Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Donating blood and riding

Yesterday I went up to church over my lunch hour and donated blood.  I'm not a big fan of the experience, although it is the only time I get to eat Nutter Butters all year.  My donation went pretty well, although the tech did almost lance me all the way through my vein so my flow as encumbered a bit until they pulled it out a touch.  Eventually, I filled up my bag, and got my Nutter Butters in with some apple pie, apple juice, and water.  I was a little nervous because I only had a plum for breakfast, so I wasn't sure if I was going to crash and burn after donating.  Fortunately, I felt fine, and all my vitals were pretty good for not being anywhere near race shape.

I left church, and went through the Whole Foods pizza bar where these soccer guys in front me of ate the rest of the BBQ chicken pizza.  I ended up with some greek pizza and a grilled veg pizza.  It was alright, and I got some smoked mozzarella pasta salad (delicious to the Nth) and some orza or something like that.

I went and finished up my day, and then went home and got ready to ride at Taco Tuesday.  TT is a fun group ride that leaves the Sandtrap bar and grill at around 133rd and Holmes.  We then ride Blue River Parkway (BuRP) and generally have a great time.  I decided to ride from home to the group ride, as I can ride trails almost the whole way there.  The trails I ride are in a fairly degraded shape, and at one point I couldn't even see the trail so I just started riding through the woods.

I met up with Travis from Bike Source at the official trail head and we got to B.S. for a bit while we waited for the main group to arrive.  He's a nice guy, and used to work at the Trek Store not too long ago and we talked about a mutual friend we have that has been going through some cancer stuff.  Neither one of us had talked to him in awhile, but the general feeling was that he was doing pretty good.

Anyway, the main group finally left the parking lot and we caught them coming on to the trail.  It took about 5 minutes before they were out of sight and I was sucking wind like a new Dyson.  I had 0 top end, and my legs felt like a 6-year old girls legs.  Albeit a bit hairier.  HA!  Yea, that was lame and wrong.  I was having a rough time, because mountain biking is both more fun and easier the faster you go.  Now, let me be the first to say I have no illusions of actually being fast.  But I can keep a decent pace from time to time and have grown accustomed to that.  It was like having a Corvette as a daily driver, then having to drive a Miata.  Sure, the Miata is still fun, but it's no 'vette.

I pulled my strava charts when I got home, and my average pulse was 176bpm.  That's pretty dang steep.  My last road ride avg was 142bpm.  No wonder MTB'ing is so fun.  I guess I just couldn't push enough O2 to my muscles with my diminished blood supply.  Speaking of muscles...

Old Spice Muscle Music from Terry Crews on Vimeo.

Monday, August 20, 2012

One of those weekends

I dove headfirst into some homeowner duties this weekend, and I'm still tired.  Saturday I got up at 5:30am and rode almost 40 miles.  I had no legs at all, I just plodded along.  Which is an awful way to ride, but riding is better than most everything else.  Kind of like death by tickling.  Something like that, anyway.

As soon as I got home, I changed and decided to dethatch, aerate, overseed, and fertilize my lawn.  My lawn, like most peoples, had a rough summer, so I'm trying to make it look nice for this fall.  I think we are pretty cheap with our lawn (at least in our neck of the woods), but it's pretty silly how much money between watering and fall maintenance everything costs.  I saved big bucks aerating myself, but I promptly forgot about any savings once I counted the blisters on my delicate desk jockey hands.  It is probably good for me on some level to do some physical labor every now and then.

Sunday was a day of folly.  Myself and a neighbor mounted some flat panels and we wanted to minimize any dangling cords (or rope swings, in Kieran's case) so that involved getting to spend some time in the attic.  My neighbor's attic was super balmy, even at 10:30am, and I was dripping sweat all over his pretty white insulation.  We got his house done though, and my house was next.

With some other responsibilities and church, I didn't get started until 7:30pm.  My attic time wasn't even close to successful, as I had to back out, and then fish everything through the walls.  What a pain.  That took me almost three hours to move an outlet 7 feet.  Sure it looks nice, but I'm still pretty sore (mentally and physically) after that exercise in near futility.

So enough about that, AB started 2nd grade, and he really likes his teacher.  She seems really young, but she's quick to point out she's been teaching for 7 years.  I would guess she gets raised eyebrows when parents find out she is the teacher, and not a TA.  I don't particularly care about her age.  It's not like she's teaching neurovascular surgery.

That's it for now.  Time to go get the little man from school.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Not exactly a regular sighting

I'm not quite as rare as a mountain lion in Shawnee Mission Park, but me updating my blog is a close second.

Work is super busy, for more reasons than I care to talk about or put out for all eternity on the internet.

Our house is trying to cut the cord (AT&T).  I'm tired of forking out $160 a month to watch Real Housewives and Diego.  We got a new bedroom TV since Penny's high school TV/VCR combo finally bit it.  The new TV has Hulu Plus, Vudu, Netflix, and a bevy of our content providers.  Plus I hooked up a $25 antenna and now get HD over the air (OTA).  The quality of OTA is way better than cable, since it is virtually uncompressed.  The picture quality for the Olympic Closing ceremony was unbelievable (even if NBC screwed up Olympic coverage almost as much as humanly possible).

I've been listening to some good music courtesy of Brandi Carlile.  Fans of Grey's Anatomy may remember one of our songs "The Story" being sung during that musical episode last season.  Here is the music video.  The video is pretty lame, in my opinion, because of the gratuitous amount of lens flare that would make Michael Bay blush.  The song is excellent though, and Brandi sings with an amazing amount of emotion.  She has a few songs I really like, including "Raise Hell", "Keep Your Heart Young", and "That Wasn't Me".

I've been trying to learn one of her songs, and I just started work on Dave Matthew's "Gravedigger".  I've always loved that song.  The lyrics are well written, and aren't inspired by glaucoma medicine.  I had to throw that in because it would seem a lot of DMB songs are.

Cyrus Jones 1810 to 1913
Made his great granchildren believe
You could live to a hundred and three
A hundred and three is forever when you're just a little kid
So Cyrus Jones lived forever

When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain

Muriel Stonewall
1903 to 1954
She lost both of her babies in the second great war
Now you should never have to watch
Your only children lowered in the ground
I mean you should never have to bury your own babies

When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain

Ring around the rosey
Pocket full of posey
Ashes to ashes
We all fall down

When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain

Little Mikey Carson 67 to 75
He rode his
Bike like the devil until the day he died
When he grows up he wants to be Mr. Vertigo on the flying trapeze
Ohhh, 1940 to 1992

When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain

When you dig my grave
Could you make it shallow
So that I can feel the rain
Feel the rain
I can feel the rain


Friday, August 3, 2012

Playing guitars

That's all I've been consistently doing these days.  I'm getting better, and I can occasionally play for 10-15 seconds at a time when it actually sounds musical.  It's a great source of enjoyment for me, and it is awfully relaxing and is great exercise for that side of my brain.  Not much room for music between the 1's and 0's.

I'm looking at getting an acoustic now, I have an electric that I'm quite fond of, but it does what it does well, and playing acoustically isn't one of them.  Penny will wonder why I didn't get one to begin with, I'm sure.  She's right, most of the time.  Hopefully she won't read this and find out I was saying she was right about something.

The boys are doing well, getting large that's for sure.  Kieran is growing up quick, but holding on to some little kid behaviors that we'll have to beat out of him.  Of course I wouldn't beat him, because when he's 6'4" 230# of muscle, I'll need him on my side to protect me from AB.  I can't believe how strong AB is getting.  He can nearly hold me down on the floor when we're wrestling.  That's crazy, when he's only 7.  Kid is like an ox.

No other revelations for me, other than we are entering the birthday season with Penny, my bigger little sister, and her husband all within a couple of weeks of each other.  Might as well drink and eat cake, because I'm not getting any faster on the bike!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Uncle at 35...

It was always cool in high school to see kids (peers back then) that were uncles.  Uncles were like the cool big brother, just bigger and wiser.  So I've waited for 20 years since high school *gasp* and now am finally an uncle to two beautiful wee babies.  Of course, timing would have it so I was still in South Carolina when the twins came 3-ish weeks early.  But at least it was at the end of the vacation.
We went straight from the airport to the hospital, yet somehow after 3 flights to get back home plus an extra 40 minute delay, I still was pretty wide awake to finally get to meet my dear niece and nephew.  I don't think it has quite hit me that my little sister has kids.  I figured it would be kind of surreal.  Maybe it's because they were a long time in the making I had some time to accommodate the thought of her having kids.  Maybe it's just because I'm so used to having my own it seems more natural than if I didn't have kids myself.  I'm super happy for her and Charlie.  It makes me happy to see both of them so happy and excited.
I'm anxious to be able to hold them.  I've never felt that way about anybody else's kids, so I guess that's cool.  I've enjoyed holding babies, but I haven't been excited to do it days/weeks in advance. It's always cool to hold a baby and realize how amazing our bodies are; it's easy to see when they are so wrinkly and small, when they are so tough yet still so fragile.  And to think that in a few short years they will be tearing around the backyard and making their parents smile.
Being a parent changes you completely. It's tough to explain the pride you feel in your kids.  From a practical point of view, it seems odd about the things your kids do to make you proud.  But it's little things, little acts of kindness or a well thrown baseball; these little glimpses into what they can become or accomplish, that make you feel as though you aren't a miserable parent or don't know what you are doing.  Those moments are the payoff to the massive investment of being a parent.
For all this, the possible and the potential, I wish Sophie, Colin, and their parents to be able to enjoy everything that this life can bring.

Monday, June 4, 2012

South Carolina Vacation Pics

7 days of fun in the (mostly) sun did the family good.  The boys had a great time, and K was ready to permanently move to the beach. I'm glad all the anticipation he had over the last 6 weeks wasn't let down in any way.  AB had a great time boogie boarding, and Penny and I enjoyed some much deserved work-free time.

I'd have to highly recommend Charleston, in particular the islands off the coast.  I think we could have spent another 3-4 days touring around, but chances are we'd end up on the beach again.  

Golfing buddy

Saw this feller when I was out golfing in South Carolina last week.  Thankfully he let us play through...

Friday, May 4, 2012

Ok, I'm getting back on the blog


Here's a video.  I like videos.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

It's alive!

I'm still here.  Still alive.  Still riding (a bit).  Still playing guitar.

I'm also still having heart palpitations after the OSU-KU game last night.  I found this video last night.  It's awesome.  Hope you enjoy.

Monday, January 9, 2012

Week 1 and done

I know I said 50 miles a week, but I put in a hard 47 miles.

Ride 1: BuRP 15 miles
Ride 2: SMP 12 miles
Ride 3: Trainer town, 20.x miles

Trainer miles aren't that hard, but I must have been tired because I only averaged 15mph on the trainer.  Or maybe I'm just weak.  Probably weak.

Saturday I was able to squeeze in a couple hour MTB ride out at Shawnee Mission Park.  It was fantastic.  I remembered why I thought SMP was so rocky, because it is.  It doesn't have a lot of larger rock features that the more tech trails at BuRP have, it's just relentless rocks that you have to power through.  I just kept turning my pedals over and it seemed to work pretty good.

I can't believe how much technical skill I've lost since I used to race MTB.  I was thinking about that while I was riding, and the thought that maybe I am remembering my skill more favorably than it actually was occurred to me.  I smirked to myself, and thought, "yea, that's probably it".

I'm sure not fast, but my fitness is very meh right now, and my skill is at about the same level.  I'm loving riding though.  I always have, and always will.

I was thinking of a ratio to ascribe to off-road riding and running mileage.  Both are clearly more difficult than road cycling, at least as far as getting miles in.  I thought a 2:1 ratio for MTB mileage, and perhaps a 4:1 ratio for running.  That's probably a bit conservative, because I know how trashed I'd be after a 25-mile MTB ride is way more painful than a 50-mile road ride.  I think I'd be crawling at the end of a 12.5 mile run!

Nevertheless, I thought I'd get on the trainer last night, and try and use my new Toshiba Thrive to stream YouTube over HDMI to my trainer TV.  I quickly remembered that since the TV is old, it only has a DVI connection.  DVI is video only, so then I tried running a headphone to RCA y-cable to the audio inputs, but the Thrive wouldn't send the video down HDMI-DVI and then the audio out the headphone jack.  So I scrapped the whole thing, and set up a little table in front of my bike, put the Thrive on it, and then listened to it over headphones.  It worked pretty good, although disappointed to watch on a 10" screen vs a 50" screen.  (

I watched the NBC 2010 Ironman World Championship, which is 1:30, and I was ready to be off that basement-torture device by then.  I just did a steady grind, 80rpm cadence, and thought that was a decent session.  Between now and the end of March is nothing but base miles.  No specific interval sessions, but that doesn't mean I can't ride up hills hard or whatever to break up the monotony.  I can't imagine using the 34T front ring everywhere I go.  Ack.

I went ahead and swapped my road stem back on to get my Blue bike out of cross mode, and still need to swap on the 50T front ring.  I think I'll race out at the Dam again, and at the Tour of KC and Lawrence.  Otherwise, probably a few MTB races and then cross again.  At least that's what I'm thinking.  We'll see how things go.  I think some 3 hour "enduro" races would be fun too.  Maybe even a trail run race would be cool.  Or the Lawrence off-road duathlon.  Yea, I got a few ideas.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Taco Tuesday ride

Ride #1 of the 2012 happened last night out at BuRP (Blue River Parkway).  I got out of work a touch early to pick up some riding gloves from my mother-in-law (THANK YOU!) and got in some miles before meeting up with the rest of the group behind the Sand Trap at 6pm.

I usually ride some of the harder trails like the "wagon wheel" since my tech skills are so poor.  I figure if I can be decent at those trails, anything less should be cake.  At least I hope so.  I managed to completely flip over the bars after getting into a deep rutted downhill and trying (unsuccessfully) to get out of it.  Thankfully I'm a good crasher so I just got a little dirty and was able to laugh for a bit about it.

When all met up a 6, we headed over the section of trails that are further north than I go.  I just didn't quite know where to find them, although I rode them about a decade ago.  The trails up there are super fun, and pretty tech too, so I had quite a bit of walking.  It was at night, so I got to use my new trail light, a MagicShine 808-E.  It worked great, but I seemed to be having some balance problems, maybe that was due to it being night.  I've never felt like that before, but hopefully it's a one-time occurrence.

At some point up on Highline I got lost from the group.  I ended up taking a wrong turn on to Blue River Parkway (the road), and then decided to back track and climb back up the hill.  I'm not sure how I got separated, but fortunately after hustling back, one of the guys we were riding with, Travis from Bike Source, backtracked into me.  Some of the guys were getting a little beat, so I think they appreciated the break although I apologized for pulling some rookie stuff like that.  Happens to everyone at some point...

Travis was also kind enough to check out my cassette that had a gear or two slipping under load, and he was able to ascertain that I need a new cassette.  That is what I was starting to think, and a little bummed about having to shell out more dough, but this isn't a cheap sport.  And to think I started riding to save money because golf was too expensive in college.  Ha!

I ended up riding for almost 2:45, which was great.  I was pretty tired at the end, and starting to get kind of sloppy.  Probably a good thing we stopped when we did, before someone (like me) got hurt.

Hopefully I can find some time this weekend to head back out there since the trails were in nearly perfect shape.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

1 month's worth of posting

Did you know the world was flat?  I fell off the edge, that's how I know.

I left you wondering how things went at the State Championship, and let's just say it sucked.  The whole weekend sucked.  Friday was my 35th birthday, and it didn't go so hot.  AB had pink eye, Kieran impacted one of his teeth, my back issues persisted so I didn't get to race, I few other things occurred that just weren't as hoped for.  So that just kinda stunk.  Badly. 

So once that disappointment was over,  I decided to hang it up for the race season. Two CX races in 2011 was not what I had hoped for.  I really just spent too much time off the bike to make it worth going out there and getting flogged for 50 minutes and $25.  I had a plan coming into the year, and it got all messed up once I applied the rest of the family's schedule to it, so I lost a lot of impetus.  Instead of making the best of what I had, I just hmmphed my way into mediocrity. 

I was able to get out to the Boxing Day CX race as a spectator, and cheer on some of my teammates and a few of the guys on other teams.  It was fun.  It's funny watching CX, because it looks so slow, but you realize that these guys are fast and you know how much it hurts when you are racing.  It's definitely not what it seems from outside the tape.  Casey B. had a strong race in the Open class, and David N. and SC had excellent races in the 3/4 race.  Peck and I had a good time shooting the race as well.  I got to play with some different lenses and different settings on my Nikon D80.  It really makes you appreciate good photographers, because it isn't easy pulling off great shots.

Christmas went off great, the boys had a great time, and I finally got a guitar.  I'm excited to start learning it.  I'm enjoying learning, but there's a long way to go before I'm fit for public consumption. 

New Year's Eve/our Anniversary came and went quickly.  We had our annual party, the kids destroyed the downstairs, we cleaned up all day New Year's Day, and we all ate and drank too much. 

Fast forward to 2012.  I am not making resolutions, but I am enacting some lifestyle changes starting on Jan 1.  My weight has been creeping up and fitness has been sliding down, so I've decided to make some small, sustainable changes to prevent a recurrence of 2011.

1) Ride at least 50 miles every week.  This isn't a huge number, but it would be a vast increase over what I rode last year, sadly.  I think this should also keep me from sinking too far and taking too much time off the bike.  I've made some allowances for trainer time/miles, because sometimes it's just too cold out.
2) Drink more water.  I was pretty good at the beginning of the year, but started getting pretty inconsistent once summer ended.
3) Eat more protein.  Protein helps curb over-eating as it makes you feel full, and stay full.
4) Alcohol and sweets once a week.  It's amazing how many garbage calories you can consume by having a little bit of sweets and a drink a night. 

Well, that's all I got for now.  I'm going for a ride...