This is a blog post about running

Sometimes you have a toddler, and you and the place that provided you with a cushy desk job have a disagreement about what is a “fair market salary”, and then your life becomes somewhat chaotic and the decadent exhaustion of a six hour road ride gets archived into the memory bank alongside the ability to drink three 40s in a night and still be functional the next day.

At this point it is wise to say fuck it to the never-stopping time furnace that is required to support the glorious experience of being moderately competitive in Pro/1/2 bicycle racing in New England, and it is time to murder your old gods for the new god of RUNNING.

Here is my Strava Social Fitness And Future Advertisement Ejaculating And Current Time Algorithming Network history for the last few weeks.

The reddish things are running, the blueish things are cycling, fuck you I’m colorblind. Also I don’t know what the hell was going on at the end of September, probably announcing and eating cheese.

Yes there is a lot of running there. Or, at least, way more running than riding.

I have been dabbling off and on with running for the last (how old is my kid?)…almost four years.

yay running

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I didn’t really run on a somewhat regular basis until we escaped the meth-addled snapping turtle infested money pit of a farmhouse in Atkinson for an 1100 square foot ranch in Exeter. But, even when I was not doing it consistently, it was a nice way to quell the anger that my soul generates on a daily basis in a much more efficient fashion than my old method – riding a bicycle for two hours while screaming at people driving cars that cost more than $80k.

Unresolved anger and class warfare aside, once I started running on a regular basis, it was terrible, unenjoyable, and continued to be so for a long time.

When I am running, I feel like the output of an under-powered video card rendering of a mech. I am the personification of a Large Adult Son, lumbering through the world, sweating out meat and Cabot cheddar as I frighten the students of a prestigious prep school.

I’ve been running three times a week (or so) since January of this year, and as I said, dabbled a bit for the years prior, but have only really started thinking about it in any sort of serious fashion (while running like a meat-fueled mecha) since the end of August.

But after three months or so of thinking of exercise only as a way to keep my cardiovascular system from disintegrating, running has become slightly less terrible.

Don’t get me wrong, those runs leading up to the point of the terribleness decreasing were real shit. In 2015 I was running a bit, and one day I ran a few miles, and pulled something in my legs, and then I couldn’t…do stuff. Like ride a bike. Or pull up on my legs? It was weird. I went to PT. I had to stretch. I had psoas issues. It was “great”. So that was fun. But, in late 2016 when I started again, I started very slow. Like a mile. And then as I got into 2017 I started building up, slowly, from there.

But now, I actually look forward to running. I am less concerned about ripping some muscle to shreds (though I am still very careful). I can actually see improvements!

Improvements aren’t really a thing that is going to happen for me in cycling ever again. I’m basically tweeting like Uncle Rico about rides from 2012/2013. But running! I have so much GROWTH OPPORTUNITY (that is “business speak” for “I totally suck at it”). I’m a pile of fucking garbage at running! But if I can figure out how to make my arms not fly around like a pterodactyl, or what to do with my giant feet, or how to manage my asthma, I could improve on a monthly basis.

So, wait, why am I writing this blog post?

Oh yeah, okay, so it is getting to be the DARKNESS SEASON and cycle-cross racing is ending and more of my friends keep having kids and GUYS LET ME TELL YOU give this running thing a chance. Yes those first several (dozen) runs are real terrible. But if you Strava that shit you’ll see that you are improving. And isn’t it nice to be getting better at something for the first time in years? No? That’s just me? Huh okay, fuck you guys.

Here is a quick list of Pros and Cons

PROS CONS
Quick! Good workout in like 30 minutes.
Low equipment costs.
Easy to do while traveling.
If you have a dog you can run with your dog and make your dog tired.
JOGGING STROLLERS.
People I know keep getting hit by cars while riding a bike.
In the winter it doesn’t take 20 minutes to get dressed to run.
In the winter you don’t have to worry about salt ruining your equipment.
If you race cross it could be helpful.
It is good prep for having to carry your child across whatever burned out hellscape we will face in the next few years.
The tempo of “You Can’t Kill Me” (and thus “Amazing Grace”) fits well with my usual running pace. YMMV.
Holy shit bike riding is so much more fun.
Sometimes it jostles out a too-robust fart.
It sucks for a while.
You might pull a thing and then not be able to pick up your kid.

Okay, this has been a blog post about running. I want to race my bike, but I also don’t want to get DROPPED, and that requires more preparation than I have time for.

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.