Thursday, October 25, 2012

It Happened Today But I Said It Two Days Ago

So you may not have read through that last rant and rave post, but if you did you'll recall I made two quite prescient  statements that have actually melded into a breaking media event today.  I have to admit I'm quasi-proud that Flashblog has its chain-blackened fingers on the pulse of pro cycling's twitching corpse.

The two things were:

1.  Where is Greg Lemond during this doping scandal?
2.  I said UCI President Pat McQuaid has to go

Go here to see how these two statements merged to became a reality today.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Testing My Faith

Its been one of those weeks.  Mostly a week of bad news in my Bike World.  It puts me in a contentious frame of mind and when I get in this state I question the meaning of things.  So I am going to write in a stream of consciousness way what's up in Flashworld.

First up was Cathy's aka Flashette's third major bike crash last week.  We were taking a ride with our student Egor in SF, showing him the Golden Gate bridge, which he has not visited before.  It was all going well, the day was beautiful in an Indian Summer way, we crossed over to Marin and stopped along with all the tourists to watch the overturned wreck of the Oracle racing yacht float by, under the bridge and out to sea.  We rode back to SF, stopped at the Warming Hut for afternoon coffees, then, in the golden glow of the afternoon proceeded to ride to North Beach for foccachia sandwiches.  We never made it.

We were descending the slightly downhill path to Aquatic Park, and a roadie was riding briskly toward us.  As he passed me (I was leading) I heard the sickening sound of body and bike hitting the pavement.  My first thought was that this guy had collided with Flashette.  I stopped and threw down my bike, and she was on the pavement on her back, the roadie had stopped and looked stunned.  He said she just went down.  You see, there are embedded parallel railroad tracks in this path that were never paved over completely---the rails protrude slightly and I think Flashette veered right to give the roadie space and her front tire caught on the parallel rail.

The first thing out of my mouth was a pained shout: NO!  NOT AGAIN!  A perfect afternoon had suddenly turned into an instant waking nightmare.  I went into ride leader mode and started to assess her injuries.  She was talking and asked what happened---she had no recollection.  Then she said she thought her collarbone and wrist were broken.  I put a jacket under her head, then she asked what happened, then repeated the broken bone comment, then a minute later, she repeated those two comments again, then again.  She said she was woozy.  Alarmed, I phoned 911.  I got a dispatcher in Richmond, who tried to transfer me to SF.  After a long time, a ringing sound, then a woman who said she was not 911 and would try to transfer me.  I hung up.  Dialed again, and this time it worked.

Because of her repetition, the paramedics feared a head injury so they wanted to take her to SF General which has the best trauma unit.  I said fine.  Her helmet was broken over the left temple.  But...I had our bikes I had to somehow take care of.  I had to make a lot of fast decisions.  I told Egor to ride himself to BART and take that home.  The firefighters offered to take our bikes to their fire station for storage, then I could go with Cathy to the hospital, so I said yes, and scribbled their contact info on a scrap of paper, and we were off to the hospital.

Long story short at this point is that we were there for 9 hours--until 3am.  They took X-rays, CAT scans, and reset her arm in that time.  I had free roaming of the trauma unit, no one tried to restrict me.  People lying in gurneys in the hallway, holding bloody towels to fingers or heads.  Others unconscious, one guy with a blanket covering him over his head.  Sheriffs, SFPD officers watching over suspects, all kinds of medical personnel.  Heart attacks, old people, indigents, drunks, people in fights, I saw a lot and it was not a boring 9 hours.  No dinner, eating out of the vending machine.  By the way, Cathy accurately predicted her injuries: broken left clavicle at the sternum, broken right wrist, no head injuries, gash on hip and back.  Thank god her previously twice injured left shoulder was ok save for some road rash, a silver lining.

When it was time to go, Egor drove over to get us, Cathy could barely walk she was so hurting and drugged up.  It was a rough night, even after I got her into bed, we woke up several times to address pain or other issues.  I can't recall ever being so tired.  It seemed like a bad dream I desperately wanted to wake up from but that wasn't going to happen.

I stayed home Wed. and nursed her and she was comfortable once I got the heavy duty pain meds from the pharmacy.  I worked Thurs/Fri. and nursed her in the evening, and we had friends helping which is great.  So weary, I needed a ride and really looked forward to riding Saturday.

Not the best ride ever:

On Saturday, it took me 3 hours to get her properly fed, medicated, dressed, washed and put back to bed, so I got out of the house to ride around 11:30am.  I rode up Tunnel Road, then up to Grizzly Peak, spending much of my time processing what had happened that week.  I descended South Park and Wildcat, then rode to Orinda.  I stopped at Peet's for a coffee and scone.  It was already around 2pm and way past my usual lunch time, but I wasn't that hungry.  I then rode to Moraga where it was very windy, then up Pinehurst.  My neck was starting to ache on the right side, which hasn't happened in a long time.  The neck ache soon turned into a headache, and riding back into the glare of a 4pm sun made it worse.  When I got back after 46 miles, I felt bad, worse than when I had left.  However not riding eased up on my head pain and after a few hours I started to think it wasn't a half bad ride after all.  I rode by myself, no encounters with other cyclists except the one guy below, at the least, it was good to get out.

One thing that happened on this ride that is new and a bit concerning for me is that I verbally confronted another cyclist for his bad riding.  This young hipster guy ran red light after red light in front of me so I easily caught him and told him if he expected to get any respect from motorists then he should ride seriously and stop for red lights and thereby set a good example for all of us.  He looked at me and said "cool.  thanks".  The next red light he came to he blew right through it.  Ok, Fuck Me then.  See you in the trauma unit dude.

Sunday Cathy felt good enough to go to church, so I took another ride.  This time a little earlier, about 10am, shorter, up through Piedmont and Montclair for 20 miles or so.  My legs felt enervated, and my neck started aching, although less than the day before.  I suddenly felt like the ride was too harsh so I let some air out of my tires, then some more.  I was acting out of sorts.  This short ride felt like enough.  I was tired.

On Lance et.all:

I've been devouring many articles and affidavits the last week on the whole LanceGate mess.  His is a glorious bloody fall from grace, the likes we haven't seen in a long time.  His tour wins gone, his endorsements and income cut off, no longer part of his beloved Livestrong organization.  That must really hurt.  If he has a soul or conscious.  I've never been a Lance fan.  As you know by my writings, I'm a Lemond fan, and it stuck in my craw that Lance leveraged Trek to discontinue the Lemond line back in 2008.  Lance did this because Lemond was one of the few voices in the wilderness questioning Lance's performance and basically calling him a doper, and Lance in turn tried to destroy Lemond.  The press lashed out at Lemond calling him a crackpot, jealous of Lance, a loose cannon.  Greg must feel vindicated by all this but I've not read any statements from him in the last week, he is remaining curiously silent.  I wonder why?  When the dust settles Lemond will stand alone as an honest American champion.

The last 10 years are basically rotten to the core in pro cycling.  Hincapie, Leipheimer, Landis, Zabriski, Hamilton, and other American Heros have all fallen.  I understand why they had to do it.  But there is more, much more, to uncover and I think the UCI's current regime has to fall, McQuaid is complicit and has to go down.  He covered up for Lance, took bribes.  Dr. Ferrari, Johan Brunyeel, they have to pay.  Doping at this magnitude is like an insect infestation in your home---if you don't kill every last pest they will breed and the problem resurfaces yet again.  You have to put a big bag over your house, get out, and gas it, killing everything in it.  I for one don't know what the answer is.  I don't know if I can follow pro cycling after this.  Its been gutted for me, there is little left of interest.  Its sad, and it makes me a little upset.

I'm becoming a Bike Nazi? :

Today I ran a messenger errand by bike over to Emeryville to obtain some meds for Cathy.  I needed an excuse to get out and it was a nice afternoon.  I got into regular ride kit and chose the Lemond-R.  The 8 miles there went smoothly and felt good.  I got the meds, then rode to Aquatic Park in Berkeley to use the bathroom.  After that, I decided to ride up to Telegraph, then head south to Alameda.  Soon enough I stumbled on the Actual Cafe, on Alcatraz.  This is a cafe that features indoor vertical bike parking, so on a whim I decided to give it a try.  I ordered a cappucino and gazed upon the twenty-somethings with laptops all intent on doing things online.  I seemed the only person without a device.  The bikes on the wall were all pretty ordinary, except for one which was festooned with all kinds of junk, including a 5 gallon bucket on the front handlebars.  The java was ok, but certainly not good.  Overall, not too impressed.

Resuming, traffic was heavy on Alcatraz and I soon realized that Telegraph was going to be bad, its  a major artery as people funnel towards the freeway.  At the corner of Alcatraz and Telegraph, three cars were lined up to turn right, signals blinking, waiting for the light.  I stopped behind them.  I spied in my mirror another cyclists coming up behind me, something large on his back, a big box or something.  He rode by me on the right and stopped on the corner, effectively blocking the cars turning right.  The first car in line was looking left at the stream of cars coming, and when the light turned green, started to go, then had to abruptly stop as the cyclist wobbled out into the street but suddenly saw the car was turning, so veered back and bounced off the curb, then saw the car had spared him from being run over, so wobbled back into the street, made almost a U-turn, and proceeded across the intersection.

I hated this moron.  What a fucking idiot.  It really made me mad, but I was turning on Telegraph.  Soon enough I encountered another Fucking Moron on a bicycle.  Another twenty something, no helmet but yes on the U-lock swinging on the handlebars, who was having some trouble with his bike and weaving all over the bike lane, so I had to shout ON YOUR LEFT when I passed him so as not have him veer into me.  A couple blocks passed and I seemed to hit all the red lights, traffic was heavy, not pleasant.  Then I see this same guy ahead of me... how did that happen?  The only way for him to get ahead was somehow run the red lights and I didn't notice it.  I followed him and sure enough, come the next red, he stopped half way out into the intersection, looked around, then rode through it.  That was it, I was pissed off at this guy.

I caught up to him easily, and knowing I only had a moment, turned to him and loudly stated HEY DUDE, I HAVE A QUESTION FOR YOU---WHEN ARE YOU GOING TO GET SERIOUS?  He said "what does that mean?"   IT MEANS NOT RUNNING RED LIGHTS.  WHEN YOU RUN A RED LIGHT IT MAKES MOTORISTS THINK WE ARE IDIOTS. IF YOU WANT RESPECT FROM MOTORISTS THEN YOU NEED TO STOP FOR LIGHTS AND SHOW THEM WE TAKE THIS SERIOUSLY.  I was half shouting I think, the wind noise, traffic and caffeine  all amping me up.  All he said was "yeah, ok".
The next intersection he came to, he blew through the red light.  Fuck Me again I guess.

I saw guys like him in the trauma unit last week.  They live in a self constructed reality where nothing bad will happen to them, until it does.  Cathy's crash again shows just how fast things happen, how your life can change in literally 1 second.  Riding poorly, without a helmet, taking risks assuming drivers will stop in time, its suicidal. And it seems to be endemic among young people on bikes these days.  At least from what I am seeing on the streets.

And the risk to myself seems more raw, more omnipresent since last week.  We are so precariously balanced on our bikes, two small squares of rubber the only thing holding us up from the merciless combination of gravity, g-forces, and hard pavement upon our fragile bodies.  The emotion rising up from all this is anger.  I'm angry that my ride world has to include self-entitled people in their cars, many of them ignorant of what cycling is or what we as cyclists have to put up with.  Idiots threatening me, getting in my way, polluting the very air I breath.  I'm angry at cyclists who are equally ignorant, who don't care, make no effort to be effective, efficient parts of the traffic flow.  I'm angry they're so cavalier with their young lives.  I'm mad as hell that my sport has been vilified as corrupt when many other sports are equally as bad, but testing is poorer in them so the whole mess is well concealed.  I'm mad that life is not fair, and some people like Flashette, who is a trained and safety conscious cyclist,  have much worse luck than foolhardy others and have to sustain recurring injuries.

So my faith is tested again.  Somedays I wonder why I still ride.  I ask myself is it worth it.  And the answer is always the same.  I live to ride.  Without riding I am just a shell, a dried husk.   Cycling is my religion wherein I find Oneness with the universe.  I will not stop riding until I can no longer do it.  You have my word on that.


Sunday, October 14, 2012

Saddles And Other Sore Subjects

Welcome to Flashblog.  Today I want to tell you of some simple tweaks and changes to my primary road bike that have made significant improvements in comfort and enjoyment to the point that I can say it is as finely tuned as it can be for my body and performance overall.  That is to say it is nearly perfect.

In my last Lemond V update you will recall I made some preliminary changes early on---I put on a drilled-out Prolight racing saddle which gave me moderate (25-30 miles) distance comfort, and 44cm wide handlebars.  I found the performance of the bike to be very good, but over time felt it was not all it could or should be.  My neck would ache after long rides, I was prone to sore butt as well, and I was having some hand numbness.  Mechanically, it was losing its tune on the front derailleur, so almost every ride I would have to tighten the barrel adjuster so the chain would not rub the cage in my highest gears.  No one thing a big deal, but added up something of a vibe harsher.  Here are my solutions to these issues.

Here's a better image in better light

1. Saddle: This Avatar Gel unit is flat top style as opposed to traditional rounded.  It feels firm yet does not produce hot spots.  It features a soft tissue cut out channel down the middle.  Oh, so nice!  It disappears beneath me.  Interestingly, two months ago I bought a Specialized Romin Expert which is a similar but more expensive saddle but it was too unyielding and hurt so I returned it.  In my quest to find a perfect saddle in recent years I've installed these saddles on my road bikes with mixed results:

Selle Italia Flite:  too firm, would hurt after 25 miles
Bontrager Select:  dense foam, good for medium ranges, although I did ride 120 miles on it in the Death Ride. Pressure points on soft tissues.
Prolight: too firm, too rounded, too slippery.  Pretty much same as the Flight, fixed the firmness by drilling it out.
Bontrager RaceX:  very similar to Select, this is the saddle on my Lemond R.
Bontrager Race Lite:  a flat style saddle, but too firm.
Specialized Romin Expert:  too firm, after two hours produced sitbone aches
And others I don't recall.

2. I flipped the stem up for a handlebar rise of about an inch.  This makes all the difference for my neck on longer rides.  So easy, so effective.

3. I double wrapped the upper part of the bar with black foam tape and this cured some recurring finger tingling and numbness.  I left the drops below the brakes single wrap as I am only in the drops on downhills, for the most part.

4.  I swapped wheels and tires from Lemond-R, my steep climbing bike.  The PSL-1 wheels are a bit lighter, a bit wider, and newer tech.  I'm also a fan of Michelin Lithion 2 tires.  They ride like Pro Race but cost half as much for only a few grams weight penalty.  I swapped cassettes as well to get them onto their proper bikes.  The PSL's, while only a quarter pound lighter than the OEM Bontragers, have a much livelier feel.  This may be due to the wider rim or subsequent contact patch of the tire, or the tires themselves.  Not sure, but I do know that I can feel the difference, and the difference Rocks!  This combo brings out the full suppleness of the carbon/steel frame, the effect is rather intoxicating.  It's like the bike is singing.

5.  I solved my front derailleur problem by spending an intense half hour taking it apart, reassembling, and shifting it about 500 times.  Through trial and error I discovered that the cable slip was caused by, I think, a not fully tight bolt AND inaccurate cable routing.  I rerouted the cable over the arm the capture nut lives on which changed the angle of pull on the mechanism, and this allowed things to work perfectly, including two trim selections, one on the small and one on the middle chainrings.  I only had trim on the smallest ring before.  It shifts perfectly now with no chain rub in any gear.  Voila!

Click pic for larger view

So there are my fixes that took my bike from 85% to 100%, and there is much pleasure in that last 15%.  Aside from the derailleur tuning these are changes you can make yourself by changing parts.  I guess the trick is knowing which parts to change and why, and having the time and know-how to do it.  But working on bikes is pretty simple and I encourage people to start with little things like flat repair or brake adjustment, and slowly add to their bag of tricks.  For me a large part of the enjoyment of this sport is the machine and working on it.  Thanks for reading.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Google's Bike Navigator---Does It Work?

Good Evening, my name is Flash and I love to ride my bike in San Francisco.  SF is a world class city with world class beauty and attractions.  I was recently on a tour in France, Germany, Sweden, and Denmark, and I have to say I saw nothing like San Francisco in my travels.  Great things and places yes, but nothing like our city by the bay.  I've lived in the Bay Area all my life, but it wasn't until just a few years ago that I Got It about the city.  The thing I like best about it is that the bike becomes such a superior way to get around the city---I can avoid long lines of stopped traffic, just zip along in the bike lanes.  I love the feeling of superiority, that I made a clever transportation choice, that in a sense I am doing battle amongst the motorized Trojan Horses---motorists, taxies and buses.  And emerging victorious.  It gives me a great feeling of living fully.

I look for excuses to BART my bike over to downtown, where adventures begin.  Yesterday I scheduled a day off to go see the Fleet Week Air Show at Marina Green.  This outing took some planning as it was Friday, which has limited bike on BART hours, and other huge events like the Hardly Strictly Bluegrass festival was happening nearby with maybe 100,000 music fans, many competing for a BART seat in the evening.  So accordingly, I planned to stay late, so packed plenty of sustenance and layers, lights and locks.

I passed throngs of stopped cars along the Embarcadero.  For some reason, the brains at city planning decided to choose this time to re-paint the stripes in the road, so traffic was funneled into one lane down where they are building the new Exploratorium.  It felt SO GOOD to non-nonchalantly roll by this motorist's nightmare.  At Fisherman's Wharf I spied a Peet's hidden inside the Boudin Bakery, so braked for a Java upgrade with scone.  Ah, sitting on a bench at the wharf watching the world go by.  Pretty damned nice.

Back to The Plan:  the air show ran until about 4:30, then the America's Cup trials were running just offshore until---it came time to ride over to Golden Gate Park from Ghirardelli Square to catch the last act at the Hardly Strictly Arrow Stage named Reignwolf at 6:15.  The only way I've ridden to the park previously is through the Presidio beyond the Golden Gate Bridge, which is a nice way to go, but indeed hilly.  So I decided to give Google route planning a try and see what bike route it advised.  What you do is go to Google Maps, ask for directions from point A to point B, and it gives you the auto route that it thinks is best.  Simply push the bike icon above the directions window and the route changes to accommodate the cyclist.  I did that , and here is what it gave me. (this is the enhanced Flashblog version using Google Earth.  It looks better than maps and allows you to see terrain changes given a very low view)

The purple route is the bike route, yellow streets are major arteries drivers use.
click pics for larger view

So after a thrilling and totally worth it 3 hours of air show and America's Cup yacht watching, I unlocked the bike, helmeted up, and set off to see how good this route was.  I wrote the directions on a scrap of paper which I repeatedly pulled out of my pocket for reference.  

The first street was Polk st, 8 blocks south.  I realized quickly that I was starting at sea level and going up fast, these 8 blocks were all uphill and I found myself standing on the pedals at least half the time.  I was on the Miyata, which does not furnish the lowest gears--- the lowest being 36x26 which is almost a medium gear on this terrain.   I was also carrying 5lbs of locks and chains, two large water bottles, and  a 20 lb backpack.  But my legs were fresh, and I took it slow (please read the preceding Flashblog) not to blow out any tendons, so it was actually fun and challenging.

Here's the route up Polk St., followed by the right on Broadway

I took a right on Broadway.  Broadway!  I think of this as almost a highway, but damned if the traffic wasn't the lightest I've ever seen it, and thanks to double parked cars in the right lane I pretty much had that lane to myself.  Broadway was a climb as well, and I recall looking up Gough, the steepest street in SF and thinking that Google better not direct me up a wall like that!  As well, I was riding into the late afternoon sun and it was rather blinding.   But beautifully blinding as the sun was blazing amid or through a towering wall of gray fog off the coast, which had a silverish lining at its top.  It was as if I were on a Knight on a Quest in a strange kingdom.   That is the feeling I had, atop my trusty steed.

Left turn at Webster presented even more uphill climbing, but thankfully nothing like Gough.  So Google got it right and directed my around the flank of the hill, more or less.  Only four blocks and I had summitted in delightful neighborhood of nicely kept Victorians, then a quick right on Clay.

Gough is the yellow street on the left, Octavia is in the center, my route in purple cutting across.  This almost gives you a sense of how steep it is.  Its steeper!!

Clay descended, then ascended and I was reminded of the training rides in Oakland that I have been taking Flashette on.  Not too different, really.  But the joy in this ride came from the newness, the not knowing of the way or even if the way were good or not.  After a long 15 blocks or so of Clay, almost every street a four way stop or light, I came to Arguello, which skirts the east end of Golden Gate Park.  

I crossed Geary and some other major streets, avoided a Muni bus that wanted to stay in front of me, then turned right on Cabrillo.  Arguello should be called 2nd Ave. as every street west of it is a number, all the way to 48th, which is one block from the Pacific Ocean.  My destination was 30th Ave.  27 blocks of four way stops, rolling up and down hillettes, and blinding sun in my eyes.  Finally I came to 30th, made a left and rolled into the park, which was of course closed to cars due to the concert.  

I found a no-parking sign and locked my bike to the pole.  Every pole in the park had a least 2 bikes locked to it.  I got lucky and found one that had 3 bikes locked to it, but on one side only.  So I took the other side and positioned my bike to get the U lock around the pole and through the frame and back wheel.  I then took my custom cut 12" super heavy duty chain and put it through the frame and front wheel and locked those together.  I also locked my helm and removed the front light and pump. 

I found I had overshot the stage by about 2 blocks, which required a walk.  I had already walked a couple miles earlier from the Maritime Museum over the hill to Fort Mason, and on to Marina Green, and back.  After the ride to the park, I was starting to get a tad tired.  I found the stage and listened to performer who goes by Reignwolf, an amped up young guy who has flashes of Hendrix in his playing. He's rough but plays his axe in a unique way, the sound is primal but conjures up sounds of British rock in the 60's as well as blues and grunge.  Maybe Soundgarden was a big influence for him.  Really enjoyed the show.

I met Flashette and Sweeps McNulty there, we all crowded on a jam packed Muni bus, my purple bike proudly hanging on the front of the bus just daring a taxi to get in its way!  At Civic Center we boarded BART and arrived at Fruitvale 10 hours after I had started my SF adventure.

So... Google bike directions....does it work? I say Yes it does.  It made no major errors in route design, did not direct me up any ridiculous hills or dangerous streets (19th Ave anyone?) and kept me in bike lanes or four lane streets for the most part.  I thought it was a good route and I would take it again.  I mean I will take it again, for sure.

Never stop pedaling!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Some Subjective Elements

Thanks for checking into Flashblog.  I'm Flash, resident scribe around these here parts.  Today I'd like to discuss some elements of our rides that are non-quantifiable.  Whatever that means, right?  Well, it occurred to me last weekend that my ride---when my impressions of that ride---were compared to my bike computer, were way off.

I had to begin a two week antibiotic course last week, and I was told by the doctor to "ride easy", no hills.  You see, one of the known side effects of this drug, Cipro (not to be confused with Cipo, the Italian world champion cyclist....damn, too bad as I could use some Cipo) is that it can cause tendon rupture.  I don't want any of that, so I agreed to ride easy for 2 or 3 weeks.

But last week, being a very nice Sunday, and my legs fully charged, I made my way across Oakland towards Berkeley, and there are some small hills in between.  Those certainly rolled under my wheels easily, but I was going very moderately and using my lowest gears, which was funny and had me laughing at myself.  But my legs wanted more, and before I knew it my brain had been hijacked and I found myself climbing up towards Tunnel Road in Berkeley.   Brain kept saying "Legs say we'll just go slow and use the low gears and everything will be fine".  And so it went, and I had a nice, slow climb up to Skyline.

Surprisingly, there were riders going even slower than me.  I was limiting myself to around 8mph instead of the usual 10mph.  There is a big difference in output between those two speeds.  I recalled being tired and riding up Tunnel many times after a hard ride the day before and barely being able to hold 8mph.  Yet it seemed an easy pace on Sunday.

Once again, I had the realization that speed is not the bar that measures the ride.  I've talked about this before, about how  I felt really great and fast, only to find at the end of the day my average speed was, well, average and no more.  Then other times when I felt sluggish and had a mediocre ride only to see my speed was higher than average.  Its hard to reconcile this reality that doesn't mesh with kinesthetic feelings.

Sunday's ride, as slow as I made it to be with the low gears and not pushing, was only 1.5mph slower average than my normal ride for this time of year.  I would have predicted 3 or 4 mph less.  Wow, that's a head shaker.  It makes me wonder why some of us are obsessed with personal bests, Strava challenges, and like minded competitiveness.  It makes me question why I ride the way I do sometimes, pushing it, kinda edgy, using a lot of energy that requires days of recovery.  If I ride just a little slower I think I would ride much smarter, and not give it all to the bike.  I wonder if I can do that.  Or if I just have to be me, in whatever form that takes?  Important questions indeed.  Well, that's all for now, I have some great visual material from the Oakland Grand Prix I need to put up, so tune back in for that really soon, I hope.

Keep pedaling!