Wednesday, November 26, 2008


"Four" - the number of days this weekend holds for us!

With Thanksgiving coming up tomorrow, I came across this interesting little story about raising and slaughtering your own Turkey.

I thought the most thought provoking part was, "I don't think much of people who say they like to eat meat but go 'ick' at the sight of a bleeding animal. Doing our own killing, cleanly and humanely, teaches us humility and reminds us of our interdependence with other species."

Mmmm... now what kind of stuffing to make with that bird!?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008


I have to find that weather guy, so I can go kick him in the teeth! With a forecast of sun and 67 degrees, I was all about sneaking out for a lunch ride today. I even had plans to take an especially long lunch today... Motivation however, was running ridiculously low, when the clouds stayed overhead all morning, and the temperature had only made it up to 42 by lunch time. 42 isn't too bad, but I had only brought clothes for 67 degree temps, with just a minor amount of "backup".

Somehow I found the motivation to get out... probably because deep down inside, I think this will be the last few days before winter takes off it's gloves, and starts getting mean with us! Plus, I figured I'd catch up with the lunch crew, since they were doing a loop I always mean to explore, but never do. And well... there's always the motivation that even riding outdoors in the cold, means that you don't have to ride the trainer!

Who doesn't love twisty dirt roads that go uphill (and are still dry 2-days before Turkey Day!?)

As far as I'm concerned... this sign means we're probably on the right track;

Nice, I think I can see those poor slobs still slaving away in the office 2400 feet below!

I almost felt guilty, but there were more lovely sections of twisty, uphilly, dirt road yet;

Plus, going home meant that there was going to be some cold descending ahead... never fun. But it was worth it. One more day of work left, and then it's time to over eat, in order to celebrate the white man's takeover of this land we now call America! I better get to stretching my stomach already!

Even though things look grim for the holiday... let's focus on the positive! Fewer Americans will pop for a big holiday meal this year because of the downturn in the economy. But maybe that will be a good thing. I mean, what's the obesity rate at now for Americans? 60 MILLION obese Americans... a full THIRD of the US population.

Monday, November 24, 2008

3-Day Week

I REALLY hate broken windshields. Especially the ones that don't even come from a rock smack... the ones where you come out to your car to find a big ol' crack in the windshield. Invariably, those are the ones that you also get to watch spread further and further seemingly every time you look at it through the day. Great.

On the other hand, I do love 3-day work weeks! Yeah, it might be Monday, and that still sucks, but at least I'll be able to stay home and avoid The Man on Thursday and Friday! Woo Hoo!

***Just a side note, brought on by the current streaming radio station - HOLY SHIT does 'My Chemical Romance' SUCK! - thank jeebus I haven't used up my "skips" for this hour!***

Sunday I woke up feeling much less spectacular than normal, just like I had on Saturday, so I decided to bail on the plan to race twice. I still went down to do at least the single speed category race. Probably would have been better to stay home and rest up, but in a few weeks, the next race will seem a really, really long time away. This was another race at the juvie-detention-type place in Golden. Still a pretty good course, but always bumpy, often "thorny", and at times hard to pass on. This course used a lot of the usual sections, plus some fresh stuff thrown in. It was bumpy, but what seems bumpy after last week at the Rec Center?

There was a pretty good showing for the single speed race. And we started out mostly sane, a bit fast, but I was comfortable enough following the first wheel or two, where I could see how things would shake out. At the end of the first lap, we were into the back of the Cat3 field, and Charlie was off the front with me chasing close behind. Following his pace was manageable, the hard part was getting around the traffic efficiently enough. I pushed it at one point, daring to go off the main line, and stuffed the bike into a big ol' hole, burping the front tire. From then on out I was a bit more conservative. I wasn't feeling 100%, so the power was lacking coming out of the turns and on the uphill, but mostly I kept getting stuck behind groups of 3-5 riders at a time, slowing me up. In the end, the dude behind me caught up while I was slowed by the 5th bobble of someone directly in front of me, and he managed to get past in some traffic. Not enough course to come back at him, with less than half a lap left, so I just followed the group in for third. Overall, not too bad, since I never really pushed too hard, and was right in the mix, but frustrating in that I never really got to push too hard... Probably good, since before I even got out of Golden, I just wanted to sleep, I spent the rest of the evening, coughing the evil out of my lungs.

***'Jimmy Eats World' is nearly as bad as My Chemical Romance, and now I need to switch stations because I'm down to 3 skips***

Really? Only two more weeks of racing left!?!?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Adventures

Last night when I got home, there was a family hanging out in the driveway;

I didn't realize it at the time, but it was shaping up to be a wildlife weekend... in the meantime, I had some beer to drink. I picked up a bottle of Trappistes Rochefort "10". It came highly recommended, but I wasn't ready for it... it was unbelievable! Incredibly good beer. Now I just need a cheap source for it. The "8" is up next, and is supposed to be nearly as good.

Saturday morning we were off to Ned for our weekend Hippie-Muffin and coffee trip, but I noticed a crowd out in the field;

It looks like the Elk are back in the valley, and their numbers are definitely doing well this year! Having all these guys in the yard, just makes me think of all those hunters that spend hours upon hours, stalking through the woods trying to chase these guys, looking for a clean shot.

When we got back, there were still more animals in the yard, including this mysterious creature... also known as Lucy. She gets to wear a fun cone, as she recovers from some stitches.

It was such a nice afternoon, I snuck out for a bit of a walk with Tayler and Neo. We climbed up to some rocks where you can get a good view of the reservoir;

And The Divide;

And crazy Tayler;

Looked like a good day up on Longs;

And finally, looking at Forsythe Rock.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Winter Makes Me Cranky

Woke up this morning to the grey skies and freezing drizzle/rain as predicted by the weather peeps. But things didn't look too bad. That is, until I noticed even the dirt in the driveway was all sorts of slick, with a good glazing of ice! It didn't seem to bad for driving, and everything was delicately covered in that layer of ice;

Once off the loose stuff of our road though... it became quickly evident that things were ugly. Magnolia was a solid sheet of ice. At the top even, there were skid marks from cars with studded tires, and even chains, that were trying for all their worth to dig into the ice. Still, it didn't seem too bad, since I had perfect timing and I was 3rd in line behind the plow truck, dumping tons of gravel. Until we reached the traffic jam at the first switchback. You know it's not going to be all that great, if you ever see a traffic jam on Magnolia. After waiting a few minutes, someone tried to walk down to see what the hold up was. They almost weren't able to walk back up the road because of the ice... and they reported a good 10-15 cars all stacked up, and or crashed out of the competition for the race to work. Right then, time for the long way to work.

The solid coating of ice, even on the dirt section;

There was even a pair of accidents in Ned, and then some happenings along the canyon down to town. Of course once near town, it was just wet.

It seemed like the entire long way to work, I had to listen to stories about pirates. They're very popular this month, since taking over that tanker, and increasing their activities off the coast of Somalia. Even after reading a letter from a listening on NPR, complaining that they were making pirating sound like a job path, rather than being the dirty thieves that they are, NPR wrapped the story up by playing the music to Pirates of the Caribbean. We don't need those goofy pirates, we have our own pirates right here... the United Auto Workers Union, and the big wigs running the "Big 3" automakers.

Still lobbying for a piece of the bailout, or event their own bailout, because their business is doing poorly... based mostly off of bad business decisions, not listening to their customers or their workers... and also on the fact that they do things like show up in individual private jets in order to testify before congress why they deserve free money. Face it, a bailout is going to lead to nothing but more of the same short-sightedness that has gotten them in this situation in the first place. More of the same crap, and the same multi-million dollar bonuses for executives, and shitty cars, with no real idea of evolving to a changing world or cars to fit into that evolving world. A bailout will just mean a delay, until we're back to this point again. Bankruptcy is about the only way the auto makers will fully be able to restructure their business to the extent that they should, and need, to.

They just want the money... today, with prospects of a bailout looking slim, GMAC, the financial arm of General Motors, filed the paperwork necessary to becoming a true bank. Sounds innocent enough, except that upgrading their status would then make them eligible for a portion of OUR 700billion dollar bailout program.

One of my favorite stats that I came across this week; GM and Toyota both hold about 20% of the auto industry in the United States. While GM does it with 8 brands, and 5000 dealers, Toyota upholds it's market share with just 3 brands and 1500 dealers. Which one sounds more efficient?

What is really going to change with the Big 3 if they get their money anyway? They've already received well over 5 billion dollars of government money, to spend on developing new technologies for more efficient cars. And they argue that part of their bailout would go towards the same. But what have they done? They've come up with a hybrid Escalade that gets a whopping 20mpg and costs $80,000!? I'd like to take that 5 billion dollars, keep a measley one billion for myself (as a finders fee) and give the other 4 billion to a company like Tesla, that is actually accomplishing something. Tesla is super-pumped about receiving a 40 million dollar investment... do you think with an investment 100 TIMES bigger, they couldn't make an even better car, with fewer compromises, and a much lower cost? I bet they could. A Tesla is about a million times sexier than a retarded Escalade too;

Sorry for the rant, I guess winter makes me cranky.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008


79... that's how many of those little "degree thingies" the thermometer is counting right now. That's my kind of reading for a day that's just a week before Thanks-for killing the Indians-Giving. So for now, I'll just ignore the current forecast for Thursday.

Like any good boy scout, I planned ahead and was prepared for this weather, and plotted to sneak outside at lunch time for a quick ride. The legs are already well on their way to "blindingly white", but I didn't let that distract me;

It was a lunch ride, and I was promising for a while to hook up with the gang from work, and Steve was kind enough to let me tag along for the ride. And luckily, we work right at the base of the hills, so up Flagstaff it was.

The conclusion was that my legs definitely aren't recovered from the weekend yet. Blah. But I've definitely felt worse, the legs wanted to turn over at least, so that was good. And I mean, what can spoil a ride in the sun, and 79 degrees during lunch anyway... other than actually going back to work? Another successful day of avoiding the evil trainer.

Holy crap! Did I just say Thanksgiving is NEXT week!? I need to go eat some pumpkin pie RIGHT now! Time to start stretching the belly, because I sure don't want to shock the system.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Latest Weekend Wrap

The first mission of this weekend was to leave work as quickly as possible and catch Quantum of Solace on the big screen... Mission accomplished. A good, fairly typical James Bond movie. I had a small issue or two with the plot, but I won't spoil it. I have a tough time disconnecting myself from the reality of what's possible in most movies, but never in a James Bond movie. You can always just enjoy them in all their action-packed detail.

Saturday was race day, down at the Louisville Rec Center. The plan was to race both 35+ and the single speed category. I might have reconsidered that plan, if I hadn't blocked out of my memory just how bumpy this course is! I was running a bit late, so my warm up for the 35+ race consisted of riding the first half the course, down to the start. I started at the back, on the SS, and quickly realized just how bad of a course this was for the single speed, if you were racing guys with gears. No real technical sections where I could make up time, and the entire course was either big gear flat-out pounding, or little gear spinning up steep hills. Including one additional hill for this year, that was impossible on the single. No biggie, churned my way around, enjoyed being out racing on course, finished up in 28th. In the single speed race, I was just off the pace of the leaders. Many times they were within' grasp, but the extra beating of the earlier race had taken some out of the legs. And it seemed like every time I came up on Cat3 guys to pass, it was always at the worst times... into the sand, or up the hills, so I'd get stuck for a little bit, losing time. I finished up 4th, which was fine, and rode well without really any bobbles. Unlike last year when I had 3 flats and dropped my chain twice. I think that course could be really cool... if we just got rid of at least SOME of the endless bumps! My hands are still a bit sore today!

The highlight of the day on Saturday had to be this one chick coming out of the rec center. I'm sure we always confuse the usual patrons of the rec center, when they show up one Saturday and suddenly the parking lot is full of lycra clad maniacs. But I'm sitting on the ground, pinning a number to my skinsuit, with a cross bike on either side of me, Dave Towle is blasting through the speakers, and there's about 100 people within quick eye-shot on bikes, and she asks, "So... what's going on today?". "Uh... it's like a bike race and stuff." I tell her. "Oh, that makes sense." Yes, yes it does.

Sunday I decided to head out on the mountain bike since I don't think the trails are going to be clear much longer. Plus it was "pretty warm" but the wind was howling. So hiding in the trees sounded a lot more fun than being out on the road. It took some effort to get out the door, and I hoped it was going to be one of those days where I would feel a lot better once I was out... but it wasn't. My legs were pretty shattered from Saturday's races, and the route called for some pretty stout climbing. At least it was good to be out on the bike, even if it was crazy windy and cold once I got into Ned.

After some good clouds showing off the sunset;

Jessica, Alex and I hit up the Wondervu Cafe for some tasty Mexican food. Even though they are jerk-offs at this place, and won't even allow cyclists to fill their water bottles, it is a nice quiet place for good Mexican food on Sunday evenings.

After dinner, the three of us shared some "special" Egg Nog I had - good for keeping warm on a windy night;

Friday, November 14, 2008


I'm not sure how, but I made it through another week. It was a tough one too... Full moon and everything. It definitely seemed to make people extra crazy at the beginning of the week. Not much at all to report this week. The good news is that I did get the sheeting on the ramp - the bad news is that I have completely forgotten how to skate. I thought about donating the ramps straight away. Yesterday did at least go a little better, so maybe I won't get rid of it yet.

Got the ramp done just in time too, since the weather was pretty crappy all week. I finally cracked, and I was forced to ride the trainer, aka. torture-device. Ugh. Must learn to love the trainer. I was trying to hold out, 1.) because I just plain didn't want to ride the trainer, and 2.) because I have a new trainer on it's way finally. After 13 years with my existing trainer... and actually wearing into the alloy roller, it's time for a new trainer. I'm hoping this one will help make things slightly more exciting with a "power" readout... but we'll see.

The only excitement this week came from a very interesting story I saw on the Science Channel about cockroaches, and a team of scientists designed robots that were able to successfully integrate into the cockroaches group. Not only that... the robots were actually able to influence the decisions of the cockroaches, working on their own! Crazy stuff!

I'm ready for the end of the work week. Tonight the mission, is to save the world by catching opening night for the Quantum of Solace. I can't wait! Daniel Craig makes a damn fine Bond. And after our trip, following Bond around the world, I need to get some sleep. I think I'll be hitting the double-header tomorrow at the last of the Boulder Racing cross series. 35+ and SS races both on the SS is the plan. Should be interesting since my riding has been almost non-existent this week.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008


I think all the saw dust in the air over at Rubin's house, got into my brain and made me bust out the hammer and saw myself. I finally got motivated enough to work on the second skateboard ramp. I need another side... turning around again and again to hit a quarter, takes all the fun out of it! At least while skating in the garage. To mix it up some, I was going to build a bank with a curb, but another quarter was going to work better with the materials I had on hand.

That gave me this... a mirror image of the other side, in mini-form. Could even double as a bit of a launch ramp (albeit a steep one), or even better, jamming it up against a wall for some wall ride action. It's all done, I just need to screw on the sheeting, and then try it out. So far it's rock solid - even though I screwed up and didn't put the second cross member in quite square.

You really have to love the people that are doing everything in their power to help the world. I spotted this Audi All-Road, with a twin turbo charged 2.7 liter V6, that gets a "whopping" 14/21 mpg city/highway, driving approximately 8 blocks from campus to some housing. And yes, that's a "stop global warming" sticker in their back window;

It's almost time to think about Thanks(for-killing-the-Indians)giving... even though Xmas decorations have been out in the stores since October 29th and I spotted my first Xmas lights decorating a house on October 4th. And last night at the grocery store, I spotted pumpkin flavored egg nog! Well... you know I couldn't resist that. And it is damned good - tastes like good pumpkin ice cream! It better be though, it's all I get to eat for the next several days, at a total count of 1440 calories per quart!

And while staring off into space while at the line at the grocery store, my eyes fixed on this. After the Purity Ball, it seems only natural that we're are going to need an Idiots guide to Prayer;

Saturday, November 8, 2008

Like It Or Not...

Like it or not... it's pretty much time for winter. And winter rides. Time to throw on the leg warmers not because you "might as well stay toasty", but instead, "so that you don't curl up in a ball on the side of the road and freeze to death!

I skipped the cross race today, because I believe in a strong separation of church and cycling. Crazy christians... and if you think I'm being mean, then you need to check out the Purity Ball. I think I could complain about that "clan" for days.

After a jaunt to Ned for morning muffins, I figured I'd change my ride plans, since it was "snowy" and the Peak-to-Peak was wet. The evil looking clouds stayed pretty lodged on the divide though, so I decided to roll the dice and stick with my original plan. Not an overly long ride, but some good climbing for the day. It took me 20 minutes to put on all the layers I figured I'd need to stay comfy. The sometimes nice thing with riding this time of year, is that you pretty much have the higher roads all to yourself; I didn't see another cyclist out the entire ride.

When I rolled through Ned, it was definitely cold... and it was only getting windier. I had thought about heading up to Eldora before heading home, but it would have been an ugly, cold headwind the whole way. And it was 40 degrees, but snow was blowing down from the evil storm above.

Brrr... and South Boulder Creek was doing it's best to warn everyone that it's time for it to be cold as well;

Come sunset time, the evil storm was still stuck up on the divide... but I'm not sure it will stay there much longer;

Friday, November 7, 2008

Skate Park

This morning I had to make a stop in Ned, and in addition, had a few minutes to kill until the post office opened. So I figured it would be a good time to check out the construction of the new skate park! Things seem to be coming along quite nicely! Though, I'm not sure if it will get done just in time to fill up with snow, or what. Especially given that with the 27 degree temps and strong, cold wind this morning, it wasn't surprising that the ice was starting to form on the reservoir. I couldn't get a good vantage point for a photo to show off the construction, but there is definitely a lot of curvy concrete poured. And at least I got a picture of the layout from the construction sign;

Ah yes... just to think... I used to have to sneak my skateboard into school with me, or face certain trouble from the authorities. And now... a skateboard park in every town! This all reminds me that I've been meaning to get back to building my bank-ramp for the garage...

Something I forgot to report on from last Sunday's race as well... it was the first race-day testing for the tubeless set-up! It worked out pretty well, considering you didn't hear me complain about having a flat or having a wheel fall off. I was a little anxious about how the wider tires would work in the grass, but they actually rolled quite nice! Fast even! No doubt, helped by the fact that I could run them at a bit lower pressure than my other tires. I was right about 36psi (according to my pump). There were lots of hairpins on the grass, but they hooked up surprisingly well. Worked nicely on the short paved section and everywhere in between. I even cased the rim totally at one point on a root, but it didn't seem to affect anything! I checked for burping after the race, and there was a spot or two on the dusty tire, but I almost think those were from earlier rides. Especially since the tires checked out at pretty much the same pressure after the race. So yeah, I'm pretty happy with that. Now to test them out on a "more traditional" (sadly) Colorado course, with rocks and dirt next time. I'm still a bit bummed that you basically have to treat these at tubbies, in the fact that you can't change your tires at a given moment, for changing conditions. Like tubbies, you would need a whole different set of wheels for muddy vs. dry conditions.

Speaking of cyclocross... it's time for the weekend again. And just in time at that. Not sure what the story is with the racing this weekend... I'm not excited by either of them.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Vote Day

After the Halloween festivities of Friday night, and with gorgeous weather on Saturday, I hit out for a quick little ride to burn the alcohol out of the system. There weren't many bikes out, even with the great weather, so I think others were recovering as well. I took in a few short climbs, perfect little openers for Sundays race, and then I rode up to the Reservoir to catch some of the Elite Men's race. Breaker Baker did a good job of attacking the lead group that contained a ridiculous amount of horsepower until he ran into some issues of his own

I was pretty motivated for Sunday, again since it was a cool looking course that I hadn't gotten to race up till this year, and the weather was looking good too. The course was going to be rough, with a high demand on power, and not much of anywhere to rest. I just chilled at the line-up, since we were supposed to do call-ups, and then line people up based off registration... no worries, I registered nice and early. No worries that is, until it DIDN'T run that way. So instead I started all the way at the back. And with a first 200 meters of paved uphill, it looked bad on the single speed. Ugh.

So nothing to do, but go hard, and pass guys whenever possible. Passing was a bit tricky. I absolutely love nice twisty courses, especially on grass, when you get to carve back and forth, brake hard into the corners, and accelerate just as hard out of them. Though I'm also surprised how many people don't know how to attack those corners... brake early, miss the apex, ride it "square" rather than a nice arc, while you lay down the power... and that makes it frustrating in the early laps too, since of course it means things are bunching up. And even worse... when your on the single speed, it's worlds more important to ride smooth and carry your momentum through turns, or into harder sections where you are going to run out of gear. People: if you're a mid-packer, spend some serious time working on momentum and correctly riding your lines. It's not a slight, just some advice. I guarantee you will make up much more time, than even working on your fitness.

Anyway, back to the race. It was hard. Damned hard. That course was killer on the single speed. Lots of accelerating, several sharp little climbs, and not much room to rest at all. I kept moving up through the field throughout the race, but finally ended up behind a few riders. I really wish I could have gotten around them, and in fact, I usually could; out-riding them in corners and the accelerations, but once up to speed in the straights, it was hard to hold any advantage over my geared counterparts. I finished up in 18th, not too bad considering the advantage I gave up at the start. The legs felt good, and I was so very close to passing out at least 5 times through the race. If you can go hard enough for "the darkness" to start narrowing your vision, it's usually a good day. We hung around for the women's race, and most of the men's race, and as usual, it was incredible to see all the people out for these races. Just made me want every weekend to be like that though.

- Formula 1 Spoiler alert -

Last night though... that's what really took several years off my life. I finally got to sit down and watch Formula 1s last race of the season at Interlagos. Hamilton, in the lead by 7 points, and with Massa looking all but certain to win and score 8 points, meant that Hamilton needed to finish no worse than 5th. To keep things interesting, moments before the start, there was a vicious cloud burst, forcing everyone to quickly move to intermediates... and start on a slippery track! Just adding drama to the first very difficult corner! Sadly, Coultard in the last race of his F1 career, got taken out in the second corner, ending his race, and career in the worst of ways.

The race was ticking along, though looking scary on the slippery track. Hamilton was hanging out right on the edge, in 4th of 5th for most of the race. Then came the news that another band of storms was coming through, scheduled to hit with just 3 or 4 laps left in the race! Ugh! More drama, especially with Vettel pushing hard to pass Hamilton for fourth. Everyone but Glock pitted for intermediates with 3 to go... which put Glock into 4th, Hamilton got passed by Vettel putting him into 6th! Which would mean second for the championship! Massa crossed the line looking like the new World Champion, but behind, Glock's gamble to stay on the dry tires started to fall apart, as his final lap time plummeted. Unbelievably, Hamilton passed Glock in the very LAST corner of the race, to take back 5th place, and the World Championship! Understandably, Massa's joy quickly turned to disbelief;

While Hamilton's disbelief... turned to joy;

Absolutely insane end to the season. And now, I can only like Massa that much more. He drove an incredible last half of the season, and is always gracious and well composed. Even after this defeat, and being understandably crushed.

142 days until the start of the 2009 season...

...which means you have plenty of time to go vote today.