Bubbling Crude, Oil that is, Black Gold, Texas Tea.

I am not in the mood to hear Lousyanians whine further about their latest disaster. Especially today when I read the strippers in New Orleans were suing BP and/or the US Govt. for lost wages due to the oil spill. Now before I start this rant let me first qualify by admitting I lived in LA for a short period of time in my youth and, up until Katrina, held no real postion on the state of that state. My position has changed dramatically.

Louisiana you are in a conundrum. Let’s visit for a moment:

1) You and your poor luck are more than somewhat responsible for the gargantuan deficit our country finds ourselves in.
2) Your Katrina issue showed the mass scale of graft in the state and bilked the US Govt. (meaning me) for, well, a lot of money.
3) Your people were paid to live free, in free houses, with free cell phones, and free cable and free utilities for a mostly indefinate amount of time.
4) The only way you’ve been viable as a state is profiteering from your own natural disasters. The US Govt. was the largest employeer in the state after Katrina.
5) You love states rights and bash the Fed. all while holding your hand out for every penny you “deserve” from that same satan Fed for living in a putrid swamp.

Now on to BP:

1) The oil business is the next largest employer after the US Govt. in the state. LA is “drill baby drill”. Damn the torpedos, full speed ahead.
2) LA is anti-oil regulations, cause those damn regutaors hurt our business and we lose jobs.
3) Then the spill, and here we go again…..now we have twio satans, the Fed and BP. It’s all everyone elses fault. The Fed. didn’t respond quick enough and BP didn’t have a plan to seal a leak a mile below the ocean floor. No kidding ?
4) Now the Govt. has suspended drilling in the gulf and the Louisianians are enraged, but they can’t figure out at who, or why.
5) Republicans on the hill were filling the airwaves with how neglectful the current administration has been in addressing the spill. I say, THANK GOD. At least we didn’t just open up the treasury, like we did during Katrina, and let the money roll out in boxcars. Before you spend my money, I’d prefer to have things ruminated over for at least a moment.
6) Now that little unlucky state is about to pile onto our already unsurrmountable debt by going on the dole AGAIN for the next 5 years.

Remember the actual surplus we had at the end of the Clinton Administration. Remember Bush’s Treasury Secretary Paul O’Neill being fired because he and Greenspan both suggested we not implement massive tax cuts, but actually use the surplus to do some little things like…. shore up Social Security, and perhaps put some “mad” money away “just in case”. Instead we dramatically cut taxes and started a war.

Now I don’t know about you but something seems wrong about cutting taxes and going to war. In the big one “WW2” that is, you couldn’t even get groceries or aluminum or pany hose for that matter. People bought government bonds to support the war effort, they planeted “victory” gardens for pete’s sake. People actually felt the pangs of war, even if they weren’t getting blown apart by Nazi’s or Japanese. Now we buy a new Lexus while our neighbors kid get his legs blown off by an IED. We bitch about the stock market while some kid sitting in Iraq finds out his wife’s cheating on him so that she can buy groceries for their two kids.

Anyway, that large surplus quickly (and I mean really, really, really fast) turned into a massive deficit that seems to have no plug. Tax cut, 9 year war, corporate fraud (from Enron to Lehman Bros.), Katrina, and now the BP oil spill. Kinda ganged up on us didn’t it. Woulda been nice to have some of that mad money laying around to throw at some of this stuff.

Question. Why don’t the oil producing states, or those that benefit from drilling off their shores, keep a disaster fund parked for these little inconveniences ? If your going to take the BP/Exxon money, then at least be responsible enough to put some aside so you don’t have to come whining away about how slow everyone is to react to your regular disasters. Man up Louisiana.

So here is my suggestion. Let’s let Louisiana secede from the US. Become their own country, maybe join up with Cuba, those people are on the dole too. Think of it, we’ll lose practically no tax base and save billions of dollars in federal aid and welfare, and Anderson Cooper can finally move on to another motly local.


Blackgrove Wins 2nd Straight Texas Tough / Wherry Announces Retirement

From VeloNews
By Ian Dille
Published: Sep. 18, 2009

At the lobby bar of Dallas’ W Hotel on Thursday evening, pro bike racers and bike racing fans alike held their champagne glasses high in toast of Team Hotel San Jose’s Heath Blackgrove, who scored his second consecutive victory at the TX Tough Grand Prix by out-sprinting a breakaway group of five riders.

“We missed two big moves and were able to bring them back. It really speaks to the strength of our squad,” said Blackgrove, who placed in front of OUCH-Maxxis’ national criterium champion John Murphy.

Between sips of bubbly, Blackgrove deferred personal praise. “I give all the credit to my team,” he said.

Big night in Dallas

The penultimate stop on the USA Crit Series tour featured a full field of 125 riders racing a roughly one-mile, four-corner loop around the American Airlines Center.

To locals, the swank retail and restaurant area surrounding the stadium — dubbed Victory Park and developed by Ross Perot Jr. — is known as the home of the Dallas Mavericks (a few of whom also occupied the W Hotel bar).

But on Thursday night, the city’s enthusiastic cycling community came out in droves, despite an onslaught of nasty rain, to cheer on the nation’s best criterium riders.

Jumbo screens broadcast the action around the course. A news helicopter hovered overhead throughout the duration of the 75-minute event. The disc jockey from a local radio station played MC and gave the pre-race call ups (not muffing a single name).

The race started with a lap of silence in honor of the recently deceased Dallas cycling legend, Chris Hipp.

Attrition and tactics

The wet conditions at the race’s start made the final corner — a tight 120-degree turn heading up a long drag through the finish line — a single file affair in the field.

Each lap, racers were peeled off the back of the pack in droves, while those diligent enough to stay at the front sprinted for a slew of $1,000 primes.

Team Type 1 and OUCH-Maxxis were the main instigators early, forcing a number of dangerous moves that caught out Team Hotel San Jose. However, determined to ride hard in their home state, the Austin-based amateur team went to the front and drove back the splits. The team recruited Blackgrove from the now-defunct Toyota-United squad for 2009.

An exciting finale

As the race clock counted down to 20 minutes to go, the field finally split for good. Blackgrove, John Murphy (OUCH-Maxxis), Michael Creed (Team Type 1), Adrian Hegyvary (Hagens-Berman LLP), and Adam Myerson (Team Mountain Khakis) escaped from the severely depleted pack and gained a maximum advantage of 20 seconds.

Missing the break was Kelly Benefit Strategies young sprinter Jake Keough, who is leading the USA Crits Series in a tight competition over Team Mountain Khakis’ Mark Hekman. Keough’s teammate Reid Mumford quickly went into time trial mode at the front of the field, narrowing the gap to eight seconds, before ultimately losing steam.

As the roads dried over the course of the race the speed increased significantly, allowing Blackgrove to hit the final corner first and with enough momentum to hold off a hard charging Murphy at the line.

Keough placed second in the field sprint to maintain his overall lead in the series heading into the USA Crit series finals in Las Vegas next Thursday night.

Race Notes

While acknowledging his whole team wasted themselves at the front of the field, Blackgrove gave special recognition to his former Toyota-United cohorts, Sean Sullivan, who’s returned to form following an early season knee surgery, and Chris Wherry, the former US professional champion racing in his final event as a professional cyclist.

“I fully intend on staying involved in cycling as a coach and manager,” said Wherry, whose post-race retirement party also served as his teammate’s victory celebration.

“I’m excited about the next phase of my life and having a chance to give back to a sport that’s given me so much,” said Wherry.

Another Big Mile Weekend

Traffic Jam Getting to 1st Street

Traffic Jam Getting to 1st Street

Missed Manda on Saturday, so rode 44 miles on Sunday – from home to Veloway, back on SW Parkway, up both Barton Creek and Lost Creek. Monday Johny O. and I met at Mellow’s (late at 9 AM) for the ride to San Marcos and a Manske Roll. We immediately hit a traffic jam leaving the store as the Austin Triathalon was on in full force downtown. Bike leg was in full force and streets were blocked. We weaved our way thru. Going out we mixed in with the Tri’s and motored south. Due to a missed turn (somewhere befroe Buda on the way back) we added 6 miles to the ride to finish w/ 71 miles. Long day in the saddle. Feel good now though legs are feeling it.

Dropped off an Easton EC90 Aero at Mellow’s w/ leaky valve. After I left for home, I listed to a vamil that it was fixed. Should have checked the phone before I drove off.

OTB Driveway Finish…Same Old Story

The Driveway was packed last night for ladies night and the P1/2 contingent was stacked w/ all the San Jose guys back for this weekend’s Tour of Austin omnimum. Barry Lee, Ronnie Strange, Heath Blackgrove, Sean Sullivan, Robbie Robinette, Rurri Day-Stirrat and Robert Biard. ALL of the races were fast tonight. Riders were single file much of the early laps with gaps forming everywhere. One of the rare 3/4 breaks actually got away successfully. Wes Jerman worked like a horse to bridge with a wheel sucker for about 4 laps – strong ride. Johnathon Perry, who hung at the back early – surged for a great finish trying to pull the pack back to the break. Brent rode strong but abandoned like me – but he was beat up after a finish line crash at HHH.

I raced awful, as seems to be the case recently. The pace was way too fast from the clip in. I slotted in at third in a line of riders single file covering about 1/5 of the course. It was the top short course which I have begun to like and it was fun as usual. After about 5 laps (still in 3-4th) the pace never settled down. No rest spots. Everyone was hammering out of the turns all the way around. About 18 min. in, on the finishing straight, I went wide to follow my draft and about 20 guys went by on the inside (left). I had to stand late in the stretch to get on the back of the last rider in that surge. Got on, but a big surge after the backside S’s left me gapped (with about 10 behind me) and I couldn’t get it back. I rode solo a lap and on the next lap about 5 more went around. I was at 182 most of the race and was at 185 at this point, in the drops with waning power. Looked back and there were about 15 still behind me in 3 seperate small groups. They 1st group was 1/3 lap behind me so I punked and rolled off with 5 go go. Daniel Sato had the ride of his season. In the pack all thru the early blistering laps and moving up when things settled down. Nice surges and smart use of energy. He placed very well in such a quick race.

Immediately after I abandoned I was angry with myself. Two reasons – earlier in the year, when I was dropped I finished every race regardless. That made me better mid-season when I had a series of pack finishes. Secondly – the pack rolled up for the 1st time with 5 to go, compacto’d and softpeddled to prep for the finish. 5-4-3 to go were all managable laps. Had I hung in another lap, I might have gotten back on and finally got the rest I needed to recharge. Didn’t happen, and I’m certainly not happy w/ myself.

I’ve been taking 1000 mg of Clarithromycin (an antibiotic) daily for almost two weeks now for a throat infection. That’s a big dose of a powerful antibiotic and I do think (hope temporarily) it’s affecting my performance. I take it in the AM and it makes me feel queasy and certainly not very hungry. That metallic taste in the back of the mouth. Have about 3 more days to deal w/ these pills and I’m done. Guess we’ll see if things improve after that.

I have signed up for the Cat. 5 race at Manda on Saturday. Hope I’m feeling good and can pull off some sort of redeeming (at least in my eyes) performance.

Tuesday Nighter Action

We had nine riders show up at the Tuesday Nighter. New guest Paul, from Circle C, joined us and was STRONG. Neutral rollout was a bit quick, but everyone stayed together to the Bee Cave Parkway 2244 turnoff. As there was a decent headwind the line went from 2 to 1 fairly quickly as folks were trying to draft as best as possible. First hill out I think two or three popped. On Curenavaca we had six and three of us got off the front leaving James, Clift and Moze in the chase. On the Barton Creek climb, I looked back and didn’t see anyone, so I knew we had a good break. Since I’d been sucking wheel so far, I took the front at the top and did about a one minute 24 mph pull to get us almost to Knollwood. We actually didn’t hit Knollwood extremely hard and got to a marathon red light (as usual). We were waiting when James and Clift rolled up. Moze short-cutted and was in front after the turn. After the turn, I again moved to the front in the flats and ramped up the pace to about 24.5 mph for about 2 minutes again then dropped back to the 5th spot.

We all stayed together until Curenavaca coming back where I backed off a bit, hit it on the downhill, and motored off the front up the climb. Everyone groaned and stood and I was caught and passed after about 200 yards. Slotted in again at 5th. Here’s where I got punked.

We were motoring up a riser and James (in 4th) started to get gapped. I saw the hole forming, had some momentum and moved right to go around and slot in in front of him. When my rear wheel got even with his front he mashed the cranks and moved back up to the wheel ahead just as I was about to move over to take the same wheel. BLOCKED. Then I just brain froze. I didn’t have enough to attack to the front as the pace was blistering up the hill and I didn’t want to ride out on the right on my own, so I slowed to slot in again behind James. As I slowed the pack accelerated and I got gapped. I tried to reel it back in, but it got out to about 20 meters and I was gone about a mile before the sign.

Felt good most of the ride, but the attacks and short pulls had me at lactate and by the Bee Cave sign I was seeing spots and a bit lightheaded. I soft pedaled home w/o stopping at the bank. Endurox, shower, quick shopping run, helped Alyssa w/ homework and we were to bed pretty early. BP was not bad post race 122/82 with pulse still at 97. Still – need to get in and see Dr. as to why I’m lightheaded after efforts.

Have a Litter, Get an Agent, Get Rich

Jon & Kate + 8 - John

Jon & Kate + 8 - John

Ok, time for a rant. I can’t stand Reality Shows. There I said it. They are moronic. Beginning with The Tuttles from the dysfunctional Motorcycle Show and going downhill really fast from there. How many Chopper shows can you watch the old man (Senior they call him) scream at everyone and then (fade to Paul – tight shot – look of concern – but confident) “You know, I really think we’re going to have to stay late tonight to get this bike done in time for the show. Because the gas tank didn’t get back from the fabricator in time, it’s really put us in a time crunch. We’ll all have to work really hard to get this bike done, even Mikey’s pitching in”. Every show….same thing.

Now, what really set me off ? Here we go. Couples have been using fertility doctors to get pregnant for years. Often times the result is a “litter”. Four, five, six kids (do they have their eyes closed at birth). These instant parents have also been taking advantage of their situations by encouraging corporation’s to provide them sustenance for mating marketing purposes. For some reason Pampers and Gerber think it’s really cool to have six kids, especially all at once. They pay pretty well to feature these broods in advertising.

Now Jon & Kate took it to a whole new level. They had two beautiful twins with the help of a fertility clinic. Excellent ! Two healthy baby girls, when you thought you couldn’t have kids. Be greatful, stop there. But no..lets’ try for one more. Hello…one more doesn’t happen when you are playing with doctors & drugs. Presto, 6 more. That’s really cool. Eight kids, what a great couple, what a lovely family. What a zoo. Let’s make a reality show out of it. Why, cause we’ve made reality shows about everything else on earth and they all work.

Now this irresponsible couple have BANKED on their breeding prowess. Their family is ruined, as they both turned out to be crafty cheats and money grubbing scavangers, but hey, they are millionaires and they’ll split time with their kids in their respective mansions. Ain’t life grand. Look at OCTOMOM, she’s about to get her own show as well. What’s next, some mom will have like 50 eggs implanted and blow up on TV. I guess we have ourselves to blame. It is one of the most highly rated shows on TV. I really can’t believe that. I’ve watched twice and got a headache in about the 1st ten minutes.

This Lady Is Still Smiling

This Lady Is Still Smiling

Now this weekend I saw a new show “The Duggars”. They are this cult-like religious family who obviously don’t subscribe to abstinence or birth control, cause this mom has squeezed out (well more like plopped out) 16 kids. The Duggar’s say God will tell them how many kids to have. Hey Duggar’s, if you keep it up like rabbits without birth control, you don’t need God to tell you how many your gonna have. You are gonna have babies until Mr. Duggar has a farm accident or Ms. Duggar reaches menopause. I’m wondering how they can keep at it with 16 kids around the house, they must go for lots of rides in the car.

Now the Duggars are banking as well. Just like Jon & Kate they just bought a big new house thanks to “God” (and $75K an episode from the Discovery Channel). My fear is they’ll feel obliged to keep having kids to keep the ratings up, and Ms. Duggars insides will just fall out.

I guess the whole phenomenon of revering couples who have huge families is just baffling to me. How many times have I heard, “They have 6 kids !”. “Wow, that great !”..or “Gosh, isn’t that wonderful”. Well…no, it’s pretty selfish and irresponsible. Certainly anyones right to do so, but to me, just not very practical in a “hey the’s a zillion people on the planet” perspective. I know, I know..if they can afford to have them (re. they aren’t on welfare), then it’s OK. NOT, selfishness aside, it’s not the affordability, it’s the footprint. But I liken all our problems to overpopulation – pollution, global warming, war, murder…just less likely to happen with alittle space between us.

It’s not just religions who encourage big families, the government does to. Sure, you get a bonus at tax time for each kid. Folks in West Virginia can do the math. $1000 bucks, hmm….I think we can raise another ‘un for about $600 a year, that’s $400 for a new above-ground-pool. Let’s hit the sack !

If you are nursing a brood, good for you, this IS America, and we have the freedom to choose to procreate like rabbits if we so choose. It’s not just a personal choice anymore you know, it’s a career !

9/25/09 – Tuesday Niter

Low turnout Tuesday nighter, only about 7-8 showed. Occasional cloud cover and sub 100 temps. made it pretty bearable. I think Moze and Harper snuck on at 2244 (so 9-10 total).

Going out was pretty tame. 5 left at the Knollwood light, then down to four on the way back. Coming back was a bit more lively.

I was definately wheel sucker of the day, didn’t do any substantial pulling. Some attacks broke it up pretty well w/ me 4th, but worked back (TT’d about 2 miles at 20-23 mph.) about 150m and caught Clift (on his sweet new bike) just before the Bee Cave sign (snuck up on him) for third.

Worked the LTHS hill pretty good then led an attack to catch Clift right before the Bank. Worn out. Didn’t stay long at bank, had a wicked headache.

Rode home in the twilight, but got to the house before dark. Alyssa was there, she’d already eaten.

Endurox, shower, tons of LTHS basketball paperwork, 3 checks to LTHS for “stuff” and then to bed w/ a good book.