Thursday, September 30, 2010

Don't hate me

I know, it's like a damn car wreck.  You just can't look away.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Long ride weekend

...or not.

I had a boy's trip scheduled this weekend to meet up in Columbia and ride the Katy Trail all weekend.  We were graciously hosted in Columbia by my buddy Ryan's old professor, Doug.  He was a terrific host even though he was fighting a massive ear infection, and the accommodations were very much appreciated. 

Ryan and I got into town rather late on Friday night, and we called it a night at about 1am.  We didn't hit the trail until about 9:30 on Saturday morning.  The plan was to ride to Jeff City and back, making it about a 65-70 mile ride.  We got to Hartsburg, MO, at about 12:10, and were starving.  Plus they had a BBQ fundraiser going on, and Jeff City was about another hour away.  Needless to say, our stomachs won out there, and we ate some of the best BBQ I've had in awhile.  Pork steak, potato salad, and baked beans for $8.  Can't beat that with a big stick.  They took our picture, so we are somewhere out there on Facebook stuffing our faces.

We decided at that point, to turn around, and go past Columbia and ride to Rocheport.  We made the trek back in what seemed like half the time, but thunderstorms were looming and we were starting to get a bit tired.  My hearts and lungs certainly weren't strained, and neither my legs, but my saddle region was killing me.  I let a good bit of pressure out of my tires to help ease the constant hammering, but the Katy Trail is no place for a race saddle.  I'll be rolling with a nice, cushy couch cushion next time.  I'm still a little sore, but I'll see how sore tonight when I try and get some intervals in before my next race.

October 3rd is my next race, Boss Cross #3, and I'm SO looking forward to it.  I'll even wear sleeves this time!

So anyway, back to the trip.  We ended up going back to Doug's house, getting cleaned up, and had a great dinner at the Flat Branch restaurant in Columbia.  I had a beer and a half on Saturday, figuring I earned it with my calorie exertion.  The food there was terrific, as was the company.  The weather was starting to head downhill, and by the time we got back to Doug's casa, it started raining pretty good, and it didn't let up until the wee hours of the morning (not that I knew, I was out by 9:30). 

By the time we all were roused, we looked outside and saw the damp, cold morning awaiting us and we headed to the movies and saw "The Town".  Not too bad.  We had some great cheap lunch at some place I can't remember the name of then went back to Doug's, packed up, and headed back to Kansas.

Kind of a lame riding weekend, but it was good to see the guys and get out of the house.  Now back to work!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Is this your first race?

So I already posted this on one of my bike forums, but it saves me from having to type a whole 'nother blog.  Feast upon my idiocy, and enjoy!

Saturday was supposed to be my first cx race of the season, but somehow I managed to turn it into a festival of follies.

First up, I left my USAC racing license at home. I have the number memorized, but that's always been good enough. Not this time, USAC official needs to see it, because my last registration was for a 1-day license. Which is way wrong, but whatever, burden of proof is with me. So I hoof it back to the car, grab my Sprint Evo and try and login to the site, taking up precious warm up time while I decode my password. Finally get it, get my number and get kitted up. Not a big deal, but there's more to come.

Second, I was checking the bike out the night before trying to silence my banshee brakes, and noticed my chain was wicked stretched out. Thankfully my team captain/shop owner checks his email late at night and was super courteous and brought me a chain from the shop. T-minus 33 minutes and I'm swapping chains.

Now it's time to get to the line, and he and I are starting down the hill to the start line when he tells me I can't rock the sleeveless. I don't have a normal jersey, just this tri/bike jersey and long-sleeved cross jerseys. At this point, it's about 4 minutes to GO, and I say oh well, let's see if the official calls me out. I barely get down the hill in all my 110db brake squealing-glory when she starts rattling off the rule number at me and tells me to go change.

I'm like WTF, there's no time. So I sprint back up the hill, get flustered, and then call it a day. My spirit had been broken at that point, and figured it's early in the season. So I stayed and cheered on my team, and watched people try and auger themselves into the ground with 6" barriers.

It's early in the season, and I'm glad a day like this is behind me. It was all self-inflicted, but damn, that wasn't much fun. 

My next race is Oct. 3rd in Parkville, for Boss Cross #2.  I have cross clinic tonight, and boys' trip/Katy Trail this weekend.  Of course, as luck would have it, my team is putting on a race this weekend, and needs lots of help in doing so.  This race was scheduled about 3 weeks ago, and my boy's trip has been on for months.  This is a fine example of my main grievance with the team.  Their sense of scheduling works great for a single person living in midtown.  It works like ass for a married guy with two kids, and lives in deep south OP.  /rant

Friday, September 17, 2010

Dialing it in

Had a nice pre-ride/race at Swope last night.  Darkness came quick, so I was only able to get maybe 3 laps in.  I played around a lot with tire pressure, and then once I finally got it dialed in, it was terrific.  I still need to learn to trust the tires when cornering in the grass, but with all the nuts (walnuts?) on the ground, your bike got loose in a hurry.

Should be a great race, and I'm raring to go (as soon as my back loosens up).

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Somebody got me thinking today...

Given the seeming instability of the market, the growing gap between rich and poor, and the repercussions of a society built on consumption and the procurement of material goods, that maybe the American Dream is changing.

It started with a nice house with a white picket fence.  Then we added a 3 car garage (at first for excess stuff, then for our 3rd cars).  Then we went from 1500 square feet to 3k.  Then to 5k.  And beyond.

It started with finding a company that would take care of you for your whole life.  A relationship was formed between employee and employer.  Then we added 401k's instead of pensions.  Then we added outsourcing.  Layoffs.  200x-300x CEO comps over the common employee.  Corporate jets with golden parachutes.

It started with having a few conveniences.  Then we added remote controls.  Then cordless phones.  Giant SUVs, bluetooth, cooling/heating/massaging seats came next.  Social networks replaced real social interactions.

Where is it all leading too?  I think the lucky few are rediscovering a more simple life.  Condensing instead of consuming.  Handshakes instead of tweets.  Smaller homes with smaller utility bills, less cleaning, less clutter and more contact.

Maybe I'm just a crazy old 30-something, but I'm starting to see more value in slowing down.  As I was driving to work on a beautiful 72 degree day, I noticed I was the only one with their windows down.  Have we gotten so used to air-conditioning, or is it that we shun contact?  I don't know.

Ok, now I'm going to go for a bike ride.  A hard ride in the mud with people faster than me.  I'll try in vain to keep up, feeling my lungs sear and my vision blur.  Somehow through this cleansing process, the world will seem to be a bit more warm and kind, maybe a bit more human.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

The Pain and Glory, forever and ever. Amen.

Saturday marks the beginning of my favorite season, cyclocross season! I'm pretty excited, and hoping it should be soft/muddy for the race with all the rain we got today. The team is practicing out on the course tomorrow night, so I'm hoping that will be an excellent time to figure out where I am fitness wise and to get some good hot laps in. I'm beyond excited. No silly swimming in this race, thankfully.

I'm raising my water glass to a 4-month season of good results, blurred vision, heart attacks, and throbbing legs, in no particular order!

Monday, September 13, 2010

Un-natural Nature Valley

So I picked up some Nature Valley Sweet and Salty Nut - Almond bars today. I'm mowing it down and wondering what's in. Let's have a look at the ingredients on our Nature Valley so-natural-it's-like-eating-tree-bark Naturelicious nature bars.

Almonds, High Maltose Corn Syrup, Rolled Oats, Sugar, High Fructose Corn Syrup, Crisp Rice (Rice Flour, Sugar, Malt, Salt), Palm Kernel Oil, Wheat Flakes (Whole Wheat, Sugar, Salt, Malt), Fructose, Canola Oil, Water, Yogurt Powder (Cultured Whey Protein Concentrate, Cultured Skim Milk, Yogurt Cultures), Maltodextrin, Salt, Nonfat Milk, Soy Lecithin, Color Added, Honey Natural Flavor, Baking Soda, Sunflower Meal, Peanut Flour. Mixed Tocopherols Added to Retain Freshness.

Almonds - that's good.
High Maltose Corn Syrup - yea, that's crap.
Rolled Oats - sounds healthy enough
Sugar - not great, but hopefully natural enough
High Fructose Corn Syrup - devil food. America would lose 20 pounds a person without this chemically concocted crap.
Crisp Rice - fair
Palm Kernel Oil - mmm...oil. crap.
Wheat Flakes (more sugar I see)
Fructose - unnatural sugar. crap.
Canola Oil - didn't we already have oil?
Water - why am I so thirsty after eating one of these bars?
Yogurt Powder - maybe this is what the water is for?
Maltodextrin - sounds like something that causes cancer...
Salt - yea, we don't get enough sodium in our diets
nonfat milk - nonfat is good right? I don't know, I've never seen a nonfat cow.
Soy Lecithin - per wikipedia "Commercial lecithin, as used by food manufacturers, is a mixture of phospholipids in oil." Yummy, fats swimming in oil.
Color added - why? because naturally it's blue?
Honey natural flavor - why not just honey? Do they put bees in this stuff?
Baking soda - I'm all out of negative opinions. You may pass.
Sunflower Meal - I guess Sunflowers have to eat too.
Peanut Flour - How hard do you have to squeeze a peanut to get flour out of it?
Mixed Tocopherols Added to Retain Freshness - Once again, wikipedia "Tocopherols are sometimes used as a food preservative to prevent oils from going rancid". So the oils you shouldn't have to put in there to begin with need a preservative?

Needless to say, I'm staying clear of Nature Valley "of Sin" products after this. Seriously, way to mislead the consumers.

I like Kind bars as an alternative. These truly are all natural, and you don't have to Wikipedia have the ingredients.

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Last weekend with the goats

Yea, the video isn't terribly exciting, but I thought I'd try and upload a video from my Evo to youtube. I guess it works ok.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

It's been over a week

and the earth's population is still growing. Moving on...

I have my first cyclocross clinic tonight, so hopefully I'll be able to walk tomorrow and not experience bruising to my thigh from performing unskilled remounts all night. I actually am quite excited, as I went out for about 40 minutes and did some skills practice with sprints mixed in, and felt ok but see a lot of room for growth.

Hope to see some other 'crossers out there tonight!

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The greatest issue of our time

is not Middle-Eastern conflict, green energy, or Sarah Palin getting elected to office. It's overpopulation. Dr. David Katz wrote a decent article that hopefully will get some discussions started.

I have a feeling though that by the time we get around to frankly discussing the issue, the Duggans will have bred out the rest of us.

Seriously though, while it's easy to poke fun or ridicule a family that thinks it is their divine right to bring 19 or 20 kids into this world, I'm not very fond of the thought of having starving people with flies buzzing on their eyelids gasping their last breath because someone half the world away likes big families.

There are issues of resource allocation, of course, but then you can bring up the fact that America is the land of conspicuous consumption, where we each use as much resources as 45 Ethiopians. So the Duggans have a village indeed, burning up the same amount of this planet's finite resources as 990 (22x45) villagers.

The issue is very frustrating to me, because you can look at any specie that overpopulates, and you can clearly see that their demise is both quick and painful. Not the future I want for my kids. Both of them.