Vin Diesel as Hannibal?

Stumbled on this article. Even if you don't read French, you can probably interpret that Revolution Studios has acquired the rights to adapt Ross Leckie's novel about Hannibal into a film, and they want Vin Diesel to play Hannibal (not Lecter, but the one who rode the elephants over the Alps to attack Rome). What a strange casting choice. For some reason I always pictured Hannibal as more cerebral. Vin Diesel, with his gravelly voice, shaved head, and stocky frame just strikes me as a stylized meathead.

Cycling, soccer

As to whether soccer and cycling will gain in popularity in America? Doubtful. Not when football, baseball, and basketball are on TV year round, their athletes competing on the field and acting in commercials and movies, splashed on magazine covers. Cycling is expensive and painful. Soccer isn't expensive, but it just doesn't mesmerize America's attention except when it takes the world stage. Same with cycling. Can the average American name an MLS soccer team? Can any of them name a bike race other than the Tour de France?


Flick is the term for knocking a cyclist off his bike at high speeds. I got that from an article on Lance Armstrong in the latest New Yorker. Good profile of Lance and intro to the sport, so if you've never read anything about him or cycling, I recommend it while it's posted for free this next week. The New Yorker tends to post a few articles from each issue for about a week.
This morning I got up later than usual for my daily cruise around Mercer. Was supposed to call Jesse at 6am, but talk radio on the alarm didn't penetrate my sleepy head until 6:30. In this last crunch to train before I head off to France, my mileage is up, and when that happens, I need more sleep. I haven't been getting it, and getting up in the mornings is excruciating.
Usually I ride counter-clockwise around the outside of the island. It's a few miles longer as a ride, the fun windy portion doesn't come until the end of the ride, and most importantly, it's easier to spot cars pulling out of driveways because the driveways on the right slope up to the street and are not as enshrouded in trees and shrubs. Running behind, as soon as I made it across I-90 I decided to go clockwise instead.
Most of the early ride I was trying to wake myself up and get a rhythm on the bike. In the morning it takes me longer to get loose, so it's hard to feel fast and fluid on the bike. About two-thirds of the way through the ride, on the West side of the island, I accelerated down a short hill and was coasting at about 25 mph when a dark green (was it blue, black?) SUV pulled out of a driveway on the right. I had just glanced down at my bike computer for a second and when I looked up the car was about ten yards in front of me.
When I was in grade school, living in Palatine, I used to ride my 10 speed around the block over and over. One day I was looking down at my tires and not at the road ahead and ran into the back of a neighbor's car parked out on the street, in front of that neighbor's house. That neighbor happened to be sitting on his porch. A middle-aged guy, he was none too happy. He called for his wife and came over and barked at me ("Why don't you watch where you're going?! I just bought that car!" and so on and so forth). Later they visited my parents to ask for payment for a broken taillight.
Maybe I was thinking about that traumatic event from my childhood this morning because I nailed my brakes and swerved hard to the right. Of course, I don't have anti-lock brakes on my bike and at 25mph my tires locked up and skidded. The front of my bike dropped into a ditch by the side of the road and stopped, while my body continued on and over the top. My left foot popped out of my pedals, my right foot still locked in. I stepped down on my left leg to try and avoid falling on my bike and hyperextended it as it landed in a muddy hole. I continued to rotate forward and put my right hand down to brace my fall and bent my wrist back hard on the driveway.
Everything was two points of sharp pain: left knee, right wrist. Then relief when I noticed my bike looked unharmed. Then a burst of joy at being alive. Then momentary panic: what if I had broken my wrist or reinjured my left knee? One week from my trip to France, that would be unacceptable. With adrenaline pumping hard through me, I couldn't gauge the seriousness of my injuries. Everything felt okay, but I wasn't sure.
The SUV had long since disappeared. Some harried worker rushing of to work, no doubt oblivious to my plight. I waited by the roadside for a bit and a few cars drove by, but I didn't flag any of them down. I wasn't sure what I'd say to them if I did. On my own. So I climbed back on my bike, wiped the gravel and mud and blood off my wrist and legs, and set off for home. No doubt watching the Tour helped inspire me. Every year some Tour rider goes down in a crash and gets up covered in blood, bike partially mangled, collarbone or wrist broken, and a huge bloody abrasion on the outside of his thigh from skin dragged across pavement at 30mph. And somehow he staggers in on his bike. Sometimes they recover to go on and finish the Tour. Most times they drop out the next day or fail to finish in a fast enough time to make the cut. Cyclists, with body fat in the low single digits, are much more susceptible to sickness than the average person.
In stage two of this year's Tour, Thor Hushovd of Credite Agricole joined two other cyclists in a long breakaway attempt. In the middle of the stage he had to stop with severe leg cramps. They continued to plague him throughout the stage. Long after everyone else had finished, he was out on the road, a mechanic massaging his cramping leg while he fought back tears. Somehow he made it home, cheered on all the way by a sympathetic crowd.
Compared to those guys, my plight was nowhere near as dire. But I did have a problem in that I'm not as strong as those guys, either. With one leg and one arm, I was dangerously off balance on my bike and could barely hold a straight line. On the uphills, I couldn't get out of the saddle so I had to muscle up in a low gear, gently resting my right hand on the top of my handlebars.
Typing is somewhat painful, so to sum up: X-rays negative, wrist ain't broken, leg is hyperextended but still functional, and I hope to regain enough strength in both to be able to climb at full strength up the Pyrenees and Alps in a week. There will be plenty of fans at the side of the road, waiting to cheer on the pros, and they'll likely spare some for me, too.
Every cyclist who logs enough miles will have a near-miss to report, and almost all will have one bike accident to recount over beers. Now I have mine.