Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Rainier Roubaix Post Wrap

I am a domestique. My race can usually be summed up in a single moment when, regardless of my physical/mental state I am called upon to blow my wad. At Rainier Roubaix that moment came 2hrs and 15 minutes into the race as the lead group of 11 left the dirt and entered the road. A small gap had formed between Michael and a small group. I don't honestly know who was in front or who was behind. There were maybe 3 guys up ahead and the split was caused more by the wind than anything. I'd been feeling good all race, but there wasn't any rest and I knew that my time in the lead group was numbered. We had only 4 laps of the dirt to go (which oddly was easier for me than the road) and 22 miles total. But Michael swung off and told me to close the gap down. I was out of the saddle immediately and closed it down to about 1 bike length, and then Michael crossed. After that I held on for dear life for 2, maybe 3 more miles and finally had to let the lead go.

At a race like Rainier, you really don't recover so you have to be careful not to redline it. I ended up 10th, after Rob Campbell caught me with 1K to go (he was in a 1st lap crash and spent the day chasing with Andrew Lathrop and another rider). Had I known he was behind I might have gunned it a little faster to get in but lesson learned I guess.

A race like that, if everything goes right a guy like me can win if everything goes right. Next year, a little stronger I hope it will be a guy like me should win.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Rainier Roubaix Today

Rainier Roubaix starts in a mere 5 hours. I am excited and nervous... it'll be a hard race for me because the course suits me and I feel strong. All of which will make it super easy to overcook it. I am in the tweener spot.. strong enough to feel like I can win but not strong enough to ride however I want. Yesterday I raced Independent Valley and rode very well until the wheels came off about 200 meters from the top of Michigan climb. In retrospect I think what killed me was following Russel and Ian when they created a very very small gap about 1K from the foot of the climb. It wasn't much but by going just that little bit too hard there I put my HR over my climbing tempo and effectively made my climb 2.5K instead of 1.5K.

Jonny, Michael, Russell, Ian, Anton.. those guys tend to really sit back 10-20 when they aren't attacking. It's those of us tweeners who end up getting shelled sitting in 1-10.. off the front but in the sidewinds. Would it have made a difference? I don't know.. but I am not Steve Holland able to go with every single move out of brute strength. I just have to learn to chill, or as Jonny would say ride smart.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

T-Mobile: How to alienate a customer

So I got my T-Mobile bill: $500+ dollars. What I thought?? That's not right. So I opened it up and discovered I was on "The Basic NW" Plan, 60 minutes for $19.99. Now I use an average of 900 minutes per month so I can see how that $$ racked up.

I also could see how it ended up that way. A few months ago we switched from the family plan to a single line plan. I had requested "a basic plan w/ 1000 minutes and no contract". I was unaware there was a plan called the Basic Plan.

So, following the Term and Agreement, I called T-Mobile well within the allotted 60 days to get this fixed. At first, everyone was nice. They agreed that it was wrong but claimed it couldn't be corrected because it was on a previous cycle. Once, so they claimed, the cycle completed there was *nothing* they could do to fix it. Oh, they could offer me a $100 credit, but not actually fix the plan.

As a tangent, my experience is that these credits cause more harm than good because if the next bill is also wrong, they use the previous bill as proof that the plan was correct and the bill correct (which, conveniently is in the T&A). So I feel it is reasonable to request the history be corrected in both fact as well as effect.

Anyway, I finally got frustrated and pointed out that the Terms & Agreement says:


ncorrect Charges. If you believe your bill contains an incorrect charge, you have 60 days from the date of the first bill that contains the charge to notify us or you waive any right to dispute the charge. To notify us, please contact Customer Care at T-Mobile.com, 1-800-937-8997, or 611 from your Phone. We may require you to describe the dispute in writing. Any written communications concerning charges must be sent to the T-Mobile Customer Relations address in Sec. 2. If you accept a credit to resolve an issue, you agree the issue is fully resolved. If Customer Care does not resolve your dispute and you still wish to pursue the matter, follow the dispute resolution process described in Sec. 2. California customers: our Utility number is U-3056-C; if you file a billing-related claim with the Consumer Affairs Branch ("CAB") of the CPUC you must, within 24 hours of filing, inform us by writing to the Customer Relations address in Sec. 2 with sufficient information to identify you and your account. If we resolve your dispute, your CAB claim will be deemed resolved at that time, and you agree to promptly withdraw your claim with the CAB. Payments. We may require payment before your due date if we are concerned about your ability to pay us (such as when you have an unusually high balance). For your payment to be deemed received by us and your account to be timely credited, you must provide with your payment information sufficient to identify you and your account (your account number). If we accept late or partial payments or payments with limiting notations, it will not waive any of our rights to collect all amounts that you owe us and it will not be an accord and satisfaction. If we agree to an alternate payment plan, we may confirm it in any manner, including by electronic means. If your financial institution dishonors or returns for insufficient funds your check or credit card, it is a breach of this Agreement and we may (a) charge you a fee of $20.00 or such amount as may be permitted by law, (b) stop accepting checks, credit card or other similar payment methods from you, and (c) immediately suspend or cancel your Service. We may use a collection agency and charge you for their fees billed to us for trying to collect what you owe us. Late Fees. You agree to pay 1.5% or $5.00 per month (or portion of a month), whichever is greater, on any past due balances until paid, subject to the highest amount permitted by law. Except to the extent prohibited by law, this late fee may be charged regardless of any disputes you may have raised regarding your invoiced charges.


Taxes & Fees/Regulatory and Administrative Fees. We bill you for taxes, fees, and other charges (such as sales, use, excise, public utility and other taxes) levied by or remitted to domestic or foreign governments or authorities and imposed on you or us as a result of providing the Service or your Phone ("Taxes & Fees"). Any tax exemption only applies after the date we receive from you acceptable documentation. We will determine, in our discretion, the type and amount of the Taxes & Fees to be billed. These Taxes & Fees may change at any time without notice. We may also bill you for regulatory and administrative fees ($0.86 per line per month as of 12/04) to recover our costs of complying with certain regulatory mandates (in our discretion) and Universal Service Fees ("USF") or similarly imposed charges (the amount or method of calculation of these fees may change at any time without notice to you) except to the extent prohibited by law. Regulatory and administrative fees and USF are not taxes or government required charges. We may impose regulatory and administrative fees whether or not all or some services are used, or available to you, or in your location. We are required to use the residential or business street address you provided us to determine certain Taxes & Fees. If you give us an address (such as a PO box) that is not a recognized street address, does not identify the taxing jurisdictions applicable to the address or does not reflect the service area associated with your Number, you may be assigned a default location for Taxes & Fees calculation, which may result in a higher or lower charge for certain Taxes & Fees and you have 60 days from the date of the first bill that contains disputed Taxes & Fees to notify us or you waive your right to dispute those Taxes & Fees.

So they switched to the claim that since I didn't verify the plan was correct online prior to my bill, that constitutes acceptance of the plan as applied. That was pretty inventive, and is nowhere to be found in the Terms and Conditions and completely contradicts the above.

They tried to argue that because the change was retoractivily applied rather than applied on the next cycle that waived somehow exceeded my right to dispute, eventhough the retoractive application starts on the bill I just got, less than 2 weeks ago and 45 days shy of the deadline.

And after one person offered me $100, another offered $57 and claimed it was the absolute best they could do under the rules. Ok.. seems to me that someone is lying. It can't be both $100 and $57. Credibility is hurt badly.

All of which goes to my greater service issues with companies like T-Mobile and Apple. They just don't live up to their end of the bargain. Apple also likes to promote it's service, but when push comes to shove seems to focus on ways to get out of living up to their service obligations. I guess I'll be getting a new cell phone.

Washington Cup Rd 3 and The Parachute

Dave Richter said it best, riding on antibiotics is like riding with a parachute on your back.

I started Market fully expecting to suck: I hadn't ridden since Sequim and was on day 4 of a 5 day antibiotic treatment for a sinusitus. If you count the amoxycillan I took on my own then it was 5 days worth. So it was somewhat frustrating to feel.. ok. I felt strong, not great but able to ride well. I could generate power, but it took about 2x as long to recover and each lap my HR was creeping up (yah that's right, I don't use power.. I will when they fix that 10% varience on accelerations).

Ironically, when I packed with 2 to go I felt worse than if I really was going bad. I could feel my body beginning to tire and didn't want to exhaust myself. That would be a sure fire way to let the sinus infenction get another foothold and really put me down again. But, it left me with a hallow feeling.. what should have been.

I haven't raced healthy yet this year, yet I've been good-very good in every race except Ohop, were I tried to ride great and blew.

I guess I also need to look at why I get sick about this time every March.. perhaps allergies.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Kaus: Hack

Kaus tries to explain how Coulter's calling Arabs "ragheads" wasn't a racist slur/

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Peggy Nounan realizes Bush Lied?

Brad DeLong quotes Peggy Noonan's realization that Bush isn't a conservative. And in his analysis posits that she must have assumed Bush was lying.

To which I say: screw you Peggy. You've been a faithful mouth piece since day 1 and now you reep what you sow. And Bush isn't a liar, he's a Bullshitter (the technical meaning) and it makes no difference whether you are on his side or not. You on the otherhand were a liar because you knew what you were saying wasn't true. You just figured it was ok because you were right and liberals wrong. No sympathy Peggy.

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Sounds Like I Need to get a 3-Spoke Front

Velonews had an interesting interview with Hed. 15 seconds in a 40Km TT is actually a pretty big deal to me. Sounds like I need me a 3-Spoke in the back though.

Although, perhaps I should just worry about getting faster first.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Washington Cup and a fist full of tired

Round 2 of the Washington Cup is done, and I am completely knackered. Michael and I raced Mason and despite the plan to sit in, well we didn't. The race itself may have been slow, but both of us did a lot of work.

We went in to Sequim with the goal of winning the race. Rob Campbell is a better sprinter than Michael, who leads the points, so we decided it was up to them to control the race. Our plan was to get a break up the road. The break went on Lap 1 and we had both Erik S. and Sundt in it so we looked good. Jonny flatted which hurt our chance for the win, but Erik's an (old) war horse and got 6th.

Jonny ended up 7th and I got into a nice little move to get 9th. Tony Ogden pipped me for 8th on the line after I had the sprint laid out for me on a platter. I think he misinterprited my sitting out a couple turns as bluffing for the sprint. The reality is that the break started putzing around with 3 or 4K to go and that allowed me to recover. I also had been doing a lot more work during the race in general so had effectively been going longer than everyone except I think the Taco Bell guy.

All that aside, Tony has turned into a good rider.

So we hold the cup lead by 14 points, with Anton Jackson now in 2nd. That's good for us because we have the advantage at Rainier Roubaix but Broadmark has reason to help at Market for the jersey.

Thursday, March 09, 2006

Beast Machines, better than I expected

I hope all the 12 year old jack-offs with internet access that killed the creative spark of Transformers are happy. I just got the DVD of Beast Machines, which I had never seen but was the source of much outrage in the TF community.

First off, you know what... the show is well written. The dialogue/story boarding are far superior to the current TF crap. Now, I understand that fans may not like the particular version of Cybertron.. but it actually does make sense. And, whether you like it or not it has a vision.

Instead of advocating for a story direction they liked, fans crapped on the series and Hasbro took a neutral approach to the series after this. So hey, you all got what you deserved.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

What's so great about Apple? Pt. 2

Reprinted for your pleasure, the response to my online trouble ticket with Apple.

Dear ,

Thank you for contacting Apple.

We apologize for the difficulties you have experience. After reviewing your message, Apple has determined the nature of your question falls outside the type of support provided via email by the Apple Store.

To obtain technical support for Apple products, call Apple technical support at 800-APL-CARE (800-275-2273). Help is available seven days a week from 8:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. central time.

You will find thousands of technical articles, online discussion forums, downloadable manuals, updated software, and a wealth of product information at .


Apple Store Customer Support

Customer First Name :
Customer Last Name :
email :
Web Order # :
Support Subject : Post-Purchase
Sub Issue : Defective product
Comments : I recieved an iPod shuffle from as part of year end bonus/gifts. I've taken it into the local Apple store 2x and it still doesn't work. I have to be honest, I am not too happy with the support we've recieved. We had a laptop and the USB ports stopped working. The same store told us we'd have to buy a new powerbook... even I know how to replace the USB ports on a PC and find it hard to believe you can't replace them on an Apple too. The only item that does work is my wife's iPod but 1 out of 3 isn't a good average. I am hoping that you'll be able to change our miserable experience and give us a reason to support Apple.


Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Cheating: It's Not Just For Cyclists Anymore

Sorry honey, Barry ain't clean.

Meanwhile, the UCI basically defends Lance. The key point, imo, is the sentence:

However, he added: "The procedure used for these samples was one used for research purposes and didn't follow the protocol for samples tested for possible disciplinary proceedings. There was no protocol so the results cannot be proven nor accepted as proven."

This too me sums up the problem I have with WADA. Science isn't based on trust, you have to follow protocols and rules of validation. Yet WADA likes to skip those protocols, redefine validation to fit its criteria and basically say "trust us". That's not science. Even if they are right. Lance may be guilty. Hell, if I had to bet my life on it I'd bet he is doped to the gills. But, that's my opinion. WADA clearly thinks he's guilty too, but until they start meeting basic scientific requirements such as using a validated test, they haven't proven it.

What's so great about Apple?

I keep hearing people yack up how great Apple is. But so far I am unimpressed. My wife had a Apple laptop when we met, and the mouse port no longer works. When she took it in to the Apple store they told her she'd need to buy a new one. Now, I am not a genius, but if my PC had that problem I could replace the part myself. It's not that hard. And I got an iTunes shuffle for Christmas and it doesn't work either. I took it down to the store and they "fixed it", but still no joy.

My suspicion is that there are easy solutions, but that the store employees are.. stupid. But nevertheless it does not want me to buy more Apple stuff.

Monday, March 06, 2006

IceBreaker TT

I don't know which is worse.. getting 2nd to last (thank science Gary flatted) or looking fat doing it.

Actually, as a guy who used to take the TT seriously I am glad to see that a lot of other guys do too. I am not sure I would make IceBreaker my season goal like I know a couple guys did, but the depth is way deeper than in the past. Unfortunately, none of the slow guys showed up to help me out!

Saturday, March 04, 2006

Ben Kaplan: Dead to Me

That's right Ben, you're dead to me. I am quiting you! But before I do I need to get you some eyewear :)

Thursday, March 02, 2006

My Head Hurts

I woke up yesterday morning in full denial that I am sick. My throat hurt, my head hurt. I had trouble sleeping. But like all good athletes, I went out and trained anyway. The first 2 hours were fine; I even hooked up with Adrian Hagervy from Recycled Cycles. We road out to Herb Farm were I turned back. About 5 minutes later the wheels completely came off. I am not sure how I made it back home. My HR was at Lactate Threshold in my 39x21. As soon as I got home I passed out on the couch. 3 hours of riding reduced me to a quivering ball of jelly.

So instead of a productive work day and a 4 hour ride I am just trying to recover and get as much done as I can. We'll see how I feel tomorrow; I am not going to kill myself to do Mason. The good news for me is that I have the Masters option.. a nice way to get some racing in without over taxing myself.

I also found out elite team sponsor is selling a pimped out TT bike: The Cronus. I certainly won't be getting one this year; I am not fast enough to deserve it (and I already have a Cheetah). But man it is sweet.

Our team runs 2 bike sponsors.. Ridley for the elite team and Torelli for the Development team. The Ridley is honestly the best bike I have ever riden. They are like a Porshe. The price point is much higher than a Torelli, so for the Dev guys it makes sense to get that. But if you are looking for a bike that'll make you the envy of every other weekend warrior or retired racer, plus treat your butt with love and affection.. this is it.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Omloop Ohop Post Race.

You can get results here or here.

The race was epic, with Michael Emde winning in grand solo style. Props should also go out to Derik Archibald of The Valley Athletic Club for his gutsy attack on Lap 1 that turned into the winning move when Michael bridged up to him.

There was a solid field of riders, and the muddy conditions took their tool on all of us. I survived 5 laps before getting dropped from the chase group. The conditions left 2 groups on the road, the fast guys and the survivors. Most of those who would form a 2nd group of riders quit.

All in all, turnout was good and the race (although a bit extreme) was what we dreamt of. The next step is to convince the park to let us cobble the 2 most extreme sections to balance out paved/dirt a little better and reduce the mud potential a little. Not a lot, but a little.