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Channeling Dave Stohler Redux

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My First Bike Race (that I finished)

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My First Bike Race

I consider today's race my first since I didn't finish one I entered in Boulder, Colorado at age 20 when I got lapped very quickly and therefore disqualified.

Got up at 4:30 am this morning in order to arrive in Dominguez Hills for a USA Cycling criterium. A criterium is a closed circuit course that you ride around for a set time or a certain amount of laps.

In my case I was registered as a Category 5 rider which is the low rung on the ladder of bike racing. Glad I pre-registered since the 50 slots filled up before race day. I bought a one day license. signed a waiver, and before I knew it I was doing warm up laps with some other cat 5 riders. 4 right turns over 1.5 kms with a slight uphill finish. Pretty fun and speedy. I got up to the second row to start and at 7 am we got some info from a race official about how to race. I was only one of two to raise their hand when the official asked if there were any first timers.

The pace was fast from the start. 45 km/hr (28 mph) in the two flat sections. I took the corners on the outside and though I stayed in the middle for a lap or two I soon found myself just hanging onto the back for the most time. Saw a couple near crashes on the corners but we all stayed upright. I lost my back wheel once in a corner on the last lap but my tire grabbed the pavement when it came back down. It's always been a fear of crashing that has kept me from racing but having just had a birthday I felt like I wanted to try it out so I'd have no regrets.

I'm so happy to have done it. I think we did 12 - 15 laps. I finished the half hour long race near the back. At least I didn't get dropped or disqualified unlike a half a dozen guys who burned out. I am definitely going to race again.

Los Angeles Marathon Take 2

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After promising myself and Cay that I would never run another marathon after completing LA's in 2006 I will find myself breaking that promise this coming Sunday, March 20, 2011. I made the promise after injuring my left achilles tendon while training in '06 and I thought I would never be able to run long distances again.

Last year the LA Marathon announced a course that would take runners from Downtown LA to Santa Monica. The finish line is just over a mile away from my front door. I began training for last year's race after mulling over the psychological advantage I would have with the idea of "Running Home." I got to eight or nine miles on my training runs before my old achilles injury re-emerged and I was forced to give up.

This past August I had friends (JJ & JW) at work ask me about training and I became excited about trying again. I would have to change something about my technique to avoid injury and I chose to participate in the barefoot running movement in Vibram Five Finger shoes.

Running in vibrams I was feeling no pain but my training runs of 12 miles or more would prove too damaging to the skin of my toes and forefeet. I've heard from the running community that the Nike Free running shoes are a nice compromise between barefooting it and using full-heeled running shoes. I took a chance and bought a pair from Zappos in December. I also starting using Danny Dreyer's Chi Running (Thanks, NP) as a guide during these trying months. Since then I have been able to complete long training runs and I am signed up to go 26.2 miles as racer #11,361.

With this past Friday's devastating earthquake hitting Japan I feel compelled to run for a cause that may alleviate some suffering. I'm sure you've all seen photos and videos that will haunt us forever.

My Crowdrise fundraising page for the American Red Cross for Japan relief fund is here:

No donation would be too small. Please help the Japanese people. Cay and I visited their country in the summer of 2005 and we found it to be the most interesting, advanced, and unique culture we've ever been fortunate enough to experience.

As far as race day goes, you can follow my progress via Twitter, text messaging, or Facebook by signing in to

I'm very much looking forward to the marathon. A couple of weeks ago Cay and I went up to the Baldwin Hills Overlook in Culver City and from there I could visualize the race from Dodger Stadium to the Santa Monica Pier. I hope to have a peak experience and I look forward to sharing my results and info about fundraising soon after the race.

La Grange Nichols Ride #3

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Felt better prepared this time around. I got to the regroup area at the Skirball Center for the first time since there wasn't any construction on Mulholland. Descending Sepulveda with 100 riders going 35 - 40 mph was quite a thrill.

The Novel Cafe on Pier Is Closing

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Novel Cafe, originally uploaded by Dan Phiffer.

We learned this morning with great sadness that our cafe across the street is closing next month since they are not allowed to renew their lease.

This place has been very special to Cay and I over the years. Almost every morning when she's not working Cay would walk across Pier Avenue in her pajamas and get a red eye for me, a vanilla latte for herself, and a glass of fresh orange juice to share. After getting to know the baristas and being good enough to bring our own cups and a glass, all of the above cost us three bucks. INSANE.

I'll miss the regulars. Basketball Jones. Downs guy with great taste in punk rock t-shirts. His energetic lothario friend who cleans windows. The quiet white haired painter. The intense bald Norwegian screenwriter. Homeless Inca dude who wears a Tricorn hat and britches.

Cheap breakfast. A good meeting spot. A place to read and write. Great desserts. Quirky local clientele. A 20 year institution. I'm really gonna miss it.

I wonder what's gonna take its place?

Old Man's, originally uploaded by Nigel Stewart.

Spread the word, good people.

A group called the Transportation Corridor Agencies wants to build a six lane toll road through San Onofre State Park in San Clemente, California to ease traffic on Interstate 5.

If you've ever surfed Old Man's, Churches, Trestles, or stayed overnight at the San Mateo campgrouds, you know what a special part of the coast this is and why it would be a travesty to ruin its magic.

Please visit the sites below and write the Coastal Commision staff along with our state representatives (that includes the Governator).

The latest news is that the Coastal Commision has postponed its meeting until November. I'll post an update once a date, time, and place is announced. Now is the time for a reasonable voice to be heard.


Save San Onofre
Save Trestles
Transportation Corridor Agencies (Boo Hiss)
According to this editorial I am an Eco-Extrermist because I want to save a beautiful place.
LA Times article on the most recent California Coastal Commision report recommending against the construction of the Foothill South Toll Road.
Here's a set of pics that Cay took on our last trip down there.
Here are public pics tagged with "San Onofre" on Flickr.

Makesign Small

via Wired. What a sick world I live in.

My first day back to work

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Well, I've had three months off so I shouldn't complain. <snicker snicker ha ha> Still it is a shock to the system to have to get back into the weekly rhythm. Driving to the Valley four days a week will be a bummer but two of those days I'm hoping to commute with my friend Dan.

Today I helped load in a camera package onto Stage 20 of the CBS Radford lot in Studio City where I'm starting the fourth season of Still Standing, a CBS show that has kept me in good work for many years. This coming Thursday and Friday will be the first episode of Two and a Half Men's third season. We'll shoot three episodes of each show and then have a hiatus week toward the end of August.

I wrote about the Complete Disaster two posts ago and I just wanted to share with you here the lesson I learned: Always have a backup. Most people recommend backing up to an external firewire drive that is larger than your hard drive. Remember to keep your hard drives at least 20% empty. That goes for Macs and PCs.

For good backup software for the Mac check out Carbon Copy Cloner or SuperDuper! <via MacUpdate.>

You PCers out there running XP might wanna look into's page on backup software.

Oh and Jason Hadley over at Woodpussy and my contact with Robochrist (who have a show this Friday night) has turned me on to The Kingdom of Loathing which might interest you gamers out there. It's a free open beta comical RPG that has to be seen to be believed. I can't wait to find a Meatloaf Helmet. Jason is frumble and I'm Niggle.

The last thing I'll share is a cool mp3 I ripped from Demonoid. It's Fila Brazilia doing a remix of "Soul Sauce" from the Verve Remixed 2 compilation. It's 5.88MB and the bit rate is 192kbps. Enjoy!

I'm off to see Back to the Future on the Santa Monica pier if Cay gets home from her mom's in time. Hurry!

Goodbye John Mans

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John Mans has been a very good friend since I met him through Cay back in 1989 or so. He was Cay's neighbor during her sophomore year in Boulder and he's become someone who has the same interests and sensibilities as the two of us.

John's been living on Speedway in Venice for the past year and he's decided to pack up and go home to Colorado. This past Saturday night a few of us got together to send him off. We had about a dozen friends over for sake, beer, and cocktails. Around 1:30 in the morning I remembered that I had seen signs of phosphorescent algae out in the Santa Monica bay. After scouting it out, the entire group followed me to the beach where I assured them an experience they wouldn't soon forget.

The green phosphorescence was the most intense I've seen it in almost ten years. The water has been unusually warm lately and I think this contributes to their well being. The dozen of us stripped down to our birthday suits and headed out into the ocean. Neophytes soon learned how incredible the phenomenon of the algae can be and those of us who have experienced it before enjoyed it all over again.

It was 3 in the morning by the time we all got back. What a great night. Thanks, John, for bringing all of us together. We love you very much and will miss having you live right around the corner.

Cay took some pictures with the D70 that night and they can be found on her Flickr site here. Too bad we didn't have a camera with us out on the beach.

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