Nov 15, 2010

RIP Robert Bender

It seems like far too often I'm writing a blog about a friend who has passed away. Robert Bender succumbed to cancer on Sunday, November 13. I didn't know Bender well, but the things I did know about him are things that he should have been proud of. Bender was a damn fine bike rider. He was talented in all aspects of mountain bike racing; cross country, downhill, and freeride. I seldom ever saw him on a road bike, but when I did, Bender was at the front of the ride. I started calling him Tugboat because if he ever fell off the pace due to an attack by another rider, you could bet that Tugboat would steadily ride himself back to the front. I never moto'd with Bender, but I heard he was talented with the throttle, and I don't doubt it for a moment.

Whenever I'd see Bender, whether it was on a ride, at the races, or just around town, he always seemed happy to see me, and I was happy to see him. We'd share laughs and occasionally a beer. Bender was humble, and that said a lot about his character because I think everyone who knew him, knew just how talented he actually was.

Bender never knew it, but when he'd show up to one of the group road rides, I was his domestique. I guess what I really know about Robert Bender is that I respected him a lot.

I'll miss you Tugboat.

Nov 6, 2010

Speed KIlls. And so does Funny 1440.

It’s been called to my attention that I haven’t written a blog lately. Duh! Like, tell me something I don’t know. Most of my thoughts lately go into 140 character text messages sent to Twitter or, worse yet, into work-related projects. I suppose in order to at least update this hack blog, I should post something, so here it goes. Random thoughts:

I love motors, specifically those found in motorcycles. I even like a little auto racing now & then like Formula 1 or rally racing. But what I don’t love (in fact, I loathe them) are the people driving around on city streets as if they were A.J. Foyt. I see it every day & I’m scared to death to put Ryder out on his bike streetside. I grew up on a somewhat peaceful street with very little traffic. I do recall every now and then someone hauling ass down Oakdale Street, but it didn’t happen often. Today, I can’t step foot outside the house without seeing Michael Schumacher or Danica Patrick out on a qualifying lap. It’s like the City of Redlands International Speedway out there (only the road surface is closer to the cobbles of Paris-Roubaix than it is the tarmac of Daytona).

And while we’re on the topic, how about people who speed in parking lots? I’m going to start carrying supplies with me & when I catch you on my built-in human speed radar drag racing from Target to Barnes & Noble as if it were the Winter Nationals, you get a speeding ticket in the form of a raw egg. I don’t claim to be a perfect driver, but at least I’m conscious of my surroundings & a parking lot & residential streets aren’t my Brickyard 400. Think I’m exaggerating or over reacting? Another cyclist got killed yesterday up in Beaumont because of some dude with a lead foot & no sense of his surroundings. Think about that next time you lazily sit around on the couch for too long & then have to throttle it in your car to get to your destination because you’re running late. Share the road. Children & bikes have been around longer than your fruity little coupe.

On a much lighter note, there’s a new radio station in Southern California called Funny 1440 AM. It plays short excerpts of standup comedy routines 24-7. The only downside is that ever since Aaron Gerth [giving credit where credit is due, or else I’m sure I’ll get a rambling voicemail message about it later] told me about the new station, I’ve found myself getting stupider because I’m not listening to NPR as much. Instead of Steve Inskeep and Renee Montagne telling me about how fraudulent Bank of America business practices are, I’ve been listening to the likes of Jim Gaffigan joke about Hot Pockets & Steven Wright say stuff like, “I used to work in a fire hydrant factory. You couldn’t park anywhere near the place.”

I got an inside tip from a guy I know that the Tossers are actually going to venture outside of the greater Chicago area in June 2011 to play some shows (or a show) in the Los Angeles area. I know, it’s hard to believe, but this news comes from a reliable source. The only downside (I always have to point out a downside because that’s what I do) is I’m going to have to travel to the armpit that is L.A., but if T. Duggins & the gang are going to come all the way from the Midwest, the least I can do is hop on the 10 freeway for a few hours.

And finally, Trish & I went to see Race Across the Sky 2010 last night, this year’s documentary about the Leadville 100 mountain bike race. We had a fine time dining before the flick with the Baumas & Fulfords, although the movie itself lacked the drama of last year’s version. Still a great story though. Would have been cool to see a mountain biker win it this year instead of an alleged doper. I wish I had time to train for it, but 5, 6, & 7 hour training days on the bike are a thing of the past. Come to think of it, if I did have that kind of time still, I think I’d rather go twist the throttle at the ISDE… or maybe just the Mt. Sac Fat Tire Classic.