Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Could it be?

























Each time I ride through Golden Gate Park and see the de Young Museum - all I can think about is the Sandcrawler from Star Wars Episode I. The Sandcrawler is a vehicle used by the Jawa creatures to collect robots, droids and other pieces of scrap metal on the planet of Tatooine.


No disrespect to the designer of the de Young museum, but the observation tower looks very similar to the Sandcrawler - hmmm


Take your loved one or friend to the de Young on the weekend and learn something new - you might surprise yourself

And protect your droids!


Learn about the de Young Museum

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Believe it or not




















Believe it or not...

This shirt can be used to detect wireless internet for your laptop or wireless devices.

LEARN MORE

Eye in the Sky - Virtual Holiday












Do you ever dream of traveling to exotic places?

Do you enjoy looking at images or maps in National Geographic?

Do you ever sit at work and think about the interesting things going on in the world?

Do you enjoy wasting time at work?

If any of these question
s catch your attention - then allow me to take you around the world to some interesting sites using Google Earth. If you do not have Google Earth installed on your machine - please click on the link to DOWNLOAD GOOGLE EARTH

If you do not feel comfortable downloading Google Earth at work - you can click on the Google Maps link(s) provided.


Our first destination takes us to the Unknown Soldier Monument in Baghdad (Iraq)
I have not been to this location for obvious reasons, but it's something I can appreciate and would like to share with my readers.
Click here to view in Google Maps

LEARN MORE ABOUT THIS MONUMENT


The next location is nestled in the Tatras of Slovakia above the city of Poprad. Last summer I spent a few days hiking in these beautiful mountains and stayed in a mountain lodge with excellent food. The lodge was built on the edge of a lake and the surrounding creeks were filled with beautiful trout. This is one location I would like to return to in the future - with or without climbing equipment.
Click here to view in Google Maps
LEARN MORE ABOUT THE TATRAS

One more note - Poprad (
Slovakia) is the site of America's first ever medals at the Cyclocross Worlds - Matt Kelly took 1st in the U-23 category and Tim Johnson placed 3rd in the Elite Men category. As I drove through Poprad the images of the snow covered course and Matt Kelly on the podium fueled my desire to race cross upon return to the United States.


Thanks for reading.

Active Athlete Squdra Ovest







It's official - I will be racing for the Active Athlete Squadra Ovest road cycling team in 2008. This will give me the chance to focus on road cycling with a great team and sponsors while passing on some personal experience from mountain and cyclocross racing.


Below is a link from the Active Athlete site announcing the sponsorship for 2008

Introducing Active Athlete Squadra Ovest

Today we announced that we have sponsored the Squadra Ovest Cycling Team, an elite group of Northern California racers dedicated to the sport and community. The team will be named Active Athlete Squadra Ovest. We’re extremely excited about the sponsorship and upcoming cycling season. As a company focused on lifestyle sports, it makes perfect sense to engage in a partnership that promotes the sport of cycling and gives back to the community. We are very proud to be associated with such a dedicated group of individuals that share our passion and values.

Active Athlete clients also will have the opportunity to participate in Squadra Ovest’s kick-off event, training camp, team parties and even a team ride.

The purpose of Squadra Ovest, founded in 2003, is to drive the growth of cycling as a sport and provide opportunities for developing riders to achieve their goals—all while raising money for local charities.

Squadra Ovest has accumulated more than 75 podium appearances across Northern California’s highly popular and competitive cycling scene in the 2007 season alone. The team has posted strong results in major competitions such as the Merco Credit Classic, San Dimas Stage Race, Tri-Flow Menlo Park GP, Cat’s Hill Classic, Mount Hamilton Classic and Carrera de San Rafael. In every race, Squadra Ovest competes in the Best All-Around Team (BAT) classification.

Welcome to the Family!

Friday, October 26, 2007

Starlight




















As you could guess from reading my blog - Muse is one of my favorite rock groups. Last April we saw Muse at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco and it was one of the best concerts I have seen in my lifetime. The visual set-up was brilliant and the bands chemistry on the stage encouraged people to dance and clap their hands to this particular song below - "Starlight"

Each time I hear this song it brings joy to my day and reminds me of the concert in San Francisco.

CLICK TO WATCH VIDEO

Artist: Muse
Song: Starlight
Album: Black Holes and Revelations



Far away

This ship has taken me far away
Far away from the memories
Of the people who care if I live or die

Starlight
I will be chasing a starlight
Until the end of my life
I don't know if it's worth it anymore

Hold you in my arms
I just wanted to hold you in my arms

My life
You electrify my life
Let's conspire to re-ignite
All the souls that would die just to feel alive

I'll never let you go
If you promise not to fade away
Never fade away

Our hopes and expectations
Black holes and revelations
Our hopes and expectations
Black holes and revelations

Hold you in my arms
I just wanted to hold you in my arms

Far away
The ship has taken me far away
Far away from the memories
Of the people who care if I live or die

I'll never let you go
If you promise not to fade away
Never fade away

Our hopes and expectations
Black holes and revelations
Our hopes and expectations
Black holes and revelations

Hold you in my arms
I just wanted to hold you in my arms
I just wanted to hold

Candle Stick Point Gallery - A40















Some more images of our team at Candle Stick Point

Altezza40 Gallery

Altezza40

Click on the link below to view pictures from Bay Area Super Prestige #2

Altezza40 Picture Gallery

Surf City Cyclocross Race





















This weekend I will be heading to Santa Cruz (Soquel High School) to race the Surf City Cyclocross event - which is organized by the Velo Bella cycling team. This used to be one of my favorite venues as a junior racer and it was one of the reasons I developed a passion for cyclocross. The Altezza40 team plans on making a strong showing at the race and the boys from Specialized might make an appearance as well. More to come... there is some special news I need to share.


Thanks for reading.


Thursday, October 25, 2007

J.S. Bach
















What's playing?

Bach is playing on the iPOD and I can not get enough of this piece and the amazing flute work. It would be great to see this in concert or find someone who could play it in person.


Composer: Johann Sebastian Bach

Piece: Menuet & Badinerie (From Overature No.2 in B Minor)


Tuesday, October 23, 2007

The Gate II

Back with the second video of the night featuring Angelo "The Light Show" DiGiovine




video

The Gate

























The weather in San Francisco is incredible right now and we just returned from our ride to Marin. Angelo and I stopped at Cafe Trieste on the way home for some lattes and cookies since the team gets all coffee products for free if you're wearing the jersey. We had to keep the tempo mellow - my knee was sore and I discovered a large bruise on the side which might have happened during the cyclocross race last weekend. It was low tide during the ride down the Sausalito path and I did not spot any Great Egrets in the marsh. I plan on posting some images of this beautiful bird in the near future because I spot them all over the place - including dirty canals and ditches on the side of the highway. It's a weird contrast to see such a magnificent bird in the filth of a rain gutter. Anyway, I hope you enjoy the pictures from this evening and the small movie clip of our ride down Chrissy Field with Angelo's new valve stem lights.

Thanks for reading.







video

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Candle Stick Point



















This afternoon I completed the second race of the Bay Area Super Prestige Cyclocross Series at Candle Stick Point. The venue was packed with riders from Northern California and it was nice to see new faces lining up at the starting line. Tom Simpson announced the top riders over the intercom and I was given a spot at the front of the line up since I placed second in the last race. There were 61 riders in the B class and people were pushing to the front for a better position because the first turn was a hair pin into an off camber section with lots of bumps and potholes. My teammate (Dave Pedersen) shot into the lead from the whistle and I followed behind into the flat section. I was a bit concerned because my train was late this morning and I did not have the chance to pre-ride the course, so I had to focus on memorizing the technical sections on the first lap. During the middle of the first lap I began to pull away from the main group with 3 other riders and we charged into the winding parts of the course and I rode all of the run-up sections. There was a strong headwind on the open sections of the course and I spent most of the time in the hoods - I usually ride the top portion of the bar using the "chicken" brake levers. This Candle Stick Point venue was set-up for spectators and many people were standing in the technical sections cheering as we pushed our physical limits. It's was amazing to ride the run-up into a tunnel of people cheering and waving flags above my head and it encouraged me to push harder. My heart rate finally adapted to the pace on the 3rd lap and I began to pull away from the remaining riders and never looked back. My teammates were amazing and I want to thank each one of them for the support and bottle exchanges. Dave and Nick placed well in the same race and our team did well overall in each category. Our women riders pulled off a 2nd and 5th place finish and are improving each race. This is going to be an amazing season and I look forward to more fantastic venues in the months to come. As for me - I will get to ride in the leaders jersey at the next race. The next race will take place at McLaren park in San Francisco and it's a mountain bikers dream course. There is a huge run-up called "the wall" and lots of technical down and up hill. I want to thank our sponsors for providing great equipment and Dave for organizing such a great team.

Thanks goes to Timbuk2, Felt Bicycles, Look, CCCX, Crank Brothers, Bike Connection and Vance Sprock and Shannon Patterson at Cupertino Bike Shop.

Also, to my family and friends and those who believe anything is possible.

In one of the pictures I had a little trouble pulling on the leaders jersey and it was a bit embarrassing.


Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Bridge Lights















The image above reminds me of the Coldplay song "Fix You"

... Lights will guide you home

This song plays in my head at night as we ride out of Sausalito into the dark void between the Headlands and Golden Gate Bridge. We usually take the alternate route which goes under a bridge and pops up beneath the Golden Gate Bridge at Fort Baker. Last night the view was spectacular and the song popped into my head as I followed the bridge lights home.


What's playing?

Artist: Coldplay

Song: Fix You

Album: X&Y



When you try your best but you don't succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can't sleep
Stuck in reverse.

When the tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you can't replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
Could it be worse?

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

And high up above or down below
When you're too in love to let it go
But if you never try you'll never know
"Just what your worth"

Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

Tears stream, down on your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
Tears stream down your face and I...


Tears stream, down on your face
I promise you I will learn from my mistakes
Tears stream down your face and I...


Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you.

Ski Instructor Wanted
















Last season I picked up skiing in Europe and cannot stop thinking about the slopes this season. My friends and I were practicing some moves in a foam pit last month, but I had to put the sessions on hold for the cyclocross season. My instructor from last season was amazing and had tons of patience and could rip it up in all conditions. This year I would like to build on the knowledge from last season and focus on developing a fluid technique in the carving department and the jumps. One on one instruction was the best gift I could receive and I hope to find a riding partner for this season who can instruct... yes... free instruction. I promise to be patient on the slopes.

In this deal you will receive some conversation on the way to slopes, lunch, gas money or a ride and someone who can learn quickly in all conditions and possibly push your limits. Please submit your email in a post on this site if you are serious - because I want to continue my training on the slopes.





Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Night Riders



























Last night I bought a North Face rain jacket for my commute and the gamble paid off this morning as the rain poured on the ride to work. The jacket managed to keep my upper body warm and water free, but my pants were soaked and made things uncomfortable at work. Anyway, I don't mind riding in the rain and it feels great to ride the bike in the morning and it's great for the environment as well as my fitness. Speaking of fitness - Angelo and I rode the Sausalito bike path this evening and enjoyed a beautiful view of a pastel sunset from the Golden Gate Bridge. Here are some pictures from the Alta hill climb in Corte Madera - the legs are feeling excellent and I hope the form will last until this weekend for the second race of the Bay Area Super Prestige.

Thanks for reading.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

Hangers for Cyclists

















How many of you have coat hangers made out of a Reynolds carbon rim section, a piece of spoke, and a valve stem? This has the be the strongest, lightest, clothes hanger in the world - how do I get one or a few of these for my dress shirts?





Veridis Quo











Returned from lunch to the sounds of Daft Punk - not bad since it's raining outside. Things are beginning to pick up and I plan on racing the Bay Area Super Prestige at Candle Stick Point on Sunday. Last year I received a beautiful surprise party with friends and family. This year I hope for a strong race with new faces and great competition.

Thanks for reading.

What's playing?

SONG: Veridis Quo

ALBUM: Discovery

ARTIST: Daft Punk


LINK TO SONG


Monday, October 15, 2007

Secrets Of The Peloton from Procycling


Win Races In Your Mind (Marc De Maar - Rabobank)

The mind is a powerful tool in cycling - some people do not realize how powerful. When I train, especially when it's a boring or very hard workout, I try to visualize a race scenario in great detail. I see and hear a helicopter buzzing above my head, the cameramen, the crowd, the riders around me... My dad's a psychologist, and he suggested that I try this a couple of years ago. I never imagined it could work, but now I know it does. All you need is a good imagination, although your ability to visualize also improves with practice. In the past, I've used similar techniques before races. As an amateur, there were times when I knew I could win a race, and I'd write a script for how I was going to do it just before I went to bed the night before. I'd describe the climbs, where I was going to attack, who was going to attack, who was going to come with me, and so on. Of course, most of the time, it would turn out differently, but sometimes I could almost impose my script on the race. Whatever you do, you have to stay focused; if there are two guys in a breakaway and you know that you won't see them for a long time, instead of switching off, start visualizing the last few kilometers of the race. Always think ahead, while at the same time staying alert and ready to react if something unexpected happens.

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Daily Grind
















This weekend I passed on cyclocross racing for some long miles in the saddle with our group. We held a nice tempo up BoFax and the grind cleared all the stress in my mind. On Saturday evening we drank Spaten and danced to German music at the Oktoberfest at Fort Mason. It was a good time - but I'm not sure if I would ever attend the real Oktoberfest in Munich. What else? Just finished some peanut butter on a spoon with a few slices of Gouda cheese. Sometimes I get a strange craving for weird combinations and this hit the spot.

Some readers asked for images of my new work space and the foam city - so enjoy the images.

Thanks for reading.

Gramps

Last week my grandfather suffered a stroke while attending his swimming class. The stroke caused him to collapse and hit his head on the pool side. My parents had to leave to New Mexico to help with his situation and will be gone for a few weeks. It was quite stressful waiting on his status and I finally received a phone call with good news and spoke with him on the phone for a few minutes. My plan is to visit him in the next few weeks because things change and it's been a while since his last visit.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Steel and Coffee


Nissan...

Not the car company but the amazing vacuum bottle used to store my coffee in the morning. This handy piece of stainless steel has served its purpose over the past 3 months and I have begun experimenting with the time it takes for the hot beverage to lose its heat. This evening I went home at 5:30 for a bike ride and returned to the office at 9:30 to find hot coffee waiting in the bottle. The Nissan vacuum bottle has become a weapon in my late night arsenal as well as electronic music in the background. Our company recently moved to a larger suite downstairs and the stereo system was placed in our workspace - this means louder music at night on our side of the building. Speaking of buildings... I started to build a city made of foam packing materials to help the environment and to use for shipment of hard drives from work. It would be priceless to see the reaction of the person who received the hard drive packed with small buildings - I even placed people in the windows. There is a nice couple on the 7th floor of the tallest building and a large sunflower in the 4th floor - stay tuned for images. Well, it's getting late and I need to ride home now and get some sleep for the ride tomorrow morning.

Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 8, 2007

Super Sunday





























Here are some images from
the Bay Area Super Prestige Series on Sunday. Phil and Angelo made it out to see the race and provided support on the fast course. The course snaked through a lot full of loose gravel, pot holes and short run-ups. The turn out was amazing and it was great to see everyone race from Altezza40.

The link below was created on Angelo's digital camera at the "jump" section of the course. Riders were hitting the top of the lip and catching air for the photographers in the area, but I decided to stay low to keep the speed on the ground. Just copy and paste the link into a web browser and enjoy a small clip from the cyclocross race.

RACE CLIP

Thanks for reading.

Thursday, October 4, 2007

Peppers and Run-Ups









While living with the Hungarian family I adopted a few eating habits and became accustomed to buying red bell peppers. Red peppers are considered a large component of the Hungarian cuisine and can be found in many dishes and condiments. These days I cut up several peppers including the yellow and the orange into sticks for work and dinner. The various colored peppers provide high amounts of vitamin C and vitamin A - which is a nice snack following a training ride or race. During the racing season I watch my diet and consume food based on the amount of riding completed. If I ride less I eat less - it's a simple approach. This evening I prepared some roast beef with cherry tomatoes, peppers, Gouda cheese and Hummus. My time is limited in the evening so I end up purchasing pre-cooked meat or cold meats as my source of protein.

Another beautiful thing about preparing a meal at home are the smells and colors of the food. Once the knife cuts into a piece of fruit or vegetable the wonderful aroma fills the kitchen. There are some Hungarian dishes I hope to cook in the future and one of my favorite's consists of potatoes, cheese, onions, hard boiled eggs (minus the yolk) and sour cream. The ingredients are placed in a Pyrex dish and stacked in layers - the end result is baked and served with sour cream. This is not conducive to my training but is something I can prepare on those rainy days or cold nights. My next food post will describe some of my favorite Hungarian desserts and the use of poppy seeds in cake.

Enough about food - there is a race this weekend at Sierra Point in Brisbane (California). It will be the first race of the Bay Area Super Prestige series. I expect the course to be similar to a criterium with no hill climbs and a few short run-ups thrown in for good measure. This venue did not appear on the circuit last year and I remember watching a race in the same area several years ago. The crowds should be large this year and I will expect a large amount of "B" riders at the start. The temperature is beginning to fall in San Francisco and the days are much shorter - especially for those training in the evening. My schedule will have to change drastically if I plan on being a contender this year.

Thanks for reading.


Wednesday, October 3, 2007

Felt F1X + Pilot

































FELT F1X CYCLOCROSS


(A) SIZE: 53
cm

(B) STEM: Felt (100mm)


(C) BAR: Specialized Carbon Pro (42cm)


(D) BRAKES: Avid Ti Shorty


(E) BRAKE LEVERS: Paul Cross Levers


(F) SHIFTERS: Shimano Ultegra 10 Speed


(G) CRANKS: FSA Gossamer (172.5)


(H)PEDALS: Shimano 959 XTR


(I) CASSETTE: Shimano Ultegra 10 Speed (12-25)


(J) WHEELS: Mavic Ksyrium SL (SSC)
(K) TIRES: Kenda Kwik 35c

Tuesday, October 2, 2007

iPhone iPod












A friend in Boston sends an email once in a while asking what song I am listening to on the iPod - so this post is random.


Artist: U2
Song: Sometimes You Can't Make It On Your Own
Album: How To Dismantle An Atomic Bomb

Tough, you think you've got the stuff
You're telling me and anyone
You're hard enough

You don't have to put up a fight
You don't have to always be right
Let me take some of the punches
For you tonight

Listen to me now
I need to let you know
You don't have to go it alone

And it's you when I look in the mirror
And it's you when I don't pick up the phone
Sometimes you can't make it on your own

We fight all the time
You and I... that's alright
We're the same soul
I don't need... I don't need to hear you say
That if we weren't so alike
You'd like me a whole lot more

Listen to me now
I need to let you know
You don't have to go it alone

And it's you when I look in the mirror
And it's you when I don't pick up the phone
Sometimes you can't make it on your own

I know that we don't talk
I'm sick of it all
Can you hear me when I Sing,
you're the reason I sing
You're the reason why the opera is in me

Where are we now?
I've got to let you know
A house still doesn't make a home
Don't leave me here alone

And it's you when I look in the mirror
And it's you that makes it hard to let go
Sometimes you can't make it on your own
Sometimes you can't make it
The best you can do is to fake it
Sometimes you can't make it on your own

Monday, October 1, 2007

Help Wanted












The "Lion of Fairfax" or "Oroszlan of Fairfax" - Oroszlan is one of the only Hungarian words I learned and it sounds cool in Hunglish which is similar to Spanglish if you are from California. Spanglish and Hunglish are nasty hybrids used to butcher foreign languages and somehow work in the right company.

The race course boasted a fair mixture of urban and natural terrain with ample amounts of sunlight at 2:30 which did not accommodate my long sleeved skin suit. The race started on the side of a soccer field and snaked around the backstops of the baseball diamonds. The course exited the field onto the pavement and around the backside of a building into an off camber hill climb. Most of the riders in front made the climb without dismounting. The hill climb fed the group onto a single track along a small ridge behind the school with scattered stones and sharp rocks. This section was a little bumpy and there was a small lip which I used to jump over a group of rocks. At the end of the single track was a steep run-up in loose dirt - where many of the riders began to fade on each lap. The run-up became a wall and the backside descent was full of ruts and potholes into a sharp left turn. Many riders lost time on the descent and a few were thrown into the rocks at the bottom. The field at the bottom of the descent was fast and winded through dry grass and single track before make a sharp turn into a berm. The berm was the best part of the course and provided a smooth transition before a step-up onto the road. The course eventually made its way through some buildings and man made paths before looping back to the soccer field. It would have been nice if someone had a bottle of water on each lap - but I settled for dust in the mouth. On the final lap I was in 8th position and noticed the group beginning to fade. I picked up the tempo and made the right moves before the technical sections and hill run-up which launched me into 2nd place. It was a great race and my hand held up the entire time. It's going to be an great season and I look forward to the Super Prestige Series next weekend.

Please send an email if you are interested in handing out water bottles and GU to a "B" rider. I know... I know... handing water to a pro sounds better, but I will compensate with lunch and share any swag I might pick up along the way. Water or Accelerade during the race is crucial - I will teach you the bottle exchange. The job takes you to beautiful venues around scenic California and you get to laugh as we abuse our bodies on modified road bikes - what more could you want? Please send your resume to...

Just kidding about the resume but not the Support Specialist

Thanks for reading.

Krazy Glue and Pizza


On Friday I came home from work and bought a slice of pizza and some apples from the local market. It was going to be a mellow night and I rented a few movies from Blockbuster video such as Star Wars Episode 3 and The Flying Scotsman to inspire the racing. Once I finished the slice of pizza I decided to wash the plate which slipped from my hands and cracked on the faucet. Both parts of the plate sliced my hands and blood was all over the counter and floor. I did not realize how many cuts were on my hand, but I could see the largest cut bleeding on my left hand. The plate sliced my middle knuckle and barely missed the tendon. My right hand was cut as well and I was more upset about the sleep I was going to lose the night before my opening race. It took a lot of paper towels and socks to control the bleeding and I used Krazy Glue to seal the wound to avoid stitches. My friends brought some supplies to my house and poured hydrogen peroxide on the knuckle wound. This was supposed to be a night of rest and preparation - but turned into a Krazy Glue nightmare.

The next morning I woke up with a swollen hand and could barely grip the tube of toothpaste. So I grabbed a sock from the dresser and rolled it up and began squeezing it to stretch my hand. It eventually loosened up the tendon but the wound re-opened and started bleeding in the shower. The Krazy Glue came through a second time and I wrapped my hands with tape to prevent the cuts from re-opening during the race.