Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Spring time in PA.

It's been an interesting year so far.  I started out by doing almost no riding the first couple months.  A few mtb and road rides here and there, but nothing on the order of the mileage that I used to do in the winter.  I got to Southern Cross at the end of February with only about 800 miles.  I've also done the 'Just say no' when it came to the trainer.  I have found there is nothing more mind numbing than sitting on the trainer in the basement grinding away at it with the exception of maybe watching television shows like American Idol or any of the other countless reality or competition type shows.

My main activity this past winter was cross country skiing.  This year, I logged in more than 500 miles on the sticks.  My fitness level was definitely there but the main lesson learned was that it didn't translate well to the bike initially.  My running was way up there though.  By early April I was hitting a 7 minute mile average over 8 miles.  This would be decent for me if running was the main focus.  But, the bike beckoned and in late February, Southern Cross loomed large.  I'd gotten a decent start but the lack of miles played up way sooner than I'd imagined and I was having leg cramping issues as the demands I was trying to place on them proved too much for what they were ready for.  I fell way off the pace and in comparison to my 3Peaks result last September, it was an embarrassment.  Oh well, back to the drawing board. 

March was just a depressing time of the year as it was just cold gray suck here in PA.  I used to live for these kind of conditions but not being able to get outside everyday as I'd used to be able to (thanks real life).  My first road race in March was a disappointment again but it showed my leg strength was there and things were improving.  Each day when  I got on the bike, I was feeling stronger.  I came up that little bit short at the Morgantown Road Race but could tell things were going well.  Another cold rainy race in Salisbury, PA the following week built a bit more character and then it was time for the Clarksburg Criterium which also served as the West Virginia State Championships.  I had two goals at the race.  Help my teammate Ted win a state title and get one of us over the line in first place overall.  The field was a bit on the small side but we rolled out.  It was a combined field of 40+ and 50+ riders.   Within a few laps, local legend Gunnar Shogren took a flyer and got a good gap on us.  Skip Rodgers took up the challenge to chase him down and once he got clear and no one else went, I thought to myself, this looks good.  They're both strong and 50+ and if I got across, they wouldn't be sitting up.  I launched it across to Skip and we slowly drew Gunnar back.  At a point, he wisely pulled up and we linked up and it was a 3 rider group.  The riders in the pack were already thinking 'Thanks for coming folks' at that point.   Several strong laps later, we caught sight of the tail end of the field.  Now I usually feel that lapping the field just to show you can is usually an ego thing and for a moment, I was thinking 'keep the group small'.  Then I remembered, I still had a second job to do which was help my teammate get his title.  I'd already got the 40+ race in the bag so I could afford to go be the helper for Ted.  We caught with around 8 or 9 laps to go and I quickly positioned myself up with Ted and after a couple flurries of attacks from Gunnar and JR, we went into the final couple laps.  Several of the other riders were reminding me that I didn't have to sprint.  Well, that didn't mean my job was done. I pushed to get Ted up to JR in the final and gave a wind up but unfortunately, things didn't work out as planned and Ted had to brake in one of the final turns.  I hollered at him to keep pushing to the line. He did catch up to JR but that was it.  He was happy with the silver though.  It was a good race overall for us. 

Each week I've been seeing a bigger jump in my form and a couple weeks later, things came good at the Greene County road race.  After an eventful evening the day before and the following morning concerning an old relationship which saw my personal balance a bit upset, I got on  with the day.  Because of the previous days events, I'd forgotten my lightweight carbon wheels and had to make due with a set of 95 Campy Ventos with a set of training tires.  Crap!  This wasn't going to be fun.  As it turned out, those wheels climbed pretty well.  While they certainly weren't light(I gave up about 2.5lbs or more in wheel weight to most people there), they were very responsive to each push of the pedals.  I also got a good break on the downhills and flats as these wheels just keep on rolling once up to speed.  I'd made it thru to the final climb and was with the leaders and my lack of cleaning my chain caught up with me. A bad shift and a dropped chain that wrapped around the crank bad stopped me a few miles out.  I was looking at a win there for the 40+ group but now I had grimy hands and was hoping not to get caught out and lose 3rd.  In the end, I had several minutes to spare but I'm still kicking myself for that one.  Onward and upward!

Wednesday, January 29, 2014


It's a new year!  Starting out the year is always easy in the PA region.  I have usually raced up into mid December and then took a break til the day after Christmas.  The last couple years the body told me to start the break at the start of December.  So I started training a few days before Christmas.  I usually have a goal of 150 hours on the bike from Dec 26th til the end of March.  I've been changing that up some and will probably get close to that but I'll have augmented the training with about 4 or 5 hours of running as well as several hours of xc skiing.  I really like the skiing but the season can be pretty unpredictable in our parts.

My main goal is to get the body down near to race weight early before starting any specialized training. The past couple years has seen my sprint disappear.  This year changes that.  Since I won't have as many issues to deal with dealing with weight and I'm now climbing as well as I ever have(and that will only get better), I can focus a bit more on being able to hit that really high end at the finish of a race.  I spent so many years as a crit rider so my sprint was the only area where I could shine in a race. Since I changed targets on my racing in these past two years, my speed has definitely been blunted.  This ends now. 

You can expect to see me in just about every discipline out there this year but the focus will be on winning, not just decent results.  The UltraCross series will be one of the targets as well as the PA BAR races.  I also look to do well in our local ABRA road race series as the crit series which I'd won the past two years has disappeared for the year since there is only 3 races.   The main target for the year though is the Dirty Kanza 200.  Despite the issues I'd had with equipment in that race, I am going back to win it.  2nd place will only piss me off. 

To augment my bike racing, I've also been doing trail running races as well as a couple triathlons to give myself a bit of variety.  The trail races have treated me fairly well and my goal is to do a 1:55 in a half this year which I don't think is out of the question for me.  The first test will be in another week.  If the weather clears up and the snow is off the course, this can be an achievable goal.  From there, I have to break my bad luck in triathlons.  My first one last year, I had a nightmare issue as I got to the venue late and had enough time to get my stuff on, walk into the water and have the gun go off for my wave.  Then a flat on the disc wheel, I'm convinced someone might have messed with it as it held fine the night before as well as the day after.  In getting all that taken care of I wasted way too much time and acted like a bike racer for the rest of the race which absolutely does not work in triathlons.  I think I annoyed a few people with my whining about it as my time was still faster than most of the people there.  My second tri was the Savageman Half.  This again, was a tough learning experience and I arrived at the start line poorly prepared.  I did race intelligently after experiencing some severe cramping in the calves halfway thru the swim.  I'd held things together til the second half of the run at which point the legs were really pissed with me.  The only thing that got me going again was several cokes.  When in doubt, go with sugar when you're having a tough time.  Probably not the best advice for others but it worked for me.   My time was 45 minutes slower than I know I can do so that commits me to returning there this year. 

So there you have it.  Aiming the guns in several different directions shouldn't prove to be a difficult thing, right? 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Laurel Highlands Ultra

Just one week after the Dirty Kanza 200 and with the body still recovering, I was on the start line for the Laurel Highlands Ultra(what could possibly go wrong?).  This is a 70.5 mile foot race on the Laurel Highlands hiking trail starting in Ohiopyle and going to a bit north of Johnstown.  With me were Doug Ulishney, Jerry Agin(5 time 70 mile finisher), Kat Salerno and Jon Wright (figuratively.  they were on ahead at their checkpoints).

I had organized the relay team and took on the first leg of the race which is also the toughest.    It had several rocky climbs and was 19 miles long.  The morning started off extremely foggy, particularly at the higher elevations.  Dropping Kristen's car off at the 19 mile checkpoint and then continuing on to the start area was an adventure.  After leaving the car where we were pretty sure we were supposed to, we got into Ohiopyle and got everything ready.
I'd only gotten about 5 hours of sleep the night before and I thought that was a bit on the short side until Kristen told me she only got 3.  Wow, I must've overslept.  I don't like getting caught up in traffic at these things so I started near the front.  One thing I've found is that I have to be very careful not to start out too fast.  19 miles is a long way, by far my longest run ever having only started out in this game less than 11 months ago.  After the initial jump off the line in which I led for the first 20 meters(just to say I led the race at one point), I settled down into a comfortable running pace.  Before long we hit the trail proper and we climbed the steps off the fire road and it was time to start the real 19 mile segment.

I haven't done many very long races, the longest being the Fools 25K in April.  There I went out way to fast and posted what would have been a pretty good 5K time for me at the 3.2 mile checkpoint.  This time, I forced myself to let the runners who were just ahead of me to go and concentrate on my pace.  3.5 miles in, I was holding down 10 minute miles on what was very difficult terrain.  It wasn't made any easier with the light misting we were experiencing.  It made for some slick descents and rocks and the log bridges over streams were absolutely treacherous.  Step wrong and you were sliding right off.  Kristen had started in the 70 mile race but didn't expect to get all of it.  I figured maybe I could act as a pacer and keep things at a pace that wasn't too fast though that was more for me than her.  Starting the first major climb at 6.5 miles, I experienced my first issue.  My left knee and leg which I thought was recovered from the previous week, apparently wasn't.  I felt some tightness and had to let Kristen and a few others with us past.  I tried walking with them but knew to do so would hurt me later so I maintained what I could to the top.  Passing the 8 miles point was almost depressing as I did that little thing called math and realized I was on a slow day and it wasn't going to get any easier.   I wasn't even half way too!

One of the things I love about running trails is when you are out in the woods and often the only thing you hear is the wind, maybe some animals moving about and the footsteps of yourself and maybe the other person you might be running with.  Here, I would hear the voices of runners either in front of me or behind me and was finding it distracting as I was really trying to find that zone.  Hearing the voices from the 11 mile checkpoint as they cheered runners coming in didn't make it any easier.  I heard them from almost a mile out and it just seemed like it took forever to get there.  Upon arriving, I found a chair and a handful of orange pieces.  One of the volunteers got me some ginger ale which really seems to do it for me in these events.  After taking the few minutes break, I got up and moving again.  I was going ok for the first couple miles when the knee started having it's say again.  This time it was talking to me in unison with the ankle, big toe(victim of about 12 rock kickings) and the hip and none of them were happy.   One other runner took a quick stop to pop some endurolyte caplets and an advil.  I don't like taking these particularly during races but I was desperate.  He gave me one and I continued on.  It did seem to help the pain but I wasn't getting any faster.  I'd missed the 13 mile marker in my misery and this just seemed to compound everything as I couldn't believe just how long it was taking to get to the marker.  Finally, I came upon the 14 and I felt a bit of relief as I wasn't going as slow as I was thinking I was.

One last climb at about the 18 mile point was my final test.  I got passed by a guy who I'd beaten at a trail half the previous fall who recognized me and said hi.  I tried to force myself along to keep with the group.  Somewhere along the way, they got off trail and as I was a bit behind, I didn't miss the trail markers.  I made it in and did the handoff to our 2nd runner who shot out of the checkpoint.  From there, I hobbled over to the aid station and as I was climbing up to the roadway, I saw the group that missed the turn coming into the checkpoint area.  Well, I got past someone there at least.

After recharging a bit with some food and drink, I hopped in the car and got to the 3rd checkpoint.  There I met up with Jerry and Kat.  I was feeling cold and dehydrated so I was eating and drinking more while there.   I also had Kristen's stuff for the checkpoint too.  The watermelon/pineapple drink she'd mixed up looked really tempting but she needed it for her race.  After a bit, Doug came flying into the checkpoint area which was really unexpected as his announced antipated time was 2:30 and he came in at 1:55.  Off Jerry went and after talking a bit, Kat left for the next checkpoint while we waited for Kristen.  When she came in, she said she was done.  She'd been running up in the lead of the race but without the necessary miles of preparation she wisely called the attempt off and walked it in to the checkpoint.  We go Doug back to his car and while I went up to the checkpoint, Kristen took a break to sit in the Yough after dropping me off at my car back at the start area.  I made my way up to the 3rd checkpoint and was there for a while when our friend Tiffany and her son came in to wait with us.  Her husband was running the full 70 and had some issues at the previous checkpoint and she seemed a bit worried as he'd slowed down some.  After Kristen came in, I stayed a bit longer but had to head to the 4th checkpoint.  I got there and found Jon waiting for me with his wife.  I got him his number and we went in and met up with Jerry and were chatting a bit.  All the driving around I had done so far really began to show just how long this race was for the people doing the entire distance.

Once Kat came in, Jon bolted off.  She ran a really good leg of the race and Jon was intent on  trying to finish before dark.  He took a light just in case though.  After waiting at the checkpoint a bit longer and with Kat and Jerry looking to head back to the burgh, we decided to head on to the finish area.  We saw Tiffany coming into the checkpoint and it was sounding like Dave was going better once he got some real food in him.  It was good that he was going to be able to finish. 

We got to the finish area and they had a good food booth with some awesome veggie chili.  That took the edge of the hunger I was experiencing.  The fruit and other snacks really weren't cutting it anymore.  We also split one of the Sam Smiths Raspberry Ales we brought.which really tasted good.  After a bit, our 2nd leg man, Doug arrived back to await Jon's arrival.  We were chatting a bit with his wife and suddenly about 20 minutes before we were expecting him in, he came charging in.  After my crappy showing in the first leg, we wound up recovering to pull out a 4th overall in the mixed relay.  We were pretty happy with that as we'd all agreed before the race that we were running with no ambitions.  In the end, we all had a lot of fun and are already talking about doing it again next year.  I want a shorter leg though. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Dirty Kanza 200 - an interesting kind of hell!

(Photos courtesy of Art Bates unless otherwise noted)

I did a quick jaunt out to Kansas this past weekend. This was the first time out for the Dirty Kanza 200 for me. I've done several other rides a few which were much longer than the Kanza but they certainly weren't the same in the category of toughness. For one, I was only riding those others, not racing(Well, I was racing the clock, just not other racers).
Art Bates and me before the start.  Art was of immeasurable help to me for this race! I'm hoping he'll be able to make it next year!

One last text to Kristen.

The Kanza was definitely a tough race. The starting field was around 650. The race started out and I got comfortable up near the front. After some miles, we finally got a few little pops up hills. I was still near the front so things were looking good to me. Kansas, to us western Pennsylvanians, has a bit of a rep as being a flat state, and is very deceptively so. There were actually some very long stepping climbs later in the race that just seemed to go on for ever. what made them tough was the fact that quite often, you were riding into a headwind on them. On one stretch seemed like it was 15 miles long of severe head/cross winds. A bit over 20 miles into the race, I had my derailler overshift into the wheel. I saved it but spokes were damaged and the derailler was severely bent. in my haste to turn the bike into a single speed, I cracked the chain tool bit so that wasn't an option. from there, I bent the derailler back into shape with my hands doing the fine point tweaks with the leatherman tool that a friend had given to me a few years ago. That took me around 15 minutes. Lots of people had passed me by that point. I was then back on the bike and I'd gone into pursuit mode. Since I had my clipons on, i was able to hunker down on the bars and after a short windy climb, I steered into a tailwind and it was like I was shot out of a cannon.
I was blowing past group after group. Unfortunately, I had my head down and missed a turn. Dammit! I went off course for a bit more than a couple of miles. When I realized that I didn't see the small group I was chasing, I knew something was wrong. I turned around and traced back to where I had been and found the turn. I went back into pursuit mode. I came into the first checkpoint somewhere well past 100th place. I took on more food and liquids. In the back of my head, something was telling me to just replace the rear wheel. and of course, I didn't listen to myself. about mile 70, I started to feel it begin to disintegrate. One spoke had definitely broken and a couple others had loosened. I lightened up on the effort as this was also one of the very long headwind sections. I got in with a group and had to be patient riding it in to the 100 mile checkpoint. Art, who was my support person, later said it looked like I'd lost some ground and was still sitting well more than 100 back. Thankfully he didn't tell me that then. He was thinking I was in the running for a very long and disappointing day. I'd actually considered quitting because I wasn't sure how long my derailler would hold up and I was feeling a bit tired and demoralized but I thought about it and told myself 'Art drove all the way out with me to act as my support crew, so I'm not allowed to quit. He's came out here for the full experience just like I did so I have to finish this thing no matter what.' Before I'd gotten there, I was going to give him a call on the phone to have him get the spare wheel ready, but the terrain was just too rough and my hands weren't working well enough to pull the phone out of my stuffed pockets. It only added a minute or two til he got the tire pumped up and I got it on the bike.
Getting the ship righted for the third leg.
People were taking extended breaks at the checkpoint that time though. I jumped back on the bike and taking a few extra big chugs of water, some endurolyte caplets and a couple Raw Rev energy bars. The start of the 3rd leg saw us on a long straightaway. There were some rollercoaster hills after a bit but to that point, I was rolling the bike along at around 58Kmh(I'd reset my computer for a different wheelsize and missed that it was on the metric setting. Oopsie. It did give my mind something to do by having to convert it though). The clipons really helped in this section. I was flying past people at between 5 to 10 miles per hour faster. On a few of the sections I hit 74Kmh per hour and it was enough to allow me to loop over the tops of the rollercoasters going more than 35Kmh. I felt like superman when I'd hit the tops of these little hills and be sailing past people like they were just out on a casual ride. Then all of a sudden, it was back into the headwind after a turn. this went on for about 25 miles.I dropped groups as well as had some pull me back too. One group that was riding the race together was the Chamois Butter team. We wound up picking up rider after rider and suddenly we had 15-20 riders together. At one point, we saw a train coming and did the sprint and just beat the rail crossing bar coming down. Not long after that, we were riding up a section of the road when we came upon Selene Yeager coming back in our direction at the head of a dozen riders looking like a woman possessed. I'd seen that look from her before a few years back when she blew past our group at the Iron Cross race. Yep, We'd missed a turn. We got swung around and quickly caught up to her group and then after making the turn back on the course, we started a climb again. Selene blasted away solo(brave woman) and we had to let her go. We'd started the climb with a group of around 25 or 30 but the the time we'd hit the top after several miles of steps, it had gotten whittled down to a dozen. After that, we returned to the pace we'd been on and at mile 145, we hit actual road again. A few of us jumped and we were off and flying away. I went back into pursuit mode of a few other riders including one of the women's riders(Monica Sattler) who was quite fast. She'd gone with 3 others and was flying. I chased hard and nearly caught them as we passed even more riders from behind. Suddenly we were back into a town for the checkpoint. Art was taking pics and talking with another support person when I appeared heading into the support area. I caught him totally by surprise here.. He told the other person 'holy crap, my rider is here. I can't believe it!' and started hauling it over to the support area.  From his rough count, I was between 25th and 30th overall. I got refuelded and dumped off some extra garbage (I don't toss my gel packets or other garbage), gulped down some more of water and endurolyte tablets, took a few for the road, got another Raw Rev bar, snack and took off to go thru the last checkpoint.
Third Checkpoint and still holding it together.
It was another fast start and I was able to catch a few more but the last guy I was chasing on that section, I just couldn't close the gap as we'd started into some climbing. I formed up with a small group and was able to stay with them but now I was suffering from the earlier efforts. My left knee and ankle were also hurting because the egg beater pedals just didn't have the play that my classic Sampson Stratics did on my road bike. After a bit I realized they were pushing too fast for me and on the top of a steep pitch, I had to let them go since I couldn't use my bottom gear(39x26) and had to settle with a 23. I continued on solo and took a nature break when I saw the gap was big enough to do so without anyone happening along and seeing me. I was telling myself to do that at the checkpoint, but decided against it as there might have been a line and I didn't want to have to deal with it. Now the cramps were forcing me to. When I got back on, I saw a small group coming up to me. It was the Chamois Butter boys again. They kept such a smooth pace going, that it really helped me out. I'd drop at the tops of the climbs but I was still rolling the bike well on flats and downhills so I was able to come back. They were making it look good with their very steady efforts. I was able to ride with them til the 310Km point where my knee and ankle finally said to let them go. They were hurting just too much on the climbs to push it so I did what was best for the body. Shortly after that, the terrain flattened out as we were on the run in to the finish.
On the run in to the finish (photo by Kyle Thompson)
I had only one more rider catch me from behind and he got past me. My mind was fixated after that and was thinking 'None shall pass!' (Bonus points if you know the source) I made one final wrong turn into someones driveway and it allowed 2 more to catch me so I figured I'd ride the final couple miles in with them. Riding through the campus of Emporia State University, we all 3 did a fist bump to congratulate each other for making it but there was still a bit more unfinished business: the sprint. One of the others started the move down the final straightaway, but at a point, I lit the jets with everything I had left and held it for the final 200 meters. They tried catching the wheel, but there was nothing happening there. I had to do a very fast screeching halt at the finish as there was maybe 50 yards between the finish line and the final checkpoint and I had hit the line doing over 50Kph. Once there, I was able to get off the bike and immediately collapsed.
We couldn't let it go and just ride it in, now could we?
Art was there and got my bike over to a courtesy station by the ambulance as they wanted me to just make sure I was ok. He really did a great job and topped the day off by having a birch beer ready to go for me at the finish! That probably was one of the best parts of the day. After recovering some then collapsing on the sidewalk to rest more and I got myself over to the massage tents. There, I'd gotten one of the most amazing post race massages I'd ever gotten. Art and I started going over the race and how it went. The massage therapist, who was from Ireland, was very knowledgeable about cycling (we had our same favorites in Sean Kelly and shared a bit of a dislike for Stephen Roche - the conversation bounced around quite a bit, eh?) also was in the conversation. Apparently, I'd surprised the hell out of him on the last 2 segments. I'd recovered from total disaster to finish 36th(15th in 40-49 group) overall. I got my ride time a bit mixed up as my computer was only recording ride time so I was disappointed to see my time about 30 minutes more than what I thought it was. Those initial lost 20+ minutes for the mechanicals, then the later repairs(total repair time 37 minutes) and wrong turns seemed so precious now as I would have spent far more time in the first 100 miles with a group than how I wound up doing it. That could have meant huge wads of time saved overall. In the end, I was pleased with the effort and even happier that I didn't give up. After the race we were originally going to go to a camp ground but seeing my condition and the weather, Art, wisely told me we were staying at a hotel. We got cleaned up and headed back to town to check results and get something to eat then. I was hurting pretty bad. I couldn't do a full extension on the left knee so it made walking through town a bit difficult. The atmosphere was pretty cool and there were still lots of people there around 11pm. After a bit, we went back to the hotel where I collapsed and was asleep within minutes. I didn't even drink any of the Sam Smith's that I'd brought with me. The next morning, walking to get some coffee, I felt like I was completely drunk. I couldn't walk a straight line. After going to the awards breakfast and picking up my finishers pint glass, I was also given a bottle of wine too! The people out in Emporia were amazingly hospitable. It's a cool smaller town (they reaallly do need an Italian restaurant there - business opportunity anyone out there?) and this event is one of the highlights of their year. I did get one of the Race the Sun prints that were made for the first 250 people to come in before sunset at 8:42PM. Once I got some food in me and had been walking around and talking with a few others, I began to feel better. From there, it was the long drive home. We stopped every couple hours to stretch our legs and I did a few stints behind the wheel. We got back in at 3:15am and then took a few things I needed with me and drove home. Talking and texting with Kristen through the day seemed to have fueled her ambitions and she's determined to go next year. She's certainly capable of doing well there. For myself, after having another day to reflect on everything, I've got the tools to do a good race here. I've got a great support crewman in Art too! Who knows, maybe next year a win? I'm not interested in just finishing well. How long will it take for me to recoup from this? It might actually be quicker than I thought. It's Monday morning, I'm walking normally again and though I feel tired, I figure I'll be fine before Thursday. Then Saturday, I am doing the Laurel Highlands Ultra 70 Mile relay. I'm running the first leg of 19 miles. That screw on the road you saw a couple miles back, I think was the one that dropped out of my head.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Winter 2010. Yeah, it still gets cold.

Well, it's been quite a winter so far this year. We've had 2 major snowstorms so far and it's only early February. The first snow hung around for almost 2 weeks. This weekend the Northeast and MidAtlantic regions got hit the hardest we've been hit for almost 20 years and the snowfall in Western PA was the 4th heaviest snowfall since they started recording it. Where the hell is Al Gore currently. He should get his butt over here and shovel all this global warming that is surrounding my car. I'm still quite annoyed about how the global warming people are sticking to their guns and taking the attitude of 'you just don't get it' but still do not have any explanation for the debunking of their theories that has been going on for the past 20 years. It's the old 'if we don't pay attention to them, maybe they'll go away' tactic. If you're not on board with them, you are obviously some right wing nut job who is out to destroy the environment and probably kicks his dog when he gets home too. It's a thing called environmental cycles, Al. They happen. I've lived through a few of them now and entering into another one(depending on where you start on your cycles). I wish people would stop running after these clowns in the global warming market and begin taking a common sense approach to the environment. Quite lying and trying to scare the hell out of people about how things are going when all you are doing is trying to create this hysteria so the companies that you own can make a profit off of it. That's all this global warming scare of the past 30 years has been and most of the people of the world fell for it. I think assholes like Mr. Gore should be imprisoned for their role in this and the monies they made from these lies confiscated (gee, this could pay for some of that healthcare that people don't have). Oh, well, what the hell do I know. I'm just one of those right wing conservative nut jobs that want to ruin everything for the sake of a buck.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Maybe it's just me but .....

I'm thinking many of today's mothers are really helping set kids up for failure later in life. Sure they're making sure they do their homework, shower up, brush their teeth and play well with others. The thing that I've really been noticing, particularly since it's caused some severe stress with the mother of my two boys is that they all seem to have this underlying fear of instilling a good work ethic in the kids. These past couple weeks have seen a large amount of snowfall in western PA. Now, when I was young, this was a God-send to me. My brothers and I, as well as other kids in the neighborhood, would wind up helping neighbors dig out after a good snowfall. This paid fairly well and as I also carried newspapers before school, I had regular customers for the snow shoveling. There were 3 or 4 who I had it pre-arranged to clear their walks and driveways if there was more than an inch or two of snow. This got me $6-10 each snow day. It was a good supplement to the income of $15-20 bucks a week for the newspaper business. Keep in mind, I was 11 years old at this point and it was 1976. At that point in time, my brothers and I were sort of the capitalist pricks of the hill where we lived. We had all of the paper routes that mattered. We had the mall newspaper sales. On top of that, summer grass cutting jobs usually came to us. We worked hard and we were the ones who had the extra money for things like the swimming passes at the pool, our bikes and other items we wanted. We had to budget out the money we earned for the things we wanted. This was also the time when Nike and Adidas shoes were becoming popular. We usually got the good ol' Sears Winner II shoes but my parents would say, if you want to upgrade, we had to cover that cost. Then we had to balance the 'coolness' factor vs the money spent and make our decision.
All that said, my rant today comes from the wonderful time I've had attempting to get the mother of my two boys to understand that it is now time that they learn a bit of responsibility. That means more than just doing homework and cleaning up their room. They are 10 and 12 and easily ready to do even a bit of the things that I did when I was young. They'll begin to learn something when they see what it actually takes to earn their money and have to budget it out for the things they want. I want them to also learn that sometimes there are things in life that you have to do that you might not necessarily want to do. It'd be great if you could just play baseball, wii and other games in life but that doesn't provide for the necessities in life. Unfortunately for them, enter their mother and her ideas on the subject. If it's cold out, she doesn't want them outside working. They might get sick. She has thought of every excuse to get in the way of my little lesson in life for them. Most of the other moms at baseball and neighbors are the exact same way. Let the kids be kids, they say. Well, I got to be a kid too and I did these things. I ran around the hill, played baseball, went sled riding, had bb gun battles (and came home with some nasty welts from it) and lots of other things. My friends were the same way and we grew up fairly normal and are not lacking in our ability or desire to work. We didn't expect handouts, free college or anything else. We still don't. Unfortunately, the kids (mine and others I know) are learning that they don't have to put the kind of effort out that I would like them to. To me this is akin to sending them out into a warzone with only a popgun in hand. This sort of lesson transfers over to other areas in life as they will be growing up. Unfortunately, I believe we have a whole generation that has grown up without learning this and explains why people are always looking for that handout in life. They have an expectation that the great "American Dream" is a right to be had, not a privilege to be worked for. Too many of the kids today do not know what it is to put out the kind of effort that was expected of our parents and particularly our grandparents. If suddenly, the situation demanded that we put out the kind of effort that we had to during WWII, we could not do it. Too many people would be asking 'you expect us to do what?' People freak out when communities institute a recycling program and act like it is just so much extra work and why should we be expected to do this. I find it better to learn to deal with things that might be disagreeable first and then if you don't have to actually follow through on it, that's a bonus earned. We are doing a grave injustice to the people of past generations when we act so spoiled that we can't learn to shoulder the extra burden that our ancestors had to. This injustice will come back and bite us in the ass if we don't get everything back in line and learn that everything in life is NOT free, nor should it be. I hope that my boys do learn the things I want them to and understand this as they grow up. It's a constant lesson to be taught and never forgotten. I hope I can get the other parent involved in this matter to see this at some point and help make my job a bit easier. Now that I've had my little rant, I should probably get back to work...

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Front row seats to Hell....

This past week was certainly an interesting one. After dealing with the news of the demise of our environment and the fact that global warming was pretty much a done deal for the past 30 years (right on the heels of the new ice age scare), there was a small incident at the University of East Anglia. The servers in the Climate Research Unit were hacked and a shitload of correspondence between many of the top scientists there was taken an published on webservers for all to see. And what was seen was a deliberate coverup of faulty research, blatant lies about global warming, and an effort to hide these facts on the part of the top scientists in this area of study. In the coverage of this, these "scientists" have been circling the wagons and claiming that 'this doesn't prove anything'. Of course, neither did they prove anything. Global warming as defined by Al Gore and his types is NOT happening. It's been one big hoax designed to do nothing but raise taxes on a global scale and exert control over populations via these taxes and regulations. How many times have we heard the scientists and politicians screaming about the dangers we were in and try the argument that we have to do something. Well, do something but make DAMN SURE we know what it is we're doing and why. And something of this nature has got to be tranparent to everyone for close examination so the sort of thing that has been going on would get caught early on and we don't waste billions and billions of dollars doing things that do nothing for global warming and in many cases harm our environment(ie catalytic converter and ethanol to name the most glaring examples).

The reaction of the 'environmentalists' who push the global warming theory shows what kind of people we are dealing with. They are more concerned that their info got hacked rather than the fact that they just got caught lying about their work for the past 30+ years. Ladies and Gentlemen, this is a quick peek into hell and I advise everyone to take a good long look, then look at our 'leaders' and be a bit more skeptical about the things they are trying to convince us to support.

In my opinion, the people who have attempted to inflict all of this on us should be freakin jailed, Al Gore, amongst the first. These are outright crimes against the people of this and other countries and should not in any way shape or form be allowed to get a pass. Stand up people and flood your congressman's, senators, governors and all elected officials offices to stop this madness. Be a voice out in public and make sure others hear you. The 912 movements showed what can be accomplished when everyone, I don't care what political party you belong to, what religion you are or aren't, what race you are, whatever persuasion you might be, can accomplish when we all speak up! Let us all begin to right the ship that is our country before it is too late.