Friday, February 29, 2008

Vorwärts und aufwärts

Onward and upward. I always liked this phrase. It ranks right up there with 'Uben macht den meister'- 'practice makes the master'. It certainly applies to my current position in life. The California project is a go and we will hoping to be starting actual work on it with the next week or two. I and my partners are totally stoked. We just need to be able to get all the T's crossed and I's dotted. I think we are being giving a great amount of trust here and we are fully intending to make sure the customer gets a super return on it. We might not become rich on it, but the magnitude of the work and the environment that we'll be in will certainly be a big change to what I normally deal with in the mundane world of computer consulting. I'll also be racking up the frequent flyer miles this year. In a week or so, I'll be flying out to Portland, Oregon where today it was nice, sunny and 60 degrees out. One of my partners there was laughing at me as I told him I was driving through blizzard like conditions today before a phone conference we had today. He rode in to work with just bikeshorts and a jersey. Punk! I'll be leaving a bike out there just to make life simpler. Anyone with any Campy Chorus or Record stuff from the past couple years who wants to dump it off, get in touch. I need to get my new frame built up.

One thing that was a bummer, was for a second week in a row, my race got canceled. I've been itching to test myself against the 1s and 2s in ohio to see how I fair. The last race I did a few weeks ago, I felt like I was clubbing a baby seal since I got in late for the 123s to go off and had to go in a lower category at these races than I usually do. I've been on that border line area of being a good 3, but not quite there to feel comfortable to upgrade to a 2. It does give me alot of flexibility for racing though. I can race the 3s if I feel like living dangerously, the 123s if I'm feeling really good, and then the masters races which often lets me double up on the day. Being 40+ now even gives me the choice of 4 different races on many occasions so I can pick and choose. On a few occasions, I've even done a third race, but usually that race would wind up being the bridge too far for me. Something about doing 80 miles of criterium racing, I guess. I've also been looking at the calendar for mountain biking this year and it will be a busy one. It looks like I'll have 13 or 14 mountain bike races this year, up from 10 this year. Add that to 50+ road events and the 18-20 cross races I've been doing the last few years and it makes for quite a season.

Thursday, February 21, 2008


Damn, it's cold out. I really hate it when it takes me as long to get ready to ride the bike as it does for me to warm up on the ride. I'm missing California already. Well, kinda sorta...

Monday, February 18, 2008

Well, it's a start

I have to start getting myself going earlier in the day. I got to the race just as the race I wanted to go in left. Afterwards, several of the riders saw me after the race and were saying they were glad I wasn't there after remembering my last few Westlake races last year. I was up helping pull the pack apart with the A&F and Texas Roadhouse guys there. Saturday, I had to be content to race down a category which wound up amounting to me just riding hard and pulling the field around to a large extent. I came across the line first, but didn't have myself listed nor take money. It's just not cool to do that and I know guys who've done it. The guy who finished second is a younger racer and just learning the game. I was quick to compliment him on the move he made at the end. The finish came thru a sketchy turn with not only potholes, but alot of crap which didn't get cleared off by anyone connected to the race. He said he noticed it after the first lap and didn't want any part of it for the finish. It was a good move to be off the front as others were a bit nervous about going thru the turn and I rolled past him at the end. He jumped out of the saddle and was doing a serious bike wag trying to stay out there. A bigger gear might've kept him there. For a second year rider, he seems to be learning quicker than most. I like helping the younger riders learn the game better. When I get the chance in the summer, I like going down to the Tuesday night races in Pittsburgh and marshaling the beginner and womens races. There are alot of new riders there and sometimes, just a quick tip on how to ride in the pack or using the gearing makes alot of difference. It's the type of thing I wish I had when I was starting out. I've seen many riders just quit the sport because after getting shelled out week after week they just figure it's too tough and they will never make it. It's a good feeling when you see their faces when they've not only finished the race, but also felt like they were part of it. To me, this is what the sport should be about.

Yesterday, I continued on the training with the Mo'town mountain bike ride. It got pretty warm out and we did a bit more than 3 hours. I'm feeling stronger and made it up the climbs much better and was going quicker on the trails and decents. I'm still a bit nervous on the real steep dropoffs with the rocks and logs all over the trail. I proved last year that you can do an endo on a 29er. After a broken bone in the hand from that, it's not a feat I'm inclined to repeat.

Past the riding, I really feel the need to buy a lottery ticket. In the past week, I had a very successful West Coast trip for work, came back to commitments for 3 servers, a couple workstations, 4 notebook computers and a handful of other equipment, plus the labor to get all of it set up. This with the web work we've gotten in the past month, plus my normal contracts and things are going quite spiffy. I've managed to come up aces at every turn, though I'm a bit nervous about how good things seem to be going. I'm currently flashing on my mantra - Fly straight, don't BS, keep the ball rolling. OOOMMMMMMMMM, OOOMMMMMMMMM. repeat as needed.

Friday, February 15, 2008

First race of the year!

Well, tomorrow will be my first race of the year. Usually I use the first races of the year to get my butt kicked so I know what I have to be looking to do in my training. Last year, my first race did not follow that game plan. I wound up dragging one rider from the Olympus Homes team for almost 25 miles. If it had just been him, I knew I was able to drop him as even moderate efforts out of the few turns on the course had him working hard to bring me back. In the end, one of his teammates caught up after mixing with some riders from another category, a definite classless move, and they proceeded to work me over in the finale. If I had followed the same game plan, there was a Cat2 rider I could've ridden away with that was sitting behind us after I'd caught him and there would've been no contest. Still a 3rd place to start the year off wasn't bad. Plus, I confirmed that the new heat rub I am using now in the nasty cold weather was working quite well as I only needed knee warmers while everyone else was bundled up like they were heading off on some epic ride in a blizzard.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

It's sunny in California

howdy from California. It was a pretty good day. It looks like we'll be busy this year. Lots of cool things to do. I have to admit, I'm a bit stunned as to how things went on Tuesday. It almost seems too good. One of my partners and I in this little venture, we driving back towards the airport after the meeting and we were both thinking, did it go that well? We were both in a bit of a state of shock. The offices where we met were a beehive of activity and the people we met definitely showed an amazing amount of zeal towards what they were doing. It is going to be great to work in this sort of environment. It will definitely be a challenge, but we're going to do are absolute best to see a return is made on the trust we are being given.

I'm now back in Pittsburgh after more than 13 hours in airports and planes. I had a bit more than an hour drive back home from there. In a few short days, it looks as my job will change quite a bit. I will still do the techno geek thing, but also be able to apply my talents in other areas that will be alot more fun. Somehow, things like 'Dual core processor and a Gig of RAM' just don't carry the same amount of excitement anymore. I was looking at doing a bit of change in my professional life and boy am I going to be getting it. It's like getting my first job all over again. The only thing that is less than appealing is that I went from eating breakfast in 70+ degree and sunny weather by the pool, to scraping 5 inches of snow and ice off the car at the airport. I do have to admit, my planning for the trip, however rushed, worked pretty much to perfection with zero hiccups. Things just don't normally go that well and I'm almost scared to see what happens when the other shoe drops. Probably just a pessimistic response that I'm sometimes prone to after the type of week I've just had. Well, I've got to go dust off the drawing table now and be thinking about the layers of clothing I'm going to have to be wearing when I hit out on the bike today.


Well, I made it. I'm in LA in a Travellodge hotel right across the street from a Carl's Jr and a strip club. What a wonderful family type place. I'm about 12 hours away from probably one of the biggest meetings I've been in since I've started in business almost 20 years ago. Things look good at the moment, but I'm keeping myself grounded til we actually get a signed contract. My stay here will be too short a stay to bring the bike so I'll be going thru withdrawls by the time I get back Wednesday night. If things work out, I'll have to leave a bike on the west coast to make my life easier. Luckily I have an extra bike hanging around. I've got a new Fort ready to put together so the ol' Guinness Fort can go to Portland. The racing is fun out there. I had a couple decent races there last year. I must've created enough of an impression since I got swept out on a corner but a couple guys from Team Oregon in the last few laps. That bumped me out of the top 10 riders in the pack leading up to the final and after getting caught behind a crash on the final lap, left me back in something like 26th. The PIR race on Monday was much better. I was in every break and very aggressive in the face of the Fred Meyers team and a couple others even though I was on my own there. I was in every break except the last one. That was the one that finally got away. I hesitated for one moment and it was like 'thanks for coming folks'. If I'd known who was in the break of 5 riders, I would've made sure I made it. I was saving myself because I was thinking, there'd be another counter and I'd use that. Oh, well. I still pulled off a ninth place and a mid race sprint so it was a good day. This year, I should be able to hit the race more and once I learn who is who, I'll go alot better.

Anyway, back to LA. I'll be meeting one of the guys from i-generator from Portland, Oregon in the morning and then we're off to a meeting that will have big implications for both of us. This will be a good feather in my cap if we pull this off.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Pack pack pack!

Let me see, shirts, pants, socks, toothpaste and brush, comb, shoes, Thinkpad, iPod, camera, notepad and pen, license, money, credit card, sunny hopes and dreams. Dammit, I know I'm forgetting something.

Saturday, February 9, 2008

Faster than a speeding .....

Well, I was always told things can be fast in the corporate world. I just got a nice demo on that one. I was looking at popping in on the Amgen for a few days and be meeting with some new prospective clients instead of the initial mentioned March meeting and the next thing I know, we're on for next Tuesday. I do like it when potential clients are decisive. I did get a bit light in the head making all the arrangements to get in there, but this job looks like it could be a very exciting one. The trip will be a bit abbreviated, but hopefully, it will bring what looks to be an interesting and challenging project(s).

Friday, February 8, 2008

Yaba Daba Doo!

I'm slipping into my Fred Flintstone mantra here. Things went very well at work today and I'll be hangin out at the Amgen tour because of it. Hopefully it'll be a sunny time out there. I'll have to load up the bike for this one unless I can borrow one out there. It's a particularly sunny day out today.

Emerging from Slugdom

This is my first week of real training for the year. Through January, I road, did some lifting at the gym, a couple spinning rides, some time on the trainer, but it was mainly just low level stuff and nothing to really base any serious fitness on. This week though, I bonked for the first time of the year. There is nothing like the feeling of 'Gawd, what did I do to myself here' when still out on the bike. It was another good mountain bike ride, the first hour and a half was a steady ride til I finally linked up with the rest of the group. The final hour of the ride, I was seeing colors that I probably shouldn't have been and when the ride was done, I was finished. Too tired to hang out in Mo'town to watch the superbowl. Too tired to go get something to eat. Too tired to do anything but sit there and be tired. And that was tiring. Later that night, I found out what the real issue was as the flu hit. Monday was a write off, but I can tell my body is working well when something like a nasty hit of the flu is gone in just 1 day.

Through the week, I was actually able to begin ramping up the efforts and doing 2 workout days. I'm feeling it now and I think I better lay off today and only do a single, but the legs are responding. I'll know how well on Sunday at the ride. On my Wednesday morning spinning ride, I got a nice suprise there. It seems that one of the soigneurs of the Toyota-United team was there. She had on a pair of Coor's Light shorts. After my remark of 'there's some old school shorts, she said that she used to work for them. She apparently has worked with several of the top pro amercian teams over the last 20 years. Wow, a local doing this and I never knew it.

Wednesday for work, I was supposed to have a conference call for work. This was a big one as it could decide if I'll be doing some work directly in the bike industry. Unfortunately it got held off til Friday. If all goes well today, I'll be hopping on a plane for the Amgen tour for a few days. Maybe I can bump into the Toyota-United girl again. If it goes better there, I might well achieve my goal in life of getting paid to play with toys. I'll stay on with the computer consulting business (it's still pretty lucrative. to the layman, it looks alot like goofing off). I'm raising the caffeine levels to just the right point now and got the phone all ready and warm. I'm hoping for a good one.