28 September 2012

pins and needles (east meets west)

yesterday was an odd day. from time to time i mention my 'issues' that i have with feeling poorly. it started off being what seemed like food sensitivities but over the past several years has started happening more and more without obvious cause. i've been to doctors to talk about it but all my measured values make me appear healthy and i'm sent on my way. i totally understand that - when i look around waiting rooms it is clear that me saying i don't feel all that well but having bp of 100/65 and a heart rate under 60 with normal blood work just doesn't get the attention with all of the train wrecks amongst us. my 'ill' is not measurable.

after talking with a friend, i went to see an acupuncturist yesterday. after speaking with her (in broken english) for 5 minutes, she definitively said 'colon' and before i knew it i had 30 needles in my stomach, head/face, hands/arms and feet. it was surreal to say the least. as i sat there letting the needles do their work, i felt nothing except for a very brief (5 to 10 seconds) period of relaxation. then, she sent me on my way with a couple of herbal supplements and told me to come back on monday. i left trying to remain open minded. at one point in the afternoon, i had another momentary period where it felt like my GI system collectively relaxed but besides that i didn't feel much different. i had another appointment in the afternoon for a follow up visit and it was completely different. you look fine, we'll do more tests to make sure, if they look ok we'll just leave you be.

this morning i have been experiencing waves of what feels like my lower GI progressively relaxing. maybe it is placebo effect but it is very real and at times intense. i'm hopeful that this will help me feel better and i'm happy that i have initiated the process. i will keep this blog posted with subsequent visits to the acupuncturist.

after my appointments, i was feeling pretty beat but took advantage of my free hour by heading out for another run. i felt really good and even compared to tuesday my 'running legs' felt better. it was only 35 minutes or so on a mix of trail/pavement but i would call it progress.

this weekend we are attending a wedding for my cousin in wausau. the east troy twilight races sure sound fun but it will be good to see that side of the family. tonight we are heading to gresham and then on to wausau tomorrow. we are bringing the bikes so we can ride in the morning - i'm looking forward to riding with my bride!

happy friday.

26 September 2012

euro

so, i mentioned our house appraisal yesterday. the whole mortgage crisis/fallout/debauchery has resulted in new rules regarding appraisals. back in the day (when we bought the house originally), our sketchy mortgage broker 'had a guy' he called and everything worked out 'fine.' thinking back, it is no wonder that system fell to pieces. anyway, now (as i understand it) it is like a lottery. the mortgage broker/bank requests an appraisal through some sort of clearing house mechanism to avoid any conflict of interest type things.

the appraiser that came by the house yesterday had a thick european accent and moved like a ninja (a euroninja if you will). he was fast - one second he was in the front yard and the next he was up on our deck in the back yard. fast! he went into the garage for all of 30 seconds and came back in asking if i was a bike racer. i said i try to be and asked if he was. he didn't confirm or deny but stated that i had a lot of nice bikes out there - it was kind of weird. then he went back to measuring, etc. he was there 20 minutes tops - at $400 that is a pretty solid hourly rate.

i did some running last night - 30 minutes on a mix of pavement and trails. i'm not nearly as sore as i was a few weeks back so that must mean i'm making progress. my plan is to ramp up my running through the fall - not because i think it helps all that much with cross racing but because i really think we lucked out last year at nationals. 6 inches of snow/ice seems like something that would force a lot of running and i would like that to be an advantage and not something to complain about.

cal helped me install new cable/housing for the rear derailleur on my mountain bike. i had been meaning to do that since wausau24 and am just getting to in now. it is amazing how much better a bike shifts when the housing isn't kinked in two different spots.

cross practice tonight. i rode into work and will ride home, swap bikes and meet up with r and c at badger prairie. should be a beautiful night!

happy wednesday.

25 September 2012

live what you love

long day yesterday. sometimes you have 'it' and sometimes you don't. on several fronts, i certainly did not have 'it.' but today is a new day.

i did manage to extend my ride home last night which had become a monday tradition that i haven't been able to do the past few weeks. road bike on the military ridge was fine although a little wider tread wouldn't be un-welcomed. the problem is that my klein road frame is pretty limited on clearance.

we spent some time putting the last bits of our house back together after our summer of refurbishments. it all looks nice and i'm glad that we are done for a bit. hopefully, some of what we did gives a little value enhancement as we are in the midst of a re-finance (appraisal today) although that wasn't why we did any of it.

over the past few years, i've gravitated away from the nfl. the games feel tedious to me and there are better things to be spending my time on. i do still watch the packer games when i'm able but i may phase that out as well. boy these replacement refs are terrible.

happy tuesday.

24 September 2012

on a brighter note, a few from the weekend




usgp 1 and no 2

friday night was boys night. after having breakfast for dinner, playing spirited games of tackle tumble and bedtime i was able to get both bikes ready to rock. i knew i wouldn't be feeling well (more gut issues) but i was able to focus myself on the positive and not the negative - my current 'form' is the best it has been in years. my gear is not holding me back. i'm hungry to make the next pass and not be complacent.

saturday morning came fast. i made some yummy steel cut oats, tried to chase my coffee with suitable amounts of water, got the car loaded up and headed to sun prairie. it felt really cold between the wind and the air temp. the morning went fast between watching mike c race, getting my gear in order, pit bike in place, and practice laps after the 45+. before i knew it we were lining up.

i managed to get a third row call up which was key (i think it is based on my wca standing). boom, the start was chaotic but i thought everyone did a good job of being good race citizens (foreshadowing). the big dogs rode away from me but i held my own amoungst the second tier of racers. i wasn't feeling the best and wasn't breathing well but i just focused on riding smooth lines and pushing the straights. i knew i was going well when i saw that every lap i was reeling in joe c and holding off jeff c. joe got a burst with two laps to go and shut down any chances i had of catching him, but finishing within seconds of a guy that usually beats me by minutes was encouraging. 27th and my best usac points score ever.

while i was racing, robin and calvin met jeremy powers and cal got a sweet photo with the reigning u.s. champ. watching the pro race just made me more excited to race on sunday.

sunday morning was similar. the day started with pancakes and once i got food/coffee down i was feeling really good. like, one of those feeling where you know you might have a really good race. similar description of the day from saturday leading up to the 35+ race except i felt much more calm. line up for the start. i was right next to the official and couldn't here any type of countdown. all of a sudden (seemingly out of the blue) the whistle blew. that caused panic in the group - it was a different feel in the first few seconds of the start from the day before. as i was getting to speed i heard a very loud popping sound. not a puncture, or even a typical bike sound but a sound i didn't recognize. i was a little sloppy in the start and lost some spots but then somehow surged back up to around my 18th staging spot. through the barriers and jeff went down in front of me with twisted bars. i hammered the first big straight and felt really good about my position. through the pits and on to the 'lower' part of the course i was focused on catching wheels when i heard it - the official's whistle. the pop i heard was a 'catestrophic' crash that required an ambulance. and that was game over - by the time the cleared the course it was too late to start and stay on the schedule for elites.

listen, to anyone who stumbled on this let me apologize if my comments regarding the crash were at all deemed to be insensitive -  i was in no way trying to be negative or judgmental or insensitive but i totally see how what i wrote might have come across that way.   

with the course changes that they made for sunday, that race would have been fast fast fast and fun. i was nice to watch the pro races but hard to watch at the same time. we lingered a little and had j-pow sign the photo with calvin that robin had printed that morning. behind the barriers was filming the exchange so calvin might end up on one of the first few episodes! he would dig that...

back to work. no racing this weekend due to a family wedding.  minnesota cross racing the following weekend. furthercross after that (on my home course).

last week's training:
m: 1:10 (road)
t: 1:10 (commute)
w: 1:15 (cx practice)
r: 0 (planned rest)
f: 1:10 (commute)
s: 2:00 (usgp cx 35+)
n: 1:00 (pre-ride, warm up and 3 hard minutes)
total: 7:45

that was a long one.

happy monday.

21 September 2012

the day before the day

had a good day off of the bike yesterday. i had an appointment with my allergist so driving was necessary no matter what - but my preference is to take a day off two days prior to race day - and these things happened to be co-incident. we managed to get our living room mostly put back together and we got the drawers back in the dressers so no more finding clothes in the basement/garage.

tonight robin is doing something with a friend so it is boys night. calvin and i acknowledge boys night but doing double fist bumps (and of course, blowing them up). after that, i'm going to get my bikes dialed and then i'm going to rest. while 'resting' i'll probably be nervous so i'll end up hauling too many things upstairs while keeping an eye on some baseball.

happy friday.

20 September 2012

toast

man yesterday was busy. frenetic if you will.

carpet installation, busy work day, get cal, get him set with becca, sprint to practice just in time to pre-ride the course, two hard sets, ride home (dodging lightning), eat, nearly pass out on our sweet new carpet. it looks really good but as with any change is going to take some getting used to. my favorite part is that when calvin jumps/runs/crashes on the floor it is a lot quieter. oliver was confused by the added plushness - i think he thought it was a blanket and was trying to paw himself a bed. he is a hurting unit after going to doggy daycare - he goes all out all of the time but 6 year old hips aren't as forgiving as they used to be. he couldn't walk this morning until i massaged his hips (poor guy).

i'm taking the day off today. my normal commute tomorrow. then, USGP is here! i'm excited to see how i stack up against a big and talented field.

jpow took cross vegas last night but tim johnson looked strong. shaping up to be a really good pro season - i can't wait to watch the cannondale/cyclocrossworld and rapha/focus teams duke it out! go rapha! i still can't believe page doesn't have a team yet - you'd think someone would step up. there are two strong teams right now - it'd be cool if there was a third.

happy thursday.

19 September 2012

tear it down, build it back up

i feel like our lives are cyclonic right now. nothing bad, just busy. robin worked late last night while calvin and i organized/shipped some documents for our on-going refinance. we met up for dinner and then it was getting late. while getting calvin ready for bed we did that last big push of moving furniture items out ahead of the carpet install. the installers arrived at 7:15 exactly and i walked through the house with them. they said we did a really good job of clearing things out which means we did too much. dropped of oliver at the kennel and then off to work, whew, a full morning before starting a (busy) work day!

sane people would bag cross practice tonight. but with the usgp in town, a pro woman is holding a clinic that robin is attending and i really wanted to get my mid-week intensity session ahead of the weekend so we have enlisted the help of my sister becca to hang with calvin. i feel a little bad, the house will be in complete and utter disarray!

all of a sudden there is some rain showing up in the forecast for the friday/saturday with temps around 60. man that sounds like cross weather!

happy wednesday.

18 September 2012

moving freight

busy day yesterday but managed to squeeze a ride in after a meeting we had with our financial planner. 1:10 and i finished in pretty much the dark. it was getting close to sunset and it was very overcast so i guess i should have anticipated. anyway, i was happy to get out. my legs felt remarkably good considering that i felt like i gave a pretty good effort on sunday. bodes well for day 2 of USGP i guess.

moved a bunch more stuff ahead of carpet installation. tonight is the stretch run and then it is game time.

riding in this morning there was a nice chill in the air, the sun angles were different than just a few days ago and my wool over shirt wasn't too much clothes. man i love me some fall and this was a great early fall morning.

on my ride in i had the thomas the tank engine theme song in my head. file that under the costs of having a little boy!

i snagged these from our friend kate (thanks kate) from the race sunday:




the white metal jersey with the dark metal shorts is a solid combo. the past two seasons worth of twin six metal kits are pretty interchangeable - we are like the football oregon ducks of cycling!

happy tuesday.

17 September 2012

solid!

saturday calvin and i headed to a fire station open house in verona. little boys love that stuff and i must admit i was into it too. we got there ahead of the crowds and i was able to talk to a few of the fire fighters and learned some things. calvin shot a fire hose, sat in fire trucks and (the bonus) watched a med flight helicopter land. it was pretty cool! spent the rest of the running errands, planting grass, riding bikes and getting the house ready for carpet installation. so far so good but i'm sure it will come down to the wire. the weather was great and i spent more than a few minutes thinking about fat tire.

sunday was the lake geneva cross tilt. robin made her cat 4 wca debut and crushed it. i'm very proud of her for getting out and pushing through her comfort level. racing is hard, especially cross racing and she is really impressing me with her ability to just jump right in. i think the chain on her bike is a bit too long - she dropped it during the race which has been a problem. hmmm, as the chief mechanic that is on me.

my race was great - i'm super pumped with how i'm currently riding. i weaseled my way to the front of the group when lining up. go was yelled and we were off, it was a paved uphill and maciej was off to hit the hole shot. i tucked in behind marc and let the madness ensue. half way through the second lap (on the gravel hill) i went around marc and just started catching and passing people. i knew it was going good when i passed and dropped maciej - probably the first time that has ever happened! by the last couple of laps i was very slowly reeling in melcher - again, a first for me. he ended up getting the win about 10-15 seconds ahead of me but a strong 2nd place. my first masters 35+ podi and i scored $75 for the effort. that paid for the day including r's racing and gas - bomber!

i'm really looking forward to gp this weekend. but, before i get there i have a very busy week in front of me. work is at an all time high with regards to things to do and there is the carpet installation on wednesday (which means we have to move most everything out of our main living spaces). i'll be happy when all these house projects are done!

training:
m: 0 (deck staining)
t: 1:15 (commute)
w: 2:30 (commute/cx practice)
r: 1:15 (commute)
f: 0 (planned rest)
s: 1:20 (moderate road)
n: 1:45 (race day)
total: around 8 hours

and, a 'podium' shot:


happy monday.

14 September 2012

weak

no ride in this morning, my legs were feeling really heavy yesterday. i guess a combination of racing, practice racing and squatting (ie deck staining) have all conspired to fatigue me. i'll rest them today, wake them up tomorrow and race them on sunday!

the "news" sucks. by "news" i mean morning "news" programs. did you know that french media are publishing topless photos of kate middleton? did you know that some actress has to go to europe to see her kids? did you know that lady gaga has started talking to the media again? yea, i'm going to keep using quotations when i refer to that type of "news." wtfc? apparently a lot of people.

you know who else sucks? the bears. i couldn't resist.

happy friday.

13 September 2012

photos from EC CX



good day of riding

rode to work yesterday on my road bike. took my long commute home, swapped my road machine for the cross race bike and headed to badger prairie for practice. i did the warm up and first set of hard laps. by that time robin was ready to rock so cal and i did barrier drills while robin shredded it. then, i finished up with the last set of hard laps. 2.5 solid hours of riding. bonus is that it wasn't raining this morning so i was able to ride in.

practice yesterday wasn't great - there were a lot of park users out which makes me a little nervous. one guy was bent that we were all riding on the ice age trail - this is a section that is combined with bike path so he was 100% wrong but it's all about perception. then, of all people, a couple of old guy mountain bikers were really pissed that we were riding in the "wrong direction." i mean absolutely pissed off. they backed off when they saw our numbers but again, if you are mad enough to yell then you are probably mad enough to complain to a parks entity. i hope not.

these practices are nice and it is good to ride with like minded people but it is getting to the point where i think i might start 'doing my own thing.' i'd like to start doing intervals anyway, so maybe doing that and avoiding the stress might be the ticket - especially now that racing has started up. what we need is a swath of private land with a dedicated cross track. fat chance!

i have a call with a belgian client in an hour or so. i wonder if he is a cx fan?

happy thursday.


12 September 2012

second verse (same as the first)

feeling tired but motivated this morning. unfortunately, i'm feeling motivated to work on home projects and not work projects. oh well. i rode the road bike in this morning - my plan is to ride home, switch bikes and then head to badger prairie where this week's cross practice is being staged. i'm interested to see the turn out on the far reaches of the southwest side. as far as i'm concerned, garner practice is done for 2012 and possibly forever. i'm just glad it isn't ron and i setting up courses anymore...

fat tire is this weekend and it is always hard for me not to feel nostalgic - especially on years i'm not doing the race. to me, fat tire epitomizes everything about a really great race and i'm going to miss that. but even more, i'm going to miss my friends and teammates - there is something about the afternoon/night after fat tire that is really hard to beat. oh well, maybe next year?

happy wednesday.

11 September 2012

more on the weekend

saturday was my first race on the new november build (including my first and only ride on the self glued racing ralph tubulars/ea70x wheelset) and first impressions are that the bike ripped. now, i'm feeling like i'm in pretty good bike shape at the moment but the bike was fun. check that, FUN. the glue job feels solid and doesn't appear to have taken any damage from racing. i worked them hard and they kept coming back for more. the bike itself is so light and so stiff that i still am surprised when i pedal it. will this win me usgp 35+? hell no, but it is enhancing my enjoyment so that makes it worth the investment. i'm so excited to race again on sunday!

training for last week:

m: 1:15 (cross skills practice, hard laps at badger prairie)
t: 1:10 (commute)
w: 1:30 (to, at and from cx practice)
r: 1:00 (commute)
f: 1:10 (commute)
s: 2:00 (includes warm up and 80 minute race, 1st place!)
n: 0
total: 8:05

back to work.

dragging

a pretty intense (but very much fun) three days. friday night we made the evening run up to EC and got there in pretty good time. got cal down, hung out a little bit too long and off to bed after 11. trains, dog, kid, etc. always conspires against us sleeping well the first night (and some of us the second as well) so neither of us got much restful sleep. off to the EC farmers market (pound for pound better than madison imo) and then it was prep time for the ECCX race. robin made her debut in the 40 minute race and killed it. it was a long (2.1 mile) course and the first 1/3 was bumpy bumpy bumpy so i was proud of her to crush those 4 laps.

i rolled up to the start line looking at 12 or so other people - none of which i recognized. there were a few people who 'looked' fast but, as mostly usual, they weren't. got out nice and fast and after a lap a 3 person selection formed (one guy on a 29er). i did the majority of pace making for the full 80 minutes - i knew it was a risk but i wanted a good hard effort and not a draft fest. i had company the first 50 minutes or so and then i started to slowly pull away. the course was very fun, a forced hill run up with a barrier at the bottom, long gravel straights that all seemed to be into the wind, and a whoop section that was really fun (a barrier right before the section really tested my ability to get back into the pedals). i put my head down and hammer the last 4 laps alone, grinding it in for the W! small field and early race but boy it feels good to win. i indulged in a few post race beers and then headed back to my mom's for a cook out and fire on her sweet new patio.

sunday was comprised of church, apple orchards, lounging, dad's house and home (after 9 pm). we are all pretty tuckered out but content. monday was deck staining day and even though a few logistical items were conspiring against us, we managed to get all but a few spots stained. how do you miss a few spots? well, apparently staining by headlamp at 10 pm makes on miss a few spots on the stairs. i'm pretty bummed since it was one of my sections but other than that it looks bomber and feels good to be done.

hopefully i can get that deck fully wrapped up this weekend (we need more stain unfortunately). this weekend we also need to start getting our crap off the floors as our carpet is getting installed next week. i will be very content when all this house project stuff is wrapped up!

lake geneva prep this week. robin has the bug and will be throwing down in the cat 4 women's race.

happy tuesday.

07 September 2012

usgp-ers!

well, in what seemed like an improbable whirlwind the usgp registration went live yesterday at five. when i found out, i immediately closed my computer and headed for home. i channeled my inner triathlete (my fully clothed to bike transition was faster than a lot of peoples swim to bike) and made it home with 2 minutes to spare. i'm in, but it was amazing how many others were also in at such short notice. i guess that is a good thing. i opted for the 35+, it is the best time slot for hanging out and watching the pros race and it's my racing class at nationals so it felt funny thinking about doing the elite 2/3 race instead. i'm going to get worked (it is cats 1,2,3) but that is how you get faster, right?

other than that, tried to get organized for the weekend. bikes are ready, bag is packed. just load up and go.

happy friday.

06 September 2012

pack and deliver, park fuzz

my bike habit has been monopolizing my time this week. that should be close to ending now that i've gotten the rear wheel glued up. the second time was a charm, i got it on straight and true. i was telling ron last night that if i had the opportunity to do just a few more sets i feel like i'd have a pretty good grasp on the process. but, it's done - hopefully this glue job will hold for the next couple of years (and that i don't have any catastrophic flat tires).

the glue session followed cross practice which was cut short by a park ranger shutting us down. after all these years in garner park, the powers that be finally put the kibash on the event. i understand, it is (semi)-organized with course markings so there should be a permit. but we were pretty big the past few years and never a word so i'm wondering what happened this year. oh well, it was a beautiful night and what riding robin was able to do got her thinking that a real race might be in order (sweet).

tonight is weekend prep. pre-pack the car, get my wheels/bikes ready (lube chains, swap wheels, etc.) and then it is go time!

happy thursday.

05 September 2012

bikeshhh

cal's first word was bike which is pretty cool if you ask me. he used to add a 'sh' sound at the end which i now have incorporated in my internal vernacular. like, when i was thinking about what to write today i thought about all the bikesh work i did last night.

speaking of bike work last night, i got my front tire glued up. the mastik one reminds me of my model building days with the old testers model cement. i spent hours as a boy building car and jet models - all that glue (and paint!) sniffing probably lowered my iq trajectory a notch or two. where was i, oh yea tubulars. the belgian tape is something else - it grabbed the tire and made it really difficult to center the base tape on the wheel. i got it mostly (there is a very slight wobble that i'll just have to live with) and it is curing in the basement. i was going to glue up the back wheel too but i still had to try and get the moto shifting properly. for whatever reason, that one is giving me fits. i've tensioned the front derailleur like 10 times but on a hunch i did it one more time. problem solved, far less rubbing up front. now if i could only get into the inner most cog in the back...

cross practice tonight (weather permitting). the rain we got overnight should dry up sufficiently, but if we get more it should probably get canceled to not damage the park. i'm hoping to get the rear tire glued up tonight as well so i can ride the eastons on saturday. stupid hobbies that require a lot of prep work.

usgp: bueller....bueller....bueller?

happy wednesday.

04 September 2012

i heart 3 day weekends at home

man we had a great weekend!

friday, as is my company's tradition, i was 'released' at 3 on friday and i took full advantage riding 2 hours before getting the calvinator. got some hills and felt OK riding. we headed to farm and fleet to get supplies for what i planned to do saturday: strip the deck. this is something i've been dreading but it went pretty good compared to prior attempts. i used deck cleaner (essentially a weak basic solution) and a power washer. it took 8 hours on saturday and another 1.5 on monday but it is looking pretty good and ready to accept stain. we'll let it dry out through the weekend and then (hopefully) get some stain on it next monday. i was pretty beat (back and hamstrings) when i was done but it felt good to be done. we had a local feast saturday night (beef from black earth meats and corn from our csa) and spent the rest of the evening relaxing.

sunday, we got up and had breakfast. squeezed in workouts and then took cal to the brewer game. lots of action (the ball was flying out) which meant a long game. calvin toughed it out and was rewarded by running the bases. man he loves baseball!

monday i worked on finishing the deck prep while r/c ran errands. then, we headed to don's to shop for a big boy bed for cal. we haven't moved him out of his crib yet because he is pretty content in it, but he'll be 3 in a few months and that seems too old to be in a crib. we found a nice one - their furniture is so nice there - i'm hoping this bed will last through adolescence. we came back home and all headed down to the park to practice cross (hoenisch cross clinic). calvin is really good at remounts - he just hops on his little stride bike without fear. robin got pretty good too in our limited time. she did some more riding at badger prairie while i got cal down for a nap. then i headed out to badger praire to do some hard riding. i used the bontis w/limus tubulars to really test the glue job out. they are bomber. closed out the holiday with some raspberry picking, pizza and gluing up tubulars. what a great 3 day weekend!

m: 1:30 (commute)
t: 1:10 (commute)
w: 2:00 (commute/cx practice)
r: 0:25 (3 miles of running)
f: 2:00 (commute, long add on)
s: 0 (deck work)
n: 1:15 (road ride)
total: 8:15

not bad. a good week for cross season - which, since i signed up for my first cx race this morning it is officially cross season i guess! 80 minutes is sounding pretty rough but it will be a good check.

happy tuesday.