Thursday, April 30, 2009

What's my motivation? THAT'S my motivation!

Oh man, do I love the year-long membership I bought to Every significant cycling event starts live around 5:30am, and then you can watch the tape anytime after the event – in a quality hi-res picture. Plus they feature British commentators who make the Lance Armstrong ass kissing Al Trautwig’s of the Discovery Channel / Versus Network look like the rookie joke douche bags that they are. Combine the fact that you have great events, excellent camera work, snarky British commentators who load up the commentary with sarcasm, and not a single commercial – Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner my friends!

Consider the grand tours - Is the stage shaping up to be a bunch sprint? No problem – fast forward to the last 10K and eat your tofu dinner with the best part of the race. Climbing stage with a mountaintop finish? Fast forward it to the base of the final climb, and kick it back after a hard day working in the yard with a cold brewski watching the skinny gifted climbers make you look like a fat slog who couldn’t climb a step ladder. Time trial stage? Skip the lame teams and watch Saxo Bank, Astana, and Cervelo slug it out by just tuning in to the last 30 minutes of the event.

This is how cable television should work – buying a la carte channels based on your own interests, but it never will. Who cares! – As long as there are options like this for sport specific coverage, I’m happy to fork over $99/year. So here’s the plan for May since I want to freakin’ REPRESENT at the 24 Hours of 9 Mile Forest in July:

The Giro d’Italia is on from May 9th through the end of the month. In addition to training outdoors, I’m going to ride the rollers every night there is a stage – 21 nights I believe. Could be 10 minutes on the trainer, could be 2.5 hours. I could have water bottles in my cages or cans of Tecate. Doesn’t matter, I get to watch 21 great races, ON DEMAND with my time schedule, every day. This is like 3 weeks of Christmas when you’re 6 years old. I’d rather do this than go to Hawaii for a week that’s how pathetic I am. So – a heavy training month of May, some rest in June, and ready to kill by the end of July. Just REPRESENTIN’ Flagstaff AZ in Wisconsin, that’s all.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Prius Elitists

Every time I see those little turtle-shell cars, I think to myself “I bet that driver quotes NPR stories to co-workers, brags about “skipping every gas station”, and genuinely believes that he/she is doing the earth a favor. OK – I’m an A-hole for stereotyping, but am I really that far off?

I guess this is the question I need to ask: “Who would significantly overpay for an ugly-ass, doughnut-tire sportin’, reasonably eco-efficient vehicle”? Big Steve, Ellen Jo, Ellsie, Josh, JVC, CW, Rottenberg, A-Man, Ken Buck, and my “must have 4WD” Mom who lives in Tucson wouldn’t. I guess that covers nearly every genre, including the “Gay cop posing as a hetero family man” – thank you Kenny.

Many studies show that if you compare the fuel efficiency/environmental impact/cost of ownership of a new Prius versus, say, a gasoline powered Toyota Corolla – you’re in the winner’s bracket if you pick the Corolla. The environmental footprint of the batteries to run the Prius is huge – and it won’t get smaller until more car companies embrace and force the issue with regards to battery technology.

No question, it’s important to have consumers embrace these early stage hybrid cars, as it will help further the evolution of a cleaner automobile. However, if it’s YOU who buys one – Maybe take a more humble approach and consider yourself “taking one for the team” so to speak. Afterall, you just overpaid for an ugly car that doesn’t get much better mileage that a TDi Jetta – a car that has a much smaller enviro-footprint, and is a hella’ lot more fun to drive.

Disgruntled, maybe just a bit..

An employee in our hotel group turned in a letter to the Director of HR last week. It was fairly well crafted, and addressed some of his issues with the hours he was working and the stress he was feeling. Fine. Great. It's good to bring these things to light.

The problem is, he chose to close the letter with this gem: "In conclusion, I'm SICK OF THIS SHIT!!!!!". So there you go. A shining example of the talent pool that the hospitality industry attracts, and what the stressful conditions in our industry can do to initially sane individuals.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Worst ride in.....3 years?

That racquetball tourney took absolutely everything I had. I didn't realize how much I laid out until I threw a leg over my Rig on Saturday afternoon. As soon as the trail went up, 50 yards from my driveway, I was laboring. Toast. Blown. Spent.

I managed to make the 25 minute traverse over to Schultz Creek where CW was waiting. From the word GO I was 30 seconds back.....a minute back......a minute and a half back. We climbed 1,000 feet and he wanted to continue on. I tried - rode 40 feet, and said no more. We rode back down to town, had a PBR in the can in CW's garage, and I gimped home. I've never felt weaker on a bike than I can remember.

So, I got out today for a little redemption. Problem is, it didn't happen. I survived 50 minutes with quadriceps that just will not cooperate. Damn, man. I'm done. I think I'm back to square 1, and thankfully all I've committed to is a 24 hour duo in July. So - I'll be back on the trails tomorrow, and the next day, and the next, working myself back into some sort of condition that resembles what I had in March. For fuck's sake, this was not worth bragging rights, a stupid T-shirt, and a discounted racquet.

Friday, April 24, 2009

R-Ball chronicles part IV

The games started at 6pm last night, and at 8:45pm I walked onto the court for the final match against David. He happens to be Lyza's guitar teacher every other Thursday after school, a part-time Kinko's employee, and the Ektelon-sponsored Flagstaff athletic club racquetball director. We play each other every other week or so, and lately we had been close to dead even. He'd win one week, and I'd win the next. He has nice tournament bags, and 4- racquets I'd love to own.

The first game was a dogfight until we got to around 8-8. Diving, hitting some defensive shots, and getting lucky on a few plays, I was hanging in there with him by running him front to back and side to side. I got on a roll with a few consecutive service aces and survived a late rally from David to take game 1. I was tired, and managed to completely miss a ball in the back corner with the racquet hitting my shin full-speed. Yup - a full blown egg-like contusion is sitting there this morning. I call that a rookie mark.

Game two started off 5-5, but I could feel he was fading a bit...missing shots he normally makes and his serve had become as predictable as a Republican political campaign. I didn't really put any hammer down per se because I didn't have one to put down. I just kept the ball in play, and allowed him plenty of opportunities to make mistakes, and most importantly, I didn't mentally check out assuming I'd win. It was over by 9:15 and I was home at 9:30. 800mg of Ibuprofin for the leg wound, a burrito, a million ounces of OJ and into bed dreaming about hitting with one of those new Ektelon racquets. See, David didn't bring a prize for the winner because he was confident that he would take the tourney. I won't get a free $250 racquet out of this, but I get bragging rights at the Flag Athletic Club, an Uber-gay long sleeve that says "CHAMPION" on the sleeve that I'll never wear in public and.......maybe I can shame him into one of his racquets for $50.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Just a reminder for ya'll

Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, wine in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOW, What a ride!"

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

The Muir de Huy

Fleche Wallonne kicks off tomorrow morning. Sadly, it's the 2nd to last of the "spring classics" in cycling. I love the classics. Milan-San Remo, Flanders, Paris-Roubaix, Amstel Gold, Fleche, and Liege-Bastogne-Liege, April is by far the best sports month of the year....

Spring classics in Cycling, the Masters - if you're in to fat guys hitting little balls, the NFL draft, Baseball's opening day, NBA playoffs begin, and the hunt for the trophy of all trophies - Lord Stanley's Cup.

It would sure be easy to order up a dish, and watch every freaking event night afer night. I'm tempted, but not that tempted. I can barely find time to ride right now, so I'll take what I can get as the sun comes up and the sun goes down. I hope to hit 15 hours of training next week which will give me the kick start I need to get going. I was on fire a week ago, and lost all my mo' this week tending

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Soccer and the Mexican kids

We had our first prac/scrimmage today with Lyza's soccer team. I've got Lyza - an above average player - but not great by any means, we have Bailey the timid boy who runs FROM the action so he doesn't get trampled, Connor the above average player - but not great by any means, two female no show's, and Marcus the redheaded ball hog with energy but no skills. It's gonna be a .500 season for us.

When I was a kid, we didn't even have organized soccer until 4th grade. Nowadays, there are coached leagues for 3 year olds. Pretty cool, in some ways.

The scrimmage today was with a team that had a Mexican kid. Whenever you play a team with a Mexican kid - ok, HISPANIC for you PC police - you can bet that said kid will run all over the field and basically kick the shit out of your team singlehandedly. We played a defensive gameplan and lost 3-2. Not bad considering the only kid of color I have is the Ronald McDonald looking Marcus. Lyza scored a goal from 25 yards out on a booming kick that went in on the fly....then she took a shot to the face from the Mexican kid at point blank range. It took her out of the game for several minutes No blood, no harm, it just shocked her. Guess who scored all three of their goals? - Yup, Jorge the Mexican Sensation. He was cool, and he came over and asked Lyza if she was allright after crushing her frontal lobe. She may pay for that later in College, but maybe we can call it a learning disability and get a scholarship. Maybe I should just take the elevator straight to Hell for that thought.

All was well. I told her a story about taking a penalty kick to the nuts when I was a kid - over Italian Ices, and she laughed off her own trauma and, well, on to the rest of the day.....

Friday, April 17, 2009

Need a Bimmer?

1995 Bmw for sale
288,000 miles on original engine
Pretty good condition - drives great, and if you can put up with a few inconveniences - it's a wonderful car.
Will need a new head gasket soon, serpentine belt, fuel filter, fuel sensor, three of four power windows don't work, power seat needs a fuse, don't open the glove box or it will fall to the floorboard, missing signal light above left front bumper, and the front suspension doesn't like curbs.
The good stuff:
Features a Harmon Kardon stereo, leather in great shape, 25mpg, and it will go 130mph on I-17 south towards Phoenix. Sunroof works, cold starts are great - but don't back up immediately - wait a couple of minutes or the engine will die. Tranny slips a bit, but it could be worse.
$3,500 OBO

Monday, April 13, 2009

Singlespeed Chronicles

With the day off 'cause I covered Easter for my peeps at work, I felt obligated to take advantage of the 50+ degree temps and...not a cloud in the sky. C-Dub rolled over 'round 11:00am and off we went into our northern Arizona singlespeed mecca. A little up, a little down, a lotta up, and downhill home. C-Dub was short roping me like a Sherpa escorting a rich, out of shape client trying to climb Everest. At every junction I was :30 seconds to 1:00 back. He would softpedal until I made the turn, and then start hammering again. Ugh. It hurt. He finally stopped and I rolled up and said sheepishly "I think my CHECK ENGINE light is on". He busted out laughing, and as he stood over his bike and opened up a Clif bar, I punched it and got a little payback as he chased me for five minutes....finally rolling up on me where I was waiting for him at the trailhead. He sprayed me with a bottle, and punched it past me. I didn't even chase.....this V-6 engine had blown a head gasket and we ended up rolling back to town nice and easy.

The target right now is the last two races of the AZ State series in late May and June. I have some work to do since I got a late start this year...but a few more rides with C-Dub and I'll be ready to race.

A Kia?

Driving home on Good Friday evening after work, I was armed with Kelly Blue Book car value printouts, and a pre-approval from Ford Motor Credit. Driving my vintage BMW has been reminding me of what happens when the Space Shuttle hits the earth's atmosphere, and it just sort of starts falling apart - with the heat tiles saving the coccoon from burning, and protecting the astronauts. The core of the Bimmer is solid, but everything else is sort of falling apart.

Then, a typical thing happened for me. I had a change of heart, and decided I didn't want to pay sales tax, much lesss the true cost of buying any new car. I was sort of on the fence when "ring ring" was the sales guy I had been working with. He wanted to schedule an appointment with me. I declined and told him I'd call if I were coming in on Saturday. Between Friday night and Saturday afternoon I received five calls from him and his boss. That was five too many. In some respects I feel bad for the sales guy - I know the pressure is on high right now to move cars.

So, here's my used poor man's Mazdaspeed 3 - it's called a Kia Spectra5. Yup, a Kia. I never thought I'd own one either. A red one no less. The last Kia I drove - from Minneapolis to Wisconsin - survived 140 highway miles in 4th gear @ 5000 rpm (since I didn't see the overdrive button, and I had the windows down because there was no A/C, so I couldn't hear the enging screaming). So you gotta figure they are making some tough cars. I hope.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Burning Angst at Both Ends of the Candle

My racquetball game had been flatter than a pancake the last couple of weeks. I borrowed a DVD of a tourney played in Denver and realized that I have been half-assing it for the better part of two months. The pros reminded me that every point is do or die. Yeah - I've had a lot going on personally, but for fuck's sake...if you're gonna do something, freakin' do it.

So I brought that mentality with me last night to the courts. Getting my back knee to the floor on kill shots, being patient on lob shots - taking them off the back wall, chasing everything down, and drilling the blue bastard with drive serves all night. Most importantly, taking command of the middle of the court resulted in running three stiffs off the court in six straight games. Tourney time is in two weeks and I'm feeling a lot better about my preparation and seeding. If I don't win I'll be pretty disappointed.

Tomorrow will bring a big, phat SS ride in the peaks. Forecast is for 40 degrees and snow, so it could get interesting. Then - over to the Ford dealer to see if we can work out some details on an econo-box Focus. Those a-hole car sales guys are just impossible to deal with unless you have a suitcase of cash and no trade/financing involved. Hey - if it doesn't work out, then I'm buying a used Honda and screw you Detroit.

Sunday is Paris-Roubaix live on followed by a full day at work. Yeah, I know. Working Easter Sunday seems a little f'd up, but considering my "whatever works for you as an individual" view towards religion- it's just another busy day for me at J-Pine - which is where I need to be on busy days. I'm taking Monday off as a reward for covering everyone else's holiday ham gorging fest, so I got another 1/2 day phat ride planned. Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous it ain't, but I'm diggin' it.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

One Love

So I take Lyza over to tennis lessons @ 5pm today. It's a new class, Junior tennis is the name, and it's quite a step up from the fun tennis classes she has been taking for the last couple of years. A quick observation shows a mix of kids from 6-12. Everything from little "Timmy" the ADD kid with ripped jeans and a piece of shit racquet, to white tennis outfit -visor - matchy/matchy shoes "Maddy" with a Prince tour bag - with at least 4 racquet handles sticking out of the bag. She's 8.

The mood was semi-competitive, the drills had penalties for missed shots (like suicide windsprints and ball pickup duty), and you could see the kids were trying to figure out where they ranked in the class. Class ended, and Lyza said pretty quickly - "Dad, I don't want to come to this class anymore". We talked about why she didn't want to go anymore, and hightailed it over to Fratelli Pizza..... watched highlights of european soccer and tried to imitate the Scottish announcers until she busted out laughing so hard that a spray of Root Beer went too far past our table. It was time to sorry.

We didn't say another word about tennis, but we talked about getting her an orange BMX bike in the window at Cosmic Cycles. My eyes lit up. Maybe I need a bike too, Lyza.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Sandra Cantu

So this little 8 year old girl, Sandra Cantu, ends up being found in a piece of luggage in a dairy pond farm, after going missing since the end of March. She went to a friend's house after school, then another, and never made it home. This is what my litle girl does every day after school - this is what most kids do every day after school.

All I can say is that the evil coward who did this, should be executed in the exact same manner that he/she did to this little girl. Call me a liberal on many, many things, but Capital Punishment has a place in my world and the sick fuck who killed this little girl should get a front row seat to a heinous death. Break 'em Limb by limb, remove finger after finger, then set 'em on fire, and then extinguish 'em by water with a brick tied to his/her foot all the way to the bottom of the Mariana Trench. You do not mess with kids. I hope whoever did this is found by her father and not the law. The law in California will not do this girl justice.

If I were her father, I would be inconsolable right now. I can say with 100% conviction that I would avenge her by absolutely destroying the person who did this to her even if it meant the end of me too. Look at her face - pure, innocent, vulnerable. You don't mess with kids.

Laughlin, Nevada

Going to school at NAU had its benefits. One of them was the fact that one of my motivated friends would throw out a "Let's to go Laughlin (Nevada)!" at 9:00 on a Wednesday and invariably by 9:15pm we had a car full of guys with maybe $50 a piece on the way. Gamble all night, and back in Flagstaff for our 8:00am classes. Since NAU is not really know as an academic hotbed, these decisions typically didn't have a lot of scholastic ramifications.

Anyway. At the age of 20 I learned that betting on sports is in a word....stupid. I learned that the three evil sisters of gambling 'Shoulda', 'Coulda', and 'Woulda' miraculously cast a spell on greater than 50% of my bets. After a few years of only occasional payback from these sisters, I finally realized that they are evil whores who are employed by Harrah's, MGM, or Mirage Enterprises - these bitches are casino employees. So, I stopped seeing them, and retreated to the blackjack table where I can usually hold my own.

Well my little Excellent Adventure with Villanova lasted until Saturday evening when North Carolina beat them pretty soundly. It was a semi-longshot, and WTF, it was a fun three weeks following them. I was out $45 from two pools. Little harm, lotsa' fun, and no foul.

I got a great education at NAU, but it wasn't really.....traditional. Degree in hand yes, but what I really learned was that I like brown haired - short - athletic chicks, that I'm an average athlete at best, that gambling is a blast if you go with cash and leave your credit cards home, and that it's really not what you know, it's how good you look doing it - whatever it may be.

F*ck Villanova.

Thursday, April 2, 2009


Me and Vito called out our buddy Fish about the dying city he loves so much, Detroit. Home to Eminem, Kid Rock, Mike Modano, Rae Dumke, and a nearly-dead auto industry. We were busting his chops about Detroit being down to 345 residents, and 335 of them play on the various sports teams: The World Champ caliber Red Wings, the soon to be 4th place Tigers, the over and done Pistons, and the worst franchise in pro sports, the Lions. After no response from Fish, we figured he took it personally. I hope not. There are some great things about Detroit:

1.) With a median sale price of $5,700 dollars - I could sell my hovel in Flagstaff and buy 55.27 homes in Detroit. Livin' large as a slumlord?!
2.) Since everybody left, the water supply is actually one of the cleanest in the nation.
3.) If you're an artist, you can rent loft space in one of the old automaker manufacturing buildings for .25 cents per square foot. I think I could even make crappy pottery, and "what the hell is that" charcoal sketches, and still come out ahead.

So I wanted to give my buddy Fish a semi-public shout out to say that we were just bustin' your balls, and............drumroll please................ I'm seriously considering buying a Ford car next week. Yup, my first American made car ever. Why? because Ford has remained solvent despite sales woes, they haven't taken a nickel of TARP money, and they make pretty damn good cars/trucks. The real reason? I can't afford the Acrua TL I'd love to have.

I also figure that if I invest in a Detroit based company, that might throw a nickel or two into a town that could use a little help. You don't have to say "Thank you" Fish. When your Red Wings win another Stanley Cup and there are 167 people at the parade in downtown Detroit, you can sip the free hot cocoa that I probably helped pay for.