Tuesday, September 30, 2008

An end of the season father-daughter camping trip was nothing but fun. Lyza and our neighbors from down the street had a good time camping on the shores of Beaver Creek. Catching lizards, bugs, and trying to catch fish with their bare hands - good luck. We got a light dusting of rain at night, but otherwise it was warm and the water was too. No politics to talk about on this trip, just fun with the girls and kickin' it with the critters out there surrounding us.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Bike Porn.....

what i would do for this new version of my tried and true single speed Rig. Rootbeer even, nice.

Last night I got my legs back. My racquetball legs. It was as if I had to coax them out of retirement. Up until game #1 with Krazy Kevin, I had nothing.....flat footed, no anticipation, and poor footwork for kill shots. Then, it was like a switch went off and my legs remembered how to get r dun. Of course, all of the connective tissue in my legs is trashed and I'm hobblin' around a bit this morning - but damn it feels good to be back again. Krazy Kev and Wacky Warren took their beatings well and I walked away content to be playing well again.

Holy Frijoles the Twins just swept the Sox and now have a 1/2 game lead going into the final weekend of the never-ending MLB season. Somehow, this team seems to squeak into the playoffs year after year on their paltry payroll. I hope they can take Kansas City down this weekend and lock 'r up. Then - maybe meet the Cubbies in the WS? OK - get I'm off the crack pipe now.

D has her first client in her official new massage room downtown. Here she goes - off and running with her own business. I know she can do it.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Back in the saddle this morning for a 1 hour spinout. D was scheduled for a crown on a tooth, so I dropped her Valium'ed head off at the dentist, pounded out an hour on the bike - S*it/Shave/Shower, and back to pick her up in my monkey suit. Drop her back at the Chateau and off to work.

I'm pissed -

Can you believe the Feds (read: WE - the taxpayers) are bailing out the falling financial markets? "The bailout of Fannie and Freddie, the purchase of AIG, and the latest multi-hundred billion dollar Treasury scheme all have one thing in common: They seek to prevent the liquidation of bad debt and worthless assets at market prices, and instead try to prop up those markets and keep those assets trading at prices far in excess of what any buyer would be willing to pay." - Ron Paul

All I know is a lot of people were living way above their means for a long time and the honeymoon is over. I just wish those that created this mess would pay for it individually - and those that chose to forego the lure of getting easy money would not be punished.

Off the soapbox and back to work.....Go Twins!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Overheated, Deflated, and Defeated........

Have you ever been set up on a date by a friend, and when you meet your date, you’re not really excited about spending an entire evening with her? However, since you’re committed to several hours you do what you can to find some redeeming qualities. Maybe she has bank, maybe her snorting laugh is followed by a cute smile, or maybe her sense of humor carries the conversation at a really comfortable feeling until your date is ova.

All of this came to mind ½ way through my first lap at the Payson Stampede this past weekend. Me, Ben S, his wife Sarah, and their mutt Shamus arrived at 9:30am and had plenty of time to set up camp and get ready to roll out at 12:00pm. It was warm – 88 degrees, but I had visions of blissful singletrack a la Sedona, AZ on my mind and I was pumped to get out on the trail. Gooooooooo! It was a ¼ mile Le Mans start and we jogged it at a careful pace. Ben is a lot faster than me but he was riding 24 hours so he was content to hang with me for at least the first part. I Grabbed the bike, and my Camelbak which was equipped with enough fluids, food, gels, and tools for a six hour effort. That was the plan – ride six hours – refill – and ride six more.

Back to that ½ way through the first lap part. I found myself looking for any reason to be excited about this “date” I was now committed to. The bitch turned out to be 8 miles of old mining roads, and + or - two miles of pavement. These roads were old, washed out, and laden with some sharp rocks on the downs, and steep and sandy on the ups. There wasn’t a shady spot anywhere, and two of the climbs were so steep that my front tire was bobbing on and off the ground for 100 yards while I was just trying to stay upright in granny gear. A few people who had hiked out to the steeps were cheering – and made them more climbable to me, but I had to walk a few each lap because I just didn’t have the juice to climb them.

4 laps down, only one hamstring cramp, and the early evening temps were taking the sting of the heat away. I was eating enough to feel OK, and the hellacious headache I had for the first three hours was pretty much gone. It was 5:45pm, and an announcement came over the PA that you had to have lights on at 6pm. Ben raced out to beat the deadline. That enticed me to leave quickly without the burden of setting up and riding with lights. I was so juiced to ride into the night, as I was finally feeling cool and comfortable. I chose to only take a single Co2 cartridge, a tire lever, and one spare tube. Pfffffffffffffft. Two miles in and I’m flat on the back tire. Quick hit with Co2, and in another mile it’s flat again. Stan’s won’t seal it because it’s a pretty sizeable hole right in the middle of the tread. Shit. Change it, and put my spare tube in, but I only have enough Co2 for maybe 20 psi. A couple of riders pass and I scam a pump off a nice dude. OK – I’m back, but now I’m trying to make up time and I stupidly fly down a rocky descent with no regard for my brains, much less my collar bones. Flying over a rock garden and ……double flat. No shit. I’ve never managed to do that in 21 years of mountain biking. Double fucking pinch flats with 29” tires and no spare tubes – good luck with that.

So now it’s dusk, I have no tubes or patch kit, and a borrowed pump. It took nearly 20 minutes before I was able to borrow two 26” tubes for my 29” rims. I spent plenty of time fumbling and bumbling in the waning light, finally pumping them up to 15psi since they can’t handle the volume of the larger wheel without exploding. I rode very carefully until sundown avoiding every rock I saw. Soon, it’s pitch black and there aren’t any rocks to see. I have to wait for riders to come up on me and then I ride in front of their lights until they get impatient with my careful pace on two half-inflated tires and blow by me. Thankfully Jen S. picked me up and I rode her light the last mile – and paid her back by pulling her as hard as I could on the pavement to the start/finish line. Two hours and twenty minutes for one lap. Fuck. That really sucked. My average lap time had been around an hour five to ten + breaks, and this put me well out of the second place in my age group I had been maintaining up until 6pm. After evaluating the hole in my rear tire, it was deemed stupid to attempt riding on it. Two semi-cool cans of Tecate, some good conversation with Sarah and Shamus, and a change of clothes sealed the deal - I was in my sleeping bag at 11:00pm.

Ben hit it hard until midnight, wisely slept for 5 hours, and then rode until nearly noon. 13 laps for him and a second place overall brought some cold hard cash. The dude hardened the f*ck up and did great. Sure – pros like Nat Ross ripped off 21 laps and were done by 10am, but Ben battled hard and got second despite the inevitable mechanical lighting failures that come with amateur riding.

As for me, I was not mentally prepared for the heat, or the letdown of the style of the course and I let it take me down a few notches. I was disappointed with myself. Yeah, I recovered well by sundown, and that allowed me to deal with the flat tire issues with nothing but laughter and a sheepish grin as course officials accosted me for riding with no light. Riding in pitch black does heighten your senses, and just a glimmer of light from the next rider was really inspiring. It all just makes everyday life seem so freakin’ easy when I suffer like this from time to time. When’s my next race?

Well, I didn’t bail out on my date, and in spite of the fact that she ain’t pretty, I’m probably going to ask her out again next year about this time because I found one redeeming factor in her – She's pretty fun to hang out with.

Friday, September 19, 2008

I got nothin.....

Nothin but a punched ticket to ride from Noon to Midnight tomorrow. Of course, I got all sore playing racquetball last night. Ken the Snowman and Big David were the opponents. I didn't play great - kinda sluggish and didn't have much power, but I managed to knock 'em both down.

Race report on Monday. Twins won a big one last night in the top of the 9th and the Vikes were smart enough to bench their starting QB. At least there's hope for these teams that I can't stop following.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

I had a completely benign visit - I guess those are always good - to the doctor yesterday for my first physical exam in many years. I guess I'm in pretty good shape, and there weren't any red flags. We'll be keeping an eye on some genetic issues that my lovely family has in their history, but my cycling habit/obsession seems to have paid off.

Well I'll be damned if I wasn't done at 2:15pm, so rather than go home and clean the house, I hopped on the old single speed for an hour as a black wall of rain approached town. Up and back down got me back in the garage as the raindrops just started rolling in. Damn if it wasn't the worst ride I have had in months. I felt weak, sluggish, and my rear tire was not hooking up because I put too much air pressure in before the ride. I hope I can bounce back by Saturday so I don't go on a death march for 12 hours in Payson. I saw the topo for the race and it looks like just a bunch of 100 foot drops and then back up. Nothing too severe other than some section called the "rocky bitches". Shit - that's all we ride up here so that sounds a little hyped up just to sell entries.

This Sarah Palin thing has me just pissed off. It's like a bad Disney Movie that just got funding. Remember the "movie guy" who did the narration for most previews? "A girl, born in a land where nature rules and women have to fight for everything they get. Paramount Pictures presents a story about a woman who made it to the top of the world. Sarah Palin - President of the United States. "I can see Russia from my Backyard!""

The GOP is so damn irresponsible for even picking this windbag that it frightens me. George Bush, Dan Quayle - these clowns 'learned on the job' at our expense. What would happen if this chick learned on the job? Vladimir Putin would eat her liver for breakfast with fava beans and a nice Chianti. I'm seriously frightened.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

I rolled out of the garage on the gears last night a little after 8:30pm. D was scrambling to get packed for her last trip down to massage school, and L was starting to fall asleep after about an hour of homework and a couple of hours of tackle football with her pal Nate Dawg.

Warm night to start, full moon, some clouds, and as usual – not a rider to be seen. The ride was very uneventful – just smooth over techno stuff, smoother on the smooth stuff, and I never really noticed anything other than what was right in front of me. I didn’t work that hard, but I didn’t ride slow either. I guess I’d call it a ‘tweener’ and tweeners feel good sometimes. As I was rolling back home, I stopped, turned off the Niterider and just looked around. You could hike with no lights – easy. So, I rode with no lights for the last mile and although it was slower, it was funner….yup – it was much funner n’ ridin’ wit lites. 1:45 of pressure release - man I feel better.

Into the garage, and into bed after some snarky conversation with the D. I’m like a burned out rocket at 10:30pm – I got nothing. She is like a cracked out caffeinated chipmunk on her second wind….But – my sleep vibes win and f’n A – it’s 5:00am again and she’s on the road at 6am. Here we go…..

Friday, September 12, 2008

Racquetball week 1 is in the books. First match versus Fritz the Car Salesman. He gave me the "I was out all last year with shoulder and hip issues - I'm just back in the game again". Dude had a pretty good game and his sandbagging words were not matching his deft strokes. I found his weakness though, which was his backhand ceiling shot. GSM (game, set, match) and on to match #2.

Patrick the HUGE Firefighter who could lift my car with one arm. He was surprisingly quick for a stocky muscle-bound man...for the first game anyway. I was just switching up serves every time (lob, drive right, drive left, Z serve....) and making sure to pin him to his backhand which he had a hard time with since he was so stacked. If you asked him to reach an arm across his body he might get to his tricep that's how big this dude was. Well all that bulk is tough to carry around on the court and so the running around caught up with him. He all but gave up the second half of the match. GSM. I do know that if my house goes afire, I want him there because he could move our entire contents in about 20 minutes.

Out of there in an hour and home to catch up with the D - and discussing her last week of massage school in Phx....YEAH!. Coming up for me is a 12 hour singlespeed race in Payson next weekend on the 24 hour Nationals Course. I've got 6-8 hours of ride time nailed down, now its time to push a little harder before the end of season finale in Moab.

JB - good luck at Cheq
Ellen Jo - have fun at the Air Cooled VW fest in Jerome
Big Steve - Good time at the game tonight, and on your Sunday road ride
Fish - Your Lions better beat the Pack

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Good time on the bike last night with the three Small Town D-Bag stand-ins, CR, AK and JT. It got unsustainably fast for 20 minutes and then everyone backed off because we were getting sloppy and AK dumped it a couple of times. We have a good cohesive group who want to bust ass, and most importantly......a "gear dude" in JT who has a converted 15pax van with a full kitchen and propane heat. Aside from a massage therapist and a camp chef, we're GOOD TO GO.

An original Small Town D-Bag reunion? Unlikely. Jeff switched to a 6" front/rear Titus LocoMoto and had such an awful mental/physical experience at Old Pueblo in February that he swore off 24 hour racing, and Eck has a chronic back issue. JB though, he's a hard man. He's racing the 40 miler at Chequamegon this weekend - tear it up man, and at least drop Lance like a rented Grand Canyon Burro for the first 15 yards. I'm thinkin' the Small Town D-Bags Volume III will include Big Steve for 2009.....The big man makes moderate downhills look like 45 degree ski slopes.

2009 Resort Budget in the works in front of me....it doesn't look pretty. Better get on it.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Obi Wan

Outta the house today at 5:50 and on down to meet my Obi Wan Kenobi….71 year old Mr. Cristall – spelled dangerously close to every rapper’s favorite champagne, and the parallel is that this guy loves the good stuff a la Cristal and Dom. But he’s confident enough to order chicken wings with either one.

Obi Wan taught me how to wield a racquetball racquet ten years ago. Before I met him I was a hard hitting goofball with no technique other than ‘crush the ball’. Part of that description – the goofball part – will probably never go away. He’s undergone some surgery lately so he wasn’t at his best, but he sure didn’t have surgery on his vocal cords. He had no problem verbally correcting my footwork, chastising my faded hand-eye coordination and lack of flexibility since all I do is ride bikes. This is our third year going through this, and he seems to enjoy barking, giving tips, and reminding me how stupid I am to quit playing every year and then try to pick back up where I left off. He didn’t have to remind me to play easy today, don’t overstretch on shots, and only lob serves because it hurts like hell the next two days if you go hard on day #1. I’m thanking him right now as I feel stretched, but not stretched out, and my arm is just a very dull throbbing appendage. Obi Wan morphed my game into one that relies on placement and finesse – with the occasional type-A male Dodge Ram Truck driving cannon shot just so I don’t start to grow man boobs and talking about feelings on the court. I still wanna kill the motherf*ckers I play. So – for the next four months we’ll meet every other Wednesday in Sedona and I don’t foresee a day when I won’t learn something from the ol’ Kenobi.

Team night ride tonight @ 8:00pm with bright-ass night lights…..the Small Town D-Bags part II will be hammering the crap outta each other on one of those notorious “Oh, I haven’t been training much, let’s just take it easy tonight” rides. Yeah, right. Somebody will throttle it and then….well, it all goes to hell.

Where does work fit in today? Between 9pm and 6pm and between blog posts and fantasy football updates. Just kidding – I better get on it.

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Curbed Enthusiasm After Week #1

10 years ago, the Minnesota Vikings unleashed Randy Moss on the NFL. Watching Moss, Randall Cunningham with his perfect 50 yard spirals, and Robert Smith at RB shred NFL defenses that year was a once in a lifetime scenario – at least so far. Those Vikings pasted Green Bay with Moss getting so open, so deep, so many times it was not even fair until time, ego, and money caught up with Randy and those Vikes.

10 years later and I’m buying into the hype that the Vikes will once again dominate. Last night, if they didn’t have Adrian Peterson - they would have been shut the f*ck out by Green Bay. I just turned off the wi-fi at the end of the third quarter and let time take care of the overhyped Vikings. Here we go again….an up and down year that will have me bitter, excited, angry, and filled with nothing but hope for 16 more weeks. I guess I love the Vikings like a buddy who is in a bad relationship. There’s no real reason to stay around ‘cept for the fact that I’ve been around them for 40 years.

Fortunately, two great things happened today. 1) I got an eye opening 45 minute SS ride in before work at the crack of 5:50am this morning. 2) My buddy Scotty announced that he and his wife will be bringing daughter #2 into the world soon. Good on ya Scottie – I knew you carried a big stick that was capable of getting your wife prego even at your Harrison Ford-like age.

Monday, September 8, 2008

I met Sully at Buffalo Park at 7:00am on Sunday and we headed out on what I would call an end of summer blowout ride. My boy Sully – I call him boy because he’s a 20something semi-pro MTB racer – had e-mailed me the night before saying “I’m out, I’m hurtin’ too bad”. Unfortunately for him, I didn’t check my e-mail on Sat, and he had to show up or risk being ripped for blowing me off. What he was referring to was our scheduled ride up and around the San Francisco Peaks, often called the Soulstice loop. 50+ miles, ridiculous amounts of climbing and descending – but – well worth the suffering. Sully was feeling the effect of a crash on fresh chip-seal at a road race two weeks back. A 30 mph crash that filleted his midsection. He was still leaking pus from a couple of holes in his abdomen, and he was not at his best at the start of the ride. We talked briefly about cutting it short, but once the testosterone started flowing there was no way that would happen. Without a word we just rode at a pretty fast tempo and never talked about it again. I like guys like Sully, who ride smart and don’t have anything to prove – yet won’t give up in spite of suffering. Fortunately for me, his road crash slowed him down a notch or two so I was able to hang with him all day.

The first 30 minutes featured a good steady climb for warm up. Then we came upon the first serious climb – a 12% gradient for 1.5 miles of technical shredded dirt and rocks that always force a dab, or two, or four. As I got near the top, my back tire caught the edge of a rock and pfffffp! I burped out about 10psi on the tubeless setup and had to hit it with Co2 – considering I run 24psi, that tire was nearly flat – a quick one minute fill and we were off again. The next climb, the Weatherford Trail, was not nearly as steep, but it is 3 miles long, and probably the most trashed/rutted two track in Flagstaff. Just think of cris-crossing a rut a couple of hundred times just to find a good line through the babyhead rocks. I was working hard, but the lure of the scenery was keeping me from going into mental overload, and suddenly it was over and we were on our way down.

A bomber descent down Friedlein Prairie led to the third climb - Snowbowl Road – a steep paved road climb that D and I had ridden up on our road bikes the day before. It felt pretty easy considering the technical stuff we had been on to that point. We topped out at 9,000 feet, and then rode back down to the base of the mountain range and around to the north side of the peaks on FR151 and FR418. You get dramatic views out here of the painted desert, and you can even see the lip of the Grand Canyon close to 55 miles away. After about another 45 minutes of hard work on the dirt roads trying to hold Sully’s wheel on the ups, we were at the base of the north side of the peaks. Dana once had to use a Clif Bar wrapper here to………….no way, I’m not even getting into that story or I’ll be sleeping in a tent in the yard for a week.

What loomed ahead was the granny gear climb to Lockett Meadow followed by an old connector trail to Waterline Road. 2,500 vertical feet of climbing over four and a half miles of beat up dirt/rocks/roots. For me, it was granny ring in the front and my second or third smallest cog in the back for well over an hour. We were passing hikers on the upper portion, but barely, at a 2.5 to 3.5 mph clip the whole freakin’ way. At the top is Waterline Road – , 50 degree temps compared to 70’s at the base, a bottle refill from a natural spring and a huge f*ckin’ sigh of relief. Now at 9,500 feet, we were looking at about a 15 mile gradual downhill all the way to my driveway. 50 minutes later, the bike was on the rack, and I was in the shower with a strong cup o’ joe just to stay awake until 8pm.

Broken down: 6 hours. 55 miles. 6,200 feet of climbing. 120 ounces of water/Nuun/Accelerade, 4 bars, 4 gels, and a chocolate chip cookie.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Walked out of the garage at 6:10 this morning and although the air had a little touch of fall in it, I could feel the sun fighting it off to maintain the summer season for another 16 days. It’ll be 82 this weekend. The ride was just a short 1 hour loop up up up, and then back down, down, down. Nothing special other than the AM light, fast hardpack trails, and quite a few forest friends to greet on the climb. Of course, I thought about two completely pointless things on the ride.

Kanye West has “jumped the shark”. Tired, old, stuff that still makes him millions.

Speaking of tired old stuff, Kid Rock never re-invents himself – he just keeps showing up every 2-3 years, yet he keeps coming back with these little pop-music nuggets that make him millions. Then I amassed a ‘Kid Rock lyrics’ collection in my head while climbing Rocky Ridge: “A little bit of love that’s all I need, a little inspiration and a bag of weed”. “I’m the T-O-P to the D-O-G, I’m the P-O-T to the G-O-D, and I’m trippin”. “They say I’m cocky and I say WHAT, it ain’t braggin’ mother f*cker if you back it up”. “Puffin a Winston, drinkin’ a 4-0, Kid Rock and I’m a let you know”. “Not straight outta Compton, I’m straight out the trailer”.

Fortunately my head clears on the descent as I’m concentrating on going as fast as possible and not crashing out. Home, sans incident. Open the garage, bike on the rack, fire up the Gaggia, brew a nice “white guy” homemade latte’ with some organic soy milk just so Big Steve could have espresso envy, then 11 minutes on the back deck with D and Lyza before school, and off to the sawmill.

Sarah Palin dominated the water cooler discussions yesterday at J-Pine. Many of my crew related to her being “one of us”, and empathized with her much publicized family challenges. She struck a cord, not with the majority, but I could feel the impact of her speech. Johnny Mac and his Evangelical Power Mom are making the start of the 4th quarter of this game close – hangin’ in there aren’t they. GOP gonna lose in OT though.

Obama baby. Obama.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Just say no to sex with pro-lifers…

One of the greatest bumper stickers I have ever seen. It’s on a beater truck down the street and I would imagine that the guy has endured everything short of a car bombing for displaying that sticker and his other one “Aren’t 6 billion miracles enough already?”

I love my neighborhood because it’s the furthest thing from a homeowner’s association you can find. Trashed out rentals, overbuilt white-collar homes, yard sales that go on for weeks, and even one guy who sells tacos and fry bread every weekend – and gets away with it with no permit because he has one card table with three old wife beater shirts and a clock radio for sale as part of a ‘garage sale’. There are dogs barking all the time, including ours, and for Lyza – a crapload of kids her age to rule the streets with.

We’ve got Obama signs, a few McCain signs, as well as plenty of signs that mock both.

Last weekend brought out three fun bike rides, one in which had D and I were duking it out up Snowbowl road. That little bulldog won’t quit and since I won’t either we beat the crap out of each other for 39 minutes and 30 seconds over the 10K climb. She’s determined to beat me up that climb and the truth be told I was riding scared the whole time with her breathing down my back anywhere from 10-50 yards back the whole way. I have a hard time racing uber-efficient road riders because they capitalize on any of my cement-head MTB brained mistakes. I have to really concentrate and push hard to stay ahead of her. Sunday brought out some free riding, as I went looking for all of the nasty ledge drops and steep slopes I could find. One particularly nasty drop called Lost Burrito put a puncture in my sidewall that ended the life of a new tire with only 30 miles on it. That cost me $1.17 per mile – f*ck. I also used an entire Big Air Co2 cartridge to get home, but damn those things are great in place of a pump. At least I didn’t puncture anything like a lung, so I have that going for me, which is nice.

Palin speaks tonight. I’m excited to hear her spew forth about faith, guns, abortion, war, offshore drilling in the refuge, and morals. It’ll make or break the convention – oh and why the hell are they meeting in MPLS? Why not just meet in Madison, WI and have 1,456,987 protestors there? Who selected the convention site? Fer crissakes, at least use your home field advantage and choose Arizona .