Sunday, September 30, 2007

Rutgers University vs. Brown University Women's Field Hockey 09-30-2007

My daughter, one for her friends and myself went to see Rutgers Women's Field Hockey play Brown University. The refereree at one of her games had suggested taking them to a TCNJ (The college of New Jersey) game but it is on the other side of the state but I checked out the schedule for Rutgers and there was a game scheduled for today at noon. I figured it would be a good experience for the girls to see the game played at the college level.

One of the things I noticed is that even at the college level it is tough to score. Rutgers dominated and had plenty of opportunities but were only able to score twice. Brown had what I though was a sure score only to have Rutgers dig in on defense and deny the attempt.

They play on turf at the college level which makes the game a little bit different than the one the Holmdel Freshman Girls play when they play on grass. The ball moves much faster on turf and there is a much more ball control.

My daughter and her friend really seemed to enjoy themselves. They spent most the game yelling out to the Rutger's team the same advice their coach gives them. "Sticks down!" "To the goal!" "Let it go!!"

Most of the fans where either parents (other family members), friends or former players. I expected to see more High School age folks like the Lacrosse games but there were not that many. Probably because it was played on a Sunday.

The game field for the Rutgers Field Hockey team is the practice field for the Rutgers Football team.
Not only did Rutger's win (2 - 0) but they got a shutout as well. Hopefully there will be other opportunities to bring my daughter and her friend back. I found it fun to watch.

Saturday, September 29, 2007

Park Tool Bike Repair Stand (PCS-9)

Last week I ordered a Park Tool Bike Repair Stand from the Peddler in Long Branch, NJ. Since I do not have quick release hubs on the Langster I need two hands to set the rear wheel whenever I take it off. I figured that a Repair Stand would help. I looked around and I found that Park Tool had several models designed for home use. The PCS-9 model that I ordered is the bottom of the line but I decided that I did not need anything too fancy since I probably will not be doing very much of mine own repair work. Just the basics such as flat and tire repair, oiling and degreasing. Beyond that I will probably leave things to the pros.

I ordered the stand on Saturday and I picked it up on Friday before I went to my daughter's Field Hockey Game. I put the stand together after the game but before I went to pickup pizza. Assembly was straight forward and took less than 30 minutes. Most of the main parts such as the clamp were already assembled and only had to be unscrewed so that it could be attached to the assembled frame. Included is a very small wrench and two hex wrenches so there is no need for extra tools needed.

For what I am going to use the stand for I am not sure one other models would be worth the extra money. All together I spend about $100 (including tax) on the stand. As far as I know the Peddler did not charge me any shipping so they were competitive with the prices I saw on the Internet.

Having order the stand from a catalog and from pictures online I was not completely sure what I was going to get. While the legs do fold it was not really what I was expecting. What happens is the legs swing down when the stand is lifted up which allows for storage in a corner or against the back wall of the garage. It could also be laid across the floor in an apartment or home.

I used the stand on Friday night to re-tension the chain and align the back wheel. I also cleaned and oiled the chain for Saturday's (Today) ride. The stand works as advertised and gets the bike off the ground for easy access. However, rotating the clamp requires loosing using the handle on the back and then twisting. I am not sure this can be done with the bike in the clamp.

Also, it is not as stiff as I expected and the bike seems to bounce when spinning the rear wheel. However, the price is right and I am sure it will more than earn its keep. Especially if I end up with more than the 2 bikes I currently have.

2 Wins for Holmdel (NJ) High School Freshman Girls Field Hockey

The Holmdel Freshman Girls Field Hockey has now won two games in a row. On Wednesday September 26 they beat Manasquan (NJ) at home by a score of 2 - 1. I missed the game since I was in California travelling on business.

On Friday September 28 they played away at Red Bank Regional and they won by a score of 2 -0. Since I took the red-eye home from California on Thursday I was able to attend the game. By the time I got to the field the game was underway but I able to see the first Holmdel goal as I was walking over to the bleachers.

As with every game I have been to most of the action has been on Holmdel's offensive side of the field. Even when they have lost it appears that Holmdel has been able to control the game. However, the team is now moving the ball with more power and now are a bigger threat to score further from the goal.

Holmdel scored another goal in the first half but it was disallowed (I have to really learn the rules since it looked good to me). While the team had several shots on goal throughout the second scored goal did not come until there less then 2 minutes left in the game. This goal was an impressive shot from the top of the crease that you could tell was going to be a score before it even hit the boards.

So far I have really enjoyed every game I have attended. It is fun to watch the team improve. They are now playing with more confidence and the scores of the games are now starting to reflect how they played. Even though it was an away game it was easy to see that the Holmdel fans were in good attendance. Certainly the fine fall day helped out.

I am travelling again this week and I am not sure that I will be able to attend a game. I did not realize the game was away and I ended up having to leave the house in a hurry so again I forgot my camera.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Sunday September 23, 2007 - A 55 Mile Ride and a Trip to the West Coast

I have lots of business travel planned so the only rides I am going to get in are going to be on the weekends. Fall is apon us here in the US Northeast and winter will be here soon enough. I have to get some cold weather gear if I want to keep riding up until the ski season starts. All I have right now are two pairs of long tights and one long sleeve jersey.

Yesterday I got caught in the rain. The weather forcast did not predict rain but the sky was overcast. I had orginally planned on putting in 40 - 50 miles but I only got about 20 miles. Half of which was in a down pour. No lightning so I felt kind of safe making my way back home. I did walk down Holland Hill since I usually get up 35 miles per hour on the drop and I did not want to try on the slippery road. After the ride I spent some time wiping down the bike and oiling the chain. I also order a Park Tool Repair Stand from the Peddler in Long Branch. It should be in by the weekend. I am tired of having to turn the bike over in the driveway when I want to work on the bike.

I am leaving for San Mateo, California this evening (7:55 PM Flight out of Newark) so I needed to get up early today in order to get my coffee base and then get an early start. By the time I got my two cups of coffee in me and finished my bowl of bran flaks it was almost 9:30 AM. Not nearly as early as I wanted to get out but...

Bike New York is running the Twin Lights Ride here in Monmouth County. The rides are from 30 to 100 miles. Several of the routes go right by my house. If I was not traveling I might have signed up for the the Century but I did not see any reason to spend $50 to ride the same route I ride everyday. I crossed paths with the official riders on several occasions. Not a bad way to spend the day. I ended up riding 55 miles in about 3 hours and 25 minutes. Time really seems to fly once I get on the bike.

No pictures since I have stopped bringing the camera. I really hate to stop once I start.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Holmdel High School Girl's Freshman Field Hockey - 09/19/2007

The Holmdel High School Girl's Freshman Field Hockey played against Red Bank Catholic at Holmdel. This is the second game I have attended. The team played Raritan High School on Monday and I was able to watch. The team's first game was against Saint John Vianney High School but I was unable to attend since I was traveling in California. Since I am going to be traveling a lot the next couple of weeks I am probably going to miss several more games.

My interest in Field Hockey stems from the fact that my daughter decided that she wanted to play field hockey this year. Actually she wanted to play last year in Middle School but it did not work out. This is the first time she has played a team sport so it is a new experience for both of us.

When I attend the Rutger's Lacrosse games I can usually pick out the parents. Now I understand how it feels. I try to be just a interested observer and watch quietly from the stands which I am able to do for just about every other event. However, something comes over me when I know my daughter is playing.

I found myself standing on the back of the bleachers then standing on the sidelines and running between the offensive and defensive ends. I try to be positive by acknowledging good plays and yelling out encouragement. I certaintly do not want to act like a coach since someone else already has the job.

The two games I have attended have been very exciting. I could see the teams inprovement between the two games. They are moving the ball on offense and are hustling on defense. So far the teams record (0-3) does not really reflect how well they played. However, the girls look like they are having fun and I can see them finishing out the season strong. I can see these girls making an impact as they move to Junior Varsity and Varsity.

Now I need to learn the rules because I am definitely do not understand why some of the whistles are blowing.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Hellyer Velodrome - San Jose, California 09-12-2007

Since I have been riding the Lanster (in freewheel mode) I have been thinking that I would like to try riding fixie on a track. The closest track to my house is Kissena in Queens, New York but they did not have a beginners training session since the crowd there is hardcore. There is another track in Pennsylvania that hosted the Masters Nationals in August but the schedule indicates that is pretty much done for the year. I was looking on the internet for other tracks and I found the Hellyer Velodrome in San Jose. I also noticed that they had a beginner class on Saturday mornings.

In a surprising turn of events I have found myself in the San Jose area on business. It was completely unexpected. However, since I need to put in a full day on Friday I have decided to stay in California until Saturday. I am going to attend the morning (8:30 AM - 11:30 AM) beginner class.

According the the Hellyer website there is a Wednesday Evening racing series so I decided to drive down after work to check it out. I turns out the Wednesday Evening series is done for the season but there were several riders having a training session. They all seemed like nice folks. Several came up to me and started talking to me.

I took these pictures just before the sun went down. The traffic on Highway 101 was completely out of control. I wanted to stop at the Hotel and change out of my work clothes (shirt and tie) but I was afraid I was going to get there after the park closed so I was definitely over dressed for the session.

I am really look forward to the Saturday class. It certaintly looks like fun if not a little scary.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Lower Manhattan 2007

I had a meeting in Lower Manhattan. Since I had some meetings in Central New Jersey later in the day it did not make sense to take the train from Middletown Station. I decided to drive to Jersey City and park my car at the Journal Square. From there I can take the PATH Train 3 stops to the World Trade Center. I have only rode the PATH Train a couple of times since 2001. Of course the WTC station was closed for a couple of years after 9-11 and I have not had any work in Lower Manhattan. A lot of the firms that were down there pre 9-11 have moved to Mid-Town or out to New Jersey.

It still kind of freaks me out to see day light when the train pulls into the WTC station. However, the train makes its way around the famous "bathtub" and it is kind of interesting to see the Slurry wall that I had only read about previously. These days the WTC site is a hub of activity. In fact a Holmdel (my current home town) based company EE Cruz is doing a lot of the infrastructure work.

The picture above is the infamous Deutsche Bank (formerly the Bankers Trust Headquarters). This building is just south of the World Trade Center site but it was damage to the point that it could salvaged (I think it was due to deadly mold). It is currently being demolished but there was a fire recently that killed two NYFD fire fighters.

The entrance to the New York Stock Exchange. All the surrounding streets are limited to pedestrians. Wall Street. A river on one end, a church on the other and a playground in between.Lunch time. This is a cool restaurant row that was not there when I was working at Salomon Brothers. I really wanted to get something to eat but I did not have time. I wish I had since it would have been heathier than what I ended up eating.
Not many fixies in Lower Manhattan. I saw a couple of others but this is the only picture I could get.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

US Pro Cycling Championships - Greenville, SC

This falls under the heading of wishes do come true. Maybe The Secret is on to something. One of my co-workers/friend lives in North Carolina but not too far from Greenville, South Carolina. He had an opportunity to attend the US Pro Championships and he sent me these pictures as well as the included commentary.

My Chris writes:

We went down to Greenville on Sunday to see the road race. Zabriskie won the time trial the day before, just like last year. The race is 110 miles, 4 loops from downtown up Paris Mountain (1000 feet of climb) and back, with a final 5 circuits of downtown. Our friends live at the top of Paris Mountain, so we watched as they climbed, crested and then started to bomb down. It was cool because we hung out with some support crew that had good inside scoop and gossip. Apparently the big controversy was over Craig Lewis of the Slipstream team. He’s a popular local Greenville rider who wasn’t allowed to race by his Director Sportif (Jonathan Vaughters) – he was told to stay and continue racing in Europe. The Slipstream team had “Where’s Craig” buttons to protest.

Watching the race was extraordinarily interactive. As they’re cresting the hill, fans are dousing them with water, talking with the riders, pushing them a few yards. Because of the multiple laps, you get to see them again every 45 minutes. The group of 100 started as a pretty tight peloton, but by the fourth climb it was really strung out. George trains on this hill…the best times from bottom to top are in the 9-minute range. Apparently there’s only about 20 guys in the nation that can keep up that pace four times. Last year it was 5 laps, but only 20 guys completed the race. This year they took a lap off and added circuits of downtown. Still, George complained that nobody was racing for first (and thus helping him to catch up to Levi!)…everybody was just hanging back and trying to survive. By the last climb, Levi was out in front and moving like it was his first lap. George and a few others were a minute behind and weren’t able to catch up. Only 30 of 110 riders finished. I guess climbing 1000 feet four times isn’t too hard when you’ve been climbing 6000 feet of Pyrenees and Alps in one stage.

Sunday, September 2, 2007

A Long Weekend - Some Long Rides

Since it is Labor Day weekend I have an extra day to get a ride in. Since I have been traveling for the last several weeks I have not been able to get many rides in during the week and with fall approaching I am going to have to get used to only being able to ride on Saturday and Sundays. I am going to start going back to the gym during the week.

Friday's ride was short and sweet since I did not get out until late afternoon and the weather looked threatening as I made my first climb. I decided to just ride around the neighborhood and then do sprints around the lake in my neighborhood.

I rode on Saturday with the owner of the Smoothie King in Red Bank. However, the high winds caused us to shorten the planned length of the ride. Since I rode to the meeting spot (in front of the store) and I rode back I was able to log 47 miles all together. There were lots of other riders out as well which always makes the ride fun for me. I always wave and check out the bikes. If the riders are ahead of my I pickup the pace so that I can track them down.

For my Sunday ride I took off at about 9 AM and rode my usual route through Holmdel, Marlboro and Colts Neck. I have been taking Laird Road out to RT 537 and then head toward Shrewsbury and Little Silver. I made my way to Seven Bridges and then out to Long Branch. I took RT 36 up to the Highlands and climbed up Mt. Mitchell Scenic Overlook and down Ocean Blvd to Atlantic Highlands.

The ride started out as a hard training run but morphed into a fast sighting seeing tour by the time I got to Monmouth Beach. I started stopping to take pictures which is something I have not done in a while. The picture above is on the Boardwalk at the Pier in Long Branch.

These cars were lined up in front of the Avenue Restuarant and Beach Club. Pretty typical for this time of year on the Jersey shore. The red Ferrari in the back almost took out a woman on a beach cruiser. I guess she did not get out of the way quick enough.

This picture was taken at the Atlantic Highlands Marina. New York City is in the background but it does not really show up in the picture.

Red Bank was dead today. I think everyone decided to go to the shore since Long Branch and Sea Bright were crowded. I was planning on going back later for lunch but I never did.

This picture is from the south end of the Long Branch boardwalk. The weather was perfect even though the beachgoers might have wanted it to be a little warmer.

Lots of Pro Cycling action this weekend but no US TV coverage. US Pro Cycling Championships were in Greenville, South Carolina this weekend. Almost all of the US riders were there instead of at the Vuelta a EspaƱa.