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.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

My Second Real Live Actual Race Report

Okidoke, I didn’t get lapped and I didn’t come in last, so once again, mission accomplished. The course was awesome, there was a sand pit and a weird uphill then off camber hairpin and back up a hill combo that was fun to ride. Other than that the course was dry, the sun was out, and the wind was blowing, a great day for a race. Here's a shot of me before the race. That's my best steely eyed competitive look. Sorry, it's all I got.
I could have used another 2 teeth on my freewheel, or another 30 pounds off my ass, either or both would have come in really handy today. I made it a point to try and get up a little further up in the pack, and totally hammered it on the start. My reward, I got to trade some paint and rub elbows the whole first half of a lap. That extra effort cost me a bit though, and I spent the rest of lap one hurting pretty damn bad, to the point I was worried about finishing the race.By the time I finished up the first lap I recovered a little. I saw a few riders about 100 yards ahead of me and made up my mind to catch them. I did eventually catch them, and then the three of us managed to catch another group. So we spent the last half of lap two playing leap frog, which I thought was fun, and painful actually, but I suppose that is racing. Eventually two of the guys pulled away from me, and I pulled away from the rest. From that point on, I spent the rest of the race by myself.
I promised myself I would try harder this race, and I did. I’m a little disappointed with my placement, but not with my effort this time. I hung out at the finish line for a bit after I finished. I tried to stay on my feet but I had to sit down, and I was getting worried I was going to have to puke in front everybody. That would have been pretty pathectic, puking for 58th place, fourth from last in a field of 62. Hell, even my asthma flared up, that almost never happens anymore. I guess I just need to work on my conditioning. It’s kind of late to make any real improvements this season, but I can try anyway. Dropping a few more pounds would do some wonders for my thrust to weight ratio too.This last shot of me is after the race, as I am slowly coming out of the "Oh God, I don't want to puke in front of all these people " stage. Notice the distinct lack of steely eyed competitiveness. I'm smiling because I am already thinking about St. Charles on November 2nd.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This will have to do...

Weight: 193.8

Delta M: -1

Just a quick run (40 minutes) and some more push-ups and sit-ups today. I’m still sore from that last round on Tuesday, so tomorrow should be interesting.

Carpentersville hangs low on the bent limb like an over ripe apple, just waiting to drop. Dekalb's flyer was so much cooler, but this joint has beer 'n' brats.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Meet the Crew Part 5...

Weight: 194.8
Delta M: -1

This is my dog Kepler. I never had a dog before, so when I made up my mind to get one I of course wanted the baddest assed dog I could find, but one with a brain and not quite so much of a hair trigger, that meant a German Sheppard. Keeping my desired characteristics in mind, in retrospect it may have not been such a good idea to let the wife pick the pup out of the liter. She of course went for the first one that snuggled up to her. Lucky for me though, The Warden is almost as good at picking out dogs as she is at picking out husbands.

What I basically have is 115 pound version of Odie. He looks all mean and fierce but all he wants from life are some dog treats, somebody to throw his little Kong on a rope combo thingy, and for me to pet him every 38 seconds. When we first got him he kind of took to Chas those first few days and I got fiercely jealous, but who can blame him, she is kind of sweet and cuddly, that’s for sure. After a few days though he soon figured out I was all about finding something fun to do, and as a result, I can’t make a quick stop in the house without causing a Son#1, Kepler, Me pile up type collision.

He used to run like the wind, all day long. His vet, which he had a huge puppy crush on (I can’t blame him, she was kind of cute) couldn’t believe I fed him 8-10 cups of food a day and you could still see his ribs. He would run all the neighbor dogs into the ground, then go hiking with me, or swimming up at the spillway after class, or sometimes, OK a lot of times, during class. In the winter we would harness him up and he would pull Son#1 around on a sled. I had to make him stop when I noticed his paws were bleeding.

He isn’t anywhere near as smart as his namesake, and yes, i really did actually name him after Johnnes Kepler, I really am that much of a physics nerd. This may or may not have something to do with the concussion he received playing soccer. In the house. With me. He looked like he was going break right so I kicked left. The ball made solid contact with his head. He shook it off, but he was a bit wobbly on his feet the rest of the day. A few days later I was kicking the ball in the kitchen and called his name as I was opening the refrigerator door. He hit the door head first, full stride, digging for more, and knocked all the food off the door shelves, and dented the door. The Warden promptly banned indoor soccer shortly thereafter.

He is not quite as spry as he used to be, but then again who is? There is quite a bit of gray in his muzzle, and as it is starting to get cold, his hip dysplasia is starting to slow him down a bit and he walks like I do after I was trying to keep up with Aaron on a 40 miler. He is still up for a lap or two around the yard with Son#1 though, and I bet if I found another Wiggly Giggly ball he’d be up for some soccer.

I told him he was a good puppy tonight, and Son#1 promptly told me he was big enough to call a dog instead of a puppy. He definitely is, but I don’t wanna.

No ride this morning, but I walked at lunch, and did a pretty good time trial Spinerval after work, 7 sets at 90 seconds on 90 seconds off a couple of minutes rest, then a doozey of a 3 minute effort. I nailed it pretty hard and pretty much hit my max heart rate every interval. I am definitely going to be feeling that one tomorrow and Friday. Tomorrow is soccer practice, so I will be running again.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Forgive me Father for I have...

Weight: 195.8
Delta M: -3.4
Mileag: Uhhh…
October Mileage: PFFFFFFFFFFT

I knew I could count on you Joel, the only real question was would Steve possibly chime in first?

Two summers ago, I managed to whittle myself from about 240 down to 180. Towards the end of August I started to fade. By Christmas I was up to 210 again, by spring 230. Joel was dropping subtle hints this whole time, little clues “Dude, you are getting fat again, like really fat, quit stuffing yourself and get back on the bike.” I paid him no heed. Then I knocked up the Warden again and put on another 30 lbs in sympathy weight (I am supportive like that) by the time Critter took his first real breath and started crying in the delivery room, on Valentine’s Day. He actually just stopped crying about 20 minutes ago. Don’t laugh, I am not kidding. Seriously, it’s a stressor. That pretty much brings us up to speed. Shortly after Critter was born I went to the doctor with a cold and was told to see a specialist about my high blood pressure. A few weeks later they were taking pictures of my liver and Insert Witty Creative Blog Title Here was born. Steve actually came up with the title by the way, I embellished it a little, but he deserves most of the credit.

I am not so worried about it this time around. For one thing, I began slacking that first time back in August. It’s October already and I am still chugging along. I have stumbled a few times this time around, but they were just stumbles. Two years ago I was just looking for any excuse I could find to quit. Before I was relying on an extremely strict diet, and biking. I have learned a little more about nutrition the past year, my diet is a little loser, I still limit the calories, but my diet is much more varied. Instead of biking only, I am trying to mix up the exercise a little. I am starting to run, and work on my core strength as well.

On top of all that, this CX thing has bitten pretty hard. It is hard to explain, I’ve only done one race, and I count myself lucky that I finished, and I know the next one I ride I have a pretty good chance of coming in last, but I want to get out there again. I want to see if I can finish further up the pack. I pushed it on that last race, I think I can push a little harder on the next. Maybe I can, maybe I can’t, but I am dying to get out there and try.

No real mileage to speak of today. I did the “Power/Sprint” Spinerval this morning, walked during lunch, and ran for about 35 minutes and did some push-ups and sit-ups while Son#1 was at the park after work.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Back to the basics

Weight: 199.2
Delta M: +too much
Mileage: Up for debate
October Mileage: Anybody’s guess

OK, I’ve been slack’n, slack’n on the blog, slack’n on the training, and slack’n on the diet. At one point, after the race last week, I was down to 192. I had planned upping my training so I didn’t feel too bad about upping the caloric intake, except I never really upped the training. I would blame it on The Warden, or Son#1, but they are both fully capable of defending themselves and shooting holes in my logic, so this whole ugly situation all resides on the shoulders of Son#2 and my dog. It is their fault. I had nothing to do with it. It had absolutely nothing to do with my unchecked consumption of pretzels, pizza, root beer, steak tacos, cheese burgers, and cream soda. Lounging lazily in Craig’s boat, or snoring on his couch most of the weekend was not a factor. So anyway, it’s back to basics, back to my blog, it keeps me honest. Back to the bike, and back to no eating like a gluttonous fat pig sitting down to his last supper on death row. Don’t get me wrong, I haven’t been sitting on my ass, I’ve been walking a bit, when I can get away from work for a real live lunch hour, and I have been hitting the trainer and running, just not enough.

The race in Carpentersville this coming Sunday is looking like a real strong maybe, if not there is Bartlett the week after for sure, and St Charles on the 2nd, my birthday, I’ll probably do that one for sure. The thing is, I’m gonna get another race or two in this season. I’d like to shoot for more, but we are coming up on a steady stream of family birthdays and Holidays that could draw a load on Warren Buffet’s budget, so I gotta be picky. Let’s not even talk about the quest for a real live geared CX bike. Man, you start looking for a 4rth bike on line, and mutter the phrase pawn shop, and suddenly everything we own in the house is a family heirloom. Whatever. Do we really need the box spring? The mattress on the floor did us fine for the first 10 years? And what’s with all this silverware? Do we need a spoon and a knife and a fork, for EVERY person at the table? Son#1 can’t even touch the sharp knives yet, and Son#2 could eat a 3 course meal with a straw. The Warden is the only one who really uses utensils. Eating with your hands is the environmentally responsible thing to do anyway.

Monday, October 6, 2008

My first real live actual race report!!!!!!

OK, time to flesh out the skeleton...

Being my first race and all, and seeing as how I barely got to ride half the course for a practice lap, I felt it would be wise to start out towards the rear, I didn’t want to cause a pile up at the first turn. I will never make that mistake again. Screw ‘em, they can go around me.

Charging "The Hill"

The rest is kind of a blur. I remember my first two, and only passes, a lot of adrenaline, a lot of vomit suppression, and a 6 year old boy hollering for all he was worth through the gap left by his missing two front teeth.

up "The Hill." For you locals, that is Jay standing up in the foregrond. The man could cheer a square boulder up that hill.
First there was the fat dude leap frog. Me and the other Clydesdale passed each other quite a few times on the first lap. He started sucking wind pretty hard and I passed him shortly after the Slip’n’Slide. The second part of lap one and first half of lap two were pretty uneventful.

Rounding "The Hill" and coming down the "Slip'n'Slide."

After Hefty, I caught up with Clumsy. I outweighed this guy by at least 50 lbs, and he was on a geared bike and everything. He’d pass me, get a few yards ahead of me, then fall down. This happened 3 or 4 times, at least. Finally, I managed to get around him clean and started getting out ahead of him. I was pretty much all alone for the last two laps. I would see Clumsy on the switchbacks, but he had slowed quite a bit, one of those falls must have walloped him good I guess. Maybe he was hungover, or still possibly drunk. I talked to him after the race, he was built like a real live biker, no arms, no chest, legs that looked like they could drop kick a bowling ball 300 yards. Maybe it was his first race too.

Rounding th bottom corner of the "Slip'n'Slide." I'm guessing this is where about 90% of the wrecks were. I survived all trips down.

After that it was just a matter of trying not to fall down. It had rained before and the course was still slick at spots. Just about the time I started feeling like I could have tried harder, the adrenaline wore off. My bike started feeling heavy. I mean HEAVY, like I was pushing 150 gear inches uphill with flat tires. I barely made it up the hills of the Slip'n'Slide, I seriously almost stalled out. I did my best to finish strong, but I was feeling it. I could barely turn the pedals over, even on the flats.

Worlds cutest cheering squad. That's my mom on the right, I let her come even though she wouldn't
buy me that bike, that's how good of a son I am

Sorry, I couldn't resist a closeup of that gap-toothed smile, he lost that second tooth the morning of the race. The kid can yell, and man, he can ring the hell out of a cowbell too!
So what did I learn? Cyclocross is like crack. Biking is about to get more fun, a little more intense, that is for sure, but a lot more fun. This weekend I’m gonna go through the house and see what I can pawn to get a real CX bike. I don’t know about Hawthorn Woods, but Carpentersville is definitely on the horizon. I can’t believe I screwed off all summer when I could have been training for this. I need to get off my ass and get serious. And Chas thought she was a bike widow this summer…

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Veni, vidi, vici.

Well, not so much of the vici part, but hey I survived. I came in 36th out of 40, and near as I could tell, I was the only single speed in the bunch. I finished, and I didn't come in last, that's about all I got to say for now. I am TIRED and going to bed. I'll post more on it tomorrow, along with some pics. It was a blast.

Oh yeah, my sister finished her marathon. She sounded a little disappointed with her time over the phone. Whatever. You ran a frick'n marathon. You managed to train for and complete a marathon while chasing a 8 year old, a 6 year old (and believe me, that one can run) and a 2 year old 24/7. Cut yourself the tiniest bit of slack would you? My fat ass is pleased as punch I finished my race with out needing my inhaler.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

I tried...

I was at the shop with my mom today and tried convincing her to buy me a thousand dollar cyclocross bike. It was a Bianchi, with gears and everything, but she wasn't having it, even after I pointed out how close it was to my birthday, and how much money I was saving her by picking the one that was on sale. Oh well, Christmas is coming up and I liked the Specialized one better anyway.

I got ahold of a 20 tooth freewheel today, and last night I watched a 1 minute and 40 second Youtube video on clearing the hurdles, so I’m going to totally dominate for sure tomorrow.

Mad props to my sister, she is running a marathon in Portland, Oregon tomorrow. It is amazing what some people will do to get away from their 3 kids for a few hours. Just kidding, she is just weird. Marathon runners are insane. I ran for 45 minutes Thursday, it hurt like hell and I am still feeling it. Last time she ran a marathon she got home and found out she was pregnant. I hope her and my Bro-in-law thought this through. I sure love my nieces and nephew, but man, they can tire a person out, I don't know if I could handle a fourth. My sister is few years older than me, she was the good kid. She has always set a pretty good example, but I'm just a little late following it. A big part of the reason I started cleaning my act up so to speak was because her expressed concern and advice finally started getting through my thick skull. That is a pretty good testament to her determination in the matter right there. Anyway, good luck Gayle, everybody over here is very proud of you.

Well, the big race is tomorrow, gotta go get my bike put together, later folks.