Wednesday, March 29, 2006

I need sleep

It's 445 am and I just got home awhile ago from work. We did inventory, and I went in at 6pm. Blah! At least it's over. Finally saw the results for my race Saturday. Turns out more guys were ahead of me than I thought. I got 22nd. A little disappointed, but I got 10th in the field sprint, and starting from second to last, that's encouraging. I passed about 20 people in under 300 meters. Let's just say that's nearly impossible in this sport usually, and I've done it two weeks in a row. We'll see how this week goes.

So my Sweetie is coming to visit!!!!!!!!!!!!! I'm speechless with excitement.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

It's time for a change

Immigration. Touchy and I know I said I'll try to stay away from politics and other incendiary issues, but I have to on this one. This is my opinion.

First, we don't need to waste money building a fence along the Mexican border. IF you want to get through fences, you do. All it'll do is create chokepoints. No matter where I was in the army, our perimeters were never 100% secure.

I would love to see a real study done showing how much illegal immigrants contribute to our economy. I think most would be surprised. I support letting the immigrants stay if they have a job and pay taxes. Some say we should allow them to stay after paying a fine, which appears to me as a backhanded way of getting them out. The jobs most of these people have don't pay enough to let them pay a fine. Hmmm. How about their "fine" is to take some type of courses to help them here in our country? Kind of like a first step to citizenship if they want it. If not, then they should be able to get a resident alien status for let's say 5 years, then would have to reapply when the term is up.

But what do we do with the ones who might try to come in the future? How do we solve that? Simple, we don't. Let's open our borders more to Canadians and Mexicans. Take the money out of smuggling people in trucks, etc. Maybe have them go to a reception center for a few days or a week. There they could register, be given info to contact agencies to help with jobs, and maybe be set up with some food vouchers or something.

Ok, let me know what your thoughts are. Maybe we can come up with a plan that will be better than anything COngress can.

Didn't know him, but it still touches me deeply

IRL driver Paul Dana dies after crash;_ylt=AtscMrYcEBa2b_adQSjHir3Rv7YF?slug=ap-irl-homesteadcrash&prov=ap&type=lgns

I don't know if all of you know that I raced cars and bikes simultaneously for awhile. It's a beautiful sport, but beauty is deadly, as the saying goes. He died living his dream. In a way, we all could be so lucky.

I pray for him and his family. I feel like a part of me has been torn, even though I never met this person.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Good day

Well, after yesterday, I had a great day today. I woke up, and at the last minute I decided to drive to Coxsackie and race. OF course, I got there and my category was filled up, so the promoter bumped me up into the race with the pros. This was cool, except I had no real idea if I could handle it. But I changed, got my bike set up, and went to the line. We went off, and I was thinking "ok, so I have an extra lap of 6 miles, and we'll be going really fast, and I need to just hang on as long as possible." Which is precisely what I did.

Our first 8 miles went by in about 15 minutes, and I don't recall seeing the slow side of 30mph the entire first lap. Fun but tiring. Well, after an attack stuck, we settled down. The only drama really was when a guy rode into my front wheel and his rear derailleur bent my front wheel. Now I have to replace a spoke, which is aggravating. But my wheel was so wonky that even with the brake open all the way it was rubbing a little bit. After a quick glance I figured it was safe, and rode the last 21 miles like that.

I tried one attack, but quickly gave up that idea. Otherwise I felt good. At one point I wasn't able to close a gap, and a Canadian pro put his hand on my back and shoved me ahead. Merci beaucoup. Finally we were getting ready for the sprint, the dreaded 300 meter slog. I had cleaned my bike so it was working flawlessly, I knew where I wanted to be, but when I looked around I saw I was second to last. Not much I could do about it at that point.

I had the right gear, was out of the wind, and when the sprint started I stayed out of the wind and blew by the back half of the field as it split, and motored through the front half of the field, and I think I got third or fourth in the field sprint. Had I been up in the front 5 guys I'd probably have won it. Again, I'm really happy with how things went. I now know I can hang with the big guns, and even put some digs in on them, too. Great boost for my confidence. Thankfully no racing tomorrow, as I need a day of recovery. Plus I got called into work today. Figured I was going to go by Kingston anyway, so why not.

So why did I race today? Well, I hadn't really made up my mind until I woke up this morning. I felt really good, and feel even better now. I think part of it is also the attitude that I've been sidelined by disease before, and I won't let any illness dictate what I can or can't do. It was a get back up after falling thing. But I know my body well enough to realize I can't do another intense effort like I did today for awhile. I just need to recover from the race and the illness.

Other than that, not much. Just making plans for where I'll be next.

Friday, March 24, 2006

Ok, so I was whining, then I get my comeuppance...

I had a horrible night last night. Started throwing up violently, and it was a lot of blood. Not much bothers me, but I tend to freak out if blood starts making an appearance where it shouldn't. So after a little too much of it, I drove to the ER. Thirty miles later there I was, looking like a vampire who just dined.

So after a bit of investigation and some imagery, the doc gives me some industrial strength stomach coater and says they'll be in touch. I go home and wait so I can go the radiology place. Apparently there was a shadow in one of my xrays in my chest. OH joy.

After a discussion with my sweetheart (and if you don't know who that is, well you probably would ask me how subway tokens I want for 75 cents when I give you a dollar...) I was off to the radiologist for every type of imagery that can possibly be billed to insurance.

I'm used to this type of stuff. When I'm there, all other work stops, as I have priority. But I still hate it. I know what the workers are thinking and saying about me. It's funny, when you're sick you want time, especially if it's serious, but when I'm waiting time can't move fast enough.

I know I have two answers coming my way. It's nothing too serious, just something I picked up, or it's really bad and you need to get in the hospital now. I've been through lots of stuff in my life, but I hate the waiting. It's the one time I feel so alone. I mean, it's me and a disease, possibly. No one can fight it for me. Sometimes I wonder if I have the fight in me if it comes again. Ironic how my astrological sign has tried to kill me. Cancer. Go figure. I have few true friends, so I face these times by myself, at least in person.

I waited for all the readings to be done. I was ready for it, the news I'd be starting all over again another treatment cycle. I had time to think what I'd tell people again, what I needed to finish up in case I didn't win. And I was getting really angry inside. Not the why me, but the this is going to cause so much pain to people I don't want to hurt anger. I tried to read, but Time is boring when you really don't care about some obscure problem in Arkansas. I went back to thinking. And I got a clear look at my life, because I wasn't sure if it was ever going to be the same.

Finally I got the news. I had an infection in my trachea and esosphagus. Right where they seperate. So bad it was open and bleeding. Oddly it doesn't hurt at all, but it was causing me to clear my throat constantly. Some keflex was prescribed, and I spent my grocery money on my copays and meds. Go insurance.

So I had time to think about a lot of things.

Thursday, March 23, 2006

Mirrorism of life

So today wasn't a bad day, for the most part. Work was standard boring and long. I mean really, 4 full days in a row? It's becoming some kind of job or something. But it's more money, so it's ok.

I'm tired. Tired of many things right now. Tired of the games my team has played. Tired of worrying about whether or not I can meet expectations for them. Tired of a housemate who's fucking inconsiderate and is the biggest bitch in the world, rivalling some of my ex girlfriends, surpassing even more. Tired of being halfway across the country from the one person I want to be with right now. Tired of not being there in person. Tired of having been the bigger person and it not having been worth the effort.

I guess I'm whining. What am I doing to change all this, right? I have no fucking clue at all. I know what I want to do, and I have a good idea as to how to accomplish it, but enacting the plan is tougher than I thought it would be. I need to simplify my life. I think I can. This area drains me. Everything looks "so dead" as I was told recently. We rejoice that it's almost 50 degrees here. The weather never used to bother me, but this year my back hurts most of the time. That's what I get for breaking it twice in 5 years, I guess.

Supposedly I told myself this post would be insightful for the 6 or so of you who read my blog, introspective for me. Doesn't seem to be in reality, though. It's time to make things happen. I've got a rest of a life to live, so I need to get going.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Things are working out, I beleive

Got the storage unit fixed, am cleaning out my house to make room for the stuff, and I think I can pull this off. It all depends on whether or not my brother wants to store some stuff until his yard sale. We'll see.

So my insane housemate has uninvited me from my house this Saturday. For a "family only" gathering, which turns out to be her birthday. I'm going to be in Coxsackie for a race until the early afternoon, but then where do I go? I'll stop by my brother's house for a bit, but I'm about to send her an email to let her know that I'll be coming home when I damn well please, or she can deal with me deducting a hefty sum from the rent. I don't pay her to not to be able to come home. I have a race in CT the next day, and have to leave by 645 at the latest. Which means I need to be lying comfortably in my bed by 10. Not asleep, but in bed. This is going to be cool.

That's all I have, and it's not much.

Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Ohhh, do I have to...

So I told you about emptying my storage unit. Today I go over and my code doesn't work. What's up with that? Now I have to waste time on my lunch tomorrow so they can fix a problem that shouldn't be existing? The poor idiots better get it fixed in about 2 minutes or I'll tear the solution out of their souls... Yes, I'm angry. I'm paid to the end of themonth, and am almost tempted to tell them they owe me an extra day since it was inaccessible to me while I was in good standing. Again, reaching down and tearing it out of their souls...

So what's in there? Well, a microwave, silverware, dishes, books, some magazines, bike stuff that's a bit extra, and some furniture. Now I had a much bigger storage unit, and I purged most of my things then. So this will be interesting to see how much I can rid myself of this time.

So that is it. I took some pics of a helemt I wore in a bad crash a few years ago and the handlebars that got chopped from another bikes' spokes, but that can wait. I'm not in the mood to do a PSA tonight.

Monday, March 20, 2006

The gloves come off

Ok, now I'm pissed. Some slack jawed rat bastard emailed me talking trash about the races this weekend. Yeah, buddy, I know who you are. Make sure you're not between me and the edge of the road...

Next week I'm going to thrash the race on Saturday, and maybe even skip Sunday. Not sure yet, but I'm considering it. Or I might just go to see how much my body has recovered. Well, Sometimes I wonder why I do this, but I realize it keeps me in shape, is good therapy, and lets me get out my aggressions in a positive way.

On a different note, I've decided paying $60 plus a month for a storage unit is stupid, so I'm going to empty it this week. Say goodbye to many things, I will. It will be enjoyable. I think it will, at least.

Still bugged about that email. Bastard has the nerve to talk trash when he wasn't even listed on the results sheet that was posted because he was so far down. He should remember the time I got a flat and the wheel van took forever, and I literally threw my front wheel about 200 feet in frustration. Then I got a new front wheel and proceeded to make up a 12 minute deficit to the lead group in 29 miles by myself most of the way. Then I motored up to the front of the group and promptly blew the race to smithereens...he was there, does he want that again?

Grrr, I had my post almost finished

Then whammo! Blogger goes wacky and locks up. All the other windows were fine...

Anyway, I raced this weekend. Saturday was good, Sunday was not. Saturday I went to Coxsackie for the Johnny Cake Lane series opener. I kid you not, that's the name of the road...

It was cold and windy, but at least the sun was out somewhat. I saw a few friends as we rolled out for the start, and for the first few minutes we caught up with each other. Then I decided to bridge across a gap to a break. We got reeled back in, and I attacked again. And again. And again... Finally a counterattack to one of mine stuck, and two guys were up the road. Always happens that way...

Being it was about a 42 mile race, we let them go, thinking they'd come back. After a few laps we started chasing because those guys were not slowing down. I kept attacking, and eventually two other guys went with me and we started a mad chase. Eventually a chase group of 5 caught us, and I wasn't able to stick with them and was caught in no man's land between the chase and the pack.

Of course, the pack was totally shattered. What had started as over 80 was down to maybe 20, plus the guys up the road. The rest of the field was strung out all over the course, which was a 6 mile loop. So we set to work chasing, and I attacked more. Having no team to work for me or with , I decided the best defense was a good offense. Well, we got to within sight of the chase group, but the officials cut all the races by one lap, which kind of sucked. I'm sure the break would have been caught, and it would have been interesting to see how close we could have gotten to them.

But I digress. We ramped up the speed coming into the final kilometer, and with 300 meters to go we had to make a left turn, directly into a 20-30 mph headwind. Yuck. I tried to sprint, but had almost nothing, and got 7th in the field sprint, giving me 14th overall. Not too bad. I'm really happy with it, as I didn't expect to ride that well, and with working my ass off trying to make things happen, it's a damn good result.

In the locker room afterward (we used a school to register in) I was talking with some of the guys as we got dressed, and of course, no one knows who is who until you mention what bike you're on.

Me: "Yeah, I tried to be aggressive, but no one was biting today."
Some dude: "I don't know about you, but that guy on that green Paramount was just ripping the race to shreds."
Me: "Umm, that was me. Hopefully I'll be better next week."
Some other dude: "I remember you from the Payne Valley Omnium two years ago, I was checking out your bike and you said you hadn't raced in a few years, and then you won the fucking prologue! This guy decimated the field, you placed what, like 4th overall including the pros?"
Another some other dude: "Damn!! That was you? I was there, you beat me by 11 seconds, and the prologue was under amile long. I hated you."
Me: "Haha, that was a funny day, I thought I got last because my computer was going for an extra minute, well, gotta go, see you next week."
Dudes: "Later."

Sunday I went to Bethel again, and it was cold, snowing, and I had nothing. I got in an early break, but there were guys from the race Saturday who told me before the race I was going to pay for what I did. They kept their word. I went for an intermediate sprint and got 4th, then a bit later just didn't have it and dropped off the back of the field. The rest of the race became a fast training ride for me, and I was the second to last finisher. Go me. Can't always have good days. Just wish I could have stayed in the field, but there's always next week.

Time to go back to bed. Night everyone.

Friday, March 17, 2006

Yeah, so about that cool post

It just has to wait. Gotta get my bike and myself ready for my race tomorrow, and then race again Sunday. It's almost the real season, as April will be time to put up or shut up. My team has made a policy change so if I don't get a top three placing by the ned of April, I basically lose all my financial support until I do get a top three. Ok, this isn't good and let me explain why.

One. I'm racing alone. No team mates. This makes it incredibly hard because I have to hope other teams do the work and control the race, or that I can get tucked into a leadout train (where a bunch of the same team get the pace really high so no one can get away, and then their designated sprinter can slingshot out of the draft in the last 100 meters or so)and have a great sprint.

Two. I had planned my season to race myself into shape, so I wouldn't be flat through the summer. Now suddenly I need to pick my game up a few notches that aren't really there in my body. I'm at about 80% right now.

Three. Nothing like a little pressure.

Four. Yeah, I need the money to make racing a little more stress free.

Five. I'm racing alone.

Basically I'm at a huge disadvantage racing solo. While all the other guys are racing en masse, I'm way down here by myself. Yeah, this is going to be interesting.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

Interim Post because I can

I will post a cool (at least I think so) post in a little while. the anticipation is palpable...

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

Snnnnooooooowwwwww Leeeeeoooopppaaarrrdddd!!!!!!

Ok, so some of you may know I wear a snow leopard earband when it's cold and I ride my bike. I also have a matching pom pom hat, and a purse that I use as a camera bag. All are from Old Navy and all are from the women's department. In fact, here we have a pic of the bag.

Laugh all you want, at races I get complements and it gets attention, which is what a sponsor wants. But I decided to illustrate the point that we cyclists are never shy about our equipment...

So here are a few pics of one of my heroes, Mario Cipollini, who retired last May with something like 189 wins in his career since 1989 when he started as a pro. Just thought you'd like to see I'm not the only nut in cycling...

Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Ok, even though I know no one is holding their breath...

Ok, the rest of the race.

I knew it was going to be close, so I sprinted into the hill. About 30 meters from the line I was caught by the hard charging pack, and held on to 10th place. Not too bad considering all I dealt with, and with a race of over 80 people starting. I'm happy, as it shows the progression I'm looking for. As long as I keep improving my form at a steady rate and hit a peak in July, I'll be happy.

After the race I changed as quick as I could, wiped off some grime, and drove to Amsterdam for my grandma's 92nd bday. My brother and his daughters were there, as were my parents. We ate pizza, cake, ice cream, soda, and more. Yummmy!!! Ok, here's a typical picture of how much I eat. 9 slices of pizza, 6 sausage and 3 cheese, a big slice of cake, 3 scoops of creamy vanilla ice cream, 3 Pepsis to stay awake, some chips, and later on three sandwiches, 2 turkey with cheese and mayo and mustard, and a ham sandwich with the same. I topped it off with more chips, 13 Chips Ahoy cookies, 4 brownies, apple pie, and milk. Yeah, I eat a lot...

then I had the joy of driving home in the fog. Ugh, I hate fog!!! That was it. Besides talking to the person who makes my heart go crazy all night on the phone...

Ha, you thought I was going to finish the race post, didn't you?

You Are Mint Green

Balanced and calm, you have mastered the philosophy of living well.
Your friends seek you out for support, and you are able to bring stability to chaotic situations.
You're very open and cheerful - and you feel like you have a lot of freedom in life.
Your future may hold any number of exciting things, and you're ready for all of them!

Monday, March 13, 2006

If you're going to do something, make it epic...

And I really haven't. But I did ride like I said Saturday. Then raced Sunday. And thus, our story resumes with hardworking, perennially poor bike racer Mike...oh and beguiled, too...

I got up early and went to CT for another race. It was 55 and cloudy when I left my house. I got to Danbury and it was about 40 according to the thermometer I saw. Well, I registered, got ready, warmed up with a few friends where we discussed really nothing at all. It was only about 830, so give us a break. Finally I got over to the staging area for our race and of course, it started to spit a few raindrops. It happens every year, the rain shows up beforem y race. We went on a warmup lap and it bacame a steady rain.

Ok, I like rain, and I like riding in it and even racing in it. But there still is sand on the road even after sweeping and blowing, and when it hasn't rained in awhile all the oil comes up to the surface, making it really fun to be on. Imagine covering your shoes with teflon and running on ice... So the race started, I decided to be aggressive as it was my only race of the day, and a third of the way through, I got caught in a crash, so I ended up on the grass going over my handlebars. No big deal, it was a soft landing, and I got back on my bike, went to the pits at the start/finish, and got my free lap. (You get a free lap when you have a crash or mechanical problem in races called criteriums, usually until either 5 or 6 laps to go. You rejoin the race with no penalty.)

So at about half distance there was a crash right in front of me at over 30mph, and I went down again but landed on the guy who took me out. I think his collarbone or shoulder broke, as something made a snap when I landed on him. He didn't get back up. Again, I got up, went to the pits, and rejoined the race. By now I was covered in grime, soaked, and determined to not go down again. Oh, I forgot to mention I didn't bring arm warmers, a shirt to put under my jersey, and I rode without tights. I looked like I was out for a July ride except for the full fingered gloves I was wearing. So it was cold a bit. And March rain is never warm.

Well, I stayed out of trouble and at just over 2 laps to go I made a do or die effort. I bolted up the hill (here's a concession to technojunkies) in my 53x17 (a pretty high gear) and opened a small gap. I put my head down and hammered my pedals trying to get away for good. I got the bell for last lap and the ref yelled I had an 8 second gap. Less than a mile to go and I was trying to hold on to a real small lead. I was going 35mph, the pack was picking up steam and was probably going to hit 38 or higher in the last 1/2 lap.

Down the backstraight with a tailwind I was in my 53x14 going about 38, and I could feel the pack chasing me down. Fox and the hounds....?

Tune in for part two.....
Did I win?
What else did I do that was noteworthy Sunday?

Saturday, March 11, 2006

Why must it take so long to shave my legs?

Precisely. I went for a ride today as I have a race tomorrow and ended up going longer than I thought I would. It's ok. Was a good day for riding until the clouds rolled in and the temperature dropped like a rock. So after my 80.5 mile death ride through the area that took in Ohayo Mtn, Woodstock, Olive Bridge, West Shokan, Boiceville, Phonecia, and a host of other places that for some reason have their own post offices but no buildings, I got home. At dark. Nearly 5 hours after my start. But it was fun. really. I'm telling you that so I'll believe it, lol.

After spending an hour and a half in bed to recuperate or die, I finally got in the shower. Now, I only had to do my legs quickly as I did them this morning. But why isn't there a faster way to do it? I mean, I'm in and out of the shower including gettting dressed, doing my hair (if you could call it that) putting in contacts, etc in under 20 minutes in the mornings. Why must shaving my legs add another 15 minutes to that? I mean, added up, I've spent a good 65 hours a year for the last 17 years just shaving my legs!!!! Imagine all the other things I could have done. Well, alright, not like I'd have used the time in any productive manner, but that's immaterial.

Now it's 930 and I need to eat and pack my bag so I can get up by 520 tomorrow and be on my way to bethel, CT for yet another race. Then it's off to my grandma's in Amsterdam west of Albany for her 92nd bday dinner. Yeah, a little bit of driving for me that is. Like 348 miles worth. Hmmm, over 1/6 of the way to Austin....

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Three in a day!!!! Yeehaa!!!!!

A little bit ago a good friend of mine and I were talking. We both had our problems and were talking about them. Then after we stopped talking, I got to thinking. And this is what I came up with.

In 1991 I was in the Tour of the Adirondacks stage race. My job was to work for ou rteam leader, as I had nohope of winning overall. Like in the Tour de France, when you see all of Lance's team doing all the work for him. Anyway, it was the second to last stage, and I was pretty happy to still be there, for if you finish too far behind the winner each day, you get eliminated on time.

This typical Adirondack day was rainy and cold. Something like 55 degrees in Lake Placid when we started the stage. We went out to Wilmington along I think it's Rt 86, then made a left in Wilmington to go up Whiteface Mountain. Grinding away, past North Pole, NY, soaked to the bone, I knew it was going to be a long day for me. I'm not the best climber, so I was suffering. but there's always a descent after a climb, and on the descent I took all kinds of risks and caught back on to the main group. After riding on a bunch of back roads, we passed through Saranac Lake, and began a serpentine route back to Lake Placid.

Going through Lake Placid again, the temperature in front of the Olympic I ce Arena now said 52 degrees. In July. How Adirondack. We again went to Wilmington, and made that left up towards Whiteface. Our suffering was just beginning. An attack came, and I couldn't do any more, and began losing ground. Lots of it. I was spent. Soon I was in a group of about 15 or 20 stragglers, and behind us, the broom van. The broom van will never pass you, but you can always get off your bike and pile into it and abandon the race.

A motorcycle ref came back to us and told us it was 38 and freezing rain at the summit. In July. Think about that. We were finishing at the summit by the restaurant up there. If you've been up there, you know what I'm talking about. And if you've been up there, you know how for miles the toll road is a steady 8% or 8.25% grade. One by one the guys I was with got off their bikes. Soon it was 5 of us. Then 3. Then me.

I wanted to get off. My face was frozen in ine expression of pain. I couldn't close my lips around my water bottle nipple so I had to tilt my head back and spray my drink down my throat. My fingers were purple, I couldn't feel my feet, and my bike had tiny icicles hanging off it in spots. Still I kept riding. I couldn't bear the thought of giving up. I didn't want to be on the sidelines the next day in the final stage. I didn't want to be labeled a quitter, or feel the shame from having quit. I was afraid that once I quit, it would be easy for me to quit other races.

I kept pedaling, kept thinking of my team needing me the next day. Soon I could see the summit. Another 15 minutes and I'd be there. Finally I was near the top. It was amazing. Every one of my teammates was along the road for the last half mile screaming at me to keep going, to push it, as I was in danger of being eliminated. People I didn't even know were yelling at the top of their lungs all the encouragement they could muster. Other teams were running alongside me, yelling, waving, anything. Spectators were clapping in their mittens and yelling, some even threw warm water on me.

I came around the final turn, where the parking area was filled with vehicles and people. I have never heard so much noise in my life. You would have thought I was winning a mountain stage of the Tour de France. Cowbells rang, whistles blew, horns honked, screaming, yelling, clapping, it was deafening. I rode to the line, giving it everything I had, and when I finished I had to be caught by someone. I don't know who. In an instant I was having my feet pulled out of the pedals, my helmet was off my head, a towel was on my shoulders, and I was carried to under the restaurant, out of the rain.

My clothes were taken off, I was being dried off, cleaned up, and redressed with clothes my team had brought up. I was wrapped in a big warm blanket and some nice woman was holding a cup of hot tea to my mouth. then a USCF official came over to me. "Congratulations, you made the time limit with one second left. See you tomorrow." I had done it. But not without the help of hundreds of strangers. A few minutes later a guy by the name of Tyler Hamilton came over, shook my hand, and said "I would have gotten in a warm van. You did a great job. Congratulations." He won the race overall.

The next day I suffered, as my legs hadn't recovered. I finished last overall. But I finished. I was proud, as was my team. Then I heard the story. Apparently, race officials were telling the announcer at the finish who was where, etc. Soon it became apparent that I was the last one on the course, and I was in danger of being eliminated. Each official I went by was radioing my time deficit to the announcer. Once everyone else had finished, the announcer told the crowd of my plight. As I neared the summit, I had stopped losing time, but was right on the bubble. This was when the announcer asked the crowd to help me out by making as much noise as they could and by running next to me to encourage me. It made the difference. I thanked as many people as I could, and the announcer, too.

So what the hell has this to do with anything? Well, I look at it this way. I didn't give up even when it would have ended my suffering and been easier. Lots of people I didn't even know went out of their way to help me and take care of me after I finished. A perfect stranger. If we can do this for some poor kid on a bike near hypothermia, we can do it for a lot more people. And that makes me smile and brings a tear to my eye.

Stems from a phone conversation the other night

If you had three wishes, what would they be? Post them here. I'm curious.
Here are mine:
1) That cures for cancer would be found
2) That all the troops can come home, and that no one else ever has to join the ranks of combat veteran
3) Three more wishes
4) That man's behavior wouldn't bring another horrible disease among us
5) That all my friends and relatives would be happy, and find peace in what they do and pursue their life's passions
6) That I'd forget that I ever had these wishes granted to me
Ok, your turn.

Ebay, baby

Yup. I have lots of stuff that really has no purpose being harbored by my life. So it's time to organize and start listing. I mean, let's be realistic. When was the last time I read one of the magazines I have from the 50's? Don't get me wrong, I love my Jayne Mansfield stuff, but it sits in a bookcase, never read.

So my scanner is now getting a good workout. I'm scanning what I want, and will list it all. Less to move, worry about, and the space it takes up can be used by other things, like bike racing magazines that reside with me until I pawn them off on my dad. Or the bins of unbuilt car models, and old movies, and Hot Wheels and Matchboxes...

Why am I doing this? Well, first of all, I've been streamlining my life of physical items for about a year now. In a perfect world I'd have no need for a storage unit, and could move all my stuff in one trip. With a small truck, not a huge monster like I need now. Besides, books and magazines get heavy. But I digress. Really I just want to simplify, and be ready to move whenever that happens. No secret I'm not 100% thrilled with where I am.

Every once in a while I get to focusing on my life and what I really am interested in. Then I see all this stuff related to peripheral interests, and need to get rid of it. Besides, I can make a decent chunk of change doing this...

...and in doing so begin the next chapter of my life.

This sleep thing is so overrated

I fell asleep for about 20 minutes earlier, then decided to do something about my lameness and got my bike out of the car finally. Figuring it was already in my hands, I went downstairs and set it up on the trainer, cleaned it, and actually rode. I figure I can use another big $10 next Sunday!! Anyway, I took a shower, came back upstairs and got in bed. Next thing I know, it's 445 and I can't sleep, so I decided to punish myself for not winning more than $10 and went back on the bike. Now I'm relaxing until I get ready for work. And I feel great. A little rubbery, but great.

So now I need to actually plan ahead for a few months. Not like I'm a rabbit (welllll...) living day to day, but I actually have a budget and limitations. So, unless I win the lottery which requires me to play it, I have to be more creative. Ebay. Time to streamline more of my life. What have I that hasn't been used or looked at in a year? This could be fun...

And though I'm rubbery right now, I'm still smiling, and I've been mystified by a woman in an indescribably good way...

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Have a day

Not the best day. Not bad by far, but it could have been way better. Work was actually fun, but busy. A coworker and I danced to every song on the cd that's currently on the list from headquarters. Yeah, a white boy dancing... She and I were crying after about 2 minutes. Levity is needed sometimes. More details another time. If at all.

Now for the mediocre part of the day. I've been fighting an insurance company since 2001. It's disability that stems from a worker's comp issue. To spare the details, they owe me a lot of money. Like a BS degree's worth of money at a NY state university. Yup. Well, today I met with their lawyer. They offered me 18% of the total claim. And had the nerve to tell me it was a good offer. So if I hired that lawyer and got his bill and gave him 18% of the total and called it even he'd think it was a good offer? I offered that to him. Idiots. Sure, the money would be nice, but I've gotten by this long without it, haven't I?

Not much else in my life. I'm thankful for what I have. Money is just an invitation for trouble in my mind anymore. I'm rich in other ways, and that's all that I care about.

Monday, March 06, 2006

Details, yes, details

No, not those details, haha!!!! I forgot to mention my second race was in memory of Kurt Marino. He raced for Tokeneke Cycling Club. Last year he died of a brain aneurysm just before a fund raiser for a coworker of his recently diagnosed with MS. He was 47.

We're a close knit group, as many of us only see each other at races. I remember Kurt, but never really hung out with him. He was cool, and we had a few conversations in the slower parts of races over the years. This year we all were catching up, and then the race promoter got our attention and said a few words. After that, all the Tokeneke guys were called to the front, to our rapturous applause. You don't yell in this situation, just clap. It's part of the unspoken code. Then the Tokeneke guys lined up about 10 meters in front of us and led the first lap with us maintaining the gap of respect. It's eerie, as no one speaks, spectators or racers. We just ride by silently at a moderate pace. After the first lap, some of the Tokeneke guys who weren't in our race pulled off, and we started to race after the first corner on the second lap.

This is a racing tradition, best illustrated in the Tour de France in 1993 or 1994. On a descent in the Pyrenees Mountains Fabio Casartelli, Barcelona Olympic champion from Italy, (and on Motorola with Lance Armstrong) tangled with another rider and his head hit a large limestone block that the French use as a type of guardrail. This was while going 60 mph. He died a short time later. I have the tape of the live broadcast from ESPN, and Phil Liggett had the task of informing the audience. Paul Sherewen, his co-commentator, tried to keep it together, but broke up on the air, and you can hear him crying in the booth. He worked with Fabio and Lance at Motorola.

The following day, it was agreed amongst the teams that the race would be neutral, a procession for over 100 miles. All along the route throngs of spectators clapped. It was much like Princess Diana's funeral procession. A few hundred meters from the end of the stage, all the Motorola team went to the front, got alongside each other, and was allowed to ride about 50 meters ahead of the rest of the pack. They finished as one, black armbands and all. Two or three days later Lance Armstrong rode to one of his most impressive stage victories in his career, in fact that I have ever seen. As he neared the finish, he looked and pointed up, later saying he "rode with the strength of two men".

If a cyclist dies on his bike, this is how we pay homage to them.

I'm debating on whether or not to post an image of Fabio on the road with a doctor holding his head. I'm thinking it's more fitting to post a pic of Lance from that stage win.

The Daily News story from last October about Kurt.

I survived

Well, three down, 62 more to go. I went to Bethel and did my three races. Oooogghhh!!! The first race, the easiest, I felt horrible. Of course, the fact that about half a lap into it I attacked and caught another guy off the front might have something to do with it. It was windy, cold (12 degrees when I got there) but otherwise good. Anyway, I decided to bale on the second race, but it turned out that what I thought was my second race was another race, so I pinned my number back on and went to the line again. Amazingly, I felt much better, though the distance was longer and the pace was higher. Not that I did any better, but... Finally, I took th eline for my third race. This was the fastest race of all by far, and the longest. Somehow I managed to find the strength to steal an intermediate sprint that was worth all of ten dollars (early season races don't exactly pay well) and then hang on for dear life. Two pics were taken of me, but alas, dear readers, they are only for a certain set of eyes. Next time for you guys...
So, the official results say we averaged 22.7 mph for the first race which was about 18 miles long, 24.9 for the second race which was 22 miles, and an effin' fast scream of 29.8 for the third race, which we covered 31 miles. Yup, a hard day of racing to whip this softy into shape. I'm happy how it went, overall. It's a long season, and I prefer to race my self into shape after laying a base down, which is precisely what I'm doing. Oh, and did I mention it was cold?
Other than that, my weekend was good. I'm still smiling from ear to ear.

Saturday, March 04, 2006

And so it begins...

My first 3 races are tomorrow. I still need to load up my bike, eat, etc. And it's 9 pm. Another few hours of fun activity for me. Anyway, I was going to do a photo essay about the whole thing, like show what I go through, but I have no time. Next week, I think I can do it, as I'll have figured out where everything is and what I need. I already rode and showered, but I sure hope I feel better tomorrow...

To get an idea of what I go through, I need to be at the race site by no later than 730, and it's about 90 miles away. So I should leave by 530 at the latest, then I have 2 races in a row, a few races off, and tha hardest and longest race last. Ohhh, I'm so lucky. Then I go to my brother's house to do taxes. At least I know I'm getting money back.

So that's it. I need to get rolling, so while my paramour is out, and I can't test the strength of my phone's battery, I'm off to load up both my car and me. I'll see you tomorrow...

Friday, March 03, 2006

If only school would teach me as much

Today is a good day. Work was easy, I got new cleats for my racing shoes at the bike shop, I bought U2's Achtung Baby after finally admitting that an ex will never send the limited edition one in the enviromentally friendly recycled cardboard case from 1991. I've waited 11 years for her to send it. I knew she wouldn't, I just didn't want to admit I lost it forever. Oh well.

Isn't it funny how when you want to tell someone something that you think is bad, it usually goes way better than expected? It's also a huge relief. You learn something about yourself and the other person.

So yesterday at the marathon snowed in day at work, where I started at 8 am at one store and went to an affiliate company's store at 5 until a little after 9. That part was cool. The uncool part was immature coworker girl threw something at me becaus eit was wrong, which I had nothing to do with, and I was livid. So, after a little while of fuming, I made the mistake of venting to a coworker. She in turn went to immature coworker, who then broke down and cried and went in the back room and it turned into an HR debacle. Short version is I admitted I made a mistake not talking directly to a manager or immature coworker, but also again illustrated the fact that I've been more than reasonable up to now. I also mentioned the fact it wouldn't have happened had she not thrown the item at me and made a bitchy attitude comment. It all ended up with me saying I can care less if I like her or she likes me, I just want to do my job and be left alone any other time. My managers are reasonable, and said fair enough.

Time to get my bike ready to ride. Me, too. I'm hungry, though.

Well, I got 1 request, which was 1 more than I thought would materialize...

So people actually read my blog. Or at least randomly comment on it to make me feel better. I even got one request for an explanation of "The Incident" as to why I had no license until I graduated high school. Ok, so get a small bag of popcorn and turn off your cellphones.

When I was a sophomore in high school, I ran track. Oh, and I went to the Catholic high school across town. well, it was spring break of 1988 and I didn't feel like riding my bike (blasphemy!!!! Actually, I hadn't gotten my first good bike or started racing yet.) sooooooo, I cam up with the brilliant plan of borrowing my brother's 1989 Toyota Celica GT coupe. A 5 speed, with all of 302 miles on it. Oh, and it was his early graduation present from West Point, and he was away at school at the time. Also, my birthday is 21 June, and this was April. How old was I? see where this is going, don't you?

Well, I took the car, drove over to the Catholic School. Well, actually I drove to the school entrance, where I decided to see how fast I could go around the corner. 60 mph didn't work. At all. I kind of slid off the road and slammed into a tree at 40. I stopped just inches short of a 6 inch thick limb going through my face. so, my parents decided I had to not get my license until 18, and I had to pay for it. So my mom took out a personal loan to pay for it, all $6200 worth.

My last payment was made in August of 1990. Harsh lesson, but I was ok, walked out of it, and my parents taught me that trust, and people are harder to repair than a car. My parents are so wise. Oh, and this was the first time in my life I heard my dad curse. The terrifying "I ought to beat the shit out of you!!!" he yelled, which was the first time he raised his voice to me had me convinced I was about to die.

Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Just give me a gun, it'll be less painful for all of us...

Ow!!! I was dumb enough to hop on my bike. That in itself could hurt quite a bit, but... Anyway, I rode in the basement. Really hard. I thrashed myself. Thoroughly. Here's the story.

As you may have guessed, I've broken out of my little bike shell recently. Best thing in my life ever!!!! Yet tonight I started getting anxious about Sunday. This is normal. So I wanted to get some time on my bike tonight to get the muscles to remember what they're there (that sounds goofy) for. To make me go fast on a bike. Ultimately, I decided to go all out, 100% effort. Let's put it this way: UGH!!!!! I hammered like I was in full flight in the Tour de France. If you know anything of bikes and gearing, I'll throw some technojargon your way. I was spinning a 53x15 and 14 for quite sometime. Basically, on the open road that translates to somewhere in the realm of 33-37 mph. Yeah. It felt horrible but great. Now I'm all placid, like my favorite lake and town. I'm pretty happy, it gave me a lot of confidence and a boost for Sunday. If I can do that in a race, I'll probably win.

Now, it wasn't pretty, me pushing myself, breathing hard, sweat dripping off me and that maniacal look in my eyes. A passerby had there been one, might have thought I was trying to kill myself, hence the title. Sometimes I wonder why I do stuff like this to myself. Then I realize, it's because I love it, I live it, I breathe it, it keeps me young, and it gives me something to post about. Night, kids!!!

Ok, I have to do it since Lora did...

Year: Graduated from high school in 1990.

1. Who was your best friend? Ummmm, I really didn't have except Pete Delaney, and Lora was cool, too.

2. What sports did you play? Depends on which high school. I ran x-country, track, and basketball at one, but at Kingston I didn't do any sports.

3. What kind of car did you drive? None. I wasn't allowed to drive due to the "incident". If I get enough requests, I'll post it sometime.

4. It's Friday night, where are you at? Working at McDonalds, then in my senior year I was getting ready for bike races.

5. Were you a party animal? Yeah, well funny thing about that, don't you have to be invited, and to be invited don't you have to have friends?

6. Were you in the "In Crowd"? No. Hell, any crowd would have been better than the lack of a crowd I was part of. However, I did get voted "Best Legs" in the yearbook...even had more votes than the leading girl....

7. Ever skip school? Heheh. Well, once they abolished the attendance policy in October of our senior year, it was really easy. Actually, I think I was absent over half of my senior year.

8.Ever smoke a cigarette? Nope.

9. Were you a nerd? Not really. I had about an 89 avg, (had to research this question-- oh that makes me a nerd!!!!) but didn't care.

10. Did you ever get suspended/expelled? No. Go figure.

11. Can you sing the Alma Mater? Apparently, we had one I've just learned. That'd be a no.

12. Who was your favorite teacher? Didn't really have one. I wasn't usually there enough to really know teachers.

13. Favorite class? Orchestra by far.

14. What was your school's full name?Kingston High School.

15. School mascot?Tigers.

16. Did you go to Prom? No, again that whole social vacuum period of my life....

17. Would you go back again and do it over? Well, since I really didn't do it the first time, sure, why not?

18. What do you remember most about graduation? Hot as hell. Sitting on the astroturf. Dr Diedrick not offering to shake my hand when I got my diploma. I wouldn't have anyway, it was in a bear hug and no one was going to take it from me.

19. Favorite memory of senior year? Getting pulled over on my bike for doing 42 in a school zone on my way to school on Washington Ave. ( I was drafting a Saab 900, my sprint at the time topped out at about 40) Priceless.

20. Were you ever posted on the senior wall? Maybe in the Dean's office for skipping in a wanted poster...

21. Did you have a job your senior year? Mc Donald's, bike shop later on.

22. Who did you date? Amy, Danielle, Diana, Jennifer, some other random underclasspeople...

23. Have you gained weight since then? Tricky question. I was 172 about this time of year then, got sick, dropped to 139 and almost died, graduated at 154, and weigh 162 now, so yes. A bit. But I look every bit as young. I like to think. LOL!!!!

24. What did you do after graduation? Went to Vermont, raced bikes, dropped out of Vermont, raced more, went to the local comm college, got chicken pox...

Pretty entertaining. Ok, I think it's time I drag the KHS Maroon out of the bookshelf and scan some pics. What do you say? Lora, I promise not to post any of anyone but me.

T minus

Yup. Sunday opens race season for me. I'm doing two races definitely, and the third one depends on how I feel after the other two. Since we're supposed to get about 8 inches of snow tomorrow, I'm just hoping it melts by race time. Doubtful, though. Most likely it'll be wet, windy, cold, and generally unpleasant. If I had my way, we should just throw in some 40 degree rain, too. I actually like to race in that junk.

Ok, so you're probably thinking (not really, at all) that I'm ready to go and it'll be a great season. Ummm, no. From now until the race begins, I'll be a nervous wreck. I need to organize and pack, go over my bike, get last minute miles in my legs, plan my travel time, etc. If I had someone with me, I'd have them take pics and document all this insanity. But I don't. I hope to have a few pics of the race scene, but don't expect me to take pics while racing yet. I prefer to wait until a few races are under our belts so we all remember how to ride in packs, etc. Like I said, it's a nervous time of year.

Personal life. Yup, I have one. Going great. Gets better each day. I can't find words to describe her. Still smiling. Where has she been all my life? Connect the dots from there...