This winter is proving a lot harder than last to get my miles in on my trainer. Most is mental or work related, the rest is the weather that hasn’t been near as bad as last year (our worst winter in recorded history). Last year at this time there was already close to a foot of snow on the ground, this year nothing. It’s even been average temperature-wise which means “rideable” in.
On the down side, we were getting rain or mist on a regular basis. I can handle wet and I can handle cold but I don’t do both at the same time. In fact, several times the weather would be great all day and then we’d get freezing mist for the drive home. I’d sit there all day at the office, skip the trainer for an afternoon ride outdoors only to drive home in freezing mist or drizzle.
On the up side, while temps have been average, we haven’t gotten much snow and the wet weather has abated somewhat (today and tomorrow we’re getting rain but we’ll have several great cycling days thereafter). I’ve been riding outdoors much more than I could last year. Even with all of the Christmas preparations, I managed two days in a row Sunday and yesterday.
Now, back to the trainer… I’m feeling like the trainer is finding a place in my heart next to the treadmill. I was more than happy over the last couple of years to put in 45 minutes or an hour a day on the trainer as long as I had a movie going. This year I’m struggling mentally with anything more than a half hour. The truth is, I just have to muscle up and get my time in on those days where I’d rather opt out of riding outside because the true nature of riding well depends on one simple truth: It’s easier to keep the train rolling than it is to start it back up.
One of my sponsees, a couple of weeks ago, gave me four tickets to the Holiday Pops, performed by the Flint Symphony Orchestra.
I know, right?
When I was a younger lad, I’d get all duded up and take my wife to a show because I knew she appreciated it. Even though I’d gone quite far and become quite good on the alto saxophone in high school I still had a tough time appreciating just how cool the show was – I slept through most of them.
Now that I’m a little more seasoned, my attitude has changed. I was very much looking forward to hob-knobbing with the social upper crust, to getting all decked out, and taking my wife and daughters to the show. I’d hoped my daughter, who plays the trumpet and is more mature at 11 than I was at 20, would appreciate it. She did but fell asleep after the intermission (heh, she did better than I did at 30). The show, save one little problem, was absolutely amazing…
What shocked me was the utter lack of etiquette amongst the adults there, many over 40 years-old. Amazingly there were two sets of conversations going on while the symphony was playing. Worse, the event was televised live and through the commercial breaks it was relatively quiet. Let’s just leave it at “I was fit to be tied”. I’d been growing angrier as the show went on to a point I finally had enough… I heard a lady gabbing loudly more than ten seats to my right and toward the back of the auditorium (we had 2nd tier, side balcony seats). I turned to my right and gave her my best, “Shut up, you silly bitch” look and kept staring at her till she shut her yap. To my surprise, once she saw me, and then noticed that I didn’t turn away, she must have realized how loud she was really being because she clammed right up (she was well over 30 feet from where I was sitting).
Then there was the couple directly behind us, a couple of oafs… Jeans and a leather jacket for him (it was a peach of a look, I cleaned up better than that in my twenties without trying – my mother would have kicked my butt… The wife at least gave her attire an effort). They would whisper back and forth every once in a while but would shut it after I flashed them my best, “they don’t explain how these things work, with the talking, in the barn, do they”, look.
I thought we were good – until they came back from intermission… With a bag of M&M’s. For the love of God and all that is Holy. They tore into that bag of M&M’s like they were fresh back from being shipwrecked and rather than stop for a steak dinner first, they bought a bag of M&M’s and went to see the symphony instead…and on separate islands too because they started up with the yapping again! I kept flashing them “the look” but it became ineffective to a point that my wife and I started laughing (no sound of course).
Up until that very moment I was mad, contemplating punching the guy in the face. It was precisely at that moment, when my wife and I were laughing, that I realized this was Christmas and I was not about to go that route, especially in front of my daughters. Exactly four milliseconds later the answer struck me… I put a smile on my face, turned around, folded my arms on the back of the seat and listened in. They both looked at me as if to say, “Wha”? And went back to their conversation. I didn’t move. I kept the same smile on my face, and just kept listening to their conversation. That’s when they finally got it. I didn’t hear a peep out of them for the rest of the night.
When did this happen? People, at least once upon a time, understood that they weren’t the center of everyone else’s universe, especially at a show like that! Of course, this must be said, on the plus side I didn’t hear one cell phone ring the entire performance. I guess it’s not all bad.
To my civilian friends: I’m sorry.
I’m sorry you have to worry about my brother & sister law enforcement officers and me.
I’m sorry the murder of two more of this nation’s finest has you scared and fearful for the future.
I’m sorry that your friends, family, or spouse has to return to duty without the national support for the singular profession authorized to protect & serve you.
I’m sorry that others whose agendas benefit from the desecration of the American symbol of order and civility have voices resonating louder than yours.
I’m not sorry that despite the fact one of us will die every 58 hours, the other 800,000 of us will never fail to report for duty.
I’m not sorry that despite celebrities and athletes dishonoring the profession standing ready to protect, we will be there every time they call.
I’m not sorry that despite a minuscule percentage…
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I woke up at 6:30 this morning, refreshed and happy to have gotten to sleep in for once, I’m usually up at 4:30. It’s cold out but the roads are clear and the forecast is dry, cold and cloudy with nothing more than a decent breeze (5-10 mph-ish). Mike called me yesterday afternoon and we’re set to head out at 10. Temps will be below freezing but only by six or seven degrees (F, so call it minus 3-4 C).
I don’t know anyone who looks at cycling in freezing weather with the same affinity as a sunny and room temperature day. On the other hand, with no snow, and therefore no salt on the roads, it’s going to be a Venge day. My “A” bike is, without a doubt, the only material possession I own that I truly love having – God forgive me.
At 8 am I’m starting to get ready. I lay out my jacket, my shorts, compression shorts, wool socks, base layer, jersey, neck warmer, hat, two layers of gloves, foot covers, clear glasses (the good ones with the gaskets so they don’t fog up), shoes, etc. etc.. I eat some Mom’s Best Blueberry wheat squares with whole milk (don’t even go there with that Godforsaken skim water-milk, your comment will fall on deaf ears). At 9 I’m thinking of calling in dead or something… Man it’s cold outside.
It’s 9:15 and I’m layering up. It takes like ten minutes to put on enough clothes to be some form of comfortable. I load everything into my car. Funny thing about 26 degrees, it doesn’t feel so bad standing there but at 20+ mph on a bike, it’s freaking cold. I know the suck is coming.
It’s 9:35 and I’m in the car. Fire it up and give it 30 seconds to warm up and I’m off… 12 minutes later and I’m in the parking lot. Thankfully it’s only me, Mike and Phil so we’ll be happy with an 18 mile an hour average instead of a full-on 20+. Brad pulls in a few minutes later. Even better.
Tires pumped, all of my crap on and we’re rolling. We rode well, keeping it just under 18 average and had a great time. Sure it was cold and plenty sucky but it sure beats an hour on the trainer. We ended up with 38 miles in just over two hours and I finished with a smile on my face. Having four buds to share the pain with is the best.
There’s no denying the trainer is better than sitting on the couch but taking advantage of every opportunity to get winter road miles in matters come spring time. Interestingly, and this was a bit of a surprise, my cutoff for riding outdoors has dropped every year. My first year it was 50. Last year was 40 (F of course)… This year? 23 and I lower is definitely doable – and with no newer clothes than what I had last year. Go figure.
Now that I’m finally starting to warm back up, it’s nap time. Man, that cold sure takes a lot out of you.
The U.S. government has issued an alert for U.S. Citizens to be extra vigilant because of the Muslim extremist attack in Sydney:
“The lone wolf attack in Sydney, Australia on December 15, 2014, resulting in the deaths of two hostages, is a reminder that U.S. citizens should be extra cautious, maintain a very high level of vigilance, and take appropriate steps to enhance their personal security,”…
Here’s the image that accompanies the story:
Go through life happy, joyous and free but if trouble knocks on your door, light it up like a Christmas tree.
As a small aside, for the nitwits, I live in the US where self-preservation is still legal. While I can freely carry a concealed pistol (licensed of course) in most of this country, I also know that self-protection is illegal in most of the rest. Know the law, follow the law and above all, treat your right with respect and honor. Don’t be an idiot.
I have a disdain for few things in life. As I’ve written before, when you were as close to the gutter as I was, it’s easy to see much of the world through rose colored glasses, especially when you live in a great country where second chances abound and hard work is rewarded.
To put this in cycling perspective, you know those jerks in the big diesel trucks who mat it as they pass you to cover you in exhaust? Yeah, that makes me laugh, seriously, and I waive as they pass. I figure, “what the hell, if you have to be that big a jerk to someone you don’t even know, if you’re that angry, it’s actually quite sad”. I figure they need a nice smile and a hearty waive (with all five fingers extended, not just one).
That said, one thing that does drive me up a wall is pretentiousness for the sake of being pretentious. It just rubs me the wrong way. Take this mission statement:
Empathy, for a CHAIR? Folks, if you need to feel empathy for a chair, there’s way too much feeling happening in that melon of yours. Put a little less nobly, it’s a chair that you can’t really sit in without falling down so you can feel the chair’s pain. Those last two words are the most important part of that sentence…
Put realistically, it’s a chair you can sit in but can never really take a load off of your legs in. Put simply, it’s a chair you can never relax in.
This, folks, is pretentiousness for the sake of being pretentious. It usually just makes me laugh, like the diesel truck pissy guy, but every once in a while, yeah. Not so much. Maybe I just need to develop a process by which my cerebral function expands until such a time as I’ve achieved the ability to feel a chair’s pain.
What a waste of time and energy. Hey, maybe that’s why Jesus poop art needs federal funding. We can’t have that artist starve now, can we? He (or she) is simply helping some pretentious boob feel empathy for the poop.
Sorry for the political rant, normally I try to stay away from that on my blog. Politics are great fun but these posts generally tend to piss off about 30-40% of the population. This one will be fun though…
Bob Beckel is, next to my wife, one of my favorite Liberals. He just seems like a really good guy, until it comes to politics where, during the Obamacare debate, he would be dishonest enough to know President Obama was lying about being able to keep your healthcare plan and doctor if you liked them (period), but call you a liar for pointing out that according to the language in the Bill, you would lose your coverage if it didn’t meet Obamacare’s guidelines and that any doctor remotely close to retirement age would throw in the towel and retire rather than continue on under Obamacare (I lost two this way). He claims, on a nightly basis, to be afraid of you winning the Republican nomination for president.
You get that Jeb? Liberals are liars. They can lie just as easily as they draw breath. These people will tell an ignorant person, with a straight face, that Republicans are the reason Obamacare sucks so bad or that restrictive anti-self-defense gun laws reduce crime… You’d have to be stupid or a liar to buy that (stupid because it’s not true, Republicans weren’t even allowed in the room or a liar, because you know this but blaming horrible legislation on Republicans is an easy means to an end).
Okay, now pay attention Jeb.
If you listen to Liberal commentators breathlessly describe how afraid they are that you might run, you’re falling for the lie of the century, well technically the lie of this month but allow me the flourish. Liberals are praying, every day, that you win the primary. They know for a fact, Jeb, a fact, that they would kick your ass in an election. Hillary could beat you, it’s that bad. Your family name, where it doesn’t inspire ignorant hatred, has been trashed by decades of being run through the mud. Fairly or unfairly, that’s the way it is.
Add to that fact you’re even squishier than your brother and I, a fairly safe vote, would have to hold my nose to vote for you (even you, I have no doubt, would be better than four more years of this bullshit – and make no mistake, Mrs. Clinton would mean four more years).
Rather than go on about this Jeb, I’ll make this real simple: The media want you because you can be beaten. Not a little beaten, they’ll mop the floor with you and laugh about it the next day. Your dad had the thousand points of light, your brother already did compassionate conservatism (and let’s face it, how’d that go for him?). What do you have? Really compassionate conservatism? Right, that’s going to play well.
Look Jeb, here’s the deal. The media plays all nicey-nice with whomever they want to win… McCain, Romney? The media carried water for both of them. Remember? Right up until, in McCain’s case, the Democrats picked their nominee. In Romney’s case, they waited exactly 43 seconds after the ink was dry on his nomination. My friend, they ran a story that Romney once took a trip with a dog in a carrier on the roof and that was news for like two weeks. They ran stories, repeating lies, stating that Romney skipped out on his taxes. Romney is possibly the cleanest guy to ever run for President, for either party (except Washington of course, maybe Lincoln) and they slammed him non-stop till the election. How about McCain? Oh, they were all buddy, buddy at first but as soon as the Dems got around to picking President Obama as their nominee, how’d that go for McCain? Note that I used his name and title? President Obama? See, for him, you establishment guys will claim that Sarah Palin dragged him down but she didn’t. She energized McCain’s campaign for Republicans. Sure she wasn’t ready for prime time but, obviously, their candidate wasn’t ready either. Not even all “57 States” later. They ran her down, all war-on-women style. Point is, all of this good press you’re getting now will not last. You’re being propped up only because you’re easy to knock down. Mark my words.
The Democrats aren’t afraid of you. They’re lying. They just hope you (and the voting public) are gullible enough to miss it.
By the way, if you can’t already see this, how good a President will you be?
A lot of people have asked why I run, and find it hard to accept my response: because I can. It demonstrates that a good answer requires context such that it can be understood. I was approached by our internal comms team for me to write my story, which later appeared for a whopping 3 whole days on the front page of the global intranet. My claim to fame was dramatic, responses unexpected and generally the feedback was incredibly supportive.
Here it is, in all its glory.
From a broken back to Ironman – my journey
In November 2009 I was involved in a rock climbing accident while training to become a Search and
Rescue volunteer. I fell some 5 metres, sustaining spinal injuries to my coccyx and some of my lumbar
vertebrae. I spent a week in the Auckland City Hospital emergency department before diagnosis could
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My wife has a specific winter coat in mind for me… In fact, she’s imagined me for years gallivanting about, in all of my awesomeness, wind blowing through my hair (though I would guess when she’s imagining this, she’s not seeing today’s receding hairline but the full mane of yesteryear), in a wool peacoat. Well, this is to be the year that my wife has chosen for me to receive said peacoat at Christmas. After which, she’ll be able to see me exit the car after pulling into the driveway after a long winter’s day at the office and quote Pam from Archer (“Sploosh”!). Ah, I can hardly wait indeed!
Unfortunately, as you may well know, I am a cyclist. Not any-old run of the mill cyclist who rides down to the ice cream shop and back at a measly twelve miles an hour… No, not I! I am one of those hair on fire guys who all of the kids on their mountain and BMX bikes try to chase as I fly by… It’s almost as if I were firing rocket-propelled rainbows out my ass. Nor do I opine as to how difficult it is to hit 25 miles a week on my bike. No, I’m the guy who does that in an hour, on a Tuesday afternoon. I’m pushing 200 miles a week on top of my full-time job.
This means, as one might guess, that I’m not a fat fellow. Not even a little bit, though I’ve finally learned how to keep a little meat on my bones after that second year. Ah, it is good to be me…
Except when I go shopping for street clothes. Skin-tight Lycra? No problem. Street clothes cut for someone who doesn’t lead his life from the couch? F@ckin’ forget about it. Joy of joys, I went shopping with my wife an kids last night so we could get me set up with the proper coat and it was maybe five or six coats in before I was able to find one that was properly fitted around the waist. For the love of God and all that is holy, do you have any idea how hard it is to find clothing for a 6′ tall man with a 32″ waist? Good God in Heaven!
So, long story short, we finally found one that doesn’t make me look like a skin-flint – made by Nautica… Rejoice! For we have found the almighty jacket! I can hear the “splooshes” already! I look at the price tag… $250. Two Hundred-Fifty Dollars! The others, made for the rotund class, were between $100 and $150. Well, thankfully I looked up at the rack and they were on sale, half-off.
All’s well that ends well I suppose, but keep this in mind, if you’re thinking everything is sunshine and parades once you lose weight, you’re sorely mistaken.
On the other hand, everyone should be lucky enough to have my problems.