Monday, April 20, 2009

From the mouth of darts!

Apologies for the lateness of this week's blog update, but it's getting busy as I finish up at school (see this post).

Last weekend, we raced out in NH/VT near Dartmouth (which is cool because it's much closer than the races earlier this season, apart from Yale's). While the team did pretty well on the whole, I'll say that I was not feeling it, and that the road race was definitely the hardest I have ever done. I suspect I was sick too, which couldn't have helped matters.

Tom Sampson got 10th (on pimp-ass borrowed Zipps) and I got 53rd (out of 67) in the C crit, which Josh and Jeff Cronin got 7th and 10th respectively (of 30) in the D crit. For the road race, Tom got 8th and I got 55th (of 64) in the Cs, and Josh and Jeff got 30th and 3rd (of 67) respectively. Nice job Cronin, you skinny bastard. UMBRCers for life Spencer and Chris made a special guest appearance the watch the crit, which was fun.

The hotel was like a slightly more backwoods facsimile of last week's, as much of the furniture and layout seemed the same, albeit with little differences here and there. At night, the room got quite warm, so I opened the panel where the control for the A/C should have been and just found what looks like a bunch of cobbled together molex connectors. Also, for the third weekend in a row, Happy Gilmore was on the TV. Well, ok, it was Billy Madison the first week, but still.

We went to probably the worst Subway in the world the night we got there. It was in a convinence store and not only did they not make the sub my way, the peppers seemed to be mostly stems and the toasting wasn't really done properly (think frozen bread into lowest setting toaster. Then just hanging out there for a bit).

The next day all went to the roadhouse cafe across the street from the hotel. It was charming. The server was also the owner, and made us all very generous portions of tasty food. It was Tom's birthday, so I bought him a slice of pie as big as his head. It was very good pie, but I had to take away half of it, as I was not up to the challenge.

This weekend, I'm doing MIT's race in Westminster, MA. It's the closest race in the series, which seems poetic as next week's is the farthest away (PA). This will probably be the last collegiate race I do, as Umass van regulations improse a mileage restriction, and we all know Ferris Buellering doesn't really work.

I did get to see Monsters v. Aliens in 3D as the Cinemark down the street sprung for the new projector, and as with Bolt, the tech's pretty impressive. While the movie was pleasant enough, it seems Dreamworks has fallen back into old habits of rapid-fire pop-culture riffs from an all-star cast and shameless plugs (going as far as HP product placement in the movie). There were certainly parts of the movie that got laughs, and it's visually quite a spectacle, but on the whole, it's not very substantial.

For this week's video, we delve into the deepest depths of 80s absurdity, if not obscurity, with arguably the most confusing music video of all time.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Cold and wet in New Haven

This week, Sean K, Tom S, and myself were representing UMBRC at Yale's race in New Haven, CT. It was cool to have a van with just the three of us, because it meant the bikes could stay warm and comfortable inside on the wet and cold drive there.

We stayed at a Hampton Inn, which was by far the nicest hotel the team's ever stayed at. There was a continental breakfast every morning (including "D+D Egg and Cheese" style egg circles and frosted flakes, yum) and magic comforters on the beds, not to mention lots of entertainment solutions. Tom and Sean wrestled a lot too.

There was a mostly uphill TT on Saturday (again with this?), but once again, I did better than I expected, finishing 40th out of 58. Tom and Sean did admirably at 22nd and 26th of 49 respectively in the B race.

It had started raining toward the end of the TT and while we were all sitting in the van, the temps dropped, the rain picked up, and it got windy to boot. Even New Hampshire raised Bryan (photo courtesy Jason G.) would have found the weather unpleasant. We went to Friendly's.

There, we discovered sprinkle-vision, which is a space age technology I'm not sure I'm at liberty to talk about. We also got a Umass maroon suit jacket at Salvation Army with one arm inexplicably shorter than the other.

The next day's crit was dry, which is good, though it was still chilly. We all had decent results with Tom and Sean getting 24th and 30th respectively in the B race, and yours truly getting 36th of 55 in the C race.

Yale reduced the entry fee for ECCC riders to do the USCF cat3/4 race later in the day so Sean and I signed on to do it. As it got later and later and the temperature got lower and lower, our enthusiasm was waning, and the Umass boys formed a plan. Kamikaze attacks to make things interesting. Sean wasn't feeling it early on and dropped out, leaving me in the race to attack relentlessly. I used up all my energy after like 9 attacks, and finished 25th, but hey, lots of pictures of me off the front, so that's something. The race finished with a remarkable 13 DNFs of 39 starters and UVM/Newton's own Jesse Chebot took the W. Congrats old boy. And sorry about the peanut butter.

New on the blogroll (right) this week is 24 Hour Toons, where they give people a topic and 24 hours to make a film about the topic. Very cool.

For this week's video, I'm putting up a short by CalArts alums Alex Hirch and Nick Butera. You can also check out Nick's "CalArts song", but I warn you, it will get stuck in your head.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Well I thought about the Army

This weekend, I raced out at West Point.

We didn't get the same van this week as last week, and to put it kindly, this week's was not especially confidence inspiring. A shaky rear wheel, some crazy vibrations, and a clearly failing weld holding on the door were bad enough, but the tape deck was broken to boot! Because of this, we had to listen to the radio the whole trip (something I don't really do). Jeremy is a staunch supporter of FM radio, and said he would convince me of its merits. He did not, though the sing-alongs were really enjoyable.

We stayed at Ray from Stevens' house, which was very cool, because his mom made all of us food and we got woken up on time in the morning. That's why UMBRC got to the races on time this week, but don't hold it against us.

It was incredibly windy the first day, and it only subsided a bit on the second. I had an upset stomach, unfortunately, so I didn't do as well as I would have liked. They had cool pace cars though.

There was a hillclimb on the second morning, which was fun, and I beat my goal of not finishing last (4th from last place, yay). I miscalculated the wind's full effect on the second day and went on a solo flier which was soon brought back, but I'd do it again.

On a sidenote, there's a cool dollar store near here, and they had some fun things there, like the unfortunately named (but brutally honest) dish set above.

I'll be working tech at this on Thursday, so come check it out if you like animation.

Hopefully Bryan took the nice weather on Sunday to ride his bike real good.

For this week's video, we've got none other than Dick Vitale in a moment of announcing greatness.