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Daily Archives: February 22, 2013

The Goat Goes Under The Knife…


Take care, Doc.

Take care, Doc.

My ’08 Trek is about to go under the knife for some much needed adjustments in preparation for the ’13 riding season.  I completely wore out the bottom bracket – so much so that the chain rings “warble” when I push too hard on the pedals.  So it’s getting a new chain, a slightly upgraded crank and a new bottom bracket (and possibly new cable if necessary).  I could probably go another year before serious problems develop, and I actually thought about upgrading my mountain bike rather than mess around with fixing this one but I’ve got another item on the agenda that will require that much cash:  My accountant is selling her 2010 Specialized Secteur with 105 components and a compact double crank – and it just so happens that she and my wife are the same height within an inch – in short, that bike will be too perfect to pass up.  While I loved keeping the Cannondale around, it’s the wrong bike for my wife.  With a seven speed cassette and a racing double crank, she doesn’t have enough low-end to ride efficiently when we vacation in the mountains and I’d rather ride with her on vacation and know that she’s safer on a bike with shifters on the brake levers than have a nicer mountain bike.

So the Cannondale will be going up for sale next week and we’ll be picking up the Secteur, hopefully before riding season makes it to Michigan.  The bike I’ll be picking up for my wife is the black on grey model with a full compliment of 105 components and was meticulously maintained.

2011-specialized-secteurI’m getting a little itchy – the season’s almost here!  Woohoo!

Joe Biden: Buy A Shotgun and Shoot It Off of the Balcony To Scare Intruders Off…

Just as I think I can finally stop writing about political s#!t…

Well, joltin’ Joe strikes again.  In an attempt to show his omnipotence when it comes to firearm choices and with how he thinks you should choose a personal protection firearm, that he (as a Democrat) approves of, the Vice President of the United States, advocated for Americans to, if they find themselves in the unenviable position of having their home broken into, to take a double barrel shotgun and shoot it off of the back porch to scare the intruder.

This is a perfect example of how stupid the people are who are trying to shape the political landscape when it comes to my right to keep and bear a firearm according to the Second Amendment of our Constitution.

First, shooting a shotgun out the back door at my house, even though I have two acres, would be stupid and I doubt the neighbors to the rear of my property would be too happy with me firing that shotgun at their home.  Imagine how stupid you’d have to be to do this in the city.  I swear to God, please keep talking Joe.

Oh, by the way, he recommended that his wife, Jill do this if she were in that position.  Unfortunately, not only would firing a shotgun out the back door be unbelievably stupid, it’s also illegal in their home State.  Now stick with me because this even better…  Joltin’ Joe is tipping his hand here by recommending a double barrel shotgun – this is the weapon he thinks you’re allowed to own, nothing more.  He won’t say this, ever, straight up but you can be quite sure that this is the case.  So the crooks break in and Jill takes that double barrel shotgun to the back of the house and fires off a couple of shots just like the VP suggests.  First, because double barrel shotguns are the only legal guns, assuming Democrats get their way, the crooks know that Jill is holding a hunk of steel – it’s an empty gun – it’s USELESS.  So a crook that isn’t as stupid as Joe knows that other than being able to use the gun like a stick, Jill (oops, that’s Dr. Jill) is relatively defenseless.  On top of that, they bought semi-automatic handguns, smuggled in through Mexico (because if they can’t stop drugs, you know they won’t stop guns either), and have Dr. Jill hopelessly outgunned.

It absolutely amazes me how stupid the anti-gun crowd can be – and this example is incredibly stupid.  In two minutes you have:

1 Political Gaffe:  Defined as a Democrat who accidentally tells you what he/she really thinks.

1 Instance of a politician advising the American public to break the law with one of the few firearms he actually thinks is ok to keep legal.

1 Instance of a husband explaining how his wife should run herself out of ammo instantly in the case of a break-in.

1 Instance of the Vice President of the United States recommending that people shoot their shotguns off of the back porch, thereby endangering the general public.

Finally, joltin’ Joe went on to say that you “don’t need and AR-15, they’re harder to aim, and you don’t need 30 rounds to defend yourself”.

Well Joe, an AR-15 for reasons I won’t bother detailing, is easier to aim than a double barrel shotgun and it’s easier to fire (an AR is much shorter than a shotgun and has a pistol grip – a sawed off shotgun with a pistol grip would be as easy to aim as an AR, but those would be illegal too, yes?).  It’s easier to hit someone with a shotgun because the pellets spray a bit.  That said Joe, if Dr. Jill decided to defend herself as you outlined, not only would she wind up in jail, she would need significantly more rounds because you just told her to blow off her only two into the back yard at her neighbors rather than at the crooks breaking into the house.  And Mr. VP, we don’t all live in mansions.  Most of us, if our homes are being broken into, won’t have the time to saunter out to the back balcony to squeeze off a warning shot or two.

Finally, my brother, having carried an M-16 in Iraq and trained with it extensively, has said on more than one occasion that he’d rather his M-16 over a handgun any day of the week – even for home protection.

Well said boss.

The NRA pokes fun at the Vice President’s expense, here, and offers sounder personal protection advice.

Is 16 mph On A Road Bike Good?

I get a lot of search traffic on my blog and the majority of the searches ask different variations of the same question: Is “x” mph on a road bike (or mountain bike) good. These people find my posts because I write a lot about speed, what I believe is “good”, what others believe is “good” and I try to make a generalization about what’s average… The more I enjoy cycling, the more I find the question itself, flawed even if it is valid to a point.

What is good, no matter how fast one can ride, is getting out there and putting in the miles to the best of your ability. If that’s 16 mph and you’re going all out for an hour-long ride every day, eventually you will find yourself in good shape – as long as you’re eating properly and push yourself passed ‘comfortable’. The trick is that you have to judge for yourself if that’s the very best you can do at a given time. If you find yourself holding back, then you’ve got several miles per hour that you can add before you max out (shoot for 20-21 mph, but only once you’re fit and you’ve had a talk with the doctor about your ticker – I went so far as to have mine checked with an ultra-sound just to make sure I was good – technically the doctor recommended it).

That notwithstanding, there is a different way to look at this that doesn’t carry a stigma of “good” or “bad”.

I went through my workouts for last August and came up with a fair value, per mile, of how many calories I burn at speeds ranging from 16 to 21 mph, and for anyone looking to lose weight, these are the important numbers.

Last August I weighed 154-155 pounds – I’m 6′ tall on the nose, so I am slim (not too skinny). This matters because the heavier you are, the higher the rate of calorie burn. If you’re 6′ and weigh 200 pounds, you’ll burn more per mile than I will at the same speeds.

15 mph=49 kcal/mile
16 mph=50″
17 mph=51.5
18 mph=53
19 mph=54
20 mph=56
21 mph=58

My average for last summer, including every ride I went on, was somewhere in the neighborhood of 19 mph. Now consider that I rode an average of 600 miles per month. If I were trying to lose weight (and I wasn’t, I had to seriously learn how to eat to keep my weight up last summer), if I averaged 15 mph over that stretch I’d burn 30,000 calories for the month. On the other hand, I averaged 19 mph so that’s 33,000 calories… Almost an entire pound per month more. So over a seven month riding season, you’re looking at an extra seven pounds gone for riding just four miles per hour faster. There are also a number of other factors – cardiovascular health, endorphin high (yummy), etc. that you gain from riding faster.


If you can’t ride that fast, there is absolutely no sense in beating yourself over the head with it.  We do the best we can, no less, and call it good.  If you get to a spot where you plateau, push harder – and remember, to be fast, train fast… Just not every day.  The best mix I’ve found is two fast days, two midrange days one long steady day and a recovery ride (slow) day.  To cut to the chase, I do the best I can with what I’ve got and let the rest work out in the wash.

Good luck.