Thursday, December 24, 2009
So, I'll put in my time today, and Christmas Day through the weekend at the Sawmill, and then celebrate proper after that. Salmon on the grill tonight is a start, followed by a local party tomorrow night, and a trip to Tucson next week for family, presents, and mountain/road riding. Somewhere I'll squeeze in consumption of a few tasty cordials Steven T. Nejedlo style.....maybe some Cointreau, Chambord, or really ramp it up with a glass of dark, sweet rum.
As my brother Fish says when I ask him how things are goin', "Just livin' the dream CB". Me too Fish.
ps - does anyone see the writing on the wall with Brett Favre? As a Minnesotan, I have to say "It could be worse".....but I, like most Minnesotans think it will get worse. If that jag off f*cks up the season at the end I'll........
Wednesday, December 23, 2009
Board on the back, spikes on the feet, car key double zipped inside my snowpants. Snowcats had been out since maybe 5am, so I followed tracks ¾ of the way up in the dark and was only sinking down about 3 inches on each step. I’m sure my path looked like a drunken ‘Sconnie driving home from a bar on a snow machine. I kept losing the cat track in the blowing snow and couldn’t see the trees well enough to navigate until I got into some protected parts of the slope. I traversed across a catwalk out of the wind, and realized I wasn’t going to the top today. Looking up, the blowing snow was out of control, and I had to be home by 8am.
Boot change, board on, off the cat track and into powder that was mid-thigh. Deepest snow I have ever boarded in. Down the steeps without so much as a turn or two, and onto a 100 yard flatter section….stalled out. Board off – posthole it for 50 yards until the slope dropped, and finally – to the car. I had the key. It started. Covered head to toe in snow, I had a very little grin on my frozen face. That….was….fun……I think. Sorta. Maybe.
I gladly followed a plow down to town at 20mph, and rolled into the driveway about 10 minutes late…..my neighbor had plowed it for me. Then I had a big-ass grin on my wet face. That WAS fun.
Monday, December 21, 2009
She's loud, rough, obnoxious, plays with boys 24-7, and at the same time is sweet, loving, very sensitive, and every now and then - thoughtful. We spent the week on homework, a visit to the dentist, haircuts, school meetings, playing in the snow, x-box wars, playing Stratego and Uno, and her favorite - wrestling in her room. I have to be careful, because outweighing somebody by 120 pounds can result in disaster on the mat - on the other hand, if I sandbag and she senses that I'm letting up on her, she'll start to count me out...1...2....2......2.....2.....2....DAD - START TRYING! She'll never let it reach 3 unless she thinks it's legit.
So, off she went with her Mom today until next Monday. I'll get to catch up at work, spend some great time with D, road ride with teammates in Sedona, and work on some of my own personal goals as well - who am I kidding - goals? I just want to have fun. Out to dinner, make my own schedule, and "check out" of being a parent for seven straight days. Some of my buddies call it a rockstar life, as I'm deeply involved in raising a child, but I get to set it aside too. In a lot of ways it works for me. But man, it's hard to let her go sometimes. Maybe it's the holidays, I don't know.....pfuck it, time for a Tecate, some sleep, and a hard run tomorrow before the snow flies again.
Friday, December 18, 2009
C-Dub and JB showed up around 10:30am with a backpack full of Tecate and snicker bars. Cool… snacks and lunch all in one Camelbak.
The newest technology at snowbowl is a radar gun that they are using at a couple of locations where slopes merge. My guess is that they didn’t have it on yesterday because just when I thought I was cold straight haulin’ ass, I’d get passed by a dude or a chick who was really cold straight haulin’ ass. Damn! We skied the trees, the open groomers, and helped form moguls on the steeps. It was a bluebird day with not a cloud in the sky and no wind whatsoever.
This weekend, they are expecting 3,000 skiers each day on Sat and Sun. I’ll be avoiding the bowl like my daughter avoids her homework. Time to hop back on the road bike – races start in 3 weeks. Yes, races start in 3 weeks. I'm gonna suck until at least March.
Wednesday, December 16, 2009
Selfishly, I walked away with a better feeling than I walked in with because the impact on Lyza will be minimal - for now anyway. The flip side is that I know a lot of teachers in town who could be impacted by closing schools, and that just plain sucks, but what business hasn't been impacted by our sagging economy? Sorry, but at the end of the day, the school district is another business spending taxpayer money, and that's how some emotionless people look at it.
I also got quite a laugh sitting next to my ex, as we picked apart some of the stereotypical parental sets at the meeting. We were always good at that, when in fact we probably should have been looking in the mirror and realizing our own shortfalls because there were plenty there. Regardless, I left with a smile and it helped bring the entire drama into focus on a bigger level because……..
………..Unfortunately, Flagstaff is fighting a losing battle not in its own community, but at the state legislature level where funds allocated for schools are not seen as a priority, and that view has nothing and everything to do with the horrendous economy in this state right now - meaning it's never been a priority, and now we don't even have the tax base to fund the basic needs.….I guess that’s why our schools are ranked in the lower third nationwide in a lot of categories. And we live here because? Oh yeah, 90% of my kid’s teachers have been great, the mountains behind my house beckon me to come out and play all the time rain, snow, or shine, and since we’ve become accustomed to being underpaid it all makes perfect sense. The mountain biking is pretty good too.
I'm worried though that those outstanding teachers will disappear along with the school/program cuts that are imminent.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Unless of course I raise her like the d-bag I am and screw her all up, which is entirely possible.
I'll be 42 in two days. D hooked me up with fleece lined tights, and microspikes for running on packed snow. Mom has a Paris-Tours video on the way with a spectacular victory by Philippe Gilbert to watch, and Lyza has something planned that I know will make me laugh. That right there is a pretty good B-day. I'll be off work, for a full day of boarding at the Bowl.......followed by a prostate exam the next morning. Yeah buddy, enjoy your 30's if you're still in 'em.
Saturday, December 12, 2009
The second run down Lava was in 20 inches of untracked powder, and describing that floating feeling on a fat snowboard.....hmmm, you know it. It forces permagrin, and that is the way to start a Saturday. 5-8 inches expected tomorrow means a snowball fight on Sunday with the neighborhood kids. I think that means a Monday dawn patrol before work back up the mountain. F*ck yeah, it's been a great start to the ski season for us because they haven't opened up the lifts yet....keeping all of the flatlanders in their mansions in the desert. LOVE IT!
Thursday, December 10, 2009
Monday, December 7, 2009
The start of the race brought 37 degrees, but I wasn’t taking the first lap, that was C-Dub’s job. I picked up my race #, met him at the line, grabbed his down jacket from his trembling body, and watched him head out with the other 299 riders….Me? Into my kit, and SNAP I knew I was missing something – nobody had any coffee, including my unprepared ass. A shot of Espresso Hammer Gel has 50mg of Caffeine, so there you go….I felt better and managed to take care of biz in the porta pot after a short warm-up to get the juices flowing.
1:03, 1:03, 1:07 and 1:07 were my four lap times. 15.3 miles per lap on the fastest AZ racetrack I know of. I shaved nearly 20 minutes off my combined time from last year on a course that was a mile longer. I got the gear right this year (32x17), and felt pretty strong the entire time other than a lap 3 cramp that was only ¼ mile from the finish. Yeah baby, that’s a good sign going into the state series that starts in a month. We got 6th out of 8 teams in the SS cat which surely doesn’t belong on a marquee. The category was very competitive as the difference between 3rd and 6th was about 1 min and 30 sec per lap. However, that’s a lot of time that we just couldn’t make up - so, no hardware this year to take home, but it was a great race for me and C-Dub and we both definitely left all that we had out there.
After my last lap, I fell asleep in a camp chair with a Tecate in hand, and woke up to a D-bag taking a picture of me laughing. I had to chuckle, and I laughed even harder when I tried to get up and nearly stacked it into one corner of the EZ-Up.
You know you got your money’s worth at a bike race when you:
……are huddled in a port-a-pottie for warmth and the tank full of remnants is the last thing on your mind
……paid $1 per mile + the cost of travel to kick the crap out of yourself
……feel so fresh and so clean when walking out of a port-a-pottie that has a hand sanitizer dispenser
……finished and said “never again”, and then a few beers later you’re talking shit about racing again and all of the stuff you would change to get on the podium
Friday, December 4, 2009
Race the bike, one last time in 2009
Monday - 2 feet of snow predicted above 6,000 feet
Shelve the bike
Board on the back, hiking up for a powder run
Idiot SUV drivers everywhere await
Just let 'em stack it
Back way off
Here comes winter
Tuesday, December 1, 2009
The race is on a singletrack loop of crushed granite. When it’s dry, I can’t think of a faster surface besides pavement. Climbs are easy if you keep your mo, washes are deep, and the traction is outstanding until about 20+ mph when you kind of lose contact with the granite – but you can float the curves at high speed if you are careful. New year, same partner, same plan, same course. Last year we managed 3rd place out of 8 teams….nothing to get all giddy about, but we rode pretty well and got some nice beer glasses for our $150 entry fee. This year….8 teams again, so far anyway. My goal isn’t necessarily a podium, rather, I want to see if I am in better shape at this point than I was last year – so lap times will be my focus. Forecast is for 72 degrees and sun. Mmm, yeah, that’ll work!
Our two month stretch of Monday night crits was broken last night as 4 inches of snow blocked two of the four turns on the oval. I hopped on the rollers with Paris-Roubaix on the computer screen and good intentions, and managed 35 whole minutes of legitimate work. That sucked. I suck. Fuck the rollers and the trainers. I’m gonna man up and just keep going outside in either cycling gear or running gear, or snowshoe gear or snowboard gear. This indoor “trainer” does nothing for me mentally or physically.
Me, C-Dub and AA did a pretty technical loop on Saturday in Sedona, and a couple of the sections were true 10’s on my sphincter ‘puck-o-meter’. We’re not talking “no f’ing way” drops, we’re talking “hmmm, I think I could probably do that, but why don’t you go first” kind of drops. Having 29” wheels helps, but there’s still good potential for injury and AA was the smart one of us three – walking the steeps. Yeah – he may not experience the rush of clearing the drop, but damn if that rush doesn’t last too long and I start thinking about…..
…….the overall lameness of my healthcare. My policy has been whittled down, based on a fixed reimbursement from my employer, to the point where I have a $2,500 deductible and every time I go see a doc it’s almost as expensive as cash. Screw this. It’s HSA time….tax protected Health Savings Account + a cheaper policy with a 10K deductible. Pay as you go. Pay for what you use…enough of me making Blue Cross richer year after year.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
What a joke. You were never caught up at the Grand, only less behind. I've never worked so hard for so little in my life.
This morning's commute was a reminder of those times. Driving down to cover the front desk this morning, there was one car on the road. It'll be a quiet day - I can get "caught up" on some past due stuff, and my staff is home with their kids - and that feels OK to me because they appreciate it. I'll be home 'round 3pm so it's not a lost cause. In fact, me and D have a pretty sweet dinner + walk with the doggies planned.
And then, Black Friday? Screw that, I'll be on the trails tomorrow morning while the masses scramble for that $248 32" Emerson tv at Wal-Douche-Mart. Although I do have my eye on a $199 ping pong table at a local store for the garage......I'll crush you in ping pong ;)
Wednesday, November 25, 2009
Tuesday, November 24, 2009
Just as I lunged across the line, an ‘urp’ of barf came up, filled my mouth, and I swallowed it back down for fear of burning off the paint on my top tube. The gag reflex kicked in but I held off what felt like a whole hella’ lunch coming up, and I wasn’t gonna eat that entire turkey sandwich with pesto mayo twice – one bite was enough. Man – it’s hard to get that stench and acid out of your tastebuds. That was pretty much me’self telling me’self that was as hard as I could go.
Friday, November 20, 2009
The new 2010 Rig. I just got myself the "frame only" as a replacement for my completely beaten 2006 version. It cracked, legitimately. After a couple of inquiries from Fisher about how it broke - they were insinuating that I had crashed, hard - they shipped a new frame my way.
It's all pretty and shit, tempting to build up, but it's pretty ridiculous to have steel and aluminum singlespeedspeeds. Kinda defeats the point of one bike, one gear, and only one way to rock n roll.
My buddy Joel spotted the obvious crack when he was considering buying it from me...I would have never seen it because I don't look for shit like that - though now I do. One of three scenarios would have happened:
a.) I would have kept riding it from time to time and would have had an accident at some point.
b.) I would have sold it on E-Bay, shipped it to Toledo - and had somebody call me a week later with a shattered face, or if I was lucky - telling me that the frame was cracked and he wanted his money back. Either way, I lose, and a shattered face would have been a nightmare.
c.) The bike would have gone to a friend locally who wouldn't spot the crack either and it would have been lights out for him.
Lose, lose, lose. Joel's keen eye was a blessing.
Joel was the dude who broke his pelvis in two places in August. I was right on his tail when he went down, and I've never seen someone go from 25mph to -5mph in a tenth of a second. It was scary and it made me realize how small the contact patch is between your tire and the ground when you're haulin' ass. I've noticed on the last several rides I've been slowing it down a notch on the descents. Hell - it's the climbing where you win/lose xc races anyway, so maybe this is some tonic I need to ingest too. He gimped around for a week because of no insurance and finally had to go to the ER because it wasn't getting any better. 2K later, he's on the mend and should be riding again in March or April.
Selfishly, I'm excited to see his face when I drop it off with a red bow on it 'round Christmastime.
On another note, I gotta give it up to Trek/Gary Fisher. They definately own up to their products. I loved my old Rig, and would probably dig this one too, but I'm just too darn happy with my new Marin.
Wednesday, November 18, 2009
Fuck. How many years before she beats me up Snowbowl on a road bike, or down Snowbowl on a snowboard?
I gotta go practice some Madden when she goes to bed.
Monday, November 16, 2009
-One message from an old-time fraternity brother who busted my chops for showing up on FB after blasting it last year on this blog site – thanks JVC, you’re like a tape recorder of my life and always there to play back to stupid sh#t I said even 20+ years ago.
-I’m up to around 55+ “friends”, about five of which I could actually call for a no questions asked ride home from a jail cell at 2:30am on a Tuesday.
-I’ve cut links to five people without regret.
-Haven’t got the desire to write on my own page yet – That feels like walking on stage at the local karaoke bar and trying to pull off Abba’s “Dancing Queen”. I’d much rather throw it on this semi-private blog with virtually no audience whatsoever – more like walking into my living room half naked with one blind accidentally open….nothing too shocking for me and certainly not for my lesbian neighbor.
-Not one person from HS has found me, nor have I found them. It completely validates the fact that I was like a black, jagged, asteroid in a galaxy of 2,400 high school stars. Wandering aimlessly down the halls, wanting anonymity in a time when most everyone else wanted notoriety. If they had HS shootings then, I’d have been profiled to and from school just in case.
-My wife and I aren’t FB friends. We socialize with two completely different crowds. We already knew that though.
It doesn’t have me hooked, but it sure has made communication for our team a lot quicker and clearer. For that reason alone, I’m in until the next “must be on” social network comes along.
A few peeps I have run across have something like 750 friends. My wife told me about a dude on her network that has over 2,000 friends. How the? What the? If they had a clue they would hire an agent and sell their accounts to Proctor & Gamble, or Nestle, and get some kind of payback for shamelessly “friending” every molecule on the planet that they cross paths with. Friending – awesome that those nine letters became a freakin’ verb.
Hey Ellen Jo – “Your pal Celine needs friended”.
Sunday, November 15, 2009
Tuesday, November 10, 2009
I have 60 days until the AZ mountain bike race calendar starts, and that seems a bit ridiculous considering we've been riding pretty hard since March of this year. I've never been one to participate much in these early season races, but I'm feeling more compelled this year because of my personal investment in our revamped cycling team. We've never had such a strong semblance of comaraderie and having a group of guys/gals who push you on each ride is really, really fun. Age be damned, the bike is an incredible equalizer so we have dudes and chix from 25 - 60, all riding together, learning from each other, and having a good time doing it.
Last summer, after racing with JB and Big Steve, I went to their informal weekly gathering of riders on a Tuesday night in Wisconsin. The bugs were harsh, the humidity was comical, but the people were great, the riding was a blast, the brats were hot on the bonfire-like grill, and everyone chipped in to make "it" happen. It being the food, the peeps, the trail, the healthy competition, the conversation, and the good times. It stuck with me like glue. I wanted that same vibe for our team back home.
Finally, I think we're on that path. A few people's ego's were shattered when we told them we wouldn't pay them to race anymore because afterall.....we're "amateurs". A few sponsors dropped out because of the politics. And, we're better for it.
So, here it is November 10th and my usual turning point is left - towards backing off the riding, and taking it easy until it warms up in February. This year, I'm going to go straight on - and keep the throttle down for a bit to see if this new-found team camaraderie and energy dynamic can push me to a better level of fitness in January. Now that we're all in it for the right reasons, we've created our own bonfire in AZ, Wisconsin style.
Monday, November 9, 2009
I hooked up with A-man and the rest of the gang, and we caught up at the blackjack table where I lost 7 out of 8 hands in four minutes and walked away with half as much as I started with. Nice. I violated rule 1.4-6 of my casino code: NEVER play against a six deck shoe in an Indian casino with a Caucasian dealer. Then we ate a horseshit dinner at one of the two food outlets, and climbed into bed. Couldn’t sleep. They had the swim buoys out when we arrived and they looked way further out than anything I had trained for. Then I kept thinking I was short on food for breakfast, where were my socks? The wetsuit is too tight, maybe? I didn’t being enough Accelerade! and then I couldn’t get Carly Simon’s “You’re So Vain” out of my mind. Why? Jesus, I remember my Dad telling me about a panic attack he had when he was around 40’ish – just froze up in the car and couldn’t drive. Heredity is a beyotch, and I sat there in bed, wide awake, until the alarm went off at 5:30.
Over to the transition area at 6:00am where I saw more carbon and disc wheels than at a Tour De France stage. We picked our spots and I laid out all my little needs on a towel and then had to force feed myself some breakfast all the while swallowing the anxiety that came with pre-race jitters. Finally it was time to put on the wetsuit, swim cap and goggles and hit it. “GO!” Jitters/anxiety/stress – instantly gone.
In 96th place after the swim out of 130 racers in the long course, I was setting a blistering pace. Hop on the bike, and back in my element - I was passing a lot of people and that felt good, coming into the final transition in around 45th. Then, the run. 9 minute miles over a 5 mile course doesn’t do anything but get you a nice view of the tan and ripped people who just passed you. I saw some great tri-suits, and counted at least seven pairs of really nice Solomon running shoes. I just couldn’t go any faster, so I crossed the line around 75th overall. I felt pretty good, so I know I didn’t leave it all out there – but I just couldn’t figure out where to leave it….does that even make sense? I was worried about working too hard on the bike so I backed off, and then I remember feeling a bit claustrophobic in the wetsuit – and not being able to see the marina in the glaring sun, ahhh it’s all just excuses.
One thing that was Colonel Jessup style Crystal Clear was the fact that the peeps who succeed at these races are incredibly regimented with their training and gear - everyone had watches 'cept for prolly' me, and no less than 20 people asked me for my split times. Split times? Oh I get it, the swim time, bike time, and run time. No - I don't get it actually.
I’ve got a couple of options.
1.) Either commit to the tri lifestyle and hit it to compete with the upper end of my age group
2.) Ride/race bikes, run a bit with D for fun, board in the winter, play tackle football with Lyza and her friends, and swim while I’m on vacation to catch waves
#2 it is. I'll have my little Tri-suit on E-Bay tonight. There's no taint in it, so it's 'like new'.
Wednesday, November 4, 2009
Try staying at a more comfortable distance of around a 10K, and work on being………competitive. Consider making a real effort to be relevant to the race results, rather than being just another Joe who walks away with a T-shirt and a sore knee. I guarantee that the physical benefits of training hard and purposefully for a reasonable distance run will far outweigh the physical benefits/injuries that result from training moderately for an over-attended death march, all for the price of a ridiculous entry fee, an event T-shirt, a cheesy medal, and a picture for your office of you with a half-ass smile crossing the finish line in 899th place within your age group. The top 100 racers have already showered, had lunch, and caught a plane back home.
Then throw in another variable, the close or distant friend who signs up for the “team in training” marathon/walking event and solicits you for a donation to a major charity. Ahhh shit. I mean, I want to donate, I really do, and I want to support your effort, well sorta’ anyway. These big events get exposure for their causes – I know. F*ck. I just got like three of these requests from friends via national charities that fight Leukemia, Lymphoma, and heart disease. I waste time thinking about this stuff instead of just donating $15, or hitting DELETE. Instead, I lament. I must be stopped.
I know, I know, you’ll hate on me because it’s much more PC to encourage people to take on big challenges….I get it, be positive and be supportive blah blah blah blah. For some people, finishing an endurance event can change their lives for the better. Yeah, yeah, I know, I know.
However, I just can’t help feeling that competing makes you stronger in many ways than just finishing, and you can put a stamp on that $25 check you got for 3rd place in Women’s 40-49 category and mail that sucker to the Leukemia Society for good measure – without $15 of that check going to an event promoter. That’s a win-win in my book.
Monday, November 2, 2009
Sunday was 87 – screw that, back to Flag for an afternoon ride in the high 60’s – and off to a B-day party. Good weekend, all around and it was even better when I saw that Favre played like the Purple Jesus that he is, in Lambeau. Hey Packer fans – you did a beautiful job of adding to the entertainment factor. It’s just business, money, fame, and a love of the game for a guy like Favre. There isn’t any loyalty anymore in pro sports, and how didn’t you get that memo? It’s about entertainment, and that game delivered the goods.
So, it’s a Monday night crit tonight, followed by a very short run on Wednesday. That’s all I have to do this week because the Bluewater Triathlon is on Sunday. Got my little 2-piece tri-suit that's going back on E-Bay next Monday, a wetsuit - so I don’t drown on the first leg, and I think I’m good to go. The water will be 72, and the air will be 82. Plus we’re staying at a Casino on the Colorado River. So how does that situation get any better? Race in the AM with absolutely no expectations – done by 10:30am, kick it on the beach in the afternoon, watch some NFL in the evening and play $2 blackjack in flip-flops. Dude…I’m all in.
Thursday, October 29, 2009
Here’s a reprinted account of a ride I still think about nearly every month.
“Four years ago today, I rode out to Walnut Canyon for a night ride. Walnut Canyon has a lot of historical significance to it, primarily because it was home to many Native Americans. Cliff dwellings still exist, as well as sections of the canyon that you are not permitted to enter as they were/are sacred burial grounds.
I remember the night being warm, and I was riding fast, cutting through the darkness with an HID light that could pave the way for a car. It’s a 20 mile out and back ride, and I reached the half way mark after a twisty, technical drop into the mouth of Walnut Canyon. I stopped, turned off my light, looked at my watch – 10:55pm I distinctly remember, and took a couple of deep breaths and a look up at a moonless night and an abundance of stars. With shadowed 500 foot rock walls on two sides – it was sight I won’t forget.
‘ching ching’….’ching ching’. It was as if someone was maybe 50 yards away – in the darkness of the canyon – shaking chains in a semi-rhythmic pattern. ‘ching ching’…..’ching ching’……’ching ching’…… I tried to stay calm, and I did, but I had to work at it. I know full well that Walnut Canyon is less than five miles from two major freeways and local kids will drive out from town, hike down and party hard. But, it was late at night, on a schoolnight, and it’s a long way for someone to haul chains - so they could shake them………..and it was pitch freakin’ black.
‘ching ching….’ching ching’. It wasn’t stopping and it sounded like it was getting louder. My heartbeat got louder too. I turned my HID on, flipped 180 degrees and hammered up to the rim as fast as I could. A sign at the top indicated that a right would take me to the overlook and a left would take me home. I chose overlook, turned off my light, and walked carefully to the edge to surely catch a glimpse of the A-hole kids or transients who were messing with me. Darkness. Just the breeze blowing the trees. No chains. A million stars, but my heart was still racing and I remember feeling like I was being watched – from where though, I had no idea-just that sinking feeling that you're not alone.
Once again, I flipped it and was ready to wrap this ride up. ‘click’ the HID – ‘click’ again, and ‘click’ again….my light wouldn’t come on. ‘click’ again, no luck. OK – my mind is now one step away from melting down. I let my eyes adjust to the dark as much as possible, and pulled the battery and bulb connections – gave them a quick dust off – reconnect them…..’click’. The bulb came on, and I was in business. I glanced at my watch to see where I was at time-wise. 10:55pm? That was the time when I had stopped at the bottom of the canyon. My freakin’ watch had stopped?
Hauling ass, and headed for a shortcut back to town, I was ready to be home behind a locked door. I was apologizing to unknown Indians all the way home and cursing douchebag kids, when pffffffffffffffffft. Flat tire. I’m running Geax Sturdy 2.5 tires and I flat? Physically, I changed that tire calmly, but mentally I was looking over my shoulder the whole time. The winds calmly swayed the trees as I finished the repair, but no sounds of chains. I pounded the pedals home, got inside, locked the door, and told D what the hell had happened. She said off the cuff “that’s Indian Burial Ground out there”. I was explaining the part about the stop on the rim, and got a look at my watch. It said 12:05am. You gotta be kidding me. It was 25 minutes slow, but it was working again. 25 minutes was the time it usually takes me to climb out of the canyon.
Friends have offered invitations to group rides out there. Nahhh, no thanks.
Wednesday, October 28, 2009
Back at NAU in the winter of 1989 - I think, the skies dumped 24+ inches over a 12 hour span. In college, classes cancelled, nothin' to do -wait. Rottenberg has an idea. So off we go to the Woodlands Village Apartment Complex where we find the car of one of our "brothers". About 45 minutes later we had the equivalent of eight parking spaces worth of snow piled on top of his car and around the front and back. It looked like a snowplow pushed 2 feet of snow for 100 yards and then dumped the load at the edge of the lot. We payed special attention to the front and back so he had to spend a lifetime digging the little Nissan out. That wasn't enough because we wanted him to see his expression when he saw it, but it was 1am.
So we called his house and Rottenberg acted like the father of his girlfriend - demanding to speak to her. He bought it. Hook...line....sinker. When we started laughing and said we were outside he peeked out and was a full 11 on the 1-10 scale of the pissed-off-o'meter. We thought it was funnier than he did, of course, and we ended the morning out hiking in the snow convinced we were going to find the lava tube caves, 1/2 crocked on Schlitz Malt Liquor and freezing in jeans and lame jackets. We never found them, and when we went back after the snow melted we realized we were hiking about 2 miles away near volcanic cinder pits. Wrong turn, or two. Good thing DUI's weren't real big then.
Monday, October 26, 2009
3, 2, 1 GO! Heart rate went from a slightly nervous 90 to 170+ and stayed there for 30 minutes. Three ringers rode off the front immediately and I spent the whole time in a chase group of four, working our asses of for what….bragging rights or something like that? My old mountain bike did it’s job on the singletrack, but I was getting dropped when the course looped through the high school parking lot. Dropped, chase back on, dropped, chase back on until the fifth and final lap when teammate CW made a strong move on the pave’ and I just couldn’t match it. He nailed 4th and I came in about 20 seconds back in 7th. Yup – lotsa’ traffic, lotsa’ racing, and although I wasn’t nauseated at the finish, I was dizzy for about a minute until my head cleared. Then the layer of silicone jizz you get in your mouth and nose – yum – that cleared.
I think I’d be sold on cx racing in Wisco, or Portland, or back east. Out here – not so much. 65 degree temps. One cowbell, no chicks in bikinis, and nobody with beer handups. I think the cross vibe out here just ain’t what it is in the colder climates.
Thursday, October 22, 2009
Financial institutions and ‘Murkan car manufacturers aren’t the only ones that struggle. For f*cks sake, we can barely run a social cycling team without getting into it with various members from time to time. It always comes down to what’s in it for me, and what will our jerseys look like. Take those two elements out of the picture and running the team would be a breeze. Potential cash sponsors have eschewed me out of their offices/e-mail in boxes faster than hair bands left the 80’s. So – onward with a smaller budget, and the best part is that the whiners are almost gone. Afterall, when they can’t put a finger on their tangible benefits, they suddenly lose interest.
On the agenda is my first cross race - ever - this weekend. I’ve never practiced, and the only quick dismounts I do are crashes on mountain bikes. I watched a Youtube video of a cross race today, so I’m sure I’m ready to go (said with 100% sarcasm). I just want to be out competing on a sunny October day on a local course ‘cause that equals good times. So with that, I’m going to take the race as seriously as I am about preparing for it: No tighty lycra cycling costume – instead it’ll be cutoffs, t-shirt, old helmet…but with matching shades, and high socks. No cross bike either, unless I can scam one on race day. Yup, I’ll be “that guy”.
NAU homecoming is this weekend so the scene in downtown Flag will be drunks, drunks, and more drunks. I think Lyza and I will take in the football game, and call it an early evening with D after she gets home from a costume par-tay/fundraiser. Bring on the weekend, baby!
Tuesday, October 20, 2009
So I’ve been patient for 8+ years as my baby girl has evolved into the complex animal that she is now. I put a lot of racing and training goals on hold, without regret, in place of doing what I knew was right – taking care of my family when they needed me.
All of a sudden - and I mean all of a sudden, I have a daughter that digs on staying home alone for 1.5 hours while I ride or run. She enjoys going to races and hanging out with other friends and their kids, giving me an opportunity to ride with the boys – not worrying about her safety one bit. She helps race organizers with food/drinks/timing while I get to compete stress-free. The change in her mental makeup between age 7 and 8 may be subtle on the surface and complex underneath, but the change for me is monumental.
When I was in my mid-30’s, older friends spoke of their kids being grown enough to take care of themselves, and I just looked at them with tired eyes wondering how and when that happens. Sleep deprivation dulled everything for me and I just saw the vision they painted with words as a mirage. So, I rode at midnight after staying awake with a sick girl until she fell asleep. I ran at dawn so I could be back by 7:30am to give my wife a break. I showed up to many races knowing that I was a step slower and knowing I had no chance, but I kept the fire of competing front and center by….showing up.
Now I’ve got several peeps out there that are having kids soon – the 30something crowd. My friends I will pass on what was shared with me. Be patient, don’t worry about missing a training ride/run or two, take your lumps at the races and take your time with your family. Know that you’ll be back when the time is right. Rested, motivated, and with a new understanding of the importance of taking care of your body like we all didn’t when we were young.
Friday, October 16, 2009
Sedona pal JD made the drive up to Flag on Wednesday and we hit the singletrack for 3.5 hours. Actually, I rode for 3:20 and Jeff rode for 3:40 after making a left turn when I went right. I thought he was right behind me at the junction, but that wasn’t the case and he rode off down the mountain with me, realizing he went the wrong way, chasing him from about three minutes back. His 5” travel f/r Titus Super Moto is built for tech descents and JD can peg the speed so I was in a losing battle from the get go. Hiker #1 said “Yeah – the guy you’re talking about went by a few minutes ago”. Hiker #2 hated either me or bikes in general and didn’t offer the time of day much less any info on JD. JD probably knocked her doublewide ass and her bitter beer face off the trail without knowing it. So I chased, and chased, and chased, and never caught him. I took social trails home, showered, shaved, dressed, and was ready to walk out when he walked in. I was about to leave a note on his car saying “Went to work – I’m sure you’re OK, right?” I’d have never lived that one down, so we had a few laughs about it and that was that. I think we climbed over 3,000 feet and I was feeling it all over again Thursday morning.
No races until next weekend when AZ Cyclocross #1 and #2 happen. Until then - hit the trails, and drink some ales.
Tuesday, October 13, 2009
My Sedona boyz JD and the Racyz were camping up in Flag and they coaxed me into that stop at Collins’ Irish Pub. The place has something like 25 hi def 32+ inch tv’s and I’ve never seen so few people conversing in a bar – rather, focusing all their energy on the clear imagery of a lame game. The cocktail Betty’s all wear these little, but classy, “Collins Girl” black cropped T’s. Game, what game?
… I was fired up from racing bikes, and talking shit to JD and Racyz who are died in the wool Packer fans was just the ticket. JD said “Nice 5-0 start for the Vikes” I said “Ahhh, they haven’t played anybody yet”. Racyz gave me a shot on the shoulder and said “They played the Pack!” I chimed back, “Like I said…”….and on and on and on and on and on. Good times all around that made the first day of the workweek seem pretty damn fine.
Friday, October 9, 2009
Toes warm, fingers = ouch
Light wraps around the mountain
Climb = warm
Top = happy
Twisty descent = happiest
Home = coffee, food, one last spelling test for Lyza B, kiss the D, out the door
Work is calling, it’s October = fall colors = busy
Twins win tonight? I hope
F*ck the Yankees
Thursday, October 8, 2009
It was cool after work yesterday, but I grabbed Bodhi and ran a relaxed pace for about an hour on the trails. A decent ride was not an option because of time, but now that I have a couple of months of mileage on my running shoes, this running crap isn’t so bad. Half of the trees have already turned, and once the sun hit the horizon it went from 60 to 50 like the snap of your fingers. D has a race, THE race actually, on Saturday morning. It’s the most competitive running race in Flag and all the top dawg runners show up – that’s definitely one reason why I’m not racing. Lyza and I are headed out for support/cheering at the start, mid-way, and finish – then off to the desert to see the ‘Yotes. Weekend – here we come!
Wednesday, October 7, 2009
The pain of atrophy is far worse than the pain of exhaustion
Night rides, pre-dawn hikes, lung burning cold, layers, sweat, dumping layers, cold so harsh you can't stand it, but you do stand it because when you sit your ass back on your couch and the pain subsides you know you did yourself right. Of course, if your significant offers dinner, a little massage, and a happy ending - then, well, that quote doesn't mean shit.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009
Before all o’ dat, I met the boys at the race track for the Monday night crit. It was cold, so the pace was down a bit – averaging about 24.5mph per lap with a fierce headwind on the homestretch, plus there were only five of us to drive the pace. Work sucked on Monday with personnel issues, but after 40+ minutes at a high heart rate, all was forgotten. I can’t think of a better way to wash away work anxiety/pressure. We’re all getting to know each other’s strengths and weaknesses so strategy is playing a big part in how we finish. Me and JB escaped during the last lap of the second crit, I led him out with a 2 sec lead and he took it to the line. That was a nice way to finish the evening.
Well, actually, Brett Favre’s 3-TD performance against the Pack was the capper. Brett could be on his way to a Disney Movie ending to his career. Man, I’ve waited my whole life for a Vikes Super Bowl win, and so far – so good.
Friday, October 2, 2009
With that in mind, I pulled my carcass out of bed just after sunrise, put on the Red Rock spandex clown kit, and opened the garage door to the coldest fucking air I have breathed since…….March? 27 degrees felt like seven degrees. Fortunately, it’s all uphill at the start of nearly any ride in Flagstaff. Fork locked out, standing and swaying – 20 minutes later my two middle toes came back to life, and at the top of today’s climb, my fingers were half warm too. Fortunately, the sun had cleared the side of the mountain by then and it was pretty nice the rest of the way. My new ride was tight, and I rolled it until I had to ride home to get to work on time. Bummer….I was feelin’ good this morning.
The gears are moving on our 2010 season for our cycling team. Sponsors are coming together, new kits are shaping up, we douched the d-bags from the team, and picked up some happy, willing, and fast new riders. I think it’s gonna’ be a good year. I’ll be 43, but I’m faster now than when I was 25. Here’s to keepin’ that goin’. Several weekend rides are on the docket, including one with D on her new Marin bike, as well as me providing support for a mountain scramble run on Sunday morning. That consists of driving to the top of Mt. Elden in somebody’s suburban, handing out drinks and food, and driving back down. Plus I get a cool PBR-like t-shirt for volunteering. Then the Monday night crit with two new riders. Oh, and I hope Favre lights the Cheeseheads up for 3 TD's and a rushing TD to boot. Just livin’ the dream baby.
Wednesday, September 30, 2009
It was fascinating to watch a pool of 90 somewhat randomly selected portential jurors whittled down based on the experiences of the individuals, court requirements, and the needs of both sets of lawyers. The molestation part clearly agitated many prospects, and close to 25 individuals requested to meet in private with the judge and the attorneys. One by one, they were excused - many close to tears on their way out of the courtroom. It was a stark reminder to me that a lot of that horrible shit goes on in this world. It was also a reminder than nobody is really all that squeaky clean - and we all have issues. You should have heard some of the misdemeanors that were vetted as part of the process.
By 3:30pm I was thinking I might actually be selected as we were down to 28 and they were selecting 14 from that pool. However, the last question the defense attorney asked was "Do you have children under the age of 21? If so, how many and what are their ages". My 8 year old girl clearly got me DQ'd from the final selection - thank you Lyza. It was a 4-5 day criminal case and I wasn't all that interested in hearing molestation testimony from a 9 year old girl. Although I think I could have been an unbiased juror, it was just something I would rather not be selected for.
As the names were read off, the two people to my right and my left were chosen. I got tapped on the shoulder by a lady behind me who said "you are lucky!". The final 14 consisted of mostly males, age 45-60, very few currently raising kids, very few having grand kids, and six of them never having kids or having been married. I think the defense did a great job of getting who they needed on that jury panel.
I guess I walked out of there thinking about the process, the people who left the courtroom clearly distraught over what had been done to them or what they had experienced with regards to sexual abuse, and really just how rampant that sick behavior is. I also felt that the selection process was extremely fair and that the burden is definately on the State, as it should be. I also felt lucky to have been raised in our family. As crazy as some of us are, abuse would never enter the picture.
Ugh, heavy shit. Maybe I can get out of here a wee bit early and get a run in before dark...
Tuesday, September 29, 2009
I worked flat-out, as hard as I could - blew a few tactical moves, but made up for 'em with some well timed accelerations to stay on the wheel of the one MTB pro in the group who was cool enough to work with the rest of us instead of trying to kill us. End result, a good night at the races, thousands of calories burned, and just a great time with no crashes. We did one 25 minute session, and a 20 minute session that left everyone torched.
Off to Jury Selection this morning. I don't think I'll purposely disqualify myself, but if I see an opportunity I'll take it.
Monday, September 28, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
Tomorrow is all set, I think. 15 mile warm up road bike ride from home out to the Nordic Center by 7:30am. Footrace starts at 8:00, and will end for me around 8:45. Socialize a bit, have some snacks, and ease on home with Lyza B in tow. I hope she decides to run the Kids Kilometer. She might just surprise me and toe the line.
Happy Birthday to my brother from another mother Ellsie. He's 39, but he looks like a young George Clooney. Hair a little whiter. Wallet a little lighter. Fitness a little tighter.
Thursday, September 24, 2009
Fortunately, I ran into a guy I have played racquetball with several times. He's a veteran of many open water swim races, and after 45 minutes of instruction, barking orders, and motivational yells, I was gassed. I think he took it upon himself to kick my ass in the pool like I went and gone done on to him on the court. Paybacks are a bitch, but I learned more in those 45 minutes about swimming than I have in my life. I think I can take his techniques and squeeze out a 1K swim if I can stay at it for the next six weeks. The good news is, I'll probably see him at the pool 1-2 times a week, so the ass kicking/learning has just begun. Believe me, I can only get better.
D roped me into a 10K this weekend on Saturday. We'll see how that goes. I'll be the one guy with long shorts, cheap running shoes, and a cycling industry t-shirt. I have to say I'm digging the diversity after 5 years of just riding bikes.
Wednesday, September 23, 2009
Lyza and I went over to her school bookfair last night for the annual “soak the parents” fundraiser. Books are a minimum of $8 a pop, they have $5 posters of Cardinals players, and little things like twisty erasers and felt pencils. I realize it’s a fundraiser for the school, but I always walk out of there feeling like I just got out of the health food store with a ½ bag of groceries for $75. After that, dinner and homework and a little time on Napster with Lyza getting into Van Halen songs from 25+ years ago. Cool by me. I’m clearly becoming my father because I hate most of today’s music.
I think I wrote last week about a riding buddy who took a hard – and I mean HARD – fall right in front of me a couple of weekends back. I talked to him last night and he hasn’t seen a doctor because he doesn’t have health insurance, he can’t pay for an x-ray because he’s been out of work for 11 months, he has too much pride to walk into an emergency room and ask for help because he knows he’d be a burden on the system, and right now he can only walk with a cane for short spans. That’s f’d up. I gotta get help this guy. There’s a sliding income scale clinic that I hope he’ll agree to go to tomorrow. I may have to threaten futher bodily harm if he ruffles his pride feathers one more time. I don’t know the answer to changing healthcare, Obama doesn’t either, and the GOP SUCK for the way they have approached the points of contention – but there has to be some sort of starting point and then you make adjustments from there. Why can’t we “Rodney King” this issue and just start moving forward; and correct mistakes along the way? As if someone or some party is going to write a perfect bill/solution the first time around. I hate politics.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009
I took the dog and the daughter on a run last night – Lyza was pulling me by half-wheeling me on her Trek – so I ran a little harder than I probably should have. The 6am ride this morning felt OK, so hopefully I’ll be back to ground zero by this weekend. I need to get to that 6 hour mark on the singlespeed at 75% effort if I want to finish the Tour of the White Mountains with any shred of dignity. Right now, I think I could throw down a solid 4-hour effort, but I have a ways to go to be competitive from hour 4-6.
Business is picking up exponentially at work which feels sooooooooo good. We’ve had a hard-fought summer and it’s nice to see things flipping around a bit. My internet marketing knowledge has made more progress than anything resembling an improvement in bike racing skills, and I have to believe that is a good thing. ‘Cause, “at the end of the day”, racing bikes doesn’t put a whole lot of food on the table.
It’s Tuesday and I’m already feeling the pressure cooker this week. Days have 12.5 hours of light and if I work 8, commute 1, that doesn’t leave much left ‘cept for the 37 degree hour from 6am – 7am. My fingers are still a little numb at 10am. The hardman athletes in this town keep me motivated because no matter how much faster you get, they are always there to kick your ass on any given Sunday.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Ancient Chinese proverb proved to be true once again: “Get peopre behind keyboard and they tark tough….get them to tark in person and they are a rot nicer”.
The team is full steam ahead for 2010 with a new course aimed at strengthening our core group of racers. Now, if I could just get past this cold my lovely blonde daughter gave me, I could start training again. I’m three weeks away from the Tour of the White Mountains and I have a long way to go to get ready.
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Running a local social club/cycling team can deflate the joy of looking forward to my next spin, and on occasion, it occupies my mind on a ride. That is bad. I need the stress release to function normally, and thinking about local politics on a ride doesn’t sit well with me.
Recently, we (myself and two other “Board Members”) restructured our team for 2009, and promptly forced a split in the team that we were prepared for. 12 riders are in favor of our new direction, 8 are against, and 10 are completely indifferent or didn’t even care enough to respond. The sticking point is race reimbursements. We want to eliminate them completely, and the 8 opponents want to be paid to race. So, the choice is pretty clear for the 8 – and there are three of them:
1.) buy into the new structure and stay on board
2.) leave the team
3.) get a group together of existing team members and we’ll hand over the keys to a new Board.
Simple as that. The showdown, goes down, downtown, tonight at 7:30pm. I really don’t care all that much about how it shakes down so long as the decision falls into the above listed choices. I’m going to pull my best Samuel L. Jackson impression and try, try real hard, to be a good Shepherd - instead of losing my cool and calling out some of the people there that I strongly disagree with. The perfect scenario would be that we keep the team in our control, the party of 8 buys in, and we ease on down the road. #2 would be to hand over the keys to the team, quit, and then promptly start a new team with our group of 12. #3 would be we keep the team, everybody stays, and then the disgruntled ones backstab us in the community over their dissatisfaction. It’s happened every year, so……..yeah, not fun.
We could be dicks and just kick ‘em out…..but then I remember that we’re 40 year old adults and that seems a bit High Schoolish. Nope – I think its best to put the decision in their hands and accept it. I wouldn’t even wager on the outcome because I honestly have no idea how it’ll end up.
Here we go…….
Monday, September 14, 2009
Bummer news on a Monday night - well we need a shift here so, check this out. I think Page 5 features a wedding in the lawn/garden department. Can you imagine what that would cost at Target? A fortune! I'm kind of torn between making fun of people who really don't know any better, but I'm not above making fun of the rest. Wow.
Me and the boys hit the crit course after work for two 25 minute races at full throttle, and I know I had a great time. CW, JB, AA, Sully and me worked about as hard as we could and now I'm home stuffing my face to make up the calorie deficit. I'd love to make it a 3x monthly event so the MTB race season that starts in October will be all that much more fun and fruitful.
Thursday, September 10, 2009
I rolled in the garage at 7:18 and was treated to a fabulous dinner of spinach/eggs/english muffins by Chefs Dana and Lyza B at the "Bon Appetit Cafe". Lyza loves to create the menu, get me seated, start with an appetizer, and finish with dinner and dessert. If you pick the wrong item on the menu, Lyza the waiter will guide you to the right selection. At Bon Appetit, the menu may have five choices, but you really have only one - what's in the skillet.
Got a hold of the Hardman on the road back into town and he had a late start and never made it up near Sunset. Good thing - because it was dicey coming home. I can't believe how much light we have lost over the last month. Any post-work ride now is 1.5 hours max. I briefly eyed my rollers when I got home, but quickly looked away. No way I'm touching a trainer until at least November.
Tuesday, September 8, 2009
Sidenote – If a triathlete shows up at your group road ride, don’t ride anywhere near him. He’ll take 20 people down with him on a straightaway without even trying, and maybe even the whole group on a turn.
Back to the weather – it caused a power outage at the resort which resulted in p-o’d people and discounting that hurt an already slumped weekend. Sunday was gorgeous and instead of playing, I picked up my daughter – worked for a few hours with her in tow, and drove down to Rottonwood, I mean Cottonwood AZ for a fantasy football draft. Live drafts = fun. Computer drafts online = boring. Everyone was shitfaced ‘cept for me because they had all been golfing while I was at work. LIT UP like the 4th and I was like the teetotaler at a wedding who just wasn’t having quite as much fun. However, It was great to rip everyone and listen to their drunken pathetic comebacks. Anyway, I walked out of there with what looks like a good team on paper. It always does, until about week 4 when you realize it’s all luck and then skill in picking up free agents who are performing well. Hopefully I’ll net some holiday cash. Monday? Work – full day and squeaked out 1 hour on the new ride before dark. When I got home, I stripped the bike with the cracked frame and put the carbon bling on my new ride. Pics to follow as soon as I charge my camera.
One thing is for sure. You won’t catch me on an aluminum bike ever again unless it’s someone else’s. Aluminum is for cans of PBR and Tecate.
This week? Kids, dogs, and running and swimming before work. It’ll be October 3rd next time I wake up at mile 40 of a 60 mile off road race in the White Mountains saying “I feel like sh*t and I’m bonking because I’ve been swimming and running instead of riding….. and exactly why am I training for a triathlon when I hate swimming except to go grab a wakeboard or to get over to a swim-up-bar in Puerto Vallarta, and I can barely tolerate running and the stupid little shorts that those toothpick, twitchy, stopwatch OCD guys are into. It's because Chelsea talked some sh*t and threw the challenge out there. Here we go.
Saturday, September 5, 2009
This was my 2006 Rig....The crack, 5/8 of the way around the top tube, was discovered by a buddy who was going to buy it from me.
There was definately a reason that I didn't know about that prevented me from racing last weekend. That would have been one monster faceplant if that tube had given out.
A new frame is on the way From Fisher/Trek, 3 weeks....could I get lucky and get a Superfly?
Wednesday, September 2, 2009
The frame matches my Labrador – Jamochafudge Brown, with all black components, rims/spokes/hubs. It's a big-boy bike, but the steel tubes are subtle. It's 4130 Cro Mo lean - but not light, and I can just tell that it'll motherf*ckin’ rail the motherf*ckin’ snakes in the motherf*ckin’ singletrack. I need a couple of hours to dial it in - convert her to tubeless, and dial in the measurements. It’s been 3 years since I’ve had a new bike, and me and Jamochafudge have a lot of adventures ahead of us.
Thursday, August 27, 2009
After four days of kids, dogs, watering plants, working, and cooking -Suzie Domestic here is headed out into the hills tomorrow morning before work on the SS. Just 50 minutes will do wonder for my psyche. The new steel ride arrives Friday afternoon, it'll get built up this weekend, and I intend on rolling it out on the team ride on Monday night.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
It all started many years ago when I ran the Whiskey 50 half marathon in Prescott off the couch. I’d been running occasionally and was riding occasionally and figured what the hell, 2 hours max – how hard can that be? I didn’t even look at the course profile. Tuned out to be 6.5 miles way up and 6.5 miles way down. It kicked my ass – the descent to the line was the worst part. The end result was 3 days of walking like a duck, followed by a slight tick in my knee from time to time that makes me wince – and has stayed with me ever since. Nice training dillweed, why don’t you write a book and preach your tried and true methods?
So if Gephyrophobia is the fear of knees, then I’d say I suffer more from something along the lines of messedupgephryophobia. The good thing is, I’m half smart, and I won’t resume riding until it goes away. Coincidentally, for many lame reasons, I still have half of a half barrel of PBR beer in my trunk - left over from last weekend. 7.75 gallons = 992 ounces = 82.67 cans of beer. Hmmm. Cross season doesn't start for a month and I don't even ride cross, so I could conceivably finish that keg. Hmmm.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
A new section of the Arizona trail opened recently and finally, today, I had a chance to ride it. I needed a guide, so I recruited AA to lead me. He had been out the week prior and had the beta on where, and when to turn and when to go straight. The Arizona trail goes from Mexico to Utah or vice versa, and it is nearly complete. We were just doing a short portion of this scenic monster. We dropped a car on the west side of the Peaks where we would end this one-way fun fest. Out and back would be a 7+ hour commitment and over 7,000 feet of climbing on a one gear bicicletta. No thanks - I like suffering, but I don't want to get home and immediately go into the fetal position until 6am on Monday or worse yet be escorted home by Search and Rescue.
From town, it's a hurtful climb, but not extreme - and once we got to the high elevation mark of around 9 thou, everything flowed mostly downhill. Aspen groves, huge Ponderosa stands, and non-stop singletrack for 20+ miles. Roughly three hours later, we spotted my not so cherry red Kia parked at an abandoned shack on a less traveled road. I didn't lose the keys, it started, and those two things are always good where you're out in the middle of BFE. No traffic other than truck driving hosses who hate guys in lycra, no phones, no water, no pfucking around unless you really want a story to tell. I'm fine with this little chapter, thank you very much.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
One of my teammates is an NAU professor and he's had WAY too much time to train this summer. Last evening, me, CW and Professor Alex took off on a semi-tough loop and the Prof had me (and CW) frothing at the mouth with an off/on sidecramp and my heartrate never falling below 168 for nearly an hour. I hung on to his wheel, but barely, and only got away from him on the tech downhills. After it was over I was thinking about how great of a training ride it was, because I felt like a worthless pot of overcooked pasta by 10pm.
Apres ride, we figured out what the heck to do with our team for 2010. It's not going to make everyone happy because we're pulling race reimbursement cash in favor of looking for a group of guys/gals who want to just ride for the sake of riding, spend time together as riders and families, and still have nice riding gear and industry discounts. Sounds simple, but everyone has an agenda.
I'm headed in to observe my daughter's 3rd grade teacher tomorrow. I've got a few concerns since she is a new teacher, but I'm trying not to be one of those smothering knee jerk parents who pulls their kids out of classes and demands another teacher. I don't ever remember even having that option as a kid - you got what you got and you didn't make a fuss. Daddy douche bag sittin' in the back row "evaluating" a teacher based on what exactly? - As if I know jack shit about teaching. I guess I'll just have to go with my gut feeling.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
1.) Back in February, our team shop put out the word that anyone, I repeat anyone, on our racing team could get employee pricing on said brand
2.) I saved some money up this spring/summer, and I have a bike to sell too
3.) I called the shop in July and said “is the deal still good?” They said “SURE!”
4.) I filled out a 7-question bio form that included what was obviously a “you better answer ‘yes’ to this” question: “Do you have a Myspace or Facebook page?”
5.) I quickly resuscitated a Facebook page and got my first friend today – thanks CW…he even wrote on my wall and everything!
6.) New ride and gear should be here late this week or early next
They didn’t even ask for information about race results, so, I included some just because I felt they must have just forgotten to ask – I mean the question probably just got deleted when the form was cut/pasted one too many times, right? I mean I’d totally go pro if I had more talent, a higher threshold for pain, didn’t work, and didn’t have a daughter to take care of so I could train all the time. I’d even get a euro-style blonde tipped fauxhawk for any team photo.
Yeah, it’s definitely my kind of deal – NSA deals are always the best. But from a narcissistic perspective I kinda’ wanted them to expect me to be better than I really am. But, “at the end of the day” it’s better this way because I’d fold like a lawn chair if the pressure were really on.
I just want to ride a good bike at a nice price, and support the shop that I spend a good chunk of my discretionary income at. That’s about it. And – that’s what I got. The only real problem is that I ended up with a Facebook page. Now I need some friends.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Quick shower, and then I raced downtown to sneak into the last 15 minutes of D's cooking class at the Seasoned Kitchen. I got introduced as the husband - said hello to the group - and promptly started shoving my face full of spinach/mushroom quiche and zucchini cookies. Mmmmm.
Holy crap - Favre is a Viking. I don't know if I should crash my bike off a cliff or celebrate.
Sunday, August 16, 2009
What triggered it even more so that that event, was playing football with Lyza on Friday night. A few sprints, a few tackles, and a few leaps to catch the Nerf ball left me feeling like I was 80 years old when I woke up Saturday morning. Time for a change. Speaking of change.....
I have a new ride on the way. It's made of steel, it has one gear, and it's spec'd pretty well. Hydraulic brakes, carbon bars/stem/seatpost, strong wheelset, and a Reba fork with all the bells and whistles. Pics to follow on Friday or Monday. In the meantime I spent 45 minutes tuning my Rig and it made a huge difference. I took it up a couple of climbs today to see where I'm at fitness-wise, and things worked out pretty well. I think I'm still a notch down from where I was in late July - but I'm not getting paid to ride so who gives a shit. I hope to ride with Wilkens tomorrow - haven't seen the guy in a few weeks and his new Kona 29'er is sweet.
Our cycling team is crumbling before my eyes. Nobody wants to step up and take over, and It's a lot of work. I'm not hype about helping keep the show running anymore. I just wanna be selfish for once and ride - just ride. I gotta do some thinking about this.
Friday, August 14, 2009
The Rig is beat…
This morning I went out with my bud Hardman – leaving his garage ‘round 6am. It’s always nice to ride with this guy. He’s got the best bikes, and an attitude about biking and being outside that matches his passion for frames/forks/wheels/accessories. We made our way up into the foothills on tacky soil and screamed back to town before anyone was out. It’s one of the quietest rides I can remember as the air was completely still.
Sully fixed my taco’d wheel last night before the ride this morning and it rode well. He said “I don’t recommend a person of your size riding on this wheel much longer”. Followed by “It’ll taco or you’ll blow a few spokes and it’ll cave under the weight – faceplant material for sure”. Followed by “When I worked at the bike shop we put these wheels on the cheap bikes and they aren’t designed to last long – plus they are shit-ton heavy”. There’s nothing like being told the wheelset you have ridden on, raced on, and used for 3+ years is a complete piece of shit. Considering the entire bike was barely over $1,000 brand new back in ’06 – I should have expected it.
Time for a new ride.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009
There is so much douche out there that you don’t even have to look around to find it. In the last few days I’ve seen -
Leaving town at 6:30am I look to my right at a little tatted guy in the grocery store parking lot with the proverbial construction worker goatee, driving a huge Dodge Ram with a Confederate flag textured into the rear window glass
Picking up my lunch today, a group of four corporate guys dressed in dockers, and logo’d polos with bigger guts than their brains talking about banging chicks at the last tradeshow over plates of Mexican food
While fixing a wi-fi connection for one of our owners, in the background I hear that loudmouth Jim whatshisface from the cable show Mad Money
The too-tan euro-trash roadie in a mint condition Mapei kit who races down 89A – a road with the equivalent of a painted white line for a shoulder and no passing lanes, cliff on one side, abyss on the other – with only his slicked back hair protecting whatever he has for a brain
Can’t wait to wake up tomorrow and see what else qualifies.
Instead, I'll probably follow the live updates online and amble on up there one of these years to compete - did I just say 'compete'? What I meant was I want to ride in this classic. Finishing that beast in under 9 hours is a pretty fine achievement. The big guns could crack 6:30 this year. I've attempted to get in to this race only once, and I didn't make the lottery selection. I think I'll try and do it for my 50th birthday.
Work has been owning my ass ever since I got back from Wisco. How-ev-a, things will lighten up this weekend and going forward into mid-August. Actually, things lighten up tomorrow morning as I'll find 3 hours to shred the forest from 6am-9am before heading down the mountain to the sawmill. Summer has peaked here - but the traces of fall (45 degree mornings, slightly shorter days, changing vegetation) are welcomed by me. Time to get the hot tub going again, and maybe put the fleece jacket on the coathanger.