Wednesday, October 14, 2009

All This Talk of CX

Chequamegon is in the books.

Cyclocross is the thing to do, for sure. I will vow to spectate at a few races or more. But here is the current situation.

Work is changing. Oncall is happening. I've got the trainer setup. Temps are diving. Mind you, I'll be using the oncall excuse to ride inside. I love to ride outside when it's cold, but somehow don't dig it when the temps are falling. What can I say?

Running seems to be creeping into my schedule. I don't know what that means, but I'm all for it. Especially if it gets me through winter lighter vs any other weight.

There. That's the quick and dirty.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Ch-ch-ch-ch-chequamegon Fat Tire 40

I went into my sophomore Fat Tire 40 effort with a few guidelines:

  • Stay off the brakes.
  • Take the roll out easy. Last year I had the cold, hard evidence of popping on the first hill in the grass. There I was immediately wondering if I had stupidly forsaken my race. I didn't want to be there again.
  • Stay off the brakes.
  • Carry as much momentum into the hills as possible. Spin! Push! Pull! Drag! Then if that fails do some CX practice.
  • Stay off the brakes.
  • Did I mention stay off the brakes?
I rolled it out nice and slow, way in the back. Bro-in-law was hanging with me and yukking it up. Bubba and crew went by in no time. I said "hey" and settled in to ride my race.

When I hit the grass, I started working my own version of what felt like magic. Finding my rhythm. I thought bro-in-law was shortly behind me, but in truth he said I pretty much left him right there. At the first big down hill I donated one of two brand new Gatorade filled bottles to the ditch and kept going. It was a sign I didn't need the weight.

My memory of the race course wasn't so good. I decided to do CX practice for a few of the steeper hills in effort to save my legs for later. It was for this reason I took turns passing and being passed by another single speeder on a rigid bike. Me taking a bit more pounding on the downhills, her getting up the hills a bit better.

Somewhere fairly early on, I heard a clicking coming from the drive train. I was certain I had tightened it all down. The EBB had loosened and I needed to fix it. After figuring the problem and tightening I was off and going again. I was a bit miffed to see all the folks I had just passed with my uber-uphill-momentum thing going by. Chain tightened, I attempted a sweet CX mount of which there is luckily no evidence. Off again I went.

I couple times I was caught barreling down a gravel road in the wrong spot (deeper gravel section). No harm, no foul. Mental note for next time, look for the good part of the road if possible.

Most of the time I was working slightly harder than I thought I could for this race. I wondered if it was going to come back and bite me. I wondered what those around me though of the huffing and puffing. I was just hanging on and hoping to surprise myself.

On the upshot, I had really forgotten how much downhill there was. I was laughing with excitement down more than a few of them. Happy to have the recovery. Yet there were certainly times of "relax, you can do this". Even a few bumpy downhills, I went a bit too fast and joggled my brain more than it should have. I was fine, but secretly wishing for a bit of front suspension.

Cutting to the chase. I kept checking my watch, racing my race and keeping an eye on my four hour goal. Mind you, there is little you can do about time goals mid race except check on their status. I was keeping a decent 10 mph average, perfect for the goal. What I didn't know was how the dooming fire tower hill or it's successors would treat my beloved average.

Fire tower hill. I walked/pushed most of it. (Note for Russell, this is where I passed Randy. Not quite realizing it was him until later). One final check of the watch and I was still on my 10 mph average. It could go either way here folks.

Somewhere out there, I ran into a fellow blogger and chatted a bit. We bantered about who was ahead. I'm sure we traded spots a few times due to elevation changes and our various ways of dealing with it. No matter who got the shorter time, she wins. Her team was holding the beer for her at the finish line.

I did my best to stay off the brakes while the miles counted down. I'll admit to tapping the brakes once or twice in a "I made it this far I AM NOT crashing now" kinda move.

Somewhere in here I started realizing that not only sub-4 could happen, but I could also beat last year's 4:52 by an hour. Push, push, push.. Don't give up. Don't stop. Stay off the brakes.

I wasn't in the running for "most donut holes ingested", but I had 1-2 at each of 3-4 aid stations. No gels where harmed in the riding of my race.

Once seeing "5 to go", "3 to go", and even "2 to go" the miles were absolutely flying by. My fun was nearly to an end. Though I want a remeasure as that last mile did seem about 3 miles long.

That last little cruel uphill on a single speed where I have to will myself not to get off and walk, then I was over the finish line in 3:49!!

I stood there for a good bit soaking in all my glory. Holding my bike up. Then a shower and a bus ride to pickup the car in Hayward. All the while thinking "I'd still be riding last year". Today is Monday and I'm still smiling. I know 3:49 is pretty far back, but competing with myself, I've just had a pretty good race.

I ran into Rick who was soaking in an outstanding result. Then hung out at the Jay and Marty party for a bit yukking it up with those guys. Thanks !!!!

I said "Hey" to Evan at 53x11 coffee on Sunday, bought some finely flavored caffeine from him. Then we caught a few minutes of the CX race. Shortly thereafter, we loaded up and headed back.

What a perfect weekend!

Monday, August 31, 2009

WORS Suamico

Here's a fun one. What a great day it was. Just enough rain in the prior days to harden up the trails. Then "bam!" race day it was nice and sunny.

I had to pack in a full day of 2x2hr driving, a race, and yukking it up with the boys. All of this while "watching the dogs".. Meaning I left home at 8:30, just in time to squeak into the last parking spot before the hwy (yeah that was me on the corner). I got geared up and registered, low stress pace but "just in time" all the same.

Sans watch, I was hanging out by the start, then heard "hey the singlespeeders are going".. This allowed me to roll up the back all covert style before anyone knows they even have to deal with me.

Having geared up one, it took everyone a bit longer to get away from me on the flat. I hadn't ridden trails for a few weeks, and so my brain needed some time to get used to single track mode. The second half of the course seem to go smoother on single track. Mostly, I focused on staying out of the way, and trying to "give it the beans" the Chequamegon like sections.

I must say, getting passed by the two elite trains is super impressive. They are about the easiest folks to get passed by and call out way ahead. Their speed is unfathomable.

I thought I held off the comp riders, but looking at the results, perhaps a few of them got a lap on me before I finished.

When all was said and done, I busted out a "top 10 finish" in Sport SS. You'll have to look at the results if you want to know how many of us there were. I'm good with this. My numbers are improving.

A quick cup of smoothie at the "Muddy Cup", and I was headed home to let the dogs out. Missed out on post race food, I'll catch you all at Chequamegon.

P.S. Still digging that new Singular Swift 29er hard.

Monday, August 17, 2009



I hear it in my head. It is not the "again" of a child not wanting to do another chore.
I hear it in my mind. It is not the "again" with a hint of do I have to?
I hear it over and over. It is not the "again" of a question.
Those uncertain meanings to again do not exist in my head.

I feel it with my heart, the again of determination.
I see it with my mind, the again of consistency.
I hold it in my hand, the again of persistence.

This is the again you may hear from your martial arts instructor.

Here I am again.
Losing weight.
Riding consistently.
Getting where I'm going.
There have been setbacks before, there may yet be more.

Like riding on the trail, I take that same old obstacle with an new determination and confidence. I will take it this time.

Last time at the Muir blue trail, I cleared the last hill. Then, I did it again.

This week, I pulled through some pretty ugly number of hours in front of a computer screen. Figuring and fixing, again and again. Somehow I broke my old mold of giving up workouts while on-call. I managed 5.5 hours of basement, mile-less riding.

I have a long way to go, but I'm clearing new obstacles.

I do not share this to gloat of what I can do. I share with the humble wish that you can too.

You may not mountain bike. You may not work on-call in front of a PC. Whatever your obstacle, stand up and do it again.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

True Story

So, I had a broken spoke. I replaced it on my own. Then there was a slight wiggle/wobble in the rear wheel. Just to be safe, I drug over to Ben's and spent a 5er for a few minutes of insurance. And yes, there were no wiggles after that. Well worth the trip.

I got the thing all back together and in hope of tomorrow being open trails. One last check. I spun the front wheel to make sure it was in straight. Then I wondered, had I crashed unknowingly? front looks so untrue it's ridiculous.

Thinking the way to fix it was to tighten up the spokes that had unseated/settled ( as that was the likely cause ). I now know the error of that logic.

In any case, later after the beach party I'm going to sit w/ my bike upside down in the living room and see if I can't fix it. Otherwise, tomorrow's ride will be fixed gear and as far as I feel like going. (guessing far)..

I was cranky tonight.. Good ride, but I yelled at a lady to get off the phone and drive.. not really like me. Breathe. Just ride.

Not sure if it was the Milwaukee Orange One, or the fatty jersey. I got mucho waves from the other biker peeps today. Perhaps everyone was just happy the sun came out maybe.

See you out there.

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Yet Another Decent Weekend

Just mashing around the Muir trails again. There were some wet spots out there, so I didn't take any more time off. In fact, I was feeling pretty slow. Though in the end, my time wasn't really that slow.

After one lap, I ran into Coop and Anne. Anne let me lead out my second lap and never had to climb over me. It was cool to have some like-speeded company. Coop went blowing by at some point.

The win for the day. I cleared the hill just after mile 9. Now I just have a few spots to get right/regular and I'm on the the blue loop clean. Sounds easier than it might be for a bit.

Catch you out there.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Alienating Half My Base

Over the past weekend, I was signed up for the Spirit of Racine Half. I had Friday off to get all my race gear ready. I have done the race every year it has been there, starting back in 2002.

I bagged it. The official reason was my heel had me not running for the last few months. I went trail riding Friday, and again Sunday. I had an absolute blast. I'm getting (oh so slightly) faster. It was totally worth bagging the race. I'm off the hook and never have to go back unless I want to.

On the other side, I saw some folks in the results that I would have liked to have seen, and encouraged.

On to Chequamegon!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Biting Off More Than You Can Chew

This last weekend was the Levis Trow WEMS race. It included the Wisconsin Single Speed State Championship race. Here are some random thoughts with respect to my experience there. No excuses, just observations.

It was only the third trail bound excursion I've had on my new 29er Singular Swift. Yep, love the bike.

Two grueling 12+ mile loops. It was a beautiful, if not increasingly warm day. I rode up with a good group and met a few other regulars responsible for me even attempting the race. I recall last year TmonT saying "you need to check this place out, but might want to get your chops up first". Yet this year there was no mention of chops. So, I went. (probably should have had more chops).

The lead out and the beginning single track was delightful. I was even equipped to handle this part with my beginner riding.

Ascending the bluffs was something else. I had a gear that could do it in some spots, and legs that couldn't in others.

Occasionally, my brain talked me out of a few semi difficult spots. I've assured myself that any one of these spots on it's own would be very doable, but stacked up into this 25 miles of "what did I get myself into?" went slightly beyond my reach.

I rode planks, bridges, rocks, roots, switchbacks, ascents, descents and any number of other fun little obstacles. I had some minor hiccups, to be expected. Thankfully, nothing left me laying there for the ticks to devour me.

Somewhere past 1.5 laps, I went full-on-toast mode. Upon reflection, I was perhaps dehydrated in addition to being cooked. I pushed in spots, cursing my inability to pedal no more. I stopped at the last aid station, grabbing a few orange slices for the coast into the finish.

Not far from the end, I heard "here comes the elusive one". Then an announcer that I know not where his all-day-enthusiasm comes from called me in as the last SS champs racer of the day. I'm sure they were all really happy they didn't have to come out and save me somewhere on the trail!

I'm looking forward to taking my new experience back to the Muir trails.

Last, and most important.. It's good to finish with a smile.

Big thanks to Velogrrl for the photo.

Thursday, July 09, 2009


Or it didn't happen.

Sunday, July 05, 2009

First Ride on the Singular Swift 29er

While it's fresh. This morning I hit the South Kettles on my new rigid, steel framed, Hayes Stroker, Sun Ringle disc-o-flea, Sugino crank, Phil ebb, 19T endless kickass cog, Singular Swift via the Peddler of Prairie himself. Here, in no particular order, are my thoughts.

It was a beautiful day. I abstained from any brewed beverages last night for the full, early rise effect of getting more riding in. I was going to go for a 5am alarm, but once we were home and crashed it was later than I thought. So, 5:30am would have to do. Jump in the rain-box, grabbed my stuff, made some espresso, and one trip back in for my forgotten ipod, and I was out the door minutes past 6am.

At Muir and ready to ride about 7:30, I tweaked things and just made sure it was all ready to go. Tightened up the pedals. Realigned the front brake, fixing the UFO sound. And one red loop just for warm-up and grins.

The momentum of the ride is incredible. The bike wants to go much faster than me. It doesn't lose speed, save when I am braking or heading up a hill. When I'm "just peddling along" I feel like I'm going faster and much easier than I was on my old bike. (insert tidbit about 15 years of improvements in bike geometry advances).

It took me a bit just to get used to how it felt over bumps. I'm accustomed to a squishy old front suspension. I'm much more upright on the swift and could lean in and bend my elbows. Though, I felt I had to duck quite a bit more.

The good and bad of uphills. The momentum factor had me speeding up some hills and struggling on others. It seemed much more difficult for me to buckle down and hurk the rest of the way up the hill once it was too steep. This could just be a matter of finding the right spot to be in when I am climbing. Also, I'll guess the wider bars on my list will help the up hills.

Dare I say, everywhere else was a win/win. I won't talk times because mine are pretty slow. But, my first loop was a medium effort with a few short stops for a sip of water (not long enough to let the mosquitoes gather). It was at least 5 minutes faster than my last loop on my old bike, where I was really pushing it. I went for loop 2 and wore out at the end. I did well the front half, but wore out on the back half.

The big win, I was grinning most of the time. Which is what counts.

If I didn't mention it before, a big thanks / shout out go to the folks that helped me put this together (and listened to my whining waiting for it).


And of course my wife.

Now I just gotta get this thing out to a ride/race or two before the big Fat Tire. I'll have to chat with my council about Levis.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Riding in the Rain

This morning I took off for my regular 20 miler on the fixed gear. I've been doing this the last couple days and most of last week. It was just below 60 degrees and there was a slight drizzle. This was somewhat cooler than it has been for a few weeks on my rides.

I had all sorts of wonderful ideas of how to make a great post about this. My rush to get home and off to work peels those from me never to be heard again. Here's what's left.

There is such a cleansing effect to riding in the rain. I won't say it was tough to go. It wasn't. Rain jacket or not, I knew I would be soaked by ride's end.

I started easy, with my turnaround point in mind.

Heading north past Silver Spring, the runners I see remind me to wish Robin a "Happy Birthday". Still the rain comes down.

As my Fat Cyclist arm warmers soak to the core, I am reminded "Win Susan". Still the rain comes down.

Once I headed back, I picked it up to medium pace with a few pushes up hills to keep the momentum going. I have to make faster cadence easy on one gear this year. The rain cools me and I am steady.

Returning home, I had time to ditch the soaked clothes and hit the shower before the rest of the family was up.

No, this was nowhere near the post I had in mind this morning.

In spite of a poor night's sleep, it was a good ride today. I highly recommend a regular rain ride.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009


A.K.A. What I've been doing in the dungeon today.

The frame is pretty. After all the painstaking advice giving to me about how to photo a bike, I got to the 11th hour and just had to take an evidence shot. Yep, it's here. I have the parts I have on it. Shortly hoards of folks will come teaming out of the woodwork and help me with the last bits (or are those termites?).

While I have the photo up, yep recently they've been doing some gas upgrades around here and that pipe sticking out of the wall used to be a meter. Isn't it nice how that ugly old meter isn't there anymore, just that beautiful pipe.

Time for bed, been up since 2 AM.

Tuesday, June 09, 2009


Oh blog, how I have neglected you lately.

props to Endless for being there and recommended.
My LBS always gets a nod. But the chain was recommended, then the recommendation was refined. Then maybe I got it wrong over the cell phone connection. We'll see.

I gotta say, accumulating the parts is nice. And I'm almost there. But the backbone of the entire new 29er bike project is slated to be in sometime this week. No word yet.

No worries. I will wait out this without concern. It turns out last time I went to the woods to ride, I checked a tree. Thus, this week I'm nursing a hockey injury without ever playing hockey (apparently checking boards can cause such). I hope to have this diversion and on-call all taken care of about the same time the build for the new bike is d-o-n-e. With a little luck, this could turn out well.

I won't tell you I plan to take a bunch of photos of the build process. We know that once I have the stuff, I won't be stopping the grease gun to take pictures. I do hope to have a nice looking end photo I can put up once we're all complete. Bonus if I can take a few pics in between.

See you on the other side.

Thursday, June 04, 2009

Cue B****n' Rock Music

Today, I obtained some sweet 29er wheels. Upon getting them home, I recalled my days in the restaurant biz at various cooking jobs. I was making a hot dog for the boy, and mac and cheese for the girl, and oh yeah mounting some 29er tires to my new 29er wheels, with new 29er tubes. Color me excited. All pumped up and there is news of a frame just over the horizon.

If the anticipation stage is any indication, I'm going to have a blast on this new ride.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Anyone Get the License Plate?

I suppose that's a bad title in a somewhat bike centric blog. No specific run-ins with autos here. But man did my momentum get messed up hard. I've been doing the weekend warrior schedule, and it's time to man up and really put some daily miles in.

I've got me a 100 miles to nowhere kit from Twin6 and Fat Cyclist. I'm pretty happy about the goodness it's chocked full of.

I'm bummed I get to go to a wedding instead of fight childhood cancer with my 100km ride this year. So I'm taking my aggressions out on the 100 miles to nowhere ride. Don't get me wrong, I'm happy there are family marriages going on and all. I just like to do a little cash raising and ride in the name of something higher than "it's Saturday" once per year.

Spirit of Racine is looking to be about 2 months away. My heel is not going away, and I haven't been swimming. This ought to be interesting. On the other hand, my mountain biking has been on the upswing.

See you out on the road / dirt.

Saturday, May 09, 2009

Wisconsin Weather

It is said here, "if you don't like the weather, wait 20 minutes."

In that vein, I went to bed last night with a radar full of green, yellow, and red indicating all kinds of rain and doom for mountain bike racing. Mind you, I'm not much the type of guy to drive a few hours in order to not ride his bike. I could not ride my bike right here.

In any case, I had explicitly asked for an update in the morning. I got a favorable one (or maybe it was an admonishing one). So, I meandered around getting the kids started, dogs fed and walked. I slowly but surely got my stuff in the car. I stopped for gas. And maybe by 9:30 or 10:00am I was headed North just past Green Bay. (the bay didn't look very green today).

At the StumpFarm race, I ran into most of the usual suspects. Coop, Anne, Rick, Liz, Tmont, and MK were all present and accounted for. I must say though, the parking lot did seem a bit light (minus the old city bus).

The course could not have been laid out better. Minus a few mud holes, even I was able to navigate it successfully. In later laps, I walked a few up hills in the interest of making it home.

A good time was had by all. The course seemed fast and packed. Impossible sections were at a minimum if not non-existent. If you showed up, you didn't regret it. For the rest of y'allz, what can I say?

Good pizza after.. Me without my camera.

Saturday, May 02, 2009

Impromptu Gary Fisher Superfly Product Review

I rode a Gary Fisher Superfly today. The Trek factorydemo folks showed up at the trail while I was out riding my old steed. They were graciously sharing bikes with folks who wanted to try them out. I thought this was a great opportunity to get up on one of those 29ers and give it the beans.

Now, a bit of background. My current ride has been called "so utterly vile that your eyes instinctively look the other direction when he is on it, allowing him that ultra-kwik window to slip away behind you". It is an easily a 15+ year old Giant ATX 780, converted to single speed. Thanks to Rick, it got a sweet upgrade of V-brakes. Otherwise, it's your basic double butted steel frame with a high zoot RockShox Mag21 on the front.

Enter the Superfly. Which, in all honesty, we can't call this a fair review. There are too many variables. I've never ridden 29er wheels on a mountain bike. I've never ridden a carbon fiber bike. I've never ridden disc brakes. For that matter, it's been a good while (it seems) since I actually shifted gears on a trail.

The helpful staff handed me a size XL. It was quite a bit more roomy than my current setup. Making me think the bike I'm on might be on the small side. Initially I felt like I was driving a bus, but I quickly got over that.. or this was the lightest bus I've ever been near. The last time I rode a bike this size, it was chromoly and 40 lbs (or might as well have been).

It wasn't long before I was ripping over rocks and tree roots. Other than having to get used to shifting again, it was nearly ridiculous how easy it was to just tear over terrain that just one lap earlier I had to negotiate.

The shifting was very responsive. A few times I accidentally bumped it (recall I'm not used to having shifters) and ended up in a way wrong gearing. This thing is all pro. I could not find a problem.

Dare I suggest I could lay down MSRP and lop a good hour off my Fat Tire 40 time by just payin' the man for the new bike. That's not really me though.

While this is a review of the Superfly, it isn't. It's more of a reminder that the latest and greatest equipment can actually be significantly advanced from your older bike. I love to be the guy on the bike "so utterly vile your eye instinctively look the other direction" while bringing up the rear.

Then again, the 29er revolution is upon us. My comfort level at the local trails are increasing. And I anxiously await my new frame.

See you on the trails.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

That's Why They Call Them Squirrels

A couple mornings ago, I was testing various pedal cadences at 23-24 mph and a squirrel ran straight into my front wheel. Then proceeded between the two wheels and to the other side of the road. Nuts!

Unfortunately I was without my camera.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Listen up!

It's the last day to sign up for Fat Cyclist's 100 Miles of Nowhere. Now do it.

I'll be "there" riding "with you".

Sunday, April 26, 2009

The Difference Between Trail and Road Riding

(at least this weekend)

Road riding you can start when it's already 40F and raining. Whereas with mountain biking you can leave while rain, hail, thunder, lightning is merely looming. It might be waiting to drop like a rock on you at mile 5 of the 10 mile trail.

Saturday it was good to ride with some good folks at Kettles South. I was allowed to take off at "race pace" leading out the group for a few miles (they know this as slightly slower than "easy ride", a.k.a. warm-up). When the rain started coming down, TmonT took the lead while I managed to convert to run-ups on some of the tougher inclines, thus saving the uphill trails from my rear wheel. (note to self, let's try one gear easier). Russel noted something like my bike would be lighter without the pedals if I didn't need them. Maybe I need some trail run shoes for next time. Rick, Liz and MK pretty much left me alone, figurin' R. Tools had the smack talk covered. I thought I was pretty soaked yesterday.

Then comes Sunday. Knowing I've been on vacation and bikeless, I have to get out for regular miles. So I hopped up this morning and did another nearly 2 hours in 40F and rain. This isn't so bad for the first 1/2 hour, maybe even hour. The way home gets a bit tougher. For the uninitiated, it goes something like this:

About 20 or 30 minutes into the ride, your cycling tights are water logged with cold rain, and your legs begin to waffle between cold and stinging. You modify your effort to somewhere between "stay warm" and "able to maintain for the entire ride". The inclines help you stay warm. Speeding up effort is great for warming up the muscles. Keep in mind, as your speed goes up you get exponentially more wet.

Around 45-60 minutes into the ride, your double layer thick gloves are completely soaked. Your hands don't feel too cold, except when you hit a bump and all the water in the gloves moves around. Somewhere around 70-80 minutes, the cold has sapped your energy and you just want to eat / get home. In a past ride, the decision to eat at this point left me shaking on the floor in the fetal position when I got home. It's not the time to have all the blood run to your stomach. Get home, shower then eat.

Speaking of showers, yeah I was in there a good bit just waiting for the itchy red tingling from the cold go away. This is about the least fun of the entire thing. Even when the shower is done, you're bones are still cold. Following up with a hot bowl of oatmeal and an espresso put me back on track.

Ride done. I want to believe these are the days that make racing easy.

I share this not to show how much of a hardened individual I am. Quite the contrary. We can all do a good deal more than we think. I could have easily talked myself out of going today and didn't. I'm glad I didn't.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Last Day of Vacation

I had hoped to head out to Muir on my final day of vacation. But the powers that be (this week's rain) got in my way. So I decided to collect some mud samples at the local trail recently revealed to me by some biker dudes. There were only a few wet spots. Still I managed to get some good dirt.

While I'm at it, today is the last day of vacation. I had a great time off. It's time to get serious though. Time to keep balance. Time to sleep and eat well. Time to focus. I'm ready.

With that, I weighed myself, logged back into for the first time in years, and gave myself a Mach 4 haircut to start with a clean slate. Don't mind the helmet mark, it's just evidence I actually rode. And yeah, the sun was bright.

Happy Earth day.
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Tuesday, April 21, 2009

What I Did on Vacation Part One

With respect to vacation, this is in no particular order. I got plenty crossed off my list while I was "out". Here's one thing:

(photo credits to my brother)

What you see here is out and out evidence I have used a new-fangled style two-wheeled vehicle. Now, regular readers will note I use two-wheeled vehicles all the time. Here we see me sitting on something with a clutch and a motor. You will have to take my word that I actually operated said vehicle, motor, clutch, at least one brake, 2 gears, and neutral. My brother turned the key, so I'll have to learn that later. It was odd as all getout not having any fatigue anywhere (minus my clutch wrist). Oh yeah, and I didn't dump it (knock on wood).

This all seems like small stuff to those who have ridden. One might ask how I made it all the way to 2009 before trying this. Shoot, I don't know.

You can't see my smile in the pictures, but rest assured it was fun.

I like to think like Ferris, "If you have the means, I highly recommend it." Or at least, I didn't wait until 2010.

Glad to be back. I can't wait to start turning cranks. More later.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Better Write Something and Quick

Hey, the loco local folks took me out for a spin on some trails. I was going to go it on my own, but it was nice to have some company. I didn't have time to whip out the camera, cause I was too busy being last. Rest assured, after a few weeks of R&R, I'll be even slower!

I'm going to have to do some running, if I'm expected to show progress at Stump Farm in early May.

I may put my head down here for a bit. Buckle down, if you will. Once we're in swing, I'll try to get some posts out here.

Watch for an up and coming review of some tires I used all winter..

Other news, work has been gettin' their money's worth lately. I'm happy to provide, but likewise hoping this will be fully recognized as the weather gets nicer.

See you all out there.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Coming Together

I said before, this year's goal is a picture of myself at the Chequamegon Fat Tire 40, thinner, faster, and fitter. I'm not sure if I said that picture included a new bike or not.

Well, a cheq cashed to the Fat tire folks.

My weight has had a slight, steady, even, negative slope.

I sent my prepay check to Prairie Peddler for one of those Swift frames.

And aside from this on-call week, I've been pounding the pavement pretty good. Last week marked about 8.5 hours of running or riding. It felt very reasonable.

I'm working hard at work. Sleeping good at sleep. And it's coming together. I hate to post success so early in the year. It's a journey. I'm happy just to be heading in the right direction. Feet, balance and focus don't fail me now!

Monday, March 23, 2009

I'm Not Going to Podcast

I was out for a slowish, longish, short run (10km) on Sunday. Out there on the trail, I had quite a few brilliant ideas for blog postings. This may come as a big shock to regular readers, but it is true. Waves of in bound subscriptions to my FREE bl0g might have caused who knows what kind of massive flapping in the route tables of the Internet.

Alas, we will not be subjected to such writing. My brilliance only endures the run. Once I return home, there is other work to be done.

It occurs to me I could start a podcast where I run and say my ideas. But that is being and has been done. No one needs a windy, heavy breathing, eleven minute mile "podcast" added to the already good selection.

There you have it. I'm not going to do it. Now what the heck were those ideas?

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

I Got Brand New Shoes, Now I Run Like Someone Else

OK, I don't run that much different than I did two days ago. I just felt a need to play on a semi obscure Van Halen lyric.

It's worth noting that two days ago, I was having trouble running four miles without needing to hire a masseuse afterward (or at least wanting one). Yet today I cranked up Operation Mindcrime and ran a few miles (7.12 according to gmap-pedometer) in my brand new shoes.

Now here's the thing. I blame the new shoes. I started out slightly to very tight. A few miles in, I was relaxing slightly, but I figured the whole run would be a bit of a chore. Yet the last two or a bit more miles, I felt very strong. Maybe those last couple tunes really had me going. Maybe it was seeing two Cafe Hollander team riders out braving the night on their bikes. Those last couple miles of my first longer run, I usually just want to be home. But not today. Today I felt strong. I wanted more.

Here is where I recall back to the last time I ran early season, wanted more, and took it. I spent much time recouping the injury after that. This time, I headed home and replenished the carbs. I'll be out there next time getting more.

Just in case you're a running newbie or happened to forget (again, like me), new shoes rule.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Recovery (v2)


Work but a little extra
and the run starts late.

Run but a little too far
and the shins go tight.

Stretch the shins but a little too long
and the beer does not get drunk.

Drink but a little extra beer
and the bike does not get ridden.

Push but a little to far on the bike
and the dishes don't get done.

Recovery from one thing needs the next thing
When to jump is the key.

Take Sunday to reflect on a week well filled with work, play and fitness
But not too long, it all starts again tomorrow.


Oh that hill.
Oh that last hill.
Oh that last hill of the ride.
Oh that last hill of the ride on which I hadn't had breakfast.

I stood up.
I stood up my legs drained.
I stood up my legs drained of the calories which sat in them from the night before.
I stood up my legs drained of the calories which sat in them from the night before, yet I crawled.

I still felt the night before.
I still felt the night before where good conversation.
I still felt the night before where good conversation and a beer.
I still felt the night before where good conversation and a beer and some more.

Up at the top.
Up at the top the sun shined on me.
Up at the top the sun shined on me spent of old.
Up at the top the sun shined on me spent of old, now new.

I will do.
I will do what I say.
I will do what I say when I plan ahead.
I will do what I say when I plan ahead and succeed.

I did it.


It's going to be a good year.


(warning self indulgent "status" post)

The last few days have been well needed, devil may care, jwm style.

Friday night I went "out" to sample various beers. More, in fact, than I had sampled in quiet a number of years (normally that number approaches zero). I stayed up a few extra hours past bedtime enjoying my hard earned, pain free state.

Oh but wait, there is a Saturday morning ride that I told myself I would do. At some point, I was certain I would not go. Yet, I awoke with enough time to be there. I racked my bike and grabbed my stuff. I left the kids with breakfast, Qubo, and their Mom. (and before this becomes anti-TV, they did shut it off on their own. She wrote/drew a book, and he played with cars).

Fast forward to actually riding. This was supposed to be an easy ride. Fear not, I will not let anyone get behind me. Uphills were pronounced (read difficult for my 1st day out butt). I more or less hung on, minus a hill or two.

I might have pulled something. On an uphill I came unclipped, and probably did some goofy looking save. Today, I've got my ankle talking to me.

Bagels and coffee with the boys after. I have a new goal for Chequamegon (if I get in). Something about passing someone and staying in front of them without the aid of air pump in the spokes and such.

Long story short, beautiful day with good company.

Today, I think I'll practice the Yoga position, "relaxing Dad".

Thursday, March 12, 2009

An Apology to the Reader

I'll make this quick, as I have some riding to do.

At the time of the last post, I was stuck inside for an overabundant amount of time.
Deprived of regular workouts for two (2) entire days.
I was starting to hallucinate of summer and open trails.
I can see this future me oh so clearly.

In such a scenario, my normal 15+ year old 26er bike would suffice. Alas, I was stuck in a dreamy state of lust for material thing. I am sorry, this demonstration is not what people need right now.

(OK. I still want the bike, but I have grounded back to a much more patient state.)

Time to go for one more round of "make myself look like I want to look while I ride this summer". (i.e. ride the rollers and get fit)

Saturday, March 07, 2009

Chronicling My Descent into Madness

Sometimes I get over focused on the wrong thing. Nevermind last Sunday's "This American Life" on our world situation. Or our Treasury Secretary on Planet Money. I'm listening intently to what indicators I can.

Yet, the air has warmed ever so slightly. Sure it is raining cats and dogs. The trails may not be ride-able for months. I'm already dreaming of a future. And even hoping for a new chance at this future.

I have never bought a frame online. I know many folks are perfectly happy to say "I need a 56", not even knowing the units for 56.

I'm certain I can list a number of ways I have been fitted, and purchased a bike successfully. Many of which would be scoffed at, but turned out fine.

  • "yeah I can stand over it, what else is there?"
  • Take a 5-10 minute ride. Do not to get anywhere near anything resembling a bump or dirt. Was I going to trail ride that later successfully?
  • "this one's 1/2 price". That's a good fit!
  • I've very confidently listened to a trusted LBS employees who said, "no, you need a 60" (and they were right). (and they later fit me on the frame after I put all the parts on it)
  • The tri bike "trainer ride fit included with bike".

After all this, I'm contemplating getting something on-line based on 10-30 different quoted measurements. It has become an interesting exercise to see if I can psych myself out or not. After a week of "which tool should I use to draw this" (you'd think a computer guy could find a blueprint tool easily). I nearly resorted to pencil and paper. Luckily, some of the locals went to NAHBS and let me know about Bike Forest's tool to punch in frame geometry and see what ya get.

So, using the following:
  • Frame specs from the Singular Swift L and XL sizes.
  • A more or less straight side shot of my current mountain bike.
  • Gimp
  • An unhealthy amount of, I'm going to get this done and I don't care if an LBS in my state is going to start stocking them.
I more or less used this procedure:
  1. Take a photo of my bike.. and tons of measurements.
  2. Throw out 99% of the measurements and realize that if I just make the seat height right, I can try to line up the seat and BB in different layers and see the diff.
  3. Plug the L frame specs into the online BikeCAD tool. Turn that into a layer in GIMP.
  4. Plug the XL frame specs into the online BikeCAD tool. Turn that into a layer in GIMP.
  5. Save your work!

** Disclaimer - I did my best to use the right specs for the frames. I don't represent the manufacturer. It could all be so wrong that it's not funny.

What I might have learned:
  • I'm not sure I trust this picture. But if it's right. It surprises me how little the difference between L, and XL is.
  • I could probably use the extra 50mm in the seat tube.
  • Are (current) my bars too low?
  • Hrmph. Does it line up if I draw a midge on the Singular?
Enough of this. Time to turn on the brain clearing device and do some core.

Monday, March 02, 2009

Vacation Day

Woke up to snow I had no idea was coming.
Fed the boy and walked him to school.
Dropped past the neighbor's house for a quick chat.
Did the dishes.

Took my daughter to meet Grandma for lunch.
Got to get the full workup at the dentist's office.
Grabbed a pizza for the boy on the way home.
Leftovers for me (soup, pasta).

Sliver of ice cream.
Watched "Medium" with my wife.
Played a computer game.
Wrote a blog entry.

Then crashed hard in bed.
Will be up early for a run.

Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Danger of Balaclavas

I didn't think it was that cold out. That is until I got home and couldn't pull my balaclava off. 20 miles of "road riding". I can't wait until it warms up a bit.

It can be done.

Saturday, February 28, 2009

A Ride

I went out for "a ride" today. It wasn't training. It was riding. I believe one should get out even in the throws of winter (not that now is then). Ride you trainer or rollers as much as you want/need to. But get a bike outside once per week if you can. Your effort level may not be that of "training". Chalk it up to sanity and bike familiarity.

First I rode over to the local trail, only to find boot prints in the ice with a thin layer of snow to reduce the coefficient of friction.

Local trail is all ice. on TwitPic

Going solo, I decided to try the creepyfriendly style of photo takin'. This proves I was either on the ride or staged an elaborate studio setup taking much more work than an actual ride. Note, I'm still wearing that same Perl Izumi stuff I reviewed a while back. It's holding up well.

For the triathlete crowd. Normally I might stop at the site of the former Xterra swim for a dip. Here we see it would be unsafe, as there is no lifeguard. Never mind the snow bank protecting the water. Do you think my wet feet would freeze to the snow on the way back out?

Flag flying high.

I thought this was a good view of the sun coming out over Milwaukee. I had a tune in my head at the time, but who knows what it was now? (not the Beatles)

There you have it. "A ride". Soft tires ready for a trail that wasn't ready for me. Maybe tomorrow would be a good road ride day.

Multithreaded "What are you thinking?" Process diagram

I was reading Fatty's blog (like I always do). And I found myself answering similar to "I don't need a thing to think of, there is lots I'm s'posed to be concentrating on."

So I made a little diagram.

I just tossed it together. As such, I wouldn't recommend using it in an actual race. Also, there are clear things I missed. What if you have a flat or endo? I left out power meters and HRMs. Of course there's the "if camera, then smile" function.

In case it's not clear. The point is that you could be focused on racing. You do not have to try to remember the Chinese remainder theorem to stay mentally busy. I realize that this righteous babble means very little from a slow dude. Just sayin'.

Win Susan.

Diagram made with Open Office.


Thursday, February 26, 2009

No Shortage of Droolin'

Some bike guy got me droolin' over a bike some months ago.

Originally they weren't shipping to the good old USA. I thought I was going to have to drum up a fictitious cousin in Europe to get one. As of late though, they started shipping to the good old USA.

All good news. But low and behold, some dude living in a land of French prairie dogs has a bike shop and decided to stock some of these bikes.

Sheet fire, who thinks I need to suggest a "camping trip to Wyalusing" with a quick stop to the LBS? Too thinly veiled, I suppose.

Anyway, I'll keep you posted. I should really start up that "product review Tuesday" idea..

Is anyone stayin' back for a weekend of riding in the rain while the cool kids go to NAHBS? I'll be here, savin' my pennies (and catching up on training).

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Trust Your Feelings

Come (go?) to the dark side.

Any of you trail riders who are starting to think your biking needs a swim and a run added might take a look here.

Look, I know WORS has their stuff together for a reasonable price. And, it's tough to want to out of state. I'm just sayin' here it is. If you click, you click.

Friday, February 20, 2009


Catchin' all my loyal readers up. Sorry you had to resort to reading the back logs, or worse (gasp) someone else's good blog. Ahem!

In no particular order.

I passed a test today. It means I'm certified to tell you all why you should turn off your mail server unless you really need it (and know what you're doing), encrypt all your traffic, and develop your programs right so some bad guy doesn't smash the stack on it.

To celebrate, I purchased a long held off "to do". I picked up a Boss Micro BR fer cheap. This is a re-learn guitar stimulus package. It's the one item that will kickstart said guitaring. It records really nice. Only problem now is that I don't play better.

I took my last antibiotic today. I can't say I feel totally normal. I hope that not taking the meds will improve how I feel.

I've been in a mood to eat less.. once I feel like exercising I am hopeful of the results.

Oncall ends Monday morning.. So, my prayers are for trail riding next weekend. A beer to relax at some point. Mayhap I can wrangle a buddy to go play 9 ball.

There you have it. This post pretty much gets in 1/100th the stuff I enjoy and or been thinkin' the last while or so.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Recovery Drink

NyQuil. Not that fennel-effervescent stuff, the good stuff with whatever the pharmacist doesn't want you to have direct access to.

One more day, I hope. The outdoors and even my rollers miss me. Nightie night.

Saturday, February 07, 2009

Having Trouble Keeping Up

Rest assured I'm confident the season will get rolling as planned. But currently I can't speak. My throat has decided I should shut down for a bit. I'm going to lay low until I get it fixed.

I'm anxious to be doing something. Today would have been a wonderful opportunity to be road riding. Here I am. I'll be back.

Sunday, February 01, 2009

This Is Not a Week in Review

Looking back my training logs say I put in over 6 hours. Not bad considering I don't feel like I'm in the swing of things yet.

And I managed to evade the paparazzi on the weekend ride. Awful nice of R. Tools to call "waiting on JWM" "taking a break for smart talk". Thanks guys.

Shortly following the ride, I made an appearance at the multisport expo to pick up my schwag bag for Tri Wisconsin. I think I threw a few tri-heads for a loop in my sweats/parka/brown hat combo. I don't want to tip anyone off that I'm already down 1/2 a stone for the season. I'm finally posting a loss in the weight column again.

10km is going to be my long run for a bit yet. It's plenty for now.

Other than that, when I'm not studying, I'm studying. Time for bed. Rollers don't roll themselves on Monday mornings.

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Situational Conditioning

I've got a test coming up. I want to get re-certified.

I don't fully appreciate many of the certifications in my line of work, but this one was a challenge. The list of certified professionals is relatively short. I was an early adopter. And I felt it was worth keeping.

It's been some time since I've had to study in any capacity. There is the hitch. Now, I have seen some commercials about "the new learning" and all. New learning, indeed.

I have received mp3's of my material. It's Unix security related. So, my headphones are spitting out about 40 hours of Unix threats from the past 25 years. All the while I'm gasping and choking on 15F degree air. I've done some wacky things, but listening to "how to hack and protect computers" while running is most definitely different.

So, will I need to get a treadmill for the test?

I like it. Maybe I should swap this for the TV while doing rollers.

Monday, January 26, 2009

What It Is

How many times can a guy post a "getting back at it" or "now I'm really hitting it" resolutions style post?

Here I am again. Viruses ran amok in the family again. Things are clearing up for me. And now I ran. I biked. I'm curtailing my eating properly.

Where I am is the good ol' US of A. As such, I was hoping for some more immediate results. Yet, perhaps this is the year of knuckling down. This is the year to watch every move and get them all right. Now is the time to act like we deserve that big ol' "I'm an American" stamped on your forehead. Instead of telling everyone else what's good for them. Take some stock in yourself. It's time to shine.

(self pep talk over. I have to go study for a test)

Friday, January 16, 2009


I could not help but be inspired to go through 1-2 old photos this week.

Back story:

It was the early 90's. Love was in the air. And my girl planned us a trip out West. I had me a brand new, over sized, could not be heavier if I brazed on some lead tires Giant Iguana. I took my new tank and a trusty pair of jeans shorts out to Slickrock with my girl, and we had ourselves a ball. (also, I really dug the beef, Cheddar and peppers on toast in town).

Also "en route" over that spring break would have been Sedona, and a few other fun stops.

Fun times indeed. Minus doing the math wrong on coming back. Some how "still in AZ on Saturday" doesn't match up with "class on Monday" too well. Indeed, it was a thirty some hour drive straight back, save the pancake house stop and a few naps.

It wasn't until I got back wherein I noticed a few of the places we had been in some of my magazines. Heck, she took me out to some signed and sealed mountain biking Mecca's. Take note kids, if you find a girl like that.. hang on.

Posted by Picasa

Not Blogging...

On the off chance you read this and haven't been here yet. Now you've been told.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Snap Out of It

So, I've been riding. Posting, not so much. Bear with me until things get better.

In the mean time, check out the commuter's next must have!

Bike lines for every road.

I for one, am rather anti bike lane. This version though, I love. Maybe it's just bright enough to wake a few of those motorists up. Or more likely, accidentally flash in their eye. Hopefully taking their attention off the cell conversation long enough to keep them from buzzing you.


Thursday, January 08, 2009

Feed a Cold

All that New Year's resolution stuff is out the window. Some virus thinks I need to follow the "feed a cold". I'm trying to do so in moderation, but food does seem to help my overall health-o-meter.

Luckily I know better than to sweat a few days lost at the start of a year.

Keeping up with the core workouts.. The rest have been replaced by sleep. The worst part is when I stop riding, I spend more time lusting.

Saturday, January 03, 2009

The Obligatory Resolutions Post

I spent New Year's Day biking down to watch some crazy polar bear swimmers at the lake. My best estimation was there were way more spectators vs participants this year. It gets more crowded every year. The '09 swim brought wall to wall (or shoreline to beach house) onlookers. The street was all boogered up with traffic. It was quite a sight.

We took the kids to see Bolt. That was fun.

On the way home we caught some Kopps. I manned up by NOT ordering fries, but in true JWM fashion had to reward myself (for not getting fries?) with a sundae of the month. The January sundae has truly delicious flavoring. It also has quite a story dating way back to when JWM had just met Mrs. JWM. More on that some other time.

As flavorfulishiously rewarding as the sundae was, I couldn't shake the felling that I ate too much of it. And the result was I didn't feel tip top. I went for a 4 mile run. Said "good night" to the kids. and hit some core workouts.

All this leaves me to reassess why I eat such things (again). It's a new year and time yet again to hit the button and reflect on self improvement.

Additionally, I've got an "new mountain bike" incentive for myself. It's hanging as a carrot (or an ice cream sundae). I have a mental image/goal of me whopping it up at Chequamegon on a new 29er single speed bike. This picture is my resolution and goal.

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

Go do your polar bear swim or whatever it is you are going to do this year.

Reset your counters and such. Don't forget the lessons you learned last year.

Good luck.