28 February, 2010

Finally a long-ish ride!

Got in 64 miles in 3.5 hours Saturday. Cloudy but not too cold. Started by warming up before the hour of power. Seemed like they went slower than hair-on-fire up to Arrowhead Golf course. The wind was pretty fierce that morning and we were all huddled up so that the poor soul in front of you was going to get the full effect of the wind whereas you were nice and tucked in. Being that bunched up of course made the hive squirrely because when somebody would stand up to get more watts in the climb the dude behind him would have to swerve or even worse hit the breaks (I swear people in here in Co are strong but squirrely, at least in TX where I started racing, people had pack skills), causing a major ripple effect so three people out the effects were exaggerated! The lead group broke up into three echelons with me in the...you guessed it! the third echelon. It wasn't really an echelon either because out here we like to be guttered in the wind. It's nice to make the climb with a large group, at least they were going slow enough.
The downhill though was another story. We attacked hard. I just got a cycle computer and at the short but steep uphills we were still going 32 mph and we just kept slingshotting past the leaders so the head of steam going into the climb never let up; in fact we were accelerating to the point where people in front of me were getting peeled. At one point I was in my twelve, hands in the drops, ass on the point, toes pointing down drilling it with everything I had in the draft! Loved it but I couldn't hear anything due to my labored breathing. Groups kept separating off the front but we'd surge and they'd be pulled back in. This happened at least four times going into the reservoir. When we got closer, the park's service closed one of the entrances into the reservoir due to a running event, so we pulled a U-turn and drilled it back to the arboretum.
On the last series of hills I tried to organize a rotating paceline so we can at least take a break from the headwind but everybody wants to prove how strong they are to their competitors so it turned back into gutter central again. One particularly long climb popped me from a lead of six and I was in no-man's land. I sat up, took my hands off the bars and placed 'em under my armpits for warmth, and was going to coast this one in but a dude from the chase group said, "Hang on, we can catch em!" Really though, I wanted to chill on the way back, so of course I put my head down, hands on the drops and half-wheeled myself to the last guy in the chase group. Sho'nuff we caught 'em and after playing what seemed to be 20 minutes of shit-on-your-neighbor collectively we chilled on the downhill to the last stoplight. I add another 2.5 hours to this and I get a 64 mile trip today. Yea!
If I can keep this up I might be able to be competitive in an 80+ mile road race this year. Imagine that!

Saw my boy Javier Collier in my 2.5 hours of steady state piling-up-the-miles-with-my-iPod-on. Saw what he did with this new house (loooved it!), chit-chatted, made a cheese sandwich (thanks brah), met his new poochie: Emily, said our good-byes, and back to my truck I go. My bike was dirty after all the puddly spots I rolled over sans fenders.

Before my fam-fam woke put myself on the rollers and fired off another 7 miles before I mentally said, "this stinks." and summarily got my sweaty self off to make biscuits and veggy gravy for the breaking of fast.

Our NYTimes delivery person's slacking. After walking to our mailbox in my shorts and Sorels (we have a long-ish driveway and it's the tail end of winter mind you), we are conspicuously absent of a paper in our paperbox. No NYTimes. Dizzamn y'all.

Ooops bless you NYTimes delivery person (2H later)...

20 February, 2010


I have S.A.D. Not seasonal affective disorder; but seasonal ass distribution, meaning the snow's keeping me from riding and hence my behind is getting distributed over an area not seen (or touched) from my saddle previously. No riding outside today. Weather too crappy; not only that but we're also running low on firewood (is there a pattern here?). Kinda broke 'til payday to buy a cord of wood so I did the Rocky IV thing. Remember that lame movie? Rocky has the retribution, (because Ivan killed Apollo) showdown, cold war metaphor match in Russia (of course us Yanks win). While in Russia, for his training regimen, he's cutting down trees and chopping them up in the middle of the Russian Winter. Remember that nonsense? That's what I felt like. I was Rocky and Ivan was Winter.
Here's the path I laid down as I gathered the trunks from our backyard. It's as cold as it looks.

Walking in coupl'a feet deep snow and hauling out wood on my shoulders where the original owners felled trees to make a defensible space. My mental distraction came from my iPod.

I have an old school second generation 65 Gigs worth of shuffled music wafting through my mellon. Every time I hear Wagner's Ring Trilogy (Tolkien uses similar theme in his trilogy too-great read incidentally) of operatic music suffused with that Wagnerian symphony it gets me all chicken skinned. The version I have was recorded back in the seventies during the Mecca of Wagnerianism-the Bayreuth festival. Awesome. Not quite high-def sound but close enough for my hard of hearing self to appreciate. I actually have filled it with 50G's worth of music/podcasts/pictures but no video. Too primitive for that technology. What a great little invention.


From there-our driveway-I crossed sectioned and quartered the goods, and stacked 'em in and next to our house. Hopefully it'll make it 'til Thursday where we'll get-purchase-another cord of wood. It was a great workout. I'm telling you 70lb trunks on your shoulders walking in snow's quite the resistance. It also reminded me of that movie with Mathew Modine, VisionQuest. In that movie about wrestling Mathew meets his competition lugging around a pretty hefty chunk of tree trunk on his shoulders (like an English torture yoke) going up and down some nondescript stadium (steps).

Do that a couple three times...Took a break and ripped John Coltrane's LP coltrane plays the blues onto my iTunes library. That was an Atlantic redo. Great LP. Thank goodness Coltrane was rather prodigious with his cataloged music. After putting it on my iPod, I went back out to get some girthy trunks. They were heavy (coupled with my weak self) and I called it quits after I hauled them out. Don't know how many kilocalories I've combusted but I think it warrants drinking some Maredsous. After round two of out-hauling, I took my eldest daughter to spend the night at her bud's house. Her bud's Dad--Andrew, gave me a bottle of his IPA homebrew. I took her so my sweet Melissa wouldn't have to get out of her PJs. In fact my middle daughter didn't get out of her PJs today either. It's been that kind of day. Really gray, snowing-on-and-off-all-day kind of day. Almost has the same languidness of a drizzly, cold, overcast, winter Sunday where the remedy is listening to sixties era jazz--bop mind you, not that goofy, west coast jazz--from LPs, nosing and tasting single malt scotch and a seegahr. Truth be told, Scotch's too heavy and haven't acquired the nose nor the taste--yet!--and cigars are stanky but rollers and a Maredsous 8° Brune? Ohhh SHNAP! I need to get on the rollers quick, the call of the Maredsous is quickly moving up my priorities list in my reptilian brainstem. Got the fire kickin' now though!

non-sequitor section: Last week some students of mine saw me walking into this used CD store that's also known for its accoutrements/hardware of anything cannabis. As they're walking out they jokingly ask if I'm getting myself a bong or something. I tell 'em I'm strictly a CD kind-of-guy but when I see them in class they kind of goof on (their version of) my dubious purchase. High School kids. They're funny.

I didn't get to the Maredsous. Andrew's IPA, which was hoppy goodness, oozing of alcohol, pretty much put me in a state o'groovitude. In fact, I'm going to read the library books i checked out for the Moose and put on Miles Davis' The Complete In A Silent Way Sessions (okay so it's not bop but it was recorded in the sixties-just barely).

Sunday's pretty much the same except I finished reading Philip Pullman's last of his trilogy (how many times can i say Trilogy in this entry?) The Amber Spyglass. Highly recommend it to y'all (the trilogy that is, there it is again!). Gets me inspired to read Milton's Paradise Lost (or not). Right before din-din my old brah Eric called and we caught up, talked bikes, and general living from a y-chromosome perspective. A wave of reminiscence flowed through me after we hung up.

Monday, you suck.

12 February, 2010

¡Un gran rato!

Happy President's Day (Morning from our backyard)!

Didn't ever think Friday'd ever roll around. Been a pretty long work week. Not that work's bad or anything but after a 4-day work week last time, it was pretty difficult to switch the gears from funtime to worktime. Rode the rollers twice this week. Friday, I started the morning riding rollers and watched a 2007 foreign flick Melissa picked up at our library called, Du levande (You the Living). Watching scenes from Europe starts the wanderlust seed. It was your typical (like movies you've normally watched) voyeuristic-point-of-view-of-a-day-in-the-life-of-the-ennui-of-mostly-pathetic-people-of-pastey-white-scandinavian-haplotype(s) genre 'cept subtitled with artsy cinematography with parsimonious amounts of quirky, visual effects. It wasn't enough to rate the film better'n "ite;" but I believe rating art is an irrelevant, moot, categorization-as opposed to owning a categorically cool, relevant Moot(s). Speaking of which, this film's from Sweden shot during the pre-wintry months so it's kinda drab but it also makes me miss my first sports wagon (which was not drab, instead quirky), a Volvo 850 (855 actually) GLT (light turbo). Quirky but functional interior and it'd hold a boatload o'junk replete with a Thule bike rack up top-with fairing!-clamped onto the stock railings. When cheese eating high school kids (as opposed to the ones you'll read about later) in their 4 cylinder Mustangs would attempt to get jiggy with me at the (red) light, I'd step on the brake pedal and the accelerator at the same time to spool up the turbo and when it went green my Swedish Fish would launch like no other when I released the brake and floored the accelerator even more. She was cool (see, the film and my Volvo_were_quirky-not to be confused with quark((y)).

As school was ending on Friday, two of my former students and three current students came by to say hello at the same time. It was a real nice surprise. I wanted to leave because it was, after all Friday, but it was just too nice talking to them and hearing what they had to say as (relatively) mature, empathetic, classy teenagers from a Dad/teacher's perspective. Kids are cool generally except when they're not. Imagine, teenagers just stopping by to say hello (to me even!) The perks of teaching.

Saturday, pre-Valentine's day, was spent skiing with sweet Melissa. We went to WinterPark for ski-action and we had a blast. For a while, it seemed like the sun was trying to make an appearance but alas she didn't. We spent time on the Mary Jane side on the only runs near the Panoramic Express (lift) hoping they would open it so we could ski bowl-side; but I sadly regret to inform y'all that too didn't happen. During our hoping and praying it would open, we skied some moguls and blues. We hopped into the singles line to avoid the crowds in the lift lines. It worked out quite nicely. When we did ride singles (when the lines are mellow we actually ride together and converse) you meet a hodgepodge o'interesting peeps. For me, there were these free-heelers I rode up with and they were going on about the last episode of Car Talk (the click and clack bros.) and This American Life and it turned into an interesting conversation of people's favorite, free podcasts. I shared my The Moth and Radiolab gems with them. Melissa was turning nicely into the ungroomed snow (2-4 inches) laying on top of the crunch and the bumps. After we had a quick lunch, the weather opened up and down came the white stuff. We skied for another hour in the downpour then we called it quits. When weather turns south, it makes all the difference on the equipment surrounding your body that acts like a movable barrier and as an extension of one's actions. I'm very pleased with the gear we both have. Never got cold, nor wet and the skis were always responsive due to the glove-fitting boots. We relaxed at the Cheeky Monk Belgian Beer Cafe and ordered several St. Bernardus abt 12 and warm pretzels. Leave it to monks to create some of the world's most scrumptious, consumable liquids: beer and a certain espresso drink. I sometimes feel closer to the Supreme Being (just don't ask Philip Pullman) myself after absorbtion (as opposed to adsorption) of these liquids (my mental oneness with the SB is proportional to the quality of contents inside liquid palliative). Inside the Cafe we were warm and getting slightly buzzed while outside the snow was falling sideways. There was one point, after looking out the window, where it was a near whiteout (albeit brief). After taking the Cabriolet (a lift were the occupants stand completely open-no windows-but encased 2/3rds of the way up) from the Village to the nearly empty parking lot
in our happy state o'mind, we changed out of ski-gear into our civvies. It was an excellent way to wind down, skiing a great mountain with one's honey bunch(es). On our way out of the nearly empty parking lot, the WinterPark Fire Dept., standing in the intersection, informed us of a nasty accident at Berthoud Pass (our nearest way out), so we pulled a U-turn and back to WinterPark Village we go again. When we did leave it was close to 1930 and the roads out were pretty bad until we got onto the highway back home.

Sunday, as sweet Melissa's waking up, I start the morning stoking the fireplace and doing a 30 minute workout (10 warmup 2X5min interval with 5 min recovery, and a 5' cool down) on the rollers facing my snow filled backyard as the snow continues to fall. It's purty. Next up? Reading the NYTimes (the actual newspaper not the on-line version!) and cleaning the house for when mother in-law visits later returning our wee-urchins o'love.

Monday is Prez day. A day spent for remembering our current and past presidents by doing absolutely nothing. We did familial somethings instead of nothing.

Happy Valentines day to y'all (if you choose to recognize this commercially lucrative holiday for a bunch of shameless, profiteering hedonists, that is)...

06 February, 2010

Is it me, or is it getting cold?

Well kids, did the hour of power and got waaaxed! Maybe WinterPark taxed my pistons but I don't want to make excuses for my lack o'fitness. I thought it was going to be in the 40s but it was right at freezing y'all when I showed up at Chatfield. Of course I forgot my head gear so trying to be resourceful I positioned my toe-warmers, a la Spock-like over my pinnas. It looked hella dumb but I was warm! While I was shoving it over my pinnas and under my helmet those punctual bastidges took off. A Team "Bang Salon" guy and I were both caught unaware and we chased like cat Vs trying to win a Schrader Valve inner tube prime. Once we caught up I noticed my heart rate was kinda off-the-charts. I chilled at the back to get it down to normal. Once we made the turn to Waterton Canyon trailhead dem bastidges drilled it.

My leggy-legs were definitely feeling the bump runs at WinterPark and I was just hanging on for dear life. Couldn't find a cadence that was comfortable when the watts were turned up and that put me in a mental asynchronous condition called "mental asynchronous syndrome" (I'm not a doctor, but I play one on TV). Have I mentioned how warm my pinnas (made you say, "pinnas") are?

Popped like Mentos in a two liter Coke bottle. This was on the second hump on the climb. Saw my fellow Natural Grocer/Vitamin Cottage compadre Bill Herwig motoring like the fiend he is with the leaders on the climb up the road. Hanging out in Purgatory (behind the leaders, in front of the shlomos), I decided I better shut down the HR ASAP. I slowed waaay down and pulled a you-ee to catch 'em when they're going like bats-out-of-hell on the descent. My nutty-arsed ear warmer contraption needed adjustment anyway.

Sho' nuff they're blasting down the road like a diesel truck hauling two trailers and I insert myself somewhere in the middle. Before the turn into Chatfield, somebody kisses somebody's rear tire and you hear the breaks squealing like pigs at a Jimmy Dean sausage factory (that's right, I'm a pescatarian). I see Bill bust a cyclocross move on the right shoulder/ditch to avoid the almost crash. Believe it or not, nobody went down although I did see a competitor temporarily sideways. Nutrageous.

As we're heading into the park we're completely drilling it and my body's back in sync with my cadence (53X12). Hands in the drops, I'm feeling frisky and I want to drift towards the yellow, centerline and surge to the front of the group to push the pace a wee bit. A dozen or so riders beat me to the centerline and they're ripping it, somebody yells "Car up!" and they get their sensibilities and get back towards the correct side of the centerline (that aint cool, centerline violating chumps!). Almost at the same time another group to the far right is doing the same thing. Since I was closest to the right-hand surge I picked a wheel and kept my line so nobody would try to insert themselves between me and my wheel suckee (dude in front of me). For each 10 yards as we approach the finish line some .5 miles away, there's at least one rider getting cooked and going backwards as we're rolling.

They're going so fast I'm probably now top ten and I see Bill Herwig and six others jump out of the saddle for the final drag race to the line. The group I'm with is content to motorpace off the sprinters and they tow us to the line (I gotta save my energy because I'm doing two more hours after this nonsense). Probably finished top twelve just getting sucked along in the slipstream of the surging group.

It's officially freezing once we get back to the staging/parking. Bill changes his wet jersey and I ride with his group for about an hour and they meet some friends and chat. I need to keep rolling to get to hour three so I say goodbye and head back to my car to take off these ridiculous toe covers from my ears. Put on my Texas beanie and rode towards my boy's house: Hez-chilly to complete the two out of three union of the homey trinity (Kev's the third). He wasn't there so I eat my one PowerBar at a grocery store and head back as the mercury continues to dip.

Ahhh, three hours. My legs are done from two days of trying to act like a bike racer. Time to drink some green tea and clean our house. Didn't feel quite as accomplished as last week but I still loved it anyways y'all.

05 February, 2010

WinterPark On My Comp Day

Made some wicked buttermilk biscuits and gravy (vegetarian-style, that is) for my kids before they left off for school and before I left to head out to WinterPark. Wednesday was Parent/Teacher conferences so they gave us today for a comp day. Using the WinterPark 4 pass reduced my magic number to two now. Never gone skiing on a weekday. I see why people do it. No traffic, no lift lines, and pretty convenient.
I absolutely love my gear. First time in ages that I'm not skiing on five year old equipment (although it's coming close). The Völkl Karmas and my Tecnica comp Alus make for some responsive/feedback-inspired steering. 90 underfoot and close to 119 at the tip. Made for terrain parks but can handle mid-size moguls and loves off-piste, steeps. It's like punching the accelerator and feeling the G-forces on your butt, or riding tubulars versus clinchers, or ice skates vs roller skates.
Biffed it today. Was absolutely cruising in a mogul field with about 6 inches of new snow covering the top and didn't see the trough (thought I had my mogul line sussed) and pitched forward with my left leg planted and the right leg behind me like a figure skater and my left ski binding kicked out. Kinda hurt my good ankle; but not enough to stop skiing or nuttin'. The weather forecasted clouds and slight snow. There were clouds but they eventually burned off leaving mostly blue skies.

Being the cheapskate that I am, I spent no money on food nor drink there.
4.5 hours later after absolutely no lift lines all day, my gams are hammered. Wanted to save it for Saturday's hour of power so we'll see. Left with just enough time to pick up the Moose at Evergreen Academy and my girly-girls at their ES. Great day.
Great way to start the weekend and makes me appreciate work even more (if that's possible).
Unlike my last pair of boots, everytime after I go skiing, my doggy covers get dried.