come for the U-man? Anyday now. . .

AIDS is a MYTH. truth bomb on the party:


polio vaccines are POISON. straight k to the grille:

randy gage lays some cheese on yo biscuit:

nut to the BUTT and CUT. u-man is assholes and elbows out the door. got to run to have more FUN. oh yeah. SHIT ON THE HATERS. peace to my posse. u-man is OUT.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Brennan goes to a Ribbon Day

Today Brennan, Karen and I trundled down to Solway for a dressage ribbon day. Brennan was entered in tests 1.5 and 2.2 (his first time doing either test and first time doing 2nd level). The weather was absolutely stunning - too hot really but lets not complain, we have had some pretty bad weather lately so this made a lovely change.

Brennan handled the step up to level 2 quite well, although he did lose canter impulsion towards the very end of the test which resulted in an accidental canter over the arena planks - Oops! He had never been in the sand arena either so was a bit looky but there were some really nice moments in the test so we were pretty pleased with him.

Test 1.5 was the afternoon test - It is a long test that feels like it is never going to end! There was a minor course error in a trot movement towards the end of the test and Brennan was possibly lacking a little bit of sparkle (it was HOT!) but he was very obedient and did everything he was asked and the test flowed very nicely - we could not be happier with him. He scored 69.5% and 2nd place in a class of 23 (he was the only pony) - AWESOME work Karen and Brennan!!

I have videos of both tests which you can view on Youtube here:

And, here are a selection of photos:

Well done Karen and Brennan! Another super day out.