Wednesday, December 20, 2006

A Break

That's right. I'm taking a break. I've been slowly doing things today to get ready for the holidays, but I needed a break, and here I am. The weather is damp and a cool, but I still think it's eons better than the usually snowy north. In fact, if I had any motivation at all, I'd have gone for a ride even if it meant getting soaked.

However, I have said I was going to take a break from riding, and though I can feel my fitness literally leaving, and I can see the extra weight I've put on, I'm sticking to my guns. I figure I'll get back on the bike by the end of the year. Then I have 3 weeks to get ready for my first race. Nothing like planning ahead.

So what have I been doing otherwise? Well, I did go watch some trains and take pictures of a few downtown at Town Lake. So these are the two best shots I got.

Like I've said, I'm a train geek. In fact, I actually really enjoy chasing trains. It's relaxing, if you take the approach I have of getting something to drink and maybe snack on, set up somewhere, and wait. It's like fishing.

Other times, I like to follow and try to beat the same train so I can take a bunch of pictures of it. That's a challenge. Especially when you're just learning the light patterns, etc. But that's what life is, learning the patterns. And with that, I need to go finish what I was doing.

Monday, December 18, 2006

Saw Happy Feet

We saw Happy Feet last night and it was so much fun!!! Well, there were sad and scary parts, but overall it was too enjoyable. There's a few underlying themes, but you need to see the movie to find out.

Other than that, things are pretty good, including the weather. And the fact that there were 4 people I know personally at cyclocross nationals who either won their categories or placed on the podium. Maybe next year I can go, wherever that may be.

Friday, December 15, 2006

It's almost Christmas?

Really, it's hard for me to get in my head that Christmas is next week. I'm more used to what the locals call cold here in Austin as pleasant. I mean, 35 degrees at night is NOT cold for this time of year. In a year though, I'll be shivering right alongside them.

I've done not much but work and goof off lately. Which is funny in a way since my wife decided she no longer hadtime to blog anymore due to no time. Granted, we still have many things to put away, and several boxes to unpack. I should have tackled some of it today. Yet I didn't.

Instead, I indulged all my geeky and lazy instincts and went for a walk. A long one, but it was fun. Well, it wasn't that long, just down to the bookstore to read some and then back. But it was a refreshing and needed change of pace.

I haven't ridden my bikes since I last raced. I need to get back on as the first race of the season in on January 20th. Back up to Copperas Cove, which is good as it's the same course that was used for the State Championships. At least this course I'll know somewhat.

Like all people, I need to step away from things to refresh myself, and my bikes are no exception. So we've gone to friend's houses, San Antonio, and tried to relax. I won't go into boring details, but it's been busy in a different kind of way.

Also, I've been reaquainting myself with photography, which I love to death. Some examples of my work sans tripod on the riverwalk are included. This leads me to my inner geek surfacing.

Not only am I totally into picture taking, but I love trains. So, the other portion of my day was spent researching where the hot spots of train activity in Austin are. Now that I know, I have a plan to go picture taking on the next decent free day I have. Now aren't you glad you read this? LOL!!!
Happy Holidays if you don't hear from me before they arrive. Stay safe and enjoy all you have.

Wednesday, December 06, 2006


So I did my races. Saturday at the State Championships I dropped out, as I was having issues with my shifters and I was way too slow. Sunday I did two races, getting 5th and 11th. Respectable.

After a bit of confusion, as in the promoter had to change the race venue for Saturday, things went well. Sunday the race was in a park over by the airport, and it was a good course for me. Of course, something had to go wrong, and when I was putting an arm warmer on I punched myself in the mouth, arriving at the the line with a very bloody mouth and lip. But it's almost healed.

What struck me the most wasn't the racing, or the course, but the other people in the park. There was a family all bundled up with their little kids playing on the playground, and another family having a barbeque and riding their bikes around the park. I liked it.

It reminded me of when I was a kid and my parents would take us to the pool or the state park with a beach on a lake. It was cheap, and we could all hang out together. Also like when we'd sit on our dock at our house in the Adirondacks. We'd swim, fish, or just pass time. Simple, and it seems like such a world away.

I'm just old enough to remember the Adirondacks as a time capsule of the 50's. It was simpler up there, and slower. Now it feels different. It was an event to go up there, and due to speed limits and slow, twisty roads, it took forever. Now it's so accessible, it doesn't quite have that special feeling. Or it didn't, but since I'm 2000 miles away, it probably will next time I get there.

So I miss some of the simpler moments of my life, like watching freight trains go by along the Mohawk River, or eagerly anticipating the next issue of whatever train or car magazine I had a subscription to at the time. And maybe that's part of the problem with the present. We feel guilty for just watching a day go by, like we must be wasting it, when in reality we're doing what we should, enjoying it.

Sunday, November 26, 2006


Our own self image is a funny thing. If you were to meet me, you'd think I'm a somewhat happy fun loving person. A bit zany, too. Which is correct. However, we all have expectations. Some from other people, many we put upon ourselves. I know in high school all my teachers and relatives expected great things from me. In a conventional sense, I let them down. I didn't graduate college, find a cure, or make a huge difference in the world. I look at 16 years ago and how open the world seemed to me. Now it's a little less open, but more accessible. Figure that one out.

Looking at my life in an unconventional sense, I'd say I exceeded even the wildest expectations. I've had a life that could fill a book, and most people don't believe all the stuff I've done until they talk to my parents or see the pictures. It's kind of funny, I exceeded my own expectations when I raced this season, but fell short a year ago. I didn't win anything this year, but I was a force to be dealt with in many races, and after two more races this weekend, I'm free until January.

Another expectation is with my blog. I rarely get comments, and don't really expect to, but a few of you guys comment on a somewhat regular basis, and I'm always pleasantly surprised by it. I may even go and actually link to to those few faithful readers as a thank you. Don't expect it too soon, though, lol!!!

When I was a squad leader in the army I routinely felt I failed to live up to my expectations. Every time someone in my unit was wounded or killed, I felt like a failure. After years of reflection, I see I didn't fail myself or my squad, as I did my best and most of us beat the odds while we served together.

So what does this have to do with anything? Not much, just think back on your lives and really take an unbiased look. I know now I really didn't fail anyone but myself a few times, but that's ok. Usually I had way too high expectations to begin with.

Saturday, November 25, 2006

158 and climbing

So this is post 158. Pretty cool. Especially since I was on a great pace until two weeks ago. Then we moved, my parents came for the better part of a week, and well, posting and email take a big back seat.

The holiday was great, I really enjoyed having my parents around. Plus our new apartment is coming along well. It feels like a home since we have a few extra rooms. It'll take a bit, but soon we'll be unpacked and settled.

What is going on? Not much. I work, I'm gaining weight, and I have a new project to tend to. My cyclocross bike needs to be reassembled, and the TX state championships are next week here in Austin at Zilker park. If you're nearby, and have some time to kill, swing by. I'm also racing Sunday at Moya park. How will I do? Ok, probably, but these two races are my cross season this year.

Ok, time to sift through my email. Then time to sift through boxes. Till then...

Friday, November 10, 2006

Fun and games

Been working and riding, nothing new there. Last night I did an informal race between our store in central Austin and the one up north where I work. It was cool, I bought some lights for my bike and a group of us rode down to the start. Then at about 845 we started the race. You could pick your own route, and I ended up with two guys from a competing shop. Actually, they got a gap on me through an intersection with traffic, but I chased them down.

A few miles from the end I just didn't quite have it, and I ended up fourth, as the guy who won took another route. Much faster, much more dangerous. But, I had a good time, then we had a party at our north store and I went home. I really enjoyed the night ride. It brought back memories of my 26 mile commute through most of Indianapolis when I lived there. There's something neat about riding in the night. Too bad I really don't know of anywhere to ride here at night safely by myself. I always enjoyed riding along Route 28A along the Ashokan reservoir back in NY during the summer when I couldn't sleep. Of course, I had an awesome set of lights for that, and I gave them away a few years ago.

We move shortly, and we have a new couch coming for it. I'm more relaxed than Lost, but I understand her anxiety. We'll let you know how it goes.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Quiet, Too Quiet, and Politicians Who Should Be

So I must say thanks to all who commented on my last post. Very interesting I thought. Now I have a few snippets of thought and observations.

First, it's funny how tastes change. I used to get all excited looking at sports cars and racing, as far back as I could remember. So much so that I actually raced cars and rebuilt them, too. I'm really glad I did it, but I specialized in vintage racing, so even with all the safety equipment installed, it wasn't that safe.

Well, tonight I was with Lost at the bookstore, and saw an issue of Octane Magazine from England. It had my all time favorite race car, a Ferrari 250 GTO on the cover. I got all the usual sensations: shortness of breath, tingling hands, and even could almost smell and hear the one I raced several times. I couldn't wait to leaf through the issue and devour all there was.

I leafed through, but about halfway I read a column I always enjoy, and it made me think. The short version is Niki Lauda had a huge almost fatal accident 30 years ago at Nurburgring Germany. He almost burned to death, and fortunately another two drivers stopped and one actually risked his life and got Niki out. He was quoted as saying he would have gotten Niki out or died trying, and his hands were so burned he basically ended his career.

It was at that moment I realized I have no passion to own or drive a vintage car again. It was risky, and I had a few accidents, but always went home with only bruises. Yes, it was fun driving multimillion dollar cars that weren't mine, and I had many great times. But I just have no desire to be involved anymore. Or even follow it. Funny how that works sometimes.

On to less thoughtful topics. I'm back on my bike again so I can lose the weight I've been slowly gaining. So keep it tuned here. Believe it or not, I'm about 175-180 lbs at 5'11". I should be about 169. At least I have all winter to work on eating better and staying fit.

Last Tuesday I rode 50 miles with my riding buddy from work, and she was thrilled because she had never ridden more than 50 miles before. Tomorrow we're going to fredericksburg to ride in the hills. Truth be told, I was hurting for a few days afterwards. Almost felt like my quads were bruised. How quickly we fall.

Today I rode the same route but it was much windier, and about 5 miles from the end I bonked. Big time. I just tried to keep an even pace and finally got to my car. On the way home I was enjoying the election signs all over. And here we go into the next topic I aim the crosshairs at.

First, some humor. A local sign says to elect some guy named Fleece. Think about it. Fleece. Like I'll have any confidence in him. Then I was looking at my hometown paper online. Not so long ago my father was one of the 9 city council members called Aldermen. He ran twice before being elected the third time. (It's a two year term.) When he went for reelection, a big mouthed moron beat him. People told my dad they didn't see his name in the paper enough, so he must not have been doing anything.

If they said he never helped them, he asked if they called him. No. Wrote a letter? No. Email? Uhh, no. Stopped him in the street? Nope. You get the idea. My father kept a log of every issue brought to his attention. In two years he had over 600 issues come up. As he said, each issue was at least a phone call to the proper department and then a return call to the constituent. I used to love how people would kind of slump down when they heard that.

Once the people of the neighborhood got fed up with the idiot who replaced my father, they asked me if he was going to run again. I told him his quote. "Screw them, they don't want me, I don't want this damn city." With that he and my mom sold the house and moved to Hilton Head, SC. And they're much happier.

The idiot is still in office, as no one ran against him the last two times. Two days ago his wife and him were front page news as she was arrested for threatening another woman who supposedly is having an affair with the idiot. Great choice the citizens of Kingston, NY made there.

I guess I get upset because I saw how much work my dad put into a part time elected position and the fact he actually wanted to make the city a better place. It just goes to show how if you do a good job in politics it gets you out of office, if you just get all kinds of press, no matter what kind, you're good to go. It's a sad state of affars this country is in when that's the case. Jayne Mansfield used to say "There's no such thing as bad publicity", and I think she'd be surprised just how true her quote is outside of showbiz 50 years later.

Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Weight and Five

So we all have our crosses to bear. Or, we all feel the weight of things we've done in the past. With that in mind, I was thinking about some stuff today while I enjoyed the sun and scenery on a 50 mile ride with a coworker. The ride was great, even if we did stray from the route and had to improvise a bit. But I got to see cattle, goats, horses, and best of all, Great Pyrenees dogs. I had one as a kid until I was 19, and they are my favorite dogs. Apparently they're really popular down here as herding dogs (their purpose) as I've seen them all over. Anyway...

On to more serious things. Sometimes I look back on things that have happened to me, but I can't dwell on it. I've seen the worst of people and the best. I've simultaneously taken lives and tried and sometimes did save some. I'll never forget certain incidents, or sleep like I did as a kid. But it's a path I chose, so I deal with it. Long story short, I'm moving on, so to speak. I can get stuck in a rut where I feel guilty and pissed off, etc. So how do I not? I realize I can't bury it, but I also know it needs to just get filed away, like when you'e havd a really bad day at the office or school or something. So I'm moving on down the road. I won't ever forget the battles, my friends who died, or the nightmarish reality of combat. But I'm not going to keep it at the front of my mindset, either.

Enough of that depressing topic. Two more and we're out of here. First, no one seems to comment on my blog much. Trust me, you'll never offend me unless it's a personal attack. Second, to close with, there's that new T Mobile 5 thing. So if you could have anyone from anytime on it, who would it be and why? Please, will someone please comment on my fuckin' blog???!!!??? Ok, this also assumes we have another 5 for our real lives, like relatives, spouses, etc.

My 5:
Julius Caesar. Super smart, great leader, somewhat ruthless.
Jayne Mansfield. Off the charts smart, driven, totally hilarious.
Stirling Moss. Arguably best race car driver ever. Neat character.
The Duke of Wellington. Anyone who shaped history like he did is a shoo in.
Terp and Prairie from my old unit (we'll assume the unit has a single address, as I'm making the rules) as they saved my life quite a few times, and I'd love to share what's gone in with the life they saved.

Let's hear yours. And Happy Halloween!!!!

Friday, October 27, 2006

So much to say, but I'm drawing a blank

Wow, I'm finally catching my breath. In the last year I've moved twice, gotten married, raced over 30 races, and started a new job, several times. So what's the scoop? Moving to Austin has been great. Everyone is cool, my job is great, Lost is wonderful, I prefer the weather mostly, and it feels like eons ago I was in NY. I only miss the mountains, and the leaves and crisp air at this time of year. But the next time (and the first for my wife) we get there, I'll appreciate it more.

Work is a bit slow this time of year, so I'll be getting ready for our move. I also have some neglected work on our bikes to do. This will do two things. Get the bikes back to 100% and use up some stuff in bags and boxes, thus less to move. Once in a great while my mind works efficiently.

So I haven't really posted too much lately. Well, this past Tuesday I went mountain biking in the greenbelt on a super high end bike from our rental fleet. It was a great 2 hours of fun, even if I had no clue what I was doing. But I didn't break anything on myself or the bike, so I'm pretty satisfied. Then my coworker and I ate at Shady Grove on the patio. That was really the excuse to ride, so we could justify all that heart stopping goodness.

Not much else to say, other than watching Youtube silliness a little. I think I could get into making film shorts again. Well, that would mean I'd need to get a camera for that kind of work, and some inspiration. Scratch that idea.

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Time To Catch Up Though I Didn't Know I Was Behind

Been quite the interval of non posting, eh? Actually, I've been pretty busy. Let's ee, finished my road racing season, went to FL and met my mother in law, today I'm going mountain biking (yikes, on a $6000 bike from work) and it's the Smurf's 48th birthday. So, let's get going.

The Smurfs turn 48 today. We all loved them, I did a college paper on them being socialist at least, illustrating all the symbols. But I wasn't aware that the UN tapped into them for Unicef in Germany. This is pretty weird:

The trip to FL was great, just wished I had taken another day off so we all could have rested some at the beach. But Steph's mom is nice, our parents all liked each other, and I think they actually had too much fun together. Details are over at La Vida Loca, kids.

Today I'm mountain biking for the first time in years. Add to that I have a $6000 BMC mountain bike reserved for me at my job's downtown shop, and I'm excited. Hopefully nothing goes wrong, as I don't want to pay for anything. Plus I'm not sure how bad a mountain biker I am, so it'll be fun. A coworker named Aaron is going with me. It's really just an excuse for us to be able to grab a burger afterwards, but I'm looking forward to it.

I finished out my road racing season in style. Well, kind of. Almost. Maybe? It was wet, cool and a bit windy. I rode really well, especially since I didn't have a team. I had to ride through the grass off the road twice to avoid crashes, and the second time a few guys and I really had to work to chase back on only about 4 or 5 miles from the finish. That left me with not a lot of time to recover and work my way up through the field. Then I messed up my positioning and got boxed in out of the last corner, so I ended up 29th overall, finishing with the lead group. Considering about 100 started, I did ok.

Now I want to get my cyclocross bike here so I can do one, maybe two races and the state championships. Of course, moving into a new place soon will be a fun project, too.

Friday, October 13, 2006

I needed this

I saw the results were online finally for the Friday night races. Well, partial results. But as I scrolled down I noticed my name was listed as finishing third. In a race I had withdrawn from!! I needed the laugh.

Yesterday was one of those days when everything goes wrong. But it's over, and I need to get over it. I scoped out Sunday's course. I think I'm getting burned out, and need to just do this race and relax for a bit. It's my last road race, so I'm going to try and have fun with it.

Then I can concentrate on getting my cyclocross bike from my parent's house to here, and hopefully doing a few races. My big thing is to do the state championships on 12/2 at Zilker Park right here in Austin. Sooo, I expect my loyal legion of fans to be there. That would be my wife and our friends the T and M. I carelessly forgot to mention in my last post that they were very supportive (and vocal) Friday night. If I'm lucky it'll be raining and in the 40's the day of the championships.

Well, off to get ready for work.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Friday Night

Well, even though there was some mass confusion and lack of organization, the races Friday night were pretty good. Aside from the 2 hour delay in getting things started, I had a good time. I really enjoyed it, even if I didn't do as well as I should have.

The course was around the 2nd St area of downtown Austin, and about a third of the course was pretty rough pavement. I got in the lead group from the gun, but hit a hole really hard, and that in turn caused my sensor for my computer to move, which then caused my magnet to get jettisoned out of my wheel. In determining what if any damage was done to my bike, since it was making a horrific noise, I dropped off the back of the group. Stupid move. This left me in no man's land between the chase group and the break.

I did a few laps until I was caught, then hung in with the chase. Too bad no one was in the mood to chase, so we kept losing time. On the last lap I just missed a crash, and that put me pretty far back in the pack, so I think I ended up in the top 30. However, staying upright and not getting lapped was a major accomplishment. So I now know the course and what to expect. I'm ok with getting in the top half of the race all thing considered. I just made two mistakes. One, I let the lead group go, two, I wasn't in the front of the chase group early enough, and that cost me a decent finish. Besides the fact I also wa spushed wide on Colorado St and my right hand hit the rear view mirror of a parked car that wasn't removed didn'r help me either.

I lined up for my second race, and it was faster. A few laps in I hit a hole and blew my front tire out around the next turn. I got a wheel at the pits, got back in, and hit the same hole (it was very dark in that corner) again and something didn't feel right. So I bagged it and ended the race. Besides, I had to race the next day.

Now, I love to race, but ususally there isn't too much in terms of spectators. Friday night was the best race of the year. Nothing like racing in front of a huge crowd. Now if only they could get the crowds to the size of the Chris Thater Races in Binghamton... But I had a bunch of coworkers come cheer me on, and that was really cool. Hopefully next year I do better.

Saturday I drove up to Bryan TX for the age graded State Championship road race. I was in the 30+, and there were 25 of us. 66 miles of pure hell. I rode pretty well, and since I was the lowest category there, I was happy. Really, I was. I was in the lead group, and then I just imploded. The night before, the speed, it all took it's toll, and I just couldn't pedal any more. So with 10 miles to go I turned around, as it was only 3 miles to the car that way. Once back at my car, I stripped down to just my racing shorts and walked across the lot to the beach and fell into Lake Bryan for a bit. That felt really nice.

So I have one more race of the year, and that's the state championships for categories in Copperas Cove. I'm looking forward to some redemption, and I'm looking forward to some time off.

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Friday Night Downtown

Ok, I'm racing Friday night downtown around the 2nd St District. Two races, so come on down if you have time. Basically it all starts at about 530. See you there. My boss got on the phone today so I'll be racing in my shop's jersey. Something about the fact he wanted to see our jersey "in the top ten for a change". Pretty funny.

Did the Tuesday Nighter again, and got about sixth. Lance Armstrong rode it, too, and it was pretty fun. Well, fast and punishing fun. We talked a little bit at one point, and then the end came too soon. Good night and see you at 2nd and Lavaca.

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Just my ramblings for another day

So my new bike is awesome. It's lighter, stiffer, more comfortable, faster, but not better, just different. Today in a little while I'm going to get my final fit to dial it in, then it's time for the first race on it, the famed Tuesday nighter I prattle on about. I'm excited.

All this got me to thinking about stuff. I realized I really enjoy the planning, and preparation for races, rides, building a bike. Just like I love to dream about one day having some room to build a model railroad. The execution of the plan isn't always as fun as coming up with one in the first place. Make any sense? If a plan goes perfectly, it's almost an anticlimax. There has to be some type of snag, a certain level of stress and urgency for me to really appreciate the experience.

When I go to a race, I like to get there really early so I can register, warm up, scout out the course, and try to relax. But even if I have a gameplan, it usually doesn't coincide with anyone else, so it's back to improvising, which is exciting. At the end of the day, if it works out pretty well, I relish the moment. If not, I analyze it all.

When I was in the Army, I really enjoyed the planning and details of an operation. To be honest, from the moment we walked out onto the apron to get on our choppers until we started taking rounds from the enemy, it is one of the most exhilerating adrenaline highs known. I actually enjoyed it. Those last minutes of doublechecking everything in flight and mentally preparing myself for what lay ahead are some of my favorite memories.

Don't get me wrong, I want to forget many things, but just those few minutes of solitude when each of us was quiet, doing what we had to do mentally were intense. We bonded without doing anything. Then we bonded through action minutes later.

So maybe I'm a thrill junkie. But so far, my racing is the one thing that gets me closest to that feeling of peace and calm. Funny how the most intense feeling of it was from when I was in a combat zone in a war.

Friday, September 29, 2006

The King is Dead, Long Live the King

So, I finally retired my beloved Horse Tuesday. In his place I built up a Specialized S-Works Tarmac. A bit lighter, a whole lot faster. But this is Horse's "obituary":

Tuesday, September 26
At approximately 3pm the Schwinn Paramount OS "Horse" was laid to rest, having been deactivated from frontline race duty after nearly 16 seasons and 132,000 miles. Born in August of 1990 in Waterford, WI, Horse was rushed into service in May of 1991. For the next 16 seasons he competed in races from Maine to Missouri, Canada to Texas.

Deciding to give his faithful steed a rest, Horse's owner Mike will make sure that Horse is rejuvenated at his birthplace to like new condition. "His paint is a bit faded, and there's some rust here and there, but when he returns, Horse will be free to go out on fun rides, and not worry about ice and ran and crashing like he has all these years. I can't express how close we are, as he's shared all my triumphs and failures in this sport. It's the end of an era for me, and I am happy to have had such a reliable, potent ally all this time. I'll miss him, but his time has come. Of course, should the need arise, I'm sure Horse will be ready to do battle once he's back from his restoration."

Horse 8/90-9/06 May all roads be sunny, the air warm, and the wind at our backs when we ride again, buddy. You served me well and we made each other proud.

So there you have it. I finally retired my signature green machine. Now I'm on a less distinctive bike, but I'm figuring out ways to make it stick out. Now if I can only dial it in by nest Friday when I have three, yes three hour long races in the evening. The 2nd Street district will never be the same...

Oh, totally unrelated. If you're a proponent of windpower, go read the current issue of Adirondack Life magazine. Has some good articles and pictures on the subject. That's all I have for social commentary.

The King is Dead, Long Live the King!!!!!

Monday, September 25, 2006

Wish all Mondays were like this

Today was perfect in big ol' TX today. All of it. I went on a fun, relaxing and slow paced ride with two coworkers today. It rocked. My wife wasn't exactly thrilled I was abandoning her at 830am to meet two female coworkers to ride, but I digress.

We went to Bastrop State Forest, and it was effin great!!!! The park was almost empty, we rode on pine tree lined roads filled with the scent of pine needles, and the weather was perfect. Totally perfect. It reminded me of home, with the roads being narrow, no houses, lots of trees, and constant up a steep hill, top out, and drop right down again. We saw deer, and squirrels, and not much else.

I have to say in terms of terrain and relaxing, it was the best ride I've done yet in TX. It makes me want to hunt out places to ride that are within an hour or so of town to drive to. I really liked it that much. All three of us did, and we're thinking of trying to make it a weekly work thing so our other coworkers can go.

Most times I ride I ride alone, and I don't focus on anything but the ride. today reminded me that sometimes you just gotta relax, and listen to the wind in the treetops. By riding with people not as fast as me, I just enjoyed the ride. Like I did when I first moved here with Lost. I enjoy the easy rides for a change of pace, and it helps my body, too.

After the ride we had to eat, and we ate on the deck of a place called the Roadhouse. Great food and very reasonable. Then we returned to Austin. A perfect way to spend a day off.

So it got me to wondering why I ride. For fun? Fitness? Or is it because I love to race, and I have to? Probably all of the above, but it got me to thinking of places I want to ride and where I want to return to ride. The list is too long for here, but it would be a fun way to spend a vacation with Lost. Or I could ride and she could tell me all about the great deals she got in the outlets and local shops of wherever we visit...

Saturday, September 23, 2006

I thought this was the way to nirvana

So, lots of interesting stuff showing up on the news lately. We watch more tv. We are getting obese. There's a connection. There are people claiming that "Big Oil" gets tax breaks, and kick backs. Blah blah. Take a look at big oil. Most of our cost is taxes. So why is the government going to reduce what gives it solvency? Riddle me that, Batman.

Alternative energy. Yes, wind power is a good concept. But do you know how many windmills it takes to generate a kilowatt? And, how many of the proponents of wind power want a windmill farm in sight of their (chosse one) home, office, city, etc? Those things are ugly!!!

Enough pontificating. Want to solve the energy problem and oil prices? Build a new refinery. Non have been built in 26, yes 26 years!!! So when Katrina knocked a bunch of production offline, we have price spikes, because the other refineries still working in the country are running at full capacity. Doesn't take a genius to figure this out.

But a more permanent solution would be to have people use mass transit, carpool, ride bikes, or walk. Wait, that might mean some type of effort must be extended, so trash those ideas.

Healthcare? HA!!! Why must I pay the same rates at my job as a smoker? Why not make it like car insurance? Better health, lower premiums. This all gets me aggravated.

I actually had some type of witty post in my head, but I lost it, as usual. Guess I'll just go do some laundry and hope for a return to creativity.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Why do we feel this way sometimes?

I just got in from work and decided to check my email. Long story short, someone I dated years ago is on the same email list as I am for cycling. Though we aren't really friends I read her post and was saddened by the death of her oldest stepson. I never met the kid (he was 18) and I barely know her husband, but I couldn't help but feel bad for them. Funny how something like this casts all the animosity aside. Not like we'll ever say more than hi if we ever cross paths, but it puts it into perspective what a waste of time disliking someone is after they're out of your life.

So strange. However, on to more exciting things. Well, to me anyway. I am slowly getting my fat self back into shape, as in October I have a bevy (how long I've waited to use that word in a post you can only imagine) of races. Not just the Tuesday Nighter and the Thursday night crits, oh, no, there are also some bona fide, mega-important races. I know you've got the whole seat, but you'll only need the edge...

It all starts off on Friday, October 6th. That spectacular evening at 520pm I line up for my first race of the evening in downtown Austin, in the 2nd St District. @nd and Lavaca is the area of the finish, though I have yet to find out the entire course. Later on at about 8 I do my 2nd race of the night. Both are 1 hour and both promise to be fast and fun. Hopefully I can get a bunch of coworkers to cheer me on. So mark your calendars, kids.

Then the next day I have the TX Road Championships. This will be hard, as it's age based, so I'll be in the 30 plus group. A bit daunting. Finally, on the 15th I have the TX Road Championships but it's done by racing category. There I have a slight chance. Very slight.

So, if you want to get sunburned or wet, go to a road race. However, if you're in the Austin area and want to see fast racing and be able to eat and drink alcohol while doing so, go to the Amli Downtown Criterium. That's it. Oh, and here's a pic of me suffering at Columbus, TX again. Just found it the other night.

Thursday, September 14, 2006

Shut up and do something

I'm a bit pissed. Let me get the most aggravating bit out of the way. Why is it that colored people get all pissed when someone refers to them as a nigger, then they turn around and call another black person a nigger? What isn't firing in their brains?

Here's an example. Kanye West has his song Goldigger, and uses the term "broke niggers" in it. Kanye, if you want to be respected when you open your mouth about politics, don't use the word nigger. It defeats your credibility. This leads to a much larger issue.

Until colored people stop using the term nigger, they won't get the respect they crave and deserve. Why respect people who freely use a term that is one of the most derisive in our language towards them? You don't hear Afghanis calling each other caffers, do you? Leonard Pitts has touched on this issue in the past. If you stop using nigger, do you suddenly sell out? If you do sell out, is that wrong to get a better life, home, etc? I don't get it. So I guess it's ok for Poles to call each other Polack, Ukrainians to use mongol (centuries old derogatory term) and the list goes on.

If that's the case, and it's accepted among the people it's directed to and coming from, why can't another race use those words? Why can't I use the word nigger to refer to a colored person? I mean, they do it to each other! So why get upset if someone from another race uses it? It must be ok, right? Oh, wait, I'm white, so it must mean I'm a racist, but if I were colored, it just means I'm colored. Makes perfect sense. To an idiot.

I raced this past Tuesday night. It was fast, I enjoyed it, and it rained. Rain means roads like ice here in TX, so a few miles from the end when my bike started to try and get out from under me, I backed off a bit and finished about 5 seconds behind the lead group of five. Not bad.

But the real point is a guy who was with us had a prosthetic adaptor on his left leg. It was from the knee down, and was a titanium or steel rod, with a plate on the bottom, and his cleat mounted to that. He was very fast, and a good rider. Turns out he had his leg blown off in Iraq, and was now out of the Army. He was upbeat, not bitter about it, and moving on. He was happy to be there, rain and all. He stayed in the main group once the rain hit, but I was impressed. At one point I put my hand on hs back to help him keep from letting a gap form ahead of him up a hill. He was upset, but I told him it was easier for me to do that than to use a bunch of energy to get around him, and I'd do it no matter who it was so it wouldn't upset the flow of the paceline. Later he gave me a shove and we both laughed.

This guy has every reason to be bitter, but he's not. He's got a lot of things to deal with and to overcome in the future. Next time you get pissed look at what your problem is and put it into perspective.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I'm actually thinking for once!!!!

So Anna Nicole Smith's 20 yr old son was found dead. Weird. Of an apparent heart attack. Very odd. However, lest we get too giddy that this genetic strain be stopped, she has another child. So close... Seriously, though it is a tragedy. But it's almost like a Greek melodrama with her. At least with a Greek tragedy the show actually ends.

Let's see, Ohio beat UT this weekend. Personally, I can care less about football. But it sounds like everyone behaved, and enjoyed the game, so that's a good thing. Besides, now that UT is #8, if they can win a national championship it really would be something special. A bit of the underdog complex there. I like seeing the champion in any sport have to struggle a bit. It humanizes them, makes it more believable. Truth be told, I'm a huge fan of Lance Armstrong, but his last Tour performance was so dominating, it was kind of boring. He never really had to rally when the chips were down, because they never were.

So, with that segue, let me address some things baout the current state of cycling. I have found myself somewhat accepting that many top cyclists cheat with banned substances. Surprisingly, I almost don't care. This year the Tour was the most exciting in years, definitely the most exciting since 1989. Who's to blame? Us, the public. Like 10,000 Maniacs song Candy Everybody Wants, the athletes give us what we want. Drama, excitement, records being broken. Look what happened to baseball when the home run craze was going on. Same with football. Winning isn't enough for the public anymore. Winning with a superhuman performance is. Then we look away and say how shameful the behavior is, but we are the ones who brought the behavior to begin with. More drama is more money.

Even in a poor sport as cycling, where the season is 10 long months from early February through November, the drugs make more exciting racing. That means more fans, more sponsor money. Odd that cycling is the only truly free sport in the world. No one has to pay to see a race. More odd is the fact that in the ProTour, the top level of the sport, the major leagues, if you will, has a base salary for a cyclist of $38,000 for 2007. You read it right. A little over three grand a month to travel all over the world, live from a duffel bag, and spend an average of 30 hours a week on a bike in all weather. In a sport where a 2 year contract is still rare, it's all about what have you done for me lately. And the drugs ensure that something is done for many racers.

Last topic for tonight. It's 5 years since 9/11. We all know and remember. I'm ok with it, but last night we watched the documentary on CBS. I've seen quite a bit, and not much compares to my tours in the Army. But what gets to me is the fear in the eyes of those firefighters and police, and when the radio traffic got crazy, I could feel it. When things are quiet on the freqs, the situation is under control. When everyone's jamming the waves trying to get through, it's not good. For me, hearing the chatter and seeing the looks on the faces choked me up, for I could empathize. The men were scared, the officers were worried, and the anguish they felt will never go away. Part of me died all over again when I saw that, and I know those guys would give anything to get rid of that anguish.

Sunday, September 10, 2006

Five years On

Where were you on 9/11? I was 95 miles north, in Kingston, NY. A friend's brother was in the Pentagon when it got hit. I knew a person in the WTC who was killed. Everyone from my area knew at least someone who was.

Why did it happen? Well, there are many reasons as well as theories. Basically, it was a long list of factors. No one is entirely to blame, no one is free of blame. The CIA was hunting terrorists in the 90's, especially after the embassy bombings in Africa. Then the funding was cut, and the programs died. More of the same followed.

I think it's unreasonable for the American public to think that we do and should follow the rules when we have terror suspects in custody. I mean, if someone is captured in a firefight with US forces, and has tapes and letters connecting them to a terrorist organization, then why not torture them? They'd do the same to us. You need to bring a gun to a knife fight is all I'm saying.

Oh, and to anyone who thinks we didn't shoot down the plane over PA, examine the evidence. Find out what happens when a plane depressurizes quickly, or ask yourself how an F-16 couldn't get to the plane in time from the DC area after it was scrambled. Do the math, and then read the phone transcripts from the passengers who called the ground. Connect it all together and ask yourself what happened. An F-16 at nearly full throttle could easily have vectored in.

However, what have we learned? This is becoming a religious war. It will take generations to end if the hatred can be bred out. Don't hold your breath.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Shhh, it's a secret

Ok, so I have both my bikes back together. Finally. Horse is back up and running, and run he did tonight. Too bad I let him down. I went to the Thursday night crit series here in town. I did my first race, and it was fast, but not too bad. Since I hadn't ridden at all since Sunday, I was happy to stay with the field.

In the end I finished somwhere from probably 15th to 20th. Then I did my second race and it was about the fastest race I've done in a few years. I dropped off the pace about halfway through. But at least it was good training, I felt ok other than a lack of miles, and I made a few new friends. Plus I got to feel out horse after a rebuild, and I learned the course. So next time I have a Thursday off, I'll be there.

I ended up meeting a guy from Syracuse, NY, and even funnier is the fact that he's best friends with an ex-girlfriend's husband. Small world. So we exchanged email addresses so I can be kept informed of all the local hot spots to race at, etc. Did I mention that there's a free barbecue afterwards? Yes, there is. So I'm all happy about that.

Speaking of food, I'm beginning the cutback of food I need to do, and am going to try and implement a somewhat structured training regimen so I can not embarass myself. At least I haven't had to deal with the dreaded "I remember you from way back, you were really good, what happened?" but I'm sure that question is skulking about.

Do I have anything else to add? Not much, except that I've dealt with some UT students lately and they need to get over their egos and the notion their school is as good as an ivy league school. It isn't. It's a great, well respected university, no doubt, but not ivy league. Funny how if you check out any UT student's blog or hear them speak, they always preface sentences with "Here at UT", or "At UT", etc. Not "At school today" or "In class". To be honest, most people and places care less where you go to school, they just want to see you can play the game, pay yuour dues, and get a diploma, to prove you work well with others.

Lastly, before I left I had a fascinating discussion with a rep for a sports drink company. Oddly enough, I understood all of what he was saying, even with the organic chemistry, nutrion physiology, and other scientific stuff. Maybe our brains change as we do, and what was once abstract is now easy to understand to us. Just don't ask me to multiply or divide fractions, but if you need a drag coefficient and torque and power curves, I'm your guy.

Oh, and my parents celebrated their 40th anniversary this past Monday. It's an achievement that's definitely worth noting in my mind, and I'm happy and proud. Later.

Saturday, September 02, 2006


Hmmm, isn't it funny how many times reality is different from expectations? The story of my life. Being married has far exceeded all my expectations. Austin is better than I expected, but things like traffic and the lack of truly quiet rural roads anywhere near the city is a mild letdown. But I've found other places to ride that make up for it.

So we shift to my latest project. I tore down Horse, and used the shifters from him to build up my Specialized Allez. So after all is said and done, Horse weighed 21.25 lbs in his last state, which is quite heavy. One of the guys at work rides a BMC which is 14.5 lbs., so you can see how much of a disadvantage I was at. Anyway, I spent a lot of time on this other bike, Jack O Lantern. Being aluminum, I thought it would be quite light. Today I rode it to work and weighed it, and it weighs 20.25 lbs. What !!?!! Ok, I can get the weight down some by throwing a carbon seatpost in, a lighter seat, a carbon stem and bars, but after that it's pretty much impossible to lighten this bike much more.

Now Horse is on the stand to be rebuilt in a lighter version. We'll see how that goes. I really should be more concerned with getting down to the weight I was in late May than trying to pare off weight from my bikes. Cheaper, too.

Thursday, August 31, 2006

Two things...

Today's exciting update is on two totally unrelated topics. How cool, right? Well, strap in and brace yourself.

First, been working on my bikes. Pics up when they're complete, which better be in a few hours since I have to race tonight. Twice. Not like I'm in any shape to do it, but I need to see how slow I truly am so I can motivate myself for the remainder of the season. Besides, if I get in good enough shape, and do really well in Cyclocross, I might qualify for nationals in Providence, RI in December. But that's a long way off.

Now, I just saw that CA and a few other states have passed bills that would give their electoral votes to the winner of the state by popular vote, not by how many districts they win during Presidential elections. Of course, in order for this to truly be enacted, a ttoal of 270 electoral votes would have to be decided this way, and so far the bandwagon only has about 100.

I have a huge problem with this. First, it's a way of changing the constitution without having a convention, and if this happens, then why bother having a federal government? It's like the whole same sex marriage issue in the Northeast where I'm from. It really doesn't bother me if you want to have a same sex marriage. However, don't go breaking the law just so you can challenge it in court and legislate that way. Get representatives in office who share your views, then get a referendum introduced. But I digress.

The bottom line is the fact that we have a republic, not a democracy. If we want the presidential election to be the poular vote, then candidates will pander to the biggest states. Worse than now. Might as well disband congress and have the entire US populace of eligible voters vote on every issue in congress from here on out. Where will it end? The constitution, though not perfect, is a pretty damn good owner's manual. It has specific guidelines for things like the electoral college. So why not follow them?

If the democratic states are so upset that they won the popular vote, which has yet to be proven beyond a doubt, and realistically never will (and if you can't steal an election with one of the Chicago Daleys on your team, well, then you're really in trouble, just ask Al Gore) then maybe they should look at who they have running for office. John Kerry? What the hell did he stand for? "Vote for me, I'm not George Bush", ok, that's obvious. So tell me what platform you have. Still waiting.

Politics isn't solved by legislation, it's solved by better candidates who actually have some type of plan people can relate to. Like him or not, GW had a plan for the country, whereas JK really didn't. Had the Democrats come up with some type of plan that didn't ostracize many people, they could have easily won.

Oh, and don't start me on taxes. The whole bs about the 1% paying nothing in comparison to their wealth. I have two issues with that whining. First, once you hit a certain income bracket, you pay a lower percentage of taxes. But why shouldn't you? You've busted your ass to get there, why not be rewarded a bit? Also, most "rich" people don't have money sitting in bank accounts, it's paper wealth. I have a friend who is technically a millionaire. Nice house, car, etc. Except that most of his money is invested, so yes, he has money, but it's not exactly accessible immediately. He actually has assets, not cash. So he only pays tax on his income, which isn't huge.

However, has anyone ever bothered to dig up what percentage of all the tax paid in this country is paid by the 1%? Well, have you? Bet it's more than 1% of the total. In fact, I know it is. I don't have the info right now, but I remember seeing it and discussing it earlier this year. I'll find it and post it in the future. Realistically, it's like being in a restaurant, and whoever has the most money pays for the most people. Is that fair?

Friday, August 25, 2006

Still Going

Well, Horse is still together, as I haven't motivated myself to disassemble him and finish my other bike. Could be related to the fact I've started my new job at the bike shop near my house. Yup, I left ym position with the city. The lack of a nightmarish commute alone is worth the job change. Plus fringe benefits.

Anyway, I had Monday and Tuesday off, so I didn't do much Monday, but Tuesday I decided to go and see if I could survive the Tuesday Nighter, a local training race run on a 9 mile loop. I did the B race, so I only had to do 3 laps for 27 miles. This was because I was not too sure of my abilities after the last couple of races. I mean, let's be real here, the idea of retiring was definitely in my head on and off since the beginning of the month.

So I showed up early, got ready, rode a bit, then waited in the shade for everyone else to show up. And since it was only about 101 out, many did show. So we went off, and the pace was pretty quick, and I actually wasn't feeling too bad. But I forced myself to not be agressive or do much work because I wanted to stay with the bunch. Plus I'm out of shape. Really out of shape.

Through some creative riding and not giving ground (ie: shoving people back where they belonged if needed) I was in the hunt with a lap to go. Some guys who had dropped back from the A group took off, but we let them go, as they weren't really in our race. So as the bunch cruised along, I made sure I was in the first ten spots or so, and someone I don't like from a rival team was there, too.

The last 3 or 4 miles a guy I met at a recent race got to the front and just rode a consistent, quick pace. I stayed right on his wheel and made sure no one got round me. So there was a group of maybe 30 or 40, I think, and there was quite a bit of contact at a few points. But with about 200 meters to go or so, a friend's brother started the sprint, and I jumped on his wheel. With about 100 meters to go if that, I jumped and launched as hard as I could ("like being launched off an aircraft carrier") and overhauled the other guy, and kept driving until about 20 meters from the line.

Now, I'm not exactly modest, but my next move was pretty much a symbolic banging of my fist on a table. I stopped pedaling, took my hands off my bars, and sat bolt upright and coasted across the line, still winning by 5 or 7 bike lengths. The best part is, my arch nemesis and his team mates were all pissed off, and I beat him fair and square. So Horse and I got our last win we knew we had. I needed it for my confidence, and the fact that I outgunned everyone was very reassuring. Those insulated bottles have made a huge difference.

Horse and I have finished this chapter of our careers on a high note. Now I need to see how the new bike starts the next chapter. Like when you get together with old friends very infrequently, but you always have a great time.

Monday, August 21, 2006

The End of an Era

Ok, it's finally time. I'm retiring Horse, my trusty green bike. He's no longer going to be my frontline equipment. I'll still ride him, but only on certain types of races, or rides. I'm moving into the aluminum arena for now, and the carbon arena in the near future.

Oh, we've shared some great memories, the two of us. Like the race across the White Mountains of NH in 1990, when it was raining at the base of the climbs ans snowing at the tops of the passes. Or when I went to the Olympic Training Center in Lake Placid and won one of the training races there, plus helped drive my team to obliterate everyone else in the team time trial. We won by 1min 54s even after our team got a 30 second penalty because I crossed the yellow line in the sprint. OOPS!

My Olympic training Center roommate Rob and I (the skinny kid on the right)at the Johnstown Road Race in 1991.
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Much like a race car, I kept adding and replacing parts, trying to keep Horse up to date. Yet now I've come to the point of diminishing returns. If I ever have huge disposable income I'll be able to get more carbon goodies to keep the weight off, but it's a losing battle. The bike to replace Horse is probably 2 pounds lighter, which is a lot. And most bikes I race against now are at least 2-5 pounds lighter. That's giving away quite a bit right at the line.

Me winding it up for the sprint at the Brookside Park Crit in Indianapolis, IN in 1997.
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I feel sad, for I wanted Horse to go out on a high note. I know there's still one more win in him. But I need to move on. Maybe it'll be another surprise win like in 2004, when I somehow blasted an uphill prologue time trial for a stage race and won it in my category, coming in 5th overall including the pros. Horse isn't deactivated, of course, just getting some well deserved rest. 132,000 miles can tire one out.

Me gearing down for the finishing climb of the Blind Race near Binghamton, NY where I finished 3rd.
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Finally, what is most likely Horse's last race two weeks ago in his present configuration.

Suffering in 100+ degree heat at the Dairyqueen Tour of Columbus, TX.
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Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Some things I've observed

Texas. Everything's bigger in Texas. Blah blah blah...

Ok, some things are just weird. Why is it Austin is so enviromentally conscious, yet many many many local places to eat use good old fashioned white styrofoam cups? Go to the food courts, the sub shops, etc. But this isn't the only double standard, no siree. Much like LA (and I'm not talking about Louisiana) Austin is full of environazis. This isn't entirely bad. Except many drive gas swilling El Grande SUVs, and worse, they complain about the gas prices, traffic, etc. What I find very troubling is the fact that these two cities have very little in the way of mass transit. Commuter rail? Who needs safe, efficient worry free travel? They'd rather just cut each other off and kill a few innocent people on the highway, especially if it may impact their conversation on the phone about the latest Britney Spears video.

Yes, Austin is in the process of building a commuter rail line, thank god, but you'd have thought this would have been done 15 years ago. Now that the big issue is addressed, let's go to a very unique TX thing.

I've noticed that too many vehicles have these decal type things on them. Not so bad yet, even I have a USA cycling sticker awaiting to be slapped on the back of my car. However, these decals are in the shape of a football, baseball, etc. Underneath them they'll have a name and number. That's right folks, now when I'm behind a Suburban I know that Kaylee is #23 in softball, Kile is #71 in football, and Lukey is #40 in football.

I know parents are proud of their kids, mine were even proud of me according to their attorney, but WTF? If these kids are at the height of their lives, then I can see it, especially if they end up robbing 7-11 stores and fathering 5 different mullet haired ignoramuses by 4 mothers. But what is this all about? Soon we'll have decals stating all the sports each child does, SAT scores, first masturbation dates and periods, when will it end?

Is this just a Texas thing or is it prevalent in other parts of the nation? I've never seen it from Indiana to Maine down to Georgia. Someone tell me it's a passing fad that decal makers started when sales slumped of the Support (whatever) ribbons. In ten years I'll be seeing Kile # 69 in the Texas Penile basebal league...

Monday, August 14, 2006

Time for a little time off

I raced Saturday in Columbus, TX. Well, I was there. I dropped out a bit over halfway through the race. So that makes the second race of the year I dnf. It was due to many factors, but now I need to figure out what's going on with my body.

It was over 100 degrees (I think it was 103) when we started, and the temp on the road was over 130 according to a thermometer on the pavement. Long story short, I was still sick, had taken Nyquil the night before, and sinus medecine the morning of the race. I slept great, but in my warmup I wasn't feeling it. When the race started I had no power at all, and drifted back in the pack. Then I dropped off the pace. Eventually I was lapped and called it a day. I think there were only 12 official finishers. Ouch.

So this week I'm doing some thinking. If I ride, a big if, it'll be easy miles. I'm thinking it's time to get my other bike fitted out for frontline duty. So the green Paramount OS might be on it's way to being a backup machine. It depends how my Specialized rides once I finish building it. That's my big project for the week.

Yesterday Lost and I helped a friend pack for her long drive to WI. Well, it's actually a move. Originally the plan was for me to sleep in, but I'm glad I went, it was fun and I'm glad I went. My expertise was useful for mounting her Thule towers, bars, and softpack. Other than that, Lost packed the car full beyond belief. I think I had the easy job.

Thursday, August 10, 2006

Ugh, at least it makes some sense

Well, I haven't ridden my bike since the race. I've been sick, with sinus issues, a dry hacking cough that makes me see stars, and a serious lower back ache. My back was bugging me during the race, and if that was the beginning of getting sick, then that explains my lacking the little bit of top end I normally have. I've missed two days of work this week, so that will let you know that I'm feeling pretty lousy.

So I want to race on Saturday.Tomorrow I'll make my decision. Maybe I'll go for a very short easy ride today to see how my legs feel, and to induce a fever to burn out whatever I have, or maybe I'll take a brisk walk to the mailbox. Not sure which.

On a totally different note, a while ago I rented the movie The Station Agent. It was an indie film from maybe 2 years ago or so. I loved it. It was cerebral, comical, and totally cool. It's on my list of movies to buy.

Time for a nap or something.

Sunday, August 06, 2006

Tired and disappointed

Did my race, and it wasn't anything other than a race. I rode too hard yesterday with a guy I met on the road, got to bed late because one of the cats ate the mouse cable and I had to splice it, and needed to download directions, and some last minute maintenance on my bike.

Needless to say, I rode hard, tried to be aggressive, but I was lacking that little bit I needed. Ultimately I ended up being the second to last finisher. What happened?

1) I was tired. I could have taken a nap before the race. That never has happened before.

2) My legs lacked snap, and that's what I need. Normally I can explode out of a corner, but not this time.

3) Riding without a team is really tough down here.

4) I didn't know the course, or the competition, or what team was strong, etc.

5) I have a serious lack of fitness right now. Train to race, race to train. I hadn't done a real race since Memorial Day weekend in Hartford, CT. That's what supplies the extra bit I lacked today.

6) I am still not acclimated to the weather here.

7) It's beginning to become apparent that my bike is truly obsolete. I'm giving away at least 3-4 lbs to most bikes out there. Do the quick math and physics, and you can see how much effort I'm putting out to be competitive.

8) I enjoyed the race, but I think I was too tired to fully concentrate and that in turn left me a little bit short in the desire department today.

9) I guess I need to kill myself this week to see if I can improve next week in Columbus. Originally I said I was only going to race if I did well today, but now I want to redeem myself.

Guess I need to sit back and think about what I really want to do. Race report coming sometime soon.

Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Hat trick

Well, since I accidentally deleted my post to go with my link yesterday, here's an abbreviated version.

I'm sick of the mainstream media portraying Israel as the aggressor. And anyone who criticizes Israel's actions needs to shut up. I'd love to see their opinion after spending 30 days in the area where Hezbollah rockets are raining down. I've been in combat zones waiting for ordnance to impact, slept in bunkers because it was the only safe place, and been on patrols where you wonder where the next shot is coming from out of a crowd. Until you've seen the sights, heard the sounds, smelled the scents, and tasted the fear, shut your damn mouth, for you have no real perpsective as to what's going on or how serious it truly is.

To happier things, I'm racing in Houston on Sunday. Wish me luck, for I'll need it. I'm trying to do really intense efforts in the time I have available. So I'm time trialling on my rides, using my past experience knowing that if I can average over 20mph with stoplights and the wind, I should be strong enough to not get dropped. We'll see.

Sunday, July 30, 2006

Two sides of a different world

Yesterday Lost and I headed up to Cedar Park because there was a train store I wanted to check out. It turned out to be way better than I thought it would be, and it was pretty reasonable with prices. I didn't buy anything, because I don't have my other trains with me, and I know right now the last thing we need is to cram more stuff into our home.

After that we looked at a new development being built, and walked through many different homes. It was quite a bit of fun, and it's always good to do the research way in advance. Hours later we ate and headed to San Marcos for some blitzing of the outlet centers. We had almost 2 hours, and made the most of it. I was happy, as I got more clothes for very little money.

Today I head out for a ride with a friend of mine. But this is the interesting part. I was able to do this without worrying about if I'd live or not. But with what's happening in the Middle East, this would have been very risky over there. It's amazing how we take this safety for granted.

Friday, July 28, 2006

I couldn't have said it better

Today's Report: 27 Jul 2006
Phil Liggett on Floyd Landis
My first reaction to the news that Floyd Landis had "doped up" during the 17th stage of the Tour de France between St Jean de Maurienne and Morzine was one of extreme sadness, and it posed the huge question: "Why?"

In Strasbourg at the Grand Depart, the Tour had seemingly handled the sending home of pre-race favorites Jan Ullrich, Ivan Basso and Juan Mercado among others well and the stage was set for "the cleanest Tour in years."

The organizers had sent out a clear message that dopers would not be tolerated, even though those sent away left protesting their innocence and, in fact, still do. Indeed, at least four of the rejected Astana-Wrth team have been proven innocent by a Spanish court this week, but the race's hardening attitude had once again been demonstrated.

This year's Tour seemed to be being ridden "clean" as riders had good days and bad, something which doesn't always happen if the drugs are kicking in. Landis himself, collapsed on stage 16 to La Toussuire in the Alps and then, re-hydrated overnight, he won the fateful stage 17 to Morzine by almost six minutes.

Even seven-time Tour winner Lance Armstrong was moved to call Landis at his hotel that night and congratulate him at "having big balls" to do what he had done after such a defeat 24 hours earlier.

There are many questions to be answered before Landis is condemned.

The first is why win the stage knowing that the winner is automatically drug tested and when finding unusual testosterone levels in a testing laboratory is a comparatively easy thing to do!

Landis would have also been tested at least three times previously as race leader, too, and these presumably have been negative as only stage 17 is under discussion.

The quiet, but very determined American was genuinely happy for his team and its owners when he finished at Morzine. He arrived punching out at helpers and media after he crossed the finish line. He had turned in the result which only 24 hours earlier was thought to be impossible.

Landis had never failed a drug test in his career and this season was enjoying his best ever run of victories, all of which would carry compulsory drug tests. His wins in America and France since February have all been achieved despite a dying femur bone which will mean a replacement hip in the immediate future.

He suffers pain daily when walking and sleeping but not, ironically, so much when racing. As winner of the Tour de France he could have expected his annual earnings to move into the multi-million dollar bracket, even though there is the risk that his hip operation will mean he might never race at the same level again.

They say that drugs have been in cycling for more than 100 years. At first it was simply alcohol, and a tot of brandy did wonders on a long climb in adverse weather. Then came amphetamines, traces of which were found in Britain's Tom Simpson when he died on Mont Ventoux in Provence during the Tour in 1967.

Now, with the help of unscrupulous medical experts, growth hormones, steroids and blood changing is available for those who can afford it. But the doping agencies, International Cycling Union and the Tour de France all agree that drugs must be stamped out and the fight will go on.

The Tour de France has been "saddened" by yesterday's revelations, but the second test has still to confirm the first. There is a possibility that Landis has over-produced testosterone and if so I hope he will be completely vindicated.

If, however, he is guilty, then he will lose the Tour de France, receive a life ban at the Olympics, a two-year ban from the sport and a four-year ban from riding on a Pro Tour team. In short, he will never race again.

All for Now,
Phil Liggett,The Voice of Cycling

One thing I don't get: Everyone says that cycling is dirty. Is it dirty because it's the only sport actually doing something about it, unlike football and especially, baseball?

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Winning, Floyd, and the Court of Public Opinion

Well, until the whole floyd Landis thing exploded this morning, I was going to do a post about winning. I still am, but first let me weigh in on Floyd's problem. So he had a non-normal test result from Stage 17. Long story short, he had too high a ratio of testosterone in his urine. Used to be the allowable standard was 6:1, then the UCI and WADA in their brilliance lowered it to 4:1. Ok, the ratio for a normal, non-athlete is 1:1.

However, I can provide links to anyone who wants them citing study after study showing that the levels in elite athletes routinely go to 4:1 or higher after extreme efforts. I'd say that riding 130 km alone on the hardest day of the Tour qualifies as an extreme effort.

Now, on to the Court of Public Opinion. Isn't it great how Barry Bonds is playing with minimal heckling, and how there's only some talk of how he may be guilty. Yet, Floyd and other pros in the past from cycling seem to have their verdicts decided upon by leaked news and accusations, then the doping agencies try to find data to support public opinion. So instead of allowing the process to go and announcing results, Floyd's rep is forever tarnished, innocent or not. Like when someone is arrested for murder, then 10 minutes later released, they're forever remembered as being arrested for murder, so they must be guilty...

I really have a hard time believing Floyd is guilty. I have friends who remember him riding in sweatpants and knickers when he first started mountain biking. He won back then, too. Look at his resluts over the last few years. It's a natural progression to where he is now. Look at this entire season. He crushed the opposition all season long. Why is it that it seems to me the Tour doesn't like Americans? They attacked Armstrong his whole reign, now they attack Landis. And if you ever saw the lack of chain of custody for Tyler Hamilton's samples, and Armstrong's from 99, well, any lawyer in this country would be able to throw out the case. But we have to sit and wait.

As for winning, it's a funny thing. I've not won much in my life. Some basketball games in junior high and high school, some races, and some car races. The car races were satisfying, and for a few years we were better and better until we won our class of the Rolex Vintage Enduro Championship. But it was an anticlimax. The basketball games were ok, but only one sticks in my mind. I was playing against my dad's alma mater in 8th grade and my team put together a really solid game. It was one of the best games of my life. I had 17 points and 14 or 15 rebounds, and we had enough of a lead to where I can remember enjoying it.

As for my wins in cycling, well, that's the funny thing. I've never been in a race where I thought I would win, or could savor it. My biggest wins were in time trials, and you're just going as fast as your body lets you. So until the last guy comes in, you really aren't sure how you're doing. Most were a surprise to me. Track cycling is so intense and brief you barely know if you won or not. And my very few road race wins were hard fought. I never had time to look back over my shoulder and savor the moment. Part of why I still race is because I want that moment, where it's me and the crowd, an impersonal intimate spot in history. Make sense?

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Another alphabet game

I had a serious post in my head, but I think it can wait until later. So let me steal something from my wife's blog. (Cue fanfare, LMAO!!!!)

A is for age: 34
B is for beer of choice: Saranac, any of them!!!
C is for career right now: Career? What's that?
D is for dogs name: No dog, but I like Rossini
E is for essential item you use everyday: Hmmmm, not sure
F is for favorite TV show at the moment: TV, what's that? Law and Order SVU
G is for favorite game: Any card game
H is for Home town: Moved a lot in my youth, so Poughkeepsie, Red Hook, Rhinebeck, Kingston- they're all within half hour of each other
I is for instruments you play: Trombone, piano, harmonica, some drums
J is for favorite juice: Orange
K is for who's butt you want to kick: Not enough room here for that list, but on a personal level, no one
L is for last place you ate: Home lat night
M is for marriage: Yes, emaphatically!!!!
N is for your full name: Not going to happen, but if you do the research you can find it...
O is for overnight hospital stays: Yikes, I think it's three, no four
P is for people you were with today: Steph and White Smoke and Little Fox
Q is for quote: "Failure is an integral part of success."
R is for Biggest Regret: Getting frustrated with the politics of cycling and quitting for 2 years when I was on the verge of breaking out
S is for status: US citizen
T is for time you wake up: Too early unless it's a race day!!!
U is for unique quality: I dream the future often
V is for vegetable you love: Sweet potato or yams!
W is for worst habit: Hmmm, many, like leaving just a little bit of juice or soda in a bottle, not enough to be worthwhile to drink, too much to throw out
X is for x-rays you've had: Wow, lots!!! Like over 400 including dental, over 360 without. Many sports injuries and surgeries, plus that whole cancer thing.
Y is for yummy food you ate today: Waiting for lunch.
Z is for Zodiac sign: Gemini/Cancer I'm a cusp kid!!

Tuesday, July 25, 2006

Thinking of summers past

So I was reading my latest issue of adirondack Life, and what do I see on the back cover but a real estate ad. No big deal. I hate this particular realtor, because she sold my family's house years ago in a stupid way and my oblivious relatives really got taken. But I digress.

So I put up with the monthly ads because the rest of the magazine makes up for it, and I rarely get back to the Adirondacks these days. However, the ad had a spot with some property for sale. The lake adjacent to my lake (I know, not really) had or has a little over 3 acres for sale. No house, and I believe it's on the side with no road, so you need to use your boat from the public dock to your property. 330 ft of lakefront. Mind you, these lakes never got acid rain and are still so clear you can literally see 50 feet down on dalm days. $149,000 for the land!!! Ouch!!! I was hoping to actually have enough money at some point in my life to go back and buy a house on my old lake. Guess not anymore.

My old lake has only about 35 or 26 homes on it. It used to be a great well kept secret. At least I have my memories.

Curious about it? Go see it here on my webshots page:

You can also see other exciting pics from other exciting parts of my life. Well, there really wasn't too much excitement.

Saturday, July 22, 2006

What have I learned?

Let's see, I finished my first week at my new job. Not the schedule I want, but it is nice to be back in an office enviroment and having to dress up a little bit for work. I feel like such an adult, lol. Of course, my schedule impacts my time for riding, but hey, I need to get some money.

So today I went for a loooonnnngg ride. It ended up being 103 miles. Pretty cool, my mileage pretty much matched the temperature. Mind you I did the first 90 miles in one shot, ended up at a local bike shop near downtown to watch a rebroadcast of the tour, then rode home. Nothing like watching Floyd take the lead on a plasma tv while eating some chips and drinking cold water. Then I rode home and fought crazy headwinds since a storm front was moving through. Somehow the rain held off until I was 200 meters from home.

On the first part of my ride a group of guys caught up to me and invited me to join. Turns out two of the guys were jerks, but it happens. Eventually it came to the loudmouth pushing against me in a sprint, and I finally got my left arm free enough to give him an uppercut elbow to the lower jaw. After that no one really challenged me. The other 10 guys were really cool, just this one bozo and his friend were talking trash.

Let me wrap up with one last thought. Barry Bonds should be banned from baseball for a few years. I hope he goes to jail for tax evasion, sine he cheated all the honest baseball players during his career, and he tried to cheat the government out of their money, too. Jerk. I can get banned for two years from racing if I so much as have Sudafed in my system, or more than the equivalent of two cups of coffee worth of caffeine at a dope control in me. Yet this bastard and many other american professional sports will maybe give 10 games as a punishment. What a joke. They're PLAYING sports. Why must they cheat? Isn't getting paid to play a game like kids enough? Or have they never grown up?

Friday, July 21, 2006

Remember my opinion of hybrids?

We all know (if you've been reading this long enough) how I feel about hybrid vehicles. Good concept, but horrible for the world in the long run. Well, now I am going to piss of another group. Don't speak to me about global warming. There are too many holes in the theory. Let me expound upon my statement.

I agree pollution is a problem. However, it seems no one ever admits a few simple facts. First, why doesn't anyone ever look at the fact that the human population of the world has increased exponentially in the last 200 years? What's this mean? DUH!!! How many BTUs does one person give off? How about the heat generated by our computers, car engines, more lights, etc. Greenhouse gases? They may contribute, but I have a sneaking suspiscion that we'd all be served much better if we tried to make everything run cooler. Less radiant heat, etc... Think about it. The smaller the fire, the cooler the house, right?

Since I'm in the mood for being a pariah today, let me jump into more hot water. I'm sick and tired of hearing that Israel is wrong for attacking Lebanon to get Hamas and Hezbollah. Does anyone remember when the Marine barracks were bombed in Beirut 23 years ago? Or do we forget the 241 Marines who were killed while sleeping? Do you know who did it and claims responsibility to this day? You got it. Our favorite two crazy troublemakers, Hamas and Hezbollah. Well, at least Hezbollah now denies official involvement. "Official"? You're a terrorist organization, how can you have any official capacities?

Funny how Israel kept asking the Palestinians to stop the daily rocket attacks using official channels, yet the rockets kept coming. Of the recovered rocket debris, all have been manufactured in Syria so far. But Syria doesn't sponsor terrorism and is on our side. Hmmmm... I also enjoy reading many Arab leaders saying how "Israel has done the wrong thing". Ok, so they asked nicely and no one listened.

Personally, I agree with the attacks. I've been in situations where mortar and rocket fire have rained down on my position for hours and days in instances. What do you do? You go out and find whoever is shelling you and eliminate the threat.

Lastly, isn't it interesting how the people who always claim to be for choice are the ones who push for limiting choices? Plus, if you drive a vehicle that gets under 30 mpg (news flash, most of my cars except for a Chrysler got over 29mpg, even though many were built in the 50's and 60's) don't even try to talk to me about saving the enviroment and greenhouse gases. Hypocrites all!!!

Monday, July 17, 2006

It's getting a bit temeperate

Well, let's see, it's over 100 now every day. In fact, last night at 945pm it was 92 degrees. but that's not the real issue.

I went riding with a friend for about 20 miles early Sunday morning. It was muggy and about 85 by 830am. But we had a plan, and were enjoying a great ride even though Sunday traffic was heavier than we thought it would be. My pal the Mster and I had a few sprints, too. I won all three, but he's learning quick. Of course, me giving pointers doesn't help my cause too much.

You see, Mster (pronounced em-ster) was the one to pick out what we were sprinting for the first time, and when we could go. Add to this he has a devastating jump, and it's getting tougher and tougher to come around him. when he jumps, he has a gap instantly of at least two bike lengths. It's great practice for me, but man, it's tough. especially when he picks an uphill sprint.

the second sprint I picked, and I set us off. Again I was gapped, but my higher top speed served me well. As we were riding towards his house, we were winding up for the final sprint. This time, we treated it as a race, so we could jump whenever we wanted. I got a little lucky when I went to my drops from my hoods, as Mster thought I was going to open up right then, and he jumped to try and take me by surprise. It almost worked. Had he held off another 50 meters it would have been very different. As it was, I was able to come around him in the last 75 meters or so, bu thtis time he used all the tips I gave him, and he really improved. A few more weeks of this and I'm really going to have a fight on my hands in the sprints.

In between all this fun a group caught up to us and we jumped in. We were rolling along at about 23mph when I went to the front, and the guy next to me started picking up the pace. not sure if he was trying to initiate me, but I wasn't in the mood for it, so I pushed the pedals a bit harder. Pretty soon we were hitting about 28 up the hill we were on, and when we reached a red light, he was like "that was some good fun". Yes it was.

Rolling back even further, I went for a ride Saturday evening after falling asleep during a Yankees game. Again I did Jester, but descended a different way. about 15 miles into my ride my rear tire blew, most likely from the tube being old. I texted my wife and started walking, and a block later she was honking her horn at me. Turns out she was heading home and hadn't checked her message yet, and through pure luck I had a ride when I needed it. Not a bad way to end a ride.

Saturday, July 15, 2006

why do I bother?

Well, I called my parents about my wedding to Lost. It went great. My grandmother was thrilled. So why were both my brother and sister jerks about it? They did congratulate me, but they also lectured me and questioned me, etc. Hello!!! It's not baout anyone but us! They acted as if it were some spur of the moment thing, and were upset that I didn't tell them. Well, that's kind of the definition of the word elope, fools. And this type of Spanish Inquisition attitude was what I wanted to avoid. So the prosecution rests. Well, we all are different. But you think they'd put aside the older sibling syndrome for a minute, let their younger brother tell them good news, and be happy. Sometimes I wonder, why do I bother telling them stuff at all...

Thursday, July 13, 2006

Old News

Well, everyone knows it. Lost and I got married Tuesday evening. She's got all the pics and stuff at her blog. Course, I have no idea how to link to it, so you'll have to search through the comments of other posts to find a link to her. Yeah, it's a miracle I'm able to get a cell phone call to go through.

Tonight I finally got in touch with my parents. Surprisingly they were very cool about it. Happy even. And there you have it. Thanks for all the congrats. Oh, and I got a lot of flak for not updating my profile. So for all of you, I saw what you were talking about: I listed my age as 33, but I turned 34 in June. thanks for pointing that out, it's been taken care of.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

I can't believe the summer's half over

That sums it up. Where is the summer going? Of course, since I am used to things cooling off a little after Labor Day summer will seem to have extended itself to me this year, but wow! It seems like a day ago I was planning my escape from NY. Now I'm here and loving Austin. weird how life goes by.

Also, I realized today while going insane due to some online stuff I had to do that wasn't cooperating that A) I've been out of high school 16 years, B) My life is nowhere where I thought it would be nor C) Has it gone anything near to how I planned it in high school. That said, I'm really satisfied with it all. Funny how that works.

Haven't been on my bike the last few days since I've been preoccupied with becoming a productive member of society again (getting a job). I've got offers on the table, now I'm seeing how much I can play the hand before I need to take one. Funny how every time I want to post I have a great post in my head, but by the time I get to it I forget it. Like going to the record store (THAT tells you how old I am!! Remember 45s and the little adapter you needed on your turntables...?) and as soon as you set foot inside you forget what albums you wanted. Happens evry single effin' time.

Well, I do have to say that one cool thing about Austin is the train activity. Yup, the geek in me is surfacing. Lots of cool things, like Amtrak, leased locomotives, interesting consists, makes me want to get my camera and hang out trackside. Maybe in winter or fall when it's cooler...

Monday, July 10, 2006

Back in the saddle!!!

Ok, I've been back on my bike and it feels pretty good. Some people have mentioned I might be crazy, but that's another post altogether...

Yesterday I rode with a friend for quite a bit. We went up a road that was four lanes, then became a lane and a half. We decided to turn around because it was getting late and we had a headwind going back. Got a few good sprints in and had a great time.

Today I went up some monster hill called Jester. I was in my 39x23, but realized I need to get a 25 for some of the walls around here. OR it could be that I'm a bit more tired than I thought. Either way, another good ride and I'm feeling ok, the only problem is I'm not getting enough mileage to keep my weight down. So I guess I need to either ride more and find some way of carrying enough to drink for a long ride or I need to go back to training for short road races and criteriums.

Oddly enough, my shoulder has had a meteoric recovery the last few days. Pretty cool. My road rash is going away nicely, just itches here and there as it always does. Nothing broken, but I have a pretty high pain threshold. Let's see, broke 3 ribs in a race in 2000 and still finished 8th. Raced half a road season and an entire cyclocross season with my lower three vertabrae get the idea. But I know I have no broken bones, as I barely hurt anymore.

Keep you posted on the next ride....

Friday, July 07, 2006

Just a thought and update

Here's a quick thought: if car insurance companies use your credit rating to help determine your insurance rates, why doesn't it help your credit rating if you're a good driver? I mean, if your credit rating can hurt you, why can't your good driving help you? It should go both ways, right?

As for me, my crash injuries aren't too bad. Just a bit banged up and sore. No real damage, just some road rash and bruising on my knee,ankle, and shoulder. Of course, I don't bruise easily, so for me to have anything is a big deal. The worst of it is my right shoulder is pretty hurt. I really can't pull or lift anything yet, or raise my arm more than a few inches. At least I didn't break anything...

So I took yesterday to sit on the patio and rebuild my bike. Originally it was just fix the damage, but then I figured might as well really clean it and overhaul it. So a simple 1 hour job turned into 5 peaceful hours on the patio while I took my time and got covered in grease. But now my bike is 99% done, and once I do a few more things it'll be better than new.

Time for a ride tomorrow. Let's hope I keep the rubber side down!!!

Thursday, July 06, 2006


You got it. I went for a ride yesterday, and got caught in what the weatherman last night said was "tropical activity". It's what us northeasterners call "popcorn storms", they just pop up quickly from the heat and humidity. This all is of no consequence usually, but not so yesterday. I'm not entirely sure how it happened, but as I was coming to an intersection at about 35mph, I decided to go right. This was because I was well and truly lost. As in, I might want to stop and ask directions type of lost and my phone is home. Good thing it stayed there, I might add.

I knew the road would be slippery, it just looked it. I mean, I've been doing this long enough to see how grippy wet or dry pavement is. So I slowed down, and I knew it was going to be dicey, but I'm considered a rain rider. People look to me and follow my wheel in the rain on descents, corners, etc. As I rounded the corner it felt ok, but then next thing I know, I'm on the deck with the wind knocked out of me. I really have no idea why. My best guess is that I either lost concentration and tapped the brakes, which is a big no-no, or I tried to pedal through the turn too soon and my left toe hit the front wheel. Either way, I went down. HARD.

In about a second I was getting up and wheeled my bike over to the sidewalk. Then I did the damage assessment. First the bike. Priorities, you know. I had to straighten both brake levers, lost an end cap from my bars (where in the hell could that have gone?) put both bottles back in the cages, looked everything else over, and then the pain hit.

When I went down I was wearing one of my older race uniforms, and had the jersey totally unzipped. Somehow I landed mostly on my right thigh and front of my right shoulder, with my right shin and ankle playing follow the leader. I started brushing off all the grime that was now embedded in my skin and noticed my chest hurt, too. You guessed it, road rash on my right side of my torso and chest. How pleasant. Then I noticed my leg was covered in blood as it was running from all the sweat and rain water.

I should say that when I crashed a woman in a Lexus SUV stopped and asked me if I was ok, and then drove up on the median and parked to make sure. After I got my breath back, I told her I'd ride home, or at try to. She said she'd follow me for a few blocks to make sure I could ride. So I set off, and after a few blocks waved I was ok, and we parted ways. Don't know who she was, but I'd like to thank her for her concern.

It was a long ride home. I bent my rear wheel a bit so I had to open my brake some, I couldn't shift into my lowest gear because the rear derailleur would go into the spokes, and I was pissed I went down. But I got home and cleaned up and suffered through the night. Now it's time to fix my bike and ride today again. I must be insane...

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Happy 4th!!!!

Happy and safe 4th!!!

Well, I was going to leave it at that, but I guess I can update some. Not much going on so far. Just got in from a wet and hot ride a little bit ago. First TX ride in the rain. I love when rain is just below air temperature, or when it's freezing. Guess I'm weird.

I haven't been feeling to great lately, and I'm wondering if it's because I'm not eating as well as I should be, or eating too much and not riding enough, or the bottle of Yellowtail Merlot I had the other night, or am I truly sick? Most likely a combo of the above.

This morning Lost and I headed downtown to see a friend run in a marathon relay. It wasn't too bad when we left the apartment, but it got hot quickly as cloud cover burned off. We had ridden really early (like before the city had woken up except for some nutjob mowing his lawn at 730am) and it was overcast and comfy. Not so downtown.

Also, we had no idea the course was forever and a day long, and we parked at one end and started wandering along it. Soon the wandering turned into a forced march, which became a death slog. But we saw our friend, his wife, and met some new people at the start/finish area, so it was worth it. Then our friends gave us a ride back to our car.

All this wouldn't have been so bad if we had A) brought something to drink and B) not gone bowling a few days ago. Man, that really set us back. I mean, I felt like I had crashed in a race minus the road rash I was so sore. What a brain attack I was to say we should keep bowling and end up bowling five games. I mean, I was bowling much better the last two, but I was sore from playing in the golf tournament in May. I guess my body is only used to riding a bike anymore. Better start stretching.

Hmm, what else? Oh, saw my high school friend Lora and her family for the first time in 13 years. Very cool and her son is sooo cute. That was an enjoyable afternoon/evening. I think I have brought you up to date. Other than a job hunt, things are going well.

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

So I'm thinking I need to put up a more recent pic of me for this thing...

and that I change my profile info to reflect where I truly am. but that's for another time.

So what have I been up to? Well, learning my way around Austin, looking for work, riding some, getting my butt kicked in a race, fun stuff like that. Lost and I saw the bats the other night (really cool), I ate a Thundercloud sub (yummy), and that's about it. We rode Monday night together as well as Friday night. My theory of her getting flat tires is that there is quite a bit of debris out here along the roads, and unless you ride close to the white line, you end up hitting a lot of it. This is of course, a comfort thing, and having grown up in the northeast where shoulders don't exist, I'm fine with being close to or on the white line. Lost has only started riding, and she isn't comfortable that close to traffic yet.

But Monday night we went riding on some lesser used roads and in some neighborhoods, and she did great. Even took a sip out of her water bottle while riding!!! Woohoo!!! So the transformation begins. Soon she'll be riding no hands and fishing food out of her jersey pockets like a pro!

Last night I went to the Tuesday Nighter, full of confidence after my 5th place last week. This week we had probably twice as many racing, so it was going to be more unpredictable. For the first lap I rode my characteristic strong, aggressive race, never getting too far back, and making sure the pace was high. Then, into the secong of three 9 mile laps, as we headed up the big hill, I lost it. We like to say every race has a crucial two minutes, and it was at that time that I had a bad three minutes. My stomach was feeling unsettled for quite some time, so I wasn't drinking, and it was really dry here. All that adds up to me not drinking enough and getting sick.

I finished the race, and still had a good ride, but my stomach felt awful. All night I wasn't feeling great, and only in the last hour have I felt ok enough to consider venturing out. No bike today. Just some easy rides if anything until Friday. I think reading or dreaming of riding while at the pool sounds better...

But the good news is I found out about a criterium series here in Austin every Thursday night!! I can do 2 races for $20 on some new go kart track. Very flat, fast and cool. Now I just need to learn where it is. Found directions, but since I have no idea where anything is, well you get the idea.

I think it's time to go check out some local hobby shops, as I am quite the train and model geek. Still have about 30 model cars to build at my parent's house...

Well, I might just go to the pool. It's closer and easier to get to as I know where it is...LOL!!