Monday, June 30, 2008

Back On/In the Saddle

By the end of our trip, I’m sure we smelled like fish that’s been in your refrigerator a little too long – to my parents anyway. We had a great time, but I would bet that they all took a nap, went out for a steak, and enjoyed the day after we left.

Lyza is a high energy kid, and we went from 9am - 10pm each day at full throttle. Amusement park rides, water park slides, baseball games, miniature golf, swimming, miniature golf, kayaking, boat time, alpine slide rides. When I dropped Lyza off at her Mom’s last Wednesday night after the trip home I even paused for a second before I got in my car and just thought about it all……a solo vacation with my daughter – and how special that time was. The time with my parents was fantastic. I wished D could have been there though, and I know she won’t miss the fun next summer.

Did I ride? No. Did I run? No – f*ck no I don’t even run at home unless it’s to catch an escaped dog. I did nothing more than play – Frisbee, swimming…that was about the extent of it. When I left had every intention of not losing the fitness I had built through the first 5 months of the year, but I had an overwhelming feeling to just shut it all down and hit my own personal reset button.

I’m paying for it today, but not as badly as I thought. D re-introduced me to Flagstaff on Saturday with a 50 mile road ride. Yesterday, I took my Rig out for an hour and a half MTB ride and after a massage/stretch last night I feel pretty good. I had so much f*cking fun on both rides – and I am ready to bust ass in July to get ready for the events that come later this summer. The mountain bike ride in particular was borderline existential or whatever the hell that means. My legs were just OK, and I could feel the elevation a bit having been at 700 feet for 2 weeks, but carving the downhill turns and the burn of the climbs felt fabu..

The Scalpel sold and shipped today and so I’m down to one mountain bike and a roadie. I got me some o’ dem new carbon Ritchey parts coming for it soon – you know – to go with the new wheelset that should be done in a couple of weeks. Summer feels great, and I can’t wait to get out of work already. Yeah – I’ve been back all of 4 hours and I’m throwing down a 15 minute blog entry. Hey, priorities ya know?!

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Day 1 - Happy Father's Day y'all

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

When I tell people I’m heading back to Minnesota for vacation they invariably say something like “WTF?”, or just a simple “Family trip?”. Then the bug jokes follow with snarky remarks like “Bring your Deet”, and “Isn’t the state bird a mosquito?”.

We go back because we get to connect with family, there’s a ton of fun stuff to do that you can’t do in AZ, and it is a cheap trip. So we fly out Friday, sans D who is in school until June 25th. I’ll miss her hanging out with us. I’ve scoped out everything from Minnesota Twins tickets – cheap seats – for $1.50, a day visit to Valleyfair and their waterpark, renting a mountain bike and competing at the Thursday Night @ Buck Hill races, and of course hanging out on the lake in the day and watching old movies at night with few cans of Old Style. I don’t care if it’s rain or shine, we’ll have a good time.

I spent yesterday balls to the wall at work from 6:30am on solving staffing and Wi-Fi issues and I think we have a good handle on both. Then, I treated myself to a 3 hour self-inflicted hammer fest on the singlespeed. I rolled into the garage on about 10psi in the rear tire and an out of true rear wheel again, with no water/food for the last 5 miles. That was OK though – it was almost all downhill the last 5. I stumbled over to the grocery store after a 1 minute shower and bought two frozen burritos, two cartons of soy milk and bananas. Dinner was two burritos, a huge fruit protein shake, which was washed down by a can of Tecate – or two. I fell asleep slumped over in our office chair surfing CNN headlines.

So, it’s time for the trip home. I’ll do just enough riding an old family Cross Bike on the rails-to-trails to stay sharp, spend LOTS of time on the lake, fishing, and just hanging out with the family. When I get back it’ll be busy at work, and I’ll have a month to really turn the screws on my fitness for some mid-summer races. I’m lookin’ forward to the break and coming home to the start of the Flagstaff monsoon season.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Road racing is an entirely different animal than mountain biking. For fu*k’s sake (my favorite British expression – so much more animated than “lovely”, “brilliant” or “cheers”) it’s about power to weight ratio (ultra lightweight bikes and skinny/strong bodies), matching kits/clothing, there’s a ton of rules about etiquette and safety riding in a group, and road riders love stats….time/distance/average speeds/cadence/wattage, along with the various heart rate monitor readouts that tell you if you’re in your “zone” or not. Road riding is also all about efficiency. Efficiency in your pedal stroke and shifting can make those riders who don’t ‘get it’ look like idiots – especially once you hit the 50 mile mark

Most of the fast ‘roadies’ I know are incredibly detailed; in their preparation, the way they ride, and how they recover and train again the next day. This is hard for me to understand because at heart I’m a hammerhead mountain biker that appreciates no gears, difficult trails that do not foster efficiency, and no end of ride stats other than a subjective analysis of how I feel physically and mentally. In short, I despise details and that translates to my broad-scope preparation and training for any effort.

Every now and then I see the light, and focus on the details even though it hurts my frontal lobe to do so. Yesterday I rode with D out to our local hill climb. I rested the day before and D treated me to some trigger point therapy for my tight muscles which felt great. I woke up ready to give it all I had – mentally I was set. A smaller than usual breakfast was the choice in anticipation of riding with digested food before a hard effort – what a concept! I warmed up at a reasonable pace, hydrated before and during, and while on the climb I shifted properly, kept a consistent high cadence on the steeps, stood and hammered on the false flats, and came across the line for a personal best time that would put me near the back of the local race scene peloton if we raced up as a group. Who cares – it’s the best I have ever done. I’d give you the stats, but I forgot the details about how to save them in my cyclo computer and erased them. Guess I'll have to do it again, a bit faster this time? For f*ck's sake, that means I'll have to prepare.....

Friday, June 6, 2008

My sorry ass gimped home last night after a long day at the office, and specifically getting my ass kicked by a failed Wi-Fi system that we invested in four years ago. I thought we had more time to address upgraded technology, but……so I have a resort full of guests who are as addicted to their internet access as trailer park residents in St. Clair Shores Michigan are addicted to 40oz bottles of Olde English, filterless Marlboro’s and wife beater T-shirts. The crazy thing is that my crack addict guests aren’t jonesing for, or, or, nope, they need to log on to their Facebook and Myspace pages. Wow. Maybe I need to get one of those pages so I know what the f*ck I’m missing.

Got home, stretched my kit on, bundled up a bit for the wind, and hit the ground with legs that felt like kiln dried Douglas Fir. Doug Fir ain’t that tough and neither was I. The warm-up out to Snowbowl Road was less than memorable, with a stupid-strong headwind and drivers that probably never learned to ride a bike as they were less than tolerant of me taking my 1.2 feet of room on the right side of the road. One close call had me breathing pretty hard considering I was pushing all of an 11mph pace into the wind. Enough – I turned onto Snowbowl Road and began the 10K climb with no traffic. I missed the group hill climb start by 35 minutes, so I had no chance of catching anyone on the way up…..wait, what’s that.

It was two riders spinning what appeared to be a cadence of maybe 30 – standing, swaying, and really struggling up the mountain. I used them as motivation and spun by as smooth as I could with a quick “nice evening isn’t it?” - laden with every intention of demoralizing them. I’m an A-hole, I know. Let me just say when you’re suffering, it gives one great pleasure to transfer some of that energy on others to lighten your load. The descent was even better, carving the turns and hitting nearly 50mph on one straightaway.

Well it came back to me in spades, that goddamn Karmic whore that she is. D and I going through future plans last night tasted like a sh*tburger supreme and I’m still eating them today. Lemme just say that I believe that life is so f*cking precious that you better not be wasting time waiting for things. So, live it up, go full throttle this weekend and let’s share stories on Monday about how tired we are from the weekend.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Even though I am a card carrying Lefty, you gotta love this from our friends in Ireland (contributed by Sheck):

The Irish are such clear thinkers:

"We, in Ireland , can't figure out why you are even bothering to hold an election in the United States . On one side, you have a witch who is a lawyer, married to a lawyer, running against a lawyer who is married to a witch who is a lawyer. On the other side, you have a war hero married to a good looking rich woman who owns a beer distributorship. What are you lads thinking over there?"

I pulled my full suspension bike off of E-Bay this morning. Seems I have a friend who can't make it to the Leadville 100, and he asked if I'd pretend to be him at registration and ride it......he's covering the $120 race entry fee. Uhhhh yeah, I can do that. August 9th - here I come!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Here's a horrific picture of a drunk driver steering into a police escorted peloton during a road race in Mexico. The driver was from Brownsville, TX. One racer died, and 5 others were seriously injured. Be careful out there.......

Monday, June 2, 2008

A buddy of mine that lives down the street, in the Hospital Hill Ghetto across from Inappropriate Dave (so named because not only is he obscenely vulgar, but he also paints visual pictures of anything remotely disgusting/vile/cynical/ and is sure to offend and even pull the race card as often as I get a face card on my 12-16 hands at a blackjack table with a 6-deck shoe), and Sir Klausington (an ex bike shop owner who is so severely insecure that whenever you’ve done it, he’s done it faster, and if you can fix it, he can fix it better) has a huge opportunity. Said buddy Ellsie, who has been mentioned auspiciously and inauspiciously here – and who is always pining for photo credits and corrections to his posted running/hiking/biking times – has been invited by his employer to run in the 6-day Trans Rockies Challenge. Let’s just say invited means “sponsored” - fully. Yeah baby……Picture six consecutive days of running 20 miles, with an average daily climb of 4,000 feet+. I’d call him a stud but he’d never let me live it down. Thankfully he rides a mountain bike as fast as his 7 year old son, and a road bike like his 5 year old daughter.

So, my little 2.75 hour Sunday morning ride began at 5:30am with temps in the low 40’s. I froze my ass off until I got about 20 minutes in – thankfully you can warm up fast as it’s all uphill for up to 2.5 hours and 3,650 feet of climbing if you want that kind of pain. I chose to climb for about 30 minutes and then headed across the peaks to Snowbowl Road via up and down singletrack and saw nothing more than a small pack of elk and some goofy short-short trail runners (who by the way are horriffic dressers - what is it about trail runners?- with the exception of my wife who was dressed to the 9's in her full coolmax Nike outfit on Sunday), and just an exquisite sunrise that was lighting the trail for me as I headed west. It was a drop in the bucket compared to what Ellsie the Running Man will be tackling in August. However, my little 2.75 hour ride was muy fantastico. I dunno how many miles because I don’t ride with a computer on my MTB – but I can tell you that I arrived home flat-out hammered and content to do whatever the rest of the day tossed my way. What it tossed was about 1,000 f*cking dishes as we seemed to just cook/eat/cleanup all day. It was insane, and by the end of the day I paid myself back with 7/8 of a pint of ice cream in a bowl watching 27 Dresses – a chick flick that actually had some very redeeming qualities for the first hour…..and then like every other movie….it digressed into Hollywood schmutz. D and I about puked at the predictable end.

Anyway – the rest of the weekend was about organizing the garage, playing with kids, a little time at the pool both days, and some good eats. In 2 weeks we’ll be in Minnesota/Canada for 10 days of fishing…..and hanging out on the water drinkin’ Molson’s. No DUI’s on Rainy Lake, in fact they kinda look at you funny if you DON’T have a cooler of Molson’s.