Monday, November 18, 2013


Acronymy has been around forever -- SPQR and INRI are good examples of its long use. Today there is an exponential proliferation of the use of acronyms. There is even an Acronym Sense Society, acronym ASS, formed to fight the overuse of initials as words.

California Rick and Rich at Big Rich's Gazebo

The OFCM, also known as The Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorological Services and Supporting Research, or simply the Office of the Federal Coordinator for Meteorology, has published something called the Federal Meteorological Handbook No. 1, or the FMH-1, a used copy of which can be had from for $219.70. Alternatively, it can be accessed for the much more reasonable sum of free on the internet here.
Fully 50% of Giro: Triceps Dave, Brian B., The One With No Handlebars (with handlebars on fixed-wheel bike), another Brian B., and Vega

I now possess this largely useless information as a result of the befuddlement which overcame me as I tried to pin down the weather conditions when I awoke Sunday morning. The NWS observation site for MSY apparently couldn't make a decision on the subject, reporting "light drizzle, fog, mist," and the KNEW (ICAO code for Lakefront airport) site was little help, showing only "sky obscured."

The FHM-1 understandably defines drizzle as a form of precipitation at 8.3.1 (a):
Fairly uniform precipitation composed exclusively of fine drops with diameters of less than 0.02 inch (0.5 mm) very close together. Drizzle appears to float while following air currents, although unlike fog droplets, it falls to the ground.

On the other hand, mist and fog are obscurations, as defined in 8.3.2 (a) and (b):
A visible aggregate of minute water particles suspended in the atmosphere that reduces visibility to less than 7 statute miles but greater than or equal to 5/8 statute miles.

A visible aggregate of minute water particles (droplets) which are based at the Earth's surface and reduces horizontal visibility to less than 5/8 statute mile and, unlike drizzle, it does not fall to the ground.
 Whether properly described accordingly to the Byzantine standards of our federal bureaucracy as DZ 1 or BR or FG, or some soupy mix of the three, it is entirely accurate to say it was too wet for eyeglasses to be of any use and nothing beyond 100 feet could be seen anyway.

It is rare when I recall everyone on the Giro, but Sunday's ride, in toto, was comprised of those depicted in the images above, me, and two riders who joined us just to the east along Lakeshore Dr., HL and Eddy D.

Almost nothing remarkable happened on the ride out. On the service road, I did find myself off the front with Brian B., MD, (on a TT bike) and The One With No Handlebars, and wondered what I had done to put myself in such a predicament. But nothing came of it as there was a regrouping at the Chef.

At one point during the morning, for several miles, all ten of us were working together in a smooth double paceline at about 25/26 mph. I think HL was distracted during that interval by his offering to the other Brian B. (whose chops were largely earned riding tri events rather than double pacelines) some friendly tutelage in the art of paceline riding. HL sharing his experience was charming and the group working as one was beautiful, but as a popular  translation of Proverbs 31:30 instructs: charm is deceptive and beauty is fleeting. Seemingly, HL was brought back from his Papa mode (which may have been induced by the celebration of his granddaughter's birthday less than 24 hours earlier) by Vega sitting out of the rotation for a single round. HL commented, "Ha, the elastic is starting to stretch." During the very next rotation through, Brian B., MD, with a mischievous smile, glanced over at HL, and when they got to the front, off they went. HL surging and launching the good doctor and his TT machine into the foggy or misty or drizzly distance.

 On the way in, HL had two flats. During the first change everyone stopped, with The One With No Handlebars moving from bike to bike, squeezing people's rims and giving their spokes a little tug. After each such test he would give his head a slight shake and frown. I have no idea what he was doing. His patience already stretched, he and Brian B. MD kept riding when the second flat occurred.

Of course, during one of the flats, there was the required discussion of the passion-provoking issue of Tuffies. What I learned from this most recent in the never-ending series of debates on the subject, was that Konrad evidently has quit using them in spite of continuing his practice of immediately asking anyone who flats if they have Tuffies, and the new most ardent supporter of the tube protectors is the rider 2 who famously coined the phrase, "Ain't nobody gonna wait?"  -- an incident I well remember as a highlight of one Tuesday morning levee ride. Mr. Tuffy's best new proponent had started west before the group, as was his habit, joining in when it came upon him. That fateful morning the group observed him sitting aside the levee top changing a flat, but slowed not a whit. As we flew by, and he let out his plaintive request, it was ironically Konrad who responded simply, "He started without us."

After the flats the ride remained quite civil, and Big Rich, as in fondly remembered bygone days, was allowed to pull steadily from Bullard to the bridges.

All things considered, it was a lightly attended Sunday Giro with very little excitement. One explanation for the poor showing, aside from the weather, was the TVR excursion. Another tidbit I picked up Sunday was that TVR is an acronym for a less than PC description of a ride started by Keith Andrews which stands for The V (as in a part of a woman's anatomy which will remain nameless here) Ride. According to Randy, that ride offered more flats (eight) and more excitement, including a loaded gun sitting in the road.


1. DZ, BR, and FG are not true acronyms, but are METAR codes for, respectively, drizzle, mist, and fog. METAR is an acronym for meteorological airport report.


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