Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Office jailbreak at 3:00pm and I'm on my way to a rest stop half way between Sedona and Cottonwood. Strip off the monkey suit, put on the lycra costume, set up the bike, and make sure I didn't forget anything...this time I didn't. I rode the 8 miles into Cottonwood as a warm up as this group ride tends to start F F F fast - ripping it up a 7% grade about 1/4 mile from the start. I met GP, Tall Todd, Green Goblin, the Kid and a couple others - total of 8. Three of them are Cat 3's - so I was in for a fast ride. Road racing is entirely about hanging tough during the surges, recovering, and then going again and again and again. I hung tough until the first real climb and got shelled off the back about 20 seconds in arrears...recover...recover....recover, fortunately the leaders waited so me and another dude didn't have to try a suicidal bridge back to the top dawgs. The second climb into Sedona is longer an I was near the back with a guy sucking my wheel. Tired of that shit, I stood up, accelerated for 10 seconds and lost him. I waited just a bit like a carrot to him, and as soon as he caught back on I stood again and hit the gas, this time about 15 seconds. I wanted to do it again, but he was not coming back.

We had 4 "town line" sprints and I could not get get there first to any of them....4 second places by a bike length or less made me the ugly bridesmaid for the day. I just don't have the top-end power like the Cat 3's - and probably never will. Content with that, I formed an echelon with the group on the way back to protect us from the wicked head/partial cross wind blowing at 25. 16 miles of that hard work - nearing now the end of the ride, but one more sprint....2nd again. The Green Goblin, AKA Jeremy in his green Diadora shoes got me with plenty of room to spare.

164 average heart rate
56 miles
A little under 2.5 hours
185 max heart rate
Climbing - a lot

I think 183bpm is my true redline. I went past that once and I got into a semi-sick feeling that kind of mirrored a hypothermia/vicodin/and Red Bull cocktail all at once - I think Brett Favre drinks those for breakfast. I didn't go there again for fear of ending the ride much earlier than the planned ride time.

Good ni...
If Roger Clemens were Barry Bonds, his little slander case against his former trainer would be covered like a huge roid-infested slander case that was Barry Bonds circa 2002 – 2006. Here is the difference between the two: Clemens isn’t black. That’s about it. Both players dominated their sport for 20 or so years. Both were bound for the Hall of Fame. Both of their bodies actually became fitter as they reached their 40’s.

Clemens has opened up good ol’ fashioned box o’ Pandora – likely out of pride, spite and revenge – that will undoubtedly reveal a lot of less than savory morsels about himself and his family. He’ll get his due by either losing his slander case against his former trainer who claimed Clemens did ‘roids, or he’ll get his due by being excluded from the Hall of Fame. Or he’ll get both shitburgers for the price of…..well, a lot. I couldn’t imagine dragging my family through a nationally publicized trial about my personal life. Although, about all they could say about me is I’m boring, I ride bikes, and I fall asleep around 9pm every night. Woo hoo! There’s some Pulitzer journalism for ya.

4:30pm ride with the fast boys down in Cottonwood on road bikes today. I’m up for the pain of trying to stay with this group for a couple of hours – but that’s because I’m shining a seat with my ass at a resting heart rate right now. “Race” report to follow tomorrow.

Monday, April 28, 2008

Floyd Landis showed up for the Whiskey 50 this year. I did not. When you’re working hard on maintaining a long distance relationship sometimes you need a time out or two. That’s what D and I decided to do this weekend. It wasn’t like we got a ton of time together, but it was a heck of a lot more than if I had used up all of Saturday to race.

Floyd didn’t win, as some super fit dudes from outside of Vail, CO showed up and took a lot of the top 10 places. Word on the street said that the course was as hard as usual, and most of my teammates finished at the same pace or slower than last year. I’m not sure how I feel about pretty boy Floyd. Doper – probably. Bad guy? Who’s to say….there’s a lot of pressure to win at the highest level and I’m not gonna make a moral judgement. Lance cheated, but never got caught. Floyd got caught. Sounds a lot like 2 guys in the same boat to me….one is an icon and one is a villain.

In lieu of the race, D and I took Saturday morning to road ride up to Snowbowl. We had a nice climb up, and for a chick who hasn’t been riding at all – she pulled a 44 minute climb outta her arse which is a pretty decent time. It hurt. It always hurts. The fitter you are the faster you go – so it always hurts. I went back up a second time, and got in 3 hours total ride time. I’m feeling pretty good right now as I feel like I’ve built up a good base. It’s time to move on to some speed work and our local clubs have a CRIT on Tuesday and a Snowbowl hillclimb on Thursday.

My parents showed up for a 1-night visit on their way back to MN for the summer. Their appearance is much like Floyd’s. Rare, but exciting. We had a great dinner at home, and walked downtown for some dessert at a schwanky – by Flagstaff standards – restaurant. They rolled out to Utah in the AM……

May 10th marks the day A to the E could die. He’s attempting a Grand Canyon Rim to Rim to Rim run/hike/crawl in 12 hours. That’s down the South Kaibab trail to the North Rim of the Grand Canyon and then reverse back down to the bottom and back up the South Rim. 42 miles and 10,000 feet of climbing + 10,000 feet of descending. Hell on your hips, ankles, etc….We are going to hike down the South Kaibab and lounge at Phantom Ranch for the late morning and afternoon and then escort him out of the canyon on his way back, as he says he’ll need some motivation/support. That’s a 14 mile hike for us – which sounds like plenty to me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Sufferfest 2008 begins at 9:00am this Saturday. The start line is about 100 yards south on Whiskey Row in downtown Prescott and after one hellish 52 mile loop, it finishes on the same stretch of pavement. This year I’m bringin’ the following to the race:

-a fairly fit body that will make a run at finishing in less than 5 hours
-a 6 day taper (although 30 minutes per day on the rollers to stay sane)
-hydration… fer crissakes I’m like a leaky boat– peeing every hour or so
-a Camelbak (I hate wearing packs for races, but I’m not getting behind on food and water)
-awareness…at least I know what the heck to expect from this course. Last year was a major wake-up call to how difficult the terrain around Prescott is.

So, race report to follow on Monday. I am calm but nervous about the race because I suffered some bad cramps last year. I’m spending more time on mental preparation this time as a result. Physically, it’ll hurt any way you slice it but mentally I’ll be ready to go. The hardest part about this event isn’t even on Saturday. It’s on Sunday. I have to be coherent, and fully functioning on Sunday morning at 7:00am for a full shift at the resort.

Summer travel plans are shaping up…..a 7 day trip to MN in June with Squirty, a surprise trip to ?? in July with D (sorry D….just pack your summer clothes and get in the car – I’m drivin’!), and a huge effort to make it back to Whyskyonsin in August or early September for some fun in the humidity and oppressive heat with this clown and this clown. It would cost me $600 in gas to drive to and from Minnesota this summer. Airfares are around $250 - $300. Remember the days when driving was wayyyyy cheaper and all you had to factor in was the drive time? Anyway, in exchange for my airfare I'll plant a tree or two to offset my carbon footprint. No, I probably won't but didn't that sound really elitist/politically correct/in your face?

On a completely random note, my recently married friend GP said he was worried about the fact that having kids would upset his training and racing schedule. His solution (which was frightening because he had this comedically thought out) is to 'import' a few teenage Cambodians into his household. He'd keep the ones that best assimilated and could show his own child what true hardships are since middle class American kids believe that a "hardship" is when Mom is out of macaroni and cheese - all the while of course serving as nannies so he could train/race/work at his convenience. Then he would euthanize the rest. He's going to hell today.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Public transportation in Flagstaff has become incredibly efficient, while still remaining cheap. If I could just find a job locally, it would be great to ride the bus to work for $8/month. No car/insurance costs means more $$ in my pocket, and I’m reducing my carbon footprint in spite of ‘carbon footprint’ becoming cliché at this point. Of course finding a good job in Flagstaff is like looking for buried treasure with a map you got from a friend of a friend’s Uncle Sal from Poughkipsee, NJ. Good luck.

I have a trip with my Uncle Steve coming up – 36 hours in Las Vegas in early May. Shows, heavy gaming, boozing and strip clubs you ask? Nope. Our favorite activity is riding the city bus from one end of the strip to the other. This is where you get to see the real side of Vegas. Degenerate gamblers saying “If that goddamn pitcher hadn’t thrown a soup can to Ramirez I’d be lookin’ at 3 large right now”. Working class Anglos, African-Americans, Hispanics in uniform on their way to and from service industry jobs. Badly impaired alcoholics panhandling or simply passed out in a seat. It clearly shows me the side of Vegas that everyone who lives there talks about. I haven’t met one person from that town that has said they like it there. It’s always about the cash, and “I’ll be outta here in 3 years at the most”.

Our second favorite activity is playing Air Hockey. Uncle Steve sucks, so I give him a pretty solid prison pounding game after game. Again, I don’t have to worry about him reading this since he couldn’t find a computer in a MAC store, let alone use one.

Third up is a trip to the local outdoor Go Kart track. You pay around $125 to drive a kart that will go 80mph for a half hour. I dig adrenaline rushes, and this is one that I look forward to from the minute I leave the track to the minute I step onto the track again. Thumbshifters, incredible G-forces, blistering acceleration, and you can’t get hurt unless you have no regard for safety.

Finally, we round the weekend out with $2 and $5 blackjack making an occasional stroll through the High Roller section to see what it’s like to lose the equivalent of a bike, a house payment, your wardrobe (your wardrobe, not mine), or a deposit on a 40’ boat in one hand. The most I could lose on one hand is a bus ticket.

Of course, as my buddy Marko says "You gotta bet big to win big".

Thursday, April 17, 2008

We have some pretty wealthy investor/owners here at work. One long-time investor, a 73 year old self-made millionaire who rose from dirt to a semi-tycoon called me yesterday to talk about putting some $$ into his house. Time to upgrade, do some nice things, in short - make it a more coveted unit so he can ultimately increase his rental income. After that conversation was over, he proceeded to tell me about his car collection. A limited edition Shelby Cobra, "several" Mercedes AMG's, the proverbial baller Bentley, and a 1970 Ford Pickup....mint condition of course. Then he said he stumbled into a Chevy dealership with a friend a few months back and saw the new Corvettes. A couple hours later he walked out with a red and a black one. Then he said to me, in a very rehearsed manner:

"Mercedes cars, they sure are fun
But I got two Corvette's for the price of one"

I guess his AMG's cost around $130K. That's what his 72 year old wife drives. I can't even imagine the level of discretionary income that he has. I've seen a check that he wrote for $987,000 to cover the cost of a commercial piece of land here. Wow. So, I thought I'd come up with a very rehearsed mantra to spew in his honor:

"Microbrew pints for four ninety nine?
I got two Tecate's for a buck ninety nine"

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Squirty's school play was this afternoon, and she played a bluebird for the story Peter Rabbit. It was a bit part by Hollywood standards - 2 lines. I feel for her teacher. They had been working on this play for weeks, and the 15 minutes it took to pull it off seemed almost unfair to the teachers. They loved it though. I did too.

Leaving work at 1:30pm for the play meant I had the afternoon to hammer myself into the ground. I met Chris W. at his house and we hit it hard once up to the ski resort on our road bikes. He got me by a minute as I couldn't keep up when he threw it down from mile 2-3. 6 miles to the top and I was getting that lung burning cough that I covet - that means you worked hard. We joked at the top about puking, but instead ripped down where we stumbled across Gary. Chris W. went home and I went up to the top again with Gary. He was cool with a mellow pace since I had maxed out before. Down and back into town totaled 3 hours of riding for me. Hot tub soak, 2 burritos, a 24oz Tecate, and a pint of Haagen Dazs yogurt.

The Small Town D-Bags are registered for the 24 hours of Moab.....we need one more volunteer for the fun......anyone.....Bueller.....

Good thing I don't have a TV or I would have thrown a brick through it. The Twins gave another game to the Tigers and the Stars tanked against the Ducks.
Random Shots on Tuesday

Cindy McCain is lookin' snarky on the cover of USA Today. 18 years younger than Cactus John, worth over 100 Mil - she puts the N in Nordstrom doesn't she?

Obama brilliantly captured the essence of the war in Iraq right now....The reason we are still there is because El Presidente Bush has an agenda to resolve with Iran before he leaves office. Iraq is about as secure and "stable" as its gonna get - time to go. What's next? There's WMD in Iran?

I opened Lyza's X-Box last night - the one I got on E-bay for $20 - just to test it out and make sure everything worked. 45minutes later after two games of FIFA soccer I pulled the crack pipe outta my mouth. ADDICTING is a mild word for my feelings about sports video games. LOSER would be better. I think I'm going to just put it up for sale again on E-bay and see if I can double my money.

Quote of the Day:
Gino Castignoli is the guy who dropped the Red Sox jersey in the cement piling at the new Yankee Stadium. After hearing that Hank Steinbrenner wanted someone to "kick the s-- out of him," Castignoli replied, "Tell Hank he can come meet me if he wants to try - and tell him to bring [catcher Jorge] Posada, because he's the one Yankee I can't stand."

Monday, April 14, 2008

Destination Gallup, NM

We rolled in at dusk on Friday, and it was just damn cold. When you really look at the vegetation that surrounds Gallup, you realize why it is a wasteland – I mean what can grow in a climate that has 40+ degree daily temperature fluctuations nearly 300 days a year? After a few greetings and jokes with some other Flagstaff riders, we crawled into our bags – inside the Subaru – for probably the coldest night I can remember car camping. The low was 12. I woke up at 6am cramped, sore, and excited about the fact that I was getting out of “bed”.

Quick change into the cycling costume, with layers of gear so I didn’t freeze. The gun went off at 7:00 sharp with a quick decent to a relatively easy uphill grade on a 5 mile road to spread everyone out. I was quickly off the lead group, and into the pack – slipping – slipping back until I could no longer see the leaders. I kind of settled into a groove of mediocrity that seemed to match both my mad skillz and numb and somewhat disinterested mental state for the day. Once we hit the singletrack, nobody was passing me, and I was passing those ultra-endurance big bottomed girls and slower dudes who went out a little too hard on the fire road – a bad warm up in these temps took its toll on a lot of riders.

I rode 26 miles at a steady effort, took a break for 10 minutes to shed to cold weather gear and get some breakfast down the hatch, then rode two more 13 mile loops and called it a day after about 4 laps totaling 5 hours and 15 minutes. My bottom bracket was clunking, but still working – but mentally I just wasn’t having a ton of fun on that bike. I was about an hour and 45 minutes faster than last year over the same distance. Last year was on a single speed and this year I brought the gears and full suspension. That was the difference, more so than a moderate improvement in fitness. I never felt great, and I didn’t feel like I really accomplished anything by riding less than 6 hours of a 12 hour event. Then again, all I really wanted was 52 miles at a good pace since that matches the distance of my next event in two weeks. D was waiting patiently at the camp supporting everyone from our team, and it was nice to take some time and hang with her in the afternoon as the rest of our teammates wrapped their races up at random times. Most finished with 5-6 laps taking anywhere from 6-9 hours to complete them. Our dynamic duo (Gary and Kristen) won the Co-Ed Duo category beating out THE Trek legend Travis Brown and his wife by a lap. Pretty damn impressive for the two fastest racers on our team.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Bin . ger. cis . ing: –verb (used with object)

-to put through exercises, or forms of practice or exertion, designed to train, develop, condition, or the like: to exercise a horse.
-can be forms of eating, drinking, working, exercising, etc...beyond unhealthy - bordering on pathetic

I binge work, binge play, and am having a hell of a time finding a happy medium. It has been GREAT having D back for 2 weeks - and eventhough I have continued by bingeful ways, I at least know I have the opportunity to balance things out a bit.

I'm not working tomorrow; rather, preparing for and driving to Gallup for a 12 hour binge-fest bike ride. Maybe taking 3 days off this week will be good for me from a rest perspective, but I still feel behind in my preparation. On a better note - my Crank Bros. order came in today. New pedals, new cleats, some free schwag and have you seen THESE? Sweeeet.

I bought Lyza's birthday present yesterday - I found an original style X-box on E-bay with 9 sports games for $20 plus shipping. Here B-day is 7/27. Problem is, I want to fire it up tonight and see if she can kick my ass in FIFA soccer. She has 3 video game systems at her Mom's house and she rocks the controller already - so the odds are 5:2 in her favor. I'll go down cheating and swinging if I have to since I'm still bigger and stronger.

Bye - race report to follow on Monday with plenty of photos.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Check these stooges out...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

So I take my old Bimmer to the German mechanic to see how much longer I should keep her. 262K on the original engine, but most everything still works. I crashed it once this winter, and drove it off the road another time - resulting in some minor body damage. It was a rough winter.

The receptionist pulls my file at 4pm when I make my way down to pick up the car. She says: "So you wanted to know if you should keep it? Karl says he sure wouldn't....of course, he has 20 cars in the back of the shop to choose from" (then she started backpedaling) "I'm sure it will be fine for you though, you know, I mean it runs, and Karl is really picky". (now she backpedals a little faster). "I mean its not like a 525i is a collectors car since they made a lot of them - Karl would only keep collector cars like old Jags and hard to find Mercedes - that's a nice 525, did you have it repainted?"

Turns out, the engine is fine, but I need new brakes up front and some minor tuning under the hood. I hope to squeeze 350K out of the engine.

So I'm driving home from Target on Saturday with Lyza and her friend Jackson. Lyza says "Jack - do you know what kind of car this is"....he says with out hesitation "It's an old fashioned car". F'n A right it is kid, and it gets 28 to the gallon and has a nice Harmon Kardon factory stereo that still pumps it out.

Monday, April 7, 2008

What's next? Maybe a bubble so they never experience pain?
6 Rides, 9 Days and Carbon Fiber Sounds like a Live Tree Branch When It Breaks

I have no idea how many miles, but I've been fortunate to get in 12 hours of riding - most of it on the single speed which never fails. The Cannondale? Different story...

Coming up a technical trail on Saturday morning, the left side of my Azonic Carbon bar gave way making a crunching sound like a live tree branch under stress, followed by a clean 'snap'. Fortunately I got the hint from the crunching sound and backed off on my effort. I just rode home one handed on some easy singletrack, and was fortunate to be about 500 yards from my front door. Thinking back - about 2 minutes before it happened, I had just cascaded off a 4 foot drop at about 20mph....if it had happened then?! Let's just say I must have used some karma points on Saturday.

It was a nice weekend with the family, and although D and I didn't get a lot of time together, we helped each other out quite a bit with housework, kid time and of course - her great meals!

OK - I'm off this Friday and headed to Gallup NM:
Wife - check
Tent - check
Bike - broken, but hopefully mended it time or I'll be riding a 32 x 18 monocog
Sleeping bag - mine sucks and I'll be stealing D's down bag until she steals it back
Work - whateva'
Temps - 25 at night, and 70 and sunny in the day
Life - good

Friday, April 4, 2008


A fairly well-to-do 50-something couple rolls into our parking lot with their semi-vintage Saab choking like Hillary's campaign. I say semi-vintage beacuse a Saab really isn't much of a collector car, especially since GM took the reigns a few years back.

Anywhoooo, they were in a controlled frenzy because they needed to get to the airport in Flagstaff in 45 minutes or they would miss a flight. It was slow, so I said "I'll drive ya". Turns out the guys is a hospitality professor at a local college and aside from putting up with his snobby opinions about local restaurants (of course he hadn't been to the dive Thai and Mexican places we frequest), it was a quick drive since we talked the hospitality trade for 25 minutes. His little glasses, tweed jacket, triple-pleated dress slacks - shoot me if I start buying that stuff anytime soon.

So I pull up to the airport and I can tell he's gonna grease me - that's cool - I'm thinking $10 for gas or something of that sort. Rather than just hand me $10, he pulls the ol' slip it into his palm, shake my hand, and then I oblige by blindly taking the cash without looking at the denomination. When do we learn this, and why did this become part of our western culture? Turns out he sported me a $20. Looks like I'm gonna throw $10 in the tank - that's not even 3 gallons right now - and get myself hooked up with a colossal lunch at the Cafe. It's a good Friday.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Here we go again..

I have a 12-hour race in less than 2 weeks and as usual, I feel weak, my legs have no snap, and when I'm riding the single speed it feels like I'm pushing a bulldozer. In reality, I'm probably in a little better shape than I was last year at this time, its just that having a looooong day staring at me on the calendar is just a bit daunting. I'll be riding with gears this year as last year I burned out after 6 hours. The thing that really has me nervous is this Whiskey 50 two weeks later (April 26th). I was left for dead last year with dehydration induced cramps (is there any other kind actually?), and a morale crushing last 15 miles that saw me lose probably 30 places in the standings as I literally stood still on the side of the trail trying to get my muscles to release so I could finish without having a total physical meltdown - or puking from my rotgut stomach that had enough.

Then again, it feels good to have these challenges in front of me. I left the house today at 6:10am and barreled into the woods in 25 or so degree temps. Did I say barrelled? I mean glided, or 'efforted', or 'managed to ride' into the woods. I made all the technical climbs - so I get an A for effort, and felt warm at the top - about 1,000 feet above town. Turned around for the 15 minute drop home and FROZE MY ARSE OFF. The only positive was that the muddy sections were frozen - so no bike maintenance to deal with post ride. A shower, a coffee, and off to work by 9am. I just warmed up and it's 12:30pm.

The Twins are 1-0 and the Tigers are 0-1. At this rate the Twins will have a 162 game lead on teh Tigers come the end o' September. C'mon Fish - let me live that dream for at least the rest of today.

Home tonight for some of D's Black Bean Chili. Yeah baby.....