Friday, April 25, 2008

I don't necessarily condone what they're doing but you can't dispute the skill.

I'm sure glad I don't have to drive in NYC.

Zen and the Art of Bicycling

(Photo: Roberto Zingales)

I read this another blog the other day:

A Zen master teacher saw five of his students return from the market, riding their bicycles. When they dismounted, the teacher asked the students, “Why are you riding your bicycles?”
The first student replied, “The bicycle is carrying this sack of potatoes, I am glad that I do not have to carry them on my back! The teacher praised the student, saying,”You are a smart boy. When you grow old, you will not walk hunched over as I do.”
The second student replied, “I love to watch the trees and fields pass by as I roll down the path.” The teacher commended the student, “Your eyes are open and you see the world.”
The third student replied, “When I ride my bike I am content to chant, nam myoho renge kyo.” The teacher praised the student, saying, your mind will roll with the ease of a newly trued wheel.”
The fourth student answered, ‘Riding my bicycle, I live in harmony with all beings.” The teacher was pleased and said “You are riding on the golden path of non-harming.”
The fifth student replied, “I ride my bicycle to ride my bicycle”
The teacher went and sat at the feet of the fifth student and said,
“I am your disciple”

Blah, blah, blah! What a bunch of hooey. You want Zen?


Throwin' back a Founders, fresh from the keg, in the middle of a race, now that's Zen.

Anyway, Andrea and I rode Bennett Park again last night.

I might be getting this Zen thing cause my average speed was up almost 1mph while I felt like I was using less energy. Though, at one point near the end, Karma trumped my Zen and I got up close and personal with the ground. It's been awhile since I crashed, I should have some nice forearm bruising in a few days. It's all good though, chicks dig scars. Andrea seemed to have a good ride, she brought along her mp3 player and rocked (I wish there was a way to add ed to country because that's what she was actually listening to) out. I'm thinking about trying that. I could play some of those chanting monks, that will surely get my Zen on and if I pay for it Karma should treat me right. Or, more likely, I'll rent some Motley Crue, Quiet Riot and a bunch of other cheesy 80's testosterone rock from Rhapsody and see if I can't make my heart explode.

Only 12 days until I get a chance to ponder Zen, Karma, polydactyl cats and feral chickens in Paradise.


ohmmmm, ohmmmm, ohmmmmm

Thursday, April 24, 2008

I was looking over the Feeling Right blog and came across this nifty chart detailing some of the health benefits of certain fruits and vegetables. Looks like I need to stock up on some apples with their magical lung capacity increasing properties.

Moving On

With the first race out of the way it's time to get down to business. And the business for Tuesday was recovery. We had a nice recovery ride at Bennett park after work. It was nice to go out and take it easy. I think with the in race saddle adjustments my saddle was moved from its prime position and stressed my knees. They weren't real happy on Monday and Tuesday but their getting better everyday. When I say I get a little dizzy riding at Bennett I think it's easy to see why when looking at the GPS info from Tuesday's ride.

Last night the recovery continued. We took the dogs to the dog park and let them wear each other out. It's amazing how much better they act off the leash.

Tonight we're going back out to Bennett after work. If the weather holds out we're going to pre-ride Fort Custer, the site of our next race, Saturday. And Sunday I'm going to run in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure. It's been 15 years since I ran my one and only 5K. 15 years must be the statue of limitations on the memory of the misery I had during the first. I hate running, I get horrible shin splints and it seems so unproductive when riding a bicycle is so much faster. But it's one of the only true ways I can gauge my fitness. I can't use times on the bike because as my fitness gets better so does my skill. So if I do two 5k's, one early and one late, with no running in between I should have a fairly accurate picture of the gains I've made over the season.

Two weeks from today you'll find me back at Capt Tony's. I can't wait.


Monday, April 21, 2008

The Agony of Defeat


The first race of the season is over and I finished but it was a struggle. The old race bike, which is better suited for Yankee Springs, has had an issue with the brakes dragging for awhile. But it's been tolerable, at least it was until just recently. It's something I could fix, if I had the right tools and some brake fluid. Anyway, I decided to suffer through the brake drag on Sunday so I could have fun Saturday instead of prepping the new race bike to run it. It ended up being the least of my concerns when the hammer dropped.

After a screw-up with the starting order, I found out my start time wasn't what I was told. I had to do a little scrambling to find my spot in line but I was OK. I was settling in for a tough but enjoyable ride. When the starter told me to go, I went. About 10 feet out of the start I hit the first little bump and my saddle came loose. I figured I'd ride it a little way to see if it would bother me. It did. There were a lot of spectators along the route because we hadn't reached the woods. So I kept riding until I could duck into the woods and out of sight. Luckily a half-hour before, when I was at the car getting ready, I made a split decision to throw my tools into my Camelbak. I've never had any mechanical issues on the trail so I rarely carried them, I was glad I did. So, I ducked into the woods, through my pack off and grabbed the tool. I quickly cranked it down, I am racing. When I jumped back on the bike I discovered in my haste I tightened the saddle down with the nose pointing up. Not wanting to risk the possible damage to my baby makin' parts, I jumped off, through the pack down and grabbed the tool, again. I'm still racing, right, so I loosened the binder, beat the nose down and tightened it back up. By this time about 30 people had passed and I knew I was pretty far off my planned pace. When I jumped back on the bike, I couldn't sit on the seat, I had pounded the nose down too far. So, I repeated the earlier process, only this time I took the time (as riders kept whizzing by) and made sure I got it right. Now I'm ready to give up, it wasn't going to be my day. I got back on and the saddle was perfect and held the rest of the day. Unfortunately, at the last stop I must have hit a branch that unlocked the quick-release on my front wheel. While riding down a hill shortly after the repair my front wheel was wobbling all over the place. At least that was an easy fix, I made it and got on with the rest of the race.

At this point, over a half-hour into the race and only a mile into it I was physiologically out of it. I didn't have to make anymore repairs to the bike but I sure could have used a fix for my head. It took another 3 miles to get into a groove, but it was a nice groove. At that point I was pretty sure the only people I was going to beat are the ones that weren't going to finish so I relaxed and had a good time. The race course was run in the opposite direction of the way the trail is normally ridden which turned out to be a lot more fun. With the awesome weather we had, it turned out to be a good day. Andrea turned in a nice time, 5 minutes off of mine.


The Wings advanced to the second round, as I get ready for the second race.

Only two weeks and two days until Key West, I'm ready for that.


Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Bennett Park

Andrea and I hit Bennett Park after work tonight. It's nice having a trail so close, it'll be heaven when we get Anderson Park done, options are nice. For being as wet as it is out there the trail was amazingly dry. It was our first time on this new trail. It's quite twisty, especially the Hard Woods section, it reminded me a lot of Randy's Maze at Burchfield Park. There was quite a bit of small up and downs with a lot of flow. When the trail gets ridden-in and I ride it enough to gain some local knowledge this trail will be a blast. Thanks to all the guys that put in the hard work to get this done.

Just a short one tonight, the Wings are fixin' to get it on.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Bad News for Don

Don picked this little lass up in Key West last year while she was mixing herself a cocktail from the drinks others discarded in various garbage cans along Duval St.


Unfortunately, she was recently picked-up by one of Key West's finest for trespassing. It's unknown whether she will be released from the Monroe County Sheriff's Office Stock Island Detention Center prior to his return next month to paradise.

(Courtesy of Monroe County Sheriff)

Been Awhile

Haven't updated in awhile, haven't done much in awhile. Last Saturday, the 5th, Andrea and I got out to Burchfield to do a couple hours of trail work. A ton of people showed-up and it turned out to be quite productive. We cleared all the trails that were above water.

We finished so quickly we had time to sneak out to Rose Lake for a "ride" the first of the season. There's not enough GPS in the world for me to keep from being lost on that trail system. I can't explain it, I have a good trail memory and a keen sense of direction but that place just confuses me. It's probably the 4th most trail I've ridden. Anyway, it was nice to finally be on a trail. Bonus we saw Frank and Billy out there.

The next day was absolutely beautiful. Andrea and I met Jake at Yankee Springs for the first real ride of the season. There's nothing like Yankee Springs to make all those winter trainer hours seem like all you did was munch Doritos in the lazy chair in front of the big screen. We've got a race there this Sunday and it aint gonna be pretty. A few years ago I raced Yankee as my first ride of the season, with limited winter training and smoked my time from this past Sunday. Hopefully raceday adrenaline will get me through a bit faster and make me feel like less of a failure.

Since then it's been pretty low-key. Andrea had her last pre-wedding shower (pictures: Lansing, Jackson) this past Sunday. We've been keeping up with the Wings Stanley Cup run. I was able to fit in a card game Friday and a night out with the guys Saturday. Now it's time to buckle-down, get a few rides in before the first race and drop a few pounds before Key West.