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Monthly Archives: January 2017

Don’t Quit Five Minutes Before the Miracle Happens….

My daughter has been diving for approximately ten minutes longer than she’s been in love with diving.  This is just her second season, and while she’s got a long way to go and a lot to learn, she puts her time in and gives it everything she’s got.  

Last night was a breakout performance for her and I was thankfully there to catch it.

Too cool.

BTW:  That photo was not doctored in any way, shape or form.  Luckiest photo I’ve ever taken.  

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A 60+ Mile Weekend in the Dead of Winter – What a Difference Five Years Makes

It was cold when I woke up Friday morning, below freezing but the actual temp was reasonable for a January morning.  It was the wind chill that sucked.  It didn’t matter though, even snow is better than the trainer and it wasn’t snowing.  My buddy, Mike called at 8 and I started getting ready at 8:30.  Ridin’, baby.

Friday morning’s ride was anything but impressive.  It was a little muddy on the back roads as the mud hadn’t quite frozen up yet, and navigating the ludicrous number of potholes slowed things down considerably.  Still, we did get fifteen miles in before deciding it was just too cold to bother adding miles.  We took our toys and went home.  17 and change total.

Saturday was better.  It was a couple of degrees warmer but still quite windy (15 mph with gusts up to 20).  We did the same route, which was mainly north/south to get away from eleven miles of straight headwind.  It would have been cool, of course, having a tailwind for eleven miles but my wife lobbied hard for the easier route.  Unlike Friday, we had a good group.  Mrs. Bgddy, Chuck, Phill and Brad joined Mike and I.  Also, we decided to add on a few miles as well.  We ended up with just over 22 miles – decent for the mountain bikes in the middle of January.

Sunday was really cold.  23 F (-5 C) but the wind chill took it down to the coldest I’d ever ridden, 18 F (-8 C).  If that wasn’t enough, we’d gotten a light dusting of snow so riding was ugly and slow.  We got it done though.  Mrs. Bgddy, Phill, Big Chuck, Matt and I cranked out 22-1/2 miles nonetheless.

So that wraps up the 60+ mile weekend in the middle of January.  More than five years, 1,500 bike rides, and 1,900,000 burned calories after I bought my first bicycle, to look back is almost comical in comparison, then vs now….

Back when I started cycling I can remember 100 miles being a big week.  Heck, my first ride was only four miles at about 15 mph and I was smoked.  I can remember thinking, specifically, that 108 was just about unsustainable.  Today 100 miles a week, even during the winter and combined with trainer miles of course, is easy.  Through the summer, 200 miles a week is the norm with some weeks topping 250 and my average weekly pace is upwards of 19 or 20 mph.

What can be done with five years and 35,000 miles on a bicycle!

Almost Everything you need to know about Liberal Economists, in One Post.

Shortly after Donald Trump won the election, the market tanked by about half a thousand points.  Liberal, Nobel Prize winning economist Paul Krugman took the the editorial section of the New York Times to postulate that the market would likely never recover (if you’re hit by a paywall on the link, simply Google “Paul Krugman, economy won’t recover trump”).

Two weeks later the market was back in positive territory.  Two months later a bear market is being described as a bull market by some economists (i.e. doubtfully Mr. Krugman) and we’re in new record territory.

In fact, it was reported that vaunted liberal weenie, George Soros bet on that very notion laid down by Krugman, that the US wouldn’t recover, and lost a Billion Dollars when the market roared back less than a week later.

To call liberal Economists clueless or stupid would be too easy.  From Paul Krugman to John Maynard Keynes, there’s quite a bit of smart in there.  Somewhere.  The real problem appears to be that they’re blinded by their ideological leftism.  Their politics literally make them blind to reality.

This goes all the way back to “Trickle down economics” in the 1980’s.  Liberals, who have been fed a steady diet of lies for decades, believe it “didn’t work”.  In reality though, after a horrible stretch in the late 70’s where the American worker was absolutely hammered by bad, liberal policy, under “trickle down economics” the US workforce added 20,000,000 jobs.  President Obama netted a quarter that.  In every measure, Reagan’s policies smashed those of President Obama…  Except one:  Average Unemployment Rate.  President Obama actually beats Reagan when it comes to the unemployment rate, an average of 7.44 to 7.51 – and more than likely, your average leftie will be spouting, not the actual numbers because they’re not all that impressive, but that Obama had a lower unemployment rate that Reagan did and it’s going to be framed as a good thing.  Let’s go to Forbes for the “rest of the story” that libs always miss because their media outlets rely on their ideological ignorance:

It’s misleading to compare employment rates during the two presidencies. Imagine 90 out of 100 people are employed, and because the economy looks like it’s picking up more steam 10 more people enter the workforce. If nine out of ten of them find jobs, the unemployment rate doesn’t go down at all, yet ten percent more people are employed.

Reagan’s economy was so strong that, for the last three-quarters of his administration, Americans were flooding  into the workforce. Under Obama, the opposite has happened, and those who have given up on working aren’t counted as unemployed. Even today, more than five years into the tepid recovery, labor-force participation remains at its lowest level since 1978. Don’t blame waves of retirement for that fact: the Census Bureau reported that, from 2005 to 2010, older Americans actually became more likely to be employed. The percentage of 65-69 year-olds remaining in the workforce jumped from 26 percent to 32 percent over a ten-year-period ending in 2012. Among those 70-74 the jump was even more startling: from 14 percent to 19.5 percent. Meanwhile workers in the prime of their lives have simply left the playing field.

How about overall growth? GDP under Reagan was turbocharged compared to the Obama years. The Reagan years brought annual real GDP growth of 3.5 percent — 4.9 percent after the recession. In inflation-adjusted 2009 dollars, GDP jumped from 6.5 trillion at the end of 1980 to 8.61 trillion at the end of 1988. That’s a 32 percent bump. As Peter Ferrara pointed out on Forbes, it was the equivalent of adding the West German economy to the U.S. one.

Under Obama, GDP up to June 30, 2014 has grown an anemic 9.6 percent, total . Reagan-era growth was far more than double the Obama rate.

And here’s the mic drop:

Ah, but did all of that Reagan bounty trickle down to ordinary Americans, though? Yes. Real (inflation-adjusted) median household income shot up some ten percent in the Reagan years. It has flatlined under Obama.

Now, how does all of this apply to the Trump Administration?  You’re about to find out exactly how much our Federal government has been standing on the neck of the economy and the left-wing is scared as hell.  In the near future, President Trump, with the help of Congress, is going to begin unraveling rules and regulations and he’s likely going to be able to go back more than 20 years.  You will hear that this is illegal, you’ll hear that Trump isn’t respecting the rule of Law, and you’ll hear a panicked shriek from coast to coast that it’s Constitutional Armageddon.  It will, all of it, be lies.  Call it fake news.  In reality, the entire unraveling of those rules and regulations will be possible because those bureaucracies ignored the Laws that allow them to make rules in the first place.  Here’s the beautiful gist:

The accepted wisdom in Washington is that the CRA [Ed. Congressional Review Act of 1996] can be used only against new regulations, those finalized in the past 60 legislative days. That gets Republicans back to June, teeing up 180 rules or so for override. Included are biggies like the Interior Department’s “streams” rule, the Labor Department’s overtime-pay rule, and the Environmental Protection Agency’s methane rule.

But what Mr. Gaziano told Republicans on Wednesday was that the CRA grants them far greater powers, including the extraordinary ability to overrule regulations even back to the start of the Obama administration. The CRA also would allow the GOP to dismantle these regulations quickly, and to ensure those rules can’t come back, even under a future Democratic president. No kidding.

There’s much more, including actual real sections of the real Law cited at the Power Line link above which brings the whole story together from multiple sources and I encourage you to read the post, it’s not all that long or complex.

We’re not done yet though.  The best part is that once those rules and regulations are rescinded, according to Law the regulations can’t be reinstated by another President later down the line without Congress passing a Law to allow it.

I say think big:  Think the EPA’s rule making CO2 a pollutant.

As the immortal Ricky Bobby said in Talladega Nights, “Hang on baby Jesus, this is gonna get bumpy.”

Somebody pass the popcorn… and the blue raspberry slushie.

UPDATE:  If you take a moment to peruse the comments section, you’ll see one comment that sticks out and proves my initial point.  Um, uneloquently.  I’ll be printing my post and that comment and framing them to hang on my office wall.

Some Thoughts on the Big Five-O. I’m Ready. Maybe.

I hit 30 and as expected, I started to slow down.  I wasn’t 20 anymore.

I hit 35 and I’d been off the couch for a couple of years.  I was in better shape than I’d been at any point in my 20’s.

I hit 40 and I’d been off the couch for six years.  I was in better shape than at any time in my 20’s or 30’s – by a lo0000000ooong shot.  I could easily hold an 8 minute mile pace running for ten miles.

Almost two years ago now, I hit 45.  I’d given up running a few years before and I was big into cycling.  I wasn’t only in the best shape of my life, I actually felt like it.  I didn’t have any major aches or pains to speak of.  My resting heart rate was in the low 40’s and I felt fantastic.

The other day the fact that I’m closing on 50 hit me in the funny bone.  50!?!  Really?

I started thinking back to my 20’s when 40 seemed like it was so far away, or my 30’s when today seemed like a lifetime away.  Doing the math, if I can double my current age and make it to 94, my Thirteen year-old daughter will be 60.

On one hand, man does it seem to be going fast.  On the other, I’m really having a good time of it.  While life isn’t perfect and I go through the occasional tough time or struggle, I quit drinking when I was just 22 years-old and managed to stick with it.  I did one of the hardest things I’ll ever have to do in life as a kid.  After that, it’s no hill for a climber for most of life’s common trouble.  Not only that, I have the benefit of being able to use the same principles used to recover on anything that even feels like trouble in life.  Truthfully, it’s like going through life with a cheat sheet.  The only rub is living a life of humility, honesty and decency isn’t always easy either.  Let’s face it, we’re not exactly raised to think like that anymore.

That notwithstanding, lets get back to the point.  I’m not as worried about 50 as I used to be.  What I thought 50 would be when I was 20 and what it will be if I continue along this path are two very different things.  Not only due to recovery, but because of my fitness as well.  When my dad hit 50, he was well on his way to slowing down.  He couldn’t run as well anymore and he was pretty much limited to playing golf.  This is what I imagined 50 to be.  Worse, most of the people I’ve known, slow down as they hit their late 40’s and it’s downhill from there.  The difference in my case is I’m still getting faster.

Obviously, I can’t tell the future.  Still, from this perspective I’ve got a lot to look forward to, and that’s a good place to be in these last few years before the Big Five-O.

The Only Time a 30 Minute Spin on the Trainer is Okay….

Work has been fast and furious lately.  I had an emergency pop up that I had to attend to immediately so my guys could remain productive.  I dropped everything and ran to the print shop.  The first, a Staples, said they could get my measly seven pages done by 3 pm.  It was 9 am.  I laughed, said no thanks, and walked out the door.

I found a local FedEx print and ship shop and had my drawings printed fifteen minutes later, on the exact same machine they had at Staples.

I hopped back to the office pick up payroll then assessed my situation… Earlier I’d cleared up a bid I had due the next day but I had to be to a progress meeting at a monster job I’ve got going about 25 minutes from my office.  I couldn’t fit my 45 minute spin in and make the meeting in time to walk the job with my superintendent before the meeting.
It had been exactly one week since I’d taken a day off, so I figured this would be mine.  I packed up my stuff and rolled.  I made it in plenty of time, got everything squared away and rocked the meeting.

I got back to my office at 2:28 and had to leave at 3:20 to meet my daughter getting off the bus (Mrs. Bgddy was at the eldest daughter’s swim meet)…  instead of plunking away on my computer to pass time, I quickly donned my kit and climbed on the bike (it’s on a trainer in my office) at exactly 2:30.

I cranked out a half-hour at hyper-speed and was drenched by the time I was done.  I finished up my daily push-ups (I had 35 to go), cleaned up, packed up and ran out the door.

On one hand, I hate 30 minute workouts, even if they are extra-tough.  On the other hand, it’s better than taking a day off.

These are the only days that I can be happy with 30 minutes of exercise.  Oh, and the push-ups (press-ups for my brothers and sisters across the pond) don’t count.  I only do those so I can pull harder on my handlebars when I launch a sprint…

I know me.  I am honest about who I am.  I know half measures will lead to polishing the couch with my ass.  If you’ve ever wondered why I do what I do, these last two paragraphs sum it up pretty good.

Half-measures avail me nothing.  A good rule to live by…

A Rain Bike for Every Season…

I’ve been putting in a lot of trainer miles lately and it was already getting old.  We had a warm snap up here in Michigan but it was wet and foggy too.

Rain, fog and too much to do kept us indoors on Friday but by Saturday I’d had enough.  My buddy Mike showed up a 9 as the fog was all but cleared up and we headed out for a nice ride with a minimum of layers.  Shorts, tights, a tech base layer and a long sleeve thermal jersey and I was perfectly, comfortably cool.

My rain bikes

For whatever reason, Mike likes mountain bikes in the winter so rather than take my Rockhopper out I opted for the 3700 because it was so wet.

A little more than an hour and a half after we headed down the road I pulled into the driveway with 24 glorious (if dirty and wet) miles in and I was bummed to be home.

Contrast that with Sunday.  Heavy fog meant it was far too dangerous to play outside and 35 minutes into my ride on the trainer I was watching the clock.

The trainer has done me a lot of good this off season, I can feel it, and for that I am thankful but damn it’s soul-crushingly boring next to riding outside.  An hour-and-a-half feels like twenty minutes outside but half that time feels like triple on a trainer.  Call it my Winter Cycling Theory of Relativity

Even though I can think of a dozen things I’d rather be doing than grinding miles out on the trainer, there is one truth that I always keep in mind as I’m tightening my carbon fiber cycling shoes down to do it all over again:  Those long rides come summertime won’t be near as enjoyable if I’m trying to play catch up.  

There’s simply too much fun out there to be had on two wheels for me to be lackadaisical now.  If I’m out of shape I’ll spend the first three months getting my legs back rather than enjoying my time on the road.  No thanks.

The Ugly Truth of Accessorizing a High-End Road Bike: Well, it ain’t cheap to begin with. If you do it like I did, it’s worse.

I’ve done “before and after” photos of my Venge (“after” being the work in progress is finally complete) but I’ve never done a full montage of all the different variances (Newest to oldest, top to bottom):

The way I did it is, far and away, the most expensive way to set up a road bike.  Not only do I have thousands into getting the bike “perfect” (in my estimation), I’ve got hundreds more into stuff that seemed like it might be okay at the time but just didn’t have much of a chance of panning out.  In fact, I’ve got $120 just into bottle cages that I don’t use anymore – on top of the $100 into the two that are on there now.  For instance, the reds didn’t quite match on one set of cages… just simple, little, silly intricacies.

Now, some of the upgrades (the handlebar for example) weren’t exactly necessary but they served a dual purpose.  For instance, I liked the original bar that came on the Venge so much that it went onto my 5200 because I absolutely hated the original bar on that bike.  The new handlebar for the Venge had no use other than being awesome.  An aerodynamic bar, Specialized maintains it saves something on the order of a second per mile but I installed it for the style watts.  The old gray Keo pedals that were originally on the Venge went onto the 5200 as well because the red Keo’s are inarguably perfect for the Venge.

My wheels are a whole different “you get what you pay for” saga.  The original wheels that came with the Venge are heavy and slow.  They’re on the rain bike now.  The new Vuelta wheels were excellently light and only cost me $350 but the rims were so weak I kept busting spoke nipples on the front wheel when I went for an extra hard acceleration and I couldn’t keep the back wheel true.  Eventually I swapped out the rims for much finer quality Velocity hoops and my problems have ceased – so I’ve got $550 into a 1,550 gram set of decently aerodynamic and very fast set of wheels.  That actually turned out to be a pretty good deal after a lot of consternation.

Some of the choices were a mixed bag, like my FSA Stem.  It’s the same length and rise as the original stem but it’s something like 80 grams lighter (and it looks really cool).  It also cost me $165.  Expensive, not all that necessary, but cool lookin’ and light.

I learned my lesson on my Trek 5200 though, once it was painted…  New is on the left:

The Trek was a little easier, of course.  I pulled the stem off of my 3700 mountain bike (I bought that stem as an upgrade to give me a little more reach on the bike years earlier).  I mentioned the handlebar and pedals earlier.  The cages were simple, because black works excellently (though I almost went with red just to add a little more color).  The Trek didn’t go through very many changes after I settled on the red, white and blue until it was painted two years ago, I went from Blue bat tape to black, that’s about it.

The point is, with the Venge I had a funny way of trying to go cheap then ending up trying to upgrade my way out of a stupid choice that was only close to what I wanted.  I’ve always wanted to put carbon fiber cages on the Venge, from day one, but I thought I could get away with the plastic cages.  First one set, then another because I didn’t like the first set.  Then another because the second set gripped my water bottles too tight.  Then I finally ponied up and bought the actual cages I wanted all along.

If I’d have planned my Venge out a little better I could have been rolling on 1,400 gram Rolf wheels.

So here are a few tips that might help you avoid my mistakes:

  1. Plan your bike’s accessories out ahead of time.  Know what you want to do and stick with it.  If something just doesn’t work, don’t try to stick it out.  Take the item back immediately.
  2. Don’t settle for less than what you really want.  You’ll end up buying both items anyway.
  3. Stick to your plan.
  4. Different is good!  Um, to a point.  The wilder your aspirations, the sooner you’ll abandon your plan and the more embarrassed you’ll be that you thought it was a good idea in the first place.
  5. There’s something cool about understated and traditional.  Usually two weeks after you get wacky done, you’ll realize this.  Keep this in mind.
  6. Loud is not the same thing as wacky.
  7. When in doubt, red on black.  It’ll always be awesome and matching kits/helmets are a dime a dozen.
  8. This last one is important.  It’s cheaper, by a llloooooooonnng shot to buy a better bike as a package that it is to upgrade a bike later on.  There are reasons that justify doing it this way, it did make sense in my case, just be prepared to spend $5,000 on a $4,000 bike.

    If I had to boil all of my mistakes down to one problem, it would be thinking that even though something I’d bought wasn’t perfect, maybe I’d grow to like the accessory as time went by.  That just didn’t happen, so I spent even more to do what I should have done in the first place.