America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

America's #1 Balance Bike Destination
America's #1 Balance Bike Destination

31 July 2006

Red Bull Air Race World Series in Istanbul

Kirby Chambliss of the U.S. flies past the 16th century Ottoman era Suleyman the Magnificient Mosque overlooking the Golden Horn during the 5th stage of the Red Bull Air Race World Series in Istanbul July 29, 2006. Chambliss won the race ahead of Paul Bonhomme of Britain and Hungary's Peter Besenyei.
29 Jul 2006 REUTERS/Fatih Saribas

When I saw the name of the photographer, I wasn't surprised.. Many of Fatih's photos beautify my blog for the past year... Many thanks- hope to return the favor one of these days. -AT

Official Red Bull Air Race site

30 July 2006

Trade Problems With Me: Mine are Trivial and Lame

So much is whirling through my mind that I'm overwhelmed and paralyzed with in-action. Let me count the ways:

Ebru wants to take a trip to Turkey with Reis. As much as I'd like a month of the bachelor life, the cost of such a trip, coupled with the complication of closing documents on our impending real estate transactions, makes me wonder if the timing is right or wrong. Besides, I want to go too, but can't for many reasons.. What to do?

Our home's one year anniversary of being on the market is upon us.. Meanwhile, we're in a purchase and sale agreement to buy a brand new condo.. [Trying to] sell this house has been the biggest disappointment of the decade so far. Enough already!!!! I am SICK of dropping our price and getting no offers. Soon we will just say 'fuck-it' and take it off the market. Screw the condo.

My injuries from the accident of July 21st still haunt me. Shoulder is shedding it's scab in bits and pieces. Ankle is sore and aches with every movement. My ear has stitches which go into the ear canal.. Scar on my left cheek from the abrasion. On top of it all, we were mildly sun burned yesterday at the beach..

Have not touched the bike since my accident (hit by a car). Today I thought about swapping all of the good parts on my crashed bike, to my spare frameset. Then I noticed that my bike is far more damaged than I thought.. I must get a brand new complete bike, and soon, because I am going stir-crazy after 9 days of not training or racing.. All of my hard work getting into good form, slipping through my fingers. I must get a new bike fast and get my ass on it before I lose my mind.

At work, I am offered new responsibilities on top of the ones I am already handling.. Working for even money since I started almost 2 years ago pisses me off. So I'm stressing over how I am going to negotiate myself a bigger compensation package, assuming I accept the new responsibilities. In addition, I am faced with four weeks of pure mayhem with all of my projects being in crisis mode- August is tough for school remodelers.

29 July 2006

Adnan Harakeh: Speechless and Alone

Adnan Harakeh cries as he stands by the wreckage of his house in the village of Nmeiriya July 29, 2006. Adnan lost his wife and five children in Israeli air strikes.
REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

What would YOU do? Folks, here in the wonderful USA, citizens go fucking medieval when someone cuts them off on the highway, or when their food at the restaurant isn't perfect, or when they get their cell phone bill... If hearing news such as this doesn't make your skin crawl, doesn't make you support an immediate cease fire, doesn't make you regret that the US gives the welfare state of Israel $2.5 billion a year in aid.. then you are complicit and accountable. It astonishes me that more people protested against the fucking Mohamed cartoons than are protesting Israel's criminal invasion of Lebanon. Either that or it's not being reported properly.

With Love From Israel

28 July 2006

Show This One to the Lebanese Refugees

U.S. Secretary of States Condoleezza Rice plays the piano during the ASEAN Ministerial Meeting gala dinner in Kuala Lumpur July 27, 2006. Picture taken July 27, 2006.

One Week Since I Was Assaulted by a Car

My ankle is not going to heal for months it seems. Still walking around in slippers (even at work)because shoes are just too painful to wear.. And my sock ends up sticking to the open wound...

Since my bike was also damaged in the collision, it is unsafe to ride, even if I replaced the parts that are bent or crushed. It would be dangerous to try and train or race on a carbon fiber bike that was hit so hard. (I would need the frame's alignment to be professionally checked before any such attempt- maybe mail it to the fabricator in Australia?) While it appears to be intact, unlike aluminum or steel frames, there are no "tells" on the surface which would reveal any internal failure of the carbon fiber strands... George Hincapie lost the Paris-Roubaix this spring when his steerer tube failed suddenly- he was literally holding his handlebars in mid-air after the separation occurred. With no way to steer, he hit the deck- hard:

So now I am shopping around for a completely new bike. It may be time to bite the bullet and buy the bike of my dreams: a LOOK full carbon fiber frameset- either the model 486 or the 585.. The 486 frame has very attractive lines- very sexy. The 585 is ligher by about a pound. The frame without fork weighs 995 grams!!!! This one kilo frame is strong enough to carry a 200 pound cyclist. Blows the mind what they can do with carbon fiber. (Each of them costs about $3000. When you add all of the parts and the wheels, total cost of about $6000) Here are the frames: help me to choose!

Bon Jovi concert a feast for the eyes

Man I've never seen such a large number of over weight 30-something single women with tatoos and fake tans and bad hair wearing unsupportive spaghetti strap tank tops and denim shorts.. Sometimes it seems that American gals have the fashion sense of a sack of door knobs..
The performance was excellent, we had fun.. Beats a sharp stick in the eye I guess.

27 July 2006

Who wants an immediate cease fire? Who doesn't?

Hat tip to The Truth Will Set You Free

Dying of Boredom

I am paid handsomely for the work I do for my employer. Does job satisfaction diminish as income increases?? My line of work was a lot more fun and interesting back when I made about 1/2 as much as I do now... Go figure. I should be doing backflips of joy, thousands would kill to be in my shoes, and yet I wish I were somewhere else, doing anything but this... If there ever was a time when I took my position for granted, this is definitely it. I'm dying for a true challenge to knock me off my feet and take my breath away... Someone slap me.

26 July 2006

Scored Some Bon Jovi tickets!

My employer was kind enough to give my wife and I a pair of tickets to the BON JOVI concert at Gillette Stadium on Thursday! Kick-ass seats too! Now to find a baby sitter for Reis...
Note: Bon Jovi's not my schtick, but Ebru likes tham a lot. I'm sure it'll be a great show! Nickelback is playing too! Many thanks to the owner of my company.

25 July 2006

Boycott Israeli Products.. The Least We Can Do

I found this in the comments of another blog.. Gratuitous hate-mongering has been omitted...

Thats right folks BOYCOTT ISREAL!!
BOYCOT its 1)Goods. 2)Services. 3)Institutions. 4)Cultural exchanges/ties. 5)Travel to isreal.
Also boycot all companies that invest or have offices/plants there.
You can identify Isreal products by their barcodes...Look for the numbers 729 (ie the first 3 numbers of the barcode).
Companies that have investsment/branches/dealers etc in Isreal are:
-Uk Marks and Spencer Nestle L'oreal Sara Lee BOSS Libby's Maggi Perrier Estee Lauder Danone Kimberley-Clark Disney Revlon Selfridges River Island Delta Gual Industries GAP Biotherm Coca Cola IBM Intel Johnson-Johnson JCB [and Comasco Ltd in Tel Aviv]RedKen Vittel JCPenny Kotex Lancome Playtex Vichy (Largra Stores)Ralph Lauren Huggies...... more to add
Tell all your friends/ bloggers.....spread the word BOYCOTT - its easy , peaceful and your right to choose. Since money makes the world go round, loss of profits/sales will put pressure on business who will in turn put pressure on gov to get off there collectives backsides and stop the war! DONT GIVE THEM MONEY TO MURDER MORE PEOPLE - STOP BUYING THEIR PRODUCTS/SERVICES !!!!

The Truth Will Set You Free

CNN footage of Suffering Children via a blog called The Truth Will Set You Free. Please take a look at this site, which is brimming with images and videos from the Israeli invasion.
Is Israel packing their munitions with phosphorous to burn bomb victims??

Lebanese Children Are Victims of Israeli Terror

We often see images of Israeli soldiers crying for their fallen comrades... Touching... and truly a pity that anyone should die, on either side. But who weeps for these young innocents?... Certainly not the US defense contractors, their employees or their share holders... How many of us Americans realize that it is OUR tax dollars which payed for the US weapons that are in the hands of Israel, being indiscriminately used against Lebanese children? It appears George's "Crusade" is now being sub-contracted to Israel... Labor only, of course- materials of destruction furnished by the USA... Are they liberating Lebanon from Hizbollah, or are they cleansing Lebanon of it's rightful inhabitants? How much reparation will Israel pay for these atrocities? They're pretty good at collecting it, and rightly so... but will they make good on their own mis-deeds? Don't hold your breath. -AT
Aya, who is 18 months old, cries in the Hariri hospital in Beirut after she was injured in an Israeli air raid in the southern city of Tyre July 24, 2006. The girl has a broken pelvis.
REUTERS/Yannis Behrakis

Ali Ghareeb, 8, rests in a hospital in the Lebanese port city of Sidon July 23, 2006, after he was wounded during an Israeli air strike.
REUTERS/Ali Hashisho

Eight-year-old Lebanese Mahmud Srur (R) leaves Tyres (Soure) port with his family July 24, 2006, as they were evacuated to Cyprus in a ship rented by Germany. Mahmud was badly injured with burns during Israeli Apache helicopter missiles attacks on Sunday. REUTERS/Nikola Solic

24 July 2006

How to win friends and influence people...

This is NOT an example: ATTENTION EDITORS - VISUALS COVERAGE OF SCENES OF DEATH AND INJURY. A medic grabs the hand of Selaiman Chidiac, who was killed, from the wreckage of the building of mobile and television masts that was targeted by Israeli air strikes in Fatka, north Lebanon July 22, 2006.22 Jul 2006 REUTERS/Adnan Hajj

This is: An evacuee, holding her son and a carnation given to her by Turks, disembarks early July 23, 2006, from a boat carrying some 250 Australian passport holders fleeing the conflict in Lebanon, at the port of Mersin on Turkey's Mediterranean coast.
23 Jul 2006 REUTERS/Fatih Saribas (Many thanks Fatih!)

Recent Posts of Amerikan Turks Group Members

Erkan at Erkan's Field Diary gives us some great articles which define Why the US is Losing it's Credibility

Celal at
Icarus Redeemed gives us a very Cool ad from a Turkish bank

Metin at
Talk Turkey gives us excellent reporting from the Miss Universe competition.

Ahmet at
Sailing Nomad blows bubbles on the deck of his yacht. What better way to determine wind direction? His latest trip is chronicled beautifully, you'd wish you were there.

Deborah at
Turkish Delight gives us our regular dose of the latest Turkish blogs with her column at Global Voices called Turkey is Typing.

Introducing... Selene Verri and her
Turkish Diary. Recently she's giving us very good coverage of anti-Israel demonstrations in Turkey as well as other news related to the invasion of Lebanon.

Oz Kanka at
The Round Ball in Ankara reports most recently about the scandalous game-fixing in Turkish football..

Hakan Aydin at gives us some very informative contributions which reveal some un-wholesome news showing us just how supportive the US government is, of Israel's invasion of Lebanon.. Read: US expediting precision guided bomb shipments to Israel for an eye-opener. Also don't miss the link to BBC images from Lebanon showing the so called Measured response by Israel

Oguz at
Ziddiblog shares an article which underscores the hypocrisy surrounding Turkey's need to destroy the PKK terrorists, both within Turkey and across the border in Iraq.

Missing in Action:
Ugur Akinci at
Turkish Torque hasn't posted in nearly 3 months..
Phanja at The Need To Know is also MIA since early May
Tijen İnaltong at
Zen in the Kitchen gave their last contribution in late April
Not picking on them! Just pointing out that when our members seem to disappear, we notice, we miss them and we become concerned...
Hopefully all is well in their corners of the world.

As for me, I'm keeping busy pissing and moaning about the injuries I sustained from getting hit by a car last Friday. Licking my wounds and trying to heal. Lately I resolve to use as many dirty curse words as I see fit. It's ever so therapeutic. Oh and I installed this goofy chat box in the right column of my blog. Check it out and say hello. Use curse words if you want, I don't care.

23 July 2006

Bolton defends Israel's actions in Lebanon

"What Hezbollah has done is kidnap Israeli soldiers and rain rockets and mortar shells on innocent Israeli civilians. What Israel has done in response is act in self-defense. And I don't quite know what the argument about proportionate force means here. Is Israel entitled only to kidnap two Hezbollah operatives and fire a couple of rockets aimlessly into Lebanon?"

Would someone please give this douche-bag a kick in the crotch!??

See the baby with the burns all over her body, who won't stop screaming in pain? See her mommy who just lost her husband? Whose three other children are all in surgery, badly burned and dis-figured by the "surgical strike" inflicted by the Israelis, upon a defenseless old station-wagon carrying a family trying to flee the massacre?? What a fucking asshole you are. Fuck YOU Bolton...

This operation began as a "rescue mission", then changed to a "de-fang Hizbollah" mission, now it's a campaign of terror and indiscriminate bombings upon civilians and infrastructure. Soon it will become a permanent occupation and the birth of "Israeli Republic of Southern Lebanon". Clearing Syria out of Lebanon many months ago was the first phase of this plan. The kidnapping of two Israeli soldiers was the perfect excuse to launch phase 2. Mark my words... -AT

So NOW What!!???

I'm taking antibiotics and painkillers. New pain is emerging in places that didn't hurt at the hospital.. I can't play with my son for fear of hurting myself. I can't sleep in the same bed as my wife because of the wounds and stitches- and because our son sleeps with us and tends to grab and kick, plus my injuries are all oozing fluid.. I can't shave because of the lacerations to my face.. I can't ride my bike because it's unsafe- the damage done to it might not be apparent and a failure could send me crashing at any time.. My left ankle has limited range of motion, as does my neck and left arm.. My whole back is aching.. My lower outer left leg muscle is bruised and painful- the car's bumper whacked it first.. I have nine stitches on my ear lobe and into my ear canal.. Left shoulder is missing skin and I can't wear a shirt without adding to the pain, even wearing a seatbelt hurts it.. My chest aches on the left near my armpit.. Other than that, I'm okay.
Tomorrow I'm supposed to drive 200 miles to a project in CT, early in the AM.. Should I go? Should I call in sick/injured? People are counting on me and breaking promises because of this accident is going to hurt my reputation... My beautiful SEIKO 5 Automatic watch is destroyed too- the crystal is shattered and the time stopped at the precise moment of impact: 6:21 PM. My co-workers are going to think I'm nuts.. This is my third trip to the ER in the past five months..

Can't-lead-ya Rice: Flatulent Bullshit Artist

U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice speaks during a press briefing at the State Department in Washington, July 21, 2006. Rice said she would head to the Middle East on Sunday but dismissed growing pressure for an immediate cease-fire between Israel and Hizbollah guerrillas in Lebanon.
REUTERS/Jason Reed

How does one dismiss a cease fire? By condoning indiscriminate mass destruction and death. It's all good because in the end, Israel intends to occupy all of Lebanon, annex it, control it. The US's favorite lap dog is on the hunt, and master is beaming with pride...

Think back to the time when Turkey invaded Cyprus to protect it's citizens living there. Mission accomplished- "oh by the way we're staying, just in case of any more Greek aggression towards Turkish Cypriots..."

How many Jews in Lebanon? Few I suppose.. But hey two priceless Israeli soldiers were kidnapped, a few others killed recently. Punish all who live in Lebanon, not to mention the countries straining their resources as they try to care for the refugees. American tax dollars at work- funding Israeli terrorism against Lebanon. How does any American not bristle at the thought of this bullshit? Don't be surprised if there's a new welfare state added to the US' payroll- "The Israeli Republic of Southern Lebanon".

Folks, if there ever was a threat to Mid-East peace, it's name is Israel. Their recent reaction to the kidnapping of two soldiers is akin to an infant poking a pit bull in the nose, and getting it's face ripped off for it.

Meanwhile, nearly 20 Turkish soldiers are killed by Kurdish terrorists recently, yet Turkey has shown exemplary temperament, patience and restraint. I do not favor a Turkish military incursion into Iraq, Iran or Syria to "dry out the root" of the Kurdish terrorists- people will die on both sides... But if the Turkish government deems such an operation as necessary, then I will support the decision without exception. We must put faith in our leadership and their decisions. (The mantra of Bush-loving war-mongers here in the states three years ago.. Remember?!?!) -AT

22 July 2006

Photos of my Injuries- Oh Joy!

They all feel as bad as they look. This was more or less a head on collision. I was approaching an intersection where about 10 cars were stopped at a red light. The light turned green in advance of me getting there. I was moving about 22-24 miles an hour, and so I just maintained speed as I started to pass all of the cars on their right, as they all started to proceed through the intersection. The vehicle which I struck was coming from the opposite direction and needed to turn left into a parking lot. One of the cars I was about to pass before the intersection decided to be good samaritan and let this opposing car into the parking lot. Just as I was passing the driveway to the parking lot, opposing car gunned the gas and struck me broad-side. Me and bike went flying. The impact made a loud smacking sound. It's a miracle I didn't break any bones.

Self Portrait in the ER

Re: [Colavitaracingne] Accident!

Thank you Rick. Except for during races, I've rode my bike without a helmet since the age of 5 until about 30. Now I'm 35 and of course always wear one no matter what.
I've cheated death for 30 years it seems, because this is the first time I've ever been hit by a car, and it was worse than I ever imagined it. Remember Gene Wilder in National Lampoon's European Vacation? Right after it happened, I was in a fog and could have easily passed out. I was actually thinking about getting back in the bike and riding home.. Then I saw my reflection and the blood streaming down from my ear and cheek. Then I knew I was fucked.

By the way: my Rudy glasses caused half of the damage to the lacerations on my face. There is a small metal clip at the temples, and when the glasses break at that point, this metal piece basically becomes a tiny knife. I'll post pictures on my blog later. Yeah I will definitely kick back and enjoy the tour today and tomorrow. Have a safe weekend everyone. I don't have any ride-limiting injuries, but my entire left side, my back, my left ankle left shoulder and of course face is banged up. Once my facial wounds stop oozing fluid, I'll be back. Straining myself will pop the stitches I think.

----- Original Message -----

SHIT Murat,
That sounds nasty. I got lucky in March, when I was hit in Dorchester, on my way home from work. You can't spend enough on a good helmet. Mine has been slammed 3 times this year. May be time for a new one.

Anyhow, dude, I hope you are well. Hope this does not keep you off the bike for long.

Time to hop on the trainer and watch
Landis win the Tour & TT.

Murat Altinbasak <> wrote:
Riding home from work I had a collision with a car and went flying. Amazingly I did not suffer any broken bones and the catscan was clean. Helmet saved my life again! Nine stitches in and around my left ear lobe and canal. Left ankle contusion and skin loss... Left shoulder bruised and with road rash. Left side of face is swollen and I have a bump on the head. I may skip Wells this weekend.

Can anyone recommend a good personal injury lawyer?

I'm Not Okay

Just returned from the hospital- it's 1:00 am. On the way home from work, I was hit by a car. I'm pretty banged up. My helmet saved my life again. I'll report more about this tomorrow, so check back. -AT

21 July 2006

Franz Wright- Pulitzer Prize winner on NPR today

I was lucky enough to catch some NPR onthe radio on the way home from work and heard some poetry written and recited by Franz Wright. I'm certainly not a maven or even a fan of poetry, but the following verse of one of his works really got through to me:
"We are created by being destroyed"

16 July 2006

Fall River Criterium:: DNFFFFFFFFFFFF!

Serves me right for being so aggressive during the first five laps. I had never raced here before, but everyone I spoke to before the start was falling over themselves telling me how tough of a course it was. (Who needs to hear that shit?) We didn't get to do any warm-up laps, my first time around was in a race.. The course is a mile long with a hill after the 2nd corner, which continues after the 3rd corner, cresting at the 4th and final corner. Should have suited me perfectly- I am very good at powering over small inclines. So what the hell happened?

A break of 10 or 12 guys got clear by lap 3 and I knew I either needed to be in it, or pull it back. Having no legs to do a solo bridge, I accelerated up the hill and through the start/finish, finding two other riders in tow- we had a small gap. They were either cooked from the effort or lazy, I don't know. What they did do is finally accellerate and leave me behind, ALMOST making it to the tail of the break, and then fading back (I laughed my ass off). So the break is still up the road by about 15 seconds and gathering steam...

We have Rick Kotch in the break, my team mate who last week won the 30+ Attleboro Criterium. These 12+ guys are going to sprint for six places?? Either this break was going to fracture a couple more times before the end, or it was going to be absorbed and some new blood was going to break clear later.

All this stuff going through my mind after just five laps.. I am red-lining it with a HR in the 180s, it's 90+ degrees out. I can't seem to get back down under 170 bpm... So at turn two I go to the front and put the after-burners on. I can see the break isn't working well, some of the guys are looking spent. I lead the field through turn two into the hill, then into turn three up the rest of it I get out of the saddle and sprint to the top. Behind me people are gagging on their own puke -I like to think so anyway :) As I round the 4th corner, we are about 40 meters from catching the break. No one comes around me to help, at which point I yelled at everyone: "COME ON! They're sitting up!!!!!"

Finally someone with fresh legs pulls through and says "Good job", which was nice to hear and made the sting in my legs seem worth it. By the 1st corner at the bottom of the hill, the field was all back together, with me at the back, in the nose bleed section, trying to calm my heart down from the mid 180's. The next two laps saw me hanging on for dear life as fresh new attacks were launched from the field.

Did I mention how damned hot it was? As I left the house this morning, I had this weird feeling. Shutting the door behind me, I almost went back inside to kiss my son goodbye again... "I could die today", I thought to myself. The heat was hard to deal with. The race started at 11:00, the sun was just about vertical, bearing down on us at every part of the course, no shade whatsoever. After eight laps, with 12 laps left to race, I threw in the towel. It just didn't seem worth it...

I had trouble recovering from the few good efforts I put in. The heat was definitely a factor, but I think my heart just wasn't into it. Doing a criterium for the first time can either go great or terrible. An unfamiliar venue can sometimes spook you. So I'm feeling a little bit of self-hate and a little bit like a failure for not grinding out those last 12 laps, but it'll pass. Thanks for reading.

14 July 2006

Family Guy Clip

Valley of the Wolves Iraq- my thoughts

I finally watched this movie tonight for the first time. It was more or less what I expected, with a few pleasant surprises thrown in. I can understand completely why theaters in Turkey and Germany are packed with delighted Turks. You see, there are good guys and there are bad guys in the film, as with any John Wayne or Rambo picture... This time, however the ones who are usually good, are bad... Heaven forbid! Americans aren't all pure of heart!? What a stunner! Yeahhhhhh. Follow the news and the truth becomes stranger than fiction...
Here's what I thought about American soldiers as I watched Valley of the Wolves unfold: Forgive the generalization. I do not paint all of them with one broad brush. Just want to point out that military service is not compulsory in the United States.. It's hard to deny that many who enlist are facing a not-so-bright-or-wholesome future. Military is an escape, an adventure, an easy way out. Heck on my darkest day I went to a Marines recruiting office and took a test- aced it completely. Why??? I had big problems- both family and financial, and it seemed the only way to be free of them. Needless to say, the recruiter saw my score and became pretty aggressive about signing me. I snapped out of it and walked away.. My point is this: When a nation's military personnel is completely voluntary, you are bound to get some soldiers who sign up for the wrong reasons, who aren't qualified, who aren't enjoying good mental health, or who just plain want to have a chance to kill people, shoot them down, blow them up, whatever...
When military duty is compulsory, the overall characteristics of the soldiers is completely different. A good thing happens: the overall intelligence curve of the military is steepened. No one is immune: people with phds, masters degrees, people who would not voluntarily join the military, are forced into it. For this reason, there is a huge disparity between the US military forces and those of say, Turkey or Israel.. Technology and weaponry is one thing- but the character and integrity of the common foot soldier is another. So it comes as no surprise that in Iraq, detainees are abused and humiliated, innocent families are slaughtered or women are raped.. The nation with the highest rate of domestic assault, senseless violence and homicide is going to be pretty good at that kind of stuff, even overseas, and especially while at war... Makes sense to me!
I happen to have a very close friend in the military, a decorated veteran of Desert Storm. He's an exception to what I describe. But I think that my theory of the difference between voluntary versus compulsory soldiers is as clear as day. Americans- get over the fact that this film shows US forces in an unattractive way. It's merely a dramatization of the news reports, it's a Michael Moore'esque work of fiction, based in part on the truth.
If you refuse to see it, that's your prerogative, but the reason I believe every American should watch Valley of the Wolves is because it gives a very accurate depiction of how American soldiers are perceived, by Iraqis, Kurds, Turkmen, Turks, Arabs, and whoever else is under US military occupation.
Buy the Valley of the Wolves DVD here

12 July 2006

Rankings: A New Motivator for Bike Racers

I discovered recently that there is a USA Cycling ranking system, and that I'm in the top 20 percentile, out of 46 Masters racers 30 and older (in our tiny state of Rhode Island). Kind of cool, especially for those who haven't won a race in a while (like me!). Recognition is an acceptable consolation, especially when you're compared against all others in such a general sense. Gives a sense of accomplishment.
Here's the list I'm the ninth one down. I'll take it! Now I'm inspired to place better than 18th! The points are based upon the three best results during the past 12 months, which as you can see, mine are a pitiful 18th, 19th and 22nd. A top ten finish will move me up. This could be about as addictive as checking my Sitemeter..

10 July 2006

Anti-Israel Demonstration in Istanbul

Thousands of protesters carry a Palestine flag during an anti-Israel demonstration in Istanbul July 9, 2006. (TURKEY)
09 Jul 2006 REUTERS/Ahmet Ada

This was inevitable. I wonder if Israelis would ever demonstrate against the treatment of Kurds in Turkey, or more specifically, against any of the countless Turkish military operations against the old PKK... Not likely.. The Kurds aren't Jews.. I have a tendency to draw parallels between Turkey and Israel's respective "occupational issues"... Many disagree, but to me it appears that both the IDF and the TDF are both fighting similar wars against terrorist elements with similar aspirations.. -AT

09 July 2006

Over-trained! Attleboro Race Report & Wells Ave

Raced in three events yesterday at the Attleboro Criterium and did the Wells Ave training race earlier today. Including today, my total mileage for the week was just under 300 miles!

Yesterday's first event was the 35+ Masters race- 35 laps around a 1 kilometer course. I've raced here before so I'm familiar with the venue. Out of 69 finishers, I finished 18th. Average speed was high- 27.3 mph, and so was my average heart rate- 170

Immediately following the Masters race, I jumped into the Pro-1-2 event to test my limits, maybe get some high speed training miles. But the legs and heart protested so much that by lap 10, I pulled myself out- they did 60 laps total. I could have really blew my wad trying to finish this one, and would have had to go home afterward..

So my last race on Saturday was the 30+ event. Again I achieved a mediocre result- 19th, but this time I was completely spent at the finish, unlike the 35+ race where I felt like I still had gas in the tank at the end.. Pace was a lot slower- 26.5 mph, and my HR was lower as well- 166 bpm avg. Our team won the event though! We had a man in the four man break and he outsprinted the other three for the win.

This morning I went to Wells Ave and did the combined A/B race at 10:30. My legs felt like rubber from the previous day's racing, and strangely, my heart rate was so very low, bofore and during the race. We finished the 40 laps at a good clip- 27 mph average, but my average heart rate was only 160! This is a sure sign of being over-trained! I need to reign myself in and rest a LOT this week. Not to say I won't be riding, I'll just be doing it very slow-ly. At the end of Wells Ave, I was kaput but gave it everything I had anyway- finishing about 10th place or so. I was very active at the front through-out the 40 laps. Feeling strong and in control.

Not looking forward to returning to work tomorrow. It's going to suck big time.

07 July 2006

One Israeli Soldier > Many Palestinians

A Palestinian man carries the body of a boy in Beit Lahiya, Gaza Strip, July 6, 2006. Israeli forces on an offensive in Gaza killed 12 Palestinians in air strikes and clashes with militants on Thursday in the worst violence since the Jewish state quit the strip a year ago. (PALESTINIAN TERRITORIES)
06 Jul 2006 REUTERS/Mohamed Al-zanon

Okay Israel you've proven your point- you saw the movie Black Hawk Down and want to mow down as many Palestinians as necessary to free your kidnapped soldier. Nothing to be proud of, on either side of this equation. -AT

Tick-borne Viral Fever Claims a Life in Turkey

Health officials in protective suits carry the coffin of Kiraz Arslan to the cemetery in Yusufseyh village near central Turkish province of Sivas, July 6, 2006. 72-year-old woman Kiraz Arslan died in a hospital in Sivas on Wednesday after she was hospitalised on suspicion of contracting the disease, known as Crimea-Congo haemorrhagic fever. A tick-borne viral fever related to the much more deadly Ebola virus may have claimed its 12th victim in Turkey this year, the state Anatolian news agency said on Wednesday. (TURKEY)06 Jul 2006 REUTERS/Anatolian

Stephen Hawking has a question for you

Friday, July 7, 2006; Posted: 7:27 p.m. EDT (23:27 GMT)
NEW YORK (AP) -- Some questions even stump Stephen Hawking.
The famed British astrophysicist and best-selling author has turned to Yahoo Answers, a new feature in which anyone can pose a question for fellow Internet users to try to answer. By Friday afternoon, nearly 17,000 Yahoo Inc. users had responded to Hawking.
Hawking's question:
"In a world that is in chaos politically, socially and environmentally, how can the human race sustain another 100 years?"

Full CNN article

05 July 2006

Composite round-up of Turkish blogs II

Please visit Burcu's blog and wish her a happy 25th birthday! Judging from a recent entry, she's beating herself up about not conquering the world and achieving world peace (yet). My advice: breath in...breath out...repeat all day long. Sounds like someone should buy you a copy of Dr Seuss' "Oh The Places You'll Go!". E-mail me your address and I promise to mail you a copy:

The latest deliciousness posted by Binnur's Turkish Cookbook include Grape Leaf Rolls With Olive Oil, Haddock Fillets with Sauce, and Arugula Salad to go with it. Banana Milk sounds delightful as a dessert, though I might want to add strawberries spike mine with rum.

Serdar Kaya is a blogging prodigy, with both an English and a Turkish language blog, among others he has in the hopper, incubating... Recently he gives us a preview of an upcoming topic to be covered: Demokrasinin Yetersizligi (The Deficiencies of Democracy). Watch this space. Also visit his English language blog, entitled Socioeconomics

Nergis Can maintains one of the most aesthetically pleasing blogs you will ever find, especially if interior design turns your crank. Visit Fine Living and see the one-of-a-kind furnishings you wish you could own, designed by people who are at the top of their profession. Her site speaks for itself, although personally I wish Nergis would give us some commentary! That's not a jab, just a wish.

Hakan Aydin reports to us about "the world’s most sophisticated and modern yacht", the Maltese Falcon. Need I tell you where it was built? This is a must-read.

Metroblogging Istanbul has five contributors, two of which I'm pretty sure are members of our Amerikan Turks Yahoo Group: Erkan and Idil. Correct me if I'm wrong Metecem, Pagan and Seyda! (I love that name..) At any rate, Seyda announced an opening for a new contributor at Metblog Istanbul: "metroblogging istanbul will be accepting applications for authorship for about a month, so please go fill out the form and join us. prerequisite:to be able to relate all kinds of interesting stuff to the city we live in and write about it in english and/or turkish (yes, turkish is accepted, too). thanks"

Be informed of the achievements of Turkish people who are profiled at We Are The Turks. Meltem describes the excellence and distinguishing accomplishments of Zeki Demirkubuz, Neco Celik, Nermin Abadan-Unat Phd, Dr Murat Gunel, and Sibel Bozdogan Phd. Do you know [of] someone who you believe deserves recognition? Be sure to write Meltem at We Are The Turks. This is the only site of it's kind!

Lastly, The Infidel has discovered the "Belief-o-Matic", a quick [20 question] test to see what your religious tendencies are. I tried this myself about a year or two ago and remember being judged to be a "Quaker", which last I checked, is a breakfast cereal. The Infidel is a "Secular Humanist". What About YOU? My religious-ness is best summed up by Chris Cornell of Audioslave:
On my death-bed...I will pray, to the gods and the a pagan, to anyone who will take me to hea-ven..."
Oh look, we're all out of time. If I didn't cover you this week, a thousand pardons.

03 July 2006

New Personal Best on my "Hilly Route"

I hate to bore my readers to tears with cycling miscellania, but today marks a breakthrough which I am excited about. About 11 months ago, I was beaming with pride because of a timed ride that I did on one of my regular routes, one which is comprised of one hill after another, some of them a mile long, most others rolling countryside- the kind which beats the crap out of you no matter what speed you push. Beginning to end it's 26.2 miles (like a marathon distance) Here's a comparison between that day in '05, and today:
August 4th 2005: Time of 1:18:35, avg heart rate of 158, avg speed 20 mph, my weight at the time was 167
July 3rd 2006: Time of 1:17:15, avg heart rate of 166, avg speed 20.3 mph, my weight today is 175
Here's the beauty of using a heart rate monitor. From the above information I discover a lot of things about myself:
  1. I am stronger today than I was last August 4th (if training progresses as planned, I will be even stronger by Aug 4th of this year, 30 days from now)
  2. In spite of being about 8 pounds heavier TODAY, I am climbing stronger than the same period 11 months ago as well. (if I was 8 pounds lighter today, my time would have been even quicker)
  3. Assuming that both rides were performed at my lactic acid threshhold (my redline limit), it appears that I have pushed that limit higher this season by 8 beats per minute
  4. Overall I am way ahead of the curve this season as compared to last year. This means a much higher peak come mid-August. I should be strong enough to win a podium spot before this season ends.

Sorry for the yawn factor of this entry. It's more for me to look back upon and compare against in the future, than it is for your enjoyment. Hope you like it anyway. One other thing to note, I wan't riding with a sprained ankle last season!

02 July 2006

My traffic prediction from back in May...

...Seems to be right on the money: 20,000 visitors by Jul 5th (Amerikan Turk's one year anniversary). I'd like to thank all of my regular visitors and my fellow bloggers who drive traffic here.
And thank you Google for all of the referrals from searches such as:
"nokia 888"
"Dubai towers istanbul"
"Mohamed cartoons"
"Lance and Sheryl break up"
"pain in testicles"
"pressure on chest while sleeping" (sleep paralysis)
"stomach flu"
"Wells Ave crit"
"resting heart rate"
"Turk sex" (these almost always are from Googler sin Germany)
"Amerikan sex" (usually from Turkey)
"hacked by iskorpitx"
"why brazil beat Turkey World Cup" my personal favorite referral

01 July 2006

80 is the new 40

That's according to Hugh Heffner... This evening my wife and I discussed bicycle racing (initiated by the doping news which broke today at the Tour de France), namely how it is a sport without age limitations. There are 40-something racers who can tear a race wide open and leave most of the 20-somethings in their wake. Cycling is a sport which does not traumatize the body's joints. It's very fluid. The fact that aging riders can dominate younger ones is proof enough. (Running- now there's a sport I hope never to enjoy.) From what I've seen, read, and experienced personally, Bicycle racing strengthens the heart, lungs, muscles and circulation, such that it is pretty certain to me that it adds years to one's life. It's an individual sport which tests every limit, and which strengthens the body and the mind. Judging from the people who I have been competing against and training with for the past 20 years, it's a good crowd to run with- one you will never hesitate to introduce your children to. To me that says it all.
As a racer friend named Thad precisely pointed out recently, the wives and girlfriends of us racers are 'widows' by virtue of the amount of time we spend away from them, on the roads training, or out of town racing. We should all salute the cyclist widows and appreciate the amount of negligence which they have tolerated to date. Hopefully they understand that there are 1001 hobbies, habits and past-times which are quite ugly and pointless compared to bicycle racing. This probably offers little comfort, but it's usually our only defense against the guilt trips we face for being absent for so many hours a week, out on the roads testing our limits and increasing our life spans... It's hard to apologize for doing something which is so difficult to excel at and so beneficial to our health, but we do it anyway because guilt is an easily manipulated emotion. Let me point out that nothing will deflate a cyclist's motivation, enthusiasm and confidence, as effectively as guilt...

Maybe we need to begin pointing out that because of cycling, "40 is the new 20"... For what it's worth I believe it's true, and that it's a good thing.