Friday, May 28, 2010

Our cycling team board meeting last evening consisted of a 2 hour ride, 6 Tecates, burritos, chips, and non-stop laughter. That’s the kind of board meeting I like. You can keep the suit/tie, the egos and the powerpoint.

We climbed up high, and then plunged down Super Motard. It’s called Super Moto, but if you can clean the whole upper section, then that’s freakin’ retarded. It snakes through Easter Island-like boulders, and has about 12-15 spots where you can easily endo - crash and burn. Nope, I didn’t clean it – never have, and there’s two places that I have never seen anyone conquer. But, the big wheels kept on rollin’ and it flowed beautifully under my tires last night. I had a big grin on my face even before the burritos and Tecate.

On tap this weekend – prepping our upper patio for a flagstone installation. Gotta till up the dirt, dig an area about 5” deep, pour and pack the sand, and place/cut the stones. It’s going to be a three week project. However – I’m stoked to do it….in between family time, rides, and work – notice the order of preference there.

Finally....for all you Lance lovers out there - he's the Teflon Don of the Peloton, but I'm thinkin' that he's gonna get more than a scare this time.

Thursday, May 27, 2010


Courtesy of lifetime pal Sheck.....detailing the 'transition' of the ATM machine serviceman at her office.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tuesday night at the races

“At that moment, you have to want it more than anything else”

Tuesday night at the crits started promptly at 5:30p and we had a mixed group of eight riders for the first one. How’s this for a group: A 13 year old State Champ road racer who will be killing us all in a few years, three 40+ Masters guys, and three late 20’s dudes with coaches and high aspirations. That makes 7….check out the 8th guy.

As we came around the start/finish line on lap two, a guy appeared to the right side and I said “hop on!” – as I came around him and he slid on the back I noticed three things of importance. A carbon Scott with full Dura Ace and a sweet Power Tap setup, Landis Cyclery socks (not as in the rat Floyd Landis), and he was overdressed with long tights, a Gore-tex riding jacket and he had a commuter mirror on his helmet. Who is this guy?

As the laps ticked off it was me and JB slugging it out again leading the group, until the guy with the Scott bike took a pull like I haven’t seen before. He led for ¾ of a mile and shelled everyone except for me and JB – we were both hanging on by the gums of our teeth and couldn’t even pull around until he eased off. Sitting behind him at redline, I barely could make out his work badge – D. Miller, WL Gore……this guy is a former pro racer – holds the record for the Snowbowl ascent (27:12 compared to my pedestrian personal best of 38:00) and it turns out he was on his way home (bike commuting) and saw the racing and just decided to hop in. Tail light dangling, seat bag swaying, the whole 9 yards. The three of us came around with one to go and I made a mistake and ended up reluctantly leading out the last lap….D. Miller sat up, and JB made me pay for it and took the sprint. Damn.

D came out with Bodhi and watched race #2 – her observations were spot on regarding bike fits, who was instigating, and who was just surviving. She got a kick out of the testosterone fueled fun-fest and it was cool having her there. I could see her laughing as I came around and I knew she was doing her own Paul Sherwen / Phil Liggett commentary with loads of sarcasm and wit. How could she not, with out hodge-podge group of guys strung out in a A, B, and C level groups as the laps went on. "Oh he's in a spot of bother!" "He's pedaling squares".

Round two started shortly after, and right from the gun I took a solo flyer hoping somebody would bridge up and we could just ride away. Well, you didn’t have to be a rocket scientist to figure it out – so the guys just followed the pro…. and after 1.5 miles of solo work dangling only 150 yards off the front, I wasn’t gaining any ground. 15 minutes left in the crit – no way I could keep that pace up, so I sat up and waited for the group. They swept me up like a commercial vacuum, and a couple of other guys took pulls while I watched JB closely. Wrong guy to watch - as the pro attacked from the back and was 20 yards clear before I could say “shit shit we’re f*cked!”. Me and JB took off and turned ourselves inside out to catch the pro. We got to within 10 yards, he looked back and surged again - I deflated as fast as a popped balloon….until I saw Aram.

Aram was dropped a couple laps back and as the pro went by him, I screamed ‘drill it!’ – Aram did as soon as we caught on, and he put in a 30 second max effort that put us back on the pro’s wheel. Totally not happenin’ in a real race, but for the sake of survival, we needed the pull. I tapped Aram on the back out of thanks – shit I would have given him a big man hug if I’d have had time. So, there I sat until three laps to go when I set myself up properly to beat JB to the line. The pro gave a half hearted attempt at the sprint and coasted in behind us. He wasn’t going to pip us at the line his first time out he said – cool move I thought.

The pro upped our average pace to 25.5mph, and overall jacked my aerobic output by 5%. Shit, I thought I was already on the limit the two or three weeks before. It’s incredible what you can do if you are pushed and if you want it more than anything else. D. Miller is a totally humble guy. He said he appreciated the work, and would come back again. He doesn’t race anymore and he could fry us Cat 3,4,5 guys after maybe a couple weeks of training – hell, if he really wanted to he could smoke us next week if he just showed up without his commuting clothes. It was awesome though, to see a 150 pound dude just shell most of our group. I gave everything I had to win race #2 and felt damn good last night as I passed out.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

The Champagne of Beers

I get ripped out here by everyone I know when I bust out a Miller High Life. The beer snobs are all into their pretty-boy IPA’s right now, and love to tell me that “you can take the boy outta the Midwest, but you can’t take……yada yada, you know the cliché”….

If I can buy a 6’er of the High Life for $4.00 or a 6’er of some micro-grog from Deschutes Brewery for $9.00 – well then I’ll buy a 12’er of the High Life and keep the change.

A friend of mine calls Miller High Life a “lawnmower beer”. As in, when you come in from mowing the lawn on a hot summer day you want to slam a cold cheap beer that has no taste and is just a thirst quencher. Fine with me….most of the time I’m comin’ in from a ride and a cold one is just that – cold.

"Miller High Life means you know quality and good living”. Uh Huh. Good thing advertising helps me decide.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Night Watch

So my Night Auditor is stuck 2 hours from work with a busted down car, and so guess where I am? Doing his job from 9pm - 7am. Just livin' the hotel dream baby! That's after pulling the 7am - 1pm shift today, and then coaching my kids in gale force winds on the pitch. I'm beat, but I can't sleep - yet anyway.

I thought about selling the single speed today, and getting one of these. I've never ridden a Cadillac, but it sure seems like it would be fun. I dunno...the last few SS rides I've done have just felt wrong. I've owned one since 2001, and ridden 'em hard for 4 years now, but I feel a shift coming.

Anyway, back to the sawmill. Outta here at 7am, meet D for breakfast, and maybe squeeze in a ride before I pass out.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

As my buddy Fish would say - L I V I N.......Lido Beach on Longboat Key.
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D at the end of the freakin' road, while I'm lookin' like I'm ready for a bathroom break, but I'm not really...I just look that way. WTF?

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Phlorida Photos

Dad and Dana heading around Longboat Key
This crazy-ass bird whacked a fish right next to my kayak - WOW!

Dad and D at a rest stop along the way
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Ez come ez go

Welcome to Arizona, but don't arrive with a tan and make sure to bring your "papers". Sometimes, this state just sucks ass.
Left the garage at 5:30 this am, and felt like a complete piece of shit. I had not dialed my bike in the night before so there was a bit of sag in a dry chain, and about halfway through I felt the vibration of a loose cog on the rear end. I HATE not having a perfect running machine, but it was my fault for slacking last night and not taking the 5 minutes needed to dial the bike in. I had absolutely nothin’ in my legs, my heart rate seemed too high, I was overdressed, so what do you do? I just gutted it out, and chalked it up to a tired body. Rides like these that make the good days great. Hey – the am light was brilliant, the dirt was tacky, and the trail was empty as it usually is in the early morning. Any time on 2 wheels is better than my best day at the office fo’ sho’.

So, since I completely bottomed out today, maybe I’ll have something for Saturday. I’m hopin’ so because I’m planning on a long solo road ride just to clear the cobwebs. No testosterone-laden attacks, no teammates to stay with…..just leave the house at 5:30am kinda thing and get home for some yard work by 9:30am. The 78 mile loop around Wupatki sounds like just the ticket. Bring a backpack, because it’ll be 30 degrees at the start, 75 at the bottom of the desert, and 65 in the forest on the way home. An I-pod won’t hurt either.

Holy freakin’ bombshell that Floyd Landis dropped yesterday!!! I don’t think it’ll take Ol’ Lance A. to the mat because attorneys and lawsuits have a way of shutting these things down. However, it solidifies my belief that you watch road racing for entertainment, just like football and baseball – not for heroes.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tues at the races

I scrambled out of work, and got to the crit track with just a few minutes to warm up. I changed into the stretchy green and black lycra riding costume and then…..noticed a cut in my sidewall and a small bubble of tube seeping out. “I don’t see an extra tire lying around here so……let’s ride”.

GO time, and we were off. After the first 10 minutes we were down to 5 riders with the stragglers a good 20 seconds off the pace. I didn’t have anything close to the snap I have had in recent weeks, and was relying more than ever on draft positioning as the wind shifted from time to time, following the right wheels, and drilling it on my pulls to prevent counter-attacks. With two laps left we had a party of 3 riders. I reluctantly pulled the last lap because JB and G-Man were forcing me forward, but with 300 meters left I hopped onto the wheel of a dropped rider who was trying not to get lapped… gave me 10 seconds to rest, and then it was full gas to the line and I won by less than a wheel. Too close for my taste.

Race #2 was ON 5 minutes later, and this time we were down to a party of 3 riders only halfway though after some early attacks. I was watching JB like a hawk as he wanted to drop the third guy in our group and make it mano a mano to the line. I was having none of that, and let him go on a break with 10 minutes left – working with the Gold Man to bring him back. We were within 3 seconds of JB and I told Gold Man to let him dangle off the front for a bit….make him look back a lot and wonder if we were going to just catch on or counter….we made him wait, and wait, and then when he looked forward I took off and drilled it with 2 laps left. Both guys stayed with me, but I went full gas and with one lap left I flicked my elbow to wave ‘em through. Nothing. I flicked again. Nothing. These guys were as cooked as I was. JB finally went for it and I had to pull an inside out effort to get on his wheel, but I made it. I sat on him, recovered, and with 200 meters to the line all I had to do was come around him for a pretty easy two length win.

Holy shit was I toast after that second crit. We swapped war stories about the races for a few minutes and everyone went on their way. I felt lucky to win ‘em both – mostly due to age/experience because I wasn’t the strongest guy out there. Everybody knows the key to giving yourself a chance in crit/road racing – all you have to do is gut yourself a handful of times for 15-30 seconds and not lose that wheel in front of you. If you can get through that mental/physical barrier then you have a chance at the end. It’s just a matter of wanting it more than anything else in the world at that particular moment, really.
The tube/tire obviously held. Love them Continental tires….that tire lasted two full seasons

Monday, May 17, 2010

Y'all can keep that thing you call Florida

I'd never done a 40 mile road ride with 137 feet of elevation gain until we rode Longboat Key via Sarasota Florida last week. What a trip. I kept thinking the road would go up or down - and it did - at two drawbridges between the keys. I can see why there are so many d-bags with aero bars out there. Flat, flat, and more flat.

We had a good time at my Dad's place on Siesta Key. Between kayaking, road riding, and beach time - 5 days flew by and we were on our way home to AZ. Save for a 20 hour delay in Houston, the trip was a smashing success.

On the other hand, it sure made me excited to get home. I think the mountains are a part of my mental makeup. I missed riding in the dirt, the wind whistling through the pines, and just the landscape in general. If somebody offered the following: "You can have a mansion on the beach in Florida with a 60' cigarette boat and a Vietnamese maid, or a modest abode in the mountains around Telluride with brand new gear for all four seasons - your choice, but you can't have both". Since I couldn't afford the rocket fuel for the off shore racing V-hull, I'd take the Unibomber place any day of the week and visit Florida when I could.

Last night after coaching the Light Blue Lightening to their 5th win in 6 games (Yo Big Steve - Maribel has blossomed into a FORCE out there!), I went out for an early evening MTB ride. Just 50 minutes, that's all. That was all I needed to feel whole again. Other than a couple of guys from Phoenix scoping out next weekend's State Finals course, it was quiet with a capital Q. Love me some Flagstaff. Y'all can keep your Florida thing over there.

Friday, May 7, 2010

Off to the East Side

5:57am and I’m out the door. The sun wasn’t quite up yet, but the sting was already off the 32 degree low at whatever….3am? It had to be 40 because I was actually a little overdressed. The climb up from town got me to a good place, and it was easy peasy because I still have a 20 cog sitting on the back wheel, left over from the Whiskey 50 race a couple weekends ago. 32x20 doesn’t even seem legit as a singlespeeder gear, but define legit and get back to me. It felt like a good gear this morning and I was soaking up every tooth on the steeps of Lower Oldham. No dabs baby…it seems to get easier every year, primarily out of familiarity, and maybe I’m getting better at this – but it probably was the easy gear.

The drop back to down was only inhibited by the fact that I have a tube in my rear tire. I’m always a little more careful with the tube, and that 10 second difference on a 1/2 mile downhill feels a shit-ton slower. I got me two new Conti Race Kings, but haven’t set ‘em up with Stans yet. That’ll happen when I get back from vaca next week. The forest is so quiet in the morning. Maybe I’m the only dumbass riding in the cold temps – with most Flagtowners waiting until it warms up – because they can. All I know is, it felt good to be rolling two big wheels in a big forest, on a Friday morning. Makes shinin’ a seat at work a whole lot easier.

Off to Florida at 5:15am tomorrow. Siesta Key to be exact. I had no intentions of riding while there, but, I found a good deal on a weeklong rental for a road bike – and now I want to pound out a ton of miles on the flats at sea level. I just can’t give up on my fitness right now because I’m riding well, and I want to capitalize on keeping the mo' going. State MTB Finals on 5/22, and a road stage race on 6/12-6/13. I wanna’ race! By the end of the trip, I’ll have ridden a lot, D will probably have me back into running a 10K distance, and I’ll have spent mucho hours with Dad kayaking in the inter-coastal waterways and my fave – the open ocean, riding breakers and swells.

Me and D...should have a great time beating each other up, mixed with some great food, and quiet time on the beach. We haven't had a vacation together since Hawaii in 2007. I'm lookin' forward to some uninterrupted time with my brown girl.

My goal? Shot - got nothin' - 'cept some headphones and a pillow on the flight back to AZ a week from today.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

carb cleaner

Crit practice with the team last night was good to me. 'Twas our first gathering of the year as we now have plenty o' daylight after work, and temps were in the high 60's. The circuit was clean, and it was go time. The first 25 minute crit, I semi-conservatively worked with the group - only attacking a few times to see who had fitness, and sat up at the line with a teammate after we worked together on a successful break. In the second one it was clear - the early season work I did paid off in the form of a solo break with 5 laps (about a 1.75 miles) to go, and I held on with a 200 yard cushion at the line. Talk about getting the gunk out of my internal carburator - man that felt good. I love me some crit racing.

Slept great...

Woke up happy as could be...

Then I woke the beast. She's almost 5' tall. She's blonde. And holy hell did she have a 'tude this morning. I was all I could do to NOT throw her skinny ass in a cold shower and have her cry it out. Apparently, a hot breakfast wasn't what she wanted. She also didn't want to wash her hair beacuse it doesn't look good for school unless she has time to gel/comb, whatever the hell needs to be done. Then, she forgot to pack up all her stuff, including her $250 guitar for her private lessons after school, oh, and her jeans weren't the "right" ones.

Net result? I ate 6 eggs, 4 pieces of toast, an orange, banana, coffee - because I'm not in the business of tossing food, and then I drove back to the house at 100mph to get her freakin' guitar before the bus arrived. She cried in the car and left the 'tude there. OK, 100mph in a Kia is an exaggeration unless I'm going down a 10% grade on a highway using Navajo Cruise Control (coasting). But - I think I screeched the tires out of the driveway. My neighbor had a confused/laughing look on her face.

So, she's probably back to her good natured self, and I already blew off the steam last night racing bikes....good thing for those two wheel machines.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Weekend - gone just like that

Our 1st team ride of the year translated to a good day on the bike. We had 14 riders of all ability levels, so we planned a 50 mile out and back at a no drop pace on the way out, and we broke into groups on the way back so those that wanted to hammer, could. Friday was wet and cold, but Saturday was 50 degrees and sunny – perfect day for riding. Sunday – snowing and cold. We cashed in some karma to pull that one off.

My folks rolled into town Saturday afternoon on their way back to MN for the summer and it was a quick dinner/dessert/games – bed – up – breakfast/game and we saw them off in true Flagstaff fashion…with snow coming down. Ahhh well, we’ll catch up more in June when we head back to MN for some summer fun.

Got some stuff goin’ on at work this week, mixed in with a crit race on Tuesday night, and maybe one more ride before we catch the flight to Siesta Key, FL. I have plenty of white skin to brown up, that’s for sure.

Any chance you followed the Tour of the Gila this past weekend? Probably not because it didn't exactly make it to network fact, You Tube and a live camera at the start/finish line were the extent of the video segments I was able to fine. Here's the skinny - American Idol Sir Lance A. was trying to get back on form against a tough field across the border in NM. Youth is king in cycling, and LA looked every bit of his 38 years at the Gila. I hate to be a cynic, but there ain’t no way he’s even sniffing the podium at the Tour in July, and I hope he can shelve his ego and ride for Levi Leipheimer who looked like he was on a Sunday ride at the 5-stage Tour of the Gila. You don’t think LA would dope again to get to the podium one last time, do ya?