Thursday, December 27, 2007

Pakistan's Bhutto assassinated

It's a dark day.

Pakistan's Bhutto assassinated: "Pakistan opposition leader Benazir Bhutto was assassinated by a suicide bomber on Thursday, plunging the nuclear-armed country into one of the worst crises in its 60-year history."

Settlers of Catan

FINALLY.... despite their perpetual collusion, I was able to serve up a crushing victory this morning. Ha!

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Wow! Journal Star features cycling twice in the last week!

Loved reading about Matt Baumeister's touring. In fact, that's what I started off thinking I would go do, at least until I tried racing, but it's still on the list.

And Mom and I made today's sports page...
For the record, it's probably not good to do a phone interview with a cold, because if I were and institutional designer, instead of an instructional, one, I just don't know what I'd come up with. :D

In any case, I hope both articles get folks to thinking about their bikes and what they could do beyond letting them gather dust in the garage.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Family happenings

Pretty laid back Christmas around here... went to my folks' place for xmas eve where much fun was had with shock tanks and white elephant gifts like the genuine Calahan photo and fake snakes for my pop.

Of course, Erik got the tough guy award for playing tanks with his hands duct taped to the controller from start to finish. I played it sorta safe by going no tape the first time and then taping in for the next. Nick couldn't handle any taping. Said his pinkies were claustrophobic. Go figure.

My cold is fading fast, the wrist is healing, and after a full week completely off the bike, I'm getting excited to get back to it -- especially since I did the first draft of my '08 objectives yesterday. You got yours? :D Just joking. I'm a kind of person who needs an energy burning mission so as to avoid getting cantankerous, mopey or rendering life unpleasant for those nearest and dearest. My dad's kind of the same way and after 'vacationing' for maybe an evening and a morning he claimed to be struck with cabin fever.

-------------- From Pop --------------
Thanks for a fun Christmas eve. And tell them hammerheads I found the one snake in me bed with no excitement spent,'cause I ain't all dumb; but the one under my sweatshirt nearly cardiaced me this morning when I picked up the sweatshirt. Reckon my heart rate made the 150 bpm for a moment, but that merely furnishes extra blood to the long term memory system...*S* Woe be unto such rascals...
I just got to learn how to be old, you know, learn to lay 'round the house and flip aimlessly up and down the 90+/- tv channels full of drivel and convince myself I'm accomplishing something worthwhile. Twixt Christmas eve and Christmas morn, 'bout 18 hours including sleep time, I caught me a bad dose of cabin fever. Only antidote for cabin fever I know is fresh air and excitment; so I decided that since the sun was shining, the temp above freezing by a few degrees, and the north--south roads were mostly free of ice I'd get out ole Bridgestone and go for a ride. I led ole Bridge down our ice-laden drive to the county road, mounted and headed toward town and Hwy 43. Well sir, I knew the corner and up the hill for to 43 would be as ice packed as our driveway, and I dismounted and led ole Bridge till I see some road that is white with limestone dust, stopped, rolled the pedal round, mounted and headed up the steepest part of the hill...turns out that beneath that limestone dust is a layer of ice and when I put the torque to the rear tire, ole Bridge lost his footing and smack, I'm face down with Momma Earth, kissing up like a long lost lover fresh found. Now for all you greenies out there, and for Mr. Gore in particular, trust me to confide that gravity is still working, and Momma Earth ain't warm here in Huskerland!
Anyway, got the cabin fever cured and only had one other minor crash on the pavement. What a great way to enjoy a part of Christmas day. A Merry Christmas and a prosperous New Year to y'all. Anyway, the Lord willing and the creek don't rise, and ole Bridgestone takes a likin' to me, I'll see you all down the road when the weather gets better....Dad

Anyway, after approaching the holiday season with some dread, it turned out to be fun as always.

The great attitude my brother-in-law has was made completely apparent when his gun-toting pirate 3-year-old son individually thanked each of us for our gifts, then went off to bed after saying to his dad, "Tell Santa I have enough presents."

My mom's seemingly effortless ability to create a beautiful, yet unpretentious and comfortable ambiance was in full swing with Christmas in every room and real candles with real flamage on the tree. They've special holders and she lights them on Christmas eve and it's gorgeous.

My overworked sis somehow found time to sneak around and make a photo album of my race pix.

My o
phidiophobic father good humoredly put up with the grandkids' jokes and even baked the cinnamon rolls and made tortilla soup. It was alleged he volunteered for the duty in order to avoid a church service, but I like to think he's coming around to enjoy a little "women's work" from time to time. ;)

The Boys, like exuberant overgrown labrador puppies, kept things lively. My younger is rapidly exchanging his prepubescent stringiness for the full power of his masculinity. Consequently, one must constantly guard against getting caught in the fray when nearly 400 pounds of vicious swings and bone crushing tackles spontaneously erupt as the younger challenges the elder for supremacy, or the latter tries to cement his stronghold. Thankfully, my cousin Kyle, the youngest of my three boys, stays out of it so far. Maybe he's got some sense after all. And speaking of that kid, I so appreciate how willing he is to play with the little kids and they love him for it.

That's all I got for now. I hope your holiday was as pleasant as mine.

Friday, December 21, 2007


I hab a code. <sniffle>

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Wrist surgery

Wrist surgery
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Got a ganglian cyst removed this morning. Right hand offline for a few days.


Monday, December 17, 2007

Cross Natz Elite Race

Wow. In short, upon pre-riding the course, I completely ratcheted my goals down to surviving without busting up myself or my bike -- completely. I'm not sure words really do the course justice, but I'll give it a go.

One man at the hotel said, "It's like busted up frozen concrete." And, when I saw it, I thought the same thing and then by our race there was just enough melting on the top that it was slick to boot. In several places there were deep, and I mean 4-8 inches deep frozen ruts, waiting to catch your tire. This along with the rest of the 1-3" ruts throughout the rest of the course rendered most of it single-track. There were hundreds of wrecks. At one point the announcer figured the average for each rider was running 3 spills every 10 minutes. Forks were broken, wheels flew off and it was just quite the eye opener for yours truly. In fact, the race winners were those who were able to keep the tire side down the most.

So, after the goal adjustment, I rode and tried to get the hang of going over the ruts. As it turns out, it's like a rock garden. You have to maintain momentum, even though it seems entirely counter-intuitive, and you have to keep the weight of the front of the bike. I practiced that before the race and throughout the race. Consequently, next time I face something like that, I think I'll do much better. I ended up 41st but didn't get lapped by Compton and with another year of riding experience to improve my handling skills, I think I can crack the top 25 next year.

The race itself went like this for me:
Missed my clip-in. (note to self - clean out cleats before race start), but still wasn't in awful position but the rutted right turn onto the ice/grass track was a near crash and I had to restart my momentum. I made up time and started moving up, only to be taken out by another crash, which I wasn't even really upset about. Everyone was trying to do their best and although it was frustrating, mostly I didn't want to get hurt or see anyone else get smashed up. So more than once another rider and I untangled our bikes and wound it up again.

The run-ups were good for me, and I ran that whole section because I was quite sure I wouldn't be able to clean the rutty section preceding the hill down to the asphalt and on nearly every lap I caught 1-3 women with that strategy.

On the last lap, I heard something amiss with my front wheel. I didn't know what, but when I leaped to my bike to go down the final hill and wind it up on the asphalt, I realized I wasn't going anywhere fast with a flat front tire probably due to my broken spoke. At first I thought I could ride the carbon rim, but the attempt was brief. So, after working so hard 3 times to move up after minor disasters I had to get off and jog up the hill and across the line. It hurt, but you know, that's what I like most about 'cross -- the drama.

In most every race, for most every rider, there's a full range of emotions when you mix it up with the other riders and the spectators. There's comedy, triumph, tragedy -- all of it -- and because there's not a pack or tricky drafting strategies, you pretty much get to witness and experience a fight whether you're at the front, struggling through the middle, or valiantly bringing up the tail end. And on that note, I'd like to give every single rider who faced that course this weekend in the mud and the bitter cold a giant gold star -- especially the kids out there. Man, if any of 'em were mine, I'd make 'em pancakes for breakfast for a week. :)

Hurrah for 'cross! Huzzah for the '08 season!

Friday, December 14, 2007

One of the run ups

One of the run ups
Originally uploaded by sydney_b.
Mudfest. Wish u were here.

Second place finish

Definitely the most difficult terrain ever for me. Went down 4 times but still managed to get 2nd behind sue butler of portland. So feel pretty good about that. THANKS to all of u who sent the good vibes round 2. I thot about that while I was out in the muck and it made me stronger. More later.


Mixin' it up for the women's master titles @ 1 and 2pm

My mom will be riding the women's 60+ race at 1pm and I'll be mixing it up with the 35 to 40-year olds come 2pm. Interestingly enough, there's 8 to 10 of the women in my group who are also registered for the elite race Sunday, including Sue Butler who beat me at Jingle Cross and Linda Sone, so right there you know there's gonna be some good racin' this afternoon. I'll let you know how it goes.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

So whaddya think?

And you don't have to be a racer to do so. Many perspectives need to be heard.

Issue in short:

Elk Grove, a rich Chicago crit, announced a hugely cut prize list for the women's race as well as dropping one of the women's races for want of attendance. One of my teammates, Chris, activated and ended up talking to both the promoter and the mayor and was asked to present some alternatives. Consequently, we'd like to hear what you think, so I'd really appreciate it if you'd check it out and put your 2 cents out there.

"...frustrated with Elk Grove's decisions because I felt like they made drastic changes without really asking a broad group of women and teams what their incentives were. I complained that, while increasing the prize money, they REMOVED a race from the weekend event; which sometimes is critical in the travel decision-making." [explaining partial reason for lack of attendance]

It should also be noted that Cheerwine, the only PRO squad to show (other pros came and raced individually) won over 10K. If the same purse was offered in the 08 season, do you think those other teams are going to let that happen again? [We'd like to have the promoters give the event some time to grow instead of changing it every year in its 3 year life]

Sydney Brown | Team Revolution |

Monday, December 10, 2007


This is really kinda cool. Who would have thought KC could draw more entrants than the coast?  I guess it just goes to show how much 'cross is growing!!!

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: U.S National Cyclocross Press Office <>
Date: Dec 10, 2007 12:30 AM

For Immediate Release

Kansas City, Kan. (Dec. 9, 2007) - A record number of registrants have signed up to race in the 2007 USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships in Kansas City, Kan.

A total of 2,045 entries were received for the nearly 40 races that will take place between Thursday and Sunday, Dec. 13-16. at Wyandotte County Park.

Last year, 1,940 entrants took part in the championships in Providence, R.I. The last time the national championships were held in Kansas City, in 2000, only 600 riders participated.

"We've achieved our first goal - which was to better last year's total," said Race Director Bill Marshall of KLM Marketing Solutions. "Our next goal is to make sure that every racer comes away from the event with a positive experience."

The athletes competing in this year's championships come from 45 states, plus the District of Columbia. California will have the most representatives - 109 - followed by Kansas with 80 and Missouri with 79. The average age of a competitor is 32 years old.

The Masters Men's 35-39 category has the most entries - 171 - followed closely by Elite men, which has 167 athletes registered, and Masters Men's 40-44 division, which has 161. 

Non-championship and beginner-level races are scheduled for Thursday, Dec. 13. Age group national championship races are Friday and Saturday, Dec. 14-15.  Collegiate and elite races will take place Sunday, Dec. 16.  Admission is free and there is no charge for parking.

All competitors will receive a gift bag filled with merchandise from some of the more than 15 official event sponsors. Included will be an invitation to the post-event party Sunday at Dave and Buster's at Village West in Kansas City. Racers will also receive a $5 game card to redeem at Dave and Busters.

Course and parking maps, and the opportunity to purchase official race apparel, are available at
About the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships
The best racers in American cyclocross will fight for the right to wear this year's stars and stripes jersey at the USA Cycling Cyclocross National Championships December 13-16, 2007 in Kansas City, Kan. Four days of epic racing will take place on a technical, challenging and fast course for junior, collegiate, master and elite athletes from all over the country. The event venue will offer spectators multiple vantage points on the action, an Expo area, kids activities and beer garden. The event is sanctioned by USA Cycling and hosted by KLM Marketing Solutions.
KCCX Official Event Sponsors
Media Contact
Jodi Hall
Media Contact
Sean Weide
Trailhead Marketing | 215 W. Frankin St. Suite 214 | Monterey | CA | 93940

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Death Proof

Two thumbs up for this chick flick, and the big black needs a rumble. I'm all infatuated with muscle cars now. Hope it wears off soon as I need to save my $ for racin' next season. Preview below.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

New York Times reports on a little 'cross

Cyclocross: Mud, Sweat and Gears - New York Times: "And in the United States, a longtime dead zone for cyclocross, the sport has recently caught fire. “We’re seeing a cyclocross phenomenon of sorts in this country,” said Stuart Thorne, a former professional cyclocross rider from Wenham, Mass., who now runs the online publication “A race in Oregon last month drew nearly 1,000 cyclocross racers, which was one of the biggest showings ever.”"

Wonder if the LJS or the OWH could use this?

Bike Snob NYC: The Genuine Article: Reporting on the Fixed-Gear Phenomenon: "I've decided to save America's journalists the trouble by creating a template for future articles. If you're a journalist in a smaller city that hasn't yet reported on the fixed-gear trend, please feel free to use the article below in its entirety. Simply cut and paste, fill in the blanks, put your feet up on your desk, and cruise on up to that deadline!"

Monday, December 03, 2007

Trainer Time

Spent a couple of days on the trainer this weekend and it wasn't as bad as I was thinking it would be. The trick is to have a specific workout you're doing and have some good tunes. On Saturday, I'd embedded cues to power changes into the audio tracks, so it was a lot easier to hit the marks. The other thing I like about the trainer and on which I'll probably focus this winter is the ability to keep a constant eye on the power meter and work on smoothing my spin and learning which body positions and cadences produce the most power for the least perceived effort. Got a little clue-in yesterday, so I think it'll be a good way to spend my time. Starting to think about the road racin' next year. Oh yeah! (Don't worry, I'm not forgetting about Cross Natz this month, but I am starting to remember how fun it is to zip down the asphalt on skinnies.)