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Sunday, January 02, 2005

Year in Review 

Here's a list of some of the best and worst, or at least most memorable, experiences I have had this year, in no particular order:

-I won a well-contested sprint for second place, against two other riders in a breakaway (the first place rider was well up the road). That was in a Tuesday Night bike race, and it was my last Cat 5 race

-I did the Gary Lund (aka Cardinal Law, aka Sooke Classic) road race on Vancouver Island, an out-and-back course over punishing terrain. I finished eight minutes down. It was awesome.

-I then did the criterium the next day in downtown Victoria. I lasted about 10 minutes before I got dropped, and, in terminal danger of getting overtaken, I gave up at the 15 minute mark. It was dreadful.

-I ate a Beaver Tail (that's a pastry, not an animal) in Ottawa

-I saw House of Flying Daggers (very good), Elf (surprisingly watchable), the first part of A Shark's Tale (so bad that I stopped watching it, and this on a flight where I was so receptive to watching movies that the follow-up feature, Elf, seemed pretty good), Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow (I liked it more than most critics, but it was only so-so), Castle in the Sky (you can't go wrong with Miyazaki), and House, a new TV show (worth watching, if only to see Hugh Laurie as a grumpy American).

-I read the first 2/3rds of Neal Stephenson's Baroque Cycle (good, good, will get the other from the library shortly), a lot of magazines at the newsstand (Car and Driver still seems to be the best general-interest auto rag, Bicycling has ridiculous gear reviews, but has had some surprisingly good feature articles, and I keep reading Mountain Bike Action for some reason), some literary fiction which obviously didn't make much of an impression on me, the first part of Chuck Palahniuk's novel Choke (ugh), and The Escape Artist, which is just the best, most literary memoir of amateur competitive cycling that will likely ever exist. I also read McCloud's Understanding Comics, but that got its own post, and The Adventures of Kavalier and Clay, which was pretty good.

-I played Katamari Damacy, a game which, after three months, still holds The Lovely One in its fiendish grasp. It's ridiculously fun, and doubly so for compulsive personality types! I still play Advance Wars 2 pretty often, and I must again mention WEBoggle, where I play occasionally as "wiredcola.com", and The Lovely One plays as the brain-meltingly skilful "beck."

-Sites I surf too often? Well, besides the stuff in my teeny tiny blogroll, there's Penny Arcade, Colby Cosh, Lileks' daily Bleat, Mickey Kaus (and the rest of Slate, too), and some other sites which I have forgotten, so they obviously weren't that memorable (and I'm not admitting to reading Fark).

-the best things I ate this year? Timbits are always good. The Lovely One made some really nice cookies. My own crab apple jelly was and is sublime. Tuna Tataki. Numerous trips to Guu, maybe my favourite restaurant right now. Afternoon Tea at Chateau Laurier, with Harvey's Bristol Cream sherry as an aperitif. The stunningly good Johnnycakes at The Reef (locations in Vancouver and Victoria). Pastries at Notte's Bon Ton on W. Broadway, and that one really wet day when I was cold and soaked and undernourished, a 2-piece order of Church's Chicken tasted like the best meal I have ever eaten.

-I posted a monster time in the Pacific Populaire. So fast, I still can't explain it except through the awesome power of wheelsucking

-having two friends bounce off my rear wheel and fall down? That was terrible.

-riding in the velodrome again was great. As was chatting briefly with Lori-Ann Meunzer at the velodrome.

-I used a Nikon Coolpix 2500, acquired cheaply from Supafamous Eric. Combined with Picasa, we rule the photographic universe. Actually, the Coolpix fits in a very important niche: it's not the best, but it was good enough and it was cheap enough. Never let anyone tell you that the first quality can trump the other two qualities.

-I rode the beat-up Bianchi commuter, an outmoded Pinarello, an underused Kona mountain bike, the BMX LX, and the fixie. Good bikes all. But I also got to test-ride a Cannondale Six13 Record, and if you have the opportunity to experience this wonderful machine, I highly recommend it. It is so choice.

That's all for now.

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