It was my third strike. Whiffing my oversized, bulky aluminum bat, I was already walking away from the plate. But my Little League coach, acting as full time pitcher, kept the ball coming. Parents initially roared with extra encouragement, but 7 or 8 misses later, one overly rowdy dad yelled, “Bring him the tee!” Self esteem? Who needs it?So they brought out the tee. And this time my bat made contact…with the rubber neck. The catcher shuffled, kicked the ball, and looked the other way. I didn’t bother running to first base. My spot on the bench looked rather comforting.And that’s how I found cycling.I enjoyed riding my mini six-speed Giant so much that I would take an hour riding all over town before the game, and I would pedal with friends until dark. It wasn’t until I was 13 that my hobby riding would turn into racing.My dad had competed in the beginner categories in college. He followed the pro racing scene and convinced me to give it a shot. I thought spandex, helmets, and skinny tires were downright silly. But he would occasionally check VeloNews and comment on the day’s stage of the Tour (apparently it was this big race in France, where some American was smashing it.) It worked.Before I knew it, I was lining up for my first ever race. Sporting a baggy James Dean jersey and loose cycling shorts (and underwear, which I discovered was not only uncomfortable but unacceptable), I expected to get crushed. Instead, I quickly gained an early lead. But about a mile from the finish line, my left pedal broke off. I couldn’t figure out how to put the pedal back into the crank (all left pedals are reverse threaded, I learned after the race). Fed up and frustrated, I decided to pedal with one leg the rest of the way. I was hooked.Like me, most cyclists fall into the sport by accident. Some find the sport through other endurance events. Runners and rowers suffering from injuries turn to cycling for rehab, find freedom on two wheels, and apply their already competitive drive.I have yet to meet a bike racer who inherently knew the sport through popular culture and decided to give it a shot. With cycling’s popularity growing exponentially, however, the number of recreational cyclists continues to soar. There are 57 million cyclists in the U.S. Over 95,000 are bike racers. Those who make the transition to racing still have a hard time figuring out the actual steps to become a full-fledged racer.The 2014 road racing and mountain bike seasons open all across the nation around this time every year. Every state or region has its own district where racers often compete for not just race wins but series titles and championships. The best part is that there are categories for everyone. Men, women, teenagers, masters, aspiring pros and elite riders all compete in different events on the same day.To get started, there are various avenues to enter the sport. But there are three major hurdles to overcome: finding a race, getting registered, and joining a club or team.RegistrationThere are two ways to register for an event: in person or in advance. Pre-registration is preferred by promoters and assures you a spot in your category. Beginner categories often fill up, so registering for the race in advance is key. You can sign up and participate in only the categories which you are eligible. For example, if you are a first-time male racer, you will sign up for the Men’s Cat. 5 (the lowest category.) Likewise, first-time women are eligible for the Women’s Cat. 4 events.The most popular websites used for registration are BikeReg (bikereg.com) and USACycling (usacycling.org). Both options also allow for event search in all regions.Registration fees generally run 20 to 35 dollars per event. There will be an additional 10 dollar one-day license fee for unlicensed athletes. After you have entered a couple of races and decided that you are hooked, you can purchase a yearly license through USA Cycling. With this license, registering is streamlined and you are now eligible to chase an upgrade.Joining A ClubThough you are not required to join a club, the benefits are immense. Clubs are made up of every level of athlete, from 13-year-old girls to 55-year-old men, all racing in various categories. By joining a club, riders learn from their peers, train together, help promote the team’s events, receive discounts from sponsors, and have travel buddies and teammates on race day.Finding An Event Near YouBike racing in the U.S. is governed by USA Cycling. Each region has its own state or area organization. Event dates and times can be found on both the national and local level websites (usacycling.org/events).Local OrganizationsMABRAVACyclingABRACarolinas
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John Gribbin Real Estate. 24/03/2014. Photo: Michael Chambers.HOMES that are well presented and fully airconditioned, in suburbs close to amenities, are succeeding in attracting tenants in Townsville’s weak rentals market.Vacancy rates in Townsville have improved and are sitting about 5 per cent, but according to the Real Estate Institute of Queensland, the city is still classified as a weak market.It compares to September last year when vacancy rates spiked at 7.1 per cent before starting to gradually decline,John Gribbin Realty principal John Gribbin said homes with a modern feel, in locations close to employment, were usually easy to rent out. “Houses that are generally speaking in good condition, in a good position close to amenities and close to a lot of work positions go very well but units are moving quite well at the moment as well. However, having said that, rental prices have reduced significantly,” he said.More from news01:21Buyer demand explodes in Townsville’s 2019 flood-affected suburbs12 Sep 202001:21‘Giant surge’ in new home sales lifts Townsville property market10 Sep 2020“We find places like Annandale, Douglas and Idalia rent well and basically the suburbs that have houses that are presented well always move, but some of the peripheral areas are a little bit tougher.”Mr Gribbin said older properties often needed upgrading to make them attractive to prospective tenants. “People need to upgrade their properties in a lot of cases because they might have owned them for a long time and only done the bare essentials,” he said.“Sometimes the kitchens are quite old and it might be a matter of completely replacing the kitchen to bring everything up to standard. Floors, bathrooms and even little things like new taps can make a big difference. It just needs to look nice and fresh so that means if the curtains are all holey that’s not a good look.”Mr Gribbin said one issue in the rental market was Townsville’s economy had also affected landlords and many didn’t have the funds to upgrade their properties.“It can be a big expense and a lot of these owners aren’t exactly rolling in money,” he said. “A lot of landlords have had income drops as well.”Mr Gribbin said the rental market was starting to recover, but it would be a slow process.“There are definitely signs of improvement, but it’s not going to recover overnight,” he said. “We still need a lot of people to come back to Townsville because a lot of people actually left and that’s been part of the problem.”
(Compliments of Fly Jamaica, Nexus Machining, Bell Communication and GT Motorsports)THE weekend Jamaican Karting excursion called Double Trouble came to an end on Sunday with positive results for Guyanese.While they had mixed fortunes over the two-day event with several podium spaces, they learnt something more important than winning, and that was the ability to adapt.Justin Ten-Pow was the standout performer in the Micro Max event where he picked up three third place finishes but was disqualified from one.The disqualification resulted from a restrictor plate on the exhaust of his kart being too small and thus out of specifications, though the Guyanese argued that they were unaware of this having borrowed karts to compete.In the end, they lodged a protest with the Jamaica Karting Association (JKA) over the event with the body expected to make a formal ruling later in the week.Mikhail Persaud leads Rayden Persaud in Junior Class action..Still, Ten-Pow was still upbeat over his performance in the new class, especially considering the fact that the engines used in the Reggae Isle are vastly different than those used here.In the Junior Class, there were podium finishes for Mikhail Persaud and Rayden Persaud in the final races while Elan Rahaman picked up a third in one pre-final.Utilising rules that were also foreign to the Guyanese, the JKA runs firstly a qualifying session followed by a pre-race which is to decide gridding for what they call the finals where the points are awarded to the finishers.This is done in two rounds to complete one karting weekend.In the seniors Matthew Phang while failing to finish on the podium was one of the standout performers in one of the largest groups.He managed to hold his own and keep up with some of the host’s drivers, despite only learning the kart this weekend.There was also one third-place finish for Steven Nobrega who competed in the Super Rotax where competitors have to race cautiously so as to not go faster than 59 seconds.This quirky rule ensured that there were several penalties for those who did faster than the pre-defined time.Mechanical woes plagued Justin Ten Pow all weekend as well in the Mini Max class.In the end, however, all the Guyanese were awarded with tokens for participating.The Guyanese departed before the final round of races on Sunday.
Medeama SC bowed out of the FA Cup when Liberty Professionals beat them 4-5 on penalty shootout, after the 90 minutes of regulation time had ended with either side scoring a goal each at the T and A park on Sunday.The sensational young attacker, Abass Mohammed continued his goal scoring form for the Tarkwa lads by shooting his team into the lead, before the whiz kid for Liberty Professionals, Latif Blessing pulled even for Liberty Professionals before the half time break.The second half of the game produced no goal, before the referee blew his whistle to evoke penalty shootout to break the tie.Liberty Professionals scored all their 5 penalties, whereas the hosts Medeama scored 4 of their 5 kicks, with Emmanuel Agyemang missing from the spot kick to send the away side in jubilant mood for kicking out the 2015 winners of the FA Cup at their own backyard.Hearts of Oak thrashed second-tier side Wassaman United 3-0 on Sunday at the Accra Sports Stadium to advance to the round of 32 of the 2016 MTN FA Cup.The Phobians despite winning the game were a given good run for their money by the Wassaman based club.The away side dominated play from the early minutes as the Phobians defense were kept busy but the second-tier side failed to convert the chances they created.Hearts of Oak slowly warmed themselves into the game and they punished Wassaman United for their profligacy.In the 38th minute Kenneth Okoro broke the deadlock. Two minutes later Kwame Kizito made it two for the home side as the first half ended advantage 2-0 Hearts of Oak.From the recess, Wassaman United came in stronger with the aim of equalizing the two goals but Hearts of Oak were resolute at the back.However, late in the game, Kenneth Okoro registered his brace on the day with a fantastic finish after he was put through on goal by Ibrahim Musah to give Hearts of Oak a 3-0 win.Asante Kotoko survived a late minute scare from Brong Ahafo 2 division side AK Scion when they settled for a 1-1 draw in regulation time, before winning the penalty shootout 4-1 at the Sunyani Coronation Park to advance to the next stage of the FA Cup.Goalkeeper Ofori Antwi emerged the hero of the evening when he made two saves during the penalty shootout to held Asante Kotoko match to the round of 32 of the FA Cup.Frank Sarfo Gyamfi drew the first blood of the game in the 38 minute, but despite Kotoko benefiting from numerical advantage after AK Scion player was sent off for a 2 yellow card, the 2 division side came into the game strongly and at a point took over possession.The exchanges was an end to end one, but it was AK Scion who exhibited great promise in terms of possession in greater part of the second half and the equalizer was seen coming, so it wasn’t surprising when they struck the much needed goal to bring the game even in the closing minutes of the game to throw it into penalty shootout. Ashanti Gold beat third-tier side Sun City 3-1 at the Obuasi Len Clay Sports Stadium on Sunday in the MTN FA Cup round of 64.The Obuasi based club who have had a patchy run in the Ghana Premier League had an easy day against the lower-tier side.Frederick Quayeson struck the first goal for the Miners before Fuseini Nuhu doubled the home side’s lead. Francis Adjei made it three.Sun City irrespective of the huge presence of Ashanti Gold never got despaired as they reduced the deficit courtesy Adama Sulemana.In the other game at the Nkawkaw Park, Okwawu United gave their teeming fans a well-deserved ‘Easter Gift’ as the second-tier side stunned Premier League side Dreams FC 2-1 on Sunday.Okwawu United took a two goal lead through James Sarfo and Richard Appiah as they dominated play as the Kweiman based club failed to neutralize the attacking play of the second-tier side.Dreams FC managed to pull one back courtesy veteran forward Eric Gawu but despite the late scare from the visitors, Okwawu United held on to win the game. –Follow Joy Sports on Twitter: @JoySportsGH. Our hashtag is #JoySports
The great mystery surrounding Kenley Jansen and the Rocky Mountain fever has been solved and the closer was back and ready to perform again for the Dodgers Thursday.Jansen, who underwent a procedure in 2012 to correct an atrial fibrillation condition, was not available during the Dodgers’ loss to Colorado in Denver on Wednesday. He reported a headache, an upset stomach and tests revealed his blood pressure had elevated. He underwent an electrocardiogram and had fluids replaced with an IV.When the Dodgers returned home in time to open a four-game series with St. Louis on Thursday, Jansen was cleared by doctors.• Related: L.A. bats go quiet against Cardinals in 7-1 loss Mattingly said he merely didn’t want to intrude on Jansen’s personal issues.“I wasn’t angry,” Mattingly said. “I didn’t know about it until the fifth inning. That didn’t bother me as far as that situation. It works a lot of times like that, a guy might have something going on through the course of the game we’re not going to be able to use this guy.“I don’t think you’re angry, really. We just lost a tough game. Nothing to be mad at Kenley about. I don’t know, I get taken back a little bit by the fact sometimes you all think you’re entitled to every little bit of information that sometimes could be related to family, could be related to other things. “It’s his situation that we’re talking about and you’ve always got to respect that situation.”Jansen said that the next time the Dodgers visit Colorado, the medical staff will devise a strategy to deal with the effects of the altitude.Owie for HowieSecond baseman Howie Kendrick was held out of Thursday’s series opener because of stiffness in his knee. that resulted from a slide into third base in Colorado. Jansen said when the symptoms first hit him, he was concerned because of his history.“I knew something wasn’t quite right,” Jansen said. “Even if you did the ablation surgery, if your blood pressure is high it can cause a-fib . . . especially with the high elevation; it’s not smart. I wanted to go out there. That’s why I was frustrated yesterday.”What caused the biggest stir was that Jansen did not meet with the media after the game and Manager Don Mattingly was short with reporters when addressing the situation.“I didn’t feel like talking about myself at the time,” Jansen said. “When they started the IV, I had all these memories of all the stuff that happened like ‘Here we go again.’ ”• Dodgers TV: Charter to start carrying games June 7 Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error