Monday, December 22, 2008

Hey There!

OK, I gotta find something else to blog about, other than the fact that I am not really doing anything worth blogging about. I have been sick since Thanksgiving. I felt fine, I was just stuffy and a little tired, and the cold just kind of hung around in the background annoying the crap out of me. I thought I was over it, and then it rallied. I’m hoping to gain some ground and be back on top by Christmas.

Son#1 started wrestling again, so that means I pretty much have no life until March. Son#2 is learning to whistle. I hope I'm there when he learns to talk too, I want to see him whistle The Warden over to feed him.

The Warden has the same cold I do, and she has lost her voice. Can we say best Christmas present EVER?

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Steady as she goes...

Sorry folks, not a lot of blog worthy stuff going on right now, just more of the usual “life” getting in the way of biking, but in a cool way this time.

First up, the Battle Axe (AKA Warden’s mom) is in town. This is a lot better than it sounds actually. First of all, since we flew her up here, it means I didn’t have to drive all the way down to Florida with a screaming 9 month old teething Critter. Second, with her here to distract the Warden, I’ve been getting away with all kinds of crap I don’t want to disclose until after she leaves.

Second up, Steve came up to for Son#1’s Birthday. Despite some crappy weather a good time was had by all. Steve was introduced to the ultimate culinary debauchery that is the Warden’s Ice Cream Cake, and reunited with the joys of Wayne’s Pizza. I've been eating this stuff since I popped my first tooth. When my Dad first moved to Arlington Heights, Illinois from Sapulpa, Oklahoma he lived a small apartment directly above a bar, and right across the street from Wayne’s Pizza. This was before marriage and kids and all that stuff, so it was just him, a bar and some pizza. Some forty odd years later, you can still see the gratitude beaming in his eyes when he gazes at my mother, gratitude for saving him from such a bleak, lonely existence. It is gratitude, I am telling you, straight up 100 percent pure gratitude.

So Son#1 got to chill with Uncle Steve, and I got to play some racquet ball. Well, I got run around the court trying not to break something until I dropped to the floor in a wheezing sweaty pile of middle aged chubbiness, Steve got to laugh a lot. Oh, there was some bowling in there too.

Holding steady at 194.2. Thank God we had to share that Ice Cream Cake with the rest of the family.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Almost forgot!

194.2 pounds this morning, that is down almost 5 pounds since I made my Thanksgiving resolution. Pretty cool. Ok, I'm feeling like a day old can of flat root beer tonight, just figured I owed you all an update, I said I would weigh in today.

Sunday, November 30, 2008


There seems to be a good deal of concern over the lack of acorns on the East coast this year particularly in the DC area

I have two theories on potential causes. The first involves a little conservation of energy in the face of competition. The trees realize that there is no way they can compete with the nuts already on the ground (especially in the DC area) so why expend the energy and waste valuable resources producing more. Of course trees are not sentient beings, so that is just nonsense. With enough booze and the right person flying wingman, I could probably have fun with that theory in a bar though. I once convinced The Warden we had cable TV and phone service on the submarine.

The second theory involves a squirrel I saw on yesterdays ride. I think he ate them all. He was fat, he was damn near the size of a beaver. Scale wise, if you equated him to a 5’11” man, he would have been pushing 400 burritos. I saw him sitting on the curb on 4rth Avenue, coming back up from Waterman, hunched over eating squirrel Bon Bons or something, maybe a smaller squirrel perhaps. I guess I spooked him because he made a dash for the nearest tree, about 5 feet away from him. I should say a move for the tree, the only dashing this squirrel did involved salt and French fries. It made three leaps, then stopped and leaned over and put his little squirrel hands on his knees and sat there panting and wheezing for a minute. I kind of felt sad for the fat little rodent; I’ve been there before myself. I swear I could hear him trying to talk himself out of vomiting.

So anyway, he gets his wind back, and crouches low for the last flying leap to the tree. Or at least I think he was crouching, he more or less just kind of spread out like really thick pancake batter on a skillet, then gave a little chirp of a squirrel grunt and went for it. You could see the fat quivering under his skin like melting Jello, and then as he approached the apex of his leap you could tell he hit zero G, like Tang bubbles floating gravity free in the space station, his body kind of snapped into a perfect Euclidean sphere, a giant glob of furry saturated fat with only the occasional undulation rippling through, marring its perfection, well that and the bushy tail too, not too many Euclidean spheres floating around with a tail I suppose.

So he smacks the tree with a splat, about 6 inches above the ground, and just stays there. Maybe all the effort of moving that amount of mass all of 4 and a half feet just exhausted it, but I don’t think he had the upper body strength to pull himself up any higher, and even if he could, I don’t think there was a branch in that tree strong enough to hold him.

I hope he enjoys his winter, because I’m pretty sure come spring, he is going to have some skinny fast pushy asshole Joel version of a squirrel asking him how he got so fat.

I think I was 197 when I weighed in this morning, so I am still on track for a net loss over Thanksgiving week, just not the dramatic amount I was hoping to lose. I slacked a little more on the calories, but I made up for that with extra mileage. Altogether I got over 90 miles in over the weekend, 16 of those in an official winter storm this afternoon. Snow, wind and rain, good times on a bike, let me tell you.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving! Mind if I use your shower?

A few weeks ago I kind of off offhandedly made plans to ride to our families Thanksgiving dinner. The only real problem was that I off offhandedly made the plans out loud, in front of people, real people, not just The Warden, who wouldn’t give me too much grief should I back out, but real people from work, and certain other family members, who despite their inability to pedal a bike for more than a mile,3 would give me a rash of shit till next Easter for wussing out of this ride.

I ended up leaving about two and half hours later than I had planned on, but I eventually got everything I thought I would need, and a whole bunch of crap I wouldn’t actually need crammed into my back pack, not to mention the things I knew I would actually need, and had prepared, but forgot to load on the bike, like my water bottles. Thank God for debit cards. I was about 5 miles out when I realized I forgot them, and turning back at that point would have pretty much put me past any acceptable window, and warm white meat doesn’t last long with my family.

My original plan was to take the Great Western bike path all the way east till it turned into the Illinois Prairie Path, which hits York Road about a mile from my aunt’s house. The path is paved in parts but is mostly crushed limestone, so I opted to take my single speed, it’s got slightly fatter tires and is more suited for that stuff than my road bike is. I had already put a bigger chain ring back on up front, and swapped out my cross tires, so it’s pretty much good to go for winter road riding.

The problem though is that it’s not really winter yet, it was sunny, and 46 degrees out. The path was kind of frozen at parts, but thawed in others, it was like riding with two flat tires. A pretty significant effort only yielded about 13 mph, and I needed to hold at least 15 mph most of the trip or I was going to be eating cold & clammy dark meat for certain. After about 2 or 3 miles of that crap I hopped onto route 64. A little louder, and not quite as scenic, but I could hold about 20 mph easy enough.

I was surprised by how good the ride went. I held 20 mph most of the time, on a single speed, by myself with nobody to draft. Joel would be proud. I was really starting to feel it by mile 35, and by mile 45 I was ready to be done. The last 15 miles took me through some pretty dense strip mall territory, and the stopping and starting all the time really took its toll. I ended up riding 50.1 miles. It took me 2:45 minutes and according to the computer I averaged 18.2 mph. Not too shabby for a single speed. That would have killed me back in May.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Just An Observation

Weight: 197.4
Delta M: -1.6

So I was at the shop today and got a wild hair up my ass and threw my bike up on the scale-21 lbs. Now that is hardly anorexic for a bike, but it isn’t that heavy for an entry level cross bike either. For some reason, I was thinking the bike was heavier, like another 5 lbs heavier, which would put it in Clydesdale status, just like its rider. I’ve been operating under the premise that if I could shave 10 lbs off my bike next season, and 30 lbs off my ass, I might finish in the front half of the field once in a while next season.

Like The Man says, It’s Not About the Bike. The bike is so not a factor, at least not for me, not yet. I always thought I knew that, but seeing that bike weigh in a good 5lbs lighter than I thought it would changed that a little bit. The wind has not been taken out of my sails, it just a shifted a little. It’s time to change tack, prepare to come about.

Monday, November 24, 2008

I'd Like To Thank the Acadmey...

Now that I am 95% percent sure I have ridden my last race of the season I think some thanks are in order.

First up, Joel. If I thought for one second that he would ever shut up if I wussed out of that first Dekalb race, I wouldn’t have even really considered signing up. Of course after that it became more of a question of how many more of these races will the Warden let me get away with. I’m not sure if he pressured me into it out of some sick fascination out of seeing me twitch and cry, or if he knew I would have so much fun, either way I’m glad he did it.

After this season, I am half tempted to change the Warden’s name to Parole Officer. I kept expecting to hear “Ok, but this is the last one…” every time I asked mentioned the next race, but it never came. Rain or shine, warm or cold, she ran around the house all morning gathering gloves and hats and cowbells and herded us all into the minivan. You think it doesn’t get cooler than that? You are wrong. Just when I thought she was going to snap and tear into me and tell me to grow up and drop the whole Cutter routine she pipes up, “Can we get there early one of these races so we can watch the women race?” Oh, I don’t know about that Sweety, I suppose we could, if we really have to. I kid you not; she actually got us up early and herded us out into the cold to watch the women’s race. What did I do to deserve this? Of course, now that I think about it her willing, dare I say entusiastic participation may have had something to do with all the guys hanging around in lycra.

Oh yeah, Thanks to Mom, Jesse & David & brood, and to Mike and Jen for coming out to see us, it was great seeing you all.

Since I am 95% sure this was my last race of the season it is time to shift gears. I need to get the single speed set back up for road riding, and not only try not to get fat again this winter, but try and lose a little more weight. I’ve been stalled out in the 190’s for too long. So three days before Thanksgiving I am vowing to actually lose weight over the week. I am not saying it will be a huge number, but there will be weight loss I tell you. This morning the scale said 199 even, stupid steak tacos. Next Tuesday, that number will be smaller.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

My 5th (and 6th) (and final, or I am at least 95% sure it’s my final) Real Live Race Report!

Call it an early Black Friday special, tonight, and tonight only, we have a special, two for one race reports! Or you can just call me a lazy slacker with poor time management skills, either one works.

First up, Lansing. Lansing sucked some serious ass. I am not exaggerating, it was that bad. First of all, I just flat out did not like the course. It was flat, like Euclidian three points determine a plane flat. The courses they raced those funky day glow motorcycles on in the movie Tron had more hills.

My dislike of the course pales in comparison to my poor race prep and performance, both on the course, and the week leading up to it. The diet had been in kind of nonexistent state for about two weeks prior to that race. The week before I was at least training though, I kind of blew that too leading up to Lansing. I blew it so bad I tipped the scales at 203 the Monday following the race. There will be no more “No Mores”, I’ve learned my lesson on that. Oh yeah, did I mention I was up till about 3 AM the night before the race? I wasn’t drinking but still, I wasn’t exactly well rested, or well fed, I rushed through breakfast and skimped out on lunch.

If that wasn’t bad enough, I had like 70 psi in my tires, people were pointing at me and muttering stuff to each other behind covered mouths, then laughing knowingly. Ok, that may be a slight exaggeration, but it did come up in conversation with some of the series leaders, and some other old salty dogs, and it was agreed I was being a freak, so I let some air out of my tires. And by some I mean a crap ton, more like a cubic crap ton. I checked my rear tire after the race and it had about 32 psi, and it felt like it had more air than my front. I accidentally let all the air out when I went to check, it was cold and my hands were shaking. I can believe I didn’t roll a tire off the rim or pinch flat.

It was a perfect storm of suckitude. I can’t believe I didn’t come in last. I held on as best I could and finished 31st out of 35. One of the guys I beat gave up before the race started I think, one of them was considerably older than me, and one of the others looked like this may have been his first race. Kudos to that guy, I saw him at the finish, and no one can doubt he put everything he had into that race, he was hurting!

I wonder how much poor prep and performance affected my opinion of the course. Would it have sucked so much if I had not brought the knife to the gunfight?

One cool note though. Chas’s cousins Jesse and David packed their brood drove out from the South Bend area an hour and a half to meet us. I think I had the biggest cheering section there. We took the kids out to McDonalds after the race and fed them too much sugar and junk food and then wondered why they were being all spastic and stuff. Good times. It was great to see them.

Today was Woodstock. Man, that course was tough! They mixed it up really good, some tight stuff, some off camber stuff, more than a few good climbs, and some wicked fast decents as well. Loved it! I prepped a lot better for this race. Some pretty hardcore intervals, some running, a lot of stretching and core strength stuff during my lunch hour even. Oh yeah, did I mention Son# 1 started wrestling this week? I was squeezing all this in on top of getting him to three wrestling practices this week. Not for the faint of heart. Between all that and cleaning up my diet, I dropped a few pounds too and got back in the low 190’s.

So anyway, I ended up finishing 31st out of 38. My blood sugar is too low right now for math, but I think percentage wise that is my strongest finish this season. Judging from the way my legs feel right now I am going to be feeling it for a day or two. So worth it though.

Another thing, my friends Crazy Mike and Jen made it out to the race too. I wasn’t expecting them, seeing as I called right before the race and he had said they weren’t gonna make it. I was pretty shocked to come around the last technical section before the finish to hear Mike sounding off! It was great, The Warden and crew were there with them too, not at the finish line where I expected them. Son#1 was really whooping it up too, he usually heads for the park after the first lap. It was like rocket fuel I tell you. It was a great way to finish the season, Thanks guys.

Thursday, November 13, 2008

I hope this works....

Today is the Warden’s Birthday. Can we say “conjugal visit?”


Love you Babe, Happy Birthday!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

My Fourth Real Live Actual Race Report!

Ouch. That’s all I got to say about the Save Ferris race in Northbrook. Ouch.

OK, maybe I have a little more than that, but seriously, that course hurt, I was in full on vomit suppression mode by the time I finished lap two.

Everybody had been talking about the hill at St. Charles last week, and the course designers didn’t disappoint. It was a sled hill, the stairs pretty much forced a run up the face, and the remount was on a very slick off camber, which led into some really steep off camber switchbacks the rest of the way down the hill. No amount of hay they threw down at the turns seemed to help, but if you rode the banks right you could almost make it through without putting your foot down. Most everybody just slid sideways through it though. Coming out of that mess you straightened out onto a steep, slick downhill, which was of course off camber.

Actually, now that I think about it, I think the whole course was either uphill, or off camber, except for the parts that were uphill and off camber. M.C. Escher would have totally dug Northbrook this year.

Wait a second, there was a flat section, that’s where I biffed. I’m not sure what happened, I came off a paved trail, and hit a short grassy flat that set you up for a really slick wicked uphill slog. I was in vomit suppression mode at this point and just as the pavement was ending I was contemplating backing off the throttle a tad and recovering a little. Then I contemplated having to report to Joel that I came in last, not an attractive prospect, so I got on it again. The next thing I know I am picking myself and my bike up off the ground. I don’t what the hell happened. I hit hard enough to get the wind knocked out of me, and I’m a little stiff from it now, but all in all it was hardly Purple Heart worthy.

The Chicago Cuttin’ Crew was present and accounted for, making their presence known form a love seat they managed to set up in the middle of the course. They were in rare form with the megaphone this race. They even brought out a bugler this time. I’m not sure how competitive of a team they are, but they sure shine in the color commentary department. The best place to watch a race is wherever these guys are set up.

My own cheering section was truncated a little this time. My Mom got hung up at church, so her and Son#1 opted to stay in and get dinner ready for us after the race. The Warden and Critter braved the weather though.

If you look closely, you can see a baby tucked in there, that is Critter.

I'm trying to figure out why all the pictures of the warden and Critter came out OK, but all the pictures of me are either dark or blurry. Are you trying to tell me something Babe? It's probably just as well, who wants to see my pale sweaty ass trying not to puke in close up, well lit detail?

For those of you who don’t know, the North Western burbs of Chicago are where John Hughes made a good number of his most famous movies, like 16 Candles and Breakfast Club. Parts of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off were filmed in Northbrook, Illinois and the promoters used a line from the movie, “Save Ferris.” Actually I think it as more of a sight gag, I think it was written on a water tower in the movie. Another interesting note- I was actually in that movie. My junior high school marching band was in the parade scene. We are kind of a red blob you can see in the back ground as they pan out on the parade scene, but I was there, and had to sign a release and everything so they could use that footage.

So anyway, the race vitals –I came in 52nd out of 55 racers. With all the rain and sleet we’ve had the course was pretty brutal. I think if I had another 2 or 3 teeth on my freewheel I would have been set. That was my first race in anything remotely resembling adverse weather, and I survived, I guess I’ll just have to be happy with that.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

My Third Real Live Actual Race Report, and Happy Birthday to me!

Sorry, no actual race pictures this time, the pictures I were actually in all came out blurry. This one of a tree came out pretty good though.I’d fire the photographer, but she also drives the sag wagon and watches the kids while I race. Plus me and her kind of have a thing going, and I can’t really afford the fallout of a sexual harassment in the workplace lawsuit right now. She is kind of cute too. I’m not sure if I was supposed to be in this one or not-I hope I was, or maybe the photographer has a thing for cross dressing Category 4B cyclocross racers. I’d feel better if he/she were a Cat 1 or 2 at least.

So anyway, this course was pretty brutal, quite a bit more climbing and much more technical then the other two races. The timing on the climbs sucked, but in a cool sadistic sort of way I suppose. Most of them were straight out of tight turns, you would practically stop the bike through the turn, straighten out your front tire, and start slogging up the climb. Nasty stuff, 3 hours later and my legs are still screaming.

Despite getting lapped, I am really kind of happy with my performance. I pushed it a lot harder this go around. I passed a few people and kept another pack in sight. I kept on the wheels of two faster riders most of the race. I found a spot about halfway through the course where I was faster than them on a really long stretch of climbs, but with their geared bikes they could catch me just after the start/finish on the flat sections. My plan was to get around them on the last lap because I knew it would hurt like hell, and I wouldn’t have much left to hold them off for an entire lap. I was all set to make the move, I was actually prepared to push it well past my vomit suppression capabilities and then I got lapped, race over. Bummer. I placed 47th out of 55 riders.

So for my Birthday today I got to ride till I almost puked, make Son#2 laugh a whole bunch this morning, hear my Son#1 cheer me on, and pick on my wife almost all day long. You can’t beat any of that with a stick.

Northbrook is next week, and everybody is talking about the brutal hill they have lined up. I hope it rains all week, and during the race to boot, so that way we are all running up it. After that there is a race in Lansing, but I have other plans that weekend, so that leaves only one more race on the 23rd, in Woodstock.

Thursday, October 30, 2008


I don’t even know where to begin; it has been that kind of a couple of weeks. Busted my glasses, jacked up my feet running sprints, caught another cold, and the family urban assault vehicle broke down. Those are just a few of the highlights.

Between all the scrambling I haven’t been training so much, and I don’t even want to get into the diet issues. There have been no weigh ins lately. Every morning I cower in the corner of the room opposite from the scale whimpering in shame and fear, my excess mass positively quivering with weakness and lack of dicipline, until the Warden wakes up and bitch slaps me back into reality, throws clean clothes at me, and then makes me go to work.

Between trick or treating and other responsible adult type obligations I won’t be throwing a leg over the top tube till I’m lining up at the start/finish line in St. Charles. That should prove interesting. Please Lord, just don’t let me finish last, or if I DNF, please let there be a cool scar to back up the story I’ll fabricate regardless.