Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Missed the Final Cut

The jury selection process for a child molestation case yesterday in our lovely County Court was.....something I'm glad I was able to attend. We started with 90 prospective jurors. I made the first random cut, as they called 28 of us from the 90 to the front of the courtroom and started the selection process.

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

Monday at the Races

Our weekly team crit has become consistent after four weeks. We had a smaller group of 5 last night, and one of those 5 was blown off the back quickly, so he took pics and kicked back while the rest of us duked it out.

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

Pre race fun. Me, Lyza, D, A-Bon, and Tony.
What a great time out at the Nordic Center. The road ride out was cold, but it was very helpful as a pre-race warm up. I pulled D for the first three miles of the 10K, and she pulled me to the line trying to podium in the women's class. We finished with the same time. I was 16th out of 99 runners, and Dana was 15th - the 4th woman in - 2 seconds from third place. So close to a podium for her, but I was a good 10 minutes back of any awards racing the fast dudes.
Lyza helped A-Bon with timing, and Tony ran the half marathon and made it look easy.
After the run, Lyza and I took in an NAU football game at the dome. They almost beat Montana for the first time in 12 tries, but fell on the second series in OT. It was exciting, we were screaming and yelling, and bed never felt so good on Saturday night. Good fitness, good times, family and friends - doesn't get a whole lot better than that. We have one more day in the 80's today, and that's it folks....61 by Wednesday for the high. HELLO FALL!

Friday, September 25, 2009

Season ski passes are on sale for $400, the days are getting windy again, lows are hitting 29 degrees, the Aspen trees are losing it, and that lack of daylight I've been squawkin' about just keeps fading away even more. I'll be damned if Fall hasn't already fallen into place here in Flagtown. I love it. It's my favorite season next to summer, then winter, and I flippin' still can't get excited about spring no how, no way.

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

New strokes

The girls went to bed at 9 last night, and out of fear of making an ass out of myself in seven weeks, I made my way over the the flourescent-lit, 3-lane, 25 meter pool over on the west side o' town.

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

The sun had not quite come up yet, and the wind was freakin’ howling. I had some mental momentum from yesterday’s pre-dawn ride so I made it out again today. The usual suspect was out, John – with the two black labs – but other than that, the tacky dirt was all mine. For me anyway, these consistent, 1-hour efforts go a long way towards keeping my base fitness in a good place. Plus, the workday seems all that much easier after a ride in the cool air, some hot homebrew coffee, and a hot shower.

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

What’s that Springsteen song “one step forward, two steps back”? I was singing it this morning as I was slowly climbing up Elden Lookout Road trying to regain the fitness I lost the last week trying to shed the annual elementary school ebola virus that encapsulates kids and parents alike. For fuck’s sake, I’m just starting to make some headway towards fitness for the upcoming fall events and then the H1N1-like cold puts the hammer on me.

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

It all went down well last night at the OK Corral.

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

Meetin' Time

Riding a bike is one thing I look forward to upwards of 5 days a week. Sometimes, it doesn’t happen at all because I work for THE MAN, but I always look forward to my next ride.

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

Crayze for Swayze

It's all over CNN - Patrick Swayze passed away from pancreatic cancer. I'm not too shy to say, I thought the guy was great. He made two movies that I could watch any time, any place, and as many times as I could in a row. Point Break with Swayze as Bodhi the spiritual surfer/bank robber, and Road House where he played a bouncer with a PhD in Psychology from NYU. This flick was unintentional comedy at its finest. Plus, he crash landed a plane in Cottonwood, AZ many years ago. With complete seriousness, I'm sorry to see him go. Word is that he was a pretty humble guy, a bit shy about fame, and I thought he did a lot with his talent/mullet/looks/physical presence. All I know is that when I was a sophomore in college, I couldn't think of a chick who didn't think he was the ticket.

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

6:50pm.... when you best be out of the woods unless you are riding with lights. I high-tailed it up the mountain last night to meet the Hardman at the top of Sunset trail, about 8.2 miles and 2,200 feet up from town. It's a grunt for me. By the time I got there I was sweating bullets eventhough it couldn't have been more than 65 degrees at the top. My legs felt like wood after yesterday's run through the 'hood and I just couldn't get into a good groove. No Hardman at the top. 6:52pm. Whatever light was left - it was fading fast, and I decided to bail out to a fire road and back home and ended up hitting town at dark.

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

All over the map

Labor Day Weekend was all jacked up. Friday, great day – but a cruddy day for business. Everyone is cutting back on leisure travel expenses so most guests decided to arrive Saturday this year and only stay two nights. I got home a little late, but had a chance to spend some nice time with D and chill with the dogs. Saturday saw remnants of Hurricane what’shername that came up from the Baja. Rain – clouds – sun – torrential rain – clearing – and 51 degrees. We took the best possible option and swam a kilometer at the university pool. It was hard. I suck at swimming laps and have a lot to learn before splashing into the water at a Triathlon in November. I can already see I’ll be the last one out of the water, then I’ll pass 300 people on my bike with no goofy-ass aero bars, and then do my best to hold that position on the run.

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

Marin Pine Mountain 29'er

Ha ha! I screeched into the bike shop parking lot on Monday and brought me home a new baby. She’s 20 ½ inches, weighs about 25 pounds, and she’s a beauty!

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.

Woo hoo!