A post vaguely about Gloucester

Meg Curry tweeted to me (“at replied to me”? “said to me on Twitter”? Yeah. Said to me on Twitter.) that someone in Gloucester asked her how Drew and I can talk for basically 20 hours over the course of a weekend (I would link to her tweet but I can’t find it). Or maybe she texted me? Maybe I dreamt it? If I dreamt it, I don’t want to get too introspective about what that means.

Anyway, I’m sure they (if they are actually real people) didn’t say “How is it possible that your friends Drew and Ryan have the stamina to speak for twenty hours over the course of a weekend?”, it was probably more along the lines of “MEG. WHO THE FUCK WERE THOSE ASSHOLES WHO WOULD NOT SHUT UP ALL WEEKEND??? GOOD GOD.”

Timothy Johnson also joined us on the microphone, but was talking more in the 2-3 hour per day range, the rest of the time he was getting Drew and I coffee (j/k, he didn’t even though I SPECIFICALLY told Paul that Tim needed to be our coffee runner), so I do not know if he was called out by the Gloucester locals.

Magical stamina or no, it’s talkin’ bout a bike race, which is pretty fun when it comes down to it. The real work is in walking around all friggin day, and by Sunday people may have seen me struggling to lift my legs over the course tape as every tendon in the bottom half of my body was as supple as beef jerky. I still do not understand how standing and moving around for ten hours can wreck my body like that. I used to work at a moving company, have worked in retail, and have even started running with some amount of focus this year, and I was still destroyed by the rocky, dusty hell-scape of Stage Fort Park (© ULTRApaully, 2017). But I am also 32 years old now, which means that maybe my body is going to start falling apart (yes, friends of mine who are older than I am, I know you want me to shut up).

I also wonder how Thom Parsons is able to move after this weekend, dude was running around WAY MORE than Drew and I were. And now, tonight, he’s at another race. Maybe he’s training to be an MMA fighter (KIMBO SLICE JOKE SORTA BABY #insidebloggingjoke)? Good way to go about it, honestly.

I think I have complained about this leg wreckage before. Also 2/3 of the posts on this site in the last 366 days have been about New England’s little slice of cyclocross glory. Maybe that will change, maybe that won’t, who fucking knows.

Maybe blogging isn’t dead, because looking at Twitter with any sort of regularity makes me want to tear my skin off and light something on fire, so yeah that’s a great platform for me to spend my time on. Real healthy.

What was I talking about?

Oh my legs felt like shit.

Anyway the racing was great, you can read about it anywhere, also the playlists are on Facebook if you came here looking for them. I don’t have a Facebook account so every time I go to that website it blasts me with reminders to sign up and give them my information so they can sell it to advertisers. BUT TOO BAD FACEBOOK, I ALREADY GIVE MY INFORMATION TO OTHER ADVERTISING NETWORKS! But yeah the playlists are on there, they are good, I spent way too much time on them.

So here are some things that I thoroughly enjoyed from where I was standing at the Craft GP Glocuester brought to you by Ipswich Ale (Swing by the Craft tent on your way to the beer tent, you can get base layers, jerseys, and vests for only $20! Jackets, bib shorts and tights are just $40!).

  1. We were pretty good about reminding people who were pre-riding to be respectful and aware of people who were still finishing, and for the most part that appeared to be respected. HOWEVER, one day I just want to tell all of the beginner racers to get out there and aggressively ride the course and chop the shit out of other categories who are finishing up and who may have wronged them in the past. So, there you go, my sick fantasy.
  2. Drew got to use his favorite simile – “His face looks like an old catchers mitt” –and I was very happy for him.
  3. The beer tent was being quiet so I told them that I have had poops that were louder than them. It was like 3:30 p.m. on Sunday, so I will chalk that one up to general hypoxia due to the amount of dust in my lungs and…well, honestly, no more excuses – I just saw a way to make a poop joke so I went for it.

I fucking love announcing this race and seeing all of my friends and looking at the ocean and drinking coffee and destroying my body while running around and talking about bike racing and playing music and answering questions that spectators have and randomly interviewing people I am standing next to.

Pictures of bike racing, 2003 – 2007

I was thinking that I should share the pictures I took of bike racing from 2003 – 2007 (aka, college). So here they are, on Dropbox. Download them if you’d like, but I plan on keeping them here for the foreseeable future.

I think they are organized by filename, which is not at all by date – if someone can tell me how to sort a Dropbox folder by file create date, that would be great. Though ONLY EARLY 2000’s ECCC KIDS can figure out what the races are without some kind of date stamp.

Things in this album:

  • Gloucester 2005/2006.
  • Cross Nats (Providence) 2005/2006.
  • ECCC mountain/road races from 2003 – 2007 (ish, as I think I destroyed my camera at the beginning of the 2007 road season).
  • Lots of pictures of Jerry Obey without a shirt.
  • Drew with bleached hair.
  • Ryan Gray and that friggin wig.
  • Mountain biking with 26″ wheels and a triple.
  • 2005 Rochester Twilight crit.
  • The vans.

There are photos that have been removed. Those are secret photos.

Hope you enjoy. Tell your friends, or don’t.

Paully’s Vapefest 2016 Playlists and Other Things

I once again announced Gloucester, it was really great, and it was once again dry.

(This tweet is too perfect, so I am not going to bother attempting to make a better joke than it, and yes I am leading off my blog post with a tweet someone else made)

You can read about what happened in the races elsewhere on the internet, and honestly my brain has like three hours of rotating memory for these things so, sorry, I can’t tell you anything other than “Curtis White is very good, so are Ellen Noble and Helen Wyman and I was sad that Ellen didn’t race on day two also Dylan had a fantastic start on day two”.

Okay those were several things.

The courses were very similar to last year, with the exception of the ATOMIC CAFE COFFEE ZONE being right in front of the ANNOUNCING ZONE so naturally I had at least six espressos each day. Also the beer tent was closer.

Frankie Andreu (of “actual day job talking about bikes” and “former director of Rock Racing” fame) was the other half of the announcing crew, and as he is not from New England I got to inform him of things like the Facconezone and the Scrubzone and various other zones that are native to NECX.

I ALSO PLAYED A BUNCH OF MUSIC which is really why you are here.

I make a few specific playlists for big events like this, depending on the promoter’s tastes, who is in the field (yeah I wouldn’t ordinarily play “Kings of Metal” at a bike race, but if Mike Wissell is racing, then I am), what people on Twitter have asked for and taking into the account the venue/crowd (White Park and families vs. Night Weasels and a full beer garden).

The 45+ lists are what I played last year (LAZY RYAN! BAD RYAN!), but I think they are pretty great and only got played once, so I put them on there again. I guess now I’ll have to change it up for 2017…damnit. the 45+ race is Paul’s race, so you’ll see that influence (pandering?) in there.

If you follow me on Twitter, you may have seen me waxing poetic about music released in 1994. The 35+ guys would have been in their formative years in 1994, so I thought “hey maybe that will be a fun thing to do.” Note that the 35+ race is also the Junior Men’ race, so…yeah they might have been less impressed with the inspiration here.

For the UCI races, I put in some stuff that I thought would be good to race bikes to.

Then there’s the “General” playlist, which is just over nine hours of stuff that I’ve liked or found in the last year. Spotify is great for this – it makes discovering music and exploring similar artists/sounds so easy. I just save tracks, and when it’s playlist building time, I go through what I’ve liked in the last few months (along with what people say they want to hear) and start going from there. This was partially played at Night Weasels, too.

So if you’re at any of the other events I’m doing this year – Orchard Cross and Ice Weasels (does that even have a date or venue yet?) – you’ll probably hear a lot of these tracks – just a heads up!

Saturday

45+ 1

Saturday 35+ Men

Saturday UCI Women

Saturday UCI Men

Sunday

45+ 2

Sunday 35+ Men

Sunday UCI Women

Sunday UCI Men

General

General

Cross-platform video encoding in HandBrake

Yeah, I don’t do this shit very often, so people who are good at it probably know these things. But I took a screen recording of a tool I developed and was sending it out in an email blast – so, going to be viewed on iPhones, iPads, and Windows 7 laptops.

I first exported it as .m4v (from Quicktime), which did not work on Windows. I asked some of my internet friends for tips:

screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-11-27-21-am

Then I started playing around in HandBrake to see what would work.

Exporting to the Devices->Universal preset got video working, but not audio. HandBrake defaults to two AAC audio tracks, and I figured that might be the issue with the (who knows how up-to-date) Windows 7 laptops some of my colleagues are using.

So I added an MP3 track and an AAC track:
screen-shot-2016-10-11-at-11-19-19-am

Please note that I do not actually know what the hell I am doing, I just made some educated guesses at things I thought might work. And maybe they’ll work for you? Who knows.

Python, Selenium, Cognos, and timeouts

One of the tools I developed and manage for work is populated with data from Cognos on a daily basis. In order to not have to download and upload a file like some sort of IDIOT, I figured it would be good to write a Selenium script to do this for me.

For those of you who and are reading this post because you are my friend from the real world or bike racing or the internet, you might want to stop reading it because it will probably not pertain to you and I’m really writing it so I can remember what the hell I did later on.
Continue reading Python, Selenium, Cognos, and timeouts

Bethel Cycle is closing, here’s a blog post I wrote when I worked there in 2006

The title says it. Here’s the news from facebook. And a screenshot for when the Internet breaks in five years.

Anyway here’s that blog post from nine years ago, because apparently all that this website is now is just RYAN’S GREATEST HITS.

There was also a picture of me whacking my head on a beam in the basement.

UPDATE: Found the picture.

august906


Bikes don’t get delivered fully assembled. They come in large boxes. Then, someone who knows what they are doing with allen keys and a torque wrench puts them together and gets them on the floor. The boxes get haphazardly tossed in the back room of the shop, where Sean probably thinks they magically break themselves down and get put in a dumpster.

Those of you who have entered the shop through the back door know that this is where boxes go before they die. This is where the “box fairy” comes and takes them away. Now, unfortunately the box fairy isn’t attractive, dainty or even winged.

The box fairy is me. I’m 6’3″, 175 pounds and I have a beard.
My name is Ryan Kelly. I worked at Bethel Cycle primarily on Wednesdays through the summer, and you may have seen me during the last few months emerging from the basement covered in asbestos and toxic mold, or in my natural state destroying boxes.

My goal this summer was to work at a bike shop, to learn as much about the equipment necessary for the sport I love, so I wouldn’t go through life as mechanically astute as a rhino. I contacted Greg before I got home from college (I will be a senior at the University of New Hampshire) to line up a job, and started working at the shop in early June.

I spent my first day at the shop organizing the basement.

I don’t suppose any customers have ever been in the basement, as it is probably an insurance liability. But, since I’m 21 and I probably heal fast, worries about dangerous mold and radon were tossed aside in interest of Sean’s constant pursuit of an organized shop.

I don’t quite remember Sean’s exact words on the first day when Greg told me to organize the basement. I more remember the look on his face. It was a grin. But it wasn’t a happy grin, not the kind of facial expression that is brought out through a joke.

It’s the kind of grin you get when you see someone take a fastball to the face on a sports blooper reel. You aren’t being really malicious, but are somewhat enjoying the humorous discomfort of others.

The discomfort part came when I walked down into the basement. The ceiling is about 5 feet, 10 inches high. There is a heating pipe running across one side of the basement at about four feet off the ground, which is not necessarily ideal working conditions for someone who rides a 60 cm road bike. And there were years of abandoned bikes that needed to be organized.

But hey, I was getting paid to be around bikes, so I didn’t mind.
After I emerged from the basement alive, much to the surprise of Greg and Sean, I continued to perform various other tasks around the shop.
As the summer progressed, with the worst task available at the shop already completed, I slowly climbed the ladder of the retail bicycle industry. Every day I would water the flowers, break down the boxes and vacuum before doing other random jobs. First I was cleaning windows or organizing the back room. Soon I was building and selling bikes, and I was allowed out of the back room to interact with other people.

Now, I wasn’t around bikes in a dank basement or fiddling with excess stock in a musty storage room. I was around bikes and those knowledgeable about them in an air conditioned room with a dog I could play with.

I learned a lot from Sean so far this summer (like tighten everything several times), although I am still pretty much an idiot. It’s hard to teach an English major mechanical skills.

And even though Sean may be the head mechanic, he’s got nothing on me when it comes to box destruction.

Apparently my race report about the 2008 edition of Hilltowns

BY POPULAR DEMAND (one person)

I pulled this out of an .sql backup I had from before I totally deleted every post on my site one time in 2011 or something (which…honestly was for the better).

BACKSTORY: 2008 Ryan worked full-time from home for a small software company in a house with three of his college friends and didn’t have any responsibilities so he drank a lot of High Life and that was reflected in his race results.

I finished 46 minutes down.


 

If I ever say to you “Hey, I’m going to go do a 97 mile road race with lots of climbing,” pistol-whip me into a three-day coma.

Please.

Because Tour of the Hilltowns sucked more than anything has ever sucked in my five years of bike racing. I have never cracked so badly in a bike race. I fell apart worse than the Tacoma Narrows Bridge (yes, I was just watching Modern Marvels).

For your viewing pleasure, here is the course profile with my annotations (click on it!):

[Note from 2015 Ryan – I think I drew a picture of the course profile, and there were some jokes or something on it? Maybe a dick?]

It got to the point where I would be riding up the final hill (where I was going ten miles an hour), and I wanted to stop, sit on the side of the road and cry. My legs were wrecked, my spirit was broken, and all I wanted to do was drive my car and my bike directly to a pawnshop and drink all the money that I would get for it.

Even today, walking up the stairs of my apartment, my legs hurt. Still.

I don’t know who won my race, and, frankly, it doesn’t matter. Because by the time I had finished, they had probably taken a shower, had lunch and gotten halfway through writing a dissertation on Dostoyevsky.

Things that were going through my head during the race:
Creating lyrics to the song “Bike Racing Sucks” – which are “Biiiike racing sucks. Oooooooh bike racing sucks,” repeated infinitely, or until you catch the group at the base of a monster climb.
Thinking about the best way to sell my bike – eBay as a whole bike, or a frame and group set? Craigslist? Selling it to someone on the UNH team?
Wondering how I should spend the upcoming week – Completely demoralized, off my bike and drunk; or motivated to improve and getting in good training?
The song “Rage!” by Chromeo.
Hoping that more people give up – if that happened, I’d have more friends to ride with.
How good my post-race Baconator was going to be

So, yeah, that was a ton of fun.

Time to put Tour of the Hilltowns in the “don’t do again for a really long time” pile of races.

p.s. Dear other teams that I might try to get on…I’m a really strong racer. Really. I swear.

Stray observations about Gloucester 2015

Twitter has ruined me, so I can only think in Tweet-sized chunks. Drew and I were on the mics at Gloucester this weekend, and it was a friggin’ magical experience. As two guys who came up through the amateur ranks and watched Trebon/Wicks/Johnson/Powers/Page battle it out years ago at Stage Fort park, it was pretty absurd to be standing in the gazebo with Drew forcing Star Wars references upon a thousand spectators.

These are in no particular order.

Day 1

  • This is the actual conversation I had with Stephen Hyde before the podium:
    https://twitter.com/ryantkelly/status/647918172339892224
  • Caitlin Szymkowicz had an awesome race in the Women’s 3 race. I thoroughly enjoyed announcing it.
  • Andrew Lints killed it in the Men’s 3 race, with a droppah post on his cross bike. He is doing Night Weasels, he needs to make sure he has a hook up with a good couch repair shop because you know what’s gonna happen.
  • I sat on the side of a hill next to Powers interviewing him after he won. I asked him about Day 2, what would happen if Cannondale stayed away from mechanical issues. He said something to the effect of “Well, I always think that the strongest rider wins and tactics don’t play a huge role,” which is a nice way of saying “Shut the hell up Ryan, you really don’t know what you’re talking about, I am gonna fuck this race up tomorrow” (foreshadowing).
  • About two laps into the Elite Women’s race, Ellen Noble attacked Caroline Mani and Helen Wyman (don’t remember if Compton was up with them at that point) on the off-camber by the big rock heading down to the low ball fields. It was fucking amazing to see. Paully was near me at that point (I was standing by the course crossing by the Shimano tent). I put my mic down and started screaming at Paul “THIS IS AMAZING!!!!!!” because it fucking was.
  • Ellen never looked terrified while she was riding with Compton and Mani. Um. Which is absurd, because that is a terrifying proposition.
  • Trebon flatted, was almost in the scrub zone, and then fucking rode through people into 5th. It was a phenomenal ride. The results say 5th, but he made up like 10 spots in the last three laps of the race. If he kept air in the tires it would have been amazzzziiinnngggg.
  • There was a lot of dust.
  • Many people asked me why I was not wearing the seersucker shorts or jorts. The truth is, folks, that I haven’t been riding much lately, and I didn’t want to disappoint fans of my shorts by draping them over a sub-par canvas.
  • I put “No Diggity” on the UCI Women Day 1 playlist. When it came on, Drew stopped mid-announcing to ask me over the microphone if I actually put No Diggity on the playlist.
  • Leslie Robinson crushed the Cat 4 women, so she should upgrade now. Someone tell her this.
  • “Kings of Metal” and “Shoop” will be on the playlists forever.

Day 2

  • With 1.5 laps to go (I think), Powers just started going so much faster than I thought was possible. He put his hands out on the hoods and immediately opened a gap over Curtis. Going in to Day 2, I thought that a flat-free Cannondale could team up and take out Powers – but after seeing him lift the pace like that, I do not see how anyone can beat him in America this year.
  • A Quebecois woman said to me that they came down to the race hoping I was announcing again, but were disappointed that I wasn’t wearing seersucker shorts.
  • I wore a buff over my mouth for much of the race to keep the dust out of my lungs. It was a smart move.
    https://instagram.com/p/8J0cP7Ga63
  • Erin brought me baked goods.
  • Drew and I really forced the “fully operational” “joke” about the Cannondale team. We liked it, didn’t really care if anyone else did.
  • As I write this I am getting into my second bottle of white wine.
  • Drew and I put the sound stuff in the Verge trailer. Drew texted me when I was on my way down that he couldn’t get it open. Turns out that he was just not pulling the door hard enough. He had to wait for JD to come do it. THANKS, JD.
  • After the Elite Women’s race (where Katie Compton said “Hey guys remember me? I’m Katie Fuckin’ Compton, I’m gonna go win now thx”), I tried to chat with her after the finish line. I walked up to her and said “Hey Katie, care to chat?”, and she nodded yes. A bunch of media folks came over…and then Katie and Caroline began to talk shop for probably two minutes (as one is to do after a bike race).Two minutes when you are standing around awkwardly with a bunch of cameras pointed at you is a very long time.

    Eventually Mr. Katie Compton broke the conversation up and both Katie and Caroline had a laugh at me because welcome to my life (it is actually pretty baller at times).

  • I saw Collin Huston’s parents.
  • My voice was fine on Day 2, also fine today (Monday). I think the years of screaming about vans (and getting into them) in college has given me much vocal fitness.
  • I think Sunday’s course was better for spectators. Certainly better for announcers. All the elite racers I talked to like Saturday’s course more, though.
  • I planned this week well, family-wise – worked from home Friday, off today, off Wednesday before I head down to Night Weasels. Shoutout to my job for sponsoring me with vacation time.
  • I really wanted to talk to Trebon at some point this weekend, but I wasn’t able to. Looks like he’ll be at Night Weasels, though.
  • Drew has an instrumental of “C.R.E.A.M” and “Regulate” that are absolutely perfect for call ups.
  • I am listing to “Regulate” right now.
  • Announcing with Drew is fucking amazing. People were putting dollar bills on the barriers.Me: “You know what they say, Drew – cash rules everything around me!”
    Drew: “Cream. Get the money.”
    [in unison]: “Dolla dolla bill y’all”
  • I talked to five Gloucester residents about the race. Gave them a bit of background on some of the efforts against the race…they all thought that was lame. One guy said “Well we don’t have any fish left, may as well have a bike race!” Pointed them all in the direction of ECV, and they remembered seeing stories in the paper this year about it – and are sure, now, to voice their support.
  • Support your local bike race promoter, but support their significant others and families even more – because if they’re promoting all weekend, they’ve got someone back home keeping it LOCKED DOWN.
  • I butchered Lydia Hausle‘s name all weekend until I was corrected (and then butchered it one more time) because I’m terrible at pronouncing names (aka “illiterate”), which is a great trait in an announcer. HOWEVER, I am great at correcting myself, which makes me endearing? I think?
  • When Caroline Mani is giving it the business, she looks like a bobblehead stuck on top of a rock tumbler – you KNOW she’s all in. Drew asked her about this, she seemed…surprised? yeah, I’ll go with surprised – with this question. But her response was along the lines of “it takes energy to look composed, that’s energy that could be going to the legs”.
  • Trebon threw down an attack up the pavement with 3 to go (? maybe?) and it was fucking awesome.

Yeah that was awesome. haha I announced Gloucester again, this makes no sense.