Friday, January 30, 2009


Well, not much cycling has been going on as I missed my outside ride Wednesday. I made it up with 90 minutes on the trainer, but well, its the trainer... So, I was tagged on another site to write 25 random things about me. I thought you guys might enjoy it as well, so here goes the leftovers for you to chew through.

1) One of the most unfortunate things that defines me as a person is I'm a habitual procrastinator when it comes to things that hold minimal levels of interest for me or aren't going to cause me undue anguish if I put them off for a while and even then I still tend to put them off.
2) I like to be involved in conversations as far as listening to people talk and share stories and will interject my own anecdotes. However, I don't consider myself all that great at verbally communicating my true intentions or feelings.
3) I communicate well in written form (see #2). If you've ever read my blog, race reports, or emails where I have something to say, I can usually make a 10 word subject into something almost painfully long to read. However, it's the way I write and I try not to limit myself just for the sake of others reading what I have to say.
4) My wife and daughter are a massively important part of my life, but I still tend to forget that on a seemingly regular basis by operating in a self indulgent and independent manner.
5) I feel like I fail at being the best husband and father I can be at regular intervals. I see the guys that I admire in this respect and it leaves a hole in me knowing that there's something about me that makes me cling to independence and keeps me from wholly letting myself be engulfed in my family.
6) #5 is something that causes me both sadness and joy as I think the independence I do keep actually makes me better as a father and husband. In doing so, I fight a pretty fierce internal struggle almost daily on figuring out which way I should lean that day.
7) I consider myself a bit of a renaissance man in that I have more than just passing knowledge about a lot of varying things. Examples would be I can rebuild a motor and perform many auto related repairs, I have crocheted an afghan blanket, I can do counted cross stitch, I did everything in our basement remodel except lay the carpet, I can operate a various number of heavy machinery and farm equipment, I have a good amount of knowledge of various things about pregnancy and birth, and I have shot various targets from 500 yards+.
8) While I have tons of various skills, I still feel like I lack something specific that would define who I am or what I am capable of. I longingly read accounts of people doing extreme things (mountain climbing, ultra cycling, etc) and how they've found themselves during these tests of their limits and dream of doing the same thing someday.
9) I finished in a tie for 2nd place at the national indoor archery championships. I missed 2 arrows out of 120 out of a 1" bullseye at 20 yards.
10) I love my dad, but find it very difficult to share that with him by expressing it.
11) While my wife is my closest friend, I don't currently have anyone else that I'd consider a best friend. I've had a couple best friends throughout my life, but as I've gotten older, I haven't found a true kindred spirit yet that fits the bill just right.
12) I treat my friends the way I want to be treated as a friend. In doing so, I think I probably have some people shy away from me as being a little overly nice/interested/willing to do things as a friend.
13) I get anxious when I actually ask people if they're interested in doing something- riding, hanging out, etc because I think I might be overstepping bounds of certain friendships (see #12).
14) I think personal compliments rock even if I act like they don't. Someone told me recently they thought I was a great dad and it absolutely made my day.
15) I never drank on any regular basis until I started mountain biking. Even though I typically stop at 2 beers or less, I'm fighting to get back to not drinking on a regular basis so I can be a better mountain biker.
16) I lose myself in a hobby once I get interested in it spending way too much money and time. I shot competitive archery for years, then I moved into fixing/hot rodding cars, and now I'm in to biking. I'm hoping/planning the biking thing sticks for a good long time.
17) I got my nickname "Buckshot" from my grandpa and regret not thinking to thank him for a good nickname before he died.
18) I live in the house I grew up in and haven't moved in 30 years (I'm 31).
19) I currently own a car with a custom paint job valued at over $8,000 but it hasn't left the garage for 2 years because it has no engine or trans due to me starting a new hobby (see #16).
20) The guy that tagged me was a complete stranger over the internet who reached out during a very dark time in my life offering a shoulder and advice. We shared many personal conversations before we ever met in person almost a year later.
21) The only bone I've knowingly broken was in the back of my hand after punching my brother in the face during a stupid teenage argument.
22) I'm afraid if I keep riding my bike my streak from #21 won't last. It's not the break I fear, but the time waiting for it to heal.
23) My wife and I own an online lingerie business that we're currently expanding to do home parties for. It was inspired by friends of ours that own an adult oriented business.
24) I haven't shaved my legs (yet), but have shaved my chest before.
25) I wish there were more of these to answer as it gave me almost 2 hours of procrastination time...

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Weekend Recap

Whew, judging by the number of people that swung by yesterday looking for something new, I probably better get off my ass and put something together! Yes, I'm one of those incessant people that actually looks at statcounter just to see if anyone has the slightest bit of interest in what I'm saying. Funny enough, a few people do, so who am I to disappoint you.

Actually, it's not for lack of activity that I haven't put anything down. Somewhat to the contrary and add in a day that mentally tried to kick my ass yesterday and it just wasn't a good combination. In any case, its all good.

Saturday I was really trying hard to put together a group to hit Climb Iowa. Miranda had bought me an all day pass including some lessons, gear, and the whole shebang. I figured I might as well put it to good use on a day that would make most people huddle for warmth inside rather than attempting to get some time in on my back. Funny enough, everyone seemed to be in a pretty quiet state this weekend so I found the Livestrong event at Jordan Creek. 3 hours of grinding it out on my trainer with a bunch of like minded people, what could be better?! Actually, I had about as good a time as you can when perched on your bike going nowhere, yet sweating buckets for 3 solid hours. I picked a nice spot out by the ropes so I could keep an eye on the onlookers to make sure I wasn't going to be rushed by some hot mom that was so turned on by spandex and leg fur she couldn't resist throwing me down and having her way with me right there... OK so maybe I'm exaggerating just a teensy bit. Actually, I figured it would give me easy access to the outside world if I needed a short break and would let me watch the people wondering just what kind of crazy soul would torment themselves with this kind of idiocy.

Funny enough, there were plenty of fellow idiots, err cyclists, just like me willing to sit and sweat for 3 hours. By all appearances there were 60+ of us packed in like sardines. The PRC girls were well represented and set up camp next to me which gave me some good conversation. It would seem I was the only guy racking the Death Squad Jersey, but at least we had someone there putting on a spectacle. I did manage just shy of 3 hours total time spent including a pretty killer 2 hour set followed up with a 1 hour zone 4 interval set. Ughh, I was definitely feeling cooked by the time I got done. A bottle of Heed, a couple hammer gels, and copious amounts of water barely covered the energy expenditure considering I skipped lunch due to the noon start time. Soon enough though we were done and loading back up. A good way to get a nice block of training time in for sure. It beat the hell out of forcing myself into the basement for yet another spin and netted me almost 60 miles as well.

Sunday was forecast to be another cold one and I really wasn't feeling the bike after Saturday. So, I hooked up with Pete for an hour jaunt through Raccoon River Park. We started off working the deepest snow we could find along the hiking trails. Luckily they were punctuated with a sweet fluffy layer of 3" powder from the night before and we weren't having to look too hard for resistance. On our first pass we joked a bit about walking out on the lake and Pete was pretty adamant about being able to do without that particular feat. Seems he's not the most comfortable on frozen water. I can't say as I blame him, but years of ice fishing must have tempered my fear a bit and I'm relatively comfortable on it. Even more so when we've had the temps as low as they've been lately and for most of the season. On the second pass we ventured out on the ice and captured some of the best powder, resistance, and pictures of our journey.

A couple hearty souls enjoying 8 degrees and -1 windchills!

Look ma, I'm standing on ice!

What, me worry?
We hit it relatively good for a solid hour before having to part ways. I had a driveway still calling my name while Pete was off to church. I bogged out on doing anymore workouts the rest of the weekend and carried that process right through yesterday. I did make it into the gym this morning, but yoga tonight is getting cut with nobody to watch little one. I should still get an hour+ on the bike tonight though after she hits the sack.

I'm off to land of northeast Iowa tomorrow (Dubuque) for work again and I hope I'll be back in time to keep up with my planned outdoor ride. At least the weather doesn't appear it will be working against me. Here's hoping.

Friday, January 23, 2009

Sledding the Den'

With forecast highs in the 400+ degree range, who could resist getting out for some action yesterday. Certainly not this cat or his family for that matter. We all ready had a jam packed afternoon/evening with tumbling class going on, but what's cramming another activity in?!

We decided to get out and do a little sledding with Corley before the days of spring and summer fade away this whitewash we've got on the ground. Borrowing a spot scoped out earlier in the season by the Pottorrf's, we headed over to the levee trail next to Denman's. Funny, I was just complaining that they never plowed that trail and now that they have, I was back to wishing it was snow covered so I could pull little one all the way down to the sledding spot. Guess you just can't please some people.

She was pretty excited to be going down the big hill since her only other experience was just a little sidehill action in her aunt's yard. I took her for the maiden run in her new sled and she was squealing with delight. Pulling her back up the hill was a bit of fun, but we made it and then Miranda and I alternated for a few more rides down the hill. Corley tired of sledding pretty quickly which was ok by me as we didn't have to lug her back up the hill every time now. We had a little bit of time left so I headed us over to the Denmans entrance as neither of my ladies had been there before. It was time to show them at least a little bit of the trail we all love so much.

It was starting to get towards dusk and we still had tumbling class to run off to so we only went back to the first logover. Both of them had a great time and it gave me a chance to show off a little bit of why I love riding my bike out on the trails. Gotta get them back out for a hike through once the snow is gone and the sun is shining though. So much to see and love in the woods!

The rest of the night was a blur with tumbling class for little one, rushing home to grab a late dinner (we paid for that mistake), and I still managed to catch 45 minutes on the trainer. I bailed on the gym this morning though planning to hit Climb Iowa tomorrow. I thought it might be best to avoid a heavy leg workout right before trying my hand at rock climbing for the first time. Then I noticed this little post about a little indoor spin going on at the mall tomorrow with PRC. Hmm, sounds like a lot of fun and I could always use more time on my bike. Sheesh, what to do. It doesn't sound like I've got anyone really interested in going climbing and I was hoping to do that with some friends so I'm going to bail on that for now and save the gift certificate I have for another ugly day with no other prospects. See you guys spinning tomorrow!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Viva la taco ride

Long live the Taco Ride! Even if we can't hit the dirt, Gif's still serves up tacos every Wednesday night. Fuller and I met up for a couple hours of black label last night. I took off a bit early and scouted Denman's in hopes that the temps and people had collaborated to make a rideable trail. It was "rideable", but not what I'd call pleasurable by any means. It was in similar shape to the Big Creek snowmobile trails. You could move and get up on it, but resistance was huge and you'd better put your pressures way down to add some float. Considering we'd still be riding some pavement, airing down that low wasn't going to be much of an option so I bailed a few hundred yards in.

Rolled up the trail to meet Fuller at the junction of Clive and Windsor Heights greenbelt trails. We opted to roll down Clive way thinking/hoping the glare ice sheets would be mostly gone. It didn't matter much to me rolling on studs, but Steve on fat tires would probably be happier if we had a bit less ice. Ran into Kent coming back the other way and chatted with him a bit. He said that RRVT was snowed in so we probably wouldn't be heading that way even if we wanted. Little did he know that I (mostly) and Fuller are pretty pig headed when trying to get from point A to B. The connector portion from the greenbelt to RRVT was indeed snowed in and hadn't been plowed all season from the looks of it. We busted some trail and tried to dodge frozen footsteps by riding the deep powder on the sides of the trail. Eventually we ground our way up to the main trail only to find 1 short section had been plowed for a couple blocks and then it was back to nothing. At that point we threw in the towel and hit the road.

We opted to head through Country Club and follow the back end of my old west side road loop to hook back up with WDM trails over by the other bike shop on the west side. Fuller must've been going for some heroics as he opted to head back towards Rassy's where I parked in lieu of heading towards home at this point. Somewhere rolling along EP True I felt the need for some refreshment. Apparently we were sharing a similar thought and we headed to Gif's for tacos and beer. We capped off the evening with a couple other taco riders that showed up (albeit NOT on bike) in the form of Al and Hal. After drying our sweaty selves out for near an hour, we headed back to the shop and Fuller continued on home. A better way to kill 2 hours, I can't think of.

Wednesday, January 21, 2009

What to do?

Well, with the snowshoe bug having bitten pretty hard I started scouring the net to feed a possible addiction in its infancy. Luckily for me, there are no shortages of places that sell sweet snowshoes on the net. Now the problem was lack of fundalation. Solution: sell shit I don't need. Mission accomplished as I quickly sold a race car bucket seat that I'd bought way back in a former life when I had visions of tearing up the asphalt in my gas powered beast.

So, flush with a little cash, I'm now left in a bit of a conundrum. Do I go ahead and buy the shoes, assuming that I'll be able to get a bit more use yet this season and then hang them up until next year? Or, do I hold the cash for another purchase I've been eyeballing/needing for the upcoming MTB season? I'm sure I could rent or borrow some snowshoes to get me through a couple more outings this year, but I'm the type that prefers having my own equipment once I'm pretty certain that I be using it more than once or twice. I'm thinking I probably should grab onto the new bike shoes (I'll need them this year for sure) and wait until the snowshoes hopefully go on clearance at the end of the season and get them at that point where I'd be closer to paying for both with the proceeds from just the seat. Hmm, decisions decisions. So what are your opinions?

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

A night at the theater

A night at the theater, originally uploaded by Buckshot77.

Watching Spring Awakening at the Civic Center. Can't beat free tickets. Funny, my boss could barely give these away. I took them just to make sure they both didn't go to waste. I still couldn't find a taker for the other so I'm enjoying the theater alone.


Wow, I really wasn't sure what to expect from the show. I read the online description of the show being about teen angst and the changes/challenges that teens go through set in 19th century Germany with a rock musical score. What's not to love about that? It definitely sounded quirky if not interesting.

I was just blown away by the time the show was over. I've seen my share of musicals/opera- Rent, Phantom, etc and this one definitely had equal staying power in my book. The musical scores and songs were awesome and even have me looking to see if I can download a few onto the IPOD. How can you go wrong with a song entitled "Totally Fucked"?! I think anyone who's ever been alive has been to the point where they just know they're in that exact spot. Beyond that, they explored such controversial topics such as teen suicide, pregnancy, sex, and the trials of school. Somehow it all just worked and was polished perfectly. Even without the free tickets, having seen it, I'd recommend buying a ticket to go see it.

The cast included some powerhouse voices (duh, it was a musical), but I was truly enchanted by the power of some of them. One gal in particular was a recent high school grad and playing the character of Martha, had one of those voices that just penetrates to your core and leaves you wishing she had more solos. Hopefully, she'll eventually put something out on her own, but wow, what a voice.

That's about it. If you're into musicals or looking for a sweet night out, go see it.

Monday, January 19, 2009


After enduring almost a week of super crappy temps and conditions, I think everyone must have been a bit stir crazy this weekend. There were no shortages of choice rides or activities to engage in.

Friday night I ended up staying at work until damn near 9 which sucked, but at least there was beer. Wow, amazing that Bud heavy will hit as hard as it does when you've been laying back just a little. I got home as the lingerie party was winding down and the ladies were all finished up. From all accounts it was a nice start to things and we'll see how the next real party goes since this was mostly a tester to get things straightened out. There's still time to get in on the next party for those interested, plus we're having a sale on a number of items including Valentine's stuff. Shoot us an email if you're interested in coming or just want to check out the specials we've got going on. Most of our stuff is in stock so you can take it home or get it in just a day or two.

Saturday morning there was a group headed out to test the snowmobile trails at Big Creek. This seemed like a pretty good time from the other reports I'd seen so I headed out to meet up with the group at 9. Wait, scratch that, 10 AM was the new start time, but neither Sumpter or I had gotten the message. Ahh well, we pedalled off to find our own way around and got in close to an hour before the other guys started showing up. The first trail we hit started out as some steep ups and downs and I voted to bag it and head the other way thinking this couldn't possibly be right after climbing about the 3rd hill in a row. We headed to the east side of the lake and found some rideable trail over there. However, it wasn't long until we turned back west in an open section and were hit with major wind gusts and an open stretch that was drifted in. Scott was on a borrowed Pugsley and could only ride a portion, my skinny tires meant I was working on the hike a bike skill portion of snow biking. We pushed on for about a half mile or maybe more before I said screw it and headed back to meet the others at the truck. Scott turned back with me and was still riding much more than walking.

A few more showed up at 10, but the balance were running even later so the first group hit the trails, back into the hills. The downhills were a white knuckle blast, but walking up still sucked. They soon flattened out and I rode about 95% from here on out. I don't think the other guys fared as well since the discussion about bagging the trails got brought up pretty quickly. Fuller, Sumpter and I forged ahead of the main pack and made our way out onto the lake thinking we might ride across (my dumbass idea).

I smile because I have no clue...
Fuller and Sumpter wondering WTF am I thinking
I finally called it and decided it was time to turn back since I would have close to 2 hours by the time I got back and I had places to be. The tailwind once I turned south was pretty sweet, but even the upped pace still netted me an average of 6.2 mph for the ride! Talk about resistance work.
Tailwind riding on the way back was much more fun!
Sunday I had the idea to try out snowshoeing for the first time. Pete was gracious enough to let me borrow his spare pair. A couple other guys thought we might be onto something so 4 of us plus one happy little boy (Tank) took off for 45 minutes through Denman's. Talk about having a good time romping through the woods with 4 other guys and blazing your own trail. Man, I was having a blast. All too soon we headed back to the cars as some had church and others thought better of keeping little one's out much longer (definitely a good bet).

Denmans with Pete, Squirrel, and Marco w/Tank

Hmm, this is some fun shit!
Squirrel and I weren't ready to throw in the towel yet so we dropped Bianchi off at his place, reloaded on some water and headed off towards Brown's woods. I hadn't been through Brown's before so I was pretty stoked. We hiked a few hills and were thoroughly off the beaten path as we made our way to the river. We tromped around a bit and then headed back to the truck with another 45 minutes or so under our belts. What a killer way to get your morning workout.
Hiked back to the Raccoon River through Brown's Woods.

My legs aren't feeling too bad today. My calves are definitely the sorest, but nothing bad. I'm also feeling my hip flexors as well, but then again I topped things off with an hour on the trainer last night and hit the gym this morning too. I can definitely see some appeal for snowshoeing as a great alternate winter activity. You could definitely go shoeing in conditions that wouldn't be fit for biking (by most accounts). I'm all ready tossing the idea around of looking for a possible pair to pick up. I guess I need to unload some of my extra gear first to free up a little cash for that though. Anyone need a race car seat?

Thursday, January 15, 2009

Bling for your ding

Well, the afternoon away from work was supposed to be spent working remotely from home. Ya, that didn't happen... Oops, sorry boss. I will be playing a little catch up later tonight and kicking some butt tomorrow though. The day definitely wasn't a waste though. I spent a bit of time playing in the garage making bling for your ding! Don't believe me, check it out.

These are a little project I've had cooking in my head for quite some time. They'll be going in our store soon and better still available to check out in person at our home parties. Yup, look for the Possibilities Room coming to a home near you! Actually, Miranda is just getting started with doing home parties and is hosting her first one at our place tomorrow (1/15) night. If any of you ladies would like to come or guys send your wives or significant others, shoot me an email- or post a comment here and I'll make sure to get you all the info. She'll have all sorts of food, spirits, games, and of course lingerie and toys to get the ladies prepped for a certain upcoming holiday. Of course there will be stuff available for guys as well (such as the above items), but she'll have to do the picking out as its ladies only.

Of course all this means I'm a man without a home for most of tomorrow night. Anyone up for an evening ride and or catching a good meal? I'm in the mood for some sushi actually. I did manage to get a few other small things taken care of today other than the bling. I actually have heat again in my truck which kicks all sorts of ass. Driving too and from work this morning with NO heat really sucked quite badly. Luckily it was just a slightly plugged heater core that needed a little flushing with the air hose. Beyond that I got our drive and walk blown off in preparation for company tomorrow night. I even got the hot tub chemicals adjusted.

Damn, I guess I was productive today! Ouch, I think I just pulled something patting myself on the back. Back to the grind tomorrow. I'm assuming they have the heat fixed, but I guess I'll find out in the AM. I need to hit the gym too as it should be my 3rd time for the week.

Its @#$%$&^ cold!

And not just outside. Check the shot of the hinge on my back door this morning.

Yup, that's a nice layer of frost. Never seen it quite that thick before. So, I jump in the truck and no heat for me! Yup, the heater core that's been giving me fits really doesn't work in -15 temps. Cold ride in, but at least I've got a warm office to relax in once I get there.
Oh wait, the fucking furnace is out at the office and the current temp is reading a balmy 45 degrees INSIDE the office.

Ya, I'm about ready to say screw it and head home for the day. I may or may not try to log in and work from home...

Got 2 hours on the trainer last night over at Pete's place (thanks man), but that seems a bit inconsequential right now.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I call bullshit

Wow, that was a completely and wholly unsatisfying experience. I'm in desparate need of some new boots this winter. Literally, my current boots are disintegrating as I wear them. The hard rubberized sole has completely pealed off the cushion foam layer underneath that it's not made to be walked on. So, every time I have to go out and snowblow or do something similar, the boots go on and I return with a little less soul (or is that sole)?!

I headed up to Sportsman's warehouse in Ankeny over my lunch. Considering they're about tied with Scheel's for having the biggest hunting gear selection in the metro, I figured it would be a safe bet they'd have not only some boots, but probably some decent closeout pricing. Wow, I'd have lost that bet. The salesman straight up told me that they had VERY few boots left in the sizes I was looking for. I'm not exactly Sasquatch at size 11-12, but too have about 4 total styles (of 40+ on the display wall) of my size is a pretty piss poor way to control inventory in my book. He said they got picked over pretty good during the holidays, but really couldn't give me a good reason as to why they didn't have any new stock.

Guess I'm off to the mart of wal, Scheel's, or some other place now to see what I can find. I don't need top of the line, but I wear them often enough in the winter that I'd like a good mid-range pair that's going to last me for a while and I don't see myself finding that type of boot at the majority of the big box stores.

Health and wellness

I finally drug my ass back out of bed in time to go to the gym this morning. It was a back, bicep, and leg day according to the calendar in my head. Actually, at this point, I went so infrequently last week, it really didn't matter what I did as long as I was there. I really want to get in 3 workouts per week- back, bicep, and leg as one workout, chest, triceps, and shoulder as another workout, and then depending on the week a full body or a repeat of one of the first two as my third workout. Add in an evening yoga class one night a week and a minimum of 3-4 times on the bike and it's a pretty decent training schedule I think.

I've been working on logging my exercise, activities, and food intake the last week on Fitday. So far I'm seeing a decent trend. For the most part as long as I'm exercising that day, I'm burning 400 or so more calories than I take in. Last week was a pretty laid back week and I still managed to shed about half a pound over the course of a week even though I fluctuated over a 3 pound spread throughout the course of the week. In reviewing my food log it really showed me that I need to lower my fat intake, my carbs are about right, and I'm doing pretty good on getting protein in my diet. I think a few more fruits and veggies mixed in will probably help the fat intake as long as I use them to replace a few fatty snacks. One really surprising thing for me was one of the worst foods I ate last week. Squirrel made up a roast last week that I'd provided for a dinner. That thing was packed with a huge amount of calories and fat per serving. According to their pre-entered information a 10 oz portion has 756 calories and 49 grams of fat! Holy shit! For reference a Wendy's classic double cheese burger has 747 calories and 44 grams of fat. Damn, I could've eaten a cheeseburger and been better off. I guess that's what the food log is for: learning what foods are good or bad.

On the other side of the coin, we had black bean and zucchini quesadillas last night. Damn they were good with just a little sour cream, salsa, and shredded cheese added in. A full on serving that left me full had a whopping 400 calories and about 10 grams of fat. Definitely the way to go, not just for me personally, but as a family and probably nation. I saw a news report last night that for the first time the percentage of people labelled "obese" is higher than that of people labelled "overweight". It's hardly any wonder that our health costs are skyrocketing. We're eating ourselves to death literally. The total number of people either overweight or obese was now at 66% of the population. That's just sad.

I consider myself pretty lucky that I decided enough a couple years ago and have dropped almost 30 pounds from where I was. I have no doubt that if I hadn't jumped whole hearted into biking, I'd probably be pushing over 190 by now if not closer to 200. Even at 183 I think I was getting pretty chunky so I can't imagine what another 10-20 pounds would have looked like. It's an amazing thing what a little exercise will do. I dropped 25 pounds just through exercise. I really haven't even been watching what I eat until recently. Fast food was an almost daily occurrence and (bad) snacks were plentiful. Really, my goal now is just to drop a few more pounds and turn the remaining fat into some lean muscle. That's where the new way of eating (not a diet) and adding in some more focused exercise should come in handy. Hopefully a few of you will be keeping pace with me.

Monday, January 12, 2009

A line in the sand (err snow)

So many possible titles for this and so little time. Yesterday was finally time to draw a line in the snow and show someone who's boss. That particular someone is our favorite trail we love to hate because it acts like a rebellious teen during the winter- Denman's. This year and last as soon as it was decently rideable we got ice on the trails and they pretty much become impossible to ride. That's been the case for over a month now.

I was fed up with not being able to ride since the trails had been basically a sheet of glare ice. The 6" of snow we received Saturday gave me some hope. Apparently, nobody else shared my optimism though as Sunday rolled around to find me heading out for some solo miles. I knew I was in for a treat when just riding the paved levee trail from Railroad brought me down into the little ring. I slowly made my way to the back entrance while wistfully looking at the cross country ski tracks paralleling the trail. All good so far. I dropped off the trail down towards the entrance. Glare ice under 6" of snow does not make a rideable surface when it's on any type of slant! I quickly realized this as I slid and crawled my way past the culvert to the edge of the woods. I was determined one of us was going to cry uncle and give up the ghost today.

Exit from Denmans to Dirty Express (I rode backwards)

I finally started crawling my way through the woods. Resistance and stability were the game today. Little ring up front and damn near the granny in the back as I spun along at 3-5 MPH for the most part. In the spots where I was riding just the snow, it was great. However, there were a ton of spots where it was still crunchy and chunky underneath along with the icy layer. Those spots really drug on. I quickly mastered getting a push off and jamming on the pedals to keep my momentum going to start back up after I'd ground to a stop. That is to say, I was stopped on a pretty regular basis. One of the bigger problems I had was out in the flats where the trail and surrounding forest floor were equally coated. I couldn't pick out the line and managed to get off course a few times.

Blank slate, which way to go?

Sometimes it was a bit more obvious where to go.

You could take a run at most little pitches, but ended up walking them anyway.

Hike a bike was pretty regular today.

The skinny is looking a bit lonely.

Happy camper out on the trail.

I kept upright more often than not though I did have a couple ugly spots. I fell over in one spot and caught my lower leg between a log and the bike. That one will definitely leave a mark for a bit. Other than that, the worst spot on the whole trail was the gully crossing just before you get to Little Italy (if you're riding forward). The ice jam backup a couple weeks back pushed chunks up in this area and left some on the downhill slope. I fell on my face several times trying to crawl up it and push my bike up as well. Add in that there are decent sized holes in between the chunks and it's all covered in 6" of snow and it's a recipe for crashing and broken ankles. Be careful!

Finally, I rolled to the end of the trail. Almost an hour down to get from one end to the other, but I made it and was still smiling. Not to mention I captured one of my favorite shots.


The ass-kickin' machine.

Damn that was fun?!

I crab walked my way up to the top of the levee and found the worst trail conditions yet! I gave up and walked the last 50 or so yards out to Valley Drive as I rolled over to Squirrel's place for a quick warm up. He was just getting ready to head out for some gravelly goodness so we rolled down Railroad together.

I hear his knee was bugging him from running the other day so he had to bail on the ride. That sucks! Get some rest and ibuprofen on it man and hit it hard later this week. Sounds like we're in for some wild weather again.

All in all (not calculating today's snow), I'd say Denman's is rideable, but you're going to have to walk a decent amount and work on your handling like crazy. I have my computer set to not record any movement under 2.5 MPH and stopped to try and rest it half-way through yesterday since it was not recording in a number of spots. I was actually still riding those spots, but moving that slow! I think if we got about a half dozen or so more tracks through there it would created a packed track with a lot more traction. However, getting those tracks through there will probably suck mostly beyond belief. Hope to see some guys out there soon. Oh ya, I know I was off course a few times so feel free to ignore my line in those spots.

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Tumbling through life

Friday commenced with the ball busting again at work. Up, out the door, and on the road at 5 to head up to the land of ringing bells and buzzers otherwise known as a casino again. I'm not really excited about digging into the 2nd one in a row for me. They're a bit of a drag in terms of how quickly they want/need stuff done, so it's almost always guaranteed to be a testicle squisher. I finally wandered back home at 5 last night which was luckily before any of the weather started coming in so thank goodness for small favors.

Thursday night on the other hand was a complete opposite. It must have been a helluva good time because 2 guys that like nothing more than to snap pictures of their activities and ladies didn't manage to get a single pic taken all night. We boogied over to see the Pottorff's for some killer home cooked roast beef and fixins. Damn was that tasty (my part of the equation was pretty easy). The girls got a chance to get reacquainted and were palling around before long at all.

We all shot the breeze for a bit and then it was off for tumble tots. Basically you get a bunch of toddlers, add some gym mats, a few fun and goofy activities and play for a half hour. Pretty good stuff in my book. The girls had so much fun the weren't quite ready for the night to end and I was definitely agreeable with that. So we stopped back by for them to help wear each other out a bit more and finished off a killer evening. You just can't ask for much more.

Thursday, January 08, 2009

Pushing lead

I bolted out of work like a shot last night at 4 bells straight up. The bike was all ready in the truck and I was dressed for riding. I guess you could say I was a bit anxious to actually ride my bike and make forward progress. I guess hours on a trainer does that to a guy.

I met up with Squirrel, Conlan, and Gov'ner to get the show on the road. We got moving somewhere around a quarter to 5 and headed off towards the WDM trail system. No real plan was laid on where we were going or how we'd loop back, we all just wanted the same thing: time on the bike outside. As I'd actually ridden the trails most recently, I proposed we head off towards the Windsor Heights trail system and on towards Douglas.

As luck or timing would have it, we met up with Fuller and Kent just as they were attempting to figure out where we were.
(Photo stolen from Squirrel)

They'd just ridden through the icy death trap further up the trail (and the direction we were headed). Fuller was obviously traumatized from this experience and opted to take surface streets around to the other side of the ice rink we were about to encounter. I can't say as I blame him one little bit and might even have joined him with the exception that I was riding studs and would forever have been labelled a wuss of epic proportions... The only mishap came as Gov'ner wiped out on a sheet of ice a bit further up the trail. A quick pee break just after crossing I-80 led to a break up in the group when our fearless leader failed to realize that a few guys were taking a bit more time with their urine slinging. As we rolled south on 128th, it was down to Squirrel and I as Fuller bailed towards home and Kent had bid adieu before that. Conlan and Gov didn't see us make the turn and decided to tour through some of the more grandiose neighborhoods just north of Hickman.

Unfortunately, we didn't realize this was their plan until we'd all ready climbed the grade from Hickman south towards University. A quick call and we headed back down the hill to pick up the other two guys before heading back up again. It was time to stretch my legs a bit going up the hill and I just held a nice strong gear and pushed up. I was winded as we crested the top, but not dying by any means and actually felt better the 2nd time up the hill. Maybe this training stuff actually works?! Who knew?

After that it was turn tail and set sail towards home with a nice cross tail wind out of the northwest most of the way. We struck back on the black label as soon as we could and pulled it clear down to Valley Junction. Squirrel peeled off leaving the 3 of us heading back to Conlan's. We hit the hill climb back up to Polk Blvd and I held the pedal to the metal again and grunted my way up to the top. Considering I'm hauling a metric shitload of extra weight with the heavy studded knobbies that roll slow plus tubes over my summer setup on the bike, damn that was a good grunt.

A killed off the night with a big ole bowl of homemade chili, a well earned beer, and even a nice soak in the hot tub for a bit. Of course all that lead to a later than anticipated bed time and me opting out of the call of the gym this morning. I guess you can't win them all!

Happy Birthday!

To my awesome wife. I hope your day is great. Can't wait to spend some time with you tonight. Love you!

And lest I forget, happy birthday to the other's celebrating today- my big brother, our good friend's twin girls, and last but not least Elvis. Hope you all have a great day too. Well, at least everyone but Elvis as I don't think his days vary too much, that is, unless he's really not dead... HMMMM

Wednesday, January 07, 2009

Introducing toes to fingers

Another session of yoga down last night. I actually worked up a sweat this time. I don't know that the moves/poses were any harder this week versus last, but I tried harder to keep my core under tension plus I was just coming off 50 minutes on the bike so it helped to keep the blood pumping a bit more.

I noticed a couple things. My hamstring flexibility is all ready getting better. I'm sure it doesn't hurt that I've been making sure to stretch them good after cycling plus the yoga. So, I can touch my toes without straining and actually start to get my fingers down on the floor. My eventual goal would be to put my palms on the floor, but I think that's a ways off yet. Other than that, I noted my right hip flexor and IT band are pretty dang tight. So tight in fact that anything involving both legs showed the right leg sitting significantly higher off the floor than the left. I got a few stretch recommendations from the instructor after class to help with that range of motion too.

While I don't think I'm quite hooked to the point of buying my own yoga mat, it's been fun and I'm planning on keeping up with it. Miranda and I also designated it as our joint night at the gym. While we didn't get to the gym to do anything before class, it was still nice having an hour to stretch and just be by each other. Truly the class length and interest level is about perfect considering I didn't look at the clock and wonder when we'd be done until our hour had actually passed.

The plan is to catch a couple hours outside on the bike tonight. I'm REALLY looking forward to being outside. Sure sweating away on a trainer hasn't become complete hell yet, but actual movement is nice, plus I can switch up bikes too. I'm excited to see how the fitting on the mountain bike goes this Saturday. I've changed just a few basic things since buying it, but I'm toying with the idea of flipping the stem back to a more aggressive stance. As long as I'm talking fitting, thus far, the fit has been pretty good on the road bike. I think I might tweak the saddle tilt a shade to bring the nose up a hair more as I notice I'm sliding forward slightly. I'm also planning to talk to Adam about my right hamstring feeling a little tight now compared to the left one. Might need a minor cleat adjustment.

Monday, January 05, 2009


I've actually been on my bike lately, I just haven't felt much like writing about it over the holidays. Actually, I was asked politely last night by my darling wife if I was becoming obsessive about exercise/biking. I don't' think she understands quite yet that I'm actually just trying to ramp things up to the point where I'm close to the recommended training hours from the various plans I've looked at. Most of the guys I ride with hit anywhere around 10-15 hours on the bike plus workouts on top of that. I'm sitting right at 6 hours on the bike with a few workouts sprinkled in. I think it's mostly just an adjustment period in lieu of seeing my laid out on the couch with a beer watching the game to sweating my butt off sitting on a chunk of carbon fiber and vinyl.

Back to New Year's Day. The Nth degree ride was a pretty good time. Temps were conducive to getting not only a decent amount of mileage in, but also to enjoy the ride. The winds were a bit breezy and chased us from tail, to cross, to head as we transversed our way up to Granger and back. 26 miles in total with some nice hard efforts sprinkled in on my part. I helped push the pace up a bit on the way back with just 3 or 4 of us hanging out up front for the most part as we got into Grimes and stopped for a quick regroup. After that it was the last little push back into Johnston and time for me to head out. The few efforts felt pretty good with having had some time on the trainer to keep my legs in shape.

Most of the group descended upon Casey's in Granger:

The rest of the day was spent chasing the idea of going ice fishing, but due to a certain lack of planning, we never made it out. Hopefully I'll get out once this year as I don't think I even made it out on the ice (at least to fish) at all last winter.

Friday had me back at work and I self prescribed a rest day before Saturday's effort rolled around. I packed up my road bike, gear, and headed off to the shop for my fit. I'm not quite sure what I was expecting other than I wanted to hopefully gain a bit more power and stability on the bike. Donny had fit me well over a year ago on that bike and I really hadn't made any changes since. Adam ran me through the gamut of tests for flexibility , leg length, and a ton of different information to plug into the computer. After that it was off to the races with doing some changes in my footbeds, cleat placement, wedges, and shims. According to the original model, I really wasn't that far off so fear not, Donny did a good job on my fit. Adam just has the tools to take it to the next level and that's what we did.

We moved my seat position up about 1 cm and forward about 1.5 cm. Beyond that, we maintained stem length and height so no further aggressiveness was dialed into my position. The main issue I've got is that while I have some flexibility, I am on a bike with more relaxed geometry so it doesn't necessarily take to being in an aggressive stance. Kind of like bolting a huge wing on your Yugo. Might look interesting, but that's about where the advantages stop. One of the things I wanted to do was a power test checking out before and after fitting measurements. We didn't make this happen, but I did get the after test done.

The power test consisted of a warm-up, then steady state intervals at 80-95 RPM, with a 4 minute window to hold the power, 1 minute recovery, and then upping the wattage to the next level. Rinse and repeat until you can't maintain the wattage/RPM for the 4 minutes and then take your information and plug it into this chart. While I was hoping for better, I can't really complain about the outcome being at the very beginning of actual training. According to the chart, my power to weight ratio is 3.8watts/kg. With the handy dandy little comparative chart, this plunks me right in the middle of what is supposed to be Cat 4's. Not too shabby, but I've got a long ways to go. Of course as Donny posted up when doing similar test on the PRC ladies last winter, it's just a number. Your goal through training is to increase that number, but in regards to actual race performance it means less than zero. It only shows how well you do on the test. In any case, I got what I wanted which is a base number to start from. In addition, it gave Adam a chance to learn more about the computrainer in the shop so hopefully he can start offering a few more expanded services to go along with his fittings. One final bit of info I found interesting was that I was able to push my heart rate to 195 during the test. Previously, I'd only managed low 180's as my max indoors. I definitely felt like I was at the beginning of the puke zone when we got done.

I spun things out Saturday night for an hour and then hit Lou's power house on Sunday morning for another hour and a half sweat fest along with another hour last night. I finally got some entertainment set up in the basement in the form of a DVD player and what a difference that makes. Sure the IPOD is great, but you can only listen to it and the sound of your heart pounding for so long before it becomes too monotonous. I flipped on Walk the Line and watched the first hour of it last night, much better!

I've been neutered (the other ball dropped)

Or at the very least I've lost my balls for the time being. I've had a sneaking suspicion this was going to happen for a while. My fast living and hard drinking were bound to catch up with. I'd been one-balling it for quite some time, but little did I know that I'd end up completely ball-less yesterday. Yup, you guessed it, the second ball on my beloved nipple ring finally fell off and I'm assuming rolled down the drain. Drat, now I've got to go pick up a new one.

For those of you with body jewelry, I'm sure you understand my pain. It's not just a simple choice. You've got to head to a number of different stores, check out all the latest and greatest items, see how many different colors are available, and then agonize over how you want to accessorize your body. So, it's off to the mall and time to start checking over selections lest the entire bar drop out and then I'm really hosed.

One good thing is that with the popularity of body piercing (I had mine before it was cool dammit) I can go to no less than 5 or 10 different places in most shopping malls and have a pretty decent selection to browse through. Any of you have some input on what types of jewelry you like?