Monday, March 31, 2008

I'm a tweener?!

Wow, twofer Monday! I figured it would be best to create this as a separate post since it really should be it's own topic. I had a recurring conversation and thought this weekend on the rides. After just getting into cycling last year, I've found myself smack dab in the middle of no-man's land. I'm a tweener. No, not that type of tweener, I don't crave a new cell phone, bedazzler, and a driver's license, I just don't quite fit with the local riding groups in town.

I started out as a typical recreational rider last year, got hooked, rode a metric shitload (over 3000 miles from May to December), and got faster. By the end of the summer I found most of the group rides I'd struggled to keep up with were now lagging behind me as I kept pushing myself to go farther and faster. Granted, I have absolutely no misconceptions that I'm anywhere near the speed of a typical cat 5 racer, but I'm not a huge fan of hurry up and wait either. So, the winter comes and I find myself invited along for some mountain biking rides with a group of racers. I'm enjoying pushing myself to redline and still falling way off the back, but it's fun. I have a new challenge. Now I'm out there tackling dirty centuries, getting stronger and having even more fun even in the midst of the hurt.

Now it's spring and I've got some base miles in, my fitness is fair to middlin' (about the same as mid-late summer last year), and I'm contemplating showing up to a few more of the "racer" type group rides. A simple Wednesday night recovery ride left me feeling pretty worked so I'm wondering what my actual abilities are. Was the ride harder than a recovery ride? Am I really that slow? How do I get faster? Do I want to race? How afraid am I of crashing?

All this leads me to realize, I'm right in the middle. I'm too competitive to enjoy riding below my threshold to keep with a slower group and I'm not sure I'm competitive enough to want to risk crashing in a race group not to mention spending more time working on getting stronger as well. I talked it over with a few different people on the rides this weekend. Racing sounds like a lot of fun and I'm most likely strong enough to not make a complete fool of myself in the Cat 5 class, but the few crashes I've had on the MTB this winter have left me with a pretty big aversion to going down hard on the road. So, what's a tweener to do????

As of right now, I'm looking more towards distance racing. The groups are much smaller, most packs stay pretty spread out, and it becomes more of a mental fortitude game along with the fitness aspect. I signed up for the Almanzo 100 since it sounded like a lot of fun. I'm looking to do a double century ride/race and I'm going to try to hang with anyone I can at the TNWC. I have no doubt that I'll find myself alone in the back at most, if not all, of these events, but it gives me something to shoot for. Any other tweeners out there? Chime in.

Weekend rewind

It was a good weekend.... I was able to get some time on the bike both Friday for Jane's birthday ride and ensuing activities and Saturday for a short ride with Lou doing an urban mountain bike assualt for an hour before meeting up with the DMCC group who were doing their first group ride of the year.

Friday was a pretty cool relaxed fun ride to celebrate Jane turning 30. We checked out the course for their upcoming duathlon series at Waterworks Park and rolled slowly around there to see what the spring flooding had done to the roads. There will definitely be some sketchy spots on the bike leg, but hopefully everyone makes it through rubber side down and shiny side up. We had a great dinner at A-Dong restaurant which I'd never been to before, but will definitely be back. Miranda and Corley met us at dinner to hang out and say hi along with showing off the "I'm a little punk" shirt that was modelled here last week. A short and brisk ride down to the Bike Kollective put us in a party mode with beer, wine, and snacks flowing. Met some new people and hung around taking everything in. Seems I'm a loner even in a crowd. I'm not sure why that is as I enjoy good conversation and typically do a reasonably passable job of holding my end up, but getting the topic going seems to be hard for me. So, more often than not, I'm like the kids back in the day that were expected to be seen and not heard. Hopefully my social ineptitude doesn't keep me from being invited out.

I was trying to figure out what I wanted to do for a ride on Saturday when my phone announced I had a new message. Almost magically, my plan came together with an invite to take on the urban obstacles on mountain bikes at 7:30. I figured out I could hit that ride and still sneak over to get more mileage with the DMCC group while getting a workout on the MTB. For the 2 of you that read this blog, you'll remember I got my ass kicked by a simple concrete curb a couple weeks ago so I was still a bit hesitant on hitting things up. Lou and I were on mountain bikes while the other two showed up on cross bikes sighting that keeping up with Lou is next to impossible when riding equal gear. Luckily we were running a pretty relaxed pace and just played around for the hour I hung out with them.

The DMCC ride was a pretty small group due to the colder weather... Hmm, seems 32 degrees qualifies as too cold to ride for a number of folks. Ahh well, more road and trail for me to enjoy! I knew a few people on the ride and chatted them up along with some of the newcomers as we made our way down to Martensdale at a pretty relaxed pace. I'm definitely glad I was on the mountain bike as I could work a little at the pace we were running and Warren county managed to FUBAR the trail by starting spring clearing last week without brooming the brush back off the trail. Somehow everyone managed to avoid flats, but I was having fun busting through the brush and hopping sticks. A brief fuel stop in Martensdale and we were back on the road. I stayed with the group until we regrouped at Cumming and then I just kept my pace steady from there and everyone melted back.

Sunday left us having some family time. We took Corley to hang out at the Science Center for a while. She always has a blast playing down there. We renewed our family membership for the year as well. A lot of playing hard led to a good nap and I have to say I partook of the nap time as well dozing off while the Nascar race was on. Last night led to some much needed cleaning and maintenance on the road bike. I tore it down to the frame and crankset (I didn't have the right crank removal tool). Everything got a cleaning and wax, I put some snazzy new silver bar tape on, new brake pads, and even adjusted the cabling since I had also installed a new 11-23 cassette and chain. All in all, a good weekend.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Twice as nice

The actual spring like weather the past couple of days inspired some time on the bike. After last week's time off and the fiasco's of this weekend, it was nice to jump on and go.

Monday was a nice 2 hour hard effort down the Great Western trail and back. I fought some decent headwind most of the way down and took salvation when it would turn slightly cross wind. At some points I was struggling to maintain double digit speeds, but I soldiered on. With about 17 miles on the clock I decided it was time to head back and fairly well flew home. Flew might be a little strong as I cooked my legs by the time I reached city streets and fairly well suffered up the hills back home fighting the headwinds as I turned back south again. Overall a great ride and my knees were in agreement with the effort put forth.

Sorry for the stock photo, but it's about all I have of our elusive tandem. We decided to break it out for the first time this year last night. After a bit of a rocky start considering I had to switch out pedals to my new crank brother smarties, we were off. With the wind being beyond breezy yesterday, I opted out of an out of town route and kept it completely urban. This really was a great choice. We rolled into downtown and swung by the orphanage's new project, the bike kollective. Alas, there were a couple bikes hanging out in the front of the shop, but the lights were off and nobody was home.

From there we rolled down Grand to see if anyone was at Ritual and it too was deserted of bikes. I remembered that the local TNWC was now in full swing so most everyone would probably be out there. I will make my way out there one of these days to see how badly I can get shelled. We jumped up to Ingersoll to make a pit stop at Zanzibars coffee and have a nice little warm-up. Miranda's ears were hurting pretty well at this point due to the wind so she enjoyed the time off. Our route back home was a bit more scenic with a jog through Gray's Lake, up through Mcreay Park, and then back home. There's definitely some work to be done with the secondary motor on the tandem, but considering it was her first ride since Cranksgiving I'll cut her a little slack....

In other news, we stopped by Rassy's on Saturday and picked up our "Little Punk" t-shirt for our own little punk. Here's a few of her modeling the goods.

Thanks to DQ and all the gals over at Punkrock Cycling for making these up. We'll definitely be out to some of their events to cheer them on this year.

Monday, March 24, 2008

Conspiracy theory

I think the world is conspiring against me to keep me off my bike. From my crash last week, to cold temps, to busy schedules, and mechanical failures, they all came together in a perfect storm to keep me to a scant 2 mile journey in the last week.

I did purposely stay off the bike to give my shoulder a chance to heal up a bit. I think my chiropractor was able to afford moving to his new office in part due to my crash habits. My shoulder is starting to feel better as I apparently pulled about every major muscle in my left shoulder/neck area when I landed on the pavement. I still can't sleep on that side which sucks slightly and bearing weight where it pulls on the bone/joint itself is pretty sketchy as I still have some shooting pains. While the weather was nice several nights, I stayed away from the bike in hopes of saving it up for this weekend. I even had a group lined up to ride on Sunday morning.

Of course, the weather would stick it right up the arse on Sunday with cold temps, wind, and some snow the night before. Normally I wouldn't let this stop me considering I soldiered through most of the winter in far worse conditions. However, with it being a road ride and most everyone else bailing on the ride, I put together a strategic decision to call it early Sunday morning. Unfortunately, Steve didn't get my messages as his phone was dead. He still toughed out a good 20 miles while I wussed out in a nice warm bed.

Finally, my bikes were being temper mental over the weekend. On Saturday I was planning a nice ride to run some errands, check out my new knock-off camelback, and swing by the bike kollective. I dressed up to the nines in all my bike gear and headed out to the garage to grab my road bike. Both tires were pretty low on air due to being filled with CO2 from double flatting on my last ride. I pumped some air into them and fished around for a couple things in the back of my truck. A loud pop sounded through the air and my rear tube let go. Hmm, that was odd. I pulled the tube out to find the hole and see if there was something sticking in the tire. A small rock had worked it's way through the tire and rubbed a small hole in the tube. So, fast forward to me replacing the tube only to find a tear in the sidewall of the tire. Shit, time to scrap the plans of riding the road bike. I change out shoes quickly and wheel the mountain bike out. As I take off for the post office I glance at the rear wheel. It's wobbling like no other! Damn, I must have tweaked it when I crashed last week. I would have figured the front tire would have been the one to get trashed, but apparently when the bike landed sideways it nailed the back wheel. I made a strategic decision to ride only to the post office and back getting in my whopping 2 miles.

Figuring it was a lost cause to ride, I headed over to the shop to pick up a new rear tire and true the rear wheel from the mountain bike. Sweet, the place was pretty empty when I pulled in. Lou was in there putting his new ride together as well as Pete tweaking his ride. Even the sickly Squirrel stopped by with his wife and little one. Pretty soon the shop was filled to the brim with people. I stood around for a bit before figuring I was more in the way the anything else so I headed back home. I picked up a pair of the new Michelin Pro Race 3 tires after contemplating going to something a bit more hardy for a brief moment. We trued the wheel as best possible which still has some wobble to it. Luckily I'm running disc brakes so it doesn't matter a lot.

I did take some time to do a little maintenance once I got home. I put the new rear tire on the road bike and inspected the front to see if it needed changed as well. All looked good on that front so I kept it on and gave the chain a little lube. As soon as we get some of this damn grit off the road, I'll be treating it to a nice new SRAM 9 speed chain considering this one is closing in on 4000 miles all ready. The mountain bike got some much needed TLC as well. I put the new wheel on and then commenced to figuring out why my disc brakes were rubbing. The setup was definitely off. I'd never really checked them after buying the bike. I did notice on my last hundy that the front wheel had some definite drag on it though. It took a good 15 minutes, but now they're running drag free and rolling much more nicely.

Damn, what a weekend.

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Hey y'all watch this...

I'm beginning to think I should change my screen name. After Sunday's ride, it seemed fitting that I should change it to something like the title of this post. I think my purpose of riding is starting to be humor for other participant in this sport. I know accidents, bumps, and bruises are pretty much inevitable along with flats, broken parts, and maintenance.

I'm hitting all of the above, but I think I'm hogging more than my fair share. Today was no exception to that rule. I even elicited a comment of "hey go first, you're more fun to watch." This was after my double gainer over the handlebars of my mountain bike before we even hit the singletrack. I was following the group up to the entrance to Denman's woods and prepared to hop the curb back onto the short section of pave trail. Not being the most adept at riding yet, I managed to misjudge the speed I was travelling at and pulled up way to early. Upon my front tire returning to earth, it was immediately confronted by the front of the curb. Apparently it was completely surprised by this turn of events and decided the best course of action would be to stop its forward momentum post haste. Unfortunately for me, I wasn't informed of this executive decision and haven't perfected instantaneous reversal of my own personal heft. I.E. I flipped my ass straight over the bars, landing head and should first onto the pavement. Apparently I hit with enough force that several riders in front cringed just from the noise.

Everyone stopped and returned to my wallowing about on the sidewalk to see if I was injured. After loosing a small stream of obscenities that really didn't do my current state of feelings justice. I regained my feet. Inspecting my helmet led to finding two cracks in it. Scratch another helmet for the season. I was all ready onto my second helmet after lawn darting straight into a tree last December. About the only redeeming quality is the ability to brag about cracking a helmet and that the current model I have is on clearance. I'm debating about buying a stock of them...

As of this writing, I'm feeling a little banged and bruised. Strangely enough, my head appears to be hard enough to not be affected in the least. My wife won't be surprised by that fact. However, my shoulder took a nasty hit and currently has a chunk of road rash on top of my shoulder blade. My jersey wasn't damaged in the least, but I somehow managed a nice welt and rash. I also managed to take a couple small bites out of my achilles apparently from a rogue pedal seeking revenge at the same time.

The rest of our ride was mostly uneventful, but enjoyable. I took one small spill attempting a log climb as my rear tire spun out. There were some icy spots on the trail, some new routing due to recent flooding, and the ground was spongy sucking a lot of energy to ride through.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Sucking it up- a reflection

I was recently reading a post on bike forums asking about nutrition for a hard century. Curious to see what the actual question was and the corresponding answers, I clicked on the topic. As I perused the original post, it stuck in my head that completing most any long ride, especially century distance, is way more mental than physical. Sure you need to have some bike skills and I wouldn't necessarily recommend just picking up one day and deciding to ride your bike 100 miles, but I think it's something that could be completed in a day by just about any halfway and probably some less than fit people.

In any case, this particular post mentioned that he'd gotten 85% done with the ride and bailed because he just didn't have the energy to go on. I was wondering just how hard this century must have been. So, like any good netophile, I looked up the ride, found the rating for it, and noted that it had about the same difficulty as the two road centuries I'd ridden last year and not as hard as the gravel ride we did this weekend if you look purely at the climbing stats. If you throw in the gravel and mountain bike aspect, this weekend's ride probably is something that would rank as "extremely difficult" by the scale that was used.

But, back to my original thought. I think the biggest hurdle is as Squirrel put it, to "suck it up". I'm new to the biking scene having been here for less than a year, but it just seems to me that there's a ready excuse around every corner of why you didn't complete a ride or possibly even start it. I guess I shouldn't expect much different as that sentiment is echoing day to day life more than ever these days. So why is it that the general population is slowly becoming more and more "pussified"?

My question really was generated as I was browsing the bargain books at Costco last night and happened across "A Walk in the Woods" by Bill Bryson. It was a book I'd been meaning to read for a while. I'd read "In a Sunburned Country" a few years back in preparation for our trip to Australia and found it extremely entertaining. I figured this one had to at least be close. For the bargain price of $4.95 I figured I wouldn't be out much either way. I cracked it open to prattle off a few pages before bed and 150 pages and several hours later, I figured I'd better turn in or risk not being able rise at all for work.

The story is about hiking the Appalachian Trail in the eastern United States. My overall thought was that as a whole, the general public is becoming further and further displaced from the outdoors. We're content to distance ourselves with every creature comfort known to man. Now, I'm all for air conditioning, heating, video games, and enclosed spaces as much as the next guy, but you've got to step away from those things once in a while and get a little nature back under your skin.

I consider myself pretty lucky in regards to my upbringing. I wasn't some spoiled kid with all the toys and there were certainly things we didn't have, but I had the opportunity to play outside and learn to enjoy the great outdoors through hunting, fishing, hiking, camping, and scouting. I think a lot of those activities played a role in shaping my personal attitudes and beliefs. I learned self reliance and perseverance. I was able to roam free without the worry of being lost in an urban jungle. I'm well aware that our world is changing and even in the scant few years that have passed since my adolescence it seems the world has become more dangerous and the opportunities are shrinking for people to get "out there".

Almost anyone that gets to know me for any period of time has talked to me about doing something in the outdoors. It's a latent passion for me. I never really put my finger on it until now, but being outside is what I like. I just find activities that get me out of the house and put my energy into those activities. I almost typically end up inviting friends to come join me fishing sometime or to come down to my parent's farm and go camping. Strangely enough, few people have taken me up on the offer, but I'm always hopeful.

Funny how topics just ramble on from a seemingly small start point. I guess to try and put a wrap on this one I just need to remind you to get out there, suck it up, encourage your kids to step back from the electronic leashes, and be a part of rediscovering what life is and should be about.

Monday, March 10, 2008

Have a cold one

It was another beautiful day in the neighborhood this weekend. I've been watching the temps and wondering what the next gravel slog might be like with the reports of how terrible the gravel conditions are around the state. With one of the snowiest winters all ready on the books and the snowiest February ever, it wasn't looking promising. The forecast for cold weather this weekend intrigued me. Cold on Friday with an overnight low plummeting to near zero should ensure hard packed frozen gravel that would be great for a ride.

Now who in their right mind would be crazy enough to head out with me. Strangely enough, I wasn't alone in my thinking that a frozen and cold ride would trump riding the mud any day. One of the gravel crazies from the January ride I missed was all ready deep into his planning for a new route this weekend. Originally, he was shooting for a Sunday ride so all I had to do was change his mind on that little tidbit and we were set to go. It looked like it would be he and I with the possibility of Fuller joining us for the full route and maybe a couple others for a shorter ride. Alas, it would just be us two brave souls headed into the wild on Saturday morning.

The temperature was a balmy 5 degrees above zero when we left the comfort of the Hy-Vee Grocery store. The one thing I noted was that even though it was cold, I wasn't. A number of people all ready made the comment to me that I was nuts for riding Saturday due to temperature alone. In my mind, the temperature was the reason to ride.

I was dressed about as perfectly for the conditions as could be expected. I'd actually overheated a fair amount on the last ride so I left my clothing choices the same thinking I'd be in good shape for this ride and I hit the nail on the head. My gear choices were as follows: winter weight under armour base layer, hammer nutrition bibs, smartwool medium cushion snowboard socks, pearl izumi amfib bibs, nashbar siberia winter jersey, shimano winter riding shoes with stick on toe warmers in the toes, pearl izumi wind and waterproof jacket, performance windproof microfleece balaclava, and a pair of waterproof snowboard gloves from Menards.

The above combination of clothing with the exception of the shoes and socks has been my riding staple this winter. The shoes, socks, and toe warmers, definitely have the nod for anything over a few hours out in below freezing weather. Unless I'm standing still, I've never gotten overly cold. For the most part, I've got my vents, jacket, and jersey unzipped at least partially as I'm sweating like crazy. One other thing I added based on a recommendation from Dennis Grelk, are my handlebar covers. I started with them and my heavy gloves for this ride and by mile 20 I was ready to switch into my lightweight mechanics gloves.

Now back to your regularly scheduled programming... Tom and I rolled out a few minutes past 7 from the confines of West Des Moines. We quickly left the trappings of suburbia and hit the gravel within a few short miles of the rollout. From there we wandered our way south to Booneville and on to a short stretch of pavement before heading south once again. Somewhere in this stretch from Booneville to Winterset at mile 27 we hit some of the hardest parts of the ride. There was a sustained 19-20% grade hill that rose for about 1/2 mile and a level B road that hadn't apparently got them message that the snow was supposed to be mostly gone by now.

The level b road was the only spot we had to get off and hike because of the snow pack and drifts. We kept breaking through the hard crust of the snow and the drifts ranged up to roughly 5 feet deep at the worst spot. Luckily we could push around the drift and didn't have to break trail through it.

I also noted that my bike seemed a bit "loose" going down some of the hills in this stretch. A brief inspection led me to believe my cones holding the axle may not have been tight enough. Strangely I couldn't recreate the problem on Sunday when we checked it at Squirrel's. It may have been something as simple as a slightly loose skewer, but it was unnerving to say the least. Having the bike move more than you're anticipating when bombing down ice and snow packed gravel is not something I'd recommend unless you really like that clamped down puckered up feeling!

We hit Winterset with little fanfare and made our way to Kum & Go for some calories. I decided to be a bit daring and hammered down some pure sugar in the form of a couple Krispy Kreme donuts. Tom played it more safely with the breakfast burrito.

A scant 15 or 20 minutes later and we were back on the road. With Tom and I matched pretty evenly for pace, our plan was to keep moving and minimize our stop times. We rolled back south out of Winterset and into more hills. Thus far we'd had some nice hilly running, but it had been interspersed with a few minor flats as well. Now we were well into hill country. Winding our way south and west towards Pammel park, we were still fighting a headwind out of the south. It definitely had picked up more of a bite since we stopped for breakfast.

A mile or so before we crossed the next highway, we had a hitch hiker join up with us in the form of an overly friendly farm dog. Usually it's an all out sprint to avoid certain dogs or at the least some stern words to ward off impending doom. This happy fellow was feeling his oats and enjoyed running next to and up in front of us. As we came up to the highway crossing, we really didn't want him following any further. It took us a good 5 minutes of hollering and yelling at him just to get him to stay put as we barrelled down the road. He gave a brief chase, but we'd all ready opened a gap and he gave up pretty quickly. Hopefully he made it back home without any harm.

We were soon into new territory as neither of us had ridden the roads west of the park. Part of the route was scavenged from the upcoming "ridges of madison county" ride that is taking place later this month. We hoped the "ridges" implied that we'd be coming out of the river valley and riding on top of the hills for a while. This was partially right.... We did right up and out of the valley, only to descend right back into it, rinse and repeat for the next 30 miles. As we approached a sign that simply stated "Hills" we knew it was going to be fun. The saving grace to this section was that we turned north and now were taking as much advantage of the tailwind as possible.

Somewhere in the extreme southwest corner of our route, we missed a turn. It very well could have been the level B road that we both scoffed at possibly being the "correct" route, but either way, we wound a bit further south than was shown on the route map. A strategic decision was made to turn north and search for the next known east-west numbered road on our route map. We handily found it and then worked our way to the next major north-south road on our journey. Tom was started to feel a bit shelled out at this point and the route we had planned gave us an easy out to cut off about 7 miles of our trip putting us down to 100 even. Seeing as I could stand to be home early and Tom was feeling a bit weary, we decided to cut the route off and cut straight north to I-80.

The only downside to this planning was we were also cutting off our planned lunch stop in Stuart. We knew there was another town just east of Stuart that we should run almost directly into, but for the life of us, we couldn't remember the name. Luck was on our side though and we easily found the little town of Dexter with no problem. I stretched my legs and hammered out this section with the wind pushing pretty hard at my back. Big ring and 20+ MPH were the name of the game for a few miles as I motored off the front. At our designated turn, I waited for Tom to catch back up and we eased in to Dexter.

Casey's was the name of the game in Dexter. We strode in like we owned the place and made ourselves as home. The two guys working the register were pretty amazed at our tail of gravel and century rides in the middle of winter. I'm sure they thought we were nuts, but they accepted we were doing what we wanted and made us feel welcome as we stripped a few layers off and settled down for some lunch. We stopped for roughly 40 minutes and hit the door about 2:40 with 67 miles all ready under our belts.

The next stretch of road led us to Adel and I really don't remember much of that road. I suppose one gets a bit jaded after hitting 4000+ feet of climb in a scant 60 mile jaunt. I do remember we passed a nice lake with a park called "Beaver Lake" and then made our turn east to head into Adel. We were treated with our next surprise on this leg. The south wind had turned slightly west and now was blowing us towards home once again. Our pace really picked up in this stretch with a quartered wind and very minimal climbing compared to the morning. We hit Adel in no time flat. Another stop at Casey's to suck down a donut and to check the map.

The route out of town looked pretty straight forward. We had 15 miles to get home including a short jog on highway 6. As we headed out of town, we noted the route we were supposed to use included a long since closed bridge over the river. Luckily the paved bike trail runs parallel to the road and has a converted railroad bridge. We jumped on the trail and BAM! Wouldn't you know it, I went down on a ridge of ice. My left hip and helmet took the brunt of the fall. I distinctly remember the sound of my helmet scraping across the snow and the crunching noise it made. The only casualty beyond a slightly bruised hip (yet again), was a small tear in one of my vaunted handlebar covers. I hopped back on the bike and just past the bridge we found a short trail that took us to our gravel road again.

This push seemed to take much longer in my head. We hit some headwinds again as we had a few south spots to ride, but for the most part it was quartered tail again. We hit the edge of Waukee and the pavement around 5:50 and celebrated with a brief picture stop. Tom soon parted directions with me to meet up with his family as I hobbled back to my truck another mile down the road. I had to ride one loop around the store as I got there to finish with 100.3 miles. Another century down! Only 10 more to go.

Tuesday, March 04, 2008

The avalanche

I hope you're ready for some venting.

Some of this is my own doing, some of it is life. Have you ever felt like you're in the middle of an avalanche and known there was nothing you could do but hang on for the ride? I'm there baby!

I'm doing everything, but doing nothing well. I'm not sure what to give up on, what to put more effort into, and where to turn. I think my first step is talking things over with my lovely wife and see what things we can team up on. My biggest hurdle is going to be with work. I have a huge tidal surge or projects piling in front of me and every day something new from one of the projects adds to the height of the wave that's ready to come crashing down any time. I've asked for help, but there's none available. It just means I have to dig deeper, work smarter/harder, and for longer.

That's the very beginning of my crux. If I dig into this work which pays for our lifestyle including my wife being a stay at home mom, it means I have to ditch on being there for them as a good husband and father. If I work harder on being a better husband and father, I have to spend more time with them as I'm severely lacking in giving them any quantity and the quality isn't anything to write home about either. Throw in the fact that I like to have some me time on the bike just to keep my sanity and my time is more than gone. Of course we can't forget about our burgeoning lingerie business, a custom engine that needs to be built, my own project car, friends, side projects, and everything else that goes along with life as well.

It's shaping up to be a spring and summer from hell in regards to the amount of work I have to absorb and process. If I had an option open to jump ship, I'd seriously be looking that direction. I take pride in making money for the company I work for and making the most from each project I run. When I see a challenge like this looming, I just see mistakes and money going down the drain as I hop from issue to issue so fast, I don't get to analyze or make decisions based on costs, but time management. It's not good for me. It stresses me, it hurts my productivity, and makes me like my job less and less. Being the top earner has it's perks, but it also has it's downfalls. As Squirrel has now permanently inked on his body, it's time to "Suck it up!"

If you don't hear from me as often as I'd like, I'm sorry. If I don't be the husband or father I want to be, I'm sorry. If I seem like I'm in a hurry to go somewhere else when I'm talking to you, I'm sorry. This summer is going to be rough. Wish me luck.