Sunday, December 28, 2008

It's a lonely religon.

On my ride yesterday, I found that I was facing a bit of a crisis towards the end. Before my bike trail incident, I started to feel a bit of a ticking in one of my pedals. Damn! The pedals are my next to last set of Sampson Stratic pedals from the 90s. These pedals are the absolute best pedals for cornering. Over the years, they have bought me an advantage in more than one race since you can pedal through even the tightest of turns without clipping them on the ground. I usually scare the hell out of someone following me through the turns when I do that since I can lean the bike over so far with them. Unfornately, you can only find them on ebay these days and that isn't very often anymore. I think there are 4 or 5 others in the country who bid on them and it has gotten competitive over the last couple years. They usually only last a couple years, but the amount of float and cornering clearance makes them so awesome. Now I find myself at the point of having to make a decision. Do I look for another pedal system or post out to the world to start sending me their old Sampsons and cleats so I can forever remain in the world of 1990s pedal systems. I've fought the conversion question for so long now it's almost like renouncing my religon. Do I remain a heathen or move on to the next great thing?

A wonderful spring day. Oh, wait...

Well, we had a nice warm day here in the Pittsburgh region yesterday. I had gone down to Morgantown to try and catch the ride. I'm kind of glad I was late since it turned into a hammerfest. I wound up riding 4 hours on my own at a good early season pace. I like days like this, but I also know that I have to force myself a bit more to get out on the bike in the following days as it will be getting colder. These rapid weather changes really goof with my system and the built in barometer I have in my shoulder usually lets me know about the coming changes. It's one of those dull aches that really let you know it's there, but there isn't much you can do about it. Anyway, back to my ride. Riding along in-town trails, you really learn just how much people exist in the world as if they are the only ones there. I look out for others, even if I wish they'd just fall in the stream when I approach sometimes. There was a couple out taking a walk with their kids. One of the kids was in a stroller, the other was on a little toddler bike. This was all well and good, except the one of the bike was about 50 yards behind them and not looking to sure of himself. I slowed almost to a crawl as I got up to him, not wanting to be going to fast past him. At walking speed, I got up to him and with his parents finally calling to him to pull to the other side of the trail, he looks over at me and rides directly at me. I pulled further over and then suddenly my rear wheel hits the edge of the pavement and the wheel starts skittering out from under me. I gave it a quick acceleration to try to right the ship or at least get beyond the little guy when finally, gravity took over and I went down in a heap. I was about 10 or 15 feet beyond him when I hit and I dug up my knee and elbow. Now comes the good part. The parents then went 'Awww Breez, are you ok?' and then scurried him off. Not one freaking word to me like 'we're sorry, are you ok?' Their lack of parenting in the situation caused it and their boy wasn't even touched. I'm lying there bleeding and my bike got scraped up. It took just about all my strength not to be a jerk about it, but damn, how nice are you supposed to be? There was another family riding their bikes who stopped and made sure I was ok and that maybe cooled me down enough to just go on my way, but it wasn't the best way to finish a ride.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Land of the slugs

Well, I'm just getting done with a vacation to the land of slugs. I've ridden the bike a couple times since Natz finished up but it took me almost a week to recover. Flying to Portland and then driving to KC was definitely over the top and left me more than a bit wasted. Seeing the news for Cross Natz next year is certainly interesting. I know I will be doing a similar trip but I will be looking to stay out in Portland next year and if my work there allows it, I can spend a few days downtown doing the work thing between the races and then rent the van and pickup friends at the airport for the drive to Bend. I've already worked on the logistics of it and it looks like I could wind up being pretty rested up for Natz if I do it this way. Now if I can just get myself into some better condition. I start the base miles training today with an hour on the trainer tonight and then a few hours on the road tomorrow. I'm hoping I can have 150-160 hours on the bike by the end of March. I have found over the last few years that number works to get me ready for the spring races and sets me up for a decent year. Unfortunately, the last couple years I missed that mark by around 40 hours, so the body just hasn't been ready. Also with the way the Munroe Falls races have run their categories, I can't hit those hard early races by doubling up in the 123s and the masters which were essentially another 123 race. Those races gave me a good 50 miles of hard racing and with warm-ups and warm-downs, I was usually doing 80 miles on those days. I really with they'd get their crap together and realize having the masters as a 35+ race was a whole lot better with a much bigger pack. The same guys are winning so the only difference is who is placing 4th through 10th. I won't hit the 45+ class for another couple years so I'm going nuts trying to figure out how to get the extra intensity I need at that time of year.

The team is forming up and everyone is getting pretty antsy about the new year. We had some very good results last year in the West Virginia series with Adam nearly taking the whole thing ahead of Gunnar. Staying out of the wind a bit more and learning to be a bit more wiley about tactics would have giving it to him but he did an awesome job. I'm considering doing some more of the 123 races to help him out this year as I'm really motivated to get back to the level I was at before the nasty wreck I had 4 years ago. The body has recovered, but I've had some problems with my ability to really make myself hurt isn't quite to where it once was. Still, I've won at least a couple races in the last 4 years with 2 years ago the number hitting 7. I'm looking to have another year where I've posted in the neighborhood of 10. I've done that a couple times and I liked it. I'm also looking to raise the game on the mountain bike this year as well. Last year the bike handling was noticeably better and in races, I was finding myself looking for where I was going to go rather than looking out for where not to go. I noticed my ability in this was really there at the Iron Cross this year. I'd gotten passed by a large number of riders on the long road climb before the fire road to the first big single track section. Of the large groups that passed me, I caught and passed back almost all of them and even left the group that I eventually wound up with in the end by almost a minute. (I dropped them in the end, thanks to the 50 tooth chainring and the big road descent). I was feeling the course and moving with it so I didn't have that 'beat up' feeling like I had the previous year. Even though I got stomped in most of the races this year, I think I'm finally ready to get the form back up to where it had been, shed the 10-15lbs I've been trying to get rid of for the past 10 years, and am finally feeling that aggresive streak that I had just a few years back when some of the bigger guns in the region were starting to notice from me. If all goes well, maybe we'll have a few more podium spots and wins for the team next year. Here's hoping.....nah forget about hoping, we're going to do it.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas Eve

It's that wonderful time of year when jolly ol' St Nick comes marauding through the countryside in his sleigh with the tiny henchmen tagging along ready to back the fat man up in case trouble starts. Well, this year, we're ready for him. We're tired of the damage to the chimneys, the roof shingles ripped off by his sleigh tracks, having to pay him off with the milk and cookies and then all of the incessant noise that comes in the morning when we'd rather be sleeping. I've got the radar set up and Mort has the truck parked out back with a blast wall set up so we don't burn the fence. The fat guy runs around in a red suit, eh? He must be a communist then. We'll be out with a six pack waiting to wish him a Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The great midwest....

If you ever get the chance to drive through the great mid-west of this country, I hope there is at least a good reason for you to do it. There's not a lot going on there. It was pretty much a mind-numbing experience but when you hit Rt 70 past St Charles there was the one piece of excitement that was there - Nostalgiaville! They begin getting you all pumped up a few miles past St Charles when you see the first sign.

They keep on coming and it's not long before you see the second one.

And then...well you get the idea... It goes on for around a dozen signs.

Finally, after getting all excited about arriving at the destination, you turn off the exit and here it is. It's a goofy little store and they do have a website too!

If you're into little novelty things from yesteryear, this is the place for you. I think they are able to capitalize on the fact that you've just been driving forever and are so excited about seeing something other than the occasion house or truck stop, that you'll buy lots of memorabilia that they have. It didn't seem to change any from last year but it's an odd little store to see. It did also break up the drive a bit and on the flip side of the highway, you have Ozarkland and a McStop. I didn't get a pic of the McStop but it was something different that we noticed on the way back. It's amazing how easily amused you are after 11+ hours in the car.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

The second leg of the journey - Natz

After Portland, I'd made it back to Pittsburgh and worked a full Tuesday and half Wednesday and then buzzed down to Morgantown to load up the VW bus with Gunnar and Betsy. We dropped of Jackie with Betsy's parents in Dayton and continued on. After a stopover just east of St Louis, we finished off the trip to KC after stopping at Nostagiaville again. We got pics of every sign that had up along the highway. If you've ever driven through the midwest, you'd understand how that can be entertaining. Anyway, once there, we stopped at the course and did a few laps in the mud. It looked like it was going to be a fun weekend. I've been doing well in the slick muddy courses where it's more about handling than horsepower. After checking into the hotel and getting the bike I'd Fedexed from Portland, I was ready.

On Friday, we got to the course and I was able to do 5 laps on the course and then got myself ready to pit for Betsy and Gunnar. We wound up not being busy at all since the course was drying out. So I did my part in being ready and cheering people I knew on during the race. Betsy had a decent ride and finished 10th and Gunnar at least made the race entertaining after the few riders up front had ridden off. After starting fairly far back and beating his way into the top ten, he started falling back but then made a race of it for the last podium spot. He fell short but it was still a really good ride.

My race on Saturday didn't go well from the start. I missed a pedal and lost around 30 spots right from the gun. I got back in and started weaving through riders as they slowed to come off the pavement and then gunned it through the first turn. I'd hit it just right and was flying up the stretch and straight into the wreck that happened just as I got there. The race ended right there. I was in a big gear with fallen riders all around me. Damn. I tried to get restarted, but the morale had just taken too big a dive. I rode it out with a few others and we had our own little race within the race. I was winning that fight til towards the top of the fourth hill, I snapped a chain. This was starting to piss me off. I trotted the bike over the top section but the couple guys I was racing with, passed me by. Through the run-up section at the top, I wound up catching and passing one of them and then actually out coasted him through the next long dip towards the descent back down. It took a few hundred yards for the rider to finally catch and pass me. When I'd slow down, I'd get off and run the bike up to speed and coast it til I needed to repeat the process. All the while, I was shouting 'I wouldn't say no to a push, people'. I made it to the pits and got the spare bike and was off for the little bit of race that was left to me. At the end, I'd gotten lapped and it was the end of a dismal day.

After a painful Saturday night of getting the backup bike set up as a single speed, we'd lined up for the 8AM start. I was in the third row and began behind a couple guys on mountain bikes. I weaved thru them and going past the start line, I was about 7th or 8th and not really thinking about the hole shot. Then all of a sudden I was in third and was punching up the little rise. The 2 others wanted it a bit more than I did and I came back into view in third place. We got past the pits for the first time and I got my moment to feel cool. Then it was a slow slipping back through the field as we climbed. It was a bit too much for me. If we'd had a course like last years, I would've faired much better, but it dragged on about a couple hundred yards too far for me and I really died going across the last little section at the top. I held my position going back down and even gained a few spots, but with as fast as the course was, I wasn't going to make back much on the descents. I had fun on the day though and luckily we finished early. When we left the course at 9:30, it was still nice and warm out. About 10, things started to get ugly as the cold rolled in and did it fast. I had a couple friends in the collegiate race who absolutely suffered. I was back in the pits after breakfast at the hotel and it was pretty cold. I wound up hanging onto 3 different bikes as people came in and out for different reasons but there wasn't a whole lot of need for us. Betsy had an awesome ride from the very back of the field to finish 35th. This was made more amazing as she'd finished 22nd in the single speed race in the morning.

After doing the party on Sunday and loading up the bus so we wouldn't have to do it in the morning, we zonked out for one last night in KC. Monday, we fueled up and began the drive. It wound up being a really long drive back to Mo'town and from there I had to drive another hour to get home. I made it in at 4AM and was then up at 7:30 to get ready for work. I made it to 2PM and fell completely on my flat and was out. Twice across the country in 2 weeks might not have been such a good idea after all.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Portland USGP

Well, after a few days doing the things that paid my way out to Portland and then a bit, I finally got the bike in from Fedex and tossed it together Friday evening. I road it around a bit to make sure everything was ok and then got some good sleep for the Saturday race. Because this was a late idea, I wound up in the back of the starting grid. I wasn't expecting to do well at all. I'd not had the best tires on the bike yet as I had to use a backup set since the zipps needed serious maintenance. Once started, I'd also found the brakes could've used a bit more attention. I wish there would be a standard width on these things sometimes. Anyhoo, I tried to make the best of it, but just didn't feel confident on the course nor did I really have the energy. In short, I rode like crap. After hanging out and watching the elite races, I got the bike cleaned up and zipped back to the house where I was staying. My friends went out to a Yakima company party with their little girl so I spent Saturday just laying on the couch and watching bad TV. 200+ channels and not a freakin decent thing on. My mind was pudding anyway. I got the tires flip flopped and had the Hutchinson bulldogs ready. Now these tires are seriously good tires. I'm told you shouldn't run clinchers too low but I had these puppies at a hair over 30lbs pressure (I didn't want to say 31lbs and really sound anal about it). Later I watched an Austin Powers movie and some mind numbing thing that I still can't remember. Onward to Sunday.

After finally being able to say I did a cyclocross race on the west coast when it wasn't raining(it was still muddy though), Sunday's race returned me to a more comfortable situation. It was pouring down rain, somehow for my race only though. I guess I'm one of those black cloud people. After not being able to hold anything the previous day, the bulldogs hooked up to the course as if there wasn't any mud at all. I again started at the back, but after the first section of the motocross section of the course, I was almost halfway thru the field. I was on a good one. On the second lap, I was still holding my ground, but got wrecked into on the loop de loops at the start of the lap. That set me back a few places, but I managed to get myself going. I even had a bit of a cheering section as I am finding quite a few people who've moved out there from Western PA. Others that I've met remember the ponytail and know it's me so that helps out more. I let myself get egged on and road the tough little off camber zigzag which then did a 180 at the bottom of the hill and went right back up. I was moving past others who were having alot of trouble with the course and I was starting to feel pretty cool. The third lap, I'd made the hill again but had to do a one step scoot as the mud was really getting wet with the rain. By the 4th lap, I was still in the mid upper 30s place, when coming over the top of the loop de loops, I pedaled to build up a big head of steam to go blowing through the mud and the rider who'd dropped over a few seconds before, suddenly panicked, hit his brakes, got sideways and then road straight into my path. It was at this moment, that I remembered Bill Cosby's line from one of his early stand-up acts. First you say it, then you do it. I broadsided him about 5 yards into the mud. If it had happened closer to the bottom of the hill, both of us probably would've been headed to the hospital. Luckily, the mud took some of the speed from me and it wasn't as bad as it could've been. We both still went ass over tin cups and both of us got a bit banged up and lost 30 seconds or more getting up. I'd also screwed up a wheel so I had to pit and get a spare. It was really nice to have the SRAM guys there with the spare Zipps but the tires they use suck in the mud. When I got to the off-camber section again, I figured my race was done, so let's entertain people. Well, entertain I did. I road strongly through the first section looking like I was Superman and then I hit the corner at the bottom with a bit too much speed. Well, from this part of the race, you'll see why the blog is named what it's named. I laid it down and really coated myself well with mud. It was fun though, but this lap had now cost me almost 3 minutes and it was still only half over and now I was feeling the day. I took it easy for the next half lap and then came through for the 5th lap. The following couple laps I road the first section but due to my lack of confidence in the front wheel,I opted to dismount and just run the last section of the zigzag. I was chasing a few of the other riders but just couldn't keep going like I was earlier. In the end, I road it in and called it a day well spent with the knowledge that I could go well and actually be competitive in the Master's elite field, but I just needed a bit more luck on my side and not the bad kind. I currently have a 3rd row start spot in the Natz 40-44 field. Barring a miracle, I'm not going to win the race but maybe I can pull off the hole shot. I've done that before at a MAC race in the Master's elite against some pretty fast guys. Maybe I can pull it off again.

In the end, I'd had a pretty good week. I got to finally meet my good friends Chuck's and Dawn's little baby girl, ridden a couple fun races, met some great people, had a good couple days of work, got a free round trip ticket to anywhere in the continental United States(I took the bump on the way out), got a couple test model Scott running shoes and will have a pair of Spira hiking boots sent to me, and came back to a work situation that was pretty stable and didn't resemble the aftermath of the London blitz. The guys at I-Generator are also looking to have me come out there 2 times next year so I'm feeling pretty stoked about everything.

Wednesday, December 3, 2008

Airline efficiency

I was pretty impressed with how well United's service was going ... until I got to Chicago. We got in with plenty of time to spare but when I got to the gate, there were about a couple thousand people waiting to get on the plane at my gate. They were vastly oversold. So much for my opinion of United's efficiency. I'm now spending the afternoon sitting at O'hara International and waiting for my first class flight thru San Fran and then to Portland. I did get the free air tickets for the troubles. I wasn't going to be doing a whole lot anyway, so I figured, take the bonus plan. I got my tickets paid for me to go out and now I've got another round trip to where ever. I'll have to think about where to use them. In the meantime, I'll resume people watching. So far, the current pick for the most different person was the girl who has the buzz cut and was wearing a short cutoff jean skirt and tights with skulls down the outside of the leg. Along with that, she had an array of piercings. The good thing was, they were at least tastefully done and not the 'oooo, you must have lost a dozzy of a bet' type of piercing.

More people watching. The area where my flight is currently is waiting to board a flight for Vegas. There are some normal business travelers and also some people who'll look like they're taking a few days to go do the slots. I know you really can't judge people by their looks, but it does look like there is a few 'professional' women too. Judging by their attire, I don't think they're working a normal 9 to 5 office job. If they are and the attire is just their 'casual' cloths, where are the companies that have women like that located and are they hiring?

People watching at the airport

I'm waiting for my flight to Portland this morning. I have fun people watching while in congested areas like this. You do find an interesting cross section of people in certain places. I find it's a lot like high school cliques. You get groups of the same type of people herding together. There must've been a country music convention somewhere that people are going to since there was about 20 people in a large group and everyone of them had their cowboy hats on. As I type this, there is also the stereotypical asian guy with the camera taking pictures out the window at the planes coming in. I guess I'm the stereotypical geek with the notebook doing senseless typing as I wait for my flight. I need another cup of coffee. 4AM came waaaayyyyyy too soon for me.

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Pack Pack Pack!

I'm getting ready for a little work trip that just happens to be at the same bat time and same bat channel as the USGP this weekend. I'm upgrading a network I take care of out there which is paying for this little shin-ding. I've already fedex-ed the bike out there which saved me about $110 compared to what it would've cost me by taking it on the plane. From there, I'll send it on to KC for the following week. The spare bike will be getting a rest this weekend as I will have a spare out there already. It's always hell for me to get away for a few days and this year has been no different. I've gotten this routine down pretty well though and I should not have any problem this year. Portland is a town that I really enjoy going to, since I have some good friends there and it's a great town to visit. I do think I'm a bit too conservative(SARAH 2012! Unless Romney goes again. Some research scientist really needs to figure out how to re-animate the Gipper! ) for most folks out there to tolerate me for too long, but I enjoy it. It's funny how the locals there think Starbuck's is the great Satan of Coffee. There are lots of good coffee shops and sometimes the girls at the one near the office where I'll be are pretty cute. Some might bat from the left side of the plate, but that doesn't stop me from thinking they're cute. By Friday, the bike will be in and I'll slap it together and finish prepping it for the race. I only had enough time to get the worst of the crap off, lube it a bit and stuff it in the box on Monday. Sometimes I hate having a job. I also think I might actually get lucky this year. I've raced cross on the west coast in 5 of the past 6 years and I've never raced when it hasn't been in a downpour. Usually I get in and it's sunny for about the first 4 hours and then it gets cloudy and then goes to hell. I've been watching the forecast and the rain is supposed to have stopped before today and then it'll be sunny till Friday and then cloudy for the weekend. Dammit, I just checked again and they've advanced the rain to Sunday instead of Tuesday of next week. I'm hoping maybe I'll get just this little bit lucky this year.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Local racing

It's great to be able to jump in the car and drive off to some of the bigger events. With the larger number of racers, festive atmosphere and the getting out of town with friends thing, it's what keeps me going out there. But every now and then, it's fun to just be able to drive 30 minutes to a race and do the local thing. I've now done 2 weekends of the almost no travel and it hasn't sucked. The Freddie Fu team in Pittsburgh put on a good race yesterday. Too bad more riders didn't come out, but the weather had it's say on the day. Cold, like we experienced last week is one thing. Cold and wet is another. I would've tried a second race but I'm only able to deal with a wet chamois for so long. The course was a very good one and offered a lot of options for riders on the course. It was interesting to see how riders chose different lines and got up the little run-ups. The ride of the day had to be from Mike Mihalik. After crashing and getting swarmed by the 3 Speedgoat riders in the race, he'd fallen back to 6th place on the day. Then after a couple laps, he made the move of the day and burst up on the extreme inside of the first run-up and gapped Andy Gorski and Gerry Pflug. It wasn't just the small gap that yawned a bit but still allowed the others to get back on. It went to 3 or 4 seconds almost immediately and by the time he came back around the tennis courts a minute and a bit later, it was over 10 seconds. Something lit a fire under his ass and he took off. A few laps later, former MAC Masters champ Joe Ruggery came into his sights. On the lap where Mike caught him, Joe forced him to get off his bike the only time up the run-up for the day, but that just wasn't enough. The cold rain seemed to be getting to everyone except Mike. He came back to even closing to inside a minute behind long time leader Steve Cummings but he didn't quite have enough time. Overall, the venue was actually one of the better courses I'd been on this year. It would be a good one even with a pack of 40 or more riders. Maybe next year this will be where states are located and the idea has been floated. On top of the course being a good one for the riders, it was also a very good one for the spectators as you can view almost the entire course from 2 points. There are also a couple good points for being right at the tape and heckling. It was fun egging the riders on to attempt riding up the muddy climb and then the sharp off camber turns only a few yards away made it a really good spectator course. If we can get the Seton Hill cross race back next year, it could certainly make for a very good weekend. Time to start making those plans for next year.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Whether it's spent with family or friends, always take the time to give thanks for everything good in our lives.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

So that's what a Double Cross day feels like....

I did a local cross race today at Bruceton Mills. It's a tough little course but a fun one. I got the brainy idea of doing the Lancaster Dutch Wonderland race yesterday and then do a double today. Lancaster was a dud. My teammate Jeff and I got there with about enough time to get a warm-up or registering and running over to the pits with the spare bike. It took me a few laps to get going since the temperature was in the low 20s. I finally was able to be taking some big digs by the last lap, but it was too little too late. It was a fun course and I did get a good workout, but damn, when it's this cold, I really need at least 45 minutes of good warm-up time. I goofed around again Sunday morning and got to the race with about 15 minutes to spare. I spent the first 2 laps warming up, then raced with another rider up at the front in the B group race. I did a dumb move and nearly slid the bike out on a turn and wound up with a gap. I closed it, but really didn't want to have to do an effort like that and when I got jumped the next time up the hill, I was a bit cold to respond. From there, I put it into cruise control after trying to catch up for a lap and then settled for second. Already the second race was in my mind. When I got there, I might have had the mind on the race, but after a lap, the body wasn't. I was already thinking, I did what? This was going to suck. I battled back to 8th and 9th place after dumping the bike on a turn early on but at the 35 minute point, I finally cracked. I'd made a move that pushed me into 9th and I came right up onto the 8th place rider, then the hill to the finish line hit and POW. It was not the loud firey type explosion, but it did throw me back. I was able to keep my concentration together to realize I still had about 25 seconds on 11th and I wasn't going to lose another spot. I came up to the line a couple laps later and at 54 minutes I asked hopefully, 'Last lap?' Nope, two to go. JR, the race official was joking with the promoter that when I was done, I probably wasn't going to know who I was. He wasn't far off. I did recover enough to put a big enough effort to get into 9th place and then held on to stay 5 seconds ahead of the rider who was chasing for the whole race. My time was right about 1:10:00 for this race. Combined with the 53:00 minute time of the other and I'd spent over 2 hours on the course. I did come home with over $100 bucks worth of schwag as prizes and a trophy, but it felt like the longest 75 minute drive I ever took to get home. I don't think I even felt this bad after Iron Cross and that was a 5 hour effort with a 3 hour drive home. Hopefully there'll be a payoff in my late season form. Right now, I'm just going to eat something small and go to bed. I'll save the whining for tomorrow.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Dumb consumers

I was driving into work today(yes, I'm stamping down a massive carbon footprint and proud of it) and I heard one of the goofiest commercials on the radio. It was for a gas card. If you buy a drink at a GetGo in my area, you get 1 cent off per gallon of gas. The commercial had the moron who, was of course, a guy, asking the girl who was telling about him about the promotion, 'so you drink 3 cups of coffee a day, that's 3 cents off, right.' 'Yes and that builds up everytime. I got 15 cents per gallon off last week.' He goes on and says 'So what do I get if I get 2 cups of coffee, 2 Pepsis and a fountain drink?' Of course the answer is 5 cents off per gallon. My reply to that though would be 'Hmmmm, hypertension and diabetes?' I guess I woke up in a grumpy mood today.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008


Well, I'm adding my two cents worth into the multi-trillion dollar bailout that's going on in the country. Currently the Big Three automakers and the UAW are on the hot seat for asking for a bailout. I would say, let them go into chapter 11 and get out from under their union contracts that pay workers who don't work anymore. It would also start having realistic rules for the employees and pay them a normal salary. On top of that, the management shouldn't be able to pull massive salaries and bonuses. WTF, bonuses? Man, if they get millions of dollars for plowing a corporation into the ground, I can do that for far less. Let me make just $1 mil for a year and I could slam the companies into the ground just as well as the current management of any of the car companies. I wouldn't even take a bonus and I'd drive myself to work! Some government officials have mentioned that the government would get a piece of the companies then. That's pretty much what is happening in the banking and insurance industry. Next up, energy companies! Get ready to assume the position. This 'bailout' is amounting to nothing short of the nationalization of the major corporations in this country. It is accelerating out of control currently. President-elect Obama could earn a ton of respect from this conservative by stepping up and saying 'No, we're not going to do this anymore. We're going to let the companies re-organize and become competitive properly, not by taking money out of public coffers.' At this point, even though he says 'there is only 1 president at a time', he should use some of his influence as the President-Elect to stop the massive pillaging of this country. There I go again, expecting someone in government to do the right thing. Velkum to ze Federal Socialist States of Amerika.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

GP Day 2

Today went alot better than the first day. I blew myself apart after the 3rd lap today. I was actually racing with the group for a while today. I tailed off with some riders and stayed with them and even came back to a group. I began to pop about 2/3rds of the way through the 3rd lap but saw Feldman again coming up. I was able to summon up enough effort not to get caught and earned my right to suffer the fourth lap. by the mid point of the lap I'd gotten a couple beer hand-offs and received a 20 second penalty for dropping it when handing one back. I'd also started to get called 'Diamond Dave'(David Lee Roth for everyone on the young side reading this) because of my hair. I've just been too lazy to get it cut. It does get hard to keep the mind of the matter when it doesn't matter how slow you do the last lap. I'd done a few things differently than the first day. One was, I ran a bit more. I was really hoping that we'd be racing in the rain or that it would be wet enough that the course was a good soupy mud. That sort of stuff I can ride in, but peanut butter is another story. Through the long stretches for as long as I could keep the bike on the shoulder, I was running against the tape on the left side of the course and stretching it out so I was on somewhat solid ground. At each of the stakes, I would push it over as if I were hitting the flags on a ski slalom run. I was able to make up alot of ground on people who were slogging it up the right hand side with their bikes on the ground. Thanks a bunch to the C3 pit crew, especially Beth Mason on Saturday. Wade Hess was a big help on the Sunday and I was able to trade off bikes every half lap. I'll make sure to have some beers for everyone at the next race. I guess this will be a prelude as to what Portland will be like. I've never been on the west coast for a cross race where it hasn't been a rainy mess. To my friends out there, I'm known as a rain maker. They could be having great weather to the point of my arrival, but within a day or two, it winds up going all to hell. With my legs finally beginning to start going, I might be able to have a decent race out there. I've got 2 weekends of local races where I'll be able to work on the race form without the wear and tear of being in the car for a dozen or more hours over the weekend, so it might actually be relaxing. I'm sure it will be a tiring kind of relaxing though. Only about a month to go for the big one though.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

Trenton - the mud hole

The first of the USGP races in Trenton proved interesting. I can definitely ride in the slick mud better than a lot of riders. I started in the next to last row and by the end of the lap, I'd worked my way up to the front half of the race. I was able to anticipate the bumblef**k moves riders were making and was able to adjust so that I didn't get caught up in them. Past that, I was able to find some of the lines that let me get around easier than what most people were dealing with. I held there for another half lap but wore myself fighting the heavy mud in the long field stretches. Into the third lap, I blew completely. The course wound up drying out and it was just a bit too much for me. I'm really hoping tomorrow sees rain coming through the area. If it's wet mud, I can definitely hold my position better and not blow up. It just took way too much effort today and once again, my lack of fitness took it's toll. Each race though, I've been able to hang in with the group a bit further. Tomorrow could be interesting as it's raining right now.

Friday, November 14, 2008

I must be getting old

I was getting ready for work today and I finally noticed my arm was bruised from my elbow to halfway up the arm towards the hand. The scrapes I got from the wreck healed pretty fast but the bruises have taken a bit more. At least it isn't one of those nasty green bruises I'd gotten from some of my other wrecks.

Monday, November 10, 2008


It was a good kind of ouch though. I had some mixed fortune this weekend. At Beacon, I had a decent start, but just could not get the engine firing properly. The steps were alot easier as I found a technique that really worked well for my back. Going into the short step, I'd pick the bike up and as I would be making the long terrace step, I was putting the bike down til the next short step up. This gave the back a break and I was able to get up through the amphitheater much easier than in previous years. Unfortunately, I just couldn't make the body work hard. I don't think I'm warming up with enough effort so that could be the issue. That theory seemed to show some as I did get more warmup the following day at Highland Park. I rode about 15 minutes more but I think I need to do a more consistent effort, so I'm going to have to bring the trainer next week. I was able to hold in with the group for about a lap longer than I had in previous races and then I had my crisis lap. It didn't go on as long as it did previously which is a good sign and then all of a sudden, I felt the body begin to fire as I'd been wanting it to. The technical zigzag up the hill was quite easy for me this year and it was one of the places I was catching people. Keeping it in a small gear and keep the legs moving was the trick. Then I was able to pop it up a few gears for the road climb afterwards and kept it going over the top. The downhills were a blast for me. In the first two laps, I was using the sharp left with the slick up and back by the parking lot as a passing point. Most people tip toed through the corner and I had found a line that let me go through with no brakes. The soft mud beforehand took care of trimming the speed so I was able to float through it. The guys who'd left me behind the day before were fighting hard to stay with me and when the legs returned on the 3rd lap, I was creating a bigger gap and pulling some riders back who'd dumped me earlier. Then I hit my first 'Poor Dumb Bastard' moment of the year. I was slinging the bike through the lower off-camber turns and I'd found a fast line on the second one. I was dropping into the turn early and it allowed me to take the high side of the bank. The 4th time through I hit it right but came over a rut and the back wheel bounced. Instead of staying on the gas, I tried compensating for the shift in the bike and when it came down, the rear wheel went right out from under me as I'd hit the greasy mud that was just a bit below my line. I was moving pretty fast and just hit the ground hard, knocking the wind out of me. It took me about 15 or 20 seconds to get myself up and then a few more just to make sure the bike was ok and then I tried to get back on. My hand and arm took the brunt of the impact and weren't responding very well so I took it easy for a bit. Up the climb, one of my pursuers caught me and 2 more were closing. I stayed with him and when we crossed the line with 2 to go and seeing Yozell and Apsholm, I had to increase the pace. Going up the hill, I road away in a desperate attempt not to get lapped. Later after the race the guys who were chasing me were doing a WTF when I did that. I'd sat on the one wheel for half a lap til I could breath again then took off. He hadn't realized what had happened to me and just thought I'd blown up and he caught up. Unfortunately, the cavemen at the front came past, so I played the game of 'let's see how long I can stay with them. They gapped me after I let them pass, but I bombed down the first hill and closed to them and only lost a bit on the 2nd climb. I came through the zigzag as fast as they did but couln't match their speed up the hill. Well, that let me know where I stood - a technical match, but way down on the power scale. The good thing I came away knowing is that the body is finally beginning to be able to make the real intense efforts and I know what I'm having to do a bit more of before the race. I also road alot more after Sunday's race and even after the 5+ hour drive home, I'm feeling ok this morning. The arm and side are still hurting but I'm looking forward to the GP this weekend. I might have something for Nationals and be able to do my third row starting position justice this year.

Friday, November 7, 2008


It's the Beacon/Highland Park(that's no longer at Highland Park) cross weekend! Beacon has always been a bitch for me going up through the amphitheater. The back hasn't given me as much grief this year so maybe it'll go better. I've got to try to hold the efforts a bit longer though and hang in longer with the groups I've wound up in for the last few races. I'm getting tired of getting dropped and have to re-learn how to make myself suffer that bit extra. The thing I'm dreading is the drive. I'll be leaving from work already part way over so that'll help things but it's still a bit of a long drive. 3.5 hours this evening and then another hour in the morning. At least the car is fairly comfortable to drive in.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

It's over!

It's finally over! Obama has won coming off a successful campaign run. Whether we agree or disagree with what he's said in his campaign leading up to his win, he's the new President. Now it's time for us to see what he's really made of. One can only hope that things go well.


c'mon, you know it's going to happen.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

GAME ON!!!!!!

The big game is finally here! There's been a number of reports coming from Ohio where people have been getting nabbed attempting to vote illegally. It's good to see that they are stopping the casual cheats, but to get the people who get bussed around from county to county to vote, they need to work a bit more on. This is instances where there are houses where voters are registering as many as 20 people at one location and doing this in several districts. From there, it's just a long bus ride from one voting booth to the next for these people. I've actually looked into the process and it would not be hard for me to get registered in 6 counties and vote in them all. I know that I could get away with it. I'm just not a cheating piece of shit. Past all that whining, it will be an interesting one today. I like how when I mention cap and trade and what that will do to the concept of electric cars to several of my liberal friends, I get the 'LALALALALALALA, I CAN'T HEAR YOU' from them. I really don't get that. They want to clean up the environment, but the only way I see them doing it is to just legislate us to use less energy. I'm really against government legislated energy prices, nationalized healthcare, i want the gov out of the banking industry as well. In short, 'GET OUT OF MY WAY!' The bonus prize comes from the first person who can email me where that quote came from in the context of this posting. Anyhoo, I'm off for the polls. Then for the long wait. Then it's 2 weeks off til the beginning of the next presidential campaign. AAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA, my brain is melting.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Forgot to mention ....

I'm running for President. A nice old couple at Country Buffet told me I should do so the other day when I was going off on one of my scary conservative(Not Republican, thank you very much) rants about the Turd Sandwich and Giant Douche* who are running for the respective parties. There's not much difference between them. One will make you grab the table, the other will make you grab a chair and neither will call in the morning. (one will take the laundry money off the dresser so he can give it to others who 'need' it more than you do) So make sure to write me in. I'm running on the Graft Party ticket. Our party motto is 'There's a cut of the action for everyone..... and now for the fine print - it's just some cuts are bigger than others.' I'll make graft work!

*South Park, episode 119, Douche and Turd

And the snow is hitting!

Tonight we're getting snow. It's already hit in the foothills and Laurel mountains. I have to drive up through it tomorrow too! I guess it's a good reminder of what Natz will be like but I'm not quite ready for the weather. I always have some problems dealing with the weather changes. I have to pay alot more attention to the body at this time of year as I wind up with dry skin issues. The massage therapist usually notices that she uses a bit more massage oil than normal this time of year. Maybe sometime I'll figure that one out. I'm also trying a new mix in the vitamin fray. Now after taking all the pretty little pills, the pee won't be in thermonuclear green. It'll be plaid. Now that's good chemistry, folks! Hopefully I can figure something out on getting the engine going and beat the chronic fatigue. I don't seem to be worn down by traveling, but I can't muster enough energy to power the bike fast enough. The leg strength is there too, but to actually crank up the steam and keep it there for some reason isn't happening. If the new stuff works, maybe I'll publish the mix here. In the meantime, I have to go ride some. I have a workout that really does seem to help my off bike time in races. I started doing it a couple years ago and it worked quite well. It's been the dismounts and runups where I've really gapped riders that I have been with in the races the past couple years. Each time I gap them, it just gets harder and harder for them to bring me back. I'm not ready to say I'm going to win races, especially since I'm racing up a class, but I'm holding a bit better. If I can just crank up the horsepower now.

Monday, October 27, 2008


I had a pretty good day on Sunday. I didn't place very high or anything, but I also didn't get lapped against some pretty fast guys in DCCX. I held the field for a bit, but again my horsepower is just a bit off or as I later found out, I need to just push a bit of a bigger gear. Coming into the last few hundred yards of the lap with 2 to go, I was able to see the leader, Blair Saunders coming up at about 45 seconds behind. Dammit, I was going to finish this race and it wasn't going to be at a lap down. I pushed it through the road section past the finish line. I'd dumped a small group a couple laps back and was just riding a steady pace. Now I had to put in an actual hard effort. I was worried about getting caught in the far fields where there were some long stretches that required nothing but horsepower, technique was optional. I had it in the big ring and saw I was actually holding my gap. Blair had closed a bit but not too much. In through the uphill barriers, I still did not see him closing and with only half a lap to go, I was feeling confident. In the end, I managed to stay about 20 seconds ahead and was able to push through the final lap. Even though the gun barrels are pretty low right now, I can look at the bright points. I'd not gotten lapped. In the areas where technical skills were a help, I came through clean and my dismounts and mounts were clean and quick. When you are getting back on the bike and it feels like you're just stepping onto the bike and not jumping on, you've got the flow going. I opted to bail out of the second race which would've had me lapped pretty quickly as Wes Schempf is going pretty well now. Instead, I had a beer in the pits and was heckling some riders while pretending to have their bikes ready. Even Melanie had a beer there as she was pitting for Judd. The elite race was cooking and there was a 5 man group of the front. All of a sudden, we heard a call go up about a wreck. With the exception of last years Natz, this was the first time I'd seen a serious injury at a cross race. We'd initially heard it was a leg break, but I think it wound up to be an ankle. Either way, it had to suck for that guy. The lead 4 came through the next time. It stayed like that until about 1.5 laps to go, when something went awry and a couple riders tangled and went down. I guess it's not too surprising that it would turn out like that as the leaders were riding as close as you would as if you were on the road. With the wreck breaking it up, the race went to Wes who won for the second year in a row.

After a bean&cheese burrito and a long drive back with Gunnar and Betsy's dog Jackie on my lap for a good portion of the way, I wound up having to go into work when I got home at around midnight and fix a net connection. Comcast definitely sucks in this department. Someone should put some code in the modem that as soon as net traffic goes down to reboot itself. These pieces of shit go down at the worst time(like today, when I'm 5 hours away from the damn thing). I guess this is why I get paid the big bucks. To go in at midnight and do stupid shit like this. Oh, well. It's a living. I just wish I could clone myself and then pay the clone minimum wage. I might get some training time in then.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Granogue/Wiss weekend

Late registration was again a nasty thing to me this past weekend. I really have to get my shit together in that department. On the other hand, it does force me to work harder at the start of a race. At Granogue, I did manage to pull up several spots thru the field at the start. Unfortunately, that nasty ghost I have following me around right now called a flat tire got me again. At the top of the hill, I was skittering around since my rear tire only had around 10lbs left in it. On top of alot of off-camber riding, it was very dry this day, so a slowly deflating tire was going to cost me quite alot of time. After losing at least a minute getting to the pits, I set out on the spare bike. Gosh, it's great to have one. Not only did I have the spare bike, but I'd brought 2 spare sets of wheels too! I'm really on a campaign to try to be over prepared this year. It does leave you with options on race day. Once I was back on a bike that was ready to go, I went fairly well. I caught a few riders back and was doing the button hook at the bottom of the big hill well enough that I had a fairly easy ride up. Compact gearing is great. In the end, I fell only a bit short of getting lapped by two of the Westwood Velo cavemen. Without the flat and being in a group to keep me going, I'm fairly certain I would've been a couple minutes faster and only been about 5 minutes down overall.

Wissahickon was a bit different for me. This was a Murhpy's law day that was intent of giving me the full lesson. Starting at the back(again), A knot of riders got taken out almost immediately when one rider got a very bad start and crossed over several of our wheels. From there, I locked bars and it took a second to come undone. Charging back to the back of the group and burning a match even before I'd started racing, I ran into the cluster f*** at the first hairpin 180. Maybe I should've just gotten off the bike and thrown it over the tape and cut through the pack. I might've grabbed some spots there. It was at that point, the next thing went wrong. I wore my road kit since I hadn't gotten my new skinsuit. Pactimo is a company that really needs to get their shit together and quit being so freakin cheap on zippers. Now, granted, I'm a bit of a fat bastard being 20lbs over my race weight currently, but I never had a zipper blow out on any Voler, Verge or Descente skinsuits I've had over the past 10 years. I've gone through 5 Pactimo zippers in the past 2 years. So there I am, trying to ride and yanking the zipper back down so it doesn't look totally ridiculous. I got into a group at the back and was riding fairly well when the demon gods came again. This time, my front tire felt a bit off. Later when I looked at it, it was still ok but with everything that was going wrong to that point, it just seemed like one more thing hitting me. After nursing the bike around the looping turn above the sand tracks, I slapped the bike down and was hopping back on while the bike was still bouncing. My ass hit at the same time the bike hit the ground and I popped a sewup loose. Dammit, was I going to have to run again? NO! I stopped and forced the tire back on and nursed it to the pit. With a minute gap to the back markers, I at least could make a game of it. Powering the bike through the sand and keeping my pace on the back stretches, I closed steadily til we got to the runup with the barriers. The workouts I've been doing in this department are definitely showing for me now. I was able to come at the boards at a good speed and was off the bike and the momentum carried me up the hill. On the bike quickly and a couple hard pedal strokes and I felt smooth. I closed 5 to 10 seconds every lap on the rabbits I was chasing through this section. After a couple laps, I caught the first guy and sat on his wheel for a spell and then blasted past going into the spiral of death. I gapped him and was closing on the next guy who was a teammate of the rider I'd just passed. We regrouped for a few brief seconds and the next time up the runup, I'd dropped the first and put a small gap on the second rider. He closed it and I stayed with him through the next half lap. Going into the spiral again, I stayed close on his wheel til the final cut to the reverse part. I sliced in and got a jump coming out. I managed a good pace though I got caught again, but we were heading into my best part of the course, the runup. I got a few seconds as it was the last lap, but I didn't press it home hard enough and it turned out to be a sprint between us. We made it look pretty good as Ken Getchell announced us as 5th and 6th. We were a lap down but hey, you have to make it look good. I should've popped it into the big ring and wound up running out of gear so I got pipped at the line. I did manage to close a big gap on some riders though and again, I rode a clean race though my insistence on staying on the bike definitely cost me some time when I could've just run the little hill at the start of the lap, but I'm not at the point where I've been wanting to just quit the races as I had to do last year. At some point, luck might smile on me and I'll get that good start and keep the air in the tires. I've traditionally been a slow starter in cross and it's usually in early November when things pick up for me. We'll be doing Fairhill in the first week which has been one of my better courses. Over the years, I've placed high in the B class and one year I even road the Elite race and gave a nice schooling to a roadie who had way more power than I did but he couldn't figure out why I kept passing him when riding through the muddy tracks in the fields. I'm hoping that the upward trend starts soon. Next week is DCCX. I had a decent race there last year so I'm looking to show improvement in my placings.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

The Big Game!

Well, the big game is on tonite. It's the last debate(Thank God!) The politicians talk about term limits. I think they should have some limits on campaigns. It used to be that candidates tossed their hats in the ring the fall before the primaries. This campaign has been going 2+ years. Where do these people find time to actually do their freakin jobs? If I took that much time off mine, I'd have no clients. Hmmm, maybe I should get into that racket. I recycled this pic(from from an earlier post, but it's a good one for tonite. Instead of debate, maybe it should be called a "Bullshitting" contest.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Iron Cross Weekend

I’ve completed my second Iron Cross weekend. The first day was the IC Lite race which is a traditional cross race. I actually got a good start coming into the grass in 7th and I didn’t have to pay a price to get there. Unfortunately, it was right about then that all the air started to go out of the back tire. After almost losing it through the first 180, I had to lighten up on the effort. I lost a lot of places going through the little zigzag section through the sand and got to the pits for the second bike. I came out 10 seconds behind last place. SHIT. I increased the effort to bring back the first group, road with them for a couple minutes and then pushed past. I caught and passed a few more riders over the following laps, but I’d spent myself. I really wasn’t expecting anything great, but I do feel I could’ve finished at least mid pack. My ability to hold an effort is getting better.

For Sunday’s race, I knew my form wasn’t as good as last year as well as being 6 or 7 lbs heavier so I’d lowered the gun barrels a bit. As feared, my overall climbing was off and there were some really freakin long climbs. I slipped a couple groups and then got in with a few riders who all were in the same position as myself. We were just riding and having a good ol’ time. I was beginning to seriously cramp at miles 35-45 but had gotten some Hammer Electrolyte caplets at the 3rd check point. After they started to kick in I was feeling much better. I wish I’d taken them before the start as that might’ve saved me a good 10+ minutes. The single track sections were a total blast though. Last year, I’d gotten off the bike a few times since I wasn’t as confident on my abilities. This year, I had to get off the bike only for a few yards since I’d run into a knot of riders who didn’t understand what ‘GET OUT OF MY WAY, HOT SOUP COMING THRU’ meant. They just didn't scatter quite fast enough. After remounting, I continued to blast my way past riders who’d left me standing on the hill and put about a minute on them before we got back out onto the road. Later in the race, the same thing happened on the last two sections of rocky single track on I was going faster now. I’d gotten my second wind and was able to pass several riders and on the climb leading into the final walk up(no run ups here since they were usually several hundred yards at a minimum). I short stepped it and closed on them to the step in the middle of the walk up. The riders I was chasing must’ve been cooked since they walked the 100 yard step that was only just more than level trail. I road halfway up the final climb passing a one rider and coming up on the wheel of the second rider. Hopping off, I paced it up the hill just behind. At the top, there was a slight rise we had to remount. Once we were pedaling, the other rider left with me looked over and said ‘man, I am hurting bad’. That was all I needed to hear. I jumped on it(hey, we were racing for 125th or something like that) and pushed up over the little climb. Doing this race the year before, I knew if I could keep my speed over the top, it was followed by some fast rollers and then a big descent back out on real roadway. Hitting pavement, I dumped it into the 50x13 and really launched it. Knowing the guy chasing me was a roadie sprinter, I didn’t want to give him a chance to even come back to me. On a small climb, I could see him 30 to 40 seconds back. The final big descent, I did more of the same. I was using the whole road and hit the next to last turn at a really good clip. With two small pops leading into the finish, I kept my pace going without killing myself. The only real effort I was able to put in for the previous 10 miles was based on leg speed. I could see on the first pop which was the steeper of the two, the gap shrunk to 20 seconds. The good news was, that was his last gasp. Getting to the top of the final rise, I could see the gap yawned back to more than 30 seconds and by the finish, the gap was at least a minute. I wound up being about 3 or 4 minutes slower than last year, but all things considered, it wasn’t a bad ride.

One good thing about the weekend was I had a successful race day coaching debut. I rode Saturdays course with Terri Spanogle, an elite womens rider who is making some progress this year. She’s normally coached by Chris Mayhew who was in Cincy this past weekend. I showed her which lines to take and where and when to put the efforts in that matched her riding style. Up until the 3rd lap, she was all over Betsy Shogren and had even gotten excited enough to try and attack her. That move was a bit more than I wanted her to do, but she was feeling stoked. Unfortunately, on a remount, she knocked her saddle loose and lost about 15 seconds in the next lap. That was pretty much where it stopped. She figured how to compensate for it and was able to put the effort in to stay close. Terri didn't gain any time but she was able to prevent Betsy from coming in for her single speed, which I know she wanted to do. A second bike and no mishaps like the saddle and she might have been able to make a go for the win. It was only after her mishap that she started to forget the clean lines for a bit but all in all, she road a really good race. It’ll be interesting to see how she does at Granouge next weekend. A bit of confidence can go quite a long way.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Computers and the weather

As a computer consulting/service company, I have 4 extremely busy times of the year. At the beginning and ending of the years, both fiscal and calendar, I have customers who are either trying to use up the rest of last years budgets at the end and then buying new toys for themselves when they get their new years budgets. Those are generally very busy, but fun times since there generally isn't too much that is going wrong with the hardware. That is for early fall and early spring. When the weather swings back and forth with greatly changing temperatures, computers generally start throwing fits at this time. Rapidly fluctuating weather and temperatures will cause the components of the systems to move around as they the metal on them is shrinking and expanding. Usually a quick preventive maintenance takes care of any problems, but every now and then, a few of the systems just decide to take a crap and really make my days miserable. In this past week, I had 2 notebooks and 1 desktop for customers decide they were going to annoy me (as well as my customers). On top of that, I'm now helping a new client out of a miserable mess caused by another computer business where the techs there knew just enough to shoot their foot off and wound up wiping out a server. To top that off, they didn't check to see if there was a proper backup of the server before they started goofing with it. After blowing off questions from the client about the errors they were recieving from the backups, they proceeded to go in half cocked and wipe the drive out. After shooting their foot off then, they proceeded to reload the gun and shoot the other foot off by trying to save the situation by reinstalling the operating system. If they'd just stopped after losing one foot, I could've saved things, but now the customers data for the last year is a 75% loss. They told me to be billing them their emergency rates as they know I've been taking time from other clients to get them back up and running so it's going to be a well paying repair, but it's really eaten up alot of my time. I haven't been on the bike since Saturday and it's really getting at me now. The worst part of it is, the other company is acting all indignant that the customer didn't have a working backup. Well, that was the techs job to make sure one existed before he started fucking around with the server. I really hate the passing the buck on responsibility that we have going on in this country today. The ol' 'I'm a screwup but it's someone elses fault' theory that is being pushed in schools, courts and workplaces is really out of hand and something has to be done to reign it in. Maybe Singapore has it right on their justice system. Beat the hell out of some of these people and maybe they'll start thinking twice about how they do things. Maybe this is a bit extreme and I'm advocating something that might not be the best solution. I'll blame that on the fact that I haven't been able to ride my bike this week. It's certainly not my fault that I'm this wound up...

Friday, October 3, 2008

All bikes are now ready!

Finally! I got my front line cross bike ready. I'm leaving the carbon wheels off it for the Hagerstown and Iron Cross races, but I'm now up on the bikes I should've been on but didn't get built due to the unfortunate extension of the road season. I have to get a pic of the one I picked up at the end of last year. It was pretty cool looking and also bordered on the stupid light category - 17lbs with the pedals. Now if I could just get myself somewhere close to the stupid light category, I might go a tad faster.

My week of training didn't finish quite as well as I would've liked. Work once again got in its way. I am having to put out a fire at a new client. Once again, I am cleaning up the mess of another company who apparently is in business because they know how to build a pc. The problem for people like this is the age old 'What happens when something goes wrong' concept. That is when these companies fold up tent and disappear into the night leaving people like myself to clean things up and talk people off the ledges when all their data for the past 6 years is now gone. It's good to know that people outside of my direct area of operation are hearing about me and that they're willing to pay me to come to them in situations like this. Maybe I can start cracking up my rates more. I'm actually a bit surprised some computer consultants don't wind up in ditches more often when this sort of shit happens. I don't know if I'll be able to magically fix everything for this customer, but I know at worst case, they'll have lost a couple weeks data. In the meantime, I'll have to make sure I leave the bike in the car if I want to get any riding in early next week. I'll be tired, but it'll be a well paid kind of tired.

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Ranting (whining, call it what you like)

"Now is not the time to affix the blame. Now is the time for senseless bickering!"

I, like millions of other Americans (at least I hope it's that number) have been following the nasty financial bailout tif that is going on in this country right now. All of the politicians as well as financiers and media people are talking about how we have to do it, without mentioning one thing in the whole mess - Responsibility! At what point are people in this country accountable for their actions. It is pretty damn clear that there has been a lot of shenanigans going on over the past couple decades and people who tried blowing the whistle were shut up. If the average person tried this sort of thing, we'd be hauled before a court, tried in a reputation and career shattering fashion and locked up before we knew what hit us. At what point is there going to have to be a few leaders heads on pikes before a sense of proper conduct is brought back to the whole mess called Washington. I keep hearing people on the news say, 'Now is not the time to be pointing the finger. We have to come up with a plan and rescue the situation.' I agree with this to a certain extent. One we come up with a plan and enact it, then it MUST be time to be looking at what was done and then get the pikes out. Anyone who has been using the situation for political posturing should also get a whack on the head at the very least, though I'm being much too kind. Everyone on the House Finance committee should step down and charges should be looked into. If they are that incompetent then they're removal is justified. If they are competent, but chose to overlook the situation because they knew it could create a political gain situation, then off to jail with them. It's time people start taking these people to task and start demanding accountability and following through on it.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Ed Sanders Cross

This race has been one of the MABRA's early season races for a while now. It's a tough little course since it's fairly marshy, especially if it's been raining. It's held at the Lilypon's Water Gardens. Did I mention it could get a bit marshy there. There are several ponds there that you have to ride between which if you're in a cluster of riders could spell disaster if you're on the wrong side of the collision. A few years ago, I nearly got knocked in. Last year, I was off form and hanging on at the back of the master's elite. Then I flatted. Then after nursing it in to the pits, I got the pit bike came back out and charging after the other back markers and within a half kilometer, I flatted again. It was that type of race. This year, I wasn't even sure if I was going to race. My lead up to the weekend was probably the worst kind you could have. Tuesday, the mailserver at one of my clients melted down. Gunnar and I left at almost 7am, Wednesday after we'd finished the restoration. This server handled all their web crap and it could've been backed up a bit better, but we messed around a bit too long trying to save the old one. I was back in at 9:00am to cover any of the problems that were sure to be noticed. I did manage to ride a bit that afternoon and then again the next day, but they only amounted to 15 miles on the trail that was more of a light maintenance ride than a good training ride. Friday and Saturday were complete blanks. I intended to ride but work got in the way Friday and when I did go to ride Saturday, it started raining. Not one of those light 'yeah, you're going to get wet rains'. It was more one of those 'drop the anchor, otherwise you'd get washed away' type rains. So I woke up at 5AM on Sunday and laid in bed for 30 minutes before deciding to go. I made the 3 hour drive to Maryland. I arrived with plenty of time to get ready and even got an ok warmup, though because of the registration people not really being ready and not having numbers there for us, we were stuck for 20 minutes scratching our butts before they even started on the first rider. Registering at the line pretty much screws you for the day and I started at the back of a field of 59 riders. The prologue lap starts wide open but after a couple hundred yards turns into single track with no opportuniy to pass until you get to the first barrier section. I got past about 15-20 guys on the first grass area at the start. The rider in front of me was a good roadie and I tried following him as I knew he could do well in crits but he left a bit to be desired on this start and I was going into the grass not even breathing hard. Once I hit the grass, I went wide and high and was able to gain some of the ground I was hoping but a bit faster on the road and I would've been 10-15 places further on. I caught up to one group and then was able to make the jump to the next and then that's where it pretty much finished. I got to no man's land and then for the rest of the race I caught people who were blowing up and also go passed by a couple who had a bit more in the tank that I did. I did ride a fairly good technical race in that I was able to pick my points of battle and road a clean race. We were just trying to get in and in the last tough section, I knew that I was having trouble staying in front of the riders on the hills before the drop to the finish. I let a couple riders go by and just maintained on the top. On the flat before the off camber drop towards the finish, I passed the first rider and then the second after taking a 2nd look back and thinking he'd gassed me, I punched it and used the mountain bike descending skills. When we hit the 1st of two mud puddles he heard me and was shocked to see me suddenly right back on his wheel. I waited til going around the building and hitting the finish stretch before finishing him off. It wasn't for a high placing, but I was still able to keep the wits about me for the whole race and still have a bit for a finishing punch. I just need to get myself ready for the quick punches out of the turns at the start of the race so I don't get put into a position of continually having to work back to the group. I think I'll pre-reg next time as well.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

It's a good job if you can get it...

I'm starting with a new client today. I'm basically getting paid for my opinions on how people are doing things in their business. It's a pretty good gig too. I guess I've been down the street enough to know when you're about to be wasting huge amounts of money on technology. Basically doing stupid things just because of the need to have the newest and best. My brother always described this sort of behavior as being left brained. Whenever someone would be talking and making a case for their point and not realized that they'd just gone into the 'stupid' zone, he would refer to it as 'you're going left brain on me'. This is pretty much that type of job. I can add my two cents (or in this case my twenty two cents worth - I'm a guy in demand here, ya know) when I see my ideas would be of more benefit to the organization. Apparently in the last decade, the rush to upgrade computers has gone past what the cost benefits would be. No one seemed to be looking at the concept of 'Faster and newer is not always better'. I guess the best way to put it is I'm being paid to be the voice of reason. To quote Scott Adams, I'm amazed at my ability to get paid for this. This should help make cross season alot less painful from a financial perspective.

Monday, September 22, 2008

...and I heard the 'brown' note!

Well, I did the final road race of the season. I wasn't really expecting to win it or even be racing in the Mountain State Classic this year. I found out partway up the first climb, I should have just stayed in bed or gone to Baltimore for the Charm City Cross. My knee was still feeling uncomfortable on the climb from the previous weeks bungup. In short, I was ill-prepared, poorly motivated, and not that confident of my chances. So when it came time for me to step up and let the world(at least the small world of West Virginia) know if I was ready to defend my title, I really let a bad one out. I'd heard the 'brown' note and that was pretty much my day. Dammit, I should have driven to eastern PA and Baltimore for the weekend. I really have to stop second guessing myself.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Road Season Crescendo

Well, the road season will certainly be finishing with a crescendo for me this year. Hopefully it will be one that leaves a good impression. The Mountain State Classic is only a couple days away. I have to watch 2 riders, so if anyone wants to come and ride away from us because I'll be sucking wheel all day, please do. I've beat both of the riders I have to watch before(though they've both beaten me as well in other races) at this race so it will probably be a close run affair. It'll just depend on how well they do when they're being annoyed at my tactics. I know both are steadier climbers so that will fit me as well. I just hope I don't run out of gas towards the top of the big climbs as I did last year. Since the race is also the WV State Championship race, it will wind up being an 'every man for himself' situation. The body is recovered from last weeks race. The training is about as good as it's going to get. I might have someone handing me off bottles at the tops of the climbs so I won't have to carry quite so much. The only thing that could let me down is me. I'll see how much I can tough things out on this one which will be a good lead-in to cross.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Mo'town Wednesday niter

I wound up not having to do a long stupid drive to Clarion, PA today, so I'm opting to drive down to Morgantown for the final Wednesday niter of the year. I'm going to be running the race wheels I'll be using on Sunday's Mountain State Classic since I haven't used them in about 6 weeks. Afterwards, we'll be sitting around drinking beer and eating burritos in our chamois at Black Bear. It'll be a nice low key way to close out the road training season. I'm going to try to stir interest in the Tuesday night old man rides again. Those were a lot of fun and they got me pretty fit in the years I did them regularly. Nothing like a 13 mile slow grade uphill which finished with an all out push in the last mile or two. Then after we regrouped, we rode back down the trail with a few sprints along the way. Nothing like pushing yourself really hard and only being able to see via headlights on the bike. It's a surreal experience made a bit difficult when a smartass like Gunnar rides along side you and then stares straight into your face while wearing a helmet mounted light. If I ride from his house, we'd get about 32 miles which is pretty good on the cross bike and on a trail to boot. That with a couple skills training and hill run-up days should make for some decent fitness this year. Bring on the fall now!

Monday, September 15, 2008

It's late...

and I'm going to bed, but I am registered for Cross Natz. Last year, I got a start spot of somewhere around 1000 (at least it seemed that way). This year, I was NOT going to have any of that. I got the email notice this afternoon and was wired and ready by midnight. An hour of surfing and waiting for that magic time when the registration and WOOOHOOO, I got in 13th. So even if they have the top 5 from last year and maybe another 1 or 2 guys, I should probably be getting a front 2 or 3 row start. It's a hell of alot better than the 20 rows back start which by the time I got moving, the front of the race was halfway up the hill. I'm going to work extra hard to be ready for this one.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

I Feel Bad...

To take a quote from Han Solo after being interrogated, I feel bad. I did the Big Bear Lake Ultra yesterday. I was going at a manageable clip yesterday. I even had outdistanced the guys I was going to be needing to beat in next weeks Mountain State Classic. In the end though, I was freakin beat. That was just off 6 hours of hell and I'd only done 42 miles of the event. I had smacked my knee early on and had to back off, which let Eric Delaney and Kean Bird catch me at the first feed zone. I later left them only to see Kean about 2 hours later when the knee had begun to falter and I was dehydrating. I guess I was expecting them to do something like having the feed zones somewhat evenly spaced but the 16 mile gap between stops 2 and 3 was just a bit too far and I'd run out of water about 4 miles out. At that point, I had to let Kean go and the knee was really starting to talk to me. I was doing the rocky descents and the roads fairly well, but when I had to do serious climbing I was really feeling it. When I got to the 4th feed zone, I assessed the situation. 10 more miles of beating the knee up which was showing some blood down the leg from the earlier hit or just take the final jump in. I put the pride in the shirt pocket and gave myself a shortened day. It would've been good to finish and I would've done it in around 7 hours but my goal is mainly next week. I've got a series to defend and this day had already given me what I was hoping to get and then some. The plus side of things was that I was able to keep a good hard effort up for 4+ hours. Another good sign was that the legs and lower back are feeling ok today. The bad side was my shoulders and arms feel like someone repeatedly punched them. They hurt so bad that the following day, I could not even reach behind the seat and pull my notebook out when I stopped at a coffee shop. To top things off, I get the email notice today at my kid's football game that Cross Natz registration is at 12:01AM. Jeezus, I miss the old days of the scrum of the pack when lining up. I always called it the race before the race. In years past, I'd had decent luck with this, but in the past 3 nationals I started so far back that by the time I would hit the first patch of grass, the leaders were at least a minute up. Hopefully things will go a tad better this year. In the meantime, I'm going to soak in a hot tub for about 3 days.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Addendum to Odd

I got hit with by freakin bat in my face this evening on my ride. Luckily there isn't alot of mass or speed with those little guys or I might've had a problem. It was wierd with the wings fluttering in my face for a few seconds and then after brushing it off, both of us continued on our way.

Odd happenings in my world...

Odd? ummm, really Jay?

These past couple weeks have been quite a change of pace. On top of the bike racing taking a turn for the better, I've wound up bumping into several old friends from years back. It was nice to see all of them and it brought back lots of good memories. I guess it's not unusual to suddenly catch up with people who you haven't seen in a very long time, but several of them in such a short time was a pleasant surprise. Each of them were an out of the blue occurrence as well and were completely unrelated. I'm not really sure if there is anything of significance in all this, but I just found it interesting in the timing.

The last time I'd had something that ranked in this category was on a day last year when I'd gotten a Chinese fortune cookie at the Super Panda restaurant that said 'You will soon receive an unusual gift'. Later that same day, I was at baseball practice for my youngest son and a lady came up to me and in a shy way asked, 'Do you mind if I ask you your name?' and then proceeded to tell me why. Almost 20 years ago, she'd lost a brother who like me rode his bike all around town just like I had. He had been killed in an accident and not long after that was when she had noticed me riding my bike around. She said she'd seen me all over the region including one time on top of the mountain near Seven Springs about 40 miles from home. What caught her eye was that both her brother and myself had longer blond hair, cut the same way, pretty much the same style rimless glasses and even looked close alike. She'd wanted to ask my name and find out who I was for a long time but never got the opportunity until just then. Several times she'd even turned her car around to try to catch me but by then I was gone. This was over a span of almost 20 years. She also said, the sight of seeing me brought back some good memories of her brother and was kind of comforting to her. She immediately followed this up by saying 'Please, never stop riding your bike'. It's amazing how sometimes you can touch a person without ever knowing or even speaking to them. Losing a sister in an accident myself many years ago, I know what people can go through and sometimes it's little things like this that help us get through the pain of having a loved one wrenched away from long before it was time. It was odd, but that was a fortune cookie message I'd kept even before I'd talked to this other lady about her brother. I didn't know why but maybe there was something telling me this was one to hang onto. I still do have it with me.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Big Bear Lake Ultra

With the upcoming Mountain State Classic in a week and a half, I felt the need to do something that would get the body prepared for that sort of an effort. Since cross racing and road racing really aren't that compatible, I opted out of doing the opening weekend of the PA Cross series and will be doing the Big Bear Lake MTB Ultra. This will a good 50 mile slog on the single speed. I've got a bit of maintenance to do, but for beating the ol' Fisher rig around for almost 2 years now, it's held up quite well. It'll be interesting to see if my body can match that performance this weekend. Last year, I'd done the Iron Cross and if I didn't do the world's slowest tire change near the end of the race (10+ minutes including eating a clif bar and being pissed off with myself for how I flatted) I would've broken the 5 hour mark. That would've still been well off the leaders, but for a first time effort in a race like that, it wasn't that bad. Anyhoo, the Big Bear Lake should be a fun one. I figure it will be somewhere around a 5-6 hour effort. That should definitely set me up for being a cheap drunk later in the day. One or two beers and I'll be in one of those very suggestible states. I might have to take that camping out option.

Monday, September 8, 2008

Dirt Derby - WVMBA Finals

The WVMBA Champs were this past weekend. I spent the day before at the Comfort Music Festival which was a Cancer benefit concert. The hospital asked us to set up the tent there and have some promo material. Luckily it was a bit of a lower key concert that didn't get stupid loud. The music was mainly bluegrass (hey, it is West 'by God' Virginia here). That is pretty much a style where you actually have to be able to play unlike most rock acts which rely on volume over talent. On top of that, there's nothing like having some pretty hippie chicks dancing barefoot up near the stage to help divert my mind from all the other pressures of the world. We finished the night up with some sushi and bubble tea at Hibachi in Morgantown then watched 'Grizzly man' back at Chris' house. This was a documentary about Timothy Treadwell, who was a bear enthusiast who went a bit over the edge. He was to grizzly bears what Steve Irwin was to crocodiles. They both pretty much pushed things a bit and in the end which some would call tragic though many call it inevitable, learned that while other species of animals might be interesting to study and look at, piss them off and they won't hesitate to kill you. I think that's pretty much the lesson here. What else can you really get from either of their stories. It's not likely that humans and grizzly bears are ever going to sit down and play a game of cards together so it might be best to observe them from a distance.

Anyway, back to the WVMBA champs. I got an ok start, but the long road section thru the town of Barboursville makes it tough on the single speeders. Once on to the trail, I was doing alot of barking at riders to give me the line. I even prompted a few of the expert riders that I'd caught to pass the riders they were sitting behind. The first section of the course was pretty much a BMX like course. Lots of quick twists and turns, some fast stretches but no big climbs. I was kicking myself for not using the 18 instead of the 20 tooth cog on the back. I really have to have more confidence in the fact I can push the bigger gears. Having even a 19 could have trimmed a couple minutes off my time, especially as there was several fire roads on the course and even noodling along I would've gone a fair amount faster. I road a fairly clean race though I did chicken out on doing the steps where Joey Riddle crashed hard last year and broke some ribs, arm, collarbone and maybe a bit of pride too. I've had a crash like that before so I felt his pain and did not want any of it directly. It only cost me a couple seconds but I was back on and catching some riders so I felt good about my day. I let one rider past a bit more than a mile from the finish and I followed him in. He was doing the descents fairly smooth and I didn't feel like fighting for position heading into the finish. We were closing to another rider just as we came down the descent for the finish. One thing I will say about the single speed is, if you are finishing the race on a hill, it really demoralizes the other riders when they see you stomping past them. It's basically the only option for us. Go hard because we can't down-shift. It wasn't quite enough though and I finished just 6 seconds out of 4th. If I'd used the 19 or even the 18, it could've been 3rd or possibly even 2nd. Even with that, I'd trimmed 8 minutes of last years time so I was quite happy. Now I just have to make the decision on whether to do the start of the PA cross series or the Big Bear Lake Ultra next week. On one hand, it's the start of the cross season. On the other, Big Bear would be a good effort, one that I need to do well in the Mountain State Classic. My mind might be made up by the fact that Big Bear Lake is only 1.5 hours away versus 4.5 hours. 6 less hours in the car might not be a bad thing. My brain hurts now trying to make a choice.

Friday, September 5, 2008

Damn it!

Well, I'd thought the Mountain State Classic was done for this year. Well to steal a line, the reports of its demise were greatly exaggerated. Damn it! I was already starting over to cross workouts and I'm going to have to do a bit more work for the road. There are 2 mountains that are just bears and I'm going to have to tough it out. There are 4 people who are in the running for the overall road title and all I have to do is finish 3rd while preventing 2 others from finishing ahead of me. Well, the favorite for the win is going to be Eric Delaney who won it last year. Then Kyle McGammon is going well, though the only reason why he and Kean finished ahead of us in the stage race was that we let them go. They got an early advantage and the others were marking me so heavily and I really wasn't able to attack, it nullified any possibility of us running them down. Still with all of our monkeying around on the second half of the race, their initial gap gained before the first climb shrunk, so maybe it won't be so tough for me to keep ahead of them. I do know I'd been riding stronger than Kyle on the Wednesday nite rides lately so maybe that's a good sign. Just have to trim a few pounds off in the next 2 weeks. Well, there goes chinese food and donuts. Again, I will say, DAMN IT!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008


Well, 11 of 14 racing tires passed the 'holding air' test, with 2 of the 3 failing holding for a few hours. I do have tires for the season! WOOO HOOOOO! I got out on the first ride yesterday on the trusty ol' steel Fort. This bike is now 5 years old and still very race-able. I noticed a few improvements that could be made on equipment but as a 3rd cross bike, it's still a very respectable machine. I'll have the backup from last year ready to go this week and early next week, the Carbon-Max will be together. This bike was great last year. I only got a few races on it, but damn, what a difference a bike makes. Saving 4lbs was huge and the wider bars improved the control quite a bit. The Fort bikes are the absolute best I've seen when you look at what you get, how well they last, how well they perform and how much you pay. Take all those factors together and nothing else comes close. Give JJ a call at and he'll set you up very well. My Carbon-Max weighed in just a bit above my road bike and the old Zipp 340s performed very well. They are light and strong so this again will be the front line bike. I'm really starting to get cranked for the season. Damn, minus 20 points for the bad cycling pun there.

Monday, September 1, 2008

End of a long and unpredictable road season

Well, the end of the road season finally hit. It looks like the Mountain State Classic won't be happening this year. I'll have finished it up with a mix between a whimper and victory. I'll have won the WV road series for a second year in a row without having to defend the lead on one of the toughest courses of the series and in my final two road races of the year, I had one win and a total dud. The first one was a disaster due to a total screw up on my part. I ate breakfast just a bit too close to the start and at the top of the last hill on the course, I could feel it sitting at the back of the throat. Then on the first climb about a third or the way through the 8 mile lap, I could feel the pressure of breakfast really wanting to come back for a return visit. Unfortunately, there was a very serious attack going on here and I was torn between trying to hang on to the pack and using some finger therapy to force other things along. In the end, I was able to do neither and I got dropped. Dammit, that was such a rookie type mistake. I rode a few more laps of the course and talked one of the women on the course out of quitting. Holly was a first year racer and I showed her a few things along the way including how to position herself a bit better on the bike so she could better take advantage of descents and not lose speed through corners. I do like to help newer riders learn all of the things I had to on my own. If I had someone telling me these sort of things in the start, I would've won lots more races other than the time trials I usually took back then. I had the strength to string things out and be the sprint pylon at the end of the race. In the end she finished and was happy about it. Sunday's race was a bit less well attended and we had to combine a few of the groups. The masters went off with women and the 4/5s. We lost a half dozen on the first climb and at the end of the first lap we had a group of about a dozen that would stay together til the finish. One of the reasons for this was a Cat 2 rider who'd gotten dropped from his race decided he'd be a dickhead and helped his club members in this race. He'd pace them back when at a couple points a few of us attacked, then he also screened myself and one of the other riders when they tried an attack. I was really at the point of just shoving him off the course. Subtle cues like 'DON'T INTERFERE WITH OUR RACE' and 'GET YOUR ASS TO THE BACK OF THIS PACK, PLEASE' didn't quite register with him. Halfway through the last lap, I heard him say 'well, I better sit back otherwise someone might get mad'. Too late, I'd passed go about 15 miles before. There was an attack by one of the masters riders in the group and I was on it quick. We'd gapped the others but dammit, you know who was pacing the rest back to us. On the last climb, one of his club-members attacked and I got up to him. You know who tagged along and in the run-in to the final turn he got in my way and I lost several miles per hour and a few yards on the front group. I got back to one rider after the other and with 100 yards and coming out from the next to last rider to the front, I saw the final rider looking back to his right, so I went left. He thought he had it and 50 yards from the finish, I blew by him going 5 mph faster. Nothing like taking someone by surprise. It was good way to finish the year out. With the exception of doing one more Westlake circuit race to get an extra hard day of training, I'm ready to put the road bike away and pull the cross bikes out.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Is this the change people wanted?

An interested side note to the Democratic Party convention was the arrest of an an ABC news producer who was on the sidewalk by the hotel where Dem senators and donors were going in and out of. Link to story on cbs newsIs this the message the Dems really want to show? 'Vote for us, but don't you dare try to see what we're doing or who we're meeting with? If these charges stand, this sets a VERY DANGEROUS precedent for free press, no matter who they are. If we are not allowed to stand up and say what we believe in, no matter if it is popular, correct or whatever, we may as well take a sharpie and blacken out the first amendment on the Constitution of this country. Wake up, people. Start bitching about things like this when you see them occurring and make sure your "Elected" leaders know you are paying attention to this sort of thing. Many would think 'Well, it wasn't me, so why bother?' At some point, it just might be you and then because you didn't speak up when you could, you could've thrown away the opportunity to speak your mind. This is not something to be taken lightly and these people should be called on it. I don't care if you are a democrat, republican, or even a larouchey, you have a right to be heard. Do NOT throw this away due to apathy, PLEASE. Do not let our society get to the point where we wind up seeing history repeat itself.

Past that little political rant, I had a fun race in the rain in Pittsburgh last night. A break got away and spent most of the race about a half lap up. Since no one was chasing seriously and I was not really there to win anything, I decided to make it a hard night of training. I did 3 massive pulls at the front. The first one closed it a bit, but no one followed thru. The second did the same. So I tried a third time and after getting a bit of a lead-up to my effort from another rider, I chopped the gap in half after a quarter mile pull that topped out about 35mph. I did succeed in stretching out the pack to the point where it was falling apart. Unfortunately, I got behind someone who was having some trouble following the counters after I'd pulled off. Dammit, I was off and gone. So my season ended pretty much how it started there. Doing massive pulls and blowing apart completely. It was good training for the weekend though where I hope to have a couple good races in Ohio.