Tuesday, January 31, 2006

I'm a high maintainance, hard charging, test of your patience, but you love me anyway...

I'm a Lamborghini Murcielago!

You're not subtle, but you don't want to be. Fast, loud, and dramatic, you want people to notice you, and then get out of the way. In a world full of sheep, you're a raging bull.

Hmmm, how appros pos (if that's how you spell it). I am amazed at how accurate these things are anymore. Yup. I just watched some Nigella Lawson. In case you didn't know (and how could you possibly?) I love her. She's just too damn gorgeous. Her and Angela Gheorgiu are tied in my eyes. Well, my day is complete.

Ok, State of the Union. Guess what? Didn't see it. Read about it later. And I'm hoping that's as much politics as you'll see here. Except for funny headlines, which may or may not be political. Like these:

Turkey Begins Slaughtering Fowl

Anyone besides me find this ironically amusing? It was at the beginning of the bird flu thing.

Greenpeace Fined for Damaging Reef

Again, how can you make this up? They ran aground on the reef they were supposed to be protecting. So that's where Capt Hazelwood got a new job...

Medical Assosciation Upset Over How Comas are Depicted on Soap Operas

Ok, what is depicted realistically on a soap opera? Enough said.

So after I rode for about 50 miles yesterday, I went to my storage unit and moved all of the stuff in there into a smaller storage unit. Air conditioners, boxes of books (I have too many, and what was I on when I packed these boxes, they were ginormous!!) furniture, etc. Glutton for punishment, I am. then on the way home my car started getting messages from some other universe and the alternator/charge light came on. Somehow I've kept it alive by nursing it using as few electric items in the car as possible (how I miss the toaster oven so I can enjoy hot waffles on my way to work) and tomorrow after work it's off to get a voltage regulator and hope that solves the problem. And I'm still in a good mood with this impending doom on the horizon, for if it's not the voltage regulator, well, I'll cry because that means it's probably the alternator, and I'm boring you to death.

No ride today, recovery day and need to clean my bike from the road grime from yesterday. I promise soon to take a picture of my bikes, me, and my cats so you all know what we look like. Of course, I'll probably take my picture in a mirror, but then you'll see a camera in front of my face...

Yeah, I'm in a good mood. Not sure why, but I am and I'm running with it. Ok, off to bed. The pic I posted is of Bono arriving for the Columbus Day weekend show in NY at Madison Square Garden. I got lucky and was in the right spot at the right time. didn't hurt to have a VIP pass, but that's a story involving a friend, a long owed payment for a massive favor, early am phone call, and an ex-girlfriend who's also an ex Victoria's Secret model... Got your attention yet?

Warm hugs and burning kisses, Mike

Monday, January 30, 2006

Oh, forgot one other thing...

Remember how I mentioned you'd get a glimpse into my life? Well, now for a bit of fun. Dating. Yikes. I meet all kinds of wonderful women. Problem is, normally we meet in the off season, when I have a decent amount of time. They then assume I can always devote this much time to them. I warn them when we start dating what it's like, but they never listen.

So right now I have a kind of girlfriend, but she's as busy as I am, so if we see each other once every other week it seems to be alot. there's another woman I'm interested in, but she's in school to become a nurse and is doing the whole hospital rotation thing right now, plus has 2 kids. Not sure how I feel about that. But god is she beautiful and nice...

Ideally I should be dating someone who races also. Did that for awhile and it was the best relationship I've ever had. Maybe I'll meet someone at the races this year...but I'm not really looking. I've got enough to keep me busy. If a pulse does rear its' ugly head in my social life's corpse, you'll be the first to know, or let me know my social life has escaped from the morgue...


January 30th, and I rode about 50 miles in shorts!!!!!! For those of you not from here, this never happens. Until today. Ok, so it was about maybe 55-60 in the sun, and about 50 in the shade, but damnit, I was going to ride without tights. I did, and it was a good plan, until the sun took an early leave of his duties and went behind some clouds. Then the mercury dropped like a rock, I was riding home along icy streams, and brrrrr...

But I rode in shorts!!!! I even got a slight burn on my legs! Cool. The tan never really goes, but it's way better now. Goofy tan lines are here to stay!!!

Ok, so I've decided to throw a few pics up every now and then here at my little blog. What we have here is a pic of the Ashokan Reservoir aerator from a few years ago, and Mohonk Mountain house from some back road I discovered riding. Went back when the pic I had imagined was there and shot it. Only had to wait a few months for the hay, weather, etc. I'm a patient photographer...

Sunday, January 29, 2006

I'm only happy when it rains...

And well, I got my wish on my ride today. Yippee!!! Ok, it was a cold, driving rain/mist, and in the mountains it actually froze onto my bike. Pretty neat to have an extra 5 pounds of ice on your bike ans steam coming off your body.

I tried to get out early befor ethe rain. That was the plan, and as Steinbeck said "the best laid plans of mice and men..." (I actually forgot the rest of the quote. Isn't it something like "often go awry"?) and I'm no exception. So about 3 hours into the ride I was up by Phoenecia and heading to Hunter. Good plan, expecting precipitation, head higher. Duh! Anyway, the mist became floating ice, then it became some freezing rain and snow mixed. By the time I worked my way back across the mountains to the Rondout Valley, it was a cold, drenching rain. Not hard, but steady and merciless. Needless to say I was a bit cold and frozen, but another 5 1/2 hours in the saddle will pay big dividends come race season.

Ok, so it sounds like I was miserable. I actually wasn't. I honestly love riding and racing in the rain. It's a great equalizer. Some guys can't handle the cold or limited visibility, others have no confidence in their bike handling and ride more conservatively. Most just don't enjoy slogging through the wet for hours. Which is why I love it. Hell, we're all suffering like crazy, so my theory is I might as well control how much. Thus, I normally go to the front and start riding hard to spit as many people out the back as possible. Besides, it's better to be in front ahead of the crashes...

Today is also my Dad's birthday, so I sent an email to him. Last April I was riding with him while visiting and he crashed his bike, breaking his hip in the process. Not a good thing, but he's mostly recovered. His bones were so good that the ortho surg just put pins in and had him do therapy. By July he was playing golf again. Of course, he still has a slight limp, but it's not bad. Hopefully, if I go back down to Hilton Head to visit this year, nothing like that will happen again. Maybe we'll not ride together...

Time to clean the house and take a shower. Such the exciting life I lead...

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Maybe you are wondering...

Maybe some of you are wondering about me. Ok, like why am I racing bikes and not working a real job, or why does it seem like I'm a free spirit who hasn't grown up? Easy. It's me. To put it in perspective, I am all of the following:

Special Forces veteran
Cancer Survivor (twice, Non Hodgkin's Lymphoma)
Former elite level cyclist (but not former for long)
Friend for life if I let you become a friend
Son, brother, Uncle

Those are the most important ones. So, I've seen and done a lot i n my short life. I've also lost friends, relatives, and even a girlfriend to accidents, illness, combat, old age. Life is too short to not do everything you want to. I've sacrificed much to be where I am. But I'm happy, and if you don't take the time to make yourself happy, who will? I guess what I'm saying is that I don't want to be on my deathbed saying "I wish I had...", the question is, do you? Take all life offers and take risks. The safe road isn't always rewarding, or rewarding as much.
Have a great night, each and every one of you who read this.

To answer a request

Wow. I'm humbled and honored, and if you ever meet me, you'll know that humbling me is not easy. Might be because I have a bit of an ego. But, my friend from way back Lora mentioned my little blog on her blog. I think it's really sweet and cool of her. Of course, that would be in perfect line with her character. So, it's pretty cool.

Now, let's see. Lora had mentioned the possibilty of me putting up some pics of Kingston, the small city we are from. Actually, I'm a transplant from Rhinebeck, across the Hudson River, but that's being trivial. So, without further adieu, here are some pics of the area we're from.

Ok, here we have the Old Dutch Reformed Church on the corner of Main and Wall streets in uptown Kingston. There's a steeple but I couldn't fit it in the frame, and it was two in the morning and had just snowed about 15 inches. So I am happy it came out this well, considering I just guessed on how long to leave the shutter open.

The pic on the left is from uptown, too. You can see the tracers from a plow or something that drove by. I figured I'd put up winter pics since Lora's in Austin, and winter is a bit of a rare beast down there.

So what else is going on? Well, I took a nice long ride today for about 62 miles in the mountains and Ashokan Reservoir. Four hours of fun and suffering. Then I took a nap and finally took a shower and shaved my legs. Nothing like it. We shave our legs for racing so if we crash (when we crash) it's easier to dress the wound and there is no hair to trap dirt and thus, infection. Simple. But what an awesome ride. Towards the end I took a road home I've never ridden, and held off a Ducati motorcycle for quite a few miles on the descent. Taking 25 mph turns at close to 50 is one of the thrills for me. When the guy finally did pass me, he looked over and gave me a big smile and a thumbs up. Made all the suffering worthwhile.

Well, time to go stretch and then off to bed so maybe I can get another ride in before the rain tomorrow, otherwise I'll just be a wet cyclist, which I don't really mind, either.

Friday, January 27, 2006

I win the "Scars on your body" contest...

Ever notice how when some people get together and they talk about things it seems injuries and scars is a recurrent theme? Well, last night after work I dorve a friend to Islip, NY to pick up a car he bought. Then we went to Manhattan and hung out with some friends of mine. Well, at some point we were talking about scars and how we got them. Being a cyclist I have many scars from road rash, etc. But the one that I think will be my trump card from now on os the scar that's developing on my tongue. Yeah, you read it right!! My tongue.

I did it a week ago eating pizza. I bit down and somehow my molar got my tongue. Well, it actually put a hole through my tongue. I'm not sure how, but it did it. Now I'm actually getting a scar on my tongue!!! How cool is that? Well, I'm saying that now, but for all of last weekend it really was the worst thing known to me. But I digress. Anyway, everyone agreed that it was the weirdest place for a scar, and it definitely had the funniest circumstances. "What, 33 and you just realized you had a tongue?..."

I think it's funny, and I guess that's all that matters, huh?

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

Yeah, so what...

So who am I? Do you care? Or should we waste our time with this drivel? Let's not.

Hmmmm, today I worked. More than usual. Normally I'm out by 1, but not today. Left at 515. Yeah, I went in only at 8, so I know all of you are so heartbroken I had to put a real day in. But hey, I prefer two full days and three half days. Then I get to ride or do errands or whatever. And riding is the biggest priority.

So let's see, I got home, and rode my bike on my trainer for awhile. About 1 hour into it I just had to stop, as I was going insane. I'm figuring most of you don't know much about cycling, so consider yourselves lucky that you found this little corner of the blogiverse. Or not. Come on, put the cyanide down, it won't be that bad, I promise.

Ok, currently I am going to be racing for a brand new team this season. Noreast Cycling would be our name. They're based out of New Hampshire, I'm down here in NY. But it works. I do road racing, which is what you see a pic of to the left. Yup, we race on closed off roads. Now for a bit of clarification.

There are a few types of road race. Here they are.
1) Road race, either circuit (multiple laps) or point to point.
2) Criterium, a tight circuit usually in an urban area with a lap length of under 1 or 1.5 miles. Fast, painful, crash riddles, fun for some of us. (Me) Pic is of the Chris Thater Memorial Criterium in Binghamton, NY in 2004.
3) Time Trial, where we go one person at a time at specific intervals, be they 30 seconds, 1 minute, etc. Purpose is to ride the fastest time over a prescribed course.

There you have it. Each type of race has characteristics that suit different people. I'm no great climber, so mountainous or very hilly races aren't great for me. But time trials, rolling terrain road races, and criteriums are my forte. The above pic is me in the lead with another guy. We blasted around the course for quite a few laps and eventually got caught. But on the way we won some primes (preems) or intermediate sprints, and I pocketed a bunch of cash. He got tires, etc. Eventually I think he was sick of not getting money, so we drifted back to the pack. No reason to kill myself for him to get a free ride.

Currently I am a Category 4 rider. What that means is I'm not that great. LOL Actually, we have 5 categories, 1-5. The lower the number, the better you are. Cat 1 is Olympic caliber, basically a pro. I was a 2 on the track and 3, almost a 2 on the road many years ago. Hopefully this year I'll be able to upgrade to at least 3. Last year was a lost year for a variety of reasons.

I was going to put more stuff up, but I forgot what it was to be. I'm sure the bike stuff has you crying in despair. So some normal life stuff. I put a cd burner in my computer last night. I love this damn thing! Of course, figuring out how to disassemble the computer was pretty funny for my cats. They sat on the bed with wide eys of bewilderment. Turns out I am an idiot. I didn't break or damage anything, just took about 2 hours longer than the 10 minutes it should have taken. Yup, I'm one of those amazingly intelligent people who is more than stupid in some areas. Impressive, yes?

Monday, January 23, 2006

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I don't know, I just really like this pic I took on New Year's eve in Hudson, NY. Just before the snow started. Just.
Your Birthdate: June 21
You're a restless rebel with an unpredictable nature.Bright but unbridled, you tend to seek out wild experiences over new ideas.
People are frustrated by your great potential, but you love your unconventional life.
You're a heartbreaker. People get attached to you, and then you're gone.
Your strength: Your thirst for adventure
Your weakness: Not taking time for slow pleasures
Your power color: Hot pink
Your power symbol: Figure eight
Your power month: March

These things crack me up, but this one is amazingly accurate, except I always thought my power color was snow leopard print!!! LOL

Time for a style shift...

Yeeeaaahhh, you heard it. decided to change my style. Not to follow style trends or be in style, mind you. No, no, no. None of that. Anyway, after working jobs where a t-shirt and jeans got you through for a chunk of my life, I decided to start building my collection of button down shirts, dress pants, (not ties, yet, anyone who knows me knows that area is covered) and some shoes. Throw in some suits and different style jeans and it's a new me. No, that can't happen.

Anyway, that's the big excitement in my life. Oh, yeah, and we had a decent snowstorm here after a great sunny day Sunday. Welcome to the Northeast. Thankfully I got a nice ride in yesterday. Minnewaska, Mohonk, back home. Easy pace, shake down the bike after some tweaking, all perfect. Mind you I was going easy to not strain my knees due to a lack of climbing as of yet, and really because I couldn't go any faster if I had to. First race is Sunday, March 5th or 6th. Good stuff. From then on you'll be hearing of my exploits all over the East at races, and probably lots of pics somewhere since I always have my cameras with me.

Speaking of cameras, I bought a second set of batteries so I could always have a set charged and in my digital camera. I had them in my nightstand, then I couldn't find them. Ummmm, never mind, I just remembered where I put them. Twenty four hours after beginning to look for them. Get used to it, this is how my life works.

Hmmm, what else? Ok, I have a girlfriend kind of. She's wonderful but our schedules don't really match up all that well, and there's about 40 miles seperating us. Gotta work on that. I have lots of other friends who are girls/women, but I think they just feel sorry for me since I see my bike more than any other thing in the world. Most stable relationship I've ever had...

Look at that! A few paragraphs that have absolutely no intrinsic value whatsoever!!!! Good news is I hopefully somewhat entertained you for awhile.

Sunday, January 22, 2006

Well here I am...

Yup. I'm a blogger now. The excitement is killing all of you, I can feel it. So, why am I here, you ask? Ok, you probably didn't ask because you're probably more concerned with the bag of microwave popcorn in your cabinet than reading my lame ramblings. I'll give you the short version. A great friend from my past has a blog. Very entertaining, and informative, too. So I decided that I could do it, too. Plus, maybe at least one of you (of the 3 who will read this diatribe) will be mildly amused.

So, what am I to talk about? I'll keep you up to date on my admittedly bizarre life. Keep in mind my life's motto and theme is "I can't make this stuff up, but you won't believe it...". With that, you'll read about my cycling adventures, my crazed dating life, maybe you'll see a few pics along the way, and once in awhile I'll rant on about something.

Ok, fasten your safety belts, you're in for a hell of a ride...