30 May, 2009

My Kids Are Finally On Break Too!

This week was pretty cool cycling-wise. Rode the mountain bike with Alec, Billy, and his son Hogan. Went to a pretty technical area called Apex. That was the time my fork of five years officially died. I'da given her her last rites but I'm not accredited for such duties. It felt like every time I hit an obstacle at speed it hit back just as hard. There was this metallic clunk and the grommet that moves with the fork displacement showed about less than an inch of travel. Not good. Gotta look for a new fork now.
Went to my daughters' last day at their Elementary School. Wouldn't you know it, it also rained like the dickens! Thunder, lightning, and hail to boot too. That was as if it were on cue for us to leave. From their I went to Boulder to ride with my teammate Chip.
We rode sixty miles in about three hours and change. It was right at my threshold of completion without bonking. Traded pulls on the way back to town as if we were bike racers or something. We were flushed after that episode. Great ride.
Saturday, I rode another 2.5H in the hills out here where I live. People (let me correct myself-guys), make it a race. There was this guy who glued up to my wheel when the terrain starts to get interesting. I told myself (and my legs were extra-crispy from the ride with Charles the other day) that I'll chill and climb seated. There are some really steep pitches and this guy, just to hold on to my wheel, got out of the saddle and was rocking it to stay next to me. I was sitting so I couldn't get the desired watts to my pedals (I need to get a 25 tooth cog instead of a 23 for these hills). I grew tired of this bozo huffing and puffing to stick to me so I got out of the saddle and powered away from him. Stayed away from him all the way to the unofficial top of the climb.
On the way down I pedalled my butt off and began to cramp after the high rpms. That's good. I gotta get my legs to fatigue more often to emulate race pace, especially towards the end of the race when everybody gets antsy and wants to put the evil, stinky sprint on you wherever strategically possible.
This evening I take my doggy for a walk in an open space park just downhill where we live so she can get some exercise too. Great week and it's not over yet. Tomorrow our son-Mason-turns four and we're going to celebrate it!

21 May, 2009

Summer has Officially Started Kids!

what can i say? the one-hundred and eighty-seventh contractual day hath passed and so goeth me in the way of the ecclesiast-everything is (not so) meaningless. not much of a biblicist (nor a religified person, but tolerable of both) but peep dis verse (guess which book):

'Meaningless! Meaningless!'
says the Teacher.
'Utterly meaningless!
Everything is meaningless.'

3 What does man gain from all his labor
at which he toils under the sun?

4 Generations come and generations go,
but the earth remains forever.

5 The sun rises and the sun sets,
and hurries back to where it rises.

6 The wind blows to the south
and turns to the north;
round and round it goes,
ever returning on its course.

7 All streams flow into the sea,
yet the sea is never full.
To the place the streams come from,
there they return again.

8 All things are wearisome,
more than one can say.
The eye never has enough of seeing,
nor the ear its fill of hearing.

9 What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.

10 Is there anything of which one can say,
'Look! This is something new'?
It was here already, long ago;
it was here before our time.

11 There is no remembrance of men of old,
and even those who are yet to come
will not be remembered
by those who follow.

it's not all gloom and doom; anyhoo, here's my paraphrased version (i don't necessarily agree with everything is meaningless but most everything certainly is): one day, we're eventually going to hang out with st. peter, or become constituent, sub-atomic particles (i mean really that's all we are if you think about it, orderly arranged but headed towards entropy) like right after the beginning of time-your choice. so, the ephemerality of your presence at work and everything that's not work makes you aware of choice (i.e. how do i choose to spend that time participating as parent/spouse/competitive cyclist/employee?). i ask you how are you going to spend your time? personally, i have 10 weeks to demonstrate my participatory balancing act. i'll start if i don't stop.

speaking of time, my science department just recognized my wicked valuable, extremely cool, co-teacher's efforts in my school district. the district, therefore, after all these (34) years of dedicated service is giving her a pension. that's right, she retired. i worked with this lovely young lady for ten years! it flew. one day, she's working with me; the next, she has quite the grin on her face. she is a class act, the science department-myself included-is going to miss her presence sorely. ten years y'all...

the last day-our teacher inservice-was kinda busy for me. i had 4 kids come in whose missing assignments were going to do them in (fail them) for the semester. they all finished their respective assignments-all late as hell may i add-in front of me, in my classroom, showing an honest effort, and i graded it without late penalties (why would you arbitrarily make it less because of lateness? i agree though, somethings are not negotiable; if they had to make up a lab-forget it). it ranged from some major, test-worthy assignments to piddly daily assignments but they're so delinquent with their homework, everything counted. needless to say they all passed with a "d" except one boy who earned a "c". the one common denominator they shared was drama. regardless of gender, drama is unfortunately a unifying, as well as ubiquitous, thing here at the high school. i'm sure y'all remembered high school hi-jinx. nutty. i told them if y'all go of to college this type of behavior wouldn't even fly. hope they listened. we'll see.

today, i checked out early to go for a mountain bike ride with my boys. a little thundercloud rolled through and they all deferred (read: chickened out, wimped-out, spontaneous loss of spinal vertebra, ambivalence, lame-osity, no shit-or-get-off-the-pot-filter, don't make me think for myself...etc. get it?). so i did a solo off-road, uphill time trial at mount falcon. i did the climb okay. not in off-road mentality that's for sure, too much time on the road bike. low rpm climbing rhythm, no decent turns in the Ss. i'm doing a race this sunday, so i need to get miles in any way, shape, and form (off-roading counts). i'll let you know how that goes. the race might be rained-out though.

my teammates registered to do the iron horse classic in durango which is (one-way) 6 or so hours away this sunday. the weather there too doesn't look good and the race starts at 8k feet and wouldn't you know it? they're forecasting rain/snow mix at 80% chance. not good. so i wonder who's actually going to be foolish enough to drive 12 hours for a 20% to race in decent weather. statistically i wouldn't do it (but then again i didn't preregister and have to fess up 70 bones).

i think friday, tomorrow, i'ma go for a road ride with my boy chip.

15 May, 2009

The Meridian Ride and other stuff

well kids, four official days left in my contract for the '08-'09 school year (i'm renewed). today's a work day without kids. we have graduation to contend with today. finished creating and running off my final exams for both of my class; two versions each if they're dumb enough to copy and completely biff a test worth 40% of their grade. the sense of finality is coming to a head y'all. cleaned up a bit; i'll save the serious stuff for when my kids come in the rest of the week. got a keep a decent-looking academic area workable and clean. got home and mason wanted to ride. here he is doing uphill intervals. he's getting ready y'all.

haven't been writing as much due to time shizzle, but here's what i've done for racing (which ain't a whole hell of a lot). did a quasi-mountain biking marathon event called the front range 50. got a whole zero hours in training the week before for it (hence the cycling dad reiteration). i figured i could do a sub-five hour, 50 mile off-road excursion. won't be purty but definitely doable. my roommate from college whose a pretty hardcore guy did it too. i show up late to get my number plate and i just get to start the race with my event (there were several that day, this being the marquee event). so off we go with the front range's best 200 or so riders in my event. the start's absolutely nutty. we climb a hill first and you should see these two hundred riders fight for first dibs to the single-track section. mayhem baby. mayhem. fast forward 4h 35 mins later. i finish. ego somewhat illed but an ever so slight release of endorphins. 50 miles on a mountain bike for the second time in 2009 felt like my worst enemy taking a jack hammer to my body's contact points on the saddle. the joy could not be expressed in words kids...

thursday did the meridian training ride. musta been going slow because i was able to hang in. my first hour ride for the week. finished top fifteen, started to cramp during the uphill sprint. talked to one of the elite guys when we started the ride. nice guy. real down to earth and his legs can crush most competitors. talked about how we have the same vacation spot-lake tahoe; and how some of the elite members are doing the tour of some name near lake tahoe. pretty intense competition for that stage race. i attempted a xc mt bike race last year there and it was canceled to due hazardous breathing conditions due the wildfires. they're lucky, when i show everyone's fighting for second place (to last).

Friday. since the grown-up things in life i used to take for granted are difficult to come by nowadays (i.e. movies, hanging out in restaurants, just melissa and i hiking..etc.), i purchase the next best thing: delicious, small batch, hand-crafted (as opposed to spleen-crafted) beers. to celebrate friday, i purchased Russian River's Blind Pig IPA (floral hoppiness and happiness too i suppose);

Brewery Ommegang's chocolate indulgence (kinda tastes like Sammy Smith's Oatmeal Stout);

and Left-Hand Brewery's Imperial Stout (a wee-bit pruney).

of the three, the Russian River's batch was a new flavor I haven't encountered and boy was it freshy-fresh! I recommend this one, the others are simply ite though.

saturday rolls around and maura has a soccer tourney. three games. they didn't make it to the final though because they lost one game out of three. speaking of three, maura scored three goals that day. i witnessed it jackson! oh man, her third goal she wound the kick up and planted it just inside of the top edge of the goal. it was impressive. this was after i dropped off maricel to her choir concert about 70 miles away round trip. then! after this! we all head off to elitches (an amusement park) to watch the choir competition results in which maricel's school won first place with a superior performance (top notch, better than excellent). i witnessed her choir sing too. very tight sound from the choir director who's a task-master to boot. ever since my thirties, i get real nauseous from most amusement park rides. so, all the adventurous souls (the rest of my family plus melissa's brother and mom) do the hard-core rides while i hangout with my son at the little kids rides. he absolutely loves the little kids' rides which in turn makes me have some vicarious fun. so all day at the park we do this. i'm having fun without even riding one ride! it was almost like a tailor made father-son outing. great day/evening hanging out with the family.

sunday rolls and today's maricel's last soccer game and picnic. i watch them play, drop-off the cooler, and i get my ride in. i get a 3.5 h ride in but i wanted a 4h one just to get my endurance up for doing 80 mile road races here in colorado usually involving inordinate climbing of some painful sort. i roll from my house. since we live on a ridge, all my rides are downhill. this means i'm hurting going back to my house especially if there's any wind to contend with. if i can help it all my rides will be fairly local so i'll always climb. kinda did a figure-eight looopy-loop today. i shouldn'a gone too hard for the first climb but i couldn't hep myself. once i saw another rider, the testosterone poisoning began and the burn crept into my legs as i finished the first climb. the second climb wasn't sustained and it's pretty mellow. it also circles some of the prettiest real estate where i live. all rolling horse properties with nothing but blue skies and a pesky northwest wind keeping me honest. my legs were hurting on this half of the figure-eight but once i settled into a slower rhythm i was able to sustain a cadence for the last, long climb without dropping off. at the gas station i sit down on a bench next to a group of harley riders taking a break. i volunteered if they wanted to switch bikes i'd be pretty amenable to it. she laughed and said they're from the springs. i asked if they're going to deckers on their way back and she said they were. on my way back mercifully there's a tail wind and effort back to my house is actually fun instead of the grind i always expect.

we grill out for dinner, wash it down with some fat tire ale, and prepare for monday. the kids are all full, washed, and before mr. sandman arrives we read 'em some books. speaking of which, nighty-night.