Thursday, April 24, 2008

30 Years and 11 Months!

Craig at the entrance to Brown County State Park Lodge

Yesterday was one of those amazing days that you experience in life. It has been 30 years and 11 months since I saw or heard from my best man at my wedding. I’ve been actively looking for Craig Hamilton for what has to be 10 years now. I’ve searched high and low and used some of the best free sources available to find him. Well, yesterday, 22 Apr 2008 I finally did. I got bored at work and decided to try one of those “find anyone, anywhere sites.” Just on a whim, I typed his name into the little search box. As always, there were a gazillion Craig Hamilton’s located throughout these United States. I perused the list and stopped to study one entry that had an address listed in Indianapolis for a Craig Hamilton. Well, I thought, “why not give this a try.” I clicked on the name and sure enough, it was Craig Hamilton with the first address listed as Indianapolis, Indiana and the last address as Craig Hamilton, Los Angeles, California. So, I went to the magic that is Google and typed his whole name in plus Los Angeles. A few hits came up with Craig Hamilton, photographer and Craig Hamilton, this and that. I pursued the photographer link and found a picture of a guy holding a camera while shooting photos of race cars. I stared at the picture and thought, “Man, that does look a lot like him.” But that was all I had, a picture. I looked even closer and noticed the guy in the photo sported a goatee. That’s what gave it away! I was sure that was him. I sent an email to the guy who owned the site and asked him to pass along a message to the dude in the picture I thought was Craig. I gave him specific details that I knew only Craig would know so that Craig wouldn’t think I was some kinda stalker or something. It didn’t take long. I got an email last night from the guy who I hadn’t seen nor heard from in over 30 years! So, let the reunion bullshitting begin…

Craig headin' south to Brown County

Cycling content. Way back when, Craig and I rode our bicycles from my house in northern Indianapolis to Brown County State Park in the middle southern Indiana. I think it was something along the lines of 66 miles or so. I managed to salvage a few pictures from that day and they are posted here on this Blog entry. I remember that day well. It started out as most rides do. Full of enthusiasm combined with a nice cool, and windless morning. As the day went on, however, the temperatures of the roads climbed, the wind picked up, and we started getting hungry.

A Younger and Much Thinner Mozam!

Back in those days, the best bike you could get on our pay, which was basically nodda, was a Schwinn Varsity. We rode down to the park, stayed the night in pretty crappy tent, and rode back the next day. And so, Mozam’s cycle-touring career began! As a side note, cycling was basically all the transportation we had. No new cars, crotch rockets, computers, or cell phones. Just a bike. I remember riding that Varsity everywhere; to friend’s houses; to school on occasion; and just generally farting around. Who knows, with gas prices as they are, maybe those days will return.

Our "deluxe" Accomdations!

Goofin at Purdue, Fall of 1973

The Last Time I saw Him for Many Years

Sunday, April 20, 2008

A Six Day’er for Vegas?


I recently read an article about U.S. Cycling Hall of Fame member Jack Simes, who wants to bring six-day bicycle racing to Vegas. So, what the hell is six day racing anyway? Well, this type of bicycle racing is done on a Velodrome using fixed gear bikes and was popular in the middle 1900’s, especially in Europe. As a matter of fact, 6-day racing is still very popular in Europe. You can read the history here. The whole thing sounds right up Vegas’ alley. Why? Well, when you read the history article you will know. Anyway, even throughout the event’s history the spectacle seems to be based more on entertainment than cycling so I guess that’s a cogent event for Vegas. I’m not sure it will compete with the good ‘ole cow-pokes or NASCAR fanatics, but if you mix in gambling and some serious entertainment you just might have a winner. But then again, who knows. This town is all about the roll-of-the-dice anyway. You could probably put bears on tricycles, race them up and down the strip while at the same time, hand out free drinks and 10 to 1 odds on the winner and still make money around here. So, I say, why the hell not. I know I’d be in as a spectator for a few races.

More Links on Six-day Racing

Bobke Strut dot Com

Six Day Racing dot com

British Cycling News

Cool Book on Six Day Racing

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Black Saturday Indeed!

I don’t usually like to write about the misfortunes of other folks, but his past Saturday seemed like “Black Saturday” to me when it comes to cycling. Three folks, two of which I know personally, crashed big time while riding in an organized event, and the last of the three who was riding in my little peleton. Planet Ultra’s Mulholland Double Century and Century took out two people pretty badly. I’ve never done that ride, but I do know the area pretty well and there are some pretty wicked climbs, as well as wicked descents over there in that part of the Santa Monica mountains. My friend, Cynthia took a particularly bad spill as a result of some alleged poor LBS work on her bike. Evidently, her handlebars rotated downward on her stem, leaving her virtually “brakeless.” Unable to stop on a steep descent and with the potential of plummeting down a steep embankment, she chose to take a rock wall head-on in order to stop. Here’s an excerpt from her account of things:
"I should be writing Specialized a letter....their product is the bomb! There is nothing like having to pick your own crash landing spot...that was the most hellish that I don't want to go through ever again! And when the choices are cliff, embankment of rock, or try to ride out one more corner in hopes the descent does not get any steeper....well, those choices suck, ya know! I chose the embankment. Now, since the "School for Stunt Women" has not officially accepted my membership application yet, I do not have professional training on how to crash! Needless to say, somehow the most protected part of my body took the initial hit. The top of my head went into a rock, with my body doing an endo before landing. In my bloody resting spot, my helmet was intact, un-cracked, and no serious head/neck/back injuries of mention. Wow! Was that cool? So, I am now DEAD set on riding Specialized for my next road sled!!
For those who haven't seen me, I walked away with stitches to my left knee, hip, and forearm. I have superficial wounds in random places, bruising and strained muscles. I see an orthopedic next week to assess the damage from the laceration to the knee. I feel like I am recovering very well so I anticipate a good medical report with hopes to be back on the (a) bike soon.”

My other virtual BikeJournal friend had a similar Mulholland experience. Evidently, the road slopes away from you on several corners of the course making turn negotiation rather difficult. Curtis was lucky in that he, too, walked away from a horrible crash. After looking at the pictures of his bike, I’m amazed that he only suffered from a broken collarbone. You can read his account here.

I’m not much for cell phones, but this puppy saved DrDog’s bacon on last Saturday’s tour of Boulder City. I was in the lead with Bobbie on my wheel and the Costin peleton in tow, about 50 yards behind. There were a couple of splintered two-by-fours laying in our path. As we approached, I pointed them out as hazards (good bike leader etiquette, I might add) to the rest of the gang. Well, it appears that my signal did not get passed down the line, like it should have. DrDog was positioned well within the peleton, but not well enough to avoid the obstacles. I heard a muffled noise behind me and decided to take a look over my right shoulder. All I could see was a pair of legs sticking straight up out of a cloud of dust. DrDog hit the two-by-fours dead-on, did an endo over his bars, and hit the dirt while bouncing into the air a couple of times before coming to a rather dirty and bumpy stop. He, too, was lucky on this “Black Saturday” suffering from only bruised ribs, road-rash, and the loss of a now useless $700 dollar phone. The only thing we could figure is that the phone (tucked in his jersey’s rear pocket) hit the pavement first instead of his body. So, the phone acted like sort of a cushion, albeit an expensive cushion at that!
The only bright spot in “Black Saturday” that I can think of is that fact that everyone is still vertical! That’s a day I hope not to relive, or read about, anytime soon.

Friday, April 04, 2008

Make'em Race Bikes for It!

What a great idea! Get rid of all these delegates, super-delegates, under-the-table-vote-changers for whatever reason, and give them road bikes for the Tour de White House. I’m pretty sure we would all know who would win given the current field of racers, but it would be fun to watch anyway.
In my never ending quest to find Blog topics, I thought about the question of whether any of these Presidential candidates were cyclists. The first thoughts that came to mind were: Obama is, or was, a cyclist because he sports that cycling physique; Hillary…not so much; McCain…too old and probably can’t remember how to ride a bicycle. So, I almost stopped my search there, opinion. Then I thought, do any of these people support cycling as an alternate means of transportation? The only one that I could find any information on was, you guessed it, the one who looks like a cyclist. Now, I’m not a real political person and I admit to not having voted in the last couple of elections, but this time will be different and my vote will go to someone who supports this sport as an alternative to burnin’ up dead dinosaurs.
Think about it. When GW took office, gas was $1.45 a gallon or so. Now look at things: $3.50 for premium and prices don’t show any indications of settling down any time soon, YGBSM! Either the next President supports alternative means of getting places, or they better find a way to lower the price of fuel because there is brewing public revolt taking place. Look at the truckers. They are paying about $3.75 a gallon for diesel fuel and it’s not even refined! If you wanna paralyzed the country, piss off the truckers. That’s a real good start. Supporting cycling may not be a political bedrock, but at least public support by the next President would get people and policy makers to consider cycling as a viable means of getting around. If folks picked up a bicycle and rode it to work a couple of times, we could lower the price of diesel for the truckers and keep this country on an even keel.
All right, let ‘s get back to the important stuff: Crazy Pastors, Lying about flying through a combat zone, and Chelsey’s inability to talk about her old man getting a hummer in the oval office.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

Yep, First Thing They Do...

Have you ever noticed that people pretty much do the same thing when they see your bike leaning against a wall or post? Human nature is an interesting study when you step back and watch it. Inevitably, the first thing most people will do is walk up slowly towards the bike, stare at it, and kinda lean to one side while studying the various parts. They will then stand up straight, put their hand on their chin and study the bike even more. Next, they will walk over to it, grab it by the handle bars and back of the saddle; lift it up and down a few times, all while shaking their head in some form of amazement. Now, there are a few forms of handling the bike and similar to the one mentioned earlier. I have seen some folks grab the top tube and pick the bike up with one hand. But, just about all pick it up and down a few times just to confirm the fact that is does in fact weigh the same with each subsequent lift. Then come the questions. The first one seems to be fairly consistent: "That’s a nice bike you got there, how much did you pay for it?" And…my favorite, "That bike sure is light, how much does it weigh?" After answering the first question, the response always seems to be, "Wow, you can buy a car for that much money!" And, in response to the answer to the second question comes, "What’s that thing made out of anyway?" So, the banter goes back and forth until the interested party is satisfied with the level of knowledge that they have attained. Actually, I’ve often noticed us knowledgeable cyclists doing exactly the same thing. Try it some time. Leave your bike there for someone to examine. Inevitably, they will study it for a moment and then they will go over and pick it up, put it down, and pick it up and put it down again. Then come the questions.