Monday, March 30, 2009

Tour of Flanders

My all time favorite bike race, and one that I have never seen live, is this Sunday in Belgium. Thanks to Youtube and DVD's, I have seen highlights from years past. All the top dogs are there this weekend except for Ballan and Cancellara. Of course, since Lance Armstrong doesn't compete in the Spring Classics, there is no chance in hell of this race getting live TV coverage in the good ol' US of A.

Speaking of Mr. Armstrong, it seems as though time has caught up with supposedly the ONLY top cyclist from the late 90's and early 2000's not to have doped. Everyone else was jacked up on EPO, but Lance beat them all to the top of countless mountaintop finishes with diet and exercise. Uh huh. If you still have your head in the sand and believe that he played clean - then I bet you have an "I Believe Tyler" T-shirt in your closet.

Yup - Mr. role model for clean cycling took a big fall last week, shattering his collarbone in 4 places. Ouch. I don't wish that kind of result on anyone, even a cocky American who continues to profess that he was better than everyone with.....drum roll and exercise. Maybe he'll make a comeback, maybe not, but don't think he'll show up on any podiums this year. Afterall, diet and exercise only get you so far.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Hangin' On

The Saturday morning group ride got a little shot in the arm yesterday as a few dudes showed up with Cat 3 and Cat 2 licenses. Up until this week, things have been pretty 'early season tame' as temps have been cold and it's been windy. I showed up ready to ride, motivated.....but quickly realized that I'd be putting in a hard effort just to stay in the main group. After a 30 minute warm-up and a pee break, the pace quickly went up despite a headwind and I hung on doing my fair share of the work until the 'steps'. Big Steve, Ellsie, they know the steps. Three hills that seem like nothing much when you're riding solo, but at that group pace they hurt me in a big way. I fell off the back and was the last one up about a minute back. "How about a side of humble pie with your morning coffee, sir. Thank you, I'd love a slice". My tweaked hand had nothing to do with it. I was in a pack of guys who are more fit than me - no rhetoric or excuses there.

On the way back, I rode with a teammate and we just pacelined with a tailwind. The only victory I had all day was riding him off my wheel on my last pull and putting a good 50 yard gap on him.....we coasted into town and I was greeted with that post-effort wheezing, cough that only a good workout gives. 45 miles, 24mph average pace, and a wheezing cough.

Villanova made it to the Final 4, so my pipe dreams of winning a couple of basketball pools are still alive. The payoff will pretty much be all or nothing. If 'Nova wins, I win...if they lose, I get squat.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Today was a good day...

Woke up early, 'round the crack o' 5
down to work fast - no traffic, nice drive
back up to Flag 'late mornin' stop
to the surgeon's office, in I drop

"that ain't no tear and your bones OK
who was readin' this MRI and these X-Rays?
Here's a steroid shot man, and be on your way

Put down some Ibuprofin for the next two weeks
Get your ass in a PT limits from me
Ride your bike
slam the racquetball
get out there motherf*cker just don't crash the wall"

Smilin ear to ear and I'm on my way
Mortgage broker calls, got some things to say
Re-fi went through, sign the docs next week
Sub 5 rate is locked in - sweet!
Dude - mildly amused - then he opens his trap
"just sign the fu*kin' docs so I can get pay for my 'Vette"

In my world full of shitburgers, I pigged out on hot fudge sundaes today.
Today Was A Good Day - Ice Cube

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


...from the bone/joint doc to the same orthopedic surgeon who fixed me up before.  The MRI says no broken bones, rather, a torn ligament.  Out patient surgery in maybe a week or so - a few stitches inside and out, probably 4-weeks immobilized and I'm back mother f*cker.  April is totally shot, but by Memorial Day I'll be as good as new.  In fact - I'm going to put a goal out there to ride the Iron Horse Classic in Durango on Mem Day Weekend as a carrot to stay on my road bike.  The Flagstaff group ride is heating up.  Start time moved back to 9am and there were 22 riders last weekend.  I'm gonna go get me some group training this Saturday morning. Ain't no better training than that kind you get from riding with people who are faster than you.  That ride leaves me pretty much on my ass the rest of the day. 

I was going through the checkout line at the ol grocery store with a 30 pack of Tecate, limes, and ice cream - diet of champions, I know.  I look to my left and the Globe had a pathetic picture of an emaciated Patrick Swayze on the cover.  F*ck those f*ckin tabloid f*cks.  That's shameless "journalism".  Give the guy a goddamn break - he's fighting pancreatic cancer.  All I can say is those profit driven f*cks at the Globe better watch their karma meters - you shovel too much shit and you'll be covered in a landslide of it yourself sooner than you know it.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Coach K

I wrapped up a catch-up call last week with one Johnny V. Chang this morning, aka Coach K because he's a spittin' image of Duke's stalwart hall of fame coach. This kid - I mean he's not really a kid 'cause he's closing in on 40 - is still to this day one of 'those guys'. You know he'd always be there for you when you went "all in", and loyalty is his middle name.

Coach K somehow managed to attain Active status in our fraternity despite a meltdown on night 2 of Hell Week, he battled chronic fatigue which I'm sure wasn't helped by downing pint after pint and shot after shot night after night, and he still managed to scrape his ass off of the puke-stained fraternity house - getting his undergrad in 6 or so years. Coach K now? Active duty in the Coast Guard, finishing his second Masters Degree - this one from Johns Hopkins, and he's got a bow-hunting smokin' hot wife from Canada. Her maiden name was Molson, so she's loaded. I made that up, but that would have been awesome if it were true. Although he loves Rush Limbaugh, voted for Bush twice, tried to bang my sister in college, banged Kenny's sister in college, and mised wide right in a soccer game against the PIKES back in '88 that kept us out of the Championship game, I can look past all that. Hope to see you this fall Johnny.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Livin' It Up

Out the door at 8am on Sat in 40 degrees for 1.75 hrs on the roadie with a nice splint for my hand. It worked great, but I lost a couple of fingers in the cold. They came back to life in that hateful -sort of semi-unfrozen way finally warming up when I got to my driveway. Quick lunch, down to Phoenix to get my daughter - and it's 87 degrees. The McSheffrey's Pool was 86 degrees. That's what I'm talkin' bout. Salmon, properly decantered Pinot and I was fat, lazy, and enjoyin' some good conversation. Rottenberg rolled by with Wife and Kids and it was a great evening.

That's my last trip to Phoenix for a while. It'll be too hot in a month and the whole place just catches on fire. Time for some payback weather up here in cool country. Of course - that means yardwork, staining my deck and fence etc....I wish I could outsource that sh*t.

Friday, March 20, 2009

Heart Attack

I spent no more than about 15 minutes filling out my NCAA bracket and ante'd up $45 for two separate pools. One has 20 entries with a grand prize of $450, and the second pool has 222 entries with a grand prize of something stupid like $3,000. So - I went for a semi-longshot in Villanova. When I came home from work last night and was getting ready for racquetball they were down by 14 in the second half to American University. American what? I turned off the wi-fi...went to the courts...played Luis for an hour and 15, checked the score and they had won by 13. Whew! A first-round bow out would have been a total shitburger.

This morning I took a nap for 40 minutes while the MRI machine scanned my wrist. The assistant put on a little Mozart and I was out cold. See ya next Tuesday Doc, and we'll know the full scoop then.

Milan-San Remo is on Saturday. Check it. Lance is downplaying his interest in the race, yet he has an entire Astana team of henchmen to help him. Lance the man, I ain't no fan - but I wouldn't wager against him and he's always fun to watch. Boonen, Napolitano, Cavendish, Flecha, Rebellin, O' Grady, Pozzatto - they'll all be there near the end of this one. Too bad Ballan and Cancellara are out of action or it would truly be a heavyweight battle.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

F'd Up

That ride last weekend left me with a very sore left hand the last 10 miles. Swinging a golf club at a range with Juanski on Sunday - I felt a little tick in my hand on every swing and didn't have as much power as I usually do. So off to the doc today.....

Damn - X rays came back as 'positively inconclusive', but the doc then said 'oh you'll be in a cast'. Great. I get the ol' MRI on Friday Am for confirmation and then probably a cast next Tuesday. It looks like a broken scaphoid. The last time I broke one of these it was in my right hand and I was out of action for 5 months following surgery - then left with an atrophied stick for a right arm, and I actually took up the worst hobby on the planet besides methe addiction - running.

The good news is that you can ride a road bike with a short arm cast. Here's to praying its a short arm cast. Who am I kidding. the last time I prayed, it involved more of a life/death situation - so I better save my prayers for situations that really mean something. Here's to the power of positive thinking willing me a short arm cast for 6 weeks or less. Either way - it pretty much wipes out my April racing calendar which featured four great events - State Series Races #5 and #6, Dawn 'til Dusk in Gallup NM, and the Whiskey 50 in Prescott. Another way of looking at it is I just saved $350 in entry fees/travel/food. So I'm buying a new Espresso machine to celebrate the savings. Glass is half full, right Sheck?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

All that you SHOULD leave behind....

The new U2 cd sucks. Every big name critic is kissing Bono’s ass on this traveshamockery of a cd and I don’t get it. I’ve spent 4 hours of time I’ll never get back trying to ‘get’ this collection of 11 songs to make sense in my head and other than 2 songs, the whole pile of plastic and paper is a flaming Bananas Foster fiasco. If I were in the CIA and some guys captured me crossing the Suez canal with plans to nuke some country over there – and then tortured me with this new CD and excluded tracks 3 and 5, I would tell the interrogator everything about everything until they made it stop. If they played Coldplay, I would hang myself with dental floss.

You can have my copy for the low, low price of $2.00+ shipping which will give me enough money to download the two tracks I liked.

French Fry Cyclists

Cycling media always make fun of French cyclists because they can’t win anything that means something. They have the Tour de France in their backyard and the last time a French Fry won it – well – nobody really remembers – maybe Laurnet Fignon? Anyway, everyone jokes about French riders searching the race calendar looking for the easiest races, just so they can claim VICTORY!

Anyway, I felt like a French cyclist on Saturday as I lined up for the start of the Phoenix American Diabetes Tour de Cure road “race”. I woke up at 5am, stopped at IHOP and put down a breakfast bigger than any man has ever eaten. I didn’t even make it out the restaurant without stopping for a 10 minute rest room break as the walk from my table to the cashier got my GI moving faster than the Colorado River during spring run off. Back in the car, drive to the venue and to the line. I found our corporate teammates, and one of them didn’t have his race number on yet – Goooooooo! Screamed the City Council Loudmouth, while we sat there getting him pinned up. A minute after the gun, we departed – staying together at a very, very, very, very relaxed pace on flat roads of around 13mph. Well, after a half hour of social talk, corporate talk, and gobbledegawk, we were probably 10 places from last on the road. 400 people started. Nice…..I said my good byes at that point and hit the gas to a steady pace of 20-21mph for the next two hours.

First I passed the discount store mountain bike crowd with sheepskin seats, cotton t-shirts, and Camelbaks. This group proves that anyone can ride a bike 62 miles. ANYONE. Next, I rode up on the entry level road bike riders with crazy posture, low seats, and bags dangling from their seats with enough rations for a 3-course meal for the 3rd infantry in Iraq. Then came the group of 50+ age men who were pacelining at 17.5mph on $10,000 DeRosa’s and cusom fit Serotta’s. These guys are never very friendly. Next came a wave of guys on time trial bikes wearing anything from skinsuits to baggy shorts. These clowns were pushing huge gears on the flats and were sure to burn out well before the finish. At the ½ way mark I finally reached a group that I could only describe as moderate talent overachievers. These guys were working wayyyy too hard to early, but they were not going to be denied a 100th place finish if their lives depended on it. Finally I caught the front of the group. Speaking of working too hard, I was starting to fade a bit having skipped every aid station and running on a nearly empty bucket of IHOP food.

Fading, and fading some more, I saw what looked like a mirage of red jerseys so I punched it until I caught on. It was the lead group riding a steady pace in Diabetes jerseys with Colavita shorts. This national team had raised buckets of cash for the event so they were leading the race to the finish line. Since I had raised nothing, and was only here because my company threw in the $150 minimum entry fee – I assumed my position at the back of the group and coasted home. I could have pulled a French cyclist move and punked them at the line while they weren’t even expecting it. Instead I finished anonymously in a pack of 20 riders where I rightfully belonged. It was a good day on the bike.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Week 2 - Racquetball

A busted-up left wrist can't keep me off the court, so I headed over this evening to battle Big Dave, Medium Dave, and Lefty Mike.  Big Dave has dropped 12 pounds in the last month, and all of a sudden the dude's got game.  He's always had a Howitzer right arm, so throw in some new-found quickness and I was quickly behind 1-4.  Enough of that...time to run his ass around.  Left - right - lob shot to the back - dink to the front corner.  His Coolmax shirt was soaked and I was outta there after a couple of games without any welts on my ass or leg from his missiles.  Whew.  He would win this league every time if he could drop 40 pounds.  That ain't gonna happen, so I'm good for the foreseeable future.

Medium Dave is the 'racquetball coordinator' for the club - meaning he's a mid-level player with a love for the game.  He also plays a guitar like a pro and teaches Lyza once a week - small town, ya know?  We threw it down for a game, and the key to beating Medium Dave is keeping it light....laughing every now and then, complimenting him on his shots - and before he knows it he's having a good time but he gets behind and its over.

Lefty Mike is a son of a bitch.  Fast, loves to play defensive ceiling ball all night, and out of nowhere can get on a roll by controlling the middle of the court and forcing you to the back by cutting off your angles.  He got off to a good start on me, so I drilled a ball into his back - apologized - walked off the court for some water, and resumed whizzing shots close to him until he started shying away from the middle which opened up crosscourt shots for me.  Crosscourt, down the line, cross court, down the line.  Lefty didn't know where the ball was going, and after a few was over.  

So, 6 matches down, 6 wins, and 6 matches to go before the next club tourney.  666.  Hmmm.  I am a little devil on that court.  No cell phones, no kids, no budgets, nobody but him and me and no excuses.   

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

New Costumes

Arrived today for the 2009 season.  Ok, new KITS as they say in Europe.  We picked up some key sponsors this year that will get us through the tough times.  Rudy Project hooked me up with a fresh chrome accented helmet that makes me look deceptively fast.  Hayes is gonna give me some new Hydraulic brakes that would stop a truck, and good old Shimano Bin Laden will be putting an entire new 10-speed Gruppo on D's Titus.  Other than that, Marin will be hooking this brother up with a new single speed at a down and dirty deal.  Aside from the A-holes we occasionally deal with, RRR is a solid club of people with the right intentions, and realistic aspirations of riding for the love of the sport and an occasional photo on the podium.  

I spent all of yesterday getting my nuts kicked in along with the rest of the General Managers in our hotel group.  "Cut there, go after that market segment, slash labor, expand your gift shop, but only if you can guarantee a solid ROI".  Here's the bottom line....nobody gives a flying f*ck about if you are meeting or exceeding your 2009 budget.  What they do give a fuck about is "what have you done for me lately".  Well lately, it's been a whole lotta' diddly poo.  I'm not on the whacking block yet, but come May - all of the prosperity that some of our properties have been lounging in will come to a halt.   The kind of halt you might feel if you crashed a Kia Rio into a parking garage wall at 60 mph.  BAM.  Time to either retire, or go back to school.  I'm too poor to do the first, and the thought of going back to school seems like a bailout.  Come to think of it.....nahhh.  I only have 10-12 more years of mid-pack finishes in me, so I better get to training now.

On a not so good note, my wrist is either healing really slowly, or not at all.  Hmmm.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

24 Hour National Championships...

...are in Moab, UT this October.  Anybody in?

I already forgot about the heinous wind, the blowing dust, and the cold night - the course was super fun.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Them gots to be $29 shoes....

I eeked out a 2 hour ride this morning, but, it was a good one. I never got my heart rate over 135, rode with light to no traffic, and it was warm. Maybe Friday I'll hit the 3.5 hour mark I've been looking for.
Can I wear patent leather basketball shoes? I bought some of these yesterday, with red trim, for $29 for another racquetball league that starts Thursday. Is this akin to guys who race pink bikes? If so, I had better win this league again. Dana was expounding on the positives, but then laughingly couldn't get over the patent leather toebox. She was so gracious by laughing under her breath. They had them in yellow too, but I'd have to be lights out at racquetball to pull that one off.
I'm hedging that since 'bargain' is the new 'in', one might overlook the patent material, nod and say "nice shoes".

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Response to Mr. "I" in Team


We manage Red Rock in what little free time we have, and are less than enthused with your attitude about the website and your perception that the clothes would arrive for your individual racing schedule. We’ll gladly give you your money back after we re-sell the clothing that you ordered. Best of luck in finding the “team” you are looking for.

That'll make its way around Flagstaff as fast as the Lumberjack on Crack Boss at my buddy Mark's office where being a moderate performing sales guy is not who you want to be right now.

I got the notice yesterday that we are having a Pow Wow at our Phoenix office. That means expense report beatdowns, and discussing every possible revenue opportunity for 9 hours. I'd rather watch Golf.....and I hate watching Golf. Golf isn't even a goddamn sport. It's a leisure activity that pays well if you're great. Why is it so wildly popular? Because its difficult, you don't have to be in shape to play it, it doesn't hurt, and spending the day on a nice landscape with your buddies drinking beer is, well, pretty fun. In otherwords, it's an everyman's leisure activity. Now I wanna go play 9 holes with The Juanski and have a few beers - after a bike ride of course.

I have got to get some miles in this week on my road bike. Tomorrow I'm slated for a cold AM metric century, and Friday morning - same thing. I'm not even close to being competitive in a 100 miler race yet....66 miles is just fine with me right now. Saturday, a warmer and shorter ride in Sedona, and Sunday - maybe just maybe I'll be back on my mountain bike after work. The connective tissue in my banged up wrist is still sore - so we'll see how that goes.

Monday, March 2, 2009

Base Miles, Tiger Woods, and a Tool Teammate

It's freakin' 70 degrees today. What the? How the? I'm pretty psyched but my spring allergies just went from 0-60 overnight. Whew can I feel the pollen!

So I get an e-mail from a disgruntled guy on our cycling team who says "where are my clothes for the season and I'm not listed as a team member on the series results! You guys never update the website, and I want my money back for my clothes and good luck with your "team"". After I wrote a scathing response that included something like "You're a slow riding douchebag anyway so go f*ck yourself", and the old John McEnroe line "You can't be serious!", I curbed it back and explained that we're volunteers - and only one person in 3 years has stepped up to help the little Board of Directors we so eloquently call ourselves. We do this for camaraderie, good clothing to endure the self-inflicted pain better, and pro-deals on gear we could probably not otherwise afford - and he's a beneficiary of that if he chooses to accept that. Obviously not...he's looking out for #1.

We spent the weekend in Tucson with Tiger Woods. He was there, but we never connected. I even rode over to the golf course he was playing at around 7:00am and nada...he no-showed. Of course everyone else in Tucson was there too and we all had dates with Tiger. My Uncle Andy saw him and said he looked and played great, until he lost of course. You could imprison me or make me watch golf and it would have the same effect. BORING. But when Tiger plays, man, I could follow that guy all day. I got nothing against playing a round of 9 holes with friends twice a year, but other than Tiger - the pros do nothing for me.

Anyway, I got two nice road rides in, some time with the Fam - and knocked out a couple of birthdays for my Sis and Mom. Good times, and more to come in March.