cycling


10
Sep 21

Ding! You are now free to enjoy the weekend

The old Southwest Airlines slogan was in my head when I woke up this morning. The alarm on my phone went off, some pleasantly disarming 1940s radio jingle I clipped many years ago, and for some reason my brain said “Ding! You’re now free to move about the country.” I don’t know why it was there. No travel planned. Though the idea of going somewhere is appealing. No air travel on the radar for a good long while. But ding!

It was the place on words that always worked well in that slogan. Sure, you have the pilot’s announcement bell, so Pavlovian. But that concept “You are now free to move about the country.”

Of course it wasn’t free. But you were free, conceptually speaking. Though the whole thing violated some law of thermodynamics, I’m sure, because on Southwest, at least, you were flying dirt cheap. When that slogan was in use I could go from Birmingham to Louisville, to see my folks, for $29. I was there in an hour. It would have cost me more in gas for the car and the drive would take much more time, even after you figured in the airport waits. If I stayed longer than a weekend the parking deck cost more than the flight.

“You are now free to move about the country.”

But that wasn’t the real case. Not really. We know this to be true because Southwest did not go broke their first year in business.

None of this explains why the old saying was in my head this morning, except that random thoughts such as these are the truest freedom we enjoy. And there never seems to be enough free floating thoughts around. We should daydream more. Or, in my guess, I guess, hit the snooze button more frequently.

I pedaled my bike to work this morning. The Yankee has my car because she had a weirder schedule for the day and needed to make a trip to Indy and my commute is only 4.5 miles, or so, one way. So it seemed obvious that I would glide through two neighborhoods and over the creek trail and through a few more neighborhoods and onto campus. I wore my too-heavy backpack, and tried to keep the heart rate down, thinking a nice and leisurely ride would be pleasant, and wouldn’t work up much of a sweat.

On the way, along the creek trail, I met some new neighbors.

I had a meeting this morning, which was happily on Zoom. I say happily because, while the assembled group is charming enough, I’m just not keen on the idea of being in a room with 50-some other people when it can be so easily avoided.

And this afternoon I had a meeting with two students from Black Voices about studios and how they could use them this semester. That was after another small meeting about studios and what is going to be used, and how, this semester. It all has a certain flow to it, if you’re surrounded by the concepts, but perhaps arcane, otherwise. Suffice it to say, Media School students have a lot of studios and a lot of options and at least two more are due to come online in the next few days and weeks.

The people that put them together — I know them, but I’m not one of them — do terrific work to set it all up, sometimes building them out of the very air. And the students use them well. By the end of this semester you could be working in a studio with five cameras, two different rooms with four cameras each, or another brand new space that’ll have two or three cameras and a motion-capture studio with unlimited potential. Oh, and up the hill, in our other building, a giant studio, about three times larger. We have two distinctly different kind of showpiece studios. That’s how spoiled we are. Students will use them all, and use them well, and we show them off to prospective students and donors and it will continue to grow and grow into we know not what.

Two years ago the two studios being built today weren’t even ideas.

Anyway, another show from the Wednesday night sports productions. They were talking college football.

That’s a straight up murder’s row of young sports media talent, by the way. As overrun as we are with studios, we have even more incredibly gifted students.

At the end of the day, the end of the shortened week, I pedaled my bike home. It was mild this morning, but much warmer this evening. So I’d brought along a pair of shorts and a t-shirt and spent much of my downtime trying to imagine a route that was all downhill.

There is no route that is all downhill.

So I went the normal way, which has three short hills and some easy rollers. I also had my heavy backpack, and it all felt like I haven’t ridden in years. In reality: three weeks, tomorrow. As I struggled up the longest, easiest hill I wondered how I would fare on tomorrow’s ride, which will not feature an extra 20-some pounds of luggage. It was most dispiriting.

(Edit: It also turned out to be a false reading. My Saturday afternoon bike ride was short, punchy and fun. Even in the headwind, my legs were much better. Blaming the too-heavy backpack is clearly the right choice.)

As ever, I need to find more time to ride. And more time to do all of the other things I enjoy.

There never seems enough of the free stuff, does there?


5
Aug 21

Faster than Olympians

I’d like to tell you about a great adventure on the day, but the truth of it is that there was the office, and then there was enjoying the evening in the backyard, and then enjoying the Olympics into the night.

Two weeks of Olympics following three weeks of Tour de France, mean a lot of televised sports. And the Vuelta a España starts next week. And then you’re into football season. Honestly, being in a safety-first, approach to going to as few places as possible has done wonders for my sports viewing this year.

I’m getting bored with it.

I did update my 404 page today. I noticed, to my great chagrin, that there was a broken link in my missing page. That’s mortifying. Better that I found it myself, rather than someone pointing it out. The error had been there for an embarrassingly long time. I can only assume that means that people don’t run across the 404 page that often.

But isn’t that exciting? I tested links! I moved tables! I saved and refreshed and changed some language!

That is a full on Thursday!

I wanted to share this amazing track event we discovered this evening. It is, in fact, from a few nights ago. Perhaps we missed it, or maybe NBC, burdened by time zone problems covering the Olympics half a world away, couldn’t figure out where to show what’s being called “the greatest race ever” many hours later. I wanted to share it, but NBC has limited where their programming can be shared, and where their pre-rolls can run. It’s a business model, I guess.

Here’s a video you can see on my humble little site. I did the math, we’re going faster than the world record hurdlers. We had better gearing, and fewer hurdles.

It was to be a 90-minute ride. Before we’d gotten through the second neighborhood on the route The Yankee had a problem with her aerobars. She got that resolved, and it allowed her to go faster. So, before we’d gotten through the third neighborhood on the route she dropped me.

Just as I caught back up to her, some 15 miles later, we called it just a bit early, right about the time I shot that video. Sometimes, catching back on feels like the greatest race ever.


28
Jul 21

I told you there were a lot of Olympics around here

Ten years ago I said silly things like, “It isn’t a good ride until you get pelted by insects.”

Today — as I’m trying to wipe one bug away from my eye and get hit on the other cheek by another hard-shelled critter — I say “That was inconsiderate.” And then the last cicadas in town come in for a low-altitude harassment pass …

These days I also say “Twenty-six is a little hard, can we hold it at 23 or 24 miles an hour?”

We were watching the tape-delayed Olympics last night, watching the gymnastics, knowing she was out, knowing something. And in the middle of Simone Biles’ vault The Yankee, herself a Division 1 gymnast, a high school All-American, tensed up during that vault. (My wife’s gymnastics career was ended suddenly by injury, one she still deals with decades later.) She spent the next several minutes talking about what an amazing save that was, and then several more moments about what terrible things could have happened in Tokyo.

And so this little thread cinches it. Gymnasts know what they saw. They alone know what the rest of us missed. That’s good enough for me.

And, also, this:

A watershed moment occurred in these Olympic Games. The rest is just noise.


26
Jul 21

Welcome to the last week of July

Let’s jump right into the big Monday feature. Mondays are better with pets, after all. So here’s a nice series of Phoebe doing her modeling thing on the stairs.

She looks up, giving you coy.

She looks down, giving you introspection.

And that’s all you get, she says.

Poseidon sometimes jumps on the TV stand. He’ll look at the TV for a moment. He’ll walk around it. Once in a while he stands on his back legs and tries to poke his head over the top. He’s long and tall, but you can only just see part of his face. He’s big and strong enough that it makes you nervous.

But then he uses feline grace and does this.

For whatever reason, he likes bike races. (Yes, this little series is a few weeks old now. I’ve been saving it.) This isn’t the first time that he’s been interested in road racing.

He sits with me to watch them too.

Yes, he’s sitting in my lap and watching the Tour there.

Speaking of bikes …

My front derailleur froze. This is only a problem if you want to swap from the big ring to the little ring. It happened over the winter, probably because I get sweaty during indoor riding and it fused.

I had a springtime tuneup, an annual rite of passage for most road bikes. That required new cables and the purchase and installation of a Fisher-Price replacement derailleur. (It looks like the real thing; it does nothing.) Still didn’t work. Soon after, there was another trip to the shop, where the mechanic tinkered, but ultimately did not fix the problem.

So a third trip to the bike shop, where the mechanic, one of the few who doesn’t actually want to work on things, I’ve decided, fixed it again. After he destroyed the new cable he put on a few weeks ago.

I learned on Saturday’s 30-miler that, after all of this, the front derailleur works precisely a third of the time.

That’s a great way to keep the spirits up on a bike ride.

I need a new bike shop.

The rest of the weekend was normal. There was the routine Chick-fil-A lunch, an evening chat with friends and, of course, the Olympics. My lovely bride is a world-renowned Olympic scholar. We watch a lot of sports. Over the next two weeks here you can pretty much assume that almost every moment not specifically accounted for is sleep, or Olympics.


22
Jul 21

Now playing

Ran a casual neighborhood 5K today, making two-days in a row of exercise. I wonder how many days it’ll be before I put together two more consecutive days of exercise.

(Update: It was a few, as it turns out.)

Here’s a little video clip of yesterday’s 25-mile bike ride. We’re only three miles in here, which is why I am keeping up with my lovely bride. Putting up mid-summer numbers and can’t hold her wheel. Must be the gears she is using. Surely it isn’t me.

When I tested the post a picture of The Yankee on a bike ride was in the rotating header, and this video was below. That’s a lot of fun.

Anyway, I’d make the whole site look like that, but then it’d just be a blog about her riding bikes. That’d be fun, too. But I also include random things like …

What do we think about this? I only remember that the first movie had something to do with a seasoning, and it was a mess, and there were giant worms. This movie has the spice, the drama and, maybe there are worms.

It seems overly dramatic, for a trailer. These are art forms of their own, of course. If trailers are art, then they have to evolve. (Go watch a trailer from any movie you liked from the 1980s, for example. Go watch the first Star Wars trailer.) And, sometimes, I suppose, they have to respond to external events.

Does a trailer of a long-anticipated, and presumably corrective, relaunch have to go over the top? Does it have to after the year we’ve had? Or are we just imagining that?

What’s left in the movie, after a trailer like that?

It’s probably a 16 hour movie. Which I would have thought was fine, but then I watched, over three sittings, the Zack Snyder Justice League cut. Here’s the official trailer for that.

Feels more like a comic book than a movie, doesn’t it? I’m not sure which is better for it.

Just a few weeks ago someone over at Mental Floss compiled the list of the best 25 movie trailers of all time. This is how you know it’s an art. There’s a notion of subjectivity there, but it’s inescapable to think that the movie itself, viewed either before the trailer or after, doesn’t have some influence on such things.

Go on over there and see what’s number one. But! Before you do, toss out three names. What do you think you’ll see as number one. Pick a strong one, pick a thoughtful one. Pick a cliched one.

Were you right? I bet you were.

Still haven’t seen that movie.

Tomorrow, we’re going to wrap this week up in tidy fashion. Things will look nice and fresh when you come back. So come back!

And bring me your best movie trailer ideas, too.