Friday, 20 June 2014

updates from the 'states

it has been an irredeemably long tie since i wrote on here, i'm sorry about that. I've been otherwise engaged posing in lycra with needles and being mistaken for a colonial by the "special" people at Morgan Hill. I also completed another lap around the sun, resulting in my family sending me items which might be useful in the life they would like me to live. Case in point this rather classy razor which comes with the inference that i should never again rock the Jesus look. And yes, that is a real badger hair brush (i actually participated in a Badger conservation project when i was 11 and spent far too long in a sleeping bag counting baby badgers when i should have been playing video games or watching violent movies like a real kid).

(If you don't want to read the soapboxy bit you may want to skip the next part) 

As always I have been busy with 100 campaign (http://www.100campaign.org/) and Pascua Yaqui (www.facebook.com/pascuayaquibike) work. We've been trying hard to find a bike and equipment sponsor for the latter (any help appreciated, a certain major US firm led us down the garden path and then shut the gate on us). Both of these projects are what gives me the energy to keep going out and training, racing, tweeting and blogging. they put a smile on my face every day and really are the most rewarding things i do. For those of you interested in helping we will be riding El Tour together gaain this year. Please feel free to express interest in joining us (jstout at ayudainc dot net ) for a week of bikes 'betes (some beer) and lots and lots of happy thoughts to get you through the winter.

 It also makes me incredibly angry to think that people STILL average just 7-12 months post diagnosis before they die of diabetes related complications in Mali, this is totally abhorrent and unecessary. It also makes me pretty darn angry that after years of working to remedy this without taking a penny from the pharma companies who CREATE the problem in the first place, I see that the golden child of the US pharmaceutical industry has hopped on the bandwagon as it gathers speed. Whilst we welcome support and awareness of the situation I don't really believe that it's possible for one to act to change a system when one relies on that system for one's not insubstantial paycheck.  Oh and that education and empowerment line, yeah I think i  know where that came from....

keep checking the 100 campaign facebook and website as we are working on some cool updates soon for which we will need your help and your beautiful faces but not your money. So there's no excuse not to support us!


I have also been engaging with people on the internet about the fact that it seems to be ok for people in the USA to keep fu**ing killing each other in places of education and for the only form of action that society takes to be flying their flags a bit lower for a week or so until the next group of innocent young people gets massacred. if you follow me on twitter you've likely seen my weekly gun rant, i am sorry if that upsets you but i teach at a university. Someone walked into my lecture late the other week and half the class ducked, that upsets me, a lot. I'll save my rage for another platform, or for the next person who quotes the US constitution at me like it came down from heaven on the back of an angel, (if so I am guessing that angel was white as the constitution is pretty clear on the role and status of black people in the "land of the free).


the not so angry bit, cycling and coffee
OK, deep breath. I have also spending a totally ridiculous amount of time trying to perfect my espresso game. I quite like my new coffee machine (it's a gaggia baby classic), i find it to be a lot like cycling. you change something tiny and the result is huge, you balance all the many variables and strive for perfect output, and most of the time the result is just dark and bitter but there's always just enough lingering sweetness and the hint of something truly wonderful, so you keep trying.

 and yes, that is indeed a large mason jar full of energy gels. Judge me 

Also much like cycling, coffee has different disciplines and skillsets. Excelling at espresso doesn't make you a pourover guru and making good microfoam doesn't give you much cred in the world of roasting and blending. Thus far i have found latte art to be the equivalent of North Shore MTB in that it is entirely beyond my capacities .

Obviously coffee plays a pretty big role IN cycling, i think about 30% of my rides involve some form of caffeine intake and the amount of instagramming i do from birdrock is shamefully hipster. I really appreciate the difference between bad coffee and good coffee. To me, it's a lot like bike riding or life in general, a quality espresso beats out a 20oz gas station mug of hot brown water. Consistency and quality inputs are rewarded and as you keep trying you always get better. But you can overdo it as well, just like the old pedaling.

Oh and talking of pedaling i have entered some bicycling contests with mixed success