Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Robert Ardrey

Humans were born of risen apes, not fallen angels, and the apes were armed killers besides. And so what shall we wonder at? Our murders and massacres and missiles? Or our treaties whatever they may be worth; our symphonies however seldom they may be played; our peaceful acres however frequently they may be turned into battlefields. The miracle of man is not how far he has sunk, but how magnificently he has risen. We are known among the stars by our poems, not our corpses. 

OSIRIS-REx Mission

On Sept. 8, 2016 the OSIRIS-REx Mission left Cape Canaveral, FL to begin a multi-year project that involves intercepting the asteroid Bennu, securing samples of it and returning to earth with them in 2023. The space craft was seen from the Large Binocular Telescope on Mount Graham near Safford, AZ on Sept. 1.

While the OSIRIS-Rex Mission is a mind-boggling scientific and engineering achievement, the true wonder in all this is how little it relates to everyday life. That is, that while the US has the capability of sending mechanisms far into space to perform tasks and then successfully return, at the same time American law enforcement uses 14th century technology that involves the use of a rapid chemical reaction to drive metal pellets through the body of individuals who decline to do as they are told, often with fatal results.

Monday, September 11, 2017

National Shortage of Construction Workers

A recent article on the Tucson.com website visits the increasingly visible issue of a national dearth of carpenters, electricians, plumbers and laborers needed to build the homes and commercial buildings of the US.

As with other commentary on this problem, the contractors mention the things being done, and that should be done, to encourage workers to enter the construction industry. Yet nowhere in the article is it suggested that wages for these craftsmen be increased or working conditions be improved, the two things most likely to spur an increase in interest in the field. The same viewpoint is expressed here.

Economist Scott Sumner speculates on wages and other factors in this essay but doesn't approach the issue of working conditions, as outlined here.

The fact of the matter is that if the construction industry wants to fill all of its available job openings it will have to compete with other occupations in wages and conditions.

 Image result for iron worker

Friday, September 8, 2017

Alijah Beatty On The Track In Italy

Junior cycling star Alijah Beatty has returned from her trip to the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships in Montichiari, Italy to begin her freshman year at Marian University in Indianapolis as a member of the prestigious Marian Knights cycling team. Soon she'll be competing in the US collegiate national track championships and then it's off to Bergen, Norway for the UCI World Road Championships in the women's U-23 division.

Here she gives us some of her impressions of the competition in Europe:

 "My first race was the scratch race (Wednesday). I was really nervous just because this was my first world championship event. We started out pretty easy but after about 5 laps it started to get harder. Eventually it became a race of who could just hold on and sprint at the end. I got 8th in the scratch race final.

The next race I did was Friday, the Omnium. For this you have 4 races and you get scored for them and at the end of all the races you get an overall score and that is what they go by to determine the omnium winner. But first we had to do a 30 lap point race qualifier so that we could eliminate people so there wouldn't be as big of a field on the track at one time. The qualifier went great. I lapped the field with a girl from Barbados. I ended up 2nd in the qualifier.

The first official race for the omnium is a scratch race. I ended up 11th in the race. The second race is a tempo race. This race gives points every lap to the leader of that lap. I was sitting in 7th place when two girls went down in front of me on corner 4. There was nowhere to go and I hit them both and crashed out. I had hit my head and my hip pretty bad and it was hard to get up and walk on my own. I ended up going to the ER to get X-rays. I didn't break anything! but was unable to finish the rest of the races for the omnium.

The last race I had scheduled to race was the points race. After crashing the day before in the omnium I wasn't sure that I would be up to race. After getting on the trainer and working my muscles I felt good enough to race and wanted to represent my country. So I was put in the race. On our neutral lap the officials told us to slow down because a girl had missed the start. So we slowed down and on the first corner we were going so slow that we had our first crash of the race. Little did we know that we would have 4 crashes in the whole 80 lap race. I was involved in the 2nd crash.

I crashed twice within 24 hours and I was in so much pain. But we were already half way through the race so I decided to get back on the bike and finish the race. I ended up 15th in that race and felt pretty good about it due to how much physical pain I was in. That race definitely messed my my mental capacity also. Having the crashed and having been in two I really just wanted to get off of the track.

 All in all it was a fun time and the coaches taught me a lot about gearing and warm-up/ cool down and I feel that I am ready to go to worlds again."

We hope that her future racing experiences aren't quite as painful as her Italian ones.

 Image result for http://velodromodimontichiari.com

  Velodromo di Montichiari, Montichiari, Italy

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

Backward Ballcaps

Image result for fraternity boys
Maybe you've wondered about the slow-to-die phenomenon of the ball cap worn backwards. What could this dopey variant of haberdashery possibly signify? Some people probably think that it's a fad from the eighties that refuses to go away. Actually, there's another, more sinister explanation.
 A Rohingya refugee man cries as he take part in Eid al-Adha prayer near the Kutupalang makeshift refugee camp, in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, September 2, 2017. Photo: Reuters/Mohammad Ponir Hossain
Yes, that's right. The costumes of dim bulb American males have been influenced by the dress of the Muslim ummah. The Muslims are coordinating their attempt to take over dar al-harb, beginning with Western headgear. It's hard to say how far this might go. It seems unlikely that US fraternity boys will make the Muslim thobe a part of their campus wardrobe but the backward ball cap was unpredictable decades ago as well. Maybe the near future will include thobes with college insignia to match the backward ball cap.

Friday, September 1, 2017

Salt Lake City Cop Handcuffs On-Duty Nurse

On July 26, 2017, 36 days ago, Salt Lake City detective Jeff Payne was attempting to draw blood from an unconscious patient at the University of Utah Medical Center in Salt Lake City without fulfilling any of the conditions necessary for this procedure. Body cam footage released today, Sept. 1, shows him physically assaulting and handcuffing supervising nurse Alex Wubbels and shoving her into a squad car.

 Wubbels was released without being charged some 20 minutes later and Payne has supposedly been taken off the vampire squad without further punishment. As is invariably the case, no personal responsibility is shown to have been an issue in the matter. When cops foul up it's always due to a "lack of training". 
In Monday's news conference, University of Utah Police Chief Dale Brophy apologized to Wubbels and hospital staff for his early response to the incident. He said he didn't watch the body camera footage until Thursday evening and realized then that he didn't take it seriously enough.
"I was able to see firsthand how poorly this situation was handled," Brophy said. "This is not how law enforcement professionals should act." He added that Wubbels "should not have been subjected to arrest for doing her job" and vowed to put his officers through de-escalation training.

It's important to remember some things about this incident. First of all, Wubbels couldn't legally give the cop permission to withdraw the blood. She would have been liable for prosecution and could well have lost her own job had she done so. Second, the behavior of Payne was in no way acceptable regardless of the circumstances. An employee of a private business would have been fired for what he did but law enforcement personnel have no concern for this. He demonstrated no knowledge of the law and no ability to handle a confrontational situation, one, in fact, that he had personally created. People like this can't be allowed to carry guns and badges. Finally, the University of Utah policemen displayed shameful behavior themselves in not intervening immediately.

Thursday, August 31, 2017

Annemieke Van Vleuten And Her Mysterious Kit

The indestructible Annemieke in her normal Orica-Scott kit.

The Dutch time trial champion out on the course in the Boels-Dolmans skin suit.
Moments later Van Vleuten appears on the podium in regulation Orica-Scott apparel.

Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Alijah Beatty Update

NorthStar Development rider Alijah Beatty completely dominated the USAC junior female track championships in Carson, CA from July 31 to Aug. 5. She won gold in all six events in which she competed, the junior 17-18 points race, the keirin, the team pursuit, the individual pursuit, the international omnium and the scratch race.
Alijah's trip to Montichiari, Italy for the UCI Junior Track Cycling World Championships wasn't quite as productive with an eighth place in the scratch race and some crashes in other events.

Already the USA junior national road racing champion, she's been selected to represent the US as a member of the U-23 women's road racing team at the UCI World World Championships in Bergen, Norway, Sept. 16-24.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

It Just Takes Time

If the garbage disposal under your kitchen sink was puking water all over the floor you would probably call a plumber to get the situation rectified. If the plumber told you it would probably be six months or more before anything could be done you would also probably be upset and call another plumber.

In the case of government, you can get as upset as you wish and nothing will speed up the process.

 Image result for justine damond

On July 15, 2017 an Australian national, Justine Ruszczyk Damond, made a 911 call to the Minneapolis, MN police department to report what she felt might have been a sexual assault in the alley behind her home in an upper-middle class neighborhood in southwest Minneapolis. A few minutes later she lay dead in the alley, shot to death by one of the two cops that responded to the call. As in all incidents involving police gun fire, investigation of the case was turned over to the Minnesota Bureau of Criminal Apprehension, the BCA.

Immediately after the fatal shooting, a BCA agent filed an electronic request for a warrant to search the home of the deceased, which was granted electronically, also immediately. Apparently requests for search warrants are granted with a new technology that replaces the former "rubber stamp".

The warrant:


Interestingly enough, the media has given no indication that the homes of either of the two officers involved in the shooting have been the subject of a search warrant and, if so, what may have been found. Nor has there been any information forwarded regarding any tests that should have made for drugs or alcohol on the victim or the two policemen.

Now Hennepin County Attorney Mike Freeman, son of a former Minnesota governor and without doubt an aspirant for higher office himself, says that it will be at least until the end of the year and perhaps later before he decides if any charges will be made in the case.

It's not the first time that Freeman has been involved in an incident where police activity has seemed  to cross the line into crime itself.

Be that as it may, it seems absurd that the gathering of facts about this incident and others like it and coming to a conclusion about further action should require such an extended period of time.

On Aug 2, 2017 an explosion apparently caused by a natural gas leak destroyed a large part of Minnehaha Academy in Minneapolis, causing the death of two school employees and the injury of nine others. The preliminary report from the investigating agency, the National Transportation Safety Board, could easily have been assembled by anyone with a newspaper. According to news sources, "A final report may not be released for several months and could take more than a year." One must wonder what new information or interpretation would be discovered in the eleventh month.

The feds have a long history of proceeding at a glacial pace in similar matters.

A cynic might conclude that the time element involved in these affairs could be an effort to allow the outrage to dissipate before a judgement is delivered.

Monday, August 28, 2017

What Is An Anarchist?

According to Wikipedia:

Anarchism as a political philosophy advocates self-governed societies based on voluntary institutions. These are often described as stateless societies, although several authors have defined them more specifically as institutions based on non-hierarchical free associations.

Anarchy and statism are incompatible, which explains why statists must mislead people by defining anarchy as chaos and disorder. Somebody once declared that the only two political theories that are completely consistent are anarchy and totalitarianism. Anarchy fully embraces the concept of self, totalitarianism fully rejects that concept. Statism always degenerates into totalitarianism.
Emma Goldman, one of America's most famous and significant anarchists had this to say:

       Just as religion has fettered the human mind, and as property, or the monopoly of things, has subdued and stifled man's needs, so has the State enslaved his spirit, dictating every phase of conduct. "All government in essence," says Emerson, "is tyranny." It matters not whether it is government by divine right or majority rule. In every instance its aim is the absolute subordination of the individual.
In this Associated Press account of a week-end confrontation in Bezerkley, CA the writers describe the affair as being between white nationalists (right wing) and 'black-clad anarchists' (left wing). The reality is that anarchists belong to no wing and are in opposition to any form of state coercion, right or left. It's a common place for the media to describe riotous leftists as anarchists even though they advocate the use of state power to eliminate their ideological foes. Masked leftists and their media accomplices use the tag of anarchist to hide their socialist agenda. If genuine anarchists were to do such an unlikely thing as riot, their efforts would be directed against both the right and the left.

Sunday, August 27, 2017

Next It's Bacteria Instead Of Dope For Athletes

A paper presented at a meeting of the American Chemical Society raises the possibility that successful athletes have a different microbiome or bacterial population in their digestive system than some of their lesser competitors. Researchers have found unique bacteria present in the guts of runners and rowers that seem to assist in recovery from exercise and even aid in converting food into energy.  A company is being formed to develop biotic products that can alter an individual athlete's microbiome to increase positive results.

In view of the obsession with drugs and blood doping in sports perhaps we'll soon see that not only will the blood and urine of cyclists, weight lifters, football players and other athletes be analyzed but their feces as well. Professional cyclists now have a "biological passport" that contains a profile of the level of testosterone in their blood and other things. It's seems likely that if microbiome modification is not approved the discovery of unauthorized bacteria in a rider's gut might also be grounds for disqualification and banning from the sport. Indeed, why shouldn't it be?

Image result for eddy merckx

Super cyclist Eddy Merckx. Could a transplant of the bacteria in his digestive tract make you a better rider? You might soon be able to find out.

Friday, August 25, 2017

Average Age of US Senate Still Going Up

Image result for really old person

In 1875 the average age of members of the US Senate was 52 years. The average age of the august body is now 61 years. More than half of the senators up for re-election in 2018 will be 65 or older.

Alabama senator Richard Shelby is 83. Californian Dianne Feinstein is 84. Chuck Grassley from Iowa is 83. Oklahoma's Jim Inhofe is 82. Orrin Hatch of Utah is 83. Arizona senator John McCain is 80. Seventeen members of the upper house are in their seventies.

Wednesday, August 23, 2017

Now It's Owls On The Attack

It seems that Americans, and perhaps humans everywhere, are facing increasing violence from the rest of the animal kingdom. Bears, goats, coyotes, cougars, etc. are stalking and attacking hapless humans relentlessly. The latest occurrence took place near a wide spot in the headwaters of the Mississippi River, Lake Bemidji, where a three year-old tyke was set upon by what DNR folks believe was a barred owl. She escaped with scratches and the owl disappeared as well.
 Image result for great horned owl

A great horned owl. Much scarier than a barred owl. Could easily have been one of these guys.

The most interesting aspect of the story is the DNR action, which had to have been instigated by the parents or even the child itself. "Department of Natural Resources workers investigated the attack but couldn’t locate the bird." What could their purpose have been in finding the owl, if indeed, that's what it was? Were the DNR agents equipped with firearms to deal with an individual bird that could hardly have been identified as the actual transgressor? Would some innocent hooter have been sentenced to death for violating humans norms of behavior? Or would they have simply taken a picture of it and advised folks to look out. It also seems wise to have closed the trail. Birds don't move very well from place to place.

Sunday, August 20, 2017

NSC Velodrome Fixed Gear Classic

The season's feature event at the National Sports Center Velodrome in Blaine, MN, the Fixed Gear Classic, brought track stars from the rest of the country who raced in some events that aren't the standard fare of the weekly Thursday Night Lights races. Matched sprints and the season's first Madison competition were a welcome addition to schedule. Thirty-three men and 24 women circled the track during the two day affair.

Image result for brandon krawczyk cycling
Winner of the men's sprint omnium was local hero Brandon Krawczyk, who has dominated the region in both track and road racing.

The winner of the men's endurance omnium was Junior National Track gold medalist Peter Moore of St. Paul, winner of the men's elimination race.

Linsey Hamilton, a force on the international women's master scene, clinched the women's sprint omnium in the last race of the competition, a match sprint against St. Louis rider Rachelle Wilson.

Women's endurance omnium winner Pennsylvanian Mary Costelloe.

Big Apple rider Christine D'Ercole finished in the third place in both the endurance and sprint omniums.
Mary Costelloe at the rail for the women's 60 lap scratch race.
Rachelle Wilson and Linsey Hamilton at the line for the match sprint gold medal.
The field lines up for an elimination heat in the women's keirin.

NSC Velodrome women's track rider of the year in 2016 and national junior medalist of 2017 Anya Malarski waiting for the durney to arrive in a keirin heat.

Final omnium standings:

Men's sprint:
1. Brandon Krawczyk, St.Paul, MN
2. Ethan Boyes, San Francisco, CA
3. Jacob Okamoto, Menlo Park, CA

Men's endurance:
1. Peter Moore, St.Paul, MN
2. Innokenty Zavyalov, Tustin, CA
3. Peter Olejniczak, Minneapolis, MN

Women's sprint:
1. Linsey Hamilton, Minneapolis, MN
2. Camie Kornely, Fort Lee, NJ
3. Christine D'Ercole, New York, NY

Women's endurance:
1. Mary Costelloe, Emmaus, PA
2. Elspeth Huyett, Emmaus, PA
3. Christine D'Ercole, New York, NY

Krawczyk and world masters gold medalist Dan Casper teamed up to win the 80 lap Madison.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

When All You Have Is A Hammer

Everything Looks Like A Nail.

As we often notice here at Pulverized Concepts, modern American law enforcement has problems with animals, man or beast, wild or domestic. These problems generally result in a fatality for the beast. Latest cop/beast failure to communicate took place near Portland, OR where an intimidated Washington County sheriff's deputy was forced to shoot a charging billy goat and call on another deputy to dispatch the wounded animal.

  Image result for volt the goat
Volt, the dangerous but now deceased goat.

In the recent past other cops have been forced to kill wandering alligators in Minnesota, bears in Glacier National Park, and, of course, dogs in a backyard

Big Waters Classic

The Big Waters Classic is a two race omnium series contested in the Twin Cities on the weekend of July 22-23. The Saturday races were held in the Selby-Dale area of St. Paul. Chicago Ave. and 48th St. was the scene for the Sunday action. These two races were the finale of the Midwest Flyover Series, which included events in La Crosse, WI; Burlington, Muscatine and Davenport, IA; Kansas City, MO and Clear Lake, IA. The women's 1-2 series was won by Vanessa Curtis of Iowa City, IA.

Both of the Big Waters Classic women's 1-2 criteriums were won by local rider Melissa Dahlmann. She won a field sprint on Saturday and triumphed on Sunday in a breakaway with Molly Clark-Oien.


Monday, July 31, 2017

What's Charisma?

According to historian Steven Stoll, it's this:

"Charismatic leaders often depend on dedicated interpreters. Charisma is not the ability to communicate, and it is certainly not the quality of being well liked. It is  the capacity to impose an idea on others that they internalize. Charismatic leaders make people see the world as they do--but not always by making reasoned arguments. They foretell obscurely, speak in poetry, and declare irreducible truths without evidence. They don't have friends, since everyone serves the instrumental purpose of advancing their views. So Aaron spoke for his brother Moses and performed the rituals that translated prophecy into religious practice. Jesus needed the disciples to elaborate and spread his message. Sherlock Holmes depended on Dr. Watson to act as a catalyst for his thinking about crime."

Steven Stoll, The Great Delusion, Hill and Wang, NY, NY, 2008, pg. 97.

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Prison Guard Impersonates Cop

A group of ATV riders were accosted by an angry individual who attempted to wrestle one of the machines away from its rider, went back to his truck for a gun and badge, and forced the rider down to the ground at gunpoint. When cops arrived the unarmed rider was arrested and charged with assault while the prison guard gets some time off from work. http://www.newsminer.com/news/local_news/atv-rider-charged-after-confrontation-with-off-duty-corrections-officer/article_51b3fdd8-71d3-11e7-8171-dfc5912d63e8.html
Perhaps it's no big deal if a member of the coercion complex straightens out a situation. Maybe it's a good thing that guys like this are willing to do their part to maintain order. Or, maybe not.

Addendum:  According to an Aug. 4 entry on the News-Miner website, charges against the ATV rider have been dropped. The prison guard has not been charged.
Braeuer, who worked at Fairbanks Correctional Center since 2006, was placed on administrative leave May 30 after the Department of Corrections learned of the incident. He has since left the agency, and his last effective day was July 28, said DoC public information officer Megan Edge.
Edge declined to comment on the circumstances of Braeuer’s departure from the department, citing confidentiality rules.

Saturday, July 22, 2017

Two Photographs, Same Newspaper

Page A2, Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, July 19, 2017.
Darrell Sapp/Pittsburgh Post-Gazette/Associated Press

 PAYING RESPECTS: Hundreds of officers, some from as far away as Colorado, Utah and Texas, attended the funeral of Trooper Michael Stewart III in Latrobe, PA, on Tuesday. The 26-year-old officer died in  a collision with a garbage truck. The cause is under investigation.


Page A8, Wall Street Journal, Wednesday, July 19, 2017.
Ebrahim Moroozi/Associated Press

 Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps troops in formation. New US sanctions are partly aimed at cutting off procurement for the force.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

How are we going to handle artificial intelligence?

". . . the fact is that we are rushing ahead into the AI universe with almost no political or policy debate about its implications. Digital technology has become critical to the personal and economic well-being of everyone on the planet, but decisions about how it is designed, operated and developed have never been voted on by anyone. Those decisions are largely made by executives and engineers at Google, Facebook, Amazon and other leading tech companies, and imposed on the rest of us with very little regulatory scrutiny. It is time for that to change."

                                   Jonathan Taplin
                                   Wall Street Journal
                                   July 15-16, 2017

Mr. Taplin is the director emeritus of the Annenberg Innovation Lab at the University of Southern California. In June 1971,George Harrison asked Taplin to help him and Ravi Shankar stage a benefit concert Madison Square Garden for the newly created state of Bangladesh, which was undergoing extreme famine conditions. The resulting Concert for Bangladesh, with appearances by Harrison, Bob Dylan, Ringo Starr, Eric Clapton and others was the first benefit concert of this magnitude in world history. Producer of a number of movies, Taplin must know his stuff.

"He’s been warning people about AI for years, and today called it the “biggest risk we face as a civilization” when he spoke at the National Governors Association Summer Meeting in Rhode Island.
Musk then called on the government to proactively regulate artificial intelligence before things advance too far.
“Until people see robots going down the street killing people, they don’t know how to react because it seems so ethereal,” he said. “AI is a rare case where I think we need to be proactive in regulation instead of reactive. Because I think by the time we are reactive in AI regulation, it’s too late.”
“Normally the way regulations are set up is a while bunch of bad things happen, there’s a public outcry, and after many years a regulatory agency is set up to regulate that industry,” he continued. “It takes forever. That, in the past, has been bad but not something which represented a fundamental risk to the existence of civilization. AI is a fundamental risk to the existence of human civilization.”

                                     Elon Musk
                                     CEO Tesla, Inc.
                                     CEO SpaceX

There you have it, two members of the elite both think that an effective government regulatory apparatus be set up to defend us from what is essentially ourselves. As Pogo once said in the newspaper comic strip of the same name:

There's a long history of government defending us from ourselves. Prohibition immediately comes to mind, the "war on drugs", gambling, prostitution and a myriad of other typical human failings. Of course, you might say that the threat of AI is an existential one, far more serious than teen-age cigarette smoking. You would be correct. But the government and its many agencies and bureaucrats doesn't seem to have been very successful at even managing the other human failings, much less eliminating them. 

Taplin's recipe for control is the typical one for statists, more government control and regulation, led by a "democratic" process that must include, at least in some attenuated form, the will of the people, as if they would be able to correctly assess what the pros and cons of AI might be. Naturally, it's their elected representatives who will decide, after consulting with their donors.

Musk wants to head off any problems with AI, whatever they might be. Maybe gun-slinging robots striding through the cul-de-sac. So we need another FCC or FAA or BLM or USDA to set the parameters of AI before the issues arise.

By the way, the Selective Service still exists and operates with a budget of $24 million although no one has been drafted since 1972.

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Draft Horse Action In Chetek, Wisconsin

A bright sun and moderate temperatures made the annual Independence Day weekend draft horse pull at the R-Bar near Chetek and Cameron, WI an enjoyable affair. Eleven 3200# teams and 13 heavy-weight pairs pulled into rural watering hole for the competition. It's a rare opportunity to watch the descendants of the motive force that originally provided the power for much of the country's agriculture and infrastructure construction.
Minnesota teamster Matt Foss and one of his Belgian mares that's in foal. There'll be a leggy draft colt or filly bouncing around in Matt's pasture in October.
Take a look at the space between Diesel's front legs. This veteran powerhouse has been a big part of the successful John Loomis horse pulling operation for a long time.

The Gary Smith team from North Freedom, WI. There's at least 4500 lbs. of horse between the tugs.

 Home town teamster Chuckie Schaaf took second place in the 3200# class with his beautiful team of Belgians.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

North Star Bicycle Festival 2017

The 2017 edition of Minnesota's premier sporting event seemed to reveal a couple of things about cycling in general and the US ladies' peloton in particular. On the basis of five days of racing there's substantial evidence that a younger generation of riders are elbowing their way into the top level of competition at the expense, with some notable exceptions, of their more experienced elders. Another development, seen in the continued success of the Rally cycling juggernaut, is building a superior team of both men and women through the signing of nascent Canadian stars, although this has been going on for some years now.

 Nineteen-year old Rally Cycling phenom Emma White blazed off with the victory in the ladies' general classification. She then went to the USA Cycling Nationals where she won the U-23 time trial and road race, took second in the U-23 criterium and 6th in the pro criterium.

 Cuban speedster Marlies Mejias Garcia of  Weber Shimano Ladies Power won the Stillwater criterium and was on the podium in four of the five stages, also winning the Minneapolis Uptown criterium.

United Health Care's Ruth Winder won both the road race stages of the NSBF and along with White and Mejias dominated the results.

Tayler Wiles of UHC was the queen of the mountains.

Young Australian all-arounder Lauretta Hanson was involved in a crash during the St. Paul criterium.
Former collegian Janelle Cole has made an effective transition to a higher level of competition with her aggressive style.
The winner of the 2016 edition was Brianna Walle, who finished 4th in the GC this time around.

Amber Pierce, a veteran of both the US and continental cycling wars, turned the cranks for Colavita/Bianchi in Minnesota for five days.

The locally-based Rally squad impressed at the North Star affair. Colin Joyce won the men's GC and Ellen White the women's GC. They had great results at the USA Cycling National Championships in Louisville a few days later and the Canadian championships in Ottawa, Ontario as well. In addition to White's success in Derby City, Erica Allar became the US Pro National Criterium women's gold medal winner. The men put four riders in the top ten of the crit field with Eric Young getting a silver, defending champion Brad Huff in 4th place, Curtis White 7th and NSBF GC winner Colin Joyce 9th. Rally rider Brandon McNulty won the U-23 time trial.

Canadian woman Sara Poidevin won the U-23 criterium at the competition in Ottawa with Katherine Maine taking the second spot on the podium. Their Rally team mate Matteo Dal-Cin was the gold medalist in the Canadian men's road racing championship.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Conversation With Champion Alijah Beatty

Alijah Beatty of Washington, IA, was the USA Cycling national amateur 17-18 female  road racing silver medalist in 2016. This year she was the gold medalist in both the road race and the criterium, in addition to finishing fourth in the time trial. Additionally, Beatty made a trip to Europe with a US National Team this spring, competing in the UCI 2.2 Gracia Orlova race in the Czech Republic and Poland.

Is competitive cycling a feature of the neighborhood where you grew up? Were there others in your circle of friends that were into competitive cycling? Many cyclists develop in families where cycling is important. Was that the case with you?
I started cycling when I was 10 years old. My father had started riding 3 years before I had and wanted someone to ride with. As I am the youngest of my family I was the only one who had nothing to do. I started riding with my father and entered my first race at the age of 10. Jingle Cross was my very first race, I entered the kid's race. And after that, I just wanted to race my bike. My father got into cycling by one of our close family friends. Even though my father doesn't race or our family friend they still come to my races and support me.My family is a big part of my cycling, they support me at all of my races!  They help me schedule my races and also get me ready to race.

How old were you when you competed in your first actual race and how did you do?

  As I mentioned before I raced my first race when I was 10 years old at Jingle Cross. I ended up 2nd. The first place was a boy so I felt okay about how I did, but I didn't just want to get second I wanted to win. So I kept racing and I still want to win. It is definitely a driving force.

When and how did you realize that cycling might be a pathway to further opportunities like travel and educational advancement?

Once I started looking at colleges I started to realize that I could continue my cycling career while getting an education. I also thought about not going to college and just pursue cycling for a year and see how it goes. As I weighed my options I decided that getting an education and being able to bike was a more reliable choice. But in the summer I will do as much cycling as I can and get to travel all around the US, North America and the world!

What advice would you give to a youngster in following a course similar to your own?

 Remember to always have fun. Cycling as a jr should not be a job. But the only way to get better, at anything, is to push yourself. You just have to learn how much you can push yourself.


You've recently competed in Europe for the first time. What are some of the biggest differences in racing there and in the US?

One of the biggest differences between womens' cycling in Europe and America would be the number of racers in each race. In America we are lucky if we end up with 30 let alone 50 but in Europe they expect 80 to 100 and in some of our races maybe up to 150. Women over in Europe can make a living cycling where in America women have to have another job one the side. Another thing is that they are very supported. There are big teams of just women and they have very generous sponsors.
When over in Europe racing I noticed that they were very aggressive. Meaning that they wouldn't just let you go in front of them. You had to fight for your position and fight for where you wanted to be they weren't going to give it to you easily.

Who were the riders in Europe that particularly impressed you and why?

 I wouldn't say that there was one rider in specific but the team WM3 was a big team there and they got on the UCI Podium pretty much every day.

How many schools actively tried to recruit you for their cycling programs?

There were maybe 5 or 6 but I was really only looking at 3 main schools. I chose Marian University not just for their cycling program but also for their academics. Marian University has an excellent Nursing program. I would like to become an ER Nurse after I graduate.

How is your training program structured?

My father and my coaches (Charlie and Sherry Townsend) from Northstar Development plan my training schedule. At the current time I am doing a lot of racing and not as much training. Most of my training was in the early season doing long rides and just getting a base.

What are the biggest pluses (and minuses) of being a competitive cyclist?

The pluses would be meeting a lot of people, traveling, when you win just the feeling you get of accomplishing something.
The minuses of course would be training, not being home much, and if you crash that's not too much fun.
But even though there are some downs to cycling the Ups are just so rewarding.

(Photo by Carlos Sabillon)

A trip to Rimouski, Q.C.  involved a competitive cycling minus.

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Field Marshall or just an ordinary general?

No, it's not a Russian submarine commander or a North Korean infantry general, it's just the present sheriff of Orange County, California, the person responsible for protecting the safety of Disneyland and the Angels baseball team. Actually, her costume does look like something that might have been created by the Disney costume staff. Sadly, she won't be able to wear the uniform in public much longer as the lady intends to retire after 40 years in law enforcement. There is some pressure involved: http://www.ocregister.com/2017/06/27/sheriff-sandra-hutchens-announces-plans-to-retire/