Saturday, November 22, 2008

I Might be Too Old For This

So, I'm sitting here watching the BYU/Utah game. Reed just made a sweet catch. I'm cheering for BYU. Ethan, my son, is cheering for Utah. He's saying, "Utah Utah we love you. . . ." At 10 pts down, Ethan is (over)confident and trash talking me. Still one half to go. And for the record, on a scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being a rabid fan, I am 1.4, whether it be college, NFL, BYU, Utah, Blue, Red, Purple.

Here is a picture of one of the obstacles at today's CX race today:

Ethan seemed to negotiate it okay. I didn't. Maybe he can teach me some skills. That log caused me lots of pain. It's not that big, but it comes right before a lefthand turn. If you take it with speed, you go shooting of into the tape on the other side. If you try to turn in the air . . . well, you just can't. So, you have to hit it with the right angle, scrub speed, and POP, hard. Otherwise, you'll crash, like me.

During warmups, I ran it the first time. But Sean Hoover's kids were disappointed and told me I should have bunny-hopped it. Not wanting them to be disappointed, I flipped around and very cool-like bunny-hopped. Something went wrong and I stacked it up pretty good. At one point, I was on my back, with my butt in the air, looking between my legs at the sky. That was a much bigger show than Sean's kids were expecting. What can I say, I aim to please.

The problem is, I caused myself some damage. I damaged the top of my left hand, which swelled up. And I damaged my left hand, spraining my thumb. And I smacked my head on the ground. And I tweaked my back. And I scraped my toe. And I got grass stains all over my skin suit.

And then it was time to start. We lined up. We started. We came to the Log, which by the way, was the smallest of three log obstacles. And I did EXACTLY the same thing I did during warmups! Again, at one point I was on my back, my butt in the air, looking between mylegs at the sky. I threw in a twist, which involved me not clipping out completely. So my view of the sky was slightly obsucred by my bike, which rolled through with me. If one had snapped a shot at the right time, the order from top to down would have been like this: wheels highest, then bike, then my legs, then my head -- exactly upside down. That one hurt too. Talking to Sam K. after the race, he said that he ran all of the logs. Why didn't I think of that?

Those two crashes rattled me. My helmet retention system broke and so my helmet was rattling around on my rattled head. I took a recovery lap and then tried to make up some distance. With one lap to go however, I couldn't hold on to my handle bar anymore and my back had had enough. So I DNF'ed. Disappointing. For the record, I did finally figure out how to get over those logs.

I've got to tip my broken helmet to Team Rico though. He was an inspiration today. He took the SS champ'ship. Then he outrode everyone to take the A champ'ship. Looks like he needs a 1 hr warmup to get that big diesel running.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

How Jon Got Off

So, a few months ago, my friend Jon got a speeding ticket for going 37 mph in a 25 mph zone. If any of you know Jon, you would be surprised at this since driving with him is an exercise in patience. He drives like the sterotypical senior citizen, except he is 37 years old and he drives an Acura. What is more surprising, however, is the fact that he wasn't driving when he got written up; rather, he was riding his bike. Yep, he was cruising down Wasatch, behind the zoo, when he got nabbed by a motorcycle cop. As he passed Michigan, the cop pulled out, flashed his lights, pulled Jon over, reprimanded him for "speeding" and not having an ID, and after secretly checking out Jon's physique, which was thinly masked masked under not-so-subtly patterned lycra, became jealous and handed Jon a ticket. I don't remember how much it was for, but that doesn't matter.

What matters is that Jon protested it. In the interest of self, justice, ego, preserving the unalienable cylcists' natural rights, and having a really good story to tell, he told the state and the prosecutor that he was an innocent man, and that he deserved to walk free. The prosecutor didn't buy it, and offered him community service and/or probation. Still insisting on his innocence, Jon refused to cut a deal. The prosecutor refused to let him off. They were at an impasse. He said "stick it." She said, "no." So they went to trial.

One thing you have to understand is that Jon is a lawyer. Birds of a feather flock together and Jon has lots of lawyer friends. Like me, and like Bates. (Really, no one likes to stoop to befriend lawyers so we're forced to mingle with each other. Most of my non-lawyer friends make me sign reverse NDAs (non-disclosure agreements) prohibiting me from letting anyone know that I am a lawyer and their friend.) Moreover, we all are litigators, which is really just an ancient way of saying, we sue people, or try to get people who are being sued unsued. Because we are litigators we are used to going to court. You could say that in addition to knowing a bit about the law, we know a bit about "how to get one off" (notwithstanding his or her innocence or guilt).

I'm not saying Jon was guilty. In fact, I don't think he was, which is why, in part, I agreed to be part of his defense team. Our goal as a team was to "get Jon off," to defeat the charge made against him for speeding on his pedal bike. We prepared. Bates was appointed defense counsel. I was designated as an expert witness. Jon assumed the innocent man/persecuted plaintiff role. Leslie, his wife, came in as the chief fact witness to persuade the judge to 'believe her,' an expression which she liberally and effectively used.

When trial began I had that rare feeling of excitement that bike racers get when they line up as they size up their competition -- that I'm going to kick your a-- kind of feeling. Like I said, it rarely comes to me, but I know it when I feel it. At one table sat a gaggle of sharply dressed savvy trial attorneys: Jon's team. FYI, Bates used to make a living throwing drug dealers into jail, and immigrants out of the country (just the bad ones). At the other table sat a young prosecutor, maybe 1 or 2 years out of law school (who to her credit was also sharply dressed) and Mr. Motorcycle Cop. He seemed cocky. He wouldn't be for long. The other team had lined up with the wrong category. They were Cat 5s (not that there's anything wrong with that) that had mistakenly registered in the Pro/1/2 field. And they didn't even know it. I almost felt sorry for them, but not quite.

The first witness called to the stand was Mr. Motorcycle Cop. He sauntered up, swore to tell the truth and then proceeded to give his testimony, which included the following very important facts:

(a) he was a cop
(b) he was a traffic cop
(c) he rode a motorcycle
(d) while being a cop on his motorcycle, and while he was purportedly enforcing traffic laws, he radar gunned Jon riding down Wasatch
(e) he "clocked" Jon at 37 mph

On cross examination, Bates elicited the following facts:

(a) he liked being a motorcycle cop because he got to wear knee high leather boots
(b) he liked the show "Chips" growing up
(c) he could ride his moto and eat a donut simultaneously
(d) he felt bike riders riding at 7:00 am on a residential street posed a threat to the safety of sleeping citizens and therefore needed some law enforcement

Kidding. If I were defense counsel, these facts would have been on the top of my list. That's probably why I wasn't defense counsel. Really, the following key facts came out:

(e) he wasn't trained to use a radar gun to clock cyclists
(f) he was taught to shoot his radar gun at large reflective surfaces, like a windshield, and Jon's head was not a large reflective surface
(g) he did not believe the radar gun clocked the spinning wheels or the spinning cranks
(h) he did not recall whether Jon was in the drops in an aero position
(i) he did not show Jon the radar reading of 37 mph

Jon followed and his testimony was basically, I'm an innocent man. I wasn't speeding . . . to my recollection. I do not recall to my recollection that I was speeding, and similar iteratiions thereof. Clearly, the glove did not fit.

Then Leslie, the star fact witness, was called to the stand. She, like Jon, testified that they weren't speeding, that they were on a leisely ride. When asked, the question, "how do you rate yourself as a cyclist," she threw her shoulder back, flipped her hair, and said, "pretty good for a girl!" Later, after the trial, the judge commented that she could "drop him." We're not sure if he meant that she could drop him on a bike or just drop him . . . hmmm. I'll not comment on whether that was an appropriate comment. The fact that it was irrelevant was irrelvant since most of the testimony was bordering on irrelevant.

Finally, I fulfilled my role as the expert. Expert on what you ask? Expert on nothing. You see, a time-tested and true litigation tactic is this: if you can't beat them on the facts, then confuse and obscure. My testimony could be reduced down to this:

Point 1: why would a cyclist exceed what is a reasonable speed when he or she is essentially wearing nothing but his underwear?

Point 2: it is very hard for a cyclist to go 37 miles per hour. Case in point: Dave Zabriskie, one of the best TT'ers in the world, rides an aero bike, wears an aero helmet, and skinsuit but doesn't go that fast. Case in point: all out sprints often happen at speeds less than 37 miles per hour. Case in point: for me to go 37 miles an hour where Jon was clocked I would have to be in an aero position, in the drops, and spinning a mean gear.

I also succeeded in taking a dig at Leslie. When asked if I was Jon's friend (in attempt to show I was biased), I said, "no. I used to be, but that was before his wife made him stop racing his bike." The judge interjected, "that's because they have 4 kids." Thanks for the advice, Judge. I thought you were supposed to be unbiased. Sheesh.

In the end, and I know that you're hoping that this will end because it's gone on for so long, the Judge ruled in favor of Jon. The judge determined that the defense had established reasonable doubt. The judge said he could not conclude that foundation had been established by the prosecution to support the radar reading. He said that it was questionable as to whether Jon really exceeded the speed limit. And he made darn sure that we understood he was not ruling that it's okay for bikers to speed.

Jon was free to leave.

Jon's trial, however, resumes in the court of public opinion. Do you descend Wasatch and Michigan at 37 mph?

Monday, November 17, 2008

Stomping Out . . .

No. 1: A Cold

My brother thinks he knows a lot about health (even though he's a doctor) and makes fun of my routine for stomping out colds. I swear by it. Last week I was plagued with a cold. Now it's gone. My routine included:

a) gargling and swallowing a little Listerine -- the cold started in my chest after the Heber race and I didn't want it to get into my sinuses. I'm prone to sinus infections. So I cut the cold off at the throat. I did get a sore throat, but it didn't last long.

b) eating lots of Cayenne pepper in the form of Tabasco, Frank's Red Hot sause, and Tuong ot Scriracha. Last night I was dumping Frank's into a teaspoon and swallowing it. I think the chile pepper and vinegar have redeeming powers.

c) Airborne. Lots of Vitamin C and Echinacea.

d) Ben and Jerry's Chubby Hubby. For comfort only.

No. 2: My Desire to Ski

The sure fire way to get over the urge to ski is to go ski in really really crappy conditions, like I did on Friday. I knew conditions were crappy since it was so warm in the valley. As I skinned up the mountain, I could tell the descent would be a mix of ice, breakable crust, and very coarse sandpaper. But I skinned anyway. The views were good. And I was happy to be starting the ski season.

But then I started descending. It was horrendous. I zorroed all of Davenport hill at least three times. At the base, I left a human sized crater where I caught an edge and shattered the breakable crust with my forehead and hip and elbow -- all with an audience in the Alta parking lot.

I now have absolutely no desire to ski. It has been totally stomped out. . . . until the skiin' gets good of course. :)

No. 3: Bart's Winning Streak

Is anyone else ready for a change in the script? Won't someone rise up and dethrone the king of the Utah cross scene? I've lost count of the winning streak. And I'm getting bored following the results. Bart Bart Bart Bart . . . blah blah blah blah. I told him that I was going to start a "Beat Bart" campaign. He laughed and said that had been done before, without saying, of course, that it also hasn't ever worked.

Disclaimer: This is not an attempt to throw a friend under the bus, but really a reverse Samurai mind game to encourage a friend. . .

Looks good, huh? Trust me, it's not.

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Heber CX and the Berry

I raced my 4th CX race of the year. More than anything, I was looking forward to redeeming myself from last month's Heber race where I felt like I was going backwards and got tangled in the tape. The second time around on Saturday was much better, and I was quite happy with the way it turned out. Part of the reason I had a decent race (by my standards) was because I cheated at the start. If you look carefully in the picture below, you will notice that both my feet are clipped in and I am holding on to the race track rail. (I don't know what Reed is doing.) I'm hoping that by admitting I cheated, my sins will be forgiven. The following photos were borrowed/stolen from Mother Teresa.


Because I was clipped in, I was able to shoot straight to Reed's wheel and assumed the 4 spot.


I only made it 1 1/2 laps before I got dropped from Bart/Ali/Reed. After I got dropped, I got passed by Robbie and Connor. Later, Rico, Caveman, and I joined up with Connor and we rode a large part of the race together.


Still together . . .


Not together anymore because at 4 laps to go, Rico (with his self-proclaimed bad legs) put in a surge that only Connor could follow. I ended up finishing 7th. I tried to trash talk my way past Rico, but he was having none of it and I think it made him speed up. (Check out the the massive Timpanogas in the background.)


After the race, Sam, Ethan, and I headed up to Strawberry for some stillwater fly fishin'. The lake was calm and we trolled the old fashioned way with oars and a flyrod. The Cutthroat trout have moved into the bays and in the span of a couple hours we caught several toothy, healthy, fish. 3 were over 20 inches. Sam(urai No. 2) and Ethan pulled in this little guy.


Ethan in a hoodie that doesn't fit reeling in a 20+ incher.


It's been a good week. I got lots of work done, spent some quality time with the family, hung out with friends, I climbed a mountain, skiied powder, raced CX, and went fishing. No wonder I'm tired. SLC is a great place to live!!


Thursday, November 6, 2008

Call of the Wild

The sunrise was nice this morning -- something about snow that makes the light almost tangible. I can hear/feel something calling/pulling at me through my window. I'm pretending I can't hear/feel it . . . na na na na na.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Rainy Commute

It was actually nice to ride in the rain this morning. I guess when your time is limited and most of your day requires you to be at a desk, riding in the rain isn't a bad thing. I'll take anything I can get.

Here is my makeshift clothes drier. With the porta-heater going, the clothes are dry within an hour. Still, I've heard my office described as smelling ike a "gym," a "wet dog," and "weird." For the opportunity to ride, I can put up with that.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Lots Happening

Busy at work. Busy at home. A new samurai came into the world. His name is "Hiro."

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I picked up 2 Fox Bucks (that float) at the last cross race:

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I managed to bury my front wheel at exactly the wrong time during the race, and launched over the bars. Somehow, I took a bar in the thigh and a Crank Bros in the shin. 2008 hasn't been good to the legs.

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