Thursday, June 18, 2009


The Dan Patrick radio show on XM 142 is probably the top sports show on the radio. I listen to it pretty religiously every morning. Today they had a guy who covers the PGA and he said that if it’s windy and raining at the US Open today, then that’s bad because these athletes could get injured.



He was serious.

Look, I don’t want to sound cynical, but when did golf become a “sport”? What – since Tiger started lifting weights and became the second golfer to see the inside of a gym (i.e. David Duval), thus showing up to play with a physique? It’s a multi-billion dollar leisure activity, plain and simple. Do you need to be physically fit to compete professionally? Fit – ahhh, no. I have four words for you….JOHN DALY – PHIL MICKELSON. Outside of the seriousness of being struck by lightening, when someone says they got hurt on a golf course it’s usually a pretty f*ckin’ funny story about a stray ball or a crashed golf cart or the 6th beer you had caused you to trip and fall over a curb and you broke your putter.

The fact that you can make millions playing a leisure activity shows a lot about the good ol’ US of A. It’s the #1 corporate leisure activity where scads of wealthier guys and women who used to play sports when they were younger can pull out an occasional can of whoop-ass with an oversized Titanium driver and then talk about that drive for a month. These folks have a strong influence on the US economy, and they are either buying golf merch or watching it on their 60” HDTV. So, until the swelling Hispanic population officially brings football (soccer) to the forefront, we’ll continue to be bombarded with references of pro golfers being athletes.

Take golf for what it is. A good time with friends, family, coworkers, potential clients…playing a challenging leisure game in a manicured setting. It’s a great way to recover from a night of beer pong, a soccer game in the 35+ league, 11 straight losing hands at a blackjack table and ALL of the consequences that come with it, or a tough bike race. Don’t even talk to me about golf carts though, you lazy piece of…

Wednesday, June 17, 2009


Yesterday morning I dropped Lyza off at a vacation bible school. For one, I didn’t get struck by lightening upon entry into the church. Second, this place had a great feeling to it – for a Church that is. It’s a small Methodist church made of stone – probably built in the early 1900’s. The people were friendly, but not “over the top come join our cult” Christian friendly, and the kids were having a great time singing songs about fun/outdoors/with a little JC thrown in because – well – it’s a bible camp after all. I don’t think I’ll ever voluntarily become a member of any organized western religion, but I’ll definitely give Lyza an opportunity to see the facts of religious life in this country. If she’s like me, she’ll bail on the whole concept at age 12. If she’s anything like my sister, she’ll get confirmed for the money and gifts, and then bail on the whole concept at age 18.

After a busy day at the sawmill, I raced home and donned the spandex costume as a front of rain lightly touched down on the west side of town. I haven’t ridden solo much lately, so it felt pretty good to be in “that zone”…..where you’re not redlined keeping up with fast sons a bitches like Wilkens, or on the flip side – stopping every half hour to wait a few minutes for stragglers. The forest was damp, cool, and with my rear tire at 19psi for the climb up Lower Oldham, I was glued to the ground. I spit a little bit of air in the tire at the top and traversed/descended home to a great meal with D and then off to Everyman Land – Target. D hooked me up with a 24oz can of cold Tecate and we just chatted it up until it was time to shut the ol’ engine off ‘round 11pm.

Bodhistar didn’t get lost in the woods for the 12th straight day. I’m gonna re-name him OSHAstar because you know how OSHA gives you those stupid calendars where you chart how many days it’s been since a worker loses an arm? Yeah – it was a good day today.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

State Finals

It was a bit strange to be mowing the grass in my backyard at 9:00am prior to the state finals at 10:30am. I had walked over to the start line with the dogs around 8:00am, got my stuff and spent some time getting the Rig dialed in - then headed out for the yardwork.

Cwilk and JT rolled over 'round 9:30 and said "get yer damn kit on"! OK, ok, I'm ready to go.

Goooo! went the starter followed by the airhorn. There were 15 of us, and as usual the pace was stupid-fast at the start. I realized after the drop off the starting mesa, I broke a water bottle cage and lost a bottle - no way I was stopping so I'd address a drink shortage later. After 10 minutes the singletrack ended on the forest road that climbs up to the sky. So, I redlined it, and eventually had to back off into a pace - settling in around 8th place or so. Five guys with gears in the class behind us passed me, but I didn't think anything of it because.....well, they had gears and I was still holding my place. As the downhill started, I came up on Cwilk who had flatted. No tube, and no tools to take off his wheel. I was of no help as I only had a 29" tube. I felt bad for him for 1.2 seconds because he absolutely CRUSHED the climb and was in 3rd or 4th place when he lost it, and because he's a good friend of mine. Once those 1.2 seconds were over I wanted to make sure he never saw me again until the finish. Sorry pal, that's racing.

The water crisis was averted as I darted into the feed zone for the marathoners and scammed some water off a spectator. I was starting to have conversations with dead relatives and sing songs by The Wiggles - it was not good. One of my buddies told me after the race that about 3/4 through he was bonking and stopped to pick up some Clif Blocks on the trail that had spilled out of a rider's pocket...his quote was "Oh man they tasted like dirt, but they tasted soooo good!". Love it.

2 hours and just under 23 minutes later I crossed the line with cramps just starting to make themselves known. It felt good to know I had left it all on the course. I had nothing left but hunger and fatigue. 8th place, SS Open class. 9 minutes from the podium, and 10 minutes from last. It felt really competitive, and I rode completely scared of getting caught the whole time. I slept well last night.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Van Down By the River

DC snapped this photo earlier this week.
Our IT / WiFi guy drives this on the weekends to his gigs.

Potato Chips, Cookies, and Punk Rock.

Let's Go Red Wings!

This weekend features a hotmix of yardwork/bike racing/a luau party and a much overdo nap in a lounger on my back deck. Pics sure to follow on Monday.

A shout to my Michigan native pal Fish – I hope you are partying in the streets of St. Claire Shores after the Wings clinch tonight!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

say what?

  • A game seven in the Stanley Cup Finals. Ain’t nothin’ finer in pro sports than a game seven in the NHL.
  • The fact that Rush, Newt, Cheney, and Palin continue to be the faces of the GOP is pathetic. It could be years before the GOP get the balls to dump these cancerous talking heads.
  • Chickenfoot – Hagar, Satriani, Anthony, and the old drummer from Red Hot Chili Peppers…these guys sound like, wait, I’ll give you one guess…..Van Halen without Eddie Van Halen! Not great, not terrible. Just, no need to go there.
  • A-man McSheff and the Fam are coming up for 4th of July weekend – sweet baby!
  • The marquis at our local pawn shop: “If Chuck Norris needed anything, he would get it here”.
  • Ride 2morrow morning after a tune-up on the Rig 2night. Creaky BB, busted spokes and a full clean. Feelin’ strong this week despite catching a kid-related cold on Sunday. Gotta keep that mo’goin into Saturday’s finals 'cause there are some strong players in the SS class.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Four Ohhh Juan K

Driving home a couple days ago I tuned into one of the only sources of unbiased news – National Public Radio. Two recently graduated 20 something females were being interviewed about their plans for retirement. It’s importance, how to save, should you save, etc…

One girl, a snappy little princess who was fresh outta’ Indiana University’s B-school was talking about her grand plans, and how garnering an MBA taught her the importance of retirement and she was anxious to move to DC for a consulting job in August and to start piling funds into her 401K. I couldn’t tell her how DC is one of the top 5 most expensive cities to live in, and that husbands, kids, job failings, and health issues might – just might – change her outlook and ability to stuff massive amounts of money into a retirement fund. I was captivated because she reminded me of me coming out of undergrad and thinking I’d walk right into opportunity and big money. Then, after a 4 year stint at the Grand Hotel, where every year you work you lose two on the back end of your life due to ridiculous hours, stress, bad food, rapid weight gain/loss, alcoholism – those issues just scratch the surface of working there. I found out that there are prices I don’t want to pay for the big bux.

The other girl, a less egocentric Masters grad in Social Services pretty much knew that there is a glass ceiling in her profession and that she would look at other avenues to save for the long term. I think she had a pretty realistic outlook on what life will bring her, having a background in….real people’s issues. Man, I wish I had her vision when I was 27.

So, I turned that sh*t off, put on some Beastie Boys and picked up Squirty B at her summer camp – feelin’ good because my plan of kickin’ it when I’m 71 is still in tact. I wonder how stupid that sounds to my parents in their 60’s? Probably about as stupid as the consultant princess sounded to me on the radio.

Sunday, June 7, 2009


Saturday morning was cool and overcast - barely warm enough for short sleeves - but damn fine for a mountain bike ride. I filled my personal fuel tank with some home brewed espresso, cottage cheese, toast, and fruit, and left the garage 'round 10 minutes after 8am. As I was rolling over towards the start line for next week's race I ran into the course marking crew from a local bike shop that is help sponsoring the race. Alex K, Margaret G and Chris L to name just a few of the crew were embarking on a 1/2 day journey around the loop with signage. All very cool people who are committed to local racing. I traversed to the west side of Elden and back downhill to pick up Wilkens and we left the flats of Flagstaff 'round 9am.

4.5 miles later we had climbed 2,300 feet and as much as I tried to pace myself, there's no pacing myself on this climb. It's just hard. Wilkens crushed me by nearly 3 minutes over the nearly hour-long climb, which if replicated next Saturday, will be give him a sufficient cushion to beat me, even though it's another 19 miles back to the finish line. The wiry mother f*cker has like 38" legs, a small torso and can just climb like a goat - he always beats me on sustained climbs, and I'll probably be chasing him until I die trying to catch him.

On my big wheels and with adrenaline putting a huge grin on my face, I made up 45 seconds on him down the 1900 foot drop over the backside of the mountain, and from there on out we rode together back 'round the front side to the finish line in around 2:35 minutes. The thought of entering the marathon category and doing that loop twice wasn't even a thought because I dismissed it before finishing thinking about it. So - it's the open singlespeed class for me. It'll be a small field, and I'll be bringing up the rear or close to it.

We added a few miles at the end for training's sake - rolling into my garage at about 4 hours ride time on the nose. I was just on the edge of hydration/cramping issues but never quite got there, thankfully. I ate as much as I could, slept for an hour, took a walk with Jamocha, had a nice dinner with D, but Good God my knees were sore and my legs were toast. I think that was about max effort without risking a blown engine, and I'm not really looking forward to racing that course again next weekend.

But damn....after a day like that I feel incredibly fortunate for my health, this mountain town and all its idiosyncracies, and the fact that we've been able to make it work here albeit by the skin of our teeth at times. The only upward mobility here is biking, hiking, climbing, or skiing up the mountains. Right now, I'm cool with that - because "at the end of the day", it's all downhill home.

Friday, June 5, 2009

Bodhi On the Loose

What started out as a run in the woods for D and Bodhi yesterday turned into a stressful 20 hours. Bodhi took off after a deer, and didn’t come back. He’s done this before and it’s usually a 10 minute foray into the wild until he returns. This time, D looked for him with a friend of hers for eight hours, and at dusk she had to let it go. Fortunately, Flag is a dog town, and most people own one or two dogs so you can pretty much bank on getting a phone call before a dog pound call if your dog has tags. Bodhi had his on, thankfully.

I took off at 6am this morning with Ellsie and JHam on bikes and we canvassed as much area as we could before they had to peel off to work. Observatory Mesa is huge, and you could keep yourself lost on fire roads and single track for a couple of days. As I was coming back down the mesa towards town I saw D on the trail below me and she was on the phone – with a resident who said Bodhi had wandered into her yard around 6am. We boogied back to town, got the car, and picked his tired, beaten down arse up and hauled him home. He was about 4-5 miles from where he had been lost – he had crossed a major road going to the Grand Canyon, and ambled into the yard of this family that fortunately had two dogs. Lucky duck.

So, after a sleepless night, and a whole lotta stress over the missing furry kid, he’s back and probably ready to go again. This time he’s going to be introduced to Mr. Shock Collar. Mr. Shock, meet Bodhi. Like most dogs, Bodhi will probably be smart enough to figure out that he really will only want to get to know Mr. Shock once or twice – and that stickin’ close to his parents on hikes/runs in a good thing.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Minnesota here we come in 3 weeks

Things ain’t quite working to plan this week, so I’m shining a seat with my ass at the sawmill for 11 hours today instead of standing and pedaling above one on my bicycletta in the woods.

It’s been a week filled with grade school festivities for Miss Lyza B. Party one day for her teacher who is retiring after 33 years, a general assembly with awards, and a field day with water games and all that fun stuff. It’s all translated to a lotta fun for her, a lotta missed work for me, and a lot of makeup to do. But…you don’t get these days back with your kids – so soak it up because next year is 3rd grade. The beginning of cliques, boyfriend/girlfriend talk, multiplication/fractions/division, and leaps and bounds of growing up.

The stress-o-meter is rising ‘round here and it doesn’t seem to let off. Business = sucks. End of School Year and into summer camps and balancing that with work = sucks. Vacations coming up = YES! Lost dog in the woods = Really sucks. Fitness level through May = not bad. Women = like a M-F Chinese buffet because EACH DAY IS DIFFERENT. Time to focus in on those vacations…..where’s that reset button?

Ahhhhh, I see it on my bike – tomorrow morning – sunrise ride before work, be there or go insane.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Weekend Plans - Check

I'm gonna' blow off work on Friday, and head up into the high country to do some hiking, mountain biking, and camping on Friday/Saturday. Gotta' work Sunday, so I guess it's tit for tat as far as work and time off go. As it should be. I don't want to take anything for granted in these tough times.
Lockett Meadow is the destination. It's roughly 22 miles from home on the north side of the Peaks. It's time to spend some time exploring our backyard rather than spend a day driving to and from Colorado. Good times await this if I could just fast forward to Friday morning.
The lawn, the weeds, and the laundry are gonna have to wait their turn.

He's in a spot of bother...

The marathon course was released for the AZ State Mountain Bike Finals. It starts 1/4 mile from my front door, so at least I can get a nice warm up in on the stationary trainer and have my own toilet for the inevitable pre-race 'ria - although what will I really have to worry about besides finishing and still knowing my name after the race?

48 Miles, almost all singletrack, and 8,000 feet of climbing. Eight Thousand Freakin' Feet of climbing. That's insane for a middle age man like me. I'm going to do a trial run on Thursday with my 32x19 gear to see if I can even ride this course competitively. If it will be a true death march on a singlespeed, then I'll drop down to the 24 mile version which will be hard enough. I don't know how the MBAA got permission to use these trails, and I hate to use the word EPIC because not very much really is epic anymore - but I think this f*ckin' course would require a biblical effort from me to finish without being left for dead, or at least a teammate or two to suffer through it. I better start "selling" this as a unique training opportunity to my fellow Red Rock Racers - or some lying angle like that.

Until Thursday......I'll be drinking a gallon of water a day.