Monday Required Reading

1A. These are the best (and most surprising) places to get a draft in a bike race. Important research to know before your next race.

1B. How to keep the bike boom from fizzling out. In Pete Buttigieg we trust.  

“The need for the bike boom to roll on beyond the pandemic is about more than the love of cycling. . . . You’ll literally breathe easier when you start replacing more car trips with bicycles. We’re talking less carbon emissions, less traffic congestion, and a healthier population — the essential ingredients that make people happier and less stressed out. In the World Happiness Report 2020, countries with high bicycle use tend to be among the happiest overall, like the Netherlands (ranked sixth; daily bike use: 43 percent), Denmark (ranked second; daily bike use: 30 percent), and Finland (ranked first; daily bike use: 28 percent).”

2. What to wear to Christmas parties this year.

3. Perhaps he has written more hit songs than anyone else.

4. New data shows residents fleeing California in near record numbers. Substantive reporting from the Sac Bee. Good to know some local papers are still alive and kicking.

5A. COVID-19 and the Failure of Swedish Exceptionalism

“Whereas American exceptionalism is about America’s unique place in the world, Swedish exceptionalism is about being immune to any disasters that may happen in the rest of the world.” 

5B. Younger People Get Vaccines First in Indonesia’s Unusual Rollout.

“There are no good choices, there is only the least-bad choice.”

 

 

 

Live Wireless Or Die

It’s easy to forget what life was like before global position satellites revolutionized sports technology. I remember rolling my front bike wheel next to a wooden yardstick in my parent’s garage in a desperate attempt to calibrate my sensor that was attached to a couple of spokes. And then using electrical tape to align the wire that ran to the head unit along the fork and head tube. Cumbersome is putting it mildly. And what did I get for all my efforts, a precarious, only mildly accurate set up that constantly needed attention.

Fast forward several decades. Bluetooth, wireless GPS, and (almost always) automatic syncing which results in extremely accurate data recording with a tenth of the effort. Check out what my wrist computer generated during this morning’s run.

IMG_1194

When I first returned to rehab running from my hamstring injury, my average stride length was only 1.16m as opposed to the normal 1.2m. How cool is it that satellites in Outer Space confirm that not only do I feel better, but I am better.

A question for the nerds (used affectionately of course). Why is there a net gain of 35 feet when I started and stopped in my driveway?

The more important question is why do we fret about whether life is improving when we don’t have to wrestle with rulers, electrical tape and wires anymore?

Maradona Counterpoint

Diego Maradona, Argentina’s Hero, and Mine.

Who wants to design an interdisciplinary curriculum tentatively titled “Contrasting Perspectives on Maradona’s Legacy” with me? Touch points. . . The Falklands War, the Argentine economic crisis, the sociology of soccer, the 1986 World Cup, Maradona’s off-field demons, Latin American politics, and maybe some southern Italy organized crime for good measure.

Or maybe a novel. Then a Hollywood bidding war for the film rights.

Bam Adebayo’s Mom

Is going to be okay. Because Bam is getting paid. From ESPN News Services.

“The Miami Heat and Bam Adebayo have agreed to a five-year max extension, Adebayo’s agent, Alex Saratsis, told ESPN’s Zach Lowe. The deal includes escalator clauses that can take its total to $195 million over five years.”

Let’s not forget, social mobility is extremely low in the (dis)United States these days. And if one wants to improve their lot in life, education is still a much safer bet than professional sports. Neither of those two facts mean we can’t celebrate Bam’s and his mother’s changed fortunes.

“Adebayo had told The Associated Press during the NBA’s restart earlier this summer at Walt Disney World that his lone financial goal was to take care of his mother, Marilyn Blount. She raised him by herself in North Carolina, making about $15,000 a year from her multiple jobs and with the family calling a single-wide trailer their home.

‘That competitive nature comes out when I feel like I’m playing bad and when things aren’t going right,’ Adebayo said in the September interview with the AP. ‘I think about how she fought through struggle. … You see that for 18 years straight, you take that load on and feel that responsibility. And my responsibility is to provide for my mom, and the best way to make sure I can do that is to help us win.'”

Consider her provided for.

Say What?

So confusing. Start with the headline, “Seattle Mariners’ Kyle Lewis awarded American League Rookie of the Year in unanimous vote.”

If that’s not disorienting enough, fast forward to this gem:

“The Georgia native is the beginning of what could be a formidable young outfield in Seattle. Jarred Kelenic, who was acquired in a trade with the New York Mets, and Julio Rodriguez are ranked among baseball’s top prospects.”

Have the words “formidable” and “the Seattle Mariners” ever appeared in the same sentence?

I hereby declare these strange times.

Seeking A Role Model

Man alive, nearly all of my boyhood heroes are biting the dust. Especially baseball players from the late 60’s and early/mid 70’s. Guess that’s how the life cycle works.

But one is still very much alive and kickin’. A golfer with 18 major championships. Goes by the name, “The Golden Bear”. Yesterday, TGB penned a love letter to the President and urged everyone to vote for him. Out of respect to you, I am not linking to it. Of course that’s his prerogative, just like it’s my prerogative to boycott him and his commercial empire.

There were clues along the way. He had zero sympathy for Casey Martin.

Now I find myself rooting for Collin Morikawa to win 18 more major championships sometime before I bite the dust.

So there’s a void in my life. Absent a role model, I feel adrift.

Maybe you would like to apply for the vacancy. Please submit an application starting with who you’ve voted for—or if an international friend—who you would’ve voted for given the chance. Major championship titles will only be used to break ties.

How To Start Your Day

Spinning easily while watching Canadian public radio on television.

Sure, you’re a lot fancier racing people all over the world on Zwift. I just hope your not knowing that Andrew Wilkinson has resigned as B.C.’s National Liberal Party leader or anything at all about Vancouver traffic doesn’t come back to bite you today.

Paragraph To Ponder

“After the Lakers’ disappointing flame-out last season, general manager Rob Pelinka was under pressure to assemble a roster after holding out for, then missing on, Kawhi Leonard. He didn’t bring in a third star, but it’s worth noting that Alex Caruso, Rajon Rondo, Markieff Morris and Dwight Howard (!) made up just 7 percent of the team’s salary cap, while ultimately contributing far more than that to the Lakers’ championship run.”

From “LeBron And AD Are The Heroes. But The Sum Of This Lakers Club Was More Than Its Superstar Parts”.

The Inaugural ‘Gal Pal’ Award

She tries. But it makes no matter, the Gal Pal routinely botches sports lingo. In her honor I am creating a new award whose prestige I’m sure will only grow over time.

The ‘Gal Pal’ will be awarded annually to the person who makes the biggest mess of basic sports terminology. I will present the award myself to the recipient who will be put up in one of downtown Olympia’s nicest tents. All expenses paid.

The first recipient is Roger Whitney whose podcast I enjoy. Recently Rog was talking about the importance of trying new things in retirement. He went on say he wasn’t a very good golfer but he and his wife had started playing regularly. And while still not very good, “I’ve improved by about 10 points.”

No, no, no! I didn’t even have to get the Award Committee together before declaring RW the inaugural winner. He is on his way to Olympia as you read this.

For those scoring at home (baseball lingo), what Rog meant to say was something along the lines of, “I’ve shaved 10 strokes off my average score.”

For the love of Golf, always “fewer strokes” never “more points.” Go and sin no more.