Tuesday, April 25, 2006

I need structure

I haven't touched my bike since last week, actually before the weekend. And this Sunday I'm doing at least one race, maybe two. I know the course, it's pretty easy, and I have a few thousand miles in my legs, but I need to get some good workouts in between then and now. Add to that my honey is coming to visit for the weekend, we're going out of town and swinging by the races on the way home.

That's about all I have tonight, I need to do all kinds of things tonight and tomorrow.

Monday, April 24, 2006

Just a stolen little survey type thingy ma bob

Ten years ago, it was 1996.

Take this survey, post the results, and see how many things have changed since then.

1) How old were you? 24

2) Where did you go to school? Was trying to go to IU pre law

3) Where did you work? I was a standby army solider

4) Where did you live? In various barracks or my apartment in Indianapolis, IN

5) How was your hairstyle? Short, the typical Army buzz

6) Did you wear braces? No

7) Did you wear contacts? Yes

8) Did you wear glasses? Yes

9) Who was your best friend? Terp, RIP

10) Who was your girlfriend? Too many

11) Who was your celebrity crush? Hmmm, dead, Jayne Mansfield, alive Minnie Driver

12) Who was your regular-person crush? Staff Sgt Eileen Davis, from headquarters

13) Were you a virgin? LOL no

14) How many piercings did you have? 5 in my ears

15) How many tattoos did you have? 1 that was already removed

16) What was your favorite band/singer? U2

17) Had you smoked a cigarette? no

18) Had you gotten drunk? I was in the Army, went to Catholic school...enough said

19) Had you driven yet? Yes

20) If so which car? Many

21) Which of your pets were still alive? None

22) Looking back, are you where you thought you would be in 2006? Not at all, but I'm not sad about it. I honestly thought I'd be dead by now.

Civil war

That's what's on my hands right now at work. At least three different factions vying for control, even plotting to get the GM fired. I'm not going into detail, but the GM has gone to the far side of the line in the areas of ethics, discrimination, favortism, and a few others. Add to that she's been away at other locations for the past two weeks mostly, and there's a power vaccuum that isn't filled. It's a bad situation. Thank god I'm leaving soon enough. You know it's bad when I'm the voice of reason...


I posted a new post awhile ago, but it's nowhere to be found. Hmmmm....

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Not much this time

So I didn't ride this weekend. AT ALL! The weather sucked and I had other things to do, like sleep and get things to the ballet storage unit for the yard sale. I alos was trying to find a car for myself. My parents found one in NYC but it's gone beyond the max price, so I bet that's out. I'm bummed because it would have been perfect. Oh well, back to the beginning.

That's it. Thursday's the big day. Can't wait!!!!

Friday, April 21, 2006

Yes, I am ecstatic

ME climbing a 23% hill on a dirt road last week. I PAID to do this??!!!!??

Ok, we all know I love to race my bike. We all know I love to write about it. Well, first of all, I am going to let you in on a little secret. I have a rider's diary on a site called Spokepost.com, and I also do feature articles for them. I even get pics put up once in a great while. (Please scroll to the bottom of the title page to see my pic of Chris Horner at the Cyclocross Nationals this past December. Shameless, I am.) But it's official. Big news to me. Lake George NY is finally hosting a bike race!

This is big why? Well, the Adirondacks are my favorite place for many reasons. Though I'm not a huge fan of Lake George, (it's a bit too touristy for me) it is in the Adirondack Park, and I haven't raced inside the blue line in many years. Plus, it's a criterium!!!! MY specialty, only 31 feet of elevation change in .95 miles! I'm so psyched!!!!! The finish is a slightly downhill sprint, which favors me. YES!!!!!! I damn well better get a top three (win) or I should hang up my bike. This is so cool.

Now I know this means nothing to most of you out there, but this is my race schedule for the remainder of my time up here in the wonderful northeast.

April 30 Binghamton cicuit race Binghamton, NY
May 7 Williamstown Criterium Williamstown, MA (2 races in a row, woohoo!!!)
May 13 Lake George Criterium Lake George, NY
May 28 Hartford Downtown Criterium Hartford, CT (2 races again, I love to hurt myself)
June 10 Nutmeg State Games New Britain CT (3 races in a day, one of my favorite events)
June 17 Cyclonauts Criterium Stafford Springs, CT (The big test, 4 20 mile races in one day)

That will be all, folks. Other than 2 races I hope to return for in New Hampshire and Maine in mid September, my racing in the northeast will be as a guest, only. June 18th, launch day...

All things come in threes


This guy never raced, he was just someone you saw around all the time. Hit and run, how can you do it or not know?

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

So what is it exactly that I'm doing again?

Funny I should ask that question. Here's the skinny on 'tings. Riding some, getting my place ready for THE VISIT, and other sundry tasks. Like ripping all my remaining cds to my pc. Then I'll make copies. Well, I won't get rid of my U2 or Matchbox Twenty or Poe stuff, that's just crazy talk.

See, I realized that I listen to a select few artists on a regular basis. Then there are those albums you only like several songs from. See where this is going? I'm taking the songs I want, making cds of those, etc. Then I'm selling all the original cds back to the record store. Record store, haha!

Next I'm cleaning up and getting rid of stuff, because I'm leaving this downtrodden state in the near future. NY is the Vampire State, not the Empire State, unless you think of the evil Empire in Star Wars, where it becomes wholly appropriate... I mean, $3.05 for a gallon of regular? Come on! And the jobs pay less up here because there isn't much work, the weather sucks, the roads are falling apart, I mean, what do people see in this place?

To add to the fun, I'm looking for a new to me car. Since Sven, The Black Marauder is on his last legs and won't be able to pass inspection when it expires June 30th I have been perusing all the ads and ebay listings up here, and my parents are doing the same in Hilton Head, SC. I'm looking for a well maintained Honda Accord ideally, but a Civic or a Toyota Camry would do, also. I need to then get a roof rack for my bikes, etc. My trusty Saab 900s from 1988 is no longer the confidence inspiring auto it used to be. The end of an era. 246,798 miles as of today, will it break 250,000? I'll keep you posted.

Riding and getting ready to relish when I tell my housemate I'm leaving, as well as my job. The things I look forward to sometimes...

Monday, April 17, 2006

So Saturday wasn't fun, maybe it was, I can't decide

I did my race. I was really confident going into it. I'd been riding well, getting some good mileage and results, and well, it wasn't a great day. It's not that I had an off day, I just couldn't have done much more, or much differently. So, I have to deal with my physical limitations.

I can't climb super steep hills very well. Part of the problem this time was that I didn't have a low enough gear. The other part of the problem is that at 5'10-11" and 166lbs, I'm still a little too heavy to have a good power to weight ratio. Which means I should probably not eat chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream ever again, but once in awhile you just gotta have it.

The race was hard. The course was amazing, 55 miles of up, down, turn, turn yourself inside out racing. I was actually pretty frisky in the beginning of the race, riding off the front as a test on the first dirt road section (oh how that was cool) and leading the race through town at the end of a short circuit. Then we hit the big climbs. I was ok on the first one, staying up front. The second dirt climb was another story. It was about 23% and dirt. Stand up, your rear wheel slips, sit back and your front wheel comes up off the ground. I was able to get up it, but not much more than that.

Once over that nightmare I chased really hard and caught one of my two team mates in the race with me. The other one was way behind us. We worked together and kept catching people until we had a chase group of over 20 people. Of course, once a group gets that big, you have the brainless wonders who just sit in and don't do their share of work. Then those jerks have the nerve to attack us. I was having none of that, since I'm still convinced that the second group ahead of us was the lead of the race at one point.

But, I decided to blow out the deadwood and warned my team mate Rob that next time through I was going to do a "hellacious pull". Which is exactly what I did. I jumped the pace up from 23mph to over 32mph for over 2 miles. Not only did we gain quite a bit of ground on the leaders, we also blew out all the slackers. But then the impetus left my group as the race wore on and people got tired and resigned themselves to just finishing.

After all the dirt sections, the thigh burning climbs, the searing sun (it was over 8o in the sun and no humidity, and the air was over 70, all this only a few miles from Vermont) I was in a group heading for the finish. We came into town and I got boxed in during the sprint, so had to settle for 4th in my group and 34th overall out of 63 starters. But we were 14 minutes behind the winner!!! How embarassing. Shameful, even.

Sunday was brunch with my brother's family and aunt and uncle, then back to my brother's house. I ended up taking more things to the storage unit for the ballet fundraiser with my brother, and then on the trampoline in the backyard. My nieces and I were a little crazy, but that's what 9 and 11 year olds are supposed to do, right?

Pretty simple. Now it's time for me to get more sorting and removing done. Only 10 more days until bliss...

Here's a link to a pic from a photographer's website from the race. I'm on the green bike leading the group, and yes, I know my lack of a tan is blinding, as pointed out by someone...


Thursday, April 13, 2006

So Saturday will be fun...

Big time race Saturday. 55 mile loop, lots of dirt roads and steep climbs. Not my type of race usually, but this year I'm riding so much better I'm very optimistic. Now let's just see if my team comes through and delivers my uniforms before the race and if they can deliver some support.

As you can see, this will be an interesting day. The forecast is for 65 and sun, though I think rain would make this race epic and titlt the scales in my favor. I'm considered a rain rider, due in part to the fact that I ride just as hard in the rain, many times even faster and it tends to shed the more timid riders afraid of crashing. Either way it'll be fun, and I hope to do well.

Oh yeah, one other thing. I see only two souls posted a comment on my last post. How is that? One of the most serious posts of my blog, and I figured many would weigh their opinions on it, but I might be delusional in thinking that many people actually read this blog on a consistent basis.

Lastly, congrats to my high school classmate Lora who just gave birth to a baby boy!!! Woohoo!! I'm so happy for you I could cry!!!!! What a journey to get here you've had.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Oh, I can feel the icey stares already...

I'm going to alienate many people right now by doing something that just needs to be done. Attack hybrid vehicles. Those gas electric darlings of the media and ecolovers everywhere. Guess what, folks? They're more expensive to operate, and they use more resources than a standard car does. So in reality they are actually doing more harm than good. It feels so good to say that. Let me expound upon my little thesis here.

First, the mileage isn't quite what the "experts" claimed at first. Anyone recall when Toyota had to revamp the mileage for the Pious I mean Prious by lowering it 20%? I won't confuse anyone with the facts... Yet I digress. So the cars don't quite get the mileage we thought they would. They're still better for the enviroment, right? Wrong!!!!!

In the short term, they are better for the enviroment. In the long term, they are the worst thing we could have short of a nuclear reactor in each car with spent rods. What is the hybrid heart? A massive toxic waste dump of a battery!!! Bottom line is, the stuff in those batteries is so dangerous that 1) some first responders have put into writing the fact they won't do anything at a hybrid accident because they don't have the proper hazmat gear!!!! Wow. 2) There is no way to dispose of these batteries yet, and recycling isn't economically viable, so the batteries will sit in some facility becoming a bigger and bigger toxic threat to wherever they are. Feel warm and fuzzy about helping the enviroment still?

Now for what really matters. Cost. You get a tax break if you buy a hybrid. But it's offset by a few years of operation. Philadelphia found it cost more to have a fleet of hybrids. Now for you and I, I don't think we have that worry. Yet what about when the battery dies? A quick call to the local Toyota dealer and Ford dealer confirmed what I had read last year in Motor Trend magazine. First, the battery isn't a warrantable item. Second, you're better off throwing away the car. A Ford Escape battery is about $7200.00!!!! How can you even think of putting that money into a car that's 6 or 7 years old? How can you hope to resell a car with that kind of money needed to keep it going? A true disposable car. That's great for the enviroment.

Ok, enough Ford bashing, what about Toyota? Well, here we go. Brock Yates of Car and Driver sums it up pretty well:
He says it's time to "talk a little reality." He reports that "a Prius owner would have to drive at least 66,500 miles annually for five straight years, or gasoline would have to soar to 10 bucks a gallon, to equal the cost of operating a cheaper, conventional Corolla," which costs $3,000 less.

Wow, so I pay more for a car that is more expensive to operate, and it doesn't really help the enviroment? Where do I sign up? I mean, at least Toyota batteries are only about $5300.00. Now I can sleep tonight. Oh, and one other thing, disposal fees are most likely to come from the EPA for the batteries, and we all know that the dealers will never bear that cost. Somewhere in the bowels of the EPA, bureaucrats are probably already scheming up an entire Superfund SWAT team to give hybrid owners a nasty shock for dumping dead batteries.

Toyota's research found that hybrid buyers want bigger "badges" to tell the world, "Look at me, I am a virtuous environmentalist." Per the Toyota website.

Monday, April 10, 2006

When a computer needs to die

I had a great post earlier. I fell asleep after being on the phone. It's gone. It'll take way too much effort to recreate, because it was definitely original. So here we go with the condensed version.

I rode. Fast. Got a good tan going on for up here at this time of year. Came home, as usual was hungry.

I made toast, 4 glorious slices of toast with cinnamon and sugar. And real butter! Yum yum yum yummy!!! Then I had some hot dogs. This is where the interest comes in. Along with my bread, the hot dogs, I had to choose some toppings. So I grabbed spicy brown mustard. Always a crowd pleasing favorite. But I needed to add something, something to give the hot dogs "pop". Since these were run of the mill hot dogs, not snobby types, they definitely had no "pop".

So I recalled a wonderful conversation with my paramour about mayo on a hot dog. Well, I do the mustard and mayo thing on my sandwiches, so why not? It was great, but it still didn't have all the "pop" I was looking for. SO I went into the refrigerator and found Garlic Ambrosia spread. Yes, and not just any, but organic. With the little SOS symbol on the side, whatever that means. Think of the irony. Hot dogs, organic garlic ambrosia. Heheh. Made by a company called Hand To Mouth Foods, I believe. Amazing stuff, it is.

Well, with mayo down one side and garlic ambrosia down the other, I must say it was the best hot dog I've ever had. If you know me and how many years I've taken off my life because of how many hot dogs I've eaten, well you know it's a lot.

I probably should eat better, but I can't really afford to. Funny how that works. Well, I could afford to, and I'm starting to make the changes to make it happen. Imagine how fast I'd be if I ate properly...

On a much more sad note, I ran over and killed a neighbor's dog today on my way to work. He darted out and I had hit him before I could even hit the brakes. I went to the house (at 720 am) and knocked on the door. The father and I went out to the road, and their dog was definitely dead. I apologized, but the family was really nice to me, saying he got loose, and it was an accident, so to not blame myself. I appreciated that. The kids came out and we had moved the dog to the front yard, and they all cried and hugged him. After that we had a moment of silence and then the father led us in a prayer for him. I called him Mutley. A very sweet and lovable mix. Always happy to see you. When I went out on my ride the father saw me, waved, and yelled, "It's ok, he's running where there are no cars now!". I smiled at that. But I still cry about the reality.

Sunday, April 09, 2006

Really, it just might be spring...

Today the weather was good, which is good, because it put me in a good mood, and that's a good thing that will create good memories. I just wanted to see how much goodness I could get away with, or would it be goodies?

On to more serious things. First, my last post was about Saul Raisin. He's still in a coma, but the danger to his life has passed. Now it all rests on the next 48 hours or so to see how he fares. No one really knows. He was wearing a helmet and still he's now in a coma. Sooo, I guess it's about time for a public service announcement.

I have crashed quite a few times. It works out to about once a season. Bad crashes are every few years. Those are the ones where I need to go to the ER. I worked it out one time and I crash about every 6000 miles. I've always had a helmet on when I crashed, thankfully. So, here are a few pics of one of my helmets and the handlebars after a crash in New Britain, CT in 2004. I kept them because it's a great visual aid when people tell me helmets aren't needed. Yes, those handlebars were sliced by the spokes of another bike.

The helmet actually started to melt (there's still some of my hair stuck in it) from impact, and it split in three places. I hope anyone who rides and reads this remembers to always wear their helmet.

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Now for the good stuff. Ha, there's that word again. Went for a ride after sleeping in way later than planned. Since I wasn't really fueled up too well, I am sure I burned quite a bit of fat off me. Good thing. So I did just under 60 miles and averaged 19.8 mph. Including starting out by going over Minnewaska Mountain. Not a bad ride, even though my climbing isn't quite what it should be...

Then I came home, talked to my favorite Texan, got cleaned up after eating, and went to the local Stewart's (a chain of gas station/convenient store that seem to cater to six green tooth missing troglodytes) and got some food since I was out. Needed the bread for toast, because if you ever meet me, you'll figure out quickly how I love my toast...and hot dogs (vestiges of my youth)...and chocolate chip cookie dough ice cream. Yes, I bought a half gallon on an impulse buy. Yummy. I don't eat much at a time, because I tend to get sick from it, but it was a tasty treat. And now I need to go eat more because I'm hungry again. Argh!!!

Thursday, April 06, 2006

It's not always fun and games in cycling


Well, since I have some time

I have a bit of time before I need to get ready for work, so I decided to scan some yearbook pics. Ahh, 1989 and 90, what fun times. Not always, but you know...

Look at that! Lora and I were next to each other in our yearbook portraits. Birthdays a day apart, and a page apart. Yup, I am grasping here. So there I was as a junior. I look so respectable. Hee hee!!!

And one more to show that I have been on bikes forever. Notice the lack of a helmet (I was supposed to wear it, but didn't for awhile) the toeclips on the pedals (those strappy things that were instruments of torture) and the federally mandated reflector on the front (Which came off shortly after this pic). Sorry for the low quality, but you can only do so much with a scanner considering the dpi of the printing.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

I'm about to go off, so don't read if you don't like profanity

I'm fucking pissed. My bank has totally screwed up my account. The mother fucking slack jawed rat bastards have returned checks that should have cleared to the places I wrote them, then went ahead and paid them but charged me overdraft fees anyway. Apparently simple math is beneath these damn troglodytes, so yet again I get to waste my lunch tomorrow to go straighten thes dumbasses out.

When I first opened my account, I ordered checks as any person would. 10 business days, the lady said. Well, four weeks and nothing. 6 weeks and nothing, and the idiots didn't want to do anything about it. Finally I get them to reorder the checks, and when they check the info, they have my street address, not my mailing address. Duh!!! Plus my name was spelled wrong on my first debit card. Of course, I had handed my license to the lady to set up my account with, and I know in Kingston most people aren't even close to the brightest bulb on the chandelier, but obviously reading isn't one of the requisites for working in a bank.

I finally got a new debit card (funny how it went to my mailing address, isn't it?) and then finally got my new checks ordered. Can you believe that they are misspelled? I give up, and now this. I hope the same idiot who defied the odds of evolution waits on me tomorrow. It's about time Darwin's theory caught up with it...

Monday, April 03, 2006

Just a postin' fool

Ok, here are my lame rankings as of 3/18/06 for my racing. Not too exciting, but I figured I'd share. Master categories start at age 30. Sad, yes.

Your USCF Criterium Master Standings
1 Rank in your zip code (12443)

98 Rank in your state (NY)

56 Rank in your riding age (34)

170 Rank in 5 year age range (30-34)

779 Rank in 10 year age range (30-39)

2801 Overall Rank

Your USCF Criterium Cat 4 Standings
1 Rank in your zip code (12443)

7 Rank in your state (NY)

19 Rank in your riding age (34)

77 Rank in 5 year age range (30-34)

161 Rank in 10 year age range (30-39)

357 Overall Rank

Your USCF Road Race Cat 4 Standings
1 Rank in your zip code (12443)

69 Rank in your state (NY)

32 Rank in your riding age (34)

124 Rank in 5 year age range (30-34)

274 Rank in 10 year age range (30-39)

620 Overall Rank

Remember those pics I spoke of?

Here they are.

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And if you think this is bad, check out the inside of the glasses!
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No one said cycling was a clean pastime.
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Next up, yearbook pics!! Heh heh...

My how things have stayed the same

I went to go for a ride yesterday. Got my bike out of the car and the back tire was flat. So then I had to pull the gears off that wheel and put them on another whell I had, but then I had to put a tire and tube on that wheel... Argh! I couldn't use the old wheel because it was a tubular, where we glue the tire to the wheel, and the tube is sewn inside it. The backup wheel is a clincher, like most people ride, which has a seperate tire and tube. Well, it set me back a few minutes.

So I decided to change my route and got going, but the new tire was somewhat defective (or the yahoo who put it on was...) and it had a hop in it. Not comfortable at all, so I dealt with it for the ride, but it's coming off today. Anyway, I ripped off a 32.5 mile ride in 1 hour 31 minutes, which turns out to be an average of 20 something miles per hour. Pretty darn fast. I had a burst where I pretend I'm in a race and am sprinting for intermediate prizes and got up to 38 mph on the flat. Not shabby, it's coming along...

All this motivation is because I can feel my Sweetie's breath on my neck now that she has a bike. Yup, I'll bet she blows me away when we go for our first ride together, but I'll love every second of it. I'd be a fool not to.

Sunday, April 02, 2006

I'm still alive

I survived this week. Working crazy hours, cleaning my storage unit out, and getting slammed in my race yesterday. The work threw me off my routine, the storage unit wore me out, and the race spanked me hard. I just woke up, and it's noon. Granted, I lost an hour, but still...

In an interesting turn of events, I have decided to donate everything of value to the Anne Hebard School of Ballet for their fundraising yard sale. They need to raise thousands to just break even for last year. Long story. Anyway, I figure that my stuff is now out of my hair, it's going to help a good cause, and we all come out ahead. Simple. Except that carrying massive air conditioners by yourself isn't exactly the easiest thing to do, and it definitely hinders race performance.

Cool little seguai (sp?) there. So Sat I went to Coxsackie for the third and final race of the Johnny Cake Series. This time they added a decent hill to the course. Not a wall, but enough to make it interesting. The wind was part of the many factors that came into play.

The race started off sunny and about 73 degress. The wind was from the Southwest and was warm. About 14 miles into the race, some rain started falling here and there. 10 minutes later we rode into a wall of ice cold rain, and the air temp went down to about 40. The roads were grimy, my sunglasses were fogging up, and I was freezing. Visibility was so bad I was looking for race numbers on guys and trying not to hit them. Fun times. At some point my computer got soaked through and was reading 0mph. So I was screwing around with it not paying attention to the race when a gap opened up in front of me. I figured someone would go around me and close it, as I was only halfway back in the field. Wrong.

I was last! Most people bailed on the race and were heading for the warm showers. So I chased like crazy and began catching the group at the base of the climb. I'm a better climber than I have been in years this year, but this wasn't good. I gritted my chattering teeth and worked back to relative safety on the tail end of the field. I was thinking of bagging it, too, but since I caught back on I figured I'd just ride with the pack until we went by the finish line. Of course we got to the finish and it was only one more lap, so I decided to tough it out. As the pics show, it was very dirty. The socks were originally white at the top, and the glasses were basically only keeping grime from getting into my contacts, as well as all light in the universe...

I worked back up to the front of the group and rode the rest of the race in to the finish, and put in another good sprint to probably get a top 15, since we were sprinting for 8th place, I believe. I immediately headed for the showers and comfort. Then it was off to my brother's house to sort my junk, which I did.

25 more days until the other half of my heart arrives!!!!!

As for the pics, I use the pic uploader and it won't effin' work!!!! Argh!!!