A blog for (semi) athletic middle-aged men (and women) holding on to (the last vestiges of) their youth
by training for and competing in running, cycling, swimming and triathlon events!

Saturday, January 26, 2008

The New Voice of Beef

The reaction to the posting of the eyewitness account of my bike wreck last fall has been interesting. It sent shivers down my spine, brought tears to my uncle's eyes, and made my sister cry. No reaction yet from Allied/Nationwide Insurance, though surely it will cause them to reconsider their finding of fault in my case.

But life goes on and it is an exciting time in the beef business as we embark upon a new advertising campaign focused on the "Power of Protein in the Land of Lean Beef."

I have long been a believer in what I call the "king of proteins" -- long before I went to work for the beef industry. Ounce of ounce there is simply no more nutritious, delicious food than beef (we call it nature's best-tasting multivitamin"!).

And now we have an ad campaign that speaks to both the enjoyment of a sizzling steak and the nutritional benefits of lean beef.

And along with the new print ads (which will run in the February issues of 35 publications including Fitness, Rolling Stone and People) we have a new "voice of beef" in our radio ads.

I'm sure everyone is familiar with the "Beef...It's What's for Dinner" ad campaign that has been one of the longest running, most recognized ad campaigns in the history of advertising. Created by advertising giant Leo Burnett in 1992, the TV ads (which last ran in 2004) and radio spots had always featured the voice of Sam Elliott -- the venerable Western character actor whose film career began in 1969 with the part of "Card Player #2" in "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid."

Hearing Sam's voice and the classic strains of "Hoe Down" (from "Rodeo" written by Aaron Copland), have always made me hungry. But the new voice (we kept the classic soundtrack) is more likely to make my wife salivate. He was once voted People Magazine's "Sexiest Man Alive" and has a voice to match. Listen to the new radio ad to see if you can guess who's the new "voice of beef" (post a comment with your answer by clicking on "comments" below).

Happy Eatin'!


Friday, January 18, 2008

Eyewitness Account

OK, so this freaked me out. I just received a transcript of the account of my bike accident from woman who witnessed the entire thing in her rear view mirror. Reading it was like an out-of-body experience.

The fact is that I don't really remember what happened from the point of impact until I was lying on my back in the middle of the road with people standing over me. Whether I blacked out, freaked out or blocked it out, I don't remember flying over the hood of the car. But apparently I did. I had already come to this conclusion after visiting the accident site. No way I hit the car where I did and landed where I did without flying over at the hood.

The eyewitness account confirms it. But before I share her account, allow me to recap the details in this case...

1) I was riding downhill in the bike lane on a residential street in my neighborhood
2) Two cars passed on my left and the trailing car turned right in front of me onto a side street
3) I locked up my wheels but was unable to stop
4) The ensuing collision left me lying an my back in the middle of the road (see above)
5) When I opened my eyes there was a woman standing over me telling me not to move, she had called 911
6) Another woman appeared and told me she "saw the whole thing" and would stay to give her report to the police (I now know her name is Paige)
7) I was taken to Sky Ridge Medical Center by ambulance with a badly broken right collar bone
8) The week after the accident I went to the police station and got a copy of the police report (left)
9) The police report didn't include any information about an eyewitness or offer any indication of fault (the driver wasn't cited)
10) I called Officer Friendly of the Castle Rock Police department to ask why and he informed me that I was lucky he didn't cite me
11) I expressed my befuddlement given that I was riding in a bike lane and she turned in front of me
12) Officer Friendly informed me that the "bike lane ended at the intersection" (wrong) and that once the car passed me it became my obligation to yield to her (wrong again)
13) When I asked about the eyewitness, Officer Friendly said he spoke to a woman who didn't see anything that added to his investigation (i.e. didn't support his conclusion) so he didn't include her statement in his report
14) I was eventually contacted by an agent of the insurance company for the driver (Allied/Nationwide) and they took my statement
15) I contacted my insurance company (Progressive) and they took my statement
16) Allied/Nationwide called to tell me they had determined I was at fault because Officer Friendly told them the lane I was in wasn't a bicycle lane after all (wrong times three) and they were making a claim against me for damage to their insured's car
17) I hired a lawyer (not just any lawyer, but the preeminent expert in Colorado cycling law, Brad Tucker)
18) Progressive called to tell me they had completed their investigation and determined the driver of the car was at fault and they would be disputing Allied's claim against me (and by the way, they had taken a statement from an eyewitness that totally verified my version of events)
19) Brad (my lawyer) fired off a brilliantly-worded letter to Allied/Nationwide explaining why their conclusion was erroneous and how Officer Friendly "has led you astray with respect to the rules of the road as they relate to this collision"
20) Brad sent a copy of the relevant statute to Allied/Nationwide further clarifying why their conclusion was erroneous
21) Brad obtained a copy of the eyewitness' statement from Progressive and e-mailed it to me

...and that brings us up to date.

So, without any further ado, here is the transcript of the eyewitness' statement:

(Line ringing.)

A: Hello.

Q: Hi. I was trying to reach Paige (inaudible).

A: This is her.

Q: Hi Paige. This is Josh (inaudible) calling with Progressive Insurance.

A: Uh huh.

Q: I was calling about an accident that you witnessed on September the 22nd.

A: Okay.

Q: If you remember that where the bicy-

A: Yeah.

Q: Bicyclist was hit?

A: Yep absolutely.

Q: Okay yeah I just show that you were a witness.

A: (Inaudible).

Q: I’m actually-we’re the insurance company for the bicyclist. I just wanted to see if I can get a brief statement about what you saw?

A: Oh yeah. Absolutely. No I’m-I was hoping that you guys would call. I wasn’t quite sure um-

Q: Yeah.

A: You know I never obtained a copy of the police report or anything but I was hoping, number one that he, the bicyclist was okay and-

Q: He is doing fine. He’s recovered. He-he had a-had a little hospital stint I guess but uh yeah he just had a broken collarbone I think.

A: Oh see. That’s-that’s exactly what I thought might’ve happened.

Q: Yeah but he’s doing okay.

A: Oh good.

Q: Um we’re just trying to get everything taken care of. I guess kinda-kinda backtracking on it. So um what-can you just let me know what uh you know what you witnessed in the accident?

A: Absolutely. Absolutely. Do you need to take a statement or you just need to-

Q: That’s what I’m doing right now. Um we do record our calls for quality assurance if that’s okay.

A: Oh okay. Alright. Um so yeah so let’s see. Let me kinda start from the beginning here. And you’ve already stated the date, which is good, because I can’t remember you know without looking at a calendar.

Q: It was the 22nd of September.

A: So I was in the neighborhood of the Meadows, which is in Castle Rock. And I’m there often because we have friends that live there and we were on our way to a friend’s house. Um my-with my daughters and myself. And um on one of the main thoroughfares there in the neighborhood it’s a two lane road um which is divided by a double you know yellow lane.

Q: Right.

A: And so forth. And then on either side is they have um a bicycle lane. You know that’s clearly designated with white lane. You know with the white line. And then obviously the sidewalk.

Q: Okay.

A: So I was travelling um kind of northwest and um excuse me one second. (Baby crying in background.)

Q: Oh sure. Take your time.

A: And um so I was you know just going down and it is still considered a residential area even though it’s a you know a well travelled road and it was I-I don’t-I’m not sure. I think the speed limit’s probably 35 or so.

Q: Okay.

A: And um excuse me one second.

Q: Sure.

A: Sweetie, this is an insurance company for that bicycle accident. Can you? Thanks. Okay. Sorry about that. (Inaudible) some peace and quiet here. So anyway um so yeah I was travelling about-it’s you know kind of northwest and I passed this cyclist and always I do cuz there’s so many cyclists in that area um I always kinda move over you know more in the middle and there was no traffic coming opposite direction. So um just to always to make sure to give them space.

Q: Right.

A: You know even though he was in his designated lane. And you have to forgive me because right off the top of my head I can’t recall the names of the street but uh-

Q: That’s okay. We just you know just kinda want a general you know about what happened.

A: Oh okay. Sure.

Q: It doesn’t have to be so detailed uh-

A: Oh okay. Sure. So anyway okay so I passed the cyclist and um you know just obviously noted that he was there and everything and then um I continued straight past him and um I just happened to glance up in my rear view mirror. I’m not exactly sure why-why but I did. And I saw a car coming in-in my same direction also about northwest and-and um however, she was behind me obviously.

Q: Uh hum.

A: And I noticed that she was attempting to make a right hand turn onto a side street. And I also noticed, I mean this was obviously just instantaneously this all kinda came together that she was-the bicyclist at that time who was still in the bike lane um was approaching the same area where she was making her right hand turn and it just occurred to me right away that, “Oh my God. She’s gonna hit this cyclist. She is not gonna stop for him. She is not gonna yield for him as she’s making her right hand turn.” And then it was no sooner than that happened, again it was just seconds, then she committed to her turn. Made her turn and they hit. He went up flying up over the vehicle and I remember just gasping you know I was just in shock that number one this lady in the vehicle didn’t even stop for him but also that oh my God. You know this guy just flew off his bike. He was just hit by a car.

Q: Did it look like she saw him at all? Try to slow down (inaudible)?

A: There’s no way she-she could not have seen him because she-she-again, they were going the same direction. So they were parallel.

Q: Right.

A: So she passed him. She passed him and then continued on and then had to slow down to make her right hand turn. And he was continuing straight. And so she clearly did not even you know stop for him as he was continuing straight in his bike lane. And the point of impact on her vehicle was her right fender.

Q: Right.

A: Um so it wasn’t like it was the back of the vehicle. You know where she was so far into the turn that he could’ve stopped.

Q: Okay.

A: In fact, he-it looked like he attempted to stop but knew that, “Oh my God. This lady is turning right in front of me. There’s no way I can stop.” And cuz his tire started to wobble a little bit and then it was just boom. They hit and he went flying up over the bicycle and landed in the middle of the street.

Q: Okay. Did you see if she had her turn signal on?

A: I did not see at the time of the accident if she had her turn signal on. However, when I turned around and went back to make sure that he was okay-

Q: Uh hum.

A: And stay there um I do remember her turn signal being on.

Q: Okay. Okay. And that’s really I mean the same kind of story I guess that uh that you know these-the driver for the vehicle and our insured have. So-

A: Yeah.

Q: At this point in time we’re just uh we’re just trying to decide you know which coverage is gonna apply. Hers or ours so I-

A: Sure. Well if I could-if I could add something-

Q: Sure.

A: You know to this just because well first of all she lives right there in that neighborhood.

Q: Uh hum.

A: Because as she was making her right hand turn, again it was onto a residential street. Then if you were to take your immediate left there’s a corner house that the back yard backs up right to where the accident occurred.

Q: Uh hum.

A: And it was obviously very loud and a lot of commotion and so forth. Well the reason why I know that that’s where she lives is because her husband comes running out of the back door in the back yard and proceeds to obviously see what’s going on but then uh make sure you know to direct traffic and so forth.

Q: Right.

A: And just from me not even living in that neighborhood but being there so often I know that there are so many cyclists you know in that neighborhood.

Q: Right.

A: And so for her to live there, she to-in my opinion anyway, she should know that you know there’s cyclists around all the time and be aware of uh the fact that you know she has to proceed with caution you know.

Q: Right.

A: So that’s my feeling. I just couldn’t believe cuz there was no way she-she should not have seen him.

Q: Well let’s just say you know I completely agree with you. Uh we just need to get all the information we can get-

A: Right.

Q: Before we make a decision. I can’t say so much as for-for the other insurance company. So that’s kinda why we’re-

A: Oh yeah. Absolutely.

Q: Trying to back out-back up all our information. So-

A: No absolutely. And-and I-I know how it all works and um you know I’m-I’m really happy that you guys called and-and I’m definitely-you know I was definitely very concerned for the cyclist and I’m glad to hear that he is okay and re-recovering but um-

Q: Yeah he’s doing perfectly fine. Just got off the phone with him and uh yeah I’ll-I’ll let him know you were concerned. I’m sure he’ll appreciate that but uh-

A: Yeah absolutely. Please do. Please do.

Q: Okay. Well again, I really appreciate it. That’s uh really what I needed from you.

A: Okay. And I’m sorry. What was your name again?

Q: (Inaudible). My name is Josh with Progressive. Did you want my phone number in case anything comes up or you have any questions?

A: Um no I think I’ll be good.

Q: Alright. Okay.

A: Alright.

Q: Well again, I appreciate your time.

A: Thanks Josh.

Q: Thanks.

A: Take care.

Q: Bye.

A: Bye.

Wow. All I can say is I agree with everything in this transcript except I am not "doing perfectly fine." On my last visit to my orthopedic surgeon I learned that my collar bone is not healing...at least not as it should be. It's coming up on four months since the accident and I haven't been on a bike since. I don't have a bike to ride and am not sure I could if I did.

On Sunday, Feb. 3 the route for Ride the Rockies will be announced in the Denver Post and registration will be open. Should I register? Will I be able to train? Will I have a bike to train on? This is killing me.


Friday, January 11, 2008

Bienvenidos a Mi...Casper?

In the past week I have gone from Denver to Miami to Casper, Wyoming. I think I'm suffering from jet lag...and culture shock! Don't get me wrong. I love the contrast. The diversity of geography and culture in our country is immense. God Bless America.

Last week's trip to Miami for the Orange Bowl was a once-in-a-lifetime adventure with my two bros, Jon and Evan, cousins Wiley and Ryan, and my oldest nephew, Alex (on his first big-time trip with "the boys").

[Above (from left): Me, Jon, Evan, Wiley, Alex and Ryan]

The purpose of the trip was to celebrate Ryan's 50th by watching the Jayhawks beat Virginia Tech in the Orange Bowl with down low tickets on the 50-yard-line (Kansas Gov. Sebelius was about 10 pp down on the 45!).

[Above: Me, Ryan and Evan celebrating the Jayhawks win at the Orange Bowl]

The adventure began when I met Jon at DIA Wednesday morning, January 2. He arrived on a flight from Sacramento a few minutes before I arrived (from Castle Rock). Sitting in the airport lounge we watched the sunrise before boarding our flight to Miami. The four-hour flight flew by...literally and figuratively. Upon arriving in Miami we met up with Ev and Alex, who arrived via Atlanta on a separate flight from Sacto (long story). Wiley and Ryan arrived an hour and a beer or two later from St. Louis.

After a seemingly short ride to the Fountainbleau, we checked in, got dressed up, and headed out to dinner at The Forge.

It's hard for me to describe Ryan's 50th birthday dinner at The Forge because all I can remember is the BEEF! We all ordered the bone-in ribeyes with a variety of "family-style" sides and a magnum of Far Niente (compliments of Joweyums). Ryan's birthday "candle" was more like a fireworks show. Call the Fire Marshall!

Now, I've had a few bone-in ribeyes in my life...but these were the best-tasting, biggest-boned, ribeyes I have ever seen! Seriously. I work for the beef industry. But I have never seen a bone-in ribeye on the WHOLE rib bone. Check out the picture (above). Ignore my balding head (and my Prada shades). Look at that bone! Crazy. Yummy.

Dinner that night was a story in-and-of-itself. Ev disappeared... Joweyums went in search...Alex and Ryan closed their eyes to it all...Wigman arranged fireworks..and I immersed myself in dinner...figuratively and literally!

Alex, Ryan and Ev retired after dinner while Joweyums, Wiggy and I headed to South Beach. It was that night, when we left Fountainbleau, that we found the windiest spot in Miami. Apparently, the circular drive in front of the Fountainbleau experiences hurricane-force winds on a daily basis. Seriously. Check out the picture of me attempting to take off in human flight (forever dubbed the "David Blaine" pic by Evo the next day).

From there, DB magically transported us to Mangoes, the Mansion and back to the Fountainebleu safe and sound, ready for game day. The Orange Bowl trip had only just begun...stay tuned to DDublog for "the rest of the story."