Saturday, March 12, 2011

Japanese Tsunami

As always, the Bohunk waits a day on major news story so that more actual information can be included in the post. By waiting these 24 hours, the events in Japan have only gotten worse and more complicated.

Tsunami wave crashes almost six miles inland over the Japanese coastline…

As an ‘virtual’ seismologist (dedicated readers will remember the online documentation) the Bohunk would like to give a quick analysis of a tsunami. In a subduction zone, the lighter, less dense continental plate ‘floats’ on top of the thicker, more dense ocean plate. As the ocean plate is subducted under the continental plate, it catches and is dragged down as well, though not far. Because the plate is far enough away from the molten mantle layer underneath the crust, it remains brittle but retains some aspects of elasticity. At some point, at a certain degree of stress, it snaps back up to its former position. We cannot say just how power this action is. The crust affected by this movement could be miles thick of rock; the amount of force needed to move anything this rigid and heavy in unthinkable. The force is so strong that it moves the ocean above it, causing a ripple with a surge of water high than the actual sea level. The result is a tsnami, which travels over 500mph toward show. The amount of force in the weight of this water is equally astounding.

The tsunami reached as far away as Chile in South America…

The effect on Japan has been unbelievable as well. Estimates are now at over 1,000 dead with over 10,000 officially listed as missing, 9,500 of them in one small coastal town. Traffic is completely stopped though some limited railways have reopened away from the coast. Cars have been deemed useless, with bike shops selling out of bikes, bought by people desperately trying to get home, if they have a home left. The USGS has measured over 89 aftershocks over a magnitude of 5 in the past 21 hours, making the rescue efforts even more dangerous. Fires still burn from broken gas lines and nuclear power plants are beginning to overheat, one already reportedly giving off radiation levels in an hour equal to that given off in an entire year. The additional aftershocks are continuing to damage and weaken the buildings still standing, causing delayed failures in buildings thought to be safe by survivors.

The wave carried cars, houses, boats and everything else it met for miles inland, dumping them far from the coastline before retreating…

Overseas, thousands of miles from the epicenter, little damage has been reported. Hawaii and Midway survived a 3-6 foot wave and the surge never quite reached the North American coast the way it was expected, measuring under two feet in height. South America fared just as well, with negligible damage. Tsunami alert systems were tested by the event and experts are impressed with the effectiveness of the systems from the US, Canada and South America as well. Buoys miles off shore measure tsunami surges and relay that information to the coast, giving warning to residents near the sea. All tsunami warnings have been cancelled in North and South America.

The tsunami rising over the coast and sweeping inland…

The 8.9 magnitude that triggered the tsunami is the fifth largest earthquake in recorded history. The epicenter was less roughly 100 miles off the coast of Japan, closest to the Sendai region onshore. The Bohunk counted 39 aftershocks over 5.0 magnitude in the first three hours after the initial quake. Much, much more on this as news comes out, with a special focus on the nuclear reactor, currently believed to be in danger of a meltdown and already leaking massive amounts of radiation relative to normal emissions…

Friday, March 11, 2011

TC Training Camp: Day Seven

The day began with a kiwi cup of coffee and oatmeal with my dad, the Bill Murray look-a-like that refused to be captured on film. The pellet stove hummed warmly, staving off the disgusting cold weather out of doors. They day only needed a bike ride to be perfect.

This afternoon, the last scheduled ride of the TC training camp, I was joined by Dennis Bean-Larson of the famous Fixed Gear Gallery and Hell Yes clothing. DBL showed me his workshop, filled with tons of rare and attractive bikes, parts and memorabilia. It was a dusty sort of heaven and a real treat to finally see. We headed back out toward Cedar, spinning and talking bikes and life, genuinely enjoying both for the moment. I worked in a 35 minute attack on Lawson Road and the climb up Bellinger, but the majority of the two hours and twenty minutes was spent rolling nice and easy. Every cyclist should seize a day to just that. Appreciate it; we never remember just how lucky we are.

Big shout out to DBL for the ride and the knowledge.
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Foxy Friday: Jodi Gordon

Another gentlemanly suggestion from a Dear Reader gives us this little gem. “Big Witt” tweeted me last week, saying that this Jodi Gordon lass was more than qualified to be a Fox. After serious review of photos and a perusal scantily-clad images, the Bohunk agrees. Jodi Gordon has been a very attractive model since the age of 13 and has starred in Australian soap operas (the BEST kind of soap operas) for the past few years. She was named “Most Popular Actress” by the Logie Awards in 2009. More importantly, she was named Fox of the Week March 11, 2011.

Many, many congratulations to Jodi…and the cameraman chosen to take this shot.

Barry-Roubaix Preview

Here is a quick video preview of the 35 mile course at Barry-Roubaix in Middleville, Michigan. March 26th, 2011 will mark the first race of the season for the Bohunk, the beginning of a ninth month expedition around the state, seeking cycling glory and free stuff.


Thanks to Rick Plite, the race promoter and the other guy in the video.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

TC Training Camp: Day Six

The Bohunk scurries up the Muur…(This is what I imagine I look
like on the bike. Everyday.)

About a mile and a half from getting home from my ride today, a middle-aged woman waddling across the road with her equally wide pal made a comment about me. It’s rare I actually hear people say anything because I am most often cruising along too fast or too far away. But this lady, I heard. As I rounded a corner and tore into the pavement to keep the pace up, she said, quite flatly, “Well, he is serious.” Yes, ma’am, I am. And let me tell you why…

Your skills of perception, madam, are lacking. What you saw was a 22 year old in tight clothing on a full suspension bicycle that is more than a bit too big for him. But what that young man really was doing was launching an attack off the front to get a gap over a select group of eight, including, just to name a few, Fabian Cancellara, Thor Hushovd, Tylar Farrar and Juan Manuel Garate. And trust me, the young man you saw was digging himself to China in an effort to get away.

You believe you saw this on a normal, cold and wet Thursday in Traverse City, Michigan, whilst in (my) reality, I was really just rolling of the top of the Muur climb at the Tour of Flanders, Belgians yelling and spiting obscenities at me in a drunken fervor as if I was Lance Armstrong his very self. You can see then, ma’am, that yes I was indeed quite serious. Thank you heartily for taking a moment to notice.

The sixth day of the TC Training Camp was a mountain-bike-on-the-road-ride because of the deep slush and snow on most of the roads. I only did an hour and twenty minutes and about 22 miles because of a very strong and cold wind, but I was really feeling the effects of a long run yesterday. Looking forward very much to the weather tomorrow, which promises partly cloudy skies and a temperate 37 degrees. More from the roads tomorrow!

Paris-Nice: Stage Five

Stage Five of the Paris-Nice dragged the peloton into the high mountains for the first time in 2011, hitting seven categorized climbs including two CAT 2s and a CAT 1. Race leader Thomas de Geent of Rabobank was not expected to hang with the big boys and folding on the last big climb of the day. On the eight kilometer climb, de Muure, the peloton exploded into pieces. Only on the descent did  a group of contenders collect together, drawing together the strongmen of the early 2011 season. RadioShack’s Andreas Kloden won in a sprint on the line over Olympic champ Sammy Sanchez. Tony Martin, the big favorite going into the 27km time trial tomorrow, limited the damage of the last climb in order to keep the overall win within reach. Frank Schleck rode well but did not challenge in the end, still not ready to duel with the best of the peloton. The Bohunk’s favorite Frenchmen, Thomas Voeckler, was dropped on the final climb as well, losing a rather large chunk of time and dropping well behind in the overall classification.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

TC Training Camp: Day Five

Northern Michigan has crazy weather. If you have travelled north of Cadillac, you know that it can be sunny when you look out the window and snowing when you bounce out the door. Yesterday, the Bohunk raved over forty degree weather and a healthy dose of peeking sun. Today, I arose to a snowstorm and three inches of snow. The bike, road or mountain, was out of the question. So, I jogged 6 miles in the snow and slush, eyes half-closed as the flakes slapped me like a chubby kid stealing from the Doritos bag. This shot is from the mouth of Boardman River where it empties into West Bay. The ice is thirty or forty yards out into the bay, and the beach itself is not very attractive.
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Earths Are One-In-Four…

As a planet with liquid water in abundance, just the right temperatures and a moving, fluctuating internal structure of rock, earth is pretty darn lucky. But it is our placement in relation to the sun that makes life possible. We had always assumed we were a rare occurrence, lucky beyond the odds of the universe. But now, we’ve found that we are not so special after all. Scientists now believe we are but a statistical minority, not an impossible rarity. Of the sun-like stars we know of, they claim, roughly 23 in 100 have planets in the same area and of the same basic dimensions of earth. Masses ranging from one-half to two times the size of earth are relatively common, present near roughly one in four stars systems similar to the sun. Much of this research is the result of extensive study of stars 166 G and K, just 80 light years away and very similar to our own sun in most respects. They found that there is almost a sort of formula, with planets sized similar to those found in our own system at relatively the same locations. For example, there is a planet roughly the size of Jupiter within a few thousand miles of where it is located in our own solar system.

Scientists found 156,000 stars that fit this formula, and the Keck telescope being used for the project will be able to detect roughly 120-260 possible planets in the next two months. What does this matter? We are not the mathematical anomaly we always imagined ourselves. There are planets with the same opportunities for life that we have had over the last 4.2 billion years, some of which have existed for a similar period of time. Is there life out there? Could we find it in the next 100 years? Or 200? Or ever. We don’t know everything. We know almost nothing. The universe, my friends, is the greatest mystery.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

TC Training Camp: Day Four

There are, in the lives of men, moments of clarity and unrivalled certainty. Today, whilst on my bicycle, I absorbed some of those moments. Not in a performance sense, but an olfactory one. It is Fat Tuesday, and the small village of Cedar fell into my route about an hour and a half from starting. The quaint little town is famous for the Polish Festival each summer, and it flashed its famous Polish freak flag today as well. The local mini-mart/bakery/butcher/gas station filled the entire town with the sweet sugary scent of paczkis so thickly that I had a bit lingering on me for a mile or two, and that on top of an awful lot of sweat and mud. The Polish flag thhst flies on the hill overlooking Cedar was proudly flapping, and the Bohunk has never been so fond of my fellow Eastern Europeans as on this very day. The ride itself was forty miles with about 1,700 feet of climbing on four hills and a handful of undulating inclines around lealanau peninsula. The weather got up to a very comfortable 36 degrees and the wind was only troublesome for a short portion of the ride. Afterwards I was lucky enough to see the fixed gear wizard himself, Dennis Bean-Larson, for some bike talk. We are looking to create a Cyclocross squad for the fall. The kit, I will note, is awesome and I think the project as a whole would be an impressive product to get the Fixed Gear Gallery and Hell Yes Clothing some great exposure. As always, the link to both sites can be found to the right of this post. Thanks for checking on with the Bohunk, and I'll keep you updated on everything as it comes up.
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Monday, March 7, 2011

TC Training Camp: Day Three, and Stage 2 of Paris-Nice

The weather cooperated to a small degree today to allow for a rare jaunt into the “mountains” of Northern Michigan. The temperature was a balmy 35 degrees in town with an 8 mph wind from the south. The roads were mostly clear around town but near the tops of some of the climbs were spotted with piles of snow with no pavement exposed, meaning a precarious slip through on skinny tires. I did my normal climbing route except for one climb, which ended up being 5 climbs over 300 feet each. The legs are weak, but the lungs were better than I expected and my times on the climbs were not terrible considering my limited training. In Allendale, it would take all day to climb 400 feet, while the very first Col of the day on this ride was over 400 alone. The descents were a bit more dangerous and I took them with some degree of caution, tapping the brake occasionally and checking the shadows mud puddles for ice.

Thomas de Gendt wins on Stage One of Paris-Nice, donning the
Yellow Jersey for the second stage.

In the Paris-Nice, Greg Henderson of Team SKY won in a very close sprint in the second stage, edging out Robbie Hunter of RadioShack, Denis Galimzyanov of Katusha and a personal favorite of the Bohunk’s Heinrich Haussler (Garmim-Cervelo). The terrifying Peter Sagan of Liquigas-Cannondale) wound up fourth. The Bohunk is an excellent predictor of things, though admittedly better when Cheer-Babes are involved. For Paris-Nice, look out for Sagan for the overall. Remember that in a few days’ times…

Sunday, March 6, 2011

Saudi Arabia Bans Demonstrations

The US loves freedom, just as long as everybody stays nicely in
line, especially in oil producing nations.

After two weeks of demonstrations and protests, Saudi Arabia has officially banned protests in its country. And public protest will not be dealt with by police and military forces according to a statement released by the nation. After revolutions in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya, the Saudis are pushing to avoid the freedom bandwagon trooping through the Arab world. The country’s clerics announced that all protests are forbidden, saying “The correct way in sharia law of realizing common interest is by advising, which is what the Prophet Muhammad established.” The law is grouped in with regulations already in place banning political parties which they also claim not to be in keeping with Islamic law. Over 17,000 people joined two demonstrations this month in Saudi Arabia, the largest taking place on Friday. Facing them are the nation’s clerics who have sweeping powers in the nation, including the ability to run their own private police squads to enforce religious laws and prosecute those deemed to have violated those laws. After the Gulf War in 1991, some clerics pushed to force King Abdullah to allow an elected Parliament, though nothing in that area has evolved in the past twenty years. After demonstrations, Abdullah recently pledged an extra $37 billion to the citizens of his country.