Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Time to get greedy

The stock market is being battered and there are lots of deals to be had out there. I was visiting my parents over the weekend and told my dad I was going to toss $500 in a Scott Trade account and roll the dice with a long shot on Ford and another stock or two that was hurt but will certainly come back.

His response, I'll give you another $500, put a bunch on EXXI for me and if it pay off we'll go to Vegas in a couple years. Sweet, gotta love my dad's thinking. :)

So today I put funds into the account and tomorrow I begin trading.

Energy companies, car companies and car rental companies are all getting beaten up right now. I think half will be spent on long shots and the other half will go on depressed but stable stocks.

Wish me luck, I'm either going to do really well over the next couple years or I'm tossing a really nice wheelset away. :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Peak to Peak - A race of lessons

This weekend was my first time attending the Peak to Peak mountain bike race which is certainly going to become a fall classic.

I really broke some cardinal rules at this one, so here is a synopsis of what to do and what not to do.






Do: All your prep work to your bike two days in advance to make sure things are running right, ghost shifting blows.

Don't: Change tires out right before a race start

Do: Have your race clothes ready the night before

Don't: Scramble in the AM to find the right gear

Do: Get a proper warm up for at least 10 minutes before the race starts

Don't: Arrive cold in the start chute and blast off on a 28 MPH roll out with the group leaders and hang for the first two miles when you body is telling you it's unhappy.

Do: Maintain a heart rate that will let you finish well

Don't: Hold a 185 hear rate for the first half hour an expect to do well for more than the first lap


Overall, a learning experience and still a fun race. I owe Jim's friend Doug big time for giving me that tube when I punctured mine and the core came out of my other. I got to the start with less than two minutes to spare.

The synopsis, ten miles of flat, fast non technical single track with a half mile of uphill hell and a super fun blast weaving back and fourth across a ski hill. Overall a total roadie course, no leg rest, a total burner. Even if I had been ready and not blown out my legs early I don't think I could have moved up more than a position or two. I'll take my 18 out of 52 in my age group and be happy to finish nursing a wounded bike back.

The best part of the race? Two giant climbs that felt like I did something, post race beers with friends, and Ali getting a strong second place.

Thanks again Doug for the tube, Jim for the beer, and to Ali for not laughing at me throwing my tire and slamming my car door. :)

Monday, October 13, 2008

On my ride today I saw


People fishing

Kids playing

Deer foraging

Leaves blazing

Squirrels packing

Swans nesting

And a camera crew shooting

What a beautiful ride!


Friday, October 10, 2008

Paybacks for my childhood


I did some pretty dumb male things growing up, TPing trees, a couple eggs at houses, building walls of snow across roads. At one point I was even a little foolhardy with a paintball gun.

Well sometime in the past couple days I got my paybacks. The boy next door, whom we'll refer to as "E" happens to have a toy paint ball gun too. He loud, obnoxious and totally lacking discipline. Why his parents figured he could be trusted with something that slings paint all over the place is beyond me. I knew it was only a matter of time until I saw the evidence at my house. For the longest time he was out of paint and I thought I was in the clear. His parents must have recently re-loaded him as I found shells of paintballs on my deck then looked up to see paint on the side of the house, the gutter, the garage and my grill. I guess go big or go home.

His dad helped me clean it up and prime the spots that are stained, however little E is still out playing. When I got caught doing things like that I was inside, grounded and getting my ass kicked. I really wish I could have just ran the gun over with my car to teach him a lesson.

I'm still kinda chuckling at the whole thing, life really does come full circle. :)

Wednesday, October 8, 2008

He's back




Ugh, looks like I sealed him in a couple days ago. I do not want him hibernating in my crawl space this winter.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Debate night

And truthfully, I don't think I'm going to watch as it's not going to change my vote and I'll share why.

Barack Obama accomplishments:

Built lots of low income housing like Grove Parc Plaza and other projects, some that have since been seized by the federal government all while taking political kickbacks from Rezko and the like. http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2008/06/27/grim_proving_ground_for_obamas_housing_policy/

Ran unopposed for his state senate seat in Chicago: http://www.cnn.com/2008/POLITICS/05/29/obamas.first.campaign/?iref=mpstoryview

Ran unopposed for state senate: http://www.usatoday.com/news/politicselections/nation/ussenate/2004-07-29-ryan_x.htm

Sat in the senate for 144 days usually voting present until he decided to run for the presidency: http://wiki.answers.com/Q/How_many_days_has_Barack_Obama_served_in_the_US_Senate

He also wrote two books about himself in that amount of time too!

What I do give him credit for is taking down Hillary, but I thin that also has to do with the struggles within the Democratic party.

So what did he accomplish in the senate? Can anyone tell me?

I think it's funny how people are sooo fed up with Bush they are associating the entire party with him and his policy's. So much that they are willing to vote in a senator who voted just enough times between the "present" votes to earn the most liberal voting record in the senate. http://nj.nationaljournal.com/voteratings/

The big issue is that if the house and the senate remain democratic and we end up with all three branches of government under the same party, the politics of the country will swing far too quickly. The balance of power is removed and out comes the check book for programs that will make Bush look like a cheapskate. We simply can't afford to let this happen given the recession we are in, it will take us decades to catch back up if we don't end up pissing off the entire world we owe money to when the money flow dries up.

According to this chart we are in big trouble in our lifetimes: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Debt_to_GDP_Forecast_Chart.png

If we don't get spending under control we are doomed as a country. The problem is that nobody in office or running for a political position wants to tell you that the well is drying up and that you better hold on to your ass because it's going to be getting ugly. No money = no military = bad news for us considering what is brewing in the middle east.

Bottom line is, they are both going to spend, but the one that spends less will drive our country off a cliff quicker.

While I don't believe in some of the religious rhetoric of the Republican party, I do believe in numbers as it's what the world runs on. If my children are going to get a shot at living a life in the United States, some things are just going to have to come under control.

Friday, September 26, 2008

ACORN - Worse than expected

The more I learn about these guys the worse they look. Now it's pointed out that their lobbying helped bring on the financial issues we are dealing with today.

LINK

The new bailout bill that got totally shutdown by house Republican's yesterday got tossed out for various reasons. There was however one huge reason, the bill earmarked 20% of the funds for ACORN and it's projects. Good move as giving billions to the organization that helped get us here in the first place seems like a silly use for the money to me.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

The good and the bad

The good:

The porch railing is painted and looking pretty.

The bad:

Nine years is all it took for the full bipartisan support of this little bill to help destroy our countries banking system. Our politicians approved it, our corporations ran with it and here we are on the brink of a financial meltdown that has the potential to bring the country to it's knees. I've never been more worried about anything in my whole life.

Primed and a vist from the nuts

Good news! The porch railing is all primed and ready for white paint this afternoon. It's looking much nicer than the bare wood already, it's going to look awesome after the final coat.

The funny part of there evening is who dropped by to visit. Two girls from the local ACORN office stopped at my house after my neighbors trying to sign me up for something. The timing was perfect as I noticed an article in the very paper I used to mask off the porch on the duplicates and fraudulent voter registrations being submitted by them.


They said hi to which I responded, "I already heard you are from ACORN, there is an article about you guys and your voter fraud issues right there." (points) "Thanks, have a nice day" was their only response.

Getting involved is good, fraud is however not so good. ;)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Not what you want to find

In your attic when you go hunting for a roof leak.

This my friends is Vermiculite, a light fluffy, fire retardant mineral that expands when exposed to heat and like to soak up water. It has a variety of uses, the top ones are as an additive to potting soil and as insulation.

Cool stuff this Vermiculite, quite versatile in it's uses, but depending on the time and place it came from, well it could have a ugly payload that comes with it. If it came from the W.R. Grace mine in Libby Montana, well it may have some Asbestos mixed in with it.


Now leaving it covered and not disturbing it is just fine, you'll never get harmed by it at all. But if you had 5+ inches of rain while you were gone and a roof leak that damaged the ceiling that you need to inspect, well you are going to get exposed to it.

Thanks to this little baby, I'm going to be acquiring a respirator and doing some drywall work in the very near future.

Anyone feel like joining me in kicking up potentially dangerous fibers to suck into your lungs and cling to your clothes?

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Saturday night fever


Yummy sqaush and left overs dinner, creepy movie in the cuddly TV nest, a short nap follwed by both of us waking with scratchy throats and runny noses.

Time to head to the store for sick supplies and to stay another night in northern Michigan.


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

For sale, 2000 Suzuki Bandit


It's time to go my old friend, $2,200 and your new owner can take you home. Child not included.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A tale of two races

Well it's been a while since I've posted, but two races have come and gone with positive results.

First, my planned "A" race for the year became just that. The bulk of my training has been aimed at the super fun point to point Ore to Shore race. The majority of my training has taken place on the road for this one as it's an all out cardio burn. About 47.8 miles of two tracks, dirt and paved roads with that last .2 being wide single track. Unlike the killer Boyne marathon XC course in which your entire body is beat up and put to the test your legs do everything going from Negaunee to Marquette. My buddy Bryce the Flying Kiwi has been aiming all his training at Ore To Shore as well.

After my warmup I lost Ali, great. :( Two minutes before go time, Ali spotted. Yay! The pavement was also puddle free after the quick downpour we had just before the race, double yay!

I lined up in the 3:30 area with Bryce, but as soon as the race announcements were done, everyone seemed to move up. He and I both rolled up a bit further and bang, we were off!

The roll out of town started going pretty well, but then people got kinda wuss like and it was a job to weave through all the slow folks. Soon we were at the luge hill and I was immediately reminded about what this race really was. A series of long flat and gentle rollers with some serious leg grinders tossed in. I beat Bryce up the hill, but he was still nipping at my heels. The climb zapped me a bit, Bryce went by, but I would not let him out of my sites.

I paced back from Bryce until the end of the train tracks when I managed to make my move. Things got a little out of sorts dealing with the two level of tracks and at the next turn I was able to squirt by him and the red tandem that would be getting in our way for pretty much every climb to come.

Being the carrot can suck, you feel the pressure to keep the pace up and make your opponent suffer, the problem is, you suffer too. I wussed out on the creek crossing and took the bridge as my drive train was unhappy enough as it was. I figured Bryce would be on me again, after that, but a couple bikes had gotten between us so I made up some space. It took a while, but he got me again and passed me on the puddly sections of two track.

Eventually I'd get another wind after sucking down a gel and a double gulp of Cytomax and I timed my next pass just before the first real downhill leading into the little rollers. This year there were no massive pile ups, probably since the ground was packed from the rain and not loose and dusty.

I pulled along for a while and zapped myself out, Bryce slowly slipped by once again and I fell back just enough to regain some kick. This quickly became the theme of the race, we were both pushing one another very well. If I felt we were following the guy ahead of us for too long, I zip by and push us hard, Bryce would do the same thing. Misery hill was fun as always and being a better technical rider totally helped get past some roadies here on the downhills that were loose and sketchy.

When we got to the paved section my legs were feeling a bit rough and I knew there was a big climb ahead. My plan was to go aero and just coast down the hill. Everyone in front of us had the same plan minus the aero, I couldn't find a safe gap for the life of me and ended up braking and passing on the double yellow, unlike triathlon, that's not a penalty in mountain biking. :) After crossing the bridge it was go time, the big paved climb that had my legs quivering last year. I was sure Bryce would leave me for spent at this point, but surprisingly our game of cat and mouse remained.

On went the game and my legs were really getting weak. The sand pit came and went, I actually rode the whole thing. The rolling fun section was upon us and the sand was minimal, but people were starting to take bad lines and I took total advantage of it. My last pass on Bryce was totally due to hitting a better apex and maintaining my momentum. I was grinning and spinning, but I lost concentration for a moment, got a little off course and just flopped over on a granny gear climb. Shit! I jumped up, ran the rest of the hill as quickly as I could and managed to get back on the bike and get away before I could get passed again. The rest of the group of four or five guys were had been pacing with the rest of the time laughed and I certainly did too. Slow motion falls are quite funny. :)

The wood chip section had arrived, we were close, I could almost taste the beer and Recoverite at the end. Time to keep spinning and makes up some ground on the guys in front of us. I got past two more folks in the last three miles, but Bryce and I were separated by only one rider. One rider that drafted behind me into the stiff wind on the soft crappy wood chip and sand pathway. My pulling allowed him to jump in front as soon as we hit the pavement leading to the arena, my legs were toast. The man in basketball shorts bested me just before the finish. (Bryce later told me he had two bagels on his top tube in a bag for nutrition and was riding platform pedals!) The result?

Shakey 3:18:35
Flying Kiwi 3:18:51

Both of us beat our times from last year, but I managed to totally blow mine away dropping about 35 minutes off of it. Had it not been for Bryce I never would have pushed that hard, it was a perfect combination for both of us. Of course the rain also gets some credit for the success as most everything was ridable, the sandy sections were packed down and easily navigated. I can only hope for a pre-race shower again next year, but I don't think we'll be that lucky.


On to race # 2, the Bluewater Triathlon and another success. #2 in age group and 21st overall.

The swim was funky dealing with sand bars, currents and a long trudge to the beach, but the water was clean clean clean. The swim felt good and as per plan I just wanted to be in the top third out of the water. Was 5th in AG out of the water.

Transition felt sloppy, but it was just a bit over a minute, my best T1 to date!

The bike, well the cops stopped myself and a group of others behind me to let traffic though. :( All the guys I had blown past were now parked behind me waiting at the light. Finally we were off again, complete with my screwed bike split. At least we got a great tail wind on the way back in and the course was flat overall. Bike rank, 2nd in AG.

I did a perfect flying dismount from the bike, ran it in, got my socks and shoes on, grabbed my hat and number belt and boogied out of transition, 47 seconds! I'm actually starting to get decent at this stuff. :)

The run was a cool course, along the beach for the most part on roads and through this cool path that went right through peoples yards facing the water. It was fun watching people wave at us while drinking their morning coffee. Now if it wasn't for that side stitch that developed at the turn around I'd be much happier. Run rank of 8 at 24:13, boy do I need to run more. :)

Crappy run time aside, I'm way happy with the results. The BMC Time Machine with the Zipp 303's was flawless, my swim was good, my transitions were smooth and I had my first legitimate age group placing. (My first was in a race with only 70 people)

The rest of the Greyhounds did great to, in fact we hit the medal shelf hard with three first place in AG awards that day too!

So that's my racing stories from the past couple weeks. A big shout out to Bryce for pushing the hell out of me at Ore to Shore. To Erin at The Shout who did her first hard rock 48 ever. To my Greyhound peeps for the fun time at Bluewater and the stellar hardware raid at award time. And of course to the Dirty Picasso Girl, my favorite road trip companion, riding buddy and life companion whom had her second year of O2S mechanicals. Despite flats and other madness she crossed the line smiling with local legend the Hurricane whom she shared her adventure with. Don't forget to wish her a happy birthday in a couple days!

We now return you to your life after this agonizingly long entry, thanks for reading and cross for fingers for a warm fall!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

What is your google telling you





Apparently I need to get a secret decoder ring for my bathroom.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Tagged!

Ahh, the circulating Fat Cyclist "getting to know you" questions.

Forwarded to me by the lovely Ali B, she's so cute I must play along. :)


If you could have any one — and only one — bike in the world, what would it be?
Hmmmm, only one bike to do it all? Since I participate in all kinds of cycling related activities, I'd pretty much be screwed, my only saving grace would be a 29er that I can setup as rigid with skinny tires for road duty and toss a suspension fork up front and run the fatty's for off road duty. A Moots YBB would be cool, or doing something a bit more obscure like a Funk hard tail or that Independent that I was drooling over at the shop.

Do you already have that coveted dream bike? If so, is it everything you hoped it would be? If not, are you working toward getting it? If you're not working toward getting it, why not?
I don't think I'll ever obtain my dream bike as it's always a moving target. Either you are the type that likes to sell stuff off and try new or you just ride the snot out of what you have. If I got the Moots YBB for trail works I'd be well on my way though. For the road and tri machines, I really don't know what speaks to me as those bikes tend to set them selves apart less. They are all fancy aero designs and not really *that* much different from one another unlike some of the mountain bike designs, especially dealing with soft tails and suspension bikes. I guess I'd just stick with my BMC Time Machine, add some Zipp 1080's and the Vuka bars. For a road bike, the Colnago Extreme C is pretty sexy. :)


If you had to choose one — and only one — bike route to do every day for the rest of your life, what would it be, and why?
The route that Ali and I can enjoy equally, she's my life partner, riding partner and best friend. Not being able to ride with Ali would really cut my cycling life short. Single track and dirt roads is a great ride for me. You get to put in lots of peddling time, mix it up in technical sections and then veg out on the roads where you can chat and spin. There must be hills though, I'm really loving hills these days. Oh and as long as there isn't Santa in the back of an Oldsmobile on the back roads we choose. :)


What kind of sick person would force another person to ride one and only one bike ride to do for the rest of her / his life?
I say beat them!












Do you ride both road and mountain bikes? If both, which do you prefer and why? If only one or the other, why are you so narrow minded?
Love both equally. The road is pure fitness and speed, you can blast along at 20+ and
break 40 easy on downhills. There is less slowing than on the trail and it's way easier to get a killer cardio workout in as well. Group rides can feel more like races and are totally exhilarating.

Riding single track gets me away from cars and out in nature. I can roll along slow and enjoy my surroundings or pump it up to get the adrenaline flowing as you weave around trees and bomb downhills that leave your heart in your throat. While all downhills are intense, I'm more likely to let out a big hoot or a yahoo as I blast down a banked downhill at a place like Pontiac Lake or Hanson Hills.


Have you ever ridden a recumbent? If so, why? If not, describe the circumstances under which you would ride a recumbent. Nope, I'll give it a shot in another 30 years or when I'm too injured to ride upright.

Have you ever raced a triathlon? If so, have you also ever tried strangling yourself with dental floss?
Yes, have done several and usually do pretty decent. Looking to age group consistently, but for that I'd have to run more, well really I'd just have to run as I usually don't do it until race day. And I do floss, but not as often as I should.

Suppose you were forced to either give up ice cream or bicycles for the rest of your life. Which would you give up, and why?
Hmmm, I'd rather just eat a bullet, you can't have my wheels or my moose tracks dammit!

What is a question you think this questionnaire should have asked, but has not? Also, answer it.
What has been your biggest cycling related accomplishment or the best thing that has happened to you because of bikes? My answer is simple, I met Ali.

You’re riding your bike in the wilderness (if you’re a roadie, you’re on a road, but otherwise the surroundings are quite wilderness-like) and you see a bear. The bear sees you. What do you do?
Ask him if he's seen any forest fires.












Now, tag three biking bloggers. List them below.

C-Mo!

ElJ!

Ritzy!

Thanks for playing folks, I'm off to slumber land!


All clear!


To the creators of this stuff, wow, I didn't know my body could do that!









Tomorrow I shall eat a horse after this is all done!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Found at the dig site

Amazing what you'll find under decks upon removal, I just can't believe I never smelled this guy under there. He must have pounded too many beers with us one night. ;)

Urban archeology at it's finest.

Saturday, July 26, 2008

100.2

My first century.

Kensington twice, Proving grounds, Milford, Commerce and two loops through South Lyon.

Mission accomplished!

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Getting sick


So this morning I woke up feeling feverish, totally unfocused, scratchy throat and horrid sinuses. My body is in the middle of a battle with something, so of course I have to feed it.

With what you ask? Well this evening I've managed to have an entire roasted chicken, a quarter of a watermelon, an entire package of pita chips and four Popsicles.

I'm am now rather satisfied hunger wise and ready for bed. :)

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Carl's Family Triathlon

Out of the gate, I must say that this was the most well organized triathlon I have done to date. Registration was a breeze, there were tons of volunteers for body marking, great lake coverage and course marshalls all over the place. I was really surprised that 3D was involved with this event as I've become less and less enamored with them and their ability to put on a quality event. Being their primary role here was to run timing and awards it worked out great. The YMCA did a superb job with Robert to make it a fun event.

I rolled into the park around 6:30, go my stuff, met up with Kimm, set up the team tent, my transition and was just able to chill for a while before the race. Considering we had a daunting course to ride ahead of us, I was pretty calm. Jo was there with her family and Marian brought out her personal massage therapist, trainer and all around nice husband to help cheer her on for her first tri. The vibe in the team tent was cool, loved having all the support, family and friends around. Kevin Dittmer aka K-Ditty who is primarily a MTB guy came out for some fun today as well. I knew we were evenly matched run and swim, but I'd have a hard time with him on the bike. Little did I know he brought his A race that day.

(Keeping it light before the start)

Afer a bit of warm up we were off, I felt decent on the swim. About 500 meters into it I was passing people again as they couldn't continue the max burn they were running at. Good enough for a 9th out of 30 rank in age group for my swim. My adversary K-Ditty pulled off a 5th, amazing for a guy who has swam once in the past few months.

My transition 1 was sloppy, fumbled with shoes and my wetsuit but I was off and rolling pretty quickly. Right out of the gate you are going up hill, then screaming downhill at 40MPH+. Onto a flat, into the wind, back up to the hill, grind grind grind, more hills, ugh. I actually changed my rear casette to e 12/25 for this race from a 11/23 and I'm glad I did. My legs were pretty fried from it. Bike rank, 4th of 30. K-ditty, rank 2. Dagnabbit!










(Uphill out of the gate, sheesh!)
T2 went a bit better considering my socks were all wet and hard to get on. I lost some time, but I think everyone else did too. On to the run, once again straight into a up-hill out of the gate.

















(Off I go!)

The run was cross country style for half of it, lots of grass areas between paved paths down by the lake. Flats were brief, and the uphill just after the lake was killer. I made the mistake of downing a gel too late into the bike and it was sloshing in my stomach on the run. If I pushed my heart rate past 170 I felt like it was puke time, my run was going to be off and I knew it. I managed to let it out to a mediocre 14 out of 30 rank on the run. K-Ditty 10 of 30. Damn he's a fast dude.

My results were good enough for a 5th in AG, and a 33rd overall. K-Ditty pulled off a 3rd in AG, and a 17th overall. Way to go dittyman!

The biggest success story of the day began in another wave and ended with a smiling Marian crossing the finish line. That day Marian became a triathlete and I couldn't be more proud of her. The amouot of support we give one another on this team is fantastic and days like this.

A big thanks to the family's who came out, to Kimm for the support and tent duty, Jaclyn for volunteering for the event, and to Danielle, Brian and Kevin for coming out to cheer and take photos.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Any race worth doing

Is worth doing right. (And with the right jersey)
















This past weekend was the Boyne Marathon race, which for some reason was totally uninspiring to me. I had a off couple weeks of training, my planned hard workout a week in advance was shelved thanks to a nice downpour and I just didn't feel the burning in my belly to do my best. From forgetting my team jersey to a terrible morning breakfast experiment, I was just off.

Despite the race, the weekend overall was quite enjoyable. Time with Ali, staying at the swanky yurt, hanging with C-mo, Bryce, Erin and the whole Greyhound squad who braved Boyne was fantastic.

Saturday AM it was windy, a bit of light rain was falling and I was already talking myself out of it. My stomach was a bit bloated so I had two cups of coffee, a chocolate bar and half a pack of ghram crackers to get things moving. While it did work, my stomach was now a little pukey feeling and not long afterwards I was crashing from the caffeine and the sugar. The whole time I was eating it I knew it was a bad idea, I just couldn't stop.

Ali and I depart for the race and I'm feeling just lazy and hoping it would just rain so I could sit back, drink beer and watch the others duke it out with the hardest course in lower Michigan. After some bugging by Ali and the team I go and sign up since there was no more rain.

I sign up, put the number on my bike and go to get dressed, crap, forgot my team jersey and ended up wearing my MMBA jersey that looks like our competition. I was still rockin the plaid shorts though. ;)

Clothes are on, I make up my bottle of Cytomax and extra Endurolytes, toss two extra gels in my pocket and confer with Ali on my second bottle that I'll need for lap three.

I do a short warm up, way too short, just feeling like I can hang on just a bit back from the lead and warm up on trail. Stupid.

Soon we are off and going, the two guys who I knew would be pushing the pace did just that, I held back in the middle trying not to feed the frenzy. It worked, but once again I got too lazy. After getting held up by some of the slower guys that got in between us and the fast guys in the group behind that caught up, they just started to pull out of sight without me even noticing it. The boost from the faster guys must have helped them a bit, me I was silly thinking that it's Boyne and there was three laps to get them. Ha!

Lap one goes by and it's hard. There are three sections that are flat out not ridable, you spin your granny like crazy up some serious climbs up the back of a ski hill and enjoy some very fun single track and flowy downhills while your heart is not in your throat and your quads are not on fire. Some time between lap one and two I lost my team mate Phil who I had been pacing with me since the start. At least I get to see a smiling Ali with her encouragement as she helps us all by volunteering at a road crossing. I kinda like not being hit while I race, but I wish she had been feeling well enough to join us.

Soon I was in no mans land. I'd pass a rider now and then, a rider would pass me and I'd get a boost, but I would just settle back in and get lazy. I saw quite a few people hurting and I was too. There was a beginner girl on the trail who looked to be on the verge of tears pushing her bike. I gave her some encouragement, but she just looked completely blank. I still wonder if this was her first race, because the one she chose is like signing up for the rose bowl as your first football game. This is a seriously technical trail that gets really loose in spots. The climbs sap your legs, the white knuckle downhills have you gripping the bars hard. Your hands, wrists, arms and shoulders start to hurt as you keep yourself on the edge of control, it about killed me as a beginner last year. A while after seeing the beginner in blue I was looking at that last major climb and the rocket ride down the cart path to the start/finish line. Over the line I went, Jenny handed me the bottle that Ali prepped for me.

After grinding out lap two I start to get a bit pissed as I'm out there working and I knew that my competition just got out way faster than I did due to my lack of wanting it. While I'm not doing the CPS series for points this year, I'd still like to show up and be the spoiler for two or three races. My shot at spoiling anything was gone and I knew it. I pushed like hell for a while to make up for it, but I realized that it was pointless, I was probably going to be back of the pack on this one.

Around this time I came rolling up on Greyhound Gary who was walking his bike from cramping up. Gary is a super fast rider, but he's never ridden a course that was so difficult and for that length of time. His body was unhappy with the uncharted territory so I rode with him for a while figuring my race was toast. I gave him about half my bottle full of Cytomax and extra Endurolytes. (We passed the bike pushing girl again, ouch!) The drink helped, but he was still cramping. We'd walk a bit, spin easy for a while and after a couple more walking climbs he wouldn't let me hang with him anymore. I felt bad leaving him there, but he told me to get lost, so I did.

Within moments of leaving Gary, Chris came upon me and I knew I had to step it up. I had forgotten about the leaders in my group and how ever many of the rest of them that passed me, but my new goal was to beat Chris. :) After a couple more miles of single track I was nearing the big climb. I had just gotten into a tight gradual downhill when a elite rider came up behind me yelling to move, rider back. I told him I'd get over as soon as it was clear, he's still yelling and yelling. "Let me find a spot, I'm not going to stop or crash for you." Yell, yell, yell "he's right behind me" yell goes the prick from Fraser Bike. I say screw it, hammer my brakes, skid off the side, ruin my momentum and nearly stop inches from a tree so the jerk can pass. Upon doing so I started to yell back, I was just pissed and there was a stream of expletives flowing from my mouth. "Where is that guy who is right behind you dickhead?" "I don't see anyone back there you assfuck." "You must let lap traffic by" he whines. "As soon as it's safe to do so asshole" I yell back. He yells some gibberish back and I just quit. I've never, ever had a passing issue until this guy. While it's my duty to get over for lap traffic and riders in different age groups, it's not my duty to stop or hit a tree in doing so. I was pissed so I hammered and stayed on him, low and behold, 15 yards later there is passing room, 50 yards later it's practically two track. Could be fun in the parking lot later, but he sounded French so I had no real worries other than not wanting a police record or to be kicked out of Fun Promotion events. The best part was just pulling over for the next two guys chasing him and telling them to go get the prick. ;)

Finally, the last climb, just another mile of single track and I'm home free. A few technical turns, a light lean here, a... Thwhump! I lost the front end and just washed out hard with less than a half mile to go in the remaining single track. It hurt, but I got back up and kept going, flew down the cart path and enjoyed rolling through the sprinklers as I hit the finish line at 3:2x. I was certain I was middle of pack at best.

I headed to the tent, grabbed some recoverite, drank more water, had a bagel and let my body try to recover. I washed off with the hose on one of the buildings and it felt fantastic to get the dirt and sweat off my body. The cooling effect was just what I needed.

I was busy grabbing water for Ali when I saw her come walking back to the compound looking tired, she had been on her feet all day long, in the sun keeping us safe.

The funny part was when another Fraser bike guy came up looking for a bottle opener, I was certain it was about to begin, but nothing ever came of it. I popped the top off his beer with a SPD pedal and he went on his merry way.

As it turns out I actually got third place, but missed 1st by about 9 minutes. Bryan Deal had a great race for first, I doubt I was going to keep up with him had I done anything different that day, had I gotten serious with a plan, stuck to it and put my game face on I know that slightly larger cheap second place plaque would be in my cube at work today. :)

No matter what, it was a good weekend and we all survived Boyne despite battered bodies and bikes. Gary made it out of the woods to finish and Phil rode a bike with no rear brake for half the race. Pimpin got even with Boyne after a DNF last year and not a single DNF Greyhound on the list.

I also learned a lot about myself and how I work. From now on, I won't race unless I'm there mentally, the game face goes on the night before and stays there until the race finish.

The rest of the night was a blur, I was totally whipped. Food at the Red Mesa was decent, so was beer on the deck. But nothing felt better than curling up next to Ali for a good nights sleep.

I'll be back for you again next year Mr. Boyne, for now, it's on to carls family Triathlon and Ore 2 Shore!

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Next up, Rats!

So after a month of silence and being left alone by the raccoon, my neighbor told me they saw two rats running into the crawlspace under my house the day before I left for my fun July 4th. Sure enough, as I was loading hte car I saw one go running bay the garage. :(

Great, more four legged folks that aren't going to pay their share of the mortgage so they have to go.

Monday I hit the hardware store, bought some DCON for the garage and a snappy little trap to give it a go.

So far, the snap trap has been triggered twice and nothing. :( No dead carcases in the garage yet either.

Since nothing is working yet, I placed an order for four more aggressive looking traps and a live trap to try and cover more ground. I can actually put the live trap in the crawl space unlike the poison which will only results in a rotting carcass under the house. While I'd love to keep them all alive and re-locate. My problem will become some one else's so I'll feel better just eliminating the disease carrying bastages. Rats raised by hand are cute and fun, rats that start out as pests can't exactly be socialized.

Sorry guys, but I will be unleashing the gauntlet on you next week. >:(

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fun 4th!

What a fun and relaxing long weekend it's been. Skipped out of work early on Wednesday, picked up a cross bike for Ali and headed north.

Thursday to Sunday was half a blur and half just laid back and relaxing, here are a few of the things I learned:

Traverse City near the 4th = nightmare

Manistee + Kayak + Ali = Bliss

Seinfeld makes a cool bee

Bats can squeeze out of some pretty tight places

I can swim a mile with no issues

I need to run more or endure the post 5k pain

You run faster when challenged

Buffalo BBQ is popular stuff at the best 4th in the north

Train tracks for the best view

Train tracks for the worst language

Corn dogs rule

Camping gourmet is tasty, but too hard to clean up

Looking at history makes us all seem temporary

I eat too much sugar

Ali is dangerous with loppers

Naps on summer breezy days = perfection


Ready to serve you next year!

Monday, June 30, 2008

Change

At least it's one I have control of and know I'll be happy with the results. :)










Time to go back to that darn Co-lo, I knew I should have brought the drives home last time.

One more gone!


One less card after today, three months away from debt free?

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Where am I driving home from?

Scene one: Shakey is at his friends house chilling on a Sunday night while on call for work.

Beep Beep Beep!

Shakey: Crap first page of the weekend, I knew I couldn't get off Scott free.

Shakey calls the resolution center to acknowledge the page

Bid's the Vierik's goodnight, heads out to drive hoe and call the customer

Dials phone:

Shakey: Hello is nurse X there?

Customer: This is she, can I help you.

Shakey: Hi I'm Glen with the System Wide Desktop and Network Services department and you called in a P2 about a screen saver that blocking out your stat board. I just want to find out if it runs on a PC at your location or out of the primary data center.

Nurse: I don't know, they logged into it and tired to fix it twice but it still goes on. If a doc needs to push meds or anything critical it's on the board but it's not working.

Shakey: I understand it's important and I want to do everything I can help you get it working again. I'm driving home right not but I'll be home in ten to fifteen minutes where I can look at the issue on a computer and get more background on it.

Nurse: Where are you driving home from?

Shakey: (Scratches head) (Scratches head again) Just from a friends house. (WTF does that have to do with this?) Sigh.......

Nurse: Oh.

Shakey: I'm on call, not at the office.

Nurse: Ooooh. (Sounds snarky)

Shakey: I'll pull up what I can as soon as possible and get this routed properly, but I have a hunch that it's not my system that's doing it.

Nurse: (Sounding less snarky) Ok, it's being doing this for three days and we need to get it fixed.

Shakey: Three days is far too long for something like this, I'll see what I can do to help. If you don't hear from me you should hear from another tech at your site soon. Thanks! Click!


Strange, I've never been asked where I was before while on call. I guess you are supposed to be sitting at home just watching that pager. :)

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Co-lo's and UFO's?

What a day it's been so far. The first part, relaxing, get some stuff down around the house, shake off the mild hangover from last night, take a nap and plan out what is next after the co-lo visit. Co-lo is short for co-location, it's a data center where my friend Brian keeps his servers for The Linux Fix, a hosting business he runs. The co-lo visit was supposed to be short, like a hour to swap drives, copy data, toss new drives in and rebuild a server. Brian would be doing this himself if he were local to the area and not in California being covered in a smoky shroud from all the forest fires.

So the downtime starts at 3:00, I find the new drives that got shipped to the co-lo and the box feels like it has loose bricks in it. Crap, I know that at least one of these is going to have a problem with the terrible packing job. Next the data copy takes two hours, double crap. Hit a Chinese grocery store while waiting and find some good eats, along with a terrible smell and raw shrimp for sale, uncovered right on the check out counter! Go back to the co-lo, get a call that it's taking forever so I take a nap in the back of my car. While waking up I see a spot floating toward a cloud, strange. Ten minutes later I see another spot floating along in the distance, but this one is reflective. Area 51 or a mylar balloon? My guess, there is a three year old crying that his balloons are gone. :)

The copy is now done, but only one out of three of the new drives work. Triple crap. Next, I didn't mark what drive came from what slot and server. Quadruple crap! Figure out which drive is Slot 0 for each server, cool we are rolling. Bleep bleep, cell phone battery dies. Crap to the eighth power! One array is now rebuilding fine, the other server is however not happy. I arrive home at 7:30, grab my phone charger, toss a spare battery in it and call Brian. His power is flashing on and off now, probably due to the fires that are starting to surround hi town in Northern Cali.

So now I await the call to drive back to Troy, hopefully Brian has power and isn't a crispy piece of bacon. My prayers go out to everyone in Northern California, 40,000 acres just burning away as I type.

Sunday, June 22, 2008

Behind

Two major fun events and no posts about them, that will change tomorrow. But for now it's time to pack the commuter bag and get some sleep after a hell of an exciting, fun yet some how still relaxing weekend.

Tomorows post will include a little swim, bike and run action on Belle Isle, elk, 25 miles of rugged single track, various turtles, coyotes, whippoorwills, campfires, new friends, good stories, a 911 call and a early morning downpour. It's been an interesting past couple weekends. :)

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Ready!

For Sunday's Motor City Triathlon on Belle Isle. Today I did a 1400m swim with ease since I didn't ride my bike first. I ran all the way back to the parking lot and got 30 miles in on the bike. Those swims after a 12 mile bike ride were hard as I had used up too much gas, today it just felt natural.

Bring it on!

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Satisfaction

Satisfaction perfectly sums up what I was feeling on my ride home from work today. There I was zipping along the I275 bike path at 19+ MPH watching the same cars drive next to me or fall behind. That's right, today I was beating traffic on the freeway. While on any other day you know they are going to be flying by like I'm standing still, I love moments like this because when people see a bike going faster than they are on the freeway, it may make something click in their heads that it may be worth trying to ride to work. Well that and the fact it's just cool to ride faster than cars on the expressway. :) As a added bonus, I blew away my best commute time ever by over a minute. Next up, a 29 minute commute. :)

Upon arriving home I quickly tossed on the running shorts and shoes and headed out the door for a quick two miles to get at least one brick workout in before my first tri of the season which is on Sunday. You know, I'd probably do a lot better at these things if I ran more, just wish my body would let me do it.

On a sad note, my Zipps are all ready to go, but carbon brake pads are something I was not able to aquire. :( No aero wheels for me at Belle Isle, but I'll still take a high rank in the bike even if I look like an invalid on the run. :)

Two more days to train, a day of rest, then show time!

Monday, June 2, 2008

A win and a win!

What a great first race back to the cross country race scene this weekend. Hanson Hills and Fun Promotions were hosting the third race in the MMBA CPS series, since Ali was planing on racing it I figured I may as well show up and block for a team mate or two. Since I wasn't really in the series for points I didn't plan on racing it hard, but that plan changed when we all toed the line.

I took a nice easy spin for 15 minutes or so along with a couple hard pumping sprints for a warm up and then it was off down a quarter mile of two track until we hit the single track and first climb. In my previous season of cross country racing I'd go for the hole shot and just beat myself to a pulp the entire race, it didn't always work and got me lots of second place finishes. This time since I was still not out for blood I decided to let the leaders settle in and battle for a while and get them after a climb or two if I felt up to it.

Soon we were off, I took my place near the back of the pack and just kept the leaders in sight at about 20 mike lengths. Once we were a mile or two in I could see them start to open up a bit, so I started to grind out a little harder to keep them from getting away. I don't even remember passing the first couple guys, but they were behind me now and I was slowly shaving away at the guys in front. I could hear people getting closer and I took a peek back to see the next age group getting close, so I picked off another right after a climb and got on the tail of the final two guys. After another quarter mile I made it past rider #2, but the Flying Rhino in front was not letting me catch him. I was getting closer and closer staying about four to six bikes back just keeping pressure on The pressure finally worked and he slid wide on a sharp right hander and I slipped by. I could hear the fast guys from the next age group approaching so I let a couple by and just worked at getting that purple and white jersey further and further behind me.

For the next two miles I was still breathing hard, my legs were not really burning, but my lungs needed help. Every time I'd look back the purple jersey was getting further into the distance. I was passing the slower guys from the group ahead and every time a guy behind me would approach I'd ask their age before making it easy to pass. Finally I had some reprieve from the Rhino so I could grab my bottle and get some nutrition in my body. I had a lap and a half to go and I knew I needed to start getting the calories in quickly.

The rest of the ride was just trying to pace off the faster older guys and keep any 30 to 34 year olds from sprinting past. I had some fun riding with Tom from Fraiser bike and Chris Torrance from my team. We went back and fourth a couple times, but eventually they wheeled away again. All the focus on hanging with them on lap two let me forget about my carbs and calories and I was starting to crash. I gulped down the last quarter of my Cytomax bottle along with some water and I was perking up again a couple minutes later. I decided to grab my emergency gel and suck down half of it as I had not seen the bridge yet and wanted to keep it going though my whole body was telling my it wanted to be done at this point.

Some time around the bridge I passed Chris again, he was looking pretty rough, this is the only time I've ever been able to hang close to his times.

Finally, the two track lead out to gravity hill, or back to today's new challenge up the back side of the ski hill. While it's rough and bumpy right now, I LOVE this section of trail. I bombed it pretty well, missed the first board walk again, but hit the second and granny geared it to the top of the climb to be rewarded with the most fun finishing chute ever!

Soon my team mate Phil was rolling in after me, he snuck by everyone on his single speed, way to go Phil! I was pretty sure that I had a first or second, but some guys that passed me never gave and age so I was worried. I ignored the results for a while.

A few minutes after I finished Ali came bombing down the last hill into the chute, a first place finish for her! (her write up here)

The final results? First place in my first sport race, and a first for Ali as well. Talk about a nice way to come back to cross country after deciding to hang out in the endurance and tri world for a season.




















The second win of the weekend? No more coon! Apparently the light in the crawlspace was the last straw. I have been coon free for four days now and I'm actually sleeping pat 6:00 again. :) It's going to be a good week!

Thursday, May 29, 2008

Sleep!

Talk radio + light + mothballs = no raccoon for a night!

I was actually able to get seven hours of sleep last night, my buddy seems to have either stayed in for the night or has taken off to never return. I actually stepped out the door very apprehensively this AM expecting to be accosted by a masked bandit wearing little brass knuckles for being such a home wrecker. Luckily my adversary was no place to be found, but I'll be watching my six and keeping my fingers crossed. Something tells me I have not seen the last of my squatter.

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Let there be light!

Shock and awe phase three has begun, mrs. coon is going to love her new lighting in the crawlspace.

Day two and a new idea

Last night's trapping attempt was fruitless, something had stolen the bait and left the trap empty by 11:00 at night. I re-baited and set the trap but it ws undisturbed this AM.

I however was not left undisturbed, the raccoon was indeed back and romping around in the wall again. A couple good knocks on the access panel shut her up long enough for a little more sleep, but nothing of quality.

So this morning I was thinking about how dark it was under the house and in the wall. She stumbles around and finds her way to the same place every morning in the dark, and seems to like it. What if I were to light up the crawlspace like Las Vegas on Christmas eve? I know that if I were nocturnal I'd hate living in bright place that had shitty top 40 playing all day and smelled like moth balls.

After some googling, apparently I'm on the right track:

http://blogs.salon.com/0001772/stories/2004/04/06/theRaccoonStories.html

So I need to switch out the top 40 for Rush Limbaugh. If I had to listen to any pundit for hours on end I'd either leave or shoot myself as well. I'll change the station up for day three if needed.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Sonic warfare




So my under-house buddy was back this morning around 5:30, bumping into things and creating a ruckus. It's actaully starting to crack me up a bit as it reminds me of my early 20's. Stay out late, party, come stumbling home, sleep all day on Saturday and go out to do it again the next night.

Unfortunately Mr. Nocturnal is in direct conflict with my sleeping habits so I'm trying a new idea before just shooting the bastard.

Before I left today I took a bookshelf stereo and pointed the speakers at the wall by the bathtub that he likes to hang out in. Just before leaving the house I turned it on, cranked the volume a bit and walked out. he stole precious sleep from me, I shall do the same to him.

Tonight the live trap goes under the house, we'll see how well it works.

Monday, May 26, 2008

31 years and a thanks

This Saturday marked the 31st year after having been given birth at good old Providence hospital in Southfield Michigan. To celebrate my 31st it was road trip time to Northport to camp and to watch the Tour De Leelenau come storming through Northport and various other cities north west of Traverse City.

Saturday night we camped in Northport with Erin and Bryce. We had fantastic campfire food, a couple beverages and proceeded to freeze as it got chilly that night. Sunday started sunny and warm, but got cold and overcast, we packed up the camp sites and it soon began to rain. Scrap the plan of riding into Northport to watch the race, we drove to Suttons bay and watched there and at the finish line instead. The finish was amazing, those guys were sprinting 22MPH+ up a giant hill at the end of nearly 110 miles of riding, incredible!

Today was a relaxed morning and a triple loop of Hanson Hills before I had to roll south on I75 sharing the southbound lanes with half the population of metro Detroit. The first two loops were great, loop # three had my legs feeling like lead as I did a near time trial pace loop for #2. Overall the third was still worth it, gotta keep the base alive for Ore To Shore. And if I'm feeling stupid enough, perhaps the Boyne Marathon.

On a final note, I'd just like to officially thank all the vets and those lost to preserve my freedoms so that I can enjoy not just memorial day weekend, but every weekend in my lifetime. I'm truly blessed to live in such a great country and I owe it to every man and woman who puts on a uniform to protect this country.

Friday, May 23, 2008

He's baaaaack


So this morning I'm sound asleep and I wake up from a bit of noise which I attribute to an animal drinking out of the beer bucket I left on the back porch filled with water for cleaning. An hour later I'm woken up by something that sounded like it was ready to crawl into bed with me!

I could hear some type of critter scaling the inner wall of my house up around the pipes and into the open space around the bath tub. While pulling the access cover off the pipes and proceeding to go hand to hand crossed my mind, I figured the ensuing bloodbath would end up with me getting rabies shots and having a hell of a mess to clean up. Clearly this was a wise choice as the moth balls seem of little deterrence, either this animal has no sense of smell or he's a badass capable of defeating my weak LAN geek fighting skills.

Unless the elusive acrobatic climbing skunk has found my crawlspace habitat I'm pretty certain I'm dealing with just a raccoon so a live trap and a drive down the road to the park should be all I need to address this one. Then up goes the razor wire over all the access points.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Still alive

The melting moth balls have yet to kill me, but for some reason my sinuses have never been more clear...

Great day today! Commuted via bike, transfered the fat tire ale clone wort in to the big carboy and I got out for the ride of silence. I'm already up to 378 miles for the month of May and my legs and lungs feel great. Time to hit the pool at least twice a week and get ready for the Motor City Triathlon.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Moth Balls

According to howstuffworks.com, these little beauty's contain napthalene and my favorite, paradichlorobenzene. They kill moths and larvae via the fumes they produce, it's best to put the clothes you wish to protect in a sealed container to maximize concentration and limit your exposure as both chemicals are not exactly good for you. Good thing I read up on this before I decided to dump two boxes worth in the crawl space of my house!


Yep, two boxes of moth balls have been spread wildly underneath
my house in an effort to rid my domicile from what ever creature took up residence underneath it.

Last night at 2:30 in the morning I awoke to what I thought was something or some one at my back door. Out came the super retina blaster 5000 flashlight and other protection and I just waited. It got really quiet and I heard nothing and figured it must have been an animal on the porch or the wind was kicking up. Not quite, the wind was still as can be and nothing was in the backyard. Then suddenly I heard something under my feet hitting the duct work, damn near made me jump once again.

I have no clue of exactly what creature is down there, but I knew that moth balls will rid attics of squirrels and raccoons and skunks hate them too so tossing a few under a deck is a good thing. It was that or break out the .22, piss off the neighbors, break some laws and perforate my duct work and plumbing at the same time, being a more modern redneck, this will be my last approach.

So today on my lunch break I hit the hardware store and got two boxes of stinky little white balls to do my dirty work instead of Ruger. Just before I left for my Tuesday night ride I dumped some in all the foundation vents and tossed an entire box in the access hatch area. Being outside, the smell didn't seem like much and I was worried that it may not work.

Upon arriving home I was greeted with the smell of one of grandma's garment bags when I opened the door. The fumes were/are overwhelming and I am now unhappily heating the outdoors as I refuse to close the open windows as I fear all my brain cells are going to fry and all my possessions are going to smell like grandma and grandpas attic.

If nobody hears from me tomorrow it's because I inflicted death upon myself for a sake of using a humane way of driving off what ever occupant has begun to squat in my crawlspace. You know, the Ruger and leaky pipes smells like a much better idea at this point. Fines are cheaper than cancer any day.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

73.7 Miles and 12 hours of smiles

This Saturday marked my first race this season having decided to stick to endurance mountain bike events and triathlons this summer. While my knee has been iffy and my training a little less than I wished it was, Dirty Picasso Girl and I decided to do a two person, 12 hour team for the 6/12 hours of Addison Oaks.

We arrived at Addison later than we wanted to thanks to a freeway detour that had us taking side roads up through Royal Oak and Birmingham and the long drive down Rochester road felt like it was taking forever, but we finally made it.

We found the team compound being setup, dropped off the food goods for the day, got registered and started getting ready. After the announcements I had about six minutes to get ready for the first lap. Luckily I had some of my gear on, so I got back to the start with one minute to spare.

The first lap wasn't too bad, lots of being passed, but I was out there for 12 hours so I didn't plan on winning it in the first lap. First strange sight of the day, half a squirrel with the tail still moving. First feeling of my newly stans'd tubeless tire loosing pressure.

Got back in, handed off to DPG and she rolled out and I filled my tubeless tire, shook it all around and it seemed to be sealed up so I decided to run with it still. This turned out to be a bad idea as it started to deflate a third of the way into my second lap. Pulled out the inflater, shot some C02 in it, went to pull off the inflater and out came the valve stem with it resulting in a flatter than flat tire. Luckily I had another co2, I screwed the inflater back in, stuck the new c02 cartridge in the inflater, shot air in the tire and then left the inflater head on the wheel and pulled the co2 off. Hole plugged, but it was ugly. I managed to ride almost all the way out and only had to run the last 1/4 mile on that lap.

Back at the compound I went back to my old setup and put a tube equipped wheel and tire on, back in business and ready to rock. DPG came in and I went out for a double, almost hitting a cat at the top of the fence climb! I was starting to feel the flow of the trail, but my legs were letting me know how under trained I was. DPG went out for the next double and I did one more at which time we switched to singles for the duration.

The next couple laps felt hard, I didn't have good recovery food back at the compound, I had to do something different so I tried some endurolytes, sure enough, my kick was back. At this point I was feeling the flow, I knew every shift point on the trail, but I was flopping down into granny gear for the last climb to save my legs. Both us and the other 12 hour team had an even lap count and we had to keep going even if my mind was ready to settle for drinking beer at the compound. :) Lap #9, that damn cat is back running right up the middle of the trail where myself and a 12 hour solo rider we hitting out brakes and laughing our asses of how this cat was out playing with everyone today. We both looked up in time to see a deer bound off into the woods, it was a cool race for seeing nature, but that cat probably lost a life or two that day. :)

As the night fell the cooler temps really helped us turn it up, my last two laps were great and I was able to push as hard as I was in the morning, the potato and endurolyte combo really worked for recovery. The second to the last lap in partial day light was in the 35 minute range, I was astounded, but the coolest part of the race was taking off in complete darkness with only my headlamp and the moon behind me. I got to the top of the first two track climb and started to spin when I noticed a bat flying along in front of me, guiding my way down the corridor of trees. He flapped and bobbed back and fourth fairly erratically and I chased after him until he pulled off just before the fun downhill at the gate. As the moon was huge and bright I kept looking back thinking it was another rider, but I never saw another soul on the last solo run. I was more timid in the downhills and missed some of the features I used as land marks for the twisty navigation, but still did ok.

Upon getting back in I found DPG waiting for me at the timing booth, we won! Well at least we thought we won, turns out we were actually a lap down. :( Even so, we made amazing accomplishments that day. Together we rode 134 miles of mostly single track, we never both took a break at the same time for the over 12 hours of riding. We gave it our all, I made a personal single track mileage record and had a blast doing it. A huge thanks to Cycle To Fitness and the Greyhounds crew!

We'll be passing on Boyne next weekend in favor of viewing the Tour de Leelanau, however the 12 hours of Ithaca seems to be calling.

Monday, May 5, 2008

Stick a fork in it

I'm done! With...... my fork!

Sitting over at Cycle to Fitness is a shiny new Rock Shox SID with 100MM travel to almost perfectly match the axle to crown of the worn out Headshok on the Cannondale. I'll gain some travel, adjustability and have a fork that doesn't leak down. I could have just rebuilt it, however my procrastination got me on this one. Race season is here and I can't afford the downtime.

To offset some of the weight I'll be adding I'll finally be going tubeless on the rear with my Stans crow and there is a nice new Juicy Ultimate rear brake waiting for me too. :)

So tomorrow becomes a build day, good thing I got in 6 miles of road to and from and two 10 mile loops at the tree farm tonight.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

CSI - Traverse City

This weekend when visiting DPG I noticed a post card from one of her area bike shops advertising a big sale, but what caught my eye was the seriousness of it. The photo in the corner, so dark and dramatic. The folks there look like they are ready to solve any bike problem or mystery.








Obviously the marketing guy has been watching a little too much TV lately, the uncanny appearance reminds me of.









Or maybe Bob Mclain's true passion is solving crimes and bringing bad people to justice. Either way, not a bad bike shop despite the over dramatic look.

Overall, a great weekend in the north. Two laps of VASA, beer, shots, live music, a bad karaoke solo show, boss hog, dueling guitars, perfect omolettes, sunny walks, relaxing naps, family visits and a ladder climbing cat. I couldn't have asked for a more fun and relaxing time with DPG.

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

What a difference

A few hours can make.

This was the morning commute:
(31 degrees)












This was the afternoon:
(58 Degrees)












Note the lack of tights, jacket, balaclava, booties, etc. Of course you can see my ever fashionable geeky pager. :)

Unfortunately instead of being out riding more enjoying the great weather, I'm stuck at home doing work so I can get enough hours in to take off early on Friday. It's all good though as I can finally swim again! If it rains tomorrow you can find me back in the pool moving about as fast as a manatee.

On another note, the Headshok on the mountain bike is looking more like a Deadshok these days as it has an aversion to holding air. Rather than rebuild it, I'm going unconventional and trying a 100mm travel SID and Double XC headset to make it fir the large headtube. Finishing off the package will be some cheapo stem, but the rear brake will be getting a Juicy Ultimate upgrade to match the front.

Just in time for the Addison 12 hour????

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Rest time!

The past three days have me feeling like I've been cramming for a test, a test that just does not exist at this time so a couple days rest it is.

WTF am I talking about, three days of riding, three intense workouts, only one that was a easy pace. Wait a minute, three days, four rides? Yepper, I did my first commute via bike on Wednesday. The ride in was perfect, the first two miles of the return trip were into a 30 MPH wind so I decided to just give it an all out effort for the entire trip home, after turning east it was 20+ MPH all the way to my door. :) Not the smartest thing after the Tuesday Night Worlds ride out of Cycle to Fitness. :)

Today was a hard ride as well, I learned I'm not ready to keep up with an expert level rider after four months of not doing a whole lot. The first eight miles were groovy, 22+ average on the BMC, but I blew up on a hill and it was over, I could barely muster anything after that. Next time I'll get a better warm up and give Mark a better run for his money.

All in all a great day still, got to ride with my tri peeps, saw Greyhound Jeff at ILRA and probably close to another hundred cyclists today. Spring is here, the grass is getting green and my legs are getting a break.

Back at it on Sunday!

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Woah!


I had no clue I was on the weather channel. It's true, the camera does add 20 lbs. :)



20 miles tonight at a mild pace, will start turning up the intensity next week!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Bike journal is no longer blank!

Wednesday 3/12 for hill repeats and yesterday was a super fun Sunday morning ride of just over 25 miles with the gang from Cycle to Fitness. We rolled out on Hines, looped through Northville via the five mile road hill and down Sheldon to seven mile.

I'm starting to feel like a slacker though, we had a young guy show up on a mountian bike with a slick on the front that proceeded to keep up with the damn pace line. Granted we were only rolling at 17.5 to 18 MPH, but he hung tough with the front chain ring stuck in the middle and was just spinning away.

Cargo shorts, check. Tennis shoes, check. No front dérailleur, check. Keeping up with the mild pace roadies, no problem. That guy was impressive, hopefully he buys a road bike and we can get him on the Greyhounds.

What the ride told me is that I need to get back on the stick, charging up the five mile hill took more effort than I remember from last year. I expect part of it to come back quickly, but I can't wait for those super long base building rides that I need a few of right now.

Monday, March 3, 2008

I rode!

My first outside ride since getting hit by a car on November 13th of 2007. Sure it was only a mile back to my house from the mechanics doing an alignment on my car, but it was a ride none the less.

Everything is melting in Southeastern Michigan right now and the temps are perfect, unfortunately the big puddles of water make speed undesirable so I took it easy to keep dry. I'm so excited, the outdoor rides will begin on a much more regular basis in just a couple weeks!

Sunday, March 2, 2008

The shoulder

Beware of the pics, contents potentially graphic, don't enlarge if you don't like blood. :)

So far today I'm in awe at my progress after the surgery on Thursday.

Yesterday DPG and I removed the bandages and pulled the 6" long tube from the pain pump out, fascinating as I was expecting to feel all kinds of tugging and weirdness when it was removed, but there was absolutely no trace of it at all as it just glided right out.

First, the bandages:













Next, the removal:













Pain pump entry:













Pain pump tube:













Right now I can't really lift heavy object high at all, but I can roll over on the shoulder and my range of motion is coming back quickly. I can lift my arm to a 90 degree angle with minimal pain. To express my delight I showed DPG I could do the chicken dance with my new healthy shoulder, some how she was not very impressed. ;)

Friday, February 29, 2008

My tribute to the Who

Shakey has a squeeze ball that hangs from his wrist.

It's pumping in meds because his shoulder's pissed.

And the pain is alright, with the Vicoden in sight.

Shakey has a squeeze ball just so he can sleep at night.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Scalpel!

The day has come! Tomorrow morning I "go under the knife" to pull that pesky piece of broken floating cartilage out from my shoulder as well as clean up the rest of the rough spots and any scar tissue that has formed. Given how my shoulder has been ever so slowly getting better I don't think the dreaded slap repair will be needed, but we'll see.

Tomorrow morning I'll be waking up at the bright and early hour of 5:30 to get ready for the fun. To be honest, I'm kinda worried about being the first person in line. I have visions of the doc spilling his piping hot Starbucks on me while trying to get his body to wake up as he pokes at me with his scope. Second or third would have been my favorite spot to be in. The doc would have finished his Java by then and it would still be too early to be thinking about lunch and his rumbling belly. God forbid you are the last one of the day to hit the table, he's already checked out thinking about that martini at happy hour.

I'll be looking for those tell tale burn marks when I come to from surgery.

Monday, February 25, 2008

Getting cranky


Today I was reminded that while people may be trying to be helpful by taking over a task you would like to complete yourself it can be totally frustrating. What some people see as fumbling along is really just the result of not having done something before or it's just been a long time since the last time you did it.

While in the past I've managed to swap engines, transmissions, rebuild and replace cylinder heads, overhaul suspensions and done dozens of much easier tasks on automobiles and trucks, today I was denied a wrench for a much easier task on something that belonged to me.

While I may hesitate for a moment or begin making the task harder than it needs to be, give me 30 seconds, I'll figure it out. People tend to forget what kind of background you have when you are a computer geek by trade. They have not seen you crewing at a SCCA or ALMS race. They haven't seen the custom exhaust systems you fabricated, the coil over suspensions you adapted to your vehicle, the custom turbo inlets or the rest of the work you have done from simple fab work to wrenching on a half a million dollar race car prepping it for a 12 hour race.

So this was reminder for next time I'm helping a person with a project or bump in to someone working on something. I'll offer my help, but ultimately it's up to them to ask for it rather than me forcing it upon them. No matter how good ones intentions are, the resulting tension usually sucks the satisfaction out of the job. If I've done it to you in the past, please feel free to slap me upside the head. Just remove any tools, knives or blunt objects from your hand first. :)

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Clear skies


Communication, birthday Scott's and snow monsters seems to be the formula for the perfect weekend.

Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Prime time


Day number two, coat number two.

I've been looking around my house at things that need to be accomplished before I can put it up on the market and am trying to get together a list of priorities to get done. Right now I'm starting off on the simple and cheap, well at least the relatively simple as you don't know what you are getting into every time until you have both feet in.

Right now I'm prepping for a fresh coat of paint in the kitchen and the utility room. Unfortunately that includes priming or fully replacing the wall board where there was water damage from an incorrectly installed roof that I patched this sumer. The past two nights I've applied a coat of the wonder primer Killz to the trouble spots and they still seep through a bit, but it's becoming less. I'll give it another shot tomorrow to see if it's effective or if I'll be sawing out sections of my ceiling and doing patches.

The area over the washer and dryer are going to need the most attention, I'm not looking forward to working over the wash tub either, but it's going to need to look pretty and clean to sell.

So I'm committing to working on the house at least four days a week until it's presentable enough to put on the market. The two big ticket items I'm saving for last, living room carpet and redoing the back roof.

Anyone know a roofer that will work for home brew? :)