23 April, 2011

A Whole Lot of Nuttin' Going On!

My semester/year's ending as a high school teacher (I'm still coming back to a job next academic year). That's bringing delayed joy and an inordinate amount of planning in order to execute the worthwhile concepts in a timely manner and to give a final exam twice (not the same): mine and the district's. Lacrosse and soccer's in full swing (both girls have practice every day and my son on Sundays) so my base miles are pretty much non-existent. So how do I get a modicum of self-indulgence (relative sanity)? Oh and I'm also training for a half marathon too in early June; but, this Friday and Saturday I got in back-to-back rides: Friday off-road and today, on the road. Therapeutic baby. Therapeutic. I gotta get it when I can get it (it's probably the same mantra as a HS teenage boy, but for different reasons).
Drove to Maura's lacrosse game which was exciting! The score was tied with 30 seconds remaining and our girl won the face-off, marched it downfield and shot the winning goal. Awesome. Yelled myself into a headache. I wasn't a little league dad or anything but just hollering for our mountain girls.

I was satisfied with my performance up Mt. Falcon Friday. Mt. Falcon is a thousand foot climb contain in three miles where people go there to improve their PR. So if it's a guy, and they see a body up ahead, they'll race you 'til their eyes bleed. I try not to fall into that category but damn my testosterone producing testicles. Damn them! I was just moseying along, going a pretty good clip, listening to my iPod (some mellow Ben Folds tune) when out of the corner of my eye (you ever notice how your hairs on your neck stand up when you're getting eye-balled?) I saw a dude taking a breather on a switch-back and when I got within 100 meters he bolted. He bolted fast because he put a mighty gap on me but dammit I was determined to hunt him down like the dog he was. I placed it under the training category of interval training so let's go sucka! Sho nuff there's this spot of a rock garden that if you don't hit it mountain side and grunt it; or hit it near the precipice with body english and finesse (you have to time the 6 o'clock pedal strokes or your pedals'll hit a strategically placed baby-head), you'll have to dismount and walk it. He tried the near precipice but completely ham fisted it and had to dismount. That's where my 44 year-old arse finessed it and passed him barely breathing and not establishing eye contact (that's the dickhead roadie in me...). Once it leveled out, I put it in the middle-ring and rocked it like a meth addict with a fresh syringe. I was one with my Yeti and when that's the case a mental conduit originates from my bike and attaches to my medulla oblongata. That's when she starts talking to me: telling me to go faster, giving me hints to English my frame to accelerate through twisties, and scolding me when I touch the brakes. I tacked on the Parmalee loop at the top, twisted my fork travel to max and let 'er rip. Nobody else was on this part of the mountain, made it a power workout and kept in the big ring from this point forward. I forgot how steep it was and cleaned a rock chicane that usually makes me unclip one of my pedals. 1.5 hours and 9 miles later I'm back at my truck. Chased down and passed a dual-suspension guy on the downhill on my hardtail Yeti. I'm getting ornery in my advancing years.

Today, after the snow fell and Maura's sweet lacrosse game, I hopped on my road bike and fired-off 50 very uneventful miles in 3 three hours in gusty, cold conditions. I couldn't get the climbing I wanted because where I live it's still hovering around freezing and the roads are not clean. My all purpose miles for this week (which includes my running) is 63. Not impressive but I can eat a hearty Easter brunch tomorrow without worrying about caloric surpluses. For dinner, sweet Melissa made Pad Thai. Yum. Washed it down with Shiner Cheer.

On a musical side note I've been completely smitten by TV On The Radio and Lang Lang's Live In Vienna. If y'all have never heard of TVOTR they are a Brooklyn-based band that has LAYERS of sound. Kinda like the way Radiohead has layers of sound these guys have a very distinct, rock band falsetto harmonizing kind of thing that's so impressively and sonically unique you either love 'em or hate 'em. It's like a wall of sound with their singers busting out a falsetto on normal vocalizations with a boomy bass sound, accompanied by a swinging guitar and rock steady drummer. I have Desperate Youth, Bloodthirsty Babes and their latest: Nine Types of Light. As for Lang Lang, not only is he a twenty something prodigy but this is his debut performance for Sony classics and by golly does he perform. The sound dynamics on this live CD (two discs actually) is amazing!!! You can't even tell it's live until the audience starts clapping. His encore is a couple ditties from Frédéric François Chopin and he slays. Chopin's probably my top three classical artists and so I discriminate when people play Chopin. Barenboim, Pollini, Szpilman are three who I think are superb and give me chicken skin and now I add Lang Lang.

Ite den kids, wish me luck on the Santa Fe century. I'ma do it with long time home skillet, Javier de Soto Lambrusco and will crash at his cabin in Pecos, NM due to his largess (minus the condescension).

03 April, 2011

Next to Last Day of My Spring Break

The first part of my Spring Break was taking my middle and youngest urchins 890 miles southeast to the lovely Dallas suburb of Plano, TX. I brought my bike to do some group rides but it was soooo cold (whereas the week prior it was in the 80s) and drizzly the bike stayed put at Mom and Dad's. That was okay though, it meant more hang time for the familia. Maura brought her lacrosse stick down and we played catch in-between rain drops, hung out with the parents and I made breakfast and dinner most days. I did manage to get 12 miles worth of running down there. The best day weather-wise was when we left back to Colorado-go figure. My eldest went on her first Mother-Daughter trip to San Francisco. It was great seeing my parents. 5 days was enough before we started to get onto each others' nerves. Goodbyes are so awkward. I kind of hate them. Waving goodbye as we drive away is not a natural phenomenon.

Coming back on a Thursday meant that I could make it to out our Natural Grocers Racing Team picture. It was on the same day held at a nearby crit. I would be financially irresponsible to pay for a one day license, chip rental, and race fee to get my butt handed to me when I can get base miles for free. Back in the day when entrance fees where cheaper I'da considered it but with gas prices going nutty and our sizable commutes I can't whittle away at our potential gas pool of money. I probably gained some mass doing some quality eating with my folks and kids and having not touched the bike in a week was not the recipe to race. The season's long and I've resigned myself to probably racing the bulk doing crits. Looking forward to when XC mountain biking starts up. Due to La Niña, the high country should be thawed out sooner than most seasons; and, I got the green light to get a new mountain bike this season. Seriously considering a 3x9, hardtail 29er. Did some research and to sum, what I found is this: a 29er is not an all-rounder but it is good enough for Front Range mountain biking. I can see its limitations at some of the WinterPark XC courses-especially the technical uphills; and, at Slickrock in Moab. I want the carbon rig but my wallet's not that fat. Realistically the aluminum version of the Flash 29er with a Lefty fork-that'd be the shizzle kids.

After the team pics we went out for a ride. It was Joe, Ben, Kenny, and my lame memory is slipping and two others (Brendan and ?). It was nice riding with Kenny again let alone race with him. I haven't raced with him in a while. We've done the same XC races but not in the same category like we raced in the IIIs so it was nice riding hard with him today. Seeing the racers and the race today inspired me to do more training (at least start with smart calories). I will pay more attention to leg, weight training seeing that I probably won't be in any shape to be competitive in 80+ mile road races but can hopefully fake sitting in a pack attempting to complete a crit. I do want to do the Colorado State Master Road Championships and the series at the State Patrol (track) come Summer.

Work starts Monday. That sucks. This Spring Break though was memorable in a way that I spent some quality time with the kids (as opposed to other Spring Breaks when we were hanging out). Really enjoying each others' company in a way that transcends the other times we spend just being physically near each other but not really interacting. We snuggle at night, talk kid talk and just like being next to each other. Not in the Brady bunch sort-of-way but in our sort-of-way that's intrinsically meaningful and not subject to non-family interpretation. Took Maura on her first mountain bike ride and she slayed. Mason did too (his second). They're both fearless and I really want to do more with them in that particular skill set. Right now they both love the things I find recreationally valuable (I'm a big believer in sound mind, sound body): skiing and cycling (not in any particular order). It can only get better (and more expensive too I suppose).

They're spending the night at Grandma's tonight and I already miss 'em...