Tuesday, October 31, 2006

Weight and Five

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

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 27, 2006

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

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

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

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

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

The Smurfs turn 48 today. We all loved them, I did a college paper on them being socialist at least, illustrating all the symbols. But I wasn't aware that the UN tapped into them for Unicef in Germany. This is pretty weird: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7MAYrF1PDks

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

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

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

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

Friday, October 13, 2006

I needed this

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

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

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

Well, off to get ready for work.

Monday, October 09, 2006

Friday Night

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wednesday, October 04, 2006

Friday Night Downtown

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

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

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Just my ramblings for another day

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

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

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

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

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

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