Thursday, May 28, 2009

Recovery from the Trainer?

I climbed on my trainer last night 'round 9pm for a spin with the Giro d'Italia leaders up the Blockhaus climb. They were going fast for real on, while I was spinning a steady cadence of 80 up and down the gears thinking I was going fast. It was a good session....1.5 hours and I was tired of sitting on my sit bones. My legs got a nice workout too, so much so that I had to ride before work this morning on the SS just to spin out my legs. I've never had to do that before - ride outdoors to spin out my legs from a good trainer session. Hmmmm, something is wrong with that. In a weird way I'm feeling pretty dedicated this season as I've never ridden a trainer past March before. But - with the now 7 straight days of rain we've had - I can't always get out on the trails and I've worked too hard over the last 45 days to let the fitness I have gained go down the tubes.

The trails were tacky and tight this morning, but torn up from run-off. It made for great climbing, and some tricky descending - but FUN.

Off to R-ball tonight to pick up my tourney winner jersey, and play a few games to boot. I like racquetball, but don't love it, and put very little time into it yet it just comes easy for me. I love love love riding bikes, and put a lot of time into it, but I will always struggle to keep up with the big dogs. Oh well - I figure if I stay healthy and ride into my 60's there will be so few competitors left that I'll get a few trophies. Nice goal, huh? Win by attrition, because I sure ain't gonna win races on talent.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

The Flamethrowers

My daughter's new band. As I watch the age of innocence evaporate like a drought stricken lake, I'm also intrigued with what is under that waterline. The crap I pulled as a kid - I'm not too naive to think that she won't do it all x 2. Here we go....

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Early Season Litmus Test

Left my house on the ol' reliable Rig with the 32x19 gearing 'round 8:30am - and reached the meeting point for the day's ride. No teammate. I knew he'd sleep in. Saturday mornings ain't his thing. The plan was the 45 mile curcumnavigation of the Peaks. Up, down, up, down, and about 100 yards of flat on my street before the turn for the dirt.

The first 12.5 miles of riding was in light rainfall, and 1.5 hours later I took a 2 minute breather at the Inner Basin of the San Francisco Peaks - 9,400 feet up and it was damp and cold. The Oat Bran overdose I had for breakfast was lurking in my esophogus for a while trying to make its way to the light of day, and it took about 45 minutes to burn that gut bomb off.

Inner Basin. Look up - and the aspens are just turning green, and all of the couloirs still have snow. Low lying clouds shrouded the peaks from 11,000 feet on up. Look down into Lockett Meadow and it's a much greener aspen valley and then waayyy down at 5,000 feet is the bone-dry, pinkish, painted desert. I didn't pack the camera because I had rain gear, food, water, gels/bars and tools and a sixer of Tecate. I had to draw the line somewhere because that Camelbak was mo' fo'n heavy. Just kidding on the Tecate...but those little soldiers would have been ice cold if I'd had a few with me.

Time to go down....5 miles down to 7,000 feet on a descent that puts the Bitchin' in Camaro. That was rippin' fast on velcro-like dirt, but over wayyyy too fast because then came the Death March. Forest Road 418 climbs back to 8,500 feet or so and it was soaked. Sucking my tires like quicksand - man, it was taking everything I had physically to keep going. It's just a relentless climb, and I was damn near cooked by the time I got to the top, turning over a very slow cadence standing and sitting when I could for well over an hour. At that point I had to say aloud twice "Man up" to face the next climb towards home. I wasn't cramping or feeling nauseated, but it was going on 4 hours and things were starting to shut down mentally. I wanted to curl up in the fetal position under a down comforter, and have somebody feed me lunch. I was still 19 miles from home, and there was no taco stand in the woods with Salma Hayek waiting tables topless. SO - there was no free lunch today. Just a couple pieces of jerkey, two heinous tasting oversweetened clif bars, and bland-ass water.

So, I manned up and recited the cliche "that which does not kill you makes you stronger", and uttered the former Team CSC motto "Harden the F*ck up" all the while slogging back up - towards home. 5.5 hours on the nose. I'll give myself a B+ on today's litmus test. Still a lot of work to do before July's throwdown in Wisconsin, but I'm feeling a little ahead of schedule right now.

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's rainin' again

Yo - I've lived in Flagstaff/Sedona now going on 14 years. I can count on one finger how many rainy days we had in the month of May over those 14 years. Historically it's been dryer than the bottom of Big Steve's beer glass. We've had dry and windy weather for 45 days straight and the Feds were already talking about trail closures. That translates to night riding under the radar if you want to ride the trails.

Then, out of nowhere, we get a weather pattern that has delivered 3 straight days of rain, with at least another two to come. I've never looked at a Memorial Day Weekend before and said "I'm so glad it's raining". But - "I'm so glad it's raining". Our 30x15 foot patch of grass is looking better, the plants are happy, the trails have gone from 2 inches of dust to mud, and while it doesn't exactly look like a Minnesota landscape - things feel a whole lot greener.

Having put in 12 straight days at the sawmill, I'll be OFF this weekend (not Monday though because in the hospitality biz Memorial Day just means you just don't get any phone calls). Safe fun to everyone this weekend.


Wednesday, May 20, 2009


A sweet ride seen in Tucson. Two words - Vi Kings.

A step or two up from a crack addict

I was feeling a little spent last night, and running through one of those 'what am I doing with my life' moments, when I aimlessly drifted to After watching a 50 minute HBO documentary about a woman who was battling a crack addiction, I felt great about my life again! As D says - there's nothing like a little downward socialization to make yourself feel good.

Major white guy problem tonight though....I have to get psyched up to ride my trainer for two hours tonight after I get Lyza to bed. I think I'll skip the crack addict doc. this time and watch taped coverage of stage 10 of the Giro d'Italia.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Great friends

If you can't be great, it's nice to be surrounded by greatness. Ellsie ran down the South Kaibab Trail to the bottom of the Grand Canyon, and back up the Bright Angel Trail - 16 miles and a gajillion feet of elevation change - in 4 hours. Trust me....that's damn fast. Local bud Wilkens has found the holy grail of life where he works a bit, takes care of his kids a bit, rides a lot, and still finds a way to pay the Man. Wisco homie Kedisha OWNED the top spot on the podium in a singlespeed race, and Big Steve shows up with little training and hits the top 10 in his Clydesdale category. Then, my pal Sheck singlehandedly finds a secret beach on the Verde River during a potentially life threatening float trip. All the while sipping cold Ska Modus Hoperandi and listening to the Mighty Mighty Bosstones during the covert op. Good on ya, Sheck.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Man....It's almost Monday?!

Worked 8 hours this weekend - 5 on Sat and 3 on Sun. We hosted a pretty sweet little wedding. The Bride said this was the greatest day of her life. Cynical ol' me kept my mouth shut. She'll hate him in 10 years, but it's all good today.

So aside from work, 5.5 hours on the bike with 2.5 at race pace in the dirt and 2.0 being a slow, sweet, Sunday road climb up the mountain at sunset. The Lava Storm soccer team won a nailbiter in game #1, and lost their second game - a close one though. They played great. Hmmmm, I never really did get to the yardwork, but I managed to find the time to clean the ol' singlespeed, and sand the disc brake pads down to kill the squeaking after Saturday's dusty ride. Prioroties, ya know....

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Time ain't on nobody's side

This is what a stage racer looks like in 25th place after a week of racing when his hematocrit level is below 50%. Racing ain't the same as it was in the early 2000's. I wish he had never come out of retirement. Dude - let it go.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Thursday Spin-out

'Twas about 40 degrees when I stumbled out of the garage @ 5:40 this morning for a quick spin in the dirt. The light was just reaching the tree tops. Not a soul out there until I rolled back into the outskirts of town. Just a simple 50 minute recovery from Tuesday's beatdown, and a warm up for racquetball tonight.

My kids got their a**es kicked last night in soccer. They knew the score...0-6. We have six games left to right the ship. In the meantime, we celebrated defeat by going out for some Mexican food - What? We lost 6-zip? I could care less, as I was quite happy with a Dos Equis in my hand and Lyza was sluggin' a Sprite while we battled it out playing tic tac toe on the kids menu with crayons.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Tuesday Evening Slugfest

While not an official "pay an entry fee, get a timing chip, see your results" type-gig....the slugfest tonight should be good. C-Dub, Snake Tat, Skinsuit Tim, and yours truly will do our best to kick each other to the curb after work until dusk. Somebody's gonna puke, somebody's gonna crash, one guy will win, and 2nd place sucks. The best part is that it doesn't cost $35 to enter this sufferfest.

Work was good, but who cares? I'll get a signed picture of the resort when I leave someday, a pat on the back, and discounts if I ever want to come and stay on my own's all a facade really. I gotta get me some health because work doesn't provide that benefit. So I punch it on the drive home, feed the pooch, change into the silly spandex costume, and out the door.

....So at the trailhead there was a guy loading up downhill bikes to shuttle up to the top of Elden. The downhiller trails are freakin' nutz here, and I do my best to avoid them since I'm a chicken when I look at dug out 20 foot gaps, huge drops, 10 foot high log roll-offs. Much respect to those guys to a point - If they actually rode their bikes to the top and earned their turns, well there you go....but they don't, so whatever. I still don't get it - the climb is the burn that I crave, the white hot anaerobic pain that completely eliminates everything else going on in my life - the ultimate reset button. Maybe for them it's the risk of ending up in the ER that hits their reset button. Maybe they are just stoned enough not to care.

Yellowcard was playing from the downhiller truck. It got my foot a tappin'. Good thing - game on. The neutral rollout was calm tonight, and we was jus' playin' it cool until we hit dogfood wash, and then the door to the pain cave flung open. I was hanging on in 2nd, keeping an even standing cadence. Switching to a 32x19 a week ago has completely changed my performance for the better. The 18 tooth cog I've been pushing for two years - shit - maybe I just can't push it anymore on these climbs. All I know, is I feel a hella' lot better spinning a touch more.

After three steep pitches at near redline effort, we were up near the wilderness boundary having climbed 1,500 vert on the dirt in > 5 miles. We lost Snake Tat on a couple of the pitches but he was never more than a minute back and we all kept the hammer down until the climbing finally stopped and...payback.

Traversing mostly downhill, Snake Tat misjudged a log jump and caught his wheel on the way over - a nice craaaaaasssshh into dry, dusty dirt. It looked like he got hit by an Iraqi dust storm, although I've never seen one. In the process of falling, he ripped the sole off his shoe - and the sole and cleat stayed clipped in. Turns out his Northwave shoes are 10 years old. I'd say he got his money's worth. His cleat was all f'd up, and that was it for him. Confidence blown, and he was hike a biking it home. We followed some sort of made up on the fly "no teammate left behind" mantra because usually we'd have mocked him and made him chase back on. But he was rattled - so we did the right thing and got him to the fire road safely - said adios - and enjoyed the drop back to town on Schultz Creek Trail.

After some leftover chiliquilas, a Tecate, and some Mexican fixins, I was thumbing through mail when I came across an envelope with a stack of pics from my Dad's trip out here last month. He took a shot of my sister in Sedona and I immediately noticed she has these enormous fun bags. I called her and told her, and she laughed and said "no shit, I'm nursing". I realize that, but I insisted that they were extraordinary. Her husband chimed in from the other room "If they turn into flapjacks, she'll get 'em lifted". That pretty much put a good cap on a good day.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Mother Trucker

I almost forgot Mother's Day this year because everytime I say Mother it's usually followed by a word that rhymes with "trucker". OK, I stole a variation of that from Obama's press corps speech - he was referencing Rham Emanuel launching MF-bombs right and left. I thought it was pretty freakin' funny, and if you caught his other shots at himself, the GOP, Hillary, etc....well the guy was en fuego.

Surfing down the Jedi trail on Saturday was fantastico. There are several log jumps, a few sketchy log roll offs, and some steep and loose Mother Truckin' drops all the while being completely off-camber. I had a few sphinctor puckers - namely a drop into a dusty dirt pile that I barely cleared and would have ended up ass over tea kettle 20 feet down the ledge if I hadn't.

Now I gotta get some mother truckin' stuff done here at the sawmill....

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Now that's a weekend...

Countless hours of hardcore playtime with Lyza, 6 hours of saddle time (4 hammering with the Boyz in the woods, and 2 with D racing up Snowbowl), going 0-2 on the soccer field (for f*ck's sake kids, get your little arses moving would ya! - I'm not in this for fun, I'm here to WIN), great Giro d'Italia coverage, and 3 hours at the office Sunday evening getting a jump start on Monday so I can shred it up tomorrow morning before work.

I stink, my hair needs to get whacked with the clippers, and my dog's hungry...gotta run.

Happy Mom's day Mom. You are the best Midwestern Mom out there!


Your favorite son

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Fat Aunt Jemima

How the hell is the Aunt Jemima syrup product still on the shelves? First, you have a rotund African American woman who looks like, for lack of a better term – a happy slave – on the front of the bottle. Then on the back, you see that the brown syrup is made of poison….the #1 ingredient is high fructose corn syrup, followed by a gagillion chemicals, colorings, and additives. I mean fer’ crissakes the stuff isn’t even close to being maple syrup, but it’s manufacturer pays a lot of money to pretend to be. Real maple syrup is about $10 for 12 ounces out this-a-way, and a big ol bottle of Auntie J is less than $2. Who’s the Product Manager for Aunt Jemima? I’d wager it’s a white guy in New Jersey who’s makin’ a fat salary from pouring manufactured maple sweetener down kids throats. You think he asks for his brand when having kamut pancakes with fresh blueberries on the deck of a B&B in Vermont while on summer vacation? On my last visit to the grocery store I was just doing my best to cut some food costs, and paying $10 for maple syrup hurts – but damn brah – would you put lame-ass Colorado 85 octane in a 1995 Old Fashioned BMW? No freakin’ way! Pay the extra $ and cut back on something else.

Racquetball starts again tonight. Ellsie suggested that for this go-round I go out and buy some of those classic BIKE coach’s shorts – you know, the stretchy gray ones your coach wore at baseball practice in the ‘80’s. Then I figured I’d add a red headband, a crappy t-shirt, two mock ACE ankle braces, kneepads, and a pair of white classic Reebok hightops. I don’t even think I could get out of my house without laughing myself back in to change. But – racquetball is 50% mental – and it’s fun to phuck with the guys in the league….so, maybe?

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Wouldn't it be great if...

...Brett Favre signed with the Vikings. Then, on November 1st at Lambeau Field, threw for an NFL record 7 touchdowns. Then, he takes the 12-4 Vikings to the Super Bowl and brings the LOMBARDI trophy to Minnesota. Then he retires for good and five years later goes into the Hall of Fame with a Vikings uniform and Brad Childress giving his dedication speech. Packers GM Ted Thompson would probably hang himself.

What will probably happen is Favre will string the Vikings out for the next two months, finally decide to give it a go if he's allowed to skip off-season workouts, show up for one pre-season game, play just enough to ruin the Vikings' other QB's psyches - then get hurt in week 4 after a 2-2 start and play in every third game thereafter, bringing home an 8-8 record for the season. F'n Favre. I can see why the Packer fans were pretty much done with the guy at the end of 2005.

....It would also be great if Crank Brothers could make more durable pedals. I'm given the gift of a late afternoon ride mid-week, and my right pedal just explodes. Metal shrapnel, and ball bearings spewing out across the trail. I didn't even hit anything - today. I remember a couple if rides back smashing a rock and jacking my bike about two feet in the air at impact. But, it still bums me out......For fuck's sake, I was 500 feet from the top of a climb at about 85% of my aerobic threshold and I had to turn back around early. That's what I call blueballs on a bike. On a positive note it was the first day I've worn a short sleeve jersey in Flag since October. It'll be 80 tomorrow. Wow - where did this come from?

Don't forget your Mums this weekend - card, flowers, or maybe a new vacuum so she can pick up after you during your next visit. You know, just like when you were a kid.......and still are.

Friday, May 1, 2009

My own Stage Race

5 rides
Over 7 days
that's what I call....a good schedule
Work didn't suffer
I got my time in
Up at 5.......home 'round 9
Legs feel good
But not quite great
Got a couple months to train.......for a big July date
41 sucks
Don't let anyone tell you not
Parts are breakin' down
Lungs are feelin' shot
Put the rally cap on and just on keep fightin' back
Phuck you Father time, I ain't gonna finish mid-pack

Haven't got mad skills, to really pay any bills
Think I'll press my shirt,
Put my nametag on,
Eat some chow,
Kiss my girls,
Drive my econobox down the mountain,
Do what I do....
all the while thinkin' bout my next ride. I can't wait.