Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Dude, Seriously, Update Your Blog (Part 3)!

Oy Gevult!

It's been way too long since I last updated this blog (yes, The Complete Jewish Cyclist has been rather incomplete in his Jewish blogging duties).

So since I've last "blogged" (BTW, I don't fancy the verb "blogging". Sounds like "blob", and as we know, cyclists aim to move a bit faster than a blob), some things have changed. I received a piece of my paper from my company. Actually, it was less of a piece of paper, and more like a slip. In fact, it even had a color. It was pink.

And if you're not familiar with these pinkish slips (lucky you - for now at least), you can ask any of the 70,000 people who received one on a single day last week, or the 515,000 people who received one last week overall, or the 700,000 who received one last month, or the too-many millions who have received one last year. If you're not familiar with them, here's a great way to spot one; they're the people who have gone from choosing between Dura-Ace and Record to choosing between spare tubes and lunch money. Sigh...

As for The Complete Jewish Cyclist, the time has been spent taking a breather from the previous job, prepping for a job search, and riding 225 miles in January alone. Normally this time of year, the riding is merely spinning - high cadence in a low gear - but with a 'cross race coming up February 1st, the rides have been a bit more intense, especially in the area of climbing. Either way, my goal now is to find a job which will be commutable by bike, be a bike-friendly workplace, and be a good job for a racing cyclist to live with and live around.

Monday, January 5, 2009

Giant Riders - Rejoice!

Since becoming the owner of a Giant TCR-C2 last summer, I quickly became an erstwhile fan of Team Columbia, the Pro Tour squad that grew out of the rubble of the former T-Mobile team. Aside from being an early fan of Mark Cavendish and a longtime fan of Eric Zabel (and sadly, I was duped into being a fan of their doped-up Kazakh beast), I was never really excited about the squad. But since owning a bike of the same namesake as those of team Columbia, I suddenly felt an affection for the revitalized and now American-based team. In fact, I even made the purchase on the same day Marcus Burghart won a stage of the Tour de France on a Giant TCR Advanced.

So imagine my sadness when I learned that Columbia would no longer be aboard Giants, but switching instead to Scott. It happened at a time when seemingly every team played musical bike sponsors, including Saxo Bank on Specialized and Silence-Lotto on Canyon. Then a silver lining appeared on the clouds of Giant riders everywhere when Rabobank, the legendary Dutch squad and one of my favorite teams, announced they would be riding Giants in 2009.

That's right all of you riders out there on TCRs and OCRs, even if you're not aboard a TCR Advanced SL, you still will share the same namesake as Oscar Friere, Juan Antonio Flecha, and Robert Gesink, whom The Complete Jewish Cyclist pegs as a future Grand Tour winner. And yes, you can check out the Giant line of bikes at The Bike Rack (link to the right). The Rabos had a down season last year despite some great riding by Friere, Flecha, and Gesink, but they're a refocused team this year with some smart goals, and as any Giant owner will tell you, they will be riding some really awesome machines.

(Update: Nick Nuyens will also be riding for Rabobank in the 2009 season. Nuyens is a killer Classics rider, and expect to see him as the Rabo's key man in races like Het Volk and Kurne-Brussels-Kurne. Flecha will still be their man for races like Ronde van Vlaandaren and Paris-Roubaix, but expect to see Nuyens placed up in any move Flecha goes in, with Nuyens either being the solo break set-up guy or the main rider is Flecha has a bad day. And no matter what, he'll be doing it on a Giant!!!)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Bikes of the Jewish Peleton - Tom's Kona Jake

While Tom Jones' Kona Jake is the second bike to be featured here on The Complete Jewish Cyclist, it shares the dual distinction of being the first cyclocross bike and the first race bike (yishar koach!). Though mainstream cyclists may not be familiar with the Kona brand, serious enthusiasts and racers have an almost cult-like affinity for the Ferndale, WA-based company. Perhaps the best known Kona is the bright orange Major Jake of newly-crowned U.S. national cyclocross champion Ryan Trebon, and the Kona line of 'cross bikes, including the Jake, are a popular sight on any local cyclocross circuit such as the MAC/MABRA series, which Tom races as part of the Proteus cycling team.

Tom's Jake is the entry-level model amongst Kona's three 'cross bikes, but shares the same geometry and 7005 butted aluminum frame as the mid-level Jake the Snake, differing only in the use of a steel fork versus a carbon fork. Still, even though the Jake is geared towards a broader range of riders than the top-of-the line Major Jake, which is geared towards racers only, the Jake itself is very much a race-ready bike and is the race bike of many local cyclocrossers. With its versatility, however, the Jake also makes for a fine commuter or long-distance touring bike.

Tom himself put the Jake through its paces in his first-ever cyclocross season this year, and pulled it (and himself) through in one piece with some pretty gutsy performances in some very demanding races. He also plans to put the bike to an equally demanding challenge by riding all 186 miles of the C&O Canal in one day later this year, a ride which The Complete Jewish Cyclist is also giving serious consideration to doing. You can follow Tom's riding and racing at his blog (www.528k.com).

Thank you Tom for submitting your rig to Bikes of the Jewish Peleton, and be sure to keep it nice and muddy.

If you have a bike you would like us to feature on The Complete Jewish Cyclist, send an e-mail with some info on the bike and a picture of the bike pasted into the e-mail (sorry, no attachments or downloads) to jewishcycling@gmail.com.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

2009 First Ride

So here it is, and here we are.

It's January 1st, 2009. The cyclometer shows nothing but zeros; all of the numbers from a massive 2008 cycling season are now erased, and there is left to do is spend the next 365 stuffing as many new numbers in there as possible. Of course, they're not just numbers, but over the course of 2009, they will represent experiences and memories - pacelines, climbs, sprints, descents, breaks, chases, open-road cruising, and even relaxing recovery rides. They will be experienced alone, with team mates, Sunday morning group rides, and most of all, those riders we hook up with along the way out on the open road who's names we don't know, may not know, might not remember, but for a few miles will become friends in the our cycling world.

As for The Complete Jewish Cyclist, the new year is only Gregorian. I greeted fellow velojew Tom Jones (www.528k.com) this morning with a hearty "Shana Tovah", Hebrew for "happy New Year", though it was all in humor as shana tovah is reserved for Rosh HaShana rather than January 1st. He was one of a group of riders out in Washington, DC to turn laps on the 3.2 mile circuit of the Haines Point peninsula. Now of course, people called me everything from "brave" to "crazy" for venturing out this morning - it was 28 degrees with frigid northerly winds - and also strange since at 11:00 AM on January 1st, people are supposed to be in bed with a hangover.

Well, I may seem to be brave and/or crazy, which is understandable when you're just one cyclist rolling out of your apartment building. But when you join about 30 or 40 riders doing the same thing, then you find that normality comes in numbers, even if normality is defined by being brave and crazy. Actually, we are neither: we aren't brave because it really is quite pleasant riding on mornings like this (there were even people out golfing on Haines Point), and we are not crazy because we are highly prepared, geared, and practiced in riding on days like today.

As for today's ride, it was not what I was planning for. I usually make my first ride of the year an easy spin, simply working out the kinks of a month off the bike and starting off my base mileage. Instead, 17 miles of today's ride was like a Sunday morning A-paced ride. Pretty much all of the local teams were out on the Point, including Vday, Bike Lane, Squadra Coppi, NCVC, Kenda, Proteus, and myself as the sole Bike Rack DC rider. There was another team out there who's name I couldn't recall, but thier two guys had matching kits and bikes. Fair to say there were some guys (and gals) out there who live for things like upgrade points. The pace was fast and furious, the big rings came out the moment 2009 dropped, but the riding was still intense. Not how I planned today's ride to be, but I'll take it anyway since it was a lot of fun and a nice way to begin this new year.

All in all a good day on the bike, but there's still 364 days to go, so B"H it will be a season that sees success, prosperity, health, and happiness on and off the bike, a 365 day period to improve on the great 365 days that proceeded it.

Here's the stats from todays ride on the Giant TCR-C2:

• 2 1/2 hours of riding
• 42.06 miles
• ave. speed: 16.5 mph
• max speed: 28 mph