Tuesday, December 18, 2012

The greatest experiment of all time

What I am about to share with you is a true story. This truth comes from my heart and it follows my blood stream through my weak- toothpick-like in stature yet gorilla-like in hair- arms, into each one of my fingers and aggressively pounded out onto the keyboard which sends some sort of nerdy signal to the screen completing the truth cycle by making words.

For the past three months, I've been conducting which turned out to be the most near-death social and educational experiment that is possible within the realms of humanism. What I'm about to share is something I am very proud of, quite terrified by, and slightly (only slightly) amused by. What am I talking about. I am THOROUGHLY amused by this experiment.

This is the story about how I beat the entire college education system.

As background, my path towards a college degree has been ... labored. I did two and a third years of time at a facility in upstate Washington. Side note- this place is where I had THE BEST mugshot ID card of my existence.
 After being deemed "educated" I was paroled with the possibility of progression. They said "here's your AA degree, get out there and be somebody!". They did not give me a free suit when I left AND some of my personal belongings were missing. Thanks a lot Whatcom CC. However, soon (immediately after) I was back inside, my brief freedom halted in order to serve more time within this system. I began plotting my way to stand up for myself and for my people who were doing the same time that I was. Much like how Andy Dufrane locked himself in the Warden's office to play sweet, sweet Mozart over the speakers into the yard, I needed some form of hoorah. I needed to do something that could prove that although I was identification #869618, I was an individual. You might take my time, but you will never take my freeeeeeeeeddooooooommmmmm.

At Whatcom, I took some Spanish classes. I dominated these classes, so naturally since I (with previous experience in the language) could get A's in entry level classes, I probably have a future in the language. My last Spanish class at Whatcom was March-June of whatever year I was there. I finished up my AA that Fall, and didn't have room in my schedule for a Spanish class. That means that June-December I spoke absolutely zero Spanish.

I transferred to Western, where I took Spanish classes from January-June. The language that I had almost lost over the past 6 months of not speaking it was almost coming back to me. Two straight quarters of Spanish classes and just like that I was only TWO classes away from getting a Minor in Spanish.

Excellent news! I filled out the paperwork to get this minor. Then, I was all worried about taking classes for my Major (blogging) so after my three month Summer vacation I didn't take Spanish classes fall quarter. In January, I took my second to last Spanish class. This went quite poorly. The language was gone from my vocal chords, again, and now the classes that are required for the Minor are upper-division difficult classes. I struggled through January to March, slowly regaining some handle of the language and passing that class. Only ONE MORE class to go! I was going to get a Minor. The smart student would have taken a Spanish class spring quarter (March-June) and gotten it out of the way. Oops. This is not something that I did.

Finally, we are caught up to present day. I was entering my last two quarters at Western and I had to finish my Minor. I signed up for a Spanish class to take this past quarter (September-December). It had been since March since I even thought about the language.

Correct, everything was gone again.

The trouble here is that the only Spanish class that I could fit into my schedule was the highest level class available in the department. SPAN497, Cuban History and Film. I met with the teacher before the quarter started in March, and saw the syllabus. The class seemed relatively simple: Watch Cuban films, learn some stuff about Castro, do a presentation, and take two tests. Easy, right?

On the first day of class the Prof showed a short 30 minute film as a welcome to the class.  I listened as closely as I could and had no idea what was going on. At one point, there was apparently something funny said in the film, because everyone in the class laughed. Except me. I knew I was in trouble. However, in order for me to graduate in March I needed to take this class. I absolutely could not drop it for that reason, but I knew that if I waited another quarter the language would be even further away. I had to pass this class by any means necessary.

Here comes the experiment. Can someone with little grasp of the Spanish language successfully pass the hardest class in that department that a University has to offer? I was officially considering myself a poor Spanish speaker. I could understand maybe 60% of what the teacher was saying, and about 5% of what was happening in any of the movies we watched in class. Remember that this is a movie watching class.

Not only was the main point of the class to watch movies in a language that I didn't understand, but it was also a history class. That's right folks, while I was slowly trying to translate basic phrases in my head the teacher would throw out words like Bureaucracy and capitalism and Socioeconomic status. Good!


Here's how I did it.

First, it's important to know that this class had 17 people in it (counting myself). Of those 17, 5 were native Spanish speakers. They sat in the back of the class and hardly said anything, having side conversations which each other in Spanish.. When they did speak, it would be some rapid statement to the professor that no one else would catch, and the 5 native speakers and the professor would crack up laughing. Probably laughing at my Spanish-ignorance. Of the 12 students left, 6 of those studied abroad. These are the members of the class who always would raise their hands and compare the situations discussed in the movie to their time spent in Spain talking Spanish with locals doing all Spanish-languagy stuff while speaking in Spanish and only listening to Salsa music. Of the 6 students remaining, 4 of those were Spanish Majors. These are students who were taking full course loads of Spanish and felt all cool of themselves when they made a comment about something. I smelled the arrogance coming off of them whenever I stammered some form of statement.

So myself and one other student didn't fit in the categories mentioned above. I thought to myself, "thank goodness, I'm not alone!".

His last name was Gutierrez.

There were many ways that I blended in with the crowd. The teacher would ask "does everyone understand?". Of course I didn't, but I didn't need to be all special and alone. Once I asked the professor for help and he got so enthusiastic and spoke so rapidly that I didn't catch anything he said. So I tried to fit in. If the person in front of me shook their head up and down, I shook my head up and down. If the person next to me shook their head side to side, I shook my head side to side. When most of the class laughed, I had a good chuckle myself. I stayed under the radar. I went to class every day. I never once got called on. Great success!

  • I took DILIGENT notes. In English. Whatever I understood, I wrote down in English so that I could look back on my notes and actually make sense of them.
  • I read English summaries and reviews of every movie we watched. Every single one. Then, I at least knew what happened and could kind of put the pieces together on what their symbolic reference was to the Cuban revolution Wikipedia page that I had open in another tab.
  • For my presentation, I teamed up with Gutierrez and let him do most of the talking. There was still a lot of speaking, so in order to make sure that I said important things and didn't freeze, I wrote an ENTIRE word for word script on notecards.
  • Part of the reason why I was able to pass this class is that both of the exams were essay format. He would offer three prompts, you answered two of them. Now, I'm not saying this is easy, but since the essays were mostly about your personal opinion, there wasn't really a wrong answer. You just had to be able to explain yourself. Here comes the real fun. I would go to the tests, and choose the prompts with the movies that I knew most about. Then I wrote the entire essay in English. This way I knew that I at least had some sort of direction with my essay. Then I went about translating word for word the entire essay. This was an incredibly time consuming process. Trouble though- I'd get to a word that I'd have NO idea how to say. Let's use the word "smile" as an example. Since I couldn't remember how to say that, I'd instead say "the man did that thing with his mouth where he opens his lips a little and shows off his teeth when something amuses him". Words became conceptual definitions. Sentences became paragraphs. 
  • When all else failed, I'd make up the word and just HOPE.
 Sometimes this would at least get my point across, other times not so much:

After a lot of stress, a fair amount of concern, and a whole lot of luck, I passed the class. College!

Este cuento es un chiste, si, pero hay mucho verdad en las palabras que yo escribi. Puedo hablar espanol un poquito, pero es la verdad que esta clase es mas dificil que yo podria entender. Estoy muy contento que termino mi Minor y creo que necesito practicar mi espanol mas para recordar en el futuro.

Lo siento por el duracion del este blog. Creo que nadie leo todo pero este cuento y experiencia es una que quiero recordar por todo mi vida, y la red es una mecanismo para hacerlo.

With joy,

Ian "Spanish Minor" Crane

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Forgotten Moments

Can a moment be forgotten if it was never known about in the first place? Is it still a moment?

Recently I got a new telephone. This was a pretty big experience for me because now I have a phone that is capable of making phone calls, as well as all that other fancy stuff. My old one didn't do much except check Twitter (which it was EXCELLENT at). Moving on, when I got my new phone I made it my non-exciting, lazy-life goal for the day to determine if any of the photos on my phone didn't need to be there. I'm all about saving space when I have a new phone with huge memory. I'm all about efficiency, and I'm a straight shooter.

Speaking of photos, with this new phone I finally was able to have the technological advance-ness to become an Instagram kid. This is something that I've mocked for as long as I had a phone that wasn't capable. However, when Tela told me that Instagram was going to be the next Friendster- sorry, the next Myspace, Facebook, Twitter, etc. -, I knew I had to join as to not get left in the dust of human advancement. Not having Instagram would be as shocking as Tela not having a PayPal account. What is this, the 1940s?  As soon as I entered the modern world, I jumped on the opportunity to take artistic photos of boring things:

I'm all confused with my direction of this post now. Let's summarize. Forgotten moments , new telephone, new capabilities, looking through photo galleries, Instagram, making fun of Winger, making fun of myself, making fun of Tela not having PayPal, artsy photo.

Oooooh I remember my direction now. It's pretty obvious when I look at it all separated by commas in one long sentence. What I discovered when I was looking through all the pictures on my phone is that I have a lot of spare time. That and I have several photos that were never tweeted or blogged because they just didn't fit with the mood at the time. Let me tell you folks, at this moment, the mood is right.


The cell phone pictures that weren't eligible to go into other posts but still hold special weight in understanding my life, my friends lives, bike racing and also other stuff.

This is what happens when you have a van that has lot of seats, but two of those rows of seats are filled up with ~8 bike boxes + luggage + Hornbeck's DJ gear. This also only happens when you are doing a 3+ hour drive when you could have just flown into another airport. This is a special picture because you may notice that Honest Gabe is sitting in a seat. This only lasted for about a minute because he would rather be in discomfort then have anyone else feel that discomfort.

Next, when traveling with THE Joe Holmes, road rules do not exist.  Please note that Joe is the driver of the black car next to our van. By that, I mean the white car that is in front of our van.

This is how you feast if you're name is David. This burrito place in Arkansas was excellent, and this double-sized burrito, with double-sized chips, and less-than-single-sized salsa was just the solution to a stage race. The greatest sadness of this trip was when David left the second half of the burrito in the fridge instead of taking it with him on the airplane. This caused a great pain in my chestal region (that and my broken sternum).

Another picture from Arkansas. Turns out that I was too busy feeling sorry for myself for crashing in every possible situation that I didn't share EXCELLENT photos (getting cocky here). In a desperate search for FroYo, HeeleySwag, David and I accomplished our goals. However, we had to walk there and that was the most tiring thing I had to do all season*. David was thirstayyyyy but this fraud of an establishment didn't have sippy cups. Please note that this is not yogurt in the bowl that David is sipping from like a dog, but instead crisp, cool water. Also funny that there was a place to get water from but no device for water transportation into your belly. Very strange.

Perhaps one of the most common scenes of the 2012 season. Kennett eating while his teammates struggled to do a task that they just needed one more guy for. Before you get all snobby and yell at me for documenting this moment instead of helping, this was also from Arkansas. Plus, everyone knows that I do my workouts with 6-8lb medicine balls and a van seat is WAY too heavy for me.

Another Arkansas. Perhaps the most fitting photo of @horndogbrocal ever captured. Although I don't really get the basketball reference, this was sign that was made for us by one of the host families. They had a huge fiesta on the crit course where Gabe got drunk off of one sip of beer immediately after finishing a very difficult race.

Kennett's bag never came and he was lucky because we were flying in the next day and were able to pick it up for him. He asked me to get it from the office, and this was waiting for me. 

In the photo gallery "KP gets angry while waiting for food" but also in the #CamoWaffleHouseHat category of life. Please note my finger over half of the camera lens. I didn't have Instagram yet so I was trying to add a fancy, homemade filter.

After a quite pleasing team victory at Tour De Delta, Heeleyswag, David and I went exploring (in search of FroYo (a weird, reoccurring theme with the three of us)) the White Rock area of Canada. We were the only people in this entire waterfront village that weren't on a date, so we sat and creeped on everyone else. A couple with matching crocs stays together.

*besides other stuff

There you go. Just some moments that never originally happened but now can happen and be considered moments because they can't be forgotten since now they exist.

I'm very angry at myself for having a lull in blog posts. I was supposed to be doing homework this morning, for the first time in a while, so naturally I wrote a blog up instead. Now I'm going to fail school because of all of you and you'll have to provide for me monetarily and foodetarily for the next 7-10 years while I try and redo this class that I didn't do the assignment for because I was putting pictures onto the internet.


Wednesday, November 14, 2012

A Call for Action!

Finally! A way for you, the reader, to actively participate with me, the typist. Besides that thrilling moment when you got to decide whether or not I should shave my ape-arms or not, this is your chance for you to get out there and DO something!

To be brief, I go to school.

To be less brief, I am taking a class where one of the projects that we have is to design and build a website from scratch. Concept-publication, we're in charge. I decided that I didn't want to do a site that would be beneficial in any way, so what I'm doing is a collection of photos (sort of like an awkwardfamilyphoto site) of clunker cars.

After realizing just how much I adore the #swaggerwagon with all its beautiful flaws, I started to notice that lots of people felt the same way about their cars with more...character... than charisma and definitely more miles than most. This is where the site comes in.


The site for people who love their beat up cars to submit them for internet fame and glory. There will be more to the site, because I have requirements for grades and stuff, but the main feature is photos of cars.


If you drive (or have driven) a vehicle that fits your own personal description of clunker, I need you to submit it to me so that this site can have some content!

Please email a photo (or attach a link in the comments on this blog) along with a short description of why you like it or why it's a clunker to:

thisismyclunker at gmail dot com

Send photos! Chris Wingfield and Mike Hone, sorry you read this far. This does not apply to you.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

The Bracelet Affair part two

For those of you who aren't friends with me on Facebook or follow me on twitter (what's wrong with you?), I leaked this photo on Friday:

It's quite obvious- this is the cover for my novel. If you don't get the joke, this cover design was not inspired by anything.

Let's get right into it.

Lance Armstrong is/was a talented athlete. With his accomplishments you have to believe that he has a tremendous work ethic, fantastic genes, incredible skills and genius tactics. Steroids or no steroids, the man was a gifted bicycle racer and an dedicated athlete. Sure, all the above are greatly benefited by the use of performance enhancing drugs, but in order to see the truth behind his doping success you must accept all of these as facts.

Without going into too much history, I'll assume most of you know that Lance Armstrong had cancer that he overcame in 1996. When Armstrong won his first Tour in 1999, he did so clean. I mean clean in the sense of PEDs (performance enhancing drugs). However, the treatment from his cancer was still rushing through his body. As he recovered into superhuman like form, radiation from his chemotherapy fused with his natural bodily synapses. His body recovered from his cancer into a permanent radiation-like state.

He won the 1999 TDF by 7 minutes.

No big names raced the Tour that year- Jan Ullrich was injured and Marco Pantani was high somewhere. Armstrong knew that 2000 would mark the return of competition. The return of challenge. This is when he transforms into the dope-test passing cycling monster that came to define his reign throughout the early 00's.

Something had to be done. Armstrong, now full of endorsement deals from his Tour De France success, was rolling in money and resources. From a relatively unknown Texan to an international superstar, he had not only the funds but also all the newest technologies at his fingertips.

It was no secret throughout the Armstrong reign that he always strove to have the best equipment, the most scientifically proven training, and the most aerodynamically efficient position achievable. It's common knowledge that Armstrong put Trek stickers on a Litespeed time trial bike because that frame was more aerodynamic than Trek's model. It's not confidential information that Armstrong chose to have downtube shifters on a mountain stage because they weighed less, or had helmets specifically designed for the shape of his back. Armstrong was always willing to find that extra 2% and that transferred across to his mechanism of cheating.

With unlimited funds and resources, Armstrong contacted an unknown (at the time) doctor named Allen Lim. Allen was looking to make a name for himself and his new product- the red blood cell duplicator. This is where the science, cheating, and health defying behavior comes in.

Lim implanted Armstrong's left wrist with a transmitting device. This device serves as a miniature blender of sorts. When activated, it starts vibrating rapidly. Think of a paint shaker at the hardware store. This transmitter, hidden inside of his wrist at the location of the highest density of veins in your arm (the place where people cut themselves to bleed profusely) , shakes so violently that every individual red blood cell is temporarily split into two. Duplicated by force, the available red cells double, doubling hemoglobin and greatly increasing the amount of oxygen that gets to your muscles. When activated, this transmitter acts as a boost, a Nos type accelerant that temporarily increases your ability to bring oxygen to your muscles.

The genius part behind this idea? The part that made Allen Lim rich and Armstrong famous? The damaged red blood cells cannot survive in their smaller (but higher quantity) state. The broken off duplicates of the original cells die, making it virtually impossible to notice in any sort of drug screening.

Again, you must believe that Armstrong is an incredibly talented athlete. A fantastic bike racer. With the addition of this red blood cell duplicator, he was able to go past 100%. He had a trick up his sleeves in all sense of the phrase.

What was the transponder hidden in?

The band of his Nike wristwatch. When Armstrong pressed the Mode and Start/Stop button simultaneously, the duplicator was initiated. Activate turbo-attack.

Armstrong won the 2000 TDF by 6 minutes and 2 seconds.

In 2001, Armstrong won by 6 minutes and 44 seconds, and in 2002 he won by over 7 minutes.

Then disaster struck at the 2003 TDF. Armstrong won by the thinnest of margins- a slim 61 seconds separating Armstrong from second place. Something had to be done.

Pay attention to the left wrist:





The most famous moment of the 2003 TDF-

Every photo, every win and every race-changing attack, Armstrong was fueled by the red blood cell duplicator.

However, after the 2003 Tour De France it was obvious that the red blood cell duplicator was no longer as efficient- his attacks weren't as deadly and his time trialing wasn't as swift. Time to re-hire Allen Lim.

After several multi-billion dollar scientific studies and days of research collected, Lim found out the problem with his transponder. The metal in the watch strap and watch casing was delaying the signal to the wrist transmitter, and Armstrong's aging blood cells couldn't adapt to the delay. It was time for a change in transponder. Re-injecting a new carbon fiber cased transmitter (to replace the titanium model) into Armstrong's right wrist, it was deemed that in order for this to continue to work, the transponder must not have any metal interferences whatsoever.

In 2004, on the eve of the Tour De France, Lance Armstrong's cancer foundation, Livestrong, introduced a new way to show your support to the public. Lightweight, yellow, and all silicone, the Livestrong bracelets exploded in popularity. The perfect cover for blood cell duplicating masterminds like Lim and Armstrong.

The silicone in the bands did not interfere with the signal transmission, and their immediate popularity made Armstrong fit right in with the crowd. How could he be doing anything illegal? He's just like you and me.

With a very non-retail Livestrong bracelet, Armstrong was able to flex his right wrist twice to initiate the shaking.

Lance Armstrong won the 2004 TDF by 6 minutes and 19 seconds and the 2005 TDF by almost 5 minutes. Just like the good old days.

Check out the right wrist, and what's noticeably absent from the left:

In 2004-

 Finally, in 2005-

Armstrong's secret, CRACKED.

It might be hard for some of you to believe this. It might be hard to see past the fact that Armstrong was an incredibly talented athlete and won 7 Tour De Frances *mostly* on his skills and strengths. What you have learned today is that a rich man teamed with a brilliant mad scientist to uncover a new method of body manipulation. One with properties so advanced that even medical geniuses don't understand the possibilities. You may be questioning how a blood cell could split in two and survive, but what you should be asking yourself is what CAN'T a blood cell do when it just Live(s)Strong.

Hey Mr. Armstrong, did you cheat to win all those bike races?
Maybe thissss much
 Finally, no wonder he was good at bike pedaling. His head is TINY!

(note- this is a work of fiction and if this is true I expect job offers from the FBI, WADA, Encyclopedia Brown, and the Harvard School of Blood Shaking.)

(also important: in no way is this a reflection on the LiveStrong foundation)

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Bracelet Affair part one

Long time readers of this site may remember one of my first posts ever, and my first Get Rich Scheme blog ever. I listed off my first set of ideas, and there was one that has been consistently on my mind since I first wrote the initial abstract.

Please go back in time and refresh your memory on a certain scheme that I'd like to refer to as "The Bracelet Affair". For those newer readers or sufferers from memory loss, refresh your memory here.

To tell the truth, I haven't wanted to compose this because I've been saving it for the book. However, with the recent explosion in the cycling world I figured that no time is better than the present for presenting a brief... excerpt... of sorts from my future novel.

Correct, I am talking about Lance Armstrong. I pretty much turned away from the Armstrong adoration when I started getting serious about cycling. It was too common and too Fred-like to cheer for Armstrong. When he made his comeback to racing, I was more excited about the growth in crowds at the Tour Down Under rather than the fact that a "legend" was coming back to the sport. When his name got thrown under the bus by early accusations, I didn't rush to defend him to the masses or burn any posters. Finally, when ish really hit the fan and he was no longer a seven-time Tour De France winner, I didn't cry, didn't feel heartbroken and didn't get in any arguments with non-cycling fans at school. I just didn't want a part in it. However, when huge voodoo statues are erected then burned, when South Park has a Lance Armstrong episode, and when Lang Reynolds gets almost 50 retweets, I knew that my interest-silence had to be broken. There is no time like the present to uncover what really happened in the Lance Armstrong world of sports cheating.

PS Juan Pelota= Armstrong's Strava account
Coming tomorrow:

The Bracelet Affair: How Lance Armstrong REALLY beat doping tests, cheated the system, and won all those bike spandex races.

By: Ian Crane

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Training Your Weaknesses

"Haha, a wise man once told me keep me your friends close and keep your enemies closer
And he only got close enough to tell me that because, well he was a enemy
Shout out to all my frenemies"

That is a famous quote from the book The Prince by Machiavelli. Or Chamillionaire. One of the two. It does teach us a valuable lesson. One that never should be avoided and should be looked upon with great respect. Do what you shouldn't. Right? Maybe not, but you get the idea.

Now that I've started to think about that saying (Keep your friends close, enemies closer), I've started to realize that it doesn't really make sense and history is just one big floozy. I get the basics of it- you have to know your enemies to defeat them blah blah blah but in reality, when you keep your enemies close you get stabbed in the stomach with a toothbrush shank in the middle of the night. It's much safer to study your enemies from a reasonable distance. One where you can observe but be protected, watch and still be calm. That's why I propose that we edit this legendary saying to "Keep your friends close and your enemies far enough away where you are still able to learn about them and study their weaknesses without compromising your safety during times of sleep and malnutrition". Here is an example of how I could keep my enemy at this reasonable distance and still learn from it:
Phew, so safe.

However, many great philosophers like myself realize that you can't generalize. There are things that you just have to do. Aristotle said that "there must be a principle of such a kind that its substance is activity". I got a B- in English 101 so I'm not really sure what that means, but it sounds like Areesto (my nickname for Aristotle) wants you to go out and do things. Areesto also said "dealing with backstabbers, there was only one thing I learned. They're only powerful when you've got your back turned".

Is it a Federal Offense to blatantly misquote someone like that? It's not really plagiarism because I gave credit, but it was just the wrong credit. If I get arrested all of you should know that the above quote wasn't Aristotle.

WOW, world's longest introduction to my story. 

Unlike most other posts, that introduction actually fits excellently with my life lesson for the day. It involves befriending your enemies in order to destroy them.

Let me paint you a picture. I have sub-mediocre eyesight. This 9/10 times is not a problem for me. I can go about my life normally without corrective lenses. I can read, walk, watch tv, juggle (1 thing), and most importantly ride bikes. The one time where my glasses are pretty beneficial is when I am driving at night. I am FINE without them, it's just a little easier to wear them when I drive.

I hate to use them though. Not because David and Kennett throw me into garbage cans when I wear them, but because I hate admitting weakness like that. I will not give into my sub-par night vision. I also have another theory. I predict that by using my glasses, my eyes will adjust to its new found ability to see perfectly. Then, when I am not wearing them, my eyes will yearn for the magnifying lens of my glasses, essentially getting worse so that I am forced to wear my glasses more often.

That's right folks, I'm comparing vision to food cravings. Once my eyes, and therefore my medulla oblongata and cerebellum, get the taste of clarity they will want more. The glasses become a crutch and my life becomes dictated by the glasses that rest on my smushed-in nose.

Recently I've decided I'm not going to fall for these optometricks (see what I did there????) and I'm going to fix my eyes myself. Rather than aiming a laser pointer into my eye and assuming that since I watched a youtube video on D.I.Y laser eye surgery that I'm an expert, I can do it the Magyver way. With a Swiss Army Knife.

False. I decided that I was going to leave my glasses at my mom's house (on purpose, I swear) and navigate the rest of my life without them. I didn't want to become so needy on these glasses that eventually I couldn't bike pedal without them, because then David and Kennett would definitely throw me into garbage cans.

So I drove in the dark and the rain, intensely staring ahead. I don't want to exaggerate, so I'll only tell you that I could partially feel my orbital muscles twitching as they strengthened, bringing clarity through my cornea and eliciting a rushing sensation through my optic nerve resulting in an expansion of my pupils, all allowing me to see perfectly. I felt all of that.

Did it work? Why don't you take my eye test to find out!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Should You Get a Bike Fit?


This past Friday I had the opportunity to get a BG fit from Dave Richter at Herriott Sports Performance. Many of you know that Dave is also my coach, so before I get into the details of the fit just know that this...review... was not  something I was asked to do. I was so pleased with the process and results of the fit that I felt the need to share.

The basics- BG fit is the style of bike fitting that Specialized introduced to the world. All the World Tour teams sponsored by Specialized go through this fit process. I'll go into a bit more detail, but BG fits take into account the rider first, then the bike. Sure, with another type of fit you may be able to achieve what's considered the "perfect position". That position may be the best on paper, but it is not what works with each individual rider. The BG fit takes that into account.

Before even getting on the bike you go through a series of tests. These tests range from everything from flexibility to natural bone structure. Using these, the tester can determine how to best adjust your bike to the intricate details of your body (if you use that line in a Hallmark card I want 40%). Let me get personal here. I have wide sit bones. Ok, now that I've got that embarrassing detail out of the way, let's look at what we learned.

First, the measurement for this is basically done by sitting on a cushion and pressing all your weight down on it. Your bones leave an indentation in the material, and that distance is measured. I had been noticing that while I was riding I felt like I was very lopsided on the bike. I felt like I was sitting to the right of the top tube. Turns out that the distance between my sit bones was greater than the width of my saddle. Trouble! That means that without even realizing it, I was compensating how I was sitting to make it so at least one sit bone was on the saddle. We changed to a wider saddle, and just like that I was sitting straight on the bike again.

Many tests are done that help determine how your pedal stroke can be most efficient. Through a series of- flexibility tests, fancy tools like the "arch-o-meter" (that are actually REALLY fancy), one-legged squats, and even little observations like which way your feet naturally rest- the fitter (Dave) can use these to place your cleats in the optimal place. I've always felt like my left foot is good, but that the right foot was off. Part of this was how I was sitting, but my cleat was also positioned poorly. My feet naturally rest at an angle (some fancy science doctor term) which led to me feeling like I was pedaling with the side of my foot. Pulling the cleat back, adding a wedge underneath my sole, and rotating the cleat fixed that. Now I'm pedaling with two feet instead of one and a half. Watch out world.

There are many other features of the BG fit that are worthy of praise, but in reality you should check it out for yourself. This fit was more than two hours long, and every minute felt like it was benefiting my cycling.

Invest in a fit. You've already bought the nicest bike, wheels, saddle, shoes, name brand chamois creme, $300 leg warmers, Giro aero helmets and fancy training and race tires. Why even bother with any of that stuff if you don't have the optimal fit on your bike?

If you're looking for one thing to improve this winter, make it your fit. Get the most out of every time you are on the bike. Whether you are looking to improve your comfort or gain 10 precious watts, this is definitely the investment that you should make.

I took that step to get the most out of my bike. Will you?

Check out more details, including how to schedule the fit, here:


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

The Allure of the Holeshot

Most successful bike racers learn fairly quickly that winning at the beginning of the race does not really mean much. Everyone knows the last lap matters the most and that everything before that is simply your way to get to the finish line.

Sometimes though- there is something greater. Something that goes against every "smart" tactic in your brain and inspires you to potentially risk catastrophe just to check off a simple goal. A simple heroic task that stamps your authority on the race regardless of your finishing position. Sure, winning the first 1/4 lap means nothing in terms of the bike race, but there is nothing more beautiful than getting the holeshot. Well, except winning. Moving on.

Some people just don't get it. They don't see what drives someone to potentially ruin their whole race just to get to the first corner first. To those people I ask "have you ever felt glory?" If your answer is yes, then I am led to assume that you too have holeshotted in such glorious fashion that you end the race in 28th place, having spent a mere 14 seconds at the front of the field. But YOU WERE THERE. This method is for the dreamers. For those who pedal so hard in the first 30 seconds of the race that they need to stop for refreshments in order to survive the next 59.5 minutes. This is for those who pedal so hard that they get passed by the entire field over the course of one lap.

The holeshot (being the first person to the first corner) is an art form. Believe it.

Cat 3s in 200....9?
This past Saturday I competed in my annual cyclocross race. This past Saturday I got my 4th career holeshot at Starcrossed CX. I completed the quad-fecta. I dare someone else to claim ownership to this achievement. I have holeshotted at Starcrossed in EVERY category that I am eligible to have ever competed in.

The Cat 4s. CHECK. Juniors. CHECK. Cat 3s. CHECK. Cat 1/2. CHECK.

This is literally the only thing on my cyclocross palmares.

In honor of this great and monumental accomplishment I'd like to take the time to evaluate my .....

Top 3 holeshots of all time in my cyclocross career simply based on clipping in fast then pedaling hard on pavement and sometimes through bumpy grass.
By: Ian Crane


USGP Portland. Single Speed Category. 5th row call-up. Sometimes a holeshot is simply because, but other times it is absolutely necessary for success in the race. Racing a muddy single speed race in Portland is the definition of necessary. The range of abilities is large, and the chances are very high that there will be a crash in the start as soon as 150 half-costumed half-serious half-drunk racers hit the mud.

In my third favorite holeshot of all time, I pedaled at roughly 189 RPM for the entire ~250 meters of cement, swerving like I was trying to escape police on the autobahn and made my way to the first corner first. Glory. Success. Then, by avoiding all the carnage behind me, I was able to make my way to the second corner with a gap. Then promptly crashed and ended up back in 15th or so place.


Starcrossed. Cat 4's. Starcrossed used to be start order based on order of registration. Get there at three AM, camp out, harass Johnny Sundt, register early. Boom, front row starting spot. Even as a young buck I understood the value of the holeshot. Here's why this holeshot ranks at number two on Vh1's top holeshots of the 00's list:

That's right. Fame.

That picture is from the Seattle Times, folks. Seriously though, I holeshotted the cat 4s and the picture chosen for the "check out this crazy sport" article was the picture of me stamping my temporary authority on the guy with tennis shoes on a mountain bike. FULL PAGE COLOR PHOTO. Did the guy who won get a full page color photo? Definitely not. Word.


The moment you've all been waiting for. Numero 1.

I'd like to take you back in time to a year called 2006. Many things happened in this year: Twitter was launched, North Korea started testing nuclear bombs (prophetic to my starting style), it was designated National Asperger's year, and I traveled the country racing Elite Junior cyclocross races. 

Turns out I wasn't physically ready for these races. I was pretty irrelevant to the race and spent the 45 minutes riding as hard as I could in the back quarter of the field. This specific moment happened in Longmont, Colorado. Steve, Sean and myself all had quite terrible showings on day one- Sean and Steve had mechanical problems and I was racing like I hadn't been training hard enough. Truthfully, it was an embarrassing showing for our team. I knew that Sean and Steve could turn it around the next day (I think they both were in the top 5 on day 2?) but I knew that I in no way could contribute to restoring our team's dignity on the last lap.

But I happened to be a first 1/4 lap expert.

I made it my goal to get the holeshot on day two. This was my way of showing off our team in a positive way. This was a goal I knew was achievable. Ignore me shooting for the podium or even a top ten- those weren't possible. But me winning the start? That was something I could do.

I slayed the start, slayed the first corner, and bombed down the section paralleling the start-finish line: the best junior cyclocross racers in the country spread out in a line behind me; the announcer screaming my name, and more importantly, my team name. Then I went into a 5 mph corner at 20 mph, crashed and as I hit the ground a relatively unknown Boulder local named Taylor Phinney ran into me and flipped over his bars. Unluckily for him, this was pretty much the end of his cycling career. I got up, attacked him, and rode the rest of the race with a magnificent sense of accomplishment. 

I may have been a terrible elite level cyclocross racer, but there is no glory like winning the start.


My favorite non-me holeshot of all time!

Chris Johns. Some of you may know him, some of you may not. Chris was a friend of Rad Racing and came to the Sea Otter Classic with us to do some... mountain bike racing? Chris knew his chances in the 2+ hour mountain bike race were slim. But Chris also knew that the 2+k on pavement at the beginning of the race was a place to shine. He fought for the front row, and took off on the gun like it was the start of a 40 minute cyclocross race. 

Never have you seen a gap grow that quickly as when a man attacks a field from the start of a long beginners mountain bike race.


I really do prefer winning.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tips for Navigating Crowded Spaces

This applies to you. I promise. Unless, without my knowing, several basement-dwelling hooligans who order out for take-out and never leave their dark cavernous trenches read my blog about cycling and playing wiffle ball outdoors. If you are one of those readers, thank you! Thanks for not only broadening the diversity of my audience but also thank you for using my blog as a place to imagine being outside.

For those of you who leave the dormant basement behind to participate in societally-normal things like walking where other people are, I have a list of tips and pointers for you.

This was inspired by myself. What I mean by that is I go to a school with 15000 people. At 11:20 when I get out of class at the Southernmost point of campus all 15000 people are out and about. Except the basement dwellers. I need to make my way to the Northernmost part of campus to catch a bus at 11:28. At 5:00 pm, not rushing, this walk would take me 7 minutes. However- in this crowd, at this time, and with these WWU hooligans- the full-campus walk would take in the area of 10-29 minutes. This means I'd miss the bus, get home 25 minutes later, miss midday coffee, starve, potentially perish AND have to spend more time on campus than I normally would. This 7-29 minute walk in HEAVY traffic took me 4 minutes and 12 seconds today. This blog is to teach you how to navigate your college campus, the walk to the bathroom at a club (Hornyfest maybe?), getting lunch in downtown, or pulling off the greatest heist ever.

It is important to know that under NO circumstances do I condone running. Even if you are late. In the case of a bus pulling out to leave, I've perfected the "look like I'm running" walk to get them to wait.

I realize that I've done a lot of geographical mathematics and statistical comparisons. Here's a map of campus to clear things up.
I kid. That's the map of the territories that I'm going to buy to make one large area that I will name Ianland. Pronounced "inland". You wouldn't understand.

Here is an actual map taken off Google Earth of my campus. The red is the path I need to take to get from my building (top of map) to the bus stop. Simple, right?

Here's the map that shows the areas of congestion. Heavy congestion is in blue.

You get the picture. Walking to the bus is like walking through a large circle of blue raspberry airheads.

We all can relate, but we don't often succeed. I've been keeping a list of things I've learned over the 4 years and 1 month I've been in College. There are three things- and one of those is how to successfully walk better than everyone else.

Call me cocky, call me confident, but you can NEVER call me Ian "Mr. missed the bus because I walked too slow and had to wait around for another" Crane. A) Because that's a terribly difficult nickname to say, and B) it is not even true. C'mon nickname givers, at least get creative.

I'm pleased to share with you:

The Top Six Ways to Walk Effectively and Briskly in Large Crowds:

Headphones people. Wear your headphones. This is number one because you can plan on getting offensive through the course of this walk. Your needs are what matter, not any one of those other 15,000 people. Wear the headphones and you enter a separate world. You are motivated by the Civil Wars or by MGK. You become one with yourself and walking in a crowd becomes just like walking alone.

Look ahead of you! Spy where those gaps are opening. Regardless if they are there when you get there, shoot through those gaps. Be aware of people stopping to chat. These are the BEST thing for you. Other walkers instinctively leave lots of room around the stopped friends. Learn to use this to your advantage and wait till the last minute to swerve around the group of stopped people. If your shoulders do not brush, you have inaccurately surfed the friend zone. Lil' Steve is very good at surfing this zone, probably because of his stature.

DO NOT GET OUT YOUR PHONE. In fact, treat people who are walking and texting as you would treat a drunk homeless man wandering the street. These people cannot be trusted with the consistency of their pace. Avoid these people at all costs. Sure, their paths may be good temporarily, but they do not walk in a straight line, they suddenly slow down and they often create more of a hazard then a consistent person to walk behind.

Do not acknowledge anyone. The first rule of speed-walking is to have no friends. (The others have been tips/suggestions. This is a rule).

Straight lines aren't for winners. Walk for efficiency, not for distance. Do not slow down at all costs. Regardless of how many people you impede as you: cut sharply to the left with no warning, veer at a 45 deg angle to the right, followed by a leapfrog over someone who is tying their shoe- do. not. slow. down.

I am a wolf. I'll let you decide which of these animals represents your walking efficiency.

If you walk naked while juggling rotten foods, people for some reason tend to get out of your way.

Now you know.


Monday, September 24, 2012

My First Novel

I have some big news for you. This is a really large accomplishment for me and has been a humongous endeavor to take on. I've really taken huge steps to have the most complete and gigantic collection for my first novel. It's really been a towering task- I wanted to do an immense collection of photos for this novel. I really wanted it to be high-reaching and statuesque, stretching to the far reaches of every reader's visual and mental stimuli. I hope that you see the tremendous and at times colossal risks that I've taken to bring you the most grand and towering depictions of what, at times, may seem like an altitudinous challenge. Tall.

Without further ado, I bring to you.................

"Steve Comparisons, 2012"
By: Ian Crane

How is that other guy so BIG?

It's ok, he's only 16

Yes, there is a guy with regular pants in front of Steve


OK before my readers (in this case viewers) get all angry, how about some photos where Steve looks really BIG?

That's an actual size coffee mug people!

Really though, Steve is one of my closest friends and jokes about his height as much as everyone else. Serious!


Ok, one more height joke.

Poor Steve. Always gets the short end of the stick.