Sunday, May 24, 2009

2009 Giro d'Italia

I have been watching the 2009 Giro d'Italia on Universal Sports (NBC). They run a live feed over the internet in the mornings and then a two hour replay with two American commentators at Noon and 9 AM daily. I have been following the Giro for the past several year but there is been very little US TV coverage. Versus Network would usually cover the Sunday stages and recap the week on their Sunday Epic Cycle Show but this is first year that I have been able to watch ever stage. I think that I have Lance Armstrong to thank for this.

The Italian country side is even more spectactular than the French country side that is showcased in the Tour de France. The Italian continental teams really put a lot of effort into the Giro so there are several teams that are riding up front but will not be at the Tour de France. LPR Brakes is one of these teams. Danilo De Luca has had the Pink Jersey (the Giro uses Pink as the GC leader's jersey rather than Yellow like the Tour de France) for much of the race although he lost it to Denis Menchov of Rabobank who appears to be in a very good position to win.

Mr. Menchov was able to pull grap the Pink jersey by winning the long and hilly time trial of Stage 12. Unlike most time trials the riders rode on regular road bikes. Almost every rider had a different configuration. Some rode using normal bars, some added aero bars (like many triathaletes) and some went with Time Trial bikes. Some riders used time trial helmets but most went with the normal road helmets. While I am not usually a fan of the TT stages this was one that I was really interested in watching. It definitely did not disappoint.

The riders did stage a protest on stage 9 which was a circuit around Milan. The riders had decided that they had enough and made the race an unofficial rest day. Most club riders averaged a faster pace than the Peleton for most of this stage. Eventually the pace picked up and the last lap was very exciting with Mark Cavendish taking the stage win.

The Giro organizers have really gone for spectacular. Very few flat courses and lots of crazy climbs. Each week of the Giro as gotten harder. This final week looks to be the hardest. There will be several hard climbs and the last day is a time trial that may very well determine who the GC winner will be. At this point my money is on Denis Menchov. Although stage 17 (profiled above) could very well that. The contenders are going to have to attack.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

A new post about TV Shows (Chuck, Scrubs and Life)

My last post to this blog was on January 11. The lack of output was not for lack of material. I have written several entries while out riding but the words just never seem to make it to the blog page. I blame Facebook. At least I am not Twitting.

My first blog entry in many months is not going to be about anything deal like state of the US economy, my current state of unemployment or even the start of the Giro d'Italia. It is going to be about US TV. Specifically about the shows that I have been watching Chuck, Scrubs and Life. All three have either been cancelled or are close to being cancelled.

In addition to the 3 shows list above I also watch The Daily Show and The Colbert Report on Comedy Central. Thanks to the internet I do not need to stay up until Midnight but I can watch the replays in the morning while I am drinking my morning coffee. I have also started watching Southland on Thursday night. Southlands is the ER replacement. So far I am enjoying the show however I remember liking ER at first but then I lost interest. The great thing about the internet is that I can watch all of my shows on my laptop.

NBC cancelled Life this past week. Life was my least favorite show but had the most interesting premise. Officer Charlie Crews is falsely convict of murdering a family and spends 12 years in prison. He is eventually released, settles with the city for millions and get his job back at the level he would have been at had he not gone to prison. He is now a weathly detective solving cases while plotting his revenge. The problem is that the fish out of water thing only goes so far. Eventually things stop becoming new to Detective Crews and he eventually needs to figure out who framed him. It may be that 2 years is the total shelf life for this show.

Chuck is a great Monday show. It has some adult themes for a 8 PM show but it is kind of cool premise as well. Chuck is very smart 20 something who was kicked out of Stanford just before graduation. He is now under achieving at a Buy More (Best Buy?) store. Chuck is also leading a double life since he also has a top secret government computer downloaded into his brain and is being protected by a CIA and NSA agent. This is a complete fantasy show but the characters are well defined. The end of last season tied up some loose ends but left a opening for another season. I think the shelf life of this show is probably 3 - 4 years. Eventually the characters will have to settle into a certain normalcy that will ruin the plots.

My favorite show is Scrubs. It took me while to get into the show. In fact I watch almost ever episode as a rerun on Comedy Central. As a work place comedy this show completely eclipses The Office. While most of the characters on The Office are a kind of idiot savant (especially Michael) the characters on Scrubs are dorks but they are care about what they do and work to become better. The Office makes me cringe at some of the stuff that happens but Scrubs has characters that I can relate to. The characters on Scrubs have also grown. Going from first year interns to residents to attendings. It is possible to think that working in a hospital could actually be like this.

Scrubs started out on NBC but spent last year on ABC. Some new characters (Interns) have been introduced and the next season if renewed will probably focus on these characters. JD has accepted another job at different hospital but he is close enough to come back to the show on occasion. The season finale could also be the series finale and was written that way. In some ways it is about time all of the original characters started to move on with there lives. Hopefully the show will be picked up but even if it doesn't I am sure that Comedy Central will continue broadcasting reruns 4 times a day.

So there it is. My first post in a while is about TV shows. I am going to try and get some more. I have plenty to write about.

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Another Post about General Things

Again I do not have much to post. I got both of my bikes tuned up at the Peddler. Since the weather has not been good for riding I figured I would get both bikes pointed up so that when the weather did turn in the positive direction I would be ready to go. I really should learn to do my own work but I am afraid that I will have to deal with my inferior wrench skills while stuck on the side of the road.

My Facebook account as well as the weekly bike ride email that I send out has taken away some of the cycles I would otherwise use to create blog posts. I have had several ideas for posts but I just have not had the time to do them right. Maybe over the next couple of weeks.

Since I cannot ride I have been spending lots of time in the gym. I have just lifting and not doing any cardio. I can see the results in that I am building my fast twitch muscle fibers and not really building up the slow twitch muscle fibers. I figure that I spent most of the summer riding and very little time lifting that it might be good to do the opposite now. While I might be carrying a little extra weight it should be all muscle so I am hoping that I will appreciate the extra strength when the nicer bike riding weather shows up.

It might be a good year to get some cross country skiing in. The picture above was taken in 2003 in Sundance, Utah.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year 2009 (If the sun is shining you should be out riding)

Like last year I started out the new year with a bike ride. This year's ride was a little bit more challenging. The WeatherBug application on my laptop forcasted a low of 20 degrees and a high of 32 degrees for the day. When I got out of bed this morning it was on 14 degrees out. There was a pickup ride scheduled for 10 AM at Dorbrook Park. It was my goal to make the ride.

I decided that I would ride to the start which meant that I had to be on the road by 9:15 AM at the latest. It is about 10 miles from my house to Dorbrook but I figured that I wanted to be able to start and stop my ride at my house. The last thing I wanted to do was have to break my bike down in a parking lot and then drive home. I also figured that if no one showed up at least I had already put in 10 miles and I could then just ride on my own.

I figured that it was going to be cold and the tempuratures where not going to rise by much. I ended up raiding my ski bag. Long thermal underwear went on under the bib shorts. A pair of thermal tights went over the bibs. The upper body had to layers of thermal shirts, a base layer and a black cotten t-shirt with a design on it for style. I then put on my new Gore Tool jacket. A thermal helmet liner was used to insultate the attic. I put chemical toe warmers underneath my booties and chemical hand warmers. After all this I realised that I had failed to protect the my face below my glasses. At first I was going to turn back but I figured it was just like starting out the morning skiing and I would soon get used to it.

I figured I was going to need to take the most direct route to the start if I was going to get there in time. So I went through Middletown and then out to RT 537 to get to Dorbrook. I was starting to warm up and I was really glad that I had made the decision to get out. However, the wind was blowing east to west and when I was facing the wind I quickly realised that there might be some challenging moments.

Due to the cold I expected the turnout to be light. I was disappointed to see the back parking lot empty. I expected that a couple of the more adventurous would show. I checked the time and it was just 10 AM. I made a couple of laps around the parking lot. I noticed another rider waving to me in the other parking lot. I did not see his bike at first but when I got over to the parking lot I saw his Serrotta leaning against the tree. He had rode to the start and had discovered a slow leak. He had already called his wife to come and pick him up. It was much to cold to be changing a tire and I could not fault his decision.

I chatted with rider for a few minutes giving some others the opportunity to show up. After about 15 minutes I decided to leave my new friend and had out on a solo ride. I was not sure where I was going to go. When I came out of the park I could make a left and head toward the shore of a right and stay closer to home. I elected to stay closer to home and made a right.

I had convinced myself that it was enough just to show up. I had planned a more direct ride home. When I got to a light I decided to make the turn that would lengthen my ride. I ended up riding 32 miles with some good climbs.

It had snowed on December 31 so the roads were covered with road salt. I had decided to ride my Single Speed since it had less moving parts. When I was done riding the bike was covered with a light coating of white powder.

The ride was not as bad as I expected. The extra layer of insultation made pedalling a little harder. Like a polar bear swim the New Years day ride should have some challenges. I was glad to get out and I rewarded myself with a late breakfast at The Turning Point Restaurant.

I hope everyone has a good new year!!