Thursday, February 15, 2007


In keeping with the video theme, I have one more story (at least) to tell.

Back in 1996 I was assigned to a jobsite in Massena, New York for much of the year. Massena is the subject of a different story, but my company paid for me to take a trip back home for one weekend each month. We worked four ten-hour days each week, so at least it would be a long weekend. One such weekend came up during the Summer Olympics in Atlanta. MG and I drove down from Knoxville to spend a Saturday hanging about in Atlanta, joined by Sis (my Sis). We didn’t stand much of a chance to get tickets to any venues at that point, so we headed over to watch the one event we didn’t need a ticket for that day; the cycling Time Trial.

We saw many of the greats of the day – briefly – as they flew past us at dizzying speeds. I remember seeing Lance go by as we headed into a restaurant to get lunch. I remember that he didn’t look on top of his game at the time. I figured he was just having an ‘off’ day. It was just after that when he discovered he had cancer. We also saw Tony Rominger, Abraham Olano, Miguel Indurain (who came so close to the barricade that a small drop of sweat hit Sis’s arm), and many other of the time’s top cyclists. But that isn’t the story, either.

Somebody had a tent set up near the Time Trial venue. Inside the tent were a bunch of stationary bikes with video screens set up on each and a master screen up on one wall. They would invite people to “race” against each other in heats using a software set up to let everyone race against everyone else. Most of the guys (and a few gals) hanging about were in their cycling garb and were very fit looking. I was wearing a pair of regular shorts and a T-shirt. I was already a Big Guy as well, weighing in at … well, I met the ‘Clydesdale’ criteria. Thus, most of the others getting ready to race in my heat were giving me the look of disdain as if I was some yokel who had an old Huffy he likely rode once or twice each year if he could actually find a tire pump.

Poor guys (and gals). I will freely admit that if we’d been on real bikes out on the road that they might could have easily taken me (especially given my less than cycling-friendly attire). But what the video program could not account for was the power to weight ratio. When I’ve been riding a lot (as I had been doing that summer), my overall power to weight ratio is reasonably close to that of a lot of other avid riders (essentially meaning more weight and more power). But this thing took weight out of the equation and went strictly by power. My competitors never knew what hit them. More than one jaw dropped at my posted time. Too bad they didn't understand the physics of it as well as I did. Too bad for them, that is.

Now, if only I could lose the weight I’d like to lose without losing the power I can generate…

Trivia Time
Rules. Email your answers.

1. I’m standing in a grassy field looking out at a full-sized version of the Parthenon while listening to the Commodores playing on a local radio station. What city am I in?

2. Suppose I stabbed my father (don’t worry, Dad, I wouldn’t really do that) and ended up on the ‘Group W’ bench. What singer/songwriter might I have ended up sitting next to?

3. All denominations of US paper currency have dead presidents on them except for one. Which one?

4. What, according to Douglas Adams, should you never let a Vogon do to you?

5. Which great poet/novelist warned us to ‘shun the frumious Bandersnatch’?

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