Friday, September 3, 2010

September is National Wave and/or Say Hi to Another Cyclist Month

Now that August is out of the way many of you may be sad. The riding seems to be nearing an end, the nights are getting short, and many of us are facing the grim thought of either riding the trainer or getting fat or both. The truth is, September is a great time of the year to ride. You might think the lemming is going to pontificate about the crackling of leaves and pretty colors and adorable squirrels hurriedly gathering acorns for the winter slumber, but no....

September is the time when most, if not all, charity rides are over. Not only that, but most CTS coaches have their athletes "cross training" at this time. This means that the cyclists you see out riding now are hopefully out there because they are loving it, not necessarily because they've been guilted in to finding at least $300 worth of pledges, wore out their welcome with friends, paid most of the pledges on their own, then fired up the old bike to ride the amount of mileage most of us ride just for fun. By the time the charity ride season commences, most charity riders are overtrained with the amount of fundraising they had to do and no longer riding, letting the bike hibernate until next season, sort of like this blog often does. And on the other end of the spectrum, CTS athletes are rollerblading, hiking, and doing "unstructured" workouts right now, anything but riding their bike.

What does all this mean? Well, charity riders might be some of the friendliest riders out there, but more hardcore riders seem to shun them as "freds" and really don't wave or say hi to them. In the context of a training ride it might be hard to distinguish a "fred" from another rider, or even to distinguish a CTS athlete from another rider. What happens then is all friendliness shuts down. No one waves, no one says hi, everyone is too stuck being way more hardcore than the next guy to even think about giving someone the decency to wave at them and acknowledge someone else loving the sport. It creates a "perfect storm" of unfriendliness.

But in September, with those two groups taking time off, you can wave or say hi to another cyclist and probably get a happy response, maybe even strike up a conversation with someone who shares the love the bike, here's how:

1) See another cyclist approaching

2) Remember what the lemming says, this is probably a friendly

3) Lift hand off handlebar and try to smile

4) Wave

5) See other rider's reaction

Don't be alarmed if not everyone waves at first, it might take some time for others to release their inhibitions. Don't worry, in the lone month you have to do it you won't overtrain your arm or grow unusually large muscles, that's a myth anyway.

If, by chance, you stop at a light with another cyclist, here's a great way to say hi.

1) Pull up to light with another cyclist, or see one pull up by you

2) Look at other cyclist

3) Say hi, or nice weather out today, or I like your Y-Foil

It's that easy! Some of you may not believe me, I've posted pictures of cyclists waving to prove that it indeed does happen. These do not look photoshopped, but then again, I'm no expert.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lance withdraws from Leadville 100, Trek sees record number of attempted returns

LP - In what will be forever known as "Black Tuesday" in the cycling world, Lance Armstrong announced that he will not be riding this year's Leadville 100 on Saturday, August 14th. Lance pulling out of the Leadville 100, or "bailing" on it if you speak mountain biker, came as quite a surprise and its effects have been widespread. Nowhere has the effect been felt as strongly as at Trek retailers though, where many would be Leadville 100 riders are attempting to bring back the mountain bikes they just purchased this year to try and attempt the race with Lance.

Luckily for Trek and the bike shops who carry them, Trek is not in the business of mending broken dreams and bike shops are under no obligation to take a bike back simply because someone's hero bailed on a race that they never would have done otherwise. That hasn't stopped people from trying though. One Trek carrying bike shop employee who asked to remain anonymous said, "It's just terrible what we are seeing here. One bike reeked of Simple Green, while another had slicks, but the worst thing I think I saw was a handlebar mirror and aero bars on a Top Fuel. The things we are seeing just ain't right and really, I've been having nightmares about it."

But there are two sides to every story. When interviewed outside of a Trek retailer while trying to return his bike, Leadville 100 entrant Richard Cranium stated, "I can't believe they wouldn't take this bike back. I mean, it's never seen dirt besides at the CTS camp where my entry was guaranteed after not getting in to the fair and unbiased lottery. Besides at the camp, this bike has only seen the pavement and my Computrainer, it's in immaculate shape." Richard, a Phoenix resident, went on to say, "I've always heard there are some great mountain bike trails over on South Mountain, but I've never ridden them because my CTS coach told me I should do the majority of my training on the road as it helps me learn how to spin and build power. I guess if I have to keep this stupid thing I should go and try a few of them out, I guess."

Not everyone believes Lance won't be at this year's Leadville 100 however. Race co-founder Ken Chlouber is holding out hope saying, "I think he'll be here. If you just want my upfront bet, I'd bet you that he's going to be here." It couldn't be confirmed, but under his breath people thought Ken might have said, "He said he loved me, err, Leadville. Why would he not show up? He could bring his kids up to Leadville and support the race he said he loves even if his hip is hurting him too much and he isn't going to ride the Leadville 100. It doesn't make sense, I mean, Aspen to Leadville is only a 60 mile drive. I'm starting to think all of this was just a ploy to promote the Quiznos Pro Challenge."

Industry experts speculate that Lance Armstrong not showing up for this year's Leadville 100 could have long-term consequences, possibly even leading to the eventual economic decline of the city much like the silver mining collapse in the 1950s. Analyst Seymour Buts weighed in, "What Leadville had was a charming race with a lot of diehard regulars. With all of the hype around Lance you see a lot of people who would have never considered the race trying to do it just to be extreme, sort of like buying a Nissan Xterra when they first came out. Unfortunately this comes at a price and a lot of prior multiple Leadville 100 finishers had to be turned away, many of these prior finishers have turned their back on this race. It was a gamble and one can only hope that the new talent will become diehards, however with the attempted bike returns it is not looking good."

But not everyone is attempting to return their bikes. Lawrence Orbach, three-time self-proclaimed winner of the New York City Five Boro Bike Tour, says extreme challenges are what gets his juices flowing. "Just like Lance in the Leadville 100 last year, I set a record time in the Five Boro Bike Tour this year, no one is going to touch that record for awhile." The record time could not be confirmed by Lemming Press as the Five Boro Bike Tour is not a race, but a ride. Lawrence went on to say, "I don't care if Dave Wiens was almost a decade older than Lance Armstrong and basically time trialed all of his Leadville 100 victories alone. I also don't care if Lance brought in some of Trek's best mountain bikers to set a blistering pace while he sat behind them conserving energy so he could set that record time. So what, in the Five Boro Bike Tour I've used drafting for every one of my victories, I probably wouldn't have set a record time had I had to go it alone." Well said Lawrence.

No word on if the Leadville shrine to Lance Armstrong will be completed given the developments of Tuesday, as of press time on Thursday construction was still underway.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

What's this, another post?

You bet it is!  The lemming was featured in the August 2010 issue of Rider's Collective magazine.

If you get a free moment check it out, Paul puts a lot of time and energy in to making the magazine and it's worth a read.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Training with an illness?

The lemming's only illness is being lazy.  Ever since the lemming went on a self-proclaimed hibernation and then just kind of abandoned his blog, things have been quiet over here. Every once in awhile though things will get the lemming riled up and thoughts of writing a new blog will cross his mind.

Take, for instance, the other day when the lemming rode in to work, went to use the shower, and a whistle eminated from the locker room toilet stall. Apparently there is an unwritten closet dumper code which allows recluse closet dumpers to alert other closet dumpers to not burst in to their secluded stall, thereby causing all sorts of embarassment to both parties which choose to avoid human contact when at all possible.

But the furry little monster can't write a whole blog on that. Hell, who wants their blog to be known as a closet dumper blog, this is about cycling after all, or at least the things about cycling and cyclists that rile the lemming up.

As some of you may know, the lemming gets spam email from on a near daily basis, and often he gets quite the laugh out of some of the pictures. Sometimes the lemming's mind is simply in the gutter, as it was today with the "Training with Illness" article.

Try to tell me that picture can't make you chuckle at least a little bit? Some of you won't get it, I'm cool with that. Stevil will.

Anyway, the lemming's next article is going to be on how "August is wave and say hi to fellow cyclists month". I know that will be tough for some riders, but we'll get through it. Or maybe it might "No one cares about your power numbers but you". That will be a tough one too and will require some to quit posting graphs to forums and falsely elevating their self-worth. I don't know, we'll have to see.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Thanks for your support, seriously

I have to take a minute and say thank you to everyone for their support... Even after an extended hibernation it's great to see people back... To be honest, I sat there this winter (while eating bon bons) wondering if I wanted to continue writing on this blog. It's the home of my more cynical thoughts, and while I have them often, sometimes I'm too lame or lazy to actually write them down. Starting a fun blog, and then not working on it, is almost like signing up for the MS150 and then not riding until the day before when you get slicks for your mountain bike. Once you get back in to it you realize how fun it was, but at that point you also have the epiphany that you should have been doing it more rather than sitting on your lazy ass.  This is because everyone is blowing past you as you struggle and look wantonly for the next Accelerade stop.

Thanks to Stevil for the quick note when I hadn't written in awhile to see if I ended in prison, fortunately no one wanted to swap race numbers with me only to have me get last place for them. To bikesnobnyc for always replying so quick to email, he responds to everyone despite his immense popularity, that's amazing. And to Steve A for being the first to quickly comment after my hibernation, or perhaps my bike's hibernation, as well as BadBeard to show he's still there as well on the next post. To Rantwick for his always amusing input, and I forgive him even if he is a closet dumper. Lastly to Cyclin' Missy for sending me an email with all the correct information to win my "contest", I'm glad you're a lemming groupee.

Anyway, bla bla bla, I guess the jist of it is I appreciate all of you out there who read the Lemming. I'll never be a regular poster because sometimes it's just a little too dangerous to rile up the lemming, but if you can handle the sporadic postings and my overall Fred-ness in the grand scheme of the blog world it will still be here. That's all for now, back to my soul-robbing, life-sucking job before my keepers beat me. Almost time to ride home if I can avoid the closet dumpers when I go to change.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Commuting: Beware the closet dumper

If you've checked back in to the lemming at all this winter you've probably thought to yourself, "wow, this blog has really gone down the shitter". Well... If you are lucky enough to be like the lemming, and most days I wouldn't say that since this fur is awful hot in the summer, but if you are lucky enough to be like the lemming, then the soul-robbing, life-sucking job that you work at actually has nice showers where you can get ready for work after riding your bike in. This is nice because the "Wet Ones" baby wipes bath that Bicycling always talks about does not work, and makes you look and smell like a freak. The showers are nice because it's only the lemming and about 2-3 other cyclists which ever use the locker room. However, this lack of use presents other scary problems, the problem of the closet dumper.

The closet dumper is a sub-species of homo sapien who is characterized by their shyness to use the restroom and the subsequent thought that someone might know they are going to the restroom to do the dirty deed. The closet dumper frequents bathrooms such as the locker room toilet since it's lack of use almost surely means they will not have to make eye contact or talk with anyone after coming out of their stinky stall.

The closet dumper shies away from heavily-trafficed restrooms much like a water buffalo shies away from crocodile infested watering holes, although the water buffalo does it because they're scared a lion will get them only to fight with a crocodile before the whole herd of water buffaloes comes back to save them. The problem is the closet dumper is a solitairy animal and no other closet dumpers will come to save them, their main social interaction is posing as a 15 year old in internet chat rooms.

What should you do if you encounter a closet dumper? Most times you will not have to do anything. Closet dumpers are deathly afraid of human interaction in the restroom and will avoid it all costs. Like most prey animals they have eyes in the sides of their head, this helps them to quickly scan the restroom for other users so they may quickly close the door before entering when they encounter a non-empty restroom. Every once in awhile a closet dumper will not exercise proper caution and walk right in to a restroom where you are changing. In this scenario the closet dumper will not make eye contact or say hi, they will simply wash their hands as if that's the reason they came in and then quietly leave, checking back in 20 minutes to see if the coast is clear.

Every now and then you might enter the locker room at the end of the day when you are getting ready to change for your ride home and encounter a closet dumper. In this case do not worry, you will not have to do anything. If you take less than half an hour to change, the closet dumper will simply sit quietly in the stall, hoping you are not alerted to his presence. If you are mean-spirited and take more than a half an hour to get changed just to make the closet dumper sweat, at some point the closet dumper will emerge from his stall like Puxatawney Phil, wash his hands, and quickly leave the restroom without eye contact or any social interaction.

Commuting with your bike to work is fun, it's good for you, saves money, and it's good for the Earth. Don't shy away from commuting because of your fear of the closet dumper. In most cases he is more afraid of you than you are of him. Despite their population in heavily-populated areas there hasn't been a single documented instance of a closet dumper attack on normal humans.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Waking from my furry little hibernation

It's been a long time since I wrote my last blog... At first it was due to hibernation, fattening my furry little self up and sleeping away the winter. Then it may have just been a lack of creativity. Not much gets me riled up these days, and without a sense of riledness I don't find interesting topics to write about. Maybe it's the run out of my Bicycling subscription, and the subsequent lack of renewing it on my part. I was hoping to get a complementary "lemming" subscription to Bicycling, but I never asked for one and no one ever offered, not even the Fit Chick. Regardless, my main catalyst for all things that ruffles my fur about cycling is gone and that leaves me to living a zen-like existence, still believing that Greg LeMond is a hero vs. a has-been crack pot.

So what gets the lemming fired up enough today that a new blog appears? That answer can only be SCANDAL. You might think I'm referencing the allegations made by Landis that he did now indeed dope, although he said before he was an innocent framed man. Or that he's tried to implicate the grand poobah Lance Armstrong, as well as some other big names. Well, if you thought that you would be wrong.

You see, the lemming thinks on a much smaller scale. The professional cycling world is great, but we're not professionals, and because of that we have to be concerned about the issues facing the peasants that we are in the grand scope of cycling surfdom. What has the lemming riled up today is the felony charges brought up against two women in the Leadville 100 because the registered woman became injured and let the other ride. I sent this over to the bikesnobnyc and was happy to see he picked it up as his reader base is probably a million times bigger than mine, especially after my extended hibernation.

It's no secret that the lemming is not a huge fan of the Leadville 100 race. From a lottery that really isn't a lottery, to charging a fee just to get in to the biased lottery, to giving coveted race slots away to CTS in return that athletes can pay them big money to bypass the lottery and get in to the race, to the organizer pulling strings to get certain people in even though they didn't make the biased lottery, to the "Race Across the Sky" movie that rocketed the little mining town to stardom and pumped a whole bunch of fan boys in to the running of the biased lottery, there is just a lot to shake your head about. But even looking past those things, seriously, felony charges because someone used another person's race number with their permission? That's going too far and for lack of better words, seems a little big for the britches.

Sure, that is against the rules, I know. The race is non-refundable, non-transferable, non-technical and about any other type of non you can think of. I don't want to speak like I know the full details, I've only regurgitated what other sites have mentioned, but it looks like one woman has been charged with felony conspiracy to commit criminal impersonation, while the other was charged with felony criminal impersonation. Sad, sad, sad...

What the women did was stupid, and I can say sandbaggers and cheaters aren't high on my list either, but I loathe the day that I want to see felony charges brought up against cheaters in a weekend warrior race, that opens the door up to all sorts weird precedents.

Of course, the DA bringing up all the charges is the same one who prosecuted Kobe Bryant. One of the funniest quotes I saw from this site said, "“I haven’t seen this criminal-impersonation law used much, but Hurlbert’s expansive application of the statute opens up some interesting possibilities. Given Hurlbert’s lackluster campaign for state Senate District 16 and his dismal fundraising, perhaps a special prosecutor should be appointed to investigate whether to charge Hurlbert with felony criminal-impersonation of a Republican Senate candidate.”"

To give Ken Chlouber a little credit, it does look like he never wanted felony charges such as that brought up on the women. It looks like he just put in a request for prosecution on theft of services for the $250 in race fees, $225 in awards, plus racer services, including aid stations, security, and a pre-race banquet. While understandable, it would seem that asking for the race fees and racer services is debateable seeing as how they were paid for, but I guess not by the woman who did the race with the paid for number, which is against the rules.

Anyway, enough of my babbling. Read some of the stories for yourself and decide if this is the type of thing you want to support in the future. Thanks to bikesnobnyc for giving this some national attention!