Race Report: Westchester triathlon bike leg

So, I got off the redeye from last week’s disneyland work adventure, and received a message from Nikki: do you want to do the bike leg of the westchester triathlon.  Of course I want to do an ITT, after not having biked for a week and being kind of out of shape in general right now (compared with the global peak).
So I put together the PMTT setup (aerobars, tri saddle/seatpost, 303s, TT helmet, ex-Danny Timmerman fiordifrutta skinsuit), got up at 4AM and headed up to westchester.
My groggy assembly yesterday wasn’t so good and I realized I put the aerobars on under the STI shifter cables, which doesn’t work- so I had to reposition the aerobars on the fly this morning, and adjust the rear derailleur.  Good thing I’m a good mechanic!
Also, I found out the visor on the Laser TT helmet doesn’t come off.  so I had to wear the sunglasses under the visor, wich worked surprisingly well.
Our swimmer put us in good position, with a 25 minute split (olympic distance 1500m).  The fullfinger gloves were a little bit of an impediment to removing the championchip, but not a major problem.
The skinsuit and unventilated helmet were fine for the 60F temperatures, once I got warm i was pleasantly warm, but not sweating buckets as I was last time I wore the teardrop helmet (that was a problem, no wonder Swan sold it for cheap!)
I started the race cold, and my calves were cramping in the first few miles.  I swigged some Gu2O and concentrated on form until that went away.  Keeping the HR in the 170-180 range did well, and I was wise to have Topo’d the course before heading out there.  I pity the fool who was stuck with a 55/21 on a 10% grade.  my 39/25 was quite pleasant thank you.
Only two people (riding very expensive bikes with deep dish and disc wheels passed me, which made me quite pleased with the effort, and our team came in 5th (4th if you say that the first relay team should be DQ’d for illegal help, but it’s not worth getting worked up over the runner helping the biker take the chip off the swimmer)
All in all, I averaged over 20mi/hr for the 25 mile ride (close enough to 40k) and held up pretty well for a guy who hadn’t done any real exercise in a week. (using some broken nautilus machines and talking to the Oscar Mayer Wienermobile driver girl in the hotel gym notwithstanding).
Glenn should be proud – now if only I had power data.  Next investment: disc cover!

where were you when the lights went out?

-for most people reading this, the answer would be "not born yet"


It’s pretty interesting how events get stuck in our minds and become generation-defining things.  For my parents, they had JFK’s assassination, and the Apollo 11 moon landing.  singular events covered in detail by the media that unfolded as the world watched.

9/11 was such an event for me and my generation.


Where was I?  I was writing a lab report for solid mechanics.  First Stenson sent me an IM "yahoo news headline: plane hits world trade center".  I thought some poor pilot got disoriented and flew his Cessna into the side of the building.  Then an email from my dad: "turn on CNN".  I tried to open the website, but it was swamped, as were all the other news sites.  I figured that meant something big was happening, so I went to the living room and turned on the TV, to see the second plane hit.  At that point I realized that this isn’t some kind of accident, this is the first shot of a war.

At a campus-wide event a few days later, Walter Lafeber gave one of the great speeches of the age, echoing the same sentiments: http://www.news.cornell.edu/releases/Sept01/LaFeber.remembrance.html.  I wouldn’t consider that coincidental, considering I was taking his American Foreign Policy class at the time (it met the day before, monday, september 10th).

September 11th has such a resonance not because of the number of casualties, but the fact that it was designed as a noisemaker.  Bin Laden wanted to make a splash, and he did–and the ripples are still felt seven years later.  I think it’s fundamentally different from, say Pearl Harbor, because there hasn’t been a giant response.  To the attack on pearl harbor, the US entered into 3.5 years of total war, culminating in the atomic bombing of two japanese cities, and the unconditional surrender of the Japanese Empire–and the end of State Shinto and its associated ideologies.  To 9/11, there has been an invasion of Afghanistan which was run in a halfhearted manner, and an ill-conceived invasion of Iraq.  And the clashing ideologies (note ideologies) that brought on the attack have if anything become stronger.

A few days after 9/11, there was a candlelight vigil on the arts quad.  I, with Tony and Ian, went up there to see what was going on.  People milled about and did their thing, and then some Christian group started singing and trying to organize people into some sort of gospel-prayer like thing.  I was incensed.  To use Barack Obama’s line, these people (highly educated, ivy league university students) were clinging to their religion in a time of strife–the same way the terrorist perpetrators of the attacks were using their beliefs to justify their actions.

Soon we will face one of the most important elections in the history of the US.  By Osama bin Laden’s logic, by being part of a democratic system makes us liable for the decisions our leaders make.  To some degree I agree, but I didn’t vote for George Bush (twice), and therefore only bear minimal responsibility for his actions.  That said, it is our collective civic duty to vote in the upcoming election, in an informed and rational manner.