Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Killing Time

Here are a few things I listened to in the car this week. (maybe it will keep you off your cell phone)

See you out there.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

All In?

I'm not one to go around quoting Hemingway, but I like this particular quote.

"Always do sober what you said you'd do drunk. That will teach you to keep your mouth shut." -Ernest Hemingway

In that vein, I'm going to do a marathon that I didn't train for. No, I wasn't drinking when I signed up. Here is some of what I've gone through.


  • My wife, brother-in-law, neighbors across the street are all doing it. (see also, If your friends jumped in the lake....) (note, I haven't done the polar plunge, yet).
  • I did Ironman for land sakes. This won't be easy, but I know how to suck it up and get through something.
  • Last time I signed up for Lakefront marathon, I got mono. This would be the second "no show" for me, with much less of an excuse.
  • Today, I ran 90 minutes just to see how it's gonna feel. I won't be breaking any land speed records. I feel there is a good chance I'll lumber through it just fine.
  • I signed up. Period.
  • I do not want to appear to disrespect the distance or those who really trained for it.
  • There is a possibility this is stupid and I could hurt something (me).
  • I didn't want to just "do" a marathon and walk it in. This is also a very possible outcome.
  • WEMS Muir is Saturday. What can I say, that race is calling me. I even have a wild hair temptation to try to do both. And, yeah, I know how that sounds.

What happened? I was all starry-eyed for Chequamegon. I didn't run much. Sure, normal life got in the way too. I'm starting to think October is a bad month for me and marathons. August - October is when I most feel like biking. If I want to run it's when the weather goes south.

See you out there Sunday!!


This guy is responsible for getting me to do more "fun" stuff on a bike than I can list. Stuff I would done, but maybe not talked myself into. Stuff that had I known, I wouldn't have done, but then later he said "when I say 'easy', you knew to double it and add 30, right?". But now I look back (alive) and smile about all of it.

Need I say more.

Welcome to the blog-o-sphere TmonT.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Random Bike Links

How many of these did you click on today?

Yehuda Moon

Fat Cyclist

Interbike Blog

Milwaukee 29er Bike Builds

Some people even post pictures of bike riders

Riding the Vuelta with Astana - I'm afraid to read most of this. If I do, I might end up riding around Europe some time over the next few years.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Catching Back up Since Fat Tire

I'm signed up for this marathon. I talked my wife and brother-in-law into it. My neighbors are doing it. It's a party. Hard to argue with that kind of fun.

Now, recall for a minute that I have been doing last minute cramming for some mountain bike race that was last Saturday.

When I singed up for all this, "everything looked so easy after the Ironman" (in the tone of Smitty talking about the K2 in Better Off Dead). Yet, here I am having not run a lick in what seems like weeks (OK, is weeks and seems like months). I guess a marathon three weeks after fat tire 40 is harder than it looks. Or it'd be more fair to say, more than I could commit to in this carefree post-ironman training year.

I'm hearing a good bit of, "but JWM you can muster up and do this." Which, of course, I can. The question is, at what price? Never mind that I'm just digging biking right now.

Add to this, I'm sure I have some kind of virus since fat tire. No not the psychosomatic kind. The sinus infection, sore muscle kind. I've also been dropping weight like no tomorrow this week. My guess is not from the virus, but a decompression from my week of "free, good food in Chicago" otherwise known as "how much weight can JWM gain in five days?"

(insert JWM weight tip of the week.. oatmeal for breakfast. oatmeal for lunch (not cause you like oatmeal, but it's laying around work and you're out of pocket cash), then a "reasonable" dinner) By Wednesday you're pretty ready for some Oakland Gyros or other protein infused meal.

I told my loyal fans and now you, if I drop silly weight without getting sick by the marathon then I'm in. If I have to kill 200+ lbs on my knees then I'm thinking "see you at the cyclocross races." One "loyal fan" has already promised me a list of runner's maladies which can only be cured by cycling.

Pretty well caught up.. I didn't mention oncall at work, because it's been pretty good so far. Minus the page I was working on a few minutes ago.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Two of My Favorite Things

Mix up Linux and cycling and what do you get?

Did I mention my 305 frizted after recording my 77mph downhill at Chequamegon?

No new toys for a while now.  And data certainly not first on my list.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Empirical Analysis of Fun

Graphs are just numbers on a chart. This one is elevation (in green) and speed (in blue) vs distance in my race (x-axis). Here we see my elevation and speed between mile 5 and 6 of the Chequamegon Fat Tire 40.

Notes :

  • At point A, my elevation is at an all time low while my speed is about 33 mph on a grassy trail.
  • At point B, my recorded speed is 77 mph. I do not know how my Garmin could have known that I felt like I was going 77 mph. I certainly wasn't traveling 77 mph.
  • The elevation around C should not be represented by a flat line. There was clearly a 27" hole in the ground here. I know the hole was 27" because if I'd had a 29er, I'm certain my fear of front wheel magnet syndrome would have been unfounded. Also, I'm not sure, but did I see the Gary Fisher marketing department out there digging that 27" hole so I'd be more encouraged to get a 29er? Probably not. It's more likely I just imagined that.
  • I did clear the hole and probably rubbed the rear wheel on my shorts in the process. I managed to keep the shorts clean, miraculously. Perhaps it was all in my imagination.
But still 77 mph??


Chequamegon - From a Beginner's View

The overall was, "Wow!" I had a great time.

Yesterday morning was race day. I woke up a bit before 8 a.m. Wasn't much feeling like breakfast. Also, I felt like my week of "not enough sleep" was catching up with me. I'm sure I was getting a cold. I had half a free organic bar and some Advil / Sudafed (this would be incredibly abnormal for me). I drank a bunch of water and just sat there for a while. Not long after I grabbed my bike and headed down to the start line. I tossed my "post race" bag in the pile and lined up in the back. I was next to Rick, Bubba and a couple of other dudes that wanted to stay out of the press for security reasons. Also, there was some guy that clearly had escaped from somewhere. He was riding what appeared to be the next wave in mountain biking, a 36er. That thing looked like it would kill on the downhills!

Before I knew it, the canon went of and we were rollin'. I got a few unsolicited pushes from the geared dudes. I was cold at the start line so I spun out something serious gettin' warmed up. Turns out that we hit the grass with 38 miles to go and I was gonna need some of that energy if I was to make the rest of the way. Blown up, I wavered back and forth between "uphill mode" and "recovery mode". It all evened sometime later.

Here are the (low)/highlights (in no particular order):

  • Yeah there were some bad mamajama downhills. One of which I gave in and just rolled at max velocity. The bad news is I notice that crater at the bottom kinda late-ish. I did my best beginner's butt-scrapes back tire impersonation. Miraculously, I lived.
  • Another proud moment was when I cleared a downhill that many were walking down. I followed some obviously capable women down a rocky, eroded decent. Picture said same newbie butt scrapes tire move. If you really want to be in the moment, my back brakes were squealing like no tomorrow. I made it all the way to the sand at the bottom. (the lost the battle to the sand).
  • I cleared some uphills that I didn't think I would on my single speed.
  • I walked some I thought I would make. Note, I was gaining on / keeping up with the bikes on these uphills.
  • I made it through all but one mud puddle.
  • My downhill mud slide really had a chance to improve significantly.
  • All the "really scary" stuff is well marked. And "really scary" isn't that bad. But the first time you go through, you don't really know what you're in for.
  • My back ached, but I had my 50 oz of water and a bunch of clothing in case my drugs didn't work and I ended up on the side of the trail shivering in the fetal position.
  • With 5 miles to go, it DUMPED rain. The road opened up and the rain didn't effect me too much at this point.
  • With 2 miles to go, it was back on the grass. This was ugly in the rain. Even on the non-existent flats, I couldn't move well. Lots of hopping off and running/walking.
  • At some point, I could smell the brats and I knew I was there.
  • Woohoo!
  • My unoffiical donut hole number is 10.. +/- 2%. For those not there, I'd hate to see the donuts these came from.. They were rather large.
Post race it was still dumping rain. I had a hard time finding my family and my core temp was going south quick. I ran into the monTs and stayed warm in the lodge for a bit. Then I knew I had to make an effort to look for the car/kids/wife. I found 'em. They got me a piece of pie from the Norske Nook. MMMMMMMM!! Good!

Later it was pizza at Coop's. Though I didn't see Coop. We hit the pool back at the hotel. I think hot tub/cold pool variations on the legs did some good. But I'm still sore today.

See y'all out there!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

One Last Night

One last night in the windy city. I don't think I can call Cheesecake Factory carbo-loading. But I had a nice walk up there and back.

See you all at the Fat Tire Fest. Anyone want to take a stab at the over/under on LA showing up, fresh out of retirement? Oops. I guess I'll take the under.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Chequamegon Checklist

When I get home, I'll need to grab my stuff and head north. I thought I might take today to pre-think this up. I like to hit the ground running or I will forget my shoes.

  • Bike - Pre-lubed and set to go.
  • Helmet - ANSI/DOT/whatnot certified.
  • Shoes - the pedals are on the bike, no shoes would be bad.
  • All the bike clothes I own. Why not? Who knows what the weather could be? See: arm warmers, gloves, jacket, shorts, jersey, etc.
  • Eye wear - especially important when 1699 others might kick up some dirt on you.
  • C-back.. OK, I'm going to severely modify how I load it up. But I'm thinking I will still bring the m.u.l.e.
  • Tools - one must have a tremendous set of tools when they are 7 hours from home racing participating in a mountain bike festival.
  • Other clothes.. Freeing myself from the shackles of work clothes and taking some comfy after race attire will be the highlight of my packing experience. (maybe not, but comfortable attire sounds great right now)
  • I could not pick up any brown bike shorts for hiding my decent fear output.. Black will have to suffice.
Maybe I will bring a spotted cow. After this weekend, work sounds like it's going to get a bit ugly. I might as well relax to the fullest with a beer.

See you all out there. Good luck, and if you see Mr Brown shorts.. Go easy on him.

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

More Fat Tire Prep

No. No prep really. Just a walk up around Navy Pier, and stopped off for some pizza at Giordano's.

I'd have some neat-o pics of some sails, but my camera/laptop interface seems to be back home.

As for prep, I should spend some time meditating on what's going to go down when it all goes down. It will be a quick, late ride up. One day working in the windy city, the next barreling down some big hill I've never seen with 1699 other crazy folks.

Perhaps Thursday I will setup for some reflection here.

Monday, September 08, 2008

Gearing up for Chequamegon

With few resources pre-fat tire 40, I set off for a run up to Navy Pier and back, last night. Today, I had a great Guinness and a shepherd's pie.

I miss having not brought my bike with me. It will be crazy enough getting back north by race time.

Given a few minutes, I may seek a local bike shop and peruse.

I'm doing my best to stay hydrated and get good sleep.

I nearly ran into McCain today, but beaucoup security prevented me from doing so. I did hear the cheering though.

Saturday, September 06, 2008

Greased, Lubed, Doped. Ready.

I adjusted the bike. I cleaned and lubed the chain. I re-adjusted the brakes. I took apart the bottom bracket and copper dope lubed it. It's gonna hang wet and ready to leave for Chequamegon this week while I work my fingers to the bones. When I grab her Friday and head North, she'll be ready.

I did my best to find some brown bike shorts for the harrowing descents, black will have to suffice.

See you out there!

Side note: Ironman Wisconsin is tomorrow. Good luck to all you participants. I hope you have a great day out there!

Monday, September 01, 2008

Post WEMS, Pre-Chequamegon

Getting the kids ready for school. The boy got his first bee sting today. He was a trooper.

Since WEMS Stump farm, I haven't given in. On the road every day since, and hard down at night sleeping. I'll ease up significantly next week. But I'm going to make it hurt this week. (It already does).