Friday, January 30, 2009

What's in a name?

**I don't normally double post here and on my blog, but . . . I was getting sick of looking at Peter's ugly mugg (Finn is cute as a button though!) everytime I checked the blog to see if anyone posted. So, since my post has to do with the team name and the history of it, here you go. Also, NO ONE is posting lately!

Yesterday's blog post got me thinking a bit . . . . what's in a name or where does a name come from or why do we have a certain name?

Take my blog for example, the original big ring. It started off as "Craig Barlow: Enurdance Mountain Bike Racer" - but who is going to remember that?! Generic and kind of lame. Then it morphed into, "big ring" (notice the smaller case lettering? Psychologists and headshrinks everywhere take note: is this self loathing or demented narcissism?) mostly out of a need to have a catchy, memorable blog title to keep the masses coming back for more. Finally, it turned into the present blog title, "the original big ring" (still small letters). This came after the formation of the team I helped form, manage, find sponsors for and ride for, Big Ring Racing.

Now I know what you are thinking, "You formed a team based on your self imposed nick name?!" No, or at least that's what I told the team and everyone else. That, and "Big Ring Racing" sounds like a team that can push the big ring and is fast! The real truth, in my warped little pea brain, is that the team is all about me - it's always about me. I changed my blog to "the original big ring" to distance my blog from the team . . . . and ensuring members it really wasn't "Craig Barlow Racing", which if I do say so myself, has a nice ring to it.

But I digress from what I meant to blog about. Maybe someone reading my blog for the first time yesterday might think to themselves, "Man, this guy thinks he's a powerful rider, bragging about breaking his big ring and calling himself big ring! I've looked at his photos and he's a big fatty McFats-Alot. And his race results are sub par, middle of the pack. What gives with the sponsorship and stuff?! He's a putz!"

And I would agree with someone saying all of that, especially the last part . . . I am a putz. But, in my defense, let me explain . . . .

Have you ever known someone, or known of someone, who was rather large in stature? A rather hefty bloke - big and tall? For example,

Derived from the persons physical attributes we can use the poetic device "juxtaposition" to come up with a name for the fella above, i.e. 'Tiny'. By placing the name Tiny to the obviously HUGE dude on the scooter, we can illustrate contrast.

Another example,

We might call this guy, 'Arnie', after Arnold Schwarzenegger. Two contrasting things: skinny dude and name associated with famous strong guy.

One more,

Maybe you remember this from 2007, Miss South Carolina. We might give her the nickname, 'Einstein', or perhaps 'Rocket Scientist'. Again, opposites.

My point is, my blog name (self imposed nickname) is "big ring" due to the fact that I am not a powerful rider and have great difficulty pushing the big ring. One might associate and be mislead by the name, thinking anybody with a name like "big ring" must be fast and/or powerful. This couldn't be further from the truth.

So to all of you who I have mislead in thinking you were reading the ramblings and going-ons of a fast and/or powerful cyclist, I apologize.

Saturday, January 17, 2009


A very brief post to say thanks to Gilles and Melissa for their rockin' present to my boy Finn, a future Big Ring Racing star. Check out the cool diggs they sent. If anyone is looking for more reasons to ride, here's two that come to the top of my head at this moment:

1. Get to know a crowd who do the world good.
2. Keep in shape so that if you have a kid when you're 40, you'll be able to keep up with them when they're 18.

That should be enough.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Hot Chick Skate Ski

It was a perfect day to ditch work and get out for a skate ski. I'm relatively new to the sport, with last year being my first full season. A sure-fire way to improve in any sport is to try and impress a bunch of attractive women. To this end, I assembled this crack-team of motivators to assist me in my quest to become competent in this sport:

Align Center

Left to right: Big Ring Racing's own dyamic duo, Tanya Hanham and Kari Ferlatte, along with guest babe Julie Houle.

It was Tanya's 2nd time ever on skate ski's while veterans Kari and Julie can boast a dozen sessions between them. We all spent the day practicing our technique and each could boast of measurable improvement by the end of the day. We started at Asticou and wound our way up towards Pink Lake along the 15 and some other trails I forget the numbers of. I tried to point out that most "normal" human beings don't leave the wide, forgiving tracks of the parkways to venture into the forest trails until they've achieved some mastery of the sport. Nobody listens to me though.

Kari, Peter, and Tanya. It is perfectly acceptable to comment on how stunningly well-matched my attire is (note particularly how the boots compliment the jersey).

We worked a lot on form and timing, trying to get a good rhythm. I encouraged Tanya to keep her knees bent, stick her butt out, and keep her chest forward which she did, though with palpable skepticism given that is what I tell her to do in any given situation. In the end, we were out for a good hour and three quarters. We got by on fitness and determination. The skills will someday catch up I hope! I feel a little more comfortable every time.