The circle of life...

Spring 2008...

Winter 2008...

I don't know how to save a plant - only how to kill them. Right now this plant is in critical condition....and fading fast. It's a shame. Of all the plants I've killed, this one was my favorite. But it was weak and stupid and never stood a chance.


The Old Man Gun Show

"The problem is, I'm not willing to push myself as hard as you're willing to push me."

Now that the weather has turned cold, I've switched to my fixie. There's something about riding a fixie in the off-season that just makes sense to me. But I have to admit, that thing
is killing me.

Sunday I combined the Old Man Loop and the Gun Show Loop and got in a good, hard 30 miles on my fixie. It was a fast ride so I was pretty tired at the end.

We were planning a fixie lunch ride Monday, but Monday morning looked like this and with a high of 35 the snow wasn't going to melt by noon.

So I went to SBR for the Monday Night Football trainer ride. We rode until halftime. I started out a little tired from Sunday's ride, but I felt surprisingly good once I warmed up a bit. Then the punishment started. Every time the announers mentioned Brett Farve, we had to do a one minute standing climb. Every time the Packers scored a TD, a one minute sprint. At the end of the first half they started talking about Farve so we ended up doing a 7-minute climb. As we were finishing up minute 7, the Packers scored a touchdown. As we were finishing up that sprint, they started talking about Farve again. It was brutal, and my legs were pretty sore Tuesday morning.

So we did our fixie ride at lunch Tuesday. There were three of us, all riding our fixies (the same bike so I'm sure we looked pretty gay) and we pushed pretty hard so my legs went from bad to worse.

Wednesday....same thing. Lunch time fixie ride, except we didn't push quite as hard. The cumulative effects of the fixie got the best of me when I got home from work and I crashed on the couch for a while. I think that was one of the best naps I've ever had.

Today is Turkey Day, and since I'm not racing the Berbee Derby, I'm planning on doing the Old Man Gun Show loop again before dinner. Another hard 30 miles on the Madison. That should put a hurtin on me. If the weather holds up, I'm doing that ride again tomorrow....after the waffle run and some black Friday bargain hunting.


Headlamps and Ironpups

This afternoon, I ignored the 33 degree temps and snowflakes and went for a 20 mile ride. I wanted to do more, but an hour is about all I can take when it gets this cold. And I was a little worried about the snow. It wasn't supposed to accumulate, but the last time I biked in the snow I had to ride home in 2 inches of snow and it got a little sketchy.


I went running on the Military Ridge Trail in the dark. Crazy? Maybe. Fun? Definitely.

I bought a headlamp a couple of weeks ago but haven't gone for a night run until tonight. I bought a cheap light for my bike last fall, and it was a horrible waste of money. I learned my lesson. When it comes to lights, don't get cheap. So I sprung for a decent headlamp, one with several settings and a battery pack. It's a little heavy so I was afraid I wouldn't like it, but I didn't really notice the weight. And it puts out plenty of light.

I run at night sometimes during the summer, and I love it. I don't usually run with my ipod, but for some reason I always bring it along for a night run. Tonight was no exception. I threw together a playlist with some Buckcherry, Honey Claws, Kid Rock and Jupiter One.

The guys at work thought I was crazy the day my headlamp showed up, and I can see where they were coming from. Running in the dark seems crazy, but it's not. It's fun, especially with some new tunes.



The Slippery Slope of the Jittery Joe

It was easily the most expensive cup of coffee I've ever had - $10 for the coffee and $20 for the grinder. Thirty bucks for a cup of Joe is a little pricey in my book, so expectations were high for my morning brew.

I have never aspired to own a coffee grinder, because I figure it's the slippery slope to the twitchy, over-caffeinated underbelly of America. First I grind a few beans in the morning, then I take my grinder to work, then I trade in my regular-sized coffee cup for something that would be better described as a coffee bucket, then I'm late for every meeting because I'm refilling - I mean refueling - my bucket with the sweet, sweet nectar of the coffee gods.

Since I already had the beans, I figured I may as well buy the grinder. With the proceeds from the coffee going to Jittery Joe's Cycling Team, I'm supporting a good cause. A grinder means more beans. More beans equals more support. This isn't the start of a beautiful addiction, but charity work. I'm not selling my soul; I'm doing a good deed. I could rebuild a house destroyed by Katrina....or I could buy a coffee grinder. Same thing, really.

My grinder came with a cord so short I figure it was either done purely for the amusement of the fine folks at Mr. Coffee or it's crucial you're very close to the outlet to get a proper grind. I had to do a little rearranging to find some space close to an outlet. It's nowhere near the coffee maker, but it will have to do. Ten seconds later I had fresh ground coffee and my kitchen was filled with the sweet aroma of 'Morning Ride.'

I typically only have one cup of Joe in the morning, but not today. Today I had two. I usually add some Stevia or Sweet-N-Low and some Coffee Mate, but today I wanted to taste the beans as they were meant to be...black. And it was oh so good.

Now that I'm jacked up on some fresh brew, I've given it some thought and I take back what I said. The coffee grinder isn't the slippery slope. That's silly. It's just good, clean fun. The french press is the slippery slope. The french press is like cocaine. Buy a french press and it's all over. But a coffee grinder...it's just a great "pot" of coffee.

Do yourself a favor and buy a grinder and some Jittery Joe's. You won't regret it. You get a great cup of Joe and you get to support professional cycling. It's just like charity work. Support The Bean Team.

Come on. Don't cha wanna be cool?


Bass Lake

The weather is strange these days....it's really nice. Definitely not the norm for early November. Today was mid 60s. They said it was going to be sunny, but it was partly cloudy with occasional light rain. But it was warm...I'll take it.

I've ridden 9 centuries this year and I want to do one more. I was going to do that today, but I didn't feel up to it so I decided to go for a hard 56 mile ride - my Bass Lake route. It was the perfect route for today since it heads south and we had 10 mph winds out of the south. Nothing like a good tailwind on the way home.

I've had a lot on my mind these days, and I think I just got tired of thinking so much. I was completely focused on my ride. My mind didn't wander once. I got into a zone, and I kept pushing harder and harder. My legs hurt, but I was loving it.

At the Spirit of Racing Half Ironman in July, I averaged 215 watts for 56 miles so I started out doing about 215-220 watts. Eventually, my watts crept up into the 220-230 range. Then 230-240. Then 240-250.

Coming down Seminole toward the end, I was doing 250-270. My legs ached, but it felt great. I finished with an average of 233 watts, and an average speed of 20.7 mph - by far my fastest on that route. I've never averaged that many watts for that long so that felt really good.

This evening I went for a run, my first in a little more than a week. I've got a mild case of achilles tendinitis that I'm trying to get rid of. I ran 2.75 miles and my achilles felt pretty good so that's encouraging. It's a start anyway.

My legs are really sore right now, but it's a good sore.

I'm not going to tell you who I'm voting for....

...but I will say this: the times are ripe for change.

For those of you worried about a possible global recession: The Fix.

And for Toby, who's always looking for a new phrase, this is classic...