Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Every year or two I come up with not just an idea, but a brilliant idea.

Since there is now a 12 foot ice dam in front of our mailbox, we have found ourselves on the short end of the mail delivery stick, as the mailman just drives on by. Facing at least 3 hours of work with an ice pick, a spade, and a shovel, I decided on plan B.

Remove 4 screws that attach the mailbox to its post, dig a hole in the ice dam, insert the box, cover it with powder, dump a 5 gallon bucket of water on it, and that little fucker won’t move until it slowly melts with the berm. 15 minutes of work. Done.

D is going to put a little note in the box for the mailman that says “Will this work until April?” I hope he has a sense of humor.

Monday, January 25, 2010

Crazy Dayz

The snow started falling a week ago today, and through Wednesday evening it became a routine as such: School gets cancelled with a phone call at 6am, I head down to work, Dana’s massage sessions get cancelled around 9am, Lyza plays with friends all day thinking that “snow days” are never going to end, I come back up around dinner, shovel or snowblow the driveway, and get ready to do it all again the next day. We managed to get in a nice mid-week run on the streets in the snow, and things still seemed fairly normal. Then came Thursday.

School was cancelled with a 6am phone call, and word was out via radio that all of the roads in and out of Flag were closed. Then the wi-fi went out, and the snow would not stop. I borrowed a neighbors snowblower twice that day, each time tossing 6-12 inches of snow away and keeping up with the precip as best as I could. Then, it turned to rain. Steady rain on top of 3.5 feet of snow for two hours, and then it switched back to snow through the night. I went to shovel the driveway and it was like picking up 50 pound scoops of water. I managed to carve out a small path to the car, and that was that. Goodnight. Phone call from work – power is out. Couldn’t sleep, but couldn’t get out of town to help either. Shit, shit.

Friday AM was a blizzard, but around 2pm, the skies lightened up for a bit, and I made a break for I-40 west towards Williams, figuring I could drive 130 miles to work by going around the back of Sedona. The highway was closed, but I stumbled on an on-ramp with no cops and went for it. I saw one snow plow over 30 miles, and was able to keep a speed of 45 mph on the snowy highway until the road dropped down to 4,000 feet and it was totally clear. White knuckle driving, but fun too. Having two snow covered lanes plus a shoulder all to myself was pretty sweet. The elevation profile of that drive looks like a mountain stage of the Tour. Start at 7,000 feet, down to 4,000 in Ash Fork, back to 8,000 over Mingus Mountain, down to 5,000 at Jerome, down to 3,000 feet in Cottonwood, and the homestretch into work through Sedona at 5,800. Snow, rain, snow, rain….and power outage, still…..

The power outage kicked everyone out at work, ‘cept for a few brave souls who burned wood for two days to stay warm, and finally the heartiest couldn’t take it anymore and left on Saturday night. The generator for the lobby saved us as we had heat/light for the staff. We lost our ass on cancellations, but the property is fine, and nobody got hurt other than rocks falling on the roofs of two guests – one going through the back window of a PT Cruiser – how the hell did that happen I don’t know, but it scared the shit out of that guy. In the 12 years I’ve been here, I haven’t been hit by a falling rock. I’m either livin’ right, or lucky, or maybe a little bit of both.

The most direct road home on Saturday was still closed, so I had to drive 1.5 hours to get back……not as bad as the 3 hour odyssey on Friday though. I stopped by a local store that was open and picked up a movie and a Mickey’s Tall boy. A little malt liquor was just the ticket to take the edge off a stupid 24 hours of stress. Sunday was time to recover. D and I hit a barely snowtracked road for the hardest 6 mile run I’ve done in a while, and then I headed downtown to watch the Vikes go down with Brett Favre slingin’ a pass into traffic that sent the game into OT. Live by the Favre, die by the Favre as Big Steve warned me back in August. At least he swept the g-damn Packers.

So, the road to work is still closed and I’m not commuting three hours a day, every day until they get it plowed and repaired. I think boarding at the Bowl is on tap for tomorrow. The ski hill got 7-9 feet of snow that they couldn’t even control for two days – finally reopening on Sunday. 9 feet? 108 inches? I can’t wait to get up there.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

5 feet of snow in 6 days. Still diggin' out. More later.
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Wednesday, January 20, 2010

1/19/10 in Flagtown

Another morning, another 4:30 wakeup, another shoveling job to get out of the driveway, another commute down the icy switchbacks, school is closed again, and we have 2-4 more feet of snow arriving starting tonight through Friday morning. Wow. This has been one long week of snow and it's only Wednesday.

I manned up and knocked out 10K in the snowstorm last night with my chief motivator Bodhi running by my side. Around mile 2 I concluded that I'm only running to finish respectably at our early season mountain bike races since we can't ride outdoors right now. Around mile 3 I concluded that running in the snow, in the dark, will give me a huge head start for the April/May races. Around mile 4 I got vertigo from looking down under my visor to keep snow from piling up in my eyes and almost had to stop - a nice 1 minute stretch of whoooooooaaaaaaaa dizzy. At mile 5 I saw my rooftop from the top of the last climb and though "this shit is easy, I could run all night"......When I hit the driveway at mile 6 I was D-O-N-E. The tech gear did it's job keeping me dry, but I was ready to chow down and hit the hot tub. D gave me the full rundown on the heart disease chapter of "The China Study" over seitan tacos, and me and Squirty had a snowball fight in the tub. Toasted. Lights out. See ya tomorrow for some more shoveling.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

4 the Micks

The school cancelled school today and it's a total freakin' joke since we got maybe 4-6 inches of snow max. So, today deserves a joke:

I was testing children in my Dublin Sunday school class to see if they understood the concept of getting into heaven. I asked them:
'If I sold my house and my car, had a big garage sale and gave all my money to the church, would that get me into heaven?''NO!' the children answered.
'If I cleaned the church every day, mowed the garden, and kept everything tidy, would that get me into heaven?' Again, the answer was 'NO!'
By now I was starting to smile.
'Well, then, if I was kind to animals and gave sweets to all the children, and loved my husband, would that get me into heaven?' Again, they all answered 'NO!'.
I was just bursting with pride for them. I continued, "Then how can I get into heaven?" A six year-old boy shouted out: "YUV GOTTA BE FOOKN' DEAD!"

Monday, January 18, 2010

Here comes the snow

According to the weather gurus we will either have 3, 4, or 5 feet of snow between tonight and Saturday morning. It's one of those "10 year storms" that I haven't seen since 1998, so make it a 12 year storm.

So, I took a break and went to Sedona yesterday and was led around by long time pal Jeff D on the new social trail network on the east side. These trailbuilders who are skirting the forest service laws are masters at their craft. I'd never been on these sections of crap your shorts drops and technical ascents. The 32x17 I had left on my bike since the races in PHX last weekend made it tougher than it should have been, but railing the downhill berms, ditches, and hand built rock trials sections was oh so much fun. An hour and a half later and we were back sipping Amber brew and calling Brett Favre the greatest thing since Wisconsin Cheddar, but I was frothing and chomping at the bit wanting more singletrack. I guess I'll have to wait a week and a half for this storm to pass and for the red dirt to dry out. 3-5 inches of rain in Sedona will translate into a bloody mess.

Friday, January 15, 2010

Spring thoughts

My sweet D has been sick all week. Seems as though the Phoenix Crud may have turned into a throat/sinus deal. Massages – cancelled. Cooking class – cancelled. I feel for her, being trapped at home all week. So, being the kind, caring husband that I am, I rented Julie and Julia last night. Not bad, although I don’t think I could handle Julia Child’s voice for more than the course of that movie. Wow. Her 540-some recipies look outrageous with butter, butter, and more butter. Anyway, if you need a chick flick, check it out because anything is better than a Jen Aniston movie.

Before said chick flick, I grabbed Bodhi and we knocked off a 10K in the wind and cold last night. Damn man, the wind was blowing something fierce, and I was glad to get back in the house. I hope to knock another 10K out on Saturday, but this time on the snowpacked trails before we get drilled with a 5-day storm system moving in on Monday. Snowbowl still has plenty of cover, but it’s time for some fresh powder. Inevitably, this means school closures and delays if this system measures up like everyone is talking about.

My yearly Owner’s meeting is a week from tomorrow, and even though I’m used to the dog and pony show, it’s still a weekend I always look forward to getting past. Fortunately, we had a pretty decent year in spite of the drastic dip in tourism. Going forward, I’m a little nervous about 2010 because we cut expenses so far in 2009 that there’s a precedent set for 2010 that says “Chris can continue to cut expenses so we make our goals”. Well guess what, there isn’t a whole lot left to cut. I can only hope that we continue to see a small increase in business like we did over the 4th quarter to help the revenue side of our profit and loss statement. Sorry, you probably fell asleep a sentence or two back.

I’m still feelin’ great after riding last weekend. Getting back on that MTB is so great. Running, boarding, skiing, basketball – man they just don’t add up to the thrill of railing a bike on crushed granite at high speed. We’re – officially anyway - less than a month into winter, but out here, spring is just around the corner baby, and I’m pumped.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Garage Trainers

Drove home last night, jumped out of the car, quick change, grabbed Bodhi and cruised through the first part of a 6 mile run until I felt like Gandhi on a fast. Bailed after 3 miles, and ate eggs, English muffins, cheese, OJ, and washed it down with chips/salsa and two cans of beer. Jesus Focker, I think I was still hungry from that bike race on Sunday. Then I quickly went into turbo cleaning mode because by shit from the weekend was all over the place. Tent, chairs, clothes, coolers, dishes, bike gear – then mop the floors, laundry and a quick kitchen cleanup. Category 5 Hurricane Chris comin’ to a home near you. Damn, the place felt great when I was done.

D walked in late last night with the Phoenix Crud – when you breathe that particulate laden air for a couple of days, it can bring your ass down. I didn’t get it, yet anyway, knock on wood. She’s got a cooking class teaching crepe making on Thursday, so I hope she can kick it to the curb.

Garage Trainers Session tonight with Red Rock teammates 2nite. Looks like a 5-dude sausage fest at Goldman’s place. This is the only way I can ride the rollers. He has some Hi Def TDF coverage, and there will be some shit-talking going on, so I should stay motivated for an hour of spinning. Back to the running on Thursday as this 20 mile per week goal has been attainable, fun, and pretty good for me.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Just another half ass..

Does Mark McGwire seriously believe that the PED’s he took had nothing to do with the home runs he hit in the second half of his career? That’s what he said, and he insisted that its eye-hand coordination that enables a person to jack the ball out of a park. What the f*ck ever. He wouldn’t have even been on the field his last 4-6 years without some juice. And then he said that he didn’t know what he took for six years….didn’t know what he took?! His confession, while tearful and remorseful, just proves that Jose Canseco, albeit a PR whore, has provided the only legit confession during a comical/pathetic era in a pastime – that’s right, pastime - that has too long of a season, too many games, and a competitive balance akin to the public utilities industry. Pro baseball has been a joke since the 70’s.

We all knew Sosa and McGwire were juiced when they were blasting homers out, but nobody cared because it made baseball exciting, it made baseball relevant, and it made MLB players and owners rich. It built new stadiums, and enriched television contracts. Huge, huge money. When Bonds hit #73, I remember the 50/50 split in the media over the legitimacy of his new record….saying it belonged to McGwire, as if he were legit and Bonds wasn’t. I also remember only a handful of journalists openly questioning the validity of the game, the level of integrity all the way to Bud Selig’s office, and how baseball went from a pastime to a freakin’ reality show.

Any chance McGwire will call a press conference and say “Look, that was a half ass confession. Of course I knew what I took, and I wouldn’t have been on the field hitting home runs without it. It does take more than strength to hit home runs - hand-eye coordination is a huge part, but you can’t generate bat speed if your body is broken down. I’m truly sorry for putting my personal goals above the purity of the pastime of baseball”.

I think I’ll be waiting a while.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Race #1
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Race #1

We rolled down to Phoenix on Saturday morning, and opened the doors to 65 degrees, and ahhhhhh. Quick change, and on the road bikes for 1.5 hours just to spin it out and take in some sun. There aren’t a lot of cars traveling out and about on this side of the valley, so the spinning was quiet, smooth…..until D came rocketing past CW and I and of course, we had to chase her down. A few more shenanigans, and we were back at the campsite. I believe I called D a “little f*cker” when she attacked and we had a good laugh about it.

Woke up to a gorgeous pink desert sunrise, and took care of the necessary stuff like food/coffee/race packet, and I had no worries about my bike because I had dialed it in last week. On the stand it sat, waiting to go. I don’t like surprises 5 minutes before go time.

Me and CW went to the line at 8:25, and the gun went at 8:30. The open class marathon field had some really fast looking pros from Powerbar et al, a lot of guys like me with team kits on and hopes for a solid finish, and a few clowns who you could predict were going to persevere through a death march. As with most marathon races, the group establishes itself quickly and there’s not a lot of passing after the first half hour. I had to let 20+ people go ahead of me because they were faster, and I took the time to sit in and find a challenging, but manageable pace. Lap 1 was good, lap 2 was great, lap 3 had a lot of traffic from the Cat 2 men and women to pass, and then I started cramping as I crawled back up to the start/finish line. My right ham locked and I had to hop off and stretch for a minute. OK tough guy, get back to it. I hopped back on and put a bow on race #1 of the season. Not a big bow, just a little one. I was pretty cooked after lap 4. So…..40 miles, 3.5 hours, and there was nothing left in my personal tank, my camelback, or my water bottle at the end. Done, used, expired. I finished 24th out of 36. I felt pretty good about that, and I felt especially good that the running I have been doing translated into bike fitness – or it would have been a short day.

Race #2 is in three weeks at the White Tank Mountains. I’ll be there, and I figure if I keep this up, I’ll be hitting my stride by early April.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Off to the flatlands

Off to Phoenix tomorrow AM. Car full of gear, peeps, dogs, and bikes. Race report on Monday. I settled on the marathon category so I can just ride, ride, ride at a lower intensity, since I forgot how to pedal.

Somehow I managed to run 20 miles since Saturday, most of it being at night. Kinda' like, huh...20 miles? Nice.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Back in the late 80’s we had some good video games that effectively wrecked some of my bros’ GPA’s at NAU. Earl Weaver Baseball, Super Tecmo-Bowl, Real Sports Football with mock NFL names like “Steve Dakota” instead of Joe Montana, and “Bob Jackman” for Bo Jackson since they didn’t have licensing rights. Fortunately, I was able to manage the games and the grades, and the bro’s and the ho’s with the party balls and the pony kegs.

I’ve always remained a big fan of good arcade games, even though I quickly lose interest once the shimmer of the game wears off. Typical American, right….what’s next? Is there a better version?

Last Saturday, I bought Lyza a copy of the latest version of ‘Need for Speed’ on her X-Box 360 that I got her for Christmas because I wanted one. She was bitchin’ and moanin’ about it in the store because she wanted some other lame-ass game. I said “c’mon, I’ll buy it for you or you can buy that other game with your money”. She opted for the freebie. It was a used copy for $7.99 and she didn’t catch that part. As soon as she realized she could outrun cops, race souped up Mustangs through city neighborhoods, across golf courses, and barrel through toll booths at 180mph – well – it was like pulling the monkey off the crack pipe to get her to want to stop playing. Good times. I’ve been wanting to play that game all week, but a dump truck of work, exercise time, family time, trips to the body shop, and all that other shit and, well, the day ends and I can never fit it in.

Some of my nervous nellie parental friends get all grippy about how video games can teach bad lessons and encourage violence. Keep watching CNN, and live in fear, cause I'll be playing Madden 2010 with LB lookin' to jack the QB of the ball.

I’d agree with the violence part if you let your kid sit in a dark room and play alone, but I totally disagree if you are playing the games with your kid. We laugh our asses off when her front bumper clips a full shopping cart of groceries at 150mph and the produce goes freakin’ flyin’. We have to pause the game because we’re crying laughing when I bump into the back of a logging truck at 175mph and it releases a shit-ton of logs onto the freeway and crashes out the cops behind us. These games compared to the games we played back in the day? All I can say is WOW. But I can also say, enough – time to get outside and tear up the ice rink because my thumbs are WRECKED!

At the end of the day though, I don't know jack crap about the big time video gamers. Me and some old time frat bros were at a friend’s 40th B-Day two years ago, when one guy asks me in front of a table of 16 peeps “What’s your gamer ID”? I looked at him as if he were a Cantonese waiter asking for my order in his native language. I didn’t know what the fuck he was talking about. Come to find out, these hardcore gamers play online, wear headsets to communicate by voice, and play never ending games for hours on end. Not exactly like the Castle Wolfenstein games we played in Apple IIC’s in 1984.

Ahh well. After work today, it’s off on a run, grab some chow, read Cycle Sport America’s interview with Ivan Basso, catch up with D, and if I’m not asleep after that – a little Need for Speed!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


It was a tough day. Big Steve got some bad news about his pooch Clark, and we got some not-so-good news about our pooch Bodhistar….he may have doggie Lupus. WTF. These little fur friends don’t do anything but give you unconditional love, and remind you to live in and enjoy the moment. I hope Bodhi’s symptoms are ultimately nothing, but we’re a little scared right now. He’s only 3.

So, I left the house on a run at 9:00pm. Six’ish miles at a relaxed pace. Felt good, felt nice, felt right. I was still thinkin’ about the fur kids though.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Holdin' on to what exactly?

After some tasty avocado-tacos last night, I rolled out with furry friend B-Star for a neighborhood run. I hate running on pave’, but something about running at night takes that hate and drops it to a mild dislike. Headlamp on my noggin - I could see my breath between strides, and the cold air sorta’ eroded as the time went by. It was around 15-20 degrees, but the streets were quiet and B-Star is the best furry running partner ever. Just 3.5 miles or so, half hour at an easy pace. It just felt good to get something in at the end of a tough day at the office. I’ll hit it for 6 miles tonight as I need the work, and it’ll be a touch warmer. Everybody here says “there’s no bad weather, there’s only bad gear.” That was true last night, as my thermal tights continue to eat the cold up and keep me warm.

Clothing handout for the team tonight. This is the first time we have had kits ready in January. They look good. Here we go, game on.

Monday, January 4, 2010

Catchin' Up

Over the course of the holidays my wife managed to rebound the Kia off of a bank of ice, and drive the Subie into one of those metal barriers that protect gas pumps from being taken out by errant drivers. Now I completely understand why they are there.

So I take the Kia to a bodyshop last week and they offer me the “restore it to new” quote of around a grand, or the “just reattach the ground effect” quote of $125. It’s a Kia….$125 thank you very much. We picked up the car this morning and as I sped (relative term) off to work, D got a quote to repair the side of the Subie. He looked at it, looked at her, looked at it again, and said “Do you bake”. She said hell yeah I bake. He said “Bring some cookies in for the guys and we’ll have this done in a half hour. I should have had her take the Kia in too. Do you bake? Too funny. Sometimes I wish I were a 5’ 3” brunette with a nice smile and a cute dog in tow.

Bike. Race. This. Sunday. I have ridden exactly 2x in the last month and I’m hoping that I can get by on running fitness, and not a lot of it. I’m the early favorite for DFL in the Singlespeed open class against the Phoenix/Tucson group who are tanned and trained. But…I don’t care. I need the mileage, and temps in the high 60’s are gonna’ feel good on my pasty white skin. My goal is to use these early races to produce a solid showing at the Whiskey 50 at the end of April in Prescott. That race kicked me to the curb two years ago, and I haven’t forgotten the cramps that set in during the 4th hour. It was, in two words, an awakening. An awakening as to how much pain I can endure without going fetal.

Man, back to work today and it’s like the sh*t hit the fan on the back of one of those gator boats in the Everglades. I can see sh*t for miles and miles. But – I’m takin’ the time to wolf down a huge-ass plate of D’s chiliquilas so my metabolic rate doesn’t slow down, or some sh*t like that. I don’t know what the hell I’m talkin’ bout. D says : “just eat the food and all will be good.” OK, I’m all in.

I took JD’s freeride bike around the block yesterday. The headtube is so slack I could ride a wheelie 50 yards, but at yard #51, I dropped the front end hard which burped the front tire, and tossed my ass off to the side….bent his derailleur hanger too. I need to stay on the dirt.