31 July 2009

Beer Review : Stone 13th Anniversary

Just got back from a ride, and I'm feeling the fact that I have been putting off the riding and working out in lieu of work. I mean, I have to do what I have to do but I haven't exactly been going out of my way to make time to ride or work out. I have been getting better about the core exercise, so I guess that's a start, but I could be doing more.

With that in mind, because it's a weekend, and because I just had an amazing beer, I will give you a beer review for the weekend. This weekend, another Stone. I feel like I've done a bunch of Stone Brewing beers, but I also think that they are very much warranted. The guys over at Stone Brewing are putting out some beers that are just blowing my freaking mind! The latest of them is Stone 13th Anniversary Ale. This is the latest in their Anniversary line, they put out one every year, and when they're gone, they're gone. This year they did a monstrous Imperial/Double Red Ale unlike any other. To start off, they used four pounds of hops per barrel in brewing this big boy, and it shows. In classic Stone fashion it's available in limited tap and across the country in 22oz bottles, which is how I had it. Let me tell you, at 9.5% you need to be ready for this beer. Check out my notes, then go to your local beverage shop, that sells craft brews, and buy one for yourself.
APPEARANCE: A dark beautiful ruby red color that borders on a rusty red. A thick, two finger tan head, that dissipates into a beautiful lacing that hugs the side of the glass gently sliding down with each drink.

AROMA: From the second you pop the cap, you smell the hops in this big Imperial Double Red Ale. The first note is a very heavy citrus, nay grapefruit, scent. I am guessing this is from the Chinook Hops in the brew, but it could also be the Centennial that are used in the dry hopping. There is also just a hint of pine in there. The beer has a smell that can only be described as resiny, (forgive me) ‘dank’ and beautiful.

FLAVOR: BIG! This beer is all about the hops, and has just a touch of an alcohol heat. The first thing I notice is the wonderful hoppy grapefruit/grapefruit rind flavor of the hops come through. There is slightest malt finish to it that is, in my mind, almost as if it were an afterthought.

PALATE: There is no doubt that this is a full-bodied beer, and definitely not for the beginner, or those into ‘fizzy yellow beers’ as Stone would say. There is a good deal of carbonation to it, which I noticed from the pour, but it is not overly carbonated. It has a slight but very noticeable heat to it, which isn’t surprising to me at 9.5%. The heat does seem to become more noticeable the further I get into the second half of the bottle, and the closer it gets to room temperature.

NOTES: I am a total hop-head. A freak for the beautiful bitterness that can only come from Humulus lupulus, the hop plant. This definitely delivers. For this special release, Stone hopped the brew at four pounds of hops per barrel, more hops per barrel than any other beer they’ve produced. As mentioned it is a big 9.5%, which you can feel. I was getting a warmth from this beer half way through the 22 oz. bottle. It is available as a limited release in 22oz. bottles, and (very) limited tap. I would love to find this on tap somewhere just for the comparison. The 13th Anniversary Ale was released 06/29/2009, and is available while supplies last, so you have to get it when you see it. I was going to buy a few to cellar, but wrote Stone after seeing a note on the label, “Do not cellar. Enjoy in 2009.” When I received word back from Stone, this is apparently because the flavor profile cannot be guaranteed to last. They did not say it, but I am willing to throw out the guess that it is due to the amount of hops they are using in the beer, and the fact that the hop character is bound to mellow over time. All this said, I will be sad when I get the last drink of the final bottle of Stone 13th Anniversary. This was yet another great brew from the guys at Stone.

Well, that's it for now. Fair warning, if you're into the beer thing, I will be going to the Stan Hywet Blues & Brews tasting next Saturday August 8, from 2:00-6:00 pm. So come Monday the 10th, I will be writing a review of the event, and likely have some fresh beer reviews in the near future. Have a great weekend, and CHEERS!

30 July 2009

Weekly Roundup July 30, 2009

I had a meeting that went late after work on Tuesday, and generally write the posts the day before. Example, right now it’s Wednesday night and I’m writing the Thursday post. That’s how they go live at midnight every night. So, you can, kind of, gauge how busy I’ve been by when I miss a post. Just a weird bit of insight into the life of the guy known as “Phun”. Also, I am debating what to do. I have a GREAT beer review that I’m dying to get up, but I am riding to work, and then doing a ride after. So, Friday will be a surprise to you, and I may (pretty likely) have a Saturday post as well. Thank you all once again this week for stopping in and reading! It was fun to keep track of the Tour de France, even though some of the posts were a bit short, and I have been able to have some good discussion regarding the tour with both some readers, and some of my friends. With that in mind, I want to give you a Weekly Roundup.

Travels With A Tin Donkey: Speaking of the TdF, Sprocketboy shares a throwback to the Tour with a look at a real “weapon”, Fabian’s Time Trial Frame: The Shiv. It never ceases to amaze me how absolutely sick the new technology is getting. Seeing this Specialized frame reminds me why I am such a fan of Specialized. I have bought a few bikes in the last couple years, all of the Specialized, and for reasons like this SICK piece of weaponry.

50K Loop NS: I’m just going to throw out the suggestion that Bluenoser should change the name of his blog, right now, to “One Sick Sh__”. Hahaha, I’m only kidding BN. You see, he has set his mind to do the insane, and insanely cool, but it has him (and the rest of his readers I’m sure) asking What The Fork?. I’m going to hold back from getting too into it, as to not ruin the story. The bottom line is (1) EPIC freaking riding to take place, (2) Life changing events to occur, and (3) I am jealous. Best wishes to you , BN, keep us updated!

Miles And Madness: Ah yes, it is that time of year again. A time for everyone to start their training for the big races, and to start thinking about Iron Man races and Judi is no exception. Judi got out and took aPeak At Iron Man Louisville. Apparently the acupuncture that she has been undergoing has done wonders too! The crazy back pain that she was feeling? Gone! Just further proof that between acupuncture and (My favorite) chiropractic, holistic medicine is the way to go, and the wave of the future.

Competitive Cycling Groover, out in Oz, is also getting her training on, and she brings up a great point, Alberto Makes It Look SO Easy! I couldn’t agree more. I have a ride home from work that is a mere ten miles. It is ten miles long, but ends with (about) miles six through nine in 400 feet of climbing +/- and the hills are about 5-10% grades if I take one route, and 19% if I take the other route. This is assuming the calculator I was using holds true and map my ride are correct. Admittedly, I take the first. Regardless, the hills in my hood are pretty constant, and it leaves me feeling like a failure, after seeing the guys on the TdF looking like they’re going out for a Sunday ride. Great read, Groover, keep up the good work, and I’ll keep banging out the hills till I can clear ‘em like the pros.

Fat Cyclist: Finally, I wanted to drop a line to Elden and the Fat Cyclist community. Things have been rough for Fatty’s (Elden) wife Susan, and he’s been keeping the “extended family” of blog readers updated on how she has been doing. According to Elden, Susan is in an ugly place with her fight with cancer. Please, go check out his blog, and leave Elden, Susan, and family a word of encouragement in the comments section. Then get over to his Lance Armstrong Foundation page and donate to LAF. It’s linked in the sidebar of his blog. As always, sending Love and Prayers from Cleveland!

Well, that’s all I have for this week. Today, I ride in to work, so psyched! Remember to be thankful for all you have, and say a prayer for those struggling right now. Phun Cyclist, out.

28 July 2009

Weekend Ride, Finally!

It was a good weekend, that came from a bad event. See what I didn't mention in yesterday's post, the one I actually posted on Sunday about the final stage of the Tour, is that while I did see the final stage, I didn't necessarily enjoy it. You see I thought ahead enough to set the DVR to record it just in case I overslept, which ironically (or less than ironically) I did. So I get up, grabbed a bowl of Honey Bunches of Oats, and crashed the couch to watch. I turned to Versus and, imagine my surprise, found a black screen. Hmmmm. This isn't right. I've watched every damn stage of the Tour, or at the very least the replay at night. Well, Time Warner screwed me again.
Sidebar: (OOH! Been SO long since I did a sidebar!!) I HATE Time Warner. Their cable is overpriced, sucks, is unpredictable as hell, and my internet is wicked slow for the tier I am paying for. I wish like hell I could tell them to stick it, but they are the only provider where I am.
OK, back to the story. So they were of no help whatsoever, and I was getting no where with them. So I logged on to Versus and watched the magical 2x3" screen of joy! Not what I had in mind, but it was the final stage, and I saw it.

Well, long story short, I got totally honked off by this. Anyone who knows me well knows this; I ride well when I'm mad! So, after about a month or so of not getting out on the bike, or anything resembling a bike, I geared up, grabbed the mountain weapon and was out. "A quick 10 mile jaunt," was the answer to my wife when asked where I was going and how long. About two, two and a half hours, and twenty-five miles later I returned home. The ride was about 60% streets, and 40% crushed limestone and mixed surface. The "mixed surface" included a shallow tributary to a river, which at about 80-85ºf was awesome. To make it better? I cleared every hill on the route like a pro. OK, like an amateur,but I cleared 'em!

I got home with the legs SCREAMING, but they were screaming in that "good" way. You know the way where you pop a couple Advil and have an amazing afterglow smile. Yeah, that good. I almost stumbled down a flight of stairs trying to walk down them, from the pain, but it was so worth it. I wish I could've got pictures from the ride, but the camera is finally DOA. Hey, anyone know anyone at Nikon or Canon interested in getting a review of a camera? I'll be happy to do one? (heh heh) Well, hope you can say your weekend was excellent like mine!

26 July 2009

Le Tour de France... Fin

Well, the Tour is now a part of history. It was a great twenty-one stages, and arguably one of the most exciting ones I've seen recently. I was thinking back on the Tour and talking to someone, thanks "td" about the Tour and he put some things in perspective, that I want to take a quick minute to share. I have been, perhaps unduly, critical of Contador during the Tour. I still think he is a bit cocky, it might be a cultural thing, I don't know. I still think that he could use a few year of maturity under his belt. Bottom line, I think I got a bit caught up in the media hype of Contador negativity. "td" brings up a very good point that while, I was complaining, "Contador was riding for himself, not the team", often the best way to ride for the team is to ride for yourself. The bottom line is you are riding for the podium, and in turn you are doing what's best for your team. Interesting thought.

Well, on to the race. Lance comes back to racing after four years at age 37, and leaves in third place... Excellent! Second time in history a Japanese, Fumiyuki Beppu, rider finishes a Tour de France, how awesome is that? Cavendish has his first, first rider to get six stage wins in a sprint. Lance announced that he will leave Astana in 2010 to go to RadioShack. Now there is talk that Johan Bruyneel might be going with. Who will follow Lance in 2010? What will happen with Asatan as, at least a few riders are likely to leave?

Final thought, before I get to the final standings of the 2009 Tour de France standings. You have to applaud the riders for the tradition and camaraderie that they maintain in the TdF. To see them all starting out this morning riding at a slow place, enjoying good conversation, and enjoying the final day of the race. There were the attacks, but there is an amazing amount of respect for each other.

So, for the last time this year, the 2009 Tour de France (final) standings.
1. Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) 04:02:18
2. Mark Renshaw (Columbia-HTC) +0:00:00
3. Tyler Farrar (Garmin-Slipstream) +0:00:00
4. Gerald Ciolek (Milram) +0:00:00
5. Yauheni Hutarovich (Francaise Des Jeux) +0:00:00

1. Alberto Contador (Astana) 85:48:35
2. Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) +0:04:11
3. Lance Armstrong (Astana) +0: 05:24
4. Bradley WIggins (Garmin-Slipstream) +0:06:01
5. Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank) +0:06:04
For Complete tour standings visit the official site of the Tour de France. You can also view the Stage & Overall

24 July 2009

Tour de France: Stage 19 - And News From Lance

Well, two more days and the 2009 Tour will officially be in the books. Questions abound in my mind as to what the final outcome will be. Contador and his ego making unplanned attacks to take Armstrong and Kloden off the podium. The overall riders in second through fifth place separated by a mere minute and a half. And now, the bombshell hits going into the weekend.

RadioShack and Lance to Form New Cycling Team in 2010 -- powered by http://www.livestrong.com
That's right kids, if you haven't heard already, Lance has teamed up with RadioShack for a new team in 2010. Could this mean Lance may have a few unplanned attacks of his own in the final two stages of the race? If anyone can come back to win the Tour down a scant five minutes, it is Lance. Time will tell, we'll talk more on this Sunday after the race.
1. Mark Cavendish (Columbia-HTC) 3:50:35
2. Thor Hushovd (Cervelo Test Team) +0:00:00
3. Gerald Ciolek (Milram) +0:00:00
4. Greg VanAvermaet (Silence-Lotto) +0:00:00
5. Oscar Freire (Rabobank) +0:00:00

1. Alberto Contador (Astana) 77:06:18
2. Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) +0:04:11
3. Lance Armstrong (Astana) +0: 05:21
4. Bradley WIggins (Garmin-Slipstream) +0:05:36
5. Andreas Kloden (Astana) +0:05:38

23 July 2009

Weekly Roundup July 23, 2009

A few days ago @Lazy Lowrydr sent me a comment to the effect, is the blog becoming a beer blog. To be honest, I don’t know. I think it’s still about cycling, but what the hell do I know right now? It’s always been a weird hybrid of cycling and fitness, and I have thrown a bit (OK a lot) of beer into it as well. I hope you are having Phun with it, as I am. I needed to have an outlet for some of the beer stuff I’ve been writing for a while now, and have been cracking into a couple beers in the cellar. Without boring the crap out of everyone, the blog has been a bit weird lately. This is mainly because I have been buried in three different jobs, one of which I might as well not have for as little as I am doing with it, the wife is working part time, and just the trials and tribulations of life. Many of the ‘regulars’ have stuck by my side, and I keep getting new reader. Thank you ALL so much for stopping in and reading, also please know that I’m peaking in at your writings daily and enjoying them! With that in mind, I want to give you a (long overdue – like a month and a week) Weekly Roundup.

Travels With A Tin Donkey: My brother in Muesli has an answer this week that I Have to admit I need! I’m not going to say I’ve got all kinds of great gear, because I don’t, but I do have my bikes (good bikes), family bikes, and all that I need to keep them in shape to the best of my ability. One thing I DON’T have that I need is this… The Bike Cave™. I am always shifting stuff all over the garage to make room for bikes, or other necessities, THIS might just be the answer.

Cozy Beehive: Ron, is keeping the engineering juices flowing with a look at ’Decommissioned Bicycles & Their Waste Stream. So what DO you do with that carbon fiber bike once you’ve wrecked and snapped it in half? What are your viable options? Check out Ron’s thoughts, and be intrigued.

Harp Rider Harp had one of those ‘imagine my surprise’ kinda moments. Apparently he found one heck of a Nice Advertisement. Why so nice? His mug is the first thing you see on it. Well, OK, his SHOES are the first thing, but… I think the photo was shot ‘cause of the shoes Harp! *wink Also, he’s recently posted a few of his race results and training posts.

Fat Cyclist: Finally, I want to end on a fairly serious note. I feel like I am not often serious, but Elden (Fatty) has had a handful of posts lately that, to be honest, I wish like hell I didn’t have to write about. As you may remember from past posts, I lost my father to cancer some years back. Sixteen years ago this past Fathers Day to be exact. Fatty’s wife is currently going through the hell that is the disease. The ballence of pain, medication, tolerance, praying for miracles, all of it. It’s all to familiar to me. I wish like hell I could wave a wand and cure all the woes of Susan, Elden, their four kids, and their entire family. I’m not going to post an article here, what I am going to ask is that you check out his blog, and donate to Lance Armstrong Foundation, Huntsman Cancer Institute, whatever you see as the best organization. Then, Pray, Pray for Susan and her family, and all of the families that have to deal with this despicable disease. Finally, leave Elden a word of encouragement in the comments section. Elden, I think I speak for SO many out there when I say we’re thinking about you guys, we love you, and you’ve truly made us feel like family. Sending Love and Prayers from Cleveand!

Well, that’s all I have for this week. Remember to be thankful for all you have, and Pray for those who don’t.

22 July 2009

Le Tour de France: Stage 17

I'm going to keep this quick tonight, but will say that this race has been wicked exciting lately. The finishes have been amazing, the breakaways have been breath taking, and all of it is very distracting while I am trying to get work done. I've been listening to the race while at work, and watching the replay on Versus at night. As it stand right now, with 17 Stages in the books, here are the top fives:
1. Frank Schleck (Saxo Bank) 4:53:54
2. Alberto Contador (Astana) +0:00:00
3. Andy Schleck(Saxo Bank) +0: 00:00
4. Vincenzo Nibali (Liquigas) +0:00:00
5. Lance Armstrong (Astana) +0:02:18

1. Alberto Contador (Astana) 72:27:09
2. Andy Schleck (Saxo Bank) +0:02:26
3. Frank Schleck(Saxo Bank) +0: 03:25
4. Lance Armstrong (Astana) +0:03:55
5. Andréas Klöden (Astana) +0:04:44
Don't forget, You can catch everything live on Versus TV or versus.com. Thursday is a TT LIVE at 8:30-12:00, Friday 8:30-11:30 pm EST, Saturday 7:00- 11:30 am EST, Sunday 7:30-12:00 pm EST, and extended prime-time coverage (replay) 8:00 pm EST each night.

21 July 2009

Le Tour de France Stage 16

For those of you who may have missed Le Tour today, you missed a great one. I caught most of it at work today on Versus but, again, I was at work and missed pieces and parts. I will (likely) update this more this evening, once I have the chance to catch it off the DVR. I will say that it was an amazing race, and a fairly new contender proved his worth today. Astarloza was first today with Casar, Fedrigo, Roche, Van Den Broeck, and Moinard rounding out the next five spots all at +00:06.

I think a highlight for me was when Lance once again proved that he is every bit the pro he was when he won seven Tour victories. At the tail end of the race he pour on everything hes got to break away from the peloton at about 2km to rejoin the yellow jersey group just behind the six person breakaway at the front.

Once again this changes everything at the top of the overall standings. The top five now look like this: Contador 67:33:15, Armstrong +01:37, Wiggins +01:46, KlÖden +02:17, and Schleck at +02:26. This puts three Astana riders in the top four spots, and makes me wonder who will actually be Astana's 'go-to' boy for the yellow at the end. Will Armstrong be the domestique? Or will he play coy from now, and come back in the end to once again show the true athlete we've seen seven times in the past?

20 July 2009

Either A Really Great Day Or A Horribly Bad Day

News from the weekend that I just couldn't pass on? Sure, Nick Krupp had either the coolest day or worst day ever. Depends... Is the glass half full, or half empty? Nick, a Racine, WI was hanging out in his home Friday, likely minding his own business, when he had an unexpected visitor. The Oscar Mayer Wienermobile payed him a little visit. Unfortunately the visit was paid when the female driving the wiener apparently was trying to turn around in Nick's drive. She thought the gigantic wiener was in drive, but was actually in reverse, and she planted it in Nicks garage... through the door, and jamming it under the porch.

Apparently, according to the Chicago Tribune article, police had no idea the vehicle involved in the accident until they showed up. Imagine the hilarity that would ensue pulling up on a giant wiener stuck in someone's garage... I'll let you make your own jokes here, I just got into being able to say wiener six times so far. So the Chicago Tribune had a picture of the event. Here you go, enjoy!

18 July 2009

I Think The Tour de France Might Just Kill Me

So, I am watching the replay of The Tour de France as we speak and I know the outcome already so it's pretty well spoiled. Knowing the outcome of todays Tour, I have come to the conclusion that the Tour might just be the death of me. I will be the first to admit that I want to see Lance devastate in France again this year. For the life of me, I can't figure out why he can't just get it done. Furthermore, I can't figure out how some of these Haussler came out of nowhere to stun the crowds. This might just be one of the most exciting and, at the same time, most frustrating tours in my memory.

So that brings us to today, Stage 14, Colmar - Besançon. Things did switch up a bit today, Nocentini (AG2R la Mondiale) is still in first place, Hincapie (Columbia - HTC) came outta nowhere to take second place today at +00:05, and Contador (Astana) is now in third at +00:06. Which... Puts, my boy, Lance (Astana) in fourth at +00:08. Finally Le Mevel (Francaise Des Jeux) is pretty far behind in fifth at +00:43.

Well, that's about all I've got for now. Keep checking back, as I will be posting results daily. Work should allow for me to catch the end of the TdF at lunch and I should be able to post an update in realtime on Monday. Might even pen something tomorrow. Feel free to add what YOU think about the Tour, I'd love to hear your thoughts on the race.

17 July 2009

Weekend Beer Review: Pyramid Curve Ball

I wish I had better things to say today. The Tour de France is still "status quo." If you have no Idea what I mean, check out the last three or so posts... nothing has changed. So, with that in mind, I am going to give you my latest beer review for the weekend. Likewise, I wish it was better news, but... Well... Read for yourself...

Today I will review Pyramid - Curve Ball, Blonde Ale. Like I said, I wish it was better, but here goes...
APPEARANCE: pale yellow, straw yellow color. One finger head and lacing? What lacing?

AROMA: The first thing I get out of this is skunk. It doesn’t quite smell bad, but it reminds me of skunked beer. Like Heineken in a bottle. A definite grainy and malt smell, with no hop notes to speak of.

FLAVOR: The beer reminds me of either a ricey taste or a hint of instant mashed potatoes. Definitely a LOT more grainy than I am used to, with a bitter cereal aftertaste.

MOUTH FEEL: A medium-bodied beer, definitely dry yet almost cloying sweet and viscous. It’s also extremely carbonated, a little too much for my taste. This is a second Pyramid I have tried, and I will be hard pressed to try a third, short of them sending me their idea of a great beer to taste.

NOTES: This is a 5.0% Kölsch which is, admittedly, a style I am not super familiar with. I have had the Apricot Ale, and was also less than impressed with it. I’m not sure what it is I seem to dislike about the Pyramid brews, but after a negative experience on two I AM, as mentioned, hard pressed to try a third.
I hate o be negative, but I am now a bit biased against Pyramid. If you have had a Pyramid that you really like, or know of, please let me know and I'll consider trying it... If the planets line up and all that jazz.

15 July 2009

Another Plus For Beer?

I’m taking a break today from covering Tour de France because I have a theory. Maybe if I stop talking about the Tour and try not covering it for just one day, maybe Lance will kick into full gear and kick everyone’s ass.

For today, I will share a quickie about a great article I recently read in the Winston-Salem Journal. The article was about a Wake Forest University School of Medicine study that found Low Alcohol Intake Could Ward Off Dementia. Apparently according to their findings, "What the researchers found is that for moderate drinkers who had no sign of cognitive problems when the study began, they had an average 37 percent reduction in risk of developing dementia compared with abstainers. The type of alcohol consumed didn't matter." This was based on the consumption of eight to fourteen eight-ounce drinks per week. While the alcohol consumed didn’t matter, my recommendation, of course, is craft beer or home brewed beer.

There is one drawback to the consumption of alcohol in more mature adults. It appears that “for older adults who have mild cognitive issues, any amount of alcohol consumption ‘was associated with faster rates of cognitive decline.’ [Further] heavy drinkers with mild cognitive issues were found to be nearly twice as likely to develop dementia compared with abstainers with similar issues” according to the article.

The bottom line here, guys, is like anything else it comes down to moderation. I mean, hey! Beer can even make for A Primo Recovery Drink.

Homer Simpson said it best, when he said: "Beer, the cause of and solution to, all of life's little problems."

*Quotes taken from the article posted in the Tuesday, July 14th Winston-Salem Journal, "Journal Now sight. Low Alcohol Intake Could Ward Off Dementia, written by Richard Craver.

14 July 2009

Stage 10, Le Tour de France - Subtitle: UGHHH!

I can't decide in my mind if this is the single most, or single least awesome Tour I've seen. OK, so on the cool as hell side you have the fact that the top three (save Cancellara owning the first 6 stages) we've seen some different and 'less likely' people in the top five. An example? Nocentini. Armstrong (thank God!), Contador, Klöden, and Leipheimer seem to be in a borring perpetual logjam rounding out the top five. Armstrong was stuck in second in stages 4, 5, and 6, now he's stalled in third stages 7, 8, 9, and now 10. UGH! I just want him to kick into high gear, take the yellow, piss off the French once more and win the Tour.

So, long story short, I could be boring and cut-and-paste over the last five days, but I feel as though I have to post something to fill space. So, there you have it. Now for the (nearly) cut and paste portion. Nocentini is still in first with Contador behind +00:06, and Armstrong back +00:08. Fourth in Stage 10 is Leipheimer +00:39 and Wiggins +00:46.

Well, there you have it! Until tomorrow...

13 July 2009

07/13/2009 - Rest Day

WHAT?! You haven't heard? Today is a rest day! I'm taking my cue from the Tour de France and using 07/13/2009 as a day of rest. OK, lie! I'm working my ass of. As soon as I get it put back on, I'll be updating on the Tour tomorrow! Come back then, and let's chat about the Tour de France!

11 July 2009

Le Tour de France - Stage 8 In The Books

Well, that's it for stage eight. Sanchez (GCE) comes back in the end as part of the breakaway to take the yellow for stage 8. The top three remain the same overall: Nocentini (ALM), Contador (AST) +00:06, and Armstrong (AST) +00:08. Keep checking back, as I will be randomly updating the blog from here out with Tour news, facts and figures.

Get out and ride if you can, and have a great weekend.

09 July 2009

Stage Six Tour de France

I know... I said I'd do this sooner, but I didn't. So, I'll make it really quick:

It rained
It was in Spain
Millar kicked butt and led a good portion of the race to get owned in the end... finished stage twentieth
More rain
Hushovd owned at the end
Couple great crashes, one at the end
Ugly weather, OH!, and rain
Lance is still about a tenth of a second off the lead
Top three overall standings still the same: Cancellara, Armstrong, Contador
Still catch it live at Versus
Contest from Versus... see the TdF Versus widget in the right sidebar
Oh, did I mention the rain in Spain... Yes, mainly on the plain

See you tomorrow. Work should be sane enough to update at the finish of the race.

08 July 2009

More To Come Tomorrow, But Win Something While You Wait

Busy, crazy day today as I expected. There was, however, a great and surprising finish to the Tour de France today. Not to mention that for the second day in a row Lance Armstrong is in second place twenty-two one hundredths of a second off Cancellera! Could this be the eighth win for Lance? We'll know soon enough.

I'll be back tomorrow afternoon with a Tour wrap-up. Until then, go check out Ron at Cozy Beehive for a chance to win a great prize in the All Modern Who... What... Why Competition. It's super easy, and the prize rocks!

Cheers, for now. Allez, Lance!

07 July 2009

A Beer Thought For Tuesday: If You MUST Watch What You Drink, This Might Be A Good Start

Due to some serious time constraints caused by work, imagine the audacity, I will not be posting a stage four Tour de France update. Then again it's a time trial, so who cares. Right? Ugh. I would love to see a Tour TT, Lance might just move up to second, or even first in a TT. Oh well, you'll have to fend for yourself on Versus or something of the like.

For now I'll leave you with this. For years there has been a debate about none other than beer. Beer bellies, fat guys with beer, pub food, etc, etc, etc. Now, I have to to speak my mind here. I don't buy any of it. I've known too many brewers who are actually quite thin. I will admit, excess probably doesn't help, but I don't think it's as bad as everyone makes it out to be. First off, I think the biggest problem with beer drinking is that it is usually followed by bar food. You know, take anything you can find and deep fry it. I can't explain it, but the fattier the food, the better it goes with beer.

With that said, if you have to watch your calories in a beer you should check out Mens Health Magazine. They put out a great guide in their Eat This, Not That series. More specifically they did an Eat This, Not That of The Best And Worst Beers In America. If you haven't seen the series, or the Eat This, Not That books, I have to admit, I think they're pretty cool. They take some very general "favorites" from restaurants, and give you healthier alternatives to the high calorie choices.

Go ahead, check it out, and come back tomorrow for some more Tour talk.

06 July 2009

Tour de France: Stage Three Update

At the end of the day all is well that ends well, right? Even with a nineteenth place finish for the third stage of Tour de France, Armstrong manages to come in third place forty seconds over the leader. Second place overall goes to Tony Martin thirty-three seconds behind the first place of Fabian Cancellara.

If you didn't manage to catch the Tour live today, you really do owe it to yourself to check the replay tonight on Versus. Columbia had a couple great breaks, and Cavendish had an amazing finish. There were a couple sketchy crashes this morning, but nothing too serious.

On a slightly more off color note; we are now in stage three and no one has been called out for doping yet. Hmmmm, I wonder how far we'll get into the Tour this year before they start to fall like flies.

Last but not least, a question. This is mainly geared at the interview after the third stage where he was complaining that "no teams wanted to race", but is it just me, or does George Hincapie seem like a whiney doofus? Seriously? I wish I had the direct quote, was watching it live and didn't write it down, and if I get it I'll post it. He just came across like a baby to me. Ehh, oh well. Until tomorrow.

03 July 2009

Beer Review For The Fourth Of July: Sierra Nevada-Torpedo

Ah, I don't there is nothing better in the good old USA than the Fourth of July! A time where family and friends get together for good food, good conversation, fireworks, fun, and parties. As a matter of fact, I've heard it said that more beer is consumed in the US on the Fourth of July than any other day of the year. So, this year, why not crack open a cold one, throw something on the grill, and enjoy your day. Need some suggestions? Check out the "BEER" tags on the blog, or keep reading.

Sierra Nevada has long been one of my favorite craft brews, and like much of the industry they are really into what they do. They started as a tiny makeshift operation and in 1980 brewed the now staple beer of Sierra Nevada, the Sierra Nevada Pale Ale. From interviews I have heard, and things I have read, the recipe has been tweaked, but they have held true to their roots. A privately owned company, brewing a quality product with fresh ingredients. They grow their own hops, source the freshest hops around the world, and have even gone so far as to help fund research to develop hops specially made for their beers.

All of this said, it seemed like a no brainer to add Sierra Nevada to the list of reviews on Cycling Phun. Today's brew is Torpedo Extra IPA. Almost ten years since their last lineup change and thirty years in the making their first year-round IPA has hit the market. As someone who loves big hoppy beers, I have to say Torpedo delivers.
APPEARANCE: A beautiful, deep, bright amber color, bordering orange, with an off white (bordering a pale orangey-taupe) head and nice lacing.

AROMA: The first thing out of the gate is the freshest smell of hops I’ve ever smelled in a beer. It’s that distinct grapefruit bordering on pine scent that is so common, and wonderful, in truly wonderful IPA. Only, in the Torpedo is more concentrated and stronger from the time you pop the cap to the last sip.

FLAVOR: This beer has a distinct and noticeable hop character, and the Magnum Hop really comes through. The malt is perfectly balanced, in my opinion, to keep the harshness of the hops subdued. Don’t get me wrong, though, this is all about the bitterness of the hops. While not huge, by some standards, the 7.2% ABV is hidden very well by the layers of flavor. The most noticeable notes are those of grapefruit (rind), a hint of pine, and a slight almost black peppery note. Also I noticed, especially when it started to near room temp, an odd almost fruit character about this beer. After researching the Citra Hop used in the beer, I am guessing that this is where the fruity notes might come from.

MOUTH FEEL: A medium-bodied beer, extremely well balanced. It’s on the higher side of carbonation, but also very creamy which I think helps really coat your mouth with the beautiful taste of this hop bomb. I think the best part is how the taste lingers on the palate long after you’ve swallowed. Another assumption; this might be from the oils in the whole cone hops?

NOTES: Sierra Nevada is known for their use of American Whole Cone Hops. I think this amplifies the fresh smell and taste of hops in this beer. I had this wonderful 7.2% ABV poured from a bottle into a pint glass, and straight from the bottle. It was great both ways; have it at home in a pint glass or take the bottles with you. This could easily be my go to summer beer with as crisp and fresh as it is. I could, once again, see the 7.2% making it tough to really session this beer, but it is the kind of beer you need while cooking out or working on a laptop from a hammock… Which, is what I’m doing right now! Cheers!

Well, get out, pick up some beers, some food for the grill, sit around the fire, watch some fireworks and have yourself a great Fourth of July. Also, don't forget to catch the Tour de France starting Saturday July 4th at 9:30 am Eastern. Check back over the weekend, I'll likely post a quickie on the start of the Tour, either way I'll catch you again Monday for sure.

01 July 2009

Coolest Race EVER

I just got an email today from Colavita Ohio Cycling Club, by the way thank you Roger. Anyway, Roger contacted me about a race in Ohio that I've been wanting to do for a few years now. Not for the reason you are probably thinking, but because it sounds like an awesome time. You see the race combines the beauty and excitement with the joy and deliciousness of donuts.

That's right folks, September 12 is the date, the 2009 Tour de Donut in Arcanum, Ohio! For those of you unfamiliar with the Tour de Donut, it goes something like this:

You line up for a mass start then follow a 30 mile route. This years route follows lightly traveled rural roads over flat terrain.
There will be rest stops, and at each checkpoint stations you eat donuts. They'll also be providing plenty of fruit and other refreshments for those who don't want donuts, so no worries. Donut consumption isn't mandatory but you get a five minute time credit for each donut you eat, so I'd recommend manning up and taking one for the team. OK, I'd just recommend donut consumption. What this means is if you do well enough on the cycling and eat enough donuts, you could go into negative time. Seriously!

They will time this, but it's not a race, and they ask that all traffic rules must be followed during the event. The roads will not be closed to traffic during the event, helmets are required, and the ride goes rain or shine... No refunds.

For more information you can contact Roger Bowersock at info@colavitaohiocycling.com, by phone at 937-548-2511, fax 206-338-4434, or by snail mail at 1098 Buckeye Dr. Greenville, OH 45331.