America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

Friday, October 31, 2008

FW: Office dares

Office dares

FYI, For those trying to just hold on to whatever shred of sanity and dignity you have left in your office, keep on keeping on with these innocent office dares to make your skull-crushingly dull and boring work hours a little more lively....


1) Run one lap around the office at top speed.
2) Ignore the first five people who say 'good morning' to you.
3) Phone someone in the office you barely know, leave your name and say, "Just called to say I can't talk right now. Bye."
4) To signal the end of a conversation, clamp your hands over your ears and grimace.
5) Leave your zipper open for one hour. If anyone points it out, say, "Sorry, I really prefer it this way."
6) Walk sideways to the photocopier.
7) While riding in an elevator, gasp dramatically every time the doors open.


1) Say to your boss, "I like your style" and shoot him with double-barreled fingers.
2) Babble incoherently at a fellow employee then ask, "Did you get all that, I don't want to have to repeat it."
3) Page yourself over the intercom (do not disguise your voice).
4) Kneel in front of the water cooler and drink directly from the nozzle (there must be a 'non-player' within sight).
5) Shout random numbers while someone is counting.


1) At the end of a meeting, suggest that, for once, it would be nice to conclude with the singing of the national anthem (5 extra points if you actually launch into it yourself).
2) Walk into a very busy person's office and while they watch you with growing irritation, turn the light switch on/off 10 times.
3) For an hour, refer to everyone you speak to as "Bob."
4) Announce to everyone in a meeting that you "really have to go do a number two."
5) After every sentence, say 'Mon' in a really bad Jamaican accent. As in "The report's on your desk, Mon." Keep this up for 1 hour.
6) While an office mate is out, move their chair into the elevator.
7) In a meeting or crowded situation, slap your forehead repeatedly and mutter, "Shut up, all of you just shut up!"
8) At lunchtime, get down on your knees and announce, "As God as my witness, I'll never go hungry again."
9) In a colleague's DAY PLANNER, write in the 10am slot: "See how I look in tights."(5 Extra points if it is a male, 5 more if he is your boss)
10) Carry your keyboard over to your colleague and ask, "You wanna trade?"
11) Repeat the following conversation 10 times to the same person: "Do you hear that?" "What?" "Never mind, it's gone now."
12) Come to work in army fatigues and when asked why, say, "I can't talk about it."
13) Posing as a maitre d', call a colleague and tell him he's won a lunch for four at a local restaurant. Let him go.
14) Speak with an accent (French, German, Porky Pig, etc) during a very important conference call.
15) Find the vacuum and start vacuuming around your desk.
16) Hang a 2' long piece of toilet roll from the back of your pants and act genuinely surprised when someone points it out.
17) Present meeting attendees with a cup of coffee and biscuits, smashing each biscuit with your fist.
18) During the course of a meeting, slowly edge your chair towards the door.
19) Arrange toy figures on the table to represent each meeting attendee, move them according to the movements of their real-life counterparts. And if that wasn't enough for you...

How to keep a healthy level of insanity:

1) At lunchtime, sit in your parked car with sunglasses on and point a hair dryer at passing cars. See if they slow down.
2) Tell your children over dinner. "Due to the economy, we are going to have to let one of you go."
3) Every time someone asks you to do something, ask if they want fries with that.
4) Put your waste basket on your desk and label it "IN".
5) Put decaf in the coffee maker for 3 weeks. Once everyone has gotten over his or her caffeine addictions, switch to espresso.
6) Finish all your sentences with "In accordance with the prophecy."
7) Don't use any punctuation
8) Use, too...much; punctuation!
9) As often as possible, skip rather than walk.
10) Ask people what sex they are. Laugh hysterically after they answer.
11) Specify that your drive-through order is "to go."
12) Sing along at the opera.
13) Go to a poetry recital and ask why the poems don't rhyme.
14) Put mosquito netting around your work area. Play a tape of jungle sounds all day.
15) Five days in advance, tell your friends you can't attend their party because you're not in the mood.
16) Have your co-workers address you by your wrestling name, "Rock Hard."
17) When the money comes out of the ATM, scream "I Won! I Won! 3rd time this week!!!"
18) When leaving the zoo, start running towards the parking lot yelling, "Run for your lives, they're loose!"

And the final way to keep a healthy level of insanity....

19) Send this to everyone in your address book, even if they sent it to you or have asked you not to send them stuff like  this

Pectoral muscles do not propel you forward on a bike

Even so, I'm fighting a war against blubber and lately the enemy has taken positions in the hills of Mantitania. I must flatten those bastards, so I've been doing push-ups, about 4 times a week. I started out with 20 and that was hard. Yesterday, I managed to do a solid 40. Not too shabby.. there was a time when I could do 100 push ups without stopping. Hard to believe, but true. I resolve to harden my upper body this winter primarily with free weights, and this might involve renewing my membership at Bally Total Fitness. What sucks is that the nearest facility is in North Providence. They do have a spin class that's usually very well attended.. and racquetball courts in the East Providence location. Renewing at Bally's for me is about $100 a year- short money. I've also been considering doing the indoor soccer thing again- join a team and play once a week like I did a few winters ago. My ankle sprain of 2006 seems to have healed up because I had no pain down there after last week's MRC race. If I can jump barriers, I should be able to kick a ball again..
I'm registered for Northhampton Saturday only in the 35+ 1/2/3. There are 81 pre-registered in my field and I plan to improve on last weekend's 51st place out of 57 starters at MRC Cyclocross. I don't know what's worse- getting lapped or being at the very bottom of the finishers, but I guess being given credit for "finishing" even when you're one lap down, is pretty cool. I saw that a few guys DNF'ed so there's always something worse than being lapped or DFL.
I was about 5 minutes into my commute this morning and a rider on the bike path passed me head-on. He said "Hi Murat" but my eyes were so glazed from the cold that I couldn't make out who it was or his uniform and it was too cold to stop. I wonder who that was..

Thursday, October 30, 2008

So if I go and do my 5th ever cyclocross race..

..this weekend up in 'NoHo', that will mean I've done an average of one cross race every four years.. over the past 20 years.. Lame.
The bike path in Cranston (not to be confused with the very inferior, dangerous, narrow and slick with bird poo and covered with Gewilli's bike drippings East Providence Bike Path).. has been a carpet of foliage lately.. and as this fallen organic matter dehydrates, it sounds more and more like potato chips underfoot..
What is up with bluejays and squirrels? For two mornings in a row, I am finding not less than three of each congregated in a clearing, seemingly in cahoots on some level that I can't understand.
A ride home from work last night at 8:00 pm was indeed invigorating- and I did not take the shortcut- went the whole 12.5 miles.. though I did take the shortcut this morning. I'm lazy and have trouble convincing myself I've had enough sleep. Too much of something that feels so good, can't be a bad thing, right?.. except when you're cutting it too close and making yourself late for work. If I spend an extra 2-3 minutes looking for booties or keys or wallet, that's all it takes for me to relegate myself to taking the shortcut, which is only 9 miles and includes a hill that I don't like. Ha- as if there's one that I do like somewhere..
I'm proud of myself though- it takes more than a little bit of character and determination to get suited up extra early in the freezing cold for a 45 minute commute. Lately, since I'm no longer marching to the beat of the Powertap (though I don't like having to do manual workout entries- I'm trying to keep accurate TSS, CTL, and ATL levels maintained in Peaks software).. I find myself commuting less because of the need to add training volume, and more because I just love propelling myself forward on a bike to get where I need to be. It feels pretty good, once the initial shock of the cold passes and everything acclimates and you feel like you could go on for hours if you had time.. I arrive to work pumped with endorphins and grinning, as my astonished pear-shaped co-workers scratch their heads and wonder.. "why? what's the point?".. and 10-12 hours later I walk into the door at home the same way, smiling and as happy as a tornado in a trailer park..
Thanks for reading.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

My fourth cyclocross race ever..

..yeah...about that. My first ever cross race was 1988 Junior Nationals in Milwaukee.. Lapped my Bobby Julich and a few others and DNF. Don't ask. 2nd cross race ever was 18 years later: 2006 Canton Cup. DNF. That sucked real bad. I suffered immeasurably. 3rd cross race ever was one of the 2007 Goddard Park races. I was lapped by only the first 6 or so finishers in the elite 35+.. Fell down once, had a good time.. 4th cross race ever was today's MRC 35+. I was loving the weather! (Man I wish I did a 3 hour road ride instead of race today) No regrets- I had fun today don't get me wrong.. My start position was in the middle someplace and I seem to have held that position for all the way until we reached the first set of barriers before the woods. No actually, I was right in there up until the hard right hander in the middle of the woods. Then a gap opened on the train in front of me and I was feeling so unconfident, so gassed, and so afraid to be the dickhead who impedes the strong legs behind me, that after the turn I made it pretty clear to those behind that I was not a good wheel to follow. Whatever. To regain the element of fun, I had to remove the element of pressure and just let everyone blow past me. Once alone, I could focus on my tempo, cornering, handling, dismounts etc, without worrying about taking someone out. After what seemed like 1/2 hour of riding at my "limit" the lap card said 4 to go. WTF? Each lap felt like an eternity to me.. 3 to go, I'm starting to believe that I can outrun the leaders to the finish- I'm dead last. Then just before the first set of barriers, I trip and fall during my dismount. I know it wasn't pretty because I went down hard when my left foot refused to release and the bike went flying overhead and landed on the first barrier. I was ok- just shaken- and relieved that I didn't make such a spectacle of myself over at the log. I was slow to get over the barriers and back up to "speed", if you can call it that. Then into the woods and just before emerging to the pit area, the leader came through and his chasers were just 5-10 seconds behind. I made sure to keep an eye behind me and give them room and point to the side of me they should pass on. That worked.. But by the time I reached the finish again, the bell was rung, and what should have been 2 to go for me, became 1 to go- I was lapped by 6 people by this time. My final lap about 12 more guys passed me and then it was over. I finished one lap down. While everyone around me was doing a cool down lap, I did my "lap of shame" and called it a day, glad to have dragged wife and child out to Wrentham. Their cheering was a huge boost, their presence made it impossible for me to quit, even though it crossed my mind a few times. Nothing hurt more than the pain in my lower back- like a knife was thrust in there and twisted constantly. What's up with that? My bike for all the screwing around I did the night before, did okay for me. I had bought a new chain for it but could not find my chain tool (hence the fit of rage referred to last night). I resorted to taking the chain off of my road bike and putting it on there instead. (It has a quick link, and the previous chain was rusted into a solid mass of corrosion, after I abandoned the cross bike following last winter's Goddard race) The shifting was extremely sloppy, but I think I only used three gears the whole time anyway.. The cassette was rusted too and I took the rust off using my wire wheel on my bench grinder. Anyway.. I've bored you enough.. I call it a good day.. and to whoever was cheering me every time I jumped over the log- I couldn't recognize the voice and I couldn't look over- thanks a bunch. It helped me stay in there and helped ease the pain too. Thanks for reading perhaps the most insignificant report out there for this event.

Friday, October 24, 2008

After tonight's fit of rage in the garage..

I've decided to limit my bicycle repairs to flat tires, and that I will happily pay others to do everything else.

Got a wheel!

Thank you Providence Bike...
Now... Tomorrow.. Skinsuit or bibs? Shorn legs or hairy? DFL? or can an untrained Murat possibly beat one or more people to the line? What's a better goal: not being lapped or not being DFL? Not that I care.. Ok maybe a little.

Wrentham is $20 richer

I threw my sombrero into the ring and look forward to trading punches with the bottom feeders of the Masters field this Saturday. I just hope I can get a rear wheel put together in time.. plus one of my frog legs is busted and I'm torn between doing a hack repair job on it, or removing them both completely. Looking at my Fuji Cross Pro after I washed the Goddard Park 2007 mud off of it the other day, I realized it's a pretty slick looking bike, even if it's just entry level. The equipment is compatible with my ability, so it works for me. Who rode to work this morning? I thought it would be in the 20s and behold it was 32 degrees when I dragged myself out of bed. No balaclava or thermal jacket needed after all. The only difference from that last cold morning is thicker leg warmers and thicker booties this time. And I took the short cut to work- only 9 miles. It's not smart to be late to work in uncertain times like this.
I'm looking at buying a mountain bike very soon- going to race it in 2009- especially on those weekends when the crits are too far away, or there's nothing but hilly road races to pick from. Mike S and I did an epic four hour mtb ride Sunday at Big River. I used a demo bike from the shop, and liked it a lot. We were lost a few times and even had to resort to the infamous "Ride of Shame" down Route 3 when we lost our way completely. That sucked because I had about 25 pounds of air left in the rear wheel.. At any rate, look out Sport Class in 2009! (or cat 4 or whatever it's now called) Murat is racing on the dirt for first time- may it be great success..

Thursday, October 23, 2008

Post 527: A wet weekend in store at Wrentham?

The new Michelin tires I bought for my cross bike are for muddy conditions. (They're called "Mud3" or something.. Should I break them in on Saturday at Wrentham? I still need a rear wheel though.. Even if I use my pristine Easton wheel from the road bike, the cassette on there is an 11-23. How will that work on the Wrentham course? Should I pre-register? Decisions, decisions.. Should I do the 1-2-3 race or the Masters 1-2-3? Both? What better way to prove how much I suck at cross, than to prove it to you twice in one day??
Note to self: Self-depracation is intended to completely remove any and all expectations of a top result, which could otherwise harmfully cause me to feel pressured and required to perform, thusly removing all of the fun from participation. If I have one secret goal, it's to avoid being lapped. How hard could that be?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

That was one cold commute..

..especially with just a short sleeve jersey, sleeveless base layer, speedo and flip flops. But after the first times that I drilled it [in between taking pictures of bird poo and seashells] I felt all toasty. That dermatological metabolisis really kicked in and stuff.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Powertap freehub is loose, and I don't mean slutty

Not happy! I've been without the luxury of the Powertap data for about 3-4 weeks. Having also been without a rideable cross bike since last winter, I needed a wheel that I could throw on the cross bike and get it ready to race. I even bought a pair of Michelin cross tires and tubes and a new chain.. So I get the Powertap wheel off the road bike, intending to put it onto the cross bike for a while, when I discover that the freehub/cassette has 2-3 mm of lateral play in it! How the F did that happen? I don't even own a tool for removing the cassette so I can't really see what's going on in there, but when I move it out as far as it can go, there's quite a bit of daylight between the granny gear and the hub body. It's a miracle that I was ever able to shift gears properly these past few days or weeks. So I'm still without a rear wheel for the cross bike. The original wheel has three broken spokes and a seized up freehub. The Powertap wheel needs to be rebuilt or replaced as well. The only way to get me on a cross bike this winter, it seems, is to somehow change my tubular Rolf Vector Pros, from Campy to Shimano, and I don't even know how. From what I've heard, the RVCs make excellent cross wheels. I've owned mine since 2003 and they turned out to be an excellent pair- still as straight as when I bought them. So maybe I exchange the Michelins I bought for a pair of cross tubulars? Ah! What's the point. All this trouble and expense for two or three cross races and near certain DFLs.. Maybe someone will loan me a decent Shimano rear wheel.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

LikeaBike Jumpers are in stock- HOT PINK!

I'm receiving a shipment of them today or tomorrow. There's a new color in town, too! HOT PINK. And just in time for National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
This Sunday morning at Roger Williams Park: MakingStridesAgainstBreastCancer
Millwork One has a team of participants. Please donate to the cause if you can spare a few dollars. I know that I will.
If you don't already know, these little bikes are designed for ages two to five, built from aluminum, weigh only 7-1/2 pounds, use Schwalbe tires, have rear suspension, designed for age 2 to 5, and are completely bullet proof. (Leave it in the yard in the rain overnight? no worries)
My wife and I run a small home based business selling these bikes, under the banner of We also co-sponsor my bike race team- Millwork One Racing and we fund a lot of the team benefits such as apparel, entry fees and prize matching. It was always my hope that my largest pool of customers would be bike racers who appreciate a high end starter bike for toddlers. If you're in the market for a LikeaBike- any model, please consider buying from a fellow racer who also supports bike racing with sponsorship dollars.
To do our part in the cancer war, (we lost my father to lung cancer this past May) I would like to offer all of the local racers here in New England a special deal. Since I normally ship these bikes for free all over the US, I will extend a $15 contribution to the cancer charity of your choice, if you buy a LikeaBike Jumper from me between now and December 31st. There is one caveat: The bike will be delivered in person, within Rhode Island state lines, at a location that is mutually convenient, such as a cross race, training ride meet-up, or at Providence Bike. The $15 I usually pay for shipping the bike goes to charity, in your name. A pretty good deal I think, and very green since we avoid using UPS. Please reach out to me if you're interested:
To learn more about these amazing bikes, please use the link, where you will be linked to our storefront on Ebay, showing you our prices and selection. We do sell many bikes outside of Ebay, so do not feel compelled to transact there. Reach out to me by e-mail and if you need to pay using credit, I can send you an invoice through Paypal. Many thanks for reading.

Powertap is kaput

I changed the hub batteries and no luck. The unit is still not receiving a signal from the hub. I've reached out to Saris.. This thing has over one year of use on it so I'm not optimistic about them sending me a brand new set-up free of cost. This sucks. Not that I need to see data while commuting. It sucks because it's a pain in the ass entering my rides manually into Peaks. The reason I'm doing this is because I want to avoid a misrepresentation of my TSS/day when I start training for 2009 next month. A semblance of continuity in the data is important to me, even if all I'm doing is 25 miles of commuting five days a week.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Care package par avion

My mother-in-law has been visiting with us since July 15th, and tonight she boarded a SwissAir flight home. In fact she's 6 miles in the air as I type this, somewhere approaching the Arctic Circle and headed towards Zurich. I took the opportunity for free postage and stuffed her bags with schwag for the less fortunate bike racers of Bursa, Turkey. I sent five complete kits with bibs and jerseys from my former Union Velo affiliation, six pretty decent tires and ten tubes which I flatted- each with either one tiny pin hole or a patchable snake bite. And about 12 pairs of lightly used cycling socks. Overall, about $1000 of stuff, if you had to buy it new. The guys I trained with in Turkey this past spring- a lot of them were using equipment and apparel which were quite pitiful. All of this stuff is for their benefit.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Future cyclocrosser

An Afghan boy rides his bicycle past buildings destroyed during the 22-year civil war in Afghanistan, November 14, 2001. REUTERS/File

Thursday, October 09, 2008

By the Power of..

I always thought it was odd that he pointed his sword at Cringer and, instead of being destroyed by it's power, he's transformed into a "Mighty Battle Cat". Why doesn't he point it at himself?
Money quote: "Fabulous secret powers were revealed to me the day I held aloft my magic sword.."

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Missing: One bike racer's mojo.. Reward if found.

I skipped riding on Saturday, Sunday and Monday, but I got myself back on track for commuting this afternoon with a chilly 12 mile ride home. Tomorrow morning's ride to work will have me cursing the change of seasons, I'm sure. It's become painfully evident that when I'm sick and tired of riding my bike and consciously stay away from it for a few days, that I develop symptoms of depression, self hate and withdrawel.. Leave it to Murat to turn a healthy and fun activity into a destructive dependency. I can't tell anymore if I'm chasing something or running away from it.

Friday, October 03, 2008

Toys R Us: No model planes

Before I discovered bicycles, I enjoyed constructing build-it-yourself model cars, boats and airplanes. The brands were Monogram and Revell, if memory serves. The other night I'm suddenly excited about introducing our five year old to this hobby, and I'm convinced that at Toys R Us, I will find a full aisle of such model vehicles, for all skill levels, including the 'snap-together' type which I want to buy for my son Reis. What a disappointment. Nothing. And none of the little paint jars, brushes or cements either. Does this have anything to do with 'glue-sniffing' potentially becoming a childhood pastime?
On the plus side.. I found a couple of very cool vintage Matchbox cars: a 1965 Alfa Romeo Sprint GTA and a 1968 Citroen DS. Son and I had a disagreement when we got home when he claimed ownership and opened them both. I offered him a box of 20 cars at the store and he declined! Anyway, we agreed to "share" the two cars. My idea of sharing was to give him one of the two cars. His idea of sharing was to open both cars, let me look at them for about 10 seconds, and then run off with both.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

It's about that time: Arm warmers

Arm warmers.. The indispensable torso-less jerseys of the fall and spring.. Who hasn't been glad for tucking them into their pocket before an afternoon ride in October? Who hasn't cursed them after punching themselves in the face while trying to put them on? Livestrong bands get in the way, depilating our arm hairs. Wrist watches snag them and are usually concealed in haste. As easy to lose as a pair of socks, but less prone to disposal when they're tattered and worn out. Do you feel cool when you peel them off during your ride? Do you live for the astonishment of motorists as they witness your arms magically shedding their skin? "How cool is that?" they must be thinking to themselves.. or not. It's hard for a driver to see a biker when they're toking a Newport Light with the windows rolled up and a screaming toddler being poisoned to death in the back seat.
Three notable things about this morning's commute:
1. A white-tailed deer bounded alongside of me on the bike path in Cranston, for about 1/4 mile. Big. Scary.
2. A car (per usual on Park Ave in Cranston) pulls in front of me from a driveway, hoping to be given an opening by other accommodating motorists. It didn't work out that way, and your hero was forced to squeeze the brakes, hard.
3. I rode the butt-ugly REDLINE 9-2-5 to combat the soaking wet roads. (Yes I own one of these) My mission, to get to work with dry feet and dry ass. Done and done. It's not a fixed gear at the moment though. I used it over the summer to occasionally tow our pride and joy in his trailer a la gewilli, which is unsafe to do in the fixie mode, I think.
Enjoy your day. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Flashback: 2007 Attleboro Criterium @ Sun Chronicle

Skip Foley (waving) wins the 14th Annual Attleboro Bicycling Criterium Pro 1-2-3 Race. (Staff photo by MIKE GEORGE)
I stumbled upon this and laughed when I came to the part about Shireman beating Norton in the Cat 3 race by "a few moments". Cute. It was actually a photo finish, with Michael nipping Michael by less than a wheel. It was an exciting finish for sure. Anyways, I mainly wanted to show off the fact that I was a finisher in three events on that day, which translates to something like 120 laps around the 1 km course.
thesunchronicle article