Sunday, February 24, 2008

The First Week of a Month of Races

We had two races this weekend down in Austin. There have been a few races already this year, but these are considered the opener for the season. They were also the first to have two Junior categories. One of them is Jr. Open (anyone from 10 to 18 is welcome), and the other was 10 -14. The first race starts and ends in Walburg, TX, north of Austin. The guys did a 22 mile loop. It has the reputation for being cold and windy, but Saturday it was just windy. I drove one of the other racers down from Joseph's team and we talked strategy quite a bit. They had three 14 year-olds this weekend from TBi. One is a pretty fair sprinter, one is a nice climber and an all-around good rider, and Joseph, who still hasn't found his niche yet. We also knew that there were two GS Tenzing registered. TBi is an open team, meaning anyone who pays the club fee and shows up to race gets to put on the jersey. Tenzing is by invitation only. Don't get me wrong, that doesn't make them elitist. These guys are great guys. It just means that they mean business. And they are good. One of them has been to nationals before and his dad is a professional cycling coach. Nice guy, too. So our strategy was to hang with the Tenzing riders, shelter the sprinter, and get him to the end ready to sprint. That worked out great and he got second, just behind the coach's son. Another rider from San Antonio got third. He was alone off the front for much of the race which is a bad thing for a racer. By the end, he didn't have enough to out-sprint the competition. With a little shelter, and maybe some teammates, he might have taken first. Our all-arounder got 4th and Joseph got 7th. He and another guy were caught behind a truck driving through the course. For safety, the riders know that they can't pass a car, so they just rode right behind the truck, no sprint. Joseph might have caught 6th if not for the truck. We had camped overnight and had a great time. Nice, chilly weather. Teammates and friends. Saturday night spaghetti. Jacob's earlier queasiness is gone. Good times.
Sunday AM, we get up. The race is in the same park that we slept in. I had to register Joseph and a friend. No cost. Thanks Team Hotel San Jose. The race there was only 12 miles, but it had hills. Joseph isn't so good with hills. Our all-arounder is pretty good with hills. Our sprinter is ok. So they take off. The pack is really big for this age group. I think it was 23 to 26. The Tenzing guys cover every attack. We cover all their attacks. Joseph has a bad start and can't fight his way back, he's off the back and comes in 11th. Our sprinter and all arounder both keep with the Tenzing guys. The San Antonio racer wrecks. Our sprinter catches the coach's son at the line and gets 1st. Our all arounder catches the other Tenzing racer napping and nips 3rd. A very good race. These guys are getting some tactics and using them. Joseph is down though. He expected to do better, to last with the pack longer. I think it just wasn't his day.
Also, due to some serendipitous circumstances, my folks are in the general area and come see Joseph race. Afterwards we join them for lunch for my parent's 40th wedding anniversary. Nice day. The ride home takes quite a while and everyone sleeps but me. Next weekend is another race across the river from the park. The weekend after that I'm officiating some HS races in FW and in Collin County, and the weekend after that is a big stage race in Fayetteville, TX. Fun fun fun.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Yuck, I knew and worked with this guy

Magaldi Confirms he is HIV Positive

Fr. Phil Magaldi is back in the news. For two years I was Youth Minister at the same parish. He had some run ins with the law before he came from Rhode Island down to TX, and he spoke of them from time to time. From his mouth, it was all a misunderstanding and a failure on his part to keep proper books, or actually, to keep any record of any parish finances. But nothing was ever said about the whole Claus von Bulow thing. Creepy. Anyway, he also came under fire from a guy back in the NE who was trying to sue him for sexual abuse. He vehemently denied that there was anything to it and that the accuser was just a ne'er-do-well looking for money. In the end, the case was dropped. (Fr. Phil was extremely excited about that outcome, "thrown out!" he would say.) Apparently the ne'er-do-well really was a ne'er-do-well, although recent info released about Fr. Phil seems to indicate that the accuser may have had merit, and of course that might be the reason that the accuser had so many issues. I think the poor guy passed away.
I never heard about all nasty stuff Fr. Phil's been accused of while I was there. I only saw him as an only child who had been the "chosen one" in his family all his life. He never had any one to dress him down in life, to keep him honest, so to speak. His mother adored him. Most people he met adored him as an extremely gregarious priest and a fine homilist. He never seemed to have an internal filter on what he did or said. I don't think he ever allowed for the concept that he might do something wrong or hold an incorrect opinion. He wasn't overbearing in my dealings with him, though, just not cautious. I was asked to leave in September of 2000 and I have a vague recollection of the specifics of him leaving in '99. I seem to recall him passing it off as retiring to take care of his elderly mother. He went downhill pretty fast physically after she passed away. The last few years, I'd see him at Mass, sitting in the back, in plain clothes, mumbling to himself. He was so very obviously out of it. Some folks from the church were shuttling him back and forth, he was someone in need of care.

Honestly, I'm glad I knew him. He was always half of the example of why I wanted to have a big family. I would contrast him with a friend who was the 5th of 12 and it was so obvious who was well-adjusted and who was spoiled. Not that having one kid means they grow up and do nasty things, that's not my point. He just seemed to be the extreme in that direction. I pray that he finds forgiveness for his crimes, and that any victims find some kind of closure and healing.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Leader Bikes have Spoken!!

After much waiting, I got a call from Leader Bikes yesterday. They are the makers of my original bike frame, RIP. They decided to warranty the frame and as soon as I pay the $25 for shipping, I can get my replacement frame sent back here to Texas, where it belongs. It's not quite the same frame, so no more aero tubing, but from what I heard, it's not as prone to road chatter. Hopefully it will work just fine. I'm a bit miffed about the shipping cost, just because originally I was told that they would eat it, but I understand that they are already eating the cost of a new frame. Leader did a good job with keeping in contact with me. I originally called when the whole office was out for an employee's wedding. The next day I called them back and they ended up sending me an email independently shortly after I got off the phone. They followed up with another email later in the week. I called them several times to check on the frame and they had no idea where it was on Monday, but yesterday, Wednesday, they had found it and decided to warranty it.
That's the problem. They warrantied it. Now I'm going to pay $25 to ship it back. I owe the shop for shipping it over (probably like $40) and then I have to pay to get it set up (probably another $50). So $115 total to replace a frame I bought for $109, and that included shipping. I know, wah wah wah. See, if they hadn't warrantied it, I could have lobbied to buy that nice Ti/Carbon frame that the shop loaned me. Now I still have a shot, but I don't think I can afford as much for it as it's worth. Especially because I still have to pay for all the shipping regardless. OK, enough whining. I don't even know that the frame is available. I wouldn't sell it if I had the choice. I'm going to be able to get back to riding next month. That's all that counts, right?

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Baptist woes in FW

(Note, I don't normally comment on non-Catholic or specifically Baptist churches, but my buddy Professor X normally does, especially on stuff in our backyard. I was going to email this to him but I can't seem to find his addy anywhere so I'm posting on it as best I can. I'm sure he'll have better, more insightful commentary to follow.)

There's this fairly sizable Baptist church in FW that's having issues with their pastor. No, he didn't do something immoral or even illegal. He made some choices that showed he was a moderate, not a conservative. To be fair, the church doesn't seem to be associated with the Southern Baptist Convention ("Broadway is not subservient to any state or national convention or organization"). In fact, in the latest church newsletter, the pastor speaks of a conference called the "Celebration of a New Baptist Covenant" in Atlanta that he missed. Speakers included Tony Campolo (American Baptist, quite green and quite service and justice oriented) and Sen. Charles Grassley, (small world, ain't it, Prof X?) who you should recognize as the Senator who's hitting up Benny Hinn and Creflo Dollar for financial records. Keynote was from former Pres. Jimmy Carter (one of my first memories was my folks gathered around the kitchen table with a down cast look on their faces, like they'd been to a funeral. That was the day that Jimmy Carter was elected.). OK, so the church is not the same kind of Southern Baptist church that gets all the press in TX and has all the stereotypes associated with that. It's an independent historically Baptist church that one blogger who attends defines as "extremely moderate/liberal." The big issues listed in the article are 1) the deacons made a concession for gay couples in the congregation, allowing them to be in the church directory, but only in group shots, not as a couple in the family listing, and 2) he started a homeless program that some (maybe most) in the congregation didn't support or actively opposed, and 3) that he was lenient on having registered sex offenders attend church functions. Poking around, I was able to find some blogging on the "progressive/moderate" side, as well as some statements from the folks who want to oust the pastor. Please note that I really don't have a side in this issue. I'm Catholic, so to me I use quotes around some titles to show that I'm lifting them from other places and don't see any connotations attached. I dunno, do you think this is a matter of the pastor crossing a line and getting too liberal? Or maybe just a group of conservative parishioners who are making themselves known? Who moved, the pastor or the congregation? So, as Professor X would say, what do you think?

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Grace is smooth...

So I'm riding this other guy's bike frame, and I don't know how to describe it to folks who don't ride. Parts of this frame are carbon fiber where mine had been aluminum. So any crack in the road, the aluminum frame would transmit that kick up to my backside. But on the carbon frame, it was more of a mumble than a kick. Some parts of some roads were rough and the old aluminum frame would really transmit a lot of chatter to my feet, hands, and backside, but on this, it was like they didn't exist. I was intimidated when I got to the base of Cockrell Hill, but when I got to the top, I was a bit disappointed. I had expected steeper or longer or just plain more. I think that it was easier because I was on the much lighter frame. After all those miles, it makes a difference, it really does. I met the owner at the lunch stop and told him that riding his frame was "like buttah," to which he asked "Did you slice it up and eat it?"
I haven't heard anything about my busted frame yet. I called the outfit in Cali on Friday and yesterday. They said they haven't seen it. They also pointed out that there might be an issue if Fed Ex was the shipper. They tend to arrive before the place opens and leave packages with random neighbors at the little industrial park. I guess I have to check at the shop. I'm kind of hoping that a) the place will say "sorry, no warranty, you want a cheap frame for cheaper?" and b) the owner of the really cool titanium and carbon frame will be in the mood to sell his to me. If all those stars align, then I could save the costs of buying a cheap frame and shipping it here and getting all my components swapped over and invest those into this super duper frame. I'm thinking that if I could get it for $800, it would be a steal, but it's about all I could afford, and that's only because Uncle Sam is going to pay me plenty in taxes on the same day I get my yearly bonus. Right now I'm flat broke. Ah well, it's just money.

Friday, February 01, 2008

Grace so totally rocks

So last night, I get a PM from a guy on the Team Bikes Inc forum. He's someone who used to race and has been known to help out some Jr's with lots of gear. I had posted that I wouldn't be able to ride on Super Bowl Sunday and he had asked me on the forum what size frame I ride. In the PM he said that I needed to call him ASAP about my bike frame. So I called him and he asked me if the only reason I'm not riding on Sunday is because my frame is busted. I confirmed that, so he said that he had spoken with Scott (who I find out owns the shop) and got me a loaner frame. The shop moved over my old components today. I'm going to the shop right now to pick up the bike after a quick fix. And it's not just any beater frame. It's a Titanium/Carbon frame that literally makes me salivate.

My frame is on its way to Cali right now. Hopefully they will warranty it and send me a new one. Still, I hope I can give back the Ti/Carbon beauty. I also hope it doesn't have a weight limit.