Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Is there really one more BlackDog?Got a call from my friend the Fed asking why I hadnt been playing at all this summer.
He reminded me that i have a great little tennis club to play at ( har-tru courts, too!)
And it even has the elitist sign reminding those that wander by that this is PRIVATE.
And on a small city block in st. paul and nobody even knows it is there other than the neighbors.
Greatest thing of all is that for green clay or har-tru as it is called, this is the best kept secret in town. For what i pay to belong I couldnt even get my name on the waiting list at the OTHER clubs in the metro that have clay. Woodhill/Minikahda/Interlachen..My yearly seasonal dues would maybe cover dinner for 4 at one of those clubs. Lifetime at Flagship in Eden P has clay but i dont think they take such good care of them. And ***Woodhill has a grass court so that is cool.
So i told Fed I would get out there. Even if i hit mini tennis the entire time and didnt serve, which for me is the thing that feels so good when i do it, then after "ripping" them cant turn my head the next day or for a good week afterwards. So this self portrait was the "Do ya REALLY want to do this?" look.
Jane is my clay court buddy. We seem to be able to hit midcourt and laugh and talk quite a bit. When it comes to playing ( which we didnt do last night) we keep it quiet, until Jane screams mid-point, and i cry foul and demand a do-over.

So thanks Fed for getting me out there, and thanks James Blake who had me up till midnight making sure he snuck past Donald Young in the first round. 5 sets of tennis player versus young hip hop tennis star. At least his cap wasnt on sideways.

So here is tonight's line up on USA cable:
Stosur is a super athlete, she could give Venus a run but S has been injured lately. Venus if she is on her game will win in 2.
Fed is up next. Under the lights.
For all of you who are numb, missing the Olympic Themesong, tune in and you can see Al Trautwig and Tracy Austin commenting how he "stuck it!" oops. Wrong sport, Al.

Arthur Ashe

7:00 PM Start
1 Women's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Samantha Stosur (AUS)
v. Venus Williams (USA)[7]

followed by
2 Men's Singles - 1st Rnd.
Maximo Gonzalez (ARG)
v. Roger Federer (SUI)[2]

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Last TNTTSheryl and I did awesome. Surely the most popular kids on the team since we own the park tool bottle openers. I tried to get Bonny in on the picture but she took off to change into civilian clothing. Lets just say that if you are a woman aged 40-49yo and come out to TNTT, you may wish you were younger or older. The three of us had an awesome decimal point standing finish for top 3 women. Thanks gals for making me ride faster.
Family Picture:) Glad my shoes are glow in the dark, since it was getting dark out. Kinda forgot i had my glasses on my head till i drove off in the dark thinking "where are my glasses!"
Thanks to John Shishilla for snapping the picture for us.
Oh yea, VERVE RACING in case you didnt know. I had my favorite tennis t shirt on, the one my friend Elyse got when she played in the Maccabi games in Israel last summer.
Team First Light took 3rd in a heavily stacked team series. Gear West fasties took first, Ortho skulls took 2nd ( i think that is Team Ortho) and First Light took 3rd. Not to out anyone but these guys are over 50. (No, not me and Elliot) but that is pretty awesome. I would guess that the first and second place teammembers are in their 20's and 30's.

Mosquitos came out, we took our weapons ( I mean bottle openers) and headed to the car for home. This is the first TNTT i have driven home in the pitch dark. It was 8:55pm. Dang it.
The snow is coming....Ok minor panic attack. I know we have a few more..weeks?

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Post Olympic let down??..nope.You have to admit you are bored with the Olympics, arent you? Ok not really, I am kidding. But in case you havent mapped out your recovery plan for when you cant turn on the TV and have 24-7 coverage of any sport ( but triathlon, ahem ahem, what is up with that?..they show the ENTIRE womens marathon and no triathlon? What??) Nothing against women running AT ALL but what about the Tri?
Ok sorry, off on a tangent.

Can FED get another one? What do you think?

Blake beat him in the Olympics in straight sets. And Nadal now is the #1 ranked player in the world. Here are my thoughts:

I wouldnt take FED's loss in Bejiing as a sign of anything. He went to represent his country, he played doubles with a relatively unknown guy and won. Roddick didnt play for the USA bc he was tuning up for the US Open with the series that lucratively leads up to NYC. Roddick needs to work if he wants to repeat as well.

I dont know. Blake plays for his JBLOCK in the city, Roddick wants another, Dokyovic sure loves the fast courts and the "show" he can put on with his mimicking other players, ( if you havent seen him impersonate Maria, you should) and of course, Nadal. Cant neglect the now number 1 in the world. Whether or not Fed did well in Bejiing he will have his hands full ...and maybe just maybe he needed to play some tennis for his country, not for himself, in less of a pressure situation.

So when you are moping about with sadness that the games are over, tune in for some awesome late night matches from Flushing Meadow. Cant beat that.

** I have played 2 x at Flushing Meadow / National Tennis Center, on the outside courts. It is a public tennis facility so anyone can book a court. The stadiums are of course not open to pedestrian play. We toured them, and wow, it was pretty darn cool. To play in Arthur Ashe Stadium would be like....playing ....the metrodome is too small. I cant even relate it to anything we have here. Court surface is actually kinda slow...sticky slow. Not like playing on grass.
Ok this ends the trip down memory lane.

US OPEN starts next week...
BlackDog 8/13/08What is more exciting..riding consistently faster than last year or...
Hanging next to CY? I think I would have talked to her all night.
Thanks Yndecam for the great pics. I promised myself that come fall when i have more time i will update my blog so i have more links, etc..until then i am too busy doing other stuff:)

Wednesday, August 13, 2008


Grease lightning: A bus that runs on vegetable oil


Unlike most of her college friends, who are working and living at home over the summer, Addie Gorlin of Hopkins is spending her summer on a smelly school bus.

Gorlin is one of 12 students from Dartmouth College in Hanover, N.H., who are road-tripping on a vegetable oil-powered "Big Green Bus" to spread the word about taking better care of the environment. While the bus has a profound smell of French fries and won tons, Gorlin said the only drawback is that it makes everyone hungry.

"There's so many life lessons to be learned from this bus. We get to learn about the United States and all the environmental aspects, and we get to talk to so many different people," Gorlin said. "And, just learning to live with 11 other people on a 37-foot-long bus is certainly a valuable life experience."

During their 34th stop of the summer, in Minneapolis last week, the crew took advantage of some down time at Gorlin's family home after driving two straight nights from Yellowstone National Park. While a few members of the crew ate lunch and napped in the hammock, Gorlin wrangled up some of her bus mates and a few of her relatives who were curious about the "greasing" process. The bus had to be fed, and Gorlin knew just the place.

Heads turned as the 1996 International Harvester school bus rolled into the parking lot of Wagner's Drive-In on Hwy. 7 in Hopkins, one of Gorlin's favorite childhood eateries. This time, she was there to collect the restaurant's waste grease.

After checking the quality of the grease (it cannot contain water) Gorlin lowered a hose into the smelly black dumpster behind the restaurant. Fellow Dartmouth student Trey Roy fired up a pump, and the oil was sucked to a filtration system where fried morsels were removed. After a french fry clogged the hose, the crew stopped and checked the gauge: 37.6 gallons in the holding tank. Success.

Gorlin said powering the bus with vegetable oil is not only cheaper than using gas and better for the environment, it's also a way for restaurants to recycle a product that would normally be thrown away.

The bus tour is about 80 percent over, but the people they meet on the road are as curious as ever. While Maple Grove resident David Sandmann was having lunch with some co-workers at Wagner's, he was inspired to talk with the crew about their mission. "I think it's a great inspiration for students or younger kids to see this kind of thing," Sandmann said. "Maybe they'll inspire others."

The Dartmouth students say that's exactly what they're trying to do -- inspire people young and old to make small changes in the way they live.

Don't get the wrong idea though. The enthusiastic 19- to 23-year-olds described themselves as typical college kids who want people to know that "you don't have to be a Birkenstock-wearing, green-loving, stereotypical hippie" to make a change, Gorlin said. "That's not environmentalism today."

The crew is able to maintain a sustainable lifestyle on the bus while enjoying many of the comforts of home, except air conditioning. The tricked-out school bus has broadband Internet access powered by five solar panels on the bus roof. The panels provide more than enough electricity to power a TV, refrigerator and freezer, PlayStation 2, laptops, iPods and cell phones.

How the bus works

The bus has a diesel engine that was converted to run on vegetable oil. A second fuel tank was installed to store the oil, which powers the bus once it's heated to 158 degrees. The oil is heated when the engine is running, so it takes a while for the oil to get warm enough to use. Then it's a matter of flipping a switch from diesel to vegetable oil.

A summer road trip isn't complete without its share of mishaps. It's not unusual for the bus to have problems, then to find one of the guys shirtless, trouble-shooting a hose problem beneath the chassis while grease drips on his forehead. In an emergency, the bus can switch to running on diesel fuel.

The crew also runs into restaurants that say "no" when asked for their waste grease. With the increase in biodiesel production facilities, many restaurants have contracts with businesses that pick up the used grease.

"With the price of oil in general and the move toward biodiesel, in a lot of cases now, restaurants get [waste oil] picked up for free," said Jon Getzinger, vice president of sales and marketing for Eagan-based Restaurant Technologies, the biggest U.S. grease recycler for the McDonald's Corp. In some cases, Getzinger said, restaurants will even receive a small payment for their waste oil.

So there is no Chicken McNugget grease for this green bus.

"It's a good problem to have," Gorlin said.

Although the work along the way has been difficult, so far the students have had a great time, surfing in Oregon, stopping for the Bonaroo Music and Arts Festival in Tennessee and seeing fireworks on the Fourth of July in Colorado. During their Minnesota visit, the crew met with Minneapolis Mayor R.T. Rybak at a light rail stop. Metro Transit joined the discussion with one of its hybrid, electric-powered buses. By the end of 2012, Metro Transit officials say they will have 172 hybrid buses on the roads. HourCar, a Twin Cities car-sharing service, was also on site with one of its vehicles.

"It was really cool seeing that combination of all the modes of sustainable transportation," Gorlin said. "It's interesting ... seeing Minnesota with a new green lens."

Aimée Blanchette • 612-673-1715

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Martin, Jen and I are studying something outside the Garmisch USA

sunny photo op on the patio.
Martin's first Firehouse. Jen's weekend off from rowing. She is headed to master's nationals next week. You think your hands get sore gripping the handlebars? Those rowers dont wear gloves and i would rely on Jen to portage my canoe or put my bike on top of a car more than i would some cyclists with under developed upper bodies. ( Ok I should just speak for myself, shouldnt I?)
Friends, good food, good times.
Scott took a bit of a tumble in the 4 person TT. He will have some hardware installed thursday that will make his security clearance as a pilot for NWA a bit more suspicious when he sets off the metal detectors. We wish him a speedy recovery and hope Jill doesnt go nutso with him home for the next few weeks.
Firehouse 50 weekendBig Kevin gets his wheels rolling
"Man is he good to ride behind!"
Elliot runs/skis for Sibley High School and is quite the budding Triathlete
Chuck is Elliot's dad and a fine musician as well.
Julia has finally developed the skill that Rich has had all along. Self portrait while cutting off half the other person's face.
Dont get too excited .. I had a swimsuit on and just had to get a pic of those tan lines. And that is a tan line having worn 50 SPF religiously with re-applications all summer. If you look you can still see the bulge of tissue on my left cheek where i still have scar tissue and a hematoma from being taken out in june in a crit. There is some painful soft tissue work ahead. And yea, it still hurts. Nothing a little dip in Lake Owen post race wont help, tho.

Race was fine. Hard. Epic may be too strong a term bc people like to use EPIC for races like Ken Woods, when really i would just call that plain crazy or "dumb" for racing in conditions like that. Maybe mentally Epic is a good term for the Firehouse 50 TT. And cant argue with the beauty of the course, the variety of the terrain, the fun times and the great spectators and volunteers.

I won my age group and placed 6th overall for women and didnt empty the tank. I hope to return next year and see what more i can do with this course...