28 May 2009

Weekly Roundup May 28, 2009

Title: Weekly Roundup May 28, 2009
Subtitle: Yeah! No sh__... A Weekly Roundup!

Wow, just wow! It has been four weeks, since I’ve posted a Weekly Roundup. I don’t know how it’s possible, but facts are friendly. I am slowly falling to pieces, and going outside of my damn mind! I swear, the forty hour day that I mentioned a month ago… Yeah, not enough. I need sixty hours in a day easily. I’m just getting to the point where I want to move somewhere far away, by myself, with the bikes, and not let anyone know where I am. Ever been there? Not a pretty place. So, with that in mind, I will give you the Weekly Roundup… and hopefully I’ll be in a decent mood tomorrow.

50K Loop NS: Bluenoser has long been one of my guilty pleasures to check out at lunch. His post from Saturday had me laughing as I sat sick at home on a three day weekend, surfing the net. So You Want To Go To Sea or Have You Ever Been Blown Ashore Billy? was one of my rays of weekend sunshine in an otherwise crazy weekend. The highlight of the post was his comparisons of bike parts, and their ship related counterparts.

The Cincinnati Man: The Cincinnati Man has been lurking around my comment section lately, and I’ve really been getting into his posts. Especially when you Bring On The Cincinnati Chili Stories! I don’t think there is anything on Earth quite as good as really good Cincinnati Chili! Except maybe a couple of the beers he’s talked about recently with the Cincinnati Chili.

Highway Munky Blog: Munky has been away for a bit of a “bank holiday”, but apparently he had the time to remind us all why Ya Gotta Love Lance! Lance, no surprise here, hates cancer much like Fatty… And me for that matter! I need to get my hands one of these posters.

Fat Cyclist: Speaking of Fatty, he seems to have a humongous problem on his hands. Apparently [He Has] Not Yet Decided How To Spend This $30,000 [He Has] Just Laying Around. I swear I nearly shot diet coke out of my nose reading this. He takes a, tongue in cheek, look at what he could spend $30,000 on if he were to blow it all on road bikes. It takes a couple interesting turns as well, and two of my, ahem, favorite bikes make a guest appearance! Also, spend some time checking out the stories from the past week on all of the people who rode the “100 Miles To Nowhere” race. They are excellent stories, and were done for an excellent cause… To fight cancer.

Well, that’s all I have for this week. Next week we’re back on the Monday night ride schedule after the Memorial Day weekend. As usual, I’m the Phun Cyclist, you stay classy Cleveland.

27 May 2009

Beer Review: Stone - Cali-Belgique

This weekend I got to try another wonderful beer from the guys over at Stone Brewing. I feel like I am becoming a bit of a shill for these guys, but the bottom line is they are just making some great beers! I've enjoyed their brews now for, about, eight or so years. Their beers are what got me interested in the whole craft beer industry and, further, what got me interested in home brewing.

This weekend I managed to get in a tasting of Stone's Cali-Belgique IPA. Admittedly a lot more IPA in my opinion than Belgian, it was a great beer. This is one of Stone's regular releases, on a "when we can brew it" basis.
APPEARANCE: A beautiful bright orange beer, with a beautiful white foamy head.

AROMA: A noticeably hoppy scent, citrusy – grapefruity or lemony – with a slight yeasty, spicy note.

FLAVOR: The hop smell comes through in a hoppy California IPA sort of way. Very citrusy hops, very little malt or sweetness, which I expected from the “Belgique” side. The

PALATE: Medium-bodied, balanced but hoppy. As it got to room temp in the glass the malt seemed to start to peak its head in, and it finished nicely. It was just creamy and complex, as I would expect from a Belgian, but just thin enough that I could take a few down like an IPA.

NOTES: The only regret I have surrounding this 6.9% beer is that I only picked up one bottle. There wasn’t anything I didn’t like about this. I could get into some trouble if I had a keg of this laying around. I’m not a hugely crazy Belgian fan, truth be told I haven’t made it a point to really try a whole lot of Belgians, but this was just IPA enough that I could put more that a few down and be happy. I think I usually find the Belgians to be too rich for my taste, but this was more of a medium body and just rich enough that it was a joy to drink.

26 May 2009

Memorial Weekend Phun

You'll likely realize soon enough that the title is sarcasm. I had big plans for the weekend. Yard work, repairs & maintenance around the home, finish at least one of the two bathrooms, and finally a ride. Nothing epic, just twenty-five or thirty miles, enjoying the weather and scenery. Of course, as my life lately seems to be, the entire thing went to pot.

Friday wasn't horrible. I ate well, did some work in the garden, found one more of the seven hop plants coming up (now at three of seven), messed with the veggies I planted (only melons and pumpkins came up so far. Looks as though I'll be buying peppers, tomatoes, and squash. Freakin' figures), had a few beers, and watched the Cavaliers. It was awesome! Not only did I really enjoy kicking back to watch my Cavs play, but they won with the most amazing buzzer beater I've ever seen in my life.

That, my friends, is where the fun ended. So I woke up Saturday morning sick as a dog. I ran out to get paint and some miscellaneous items to finish the bathrooms. Figured by the time I came home I'd surely feel better. Yeah, not so much. I was way off. I spent most of the day between the couch and bathroom (sorry for being mildly graphic, but...) before watching the Lakers beat the Nuggets to lead their series two to one and finally crashing out for the night.

Sunday wasn't much better. Woke up feeling like butt. Spent some time with the family for a late breakfast/early lunch, and got home. Worked, a bit, on the bathrooms and crashed. Did some more work and crashed. Had some dinner and crashed. Notice a theme here? Yeah, I couldn't do too much without feeling like I was going to die. Let me just point out, this is the first three day weekend I've had since I cannot tell you when. So, it would figure I'd be sick just to screw the whole thing up. The night wasn't much better as I watched the Cavs get beat by the Magic and watched them slip to Magic two, Cavs one for the playoffs. It sucked, hard.

Monday was, finally, a different story. I got out and picked up all the crap I forgot to get on Saturday. Got a ton of things done both inside and outside around the house. Cooked out, had a steak, some beers, good time with the family, and finally got in a ride.

I felt good, and just needed to get out. It was a beautiful 70-75ºf, windy but not too bad, pollen didn't seem bad today, so it was just perfect. I only got in about ten miles at a solid 16-17 mph (no computer on the mountain bike, not 100% sure) clip based on distance and time. I got to see so much cool stuff today too!

Look close in the middle here, and you can see a deer. The tiny thing under it? Her baby. The tiniest deer I've ever seen.The cows were out grazing.Even the river looked particularly nice today. All in all, it was a great way to end a weekend that started out pretty crappy.

Hope all of you had a great weekend! See you again tomorrow.

21 May 2009

Cavaliers: Monopolizing My Time

How do I even begin. When your team scores 33 points in the first quarter and then another 30 in the second?! Seriously?! Top that off with ending the half with a shot from damn near the foul line... of the opposing team! Wow, just wow.

You could probably guess that I am going to be of little use during this entire post as I am watching the Cavs MANHANDLE the Orlando Magic. For as great as the first half was, the second half? We kinda blew. Not being mean, or critical, just saying. When you start the half +15 and wind up tied with just over five minutes in the game? That, after we were -3 at one point. Seriously started to fall apart quickly.

The bottom line is this, there are six more games to come! We haven't had a championship in Cleveland since the 1964 Cleveland Browns! This could change the face of sports in Cleveland. So for now, I leave all y'all with the greatest commercial ever. If I have to explain, you wouldn't get it anyway.

18 May 2009

Those Of You Who Really Know Me & 24

Those of you who truly know me, know that I am an "intricate" person. I say that because I, feel like I, am not always the easiest person to appreciate, let alone love. I had a good amount of time to look at what I am doing, what I want to do, and where I hope to be in the years to come. It was nice, really. I haven't stopped long enough in a while to reflect on where I am or want to be in a while, it was long overdue.

So, why do I bring it up here? I would like to share this with you, because you have been a part of my life. You have given me encouragement when I need it, criticism when I was way off when speaking my mind, and in general just encouraging. I ask that you please continue that as I go through, what is sure to be, a transition. I am still all about cycling. I am a bit more about brewing right now too. I will likely be splitting time between the two. I need to get my train on for Philly, and I need to be pushed toward that. I also need to get my brew on. It is a longtime dream of mine to brew on a semi-pro or professional level, ie: for competition or for a brewery, and I came to the conclusion that it's high time I put up or shut up.

I need to focus more on family and less on bullshit that is not moving me forward in family, life or career. This is hard, on account I have my hand in a few different things that I feel are very important, but I am beginning to question how important, and why. I feel like it comes down to this; I need to be more selfish. I need to focus on my God, my family, and myself. In that order. I need to stop appeasing those who "don't matter" and start focusing on those who do. I need to stop neglecting the important relationships in lieu of those that are only serving to lead to distraction.

With that said, please understand that the blog is going nowhere! I think this is medicinal to me. It keeps me grounded and you, it's readers, hold me accountable for all of the shit I try to get away with. That's where you come in. I ask that not only do you, please, keep reading. Also, please ride my ass like never before to keep me accountable as I go through this journey. Everyone needs encouragement and accountability, and I am no exception.

OK, I think that's a good place to stop for now. So, with that, I'm going to go for now. Crash out, wake up, get to work, come home to some friends and dinner, watch 24, and crash out again. Tomorrow is a new day, and that is how I need to take it. One day at a time. Thanks, in advance, and please help me to keep it real.

15 May 2009

Chaos Once Again

Let me just say that I am in a "hate everything" frame of mind. Seriously. Every time I think I am just starting to get to a point where life will become normal, something throws it completely off kilter. I am dying to try to keep up with writing, I am dying to get out and brew more often, I am dying to try to get out on the bike, and I am trying to balance work to make enough money to live. Never mind the fact that I still don't know how the hell I'm possibly going to afford the trip out to Philadelphia, let alone the place to stay and food for the LiveStrong Challenge. Things are seriously falling the &#$% apart... quickly! Hence, I've made a decision about my life, and that is as follows:
I need to find a way to make each day of my life thirty-six hours long. Furthermore, I need to be able to sync that in such a way that I am not trying to fulfill obligations with others while they are sleeping, rather I need them to stay up roughly twenty-eight of those thirty-six hours. Crap... OK, I need the hours in the day for everyone to by thirty-six, and everyone needs to be up twenty-eight of the thirty-six. There. given the previously mentioned timeframes, I will segregate my day in the following way. The first fourteen for work, seven for family, and the final seven alternating between brewing and cycling. The eight leftover will be to sleep.
That shouldn't be a problem, right? And just to maintain health over brewing... I'll allocate four days to cycling and three to brewing. I figure this way, I'll maintain a certain level of fitness.

A perfect example of the chaos? I had every intention of riding to work everyday this week. Yeah, guess what? Never happened. I literally did not have the opportunity to bike in once this week. Between storms and having to drive in to work to be able to drive to off site meetings, to needing to be in at ungodly early/late hours and crazy time constraints... It just sucks. This weekend? Not going to be a bit different. The only saving grace? Sunday is rainy and crappy, and I get to brew.

I need a vacation from life. Seriously. Sorry I've been updating less than regularly, but please bare with me. Next week will be a new week, new stories, some brewing and some really good, really limited beer reviews to come. Have a great weekend, and let's meet back here Monday, OK?

13 May 2009

Beer Review: Buckeye Brewing - Bling Bling

If you live in the Cleveland area, and appreciate good beer, you know that Cleveland has a veritable cornucopia of places to get good craft brews if you seek them out. Likewise, there are a handful of local breweries if you know where to look. One such brewery is Buckeye Brewing. Buckeye sells there beers at a handful of select local specialty shops, as well as their restaurant Buckeye Brew Engine. They have a huge list of really great brews but today, I'll focus one one: Buckeye Bling Bling.

Bling Bling is an American Pale Ale, brewed with British Malt, Torrified Wheat, and Amarillo Hops. It's a somewhat mild, malty sweet beer, with a slightly crisp note that would make it a great choice, in my opinion, for a summer night. So, without further adieu and as to not repeat myself, my tasting notes on Bling Bling.

APPEARANCE: Very orange/amber. Little to no head, with almost no lacing, yet constant bubbles.

AROMA: A noticeable fruity smell. Sweet, citrus and a light malt smell.

FLAVOR: A light hop taste, with a more noticeable fruity, citrus, and maybe almost apricot or peachy, kind of note. Some lightly malt finishes the taste off.

PALATE: Definitely a light to medium-bodied beer with and ever so slightly creamy mouth feel. No heat (of alcohol) whatsoever.

NOTES: At 6.5% this falls out of what I would usually session, though I could easily drink this a session beer. It’s a bit crisp, and could take a few down without a second thought on a hot, humid Cleveland day. Bottom line, do whatcha gotta to get your hands on one, and try it out. While you're at it, pick up a couple of Buckeye's other beers and see what you think.

12 May 2009

Crappy Monday Night Ride

First, I guess an apology is in order for not having a Monday post. You may, or may not realize, that my posts are done the night before. This would mean that the lack of a Monday post means that I punked out Sunday night and did not bother to write. For this, I am sorry. There's been a lot going on, none of which I would care to talk about here, nor would I think it appropriate to talk about here. So, with that said...

Monday night ride was tonight, which will be last night when you read this... Get it? It was Monday night, and it sucked so big and so hard! It was a mere 15 miles at a clip of only 15.6 MPH, it was cold as hell, and my lungs and legs were spent. I am so unhappy, I cannot begin to express it in words.

Saturday I spent the entire day up and down a ladder hanging fifteen or so foot lines for my hop plants,and trying to finish the bathroom. It's for that reason that I didn't get a post done. Furthermore, it is for that reason that my legs feel as though they might fall off at any minute.

Sunday was mothers day, so I spent the day with, both, my mother and the amazing mother of my kids. If I haven't mentioned it before, which I have but not nearly as often as I should, my wife is the coolest wife ever. If you have a wife, I apologize, but mine is cooler... Deal with it. So bottom line is nothing got accomplished. Wake up, cook, eat, shower, church, cook, eat, mom, wife, cook, eat, wife, kids to bed, wife, bed. That is the day in a (poor put together mess of words that is supposed to resemble, but does not make a) sentence.

Monday I got up early, got out the door early, everything loaded in the cat because I realized I could not ride on account I had to get to the chiropractor before work and couldn't get there and than to work on time if I rode. No biggie. I was riding after work with six friends, so we're all cool. I sat for thirty or forty minutes, I think, at the chiropractor, got to work later than I wanted but barely on time. I got a bunch done before the Monday meeting, I rocked a ton of work before lunch, and was on cloud nine.

After lunch, check the email. Three of six are now out. Two are out on account something came up, OK. One is out because he won't able to come out and I just forgot. Now I'm a bit down. I busted ass and got some serious work done in the afternoon. Took a break, made a couple calls, One out flu, one out after a double century over the weekend, and, finally, the sixth and final out due to work. Hence this: I ride on a crappy day, feeling crappy, solo. Nothing sucks more than when you know you need the accountability of friends to keep you going, and you know you're not going to have it.

I rode a non-mapped route, in an unfamiliar place. Mistake. I knew where I was at all time and never got (couldn't get) lost. The problem was every damn time I turned a corner I turned into a cul de sac. Serious. That was likely a good part of the reason for my slow ass ride. I had to break on the cul de's that were crumbling apart from the Cleveland winter. It just sucked.

Well, the bottom line? Tomorrow, er today, is a new day. That, and as long as the Cavaliers kick Atlanta's ass tonight, er last night (?!), I'll be fine come tomorrow, er today... Tuesday. Go Cavs, give me something to be happy about! Catch you guys tomorrow for a Roundup, then some beer related and maybe end out the week on a biking note. We'll see.

08 May 2009

Next Week Is Bike To Work Week!

That's right folks! It's here again! May 11-17, 2009 is bike to work week! This year I will be riding to work everyday that there is not a morning rain. I don't have anywhere to cleanup, so I feel like I am limited to when and how I could ride. I know I could be more hardcore, but I'm not. Thom, for example, rides the, like, 25 or 30 miles everyday to his job. Rain, sleet, snow, 110º and fire... he rides.

Anyway, next week it's on! We will have the Lake County Monday night ride, but I will be riding to work as many of the five days as I could. I would like to encourage you to do the same. I want to ride into work a lot more this summer, this just gives me an excuse for a good point to start.

I'll be back next week with more, and better I hope, posts. For now I'm going to go watch my Cavaliers beat the pi__ out of the Atlanta Hawks. Cavs are up 36 points with just over a minute in the third...

07 May 2009

Tough Times

I wanted to be kind of gooey and cheesy today, so please bear with me. I have been blessed often in my life with the opportunity to so many things. Quite a few of those I’ve really enjoyed. There are some things that I have yet to do that I would really like to, but all of this will come in it’s due time.

Some things turned out really well, some went to hell in a hand basket. Example, I did the race [poorly] in October, but even that was kind of a positive experience for me. See, usually Don would never have done it. I would’ve got there, seen the people, and punked the hell out. It would’ve looked like: “Ugh… So many people… If I suck, I’m going to look like an ass” or something along that train of thought. I pissed off a couple of people in order to do the race, and I have to admit I will never apologize for that. It was something I had to do for me and do not regret it a bit. I knew if I didn’t take that one shot, at that time, I’d likely never do it.

The reason I’m mentioning this is I feel the same way about a lot of things right now including, at times, the blog. I really wanted to do the blog for so many reasons. I don’t regret doing it, I think, for the most part, it’s OK. I just don’t know where to go from here.

I see people hit the thing from all over the world, to the tune of a hundred or so a day a lot of the time. Today I had hits from the US, UK, Australia, Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Ireland, Belgium, South Korea, South Africa, Turkey, Bulgaria, Venezuela, Czech Republic, Spain, and New Zealand. I’ve seen more than that over the year or so I’ve done the blog. What I’m curious about is whether or not it is worth continuing?

I’ve noticed a slip in number of comments, and it has me wondering. Am I not updating enough, too often? Is the blog just getting boring? Is the Weekly Roundup lame? Are my “regulars” still showing up? I just don't know what to think.

I admit, I've had family, personal, and work drama in the last couple months. I don't know, maybe that's just got me down. I'm way into cycling, still, and into brewing and beers. Is that too much. Should this be one or the other? I just don't know, and I'd love your help and encouragement.

Please drop me a line and let me know what you think. I'd love to keep going and value your input.


04 May 2009

Work Getting In The Way

So the weekend was spent on work so that I could work on a side job. It was, like, 70 and gorgeous and I was locked in my room on the laptop. This is KILLING me! I need to become independently wealthy NOW so I could spend time riding more, getting better at it, and brewing beer.

This week is week two of Monday night rides. It'll be interesting to see how that goes. I have yet to hear back from most of the group. I know of two people who cannot make it, that means I'm waiting on four. I have, however, decided that I will go out no matter what! So if you're in the Lake County area and need a Monday ride, drop me a line in the comments or through the "contact me" link in the upper right hand corner of the sidebar.

With that in mind... I have some cool posts planned in the near future. But for now, enjoy the sickness of Danny Macaskill...